Sweden: Where every person is a beanie person.

So I have been in Sweden for nearly a week now. I am reeally appreciating all the warm woolly clothes people are wearing. Because they have to. Because it is cold. They apparently have several words for scarf. And I have plenty of knitting stuff to talk about with you.

Firstly, and very excitingly, my sister and I are working on a collaborative fibre art project. You see, my sister is a crocheter. While I think crochet produces lovely objects and is a great pastime for other people, I think that if I were to crochet for an extended period, I might need to conjure up the dark arts and cast a spell of patience, so I very much respect people who crochet. To be fair, I have crocheted a hat and a number of other smaller items, but still, I'm no crocheter. My sister is, though, and I blame myself.

When my sister and I took ballet lessons, she used to crochet bun nets for herself, which were really nice, but she stopped doing that after a while. But, two years ago was when I became obsessed with knitting, and through the magic of Internet, I was able to inadvertently inspire my sister to take up a crochet hook again. So I take credit for my sister being a crocheter.

Just before I came to Sweden, I asked my sister if she would like to do a combined knitting/crochet project with me, her doing the crochet and me doing the knitting. She thought this was a nice idea, so when I finally arrived in Sweden, we sat down and decided on making this bag together. We're making two, one for each of us. Her favourite colour is red and my favourite colour is purple, so hers is going to be mostly red with purple accents and mine is going to be the inverse. We are using cotton yarn, and I've decided to go with smaller needles because the stitch pattern and the object lend
themselves to a rigid fabric. Also, the needles I have here which are the recommended size are dpns,
 and they wouldn't acommodate the large stitch count. I haven't done a tension swatch, and my sister hasn't either, so I'm just adjusting the length of the pieces as I see fit.

What I am really interested by with this pattern is the stitch pattern used, which until now I have never come across. Take a look:


It is done by knitting pairs of stitches out of order. A little bit like cabling, but when you knit the stitches, you don't release them from the left needle until the pair have both been knit. Take a look at the pattern for more information. I like it. It produces, as you can see, basically woven stocking stitch, and I think it is one of these rigid, "structurally sound" stitches, like linen stitch. It is easy to do once you have practiced a bit (I did a little practice swatch before starting the project), but it is more time consuming than stocking stitch. I'd say in terms of time consumption, it is halfway between stocking stitch and double knitting or brioche. I don't know what the stitch it called, but I like it. If someone knows, please enlighten me. I want to call it basket weave, but I think I've done a basket weave stitch before and that produced a twisted/slanted stitch rather than one like this. I will let you know how the bags turn out.

In other knitting/holiday news, my sister took me up Norra Berget, or north mountain, in Sundsvall, where she lives. On top of it, there is a playground with gigantic park benches and a slippery dip (read: slide) in the shape of a mythical creature with the head of a rabbit, and the body of a rabbit. And also the wings of a bird. Here is the Knitted Kitten making friends with this fellow inanimate object in the form of an animal:

My sister and I wandered around the top of the mountain for a while and happened to see a few ladies carding fibre and spinning it on a drop spindle! I do believe it is the first time I've seen a drop spindle being used in person, and it makes me want to try it. My clever sister, who can speak Swedish, informed me that the following sign says that the ladies were in a class for fibre preparation.

And here is the knitted Kitten enjoying the view from the top of the mountain:

So that is my time in Sweden so far. I've also been hanging out at my sister's work and learning Swedish words and ruining the Swedish experience by being a vegetarian.

Peace out,

The Knitted Kitten