Being one-half Norwegian, and having several talented knitters on the Norwegian side of the family, I received many handknit garments as a child. I don't know the story of the sweater in the above photo (although I would guess it was a handmade gift), but I still have the featured hat.
This hat is typically Norwegian in its construction. It is worked as a long tube, with only minimal crown shaping in the last inch. The stitches are then drawn together, resulting in the very dramatic gathering you can see in the photo. A pompom covers the opening the gathering inevitably leaves at the top of the hat.
This hat was the inspiration behind a design for my first book, Knits from the Heart.
The book in the photo is Barnas Store Sangbok by Anne-Cath Vestly, copyright 1962, illustrations by Ornuff Ranheimsaeter (due to copyright issues, we had to cover the title in the photo). I spent a lot of time with this book as a child, admiring the detailed line drawings and singing a select few songs:
Der bor en baker i Østre Aker.
Han baker kringler og julekaker.
Han baker store, han baker små.
Han baker noen med sukker på.
For a song about baking sweets, the melody is surprisingly melancholy. Maybe because the final lines of the song say "if you have money, you can get (some cookies), but if you don't have money, you can leave". So sad!
On to the next hat:
The construction of this hat is the same at the other--a long tube with virtually no shaping, lots of gathering, and a pompom. What stands out for me about this design that it was my introduction to what has become on of my favorite Nordic knitting motifs--human figures.
Human figures, often holding hands or dancing, are frequent images in Norwegian knitting. A particular favorite of mine are the "dancing grannies", which I incorporated into this design from The Knitting Man(ual), the Nordic Hat Three Ways.
Someday I want to incorporate human figures into a sweater design. Also still on the "to-do" list is a design with reindeer, like those seen in the second childhood hat. I have a friend who very much wants a reindeer sweater, and as this friend has been my official pompom maker (those perfect pompoms on the Earflap Hat? he made them!) for many years, I think it's the least I can do.
One more song from Barnas Store Sangbook, this one about the poor sheep that has to provide the wool for all these sweaters:
Bæ bæ, lille lam, har du noe ull?
Ja, ja, lille kjære barn, jeg har kroppen full!
Søndags frakk til far, og søndags skjørt til mor,
Og to par strømper til bitte lille bror.
Baa, baa little lamb, have you any wool?
Yes, yes, dear child, I have a body full!
Sunday's coat for father, and Sunday's skirt for mother,
And two pair of stockings for tiny little brother.