About a year ago I was asked if I could make a Korsnäs sweater for a new book “Lankapaitoja”. I happily said Yes, I can! The writers Marketta Luutonen and Anna-Maija Bäckman are both accomplished writers and editors, and both have done a life long work in craft associations. Marketta wrote her doctor’s thesis about sweaters: “Rustic Product as a conveyor of meaning, A Study of Finnish Pullovers” (text in Finnish).
The gorgeous photos in Lankapaitoja are taken by Anna-Maija’s husband Gunnar Bäckman, who worked as a professional photographer for many decades.
The sweater I made a copy of is in child’s size, 2-3 years old. The original is in the Finnish National Museum. I got two photos to work from, which wasn’t a problem as they were taken by Gunnar Bäckman. The sweater is unique because of the use of colours: the pink yarn used has not been found in sweaters for adults. I took this photo when I had finished the sweater.
Korsnäs sweaters are unique because of the techniques used, and because of the many colours in a culture where the natural sheep colours white, brown, and black and blends of those was much more common: there’s tapestry crochet in the hem, the upper part of the body, and in the cuffs and upper parts of the sleeves. The “lus”-pattern known from Norwegian sweaters is knitted.
The sweater is named after the municipality where it’s been made since the 19th century. I visit the small museum in Korsnäs almost every summer. The impression when you enter the room with the sweaters is overwhelming every time: it’s so red! So colourful! It’s a wonderful room.
A unique technique was also used in earlier days for knitting the middle part of the body: three knitters sit in a round and knit their own rows simultaneously. The best knitter knits the “lus” (the stranded knitting with one white stitch, and one red or green in alternating rows). This photo is from a knit-in-public day at the museum:
The tapestry crochet was always done by an expert. Not many could do it.
I first learned to knit and crochet the Korsnäs sweater at Marketta Luutonen’s first class in 1982. Even if I haven’t made more than two adult and this one child sweater, I’m fascinated by it. I really do want to make one more.
But, back to the book. There’s much more than the Korsnäs sweaters in the book. Sweaters and accessories from the western coastal region fill the beautiful book. There are also new interpretations of old finds, all just as well made and with the piety you can expect from the two ladies. An example: a cardigan designed by Anna-Maija from an old vest, knitted and crocheted by Jeanette Rönnqvist-Aro and Berit Bagge. Sorry about the bad photo quality, the photo is from an evening at an exhibition where Marketta and Anna-Maija talked about knitting history and the book. The photo in the background shows the vest:
This is also from the exhibition. My small sweater compared to the ones for adults.
The book has 255 pages, 23×30 cm, printed on high class paper with a beautiful layout. It’s written in Finnish, and there will be a Swedish version in the autumn. I don’t know anything about an English version, but my personal opinion is that this is a book that should be translated. The quality is amazing all through, and I’m sure the sweaters, cardigans, purses, mittens etc would interest a bigger audience. Besides the expertly written section about knitting and crochet history in Finland, there are also written patterns with charts.
My sweater modeled by a lovely boy!
I have a few of the myriads of books on knitting in Shetland. As with my spindles, when I’ve bought yet another book I always think “OK, now I don’t need another one”. And as with spindles, eventually I find that I’m wrong.
I gladly recommend all the books I show you today! The textile tradition in Shetland is so overwhelmingly manifold, that one book in your textile library just isn’t enough.
I don’t knit very much Fair Isle, but I still have a couple of books:
As you can see, two classics (McGregor and Starmore). I think you can survive pretty well with those two. Kate Davies is a must for all knitters! For me she represents the very best of new designs leaning on tradition. And the photos are wonderful!
“Knit Real Shetland” is a collection of new designs by among others Jared Flood, Hazel Tindall, Gudrun Johnston, Wolly Wormhead, Sandra Manson, Mary Jane Mucklestone, Mary Kay.
“Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook” by Felicity Ford (Knitsonik) shows you how to make your own designs by using colours and shapes in your surroundings. Felicity is also behind Wovember, the great event we all look forward to this time of the year.
“Wool Week Annual” 2015 and 2016 include essays about Shetland textiles, and designs by designers like Hazel Tindall, Donna Smith, Gudrun Johnston, Outi Kater, Ella Gordon, Wilma and Terri Malcolmson. 2015 is sold out, but 2016 can at least today still be purchased here.
I love knitting lace, and Shetland lace is especially dear to me. I have books on lace knitting in Estonia and Russia also, but I always return to my Shetland lace books. I must confess: I read the books, and look at the photos more than I knit these complicated looking designs. I know it’s less difficult than it seems, so now I’m totally determined: the Premium fleece I bought at Shetland Flock Book will become a Shetland lace.
“Heirloom Knitting” by Sharon Miller is out of print, but can sometimes be found as used copies. This book is considered to be THE book about Shetland Lace.
Liz Lovik’s two books, “The Magic of Shetland Lace Knitting”, and “Magical Shetland Lace Shawls to Knit”, are two books with admirably well and logically made instructions, easy to follow and understand.
“The Book of Haps” is edited by Kate Davies. It’s a collection of hap patterns designed by a number of skilled designers from several countries. As the term “hap” suggests, the shawls are designed for everyday use. The book also has also a fairly long essay about haps and shawls, written by Kate Davies.
All the books above have articles about knitting in Shetland.
“Shetland Textiles 800 BC to the Present” has no patterns, but is just like the titel says, a history book. Of course, you can’t go deep into the different techniques in just one book, but as an introduction it’s very good, and so beautiful!
I forgot to buy a book I’d really love to have, but forgot to buy during Wool Week: A Shetlander’s Fair Isle Graph Book by the Shetland Guild of Spinners, Knitters, Weavers and Dyers. I’ll buy it as soon as my credit card has recovered from my trip. Another book on my wish list is “A Legacy of Lace” by the same guild, also to be found at Jamieson and Smith.
I also have books that only have a couple of Shetland patterns amongst others from all over the world. But if you really want to learn about and understand Shetland knitting, you need books that concentrate on the topic, and that preferably are written by people from Shetland (or at least Scotland Mainland). They know what they are talking about! I very soon realised that when I went to Shetland the first time.
För mina svenska läsare: boken är på finska med ett kort engelskt sammandrag, så jag talar om vad jag tycker bara på finska (=gillar!)
For my English readers: the book is in Finnish with a short summary in English, so I’m telling how I like it only in Finnish (=like!)
Upea kirja karjalaisesta neule- ja piilosilmukkaperinteestä sukissa ja käsineissä!
Jo kirjan nostaminen nettikaupan pakkauksesta sai minut haukkomaan henkeäni. Voi kuinka kaunis kirja! Ajattelin että näin upea, painava (=laadukas paperi) ja suurikokoinen kirja kielii huolellisesta työstä.
Ja niin tosiaan on. Koska olen kiinnostunut tekstiilihistoriasta, olin hyvin iloinen huomatessani kuinka paljon mallien taustatietoja kirjassa on. Kauniit, selkeät valokuvat, helposti luettavaa tekstiä, hienot värit… Valokuvaaja on Marko Mäkinen ja kustantaja Maahenki, joka sekin takka laadun.
Kirjan mallit pohjautuvat museolöytöihin. Kaikista on tehty uusi versio tämän päivän langoista. Jokaisen mallin kohdalla mainitaan museo ja esineen arkistonumero, joskus on myös valokuva museoesineestä.
Minua kiinnostaa erityisesti kirjan kiinteillä ketjusilmukoilla virkatut mallit. Yritin joitakin vuosia sitten löytää enemmän tietoa tämän tekniikan käytöstä Suomessa ja erityisesti Pohjanmaalla artikkelia varten, mutta en löytänyt oikeastaan mitään muuta kuin maininnan käsineistä Hjördis Dahlin väitöskirjassa “Högsäng och klädbod”. Marketta Luutonen välitti minulle pari valokuvaa Kansallismuseosta, mutta siihen se sitten jäi. Ruotsista olin aikaisemmin löytänyt muutaman kirjan, koska siellä tekniikka on säilynyt pitempään kuin Suomessa. “Sukupolvien silmukat” sisältää sekä malleja että kuvia lapasista, käsineistä ja sukista. Kirjassa keskustellaan myös tekniikan nimestä, joka ei ole ihan yksiselitteinen millään tuntemallani kielellä. Törmäsin siihen hakiessani tietoja sekä kirjoista että netistä suomeksi, englanniksi, tanskaksi, ruotsiksi ja norjaksi (ehkä myös saksaksi, en enää muista).
Kirjan tekijät ovat Pia Ketola, Eija Bukowski, Leena Kokko, Anne Bäcklund ja Sari Suuronen. Kiitän heitä suurenmoisesta työstä!
Korinpohjasukat Jääskestä. Muutama viikko sitten näytin korinpohjasukkia Vöyriltä tässä blogissa. Jokohan pitäisi tarttua puikkoihin? No, se oli pelkästään retorinen kysymys, johon vastaan “kyllä”. Aion myös tarttua koukkuun.
Two packages and one magazine in my mail today! Nice way to end the year.
A pink package from Norway, posted to me in Sweden:
There was more pink inside, pink wrapping papers, pink ribbons… and wool (not pink…) The brown wool is lovely Spaelsau lamb, the big white is Suffolk-Norsk Kvit Sau, absolutely gorgeous with a very fine crimp. Both are raw (not scoured). The two small white washed samples are from an unknown breed, but what’s interesting with it is the colour (not visible in the photo, though). It’s strongly coloured yellow, almost orange, and can’t be washed more clean than it is now. It’ll be interesting to see it in a yarn later. This was the first package of three in a Norwegian wool club, so more Norwegian wools are to be expected the next months.
A book sent to me from Sweden: Lise Warburg’s Spinnbok. This is one of the books I learned to spin from. It’s still a very good book, even if it feels somewhat old fashioned today. I used to borrow it from the library along with a few Finnish ones. I opened it at the adequate page, opened a couple of other books also, and placed them on the floor next to my spinning wheel. Then I tried to figure out what to do next. As you may have noticed, I did find out! It took me some time though. Youtube is more effective when you learn the practical things about spinning, but the books give information it’s not possible to get in a few short videos. The theory, the oh so necessary theory! The ground to stand on.
A magazine from the UK: YarnMaker! I’m so happy for this magazine. I also have Spin Off and Ply, which both are quite American (not meaning anything bad at all by saying so!) YarnMaker is a one-woman-magazine, thanks to the editor Dorothy Lumb. It’s quite an achievement, and it gets better all the time. I remember first hearing about it in 2010, shortly after UK Knit Camp in Stirling in Scotland. Quite a few of us spinners had traveled to Stirling tempted by Deborah Robson, who taught one of her later so famous Rare Breeds Wool classes there. One result of this was YarnMaker.
The British have long, unbroken traditions in handspinning, so reading about their work gives a good insight in a more traditional way of looking at spinning. They also have this amazing amount of breeds to choose their wools from, which makes it even more interesting and educational. If you don’t have it already and need something to start the new year with, get it here! There is a Ravelry group also.
… I finished my Shetland lace yarn:
200 grams, 2-ply, wpi 30, 1340 meters. This can be used in a Shetland lace shawl, even if it’s not as fine as the skilled spinners in Shetland would spin for the finest shawls. Top from Jamieson & Smith in Lerwick.
“Shetland Textiles 800 BC to the present” is a beautiful book. The title says what it is about. Awesome photos, great information written by experts on all aspects of Shetland textiles. You can buy it here. Yes it’s expensive, but I’m sure you won’t be disappointed! It would be a great present for someone who loves the textile tradition of Shetland.
“The Magic of Shetland Lace Knitting” by Shetland lace expert Elizabeth Lovick is a book for lace knitters. It explains all techniques you need for designing you own shawls and scarves, and it does it in the way Liz always does, exactly, easy-to-read, enjoyably. The photos have great contrast, which makes it easy to see details. It’s a colourful book as the samples are knitted in dyed yarns. This also is a very beautiful book printed on high quality paper. I highly recommend it for all lace knitters! You find it in several bookshops on internet, and if you hurry you can buy a signed copy from Liz. Details on her Ravelry group “Northern Lace”.