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Icelandic Knitting Using Rose Patterns [Paperback]

Helene Magnusson
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

18 July 2008
This book includes 26 beautiful garments and accessories, taking as inspiration traditional Icelandic rose-pattern designs.This charming, stylish and colourful collection includes sweaters, waistcoats, hats, scarves and gloves for the whole family.A section on the history of rose patterns offers a fascinating glimpse into the traditions of Icelanders and a techniques section illustrates all you need to know to create these designs.

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Icelandic Knitting Using Rose Patterns + Icelandic Handknits: 25 Heirloom Techniques and Projects
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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Search Press Ltd (18 July 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844483118
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844483112
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 22.9 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 357,625 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Knitter's Review:Chances are you are unaware that the soft-soled fish skin shoe ever existed. You're probably also unaware of the knitted insert (or insole), which was devised to provide warmth and comfort to the shoe wearer. This Icelandic tradition dates back to perhaps the 17th century and incorporated vivid geometric patterns into those inserts meant to be worn (but never seen) for Sunday church outings and other special occasions.The inserts are thoroughly obsolete and almost wholly forgotten. But thanks to the efforts of designer Helene Magnusson-a French former-lawyer who has made Iceland her home for the past 12 years until a recent move to Luxembourg-Icelandic insert motif knitting has been reintroduced and reinterpreted.Helene explores the history of the knitted insert in her book, Icelandic Knitting: Using Rose Patterns. The book traces the origins of the soft shoe and the hazy beginnings of knitting in Iceland, until the two converge on the knitted insert.A Little BackgroundThe Icelandic word for "insert" is illepur, and it shows up in a number of unflattering traditional expressions, such as: Hann var mer illepur I annan sko, andskotinn sa arna, delightfully translated as: For me he was like an insert in one shoe-the devil! Accompanying the text are photographs of dozens of inserts, football-shaped conundrums that Helene unearthed in various museums during the course of her research. The patterns incorporated into the fanciest of the shoe inserts are "joyful and challenging," Helene says. Four- and eight-pointed roses of several already-familiar varieties (step, hammer, wind), and also checks, diamonds, and flowerpots, were knitted up, intarsia-style, on a garter-stitch background-a combination that is likely unique to Iceland-in cheerful reds and yellows and blues and greens, often with accompanying striped embellishment or band-woven edges. A pair was considered an extravagant gift."At the time the inserts were used, they were the only colorful garments in the otherwise somber brown, black, dark blue or grey wardrobes" of hardworking farm and fishing families, continues Helene. "Everyone liked to own a pair of these inserts; they brought color and joy into extremely difficult lives."Taking The Insert OutHelene's book, though, seeks to do more than merely rekindle a tiny, extinguished facet of Icelandic heritage. Its real intrigue lies in Helene's original designs: 26 sweaters, hats, scarves, and mittens in which Helene refashions for a contemporary audience the striking, complexly wrought motifs of the shoe insert. Together they are bold, fresh, and utterly absent of gloom. For all their intense color block stylings, they are also miraculously elegant and modern.Hammer rose-with a square at its core and its eight petals ending in bludgeon-like forms-is the template for both a vest and a cardigan sweater. It makes for a compelling repeated pattern because "it is graphic and versatile," says Helene, "and looks quite different when you render it in different colors." In the first instance: ochre, black, green, red, and violet on a cream-colored background, with eye-boggling results. In the second, the same colors are woven into a green background for a more demure effect.Helene favors, too, an eight-petaled wind rose that decorates a long tunic in which the pattern is magnified to a single blown-out rose and a short cowl-necked sweater in which smaller roses repeat. A comparatively subdued black and white checkered insert pattern for a man's sweater is another of the book's highlights.Native MaterialsHelene uses Icelandic materials: Looband, lafoss Lopi and Lett-Lopi (all 100% new Icelandic wool from Istex and distributed in the United States by Reynolds); and imported Merino spun and dyed in Iceland (Kambgarn). She's chosen Icelandic yarns "for the sake o --Knitters Review

We're always fascinated by the way people in other cultures knit, and Icelandic Knitting traditions are both similar to and different from our own British heritage. Taking traditional knitted shoe inserts as her starting point, Helen Magnusson takes us on a guided tour of techniques and patterns traditionally used in Icelandic knitting, with intriguing bits of information about the culture that created the pieces thrown in for good measure. A talented knitwear designer, Helene uses the traditional motifs preserved on the shoe inserts to create colourful garments for the whole family, from bright knits for babies and toddlers through to full-size sweaters for men and women. The colour combinations are vivid and beautiful, and slightly startling, perhaps, if you're used to the quiet neutrals so often seen on the High Street. Great for kids, brights are a great mood-lifter on grey winter days. We love the jumper Helene has called ' a second eight-petal rose sweater'. Its simple geometric design cleverly conjures up the image of a flower garden without making you feel like a walking rose bush. --Simply Knitting, Nov 08

About the Author

Helene Magnusson was born in France in 1969. She completed a Masters degree in Law and worked for some time as an attorney in Paris. In 1995 she moved to Iceland where she began studying art and design. She graduated from the Department of Textile and Fashion Design of the Iceland Academy of the Arts in 2004, and she now works as a freelance designer. Her inspiration comes from Icelandic handicrafts, which she develops in new and exciting ways. She has taken part in several design exhibitions all over the world.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One to own 12 Mar 2010
I know I may not be impartial but I just love this book. Iceland has a great knitting heritage, which is almost always projected through the bulky Lopi-sweaters or the Victorian-type lace knitting by foreign designers. As interesting as it most often is (Nicky Epstein's sweater in 'Knitting on Top of the World' excluded), this will be an entirely new aspect for most foreign knitters. Foreign knitters as I'm Islandic myself.

Not only has Helene Magnusson brought these 'knitted soles' out of the treasure chest, where they've lain discarded by most people for the better part of the past hundred years, but she has also composed exciting #to me at least) designs for everyday people as well as those, wanting to appear a little less ordinary, all the while preserving the old techniques.

Even for experienced knitters this book should bring some challanges as well as new discoveries since intarsia in garter stitch is pretty hard to come by. The variety of designs is also considerable, although the bigger part consists of baby things and something for the ladies there are a couple of handsome guy knits too somewhere in there.

Not wanting to mislead anyone, I've only got the Icelandic copy and don't know how much care the translaters have taken, but from what I hear it's an 'ownworthy' copy!

Asgrimur Einarsson
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this book! 26 May 2010
By Maana
I bought this book after coming across helene's Union Jack/French Flag cardigan on the internet and finding myself litterally fascinated by the result you can get with this technique.
I like the format part history of the Islandic shoe soles part knitting patterns. (I always like to learn more about the history of craft)
The patterns are gorgeous and attractive, the colour combinations amazing. There is a section on the technique of Icelandic Intarsia, relatively easy to get around in my opinion, and I am not a specially skilled and fast knitter. And yes, there are a lot of yarn ends to tidy up which is not too bad as long as you tidy them up as you go. I have started small, well, kind of small as I am knitting the baby blanket which comprises 12 rose patterns knitted twice. My next project will be one of the sweaters...mmmmm...but which one? Looks like I am spoilt for choice...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars beautiful but messy 9 May 2010
By elle
a friend bought the book, and after a quick brouse i had to buy it for myself. Beautiful pictures, lovely works, original styles and georgeous colors. Easy patterns, also for å non-native English speaker like myself.
I started off thinking i wanted to make one of the sweaters, but then thought i\d better make something small first. So i chose å pair of gloves.
They turned out beautiful, but because the patterns are such that there are many little areas of the work, with little balls of yarn for each area of a color, the are a million ends to sew at the end, even for one glove. It takes a really long time, and is a bit of a downer. But, all in all, a good, easy read book, lovely patterns. I am going to try the sweather i like so much, but.. will have to plan a different solution to the million-end-problem.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed 24 April 2013
By Julia
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Would like to have seen a greater variety of patterns. Interesting section on history of inserts but disappointed no pattern for these.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Photos and History of Icelandic Knitting 16 Feb 2009
By Bonnie Brody - Published on Amazon.com
I found this book a fascinating history of Icelandic knitting. Most of the book focuses on the historical Icelandic tradition of knitting shoe inserts. The photos of the shoe inserts throughout the first part of the book are especially interesting. They are also very beautiful. So much lovely knitting going under the foot where no one can see it! The knitting of inserts is a labor of love.

There is also a nice section on the techniques of Icelandic knitting such as band weave edging (slynging) and Swiss darning. The patterns, however, are another story. There are only a few I would consider knitting, mostly for children. Some of the adult patterns are a bit off the wall. Think Bjork!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine gathering packed with color photos and keys to unusual projects 18 Jan 2010
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Icelandic Knitting Using Rose Patterns is a unique 'must' for any library strong in knitting directions. It provides a survey of rose-pattern knitting in Iceland, covering the basics of how to apply traditional Icelandic knitting techniques to a range of projects from sweaters to baby hats. Any collection catering to knitters will find this a fine gathering packed with color photos and keys to unusual projects.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rich history and source of information 17 Feb 2012
By MOB Knitter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful book. The first half is a scholarly yet interesting and accessible account of traditional Icelandic knitted shoe inserts. The second half applies the unique traditional patterns and simple techniques in a variety of knitting patterns. Gorgeous and well produced images. I love it!
5.0 out of 5 stars Good resource 4 April 2013
By Nathanne Verner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I got this book so I could make the baby blanket on the cover. It uses garter stitch intarsia so I needed the tutorial to learn how to do this. The author gives a very thorough explanation with pictures showing how to do this. The other designs in the book are unique and wonderful for children's sweaters and hats.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a gift 22 Jan 2013
By Elena - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
nice condition, great price ,will keep you busy for the rest of your life, do not requiere to be recharged
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