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.