Karen’s Lusegenser

My grandmother knit a lot of (Norwegian) traditionally-patterned sweaters for me, frequently with matching hats. Here is a photo (early ’60s) of my mother and me on a ski trip in Southern Norway. I was very proud to wear my new lusegenser (aka Setesdal sweater). My grandmother finished it the day before we went on this ski trip. Sadly, she didn’t have time to finish the matching hat, so in the picture I am wearing my old red and white striped hat. I remember being very annoyed that my mother made me wear it; I thought it was very ugly.

(I also remember that my grandmother sewed the ski pants I am wearing in the picture. One night as I was standing on a kitchen stool for a fitting, I argued with my grandmother over which side of the pants the pocket should go. My mother snatched me off the stool, dragged me to the sink and proceeded to wash my mouth out with a very nasty tasting soap – punishment for arguing with my grandmother.)

In any event, I have decided I need to knit that sweater for my grandchildren. I have the same pattern my grandmother used 50 years ago and have scanned in the pattern to share: Ny Setesdal. If you are an experienced knitter (in any language) and have Margaret Heathman’s Knitting Languages, you can probably figure out the pattern instructions. Here are some of the key words to help you get started.

bord = border
ermene = the arms
ermpinner = arm needles (so small circular or double pointed)
fell = decrease
fell av = bind off
fortstykket = the front
fram og tilbake = back and forth
gang(er) = time(s)
genser(en) = (the) pull over
glattstrikking = stockinette stitch
høyden = height (of gauge swatch rows)
klippes, klipp av, klipp til = cut, break off, trim
koften = (the) jacket, cardigan
legg opp = cast on
legg ut = increase
luer = cap (hat)
lus = louse (the singular white dot stitches in the sweater are the “lice”)
maske(r) = stitch(es)
midt = middle
minske = make smaller/decrease
montering = assemblying the pieces
måle = measures
omgang = row, round
pinner = needles
prøvelapp = swatch
rett = right side (of work)
rundpinner = circular needles
rygg(en) = (the) back
oppskrift = pattern; recipe
(å) strikke = (to) knit
strikkefasthet = gauge; tension
strikk en ret (og) to vrange = knit one (and) purl two
strømpepinner = stocking (sock) needles (i.e., set of 4 or 5)
vrangbord = ribbing
vrangen = the wrongside (of work)

I was going to include standard Norwegian knitting abbreviations but saw only a few in this pattern:

ca = cirka = circa, about, approximately
m = stitch(es) – Yes, it could be meter but this pattern is for a child’s sweater. 🙂
nr = number
omg = round, row

Well, I did see c. and cm. but I figured everyone knows those. 🙂


About sweatyknitter

Fiber art devotee, author, and amateur artisan bread baker.
This entry was posted in Knitting, Norwegian Knitting. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Karen’s Lusegenser

  1. Oh yes, and we can’t forget the winter woolen long underwear (tops and bottom) she knit for me too. to this day i can wear the scratchiest of wool next to my bare skin with no problem. 🙂


  2. Top to bottom handknits and handmade? Your grandmother loved you to pieces! It is wonderful to see you pass that on to your own grandchildren. Very lovely and loving tradition!


  3. I have a hunch if I dragged out my wheel she’d be fascinated. It’s been in a closet for a couple of months, before which time she was drawn to it like a moth to flame! She likes the loom too … but when I set her on my lap and let he throw the shuttle or move the beater, she quickly lost interest. So I am trying not to push!


  4. Curls & Q says:

    I tried to get my granddaughter to try spinning – “Grandma this is too hard.” I’ll try knitting, but don’t think she’s really patient enough to sit for long.


  5. Yes, washing a child’s mouth out with soap would undoubtedly be frowned on today. That said, it onlly happened once … I never again argued with my grandmother. 🙂


  6. I wish the hat had been ready too … I really hated the red and white striped hat. 🙂 My granddaughter will be 4 soon. She has, as of yet, shown scant interest in knitting so I don’t want to start her too early!


  7. jenyjenny says:

    Thanks for the wonderful post! You look like a living doll in the pic! I realize the soap washing out mouth episode is improper today, but isn’t it kind of thrilling to recall…thanks for the awesome language key.


  8. Curls & Q says:

    Such a lucky woman. The entire outfit is wonderful! We both share wonderful memories of grandmothers who taught us craft “stuff”. Thank you for sharing the pattern. Curls has really been wanting to knit one!


  9. Yes, it is a great pattern! I don’t know what happened to it, but I have another one my grandmother made for me when I was 16. My daughter has it now!


  10. Oh my gosh! What an amazing sweater! The pattern itself is a thing of beauty. I took my first stab at Nordic Knitting early this spring and am dying to try it again (although I think this one might be a little beyond me 😉 So glad I found your blog!


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