My mother learned to knit in Norway and I learned to knit Norwegian style from my mother. As a child, I always had a handknit Norwegian sweater made by my mother. Dancing girls, snowflakes, and reindeer all feel familiar and like family. When I saw that Terri Shea was publishing a book on traditional Selbu knitting, I ordered it right away.
Selbuvotter is a delightful knitting book. Ms Shea presents history, techniques, and patterns in a concise, engaging, and entertaining manner. I can't remember the last time I read every page of a knitting book.
Unlike many knitting traditions, Selbuvotter knitting can be traced to one person. The history is laid out from its inception in 1856 to today. This book is the result of lovingly studying the collection of the Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle and the collection of Annemor Sundbø.
Don't overlook the technique section and go straight to the patterns. There are many wonderful tips that will help to make your project more successful. The technique section is so thorough, you could knit a mitten from it and a chart.
And the patterns. Sigh. So pretty. There are the mittens you will instantly recognize as Norwegian and there are some that will stretch your understanding of Norwegian patterns. Each one is a reproduction of a vintage mitten.
I like to design my own patterns. I enjoy the challenge and I am not always successful at understanding someone else's logic. Naturally, I gravitate toward stitch pattern and technique books. This book strikes a good balance of providing content for both the new(ish) and the experienced knitter.
Maybe the best part of the book is how Ms Shea encourages us to take the designs and patterns and make them our own. I love that generosity. To me, it is the mark of someone who wants to see the work continue, evolve, and remain relevant. It is especially fitting in this tradition, created by one woman and adopted and adapted by a nation.