Friday inspiration






From Norway, Sweden and Estonia

61 thoughts on “Friday inspiration

  1. I wonder how long it will be before you decide to make something similar?
    I used to live in Sweden, how I long to go back there.

  2. What wonderful designs. And the yellowish, nipped-in-at-the-waist jacket …. how smart that would be today! Timeless.
    Thanks for showing a few pages of this book.

  3. The socks are lovely! Would that I were a better sock knitter. Hope your health is improving my the minute, Kate. I send you cheerful, healing thoughts.

  4. How can I learn to run wool at the back for fair isle type pattern and not get tightening? Any suggestions? I am so frustrated at not being able to knit your patterns.

    1. I learned from real masters and they showed me how they knit Nordic patterns by stretching what you have just knit while it’s still on the needles to see if the stich pattern has “give.”(This is advice to new beginners). If the stitch almost disappears its too tight. Don’t let the carried thread be too loose,it must not “hang”. I’ve been knitting for 50 years. I was taught to look at the item and then make my own pattern and all.

    2. Practice is the key – start small (with mittens or a hat) and work up. A good tip is to space the stitches in front of the float out on the needle before knitting the next stitch in the contrast colour so that the float isn’t tight across the back.

      If that’s not working for you then another tip is to knit the garment inside out so the floats are on the outside (then turn it right side out at the end).

  5. How can I learn to run wool at the back for fair isle type pattern and not get tightening? Any suggestions? I am so frustrated at not being able to knit your patterns.

  6. I have this book too. It definitely is inspirational. I have another book that is my absolute favorite which is titled ‘Colours of Shetland’. It’s influential, inspirational and fills my heart with joy.

  7. Stormy, you are SO right :) oh that sock/stocking at the top, a wedding present perhaps?
    Stay well, enjoy your picture books! Pet Bruce!!!

  8. I´ve got «Norske Strikkemønstre»! This book was first published in 1933, under the name Annichen Sibbern. She was born in 1905 and went from farm to farm in Norway collecting knitting patterns. I´ve got the next edition (1947), under her married name (Bøhn). I inherited mine from my grandmother, not as good as new, -but in my opinion the fact that a 66 yr old book, the jewel in my grandmothers collection (as it is mine), can still inspire, -the book should show signs of wearing! Your pic shows a later edition. Unfortunately I don´t know which.

  9. I love seeing that! My mother in law, who is a native of the coast or Norway south of Bergen, and who’s maiden name was Salbu (linked to Selbu) owns a version of this collection which has a different cover. I love to browse that book when we are in Oslo at her home.

  10. oh, don’t you just love being a girL?
    I feel so empowered by these beautiful works and from women who lead the way.

    No wonder I love yarns and threads and textures.
    It’s in my DNA .

  11. I LOVE that cardi with the cinched-in waist. I think I’d almost dare to try steeking with a pattern that beautiful (hint, hint) :)

    1. The book is called Eesti Rahva Roivaid which I have. My edition is 1957, inherited from my lovely Aunty Thea who is the last Estonian of our family (she now lives in Sweden) The book is fascinating but unfortunately it is in Estonian and my Dad didnt teach me any of the language which is a shame, so consequently I cannot read the book. What a shame. Hope this info is helpful though for others who want to buy it.

  12. OH!!! On the folk costume poster, I have my great-grandmother’s folkdrakt from the province of Dalarna. Her costume is the outfit in the second row, second one in from the left. The horizontal stripe in the woven wool apron tags it from the town of Rattvik in the Province of Dalarna. There is little purse over her hip, it is made of layered and embroidered felt with a woven cotton strap and more important even than the apron is the pointed, navy blue hat that is also a stiff wool felt with cool red and white pom-pom (like those ones you were toying with). So much socio-cultural information in fabric and costumes!!!!! Thanks for the great post!!!!

  13. Lovely to see the Skane dress, My lovely friend Berit wove all of her dress, including apron and bands, and I have a piece she sent as a runner. Magical skill! I love Scandinavian and Estonian designs, knit a lot of them, and collect pattern books. So pleased to see them in today’s blog. There s always a treat to surprise us. Thanks, Kate. Hope you are better.x

  14. I also have this book ( and hundreds of others)! I have knit many of the patterns and have modified most of the patterns to fit my huge Norwegian family. When I say huge I mean tall 6 feet five inches and down and very muscular. The owners of the yarn shop loves to see me!! I always leave with a very large amount of yarn! Lol!! I knit for 17 people every year. I also make bunad accessories.
    It is hard not to be inspired by the beautiful articles the women of the past produced. Every time I knit,sew,embroider,weave,spin an item, I thank them for the skills they acquired and passed down.

  15. It’s so fun to see these designs! Thank you! I think that my favorite is the cover of Norske Strikkemonstre. (And it’s fascinating to learn more about it from Woolgathering. Thanks to you, too!)

  16. It’s not possible that “Norske Strikkemonstre” translates as “Norwegian Knitting Monster,” is it? Because that would be too wonderful.

    1. ‘monstre’ means patterns. I should add that the ‘o’ is a ‘slashed o’, sometimes represented as ‘oe’. It sounds like a German ‘o’ with an umlaut.


  17. Many thanks for your post and your amazing blog. Your blog is my favorite and I always look forward to a new post from you. The book from Norway is a popular book here in the Nordic countries and is difficult to find. It’s exciting to see how we are now using the network inspired by designs from around the world.
    I have a question for you, if you would have time to respond to it sometime in the future, or if there are anyone of you others who can respond. I am a crafter from Sweden who knits on machine and I like to use Shetland yarn because it has good quality that makes the garments last for many years. I wonder if there is a difference between Shetland yarns from different mills? I order my yarn from JC Rennie. I will be very happy if someone can answer.

  18. The very last photo has commentary in russian, actually. Talking about different types of embroidery for married women (fig. 1-4) and young (unmarried) girls/women (fig 5 and 6).

  19. That is *quite* the book you have there ! Many things I see which at the same time have been rattling in my ideas. Always so odd that way, that when I read your latest post, it often confirms something for me. Thanks for the very informative post Kate !

  20. The cover alone of the Norwegian book is inspiring!

    Were Estonians obliged to use the Cyrillic alphabet when they were ruled by the USSR? Or is that a Russian book about Estonian needlework?

    1. Hi Gretchen,
      I lived for a while in Russia and the Baltics and have studied the languages in the area so I can tell you that the Estonians did keep their own language (which uses Latin letters) during the Soviet occupation, though Russian was taught in schools and used in government and universities, etc. So this looks like a Russian-language publication about Estonian needlework, like your second question suggests. I’m interested in knowing more about the book too though!

  21. Isn’t that a wonderful book?

    Kerstin, there are significant differences between Shetland yarns from varying mills. Each mill sources, sorts, blends, and processes it fibers differently, and then spins yarns with distinct and varying properties. Yarns of similar weights can usually be substituted for each other (i.e., work up to the same dimensions), although the resulting fabrics will behave slightly, or significantly, differently. One of the projects I’m currently engaged in involves swatching Shetland yarns from multiple sources to learn more about exactly how different they are.

  22. Reminds me a bit of my all time favourite (now out-of-print) book, Soveig Hisdal’s “Poetry in Stitches”. So much inspiration from the Nordic countries!

  23. Hi Kate,
    What an amazing book that must be! I am doing a blogging e-course at the moment and just wanted to let you know that I have used you as one of my ‘blogs that rock’ for this week’s homework. I hope you don’t mind!

  24. Do you happen to own the Swedish poster design? I would love to buy it! I reversed google image, and only one other image shows up that is slightly different than the poster you feature….

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About Kate Davies

writer, designer and creator of Buachaille (100% Scottish wool)