Scandinavia Pattern

Knitting For Profit Ebook

Knitting For Profit Ebook

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Time slips by, and the knitter forms stitch after stitch, row after row, in colors and patterns as she pleases. A knitter can knit while the world news flashes by or a passionate drama is played out on the TV screen. Knitting can calm you while you wait for your name to be called in a waiting room or airport. As long as the stitch count is correct and the pattern develops regularly, at least one thing is under control.

Machines produce clothes more cheaply and quickly. But machines can't copy human handwork or create one-of-a-kind colors and patterns. Machines form stitches evenly and monotonously, with no trace of feeling. Every stitch in a handknitted sweater bears the traces of a time, a trip, a landscape; of persons, events, and thoughts. In many cases, fewer copies of ma-chine-made garments are produced than of home-knitted classics. One such example is the Norwegian Fana sweater, of which hundreds of thousands have been handknitted, if one judges by the number of pattern instructions sold.

This book developed during my travels throughout Scandinavia. People offered me knitting from their private or museum collections; they patiently answered questions, displayed garments, and discussed and gave tips on knitting literature. Some generously lent me old knitting patterns to be reprinted so that many can share them. Without those people, there would have been no book. Others have helped by knitting and writing new instructions based on the old garments. The garments for which instructions are given in this book are not exact copies of traditional clothing but are adaptations, with today's yarns, of simple, useful garments.

I have chosen to show only a small portion of the colors and patterns of the Nordic knitting tradition. Most of the traditional garments represented in this book are festival and holiday clothing, generally made during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. A few examples of nineteenth-century lace knitting and simple work clothes are included. The sweaters in this book are looser fitting than the original versions, which were styled and fitted differently from today's clothing. Fashion, tradition, personal touches and taste, as well as material and colors, always make their mark on knitting.

The knitting instructions at the end of the book are given to aid those who feel uncertain about knitting a garment on their own. Don't be afraid of the complex patterns and thin needles. You'll find that the color patterning goes smoothly because the sweaters are knit on circular needles—thus all the stitches are knit stitches. Furthermore, it is easier to maintain an even gauge with fine yarn, and the resulting garment will be soft, warm, and pliable. If you're unfamiliar with the basics of knitting, find one of the many excellent beginner books, or even better, an experienced knitter who can teach you.

The garments we have knitted use only pure, natural materials of the highest quality. It is not worthwhile to put so much work into a cheap synthetic yarn which can pill even before the garment is finished.

To give the flavor of the traditional Nordic knitting, we have chosen to knit the new versions in traditional colors and patterns. But there is no limit to the possibilities for those who knit themselves. This is a book of ideas—a pattern collection for inspiration.

Susanne Pagoldh

TECHNIQUE AND STYLE 9

Lastic Black

T-: i originally m kite glove has a m-~ 26 cm (10'A in)

with fringes wmd borders in two-mrJ. knitting. The

  • emely long fingí— are a detail of sr- ~e which was tsken from the
  • ves worn by the ~per classes. Long
  • jers on a glove r Heated that the .ijrer didn't have :.: work and instead servants to perform all practical z;ks. The glove ■M~,: wn here was found when the groimd was excavated for

C penhagen's city hall in 1892 and is mow at the Na-tional Museum in Copenhagen. It is ::fftcult to date but : is probably from -he seventeenth cen-zury. Photo: Len--.art Larsen.

celluloid was used. Rayon fibers are derived from wood, but the yarn made from it in earlier times didn't always tolerate water—a thick, fine sweater would shred into bits when it became wet. The textile industry continued to experiment, and other, more water-tolerant, synthetic fibers were developed. Many of these new fibers have disadvantages: for example, acrylic and polyester are petroleum products.

FULLING

One way to make knitted cloth more like fabric is to full it. In the old days, cloth was wetted in warm, soapy water or fish broth and kneaded and rubbed by hand against a wooden washboard. The desired result was a tight, warm cloth in which the stitches could scarcely be distinguished. If you want to full your knitting, choose a yarn which is not made for machine washing, and don't forget to take into account the shrinkage when deciding on gauge and sizing. Be careful about water temperatures: 30° C (86° F) can be just right for some yarns, while others need 60° C (140° F) for proper fulling.

TWO-END KNITTING

Two-end knitting (tvaandsstickning als.: produces a tight fabric which is very hard-wear-ing but not very elastic. This old knitting technique was very common in the Dalarna anc Jamtland provinces of Sweden but had become almost forgotten. The technique was also common in Norway, Denmark, and Finland, where :: was used occasionally for whole garments anc sometimes just for decoration or borders.

On the Faroe Islands, people used :o wear skolingar '■:hen they went out ~.shing. These knit-red and well-fulled -juter shoes were reinforced with a u admal sole and gave a good grip out on the wet, slippery cliffs. These shoes are in the National Museum in Copenhagen. Photo: Niels Elswing.

Anew interest in two-end knitting was awakened when a glove from the seventeenth century was found in 1974 at an archaeological site in Falun. When it was compared with knitted examples in the Dalarna Museum and the Nordic Museum, it became apparent that nearly all the knitting from Dalarna had been knitted in the same way as the seventeenth-century glove. This discovery made Birgitta Dandanell and Ulla Danielsson from the Dalarna Museum curious. Together with the handicraft consultant Liv Trotzig. they began research on two-end knitting in 1977. By inventorying and documenting the knitted garments and the knowledge which still remained, they were able to establish the history : f two-end knitting in Dalarna, Sweden, and the rest of Scandinavia.

Their research showed that while many knitters still knit stockinette with two ends, very few Muld knit pattern combinations based on the cr :•: k stitch, which is peculiar to two-end knitting and made with one thread in front of and one thread behind the needles, alternating purl and knit stitches. These patterns were knitted in -s-ool, linen, and cotton. When she was young, Elsie Jonsson from Utanmyra on Soller Island saw her grandmother knitting mittens in crook stitches. She still has a linen half mitten made by her grandmother, and she has begun to knit as her grandmother did.

Thanks to Elsie Jonsson and the women at the Dalarna Museum, the techniques for two-end knitting have spread into most areas of the country through books and courses. Elsie leads a couple of courses during the autumn and winter, and now most knitters in the areas around Mora and Soller Island know the art of patterning with two ends. According to Elsie, it is surprisingly easy to do two-end knitting when one has been shown how.

To knit two-ended, hold two strands of yarn in the right hand. Two ends, that is, two threads, are necessary even if the knitting is with one color. If the yarn is wound onto a winding pin nvstpinne), a knife shaft, or a ball winder, it is easy to take one end from the inside and one from the outside of the ball.

To knit stockinette, throw one yarn over the tip of the right needle with the right index finger. For the next stitch, throw the other yarn in the same manner. The threads are alternated (one from the inside of the ball, the next from the outside) with each stitch, twisting around each other in the same direction at all times. This twisting creates a ridged structure on the back which is characteristic of two-end knitting. In certain districts of Norway, it was common to turn two-end knitted mittens inside out and wear them with the ridged side showing.

Two End Knitting

The bottom section of a two-end-knit-ted mitten from the Dalarna Museum. The white relief pattern is knitted with crook stitches, a type of patterning possible only in two-end knitting. Notice the decorative red-and-white- and green-and-white-striped purl rows. The mitten was knitted by Elsie Jonsson. The technique is described in Birgitta Dandanell and Ulla Danielsson's book TVciandsstickat (Twined Knitting, tr. Robin Hansen, Interweave Press). Photo: K. G. Svens-son.

It's easy to knit decorative borders with purl stitches in two-end knitting. The stitches are purled and the yarn lies in front of the needles. If dark and light threads are alternated and each thread is twisted at the same place, a diagonal stripe results. Photo: Susanne Pagoldh.

Twined Knit Robin HansenDelsbo Knitting

There are various ways of forming stitches even in conventional knitting. For instance, some knit by throwing the yarn with the right hand, but this is considered to be slower than the method most commonly used in Sweden in which the right hand needle picks up the yarn from the left hand's index finger.

CHANGES IN STYLE

Knitting came to the Nordic countries during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, when it was fashionable for the very rich to wear knitted silk stockings and sweaters. Not many could afford to dress so expensively but the common people did copy the patterns, colors, and forms for their own use. Two hundred years later, peasant women in Sweden and Denmark were still wearing similar sweaters, shorter in length and knitted in wool, linen, or cotton, but with the same patterns, colors, and styles as the expensive early silk sweaters.

An example of a detail passed down into folk

  • 0 ng Charles I of 1-gland is said to
  • z ve worn a light
  • iue silk sweater _ hen he was
  • ged in 1649. i-.\eral silk sweat--. -s in red, yellow, z -A blue have been : -nerved in Swe-: - Norway, and I- -mark. Some of - -:~n have star patterns, while others z. re decorated with magnificent flower z plant motifs. The garment in the z::ure is from the E ; xorical Museum .-. Bergen, Norway. P - jto: Ann-Mari j -en I Historical iseum, The Uni-i sity in Bergen.

tradition from the clothing of the upper class is the large cuff on gloves and mittens. In certain areas of Scandinavia, such elaborate cuffs were still knitted and occasionally decorated with fringe and embroidery long after they had fallen out of style among the wealthy, eventually becoming considered as characteristic of the knitting in those particular areas.

A knitting style that was important to knitting in the country cottages was the empire-waisted garment in white cotton. White was the favorite fashion color during the 1700s, and cotton was a new and exciting material, more daz-zlingly white than even bleached wool. It was rather expensive at first, but became affordable by the end of that century. Lace patterned gloves, stockings, laces, puffed sleeves, bed covers, and other items were all knitted on sewing-needle-thin needles through the nineteenth century. Bead knitting also became fashionable.

Two hundred years ago, the differences in clothing style between the rich and poor, the upper and middle classes, and city and country dwellers were great. Class distinctions were maintained by royal edicts and laws that decreed who could or could not dress in silk or velvet garments and knitted hose. The only decoration many were allowed was the narrowest silk ribbon.

By the end of the nineteenth century and into the twentieth century, the greatest differences between city and country people had already begun to disappear. At the same time, the middle classes began to be interested in the peasant's traditional clothing, and many museum collections grew with the folk costume movement. Many of the folk costume collections were assembled at that time. Peasant clothes which had previously been regarded as dowdy and unstylish now took on new worth, as did other aspects of the romanticized peasant culture. Traditional knitting patterns also took on new life in sports and outdoor clothing.

PATTERNS

Knitting patterns have been taken from

The pattern at the upper left is called timglasi8, or hourglass, on the Faroe Islands. To its right is another type of hourglass pattern which was knitted in Norway and Sweden (from Hermann«.

tion at the Gotland Handicraft Shop).

The middle two patterns were knitted on the Faroe Is-¿ands. The one on the left is a sun wheel form. Both are constructed by dividing the area with squares and octagons.

In the lower left is a carnation design on a woman's sweater from Halland. The sweater, made in the middle of the eighteenth century, comes from the Arstad district and is now in the Nordic Museum in Stockholm. Next to :t is a carnation design from a woman's cap found in a grave on Aland see page 71).

square and the octagon—which perhaps explains its prevalence. Squares and octagons divide an area evenly, and squares and stripes can be mathematically proportioned.

Another pattern which is common in Nordic knitting is the wheel with spokes. It is a very old symbol, reminiscent of the sun's rays. The hourglass and carnations are also knitted figures with

carnation has several meanings and has, at various times, symbolized betrothal, divine love, and Christ's death on the cross and his resurrection.

The most important consideration in knitting with two or more colors is that the pattern forms are not spread out over too many stitches; other-w/se, the threads on tfie wrong-sra& rizmzft&T' long and likely to wear poorly or snag. Small, simple lice (seed), square, and diagonal patterns are most suitable and easy to follow. It's easiest to maintain row and stitch gauge if threads are carried over no more than four or five stitches. These strands on the back also form an extra layer of warmth.

DATES AND MONOGRAMS

Considerable labor and care was given to the patterning and color of truly fine clothes. Mittens, stockings, and other garments were often given as presents for weddings and at other festivals. Many of these had the date and initials of the knitter knitted in. Some knitters weren't satisfied with just initials but knitted the whole name or a short text such as "To the Happy Bridal Pair" or similar good wishes.

Dates and initials were also knitted on sweaters, usually in the middle of the chest. Three initials were common in Sweden: one for the first name and two for the family name, which was based on the father's first name and followed by an S for son or a D for daughter. In some districts, such as Delsbo in Halsingland, four letters were used so that there were the same number of initials as numbers in the date. Occasionally, the letters IHS appeared on fishermen's sweaters. They usually stood for Iesus Hominum Salvator,

Swedish Fisherman Knit

"Jesus, man's savior", or In Hoc Signo [Vinces], "By this sign you shall conquer." In Swedish, the letters also signify Iesus Herrens Son, "Jesus, son of the Lord".

COLORS—STRONG AND WEAK

Dyeing has both an expensive and troublesome history. Before synthetic aniline and tar-

14 TECHNIQUE AND STYLE

Scandinavian Knit Pattern

Detail from a :oi sweater influxnasz by garments-in cloth. The : m -tials and da:.~.z :i been knitted in : -.-: chest section. T\e gauge is mon z-40 stitches per cm (4 inj. The gin of the su eaieri unknown, but it is now in the cal Museum :-. Bergen. Photo: .Ah Mari Olsen H: ■::r cal Museum. T-.-: University ir. Bergen.

based dyes became readily available at the end of the nineteenth century, only particularly fine cloth was worth dyeing in strong colors. There were exceptions, of course. Even on fine cloth, the dyers were stingy—stocking feet and the bottom portions of sweaters were often left undyed, as it was considered wasteful to dye parts that would be hidden in shoes or trousers.

Simple working or everyday clothes were usually made with undyed yarns or naturally dyed yarns. Heather, tansy, birch, blueberry, woad, weld, and various lichens and mosses all grew near the cottages. Most of the plants yielded weak and transient colors and were not as color-fast as was desirable. Both natural and packet dyes sometimes rubbed off and dyed the skin and other clothes of the wearer and the hands of the knitter.

A dye recipe was found in Cajsa Warg's fa mous Household Hints for Young Women, published in 1755. This indicates that home dyeing was common at that time, but cloth and yarn were also sent to professional dyers, particularly if one wanted red colors.

Many old sweaters were knitted in undyed. unwashed yam and dyed afterward. It was thought that cloth processed in this way would be softer. Pattern knitting was often done in white and natural sheep's black; the black took on an even deeper tone when the cloth was dyed red or green. Another advantage to dyeing the cloth afterward was that it was easier to knit with light rather than dark yarn. It takes a strong light and good eyes to knit with black yarn.

Another kind of traditional color effect in yarn was ikat or "flame coloring", a type of tie-dye with yarn. A skein or ball of yarn can be knotted in selected sections before the skein is put into

Irregular Stripes With Ikat

Detail from an ikat-patterned cotton locking leg. Flame-patterned knitted stockings were found in several ■zreas of Scandinavia and were even found painted on a iighteenth-century guild chest in ■Jakobstad's Museum in Finland. The stocking, which is knitted in stockinette with ribbed edges, is in the collection of the Abo County Museum. Photo: Pekka Kujanpaa.

the dyebath. The dye cannot penetrate the places where the yarn is tightly tied, and so those areas remain uncolored. With careful planning, you can space the knots for a desired pattern (zigzag, for example) which will then be revealed as the yarn is knitted. These kinds of patterns were sometimes used on caps from Dalarna or on the Danish nikulorshuer (nine-color caps), or were imitated in regular pattern knitting. Another decorative possibility is to knot the skein in so many places that the yarn becomes totally variegated. In stockinette stitch, this yarn gives an irregular salt-and-pepper pattern which was used for indigo blue stockings.

The color blue usually came from indigo, a plant dye which was imported. Nowadays, the color is better known as denim blue and is usually a synthetic dye. It is called Lodbla, or pottery blue, in Denmark because it is used to color pots. Processed indigo is placed in a pot with urine, which helps to release the color. Cajsa Warg's recipe recommends using urine from men who have drunk very strong liquor. Other recipes call for urine that is at least six months old. The "naughty pot", as it was called in Denmark, was placed on the chimney block where it was warm and the smell wasn't too disturbing. When the urine had fermented, the garment was placed in the vat and left for several days. Then it was washed thoroughly. Although vat dyeing with indigo was common, it wasn't discussed too loudly. The smell could remain in the garment and make one unpleasant to be around. Sometimes woad or weld, either wild or cultivated, was used for blue colors.

Reds were usually produced with imported materials such as cochineal and madder. Cochineal comes from a little insect which lives on some cactus plants in the Americas. Madder, used to make the color called Turkey red, was both home-grown and imported. Colors from madder vary considerably but are mostly warm red; dyeing at a high temperature yields a rust brown. Various kinds of lichens and Rubiaceae were also used for dyeing reds.

By blending white, black, and brown sheep's wool, you can get shades of gray and light brown.

The art of designing with natural wool colors has been highly developed in Iceland. Even in Norway, a number of traditional patterns are base; on natural black or brown and white wools. Natural colors are now in style for knitting, and yam manufacturers have begun to dye white yam in shades of natural wool colors.

Patterned Knits

Detail from an ikat-patterned cotton ?locking leg. Flame -patterned knitted iiockings were found in several zreas of Scandina-i :a and were even found painted on a iighteenth-century guild chest in ■Jakobstad's Museum in Finland. The stocking, which is knitted in stockinette with ribbed edges, is in the col-action of the Abo County Museum. Photo: Pekka Kujanpaa.

the dyebath. The dye cannot penetrate the places where the yarn is tightly tied, and so those areas remain uncolored. With careful planning, you can space the knots for a desired pattern (zigzag, for example) which will then be revealed as the yarn is knitted. These kinds of patterns were sometimes used on caps from Dalarna or on the Danish nikulorshuer (nine-color caps), or were imitated in regular pattern knitting. Another decorative possibility is to knot the skein in so many places that the yarn becomes totally variegated. In stockinette stitch, this yarn gives an irregular salt-and-pepper pattern which was used for indigo blue stockings.

The color blue usually came from indigo, a plant dye which was imported. Nowadays, the color is better known as denim blue and is usually a synthetic dye. It is called Lodbla, or pottery blue, in Denmark because it is used to color pots. Processed indigo is placed in a pot with urine, which helps to release the color. Cajsa Warg^ recipe recommends using urine from men who have drunk very strong liquor. Other recipes call for urine that is at least six months old. The "naughty pot", as it was called in Denmark, was placed on the chimney block where it was warm and the smell wasn't too disturbing. When the urine had fermented, the garment was placed in the vat and left for several days. Then it was washed thoroughly. Although vat dyeing with indigo was common, it wasn't discussed too loudly. The smell could remain in the garment and make one unpleasant to be around. Sometimes woad or weld, either wild or cultivated, was used for blue colors.

Reds were usually produced with imported materials such as cochineal and madder. Cochineal comes from a little insect which lives on some cactus plants in the Americas. Madder, used to make the color called Turkey red, was both home-grown and imported. Colors from madder vary considerably but are mostly warm red; dyeing at a high temperature yields a rust brown. Various kinds of lichens and Rubiaceae were also used for dyeing reds.

By blending white, black, and brown sheep's wool, you can get shades of gray and light brown.

The art of designing with natural wool colors has been highly developed in Iceland. Even in Norway, a number of traditional patterns are based on natural black or brown and white wools. Natural colors are now in style for knitting, and van manufacturers have begun to dye white yam in shades of natural wool colors.

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