DIY Swedish Gnomes (Handmade with Norwegian Wool Sweaters)

Craft your own Scandinavian sweater gnome; I have many beautiful examples to inspire you.

Three beautiful gnomes made from Norwegian sweaters by Ruth Johnson.

Make your own DIY Swedish gnomes handmade with recycled wool sweaters for holiday decor or heartfelt gifts this Christmas season.

I have so many exquisite examples of these gnomes below, plus free patterns and a tutorial to guide you.

Welcome to the enchanting world of DIY Swedish Gnomes! This blog post celebrates a craft combining traditional Swedish folklore charm with a cozy, sustainable twist.

These adorable gnomes are all handcrafted from Norwegian wool sweaters. They are a delightful addition to your home decor and a testament to the beauty of repurposing materials.

Get ready to infuse Scandinavian magic into your home with these DIY Swedish Gnomes!

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced DIYer, this project is rewarding and a great way to be creative this season. These handmade gnomes will add a touch of Scandinavian magic to your home.

What is a Nordic Gnome?

A Nordic gnome, which is called a “Tomte” in Sweden, a “Nisse” in Norway, or a “Tonttu” in Finland, is a cherished fictional creature rooted in Scandinavian folklore.

The mythical creatures are portrayed as diminutive men with beards and pointy hats. Scandinavian gnomes dress in neutral-colored countryside clothing.

Nordic gnomes are considered the protectors of farmsteads and homes that safeguard and bring good luck to those who treat them well.

These gnomes are endearing with their tiny stature, round, happy cheeks, and sparkling eyes.

They play a special part in holiday traditions by bringing a sense of magic and coziness to Scandinavia’s long, chilly nights.

Creating handmade DIY gnomes has become a hugely popular craft.
It allows you to create your own lovable and custom versions of these captivating creatures.

What is a Nordic Sweater?

Norwegian wool sweaters are often praised as the finest examples of knitted craftsmanship.

They represent the rich textile heritage of Norway and are made from high-quality, locally sourced wool.

These sweaters are well-known for their colors, warmth, durability, and intricate designs.

They have patterns inspired by Norway, such as snowflakes, reindeer, and geometric prints.

How do you Prepare Nordic sweaters to Make Gnomes?

Preparing a 100% wool sweater for making handmade gnomes is easy and simply requires washing.

If you’ve decided to use vintage (recycled) sweaters, wash them in a regular washing machine in a zippered bag or pillowcase to protect them. (affiliate link)

To begin, place the sweater in a washing machine set to a cool water cycle. Add a small amount of mild detergent (optional) and a few towels to create movement.

Finish in the dryer. Check on the sweaters often.

The dryer will shrink and typically thicken the sweater fibers, so you don’t want to do it for long or possibly at all. You can air dry if the sweater is already at the right weight and heft for your gnome.

This drying process transforms the wool into a denser fabric. It also reduces unraveling when you cut and sew the sweater to create your gnomes, ensuring they are charming, clean, and cozy.

Where to find Scandinavian Sweaters?

Finding used 100% wool sweaters for your gnome crafts can be a fun treasure hunt.

A fantastic place to start your search is at local thrift stores or secondhand shops.

These stores have a wide selection of sweaters, and like Ruth, you might find a genuine Norwegian wool sweater or two. Estate and garage sales can also deliver results!

Online sites like eBay, Etsy, and Facebook marketplace are excellent resources for buying pre-loved sweaters.

When purchasing online, carefully check the product descriptions and photos to confirm the material and condition of the sweater. With patience and a sharp eye, you can find the best wool sweaters to give your gnomes an authentic Scandinavian touch.

Supplies for Scandinavian Christmas Gnomes

Once you have your sweaters, here are the rest of the supplies you will need.

Sweater body of the gnome & gnome hat
Felt for mittens
Craft Fur gnome beard
Wire approximately 18 gauge
Rubber Band
Wooden Ball gnome noses
Trims flowers, greenery, props, etc.
Pom Poms for the top of the hat (optional)
Free Gnome Patterns (mini gnome printable pattern & regular gnome)
Paper Scissors
Sewing Scissors 
Sewing Machine
Hot Glue Gun
All Temp. Glue Sticks
Pencil or Marker
Washed Pea Gravel for filling
Polyester Batting for filling, optional

See these craft stores to find other supplies.

Nordic Sweater Art Patterns

Classic Norwegian sweaters, also known as Norwegian knitwear or Lusekofte (or lice jacket), include a variety of well-known and elaborate patterns. These looks have become interchangeable with the Norwegian culture.

Below are examples of the most popular patterns used in traditional Norwegian sweaters. Keep your eyes open for these varieties when shopping!

Traditional Norwegian sweater patterns are visually striking and reflect the country’s cultural history, regional traditions, and the significance of knitting in Norwegian life.

They have endured for generations and are cherished for their craftsmanship and cultural ties.

The Telemark Pattern

Telemark Pattern

The Telemark patterns feature intricate and symmetrical designs, usually with snowflakes, stars, and geometric shapes.

These patterns are known for their symmetry and can be found on varying parts of the sweater.

The Hardanger Pattern
Selburose Pattern

Hardanger Pattern

The Hardanger patterns are inspired by traditional Norwegian embroidery. They feature intricate latticework and diamond shapes.

These patterns are less common yet add a special touch to Norwegian sweaters.

Selburose Pattern

The Selbu rose is a traditional Norwegian knitting pattern. It includes a central star-like motif with radiating bands. This tasteful and symmetrical pattern is usually placed on the chest of the sweater or on the cuffs.

The Setesdal
Nordic Star Pattern

Setesdal Pattern

Originating from the Setesdal region of Norway, this pattern has vertical columns of geometric shapes, such as diamonds and crosses.

You will typically find these markings on the body and sleeves of the sweaters.

Nordic Star Pattern

Nordic star patterns resemble compass roses. They are often used as a central motif in sweater markings.

The stars symbolize guidance and direction and are a typical design in Norwegian knitwear.

The Rundsticka (Circular Yoke)
Fana Pattern

Rundsticka (Circular Yoke)

This circular yoke design is one of the most recognizable details of Norwegian sweaters. It features a circular arrangement around the neck and shoulders, often including snowflakes, stars, or geometric forms.

Fana Pattern

The Fana pattern is recognized by its bold, contrasting stripes and marks. It often features X and O designs.

These sweaters are named after the Fana district of Bergen, Norway.

The Gudbrandsdalen Pattern
Voss Pattern

Gudbrandsdalen Pattern

This sweater pattern features a bold central motif surrounded by smaller geometric marks.

It is named after the Gudbrandsdalen valley in Norway.

Voss Pattern

The Voss patterns often incorporate diamond-shaped motifs, stars, and crosses.

These patterns are associated with the Voss region in Norway and are commonly used on sweaters and other knitwear.

More Gnome Projects

If you want more gnome craft inspiration, see these posts below.

Santa Claus Gnome and Family
Cutest Christmas Gnomes

Mini Gnomes/Little Gnomes
Gnome gift toppers
Easy DIY Gnome Step-by-Step Tutorial
Holiday Season Gnomes
Merry Christmas Ornaments
Cute Gnomes for Halloween

Easter Adorable Gnomes

Happy Holidays to each of you,


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