Faroe Knitting

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Getting ready for Saint Olav’s Festival

The Saint Olav’s Festival is on Monday and Tuesday next week.
We are trying to get ready, and the days when you had your national dress when you were 14 years old, and then had it for the rest of your life, are over. I am sewing a new skirt for my daughter now, a blue one. She owns a red skirt already. The blue will look great with the black blouse she had made two years ago. People are debating whether it should be allowed to change the appearance of the national costume, especially the women’s clothing, the colour, the length of the skirt, if it should be worn without the scarf and apron. The bonnet has for many years been used only as an accessory hanging from the belt.
So it is always exciting to see what the young girls are wearing for the festival.

Saint Olav’s Festival

My daughter is wearing her new black blouse with long sleeves for the first time.
My daughters new blouse with long sleeves
And here is her grandmother who knitted the blouse. She’s moving the clasps from the old blouse to the new one. There are always some last minute adjustments.

Jansy’s silver. The silver for the Faroese clothes is very expensive, so often you buy it over a long period time.

On Saint Olav’s Day, the 29th of July, there is a procession of the members of parliament and priests to the church. Almost all of the politicians are in their Faroese costumes.
Prime Minister, politicians and priests on their way to church on Saint Olav's Day

An Important part of the Woman’s National Dress

From an exhibition of handicrafts in Tilhaldið in Tórshavn, a center for retirees, where one of their many activities is knitting

A very important part of the woman’s national costume is the knitted blouse. Although it is very traditional, it has changed through times, according to how the young girls wish for their costume to look. Changes are made to the colours and patterns of the blouse, as well as to the length of the sleeves. Not many years ago, most blouses were in stranded knitting in the colours red and black or dark blue, and the sleeves were short.

The black blouse with long sleeves belongs to my daughter. Her grandmother made ​​it according to her wishes. Plain blouses with long sleeves are seen more and more. The short sleeves are cold if you mostly wear your dress outdoors.

The red blouse is knitted in a traditional Scandinavian pattern. In Faroese it is called “rokkarnir”, the spinning wheels. Very nice finish with a braided edge.


The blue blouse is knitted in a traditional Faroese pattern for the woman’s blouse, and the edges are in black velvet.

The Faroese National Dress

The best thing about Saint Olav’s Festival is that everybody is dressed in their best clothes, and if you own national clothes you wear them on this day.

I met those three beautiful girls on the first day of the festival, Saint Olav’s Eve on the 28th of July.

The blouse is hand knitted on needles 2½ mm after old traditional patterns.

Here is a close up to show the silver. As you can tell it is not so simple to get dressed for the woman. It often includes a lot of safety pins. The brooch holds the shawl in place.

A family all wearing the Faroese national costume, including the little boy in the stroller in his Faroese hat.
Note all the silver buttons for the man’s clothes.

They are on their way to downtown Tórshavn on Saint Olav’s Day 29th of July.

And the last photo is of a very cute 2 year old girl in her Faroese national dress.