Yesterday’s post on the LL Bean Norwegian sweater drew a helpful comment from a genuine Norwegian in our Facebook group. Although I’m sitting in a new deadstock sweater from Dale of Norway, the member told us about another storied knitwear brand called Devold. That’s a pretty good nickname for me, as in Da’ ‘Vold, though admittedly it’s not as clever as Chensvolk, as I’m referred to by some comrades on Twitter.
Anyway, here’s what he had to say:
In Norway they’re called islandsgenser or islender (translation: sweater from Iceland). It’s a strange name, as I have never seen a sweater like this in Iceland. Everybody and their grandmother has one of these. The most usual colors are white with a black pattern. More often than not they’re han- knitted at home out of thick and very rustic yarn. The best factory made ones are from Devold, and they make a blue/white one as well. Alas they moved their production to Lithuania some years ago, but the quality is the same as before. My Devold sweater is at least a decade old by now and with heavy-duty service each winter, but is still going strong.
The last 1o years a pattern called “Marius” have been more popular here. It’s a beautiful Nordic pattern, invented in the years after World War II and named after the Norwegian actor, fighter pilot and alpine skier Marius Genser.
Their old factory outside of Aalesund (western Norway, by the coast) has been converted to a museum and factory store. Their main production (sweaters) has been moved, but there could be some production left for all I know. It makes sense in a marketing perspective. Moving production from Norway to Lithuania is comparable to production moving from the UK to Portugal (like Fred Perry and others have done in the past). It’s not necessarily that much cheaper, but it’s easier to recruit and keep a skilled and experienced staff.
Here are some vintage images showing the variety of patterns and collar types, including bonny Prince Charlie below:
A boatneck is quite fitting, given Norwegians’ seafaring history:
On that note, are there turtles in Norway?
This one looks like it has crossed battle axes. Very Viking:
If he’s got a sweater on underneath, then this really is too matchy-matchy:
Nordic sweaters are for the whole family…
… though people must eventually get tired of them. — DA’ ‘VOLD