Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Traditionalish Ullared Sweater

Before Emma Jacobsson became the knitting heroine of Sweden with her Bohus Stickning co-op, the Grand Dame of Swedish knitting was the 17th century Dane, Magna Brita Cracau. The techniques she brought to Halland created a legacy of knitwear that would directly influence those of Norway and the British Isles.

Halland sweaters became stranded in the 19th century as documented in the fantastic "Swedish Sweaters, New Designs from Historical Examples" by Britt-Marie Christoffersson. I used this book as well as Knitting in the Old Way, Designs & Techniques from Ethnic Sweaters", Roberts & Robson to experiment with all of the area's signature techniques.

My sweater is primarily in the Ullared style. I used traditional diamond patterns with a typically placed record of the year and my initials. These sweaters bore the wearers rather than the makers initials, in this case they are one in the same. I also followed the oldest tradition of finishing using crochet to work the neck and cuff edges.
Using assorted geometric patterns from "Swedish Sweaters" I inserted 'false seam lines' using colour to line up the circular knitting with the point at which the front and back began to be worked flat. I also made half gussets following Plan 1 for the Danish Blouse in Knitting in the Old Way and patterned them separately.
The main adjustments I made were to change the shape of the sweater to the Danish cropped style, or the Swedish Spedetroja look. I also started with a split welt hem. I don't suit a big boxy sweater.
Using worsted weight wool is a major modernization along with the use of red yarn. Traditionally, these (and most Swedish) sweaters would have been knit in black and white and then dyed red.
You see, I had to post this before it was too late!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Victorian Spinning?

I love my Louet Victoria spinning wheel, but wish that there were bulky attachments available. A larger orifice and wider flyer would be at the top of my christmas list. In the mean time...

I hope Santa knows his spinning terms.
ps Happy Birthday, Chris.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Keith's Bottle Cap Trivet

How about a few simple acts of green in one go. Liberated Bottle Caps and selvaged ends of yarn combine to create a functional and zakka trivet. A trivet is a coaster that helps retain heat while it's main purpose is to keep your table top clean and safe. So reuse, recycle, and reduce the number of times you need to zap your tea or soup in the microwave with this free pattern.

Keith's Bottle Cap Trivet
©Morgan Forrester, 2008

14 Bottle caps without dents
Small amounts of yarn and cotton. I used vintage scraps which are equivalent to:
No. 10 Crochet Cotton
DMC Embroidery Floss
Fingering weight wool.

To get a vintagey colour palate, try tea dying white, cream and baby blue. Tutorial here.

1.00mm crochet hook (larger for heavier wool)
Darning needle. -I love Chibi needles for their bent tip.

ch 10, sl st to form ring. (Do not opt for magic loop)
ch 4, tc in next ch st, *2 tc in each ch st* around. (20 tc) sl st in 4th ch to join.

Begin creating the pocket for your Bottle cap by double crocheting in each tc BUT do not complete the stitch -leave each dc on the hook. Your hook will only accommodate so many stitches. When this happens, simply yarn over and pull through all loops left on the hook. This will rapidly decrease the number of stitches on the next round. Join beg and end of the round with a slip stitch.

If you find this a bit tricky, you may try the following after the tc row:

ch 3, dc in each tc, sl st in 3rd ch to join,
This is a good time to insert your Bottle cap.

ch 1, sc2tog in each dc, sl st to join.
Rep this last row until a small opening remains no matter which decrease method you use(number of rounds will depend on gauge). If you look closely, you'll see that I used both methods project.
You may choose to leave this open; the Bottle cap is secure.
To close, sc3tog as possible, then tie off leaving a long tail. Thread this tail on a needle and sew close. Snip, but keep your tails!

Simple sewing attaches the Bottle caps together. When connecting two colours, sew with the tail of the lighter colour unless it is cream/white. White stitches stand out too clearly.
My trivet is a simple shape, but that means that little fibs really show up. Here's how I would connect the caps if I were being a fussbudget. This technique is a good one when dealing with crochet motifs in general.
Trace your caps onto brown paper in the following pattern. A vertical row of:

2, 3, 4, 3, 2

Assign your colours and note them.

Attach the caps in vertical rows. Next sew the rows of 2 to the rows of 3, and then connect the rows of 3 to the middle, 4 cap row.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Handi Amigurumi

I was late warming to Ravelry, mainly because I don't use patterns often. I can be such a stick-in-the-mud. The site has been a great tool; assessing yarns and their properties is easy now, and I'm often lurking around noting sweater fits and sizes on real bodies.
In preparation for an Amigurumi class I looked up patterns with construction styles I hadn't tried. Here are two great results. I also love these projects' functionality : practical whimsy!

Sprinkle Donut Pin Cushion
Free pattern at Crochetville.
Cherry Pie [T-pin cushion, great for blocking help]. *Whipped Cream is Icelandic Sheep Fleece!
Free pattern at Craftster.
I am pomoboho on Ravelry. Let's be friends.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Think I spotted a reader of this blog downtown yesterday. If nothing else it told me I'd better post.
Here is some handspun. I think I'm finding my niche, but there are lots of different techniques that interest me. My current stumbling block is boucle. I've tried a few methods but can't happen on the look I'm going for. I think it's down to fibre type. I need a silkier something for the single that becomes looped.
These ideas came up in the mean time.
Simple thick and thin 2 ply, Louet "Karaoke" (50% soy silk), colourway "Rainbow"

Same as above (2nd multi combo "Playful")

Silk blend from Gaspereaux (purchased at Maritime Spinners Retreat), plied with DMC floss, German frayed ribbon, metallic flowers, paper flowers, tiny Indian bells and NZ merino (from a Top Knot)-more of this sort of thing to come.

Saturday, November 08, 2008


Here are some goings on that have gone on this autumn.

Late September The Loop tended booth again at Pacafiesta, Halifax's Fibre Show and Alpaca love-in. It proved as strange and endearing as ever. I fell for a Schacht loom, and lost my heart to many pairs of bedroom eyes. Here are some friends...

Soon after came Nocturne, Halifax's first annual art at night festival. I packed up my spinning wheel (a Louet Victoria) and joined Mimi and Karla in the Loop window. Our living art installation kicked up good moods on busy Barrington St along with merry kinetic energy, luring people inside where Cathy hosted a charity knit a thon. Read about our nocturne yarn and donations here.

At the end of October, fellow Victoria spinner Mimi and I headed up to Cape Breton's Gaelic College for the Maritime Spinner's Retreat. Tanya has a great post-retreat write up here.
I learned lots about my new craft, but I may have come away with more questions than answers. That's a good situation though, happily sequestered as I am in novice land.

PS Any tips on photographing Handspun?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fisherman's Luck, Men's Vintage Cabled Vest



PATONS MOORLAND KNITTING. 13ozs. Rust No.2460 (40-13 ozs.) (42 and 44-14 ozs.) (46 and 48-15 ozs.).
Two No. 10 and two No. 8 Queen Bee Knitting Needles for sizes 38,42 and 46.
Two No.12 and two No.7 Knitting Needles for sizes 40,44 and 48.
One spare needle with points at both ends.
Tension: 5.5 sts and 7 rows =1" with No. 8 needles.
5 sts and 6 rows =1" with No.7 needles.

TO MAKE THE "TWIST": Slip next 5 sts onto the spare needle, letting this needle fall to back of work. Knit next 5 sts. Bring spare needle to front of work and knit next 5 sts. Knit the 5 sts. from spare needle.

FRONT: With No.10 needles (all sizes)cast on 112 sts (40-112)(42 and 44-124 sts) (46 and 48-136 sts).
1st row: K2 *P1 K1. Repeat from * to end of row. Repaeat 1st row for 3.5".
Next Row: K5 (P2K4) twice. P2 K2 (Inc 1 st in next st K1) 4 times. K1 P2 K4 P2 K2. (Inc 1 st in next st, K1)4 times. K1 (P2K2) twice. P2 K2 (Inc 1 st in next st K1) 4 times. K1 P2 K4 P2 K2 (Inc 1 st in next st. K1) 4 times.* K1 (P2 K4)3 times. K1. 128 sts on needle (40 as 38) (42 and 44-K5 (P2 K4) 3 times. P2 K2 Repeat from * to * as given for siz3 38. K1 (P2 K4) 4 times. K1. 140 sts on needle). (46 and 48-K5 (P2 K4) 4 times. P2 K2 Repeat from * to* as given for size 38. K1 (P2 K4)5 times. K1 152 sts on needle).
Change to No.8 needles for sizes 38, 42 and 46.
Change to No.7 needles for sizes 40,44 and 48.
1st row: K1 (all sizes) (P4K2)3 times. (40-3 times) (42 and 44 -4 times) (46 and 48-5 times). P15 K2 P4 K2 P15 (K2 P4)twice. K2 P15 K2 P4 K2 P15*K2 P4. Repeat from * to last st. K1
**2nd Row: K5 (all sizes) (P2 K4)twice. (40-twice) (42 and 44-3 times) (46 and 48-4 times). P2 Twist P2 K4 P2 Twist (P2 K4) twice. P2 Twist P2 K4 P2 Twist *P2 K4 Repeat from * to last st. K1.
3rd row: As 1st row.
4th row: K5 (all sizes). (P2 K4) twice. (40-twice) (42 and 44-3times) (46 and 48-4 times). P2 K15 P2 K4 P2 K15 (p2 K4)twice. P2 K15 P2 K4 P2 K15. *P2 K4. Repeat from * to last st. K1.
5th Row: As 1st row. Repeat 4th and 5th rows 4 times. ** Repeat from ** to** until work measures 14" from beginning or desired lentgh. (all sizes).

To shape armholes: Keeping continuity of pattern, cast off 8 sts. (40-8sts) (42 and 44-9sts) (46 and 48-10 sts). beginning next 2 rows, then dec. 1 st each end of needle on next and every alternate row to 92 sts on needle. (40-92sts) (42 and 44-98sts) (46 and 48-104sts).
Continue even in pattern until armhole from first shaping measures 6.5" (40 and 42-7") (44 and 46 and 48-7.5").

To shape neck: Work 37 sts (40-37sts) (42 and44-40sts) (46 and 48-43 sts) in pattern. Turn.
Leaving remaining sts on spare needle continue in pattern on these 37sts (40-37 sts) (42 and 44-40 sts) (46 and 48-43 sts) dec. 1 st at neck edge every row to 24 sts on needle. (40-24sts)(42 and 46-26 sts) (46 and 48-28sts).
Continue even in pattern until armhole from first shaping measures 9". (40 and 42-9.5") (44 and 46-10") (48-10.5")

To shape shoulder: Keeping continuity of pattern, at armhole edge cast off 12 sts. (40-12sts) (42 and 44-13 sts) (46 and 48-14sts) every alternate row twice.
Leaving next 18 sts. (all sizes) on spare needle, join wool to remaining 37 sts. (40-37sts)(42 and 44-40sts) (46 and 48-43 sts) and work other side to correspond.

BACK: With No.10 needles (all sizes) cast on 112 sts. (40-112sts) (42 and 44-124sts) (46 and 48-136sts).
Work exactly as given for Front to 92 sts on needle (40-92sts) (42 and 44-98sts) (46 and 48-104sts).
Continue even in pattern until armhole from first shaping measures 9". (40 and 42-9.5") (44 and 46-10") (48-10.5")
With right side of work facing, proceed:-

To shape shoulders: Keeping continuity of pattern cast off 12 sts. (40-12sts) (42 and 44-13 sts) (46 and 48-14sts) beginning next 4 rows.
Do not break wool.

NECKBAND: Sew left shoulder seam. With right side of work facing and No.10 needles, knit across sts at back of neck. Pick up and knit 14 sts (40-14sts)(43 and 44-16sts) (46 and 48-18sts) along right side of neck.
Work 1" ribbing (K1 P1). Cast off loosely in ribbing.

ARMBANDS: Sew right shoulder seam. With right side of work facing and No.10 needles, pick up and knit 140 sts. (40 and 42-144sts)(44 and 46-148sts)(48-152sts). along armhole.
Work 1" ribbing (K1P1). Cast off loosely in ribbing.

TO MAKE UP: Press carefully. Sew side seams.

Originally published by Paton's

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Garden Gate

[Examining Sticky Buns at Ciboulette]
In my favorite deck, the 9 and 10 of wands are expressed by a gate and then a garden. Maybe that's why I decided ages ago to adapt the Fiddlesticks shawl pattern "Garden Shawl" into a ballet wrap sweater. Oh no, I remember; it was Ms. Nicks.
In her song of the same or close enough name, Stevie Nicks plays with tenses to say that sometimes it's getting in the garden door that makes you tense. I think lace plays with emotional tesseracts too. One single string is manipulated into a structured fabric, but the road is weird and twisty and some stitches don't actually happen though you keep doggedly working forward. Often it's what has already happened that will decide the future and the present step doesn't really matter much. It's linear thought with blackouts where the yarn overs lay. And why not arrange your black outs and lost weekends in an attractive manner?
Drop stitches at the arm, where the lace edging was knit onto the raglan sleeve, are like things I have decided to forget. Fiddle dee dee, and Tarleton twins, etc. Scarlett strikes again.
I suppose I'm feeling these days, that the basis of my reality is a flimsy thing. Strong and sturdy, (as it is entirely my own construction) but in need of the occasional blocking and to be handled with care.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Cim-di, Comme Ca

Wedding Mittens for Baltic Pixies?
Visit the Latvian Institute to learn more about traditional Dainas (Folk Songs) like the cheeky ones below.

Pretty knitter is that maiden,
She will be my loved bride,
I will give her my hand manly,
And to her my ring of gold.

Smuki ada ta meitina,
Ta bus mana ligavina,
Tai es dusu sav'rocinu,
Savu zelta gredzentinu.

Many mittens am I knitting
Putting in my dowry chest
When the rich girls have been taken,
Then will I come in their mind.

Adu cimdus, kulainisus,
Lieku pura dibena;
Kad labas izvedis,
Tad ar'mani iedomas.

Dear, dear maiden,
What a mitten! -hands are freezing.
Have you knitted those cold mittens
Sitting on a freezing stone?

Ai, ai tautu meita,
Tavu cimdu!-rokas sala.
Vai tu biji adijusi,
Uz akmena sededama?

Found in Upitis' Latviesu Cimdi, translated by V.Berzina-Baltina
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