Monday, January 28, 2008

Miniature Norwegian cardigan and Steeking - bleah!

First, the good picture (of the back):
I'm really quite pleased with this... The pattern is my own (designed on Excel) and I steeked the sewed in the sleeves and it worked well. Well, almost. I discovered one item a knitter needs to carry in their bag - super glue.

I learned how to steek from various web pages, thank you so much! However, when I cut the shoulder steeks, I suddenly remembered that somewhere I read to be sure to stitch all the way up to the shoulder. I understand what they meant now. sigh. So my shoulders started to unravel. Luckily, my archer daughter had her kit open and tossed me her super glue... it's pretty ugly, but it worked, and since this was a sample, I'm decided not to fret too much. The sleeves went in.

Then the front steek. Ok, time to admit, I've never made a cardigan, much less a complete sweater before (except for a teeny tiny pullover I made during Christmas for an ornament, but that's another story) so I had really no idea how to put one together. I'd have liked to find a pattern for a Norwegian cardigan, but couldn't, So I decided to go ahead and look everything up on the web.

Mary Ann Stephens at has a wonderful treatise on steeking here, and helped me tremendously, especially when I emailed her in panic (thank you!), and I decided I would try her "covered steek" system... thinking that THAT was the buttonhole part - WRONG. AND, may I add, don't try this on a miniature sweater.

The beautiful covered steeks cannot be knit in proportion to the miniature size and retain the stabilization. I now understand that covered steeks are a lovely addition to the sweater, not the button section. I tried in vain to steek the right side, and everything fell apart. After the above picture, I put everything away and sulked for the rest of the evening.

The next day I was blessed with snow, and my office being closed due to icy road conditions (when it snows in Seattle, you have to realize that it's wet, icy snow, and hills we are dealing with) so I pulled the sweater back out and thought. Then it sewed the crap out of the steeks, back and forth about 4 times, AND zig-zagging. Murph.

One side came out great with the covered steeks... then I got cocky on the other side and tried to trim it down to size. Bad. But I'm learning.

A few things that I learned:

2) If doing light colored covered steeks, don't do your steeking stitches in black.
3) Don't trim too closely no matter how tight your machine stitches
4) zig-zags are good.
5) It's good to have a real Dale of Norway sweater beside you to look at (thank you Karen!)

Techniques tried with this project:

1) 3 needle bind off
2) steeking (natch)
3) reverse knitting (again, thank you Mary Ann)

It's a learning experience, and I think, as soon as I find a cardigan pattern somewhere, that I will do a miniature one more time.

Steeking Links I used:
Wendy Johnson, courtesy of
Eunny Jang, at See Eunny Knit

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Dale of Norway Osteralen Hat Completed!

Ta Da!!

I finished blocking it this morning, and was allowed by my neighborhood LYS Village Yarn and Tea to take it's inaugural photo in their wonderful shop on one of their obliging models. :)

I really like this hat design - it's a bit different from the normal close fitting cap. My Dear Daughter Erin has taken a liking to the DON St Moritz, and I may make her the same design with the St Moritz pattern in the blue colorway (I'm getting downright cocky!)

I found that once I got the hang of stranded knitting, it went quickly - you kind of get addicted to seeing what comes next. I'm in the doldrums of doing the long "nothing but white" on the scarf right now, but I'm determined to finish it!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

It's working....

Well, I think I've discovered the secret..

I switched from dpn to 2 circulars as explained here at and it works! I completed the first pattern part of my scarf last night, and started the hat again until I could get the additional #3 needle I needed to continue.

The other thing I learned is the idea of "loose while firm" knitting - keeping the fabric on the active needle spaced out in order to carry the threads, but keeping the stitches ON the needles the correct tension...

Anyway, I'm now moving forward!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Not giving up

Well, I started my scarf for the 6th time, found some errors, tried to fix them, realized that fixing them in stranded knitting is more difficult than other types of knitting, and ended up tearing it out again. I will NOT give up, but have WAY more respect for fair-isle knitting than ever before, and I had a lot of respect for it then!

What I am learning:

1) patience (natch)
2) you can't (or I can't) knit fair isle quickly... enjoy the process
3) while I like dpn for socks, I'm not so excited about them on a scarf

What has gotten better:

1) my continental knitting

What has gotten worse:

1) my tension (knitting tension) throughout.

I'm not giving up - I don't expect this scarf to look fabulous, though I do tend to be a perfectionist, but I do expect it to be a learning piece and therefore will continue to take it out if I am not happy with bits.

On the third Sunday of every month there is a "Nordic Knitting Cafe" at the Norwegian Heritage Museum... I think I'll go sit in and watch the experts.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Attempt #4


Ok, I knew something was wrong.

I actually had this started, and thought the the reason the little bit of white in the middle of the green crosses was not showing was because I was knitting too loose, so I ripped it out and reknit the part above.. still the little white didn't show so I slumped my way back to my LYS for help. Now, this is knitted too tightly. So I wanted to show how far I got this time before frogging.

It's a learning experience, right?

Monday, January 7, 2008

She Begins!

ACK! I just joined Ravelry and they asked for my Blog site so I decided here is where I start! Please be patient with me while I get my bearings...

Although I'm a programmer, and should know my way around things like this, I'm totally overwhelmed. I think what this blog will be about is my handcrafts and passions. Currently they are spinning and knitting, but ever since I was a little girl I've been enamored over antique/ancient women's arts. Sometimes with my family (sometimes at their bemusement) I have canned fruit, made bread, tried weaving, grown wheat, crocheted, spun, knit... and hope to do more. This blog will be a diary of my attempts to learn anew the arts generally associated with women and home.

Wish me luck!