Knitting, design, wool and other gatherings….

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Just lovely…

Found this video on lovely Slagt en hellig ko´s blog.

Just had to share

Since 1955, Loes Veenstra has knitted over 550 sweaters and stored them in her home on the 2nd Carnissestraat in Rotterdam. The sweaters have never been worn. Until today.
The sweater are all presented in a book called “Het Verzameld Breiwerk van Loes Veenstra uit de 2e Carnissestraat” designed by Christien Meindertsma. This book is published by Wandschappen for DNA Charlois. For orders: http://www.dnacharlois.nl.

Loes and the fruit of her decades of knitting were ‘discovered’ by Museum Rotterdam. The museum has put her sweaters on display as part of the exhibition ´Over leven in Carnisse´ (Life in Carnisse)


Selbu Mittens

I´ve decided my old Selbu Mittens from this post, to be ones for the archive. They were in desperate need of mending, but in addition the inevitable felting process had gone too far, and the pair had simply become too small.

This is of course quite sad, considering the amount of time I spent knitting them, but also quite awarding considering the amount of time I spent wearing them! When a pair of 100% Norwegian wool Selbu mittens are worn out after 10 yrs, it simply states their popularity.

So I had to knit myself a new pair, and was given the opportunity to try out a new pattern. The search was on, and let´s just admit it; «Selbu» is a world known consept, and the amount of patterns for traditional Selbu Mittens are overwhelming (google selbu mittens, -or in Norwegian: selbuvotter, and you´ll see). Thick or thin, colorful or natural, synthetic or wool, «based on» or true to the original. But what is the original? I´m not judging here, merely stating my personal view upon the matter; «Selbu Mittens» has to be made of 100% wool, and the pattern has to be based on one or several of the patterns traditionally used in Selbu. Originally Selbu Mittens were knittet in thin homespun wool, a lot thinner than you´d find in the yarn store today, and consecuently knitted on very thin needles. My fingers are sore after knitting on needles 2,5 mm (US 1,5). I once inherited knitting needles which didn´t fit in my pin gauge measure -thing, they were thinner than 2mm (US 0), probably 1,5 mm. I tried them, and it´s like knitting with sewing needles! Traditionally ladies mittens had ribbing like in my mittens, while mens mittens had cuffs.

These mittens are knitted in very thin wool, and are mens mittens. Suggested needles 2mm (US 0). I`d like to knit these at one point, and I think I´ve found the perfect yarn for it: Design Club´s DUO. A Danish brand lambswool, 540 meters to 100 grams.

The first Selbu Mittens are believed to be knitted in about 1850 by an 11-yr old girl called Marit Emstad, the «mother of Selbu-knitting». She´s supposedly the first to use two contrast colored threads and creating a stranded pattern. The technique spread rapidly, and in the beginning of the 19th century mittens and socks were knitted for sale by the locals due to an increasing demand from the growing «outdoors» fitness trend in and around the capitol (Oslo). In my opinion the three best known original Norwegian knitting patterns is: Selbu, Setesdal and Fana.

What´s interresting is that all three pattern techniques developed in the mid 18th century. 1850 seems to be a clue here. Why did Norwegians radically change their knitting from one-colored frocks and socks to two-color (stranded) knitted items within one generation? Where did the inspiration come from, and why did it become so popular? I´ll do some more research and write another post about this later.

In my search of a new pattern for selbu mittens I came across the Northman mittens. I´m up for new ideas and the idea of a lined Selbu mitt was more than I could resist.


The pattern is great! The idea is great! But I´ll never use them…I think. Why? -they´re just too thick! It´s the sort of mittens you use when you sit still, …or walk slowly. When I´m outside in the winter I hardly ever sit still, and I never walk slowly. But most importantly I need layering. Let´s imagine a day of cross country skiing.IMG_3587

Layer A: Icebreaker Glove Liner, Layer B: Selbu Mittens, Layer C: Norrøna Windbreaker Mittens

You may start by crossing a frozen lake, it´s a bit windy but not too freezing. Your body is not yet warm, and a lot of the body´s heat loss is through the hands. I need layer A + B. Having crossed the lake you start walking uphill, aiming the mountain top in the distance and two layers of mittens are too warm. Layer A are off. After the first break your hands are cold, and layers A+B are on again. When you finally reach the windy mountain top, layers A+B+C are needed. Repeat instructions backwards when descending.

Well, I ended up knitting myself a new pair of the same Selbu mittens as before. Not in 100% Norwegian wool this time, but in 100% merino. Not the same, not even near the same. So what´s the difference? Merino probably won´t felt as much, but they won´t be as warm. I guess we´ll see in 10 yrs time how useful they have been.

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DIY or dye …as it happens!

My New Years resolution #1 this year is: NOT TO BUY A SINGLE SKEIN OF YARN!

Status 8th of January:

yarn bought: 0

hours browsing the internet for fabulous and mouthwatering heavenly yarn: approx. 5,5 h

My grandmother was a wisard in the art of «sayings», …or directly translated from Norwegian: «words of wisdom» (I prefer the Norwegian…). And one local word of wisdom she often had to inform me of is: «Distress (as in poverty) teaches naked woman to spin.» (Nød lærer naken kvinne å spinne.) There may be a similar saying in English, there usually is….

So what to do when you can´t buy any wool yarn? -dye your own!


Luckily I happened to have a cone (1,5 kilos) of undyed baby alpaca just laying around, bought at Garnudsalg.dk., and started by winding it into 100 gram skeins. This is a thin alpaca; fingering / lace weight and 600 meters to 100 grams. Winding is pretty boring in general, but when you´re very eager to start the dyeing prosess it takes forever!! So I decided to start with 3 skeins.

I had some old licquid Batik fabric coloring in my stash, and used vinegar to set the dye. I´m quite autodidact in my way of working,  -I do first and read later. If I´d read, instead of flipping through the instructions I downloaded, I would have known that alpaca isn´t the easiest yarn to dye. I would also have known that alpaca wool need a higher temperature, and later, a longer cooling period to set the dye properly. I´ve also learned, -the hard way, that you will need more of the black and blue dye, than the red, yellow and green.

I decided to dye one skein grey, one burgundy and one teal. As you can see I didn´t succeed in making any of those colors……

I ended up with a skein of apricot / rust, a skein of brown and last but not least; a skein of green. I´ve blogged about my aversion towards green here. And let´s just agree that this green didn´t help much…. The skein of apricot / rust is actually not bad at all….. the color is growing on me! I´m thinking a scarf, maybe lightly felted…….

I also put a skein of merino into the dye pots, and it came out black. I was aiming for a dark blue with hints of black……

But I had a great time trying. The hours flew, and working with wool is always a pleasure. I will definitely try dying wool yarn again.

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2013´s first project…


Project #1: Socks for Tea

These were initially an additional Christmas present I never got around to finish in time…. not even start:)

Yarn: Viking Sportsragg (100% Wool Superwash): 50g =100m (110yd)

Needles: 3,5 mm / US 4

I cast on 48 st(s) on dpn´s, and knitted in *k2 + p2* until the leg measured 16 cm. After I finished the heel, I decreased 3 st(s) on each side within the first 10 rounds of the foot. This pair measures 24 cm´s from heel to toe, and the pair weighs 90 g. So you´ll only need 2 skeins for a one-colored pair.

The pink is really neon, -a bit hard to capture when the lights are low….

New Year and new possibilities…

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New year and new possibilities….. But also a time to sum up last years achievements. And which ever way you look at it, 2012 was not a year for physical achievements: Here is the grueling numbers:

physical activity

2012 was the year for meeting myself in the door…. Not to be recommended, yet still, interesting in its ways…. I could see it coming, but I guess you can never be ready for the impact! And since we´re in the process of summing up – what have I learned? Well, I´ve learned to keep all the good people! I´ve learned that I´m still standing! And I´ve learned that you can´t shed old scars, but you can learn to live with them….. And it´s of course a continuing process…..

But the most important thing I learned in 2012 was that when everything else (well, almost….) falls apart – I´m still a knitter! What do I do when I´m angry? – I knit! …scared? – I knit! …happy? – I knit! …sad? – I knit!

So over the summer of 2012 I decided to take knitting a step further, and allowed myself to «disappear» into the world of yarn, knitting needles, measurments, calculating and writing. I think it was Einstein who said: Creativity is 1% idea and 99% perspiration. How true! It feels exhausting being in this little room of creating, but very rewarding once you can let yourself out with a finished project or design. It´s bad for vacuuming or summit climbing, but very good for your ego!

Good thing this is a knitting blog:) …here is the more positive numbers:

Knitted this year: 27 820 meters in 42 projects

knitting status 2012

I always think I knit in a very egotistical way: me, me, me…and then maybe a gift or two….. Oh how I love statistics, because numbers don´t lie! (of course the person entering the numbers might lie….. but I swear:)….)

The majority of meters knitted in 2012 were knitted for others than myself. I´m very happy about that, but I think my goal for 2013 is to increase the yellow part of the cake to between 55- and 60%. I already know the blue piece of the chart will increase some in 2013, which means that the numbers of gifts  will shrink, a lot. Additionally, everything knitted for my daughter is summed up as gifts in the chart…. Next Christmas will not be soft gifts all over. So to all the recipiants of knitted gifts in 2012: wear with pride, -and hand wash only:)

I´m still not used to taking pictures of all my projects – a new goal for 2013. But heres some of 2012´s finished pieces:

A more negative side-effect of letting yourself slide into the «knitting-world» is the fascination for yarn -all wool yarn. There´s literally mountains of wonderful and exciting wool yarn out there! And that´s been my summit climbing this past year. I´ve stashed up! Not physically rewarding, and certainly not rewarding for the wallet! But oh so rewarding for the eyes and the imagination!

Curiosa: I´ve in 2012 earned the neat sum of nkr.: 90,- ($ 17) on my designs……

And since we´re in the process of summing up; here´s my meters of stash added to ravelry (not counting the very old stash….): 60 985 meters!!

If I can knit in approximately the same speed as in 2012, I´ll be able to use up nearly half of my stash. And yes… I´ve made a list. And yes, of course I´ll alter the list along the way:) But my main new year resolutions for 2013 is:

New year resolution #1:


(gifts are of course welcome:))

New year resolution #2:


I know 2013 will be a year of texture, nature, burgundy, dark blue, black, grey and greige

with a touch of bronze and a dash of bright pink/citrus.

2013 will hopefully contain a bit of blogging, a lot of knitting, designing, physical activity,  a summit or two, an archaeological excavation of something I vaguely remember as a sewing machine,…. and interaction with good (old) and new friends!

…and no new yarn! (…sobbing….)


Inspiration for 2013

So, what remains in this blog post on the second day of 2013, is to thank all the good people from 2012! For all your help, inspiration, comforting, cheering- and backing up! I´ve met some fantastic new and inspirational people, and I´ve communicated with knitters from all corners of the world. But most importantly: A very special thanks to Hilde Gunn, tante Kjersti and Hege for being my rocks!, my daughter for being my everyday sunshine, and my dad for hanging in there!

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