Knit + Escape: Unwinding & Unspooling with Arne & Carlos

5 things we learned from knitting gurus Arne & Carlos

Knitting, just like any art, has its own superstars. And in the pantheon of yarn, Arne Nerjordet and Carlos Zachrison are next-level designers, textile artists and authors. Under their artistic name, Arne & Carlos, they joined forces around 2000 and have strung together an envy-inducing portfolio: collaborations with Urban Outfitters and Comme des Garcons; awards from HENNE, a Nowegian fashion magazine, and Stiftelsen Schleiber; and so much more. Partners in life and business, they’re based just north of Oslo in Norway. Knit + Escape’s Kristy Glass caught up with the pair to discuss a variety of topics. Here are just five takeaways. 

1. How Do You Say, “From Norway, With Love?” 

As Arne describes himself, he is very Norwegian. Carlos, the other hand, is half Swedish and half Spanish. So how are they able to so easily communicate with one another? Carlos points out, both Norway and Sweden share similar languages, which allows the pair to connect. And being multilingual helps, too. They are big-time YouTubers, and you might even stumble upon their videos in English as well as their native tongues! There’s a video for Oslo’s National Museum in Norway, which spotlighted an exhibit of their work, celebrating the pair’s ten-year anniversary. 

2. Knit at the Hip: Partners in Life and Business 

Today Arne & Carlos is a world-famous brand. But like all start-ups, it took time to develop. A bit of background: they met in a casual setting in 1999, when Carlos was returning from China. Arne was a teacher at a fashion school in Norway, but had grown tired of academia. So he and a friend began mulling over starting a business. Carlos began “interfering,” he said humorously. “I was telling them, why don’t you do it this way, why don’t you try that,” he said. Soon, Arne’s friend backed out, which was probably just as well. Both she and Arne shared near-identical skill sets. Carlos, on the other hand, had a degree in political science, and offered a fresh perspective. He took over administrative duties, and the rest is history.

3. Making in a Stress-free Zone

What makes Arne and Carlos so zen? Their secret: careful planning. Work is not a major stressor in their lives. What motivates them is their hunger to make the most of their time. Remaining focused is the only way they’re going to get it all done! “We know how to deliver on time,” Carlos said of their work, “we’ve never had to stay up a night – we don’t do that.” Arne points out that when they were in the fashion industry, they tended to finish their collections when others were still sewing buttons! (And the same goes for their books. Publishers can rely on them to file on time.)     

Image: Arne & Carlos “55 Christmas Balls to Knit”

4. Knit Me Like One of Your Favorite Painters

Where does inspiration come from? We learned that a particular Arne & Carlos yarn skein, called “star night,” was inspired by “Starry Night,” a painting by famous Norwegian painter, Edvard Munch. How meta is that? What’s valuable is seeing the world through a different lens, they explain. They push themselves to go beyond, be different and seize inspiration wherever it may appear.

5. Our Dark Obsession: Scanning Flowers 

Who knew the authors of 55 Christmas Balls to Knit would have such a dark – albeit clever – hobby? We learned they use a scanner, such as the one in an office, to make “deep images.” Every day, they’d scan plants from their garden, capturing them as they aged and wilted into different colors. Sounds cool, right? Here’s how it works:

  1. Make the room with the scanner completely dark (no light whatsoever)
  2. Open the scanner
  3. Place an object on it, whether it is a potted plant or a glass figurine
  4. Don’t close the scanner!
  5. Run the scanner, and enjoy a “deep image” of the object

How to Click With Arne & Carlos

Arne & Carlos are prolific communicators and are currently making regular installments of Arne & Carlos Daily Quarantine Podcast. Knit + Escapers are invited to get to know them and their knitting better on the Arne & Carlos YouTube Channel.