Sunday, 26 April 2009


Originally uploaded by

You never know beforehand what might become a source of inspiration, do you?

I've been knitting some neck warmers lately. The colours of this yarn somehow made me think of a wonderful (ie wonderfully tacky) tea-strainer and I thought I could make use of the shape of it to knit collars of some kind. I had two skeins of each colour, so it was the perfect amount to experiment with this kind of garment.

They are all slightly different; it's fun testing different versions and trying to improve the idea. Hopefully, I will come up with the version soon - and manage to understand my own notes so I can write a pattern.

Mont Tricot

Mont Tricot
Originally uploaded by

It just occurred to me that judging from my previous posts you could get the impression I only knit for others.

Not really, no...

To prove those who might harbour such scandalous ideas wrong, here's a picture that shows some of the things I've made for myself!

Not because I'm worth it, but simply because I want it! :)

Friday, 24 April 2009

Rosa's beret

Originally uploaded by

When Harriet, a friend’s mother, passed away her family asked me if I wanted to take care of her knitting needles and yarn.

There was one skein of black wool, just enough for a small child’s hat, so I decided to knit something for my friend’s three-year-old daughter from her grandmother.

Yesterday Rosa modelled it for me! She also treated me to a fairy tale: she informed me she had a library, pulled three novels from a shelf, sat down on the floor and told me a rather intriguing and tantalizing story while turning pages at random. There was a princess in the opening sentence I believe, but she quickly got lost among all the monsters and ghosts that filled the rest of the tale. (I didn't quite get the plot, I must admit!)

Beret pattern improvised but inspired by a Tammy pattern in "Ylle & bläck" (Wool and ink) by Celia B. Dackenberg. There are two other pictures of the beret among my Flickr photos: here and here.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

The Dangers of Yarn Hunting

Ulla's cardigan
Originally uploaded by Asplund

Some five years ago I promised my friend and colleague Ulla a cardigan. There is a design in Solveig Hisdal’s “Poetry in Stitches” (Dikt i maskor) that I thought would suit her, except I wanted different colours and a slightly different shape. (The original design is in purple, pink, green, mustard and white; quite spectacular but not Ulla’s colours.) She liked the leaf pattern too, and we decided I'd go yarn hunting for something suitable.

Every time I saw a yarn shop I checked it out to see if the right yarn would be there waiting. I knew I would find it eventually, I just didn’t know when and where – but the sooner the better, of course!

One day in a town in Småland, a province in the southeast of Sweden, I came across a shop I hadn’t entered before. I went inside, saw there was nothing for me there (mostly fabrics, only one shelf of yarns and it didn't take much more than a glance to see they weren't what I was looking for). What would you have done? Well, I turned around, nodded to the woman behind the counter and was about to open the door to leave.

“Didn’t you find anything?” she asked in a tone of voice that wasn’t exactly friendly.
“No, afraid not,” I replied – kindly. “I’m looking for thin yarn, wool, 2-ply,” I added – still kindly, but to make it clear I wanted something that just wasn't available there.
“Does it have to be 2-ply wool?” she snapped. “Won’t bouclé do just as well?” (My question mark; it didn’t really sound like a question the way she said it.)
“No, I’m afraid not,” I replied – still kindly, but a bit surprised to say the least. Especially considering what pattern I intended to knit; I still find it extremely difficult to imagine that leaf pattern knitted with bouclé... “Sorry, but 2-ply wool was what I had in mind.”
“Well! That’s the worst kind of customer, those who know what they want before they enter!” That was news to me, but I couldn’t really think of anything to say. Besides, she might be joking.
“There was a woman in here before who wanted green fabric, and I showed her every single one I had, but nothing was good enough for her. It’s like that all the time: when I have striped fabrics everybody wants single-coloured, and when I have single-coloured they want checkered! ”

Why why why didn’t I think of saying something about the worst kind of salesperson, those who try to make customers buy things they don’t want, until after I had left? As far as I can remember, I didn't say anything but just left.

So, no yarn that day - but at least I got a good story and a useful quotation. Whenever someone who has heard it says something like “I’ve been looking for this or that but can’t find it,” the reply is obvious: “Won’t bouclé do just as well?” It still makes me laugh!

I don’t think Ulla minded she had to wait until I had been to my old reliable LYS "Yll o tyll" in Uppsala. Of course, I found what I wanted there, wonderful wool (a wool-silk blend if I remember correctly) that she was pleased with – and she enjoyed the story too.

For those who want to know the original Swedish words:

Måste det vara tvåtrådigt ullgarn? Går det inte lika bra med bouclé?

Monday, 20 April 2009

Third pattern section taking shape

Now that I've reknitted a couple of inches I'm glad I decided to change the third pattern.

The pattern I've replaced it with and which looks a bit like leaves is from the "Cap shawl" (also in Victorian Lace Today) and I think it works well with the border above it. Now those circles almost resemble flowers, don't they? And the lines above them could be rays of sunshine or perhaps rain. (Provided the wind blows from opposite directions simultaneously!)

The yarn looks grey in this photo, but it is jet-black. I like the colour: even if I could see the shawl in any colour, this choice makes it both dramatic and elegant. It could be interesting knitting the same combination of patterns with different colours, for example green stems & leaves, red flower circles and blue sky. On the other hand, that might make the idea very obvious, not leaving much to imagination - and I like it when things aren't too obvious. Besides, I do prefer lace knitting to be one-coloured to do justice to the patterns.

Saturday, 18 April 2009


Anna-Stina (ca 1940)
Originally uploaded by Asplund

Here is a photo of my grandmother Anna Maria Kristina (1920-1990) who taught me how to knit and crochet when I was around five years old. She was incredibly productive and creative. If we had lived closer to each other (and I hadn't become obsessed with knitting) I'm sure I would have learnt to sew and weave too, to name just a couple of her other skills. Needless to say, there's no reason to doubt she has knitted the sweater she's wearing in the picture.

I don't think I could ever knit anything without sending her some thoughts - it comes naturally. Of course, I think about her at other times too, but it's nice and somehow comforting to have this special bond with her still.

And today I have so many new knitter friends! Thank you all for kind & flattering words about my knitting and for encouraging comments on my new blog adventure! How could I not have my grandmother part of this new aspect of my knitting, which really is thanks to her?

I'd like to end this post with something she once pointed out to me (which her mother had told her) and that I keep in mind whenever I have to rip out a lot of work or think progress is too slow: No one can tell how long it took you to make something. People will only see how it turned out. Good advice from a good grandmother.

Edited to add: I later discovered it actually works the other way around too! You see, some projects look more complicated than they really are and didn't take nearly as long to make as it might seem.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Bye bye, Barège

I've made up my mind I don't like the Barège pattern that much after all, at least not well enough to keep knitting it. (It's barely visible in this picture since the edge curls.) To make sure, I made a small swatch without any modifications to see if I should reknit this section according to the instructions instead, but still wasn't convinced - so I'd rather rip out a couple of inches now than regret not having done it when it's blocked. There's nothing wrong with the pattern, not at all - it just seems like far too much and too monotonous work compared to what I think of the results.

I think I'm going to make use of the "Cap shawl" design (also in Sowerby's Victorian Lace Today) instead for the third section, but that will take some planning. Not that I mind it very much; it's a bit like solving crosswords trying to fit in a pattern shape in a garment shape.

The shape is nice, I think, and somehow it looks more comfortable (and practical) than a triangular shawl. That's a good thing about pulling out the needle at this stage: getting a better idea of what it will actually look like!

There are some pictures of the shawl with the Barège pattern intact here:

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Spider's-web shawl modification

I decided to make a modification moving from the second to the third ("Barège") pattern section. Instead of yarnovers and double decreases on the right side and purls only on the wrong side, I knit the pattern on the wrong side and get only knits (and increases) on the right side. Much easier and quicker! The extra row between the second and third section hardly spoils the design.

Something that does make a difference, though, is that I've decided to make the double decrease by simply purling three together. This doesn't result in the intended centred double crease (with the centre stitch on top). However, I tell myself that with thin black yarn and 4 mm needles it can't make that much of a difference even if mine will be less neat.

I can't tell yet what I really think of the Barège pattern. (It looks nice in the book, but that yarn is different, both material and colour.) It will take a few more repeats before I know what I think; well, most likely I won't until the shawl is finished and blocked. Right now it looks as if I can't knit! But that's one of the charms of knitting lace, the magic transformation when you block it.

If there's enough yarn I'm going to pick up stitches along the hypotenuse and add a border, something like Jane Sowerby's design "Three-cornered shawl in clover pattern" also in Victorian Lace Today. Not nearly there yet, but I do enjoy thinking about possible additions and modifications in advance. Also, when I have had time to think about different solutions &c. it's easier to make a decision once I get there.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

In Sigtuna

I'm privileged to get to show some knitting at Kulturgården in Sigtuna, Sweden, for three weeks. There are only a couple of days left now, just as I'm getting used to it! I didn't really know what to expect, and must say it has been a truly wonderful experience.

To begin, Kulturgården is a beautiful building overlooking lake Mälaren - just perfect. And the rooms are amazing. I believe they make my displayed knitting look better than it really is!

Also, it is such an advantage showing knitting: visitors are really interested, asking all sorts of questions. And all these delightful meetings: old friends, new friends, friendly strangers, relatives I don't see often enough, fellow Ravelers I've been in touch with on the internet but never met before... So many interesting people and rewarding meetings. What a treat!

My cousin Cecilia has made the beautiful notebook I use as a guestbook. She asked me if I could knit her a pair of twined mittens in return. She chose the colour and told me what kind of patterns she likes, but the rest is up to me to decide. I don't think she's in a hurry to get them, though, because it seems spring has finally arrived: the ice is gone from the lake, there are all kinds of spring flowers, birds singing everywhere... A glorious day.

Friday, 10 April 2009

New blog and new knitting project

I've been thinking about starting a knitting blog for ages. I'm not sure what to write about, though! I'm used to knitting, not writing about it...

Why not start with my latest project, which I cast on yesterday? It's a shawl for my friend Eva. The yarn is "Viva" by Wetterholm, 70% wool/30% silk, wonderful to work with. The pattern is a spider-web shawl from Jane Sowerby's Victorian Lace Today, one of my favourite knitting books. Needles 3½ & 4 mm (US 4 & 6).

The pattern consists of three triangles. (It is possible to knit a hexagonal shawl in the round too.) It's fun to knit, but the rows get longer and longer quickly! I started with 6 stitches and now (after some 20 cm/8 in) there are ca 210 stitches. I have decided not to check how many there will be when it's time to cast off. Still, there's a great advantage knitting this kind of shawl design: you don't have to worry about being short of yarn.

I added an extra pattern (holes in groups of three) from another design in the book. Wouldn't call it an improvement, but I couldn't resist adding it for the sake of variety.