From treasures in a ragpile to treasures of the heart
Knitting in Art
Strikking I Billedkunsten
Dual Language Text: Norwegian/English
Wonderful! Journey with Annemor through paintings and photos of days gone by and discover how very many sweaters and other knit garments have found their way into the art of the world, particularly when created by Scandinavian artists.
Part of the treat of this book is the modern photos of sweaters knit based on antique photos and paintings -- these are so inspiring I find my hands beginning to tingle with eager anticipation of knitting similar sweaters. You'll find splendid patterns and construction details, too, along with history, color patterns and Annemor's way of viewing in the human heart through knitting. In the end, it seems to me that there has also been a cultural transformation: sweaters that were originally mostly practical were knit with enough love and care to be also beautiful; these inspired and became part of artistic portrayals; and as time moved along, it is found that the knitting itself is art, art that one can live in.
Knitting in Art is pure joy!
Invisible Threads in Knitting
Annemor Sundbø's "rag pile" discoveries, which she recorded so beautifully in Everyday Knitting, have led her far beyond the rag pile, this time into the heart and soul of folk knitting and the people whose lives were poured into the crafts their hands produced. Invisible Threads in Knitting is simply a splendid book - I have never read a crafts history that told me as much about how those who came before us, and who created the pathways we now walk in modern knitting, thought, lived and created. Sundbø has managed to carry into each an every passage a quality of warmth, of kindness even, as she decribes with a depth of understanding that is sometimes startling the lives of those whose hands created our knitted heritage.
Her section titles will give you a glimpse of the breadth of her discoveries and reflections:
- Strands of Thought and Memory Spinning
- Spirit and Symbol
- Creativity and Striking Power
Delightfully, Sundbø has also slipped little patterns of some of the more charming and useful items she has encountered in her travels throughout the world of knitting. There are slippers, hats, mittens, coffeepot cozies. edgings and more -- all of them charming and inviting. My prediction is that you will often find yourself setting your reading aside in favor of participating in Annemor's discoveries with needles and yarn.
This is a book that already has an honored place on my bookshelf and in my life - it is a book that I have loved deeply from the moment I first saw it. Sharing it with you is truly a privilege.
The History of the Norwegian Lice Pattern
Annemor Sundbø, a native of Setesdal in Norway, has created a fascinating history of a region, a garment, the makers, and the details that place these sweaters in the pantheon of traditional folk garments. Opening the pages of her book is like stepping back in time, with local characters and events of a bygone era. In fact, her photographs of people, places, and advertising are joy to pour over -- you'll find yourself dreaming about these sweaters, so vivid is her presentation of the life behind the design.
Sundbø not only gives us the history of the "Louse Coat," but she ends the book with detailed instructions on for the characteristically embroidered plackets and cuffs and a long section of patterns from the historic sweaters throughout the book. If you are an experienced knitter, you will have no trouble converting these patterns into sweaters.
If you have less experience, but still long to make your own Setesdal sweater, all you need to do is follow Elizabeth Zimmermann's Percentage System (EPS) to calculate the specifics of your sweater. Her most refined presentation of the EPS is in Knitting Around , though her other books also have good sections on it. Knitting in the Old Way is another treasure you can mine for the information you need, and one that will place you in the heart of traditional, pattern-free knitting. And, if you've never done this before, you have my assurance that it is not at all difficult and that you will be delighted with your results.
Setesdal Sweaters is a rich and wonderful feast for any knitter - I love it more each time I take it off the shelf.
Treasures from a Ragpile
Translated from the Norwegian
by Amy Lightfoot
Everyday Knitting is a treasure trove of knitting patterns and cultural history. The author unravels the fascinating history of traditional Norwegian knitting, a story that sprang to life as she explored the storage bins of a wool recycling factory (which she had just purchased in what must have been one of the more amusing real estate transactions in Norwegian history. She was a weaving teacher and had wanted some experience in a full-scale woolen mill -- the owner said he'd happily provide the training if she would buy the mill first!)
The mill produced batting from recycled wool obtained by shredding old woolen knit garments. As Annemor went through her new holdings, she realized how much history was being lost in those shredding machines and how very important it was to recapture some of it.
The result was this wonderful, beautiful book which has everything a knitter, garment designer or cultural historian could every want. There are patterns that go back to the beginnings of Norwegian knitting and beyond; a thorough discussion of all stages of knitting in Norway; there are photographs of some rescued knit treasures -- amazing socks, gloves, caps, sweaters; old photos showing these sweaters in daily life; instructions and advice on how to go about recreating these masterpieces of beauty and practicality, or using the motifs and patterns to create something new with something old.
A beautiful book to treasure, learn from, and use.