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Review: Viking Knits & Ancient Ornaments


First, the facts:

Title: Viking Knits & Ancient Ornaments: Interlace patterns from around the world in modern knitwear

Author: Elsebeth Lavold

Published by: Trafalgar Square, 2014

Pages: 189

Type: Patterns and history


1. Follow the Threads
2. Read This Before You Knit
3. Loops
4. Rings & Chains
5. Little Knot and Fourknot
6. Threeknot
7. Overhand Knot
8. S-Hook
9. Braiding

KS: Viking Knits 2

The In-Depth Look:

I don’t know how it’s possible that I haven’t reviewed an Elsebeth Lavold book yet–especially her original Viking Knits, which has had an honored place on my bookcase for years. So, when I heard there was another Viking book coming out, well … I preordered my copy ages ago.

The author writes in the introduction, “Throughout my adult life, my love for needles and yarn, and their potential to expand our common ornamental heritage, has been the motivating factor to dig deeper into the technical aspects of knitting. Through the work of myself and others, Viking age decorative traditions are still relevant today, and are becoming ‘public domain’ in a similar manner as their Celtic ‘cousins.’ In the book, I analyze a great number of patterns and motifs; some from the Vikings, some Irish, and yet some from other parts of the world. I hope and believe that the simple but versatile technique I developed to create Viking Knits will extend into other ornamental traditions, making new designs possible, and inspiring people to develop their own patterns.”

What comes next as she “follows the threads,” is a wonderful interplay of history and art and knitting. She discusses basic ornamental designs and where they come from. There are photos and sketches of actual relics or ornamentation from books and stonework. All of these are accompanied by knitted reproductions, along with charts on how to make them. The depth of detail is fantastic. I’ve always loved Scandinavian designs (and Celtic ones, too), and the idea of taking their intricate carvings and turning them into something I can knit?

I love this book as much as her original.

The book is more than just the history, though. Along with great details about historical inspiration, we get patterns–sweaters mostly, but also vests, hats, scarves, bags, pillows. (I’m kind of in love with the cover sweater pattern, too.) Clearly I’ve been a fan for years, but I’m happy to say that I haven’t been disappointed. This book is just as rich in detail and inspiration as the first one.

You can get this book at Amazon.com or at your local shops

Want to see bigger pictures? Click here.

My Gush: So many gorgeous cables. (sigh)

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