Yesterday I read through a lovely review copy of Knitting in the Nordic Tradition by Vibeke Lind. It is a fairly basic knitting book that explains basic stitches and wools, but what I love about her book is the interwoven history of Scandinavia. She writes about why people began knitting in Scandinavia and the utility of particular textiles and garments. The book opens up with an intro explaining that the book is not meant to be a straight pattern book, but an introduction to design and technique that will hopefully inspire the reader to create their own designs. As I was reading, I kept thinking that this would be a perfect book to combine with other books and web resources for a collaborative interdisciplinary teaching unit that marries art, science, math, history, and writing. The Library of Congress has a wealth of resources including a page specifically for teachers related to immigration and Scandinavia. Most students study Beowulf in high school and the experience could be far more rich and memorable by integrating lessons on the history of Scandinavia and the Vikings, traditional Scandinavian music, and Scandinavian knitting. The knitting projects could incorporate math and design skills as well as science by having students create patterns, measure, count and add stitches, and learn textile dye techniques. Imagine the power of learning like this!
Lind, Vibeke. Knitting in the Nordic Tradition. Mineola, New York : Dover Publications, Inc., 2014. (First published in 1984 by Lark Books).
Library of Congress website:
A Brief History of Dyestuffs and Dyeing
A Lesson To Dye For
Sheep Shearing Made Simple