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.

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!

Well worn

It’s so pretty! And blue!

I wonder who made it and who used it

And it’s from 1865.

Before and after

Well, here goes another project!

fisherman's sweater
A half-finished fisherman’s jumper…

Balls of yarn
…has now turned into nice balls of wool.

The dark grey wool is from Yllet and the light grey from Kampes.

Jamieson & Smith

Believe it or not, but I still haven’t knit anything with Jamieson & Smith wool. I admit it’s a bit strange since I’m a such a wool snob. I have some J&S yarn in my stash, intended for a Sheep heid hat, but I haven’t actually tried it yet. I’m the kind of person who likes to fondle the yarn in a yarn shop before I buy it. But they have an incredible colour range and I really like the feel of the yarn that I have even though I haven’t actually knit with it.

Well, I’ve finally gotten around to ordering myself all of their shade cards! This will make it a lot easier to choose colours. I won’t have rely on the images on their website.

Jamieson & Smith shade cards
Jamieson & Smith shade cards

I probably won’t order any yarn just yet. I still have quite a lot of shashed yarn that I want to use before I buy more. This might sound a bit boring, but really, it’s not. I really look forward to starting the projects in my queue, but I don’t want to have too many half-finished projects lying around, I know I’ll just end up being bored with them. I need to get better at figuring out what I actually want and/or need and then focus on that. Which means that I probably won’t buy the yarn before I’ve decimated my stash somewhat.

I’m working on two cardigans and one pair of mittens right now, and I really want to finish them before starting anything new. I’ll always have two things going at the same time, one always needs a small portable project to accompany one’s larger projects; a pair of mittens, a hat, a scarf or a pair of socks, that one can whip out at any time when there are a few minutes to spare on the bus or the tube. But I don’t want to have bags and bags of unfinished things. I’m still unravelling old WIP’s (I don’t want to do them all at once, it takes up too much space and time) and putting away the yarn for later use. It’s actually quite satisfying.

Of course my fingers are itching to try something new, but one can handle this by making swatches. Swatches are allowed. That’s just preparing and planning, not actually knitting. 🙂

Well, time to knit!

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.


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.

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:

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


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!