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

150210-03

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.

115

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!

forsta-sida

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!

SPECIFICATIONS:

2X2-Hat

Materials:

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!

150204-Sockar

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.

150201-2150201-1

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?

150130-2

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.

150130-3

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!