All images: Annemor Sundbø
Annemor Sundbø has won a major Norwegian literary prize for her book, Cardigans: Historical trades and magical patterns (Koftearven: Historiske trader og magiske mønster). The book – not yet available in English - looks at cardigans that come from various parts of Norway and their technical, historical and design aspects. It is the latest of Sundbø’s many books preserving the cultural history and traditions of Norwegian knitting. The result of decades of collecting old photographs, historic newspaper articles, and first hand accounts of technical inventions.
Sundbø owns and operates a knitting workshop “Ose Ullvare” in Setesdal, about 110 km from Kristiansand, Norway. She ran the last remaining shoddy factory in Norway, Torridal Tweed og Ulldynefabrikk, from 1993 to 2006. The products made there were of recycled wool. Sundbø’s ownership of the factory was somewhat accidental; she wanted some experience in a small scale woollen mill and the owner agreed to train her on one condition… She had to buy the factory first.
The storage bins at the factory were a treasure trove of knitting patterns and cultural history. Sundbø unravelled the fascinating history of traditional knitting by investigating a pile of knitted rags. This rag pile revealed the close historical ties between everyday knitting in Norway and traditional knitting in Europe as described in her books: Everyday Knitting: Treasures from a Rag Pile, Setesdal Sweaters: The History of the Norwegian Lice Pattern and Invisible Threads in Knitting, which won Sørlandet’s (Southern Norway’s) Literature Prize in 2006.
Sundbø assisted with the TRC Leiden’s Socks & Stockings exhibition last year about hand knitted socks from around the world with a Sokkerfoss (‘Sock fall’) of Norwegian socks and stockings.
We feature Annemor Sundbø’s work in our next issue, Issue 96: Nordic, pre-order your copy now.