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Bonus Design Eau Claire Minneapolis Knitter's K72 Stitches West Lödöse Lavold's Advice


Knitting Along the Viking Trail
The Ager House
Eau Claire, Wisconsin 2004

Norwegian born Waldemar Ager immigrated to Chicago as a teenager and came to Eau Claire, Wisconsin in 1892 at the age of 23. He made a name for himself as a writer and publisher, and has been called "the most interesting Norwegian who ever migrated to America".


His house has been preserved and is maintained by the Waldemar Ager Association. When the organization decided to invite an external exhibit for the first time ever, the choice was Knitting Along the Viking Trail.
   To Elsebeth Lavold, who has no intention of giving up her Norwegian citizenship in spite of having lived in Sweden most of her life, this was extra flattering.
   She came back to Sweden with a bumper sticker stating "Wisconsin - You're Among Friends". She couldn't agree more.

The Ager House, Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Photo: Elsebeth Lavold


Mary Jorgensen, Elsebeth Lavold & Dixie Grilley
Photo: Norbert Wurzel

Here are two of the people who made the exhibit in Eau Claire possible; To the left of Elsebeth is Mary Jorgensen, pastor at a Lutheran church in Eau Claire, an avid knitter, and the person who initially approached us. To the right, Dixie Grilley, owner of the Yellow Dog Knitting yarn store and one of the project's sponsors.
   Among many other active and very kind people, we'd like to mention Norbert Wurzel, who took the photo, his wife Helen, and Ken Ziehr.

Mary Jorgensen also gave the opening speech and introduced Elsebeth when the exhibit opened on August 27th 2004.
   A pastor is more or less expected to be a skilled speaker, but in addition, Mary's genuine enthusiasm about The Ager House hosting the exhibit is hopefully obvious from the photo. Definitely obvious is Elsebeth's deep concentration as she listens to the praise.

Mary Jorgensen & Elsebeth Lavold during the opening speech
Photo: Norbert Wurzel


The Ager House: interior
Photo: Elsebeth Lavold

So, how did it turn out? Well, Björk (in the foreground), Svava (by the window), and the other garments seem to be perfectly at home in the Norwegian's house. Like always, they "populate" the rooms where the mannequins are placed.
   If you include the mannequins in the head count, the Ager house may never before have been as crowded as when the exhibit opened.

Each new exhibit site is a challenge. To start with, Elsebeth was a bit worried about how her cable patterns and garments in nature's colors would mix with the interior decorating style that was popular in Waldemar Ager's time - heavily patterned wallpaper and carpets in a multitude of strong, deep colors.
   As you can see from the photo, she found harmonious solutions without compromising with the inner logic of the exhibit: To display related knit patterns in groups close to the sign describing them. A replica of a picture stone from Gotland, a Baltic Sea island, creates a cozy corner with the highly acclaimed sweater Brage.
   The relationship between the edge ornament on the stone and the panel on the sweater is obvious. The design also includes the type of animal ornamentation that was so popular among the Vikings, and the sweater's name in runes.
   To the right in the photo, a "world premiere": Yarns from the Elsebeth Lavold Designer's Choice label have never before been displayed along with the exhibit, for the simple reason that they didn't exist. They do now.

The Ager House: interior with the Brage sweater
Photo: Elsebeth Lavold


The Ager House: interior with the designs Vebjörg and Fjalar
Photo: Elsebeth Lavold

At an art exhibition, the artist will most often sell his or her finished work. He or she would not appreciate if the visitor were to go home and copy the paintings.
   This is the total opposite: The exhibited items are not for sale, but the visitor is encouraged to recreate them, using his/her own skills.
   Both garments in the foreground, the jacket Vebjörg and the sweater and hat combo Fjörgyn are projects included in the book Viking Patterns for Knitting.

A workshop on Viking Knits (what else?) was held in Eau Claire as well.
   Unfortunately, we're not sure who took the photo that was in Elsebeth's camera when she returned, but it may have been Yellow Dog Knitting's Dixie Grilley, who hosted the workshop, held in the basement of the Ager House.
   The photographer, whoever she is, has managed to capture a typical Elsebeth Lavold class: Big smiles and deep concentration in a pleasant combination.
Viking Knits Workshop at the Ager House

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Copyright © unless otherwise stated
 Elsebeth Lavold, knitwear design & drawings
Anders Rydell, text & photos