Sunday 4 December 2016

Donegal sweater finished at long last

Almost to my surprise I finally finished my "Donegal" sweater, an Alice Starmore design. My Ravelry project page tells me I cast on in July 2013 - and it seems I haven't touched it since perhaps February 2015. For whatever reason I suddenly got it out the day before yesterday for a diagnosis. Good news: only 1/4 of a sleeve left to knit. Great news: no moth holes! It only took two evenings to finish it, so I wonder what made me put it aside for almost two years - I usually accelerate towards the end of a project. Maybe there was something I've chosen to forget, like getting the colour changes all wrong for a few rows? We'll see.

One thing I do remember is having difficulties deciding where and how to end the front and back for a shoulder join without major pattern cracks and collisions. I even think I modified the chart slightly, which feels practically sacrilegous. (Meddling with a Starmore chart!) Perhaps I get a needle and some leftovers to embroider stitches so that the lines near the neckband meet. To me it looks as if someone took a bite, which in a way is rather charming.

shoulder join

The negative thing is that I ended up with sleeves that are too wide: to get where I wanted in the chart I had to knit more rows than I otherwise would have done. On the other hand, it turned out an oversized sweater (or perhaps I'm undersized?) so it doesn't matter much.

Since summer I've been toying with brioche scarves, using increases, decreases and short rows to achieve zigzag effects. These three scarves are all made with Visjö yarn from Östergötlands ullspinneri, extremely addictive wool.

Z scarves

The past few months I've been teaching unusually much (two weekends a month at HV in Stockholm, for example) which is fantastic. Only a few years ago I never would have guessed there'd be so many opportunites to teach knitting, so I count myself extremly lucky being able to combine my profession and my lifelong hobby. This blog gets to starve, though - imagine dreary posts about my writing instructions. I'd rather write about my private projects here, even though they are few and far between these days, "they" referring to projects as well as blog posts ;-)

Happy knitting!

En av många fördelar med att ha ett frikostigt antal projekt på gång samtidigt är att det plötsligt kan gå väldigt snabbt att avsluta ett av dem. För mig är det något av en gåta varför jag har låtit tröjan Donegal ligga i nästan två år fast det bara var ungefär en fjärdedels ärm kvar. Ärmarna har jag stickat direkt på kroppen, så det var inte ens någon montering kvar. Nå, härom kvällen fick den komma ut och nosa i alla fall, och med så pass lite arbete kvar tog det faktiskt inte mer än ett par kvällar att få den klar. Tack och lov kunde jag inte hitta några gnaghål eller så!

Däremot minns jag att jag fick fundera en del på hur jag skulle få ihop det över axlarna med så få mönsterkrockar som möjligt. Visserligen hittade jag ett bra varv i diagrammet, men jag fick rita om det lite för att inte påbörja nya mönsterformer som bara skulle bli stympade direkt. Det innebar också att jag stickade några fler varv än jag annars skulle ha gjort, så tröjan är i största laget - speciellt ärmarna. Det går nog inte att lura någon att tro att det döljer sig kraftiga bicepsmuskler under dem.

Annars har jag lekt med patentstickning en hel del, kombinerat ökningar och minskningar på olika sätt för att få lite roliga former på halsdukar. Tre av dem syns på fotot ovan, samtliga i Visjögarn från Östergötlands ullspinneri. 

Det blir inte så många plagg som förr, och därför inte heller så många uppdateringar här. Det beror framför allt på att jag har fått fler uppdrag som kursledare i stickning än jag hade vågat drömma om, så mycket av min sticktid går åt till att tänka ut uppgifter, skriva instruktioner till dem och teststicka. Det är otroligt givande att arbeta med kurser, men den processen ser jag inte som överdrivet blogg-kompatibel.

Tuesday 19 July 2016

"The early bird gets the worm...

but the second mouse gets the cheese." I read this hilarious addition to the proverb recently - perhaps it's commonplace and I simply haven't come across it before? Anyway, it would have come in handy a few weeks ago when I taught knitting in Kiruna in the far north of Sweden, the perfect time of the year if you want to see the midnight sun.

Fortunately, I never had difficulties falling asleep when it's light - and anyway most nights were cloudy - but it was rather confusing suddenly waking up and worrying I was late for my class before realising it was only perhaps 1.30 am and plenty of hours left to sleep.

Getting there from Stockholm (ca 1200 kilometers) takes quite a few hours, not least if you decide to travel by car. A great opportunity to spend time together with three friends! There was a lot of time to knit too, except when I was driving, of course - here's one reason to pay attention as documented by friend, fellow traveller and car owner Eva. (I'm not like a multi-tasking friend who once showed me his way of tatting while he was driving - something I found equally impressive and unnerving.)

Mini projects are great in a car, even in an unusually spacious one. I've practically finished my twined project based on charts in Richard Rutt's A History of Hand Knitting. For quite a while it came in handy as its own project bag:

The light is strange, but I'll blame it on the midnight sun - this was rather late at night.

As usual, one thing leads to another, so I decided to knit a couple of mini cushions combining two of the same ingredients, namely charts from Rutt's book and twined knitting. For the smaller one (similar to a mini tube I wrote about in a previous post) I used 1½ mm needles and for the bigger (or less small) one 2 mm.

I'm going to give the blue and white one to my mother as a surprise. She likes this colour combination, has a thing for small objects and is fond of birds, so to me her name is practically written all over it.

You may wonder why I write a post if it's meant to be a surprise. Actually, she's on her way here for a few days' visit as I'm typing, so she won't know before I give it to her later this afternoon.

Saturday 18 June 2016

Twined news

There's a new Norwegian book about twined knitting - I heard about it recently (thanks, Heidi!) and sent for it straight away, of course. Such books are few and far between. It arrived yesterday, so I'm happily learning about Norwegian traditions. It's fascinating how different their use of the same technique is. To be honest, I didn't know much before - really only about their covering mittens with loops of yarn and then turning them inside out to get the purl ridges on the outside. I know a lot more now!

Speaking of twined knitting, I made a twined mini purse recently to test a pattern idea. Mini as in room for a couple of USB sticks.

Monday 13 June 2016

Twined & brioche projects

Today my friend Andrew gave me a charming tatting book from 1944 - there are many beautiful patterns in it, so I feel like getting my shuttles out again. I don't have the nails to match them, but at least I do have a new twined knitting project to match the cover.

The patterns are from A History of Hand Knitting by Richard Rutt, actually the very same cushion I got last post's pattern from, but I'm using thicker yarn and needles. Or, rather, not as thin: 500 metres/100 gr wool-silk blend and 2 mm needles.

Gauge curious? 54 stitches = 10 cm/4 in

Yesterday I added a finishing touch to a pair of twined mittens I finished last year. They were slightly too wide, so I felted them by hand and now they fit perfectly - and the fact that I love both grey and stripes doesn't hurt.

For the mittens I used wool from Östergötlands ullspinneri. It works beautifully for brioche knitting too, and I've made two brioche scarves recently using their variegated wool. (Knitting with 4 mm needles almost felt like cheating now that I've been into 1.25 - 2 mm for a while.)

With felted twined mittens and two scarves I should be well prepared for Midsummer - it normally gets rather cold then, or perhaps that's just my impression?

Tuesday 7 June 2016

Happy new year!

Yes, I know we're in June, but I realise this is my first blog post this year. Not that I've been hibernating, but I've mostly been swatching for new workshops and suppose I haven't really felt like blogging about them, even though I do enjoy swatching. However, here's one of them: it's for a two-week course starting on Friday at HV in Stockholm.

No, I'm not a giant (anyone who has met me will be able to testify) although you might think so comparing the stitches to my hand. This is my personal gauge record, 70 stitches to 10 cm/4 in, which I managed by combining twined knitting and 1½ mm needles. The pattern is from Richard Rutt's A History of Hand Knitting.

Speaking of books, here's a photo of a treasure, a stunning collection of Latvian mitten patterns available from Sena Klets. Actually, I've seen this book before, but now that I have an English copy I can read about culture and traditions too. Extremely highly recommended! (Time to go back to planning and proof-knitting, but hopefully it won't be another five months before next post...)