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Marianne Isager: Bringing the World to You in Stitches

Jun 1, 2009

I've been lucky enough to live in several countries (Israel, Australia, the U.S., and now, Canada), and in several U.S. states (California, Hawaii, and Colorado). Early on, my mother took me and my sisters to the local museums and cultural heritage spots, to help us learn about our new home and its history. I found myself entranced by Australian Aboriginal paintings of the Dreamtime and by native Hawaiian applique quilts; by liturgical tapestries and embroideries in Jerusalem, and by Amish quilts I saw in San Francisco. I took photos or made sketches; sometimes I just sat and stared at a particularly wonderful piece, trying to burn its beauty into my memory, so I could keep it with me always.

It never occurred to me to incorporate those memories into my knitting--but then, I am not Marianne Isager.

If you have not met Marianne or seen her work, you are in for a treat with today's Designer Spotlight video. She's quite charming, and when she talks about her extensive travels, she conveys such a quiet enthusiasm that you immediately want to book a plane ticket. Marianne's special gift is to take the imagery and cultural motifs of the places she visits and translate them into some of the most gorgeous sweaters you have ever seen. If you have not looked at her book Knitting Out of Africa, then we have a little treat for you today: a video of Marianne talking about some of the sweaters from that book, and showing us photos of the artwork and scenery that inspired each one.

If you have trouble watching the video above, click here to view it.

Love hearing your favorite designers talk about their work? One of the most popular features on Knitting Daily TV is the Designer Spotlight, where the hosts interview creative folks like Cookie A., Norah Gaughan, Wenlen Chia ("Twinkle"), Teva Durham, Vivian Høxbro, and more! The designers showcase their newest designs, demonstrate techniques, and talk about what inspires their work. Don't miss a single episode of Knitting Daily TV Series 200--purchase the entire second season in our online store (and pick up a copy of the Series 100 DVDs as well, if you want the whole set!). 


Sandi Wiseheart is the editor of Knitting Daily.

What's on Sandi's needles? I'm suddenly on a finishing kick. I realized I had a few pairs of socks sitting around that were ABT--"All But Toe"--so those are now done and on my husband's feet where they belong! 

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Marianne wrote
on Jun 1, 2009 9:53 PM
To Angie W. See my earlier comments, Marianne is Danish.
Marianne wrote
on Jun 1, 2009 9:44 PM
Oh yes, I just heard her speak, and that is a Danish accent. I am proud to be not just her name sake, but from denmark as well
Marianne wrote
on Jun 1, 2009 9:39 PM
I was just wondering, with a name like Marianne Isager, you must be Danish? If so, I look forward to you exploring some Viking designs? I myself am Danish, so I was lucky enough to have learned to knit in school. The lady neaxt door to us where I grew up, made some fabulos sweaters using fair isle knitting. They wer beautiful. I look forward to more great stuff from you, Your name sake, Marianne
kerry47 wrote
on Jun 1, 2009 6:12 PM
Her garments are gorgeous. Do I need to buy her book to find a pattern for the Japanese garment or is not available at all. Keryn
pcorthell wrote
on Jun 1, 2009 2:08 PM
I love her designs. Interview left me wanting more. Wonderful to hear about her inspirations and how they became beautiful patterns. She is truly a great talent to design so many absolutely wonderful pieces. She is definitely an inspiration to me. Thank you Marianne and Knitting Daily. Tricia
AngieW wrote
on Jun 1, 2009 1:07 PM
I love these patterns! They are so different, and seeing where the ideas came from made me appreciate Marianne's talent. I tried and tried to understand where she is from, but couldn't catch it - can anyone tell me? Angie
on Jun 1, 2009 12:29 PM
I especially liked the sweater fashioned from the Japanese fan. The design is simplistic and pleasing . Ms Isager has a respect for the cultures she has seen and the thoughtfulness to share it with us. Thank you. Shirley Ryan
RebeccaW@2 wrote
on Jun 1, 2009 11:35 AM
I thoroughly enjoyed the video interviewing Marianne Isager. What creativity and skill she has!! Everyday things become inspiration for great knitwear. It makes you think that you can see more in things, if you just looked and pondered the possibilities. Thank you . Rebecca