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.