The Lillehammer Sweater

The Lillehammer Sweater

I was planning on just posting a few pictures to Instagram of a beautiful sweater that my grandmother knit. Then I started Googling and found out so much fascinating information that I just had to write a post about it.

My grandmother was a fantastic knitter and total perfectionist. I remember her ripping out rows and rows to fix the tension of a single stitch. For her it was all about the challenge — figuring out how to make something new and different.

This was one of her later sweaters and a lifetime of honing her craft shines in all of the tiny details. Look at those cast on edges and seams! I could never imagine getting stitches this clean.


I started searching for info about colorwork techniques and patterns and found a fascinating YouTube series about the history of Norwegian knitting design from Arne & Carlos.

As with most needlework, all of the images are symbolic of cultural traditions or shifts; the materials are reflective of socioeconomic status and local tradition; and the design is based on the eventual use. For example, stranded knitting developed as a defense against frigid weather — by floating the yarns, you end up with a warmer, double layer of wool.

I couldn’t find out any anthropological details about this specific design, except that it was the official sweater for the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics!

If you want to make it yourself, here is the full PDF of the sweater pattern, as well as patterns for the mittens, hat, and socks! You could knit an entire Norwegian set :) A few hundred brave souls have knit this pattern over the years, which you can see over on Ravelry.

Pattern: Dalegarn 1994 Lillehammer

This was also apparently sold as a machine-knit sweater — I’m assuming as Olympic village merch? I found a few in Etsy vintage stores for $150-275.

I’m now inspired to cast on a new sweater project ❄️🧶🎿