Scandinavian knitting conference: Korsnas

posted in: Knitting, Travel | 1

I can’t believe who I’m not taking workshops with this weekend. The problem is that I’d like to do everything here and there’s only one of me. I could also only manage two of the three days.

So I picked the topics I was interested in that I either haven’t had time yet to explore or don’t have other resources to begin experimenting with, when I have time.

Yesterday I spent all day messing around with Korsnas-style knitting (I’m skipping the diacritical marks here: there are some). The Korsnas techniques are included in Priscilla Gibson-Roberts’ revised version of Knitting in the Old Way, on pages 292 to 302; I’ve been incredibly curious about them since I edited that piece of the book and haven’t had time to experiment. They come from a Swedish-speaking part of Finland and combine knitting with single crochet. Carol Rhoades, who has spent a lot of time exploring the techniques, wrote an article for the January/February 2004 issue of PieceWork (pages 42 to 47). I’ve also read one of the few books available in English on the subject, Decorative Crocheting, by Marketta Luutonen, Anne-Maija Backman, and Bunnar Backman (more diacritical marks missing: I’m zooming this morning, because I have another workshop to get to; I also can’t find a link for it).

Yesterday’s instructor was Carol Rhoades. She brought a lot of great samples and an easygoing instructional manner (easygoing even though she was on the verge of flying off to teach at SOAR in Michigan).

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She brought lots of samples:

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She also provided us with great handouts, and supplied two-ply Satakieli (Finnish) wool yarn. Turns out if you’re going to make one of these you want yarn that will last for the ages and not pill, because it’s a lot of work.

We worked on the single-crochet technique, which is pretty standard color-patterned crochet worked exclusively through the back loop, which gives a distinctive texture on the front. Although the Korsnas methods combine knitting and crochet, I didn’t get to the knitting part, and I’m not sure anyone else did, either, although Sue Wills of Mew Mew’s Yarn Shop, who was sitting behind me, might have. During the few moments when I looked up from my own work, I noted she was making excellent progress.

It was a really quiet class filled with people I’d love to have visited with. We were all concentrating and trying to get to the knitting part! (I like crochet: I wanted to see the transitions. Carol gave enough information that everyone should be able to handle that when the time comes.

Hmmm. I just noticed that I didn’t take any photos of pieces that include the knitting part, although they were there—a hat, a mitten, and some others.

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And today I drop that work and start something else.

Here’s what I got done. The little white thing is a sampler to test techniques, and the red is the start of a bag that’s about an inch (2.5 cm) of crochet away from the knitting part.

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It’s a slow technique. Carol said that there may have been professionals who did the crochet bits, moving from town to town—crochet is bottom edge of body and sleeves, and upper parts of body and sleeves. They’re the places most likely to wear and the crochet’s durable, as well as gorgeous. The local folks might have done the knitting (trunk part of body and middles of sleeves)—more flexible for movement and more thrify of yarn (my interpretations), plus a lot quicker to complete. Patterning in the knitted areas is simple: lice, plus small repeating motifs.

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  1. Julia Grant

    I am so glad I found this information…I recently went to a Cromwell celebration and was mildly educated on this old style. Thank you…I can’t wait to try it.

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