Autumnal Handknit Sweater

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Rust, Ivory, Black and Air Blue Hand Knit Icelandic Style Cardigan!  Inspired by the East Coast in the fall – where blazing eastern forest meets sky and water ❤

Hello and how are you!

I am well, wrapped in blankets with a hot cup of tea, candles lit and one of my favourite Irish bands playing, the Bothy Band.  It’s Sunday and rain is gently falling.  We have been having fires every day, even if it’s just to keep the damp out on a mild, wet morning.

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indoor world

 

We have been so busy as well!  I started a new job in the library system, working as a call in.  I had best get use to driving at night and in all weather since the job requires me to go quite far to some rural branches.  I am excited to be back in the library, I already have a long queue of books on hold (just finished The Moomins Vol 1) and will share with you later more of what I’ll be reading this winter (I’m going to work through my long list of “To-Read” on Goodreads).  Apart from work… there is STILL wood to stack, wood to bring in, vegetables to take care of (I’m down to the last of the tomatoes) and cats that are beginning to explore the outside world.  There is an etsy shop, art work and a very, very active dog.  Jamie is also giving me guitar lessons again so I’m hoping to pick it up again and encourage him to make more music as well!

Before I launch into knitting… our little 1.25 acre is also constantly on my mind.  I have been transplanting saplings that have come up on the outskirts of the farmer’s field, buried many chestnuts, planted lupin seeds that I collected in July from the wayside and transplanted some of our rose plants and lavender.  My ultimate goal is to have every inch of land planted with trees, bushes, flowers… anything!  And then buy more land :D.  Anywho…. this is all a side because I came here to share with you my latest cardigan handnit.

H A N D K N I T  C A R D I G A N

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Just the buttons left! 

I cast this sweater on in the blazing sun of glorious July!  Yes… it has taken me quite a while.  It was the first cardigan, knit in the round that I have ever made which is why it took me so long.  I believe I actually finished the bulk of the work in August or early September but waited until a visit with my Mom before I actually steeked the body (Steeking is the word applied to the actually cutting up the middle of the body to open up your cardigan sweater).  Thank goodness my Mom has absolutely no qualms about trying anything in the fibre art world.  When we finally were together in the latter part of October, she actually did the crochet stitch up my purled stitches and then I (palms sweating and heart beating!  Clearly a life or death situation) cut the sweater! It was so satisfying 😀

The inspiration for the design comes from the fall here in the Canadian East Coast, where miles of forest stretch along the ocean shore, spotted with wooden white houses.  I have started to really simplify my designs, favouring simple blocks of colour.   I really love the rust Léttlopi!  I find it both striking and subtle (if that makes any sense…).

I started the sweater with the full intention of finishing in October.  It’s nearly a month after when I thought I would be writing this post.  At the end of October, my sister, Mom and I travelled to Ontario to see our family and friends, thus putting a halt to all of my work (It was a very nice visit and I hope to be back again soon!).  And just other life things have continued to pop up, derailing my physical artistic world.

So below I have shared a couple pictures of the fall here, my sketch book and the sweater!  I have not taken anywhere near as many pictures this fall but alas, here are a couple!

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Home in October, the leaves are all gone now but these hundred year old sugar maples are beauties!
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Little messy paintings for inspiration
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Cape breton house by the sea – Colour source for the sweater – Red mountains filled with sugar maples, birch and spruce, the blue/grey water and sky and a cute white house. 
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The colours of our backyard, briefly in October ❤
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Finished!  
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Right after I finished sewing on the buttons, one quick picture!  Buttons successfully fit in the button holes, phew! 
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The rain let up so we went to the back behind our property to get a couple of photos!  I love the contrast against the grey sky and golden grasses.
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Out after the rain – a  little close up
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wooden buttons and abandoned farm land 

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And it’s raining again

 

It’s raining much harder now.    It is also my sister Meaghan’s birthday today! We are separated by the strait, but I am wishing her all the best in Nova Scotia today!  Send her loving vibes this day ❤

I hope you enjoyed this post!  I am settling in to actually put up the listing of this sweater on Etsy and respond finally to my comments and messages on both wordpress and instagram.  I have generally been steering away from Social Media and have finally developed a pretty solid system to keep me from being distracted.  Perhaps I’ll share this with you in another post!

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My Knitting Projects!  A Grey Icelandic Cardigan!  I’m hooked on making the cardigans despite being a bit more work!  Oh and those one ply mittens… maybe next year i can share them with you 😉

**A note on this sweater, it is made from I C E L A N D I C W O O L!  The specific name of the wool is called Léttlopi  which essentially means light Icelandic Wool (Létt = Light / lopi = Icelandic Wool).  This  wool is made using the sheared fleece of Icelandic Sheep.  Icelandic Sheep are very different than other sheep around the world, they are descendants of Norse Sheep from 1000 years ago!  Their unique fleece is composed of 2 layers, one which is water repellent and the other is an insulating coat.  This unique fleece keeps our friends dry and warm in the rather unpredictable Northern Atlantic Icelandic climate.  If you have any allergy or discomfort with wool, this wool is most likely not for you.  It is a hardy and durable wool which can withstand weather.  I live on an Island in Atlantic Canada and find this type of wool ideal for working outdoors in the fall/winter and “spring”  (our springs sometimes feel non-existent). **

Be well!!!!!!  Slán a’charaid!

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Hazel Heather Pangur Bán Handknit Sweater

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Hello 🙂

I wanted to share a few pictures of the latest Pangur Bán sweater.  I have it all ready to be shipped off to California but wanted to document it as much as possible!  It’s a funny thing, dedicating countless hours to knitting a garment and then shipping them off to their new homes – you so often forget about things that you have knitted!  Instagram has been good in a lot of ways to go back and remember different things that I’ve made in the past, however I find blogging about it just a wee bit more personal.  And I don’t feel like there are these silly rules about how many pictures I can post 😀

You can see the wool (Léttlopi) I used on the Alafoss Website.  The main colour is hazel heather and the contrasting colours are beige, black heather, oatmeal heather.  I guess I didn’t take too many pictures of the process, so I hope you enjoy the few that I did 🙂

And so, without further ado, here are some photos of my latest handknit sweater (you can read more about the design of this sweater in one of my first posts!).

Sleeves
Still winter and so much snow when I started this knit!
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Finished sleeves – I had the mug pictured here for such a short period of time 😦 it was chipped and cracked after it fell off the coffee table and now is home to an English Ivy
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Working on the yoke
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My knitting basket and Pangur ❤
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It was windy – I started with my hair up and it slowly falls out 😛  But in this photo, you can see Shipwreck Point Lighthouse and below are red rocks and the ocean
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Feeling the wind by the Ocean (i.e. just posing for a camera :P).
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Colour Contrast
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The blocked yoke
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Laid flat on the old
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packaged up with a card and a little bit of extra wool in the emergency situation
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The workroom has been completely taken over by plants!
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Lastly, stamped handmade bag !

Off she goes today!  I am being swamped at home right now with chores upon chores to do before we catch our flight in Halifax this Friday.  I can hardly believe that in a week’s time, we will be driving on the left side of the road and in the country of my ancestors.  I have a lot to share with you all before we go and will likely afterwards as well!  We have had a lot of rain which has made the PEI country side so lush and wonderful. It’s hard not to be happy in the midst of all the green and warmth!  Especially when hiking in the mountains on the other side of the Atlantic is just before us!

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Our side of the Ocean ❤

I am on the fence currently about bringing any knitting on the trip.  For some reason, I am hesitant to bring knitting needles on the plane – I have read that it should be fine, but I remember once I had my knitting in my bag when a friend and myself went on a tour of the Parliament Buildings (just for fun one random afternoon when I lived in Ottawa) and they took my knitting from me and sealed it in a bag!  I may go scout out some wooden circular needles tonight (cross fingers that such thing exists in PEI!).  I do hope to, we have a 5 hour lay over in St. John’s and a long plane ride which I will be incapable of getting any rest >.<

Anyhow, my family is coming tomorrow to house sit for us and I have SO much to do before!  Getting very excited!  I may be very stereotypical and post a packing for Ireland blog, if I have time!!!

Slán!!

“So in peace our task we ply, Pangur Bán, my cat, and I…”

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This week, the Pangur Bán sweater will be bound up with twine, placed in a cloth hand-sewn bag and shipped to Germany. Across the Atlantic Ocean, leaving behind its humble beginning on Prince Edward Island.

This original sweater was made during the summer of 2016 using Létt-Lopi that I purchase online at Alafoss. What you may ask is LOPI?  Lopi is the term for Icelandic Sheep’s wool.  Icelandic Sheep are very beautiful animals that are direct descendants of the first settler’s sheep brought from Norway in the 9th and 10th Century! How neat is that! They sport a unique dual layered fleece, which helps to protect the sheep and keep them dry and warm (aww).  I grew up with little Lopi sweaters that my mom knit, however they were infinitely bulkier than the sweaters made with Létt-Lopi.  The Létt means “light” and is actually half the weight of the old Alafoss Lopi.  It creates a garment that is.. well.. light and delicate, yet hardy all the same. I don’t think it really needs stating that I love this wool… the colours, the texture the end result! It’s so perfect ❤

Anyway! This sweater saw her beginning on a ferry crossing the North Atlantic from Sydney, NS to Argentia, Newfoundland. I purposefully started the sweater just before the trip so I could work on it during the 16 hour ferry ride and long car rides crossing the province.  I packed very little on this trip, some clothes suitable for camping and a backpack for my cotton wool bag  (filled to the brim with wool!) so I could work on the body of the sweater and mittens for market.  This suited me well until our car troubles began… and our stay was extended 5 extra days in a campsite with no drinking water or transportation (I may have been cursing my bag full of wool at that point :P…).

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In Gros Morne National Park, a boardwalk that passes the veil
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Hiked to the top of the mountain and started to knit, regular reaction to stunning views (right?)

 

No worries though, both Rachel and I returned unharmed in Nova Scotia with a new found knowledge of Mechanics and Garages (who knows what you may learn when you go on a trip!).  Also of course, a love for that giant, wild province out in the Atlantic ocean.

The sweater, as you can imagine was put on hold during our trip.  I think I managed to complete most of the body while I was away but the rest was completed on PEI.  My intention was to display the sweater at the Etsy Made in Canada Market which was at the end of September.  I had about a month before I could complete not only a sweater but other items for our market table.  And so I got to work…

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Working away in August
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regular breaks from knitting

Processed with VSCO with t1 presetMy pattern for the yoke was not really set in stone.  I didn’t write anything out.  I actually just kept tabs on when to do my decreases and what made sense with the decreases and the pattern.  This is the first time I actually hadn’t even drawn out a chart.  This is how I knit my mittens, from memory and without a chart, so I felt like I could do a yoke too.  I was really uncertain about how this one would turn out, but I trust the elves that they will look after me 😉  My vision was that it would be similar to the old style lopapeysur so my whole intention was to keep it simple, focusing on the diamonds and triangular mountain peaks (I tried to search for pictures of vintage Icelandic sweaters and came up with our sweaters… not quite google, not quite).

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Completed :)!
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Modeling for the Etsy Listing, Not posed at all… I always stare wistfully off to the sky in front of our woodpile 😉

And there you have it!  My completed Pangur Bán sweater.  It’s my more subtle take (with a lighter more flexible wool) on the 1970s/1980s designs.  It is also a much closer fit than the older lopapeysur, but that also is due to the nature of the wool.

You may have questions about the name, which I am more than happy to answer!  My cat’s name is Pangur Bán. His namesake is an Irish poem written in the margins of a manuscript in the 9th century.  The author was an Irish monk, living in Austria at the time.  He penned a poem detailing how his cat Pangur Bán (meaning literally something along the lines of “white fuller”) and him are quite alike in how they work, silently side by side while he searches for knowledge, Pangur diligently hunts mice.  It’s a beautiful little poem. But why did I name the sweater after my cat/9th century Irish poem?  Well, when I chose to use the gold as a contrasting colour, Pangur actually jumped up beside me looking for pets and I was struck by how similar the two were!  A good friend of mine pointed out the similarities as well and I thought it would be the perfect name 🙂 I suppose you could also say that we worked silently side by side, however he is a terrible mouser and I am binge watching Tales from the Green Valley or Tudor Farm.

THE PACKAGING

Lastly, I want to share with you the sweater all bundled up in our handmade packaging.  Creating packaging for knit goods has taken us years.  We have finally created handmade cotton drawstring bags to allow the wool garment to breath and just offer a unique little detail when receiving a specially made sweater.  This was always on our “to-do” list but both Meaghan and I were busy as Masters students when we started this shop and then lived in different provinces.  As you can imagine, it was difficult to get those details ironed out and put into action. I also often wrap things up as well in my hand-carved stamped, brown paper but the sweaters are now sent in bags.

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Handmade stamp on a handmade drawstring bag for out knits 😀
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The simple drawstring bag, isn’t it cute?

I always feel a little withdrawal when I finish a project that I have put quite a bit of time and thought into.  So I look to future knits so I can be a happy house elf.

              FUTURE KNITS

ARAN PULLOVER:  Using leftover yarn (only 20 per cent wool) from last year.  I’m planning to just make up a combinations of cables and have it loose fitting.

ARAN STOLE:  I’ve been dreaming about making a thick, earthy cable-knit stole/shawl/scarf (whatever you want to call it).  In the winter, I basically live in a lace stole that my mom made for me several years ago, so I’d love to have another one to give my lace a break.  If anyone has any suggestions for wool (looking for aran weight, pretty durable and earthy… I hope that makes sense), please let me know!

ARAN SOCKS:  a couple of months ago, I bought a vintage sock yarn that is Oh so nice.  It would be perfect for one small, cute pair of aran socks.  Now, I just need a pattern.  If anyone knows of any small, aran sock patterns please let me know!  I’m hoping to do a love knitting order soon, so if I need new needles for these I can get them then 🙂

LOPAPEYSA:  I don’t know if I need to even add this, but of course I have some in mind and have already ordered wool.  I have joined my sister to make some custom order ones again so I will be making my Winter Woodland in Ash for a customer as well as 2 more this winter that will likely have original designs and then be put up on the Etsy (wait until you see the colours!!)

And of course, I am making mittens, etc.  while I wait for wool orders and find out where my mind is before I can start making.     Can you tell I have a preference for Aran and Icelandic knitting…. 😀

I hope you enjoyed this post, please send me a message or leave a comment if you have any questions!

*Title of blog post is taken from Robin Flower’s English translation of Pangur Bán