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.