Lillebaelt in Sage

Our daughter has a green soul. She is an ecologist with a special interest in herbs. Small wonder that she has chosen a pullover made of all natural materials in a shade called sage, after the herb about which an old proverb says, ‘Eat sage in May and you’ll live for aye’. Well, there is enough in our garden to eat sage every day of the year.

The yarn combo for her pullover consists of one thread of animal fibres for softness and warmth (Isager Alpaca 2, 50% merino wool/50% alpaca), and one thread of plant fibres for strength (Isager Trio 1, 50% linen/30% cotton/20% lyocell). Together they make a lovely marled, open and drapey fabric.

The pattern by Danish designer Annette Danielsen is called Lillebaelt. The knit-and-purl motifs at the tops of front, back and sleeves were inspired by Lillebaeltsbroen, the bridge over the Little Belt strait in Denmark, between Jutland and Funen.

(The part of our daughter’s garden where we’ve taken the photographs is being transformed into a herb-and-fruit patch. In a couple of years the now bare fence will hopefully be hidden behind an apple tree, grapes, climbers and berry shrubs.)

I struggled with the sets of double decreases next to each other on the shoulders, getting a gaping ladder between them.

After trying out all kinds of other decreases first, I’ve finally decided to seam the shoulders on the inside with mattress stitch. A simple but adequate solution.

The shape of the shoulders looks strange but fits really well.

The pullover has nice side vents, and the back is a little longer than the front.

Apart from the shoulder issue, I think this is a great, well thought-out pattern. And a fairly quick knit, too. I knit it in a little over a month, only working on it in the evenings for an hour or two max, and a little more during weekends.

The Lillebaelt pattern is from Annette Danielsen’s book Fynsk Forår (Spring in Funen). It has beautiful photos of the places, art and architecture in the island of Funen that inspired the designs. I think it’s absolutely wonderful how Danielsen translates for instance a seascape by Johannes Larsen…

…into a pullover with a wave pattern she calls Fynsmalerne.

Annette Danielsen has written some 50 knitting books (in Danish) and quite a few of them have been translated into German. As far as I know they are not available in English, but that isn’t necessarily an insurmountable problem. As a knitter, you’ll probably recognize the knitting terms and otherwise they can always be looked up. Danielsen can be found here on Ravelry, but not nearly all of her designs. Her website can be found here. Lillebaelt wasn’t on Ravelry yet, but I’ve added it to the database and you can find it here.

That’s all for today. Thank you for reading, don’t forget to eat plenty of sage in May, and ‘til next time!

Playing in the Garden

Hello! While I was puzzling over the shoulder problem I wrote about last week, I knit a simple pair of socks for my sister-in-law. The stretchy k2/p2 ribbing will fit snug around her narrow feet. Here they are on my wider feet:

Not the most exciting pair of socks ever, but I thought you might be interested in the yarn – Austermann Step 4 (Irish Rainbow, shade 228). It looks and knits up like a fairly run-of-the-mill 4-ply superwash sock yarn. Only, for its superwash treatment the more sustainable EXP-process was used. Avoiding the use of chlorine and other harmful chemicals, and using far less water, the EXP-process has the GOTS-certificate and several other certificates for sustainable textiles. Though I do have my slip-ups, I try to be a responsible consumer.

Starting the second sock at exactly the right spot in the stripe sequence to get a matching pair is a game I like to play with self-striping yarns. Yay, I won!

After taking pictures of the socks, I spent some time playing in the garden. Being a responsible adult is all well and good, but the inner child also needs time to play and explore. My hands may be getting spotty and wrinkly, I still get excited about the empty shell of a blackbird’s egg.

And I still collect bugs, only not in a jam jar but with my camera.

In our white lilac bush, my gossamer swatch for a pink Polka Dot Scarf looks like a fairy’s laundry.

As a young teenager just starting to learn English, I collected the flower fairy booklets by Cicely Mary Barker. I still have them and early on Sunday morning I spent a delightful quiet hour looking at their lovely pictures and reading some of the poems.

In Flower Fairies of the Trees there is a poem about the lilac that ends like this:

“I love her so much
That I never can tell
If she’s sweeter to look at,
Or sweeter to smell.”

And under the C in A Flower Fairy Alphabet, I came across the columbine (known to me as aquilegia).

These flowers like fairy skirts are dancing in our front garden in many shades of pink and purple.

The sweater-with-the-now-solved-shoulder-problem is almost finished, and thinking about new projects I knit a couple of swatches with a yarn I’m considering for a Norwegian sweater – CaMaRose’s Økologisk Hverdagsuld (Organic Everyday Wool). While I was photographing them, my inner child played with pebbles.

I hope that you, too, can find some time in your days for your inner child to play (and/or take a nap). xxx

Double Double Decreases

Hello! Today I’m diving deep into double double decreases. If that isn’t really your thing, do scroll down for something completely different.

A Shoulder Problem

What exactly do I mean by double double decreases? And why am I diving into them? Well, it’s to do with the Lillebaelt pullover I’m knitting for our daughter. It is knit in one piece, without any seams. On the top of the shoulders, there are double decreases on either side of where otherwise the shoulder seam would be. No matter how tight I pulled the thread, I got a gaping ladder in between these double double decreases – look:

As the entire weight of the pullover hangs on this, I expect it will only get worse. Did the designer have the same problem or is it just me? Let’s take a look at the photographs in the book. Oh, ah, hmm, I see…

Or rather, I can’t see the tops of the shoulders at all. Oh well, I thought, I’ll pull the stitches together with a thread on the wrong side. But then a knitting friend came to visit, we looked at the problem together, and I decided to rip it out and find a more elegant solution.

Swatching to find a Solution

From a simple undyed DK-weight yarn, I knit swatches to try things out.

The pattern uses a left-leaning sssk on one side and a right-leaning k3tog on the other. What if I inserted two stitches between the two double decreases? Below, first the original double decreases with ladder, and then the same decreases with two stitches in between.

Interesting! The two centre stitches became very loose and open, again no matter how tight I pulled the yarn. So, not strong enough and not suitable.

The double decreases were only done every other row. What if I crossed the two central stitches in the rows between the decrease rows? (Upper half of swatch below.)

Very decorative and also very strong. But the shoulder section is partly knit in the round and partly back and forth, meaning I’d need to do this partly on the knit RS and partly on the purled WS. And I’d also need to move the start of the row to a different place. Too complicated.

Next I tried out different double double decreases – different ways of reducing two clusters of 3 sts to 1 st each. No joy – ladders appeared in all of them.

Okay, so what if I approached it differently? Basically, I needed to get rid of 4 sts on each shoulder. What if I reduced 5 sts to 1 in one go? I tried three different ways of doing this out. Very nice, no ladders and strong enough for the shoulders, but…

Sadly there were numerous buts. These decreases used an odd number of sts, so I’d need to change the number of sts in a round/row. Plus they were asymmetrical. Besides I’d need to move the start of the rounds/rows to a different place. And the shoulder section was already complicated, with its knit-and-purl stitch pattern knit partly in the round and partly flat.

A Waste of Time?

So….. I’ve decided to go back my original plan: work the double double decreases complete with ladder, and pull the stitches together with a thread on the wrong side afterwards. I needn’t have ripped all those rows out after all. What a waste of time! Or was it? I’ve learnt a lot about double double decreases, other multiple stitch decreases and their pros and cons. For me, that was worth the time.

And now for something completely different

After looking at my knitting problem and having a lovely lunch together, my friend and I went for a walk in a nature reserve called Kale Duinen (Bare Dunes). And guess what we saw?

A herd of wild Exmoor ponies! Aww, they look so sweet, with those pale markings around their eyes and muzzles.

But towering above you on a sandhill, they look powerful and imposing, too. Better not come too close.

Bye for now and I hope to see you again soon!

A Sweater in a Week?

The shop windows were filled with colourful yarns and projects. It all looked so lovely and inviting. Two pullovers from an airy self-striping yarn, one from bouclé as well as several fun hats in one window. And beautiful scarves with dots and zigzags in the other.

I was at ’t Ryahuis for yarn for a sweater for our daughter. Together we had chosen a pattern from a book I brought back from Germany a couple of years ago: Fynsk Forår by Annette Danielsen. It is in Danish so a bit of a puzzle, but I think I’ll manage.

The sweater is knit with two thin Isager yarns held together in muted shades, totally unlike the displays in the shop windows. One is Alpaca 2, a wool and alpaca yarn. The other is Trio, a linen blend in a shade called sage. At the gauge called for on 4.5 mm (US 7) needles, the yarns give a fairly open fabric. It will be a perfect sweater for the in-between seasons. Wouldn’t it be nice if she could wear it from, say, May? That would give me about a month to knit it. What do you think – will that be doable?

To celebrate its 100th anniversary De Volkskrant interviewed 100 centenarians, publishing an interview every week over the past two years. Reading about those long, long lives has been very interesting. One of the centenarians, Siena Voppen-Wegkamp, tells us: ‘I was 53 when my husband died. Seven children were still at home, the youngest 14. I went back to work as a household help. Don’t ask me how busy my life was at the time. I knit a sweater a week for the children, and was often sewing clothes into the night.’

De Volkskrant, 21 November 2022, pp. 16-17

Just imagine making every item of clothing for yourself and your large family by hand in what little spare time you have! A sweater in a week? Totally unrealistic for me! A sweater in a month sounds better. It usually takes me much, much longer, but then I usually have many projects going simultaneously. I’m going to give it a try.

That may mean that I’ll need to be a one-project person for a while, and the bee I’ve embroidered may have to wait for flowers until May.

There are enough flowers in our garden and our pear tree is blossoming, too. But the embroidered bee is very particular and only collects nectar from embroidered flowers.

Have a lovely weekend! My knitting needles will be busy. I hope there is something nice to knit on yours, too.

Spring is in the Air

Hello! I hope this finds you all well. From some of you in the US I’ve heard that you’ve had a thick blanket of snow recently and spring seems far away. Here, March has brought rain and hail storms as well as some milder days. Judging by the flowers and the birds spring is in the air. But judging by the cardigan I’ve just finished winter is around the corner. My knitting is sadly out of sync with the seasons again. Before going on to more spring-like things, let me tell you about it first.

This is the Air Cardigan from Finnish designer Suvi Simola, and the yarn I’ve used is Garnstudio Drops ‘Air’ in Crimson, a beautiful deep and warm red. It is long, oversized and very cosy. Size M is 86 cm (33¾”) long, with 64 cm (25½”) bust width.

The Air cardigan is knit from the top down and the sleeves are knit on. The only seaming to be done afterwards is the sides of the pocket linings. The pattern is very clear and has photo tutorials for several techniques. The one thing I didn’t like about it, is the stretchy bind-off used for the sleeve and body ribbings. Can you see how wavy the bottom is? I painstakingly unpicked it and re-did it using an ordinary bind-off.

What I do like a lot, are the decorative purl ridges on shoulders and upper back. This is where the knitting starts, with a narrow strip with short rows for shaping. From the purl ridges on either side of this strip stitches are picked up for fronts and back. Very nice!

All in all, a lovely design. It is knit on 5 mm (US 8) needles and should be a quick knit for someone who doesn’t have a dozen projects on the go simultaneously. Oh well, when the first chilly autumn days come, I’ll have a cosy cardigan ready and waiting.

And now – spring things!

It’s blossom time. And it’s also wood anemone time.

Wood anemones are not very common in these parts. They mainly grow in ancient woodlands and on historic country estates. Places where it is as if time has stood still and the rest of the world with all its woes and worries seems far away.

Where a distant wind turbine is the only sign of modern times.

In one of these dreamy wood anemone woods many white storks are nesting. When you see them out in the water meadows foraging for frogs and moles, you don’t hear them.

But from their nests their bill clattering can be heard far and wide.

In some places, the wood anemones grow together with wild garlic.

I wouldn’t dream of picking it here, but fortunately we also have a small patch of not-so-wild wild garlic in our garden. And that brings me to a recipe I’d like to share with you – Potato and veg frittata with Camembert and wild garlic (can also be made without wild garlic). Our young hens are so productive that we have of necessity become very creative with eggs. And then there are enough eggs left to feed many of our neighbours, too.

Potato and Veg Frittata with Camembert and Wild Garlic

(Serves 2-3)

Ingredients

  • 500 g potatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive or sunflower oil
  • 100 g green beans
  • 150 g broccoli
  • 100 g cherry tomatoes
  • 4 eggs
  • 50 ml milk
  • Salt & pepper
  • 100 g Camembert or similar
  • A small bunch of wild garlic leaves (if you don’t have access to wild garlic, just leave it off or use chives instead)

Method

  • Rinse the vegetables. Trim and halve the beans, divide the broccoli into small florets and cut the tomatoes in half.
  • Bring a pan of water to the boil. Add the green beans and broccoli, bring to the boil again and cook for 5 minutes. (If using frozen cook for 2 minutes.) Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
  • Peel and cube the potatoes. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and sauté the potatoes on medium heat for 10 minutes (until almost done).
  • Meanwhile beat the eggs in a bowl with the milk and plenty of seasoning, and cut the Camembert into wedges.
  • Add the tomatoes, green beans and broccoli, arranging the florets in a nice pattern if you like.
  • Pour over the egg mixture and place the Camembert wedges on top of everything.
  • Cover with a lid and leave to cook on low heat until the eggs are set (about 10-15 minutes).
  • Meanwhile rinse the wild garlic, pat dry and cut into strips.
  • Just before serving, sprinkle the wild garlic over the frittata.

Enjoy!

Imperfect

Hello! With my mother-in-law safely installed in her new home (sigh of relief), I have time to write again. So here I am with a story about a cushion cover. That doesn’t sound very interesting, does it? I hope you’ll think differently by the end of the post.

In January, I was given 227 grams of hand-spun and woad-dyed wool yarn with instructions for knitting a cushion cover for a funeral space. Three blue hanks that I wound into cakes.

Three very different yarns: one an Aran weight, one a DK and one with very thin and quite thick bits.

One of the hanks came with a label attached to it. A pretty and interesting label written in Frisian.

How was I going to knit these three different yarns into an even 45×90 cm rectangle? I decided to alternate them – one row in yarn one, one in yarn two and one in yarn three – adding in a few extra rows now and then of the yarn I had more of.

We were instructed to choose from three stitch patterns: seed stitch, double seed stitch and sand stitch. I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough yarn and chose the stitch pattern that would eat up the least – sand stitch: Rows 1 & 3: knit; row 2: k1, p1; row 4: p1, k1.

The yarn wasn’t very soft or pleasant to knit with, and my hands coloured blue. To get it done anyway, I knit while watching DCI Barnaby solve murders in Midsomer. One day, looking at what I had knit the day before I saw oooops – a mistake!

What to do? Rip it out, or……………………………………?

I decided to leave it in, thinking of the artists and craftspeople in some cultures deliberately introducing errors in their work as a reminder that we humans are imperfect. It somehow seemed fitting for a funeral space.

A long time ago, I took a mandala embroidery course. Starting in the centre, we improvised without patterns. We did not deliberately introduce errors, but if we made a mistake, we were told to leave it in and even repeat it and let the rest of the design be guided by it. The idea was to learn to embrace our imperfections.

This was my first mandala, with flowers, butterflies and birds. It was fun to see it grow.

This more abstract one with gold thread accents was my second.

And finally I made one with water lilies and jumping fish.

I don’t remember where I made mistakes and can’t see them now. Also, I’m still a perfectionist, but maybe the mandala course has made me a tiny bit less so.

The mandalas have spent the past 25 years or so in a box and I’d almost forgotten about them. What am I going to do with them? Put them back in their box? Or use them in some way? From top to bottom they are around 30×30, 20×20 and 10×10 centimetres (12×12, 8×8 and 4×4 inches). Ideas welcome!

Back to the cushion cover. I had enough yarn (phew!) and have handed the finished cover over to a friend in the organization. I can’t wait to see how the space will look with my imperfect cushion, the other 59 cushions and the rest of the blue woolly elements. I hope to be able to show you by the end of May.

For the photographs I picked a few flowers from the garden that I thought of as blue. Compared to the blue produced by woad, they look purple.

After rinsing the cushion cover in water with vinegar and then washing it in Eucalan the knitted fabric softened up quite a bit. It retained its peculiar musty smell, though. That’s what your new blue woollen dress or jerkin would have smelled like in previous centuries. Interesting!

Thank you for reading and I hope to see you again next week! xxx

Vinterkongle and Vigdis

Hello!
Besides finishing this year’s first Norwegian knitting project, I’ve also read this year’s first Norwegian novel. I’ll tell you about both today, and in between I’ll take you on a walk among pine trees. It’s a long post and it’ll have to last you for two weeks, because my mother in law is moving house next week and I probably won’t have much time to write then. Let’s start with some Norwegian knitting.

Vinterkonglegenser
The pullover I’ve knit for our grandson is called Vinterkonglegenser, Norwegian for Winter Pine Cone Pullover. It is knit from the top down, starting with a round yoke with a lovely pine cone design. It never ceases to amaze me what a difference blocking makes. While I’m knitting lace or colourwork, I often think, ‘Meh, it doesn’t look attractive at all.’ But I know everything will be all right after blocking.

Before blocking
After blocking

I didn’t use blocking wires or anything, so I’m not entirely sure I should call it blocking. What I did was soak the pullover in Eucalan for 20 minutes, spin-dry it and leave it to dry flat. Then I covered it with a clean, moist tea towel and hovered over it with the steam iron (on steam).

Instead of picking up underarm stitches, a few extra stitches are cast on, resulting in a hole that is closed later. Seaming it is a little more work, but makes for a nice and strong construction without any gaps.

For the stranded colourwork, I keep one thread in my left hand and the other in my right. And my floats are never longer than 5 stitches. Maybe someday I’ll learn to photograph or film both of my hands so that I can show you the techniques I use.

For our not quite 2-year-old grandson, I knit the size for 6-year-olds, only making the body a little shorter. It turned out exactly the right size for him – weird! I’ll  give you more info and links about the pattern and the knitting book it comes from at the end of the post. If you’re ever going to make anything from the book, do swatch and think carefully about the size you need to make first!

We brought the big pine cones in the pictures back from a summer holiday in France. They are from the maritime pines growing in the Mediterranean. Dutch pine cones are much smaller – here they are side by side.

Pine tree walk
The pine trees around here are European red pines – the kind you may call Scots or Schotch pine. I’ve read that they can live up to 700 years in Scandinavia. Ours were planted here in the early 20th century, mainly to provide wood for the mining industry. Fortunately they are now left to grow in peace.

Last Sunday we first heard and then saw a raven in the top of one. The picture below isn’t great, but you can see how its neck bulges and its head leans forward when it makes its deep ‘cronking’ sound.

I’m thrilled whenever I see or hear one of these huge black birds. Ravens were nearly extinct here a century ago and I’m so glad they are back.

Our walk also took us to a sheep fold. The sheep were out with the shepherd and there weren’t any lambs yet.

Ah well, another time. Did you notice the wreaths on the shutters in the picture above? They are made from wool from the flock. Aren’t they great?

The Story of Ljot and Vigdis
I can decipher a Norwegian knitting pattern, but reading a novel would take me a year so I’m glad there are translations. The short novel by Nobel Prize winner Sigrid Undset I’ve read has two main characters: Ljot and Vigdis. The original title is Fortaellingen om Viga-Ljot og Vigdis, where both get equal weight. It’s interesting to see that the Dutch publisher left rapist Ljot out of the title Vigdis Gunnarsdochter. And even more interesting is how the English publisher reduced strong and independant woman Vigdis to Gunnar’s Daughter in their (probably his) choice of title.

The story is set partly in Norway and partly in Iceland in the Middle Ages. At first glance it looks like a historical novel, but with themes like rape and other forms of violence, marriage problems and how children are affected by their parents’ traumas it could have been set in any place or age. What I liked about it is that nothing is black-and-white, and nobody is either all good or all bad.

Interesting for us, knitters and spinners, is how main character Vigdis is introduced: ‘By the hearth sat two women; one of them was spinning by the light of the fire; she was not very young and was darkly clad, but bright and fair of face. The other was but a young maid, who sat with her hands in her lap doing nothing.’

The young maid is Vigdis, and that she isn’t spinning immediately tells us that she is wealthy and probably spoilt. Spinning wasn’t a hobby back then, but essential for keeping people clad and warm.

Well, I’ll sign off now wishing you a good couple of weeks. Bye!

Links:

  • The pattern of the Vinterkonglegenser isn’t available through Ravelry, but some info and other people’s projects can be found here.
  • More about the knitting book the pattern comes from can be found in this blog post.
  • Some (but not nearly all) other patterns in the book can be viewed here.
  • Needles used: 2.5 and 3.0 mm (US 1½ and 2½ ).
  • Yarn: Sandnes ‘Tynn Merinoull’.

Mitts and Mishaps

Hello!

First of all, thank you for last week’s comments on creativity. They have really given me food for thought. One thing they’ve brought me is that maybe my idea of creativity is too exalted, as if only highly original conceptual art is creative. It would be a good thing for me to value small acts of creativity more, like choosing colours and materials, or changing a few details when following a knitting or sewing pattern. The yin-and-yang view of creativity is new to me and I need some time to digest that. I have a feeling that it could be very valuable.

I’ve just finished a pair of fingerless mitts from a pattern that I’ve knit several times before. This time I’ve made the welts on the cuff multi-coloured (a tiny act of creativity) using yarn left over from the colourwork hats I knit earlier.

I didn’t have enough red yarn left from the hats, but happened to have some of that left over from a cardigan I knit a couple of years back. There is something to be said for using the same yarn again and again – it’s easy to combine and use up the remnants.

Sadly there’s been a mishap with this cardigan knit from Rowan’s Felted Tweed and it’s now a felted Felted Tweed cardigan. I’ve always washed knits from this yarn on wool wash in the washing machine and have never had problems before, but this time I saw there was a problem as soon as I opened the door. Uh-oh! I’d like to blame the washing machine, but perhaps I pushed the wrong button? It hasn’t exactly become child-sized, but too small and stiff for me to wear anymore.

I love Felted Tweed and on the whole am happy with other Rowan yarns, too. But last year I knit a cardigan from their Alpaca Soft DK that looked like this after I’d only worn it a few days.

Really awful pilling that can’t be removed no matter what I try. I’ve even bought a special pill remover, but no luck. I was so disappointed that I put it away for a while, but I’ve pulled it out of the naughty corner and it can be my gardening cardigan from now on.

Back to the fingerless mitts. Their thumb gussets are nicely defined by purl stitches and the fit is great. The pattern can be found here on Ravelry, and there is also a matching welted cowl.

The snowdrops I’ve photographed them with are small ones in our own garden. I saw some very big ones on the corner of someone else’s garden path. They almost looked like plastic, but no, they were real.

Spring bulbs, trees and shrubs are flowering a month earlier here now than they did 50 years ago, according to Nature Today. That’s very unsettling and I almost feel as if I oughtn’t to enjoy them anymore. I still do, though. The crocuses in our garden are doing very well and seeding themselves out in many places.

Maybe someday we’ll have a display like this next to the church in the village of Norg.

These harbingers of spring are telling me that I need to get a move on with the woolly Norwegian sweater for our grandson. I hope to have it finished next week. Hope to see you again then! Xxx

Are You Creative?

Are you creative? That question has been echoing in my mind for quite some time. Let me tell you how it came about.

In need of new oven mitts, I cycled to a shop and found a pair I liked. Only, they hadn’t been seamed properly and the wadding peeped out in several places. Asking a shop assistant if they had another pair, she asked me in return, ‘Are you creative?’

Am I creative? Uhm………………………

What she meant was, are you skilful enough with needle and thread to repair them? In the end I got the oven mitts at a discount and got ‘creative’ with them at home. I’ve been pondering the question on and off ever since (and that’s been a while as you can see from the state of those mitts).

Are you creative?

Well, basically I just like making things.

I don’t think I’m more creative than most people, and definitely less than some. I like following a pattern and cooking from a recipe. Does that matter? In one sense, not at all. I don’t need to be remembered as that wonderfully creative person. I’m fine with being ordinary. But in a different sense it does, because I have a kind of itch inside. Do you know that feeling? As if there is something inside that wants to get out but you can’t quite grasp it.

Compiling these blog posts scratches that itch a little, but it feels as if there is something more. I’d like to find out what that is. Pondering how to go about that, I’m starting a needle-and-thread project that would count as hugely creative by the shop assistant’s standards and not at all by mine.

Why? Because I urgently need a dose of colour! There are a few pops of colour in the garden –  bright yellow winter aconites, purple and cream crocuses and magenta-pink cyclamen coum.

But on the whole, everything still is mainly brown with some green. I took the picture below in Giethoorn the other day. I long for those hydrangeas to show their blues, pinks and purples again.

Waiting for spring to touch the world with its magical paintbrush, I’ll stitch some colourful stitches, knit a few cosy knits and try to find out what to do about that niggling question.

Are you creative?

Norwegian Knitting and Reading

Hello! I hope all is well with you and you’re looking forward to the weekend. With a busy time ahead of me, I want to fill this weekend with as much quiet time knitting and reading as possible. The knitting project I started last week ticks two of the boxes on my ‘would-like-to-do list’ for 2024:

  • Norwegian Knitting
  • Make everyday things for my family and myself

It’s a sweater for our grandson with a colourwork yoke.

It isn’t a traditional Norwegian sweater, as it is knit from the top down and has a round yoke. But it comes from a Norwegian knitting book, uses Norwegian wool and has a Norwegian feel to it, so I think it counts. It is the Vinterkonglegenser, or Winter Pine Cone Pullover from Klømpelømpe de vier seizoenen.

The original title is Klømpelømpe strikk året rundt, and the title of the English edition is All-Year-Round Knitting for Little Sweethearts. The English title isn’t very well chosen, because there are quite a few patterns for adults in it, as well. The sweater has a matching hat and trousers to knit.

The pattern describes many sizes, for both children and adults. The swatch I knit, a sweater that fits our grandson now, and the numbers in the pattern told me that I needed to make the size for 6 years. Six?!? Our grandson isn’t even two! Surely that couldn’t be right?

I know that we Dutch are some of the tallest people on the planet, and our grandson is of above average size for a Dutch child, but surely Norwegian 6-year-olds can’t be the size of a 22-month-old Dutch boy? Well, I’ll place my trust in the numbers and if I’m wrong I’ll just rip it out and start anew.

I like the colours the designers used, but am using a very different combo for my grandson. Originally I had chosen a pale taupe for the pine cones…

… but after knitting a few rows I decided that it was rather insipid and swapped it for the golden brown left over from this little fella knit in the same yarn (Sandnes Garn Tynn Merinoull). Much better!

While I sat quietly knitting, a thought popped up. Wouldn’t it be nice to enrich this year’s Norwegian knitting experience with some Norwegian reading alongside? My small Scandinavian library mainly consists of Swedish literature, but there are four Norwegian books (in English and Dutch) among them – three books by Sigrid Undset and one by Trygve Gulbranssen.

The slim book Vigdis Gunnarsdochter* by Sigrid Undset seems like a good choice to accompany the small sweater on my needles, so I’ll start with that. The Norwegian books I own are all older classics and I’ve read two of them before. I’d like to read some new-to-me and/or more recent Norwegian books, too, but have no idea which ones. Suggestions welcome! (I don’t read thrillers).

*Original title Fortaellingen om Viga-Ljot og Vigdis; English translation Gunnar’s Daughter.