10 May, 2007

Black and White Inspiration

I discovered a curious thing this winter. When the weather is gray and gloomy, and everything kind of blurs together, black and white is soothing to look at. I think my eyes got tired from trying to focus with all the gray and found it very comforting to gaze upon a certain black and white item. It was very surprising.

Therefore, to prepare myself for next winter, I want to knit a new sweater to wear all of January. (And, as it turns out, April. But I am not bitter.)

I have made a list of vague criteria:

1. Black and White
The colors must be deep dyed black and bleached unnatural white. Not natural white and natural black sheep colors. It has to have maximum contrast.

2. Balanced
The balance between the two has to be close to fifty-fifty. Or sixty-forty white-black. My jacket from long ago called for 600 g white and 400 g black.

3. The "Right" Scale
The patterns have to have the "right" size. For example lice patterns are too small, they are visual noise. Solid blocks which are ten cm (four in) across are too big. On the old jacket I really like the large rose pattern which is called "rams horn rose".

4. Norwegian Style
I want to do it in a Norwegian style pattern. Though this could work in an Op Art style pattern as well. (I found these socks by Laura Andersson. How cool are they!)

I have scanned through all my books and booklets looking for inspiration. Here is a little selection. Click for close-up.

Oleana. I could probably handle the red border.

Ellinor Flor from "Rosa Heimafrå". I love her. This coffee table sized book is one of my favorites!

Sandnes Garn Maybe if I reversed the colors on the sleeves and shoulders.

Traditional sweater from Nordic Knitting by Susanne Pagoldh

Viking ship action from Sandnes Garn

So hard to choose! The Oleana of course is not available to knit, only as ready-to-wear. But I better get started on this asap. At my speed, seven-eight months is probably reasonable.


  1. I love the black and white sweater plan, they are all so beautiful.
    My favorite is the Dale of Norway, I like the relative simplicity and the shape.
    I was also surprised at how nice the red looked in the border of the one sweater. I wouldn't have expected that I would like it.
    Good Luck!

  2. How do you choose when they're all so pretty?! Of course, I have a soft spot for the Oleana because of that element of surprise. I'm sure you could do something like that!

  3. Oh ... I love the Ellinor Flor sweater with the matching hat! So cute. Hope to see your final decision. :)

  4. Oh....They really are so great....to hard to choose!
    Maybe you should just knit them all! :)
    Love the black and white contrast too!

  5. I like the Elinor Flor one too, very mod! They are all lovely, I'm sure whichever one you pick will be beautiful.

  6. Hmmmm. I think the Ellinor Flor or Sandnes Garn sweaters. Both really gorgeous. I love the black and white.

  7. Now, that's certainly an awesome plan - I love that black/white thing! But it's almost impossible deciding for just one of these most amazing designs - how about if you knit all of them? Okay, well, if I had to choose, I think I'd go for Oleana!

  8. you shame me so.

    if i had that for choices, i'd have to do eeny meeny. and commit! i can't commit. i can't even finish.

    i love the b&w idea. loooove black and white. i can't afford anything there, but i love looking at the catalog from "whitehouse/blackmarket" for the same reason. contrast. funny. in so many ways, i (we) live in the grey, but the polar extremes are beautiful to look at.

  9. My eyes went sraight for the Oleana (thanks in large part to you, I've become a big Solveig Hisdal fan!) It seems like you could pretty easily adapt one of the Poetry patterns (the wedding sweater?) if that's where you decide to go. They are all gorgeous though, any way you go you will end up with a stunning sweater!!

  10. I vote for the Sandnes Garn with the reversed colors! Second, the Nordic Knitting design. Will you make it a pullover or cardigan?

  11. They are all gorgeous! I think the first one was my favorite, but it was hard to choose! Can't wait to see what you decide. : )

  12. I had the same realization about black and white this past winter, too. For me, I like natural undyed white and a dyed charcoal gray. I had to wear too much pure white and pure black for a school uniform, so it brings up bad memories. :) Everything you've posted is so gorgeous, but I have to admit that the Ellinor Flor sweater and the one that you posted at the top are above and beyond my favorites.

  13. All beautiful! But if you are asking for opinions, I like the Sandes Garn best, That panel in the center is gorgeous. Great idea too, aftr weeks of grey, colour is almost too much, but black & white, just right.

  14. Just a gorgeous collection Hege , best of luck choosing !

  15. Yes, a gorgeous collection indeed! That center panel in the Sandnes Garn...SIGH..so very pretty...they're all beautiful and I know I'll enjoy which ever one you decide on.

  16. They are all so beautiful. I'm sure you'll make the right choice.

  17. Too difficult to choose! I like the center panel with berries on the Sandnes Garn sweater a lot! Mixing and matching would be fun.

  18. That Viking ship is too cool!!! I knit Dale of Norway's Ringblomst in black and white (with a bit of gray in the borders) and I did enjoy using such high-contrast yarns. It is much easier on the eyes!

  19. i am in love with that oleana sweater...i think it is absolutely stunning and i could definitely see you wearing it. the whole not available to knit issue however may cause some problems.

    however my next choices are the very first picture you posted at the top of this post. I LOVE that sweater...it is just gorgeous hege, and also the elinor flor. i fear the strong geometric shapes have suckered me in. i do however have a big soft spot for the traditional sweater from nordic knitting too.

    choices choices choices.

  20. I love 'em all, but the Sandnes Garn with the reverse black-and-white on the sleeves and shoulders would be my choice if I had to choose. I can't wait to see your choice!

  21. Anonymous17 June, 2007

    Beautiful sweaters, I made the Viking ship jacket years ago, never used it, too big. Maybe I can try to sell it on ebay?
    Flotte gensere, jeg laget Viking skip jakken for mange år siden, har aldri brukt den da den ble for stor (kanskje jeg vokser her i USA) Kan alltids prøve å selge den på ebay. Flott blogg du har! Hilsen ektesiddis@hotmail.com

  22. Those sweaters are absolutely stunning! Enough inspiration to make me think about color knitting again...