wool&gathering

Knitting, design, wool and other gatherings….


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Buttons…

IMG_5460My least favorite part of the knitting process is searching for the right buttons… I admit to being picky, and I quite often spend a lot of time and energy finding just the right buttons. These two projects have been finished for a time now, -just lacking the last important finish; buttons!

I bought the Butterfly-buttons for my Lipstick Cardigan a long time ago. The color is just perfect for this cardigan. I´m not really the Butterfly kind of person, but it was the best I could find. I visited some yarn shops on my resent mini-holiday, and bought a set of new buttons, but they were not really right either… So it was back to the Butterflies. They really work from a distance, but close up I just want to re-state that I´m not the Butterfly kind of person, and that these buttons are in support of the alarmingly decreasing population of certain types of Butterflies! (who´s going to pollinate our crops when there´s no bees, humble-bees or butterflies left…?)

I bought the metal-striped buttons (on the left in the picture) for my Gerda´s Cardigan IV, but found them to be a bit on the shiny side. I liked the fact that they were striped, -to go with the stripes in the cardigan, but upon searching through my extensive old stash of buttons from -not 3 decades, -but 3 centuries!! (see this post), I found these “worn-out” metal´ish buttons. They add just the right “look” to the cardigan, and they also pick up some of the blue color in the project. The fact that I could only find 6 of them when I was in need of 7, and had to complete with a different button in the same material, just adds to the “worn-out” look! Satisfied!

On my before mention mini-holiday I found this yarn: Norsk Pelsull from Hifa, one of the few yarn-producers in Norway that still uses Norwegian wool in their production. I´ve only seen this yarn online before, and finally got to see the different colors “live”. I bought 5 skeins, in the colors 1115 natural gray, 1112 coral and 1108 oker (yellow). With it I also bought these buttons. These are traditional “kofte”-buttons, used for generations. I remember having these buttons on one of my childhood´s “kofte”. I´m really looking forward to sew these buttons on a kofte made from Norsk Pelsull. The image on the button is from the famous Norwegian author Henrik Ibsen´s play “Peer Gynt” act 1, scene: “the Buckride”. The last picture shows some of the traditional buttons /buckles I found in my stash. The top ones are silver, and would traditionally be used for “Bunad“, but there´s no laws against using it for knitted pieces… if you can be bothered polishing the buttons on a regular basis:)


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Fog&Whisper in Cozy Silk / Stone

My Fog&Whisper is finished (for a while now…), and I´m quite satisfied with the result! The pattern is Veera Välimäki´s Fog and Whisper. A versatile short cardigan with front panels in garter stitch. This project involves a lot of purling, apart from the front panels and the sleeves, -but still a lot of purling for my taste. But I found that purling can in fact make an otherwise quite tedious stretch of knit stitches a bit more interesting… You know that purling takes more time and therefore you settle with that, where as knit stitches in the round grows very slowly because in your mind you´re almost done… before you even start… The yarn: WalkCollection´s Cozy Silk Fingering / col. Stone was great for this project, and a delight to knit with!

I´ve done some alterations to the pattern instructions: I cast on for size 38”, and did the raglan increases only every 4th row for the last 4 increasing rows before dividing for the body/sleeves, to make the upper body a bit longer. Then I made 8 new st(s) under each arm. I knit the remaining close to size 42”
The pattern instructions says to knit in reversed stockinette, with the increases on the purl side. This to make the raglan increases less visible I think… I´m wearing this purl side out, and knit this in stockinette, and did the increases on the knit side. I made the body 5 cm shorter, and picked up 118 sts for each front band + 92 for the collar. Gauge: 24,5 st = 10 cm.

Just to settle the fact that I´ve cured myself of any purling-phobia, I´ve cast on for another sweater: V-neck Stripes. (yes I know, -it needs a new name…) It´s knit using the same method as with my Cashmere Summer TopMagic cast on on the shoulders. A few short rows to shape the shoulder part, and the fronts- and back part knitted from the shoulder stitches, and then all the stitches gathered on a circular needle for the boxy shaped body. I´ll pick up stitches around the arm holes for the sleeves. Love this soft alpaca, light fingering yarn from Malabrigo! I have to admit the fun part of the knitting is over. Only the upper-body involves purling, the rest is just plain knit stitches in the round, which in my mind is already finished …which it´s not! By far:)

To end this post; a few pictures from my trip to the wonderful world of hiking and kayaking in the heart of the Norwegian Fjords & Mountains: the county of Sogn og Fjordane on the west-coast of Norway. We had snow-storm on 1100 meters just to find 25 degrees celsius by the fjord the same afternoon… when you reach the top of the mountains it feels like you´re on the roof of the world with view of glaciers, 2000 meter tops and small villages scattered in the valleys between the steep mountain sides. Wild and fabulous!


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Secret of Change V…

Secret of Change V

Secret of Change V

We´re sort of soul-mates, the Secret of Change shawl (by Veera Välimäki) and I. But when I decided to use the 2 skeins of WalkCollection BFL sock for a shawl, the search for a new pattern was on. I ended up with a few choices; Fresia, Dendrology and Charm. But as you see, I ended up with the Secret of Change, again… The Secret of Change V. I usually either knit from the top of my head, or jump at the opportunity at a new and exciting design. I very rarely knit the same pattern over again if it´s not my own pattern that I need to improve on.

So why have I ended up knitting the Secret of Change shawl 5 times? I could admit to poor imagination or laziness, but it´s really the great design. The shawl has a classic ease to it and the eylet details are a beautifully incorporated part of the construction and the overall “look”. It has a perfect size for a shawl (mostly used as a scarf) and the garter stitches makes it an easy knit. I simply just love the look of this shawl, and it´s also interesting to see the different versions in the different fibers.

Secret of Change collection

Secret of Change collection

Secret of Change collection

Secret of Change collection

My first version dyed&changed, was knit in a gray self dyed corriedale superwash sock yarn. The yarn is quite “hard” on the skin, and was only my favorite shawl until I knit the next one. The Another Secret. A dream in light pearl gray alpaca. My third: Secret III, was knit in Black Trillium Fiber Studio Pebble Silk Sock, in a pink/purple washed out color with some yellow and gray speckles. It´s beautiful but the color is quite special and you need the right occasion and the right outfit for it. My 4th version, the Secret of Change IV is a lot more versatile in that respect, being knit in a heavenly charcoal lambswool/cashmere lace yarn, held double. So I think knitting a 5th Secret of Change was a only a rational choice, since everybody needs a shawl in a great blue/green color, and my collection of shawls has got the perfect addition, just to wrap it up, so to speak…

Vertices Unite

Vertices Unite

And speaking of re-knitting a pattern, I just had to… a second Vertices Unite by Westknits. A long-time project this time, I think… I´m using “Mari“, a 80% KidMohair 20% Lambswool, fingering weight from Telespinn, a Norwegian grown and spun yarn. I´ve had this yarn in my stash for ages, and The VU shawl is perfect for this yarn. I´ll also mix in some left-over Alpaca/Silk from Old Maiden Aunt and Shilasdair Luxury fingering. I don´t have enough yarn for the Large size, so I´ll just adjust the size to the amount of yarn.


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Some days, like today, I would like the right to just spell it out…

PrintI´ve just read the Rowan e-newsletter of Febuary 2014. It shows a few nice knitting designs, but mostly crochet designs which I care less about… this is after all a knitting blog! But what caught my interest was an article on page 7, about a new campaign; «Love Your Yarn Shop». I think that´s a great initiative, and I hereby pass the idea on to my LYS (local yarn shop)!

My LYS: «Sy med oss» offers a good range of Norwegian yarn + Kauni (Estonian). What I love about my LYS apart from their excellent knitting-cafè once a week, is being able to drop by, have a nice chat, search through the shelves filled with wool in all colours and qualities, being inspired by a new yarn or a showpiece, get a new knitting tool and get valuable advice from a person(s) that really know what they are talking about! And above of all; -they always greet you with a smile, and treat every «dumb» question with a positive attitude; «yes, I´ll see what I can do», -and «I´ll do some research and get back to you!». Contrary to; «No, we´re out!», or; «No, we can´t do that!», if they notice you at all…

I´ve been frequenting yarn shops since the age of 11, and seen a lot of horrendous behavior from yarn shop staff! Some even look you straight in the eyes while giving you crap advice they surely must know are, well …crap! Maybe I don´t look the part? Maybe I don´t look like a «knitter»? – whatever a knitter looks like…? Or maybe I don´t look rich enough to buy their precious yarn, which they guard like it is a costly treasure not yet ripe to leave the shelves!

At the age of 23 I had just finished my «Foolish Virgins» by Kaffe Fassett! I went to my LYS at that time, to get yarn for another intarsia-project I intended for a knitting contest. The woman behind the counter would not order an additional shade of my yarn of choice because «there are not enough room in the shelves for more yarn, and you probably won´t ever pick up your ordered yarn anyway! We can´t just order any yarn for any customer you know! And by the way, intarsia is best knitted in the round (?!), – if you knit this flat you´ll never finish it…!» I just looked at this middle-aged woman thinking: I am – at the age of 23 – a far more experienced knitter than you´ll ever be! …and left the shop. I had to wait a few months before I could buy my yarn in another shop (this was before the internet…), I finished my intarsia-project and came second in that knitting-contest!

Well, I am myself ehm, middle-aged (?!) now, and I probably finally «look the part», at least I get better treatment in the various yarn-shops…

I do not want to be «the angry customer»! I just don´t see the point in that! I want to support my local yarn shops! I want to buy local yarn from actual persons!

Which leads me to the main point of this post: Above all; I do not want to be «the angry knitter»! And I find myself becoming more and more angry… which is a contradiction given my age. Aren´t you supposed to get less angry with age?

I live in a country with on average the best educated women in the world. We have the highest income per capita in the whole universe, while the cost of yarn is on average compared to rest of the western world. Still, a lot of my fellow Norwegian women insists on their «right» to knit using mainly cheap, imported acrylic-based yarn! I´m member of a facebook-group called «Koftegruppa», and they recently had to close down a discussion-thread because the «acrylics-lovers» felt harassed!! Well, I followed that thread, and did not see any form of harassment among the comments, but if you feel the right to shout out to other knitters: «I use whatever yarn I like, -it´s all about the joy of knitting, and I don´t care about the yarn-industry or where the yarn comes from or how sustainable or local it is, just as long as it´s cheap!» -you should be prepared for opposition! Just as I´m ready for any opposition to this post! I know I´m stepping on toes here….

But ladies, -step it up will you?!!

There´s a saying in Norway: «Women are women worst!», meaning, I guess, we´re experts in keeping each other down, not supporting each other. In relation to knitting I say this because I´m seriously concerned about the local wool industry. There are only three Norwegian commercial yarn mills left! And most of the wool they use are foreign. Nothing wrong with foreign wool, but the status of Norwegian wool are very low. Sheep are kept only for the meat because the wool-price are low, and about 70% of our wool are destructed! And most of the remaing 30% are used as insulation. What a waste! And we´re also in the process of «loosing» the original types of sheep that we know to produce good quality wool, and we´re loosing valuable knowledge about these types of sheep! We can cheer on the enthusiasts for some more years, but eventually they´ll collectively realize that the «market» don´t appreciate their work… Now, I know that a few knitters can´t change the whole wool-industry, but we can make a small change by demanding better products! By buying locally you can help ensuring local employment and knowledge. By buying yarn from local mills you can help ensuring we still have 3 commercial mills left in Norway in 10 years time (or more…) and by buying locally you also support the local designers. Norwegian knitting designers carry a long and proud line of iconic designs, and I think they do a great job developing this design-heritage! If the mills close down, designers are left without their major support, and there will be fewer of them.

So next time you want to knit a garment, buy smart; buy locally, buy sustainable and don´t borrow the knitting-pattern from your neighbour, -buy it yourself to support the designer!

It´s possible to «save yourself poor», and I think that is exactly what we are doing at the moment!

yarn_store_dayoutlined_459_458I know my readers are mostly not Norwegian, so why do I address my concerns here on this blog? Well, first I think this applies world wide. There is a reason for launching campaigns like the brilliant British «Campaign for Wool». And someone clearly feels the need for campaigns like the before mentioned «Love Your Yarn Shop». As a dedicated knitter and wool lover I say: «Look to Britain!», -because they have managed to turn the whole wool industry into something overall sustainable and fashionable. So I know it´s possible!

Secondly; if you come to Norway as a tourist, and let´s say you want to travel through the beautiful, and now also on the World Heritage list; The famous Norwegian Fjords; all you´ll see are trees! I´m exaggerating here, but in a few years this will be the reality! If we continue to buy heaps of cheap acrylic yarn, the amount of sheep to keep the «forestation» on a sustainable level will be too low! All you´ll see are tunnells and trees! I know because I live here and see the changes from year to year!

8th of March is only a week away and for the first time in my life I´ll join the march! There are only two issues I´ll join the protest-march for; If my right to vote are threatened, or if my right to have an abortion are threatened! In my opinion these are the two main democratic rights for women! Our new right-wing coalition-government are, as far as I can see it, threatening my right to have an abortion by allowing medical physicians to chose if they want to refer patients wanting an abortion to the hospital, or not. In other words, -they want to allow doctors to refuse to give the help the patient needs! This might not be the biggest problem in the world, -you can go to another doctor, or go straight to the hospital and get the help you need, -but it´s the principal! If the right-wing female politicians act as «…women worst», and send a signal to all the other politicians, and to all the people of Norway, – that really, really scared women in a really, really difficult situation should feel even more scared and bewildered because they have the power to do so! What for?

I´ve never had to have an abortion, and being ehm, middle-aged (?!) I probably will never need one, but I´ll march for my daughter and all the other women that might need one! I´ll march for my basic democratic rights and I´ll march for women to stop being «…women worst!». Use whatever yarn you like, and vote whatever you like, but know the implications! And come on!, please don´t scream: «harassment!» if someone questions your right to imported acrylic yarn…. If you join me in the parade next Saturday we can shout «Harassment!!» together, and it will be worth it!!

The three Norwegian commercial wool mills:

Some Norwegian private wool mills:


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“Plucky Everyday” now also in Norwegian…

Scroll down for Norwegian / norsk lengre nede på siden….

Plucky Everyday

Plucky Everyday

My free pattern “Plucky Everyday” was rewritten a while ago, and I´ve long wanted to translate it to Norwegian (yes; I write my patterns mainly in English, which is quite awkward, being Norwegian…) I blame Ravelry! I had to learn to knit in English to get access to all the wonderful patterns out there, and I find English / American knitting patterns to be much richer in details than the Norwegian ones, both in instructions and construction. This has “leveled” out some over the last years, but I quite often have to squeeze my brain trying to translate very common English knitting-terms to Norwegian. The terms simply does not exist in Norwegian, or; they are described in a rather difficult way… In this instance I´ve had to make up a totally new term for explaining krl and kll, an important part of the “Plucky Everyday” pattern. I hope the Norwegian readers will excuse me for this, and I also hope I haven´t missed it if there actually are a term for this…

Norsk:

Jeg har endelig fått tid til å oversette “Plucky Everyday” genser-mønsteret til norsk! Dette mønsteret ble første gang publisert på Ravelry i september 2012, og har blitt lastet ned intet mindre enn 2956 ganger siden den gang… Dette er et gratismønster, og mønsteret gir bare instruksjoner for en størrelse (M – 38/40), men kan lett gjøres mindre el. større…

Plucky Everyday

Plucky Everyday

  • Inspirasjon: Purl Bee´s: «Everyday Linen Raglan»
  • Garn: «Plucky Feet» fra Plucky Knitter, 373g. av 460 g / 1 555 m. (4 hesper)
  • Kan byttes ut med garn tilsvarende ca 338m /pr 100g. (169m / 50g)
  • Farge: «Medieval», 90% merino + 10% nylon.
  • Pinner: Rundpinne 80 cm + 40 + strømpepinner: nr: 3 + 3,5mm
  • Strikkefasthet: 22m x 36 rader = 10 cm x 10 cm
  • Teknikk: fra-toppen-og-ned, ragland, på rundpinne, sømløs
  • Størrelse: 38 – 40 (M)
  • Spesielle teknikker: midlertidig oppleggskant + øke med markeringsmaske

Mønsteret inneholder linker til de nødvendige teknikkene, og jeg har laget en bildeinstruksjon for å forklare prinsippet med å øke med markeringsmaske. På engelsk heter denne teknikken krl og kll (knitting right loop og knitting left loop). Jeg har kalt økningene ØMMH + ØMMV (øke med markeringmaske høyre, og øke med markeringsmaske venstre). Her er bildeforklaringen:

ØMMH og ØMMV

ØMMH og ØMMV

For mer informasjon om garnalternativ og modifikasjoner, se; projects/woolandgathering/plucky-everyday

Jeg har startet på en ny “Plucky Everyday” genser, denne gang i BaaRamEwe´s: “Titus” i farge kull, mest for å kunne renskrive mønsteret, -men det er jo synd å rekke opp en lekker genser i et enda lekrere garn?! …bare å strikke videre!!