Sunday, July 20, 2014

Arne and Carlos are delightful – that will hardly come as a revelation.

I had a nice time. It felt very odd, setting out on my own for an adventure like that. It went well, although I felt a bit bewildered-old-lady throughout. The event was a – forum, would you call it? – at which five designers (counting A&C as one) each spoke for ten minutes, and then there were some questions, and then we went home. I didn't learn anything, but it was fun. And well-attended.

I think Arne and Carlos must spend a good deal of time, nowadays, travelling around the world being delightful. They speak, almost, in alternate sentences in what must be a practised act but sounds spontaneous. Except for the introduction, explaining which of them is which, they speak entirely of themselves in the first person plural.

The effect is very much like that duet of Marco and Giuseppi's in The Gondoliers:

Replying, we/sing as one/ individ/ual
As I/ find I'm a/ king, to my/ kingdom I/ bid you all.

They began, one gathers, as designers for various outlets, including Comme Des Garcons. Fame came when they knitted some Christmas baubles, intending them as decorations for the Paris shop, and found that they were being sold for a great deal of money. Bugger this, they thought (expressed more politely), and went to their publisher with the idea for the Christmas Ball book. Now that their hobby, knitting, has become their profession, they have been forced to take up gardening in order to have a hobby, they said.

I doubt if it was quite as simple as that. I've done a bit of belated Googling, and have found

(a) that they have a lot of patterns available on Ravelry, including the signature Space Invaders design which Arne wears on the cover of the Christmas Ball book, and Carlos, in a different version, on the Easter cover;

and (b) that they have already published the book I have been waiting for – Strikk fra Setesdal. That's the one that will be published in English in September as “Norwegian Knits with a Twist”.

Much is explained. They were just cute Norwegian designers until they stumbled upon Christmas balls. They followed that international success with dolls and with Easter. They told us about a competition held (I think) in Germany once, to promote the doll book, in which contestants were invited to knit themselves. A&C were invited along to choose the winner – only to discover that they were also the prize. The winner got to go out to dinner with them, and a good time was had by all.

Their English is faultless. I suspect German and French are as good. Arne faltered once, not knowing the English for a plant he gathers in the mountains and spins into yarn with wool. Some sort of flax? It's a Norwegian plant, Carlos said.

The designers were already in place behind a table when we were let into the auditorium. A&C were knitting, garter stitch squares I think for a blanket the Museum was assembling as part of the Knitting weekend. Arne appeared to be by far the more proficient knitter.

Despite great weariness, I got my self-assigned knitting done here in the evening – three more rounds of Rams and Yowes, and another bump for the edging of the Unst Bridal Shawl. The third rank of yowes are acquiring faces. The sixth ball of lace yarn has only a few yards to go, and will surely give up the ghost this evening.

Some very odd computer behaviour here, about which I need to consult you.

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