Weaving Refuse: Handwoven Art with a Message Made from the Ocean’s Garbage


We are all facing the growing crisis of plastic refuse overwhelming our oceans. One TSB author is using her crafting skills to turn garbage into art with an eco-conscious message. Mette Handberg’s books NORWEGIAN PATTERNS FOR KNITTING and SCANDINAVIAN CHRISTMAS STOCKINGS bring the history and artistry of Scandinavian knitting traditions to knitting aficionados everywhere. Recently, however, she has set aside her knitting needles and made her hands busy weaving the garbage found on the beach near her home into striking tapestries.

“Since I came to the magical Norwegian island of Stokkøy (in 1965), which is by the coast of Troendelag, I have been studying everything that brought by the ocean and landed on the beach,” Mette explains. “Years ago it was mostly oil that I found, in big brown lumps, often unbroken light bulbs and glass bottles, probably from Russia, driftwood of all sizes, and many other kinds of waste, likely from boats. In the last 20 years, however, this has all changed, and now it is mostly plastic.

“I have always had a reaction to all kind of unnecessary waste,” she goes on. “It has been too simple for people to just throw things over board and think, ‘That’s that!’ But it does not disappear. It does not go away. It ends up somewhere. This is pollution of the worst kind, and it is changing our globe dramatically.”

We asked Mette to share a little about the kinds of objects she has found and the inspiration behind the tapestries she has created, weaving the found objects together into stories intended to inspire discussion, and hopefully, action.

“I have always gathered interesting objects from the shores—maybe a well-used toy, a nicely shaped root, or whatever. About five or six years ago I thought that maybe some of these found items could be used in a handwoven tapestry, and so I started with my first, which I called ‘Plastic Sea.’ All of the materials were gathered by the shore at Stokkøy—a lot is everyday household waste…too much plastic. Do you remember ‘Kinder Suprise,’ the hollow chocolate eggs with small plastic toys for children inside? They still exist and I’ve used them in my tapestries.”

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“Look carefully at Plastic Vortex and you might see the tale of a whale trapped in it. A diver is about to cut it loose. Ropes and old fish nets are a death trap for lots of kinds of animals, and they suffer a slow and horrible death. Luckily, in my tapestry, someone is able to come to the rescue, and this brave diver is really a hero.”

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“The Japanese artist Hokusai made a fantastic and very well known woodblock print called “The Great Wave,” and this iconic masterpiece has been inspiration for many artists. In my tapestry “Plastic Wave,” instead of a Japanese boat you will find life boats filled up with too many refugees, and they are wearing life jackets, which will be of no help if the boat is sinking. These life jackets will actually drag people down into the deep. After the tsunami on the coast of Japan, entire towns were pulled out into the sea. All kinds of materials ran ashore along the West Coast of North America—a lot of these materials were of course plastic. If this sunami had happened a hundred years ago, it would have looked different. All the unnecessary pieces of our everyday households, which in earlier times would have been degradable, will almost forever be floating around us.”

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“My inspiration just comes to me—it is, in fact, my main job as a textile artist. I went to a weaving school for half a year after I graduated from college. After that I spent three years at art school, and it might be compared with a bachelor degree. I learned a little bit of everything in school, not just tapestry weaving, but it just happened that weaving became my special field.

“All together I have made about 240 tapestries in my career—big and small ones. The technique has changed as the years have passed. To create tapestries you just have to learn the hard way. Nowadays looms seem to have disappeared from art schools, and other schools as well. This profession is dying. Some guardian angels have been giving courses in the profession, but it still seems to be dying. Lucky are the ones who have grandmothers to help them with a loom of some kind!

MakingArtOutofOceanGarbage-trafalgarbooks“One of my tapestries is at Nordenfjeldske Kunstindustrimuseum [National Museum of Decorative Arts], in Trondheim, Norway. I have participated in a long list of exhibitions, both alone and together with others. The world will see nothing if I don’t exhibit them. But many artists want to exhibit, so there is a lot of competition, and it is enormously hard. Anyway, I will only be one of many who are interested in making this point—it’s a trend nowadays. I hope more and more people will ‘wake up’ and not leave their waste all over! I ask everybody reading this to bring a little garbage bag wherever you go, and gather waste when you find it where it shouldn’t be. Always leave a place as if no one has been there. Use less plastic and only if it seems necessary and you have no other option. Plastic is here to stay; use it wisely.

“I hate fleece!!”

Mette Handberg’s knitting books NORWEGIAN PATTERNS TO KNIT and SCANDINAVIAN CHRISTMAS STOCKINGS are available from the Trafalgar Square Books online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE for more information or to order.

Trafalgar Square Books, publisher of fine equestrian and craft books, is a small company based on a farm in rural Vermont.


Nina Granlund Sæther in the US!


The fabulous Nina Granlund Sæther, author of the bestselling MITTENS FROM AROUND NORWAY and all new SOCKS FROM AROUND NORWAY, has made her way to the US where she will have limited appearances on the East Coast.

Nina grew up in Asker, Norway, just outside Oslo. Her love and interest for knitting, crochet, sewing, and embroidery started before she was school-age. She is educated as a craft teacher, and worked for a short time in a high school before moving to a career in journalism with the Norwegian arts-and-crafts magazine Norsk Husflid. Nina creates designs in the Scandinavian knitting tradition for Norwegian magazines and her own striking books.

In or around Boston? Meet Nina at JP Knit & Stitch in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, on Friday, April 26, 2019, from 7 to 9 pm as part of the kickoff to JP Knit & Stitch’s Anniversary Sale, which runs through the weekend. (Plus, Local Yarn Store Day is Saturday, April 27! Yippee!)

Yippee GIF by SKIPPY Peanut Butter - Find & Share on GIPHY

Nina’s books MITTENS FROM AROUND NORWAY and SOCKS FROM AROUND NORWAY are available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE for more information.

Trafalgar Square Books, publisher of fine equestrian and craft books, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.


Meet Knit Designer Lumi Karmitsa


Visit Lumi Karmitsa @lumikarmitsadesign on Facebook!

In September, TSB released WILD MITTENS & UNRULY SOCKS by Lumi Karmitsa, an addictive collection of stranded knitting patterns with funky cool motifs that are sure to stand out in a crowd. This month, we had a chance to ask the designer a little about her life in Finland and what inspires her.

“All Finnish children used to learn the basics of knitting at school, and so did I,” Karmitsa said. “However, I was never into knitting, until one day, out of the blue, I decided to knit a pair of stranded mittens for a friend. I found a nice pattern and followed it. The end result was pleasing enough, and this first introduction to colorwork knitting made me realize that I could design my own patterns. A few years later my first knitting book was published! Surprisingly, it was a sensation in Finnish knitting society and allowed me to become a full-time knitwear designer.

“I now live a secluded life in a little house in a small village with my Chihuahua mix, Caleb,” she went on. “As well as being the most agreeable and handsome fellow on the planet, Caleb is also a professional model. He poses in both my books!”


“My hobbies include taking super long walks with Caleb, writing, reading, renovating, drawing, painting, and indulging in any kind of activities that result in a more beautiful world. I work at home in my tiny old house. In the winter there’s a fire in the fireplace; in summertime, I often knit in the shadow of an apple tree. Wherever I choose to sit and knit, that’s where I sit and knit—until Caleb decides to leave my lap.

“Sometimes I’m inspired by what is right in front of me (Caleb is portrayed in my Chihuahua mittens and socks). However, most of the time there is no obvious source of inspiration, just hard work thinking and trying what might work. Every piece is first my favorite, then my enemy, and when it’s finished, it is my favorite again—until it’s time for a new piece to go through the same process!”


We asked Karmitsa what she would say her happiest knitting memory was. “Signing the publishing contract of my first knitting book,” was her reply, “and later on hearing the book was gonna go all the way to the United States!”

Wild Mittens and Unruly SocksWe have to say, we’re thrilled her book made it all the way here, too! WILD MITTENS & UNRULY SOCKS is available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE for more information or to order.


Enjoy this knitting tip from Lumi Karmitsa:

When following a colorwork chart in a book, attach a piece of paper to the page with a paperclip or a hairpin, covering the part of the chart you haven’t knitted yet. Move the paper to reveal a row at a time. This way your eyes find the right row immediately and your risk of errors decreases.

Trafalgar Square Books, publisher of fine equestrian and craft books, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.

From Jewelry-Making, to Sculpture, to Costumes: Getting to Know Knitwear Designer Irene Haugland


Recognized as one of Norway’s most talented knitwear designers, Irene Haugland blends her love for the natural beauty, people, and cultural heritage of the Telemark region of the country with her contemporary sense for color and pattern. Her book KNITS FROM THE HEART OF NORWAY offers stunning sweaters, cardigans, socks, hats, and mittens for men, women, and children, with step-by-step instructions, gorgeous color photographs, and the occasional finishing touch of traditional Norwegian embroidery. All the garments were designed and knitted in Lunde, in the heart of Norway’s Telemark region.

“I loved dolls of all kinds,” says Haugland, “and was already designing clothes for them by the time I was five years old…the incipient spark of design had been lit.

“When I was 17 years old, I entered the goldsmith program at Elvebakken Vocational School. It was absolutely fantastic, but living in an apartment in Oslo was a challenge. I missed my home, my parents, my friends, and Telemark. I was on of the eight students who went on to the second level, but in the middle of the second year, I wanted to go home, and so I dropped out of the program. Mamma and Pappa said that I wasn’t about to loaf for the rest of the year, so they sent me to the homemaking school in Seljord. There I got a certificate in handcrafts, although I refused to follow the curriculum in Hardanger embroidery and white embroidery on white fabric, etc. I almost lived in the handcraft room, creating fantastic clothes from woven and knitted fabric…


The garments in Haugland’s book were designed and knitted in Lunde, in the heart of Norway’s Telemark region.

“In 1974 I enrolled in the Metals program at the National Handcraft and Art-Industry School in Oslo. After meeting the exacting drawing requirements, I was one of the few lucky ones. It was a huge honor to be accepted by the program. I was already halfway trained as a jeweler from before, so now i was able to engage in larger projects. However, almost all my free time was used for designing clothing. During my second year, I received permission to leave school. and change to a clothing and costume program.

“The fourth year was time for a comprehensive thesis in knitting…The next fall, my portfolio of knitted creations was ready. I designed and knitted a collection for Knitted…The collection was successful and I was asked to work at Dale of Norway where I had 12 exciting and productive years.”



KNITS FROM THE HEART OF NORWAY is available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE to order now.


Did you know…

TSB has a generous loyalty program. That’s right, we’ll pay you to buy craft books publisher direct, plus give you free shipping in the USA! CLICK HERE to read more about our Needle Points program.

Trafalgar Square Books, publisher of fine equestrian and craft books, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.

Why We Knit

Why We Knit


Donna Druchunas is a writer and knitwear designer with passions for knitting, world travel, and research. She has been visiting Lithuania, where her great-grandparents were born, every year since 2007. She has also been designing knitwear and writing for over a decade and is the author of award-winning knitting books, including TSB’s THE ART OF LITHUANIAN KNITTING. Druchunas teaches knitting throughout the world, holds retreats at her private studio in a 150-year old farmhouse in Vermont, and owns Sheep to Shawl Knitting Studio and Store.

In THE ART OF LITHUANIAN KNITTING, the book she co-wrote with June Hall, Druchunas begins an exploration of where and how we knit, with the reasons why we knit. Here’s what she says:

Every year as I was growing up, I learned a new craft and left the others behind. Knitting came first, then crochet, embroidery, needlepoint, weaving, beading, decoupage, and candle making. When I was in third grade, I learned how to sew, and I spent the next ten years making all of my own clothes.

When I was in my twenties and early thirties, I stopped doing crafts altogether, because I’d started working in a department store and it was just as cheap to buy my clothes as it had been to make them. As we all know, knitting today is no bargain. Our craft is not about frugality—or even about the need to keep warm—but about creativity, charity, and meditation. 

 I started knitting and crocheting again when I was thirty-five, a year or so after both of my grandmothers passed away in the same year. I don’t know why I suddenly became interested in these crafts, when I hadn’t picked up a hook or needles in twenty-five years. Maybe I needed a way to stay connected to my grandmothers after they were gone. Soon after I made my first sweater, I discovered books about knitting. I encountered pattern collections, new and familiar techniques, and stories about knitting and yarn. At first, I promised myself that I would knit at least three projects from any book before allowing myself to buy another, but soon my voracious reading habit took over and I started spending as much on books as I did on yarn. As I read through the books I purchased, I discovered that historical and ethnic knitting techniques grabbed my attention most.

Knitting is fascinating not only because it is beautiful and functional, but also because each stitch infuses a hand-knit project with the story of its maker and details about the time and place in which it was made. The materials and stitches chosen tell us about what yarns and patterns were available to the knitter, the gauge and evenness of the stitching tells us about her skill level, and the wear (or lack thereof) on the knitting gives us clues about whether it was made for everyday use or just for special occasions.

Art of Lithuanian KnittingUltimately, I believe that what makes the knitting of Lithuania—or any place—special is the spirit of the people and the soul of the place.


THE ART OF LITHUANIAN KNITTING is available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE for more information.

Trafalgar Square Books, publisher of fine equestrian and craft titles, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont. 

Meet Crochet Designer Therese Hagstedt

Meet Crochet Designer Therese Hagstedt


Therese Hagstedt, known to her Instagram and blog followers as TipsyTessie, lives in Gothenburg, Sweden, where she is an all-around crafter, as well as an accomplished photographer specializing in weddings, children, artwork, interior design/decorating, books, and craft projects. TSB is proud to have published her bright and delightful pattern book COLORFUL CROCHET in the English language.

As well as designing, crocheting, knitting, and running her professional photography business, Hagstedt is a senior research scientist for a pharmaceutical company, a wife, and mother to two sons. She also loves cooking and yoga, and practicing a “healthy lifestyle” is very important to her.


Photo by Therese Hagstedt

Hagstedt finds inspiration in everyday life. “I see a color combination or a pattern that I like and instantly try to translate it to knitting or crochet project,” she says. “That is the process that is ongoing in my head, all the time, everywhere. Also I find a lot of inspiration on Pinterest, which has almost become an everyday addiction.”

With an aim to inspire and design crafts that are modern and fresh for today, and to convince people that “colors make you happy,” Hagstedt doesn’t have a specific workspace. “I have a desk where I sometimes sit and work, but I get inspired everywhere in life, and my different projects are usually all over the place in our home,” she admits. “I really like to try an idea that I have immediately, so I need access to my crafting things all the time. It’s organized chaos, maybe?”

And what’s her favorite thing to make?

ColorfulCrochet“I really, really love doing granny squares,” Hagstedt says. “I think it is the endless possibilities with different combinations and that you can start with a project or idea and you don’t know what it will be in the end. Sometimes I just want to try an idea and then it ends up as something completely different than it was from the start.”

You can find Hagstedt’s granny squares, and other wonderful projects for crocheters of all levels in COLORFUL CROCHET, available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE for more information or to order.

Meet Knitwear Designer Jorid Link

MeetJoridLinvik-trafalgarbooksWe just love Jorid Linvik’s additions to our knitting pattern wishlist! Her unique style has lots of needles working overtime to recreate her colorful collections of mittens and socks.  From the number of pattern books she’s already had published, you’d think Linvik had been a professional designer for decades…but guess what? She was one of us before she started “living the knitting dream,” working a “regular” sort of desk job (so she could afford to go yarn shopping!)

Linvik was born in Meløy, a small community in the north of Norway, in 1960. She is now married with three grown children and resides in Bodø, a town of about 50,000 people. For years she worked as a technical artist, later pursuing further education in web design and IT, which she eventually taught herself at the high school level.

In 2012, Linvik took a year off and worked at a cafe so she could have more time for her “big passion”: knitting. She started designing and selling her own patterns, and lo and behold, they became very popular, allowing her to go ahead and work with knitting, art, and design full time.

“My hobbies were originally knitting, drawing, and painting,” Linvik admits, “but since my hobbies are now my job, I must say that my new hobbies are my dog, the birds in my garden, and nature!”

Linvik loves nature and animals, which is reflected in her knitting patterns.

Linvik’s workshop is in an industrial building surrounded by plumbers, carpenters, and car repair shops.

“Just men!” she says. “But in the evenings the area is quiet, and then I have my knitting club in my office with skilled knitting ladies. We talk, share patterns, and knit together. I always learn a lot from them.”

Does she have one piece of advice for all the rest of us regular-like, hobby knitters?

“Never give up before you get the result you want!”

Jorid Linvik’s BIG BOOK OF KNITTED MITTENS and BIG BOOK OF KNITTED SOCKS are available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE for more information or to order.

Trafalgar Square Books, publisher of fine equestrian and craft books, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.