Thursday, March 22, 2012

Setesdal Sweater Makeover

My DH owns a Setesdal sweater. It's machine-knit (from Dale of Norway) and quite nice. But, I want to kick it up a notch by making a set of traditional "loyesaum" cuffs and collar.

[I want to turn this...]

[...into this. sweater contents not included.]
[photo from Dale]

The cuffs and collar are hand-embroidered on wool, which is sewn over the knitted sweater. The pewter buttons are non-functional, decorative only. The neck opening is like a Henley, with a slit to mid-chest, closed with a single decorative pewter clasp at the neck.

I've only ever seen sweaters like this in pictures, never in real life. I think they're stunning.

I've looked everywhere for instructions and/or kits that will let me make this collar/cuff set, but so far all I've been able to find are kits from Husfliden stores in Norway, which do not ship internationally. So off to Ravelry for help!  Some excellent knitters there have provided me with some embroidery diagrams (thank you thank you thank you) and I've Googled "setesdal embroidery" images for inspiration. Here is an especially interesting and instructive set of close-ups from someone who attended a workshop on loyesaum given by Annemor Sundbo.

Some things I've discovered:
- I won't need to cut the collar and cuffs off of DH's sweater; the embellished cuffs and collar are sewn over top of existing knitting. I will have to steek the front though. I think a crochet steek is called for!
- embroidery is done on wool fabric (not felt, as I originally thought), traditionally black, with in some cases green trim/edging.
- cuffs and collar are lined (either with same wool, or matching cotton/flannel)
- use crewel wool for embroidery, with some DMC cotton for the details
- you can baste coarse canvas over top of the wool to embroider the basic shapes (band outlines, triangles) and then remove the canvas by pulling out its threads.
- fine details are embroidered after the canvas threads are gone.

Now, I'm not a very good embroiderer, but I'm fired up to go! Next posts will include details on materials and progress. Stay tuned!!

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