Warm hands

Right after I posted yesterday’s blog post, I spent some time on Ravelry (which I haven’t done in a while). I will always find inspiration there. It didn’t take long for me to find something new to knit.

Even though I’m already working on two pairs of mittens (one of which I begun in 2008…) I decided to cast on for another pair. I already had the pattern, and after some searching through the stash, I found the right yarn. I can’t help but feel a bit satisfied when I can begin a whole new project without spending any money. Naturally I bought the pattern book at one time, and the yarn, but I’ve already used the book several times before and all the different yarns came from my box of left over odds and ends (with one exception), so it really feels like this pair of mittens are practically free. And I like the idea of “make do” instead of always buying new things.

So right now I’m working on three pairs of mittens.

Torgvante

I cast on last night, and I’ve been knitting all morning. The pattern is “Cross & Crown” from Knitting Fair Isle Mittens and Gloves by Carol Rasmussen Noble. They’re actually fingerless gloves. Normally, I always add a thumb wedge if there isn’t one, but in this case I didn’t think it would look right, so I’m sticking with the pattern. Although I will place my thumb higher up, since the original placement wouldn’t fit me.

Vantar stickas

Here they are together with the other mittens I’m working on. The striped ones are only missing one thumb, so I’ll probably finish those pretty soon. The pattern is from the same book as above. They’re the ones I begun in 2008.

The one with the lozenge pattern is from a very nice book called Varmt & Stickat. It’s only available in Swedish and Finnish, as far as I know.

I wonder which pair I’ll finish first?

That is all.

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I have a new… thing?

I’be been wanting of one of these things for a long time. I unravel my knitting quite often if I’m not happy with it, and it’s really difficult to make good hanks without one.

Härvel
This is a “härvel” in Swedish

Luckily for me, one of my friends, Maria, happened to have one she no longer needed (well, she had at least three), so I bought it!

I have no idea what this contraption is called in English. A coiling machine, perhaps? If you know the correct term for it, please let me know!

Härvel
Well worn

It’s so pretty! And blue!

Härvel
I wonder who made it and who used it

And it’s from 1865.

Make Do and Mend, part 4

Ok, I already know this, but some yarn isn’t suitable some types of garments. The Widdershins socks I finished in September last year turned out really lovely, but they’re already worn thin. I used them perhaps twice in my boots, even though I knew that 100% merino really isn’t suitable for that kind of wear. It only made them slightly fuzzy on the back of the heel, but I decided only to wear them indoors after that. Sans shoes.

I washed them. By hand. They stretched like mad and became too big for my feet. I gave them Stefan who has worn them quite a lot. Indoors. Sans shoes. They’re now worn thin on the bottom of the heels and under the ball of the foot. I noticed the other day that they were dangerously close to developing a hole.

Make do and mend
Time for some mending!

I realized that I don’t have enought Koigu left to mend all weak areas. I have to find another yarn with similar thickness. But I managed to prevent a hole where the sock looked really bad.

Make do and mend
It looks a bit funny, but they’ll now last a bit longer

I have at least four pairs of hand-knitted socks with holes in them. I really must learn how to darn. And not use Koigu KPPPM for socks.

Happy knitting!

Make Do and Mend, part 3

A few years ago, back in 2007, I bought a whole lot of Noro Silk Garden to knit a huge shawl.

lady eleanor entrelac stole
The Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole

The so called entrelac technique was fun at first but quickly became boring.

Lady Eleanor horse blanket
I knitted about… half, I think

I finally realised I will never finish it and decided to rip it out.

Washed yarn
Washed yarn hung up to dry

And I’m now turning it into a cardigan!

Cardigan in progress
And it’s almost finished!

Happy knitting!

Make Do and Mend, part 2

I really, really love to knit. I knit almost every day, simply because it’s fun, but also because I like to create someting that I can use. Material is also important of course, I mean, there wouldn’t be much knitting without yarn. I have a lot of yarn. Not as much as some of my friends, but still enough to keep me knitting for at least a couple of years without buying new yarn.

I still do, though. Buy new yarn. It’s hard not to when you come across a lovely wooly, soft hank. But I don’t buy as much yarn as I did a few yars ago. I’ve become more picky. More concerened about quality.

I also have quite a few unfinshed knits. I’ve realized that I will never finish some of them. Some were not that fun to knit. Or I might no longer want the garment.

Well, the best thing to do when you have a UFO that you will never finish is simply to rip it out! Wind the yarn into hanks, wash them gently in tepid water in the sink, hang them up to dry and voilá, new yarn! Without going to the shops.

återbruk
Recycled

Make Do and Mend, part 1

When I was little I loved watching old news reel footage on the TV (they were edited into programs, often with a theme), especially the ones from the early forties which were sometimes about how to care for one’s things and clothes in order for them to last longer. This was of course during World War II, and even though Sweden wasn’t actually in the war, rationing was severe and buying new things was often not possible.

My interest in how to get by in times of austerity has increased over the years. Most people in the western world live in relative luxuary today, and we do not need to be moderate in our consumer habits, but at the same time most of us are aware of that this is not a sustainable way of life.

Sustainability and quality is someting we all need to consider and how we can contribute to a more sustainable world.

One way is of course by consuming less. Taking care of one’s things and clothes in order for them to last longer. Mending what can be mended. Questioning whether you actually need that thing that you want.

I try to think about these things and I want to contribute to a more sustainable society to the best of my ability. It’s not easy, of course. One way is by mending what you already have.

I have a pair of woolen gloves I knitted in 2007. I have mended these several times before, but last week they neeeded some TLC again.

worn
Stitches worn thin

I reinforced the stitches:

mending 2
Mended finger

I reinforced some other stitches that weren’t as badly off to prevent them from getting worse.

mending 1
Preventing new holes

They looked much worse a few years ago:

hole!
Almost worn out

The tips of the fingers were so badly worn, I simply cut them off:

unravelled yarn
Unravelled yarn and cut off fingertips

And then knit new ones:

new finger on mitten
Knitting new fingertips

Result:

mended mitten and cat
Almost brand new!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on making do and mending. Do you mend your knits? If not, why?

Brenda, who produces my favourite knitting pod cast, Cast On, dedicated a whole series to the Make Do and Mend concept back in 2009. I recommend that you check out her audio archive and download series 8 if you haven’t listened to it already.

Happy knitting!