Stitching in Norway with Karin Hellaby

DAY 1 – London – Bergen

We arrived in Bergen, basking in a glorious 23C and enjoyed a fabulous 3 hour sightseeing tour. Amongst the sights was the Fantoft Stave Church, beautiful buildings, views from the mountains and the Hanseatic trading area. We have a full group of 18 textile lovers from UK, USA, Switzerland and Hungary and they are already impressed with the beauty of Norway!


DAY 2 – Bergen – Eidfjord & Norwegian Knitting Industry Museum

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. 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.


DAY 3 – Hardanger Folk Museum & Lace workshop

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 veranda. 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.


DAY 4 – The Norweigan Institute of Bunad & folk costume

At 9am it was 14C in Eidfjord. An hour later we were up on the snowy Hardanger plateau at 4C!


We had a great afternoon in the Norwegian Institute of Bunad and Folk Costume, Fagernes, this afternoon. It has given us a better understanding of all the different costumes ready for Norway Day tomorrow! This evening we arrived in Oslo to a hot 27C.


DAY 5 – Norweigan Costitution Day!

Today is Norwegian Constitution Day and we definitely joined in with the celebrations! Oslo’s streets were filled with locals wearing their traditional bunad and waving the Norwegian flag.


DAY 6 -Katherine’s Quilte Stue & Tilda Workshop

Our first stop today was Katherine’s Quilte Stue where we had the shop to ourselves for 13/4 hours. Marlin and Halle came in early to staff the shop. They served us coffee and danish and did a show and tell.


At 2.30 we arrived at Tilda’s World to be welcomed by Tone Finnegar, the designer, we had not expected this and were very lucky to meet her. Tone then went onto teaching a lovely workshop using her fabrics to make birds. Here we have a short video of the project.

This was held in a old Norwegian house which they had recently converted into meeting and display rooms. It was very tastefully decorated and showed off her products beautifully. For obvious reasons we cannot display photos as we saw many future fabric designs and patterns. However, Tone has approved the following photos from the house for me to show you. They also provided refreshments, goodie bags for each of us and there was a sales table to further entice the group. This visit exceeded all our expectations and the group are all inspired and buzzing with enthusiasm.

Thank you Tone, Torje and Anne for our amazing experience. We are the first group to visit Tilda’s World and it was a real privilege. You made us sew welcome and we have many wonderful memories!


DAY 6 – A day of workshops

Busy workshop day in Tjome using the gorgeous Lemon tree fabrics from Tilda’s World.


Photos and videos courtesy of Karin Hellaby. Find out more on her blog and facebook.