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Monday, 20 February 2006
Knitting This Week
Topic: nordic knitting

This one's for Elizabeth, my fellow Children In Common knitfriend. She's the organizer of the CIC LIST that coordinates donated knit/crocheted/woven clothing for the thousands of kids in orphanages in the former Soviet Union. She's a sock knitting fiend, also.

The reindeer chart got tweaked a little in anticipation of multiple sock sizes ahead, and I am not happy with the color placement on the border charts, but a New Idea came to me last night and I'll work on it later this evening. (Pattern is on its way, E).

And, I finished another colorway for the Nordic Knitting Retreats. I like dark sweaters, and using black as a licing color gets me there while allowing for a real color as the base.

Dark sweaters are very practical to wear everyday, and HEILO is the best wearing 100% wool yarn I've ever knitted with. I plan to make my everyday sweaters and socks out of it from now on.

Posted by countrywool at 9:03 AM EST
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Friday, 17 February 2006
Dancing Reindeer
Topic: nordic knitting

Done, ends woven in, washed, blocked, worn twice and now photographed for the pattern.

I opted to make this tunic length, for I live in leggings and BIG handknit socks all winter.

I just need some reindeer socks to go with it.

Posted by countrywool at 5:18 PM EST
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Thursday, 9 February 2006
...getting closer
Topic: nordic knitting

It is always a shame a circularly knit stranded sweater cannot look as good as it will be while it is still on the needles. But, I am nearing the end and wanted to share. I have taken my time knitting this (although I do have a deadline which looms over me) in order to protect my hands/wrists/arms/back. So I do only a few inches a day. I am on round 42 of the 63 round yoke, and with all the decreasing, I may finish it tonight.

I snuck in some short rows between chart changes, and all told there will be almost a 2" higher back when I hit the top. This pleases me enormously, as the fit will be that much better.

I am thinking a stand up collar would be a snappy finish, to match the hem style at the cuffs/bottom edge.

Stay tuned.

While I am working on this sweater, the next one is dancing in my head.

So many good sweater ideas, so little time....

Posted by countrywool at 6:52 AM EST
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Friday, 3 February 2006
Nordic Hat (Lice In The Woods)
Topic: nordic knitting

So, here is the hat the Cape Ann and Rip Van Winkle Nordic Knitting Retreats will be making as a gauge swatch for their sweaters. It will also be the topic of the March 11 KNITTING LAB at Countrywool, where we will concentrate on the two-handed color knitting technique that makes this sort of project knit faster and with less muss and fuss.

The pattern and a Pattern/Yarn pack is also available at Countrywool. The pattern comes in 6 sizes from toddler through men's extra large, and the kit includes Heilo Norwegian wool yarn in the colors of your choice.

Posted by countrywool at 8:10 AM EST
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Tuesday, 31 January 2006
Nordic Sweater Yoke Ideas
Topic: nordic knitting

I am lost in design land as I ponder color stitch patterns for the yoke of the adult Nordic Sweater. February 1 is the day I will start knitting the yoke, as the body (all 18" of it) is done.

I have made dozens of yoke sweaters, and Meg Swansen's version of the EPS percentage system is the route I will take: there will be 5 rounds of decrease from underarm to neck while color patterns dance along the way. The trick is to find charts that will work with this concept AND please the sweater design.

A wonderful, wonderful snowflake appeared in my life last week in a 1972 copy of Women's Day Sweater Ideas (how I worshiped those issues...remember when we couldn't get ANYTHING knit related at the grocery store except for that, and only ONCE a year?!?) It is, however, 30 rows high. By my calculations, the yoke of my sweater will be 9" x 7 rows/inch which means 63 rounds deep. The stellar snowflake will interfere with the decreasing rounds, so I will probably not use it.


But, I have always had reindeer in my brain, much to the dismay of my Knit Night buddies. They are waiting to see what I pull out of my sleeve on this one and are voting for sheep, ducks or something esoteric. But, I have always wanted my own reindeer sweater. What's wrong with tradition? (And I'll end up writing the pattern with optional charts for their knitting pleasure because I adore them).

There are three knitting books that I have been spending quality time with this past week: two by Annemor Sundbo (Everyday Knitting , Setesdal Sweaters) and one by Annichen Sibbern Bohn (Norwegian Knitting Designs). The variety of reindeer in them is mind boggling, and I think I will find happiness and design bliss when I crunch stitch numbers later today.

Posted by countrywool at 7:57 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 31 January 2006 8:02 AM EST
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Sunday, 4 December 2005
And there goes the first one this winter...
Topic: nordic knitting

When my son showed up at my doorstep this Sunday morning complaining of the cold, he asked me if I was "done" with the hat he had seen last week. I got one last picture of it as he walked away.

It's fabulous on him.

Posted by countrywool at 12:27 PM EST
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Friday, 2 December 2005
And we are off and knitting...
Topic: nordic knitting

My needles, yarn basket and I are sharing some quality time now. I am zipping along on the sleeve. I actually have it almost finished, after our marathon Knit Nite last evening.

Some thoughts on hemmed edges and jogless color jogs.

I have made 5 hems in the last 6 months and some have come out better than others. There is always a stubborn line-shadow when I tack them down. The amount of "tacking" seems to make a difference. Unfortunately, when the inside is so loosely attached to make the double thickness barely visible from the outside, the inside looks like a frogged mess. To help me deal with this, I have decided to make it a design element. So, the hem sewing line is the red stripe you see in the cuff.

Now, I boldly stated no straight color lines would be in the project. The fact that I added one tells you how desperate I was to fix this hem-shadow thing. So I am committed to including jogless jog information at the retreats next year when I teach these sweater skills.

Judy Gibson is another of my knitting gurus. Her jogless jog website is simply fabulous and always helpful in these situations. I opted to make the red stripe as follows: work the first stitch of the next round from the row below in red, slip the last stitch worked back to the right needle point (to keep my beginning of the round color pattern in sequence on the chart), cut the red yarn and proceed. Looks pretty good.

This week I am teaching 5 classes, all of which require 3 hours of preparation. So I am desperately working to keep blocks of knitting time in my life as I am totally, totally in love with this project. I can't wait to see what the body looks like!!!!

Posted by countrywool at 5:23 AM EST
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Tuesday, 29 November 2005
Pine Leaves Nordic Hat
Topic: nordic knitting

The last 3 weeks of knitting have been duly interrupted by Mercury and Mars in retrograde as well as the annual Thanksgiving feast at our place. It has been work to get anything new to come together. But, here it is. I am tickled with the size, shape and fit of this hat (which had to be forcibly taken away from my 30 year old son for picture taking) but the colors are (again) not what I want for my sweater.

The good news is: the pattern is written. (I love finishing up things). And...AND, now I can see the sweater colors in my head. So, I cast on for the sleeve last night and I am off. Pictures to come soon, I promise.

Posted by countrywool at 7:32 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 30 November 2005 11:42 AM EST
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Wednesday, 16 November 2005
A new therefore a new hat
Topic: nordic knitting

I promised myself that as soon as the last knitting retreat was over, I would jump into planning the adult sweater for the Cape Ann and Rip Van Winkle Knitting Retreats next year.

I've vacillated over the colors for 3 months, so I guess I'll just have to make a pile of hats with alternate colors until I get what I am looking for. This first one will be black with pine boughs, wee Nordic charts, and hopefully some licing. I spent all afternoon yesterday with my books and favorite sweater pictures and everything is brewing in my head.

One thing is clear: no lines on this one. It occurred to me that a circularly knit Nordic sweater pattern should have curves and zig zags to help with jogless jogs when color changing. So, one hurdle down.

So, now I will just knit and see what happens with this first group. Stay tuned.

Posted by countrywool at 5:25 AM EST
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Sunday, 3 July 2005
The Wee Nordic sweater gets farther along
Topic: nordic knitting

I am on the home stretch. The neck hem got knit last night, and all that is left to do is hand sew it down, and then

weave the underarm stitches together for a seamless finish.

I had an easier job with the hems this time. Since I was using two strands of Baby Ull for the sweater itself, it was a simple matter to use just a single strand for the hems. And, being thinner, once sewn down they were almost invisible. Being thinner, they are not as good looking, but their functionality far outweighs aesthetics in this case.

Tomorrow I will post the final picture of the sweater. It still needs blocking, so I'll get to that this afternoon.

Posted by countrywool at 6:57 AM EDT
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