Sonderbooks     Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

More Info from

Rate this Book

Sonderbooks 45
    Next Book

        Previous Book
        Next Book
Young Adult Fiction
Children's Nonfiction
Children's Fiction
Picture Books

2002 Stand-outs
Five-Star Books
Four-Star Books
Old Favorites
Back Issues
List of Reviews by Title
List of Reviews by Author

Links For Book Lovers

About Me
Contact Me
Post on Bulletin Board

I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
**      = Enjoyable
*        = Good, with reservations


***Viking Patterns for Knitting

Inspiration and Projects for Today's Knitter

by Elsebeth Lavold

Translated by Robin Orm Hansen

Reviewed January 1, 2003.
Trafalgar Square Publishing, North Pomfret, Vermont, 1998.  127 pages.
Available at Sembach Library.

Although I’ve become an avid knitter, especially now that I have a friend who explores yarn shops with me, I haven’t reviewed a knitting book before.  They aren’t exactly books you sit and read, but I recently completed a project inspired by this book.  I thought it would be a good excuse to mention it, in case there are any other knitters out there.

The book takes patterns from Viking artifacts and incorporates them via cable stitches, not color work, into beautiful sweater designs.  Most of the patterns remind me of Celtic designs I saw in Ireland, so I had a special fondness for them.  My real inspiration, though, was her section on Viking runes.

Anyone who has read The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien knows the important place that dwarf runes take in the story and on Thorin’s map.  He repeats these runes on the cover of several editions, with title information written in runes around the sides of the cover.  It’s easy to learn the code of certain runes for certain letters.

So I was delighted when Elsebeth Lavold showed me how to knit runes into a sweater.  I used that information with a basic sweater pattern and designed a sweater that says “All that is gold does not glitter” in dwarf runes for my teenage son.  I finished it in the nick of time for him to wear it to The Two Towers movie.  There are a few dwarf runes that aren’t from actual Viking runes, but it was easy to puzzle them out from the principles that the author gives.  The sweater turned out magnificently, with a pattern from an old Viking sword accenting the sleeves.

The patterns aren’t nearly as difficult to knit as they look.  The design is done with cables, and you really only need to pay special attention when the cables are crossing.  I definitely want to knit some more patterns from this book.

My only complaint with the book is that for many of the fourteen projects, not much yarn information is given.  In several cases, only the name of the yarn is given, with no information as to its construction (wool or cotton) or thickness.  Still, you can figure out a lot of that from the gauge, which is given, so I’m hoping I can find yarn that will work for some of these designs.

I do appreciate it that she goes beyond the individual sweater patterns and gives the principles behind making the designs so that you can knit your own ideas with the Viking patterns.  For example, she could have only given patterns for the particular runes she uses, but instead she gives the entire runic alphabet and explains the principles that were used to make them.  A beautiful and inspiring book.


Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

-top of page-