Category: Knitting

A Hap for Harriet

As so many others, I admire Kate Davies’ knitting designs. I’d like to knit them all, only I have so little time for knitting. But I am knitting A Hap for Harriet now, from a yarn I spun a couple of weeks ago.

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It’s a blend of BFL/silk dyed by my friend Britt-Marie in Sweden, shrieking pink longwool, red silk, tomato red Merino. I carded the fibers on the drum carder. It’s a strong, fine, soft yarn, I’m quite pleased with it. I use 3 mm knitting needles.

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I’m happy with the colour: a deep, vivid red with a hint of fuchsia.

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The pattern is easy, and I like the shape of the shawl. It can be used as a scarf, which is how I usually wear my shawls.

You can find the pattern here: A Hap for Harriet.

Spring is here! We’ve seen so many birds returning already. The first flowers are blooming. I took this photo a week ago at 10 in the morning, now the snow is gone and the road is almost dry, and the sun is much higher in the sky by ten o’clock.

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UFO became FO

About 14 years ago I started to knit a blanket from left over yarns. Like other badly planned projects, also this one came to a halt when I got out of red yarn in that particular shade and weight. So I put it away and thought I’d buy more one day. And forgot all about it.

I found the blanket when I moved my spinning, knitting, crochet etc into my new room some years ago. And I still didn’t have that red yarn, so I put it on a shelf to wait for better times. It took a while for me to realise I do have more of that yarn! I had bought it for a crochet project, but had forgotten all about the afghan. One day this January, while waiting for the cold to leave my head and let me think again, I saw it! And I finished the blanket. It’s big enough for hubby’s afternoon nap.

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The technique is domino knitting the way Vivian Høxbro teaches it. Here’s a link to her Danish site, where you can change to English. But do look at the photos in the Danish version first! She doesn’t teach very much anymore, but if she happens to come somewhere near you, don’t hesitate! She’s a strong Nordic woman with much integrity, a big laugh, colourful clothing, and great knowledge about colours and design. Domino knitting is one of my favourite techniques. It’s perfect for left over yarns. It’s also perfect for many big projects, as you knit one small square at a time, then attach it by knitting the next one onto it like a Domino play. You don’t have to hold the whole heavy project in your hands, only that small square. Good for your hands, good for your mind as you can knit a square within half an hour, and feel as if you’ve finished something.

Now I wonder where the rest of my UFOs are…

Spun, crocheted, and knitted

It’s been a rather hectic January. I had articles to write, and a spindling class to start planning, but I have also spun, crocheted and knit. I want to show you some of what I’ve done.

In the autumn I suddenly saw how I should knit a sweater I’ve been thinking of for a while. I spun the yarns from different fibers, mostly Swedish Finull but also Merino, silk, and cotton nepps during several years without a special project in mind. One day, as so often happens, I picked through my yarns in search for something, and saw these skeins together in my mind, laid them out, and started the sweater later that day. Here it is:

Min bässe Apila gav ullen för det röda garnet

 

I also took part in a spin-together event in the Swedish spinning group on Ravelry. I spun green, lilac, blue, and red fine 2-ply yarns from Swedish Finull. I dyed the wool last spring, and carded it during the summer. The grey and black skeins are Norwegian Pelssau, a very nice and soft wool. The yarns are part of a project where I try to spin different fibers on different tools, trying to make yarns I can use together. I used one of my old Finnish Saxony wheels, Louet Victoria, and Hansen Minispinner for these and the brown and red skeins below. The yarns in the sweater where spun on Kromski Symphony, Louet Victoria, and Hansen Minispinner, and they are much thicker.

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The red skeins has company from a natural brown Finull skein.

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I wanted to test the yarns i one of my favourite techniques, tapestry crochet. This purse is now on its way to a spinning and dyeing friend in Sweden:

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The sheep are my version of stranded knitting sheep you can find in many patterns. I already know my friend likes them, even if she doesn’t know they are hers. I showed the purse on Facebook the same day I had sent the package, and got a positive comment from her. I hope she’ll be happy when she opens the parcel! She’s a skilled dyer. As you can see, the colours in my yarns are uneven, which is what I’m after when I dye. I think it makes the finished item more vivid.

This is an experiment: white cotton and purple silk noils. I had a high quality cotton sliver that I wasn’t able to spin into a nice yarn. So, with an aching heart, I took my hand carders and turned it into punis. I had just seen Sarah Anderson blending cotton and silk, so I wanted to give it a try. I’ll use it as an effect yarn in a woven scarf one day.

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I’m looking out on a white world. We have snow, which is wonderful this time of the year. It makes the world lighter. The morning sun gives a golden glow to both snow and creatures!

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Lahja neulojalle

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For my English speaking friends: yet another awesome book about Finnish knitting and tapestry crochet traditions, this time about mittens. – För mina svenskspråkiga läsare: ännu en underbar bok om finska stick- och flerfärgsvirkningstraditioner, nu om vantar.

Kyllä meitä hemmotellaan hienoilla kotimaisilla neulekirjoilla – nyt lapaskirjalla! Anna-Karoliina Tetri, joka on monelle tuttu yrityksensä Tetridesignin ansiosta, on taas julkaissut hienon kirjan. “Perinteiset lapaset” on kiehtova matka suomalaisten lapasten maailmaan. Kirjaan mahtuu lapasia koko Suomesta: ohjeita, historiaa, perinteitä, ja tietoa neuleisiin liittyvistä nimityksistä. Kirjassa on myös monivärivirkattuja lapasia ja ohjeita. Minua ilahduttaa myös lankojen valinta. Anna-Karoliina on käyttänyt Pirtin Kehräämön Suomen lampaiden villasta kehrättyjä lankoja.

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Sukupolvien silmukat

 

 

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För mina svenska läsare: boken är på finska med ett kort engelskt sammandrag, så jag talar om vad jag tycker bara på finska (=gillar!) 

For my English readers: the book is in Finnish with a short summary in English, so I’m telling how I like it only in Finnish (=like!)

Upea kirja karjalaisesta neule- ja piilosilmukkaperinteestä sukissa ja käsineissä!

Jo kirjan nostaminen nettikaupan pakkauksesta sai minut haukkomaan henkeäni. Voi kuinka kaunis kirja! Ajattelin että näin upea, painava (=laadukas paperi) ja suurikokoinen kirja kielii huolellisesta työstä.

Ja niin tosiaan on. Koska olen kiinnostunut tekstiilihistoriasta, olin hyvin iloinen huomatessani kuinka paljon mallien taustatietoja kirjassa on. Kauniit, selkeät valokuvat, helposti luettavaa tekstiä, hienot värit… Valokuvaaja on Marko Mäkinen ja kustantaja Maahenki, joka sekin takka laadun.

Kirjan mallit pohjautuvat museolöytöihin. Kaikista on tehty uusi versio tämän päivän langoista. Jokaisen mallin kohdalla mainitaan museo ja esineen arkistonumero, joskus on myös valokuva museoesineestä.

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Minua kiinnostaa erityisesti kirjan kiinteillä ketjusilmukoilla virkatut mallit. Yritin joitakin vuosia sitten löytää enemmän tietoa tämän tekniikan käytöstä Suomessa ja erityisesti Pohjanmaalla artikkelia varten, mutta en löytänyt oikeastaan mitään muuta kuin maininnan käsineistä Hjördis Dahlin väitöskirjassa “Högsäng och klädbod”.  Marketta Luutonen välitti minulle pari valokuvaa Kansallismuseosta, mutta siihen se sitten jäi. Ruotsista olin aikaisemmin löytänyt muutaman kirjan, koska siellä tekniikka on säilynyt pitempään kuin Suomessa. “Sukupolvien silmukat” sisältää sekä malleja että kuvia lapasista, käsineistä ja sukista. Kirjassa keskustellaan myös tekniikan nimestä, joka ei ole ihan yksiselitteinen millään tuntemallani kielellä. Törmäsin siihen hakiessani tietoja sekä kirjoista että netistä suomeksi, englanniksi, tanskaksi, ruotsiksi ja norjaksi (ehkä myös saksaksi, en enää muista).

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Kirjan tekijät ovat Pia Ketola, Eija Bukowski, Leena Kokko, Anne Bäcklund ja Sari Suuronen. Kiitän heitä suurenmoisesta työstä!

Korinpohjasukat Jääskestä. Muutama viikko sitten näytin korinpohjasukkia Vöyriltä tässä blogissa. Jokohan pitäisi tarttua puikkoihin? No, se oli pelkästään retorinen kysymys, johon vastaan “kyllä”. Aion myös tarttua koukkuun.

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Hats in Myrbergsgården

In an earlier post I wrote about socks you can see in one of the museums in my municipality. Today I want to show you hats from that same amazing museum, Myrbergsgården = Ant’s Hill House, if you wonder 🙂

Some of these are skilfully crocheted children’s hats. Sometimes they were made for women, who wore them as an extra layer under the head cloths for more warmth. Indoors they took off the head cloth, but sometimes kept the hat. The houses, and especially the small cottages, where not always very warm in winter in those days, i.e. the end of the 19th century – beginning of the 20th. As you can see, they were crocheted in the round. The pattern designs are the same you can find in crocheted clothes and purses here on the Ostrobothnian coast.

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Tapestry crocheted hats
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Tapestry crocheted hats

Close up: I still haven’t had time to see how they solved the problem with going from crocheting in rounds to making a flat piece. You can do it in two ways. Either you continue working in rounds and make a steek afterwards, or you cut the threads after each row. I really can’t tell from my photos which method they used.

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Tapestry crocheted hat with Twisted S design

The Twisted S design is often used in the Korsnäs sweater, but you can also find it in suspenders and purses. It’s one of my favorits, I often use it in purses.

I have tried to copy this hat, made and used by an elderly woman as her indoor hat, but it’s very hard to find out exactly how the increases are made. I think this design must be made exactly like this. It’s charming with it’s slightly irregular “propellers”. If you make it regular it looses much of its charm.

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These plain knitted caps were also used under the head cloth. Some of them are machine knitted. Knitting machines where common before WWII in my municipality. This is a simple but highly usable sock heel construction:

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Machine knitted cap

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Twisted stitches

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Hope you enjoyed! To me head gear are constant objects of amazement. It seems we put just anything on our heads! I think  the hats I just showed you are lovely. When I get even older than I am now, I’ll crochet a hat like that for me to wear on cold winter days.

Blog hop and socks

BLOG HOP!

I was invited to a blog hop around the world by mazzaus from Australia. Her blog Local & Bespoke is varied with great photos, and always interesting for someone who likes sewing, dyeing, spinning, silk worms. Thanks for inviting me, M!

Here are the three questions I have to answer before I hand over the baton to the next blogger:

1. What are you working on? I’m a spinner, but also a knitter, and occasionally I nalbind, weave bands on an inkle loom or cards, and I also sew. I’m quite fond of tapestry crochet! Right now I’m on “vacation”, which means I’m “resting” after a very intense spinning period that lasted for three and a half years. During that time I studied for the Certificate of Achievement in Handspinning in Online Guild, and the master spinner title in my local guild Björken at Stundars. Now I prepare fleece for spinning, I spindle every now and then, sew clothes, knit, and try to figure out the secrets of card weaving and learn more about inkle weaving. I will continue my work with wools from six Northern Short Tailed sheep, a work I started when spinning for my master spinner title.

2. How does my work differ from others? This is a difficult question. I’m a quite ordinary spinner. I like spinning in the old ways, i.e. I don’t much care about spinning art yarns. I love looking at them and admire the skills of some of the spinners, though. I love spinning and textile history, but that’s not unusual either. For me  spinning is much more than a hobby, even if I don’t spin for trade any more. I spun dog hair for customers for more than a decade. So, I don’t think my spinning differs from other spinners’ with the same interests as me. I spin many kinds of fibers, but mostly wool. I spin on supported spindles, top whorl spindles, I can spin on bottom whorls but prefer top, old wheels, new wheels, electric wheels. I prepare my fibers myself, or buy them readily prepared. I sometimes dye both wool and yarns. But different? No.

3. Why do I create what I do? An urgent need! I have felt this need ever since the beginning of the 80s when I touched my first fleece. I became obsessed very quickly. Every day teaches me something new about fibers and yarns.

And now I hand over the baton to TexasRanger, who lives guess where…  Have a look at her blog Deep in the Heart of Textiles! Like Mazzaus, TexasRanger takes beautiful photos, and she writes about many aspects of textiles. If you scroll down a bit you find her colour fastness test, which is quite interesting to me. I have a few natural coloured yarns sitting in a window since spring, waiting for me to see what the bright spring and summer sun has done to them.

SOCKS

I have mentioned one of the small museums in my municipality many times. Myrbergsgården has more than 5000 textiles, mostly from the late 19th century until WWII. This summer they showed knitted and crocheted items, and yes, the Nordic Knitting Symposium visited the museum and I think most of the knitters loved what they saw. I’ll show mittens and caps in another post, and the Vörå sweater will also have a post of its own. Today we’ll have a look at socks.

The socks from Myrbergsgården below are all knitted between 1880 and 1920.

Stripes
Stripes
Stripes
Stripes
Zig zag
Zig zag
Zig zag
Zig zag
Now it gets more difficult!
Stripes, honeycomb and colour work, stranded, plain
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Honeycomb
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Honeycomb
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Entrelac
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Colours!
Colours!

These socks were mostly knit by countrywomen who didn’t have written patterns. They borrowed a sock and tried to knit a similar one. That’s the way we get varieties and new patterns, new versions of old designs. I love that way of knitting socks, and that’s how I do it most of the time, even if I sometimes use a written pattern also. I’m a dedicated sock knitter. I have a sock (or two or three or four…) on the needles all the time. I don’t really need to knit socks, I could buy them if I wanted to.

But the countrywomen in old times couldn’t buy socks. They had to knit them, and often to spin the yarn too. They made the work more fun by using colours and different designs. Most of the socks shown here are for women and young girls. At the end of the 19th century women still wore long skirts. Imagine them lifting the skirts every time they stepped over thresholds or climbed stairs! You could see the beautiful socks then, and also a glimpse of the legs. They sometimes made the needles themselves, too. These jumper needles are made from bicycle spokes by a husband for his wife during WWII, to be seen in a museum in Kokkola:

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Knitting needles

The foot was often knitted in plain grey or brown wool yarn. It was common that new foots where knitted when the old ones couldn’t be darned any more. I don’t know what yarns all of these socks are made from, but I’m sure many of them are hand spun. The bright white and red socks in the first photo are made from commercial cotton yarn.

The sturdy work socks were usually handspun grey wool of a coarser quality, like these from the Stundars museum:

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Socks drying on the mantle piece in Stundars farm house

I’m quite amazed by the beautiful, skilled knitting in all socks shown in this post. I love the colours! You can see that anilin was popular at that time. We do love pink, don’t we? I also love the clearly defined stripes. I think I’m going to abandon the self-striping yarns and go back to the old way of knitting.

The honeycomb (I’m not sure what to call that stitch, please comment if you know!) combined with stranded knitting is very interesting. It was popular in some parts of Finland at that time.

Have you tried entrelac in socks? I have, once, and I had to frog it. It’s not easy even if you have a well written pattern. When the organisers of the Knitting Symposium first asked me to come and teach, they wanted me to teach entrelac socks. I said no. I’m not a very avid knitter, and the thought of teaching entrelac socks scared me. I will try to knit a pair once more to see if I can understand it better, because I sometimes use entrelac in sweaters and that doesn’t scare me at all. The sock in the close up has fewer stitches in the squares in the ankle part, the others seem to have the same amount in the upper part also.

A few decades later, in the 1940s, Norwegian influence like star designs can be seen in Finnish socks. Later still, in the midst of the western world’s boom of self-striping yarns, lace and intricate cables, a thorough book on plain socks was published in Finnish in 2009. It’s called Sukkasillaan (“sock-footed”), and I’d be surprised if it won’t become a classic. If you know the basics of sock knitting, it’s easy to be as creative as the women who knitted the socks in Myrbergsgården and Stundars.

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