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Selbuvotter: Biography of a Knitting Tradition

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Discover the rich history and traditions of Norway's iconic black-and-white mittens. What started as a dare became an icon of Norwegian knitting and started a snowball of knitting traditions across the North Atlantic. Selbuvotter: Biography of a Knitting Tradition follows the story of these beautiful mittens and gloves, from folk tradition to major regional industry to nat Discover the rich history and traditions of Norway's iconic black-and-white mittens. What started as a dare became an icon of Norwegian knitting and started a snowball of knitting traditions across the North Atlantic. Selbuvotter: Biography of a Knitting Tradition follows the story of these beautiful mittens and gloves, from folk tradition to major regional industry to national symbol, and passes the tradition on with over 30 patterns taken from actual antiques. Every aspect of business today can be found in the story of Selbu knitting. And above it all, thousands of women and men, using spare moments to create spectacular designs that are as fresh today as they were 150 years ago.


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Discover the rich history and traditions of Norway's iconic black-and-white mittens. What started as a dare became an icon of Norwegian knitting and started a snowball of knitting traditions across the North Atlantic. Selbuvotter: Biography of a Knitting Tradition follows the story of these beautiful mittens and gloves, from folk tradition to major regional industry to nat Discover the rich history and traditions of Norway's iconic black-and-white mittens. What started as a dare became an icon of Norwegian knitting and started a snowball of knitting traditions across the North Atlantic. Selbuvotter: Biography of a Knitting Tradition follows the story of these beautiful mittens and gloves, from folk tradition to major regional industry to national symbol, and passes the tradition on with over 30 patterns taken from actual antiques. Every aspect of business today can be found in the story of Selbu knitting. And above it all, thousands of women and men, using spare moments to create spectacular designs that are as fresh today as they were 150 years ago.

30 review for Selbuvotter: Biography of a Knitting Tradition

  1. 4 out of 5

    Natalia

    I have recently fallen in love with stranded 2-color knitting, and I ordered this book from the author immediately after I first came across a mention of it. It's not just a book of pretty mitten and glove patterns, but a meaty history of knitting from Selbu. I had no idea that what I used to think of as simply "Nowegian ski mittens" had such a relatively recent history and could be traced back to just one originating knitter! The patterns are for knitting reproductions of the mittens and gloves I have recently fallen in love with stranded 2-color knitting, and I ordered this book from the author immediately after I first came across a mention of it. It's not just a book of pretty mitten and glove patterns, but a meaty history of knitting from Selbu. I had no idea that what I used to think of as simply "Nowegian ski mittens" had such a relatively recent history and could be traced back to just one originating knitter! The patterns are for knitting reproductions of the mittens and gloves the author selected from the two collections she studied - with, I think, some minor corrections for the ideosyncrasies of the originals. She includes clever techniques for getting glove fingers distributed effectively, and for getting the palm pattern on mittens to continue seamlessly up the inside of the thumb. I think this book should be on the bookshelf of every knitter with an interest in Nordic stranded knitting, as much for the information as for the fantastic patterns.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    I was vaguely aware of this book when it was published a few years ago (2007). I saw blog entries about it and noticed mittens and gloves being knit from the patterns, but I never took an active interest in it until a customer came in to the shop where I work and requested it. We ordered a few copies and I flipped through it when it arrived. The little bit of history I was able to read on the spot was intriguing enough for me to put it on my mental "might buy it someday . . . maybe" list. Howeve I was vaguely aware of this book when it was published a few years ago (2007). I saw blog entries about it and noticed mittens and gloves being knit from the patterns, but I never took an active interest in it until a customer came in to the shop where I work and requested it. We ordered a few copies and I flipped through it when it arrived. The little bit of history I was able to read on the spot was intriguing enough for me to put it on my mental "might buy it someday . . . maybe" list. However, it wasn't until I learned how to do stranded color knitting that I revisited the last copy of Selbuvotter on the shelf. Because I had recently purchased a ridiculous amount of fingering weight yarn to knit a mitten pattern, I figured I would buy the book and knit with what I knew would go unused otherwise, since I only needed a small quantity of 8 different colors for those mittens. I had no idea I'd become hooked on the compelling patterns in Selbuvotter (and stranded two-color knitting in general). While the original Selbu color palette is based on the natural wool colors of white and black, I figured I could stray from that with yarn I already owned, although now I'm exploring someday getting some actual Norwegian yarn brands to try. And now, I seem to be less interested in that mitten pattern that calls for 9 different colors. There is a respectable dose of Selbu history and an interesting story about the first woman to knit these designs on her mittens, eventually spawning a successful cottage industry and later, a worldwide interest in Norwegian motifs.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Keke

    There is some fascinating history in this book. You need to have some experience to understand the knitting patterns but I picked up a lot of ideas. I wish that there was more information on the symbolism in the different patterns and I wish there were more examples. It seemed a little thin, I wanted more. I guess that's so that you go out and get the books in the bibliography too.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mckinley

    Norwegian mittens; lovely.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Susanne Gulde

    A good background of Norwegian knitting and Selbu, with mitten and glove patterns. What I especially liked was the general explanations for knitting the patterns. She gives a chart and diagram for measurements, and hints about modifying patterns for personal fitting.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tam G

    At first this seemed like a curt historical summary with some patterns thrown in, but as I got through the patterns and tips I realized just how much work the author put into this. The history is succinct, but she did put a lot of work into 'reading' and adapting a dozen or two old Selbu mitten patterns. Nice work.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Eileen

    This isn't a book to read so much as to absorb and work from--unsurprising, since the majority is made up of knitting patterns and commentary. The patterns themselves are reconstructions of traditional gloves and mittens from the Norwegian region of Selbu. These results of a massive home craft industry are now housed in private textile collections; looking at the original and reconstructed patterns is the next best thing to a walk through a very specific museum, complete with detailed instructio This isn't a book to read so much as to absorb and work from--unsurprising, since the majority is made up of knitting patterns and commentary. The patterns themselves are reconstructions of traditional gloves and mittens from the Norwegian region of Selbu. These results of a massive home craft industry are now housed in private textile collections; looking at the original and reconstructed patterns is the next best thing to a walk through a very specific museum, complete with detailed instructions on how to make your own heirloom-grade collection. While the book is printed in black and white, the traditional patterns are all knitted in natural black and white wool anyway, neatly subverting what's usually considered a failing. In short, if you are a knitter of any reasonable skill--say, if you're capable of colorwork--this is definitely worth a look, and probably an actual purchase instead of just an interlibrary loan.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mauri

    An excellent resource for those knitters interested not only in making mittens, but in knowing about the history and development of this particular style. If there is one flaw in this book, it is that the author tries to walk the line between provide a strict historic account and reckoning of the patterns included and making them accessible to the average knitter. It's great to be able to see the mittens knitted exactly as they were 150 years ago, with notes included for making adjustments for th An excellent resource for those knitters interested not only in making mittens, but in knowing about the history and development of this particular style. If there is one flaw in this book, it is that the author tries to walk the line between provide a strict historic account and reckoning of the patterns included and making them accessible to the average knitter. It's great to be able to see the mittens knitted exactly as they were 150 years ago, with notes included for making adjustments for the modern mitten wearer. However, a few of the patterns were too personal to hold any interest for an average knitter (i.e. names and dates are included prominently in the pattern) and there is no instruction given for adjusting these.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Aud

    This was an excellent resource for me since I love to knit Selbu mittens! I did not know the history of Selbu mittens, so that was interesting as well. The book had lots of patterns, I'll have to try some out! I had never thought to knit the owner's name into the mittens, that's a good idea for kids who leave their mittens at school!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Katrina Bergherm

    I expected more history but was surprised by the amount of patterns included. All the pictures are in black and white; I would have loved to see some in color despite the fact that this style of mitten/glove is usually knit in black and white. Not a good beginner book, previous mitten/glove knitting experience is necessary.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    A great history. Charted patterns of antique mittens and gloves. Some beautiful designs.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Martine

    Norwegian designs

  13. 5 out of 5

    Wylie Kay

    God I love this book. I need, need to buy this book to keep at home. I looooove it!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Great history at the beginning. Can't wait to make some mittens!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    I SO want to make some mittens!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Castiron

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Jones

  18. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie Zink

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jean

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rorra

  21. 5 out of 5

    Margarita

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jan

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mikiala

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tiennie

  25. 4 out of 5

    Dinah O'brien

  26. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

  27. 5 out of 5

    Meredith Neal

  28. 4 out of 5

    Norma J. Engelberg

  29. 4 out of 5

    Heather

  30. 5 out of 5

    EEWR

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