Thursday, January 31, 2008

Fana Headband

My headband has been knit for a while now, I wanted to finish it before I posted, but I can't decide if I want to line it or?? I think I'll wait until I get my trim so I'll have a trial run sewing it on before I finish the sweater.

Sorry this photo is so bizarre, I didn't make a non-rolling edge because I knew I was going to be sewing the edges under, so I had to pin it to a hat.

The good news is my tension was fairly good, no puckering or huge loose floats. So now I have my gauge and the dimensions of a sweater whose fit I like. Time to get to a little figurin' so I can order the rest of my yarn.

In other news, I contacted Annemor SundbΓΈ to get permission to post a photo of a Fana sweater from her book "Everyday Knitting: Treasures From a Ragpile". (It will be on my blog, but right now I am being tortured by Blogger, who hates me and my mac, and makes posting photos an often impossible endeavor.) I found out that she had a few copies left of a book about Fana sweaters that I had been trying to find in the U.S., which I ordered, and she is helping me with the trim.

Edited to add: here is the post with the photo

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Buckling down to the task

I completed a couple of test knits Friday night so I was able to return to the KAL. Before applying needles to yarn I needed to make sure I had my pattern ready to go. I double checked my measurements, calculated my sections, plotted my final charts and took a deep breath.

Provisionally cast on 406.

I'm a big gal and pear shaped. Twelve inches is the difference between my bust and hips. If I did a straight line box knit I would either have a sweater that fits fine around the bust and stretches over my tuchus like a sausage skin, or a nicely draping hemline with bunches of fabric to swim in at my shoulders. The wedge in the sides that will turn the the box into an A line shape. With my gauge at 7 stitches to the inch, it meant that I had 84 stitches more to start with than what will end at the underarm. Mama.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Not my swatch

If I was going to make my sweater in a worsted-weight yarn then this could be my swatch. My kids were most impressed with the book and the stitch patterns and asked me to knit them something. My son was particularly taken with the llama, so a llama hat it is! I'm still working on my daughter's (she wanted snowflakes).

The blue, green and white yarn is Knitpicks' Wool of the Andes, the gold is Elann's Peruvian Highland Wool. Colours and design chosen by my son Aran.

I'm quite happy with how the hat turned out and I might make Aran a llama sweater (once my sweater is done!), so this may end up being a swatch after all.

Monday, January 21, 2008

No headband but graphs galore

Hey ho, gang!

I haven't had the time lately to work on the headband and probably won't until later. I did do some preliminary swatching to check to see if my gauge had changed from when I did the Sirdal and nothing has changed, so I'm confident in my gauge calculations.

In the meantime, I've been doing designs for the sweater and taking all sorts of inspiration from Latvian, Estonian, and Scandinavian designs. The center panel will have the lily flowers separated with lozenges that contain images from my life. The lower panel will contain more traditional figures. Between the panels I'm thinking of doing a latticework similar to this.
The sweater will have a front half opening with a lozenge being the placket for the zipper. When I have a spare moment between jobs (the day one and the knitting ones), I'll sit down and work out the main charts for the lovely thing. The motif bands will be white on black with the lattice white on black. Cuffs and bottom edge will be hemmed. And as I'm pear shaped, the sides will have a wedge motif to disguise the shaping.
And they say I'm crazy. Muwhahahahahaha!!

Swatch: headband done!

Here's the swatch of one of my patterns .... it's Dale of Norway's Heilo in a dark-olive green and cream. I'm also going to do the highlight contrast as a dark, charcoal grey ....

BTW, my 16yod loves this headband and has already "schneebed" it for her use.

Headband/Swatch Complete

Hi, All. I got some free time this last week, so I was able to get the swatch done. I'm pretty happy with the colors and yarn.

I'm getting 5.5 stitches to the inch with size US3 needles. I'm using Jaggerspun 8/3 wool yarn. It's going to be a long knit, that's for sure, since I'm kind of wide and tall. I'm going to knit the crew neck version but also making it a cardigan, so I'll be steeking the front, too. I've never steeked, so this is going to be a challenge. I love a good challenge. I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else is doing.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Time to move on to Headband...

Yarn and Color:
After making several swatches, I finally came to a decision what yarn and color to use for my sweater. I got an idea from most unlikely place, Glamour magazine (I don't even read the magazine! But somehow, I brought it back from a flight I took this summer to Canada). I believe the colors are not for a traditional Norwegian sweater. But I really like the looks on white base, light grey, purple and navy combination. I also like the bulky feeling and texture with this color. So I am going to use worsted weight. The orange swatch is done with sports weight yarn I had (Nature Spun sports weight, US3) Others are with worsted weight (2 of them Nature Spun, 1 of them Highland wool, US6). Motifs are from 1000 Great Knitting Motifs by Luise Roberts.

Idea and Style:
I have spent quite some time looking at different sources for ideas for this sweather. Dale of Norway, any knitting magazines, yarn catalogues and anything on internet. It is overwhelming to see so many beautiful sweaters out there! Since I am going with non-traditional yarn, I thought I wanted to keep my style traditional. But I came across with this really cute sweater on Rebecca no. 34 August-October issue and fall in love with it (this one also has a nice color contrasting work. The motif on shoulder and lower body are done in opposite colors). So I am going to be a rebel and add a hood to the sweater. So at this point, only hope I have it to pick a traditional motif to make this a Norwegian sweater! Now I am working on a headband.
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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Fana Swatch

I've decided to make a Fana sweater. I'm using Rauma Strikkegarn and made this swatch with #3 needles.

The shoulder and cuff motif I'll save for the headband.

I really want to make a Fana cardigan that I've been drooling over instead of a pullover. I have relatives from the west coast of Norway, and visited Bergen last year, where Fana sweaters originated. And I want it to be a bit fancy with pewter buttons. So, I'll be knitting steeks up the front, cutting out a square neck, and notches in the cuffs. The edges are bound in trim (except the bottom).

There's a photo of it in "Everyday Knitting: Treasures From a Ragpile" page 39 #G and on page 47 of "Knitting in the Nordic Tradition" if you happen to have those books.

Do you like how I throw the word "steek" around? I have never done one before. I'm going to stitch and cut my swatch open tomorrow to do a row count for my headband.

I don't have everything figured out yet, button holes, for instance. Can I cut them in later or do I need to knit them in as I go? And how does the tape go on?

My biggest challenge will be tension. I've done some stranded work in baby yarn that I'm happy with, but still have trouble with thicker yarn.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Headband Gauge Swatch

Hi Everyone! I hope more of you will share some photos of your yarn and stitch swatches with us soon! I love seeing what everyone is doing.

It sounds like a lot of you are ready to start working on the headbands. This is a great way to do a gauge swatch that you can use afterwards, instead of just collecting swatches in a huge box like I do. I actually love swatching -- trying out new yarns, colors, and stitch patterns -- and so I do have a giant carboard carton full of swatches in the closet in my spare room.

I chose a headband for the practice project in the Norway chapter of Ethnic Knitting Discovery because a ski headband seemed to be such a great match for the ski sweaters. Even if you don't ski, you can probably find a few cold days in the winter to sport a wool headband.

If you look on page 109-111 in your book, you'll get an overview of how I approached each project in the book. So by making the headband, in addition to getting a swatch you can actually use, you'll also get familiar with the way I've structured the steps for designing and knitting your sweater.

Get Ready (page 109)
In this section, I discuss the yarn and knitting needles needed for the project. We've already talked about yarn here and here, so I'll bypass that right now.

All I want to say about needles, is don't ever take suggested needle sizes as a rule. You have to learn your own knitting tension and do the swatch to be sure you have the right size. It's less important for a headband than for a sweater -- because it's a smaller project and because there are fewer stitches so a slight variation in gauge will make less difference in the finished circumference than it would on a larger piece with more stitches. After knitting a lot for several years, I've discovered that I almost always have to go down two needle sizes for flat knitting because I work very loosely, but for circular knitting, I almost always get the gauge on the yarn ball band with the suggested needle sizes. The more you knit, the more you get to know your own style and quirks.

Get Set (page 110)
In this section I talk about the gauge and size of the project. Before making a gauge swatch, you have to select the stitch you're going to use. You may notice that you get a different gauge for colorwork than you do for plain knitting. A lot of knitters will go up a needle size or two on the colorwork portion of a project that also has plain areas to get the same gauge in both portions. The book says to make a gauge swatch before starting the headband, but if you're familiar with your knitting tension and you don't mind knitting out a headband if it's really off in size, you can skip that step. After all, we're making the headband AS a gauge swatch for a sweater!

I've got some suggested sizes for headbands in this section. For the sweaters I don't give any pre-sized options because we'll all be creating a custom-fitted garment. But since heads are more standard than torsos, I threw in some guidelines here.

Now you're ready to start filling in the numbers on the schematic and spreadsheet.

Knit (pages 110-111)
Here's where I present the three different ways to plan and knit your garment. Feel free to photocopy these pages so you can write in your own numbers and still keep the book clean for future projects.

Option 1: The Visual Plan
My favorite way is to just figure out how many stitches I need to start, cast on, and wing it. For those who like to make things up as they go, I've provided a little schematic where you can mark down a few important numbers and get those stitches on the needles!

Option 2: Using a Planning Worksheet
This section walks you through all the calculations you'll need to make your garment. There are measurements and stitch counts. It's a small table for a headband, and two larger ones for the sweaters. There are blanks for you to fill in your own numbers, as well as sample calculations that I've done and a description of what you're figuring out on each line. For a headband, you need only three numbers and one calculation:

1. Stiches per inch.
2. The circumference (a measurement)
3. The number of stitches (gauge per inch times the circumference, rounded off to an even multiple of your pattern).

If your pattern doesn't fit nicely, see page 32-34 for tips on centering patterns, or chart out your entire headband on graph paper or with software.

I didn't add any edging to this headband because I designed them to fit snugly and stretch to fit on the head, so the stretching will eliminate the tendency for the edge roll. I bought this headband when I was in Alaska in 2004 and it's lined with polar fleece fabric for extra warmth and windproofing. It's just plain Stockinette stitch, which makes it work nicely for a gauge swatch.

doghair headband

Option 3: A Step-by-Step Project Sheet
This is for those who like more details before moving forward, or for those who are frequently interrupted or need to take long breaks from projects. You'll notice that there are gray numbers in circles in this section, these match up to the numbers on the Visual Plan. You'll aso see green letters in fun shapes in the margins, these match up to the numbers you've calculated in the spreadsheet. Match everything up, fill in your numbers, and you basically have a finished pattern to knit from.

So there you have it, you can proceed in any fashion that matches your personality. If you have any questions, feel free to post them here in the comments.

OK, now some of you may have patterns that end up being too wide for a headband. In a few days I'll post instructions on how to continue knitting and work a crown so you can have a hat!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Swatching Progress

I have been swatching and digging around in my vast knitting library. I am using Jo Sharp DK. I found a small "border" chart in an old Dale book that I like so I started on it. I like my colors.
The dark color is "Beetle" which is very brown/green. The light color is Avocado and the splash of bright is Ruby. I was thinking about lice but decided I want the solid brown for the body. I am still exploring motifs for the yoke part. I am pleased to have found this yarn in my stash!

Sunday, January 6, 2008


I've done a Norwegian sweater before but it was from a Dale of Norway pattern. It's done in Dale Heilo and wears very well. I was not so keen in doing the Norwegian sweater but now that I'm getting into it I'm getting more excited about knitting this up.

I already had my yarn set aside for such a project. I had scored a deal on Heilo yarn in the colors I've wanted to use in Woodland Woolworks' back stash room so that part was all set. I'm opting to go traditional with the black and white with touches of red for my colors. Lately I've been treasure hunting for designs to use on the sweater. Lizbeth Upitis' Latvian Mittens and Terri Shea's Selbuvotter have been great sources of inspiration. The Dale of Norway sweater for the Lillehammer Olympics gave me an idea of using lozenge panels on the chest panel to frame images that define who I am. There wouldn't be a string of panels like that sweater but panels between lily motifs. It will help make the placement easier.

One thing I learned while doing Dale patterns is that their charts run from one edge of the motif to the middle with the center column worked once. In other words, the knitter starts at the right edge, works right to left to the center column, then works left to right. I liked this and have incorporated this method in how I'm setting up my charts and creating my motifs. I have a feeling that when I do my headband to test the top band of colorwork that it will be so wide it will end up a hat instead. We'll see.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Swatching Trees

This is my original washed swatch to test that my yarns will be compatible. Of course, since then I've changed colors but the yarns are the same.

This is the detail of what I am going to use on the sleeve and perhaps the shoulder.

Here we have the central tree motif that is so large, I've decided to move it to the bottom of the sweater. The way the brown cuts into the zig zag on the top is the way it will be on the bottom. Only thing is, this lovely dark green I'm using I may not have enough of and it's been discontinued. A lighter green may have to do.

Norwegian Sweater Knitalong

Hi Everyone, welcome to the Ethnic Knitting Discovery knitalong. We'll be making a Norwegian pullover that we'll design ourselves using the instructions in Ethnic Knitting Discovery. I'll be posting lessons here to keep us all moving forward together, and we'll be posting photos of our progress as we go along. We also have a Yahoo! Group for more in-depth discussions about the techniques used in this sweater and for general discussions about ethnic knitting techniuqes from around the world. Feel free to sign up in both places. I may also set up a Ravelry group.

Here's the basic schedule. This is probably when I'll post lessons about each of the steps in designing and knitting the sweater. Feel free to move ahead more quickly on your own and don't feel bad if it takes you more time. We all understand that life sometimes takes prioirty over knitting.

Now - Choose yarns and colors, collect tools, get a copy of the book

Jan 15 - Knit headband swatch to test out stitches and colors, plan layout of pattern stitches for sweater

Jan 30 - Do the arithmetic needed to cast on for the body

Feb - Knit body

Feb 28 - Do the arithmetic needed to begin the sleeves

Mar - Knit sleeves

Mar 30 - Cut open armholes (and neck or crew neck version) and begin finishing

Whenever - Finish!

Below you'll find the information we've already discussed on the Yahoo! Group.

Illustrations by Joyce M. Turley,