Delsbo Woman's Sweater by Alice Starmore
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Delsbo Woman's Sweater

Fingering (14 wpi) ?
15 stitches and 17 rows = 2 inches
in colourwork pattern
US 2½ - 3.0 mm
US 2 - 2.75 mm
5 sizes between 32"-40" bust.

Alice Starmore states:

I have shown how contemporary fashion influenced Swedish folk costume to a greater or lesser degree according to how isolated each region was. Around the beginning of the nineteenth century, in the parish of Delsbo in Hälsingland, a new fashion for both men and women emerged, which was centred on Delsbo and nowhere else. It consisted of a sweater or short jacket knitted in what is, quite frankly, the most original and complex colour knitting pattern that I have ever seen. This unique, strikingly effective pattern was knitted by professionals using fine yarn and needles, with red as a main shade and black and green as contrast colours. The main pattern itself is large-scale, and, except with precise mathematical language, it defies description. To me, it represents the ultimate example of the art of the professional knitter.

As to the origins of the Delsbo pattern, there is no information in any Swedish museum and so it remains very much an enigma. It was knitted with several small variations, usually effected by shifting the colour emphasis, or by re-arranging the different design elements, or using one of several alternative border designs. A date and initials were frequently knitted into the chest of the garment, and in fact in one example that I saw (dated 1840) had two sets of initials, which showed that it was made for someone’s wedding day - a clear indication of the special place that the pattern had in local costume.

I so much admired the Delsbo sweaters as examples of knitting, that I decided to base three garments upon them. The first, a sweater, is the most like the original, the shape being kept simple the and body worked all over in the main Delsbo pattern. In addition, one of the floral border designs is used on the yoke and sleeves. I have kept to the original colours of red, black and greeen, and the contrast yarns are stranded over quite long distances, so careful knitting as well as concentration is required.

Author notes that the yarn used in the garment is Sirdar Country Style 4-ply in Flamenco, with Black and Tartan Green.

Between 6-7 50g balls in main; 4-5 in 1st C and 2 in 2nd C.