I am going to launch a new travel blog shortly after I return from France. It will be a platform for marketing very short travel books for special interests. One series will be "The Hip and Chic Knitter Goes to..." Norway will be the first destination. Today I did a yarn crawl in Oslo as part of my research. Tevis had work to do at the hotel so I ventured off on my own. It was the first time I navigated without him and after a few minutes of disorientation I sorted myself out. The subway train was a challenge because I could not find the westerly direction entrance, then I could not get the ticket kiosk to work. The lovely front desk clerk (in parrot costume) had said that no one buys a ticket but I was nervous about not following the "rules". Oh well, I tried, guess I will travel like a true Oslan.
I found a blog post by Lina Marveng (www.marveng-puckett.com/wordpress/2011/12/yarn-shops-in-oslo/) that listed four yarn stores and a design store. The first one listed was quite a way into the suburbs, and a chain store in a mall, so I opted out. The next one was by the same train stop for the Vigeland Sculpture Garden (one of my must sees), so I set off.
I asked for a lot of help and I found the Tjorven yarn shop just outside the Majorstuen train station at Vlakyriegata 17. The clerks were friendly and the yarn lucious. They did not offer any patterns in English (they call them recipes). So no sales today. I realized too late that it would have been smart to look for some patterns on Ravelry before I went shopping. The store clerk showed me a website www.yarndesigns.com that has language choices including English. These are the same Norwegian inspired (modern, not traditional) patterns featured in Drops magazine.
I walked about 5 minutes to a sandwich place for a quick bite and then another 5 minutes to the Vigeland Sculpture Garden. Wow! The sculptures were an impressive body of Gustav Vigeland's life work. At one point I caught up with a couple from England that had their own tour guide and I learned that Vigeland had two wives, the second of whom wrote most of what we know of the artist's biography. About 3 years before he died he ordered her to leave him and he finished his life with a paid nurse. Just an example of the stuff you overhear when you travel alone.
I took the train back to the National Theater stop and checked out the shop Norway Designs. Linda Marvang feels it is a must see. It does not carry any wool, and does have a lot of interesting modern Norwegian jewelry, clothing, paper good, china and glassware. I was not super impressed. It is not far from the port where the cruise ships dock so I imagine it can do a brisk business. I walked to my next destination via the Karl Johan's Gate and next to the Hard Rock Cafe is a Dale of Norway sweater shop. You might know Dale yarns (sold in the United States). I have always pronounced it Dale like Yale, and learned that it should be Dah-ley. This shop does not sell yarn but it does have high quality traditional or classic Norwegian sweaters. No bargains here.
The next three shops are all a relatively easy walk from where the cruise ships dock. If you only have a short shore leave it is possible to nip into one of these stores. Strikkedilla is in a large multi-story mall called Oslo City. It is a smaller shop but packed with bright colored yarn and has lots of good ideas for knitting for children.
Kitty-corner to Oslo City is an old fashioned shopping mall called Gunerius. Bogerud Tekstil is actually just called Bogerud on the outside of the shop on the first floor (ground floor then up the escalator). It reminded me of Michael's or JoAnn's in the United States. If you needed some supplies you left at home or some acrylic yarn, this is your store. A hip and chic knitter will be disappointed.
Saving the best for last, Husfliden is in the basement (or underground floor) of the department store Glasmagasinet at Stortorvet 9. They had all kinds of good stuff. I discovered Oleana knit wear when I was doing my pre-trip reearch and this shop carries their line. These are modern and beautiful designs. The prices are steep--$100 US for a scarf or $250 US for a sweater. The shop also has a wonderful traditional Norwegian costumes and jewelry. The yarn was a real treat. And they carried some patterns in English. Does a hip and chic knitter make a tradtional Norwegian pull-over? Yes, in non-traditional colors using Rauma Mitu (50% alpaca, 50% wool). At 39 Krone a skein ($6.81 US) it was a good buy.
Norway can be one of the most expensive countries to visit in Europe, so I was very pleased to find wool prices a comparative bargain. Shops are both plentiful and the ones mentioned here carry a good variety of quality yarn. It is good to be in a country where a lot of people still knit. There were some awesome patterns, if I only spoke Norwegian.