Elsebeth Lavold is a prominent knit designer in Sweden whose work is appreciated world-wide. Her first book, Viking Patterns for Knitting, was inspired by her extraordinary exhibit, The Viking Knits Project.
From Elsebeth, “It all started (in 1992) with an assignment to illustrate a book on historic excursions in the Stockholm area, along with experiments with cable patterns. And suddenly, there it was, the new technique to incorporate the ornaments of the Viking age into knitting.
The increases and decreases used are not new in themselves, but had previously been used only to shape garments. The innovation enabled Elsebeth to knit both cables that change direction, and placed motifs. In short, she opened the door to a new universe of patterns. From this point, her exploration of Viking Age art and craft became systematic. She made journeys to museums and excavation sites in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Germany, England and Scotland, and did extensive research in libraries and archives. The production of swatches became equally extensive, and, with time, the swatch collection grew to a considerable volume. The experiments had become a Project.
There is no historic evidence to support that knitting was known to the Vikings, and the garments in no way pretend to be Viking age in design. Quite the contrary, “modern and timeless” would be a better description. Instead, the ornamental heritage of the Vikings, probably the most distinctly Scandinavian design that has ever existed, is brought to new life in a new context. It is still remarkably modern after a thousand years.” (photo of the exhibit on right)
For more details on the exhibit, and photos, visit Knitting Along the Viking Trail
Since her first book, Viking Patterns for Knitting was published in 1998, Elsebeth has published over 25 design collections, with many designs including cabling work, lace, fair isle, and texture. Her designs combine both classic and modern elements for stunning designs. The current book, Viking Knits & Ancient Ornaments expands on her theme of cable knits inspired by ornamental traditions, and in addition to Viking ornaments includes those from Italy, Scotland, UK, Nigeria, France, Denmark, Iceland, Russia and more. Photos and illustrations of the original designs are inspiring for knitters to see Elsebeth’s design process.