From the rag pile

sundbo Annemor Sundbo’s 2007 history of Norwegian knitting, Invisible Threads in Knitting, deserves a long review, which I don’t have time to write. This book is the result of her purchase of a factory that recycled knitwear. Over the years, she examined, photographed and collected clothing from the piles that rag pickers brought in, and in the process became a remarkable historian. The book is worth looking at just for the photos of 19th century knitting, but also features extremely specific accounts of the origins, styles, techniques and symbolism of Norwegian knitting. She also uses a lot of folklore and stories, my favorite bits being her account of demons on horseback who murdered livestock and people at farms they considered untidy, and a 19th century tale of the horror inspired by the girls of Setesdal, who refused to wear underwear when they went dancing.

This book is not quite like anything else I’ve ever read. I don’t think it’s widely available (unless you can read it in Norwegian), but it’s worth the effort to get a copy if you’re a knitter, or like reading social history.


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