Knitting with my Handspun!


This week I finally finished spinning for the Yarngasm Podcast D-SPAKAL – yay! Spinning 400 meters with a drop spindle, constantly experimenting the amount of twist, fiber and way of drafting have taught me a lot. And knitting with the finished, washed yarn feels so special.


The yarn is very fluffy and springy and the fabric it knits up to has lots of character. The goal with the D-SPAKAL was to make a shawl or other neck warmer from the spun fiber. I decided on a cowl because I never made one before, except smaller, collar-like ones. I thought the rustic feel of the yarn would look good in a fabric with characteristics similar to the shawls of Shetland and I decided on making the cowl entirely in the Old Shale stitch pattern. The cowl will be long enough to wrap two laps around my neck and I think it will be super warm! I just hope the yarn will be enough…

140306-5 140306-6

I have also knitted socks, trying to incorporate a new element each time. I realized on the first pair of socks how hard it is for me to follow a sock pattern, socks are such a personal thing and I guess every knitter have their preferred way of doing things.

The first pair of socks I made using West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 ply in the colourway Chili, it contains 35% BLF, 40% other wool and 25% nylon. I started by following a pattern called Cakewalk Socks by Knitting Pirate. It is a simple sock made top down with a heel flap. I really liked the twisted rib and I think I will continue using it for future socks. What I wasn’t as keen on was the stitch pattern for the foot, a k3xp1 rib. I really like the simplicity of it but it didn’t work that well with the yarn I though. In the end I chose to do a 2×2 rib with a braid every sixth row. I also made a reinforced heel-flap with the Eye of Partridge stitch, it added a very beautiful detail to the socks.


The second socks are made from  a self striping yarn that was on discount in my local yarn shop and though it would be perfect for trying out the afterthought heel which I never done before. The yarn is called Heart and Sole by Sirdar yarns with a four stripe repeat in blue, purple and pinks. This was a very nice knit, super simple and easy and I looked forward seeing the colours change.

Next technique I’ll try out will be the Fish Lips Kiss heel!

Lavendel Sachets

150218_5150218_4150218_2 Last week I went through my wardrobe as part of the Wardrobe Architect Challenge by Coletterie. I sorted out garments I don’t wear often, garments that needs mending and garments that I don’t like for various reasons. I don’t think I own that much clothes but it is still nice to go through what I have and afterwards put things back in neat piles (my wardrobe tends to get messy…).

I have never had problem with vermin among my clothes or yarn but recently I’ve been thinking, what if? Unwanted guests among my hand knits, yarn or fabrics would be a nightmare. The hosts of the knitting podcasts Voolenvine and A Homespun House frequently knit small lavendel sachets in the shape of small birds from a pattern called Bluebird of Happiness. This inspired me to make my own, though not by knitting them. 150218_1 Purl Bee have a great little tutorial for making lavender sachets from fabric leftovers. Simple squares of fabric, sewn together and filled with dried lavender. Sometimes the simplest can be the most beautiful. And it is nice to mix up more complex bra making projects with fast and easy projects. I happened to have pieces of Liberty fabric from years ago when I made a dress for my high school graduation. The fabric is very pretty, red pansies on a cream-coloured background. The back of the sachets are made from a linen-cotton mix. I made two, one for my knitted sweaters and one for my yarn basket. Both smell lovely now and will hopefully scare off any fiber-eating visitor. I still have lavender to fill one or two sachets and will probably make some more…

Off the needles: Breton Sweater


Among all my clothes, the one’s I like the most and use most frequently are the simple, no-fuss, comfortable garments – classic pieces with a low-key, everyday elegance. They might not have the impact of statement pieces but they are true work horses; you throw them on and are ready to go.

The Breton sweater is a true fashion icon, officially created by French law 1858 to be worn as a uniform by the French navy seamen in Brittany. The original sweater contained exactly twenty-one blue stripes, one for each of Napoleon’s victories. Fifty years later, Coco Chanel, after a visit to the french coast, brought the stripes into fashion with an updated Breton shirt for her nautical collection in 1917. The Breton sweater has since then stayed a stylish wardrobe staple for both men and women.


French seamen and Coco Chanel.

And so, off course, the pattern of my knitted sweater is Breton. The pattern is designed by Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed that describes it as “an homage to the classic Breton shirt”. It even has twenty-one stripes (go Napoleon!). The fit is slightly fitted with a special shoulder construction, much like commercially bought sweaters. It has rolled hems and neckline. I very much recommend this pattern, it is clearly written and it is clear that a lot of attention have been put into details and fit.

I wanted the sweater to be lightweight and wearable most part of the year and so I chose a fingering weight shetland yarn from BC Garn. I decided on a golden yellow colour to make a softer, alternative version of the graphic blue stripes. Seeing the end result, I couldn’t be more happy with my choice of colour! The yarn is not as soft as superfine merino, but I would still see it as a soft yarn and I often wear this sweater with only a sleeveless top underneath. Though I’m not super sensitive to scratchy yarn, I actually kind of like the wooly feeling of Shetland and fibers of similar characteristics.

I will definitely make another sweater from this pattern, maybe with a Fair isle pattern? Or maybe a Swedish or Estonian inspired pattern? Or maybe as a cardigan? I see several possibilities with this pattern. Next time I would make it one size larger though, more like it looks in the pattern picture, as this shirt sometimes feels a bit short (but its ok since I always wear high waisted pants).

I actually finished this sweater in November last year and I have worn it a lot, but been too lazy to photograph it. Northern Scandinavia is dark during this time of year and I haven’t been inspired to take out my camera and shoot some pictures of this sweater until now. This weekend the sun came out after several weeks of absence and filled my living room with daylight. Seeing layers of dirt on the windows when the light hits the glass feels like the first sign of spring! (So I let them stay dirty..)

Test Knitters Wanted!


Update: The pattern is finished and available for free here!

My first knitting pattern is finished – the sock beanie that I wrote about earlier. It is renamed to 2X2, as it is made from *knit two, purl two* ribbing. It is a classic and simple hat, easy and comfortable to wear (I have worn my everyday since I finished it) and easy to knit. The plan is to upload it to Ravelry within a few weeks, after the pattern have been thoroughly checked by test knitters. I have found one but would like to have it examined by another pair of eyes. I have written the specifications below, I used Hedgehog Fiber Sock and it is the yarn I recommend in the pattern but you can off course knit it in a corresponding fingering weight yarn. My sister who is a graphic designer helped me with the layout of the pattern, and I promise you that it is as clean and simple as the hat and very easy to read. Post a comment if you are interested to test knit and write what yarn you will use and I will send you the pattern!




Yarn: 230 meters (250 yards) of Hedgehog Fiber Sock (or corresponding fingering weight yarn

Needles: 2mm (US0) circular and double pointed needles

Notions: 4 stitch markers, tapestry needle

Gauge: 37sts and 50rows /10 cm in 2×2 ribbing (blocked)

Special techniques: Long-tail cast on, kitcheners stitch

Sock Cravings!


Vestigal // Bowties are Cool // Petty Harbour // Cakewalk Socks // Sounion

I haven’t knitted socks in a long time but recently I’ve started to crave sock yarn, 2,5mm needles and beautiful sock patterns. I’m suspecting the urge is coming from me listening to the Knitmore Girls talking about #operationsockdrawer.

There are more than 23,000 sock patterns uploaded to Ravelry and many of them are free to use, perfect for a student like me. I like socks with texture, simple but with elements that create interest. Above are five free patterns that I like and some of them will probably end up on my needles in a near future. I’m suspecting that the super classic and clean Cakewalk Socks might become a new favorite of mine…

What is your favorite sock pattern?

Reversed Wood

You say to a brick, ‘What do you want, brick?’ And brick says to you, ‘I like an arch.’ And you say to brick, ‘Look, I want one, too, but arches are expensive and I can use a concrete lintel.’ And then you say: ‘What do you think of that, brick?’ Brick says: ‘I like an arch.’

– Louis Kahn

I am continuing my goal to knit and sew up my stash this year. A few years ago I bought a bunch of Rowan 4-ply skeins in a light, leafy green from Tradera (the equivalent to Ebay in Sweden). I knew I wanted it to be a sweater to wear during summer and a few times I started knitting with it but I never really liked the result and always ended up unraveling it a bit into the pattern.

It kind of made me think of this (cheesy) quotation by architect Louis Kahn, told to me by a teacher i had during my first year in architecture school. We laughed a bit at him but I feel there is some truth in the saying. Just like asking the brick what it wants to be, I feel that each yarn have a or a few project it is waiting to turn into, unwilling to compromise. You have to know and listen to the fiber, not work against it. With this yarn, even tough I like it and knew that it would look lovely as a sweater, I was unable to find its designated pattern – until i found Wood.

Wood is made by Carrie Bostick Hoge aka Madder for the collection Elements. As the name implies, the five patterns in the collection are inspired by the five elements; wood, water, wind, fire and steel. I like the idea and I think the different patterns have successfully been able to catch the big variety of textures, shapes, details and colours connected to the different elements.I think Elements show the width of knitting, the great potential with purls and knit stitches – one of the things I like the most with knitting.

Out of all patterns, Wood appealed me the most. It is loose and drapey, yet has defined sleeves. The neckline which is feminine and flattering and not too deep, which I like. The sweater is worked flat in pieces that are sewn together in the end. To knit in the round is faster but I like seamed knits as they tend to have a nicer shape and structure compared to seamless sweaters. Wood have an reversed stockinette stitch fabric, the purl side is shown, with thin cables imitating branches growing up along the sleeves and body. The original sweater is beautifully textured, made in Brookly Tweed loft, and I think the pattern is well suited for a more rustic or textured yarn. My yarn is very soft and shiny, the opposite of Brooklyn Tweed, and so I decided to make some changes to the pattern.


Rowan 4-ply is fingering weight, of soft merino wool, perfect for a garment that you wear right next to the skin as it won’t itch. The stitch definition is very nice, it looks especially good on knit stitches, which is the reason why I chose to modify this pattern slightly. I will remove the cables and let the knit stitches become the right side of the fabric, the bottom of the sleeves and bodice will have a simple 2×2 ribbing.

Only knitting stockinette is kind of boring and I don’t like the purl rows… If l like the fit of the sweater (I’m sure I will) I will make another in a more textured yarn following the pattern as it is. I am also thinking that Wood have potential to be a really nice cardigan.. Oh, the endless possibilities!

Progress Report D-SPAKAL: Meter/gram ratio improving?


Warning! This post will be a little geeky… Going into stats of grams and meters of my spinning (but who doesn’t like some fiber related stats?).

I joined the D-SPAKAL hosted by the Yarngasm Podcast in order to learn how to spinn properly while having the possibility to ask others for help, get motivated and also to work towards a goal: spinning enough yarn for an aran styled cabled cowl.

I decided to spinn using the Navajo ply-on-the-fly method with untreated Southdown wool from World of Wool. I wanted to be able to track my progress easily during spinning so I started making small labels to put on the finished mini-skeins as they come of my spindle where i record date finished, which skein it is (first, second, third etc), length and weight. At the moment I have spun up about 60 grams of fiber, some where between 100-120 meters of yarn (I have some on my spindle).

Yesterday I was looking at the skeins with the labels to see if there is a difference in thickness and evenness (is that a word?) to see if my spinning has improved. Looking at the numbers I realized that I could calculate the ratio between length and weight and get the amount of meters for every gram of fiber I spun.


The result was very interesting as the different skeins have about the same thickness but the ratios where very different. The first skein was spun at 1,5 meters/gram of fiber, the second was 2,5 meters/gram  and the third was to my surprise 1,8 meters/gram, lower than the second.

As I have become better I guess I don’t need to put as much twist in the yarn to prevent it from breaking, making it lighter, more springy and better suited for a cowl or other neck-wear. But I don’t understand what happened on the third skein, going back to 1,8.. I also think that there is a difference in how the different skeins reflect the light; the first one seem a bit darker or yellow than the second and third which are a bit lighter and have more of a halo. If I get more than the required amount (375 yards I believe) the first might become socks instead. The high twist makes it a bit scratchy to have against the neck but also more durable and suitable for socks.

Wardrobe Architect: Patterns

150129_Patterns2Archer, Linden – Grainline Studio // Wood – Madder, Sue’s Aran Sweater – Blacker Yarns // Clover, Laurel – Colette Patterns // Cascade – Grainline, Rami Blouson – A Kind of Guise

Searching for sewing patterns really makes me eager to sew! I looked for simple patterns that are easy to modify and make multiple versions of. The Archer Shirt can be made in many different kinds of fabric, with or without pockets and sleeves and with different collars. Linden and Laurel is the same. I imagine that Clover will work well in both neutral and patterned fabrics under tunics and thicker sweaters.

I also like Grainline’s new duffel coat pattern; Cascade. Though I want to change it into a bomber jacket like the one from A Kind of Guise – made in Harris Tweed! One can dream…

There two knitted sweaters there as well. Wood, that I’m knitting on at the moment and Sue’s Aran Sweater warm and with gorgeous cables. They have shapes and details I like and they will look great together with the other patterns.

I guess next step is to go though my wardrobe and fabric stash, it will feel great to continue doing things, not just planning and dreaming!

Wardrobe Architect: Proportions and Silhouettes

I’m behind already! There has been a lot in school these two last weeks and I had little time to sit down and to put together silhouettes for the forth weeks assignment of Wardrobe Architect. This week was all about proportions and silhouettes which was interesting. It is easy to just think of one piece of clothing (especially while sewing) at the time and not see it as one part of a whole as the overall shape of an outfit is more important than the individual garments. I  feel the happy in silhouettes that are looser over the torso and either tighter over the legs or if they are looser should have a slightly defined waist. The assignment was to make ten different silhouettes, which is a lot! I decided to do four (with the help of polyvore), focusing on shapes for the average temperature of about 8 degrees celsius (not looking at summer months or the coldest part of winter, though it is just a question of layering). These are the silhouettes I came up with: This is my uniform; a well fitting pair of jeans, boots (or sneakers), a loose fitting shirt and a sweater for times when I’m cold. I like this silhouette as it is comfortable and simple to dress up or down depending on the shoes, the material of the shirt or the accessories. The sweater could also be replaced by a blazer for a dressier look. This silhouette is similar to the first but more relaxed, I would love to wear this! The trousers are looser with a lower crouch and rolled up legs for a comfortable everyday outfit. On the top is a soft tee combined with a cropped crew-neck jacket. I am often cold and I love to wear cozy knitted sweaters. I don’t own an aran sweater but I would like to knit a chunky one. Then I would combine it with a straight and slightly longer pencil skirt (with a nice functional pocket!), tights and sneakers. This is also easy to dress up by adding bracelets and changing the sneakers into shoes with more heel. Last silhouette! A straight (or slightly A-line?) dress with generous sleeves and crew-neck combined with a short, collarless jacket and mens style brogues. I really like the pattern and colour of the dress and might make one if I find the right pattern as it would be an awesome everyday dress. Next I will find sewing patterns that corresponds to my silhouettes – were the sewing and the fun really comes in!

Off the needles: Sock Beanie (+pattern?)

Phew! I finally finished knitting this hat from the wonderful Hedgehog Fibres Sock in the shade Concrete this weekend. It is knitted on size 2 mm double pointed needles, all in 2×2 rib. But the yarn made it all worth it, it is super soft and it has just the amount of elasticity I was looking for as I like hats that covers the ears and keep the cold air out.

I made up the pattern as I knitted. The rib took so long that I had a lot of time to think about how to do the decreases. The shape of the crown is inspired from store bought beanies. The decreases are often asymmetrical, more flat or how I should put it, a shape that is quite uncommon in hat knitting patterns that I’ve seen on Ravelry (or maybe it is just me that have missed them).

I think I will write down the pattern for this hat and publish it on Ravelry. Fingering sock yarn is something many people have available and this simple (but refined) model would suit a lot of people, both men and women. It would look amazing in multicolored hand dyed yarn.

I just need to find the time and do it…