Oslo Strikkefestival 2017

7:20 PM

Oslo Strikkefestival was arranged for the third time on October 20-22, 2017. This was my first time at the festival, and I have to say that it was definitely worth the trip! I hadn't planned for attending the festival, but then I noticed that I have some SAS bonus points that are expiring soon and remembered the festival. At that point, most of the classes were sold out, but I did manage to find something interesting, so off to Oslo it was.

The festival started on Friday evening with Opening party at Deichmanske Hovedbibliotek. There were long tables full of knitters as I arrived, but I found a seat right in front of the stage. The program included stand up comedy in Norwegian, so I can't say whether it was good or not. I understood the part of choosing what kind of knitter you are when trying to choose what Facebook knitting groups to join, but then it got to politics and started to be too much for my language capability. I don't speak Norwegian, but I've studied Swedish for 6 years and that helps.

Luckily, the following panel discussion "Craft and feminism" was in English, so it was easier to follow. At this time, though, the audience started talking with each other so loud that it was difficult to hear what the panelists were saying. The panel was hosted by Jorid Martinsen, and the panelists were Jenny Keller, Josefine Hedlund, and Kathrine Frey Froslie. They discussed how much attention men get if they knit even the most simple items, whereas women can knit awesome pieces that are treated as "nothing" as it is "what women do". People should get over the stereotypes and go further than simply admiring the men who knit for knitting as such, and instead ask about their favourite techniques or styles. We also heard about a recent debate in Norway when a book reviewer stated that women are masochistic for following patterns in detail and how they should create their own designs instead. I also liked the comment Kathrine Frey Froslie made about the popular view of knitting being like meditation and how you should enjoy the process, when sometimes all you want is the end result and knitting is the way to get there. Reminded me that I should knit socks for my kids - nothing to enjoy there!

There was a photo booth for taking festive pictures, such as the one above. I was wearing my Steller Tunic and my Flying Jib Shawl, and especially the shawl got lot of attention - which was nice, obviously. Later in the evening there was a movie screening "Yarn" by Una Lorenzen, which was a documentary of four fiber artists and in a way continued the feminism theme. For example, knit graffiti artist Tinna Þorudottir Þorvaldsdottir explained how she wanted to bring handicrafts from the private to the public, and artist Olek described how difficult it is to be heard in the art world after explaining that your material is yarn and your technique is crochet.

On Saturday, the festival moved to Norsk Folkemuseum and it was the first day of the market place. There was an unbelievable amount of people at the marketplace, and it was difficult to move, let alone to buy anything. I managed to grab four gorgeous skeins from Tweedy Todd before it was time to find my class: "Ryaknutar och några stygn" by Magasin Duett. The class was about rya knots and various stitches, and it was nice to learn something completely new. In Finland, rya rugs are making a comeback, and I have been thinking that it would be nice to make one. I don't know when I would ever have the time for that, but at least I now know how to.

After my class, I headed to the museum cafe where the after party had already started. I met some old friends and made new ones, and it was a lovely evening.

My original plan was to do sightseeing on Sunday, but as my visit to the marketplace wasn't as successful as I had hoped for on Saturday, I decided to go back on Sunday. There was also supposed to be a guided tour of the museum in English on Sunday morning, and I was interested in the knitting exhibition. Unfortunately, it turned out that the info on the website wasn't correct and the tour was in Norwegian. After the guide had talked about the first exhibit for 10 minutes and all I understood was that it was a nightgown, I decided to head to the marketplace. This time it wasn't as crowded as the first day, and I was able to have a look at all the yarns. There was a group of refugee women showing their hand dyed yarn at Garnsurr booth. I loved the idea of making a social integration project of yarn, and I might have exaggerated a bit with their sock yarns (especially as I recently swore never to knit socks again...), but if I ever feel like knitting socks again I now have the yarn for it. At G-Uld booth there was a line up on Sunday as well, but not as bad as on Saturday and after waiting for half an hour I was able to get a cardigan quantity of lovely plant dyed alpaca.

After this shopping, I felt that I had met my goals at the market place and headed to the cafe for an afternoon of knitting and making new friends.

It was a lovely weekend at the festival. Thank you for arranging such a great festival, Tone and Katie!

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