Solveig Larsson has written a terrific book on northern Swedish traditional mittens. I love books like this. The patterns are based on excellent research of the folk tradition and the mitten patterns have faithfully copied the technique of northern Sweden. But the mittens are also intensely modern. There is good use of colour and the author encourages you to add your own special twist to your mittens by being inventive with colour combinations. Although there are lots of illustrations of finished mittens the book charts are simply done in back and white. Oh the freedom to dare with colour!
All of the patterns are based on the same basic one, listed conveniently at the beginning of the book. All of the special techniques that will make your mittens unique are well described and photographed. There are some really interesting choices for casting on and creating the cuff of the mitten. These can be mixed and matched with any of the patterns in the book.
No tension is given for the patterns and no particular yarn is specified as Solveig made use of locally available yarns and augmented with some handspun. She suggests you use 2 ply (fingering). Jamieson’s Spindrift 2 ply knits up at 30-33 sts per inch. It’s got colours that work well with these patterns and can be found here: Jamieson’s Spindrift at loveknitting.com. Also have a look at KnitPicks’ Palette yarn. Either of these will provide a wide colour range allowing you to create a work of art.
My personal favourite pattern is the Hedgehog, featuring 3 hedgehogs on the back of the mitten and a straightforward zigzag design on the palm and thumb. This mitten pattern is crying out for earth tones for the hedgehog sections and brighter colours in between and for the floral cuff.
this book is special
Stories and poems, interspersed with the patterns, make this book extra special. Solveig gives you a feel for the country, its flora and fauna and the knitters who bring this all to life. Solveig’s husband, Leif, drew pictures that reflect the people and the places.
It was most likely a labour of love by a knowledgeable author and its nicely put together. Although it was published in Swedish in 2013 and English in 2015, it appears to be no longer available except at a very high price. You can click on the illustration above to see the Amazon 3rd party resellers’ prices which I found to be horrendous. The English publisher is Trafalgar Books, who produce a lot of great knitting books. Perhaps we can get them to put it back in the catalog at the original price of $22.95 US or something close to it. As to me, I got it in my local library which I think is the first place to go for it.
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