My current work in progress:

Pitch by Emily Greene, knit from Elsawool Cormo worsted on a US 6 needle

Archives for November 2006

More Swedish Knitting Books

Wouldn’t you know it? I forget to include the best of the Swedish-language Swedish knitting books when I was talking about books about traditional Swedish knitting yesterday.


This is a fabulous little book — also sent to me by Johanne (hej Johanne!). Lots of great illustrations and charts.


I briefly mentioned Bohus knitting yesterday — I’ve also got a Swedish-language book on Bohus, courtesy of Johanne.


Karen mentioned a few other books on Swedish and Scandivnavian knitting:

The Mitten Book by Inger & Ingrid Gottfridsson.


Knitting in the Nordic Tradition by Vibeke Lind.


And Nordic Knitting by Susanne Pagoldh.

As you can see, I have the first two of those books mentioned. I did own Nordic Knitting by Susanne Pagoldh but I loaned it to someone years ago who never returned it and subsequently disappeared. I’d replace it, but the prices for it that I’ve seen are all pretty high. I’ve managed to live without it for several years, so I think I’ll survive. ๐Ÿ˜‰

As Karen pointed out in her comment, the last two books mentioned are about Nordic knitting, not just Swedish.

I’ve got more. ๐Ÿ™‚

The Complete Book of Traditional Scandinavian Knitting by Sheila McGregor has a chapter on Swedish knitting, and lots of charted out motifs.


And of course I have Alice Starmore’s Scandinavian Knitting, which, in my opinion, is not one of her better books. But it has a few nice things in it.


Marjorie asked:
What do you think of “Scandinavian Knitting Designs” by Pauline Chatterton? The book has wonderful charts of all sorts of motifs, but the patterns are not so great (pillows!–not the sort of thing I’d knit). I’ve put the motifs into small projects (gloves).

I haven’t seen that book. But I will soon. I ordered a used copy today from an Amazon third-party seller. Hee hee.

Now I’ve got a number of books on Norwegian knitting, but I’m always on the look-out for books on Swedish Knitting.

This Cracks Me Up

The sign posted on one of two dumpsters (yep, we got two of them now!) parked outside our office suite:


I know what it says, but when I look at it I see “White Trash Only.” Hee hee hee! Yep, I’m childish like that.

In a couple of weeks my office is moving into temporary quarters so our current space can undergo a long-overdue renovation. We are being exhorted to throw away as much stuff as possible. Quite cathartic, that.

Lucy Sez


I know I’m not supposed to be up on the table but I need to keep a look-out for baby chicks.

We’re over $12,000, guys! Have a great weekend!

Pssst! Sleevage!

Knitting plain stockinette sleeves does not make for exciting photographs.


This is the first sleeve. I’m doggedly knitting along. There is some shaping in it, so that saves it from being terminally boring, thankfully.

Traditional Swedish Knitting

Nancy J. asked:
What books would you recommend as ‘must haves’ in Scandinavian (and particularly Swedish) knitting?

Sadly, there don’t seem to be too many books on Swedish knitting around, particularly ones in English. I do have one that I love: Swedish Sweaters by Britt-Marie Christoffersson. The link takes you to Amazon where there a number of copies available for sale from third-party sellers, some at very good prices.


I bought this book new when it first came out in 1990 and have pored over it many many times since then. It has photos of 27 Swedish sweaters, museum pieces, knitted in the 1800s. The photographs are in color and are excellent and in most cases charts of the design elements are included. The book also contains 14 patterns for designs based on the historical sweaters. There are a couple of them I could see myself making, and while they are not knitted at the extremely fine gauge (some may say ‘insanely fine gauge”) of the original designs, most are knitted with sportweight or finer yarn.

Someday I may actually design a sweater using design elements from this book. Just . . . need . . . more . . . time . . .

I’ve got other books on Swedish knitting as well.


These two were sent to me by my friend Johanne, who lives in Stockholm (hej Johanne!). While the text is a bit beyond my reading comprehension, the illustrations are fabulous! I did use a traditional motif from one of these books as the inspiration for my Ingrid sweater in my book.

I also have this fabulous book on Swedish spinning, send to me by Nicole in Sweden (hey Nicole!) a couple of years ago.


Nicole kindly included English translations of bits of it.

Susan suggested Poems of Color by Wendy Keele (who is not me — heh!) as a good book on Swedish knitting. While I agree it is an excellent book, I don’t include it in my shortlist of tomes on traditional Swedish knits. Bohus knitting is something special — in a class by itself.

That reminds me . . . I do have a Bohus kit marinating in my stash . . .


Jackie at the Knitting Hutch has issued us an invitation. She writes:

Hi Wendy,

I would like to extend an invitation to you and all Wendy Knits blog readers to my Virtual Holiday Open House and ‘Door Prize’ drawing.

Also, if anyone is in the Hollister, CA area on Saturday 11/25 please stop by the open house. There will be refreshments, holiday music and of course plenty of knitting.

Happy Holidays,

Jackie Hutcherson

The Knitting Hutch

Wish I could stop by in person!

Jackie is one of the prize donors in our Heifer project, by the way. Which reminds me . . . have you checked out the prize page recently? I put some new stuff up today.

This morning the total donations went over $10,000. I am verklempt. Now I’m rooting for $15,000!!!

Lucy sez:


Paws up, everyone who loves baby chicks!

A Book Review


I’ve been looking at Knitting With a Smile by Inger Fredholm online since it came out, but always hesitated buying it because it’s pretty darn expensive.

But I had an Amazon gift certificate so I ordered it last week. It arrived over the weekend, so here’s my review.

It’s a softcover spiral-bound book, full color, 120 pages. The Amazon price is $43.95. You can have a look at some of the pages of the book on the author’s website, a feature I appreciate. The book contains 36 original patterns for sweaters, shawls, dresses, hats, mittens, etc.

First the good:

The book is beautifully photographed and very nicely produced. It reads like a workbook and scrapbook of musings and observations, along with the knitting patterns. There’s a recipe for Swedish cinnamon buns included. I’ve enjoyed flipping through it and enjoyed reading most of the text.

The not-so-good:

I don’t really like any of the patterns. I realize that this is subjective and your mileage may very well vary. A lot of the patterns are based on traditional Swedish designs — I recognize some traditional motifs. But I do wish the designs were knitted at a much finer gauge. On the colorwork the motifs are so huge they look gaudy. I would like to see some designs using traditional motifs at 8 stitches/inch or finer. There are several different sweaters based on one single motif, one is a pullover, one is a cardigan, and one is a coat. All are knitted at the gauge of 23 sts/4 inches.

There are a few fair isles in the book and they use 2-ply jumperweight shetland, which I’m used to knitting at 32 sts/4 inches. These designs are knitted on larger needles and the gauge of one is 23 stitches/4 inches and the other 25 stitches/4 inches — way too loose for the yarn, I think. I don’t care for the colors chosen for much of the colorwork — I am no doubt spoiled from knitting Starmore fair isles.

There are two very simple lace shawl patterns. There is one pattern for a lace dress for a little girl that I think is adorable. The same pattern has been reworked for adult sizes, and I don’t like it nearly as well. There’s a lace cardi and a lace sweater and skirt set.

The writing is opinionated. Consider this quote from the section about lace: “A light thin lace shawl is always ‘right’ in fashion, but today we would not even think of knitting a wedding shawl thin enough to be drawn through a wedding ring like the old folks did!” Perhaps the author does not knit fine gauge lace shawls, but I know plenty of people who do. I think this statement is very telling — perhaps the author thinks that modern knitters are not interested in extremely fine gauge traditional knitting, but rather easier items based on traditional designs. I think she’d be surprised to find how many traditional knitters there are out there who would welcome a book of fine gauge designs.

Bottom line, I don’t think the book is worth the purchase price and I wouldn’t have gotten it if I didn’t have a gift certificate. I don’t regret getting it for free, though. I am extremely interested in traditional Swedish knitting and although I think this book has not done the best job of translating traditional Swedish patterns for modern knitters, some people may enjoy knitting the patterns. I did note that there is one review of the book on Amazon and the reviewer thinks the book is well worth the money. So as I said, your mileage may vary. Take my review for what it is — my opinion.

Hey guess what? I’m knitting a sleeve!


The First Heifer Raffle Drawing!

This afternoon I drew names for the first round of prizes in the Heifer raffle. The winners are:

Alison L. wins the wonderful instant sock yarn stash donated by Sheri Berger, The Loopy Ewe.

Carol McD. wins the beautiful Luminescent Haze yarn donated by Jenn Wisbeck, Midnightsky Fibers

Sharon H. wins the adorable cat shawl pin, donated by Rosemary Hill of Designs By Romi.

Congratulations and thanks to all! All winners have been emailed and have responded. ๐Ÿ™‚

I am delighted beyond words at what a success this project has been so far — we are well on our way to raising (and exceeding) $10,000 in donations. Pat yourselves on the back!

Lucy sez:


Wake me when my baby chicks get here.


Here are the front and back of my Elizabeth I sweater, side by side.


I’ve started a sleeve, so I am preparing myself for a long stay on Sleeve Island. The sleeves are not nearly as alluring as the body of the sweater. While they have the textured band at the bottom, that’s the extent of the “fun stuff.” The rest of it is plain old stockinette with some decreases and increases for shaping.


So. I’m using Daletta fingering weight wool for this and I think it’s a good choice. It shows the texture nicely and is not unpleasant to knit. The only complaint I have about it is that it does have a tendency to split. Quite a lot, actually. I find I have to pay pretty close attention to what I’m doing. More than once I’ve noticed a split stitch a few rows down. In each case I’ve carefully ripped back that single stitch and picked it back up with a crochet hook. So far so good — that’s worked. But I’m trying to pay closer attention so I won’t have to do it again.

There are a number of resources on the internet on how to pick up a stitch with a crochet hook — here’s one. It’s a very handy skill to know — it’ll save you lots of ripping out anguish.


It’s been one of those days. Starting out with idiocy from our IT department at work. We work in a severely managed IT environment. Unfortunately, we are managed by incompetents. For the past two weeks they have been trying to fix something they broke on my system. They perform a system restore to revert the ‘puter to its pre-broken state, then perform the exact same action that broke it. Over and over and over. Not surprisingly, they re-break it each time. It’s like Groundhog Day.

Next, we had a new employee start today and as is custom, he was brought around and introduced to everyone. When he was brought to my office and introduced to me, he was talking on his cellphone, obviously on a personal call, and simply stuck his arm out to shake hands — didn’t even look up.

Is it just me, or is this unspeakably rude? Way to make a good first impression, buddy. Consider yourself lucky that you don’t report to me.

Then this afternoon I got the following email from an editorial assistant at Knitters Magazine:

I am trying to contact Wendy Keele. If you are her, would you please contact me. I am trying to update her information.

I wonder if she sent that email to all the Knitting Wendys? Hee hee. (Maybe it’s just me, but I think it’s pretty easy to figure out my last name from links on my blog.)

When I got home, I went down to the lobby to get my mail. I saw our condo building engineer who cheerfully told me that the mailman had come, but was in a snit about something, so he dumped the mail in the back room and left. So, no mail actually put in the mailboxes. (This is, sadly, not an uncommon occurrence.) Ah, the work ethic.


To make myself feel better I surfed over to The Loopy Ewe and ordered myself a set of their new sock blockers, a little project tote, and a set of their impossibly cute Loopy Ewe stitchmarkers.

Why, yes, I do feel better. Besides, none of these annoyances are major — it’s just . . . WTF??!!

Another thing that makes me feel better . . . the current total on our Heifer Project! Remember, the first of the weekly raffle prizes will be awarded tomorrow. I’ll draw randomly from all names received by 4pm Eastern time tomorrow. Winners will be emailed, and announced in tomorrow’s blog entry,

But don’t worry if you miss the first raffle — there is plenty of time and plenty more prizes to be awarded in the coming weeks.

Lucy sez:


“When will my flock of chicks be delivered?”

I think I’m gonna have to break it to her gently. I may hafta share my supermarket sushi with her. Assuming I had any supermarket sushi, that is.

Other Spinning

Roseann asked via a comment on my last blog entry:
Any thing special going on your Gem? I hope it worked well for you on your trip!

Yes, my Gem worked very well for me last weekend — it came with me to Graves Mountain for my fiber weekend with L-B. I spun this:


It doesn’t look like a whole lot, but I’m very proud of it. It’s a 50/50 merino/tencel blend and the plied yarn totals about 60 yards. L-B got the roving from the very talented ladies at Blue Moon Fiber Arts and the colorway is called Hot Flash.


L-B told me beforehand she had procured some merino/tencel and I was dubious about my ability to spin such a soft, slippery fiber on my Gem, because I’m not as adept spinning on the Gem as my Lendrum. But the pointers Roseann gave me when she came over to play on the spinning wheels a few weeks ago have really helped me. I think the flyer with the regular orifice (which Roseann suggested might be helpful) has helped a lot too.

I am very happy to be able to make decent yarn on the Gem — it’s such a nice compact little wheel. Very easy to pick up and take on the road! This past weekend I just popped her in the back seat of my car and put the seatbelt on her — didn’t even bother to fold her up and put her in her case.

Astabeth asked:
How do you determine yardage? I would like to eventually buy a yarn balance, but I don’t think my spinning is even enough yet for it to work.

I use a niddy-noddy — I actually have two of them. (My spinning isn’t even enough for an accurate measure on a yarn balance either!) You wind the yarn on it and then count how many strands in each skein you wind. I have a small niddy noddy that makes a 30″ skein, and a large one that makes a 70″ skein. You multiply the number of strands in your skein by either 30 or 70 (depending on which niddy-noddy you are using) and then divide by 36 to determine the number of yards. I always subtract a couple of yards from the final total so that I have my skein slightly underestimated.


I spun up another Blue Moon roving:


This is 50/50 silk and superfine merino and the colorway is called Alina. Here are the singles:


And here it is plied:


It’s a 2.5 ounce skein, 164 yards. The colors remind me of a stained glass window.


It’s a dark and rainy day, so not a great day for photo-taking. But here’s the front of Elizabeth I, fresh off the needles.


And here is my knitting supervisor:


Pssst! Look over in the sidebar at the donations so far for our Heifer project. Woot!