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Norwegian wool is like wearing nature

How Norwegian wool got cool
The best way to experience the pureness of Norwegian nature is to dress in Norwegian wool – which will finally obtain its deserved success thanks to new design, according to Tone Skårdal Tobiasson, a former fashion magazine editor-in-chief turned wool authority.
Two girls sitting on a bench outside, wearing woollen pullovers
Rauma Collection.
Photo: Julie Pike / PUDDER Agency

She is dressed in wool from top to toe, and on the table, her computer is wrapped in a wool cover which replicates the diamond twill material of a tunica from around year 400. The garment was recently discovered when parts of a glacier melted in Mid-Norway.

Tone Skårdal Tobiasson, who is project manager at NICE (Norwegian Initiative Clean and Ethical Fashion), is co-author of the book Strikk med norsk ull (Knitting with Norwegian wool), and is a driving force when it comes to tying together designers and the wool industry as well as encouraging new takes on old wool traditions.

Well dressed for hiking

“It’s simple”, Tone says. “If you want to have a good experience in the varied Norwegian nature, you should dress for it by using garments in wool, preferably Norwegian wool. Wool regulates temperature, which surprises most people. It will ensure that you never get too warm or too cold, regardless of season”, says Tone, who has also heard rumours that the fitted carpet in the Oval Office in The White House in Washington is made of Norwegian wool. “The exceptional crimp of Norwegian wool makes it extremely sought-after.”

Whilst the use of Norwegian wool goes back way longer than the Viking period, for years its qualities have been underestimated by an industry which have preferred the benefit of merino wool from other parts of the world. According to Tone, it is a myth that all Norwegian wool itches. And it is indeed stronger and more durable than your typical merino fibre.

World class wool lustre

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Eco-friendly animal

“All in all, wool is positive for the climate”, Tone argues, and adds: ”Of course it depends on how you look at it, but if you see it as a whole, these animals contribute a lot to nature. When they fertilise it, they help capture carbon. And their constant grazing keep the landscape open so our visitors can actually enjoy the view.”

Bring the feel home

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Tone’s tips for wool shopping and weaver visiting

Tone Skårdal Tobiasson is enthusiastic about the many new, small designers and startup businesses experimenting with Norwegian wool.

Fogg Gildeskål and Vêr

The beanies of Fogg Gildeskål is hand-knitted by the two design sisters’ mothers, whilst Vêr in Lofoten makes accessories and pull-overs.

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Other Norwegian wool producers

Greater than A
Norwegian wool is also found as insulatiing lining in garments by Greater than A, the clothing brand of the famous Norwegian alpinist, World Cup Champion and Olympic gold medallist Aksel Lund Svindal.

Krivi Vev
The weaving mill Krivi Vev in Tingvoll, Møre og Romsdal blends wool from Norway’s oldest sheep breeds into materials like those the Viking’s used to survive in.

Varp & Veft
Varp & Veft in the city of Sandnes near Stavanger uses wool of Grey Trønder sheep, an ancient breed that was considered extinct until 1992, when a small flock was discovered in the county of Telemark. Today, the breed consists of around 800 animals.

Lofoten Wool & Art
Lofoten Wool & Art is run by craftswoman Ragnhild Lie in Lofoten. Customers can shop directly from her outlet Høystålet.

Hillesvåg Ullvarefabrikk
Just north of the city of Bergen, Tone Skårdal Tobiasson recommends visiting Hillesvåg Ullvarefabrikk, part of a system called Economusée, a network of Artisans at work. “Discover the whole value chain, the wool production process, and the beautiful machines from the late 1800s.”

Værbitt has just opened shop in Oslo, with an array of Norwegian wool spun by all the woollen mills. At the Oslo hotel The Thief, wool is present in most rooms.

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