Friday, 31 October 2014

Getting it

My tatting is improving! I found a book with some really lovely patterns: Tatting Patterns and Designs by Gun Blomqvist and Elwy Persson. Their names don't look as English as the title, do they? It's a translation of a Swedish book, which I haven't managed to find... Not that it matters that much - I have to learn what the symbols mean anyway to be able to read the instructions - but it does feel a bit odd using a translation from my mother tongue.

A sigh of relief after completing the first repeat! I don't expect to learn it by heart (not that I feel obliged to) but I'm getting the logic of the technique.

Är det inte lite besynnerligt att hitta en översättning till engelska av en svensk bok, men inte den svenska? Men framför allt glädjande att den här typen av böcker översätts!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Third time lucky

Marianne Isager's Knit & Purl sweater is a favourite design I've knitted twice before, first using Rowan Felted Tweed for one of my cousins:


and then BC Lucca Fino Tweed for my mother:


In both cases I used 3½ mm needles (US4), but this time I'm using thinner wool, which requires 2½ mm (US1½). The pattern repeat is only 8 stitches wide, so it's not very difficult to adapt. The colour is difficult to capture, but it looks just like sand: beige with hints of yellow and blueish grey. There's a ball of dark grey wool too, which I'm using for the edges.

go! (Adding some colour - living on the edge.)

The wool is from wool-and-pattern kit by Hanne Falkenberg, another Danish genius knitter. Nothing wrong with her design Virtus - I just felt like knitting Isager's sweater again - quite possibly for myself. Isager's sweater is actually knitted in the round with a raglan yoke, but I like knitting this kind of pattern back and forth and I think the horizontal pattern borders go well with set-in sleeves.

En grå kant piggar upp och stämmer till eftertanke! Det här tycker jag egentligen är lagom pråligt, fast oftast är det roligast att sticka med många färger. Marianne Isagers tröja är dock ett riktigt favoritmönster! Vanligtvis brukar jag inte ha lust att sticka om samma plagg, men precis som med hennes kofta Viften har jag ingenting emot att göra tre. Det kan mycket väl bli ännu fler framöver - tänk bara vad fint hennes mönster skulle bli med lingarn.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

For better and worse

Double-knitting is a technique that fascinates me! I had seen some examples of it before (mostly in books), but meeting Chrissie Day in September last year inspired me to finally learn it. I had a few hours to kill waiting for the bus to take me to the airport, a book by Marianne Isager, where she describes the technique and, not particularly surprisingly, wool and needles. Right now I'm making a scarf using Cascade 220 (wool) and Cascade Casablanca (wool, silk and mohair).
Radio scarf

The colours are pretty and I like the way they change gradually. However, I decided to go for a strict pattern with simple lines to balance the colour changes. It's a "radio scarf" as I knitted part of while on a radio show last weekend - an unforgettable evening with Stina Wollter that I'm happy is knitted into the scarf.

Actually, it's my second attempt using this combination. My original idea was to knit a brioche cowl in the round, but it wasn't very successful as it pulled quite a lot. I believe it's because Casablanca is 1ply. Any other ideas?

Speaking of failures, I keep trying to master tatting going beyond knots and picots. I think it's clear where I took over from my teacher: loose knots and one picot too many. Mickey bloody Mouse was here.

room for improvement

Det är spännande att se hur garner beter sig - ibland inte alls som jag hade tänkt mig! Jag fick för mig att det skulle bli lyckat att patentsticka med en tråd Cascade och en tråd Casablanca. Visserligen blev det mjukt och skönt, och det blev fint med färgväxlingarna; däremot var det inte alls lyckat att sticka det runt. Det drar som en t-tröja av sämre kvalitet, en sådan där sömmarna går i spiral efter första tvätten. Antagligen har det att göra med att Casablanca är entrådigt, men jag är inte säker. Nå, det fick bli dubbelstickning i stället.

Apropå misslyckat: jag som inte är en stor beundrare av Musse Pigg höll på att sätta kaffet i halsen när jag såg följderna av att råka göra en picot för mycket när man slår frivoliteter. Det är inte någon tvekan om var jag tog över från min lärare, men skam den som ger sig.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Knit along with me

On Sunday I'll be at a knitting get-together in Stockholm (at Kristinehovs malmgård) and my local yarn shop Litet nystan and I have suggested a knit-along project for those interested. Maybe some of you would like to knit along at a distance? There's a gorgeous shawl at Ravelry called "Wavy leaves and butterflies" (link here) that I think would be a great project for discussion and comparison. I've knitted the first 34 rows to try it out and love it. I've chosen a wool-silk blend, Forest Hills from Cascade yarns.

There are both charts and written instructions and also suggestions how you can modify the pattern. Isn't it incredibly generous of the designer to share it for free?

På söndag är det dags för säsongens första stick-kafé på Kristinehovs malmgård! Den som vill får gärna haka på och sticka sjalen Wavy leaves and butterflies, som finns gratis på Ravelry; se länk ovan. Det är både diagram och text och förslag på hur man kan göra ändringar efter behag. Det kan vara ett bra tillfälle för den som vill pröva spetsmönster/läsa diagram/följa instruktioner på engelska. Jag har provstickat det första diagrammet och tycker att det är klart och tydligt - fast man får läsa noga, eftersom det är både räta och aviga maskor på alla varv och olika slags hoptagningar. Den har fått högt betyg (4½ av 5) samtidigt som den inte anses särskilt svår. Vad mycket bra information man får på Ravelry!

I söndags hade jag nöjet att prata om stickning med Stina Wollter i radio! (Länk i rutan till höger för den som är intresserad.) Vilken fantastisk människa! Hur lyckades hon få det att kännas så avspänt fast vi satt en bit ifrån varandra med hörlurar och en mikrofon mitt framför nosen? I alla fall brukar det inte vara så när jag umgås med folk i vanliga fall... 

Tusen tack Anette, som föreslog mig som gäst: det var en riktig helkväll!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Denmark galore, part 2

Here's a new picture of the cardigan/jacket - not that many more rows than in my previous post, but it will give you a better idea of the colours. Danish sunshine did the trick!

Two Danish islands a month seems just right! I don't think I'll manage to wait a whole year before returning to Bornholm or Fanø for next year's knitting festivals. It was my first trip to Bornholm, but I taught twined knitting at Fanø strikkefestival for the second time, and it was a little bit like coming home! The prodigal knitter, so to speak - not least considering I returned home with more than 2½ kg of a certain substance in my bags. This gorgeous tweedy blend of wool and cashmere, for example:

a cone of sheer happiness
We had a light, spacious room for the twined knitting workshop. There were some exercise balls there, and one of the participants chose one of those instead of an ordinary chair - it looked really comfortable, so I'll have to try that some time! Not that there's any room for an exercise ball at home. Needless to say, there's always room for more wool.

Come to think of it, there was a really funny moment thanks to the exercise ball. When I teach twined knitting for beginners I often move around pressing down people's shoulders. Mine hurt when I see others' curled around their ears! Well, you can imagine my surprise when I pressed her shoulders and she sort of gave way under my hands!

Speaking of beginners, I'm trying to master tatting. (It's fascinating how completely different the words are in closely related languages: in Swedish it's frivoliteter - of French origin - in Danish orkis and in Norwegian nupereller.) What I've achieved so far isn't much to brag about but I'll post a picture of it anyway. Considering I tried it for the first time only a week ago it's not too bad - and it was a good way to spend time travelling to and from Denmark.

Apart from the joy of learning in itself I must say I find learning something new very useful when I'm teaching twined knitters for beginners: it's the best way to remind myself what it feels like getting one's fingers used to something new, having too many and too few (and too big and too small) fingers at the same time. And in the wrong places of the hands too. My fingers are beginning to understand what I want them to do, even if they don't quite make it - yet. I will make them make it.

knots galore

En pilatesboll, är det kanske det som saknas bland stickprylarna? En kursdeltagare på Fanø hittade i alla fall en i salen där vi höll till, och det såg riktigt bekvämt ut. Jag är allt lite lockad att skaffa en, men det tar ju upp en hel del volym som jag hellre skulle fylla med ni-vet-vad. (Drygt 2½ kg lyckades jag komma hem med denna gång. Visst nappar det!) Ett komiskt ögonblick var när jag gick runt och tryckte ner axlar här och där (det gör ont i mina när jag ser andras axlar nästan i öronhöjd och jag är för klåfingrig för att inte göra något åt det) och hon försvann under mina händer! Synd att ingen tog ett foto på mig i det ögonblicket, för jag blev nästan rädd!

Det är alltid roligt att lära sig nya saker, och nyttigt som kursledare för att påminna sig om hur det känns att få pli på händerna. Nu har jag fått möjlighet att lära mig att slå frivoliteter. Det har jag velat pröva länge, så jag är glad att det äntligen har blivit av! Det börjar lossna, det vill säga fingrarna har förstått vad det är de ska göra även om de inte riktigt går i land med det. Men de känns stora som bratwurstar - utom lillfingret, som är irriterande kort. Förmodligen en evolutionsmiss (varför födas med en blindtarm när man kunde ha fått ett frivolitets-lillfinger - fast om några generationer kanske det har blivit sådana framsteg) men skoj är det i alla fall!

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Denmark galore

Here's a photo of the progress I've made with the 18th century style jacket/cardigan I wrote about in June. You can see the steek in front where I will cut it open. I tend to make them wider than necessary, but I definitely prefer that to not quite wide enough. Before cutting the steek I will stitch seams in it and felt it slightly. (Hand-sewn seams - I used a sewing machine for my first steeks, but find them so stiff they're rather uncomfortable.)

Funny it's been a month since my last post considering Charlotte Kaae and I were interviewed about knitting and blogging at Strik Bornholm recently. Who am I to talk about blogging, you may wonder if I seem to have stopped... Well, I did mention I've decided only to post when I feel I have something to write about whether it's been a week or a month! You can read the interview here - but the text is in Danish.

Charlotte Kaae is a delight and her colourful and sparkling knits match her personality perfectly - or I guess they reflect her personality. We had met briefly a couple of times before, but this time we got to spend quite a lot of time together - and I'm happy we will see each other again in a few days at Fanø Strikkefestival. Bornholm is a fabulous island, by the way. This was my first but certainly not my last vist.

My workshops at Bornholm were lace patterns for beginners and shawl shapes. The participants knitted mini shawls to try different shapes. My frog tape measure tried one of them on!

September is a happily busy month: apart from the two knitting festivals in Denmark I'm starting my weekend twined knitting course at HV and my new life as a dancing teacher (18th century dances for beginners). Strange, I was never into dancing before but this kind got me hooked! Actually (and probably the reason I like it) it's similar to knitting back and forth: you make a pattern moving in one direction and then go back doing the same thing but in the opposite way. And in case you're wondering, I did find a fez and the Ball à la Turque was unforgettable!

Sheep, the Baltic Sea, a glimpse of a ruin... Good things come in threes!

Det har varit full fart ett tag och mer lär det bli: nyligen var jag kursledare på Bornholm och på fredag far jag till Fanø! Ett och annat smørrebrød lär slinka ner mellan varven (ha ha...) och så får jag nytt tillfälle att vädra min hemvävda dansk-svenska. Sedan har jag både HV-kurs och danskurs att se fram emot! Det har slagit mig att 1700-talsdanserna påminner lite om att sticka mönster: man gör en sorts mönster när man rör sig åt ena hållet och så vänder man och gör samma tillbaka fast spegelvänt.

Min (rättare sagt Annas) 1700-talskofta växer sakta men säkert. Det blir inte så många varv åt gången, för jag får lite ont i fingrarna när jag håller på för länge med 2,25 mm tjocka (tunna) stickor - men det är det värt!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

While searching for a fez...

...I stumbled upon an irresistible pile of vintage knitting magazines hidden among heaps of vintage clothes and accessories at Old Touch in Stockholm. (Don't waste your time going there to look for knitting magazines - I decided to be efficient and get them all for my selfish self.)

Best Cover category winner

In case you think the fez was a joke, it wasn't. There's an 18th century Ball à la Turque in September, so I thought I'd wear one to add a Turkish touch to my period outfit. Actually, I was already getting in the mood for the party in July, when my friend Marguerite and I discovered the Ottoman room at Skansen in Stockholm, where we made ourselves at home instantly.

Turkish delight

Du sökte en fez och fann en trave sticktidningar. Du är inte besviken.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Back to brioche

In case you're wondering, my yarn diet is over - quite successfully, I might add. (But I did manage not to buy any yarn for more than four months!) My most recent (not true, come to think of it) addition to my stash was more than 2 kilos of wool a woman I got in touch with wanted to get rid of, since she knew she wasn't likely to use if after some 20 years. Eight hanks of blue and green Vålberg wool from Wålstedts, for example. How could I not come to the rescue? Sometimes it's easy to be a gentleman!

garter attempts

The tricky thing was deciding how to use it. The wool is unevenly spun (on purpose) which made me decide not to use stocking stitch. Garter stitch worked well, but I was only happy with some of my swatches and they didn't feel comfortable enough but a bit too stiff. Time to try dear, old brioche - I think I was inspired by your positive comments on my brioche cowl. Thank you!

This is what I wanted: it's thick but soft in a way garter stitch isn't. Also, I'm fond of stripes, and like the way there are both horizontal colour stripes and vertical structure stripes. However, brioche is such a voracious technique, I wasn't sure there would be enough - and it would be difficult if not impossible to get more. Fortunately, there was enough: I have about 7 meters left...

Varför garnbanta när man kan komma över vackert garn från Wålstedts? Åtta hekto av detta vackra blågröna garn räckte precis till en patentstickad tröja. Gissa om det har varit varmt i knät! Jag har känt mig som en riktig masochist när jag har provat den vartefter för att kolla storleken. Den sitter riktigt bra, men jag kan inte med bästa vilja säga att det är skönt att ha den på. Inte för att jag längtar efter kyla, tvärtom! 

Det är sällan jag faller för flerfärgade garner, men det här kunde jag inte låta bli och jag tycker att det blev lyckat med kombinationen av ränder: färgränder på bredden och strukturränder på höjden. Garnet är ojämnt spunnet, så jag ville inte slätsticka med det även om just det ojämna är en del av charmen med det. Rätstickning funkade bra i och med att det drar ihop ihop sig, och färgskiftningarna gjorde sig bra i den tekniken, men det blev väl kompakt. Patentstickning blir förstås också tjockt, men det är samtidigt luftigt och betydligt mjukare.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

A preview

How I wish I could take photos like this! India Hobson was the photographer and the location apparently was Walcot Hall. It's for Knit Generation, a collection of patterns which will be published by Quail. And you may have guessed it: this cowl is my contribution. It has been a truly exciting process from sending them my suggestion for a pattern - simply being asked to do so was exciting enough - to being sent these photos (with permission to use them) some nine months later. I was also pleased to learn that they not only liked my design but also my choice of colours. Not that you can get it terribly wrong with Rowan Felted Tweed...

Seriously, I do think colours are tricky. In my new twined project I stick to blue and grey. This looks like a toothless grin, but is actually Twined Attempts 1 and 2. I love Greek key patterns and wanted it for the neckband, but it felt too thick. Also, I decided to use grey instead of white for a softer look. I'm keeping the neckband, though. Not to wear it, but for reference!

I höstas blev jag tillfrågad om jag ville lämna in ett förslag till ett bidrag till en samling stickmönster. Visst ville jag det! Det fanns vissa restriktioner, som val av garn och mängd och ett tema det skulle passa ihop med, men det gjorde det ju faktiskt betydligt enklare att komma på något. Till min stora förtjusning blev min patentstickade fuskpolo vald, och sedan hade jag fullt upp med mönsterskrivning och korrekturstickning. Ungefär nio månader (symboliken känns övertydlig) efter den första kontakten (låter bibliskt i sammanhanget) har jag nu fått se fotona de har tagit. Troligen kommer boken (häftet?) ut till hösten.

Avslutningsvis lite skamlös reklam för två kurser jag ser fram emot att hålla:

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

An apology

The other day I went through spam comments to see if there were any real ones among them - I already knew I don't very often, but had no idea I was that bad at it! I found five kind comments, a couple of them several months old, which is really embarrassing. Barb, Rachelle, KnitNigel, Johanne and Marika: I'm sorry it took me so long to see and publish your comments. Thanks for writing!

I'm in the middle of two new projects. First, a baby blanket for a relative of mine, who recently gave birth to a boy. I had some balls of  Rowan milk cotton dk in my stash, a free gift (or was it a lottery prize? not that it really matters) from Tummelisa at a knitting event last year.

The bunny pattern is by Stacylynn Cottle on Ravelry. I've changed the shape of her blanket design, knitting it diagonally for two reasons. First, I don't feel like calculating how many stitches to cast on to get a size and shape that looks ok with the amount of yarn I have. (It has since been discontinued, so it would be difficult to get hold of more if needed.)  Starting in a corner and increasing until there is at least half the amount of yarn left like the easiest thing to do: then I can be certain there is enough to knit the second half using decreases instead. The shape might become a bit strange for a blanket (square-ish?) but then the baby isn't likely to mind. Second, I simply prefer knitting things when there is some shaping involved.

My other favourite work in progress is an attempt to recreate an 18th century sweater at Nordiska museet, not an exact copy of it (when it was new, that is - but isn't it in good shape considering how old it is?) but something that looks authentic enough. It's a surprise for a member of an 18th century group. She's a hard-working mother of four, so she isn't likely to have much time to read blogs and discover it here... And even if she does, I guess it will still be a surprise but in a different way.

I'm making each border of carnations slightly different on purpose. And occasional carnations different by accident! Normally, I correct mistakes I discover, but in this case some irregularities seem like a good thing.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Getting it right

I always find it rather tricky getting good photos of my finished projects (works in progress are often easier as they're smaller), especially shawls. Here are some photos of the shawl I finished late last night, each with advantages and disadvantages. (The shawl is for my friend Barbro. I'm seeing her on Monday - perhaps she will be my model. After all, knits look best when worn.)

On the ground: it doesn't lie flat, but the green background is nice and the pretty flowers go well with the lace pattern.
Daisy shawl

On a wall: the trellis made it easier to arrange the shawl, but it shows through. Perhaps it doesn't matter that much; it matches the lace grid. I love the honeysuckle to the left!

Trellis shawl

On a gate: the background is a bit of a mess, but I could get most of the shawl in the photo.

I'm happy with how the centre point turned out - see previous post.

As mentioned above, I finished it last night. I had returned home after an unforgettable concert with L'Arpeggiata, which opened this year's Stockholm Early Music Festival; I was so high on the music that I might as well stay up a couple of hours to knit the last rows, cast off, wash and block the shawl and think about the concert. They were all superb, but I was especially captivated by Vincenzo Capezzuto's singing.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014


Thanks for your comments about my future job at HV! I've spent a few days twining and stitching like mad (even compared to my normal standards - whatever normal is) during a fabulous course at Dala-Floda Värdshus. Imagine the thrill I got not only looking at but also touching and examining

mitts from the 19th century:

and heaps (literally!) of jackets with twined sleeves from the same period:

not to mention getting to spend time with both old and new knitter friends.

After this orgy my mind is full of twined ideas, so I'm knitting lace patterns while I try to make my mind up where to start. This shawl is the same pattern as the white one in my previous post, but with two changes: it consists of two triangles instead of three, and there is a column with flowers in the middle.

My intention was to cast off here, but there is quite a lot of yarn (Viva from Wetterhoff) left, so I'm going to keep knitting for a few more rows to make a nice frame for the last flower.

Monday, 26 May 2014

A dream come true

Handarbetets Vänner
Teaching knitting at HV has been my secret dream for a few years, but there's no point in keeping it a secret anymore: I will be teaching twined knitting here seven weekends starting in September! Actually, I got the news in early April, but have been too excited to dare believe it's really going to happen, let alone write a post. I enjoy teaching all sorts of techniques, but nothing quite like twined knitting, so it's difficult to express what an honour and a privilege this is. My standard twined workshop for beginners is some 7 hours long - and now there are no less than 80 delightful hours to fill in all, so I'm happily planning and swatching.

In a comment on my previous post Carolina asked whether I was dyeing something in the pot. No, just washing the shawl before blocking it. (Dyeing wool would be fun, but I'd worry about ruining the wool.) Here's what the shawl looks like when it's worn; Karin (who owns Litet nystan) was kind enough to be my model.

Landing or taking off?

Friday, 16 May 2014

The chef

Would you believe it, there's an article about my knitting in a Japanese knitting magazine! Not that I know for certain it's really about my knitting; I'll have to ask one of my Japanese knitter friends to read the text and tell me what it says. Well, it's hardly about cooking or exercising.

Speaking of cooking, here's a kitchen situation where I feel completely comfortable and in control:
Basic recipe:
  • Cook gently in lukewarm water. 
  • Stir, don't shake.
  • Don't rinse before but several times after it's done.

Ta-da! And not a single calorie to burn.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Happy Easter!

Monsieur & Madame

A certain sign that spring is really here is that our feathered neighbours are allowed to roam the gardens freely.

I'm experimenting with a top-down cardigan using two strands of yarn. One is a wool-cotton blend and the other one is silk. This combination of fibres should make a nice summer cardigan!

The colour is so dark (darker than in the photos) I thought there wouldn't be much point in knitting lots of patterns, but a far better idea to bring out the beauty of the fibres with a lot of stocking stitch. Moss-stitch panels makes it more fun to knit, and the slightly elastic effect is an advantage if I don't get the size exactly right. Knitting it top-down is also a way to make it more interesting and challenging to knit.