Sunday, 29 December 2013

More knitting than blogging in December

Cowl and hat by Asplund
Cowl and hat, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
The double-knitted cowl has been finished for a couple of weeks, but it hasn't befen cold enough to wear it. Not that I really mind. Spring, please! There was enough yarn left to make a new "Sigge" hat, a pattern (in English) I published as a free pattern on Ravelry.

I'm making progress with different projects instead of simply casting on new ones. However, I haven't decided where to go next with my double-knitted jacket.

The back and fronts are done, and I've tested a couple of pattern ideas tor the collar but I'm not satisfied. I might simply make it blue on one side and green on the other. I also have to make sleeve decisions: how to knit them (probably top-down, first back and forth and then in the round) and what patterns to use.
Alice Starmore's Henry VIII sweater

It's nice to have a pattern to follow while thinking about other projects - and Alice Starmore's Henry VIII is pure joy to knit! I've modified it slightly, though, letting the centre of the side pattern run along the sleeve. I think it looks nice, and a pattern between the decreases also helps me keep track of what rows are decrease rows.

Tudor armpit

Happy new knitting year!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Inga from Sweeden

Double-knitted cowl by Asplund
Double-knitted cowl, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
A big stranded cowl by Born to knit inspired me to cast on to make something similar, in shape if not pattern and colours.

Hers is folded but I decided to use the double-knitting technique as I've quickly become addicted to it and want to take advantage of it in different ways. The jacket I'm making (see previous post) will be reversible but the two sides look different thanks to the use of colours and pattern shapes. For this cowl I want the two sides identical, though, which called for a different kind of pattern.

I don't normally choose variegated yarns, but fell in love with this black wool with its hints of grey and red - which makes it look like a Christmas project, to my immense surprise! Signs of a midlife crisis? If I have ever knitted for Christmas I stopped years ago - there are so many deadlines in life I do my best to keep them away from my knitting. Well, at least it doesn't have to be finished by Christmas.
Swedish Inga

Many of the colourways from Östergötlands ullspinneri have human names, and this particular one is called Inga. (Black for Swedish sin, red for passion?)

To make the cowl easier to wrap I twisted it on purpose. Isn't it strange how difficult it is to do that on purpose when it happens so easily by mistake?

My copy of Alice Starmore's Tudor Roses arrived a couple of days ago. I'm completely overwhelmed by it - and my expectations were extremely high. Lavish, splendid, gorgeous, intelligent... Words defy me!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Double-knitted jacked in progress

Sweet and slow: I like the way this jacket is turning out, but it does take a lot of time since double knitting (logically) involves twice as many stitches. This technique is just as addictive as brioche knitting and I have quite a few ideas I want to try. But when? Retiring at 40 is a tempting idea but not really realistic...

I couldn't resist adding an A for Asplund (or Armpit) before dividing the jacket into a back and two front sections. Suddenly knitting only one of the fronts is so much quicker I find myself making mistakes quite often as I mix up rows (knitting the same row again).

also right side

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Knitting in style

Knitting in style by Asplund
Knitting in style, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
Old and new knitter friends at Kristinehovs malmgård in Stockholm. The more, the merrier!

Statues are extremely useful when you want photos of your knitting! They don't get tired of posing and they don't care if people stare. This is a brioche shawl I knitted a couple of months ago.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

"Nili" shawl

"Nili" shawl by Asplund
"Nili" shawl, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
I've surprised myself by actually writing up a pattern for a shawl! It is available for sale at Litet nystan in Stockholm, but I'm working on a translation into English and plan to make it available on Ravelry (in both Swedish and English) provided I understand how to. It would be easier to get how computers, Paypal etc work if they were made of yarn!

The shawl is called Nili after a friend's daughter. She's an incredibly crafty girl who sees endless possibilities in all kinds of material. I owe my best knitting memory to her too: when she was four years old and saw me working on the yoke of my top-down twined sweater her comment was that I might be knitting men's underwear!
"Kanske det ska bli kalsonger?"

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Learning new tricks

Double knitting by Asplund
Double knitting, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
On my way home from the knitting event in Denmark a few weeks ago I had a couple of hours to kill waiting for a bus to go to the airport. What better way than to learn something new? Meeting Chrissie Day was inspiring: she was there to teach double knitting, a technique I've been thinking about trying for quite a few years, and I had a book with instructions in my bag. By the time I was back home in Stockholm I had knitted a few swatches testing different patterns and ways to cast on, not to mention discovering different mistakes hopefully not to make again.

It is such a thrill suddenly knowing exactly how to use yarn that has been waiting in my stash! I simply couldn't resist these two colours when I came across them a couple of years ago. The wool is Dansk pelsuld from Hjelholts. My plan was actually not to combine them, but I think they enhance the beauty of each other.

I use Marianne Isager's "Circles" jacket as a starting point but with two major modifications: there will only be two colours and I'm adding a pattern to the big emply squares for variation. It looks like Noughts and crosses!

Autumn is my favourite season, especially days like today - and it is cool enough to wear a sweater I finished about half a year ago. Here is an old post where you can see the sides and gussets. The yarn is Cascade 220 and I used a design in Uuve Snidare's book "Fiskartröjor" for inspiration.

Aranish sweater

En av alla saker som är allra roligast med stickning är att det finns så mycket nytt att lära sig och testa! I flera år har jag tänkt pröva dubbelstickning, men det är först nu som bitarna har fallit på plats: ett inspirerande möte, tid att pröva mig fram, rätt garn i gömmorna och ett mönster att utgå från. Det här garnet hittade jag när GarnGalleriet hade öppet hus i Uppsala för ett par år sedan och nu får det äntligen komma ut ur garderoben.

Det fanns så mycket vackert garn där och jag minns att en god vän som var med mig ställde diagnosen garnsting och sade att jag borde gå ut och svalka mig en stund innan jag bestämde mig! (Faktiskt tror jag att jag lider av kroniskt garnsting men kanske i galopperande grader. Förresten är det nog så att jag snarare njuter än lider av den åkomman.)

Originalmönstret har cirklar och tomma rutor; jag har bestämt mig för att fylla de senare med mindre fyrkanter, så jag får nog kalla min version för Luffarschack.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Brioche shawl finished

Brioche shawl by Asplund
Brioche shawl, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
Here's the brioche shawl I made based on Nancy Marchant's "Alex" scarf (Ravelry link here). I decreased and cast off each leaf separately, so there were quite a few loose ends to take care of. However, I made it easy for myself by using a crochet hook and simply pulling them through a number of brioche yarnovers.

Inishmore in progress

A Starmore addict I've cast on to make yet another of her designs, namely "Inishmore" from Fishermen's Sweaters. The yarn is Cascade 220, and I think this light colour works well with this kind of cable pattern.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Fanø Strikkefestival

Lene Maries hus by Asplund
Lene Maries hus, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
Last weekend I went to Denmark to teach twined knitting at Fanø Strikkefestival. Fortunately, the participants understood my homemade Danish! I stayed at Lene Maries hus in a charming village called Sønderho. I had a great time and met lots of lovely people, and was especially happy to meet Ann - it was thanks to her that I was invited there.
brioche experiment

I'm happily experimenting with brioche knitting, right now working on a hat knitted from the centre. My first attempt to the left was not a success. I got the shape right, but it was not a very good idea starting with yellow: it looks like a gigantic pimple! ("The Plague Hat"?) So, I started with blue instead and changed the background colour just for fun and I think it looks a lot better.

And this is where I held my workshops:

Sønderho skole
 Hold kæft, hvad flot!

Monday, 9 September 2013

A finishing touch

finishing an unfinished object by Asplund
finishing an unfinished object, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
A knitter friend and I have been joking about setting fire to projects we're unhappy with, and last night I had an irresistible urge to try it. Lo and behold: this improvised hat project never looked better than it did ablaze - and I must confess there was something deliciously pagan about this little purgatorial rite in the garden!

The very same friend (Entill) gave me this notebook from her trip to Shetland. Love it!

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Cabbage cowl

Cowl in progress by Asplund
Cowl in progress, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
I hardy ever buy self-striping yarn (too much of a control freak) but couldn't resist this wool from Östergötlands ullspinneri, thinking it would be fun to brioche knit. (I've had a crush on the greyish brown wool for quite a while, and am happy with the combination.) I wanted to make a cowl similar to the Camel cowl I made recently but with two colours. It suddenly reminded me of cabbage leaves, so I'll call it Cabbage cowl. Can you tell I'm addicted to brioche knitting?

Edited to add
I do like it when things match, so this was a nice (but slightly uncanny) discovery:
It reminds me of three sweaters I've made that matched different walls at work.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble...

Brioche shawl: casting off by Asplund
Brioche shawl: casting off, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
Actually, I like the bubbly effect, so I'll try not to block it too hard once it's finished. (Unless I change my mind, that is.) Two thirds done!

It is rather monotonous work, though, so I add a few rows to Alice Starmore's Henry VIII for variation now and then. I love everything about this design!

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Brioche shawl: casting off

Brioche shawl: casting off by Asplund
Brioche shawl: casting off, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
One third done - and then all the loose ends to take care of... Still, it's worth the trouble to make it look the way I have in mind. Hopefully, there is enough yarn left, but I think so!

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Camel cowl

Camel cowl by Asplund
Camel cowl, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
I've finished the cowl I mentioned in my previous post. The wool is lovely, 90% camel and 10% merino, and turned out to be perfect for brioche knitting. Not that I'm looking forward to winter, but at least I feel well prepared with this fluffy dream in my wardrobe. (And perhaps I could try my luck as a fluffer in the yarn porn industry?)

The two sides don't look quite the same when you (or at least when I) knit brioche in the round. The knit columns on the inside are more pronounced, but both sides look good.

Once I had cast off I couldn't resist casting on to make a similar cowl but with a different yarn from my stash, a single skein of gorgeous greenish blue. Isn't it fascinating how differently yarns respond to techniques? Brioche in the round is obviously not the right technique for this yarn - unless you want a distorted cowl.

cowl failure

Well, it could actually look nice with the spiralling effect - but it simply wouldn't work with the raglan shape, so I have to think of something else...

The camel wool reminds me of a happy Christmas a few years ago:

Friday, 23 August 2013

Barking and burping

Brioche knitting by Asplund
Brioche knitting, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
Those are Nancy Marchant's words based on the abbreviations brk (brioche knit) and brp (brioche purl). A voracious knitter I'm especially fond of burping.

I had no idea the technique had so many possibilities. In the photo there are three examples:

1. A two-colour shawl where the pattern is created using increases and decreases. (I discovered a mistake a few rows back, which is why I pulled out the needle. Irritating, but it gave me an opportunity to see how it is turning out.)

2. A single-colour cowl knitted in the round with increases and decreases to make a nice edge.

3. A two-colour swatch where the knit and purl columns change places; this affects which colour is brought forward.

I can't remember when I last learnt so many things in such short time - and I haven't even tried brioche cables or diagonal lines or...

Patentstickning är något jag har gillat sedan farmor lärde mig grunderna, men det är först nu jag har förstått vilka möjligheter som finns med tekniken. Eftersom jag egentligen bara kunde sticka fram och tillbaka med en färg (ett rätt misslyckat försök att sticka runt för några år sedan räknas knappast) tyckte jag att det blev för enformigt för att göra hela plagg, men nu har jag drabbats av patentfrossa.

Fotot visar tre varianter: en sjal med två färger där mönstret skapas med ökningar och minskningar; en fuskpolo som stickas runt och kanten formas med ökningar och minskningar; en provlapp med två färger där de räta och aviga kolumnerna byter plats, vilket innebär att det växlar mellan vilken av färgerna som blir dominant. Och det finns mängder kvar att testa!

Friday, 16 August 2013

Learning new tricks

Brioche shawl in progress by Asplund
Brioche shawl in progress, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
At a knitting event a couple of weeks ago I was inspired to develop my brioche knitting skills. As I only knew the very basics of the technique, there was (and still is) a lot of room for improvement - and I had no idea what possibilities there are!

A workshop leader myself I couldn't participate in any classes, but when Nancy Marchant talked about brioche knitting and showed examples of what you can make with the technique I knew I had to try it. I’ve ordered her book Knitting Brioche, and while waiting for it to arrive I have taken her class at Craftsy. Highly recommended!

The shawl I’m making with two colours is based on a rectangular scarf pattern that is included in the Craftsy class. (Ravelry link here.) It is a fascinating technique in many ways, like the way you create patterns using increases and decreases.

When I knit lace shawls I like thinking of bricks of various shapes that build a shawl, and realized I could think in a similar way with these ”leaf bricks” constructing the shawl shape by adding leaves.

brioche shawl: wrong side
När jag var kursledare på Stickstämma 2013 i Jämtland för ett par veckor sedan kunde jag ju inte gå några kurser själv, men i programmet fanns fyra föredrag som alla kunde lyssna på. Bland annat pratade Nancy Marchant om patentstickning, och det var mycket inspirerande att se vad det går att göra med den tekniken! Jag lärde mig grunderna av farmor, men nu fick jag se många exempel på hur man kan arbeta med färger och skapa mönster med hjälp av ökningar och minskningar. 

I väntan på hennes bok Knitting Brioche har jag lärt mig massor av Nancys nätbaserade kurs på Craftsy och börjat leka med en sjal. Bladet är från ett mönster som ingår i kursen, men jag ville se om jag kunde använda formen på ett annat sätt än i en halsduk. Det är roligt att passa ihop mönsterform och sjalform!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013


First of all, thanks for birthday wishes! I had a very nice day and am fortunately far from suffering from any kind of midlife crisis. On the contrary, finding oneself knitting three different Alice Starmore designs must surely be a sign of extremely good health!

My most recently started Starmore design is "Henry VIII". There are more rows without colour changes than in Donegal and Alba, which makes it quicker to knit - and it is such a treat seeing the pattern take shape. I have just finished the first repeat. They consist of 64 rows, so there will be three in all and the shoulder join will be in the middle of the part with red background.

Here is a birthday present I'd like to share with you, a beautiful rose that Cecilia Levy sent me. Look at the petals! The medium-sized ones are all cut from pages no 40 - and the smaller ones inside them from no 39, like years unfolding. Too elegant for words.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

A bouquet

Knitted items from Dala-Floda by Asplund
Knitted items from Dala-Floda, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
Considering all the embroidered flowers I thought this would be a suitable photo to celebrate that I turn 40 today! Actually, it feels as if I've been on a birthday party for a week: I was a workshop leader at a fabulous knitting event 1-4 August, and there I made new friends. They had planned a tour of the region of Dalarna (Twined Knitting Heaven) for a few days and I was happily shanghaied. We had a great time together and got to see - and fondle! - lots of twined garments from the 1800s, like the ones in the photo above.

Needless to say, I managed to buy some z-ply yarn too!
a bouquet

Monday, 22 July 2013

Not only knitting...

1700s by Asplund
1700s, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
...but also having a lot of 18th century fun!

The Damsel Magnet

Sunday, 21 July 2013

"Alba" sleeves

"Alba" shoulder join by Asplund
"Alba" cardigan: shoulder join, a photo by Asplund on Flickr.
Here is the shoulder join: it is identical to the one I made for the sweater I finished some time ago. The sleeve is different, though, as there is no sleeve cap shaped with short rows.

Ann asked how I made those: starting with seven stitches in the middle I knitted back and forth adding three stitches each row until I had knitted all the stitches picked up around the armhole and could start knitting in the round. I was happy with how it turned out, but didn't feel like knitting lots of purl rows with two strands this time.

Alba sweater: sleeve cap

Instead I concentrated on figuring out where to start in the pattern. My aim was to make sleeve match the body, so I knew exactly where in the pattern I wanted the sleeve to end - but I also wanted to start where it would look good (I don't like it when patterns look amputated, and these repeats consist of 40 rows) and get the length right, of course.

Alba cardigan: body and sleeve

Jules asked about the Donegal border, whether it was my own or a new version by Alice Starmore. It is Starmore's, the one that you get with the kit. I modified it slightly, though: instead of casting on with the light colour I chose the darker one and added a couple of purl rows to make the edge curl inwards. There are photos of the original design here.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

The more Starmore the merrier

My second Alba will be a cardigan - mainly because it allows me to change colours in the middle of the front steek and simply cut out the centre of the steek with all the threads. (I did a similar thing a couple of years ago.)

I happened to order a Donegal kit fromVirtual Yarns some time ago. Not because I'm worth it, but simply because I want it. This pattern is slightly trickier to knit: unlike Alba, there are often long floats to catch with both strands. Well worth it, though, as it is like knitting jewellery.

Don't you think the wool matches my William Morris tray?

Sunday, 7 July 2013

The more "Alba" the merrier

Alice Starmore's "Alba" sweater had been waiting patiently for me for almost two years when I finally returned to it. I had picked up stitches around the armholes and knitted sleeve caps using short rows (my modification) but not the sleeves. Fortunately, I had finished both sleeve caps, so I didn't have to analyse the process as much as I feared.
Alba: sleeve decreases

Once I was back on track knitting the sleeves was pure joy! It is such a beautiful pattern and the colours are stunning. The sweater is not for me but for my friend Anders, but as soon as I had darned in all the loose ends I cast on to make another for but for my not quite sweaterless self.

sleeve caps and armhole

Much as I love Alice Starmore's designs (and this one in particular) I also love experimenting. What I've changed knitting Alba no 2 is the colour sequence for the check border pattern: less contrast and a gradual change from darker to lighter shades.
Alba no 2 (slightly modified) in progress

Also, I've started the main pattern at a different row to keep using the shades of blue from the check pattern for the background. This in turn means I skipped the light horizontal lines in the original version. I like Starmore's better, but mine well enough to keep it.

Alba sweater