Knitting, design, wool and other gatherings….

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I´m currently working on a project that includes small sections of intarsia. This made me try to recall the last time I was using this method. Apart from small projects, like a dish cloth and a hat, I don´t have enough fingers on my hands to count the years back….

I think it started in the 80´s….I can´t present you with a picture, but the sweater was blue, grey and pink in Sandnes Kitten Mohair. The front and the back were both alike, and the arms were blue. It was my own design, and I remember being very pleased with it! It looked something like this:Yet still; the height of my intarsia career came in 1993. Kaffe Fassett had some years earlier designed «The Foolish Virgins», and I fell in love! Not that I could really picture myself wearing the jacket, but it was the complexity of the design, and the history behind it …and I´m a sucker for history!.

Fassett based the design on a history of Norwegian tapestries.Luckily I have an aunt who would love to wear this (….or rather; lucky her!), and it was really an adventure in itself just picking out the colors for this jacket. Being a wool-lover, I discarded the designers instruction of using cotton in this design. ( In addition; my grandmother was a weaver, and she would have «killed» me if I chose cotton for this project! In fact she refused to ever mentioning the designers name again (Fassett – that is) for  even considering using cotton in this design!…) I chose Rauma Finull, who have a wide range of colors to choose from. If I were to enter this project again, which I´m definitely not!!, I would have chosen a softer kind of yarn, maybe a fingering weight merino, like the Pickles; Abuelita 3 ply merino…..

My «Foolish Virgins» jacket is now living it´s own life in Western Australia, where I presume it´s main task is to keep my dear aunt warm enough during those long, cold winters ….!

I have actually won a price for my intarsia, and we have to travel back to the year of 1995 to meet the young and promising (?) me, who came second in a knitting competition for a Norwegian weekly womans magazine:Looking back, I remember I would like to have told that stylist a thing…or two. When you enter a competition like this, you don´t own your design anymore, and the way the garment is presented is out of your control. At the same time it´s interresting to observe how other people interpret the design. It´s all about perception.

I remember sending the garment off by post, after months of designing, calculating, casting on, ripping-out, casting on again, and then seeing your work grow…..-and having to rip it all up again…… until you finally get it right! A fair amount of work later, I almost attacked the woman behind the counter at the post-office when she just threw the package into the pile along with the other anonymous post! It´s like sending your «baby» off to University…I guess (haven´t been there yet…).

On the other hand; seeing as how I´ve used the color green in the design, I guess I knew it was never to be «my» sweater anyway…. When I got the sweater back, it stayed in my cabinet for a while, and then I sold it. I don´t know who bought it, but I hope the person in question took pleasure in wearing it, and that the sweater has had a good «life». Maybe it still exists? Maybe it´s still out there somewhere….?

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I don´t like green. I don´t wear it, I don´t dress my home in it, and I certainly wouldn´t dress my daughter in it! I have tried though. I have bought green, got dressed in it and looked myself in the mirror; -and I just look dead! I know I´m not alone in having unexplainable antipathies towards certain colors, -and if I´m going to try to explain my aversion towards green, apart from looking dead in it of course, this might be a clue; my childhood bedroom:

Here in happy «past bedtime» activities ( just 10 minutes more….please?) together with my cousin.

Now, some of you might argue, -quite accurately of course, that if I had had an aversion towards the color red, -or dots………, I would have been excused. But no, it´s the color of the carpet I remember. It was green and yellow speckled, and all synthetic. If you dragged your feet along the carpet and then touched the light-switch, -it went «fzzzzz», accompanied by som quite bright sparkles! Like your own private firework every night!

I´m a «floor-worker». I sort my yarn-stash on the floor, I cut sewing patterns and fabric on the floor, and I occasionally just lay on the floor reading or resting. Children especially, are all «floor-workers», but I remember always trying to avoid playing on that carpet.

A while ago, my daughter asked me if I would knit her a sweater, …a green one. I dived into my stash, and of course my stash contains greens, -I´ve never used it! I´ve got greens from the 60´s and 70´s (inherited from my granmother), the 80´s and the 90´s. (…I´ve tried, right!), and was able to present her with some beatiful burgundy wool that would make a great sweater. She just looked at me ……using the: «I´m a 100 years old and can see right through you» look, and I walked the «guilty as charged» walk back to my stash.

I found a bag (!) of Sandnes; Kitten: color army green (20 % Wool, 50 % Courtelle, 30 % Mohair) 50 gr = approx. 165 m. Needles: 4 mm. Gauge: 19 st(s) = 10 cm. This color is discontinued though……. being from the 90´s!

The yarn is held double, and knitted on 10 mm needles. It´s knitted in the round, top-down, in stockinette st(s) -turned inside out (aka purl stitches) and with ragland sleeves. It´s longer in the back, and I´ve added pockets, knitted in Cobalt blue fingering weight alpaca.

She´s pleased as punch, and I have to re-evaluate my aversion towards green! She looks great!! Period!

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Chic Chevron [for Chic Chicks…]

Oversized beanie in a two-color stranded chevron pattern and contrast edging.

One of the great joys that comes with a new season, -at least if you live in a place with seasons, is checking out the latest trends. What´s hot and what´s not! Now, I´m not a «fashionista», far from it, but I´m guilty of keeping a half-closed eye on the trends. This fall I´m quite pleased to notice that last years «parka-trend» is still very much alive. Being the happy owner of a parka (read; oh, how I wish I was able to just run to town to buy a new one…..),  I´m all set for winter, come rain (most likely) or snow (least likely). So, being a grown-up I just have to acknowledge the fact that this year is all about ……eh, well….not me.

This year´s about the 12-year old! And I have to admit that the last few weeks has been a treat. Just leaning back a bit, and listening in to the pleading, the arguments, -pro´s and con´s, and finally agreeing on a jacket she would actually be wearing, -and mum would actually be willing to pay for. Clue; sensible and fashionable!

Fortunately she´s the daughter of a knitter, and accessorizing is never a problem. At least not in my mind. I knit – she wears….. or I presume she´s going to wear. Problem is that there´s not always a direct link between mum´s taste and the dear one´s liking….believe it or not!!

Six months ago, I went a bit overboard accessorizing. She got a new «gore-tex» all-weather-jacket, -a very essential garment in this part of the world, and I knit her «the-most-fantastic» hat to go with it. I went with the colors from the jacket, picked out some wonderful merino yarn (itch-free), and constructed a «hot» chevron pattern hat. She got both the jacket and the hat as a birthday present: «here you go my dear»!

……..to her defense, she argued (accompanied by some serious eye-rolling): «…you don´t have to wear a hat in spring-time Mum!» …and she´s absolutely right, of course!

Unconsiously I had entered the «mother vs. pre-teen» trap, and this season we´re interacting! I´m stubborn and refused to abort my design-idea, and invited the girl in question along with the BF (read; the Best-Friend) to develop the design, and let them choose their own colors to go with the new jackets they´re the proud owners of. They chose alpaca, -and they chose, in my opinion, surprisingly mature colors.

 So we proudly present: Chic Chevron [for Chic Chicks…] ( available in Ravelry Store now )

The Marine/Turqoise: Garnstudio; Drops Alpaca: 50 g / 167 m.(183 yards), needles 2,5 – 3,5 mm (US 2-3), Gauge: 23 st(s) x 30 r= 10 cm

Color 1: light grey 0501, small amount

Color 2: marine / turquoise 6834 -mix, < 50 g

Color 3: turquoise 2919, < 50 g

Circumference unstretched: 53 cm / length: 28 cm

The White/Black: Du Store Alpakka; Thin Alpaca: 50 g/ 167 m (183 yards), needles 2,5 -3 (US 1 -3), Gauge: 27 m = 10 cm

Color 1: yellow 157; small amount (alt. Drops Alpaca: yellow 2923)

Color 2: sand – mix 142, < 50 g (alt. Drops Alpaca: 9020 -mix, light pearl grey, or; 100 natural, or; 2020 -mix, light camel)

Color 3: black 109, < 50 g (alt. Drops Alpaca: black 8903)

Circumference unstretched: 52 cm / length: 26

The original: Blue/Red: Pickles; Abuelita merino 3 ply; 100 g skeins / 384 m (420 yards),needles 2 – 3,5 mm. (US 1-3), Gauge: 27 – 32 st(s) = 10 cm /  6,75 – 8 stitches = 1 inch

Color 1: raw white, small amount

Color 2: cornflower, < 50 g

Color 3: red currant, < 50 g

Circumference unstretched: 52 cm / length: 26 cm

«Garnstudio´s Drops Alpaca» and «Du Store Alpakka´s Thin Alpaca», are both Norwegian brand Alpaca Yarns. Drops Alpaca is classified as a light sport weight yarn, while Du Store Alpakka; Thin Alpaca is a fingering weight yarn (as is the Pickles; Merino 3 ply). As a result of this, the Marine/Turqoise hat is both just a bit wider and longer than the White/Black hat and the Blue/Red hat.