Friday, 10 July 2015

Back on track

Calling it an identity crisis would be an exaggeration of scandalous proportions, but someone who doesn't feel like knitting doesn't really feel like myself. I've reminded myself that's me too, except not very often. Anyway, it seems to be time for my usual self again! Perhaps simply writing about it helped, like trolls that burst in daylight? Not to mention spotting this particular shade of blue:

I'm going to knit mittens. Above in the photo is my first cuff attempt, based on an Estonian pattern. I like it, but I do think the pattern works better in the enlarged version below. In both cases the cast-on method is the "double-start" method (decorative and elastic) described by Nancy Bush in her book Folk Knitting in Estonia, which I highly recommended.

To keep the edge from curling outwards I added a purl row in the first cuff. It worked, but didn't look quite right, and as I was going to modify the pattern I might as well try something else. In the second version I used the same cast-on but added a "vikkel" braid instead a purl row, which worked just as well but looks a lot better. The braid is described in the same book. Next step will be to decide what pattern for use for the main part, not to mention what kind of gusset to make. Exciting!

For those of you who spek/understand Swedish, there's an article about me in today's DN if you're interested.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

My new best mate

Isn't this description irresistible? I love word formation like hand-holdable! A 50% discount doesn't make matters worse either.

So, what prompted me to go hunting for a magnifier lamp? Well, the past few weeks I haven't felt like knitting much, which happens once in a while. Fortunately - as I need to keep my fingers busy anyway - I had applied for a three-week embroidery course at HV, which is where I spent most of June testing various stitches and learning about pattern and technique traditions. Pure luxury!

Above is a sample where I started testing blackwork and ended up with four variations. It was satisfying in a way similar to knitting swatches. Working the small one, first every second stitch with a single strand of yellow silk and then the rest with a strand of light green silk, is probably what made me decide I'd get a lamp to use at home!

I enjoyed techniques where you count threads best, like whitework where you work with pulled and drawn threads

pulled threads (hopdragssömmar)

drawn threads (utdragssömmar)

but it was also fun (but difficult!) to try to create pictures in the woolly horror vacui tradition of southern Sweden. Many old patterns show horses, which gave me the idea to make a needle case with seahorses (far more to my taste) which in turn led to other ocean-related shapes. A great way to test different stitches!

The seagrass on the cover was actually a last-moment solution to cover shell outlines where I failed miserably. They looked like skulls or mushrooms!

Seahorses may not have toothy grins, but there was some space that I couldn't resist making use of:

And the whole thing looks like this:

Looking at my needle case makes me wonder if I'm five years old, but a quick glance at the magnifier lamp box reminds me I'm not. So be it - as long as I don't have to stitch her project design.