Tag Archives: selbu star

The 1940s Snowflake Sweater

Or reindeer sweater, or Norwegian sweater, which ever you tend to think is correct.  Here in the South the weather has finally decided to moderate, and I do want to express my sympathy to those of you in the Northeast and other snowy places who are still being bombarded by the white stuff.  I know most of you have had enough, so I’m here to the rescue, with one of the best layering pieces ever conceived, the heavy wool sweater.

But not just any sweater, I’m taking about the snowflake sweater, favorite of skiers and snow fans of the 1940s.  And while they became fashionable in the 40s, the designs themselves are quite a bit older, dating back to the 19th century, and originating in Norway.  The snowflake isn’t actually a snowflake at all – it is a star, the Selbu Star.  It is also referred to as the Selbu rose.  This design probably was first put on mittens, and then was put on sweaters.  In traditional knitting, the designs are in two colors, though some commercial knitters (like Dale of Norway) use three.

These vintage Norwegian sweaters almost always have a version of the Selbu star, though it can sometimes be quite fancy.  And the most traditional ones have the fanciest part of the design only at the top of the sweater, as these were worn tucked into the pants.

As the designs became more popular, the designs spread across Europe.  By the 1940s some traditional knitters in Scotland were using an adapted Norwegian star.   Commercial firms in the US started making their own versions of the snowflake sweater.  This 1940s one is from California sportswear company Catalina:

And I hope those of you with a surplus of snow are not reduced to this type of disposal:

Stay warm!


Filed under Sportswear, Vintage Clothing, Winter Sports