New Design: Alva

XT1A2750I wanted to design another poncho, since the first one I made – Mohair Poncho for my book – is so popular but whether it is due to the design or the styling or both, I am not sure. Just as last time, my aim was to make a more stylish poncho than the traditional triangular shaped ones: My Alva is a feminine poncho with a deep shawl collar in a reversible diamond pattern worked only in knit and purl stitches. Close it at the front or pin both fronts together at the back with a beautiful shawl pin, see above. Or you can throw one front loosely across your shoulder or wear it hanging loose (see below). If you prefer, make buttonholes along the double seed stitch edge. The wide shoulder makes it drop down so, add a pair of long wrist warmers to make the outfit complete. The set is knitted in a luscious merino called Tropical Lane, Wollissimo available in Norway from the online shop “Det Mjuke“. The Norwegian pattern will be published in Familien Strikk on sale from late August, while the English pattern will be test knitted in my Ravelry group before its release.

XT1A2773Not only the yarn but also the knitting is kindly sponsored by Tropical Lane and “Det Mjuke“. It was the Manager herself, Anne Magrethe Manzetti – yes, she is Norwegian but have spent 8 years in Italy and is fluent in Italian (read: yes, including all knitting terminology) – who organized the yarn sponsoring and knitted the sample poncho with the matching wrist warmers. Yes, it is big and the poncho takes 17 skeins to knit, each consisting of 50 grams with 125 meters/137 yards in pure merino, using 4 mm/US 6. Hence it comes in only one size with a bust circumference of 170 cm/67″ and a length of 80 cm/31.5″.

XT1A2775 cropThe poncho is knitted in 3 parts and the shawl collar is worked at the same time as the front. The selvedge stitch is knitted in Double Seed stitch. At the end the collar is attached at the neck and the shoulders are sewn together. Make buttonholes if you prefer. The pattern is reversible, so choose which side you prefer as the right side. You can easily thread a thin elastic through the top of the wrist warmers if preferred. The only sewing required is the join at the shoulders and at the center back neck.

XT1A2763I did at first intend to make short-rows across the shoulders, but since there are 6 parts to it, the interference into the pattern was too massive and an old-fashioned bind off was the easier option. I did not want the poncho to hang like it was made for a super hero, hence the numerous bind off on the shoulders and the shawl collar. You could also wear the poncho with a belt either with only the front tucked in, or all around the poncho if you prefer.

XT1A2757I choose the side with most stocking stitch as the right side but the reversible Diamond pattern looks equally beautiful with the reverse stocking stitch side out. So you can decide before you need to join in your second ball which side to have as your right side. All the photos in this post is taken by my husband a few days before the professional photoshoot at the end of May. The poncho looked stunning on model Anne Dorthe/Team Models and it has been captured by brilliant photographer Eivind Røhne. To be continued.


Drammen Strikkefestival and Up-coming Workshops

DSCN0139Yes, I have taken part in another knitting festival! This time in Drammen, approximately 40 minutes drive west of Oslo, organized by Norsk Strikkeforening/Norwegian Knitting Association. It was their first festival since the Association was set up last year, and a success. Hotel Union Brygge in Drammen and the theatre Union Scene, next door, was the setting. They were so close that I could easily spend the whole extended lunch break during my knitting design workshop there. As you can imagine most of the attendees to my workshop did, and brought their own packed lunch so they would not loose a minute browsing all the stalls present. The program started on Friday evening with a talk by Kari-Helene Rane from Purl Alpaca Designs, which I unfortunately missed.


Here are some of the yarns on offer, note that some these are by Permin, the Danish yarn producer and agent. Bonnie, a ribbon yarn in pure cotton is one that I have chosen for one of my new designs, soon to be revealed,  for Familien. There were 11 stall holders present, and lots of tempting yarns on offer. The knitters present did buy quite a lot, especially since several of the yarns on offer are not the ones you usually find in the local yarn shops. Here is the complete list: Norsk Strikkeforening. Most of the workshops lasted 3 hours, while mine was 6 hours on both Saturday and Sunday with an extended lunch break. The festival program continued on Saturday with more workshops, a fashion show by Du Store Alpakka and a dinner.

DSCN0141There were about 100 knitters who took part in the festival, and some I talked to had decided to stay on after the talk on Friday and promptly booked 2 nights at the hotel. That was such an excellent idea in my opinion, and I need to plan to just come as a visitor to a festival and not always be a workshop holder so that I can enjoy it fully!

DSCN0146I am eagerly waiting to hear if there will be another knitting festival next year organized by Norsk Strikkeforening. If you missed it and want to know what other festivals and workshops I am holding this autumn, below is a list. There are only two workshops I will be holding in English at the Wollness Wochenende on the outskirts of Vienna in October (16. to 18.), see the Austrian Yarn Club. Here is the list of the Norwegian workshops in Norwegian:

Kurs som holdes i høst:

September: 5.: Montering. Ullensaker Husflidslag, informasjon kommer her: 

September: 26. og 27. : Strikkedesign (ØA-9). Østre Aker Husflidslag, Oslo. Last ned  kurskatalogen og se s. 29

Oktober: 24. og 25.: Strikkedesign. Vestby Husflidslag. Last ned kurskatalogen og se s. 30

Oktober/November: 31. og 1.: Strikkedesign. Ullensaker Husflidsforening, informasjon kommer her: 

November: 7./8.: Japanske Mønstre/Hullstrikk. Strikkehelgen i Stavanger, se her og mange av kursene er allerede fulle:


New Design: Sculpted Frost

XT1A3497This last design in the series was only finished in the evening before the photo shoot. My vision was clear, but the knitting less so. Both the sleeves and the back was easy to plan and quick to knit, unlike the fronts which needed more calculations for the neck shaping. The beautiful frost flower lace pattern is easier to knit than it looks since it has sets of rows that are repeated throughout the pattern. It adorns the body of this a-line jacket, while the sleeves only have a part of the pattern; a central lattice panel so that the frost flowers can reign supreme. The long jacket is framed by a shawl collar in garter stitch divided by a tuck and finished by an I-cord bind off. I tried different yarn options but loved this vivid lilac, the result of combining the divine melange lace weight Du Store Alpakka, Dreamline Soul with the beautiful light fingering comb wool Hifa Huldra Kamgarn. Together they create a stunning stitch definition as well as a slight halo. The Norwegian pattern will be published in Familien Strikk at the end of August, while the English pattern will be test knitted in my Ravelry group and then published there.

XT1A3522The two yarns held together create a DK/8 ply weight yarn and are worked using a 4 mm/US 6 needle throughout. It will be available in sizes XS to 2XL, and in these photos by my husband, you see me wearing a size S. The body is worked flat in pieces, unlike the long sleeves which are worked in the round to the armhole. The hem and the tuck are worked with 2 sets of circular needles held together. The 3 larger sizes have been given a garter st panel on either side of the Frost Flowers, which you change to stocking stitch if you prefer.

XT1A3523To a hem that was too tight, I cast a larger number of stitches and decreased those extra stitches after the hem was closed using two circular needles. The stitch pattern makes it curve slightly. I decided to use garter stitch for the collar and shaped it with short rows before the I-cord bind off. With hindsight I could have made the collar even wider, since the garter stitch pattern does tend to contract.

XT1A3532Here is a detail of the collar. And you can see the divine color the two yarns make combined. Both the Dreamline Soul yarn by Du Store Alpakka and Huldra Kamgarn by Hifa were sponsored. The design was initially made as a design submission for Amirisu, but not accepted, see my blogpost: Design in Progress Sculpted Frost Coat. The jacket has been stunningly photographed by Eivind Røhne at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter and you can look forward to seeing those photos.


Summer Leaves Sweater Published in Familien

Cover familien 017The Norwegian pattern for the Summer Leaves Sweater has finally been published in Familien in their latest issue. The photo is from the first, of three, photo shoots and taken by Esten A. Borgos (see them all on the link above). A deep rich wine red shade was a perfect choice for a leaf vines stitch pattern in lace, which makes up the sleeves of this summer sweater. The A-shape is created by the frame to the lace pattern and worked in twisted rib, while the rest of the body is made up of stocking stitch. The bottom hem is knitted double and folded while the v-shaped neckline is single and rolls up to the purl row. The sweater is knitted in a pure mercerized Egyptian cotton called Luxor, available in more than 60 stunning shades from Hifa, see here: ull. The yarn was kindly sponsored by Hifa for this design.

Familien CoverThe test knit was held in my Ravelry group from May to September 2013, you can see all the results on the pattern page, as well as Siv Jorunn’s beautiful photo here on my blog: Summer Leaves Sweater by Siv Jorunn Hjellbrekke. The sweater is available in sizes S to 2XL, with bust measurements from 90 cm/35.5″ to 124 cm/48.75″ while the hip measurements are from 110 cm/43.25″ to 144 cm/56.75″ and length from  74 cm/29.25″ to 79 cm/31″. Above is the cover of Familien which in this issue has 40 pages of knits. My sweater is not on the cover this time, only on the contents page, and across two pattern pages, see below.

ContentBoth the body and the sleeves are knitted using a 3 mm/US 2.5 and worked in the round to the armholes, then flat. The lace pattern is demanding but the shape guides you through it after a few repeats. Hence I found it satisfying to knit both sleeves at once using magic loop, see my post magic-loop-two-sleeves-at-a-time. I also preferred a simpler body stitch pattern to highlight the intricate sleeves. That also means that the body is quick to knit, and a nice rest after working the sleeves. The neckline needed a bit of pondering and I ended up with a different solution than I initally had planned. As most designs it had a life of its own and did not want a double neckline but a softer simpler one. You can read more about my design in this blog post (and see me wearing it): New Design: Summer Leaves Sweater. The English pattern is available in my Ravelry Store and on LoveKnitting.


New Design: Hertha

XT1A2835Jaggeryarn Zephyr Lace 2/18 is a divine mixture of 50% merino and 50% tussah silk, I love. This time, I chose the shade Mulberry, held it double and designed a shawl with collar, a continuation of the design Bech, this time a wider shawl but with similar long loose sleeves. Hertha in old Norse means a powerful woman, ideal for this modern shawl with a shawl collar, that can be worn as a scarf around the neck, a shawl around the shoulders, or as a top; if worn upside down and pinned together with a shawl pin. A traditional lace pattern with shadow triangles in half stocking stitch and half garter stitch. Here you see me wearing Hertha, photographed by my husband. The Norwegian pattern will be published in the separat issue “Småstrikk” by Familien this autumn, while the English pattern will be published on Ravelry.

XT1A2837The loose sleeves have elastic inserted into the top hem to keep them in place. They are knitted in the round unlike the shawl. The collar on the shawl is shaped by short rows, and ends in an i-cord bind off. The hem and tucks are all knitted with 2 circular needles held parallel. When you wear the shawl around your shoulders together with the loose sleeves it looks like a bolero since you can not see the top of the loose sleeves.

XT1A2849Here you see the shawl worn around the body as a top, held together with a shawl pin. It is not my favorite way of wearing it, but it is an option. If you prefer to wear it this way, I would make it so it fits both in length and width by adjusting the number of pattern repeats. You can however easily see how the loose sleeve ends, with elastic inserted into the top hem.

XT1A2856From the back you see the slight curve of the collar when it is worn upside down along the bottom instead of the top. The lace pattern creates an easy pattern to memorize. I decided to use a 3 mm/US 2.5 circular needle on the lace pattern on the shawl and a 3.5 mm/US 4 on the lace pattern on the sleeves merely because I tend to knit tighter when working in the round.

XT1A2844Or how about this option with the collar down, showing a slight curve at the back. The set is ideal for party outfit in my mind, so I asked dress designer Judith Bech if I please could borrow her marvelous fringe skirt for the photo shoot. She said yes, so I can promise you a stunning set of photos taken by professional photographer Eivind Røhne of model Anne Dorthe/Team Models to come.


New Design: Nuala

XT1A2870I love this intricate woven lacy stitch pattern by Lynne Barr. I found it so well suited to the cable structured Rowan Softknit Cotton and selected a color which captures summer in an instant; a turquoise called Marina. The stitch pattern is reversible so well suited for a rectangular shawl that can be buttoned into a shrug. If you wear it with a cowl as a collar you have the perfect accompaniment to your favorite summer dress. The Norwegian pattern will be printed in the special issue Familien Småstrikk this autumn, while the English pattern will be published on Ravelry. The photos show me wearing it, they are taken by my husband a few days before the professional photo shoot at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter.

XT1A2861Both the shawl and the cowl are knitted flat with double seed stitch bands. You can easily adjust the width of the shawl and the circumference of the cowl by removing or adding pattern repeats. The shawl has 8 buttonholes, 4 at each end, and I found some beautiful dyed mother of pearl buttons at Perlehuset in Oslo. I have had knitting and pattern design (making neater buttonholes) help from both Airin Hansen, aka Teodor on Ravelry, and Grete Jenssen, aka ma9 on Ravelry. Thank you both for all your assistance!

XT1A2866The dropped stitch pattern has its own rhythm and it is not as difficult to work as it might appear. Since the stitch pattern has a number of centering stitches, I had to make separate buttonholes and could not use the dropped stitches since they were too far into the shawl itself. Above you see me wearing it with black but the set does look great with white too! I look forward to showing you the fantastic photos Eivind took of model Dorthe wearing this set.


New Design: Quamara

XT1A2804I discovered Zenta by the Danish yarn company and agents Permin last December, and was instantly drawn to the vivid lime color as well as their full shade card in a luscious wool and silk mixture: 50% wool, 30% silk, 20% nylon, 50 g, 180 m/196 yds. I decided to design a straight cardigan with a combined lace and cable stitch pattern to adorn the back, sleeves and the generous loop closure named after a beautiful elf, for the special issue called Strikk by Familien to be published at the end of August. The loop collar can be worn loose, folded once behind the neck or twice in front or three times around the neck in a ballerina style. I thought the idea was brilliant until I realized how long I actually need to knit the loop to make it work as I wanted: 300 cm/118″ consisting of two parts joined together at the neck and at the front. Permin could sense my stress, when I phoned them desperate for 2 more skeins to be able to complete the loop to my preferred length. Above you see me wearing it with the loop twice around my neck.

XT1A2786Place the loop around your neck to put the cardigan on, and leave it like that, see above. The photos are taken by my husband, but only give an indication of the cold and the strong wind we experienced at the end of May. Hence I do not look my best. The cardigan has garter stitch edges at the bottom, at the end of the front, as well as a fake garter stitch side seam to add a bit of structure to the cardigan.

XT1A2792The sleeves, knitted in the round, have one pattern repeat with what looks like 3 panels of lace, just as the loop which is knitted flat in two parts and then joined. The back has two pattern repeats with what looks like 5 panels of lace. The garter stitches in the side are divided by one stitch in reverse stocking stitch which give the appearance of a side seam.

XT1A2799The body is knitted in one piece to the armholes, then divided into 3 parts. The loop collar is knitted separately in two pieces, bound off on 3 needles and sewed on from the back neck, while the cast on edges are joined by mattress stitches. Maybe some knitters will opt to make a loop closure at the bottom instead of sewing it together? Or make a shorter scarf collar? The sleeves are knitted in the round and set-in.

XT1A2781Above you see it worn in ballerina style, three times around the neck and with a safety pin at the bottom of the fronts to make it stay flat. With the loop worn like this the cardigan gathers around the bust and the back, making it appear more like a fitted cropped bolero. Hence you have two cardigan in one: a straight casual one and a close fitting one.

XT1A2810The best way to illustrate the length of the loop is having it hang loose as above. I am sure there are more ways to wear the loop if you want a more avant-garde style. I plan to have the English pattern test knitted in my Ravelry group this autumn before it will be released. But long before that I will share the marvelous professional photos Eivind Røhne took of modell Anne Dorthe/Team models.


Behind the Scenes: Familien Strikk Photoshoot

DSCN0121Would it stop raining for our scheduled photoshoot for Familien Strikk on Friday 29th May? It did, it was sunny but still cold. To plan the event I had booked photographer  Eivind Røhne, hair & make up artist: Sissel Fylling and model: Anne Dorthe from Team Models. Then I convinced former Made by Me editor Mary-Ann Astrup to join us to for her essential advice. That my husband would be part of the team was obvious from the start. Next on the agenda was picking a location venue, and it is not easy, but I opted for Henie Onstad Kunstsenter because of the building itself and its location with a nature trail and marina. For styling, I borrowed from dress designer Judith Bech her magnificent fringe skirt, jewelry designer Kaja Gjedebo a selection of gorgeous jewelry and then obviously also Monica Stålvang some stunning boots. Above you can see Eivind and Dorthe in action with my husband assisting. Dorthe is wearing Quamara, a jacket with a loop closure knitted in Zenta by Permin in a mixture of wool and silk.

DSCN0114It was no surprise to hear that Sissel wanted to cut Dorthe’s hair, and that she was allowed.  Just as last time, we could easily have formed a line wanting just that. The meeting room, Onstad, was our base for the day and the storage for all our suitcases packed with equipment and clothing. While Sissel was working away on Dorthe’s make up and hair, we discussed photo locations and order of garments. The strong sun was an issue we had to resolve at times, as well as the strong wind. As a result a couple of our prime locations such as the pier and next to the sculpture in the water with the Marina in the background had to be given up. Above, you can see how Mary-Ann is providing necessary shadow for Dorthe whose legs are covered in blankets, while she is wearing Nuala, a shawl buttoned up with a cowl knitted in Rowan Softknit Cotton.

DSCN0110Sissel is busy putting on nail varnish on Dorthe’s nails, just as we are ready for the first project to be photographed: Hertha shawl with loose sleeves knitted in Jaggerspun Zephyr Lace held double, worn together with Judith Bech’s fringe skirt. The stair case on the side of the building was first out as first back drop. If you look closely on the photo above, over the roof of the black tent you will see part of the sculpture of a banana. Now, using that as a backdrop would have made a very different photoshoot, we agreed!

XT1A3210Here we are looking at locations; 3 geniuses at work as Eivind put it, photographed by my husband. The marina is just in the background but also in the sun, unfortunately. But we did find another suitable location instead. We photographed 9 new designs for Familien, and a secret project. Sissel made sure we had a plan allowing only 30 minutes for each garment so that we would have time for a delicious lunch at Bølgen & Moi as well as finish before we needed to vacate the meeting room at 16.30. We made it, thanks to brilliant co-operation. A marvelous team work, thank you all!