The Snapchatting knitters of western Norway

FemkloverstrikkindieAs the latest addition to the Norwegian Snapchat knitting scene, Vestlandstrikk (‘west country knits’) aims to portray the knitting community within western Norway.  

Tonje Kirkengen
Co-creator Tonje Kirkengen

Co-creator Tonje Kirkengen @femkloverstrikk is a 30-year-old mother of three, with a husband who works offshore and a stressful daytime job working with addiction, in often very challenging cases. Knitting is her way to process the somewhat difficult things she sees at work, and helps her to relax after all the kids are put to bed.

“Knitting is my yoga,” says Tonje, who explains she had a hard time growing up as a teenager in Sandnes. At only 16, she became a mother. “I think this saved me from falling on the outside of society, because I was quickly forced to take care of my little boy.”

She was a single mother until meeting her husband, who she refers to as ‘the man of her dreams’, and together, they’ve had two more children – a 6-year-old and a 13-month-old.

Growing up, she was used to her mother, grandmother and aunties knitting, but she found it quite difficult to process as a left-hander. It was when her second son was born that she really got the hang of it. “Youtube became my best friend,” she adds.

The new snapchatters

IMG_2544
Co-creator Jill Karina Bø

Tonje set up the website for her very own knitting designs in January this year, and recently, she was contacted by Jill Karina Bø @jilly_knit who had a dream of starting a snapchat account for the knitters of western Norway. “It was after Strikkere (‘knitters) and the new addition of Polarstrikkere (‘Polar knitters’) that she decided it would be cool to have a group of people from western Norway as well,” says Tonje.

“We thought it would be an exciting way to get to know new people and get new inspirations, so we chose our members due to their interesting Instagram profiles,” she says. “They are all people we’ve been following for a while who we don’t necessarily know – so that’s quite nice too, that we’re not all just friends.”

With 15 members, the group aims to rotate who controls the account on a daily basis, with a new subject every week. For the first two weeks, they will be mainly focusing on introductions, and in the first round, they’ve all got the same theme: Christmas. “But we’re also aiming to create a new and different concept, to differentiate ourselves from the accounts we’re inspired by.”

One to watch

The male knitters seem to be everywhere these days, and one of the 15 members is – to many people’s delight – the incredibly talented pattern knitter @birgerberge. “It’s always cool to see men knitting. Birger is one of our strongest members – he’s exceptionally good at patterns and has a really unique style.

“I think he’s amazing. It’s definitely a plus that he’s a man, but I guess it’s just the same thing as if we looked at a male-dominated occupation and saw a woman there. It’s cool to see that it won’t just be people like me knitting baby clothes. It’ll be fun to see other projects as well.”

Vestlandstrikk is made up of: @jilly_knit, @femkloverstrikk, @ispinner, @strikkeboble, @birgerberge, @floetre, @lykkelighandel, @made.by.kristine, @strikkvild, @gollestrikk, @hjertestrikk, @smastrikk, @snuppelurestrikk, @smabarnstrikk and @g_strikk.

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