Purl Jam: Finland’s Heavy Metal Knitting Championship

I saw this today and had to share it with you.  Finland has hosted the first Heavy Metal Knitting Championship.  According to an AP News feed, participants shared a common goal: “to showcase their knitting skills while dancing to heavy metal music in the most outlandish way possible.”  There were participants from nine countries, including the US, Japan, and Russia.  The winning team, from Japan, featured sumo wrestlers and crazy heavy metal knitting.  Watch it and smile:

I am still on holiday, where I am not doing much knitting, but am enjoying beautiful weather, friends, food, and scenery.  Perhaps next year I should holiday in Finland and get Doug and the girls to accompany me in some heavy metal knitting?

Pattern Radar: Summer tops

As the weather warms up (here in the Northern Hemishphere), there are lots of lovely, lightweight summer top patterns being released.  Here are a few of my favorites.

Dagny by Elsebeth Lavold

summer tops 1

© Anders Rydell

I love the long line of this pretty tank, containing the intricate Viking-inspired cables that Lavold is known for, combined with long, slimming ribs.  I think this is an elegant option for summer, especially if knit with a linen blend.

Monarri by Stephanie Earp

summer tops 6

© Stephanie Earp

This little tee is so charming.  I love the drape, the swingy silhouette, the two-coloured herringbone stitch cuffs and neck, the sunny shades.  Click through to the pattern and check out the back view; it has a really great swing to it.

Rainsong by Laura Aylor

summer tops 3

© Laura Aylor

Yes, this is a fairly plain tank, but it is a perfectly proportioned one, which balances a beautiful shape, a bit of texture to draw the eye, and just enough drape.  This will showcase a special yarn, and will look equally smart under a jacket at the office or with a floaty summer skirt.

Kentia by Marie Amelie Designs

summer tops 5

© Marie Amelie Designs

I keep coming back to this one.  The lace bodice is very pretty and romantic, and the loose, slightly-cropped fit of the tee is sporty and modern.   It is an intriguing combination.  With the right yarn, and two lovely, complimentary shades, this is a striking summer top.

Good Day Tee by Annie Lupton

summer tops 4

© Annie Lupton

This modular top has an interesting shape and construction.  I think it would be fantastic in linen or a summery blend – something with a bit of texture and sheen – and would keep you cool no matter the weather.  It also looks fun to knit.

Jenny Flower by Julie Knits in Paris

summer tops 10

© Julie Knits In Paris

I love this pretty, stripey, yoked tee with rows of eyelet lace, and summery colours.  It has a delicious drape and looks charming and comfortable.  Julie has been turning out some great patterns lately and is firmly on my radar.

I am on my way to Spain tomorrow for a short holiday.  I will be taking my Sparkling cardigan to knit, but don’t be surprised if one of these lovely tops gets cast on soon.  Do you have a summer top on your needles?

When to call the physiotherapist


Kelly: “My shoulder really hurts.  I don’t have the full range of motion.  I can’t reach my hands behind my back.”

Doug: “You should call the physiotherapist.”

Kelly: “Hmm…”


Kelly: “My shoulder is getting worse.  I can’t take my coat off without help.  It’s painful to lift my arm.”

Doug: “You should call the physiotherapist.”

Kelly: “Hmm….”


Kelly: “This is so annoying.  It hurts to look over my shoulder when I’m driving.  And my hand keeps getting pins and needles.”

Doug: “You should call the physiotherapist.”

Kelly: “Hmm….”


Kelly: “Can you pick up the cast iron pan for me? My shoulder is bothering me and I can’t lift it. Maybe I’ve pinched a nerve.”

Doug: “You should call the physiotherapist.”

Kelly: “Hmm…”


Kelly: “I can’t pack that dress because it has a zipper in the back.  I can’t reach it with this sore shoulder.”

Doug: “You should call the physiotherapist.”

Kelly: “Hmm…”


Kelly: “OMG! My shoulder hurts! I CAN’T KNIT!!!  Call the physiotherapist! Right now!”

Doug:  “Hmm…”

Sparkly things happening

I cast on for Sparkling last weekend and I have been having great fun all week knitting this cardigan.


I took this photo yesterday and have knitted another 4″/10cm since.  It seems to be flying off the needles.  It makes a lovely, light, airy fabric which has to be felt to be fully appreciated.  I’m finding it hard to stop knitting. Here is a photo of the reverse side of the fabric:


This weekend is full of sparkly, happy things.  My knitting makes me happy!  Giant fields of poppies make me happy!  Ravelry makes me happy!


The only thing making me unhappy is the internet here which has been seriously disrupted all day.  So, instead of writing more, I will leave you with one last happy thing.  My new project matches the giant field of poppies I blogged about yesterday!

How cool is that!


I received a text from my friend Inge yesterday.  It said: “When you drive into town this weekend, take the low road and see the poppies.”  So, this morning, we drove into town (Henley-on-Thames)  and saw this:


This beautiful field is planted as far as the eye can see with opium poppies.  They are absolutely gorgeous, a sea of the most subtle, lovely lavenders and palest pinks.


These fields are planted as part of a research project by a local university in collaboration with the pharmaceutical industry.  For obvious reasons, they don’t advertise, and they plant somewhere different every year.  Normally, these fields are planted with rapeseed and provide a burst of vibrant yellow late in the sumer.   This field of pink was a fantastic surprise.


See the building and umbrellas in the distance of the top photo? That is Orwells, one of the best retaurants in England.  It was impossible to resist having lunch there and soaking up the view.  Here is the view from the garden at Orwells:


Pure heaven.  The only thing as good as the view is the food!


Notice how Doug and I are both colour-coordinated with the flowers?


I hope that your day is as filled with colour and surprise.  Tune in tomorrow for a knitting post.


Travel yarn shopping: Copenhagen edition

I have been travelling to Copenhagen on business every few months.  I tend to fly in, teach, and fly out, so I usually don’t have much time to do tourist-y things.  Funny, though, that my place of business is located less than 200 metres from Uldstedet, a lovely yarn shop next to Nørreport Station.  I can teach all day, and then go yarn shopping, and still have plenty of time to catch my plane.

(If you are travelling to Copenhagen you should also check out Sommerfuglen, a yarn shop which I have blogged about before. Both shops are lovely, with knowledgeable English-speaking sales staff, and both have lots of sample sweaters available to try on.)

In January, when it was dark and grey, I went shopping at Uldstedet and had my eye on some yarn in a bright spring green to make a cheerful sweater.  Just as I was headed to the checkout counter, my eye was caught by stacks of hand-knit sweaters.  I had to try them on (but of course!).  I must have tried on a dozen of them, but I kept coming back to one which was a very far cry from the bright green spring sweater I was contemplating.  It is also not my usual style, I think:


© Sus Gepard

The photo doesn’t do it justice, I think. It is a fairly shapeless sweater; the interest is in the fantastic textured stitch pattern.  When I put it on, however, it was the warmest, lightest, feather of a sweater.  It felt like being wrapped in a cloud.  The sweater is called Bobbly, and is designed by Sus Gepard, who also owns the shop.

I bought the yarn, and swatched for it immediately, but then my head started talking me out of the project.  It is knit in laceweight yarn, with a wool and silk blend (the grey) combined with a silk and mohair yarn (the pink).  I’ve been having troubles with mohair, and troubles with being too hot.   I am constantly pulling sweaters on and off and on and off again.  I started to think “Would I really wear this?”  And, as the answer was not an emphatic “yes!”, I put the yarn away.

In March, I was back in Copenhagen, and I again stopped into Uldstedet (as one does).  This time, the Bobbly sweater was on a mannequin in the shop and drew my eye immediately.  I really liked it.  But still, I wasn’t convinced I would actually wear it.  It is a lot of work for something that will sit in a drawer.

A few weeks ago, however, this sweater popped up on my Ravelry feed:


© Sus Gepard

This is Sparkling, a cardigan version of Bobbly.  I love it!  Could I wear this as a cardigan? Yes, I think so.  Here is another shot:


© Sus Gepard

Lovely, isn’t it?  So, I am hoping to cast this one on this weekend.   (I am currently working on only one project and that won’t do.)

Here is my swatch:


And here is a shot where you can appreciate how light and airy this fabric is:


I was back in Copenhagen just this week.  And once again, I had time to stop by Uldstedet before heading to the airport.  (Copenhagen is such a great travel city.  The airport is 15 minutes from downtown.  More time to shop for yarn!)

This time, as soon as I walked in the door, my eye landed on a large basket of Madelinetosh Prairie yarn.  I always think that I should buy Danish yarn when in Denmark, and Prairie is a yarn I could buy elsewhere.  Then again, I haven’t been able to get to a yarn shop here in England in at least 6 months, maybe longer.  I have had this top on my mind lately:


© Caitlin Hunter

It is Navelli, by Caitlin Hunter.  I was thinking about this while rummaging through the basket of Prairie, and ended up picking out these three lovely shades (Fog, Whiskey Barrel, and Fallen Cloud ):


I only had about 15 minutes before the shop closed, and spent all of it trying to come up with combinations of three yarns that I liked, and then rushed to buy them as the shop was closing.  It was only later, on the plane, that I realised that Navelli is made with fingering weight yarn and that Prairie is laceweight.  I might be able to do it anyway, knitting a larger size to fudge with a tighter gauge, but that might lead me into yardage problems as I only bought one of each skein.

Some time soon I will need to do some serious swatching (and math-fu!) to see if this will work out.  If not, then I will find something else to do with the yarn.  In the back of my head is the delicate Bonny (see photo below) by Tin Can Knits, which would only take one skein, leaving me two skeins to knit something else with: a striped tee? a summer shawl?


© Tin Can Knits

Decisions, decisions.  But for today, on this cold, wet, grey afternoon, I think it’s time for a bit of Sparkling!


WWKiP Day 2019

Yesterday was World Wide Knit in Public Day!  Not only did I not knit in public yesterday, but I did not knit at all.  Shame on me!  So today I made up for it, just a bit, by knitting at Clivedon, a remarkable National Trust property, and former home of Lady Astor.


Clivedon is famous for, among other things, its fabulous parterre, a type of formal garden which you can see in the background here.  I am knitting a cashmere wrap, which I have thrown over one shoulder while knitting, thus allowing me to both wear and knit it at the same time.  Way back in 2011, I posed in this exact spot for my very first Wearability Wednesday post on this blog:

old blue standard 1

And below, another photo from the same 2011 post; taken from the same spot but facing the other direction with the manor in the background:

old blue standard 2

It was a lovely place to walk this weekend with our friends, Geoff and Joanna, who are visiting from Vancouver.  I hope that you enjoyed some time knitting this weekend, in public or otherwise.