Learn Norwegian for Knitters

Norwegian Knitting Patterns Lesson #1 ::


Kategorier means categories.

dam(er) :: women
herr(er) :: men
nordisk:: traditional Norwegian or Nordic sweaters
barn :: children
leker:: toys
dyr:: animals
interiør:: interior
tilbehør :: accessories
tovet :: felted things.


Oppskrift means pattern. The -er at the end of words is the plural indicator, like -s in English.

jakke :: jacket
genser :: sweater/pullover
kofte :: cardigan
topp :: shell
bukser :: pants
skjørt :: skirt
kjole :: dress
dress :: suit (in knitting, a one-piece suit for a baby, but can also mean a man’s suit. Confusing, eh?)
lue :: cap
votter :: mittens
sokker :: socks
strømper :: stockings
sett :: usually a coordinated set for a baby
veske :: bag
hette :: hood
skjerf :: scarf
sjal :: shawl
løshals :: dickie
skuldervarmer :: shrug


Størrelse means size. While this pattern is obviously using English sizes, you might also come across …

liten :: small
stor :: large
medium :: well, medium.


Mål means measurement. Not all Norwegian patterns give measurements, but thankfully most do.

overvidde :: circumference around the widest point, usually the chest
brystvidde :: chest circumference
(hel) lengde :: length
ermlengde :: arm length
omkrets :: circumference
bredde :: width
høyde :: height
måneder (mnd) :: months
år :: years


Materials is materialer. .

ull :: wool
bomull :: cotton
silke :: silk
lammull :: lamb’s wool
“ren, ny” :: pure, new


gr :: grams
m :: meter
farge (f) :: color
pinner (p) :: needles
rundp :: circular needles
ermp :: double pointed needles
strømpep :: sock needles (double points)
heklenål :: crochet hook
All needle sizes in Norwegian patterns will be given in the European Metric Range. Equivalents available here.
glidelås :: zipper
knapp :: button

Norwegian Knitting Patterns Lesson #2 ::


Strikkefasthet means gauge. Keep in mind that needle sizes are in metric sizes. Oh! and I forgot to mention that both knitting in the round and knitting flat is usually done with circular needles. So just because a pattern gives needle sizes in circular needles doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s knitted in the round.

Strikkefasthet : 23 m x 30 p på p 3,5 og mønster = 10 x 10 cm. 
Expanded : 23 masker x 30 pinner på pinner 3,5(mm) og mønster = 10 x 10 centimeter.
English : 23 stitches x 30 rows on 3.5mm needles and over pattern = 10 x 10 centimeter.

maske(r) :: stitch(es)
pinne(r) :: needle(s), which in this case is referring first to rows then to needles
1.p :: first row (2.p :: second row, etc…)
mønster :: pattern
10 cm :: 3.937 inches… most gauge statements treat this as 4 inches.

Husk pinnenr er kun veiledende!
Remember that needle size is only a suggestion. In other words, “be sure to check gauge”.


Mønster means pattern, whether it be a color pattern or a stitch pattern. (Whereas monster means monster. Have I pronounced this wrong? You betcha.)

Se diagram (1 diagram = 1 rapport). Mønsteret i diagrammet sees fra retten. Hele mønsteret gl(att)strikkes.

See diagram (1 diagram = 1 repeat). The pattern in the diagram is seen from the right side (huh?). The whole pattern is knitted in stockingette stitch.

Breaking that down requires knowing that…
se :: see
sees :: is seen/visible
rapport :: repeat
hele :: whole

Then a bunch of important things come to mind…

glattstrikk :: stockingette stitch
retten :: the right side
rett (r) :: knit; “k 1” is written “1 r”
vrangen :: the wrong side
vrang (vr) :: purl; “p 1” is written “1 vr”
rillestrikk :: garter stitch (two rows of garter stitch = one “rille”)

Rille (frem og tilbake på p): 1 rille = 2 pinner. 1.p: rett, 2.p: rett
Garter stitch ridges (knitted flat, lit. forward and back on needles) : 1 ridge = 2 rows. Row 1: knit, row 2: knit.

hullmønster :: lace (lit. “hole pattern”)
ribbestrikk :: ribbing
fletter :: braids/cables also called Aran
striper/stripet :: stripes/striped
perlestrikk :: moss stitch

Perlestrikk: 1.p: * 1 r, 1 vr *, 2.p: * strikk r over vr og vr over r *. Gjenta 2. p oppover.
Moss stitch: Row 1: *k 1, p1*, row 2: *knit the purl stitches and purl the knit stitches.* Repeat row 2.

Note: Stockingette (glattstrikk) is, of course, knitting the right side rows and purling the wrong side rows. In Norwegian patterns, a knit row on the wrong side is written “1 p r fra vrangen” and a purl row on the right side is written “1 p vr fra retten.”

Helpful to know when our pattern says

Kant: Strikk 7 cm glstrikk, 1 p vr (= brettekant – herfra måles arb), 2 p glstrikk. which means ::

Hem/Edge: Knit 7 cm stockingette st, then purl one row (=folding edge – work is measured from this edge from now on), then 2 rows stockingette st.

kant :: edge, kantmaske means edge stitch, while kant at the bottom edge would be a hem
(å) brette :: (to) fold
brettekant :: folding edge
(arb)eidet :: the work
(å) arbeide :: (to) work
(å) måle :: (to) measure
måles :: is measured
herfra :: from here, hereafter

Norwegian Knitting Patterns Lession #3 ::

We’ll be moving into a more conversational type of Norwegian in the pattern itself today. I think it may be worth mentioning some very simple Norwegian noun construction… please don’t shoot me.

First of all, nouns have a gender – masculine, feminine or neuter. The gender is indicated by tacking either enet or ei onto the word.
If it’s written before the word, it’s the same as the English article “a”.
If it’s tacked on after the word, it’s the same as the English article “the.”
If an -r is at the end of the word, it’s like adding an -s.
And if there’s an -ene, it’s like adding both “the” and “-s”.
There are some exceptions (after all hvis det var lett, så ville alle gjøre det.*) But generally things will go something like this…

* If it were easy [to speak Norwegian] everybody would do it.

The first word in this knitting pattern is bolen. The noun itself is bol which means torso/trunk, so
en bol :: a torso
bolen :: the torso
boler :: torsos (ooo, is that a word? Actually, it’s torsi and this is getting complicated.)
bolene :: the torsos (the torsi… tee hee.)
Point is, if a word has one of these (or the -et ending or an -a ending) you’ll want to look for the root word, which is likely all you’ll need for knitting purposes. While we’re at it, I’m going to give verbs as their root word with (å) before them which is the English verb “to.”

Onwards and upwards ::

Bolen: Jakken strikkes frem og tilbake på rundp.

The body of the sweater: The jacket (see how that was helpful?) is knitted forwards and back on circular needles.

(en) bol :: body
(å) strikke :: to knit
frem :: forward
tilbake :: back

Legg opp 216 (232-244) m (inkl 1 kantm i hver side mot midt foran) på rundp 2,5 med sort og strikk Kant.

Cast on 216 (232-244) stitches (includes 1 edge stitch in each side towards the middle front) on 2.5 mm circular needles with black and knit hem.

legg opp :: cast on
inkl(udere) :: includes
hver :: each
side :: side
mot :: towards
midt :: middle
foran :: front
med :: with
og :: and
på :: on, upon, in, at, into, to, of, after

I hate to have to go into prepositions here, since they just don’t make life any easier.  is a very common and a very tricky little word. It often means “on” but if that doesn’t fit, then try all the prepositions you know and pick the one that makes most sense.

Sett en merketråd i hver side; forstk = 52 (56-59) m, bakstk = 112 (120-126) m.

Set a marker in each side; front pieces = 52 (56-59) stitches, backpiece = 112 (120-126) stitches.

sett :: set
(en) merketråd :: a marker (lit. marking thread)
forst(ykke) :: front piece
bakstk(ykke) :: back piece

Strikk neste p slik: 1 kantm, 107 (115-121) m av M.1, 107 (115-121) m av M.2 – start ved startpil, 1 kantm.

Knit the next row as follows: 1 edge stitch, 107 (115-121) stitches in Pattern 1, 107 (115-121) stitches in Pattern 2 – start at the arrow, 1 edge stitch.

neste :: next
slik :: as follows, like this
av :: of (can also mean “off”)
start :: start
ved :: at, by, near, on
pil :: arrow
startpil :: arrow indicating the starting point
M(ønster).1 :: Pattern 1

Fortsett mønsteret oppover.

Continue the pattern upwards… in other words, continue to work back and forth in pattern. I didn’t realize until just now that the pattern involve working color patterns on the wrong side rows, but indeed it does.

Norwegian Knitting Patterns Lesson #4 ::

Etter M.1/M.2 byttes til rundp 3,5 og det strikkes glstrikk oppover med natur.

After Pattern 1/Pattern 1, change to 3.5 mm circular needles and knit on in stockingette stitch with natural.

etter :: after
(å) bytte :: (to) change
til :: to
oppover :: onwards/upwards
natur :: natural, in this case referring to yarn color

Samtidig etter kanten økes det i hver side på hver side av merketrådene på hver 6.cm: 1 m x 3 (3-3) = 228 (244-256) m (inkl 2 kantm).

At the same time, after the hem, increase, in each side, on each side of the markers, every 6 cm: 1 stitch x 3 (3-3) = 228 (244-256) stitches (including 2 edge stitches).

This sentence gets a bit awkward in the middle, but is saying to increase on both sides of each marker. There were earlier instructions to place two markers, one at each side at the underarm points. It’s calling for increasing 1 stitch on each side of 2 markers (ie, 4 stitches per increase row) every 6 cm (2 1/3 inches) 3 times, for a total of 12 stitches increased.

samtidig :: at the same time
etter :: after
(å) øke :: (to) increase
(å) felle :: (to) decrease
i hver side :: in each side
på hver side :: on each side

That is a fairly important bit of information stuck further down in the pattern than one would expect.
For future reference : Translate the whole pattern before you start knitting. Please.

Norwegian Knitting Patterns Lesson #5 ::

Other common words in patterns::

hals :: neck
skulder :: shoulder
venstre :: left
høyre :: right
vrangbord (abbr. vrbord) :: border, usually referring to the ribbing which is found on the bottoms of sleeves or mittens and sweaters as well as the ribbed edging at the tops of socks
omgang (abbr. omg) :: round in circular knitting
(reminder: pinne :: row)

Now, for the next line…

Husk på strikkefastheten!

Husk på strikkefastheten! :: Remember to check gauge! Presumably meaning “periodically throughout the pattern to be sure it’s consistent”. Good advice and something I seldom remember to do.

Når arb måler 31 (31-32) cm strikkes neste p slik: 53 (57-60) m forstk, fell 4 m til ermhull, 114 (122-128) m bakstk, fell 4 m til ermhull, 53 (57-60) m forstk. For-og bakstk strikkes ferdig for seg.

When work measures 31 (31-32) cm knit the next row as follows: 53 (57-60) sts of front, cast off 4 sts for armhole, 114 (122-128) sts of back, cast off 4 sts for armhole, 53 (57-60) sts of front. (Afterwards) the fronts and back are finished separately.

når :: when
(å) måle :: (to) measure
(å) felle :: (to) cast off/decrease

å felle can be a bit confusing as the pattern usually doesn’t indicate which you should do. When the instructions say fell av it’s always referring to casting off. Sometimes the instructions go on to explain a specific decrease like k2tog or ssk so that you’ll know exactly what to do. But here the writer is assuming you’ll know that for an armhole the best thing to do is cast off stitches.

ermhull :: armhole
ferdig :: finish
ferdig for seg :: finished separately

Forstk: = 53 (57-60) m.
Videre felles til ermhull på hver 2.p:
3 m x 2 (3-3), 2 m x 3, 1 m x 2 (2-3) = 39 (40-42) m, samtidig når arb måler 31 (32-33) cm felles til hals
på hver 4.p: 1 m x 2,
på hver 2.p: 1 m x 13,
på hver 4.p: 1 m x 3,
på hver 6.p: 1 m x 2. Fell av når arb måler 53 (54-55) cm.

Front = 53 (57-60) sts.
Continue to decrease for armhole on every 2nd row:
3 sts x 2 (3-3), 2 sts x 3, 1 st x 2 (2-3) = 39 (40-42) sts, while at the same time when work measures 31 (32-33) cm cast off/decrease towards neck on
every 4th row: 1 st x 2,
every 2nd row: 1 st x 13,
every 4th row: 1 st x 3,
every 6th row: 1 st x 2.
Cast off when work measures 53 (54-55) cm.

videre :: further, “from this point onwards”
til :: to, towards
til hals :: towards neck opening

Til is another one of those pesky prepositions. Most often it means “to” but here injecting “to” sounds a bit strange: “to armhole/neck”. Til when it has the meaning of “in the direction of” would translate more to “towards” so that’s what I’ll use here. Here are some other possibilities for til.

Bakstk: = 114 (122-128). Fell til ermhull som på forstk = 86 (88-92) m.
Når arb måler 51 (52-53) cm felles de midterste 44 (44-44) m bak til hals.
Deretter felles det 2 m på neste p mot halsen bak. Fell av når arb måler 53 (54-55) cm.

Back: = 114 (122-128) sts. Decrease towards armhole as on the front = 86 (88-92) sts.
When work measures 51 (52-53) cm cast off the centermost 44 (44-44) sts of the back towards the neck (for the neck opening).
Then cast off/decrease 2 sts on the next row towards the back of the neck. Cast off when work measures 53 (54-55) cm.

de, det, den :: the/that

Generally speaking, just like en/et/ei mean “a”, de/det/den mean approximately “the” or “that”.

midt :: center, middle
midten :: the center
midterste :: centermost (is that a word? It should be. What I mean is “the most center.”)
deretter :: then, afterwards, thereafter
mot :: towards, against
mot halsen :: towards the neck