The "Knitting Along the Viking Trail" exhibit opened at the American Swedish Historical Museum in Philadelphia in March 2011 and closes July 3, 2011. If you are reading this when I actually wrote it there is still time for you to dash down there and see it. The trip would be worth your while.
As I was preparing for the visit to mom's house and the museum over Memorial Day weekend I wracked my brain to figure out why I didn't go in March when the exhibit opened and Elsebeth Lavold was there doing workshops. Then I remembered it was the same weekend Hubby and I left for our March Break trip to Park City, Utah (which I never told you about). Well, a girl can only do so much.
Since we were there on a Friday afternoon, mom and I had the exhibit hall to ourselves, which gave me plenty of time and space to run from one end to the other examining each piece from many different angles. It was very exciting to see in person the sweaters I've been mooning over for years in the pattern books.
I discovered Lavold's designs in 2004, pretty soon after I learned to knit. Even at that time I knew cables would be a love of mine and bought the "Viking Patterns for Knitters" as soon as I saw it. Seeing the sweaters in person gave me a new appreciation for how they are put together and the details that went into the designs. It seems silly to say that seeing them in person allowed me to see them in a new light. Of course the sweaters look different in person than in a picture.
I was especially excited to see the Trud sweater, which is from the first Viking Knits Collection book. I fell in love with Trud in 2004 and bought the book and the yarn even though it was beyond my skill level at the time.
Then my skill level caught up and I wondered if I really wanted all that fabric from the pleats around my hips. So I started considering other ways to use the yarn, but kept coming back to Trud.
Well, seeing the sweater in person I found that the pleats don't add a lot of bulk after all. The Silky Wool yarn is light and has good drape so there isn't really a massive amount of fabric around the waist. That was very exciting to see. Trud was back on my to-make list! All I have to do is scale down the top. The size small has a 34" inch finished chest, which will be around 3" of ease for me and a tad more than I like.
The other change in perspective I had was from seeing Vigdis from Viking Patterns for Knitters and Skjalf from the Second Viking Knits book.
They both have these form fitting, detached hood. I always thought the hood on Vigdis was a little goofy looking in the book. Turns out they are really cute in person! The Vigdis one is just plain stockinette stitch, but the one for Skjalf has cables on it.
In fact, mom and I left the museum discussing how practical they looked. They keep you warmer than a hat since they cover your ears and neck, but they don't block your peripheral vision and catch the wind like a traditional hood would. Having seen them in person I really want to make one now.
It was also inspiring to see the dragons in person that I want to use in my Celtic Critter Cardigan. There don't seem to be patterns for Urd and Saga, the sweaters I'm standing with in the first picture on the post. But they gave an idea of what can be done with the cables. Getting to examine the details of the sweaters up close and see how they were put together was very informative. I took lots of close up pictures of shoulders, sides, collars, and other parts unseen in the pictures in the pattern books.
Well, I could go on and on about how wonderful all the sweater were, but I think you get the idea.
I'll wrap up by mentioning the blanket picture from my last post.
The afghan was massive! It was all her swatches from Knitting Along the Viking Trail sewn together. Once again, some of the patterns that didn't impress me in the pictures in the book turned out to be very attractive in person.
But I think my favorite part of the blanket was the filled in spaces. Little areas where the swatches didn't come together square that were just filled in with grey garter stitch. That amused me terribly.
I guess because those little grey spots showed it was handmade.