Monday, 14 April 2014

Alba cardigan finished again

Some three months ago I finished my "Alba" cardigan - and after finding the right hooks and eyes for it the other day I finished it again yesterday by sewing them in place. I love the drop shape!

Then I remembered Margaret Atwood's poem that we read when I studied English years ago. The way it shifts and all the things it implies still makes me shudder and smile at the same time!

You fit into me
like a hook into an eye

a fish hook
an open eye

 Here's my finished twined hat - and I'm happy to say it's too warm to wear it:

Hamlet, the twined version

Man kan ju aldrig vara säker så här års, men jag hoppas slippa slita på koftan och mössan. Koftan går förstås att ha i stället för jacka, men yllemössa betackar jag mig för. Nej, så här års tycker jag att det är mer lockande att sticka tunna spetssjalar. Inte för att jag bär dem själv, men det roliga är att sticka. Om en dryg månad (helgen 17-18 maj) kommer jag förresten att hålla kurs i just spetsmönster och sjalformer på Ekerö. Här finns mer information om du är intresserad.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Spring Onion hat (Vårlöksmössa)

Thanks for your comments on my twined hat - in particular, Sandra's comment made me smile! I finished it today, but right now it's too dark to get a good photo of it. At least I've got a photo I took a few days ago, which shows the pattern after the increases.

I wanted something in the style of Greek key patterns, which I always liked. The lines, colours, and shape suddenly made me think of slicing an onion, so I might rename it Spring Onion. In Swedish it's a pun as vårlök - "spring onion" - is the spring flower Gagea lutea. The English name apparently is Yellow Star-of-Bethlehem, which is rather far from this hat...

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Twined spring hat

Twined hat in progress by Asplund
Twined hat in progress, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.

Winter returned after my previous post, but I hope it won't be too long before it's possible to knit in the garden again. In the meantime I'm trying to create some spring feeling indoors instead. This wool (Visjö from Östergötlands ullspinneri) works really well with the twined knitting technique.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

A nice place for knitting

A nice place for knitting by Asplund
A nice place for knitting, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
How wonderful it is to be able to sit outdoors knitting!

I've made some sleeve progress, so the pattern I described in my previous post (small squares and circles) is easier to see.

Äntligen går det att sitta ute och sticka - och sämre sällskap än snödroppar och krokus kan man ha! Det vankas mer av kombinationen blommor och stickning i maj: helgen 17-18/5 kommer jag att hålla kurs i spetsstickning på Ekerö. Läs mer här om du är intresserad!

opposite sides

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Double-knitted jacket: sleeve pattern

In my previous post there is a photo of my first attempt at sleeves: simple squares a fourth in size compared to the big squares.

A good idea in theory, but in practice it didn't quite work. With fewer crossings of the two strands the sleeve quickly looked rather bubbly; what's more, it dawned on me the effect might actually be striped sleeves with all the crossings arranged in vertical columns. (Something like extremely long, rectangular bubbles.)

So, I decided to keep the squares but fill them with circles and tiny squares to rhyme with the main pattern. An advantage is that the two sides will look different! I chose light squares on a dark background on this side like the body.

I thought of doing it the opposite way but then I decided there were enough mirror effects going on already.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

In a finishing mood

Camel cardigan by Asplund
Camel cardigan, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
I'm in a finishing mood, to the extent that I've even sewn seven buttons. (I appreciate Gwen Raverat's words "sewing was downright wicked slavery" in her adorable book Period Piece. A Cambridge Childhood.) The brioche cardigan had actually been finished for more than a week before I got around to it, even though I'd already found the perfect buttons... They're made of marble and I think they look fabulous with the wool. Their size was exactly right for the buttonholes too!

Some time ago I wrote a post about the shoulder straps: here's how they turned out:

I've finished the Monk no 2 sweater as well. Not that Marianne Isager's name "Monk" is very suitable anymore as I didn't keep the hood.

Also, I've made up my mind about the collar for my double-knitted jacket/cardigan. I've tried various ideas: I wanted something different from the main pattern and tried both triangles and stripes but wasn't satisfied. Then I suddenly thought I'd keep the small squares but use them into lego-like brick shapes. Of all the things I love about knitting, I think I like solving difficulties best.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Monk no 2: collar

Monk no 2: collar by Asplund
Monk no 2: collar, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
Here's a project (based on Marianne Isager's The Monk) recently excavated from my Basket of Uncertainties. It's been there for more than a year after I realized my collar idea wouldn't work: the neck opening is neither deep nor wide enough for the kind of overlapping shawl collar I had in mind.

original idea

I didn't want to pick up stitches to knit the sleeves in case I'd decide to rip and reknit the front, and that's where I left it. Well, it's funny how a simple solutiona can take more than a year: I'll fold it in half instead. No overlapping, but it looks fine and the opening is big enough - and there will be no ripping or reknitting.

solution - I hope

Teaching twined knitting is a great way to spend a Sunday! At one point they all looked so serious concentrating on mastering the technique that I couldn't help joking with them, saying a photo of them right then wouldn't attract many people to my workshops - which made one of the participants say yes, they probably looked like Judge Robert Rosenberg!

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Textilhelg 4-6 april

En helg om historiska kläder på Söder, kan det vara något? Jag har fått nys om en kurshelg (länk till ett dokument på Gustafs Skåls hemsida) som jag tycker verkar otroligt lovande, inte minst att det ingår textildoftande besök på både Historiska och Nordiska förutom de olika sömnadskurserna med mera. Vi kanske ses där?

(Post about a weekend with workshops about historical costumes etc.)

Sunday, 16 February 2014

A rose is a rose...

Fortunately, possibly not by pure accident, I had already bought the yarn to knit Alice Starmore's "Mary Tudor" when I decided to at least try not to add to my stash for a while. Still haven't bought any yarn this year!

Thanks for your comments on "Henry VIII"! His sister Mary is just as delightful to knit: the astonighingly beautiful pattern is slightly trickier, but still easier as there is only one chart to follow instead of three and fewer colours. But what colours! I've said it before and I'll say it again: Alice Starmore for president!

My other main project right now is completely different, a single-colour brioche cardigan with hardly any patterns, but then I'm a polygamous knitter - there's nothing like a pile of different kinds of project to be able to choose what I feel like, or start something new with treasures from my stash. (My relationship to books is similar: facts, fiction, classics, modern etc in tempting piles.)

brioche cardigan: raglan sleeve

The only thing you could call a pattern is a double-knitted column in the middle of the sleeves. The increases are on each side of the column instead of near the edges, which I think looks nice. I've been struggling with the shoulder straps, testing different versions.

testing shoulder straps

My first attempt was the strap to the right. I didn't like it, but didn't rip it out at once. Instead I knitted the one to the left first to be able to compare them. An improvement I thought would do - but then I saw the wrong side. That's what I wanted! So, I'll rip them both and reknit them inside out, so to speak. All's well that ends well.

wrong side soon to be right side

Monday, 10 February 2014


Starmore-mates by Asplund
Starmore-mates, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
Dear friend and soul knitter "Born to knit" and I at a get-together for knitters yesterday afternoon. We'd known each other for quite some time through our Flickr photos before we finally met a few years ago - and today we even live in the same area of Stockholm. Thanks Maria for being a photographer as well as knitter!

Alice Starmore's "Henry VIII" was so much fun to knit and I'm in love with the colours: they're stunning indoors and almost explode in daylight. Well, daylightish. I normally choose projects that I want to make and am less interested in the finished garments - but in this case I wanted the sweater just as much as I wanted the joy of making it.

The sweater is very comfortable too (Starmore's 2ply Hebridean wool), and so warm I actually hope it gets a bit colder. Never thought I'd write something like that - until the sweater was finished I actually enjoyed our mild winter.
shoulder join

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Brioche and double knitting

Camel cardigan in progress by Asplund
Camel cardigan in progress, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
Unexpectedly, I haven't bought any yarn so far this year - nothing related to knitting, actually. Instead, I'm making - enjoyable - efforts to decide how to make use of what I've already got.

2013 was a brioche and double knitting year for me. I learnt the basics of brioche knitting as a child and always liked how it feels, but it was only after seeing Nancy Marchant's projects and reading her book Knitting Brioche that I began to understand its enormous potential. Last year I also decided to learn double knitting at long last, which took my knitting mind in new directions.

What I'm making now (among many other things) is a cardigan combining the two techniques: a brioche cardigan with double-knitted edges for buttons and buttonholes. Nancy Marchant's "The Book Exchange Cardigan" (Ravelry link) is my inspiration, but with some modifications.

This wool is 90% camel: wonderfully soft and incredibly warm. I live in an old building, which is incredibly charming but cooold. I love the colour, but I will probably look like my dear old teddy bear Åsanalle.

Last, some great advice which I forgot to bring up when I wrote about finishing my "Alba" cardigan recently.

Right before I started cutting the steeks I mercifully remembered the scissors needed to be cleaned carefully as I had been cutting fins off herrings earlier in the evening! So, don't forget to clean your herring-and-steeks scissors - unless you want your fishermen's sweaters as authentic as possible, of course.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Kitchener stitch and horror cowl

Kitchener mosaic by Asplund

First of all, thanks for all the nice comments on my previous posts!

I've returned to my double-knitted jacket to take care of the shoulder joins. Kitchener stitch is the ideal technique in this case, I think, but I do it so seldom I always have to look it up. There's a great description at Knitty. For this project I will get a lot of practice since there are four seams to take care of (2 for each shoulder) but I still don't expect I'll remember how to get started next time I chose this method.

Almost three weeks of January have passed and I still haven't bought any new yarn! Mind you, I'm lucky enough to work extra hours in my favourite yarn store, so I'm often subject to temptations of the third degree. (I'm planning what to get in the future, though.)

Instead of adding to my stash, I recently made a remarkably ugly brioche cowl with yarn from it. Combining Rowan Felted Tweed 145 ("Treacle") and Kidsilk Haze Stripe seemed like a good idea - and in a way it is, but certainly not this particular combination. The lovely tweediness disappeared completely, smothered in Kidsilk fuzz, and the unfortunate distribution of green and purple which I thought would look wonderful with the brown wool - well, it makes me think of wine spilled on mouldy bear skin.

mouldy bear with wine stains

However, it actually turned out to be at least as comfortable as hideous, so it will be spared and even worn. A bonus is that I can't see it when I'm wearing it! Otherwise I'd wear sunglasses, but that would look rather strange in the middle of winter...

imprint on snow: more pleasing to look at, but less comfortable

Monday, 13 January 2014

A promising start

"Alba" jacket (Starmore) by Asplund
"Alba" jacket (Starmore), a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
The "Alba" jacket is finished, which I think was a great way to start a new year! There wasn't much point in trying to take photos of it until today, though, since the sun seems to have been on vacation for a few weeks.

Speaking of promising, I never bothered much about resolutions, but on 1 Jan I decided to try not to buy more yarn but use what I already have in my stash. Not for a whole year - but maybe for a month at a time?

What happened was that I was looking for a circular needle to pick up stitches along the fronts. Nowhere to be found - but I kept finding more and more yarn that I apparently have bought. And I didn't even look in the two suitcases that I know are bursting with wool!

Not buying more yarn for the time being is worth a try at least - and I'm actually eager to work with what I already have since I only buy yarn I really want.

The needle I was looking for? It was already in the project!

shoulder join

Sunday, 29 December 2013

More knitting than blogging in December

Cowl and hat by Asplund
Cowl and hat, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
The double-knitted cowl has been finished for a couple of weeks, but it hasn't befen cold enough to wear it. Not that I really mind. Spring, please! There was enough yarn left to make a new "Sigge" hat, a pattern (in English) I published as a free pattern on Ravelry.

I'm making progress with different projects instead of simply casting on new ones. However, I haven't decided where to go next with my double-knitted jacket.

The back and fronts are done, and I've tested a couple of pattern ideas tor the collar but I'm not satisfied. I might simply make it blue on one side and green on the other. I also have to make sleeve decisions: how to knit them (probably top-down, first back and forth and then in the round) and what patterns to use.
Alice Starmore's Henry VIII sweater

It's nice to have a pattern to follow while thinking about other projects - and Alice Starmore's Henry VIII is pure joy to knit! I've modified it slightly, though, letting the centre of the side pattern run along the sleeve. I think it looks nice, and a pattern between the decreases also helps me keep track of what rows are decrease rows.

Tudor armpit

Happy new knitting year!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Inga from Sweeden

Double-knitted cowl by Asplund
Double-knitted cowl, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
A big stranded cowl by Born to knit inspired me to cast on to make something similar, in shape if not pattern and colours.

Hers is folded but I decided to use the double-knitting technique as I've quickly become addicted to it and want to take advantage of it in different ways. The jacket I'm making (see previous post) will be reversible but the two sides look different thanks to the use of colours and pattern shapes. For this cowl I want the two sides identical, though, which called for a different kind of pattern.

I don't normally choose variegated yarns, but fell in love with this black wool with its hints of grey and red - which makes it look like a Christmas project, to my immense surprise! Signs of a midlife crisis? If I have ever knitted for Christmas I stopped years ago - there are so many deadlines in life I do my best to keep them away from my knitting. Well, at least it doesn't have to be finished by Christmas.
Swedish Inga

Many of the colourways from Östergötlands ullspinneri have human names, and this particular one is called Inga. (Black for Swedish sin, red for passion?)

To make the cowl easier to wrap I twisted it on purpose. Isn't it strange how difficult it is to do that on purpose when it happens so easily by mistake?

My copy of Alice Starmore's Tudor Roses arrived a couple of days ago. I'm completely overwhelmed by it - and my expectations were extremely high. Lavish, splendid, gorgeous, intelligent... Words defy me!