Siobhan

This design has been very long in the making. So long that the actual yarn I have knitted it in has been discontinued. Oh well!

The origins go back to the 90’s and a continuing struggle to grade it in different sizes. I battle I have lost, so I can unfortunately only present it in two sizes, Medium and Large. Why is this? It is a combination of calculating the widening of the center panel in relation to the length and the shoulder width which turned out to be extremely complex. Finally after over 2 decades of off and on struggle, I gave up and settled on two sizes.

The pattern panel on the front and back combine cables; a traditional cable and bobble panel at the center and XO-cables moving outwards towards the sides, with motifs emulating the iron clamps that hold medieval houses together (the same motifs used in Tristan).

The original yarn is my ClassicAl a lovely wool and alpaca blend (a traditional 4-ply, round spun yarn). As it has been discontinued I can only suggest my Silky Wool Aran or my Misty Wool yarn, both of which are very suitable but will give the garment a more rustic character.

Anyway, although Siobhan has demanded an inordinate amount of calculations, I think it has been worth it. I hope you do too.

Photo as always Anders Rydell

Lelah

Lelah is a quite unusual pattern. The mittens are worked in a garter slip stitch pattern that is as easy to knit as it is pretty. The top of the mitten is shaped in garter stitch so there is no conflict between the shaping and the pattern. The mittens are worked flat and seamed by zigzagging between the “knots” of the garter stitch (leaving an opening for the thumb), a very easy method for getting flat invisible seams.

Now the thumb is another story. Stitches for the thumb are picked up along the side of the opening left for the thumb by picking up the “knots” of the garter stitch. Then the thumb is knitted on to the mitten using short rows. This is not hard either just a rather unusual solution.

I used my Luscious Llama yarn which is super soft and, yes, Luscious – and warm. Using one skein in each color, there was just enough yarn left to knit a matching head band.

I enjoyed knitting this, I hope you will too.

Photo as always Anders Rydell.

Fur heaven’s sake

I am not an animal rights activist nor a vegan, but I do think we should seriously consider our relationship to animals, maybe especially our domesticated animals.

We have been living and evolved with our domesticated animals for over 10 000 years. Without including animals in farming a lot of animals will never have a life but, at the same time, by choosing to use animal products we should also shoulder the responsibility of showing each animal respect by using as much of it as possible.

Personally, I have chosen to eat fairly small amounts of meat and to buy only meat from producers who let their animals have a life in accordance with their biological and emotional needs. So pork comes from pigs who have been rooting in the ground outdoors, beef is from grazing cows and of course, all lamb is from grazing animals. Most producers I buy from, also slaughter their animals in a humane fashion, without long transports and stress.

Animal husbandry is an important part of organic farming, for enriching the soil and enhancing the soil’s microbial life and it seems that it is possible, that way, to get large and healthy crops without synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and weed killers. Especially when you consider the nutritional value of the produce.

I wear fur and have done so since my teens. Not so much for it’s beauty as for it’s warmth. Living in Stockholm, Sweden, which is located on the same latitude as Skagway, Alaska, a lot of winters are quite cold. And I am sensitive to cold. I found, early on, that the only way to survive a cold winter is to wear fur.

My first fur coat was my mother’s old fur coat from the 50’s. This was back in the 60’s and her fur coat was a heavy but warm nutria coat. Nutria the furriers’ name for a rodent which is considered a pest as it burrows into farm land destroying crops. It seems to me that using the fur, when you kill the animal anyway, is a good thing. I wore that fur coat for years until the elbows were hairless from wear. Then I removed the sleeves and wore it as a vest until the seat was worn bare too. This was in the mid 70s (even back then I was conscious of re-using and upcycling). So my mother had worn it for a decade and then I had worn it for another decade but there were still large sections of lovely soft fur left.

That was when I got the idea to slash it into strips and knit a vest.

I wore that for another 5 years, though being knitted it wasn’t wind proof.

I used a Stanley knife to cut narrow, quarter inch strips, cutting from the wrong side. Then I used 20 mm needles to knit the vest. This was very hard on the hands but I was so pleased with the result that I presented it to Femina, one of Sweden’s most prestigious fashion magazines. And they chose to publish it. I don’t own the rights to that photo so I show the vest here, photographed as always by Anders Rydell.

Tristan

Over the years I’ve had requests for more men’s sweaters and I have designed a fair number. One of my personal favorites is Tristan. Tristan was originally published in my book The Embraceable You Collection, made in an Angora blend long discontinued.

When I included an Aran weight version of my Silky Wool yarn, I decided to re-knit it in my Silky Wool Aran yarn, which has a much more rustic character. I have taken the opportunity to tweak the pattern somewhat and I have given it a crew neck instead of the original mock turtleneck.

The motifs, with their strong graphic impact, are inspired by the iron clamps that hold medieval houses together.

This is a men’s sweater with a polished style, I hope you enjoy it.

Photos as always by Anders Rydell

Bagatelle

My birthday has come and gone but I offer this pattern as my birthday gift to my knitting friends.

It is a mere trifle, a cute little bag that can be used for pretty much anything. I’ve chosen a Christmas color, because it is that time of year, and because this little bag could be used as gift wrapping.

I’ve knitted it in my LinSilk yarn, now discontinued but of course you can choose any yarn you have available. It can be worked at any gauge but know that a tighter gauge makes for a smaller bag and a looser gauge, in thicker yarn, will make a bigger bag. The pattern is also easy to scale up by adding more stitches and knitting it longer. If you do you may want to place the star farther up to still get it in the middle.

The Christmas feeling is mostly from the color, so using other colors will make it suitable for any occasion.

So, I enjoyed my birthday, I hope you will enjoy my birthday gift.

Mosaic patterns

Mosaic patterns have always been among my favorites because they are so easy to knit.

I discovered them back in 1977 when I lived in Missouri. While waiting for my green card so I could work, I perused the local library and they had a book about mosaic knitting. No, it wasn’t Barbara Walker’s, that came later, but unfortunately I don’t remember which book it was. But I was hooked.

A few years later, after returning to Sweden, I introduced the technique here, through a big splash in one of Sweden’s largest fashion magazines, Femina, and in my first book, a collection of stitch patterns.

Since then Mosaic knitting has been part of my knitting life and I have designed a number of stitch patterns in this technique as well as using those designed by others. Here is an example of one of my patterns, Enigma, from my book Out of the Blue.

Recently I’ve been returning to mosaic knitting again and here are two new patterns.

The first is Neem, an easy neckwarmer in my Luscious Llama yarn (named for a reason), using one of Barbara Walker’s patterns. Mosaic patterns are especially suited for garments where the wrong side may show occasionally as there are no long floats on the wrong side. I have knitted three colorways to entice you to make your own color combination.

The second is Sibel, knitted in Silky Wool, a sweater with a basic in shape but with a rather unusual pattern placement. This will make it fairly easy to lengthen the sweater if you choose.

The colors and pattern placement are inspired by an ancient screen that I saw years ago in the archaeological museum in Ankara, Turkey. If you look closely you will find motifs that are identical to the ones on the sweater.

A third pattern, in my Silky Wool Aran, is on my needles and will be published at a later time. It is a men’s sweater with a pattern designed by me, with motifs from my Viking research. Here is a photo of the prototype, worked way back when, in a yarn that no longer exists.

So, if you love mosaic knitting too, here are some patterns to whet your appetite and if you’ve never tried, Neem may be a good place to start.

Both Sibel and Neem are available on Ravelry

https://www.ravelry.com/stores/elsebeth-lavold-designs

Photo as always Anders Rydell

Happy Knitting!

Woodborer

I’m not really an outdoorsy kind of person but I do enjoy taking walks in the woods. And I tend to return home with fabulous finds; a beautifully shaped stick, a piece of bark, a wilted leaf or a partially eaten fir cone. Beauty is everywhere for those who have eyes to see. I have always admired the squiggly trails made in wood by the woodborer. And one day I managed to translate that into a color pattern.

I don’t design projects in stranded knitting very often, but of course I had to use my woodborer pattern.

In this design, I have placed the pattern in parts of the sweater that can be worked in the round, the sweater is knitted in the round to the underarm, and in those areas I have placed two stitches in contrast color to create fake “seams”. This makes it easier to keep track of the pattern and to see where to increase on the underside of the sleeves.

The edges are hemmed in contrast color and the collar is lined with contrast color stockinette.

Many knitters get a different gauge when working in the round than when knitting back and forth. Make sure that the gauge stays consistent; if necessary, change needle size when shifting to knitting back and forth at the underarm.

If, like me, you are not comfortable knitting with double-pointed needles, I recommend that you use the magic loop technique. That does make knitting small tubes so much easier. You’ll find plenty of films on Youtube if you are not familiar with the technique.

The pattern was originally published in my book The Out of the Woods Collection back in 2007, but by request the pattern is now available on Ravelry.

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/woodborer-a

The original yarn is no longer available but the pattern contains the specifications needed to find a substitute.

Happy Knitting!

Erna

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Erna was originally knitted in another yarn, now long gone, but I find it so pretty I really think it deserves a longer life.

So I have re-knitted it in my lovely Hempathy yarn, cool and pleasant with the look and drape of linen but composed of cotton, hemp and viscose making it less hard on the hands. Actually it knits up quite easily. An added bonus is the number of colors available, you’re bound to find one that works for you.

I love the ease of the block pattern and the way it contrasts with the delicate, waviness of the lace pattern. Garter lines are integrated in both patterns, so working the edgings in garter was a natural choice.

I also chose to complemet the sweater with a lace pattern shawl, worked in two sections from the ends towards the middle and grafted together invisibly and with ease thanks to the garter ridges.

The different elements all come together to create a thoroughly wearable garment, suitable for everyday wear as well as for more festive occasions.

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Since we already had beautiful photos of lovely Nina, we just did a quickie on me for the Hempathy version. I hope you like it.

Pattern available at https://www.ravelry.com/designers/elsebeth-lavold

Photo as always by Anders Rydell.

Lila

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Lila grew out of a personal need. I have a purple skirt that I like to wear in the summer and I needed a matching jacket. I like my jackets short and not too overworked, that is, not too many design details. I also wanted easy and effortless knitting, so enter Lila.

Short and straight, it could easily be lengthened, but with a fitted feel to it thanks to the narrow shawl collar. The tiny flower pattern is very easy to knit, easy to keep track of and actually makes it feel like the knitting grows faster than in plain stockinette.

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It could also be a place to flaunt some lovely buttons, although I opted for for some fairly plain ones.

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Our model here is beautiful Sanna, with whom we have been working for over 20 years, she just gets better and better.

The pattern is available at https://www.ravelry.com/designers/elsebeth-lavold

Photos as always by Anders Rydell

Mist

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Mist was originally published in Viking Knits and Ancient Ornaments in another yarn and another gauge. Here I have adapted it for Silky Wool, making it suitable for a broader temperature range as well as extending the potential use to a wider spectrum of situations.

The central motif is not found in exactly that form on Viking artifacts but a more geometric version is found on a viking stone from the Isle of Man. It has been frequently used among several different African tribes, and is also known as the Buddhist endless knot. I’m guessing that whatever the culture one of the the symbolic meanings is long life.

We photographed it on lovely Felicia, on a sunny summer’s day at a local castle and sculpture garden.

The Viking Knits are always fun to knit because nearly all the action is on the right side where you can see what you are doing while the wrong side rows are basically knit the knits and purl the purls.

Mist is not about big drama, it is a pleasant and wearable sweater.

The pattern is available on Ravelry https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/mist-16

Enjoy!

Photo as always by Anders Rydell