Thursday, October 13, 2016

Swedish sock

It was so nice to have a day off from work this week. I got to accomplish some planning for knitting the historic sock. First, my yarn came, and I love it - it is 70% merino, 30% silk. It is a joy to knit with. Counting the stitiches in the photo of the artifact, I believe the sock was knit at a gauge of about 20 stitches to the inch. The smallest needles I own are 000, and that knits up a sample at 18 stitches to the inch. Not quite small enough. And I have a project on those needles at the moment. So I've decided to knit the socks on 00 needles. They knit up at a little more than 10 stitches to the inch. That makes it easy - I just have to knit half as many stitches.

After I knit a gauge swatch, I had to figure out how to make the pattern. I tried a few different ideas:

Purling the first and last stitch of the round; knitting the first and purling the second; purling the first and last stitch of every other row. I decided purling the first and last stitch was the way to go. I also needed to figure out the best way to decrease as the sock gets closer to the ankle. I decided the best way is to purl 2 stitches together at the point of the triangle. It makes the decrease practically unnoticable.  I also decided to keep the top of the sock fairly plain. I have no idea what the top of the artifact looks like, but since the majority of the leg is plain, I decided to keep the top plain, too. So I cast on 166 stitches, and got to work:

As you can see, I've knit about half an inch. At this rate, I'll have new socks in a year!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Poof! September is Almost Gone

Sigh, September has been a busy month. Somewhere along the way I misplaced my spindle with the thread I was spinning for the Ribe mittens. And my lacis project. Hopefully I will find them soon. In the meantime, I'm meandering as usual. I found a picture of a late 16th century sock from Sweden that I want to knit.
 Isn't it pretty?

This will be a BIG challenge. First I have to figure out the pattern. So far I am counting stitches as I search for the perfect yarn. Perhaps by the end of October I'll be ready to start.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Returning to an old project

Do you remember that I want to reproduce the medieval nalbinding mitten from Ribe, Denmark? Something has always gotten in the way of finishing, even when I felt like I was making good progress. Partly it is because there is so much to learn, but for the past year, it has been due to inactivity.
Currently I'm spinning up more Jacob wool.

Well, preparing for my lefties class got me going on the mitten project again. Why? Well, the starting edge of the Ribe mitten faces in the opposite direction from my usual mittens. As I made samples for my lefties class, I wondered if perhaps that mitten was made by a left-handed person.

Hand-warmers made with left-handed Oslo stitch.

But, I think the answer is no. I think my first thought - that the mitten was turned inside out when complete is the correct answer. I think this because of the slant of the stitches. Whichever way you turn a piece of nalbinding, the stitches slant in the same direction - right or left, depending on which way they were made. Compare the picture above with this detail of the Ribe mitten:

The stitches point in the opposite direction. I hope to finish spinning over the holiday weekend, and then I'm excited to make another sample.

Sunday, August 21, 2016


I can't believe we have been home from Pennsic for a week already. My thanks to everyone who took my classes, particularly the left-handed nalbinders. As promised, class directions for spots, stripes and rings, and for lefties have been posted here. They say that teachers should learn as much from their students as the students learn from their teachers. In this case, I think it was true. Having prepared for and taught the left-handed class, I now feel as comfortable stitching with my left hand as I do with my right. Thank you for prompting me to strive harder!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


We went to visit friends in Connecticut last weekend.
They took us across Long Island Sound in their lovely boat, to the little village of Northport. Very quaint. We poked around in the little shops, and I came across this:

 I had to have it - it was only a couple of dollars. I'm sure it is a 20th century piece, but there they were - linen stitch and loop stitch, just like I had learned from Barbeta!
I can't wait to get back to work on my own piece.

And here are a few more photos from the weekend: 

Mike even let Rich have a turn driving the boat.


It's a trip we won't soon forget.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Time Flies When You Are Having Fun

I can't believe it has been so long since I've written a post. Today is Fathers Day, and we went to Thacher Park for the day.


We couldn't have asked for a better day.

Since the last time I posted, I did make the Dalarna stitch hat, and a pair of matching gloves:

I'm very pleased with how they turned out. The gloves have a 9-row cuff of Dalarna, then I switched to Oslo, with an F2 connection. I added a row of buttonhole stitch at the end, because I decided they needed a pop of color as a finishing touch.

I've also been spending a lot of time prepping for the classes I'll be teaching at Pennsic this year: Nalbinding for Lefties, Nalbinding Rings & Spots, and 16th Century Embroidery Pattern Books. I did a dry run of that class at our recent event, War of the Roses, and it went quite well. I was nervous because it is a new topic for me, and I am not an expert. But I think I was successful in spreading my enthusiasm, and it resulted in a good discussion, which is what I was hoping for.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

I was kissed by a llama!

Last weekend was the Washington County Fiber Tour. The first farm we visited was the Quarry Ridge Alpaca Farm.
 I got a very happy welcome from this beauty. She came right up to check me out.
Besides a few llamas, the farm has many alpaca. 
They are much more shy than the llama, but when you stand very still they will come up to you.

They are so cute, but they have really funny feet. Made for climbing around in the Andes, I suppose.

At the other farms we saw BFL sheep,
angora goats

and cashmere goats

 While the sheep and angora goats are sheared, the cashmere goats just have their undercoat combed out, so they always look this beautiful.

We also had time to visit a carding and spinning mill. I didn't know we had a local mill anymore.

Yes, I came home with quite a bit of yarn and roving. Altogether, it was a very fine day.