The Quiltersaga

The Quiltersaga

The tell to you a saga
A story strange and true
Of a band of fearless quilters
(And some gents, who came along too)

By plane, coach, ferry, they did ride
And scenic railway.
They shopped, they sewed, they photographed
And ate at the buffet.

But came a day, their plans to thwart
Cruel fate it did contrive,
Thanks to a confused taxi, booked,
But failing to arrive.

The ferry gone, the workshops missed,
The folk museum too!
O darkest hour! O nemesis!
What were they all to do?

But mighty Karin saved the day!
She found them local cars
Helped out by the hotel staff
(Who are all superstars).

So our brave quilters, ferry caught,
They reached the distant shore.
Lunch they nibbled, whitework made,
And beauteous things they saw.

The snares and perils overthrown,
Our noble quilters won!
So let’s rejoice and show and tell
And now my tale is done.

Written and presented by Patricia North
during Show and Tell at The Ullensvang Hotel, 6June 2016.

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Learning Hardanger embroidery in Hardanger

On our itinerary today was a visit to the Hardanger Folk Museum and a workshop on the embroidery technique.

We took the ferry from Kinsarvik across the fjord to Utne and then had a short walk to the museum. The beautiful scenery was breath taking! And look what we found on a rock, all made from sea shells.



Agnetha, the curator and our teacher for the day greeted us and sat us on the verandah for coffee.


Then she took us around the costume section, explains the history of the bunda and also its political connatations. We admired the beadwork bodice inserts, the woven braids and best of all the exquisite Hardanger embroidery used on aprons, collars, cuffs and caps.


Beaded bodice
Woven braids
Hardanger apron



Then we were led to the teaching room with comfortable chairs and a kit ready for us to use.


Agnetha patiently showed us how to work the design explaining the linen cloth and the two types of threads.

 Lunch was laid on for us – delicious! 

smoked salmon on scrambled egg open sandwich with fresh local applejuice.


And when our eyes got tired we could wander around the other galleries and old buildings in the open air museum.

The museum grounds

Two Ferarris, a Jaguar and a Maserati ready to drive on board our ferry back to Kinsarvik. Can you see our ferry approaching? The knitters have been here hugging the trees! 

Knitting to keep the trees warm

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Who sabotaged the coach?

Yesterday, as we watched passengers struggle to get their suitcases on the trains we were really grateful that Arena Travel had organised for our cases to be taken by coach to Flam. However, there was found to be a problem with the AC on the coach and I had a phone call to discuss a change of plan. It was very kind of the coach company to consider that we would not enjoy a 3 hour journey to the Hardanger fjord in 40 degree temperatures today. Instead, they sent Benjamin with a mini bus and full AC.

Now Benjamin, a local lad, had been given instructions to take us direct to the next hotel. But as soon as he realised that we enjoyed going ‘off piste’ he had several suggestions. And they were only possible as we had a smaller coach.

We visited Stalheim and enjoyed the most incredible views. You should have seen the steep hairpin bends on the way back down to the valley below. We were all clutching our seat belts!

 We have seen lots of waterfalls in the last couple of days and have become quite blasé about them. But this one we stopped at just north of Voss was quite spectacular.

 After a coffee stop at Voss we took the old road to the Hardanger fjord which meant less tunnels and more incredible scenery.


Yet another waterfall!


Talking about tunnels…..We drove through The Gudvangen tunnel which was 11 kilometres long. Two other tunnels had roundabouts inside which were lit up like space ships!


We arrived at our hotel, The Ulsvangen in Loftus, over an hour late. But what a journey we had had and all in the continuing glorious hot weather. There can be no other country in the world as scenically beautiful as Norway in sunshine. But then I am biased…….

Pano view from our hotel

After a stitchery workshop this afternoon we all enjoyed the wonderful hotel, one of the best we have ever stayed in. Swimming, enjoying the sauna, exploring this fascinating historical hotel and admiring the views of snow covered mountains across the fjord. We must be able to see at least 12 great waterfalls just from the hotel gardens.

Stitching with a view


A quilter in one of the hotel pools Evening drinks


Well done, whoever sabotaged the coach! We have had yet another incredible day!


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Scenic train journey

We have woken up to another glorious day of blue skies and high summer temperatures.

Today was all about incredible scenery as we took the train from Oslo to Myrdal and then changed trains for the amazing descent down to the Sogne Fjord. Most of these photos were taken from the train.

Climbing from Oslo


Small pretty rail stations
Traditional red painted farms
Stunted trees as we climb higher than the tree line
Frozen lakes but 25 degrees outside
Stop the train, I am ready to ski!
Waiting for the local train in Myrdal. Hot, hot and snow all around!
Can you see the Huldra behind me?

What is a Huldra?

Waterfalls everywhere.
Approaching Flam.


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A great find, off the beaten track.

One of the reasons I enjoy working with Arena Travel is that when the tours are researched we often find some great craft places which are off the tourist trail. One of these happened today. 

We drove out of Oslo to Baerums Verk. This small hamlet was an absolute delight. There was a small street of workers cottages built in the early 1600′s. These had been placed next to a river with a forest and beautiful waterfall. The running water kept us cool as the temperature approached nearly 30 degrees centigrade. 

An idyllic setting!


Pretty and well looked after.


Our first stop was the delightful patchwork and quilting shop called Lappe Makeriet.

Entering the quilt shop


Anya one of the co-owners gave us a short background talk before we walked in through the door and all disappeared into the various rooms full of quilting goodies. She had coffee. tea and fresh fruit available for us, as well as a toilet full of quilts. It was a shame we could not all squeeze in their for a ‘show and tell’. 

Anya and I had met in Minneapolis a few years ago!


As you all know….every quilt shop is different and this one had beautifully packaged bundles of more radio all dabrics and fabulous quilts on display. The building was three small cottages knocked into one shop but with original features such as the cooking range.


We spent the afternoon at The Folk Museum which reminded us of the open air museums in the UK.
It was fascinating and deserves a whole new blog, but you will just have to and read about it here


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Sightseeing in Oslo

Wow! Have we seen a lot today!

We had a four hour tour this morning that included Holmenkollen – the spectacular ski jump. No photo as there was not enough time to go right to the top of the jump – well that is my excuse.

The Vigeland Park, full of granite nudes depicting the circle of life.


The Viking Ship Museum. This ship was built 1100 years ago.


And one of my favourites, Kon Tiki and Ra 2. Thor Heyerdal describes a frightening sea monster over 9 metres long. It was a whale shark! and to think I was swimming with them last Easter.


 This afternoon we chose to join a two hour fjord cruise. There is something special about seeing a capital city from the water, especially Oslo which must have the most scenic position of any capital city. There are gorgeous islands with pretty multi coloured houses and boats everywhere with lots of people enjoying the glorious sunshine and high temperatures. There are beaches in the city and swimmers in the water. Obviously, not much pollution here.

The Opera House with an iceberg sculpture


Beach huts on stilts?

 And here are a few of the group at 8.30pm. The sun does not set here until 10pm.

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Today, is all about DESIGN

The first day of our scenic Norwegian quilting holiday has gone well, particularly as we left a cold, damp London to arrive in Oslo in brilliant sunshine and 28 degrees C in Oslo. BIZARRE! Didn’t we fly north?

We flew BA and loved their new snack box. Put two together and here is a circular design featuring iconic London buildings.

Scandinavian design is recognised all over the world, clean simple lines and lovely colours. I suggested to the group that we walk a few minutes from our central Oslo hotel to The Glasmagasinet – a departmental shop with some great Scandi designs.

We spent a while in the Husfliden area which prides itself on displays of the finest Norwegian crafts.
Take a look at this knitted chair. Yes you could sit in it and yes it was comfortable.


The traditional Norwegian costumes were much admired, especially the embroidery.

Our infamous shopper bought a felted hat. Not sure you are going to be able to wear it this week, Sandra!

And we took a look at the kitchen shop. A food mixer in any colour anyone?

And finally for the man who has everything!!!! Is it a vase? Perhaps we could have a few suggestions please?



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