Monday, December 22, 2008

Blog life

I confess, I've not been a very social blogger, or knitter, lately. This autumn has been too hectic and it has been hard to find the time and energy. I've worked and studied more than full time while taking care of my family and having an infection that has taken far too much energy. It is good to know that someone is thinking of you at times like these, so I'll try to be a little social now.

I've gotten two blog awards that really warmed my heart. I hope you excuse me if I don't pass them on, but I'm not that good at keeping track of blogs these days, and a lot of the people I do know have already recieved them.

The first one is from my new knitting friend Nata, who joined the local knitting café group this summer. You are an inspirational and fearless knitter!

The second blog award was actually given to me a while ago, but I wasn't writing much then. It's from Knitted Gems, who writes an amazing blog about many creative interests. I'm honored to be on your list of reading.

Finally Maria, who both knits and plays folk music with me but hasn't seen me much lately, has sent me some questions. I will answer them from the knitting pespective...

What are your 8 favourite TV programs?
I prefer knitting in front of:

* All day sports events, like the Olympics or skiing
* A good film that I've seen before
* Whatever the kids watch on a Sunday morning
* House, because I can mostly listen to the dialogue
* Saturday Night Live, keeps me up for late night knitting
* Anything MrP likes, for the company
* Documentaries, so I can learn and knit
* News, like radio on TV

8 things I did yesterday

* Almost finished knitting my daughters dress
* Knitted a few rows on my Sockklubben december sock
* Found a red, knitted doily among the Christmas textiles
* Looked through my new book of Japanese patterns again
* Spent too much time on Ravelry
* Got the laundry done so I can use the room for blocking
* Wore handknitted socks all day
* Bought a new bookcase so I can free some space for more knitting books

8 things I am looking forward to
* Opening all my presents with yarn in them :-)
* Making a sweater from Pakucho colour growing cotton
* Visiting Kristians Gård in Delsbo, and get more of their wool
* Finishing my last sock in this years Sockklubben
* Seeing my daughter in her new, knitted dress
* Making more clothes for myself next year
* Making a blanket from my mothers yarn dyed with herbs
* Going to the knitting café much more next year

8 favourite restaurants
Only go to knitting cafés or take the kids for hamburgers these days...

8 things on my list of wishes
* More Addi circulars, I want them in all sizes
* A set of carding-brushes
* An Icelandic, upright spinning wheel
* A week to finish all UFO:s
* A bigger living room so I can invite all you great knitting friends over
* That the two shawls I sent in the mail arrive safely
* That I get more students for my knitting class this spring
* That my stash doesn't grow but shrink next year

8 people I challenge
I will skip this one for the reasons listed earlier.

Back to last minute knitting!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hat parade

With a view like this from the kitchen window, it's easy to get inspired for winter knitting. I love using those single skeins of luxurious yarns for hats, and here are a few examples.

This was so much fun I couldn't put it down, it took three evenings. Short rows and cables in the "wrong" direction makes it look wierd, but the pattern is easy to follow. It comes from Knitty winter 2007 and is called Bloody Stupid Johnson, named after a character in a fantasy book. The yarn is Manos Silk Blend, and it is so good it is almost unreal - soft and a joy to knit. I made one modification, a Japanese cast on for 2x2 rib that is a lot like a tubular cast on and very comfortable. The hat is a little small in height, but it hasn't been blocked yet. Looking forward to using it, and making a scarf to go with it.

This hat is about a month old, and great for tucking in my wet hair after swimming. The pattern is called Frances and comes from The Inside Loop. I used larger needles since I couldn't find the right size and couldn't wait getting started, but the edge is firm and holds it in place because I used both colours from the start. The Fair Isle pattern is cleverly designed using Rowan Tapestry with built in colour changes on a background of Felted Tweed. It was hard to pick a colourway, because they all looked beautiful, but I got some help in the end and like the result.

A few years ago I ordered four skeins from Virtual Yarns, Alice Starmore's online store. They also became a hat, but here the contrast wasn't enough to show off the pattern Stjärnmönstrad mössa by Anita Gunnars.

I wouldn't mind getting more of all these yarns in the future. I feel like I have gotten to know them, and I have hats for half the days of the week...

I have also finished the third of my shawls from the previous post. It is just as wonderful as I thought it would be, but a bit too small for my taste. I will make a good X-mas present for someone, while I plan what yarn I could use to make a larger version for myself.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Lace and drinks

No, I don't recommend drinking and knitting, especially not lace. When I was preparing to write this post I discovered that all the lace shawls I'm working on have colours named after drinks. The first two are finished, and this is how yummy they looked before blocking:

Let's start with the green one. It is designed by Jane Sowerby and it is a variation on a pattern from her book Victorian Lace. This version appeared in Knitter's Magazine summer 2008. A free version will be on their website, but it isn't up yet. The original is knitted in Zazu by Twisted Sisters in a colour called Blue Curacao, but I'm more familiar with the green version of the drink so I made it in a nameless green lacewool from Fyberspates that is hereby named Green Curacao. As you can see it is very thin and transparent, but the yarn feels strong and when I wrap it around my neck it is warm enough. I like the shawl and it was fun to make, but there is one problem. I knitted it during the Olympics, from opening until the closing cermony. Then it got stuck because the ruffle meant there were 1925 (!) stitches to bind off, and with added picots there were 2053 actual stitches. Then a thread had to be sewn through all the picots for blocking... I don't think I will make more ruffles for a while.

The next drink is Sangria, which tastes very good on a warm Spanish night. Red wine with slices of oranges is also a fiery colourway so I thought it was just right for Icarus from Interweave Knits. The yarn is Suri Blue from Fleece Artist and it turned out to be more pink and less red than what it looked like on the skein, but it is still beautiful and so soft. This was all quick and easy and since this will be a Christmas present I might make one for me as well. I used larger needles, 4mm, and the shawl measures over 2m across the top, which made it almost to big for the bed I use for blocking.

Last night I cast on for my third drink. This is Rosé by Färgkraft, a soft pink dyed on a light grey yarn. When I bought it I thought it would be an Icarus, but when it came home it wanted to be Hyrna Herborgar from Thrihyrnur og langsjöl instead. I've loved this pattern since I got it in 1991, but I had a bit of a problem with the table cloth look of the pattern and it was hard to find a yarn that could counteract that. I think this will be just right, and it will look great with my coat. The skulls in the background is my table cloth in the kitchen, left from my son's Halloween/birthday party last week. I hadn't planned the picture, but it is sort of right with the pink and the lace.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Japanese knitting

What a weekend! I've been teaching Japanese knitting techniques for three days. It is the first time I've done this professionally, I've only hosted free evening seminars before and never about this subject. Now that I've worked through the material and tried it out I can't wait to get a chance to do it again. I only had four students, but they were all hard working and enthusiastic and they kept me busy. I hope they are as pleased with themselves as I am with their work.

So what is Japanese knitting? The story behind this goes back to the eighties when Mieko Yano from Japan started giving classes in her new homeland, Sweden. She spread the innovative and modern way of knitting that has been developed in Japan, were there is little tradition and much creativity on the subject. She also taught new instructors who spread the techniques all over the country. Unfortunately she died after a few years, and the eighties knitting boom came to an end soon after. Now when knitting is growing in popularity a new generation is starting to show an interest in all aspects of knitting, and Japanese knitting books are becoming available again. A few months ago I heard that Medborgarskolan was looking for a new teacher. Since I learned the basics a few years ago and was eager to learn more, I vounteered to do it.

I looked through the material I had, and went to see a former teacher who worked on this in the eighties. She had a lot of material, samples and advice and lent me some books. I picked out the sections that felt most useful and interesting to me and created my own plan and material. The first half of my course is about basic techniques, like casting on and binding off, finishing and reading charts. The second part is more about decorative patterns and new ways of knitting. In the next picture you can see some of my samples, such as double knitting, pleats, illusion patterns, mosaic patterns and short rows.

Finally I want to thank Mr P, who has been very supportive and provided me with the perfect soundtrack for the weekend. He gave me "The Knitter" by Cheri Knight, a collection of rock ballads with a great cover and a song all about knitting.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Knits for the kids

This summer I thought about my reasons for knitting, and realized that I should think more about the result and less about the process and make things that someone would need, want and use. I'm still very much a process knitter, and I have to find the work interesting, but I have tried to be more practical. One top priority is to involve my children more. I made a pile of baby garments for them, but they were big and could hardly use them. Since then I have made very little for them, because it felt like a waste of time. Now they have shown some interest in what I'm doing and I've tried to listen to their ideas.

Some time in July my daughter asked why I didn't knit for her. She has strong opinions, so I told her to make me a drawing of what she had in mind. She came back a few minutes later with a picture of a dress with long sleeves. I immediately thought about the pattern Sand Dollar from The Children's Collection by Alice & Jade Starmore and showed it to her, and she approved. A few days later we went to the LYS to pick a yarn that was light and cool and not too expensive, and most importantly very red. We chose Blend/Tendens by Hjertegarn in cotton and acrylic. The deadline for this project is her birthday in December, so I havn't worked that much on it yet but it is small and quick to knit even if the pattern is extensive.

A couple of weeks ago I came across a Spiderman blanket made by Liisa. I had seen the pattern before, but I hadn't realized just how big and beautiful it was. When my son saw the picture he was spellbound and asked me to make one for him, so now I'm knitting as fast as I can without letting him see it. I hope to have it finished for his fourth birthday in three weeks.

Finally the best news of all. My 6-y-o daughter knits! Maybe it is because she gets hot chocolate at the knitting café and not at home, but I don't care. I gave her some cotton to start with, but it split and was hard to work with. Then we went shopping for something funnier and more suitable, and got some printed, heavy sock yarn for a scarf. Her brother wanted a ball too, for when he learned to knit. I said that might be a while but then his sister offered to make a scarf for him too. I volunteered to make his scarf, otherwise it might take a few years, and he got his favourite colour as well. I knitted half of his scarf in the car last weekend, but my daughter made slow progress and needed some more encouragement. This week I got her some domino needles that made it easier to knit with small hands

Monday, September 15, 2008

Brown and blocks

There has been so much going on in my life this past month that I havn't had the time or energy to blog, but I have been knitting! And shopping! There is so much to write about that I will save some for later, but these are some of my favourite knitting events since last time.

I'm back on track with Sockklubben, having finished the September socks. This is my favourite pattern and yarn so far, so I'm really happy about the result. When I tried them on for the first time they stayed on all evening and I even slept in them. The pattern is Oak Leaf from Knotions, the great new free pattern magazine. It is a bit tricky to get all the twists right, and I had to knit the first leg twice to get it right, but it isn't really difficult. The yarn is the wonderful Regia Silk, a lovely quality but not really my palette of colours except this one. I used 2.5 dpns and the size is the largest, but not very long.

I bought this yarn, as well as the beautiful Färgkraft skeins in the next picture, at the "new" shop in town. Cina has taken over an old shop here in Sundsvall and redecorated and renewed it in many ways (great pics here). Great job Cina and good luck! The Färgkraft line is the most noticable addition to the stock so far, and I think every knitter I know in town has bought some. I recently made a shawl in this quality, but this time I have something else in mind... The colours have poetic names, and mine are Bärnsten (Amber) and Choklad.

Finally a few words about a great new book. Despite new issues of Vogue Knitting, Interweave Knits, and I had to buy some new books. I got Folk Hats, which was mostly wierd, No Sheep For You, both educational and great patterns, but the book you can glimpse in the picture above is my number one inspiration so far this autumn. Danish Vivian Höxbro has taken here special Domino technique a few steps further in Knit to be Square. I bought it because I knew her spectacular Abstract Stole would be in it, but a few other ideas look very tempting as well. I have just cast on for a vest from her previous book Shadow Knitting, but that is another story.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

This and that

After the sweater race earlier this summer I've made a few small things that only took a couple of days. First up are the Pomatomus socks, July in Sockklubben. This is probably the first yarn I actually bought for the club, one that is interesting without hiding the lace etc. that these socks always have (Opal Fantasie 1914). I didn't like the patten at first, and spent a week trying to knit them without the yarnovers, but finally got tired of ripping and reknitting and made them according to the instructions. I even got hold of 2.75 mm dpns a while ago so I could use the right size needles. They are a bit big, and I should probably have used 2.5 mm for a better fit, but who says I have to keep them. They are modelled by Mr P who had taken this modelling position on the sofa, all I had to do was put on the socks. He has inherited my cold that kept me away from this weeks knitting café, now I've missed three weeks in a row...

Last weekend I was at a birthday party for a friend in my folk music group. Since I wasn't sure if we were getting her anything from the group, I made her a couple of wrist warmers just in case. They are good to have if you play the fiddle outdoors, like we often do. The yarn is Sandnes Lanett in charcoal grey, leftovers from when I made piles of baby clothes from their lovely patterns. The pattern is Berta from the booklet Muddar from Sticka!, and had I followed the written instructions the would have looked very diffrent form the picture, I had to make several changes to get the lace edge right. I think the first one took five times as long to make as the second. ( Really nice party by the way, thanks K.!)

Finally my knitting for the Olympics. I didn't register for any KAL, because I wasn't sure how much time I would have, but I cast on just in time for the opening cermony and it looks like it will be finished on schedule. It is a shawl by Jane Sowerby, but not from her book on Victorian lace, but a variation on the Spider's web pattern for Knitter's magazine. There will be another variation free on their website, but last time I checked it wasn't published yet. In the picture you can see the half hexagon center, but the edge is what makes it special and I will be getting back to that now. Finished this part to the men's tennis double final, where Sweden got the silver.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Utmaning (challenge)

I've been asked by Maria to answer some questions, and since my policy is to stick to knitting and write in English, I will translate the questions and do my best to find a knitting angle...

Jag har blivit utmanad av Maria att svara på några frågor, och eftersom jag har bestämt mig för att hålla mig till stickning ska jag försöka vinkla det dit...

* Hur ser din att-göra-lista ut i fem punkter för idag?
1. Skriva lite på bloggen
2. Åka och titta på persienner till vardagsrummet, så jag kan sitta där mitt på dagen och sticka
3. Kontakta dagis och fritids inför höstterminsstarten
4. Göra klart min första Pomatomus, juli i Sockklubben
5. Laga en god middag till min man som börjar jobba igen efter semestern idag

* Vad gjorde du för 10 år sen?
Bodde själv i Kramfors det året och for till Island med familjen på sommaren. Köpte mönster och material till två islandströjor, en till min lillebror som inte kunde följa med och en till mig. Brorsans var ljusgrå med keltiska slingor i brunt på oket och den fick han i julklapp. Min supersnygga har jag inte börjat på än... Den största upplevelsen på resan var nog annars att se musikalen Grease på isländska med min tremänning. Vi bestämde det med hjälp av e-post, första gången jag använde det som jag kommer ihåg. Under året kandiderade jag i kommunvalet, spelade i klassisk orkester och lärde mig konversera på franska också...

* Vilka platser har du bott på?
Fränsta, Umeå, Kramfors, Sörberge och Sundsvall, alla i mitten av Sverige utom Umeå som ligger lite nordligare. Sommartid i Rinna i Östergötland tills jag var 15 år, inte så långt från Östergötlands ullspinneri, men det fanns nog inte då.

*Fem saker du skulle göra som biljonär!
1. Utbilda mig till textilkonstnär och skapa och hålla kurser
2. Skapa stipendier för andra som vill ägna sig åt sitt hantverk på heltid
3. Resa på långresor; hyra hus i Frankrike, Irland och andra platser som lockar
4. Fixa till huset lite lagom och skaffa en pålitligare bil
5. Skämma bort mina föräldrar, men inte barnen

Regler som följer med utmaningen

- Svara på alla frågor

- Välj ut fyra personer som du vill skall svara och utmana dem i deras bloggar

- Låt personen som utmanade dig veta när du svarat på utmaningen

Jag skickar utmaningen vidare till några jag är nyfiken på: Eva, Cessi, Emma och Ulrica.

Hade tänk skriva om alla mina nya stickningar, men det får bli nästa gång.

And in English...
* What five items are on your to-do-list today?
1. Write something on my blog
2. Go and look at blinds for the living room, so I can knit there during daytime
3. Get in touch with day care for the children for the coming semester
4. Finish my first Pomatomus, July in Sockklubben
5. Prepare a nice dinner for Mr P, who started work again today after his vacation

* What did you do ten years ago?
Lived by myself in Kramfors that year, and and went to Iceland with my family in the summer. Bought patterns and yarn for two Icelandic sweaters, one for my younger brother who couldn't join us and one for me. My brother´s was light grey with a brown, Celtic pattern on the yoke and he got it for Christmas. My superb sweater hasn't been started yet... The greatest experience on the trip was probably seeing the musical Grease in Icelandic with my second cousin. We arranged it over e-mail, the first time I used it as far as I can recall. During that year I was also a candidate in a local election, played in a classical orchestra and improved my French.

* In what places have you lived?
Fränsta, Umeå, Kramfors, Sörberge and Sundsvall, all in central Sweden except Umeå which is more notherly. Summertime in Rinna in Östergötland until I was 15 y o, not far from Östergötlands ullspinneri, but don't think they had started back then.

*Five things you would do as a billionaire!
1. Educate myself in textiles and become an artist and give workshops
2. Create sholarships for others who would like to work full time in crafts
3. Go for long trips; rent houses in France, Ireland and other fascinating places
4. Do some work on the house and get a more reliable car
5. Spoil my parents, but not my children

Had planned to write about all the new things I'm knitting, but that will have to wait until next time.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Family summer

This year we have stayed close to home and had our relatives come here to visit us. This has meant more work around the house, many short excursions in the area and nights spent over long dinners rather than knitting in the sofa. This has given me more time to reflect on what I really want to knit, rather than just starting new things all the time. I really want to get back to knitting more traditional patterns, with my own modifications and modernisations. I also want to look more at what the family wants and needs and not just fall for new yarns and patterns. All the craft shops I've seen this summer have inspired me to think about what I could knit and sell. It would have to be of high quality but affordable and quick to make, and not something that is already out there. I have an idea, but I'm not sure I have the time to do it...

Another thought that I have had for some time is to start spinning. As I wrote last time I have made my first serious attempt, and here is the result.

After spinning, plying and washing my 50 g of corriedale wool left me with 27 m of bulky yarn. I need to work on making it more even and with less twist, but I think I got the general idea of it. I also ended up with a z-twist since I used the "wrong hand" compared to the directions, so I'll try it the other way next time and see how that works. My favourite part was the plying, when those unruly strands suddenly became yarn. I used a center pull ball and my hand spindle and it was so much easier than the spinning, but I should have used the larger spindle because it got so much more volume compared to the first thread.

I've also finished my "late night easy knitting" again. Even though I have other things I should work on that easy piece by the sofa gets all my attention these days. This is the lovely Cheshire Cat Stole made in Färgkraft 1-ply in the colour Sommarnatt (Summer Night). The yarn started out in a more complicated pattern, but the colours dominated and it needed something with cleaner lines. One skein was enough for a 170 x 50 cm stole. Since the yarn is heavier than the original I made it narrower by making one repeat less, and then just knitted until I ran out of yarn.

Finally a picture taken outdoors which does the colours more justice. The shawl is modelled by my mother-in-law. She got a pair of socks for her trouble, those red Seduction Socks that where too small for me.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Knitting among friends

Lately I've had many reminders of the how great it is to be able to say that we are part of a "knitting community". Saturday the 12th I got a lot of knitting energy when Cina opened her house for a night of knitting, thanks! Then last Wednesday I went to our weekly knitting café and the group had gotten a few new interesting members during the weeks I had been away. I think it is good that we can keep the group open and diverse.

On the web I have also had a few interesting experiences. I've been corresponding with Jody at Knotions magazine about her design Unwrapped that I finished last week, and now she has posted my picture on the site blog. I can ad that I wore it all day yesterday, and it was very comfortable on a hot and humid day. Also the blanket I made for my new niece last month has gotten a life of it's own on Ravelry with an amazing response. If you weren't around to see it, here is another picture of it.

Yesterday I showed about 57 pieces of knitting at a summer feast at the local museum in my home village. I tried to find as many different techniques as possible, like two-end knitting, Moebius shawls, double knitting, lace shawls and also traditional sweaters from Scandinavia and the British Isles. My father was one of the organizers and asked if I could help out with an exhibition, and it was fun to go back home and show old friends what I'm doing these days.

I shared the room with a family that has just bought ten alpacas and they had some wool and textile samples and a lot of pictures. They hope to get proper production going next summer. There was also a woman who demonstrated spinning on a handspindle, and she taught the 8-y-o-daughter of the alpaca family how to do it. Only days before I had bought a beginners kit at Spinspiration and the girl borrowed my little spindle, and her father will be making one for her a.s.a.p . When I got back home I was really inspired and I spun most of the white Corriedale wool in the picture on the little spindle last night. The bigger handspindle is my mother's and she has used that model for plying the yarn that her father spun when she was a child in Iceland. Now it is my turn to try out plying my yarn, and it is fun to be an eager beginner every now and then.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

And then there were three

Third sweater finished. Well, I only made the sleeves and finishing this week, the body was knitted about five years ago, probably when I was on maternity leave, and has been in the UFO pile since.

The pattern is a traditional Danish Nattröje (night sweater) from a book on Nordic knitting by Susanne Pagoldh, with a few modifications. It is knitted in flat pieces and the sleeves are shortened for comfort. I also used the same border on both body and sleeves. The yarn is far from the thin wool of the original. It is the cotton yarn Muskat Soft by Garnstudio from an old stash of about 40 balls in various colours that I got from a closed down yarn store. The pin at the neck is a traditional Estonian model in bronze.

In my study there are now some plastic boxes with about 55 projects on their way to my little exhibition tomorrow. Back to work on that...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Two sweaters so far

Finally! I've bit of a bit more than I could chew lately by trying to make family gifts, sweaters for me and planning an exhibition that is due this Sunday (report on that next week). On Monday I sewed up the final ends on two sweaters and now they are blocked, dried and photographed.

First up is Unwrapped from Knotions. This is a fitted modell that has many neat details, like the linen stitch edges and the diagonal line that imitates a wrap model. I enjoyed making it and was happy to get help from the designer on a few unclear parts of the pattern. The yarn is 100% linen from Garnstudio, and this is the first time I use this material for a top and it looks just as I wanted, rough and shiny at the same time. I made the belt to go with it, but I liked the look better without it in the end.

The second finished sweater is a very cropped version of the February Lady Sweater. I used all the Silke Alpaca I had and this is as far as I got, and it is quite a wearable experiment. The yarn is extremly comfortable, but too much of the red colour spilled over on the off-white parts in the washing and gave it a slightly pink tone. Maybe that is a good thing, because when my 3-y-o son saw me when I first tried it on, he said that now I just had to make a hat as well. When I asked him why, he said that would make me look even more like Santa Claus...

Right now I'm working on an old UFO from five years ago that needs sleeves before Sunday, so I had better get back to that if I'm going to finish three sweaters this week.

Friday, July 11, 2008

February is late this year

Couldn't resist any longer. Last Christmas Mr P gave me a challenge when he bought me 12 balls of Garnstudio Silke Alpaca, 7 red and 5 white. I decided to use them all in one project, but it is not quite enough for a sweater. Have been searching for a vest or bolero pattern since then. Then the February Lady Sweater came along, and after seeing Marias sweater half done I realized that it would work just fine in two colours and could be made with short sleeves. Last week I finished knitting Unwrapped, but it needs a little finishing before I can show it. Three days ago I cast on for February Lady "Vest" and this is what it looked like yesterday morning when I divided the stitches for the sleeves and tried it on. It fit perfectly!

Some technical notes: I'm making it in large, but at a slightly looser gauge. I cast on a couple of times before I got it right with a knitted cast on recommended in Alice Starmore's books. The one row button holes are neat but a bit tricky and I learned how to make them in a class with Britt-Marie Christoffersson. After the eyelet row I only knitted the compulsory three rows of garter stitch, after hearing about bulkiness at the armholes. Then I made one purl row across the white part only before starting the pattern, for a neat colour transition. Now I'm working a little bit more of the body, but I will make the (short) sleeves before continuing so I can use up the yarn as efficiantly as possible.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Red seduction

Finally my summer vacation has started. Has been working hard this week to get everything finished at work with a cold on its way. When I got home on Friday I slept for twelve hours, but woke up to find this behind a curtain, where it should have rested quietly until Christmas.

I'm not sure what I'm doing right, but I've had this amaryllis for four years and it usually gives me two stalks with 6-10 flowers each every winter. This year I've treated it worse than usual by forgetting to give it new soil, and this is the result.

However this is not why I named this post red seduction. In between extra naps yesterday I completed the Sockklubben sock for May, which was Seduction Socks by Ann Budd in red Opal Bambu. They are a bit small, but improved with blocking. The pattern is nice, but not that special. The best part is the yarn, which is really great; soft, durable and beautiful. I will be looking for more!

Finishing the socks I should have turned to Unwrapped, which is in its finishing stages, but my brain capacity wasn't good enough. Instead I made a few more rows on Cheshire Cat Stole, which was a better choice for this yarn than the Laminaria I tried earlier but decided to frog.

Now I'm just waiting for my brain to start working better again. Slept another nine hours tonight, but my sinus infection isn't gone yet and tomorrow MrP has to go to work so I'll be home alone with the kids. I hope it gets better by then, and that I can finally get my new top done.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Family holidays

It's really been a busy couple of weeks. First my mother had a big birthday party with the family and some of her old classmates from Iceland who where making a trip to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their graduation. I finally got a chance to deliver the top from Poetry in Stitches that I made for my sister-in-law a while ago. It's a little too big, but I think it will work.

I also managed to get a picture of a shawl I made for her a couple of years ago, before I had a decent digital camera. It is the pattern "Langsjal ad vestan" from Thrihyrnur og langsjöl, a book on Icelandic lace that I bought in 1991. In the book the shawl is in solid white, but I had a selection of Icelandic kambgarn in diffrent shades and used up what I had in natural colours. By felting the ends together when changing colours I was left with minimal finishing and a neat result.

When I got home from that great weekend it was time to prepare for the next party. I've spent countless hours this past week getting the Rainbow Blanket ready for the Christening of my husband's niece. When the week started I still had one section and the edge left, but I made it! The final meter of I-cord was done in the car on the road to Stockholm last Friday, but I had blocked the coloured parts the day before.

The blanket measures 110 x 110 cm and consists of five sections knitted in rainbow yarn from Kauni on needles 3.5 mm using the pattern for the Multidirectional Diagonal Scarf. I've knitted the pattern over 70 stitches. The second section starts with a stitch picked up at a courner of the first stripe and the pieces are knitted together by slipping the last stitch before the joining, picking up a stitch through the ridge on the previous stripe and then lifting the slipped stitch over the picked up stitch. The blanket is reversible, but with a slight difference along the joined edges. Finally the blanket was edged by a black line of I-cord over four stitches on 3 mm dpns in a similar quality to finish of the edges and hold the design together.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A happy knitter

I have never been this quick to start knitting a sweater! I just knew I had to make Unwrapped, and since my LYS owner went away on a long vacation the day I wrote my last post I rushed there to get yarn, and kept them 5 min passed closing… Anyway I’m using Garnstudio Lin in 100% linen and I got 10 balls at 120m to be on the safe side for a size 46. I've been busy working on a present that needs to be finished next week, but today my daughter was ill and I could stay home from work and finish the top down raglan yoke.

The yarn is soft and easy to work with, considering it is linen. It will be great to wear. I don't make much clothes, but this is quick and fun as well as technical and timeless. Today I saw a preview of the next Knotions raglan pattern, and I think it will be next on my list.

The next picture is what I got in my two birthday presents this morning. The yarn is a bag my father picked up at a charity auction and it is mostly Garnstudio Paris. It was accompanied by an invitation to a boat trip to a nice restaurant on an island that I really like, Ulvön off the High Coast a couple of hours drive north of here. The yarn found a home in the bowl my husband got for me. It is Swedish Grace by Rörstrand and the pattern is supposed to be wheat, but I think you can all see why it is my favourite porcelain design.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Knitting news

Yesterday I found a great pattern for a top on Ravelry, then I found that the pattern belonged to a new online knitting magazine! It's called Knotions and it looks really good. They have posted a few patterns from Magknits (sadly missed), and so far there is one new pattern- the best top I've seen in a long time. The magazine has the motto "knit smarter", and an explanation of the name that makes a linguist like me feel just at home. They only have a few things up so far, but I feel that I will be a frequent visitor judging from the plans they present for the future. Here I can learn more about designing garments, not just picking details that look good but actually making something that fits as well.

Last night I also did some knitspotting. The artists from Boznia & Herzegovina in the Eurovision Song Contest semi final had a chorus of three girls dressed as brides and knitting! It made my day. If you missed it they made it through to the finals on Saturday.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Slippery and colourful

The April pattern in Sockklubben, Slippery Socks from Knitty, has been completed. The yarn is Opal Hundertwasser in colour 1434 Wartende Häuser. It is a fun pattern to knit and very easy to follow through all the braids and details. Since this was the most "manly" pattern so far I made them for my husband, who fortunately uses the same sock size as me, and all the patterns so far, a women's medium. I'm still waiting for patterns in other sizes for children and other family members, because my sock drawer is filling up quickly.

Next up are Seduction Socks from Interweave. I've started knitting them in Opal Bambu, but I'm not sure it will show off the braids very well since it is doesn't have the right volume. I'll make a few more rows before I decide if I carry on or start over.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Light and breezy

My very first Mystery knitting has been completed. Here are the pictures to prove it. The first one shows the colours well and the second shows the pattern better. The pattern is the Mystic Light Shawl by Anna Dalvi that was issued in five parts during five weeks this spring. The yarn is Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino and the colourway is from a sample line called "pot luck". The second skein had slightly stronger colours, which gave the "flames" more definition. The needles used where Addi Lace 4 mm.

I'm happy about the pattern and the yarn and the size is perfect (84 cm down the middle). It feels really lacy, but would probably look even better with more definition and body; my yarn was a little bit too thin. The pattern had the theme "fire" but mine is more about spring and flowers, which makes it just right for a couple of family parties coming up in June...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Back on track

I can't believe it's been over a month since my last entry. I could blame it on springtime gardening, sick kids, Mr P. away on business, spending time with my parents, too many evenings bocked up, a lot of new stuff going on at work and four people queing for one computer. Or I could just get on with knit-blogging.

Despite it all I have been knitting most days as usual. This is what's in the basket at the moment:
(the basket is in felt and was bought at Village in Sundsvall, perfect by the sofa)

The Slippery socks and Rainbow blanket are moving along nicely, and will be finished on schedule (I hope). My only new project since the last entry is the Laminaria shawl from Knitty.
I'm making a medium size in Färgkraft 1-ply Sommarnatt. So far it doesn't look like much, but I think it will turn out well in the end.

Last weekend was a bit longer than usual, so I took the time to shop at Garnkorgen to lift my spirits and find inspiration. I found it.

I prepared a list at home by the computer, and I actually managed to stick to it and only buy half of the things I wanted to check out, which was quite enough. This includes Fyberspates Bluefaced Lace Yarn in greens, Fleece Artist Suri Blue in sangria and Manos Silk Blend in green/4635. They are all delicious and I don't think I will be able to keep my hands off them for very long. Not in the picture is a japanese book of 250 surface patterns that I have read about five times so far. I also got a Perl grey pin in pewter, a must with all the shawls in progress.

There is also something that has been completed this past month. My Mystic Light shawl was finished in four days after I got the last clue and has been waiting a couple of weeks for blocking. The light isn't too good in my blocking area, so pictures will have to wait until it has dried and can be taken out of there.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Spring clearing part two

I've behaved this week and only started one new sock, but finished a few things. It feels good, but my thoughts keep wandering off to new things all the time. I will try to resist them a bit longer, because the state of my room is really improving.

First thing off the needles this week is a top by designer Solveig Hisdal from the book Poetry in Stitches (Sv. Dikt i maskor). I've used the original yarn, for once, which is Hifa Luxor in 100% cotton. It required just over 300g. The rest of my 400g will probably be combined with some leftovers from Regnbågen and become a matching top for a 2yo. This is for you H. , hope you like it and that I got the size right this time!

Next is a really sad UFO that finally became a cardigan. I started this over two years ago, but it wasn't my cup of tea. The yarn is Tilda by Svarta Fåret in 50/50 cotton and acrylic, and it is nice and soft for kids. The size is 4-6 years, not too demanding. The pattern is also OK. It is based on the old fishermen´s sweaters from Gotland and I love traditional patterns most of the time. The most common version of this pattern is in natural white with red and blue stripes and knitted in 2/2 rib. It became famous in the sixties when Pippi Longstocking wore it in the films that were shot in Gotland, hence the name "Pippitröja". I think this colourway is more practical though. The problem I had with this design was this: it is knit in five parts using ten balls of blue with added borders and numerous stripes=an infinite number it ends to fasten. I hated that part and put it off for over a year after the knitting was done. Fortunately my daughter is really small and her comment when she tried it on was:"I like it, but the sleeves are a bit too long". She was four when I cast on and now she is six.

By the way I'm quite happy with the buttons. The top looks classy with mother-of-pearl and the cardigan has little folded newspaper boats on each button.

Next, my only new project this week (so far, there are a few hours left...). I've cast on for the April socks in Sockklubben, Slippery Socks from Knitty. The pictures showed a very bright yarn, so I decided to use Opal Hundertwasser. I like the look, a bit like Argyle diamonds.

Finally, a look at clue 2 of Mystic Light. There were no new elements this week, so it was rather quick even if you have to look at the chart all the time.