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The Exhibition The Book


Image headline: The Exhibition


The touring exhibition Knitting Along the Viking Trail is described below in text and images. For the prospective exhibitor, there is a separate page with technical information. At the bottom of the page there is information about its present location.


 Knitting Along the Viking Trail has had tremendous success in terms of the number of visitors. Perhaps this is due to the sheer beauty of the exhibition, but the historic content expands its appeal to a non-knitting public. Alongside the sweaters, pillows, mittens and socks, there is a display of historic facts and artifacts, and a systematic, pattern based analysis of Viking Age objects. The photo is from the Gothenburg City Museum exhibition (fall of 1999). The Knitting Along the Viking Trail exhibition: Gothenburg 1999

The Knitting Along the Viking Trail exhibition: Gothenburg 1999, closeup There is no historic evidence to support that knitting was known to the Vikings, and the garments in no way pretend to be Viking age in design. Quite the contrary, "modern and timeless" would be a better description. Instead, the ornamental heritage of the Vikings, probably the most distinctly Scandinavian design that has ever existed, is brought to new life in a new context. It is still remarkably modern after a thousand years.

The life-size wooden mannequins, proudly showing their lovely clothing, contribute to the impression that the exhibition can really "populate" a room. In the foreground of this photo, from The Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle 2009, you may also see an example of the most typical design element of the Viking era, besides entrelac: dragons, snakes and other animals, entangled in themselves and each other. The Knitting Along the Viking Trail exhibition: Seattle 2009

The Knitting Along the Viking Trail exhibition: Information signIt is exciting to discover the exact same type of pattern on objects, large and small, from very different parts the Viking world, and it took a knitting expert to perform the analysis. The objects on the sign stem from Sweden, Russia, Iceland and Norway. The exhibition displays superb craftsmanship from a thousand years ago as well as today.

Frequently, adaptations to the specific exhibition site are made. In Sigtuna, a newly found bone with an exceptionally long runic inscription resulted in the display in the photo: Parts of the runic text, knitted into a cap and mittens. Yes, the new technique allows you to knit the entire runic alphabet! The bone itself was exhibited in another part of the same museum. In Uppsala, an ornamented glass bowl was recreated upside down as a cap.
   Another example, from Lödöse, can be found in the Knitty Gritty section.
The Knitting Along the Viking Trail exhibition: Sigtuna, Cap & mittens with runic ornamentation

The Knitting Along the Viking Trail exhibition: Uppsala 1998-99The flexibility of the exhibition allows for dramatic presentations in a wide range of very different rooms. In Museum Gustavianum in Uppsala (December 1998 - January 1999), the sense of drama was enhanced by restrictions in the use of spotlights. Here, an unusual element of suspense became part of the experience in the dark corners of the museum.

An American adaptation of the Knitting Along the Viking Trail exhibit was shown at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota, February 12 to May 25, 2003. There are many more photos from the exhibit and events in the Knitty Gritty section.
   The Ager House i Eau Claire, Wisconsin, hosted the exhibit  August 27 to September 26, 2004. Text & photos here.
   In 2005, the exhibit returned across the Atlantic Ocean for a tour of Northern Sweden, to continue to Denmark in the fall of 2006. Back in the USA in 2009, where it was shown at The Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle, Washington, and at The Vesterheim Museum in Decorah, Iowa. The American Swedish Historical Museum in Philadelphia was last in line to host the exhibition before it was shipped back across the Atlantic. This was in the spring of 2011.
The Knitting Along the Viking Trail exhibition: Minneapolis Feb 12 - May 25 2003

Present locationLogo: Knitting Along the Viking Trail

 

The exhibition is presently biding its time in storage, ready for new adventures.

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Copyright © unless otherwise stated
 Elsebeth Lavold, knitwear design & drawings
Anders Rydell, text & photos