Thursday 27 October 2011

The Pale Cast of Thought

About a month and a half ago I started knitting Sharon Miller's "Bressay Hap Wrap", a free pattern from Rowan. I do like the design, but should have read the instructions carefully before casting on. After some consideration I have decided to frog what I've made and modify both the construction and the pattern. Here are the two main modifications:

Original design: four outer borders knitted separately with their corners sewn together.
Modified version: stitches for outer borders picked up around the centre section and knitted in the round to avoid seams.

Original design: all garter stitch.
Modified version: a combination of garter stitch and stocking stitch, partly for variation, partly to show and compare the difference in a single garment. (I'm bringing this project to Saturday's lace knitting workshop at GarnGalleriet.)

Encouraged by all the positive comments on my previous post I returned to Litet nystan to add even more to my stash of Shetlandsuld. Thank you! :-)

Ron and Francesca asked about Shetlandsuld, how it compares to Jamieson & Smith and Isager's Tvinni. I have actually never worked with J & S, so I don't know. I'd say Shetlandsuld is slightly rough to work with (which I like - not very fond of slippery yarns) but a lot softer after washing and blocking. It is quite similar to Tvinni, but thicker.

Ron also asked about the picot edge. First, I knit a few rows of stocking stitch; next a "knit two together, yarn over" row (even number of stitches); a few more rows of stocking stitch.

It is possible to fold and sew it in place, but I prefer knitting it in place through the cast-on loops: not only does it look neater to me, but it is also over and done with. I knit through every second loop, the ones about the yarn-over holes - I have found that doing so accentuates the points.

knitting the picot edge in place

Thursday 13 October 2011

Spoiling oneself rotten

Adding to my stash by Asplund
Adding to my stash, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
Well, well... I decided to make an another exception to trying not to buy more yarn before using up a kilo or two of my stash - and instead have actually added about a kilo and a half. Good boy!

A sale that coincided with getting my salary for the twined knitting workshop resulted in twelve hanks of Shetlandsuld, and then there's irresistible wool-silk lace yarn that I got thanks to Good girl Francesca. Grazie mille! I've used this yarn, Jaggerspun Zephyr, only once before and have dreamt of getting my hands on it again since then.

What else? I've cast on yet another project, yet another sweater. After all, sweaters are my favourite thing to knit, stranded colourwork is my favourite technique, and this particular pattern is from a favourite book: "Ylle & bläck" (wool and ink) by Celia B. Dackenberg.

This gem of a book is a collection of essays about writers (mainly poets) and knitting, sweaters they wear in photos, knitting in their writing et cetera. Some designs are reconstructions of real sweaters, others are knitted interpretations of fictional garments. The sweater I'm knitting is dedicated to fisherman Thorsten, main character in a work by 18th century poet Erik Johan Stagnelius.

  • Bird added (from a mitten in "Knitting in the Nordic Tradition" by Vibeke Lind).
  • Straight red edge changed to a picot edge.
  • A narrow horizontal border pattern between stripes and main pattern skipped (because I didn't want the vertical lines interrupted).
My photogenic neighbours

    Thursday 6 October 2011

    Lost & found; right &wrong

    Twined mitten in progress by Asplund
    Twined mitten in progress, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
    Shortcuts are great in many ways, but it is a major disadvantage that your knitting might get caught by twigs without your noticing it. Fortunately, a neighbour found my twined mitten among the lilac shrubs after it had been missing for days and I had almost given up hope. 

    I started it for my twined knitting workshop to show some patterns you can make with two colours. This project also shows the pattern effect you achieve when you place the increases for the thumb gusset in the middle of it: the two colours almost look braided.

    Speaking of braids, one of the participants asked me about knitting a braid in a contrast colour, when to join it in and for how many rows to keep it.

    Twined braids
    I said you have to prepare for the braid by joining in the new colour the row before the braid - and was later ashamed to realize I had done exactly the opposite of what I had been preaching. More than once I told the group I didn't like right and wrong, the idea that you have to do things in a certain way because that's how they are done.

    I also quoted Dödergök: "Traditions are there to enrich my knitting, not to restrict it." I love traditional knitting and have learnt a lot from knitting old patterns and trying to master different techniques, but after all, what is regarded as traditional now was once new. And quite possibly, perhaps certainly, regarded as wrong by some.

    Of course you don't have to join in the new colour the row before you make the braid; it will just look different. I'm working on a swatch testing various combinations.

    All the braids have exactly the same structure (if they were all white they would be identical) but turn out completly different depending on when I add a colour, for how many rows I keep it and which row(s). These are about half of the combinations I can think of, and it's quite exciting seeing them take shape! And I haven't even added a third colour...

    Which one is right then? Well, I'd say the one you want to make is the right one.

    Last but not least, Åsa likes her "Viften" cardigan. I think it's a great colour for her!