Yarn

Weak is as weak does

My yarn stash is slowly taking over the whole house and if I’m not careful, I might have to move into the shed soon. And then – without even blinking – I ordered some more yarn. Well, what could I do? There were good offers and free shipping to boot!

Yarn!

This is all Finnish Novita yarn. Black and white yarn on the bottom right corner is a reflective yarn and the gray yarn on the top left corner has silver metallic effect on it, even though the picture doesn’t show it. The rest are 7 Veljestä, Nalle and Venla, which all have the same consistency (75% wool and 25% polyamide) but they are different thicknesses: worsted, dk and fingering, respectively.

Until my next moment of weakness, this should keep me busy!

Happy knitting!

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Knitting · Mittens

North Karelian

These mittens are going to be a Christmas present for my sister. They are traditional North Karelian mittens. North Karelia is a region in eastern Finland and it’s where our father comes from. This makes me and my sister half North Karelians, yes?

Traditional North Karelian mittens

Traditionally these mittens are very dark brown, white and red. I didn’t have all those colours and as I wanted to start these mittens sooner rather than later, I tweaked the colours a bit: dark gray, light gray and red. I used Novita’s discontinued Florica yarn, which is 100% wool.

The symbolism of these mittens is as follows:

Dark brown (dark gray): Karelian earth/land
White (light gray): Snow and cleanliness (my version is a bit dirtier!)
Red: Joy

The traditional Karealian snowflake motive is also a reminder of the (Russian) orthodox tradition of the region.

I’m very pleased with the mittens and with the fact that I actually made them – at last. It’s been a plan for a few years now. I want to make a pair for myself too sometime. I will make mine with a slightly thicker yarn though because my hands are a lot bigger than my sister’s and these mittens are a little bit small for me.

Happy knitting!

Knitting · Mittens

Black mittens

I finished a quick pair of mittens.

Finished!

As so often, these were knitted with Novita’s 7 Veljestä (7 Brothers). It’s my go-to yarn for lots of things – mittens, socks, jumpers, you name it. This yarn is available in our local (and by local I mean 20 km away) supermarket, making it really easy to get the yarn/colour that you need. This is not something that I can do easily with many things, living out in the sticks. Of course I could order yarn online (and I do!) but those cases when I’d like to start a certain project NOW and not a few days/weeks later, a supermarket yarn aisle is handy. I often always walk down the yarn aisle even when I don’t need/want anything. It has become a joke with us that I say: Let’s go and touch the yarns!

The pattern for these mittens is here. Unfortunately, it’s in Finnish. They have leg warmers in English with the same colour work, but for some reason they haven’t translated the mittens (nor the hat or socks).

So, I was complaining about the black yarn on my hoodie, and then go and knit mittens in black. Well, black yarn in general isn’t a problem, even in low light. Smooth yarn can be knitted eyes closed, mostly.

Happy knitting!

Hoodie · Jumper · Knitting

The new black

I’ve been working like a woman possessed, trying to finish off lots of stuff before Christmas and time’s running out.

This black hoodie was a pain to knit. I think it might have been ok had it been any other colour. The black yarn with its fringe (can’t think of a better word for it) made it difficult, if not almost impossible, to see where a stitch was. I would try and knit just the fringe part instead of a stitch, or if I dropped a stitch, which happened often, I couldn’t see where it went. The whole thing was just fringe and no stitches, it seemed. Bright daylight in the middle of the summer didn’t help either. That’s when I started this. Anyway, I soldiered on.

Zippered cardi

I don’t know if my description of a fringe makes any sense. The finished fabric is almost like terrycloth. The fringe is like those eyelash fancy yarns but the lashes are shorter and thicker. Think of a terrycloth and you should get the idea. The yarn is again by the Finnish Novita and it’s called Jive. I have some brighter colours of the same yarn too, which I bought in a sale once, thinking that they would be great for soft toys. No toys yet though…

I brightened up the hoodie with an orange zipper. There was no way I was going to sew anything black onto that thing. Besides, I think it looks cool with the orange zipper.

When I was a teenager, I started to wear a lot of black. I wasn’t a goth or anything but just had a lot of clothes in black. My sister always made fun of that and she said that she would knit me “a blacker than black jumper and put some black on it to brighten it up a bit”. I keep reminding her, since to this day, I’ve not received the said jumper. But at least now I have a black hoodie with an orange zipper. And orange is the new black, right?

Happy knitting!

Knitting · Scarf · Stash busting

Tiny scarf

Over the years I’ve been given lots of yarn by my mother and grandmother. Lots of the yarn is the kind that I would not necessarily buy myself but I have no problems using it. I’ve often made these little garter stitch triangle scarves.

Tiny scarf

Here’s how:

Cast on 3 st.
1st row: Knit 3 st.
2nd row: Knit 2 st. and knit the last stitch from front and back. (4 st.)
3rd row: Knit 3 st. and knit the last stitch from front and back. (5 st.)
Continue like this, increasing 1 st. at the end of every row until the scarf is the desired size or you run out of yarn.

Alternatively you can use any other increasing method you prefer, at the start of the row, or that the end of the row.

Gauge and needle size are not important. The beige yarn I used is by Lammy Yarns and it’s called Pluche. It probably hasn’t been in production for donkey’s years. The gauge mentioned for this yarn is 20 st. and 22 rows = 10 x 10 cm. Needle size 4. I used 4 1/2.  50g is 125m and that amount, little over 100m, makes a scarf that’s just big enough to tie around your neck but not too big to fit under a coat. I find that they fit nicely under a thinner autumn jacket. This scarf measures 66 cm on top (widest part) and 36 cm high (highest part). Obviously, if you have more yarn and/or want a bigger scarf, keep knitting until it’s big enough.

Shame the colour of this scarf is a bit anemic but teamed with a darker coat it should be ok.

Happy knitting!

Knitting · Mittens · Stash busting

Two shades of brown

Here is a star mitten I started to knit…

In the making

And ta-daa! I’m done!

Star mittens

I can hear you thinking that a) she’s a really fast knitter or b) there’s a bottleneck here somewhere. No prizes for guessing that it’s the latter. Actually, the WIP picture is quite rare for me – I almost never remember to take one. I’ve always finished the project until I remember and then it’s too late. Also, the WIP picture in my mind should be a quick snap of a picture but as we are heading towards the darkest time of the year, a quick snap is not really an option. This is why: today November 26th, sunrise 10:07, sunset 13:54, length of the day 3 h 47 min. Just as  you think it’s getting lighter, it starts to get darker. Ha! Of course there are ways around that, but I digress…

Back to the mittens. The pattern is by Drops Design and the yarn is probably not much younger than me. It’s my grandmother’s old stash and it’s by Finnish Novita, called Brunners Polka. I’ve not managed to find out anything at all about this yarn but my guess is that it’s from the early 80’s, possibly older. Weird thing is that the yarn label is in blue and yellow (Swedish colours) and it has on it, in my opinion, a very Swedish looking image of a couple in national dress. Also, all text is in Swedish only. And yet, Novita is a Finnish company. Perhaps those days they had a range just for the Swedish market, who knows.

So, the yarn has a possible Swedish link, the pattern is Norwegian and the knitter is Finnish. Hurrah for Scandinavian co-operation!

Anyway, I digress again. The pattern is very nice to knit and it makes a rather long pair of mittens, which is good on these latitudes, as I don’t like cold wrists. Two shades of brown is actually quite nice, even though I almost never make or buy or wear anything brown. These mittens look like dark and milk chocolate to me. Yummy.

Happy knitting!

Cowl · Hats · Knitting

3 little kittens

Another day, another hat. And a matching cowl.

Matching hat and cowl

Let’s start with the yarn. It’s Artesano 100% alpaca. I bought it a few years ago in England while on holiday. The shop is called Three Bags Full, which tickled me, and it was at the time located in the amazing Piece Hall in Halifax. Stuff has happened since: Three Bags Full doesn’t have a brick and mortar shop anymore, only a website. The Piece Hall has been totally renovated since. It’s well worth a visit if you happen to be near Halifax.

Anyway, the yarn. I saw three balls of this super soft alpaca yarn in a sale bin and couldn’t put them down. There were only three balls of it left, all in different colours. Well, I bought them and since then, for a few years now, I’ve been taking them out of the yarn box every now and then to stroke them. They felt like three little kittens. I couldn’t decide what to knit with them but it came to a point that I felt it was time to use this lovely yarn. I started with a cowl. The idea of having these kittens wrapped round my neck seemed like a good one.

Alpaca cowl

I was going to knit just a tube but decided to do something different after all. I found Seattle. I didn’t count or measure the stripes in any way; I just winged it. The cowl is quite sloppy and bigger in circumference than what I usually like my cowls to be, but it’s kind of nice. I’ll wear this when the temperature’s not yet minus millions. When it gets really cold, I like my cowl or scarf to be tightly round my neck.

Alpaca hat

Then the hat. I had some of the yarn left and it seemed obvious to knit a matching hat. There was a hat pattern with the Seattle cowl but I wanted to knit a hat top down so that I could use up all of the yarn. I knitted all of the purple yarn, then all of the blue yarn and finally changed to seed stitch and yellow yarn, and knitted till I had only enough yarn to cast off. The hat is very long and slouchy but I plan to wear it with the seed stitch part folded up. That way it’s also much warmer.

Alpaca hat

There we are then. 3 kittens turned into a cowl and a hat. I read somewhere that alpaca yarn is 8 times warmer than sheep’s wool. How do they measure that?

Matching hat and cowl

Happy knitting!