The Norwegian Knitting Celebrities

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The two Norwegian knitting designers Arne & Carlos derived their inspiration from numerous traditional patterns from all over their native country. However, they do not only design traditional knitting patterns, but also patterns for accessories such as mittens, hats, wrist warmers, stockings, pillows, teddy bears and much more.

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Carlos Zachrison comes from an artistic family with four generations of painters. Half Spanish and half Swedish, he was born in Brazil and had already travelled around the world before he was 13 years old. Arne Nerjordet also comes from a creative and musical family where everyone knows how to knit. He was born near Lillehammer  and comes from a small farm that has been in his family for more than 400 years.

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The knitwear designers Carlos Zachrison and Arne Nerjordet are again preparing for the Christmas season, promoting their first book “55 Christmas Balls to Knit”. The book has sold more than 52,000 copies in Norway – a country of five million, where 15,000 would ordinarily qualify a title of its kind as a hit – and topped the bestseller charts.

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“Where we live, in the mountains near Lillehammer in Norway, we don’t just have a white Christmas, but a pure white Christmas, because there are no cars or people to mess up the snow,” explains Zachrison. “It’s a beautiful time of the year here to light candles, decorate the house, go skiing and eat great food.”

Through experience gained from working alongside Scandinavia’s most respected knitters, many of whom still use centuries-old techniques, Arne & Carlos seek to preserve tradition while creating pieces that are fresh and modern. Their book “Knitting Scandinavian Style” contains 33 traditional patterns.

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The popular designers have published six books, starting in 2010, and they are available in 14 languages. In addition to the two mentioned above, there are “Easter Knits”, “Knitted Dolls” “30 Slippers to Knit and Felt” and “Knit-and-Chrochet Garden”.

When they’re not preparing a new book, Carlos & Arne are always on the run, for inspiration or promoting books and giving workshops. They are popular wherever their books are published and wherever the authors travel for book signings or workshops. Do far they have been to England, Northern Ireland, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, Japan and the USA.

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“Everyone we meet is so enthusiastic. It’s mainly women,” admits Zachrison, “but there are always a few men at our workshops and the age group takes in everyone – eight-year-olds, novices in their twenties, an experienced knitting crowd from 60 up. It’s a family activity.”

Both men learned their crafting skills from their parents and grandparents. Carlos learnt to paint from his father and grandfather, and how to knit from his mother. Arne learnt most of what he knows from his mother and grandmothers. Carlos learnt the textile part of his skills from Arne.

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The pair never thought that anyone could become a ‘knitting celebrity’, but today there are several authors of knitting books that have reached that status.

The Norwegian Knitting Celebrities, written by Tor Kjolberg