28 May 2016

Sitting and Knowing

What do you do when you don't have a knitting project? Sew!

Courtesy of Marnie O'Loughlin-Gwynne

Having rediscovered the wonder of knitting garments (as opposed to accessories, like socks and mittens), and maybe also because the weather's warmer, I'm finding it hard to get enthusiastic about knitting socks. I have two socks which need a partner and one pair which hasn't yet had its first sock finished, but all I really want to do is go and buy some yarn to knit another jumper.

I've got a lot of experience of starting a project without having a clear idea of what I want the end result to be, so I decided to exercise patience.

I do, however, have a queue of sewing project waiting, so, Yesterday, I decided I'd get the sewing machine out and, although this is a knitting blog, I thought I'd post the result here.

Project number 1 was a clutch, pouch, handbag organiser. The interminable hunt for the ideal handbag goes on and I've made too made unsatisfactory purchases online to get excited about shopping for one on eBay. So, I've started using my beloved gold leather shopper. The only trouble is, as with most totes and shoppers, it's just a big sack, so all my stuff just swims around in there.

I started using one of my large pencil cases to carry all the bits and pieces (like lipgloss, handcream, painkillers and tissues), but it wasn't quite big enough.

So, I made this beauty!

Yes, I'm very pleased with it.

I left the machine out, on the dining table, overnight. This morning, I decided to make some slippers for Noah. He'd worn his old slippers for about five years. They were once two big for him, then they were too small, then his feet just burst them open and they had to be thrown out a few months ago.

He has sensitive skin and so shop bought slippers often itch on his feet, as would knitted and felted slippers. I new I had about a metre of black fleece and some wool jersey which had survived the severe, pre-move cull, so I'd told him I'd make him (a long time ago) some new slippers.

I had no pattern, and no previous experience of making sewn footwear, but I just started.
I'd felted the New Geometry blanket and few days earlier, with no real purpose for it. I ended up making these little seat cushions.

Rough edges, still. Folded and hand sewn together,

I had a small piece left over, which I used for the soles of the slippers. I used the fleece for lining and a double layer of the wool jersey for the outer shell - double layered for structure.

Threads need tidying up, but he tried them on and then wouldn't take them off. 

It wasn't the most enjoyable experience - I broke four machine needles and almost broke my machine (a had to use a hammer to fix it!). Hopefully, I'll never have to make another pair. Now, I just need to tidy up.

24 May 2016

Marius Ojibwe Project

My daughter asked me to to knit her a traditional Norwegian jumper, known as MariusgenserMarius sweater/jumper. 

I've been meaning to try stranded knitting for a while, so I thought I'd use up a load of yarn I'd bought on offer and give it a go.

I'd also had a few conversations with friends about trying stranded knitting and the attitude I've had towards knitting larger garments, like sweaters and cardigans. For some reason, I felt like it was unaffordable, even though I would spend any amount of money on several batches of sock yarn!

So, this was the perfect opportunity. I had the yarn already, and I'd always believed that this Fair Isle style of sweater wouldn't suit me. so knitting it for my daughter was ideal.

The most common variant of this traditional jumper is red white and blue with dropped shoulders, which I think is quite unflattering if you're a woman with slightly broad shoulders.

There are many variations of colour and style - here's a link to my Mariusgenser Pinterest board.
King Harald of Norway, aged 23 wearing a traditional Mariusgenser.

I wanted to knit a jumper with a round yoke, which is also something I've never done before.

I searched for a free pattern for gauge and stitch count and made my own chart. Then just went ahead and started knitting. The first attempt wasn't a complete success, so I made notes and started again.

Here's the finished jumper. The colours aren't traditional, but, as I said I had all this dark green bamboo blended yarn to use. We went back to the store to buy the contrast colours. It took a while but eventually settled on these, a dark red and an off white.

Even though this was for my daughter, I really liked it and decided straight away that I wanted one for myself. I didn't really want the Marius pattern, so I thought I'd try something else. So, I used the same colours and made this Ojibwe eagle chart.

These eagles all face the same direction.

I'm really happy with the finished result, but I realised it would have been better if the eagles were facing each other at the centre front and back.

Also, the neck shape wasn't great. So, I started another jumper using the above Ojibwe double eagle pattern and also borrowed a short row technique for shaping the neck from this Drops pattern. I bought more of the dark red, because I didn't have too muvh time to think about it, and made a subtler contrast by leaving out the off white.

Also, on all projects, I knitted the sleeves two at a time using magic loop. Highly recommended.

I've made notes of the whole process and I'll publish all the information when it's done. I might even attempt to write out the full pattern!

12 May 2016

Silja & Mads toe up socks - FREE KNITTING PATTERN

This pattern is the same pattern as the Silja & Reggie toe up socks.
I chamged the name to make it easier to pronounce in Norwegian.

 PDF download here.
Print friendly PDF here.

Intermediate Level. This pattern has been designed for students who have little or no experience of knitting socks. Some of my students have very little experience of knitting and need hands on help, so this pattern is not recommended for beginner knittings.

This is the text heavy version of the pattern, with a few photos and external links to video demonstrations. All technique videos are here, so if you want to, you can prepare before you start your first sock.

All the knitting techniques used in this pattern are demonstrated with photos and illustrations on the print friendly version and images and video on all other versions. For other versions (PDF, print friendly and large format/mobil friendly) click this link.


80cm circular needles, or longer, for Magic Loop knitting.
Size 5mm, or the size needed to achieve a gauge of 17st x 22 rows = 10cm x 10cm stocking stitch

100g Aran weight yarn.
If using 1 skien, divide it evenly into 2 x 50g balls.
For longevity, use a yarn with some nylon,
For variety, use triple stranded 4ply/sock yarn, or 1 strand DK 1 strand 4ply/sock yarn.
Recommended yarn - Odin by Viking of Norway

1 stitch marker
Darning/tapestry needle

Glossary of terms and abbreviations:

st = stitch
K = knit
P = purl
M = make a stitch** (increase)
P2tog = purl 2 stitches together (decrease)
SSK = slip, slip, knit (decrease)
K2tog = knit 2 stitches together (decrease)

**I use KFB (knit front back) increases in all my socks. I have written this pattern using M1 because using KFB can confuse the stitch count for those who prefer using other types of increase methods.


Part 1 - Cast on and increase (video)

Cast on 16 stitches
Use Judy's Magic Cast-on or the Turkish Cast-on method.

Rnd. 1, Knit all stitches, and every other round.
If any of the stitches are twisted, knit into the back of these stitches.
Rnd. 2, K1, M1, K6, M1, K1
Rnd. 3, knit all stitches.
Rnd. 4, K1, M1, K8, M1, K1
Rnd. 5, knit all stitches.
Rnd. 6, K1, M1, K10, M1, K1
Rnd. 7, knit all stitches.
Rnd. 8, K1, M1, K12, M1, K1

There should now be 32 stitches, 16 on each needle.

Part 2 - Find the right length

Attach the stitch marker to the fabric on the front side of the sock. This will be the sole of the sock.

Knit until the sock is the required length.

Measure the length of your foot. Subtract 10cm. This gives you the length the sock needs to be when you strat to increase for the gusset. Here's a table.

Part 3 - increase for the gusset.


Rnd. 1, K1, M1, K14, M1, K17
Rnd. 2, and every other round, knit all stitches.
Rnd. 1, K1, M1, K16, M1, K17
Rnd. 1, K1, M1, K18, M1, K17
Rnd. 1, K1, M1, K20, M1, K17
Rnd. 1, K1, M1, K22, M1, K17
Rnd. 1, K1, M1, K24, M1, K17
Rnd. 1, K1, M1, K26, M1, K17
Rnd. 1, K1, M1, K28, M1, K17

There should now be 48 stitches - 32 on the sole side of the sock and 16 on the other side.

Part 4 - Turn the heel
If you know how to work short rows and how to Wrap & Turn, you can skip ahead to Work the Heel.

To create the shape of the heel, we need to work short rows. This means knitting part of the row and then turing the work to knit back again. If we just turn and continut to knit, there will be a hole in the work. To avoid this, we simply wrap the working yarn around an unworked stitch. This is called a Wrap & Turn.

How to Wrap & Turn - knitwise  (video)
Slip a stitch purlwise (from the left hand needle to the right hand needle). Bring the yarn forward to the front of the work and slip the stitch back onto the left hand needle. Then, take the yarn back and turn the work.

How to Wrap & Turn - purlwise (video)
Slip a stitch purlwise, (from the left hand needle to the right hand needle) bring the yarn forward and slip the stitch back. Take the yarn back and turn the work.

Work the Heel
On the sole side of the sock,
K23, Wrap & Turn (video)
P14, W&T (video)
K13, W&T
P12, W&T
K11, W&T
P10, W&T
K9, W&T
P8, W&T
K7, W&T
P6, W&T

With the right side of the work facing you there should now be 8 unworked stitches and 5 wrapped stitches on each needle + 6 regular stitches on the left hand needle. See photo illustration.

Now we need to pick up the wraps.

K6, pick up the 5 knit wrapped stitches, turn the work. (video)

P11, pick up the 5 purl wrapped stitches, turn the work. (video)

Part 5 - the heel flap

Here's a video showing how to work P2togEye of Partridge and SSK.

Eye of Partridge. For the fabric at the back of the heel, we use a combination of slip stitches and knit stitches. This creates a thicker, more durable fabric. This method is sometimes called Eye of Partridge(video) 

SSK & P2tog. SSK stands for Slip, Slip, Knit. Slip 1 knitwise, slip 1 purlwise, then knit the two slipped stitches together through the back of the stitches. This decreases by 1 stitch on the knit side of the work, and we use P2tog, purl 2 together, for a decrease on the purl side of the work. (video)

Always slip the first stitch.
Then *knit 1, slip 1 purlwise. (video)
Repeat from * 7 times (14 stitches), then work an SSK, (video).
Turn the work.
Slip 1 purlwise, P14, P2tog (video).
Turn the work

Repeat these two rows until you have 18 stitches left on the sole/heel side of the sock.

Repeat the knit row one more time, ending with an SSK, then K16, K2tog, (video) K31.

Now the heel is complete and there should be 32 stitches, 16 on each needle.

Part 6 - the ankle

The ankle of the sock can be knitted in 1x1 rib, 2x2 rib or 3x1 rib, or it can be knitted in stocking stitch with a rib border.

If knitting stocking stitch, knit until the sock measures approximately 32cm (according to personal preference, see photo), then start the rib.

Knit the rib until there is 180cm of yarn left. This is how much yarn is needed to cast off.

Use a loose cast off, like the Russian cast off. Here's a video on how to cast off and a tip on how to finish.

Your first sock is complete!

This sock measures 32cm before the 2x2 rib starts.

For strips like these, start after the toe increase and alternate with a contrasting colour every other row. 

For longer socks, increase by 2 - 4 stitches every 10cms.

These socks have contrasting rib. 
These were knitted with three starns of 4-ply/sock yarn.
Two strands of Silja by Gjestal and one strand of Kaffe Fasset Design by Regia.
The pattern is named after these socks.

One strand of Dale Free Style, one strand of Trysil Eventyr