Sunday, 31 January 2010

"Monk" jacket: sleeve shaping

"Monk" jacket: sleeve
Originally uploaded by

This is what the first sleeve looks like so far. As I couldn't make up my mind whether to make diagonal or vertical stripes, I simply went for both.

First I knitted a few rows where the lines slanted in the opposite way from the centre; thus, they formed a point downwards, which I intended to turn into a vertical line.

However, that just looked messy, so I tried this way instead and like it a lot better. I should have taken a photo before ripping out those rows for comparison – well, you'll just have to believe me this is the better version!

A method I first tried a few years ago is shaping the top of knitted-on sleeves by using short rows. It results in a more fitted and comfortable sweater than a regular drop-shoulder sweater – and you don't have to sew the sleeve in place. First time I tried it I wasn't bold enough to shape it very much, but at least I could see it was possible to knit a sleeve that way. Second time it turned out a lot better.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure where I got the idea from. Others must have thought of it too, but I can't remember ever reading about this method. I think it simply came from a desire to shape sleeves better but not having to sew them in place. Necessity is the mother of invention.

This project devours yarn, so I'm going to knit the sleeves before deciding about the hood. Perhaps there won't be enough yarn for it, but then I actually might skip it anyway and make some kind of collar instead. I think hooded jackets look nice, but I never really liked wearing them.

But can a hoodless version be called "Monk"? Perhaps "De-hooded Monk" or "De-monked jacket"? Other suggestions?

Saturday, 30 January 2010

"Monk" modifications

I'm thinking about letting the diagonal stripes continue when I knit the sleeves; in the original design the sleeve pattern consists of vertical stripes.

Another modification is in the centre section. In the book it consists of knit-only and purl-only stripes. Mine is knits only and garter stitch the first twenty rows, then moss stitch instead of garter stitch. (Simply because I like variation – and I like the way moss stitch looks too.) It's easier to see in this photo. I haven't made up my mind about the hood yet.

The yarn is very nice to work with: so nice I'm happy I bought it even though it's mainly alpaca (see previous post) but fortunately not so addictive it breaks my heart it will be discontinued – which is why it was so cheap!

It makes quite a difference it isn't pure alpaca, but 20% silk: not so slippery and fuzzy, but easy to knit. I just hope the silk also will help the garment stay in shape.

Come to think of it, it's already fairly heavy, so I believe simply wearing the jacket will help me stay in shape!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

"Haruni" shawl addition

"Haruni" shawl
Originally uploaded by
Here is a rather blurred picture where you can see the border I added along the hypotenuse. I wanted something similar to the other egdes and I'm pleased with how it turned out.

A couple of days ago I stumbled upon a sale at my LYS, and returned home with a kilo of beautiful grey yarn. I'm making (and modifying) a design by Marianne Isager, Munken/Monk from her book Classic Knits. This is what my project looks like so far. I can't even remember when I last knitted intarsia, but it was probably some twenty years ago.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

"Haruni" shawl by Emily Ross

WIP: Haruni shawl
Originally uploaded by

It's really exciting casting off some 700 stitches crowded on a needle: suddenly it's possible to actually see what the project looks like!

My modifications:

1. This shawl is 18x2 repeats wide (instead of the original 12x2). One of the many things I like about the design is that the size is easy to change.

2. Instead of casting of by crocheting and adding chains, I simply cast off as usual but very loosely.

3. In the middle there are three stitches instead of one, simply because I wanted a chunkier "stem" for the leaves. Contrary to what I expected it wasn't necessary to make a double decrease when changing charts for the border.

4. Instead of garter stitch at the beginning and end, I have used stocking stitch and slipped the first stitch. The reason for this is:

5. I just picked up stitches along the hypotenuse to add a border and will turn to Victorian Lace Today for inspiration.

It seems two skeins of wool-silk "Viva" from Wetterhoff will be sufficient. So, what do you do when you have bought three? Return one? Of course not; you buy one more to have enough for another shawl. Plus two skeins of another colour you can't resist.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Nominated for a Bobby Award!

Guess who's in high spirits!

I just discovered that one of my projects has been nominated for a Bobby Award on Ravelry in the category "Best Use of Texture in a Project". Thrilled to pieces!

This is a sweater I knitted in 2008 using the old Scandinavian twined knitting technique, which I had learnt about a year earlier from Anne-Maj Ling. I wrote a short entry about the technique in October last year.

My "Marzipan" sweater is a personal favourite project of mine, a lot of work (it's a time-consuming technique) but also a lot of fun. I don't think I've ever learnt so much from a single project.

Another thing I'm excited about is my new job. I just started teaching at a school in dear old Uppsala, where I studied in the 90s. Here's a photo of the street where the school is. Not bad, eh?

Monday, 4 January 2010

Slipping through my fingers

"Christoffer" neckwarmer
Originally uploaded by

Here's a neck warmer I finished for myself yesterday (it's cold!) with some "Lucca" wool from BC Garn.

It was perfect for testing a slip-stitch pattern, a technique I was eager to make use of after seeing some glorious examples of patterns in Britt-Marie Christoffersson's new book Stickning - ett hantverk att utveckla.

This triangle pattern is practically one of hers except I resized it and turned it upside down. Why? To see how it would turn out! Well, also to make it blend with the 3x3 ribbing I had decided on. It's a great book, a kind of stitch-technique-inspiration treasury.

It's a wonderful technique in many ways; what I like best is that you get a lot of effect with minimal effort. I also like it that it's so subtle and that the floats on the wrong side make it warm. However, it's not very elastic. Not that it matters much in this kind of garment (in my opinion, it's actually an advantage here) , but in a sweater it would be important to keep it in mind.

After finishing it I cast on my First Real Knitting Treat of 2010. (Let there be many!) I've promised my friend and former colleague Karin a triangular shawl; about a month ago I found the perfect yarn for it, a wool-silk blend from Finnish Wetterhoff, and the other day I came across a beautiful free pattern on Ravelry: Haruni by Emily Ross.

Needless to say, I couldn't resist testing a couple of modifications, but I'll get back to them some other day.

Friday, 1 January 2010

A promising start to the new year?

Originally uploaded by

Has anyone else experienced wool getting static?

This picture doesn't do the surprise show justice, I'm afraid; all of a sudden the vest looked like a terrified but almost bald hedgehog (or chunk of bacon) trying to cling to the wall with a tentacle.

The sight also reminded me of what a neighbour, an expert at mixing up words, once said:

I vacuumed the carpet, and it got all ecstatic!

(Original Swedish words: Jag dammsög mattan, och den blev alldeles extatisk!)