wool&gathering

Knitting, design, wool and other gatherings….


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Zipped Icelandic and “The Evolution of Knitting”…

I knitted this a few years ago. I have my Grandmothers (Gerda…) yarn in my stash, and among it I found some skeins of «Fritidsgarn» from Sandnes Garn. I don´t know when it´s from, but I´m guessing the early 70´s. This yarn is still in production, and I think I´ve listed the right colors, though they claim the main color to be “new”! I think it´s an oldie they´ve started producing again…
I´ve done some mods to the pattern: added some length to the body, added a zip after steeking, made a collar and lined it with a sport weight alpaca – I´m guessing “Du Store Alpakka” – dark brown. Fritidsgarn might be quite itchy, and the alpaca makes the cardigan / jacket more wearable!
As you may notice; I´m not particularly happy with how I´ve solved the steeking part! The stranded part of the pattern doesn´t match and it´s all too visible!! I love the jacket and I wear it a lot, but it irritates me every time I look in the mirror…

  • imagesPattern: Istèx Alafoss Lopi no. 12 – design 10, by Guðrún Jónsdóttir
  • Yarn: Sandnes Fritidsgarn, col: 4071 brown mix (main col) + 2541 Natural mix + 3161 mid brown
  • Needles: 5 + 6 mm / US 8 + 10

I found this pattern in this booklet: Istèx Alafoss Lopi no. 12

I got this from a friend who visited Iceland, and she brought back the booklet and a lot(!) of Plötulopi in various pinks. I like pink but I´m not your average «pink» girl, and though I really, really tried… I just could not knit a single pattern from the booklet, not for myself, nor my daughter, using this yarn.

You know the feeling when a gift starts to smell… You feel like the ungrateful friend not appreciating the fact that a friend actually made an effort…

I guess this is where me as a knitter meets the «world»!! To me knitting is a very personal thing. I don´t know if anyone will understand this. I think I´ve tried to address this issue before, maybe not using the same words, but I think I´m finally able to write it in «concrete»:

  1. I knit because I love it! I don´t knit because I don´t know where to keep my hands, or because I have too much time on my hands that I need to fill! – if that was the case I would go and do something else…
  2. I knit to pleasure an inner itch to create something, – and to solve a personal design puzzle…
  3. I love wool!
  4. I can never have too much yarn! (se #3)
  5. To me knitting is an adventure! I get an adrenalin-kick out of an exciting design idea, figuring out how to knit a difficult bit or just by finishing a piece. The kick I get is almost the equivalent to sky-diving …and I´ve tried it!
  6. While knitting on one project, my mind is far into the next project… always! (see #5)
  7. My mind is always working on multiple levels at the same time, and the design process of knitting keeps all the levels on the same «page», while the knitting process leaves at least one level blank and I will have to «fill» it with radio or TV or a film, to keep me going. But if I find myself in a situation where I have to knit a ready-made design for somebody else, meaning there´s no room for interpretation, large parts of my brain goes blank and I have to struggle to finish my knitting, with the consequence that I end up not enjoying my own work. All it becomes is just work! And since knitting is a personal thing that´s not a situation I want to be in! (see #1)
  8. I will never start a knitting project if I don´t feel the design goes with the yarn, which goes with the texture, which goes with the needles, which goes with the overall idea of the finished project, etc… if you get my picture…? (see #2) It´s like reading a book, – if I´m not sufficiently intrigued after page 50 I´ll start reading another book! If my favorite music artist has released some new music that does not «talk to me», I won´t download it!
  9. If you gift me a skein of yarn… or more, you´ll get the pleasure of seeing my face break in to a big smile!! …no matter what yarn (apart from acrylics of course!) I´ll be near to ecstatic!! Because I love wool! (see #3 and 4) But I can´t promise you that I´ll use the yarn any time soon… (see #7 and 8), or that I´ll use it for a project you intended it for (see #5). To me there´s a distinction between knitting and yarn… yarn is yarn, knitting is knitting! I´m not knitting to use up my yarn. It´s closely related, but both knitting and wool has a story of their own…
  10. To me, knitting has become political as well as personal; – there´s been a «knitting-revolution» going on lately, at least according to the media! «Knitting is fashionable!», «Knitting is the new Yoga!»… I agree with it all, but I don´t think this comes from a revolution. Quite contrary, it is an actual evolution! without the potent revolutionary part! In my mind it´s the media who have «slept in class», and not noticed the «Evolution of knitting!». I know for a fact that my before mentioned Grandmother Gerda spent her young-adult years providing for her family by knitting, sewing and weaving everything that was expected of her (and more…) according to the 50´s expectations of a housewife, while trying to squeeze in some mormor kofteprojects for herself, – just for the fun of «creating». In the late 70´s she´d got three Grandchildren, and knit a «kofte» (cardigan) for each of them, at least that was the idea… but when she had finished one for my cousin and one for my brother she caved in and ordered mine… She had by then knitted heaps of garments for all of us over the years, but I can clearly remember my mothers comment to this «incident»: «Oh, so she could not finish…»! And though my mother knitted for me, she ordered most of my knitted garments – so her comment did not hit home! I loved my ordered «kofte» (it had reindeer on it), and I can really relate to my Grandmothers action. Don´t waste your love of creating, – your love of knitting, on expectations! And that´s the whole “evolution of knitting”! We don´t have to knit – we knit because we´d like to! If you need a wool sweater it´s actually cheaper to buy it than to knit it. You get both better quality wool and a better sweater if you knit it yourself- but you have a choice! This has changed gradually since the 50´s, so I see no revolution!

On average I spend 60 hours knitting a sweater or a cardigan on needles 3 – 4 mm / US 2 1/2 – 4 (and I´m not a slow knitter). If I were to charge minimum wages, it would cost a customer (in Norwegian kroner, and according to Norwegian minimum wages) an approx. nkr: 170,- an hour. (US $ 28,4 / Euro 20,65), and if normal tax is deducted from this equation, the math would then look like this: 170 nkr x 60 h = 10.200 nkr. – 36% tax=  nkr: 6.528,- / US 1091 / Euro 793.

Now, would you pay nkr. 6.500,- / US $ 1090 / Euro 793 for a hand knitted sweater / cardigan, not included the cost of the yarn / buttons / zipper etc.? Think not! And If I was actually employed to do this kind of work, the cost would be even higher, adding social security, pension and employers taxes… «Home-knitting» for customers are a private marked, done by women with seemingly nothing to do with their hands (I´m being cruel here…), but the fact that they are willing to «do the job» at 1/8 of the cost I would have charged for the same amount of work tells me one thing: run as fast as your legs can carry you to find these women and order everything you can order, because they will soon be extinct.

I´m glad I don´t knit to eat – I only knit to enjoy myself. I´m proud of my knitting, and I would proudly teach you the art of knitting (though my knitting-time is precious), but I would not knit you a garment for less than minimum wages. You might not even wink at the price-tag of a hand-knitted «Missioni» or «Chanel», but as long as it´s «home-made» we all expect the cost to be low, as if the knitting expertise is lower… as if!?… And if you have read this post you´ll know I find this to be a «…women worst» kind of attitude!

Hardanger embroidery

Hardanger embroidery

15 yrs ago I visited a church on the west-coast of Norway. I knew my grand, grand, grand something – father had some connection to the previous church here, and I had an interest in seeing some of the items that I knew belonged to the «old» church. Most of the churches in Norway are not open to the public besides «opening-hours», and I was happy to find an open church door, in addition to being greeted by two lovely ladies handing me a leaflet. «It tells the history behind every «art-piece» in the church», they said. «Who made it, and when.» Ha!, my lucky day!! I went in, and the first thing I saw was the magnificent altar cloth, made in the finest «Hardanger embroidery» you can imagine. I´m lousy at embroidery, but I know enough to know my own limits… and I flipped through the leaflet to see who had made this wonderful piece of art, and when it was made. I hurried back to the lovely ladies by the door, explaining that I missed a page in my leaflet, because the tablecloth was not mentioned. They looked a bit bewildered, and had to admit that the tablecloth was not included in the leaflet… In fact, all the «art-pieces» worth mentioning were made by men!

Sometimes I feel like my, at the time, 8-year-old cousin, who during an overseas flight had all the time in the world to watch the stewardesses. She finally turned to her mother and said: «Mum, how long do you have to be a stewardess before you can become a pilot?»…

Happy 8th of March tomorrow!


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Simplicity at it´s best…

Color-block ´90

Color-block ´90

A Norwegian commercial states: «The simple are often the best!». And though I seldom shop that brand, of convenience reasons, I can relate to the statement!

When I ramble through the many excellent knitting-blogs out there, a question knitters and designers often raise is; – what kind of knitted garments do we actually end up wearing? I guess this question is asked opposed to; – what do we enjoy knitting the most?

As an aspiring designer these questions are on the top of my list whenever a new design idea emerges from the notebook onto the needles…

So, what do I end up wearing?

I end up wearing the simple designs. It does not have to be the easiest knitting-patterns, – but the look of the finished garment needs to be «toned down» and not the “center of attention»… if you get where I´m heading….? I´ve got shelves full of «statement-knits» I never wear. Knitting them was a lot of fun, but when I stand there, monday morning, wondering what to wear, – these knits just takes too much of an effort to put on… which is a shame given the time it took to knit them! What a waste of good wool …or?

feb´91

feb´91

Fashion goes in circles, and this beauty was recently excavated from the bottom of a plastic container in the attic. I knit this in 1990! That is 24 years ago!! Apart from a distinct «old» smell I can easily get rid of, this sweater fits right in to todays «look»! The pattern is my own, – and I know this because I can clearly remember the picture from that German magazine that inspired me. I can´t remember the name of the magazine, but the picture showed a Annie Lennox-like model jumping from the pavement (sidewalk) over a rain puddle, wearing «worn-out» oversized jeans with rolled up legs and black dr Martens shoes, and a sweater resembling this, just in black with brown color-block! I also knit this in black and brown, luckily with picture proof! (knit in Garnsudio´s “Karisma” – and back then this yarn came in 100g skeins… and it was, to my knowledge not superwash…? anyone?…)

This gray / petrol sweater is knit bottom-up in “Rauma Finull”, and if there´s anything I would change about it to make it a bit more wearable for the fourty-something me, it would be to remove the turtle-neck and knit an edge, – not sure just how wide that edging should be, but I just know I would not wear a turtle neck! Not that I don´t like the look of turtle-necks, I just don´t like wearing them…

Which brings me to the conclusion of my Saturday thoughts… – I should, right now, have been on my way to Oslo, – a xmas / birthday gift from a friend, but I ended up back home «ferry-stuck»!, due to strong winds… and when arriving back home after an aimless attempt to cross the fjord, I had to «make the best of it» …so there´s some bread dough brewing on the kitchen counter, some lamb & coriander soup simmering on the stove and these thoughts to keep me from feeling too sorry about the whole situation!

The (still…) early fourty-something me has more or less the same taste in clothes as the twenty-something me had, only I´ve experienced that «liking it» does not always mean «wearing it»!… And my clue is «simplicity made simpler»…

Secret of Change IV

Secret of Change IV

frksnupp´s (fwss - a shameless copy)

frksnupp´s (fwss – a shameless copy)

…which is why I knit this a while ago: “frksnupp´s Angora Hat (fwss – a shameless copy)”. FrkSnupp is a Norwegian blogging knitter, and she has released this free-pattern. I translated the pattern to English, with frksnupp´s thumbs up!, and it can be downloaded through Ravelry here: I have written a post(s) about this pattern before, and you can find it here:

I have also cast on my 4th «Secret of Change» shawl by Veera Välimäki. This time in a dream of cobweb-thin 100% Cashmere… (thread held double).

Both patterns are long-time tested, and found to be really «wearable».

All good! Have a great Saturday!!


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New pattern: “Winter Tires” / “Vinterdekk”…

IMG_3734

Winter Tires / Vinterdekk

Scroll down for Norwegian / Norsk lenger ned på siden:

Twice a year you´ll find Norwegian car-owners breaking their backs changing tires. All 4 tires must be replaced by tires more suited to the environment. Winter roads can be very slippery (read; icy), and it´s required to be prepared for any road conditions. I guess many people will drive their car to a Garage and let the professionals take care of the job, -but not me! Oh no, I get my hands dirty twice a year! I´m currently down to doing the whole operation in 30 minutes. (*hearing applause*) Thank you!

Every spring I dress the car in summer tires. And every fall I take them off and replace them with winter tires. Winter tires are different from summer tires (which are the sort of tires you probably have on your car…), in many ways. The rubber used are different. The pattern, and the depth of the sipes, are different. Summer tires has a minimum depth of 1,6 mm, while winter tires has a depth of 5mm (min. 3mm). There´s a version of winter tires with studs in them (snow tires.wiki). I prefer those (feels safer), but they´re not good for the environment because they whirl up asphalt dust if the road is not covered in snow or ice. In some Norwegian cities you will be charged extra to use these tires. I´m environment-friendly in the sense that I use the non-studded tires (not that I find driving a car to be especially sustainable for the environment in the first place, -but I live in a quite remote area and need a car to get, well, anywhere…) But I do bike to work!

IMG_3737

Winter Tires / Vinterdekk

I´ve called my new beanie/hat pattern «Winter Tires» because the texture of the cables together with the color of the bulky yarn reminds me of winter tires. You can chose to make it studded by adding silver beads! What a great idea!! Note to self! Must make spiked version…

  • Yarn: Bulky: Mirasol Yarn «SULKA» col. S 211 Black
  • 60% merino, 20% alpaca, 20% silk
  • 3 skeins à 50 g/50 m(55 yd) (2 skeins without the pom-pom.)
  • Tip: make the pom-pom in scrap yarn…
  • Gauge: 16 st(s) = 10 cm /4 inch.
  • Needles: Circular needle 40 cm and double pointed needles; 6 mm / US 10.
  • Tools: Cable needle, tapestry needle, 1 stitch-marker, pom-pom maker.
  • One size: Fits head-circumference 54 – 58 cm / 211/2 – 223/4 inch. The size can be altered by using another yarn, alt. change needle size.

Cozy, cabled, oversized beanie. Easy and quick knit.

The yarn is soft yet firm, and is perfect for a beanie. The merino/alpaca/silk mix adds a very nice shine and the result is a «no itch» hat.

The pom-pom is of course optional. The pattern costs nkr. 20,- ($ 3,25)

Winter Tires / Vinterdekk

Winter Tires / Vinterdekk

Norsk:

Jeg har kalt mitt nye luemønster “Vinterdekk” fordi flettemønsteret i det tykke, svarte garnet minner meg om vinterdekk. Du kan velge å strikke inn sølv-perler for å lage en piggdekk versjon…

  • Garn: Bulky: Mirasol Yarn «SULKA» farge: S211 svartmelert
  • Føres i Norge via “Du Store Alpakka”.
  • 60% merinoull, 20% alpakka, 20% silke
  • 3 stk à 50 gr/50 m (2 stk uten dusk. Tips: lag dusk i restegarn)
  • Strikkefasthet: 16 m = 10 cm
  • Pinner: Rundpinne 40 cm og strømpepinner nr 6 mm.
  • Utstyr: Flettepinne, maske-markør, stoppenål, duskmaker.
  • En størrelse: «over-sized»,  passer hodeomkrets 54-58 cm. Størrelsen kan endres ved å bruke annet garn eller større el. mindre pinner.

Lettstrikket, lun og god «over sized» lue med enkelt flettemønster.

Garnet er mykt, men har samtidig godt hold, som passer bra til luer. Merino/alpakka/silke-blandingen gir en fin glans og resultatet er en lue som ikke klør.

Dusken er selvfølgelig valgfri. Mønsteret koster nkr. 20,- (via Ravelry)


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Some progress on Landfall…

I really enjoy knitting “Landfall”, though it will be a fairly slow knit! The texture and the color of the yarn(s) really works, and I can so picture myself wearing this!

The pattern is well written, and I had no problems setting it up. I was spot-on gauge with my self-composed yarn and the yak/merino/lambswool/cashmere (in that order) creates a light and soft texture with a high stitch-definition. Just the right choice for a cabled jacket!

I would, of course, have liked to knit “Landfall” in the yarn it is supposed to be knit in: Brooklyn Tweed: “Shelter”. I haven´t had the pleasure of knitting with “Shelter” yet, but I hope I will in the future. The range of colors, the “tweedy” look of it and fact that they use locally grown wool for the yarn are all agreeable with my taste in yarn. But this yarn is not sold anywhere near here, and I was lucky enough to have almost all the yarn I needed for this in my stash. The cost of my choice in yarn(s) is approx.: nkr: 720,- / $117 / GBP 71. If I were to use the original yarn I would have had to pay the double + 25% import tax! I´m a single mum on a budget, and as my ever so clever Grandmother (Gerda) used to say: “Need teaches naked woman to make her own yarn*” (*=spin her own yarn). 😀

I´m currently 20cm (7,9″) on my way on the back-panel, just under 1/3 before the arms… I need to set myself agreeable middle-goals for this one… I´m not going to blog more posts about this project before it´s finished, but if you´d like to follow the progress, you can see my ravelry  “Landfall” project-page here:

By the way, I´m knitting this on my new ChiaGoo needles (metal), a gift from my former employer AG. Thank you so much!! These needles works really well with two strands of yarn held together… They´re pointy, and helps not splitting the yarn(s).


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I landed on Landfall…

BT 14  Landfall

BT 14 Landfall

I just knew I had to knit “Landfall” from Brooklyn Tweed 14.

So, I have started.

I had almost all the yarn in my stash, which is not bad considering the size of the project. I just had to order two more skeins of “Changthang” from Polo&Co. It´s listed as a sport weight yarn, though it has 400 m / 100g. I wondered about that when I ordered it, but it really behaves like a thicker yarn. It´s a 50% Yack- 50% merino yarn, and I absolutely love both the texture of the yarn and the color! It was also delivered very quickly!

The other yarn is “Blackhill Cashmere Lammeuld 17-2” yarn from Garnudsalg. It has 900 m  /100g, and is listed as cobweb weight. The color is “Rullesten”.

These two, held together creates just the right  gauge for my “Landfall” jacket. I´ve started on the back panel. The pattern is well written, the charts makes sense and I didn´t make any mistakes in the set up… I highly recommend it.

I can´t remember the last time I knit a garment flat. Must have been at least 10 yrs ago, if not more. Not my favourite, but I´ve decided to give it a go. It´s also nice to knit from an actual pattern for a change, and not always having to squeeze my brain on my own designs. But I hope you´ll cheer me on with this one, because I think it will take some time and patience to finish it!

…and yes, I have the best project-bag ever! That helps, -a bit!