Our favourite knitting books
FAROE ISLAND KNITS by Svanhild Strøm and Marjun Biskopstø (£21.50)
KNITTING HAS long been central to the culture of the Faroe Islands, and its varied colourwork patterns, handed down through the generations, were documented by Hans Marius Debes in the 1930s. Now, the mother and daughter design team of Svanhild Strøm and Marjun Biskopstø have breathed new life into the traditional motifs collected by Debes, creating 25 contemporary knits for all the family.
The Faroese fisherman’s sweater is the first classic design given a modern twist. The steeked sweater, sized 36in-52in, can be knitted in a choice of six all-over motifs, including the iconic streak and bar, and the intriguingly named ‘Grandmother’s Touch’.
Taking their cues from fishermen’s sweaters are a range of feminine designs. ‘Sigrid’ is a long, high-collared jacket in chunky Norwegian wool. A turtleneck sweater dress, whose motif uses seven stars in a rhomboid pattern, combines an alpaca yarn with a strand of silk-mohair for a luxurious feel, and ‘Urd’ is a flowing raglan sweater featuring a combination of different fisherman’s motifs.
The section on ‘Inner Sweater’ motifs features jumpers with narrow stripes filled with tiny colourwork motifs - a popular knitwear style on the Faroe Islands. A more highly decorative variation can be seen on the ‘One Big Family’ sweater, which is sized for children aged from one year up to a men’s XXL.
The sophisticated patterning adorning the bodices of Faroese national costume are used to great effect on a range of cardigans, jackets and jumpers for women. The beautiful ‘Beinta’ short cardigan, for example, is worked in traditional blue and white with tiny highlights of yellow, and uses the pattern called ‘eight-petaled rose in diamond trellis’. ‘Josefina’ has a black and white pattern on the lower body, while a panel of red roses winds its way around the upper body.
National costume motifs appear on a range of hats; they also give a sophisticated look to the long, flowing ‘Maria Christina’ jacket, with its shawl collar and large pockets, and to a men’s jacket, also with a shawl collar, and with textured panels across the shoulders. We love the range of
skóleistar knitted house slippers, and the colourwork poncho with a clever opening at the front that enables it to be worn with a baby’s sling underneath.
The stunning photography adds to the appeal of this book, as does the chapter on the knitting history of the Faroes.
There are 25 cosy projects for men, women and children
Faroe Island Knits is published by Trafalgar Square Books, priced £21.50, and is available to buy from Amazon.co.uk or www.trafalgarbooks.com