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    Pattern for the Ormen Lange bargello quilt

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  • Bargello Flame

    Downloadable pattern for Bargello Flame

  • Bargello Dancing Flames

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  • Nine Patch Kameleon Quilt

    Downloadable pattern for Nine Patch Kameleon Quilt

The Yakut Wedding

As I said in my two previous posts here and here, there was a lot going on on the day of the Quilted Field.

One of the posts on the entertainment program, was a demonstration of Yakut wedding customs, especially on how to dress the bride.



It all started with a small procession of the participants entering the field and the stage. First came the groom..

…then various family members and a shaman (…I think..).


One person was at the microphone explaining what was happening, but only in Russian. We could guess quite a lot from what we saw happening on stage, but we probably missed out on a lot of interesting details.

The bride came on stage already with the pink dress on, but there was a lot more to be added, both clothes, jewellery, belt, handbag, hat and mittens, – all of this in beautifully made traditional style clothing.

Everything was done with slow, ceremonial movements while some haunting songs, reminiscent of sami joik, but not quite, were played in the background, occasionally interrupted by the storyteller explaining something.


When the bride was ready, the groom came and led her to the other side of the stage, both holding on to opposite ends of what looked like a big tassel.

Afterwards there was some kind of ceremony, and then some serious gift giving, – everything in slow motion:


In the end they danced some sort of line dance, – again with very slow motions and sombre faces, – very dignified. No hoopla or laughter.



No wedding is without food and drink, of course, and they had brought some of their traditional foods and drink on to the stage. After the ceremony and dancing, they came around and offered the audience tastes of both food and drink, served in carved wooden vessels.

The food was waffles and some small pancakes, – very good, – and the drink was white and had a sour-ish taste. After reading up on Yakut wedding traditions on the web, we think that it must have been fermented mare’s milk. Nobody got sick or died as far as we know,  😉 even though everyone drank from the same cup.

This also gave us a chance of a closer glimpse of their wonderful attire, – all beautifully made with lots of details to admire. I should have liked to examine them all more closely and in person, but the photos will have to do. There was a lot of fur, as would be expected on traditional clothing from the coldest place on earth, but there was also woolen fabric and what looked like silk brocade on some of the coats. There was also lots of silver jewellery, some of which reminded me of the designs from Juhl’s Silver Gallery in Kautokeino, who has got their inspiration from the tundra and the people living there.

Yakutia, or the Sakha republic as it is also called, is the largest republic in Russia, and is almost as far east and north as you can come in that country. This group had travelled 8-9 hours by plane to get to the festival, – all inland, which is telling of just how large this country is.


The organizers had better cameras than mine, so the photos on their website have some more close ups and details from this event.


Here is a Youtube video of a Dressing-the-bride ceremony at a big event in 2012.

(It stops rather abruptly, before they are quite finished, I think.)



In my next post, we will take a closer look at some of their quilts.





Transforming a Pillow

The mention of shoddy in my previous post, reminded me of a pillow I rescued from the bin when sorting out things at my parents’ house last summer.


I think it originally came from our grandparents’ home, and I remember sleeping with that pillow when I was a little girl. It was very lumpy back then, and even worse now. Nobody else wanted it, and my first thought was to toss it, but then I rather liked the two fabrics it was made of, and since it would also be good for supporting the breakables during our drive back home, it went into the car instead of the bin.


Back home I opened it up and emptied the filling into a plastic bag. This is what shoddy looks like after it has been inside a pillow that has been used for more than 60 years. Very lumpy indeed.


Shoddy is made from old woolen garments, like the socks in my previous post, which have been shredded and carved into fibers, and then carded and made into fillings for pillows and duvets. Close up, one can see some of the original threads and many different coloured fibers.


I washed the fabric and put it away in a plastic bin.

Then we bought a new sofa, and I needed a couple of new pillows. I had seen one in a recent quilting magazine which gave me some ideas, and when looking through my stash for some background fabric, the old pillow came to mind.


I brought it out, and decided to use both fabrics, and I could even keep the old seam. I cut it one ruler width from the seam on both sides, and then cut the length into two parts, one for each pillow.

Then I added strips of a blue cotton damask fabric, which I had dyed myself many years ago. The two backgrounds are a bit different in size as the inner pillows I had available were of two different sizes. I also turned the stripes horizontally on one, and vertically on the other.


Then both backgrounds were layered and quilted with a wavy, on point, grid.

teikn sirklar

Next, I drew lots of circles in three different sizes on paper backed fusible web. They were ironed on to the back side of many different yellow, orange, red, and some purple scraps.



Then I placed my “flowers” on the green and blue background. I moved them around till I was satisfied with their placement, then ironed them down.



I sewed around each circle using the satin stitch on my machine. Since the background was layered and quilted, there was no need for a stabilizer.


I drew some stems with chalk, and then sewed them using a wider satin stitch.


In order to make some leaves, I ironed strips of different greens onto fusible web. Then I drew some leaf shapes in different sizes, and made some templates which I used to draw on the paper side of the fusible web already ironed to the strips. I cut out lots of leaves so I would have some to choose from when distributing them on the background.


When I was satisfied with the placement, I ironed and sewed around all the leaves using the satin stitch.


Then I only had to make backings for the pillows. Since I did not have zippers available, I made the envelope style backing. I use that a lot.


And onto the sofa they went.



Old Socks


Recently I had the chance to see some of the old socks that Annemor Sundbø rescued from the ragpile at her factory Torridal Tweed. The socks and other old and worn knitted garments were going to be recycled and turned into shoddy.


However, when Annemor took over the factory and went through the pile of rags, she noticed the beautiful patterns on the knitted garments, and they became more unusual as she neared the oldest layers at the bottom of the pile.


She decided to save many of these old rags in order to document older knitting patterns and traditions. Her work resulted in several books and a collection of garments for exhibitions. What I got to see, is the sock collection.


All the socks have different patterns, and it was also interesting to see how they had been worn and mended. If one part of the sock became totally useless, usually the foot part, it had sometimes been cut away, and a new heel, foot and toe had been knitted onto the old rib and leg.


Sometimes it also looked like and old sweater arm had been used for the rib and leg part with a new foot knitted onto it.

These rags are a legacy of harder times, when people had to turn every shilling, turn bed sheets sides-to-middle, and turn one garment into a new one to make do. It is not all that long ago.


You can read more about the salvaged rags at Annemor Sundbø’s website.





Edited: In my next post, you can see what shoddy looks like.

The First Kameleon Quilt

It is Festival time again over at Amy’s Creative Side.

Since I am working on projects that cannot be shown yet, I decided to write about an older quilt this time, – and then I thought, why not go to the real old ones while I am at it. So here we go: the first Kameleon Quilt:


After the quilt was made back in 1998, people were constantly asking: How did you come up with this idea?

Well, how indeed.

Keeping track of my creative process, and then explaining it afterwards, is not at all easy. The process is for the most part visual, and does not translate well into words. Words as such come into play only as long as they trigger mental pictures.

Well, –  here goes anyway:

It started as a brainstorming for a special log cabin quilt I wanted to make, – something that would be a bit different from just ordinary log cabin.  I had been into three dimensional folding techniques for a while, and was pondering if three dimensional pieces could be added to the quilt somehow.


I had also just read, and immensely enjoyed, Antonia Barber’s book about The Mousehole Cat.   I loved the illustrations, and many of them were mainly in blue greens, which are my favourite colours.


Mowser the cat helps save the starving village “Mousehole” by pacifying the Great Storm Cat so his human can land a catch of fish. Afterwards they celebrate with “Stargazey Pie”.

Just from this last word a lot of associated pictures came to mind: yellow stars gazing out of a velvety blue sky, the oval bluish fish peeping through the golden pie crust, the pie shape in my quilt design program which easily makes a melon patch block when doubled and flipped over.

I had also flowers in mind.  They are always appealing, and the Stargazey-Pie-word  made me think of the flower called “Night and Day”, a small pansy-like flower with dark violet-blue and yellow petals.

dagognatt2I wanted to make a quilt which would remind me both of this flower and the starry night sky. But how?

I was finally able to visualize log cabin blocks surrounded by flower petals, a yellow centre, something orange and pink folding out onto a blue-green background of leaves. Yes – I could make that happen by alternating the colours of the blocks and let the petals be three dimensional., standing out from the surface.

Could I make the petals open and close? – that would be fun. What would the quilt look like with closed petals? Very green, perhaps, because then the petals would cover the yellow centres. And maybe it would be boring if all the yellow disappeared behind the green leaves.

Could I make the leaves more blue and put in some yellow spots for stars somehow? The Stargazey word had not left my mind yet, and since the flower petals close at night, the quilt ought to look sort of “nighty” with the petals closed.
What if the petals didn’t close completely, but let some of the yellow flower centers show through? Cut holes in them? Yes, that was definitely a possible solution. But when the petals opened again, then the blue-green would show through on the orange-pink side of the petals, – well, so what? The holes could be leaf- shaped, then they would fit nicely with the flower theme.

How could I make the holes in the petals look nice? I did not particularly fancy raw edges at the time.  Passepoils? Too much work, and I might not get them to be flat.
Cut the petal in half and curve the two adjacent edges? That would be sort of cheating, but it might work well. Curve the edges?????? That’s it!!! Curve the edges of the petals themselves, and there will be no need for holes or cutting in halves.




The idea was too good not to try out, so I eventually sat down and drew a pattern and then sewed the quilt. I discarded the log cabin block and went for a block with straight diagonal seams instead.  All the time I felt so smug when thinking about my quilt which would be able to change between two looks: open petals and closed petals, and at this stage I had also figured out that I needed loops and buttons to hold the petals in these two positions.

As I had joined the blocks into rows and was sewing the rows together, the three dimensional petals wobbling this way and the other while I was sewing, I suddenly realized that my quilt would have more than only two looks. In fact, there were so many possible combinations, I was not able to figure it out. An internet acquaintance, who happened to be a computer engineer as well as a quilter, helped me figure out the number.


The triangles, or petals, can be buttoned in an unbelievable 1 152 921 504 606 846 976 possible combinations. The number is so huge I did not even know how to say it, and I bet many of you do not know how either.
Out of this, “only” 512 combinations will make up a symmetrical and balanced pattern, which is still a lot more than the two I had planned.

I probably should not reveal that this was a surprise to me, but rather do as the cat does after it falls off the window ledge: just walk away with a posture that says: “it was not an accident, I intended to fall all the time”.
But I admit it, I did not plan all these combinations, they just happened!


I named my quilt “Night and Day” after the flower, but a friend commented that it was just like a chameleon as it could change its look endlessly, so I also called it The Kameleon Quilt. With so many looks, it deserved to have more than one name.



Later I have made more quilts using the same principle of the 3D petals or flaps, and then they were numbered Kameleon Quilt no 1, no 2, etc. They can all be seen on my website.

I also made an animation to show how the petals, or flaps, turn and change the look of the quilt.

I eventually wrote a pattern for the quilt, and also taught classes. It also hit the TV-screens during the last season of “Simply Quilts”.

Over the years people have sent me photos of their own renditions of the quilt.  I am often told that especially their menfolk are intrigued by the quilt and the way it can change its look almost endlessly. It is a great toy. 🙂


Here is our oldest grandson engaged in buttoning the flaps to change the quilt.

This quilt is entered in the “Original Design Quilt” category in the Bloggers Quilt Festival.  Please head over to Amy’s site and check out all the other entries there.


My entries for the previous festivals can be seen here:

Spring 2009

Autumn 2009

Spring 2010

Autumn 2010

Spring 2011

Autumn 2011

Spring 2012

Autumn 2012

Spring 2013

Autumn 2013







Christmas, – and Decorations

I am breaking the blog silence to wish you all a Happy Christmas, and to show you some old Christmas decorations displayed in a local gallery this month.


Gallery Frøya in Kalvåg issued an invitation for the locals to show some of the old Christmas decorations that they might have in their possession.


People responded by bringing some very old, and some not so very old, decorations.

I remember us having chains of baubles just like the ones here when I grew up.


When I visited the exhibition on the last day, some had already come to fetch their small treasures. I managed to snap a photo of this box before it left.  Christmas decorations do not come in such simple cardboard boxes with stapled corners any more, – it is either flimsy plastic, or more elaborate boxes for the more expensive decorations.



Paper hearts similar to these are traditional, but not all are quite as fancy as the ones here.


The oldest pieces in the exhibition were some chains of baubles like the one above. A  young couple bought them right after their wedding in 1912, so they are 100 years old.


This one also looks old, but not as old as to have lost its shine. It can still reflect both the camera, and some of the decorations around it.



The one above has adorned the Christmas tree in the local church for many, many years.


I have always loved the baubles with one dented side with many, many colours in it. This one seems to have lost some of its colour, but is still beautiful.



People have manages to save quite a lot of old baubles, even though they are so very easy to break.



Pine cones in every colour is also a favourite….


… and I loved this mushroom.


This wooden sugar cane was also very cute.


Birds are also favourites. This one has lost its feather tail.


There were two of these in the exhibition. It seems to be made of paper mache with glued on cardboard wings and tail.


The wooden one here was a charmer.


Of course there were also angels, both on the tree…


… and as candle holders.


There were also examples of Madonna figurines….


… and a Madonna and Child made of wooden shavings to hang on the tree.

Of course, when it is Christmas, you cannot escape the “nisse”:


The small one here is always allowed to ride on the straw goat when it is out for Christmas.


I loved this one with its hair and beard made of unravelled rope.


This one showed very little wear, although it is quite old.


The person who made it paid a lot of attention to decorative details. This was before the time that ready made toothpicks were sold in the shops, so it was told that he painted with sharpened matches.



Merry Christmas to everyone.

God jul


Old Embroideries

When a call of entry for old embroideries went out from Galleri Frøya earlier this year, the good ladies of Kalvåg and Bremanger went to their cupboards and chest of drawers and dug, – very deep, it seems.

The things they dug out, – some of them very old, were then carefully cleaned, if possible, – then starched and ironed before being hung or laid out in the gallery in the centre of Kalvåg.

The theme of the exhibition is: “Embroideries for everyday use”.

Judging from the items on display, – and also from experience, – the kitchen would be the room in the house that was used the most, – every day.

“Coffee is served”, it says on this tablecloth, which would typically be part of a set which would also have one or two pieces for the counter tops, and probably a so called decorative towel.

These embroidered “towels” were purely decorative and hung on the wall in the kitchen, – sometimes in front of the pegs where the “real” towels were, to keep them out of sight.

There was a broad selection of these decorative towels. They were also used in bedrooms, to cover the towels by the wash stand.

Many were in good shape, – but not accompanied by their counterpart tablecloths or runners, indicating that maybe the latter got more heavy use and were worn out long before these purely decorative items.

This flower embroidery brought back memories, – we had table cloths like this when I grew up, and they were my favourites.

Some of the pieces were very colourful,  and telling of everyday life.

Many had sayings or blessings embroidered on them.

The fringe on the one above is done in macrame, and was taught to the maker by an older lady who called it Lover’s knot.

Some of the motifs are known across the world. You have probably already recognized Little Red Riding Hood.

Another piece that brought on nostalgia. My mother had made a set that adorned our kitchen when we grew up, – it was done in this pattern, and in the exact same colours.

There were embroideries in many styles……

…. and not surprisingly, also in Hardanger.

Even the most beautifully worked pieces had some telltale signs of use and wear.

There were a few examples of these lovely, nostalgic country scenes.

Redwork and bluework seemed to be popular, and they often came with sayings or poems on them. The text here says: Kari makes sour cream porridge, we sweeten it with sugar. (It rhymes in Norwegian)

Usually these things would be made from ready bought or shared patterns. This one however, has been designed by the maker herself, and shows a fisherman returning home after a long trip at sea, – which happens all the time around here. The text says: Welcome home.

This one is a beauty, and has been well used. Note the mended tear…..

… and not least the impressive monogram.

I could go on and on, but then this post would be too heavy to download. I’ll give in to the temptation of throwing in some more whitework, though:

… and a blessing before you go:

The exhibition will hang till the end of this month, – March 2012.

🙂 Eldrid

A Tribute to our Foremothers

Before we went to Rome, I got the chance to see this exhibition at a local gallery.

The artist, Reidun Øvrebotten, was inspired by an album of old portraits and the memories of her own greatgrandmother, and wanted to tell the story of what it was like being a woman living in our coastal area a hundred years ago.

She has done so by highlighting the stories of ten individual women, all of whom lived in this municipality, and are still remembered by the local people.  Each woman has a special and unique story, yet their fates were not at all uncommon in this area at the time.

After researching and writing down their stories, the artist made ten costumes which were linked to each of the ten women. The costumes were made in the style of that time, which is so well documented by the photographs where people are dressed up in their very best clothes to go to the photographer in town, – but she added some unique details which connect the costumes to each of the individual women.

One of the ten women is Ane Henrikke. She fell in love with the boy on the neighbouring farm, married at 26, and by the time she was 44 had borne 9 children, but only 4 of them got to grow up. Of the other 5, two died as infants, two from scarlet fever, and one in an accident.

The artist made a special wide collar for Ane Henrikke’s dress. Photo transfers of children’s faces have been placed between sheets of water soluble plastic and oversewn. Then symbols of love and death have been cut out from the collage, before it has been sewn onto a black fabric.

Although her faith was put to the test so many times, Ane Henrikke strongly believed that God has a plan with everything that happens. She lived on the farm till she was 90, seeing her surviving children grow up and get established in good marriages.

The costume above was dedicated to Brite. She was so lucky as to get a little bit of education before she married a farmer at 22. By the time she was 40, she had had 13 children, of whom 11 grew up. In addition to being a mother of 11 and a farmer’s wife, – which was a hard job at the time, – she was also a midwife. She delivered her last baby, a boy, at the ripe old age of 82, when other help did not arrive in time. She lived till she was 93.

The details on Brite’s dress symbolizes birth, life, and growth.

An old authentical bridal dress was made into a costume dedicated to Kristine Marie. She married Mons at 20, and at 26 she gave birth to her fourth child. That year the fisheries failed, and Mons went to America to get work so they could pay off the debts on the fishing boat he had recently bought. Kristine and the children stay back home with her parents. Mons is lucky, and for three years letters and money arrive regularly back home, but then they suddenly stop.  All attempts to find out what has happened fail, including a search conducted by people of the Salvation Army.  Kristine Marie has a nervous breakdown, and is ill for a year. As time passes, she realizes she must get work to support herself and the children, and after some time she gets a job as a cook. She cannot have her children with her when working, so has to leave them with different relatives, and only gets to see them in her holidays; – two weeks every summer. She lives like this for 8 years, all the time hoping to hear from Mons.

Later she marries a farmer, who dies after a few years. She lives on this farm for the rest of her life, always wondering what became of her beloved Mons who disappeared over in America. She was forever his bride.

Amalie Jørgina was never a bride. In her youth, she got a skin disorder which caused her hair to fall off, so she was bald for the rest of her life, and she always wore a scarf both when inside the house and out. She was the oldest of 8 siblings, and stayed on her parents’, – and later her brother’s,  farm all her life. She eventually had a small house of her own, and she tok in sewing and generally helped around the farm.

Amalie Jørgina’s dress is adorned with trims that would typically have adorned the items in a young girl’s hope chest at the time.  Bed sheets and pillow cases would have crocheted lace, or maybe even Hedebo lace, like the one on the shoulder piece of the dress. Hardanger was also popular for a time, and also what was known as English embroidery, as seen on the pillow cases in the picture below. Amalie Jørgina never got to use these in her bridal chamber, so they adorn her dress instead.

Amalie Jørgina was my husband’s great aunt, and all the children in the family were very fond of her. They all loved running errands if it involved a trip to Fasta’s house (Faster means father’s sister). She was a very kind person, and all their memories of her are good ones.

Walking around the room at the gallery and reading all those stories, was a very special experience, and a useful reminder of what life was like only a couple of generations back.  When the stories say that they lived on farms, one must remember what a farm was like in this area. The coastline is mountainous, and there is often only a narrow strip of  land between the shore and the mountains, so farms were usually small, with only a cow or three, some sheep or goats, hens,  maybe a horse, and sometimes a pig. This was most often not enough to make a living, so the men also had to go out fishing in order to make ends meet. Thus, most of the daily farm work, like milking,  feeding, and watering the animals, would be carried out by the women.  Water would have to be carried in buckets, as most barns, or houses for that matter, did not have  water pipes.

In summer the animals grazed in the mountains so the fields could be harvested for winter fodder. Then the women walked an hour or two every morning and evening to milk the cows and carry the milk home to the farm.

They carried the milk on their backs in contraptions like the one above, called “hylkje”. Thus their hands were free so they could knit while walking to and from.

By utilising every minute of the day, and never let their hands rest, they were able to create both the useful things they needed …….

…. as well as the beautful clothing some of them are wearing in the photos….

…. and beautiful bedding….

…. with intricate monograms…

… and even monogrammed shirts.

Sunday was the day for resting. Then they would put on their best black shawl with long silky fringes, put the glasses and hymn book in the handbag and go to church. Some of them would have to sail or row across the fjord to get to the church, – then they would not put on their best clothes till they reached the shore close to the church.

In bad weather going to church, or going anywhere, could be quite a hazard, as is told in some of the stories.

This is the dress dedicated to the artist’s greatgrandmother, Maria Alette. Her speciality was working with wool, hence the woollen plait on her dress.

The exhibition is also named after her and is called: “In Memory of Maria”.

It is now closed, but the artist is working on the possibilities of  making this a permanent exhibition. I hope she will succeed.

🙂   Eldrid