Hardanger Embroidery

Another beautiful sunny stunning Norwegian morning. A ferry took us to Utne where we were visiting the Hardanger Folk Museum.

First we had a talk and guided tour of the traditional Norwegian costumes, The Bunad.

Just opened was a fantastic display of over 1000 bodice inserts some dating back to the 1700’s. Some were cross stitch, others beaded and some displayed other embroidery techniques. Can you see patchwork designs?

We were introduced to the history of Hardanger embroidery also dating back to the 1700’s. We saw aprons, table runners, shirts, bed linen and cushion covers all featuring variations of this beautiful embroidery.

Following this tour we went up the light workroom with gorgeous scenic views, which proved to be quite distracting. Our eyes soon focused on the small but intricate project that we were stitching for the next few hours.

We had a lunch break, eating outside on the verandah. Then, back to work, but if our eyes got tired there was plenty to explore in this museum including old houses, carved and painted chairs, sculptures and fiddles.

Walking back to the ferry we saw dolphins frolicking in the fjord. Another spectacular ferry and coach ride back to Eidfjord.

Tonight after dinner we are starting work on a klokkestreng, entirely voluntary!

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Bergen to Eidfjord!

We woke up to a second fabulous sunny warm morning in Bergen. Breakfast was eaten in the hotel restaurant where we felt we were on the water, with boats gliding past the windows.

Passing through the fish market our group got to taste caviar and whale meat before taking the funicular railway up Mount Floyan.

From there we had wonderful views of Bergen and got to meet a few goats.

Then it was some serious shopping in the Hanseatic area down below before enjoying some seafood lunches.

A short distance from Bergen is the Salhus Tricotagefabric (1859-1989). Here, we learnt about the history and importance of the textile industry in Norway. We found it amazing that the guide switched on old carding, spinning, and a variety of knitting machines so that we could see how they all worked.

Our drive to Eidfjord, an arm of the Hardanger fjord for our overnight stop was beautiful with amazing views around each corner – waterfalls bursting with spring melted snow, hytte with grass roofs, dramatic snow topped mountains and so much more. We had an unexpected stop when the road was closed for an hour. It was 6pm and 21C so we enjoyed the sun and views.

And some one or two chose to paddle in the fjord.

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A quilt shop in Torquay – Australia

We have been driving along the Ocean Road from Adelaide to Melbourne taking in fabulous views, interesting places and coming across a couple of quilt shops. Today’s visit to Amitie Quilt shop was on my ‘hit’ list as I knew it belonged to Jen Kingwell, whom I have long admired. Jen designs the most gorgeously busy fabrics for Moda and her pattern books reflect her style.

The front of the shop looks like a big modern warehouse with a large opening, so that you could see straight into the huge shop and teaching area. You walk into a cafe, a great place for a non quilting partner. Can you see Bean catching up with his emails? Here we enjoyed a delicious smoked salmon quiche with a quinoa and green salad, served by Mr Kingwell.

Jen just happened to be in the store today, hand sewing. It was great to have a catch up with her about the latest news from the quilting scene.

After a long chat I was itching to take a closer look at her quilts hanging high up above all the fabulous selection of fabrics. All of them have patterns or booklets so that you can make your own version. Here is the latest.

There was also a class going on, making a Totes Amazeballs bag. The students were using large prints and bright unusual coordinates. As you can see plenty of space to work and fabrics all around for inspiration.

I bought one of Jen’s books which she signed for me.

I could have stayed all day but we were due in Melbourne that afternoon. Goodbye Jen and see you in Houston.

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A Quilt Show in The Faroe Islands!

We could hardly believe our luck when we discovered this show! The Faroes do not have a quilt shop but they have lots of yarn shops and everyone learns to knit from a young age. The quilt show displayed the work of  Jongerd Perkhus, an 80 year old who also stitched pictures of her beautiful island environment. Unfortunately, these were framed with non reflective glass and could not be phographed well.

The setting was stunning, in an old warehouse in Torshavn harbour. The display will be taken down on 26 August.

Enjoy the photos!

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Wool felting in The Faroes

We had a special visit today which was not on our itinerary. It was a visit to the Faroese home of Ase Hatun, an 80 year old wool felter. For an hour she chatted to us about the development of wool crafts in The Faroes and then we roamed around admiring her beautiful work as well as her house.

Earlier we had taken a ferry to Nolsoy, the disappearing/appearing island that can be seen so prominently from our hotel. Yes, that is an enormous whalebone that has been in position for over a 100 years.

Near the whalebone is an historic house that locals call Petersen’s Warehouse. It has been erected on the foundations of one of the first shops in the village, built in 1787. Here, we had a delicious lunch of cod barbequed in paper with potatoes and onions. Such a simple dish to prepare, but one to make when we return home. The local water is so good that I have nicknamed it ‘Faroese Wine’.

Katrina i Geil guided us around the village she had lived in for many years. Some of us even got to meet her ‘sheeps’. Many were intrigued with the jumper she is wearing.

The guides we have had in The Faroes have been very informative and we all now feel these islands mean so much more than a mention on the shipping forecast! A beautiful, harsh and extreme environment with people who strongly protect their traditions and are fiercely independent, resisting other countries from interfering in their way of life. Visit, before it is invaded by tourists!

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Scenes from the Faroes

We have really relaxed into these calm, atmospheric islands and just so peaceful.

Yesterday morning, we had a pattern workshop with Katrina i Geil, a Faroese knitter and stylist. She led us through some exercises, choosing a typical island knitting design and giving us confidence to create something different and new. We enjoyed her expertise and all of us came away with future designs for knitting, patchwork and embroidery.

At lunchtime, several of us walked down the hill to the harbour in Torshavn – our mission to find a quilt show, mentioned to us but with no details. The good news is we found it and we will be taking the rest of the group there on Wednesday. I am not going to spoil it by posting lots of pics now, but I am posting the poster just in case there are more quilters here who would like to visit.

Today, we had an optional trip to Vestmanna for lunch and then a boat trip. We stopped several times on the way for photo opportunities. The landscape is stunning and so different from the UK or Australia (we have Gillian from Australia on this tour).

The boat from Vestmanna took us to see bird life and grottos. All helped by a calm sea and sun. Inside the caves the rock colours were fascinating.

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Fish Skins in Glorious Colour

Our first full day in The Faroe Islands.

John, our excellent driver/guide was impressed that we were ready 5 minutes early, ready to leave for our morning tour. As he says, the earlier we are the more he can show us. And there is a lot to see and learn about these unique islands. 

We toured around Torshavn visiting the old buildings with grass as a roof. This is where the first parliament or Tinganes was held over a thousand years ago.

On the other side of the hill, another scenic drive away was Kirkjubou, a small hamlet with lots of history. I loved this door on the wall of the culture centre.

Arena had arranged for us to visit Poulina, a Faroese weaver. We enjoyed looking at her looms, beautiful woven samples and traditional costumes she had woven and sewn. 

We were fascinated with the fish skins the looked and felt like chamois leather. But oh what glorious colours! Of course they had to be purchased and will be used in appliqué, bags and clothes.

Threads in silk, cotton and linens as well as wools in fabulous hand dyed colours were also bought. Some of the silk threads were used in our handstitching workshop this afternoon.

It is 9.45pm and this is the view from my bedroom window. The grass is actually the roof of the bedrooms below and across the water looking like a whale is the ‘disappearing island’. I have given it this name as we sat fascinated during dinner, watching it appear and disappear, changing every few minutes, depending on the cloud formations.

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