Knitting in the Nordic Tradition is the recent English translation of a classic Danish knitting book. This book is not for beginner knitters – the patterns are not patterns so much as they are charts and recipes, and would be ideal for designers or knitters who are looking to develop a deeper understanding of the construction of knitted garments and accessories in traditional Nordic styles, as well as the history and meaning behind the motifs that appear in popular knitting in this area through the ages. The book is fascinating, not just for the history, but in the way it deconstructs the elements of charted knitting through sketches and schematics that show how the charts come together in 3D forms, which is particularly helpful when looking at the varieties in thumb gusset construction or how charts come together in crown decreases.
You can see from the photos above that the book is in black and white, and is completely the same (except for the language) as the original Danish version published in the early 1980s. You also can get an idea of how much is packed onto each page – ideas for chart combinations, different charts for thumb gussets that compliment the main chart, as well as information about the math behind the construction.
As I mentioned in my review of Alice Starmore’s books, colourwork can seem daunting. I’ve done it loads of times and I still don’t feel confident about my colour choices until I’ve done a few different swatches. So let me introduce you to my new low-stakes, super easy way to swatch colourwork combos for knitters who hate swatches and feel like they can’t put colours together:
Fair Isle Mice! These are from the free fair isle mice pattern, and instead of using the charts provided, I just substituted different charts from Knitting in the Nordic Tradition instead. They knit up super fast, even for a slow knitter like me. You could whip up a mouse and even second guess your colours, rip back, and substitute a different colour in about an hour. Probably even faster, if you are a fast knitter! These were an easy, zero-stress way of trying out colour combos. I knit four of these mice, using charts I found on pages 26, 27, and 112.
The first mouse I knit was the grey one on Gatsby’s tail, near his back foot. My colour choices were not highly visible against the grey background, so for the rest of the mice, I decided to add in a contrasting stripe and a different colour for the background. Those three mice really pop, and have the added benefit of looking like they are wearing tiny waistcoats.
Then I decided that since I made these mice for the cats to play with, I should put a little catnip oil on them to really get their interest.
Then they got all gross and chewed on and I knew the kids would inevitably pick up the mice, so I washed them in some unscented Eucalan (because it’s non-toxic, pet-safe, and baby-safe):
The white mouse ended up with a chewed-out hole in its back, and one of the grey mice has an eye that is starting to dangle, but it was truly the point of the experiment. No useless swatches to stash away, but something that can be enjoyed even if I don’t like the way it turned out. It was easier than ever to combine colours quickly because I wasn’t trying to make anything big, and the cats have no judgement on my colour combos.
If stranded knitting makes you nervous, or you are hesitant to try out charts that aren’t part of a specific pattern, I really think you should try these mice. They are so small and so quick, perfect for little leftover bits of yarn. My chart rows didn’t always line up exactly with the chart rows from the original pattern, but it doesn’t matter if some mice are a little longer and some are a little shorter. If you don’t have a cat, you could give them to a cat-owning friend or neighbour, or you could donate them to a local animal shelter.
The good folks at Dover Publications have very kindly offered a coupon code for 25% off of ANY book on their site. So if you missed out the last time, now is your chance! There’s loads of knitting titles to choose from here, and you can click around and check out all their other craft books, if you happen to be multi-craftual. Here’s the coupon code: WRBG
Because they are awesome, Dover Publications is also giving away one copy of Knitting in the Nordic Tradition. So who wants to level up on their stranded knitting?? (US and Canada addresses only. I’m sorry international friends!). And if you are already following on the social media channels for bonus entries, you are ahead of the game! Just click the buttons and enter the info for the bonus entries to count.
Contest closes April 14th at midnight EST. Winner will be announced April 17th!
**This is a sponsored post from Dover Publications. All opinions are entirely my own.