A mother and daughter from the Faroe Islands have published a book with over 50 traditional knitting motifs. The book, which was first released in Norway, Denmark and the Faroe Islands two years ago, is now available in English.
Svanhild Strøm and her mother, Marjun Biskopstø, were contacted by a Norwegian publishing house that asked if they were interested in creating a knitting book, drawing inspiration from traditional Faroese knitting designs. The editor had seen the old knitting book from 1932, ‘Føroysk Bindingarmystur’, and had fallen in love with the traditional designs.
“We agreed that the new book should use the old motifs, but in a new and modern way,” Svanhild recalls. “It was very important for us that the book became more than just ‘another knitting book’. We wanted the book to have beautiful clothing, but we also wanted it to include information about, for example, Faroese knitting history.”
The book, called Faroe Island Knits (‘Bundnar Søgur’ in Faroese), is inspired by ‘Føroysk Bindingarmynstur’, a cultural treasure and commodity in most Faroese households. ‘Føroysk Bindingarmynstur’ was written in 1932 by Hans Marius Debes, known as Skraddar Debes, a tailer from the village of Gjógv. He was encouraged by Queen Alexandrine of Denmark to travel around the islands and document traditional Faroese knitting motifs.
“Skraddar Debes was also a very good storyteller,” says Svanhild. “We learnt so much about him when we started to explore his background. We found so many wonderful stories, and these became the inspiration for some of the designs in our book.”
Faroe Island Knits has been well received in Norway, Denmark and the Faroe Islands, and Svanhild hopes the American market will also find the book interesting.
“We never expected the book to do as well as it has,” says Svanhild. “It has been so much fun to travel in Norway, Denmark and the Faroe Islands and hold lectures about the book and about Faroese knitting history. Now we’re excited to see if we will be heading to the USA to do the same!”
Words: Levi Hanssen, faroeislands.fo