Train trip through the Eastfold

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Fibre art

During the Dutch Golden Age, Quirijn van Brekelenkam painted scenes of men spinning. It seems that his compatriot Jacob van Toorenvliet (1640-1719) then painted the next step in the yarn-production process:

Rafael valls a man spinning yarn with a peasant woman 12466192042803

And I’ve been working diligently on the next step: turning yarn into garments. Blue ones, too, just like in the painting…

Also, a new free pattern! I’m stashbusting again and Rhenish Amber is a quick project in worsted weight. The cables provide  interest while remaining simple enough to knit while binge-watching Elementary at one in the morning. (Why yes, I do speak from experience.)

The “red gold of the Rhine” cannot, alas, be captured with any accuracy in photos…

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Idunn dreams of apple trees

It’s the middle of winter and the Norse goddess Idun is dreaming of apple trees in the spring. Perhaps you too need some respite from the great greyness — in which case consider casting on this cowl! Stripes, lace, and relative simplicity…not to mention that the pattern is free. Happy New Year from the north 🙂

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The Little Red Dragon and the Boy Clothed with the Sun

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As the end of the year approaches, the exorbitant amount of stash begins to weigh more heavily on my conscience. Having excavated a half-knitted baby Bog Jacket (abandoned due to lack of yarn) I decided to frog it entirely and, casting about for a suitable pattern, alighted on the Flax pullover by Tin Can Knits.

This sweater is straightforward to knit, and I recommend it without reservation to anyone who wants a simple sweater. It’s part of Tin Can Knits’ Simple Knits collection, whose purpose is “teach you all you need to know to make modern seamless knits for the whole family.”

The first thing that struck me about this pattern was its formatting. Rather than text stretching across a whole page, it is instead divided into 2 columns. This choice allows for quick scanning of the text. Within the text itself, each section of the sweater (i.e. yoke, body, sleeves) is delineated with a different, bolded font; and within those sections, bolded text highlights indicate special instructions for setup rounds and decrease/increase rounds. These visual cues make it easy to find one’s place in the pattern.

Sizes, measurements and yardage are laid out in a table. As is likely self-evident, a table is much easier to read than long strings of numbers.

On the first page, there is a sketch of the sweater with each part (sleeve, yoke depth, bust, etc) clearly labeled. In addition to affording an overview of the sweater’s shape, it also provides definitions for the terms used within the pattern.  Thus, when the pattern refers to “yoke depth” or “sleeve length” there is no doubt about how to measure it or which part of the sweater it is: just consult the schematic.

The next page contains more detailed sketches showing the construction of the sweater, including the division of the sleeves and body. There is no wasted space and no wasted words.

As for the finished sweater itself, I find the garter stitch panel on the sleeves to be surprisingly effective as a design element. The garment definitely benefits from blocking to open the garter stitch up and bring its row gauge into line with the stockinette. A final random observation: despite the broke-da-eye kind of colour and the workhorse yarn (100% worsted-spun wool; on sale for about $0.75 per ball a few years ago), Tott actually looked elegant in the yellow version and I can thus well imagine the realms of awesomeness into which a hand-dyed luxury yarn would catapult this pattern.

Aaaaaaaand I’ll sign off today with William Blake’s Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed With the Sun.

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Looking a lot like Christmas!

 

Some classic Christmas songs in Norwegian — the kids’ version:

 

And the not-kids’ version:

 

Also, a knitting update! Sorry for the awful photography — not that I’ve ever wielded a camera with any proficiency, but it’s even worse indoors in the evening in the winter! Here’s a collection of random baby clothes made from stash and leftovers: Wee Lima, A Simple Baby Pullover, the ubiquitous Tomten, Little Knight, and Christine’s Stay-On Baby Booties. The green hat is a tiny version of the Skater Beanie pattern with earflaps modded from this hat.

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Christmas Music

In the event that you can’t bear to listen one more over-jolly rendition of Frosty the Snowman, let me present you with an alternate Christmas playlist.

 

Or if you prefer a classical Christmas:

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Selfish sweater

In order to make myself feel better about buying yarn (i.e. expanding the stash) I’ve developed the rule that it isn’t actually stash if it’s cast on right away. Therefore, Black Friday’s bounty doesn’t really count, since it’s well on its way to becoming another Incredible Custom-Fit Raglan, Viking style, for meeeee!

The yarn is Hillesvåg Ullvarefabrikken’s Sølje, a fingering weight spun from Norwegian pelssau (double-coated sheep). It’s very silky but not entirely soft/smooth, and reminds me in various ways of lopi, Shetland, and Gotland. I’m also counting on it being extremely warm, which is probably why I’m rushing to finish it. As its sleeves are intended to finish above the elbow, I might even be able to wear the finished object by the end of the week!

 

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