Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Proving myself wrong

Estonian shawl wip
Originally uploaded by
In a previous post I mentioned that I'm not very fond of bobbles. Well, seeing this shawl by Rod on Flickr reminded me of my natural white Viva and the fact that I've only knitted a swatch or two testing a couple of patterns in Nancy Bush's book Knitted Lace of Estonia.

This is half a star, the Crown Prince pattern. I like it very much that the bobbles are fairly flat; the combination of them and the lace holes of roughly the same size is very appealing too, in my opinion.

Here's a photo of the shawl, made by Knitting Soo on Flickr. It's very pretty, but I can't help thinking about possible modifications... A frame consisting of rows of holes instead of garter stitch, for example.

Getting the tension right for the bobbles was a bit tricky, but didn't take very long after all. I've had more trouble with the tension in the stocking-stitch areas: for example, getting the loops for a bobble (a "nupp" in Estonian) loose enough tends to rub off on the surrounding stitches - and purling all the loops making a single stitch tends to make me purl the surrounding stitches too tight.

I enjoy knitting this kind of pattern a lot, primarily because it's something I haven't done before. (A tiny swatch about a year ago hardly counts.) Also, dear old wool-silk blend Viva is a delight to work with, and the sheen of it makes the bobbles almost look like pearls in daylight. Not captured in this photo due to severe lack of daylight.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Shaping a sleeve cap

Shaping a sleeve cap
Originally uploaded by Asplund

Some people have asked me how I shape sleeve caps using short rows, so I'm going to try to explain in this post.

First, I pick up stitches along the armhole after joining the shoulder seams (see photo at bottom of post) and mark the middle stitch with a thread.

I start knitting the sleeve somewhere near the middle; in this case I chose making the 15 stitches in the middle the top of the sleeve cap. After knitting those I wrap the yarn around the next stitch before turning the work (to avoid an unsightly gap).

Next row I first knit the 15 stitches and then a few more (in this case 5) before wrapping and turning. Each row I add a few more stitches before wrapping and turning until all the picked-up stitches are knitted. It will look like this in terms of shape. How many stitches I choose to add depends on what kind of shape I want the sleeve cap to have.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Two finished objects

"Wightwizzle" finished
Originally uploaded by

The colour looks a bit strange in the original photo, so I thought I might as well make a black and white version. This was a nice project to knit, quick once past the first few inches and the shape is different from what I usually knit.

Trying something new is always rewarding! Combining alpaca and linen was a good idea too (not mine but suggested at my LYS). We'll just see how my cousin likes wearing it: the garment is rather heavy, almost 800 grams.

The shawl I wrote about in my previous post is also finished. For the bottom border I chose the border from "The Opera Fichu", also in Victorian Lace Today.

As mentioned, I wanted fairly simple lace patterns using this yarn and since I've knitted the fichu before I knew it would curl - I simply cast it off loosely from the wrong side, not bothering about a knitted-on border around the shawl (which I normally like).

My plan is to make it a guest shawl, for people to borrow when they visit. We had quite a lot of snow yesterday, but today is rather wet and windy. And cold: a guest could definitely need a shawl.

Thursday, 4 November 2010


"Töis wool" shawl
Originally uploaded by
The other day I surprised myself by finishing a project before starting a new one. "Wightwizzle" is washed and blocked and left to dry while I'm visiting relatives for a couple of days.

Less surprising is my ability to buy yarn. Last weekend I couldn't resist buying two hanks of beautiful natural grey "Töis", soft and light 1ply wool from the island of Gotland.

This wool is quite fuzzy, so I wanted a fairly simple design, something based on straight lines (intricate lace patterns would drown) and decided to return to Jane Sowerby's Spider-web's shawls in Victorian Lace Today. I've made use of it twice before, for Eva and for Anna; in both cases I used wool-silk blend Viva, but I think it works with this yarn too. Come to think of it, starting Eva's shawl coincided with starting this blog!

It takes 5½ hours to go from Uppsala to Västervik, so I managed to get quite a lot done even though I kept alternating between this project and a fascinating book I'm reading, Possession by A.S. Byatt. Read a chapter, think about it while knitting for a while, read another chapter... A great way to digest a great book!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The catsitter

"Wightwizzle" wip
Originally uploaded by Asplund
I'm looking after a friend's cat for a few days and thought I might as well pack up some projects and books and move in. As you can see, Sally is only mildly interested in knitting.

There's only a sleeve left to knit before "Wightwizzle" is finished. As planned, I'm not knitting the sleeves separately but pick up stitches around the armholes and shape the caps using short rows instead. I find it a lot easier than sewing sleeves in place - and it looks neater too.