Thursday 31 December 2009

Happy ending!

The Whirlpool
Originally uploaded by

I've been house-sitting for my cousins, and their cat Felix likes helping me with my knitting when he isn't busy dancing on the rugs.

Nearly done with the vest: I've picked up stitches along the the two front pieces and across the back of the neck to knit a few rows of garter stitch. I almost prefer the way the wrong side looks, so I've toyed with the idea of trying to make the vest reversible. However, I'm eager to finish it to start new projects (and perhaps finish some old ones) so I won't.

Gott slut! No, that's not a combination of German and English. It's a Swedish expression meaning good/happy ending - what we wish each other between Christmas and New Year's Eve, before it's time to wish each other Gott nytt år (happy new year). When the new year's arrived we say God fortsättning, wishing a happy continuation (of the new year). If used during Christmas it refers to the Christmas holidays.

Complicated? Perhaps, but at least it's well-meaning!

Saturday 26 December 2009

The second time around

Originally uploaded by Asplund

I'm taking liberties with Marianne Isager's design "Honey" from her book Classic Knits, original Danish title Strik à la carte.

Apart from making a vest instead of a cardigan, I've added repeats to the garter stitch bottom border (three instead of one) and made the edging significantly narrower. Now, I love her design, I just like experimenting to see what happens too!

However, I didn't quite like my first version to the left - which is what often happens when I experiment. The bottom border is too similar to the main pattern in stocking stitch, and I wanted the two sections to look slightly more different but still blend. Therefore, I added two rows of purple in the version to the right. Not an enormous change, but all the same I like it a lot better.

Edited to add:

Heureka! I just found my tape measure, which has been missing for a couple of days.

This must have seemed like a good place to keep it safe at the time, but apparently it was a little bit too good.

Wednesday 23 December 2009

First pattern published on Ravelry

"Sigge" hat
Originally uploaded by

and it's free!

You will find it if you look me up on Ravelry; my user name is Asplund.

I've proof-read and proof-knitted the pattern; hopefully there aren't any errors left in it, at least not any serious ones.

Thank you everyone for all your kind and encouraging comments and messages since I started blogging!

Monday 21 December 2009


New record this year: we succeeded in having Christmas over and done with in a few hours yesterday afternoon! My ten-year-old nephew is spending the holidays with his paternal grandparents this year, so he and his parents came to my mother's place yesterday afternoon. We had a nice, simple meal together and exchanged gifts. Well, I actually gave my mother her present about a month ago!

I'm extremely pleased with what I got, like Idol Britt-Marie Christoffersson's new inspiration-packed book Knitting - a craft to develop (which was what I had asked for) and some beautiful buttons (which was a lovely surprise). The book is filled with ideas how to combine and play with stitches and colours. A great gift for someone who enjoys swatching, so guess what I'll be doing when others are busy celebrating Christmas the correct dates!

Can you tell the Asplunds prefer minimal to traditional Christmas? Now, we're not really against the holiday itself but rather all the fuss; we just can't be bothered with a lot of preparation, especially not cooking. We're all unusually happy with how it worked out this year, which after all is what counts, so I hope this arrangement will become our tradition.

I also hope you all get to spend the holidays the way you want to!

Sunday 20 December 2009

Sigge wishes you a relaxed Christmas

Christmas Westie
Originally uploaded by

and so do I!

If you're stressing out about Christmas, why not have a look at Annie Cordy performing Kikadikadékado.

She looks busy, to say the least! Perhaps you don't have to do all those things. Skip the roller skates this year, for example.

I'm swatching with some new wool, Lucca Fino from BC Garn, and plan to make a vest based on Marianne Isager's design Honning/Honey.

Monday 14 December 2009

Hardly a perfect match

Originally uploaded by Asplund

Isn't it strange and fascinating how different a pattern can turn out if you simply reverse the colours? I thought it would be fun to test and that the pair would match anyway.

It was indeed fun, but I don't think they match. I did think the colours might look slightly different, but didn't expect the pattern to look so hard/sharp (can't think of a better word) in the cuff to the left. Perhaps I could have figured it out, since stitch definitions are so much more visible in light colours and the dark background would show through the big "v" stitches.

Fortunately, there seems to be enough yarn left to make two more, but I'll start with my favourite (the one to the right) to be on the safe side.

Sunday 13 December 2009

"Everyone must be kind at Christmas.

Originally uploaded by Asplund

Those who are capable of it, that is."

I borrowed this lovely magnet from a friend to Christmasize the photo.

This is going to be a pair of cuffs; I'm testing a couple of patterns from sweaters in Design Idol Marianne Isager's delicious book Classic Knits. My plan is to reverse the colours in the second cuff.

Thursday 10 December 2009

Sooner or later

What did I tell you in my previous post, I do finish most things sooner or later - in this case sooner!

It's annoying how I can't get the colour right in photos; it's a beautiful shade of light brown in reality, not grey. Here's a photo that does it justice.

This yarn, BC Lucca, is really lovely to work with and the knitted fabric is soft, light and warm. However, there's something important about it: the sweater grew when washed and blocked. I've been lucky, because I thought it would be too small for me and thought of others I could give it too, but now it turns out to be my size after all! Good thing I didn't give anyone false hopes.

I should add that I had already started with the sleeves when I uploaded the photo in the previous post, but simply chose my best photo of the project.

Monday 7 December 2009

The more, the merrier

Originally uploaded by Asplund

In my previous post I forgot to mention that Maria also awarded me a hank of her beautiful hand-dyed sock yarn. Thank you!

It seems like a good yarn for twined knitting; I'm making a swatch that probably will turn into a hat. Or something else.

I am happy to say that a few years ago I stopped having qualms about starting new projects before finishing what I'm already working on. I do finish almost everything eventually; why not simply allow myself to knit whatever I'm in the mood to make, especially since I want to knit for the joy of knitting?

It's similar with books: I'm usually in the middle of several ones of different kinds, so I can pick whatever suits me at the moment.

Here's yet another project I've added to my collection of works in progress, a sweater to be. This is my all-time favourite cable pattern, "Arrowhead Cable" in Vogue Dictionary of Knitting Stitches by Anne Matthews. I've knitted it several times before, and I just don't get tired of it, neither knitting it nor looking at it. The yarn is BC Lucca, a joy to work with.

Tuesday 1 December 2009

Mission accomplished

Moses mosaic
Originally uploaded by

About a month ago I won a competition! Maria posted a photo of a skein of horror yarn and asked for disco-esque ideas how to use it.

In a sudden flash of inspiration I suggested a pair of hotpants. Little did I know...

The prize turned out to be the yarn and the challenge to knit what I had suggested!

So, here's Moses (he was once found in a bucket of water) proudly sporting his haute couture hotpants at my aunt's place.

Hope you like the results, Maria!

Saturday 28 November 2009

My knits on display at Marias garn

Today was a wonderful first day of my show at yarn shop Marias garn in Stockholm. So many friendly, talented and creative people I've met: thanks everone for a great day!

Some were friends that I haven't met for a couple years, like fellow Ravelers katarina and findus, whom I've stayed in touch with since we met at a knitting camp in the summer of 2007, where we had a great time.

I was also thrilled to get to meet borntoknit in person for the first time! I've admired her work since I first discovered her talents on Flickr a few years ago and then looked her up on Ravelry, which took me to her blog.

Another amazing textile artist that turned up was Flickr's Feltangel. Check out her wonderful needlefelted dogs and other items on Flickr and her site "Ull och krull"!

Let me tell you, it's quite tempting spending hours in a yarn shop. Still, I managed not to buy a single skein of yarn! However, that's mainly because I bought enough for a sweater yesterday after arranging all the items in the window.

My cousins' cairn terrier Asta.

Wednesday 25 November 2009

An appetizer

Originally uploaded by

Here's a vest made especially for the show at Marias garn, Stockholm, which starts on Saturday at 11 am. Welcome!

The colours made me think of a flower I love, Fritillaria meleagris, and therefore I tried to make a pattern that would be slightly similar to it.

In Swedish this flower is called Kungsängslilja, which means "Lily of the Royal Meadow" (we like compound words!) and it is a symbol of the region of Uppland.

Wednesday 18 November 2009

Fair Isle jacket: shoulder join

Fair Isle jacket: shoulder
Originally uploaded by

After all, I decided to abandon the idea of a saddle with yellow and white square and/or rectangles, mainly because the yellow drowned in this shade of brown. (Which I wanted to use since it was next in turn of the background colours.)

Not particularly surprisingly, Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting provided inspiration. I changed this simple but elegant leaf pattern only sligthly (adding a couple of rows) and used two of my three shades of green in it; I knitted one half of the pattern on each piece to be joined in the middle.

First I thought of grafting the two pieces, but in that case the pattern halves wouldn't have matched completely but would have been half a stitch off (shock horror!) so I cast them off together.

I liked the leaves so much I made them the first sleeve pattern too. The russet squares wasn't a good idea as the darkest background colour suddenly looked very dark and dominant placed vertically against the borders. I should have taken a photo of how it looked before I unravelled those rows, but unfortunately didn't. (Too eager to knit more leaves!) Here's a photo of the steek instead. The crocheted chain probably could have been closer to the body but perhaps it doesn't make much difference.

Finally, here's the hat I started to have something completely different to focus on. It weighs next to nothing, but all the floats on the wrong side make it warm.

Sunday 15 November 2009

Fair Isle jacket: back and front done

WIP: Fair isle jacket
Originally uploaded by

Top left: the armhole is slightly shaped. There could be more decreases, but I want the pattern to end in the middle of the big X on each side: I like symmetry, and there's already so much going on in this garment that I believe it's important the "frame" of it is right (so you don't notice it).

Top right: steek stitches secured with a crochet hook. I'm not completely sure where I got this idea from, but am fairly certain it was En till who told me about it. Thank you!

Bottom left: front shaping of neck. I knitted back and forth using wrap-and-turn short rows. The back of the neck is shaped too and about half as deep. Purling with two colours isn't my favourite hobby, but I do it as fast as possible to have it over and done with.

Bottom right: removing provisional cast-on stitches. I like putting all the stitches on the needle first, so I don't drop them or accidentally pull the wrong yarn.

Before I can move on there are quite a few decisions to make. Most important, how to join the shoulders: grafting, casting off together or knitting a saddle. I like the saddle idea best, but that involves more decisions: how wide, what colour(s), a pattern... Perhaps light brown background with yellow and beige squares.

I have to work with something completely different to let my brain work with the jacket project without my noticing it. There's enough yarn from other projects to make a hat. This is also Shetlandsuld, but how different it turns out in dark grey and white stripes!

Friday 13 November 2009

From a feast to an orgy of colours

WIP: Fair Isle jacket
Originally uploaded by

Why have I been so afraid of playing with colours before, usually restricting myself to two or possibly three in a project? This yarn makes a difference, of course; there's no such thing as an ugly combination, at least not with this array of colours.

It's both fun and useful seeing how the colours "react" to each other; also, I'm certain all the combinations will make this jacket great for future reference.

Perhaps I'm overdoing it, testing so many things in one project, but this is so exciting and rewarding I don't mind! Still, there are quite a few things in the composition of shades and shapes to try to keep it together in spite of all the variation. However, I will have to write about how I have planned the patterns (and how I have been revising my plans) some other time. Got to knit!

Tuesday 10 November 2009

Fair Isle jacket and show in Stockholm

WIP: Fair Isle Jacket
Originally uploaded by

What to do when you're eager to knit the main patterns but haven't decided about the edges? I cast on with white cotton yarn (easy to remove) and knitted a row or two.

A good thing about knitting a couple of rows back and forth before knitting in the round is that it's easier to check it's not twisted. I remember clearly the first time I suddenly realised I was knitting a spiral instead of a tube and how stupid I felt. Unfortunately, it wasn't the last time, and guess who felt even more stupid the second time it happened... Etc.

My plan is to knit a jacket; the main reason is that if there is a steek all the way in front I don't have to weave in any threads (there are already quite a few dangling in the middle of the steek) but will simply cut them off when I cut the steek. The sleeves will have lots of threads to take care of, though.

I will felt the steek slightly apart from securing it by sewing, a method that worked well with this sweater. (Actually, the rusty red wool is leftovers from that project.) Perhaps it doesn't make much difference, but it felt safer and so at least had psychological value! Also, I rather like turning it into an advantage that this wool felts if you don't treat it gently.


Unfortunately, this project won't be finished by Nov. 28, which is the first day some of my knitted sweaters and mittens will be on display at yarn shop Marias garn in Stockholm. Map here.

I'll be there the first day (between 11 am and 2.30 pm) and hopefully some other days too before the show ends on Dec. 19.


Sunday 8 November 2009

Fair Isle swatch: part two

Fair Isle swatch: part two
Originally uploaded by

The pattern is the same, but I skipped the darkest background colour and moved the red to a single row in the middle.

It turned out the way I hoped, and I like it a lot better this way: attention drawn to the centre instead of back and forth between the border edges.

Next I will play with the three shades of green in my stash.

Friday 6 November 2009


Fair Isle swatch
Originally uploaded by

Wool in an array of glorious colours (leftovers and new skeins I just couldn't resist) plus Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting = high time to swatch! It's a book I really recommend, primarily for the excellent pattern library section.

Not only is there an abundance of patterns, they are also arranged according to how many rows they consist of (from 1 to 19 rows plus a number of allover patterns). Starmore also encourages playing with the pattern shapes and explains how to do so in a structured way.

With so many choices it's difficult to decide where to start. For this swatch I simply picked one of the many irresistible patterns to see how the colours in my stash work together. I really like this combination of colours, but not so much my colour sequence.

The rusty red is too dominant and demands attention at both the beginning and the end of the repeat. That's too messy in my opinon, so I'm going to move it to the middle where I think it will play nicely with the warm shade of yellow. What's more, that should result in a single focal point in the centre of the repeat with the glowing colours against the undyed and beige background.

I should add that Starmore's book has many qualities apart from the pattern section. Even though parts of it may seem dated at first glance (after all, it was first published in the 80s) I would say it's a timeless book above all.

The yarn is Shetlandsuld from BC Garn; 3 mm needles (US 2½).

Sunday 1 November 2009

Cecilia's twined mittens finished

Cecilia's twined mittens
Originally uploaded by

At long last I've finished the twined mittens I cast on for Cecilia in April. There was no hurry then, and when I picked them up again after summer I had some difficulties with the pattern, since I decided to abandon my original idea.

I really wanted the thin lines to frame the hand and merge with the broad line in the middle, but then diagonal (and horizontal) lines pop up while vertical lines sink. I don't mind three levels if it's an allover pattern, on the contrary, but I think it would look silly with just two lines suddenly rising where the mitten ends. Cecilia appreciates simplicity, so I simply skipped the frame idea. Let's just hope her hands won't look like dark grey, cloven hooves.

For examples of Cecilia's immense artistic talents, check out her blog A Matter of Form. Another idea is to visit gallery Sigtuna Kulturgård, where she and her husband Mattias will be displaying their work during three weekends starting on Sat. 7 November.

Sunset in Uppsala.

Saturday 24 October 2009

Twined sweater: reknitted rows

WIP: Twined sweater
Originally uploaded by

It was a good decision to rip out and reknit part of this project. It has taken almost a week to catch up, but I like the way it looks a lot better now.

I'm not sure how to continue, though. There's no lack of ideas, it's rather a matter of choosing the right one; even if I don't mind ripping out and reknitting I'd rather not if it can be avoided...

The best thing is probably to let it rest for a while and work with some other projects. There's no lack of works in progress either.

Or lack of yarn, for that matter: I just went through my stash (well, part of it) and discovered a couple of skeins identical to some yarn I found too beautiful to resist the other day, especially since I was sure I had never seen those shades before. It seems I'm even better at fooling myself than I thought, which is a bit worrying. Or promising!

Sunday 18 October 2009

WIP: Twined sweater

WIP: Twined sweater
Originally uploaded by
Moving from border to body I kept the number of stitches but changed needles from 2½ to 3 mm (US 1½ & 2½) and let the lines of the border pattern continue and form new patterns. I like it when different pattern sections blend.

What I didn't quite like was the main pattern I had come up with. Some details looked far better on paper and in my imagination than they did in reality, so I ripped out 15 rows – more than 6,000 stitches... It's annoying, but not nearly as annoying as seeing things in a finished sweater that I was too lazy to change.

I'm happy with how it looks in this photo, which I took after picking up the stitches again.

Thursday 8 October 2009

Twined knitting: right and wrong sides

The right side is fairly similar to ordinary knitting, but knit stitches are tall and narrow instead of short and wide; also, you get deep relief patterns.

The wrong side almost looks crocheted rather than knitted.

Here's a blog with great photos that show the basics of the technique.

Tuesday 6 October 2009


Twined sweater to be
Originally uploaded by

Almost exactly a year has passed since I cast off my first twined sweater. What better way to celebrate than to cast on a new one?

This sweater will be similar but not identical; I want to test some new construction and pattern ideas.

Kampes z-plied wool ordered from Firma Krokmaskan.

A vest for a vest: finished

A vest for a vest
Originally uploaded by

I envy my fingers – unlike me they remember things so well! Once I got started with the pattern it was almost like typing, and a favourite movie helped making this a quick knit: Woody Allen's Match Point is so compelling (even the the third time) I knitted faster than usual.

Short notes about the construction:

1. Knitted in one piece until I reached the armholes, then divided into three sections.
2. Armholes shaped using short rows.
3. Back and front joined using a three-needle bind-off and knitting a neck gusset (which I learnt from Alice Starmore's Fishermen's Sweaters). Picture here.
4. Stitches picked up around the armholes for a garter-stitch edging.
5. I picked up stitches along front; then knitted gusset stitches, back stitches and gusset stitches; then picked up stitches along other front. All stitches knitted back and forth for garter stitch edging.

My mother seems pleased with how her new vest turned out!

Friday 2 October 2009

A vest for a vest

A vest for a vest
Originally uploaded by
Feeling a bit cold this morning I borrowed a grey vest that I knitted for my mother some five years ago and which is too big for her. The length is fine and she likes wearing it, but it gives her "wings".

Guess what? It turns out to be exactly my size, so we've decided I'll knit her a new one. There is enough of some beautiful heathery blue wool from Morjärv that's been in my stash for quite a while, waiting patiently for the right project.

As the grey vest is pre-Ravelry I don't have any notes – or I don't know where they are and probably wouldn't recognize them if they turned up – and that wool is a lot thicker, my challenges for this project are:

1) reconstructing the two patterns, since I don't own the book where I found them (Vogue Dictionary of Knitting Stitches by Anne Matthews);
2) figuring out where and how often to increase to get them to blend (the ribbing and main pattern repeats consist of different number of stitches);
3) knit a different size with different, thinner wool and a different gauge – and place the pattern so it becomes symmetrical;
4) last but not least, get the size right this time!

In addition, I'm knitting this vest in one piece instead of three. Why? To try it! Haven't knitted an open vest that way before.

Wearing and studying the grey vest takes me back to the time when I was knitting it. It was summer and I was staying at a colleague's house while she and her husband were away. They have a wonderful little garden where I spent many hours knitting, reading and picking berries. Strawberries, gooseberries, red and black currants, blueberries... Heaven.

Tuesday 29 September 2009

Twined & stranded mittens finished

Lotta's mittens, cuffs
Originally uploaded by Asplund
Lotta's mittens are washed and blocked, and I'm happy with my decision to combine stranded mittens with twined cuffs. I will definitely do it again.

Monday 28 September 2009


Today I received an award and a challenge! Thank you, maria e – I'm honoured!

The challenge is to reveal ten things about myself; I've decided to bring up five general and five knitting-related things. Nothing is a secret, but I guess this is meant to be informative and about fun facts rather than secrets anyway.

1. I think you are an awesome girl, the award says. Well, actually I'm a man – anyone surprised/shocked/horrified? – but I hope I'm still awesome!
2. Food: I don't like cooking (a triumph of understatement) which friends and family know only too well. I'm fine with eating, though. (But picky!)
3. Cars: I didn't even try to learn how to drive until I was nearly thirty. Imagine my surprise when I suddenly found myself actually enjoying driving!
4. Taste buds: I don't like the taste of sweet very much.
5. Other addictions (apart from knitting): I've gone from active to passive smoker. A lot cheaper. More yarn money! Seriously, I'm glad I finally quit (two years ago) and don't even like the smell anymore. I've had one relapse, smoking a cigar at a party.

6. I enjoy knitting swatches.
7. Whenever there's a knitting book I really want I always allow myself to buy it, arguing that I never spend money on cook-books. (See 2 above.) Excellent tactics I learnt from my aunt.
8. I don't like alpaca very much, especially not baby alpaca. (Too slippery to knit and too fuzzy to touch for my taste.) There are blends with alpaca that I love, though, like Rowan Felted Tweed.
9. It's dawning on me that there is no way I will be able to knit all the things I want to (a mere fraction is what it feels like) which is something I try not to think about too much. However, a good thing about realizing this is that it has made me more careful when I choose projects.
10. Last, some serious bragging: Kaffe Fassett once pinched the cuff of the sweater I was wearing and said "I love this."

I'm passing this award & challenge on to awesome Nordic neighbours Pinneguri and lille-ursus.

Edited to add:
Would you believe it, I just received another award! Thank you Beate, I appreciate it and your kind words very very much! I'm afraid I'm going to be lazy and just add the picture here – can't think of another seven things to write about myself. Plus, a man's got to do what a man's got to do. Knit, that is.

Saturday 26 September 2009

Combining twined and stranded knitting

WIP: Lotta's mittens
Originally uploaded by

A few months ago I promised my friend Lotta a pair of mittens. Now that the days keep getting shorter and cooler it's high time to get started!

I decided to try combining two knitting techniques, twined and stranded. The cuff is twined, which makes it stiff and dense, not very elastic - and I've discovered it's a technique that is great for knitting letters.

The main part is stranded, partly for elasticity, partly for warmth. I find twined knitting is more wind-proof, but stranded somehow warmer thanks to the floats. Or, rather, they're suitable for different kinds of weather.

The palm of the hand is striped, not simply to match the cuff but primarily to wear well; the palm will be subject to more wear and tear than the back of the hand.

Twined stripes: ca 3.5/cm or 9/inch; stranded stripes: ca 3/cm or 7.5/inch. (In addition, the stranded stripes are elastic.) The gauge difference is rather remarkable; same yarn, same needles, same pattern and same number of stitches, but different techniques.

Thursday 24 September 2009

I wish I had knitted this sweater

but haven't and couldn't.

I've had some knitted items on display in a men's clothing store, Carl-Otto in Västervik, and one of the visitors told me she had some wonderful hand-knitted sweaters bought in the 80s that she thought I'd like to see. I did indeed! Pictures of two other fabulous sweaters designed and made by this knitter (Siri)
here and here.

That evening was a true treat. First I got to see their beautiful garden, then their beautiful home. Kerstin and Arne had lived there for some 30 years, and the house was filled with exquisite and personal belongings; they are both passionately interested in arts and crafts and have things from all over the world. She was born in the far north of Sweden and he in the far south, and they have travelled a lot; Indonesia was one of their favourite countries.

Kerstin told me her mother helped making the Lovikka-mitten popular in Sweden by seeing to it that Princess Sibylla (our present king's mother) received a pair some time in the 1930s; many people became aware of them when she wore them in public. This very soft, thick and warm kind of mitten was first made in the 1890s by Erika Aittamaa from Lovikka. I knitted a pair (now lost) when I was around 11 years old and wore them a lot, especially when it was really cold.

It strikes me I haven't written anything about the knitting event at Nordiska museet in Stockholm a couple of weeks ago. That day visitors were allowed to knit "tags" and put almost wherever they liked in the museum. I'm far too much of a control freak to improvise completely – others were making charming and inventive things by happily combining colours and techniques – and so tried to compromise by knitting a little crown. Controlled improvisation, one might call it (trying to be benevolent). Anyway, it was a lot of fun, especially spending a few hours with knitter friends I don't get to see very often.

What's more, it's one of my – many – favourite places in Stockholm.

Thursday 17 September 2009

Hats galore

Hats galore
Originally uploaded by

Hats "Carl" and "Otto" (see previous post) have some woolly company: a green twined hat I knitted late 08/early 09, and two new, blue friends.

I knitted "Alex" with the same yarn and therefore named this hat after Carl-Otto's brother; "Blue Onion" in the upper left corner with beautiful yarn my Kiwi friend James gave me. Kia ora, James!

It's rather fascinating seeing how stripe width affects how the blue yarn looks in the three blue and grey hats. (Yarn: Pälsull, Östergötlands ullspinneri.)

These hats and some of my sweaters and mittens are in a men's clothing store, Carl-Otto in Västervik, where they will be on display for a few days. Map here.

Speaking of hats galore, I'm having fun knitting a hat for a friend. He wanted a soft and warm hat with ear flaps, preferably greenish-brown. It took some time, but at last I managed to figure out how to make the ear flaps the way I want them to look. This is what the "Sea Urchin" hat looks like so far.

Tuesday 8 September 2009

Hats and knitting events

"Carl" and "Otto" hats
Originally uploaded by

I'm knitting hats for an event later this month, Smaka på Tjust (Taste Tjust – a Swedish district). This is a kind of market that focuses on locally produced goods etc. Carl-Otto, a men's clothing store in Västervik, asked if I wanted to present some knitted items there. DoI?Yes!

I've made a vest specifically for this event; I bought yarn produced at Östergötlands ullspinneri not too far from Västervik, and there was enough left for some hats. I already called the vest Carl-Otto, so these hats are Carl and Otto; they are twins but not identical.

My knitted items (and their creator) will be there Sept. 18 and 19.

Before then there's another knitting activity to look forward to, Progglördag at Nordiska museet in Stockholm on 12 September. There will be a corner where visitors can try knitting graffitti and I've volunteered to help out. I haven't done anything like that before, so it's a fun challenge!

I thought of a new way to block hats. Well, new to me at least – many others probably have thought of the same thing. I never liked blocking hats flat and suddenly had the idea I could try using a balloon; that way it would also be possible to get exactly the right size. It worked. Next problem: how to keep it still until it's dry? Ah! That's what lamps are for!

Sunday 30 August 2009

Knitting party

Yesterday there was a knitting party ("Stickfest") in Linköping, Sweden, with workshops, shows, lectures etc. A fabulous day! One of the museums has a knitting exhibition; it will last until 13 September and shouldn't be missed.

I wish I could post photos, but at least I can provide a link to more information about the museum (in Swedish): here.

To me, the best part of the exhibition – and the whole day – was the room filled with Britt-Marie Christofferson's designs. At long last I got to see them! Her show Stickning – ett hantverk att utveckla (Knitting – a craft to develop) and I have been travelling to different places, but finally our paths crossed. What's more, she was there too, so I even got to a chance to talk to her. She's such a clever, imaginative and innovative designer – I admire her tremendously. Her new book will be out soon, an item I really look forward to adding to my collection!

Friday 28 August 2009

Vests galore

WIP: Square dance vest
Originally uploaded by

I seem to be on a vest high this month: one frogged, one finished and one back into favour. I knitted this vest early this year, but was unhappy with the shoulder joins and the neck when I tried it on. It didn't look like what I had in mind, and it wasn't as comfortable as I wished (neck not low enough). Three-needle bind-off combined with neck gussets didn't work this time, unfortunately. (Done it before: here and here.)

Since then I've been thinking saddle shoulders would be the best solution, but I wasn't sure what how they should look. What's more, I wanted to try to knit them in place instead of sewing (done here) to learn something new, and I probably wasn't up to all these things at once – then.

The straps are 15 stitches wide and I knit them back and forth, knitting them together with back and front pieces. (Somehow similar to knitting a sock heel.) There are a couple of rows knitted with waste yarn first: I'm going to remove these and pick up the stitches to be part of the neck band. The strap pattern echoes a chain pattern I've knitted instead of side seams.

The vest is knitted on circular needles with steeks for armholes and is my own design. I decided to call it a Square Dance vest; dance for the small dots that surround many squares. First they were everywhere, but that just looked messy, like overly decorated gingerbread. Now they're only in every other section, a simple "rhythm" but definitely an improvement in my opinon. Perhaps it still resembles gingerbread, though – but I like gingerbread, so that's fine with me.

Here's the odd man out, the vest that is finished. It is my own design, the two pieces knitted back and forth and shoulders grafted. I couldn't resist this yarn when I spotted these colours (a not uncommon phenomenon) and tried to come up with a varied strip sequence where I wouldn't have to cut the yarns all the time. It worked!

I liked the wrong side of my swatch, so it was promoted Right Side. There are vertical lines of knit stitches in the sides, partly for decoration, partly to improve the shape. I do like circual knitting, but can't help thinking my sweaters without side seams resemble barrels unless I knit, say, a cable where the seam would have been.

Who knows, this might be a good time to do something about the unfinished blue vest that's been hibernating for two years.