Saturday, December 29, 2012

Spin me right round - December update

Just one single post in December! Why? Well, I except for a couple of small special orders from friends and family I haven't been knitting much lately. (Ok I spend some time - too much time! - with an alpaca/cotton sweater with a crazy ad lib-make-it-up-as-you-knit-kinda-pattern that ended up in nothing but that's all.) Partly because I've been suffering from shoulder pains and colds these last two months but also because I've realized something about my knitting... I fear that it's not really the knitting I like. It's the fibre. It's the wool. That must be the reason why I almost never finish anything unless I have to (when knitting gifts for example). That's why I love planning projects but grow tired of it when I'm halfway and start looking at some other patterns, colors, yarn. It's the fibre itself that I like. Maybe I'm having some sort of wool fetisch?

So during my knitting drought I returned to spinning and boy have I spun. I even got me a spinning wheel. It's really old, almost antique, and I knew almost nothing about spinning wheels when I got it. It must have been dear to somebody because it has been mended at a hundred different spots. But it still hardly work. The few seconds that it works it really wonderful but then I spend hours and hours fixing it here and there... I hate stuff that don't work! However, studying it has really made me want one! That works that is.

The new family member that I love and hate at the same time.
 But until I can afford a new one - pray that it will be soon! - me and my spindle are best friends. Here are some of the things I've spun lately.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunday Swift

Sunday afternoon and I get to use my yarn swift for the first time! As far as I know, there is only one store in town that sells yarn swifts, or yarn winders. They cost 649 SEK which is almost USD 100. A bit expensive I think...  I got mine on the flea market for just 60 SEK! Just a tenth of the price, what a bargain.

It doesn't happen too often that I buy my yarn in hanks but the winder will be of great help if I decide to dye yarn as well. My first use of this winder is for Alpaca Flamé by BC Garn, a fine thick-and-thin of the softest alpaca in crisp light grey. I've already made a cowl and baby cardigan using this yarn, I love it so much! I've teamed it up with a thin cotton thread for making a basic sweater for myself.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A hat for Kaleido!

You know the saying that you should try something new each day? Well, this is a first, I knit a hat/cowl for a dog! This cute fella is called Kaleido and belongs to a friend of mine. Being more of a cat person I can tell you that my knowledge about a dog's anatomy is very limited. Kaleido is a whippet, which reminds you of a miniature greyhound. I learned that this breed has very sensitive ears and doesn't like windy weather (who does?) But Kaleido has got his ears covered now! It was a fun knit, hope that he enjoys it too. At least he looks great!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Great gifts for kids, knit a doll

Knitting toys is a great idea for gifts since you don't have to care about fitting or what season it is. There are tons of knitting patterns out there for dolls but Barbara Prime's are one of my favorite because of their classical look. See the all at




Saturday, October 20, 2012

Nice stitch II

I love to find new useful stitches, it can really help you come out of a "knitter's block". This stitch is called linen stitch and I love it because it gives the feeling of woven fabric. The knitted piece becomes very dense, you might want to use a larger needle size than you normally do. Because of the density the stitch might not be suitable for garments. But I do recommend it for pieces like bags, shoulder straps for bags (or guitars!), placemats or even rugs.

It's quite simple too, like this:
Cast on an uneven number of stitches.
Row 1: [WS] K1, *p1, slip next stitch purlwise while holding yarn to the back, repeat from * to last 2 sts, p1, k1.
Row 2: [RS] * K1, slip next stitch purlwise while holding yarn to the front of the piece, repeat from * to the last st, k1.
Repeat Rows 1 and 2.

Right side

Wrong side

Monday, October 8, 2012

Yarn bombed trees

It's October and autumn is at it's best. I actually like the fall, I would even go as far as to say it's my favorite season. But as soon as the leaves has fallen off the trees the cozy part is over. I would love to see the trees in my city yarn bombed! Here's a few inspiring pics, all from Seattle.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Yarn crafts for kids II

Remember the beautiful yarn balloons that you can make with your kids? Old post here.
You can use the same technique for making yarn bowls as well, using a glass or plastic bowl as model. I didn't think of that... Ideas on yarn crafts for kids without knitting is great. Will keep my little one busy while I can keep buying yarn without guilt!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Honeycomb lace stitch

New stitches are fun! Came across this one the othter day. Will be great for at cowl I think.

Knit like this:

Row 1: Right side: k
Row 2: k
Row 3: k1, p1, (yo, p2tog,)to last st, k1
Row 4: k

So simple!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

At the office

Ok so I have a confession to make (not yarn-related this time!). I'm not the super-knitting-designing-spinning woman I pretend to me. I have a regular job. In an office. At a bank. Yes.

I will keep this funny e-card in mind when I seek inspiration for our next meeting!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Art displaying art

Ok, so I know that most wouldn't agree that knitting is art. But it can be! Anyway, the sculpture behind this piece is truly skillful.

Art by Emlyn Budds.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Princess shoulder wrap

Sometimes things don't turn out like you expect - they get better! I struggled with making a hat for Isola in a yarn I hadn't knit with before. Should be quite an easy task since I've knitted and designed quite a few hats for her. But I realized that it was becoming way too big at the same time I was running out of yarn. Annoyed I started ripping it all up but suddenly it occured to me that it looked almost like a small cape. A little alterations here and there and voilà, a shoulder wrap was born! And not just any shoulder wrap, it is sooooo soft you wouldn't believe it.

I think that a white one would look drop-dead-cute for Christmas...

Available for custom orders in my Etsy shop!

Available for custom orders in my Etsy shop!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hooked on lions

Be sure not to miss this exhibition if you're in London. Crocheted HUGE lions by artist Shauna Richardson. You can see them at the Natural History Museum until 10th of September. What a work!

The Lion Heart Project         

Lions on tour, what a sight!

Another fab crocheted piece by the artist.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Gradient and gorgeous

It feels like I'm going on about yarn with long colorways. I happen to love gradient colored stuff, don't ask me why. So imagine my excitement when I found this seller on Etsy. The shop is called Color Shift Yarn and is run by Erica Heftmann. She calls herself "a studio dyer and Senior Member of the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists" which I suppose is a fancy word for dyeing wizard. So she has been developing these dyes for 20 years but still, there must be some kind of magic involved when the results look this good! Just imagine all the things you could do with it... I can't stop thinking about it.

Pictures are from her shop

Other gradient stuff... not yarn-related! 
Must-have-tights from BZRshop on Etsy.


Friday, July 6, 2012

Hear me roar...

Absolutely fantastic... turn your little kitty into the lion that he is!
Pattern here by Mer Almagro.

pic by medvssa

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Can't wait to have some SEX!

Did the headline catch your attention? If you like knitting you probably have the same feeling since sex means Stash Enhancement eXperience, ie buying yarn, in knitters jargon. Ok, I admit that I didn't know that either.

You start learning how to knit and soon get familiar with terms like cables, yarn over, dpns and blocking and think that you have everything under control. But then you join a community like Ravelry and suddenly people around you talk about frogs and UFOs and KALs and LYS and you don't have a clue what they're talking about.

Here are some words you're guaranteed to hear in knitting circles:
To frog - to unravel a knitted piece, comes from the sound of "rip it, rip it".
KAL - a knit along.
LYS - Local yarn shop.
UFO - unfinished object. (A wip that has been neglected or abandoned.)
WIP - work in progress.
ISO - in search of.
And my favourite; yarn barf - a big lump of yarn that accidentally gets pulled out of a new centre-pull ball, when you’re trying to find the end.

Yarn Barf via

And some that maybe aren't that common but that I thought was worth listing:
Tink - take out knitting stitch by stitch. It's "knit" backwards.
Frog pond - a storage place for knitted stuff waiting to be frogged. Hey I always wanted a frog pond, didn't know that I had one already.
Pooling - when one color in a variegeted yarn bunches together in an area.
Toad - Trashed Objects Abandoned in Disgust.
Pigs - Projects In Grocery Sacks. I have too many pigs in my closet...
Tarn - T-shirt yarn.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

I did it, I bought a spider! No, I mean a dragonfly! No...I mean...

..a spindle!
Not long ago I blogged about my newest google-research-topic which is how to spin your own yarn with a drop spindle. And now I have finally bought one! Can't wait until it arrives. With four weeks of vacation coming up in July, there will be som serious spinning!

I always seem to forget the Swedish word for spindle, which is "slända" - pronounced "slenn-dah", and instead say spindle with a Swedish pronounciation "spin-dell". And that's the Swedish word for spider. So when I confessed to my spouse that I had bought a spider, he was confused. Then I said that I had bought a "slända", but he was still confused since "slända" also means dragonfly! But of course he suspected that it was something fibre-related... I wonder why...

Friday, June 15, 2012

Steel on your needles?

Do check out Habu Textiles website if you're looking for fresh inspiration. They have many unusual yarns in subtle color ranges. Unusual in that sense that they are made by stainless steel, paper and copper!

This is how they describe their wool steinless steel yarn: ... the core is stainless steel and wool is wrapped around the core. Because of the stainless steel, there is a memory in the yarn. Create something, twist it around! It will stay in that shape unless you straighten it out. 

 Doesn't it sound great? I'd love to try this out.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Alpacas - the animal, not the yarn

I like alpaca yarn. I have never been unhappy with an alpaca garment. It's soft and warm and has a nice texture. So I'd just wanted to share some pictures of the fabulous animal it comes from. Alpacas originate from South America and looks like llamas, only smaller. These three cool looking dudes look like they have really strong and sympathetic personalities!

Pictures by Kerstin Joensson.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Knitted art

Knitted art from San Fransisco based artist Sarah Applebaum. Well, there is always something to knit...

Pictures from her website.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

May Interview: Heidi from Quo Vadis Yarns

Quo Vadis

Ok so I'm not a vegan, but I'm a vegetarian and I don't wear leather so I do definitely know the rare feeling you get when you go into a store or a restaurant where everything you see is buyable for you. When you don't have to check a single label for content but just shop away. And that is exactly what Heidi from Quo Vadis offers to knitters. Not only for vegans and wool-allergic people but also for those who love yummy organic handspun and handdyed yarn. Which should be everyone basically.

Naturally, I wanted to know more about her and her shop! 

 Please tell us a bit about Quo Vadis and yourself!
I’m Heidi, and I’m the person behind Quo Vadis Yarns. Quo Vadis is a completely vegan yarn shop focusing on sustainable and cruelty-free fibres, and low to no-impact dyes. I also hand spin yarn from time to time with organic cotton, linen, bamboo, soy, ingeo (corn) and other plant-based fibres. I use plant dyes for my organic cotton line of yarns, which is really fun, since I get to ‘brew’ up all kinds of colours straight from the plants themselves. It’s amazing how many vibrant colours you can get from flower petals, nutshells and wood chips. 

What inspires you?
My customers inspire me a ton! Its one thing to be at home with grand ideas of changing the impact of the textile industry on the environment, being a compassionate knitter, and choosing to use dyes that won’t contaminate the water and soil and so on. But when I see that there are so many other people that feel the same way? Wow! To have the customers that I do, is to have support and encouragement that makes what I’m doing meaningful, and beneficial to others, and therefore, truly worth the effort. I’m honoured to have a creative outlet that others can enjoy and appreciate.

Can you outline your creative process?
Dyeing is something I do when I need action. At the end of the day when I’ve finished dyeing a few batches of yarn, I feel like I’ve really accomplished something.
  Discovering new colourways is always a different experience. Sometimes I know exactly what I want, and I know which colours I’ll use and how I’ll do it. Other times, it’s a complete experiment and it feels like I’m playing with the colours, like finger painting or doodling. Sometimes I’ll simply mix, and pour the dye over the yarn in even sections. Other times, I’ll make stripes, dots, or blend it evenly so I get a smoothly transitioning gradation of colours. I’ve also been known do dip it, or spray it with a dye-dipped toothbrush. The whole time I’m adding colour, I try to keep in mind what the finished product will be like, and how it will knit up. I like to make colourways that are beautiful both on the skein, and as a knitted object. When I started out I didn’t keep this in mind, and ended up with really interesting colours, but they looked horrible once they were knitted. Needless to say, I’ve learned a lot since I started.

How did you come up with your business? Was it a sudden idea that struck you or did it evolve over time?
Ever since I was a kid, I knew I wanted to work for myself doing something creative. At first I thought it was in fashion, and that carried me into the world of sewing, and later costuming. I’ve knitted since I was a kid, but didn’t get serious about it until after my son was born, when I finally learned how to read a pattern, and committed to vegan fibres. It was a bit of a slow process, with a few bursts along the way. I knew I wanted to do something creative, and once I found etsy I started to see new possibilities. I have a friend who is also a dyer on etsy, and very successful. I was really inspired by her freedom to set her own hours, and how much she loved her work. I asked her opinion about having a vegan yarn shop, and she gave me the thumbs up! It’s definitely a niche, and there are lots of vegan and wool-free knitters out there.

What is the best and worst about running your own business in this industry?
I’ll start with the worst. The worst thing is that every so often I’ll come across someone who simply doesn’t appreciate what I do. For me that means that die hard wool knitters can sometimes be harsh and judgmental of my (vegan) fibre choices. Though mentioning that I offer an alternative for people who are vegan or allergic to wool often softens their views. After all, most people nowadays have a family member or friend who is allergic to wool or hair fibre. The best part I think is when I’m at a fibre show and someone who’s allergic to wool or vegan comes to my booth and says “So, everything here is wool free/vegan?” and when I answer the affirmative, they purposefully and with much delight, touch, handle and feel everything excitedly! I occasionally get emails from people who just want to tell me how happy they are that they’ve found my shop and they love my yarn. Wow! I love getting emails like that. It gives me a good reason to keep going when sales are slow or if I’m not feeling very productive.  

How do you balance your life between business and creating?

I’m not a natural business sort of person. I like to ‘make things’ with my hands. Many technical aspects I find I have had to put some serious effort into learning, like accounting, shipping, and advertising effectively. To handle the steep learning curves I have encountered along the way (at the moment I’m learning how to use my new Canon Rebel DSLR camera) I’ve made sure to be patient and do a little bit at a time, and not get so immersed that it takes up all my time and stresses me out. Currently it’s a constant flow between looking after my son and organizing his complicated autism therapy schedule, working outside the home as a set decoration seamstress (for film and television), cycling and running, practicing violin and ukulele with my fiancé, who also happens to be my bandmate, and operating this yarn business. Often I’ll be printing out cue cards for my son’s therapy sessions, making dinner, and preparing an order to be shipped all at the same time! Sometimes when I bike to work, I’ll bring packages with me, and drop them off at a mailbox somewhere in between on the 25km ride. I have found that the flexibility of this work has been amazing. It has allowed me the opportunity to create independently, and even make a humble income while doing many other things at the same time. I’m so glad to be able to have that, because if I had work hours set in stone for this shop, I don’t think I would be able to do it.

Do you have any advice for people who want to pursue a career in crafts?
Be patient. Make what makes you happy. Don’t accept boredom, or dissatisfaction. Its your job, you are your boss, so don’t get the impression that you have to do anything you don’t want to do. If you need help, ask. Many people are surprisingly helpful and supportive of independent artists.

I also asked Heidi to show us her workplace. I'm sort of obsessed with seeing the space where magic happens.

  The den is where I do most of my work. From the bottom left is my spinning wheel, electric skein winder, behind the orange curtain is my vintage singer industrial sewing machine. The boxes on the left are my knitting machine (still figuring it out), and on the shelf I’ve got all my yarn and fibre. I like to have a few things about me that make me smile while I work, so I have my Sock Summit 2011 vendor badge hanging from the rack on the left, and my Vancouver Half-Marathon medal. In the foreground is my yarn drying rack that used to be a upright loom. Very handy and pretty too!

 Thank you a thousand times, Heidi, for taking your time for this interview! I wish you all the best with your beautiful yarn!

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