Icelandic Knitting Using Rose Patterns

Icelandic Knitting Using Rose Patterns

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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 more

Product details

  • Paperback | 160 pages
  • 230 x 230 x 12mm | 539.77g
  • Search Press Ltd
  • Tunbridge Wells, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 200 colour illustrations
  • 1844483118
  • 9781844483112
  • 207,832

Review quote

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 of it," she says.But she also asserts that the glossy outer hair of Icelandic sheep gives their wool a "particular shine that makes the wool very much alive." And she discovered that natural browns and greys worked mysteriously poorly with non-Icelandic yarn, the patterns knitting up completely flat, "like dead."The brightest, boldest patterns in the book-and there is something here for every sized member of the family-offer a welcome challenge for a knitter who's ready to try something new and vibrant. A select number of them, in English, are available for purchase from Helene's website. The full range of Istex yarns is readily available from The Icelandic Handknitting Association and in the United States from Reynolds.Helene's patterns demand, in some instances, Fair Isle knitting-in-the-round and the juggling of multiple bobbins. But any knitter who's not intimidated by what one reviewer called A"real knittingA" is urged to knit at least one of these up, wear it, and help usher a bright but hidden heritage into daylight. Lela is a knitting book not just a knitting book? When it contains fascinating information about something else, in this case a little-known aspect of Icelandic folk culture. For centuries, Icelandic people have been knitting inserts for their shoes, mostly based around a stylized rose pattern. Here is their story, and what appeal they have for the modern knitter.I have always been a person fascinated in folk culture, and I hate to see the special things that made the people on a country or an area unique disappear in today's homogenous global village. The patterns on knitted footwear inserts might not seem to have a major influence on anybody's culture at first glance, but a reading of the first half of this book shows that this is not the case. These items show the rich heritage of Nordic pattern making, and mentions of them have found their way into all sorts of places. Back when life was harder and clothes often dull homespun, these handmade and unseen inserts must have made life a little brighter. There has been an exhaustive survey on this subject, and many photos of original shoes, quotations, and other material can be found in here. The rest of the book is filled with patterns for modern knitwear based on these lovely patterns. This is prefaced by many full page photographs of the items being worn or used, and is followed by some Icelandic techniques and the pattern instructions themselves. These are complete with graphs and small pictures of the inserts that inspired them, a charming little touch. This is NOT a book on how to knit, but a book of patterns for the proficient (but not necessarily advanced) knitter who knows what to do. There are no staged photographs here, except for things like Swiss darning and band-weave edging. This is a lovely book, both for your coffee table and the keeper shelf. Knit Today: Helene Magnusson's interest in knitting started when she moved to Iceland to work as a hired hand. On arrival she was given a pair of sheepskin shoes with knitted innersoles; she's never seen footwear like it. Helene learned more on the subject when studying textiles at the Iceland Academy of the Arts and this book details some of her findings, delving into the history of Icelandic knitting. There are 26 patterns inside, including ones for berets, sweaters and blankets. Fans of history and traditional techniques will love this. SlipKnot: Originally published in Iceland in 2006, this paperback of 160 pages combines the results of the author's research into traditional Icelandic shoe inserts with modern designs based on those patterns. It divided members of Leeds/Bradford branch. One member thought the best thing about it was the blanket pattern on the cover and dismissed it as a book of dated patterns made in loosely-knitted garter stitch intarsia. I found it a colourful and inspiring book with the most detailed and well-illustrated instructions for intarsia work that I have come across. It looks as though it is a 'look before you buy' book. Books in English on Icelandic knitting don't come along very often - and this one - translated from the Icelandic - is an unmissable eye-opener to another knitting culture. The brightly coloured designs using traditional rose patterns on everything from sweaters to baby clothes are stylish, adorable, and totally distinctive. They'd make charming gifts, and the basic techniques and designs laid out in the book can be easily adapted for your own patterns, This book is less about making an Icelandic sweater and more about exploring the rich traditions surrounding Icelandic knitting. The first section of the book is dedicated to the tradition of Insert Knitting (creating a knitted insert to place in footwear), and it is truly fascinating. Magnusson has done a wonderful job of capturing the history of this little piece of knitted footwear and uses that history to paint a vivid picture of the traditions that have helped to shape modern Icelandic knitting. The second half of the book focuses on modern patterns for men, women, and children based on examples of motifs found on knitted inserts. She has successfully recreated the colour schemes and patterns on larger garments including scarves, hats, baby blankets, and youth and adult sweaters. The pages reserved for tips and techniques are clear and concise and provide both written and photographic directions that will assist in successful colour work. Even if the patterns in the book are not your style, the history that is presented in this book is interesting and well worth the read.-Knitty.comshow more

About Helene Magnusson

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 more