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 …

onsdag 27 juli 2011

Making yarn

This vacation I have spent a lot of time making yarn - spinning. Here are some photos showing the process of sorting, mixing, carding, spinning, plying and then the finished yarn.

fredag 22 juli 2011

Two designs by Stephen West

Stephen makes very nice designs for scarves and shawls. This spring I have knitted two of them:
This is a free pattern and it is available for download on Ravelry.com.
I used 150 grams of Kauni 8/2. Knitted on Addi cicular needles 4.0 mm.
Size after washing and blocking:
172 cm (69 inches) and 67 cm (27 inches)

Nice knit and smart construction - I really like this pattern. 
I used 280 grams of yarn from my stash.

Nalbinding 2011 (in Swedish: Nålbindning)

This was the year I learned how to nalbind ("nålbinda" in Swedish). Here are some of the projects:

1. Mittens in Nalbinding (Norrtälje technique)
These are my first mittens in nalbinding. I am taking classes for Eva Anderson, fantastic teacher with ages of experience and knowledge. She is also the author of Nålbindning - Historiskt och modernt i Stockholms Län.

I used a 3-ply yarn, 100 % wool which responded well to the fulling process, and a copper needle. The stitch is one of the most common ones in Sweden and is called Norrtäljetekniken and comes from Roslagen/Uppland in Sweden. Since this is where I live I really appreciated learning it.

It was amazing to experience the changes of the material during the fulling process - turning from a rather loose material to a thick and more sturdy product. It is easy to see why mittens like these always have been valued for their comfort and warmth.

2. Socks in Nalbinding (Norrtälje technique)
Next step in learning nalbinding was making socks. Interesting experience since the “layout” of the construction differs a lot from knitting.

I knew that I was going to full the socks so I made them much larger than when knitting.

Fulling took about 25-30 minutes per sock (quite a workout …)
As with the mittens, the finished result is a fantastic fabric - they will without doubt be very warm and comfortable. I used a total of 250 grams of yarn for these socks.

3. Hat in Nalbinding (Norrtälje technique)

This is my item finishing the classes in Nalbinding. I am now coming to terms with the “intuitive” way of working when nalbinding. I made this hat just by going along, adjusting as it progressed. I had decided to make a hat close to the form of the Toarp hat. I chose to make it larger every time I doubted the size, knowing that I could adjust the size during the fulling process.

I have been asked why I have fulled my gloves and socks so that the beautiful pattern that the nalbinding stitches make have become lost. The tradition in many parts of Sweden has been that items that are made to be warm and durable have been fulled, since that greatly enhances these characteristics. Mittens that were more of “show off” and made to be worn at mass and at weddings were not fulled, and often decorated in many ways.
At a later stage I will perhaps make such items also, but at the moment I am concentrating on warm and durable.

4.  Hat in Nalbinding - Rådmansö

Very thick and warm!
I had to bind this hat with the yarn doubled, to get a thick enough result. I was surprised at how well the yarn responded to the fulling process.

Twined Knitting projects 2009-2010 (tvåändsstickning)

1. Twined Mittens - Grey
These are mittens in the traditional way.The yarn is z-plied wool from Kampes. I used grey as it is traditional for workmens mittens and used a traditional red yarn in the cast-on. The gauge is 45 stitches to 10 cm (about 11 stitches to an inch). The increase for the thumb is made from one side only. After finishing the mittens I washed and “felted” them lighty, shaping them to my hand. The result is a very dense and almost “stiff” fabric with very little elasticity.

2. Twined Mittens - Red and Grey

Striped mittens in red and grey yarn from Wålstedt. 140 grams.

3. Twined Knitting Sampler 

This is a sampler in twined knitting. It was knitted during a course in twined knitting at Sätergläntan taught by Karin Kahnlund. The yarn is from Wålstedt.

4.  Cap in Twined Knitting - Pheasants

This is a cap made in twined knitting with z-plied yarn from Wålstedts. Natural brown and natural grey, a total of 90 grams. The stitch pattern is a very old one, from the Binge tradition, called “Pheasants”. I like these colours since they give me a feeling of “old and traditional” knitting.

5. Mittens for Inez - in Twined Knitting

Twined mittens made for my mother. The yarn used is Wålstedts 2-ply, z-twined. The colours are grey and red dyed on grey (that is my favourite red), a total of 85 grams.
The stitch pattern is from the Norwegian Selbu tradition.

6. Young Man´s Moustache - Mittens in Twined Knitting

These twined mittens are made with a 2-ply, z-twined, yarn spun at Wålstedts. The wool used for this yarn comes from a breed of sheep called “Värmlandsfår” and it is excellent for knitting warm mittens.
I used a natural brown and a natural grey, a total of 155 grams.
The cuff is knitted as a “false folded cuff” in a way that can be seen on some old mittens. It was done to give the impression that you could afford yarn to knit a cuff long enough to be folded. The cuff is knitted separately and first. Then stitches for the mitten are picked up from within the cuff border.
The stitch pattern for the cuff is No 330 “Young Man´s Moustache” from Prof. Kenan Özbel´s “Knitted stockings from Turkish villages”

7. Sturdy Socks in Twined Knitting

Sturdy socks in twined knitting using traditional basic design. I´m not used to this way of knitting the heel of the sock, but it fits better than I anticipated.
The stitch pattern is from G.N. Klimova´s book “Uzorne Viazanie Komi” (Knitted Patterns of the Komi).

8.  Odds and ends - Mittens in Twined Knitting

I had some z-twined yarn from Kampes left from earlier projects, so I decided to make a pair of mittens. It took 105 grams all in all. It is a bit strange because when I use Wålstedts z-twined yarn a similar sized pair of mittens requires 140-160 grams.
I didn´t follow a pattern. Just played along and knitted both mittens at the same time to be able to make them similar.
These are very soft and I suspect that they may perhaps not be as “long lived” as mittens made with yarn from Wålstedts. Last time I knitted mittens with yarn from Kampes I used needles size 2.0 mm and that resulted in a more compact fabric.

9. Striped Mittens in Twined Knitting

These are simple striped mittens in twined knitting. I´m still using my old yarn from Kampes to finish it off. These took a total of 95 grams.

10. Toarp (1) - Man´s cap in twined knitting

This is an attempt to reconstruct an old cap from Toarp, Västergötland, Sweden. I knitted this from a photo.
The original cap belongs to the Borås Museum and is knitted in twined knitting with undyed wool and then dyed red when finished, according to custom. I used a natural brown yarn spun at Wålstedts out of wool from the breed “Värmlandsfår”.
The most prominent feature of this cap is the use of alternating purl and knit rows as elements of decoration.
I am very fond of the “old way of knitting” and I find that there is often a subtle beauty and harmony in old knitted garments.

11. Ore Tradition - Sampler in Twined Knitting

The Ore tradition is old and, as in all of Dalecarlia, the old traditions are honored. We saw amazing things during the week and I charted some patterns from the old pieces that we got the chance to view. Sometimes we were even allowed to touch and study the old mittens, stockings and wrist warmers and I can say that it is quite an experience (YES I am a nerd!) to touch something that was knitted more than a hundred years ago. The craftsmanship was truly amazing and if I ever doubted the saying that twined knitting can never be too densely knit I am now proven wrong. The materials were so dense that it was sometimes hard to understand that they were knitted. Gauge at 50 stitches to 10 cm was common (12.5 stitches per inch) sometimes more.

12. Hilding - Cap in Twined Knitting

This cap is knitted with yarn spun at Wålstedts. I called the pattern Hilding, and used a stitch pattern that I saw during the workshop in Ore on the cuff, to make it a memory of a very special week.
With the cuff folded up it will be a very warm cap for cold winter days. It can also be worn turned inside out with the cuff folded down (so that the cuff pattern will show) for less cold days. Turning the knitted item inside out is not as strange as it may sound. In parts of Sweden and Norway the tradition once was/is to wear twined knitting turned inside out.
Z-plied yarn spun at Wålstedts (wool from the breed “Värmlandsfår”).

13. Mössa med häng (1) - Hat in Twined Knitting
From the new edition of “Tvåändsstickat” by Dandanell, Danielsson, Ankert (red) 2010, Dalarnas Museum.
Finally this book is available (only in Swedish) once more.
This spring I had the opportunity to test one of the new patterns in the 3rd edition of this book, but had to promise not to publish here on Ravelry before the release. It is a hat in the old style, but it is also a style that is widely popular nowadays. Pattern by Karin Kahnlund. It is a simple knit and a good project to start with if you are new at twined knitting.
I used a total of 180 grams of z-plied wool from Wålstedts, and I really liked the result. This hat has already been gifted, I´m soon finishing a second one that will be for my own use.

14. Mössa med häng (2) - Hat in Twined Knitting
This is my second one - this time for me.

15. Purl rows - Sampler in Twined Knitting
Sampler trying out combinations and variations with purl rows in Twined knitting. Knitted during a Twined Knitting class held by Karin Kahnlund.

16. Old School Mittens - Hand Spun and Twined Knitted
I am fascinated by the old technique of Twined Knitting. Last summer I had the opportunity to see and hold old knitted objects in Dalecarlia - it was quite an experience. I was fascinated by the craftsmanship and felt encouraged to further my knowledge - I had to learn to spin my own yarn. I started spinning last autumn (and that has forever changed how I look at yarn!) and now I have used some of the yarn to knit mittens.
The yarn used in these mittens was spun to be very strong and to make everyday mittens used for work - it reminds me of my childhood in Lapland.
I tried to keep the design simple to enhance the yarn, and knitted plain mittens with a decorated cuff.
155 grams in total. Dbpns 2.0 mm.
Gauge 44 stitches/10 cm (4 inches)

Some of my handspun - 2010

These are some of the yarns that I made during 2010 - the year I learned to spin:

1. My first handspun - on spindle (Kundert). 
White and brown wool of unknown origin. Spun in S and plied in Z

2.This is my first yarn, for twined knitting, spun on a spinning wheel.
I used my Majacraft Little Gem for spinning, and a Louet S10 for plying. It is an attempt to spin a yarn that is similar to Wålstedts yarn for twined knitting. I used fleece from Swedish Rya (dark brown, almost black), Gotländskt Pälsull (grey) and Leicester (white). I mixed these with a drum carder and then added some coloured fleece for “accent”. Then I spun in S, and plied in Z. 400 grams all in all.

3. Gotland - Handspun for Twined Knitting
This was spun on my Little Gem and plied on a Louet S10.
Spun in S and plied in Z. The fleece is Gotländsk Pälsull in grey. 80 grams.

4. Mixed Spelsau - Handspun for Twined Knitting
We were gifted Spelsau fleece from Norway by a friend!
After sorting and washing some of the grey spelsau (70 %) I mixed it with some wool that was dyed red (30 %) during hand carding. I then spun in S and plied in Z. It was an experiment but I am quite pleased with the result. This is a very strong yarn and I believe it will be very good for things (mittens) that need to be durable for many years. Since I took my first spinning class in August I have almost done no knitting at all - I will have to start knitting again soon. Spinning has proved as addictive as knitting!

5.  Shetland - for Twined Knitting
Dark brown Shetland, spun in S plied in Z (as usual …).