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  • Writer's pictureSarah Matthess

More Norwegian Knitting

My latest Norwegian handknit pattern is taken from the book Nordic Knitting by Susanne Pagoldh. This is a collection of over 30 patterns, from Norwegian, Swedish, Icelandic, Faroe Islands and more. I found my copy in a library sale 15 years ago for £1, but it's getting a little harder to find now, although I see a few copies on Amazon for slightly more money!

This is my second sweater using essentially the same pattern. See my other handknit using a very similar pattern in 'Gallery of Knitwear' which was dyed with onion skin dye (also pictured below). Susanne's patterns are very easy to mix and match, as she shows how to alter, modify and assemble to an individual size. My latest blue handknit is a pull over sweater, but the one below was cut up the front to make a jacket with an added double sided border.

These are both steeked handknit, on circular needles, sized 2.75mm (ribbing) and 3.5mm for the body of the garment. Knit in one piece, and the sleeves knit onto the garment with circular needles after cutting the arm opening steek. In these garments I have added underarm and side gussets for extra space. Usually I would continue the pattern on in the gusset, but in the case of the blue one I decided on a plain gusset.

This is an extra large sweater knitted for a very tall man, so there was a lot of knitting here!!

Yarn for this garment was brown/grey Bluefaced Leicester, which I hand carded out very smooth and spun worsted as a 2 ply yarn, to a '4ply' weight (UK). Basically that's about 30 stitches to 4". BFL can be hard to card, but this was soft and silky lambswool and although it took time, the softness of the fleece is worth the effort.

I overdyed my finished yarn with navy acid reactive dyes, which resulted in what I think is a rather nice French Navy. The contrasting white yarn is hand spun Shetland, spun to the same weight as the BFL.

The ribbed sections of Norwegian handknits were usually done in blocks, 2x2 ribbing for about half an inch, then swapping round and doing another half inch of purl where you previously did knit stitches, to make a basket weave type pattern as the above picture shows. I chose to cast on with 2 rows of stocking stitch, which gives a slightly curled edging, which I find wears well over time as it is not 'tight', and the stitches don't pull taught when stretched.

This is a photo of inside of the gusset that I cut into the garment. After deciding where to place the gusset (knit separately), I tacked in red wool, the area to be cut, then machine stitched a double row of stitching either side of the red tacking. After which I cut up along the red tacking with sharp scissors, and then inserted my gusset, hand stitching it in. Many people oversew the raw cut edges, but I always bind mine with a bias cut strip of cotton. These garments undergo a lot of pulling about as they are worn and washed over the years, so I feel a biased binding strip is the only way to go for durability.

I first cut out a number of bias strips of cotton fabric (quilt makers weight) on my rotary cutting board. My strips would be abou 1.5" wide. Then I join them all and iron a crease down the centre, running the entire length. Then I fold both sides of the strip into the fold mark in the centre, to make a strip of bias binding. You can buy bias binding already made, but then you have to take the width the mandufacturer is offering, whereas if you make your own you can use the weight, colour and width you want. I hand stitch the binding on one side of the raw edge, along the fold line, then when it's all stitched on, I fold the top over and whip stitch the other side on, so the entire raw edge is encased. I then whip stitch the other side. Hopefully these pictures help!The one below shows the top piece of bias being whip stitched on, the bottom piece has just been tacked by hand on one side before being folded over.

When this hand stitching is finished you will have a garment with absolutely no raw edges inside and very neatly finished off. I use Gutterman's hand quilting 100% cotton thread.

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