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:

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© 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:

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© 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:

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© 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:

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

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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:

navelli

© 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 ):

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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?

Bonny

© Tin Can Knits

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

 

What the best dressed baby is wearing: the urbane hipster edition

Those who know me will tell you that I rarely knit for babies.  Even when my own girls were little, they rarely benefited from the fruits of my knitting needles.  In the nearly five years that I have been writing this blog, I haven’t knit a baby sweater. Until now.

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I have some friends who have just had their first baby. These friends are special, and thus obviously so is the babe. Clearly he deserved a bit of stylish hand-knitting intervention. I perused baby patterns for quite some time. With Doug’s help, I finally decided on the pattern called gramps, designed by Alexa Ludeman and Emily Wessel, the duo otherwise known as Tin Can Knits. Here is their delightful version:

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© Tin Can Knits

 

I made a trip into London to my favorite yarn store, Loop, in Islington (which also necessitates buying cakes at Ottolenghi – poor me! how I suffer for my knitting!). I spent a very long time trying to choose the perfect colours of Madelinetosh Vintage, which we all know is a very luxurious hand-dyed worsted weight wool. I purchased two beautiful skeins: Turquoise, which to my eye is more a forest-y green/blue than an ocean-y green/blue (to use sophisticated colour terminology) and Pecan Hull, which is a lovely but difficult to photograph brown.

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I bought the yarn without purchasing the pattern first (or even looking at the yardage stats on Ravelry). I bought one skein of each colour – after all, this is a sweater for a baby; how much yarn could you possible need? Imagine my consternation to discover that in the 6-12 month size, this little sweater eats up 260 yards of the Main Colour and 140 yards of the Contrast Colour. A skein of Madelinetosh Vintage is 200 yards.  Whoops!  (Even in the newborn size, I would have needed 240 yards of the Main Colour.)

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Luckily, we knitters have a solution to problems like this: it is called MATH!!!!  Yes, dear readers, I engaged in a bit of “Pattern Math Fu” to re-design the sweater.  Note that the original pattern calls for a total of 400 yards of yarn.  Note further that I had 400 yards of yarn.  All I had to do was change the pattern sufficiently so that it had a more equal distribution of the colours.  This, I must admit, was rather fun, and I think the end product is completely lovely in every way.

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I followed all of the instructions for the 6-12 month size exactly, except that I omitted the pockets and elbow pads, and added in seven sets of 2-row stripes on the body and sleeves of the sweater.  Here you can see the yarn that remains:

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I had so much fun knitting this little sweater.  We actually had a week of decent summery weather (egads!) and I enjoyed the chance to knit in the back garden while listening to a good book.

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Photos don’t do this sweater justice.  It is absolutely fabulous. It is the perfect sweater for the urbane hipster baby to wear while sitting at his favorite coffee shop charming all the passersby.

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This pattern also comes in adult sizes.  Resistance is futile.