My grandmother also knit me one; it was red and white. Over the course of the last two hours I poured through a lot of photographs searching for a picture of me in my Fana sweater, but sadly, it was nowhere to be found.
As explained by Susanne Pagoldh in Nordic Knitting, Fana is the area south of Bergen. The sweater (as a pullover), was worn in the late 1870s; the cardigan version became popular around the turn of that century. Pagoldh also notes that Norwegians around the Bergan area wore the Fana sweater during the occupation by Nazi Germany (1940-45) as a national symbol of solidarity.
My grandmother also knit a red and cream Fanakofte for my daughter many years ago. My grandmother used (well, sort of), the pattern pictured to the left. It was, like many others I still have, pulled from a magazine – a “ladies magazine,” not a knitting magazine. In fact, on the reverse sides of the two pattern pages are tips for recipes and gardening.
Now I have always thought this heavily patterned sweater looks great on children and youths but not as great on adults. Perhaps it’s the horizontal stripes. Most adults – at least most female adults – tend to avoid horizontal stripes. And look closely at the picture! How many adult women want the accent the checkerboard pattern provides around their hips? And yes, these are unisex sweaters.
I found the original pattern my grandmother used to knit my daughter’s sweater. I ironed out the now bent and frayed edges of the pattern and scanned it in. Here it is to share with interested knitters: “Fanakoften er moderne igen” (1981). (Please remember that many people knit them as pullovers.)
I was sure I had a Fana pattern written in English, and, after some digging and moving boxes, I found it at the bottom of a stack of old knitting journals. Translated into English, it is in a Peer Gynt (Sandnes Uldvarefabrik) booklet, number 9806 and titled “Jubileumshefte [anniversary issue] 1998.” It has great photographs and instructions for both the pullover and cardigan versions of the Fana sweater.
So, am I tempted to knit one of these for myself? Perhaps if I looked like the woman to the left I would be more inclined to knit one for myself, but, alas, I don’t. My grandkids would be adorable in them, though!
What about you? Are you tempted to knit one – or have you already?!