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 It is from the chapter on Iceland and it's originally made in unspun icelandic wool.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.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Holiday shopping

Finally back in business. After an 11 day trip to Estonia and stopovers with some relatives I have had trouble connecting to the internet. Today it works, so let's get on with the report.

After reading the fabulous book Folk Knitting in Estonia by Nancy Bush, and stopping by Tallinn on a kick-off cruise in 2005, I persuaded my family to rent a house in Tallinn for a week. Apart from regular beach life, great restaurants and other holiday musts I found some knitting here and there. Tallinn is full of markets and shops with loads of knitted goods, but finding things to knit myself was a lot trickier. Searching bookshops and museums I found a few books with patterns and/or writing about Estonian knitting traditions in English. Mostly they were booklets about mittens. Amazing fact: a bride in Estonia had to knit 50 pairs, on average, of gloves and mittens for her wedding guests (see picture). These mittens had extensive patterns and very fine gauge. I also found a new book about sweaters on the Estonian islands. They were similar to other Scandinavian patterns but also inspired by the 19th century mittens. Unfortunately Riina Tomberg:Vatt, Troi, Vamsa doesn't contain any patterns, only pictures and research.

Finding locally produced yarns proved even more difficult. Since I can get Evilla and Kauni with colored sections in Sweden I wanted something else. Finally I found some nice Evilla in a varigated pale red/orange. Half of it has got one thread in white, while the other half is all coloured yarn. Now I just have to figure out if I should make stripes, squares, patchwork...
The rest of the yarn is perfect for mittens. Liisu by Elotroi is very fine 100% wool and Austraalia Merinovillaga by Arvita is mixed with some, you guessed it, Australian merino.

A few days after we got home, my parents went on to Norway. I couldn't help myself and asked them to look for some books I wanted. Off course they bought them all. I especially wanted to read Annemor Sundbö: Usynlege trådar i strikkekonsten. She owns a factory for recycling wool and this is her third report from the wool piles. Amazing. This book is largely about the culture of knitting, but it has some interesting pictures and patterns too. Strikk og tov by Gerd Fjellanger is filled with projects to felt in the washing machine. I love the hats! And maybe we need more socks, and sweaters for the kids... Finally my mother had to buy Alison Hansel: Charmed Knits featuring knits as seen in Harry Potter. Mostly basic school uniform style, but a few things with a twist, such as a wizard robe, an owl and wand cozies + some nice bags. This book will probably come in handy in a few years when my children are old enough to discover Harry P.