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Norwegian Handknits: Heirloom Designs from the Vesterheim Museum [Illustrated] [Hardcover]

Janine Kosel
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
Price: £17.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Sep 2009
This book collects thirty patterns for handknits from the Vesterhein Museum - mittens, socks, scarves, hats, handbags, knapsacks, sweaters - all inspired by the traditional knits housed in the museum. With an introduction reflecting on the history of Norwegian-style knitting and the story behind the handknits that inspired the patterns, this is both a practical guide, a cultural history, and a lovely look at the rich tradition of European knitting.

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Norwegian Handknits: Heirloom Designs from the Vesterheim Museum + Traditional Scandinavian Knitting (Dover Knitting, Crochet, Tatting, Lace) + 150 Scandinavian Knitting Designs (Knitters Directory)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Voyageur Press Inc.,U.S. (1 Sep 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0760334285
  • ISBN-13: 978-0760334287
  • Product Dimensions: 26 x 22 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 455,691 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Inspired bt antique knits and other needelwork, the designs in Norwegian Handknits make traditional motifs and techniques accessible for the modern knitter. The pieces which inspired this collection can be found in the Vesterheim Norwegian-American museum in Decorah, Iowa. 'Vesterheim' means 'Western Home' and was used by Norwegian immigrants to refer to their new home, it's their work and skils which are represented here. The book includes information about creating the designs, as well as detailed explenations which will help you master challenging techniques, making this an excellent book to read as well as knit. Many of the designs are quite complex but the end result is worth the effort. The collection of over 30 patterns covers a wide range of items form headbacnds to a backpack. We love the variety of pieces, and even though most of the items in the museum were designed for 'best', the shapes and fabrics used to make the originals and their modern counterparts extremely practical. It's also surprising how many different styles are represented here. Although the designs are all Norwegian in flavour, teh different regions have very different looks. While many of the garments are one size, the sweaters come in a good range of sizes. --Simply Knitting, December, 2009

I love this book for the photographs of the museum-quality knitted items in the Vesterheim Museum's collection. (I would love it even more if the photographs of the historical items were larger than thumbnails--they average about 2ins x 2.5ins.) I also love the historical photographs of Norwegians in traditional dress, and the photos of some of the people who actually wore the original knitted items. The patterns that interest me least are the ones that are "'nspired' by motifs lifted from items in the collection. For example, there is a 'Reindeer Headband' pattern that uses a standard reindeer motif found on an embroidered pillow cover that was made in 1937; and there is a 'Rose or Bridal Whimple' pattern that seems to be a modern design with only a row of stylized roses (or a row of stylized man and woman clasping hands) taken from a motif found on Selbu mittens. However, there is a pattern for a 'Dancing Hat', charted for 35s/37r to 4" that allows you to make a hat that is fairly close to a museum replica of the original. There is also a pattern for 'Cross Country Ski Socks' in blue and white, charted at 34s/40r to 4 ins, that produces an absolutely stunning pair of socks sporting an eight-point star motif, with patterned calf gusset and alternating blue and white stitches on the sock sole, that is virtually indistinguishable from the original. The 'Ruth's Cap' pattern, for a baby hat, is, unfortunately, written for a much larger gauge than the original, but the information about the original knitter's concept would enable an experienced knitter to reproduce the orignal in a fine-gauge yarn. In addition, there are instructions for making (1) 'Nisse Hats', the pointed stocking hats worn by Norwegian folklore elves, (2) Kumihimo braids, (3) needle-felted Rosemaling motifs to attach for decoration, (4) 'shag' that creates a sort of furry embroidered decoration, and (5) 'Decorative Felt Balls' that can be attached to drawstrings or scarves or anything that needs bobbles to look finished. There are patterns for traditional Norwegian patterned mittens, an adult 'Sami Sweater', two intricately patterned adult 'Voss Sweaters', a fringed 'Voss Shawl', and a delightful 'Work Day Shawl' with a garter stitch center and a swirly sawtooth edging. There is even a recipe for Norwegian 'Krumkake'. The whole book is beautifully presented, with lovely photos of the finished items. The text is informative, well-written, and places everything in historical context. This is a book for knitting history buffs to treasure. Because knitted items wear out, and are hard to preserve, there are all too few photographs available of historical knitted items. The book contains a history of Norwegian knitting, stories about what inspired the handknits, 30 patterns, beautiful photographs, and lots of folklore and traditions. The book is divided into four primary sections with patterns included in each: Knitting Techniques, Simple Knitting and Embellishments, Two Color Knitting, and Adventurous techniques. I especially liked the Ruth Hat which is simple yet lovely and the 2-Thumbed Dancing Mittens. As a sweater knitter primarily, I went ga-ga for the Adult Voss Sweaters, the Sami Sweaters and Voss Family Sweaters. As with most Norwegian knitting, the patterns contain a lot of multi-colored knits. My primary reason for learning to knit was to learn to knit Norwegian sweaters. Looking at this book, I am reminded of why I first picked up knitting needles and went to a class--Fairbanks Reader, Nov, 2009-- --Fairbanks Reader, Nov, 2009--

It really is an incredibly beautiful book full of color and vintage black and white photos. It contains 30 patterns for accessories and a few sweaters inspired by objects in the Vesterheim Museum in Decorah, Iowa. Each pattern is accompanied by a photo of the knit or tapestry or painting that inspired it. The book even includes a few recipes for traditional Scandinavian sweets. There are some good photos and diagrams of some interesting techniques like twisted cord and applied twisted I-cord. Also, there is a pretty good section of felted items and felting info as well. --Knittingcolour dot com, Nov, 2009

About the Author

Janine Kosel is co-author of Norwegian Handknits. She has been knitting since her mother taught her as a young girl. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

SUE FLANDERS  has been designing knitwear for more than twenty years. Her patterns have appeared in many publications, including Interweave Knits, Knitter’s magazine, Cast-On and in two books by Melanie Falick, Knitting America and Kids Knitting. She is co-author of Norwegian Handknits: Heirloom Designs from Vesterheim Museum (Voyageur Press, 2009) and Swedish Handknits: A Collection of Heirloom Designs (Voyageur Press, 2012).

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Norwegian via American 17 Jan 2011
A truly beautiful book and obviously a labour of love by the authors. The photographs of the end products are great but the old photos from Norway are awe inspiring. I lent this book to my Auntie who is an amazing knitter so the fact that she even wanted to look at this is praise indeed. I felt that the authors were respectful of the history of this knitting form but also that they were not afraid to take Norwegian heritage to the next level. I could imagine making everything in this so well worth buying and maybe letting your kids have a look too so they can have an insight in to the history of the ordinary instead of just kings and queens.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Norwegian Handknits 19 Aug 2010
This book was bought for my wife. As a knitter of 50+years experience she loved the designs, the patterns and the
history of Norwegian knits. She hopes to tackle some projects when the winter comes in. A good buy and great
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars norwegian handknits 23 April 2010
This is a wonderful craft book that will also appeal as a coffee-table book to those who want to watch while you knit!
Beautiful pictures, and a real Scandinavian feel.
The patterns are easy to follow, and very inspiring, although i would have liked more info on where to get the wool.
A brief look in a knitting magazine will probably solve that problem.
Thoroughly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful designs- difficult to make 9 Feb 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Beautiful book! Looks possibly too hard for me to make any of it by the designs are incredible! Maybe I need some lessons!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and an interesting read 5 Feb 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book gives a fascinating insight into the history behind Norwegian knitting. The photographs are beautiful and the patterns are great. It is currently my bedside companion.
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