Project: Hønsestrik Inspiration by Marianne Isager

Hi there! Long time no see, I know. I’ve been neglecting my blog lately, but in my defense, I’ve had a lot of personal stuff going on. That’s why I didn’t write down anything about another knitting project I had finished – the Hen Knitting Sweater (as I call it). You can find the pattern on Ravelry under the name “Hønsestrik Inspiration“.

I just love the design. It was one of the main reasons why I bought the book ÅLJ published by Isager. I could not afford to buy the Isager yarn for it though, I would have to have it shipped from Denmark and plus I would feel really guilty as I have too much yarn in my stash as it is. So I used what I had – another Danish yarn – Holst Garn Supersoft. It’s a fingering weight yarn with so many pretty color options, and you gotta love the price too. Anyway, Holst Garn seemed like the perfect replacement. Because I’m an impatient person and I can’t resist to start a new project as fast as I can, I just thought I didn’t need to knit a gauge sample. MISTAKE!

Hen Knitting Sweater by Matylda's Barn
First attempt = too big.

I’ve done this numerous times before, I honestly don’t know why I keep neglecting that. I thought I wouldn’t mind if the sweater would be a bit bigger or smaller as it’s supposed to be more loose anyway. But my first attempt turned out to be huuuuge. I could fit in that sweater twice, maybe even three times! Learnt my lesson, started over. At least I could use the first attempt to measure the gauge.

The pattern had some issues as well: the graphic chart was not symmetrical, so I had to adjust it. I was not the only one, based on some other projects on Ravelry. Hopefully they can fix that if they ever want to print a new edition of the book. I was also a little dissapointed that there’s no body shaping – you work with the same amount of stitches all the way up to the sleeves. I decided to do my own body shaping.

Hen Knitting Sweater by Matylda's Barn

I had tried it on a couple of times as I was knitting and it came out pretty good. To my surprise, it turned out to be more of a dress than a sweater. The only thing I regret is not doing more decreases in the chest and shoulder area as it’s a little bit moore loose there than I would like. I love the result nevertheless and it’s going to be perfect for the winter!

Ravelry project: https://www.ravelry.com/projects/MatyldasBarn/hnsestrik-inspiration

Hen Knitting Sweater by Matylda's Barn

Hen Knitting Sweater by Matylda's Barn

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Project: Sparkle Cardigan by Joji Locatelli and Why I Love Ravelry

I recently finished another sweater project – it’s a lovely light cardigan that’s gonna be great for the spring and upcoming summer season. The pattern is called Sparkle Cardigan and it’s by Joji Locatelli. I never knitted anything by her before, but I’ve seen her designs on Instagram quite a bit and I got intrigued.

Sparkle Cardigan by Joji Locatelli
Sparkle Cardigan by Joji Locatelli

My usual process of purchasing a pattern consists of a long research on Ravelry. First I find several designs I like, then I try to match them with the yarn I have in my stash. The beauty of Ravelry is in all the filters you can apply to your search. You can even search all the designs you marked as favourites in your profile. That saves SO much time. If you’re a frequent visitor of Ravelry and you keep looking at new patterns and projects and favouriting them, you should be aware that this doesn’t need to be a one-time-thing like it is when you’re kind of pointlessly “instahearting” (although there is a bookmark button on Instagram that can be useful if you don’t use it too often). I also love that when you favourite a designer on Ravelry, you’ll see his or her updates in your pattern highlights. Honestly, that makes me wanna visit Ravelry on a daily basis!

But back to the pattern choosing process: sometimes when I find a pattern with the appropriate yarn weight, I still like to research some more if there maybe was a person who used the same yarn as me. You can search for that in the projects tab – just type in the keyword. That can also be very useful when you want to create a cardigan out of a sweater – you can just search for the word “cardigan” in the pattern projects.

Yarn and a kitten by Matylda's Barn
Our new kitty was helping me knitting… Sort of 🙂

Reading through Raverly projects can be extremely useful in any case, and I do it even when I don’t particularly need to. You can find out whether people liked the pattern and if they found any mistakes or whether the project is too frustrating to finish. When there is a lot of projects but not many of them finished, that can be a warning sign. I have recently encountered such a pattern, but as I already have it in print, I’ll attempt to do it anyway, but the projects really helped me realize what I should be aware off to avoid problems.

Anyway, here’s my project for the Sparkle Cardigan: https://www.ravelry.com/projects/MatyldasBarn/sparkle-cardigan

Sparkle Cardigan by Joli Locatelli knitted by Matylda's Barn

I tried to include notes that might be useful for people who may be in the same situation as me – I didn’t have the recommended needles and I had different yarn. My gauge was more loose, but that doesn’t need to be bad, I actually prefer the cardigan to be more breezy. The yarn was pure wool, so I think if the gauge was tighter, the cardigan would be too hot for spring. I did less decreases and different number of rows. I was worried about all those changes, but it came out really nice – breezy and lacy, just like I wanted it to be. This project has made me more confident about adjusting a lot of different things in the pattern. Even if you don’t have the perfect yarn, you can make the project your own!

How about you, do you like to use Ravelry? Do you make your own adjustments to patterns? How do you like my new cardigan? 😀

Sparkle Cardigan by Joli Locatelli knitted by Matylda's Barn
I love the texture!
Sparkle Cardigan by Joli Locatelli knitted by Matylda's Barn
Sparkle Cardigan by Joli Locatelli, knitted by Matylda’s Barn

 

 

Pattern: Matylda the Sleepy Sheep

I released a new crochet pattern – Matylda the Sleepy Sheep. This cute crochet sheep can be used as a toy or a nursery decoration. The size will change based on the yarn you’re using. The suggested yarn is aran weight – the sheep is approx. 12 cm (4.5‘‘) wide and 14 cm tall (5.5‘‘). You only need 1 skein to create this toy.
Instructions for the embroidery are included.
This pattern was thoroughly tested.
Difficulty: Advanced beginner.

Find out more on Ravelry: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/matylda-the-sleepy-sheep

Matylda the Sleepy Sheep - crochet pattern by Matylda's Barn

Matylda the Sleepy Sheep - crochet pattern by Matylda's Barn

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I really like this grey version of the sheep by one of my testers, Zaliwa.

Arrows Sweater (and My Love Letter to Isager and ÅLJ)

When I bought the wonderful book ÅLJ by Marianne Isager, I was instantly captivated with this lovely light sweater in blueish color. The book is celebrating the famous Danish knitwear designer Åse Lund Jensen who died way too early in 1977 and left her yarn business to the young and talented Marianne Isager who was only 23 years old at the time. She proved to be very capable as the business is still very successful and now her daughter Helga also works for the company, which is now called Isager.

Arrows Sweater by Åse Lund Jensen, Isager Spinni Yarn
Arrows Sweater by Åse Lund Jensen, Isager Spinni Yarn

If you ever encountered Isager yarns, you must have noticed that their colors seem more muted than the average commercial yarn. It is because Åse was deeply inspired by the colors of Danish nature and the Isager company still carries that tradition – the yarns look as if they were dyed naturally. Åse Lund Jensen is celebrated for her educational work and inventive approach to knitwear design. She published several books, that are still relevant – I imagine even more so for Danish knitters.

Arrows Sweater by Åse Lund Jensen Knitted with Isager Spinni Yarn By Matylda's Barn
Knitting with Isager Spinni Yarn

I really love the patterns in this book and I would like to knit all of them! My only problem is that I would prefer to use Isager yarn for it, and it’s not exactly the cheapest option. I’m sure it’s a very affordable yarn for the Danish, as their currency value is …well… just somewhere else compared to the rest of Europe. After using the Spinni yarn, I can only recommend it though.

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The patterns are written in a style I’m not used to all that much. But I found out I can follow it quite well. The pattern style is basically written, with abbreviations. It’s more approximate than row by row. You must count a lot, which I confess I didn’t do all the time and it was a mistake that I had to pay for! When I was finished with front and back, I realized that the underarm measurements don’t match. Needless to say, I had to frog some and next time, count all the rows.

Arrows Sweater by Åse Lund Jensen Knitted with Isager Spinni Yarn

The sweater seemed a little bit small when it was finished, but after hand-washing it the yarn opened up more and I made sure block it to a desired size.

Do you have any experience knitting with Isager Yarn? Do you prefer more muted nature-like colors or vivid ones?

Here’s my Ravelry project: https://www.ravelry.com/projects/MatyldasBarn/pile

If you’re on Ravelry, be sure to add me as friend!

Arrows Sweater by Åse Lund Jensen Knitted with Isager Spinni Yarn

Arrows Sweater by Åse Lund Jensen Knitted with Isager Spinni Yarn By Matylda's Barn

Is Sock Knitting Boring?

Honestly, I’m still sort of in between opinions. I haven’t knitted that many socks in my life. The pair I just finished was the first one I didn’t need any help with. It’s been many years since I knitted any socks and when I was younger, I really didn’t care for it that much. The pattern I used this time is called Sparrow, it’s designed by Gemma Atkinson and it can be found in the Rowan book Fine Art Collection that includes other gorgeous sock patterns by Marie Wallin or Martin Storey.

 

Knitting Socks
Sock knitting with five double pointed needles.

You can find my Ravelry project here: https://www.ravelry.com/projects/MatyldasBarn/sparrow

I used Pandia’s Jewels hand-dyed sock yarn. I started knitting size 6-7 with 2 mm double pointed needles, but the sock was way too wide. So I decided to frog it and after some measuring I started knitting with 1,5 mm needles and I casted on 70 sts instead of 75. I adjusted the pattern two times after that as well. I think it really pays off if you customize your sock.

Interesting sock cuffs
The socks have interesting eyelet cuffs.

Knitting with five double pointed needles is probably the most annoying part about knitting socks. I never tried knitting socks using the magic loop method on circular needles yet, but recently I purchased new circulars by Addi that should do the trick (I don’t remember their name, but I know there’s “sock” mentioned). I’m planning to try them next time. Working with circular needles creates another problem though if the pattern works with the double pointed, but I assume that can be solved by adding stitch markers where the supposed needle begins and ends.

Hand knitted socks
The finished knitted socks.

How about you, do you like knitting socks? I know there’s a lot of people who love it and I kind of wonder why 😀 I mean, it’s a fun small project, but I could not start knitting another pair after I just finished one. It just feels a little bit exhausting to me 🙂

Knitted socks.

My Fibreshare Experience

Earlier this year I decided to sign up for Fibreshare, which is basically an organized international yarn swap “(…)with a focus on fostering connections beyond the screen while contributing to the growth of the Fibre-community”. I guess my expectations were set pretty high because in the past I have seen these lovely yarn packages on Instagram and people gushing about making new fibre besties. This is not to say, that I was  disappointed with the outcome. I loved my Fibreshare experience. Some things were just a little bit different than I expected!

First I got the ever exciting email with the information about my assigned partners. Well, actually, there was mostly information about the partner to which I was going to send the package to. At that point, I got quite excited because the person seemed interesting and had a similar taste in yarn. Both of my Fibreshare partners started following me on Instagram right away so I guess I was lucky in that area as well. To me, what was a little bit disappointing about the whole thing was that the conversation or interaction between me and my partners never really went any further than a couple of formal emails. I did try, but I had the sense that my partners didn’t really entered this swap to foster some meaningful connections. Maybe the age difference played some role in this, I really don’t know.

I enjoyed putting together the package though. Based on my partner’s Instagram and what she wrote about herself, I had put together a special luxury blend of natural alpaca, silk and merino wool. I had spun this into a fingering weight yarn. She said she prefers natural fibres in neutral colors so I was hoping this would work well for her.

A luxury blend of alpaca fibre, silk and merino wool.
A luxury blend of alpaca fibre, silk and merino wool.
Handspun yarn
Handspun yarn.
The finished product.
And the final skein of yarn!

The package I sent consisted of Scandinavian yarns, one Brittish yarn and a few little gifts.

Matylda's Barn Fibreshare package

My receiving partner posted on Instagram right away after she received the package and she loved it. That was great 🙂

When I received my package, I was quite surprised with the content. My other partner’s Instagram was not revealing anything about her yarn tastes, so I really had no idea what was going to arrive. I was very pleasantly surprised with four really lovely hand-dyed yarn skeins, packed in a beautiful canvas bag handmade in Alaska. I’m still quite floored by that. Of course, I rushed to thank my partner and tell her how much I loved the package – in an email and in an IG post where I tagged her. Guess what. Zero response!

I’m not angry or anything, I just really don’t get it. Wouldn’t you be glad that your yarn swap partner loved your definitely-not-cheap-actually-probably-super-expensive package and respond…something? Maybe I’m just from a different planet 😊

Fibreshare package
Fibreshare package

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All in all, I did enjoy my Fibreshare experience. Was it different than what I expected? Yes.

I didn’t expect much from the actual package, but I thought there would be a lot more communication.

Am I gonna sign up again? Yes 😊

Threipmuir Sweater Story

It’s finished! I started making this beauty in November last year and managed to complete it a week ago (Ravelry project here). There were definitely some obstacles in the way. My yarn had a different weight than the recommended one – it was a bit lighter. I assumed I should knit the next size up (L), but that did not turn out to be a good idea. I guess if you use the recommended needle size, the result can be very much the same as if you used the intended yarn. That is if the weight of the yarn isn’t too much off. I was using Holst Garn Supersoft (1.76 ounces per 314 yards / 50 grams per 287 m) while the recommended S Twist Wool is 3.53 ounces per 437 yards / 100 grams per 400 m, so I was basically off by 87 m which seemed like quite a bit to me. Correct me if I’m wrong, but that meant that the finished sweater would be smaller in size than it would be with the heavier yarn. So I was gonna compensate for it by sizing up. The finished large-sized garment was huge though! The body part was ridiculously big and the sleeves were way too long. I think if I made a dress out of it and wear it with a belt, it would look ok. But I’m not used to wear dresses that much and if I do, it’s in the summer – so no knitwear kind of stuff.

Matylda's Barn Threipmuir Sweater

So I made the painful decision that every knitter dreads and decided to frog the body part right up to the end of the colorful yoke. I also frogged parts of the sleeves to make them shorter. Did I mention the yarn was fingering weight? Looots of frogging 😀 Oh well. I knitted the rows in the bust area without any substantial decreasing. Then I started decreasing by 2 stitches on each side once in every 4th or 5th row about 4 or 5 times (I swear I never write anything down – insert an eye-rolling smiley face here). I knitted the body part a lot longer than the pattern suggested and didn’t increase for the hip area. I must say, I find it a bit strange that there was no decreasing mentioned in the pattern for the part following the bust area. I corrected the sleeves and then proceeded to add the neck band. I picked up the stitches and knitted the suggested rib for 5 rounds. I needed to cast off loosely because the hole for the head was surprisingly very small. I didn’t like how the finished neckband looked though, so I added another 5 rounds, folded it and attached it by sewing. I’m quite happy with the result now.

Lesson learnt – sizing up is not always the solution to a yarn problem.

Matylda's Barn Threipmuir Sweater

Matylda's Barn Threipmuir Sweater