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!
It’s been a rather hectic January. I had articles to write, and a spindling class to start planning, but I have also spun, crocheted and knit. I want to show you some of what I’ve done.
In the autumn I suddenly saw how I should knit a sweater I’ve been thinking of for a while. I spun the yarns from different fibers, mostly Swedish Finull but also Merino, silk, and cotton nepps during several years without a special project in mind. One day, as so often happens, I picked through my yarns in search for something, and saw these skeins together in my mind, laid them out, and started the sweater later that day. Here it is:
I also took part in a spin-together event in the Swedish spinning group on Ravelry. I spun green, lilac, blue, and red fine 2-ply yarns from Swedish Finull. I dyed the wool last spring, and carded it during the summer. The grey and black skeins are Norwegian Pelssau, a very nice and soft wool. The yarns are part of a project where I try to spin different fibers on different tools, trying to make yarns I can use together. I used one of my old Finnish Saxony wheels, Louet Victoria, and Hansen Minispinner for these and the brown and red skeins below. The yarns in the sweater where spun on Kromski Symphony, Louet Victoria, and Hansen Minispinner, and they are much thicker.
The red skeins has company from a natural brown Finull skein.
I wanted to test the yarns i one of my favourite techniques, tapestry crochet. This purse is now on its way to a spinning and dyeing friend in Sweden:
The sheep are my version of stranded knitting sheep you can find in many patterns. I already know my friend likes them, even if she doesn’t know they are hers. I showed the purse on Facebook the same day I had sent the package, and got a positive comment from her. I hope she’ll be happy when she opens the parcel! She’s a skilled dyer. As you can see, the colours in my yarns are uneven, which is what I’m after when I dye. I think it makes the finished item more vivid.
This is an experiment: white cotton and purple silk noils. I had a high quality cotton sliver that I wasn’t able to spin into a nice yarn. So, with an aching heart, I took my hand carders and turned it into punis. I had just seen Sarah Anderson blending cotton and silk, so I wanted to give it a try. I’ll use it as an effect yarn in a woven scarf one day.
I’m looking out on a white world. We have snow, which is wonderful this time of the year. It makes the world lighter. The morning sun gives a golden glow to both snow and creatures!
I started knitting a sweater for hubby in December last year. Now it’s finished. I think he likes it! I composed the sweater from ordinary Gansey patterns and knitted with 3-ply worsted spun yarn from Pirtin Kehräämö. Hubby and Kasper are standing by the big fir tree that grows on our back yard, protecting us from cold northern winds. I knitted a scarf for hubby also, from sock yarns.
I plied two skeins of yarn some years ago. I used several left overs that looked pretty good together. Out came one of the ugliest yarns I’ve ever spun, so I tried to forget all about it. A couple of weeks ago I happened to see the skeins beside a dark grey commercial Merino/Silk yarn when I was looking for something else in my yarn stash. Wow, I thought. I started to knit at once. I saw there wasn’t enough of the handspuns, but thought I’d find something for the ribbings later. As always when I’m not sure I have enough yarn I started knitting without ribbings and cuffs. I add those later.
I wanted to knit winter pants for my granddaughter, so I dyed a white Finnsheep yarn red. As always, I have several knitting going all the time. One evening the pants lay on the sweater. Wow, I thought. I dyed some more red yarn.
There’s silk, Merino and probably BFL in the sweater, also in the handspun yarns. It’s fairly thin, and it feels lovely. After having it on for a few hours I know I’ve made a new favorite winter sweater. It’s warm, but not hot, and it’s very soft. A worthy sweater to celebrate Wovember!
I knitted this cardigan from small hand dyed skeins and a teal commercial yarn. The mini skeins were dyed in beautiful blue, brownish, lilac and green shades by spinning friend Ingrid in Sweden. I loved the cardi, but the last couple of years it felt as if it didn’t quite fit me anymore. Today I turned it into a sweater by simply sewing the two front pieces together. Voilà – sweater! And it fits me again! It only needed to be more firm at the front.
On request after publishing this post I added an old photo of the back. There are several photos of the knitting progress in my Ravelry stash.
I think this fits very well in the Wovember theme. Reuse, mending, pure wool. I’ve always wanted pockets in the cardi, but never got myself to making them. I think I’ll make pockets now. Pockets for things I use when working: small scissors, yarn gauge. Knife. Phone. Needles. No. No needles. Those I attach to my jeans, forget where I put them, and find them the next day. Eventually.
I couldn’t resist showing my red socks also. Because, very soon I will change from sandals to shoes indoors, and I will see my socks only in the mornings and evenings. It’s snowing. Sandals go to sleep like bears in the winter.