Winter is coming (sorry – couldn’t help it)

I’m not one for knitting with cotton or other plant based materials. I see their benefits, but I find it hard to come to terms with how they feel in my hands.

I like wool. So I knit with wool. All year round. Since I am of the opinion that one can never have too many mittens, scarfs or hats, I’ve knit a knew hat. And a pair of mittens. I wanted something plain and useful (sounds boring, I know) that lets the fabric and the wool speak for itself. So even though the patterns are simple enough, I think the finished garments turned out quite pretty.

Luva

Pattern: Luva from Sticka mössor, vantar, sockor!
Design: Ann-Marie Nilsson
Yarn: Ullcentrum 2-trådigt. I think the coulourway is called “Gråmelerad”
Yarn source: I think it was a gift from mum
Needles: 2,75 mm
Started: 11 April 2015
Finished: 26 April 2015 (although I blocked it only a few weeks ago)
Modifications: Since the yarn I used is a bit thicker than the one recommended, I made it slightly smaller to fit my head. It is still fairly loose, but I hope that won’t be a problem in winter. My ears hurt when exposed to wind and cold air, so I really need hats that fit snugly around the ears.

Luva

 

After I finished this I wanted a pair of matching mittens.

Enkla herrvantar

 

As you can see from this photo, the colour of the yarn changes slightly so the mittens are not the exact same shade of grey.

Enkla herrvantar

Pattern: Enkla herrvantar from Varmt och stickat
Design: Eva Trotzig
Yarn: Ullcentrum 2-trådigt. I think the coulourway is called “Gråmelerad”
Yarn source: I think it was a gift from mum
Needles: 3 mm dpns
Started: 12 May 2015
Finished: 30 July 2015
Modifications: I didn’t care for the decreases in the pattern, so I just altered them to suit my taste. I also made them slightly smaller to accomodate my hands, since the pattern is written up to fit a man’s hands. Unfortunately, the pattern is not very well written, and even the easiest instructions are made confusing. I really can’t recommend it. I do like the detail around the wrists, though. There are many other well written patterns in the book, and I can whole-heartedly recommend the book as a whole.

So! New grey wolly things – I am prepared for winter…

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Fisherman’s mittens

Some things take a long time to complete. Perhaps the satisfaction of finishing them is greater that the quick projects? Or is it a feeling of relief? A little of both, I suppose.

Janna wearing the Fisherman's mittens

This pair of mittens have been on the needles since November 2008. I really like them, but they turned out too narrow for my hands, so I gave them to my dear friend J. I managed to convince her to pose with them for me!

Janna and the Fisherman's mittens

Pattern: Fisherman’s mittens from Knitting Fair Isle Mittens and Gloves
Design: Unknown
Yarn: Garnstudio Drops Alpaca. Used double through out.
Needles: 2,5 mm dpns
Started: 3 November 2008
Finished: 22 January 2015
Modifications: I think that my decreases are a bit different from the pattern, I tried to duplicate the first mitten when completing the second.

Fisherman's mittens

Fisherman's Mittens

Fisherman's Mittens

The photos above were taken on January 28th, when we still had snow. Spring is on the way, and the snow has melted, but it’s been quite cold so far and I still use mittens everyday.

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.

Striped mittens, Christmas markets and baking

Just in time for winter, I finished a pair of soft woolly mittens.

Striped mittens Alice
My Alice mittens

Pattern: Alice
Design: Me
Yarn: Kampes 2-ply 100% wool in grey and charcoal
Yarn source: Marias garn
Needles: 2,75 mm and 3,0 mm dpns
Started: 15 september 2013
Finished: 8 November 2013

I’ve used them quite a lot, it hasn’t been very cold yet, so one layer of wool is quite enough.

Striped mittens Alice
Me and my mittens

Striped mittens Alice
Naturally, they have thumb wedges

I love winter almost as much as I love autumn, and the weeks before Christmas are sometimes more exciting than Christmas itself. I love the planning and preparing.

And Christmas markets. I’ve visited three so far. Here are some photos from the market at the Royal Stable:

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Lovely wool yarn and handknits

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There were horses there as well, of course

The market at Skansen is probably my favourite. I return to it every year.

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Wolves

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A wolverine

I saw a robin in the wolverine’s pen, which made me more exciting that the wolverine itself! Robin’s are my favorite birds, but they’re very rare where I live.

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Darling sheep

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And very cute pigs!

I’ve found myself in a baking mood lately. I’ve made some plain white bread:

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…christmas bread…

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…and saffron buns!

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But don’t worry, I haven’t been neglecting my knitting! I’ve started another pair of mittens:

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…and a cowl:

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It’s almost finished now, but I have no current photos of it

Happy knitting!

October

This is my time of year. I can’t even begin to explain how much I love autumn. I’ll show you some photos I took today during my lunch break. I work in a truly beautiful part of Stockholm.

Autumn on Skeppsholmen
Chestnut

Autumn on Skeppsholmen
Leaves are turning

Autumn on Skeppsholmen
The grass is still very green

Autumn on Skeppsholmen
Rose hip

Autumn on Skeppsholmen
Sculpure park

Striped mittens
Striped mittens

This is what I’m working on right now; a pair of striped mittens. I haven’t finished the aran jumper yet, but inspiration took over when I watched Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland a few weeks ago and I had to cast on for a new project. Alice was wearing a pair of sheer striped half-mitts and I just had to make something that reminded me of those. Mine will turn in to much more solid wooly mittens instead, I have very little use for half-mitts and I prefer wool to gauzy fabric. And these mittens will remind me of other Tim Burton movies as well, stripes are a common feature in his world as you probably know.

I picked out some yarn I already had in my stash, I’m quite certain I used both these shades of grey when I knit these gloves many years ago.

Autumn on Skeppsholmen
The view from my window at work

Autumn on Skeppsholmen
I have an almost pathological urge to pick up chestnuts when I find them. I try to refrain myself, but it’s difficult.

I hope for a long autumn filled with woolly mittens, hats and scarves.

Something warm

I’m still revisiting my old UFO’s. Either unravelling them or (trying to) finish them. I don’t know why these mittens have been left out in the cold. They’re very pretty and very soft. A bit tight, perhaps, but still wearable. You’ll find the pattern in one of my favourite books, Knitting Fair Isle Mittens and Gloves by Carol Rasmussen Noble.

Fishermen's Mittens
Almost finished

I begun this project in 2008 according to my ravelry notes. If I’d started it today I probably wouldn’t use Drops/Garnstudio Alpaca. The colours are lovely and it’s very soft, but it tends to get quite fuzzy after some wear.

I managed to break one of the needles…

Broken needle
D’oh!

Luckily, these were just old bamboo needles. I tossed out the thole lot and switched to my beloved KnitPro’s instead.

Happy knitting!

Twig

It quickly became too cold to wear these. But I’m sure I’ll be able to wear them again in the spring.

Mittens
Half-mittens

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Simple knit and purl pattern

Mittens
With proper thumb wedges, of course

Vanadislunden
They look pretty good with my grey cowl

Pattern: Twig
Design: My own
Yarn: 100 % wool, Kampes 2-trådigt
Yarn source: Marias garn
Needles: dpns, probably 2,5 mm but I forgot to write it down
Started: 14 October 2012
Finished: 10 November 2012

Vanadislunden
This was a wonderful autumn day

Vanadislunden
Water reservoir in Vanadislunden

Like something out of a TOAST catalogue

Never let me go is a novel by Kazuo Ishiguro that came out in 2005. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read. I keep coming back to it, thinking about it.

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From the film Never Let Me Go

Mark Romanek turned it into a film in 2010 but I never got around to watching it back then. I bought the dvd a few months ago and finally watched it. Romanek’s adaptation of the book is beautiful and haunting and captured the mood and the essence of the novel very well, I think.

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From the film Never Let Me Go

On ravelry there’s a group dedicated to knit spotting in films, As Seen in the Movies, and since NLMG features a lot of knitwear it naturally recieved some attention. Someone commented on it and said that it was as if a TOAST catalogue had come to life. I agree!

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Andrew Garfield and Carey Mulligan in the film Never Let Me Go

I love the earthy tones and simple style.

knightley garfield mulligan in NEVER LET ME GO
Kiera Knightley, Andrew Garfield and Carey Mulligan

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From the film Never Let Me Go

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From the film Never Let Me Go

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From the film Never Let Me Go

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From the film Never Let Me Go

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From the film Never Let Me Go

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Carey Mulligan in the film Never Let Me Go

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From the film Never Let Me Go

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From the film Never Let Me Go

The fingerless wool mittens I’m knitting right now, Twig, are actually directly inspired by the film. Not that anyone in it wears anything similar, but my choice of colour and style is inspired by it.

Fingerless mittens
First mittens finished, need to weave in ends.

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.

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Stitches worn thin

I reinforced the stitches:

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Mended finger

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

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Preventing new holes

They looked much worse a few years ago:

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Almost worn out

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

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Unravelled yarn and cut off fingertips

And then knit new ones:

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Knitting new fingertips

Result:

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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!

I’ve started a little something

Autumn really is here now and it’s getting colder every day. I haven’t seen any frost yet, but I don’t think it will be long now. Here’s another little project to keep me warm.

wooly warmers
Simple wrist warmers

I’m not using a pattern for this project, it’s all improvisation. I’m using 100% wool yarn from Kampes that I bought at Marias garn back in 2006. I have almost an entire skein left from the original project, perhaps you remember these?

Happy knitting!