Ineke’s Mitten Daybook2019-02-08T19:49:26-06:00

Ineke’s Mitten Daybook

The origin of Ineke’s Mitten

Rope tow at Black Rapids ski area, Alaska The story of Ineke’s Mitten probably took root in me on a bleak, frigid, winter afternoon at the Army’s Black Rapids ski area in Alaska. It was 1959. As I stood in line waiting my turn to grab the frightening, whining rope tow, I felt I had grown up beyond my eleven years. I was holding my own skiing with the soldiers. I have always remembered that day whenever I think about skiing. It was the beginning. My father was stationed at nearby Fort Greely, Alaska, home of the Army’s Cold Weather and [...]

Inspired by Bill Koch’s 1976 Olympic victory

Bill Koch, silver medalist, 1976 Olympics In Ineke's Mitten, the main character, Nels Torkle, was Norway’s next hope to win an Olympic medal in Nordic skiing. I got the idea to make him a skier looking back at Bill Koch’s stunning silver medal win at the 1976 winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria. This was the event that stirred my writer's memory the most. I cheered him on in front of my television and felt, for the first time, the excitement, and pride, Norwegians feel for their Nordic racers. A native of Brattleboro, Vermont, Koch was the first, and remains, the only [...]

Invasion of Narvik

Ineke's Mitten begins in Narvik, Norway, a place I was introduced to through the work of woodcut print artists Rockwell Kent and Bruce Carter. Many years before I began work on Ineke’s Mitten, I collected books illustrated by Kent after being introduced to his work by my grandmother, the local historian.  They lived near each other in the Adirondacks. In 1972, I met woodcut print artist Bruce Carter who, in 1967 was an artist-in-residence in Narvik. He added to his substantial body of work during this time including several murals which hang in the Narvik City Hall and in the Kiruna City Hall [...]

Traditional Norwegian foods

Norwegian geitost Geitost, Norwegian for goat cheese Exploring everything Norwegian is my new passion since researching Ineke’s Mitten. My main character, Nels Torkle, loved geitost, a mild, sweet golden-brown cheese, made with whey heated together with cow’s and goat’s milk.  The heat turns the milk sugar into caramel, which gives the cheese its characteristic taste and brown color. Geitost, pronounced yay-toast, goes well with crackers, butter, preserves, fresh fruit and crunchy veggies. You can buy it at many American supermarkets, specialty cheese counters or online. In Norway, it is served as wafer-thin slices shaved with a cheese plane or thin [...]

May 17 Norway’s National Day

Children are the focal point of Constitution Day on May 17 each year, founded to celebrate the creation of the Constitution of Norway. In preparation, parents sew traditional folk costumes called bunad -- pronounced boo-ned. Each large fjord or valley has a distinctive style and the design and colors vary according to locality. Ineke's is an elaborately embroidered full-length skirt, a long-sleeve white blouse, a matching embroidered jacket and new shoes adorned with silver buckles. The pewter collar brooch and pewter belt buckle were adornments on the bunad her mother wore as a child. Ineke’s great grandmother sewed the embroidered waist purse [...]


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