Nordic Knitwear

I had the opportunity to contribute several traditional Nordic style knitwear designs to a Japanese language knitting magazine, Keitodama, last year.
What is Nordic style knit design?  It is often characterised by the use of a black or navy, ecru, and red geometric pattern around the shoulders.  Because this is a well-known traditional knit pattern, a lot of home hand knitters have tried to knit this style of sweater for their sons or husbands. Nordic sweaters first became internationally recognized after the 1956 Winter Olympics, when the Norwegian team wore their traditional sweaters as their official uniform.
My first Nordic sweater was a gift from my father who went to Norway on a business trip, and bought several sweaters home as gifts for my family. My one is a blue and grey cardigan which I still wear during winter. My younger cousin got a very typical navy and red cardigan, which has now come to my daughter.
Those traditional authentic qualities can also make Norwegian sweaters seem more like a national costume rather than a sweater for daily use, and they are not easy for non-Norwegians to wear, especially in the city. This is compounded by the fact that the garment is a fairly shapeless square, and wool is usually coarse and heavy. Nordic design influenced sweaters from fashion shops are usually softer, lighter and easier to wear in town.  But the “fashion” versions are unlikely to be as durable.  My authentic one is now over 20 years old!  I am not sure why I have kept on wearing it for so long.  Is it because of the good design, or just nostalgia for my youth? Perhaps both.
Wearing these timeless designs always makes me think about the many aspects of traditional design, social history and quality. These are also very important bases for my own creations.