Sunday, 30 August 2009

Knitting party

Yesterday there was a knitting party ("Stickfest") in Linköping, Sweden, with workshops, shows, lectures etc. A fabulous day! One of the museums has a knitting exhibition; it will last until 13 September and shouldn't be missed.

I wish I could post photos, but at least I can provide a link to more information about the museum (in Swedish): here.

To me, the best part of the exhibition – and the whole day – was the room filled with Britt-Marie Christofferson's designs. At long last I got to see them! Her show Stickning – ett hantverk att utveckla (Knitting – a craft to develop) and I have been travelling to different places, but finally our paths crossed. What's more, she was there too, so I even got to a chance to talk to her. She's such a clever, imaginative and innovative designer – I admire her tremendously. Her new book will be out soon, an item I really look forward to adding to my collection!

Friday, 28 August 2009

Vests galore

WIP: Square dance vest
Originally uploaded by

I seem to be on a vest high this month: one frogged, one finished and one back into favour. I knitted this vest early this year, but was unhappy with the shoulder joins and the neck when I tried it on. It didn't look like what I had in mind, and it wasn't as comfortable as I wished (neck not low enough). Three-needle bind-off combined with neck gussets didn't work this time, unfortunately. (Done it before: here and here.)

Since then I've been thinking saddle shoulders would be the best solution, but I wasn't sure what how they should look. What's more, I wanted to try to knit them in place instead of sewing (done here) to learn something new, and I probably wasn't up to all these things at once – then.

The straps are 15 stitches wide and I knit them back and forth, knitting them together with back and front pieces. (Somehow similar to knitting a sock heel.) There are a couple of rows knitted with waste yarn first: I'm going to remove these and pick up the stitches to be part of the neck band. The strap pattern echoes a chain pattern I've knitted instead of side seams.

The vest is knitted on circular needles with steeks for armholes and is my own design. I decided to call it a Square Dance vest; dance for the small dots that surround many squares. First they were everywhere, but that just looked messy, like overly decorated gingerbread. Now they're only in every other section, a simple "rhythm" but definitely an improvement in my opinon. Perhaps it still resembles gingerbread, though – but I like gingerbread, so that's fine with me.

Here's the odd man out, the vest that is finished. It is my own design, the two pieces knitted back and forth and shoulders grafted. I couldn't resist this yarn when I spotted these colours (a not uncommon phenomenon) and tried to come up with a varied strip sequence where I wouldn't have to cut the yarns all the time. It worked!

I liked the wrong side of my swatch, so it was promoted Right Side. There are vertical lines of knit stitches in the sides, partly for decoration, partly to improve the shape. I do like circual knitting, but can't help thinking my sweaters without side seams resemble barrels unless I knit, say, a cable where the seam would have been.

Who knows, this might be a good time to do something about the unfinished blue vest that's been hibernating for two years.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009


Lucky shot?
Originally uploaded by kajsarulta
Can't resist posting a wonderful photo that my aunt took of her dog the other day. Besides, he helps me with my knitting when I visit!

Monday, 24 August 2009

"The Fan" cardigan: finished

"The Fan" cardigan
Originally uploaded by

There is a choice between long and short sleeves, so I started knitting the short ones to be on the safe side. Almost done with the first sleeve, I thought there wouldn't be enough yarn for the second one after all; therefore, I decided to make them even shorter. (Not that much, perhaps 5 cm or 2 in.)

I always find it difficult to figure how much yarn will be needed (Ravelry has made that easier) and short raglan sleeves was simply impossible! At least I didn't have to rip out much.

The cardigan is for my friend Elisabeth, who introduced me to Marianne Isager's designs and yarns some fifteen years ago. I hope the size is right!

More pictures:

What I like best about this project is that I found the right use for the yarn. It was so annoying not having used it to its best advantage but not knowing what to knit instead! If I may say so myself, I think the yarn and this design are a great match – and hopefully Marianne Isager wouldn't mind my modifications too much. A man's got to do what a man's got to do.

ETA Errata (I believe)

1) right front rows 4-14: Rep Rows 1 and 2 should be Rep Rows 2 and 3 (p. 35)
2) left front rows 4-14: Rep Rows 1 and 2 should be Rep Rows 2 and 3 (p. 38)
3) left front row 71: k2-55 (64) st rem should be k3-55 (64) st rem (p. 38)
4) Shape Raglan Sleeve Cap: Work 3 rows even, then rep dec row 1 (5) times. Here I'd like to add that the dec has be sl1 k2tog psso the first (fifth) time instead of “k2tog, work in est patt to last 4 st, k2tog”. (p.41)

Friday, 21 August 2009

The Fan: progress

I didn't expect this to be such a quick knit; I've finished the back, and am half-way through the second front piece. I just hope there is enough yarn for both sleeves!

Perhaps that's why I'm speed knitting - to finish as much as possible before I run out of yarn? (I'm not always logical when it comes to knitting!) Anyone who recognizes this behaviour? Please?

I must say bourette silk bears reknitting extremely well. After all, I frogged the vest after two years, but that yarn isn't much different from what was left unused. Still, I do hope there is enough to finish this cardigan so I don't have to frog and reknit once more.

Way off topic

but I love this photo of my dear grandfather in the 1920s. I wish I knew what the occasion was!

Tuesday, 18 August 2009


"The Fan" is one of several intriguing designs in Marianne Isager's gem of a book Japanese Inspired Knits.

Increasingly (ha ha...) eager to knit it I suddenly remembered an almost finished vest in a suitcase in my mother's basement (sounds like an episode of “Prime Suspect”) that I’ve been doing my best to forget for some two years, but was suddenly happy to remember now. A yarn bonus!

The vest looks better than I thought – but not good enough to finish. I tried it on, but even though it is actually comfortable I'm not likely to wear it, partly because I prefer wearing wool to bourette silk, material I hadn't worked with before and was curious about (and I couldn't resist the colour). What's more, I don’t like how it turned out enough to give it to someone else. It's a good thing I didn't weave in the loose ends!

Would you believe it, even though this yarn is nothing like what the instructions call for and I used slightly thinner needles to knit a swatch, I got the right gauge! What could I do but cast on the real thing?

For photos of a beautiful finished "Fan" cardigan, check out Dances with wool.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Signe Asplund (1875-1961)

A word of warning: this post isn’t about knitting. However, Asplund stitches too sometimes, so I thought I’d post it anyway. Always living on the edge!*

Gustaf & Signe Asplund with their four sons ca 1915. My grandfather to the far left.

A couple of days ago my aunt Lenore handed me a small collection of newspaper clippings dating from the 30s and 40s, which had been in one of her cupboards hiding among a lot of other family papers. They were all about shows and exhibitions that my great-grandmother Signe Asplund took part in. She passed away before I was born, but even though I never met her she has always been part of my life, especially her artistic legacy. In my grandparents’ house there were quite a few things that not only were hers but that she had made, for example silk embroidery and water-colour pictures and some relief-patterned rugs that she had designed. She wasn’t a famous artist, but she seems to have been admired and fairly well known in her field.

Some five years ago I came across some of Signe's original designs on graph paper – to me it was like discovering a chest on Treasure Island! – and used two of them for some cross-stitching, both of them “lion and dove” designs which you can see in this post. I have never seen the rugs, except some black and white photos and therefore had no idea what colours she had used. Imagine my surprise today reading that this rug actually was grey with a green background! I love the sense of humour she expresses in this design – just look at the lion's face! – and how the dove is placed.

A rug featuring the other lion, “Fredsduvan” (the peace dove), was part of the exhibition Nyttokonst 1937 at Nationalmuseum in Stockholm. My favourite thing about this design is the clever way it makes a rectangular shape. Both designs were made in a few copies, and a couple of those rugs were shipped to their new owner in America.

Another one, “Gryning” (dawn), was sent to a church in New York, but unfortunately it doesn’t say which one. Even if I go to New York some day (which I'd love to) I don’t think I could manage going rug hunting in all the churches there even though I would get to see a lot of interesting things… But what a road movie it could make!

*And I mean always. My mother says the most daring thing I would do as a toddler was to sit down on a threshold and go sliding from there.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Three books

I haven’t been knitting much the past couple of months. Therefore, I thought I’d write a few words about my first impressions of the latest additions to my knitting library, three books that arrived in the mail last week.
There are so many knitting books and magazines these days I actually find it rather difficult to decide what to get! Who would have thought that only some ten years ago? I at least used to buy almost anything about knitting, since there simply wasn't much to choose from. Fortunately, I got all my grandmother's knitting books, as nobody else was interested in them. What I didn't realize at the time was how rare some of them are and how lucky I am to have them.

To return to my new books, what I like best about Traditional Scandinavian Knitting by Sheila McGregor is the abundance of pattern charts, which I'm sure will come in handy in the future. Also, a Scandinavian myself, I find it interesting seeing what is presented as typically Scandinavian, and it's a treat discovering new (old) pattern shapes that can be used in garments of one's own. Personally, I do like connecting with the past by making use of traditional elements.

A Gathering of Lace is a very rich book with a lot of variety in terms of garments, styles and skill levels. Not to mention tastes! The “Points of Departure” chapter is easily my favourite section, and my favourite design is "Mediterranean Lace" by Maureen Egan Emlet. The border is absolutely beautiful and the shape of the garment seems very functional in addition to being elegant. I will probably knit it some day.

Saving the best for last, I have now added Japanese inspired knits by Marianne Isager to my list of top favourite knitting books. (Hold kæft, hvad flot! to use an expression I'm fond of, one of the few phrases I know in Danish.) Her attention to detail is simply amazing, and I am in awe of her ability to blend shapes, patterns and techniques into a whole.
For example, the more I study “The Carp”, the more I notice in it: to name just a couple of things, how the shape and pattern of the sleeves blend with the body, and how a triangle is added to one of the mitered squares to form a wedge under the arm. Exquisite. Pictures of different designs here: Knotions magazine.

I first came across Isager’s immense talents ca 1995, when my friend Elisabeth asked me if I would considering knitting her a sweater – she already had the instructions and the yarn and all she needed now was a knitter. (If I remember correctly, her mother was supposed to have knitted it, but couldn't for some reason.) It wasn’t difficult to accept, since I loved the design. Unfortunately, since I hadn’t seen a knitted version or pictures of one, I misunderstood the charts and knitted dark lines on light background instead of the other way around. My second Isager design was “Fingre” (fingers), which I have knitted twice, in 1998 for myself and for my sister in 2006.