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Book Review: Norwegian Patterns for Knitting by Mette Handberg

Norwegian Patterns

Norwegian Patterns for Knitting by Mette N. Handberg, Trafalger Square Books, 2010, 118 pp.



Originally published in Norwegian in 2001.

Norwegian Patterns opens with several pages briefly discussing different tips and techniques, including a couple paragraphs on steeks, techniques for binding off, seaming, etc, and a section on correcting problems and mistakes.  A lot of it is common sense — probably many of the things that used to be taught in school but apparently, per the author, are no longer.

There are 16 different pattern chapters, each containing at least one or two separate but related patterns.  For example, the Coffee Bean chapter has instructions for a jacket with hood, a poncho, mittens and legwarmers.  All told you get instructions for at least 8 hats, 7 jackets/coats, 7 pullovers, 3 vests, 1 poncho, 3 mittens, 1 legwarmer, 1 hood, 1 earwarmer, 3 wristwarmers, 1 pair of fingerless gloves, and 1 neckwarmer.  When you consider that you can use the charts in other patterns within the book, or in your own designs, the possibilities increase even further.

Some patterns are unisex (Autumn, Wilderness, for example).  The Norwegian is sized for men.  The patterns highlight many traditional features of Norwegian knitting such as Selbu stars.  Though most of the patterns are the cozy, thick, warm sweaters you’d expect, the White and Blue Cotton Tops, delicate textured camisoles with ribbons along the button bands and picot edging, would be great for warmer weather, especially paired with jeans or a cotton skirt.

White Top

White Top

Stranded knitting, IMHO, is not one of those things that is tremendously difficult to learn.  (Of course, it takes practice, for some (like me) more so than others, to get it to look nice, but it’s really not a hard technique.)

That said, the skills needed to do these patterns are in the advanced beginner to advanced intermediate range, depending on the pattern (stranding knitting (at least in one pattern with 3 colors in one round), knitting in the round, steeking, charts).  All stranded motifs and repeats are charted.  I’m a chart junkie, and I have to say the Moose pattern is one of the cutest animal charts, with moose going every which way, I’ve seen.

The instructions are not always explicitly given per what seems to be the norm for us here in the US, but I think a confident intermediate knitter will do fine.  This book will appeal to the knitter who likes to make choices for themselves:  for example, on one pattern, you’re told:  “You can choose the patterning here.  You can work the star panel all around, or 1 star at the center….” etc.

Brief overviews on Selbu knitting and knitting from West Norway are given.  The pattern chapter in the West Norway section (including the West Norway jacket) feature embroidery.

The photography is lovely, showing both the garments and the landscape well.

US & Norwegian sources for clasps, buttons & Norwegian yarn are listed at the back of the book, which I think is a very nice touch.


Trafalgar graciously sent me a copy to give away.

Leave a comment on this post to be entered.  Please leave some way of contacting you — either a blog address or your Ravelry name.   I’ll do the random number generator thing to pick a winner & will post the winner on Monday Aug 9th.  If I’ve not heard from the winner by midnight PST Aug 11th, I’ll repeat the random number generator.

“Like” Trafalgar Books on Facebook here and leave a comment saying you’ve done so for a second chance to win the book.

If you don’t win a copy, you can purchase one through Amazon by clicking on the book cover above.

I received my review copy from the publisher.

The Norwegian

The Norwegian

48 comments… add one
  • Skylark August 1, 2010, 7:32 pm

    Thank you for a wonderful review. It looks like a must have book!

  • Summersong August 1, 2010, 7:44 pm

    Wonderful review! You’ve got me adding this book to my wish list…

  • Rachelle Crosbie August 1, 2010, 8:32 pm

    Looks like a lovely book to have, would love to be in to win.

  • Rachelle Crosbie August 1, 2010, 8:33 pm

    Also hit like on facebook. I’m Sewsable on Ravelry

  • Hreow August 1, 2010, 10:39 pm

    The moose-chart description did it for me. By luck or by Amazon, it must be mine! ^^

  • Sigrun August 1, 2010, 11:24 pm

    I’m always intrigued by books/patterns that might present a challenge. Good review!

  • Jolene (Jobodesigns on rav) August 2, 2010, 3:29 am

    Looks like a great book! I love stranded knitting too… Definitely took some practice to catch on though 😉

  • Betty Maguire August 2, 2010, 4:16 am

    This sounds like a book to have. I love the look of the Norwegian style and the colors they use. Would love to win:)

  • KYFarmgirl August 2, 2010, 4:21 am

    Looks great! Would love to win a copy.

    Also hit like on facebook.

  • tami August 2, 2010, 4:41 am

    Sounds like a very interesting book.
    squiggi on ravelry

  • Tera August 2, 2010, 5:12 am

    Thanks for reviewing this book. It looks like a great book with some beautiful techniques and patterns. Thanks for the contest!
    I’m teammom on Ravelry

  • Mel August 2, 2010, 5:37 am

    Ooh, this would be a nice one to have in my knitting library.

  • Julia August 2, 2010, 6:26 am

    This book sounds fantastic!! I like the customizability of the patterns to suit your own style. I may just have to pick this one up 🙂

    • StephCat August 2, 2010, 6:41 am

      Have to add: it’s not customizable like Custom Knits, say, for fit, etc. But if you like swapping around charts, using the motifs in other items, etc, that is definitely an option.

  • KJo August 2, 2010, 7:49 am

    Looks…sounds..er..reads like it’s an awesome book! Thanks for the chance to ‘win’ a copy.
    KJo on Ravelry

  • Samantha August 2, 2010, 8:37 am

    Sounds great, I’d love a copy!

  • Kristen August 2, 2010, 8:52 am

    I’d love to win this book!

    globalite on Ravelry

  • Acadia August 2, 2010, 9:29 am

    I would love to add this book to my collection of knitting books. I am totally in love with stranded knitting!

  • Connie August 2, 2010, 9:35 am

    These would be new to me techniques. Thank you for the chance to win!

    greyowl on ravelry

  • Connie August 2, 2010, 9:38 am

    I have Liked Trafalgar Books on facebook.

    greyowl on ravelry

  • Teresa August 2, 2010, 10:20 am

    The book sounds very interesting. Thanks for giving us a chance to win a copy.

    knittingdancer on Ravelry

  • InJuneau August 2, 2010, 10:27 am

    That looks like a great book; thanks for the review. That’s an impressive number of patterns in there!

    (InJuneau on Ravelry)

  • Sheri August 2, 2010, 1:09 pm

    Add me in the giveaway please! ^.^

  • ikkinlala August 2, 2010, 4:04 pm

    This looks like a great book!

    ikkinlala AT yahoo DOT ca

  • Debbie H August 2, 2010, 6:55 pm

    Itlooks like a wonderful book. I would love to win it. Thanks! Debbie in Alaska

  • Debbie H August 2, 2010, 6:56 pm

    Whoops! Forgot to leave you with my Rav ID. it is gussek Thanks!

  • Joyce August 2, 2010, 7:23 pm

    I really like some of the motifs and I like the idea of changing it up to suit yourself that you discuss in your review! Thanks for the review.

  • dknitz August 2, 2010, 7:41 pm

    Thank you for the great review, I read about this book and was thinking of getting it, was just waiting to read some more about it, well you sold me on the book, now I will just wait to see if I win!

    Ravelry Name: dknitz

  • Kitten With A Whiplash August 2, 2010, 9:04 pm

    Because of your great review, I think that I must have this book or I will be grumpy for many, many days. I recently did a hat with a small section of 3 color stranding, just simple stripes, but it felt so natural and easy that I’ve been wanting to do it again. Thanks for the giveaway. I can be contacted through my blog

  • Joan Schrouder August 2, 2010, 11:46 pm

    Oh dear, looks like another “must have”. I’m sure I’ll love it. Thanks for the review.

    Schrouderknits on Ravelry

  • ingrid August 3, 2010, 2:06 pm

    Hmm….I think I have looked through this book, in norwegian, somewhere.
    But I don´t have the book myself, so I would like to enter the contest 🙂

  • Karen August 3, 2010, 3:32 pm

    I am intrigued by this book as it seems like a worthy collection for a New Englander to have; we’re not Norway but we do have Winters!

  • Karen August 3, 2010, 9:01 pm

    Thanks for the review on the book – I don’t think you could go wrong with anything by Mette Handberg! It looks delicious. Also I’m glad you posted the link to your giveaway in the Ravelry group – your cable patterns are yummy. I definitely would like the enter the book drawing – and my birthday is Aug 11 🙂 I’m sweatergoddess on Ravelry.

  • Kristy August 3, 2010, 11:06 pm

    I have just recently started trying my hand at some norwegian patterns and am finding them challenging and enjoyable. It looks like this book has quite a bit to offer in the challenging section 😀

    Rav Id: kristyh1981

  • grannytwosticks August 6, 2010, 12:18 pm

    Great review, and thanks for the chance to win. I love the cover sweater but a whole stranded garment of that size can be a bit daunting. Thanks for the list of what’s included so we know we can practice on something smaller.
    grannytwosticks on Rav

  • Sue August 7, 2010, 4:32 pm

    I’d love a copy! Thanks for the opportunity

    Ravelry: sunrise

  • elle August 8, 2010, 10:18 am

    Breathtaking designs and colors! So intricate! I wonder if I could ever find the time to complete one of those beautiful sweaters… hum….I want to try! knittinkitten22 on rav.

  • Alystyn August 8, 2010, 1:58 pm

    I loved your review! It looks challenging but very interesting 🙂

    alystyn on Ravelry

  • Alystyn August 8, 2010, 2:01 pm

    Also liked on Facebook 🙂

    alystyn on Ravelry

  • Karen August 9, 2010, 9:37 am

    Also Liked Trafalgar Square Books on Facebook

    sweatergoddess on Rav

  • sarah August 10, 2010, 4:10 am

    Looks like a great book to have in your library. Thanks for reviewing.

  • Heide August 10, 2010, 12:51 pm

    What gorgeous patterns and colors! This book is a work of art all by itself.

  • pragueloop August 24, 2010, 4:11 am

    just found this. looks very useful, i just started learning stranded knitting, wow

  • Deborah August 26, 2010, 2:18 pm

    Never really entered to win anything before, but one never knows and I surely do like the designs, I have just started a design that will have a Mouse motif ~ great thread and site 🙂 Deborah

  • Carol H September 3, 2010, 1:15 am

    I have very recently learned to knit after years of crochet. I jumped right into fair isle and love it.
    Since I have quite a collection of Dale of Norway sweaters, I thought I would like to try and knit my own and found/bought this book online. My question is this: the amount of yarn called for in the Moose sweater seems to me, to be too much. For the small, 9 MC and 27 CC1…yet other than the yoke portion, it doesn’t look like there should be that tremendous of a difference in amount of yarn required for those 2 colors?? Is this a misprint in the instructions??
    I need to order the yarn, as I cannot get it locally and don’t want to order 20 balls more than I need.
    Thanks for any advice you can provide. Carol

    • StephCat September 3, 2010, 5:24 am

      Hi! I checked on Ravelry, and found this project: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/dalek978/elg; they’re using roughly the same amount of yarn. I’d also recommend shooting an email to the publisher. Doing a quick google search I couldn’t find any way to contact Mette (though there is a Mette N. Handberg on Facebook).

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