Leilani in “The Knitter” issue 60

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I love to knit lace in the round! As I often end up with neck warmers and capelets I challanged myself to find new ways with lace circles when I designed Leilani. It’s such a fun knit and I love the way the team at The Knitter Magazine had styled the photos of it. If you are looking for a fun and unsual knitting project for the summer I think you have one here. The magazine is on sale in the UK on June 28th and about the same time in the US.

The shrug is knitted in Noro Silk Garden Sock yarn and we all know how fun that is to work with!

TKN60.noro.0375_mediumWhat ever you are kitting this summer I wish you a great time and remember to relax, take in nature and feel good!

May 1st – international workers day.

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My first published knitting design has been made hundreds of times by happy knitters all over the world.

Today is the International Workers Day and in Norway, and it is still a public holiday. I am enjoying the day knitting socks! As working conditions in my part of the world are pretty much regulated by law the day might have lost some of it’s significant.

However, the tragedy in Bangladesh last week just reminded me that I am a lucky one. Many of the women and men working in the collapsed building were making clothes, probably for the European or the North American markets.

Often when I buy clothes I hope that the people that make them can earn a descent living from their work. I have found it is very hard to get any information about workers conditions when I buy clothes form big chain stores and high street stores. Like most people I end up buying my cloths where they have things I like at a reasonable price – and I try not to think too hard about who made them, under what conditions and how much are they paid.

Now hand knitting  and home sewing is not like that. I have pretty good control over the working conditions! The sofa, a movie and maybe a bit of chocolate…

I think about these issues because I am in the clothing business myself some how – and I have had all my professional life in politics. Designing knitting patterns for garments I must pay close attention to the fashion trends. I am also quite interested in the wool industry, and as for ready-to-wear clothes, I like to know that the wool I use comes form happy sheep and had been processed by people that get a decent salary for their work.

One of the things that makes me feel it is worth while to design knitting patterns is that I assist others in making their own garments. I know there is not an over production as most people are knitting what they will wear them self and give as gifts. I have been known to “mass produce” when I fall in love with a design!  Many knitters share a photo of their finished product with me and tell me how proud they are of their work. That makes me proud too. I know they will treat their garment well and look after it so it last a long time. It will not be treated the way many treats cheap clothes; wear them a season and throw them away…because they were so cheap. If you have that tendency I would recommend you to donate your clothes to a charity or a thrift shop. That way they get a second chance.

I am in serious danger of getting too serious here! I really hope the woman or man who made my favourite pair of trousers I am wearing today can feel a bit proud of what they are doing, and I will treat the trousers as if I knew the ones who made them!

My knitting nook at my summer cottage - working conditions are great!

My knitting nook at my summer cottage – working conditions are great!

Knitters Anonymous

Many professional women have still not come out as knitters! I know how they feel. For many years I never knitted in the view of work colleagues. I thought they would look at me with different eyes and think me not so clever after all!

I have been knitting all my life, but after I started to work I stopped knitting. I really don’t know why, but I was busy and work took much of my attention. Years later I picked up the needles again and I know why; I had a need to be creative and produce something of my own!
I worked in a senior position in international politics for years and worked with members of Parliament and national and international politicians.

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A design developed to wear in a male dominated office environment!

My work involved a lot of travel and that means waiting, being away from home, family and friends quite often and spending evenings in hotels. To create a sense of normality to the life I led I brought the knitting. Watching a movie and knitting in a hotel room is not so different form doing the same at home. But I didn’t knit while waiting in airport or sitting at the back row at conferences. What would people think of me if I did? It would be like Angela Merkel pulling some knitting project out of her bag – what would we think of that?!

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I designed and knitted this while I was an election observer in Belarus.

At one point I was working on a knitting project while traveling and I so wanted to see how it turned out. I took the risk and knitted at the airport. It developed form there; I knitted at conferences picking a seat at the back so no one really could see, I took great care to use wooden needles as they make less sound when I knit. I even knitted at a debriefing when I was an election observer in Belarus! I was no longer a knitter anonymous.

So what was the reaction to my knitting? In general no one commented on it. When people did it was always friendly. At a large meeting in the Swedish Parliament a male member of the parliament came and sat down beside me, telling me that it made him relax to hear the gentle ticking of the knitting needles! It was a heartwarming experience.
To conclude I think a lot of efficient brilliant professional women would like to knit in their down time during the work day. I finally mustered up the confidence to do it. The challenge is that no-knitters tend to think that the knitting takes all the attention and hence you are not paying attention to what goes on around you. We know that is not the fact, but it is useful to keep in mind if you are going to knit at meetings and conferences. I find that people working on their laptop computers during meetings helps justifying my knitting! I am not sure people that switch on their computers during a meeting are paying full attention, but it is very much accepted.

A year ago I made the move to spend more time knitting resigned from my day job. I use all my professional skills to make a living form designing knitting patterns. Strategic planning and networking has served me well and proves that the skills you have can be applied successfully in very different fields.

I am now very proud of my knitting and I believe if I can’t knit in public with pride, I can’t blame people for looking at knitting as a less worthy activity!

“Knit Nordic” will be published on August 1st!

A long and interesting journey is approaching the goal. My first knitting book is available to pre-order on Amazon! I have been working on the book for years and to see it in the store gave good feeling of achievement.

The journey I have had with this book had been wonderful and I have meet so many friendly, talented and interesting people.

I have a feeling that a lot of the people will be part of my knitting life in the future.

To all my Norwegian readers; the book will  be out in Norwegian in the autumn.

The publishing date in Great Britannia is August 1st, and it will be out in Norway at the same time.

I hope everyone that knit projects form the book will get at good feeling of achievement too, when they weave in the last loose end!

Life is a like a box of chocolate

The other day I was sitting in my office working away at a knitting pattern. It was a dreadful day. Snow had turned to rain in in Oslo in January that makes it look so dreary. To my surprise some young people were out and playing with something at the new bench at the bus stop outside.

I looked up from my work every now and again, and when I found out they were yarn bombing the bench they had my full attention! Here are some photos of what they made of the bench and the bus stop.

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Yarn bombing, or yarn graffiti, is not a common sight in Oslo. I think I found out why today. After the bench had got the lovely treatment a few days earlier a man in a van showed up today. The van had “no graffiti” written on it, and the man works for the Oslo City council.

It took the creative young people hours in the rain to cover the bench and send out the message “life is like a box of chocolate”. It took the man and his knife 15 minutes to remove any signs of creativity.

 

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Who knows? Maybe Forest Gump would have liked it – but then again – why should anyone come to Oslo? No room for creativity here…..

I have just come back from a trip to New Zealand and they cherish their creative yarn bombers. Here is a photo form Davenport just outside Auckland.

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If there is a lesson to be had from my two very different experiences it must be that we have some work to do in Oslo!