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A litblog dedicated to book reviews/recommendations, as well as literary and publishing news. Now enhanced with knitting designs.

Interview: Linda Marveng


Today’s interview is with Linda Marveng from Oslo, Norway. You can find her blog here.


Linda Marveng

Who taught you to knit/How did you learn to knit?
I learnt to knit at school but needed my mum’s patience to help me out every time I got stuck.

How did you get started designing?
I always had to modify patterns to make them fit me better, and reached a point where I thought that I should have a go designing myself. It was not long after I had started designing, that I was approached by a Norwegian publisher; Cappelen Damm asking if I wanted to make a knitting book – they had heard that I had worked for both Rowan Yarns and Loop in London – and I certainly did. It was the ultimate challenge for me. My knitting book was published in 2012, but it has unfortunately only been translated into Finnish.

What inspires your designs?
Fashion forward, elegant and feminine garments that can be worn together with both casual and party outfits. I also love garments that can be worn in different ways depending on your mood and the weather.

Which comes first – the yarn or the inspiration?
Most of the time it is the inspiration that comes first, but not always. The color or fiber of a specific yarn or the combination of the two, can also kick start the design process.

What characteristics do you try to incorporate in your designs?
I tend to choose a set-in sleeve since it fits best with my style of garments. I prefer double button-bands and hems for a more professional look. I do love tucks and use them at the bottom of a sleeve or as a divider between the main pattern and the collar.

What is your favourite type of item to design?
Jackets or cardigans if you like. I prefer to call them jackets because I try to make them more formal than an everyday cardigan. A lot of the time I also want to make a matching cowl to go with it. The cowl must be large enough to be worn around the hips too since it is essential to keep me warm when the temperature drops in my native Oslo.

Tell me about designs like “Atika” and “Shawl Sleeves”, you have a fashion-forward aesthetic to your designs.
I had found a reversible stitch pattern and ideal yarn mix by combining a tweed yarn and a mélange alpaca yarn, I called the design – or rather the beginning of it – Atika, for the meeting with the editor of the Norwegian magazine Made by Me, shoe designer Monica Stålvang and dress designer Judith Bech to plan our “Nordic Vintage” series. Judith had a felted wool dress without sleeves in the same color, and I thought it would look fabulous with a cowl across the shoulders and long loose sleeves that looked attached but were not.

I found the idea for the Shawl Sleeves in a fashion magazine, a picture of a jacket with loose fronts, and immediately thought that I could make my own version of it, by merely continuing each sleeve into a shawl. The Norwegian magazine Familien had commissioned a series of 6 designs in strong colors, and wanted me to use the dancer Francesca Golfetto as the model. With her dark colors I thought a deep yellow tweed would be ideal, but I could not find the right one so I had to mix two yarns to achieve my goal. It has been fun to discover new ways of wearing them using a set of shawl pins.

Do you have an aspirational knit – a complicated/challenging design that you want to knit “some day” when you feel ready?
Yes, I do what to design a knitted dress in a fine yarn. I have several ideas on the shape of it – they cannot be combined so I need to choose one – but no stitch pattern nor specific yarn in mind yet.

What is coming next? What’s in your release queue?
I am working on completing 9 patterns that were professionally photographed recently, 4 of which will be published in the special issue Familien Håndarbeid (Handcrafts) in March. I am also eagerly awaiting the photos of my first design for the Interweave knit.purl magazine for Spring/Summer 2016.

Your desert island yarn? (if you could only knit with one yarn from now on which would it be?)
That is a difficult question, since I do like to vary both the type of fiber, its structure and thickness. At the moment, I would pick SweetGeorgia Yarns Superwash DK because of its magnificent stitch definition and the beautiful hand-dyed color range.

Which is your most under-appreciated design?
Jacket in Cross, from my book, in my opinion. It is one of my favorite designs but very time consuming to knit. One of the Norwegian editors agreed and wanted to include it in the “Nordic Vintage” series so it was professionally photographed for a second time, and re-published in the special issue of Familien Trend.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d like to share with other knitters?
Learn to enjoy finishing. I think that seams support and shape a garment into perfection. All finishing requires, is that you do it stitch by stitch, just as you knit. It is like the icing on the cake, to me.

Any knitting/designing New Year’s resolutions?
It will be the same as last year’s, to send off more design submissions to International magazines.

If you could have dinner with one knitting designer (living or dead) who would it be and why?
I have already been so fortunate to have shared several breakfasts with Norah Gaughan at the Danish island of Bornholm for the Strik Bornholm event last year, and would like to have dinner with her too, to learn more about her approach to cables as well as her innovative garment construction methods.

View all of Linda’s patterns here. Shawl Sleeves photos by Kim Müller. Atika, Jacket in Cross and Saga photos by Eivind Røhne. Linda’s portrait by Michael Marveng-Puckett. All images used by permission.

You can find Linda on the following social media sites:

What is the Gift-A-Long? The GAL is a big knitting and crochet designer promotion with prizes and more than 5,000 people participating in a giant KAL/CAL. Come join the GAL group on Ravelry!

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