Nordic Mitten Knitting Workshop

The Pope County Museum is hosting a Selbu Mitten Knitting Workshop


Saturday, February 18 from 10 am -4 pm and
Sunday, February 19, from 10 am -3 pm

Pope County Museum, 809 South Lakeshore Drive, Glenwood

Cost: $25 and includes the pattern, personal instruction, yarn, and a light lunch each day.
(Please advise of dietary restrictions.)

Instructor: Stephenie Anderson

Skill Level: Intermediate

Skills required are basic knit, purl, cast on, and bind off, as well as the ability to work colorwork, increases, decreases, and knit in the round with dpns.

In Selbu Knitted Mitten Techniques, students will be introduced to Selbu mittens and characteristics which set them apart.

We will create a purposeful swatch in the round by practicing structure of Selbu knitting which will lead into the knowledge and skills to knit full-sized pair of mittens.

The “line dancers” pattern is based on a mitten in the Pope County Museum collection knitted by Albertina Dickson. The Nordfjord region of Norway has a culture rich with fiber traditions. Albertina Dickson’s parents immigrated to Pope County, Minnesota, where Albertina, as an adult, helped support her family as a seamstress and knitter. The Nordfjord and Selbu knitting methods clearly transfer into her work which is on exhibit in the museum.

Supplies Provided: YARN

● Rauma 3-Trads Strikkegarn, DK weight wool yarn in a main color and one accent color, approx 25g/45yds per color.
● Finnull (fingering weight) wool yarn in a main color and one accent color sufficient to complete a pair of mittens.

Supplies You Bring:

● US2 double point needles or magic loop equivalent or size needed to achieve a gauge of 9sts/in

● Your usual knitting kit: stitch markers, scissors, tapestry needle, etc.


Optional pick up yarn in advance to knit the cuff as a gauge swatch. The cuff will be the swatch.  Norwegian knitters swatch with a purpose – no wasted time or yarn.

This knitting workshop is a partnership project of the Glenwood Public Library and the Pope County Historical Society. This project has been financed in part with funds provided by the State of Minnesota from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Viking Library System.

To sign up, call or email the Pope County Museum 320-634-3293 or

Space is limited.

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Knitting for Victory

This is a series of blog posts relating to our current “Knitting with Love” exhibit.

During both World Wars, the public was encouraged to knit for the men in the service. It was a big part of the home front effort.

Popular items were socks, sweaters, vests, mittens, gloves, scarves, and “helmets.” The helmets not only kept heads, faces, and necks warm, they made the standard sized metal helmets much more comfortable.

The Red Cross coordinated this effort and knitting groups of all ages across the country created over 30 million garments during WWI.

We have a knitting pattern book from World War 2. But my favorite things are the knitted items from World War 1.

The vest and the helmet were used by Barbara (Thompson) Sharpless when she served as a nurse during WW1. We have no information on who made the items. She may have knit them herself, or maybe they were a gift.

The gray knit vest fits perfectly over her gray nurse’s uniform. The helmet has a few holes in it, so we don’t dare stretch it out over a head-shaped form, for fear of doing further damage.

I plan to knit a few items from the pattern book in 2023 to add to the collection as samples.

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Knitting for Fashion

This is a series of blog posts relating to our current “Knitting with Love” exhibit.

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Knitwear is usually warm, but can be very beautiful.

This purple shawl is delicate knitted lace, clearly made more for beauty than warmth.

There is no documentation at the museum about who made it or when it was made, but it is lovely.

The cream colored vest is a bit more utilitarian, but still a fashion piece. It was made by Arlene Bly.

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Knitting for Home

This is a series of blog posts relating to our current “Knitting with Love” exhibit.

Knitting is not just for clothing. Tea cozies, coasters, placemats, and pillows are common household knitted items.

The most common knitted household item is a blanket, such as cozy throw, an afghan, or a bedspread. We have several knitted bedspreads in the collection. They are large and heavy, so we decided to display only the pillow cover from one of the bedspreads.

The bedspread displayed here was made by Anna (Hagesten) Nordstrom of Starbuck for her granddaughter Ruth (Olson) Shaw on the occasion of her confirmation from Fron Lutheran Church in 1940.

The bedspread is constructed from many tightly knit squares. Each square has one leaf, a series of stripes, a row of leaves and more strips. Then the squares are sewn together with the leaf corners together. It is made from fine cotton yarn and knit on tiny needles, probably size 0.

This style is called counterpane and was very popular in the early 1900s. The 1908 novel, Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery, features a character who spies on her neighbors while knitting “cotton warp quilts” just like this one.

First Lady Grace Coolidge, published a counterpane pattern in the New York Herald in 1920. Her pattern was similar to the one used by Anna Nordstrom for this bedspread.

Rugs are less common as knitted objects, but we have one in our collection. The construction of the rug is also unusual. It is knitted using a technique called “short rows”. The very center was knitted as a circle, then maker knitted one long row out from the center, turned the work, and created a wedge shape by knitting shorter and shorter rows, close to what would become the outer edge. Once the narrow wedge was complete, she would knit all the way back to the center and start another wedge.

The material appears to be long strips of fabric rather than yarn. making cotton or wool fabric strips was a way to recycle older garments into something useful.
It is a sturdy rug, except for one type of fabric that was used for the strips. The red, white, and black multi colored fabric did not hold up as well as the other fabrics.

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Knitting for Warmth

This is a series of blog posts relating to our current “Knitting with Love” exhibit.

When we think of knitting, we usually think of warm clothes. Sweaters, mittens, and socks are necessary for warmth in Minnesota.

Even basic, utilitarian pieces like these plain mittens need to be constructed stitch by stitch. Early settlers not only knit what they needed, but also raised the sheep, sheared the sheep, washed, carded and spun the wool into the yarn before they could even start knitting.

These cream colored, adult-sized mittens wer donated by Doris (Evenson) Runquist. We don’t know who made them, or who wore them.

Sometimes, the knitter adds color, and/or pattern for decorations, as Arlene Bly did in these striped mittens. She changed the color as she knit to create the stripes, using 5 different colors of yarn.

Both of these pairs of mittens were made by knitting “in the round” using several double pointed needles. But each used only 1 color / strand of yarn at a time.

Stranded knitting, sometimes called “Fair Isle” knitting uses 2 strands of yarn in each row or round to make patterns. This embellishment also has the benefit of extra warmth, as the strands are carried along on the inside of the knitting and make an extra layer of yarn.

The black and white Norwegian mitten is a good example of this. It has an intricate pattern on the outside, and two layers of yarn on the inside.

This mitten was made by Albertina Dickson. The pattern has been re-created by Stephanie Anderson, who will be giving a program about Norwegian knitting at the museum on February 18th and launch the published pattern.

Stephanie will also conduct a knitting workshop February 18th and 19th at the museum. A limited number of participants will learn to make this mitten. Please contact us if you are interested in the workshop and we will keep you posted as we finalize the details about the event.

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New Wireless Technology – Radios!

From the Glenwood Herald, Thursday, December 7, 1922 – 100 years ago today!

There are now nine radio sets either erected and installed or in process of being installed in Glenwood. E. E. Kaldahl has one in his home, as has Dr. J. Jeffers. Art Irgens has one in his store. George Liveringhouse has one in the Herald office and R. B. Sloan has one in the McCauley flats. Lee and Armstrong have one, Donald Fraelich has a homemade one as has Mr. Elsey and we have been told that one is being erected in the home of Mrs. And Mrs. E. E. Royster. There are very few places of the size of Glenwood that can boast of so many radios.

The following week’s newspapers had a story about the Radio Set owned by the American Legion in Starbuck being moved to the town hall for Christmas Day so the public could hear a sermon preached by the head of the Norwegian Lutheran Church.

Early Radio Receiver

Reading this got me thinking about our vintage radio collection that has been in storage the last few years, and inspired my to put together a little exhibit.

I started pulling out radios and doing some research. I discovered that while radios had been invented and in use before World War 1, civilian use was prohibited during the war. Radio communication was used extensively during the war. After the war, civilians started using the technology again.

Nort Schensted had a radio license before the war and started using one right away to communicate with radio operators all over the country and the world.

Home-made radio receiver 1920s

The first commercial broadcast was in 1920 in Philadelphia, by 1922 there were over 600 radio stations across the United States.

In 1922, Nort Schensted and Forrest Reine operated a radio installation and service business in Brooten. They may have installed some of the first radios mentioned in the above article. (Forrest Reine later moved to Minneapolis and spent his adult life installing and repairing radios. The Pavek museum of broadcasting has an exhibit dedicated to him.)

The 1920s radios in our collection are receivers. They needed to be attached to antennae as well as speakers or headphones to work properly.

In the 1930s, radios began to be singular units – with speakers built in.

These devices brought news and entertainment to our homes – wirelessly! (Sound familiar?)

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Open House This Saturday!

Please join us Saturday, December 3rd from Noon – 4 at the Pope County Museum for our Holiday Open House.

At 1:00, Executive Director of the Maplewood Area Historical Society and Minnesota historian of 19th century agriculture, T.J. Malaskee, will explore the early holiday traditions of Minnesota’s Euro-American settlers that laid the foundation for the festive season of today. From French-Canadian ‘Kissing Day,” to Yankee-American Thanksgivings, and Northern European Christmas customs, enjoy some tales of old as celebrated by our ancestors!

At 2:00, we will have musical entertainment.

At 3:00 there will be drawings for door prizes. (There is no silent auction this year.) Everyone who attends will receive a slip for the prizes, if you are a member (or become a member) you receive an additional slip, if you made a donation in 2022 (including at the event) you receive another slip. You can place your name in the box for the prize(s) of your choice.

Of course, there will be treats and fellowship all day.

If you haven’t been to the museum since the start of the pandemic, you will see many changes and updates – including our new knitting exhibit.

If you are a knitter, crocheter, spinner, weaver, or other fiber artist, our next Knit Night at the Museum is December 15th.

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Collection Highlight – Starbuck American Legion Auxiliary Charter

A new item in our collection – the charter certificate for the Starbuck American Legion Auxiliary, Magnus Grondahl post 325.
The charter was signed May 22, 1922.

The charter membership roll is listed on the second page. The names include:
Hazel Gulbranson, Margaret O. Torgerson, Mildred Newlin, Mrs. S. G. Anderson, Magna Peterson, Bertha Nordstrom, Mabel O. Johnson, Mrs. T. C. Thompson, Olivia T. Peterson, Mrs. John Kleven, Mrs. Ole J. Kleven, Mrs. Ole Torgerson, Mrs. Alfred Nordstrom, Mrs. W. R. Case, Mrs. A. O. Smedstad, Ruth Svenning, Mrs. Elmer Erickson, Mrs. Emil Steen, Mrs. H. B. Stadsvold, Louise Brandby, Inga Asklakson, Jessie Barsness, Mrs. Victor Gorder, Mrs. John Ingvarson, Julia Johnson, Mrs. Oscar Wesen, Mrs. Ole Troy, Minnie Kleven, Agnes Dyrstad, Florence Erickson, Mrs. A Scheutz, Nettie Larson, Mrs. Bingham, Mrs. Ove Johnson, Mrs. John Lynch, Mrs. N. Forde, Mrs. Victor Runquist, Mrs. Victor Larson, Mrs. Jens Olson, Mrs. Leonard Peterson, Mrs. Roy Olson, Mrs. Martin Overstad, Mrs. Henry Hanson, Mrs. Albert Opdahl, Lorrane Smedstad, Mrs. C. R. Christenson, Mable Thompson, Mrs. Anton Ness, Caroline Grondahl, Anna Grondahl, and Janette Ingvarson.

We are grateful to the Starbuck American Legion Auxiliary for this gift.

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Aquatennial Award Recipients

I am working on a list of every person who has received the Aquatennial Volunteer award at Waterama. The recipients were not always listed in the newspaper. If you know who received the award for my missing years, please let me know!

Thank you!

YearAdmiralAquatennial Award
2010Tod StensrudRon Erno
2011Kari Nelson
2012Terri Richards
2013Todd RothMary Beth Schlueter
2014Jodi McGintyTerri Richards
2015Ted HillPat Douvier
2016Becky Evertz
2017Kyle NestorSharon Friedrichs
2018Teresa JergensonDiane Rust
2019Jeff PanitzkeJenna & Jeremy Myrom
2021Dane AnkenyJim & Karna Palmer
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Final Run of the Starbuck Times

This morning, we paid a visit to Quinco Press in Lowry. The company was started as a partnership between the newspapers in Elbow Lake, Benson, Morris, Wheaton, and Glenwood and has grown and expanded through the years and now prints about 35 west central Minnesota weekly newspapers and a few monthly editions as well from their presses in Lowry.

While it would be worthwhile to talk about Quinco and their importance to the area any day, today was a milestone day.

Today was the last printing of the Starbuck Times. The Times is the longest running newspaper in Pope County. The first issue was printed in December of 1898. We have a copy of that first issue on microfilm. The editor was understandably proud of his new paper and declared that it would be published until the crack of doom.

But as of next week, it will be combined with the Pope County Tribune.

The printing process today is very different from the days of hand set type. The computer files come to Quinco electronically and the full sheet printing plates are printed in-house. It takes about a half an hour to print the plates and install them into the press. The front / back page are printed in color, so there are four plates for that sheet. Once the presses start running, the Times takes only about 10 minutes to print.

Then the papers are taken into the next room where the inserts are stuffed by hand and mailing addresses are stamped in the corner. They are slipped into bags for the post office or bundled to be dropped off at stores.

The museum was given the last issue off the presses and a copy of the printing plate for the front/back page to add to our collection.

We are grateful to the team at Quinco and Tim Douglass of the Pope County Press, Inc. for letting us tag along today.

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