A friend sent me a link to a short silent film of Estonian knitters in 1937. Like the Shetland knitters, they knitted shawls fine enough to pass through a wedding ring as well as other items. You can see the traditional Estonian nupps in the finished shawl. I included them when I knitted an Estonian lace scarf in 2004, and they are very fiddly.

It looks to me as though they were being given yarn to use and then paid for the finished goods when they took them back to the supplier. That was the way commercial knitting and weaving was usually organised in the UK back in the days before they became factory-based processes, but it is rare now.

I hadn’t realised it has been so long since I last posted here. My mother is out of hospital again, but things are not going smoothly, so I still don’t have the mental or physical energy to craft much. I did finish that pair of socks from the yarn I dyed, though I haven’t got around to photographing them yet, and I’ve nearly finished the first one of the yellow and orange pair, but I’m hungry to do a wider variety of crafting again. First I need to finish some things I owe other people, then I want to finish a shawl for myself which I started … um … I’m not going to admit how long ago. Most of all, though, I want to make more books and start journalling, which brings me to the new button which just appeared on my right sidebar …

For quite a while I’ve been following Roz Wound Up – a wonderful blog about book-binding, art journalling and art in general. I have learnt so much from that blog, and it has helped keep my urge to journal alive over the past few months, even though I know my journal(s) will only include my first baby steps at art, nothing like Roz’s sketches. I can still aspire to reaching something near to that level one day, though, with enough practice, and meantime it will, I hope, at least chart my progress.

Roz has embarked on a project to get herself sketched in as many other artist’s journals as possible. To that end, she has started a contest with her handmade books as prizes, which will run for over a year. You can read about it by clicking here or on that new sidebar button. For Phase 1, entrants have to sketch her from life, which rules out those of us who don’t expect to be in Minneapolis or any other place she might visit over the next year, so she has kindly created a secondary contest for us. Also, Phase 2 will give anyone who wants it an opportunity to sketch her from photographs she will post online. Check it out – even if you don’t enter the contests, you could probably learn a lot by browsing her archives and her pages.

I have done very little crafting since my mother came out of hospital, as she has been taking up a lot of my time and energy, though I did make a few books which I will post about soon. I still haven’t finished the second sock using the hand-dyed yarn which I posted about in May, but she is back in hospital again, so I expect my sock knitting to speed up again as I’ll be knitting while travelling and sitting with her. I already have my next pair planned, in a subtle (cough) sunshine yellow/orange space-dyed yarn. They are for my DH and it was his choice of yarn and colour. I’m not too happy about it, as 100% merino is not my first choice for socks, particularly for someone who is tough on socks.

I also want to get back to paper crafts and a friend pointed out an amazing giveaway on The Stamping Boutique blog, which includes 36 Copics. I love Copics! I don’t have enough of them, though. :-(

Filed Under (Dyeing, Fibre and textile crafts, Knitting, Socks) by jennyk on 11-05-2010

I’ve been knitting socks while visiting my mother in hospital, and I continued while sitting with her after she went home, as I couldn’t do anything complicated.  I did the second sock of the blue pair (Opal yarn), and then I couldn’t resist starting on the yarn which I dyed at the workshop in February.  Both were knitted on 2.25mm Brittany dpns.  Here is a detail – click on the image to see the whole photo.


Stolen from a friend’s blog

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

My own knitting has been going well, though slowly. I have almost finished a pair of Regia socks, as they have been my mindless knitting while visiting my mother in hospital (mainly on the journeys to and fro). As she isn’t likely to go home for a while yet, I needed to set up my next ‘car knitting’ project, so I’ve started on the yarn from the dyed sock blank. I have finished one toe, but as I’ve not used this yarn before and I didn’t swatch (bad Jenny!), I may have to do a bit of ripping after a couple more inches to adjust the number of stitches. At least I’ll have something to keep my fingers busy, so I won’t mind too much if that happens.

Between still not feeling well myself and having to deal with the situation with my mother, I haven’t got much done over the past few weeks, but I have finally got around to unravelling the sock blank I dyed back in February at the Procion MX workshop. It had been knitted with 2 strands of yarn held together (one for each sock) so as I unravelled it, I made it into 2 loose piles. The yarn was very curly after being dyed and washed as knitted fabric, so I had to wind it into skeins and steam them before I could wind them into balls.

One re-wound, one to go ...

Filed Under (Fibre and textile crafts, Knitting) by jennyk on 19-03-2010

So who is knitting again? Not me – I never stopped knitting, though I’ve definitely slowed down as I got distracted by other crafts. My mother, though, hadn’t knitted for 20 or 30 years, but she is in hospital and one of the occupational therapy activities is knitting.

On the day after she was moved to this hospital (a rehab facility), I saw the woman in the next bed to her was knitting a garter stitch square in thick yarn on straight needles. That led to a conversation about knitting socks, which used to be her favourite knitting. I happened to be wearing socks knitted with Opal faux-fairisle yarn, which really impressed her, even though I explained the yarn did all the hard work. I’m going to take in my current sock project (Opal again, but striped rather than faux-fairisle) to show her, and perhaps some of my fancy sock yarn stash. Perhaps she will want to try socks again, but I think my mother will stick with garter squares. The row of rib in the middle was unintentional, but it’s now a decorative feature. :-)

Filed Under (Fibre and textile crafts, Knitting) by jennyk on 12-03-2010

I’ve not been making much this week as I was very sick over the weekend and I’m still not really recovered, so I’ve nothing of my own to post, but I just want to draw attention to a friend’s work.  Opal spins and knits but she also makes lovely jewellery, so of course she also makes stitch markers for her Etsy shop. She has a giveaway for a set of similar markers on her blog.

Filed Under (Knitting, Lace, Shawls/Scarves) by jennyk on 28-02-2007

I was given some Rowan Cashsoft DK in Sweet (that really is the colour name) and decided to make a Liesel scarf for a friend.

 Liesel scarf

When I swatched, I liked the shape of the start, which forms a nice curve, but not the ending, so I decided to knit the scarf as two halves and graft them together.

centre graft

The grafted section does not like quite as good as I hoped, but I think it is OK.  I considered stopping each half 2 rows before the end of the pattern repeat to make that section shorter, but that would cause problems with the purled centres of the leaves.

I used 4.5mm needles, and the scarf took 132g (375 yds).  The scarf was blocked to 7.25″ wide and 77″ long, but shrunk to 6.5″ by 72″ once unpinned and allowed to relax.  Even though my friend likes long scarves, I thought that was plenty long enough, but I still had some yarn left, so I decided to make some fingerless mitts to match.  I knitted them ‘top down’ to use that nice curved edge over the back of the back of the knuckles.  I did them on 4.00mm Brittany dpns, as I thought they needed a firmer gauge.

mitt back

My friend’s hands are smaller than mine so they should fit her a little better.without the cuff creeping over the base of the hand.  I did the thumb gusset slightly towards the palm – you can see the shaping better on this picture, which also shows that the ‘straight across’ top on the palm side doesn’t interfere with bending the hand, while the curved top on the back gives a bit more protection to the fingers.  They only took 30g (85 yds) of yarn for the pair.

mitt palm

And here is a picture of my friend wearing them:


Filed Under (Knitting, Socks) by jennyk on 26-02-2007

Just a quick entry to say that I have updated my sock page.  Some friends were discussing socks and sharing pictures and I found some old pictures that I didn’t have online, so I added them to the end of the page, with brief descriptions.

As for current craft work, I finally dug out my Icarus-in-progress, after putting it aside for Christmas and other gift knitting, and I’m still knitting the Opal socks for myself … more on those later.