There’s a series on BBC Radio 4 called Desert Island Discs, where famous musicians are interviewed about the music they’d take to a desert island. Although I’m neither famous nor a musician I thought I’d make a similar list with books for the bunker. Let’s conveniently forget for the moment the fact that there is very little chance of the stash accompanying us into a post-apocalyptic future…
As a person who primarily knits lace and who dislikes following patterns, I couldn’t do without Heirloom Knitting by Sharon Miller and The Haapsalu Shawl by Siiri Reimann and Aime Edasi. These books both contain information on how to knit a traditional Shetland shawl and Haapsalu (Estonian) shawl, respectively, as well as being monumental stitch dictionaries. It’s mainly for the latter reason that I’d like them on my shelf in the bunker — I can sit and dream about all kinds of combinations.
Then, in the event that I would actually be called upon to clothe the family, Barbara Walker’s Knitting from the Top would prove an invaluable companion. With formulas or rather formulations to assist in the calculation of stitch counts for custom sweaters of various constructions (drop sleeve, raglan, yoke, set-in sleeve), pants (trousers for any Brits out there!), hats and skirts it will ensure that we stay warm from head to toe despite any nuclear winter.
Those sweaters might get quite boring if they were knitted straight down with no embellishments, so to that end Elsebeth Lavold’s Viking Patterns for Knitting and Alice Starmore’s Book of Fair Isle Knitting round out my choices. While Lavold’s book does contain patterns, it’s a stitch dictionary of sorts as well (upon which I draw every year for Knoll’s sweaters); Starmore should need no introduction. At present I don’t intend to ever knit a traditional steeked sweater with a million ends to weave in, but the charts can also be used with a mere 2 colours, and who knows, maybe I’d make an attempt at mastering Fair Isle in order to forget the impending end of the world.
This photograph can be found at the Norwegian Defense Museum — “Norwegian soldiers retreating to a new position further north in Østerdalen” during WWII. While American women were encouraged to knit for the troops, I can’t find any similar exhortations to women in Norway so I imagine, perhaps too sentimentally, that this soldier wears mittens knitted for him by his mother or sister or grandmother.
Two new patterns today, dear reader! The first is Cherries and Fairies. Using just between 550-600 m of laceweight yarn, this lightly curved triangular shawl knits up quickly. An Estonian variation of the cat’s paw pattern gives way to a nupp border and it’s finished with a crochet chain edging.
The size of the shawl can be easily adjusted by knitting more/fewer repeats of cat’s paw. The original shawl measured 60” x 24” / 152 x 60 cm after blocking.
As usual, the pattern has been tested and assumes that you know how to cast on provisionally, knit nupps, and read charts.
So ends summer 2016 for us.
Autumn begins with Merofleda, the second scarf in the Not Quite Samite series. The alternating leaf and nupp pattern is knitted here in gold to evoke the autumn aspens of northern New Mexico. Half a lifetime on, I still can’t forget the leaves against the endless blue sky.
This pattern uses about 400 m of fingering-weight yarn, so it’s a great stashbuster for single skeins of sock yarn. (The original is knitted in Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock and measures 8” x 73” / 20 x 185 cm so if you have less yardage you can consider a slightly shorter scarf.) The scarf is worked from the bottom up in a single piece and finished with a crocheted picot edging.
I guess every knitter keeps a list of some items they’d rather never knit. Excluding the household items (dishcloths, pillow covers, rugs, etc) mine is short but drastic: socks and sweaters. But as you’ve likely noticed by now, dear reader, it’s August and for me that means it’s time to plan winter knitting for the kids so socks and sweaters will constitute most projects for the next few months. (I do promise some lacy interruptions, however.)
As luck would have it, the yarn for both Knoll and Tott’s sweaters already lives in the stash and my go-to pattern, the seamless set-in sleeve sweater by Barbara Walker, is already on standby. And to really shake things up this year I’m going to make some raglans using this pattern.
In fact, I’ve already finished one! For Tott in Nøstebarn Merino 2-ply (held double so it knitted up in just a few days)! In an attempt to liven it up, I added a Shetland pattern from Alice Starmore’s book Fair Isle Knitting.
Knoll’s (in the Barbara Walker style) is already partially finished too…and I think I might have discovered my new favourite yarn: Easyknits Big Boy, a blend of Exmoor Blueface, alpaca, and nylon. Knoll is partial to cables in the style of Elsebeth Lavold, and Big Boy showcases them fantastically. I even find myself wishing that I had done some all-over cabling instead of a measly mirrored pair down the front…
When I first came to Norway, I went on a jamming spree and, given that most of my cookbooks were British, spent a great deal of time wishing that greengages and damsons grew wild here and missing the blackberries (charmingly called bjørnebær, or bear-berries, in Norwegian) that so marked my childhood in Pacific Canada. Still, our summer bounty is hardly one to disdain — cherries and currants (black and red) from the garden and raspberries, blueberries and lingonberries from the woods!
“I should build you a spinning wheel like this one!” said Odd-Even with suspiciously much enthusiasm. Well, when we move to Venus, I guess just such a spinning wheel might come in handy…but for now I’m happy with my Louet Julia.