SUNDBØ, Annemor (2019). Koftearven: Historiske trader og magiske mønster (‘Cardigans: Historical trades and magical patterns’), Oslo: Gyldendal Norsk Forlag. ISBN: 978-82-05-52211-4, hardback, 400 pp., end notes, bibliography. Price: Nor. Kroner 449.
Annemor Sundbø is one of the grand dames of the hand knitting world, and she has done much to preserve the social, economic and technical history of knitting in Scandinavia and the rest of northern Europe. Her wide ranging knowledge is reflected in the historical elements of this book, which has been fully illustrated with items from the Sundbø collection (currently housed in the Ose Ullvare knitting workshop, in Setesdal, Norway).
This is a beautifully illustrated book, which looks at many cardigans that come from various parts of Norway. There are discussions about technical, historical and design aspects. The design section is the ‘magical’ element.
When discussing Scandinavian forms, Sundbø is on ‘safe ground’. However, in her discussion of the supposed link between ancient Egyptian motifs with 19th and early 20th century Norwegian designs, some care needs to be taken.
Recommendation: This book is recommended for anyone seriously interested in the history of hand knitting in Norway. Some of the links made between ancient Egyptian and later designs, reflect a personal opinion, personal, rather than being historical.
Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, March 2020.