Christmas 2018, just like last year will be a Knitmas for me. I never get even close to the preparations I had planned to do for Christmas, before it is Tiny Little Christmas Eve. That is today 22nd of December. I have worked with Christmas patterns for the Norwegian magazine Familien since August, so my first greetings I received from the handicraft editor back then. No wonder I loose track, really. Michael and I will be celebrating Christmas Eve with my brother and his family, as well as my mum. Our next Christmas party will on 2nd Christmas Day – 26th – and then on the 4th Christmas Day – 28th. So I will have time off relaxing in between knitting and pattern writing to my next deadlines in January and February.
At the top you see one of this year’s new addition to our view: a total of 8 windmills following the Swedish border but we can only see 4 of them from our house in Ørje. Michael has taken a lot of photos of the installation of these, just check out his Instagram account. I wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Knitmas and Holidays!
I did promise to show you how Ataraxia looks on me, so here are a number of the photos Michael took last summer, at the beach in Ørje, before I sent off the sample. You will probably be as surprised that I was that is bright orange, knitted in a divine shade called Pumpkin in the SweetGeorgia Yarns Mohair Silk DK, if you have seen the magazine and the green it is photographed in there. The reason the sample is not photographed in the brilliant Pom Pom Quarterly 27 Winter 2018 issue is that the editors realised that the orange was way brighter than they had thought and it would not fit in with the other designs. So Guest Editor Norah Gaughan, together with Pom Pom co-founders Meghan Fernandes and Lydia Gluck, decided that they had to make a new sample in a more muted colour, in no time at all. Hence the replacement yarn was found in Meghan’s stash: The Copper Corgi Fiber Studio, Jones Street Worsted in the gorgeous shade of Goldenrod.
SweetGeorgia Yarns Mohair Silk DK yarn is one of their luxurious yarns and made of 90% superwash Merino, 5% Superkid Mohair, 5% silk with 200 meters/218 yards per 100 gram skein using 4 mm/US 6 and 3.5 mm/US 4 needles. I can confirm that it was wonderful to work with and I loved the result. I have a 88 cm/34.75″ bust, stands 175 cm/5.9″ tall and I am wearing the sample size S that measured 94 cm/37″ bust with 6 cm/2.25″ positive ease. Despite the same gauge on the two yarns: 21 stitches and 28 rows in stocking stitch, the second sample in the Copper Corgi yarn is heavier and resulted in a 97 cm/38.25″ bust. The cardigan is available in 5 sizes with a finished bust measurement of 91 to 132.5 cm/35.75 to 52.25″.
Ataraxia is knitted flat, in pieces from bottom up, and seamed. The asymmetric lower body has extra width in each side that will be bound off before the tuck is made. Waist shaping is worked at the sides and the shoulders are shaped using short-rows. The collar is picked up and completed using an i-cord cast-off. The military inspired jacket did need bespoke buttons so I contacted Norwegian jewellery designer Siri Berrefjord who made these buttons especially for it. Each button is like a piece of jewellery with immaculate texture to it. The design is based on the silver brooches for the traditional folk costume, called “bunad” in Norwegian. As you might know, if you have been following my blog for awhile, Siri is also a photographer so I will soon share her glorious pictures of the buttons on my sample.
“Ataraxia is named after one of Caroline’s poems and we hope it gives you a perfect sense of calm, sheltering you from whatever storms you bravely weather. The long jacket’s fitted shape is achieved through a careful arrangement of vertical texture panels and i-cord highlights. Finished with a tucked, asymmetrical peplum, Ataraxia is full of clever ideas. Linda designed this with a mythical shield-maiden in mind, and Caroline Norton reminds us of the everyday heroines battling among us.”
Finally here is a detail, showing the wonderful textures and the shoulder treatment I gave it. You can buy a print issue with a digital download code directly from Pom Pom or a digital issue from Ravelry or from one of their many stockists.
I am thrilled to show you my new design Nemetona, knitted in the divine The Fibre Co. Cumbria, that I chose as part of my payment for designing Stonethwaite for them. Nemetona and four new designs for Hillesvåg Ullvarefabrikk, plus returned designs from Interweave, will be professionally photographed on model Emma Ross by Eivind Røhne on Monday at the Vigeland Museum in Oslo. Nemetona is Celtic for goddess of all sacred places. Like a magical cable grove is each part of this pullover: Staghorn, Roman; and double cables are framed by Honeycomb pattern. The flowing longer back with its curved hem, creates a stylish contrast to the straight front. In these photos you see me wearing size Small with 2 cm/0.75″ positive ease, photographed by Michael at our nearby boat slip this autumn. Notice the new windmills that have popped up in the background.
This time I wanted maximum texture and decided that even the sides should have cables in the shape of Honeycomb pattern. To give the side seam extra depth, I framed the Honeycomb stitches with a twisted stitch and a purl stitch in each side. I also choose to decrease inside the double cable to shape the longer back. The sweater can easily be modified to remove the longer back, if you wish.
The Fibre Company Cumbria Worsted is made of 60% Merino Wool, 30% Brown Masham Wool, 10% Mohair on each 100 gram skein and has 218 meters/238 yards. I knitted the sample in White Heather 105 with a 20 stitches and 28 rows in stockinette stitch gauge measuring 10 cm/4″ square using 4 mm/US 6. I have graded the pullover from size XS to 2XL with bust circumferences of 84 to 126 cm/33 to 49.5″.
The sweater is knitted back and forth in pieces and then seamed. The neckband is worked in the round, double and folded down. The longer back has decreases in the double cable at the bottom. The vent edges are made with slipped stitches. Above you see a detail of the sleeve with its double cable, Roman cable dividers and Honeycomb pattern.
I plan to have the English pattern of Nemetona test knitted in my Ravelry group, set to begin 7th of January, and will release the pattern after the test knit is completed. The Norwegian pattern will be printed in the magazine Familien, the date will be confirmed later. But first you will see how it looks on Emma Ross.
I know some of you have waited years for a knitted dress from me, well, here it is: Sigyn. Now, I just hope that you do not feel you have waited in vain. The reason it took me so long time is that I had so many conceptions of how to design a dress that is comfortable, flattering and that will suit most body types. In the end I choose a classic look with ribbing, an a-line silhouette and with a central cable that makes a v-neck at the front but follows your spine at the back. Sigyn is Norse for victorious girl-friend and ideal for this a-line dress with a central swing cable, surrounded by ribbing to make it figure hugging. Decreases are made in the purl sections to emphasize the silhouette of Sigyn. The dress is beautifully knitted in the bouncy Sølje from Hillesvåg Ullvarefabrikk, by Grete Jenssen, in size S but with a tighter gauge 28 stitches instead of 24 stitches, hence it has the bust measurement of size XS 88 cm/34.75″. So I am wearing it with zero ease in these photographs taken by my husband at the beach in Ørje in a sweltering 26 degrees Celsius/78 degrees Fahrenheit. Yes, there were a couple of women sunbathing next to us, wearing only their bikinis. They smiled at me wearing a woolly dress, then even more as when I put on yet another woolly cardigan on top. Yes, a long cardigan that can be worn casually on top is the next new design. The swing cable is the same I used on the sweater Vaga and found in Norah Gaughan’s inspiring Knitted Cable Sourcebook. I mirrored it and added 6 stitches in rib in between the two swing cables. The dress will be available in six sizes from XS to 2XL with a bust measurement of 88 to 130 cm/34.75 to 51.25″. The suggested length is 118 cm to 123 cm/46.5 to 48.5″. You can easily adjust the length of the dress if you prefer. I suggest shortening (or lengthening) it with up to 7 cm/2.75″ before the a-line shaping begins.
I decided to work the dress back and forth in pieces and then sew it together to make the fit even better. The reason I choose to move the cable towards the shoulder is that I did ponder on whether to make it a v-neck, but realised it is unpractical in Norway. The grass green colour of Sølje was ideal in my opinion and I knew it would suit the red-haired model Emma Ross well. Sølje is made of Norwegian pelt wool with 350 meters/383 yards per 100 gram skein and comes in 30 colours. The dress is knitted using 3 mm/US 2.5 needles and with a gauge of 24 stitches and 32 rows in stockinette stitch per 10 cm/4″ square.
The central cable continue straight up to the neckline unlike the front one. The neckline is lower at the front than at the back. And yes, the back of my legs are very white compared to my face and hands that has been in the sun these last weeks of Mediterranean summer temperatures in Ørje.
I like wearing a belt on my knitted dresses and picked a narrow leather one (read: not the same we used for the photo shoot). It is just hanging loosely around my waist. The English pattern will be test knitted in my Ravelry group in early September, before it is released. The Norwegian pattern and yarn kit will be available launched by Hillesvåg Ullvarefabrikk at Oslo Design Fair at the end of August. I will show you the dress looks with a long cardigan soon as well as how it looked on model Emma Ross at Villa Malla.
Easter is here with sunshine and warmer temperatures at least during the day. We still have close to -10 degrees Celsius/14 Fahrenheit at night. Michael and I will be staying at home. I have plenty of knitting to do as well as less enjoyable jobs as translations and formatting to do. Above is a image Michael has made: God Påske means Happy Easter. He calls our house the British Embassy because Michael still is a British citizen as well as a Norwegian one (read: dual citizenship). As for our address here in Ørje, I have discovered it is so much easier to say we live in Tore’s old house than giving the street address. Apparently, everybody here in town knows Tore. So Michael is the Englishman that has bought Tore’s house. That is Ørje in a nutshell.
An Easter egg can be so many things, and I know that a knitter’s one is usually not filled with sweets but with yarns & patterns. Nice with an Easter egg that is not fattening and comes in lovely colours, wrote one Instagram user hoping to win a gift voucher from a yarn store. In her Easter egg was my Wa shawl pattern for the upcoming knit-along (read: KAL) beginning 2. April. That was such a brilliant idea that I decided to offer to help her fill her Easter egg with an extra free pattern of her choice from my Ravelry store. Join us for the Wa KAL in the Never Enough Lace group or the Arcade Vest KAL in the A Place to KAL My Own (read: KALMYO) group, both on Ravelry.
I wish you all a Happy Easter and hope you will receive an Easter Egg, regardless whether you have to fill it yourself or not.
I am so thrilled with my new studio. My husband finished refurbishing it while I was on holiday and it was ready when I arrived home last Monday. The original tiny windows – so typical for Norwegian “kjellerstue”/basement den – were replaced in mid August by large windows going nearly all the way to the floor. See below the installation of the windows into the frame Michael had made. So with plenty of daylight, I have no excuse for not getting on with my work anymore. He removed the wall panelling as well as the ceiling panels (added to ensure good sound for the former owner who loved listening to his favourite music in this room) and had planned only to paint the walls. But that was before Michael discovered that only part of the wall had wallpaper beneath, so instead I have new wall panelling but this time it is a thinner version than the original one, which was appropriate for a den. Also in white to give more brightness. You can see the old windows here: We Are Well Settled.
I still have plenty of books, boxes of swatches, yarns and samples to tidy, but I have a lot of space to do so now. Next door to my studio is a large storage room. Michael has named it the yarn bunker. It does sound like it is filled to the brim with yarn, but I can assure you, it is not. However, I have started sorting my yarn into producers and placing my sample garments in see through boxes. There is no need to use a torch to find what I am looking for anymore, like I used to do in our old house.
Here is a view of the yarn bunker before I started emptying the boxes and moved my printer in here. The entry is through the door on the right hand side in the first photo. Unlike some knitters I know, I keep it unlocked (read: there is only one way in). This storage room used to have a large paraffin tank (for the old fashioned gas heater that we had removed from my studio) and a large wooden work bench, so it is hardly recognisable from how it used to look. Both my studio and the yarn bunker feels a lot larger than they did originally, when we first saw them for the first time, last autumn. I will post some more photos when it is all sorted and my studio has been in use for awhile. In the mean time you will find me working in my studio and accessing that yarn bunker.
Yes, we are well settled in our new house. Michael has just finished the last building the last bookshelf and has moved onto the next project; extending the front terrace. I am working in my new studio – still at our dining table but it is not our dining table any more and it will eventually become my working & meeting table. Most of the boxes are unpacked, even though there are plenty of tidying and sorting of drawers to be done. We have even met a few of the neighbours and discovered that this is indeed a small place. A few shop owners in our local town knew we were moving in and exactly which house we have moved into. The previous owners are well known in Ørje, and so will we be, by the sounds of it.
Now even our mailbox is in the right place across the road now – the first few days we did not have one and missed having one. Even the mail redirection service works well, I am pleased to say. There are deer out in the forest close to our kitchen window in the early mornings. Above you can spot one of them. All we can hear are the birds and a bit of traffic, so my shoulders seemed to have moved down several centimeters since we moved.
My studio, originally the garage then a “peisestue” (read second living room usually with a fireplace – here a gas heater), will be refurbished beginning this summer when we are planning to replace the small basement windows with floor-to-ceiling windows. The gas heater will be removed, since there is floor heating installed beneath the slate floor tiles. A number of my folders, samples, yarn and workshop materials are still in boxes and I need to sort out the ones that will be kept stored in boxes in the next door storage room. My new orange leather chairs are from IKEA, while I have inherited the bookshelves we used to have in our old living room, in addition to the cow skin. As you can guess, I wanted to add some colour to my studio and it was an easy choice for me. My sister-in-law and niece have already tested them and approved of my choice.
On the short wall you can see two of the five photos exhibited at the Strikke 2016 at Hadeland Glassverk last autumn. There is a third one in the corner and two on the opposite short wall. I do love having so much space and living for years in London does make me appreciate it even more. If you find my desk extremely tidy, it is not because I do not have any work on, but because I cleared it especially for this photo. As usual I am working to keep my deadlines. A new place to photograph has been found and it has already been tested; it is a nearby beach. All we need now, is for warmer weather to arrive since it has been colder than usual for April. However, I am busy preparing for the upcoming Vienna Wool & Design Festival as well as writing patterns, so it does not matter that much.