Knitting, design, wool and other gatherings….

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Last February I knit this cardigan. I called it “Tiles”. It´s knit in a sport/dk weight alpaca yarn. It came out a bit on the big side, and the shoulders/sleeves looked horrendous! No fit whatsoever!!

I tried felting it in the washing-machine on a light circle. That did´t work, so I gave it another go in the machine – on the same circle – and BAM! Suddenly it was a bit too much felted… Like negative magic. Sigh!

After drying and some heavy blocking it was wearable, but the shoulders still looked odd – so I put it in the back of the closet and forgot about it.

The inspiration for this stranded pattern came from a cardigan (kofte) I saw once (pic 1). A week ago I found the original pattern (pic 2), and it´s called “Norrøn” (the old nordic name for nordic), and I admit the stranded pattern looks a bit Viking´ish. I liked the repeated simplicity in the pattern – and it reminded me of tiles… I made my “Tiles” from copying the stranded pattern from pic 1, and it turns out I´ve got it wrong. The original pattern has two more rows and two more stitches for every pattern repeat – but I don´t mind. I even think my version looks better… I also used this pattern in my Headband #2 (pic 3) from the last post. Suddenly there were too many signs concerning this pattern to let me keep on forgetting about the cardigan in the closet. So I found it and wondered what to do with it to make it ok? -and decided on using the sewing-machine to form the shoulders. It works – it´s not perfect, but it can be worn. …but I still want to make it again – just to get it right!


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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Free pattern: Jungle Cowl (eng) / Jungelhals (no)

Scroll down for Norwegian / Norsk lenger nede på siden:

IMG_4234In the process of reorganizing my own patterns on the computer I found this pattern that I published on ravelry in oct. 2013. It´s a free pattern, and was published in English.

I´ve translated it into Norwegian, and both versions (English and Norwegian) can as of now be downloaded as a free PDF both from ravelry: “Jungle Cowl

…and here: “Jungle Cowl.eng” (PDF eng)

  • Yarn: Pt Mitu (50 % alpaca, 50 % wool) DK
  • Color: 100 g col. 75, coal mix, 150 g col. 61, light brown mix
  • Gear: circular 80 cm; 4 mm/US 6 + 4,5 mm/US 7
  • Size: Double around neck.
  • Gauge: 20 sts = 10 cm.

This is a leopard patterned one sized cowl, to double around your neck and keep you warm throughout the winter.
Pattern includes chart and written instructions. The yarn: Pt Mitu, is a DK weight 50% wool and 50% alpaca yarn, 100 meters to 50 grams. You need 150 grams of the beige/natural/light brown (col no. 61) color, and 100 grams of the coal/black/gray (col no. 75) color. The stranded pattern ends when you are out of the coal color. No need to worry about running out of yarn if you are stashed according to pattern, no matter what DK weight yarn you are using.


Jeg har rydda opp i mønstrene mine på PC én, og fant dette mønsteret som jeg publiserte på ravelry i okt. 2013. Mønsteret er gratis, og ble publisert på engelsk.

Jeg har nå oversatt det til norsk, og mønsteret kan nå lastes ned som en gratis norsk versjon PDF både på ravelry, via dette mønsteret: “Jungle Cowl” (husk å velge riktig versjon når du laster ned…

…eller her: “Jungelhals (no)” (PDF norsk)

  • Garn: Pt Mitu (50 % alpakka, 50 % ull) 100m / 50g
  • Farge: 100 g nr 75, koks melert, 150 g nr 61, lys brun melert
  • Utstyr: rundpinne 80 cm; 4 mm + 4,5 mm + stoppenål
  • Størrelse: 22 cm bredt, 134 cm langt
  • Strikkefasthet: 20m = 10 cm.

Dette er en leopardmønstret hals i en størrelse, som går to ganger rundt halsen.
Mønsteret inkluderer mønsterdiagram og skriftlig instruksjon. Garnet, Pt Mitu, er 50% alpakka og 50% ull, 100 m pr. 50 g. Du trenger 150 g av bunnfargen (farge 61, lys brun melert) og 100 g av kontrastfargen (farge 75, koks melert). Mønsteret ender når du ikke har mer igjen av kontrastfargen, så om du bruker et annet garn av ca samme tykkelse trenger du ikke være redd for å ikke ha nok garn om du har 150 g + 100 g.

Stikk innom “Sy med oss” i Kaigata i Haugesund om du vil se den ferdige halsen. De fører også garnet.



National Knitting Night

The Norwegian Broadcasting Company (NRK), has, of lately, made a quite puzzling tradition of presenting the Norwegian audience with «minute-for-minute» productions of journeys and themes. This is puzzling in a broad sense! First; -who came up with the idea? -and why did they actually put the idea into action (…thinking; not all ideas are good ideas…)? And most importantly: Why did the public absolutely love this consept?

We´ve been presented with «minute-for-minute» boat journeys. I mean; 24/7 broadcasting of boat-journey along the Norwegian coast – and the crowds along the coast went bananas! -and the viewers suddenly became fanatically interested in Norwegian geography!!? (myself included…)

And what about a 24-hours broadcasting of a train-journey (Bergensbanen), from Bergen on the West-coast, to Oslo in the East, crossing the mountains…

We´ve been glued to the TV following a boat down a water-canal, and another show: fishing for Salmon, you know; the immensly popular sport of Casting!? (being ironic here…)

NRK lost me when they presented «National Wood-burning Night», a 24-hour production of firewood….. and I thought: oh please, what´s next!? Let´s just get on with our lives….!!

555911_10151907704184695_204211806_nThat was until I heard about NRK´s next «minute-for-minute» production: National Knitting Night!

What an absolute thrill!! My secret wish has always been to replace any sort of sports from the TV-screen with knitting! I don´t hate sports, -but I don´t like it either…

A small percentage of my wish has finally come true…

So, on the night of 1st of November 2013 you´ll find me glued to the TV (lost from this world as such:)), watching «minute-for-minute» National Knitting Night.

On this occation, Norway´s longest-running TV-show (over 40 years): «Norge Rundt» (…losely translated: Around Norway…?!) have been appointed the honourable role of opening this show. A part of their focus will be on the famous (in Norwegian terms…) knitting-book «Hønsestrikk» from the 70´s, and they invite the public to show their knitting based on this book. It so happens that I have a piece of knitting based on this book! I´ve actually got more knitting based on this book, -but this piece is the most obvious one:)

I was studying Arts & Crafts in a Teachers College in ´93, and we were given the task of presenting an exhibition on the theme: «Mennestet og Maktene» (The Power of/and Mankind). My friend and I chose to explore the age of «Flower Power». My friend, being the artist, did the drawing, -and me being the crafter did the knitting and  sewing. I sewed up different variations of flares, and I knit this:IMG_4304

I opened this post by stating my puzzlement around the «minute-for-minute» NRK-productions. This garment also puzzles me! Not because of the over-obvious statements in the pattern, but in the fact that I´ve kept the garment for 20 years!  I´ve only wore this garment once, and I received this comment (not kidding…): «Oh, you´re wearing a sweater with inwards and outwards genitals …cool!!»!? I´ve moved 11 times since this was knitted!! …and 11 times I must have looked at this garment and found it worthy of an extended existence… well, the time has come: I´m sharing this garment with the public, and will send «Norge Rundt» an e-mail.


Store Ringstind

ViewImage.aspx_mediumA few months ago I ordered 600 grams of Corriedale wool from The Wool Company in New Zealand.

I love Corriedale wool, and I´ve got some more in my stash, from Old Maiden Aunt. The Utiku from NZ is labeled as a DK weight, though I find it to be more like a worsted weight. The color is «Oatmeal», and has 190 meters to 100 grams. I´ve been searching for the right pattern for this yarn, and ended up finding it, -in my head!

I´m naming this sweater after a majestic mountain top in the Norwegian mountain range of Jotunheimen. Store Ringstind is 2124 meters high, and I´ve been there on Telemark-skis! It was fabulous!! When you see the mountains from this angle, the peaks looks like the top part of a star. You can see the pointy peak of Store Ringstind almost all the way from the starting point at Turtagrø when you do this summit. As you slowly climb the valley below, and the 1224 meters you need to climb to reach the top, the more majestic and pointy the peak looks! And yes, -I broke a sweat! I´ve actually never been more tired in my whole life…but that´s another story:)

I designed a star pattern to go with the raglan increases, and did tons of calculating to get it right. The grey is Blackhill Højlandsuld from Garnudsalg.dk, held double to match the DK.

The sweater is supposed to be an oversized raglan, longer in the back and with very long arms.

I´m looking forward to se how this yarn will feel after washing. I think it´s a bit rough, compared to other Corridale wool I´ve tried, and I hope it will feel a bit softer after washing.

So far, this sweater is turning out better than I hoped for though. I love the color, and I think the shape of the garment will be cool.
….but it´s not finished yet…..