Strikkefestivalen/Knitting Festival in Fredrikstad 2018

For the 3rd time the Strikkefestivalen/Knitting Festival was organised in Fredrikstad Old Town, the oldest fortified town in Norway (founded in 1567) and in the Nordic countries and one of the best-preserved fortress towns in Northern Europe (see more photos from two years ago here). I arrived on Friday by train from Oslo, in the aftermath of a hurricane (read: extremely windy and wet), and did wonder whether the city ferry to the old town was running. It was, but the rocking sensation did make it feel more like being on the ferry to Denmark, crossing the North Sea. Thankfully, the ferry only takes a few minutes to cross the river Glomma. Due to the extreme weather, there were less knitters visiting the market hall on the Friday, than last year. So I did manage to have a good look, but did not buy anything (read: very well done). I walked over to the Commandor’s building, where all the workshops were held, met a few knitters I recognised from last year, to find designer Tove Fevang since both of us were staying with organiser and founder of the travel agency Explore Travel; Marit Larsen. But before we headed home to Marit, we went to the Official Opening Event taking place in what would be the Knit Café for the event, in the Cloth House (another former military building, now housing the museum and premises for rent). A place perfect for drinking wine and knitting. Take a look at the video (above) the festival made for volunteers and get a better idea of the idyllic old town setting. Actually, more than 90 volunteers did participate this year.

Tove and I had wine at Marit’s house. Yes, Marit found us chatting in the kitchen when she came home a few hours later. Tove held her third while I held my first workshop on Saturday morning from 10 am to 1 pm. It was the first time for my Beginners Cable Knitting workshop and it went well. One of the knitters that had signed on, had actually done my Masterclass in Cable Knitting, the year before and first thought she would do it again but decided to try a different workshop, even though they were in the opposite order than I had planned. I met some of the other designers present; Helle Siggerud and Kari Hestnes, during the lunch break. Both had exhibits in the museum during the festival, and so did Tove. It is always fun to see the designs on a mannequin and not only in a photo online.

Tove and I had lunch at the Knit Café. We met several of the volunteers we knew from last year as well as knitters. My second workshop was fully booked hence the afternoon went quickly. After 6 hours of teaching, Tove and I were on the lookout for an open café in the old town. We quickly realised that all the cafés were closed after 6 pm on a Saturday, since Tove drove down nearly all the streets to find one. We did enjoy looking for one, though. So instead we headed for the Knitting Evening, took out our knitting, chatted and waited impatiently for the food. At our table was Anna, who is a doctor by profession, but also the owner of Anna’s Angora, see above. Yes, she has 120 angora rabbits as well as other animals at her croft.

Our table did not win the quiz, our defence is that a number of the questions were not knitting related. The winning table received goody bags with knitting and crochet magazines from the Norwegian magazine Familien as well as sweeties. During the evening we ate delicious tapas, then chocolate and cookies for desert. Tove and I continued the party with wine at Marit’s house. Just as the day before, Marit did come home to join us, late at night. Even after we had decided to go to bed, we kept talking in Tove’s room. I was grateful that the workshops started at 11 am on Sunday so we could get a few hours of sleep beforehand.

More than 4500 persons visited the festival on the first 2 days, so the number of visitors has increased year after year. On Sunday morning I held my third and last workshop, while Tove held a talk. This was another new workshop, called Perfect Fit. Signed on to take part was a friend of mine from Facebook, Marianne Skatten, who walked into the room wearing my design Halli. Marianne has worn it ever since she finished knitting it, I am proud to say. Especially since Marianne designs herself. Take a look at her blog: Skattensdiy.wordpress.com. She is also taking part in the ongoing Prescott Pullover KAL. Talking to Marianne in the previous photo is Anne, who attended my workshop in Cable Knitting Masterclass last year. I had a fabulous weekend; enjoyed meeting knitters, holding workshops and seeing friends! My host Marit, I will see next at Røros, at the Knitting Weekend in October.

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