Vesterheim May 3-7, 2023
Vesterheim May 3-7, 2023
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  • Load image into Gallery viewer, Vesterheim May 3-7, 2023

Vesterheim May 3-7, 2023

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If you would like to be put on the waiting list please send us an email at: sisuyarns@gmail.coM

Join us for four days in Decorah, Iowa
at the Versterheim Norwegian-American Museum
Wednesday May 3 - Sunday May 7th, 2023
Hosted by Diane Thomson and Jan Bilden


With three lectures by Chief Curator Laurann Gilbertson of the Vesterheim and inspiration from the museum collection, we will delve into Norwegian knits with our own modern slant.  Diane and Jan will have patterns inspired by museum pieces including a cowl, hat, mittens and socks but we will also use graph paper and colored pencils to learn how to chart and create our own patterns. 

A field trip to a heritage seed and plant farm, lunch at a winery, and time to shop and enjoy downtown Decorah (including Blue Heron Knittery), all in the warm spring sunshine will make this a lovely time together.

Cost:  $550 includes: housing, instruction, patterns, all museum fees, two dinners, and breakfast on the final day.

Please give us an email address when checking out so we can email you a Registration Form to help us accommodate any needs you may have.

About the Vesterheim
Vesterheim is the national Norwegian-American museum and heritage center, with over 33,000 artifacts, 12 historic buildings, a Folk Art School, and a library and archives. This treasure showcases the most extensive collection of Norwegian-American artifacts in the world.

Vesterheim’s exhibitions explore the diversity of American immigration through the lens of the Norwegian-American experience and highlight the best in historic and contemporary Norwegian folk and fine arts. USA Today named Vesterheim one of “ten great places in the nation to admire American folk art.”

They also house a collection of garments for everyday, special occasion, and occupational dress. Including: folk costumes, fashionable dress, children’s clothing, Norwegian sweaters and other knitwear, and jewelry. (click HERE for more info.)

About Decorah
Located in the northeast corner of Iowa, the city of Decorah is nestled in the Oneota River Valley, whose rolling hills & river provide a beautiful backdrop for a delightful small-town atmosphere. There is plenty to see and do in Decorah including - Seed Savers, a Fish Hatchery, Wineries, Luther College, hiking trails and more. We have built in free time for you to explore the area.
To get a taste of what this sweet little town has to offer click HERE

We have rented Red’s Retreat & Guesthouse conveniently located across the street from the V Museum! It is a 3 story farm house, built in 1914 will comfortably sleep 13 guests scattered on 3 levels with a full bath on each level. An additional 1,100 square foot common space will be perfect for working on projects, teaching and talks.
(click HERE for more info)


*If you would like to arrange your own accommodations, please contact us at:


Decorah is about a three hour drive south of the Twin Cities. If you wish to carpool, participant emails will be available so that you can coordinate rides. Once in Decorah, the museum and downtown with: restaurants, yarn store, book store, deli, grocery and shopping are all within a short walk of Red’s Retreat.  We will carpool for our visit to Seed Savers Exchange and Winneshiek Winery.


Two dinners and the final day’s breakfast are included. You are responsible for your own breakfasts, lunches and two dinners. You can use Red’s Retreat kitchen, or explore nearby restaurants. 




4:00 check in

Settle in

5:00  Supper – provided

Welcome to the Week-end. Introductions

7:00 Vesterheim talk – All Tradition is Change by Laurann Gilbertson.  Explore and expand your ideas of what is “tradition” and what is “traditional” while looking at historical objects and pieces made today by artists working “within the tradition.”  Examples are textiles from Norway and Norwegian America.(1 hour)


9:00 Diane and Jan introduce optional projects such as a hat, cowl, stockings or mittens.  There will be an abbreviated design workshop with a basic mitten pattern graph and a talk about how to use motifs. 

12:00  Lunch on your own.  (There are options within walking distance as well as a grocery store)   

1:30-4:30  “The History of Norwegian Knitting” led by Laurann Gilbertson at the museum. Learn about the history and different styles of Norwegian knitting and examine artifacts                                                                                                         Supper on your own

Casual Evening

9:30 Guided Museum Tour
Lunch on your own
1:30 – 2:30Traditional Natural Dying”, a lecture by Laurann Gilbertson in the Museum Weaving Room
Free time to explore Decorah. (Blue Heron Knitting Store, Museum Store, etc).
5:00 Supper provided
Casual Evening

A car-pooled field trip to Seed Savers Exchange  which conserves and promotes America’s diverse crop heritage by collecting, growing and sharing heirloom seeds and plants. Perhaps we can buy plants for our dye garden?  Or flower garden?  Or vegetable seeds?   We can decide together whether a morning or afternoon trip is advisable. (click HERE for more info)

Lunch at the Winneshiek Wildberry Winery (click HERE for more info)                                                                 
Dinner on your own.                                                                                                                      
7:00 Show and tell with popcorn


9:00  Pastries, coffee and project progress followed by packing up                         

11:00 Check-out and good-byes