fredag 27 september 2013

Huckleberry Lace Scarf

This scarf is a birthday present for someone in my family. It is smaller than a regular shawl and just the right size for warming your neck in autumn. Measurements after a slight blocking are 210 x 35 centimetres (84 x 14 inches).

The yarn is almost all of what was left of my yarn dyed with Jeaba cold water dye after I knitted the Bertha Lace Shawl. It is a rather special blue colour with some green in it and very close to the recipients favourite colour. The design is by Evelyn Clark and as always well written and easy to follow. I would recommend this as a nice and easy lace project that will not take long to finish.

I used in total 115 grams of 2-ply wool. Knitted on a circular needle 4.00 mm. I followed the pattern as written and made no changes. I made 8 repeats of chart 2 and 3.

fredag 20 september 2013

Lord Grey - More crochet and more wrist-warmers

These are crocheted wrist-warmers in wool. I now have to admit that crochet can be fun and extremely inspiring. I find the fabric very nice and dense. With this technique I will be able to make crocheted items that are both nice looking and warm.

For this pair of cuffs I used a stitch pattern from a Russian sweater. I did not use it in its original shape since that was far to wide to be suited for cuffs. I charted it and then I split it in two. After that I turned it 90 degrees and repeated it until I got a match for the required amount of stitches for the cuffs.

The yarn used is 2-ply wool (the red is my own dyeing) and a crochet hook Boye 2.

onsdag 11 september 2013

Ormsta - Brown wrist-warmers

Wrist-warmers in twined knitting. For these I used my hand-spun yarn. It is made from a dark brown Shetland-wool, 2-ply, s-spun and z-plied.
The patterning definitely shows a lot clearly in a lighter coloured yarn, see the white ones. I still like these because they are less of a show-off, you have to get really close to notice the patterning.
The pattern "Ormsta" is available as a free Ravelry down-load, or use the link in the right-hand column under "My Patterns / Mina Mönster".

söndag 8 september 2013

Quality is worth paying for - 100 % wool, what does that mean?

Today we aired our woollen sweaters. I found some sweaters that had outlived themselves. Trying not to waste wool I thought that if I felted them in the washing machine I could use the fabric for other purposes. I was in for a surprise ...

In the pictures below I have photographed four sweaters. Originally they were all the same size. The brown one, always at the bottom in all pictures has not been in the washing machine. The other three have been roughly treated and washed in 95 degrees Celsius, as close to boiling as our washing machine can manage, in a program that takes 140 minutes. No mercy - felting was what I aimed for. All sweaters were bought (not hand knitted), and they were all marked 100 % wool. One was even marked "100 % wool non superwash" (Superwash is a non-shrinking agent). All of the sweaters were marked as "hand wash, 30 degrees".

This is sweater no. 1. As you can see almost nothing happened to it. There has been some shrinking but I could easily get it to be the original size if I stretched it just a little. No felting has occurred. The stitches are still showing clearly in the fabric.

Sweater no. 2. This one has actually shrunk a couple of sizes, but a lot less then I expected considering the temperature of the water and the length of the washing program. This was the one marked "non super wash". All stitches are still showing.

This is the third sweater. This was more the result I was expecting. A lot of shrinking. The fabric is fully felted. It is not possible to identify the stitches or the thread. But, sadly, the entire sweater is full of very short and loosened fibres (it took forever to clean the washing machine). They are on the surface of the fabric and when I brush it they never stop coming loose. It is like hand carding. I can´t use this since the fibres will probably stick to everything that comes in contact with it.

So they are all 100 % wool, none of them marked as superwash. I am very disappointed with the result. Without any doubt something is fishy here. What has been done to the wool? Is it really 100 % wool in the garments? The sweaters are all made in different countries, in different parts of the world so this is not a local issue. 100 % wool without the superwash treatment should show quite a different result. They should all have felted nicely, and if the wool had been of a good quality, no loose fibres would have appeared.

Sadly I have to deduct that none of these sweaters were made of a good quality wool. But how was I to know? I have put my faith in the 100 % wool mark - but now I realise that that on its own, does not vouch for much ...

Quality is worth paying for. I am sometimes told that my favourite yarn from Wålstedts is expensive. But I will gladly continue to pay for a yarn that I know is made with the best wool available, in a process that will do the least damage to the fibres and keep the strenght and lustre in the yarn and thus making the knitted items more beautiful and durable.

I would also be prepared to pay extra for a sweater made of high quality wool (longer fibres, stronger, more lustre and less pilling). The problem is how to find such sweaters. The best way is probably to knit your own sweater using a high quality yarn.

torsdag 5 september 2013

Red and green crocheted cuffs

It was time to use my dyed yarn for some more crocheting. I decided to make another pair of cuffs.
I used an old traditional knitting pattern as an all over design.
Red and green is a traditional mix of colours in Sweden. Not easy to take a good photo of them. The colours in the pictures are not quite right. Wool: 2-ply. Crochet hook: Boye no. 2.