Swedish Sweaters by Britt-Marie Christoffersson, pub. The Taunton Press, 1990
This is a wonderful, rich book. The first section is a study of museum pieces and other 19th century sweaters, replete with charts, gauge information, sweater type, and in some cases even helpful hints for construction. The second section contains full patterns for sweaters inspired by the historical garments and in many cases how they were developed.
The first section is most interesting to me. An experienced knitter could easily reproduce the garments with the given information; a budding designer could use the interesting shapes and techniques, like the author has, for inspiration. The sweaters are not modeled, but they are displayed in such a way as to show important details.
The second section contains interesting patterns derived from the historical examples in sometimes surprising ways. The photograpy is adequate, the sweaters are modeled, and the writing clear. The sweaters and scarves range in difficulty from basic to experienced.
A fascinating book for any knitter, whether or not they are particularly interested in Swedish knitting.
Disclosure: Kangath reviewed her personal copy of Swedish Sweaters. Kangath was not compensated for the preceding review. All opinions expressed in the review are the blog author's and are not necessarily the opinions of Taunton Press or Britt-Marie Christoffersson.
Pop Knitting by Britt-Marie Christoffersson, pub. Interweave Press, 2012
I couldn't wait for this book to arrive, and when it finally did it exceeded my expectations. The stitch patterns are gorgeous and wacky and delightful.
With chapter titles such as Slipped Stitches to Form Welts, Patterns on Bind-Off Rows, and Patterns with Buttonholes, Christoffersson has reached beyond flat colorwork, cables, and lace into an exciting world rich with color, texture, and dimension.
The introductions at the beginning of each chapter give the reader not only an idea of what they will find in the pages ahead, but a glimpse into Christoffersson's personality and creative processes. For instance, the introduction to Holes and Holes with Borders begins, "Lace knitting is not my cup of tea. Lace can be exciting to knit but the result is often too sweet and romantic for my geometrically inclined taste. Nonetheless, twenty years ago I sat down and thought deeply about how I might improve upon the technique."
The patterns themselves are clear, but sometimes written in fill-in-the-blanks style. From Holes and Holes with Borders #1: "Shape bottom edge by binding off. Shape one side and then the other. . . . When the fabric with holes has been completed, use the dpn to pick up stitches around the hole. The number of stitches to pick up should match the gauge of the background knitting. . . ."
The pattern does not explain how the sides are to be shaped, or how to determine the number of stitches to pick up (the border is in stockinette, the background in garter stitch; are we meant to pick up the circumference of the garter hole in the garter gauge or stockinette gauge?), and the accompanying chart if numbered as if one square = one row, but the text above it says one square = two rows.
This is fine with me, and I really don't know how she could explain it much better without specifying gauge and constraining the knitter more than is warranted in a stitch dictionary. Frankly, there are enough other beautiful patterns in this book written with specific details to satisfy even the most timid knitter. Such a knitter could choose some of them to work, then apply some of the variations found in photographs on following pages. For instance, there are eleven variations of Casting On and Binding Off within a Row 1. After this, the (now somewhat braver) knitter may be tempted to try a trickier pattern involving surface motifs or different directions. Finally, our hero may be ready to venture into the merely described patterns such as Holes.
The photography by Thomas Harrysson deserves special mention and is worth the price of the book. The many full-page photos of single stitch patterns and the "variations" photo pages show the stitches in full detail.
This is a wonderful book, and I'm excited to try the stitches described within.
Disclosure: Kangath reviewed her personal copy of Swedish Sweaters. Kangath was not compensated for the preceding review. All opinions expressed in the review are the blog author's and are not necessarily the opinions of Interweave Press or Britt-Marie Christoffersson.
Yesterday was my birthday. I opened gifts in the morning because it was going to be a busy day. The last gift I opened was a package from Nana.
Nana is a quilter, and I was hoping for something handmade. The gift was about the right size, and soft. Still, I wasn't prepared for this stunning bag. Note the side ties, making it adjustable, and the cute button. You can't see from the photo, but it has pockets all around the inside. My wallet and cell phone are in two of them. The green thing sticking up out of the bag is a response to my request for "a good place to keep scissors" a few years ago, made (of course) by Nana.
I also got recordings of the Brandenburg Concertos, and the book Swedish Sweaters, by Britt-Marie Christoffersson.
My thoughtful husband had noticed how much I was enjoying Pop Knitting and thought he would try another book by the same author. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't. He really nailed it this time, though!
The book contains examples of historical sweaters as well as new designs inspired by them. The modern interpretations are all designed by Christoffersson, who maintains that challenging oneself, even in knitting, is important to personal growth. I agree wholeheartedly.
After opening presents, I took Cole and Gwen to church with me, and the Pie Fairy paid us a visit.
In the middle of our very eventful day I received a phone call from my sister, and I sheepishly admit to having forgotten it was my birthday. I actually asked her why she was calling!
Another treat came from my daughter, who presented me with this bejeweled picture. Very sweet!
Last week I treated myself to a new book: Pop Knitting by Britt-Marie Christoffersson. It is essentially a stitch dictionary, with vivid new stitches, and full page photos of three-dimensional motifs in comic book colors.
There are examples of these stitches used in garments, and a template to follow should you want to imitate them, but no patterns. I am mulling over a design for my daughter using three colors of Universal Yarn's Garden 3 cotton. I'm pretty excited about this garment, but it has to be top secret for now. In fact, you should probably destroy this post after reading.
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