måndag 26 december 2011

In the nick of time

These mittens in Twined  Knitting for Jessica were finished just a couple of hours before they were to be gifted. I normally avoid knitting towards a deadline, but it sometimes happens (and Christmas Eve is kind of a special event).

They are (as usual) knitted with yarn spun at Wålstedts. The stitch pattern used is an old one from Ore, Dalecarlia. I saw it on a pair of knitted gloves at Dalarnas Museum in November. It was knitted in red on a white glove. For Jessica I chose pink on natural brown. 

söndag 18 december 2011

Striped Cap in Twined Knitting

I had some yarn from Wålstedts in really nice colours. I wanted to use them but I did not know what to knit. So I decided on a cap and unplanned striping, deciding on the colours while knitting.

This is the result, much more colourful than most of my items but I kind of like it anyway.
Knitted on dbpns 2½ mm, yarn from Wålstedts, 90 grams.

Inspired by Old model from Leksand

Half mitten - old model from Leksand
I started knitting this one during the course in traditional twined knitting at Sätergläntan that I attended in November. The original pair of half mittens (from the 19th Century) is owned by Karin Kahnlund. 
The mittens feature many of the characteristics of old mittens from Leksand:  knitted with white yarn, a broad cuff, one of the three threads used for casting on is red and they have a crook-stitch pattern. 
The original mitten has a gauge of 52 stitches/10 cm (13 stitches/inch). I knitted this one on dbpns 1.75 mm (00) and a thin 2-ply yarn for twined knitting from Wålstedts (a thinner version of their regular 4,7/2). My gauge is 49-50 stitches/10 cm (12-12.5 stitches/inch).

I knitted this to get a feel for the traditional twined knitting and I think that it was a great experience.

söndag 27 november 2011

Knitting traditions in Dalecarlia

I am back after five very intense days studying local traditions in twined knitting in Dalecarlia. Karin Kahnlund was, as always, a very inspiring teacher and Sätergläntan always offers nice companions, good food and quiet surroundings.

We studied traditions from Rättvik, Floda, Gagnef, Mora and Leksand. As always I get so impressed when I get a chance to study knitted items from the 19th century. The skill of the spinners and knitters is simply amazing. The yarn the used is so thin, most of the mittens that we saw had a stitch count of 50-60 stitches per 10 cm (12½-15 stitches/inch). The patterns are beautiful and there seems to have been no restrictions to the time spent knitting a pair of mittens or socks. It is also amazing how different the traditions are even if they were developed next to each other. In Leksand there are beautiful white mittens with very few patterns and not many colours. In Rättvik there are bold patterns that sometimes has four to five colours in a row.

The different kind of patterns also represents different kind of technical solutions in twined knitting. This was most interesting since we saw different solutions on how to knit twined knitting with two or three colours depending on where the items were knitted and how the patterns were constructed. I know that there sometimes are quite intense discussions on what "the proper" way of knitting twined knitting with two or three colours is. After this week I have learnt that the answer most like likely will depend on where the pattern you knit originated from, that is if you are knitting "traditional" pieces. If you are knitting "modern" designs it will be a matter of what you judge as the best solution regarding the result you aim for.
Sampler: 2 patterns from Rättvik
The pattern at the top of the sampler is a pattern knitted with one strand of red and one strand of white yarn (both wool).
The bottom pattern is knitted with one strand of red yarn (wool) and a thin white thread (flax, a yarn most often used for fine lace-making).
Sampler: 3 patterns from Floda and Gagnef
This sampler was knitted in white and black, one strand of each. When finished is was dyed red. The three motives also represent different techniques in knitting twined knitting with two colours.
Sampler: 3 patterns from Floda and Gagnef, dyed red

söndag 20 november 2011

Mittens for Mia

These are twined knitted mittens for Mia. She likes brown and grey and perhaps some blue.

They are part and end of what became a "Twined knitted mittens for Peter´s family" Christmas gifts project. I am glad that I was able to finish in time. Christmas is only one month away and time will fly .... 
In the near future I am once more going to Dalecarlia to study local traditions in twined knitting. I am really looking forward to this and know that it will give me lots of inspiration. Posts will come in December.

torsdag 3 november 2011

Birthday mittens in Twined Knitting

These mittens are for my nephew Peter. He is an amazing man and father, and it was a long time since I knitted something for him. So, for his birthday in December I have made a pair of twined knitted mittens.

The colour stitch pattern on the cuff is based on an Estonian pattern that I adjusted to fit the amount of stitches that I needed for Peter´s mittens. Originally this pattern is knitted with two colours. For these mittens  I made my own colour scheme, letting myself be inspired by the colours used for hand woven bands that I remember from my youth in Lapland in the north of Sweden.

The coloured yarns for the cuff were bought at Wålstedt´s in Dala-Floda. The dark brown yarn for the mittens is also spun at Wålstedt. The wool comes from the same herd of sheep that  supplied  the yarn in the mittens for the twins. 

I used double pins 2,50 mm (US 1½) and about 150 grams of yarn in total. Cast on, cast off, increases and decreases are traditional ones from Dalecarlia.

söndag 16 oktober 2011

Twined knitted mittens for the twins

These are twined knitted mittens for the twins. My sisters grandchildren are 8 year old twins and I have knitted them mittens. These are to be X-mas gifts (have to start early when it comes to twined knitting). The contrast colours are the same as those of the twins favourite team (Nota bene: it is important not to go wrong here or the mittens will never be used).
In size they are small mittens but I have knitted them in the same manner as for adults. So I have used traditional casting on, two different kinds of traditional braiding, increases and decreases according to the Dalecarlia traditions. The two different braids and a slight variation in the pattern on the cuff are done to separate the pairs.
The yarn used for these mittens comes from the wool of a friends sheep (breed Värmlandsfår) and is spun at Wålstedts in Dala-Floda, Dalecarlia. In these times of consumerism I think that it is a great thing to hand knit, and to do it with a yarn that I have met the sheep that the wool came from makes it even more satisfying.
I also think that it is important that the twins get a chance to learn something about the origin of the yarn of their mittens. So last summer we visited the sheep.
I can only hope that the mittens will be as appreciated as the providers of the wool were.

torsdag 6 oktober 2011

Traditional Swedish Patterns for Knitting by Karin Kahnlund

Today I visited a release party for a new knitting book Traditional Swedish Patterns for Knitting. The book is written by Karin Kahnlund and her designs are all inspired by patterns of traditional textiles from the Swedish province of Skåne. The source of inspiration has been Jakob Kulle´s book Swedish Patterns for Art Weaves and Embroidery (1892), which was reprinted by Rediviva Publishing House in 2008.
Since I am an avid fan of traditional knitting, traditional patterns etc I am glad Karin uses traditional Swedish textile patterns in her book, and I am impressed by her designs.
Her patterns are based on the Swedish knitting tradition of compact patterned knitting in woollen yarn spun from long glossy fibres which become only more beautiful with time.

A really nice thing about this book is that is written in both Swedish and English. Smart and something that I think should be done more often (wouldn´t it have been nice if the reissue of the twined knitting book from Dalarnas Museum had been done in the same way).

Karin has been my teacher in knitting at the courses at The School of the Association of Friends of Textile Art in Stockholm that I have attended. She is a great teacher and her vast knowledge of Swedish traditional knitting has been most inspiring, and  an important influence on me as a knitter.
The book contains patterns for mittens, hats, sweaters, cardigans, cushions, leg warmers etc
Karin signing her book.
Book information:
Sticka efter Svenska Mönster
Karin Kahnlund
Traditional Swedish Patterns for Knitting
Rediviva Publishing House 2011
ISBN 978-91-977695-1-8

torsdag 22 september 2011

Knitting in the old tradition

The first time I saw this stitch pattern I knew that I would make at least one pair of mittens using it. The sheer symmetry and harmony that it displays appeals strongly to me. It was part of a mitten from the north of Halland, Sweden. When it comes to knitting, Halland is foremost known for the fantastic Binge tradition. But I have never seen this pattern used in Binge knitting.

These mittens are knitted on dbpns 2.0 mm with a thin 2-ply yarn spun in Denmark. The wool used is from the Swedish breed "Värmlandsfår" and the colours are natural. I used 140 grams in total. The gauge is 40 stitches to 4 inches and 40 rows to 4 inches.

The cast on and the first 6 rows are knitted in twined knitting to get a firm and durable start for the cuff. The rest of the mitten I knitted holding the yarn in my right hand, “throwing” the yarn in the way that was traditional in most of Sweden before we started knitting continental in the first half of the 1900´s. I have found that I actually find it easier to get an even fabric with this technique when knitting with two colours. It also reminds me a bit of twined knitting, so I really like it.

Rosenkransar - Old stitch pattern from Gotland, Sweden
Twice before have I used this technique, knitting in the old Swedish tradition: a pair of mittens with a stitch pattern from Gotland and a pair of wrist warmers in the Spede tradition from Scania, Sweden.

Wrist warmer in the Spede tradition from Scania, Sweden

söndag 11 september 2011

Black twined knitted mittens

When saying thank you is not enough, what does one do? For Gunilla I offered to knit mittens. Mittens that will last for years. 

I was prepared to knit mittens with complex patterns or many colours to show off the Twined knitting technique. But, I was asked to knit black mittens with no colour patterns, no striping, nothing extravagant. Possibly a hint of a second colour, and if so, it had to be gray.
I started these mittens a number of times, and frogged them over and over again. I became quite unhappy about how to design them and I got "knitter´s block" (if there ever was such an expression) about this project. It lasted until I decided to follow Gunilla´s wish to the point, it was after all quite explicit. 
Suddenly everything felt much better and knitting became a joy, as it should be.
So here they are, Black mittens knitted with my favourite yarn from Wålstedts in Dala-Floda, Dalecarlia. I used two black and one gray strand for casting on, traditionally it would have been one  in red, but Gunilla had said yes to gray so I used that. The only decorations used are  a couple of rows of an ornament that I saw in 2010 when visiting Dalecarlia studying old twined knitted items. 
 Next week these mittens  will be sent to Gunilla - hopefully she will like them.

lördag 27 augusti 2011


I wrote in July that Blue Faced Leicester became a favourite for spinning. It also turned out to be very nice to knit. I knew that I had to try it out in a project that uses s-plied yarn, so Twined Knitting was out of the question. There are a number of shawl patterns that I have had my eyes on, planning to knit when I get a craving for lace-knitting. The one that I chose this time was Haruni by Emily Ross (yes I know it is ages since it was released but I don´t do a lot of lace knitting so I don´t keep up ...).

I do recommend this pattern, it knitted up fairly quick and it wasn´t too difficult. I made two extra repeats of Chart A to get a somewhat bigger shawl - the finished result is 188 cm  x 95 cm (75 inches x 38 inches). I used all but 5 grams of my hand spun Blue faced Leicester.

There will be more spinning and more lace knitting with BFL in the future!

tisdag 2 augusti 2011

One more Boneyard

Chestnutty Boneyard
I bought this yarn from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. It is handdyed Blue Faced Leicester and the colourway is called Chestnutty.

I didn´t want to knit something "complicated", just make something where the yarn came to be "in center". So I knitted yet one more Boneyard (design by Stephen West). This time I made 50% more increases in the first 2/3 of the shawl to get a shape that was more "rounded" - I think that it came out pretty much as I had hoped.

It has a very soft and luxurious feel to it, and my guess is that it will leave us rather soon for one of my relatives (as is the case with most of the shawls that I knit).

lördag 30 juli 2011

Blue Faced Leicester - A Favourite

This vacation my last spinning project was Blue Faced Leicester Tops.

It is hard to explain how nice this was to spin. A real joy. I will definitely spin more of this. This time I chose to spin in Z (on the Majacraft Little Gem) and ply in S (on Louet S10). 300 grams. Actually, this is the first S-plied yarn that i have spun. So I will not use it for Twined Knitting. It will most likely end up as a scarf or a shawl.

All in all I have spun 1050 grams of yarn this vacation. It could be said to be crazy - but I needed to practice spinning! It is relaxing ... and it is a nice feeling to knit something out of your own handspun yarn.

And we have been very lucky with the weather,  with warm days and lots of sun. So I have been sitting outside spinning - no way I was going to spend my vacation indoors.

fredag 29 juli 2011

Z-plied Handspun

Here are two more examples of yarn spun this vacation:

A total of 360 grams.
After sorting and washing the wool, I mixed grey Spelsau from Norway with white Leicester (50/50) by hand carding.
After that I spun (grey) singles in S and plied in Z. Washed the yarn. Dyed it red. Washed again.

This yarn  is for twined knitting and I´ll probably make some more. I think it will be a good yarn for socks.
120 grams of green yarn out of very mixed fiber spun on my Majacraft Little Gem.
Not a pleasant experience to spin (some of it was very low quality with lots and lots and lots and lots of cuts) - but I had decided to see this through. It is spun in S and plied in Z, so it will join my handspun stash for twined knitting. It will be useful …