Monday, 5 December 2011

Alpaca sweater

Here is a sweater I have knitted this autumn. It is an old fashion ribbed sweater with a high neckline, knitted in alpaca wool. I simply love these sweaters. They are warm, easy to knit with a very classic design.

The sweater is knitted in Tynn Alpakka from "Du store alpakka". I found the pattern free of charge on "Du store alpakkas" web-page. You can find the pattern in this number of Strikk (pattern nr. 9). Unfortunately, the pattern is only in Norwegian, but with the help of Google, it should be possible to follow.

This is the second time I have knitted this sweater. I have knitted it in grey before (as in the pattern). I also knitted the shawl in design 10, which goes with this sweater. It is very soft and warm, and is a good every day shawl. I definitely recommend knitting both the sweater and the shawl. They are easy to knit and warm to wear.

Friday, 28 October 2011


I found a beautiful shawl called Damask on one of my favourite blogs, A passion for knitted Laces. It was one of a series of beautiful shawls designed by Kitman Figueroa. I immediately fell for this shawl, and I just had to make.

In the pattern, a smooth shiny yarn was used. However, I wanted a warm and fuzzy yarn, so I knitted the shawl in an alpaca yarn called Tynn Alpakka, from Du store Alpakka. It is a lovely yarn to knit, and it gives a very soft, warm and snug shawl.

The shawl is relatively easy to knit, much easier than it looks. Also, due to the thick yarn, it does not take a long time to finish. I truly recomend to try this pattern. It is not as hard as it looks, and the pattern is easy to follow.

My daughter, Elise, did not want to be a model for me this day, and it took a lot of persuation to get these pictures.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

My second Peacock Shawlette

I have knitted a series of shawls designed by Kitman Figueroa. The first shawl I made was called "Peacock Shawlette". I really liked to knit my first peacock shawlette, so I just had to make one more. This shawl I made in a yarn called Fin fra Du store Alpakka, which is a lovely mix of baby alpaca and silk.
Making lace shawls was really easy using this yarn, and there are some lovely hand painted varieties. I have used one of these in this shawl, which is a mix of blue, turquoise and sea green. I really fell i love with this yarn.

This yarn makes the lace patterns very smooth, and I believe it is sufficient just to iron shawls using this yarn (even though I blocked this shawl out).

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Fingerless mittens for bunads

When I visited my father this summer, I wanted to show him the bunad I had sewn this winter. To my surprise, he had a bunad encyclopedia, which he had bought on sale. He was very pleased, because he got an additional book for free, featuring old patterns for gloves, mittens, wristlets and fingerless gloves for bunads (see "Håndplagg til bunader og folkedrakter" by Heidi Fossnes).

It turned out that this was a treasure of a book, and I fall in love immediately. The author had travelled all over Norway, visiting museums, taking pictures of old mittens, gloves, wristlets and fingerless gloves (here after referred to as hand garment). Then she made a reconstruction of the old hand garments, making patterns. Most of the garments was from the mid to the end of the 19th century, but some were even older.
Many of these projects were incredibly beautiful, and photos of both the old garments and the new reproduction are presented in the book. I fell for many of then, among them these fingerless mittens from Ål in Hallingdal. There were no record of the age of these mittens, but you can find them in the museum in Drammen

Embroideries on knittings is actually harder to do than I expected, but after a while I got the hang of it. The big challenge was to transfer the embroidery pattern from the book to the mittens. The book suggests to do this by freehand, but I did not want to risk that. So I applied a technique from quilting, transferring quilt patterns. The trick is to make a copy of the pattern onto a piece of tulle fabric. Then you only need to go over the patterns with a pen, and the pattern will be transferred due to the holes in the fabric. My only problem was that all my fabric pens had dried out, so I used an ordinary felt pen instead. This resulted in some smearing, but despite this, it worked out well in the end.

This was my first attempt. I really liked it, so I will probably make more of the patterns in the book.

Friday, 23 September 2011

The Peacock Shawlette

Recently, I have knitted many thin lace shawls, both based on patterns from Estonia and Shetland. Now, I wanted to knit a shawl in a more thick yarn, to use as a scarf during the cold winter months. I found a series of patterns designed by Kitman Figueroa on the internet. I bought several, but the first one I tried was this, named "Peacock Shawlette".

The shawlette is knitted in an alpaca yarn called Tynn Alpakka from Du store alpakka. I tried to find a colour looking like a peacock, but the one I found was a little dark. In sunlight, however, the colour is beautiful, with a hint of green.
I really enjoyed knitting this shawl, and it is very fast to do. I only used two evenings knitting this shawl. It is a great pattern to start with if you have not knitted lace shawls before. It was actually so fun, that I knitted four more when I first started. I will pose them on the blog during the fall. The plan is to give these shawls away for Christmas.
Finally, I would like to thank my daughter Elise, for being my model, even though she did not want to.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Chest cloth and belt for my daughter’s Hardanger bunad

Finally, I have finished the chest cloth and belt for my daughters Hardanger bunad (see first and last picture). The embroidery was made by cross stitches and not pearls, as they only sold finished chest cloths in pearl embroidery (not patterns). Since the whole idea was to make the bunad myself, this was not an option. However, I have made a pattern for a pearl chest cloth and belt based on some pictures I found on the internet. The plan is to make them as well, so that she can chose which one to wear today.

It was now time to start on the Hardanger embroideries on the apron. Since I have never tried this technique before, I asked my mother in law if I could borrow some of her books. When she came to visit, she did not only bring her books, but also a small chest cloth she had made with pearls (se picture on the left). It is a bit small, as she did not have more of the red fabric left, but if we are lucky, my daughter may use it the first couple of years before she is fully grown.

I have started the Hardanger embroideries on the apron. I started with a little purse to get some practice before starting on the expensive pieces (see picture on the right). Since Hardanger embroideries involve making holes in the fabric, it is crucial to know what you are doing. It was much easier than I expected, so I started on the linen apron right away, which was a challenge, since the stitches are much finer in linen compared to the cotton fabric in the purse. I will also make a cotton apron for my daughter, equal to the one my mother in law has. My husband’s grand aunt made the apron she wears, and it has a lovely pattern. Then they can wear them together.

My aim is to finish the aprons by Christmas, so that I can put the bunad together during the spring. If all goes well, my daughter will have her new bunad finished by next 17. May (which is the Norwegian national holiday, when all the lovely bunads are worn in the 17. May parade).

Monday, 12 September 2011

Queen Sofia's shawl

I have designed several shawls this summer, one of which is called Queen Sofia's shawl. The main pattern comes from a shawl given to Queen Sofia of Spain, when she and King Juan Carlos visited Estonia in May 2009. However, this is an old pattern, and you can find shawls with this pattern in Estonian knitting magazines even as far back as the 1970-ties.

I really like this pattern. I particularly like its symmetry and combinations of big and small diamonds, and the knobs which pop up. The pattern is actually more complicated to knit than it look, and it requires a more experienced knitter.

I chose a classic Estonian design for this shawl, with a large center, a small inner frame of gathering stitches and an outer border with a lace pattern. The outer border is somewhat different from the shawl given to Queen Sofia, as I chose a border knitted directly onto the shawl. On the shawl given to Queen Sofia, the border was sewn onto the shawl afterwards. The main reason for choosing this type of border is that I am a bit lacy. Also, I like to be able to control the corners, giving them a perfect angle, which is much easier for this type of border.

I wanted the shawl to fall heavily around my shoulders, so I chose a lamb wool yarn named Lacy Lamb. This is a lovely, elastic and thin yarn, and I only used two skeins for this shawl. I have to admit that the yarn was a bit more elastic than I anticipated. As a result, the shawl became larger than I planned after blocking.

I have chosen to make the pattern for this shawl available free of charge, but it is only in Norwegian. However, if you are able to read Norwegian, you can find a link to the pattern HERE. To access the file, go to "File" and "Download original". (If you do not read Norwegian, you can always try Google translator.) I hope it is possible to follow the instructions. You may copy or distribute this pattern as you like, but I do appreciate it if you mention me when you do.

Friday, 2 September 2011


This is Mini-Taran. She is not like the other Mini-Me-s. She has shoes, or rather silver boots, and she has bendable joints. She is to be given to my boss, and I thought that boots would suit the boss' doll. Also, I have to admit that my boss' silver boots fascinated me, and I couldn't help my self. The reason she has bendable joints, is that she loves yoga. The posture on the picture above is called "the tree", and is an exercise for the balance .

Below, Mini-Taran is pictured in different postures: (directly translated) "broad warrior", "royal dancer", "the dove", "the camel" and in a lotus posture. She can pretty much manage most yoga postures with the help of something to lean against and some pins.
Mini-Taran, is like the other Mini-Me-s a modification of Beth Webber's doll "Mini Free Spirit". The idée to how to make the joints bendable, I found from another of Beth's dolls, called "Pocket Free Spirit". You can find the pattern for these and many other beautiful dolls, with accessories and clothing, on her blog "By hock by hand".

Mini-Taran's hair is made of a yarn called Tynn Alpakka from Du store alpakka. Her eyes is from Sunchatcher Eyes, and the doll itself is crocheted in an acryllic yarn I found on Craft designs 4 you named Red Heart Super Saver. Her skirt is croched out of quilting thread, and her top is made out of a thin crochet yarn DMC. Her jacket is made of a woll embroidery yarn from Appelton, and the silver boots are crocheted in Metallic Fine fra Ancor.

The hard wood floor in crochet in a local yarn called Rosendahl, whereas the yoga mat is crocheted out of various leftovers. She also has a doll stand, to enable her to stand firmly while doing her yoga exercise.

She is to be given to my bossTaran when she has her 50th birthday now in August.

Monday, 15 August 2011

The weeping willow shawl

One of my favorite among the traditional Estonian knitted lace patterns is the willow pattern. It is a simple and harmonic pattern, and I always feel a bit of melancholy when I am knitting it. I wanted to make a shawl using this pattern to remind me of my mother and brother, which died much too earl.

I wanted the shawl to fall heavily around my shoulders, so I chose a lamb wool yarn named Lacy Lamb. This is a lovely, elastic and thin yarn, and I only used two skeins for this shawl. I have to admit that the yarn was a bit more elastic than I anticipated. As a result, the shawl became larger than I planned after blocking.

I did not manage to block the shawl out before leaving on summer vacation in July. On our way home, we meat the police special forces rushing out to stop the man shooting children at Utøya. Coming home, watching the news as I starting blocking out this shawl, I will always associate it, not only with those I lost, but also with the terrible events that took place in Oslo and at Utøya in July 2011.

I have chosen to make the pattern for this shawl available free of charge, but it is only in Norwegian. However, if you are able to read Norwegian, you can find a link to the pattern HERETo access the file, go to "File" and "Download original". (If you do not read Norwegian, you can always try Google translator.) I hope it is possible to follow the instructions. You may copy or distribute this pattern as you like, but I do appreciate it if you mention me when you do.

Monday, 8 August 2011

A Hardanger bunad for my daughter

My mother in law made a bunad from Hardanger for my daughter when she was five (see pictures below). It consisted of the west and hat from the bunad she had warned as a child, with a new skirt, shirt, apron, and belt and "chest cloth", which she embroidered with pearls. The bunad was beautiful, and my daughter loved it.

With some alterations, we were able to use the bunad until last year, but this year it was definitely too small. This meant that she could not wear her bunad for the 17. May celebrations (the Norwegian national holiday). This generated much frustration, especially since all but one of her class mates (female) wore their bunads.

Thus, it was time to make her a new bunad, which I actually looked forward to. The problems is that she is only 10 years old, and in-between the children’s and adult sizes. A bunad for children can only be used a couple of years, whereas the adult bunads would require several alterations to fit the first couple of years. Since a bunad is an expensive dress to make, I went for the adult version. We'll have to see if it is humanly possible to make the bunad fit next year. If not, we will have to wait before she receives her new bunad.

I have ordered and received the materials for my daughter’s bunad. She is smaller and more slender than me, so I used my size as an upper measure when I ordered the materials. I did not order the shirt, since it requires exact measures, since it is almost impossible to alter. She'll have to do with a plain bunad shirt until she is fully grown. Then I will make her a beautiful linen shirt with lots of Hardanger embroidery (see the first picture).

I also worried about the possibility to alter the belt and the chest cloth, since pearl embroideries are very stiff. However, Husfliden (which is the craft store where I bought my bunad fabric) only offered cross stitch embroideries for those who wanted to sew their own bunad. These are much softer and will hopefully not make a big bump under the west the first years.

I have almost finished sewing the chest cloth and belt. It has gone smoothly, since it is made of cross stitches.

The challenge comes with the Handanger pattern on the apron. I have never sewn Hardanger embroidery before, but I look forward to try. I have bought some small purses with Hardanger embroidery on (see picture) to put the silver for the bunad. The plan is to practice on these before starting on the more expensive fabrics of the bunad. It is also possible that I need to sew a smaller apron for her for the first years, since the motif on the adult apron is pretty large. In that case, she will receive the adult apron together with her shirt when she is fully grown. I also plan to sew a new chest cloth and belt with pearls (see the picture below for the pearl belt, and the first picture for the pearl chest cloth), that she will receive when she no longer grows.

As you can understand, I have a very complex and long-lasting bunad project for my daughter. I am optimistic, even though I have to be realistic concerning the possibility of being able to alter the bunad to fit her size the first couple of years. If I am not able to, she'll have to do with normal cloths for the 17. May parade in the mean time.