Misc Summer 2020 Stitching Chat!

Faroe

Has No Life - Lives on TB
I've been busy with several projects. Finally got the dye vat to work (still no coppery flower on top). yarn is blue, and rinse water eventually ran clear. Waiting for the vat to re-reduce so I can dip once more. Am going to make another bigger vat when I can get my scattered head together to focus on the recipe.

Gansey is going well. The yarn on the cone is alarmingly low - this sweater will be big an boxy, so ordered another cone of the Cordova color.

Hoping to get in one more sweater sufficient yarn order before the nation completely implodes. Maybe by then, that will be the last thing I care about, but we aren't quite there yet.
 

ginnie6

Senior Member
I'm still teaching myself to knit. So far I've managed to make two hats and a couple dishrags. I want to do socks though and have started and undone the stitching a couple times. Sooner or later I'll get it. I also need to get ds' new quilt sandwiched so I can start on it. Figures I'd finally get the hang of knitting when everything is going crazy and yarn may be hard to come by unless you have animals and the abilit to spin it yourself. Walmart is almost completely wiped out.
 

packyderms_wife

Neither here nor there.
I'm still teaching myself to knit. So far I've managed to make two hats and a couple dishrags. I want to do socks though and have started and undone the stitching a couple times. Sooner or later I'll get it. I also need to get ds' new quilt sandwiched so I can start on it. Figures I'd finally get the hang of knitting when everything is going crazy and yarn may be hard to come by unless you have animals and the abilit to spin it yourself. Walmart is almost completely wiped out.
I've been loathe to get rid of my wool fiber and I'm starting to see that I may have to start spinning my own yarns again.
 

packyderms_wife

Neither here nor there.
Okay, y'all I was just asked if I could hang my currently nonexistent new body of work for both July and August. So I've got 30 days to get 15 quite large pieces done so if you don't hear from me send me a PM or whatever. Lol. Talk about an incentive to produce a new body of work... the upside is several of those pieces are probably already sold because I'm painting cows this time and my audience seems to like my cows.
 

Faroe

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Well, who feels like knitting when it is 104F out? Ugh.
I'm not a summer person.

I'm also at the point where I have to make a decision about when to start the gusset...now? not sure... Dug out BBR's gansey book to get some help, and to determine the row count to space the increases (and what type of increase), but - it is too hot to even THINK!

At least while searching for the book, I found the printouts of indigo vat recipes, according to the 1,2,3 vat instructions, the jar needs more fructose. Since the last dip, the copper flower finally developed, but the liquid is still blue. So, I can deal with that tomorrow. Should have probably removed the jar from the tool shed; in this heat it has possibly cooked.

More hexies, always more hexies. I was unhappy with the stitched together collection of thirty-something so far - the whole thing just seemed muddy. I realized I had too many colors, and not much contrast (Carol Brown, Just Get it Done Quilts videos are good if you suck at color. My go-to color is grey). Started another with just good blues, and some creamy/taupy lighter prints that are more subtle. Much better, and actually what I envisioned originally. Am reluctant to combine the two very different groups, so apparently yet another quilt has been started. I'd really like to finish just ONE before departing this life.

Anyway, that is all for now.
 

packyderms_wife

Neither here nor there.
Totally tearing my studio apart and having him move fabric and fibers up to the spare bedroom, soon I'll have room the 30 new paintings I'm creating to dry! He scored a bakers rack from HyVee when they did a remodel and he's making shelves for it, it'll hold 24 individual canvas' I do believe. Having that bakers rack means I won't be using up valuable floor space for paintings to dry and means there's less of risk of Jr. or the Grey Ghost (my dad's cat) from walking on them.
 

Samuel Adams

Veteran Member
Oh alright I confess already.

Gunna hit 85 degrees today, but it’s cooler in the cabin and I take Saturday’s off.

Cast on 18 stitches, 5 bulky mohair strands, #17 circulars, just this early a.m., for a super chunky pair of mittens in a combination of deep bergundy with highlights and finger portion tip in a related but much lighter shade of hot pink.

I thoroughly enjoy knitting anything in super chunky (holdover therapy from the days She was with me, in the physical......) but mittens rank right at the top for both endearment and a more instant gratification. :)

Long live the keepers of sheep, angora goats, rabbits, alpaca, camel, musk ox, etc., and the very talented processors and spinners that feed our obsessions.
 
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Melodi

Disaster Cat
Hoping to finish mittens today, the heat finally went away and we are back to usual for an "Irish" Summer, Nightwolf couldn't find any hats today for an emergency trip into town - I was a good wifey, I did not say "oh probably thrown all over the property being nested in by birds and moths" I said, "oh well, most were in the drawers you needed for the garden and I'm not sure where you put the contents when you emptied them out?"

He said "The Kitty can knit the Wolfie more hats" so I probably will - his birthday is on the 28th, I think I have a project as soon as that mitten off the needles.
 

Faroe

Has No Life - Lives on TB
I'll be on the same sweater for a while. Been plagued by headaches, so progress has been slow. Once I realized I would more than a 500g cone for this sweater, I decided I had better get second cones in what I already have for the other colors. The aren't cheap, but I can fit in one in per month, and ordered another today. No point in having the cones, if there isn't enough.

The Sheringham gansey book came in. Mostly a series of essays on the history of local knitting and the fishing. Also some good photos of some stunning sweaters that have survived. I'm plannig the next sweater to be a copy of one in the book. Really wish they had a chart for that one, but I can probably figure it out. The Sheringham style of motifs is similar to the Danish night shirts in Hoxbro's book. One thing that always bugs me is that the modern patterns are always in a significantly larger gage than the museum pieces. The smaller gage looks much better.
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
I discovered a fatal error in the second mitten last night (the thumb opening was in the wrong place) and because the complex honeycomb was nearly impossible to rip out and pick back up again, I just unraveled it, put it away and started a hat or thought I'd started one.

Discovered this morning a mistake in that too, and trying to "fix" the early ribbing kept making it worse, also realized the needle size was too big.

I have now started a different hat with a different pattern and so far it is going well.

I do plan to finish the other mitten eventually (or just totally reknit it - I'm down to the ribbing) but since he needs/wants the hats and his birthday is the 28, I decided to skip ahead.

I am currently making this one from Cottage Creations - Johnathan Anderson's Cap only in red, grey and white.
Photo is from the site
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
If you like colorwork and don't want to mess with finding your own charted designs or just want some good basic hat templates to put your own designs on I really recommend this Cottage Creations booklet "Scandinavian Caps for the Guys" (they are really for the gals too).

This one only took me 2 days, of course, I spent a lot of time knitting but this would be an easy hat to knit in a week just doing an hour or two each night, possibly less.

This one is the pattern I mentioned above: done in some of Nightwolf's favorite colors.
 

IRoberge

Veteran Member
Just got back from the fabric store. Picked up material and supplies to make four blouses. It's near impossible to find a well made, classic, calico blouse anymore. Been a long time since I made any clothing. I hope it's like riding a bike.
 

Faroe

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Faroe, is there any chance that your forum name has anything to do with an affiliation with The Islands ?
I was interested for years in the Faroese shawls, they have shoulder shaping, and fit well. For some reason, I was intimidated by all the patterns I found, and never made one until a couple of years ago. Oberle pattern, Folk Shawls book, the project is documented on an older thread somewhere deep in the archives.

Not sure why otherwise I chose that for a handle, Gotland or Hebrides, or Shetland would have been suitable as well. I guess the shawls kept bugging me. There is just something romantic about that part of the world (never traveled there), The wind, the sheep feeding on seaweed on rocky shores, and the grey implacable North Atlantic. I wanted to move there in my twenties, but never put any focus on pulling that together.

As for the current gansey, hit the mid-point of the gussets. Those are on stitch holders, and the front panel is about 2" above that line. The knitting goes slower when every other row is pearl, but it seems to go faster because, only half-rounds are being worked. Given that sleeves always take longer than it seems they should, I'd say the sweater is not quite half-way along, but close.

Was watching a Suzanne Bryan (spell?) interview yesterday with someone I'd never heard of, Sivia Harding (correct spelling). Wow! Lace at it's best, in my opinion. I'll be purchasing a few of her patterns when July begins. Shawls and Scarves — Sivia Harding Knit Design
 
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ejagno

Veteran Member
Doing some major restructuring in my house on top of working full time. My huge living room moved to the front dining room. My huge dining room set is currently dismantled and in my craft room. The previous living room is now my husbands "Man Cave-Smoking room". Needless to say there hasn't been much sewing, serging, crocheting or knitting. I find myself longing to just sit and crochet but lose interest with the start and stop routine for days on end. I only get every other weekend off so by the time I get back to it I've lost track and interest. I haven't figured out the logistics of moving all of my crafting stuff to one area to fit that huge dining room set in here yet.
 

Faroe

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Doing some major restructuring in my house on top of working full time. My huge living room moved to the front dining room. My huge dining room set is currently dismantled and in my craft room. The previous living room is now my husbands "Man Cave-Smoking room". Needless to say there hasn't been much sewing, serging, crocheting or knitting. I find myself longing to just sit and crochet but lose interest with the start and stop routine for days on end. I only get every other weekend off so by the time I get back to it I've lost track and interest. I haven't figured out the logistics of moving all of my crafting stuff to one area to fit that huge dining room set in here yet.
Don't know if it helps, but my scattered, can't focus, default craft work is granny squares. I keep a crochet hook and partial skein in my purse (back-pack, actually) for any odd stretch of time when I don't want to be "present." At this point, I have four big glass jars set on the mantle stuffed with grannies (moth protection), also providing an indication of my own recent mental state. At some point, I'll get around to joining them together.

House renovation is such a PITA!
 
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Melodi

Disaster Cat
My fall back is similar to Faroe, rather than granny squares (which I haven't done in years but may get back to) I tend to start hats, which for me can be almost mindless projects if I throw one on that is simple and is either knit flat or mindlessly in the round.

Scarves are another one, though I do those less often, Nightwolf doesn't wear them and they can be LONG projects; I find that when my life is scattered all over the place small and easy to finish is beautiful - next would be a big project in small pieces like lots of granny squares (or beehive knitted quilt bits).
 

Faroe

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Melodi, have you considered neck warmers/"gaitors"/cowls?

Basically a pull-down hat without the closed top, a short scarf you don't have to wrap and tie. Fun projects to work with cables, textures, lace, and color stranding, in the round, or Kitchner after, and fit is really not important. A very wide cowl can go over a smaller cowl, or wear a bigger one over a silk scarf - my favorite option (zero itch, and VERY warm).

Double knitting fascinates me, and I really want to knit a big double knit gaitor. However, double knitting does not equal mindless knitting. Watched another Suzanne interview two days ago. Her guest was an elderly lady who double knits, self taught, she wasn't even sure what size needles she was using (She said, "I talk to my needles."). Oh my goodness, her work is beautiful!
 
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Melodi

Disaster Cat
He wants hats, on his head, to hide the well, shall we say the absence of hair that is up there; seriously I tend to wear hats 90 percent of the time for much the same reason though my hair is just painfully thin.

I do knit scarves for me and I may try making him a helmet or baklava for deep Winter, especially when he has to deal with horses or ducks at sunrise/sunset in the Winter.

Double knitting tends to hurt my fingers though I often make one hat, then attach "another hat" to it, so effectively it is a lining or a different colored hat.

I've got two hats to finish (if possible) by the 28th, then I need to make a couple for me (I'm hoping the Summer Cotton Yarn will be here by then) and then I've got a sock commission to work on.

All smaller things, but I find the hats are the fastest, I've almost always got some socks cast on somewhere too.
 

Faroe

Has No Life - Lives on TB
He wants hats, on his head, to hide the well, shall we say the absence of hair that is up there; seriously I tend to wear hats 90 percent of the time for much the same reason though my hair is just painfully thin.

I do knit scarves for me and I may try making him a helmet or baklava for deep Winter, especially when he has to deal with horses or ducks at sunrise/sunset in the Winter.

Double knitting tends to hurt my fingers though I often make one hat, then attach "another hat" to it, so effectively it is a lining or a different colored hat.

I've got two hats to finish (if possible) by the 28th, then I need to make a couple for me (I'm hoping the Summer Cotton Yarn will be here by then) and then I've got a sock commission to work on.

All smaller things, but I find the hats are the fastest, I've almost always got some socks cast on somewhere too.
I have too much hair to fit under a cap - average thickness, but long and wound up around a hair fork. I just wrap a scarf or shawl around my head. It ends up being the most comfortable option in cold weather. As much as I like a toothy rustic yarn in almost everything else, most wool is itchy on my forehead. Knitting a liner in Merino helps. The hat wasn't for me, but I knit a partial liner in Merino into a hat last winter. That extra detail was appreciated.

While gansey knitting hurts my hands quite a bit, double knitting doesn't - I can't get a firm tension at all, so there is no strain to begin with. Still slow as molasses at it, and my small sample is a sloppy mistake ridden mess (this is even before any attempts to bring the colors forward and back in to any sort of design). Watched an interview with Lucy Neatby - there is so much you can do with this technique, but I am having a HARD time getting the hang of it. (Sorry, I can get the video up off Ravelry, but I don't see the show on Suzanne's Off the Cuff channel, and the Rav embed doesn't show a link anywhere to get it directly. Same with the equally good Christa Newhouse video, I mentioned in the post above.)
 
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Faroe

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Am almost up to the neck on the front of this sweater. The sides were split on the 2oth? (which ever date was the Solstice), so I hope by the first of July, I will have the back knitted, and the shoulders joined. This is going to be a big boxy sweater. I'm fine with that. What does distress me, is the gauge on the upper area is noticeably finer than the knitting at the base. What the heck? I try SO hard to be consistent. The pearl rows past the mid-way gussets are the problem. I've knitted them as tight a possible to match the knit rows - they always seem to loosen up on their own anyway, and now I have sore hands from the strain, obvious "rowing out" from the discrepancy, despite all efforts (and it is not that the pearl roes are tighter than the knit rows), and an overall smaller gauge. Grrr.

I'm NOT ripping it out. For one thing, I expect I'd end up with the same results a second time around, anyway. Just going to have to live with the fact that this is not my best work, and it will be a fun sweater, but not a perfect sweater (and by gansey knitter standards...not a particularly *good* sweater). The one I knitted last year turned out much better.
 
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Melodi

Disaster Cat
Next time you might want to try knitting the sweater either totally flat and/or in the round with steeks; that's because a lot of people (me included) tend to have different tension knitting in the round than they do knitting flat.

A lot of sweaters do the "round to the arms" than flat, which except for patterns like "The Family Tunic" where the top part is all garter stitch (the bottom in stockinette) can be a real tension nightmare.

I've also noticed that sometimes the "same" yarn can end up a slightly different weight - I carefully counted the rows on my Big Square Jacket I've pictured here but I had to knit the second arm twice because the first time the same number of rows in the same yarn (but a different color) made a sleeve 2 or 3 inches longer than the first one!

The variations were very slight, but it was enough to cause a difference in the arm length - since most of the time people don't know sleeves in different colors (except for kids or art sweaters like mine) this usually doesn't show up as much.

I think you prefer knitting flat (I prefer round) so doing the garments in pieces might work best, either that or the other trick is if you have enough yarn to knit one hat flat and one round as "samples" to see if your gauge is the same or not - then you also have two matching hats for the sweater (that's an Elizabeth Zimmerman trick).
 

Faroe

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Yes, while the mid-gusset split is THE traditional gansey construction method, it may not be MY best method. Normally, the patterning at the top relaxes everything, but I have a +/-20 stitch span of plain stockinette on the sides, and that is where it shows. The last sweater used moss stitch on the sides. I've noticed that the most particular knitters coming from a dressmaking/tailoring perspective, tend to knit flat. While I strive to master the best possible construction methods, I'm not sure how particular I want to be.

From the Couture end of the spectrum, Suzanne interviews Catherine Lowe. Run time 1hr and 40-something min. Lowe has a book from 2006? titled something like The Unravel'd Sleeve, (a play on Janet Arnold's Wardrobe Unlock'd series?), which seems to be gone from Amazon, but I'm still looking for it. Last time I found it, it was $50+, but I'll order if I can find one.
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rx7dGFbv1C0


Opposite that, I also found an interesting late-night interview with Steven Berg (spell?), who knits with anything, inc. VHS tape. Actually, I found the interview fun, and quite liberating (normally, I am unapologetically judgmental contemptuous and disapproving about that sort of thing, but whatever..SB gets a pass). He likes to knit/crochet with multiple strands, to mix and match colors, textures, and fibers. Makes me think you could make some lovely blended granny squares in various colored strands of lace weight.

Melodi, I have had similar experiences with obvious yarn differences, and in the SAME yarn. I have a batch of Jaimeson & Smith fingering weight where a single short strand the natural off-white is noticeably thicker than the shades of brown and gray it is sold with - and they don't look good knit right next to eachother, either. Surprised me, that is otherwise a high quality yarn, and the only Shetland I now bother purchasing (I don't care at all for Jaimeson's of Shetland - as I understand, totally different mill and ownership. Beware of the day-glo "heather" flecking, and the very dry, almost brittle texture).

ETA: Found the book. I had the title wrong. The Ravell'd Sleeve | The Journal of The Couture Knitting Workshop: Catherine Lowe: Amazon.com: Books
 
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Faroe

Has No Life - Lives on TB
With trepidation, last night, I ventured over to BluePrint/Craftsy. They haven't issued an update in weeks, but the site is still functioning, and *my* classes still run. So...Entrelac. It's basically patchwork-as-you-go, without the sewing, and the cast-on is ONE stitch. What's not to like? I've wanted to knit a blanket lately, but I have NOT wanted to cast on the four or five hundred stitches required. So, if I ever do knit a blanket, it might end up being Entrelac.

Here is the best part: There is NO constant flipping the work front side/back side. The instructor shows you how to just knit the stitches back onto the other needle. Just study how the needle is inserted for pearl on the back, and get that motion down for doing that from the front, and ditto for the yarn wrap. I find the yarn throw is a slightly awkward move with the left index finger, but this method is MUCH less fiddly than turning the work. Staying on the front side also makes the frequent pick-ups easier too. Pick-up-and-knit is much easier than Pick-up-and-pearl. Does anyone get to the point where they knit all types of projects from the front of the work? I would love to leave pearl rows behind for good.

Anyway, I'm using some ugly colors that I didn't want for a lot of the granny squares, and the effect is still pretty. While I could never have figured out Entrelac on my own, once you get going, the knitting itself doesn't require much conscious attention.
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
I've done a lot of research on the history of knitting, the earliest knitting was known in Europe (from Spain) seems to be knit in the round (probably Islamic artisans hired by the royal family - Islamic style on pillows for the burial of royal infants but with Christian and royal family symbols).

All the pictures I am aware of, of the Virgin (or others) knitting in the late 13th, 14th, and 15th century (mostly early 14th) show knitting in the round: shirts, purses, socks etc. My favorite is Mary knitting a "sweater" for the young Jesus who reads a book at her feet (about age 7, the age of reason in the High Middle Ages).

I've actually done a handspun, hand-dyed copy of that one year ago except I made the neck too small.

Anyway, flat knitting is certainly starting to happen a bit in the 16th century (when the knitting machine gets invented) and becomes the rage in the 1930s when tailored clothing and commercial knitting machines really came to be popular in a big way.

There is a huge historical debate I won't get into on the history of pearling when it comes to being "able" to knit flat and still get "garter stitch," I really have no opinion on that only that certain types of European knitting (like my German housemate does) do make it just about as easy to pearl as it does to knit, and I'm pretty sure creative people would have figured this out lots of different times.

If I had learned that style first, instead of later (and I can only do it when knitting two-handed) I probably wouldn't care if I was knitting flat or round either.

Finally: Gansey's probably ARE a native English/Island tradition and the ultimate expression of that shirt Mary is knitting for her son many centuries ago in that painting.

Hence, knit in the round (on huge long needles like fair isle in Scotland) only switching to back and forth to do the upper patterning that would show over a fisherman's overalls.

The patterning is also heavier and warmer than plain stitches are, and the plan stitches go under the overalls.

Aran patterned sweaters on the other hand, from all the REAL information I can source (forget tourist trap stuff), are not actually indigenous to the Aran Islands which has however adopted them.

Despite all the lovely mythology around ancient "Orish" fisherfolk knitting individual family patters to "identify the dead" who would neatly "wash up on the beach" after shipwrecks (how accommodating of them - sarcasm alert) in reality the sweaters seem to have been unknown before two sisters who immigrated to Canada when young moved back in their late middle age and brought the flat knit, patterned, cabled sweaters with them - from the Eastern Seaboard; where similar sweaters are also popular.

They are popular because slightly greased wool (washed but home washed) done with lots of cables and pattern stitches are WARM and perfect against the HIGH WINDS of the Atlantic on both sides of the water. They also make bulky and large pieces which frankly ARE hard to knit in the round unless you are knitting something smaller (like baby clothing) or do the two-person sweater a la Elizabeth Zimmerman and her daughter Meg.

It is possible to knit them in the round, but I wouldn't in Summer or anytime getting overheated is a bad idea.

I haven't made a full one yet, but after the round "sweater of way too many cables" that is still a UFO nearly 6 or 7 years after it started, if I do I will probably knit it flat unless it is a more simplified version.

Flat knitting allows for a LOT more shaping and tailoring which can be done by round knitting with steeks but is often easier done in pieces.

Anyway, it might be worth checking out to see if you can find a flat gansy pattern as a template (until the 1990s most patterns were made into flat patterns for the US market).

Purple Kitty has a lot of vintage patterns for free, though I sometimes buy their yearly wrap-ups. I would start looking at their lots of patterns from the 1930s through the 1980s. I use the children's knee sock pattern from the 1950s for myself (I've got kid shaped legs on a body the size of the average 9-year-old).

 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
Update on Purple Kitty - I had not visited for some time and they appear to have been sold or simply kind of taken over the by the super-advertising heavy, nearly impossible to use "free knitting with lots of garbage" similar to All Free Knitting.

This doesn't mean there is nothing useful there, but I found it frustrating and was unable to sign in to my old account - thankfully I have all those years of pamphlets I paid for and downloaded over the years they were active.

I do hope someone else takes them over and continues to reprint old pattern books, but my hunch is that someone in a "Big Company" somewhere that bought out the little guys got snarky about some Copywrite issues or perhaps the people running it retired.
 

Faroe

Has No Life - Lives on TB
I looked into other platforms back in Ravelry's first psychotic episode, and also found them to be a mess of distracting ads, and almost no useful content. The fiber industry seems to eat its own.

I don't have Richard Rutt's book on the history of knitting. It has been on every budget for next month for a few years, and every month, I find something else to do with that $60-something that a copy typically sells for. (I also would prefer the edition with his photo on the cover, which is harder to find.) Everyone says "Middle East" and every one shows the pic of the cotton Egyptian split-toe red slippers, and gives the 500 to 1000 AD, and Syria gets thrown around, along with "Islamic"....my STRONG hunch is Persia. Fits the time period for their civilization, and basically everything else of value starts with them inc the math. I'll dig deeper at some point. The one individual I personally know who might be able to steer me into some less readily avail. internet or print avenues doesn't focus on textiles, and I don't communicate with him all that often.

The intertwined cables of Aran sweaters are more Aryan than we might give credit to. The distinctively Celtic/Viking intertwined animal and floral motifs we see in metal work, stone work, the Lindesfarne (spell?) book, and cable Aran sweaters have their origins in the similar arts of the Scythinan (spell?) and related horse riding tribes that came out of what we now call Iran. (Iran, Aryan, Ireland, aran, and perhaps the name Erin?...all look like related words.)

As for more recent history, there are instances where knitting has identified a body, either drowned in a Dutch river, washed up on an ocean beach. I think what happens is that the most treacherous part of some sea voyages is getting back safely into port, so the drownings don't necessarily happen all that far away. As one of the published authors on the Gansey Rav site has said, you would recognize your own knitting. Some of the researchers on that site get way into the weeds, and are looking at original sources like court records, so I trust what they say. What they also seem to agree on, is that the motifs were NOT specific to one village. Everyone got around by boat. Esp. the knitting Herring Girls. The fishing industry people of the time influenced each other, all over that side of the Atlantic. Noted knitters of the era are now known for certain styles - Mrs. Bishop, or Ester Nurse for the distinctive ganseys in the Sheringham museum. The Filey and Polporro (spell?...and, I'm going by memory here so I don't spend half the day on this post, but you get the idea) and such in the Gladys Thompson book that gives the impression of one style per town was probably the suggestion of her publisher, and not the reality of knitwear on the backs of the working population. After a certain point, we can only speculate based on the photos, and the few surviving sweaters.

What I do find odd, is the Eriskay (spell?) lacy gansey style. That DOES seem to be limited to that remote area. (for a while, that style sort of obsessed me, I'm kind of over it now, and probably won't knit one. Gordon of Gansey Nation completed a gorgeous example about a year or so ago, if anyone is interested in it.)
 
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Melodi

Disaster Cat
Of course, the patterns are very old, and they were as popular in the 1890s with the the "Irish Romantic Revival" as they are now, in Ireland possibly more so (we hardly sold any Celtic Jewelry in Ireland when we were making it, but we sold tons in the USA and even at last year's World Con in Dublin, to the North Americans).

The whole Aran Islands debate may never be totally solved, but unless or until they find actual sweaters, hats, or other pieces in that style from saying the late 1700s to the 1880s, I'll be skeptical as to their ancient origins right there on the Island. The Celtic Knotwork Cables are popular nearly everywhere and have been for at least 100 or more of the last years of knitting.

It is the way the whole story gets repeated in the press and by tour guides as if it was the absolute "ancient" truth that gets me, I kind of prefer to go where the real history seems to be leading when it is known; either way, at this point the Islands have been making and exporting these sweaters for over 100 years so it belongs as much to them as it does belongs to anyone.

On Rudd- the book is fantastic and worth every penny BUT the world of textile archeology has grown in leaps and bounds since it was written and some of his archeological backgrounds is still spot on (the infanta's pillows in Spain) the really early stuff all turns out, much to my sadness and the destruction of my usual class lecture, to be Nailbinding.

Good nalbinding looks so much some knitting stitches that to the untrained eye, especially after nearly 2,000 years of felting and without modern magnification methods; it can be almost impossible to tell one from the other.

But as more researchers now learn the art itself and as the technology has improved, it looks like nearly every Roman and even a lot of the Copic "knitted" pieces are in fact a form of nalbinding, including my beloved child's sock with the different colored toes.

You are totally correct that, as far as we know, knitting seems to have come out of the Middle East "somewhere" (possibly multiple places including late Coptic Egypt/Early Islamic Syria etc). We KNOW that one of the Spanish Princesses brought it to Northern Europe a bit after the Infanta's pillows were found, it may have been in Northern Europe before then but like a lot of crafts, it sort of oozed its way from one person to another until it hits the serious Male-Dominated Craft guilds of the 1300s.

Rudd's later work still stands just about as well today as it did when it was written, except that we now have a lot more finds to compare them with.

Though as far as I know, there are still no woolen Socks found from England from before the late Elizabethan period (and the ones I've seen are mostly silk) despite it being a major, major export of the early modern period.

But this is a must-have book if you can afford it, I consider it my first line of reference even with the changes, he spent a lot more time of this stuff than I have, the book is awesome!
 

Faroe

Has No Life - Lives on TB
I actually think you can put all the shaping you want into a knit in the round garment, it is just that for various reasons, people typically don't.

Switching needle size, short rows, Cables that draw the fabric in, or just placed decreases can make for whatever dramatic or subtle changes are wanted, and that is before blocking which can be aggressive, if necessary. The thing about flat, is you can make and fit as you go. If the sleeve doesn't work, just knit another sleeve, not the rest of the sweater.

I came to knitting 20 years ago from a sewing background, and was much more comfortable with pattern pieces than one big piece. It STILL bugs me all the calculations that need to be done from the start, the fact that you just can't un pick a seam, and cut a new piece, or just inc/dec. a seam allowance. Sewing is SO much more forgiving! No swatching and stitches per inch with sewing. The old gansey knitters were assisted by using essentially the same basic pattern for each sweater they made, and they were limited to the yarns, and probably used the same needles for all of them. Knitting multiples of the nearly-same, they could refine that discipline into what we admire and strive for today. Knitters today are more likely to get distracted by fashion, and the enormous variety, and no one's ship-board survival is dependent on us mastering any of it.

There are varied opinions, but I think the extra tight water repellent gansey of olde was also a product of those long straight needles, and the knitting belt/sheath combo. that went with it AND the English habit of throwing the yarn with the right index finger. That knitting style pushes down onto the needle secured in the sheath, and allows for a very firm tension, w/o excessive hand strain. I haven't succeeded in making that work with Continental pick style - the force on the needle is up, and the needle ends up unsecured. Most importantly, those 14" long skinny needles are dangerous! I decided that traditional knitting and authenticity was NOT worth risking putting out my dogs's eyes when they came to greet me (dogs are all fine). Arenda Holliday (spell?) mentions the same stabby danger in an earlier Off the Cuff interview with Suzanne. I hate to be a safety nanny, but I left THAT historical detail behind, and just knit them the best I can on circs.
 

Faroe

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Of course, the patterns are very old, and they were as popular in the 1890s with the the "Irish Romantic Revival" as they are now, in Ireland possibly more so (we hardly sold any Celtic Jewelry in Ireland when we were making it, but we sold tons in the USA and even at last year's World Con in Dublin, to the North Americans).

The whole Aran Islands debate may never be totally solved, but unless or until they find actual sweaters, hats, or other pieces in that style from saying the late 1700s to the 1880s, I'll be skeptical as to their ancient origins right there on the Island. The Celtic Knotwork Cables are popular nearly everywhere and have been for at least 100 or more of the last years of knitting.

It is the way the whole story gets repeated in the press and by tour guides as if it was the absolute "ancient" truth that gets me, I kind of prefer to go where the real history seems to be leading when it is known; either way, at this point the Islands have been making and exporting these sweaters for over 100 years so it belongs as much to them as it does belongs to anyone.

On Rudd- the book is fantastic and worth every penny BUT the world of textile archeology has grown in leaps and bounds since it was written and some of his archeological backgrounds is still spot on (the infanta's pillows in Spain) the really early stuff all turns out, much to my sadness and the destruction of my usual class lecture, to be Nailbinding.

Good nalbinding looks so much some knitting stitches that to the untrained eye, especially after nearly 2,000 years of felting and without modern magnification methods; it can be almost impossible to tell one from the other.

But as more researchers now learn the art itself and as the technology has improved, it looks like nearly every Roman and even a lot of the Copic "knitted" pieces are in fact a form of nalbinding, including my beloved child's sock with the different colored toes.

You are totally correct that, as far as we know, knitting seems to have come out of the Middle East "somewhere" (possibly multiple places including late Coptic Egypt/Early Islamic Syria etc). We KNOW that one of the Spanish Princesses brought it to Northern Europe a bit after the Infanta's pillows were found, it may have been in Northern Europe before then but like a lot of crafts, it sort of oozed its way from one person to another until it hits the serious Male-Dominated Craft guilds of the 1300s.

Rudd's later work still stands just about as well today as it did when it was written, except that we now have a lot more finds to compare them with.

Though as far as I know, there are still no woolen Socks found from England from before the late Elizabethan period (and the ones I've seen are mostly silk) despite it being a major, major export of the early modern period.

But this is a must-have book if you can afford it, I consider it my first line of reference even with the changes, he spent a lot more time of this stuff than I have, the book is awesome!
Thank you!
Yeah, nalbinding is another book that keeps getting delayed. No specific book that I know of, I just want to learn the technique. Everybody and their cousin on Etsy makes the little nalbinding needles (probably more needle making than actual nalbinding going on), if you have a recommendation for a supplier, I'll go there...probably August. The lucet fork and a suitable book is the Viking project for this July.

Agree, those cable sweaters are almost certainly recent, it is the aesthetic that is older - that is, a recent adaptation of beautiful old designs. Even more recent, the "traditional" Icelandic yoke sweater supposedly dates from the 1950's (at least acc. to the instructor who teaches a top-down version on Craftsy). Not sure what the fisher and working classes were wearing in Iceland before that, we see more fitted and felted pieces, woven/felted waist coats, and jackets in Northern European areas, but I'm more familiar with what the women were supposedly wearing, and most of that is from "folk" costume, which even with the best intentions, is still largely...costume.
 
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Faroe

Has No Life - Lives on TB
At the time of the Lillehammer Olympics, Before I learned to knit, I bought a hand-knit many twined cabled sweater. It is in a darker wool, so not classically "aran" looking but fully cabled, busy, and complexly twisted. I found the original in a local yarn store (displayed with a traditional colorful Norwegian style ski sweater in commemoration of the coming games). The cabled one in the window was for sale, but was too small for me. The store owner offered to knit me one to fit. She was a skilled knitter - I still wear it, and still admire it. Basically, the sweater that got me interested in this magical craft, and the sweater I still aspire to copy one day, but....it is a LOT of cables!

In the first two kid-sized ganseys I made, I just decided that the simple straight-up ropes would all twist one way. I did NOT want any extra complications. I mirrored the straight up cables in the adlut sized fitted gansey I made last year, and spent considerable time head scratching and picking out to get them correct. Seems like a simple thing, but I get confused easily. On the current gansey, they are boldly marked. Red floss pinned to each rope means the cable needle goes in FRONT. No matter where I am in the round, I don't have to think about how they should twist. I also made sure the twist interval row was on an even count, so that I wouldn't have to deal with knitting the twist from the back side, above the gusset split like what happened on the last gansey. Everything CAN be unpicked and corrected, but eventually, one just gets cross-eyed, esp at 8-9 SPI, and a navy that reads indoors as black.

I have yet to attempt anything, even at a much larger gauge that is a branching multi-twined, viney, braided, various in-fill Aran or Nora Gaughin style cable. Maybe someday.... Done a few swatches with "viking style" cables (IIRC, Elizabeth Lavold), but they are self contained knots, and don't travel over the entire garment.
 
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Melodi

Disaster Cat
I looked it up, I remember the Icelandic Sweaters (modern style) were from around the 1940s, and yeah invented sometime before but really becoming popular after independence as a symbol of Iceland.

Origin of the patterns is "unknown" but since most of them are exactly the same designs as Norwegian, Swedish, Danish and Faroe patterns (even some Estonian and other Eastern European)I'm guessing books of patterns combined in a "new" way - aka around the neck.

Also, I've knitted a number of the things, and using traditional patterns as in Knitting the Old Way it becomes pretty obvious that the Icelanders have a love of triangles and designs that use three colors per row (as well as using the large but light unspun Lopi yarn).

Real Icelandic yarn, that you can now get some places in the US is "fun" to work with at first because it isn't spun at all, you are knitting with rovings - they twist it a bit for the American and Eastern European markets but the stuff I can get from Iceland is just bricks of unspun rovings - it makes a wonderfully light but very warm cloth, again perfect against the Icelandic winds in much the same way as Arans and Ganseys, just very thin and good as a garment to layer with.

I am a total dunce at nalbinding - I have tried and tried and tried - like tablet weaving that took me 20 years, I may "get it" eventually, and because of my Norse persona in the SCA I really should be doing it at least on a basic level but I've got knitting so socked in it is hard to essentially knit a lot of chain stitches without a crochet hook.

I was just telling Nightwolf about the Lillehammer Sweater a couple of weeks ago, the pattern doesn't seem to be available anymore I did look for it.

I agree on the dangers of the long, metal cables; my dear friend Heather (I can't believe she's been gone 20 years!) was an Englishwomen who was a close friend our first years here and she used a very English method of very long needles (knit flat) but held under her arm sticking straight out. Knitting "continental" style she was very fast and it was also very frightening - she used have seriously, have as a joke scare the menfolk by pointing her knitting at them and telling them to behave.

The long double-pointed, even the hard plastic ones are kind of scary; I'd consider them for reenactment away from the house but I wouldn't use them inside as long as I have circular needles to use instead - even for socks I prefer commercial needles wood/plastic/metal that is safer than the ones I call "piano wires."

What I often do for SCA demonstration knitting where the public will see me is to just take whatever sock I have on modern needles and put them on wood ones, hats I move to longer wooden double-pointed needles. Most of the time it doesn't matter because the SCA is more of a member's club and at regular events, it is acceptable to use modern tools sometimes, especially when safety is an issue.

I mean most SCA potters use modern kilns and not everyone does all their weaving on a warp-weighted loom (my back will last 15 minutes trying to use one of those).

I admire your love of cables and texture patterns, I've noticed most knitters fall into two categories: color knitters and texture knitters - almost everyone who does it for a few years learns both but tends to prefer one to the other.

People who come into knitting from sewing often prefer to knit flat, people who come into it from other crafts often like round better.

And finally, yes it is possible to do almost anything in the round you can do flat, but some things are just a lot easier flat and in my experience, some of the "tricks" for round knitting don't always look quite as neat as the flat version.

This has especially been my experience with things like keyhole neckbands and other "steek and cut" areas that are severely curved (V necks are another that is problematic). Not impossible, just a bit more difficult - I do it a lot anyway because over all round is usually easier especially for color pattern knitting.

Is this the sweater you have? I can find finished versions for sale but not the pattern - Nightwolf wants one.
 

Faroe

Has No Life - Lives on TB
No. She had two in her window at the time, she knitted the other - the cabled one-color Aran style for me. I remember a different neckline on the Lillehammer sweater displayed: a partial opening at the neck (?), and while the top was heavily patterned, the color work was maybe less dramatic below. I also remember some more red, and maybe blue in it. Twenty five/almost thirty years ago, so a bit fuzzy on the details. I remember being astonished by it, but the other was the one I wanted to wear.

Have you looked on E-bay? You might find the pattern in an old Dale of Norway pattern book offered there. There is at least one Etsy seller who also offers some intriguing vintage pattern books (I got my 14" needles from one such person). If you find someone with a good vintagy Nordic selection, they might be able to find what you want even if they don't have it listed. The Historic Knitting forum (if you aren't adverse to visiting Rav.) probably has someone who can help find it.
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
eBay is a really good idea, I hardly ever go there anymore for a lot of reasons but it would be a good place to check.

The Sweater above is a commercial version that was for sale, I think on e-bay and looks machine made to me, I think the original did have red and grey on it; I think it also varied with the different teams and had several variations (neckline, cardigan, etc).

If I put a mind to it, I can design something like that, it just makes my head hurt, I have done a number of "art sweaters" but usually I just pick things out of my pattern books and add them in, with one motif (either yoke or at the top of the sweater) that requires twisting yarn to the back (like horses or wolves running).

The Sweater above looks like even that isn't needed, most of the "drama" is the color choices.

I learned why so many folk patterns have dramatic color contrasts our first year here when we lost power for 4 days and nights in the Winter.

Trying to make aqua blue and green scarves in moss stitch by candlelight was a real strain on the eyes (and really impossible without just holding the yarn in different hands and hoping for the best) white and black or white and dark blue or white and red make a lot of sense when knitting by firelight, so does a Fair Isle style with one color dominant and just changing background colors for a few rows before the switch to another main dark color.
 

Faroe

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Normally, I re-chart onto 5-squares per inch cheap graph paper, it gives me more familiarity with pattern, the squares are big and easy to see, and I can work in any changes (I always end up changing things). Those panels on the Lillehammer are all complex, and are all different. I would want printed charts to start with - doable off the photo, but a massive headache.

I also stay far away from the Nordic motifs that are that large. I like short basic repeats all across the round, and floats that don't usually go over 5 stitches. Setesdahl (spell?) is my favorite style. Got burned early on with a Dale of Norway pattern that had the huge, elaborate, curvey snowflakes at the yoke. Nothing was wrong with the charts, and very pretty, but I just make too many mistakes for that sort of thing, and if it isn't a repeatable rhythm, I find it painfully tedious. I don't like having to constantly check the chart, and colorwork isn't so forgiving of mistakes a row of two down. I'm not above just embroidering over in the correct color for a particular stitch, but again tedious, and I make a LOT of mistakes!

If you don't already have it, you might like Irene Haugeland's, Knitting From the Heart of Norway It has varied large and small colorwork motifs. What I love about it is that the basic patterns would work for even solid color pieces. I really like the woman's square-ish neck "Landsmarka" p.82 hook-and-eye closed red cardigan. I want to knit this in either much easier motifs, or just solid. The best part of that pattern is the "mouse tooth" folded hem. No ribbing, she uses a yarn-over eyelet several rows up from the cast-on, and that is the foldline, making a small decorative serration. Much nicer than ribbing for this sweater.
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
I don't have that book, I see it is in Amazon UK so I'll put it on "the list," the last book I got turned out to be that very cute couple someone posted the videos of - or as I told Nightwolf "I seem to have bought 'Two Cute Gay Guys Do Scandinavian Knitting.'"

Which wasn't a problem, one of the people who taught me serious knitting was my old housemate (same as I visited in Seattle last Summer) and he had learned from his Danish, off the boat, grandmother.

The repeat problem is why I try to limit the "big, wonderful, and difficult" charted patterns for just one central place on the yoke or one wide strip on a ski-type sweater. I don't really enjoy twisting my yarn ever four or five stitches (and a different one each row) but to do something like the kitty cats on the hat I'm wearing I will but usually only one design like that per garment.

The sweater (Lillehammer) actually doesn't look nearly as complicated as it seems, those are variations of traditional Northern European "folk knitting" that usually features birds, couples holding hands, etc and only the very top section looks to have long-stranded areas (which if that is machine-made probably just jump the back and create a sweater that won't look so good after four or five wearing or one hand-wash.

But I'm just not excited enough about it to bother all that charting, it is certainly something I WOULD knit in the round, but I'll probably just do a variation of my own sometime - right now he doesn't need more art sweaters anyway (he tends to destroy them) he needs work sweaters like a Wonderfull Wallabe Hoodie or Family Tunic made in stronger wool.

Speaking of which, he adores the hats he got for his birthday this morning and is already wearing one; he also loves the Plague Doctor mask our housemate made him (out of lined cotton material rather than leather, he can make his own leather one if he wants one).

I'm already working on a hat for me from yarn housemate gave me on my last birthday in November.

The cat pattern (these are actually socks I made my housemate for Yule last year but it is the same kitty pattern as my hat - I love the result but find it tedious to knit).

The Wolf Sweater (on Nightwolf) - I keep it in hiding these days lol - I recharted the "elkhounds" into looking slightly more Wolflike after our late White Wolf Cross Princess.
 

Esto Perpetua

Senior Member
All you guys have such beautiful knitting projects! I can't knit, it messes with my eyes too bad.

I'm paper piecing some pineapple blocks, need to sandwich and quilt a hexie table runner I just finished last month.

I also made a new apron last month, need to face my housedress and just finished making some quilted pads for my daughter's vanity.

There's also some masks and cloth napkins and a bunch of diamond stars hanging around in the baskets. I kind of switch around. : )
 
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