Sunday, September 11, 2011


Today my heart and my thoughts go out to everyone affected by terrorism around the world.

Steeks... (or the Ullared sweater part 3)

I'm knitting and knitting om my Ullared sweater, realizing that I am getting closer to the point of no return, when I reach the beginning of the armhole and have to decide to start knitting back and forth or continue in the round and make a steek.

Steeking is a technique used to be able to knit a entire sweater in the round, and when done cut (yes, cut!  EEEK!  Ahaa!  that's why it's called a steek - the knitter screams EEK!  when thinking about it..) the knitting to fit sleeves in and shape the neck.

Knitting a steek is a new challenge for me, I haven't quite gotten there yet but I'm researching it, and here is a great instruction for steeking.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A first try at dyeing

I've been trying my hand at dyeing my homespun.  It was a blast, and turned out pretty good.  Here are my first two tries:

The first skien, just blue:

The second skein is a mix of blue and brown:

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Alpaca progress

I've been spending some time with my Traveller wheel spinning the Alpaca wool.  This is the first time I've spun anything other than sheeps wool (there are so very many different types of sheeps wool), and I am finding it challenging, fun and educating, but challenging.

I have been working on my long draw, which is hard with this wool, but I imagine it's good practice!  The rest of this fleece will better my long draw.

A couple weeks ago we went to the local fair and found a woman selling sheep rugs, luckily she also had some wool and I bought some just to check it out.  Once I got it home, washed it and tried some on my spindle I found it wonderful!


The Ullared sweater's pattern (writing as we go..)

I'm goint to start writing the pattern for the Ullared sweater, and update it as I knit.

Grunnebo garns Scotlandsull.  It's a combed wool yarn 100gr = 400 m.
I used their dark gray, light gray (they also have a medium gray) and unbleached white.  I'll let you know how much yarn I used.

Needles: 2,5 mm round stitches 80 cm long for the body.  2,5 mm round needles 40 cm long for the sleeves and 2,5 mm double pointed needles for the sleeves.
The yarn manufacturer calls for 3 mm needles, but I want a tighter, denser sweater.  I would have used 2 mm needles, but that seemed just completely crazy so I compromised with myself and used 2,5 mm.  Just try different sizes until you find the ones that make your sweater!

This is a personal pattern made for me, but I'll take you through the steps to make your own pattern:
Start by measuring how big you want the body of the sweater, I chose to measure my hips at their widest = 100 cm (actually it was a couple cm off, but 100 is a good number to do the math with..)

Then I made a swatch in stranded knitting, since the sweater is knitted on the round you should also do the swatch on the round.  I used needles nr 2,5 mm and got a swatch with 36 stitches to 10 cm (= 4 inches).

36 stitches = 10 cm =
3,6 stitches = 1 cm =
360 stitches = 100cm =
since chart nr 1 has a repeat of 4 stitches you want your stitch count to be divisible by 4 or the pattern will mess upp in the join.

So I casted on 360 stitches in the dark gray yarn, joined on the round and knitted according to chart nr 1.  The dark grey (black in the chart) stitches are knitted, the white or light gray stitches are purls

Ullared sweater chart nr 1

When this is done we need to do some more math:
You want to add about 5-10% of the stitches AND you want your stitches to match up with the pattern.

So: I have 360 stitches on my needles.
5% of 360 = 72
360 + 72 = 432

The pattern har a repeat of 6.  BUT the beginning of the front and back has a 12 stich pattern and the end of the front and back has a 11 stitch pattern.  My father would make a mathematical formula out of this, I'm too tired to try.  So this is how I did it:

432/2= 216 (number of stitches on each side after adding 5% more stitches)
216 - 11-12= 193 (number of stitches after subtracting the "side pattern" stitches) this needs to be divisible by 6.  Is it?
No, but 198/6=33
So, I'll add another 5 stitches to each side:
432 +5+5=442 stitches total.  In other words:  after knitting chart nr 1, I added 82 stitches evenly over the work.

Then knit chart nr 2:  I used dark gray yarn and unbleached white.  (Oh no!, I forgot about this chart when doing all that math... you do it, it's divisible by 6 and repeats all the way around...sorry)

The Ullared sweater chart 2

 Now we start working on the pattern you will know in your sleep, because you will repeat it soooo very many times:
Using dark gray and light gray start knitting chart nr 3, this does not repeat just knit it once:

The Ullared sweater chart nr 3

Then knit chart nr 4 using dark gray and light gray:

The Ullared sweater chart nr 4
This repeats until you have 11 stitches left on this side ,remember you have two sides (front and back).  Then knit chart nr 3 mirrored. Knit the flower first then the bands, then start on the back side with chart nr 3 and chart nr 4 just like the front:

My hand is just to the left of the mirroring of chart 3.  
Chart 3 will turn out on the side of the sweater, see this drawing:

This keeps on until we get to the armpit.  I'll get back to you when I find myself in the armpit..  :-)