tisdag 25 december 2012

Only a Mad Person...

I started knitting this really big cowl in October and it took me nearly two months to finish it.
Over five hundred stitches in one row on needles 2.5 mm – no one in their right mind would even consider such a project. It also took a lot more yarn than I originally thought.

But in the end it was so worth it.

The Britta Cowl
I have worn it nearly every day since it was finished. It's big and warm and has been perfect this cold and snowy winter. Plus the flower pattern makes it look as if I´m wearing a summer meadow.

The yarn is the new Zauberball 100 in a hundred percent wool. It is very soft and light, which is good because a heavier yarn would have added quite a bit of weight to a big piece of knitting like this.

I surprised myself by finishing it. It's not like me at all. So I'm very happy. About the cowl.

I'm a lot less happy about what happened to my laptop on Christmas Eve. It crashed. It wasn't even that old. I do have a back up, so I hope that all my patterns have been saved. Or  I will have my work cut out for me in 2013...

And this blogpost is courtesy of Teenage daughter who not only lent me her computer, but also took the picture above and photoshopped it. That's true Christmas spirit.
So better late than never – I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! 

måndag 19 november 2012

Step Back In Time

I love vintage patterns. And I love knitting for my one-year-old niece. And this is the result.

The skirt should have been a little wider maybe, like the original pattern. But I was afraid that it would become too baggy and hard for her to move around in.

 The yarn is eco and handdyed cotton from Huskroken that I bought years ago. Knitted on 2 mm needles (US0). So yeah it took a while.

But it was well worth it.

She must have been the best dressed girl dancing – or perhaps not dancing – around the maypole on Midsummer.

Next year she will probably have outgrown this dress. But not to worry. There are plenty more vintage patterns where this came from.

I also want to thank everyone who left a comment on my last blog post. I still haven´t figured out how to respond to comments, but any day soon. It´s great to be cheered on.

tisdag 6 november 2012

I Solemnly Swear...

I suspect that we all have our UFO´s. And some of us have more than others. I know that I have my fair share.

But I´m still in a severe state of shock after checking on Ravelry when exactly I started knitting this sweater:

 It was in November almost exactly four years ago.
I would have guessed two or possibly three years – but four!

There were a few problems with the design and that is what made me abandon the poor thing.

Firstly, it was the bottom edge. It kept curling. So I unpicked the bottom row, picked up stitches along the edge and knit a facing that was folded up and sewn into place.
The new picot egde looks a lot neater and it solved the problem with the curling.

Secondly, I had knit one sleeve and had used it as a kind of swatch so the colours were all over the place. 

It also had a problem with curling, so I decided to knit a new sleeve and make the edge in the same way with a facing that could be folded up and sewn into place.

One sleeve is finished and the second sleeve is half done. This photo was taken a little while ago.

Now I only have to figure out how to knit the neck band.
But  I solemnly swear that this sweater shall be finished before the end of this year.
You will be my witnesses.

tisdag 30 oktober 2012

Definitely Batty!

I´ve always had a thing about bats. I think they are kind of cute.

A couple of years ago we had a really funny bat on our island in the Stockholm archepelago. It woke up around two every afternoon and joined us on the beach. It flew around in the bright sunshine chasing mosquitos. Definitely batty!

I´m not sure that anyone else would knit a bat hat, but once I had had the idea I couldn´t resist.

 I did plan to have it modelled on a pumpkin, but failing to find a suitable one my head had to do.

There are some matching mittens, too.

I think they were meant to look a bit scary.  However, I don´t think I quite succeeded.

But bats have a lot of attitude. They have that in common with owls. 

Happy Halloween!

måndag 17 september 2012

Postcard From the Edge

 First, just let me say that it was not my fault that I didn´t post to the blog for the whole summer.
When we changed what we in Sweden call bredbandsleverantör (broadband company?) in the building that I live, I suddenly couldn´t read my emails, upload Facebook and or access my blog.

So a big thank you to Ownit for this long break!

I used the time wisely and went off to Italy to soak up some sun. I had certainly soaked up enough rain on the first two weeks of my holiday that I spent in Sweden...

Italy was fabulous. First we stayed a couple of days in Florence/Firenze and then we rented an apartment in an old farmhouse in the Tuscany hills. We had a little pool and a great view.

 Back then I was knitting on a lace cardigan from Wendy´s book "Wendy Knits Lace" in some lovely silk and seacell yarn from Tilli Tomas, called Voile de la Mer in a burgundy colour named "American Beauty". It is lovely to knit with, even in hot temperatures.

A close up of the first sleeve:

 All the pieces of the cardigan are finished but I did such a bad job of sewing them together that I had to take it apart again. And doing so I cut off the wrong thread, had to rip back a bit of the body an re-knit. I still haven´t had to courage to try again.

The funny thing is that it was I who actually knit the sample cardigan for the book. It´s called Garden Party Cardigan and looks like this. And I didn´t have any problems knitting that at all.
But I tell myself that small disasters like this happen to make me more humble, so it´s all for the best.

To distract you from my knitting failures here is a photo of the farmhouse that we stayed in.

 There might have been a pool party or two with the other family that we holidayed together with.

It was one of the best holidays we´ve ever had and I put it all down to the good company. It was so relaxing and such fun!

Torremozza by night. Photo by Mats Fogeman.

But we also made friends with some of the locals.

 If you go to Florence/Firenze looking for yarn shops there is one that I can recommend: Filati Campolmi at Via F. Portinari, at the back of the Dome in the centre of the city. Lots of different yarn and the best of all – big boxes of cheap and luxurious yarn that were mill ends from the local spinnery (I think). I nearly bought some angora, but settled for a skein of black laceweight merino that cost only one Euro.

I noticed that in Italian yarn shops they keep all the yarn in big plastic bags on the shelves and you have to ask before you touch anything. But they are very helpful when you ask – even if you don´t speak any Italian.

onsdag 13 juni 2012

Jeg er en heldiggris!

Yes, I am a lucky pig!

I spent last weekend in Skarnes in Norway, invited by May Lis Martinsen who runs the Projo yarn shop to give a talk and a workshop at a weekend retreat for knitters.

One Danish and 34 Norwegian knitters came to listen to me talking about traditional patterns from Sweden, Norway, Scotland and the Baltic countries. Then we all tried to create new patterns with the inspiration from the old and historical.

See what good students I had!

The evening before we started talking about these special Norwegian wafers called krumkaker. They are made in a special krumkake-iron. These old irons  are very beautiful and often have a lovely, swirly pattern.

So May Lis, whose father just happened to have worked in a krumkake-iron factory, brought her own iron to show me. I thought it would make a nice knitting pattern so we all started drawing.


Like a piece of art.

But when May Lis opened up her shop all my industrious students just disappeared...

This is May Lis giving Margret some advice.

 There was a whole shelf filled with Koigu – my first love that is still close to my heart.

A couple of skeins found a new home in Sweden.

But it was very hard to pick a color.

May Lis garage had magically been turned into a yarn shop. Somehow it must be bigger on the inside.

May Lis sister Anne-Marie helping out at the till.

Most of the time was just spent talking and knitting. And eating.

Beate started knitting my Peace & Love mittens in a great color combination: orange and deep blue. It started a craze.

Marianne, to the left in the picture, acted color consultant – so successfully she might have found a new career.

I have always dreamed of visiting Norway, so I was very happy that  I finally got the chance. It´s such a beautiful country. And Norwegian knitters are very kind to us inferior Swedish knitters I´m happy to report.
 I have a nasty habit of going running sometimes and this was the view from the top of the hill. 
But I also got some time to knit and I had brought this old friend along: the fair isle sweater that I started back in 2008 (had to check my Ravelry page because I couldn´t even remember how long ago it was).

I wasn´t happy with how the edges turned out so I decided to knit the sleeves again. This is how far I got. Not very impressive. 
But now the summer holiday starts and I´m about to spend two weeks with the kids on the island of Edö.  This will be one of the projects that I will bring along. And maybe three other. Can´t risk running out of yarn on a remote island now, can I?

Thank you May Lis for a wonderful weekend! 

måndag 4 juni 2012

Grin and Bear it!

So it was my niece´s first birthday about a week ago. I am trying not to drown the poor kid in hand knits – and I have to admit it´s not going terribly well. But just as I was losing another battle against the urge to cast on something new for her...

Enter Teddy!

The solution is of course to knit something for my niece that she doesn´t have to wear herself.
(Yes, that is both sneaky and clever isn´t it)

Since I had some yarn left over from the cardigan that I made her before, Teddy got a matching outfit.

I spent a whole day knitting this tiny sweater – Teddy is a pretty small bear. Albeit with an acute dress sense.

And this is the happy birthday girl being introduced to her new friend.

I really thought that I had outsmarted myself – when I found that I somehow had cast on something pink and with a lace pattern around the bottom. 
No, surely.
It couldn´t possibly be. 
A knitted dress for someone small?


The original pattern is from the 1930´s, but like many patterns from that era it´s not very accurately written. No given gauge, no needle number, no measurements given for how long to make the skirt part...

So knitting this dress has been a bit of trial and error. There has been some ripping (and swearing) but now it´s more or less done. Just need to crochet a picot edging – and of course no instructions given for how to do that. In those days you were more or less expected to be born with knowledge like that.

söndag 13 maj 2012

Cardigan in Action

This is my niece in her new Hound cardigan and matching hat. Exploring the world.

Examining a small leaf.

I just love her big cheeks!

In only two weeks time she will turn 1.
So, eh – what am I doing sitting here writing a blog post?  
I need to go and cast on for her birthday present.

P.S. That French beret thing in the last blog post got frogged and now I´m re-working the top part. C'est la vie!

söndag 6 maj 2012

With a Little Help From My Friends

After our long weekend in Paris in the beginning of March I have been obsessing about knitting a kind of French beret. And then we went to the cinema and saw the film Hugo Cabret – that showcases an admirable collection of lovely knitted pieces.

So I went home and started working on something that now is a rather odd looking mess of a hat. It is a crossbreed between a French beret and a Scottish tam. Or something.

Eiffel tower included for atmosphere.

But I have to confess that I am not completely happy about how the top bit looks. Should I rip or should I leave it as it is?

I am VERY pernickety so chances are that I will have to try and improve it in some way. But I would nevertheless appreciate some good advice.

While I have been considering what to do about the beret I´ve knit yet another little baby hat. It´s not for my niece this time, but for six-weeks-old Ebba – whose mother loves cats.

But I wasn´t happy with the top of this hat either to start with so it has also suffered a bit of a remake.

Somtimes I think that the knitting process involves a disproportionate amount of swearing and gritting of teeth. 

But once something is finished I´m quite happy to let bygones be bygones and I tell myself that it was a one off. Next time it will all be smooth sailing...

tisdag 1 maj 2012

A Cardigan and Two Hats

My niece´s cardigan with hounds, hearts and paw prints is finally finished. It is a little big for her, which is a good thing. She actually came along to the button shop and helped me pick out the buttons. 

She really enjoyed being in the button shop and we managed to pick out suitable buttons.

My sister has promised to send me a photo of my niece in the cardigan, but of course it´s now rather warm so maybe she won´t be wearing it much.

Since I had some yarn left over she also got a matching hat.

Of course she might not be wearing the wooly dog hat much either in the spring and summer season.

So I made her a spring and summer hat in cotton instead – and without dogs.

The colours made me think of ice cream while knitting it.

Or maybe of cherry trees in full bloom.

måndag 9 april 2012

Good News and Bad News

Okay, the bad news is that I still haven´t darned in all those ends on the mitten that I showed in my last blog post.

The good news is I have finished the neck cowl and blocked it.

The pattern is called Ogee lace and comes from one of Barbara Walter´s books. It´s a cute little lace flower.

The neck cowl would look a lot better photographed on a human being than it does on my foot stool, but the foot stool had to do.

I have also worked on the Hound cardigan for my niece. The first sleeve I made turned out too small, so I decided to pick up stitches along the sleeve hole and knit the sleeves from the top down to make sure they fit.

This way the sleeves will already be attached to the body when they are finished and no extra sewing is needed. And that in turn will increase the chances many times that shw will actually receive her cardigan before she has outgrown it...

But just to be on the safe side I have made it a little bit bigger than what I first intended.
Because – my, how she grows!

Not that I know if I deserved it (after not darning in those ends), but this is what the Easter bunny left for me:

Those are tiny balls of cotton yarn from Svarta Fåret. They look good enough to eat, don´t they?

No 1 on my Ultimate Wish List has always been a swimming pool full of Shetland yarn, but this is close enough, I think.

Hope everyone had a nice Easter!