Norwegians, Olympics & Sweaters

Many of you probably know that Norwegians like making (and wearing) sweaters to honor their Olympians.  For instance, in the 1964 Olympics held in Innsbruck, this sweater to the right was the official Olympic sweater.  (You can get the original pattern from Ravelery here.)

Dale of Norway didn’t become the official designer of Norway’s OL (Olympic) sweaters for its national ski team until 1954, creating the first OL sweater (Cortina) in time for the 1956.  By the way, Cortina was designed by Birgit Eriksen – the mother of Marius Eriksen after whom the Mariusgenser was named.  (And  yes, the Cortina is available at Ravelry too.)

In my boxes of papers I found a pattern from the mid-1990s for a sweater called a Hjallis-genser.  Hjallis is Hjalmar Anderson who, at the age of 28 at the 1952 Olympics in Norway, won three gold medals for speedskating:  1,500 meters, and 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters.  On the second page of the pattern you see an older Hjallis modeling the sweater.  In the left upper corner of the first page it reads:  Strikk en Hjallis-genser til mannen i ditt liv.  That translates:  “Knit a Hjallis-sweater for the man in your life.”  (I knit one for my dad many years ago.)

Here’s a jpg I made from two very ratty pages from the magazine.  It is titled “Du kan strikke OL-genseren fra Squaw Valley” (“You can knit the Olympic sweater from Squaw Valley”) was from the same magazine.  The 1960 OL-genser seems a little similar to the 1956 Cortina.  🙂  If so, I like the 1960 version better because the pattern is less busy below the neck – the thick pattern row of Os and Xs is missing.  And I think the purple caught my eye – not one of the usual colors used in traditional Norwegian knitting – and that’s why I kept this picture.

If you’re tempted to knit one of Dale’s OL-sweaters, Allegro Yarns has kits all ready to go!  Another option is to buy or borrow Dale’s Offisielle Ol-Gensere [Official Olympic Sweaters] 1956-1994 book.



About sweatyknitter

Fiber art devotee, author, and amateur artisan bread baker.
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6 Responses to Norwegians, Olympics & Sweaters

  1. fabrickated says:

    Yes I do like the 60s styles, although to wear the 1970s and 1940s work better for me. Its interesting you are into making bread – my husband makes sour dough everyday and we usually eat it between us (we often have family members turn up). So the idea that linen bags help it keep is an excellent one and something I might try. Thanks for the tip!


  2. I’ve noticed you tend to lean toward ’60s styles. 🙂 By the way, following your blog and Thornberry’s has encouraged me to dust off my machine. I plan on making several linen bread bags. I am trying to master artisan bread making and so, as there’s just two of us, regularly give my friends loaves. I felt a little silly wrapping the gift loaves in old (but clean) cotton pillow cases. Then recently I read that, at linen bags are the best for storing bread (though you want to eat the fresh bread within a few days). So I now have several yards of freshly-washed 100% linen waiting for me … 🙂



  3. fabrickated says:

    This is so intersting. I had no idea they had official knitwear that you could create at home! How splendid. I really like the 1960s designs. Gorgeous.


  4. Yup, some people have memories triggered by food smells, others by yarns! 🙂


  5. handstitch says:

    Gotta love those Norwegians! What would we knitters/sweater-lovers do without their gorgeous designs :0) I went to Squaw Valley nearly every weekend in my 20s. What fond memories this bring. Thanks Karen for the smile 😀


  6. Curls & Q says:

    Very informative! Another chapter! LOVE the swathers. Too bad I can’t wear pullovers – a side effect from “the change”. 😎 I love your knowledge of Norwegian knitting!


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