"The Norwegian "Nisse" is not like his American relative Santa Claus. The Norwegian "Nisse" differs from both Santa Claus and St. Nicholas. In modern Norway we actually have two types of "nisser".
The name "Nisse" probably derives from St. Nicholas. But "nisser" - which are elves (or gnomes) are old figures which existed long before the birth of Christ. There are several types of "nisser" in Norway. The most known is the "Fjøsnisse" which is a "nisse" who takes care of the animals on the farms. The "Fjøsnisse" is very short and often bearded and lives in a barn or a stable. He wears clothes of wool and often has a red knitted hat. The "Fjøsnisse" often plays tricks on people. Sometimes he will scare people by blowing out the lights in the barn or he will scare the farm dog at night. You can hear the dogs bark! He can become very friendly with the people that live on the farm, but one should never forget to give him a large portion of porridge on Christmas Eve - or else he will play tricks for example move the animals around in the barn, braid the horses' mane and tail, and other tricks like that.........
I also read about 'gnoming', where groups of people rescue garden gnomes from lawns and return them back to the wild. My dad's set of gnomes disappeared years ago, he was heartbroken over their disappearance. Maybe they were victims of a gnoming group.
I love them so much that I've designed a sweet little gnome applique pattern this spring. It's cute on a tea towel, but it's super cute as a mug rug.
To make a mug rug, I used some leftover fabric and cut a 7 1/2" x 10 1/2" square
one for the front, one for the back and then one piece out of batting. Iron the gnome pieces onto the front and layer it all together. I like to applique thru all of the layers using a buttonhole stitch. Then add on the binding. Sew on some buttons and embroider on the eyes. It's a quick and easy project, makes a wonderful gift paired with a coffee mug.
I hope that you enjoyed my little bit of folklore and gnome project.