My stats tell me that many knitters come to my site looking for free Norwegian sweater patterns. I own a few old Norwegian patterns, which provide me with enough charts to mix and match to create my own custom sweaters. I only use the charts, as typical instructions leave much unsaid. I've published what I've learned, through much experience, trial and error, in my publications: "Essential Techniques for Serious Knitters" - AVAILABLE or "Knitting Beautiful Scandinavians" - SOLD OUT (instructions are the same in both publications). This is the kind of information I wished I could have found when I first started knitting these. Patterns explained so little, and experienced Norwegian knitters were impossible to find in the U.S. of A.
I've also included some tips and instructions on this page. The books contain much more instruction, calculations for achieving perfect alignments, etc.
As of January 2011, I'm working on a new Norwegian sweater and journaling its progression HERE. A great learning tool -- check it out!
There are a few exceptions, but the vast majority of Norwegian sweaters are tubes knitted from the bottom up, then cut apart where needed. Where a tube will eventually be cut, one places steek stitches. A cardigan requires steeks all the way up center front. The sleeve steeks are added at the proper places, as are placket steeks. My above mentioned publications explain how to precisely calculate the placement and commence the steeks.
Upon establishing gauge, calculate a stitch count for the sweater circumference that will yield proper size. Make whatever adjustments are then necessary to the count to accommodate any rib border, "lice," or other motifs you wish to use in the body. For cardigans, the round join should be in the middle of the front opening steeks, with mirror image alignment of motifs on either side. For jumpers, the round join should be up one side, and be sure to apply jogless rounds.
The yoke must be centered at front and back, on either side of the sleeve steeks. Be sure to mirror it on either side of a front opening/placket. If a deep yoke is begun before starting the sleeve steeks, don't be concerned with the mismatches under the arms--they won't be seen.
Use wrapped steeks to bridge the neck opening so as to continue working in the round while shaping the neck.
Upon completion of the body, I finish it before commencing with the sleeves: machine edge and cut the steeks, join shoulders, add neck and front opening borders as required, apply necessary facings, try it on.
The sleeve designs should be centered opposite the increases. Because Norwegian sweaters have drop shoulders, be cautious so as not to knit the sleeves too long. I provide mathematical computations for achieving a perfect fit of sleeve to opening every time. This is contained in my above mentioned publications.
Sew the sleeves in. My publications explain how to do this proportionally for a perfect fit. Cover the cut steeks with the facings and stitch them down.
Some of my sweaters.
I've been knitting since January of 1981, and made my first Norwegian sweater that year. I took up knitting so I could make these beauties for my skiing hobby.
ADDITION, WINTER 2008: For the first time in years we have snow -- loads of snow, record breaking snow. As the result, I've resurrected an old passion, like from 20+ years ago: Nordic skiing, which is commonly called cross country. I first learned how to do this almost 30 years ago. At the time, the recommended outer garment was a heavy wool sweater, preferably the stranded Norwegian type. Though I thought they were the most gorgeous sweaters imaginable, I could not afford one.
I've been skiing almost every day since Dec. 31. I've been wearing a ten year old Norwegian cardigan that I made, a cut sweater (pictured above, husband modeling so I could photograph). If anything would test the durability of a cut sweater, it's the wear and tear this one has been receiving. I've wiped out on ice, crashed into bushes, plus just the normal action of Nordic skiing involves lots of upper body movement. My sweater, well, it looks perfect, as always. The only repair it has required is to reattach pewter clasps that have worked loose. That's been happening a lot. In other words, cut sweaters hold together excellently, so put all your fears away.
It's 18Mar08 and this winter's abundance of snow is melting off. I've stopped skiing; I think the nature preserve wanted the skiers to call it quits because they are moving on to other activities. Anyway, I photographed my sweater today, as yet unwashed after more than two months of almost daily skiing. Nothing is pulling apart, nor does the wool look dull.
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