Saturday, February 23, 2008


This week everything has turned out small. Baby Born is wearing her new Koolhaas Hat by Jared Flood from Interweave Holiday 2007. It is a very clever and good looking pattern inspired by arcitecture. The yarn is (as always...) Visjö by Östergötlands ullspinneri. I had planned to make this for a 2-y-o since the needles and number of stitches matched another pattern that I had knitted in this yarn, but I hadn't expected this pattern to be so tight. Maybe I will make a bigger one later. It is really brilliant and it only takes one evening to complete, provided you make the braids without the extra needle because there are many crossings.

The cardigan is one of my first proper knits. I think I was about 11 when I made this at school. My children could only wear it for about a week before it was too small, but they were quite big. It looks much better on a doll than it did on them. It is a great short row design from the 60's book Sticka med Hemslöjden. Last weekend I made another 60's baby cardigan in garter, Baby Surprize by Elizabeth Zimmerman, but it still needs some finishing.

Finally Barbie's friend Derek is wearing a sample for a crochet class I attended last Tuesday. It looked like an egg-warmer but will probably be of more use to the dolls. Around here we call this technique påtning or smygmaskvirkning, but I don't know the English term, if there is one. It is made in the round using slip stitches through either the front or back loop. Great for warm mittens in medium weight wool on a 5-7 mm hook. This picture shows the details better:

Next Saturday I will be going to Syfestivalen in Sollentuna, an event with a lot do for textile fanatics. I hope I will get some amazing yarn, meet some interesting people and have a great time. I'm thinking about posting some mark of identification if any of you readers would like to recognize me, but I haven't decided yet...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Book review

A couple of weeks ago I got an offer I couldn't resist. Taunton press asked me if I would like a preview copy of their new book on felted knitting. All I had to do was review it on my blog, which I do anyway when I get hold of an interesting book. Of course I will tell you my honest opinion. Unfortunately the company that handled the last step of the delivery tried to deliver it to my door when I was at work and it took a few days extra to finally get hold of the parcel. Last night, the day the book was published, it finally reached my hands. Since then it has accompanied me to work and two knitting cafés, but tonight I finally have the time to write down what I, and some of my friends and colleagues, thought about it.

The book is I love felt by Kathleen Taylor. The title is just right, because all through the book, in designs, layout and the text there is a feeling of joy. You believe in the writer when she tells you that this is easy, inspiring and fun. My colleague the teacher of textile handicraft, who is usually not a fan of knitting, looked like she was going to steal the book and use it with the kids. My second reaction, and that of my friends at the knitting cafés, is that this isn't so much about the knitting, which is fairly basic, but a good course on felting knits and a source of ideas. If you know more about what you are doing and have a wider range of techniques available, felting becomes more fun.

Like the writer, I have knitted huge, plain objects and tossed them in the washing machine just to watch the miracle of felting. It gives you a nice fabric, but the knitting isn't that inspiring. I have two Norwegian books on the topic which are about making garments in stockinette and felting them, and that is about it. On the other hand I had a look at Nicky Epstein's book on felted knitting last summer, and it was totally amazing but looked so advanced it could be intimidating even for the experienced knitter. I love felt is somewhere inbetween these extremes. It is not as amazing as the promotional texts imply, but it gets you started on new ways of thinking about felting. It is very easy to understand, detailed and thorough in its instructions but still friendly and fun.

The patterns are nice but not all that special. For me they could serve as a basis for understanding the technique and a source of easy-to-make gifts. My favourite is the intarsia bag with grazing sheep, but I would add a knitted strap and probably change the proportions (and feel confident doing it). There is another design that might soon end up on my needles and that is the beaded crown and wands (the stars in the picture below). My little girl was very excited when she saw them. It might be a way to make her try knitting herself...

In conclusion I'm glad I read this book and it as taught me a few things I didn't know about eg. felting multicoloured knits. It is not a book that would have caught my eye under other circumstances, since I'm usually a more traditional knitter. I'm not sure I will make any of the projects, but it I might have gotten confident enough about felting to try making that bag I saw in a magazine last year. The only problem is that Kathleen Taylor says I have to get a top-loading washing machine, well I probably need a new one anyway...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Girlie stuff

This is a picture of my sister-in-laws top before frogging. As I wrote the other day I had to start over on larger needles, which I have, but it will take a few days work to get it this big again. It is from the wonderful book Poetry in Stitches by Solveig Hisdal and it is a modern copy of an old piece of underwear. It is knit sideways and the buttonholes are at the bottom of the picture. The yarn is the original from the book, 100% cotton from Hifa. It looks like natural linen and has a great shine. I asked my 6-y-o what colour it was and she said it was grey and brown with both gold and silver, but try getting that into the picture...

Waiting for the Mystic Light shawl KAL, starting 26 mars, I had to get some lace under my fingers right away. This is another super yarn that has been waiting around for the perfect pattern, Östergötlands Pälsull in red. I used the blue skein last year, but I never wear blue and saved this one for myself. Last night I finally settled on a pattern: North Roë shawl . It is in French, with most of it translated into English, but I find the French easier to read even though I have never used a French pattern before. It has fewer abbreviations and is rather logical. The pattern is very lacy and will make the yarn last well. My biggest problem now is that all three knittings by my chair are on 3.5mm needles and I would like to use my 80cm circular from Garnstudio for all of them. (The third one is the Rainbow Blanket.) Time to get some more. Realized that 90% of my knitting is on 2.5-3.5mm needles so an investment might be necessary.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Creamy wool and silk

The socks for Februari are done! Like last month's socks for the KAL Sockklubben these where made two at the same time on Magic Loop. I'm hooked! They where quite similar in design, a nice basic model with a lace pattern, but the look is more robust this time. The heel also has an added reinforcement with lifted and twisted stitches (like my grandmother did on a pair of socks for me in the same colour once...). I followed the pattern, but added eight
stitches to make them in large. The yarn is Opal uni in cream/beige.

And here is the finished result, modelled by my mother. Now I hope the next pattern will be something new, maybe with more room for colours or for kids/men...

While on the subject of presents for my mother, here is another story. While I was learning to knit in my teens many of my sweaters were too large for me and ended up on her. I thought I had moved past this, but this Christmas I did it again. This sweater is the finished Irish Moss by Nancy Bush that I wrote about during the fall. The knitting went fast and easy and I thought I had gotten the size right for my sister-in-law, who is a medium. Then I tried to block it according to the rulebook, but that was a huge mistake. The yarn, Silke Tweed from Garnstudio, wasn't supposed to be soaked and it greeeeew. After sewing the last seems I tried it on and it was about two sizes too big for me. Another unexpected gift for my mother. The sister-in-law is getting well compensated with a top from the book Poetry in Stitches. So far I have made one front side, but I will start over again after writing this because I knitted it too tight...