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Hyrna, an Icelandic Shawl, & Continental Knitting

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Completed Shawl!

My time spent in Iceland last year holds a special place in my heart.  So many good memories of such a beautiful country, warm people and happy sheep!
I keep meaning to write more blog posts about my trip…they ARE coming…but as I’ve said before, it’s so hard to capture the experience in pictures and words.
Recently though, I completed a shawl from a yarn kit I bought while I was in Reykjavik.  It was a yarn kit created by Gudrun Bjarnadottir, the owner of Hespa.  Gudrun takes Einband, a single ply Icelandic wool yarn, and dyes it naturally, mainly with native Icelandic plants.
Perhaps letting her speak for herself is a better idea:
“I teach Botany at the Agricultural University of Iceland at Hvanneyri. I spend all my spare time collecting plants and coloring yarn. I also make my own yarn from the Icelandic wool. Plants, knitting and nature are my favorite things and I am so lucky to be able to combine them all in my work and life.” (Etsy Owner Description)
At the end of  our Hiking with the Elves tour, we had a workshop run by Gudrun.  She explained her process and discussed the various plants and lichens used to create the various colours of yarn. Continue reading Hyrna, an Icelandic Shawl, & Continental Knitting

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Knitting Your First Socks: Your First Mistakes

So, in knitting my first pair of socks, I learned quite a bit; both because I was attempting something new and because I made a ton of mistakes.
Sock knitting wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. This is big part thanks to Wickwum Mom’s tutorial. (If you’re feeling intimidated by the idea of making a sock…I highly recommend you check out her website AND her facebook group. It was really easy to follow and the online group is incredibly encouraging and helpful.)
I have already mentioned my first pair of socks on this blog in my Afterthought Lifeline post but I wanted to add another quick write-up to a) show off my socks 😉 and b) share the two major errors I made so as to help you avoid making the same mistakes.
And so, here we go!
a) Show off socks!
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Yup, pretty darn proud of these socks!  Mistakes and all!
b) Share mistakes! Continue reading Knitting Your First Socks: Your First Mistakes

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Letters from Iceland: Hiking (and Knitting) with the Elves Pt 1: The Group

This past July, I spent 10 days in Iceland. It was my second trip to Iceland after an initial 4-day stopover last January, on our way home from Europe.
This time though, I signed up for a structured pre-planned trip. The majority of my 10 days were spent as part of a hiking and knitting tour created and run by Hélène Magnusson called “Hiking with the Elves“.
I have been meaning to blog about the trip ever since I arrived home.
I want to record my experience, but I also want to share it with others who are considering a similar trip in the future.
Unfortunately, this has proven to be such a difficult post to write.
Part of the challenge is to try and capture the experience without writing for pages and pages. I’m sure that you, my dear readers, have better things to do that sit in a comfy chair,  with a glass of wine, snuggled up to your computer screen while you read through the novel that is my Icelandic blog post.
The other difficulty comes from the fact that the experience was so tremendous.  How can I ever hope to capture the magnificence and grandeur of it with mousy little English words?
Continue reading Letters from Iceland: Hiking (and Knitting) with the Elves Pt 1: The Group

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Knit Cast On – Reverse Longtail Tutorial – Great for stretchy fabrics!

Recently I went to Iceland.  For 10 days.
Six of those were spent on a hiking and knitting tour.  Yup.  Hiking and knitting.
More to come about that very soon…but let me just say that it was beyond fabulous!
For now, I want to share one of the handy dandy cast ons we learned in one of our workshops.  I filmed this on site in the mountains of Eastern Iceland because I didn’t want to forget it and I couldn’t seem to write it down in such a way that I would remotely understand it 5 minutes later 🙂
This video starts off with the typical Longtail Cast On, which I demonstrate three times, followed by the Reverse Longtail or German Twisted Cast On, which allows for more stretch. Perfect for mitten cuffs, socks, ribbing…any cast on edge that requires some stretchiness. 🙂
Enjoy!

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Blocking with Rods: a yarn artist’s best friend

Today I completed my very first knit shawl.
It was ordered by a friend back in October and I have to say thank goodness she was so patient with me as it took some time!
I had no idea how long a knit shawl would take me and expected that it would be similar to my various crocheted projects.
Yeah, not so much.
It didn’t help that I chose 5mm circular needles to make it…perhaps larger would have been better for my first large knitting project….but regardless, I washed and blocked it two days ago and today, it is finished!

Completed knit shawl!
Completed knit shawl!

 
Anyway, back to the purpose of this post.
When I blocked this piece, I decided to use these metal rods that I picked up at a hardware store months ago.  They are heavier than the rods you use for blocking lace, but for this worsted yarn and open edging, they were perfect!
I saved so much time by weaving the rods through the edging and then simply pinning them out with my T-pins.
Close up of the metal rod I used for blocking
Close up of the metal rod I used for blocking

Metal rod pinned by T-pins
Metal rod pinned by T-pins

You can find these at any hardware store I believe and only cost me a few bucks.
The only downside that I could see was that the edges were somewhat rough, so I had to be careful when weaving them through the stitching.
Otherwise, a perfect time saver!