This week I am reviewing yet another ethnic knitting trilogy, this one is on Swedish knitting, and is written by Maja Karlsson. Wait, you may say, haven’t you already talked about Scandinavian knitting? Maybe too much? And the answer is yes, I have talked about Scandinavian knitting. But no to the second question – is there really such a thing as too much? Also, it turns out that while Swedish knitting does have some things in common with other related knitting traditions, there are things that differentiate it too. So it is definitely worth exploring as a separate knitting tradition.
Traditional Swedish Knitting Patterns is the first book in the series, and I would say if you are inclined to get only one of these three books, this is probably the one. It has a broad range of project types, whereas the other two each focus on a specific type of project. The book starts with an interesting introduction to Swedish knitting, and then is divided into four parts – a photo gallery of all the projects in the book, a pattern section with the instructions for each of the projects, a pattern library with 40 Swedish motifs, and a technical section with what the author refers to as “knitting school” and details about the yarns.
The projects are all interesting, and many are lovely. Although there are some of the same motifs you would see in many other Scandinavian knitting traditions (stylized stars, reindeer, snowflakes) there are many that are unique. Below are some of the projects from this book:
The second book is Maja’s Swedish Mittens, which does exactly what it says on the cover – all mittens, all the time.
This book does not have quite as much general information as the first. There is an introduction with a discussion about the importance of mittens and knitting in Sweden, and a knitting school, but the rest is photos of, and patterns for, mittens. Mittens of different sizes and shapes and styles. Mittens made with different techniques and embellishments. Plain mittens and fancy mittens. If you like mittens, this is the book for you.
The third book in the series is Maja’s Swedish Socks.
Basically, everything I said about the mitten book applies here too, except socks instead of mittens.
I really like all three of these books, and can see knitting several projects out of each. They are well written and I love the designs. I like the author’s discussions of the knitting culture in Sweden and her process of finding the motifs she uses. The books themselves are really well produced and feel like they are going to hold up. The photos are artistic and beautiful, but also clearly show the projects, which I appreciate.
If this is a knitting tradition and esthetic that appeals to you, these would be great books to add to your knitting library!