wool&gathering

Knitting, design, wool and other gatherings….


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Incredibly thick…

dsc_0893_medium2I´ve just spent half a day of beautiful sunny spring Saturday working up a swatch to get the right gauge for Modern Garden Cardigan by Veera Välimäki.

I do have, in my stash, the right yarn for this beautiful, though special, cardigan that I have been wanting to make for a long time. It´s not Drops Eskimo, but a very similar 100% wool yarn. But I have decided against that yarn. It think it´s too hard, and I guess too itchy… This yarn, like Eskimo, would be perfect for felting or accessories, not for wearing. So I set out to «create» my own yarn by combining different yarns from my stash.

The base would have to be Viking Eco Alpaca, for the reasons that I have enough of this yarn, it´s one of the thickest yarns in my stash, and it had the right color, light grey. I just love this yarn, and it is my favourite yarn from Viking of Norway’s line of yarns. They also have a similar bulky Eco Wool which I like, and they have Bjørk (90% cotton 10% merino) which would be my current choice, if I had to buy a cotton yarn… The rest of their line is less interesting, in my opinion.

The Eco Alpaca has 125 meters to 100 grams, and would have to be paired with one or several other yarns to get the gauge of 8 st(s) = 10 cm (4 inches) on 10 mm needles (US #15).

IMG_3842Sample 1: Eco Alpaca + Drops Baby Merino, col 22 + Design.Club.Dk Duo, col 502. The colors works beautiful together. The baby merino adds body and the lambswool adds texture. Together these adds up to measure 79 m /100g.

I use der Lauflängen-Rechner to add up the yarn and measure the new length.

Sample 2: Eco Alpaca + Drops Alpaca Lace 70% alpaca 30% silk (grey) + Duo. The gauge seems a bit «looser» and the color is visibly «greyer». Together these adds up to measure 90 m /100g.

Sample 3: Eco Alpaca + Garnudsalg.dk´s Blackhill SilkeMohair col. kit + Du Store Alpakka´s Tynn Alpakka col. 142. The same «loose» gauge and a bit more fluffy. Together these adds up to measure 83 m /100g.

Sample 4: Eco Alpaca + Abuelita 3 ply (merino) col. light grey + Duo. Together these adds up to measure 80 m /100g.

Sample 5: Eco Alpaca + Drops Loves You III col. natural + Abuelita 3 ply. Together these adds up to measure 71 m /100g.

Sample 6: Eco Alpaca + Drops Loves You III col. natural + Abuelita 3 ply + Duo. Together these adds up to measure 63 m /100g.

IMG_3845IMG_3847My goal was to get under 100m/100 grams. All my samples are way within my goal, but none of them apply me with the right gauge. Sample 6 comes closest with 9,5 st(s) = 10 cm. These four yarns knitted together makes for an incredible thick yarn. Too bulky, and not what the designer intended, I think. This is a negative ease cardigan, and sample 1 – 4 is more suitable for «Modern Garden Cardigan». In addition the total content of alpaca should not be too high. I would go for sample one, if I didn´t have to buy more merino…, so sample 2 it is! I feel incredible thick for spending too much time indoors on a sunny day. Better cast on to make it worth while! I´m looking forward to this quick knit, I need that right now. I´ve already found the perfect buttons. The forecast for tomorrow is rain. Yeah!


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Intarsia

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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Sweets

Sweets – pattern in Ravelry store

I´m celebrating my first blog post by showing you my first knitting design published on Ravelry. I´ve been thinking of this for months, and being a keen reader of some great knitting (and other) blogs I´m inspired every day. Sharing your crafts and ideas with me makes me more creative and more enlightened, and I hope I can inspire some of you in return.

This design is inspired by a bowl of sweets, bought at the local store a saturday, brought home, danced around for a couple of hours and, finally, -placed on the table to be enjoyed around a board game.

To be honest I don´t get that excited in a sweet shop anymore. But give me a yarn store, or a fabric store for that matter, and I go bananas! It´s the colors, the texture and all the possibilities!

Though I usually never use cotton for knitting, I got the feeling of being “a kid in a sweet shop” when I caught sight of the colors of the cotton used in this design. I just had to buy some, and ran home to start knitting.

This is an easy and quick knit with some interesting details like longer in the back, and a small pocket in contrasting color. It´s worked in the round, seamless, with raglan sleeves and a positive ease. The pattern includes 4 different sizes: XS, S, M and L. The pictures shows “Sweet” in sizes extra small and small.

This pattern also includes a Norwegian version.


Link to Sweets in my Ravelry store: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/sweets-2

As I mentioned above, cotton isn´t my fibre of choice. 99% of my stash is wool yarn, and my next design is a merino wool pullover. The yarn is fantastic, and the pattern will be for free.