| Iceland |
Photo by Marie Nilsson
"The first Nordic settlers came to Iceland from Norway sometime during the ninth century.
Crossing the Atlantic in open boats, they brought sheep and other domestic animals.
Trade in sheep, wool, and woolen goods has been lively since that time. The sagas were
written in Icelandic, a west Nordic language which has retained many old forms."
"After you are four years old, you should begin to work.
Three arts shall you learn: reading, spinning, and knitting."
-- Translation from an old folk song
Lace-knitted wool handstukur, or wrist warmers.
This pattern is called kronuprjon (crown knitting) or rosastrengsprjon (rose-path knitting).
Rooskor, soft shoes sewn of fish skin, used to be worn in the area of the western fjords.
The shoe in this photo is sewn of wolffish skin.
The mitten on the left has cross-stitch embroidery and is more than 100 years old.
| Norway |
"It's long coastline stretches from the North Sea in the south to the Barents Sea in the north.
Dramatically beautiful, it is steep and dangerous in many places. High fells, deep dales,
and fjords have all helped preserve its local character. There are numerous striking folk
costumes. When Norwegian immigrants came to the United States from remote highland
villages, their clothes, which sported shiny metal clasps and lively motifs,
seemed as exotic as those of the American Indians."
The photo above features a Fana cardigan knitted in the round and cut into a cardigan.
The older a lusekofta is, the simpler the embroidery around the neck opening.
Detail from a sweater from Valle in Setesdal; now in the Norwegian Folk Museum.
To save black yarn, the lower edges of Setesdal sweaters were knitted in white.
The ribbed welt was invisible when tucked into trousers.
A luskufte from Valle in Setesdal, knitted in hand-spun wool yarn, edged with
black cloth and embroidered with wool yarn.
A krotasakka from Bygland in Setesdal. Both men's and women's stockings were
knitted with white yarn. Women's stockings were dyed black afterwards.
This stocking was knitted by Olav Aamlid.
Oh my, what a babe!
This triangular shawl, which is almost boomerang shaped, has ends that are
just over 1.5 meters long so that they cross the chest, go around the body and then
back to the front to be tied in a knot at the waist.
Half mittens from Hol in Buskerud.
The origin of this embroidered mitten above is uncertain, but similar ones from
Voss in Hordaland have been preserved.
"Warning. Red caps. The wearing of red caps has lately become so prevalent that they
are now considered a type of protest. Wearing of these caps is now forbidden
beginning on Thursday, 26 February 1942. From that day forward, the caps
will be confiscated from whoever is wearing one..."
This was a public announcement from the police in Trondhjem.
Wearing a red cap was considered a political statement against the Germans. It was
such a strong symbol that elves' red caps on Christmas cards were censored that winter.
The stocking on the left is dated 1870.
| Sweden |
"The Foppish King Erik XIV is reputed to be the first person in Scandinavia to have
worn knitted silk stockings. The kings were imported in 1562, just one year after
England's Queen Elizabeth I got her first pair. Knitted stockings, which elegantly
showed off the wearer's legs, were high fashion on the continent during that time,
particularly for men who wore short trousers. We can't be sure what Erik's stockings looked
like, but they must have been splendid considering the price, which was equivalent to the
annual wages of a chamber valet."
The Nordic Museum has a sweater from Ullared in Halland with the initials O I P S
and the date 1898 knitted in a rectangle on the chest. This detail has been kept
for the updated version of the sweater (shown in first photo).
Twine-knitted mittens from the Dalarna Museum.
The mitten on the left was knitted by Elsie Jonsson from Soller Island. Next to it
is a mitten from Rattvik with a bloused cuff. This type of mitten was knitted in white
for women and dark blue for men.
The two embroidered mittens are church and wedding garments.
Sweater from Gagnef in Darlarna.
| Finland |
This Korsnas sweater is partly knitted and partly crocheted.
Gretel Dahlberg, who made the sweater, also dyed the yarns. The reds come from madder
and cochineal, yellow from onion skins, and green from reeds.
All photos and excerpts were found in the book,
Nordic Knitting by Susanne Pagoldh.