Making Podcast Woolful Podcast

Episode 52: Helga Isager – Danish countryside, Italian Vogue, Boarding school, and Amimono

March 17, 2016

northcoast knittery

Sponsor: NorthCoast Knittery is a favorite in Humbolt county, with it’s charming storefront in Eureka California. NorthCoast Knittery opened it’s doors in 2008, with the hope to create a unique gathering place for fiber folk and help expand the local fiber community. It’s a wonderful spot to meet friends and work on projects as you enjoy a cup of tea. They offer a variety of classes and workshops, helping enhance your skill levels and each Thursday at 6pm they host a Sip & Knit social evening. 

In September NorthCoast Knittery is hosting the “Knitting in the Redwoods” retreat. Four nights of relaxation, stories, delicious farm to table meals, great company and the peaceful surroundings of the Klamath river and Redwood National Park. The retreat takes place at the historic Requa Inn, and each day will bring a new workshop and special treat showcasing the incredible area. Make sure to visit NorthCoast Knittery in person when in Eureka and online at for a full selection of beautiful yarns including Isager yarns, and to register for the Knitting in the Redwoods retreat. You can also find them on Instagram @northcoastknittery 

And from now until March 31st, NorthCoast Knittery is offering a 10% discount on Isager yarns to all Woolful listeners. Use the code LoveWoolful (case sensitive) during checkout. 


Fiber folk: For a long time I’ve been enchanted by the designs of Helga Isager. A few years ago I bought one of her books that was in Danish, and I began translating it so I could knit my favorites. Since then her books and patterns have been released in English, and they are some of the most beautiful designs I’ve ever seen, truly. Her work is a large part of what inspired me to take the leap and finally knit my first sweater a couple years ago, because I wanted so badly to work up the courage to eventually knit one of Helga’s designs. 

From her delightful Danish voice, lineage and her exquisite taste in fashion, photography and styling, Helga is a benchmark in this industry and if you haven’t already become familiar with her work, I highly suggest you do. 

You can find Helga at and on Instagram @helgaisager.



logo (1)

Sponsor: Knit Purl is a wonderfully motivating yarn shop in Portland, Oregon founded by Darcy Cameron in 2004, with the intention to create a unique curated experience for yarn buyers. They’ve worked closely with local, regional and international makers and designers to provide a one of a kind experience, to fuel creativity for fiber and design enthusiasts. Each month they offer a great calendar of classes and events, and every other Wednesday you can join other fiber folk for Knit Night at 6pm. Make sure to stop by in person when in Portland and shop their large selection of yarns including Isager yarns at And find them on Instagram @knitpurlpdx

And from now until March 31st, Knit Purl is offering a 10% discount on Isager yarns to all Woolful listeners. Use the code ISAGERYARN10 in all caps during checkout.


Man on the Street: For this week’s “Man on the Street” I asked the question, “Who is your best fiber friend and why?” We had some great answers from Amy @urban_farm_wife, Leanne @leannecoppola, Shannan @whiskeyknitter_shannan

Giveaway: The winner of last weeks giveaway is Ines Cruz. You’ve won a copy of Loop London’s book “10″. Congratulations!

The giveaway this week is sponsored by Amimono, and they’re giving away the book “Room 606” featuring a gorgeous selection of garment and accessory patterns designed by Helga Isager, and a few skeins of Isager yarn for the Ghita Cowl. To enter and be one of the winners, leave a comment on this blog post. 


Music by Jónsi.

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  • Reply Carol Anderson March 17, 2016 at 7:12 pm

    I love her designs and keep wanting to make the winter sweater. Her Map book is enthralling!

  • Reply Rian March 17, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    Excited to listen tomorrow! Thank you!

  • Reply Leslie Wilcott -Henrie March 17, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    Next trip to Denmark I know where I’m going!

  • Reply dorinalouise March 17, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    Hi, wondering what shawl pattern that is in the first picture on the right below the podcast? Thanks . .

  • Reply Nicki N March 18, 2016 at 12:33 am

    Loved today’s podcast. Somewhat sad that my binge listening is at an end.

    Thanks Ashley fit accompanying me to and from walk and while doing the chores, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed listening to your discussions with fibre folk and you introduced me to lots of fascinating people and kick-started my fascination with natural dyes.

  • Reply Elizabeth March 18, 2016 at 2:06 am

    I really love Helga Isager’s patterns, colours and aesthetic and last year I said to a friend that Isager is without a doubt my favourite yarn to work with, and lucky for us in Australia it si stocked at Sunspun. This podcast episode was so wonderful to listen to and get to know Helga and her work better. Thank you!

  • Reply Tamara E White March 18, 2016 at 3:41 am

    Helga’s work is so inspired. I love such a tribute to fiber art. Beautiful podcast, thank you.

  • Reply Laura March 18, 2016 at 4:32 am

    I just discovered your podcast a few weeks ago and am loving it! Thanks for introducing me to so many great fiber folk. This post makes me want to move to the Pacific Northwest!

  • Reply Frida Engeset March 18, 2016 at 4:33 am

    So nice to hear Helga Isager’s voice and her story. I have enjoyed knitting several of her children garments for my boys, but I didn’t know so much about her as a person. And I like your to-the-point questions, Ashley. Not so much giggling like in some other post casts. The only thing I am asking myself is why her models have to be so skinny …?

  • Reply Lorna Brown March 18, 2016 at 5:30 am

    I really enjoyed this episode. I have used Isager yarn for several projects and I love it. I also love to shop at Knit Purl whenever I am in Portland. Thanks!

  • Reply Tyna Meers March 18, 2016 at 5:59 am

    Fantastic episode! I love her Alpaca 2 and have many cowls with it. I am now starting a sweater using this wonderful string that feels like a cloud looks!

  • Reply Andrya Newman March 18, 2016 at 6:07 am

    I am absolutely buying some of her books asap! thank you for sharing! Do you know if they are coming out with finstrikket in english?

  • Reply annette March 18, 2016 at 7:09 am

    Thanks for introducing me to another fascinating designer, and more yarn! Book looks lovely.

  • Reply annie- Boho Chic Fiber Co March 18, 2016 at 7:19 am

    This was one of my top 10 favorite episodes, maybe top 5 🙂 I loved this introduction to a designer I hadn’t heard of before and her designs are absolutely gorgeous! I look forward to following her and seeing more of her work!

  • Reply Susan March 18, 2016 at 7:27 am

    Loved this story of a designer. Thank you

  • Reply beccamade on rav March 18, 2016 at 8:09 am

    Another wonderful week. I’m in love with many of the Isager patterns.

  • Reply Margaret March 18, 2016 at 8:12 am

    A lovely podcast. I really enjoyed hearing from Helga and learning more about Isager yarns and about her design journey. The man on the street BFF left me in tears. I hope that dream that Amy had with her BFF Lori can come true. I’m sure that Lori would be smiling to know it came to be.

  • Reply Andrya Newman March 18, 2016 at 8:27 am

    that last man on the street definitely had me tearing up some.

  • Reply Savannagal March 18, 2016 at 8:39 am

    I was not familiar with Isager yarns. Thank you for introducing me to them.

  • Reply Meagan L Radford March 18, 2016 at 9:45 am

    Room 606 looks beautiful, these knits are so elegant.

  • Reply Sheila March 18, 2016 at 10:42 am

    I’m totally in love with Helga’s designs. The photography of her work on the Amimono site is so beautiful with that subdued lighting. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Cathy B March 18, 2016 at 11:35 am

    Would love to try Isager yarn. It has a very sophisticated presence.

  • Reply Robin Titensor March 18, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    I love the patterns and would love to try the yarn~

  • Reply Robyn March 18, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    I really love Helga Isager’s designs, the Ghita Cowl has just become a priority.

  • Reply Juliet March 18, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    I knew very little about Isager yarns and Helga’s designs–thank you for the introduction!

  • Reply Jennifer Pfaff March 18, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    Loved the podcast episode. Can you tell me what pattern name is from the top photo (of two). — The gold shawl is in the right photo next to the window. The left photo is of the Nortcoast knittery. I didn’t see a link. Thank you.

  • Reply Maurice March 18, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    Great story and great show as ever. I thought you mentioned that Finnstriket had been translated to English, but could only find it in Danish in Helga’s store – ah well, I’m guessing the charts are fairly universal and being in a foreign language (to me) would add to the appeal!

  • Reply Yasmin March 18, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    I had not heard of her or the yarn – very informative interview! Wow that pattern collection looks gorgeous!

  • Reply Susan March 18, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    Love the podcast. Great to hear how other designers got their start. Thanks

  • Reply Julia March 18, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    I’ve been intrigued by the stitch used for the nightingale vest for a while now, nice to hear more about behind the designs. Thanks!

  • Reply Johanna March 18, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    Fantastic story. And I so agree, and love, the desire to have our knitting books to also have the quality of a coffee table book. It’s exactly what I love so much about The Modern Natural Dyer. It is visually stunning. A great way to draw people into the craft; even if they never pick up knitting or dyeing themselves it still can draw people into an appreciation for it.

  • Reply Elizabeth March 18, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    Love Isager’s patterns! Just started winding my yarn for a sweater from the maps collection.

  • Reply Tayler March 18, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    My favorite part of the episode was the “man on the street”. I was so touched by all of the fiber friend stories. It’s a testament to how binding fiber truly is and how much it enriches our soul.

  • Reply Kristin March 19, 2016 at 2:11 am

    Stunning, stunning designs and another wonderful podcast, thank you 🙂

  • Reply Neza March 19, 2016 at 3:14 am

    Someday I’ll get my paws on some isager yarn. Another lovely episode Ashley, thank you!

  • Reply Claudia March 19, 2016 at 4:16 am

    I had no idea of her designs. Thank you for introducing her! Beautiful work!

  • Reply Kristina March 19, 2016 at 5:11 am

    Another great interview! Love the impact of family.

  • Reply Åsa March 19, 2016 at 5:51 am

    Oh, this was soo beautiful and inspiring!
    Glad I speak swedish so I can understand her book “Finstickat” 🙂
    The last man on the street touched me very much.

  • Reply michelle March 19, 2016 at 6:42 am

    I love the designs and have the Bird book. Haven’t had a chance to knit with the yarn though (yet)

  • Reply Janice March 19, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    Enjoyed this podcast and would love to knit one of her designs – thank you for the inspiration I needed. Also love Knit Purl in Portland – great shop!

  • Reply Lesley March 19, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    Amazingly, I actually got time to listen to the latest podcast. Thankyou.
    And thankyou for this opportunity to own some luscious yarn along with inspirational patterns.

  • Reply Erin March 19, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    I would love to win this prize! Helga’s work is gorgeous!

  • Reply pistachios March 19, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    Thanks for this podcast, I had always wondered about this designer, and have a sweater of hers in my queue to knit sometime soon. Lovely interview!

  • Reply Naomi March 19, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    Fascinating! I can’t wait to look up Helga Isager’s work. Thank you.

  • Reply Kim March 19, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    I love Helga Isager’s work! Everything is so beautiful. Great interview and thanks for the chance to win!

  • Reply Susan March 19, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    Always wonderful to discover new designers and new yarns — would love the opportunity to work with the Isager yarns.

  • Reply Lisa Smith March 19, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    This was a great episode

  • Reply Jeanine March 19, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    Wow. The colors of the Isager yarns slay me. I visited Denmark a few years ago and was thoroughly enchanted. This makes me want to return all the more!

  • Reply Greta Cornejo March 19, 2016 at 10:33 pm

    Beautiful work! Thank you for introduce me to her designs.

  • Reply Jayne Kellogg March 20, 2016 at 5:07 am

    Interesting podcast. Love the use of thin yarn in Helga Isager’s patterns. Fingering weight is always my yarn of choice.

  • Reply Inês G. March 20, 2016 at 5:12 am

    excited to listen to this one — she has beautiful designs 🙂

  • Reply HeiM March 20, 2016 at 7:17 am

    Definitely one of my favorite episodes – thank you.

  • Reply Judy March 20, 2016 at 10:23 am

    In all my travels through the yarn world, somehow I had not heard of Isager yarns and designs. Thank you for once again opening up my yarn world with the stories you share. And sincere condolences to Amy on the loss of her friend, Lori(sp?). My heart goes out to her.

  • Reply Corrina McMath March 20, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    Another inspiring podcast! I had not yet come across Isager or Helgas patterns yet they are absolutely beautiful in every single way. One of my favourite stories to listen to so far. Thank you!

  • Reply Susanne Buse March 20, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    Helga Isager makes beutiful and well fitted patterns. I made Daffodil from finstickat and I love it.
    Room 606 is great design.

  • Reply Shannon Y. March 20, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    Great interview as always. Love her designs!

  • Reply Brenda March 20, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    Thanks for sharing your journey Helga. I love that you work so closely with your mother. That’s a blessing.

  • Reply Andee Fagan March 20, 2016 at 4:49 pm

    How rude of my sister Leanne to not pick me as her BFF! I taught her how to knit! LOL. I really enjoyed this episode. I have used Isager yarn and it is one of my favorites. All my Isager hand knits get better every time I wear them! Such a wonderful yarn and it was wonderful getting to know Helga.

  • Reply Whitney Dalby March 20, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    I can’t wait to knit one of her patterns!

  • Reply Marina Gvozdeva March 20, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    amazing podcast! would love to try one of Helga’s patterns!

  • Reply Sarah March 20, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    So gorgeous. Isager is on my list of ‘to try’ yarns!

  • Reply elflyn March 20, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    Thank you for introducing me to Helga her story and fibre journey is fascinating, and her accent just gorgeous!

  • Reply Ricci March 20, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    My best fiber friend is actually a good college friend of my childhood friend. I didn’t really interact with her much other than the occasional dinner or so when we’d both be invited by our mutual friend. I knew she was a knitter too but didn’t think much of it. Then I sent a fateful email this past February asking if she was going to Stitches West which started a wonderful email exchange that continues to now. Like one of the podcast commenters, we found out we like the same yarns and podcasts but even better she would introduce me to new yarns and other yarn related stuff she’d heard about. It’s actually how I heard about Woolful! I love getting her emails about yarn stuff like a pattern she’s thinking about, knitting books from the library, new needles she bought, her stash organizing or even about her gauge problems. I’m so thankful that I now consider her also my friend instead of just an acquaintance. I don’t have any knitting friends as I was taught by a former coworker and no one in my family knits. But I’m so lucky to have found a kindred spirit in the fiber world who is as excited about knitting and yarn as I am.

  • Reply Ramona March 20, 2016 at 10:09 pm

    I never miss an episode and this one was so informative. Love the color selection in the Ghita cowl photo.

  • Reply Roberta March 21, 2016 at 1:37 am

    A great lesson on style! Loved it thank you

  • Reply Emilie March 21, 2016 at 5:59 am

    Being a Dane myself, I am already familiar with the Isager Company, but it was truly enlightening to listen to Helga’s story.
    Thank you!

  • Reply Morgan March 21, 2016 at 6:42 am

    Can’t wait to listen — looks like it is going to be another great one. (This is the only podcast that I listen to every single episode. I love it!)

  • Reply Monica March 21, 2016 at 9:09 am

    This is by far one of my favourite episodes. I have admired Helga’s designes forever, though I am yet to knit any of them…

  • Reply nicola March 21, 2016 at 9:56 am

    I’ve admired Helga’s design and always wanted to learn more about her background and design inspiration. The beautiful images in this post bring her work together and I look forward to seeing more of her inspiring patterns!

  • Reply Anita March 21, 2016 at 10:26 am

    I had seen the Isager yarns before but knew nothing about Helga. My favorite podcasts are where I learn and expand my knowledge of the knitting world. Thank you for an exceptional podcast.

  • Reply susan krisch March 21, 2016 at 11:40 am

    Really enjoyed listening to helga and hearing her stories

  • Reply Misti March 21, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    Love your podcast. Such beautiful work! So inspiring!

  • Reply Cat B March 21, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    I love the classic colors and textures Helga uses! What a beautiful combination!

  • Reply Stephanie L March 21, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    Amazing! Helga’s designs are so wearable and timeless. Thank you for sharing her story.

  • Reply Erin Elizabeth March 22, 2016 at 4:53 am

    Another wonderful podcast. I can’t wait to learn more about these patterns and her yarn. Thank you!

  • Reply teegan March 22, 2016 at 7:23 am

    Oh so lovely… I keep telling my husband it’s time to visit Denmark!

  • Reply Danielle March 22, 2016 at 9:55 am

    So that’s how you pronounce Isager! It’s like the first time I heard stockinette stitch said out loud :). Great podcast as always Ashley!

  • Reply Mathurine March 22, 2016 at 10:21 am

    Thanks a lot for this new wonderful international podcast ! So nice to learn more of those women. Have a good week .

  • Reply Althea Mongerson March 22, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    I have just found Woolful and I couldn’t be happier! I am defiantly a new weekly listener

  • Reply Lynn March 22, 2016 at 5:35 pm

    Wonderful episode! Actually, they’re all wonderful 🙂 Helga’s designs are exquisite!

  • Reply Vicki March 22, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    Thank you for finding another wonderful guest to share with us. Helga’s designs are such a beautiful mix of color, texture, and design.

  • Reply Steph Nappa March 22, 2016 at 6:17 pm

    Oh my gosh, everything in that book looks amazing! And I don’t even like 60’s style clothing that much! I would definitely love to make that cowl, the shape and colors are beautiful

  • Reply Erika McKay March 23, 2016 at 8:52 am

    Oh my goodness I love her designs!!!!
    I lived in Denmark for a year, but it was before I had really gotten into knitting and I’m still kicking myself for the lost knitting & yarn opportunities!
    I’ve been trying to find some Danish designers & have been following some Danish knitters on IG lately. Helga’s collections are absolutely gorgeous.

  • Reply Brittany March 23, 2016 at 10:09 am

    This was a joy to listen to!

  • Reply Debbie March 23, 2016 at 10:47 am

    Lovely story! Thank you!

  • Reply Natalie March 23, 2016 at 11:12 am

    As always, a pure joy to listen to. Thank you!

    Fingers crossed,

  • Reply Michelle Miller March 23, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    What a lovely collection and I will definitely be trying some Isager yarn in the future!

  • Reply Linda March 23, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    Thank you for introducing me to Helga ‘s patterns. I love the collection.

  • Reply Barbara Elfman March 24, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    I listen to he podcast while I am on the erg to help my rowing. I love it and the way you let the speaker tell the story without interrupting. I wish I could have answered your man on the street question, but the answers from others all resonated with me. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply Annie March 25, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    Yet another wonderful episode! Thank you. 🙂

  • Reply Danielle March 25, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    Dear Mom: Someday we will go on a knitting retreat together. Probably somewhere near one of our houses so only one of us has to pay airfare :/ Love, Danielle.

  • Reply Juli Sampson March 26, 2016 at 8:24 am

    It is always a delight to hear how people are inspired to create. I love her understanding that when you spend 50-60 hours on a sweater, you don’t want it so fashion forward that it is out of date before it is off the needles. You can see that in her designs.

  • Reply Marei March 26, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    Thank you for this wonderful episode. I adore your podcasts and alsways wonder whom it will be about next time…

  • Reply Dee March 26, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    Oh, another great podcast. How do you keep finding new and interesting people?
    Thanks for another great episode.

  • Reply Doreen MacL March 26, 2016 at 11:55 pm

    Thanks for another very interesting podcast. Wonderful to hear from fibre folk world wide. I too am fortunate to have a gang of fibre BFF’s -in my guild.

  • Reply karin March 27, 2016 at 2:05 am

    Wow, what I fantastic ep! I had no clue about Helga’s back story, so interesting. I own a few of her books love the yarns and palette, especially the dyed on grey shades. I have been itching to order Room 606 as I have stayed at that hotel a couple times and got to see room 606! Thank you so much for this extremely inspiring interview and generous give away.

  • Reply Sindy P March 27, 2016 at 3:04 am

    I am catching up on your podcasts after a long holiday, and loving everyone of them!

  • Reply Zsuzsa March 27, 2016 at 7:19 am

    Another lovely episode! I also loved the “Man on the street” stories – what a terribly sad story one of those was!

  • Reply Julia March 27, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    I love Isager yarns and patterns and realized while listening to your podcast I have been pronouncing it wrong all along.

  • Reply Karen March 27, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    Had not heard of Isager yarns; loved the story. I will check it out

  • Reply Ron Ulrich March 27, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    Such earthy colors, casual tones in the wool… I’m so excited about your podcast! It’s inspiring.

  • Reply Cathy March 27, 2016 at 11:26 pm

    Fantastic story. I felt I was right there. Keep it coming please.

  • Reply Charlene Scott March 28, 2016 at 8:50 am

    I had to work so hard to Not use that coupon code because I’m grounded from buying yarn at the moment since I just got things for my spinning wheel. That yarn looks scrumptious though, and I’d love to try some out! Listening to your podcast while I put in my student’s grades for the quarter…

  • Reply Erin March 28, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    What an interesting designer interview! Thanks.

  • Reply clara sonia rodriguez muñoz March 30, 2016 at 1:28 am

    thanks for ilustratring the knitting…to let us knows whats on

  • Reply Ines March 30, 2016 at 4:35 am

    I won the give-away! Lucky me 🙂

  • Reply Tessa O'Donnell March 30, 2016 at 7:19 am

    One of my favorite episodes yet! Thanks so much! I love her designs and yarn.

  • Reply Tera March 30, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    Thank you for bringing her and her beautiful designs to my world!

  • Reply Julia de Boer March 30, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    I absolutely adore Isager wools and the patterns of both mother and daughter. One of my favourite finished projects ever was knit in Isager Spinni Tweed.

  • Reply Dina Rosbeck March 30, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    So luxurious and beautiful! The story of Isager and the lineage of the Danish culture is so enchanting. I want to knit all the things, lol.

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