Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Just made a few more...

I made three more of these shirts for Seth.

They are just so satisfying to make. The pattern is perfect and the sewing just goes by so smoothly.

I love the combination, simple cotton fabric and those buttons that I tend to use over and over again, simply because I just cant get tired of them.

Jeans and shirts... I guess it is an all time favorite...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Story of the mirror

We had a minor accident in our appartment. Here is the story...

One weekend we were sitting in the Library/Seths room. Seth was playing with his toys and John and I was just weekend chilling. Suddenly we heard a load cracking noise from the livingroom. offcourse we hurried up to see what had happened. The livingroom was full of smoke and our mirror was on fire... The mirror has a wooden frame and a small shelf where we had placed small candles. A couple of days ago I had just placed some old books there. Somehow the books had gotten to close to the candles, and well you can probably guess the rest of the story. The loud noise was the mirror cracking.

I like the mirror. It is rather big and makes some nice mirror images of the rather small livingroom so I was nor really in the mood for trying to find another mirror. So this is what I did: The mirror is homemade from an Ikea mirror and some pieces of wood with a nice green colour. There was a bit of a gap at the mitered cornes and I took some time to fix that with some filling. Then I painted the frame with very pale greenish blue and the shelf with cream coloured paint. With a white paint marker I drew rigth on top of the crack in the mirror and from that starting point I drew some more branches and leaves.

On the picture below you can easily see the crack before I drew the banches.

Normally these little tricks dont work... somehow you just still keep seing the flaws even when they have been disguised, but not in this case. I still like the mirror and for me it is also a story from our life in the apartment and that little reminder of not to keep those candles unattended... remember that !

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Knitting lady Mabbott part 3

So, it is finished; my very first seamless set-in sleeves cardigan. I had to make a few adjustment down the road. In a slim fitting cardigan or sweater the size of the neck to the body will be relatively big, so I couldnt use the EZ ( Elizabeth Zimmerman ) formula the neck being about 40% of the Key number. I even wanted the neck to be generous, so I Drew the neckline on gtaphic millimeter paper and since I was knitting it forth and back on the needles, I had no problems adapting this to the actual knitting

Just a little note here before we go on with the technical stuff: I love summer, but I have to admit I don´t really like being in the sun. The picture is on the lawn in front of the studio and I am hoping that the apple trees will grow very fast to provide shade for me, my coffeecup, my knitting and all the people I love... And the rabbits...

I basically followed the instruktions in Elizabeth Zimermans book "Knitting Workshop" ( for the set-in sleeve sweater ) but made a lot of changes to fit the technique I was using and the design I wanted. I guess that is just what she wanted me to do. Providing me a frame to creative within.

So here comes the story from the notebook. Please bare in mind that this is not a recipe but more my reflections on Lady Mabbott.

Before I knitted this I transformed EZ direktions for the sweater into a diagram. I found that very usefull for my understanding of the principles involved and also made it possible for me to draw the neckline I wanted.

My shoulderwith is 35% of the key number

June 7. join the body to the sleeves leaving 18 stitches at each underarm on pieces of wool. Knit 6 rows with no decreases. Now start decreasing at every row at the four points where the sleeves joins the body. It is important to make the decresing on the right and on the wrong side in such a way that it looks the same. I found out that knit two together on the right side is the same as slip slip purl two together on the wrong side and that slip slip knit two together on the right side is the same as purl two together on the wrong side. I knitted 8 rows this way decreasing 4 times 8 stitches.

( Knowing a few things of pattern construktion for sewing, I would have started to decrease right away after joining body and sleeve and only made the decreasing every other round. I even think that most sewing patterns can be adapted to this basic idea just with a few calculations )

Note I started the shaping of the neck four rows after these decreases. I made a pretty wide neck but will spare you the details...

June 8. now start the decreasing that eats up the sleeve stitches. The decreses are only on the right row being at the four point : 1) SSK2tog 2) K2tog 3) SSK2tog 4) K2tog.
Knit 18 rounds this way decreasing on every other round.

June 11. Now speed up the decreasing to every row and knit 14 rows this way. There is 12 stitches left at the shoulder.

June 17. Start knitting forth and back on the one side of the front. Decreasing 1 stitch at the end of each row ( Shoulderpoints ). Continue like this until 6 stitches remains at the sleeves. Work across the shoulder and apply this principle to the back and the remainig front piece. I also made a couple of short rows to shape the shoulder a bit more.

I grafted the shoulder stitches together and found out that it is important to be precise at this point making sure, the spot where the shoulder seam meets the actual sleeve, is precisely made.

I made the borders but I have never really been satisfied with the way the wrong side of the knitting looks at the neckline, so I used the same technique as I used on this cardigan but I crocheted from the right side through the fabric making a line of chain stitches. I really like the way this look and I will probably do this a lot with future projects. It looks especially good where the neck line border is not the same colour as the body.

The flat seam also feels very comfortably to the neck and I think it is the right neckline finish for a seamless cardigan or sweater. When picking up the stitches for the front border, it is important to go as close to the edge( 1 stitch from edge ) as possible to make the seam as flat as possible. I tink I might have 1½ stitch which shows a bit... Next time just one stitch... Do I hear you saying "does it matter ?" I can only say with a smile on my face "of couse it does, it makes a HUGE difference"... No, not really, but it is always good to see the things that can get better, but at the same time be aware of all the things that went really well.

Bottonline ( yes there is one, and this is it )...I do like this cardi...a lot...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I hate stockings... but no more...

Let me tell you a secret right here on world wide web...

I would like to wear dresses a lot more than i do but I just hate wearing stockings and lets face it, it´s not summer all year, so I need stockings. I have tried all kind of brands and material but no luck... I still felt like I couldn't breathe. I had an idea that suspenders could be something for me so I tried on some lacy black thing bought in a fine lingerie store and bought it. I could breathe but it left me with a not so pleasant porno-feeling that didn´t quite match up with the rest I was wearing and nor the person I am.

I love the fashion of the 1920´s and ever since I saw the movie Henry and June back in 1990´s I just haven't forgotten the movie poster. That's exactly the look I was aiming for. I have tried to explain it to many lingerie sales persons but all they did was look at me with a blank look in their eyes saying... "lady I have no idea what you are talking about, the 90´s that's a long time ago and who (the f...) is Henry an June, but if you are getting married I can show you our new and very sexy corset from Marie Jo !!..." No I am not getting married and I do NOT want a corset.

I Had the idea that when we went to Copenhagen I would look for elastic ribbons and suspender accessories in my all time favorite button shop Handler. I found just what I was looking for. Wide elastic cream coloured ribbon, Satin ribbon and buckles. Then I went to department store to find a pair of sturdy panties. Half an hour at the sewing machine and a lot of testing of where to position the little thingies, I had my interpretation of the Henry and June look. I ended up not using the satin ribbon realizing they would be too much. But there is a reason that the ribbon is there... they make it easier to put the stockings on, so I might try later maybe with some coloured ribbon to go with the panties...

I hate wearing everything synthetic so the stockings itself would have to be wool or Cotton. Silk would be an option but lets realize I am not Marie Antoinette... I found children cotton stockings at Hennes and Mauritz in the size 170 cl. That is fine for me. Since they are 95 % cotton I was capable of dying them in the colour I wanted. I just cut the stockings and left the raw edge there. It is perfect and very loose at the hips... comfortable...

Now I will keep my eyes open for cotton and wool stockings in colours I like and maybe even layer them up for colder days

So I am all set, I can be a real lady and wear dresses...

Monday, August 3, 2009

T-shirts for Seth...

I just love that feeling of being productive. It seems that I have used a lot of time to organize my creativity and get to the depth of the subject, but I am starting to feel that it is now paying off. I have always known that it would pay off, but I have just never been in a situation where I could afford spending so much time on the details.

A while ago I worked on a good T-shirt pattern. It seems that I lot of the patterns or even finished garments I had seen didn't have the proportions that I like. I like a narrow T-shirt where the ease in the body and the sleeves are harmonic. On long sleeved T-shirts I like to have a long body and on Short sleeves I like to have a short body. I have made the pattern in two different versions. One for very stretchy fabrics and one for not so stretchy fabrics, like velours. It was also important for me that the T-shirts would be quick to make

So yesterday I made a lot of T-shirts for Seth. Don't you just love the feeling of folding up newly made clothes and putting it in the closet...

Seth really loves elephants so of course I had to make a couple of T-shirts in this elephant fabric.

My personal favorite are the cream coloured ones with the contrasting colour on the seam. They have this old school kind of feeling. I think they will be great in the fall with a knitted vest on top.

I made one in velours for colder days... It is just so soft...

I want to make sure that my patterns all have the information I need. For example I like to know what kind of slope I have used to make the pattern. I also find it important to know the total amount of pieces and that all the pieces has information of size and so on. I decided to make pre printed labels like you can see on the picture. Looking at the label with its mixture of danish and English words I realize now that I have started to use a lot of English words in my technical language, I guess that's what happen when your study material is English...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Please stay with me today... it will to be a very long and wooly story...

For a long time I have been looking for a wool that is thin. About 30 stitches on 10 cm and would be soft and with a slight heathered look. I was hoping that Jamiesons of Shetland would have their shade cards ready... but no they have been working on that for 2 years. Then this lady came along and I am happy. The yarn Holst 100 % uld is perfect and she sells it already rolled up in 25 or 50 gram and in 96 different colors. To start with I ordered 24 different colours in 50 gram balls.

It was just perfect. I could start the little plan I had been working on in theory:

One basic wool to be knitted with either one or more strands...

Make swatches in all the colours available.

Every swatch should test either a technique or a pattern.

Wash the swatch and block it.

Every swatch should have a Little tag with the most important information.

I keep all the swatches in a plastic box. So far there are only 12 swatches but I am already enjoying taking them out, looking at and feeling the texture. I keep a notebook while knitting and it has all information about the swatch being made.

So far I have mostly been testing basic stitches, basic techniques for casting-on and casting-off and different types of decreasing.

I am trying to get a collection of knitting books that will make me design as freely as I want to. I needed some good books on stitch patterns, and I havent seen anyone as good as Barbara walkers A treasure of knitting patterns volume 1-4. I ordered the books from schoolhouse press and just when we came back from a week vacation in Sweden they had arrived. When I took them out of the packaging they reminded me off going to the university library picking up books for the new semester. I have studied Pharmacy for a short time before i realized that was not my call...I used to love the smell and feeling of new unused student books. So much knowledge all packed together in that thick book... its just beautiful.

Inside the book Meg Swansen has written a few words:

Thirty years ago Barbara Walker dedicated this book "... to the creative knitters of the past and the creative knitters of the future."

I hope I will be one of the creative knitters of the future...

Volume 3 and 4 has a complete list of symbols. All the symbols are simple and hand drawn. Why is that important? well It is if you yourself has to chart some of the symbols on a pattern of your own it is actually possible to copy the symbols with a pen and paper...

Are you still here... If so, thank you... It is nice to know I am not the only obsessive person in the world...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Building the greenhouse part one...

This posting starts with a picture of a lot of painted pieces of wood, -why ?! Well I just want to remember the nice feeling it was when I finished painting them. Let me tell there was A LOT of wood and they all had to be painted with one layer of oil and then two layers of a very strong greenhouse paint that took forever to dry. I could only paint one side at a time, then wait one day before turning the pieces to paint the other side. One batch took me 5 days to finish. Everything had to be done inside because of the slow drying process. I painted 2 hours every day for one month and then the painted wood had to harden for another month.

The wall had already been made and finally we could start to mount some of the pieces of the greenhouse. It was just so exciting...

Half of the rafters mounted...

Today's work done. All the rafters are up.

In Denmark we have a tradition of having a party when raising the roof tree: beer and hot dogs. So family was invited and flowers were hung by the rafters. We all sat down and enjoyed the moment. Well the others sat down, I just had to walk in and out of the greenhouse.. such a good moment...

Now I just cant wait to see it finished.

Oh and I forgot to tell you it is measures 8 by 4,2 m on the inside. 35 square meters.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Holiday time...

Do you ever get the feeling that you are not really in charge ? Well we do.

I love this little boy so much but he is 2½ years old and thinks he knows how everything should be done. Like a little master he is telling us what to do and especially what not to do...NO NO NO are words we hear quite often. It is also a lot of fun but one really has to gain the control at least to avoid the judging from other people out there in holiday country. An advice from a friend with three kids was : Dont forget to bring your wallet,cause there is no such thing to solve a conflict as...icecream... !!! She is right ...

We went on a short trip to Givskud zoo and decided to stay at the hostel there for one night. Just relax and figure out all the practical stuff down the road. Just let the kid sleep when he is tired and will fall asleep all by himself. Eat whatever he wants, whenever he wants it. And so on... But no it doesn´t function that way. Guess what... He didnt wanted to take his nap so we skipped it. The result was one angry little kiddo terrorizing the hole zoo and probably also causing the mother elephant to the cute little Dumbo to neglect her little baby. Great frustration for the biologist who had spend so much time on this project ( NOT really the truth but could have been... ) . So we went to the restaurant. The buffet had just closed so we had a not so good pizza trying to make the combination tired kid and restaurants not to tiring.

Next day was great. Seth had a good time. He is not so interested in all the exotic animals but birds and fishes... thats his thing...

The place is great. Big enough to make it possible to have a nice and relaxing time. It can be very streesing to be in crowded places with kids. Grown ups get this very tired look on their face and the childrens are fighting over the few toys, screaming and crying. In the zoo is a huge play area with lots of space and toys and many seating areas under shady trees. The more foreseeable parent had coolers with food and drink in their wagons. They were eating sandwiches, drinking coffee and having homemade cake. well I don´t know if it was homemade but the next time we go we will do the same and yes, the cake will be homemade. The kids were playing happily aronud. One could probably spend 3 enjoyable hours in that place reading books and perhaps knitting...

So the conclusion is : Bring food and a cooler. Dont skip naps and bedtime procedures. Plan just eneough to let the trip be as unplanned as possible. Am I making any sense...?
You see you are out of the usual enviroment and all the habits are out of the game for a while. Thats a good thing but it can also put you in some type survival situation ( a pretty strong word but you know what I mean... ) where you spend all the time on things like : Where can we eat ? Buy diapers ? Wash little sticky fingers and so on. So here it goes, besides the usual stuff here are some essential things to bring on a two day trip to the zoo ( or some other place... ) :

In my handbag: kleenex, towelettes, cash for icecream, one ( maybe two... ) diaper.

Dont forget to get the wagon equipped with small blanket, little pillow, sunhat, a book for John and knitting for me and offcourse the cooler with food and drink.

In the car:

One box with toys for Seth. One box with toys for me. One box with- going on a trip- gear. I will tell you more about these boxes another time...

Electrical Cooler with food to bring to hostels or wherever we are staying. A smaller normal cooler to bring to parks and so.

Bye bye...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Knitting lady Mabbott part 2

I wanted Lady Mabbott to be a tight fitting cardigan in thin yarn. I decided to make it very simple so I wouldn't complicate things too much for my first seamless set in sleeve cardigan. The instructions in Elisabeth Zimmerman's books are for a sweater and she would probably have made the cardigan by knitting in the round and then cut it up later. Since I like my knitting to not be "broken", I decided to knit it back and forth on circular needles. This also gives me a lot of freedom when it comes to shaping the neck. Luckily, I don't mind to purl... I hope that knitting this cardigan will teach me to transform future design ideas into actual knitting.

So this is how it is progressing: I am ready to join the sleeves to the body and start knitting the seamless set in sleeves and body all in one... jubii !

Here are the mainlines from the logbook:

18 April: Cast on 235 stitches( This number is the Key number ) with cream coloured yarn using the long tail cast on and needles size 2 mm. Start knitting the first row ( being the wrong side of the cardigan ) purl 2, knit 1, purl 1......knit 1, purl 2. Knit this ribbed edge for 12 rows.

Change to the orange yarn and knitting needles size 2,5 mm. Start knitting plain stocking stitch, first row being the rigth side of the knitting. Knit 59 stitcehs place first marker ( side seam ). Knit 116 stitches place marker (Somewhere on the back knit two stitches together so the total amount of stitches will be 234 ) Knit 59stitches. Continue in plain stocking stitches for 140 rows.

With four needles size 2 mm cast on 60 stitches using long tail cast on and knit 13 rounds of ribbon. On the last round increase to 78 stitches ( 33 % of the key number ). Change to the orange yarn and needles size 2,5 mm. Continue in plain stocking stitches for 151 rows.

Now make phoney seams on body and sleeves ( see pictures )

To be continued...

Note to myself:

Try using the knitted cast on or maybe long tail cast on with double yarn.

Learn a good and easy way to get those sketches in the computer and maybe do collages; does anyone know ... ?