onsdag 19 december 2012

More knitted socks

Knitting socks has almost always been a very relaxing pastime for me - one of the reasons for that is that I always knit the same sort  of socks that I have knitted since I was a child. So I felt I had to leave my comfort zone and at least try some new features in sock knitting. A couple of years ago I bought Ann Budd´s "Getting started knitting socks" but I have to admit that I had not been giving it much attention.

It is a good book for learning how to knit socks. I takes care of all the fundamentals and provides different kinds of rib, stripe, cable and lace patterns. Ann Budd knits her socks on sets of four double-pointed needles. I always use sets of five double-pointed needles (I actually tried to follow her instructions using four needles but had to give up after a while and change to five needles. A life-time habit is not changed while knitting one pair of socks ...) Figuring out how to adapt her patterns to one more needle was not a big issue.

For these socks I used her pattern for "Seeded Rib Socks". Here are some of the things I did that I seldom do otherwise:
- Old Norwegian cast-on. It was years since I used this - WHY??? It is a very good and flexible cast-on that I will remember to use more frequently in my knitting.
- A Moss Rib stitch for the cuff. By habit I always do knit2, purl2 cuffs, have to stop that.
- I used Heel Flap stitches (she has three variations in the book)
- A new way of picking up stitches along the edge of the heel flap (she has three variations in the book)
- I carried the pattern from the cuff along the upper part of the sock

All in all I had great fun and learned a few new things (there is no harm in that) that I will remember. As always, check your gauge. Knowing your gauge makes knitting so much more rewarding.

lördag 8 december 2012

Christmas Mittens for the twins

I don´t have much time to knit Christmas gifts, but I always try to find time to knit something for the twins. They are always glad to receive knitted mittens or socks - and as long as that´s the case I´ll continue  knitting them.

Fulled mittens
Being very active boys their mittens must be rather sturdy. This year I chose to full the knitted mittens to get them warmer and thicker (and hopefully more durable).

Samplers  after fulling
I started by making samplers in a 3-ply wool, using different size needles to see which kind of fabric that I would prefer. After that I fulled the samplers in the washing machine. I use the washing machine when the mittens are too small for me to get my hand in when fulling on a fulling board. The risk with using the washing machine is that you don´t have control of the process (that is why I had to make these samplers).

Mittens before fulling
After drying the samplers I decided which fabric I liked the best.  I then compared the before and after measurements to calculate the gauge and decide on how many stitches to cast on and how much bigger I had to knit the mittens to get the right measurements when fulled and dried.

I knitted striped mittens with some variations in then. I wanted the mittens to look alike but I also wanted them to be easily separated. The finished result is rather thick and "fluffy" and I think they turned out pretty much as I had planned them to.

söndag 2 december 2012

Íslensk sjónabók - Ornaments and patterns found in Iceland

Finally - We have got a copy of this book. It was released in 2011 and we have tried to get a copy ever since but could not find it for sale anywhere. Now, due to a tip from a friend, we have bought it - and it arrived this week.

780 + pages with old patterns that were used for various forms of needlework. It is a reference book of the old Icelandic sjónabók manuscripts that dates from the 17th, 18th and 19th Centuries.

It is a collaboration between the Icelandic Handicraft Association, the Department of Design and Architecture at the Icelandic Academy of the Arts, and the National Museum of Iceland. The opening chapters are short but contains interesting information. They are written in Icelandic and English. The rest of the book contains charted patterns from the ten sjónabók manuscripts that have been preserved.

I have only browsed it but it seems very interesting - I will set aside more time during Christmas to study it. I think that this is such a fantastic initiative and I do hope that other countries will be inspired to similar publications.