30 December, 2006

Tweedy hat and scarf

Back to knitting! This week I finished the scarf for my husband and made a hat too, while watching a lot of good movies and Poirot mysteries. The Sisik yarn is beautiful and warm, a tweedy mix of mohair, wool and a small amount of acrylic and rayon. I might have to make a simple hat like this for myself, too!

Yarn: Dale Sisik, 5 skeins, from Kris.
Needles: 3.5 mm
Pattern: Trial and Error
Sisik: Here is a picture of a sisik for which the yarn is named.

We are having really bad lighting today, I should maybe take new pictures tomorrow...

Pippi is wondering when we can get rid of this pesky tree which is keeping her from her corner. She likes to hide there.

I wish everyone a fabulous new year. Don't make too many new years resolutions!

29 December, 2006


I saw this picture in the last issue of Fiberarts Magazine. It is a chandelier, made by the artist YaYa Chou. It's striking and beautiful, and I bet you can't guess what it's made out of. Click here for a closeup.

The artist created a series of sculptures which are commentary on the artificiality of the things that we eat and our alienation from nature.

Here is a link to the page it originally appeared on, and you can see that the chandelier has been hanging for a year and a half with no signs of deterioration! She thinks it might last for ten years!

When I think about how many of these things I have eaten over the years...

Link to the webpage of YaYa Chou.
Link to Fiberarts Magazine.

21 December, 2006

It's a start

The Brocade sweater is underway, and I love working on it. The Hifa 2 yarn is great, it's very soft, and the colors are very saturated and rich. It's so cool the way the peony is revealing itself as I am knitting, because it's not a shape I am used to seeing while knitting, no straight lines anywhere. Since the yarn is thin, you get a lot of detail, but it takes a long time, the entire weekend was spent on these measly 5 inches.

I am, again, experimenting with my 16" (40 cm) long double pointed needles and knitting belt. They are defeating me! I am very unhappy with my tight and uneven stitches. I guess I should find a project to practice on, and this sweater I definitely don't want to be a "practice sweater". By now, I have a love-hate relationship with the long needles. They are so comfortable to hold, and so easy on the wrists and arms. But
I have to sit upright on a straight-backed chair in order to maneuver them, otherwise the work is held too high. That's not what I want to do when I am watching tv knitting. I added a fifth needle from a different set, so that I am using four 2.5mm and one 3 mm, which is much easier than just four, but they are still awkward. I love these needles, and I will use them, but it's going to be back to the circular needle for this sweater.

I also started a scarf from the new book Victorian Lace Today. This is a great book, so I went ahead and joined the Victorian Lace Today knit-along. This book has such a wealth of information, and I can't wait to try more of the patterns. I am doing the scarf with No. 20 edging
(p. 84) in Misti Alpaca Lace, color Lipstick. I have done two pattern repeats, and it's so much fun! I love knitting lace!

The pattern in the book was made with a heavier yarn than the lace weight, which makes a large 20 inch wide scarf, so I am guessing mine will be about 12 inches wide.

I wish you all a happy holiday!

18 December, 2006

Ripped Off

It's been all work and no play at Pine Cone Lodge recently. So not much to show in the Poetry in Stitches department. I finally was able to knit all weekend, but I have not even gotten the first flower border finished.

I am THINKING about knitting a lot though. For example, let me show you a sweater named Marius, named for this guy, Marius Eriksen, a popular skier in the fifties:
The picture and caption above is from "Strikking i Norge"
(Knitting in Norway, Kjellberg, et al., 1987).

This is one of the most popular sweaters in Norway ever, and was designed in the 50's. It was loosely based on the borders of Setesdal sweaters, but I have never seen it exported much, since it was not a real "traditional" sweater. It was more one that just "everybody" wore.
Here is another updated version which is pretty cute.

But since it's not a traditional sweater, but actually a recent and copyrighted design, imagine my surprise as I am walking down the street and I see this window:

See the sweater on the left? Okay, maybe the nighttime, through the plate glass window, is not the best shot...

But still! Ralph Lauren has blatantly copied the Marius sweater. This is just so wrong!

Wonder if I should alert the knitting authorities. I will have to go and cheer myself up by reading some Threadbared...

19 November, 2006

Brocade leaves sweater - ready to start

I am going with the Brocade Leaves sweater this time (my name for it). The others are gorgeous, too, and I hope I can make them in the future. I have still not yet made more than one sweater out of any one book, but it's good to have dreams, right?

The saturated colors in the brocade leaves are just so beautiful to me.

The yarn came in 100g hanks and 50g hanks. I love yarn that comes in hanks like this. They look so sensual, compared to the usual prosaic skeins.

Gorgeous blues for the body

And the peach, pinks, green, ochre, and white for the border.

I leave you with some shots of my original Oleana jacket, which is the same one you can see in the sidebar. I hope they inspire. The colors are more beautiful in real life, among other things, the light colored stripe is a pretty green, but at least you can see the pattern. It's knit of a finer wool, so it is more detailed than the patterns in the book, and it has velvet trim.
I loved it, and dreamed of it for years, before I managed to buy it.

04 November, 2006

What to make next...

One of my favorite knitting books is Poetry in Stitches by Solveig Hisdal, which sadly is in its final printing run right now. I have always loved this designer, and I even own one of her sweaters for the Oleana label. Her style is very romantic, inpired by Norwegian traditional crafts, bunads and other historic garments. Most of the short sweaters in the Oleana collection have a "special occasion" feeling to them, and there are matching long, full, silk taffeta skirts in rich colors which make you feel like a fairy tale princess. The book contains more casual looking sweaters as well.

I need to knit one of her sweaters now. Deciding which one is hard. I have been speculating on this for months now:

Should it be a Peony cardigan with a large floral border?

Or an all-over floral Peony sweater? Both inspired by a painted chest from Lofoten.

Or maybe a sweater based on brocade leaves? Inspired by a bridal gown from Hallingdal.

And for the summer:

I definitely need a cotton camisole, maybe pink. A copy of an antique garment.

I want to make one of the wool sweaters. AND the cotton camisole, which looks like such a flattering shape. Several other Oleana sweaters can be seen in this article on the Knitter's website. I plan on getting the yarnpack from Nordic Fiber Arts.

This is going to be my little feel-good, feel-Norwegian project for the winter.

For pictures of Norwegian bunads, this is a link to Husfliden, the Handicraft Guild. Follow the link which says "Bunads in Norway", and then select a county, such as Buskerud to see what a Hallingdal bunad might look like, or Hordaland, to see bunads from Voss and Hardanger with beautiful beaded bodices.

30 October, 2006

All Blue

Thank you so much for the great compliments on the Glowing Colors sweater. Pippi thanks you, too!

I have a new favorite distraction now, which is watching the live Elecam, from the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. I became aware of this sanctuary a few years back when seeing a National Geographic program about elephants being retired from zoos and circuses and allowed to move there. If you have ever seen this program, you know how touching their story is, and how happy they are to be able to live in a big family again, and not be living singly as most of them were. Both my husband and I cried when two of the elephants were reunited after thirty years. I love watching this webcast and seeing the animals just move around closely together. They are so sweet. If you are lucky you can catch them having a blast in one of the ponds.

In knitting news, you all were right, socks are fun! My first socks are finished, and actually they have been finished since last week, but the thought of making a "modeled" shot kept me procrastinating. It's cold, and I don't want show off my purple long-johns, and besides, purple doesn't seem to photograph well anyway.

Pattern: Beaded Rib toe up socks from Sensational Knitted Socks
Yarn: Gjestal Silja in denim blue

My only problem was that I didn't stretch out the ribbed fabric before measuring my gauge and calculating the number of cast-on stitches. Silly me! Therefore they are a little bit big and are going to be for the husband. Good thing I picked a dark color!

They were fun to make, but not nearly as interesting to look at as all the cool socks you all are making out there. I have ordered some handpainted sock yarn for future fun, though.

I have also started working on a scarf in beautiful, tweedy Dale Sisik, which I was lucky enough to get in a swap with Kris a few months ago. The colorway is Camel, and the yarn is delightful! So soft and silky. It's a mohair, wool, acrylic, viscose blend. I join the chorus of people wishing it had not been discontinued.

And there is more! My next sock project is this turquoise lacy sock, also from Sensational Knitted Socks. Top down this time. Actually my mother started this one for me when she came to visit me from Norway, so I am kind of cheating. The yarn is again Silja.

While she was here, she also knitted me some mittens. She was really inspired when we went to Knitting Treasures in Plymouth, where she found this pattern for Newfoundland Mittens (click on the picture to see the pattern better). The yarn is Brown Sheep Lambs Pride Worsted, and I was the one who picked out the bright colors, Kiwi and Sapphire. I keep finding myself gravitating towards brights recently. They are really warm and the Lambs Pride wool/mohair mix is super soft.

We also picked up the book Jackets for Work and Play from Knitter's Magazine which is excellent! She took it with her of course, and I may have to go and get my own copy. It was so interesting that my mother, coming from Norway, was finding all the knitting interest here inspiring. She tells me that all the yarns stores near where she lives have closed!

23 October, 2006

Glowing Colors Sweater

The second of my three projects. It's been so long since I published FO number one, that it seems lame to now bring out FO number 2. We will just forget about that whole numbering scheme... Instead I am naming it the Glowing Colors Sweater, formerly known as the yellow, red and green sweater.

I finished this on Saturday morning, and I have been wearing it ever since. It is so incredibly comfortable, nice and warm, but not too warm, very lightweight. I love the square neckline, and the tapered sleeves. It is practically windproof with that double thickness of wool, but not too hot at all. This yarn is perfect. I have usually worked with worsted yarn before (worsted type, not worsted weight), and this is woolen yarn. It traps a lot of air, and therefore is very lightweight, and seems to keep the perfect temperature indoors and out. Most knitting yarn is worsted, and therefore heavier.

I tested it out by walking all around Cambridge Sunday, in alternatingly sunny, windy and overcast weather, and then sat down on the ground to watch some of the Head of the Charles regatta, and never got cold, never got hot. It's also been great for walking Pippi.

Detail of sleeve patterns

Only problem, you don't get to see this sleeve pattern much, because the sleeves are too long on me and bunch up a little. I may have to make them shorter... Arrgh! Blossom, I am ready to swap this now, for a bottle of tequila...

The finishing for the neck and the sleeve.

Pattern: From "Norsk Strikkebok", 1990, Tone Takle and Lise Kolstad
English version known as "Sweaters: 28 Contemporary Designs in the Norwegian Tradition".

Yarn: Rauma 3-tr Strikkegarn, from Nordic Fiber Arts

Size: Unisex size Small

Colors: Yellow 131, red 144, green 198, honey 146, brown 199
(I think of the colors as Saffron, Red Pepper, Apple, Honey, and Chocolate. I am always thinking of food). The red is one of the most beautiful dark reds I have seen.

Modifications: Square neck instead of round, tapered sleeves with cuffs and picot edge, changed the dark natural brown with a lighter brown. I kind of wish now that I had stuck with the original dark black/brown color; it would have been a much better contrast.

The great thing about this book is that it's kind of a recipe for making sweaters. It has modular sweater instructions in the back where you pick the neck style (boat, round, square), the size (kids to adults), the gauge (baby wool to bulky). But there is so much more than sweaters though; there are several jackets, child's dress, a cape, a long coat and many really cute hats. I have made a few in the past. Too bad this book is out of print, it's one of my favorites.

Thanks to the husband for taking the pictures!

14 October, 2006

Fall colors

As the leaves outside turn a happy yellow and red, here are some shots of my yellow and red sweater. I think I am going to need these happy colors soon, so yesterday I finally started finishing it.

Armholes were stitched,

armholes were cut,

and shoulders were grafted.

One sleeve is almost attached.

Left to do:
Attach the second sleeve, darn in all the ends, and pick up and knit the neck edging. At my speed this could take all week.

Brrrrr, I need to hurry.

16 September, 2006

Elspeth Bolero FO Number 1

It's very lovely at the moment. Mostly sunny days, a little crisp at night, dry and clear. Whenever I think of September in Southern New England, I picture the clear golden light and the green trees all around me just on the verge of turning a beautiful yellow. This is my favorite month here. Maybe except for October...

And just in time for summer to be over, The Amazing Lace entry was all knitted up on Labor Day. But not quite done. The seaming and edging remained. It has taken me FOREVER to do the finishing on this. But I can still wear this for a little while as the days grow cooler.

The edges and the ties are crocheted. It goes perfectly with this tan and denim colored dress.

This photo shows the required laciness better

It also goes perfectly over a t-shirt.

Pattern: Elspeth in Rowan Magazine #37
Yarn: Berrocco Denim Silk, color 1414 Unwashed Denim. 5 skeins. Gift from Blossom.

For the edging, I had to reacquaint myself with crochet. It was much like riding a bicycle though, and I used my good and trusty "Harmony Guide to Crocheting. Techniques and Stitches" just to verify how many times to wrap around the needle for the different stitches. I stuggled some and pretty much had to make up the edging as I went along, because I didn't know that English and American crochet stitch names are completely different. What I mean is that they are the same, but they mean different things. British double crochet is American single crochet. Et cetera. I just realized this yesterday when I got Rowan #40! There are still some mistakes in the crochet pattern directions, though, I'm just saying...

On a completely different note, I saw a childrens movie the other day, Nanny McPhee, with Emma Thompson and Colin Firth. Was I the only one who thought that it was like a Kaffe Fassett fairy tale?

I was really into the sets. If you have ever admired the photos in the Fassett books, the ones where he shows inspiring interiors in glowing, amazing colors... the set of this movie was like one of those books. Deep saturated colors everywhere, acid green walls, cobalt blue woodwork and floor, with fuchsia and lime green costumes. Green and aqua woodwork with yellow walls. It was a visual feast! I want to buy this dvd only so that I can admire the colors! I wish I had better photos to show you than these stills...

In the childrens bedroom, and there were seven children, each bed had a different quilt or blanket in jewel colors. Every single one different, patchwork, granny squares, log cabin, plaids. The effect was so rich. I just wanted to make some quilts!
To top off the textile inpiration, in a beach scene the boys had on ganseys, which looked like they came straight out of Rowan Magazine. Too much fun.

07 September, 2006

Sensational Sock

I finished my first ever sock, and I am very proud of myself. I must show a picture. The pattern is Beaded Rib from Sensational Knitted Socks, and it's a toe-up pattern.

Now, I have a question for all you sock knitters out there. What is your favorite way to cast off for toe-up socks?

Turns out that knitting toe-up is not completely idyllic. I don't usually knit things where the cast off is very important, so I always cast off in the most basic way. But the basic cast off flares with ribbing. I tried several different methods, and they all looked equally mediocre. So I went back to the basic, and cast off in pattern. I found this to be the least offensive. It's not all that elastic, however. These are intended for my husband and he found it loose, while I found it a little tight on me.

Is there a perfect ending to my sock?

31 August, 2006

What I did on my vacation

While I am looking for the tapestry needle to bind off my first sock, I just wanted to share with you all my funniest pattern book. I know many models have done knitting patterns in their early days, before going on to become famous. For example Cindy Crawford, Andie MacDowell, the actress who plays that crazy Sheila on that one soap opera The Young and the Restless (or as we called it in college, The Dumb and the Useless)... all did a few knitting patterns before they hit it big.

I am guessing that didn't happen with these models.

mc78 did some hilarous captions for the pictures. You absolutely must check them out here!

Shot entirely on location in Switzerland.

I would like to see a modern pattern book with cocktails.

We have all the most high tech toys.

Going for the intellectual look.

Even the fake braids can't get the attention of these guys.

Nice classic sweaters. But I wonder what they are so concerned about.

I love the expression.

You went to Switzerland with your model airplane?

Striking an action pose to look like an outdoor guy. This is my favorite.

Please, no fishing jokes.

The sweaters are very nice, like all Spinnerin patterns. But I can't even see them, I am too distracted!