Mistale Knitted by Sabine Brenner

ArchivID_100831I am thrilled to show you Sabine Brenner’s Mistale sweater. I met Sabine for the first time at Wollness Weekend outside Vienna in Austria last autumn. Previously we had only met online in my Ravelry group, where Sabine, aka Sabine010163, has taken part in several of my test knits! My German is close to none existent but I do understand quite a bit since Norwegian is a North Germanic language. Nevertheless I am unable to speak it. Our common friend Uschi who speaks better English than Sabine, acted as translator so we could be introduced. It was wonderful to meet her and to see so many of her test knits. I wanted to share with you her Mistale sweater in size 2XL which she knitted in String Theory Hand Dyed Merino DK in Laguna. The lovely yarn has a crisp stitch definition and a subtle semi-solid color. Sabine asked if she could change the neckline from the original squarish neck to a v-neck ending in a round neck. A modification she did brilliantly. Sabine was tired of taking selfies in front of the mirror and went to a photographer to obtain a few good photos for her project page. I am proud that she wanted to share them on the pattern page too. Below you see a photo of her back. Thank you so much, Sabine!

ArchivID_100832_medium2The Mistale pattern was first published in Norwegian in Familien Strikk last August, while the English pattern is available on Ravelry. The sweater is straight but the rib on each side of the cable panel make the sweater pull in and appear fitted. I am looking forward to showing you more amazing test knits of this sweater and other designs of mine.


Interview with Designer Hanna Maciejewska

knitting in public

Photo by Daniel Maciejewska

I was so lucky to meet the fantastic designer Hanna Maciejewska, aka hada131 on Ravelry, at the Wollness Weekend in the beautiful hills of the Pielach Valley, 1.5 hour outside of Vienna in Austria. Even before we met we exchanged experiences and became good friends. Hanna is taking part in the GAL 2015 and not for the first time, hence I had to ask her more about it. Then she asked to interview me, and I was delighted that she agreed to be interviewed by me too. The following questions are the brilliant ones I first received by designer Janelle Martin, and you can read my responses on her blog. Here is the interview with Hanna:

Who taught you to knit/How did you learn to knit?                                                      It was my grandmother who taught me how to knit.  I don’t remember exactly when it was, but probably when I was 10 or so. In High School, I knit sweaters all the time and most of them were my own creations, but only a few years ago I realized that designing knitwear is truly my biggest passion!

GAL 2015 - photos by Daniel Maciejewska

GAL 2015 – photos by Daniel Maciejewska

How did you get started designing?

I have loved knitting since I was a child! And, I have always been knitting – mostly from my own imagination because I always wanted to have something unique and… I didn’t have too many knitting books 🙂 So I guess, it has always been a little bit of designing…

When I joined Ravelry a few years ago, at first, I posted projects just for fun. After a dear friend, who is a talented hand dyer, created a special yarn for me, I designed “Colors of Kauai” and felt encouraged to publish it. It was so well received that I decided to write down more of my designs – this is how it all started. I was hooked on designing from that point on!

What inspires your designs?

Everything! Most people who create things say this, don’t they? It is all true! The world is full of colors and shapes.

The place I live in influences me a lot, though it is not that obvious when you look at my designs. The serene place in the countryside near Toruń, where I live, my big garden (I am a huge fan of gardening, and whenever the weather permits, I love to sit on the porch and knit) and the forest nearby are quiet places to think about new designs and life in general and to look for sources of inspiration and get new ideas. I also like to walk around the Old Town of Toruń, feeling history and watching people.

The yarn stimulates me a lot, too. Its texture, colour, the possibilities it can bring etc. always amaze me. If a yarn doesn’t “talk” to me, I tend not to work with it.

A huge part of my inspiration originates from online sources. I can spend hours browsing Pinterest, Tumblr and similar sites, checking out current fashion trends and allowing myself to get inspired. It’s easy to get carried away when there is such a multitude of inspirational sources to explore, but there’s a downside to this too! I’m not alone watching these sites; everybody is seeing the same pictures, and however beautiful and inspiring they are, truth is if several people see the same pictures, then those several people might end up getting the same ideas!


A Floral Affair – photo by Daniel Maciejewska

Which comes first – the yarn or the inspiration? 

It could be either. I’ve had it work both ways but most of the time it is the design idea that comes to me first. Then, I try to figure out what yarn would be the best for it and almost always discover that I don’t have it in my stash! LOL

On the other hand, several of my designs – such as Maisie, Aiolos or Fino – have been strictly inspired by the yarn that captured my attention.

What characteristics do you try to incorporate in your designs?

I always try to make them interesting to knit! And of course seamless 🙂

Since I am not the biggest enthusiast of seaming, I prefer to construct my garments and accessories as seamlessly as possible and move on to the next idea.

Also, the fit is very important to me. We all have uniquely shaped bodies, don’t we? Not all women have model-like measurements; therefore, we may want to custom tailor different areas of our knitwear to assure the best possible fit.

I have been quite generously equipped by the bust fairy and as you know, this can be both a blessing and a curse because it requires extra shaping in that section.

I keep this in mind and try to design garments that slim out the top of women’s bodies and balance them with the bottom half. I love open cardigans, deep neck openings and intriguing waist shaping – in short, everything that flatters!

What is your favourite type of item to design? 

I am definitely a sweater designer. I like knitting and designing accessories (mostly hats and shawls) but sweaters I love the most.

There are so many different constructions you can play with! So many ways to do the shaping! Possibilities are endless.


Wien – photo by Daniel Maciejewska

Tell me about designs like “A Floral Affair” and ”Wien”.

Both garments have been designed for a special purpose (if I may say that) and knit with Malabrigo Yarn.

A Floral Affair” was originally published by “Knit Now” Magazine, while “Wien” was created especially for the Wollness Weekend we had a pleasure to attend in September.

A Floral Affair” is an elegant, fitted vest (or a top tank, if you wish) with a center flower motif and very deep, flattering neckline. This is something you would wear to work but also on a date.

Wien”, on the other hand, is the traditional, classic winter sweater, with lots of texture, cables, garter stitch and extra cushy half-cardigan stitch sections. For a modern spin, waist shaping is achieved by the way the pattern on the back is arranged.

What is coming next? What’s in your release queue?

As most of the knitters, I always have a few projects on the needles at the same time.

At the moment, I am all about knitting hats and other winter accessories 🙂

However, I am also working on a collection for one of the great yarn companies and hope to have it ready in January. More exciting collaborations are coming next year! In the meantime, I hope to publish a few designs under my own name, too!

Your desert island yarn? (if you could only knit with one yarn from now on which would it be?)

This is such a tough question. I don’t think I can pick one yarn. I love them all! I want them all!!! 🙂

Wink - photo by Daniel Maciejewska

Wink – photo by Daniel Maciejewska

Which is your most under-appreciated design?

Oh, there are a few of them actually. However, I’m very self-critical, and I always find something that I could have done better.

 What’s the one piece of advice you’d like to share with other knitters?

Keep knitting! Have fun! Look out for opportunities, and never ever let others put you down!

 Any knitting/designing New Year’s resolutions?

Stick to my design schedule as much as possible. Be more organized and focused.

Pompanos Hat - photo by Daniel Maciejewska

Pomponious Hat – photo by Daniel Maciejewska

Thank you so much, Hanna! You can read more about Hanna here: hadaknits.com/blog and find all her lovely patterns here: ravelry.com/designers/hanna-maciejewska.


Wollness Weekend Photographed by Dominik Matyas

AYC_499All the brilliant photos Dominik Matyas, bydominik.com, took at the Wollness Weekend, at Hotel Steinschalerhof, 1.5 hour outside of Vienna, are ready. He has captured the fun we had so well. Above are the organizers; the Austrian Yarn Club founders and some of us workshops holders together with the two husbands present: From the right: Uschi – Ursula Koll, aka Grinsekatz on Ravelry; Irene Brenner aka Irenevienna; Teresa Schinwald, aka RedUrchin second from left and behind her Kathi Fritz, aka dewthing. Lovely and talented designer Hanna Maciejewska, aka hada131, in the center who held workshops in English just a me standing next to her with my husband Michael at the back and in the corner Hanna’s husband Daniel. In the opposite corner, far left, is Betta Pierantoni who held a workshop on Estonian colorwork in German.

AYC_500Here we are photographing Isabella doing the hippo dance, on the order of Dominik to make us all laugh, you can see my photo of it here: vienna-calling. Guess who acted like a paparazzi?

5D_58240.finalAbove is the portrait Dominik took during my Finishing workshop, and below a collage of some of the photos he took. Dominik was so surprised by everybody’s delightful reaction to my announcement that buttons and buttonholes were next on the agenda. He added it into his workshop in photography, to my delight.

Lindas-workshop-800x800Below is a collage of Hanna’s workshop: Top-Down Set-in Sleeve. You can read more about her impressions of the weekend on her blog here: hadaknits.com/wollness-weekend.


Last but certainly not least is Dominik’s collage from the Wool market, open on Saturday evening and Sunday morning. There were lot of temptations but the selection was a bit overwhelming for some of us. You can find even more photos and info on the Austrian Yarn Club website here: yarnclub.at.


It was a thrill being there during the Wollness Weekend, and meeting so many brilliant knitters, test knitters in person, designer Hanna & Daniel and photographer Dominik. Thank you all!


Vienna Calling

DSCN0310 copyIsabella Mach, aka Isa, offered to take us back to Vienna directly to our hotel from Steinschalerhof and we obviously accepted in a flash. We arrived in a wet Vienna, unpacked and then located designer Hanna Maciejewska + husband, before we headed out for dinner and a long walk through the city centre of Vienna. We are all staying at the Hotel Wien in the 2.nd District with a walking distance to the city centre, recommended by Austrian Yarn Club organiser Irene Brenner who live nearby. Above is a photo of the landmark, St. Stephen’s Cathedral

DSCN0299 copy

Irene and her husband took us sightseeing on our first day in Vienna. They are in the centre of the photo above. Of course we meet up with Ursula Koll – notice her love of bright colours, see pink shawl above – and then later on Teresa Schinwald, as well as the German visitors Betta and Andrea for coffee and cake at a famous café – as you do.

DSCN0288Before we left Steinschalerhof, we had a session with photographer Dominik Matyas who took a number of group photos. Isa was helping out, doing a hilarious hippo dance in the background. We will have to wait a couple of weeks to see all of his photos, since he was busy taking numerous project photos for most of the knitters present.

Dominik Matyas/ byDominik.com

Dominik Matyas/ byDominik.com

Above is one of the workshop photos he took of my Professional Finishing Workshop, part II. At the rail you can see a few of my designs I had brought to show off and to wear at the venue.

DSCN0276 copyThere was a yarn market at the Wollness Weekend, where knitters could destash and yarn shops display their yarn and knitting gadgets. Despite the fairly small room the selection was overwhelming!

DSCN0280 copyAbove is the stunning modified Gyda – from a jacket into a sweater with a wonderful deep square neck knitted by Ursula Koll, aka Grinsekatz on Ravelry. Yet another of my designs I spotted at the Wollness Weekend, to my utter delight. At the moment Ursula is finishing her Hennika, this time not only in pink but in a fluorescent pink. I cannot wait to see the finished result.

Yesterday, we went to visit Suncica Wilhelmer, an architect and a yarn shop owner who lives in the Rufer House designed by the architect Adolf Loos. Not only did we want to see her house but Hanna and I also wanted to check out her yarn selection and fondle some yarn. The name of her yarn shop is Wollsalon Sunshine Loop, and we were both tempted into buying several skeins of yarn. The yarn shop is located in the former kitchen, and I loved the fact that the owner wanted not only a window facing the street but also one facing the indoor staircase so he could spot the visitors from his office. In the evening Hanna and I were at their knit night. We finally managed to do some more knitting…


Talila Pattern Released

I am so happy to publish the English version of Talila on Ravelry, with an introductory offer which will be valid until I am back from Wollness Weekend on the outskirts of Vienna on Thursday 22nd of October. Talila was recently published in Norwegian in the new digital magazine “På Pinnen” for members of Norsk Strikkeforening/Norwegian Knitting Association. The set was brilliantly photographed by Eivind Røhne in May, worn by gorgeous model Anne Dorthe/Team Models with hair and make up by Sissel Fylling, statement jewelry by Kaja Gjedebo and boots by Monica Stålvang.


Just as the morning dew, they are named after, these cables move from one end to another across wrist warmers and all over a divine large cowl, with a matching clutch. The warm accessories are knitted in the beautiful Norwegian pelt yarn, Norsk Pelsullgarn from Hifa to make the cables soft and the background texture pulsating. The set is knitted in the round but can easily be adjusted by adding a pattern repeat or stitches in garter stitch. The clutch is reinforced and has magnetic bag closures.

Sizes: Cowl: One Size. Wrist warmers: One Size. Clutch: One Size

Finished Measurements:                                                                                                   Cowl: Height: 26 cm/10.25″. Circumference: 108 cm/42.5″                                               Wrist warmers: Circumference: 22 cm/8.75″ (can be stretched to 26 cm/10.25″). Length: 26 cm/10.25″                                                                                                                   Clutch: Width: 22 cm/8.75″. Height: 13 cm/5″

Yarn: Hifa, Norsk Pelsullgarn (100% pelt yarn, 100 g, 260 m/284 yds). Sample is knitted in Burgundy 1104: http://www.ull.no/garn/ullgarn/norsk-pelsull                                    Cowl: 2 skeins; 416 m/455 yds                                                                                                     Wrist warmers: 1 skein; 161 m/176 yds                                                                                       Clutch: 1 skein; 255 m/279 yds                                                                                                      Set: 3.5 skeins is sufficient for set: 832 m/910 yds

Alternative Yarns: Berroco, Ultra Alpaca Light (50% alpaca, 50% wool, 50 g, 133 m/144 yds). http://www.berroco.com/yarns/berroco-ultra-alpaca-light                           Jamieson’s, Double Knitting (100% wool, 25 g, 75 m/82 yds) http://www.jamiesonsofshetland.co.uk/spindrift-and-double-knitting-1-c.asp          Rowan, Tweed (100% wool, 50 g, 118 m/129 yds) http://www.knitrowan.com/yarns/rowan-tweed                                                          Malabrigo, Arroyo, (100% superwash merino, 100 g, 306 m/335 yds) http://www.malabrigoyarn.com/subyarn.php?id=29                                                                 Or another DK/8 ply yarn.

Notions: Cable needle (cn), 4 stitch markers and yarn needle. Firm table mat to be cut into two pieces: 30 by 22 cm/11.75 by 8.75″ and 6 by 22 cm/2.25 by 8.75″, magnetic bag closures (19 mm/0.75″), sewing thread and sewing needle for clutch.

Needles: 3.5 mm/US 4 circular needle (80 cm/32″) for cowl and clutch. 3 mm/US 2.5 circular needle (80 cm/32″) for clutch. 3.5 mm/US 4 DPNs for wrist warmers.

Gauge: 22 sts and 32 rnds in st st measures 10 cm/4″ square. 23 sts and 32 rnds in cables measures 10 cm/4″ square.

Notes: Cowl is knitted sideways, in the round as the wrist warmers, both with centering stitches making a ladder to frame the pattern. Adjust the width by adding pattern repeats of 10 sts or an equal number of garter sts in each end of the round. The clutch is knitted in 2 parts; a main part knitted in the round in pattern and st st for lining and divider. Reinforce it with e.g. a firm place mat which is put inside the main part. The divider is folded and attached in the sides, the bottom and then a pocket is made by sewing seams on the inside.