Kaja Marie Lereng Kvernbakken joins Crafty Crafty
Europe: home of more crafty craft than it's possible to cram into your brain. Crafty Crafty are branching out into the Eurozone and are excited to introduce our newest craft correspondent, from the amazing city of Olso, the word-wrangling Kaja Marie Lereng Kvernbakken.
Norway, famed for fjords, Northern Lights and Viking hordes in pointy-horned hats, boasts a whole lot of handmade all on its own. Kaja Marie has been part of the country's crafty heartbeat as a bit of a rock star in the knitwear design department (ah, those trendy Scandinavian knits) and a wondrous wrangler of words.
She brings a cool Scandinavian eye for quirky crafty design, green upcycling genius and nifty knitting to the Crafty Crafty team, and vows to help us hunt down craft across the channel and beyond.
- Name: Kaja Marie Lereng Kvernbakken
- Craft alias: I don't have one, but I'm thinking of adopting "Kalamari". Last year, I met Plarchie the giant knitted squid over in Germany, and I realised that I have a difficult name to pronounce to anyone non-Norwegian, since he started calling me Kalamari. I don't know if he likes me, or has poor eyesight, but I take it as a compliment.
Unless people are calling me names behind my back, I'm one of those people who have never been able to attract a nickname. It infuriated me as a kid, since all the cool kids had one, so I tried to invent names for others to call me, but that never worked.
- City: Oslo, Norway.
- Website: Kaja Marie's designer page on Ravelry (soooo many patterns!)
- Crafty Kung Fu master of: Knitting. I've worked as a garment pattern designer for the Norwegian yarn company Du Store Alpakka (You big alpaca, you!), but I love everything crafty, and especially upcycling projects.
- Theme tune: For up-tempo crafting I love the Versions album by Mark Ronson.
- Little known fact: My thumbs are double-jointed.
Describe yourself in one sentence: Workaholic word wrangler who loves to cook, eat and craft in the company of friends.
Earliest craft memory or first thing you made? I learnt how to knit as a four or five year old, and can remember sitting with this really hard red wool thread, knitting even harder stitches, to make a pot holder. I hated every, stinking minute of it, and never finished it.
Proudest craft moment? Launching my beginner's guide to knitting. I was teaching classes and some of my friends how to knit and realised that although there were books that would teach you how to knit. Most of them were full of projects that you don't really want to wear, or knitted with yarn that makes it harder for a beginner to see what he or she is doing.
So I set out to make my own book, with simple, but wearable and classic garments. I love how it turned out.
Most shameful craft fail? It wasn't really my fail, but I was meeting my first boyfriend's grandmother for the first time, and was wearing this beautiful traditional costume that my mom had made me.
It turned out that my boyfriend's grandmother had been making those costumes for her whole career, and she wasn't too pleased with the way my mother had gone about the job. Her son, my boyfriend's father, told her off for being mean, but that day was total agony. Like going to your school ball in your prettiest dress, only to have someone puke on you as you enter the room, with no possibility to leave and get changed.
(I still love wearing my costume, though, and I'm really proud of my mom for making it).
Your craft heroes and why? My mom. At the age of 40 she quit her job with the Norwegian navy, where she had been for 23 years, to start her own yarn store. It's still running, and although her web page is all in Norwegian, she still gets orders from all around the world.
Kat Roberts of We Can Re-Do It. I love her and her projects and wish I was half as good as her, especially when it comes to finishing things, the last touches, making everything look just perfect. Also I love that she focuses on upcycling.
Current craft project? I've just moved into a tiny shared flat so, to make the most of what little space I have, I'm sewing laundry bags to hang on the back of my door in this really pretty fabric, since I have to look at them from my bed.
Left: Kaja Marie's Easy Cables knitting pattern, available on Ravelry, rocks an impressive 600+ favourites.
Dream celebrity to craft for and what would you craft? Laleh. She's a Swedish singer, all soft, playful and tough at the same time. I've had an idea for a knitted sweater for her for ages, but I've never worked up the courage to contact her.
Craft skills you'd like to learn: Sewing. I once learnt the basics (everyone had to in my school), but I'm really lousy at it. I keep on breaking the needles and getting the seams all wrong.
Craft weapon of choice if zombie apocalypse happens: Knitting needles and metallic thread.
Above: Kaja's heartfelt Oslove pattern spreads the love in the wild.
Anything to add? I'm a bit single minded, and right now I'm very focused on all things environmental friendly, like upcycling, so don't be surprised if that's what my articles will focus on in the near future.
Kaja Marie's first Crafty Crafty post is coming soon so keep 'em peeled. Welcome to the Crafty Crafty team, Scandinavian stitching queen!
Find Kaja Marie on Pinterest at Kajamarie and on Ravelry.
You can also vote for which of her amazing knitting patterns Kaja Marie will translate into English. Go vote!