Thursday, December 27, 2007

Presents revealed

Finally knitting life can get back to normal. Seven homemade gifts and a shawl for me were ready by Christmas Eve. Some have been seen here earlier, but a few were not ready before we left the house last week. Here are a few late entries:

This is a family kit in soft, 100% wool Visjö by Östergötlands ullspinneri. Mother gets wrist warmers in crochet with two colours and loops designed by Maria Gullberg for the Hemslöjden magazine and her new book. Father gets the Henry scarf from Knitty fall 07, but with this yarn I got away with five repeats instead of seven for 20 x 160 cm. The son will be very warm in Katarina Brieditis' wasp design. My own kids have hats in blue and purple and they wore them all last winter. The mother hinted that she liked all the pieces and might be wearing them as a set...

The next picture is from the singing and dancing we did before opening the presents. I'm wearing my new Sea Silk shawl in Sangria red. There will be a better picture, and maybe a pattern, later. (Click the picture to make it bigger)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Busy, busy

This month has been very hectic, knitwise and otherwise. One birthday party, one knitting party, one Christmas market day... and that was just one weekend. Most of the knitting this time of year is secret as well, so I hope I can reveal all next week. At least five knitted gifts and one in crochet await wrapping at the moment, and the Sea Silk shawl for me is almost done. Back to work.

Have a great Christmas and see you soon!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

I'm in love

Sometimes a pattern just hits you, and this one is a dream come true for me. Go check out Jeanie!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Shawl plans

I'm not going to tell you all about may planning of the Sea Silk shawl, but here are at least my conclusions.
  • one skein will have to be enough at this prize
  • make it as large as possible
  • triangular rather than rectangular
  • have some solid parts to show of the yarn
  • the colour isn't right for leaves etc. in the pattern
  • geometrical but not boring
  • easy to memorize and not too slow
And here is the pattern sample (in baby acrylic):

The pattern was found here . The original is rectangular and I spent all of last night making it triangular. I got stuck trying to work from side to side, but that didn't work at all. When the children were in bed my brain started working again and the pattern worked out just perfect from the point and up with only minor modifications. The edges will not look quite like this, but that is easier to fix. Teddy Brown was a good model, but he then passed the shawl on to Barbie who is using it as a turban at the moment. Now I'm ready for SILK!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Grey and colours

Finally! Since last Thursday the members of my family have been fighting a bad cold. Today I found the energy so assemble my Russian coat, and it looks almost as planned.

The change I made from the original pattern was to shorten it. Instead of 412 sts for the skirt made as five large triangles meeting at center back, this version has 290 sts in the bottom half and triangles only at the front. Definitely easier to wear. The sleeves are a bit too long, but there is one blocking left to do and if that doesn't help it should be easy to fold them in since there is no hem.

Lately I have made three grey knits (one is an X-mas secret), and COLOURS are badly needed. The leftovers from the Rainbow socks have gotten some company in apple green. It is Regia stretch and this will become socks, or most likely double knit gloves...

The other colour temptation is a skein of Handmaiden Sea Silk in Sangria. For about a month I have been looking through my books and searched the internet for the perfect pattern, and I'm getting closer... There is a sample in progress and if it works I'll cast on tomorrow.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Hexagons completed

The fun is over. This is the sholder and sleeve section of the Russian coat. I decided to block it before sewing the sleeve seams and picking up the collar, because it was very bubbly and wierd looking. Now it is more presentable and I hope it stays that way when it dries. I've made an attempt to get the shades of gray symmetrical, but other than that I'm true to the pattern so far. My yarn is very different from the original though, it is probably much softer and to get 19st/10cm I use needles 4mm instead of 6mm as the pattern says. I hope the end result will work out well anyway, as I'm thinking more of a shrug than a coat.

Here is a closer look:

I found a picture of the finished Russian coat here. I'm not going to make the back that long, because I don't think it would look good on me and I don't want to buy more yarn. So far I've used almost 2/3 of the 600g in my stash. Besides, it was the shoulder section that caught my eye and it is stunning enough with a shorter back. I will shorten the pattern by knitting a triangle at each side but make the hem straight at the back.

When I ran out of hexagons yesterday I started on another Christmas project. After Cina's complaints about the endlessness of Henry I decided that it would provide mindless, bring-along knitting for a long time. The yarn is my favourite, Visjö by Östergötlands ullspinneri, and it might become a little bigger than the original, but not much.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Knitting for pleasure

Lately I've been needing to knit to reduce stress. Finishing things and being useful and productive come further down the list. This weekend I started on a true feel good project. I even missed my knitting so much when I took a bath on Sunday that I asked Mr P to get it for me, but it wasn't very comfortable. I would also like to be able to knit in bed, but that doesn't work either.

So what is it? I brought it with me to knit during my daughters gymnastics on Monday night, and after that I went to my music group, and during coffee I pulled out something that looked like this.

Faces lit up around the table when someone suggested it was a nursing bra for cold days, but no. All the pieces I've made so far look like this.

And the correct answer is Russian coat by Norah Gaughan from Vogue Knitting holiday issue 2007 that I recieved last Friday. The yarn I'm using is a great wool yarn from Yllet, that I bought in Gotland last year. Since that is an island halfway between Sweden and Russia that somehow felt appropriate for this model, even though it was ment for a big shawl.

I have been a little practical too lately, and worked the pattern section of the Icelandic lambs wool sweater. Someone is actually waiting for this one, so it would be nice to get it done. I don't like knitting charted patterns like this with long floats to handle all the time, but now it is done and the rest is made in the small pattern repeat.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Variations on a pattern

Recovering form my plunge into double knitting, I've been knitting something light and easy this week. It actually started in May, when I got my hands on three skeins of Färgkraft Pälsblend 1-ply in Isgrönt (Ice green). As usual the pictures don't do the colour justice, but it's got a glacier green feeling with a hint of gray. I bought the yarn at the Hemslöjden store in Leksand and I think I got it at half the price because I was in such a hurry that I stressed out the sales lady. I'm a bit ashamed about that, but I had left town when I suspected it was wrong. The stress that day was because I was actually there to play at a folk dance with a group of about a dozen ladies that I play with every other week. I hadn't been to rehearsals all spring term, only gotten the sheet music the week before and now I was skipping the last rehearsal to by yarn... It's all about priorities. Anyway the group will perform at another dance on November 17th and I thought I should be wearing the cardigan then to make up for my past sins, but practising the tunes would probably be better use of time.

The general layout of the project is inspired by Doreen L. Marquart:Top Down Sweaters. I used her calculation for the raglan, but I've changed the texture, edges, armholes...

The texture is moss stitch as that is a good way to make the 1-ply yarn behave and not twist and pull the fabric and keep it light. I also like the way it blends the colours. Under the arms I put in Gansey style gussets to improve the fit. The are decreased towards the sleeves, but down the side the "seems" just move together without decreases.

Last night I finished the sleeves and now I'm pondering the possibilities for the rest of the body. How many buttons should there be? I've used I-cord cast off for the sleeves, should that be used all over? Straight edges, rounded courners or A-line with wedges of stockinette? I don't know yet, but I like knitting this way and make it up as I go along. Sometimes the result is really bad, but with a yarn this soft and expensive I try to plan ahead more before actually knitting. Here is the result so far. The sleves are a bit big, but I plan to felt it ever so little at the end to fix that and make it more durable.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Double knitting and wierd socks

The instructions for double knitting are know available in English. If you know of any other methods, patterns or finished projects in this technique, please let me know! I'm sure there is a lot more to learn and see out there.

If you liked the assymetrical feeling of my version of Magknit's Rainbow socks, check out these. Sorted my sock yarns last week, and I think there are enough leftovers for quite a few versions.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

New techniques

Today my shawl page has been illustrated and translated. Double knitting is next in line for translation, but now my kids need to be put in bed, so maybe tomorrow...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Lots and lots of hats

This week I've been working on my Christmas presents. This hat is for my brother G., and since he chose the colour and style I might as well show it. The yarn is Visjö and the needles are 2,5 and 3mm. I usually hate using 40cm circulars, but most of my double pins were otherwise engaged, so I had to, and my hands only ached for the first couple of days. Right now I'm making a sleeve on 40cm circs and it hardly hurts at all... Modelling the hat is my son, who turned 3yo last week. His head measures 54,5cm, but this is really one size fits all. It looks good on my 59cm head too.

The pattern can be found in Gro Sandvik, Strikk tilbehör. I seem to turn to this book whenever I need a pattern for basic accessories. I've made this model before in redish handdyed yarn. I also made the version without the cables for MrP. last winter. The yarn I used then was Kauni, but he insisted on blue and it really didn't have much contrast. The scarf took forever to change colour, not quite what I had planned when I had seen this model knit in rainbow colours. The scarf pattern is so much fun and can be found at Barbro's knitting.

Finally the rest of my hat archive. As I've mentioned before I collected some of my knits for an small exhibition this summer, and since I'm new to digital photos, and therefore blogging, I took some pictures of old stuff to get me started. This is the last of those pictures, so from now on I have to knit new stuff if I'm going to blog.

The twins at the top are designed by Katarina Brieditis for Östergötlands Ullspinneri, and they sell them as kits. The bees are knit at the same time as the hat and really clever. The kids love them as well. Bottom left is my own design(!). MrP. wanted something to keep him warm under his bicycle helmet, so it had to be thin and have ear flaps. The edge is crocheted backwards and the pattern is Fair Isle. The yarn is Heilo by Dale, leftovers from his Norwegian sweater. Finally to the right is a design from Anita Gunnars, Vantar, mössor, sockar och sjalar. This is the hat I mentioned before that is made of the sample skeins form Virtual Yarns. It's very warm and super soft, and I have a soft spot for tweedy colours.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Double knitting

Last night a dozen experienced knitters tried out double knitting, and some said it was like learning to knit again. However, they soon got the hang of it. It looks more advanced than it is, as it often is with knitting. I first came across this technique in 2002 and I have been on the lookout for more information about it since then, but I haven't found much. One of the ladies last night said she had done something similar in school 50 years ago, but that was about it.

My first attempt was this pocket on my collection of samples of patterns by Britt-Marie Christoffersson.

The next attempt came when I wanted to make a set to go with my second Moebius scarf. I didn't have the right needles to knit them in the round, and I avoid sewing whenever I can. Instead I made them in double knitting on two needles, but no one can tell.

A more intriguing way to use the method is to knit a reversible fabric in two colours. The colour not used on the front side will appear on the back. More examples of this can be found in the Patterns and techniques section to the right.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

New section

Today I have started on a new section called Patterns and techniques. Here you will find things I have written in other contexts, such as technical explanations and attempts at pattern construction. The first two items are educational texts that I have made for a knitting café that I sometimes host. Next week I will teach double knitting there, and while I am preparing samples and instructions I found these texts from previous years. I haven't had the time to translate them yet, but I will as soon as I can.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Icelandic lace

This weekend has been about finishing my lace projects. Last summer (2006) I started on a scarf/shawl in Pälsull by Östergötlands ullspinneri. It has been the kind of knitting one could always bring along, but never knit for long. The pattern is from Sigrídur Halldórsdóttir:Thríhyrnur og langsjöl. It is the central panel from Hvítt sjal and the pattern is called köngulóarprjón (spider knitting). Maybe because each diamond has eight legs?

The finished work measures 45 x125cm, so it is a small shawl or a big scarf, that is up to the wearer. Someone I know will get this for Christmas, because I never wear blue even if it is this soft. I bought a skein in red for me...

The next shawl was actually the first one I made from the same book, and I knitted Langsjal ad vestan in between, but I gave that away BC (before camera). This is Thríhyrna, the cover design. I had the right yarn, Icelandic kambgarn, but different colours, so the stripes have been changed. I got a big bag of this yarn from my aunt who had been using it for weaving, but most of it is small amounts of many, very different colours. I also used the same needles, which was a huge mistake. Since this was my first real lace project I didn't know that my knitting was too firm and the resulting shawl was blocked to 130 x 65cm instead of 150 x 75cm. Before blocking I thought it would be even smaller, so it has spent over a year in a box before I gave it the proper treatment.

Finally, here is my daughter under our apple tree. I think the size is perfect on her, but she is only about 110cm tall. Some of the snow you could see behind the blue shawl, photgraphed yesterday, has melted away, but it is still cold.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Finished Rainbow Socks

We got some snow last night, and it hasn't quite melted away even though the sun is shining today. Here is a sunny picture of the completed socks. Number one is at the bottom and number two is at the top, shown from the front. The turning points aren't quite even, but they look better when the socks get on the feet and stretch out a little.

I have been home a lot this week, because of a cold, but when I missed the weekly knitting café I had to dive into my knitting baskets. I fond a lot of UFO:s, some I had almost forgotten. One motivation to start blogging was to be able to record my finished projects, so I am not allowing myself to write about old UFO:s until they are finished. Better get back to knitting...

Saturday, October 6, 2007

It's all in a days work

Today I have been a bit ill. Enough to avoid cleaning the house, but not enough to stop me from knitting.

Since several members of my knitting club have bought the same colour of Kaffe Fasset's Regia I was so happy when I found this special and perfect pattern for it.The entire sock is knitted in short rows, except the cuff and toe. I think it really gives it more of a "landscape" feel than straight stripes. The pattern is called Rainbow Socks and can be found at Magknits , October 2007.

Tomorrow I hope I will be feeling better so I can go to Garnkorgen and spend the afternoon knitting the second sock and practise resisting the temptation to buy too much yarn. Maybe I need more needles...

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


Unfortunately my settings haven't been working as I thought, so comments have been restricted to registered users. I hope I have fixed this for the last time, but please e-mail me if it happens again.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Style guide

Two years ago I made a Moebius shawl in Estonian variegated wool. When I was done I didn't have anything to wear it with. As a dedicated knitter I went out on a search for a coat to match my knitting, and found a wool coat in just the right colour. Another important criteria when buying clothes these days is no velcro. Unfortunately this is very hard when it comes to jackets and overalls for the children. Another problem is when you give knits away. Do the recipients understand these rules?

Monday, October 1, 2007


I've been challenged, and asked to give out some personal information. Thanks Cina now I´ll probably think about your underwear every time I see you... Fun though that we started our cross stitch careers in the same way. Since I promised myself to write this blog in English and stick to knitting, I will translate the text and try to get the knitting in there whenever I can. Being a new blogger, I don't know who to challenge and I'm not too found of chain letters... so I'll stick to answering. Here we go.

1. I met my husband on the net in1999. Since we lived close to each other and turned out to have a lot in common we soon met IRL.

2. Next benefit of computers: when we moved in together and I was at home with our first child in 2001 I found his computer very useful and spent my days knitting and surfing.

3. Special talent: I'm ambidextrous. This means I can do things with both hands, like knit "backwards". Very useful.

4. I speak English, Swedish, French and Icelandic and I get by in Danish and Norwegian and I have tried out German, Latin, Russian and Faroese. If you need help with a translation, let me know.

5. For nine years I took lessons in classical piano, then I abandoned the piano and started playing folk music on the violin. After 20 years I'm thinking of trying to improve my violin technique, since I hardly have any.

6. I'm the only person I know who has lost lots of kilos by getting pregnant. About five of them have stayed off.

7. I learned to knit at five, and for the first five years I knitted the same green ball of acrylic over and over again. Then I started to learn more knitting in school and at 13 I made my first sweater. In the same acrylic, but another shade of green.

8. My knitting dream is to be a master of traditional patterns, and I'm slowly working my way through the styles of northern Europe. Next in line is the bold patterns from Delsbo in central Sweden. I have promised my mother-in-law a cardigan in silke tweed by Garnstudio. Just have to get a few other things finished first...

Icelandic lambs wool

Last weekend this project fell into my lap. An old friend of the family had promised to knit a kit for a woman who bought a sweater to match her horses, but couldn't knit it. The intended knitter couldn't knit it either, because of the foreign language pattern and recent illness. So who do you call? An Icelandic woman known to be a good knitter, my mother. She doesn't knit much these days, so she passed it on to me.

As you can see it starts out with a basic Scandinavian geometrical pattern. Further up there will be some horses and larger squares. It knits quick and easy, and it is interesting to knit Icelandic lambs wool. I have never come across a yarn like this before. It is a lot like Lópi light, but it has two strands. If I didn't know it was lambs wool I would never have guessed it, because it is almost as coarse as regular Icelandic wool, but it has a little more shine. It comes from a small company called Frú Lára.

Friday, September 28, 2007

My favourite yarn

After revealing my favourite designer and inspiration, it's time for my favourite yarn. It is Visjö by Östergötlands ullspinneri. There are many reasons for this:
  • 100% swedish wool
  • family business run in a small barn in the middle of nowhere, with sheep around the corner
  • made on a real Spinning Jenny machine
  • soft enough for children
  • knits at gauges between 23-30 sts/10 cm
  • great for multicoloured knits
  • available in many solid colours
  • several variegated colourways, three of which are shown in my picture
I hope they can carry on for many years to come. Meanwhile I delight in their super soft Pälsull, that is so thin that my shawl never gets finished, but I hope it will be done before Christmas. I was too clever and bought it in blue, which I never wear, so I would have to give it away. If that makes me too sad, I have a skein in red as well. I won't take a picture of it until it is done, that way I might get to the end of it soon.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Starmore in green

I have many favourites, but the top designer I wish I could imitate the most is Alice Starmore. I own six of her books and one by her daughter Jade, and I read them over and over again. My aim is to have knitted something from every book I have, but that is a longterm project in this case. The first book I found was Fishermen's sweaters, because it was translated into Swedish.
The pale ladies' model comes from this book, and it was a joy to knit this classic gansey with a modern touch. The men's and child's Arans are found in The Aran Collection.

If we take a closer look at the details, you can see how fine the ladies' model is. The yarn is Cortina by Solsilke, a delicate mix with e.g. cashmire. The Arans are made from regular Aran yarn and variegated sock yarn. The child sweater involved a bit too much sewing for my taste, but there is hardly a sewn stitch in the ladies' model and only side seams for the men's Aran. The most difficult part was the braids in single twisted stitches on the men's sweater, but otherwise the patterns are very detailed and user friendly even if they are long. If you want to take a look at more Starmore designs, check out her shop at Virtual yarns. Most of her books are really hard to find, but some of the kits include patterns. I ordered a few skeins of their yarn, and it was soft, tweedy and made a very warm hat.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Family portrait

Last winter I went a bit sock crazy, and now there is a new addition. Let me show you a few examples.

On the left is Mr P. in toe-up-socks by Barbro. The yarn is the leftovers from his Aran sweater, that you will see soon. On these socks the toe and heel are made in the same way, with short rows, so by measuring the toe section it is easy to know when it is time to start the heel.

Next you see the latest project. These are Ann Budd's toe-up-socks from Interweave summer 2007. The toe is clever, but a bit bulky in the smallest size. Maybe I will try making a larger version. The short row heel is really neat, and I will probably use Budd's technique next time I use Barbro's pattern. The yarns in these and the ones to the right are all from Opal. The purple is from a test collection, the pale green is from the Rainforest line and the brown is Opal smoke.

The Rainforest caterpillar socks are made from the same pattern as Mr P's, but only have rib at the top. With this pair I learned to twist the knit stitches and bind off by sewing. Both methods worked really well, especially the bind off because it isn't tight at all.

Finally you see my own feet. They are dressed in Broken Cable Rib socks, also by Ann Budd for Interweave. They look really good, but the cables make the leg a bit tight and I'm afraid I will tear something when I put them on.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

A warm red

Sometimes it takes unusual measures to get a project finished. This week my litte boy had been coughing for a couple of nights, and finally I had to escape to the guest room. I really needed the sleep and didn't want to get up in the morning, until I saw a shawl in need of blocking by the end of the bed (it's more of a knitting room than a guest room).

This shawl is made from the very first Kauni yarn that I bought from Garnkorgen last autumn before she was even on the net. It is very fine and it took a while to find the right use for it. In Cheryl Oberle: Folk Shawls I found this great combination of garter stitch and feather and fan. It is from the chapter on Iceland and it's originally made in unspun icelandic wool. Instead I used my red yarn double, and it worked well with one strand from each skein. The final result is 220cm at top edge and 90cm at the point, which is almost as big as the original even though I had to skip a few pattern repeats here and there to get the most out of my yarn.

Feather and fan is called krónuprjón (crown knitting) in Icelandic and it is very common in scarfs and langsjöl (long shawls) that are knitted for sale. I even have a lace sweater in this pattern that my mother wore in the sixties.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Off the needles

Now it's a vest, and the sleeves have just been started. Like with the front and back pieces I make them both at the same time. The collar is a really great model where you start out with the neck stitches and pick up a few new stitches on each side every time you reach the end of a row. The pattern is really quick to knit, and I think I will be able to stick to this project until it's finished, which rarely happens when I knit. Well, there are some knee socks from the toe up from last Interweave in the basket too, but I hardly ever touch them.

Friday, August 10, 2007

A vest with the bag

My very first post here was a felted bag. The yarn was actually the leftovers from a vest, that is finally finished.

I really wanted to try this great model, found at Barbros stickning. It starts at the back of the neck and continues down the front, round the back, up again and returns to the back of the neck. It really takes a yarn like this for the design to be visible. I cheated a bit and started to use the colours in reverse order at the middle of the back to get it symmetrical. The white that I saved from the back became I-cord bind off, which I made quite firm to tighten up the look. Maybe I should also add that the original design is for needles 5mm, but this version was made on 3,5mm and with 50% more stitches. I think I used about 400g of yarn for the vest and 200g for the bag. My only problem right now is if I should use this matching set together , or if that is a bit too much...

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Scandinavian sweaters

This July I hosted a small exhibition to promote a local crafts society that arranges cafés and classes for knitters. For this purpose I collected some of my projects from the last fifteen years, and I will present some of them here.

These are my two-coloured favourites. The top sweater is shown from the back where you can see my husband's initials. The front has a 15 cm opening with three hooks. It's a classic norwegian model in Heilo by Dale. I knitted it for our second Christmas together, and when he opened the present his mother spontaneously said "That's love".

On the left is a true scandinavian mix. The pattern is a basic norwegian Setesdal without the "lus", because the owner didn't like them. The yarn is icelandic Létt Lópi by Álafoss, which is a lot thicker than the original, so I simply took a pattern for a child and without any changes the result became XXL. Finally the buttons show the symbol of the Medelpad region in Sweden, where I live.

Last, but definitely not the least work, my own cardigan from the west coast of Sweden. I wanted it wearable and washable, so instead of wool it's made from Mandarin Petit by Sandnes, a yarn for babies and summer in 100% cotton. Like with the others I have changed the colourway, this time into my two favourite colours emerald and dark red. All the sweaters where originally made in combinations of red, blue, black or white.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

On the needles

A while ago H. told me that moths had damaged her wool cardigan. It was a "viking" design by Elsebeth Lavold made in Peer Gynt. I originally knitted it for my grandmother but H. inherited it because she was the only family member who could get into it. Off course I immediately offered to make her a new one. This time she got to choose pattern and yarn from my shelves, and this is the result:

The pattern is from The Best of Knitter's: Arans and Celtics and designed by Nancy Bush. The cables are all made by knitting the stitches in reverse order and/or twisting them. Quick and clever. The original is called "Irish moss" and made from soft wool and mohair. My version is crisper and made in Garnstudio's Silke Tweed in silk and lambs wool. Since it is a little thinner I have added 20% to all numbers of stitches. It should work, I usually have to do that when I run out of sizes or change the yarns. To keep track of the numbers I make front and back at the same time, and so far I'm at the armholes.