Saturday 22 December 2012

Rearing one's missing head

"Marzipan sweater" on display by Asplund
"Marzipan sweater" on display, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
At last I've emerged from Grade Swamp: 331 this time, which is a new personal record I'd be deeply sorry to break. Fortunately, first day of the Christmas holidays coincided with an 18th century party, which was exactly what I needed. Not to mention sharing a bottle of champagne with two friends I've made taking classes to learn some of the dances from the period. (I don't teach mathematics, but let me assure you three people and a bottle of champagne is a top-drawer equation.)

My twined "Marzipan" sweater (Ravelry link) has been my knit-alter ego during the past few weeks: it's on display at my local yarn shop Litet nystan. It's difficult to take pictures of it with all the reflections, but I rather like this photo anyway - and it made me smile to discover my legs in the right place.

Two dear ones of mine have been busier with their needles lately. I showed the boy how to knit a few years ago when he was six, and he could barely wait for his younger sister to come home from kindergarten so he could show her.
Teacher and student.

And look at them now, both busy in front of the television! (No, they're not my children - not biologically, that is, but I've spent so much time with them I feel they're mine too. The boy is knitting a scarf for his father.)

To each his/her own knitting.

Sunday 2 December 2012

Vintage knitting

Vintage knitting by Asplund
Vintage knitting, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
The other day I found the perfect yarn for a cardigan I've been planning to make for some time, a design from a 1947 magazine. I made a grey swatch to test the pattern, but the garment will be green.

I don't follow the instructions in detail but use the cable pattern in a cardigan that will have a similar shape. It's fun to knit, especially after I transferred the written instructions to graph paper.

Far from a shopaholic (yarn and books don't count, do they?) I found myself in sudden need of a little biggish something last weekend at Hallwylska museet. Exactly what I need to keep my swatches in! And exactly what I need to look at now that winter is here: minus 10 degrees today and few hours of daylight.

Thanks for your comments on my previous post! The poncho keeps growing, but the rows are very long now. It is probably getting time to stop increasing - and to think of a new pattern shape for the bottom border.

Ron: ha ha, I see what you mean about knitting in the round! I do prefer knitting in the round as much as possible (best way to avoid seaming) and always do when it comes to fairisle and twined knitting. Purling with two colours, for example, feels like a punishment.

However (you could see that word coming) I prefer knitting cable patterns back and forth, finding it easier to keep track of when to make the cables when they're on right-side rows only. Some 15 years ago I knitted an aran sweater back and forth until I reached the armholes and then joined all four pieces to knit the yoke in the round. It was a bit tricky, but worth it - a lot more comfortable than raglan seams would have been, and it looks nice with the cables.

This won't be a raglan cardigan, though, so I will pick up stitches around the armholes and knit the sleeves back and forth. It's a really inspiring challenge trying to recreate a garment!

Förra helgen kunde jag inte motstå en perfekt provlappsburk i Hallwylskas museibutik. Den är inte dum att vila ögonen på heller nu när det är mörkt och kallt. "Jag blev pålurad av mig själv," som morfar sade en gång när han oväntat kom hem med något verktyg. En sekatör har jag för mig.

Jag har påbörjat ett kul projekt, att försöka återskapa en kofta från 40-talet. Kombinationen av flätor och slätstickade rutor mellan rätstickade tvärränder är riktig lyckad, tycker jag - men jag började med att göra om den löpande texten till ett diagram. Jag kommer inte att följa mönstret slaviskt, men ändå göra plagget så likt bilden som möjligt.

Precis som med spetsstickning föredrar jag att sticka flätmönster fram och tillbaka; på så vis är det lättare att hålla reda på när det är dags för flätvridningar. Det har hänt att jag har stickat flätmönster på rundsticka, men då har jag haft med mosstickning för att lättare hålla reda på udda och jämna varv. Generellt sett stickar jag oftast runt (ju mindre monteringsarbete desto bättre) och definitivt om det är tvåändsstickning eller färgmönster. 


Thursday 29 November 2012

Multi-continental project

lace experiment by Asplund
lace experiment, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
For a couple of weeks I hardly knitted at all - for no particular reason, but I've discovered it's pointless trying to knit when I'm not in the mood. The advantage was that I suddenly had a lot more time to read books, which I also love doing.

A month or two ago I started knitting a shawl using wool from fellow knitter Kerry in Australia. I was fairly happy with the project but not quite (this too for no particular reason) but the other day I had an idea what to knit instead: it turns it it will be a multi-continental project. The wool is from Australia, I'm making use of the Estonian nupp pattern, and the garment will be typical of South America.

To my surprise I'm knitting a poncho! What made me go ahead with the idea was that I could try a couple of things I haven't done before. (Perhaps that's why I didn't knit for a couple of weeks, not feeling I was learning new things? Not that I always have to, but I want to keep developing my knowledge and skills.)

First, knitting lace in the round. It's easier and quicker, not having long rows of purl stitches - but to me it doesn't look quite as good. (Good enough not to frog it, though.) Knitting back and forth seems to have a levelling effect; in this project my decreases that slant to the right are looser than the ones slanting to the left.

Also, as I normally knit lace back and forth with yarnovers and decreases on right-side rows only, I tend to do them on all rows instead of every second now that all rows are knitted with the right side facing. So far, I have discovered such mistakes quickly.

The other thing I'm practising is knitting nupps in the round (7 stitches in one, then knit all 7 together on next row). It's definitely easier to knit than purl so many stitches together, but I miss the levelling effect of knitting back and forth here too: the stitch to the right of a nupp is very loose and the one to the left is rather tight. Well, practise might improve it.

Nu testar jag något nytt - nytt för mig, vill säga - nämligen att sticka spetsstickning på rundsticka. Det har både för- och nackdelar, tycker jag. En klar fördel är förstås att det inte blir långa varv med bara aviga maskor. Det är också enklare att sticka estniska nupp-mönster (i det här fallet sju maskor i en och så stickas alla sju ihop på nästa varv) när man gör hoptagningen på rätsidan. I någon gammal provlapp har jag testat att göra ökningarna på avigsidan och sticka ihop dem på rätsidan, men jag föredrar att göra all mönsterteknik vartannat varv, och så var det svårare att se vilken maska ökningarna skulle vara i. Tekniskt lättare, men på bekostnad av flyt i stickningen. 

Nackdelen är att resultatet skevar lite väl mycket för min smak, fast inte så mycket att jag kommer att repa upp det. Jag skulle tro att det har en utjämnande effekt att sticka fram och tillbaka; nu är det rätt stor skillnad på lutningarna åt höger respektive vänster, då de förra är mycket lösare. Det är något liknande med maskorna på var sida om en nupp: den till höger är lös. Kanske blir det bättre ju mer jag stickar, men framöver kommer jag nog att återgå till att sticka spetsmönster fram och tillbaka. Det är ändå givande att testa nya saker!

Thursday 8 November 2012

"Crystal" shawl edges

Once a month there's a knittig café at Nordiska museet in Stockholm. (Not just a café, you can - and occasionally do - get a glass of wine too.) I was there yesterday and had a great time with knitter friends like Maria and Born to knit.

However, one of the first people I saw when I entered the museum was Queen Silvia, which was quite a surprise! She hadn't brought any knitting as far as I could see (shockingly bad manners) but was inspecting an upcoming exhibition of antiquities. Perhaps I should have invited her to join us?

I have almost finished my "Roman Crystal" shawl. The pattern is Marianne Kinzel's "English Crystal" from her First Book of Modern Lace Knitting. Thanks Ron for opening my eyes to the beauty of it! I made another shawl using this pattern not too long ago, but it's such a fun pattern to knit I wanted to use it again to bring out the beauty of the cashmere I bought in Rome recently.

The original design is a square that consists of four triangles and that is knitted in the round; instead, I knit three triangles back and forth. I also changed the edge. In the previous shawl (see photo above) I simply took the "Peacock's Eye" from another design in the same book. Sometimes I feel like Dr Frankenstein.

I tried the same idea now, but the cashmere is so much thicker that the big holes looked rather clumsy. Therefore, I kept the shape of the edge, but made three smaller holes instead.

"Roman Crystal" shawl in progress

Now that the shawl is almost finished I wish I had bought more of the yarn, but at the same time I'm happy I made up my mind how to use it so quickly as it is such a treat to work with.

There were a number of reasons behind my choice - here are the main ones that I always have in mind:

1. How to bring out the beauty of the yarn. In this case I thought the stocking-stitch parts would show off the lovely, slightly heathery shade of red.

2. What kind of garment is the yarn quality suitable for? Light and soft would make a nice shawl.

3. What is there enough yarn for? As I haven't worked with this yarn before, I couldn't be sure. (That's one of the main reasons I often use the same yarns over and over again.) A shawl with this kind of pattern is a good choice as you add repeats until you're out of yarn. (Well, not quite as simple as that in reality, but almost.)

4. Will I enjoy knitting it? As I probably have written before, I think life is too short to knit things I don't enjoy making. This pattern was fun to knit with enough variation to keep it from gettting monotonous - and it's quite fascinating seeing how different a pattern turns out depending on the yarn you choose.

5. Do I like the way it looks? Even if I won't wear it myself I want to enjoy looking at it while making it.

Regarding the last two points, I could add that I'm a proud member of the "Selfish knitters" group on Ravelry! I'm less selfish when it comes to making presents of the things I make - at least I hope and think so, even though I'm well aware I have far more sweaters than I need. ;-)

Kashmirsjalen är nästan klar - nu önskar jag att jag hade köpt mer! Det får bli fler resor till Rom, helt enkelt. Mönstret är "English Crystal" av Marianne Kinzel, men jag har gjort några ändringar. Originalet är en fyrkantig duk som består av fyra trianglar och som är stickad runt; jag har stickat tre trianglar fram och tillbaka i stället. 

Jag har också gjort om kanten genom att knycka "Peacock's Eye" från samma bok ("First Book of Modern Lace Knitting") fast jag gjorde om den också genom att byta ut ett enda stort hål mot tre mindre, detta för att jag tyckte att det såg lite klumpigt ut med det här garnet som är tjockare än vad jag brukar välja till sjalar. Däremot stickade jag det enligt mönstret i en sjal jag gjorde tidigare i år - hur det blev kan man se i bilden överst i det här inlägget.

Det är inte så ofta jag stickar nästan samma mönster två gånger så tätt inpå varandra, men det här är ett roligt mönster med lagom mycket variation. Dessutom tänkte jag att det skulle passa till garnet. Allmänt kan jag säga att det finns fem faktorer som alltid ligger bakom mina val av projekt:

1. Hur får man garnet att komma till sin rätt? I det här fallet tänkte jag att de slätstickade partierna skulle framhäva de vackra skiftningarna i det röda. 

2. Vad passar garnet till för slags plagg? Det här garnet var så mjukt och lätt att jag tänkte att det skulle kunna bli en skön sjal. 

3. Hur mycket räcker garnet till? Ofta använder jag samma garner gång på gång, dels för att jag tycker att de håller hög kvalitet, dels för att jag vet på ett ungefär hur mycket som går åt till en tröja eller sjal. Det här garnet var en ny bekant, så en sjal kändes ganska säkert - man kan sticka så länge garnet räcker. (Riktigt så enkelt är det ju inte i verkligheten, men nästan.)

4. Kommer det att vara roligt att sticka? Livet är för kort för att sticka saker som jag inte gillar att sticka - och det ingår alltid moment som är rätt trista i alla fall. Det här mönstret var som sagt roligt och det är riktigt fascinerande att se hur olika samma mönster kan ta sig ut med olika garnkvaliteter. Oftast vill jag testa någon ny idé, så att jag känner att jag lär mig nya saker.

5. Tycker jag om hur det ser ut? Även om jag inte kommer att bära plagget själv så vill jag tycka om att titta på det under arbetets gång. 

Jag är alltså ganska väldigt kräsen och rätt självisk när det gäller mina projekt. Mindre självisk när det gäller resultatet i alla fall. En hel del ger jag bort - fast visst är det så att jag har betydligt fler tröjor än jag egentligen behöver...  ("Egentligen" är ett bra ord!)

Friday 2 November 2012

When in Rome

Isager's "Munken" in progress by Asplund
Isager's "Munken" in progress, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
New sweater in progress: a second version of Marianne Isager's "Munken" (the monk) but with some new modifications. Like last time, I'm skipping the hood, but this time my plan is to make some kind of shawl collar - therefore, the neck opening is rectangular.

Writing to a knitter friend recently I realized that I've been surprisingly good at sticking to my stash-decreasing intention to make two projects with yarn from my stash before I may buy new yarn.

Good boys get to buy good yarn - and if they're really lucky they get to buy it in Rome! I'm back in Stockholm now, but the day before yesterday I bought some gorgeous cashmere at Lana della Vecchia near Campo dei Fiori. There were many beautiful colours, but this shade of red was Rome to me more than the other ones.

Till min stora förvåning insåg jag nyligen att jag har varit riktigt bra på att använda mer garn ur förrådet än jag lägger till det (två plagg med garn jag redan har innan jag får köpa nytt) så då var det ju min plikt att köpa garn när jag var i Rom nyligen. Det gick ganska fort att välja garn (kashmir!) men var desto svårare att välja bland alla de vackra färgerna som fanns. Till slut blev det den som var mest Rom för mig. 

Annars håller jag på med en ny version av Marianne Isagers "Munken" fast med några ändringar. Det blir inte någon huva den här gången heller utan jag funderar på någon typ av omlottkrage.

Friday 12 October 2012

Just in time

Härjarö by Asplund
Härjarö, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
Last weekend I was lucky enough to be one of the workshop leaders in this beautiful building. What's more, I was lucky to get there in time (well, two minutes before my first workshop started) as something went wrong with the car I was going to borrow from a friend. This happened on Friday evening and I needed the car in the morning... Born to knit and I had to take the train to the nearest town instead, where one of the participants was kind enough to pick us up and drive us to Härjarö.

It would have been great to be able to stay the whole weekend, but a dear colleague of mine had a birthday party in the evening, so I had to rush from the knitting event as well - picked up by someone else who was going there and was kind enough to drive all the way to get me. There's nothing like friendliness!

What do you think I gave my colleague - a lace shawl, a polar-bear rug or my nephew?

Correct answer: a shawl based on Marianne Kinzel's "English Crystal" design in her First Book of Modern Lace Knitting. Yarn: "Viva" from Wetterhoff; 4 mm needles (US 6).

In reality the shawl is raspberry red. I'm not sure Kinzel would have approved as she cautions the reader not to use yarn "of a conspicuous colour, as this is not in the lace-making tradition." This isn't meant to criticize her; I just find it interesting how different opinions people can have about crafts. (Not to mention how one's personal opinions can change over time!) Also, I'm sure it makes a difference the book was first published in the 50s.

Speaking of shawls, at long last I have started a project using wonderful laceweight wool Kerry gave me last year. I've found inspiration in a fabulous Estonian stitch dictionary, The Haapsalu Shawl by Reimann & Edasi.

Estonian-Australian shawl

Sunday 30 September 2012

"Aberlady" sweater finished

"Aberlady" sweater by Asplund
"Aberlady" sweater, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
About a week ago I finished my "Aberlady" sweater, but it took days (literally) for it to dry. This is one of my all-time favourite patterns, by my favourite designer Alice Starmore. A Flickr friend of mine suggested I rename this project "Aberlord" :-)

The photo above shows the pattern, but the photo below shows the colour of the yarn better, a light blueish grey of Rowan Creative Linen ("Foggy" 624). And in case you're wondering, yes, those are my lips. Kiss, kiss, dear readers!

I'm making "Water Lily" shawl progress. The photo in my previous post gives a better idea of the pattern, but in this one it is easier to see the shape I have in mind.

"Water Lily" shawl

Check out Ylva's glorious cuffs! Twined knitting, magnificently decorated.

Nu har "Aberlady" äntligen torkat - det tog flera dagar, men det var det värt att vänta på. Jag tycker att garnet (Rowan creative linen) är som gjort för den här sortens mönster, hälften lin och hälften bomull. Den är lite svår att fotografera, bara: i den övre bilden ser man mönstret men den undre gör färgen mer rättvisa. Och ja, det är jag som är i den om ni undrar - puss på er!

Sjalen jag håller på med är ett nöje att sticka! Den kommer att bli v-formad, och så tänker jag mig någon typ av kant runt den.

Saturday 29 September 2012

Wedding shawl

Wedding shawl by Asplund
Wedding shawl, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
Here is a colleague of mine on her wedding day a couple of weeks ago (haven't found any matching wallpaper of curtains for her to pose next to) in the shawl I was honoured to make for her. The shawl is greener in reality, which you can see in this post.

I've started knitting a pattern from a book I bought some time ago, "Water Lily" from The Haapsalu Shawl by Reimann & Edasi. This is a pattern that actually doesn't have any nupps in it - but I like it anyway ;-)

"Water Lily" shawl in progress

In the book it is used in a rectangular design, but I thought it would work well in a triangular shape. This shawl will be V-shaped, though: I've divided the triangle in halves and am knitting the first half in a way to make it slant outwards from the middle. It will be similar to this shawl, which I made a couple of years ago.

Saturday 22 September 2012

Odd man out

Peekaboo by Asplund
Peekaboo, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
Today I attended a book release at Litet Nystan in Stockholm: the best knitting book I have seen for a long time, "Maskor och Medeltid" (stitches and the Middle Ages) by Anna-Karin Lundberg.

She has found inspiration for patterns in Medieval churches in the province of Uppland. In the book there is an abundance of photos of both knits and the paintings that inspired her.

Not only did I add a glorious new knitting book to my shelves, I also got to see many of the knits from the book on display in the shop - and many knitter friends I don't see nearly enough. I got an opportunity to meet the writer-designer-knitter too!

You can only see glimses of a few of Anna-Karin's projects in my photo above, but there is a lot more to see if you visit her homepage Kajsa Sticks. (It's in both Swedish and English.)

Sunday 9 September 2012

Preparing for a workshop

Swatch by Asplund
Swatch, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
On Thursday I'm leading a workshop how to knit cables at Litet Nystan. It's the first time I'm teaching cable patterns, so it's exciting! Fortunately, I enjoy swatching: here's one of the two swatches I'm going to let the participants knit.

First there are five ways to use a cable, then another five. I like having several different things in one swatch for comparison and thought it would be clearer with a change of colours.

I'm making progress with the Aberlady sweater, now knitting the second sleeve.

My favourite method for shoulder joins is a three-needle bind-off. This is what the wrong side looks like:

wrong side

Here's how you do it: instead of casting off when you've reached the shoulders you keep the stitches on a needle or a thread. When you've knitted both front and back sections, you cast the back and front stitches of together (with the wrong side facing you unless you want the ridge on the outside - it could be used as a decoration). Back and front will meet beautifully if they end after a whole repeat or in the middle of one:

right side

Ever thought knitters were frightening? I never did - until I saw this post by crochet bloke Theo. Enjoy!

Sunday 2 September 2012

"Aberlady" sweater in progress

"Aberlady" sweater in progress by Asplund
"Aberlady" sweater in progress, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
First of all, thanks for your comments on my "Shells" sweater! (And christinelaennec: thanks for making me laugh with what you wrote about the string of pearls!)

I had barely cast off before I bought more Rowan creative linen and cast on to make another sweater This too is a design by Alice Starmore, "Aberlady" from her book The Celtic Collection. Starmore for president!

Thursday 16 August 2012

Shells sweater finished

Shells sweater: back by Asplund
Shells sweater: back, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
I'm really happy with this sweater, very much thanks to the yarn that I tried for the first time. Rowan Creative Linen (50% cotton, 50% linen) is nice to work with as it softer than 100% linen, but the linen gives it an attractive sheen.

Shells sweater: front

The needle size recommended is 4½ mm (US 7) but I used 3 mm (US 2½) for a better relief effect. Actually, I could use even thinner needles, but that would require more yarn - and the sweater is heavy enough as it is, weighing some 850 grams. Also, this gauge was perfect for the number of repeats I wanted.

A couple of days ago I bought a circular needle and must say I am rather intrigued by the picture that went with it. Is this what you will look like if you use this particular knitting needle?

 I should add that I'm really pleased with the needle: it's comfortable to work with, the points are just as sharp as I like, and the size is printed on it. But what made them choose this picture to sell it? Well, in my case it obviously worked!

Friday 3 August 2012

"Shells" sweater progress: collar

Today I thought I'd share how I knit the collar.

I divided the front where I wanted the collar to start (it had to be deep enough, but after a whole pattern repeat to make it look nice) not in the middle but after the middle panel. For this panel I replaced the shells with ribbing

To knit the second half I cast on the number of stitches required for another middle panel with a ribbing pattern, and later sewed it in place on the wrong side to make the seam as invisible as possible.

After joining the shoulders (using the three-needle bind-off method) I started knitting the collar back and forth: first one of the front halves, then the stitches from the back, then the second front. I will probably knit about 10-15 cm (4-6 in) from here.

Tuesday 31 July 2012

18th century-style stockings

18th century-style stockings by Asplund
18th century-style stockings, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
I managed to finish the stockings just in time for an 18th century-style weekend at Skansen, an open-air museum in Stockholm. The purl stars on the calves are barely visible in this photo, but they show better in reality. And no, those aren't my legs but they belong to a member of an 18th century society.

I celebrated finishing the stockings by casting on to knit a sweater, Alice Starmore's "Cape Cod" from her book Fishermen's Sweaters. I knitted it in 2006 and will modify it the same way, keeping the shells and cables but changing the model. Here is a photo of the original design.

"Shells" 2012: Rowan Creative Linen

The pattern works very well with Rowan Creative Linen (50% cotton and 50% linen), I think.

At the back of the neck I have added an A for Asplund (and/or for Alice Starmore) instead of half a shell - shaping the neck would behead the shell anyway. Not that it will show, though, because I will use the same kind of collar as I did last time. I think it goes well with the "sea theme" of the pattern.

"Shells" sweater 2006: Rowan Felted Tweed

Ron asked about "Viften/The Fan" - it was lucky enough to get to move to my aunt Caroline!

Wednesday 25 July 2012

An exception

Stocking progress by Asplund
Stocking progress, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
Normally, I don't knit socks - for no particular reason, I just don't enjoy it very much. (But I admire hand-knitted socks and the work and skills behind them.)

However, I'm in the middle of an exception after agreeing to knit a pair about a year ago, getting the yarn about half a year ago. What attracted me was knitting something to be part of an 18th-century style costume (they're for a member of the society of Gustafs Skål), trying to create something that could have been worn in the late 1700s.

What didn't attract me is knitting a lot of stocking stitch with hardly any patterns. Fortunately, I thought of a picture in a book I one saw: a pair of knee-length stockings with a stars on the calves, stars that grew smaller to harmonize with the decreases - and perhaps to accentuate and draw attention to a shapely calf? (Or a trompe-l'œil effect to make a less fortunate wearer's calves look shapely?)

However that may be, I tried to do something similar here - to make them less tedious to knit - even though I'm certain those stockings weren't that old, and for all I know stockings may not have been decorated like this in the 1700s.  

I had a lot more fun knitting Marianne Isager's Viften/The Fan for the fourth time, now a red one using Drops Silke-Tweed (discontinued) from my stash. I reused my modifications from last year.

Monday 9 July 2012

"Knit & purl" sweater no 2

"Knit & purl" sweater by Asplund
"Knit & purl" sweater, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
Here's a sweater I finished for my mother recently, "Knit & purl" from Classic Knits by Marianne Isager. These pattern borders are a lot of fun to knit, easy but enough variation to keep them from getting monotonous.

I've taken a couple of liberties with the design, though:
1. The original is a raglan sweater. I do like raglans, but thought these horizontal borders would look better in a straighter shape.
2. I knitted the pieces back and forth instead of in the round. It's easy with this kind of pattern, and I wanted to accentuate the side seams with vertical lines similar to where I picked up stitches for the sleeves and the sleeve seams.

side seam

I was lucky enough to get to the right length with the diagonal borders, so the shoulder join looks nice:
shoulder join

The sleeves were too long first, but as I had knitted them top-down it was easy to fix: I ripped the cuff and let border above it become the new cuff. I thought of ripping that border too and reknit the 2x2 cuff pattern, but thought it looked nice with the diagonal lines.
The first sleeve version; I think the final one looks better.

Unfortunately, this yarn (BC Lucca Fino) has been discontinued, but at least I have enough of it for another sweater in my stash.

Sunday 24 June 2012

My favourite spot

My favourite spot by Asplund
My favourite spot, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
Right now I'm into needlepoint rather than knitting; this is a design from Ehrman by Elian McCready. Lilies are probably the flowers I like best, and all the vibrant colours made it quite irresistible! It's quite relaxing simply filling in the colours somebody else has decided. It's funny, though, how stitching is so enjoyable when sewing a single button in place is so mind-blowingly tedious.

I bought the kit about half a year ago, but it has been too dark to stitch most of the months since then - I need daylight not to mix up all the shades.

This is my favourite place to knit and stitch. Perfect daylight from behind, a comfortable chair (a shawl-chair swap with my aunt) not to mention often listening to my SO playing the harpsichord (yes!) in the living room.

Feel free to envy me - I practically do myself! ;-)

Just nu är det roligare med stramaljbroderi än stickning - och med semester och dagsljus går det betydligt bättre att se skillnad på alla nyanserna än under de mörka vintermånaderna. I den här stolen sitter jag perfekt: otroligt bekvämt och med dagsljus i ryggen. (Jag bytte den till mig för ett par år sedan: en stol mot en sjal.) Dessutom får jag ofta njuta av cembalomusik när min sambo sitter och spelar i rummet intill! Ja, jag har det oförskämt bra.

Tuesday 19 June 2012

The Conscientious Shopper

Untitled by Asplund
a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
A couple of months ago I spotted The Haapsalu Shawl in a bookstore, but thought it was too expensive to buy at once. And expensive enough to remain on the shelf waiting for me for another few months!

Last weekend I went back, and it was still there - and still expensive. However, I spotted a cheap book (about a tenth of the shawl book) on the same shelf, a reprint of a crochet book from 1848. I bought them both, of course, divided the sum by two and pretended they cost the same.

True, it would have been easier to buy the shawl book at once, but I actually sort of enjoy this kind of justification game.

Not that I think I will ever try to crochet anything from the book (no diagrams but written instructions only),
but I just can't resist books with designs like this one.

My grandmother who taught me how to knit would have turned 92 today, so I'm sending her some extra thoughts.

Friday 1 June 2012

No knitting tonight

Untitled by Asplund
Untitled, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
First of all, thanks for all your comments about the sweater and cardigan I knitted for Nicolas Ottersten's graduation show! Sooner or later I'm certain I will get more photos to show details of them, but I'm equally certain he is too busy for that right now.

I've knitted yet another "Haruni" shawl, this time with Drops lace (a blend of alpaca and silk) and in a different shape: it consists of three triangles instead of two.

There won't be any time for knitting tonight, but there's no need to feel sorry for me ;-)

I'm going to an 18th century party with live music and a lot of dancing! I've attended a course this spring learning (trying to learn) some dances from that period. Keep your fingers crossed I won't mix them (or my feet) up! My favourite is Mr Beveridge's Maggot, seen here in a clip from Emma.

Sunday 27 May 2012

For, by and with Nicolas

Cardigan and sweater by Asplund
Cardigan and sweater, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
This morning I was thrilled to discover that Nicolas Ottersten had sent me photos from his graduation show at Central Saint Martins in London. Here you see the cardigan and the sweater I made.

This was a truly rewarding project in many ways. After exchanging emails and talking on the phone a couple of times we spent a day together. The room was practically covered with my sweaters, his sketches, my swatches, his hanks of yarn etc. It was fascinating how well we understood each other, approaching the same goal from different starting points. We learnt things from each other too: I about different garment shapes and he about construction, like avoiding raglan seams by knitting the yoke in one piece.

Best of all, I feel I've made a friend. Not that I know for certain if or when we'll meet again, but I felt as if we got inside each other's minds in a way that has made a lasting impression on me.

Here's his collection - wish I could have been there and seen it:

Friday 25 May 2012

Off the hook

When I knitted the "Haruni" shawl recently I skipped the crocheted bind-off, but for this shawl ("Springtime" design by Marianne Kinzel) I kept it. I think it's a nice finishing touch, sort of turning the leaves into more flowerlike shapes. There seemed to be enough yarn left to add similar (but smaller) chains along the top edge to, and fortunately there was: when I had finished there was 5½ metre (6 yards) left. Three balls of Rowan kidsilk haze makes it weigh 75 grams.

A major advantage with all those crocheted chains is that it makes blocking a lot easier. As this shawls consists of three triangles I folded it in three to make the sections identical.

Regarding the sweater I wrote about in my previous post: Dan suggested a few rows of the darkest shade first and then a sleeve cap. I thought about that too, but there would be a disadvantage: the short-row wraps in the other shades would show rather clearly against the dark. (They don't show much wrapped around the stitches picked up around the armhole, but sort of get buried.) I appreciate your suggestion, though! :)

Till den här sjalen valde jag att behålla originalets virkade avmaskning: jag tycker att det är ett elegant sätt att förvandla bladen till mer blomlika former. Det var tillräckligt med garn kvar för att göra en liknande avslutning längs den övre kanten, men det var lite nervöst när jag hade kommit halvvägs. Det gick i alla fall vägen, och det med 5½ meters garnmarginal! Det gick åt tre nystan Rowan kidsilk haze, så den väger 75 gram.

En fördel med den här avslutningen är att det är lättare att sträcka sjalen när det finns en massa små öglor till nålarna, tycker jag. Eftersom den här sjalen består av tre trianglar vek jag den tredubbel för att få delarna identiska.
how to use an umbrella

Monday 21 May 2012


Wedding shawl progress by Asplund
Wedding shawl progress, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
I had forgotten how yarn-consuming the "Springtime" design is. Many rows are peppered with yarnovers, while others consist of double decreases. This gives the shawl a really appealing texture, fairly thick (for lace) in some places but light.

It requires a lot of yarn, though, and in the middle of the weekend I found myself in need of a third ball of Rowan kidsilk haze.

To my surprise I didn't cast on for yet another work in progress while waiting for the yarn shop to open, but decided to excavate Mount of Unfinished Objects.

Lo and behold, a sweater which has been hibernating for about a year reared its sleeveless body and demanded to be taken care of.
sleeve cap to the left, straight sleeve to the right

What interrupted the knitting process was that I wasn't pleased with how the sleeve caps turned out but couldn't decide whether to keep them after all. Now that I looked at it again I decided on the spot not to keep them. Comfort is an immense advantage when it comes to sleeve caps, but I didn't like the way the pattern sequences collided - my eyes were drawn to what didn't match to such an extent that I didn't really see what made me start knitting the sweater: the beauty of the yarn (Rauma finull) and the combination of the shades of brown. The new, straight sleeve (to the right in the photo) might be less comfortable but looks a lot better in my opinion.

The pattern is a modification of a vest by Kim Hargreaves called "Moor", which can be found in A Yorkshire Fable.

Sjalmönstret jag håller på med slukar garn något alldeles enormt, så jag hade plötsligt slut på garn mitt under helgen. Till min stora förvåning lade jag inte upp till något nytt projekt (även om min inställning är att man inte kan ha för många projekt på gång, precis som man inte kan ha för mycket garn i gömmorna - bara för lite) utan gjorde en liten utgrävning bland mina oavslutade projekt.

Bland (mycket) annat hittade jag en tröja med påbörjade ärmar som har legat i ungefär ett år efter att jag inte blev nöjd med ärmkullarna men inte kunde bestämma mig för om jag skulle behålla dem ändå. När jag tittade på den nu såg jag direkt att jag inte ville ha kvar dem.Visserligen är det en hel del arbete med ärmkullar, och det gör tröjor mer bekväma tycker jag - men mönsterbårderna krockar alldeles för mycket, så mycket att jag bara ser skarven och inte det som fick mig att påbörja tröjan, nämligen det vackra garnet (Rauma finull) och kombinationen av de bruna nyanserna.

På fotot syns det första försöket till vänster och den nya raka versionen till höger. Mindre bekvämt, som sagt, men i det här fallet får utseendet gå före.