new work for amirisu

The previews for issue 22 (spring/summer) of Amirisu magazine went live last week, and I actually have some new work to share! For those unfamiliar with the magazine, Amirisu originally started off as a digital-only knitting magazine, publishing bilingually in English and Japanese (they are a Japanese company). Nowadays they’re a print magazine, publishing each issue in an English/international version and a Japanese version. They also have a brick-and-mortar yarn store in Japan called WALNUT that I’d love to visit someday.

I’ve been a fan for a long time so it’s been a real pleasure to get to work with them on some designs for the magazine. I have one pattern in issue 22, and I also have a pattern from issue 21, the fall/winter issue, that I haven’t shared here so I thought I’d share that as well. But first, my pattern for the new issue!

This hat and cowl set is called Blomsterkrans (Ravelry link), a Scandinavian word meaning flower wreath/crown or garland. I’m very pleased with how both pieces turned out. We used Knitting for Olive Merino, which is a light fingering non-superwash merino wool, and the finished fabric is lovely. The center of the flowers is worked in duplicate stitch to add a pop of color, so there are no three-color rounds in these pieces.

Amirisu’s photography is beautiful, as always. Colorwork can always feel a little funny in a spring/summer issue, but these are lightweight pieces that are certainly suitable for the Scandinavian summer, if not the typical Japanese one.

The other pattern I wanted to share was my piece for issue 21: a pair of colorwork mitts called Bramble (Ravelry link).

These were quite fun to design, because they lean more towards Fair Isle knitting than Scandinavian. I also love how they styled the model for the magazine, and I never would have thought to pair these mitts with a coat in that color. These use six colors in total, so the color choice adds a lot of room for creativity and the finished mitts can look incredibly different depending on which colors you choose. It’s also possible to simplify and use only five of fewer colors. I’ve really enjoyed seeing finished projects of this one.

It’s also nice to revisit them, because seeing them in the photo reminds me that I was working on this sample on my last international trip pre-Covid, when I was in Rome in February of 2020. It takes me straight back to the memory of sitting on the hotel bed, knitting on these with the window open, hearing the sounds of the city outside and enjoying the soft sunlight filtering through the curtains. I’d forgotten how travel knitting can be transportive that way; it makes me excited to travel again. Eventually.

Blomsterkrans shoot
Photos: Masahiro Shimazaki
Hair/makeup: Yoko Yoshikawa
Model: Kana

Bramble shoot
Photos: Masahiro Shimazaki
Hair/makeup: Yoko Yoshikawa
Model: Masako

a few summer knits

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I thought after my last post sharing some summertime snaps, I’d share what I’ve been knitting on for the past month or so as well. There’s actually been very little knitting for the past few days, as much of Norway has seen temps up and over 30°C (or 85°F), which is unusually warm here. My apartment gets full sun throughout the afternoon (the hottest part of the day) until the sun sets (currently around 10:30 PM), so I definitely haven’t been feeling too inspired to knit. But I can still get in a few stitches in the mornings, like I have this morning, when there’s a cool breeze blowing through the open windows.

While I always have a lot of projects on the go, many of my WIPs are still packed up in boxes along with my stash. We’re actually in a short-term rental for the time being, and will be finding long-term housing early this fall, so all our things will remain in storage until then. I think I have enough knitting to tide me over until then, though, since I thought ahead about what to pack in my suitcase.

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First up is actually a design that will hopefully be launching soon. This one has been in the works for awhile, and this is the second sample I’m knitting for the pattern, which will be for a tee or summer sweater (depending ons leeve length). The first version was lambswool hand-dyed by Ninapetrina, but this one is a slightly more summery blend of yarns. The grey yarn is Amirisu Parade (generously given to me by Amirisu earlier this year), a blend of 60% wool, 20% cotton, 10% linen, and 10% silk. It’s soft, has a lovely drape, and the blend gives this color a lovely heathered appearance. I’ve paired it with Quince & Co. Tern (75% wool/25% silk) for the contrast, in the Backbay colorway. You can find my Ravelry project page for this one here, although it’ll be lacking some information until the pattern comes out.

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I’ve also cast on for a pair of socks since arriving here, with yarn I brought with me. I’m knitting the Pebbles and Pathways socks by Marceline Smith (aka heybrownberry), who I had the chance to meet earlier this year in Edinburgh. Marce is so absolutely lovely, and I love that working on these socks makes me think of that trip and meeting Marce and so many other wonderful knitters. Some projects are like a warm hug, you know? I love the simplicity of this design and I’m really enjoying how it works up in this yarn, Blacker Yarns Mohair Blends 4-ply, a blend of Hebridean and Manx wools with mohair. It’s a woolen spun 2-ply yarn, and when I purchased it from The Woolly Thistle they let me know that Blacker is no longer recommending this yarn for socks (although their website doesn’t appear to have been updated to reflect that). Given the woolen spun structure I imagine it hasn’t worn as well as some people would like. But I’m not afraid of a little bit of mending, so I thought I’d use it for socks anyway and see for myself how it wears. In my experience with sock knitting, the gauge of the fabric matters nearly as much as whether or not a sock yarn has nylon in it. If I wear these socks often I expect I will get holes eventually, but that’s been true for all of my socks. So we shall see! You can find my project page here.

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Another pattern that went straight into my queue when it was released earlier this year was the Granskog tee by Renate Yerkes, designed for this years Oslo Knitting Festival magazine (although it is available as an individual pattern as well). This pattern features tree motifs worked in lace at the hem, and I just think it’s so clever and I love the effect. When I realized that this would be a pretty perfect pattern for two skeins of apple green yarn given to me by my friend Kristin, I made sure to stash those skeins in my suitcase so I could cast on for it this summer. I thought the lace might be a slog to get through, but on the contrary, I was so excited to see the trees emerge that I just wanted to keep knitting. I’m using Norwegian wool yarn from Sjølingstad Uldvarefabrik, an old wool mill in southern Norway that is both museum and functioning mill today. My project page is here.

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And finally, one afternoon a week or two ago I took the ferry over to Munkholmen, a small island in the Trondheimfjord, just a ten minute boat ride from the city center. The island has lived many lives, including being a monastery, a prison, and a fortress at different points in history, but these days it’s mostly a nice place for an outing, with plenty of green grass for a picnic, a little beach for swimming/bathing, and a few facilities on site like a cafe and a shop. I had a wander through the shop (called Munkholmen Galleri) which featured all kinds of things from local artists and makers, and got very excited when I stumbled into a corner with sheepskins and a basket of yarns in three natural colors – all from the grey Trøndersau. There was a light grey, a medium grey, and a natural black (which like most natural black yarns is a warm, deep chocolately brown in some lights). I thought picking up a skein of the lightest grey and the natural black would be a good idea, and hopefully enough to make a pair of mittens. Trøndelag, the county where Trondheim is situated, is also the home of Selbu, which is of course home to the tradition of Selbu mittens. The thought of making myself a pair of Selbu-style mittens with local wool from a rare local breed? I couldn’t resist. So when I got home, I had a browse through some existing patterns, but nothing quite captured what I was after. So I drew up my own chart. This is pretty heavy wool – I’d say aran weight, at least – so these are the thickest Selbu mittens I’ve ever made. But I’m knitting them at a dense gauge so they should be very warm in the winter! I’ll probably share more about these later, but for now you can find the project page here.

So there’s a glimpse at some of the projects I’ve been working on this summer. I know we’re hardly the only ones who have been experiencing a heat wave – how are you keeping cool, if the summer’s been hot where you are?