checking in

One piece of housekeeping before I get into this post: I was notified a few weeks ago that my web host will be shutting down by the end of May. I’ll need to migrate the entire Paper Tiger website to a new platform, which will take me some time. I’ll be moving to WordPress over the course of the next two months. If you’re an email subscriber of this blog (or if you use a blog reader), unfortunately I’ll have no way to transfer that email list, but I will give you some warning before I make the final transfer. The website will still be, but links to other pages will be changing. So I anticipate some hiccups, as I’ll need to update links to blog posts or tutorial pages in a whole long list of places: pattern PDFs, YouTube video descriptions, and so on. So I hope you’ll bear with me through that process and forgive any bumps in the road. Now, on to the post…


Hello, all. I hope you’re as well as can be. The COVID-19 pandemic has turned life upside down for us all, and it’s a strange time to… well, to do much of anything. The Norwegian prime minister held a press conference on Thursday, March 12, announcing a number of initial measures they were taking to try to slow the spread, including closing schools and universities and instituting the social distancing policy we’re all now familiar with. March 12 was the first day I decided to work from home, and the press conference came as a relief, to know the government was taking the threat seriously and once they decided to take action, it was swift. My physical university campus is effectively shut down now, and employees have been instructed to work from home if they can. Looking at the calendar, today’s day 11 of isolation/social distancing/shelter-in-place/whatever your terminology. I’ve been out for walks at least every other day, and to the grocery store once, but otherwise, my partner and I are just home. There have been ups and downs, as you might expect, but overall we feel very lucky – lucky to be where we are (in this house, in this country), to not be worried about our jobs or work for the moment, to be able to go outside. We’re incredibly fortunate. We’re also worried about friends who have already lost their jobs, whose livelihoods are threatened. We’ve only seen the beginning of what this whole thing will bring.

It’s hard to know what to do to help, but I’ve been doing my best to support small businesses, both local and further afield. Even though I’ve been eager to knit from my stash this year (and I still am), I’ve been buying yarn I had no plans on buying a month ago. Buying patterns. Buying music on Bandcamp. Buying books. And feeling grateful to be able to lend that kind of support in some small way.

I find it hard to work on my academic work at the moment, and those I work with have been very understanding. I am getting some work done, but I’m trying to be gentle with myself too. And when it  all becomes too much, I knit. Or bake. Keeping my hands busy helps with the anxiety.



I hope you’re taking care of yourself and your loved ones as well as you can. I hope you’re taking social distancing seriously, but I also hope you’re able to get outside and take in some fresh air when you can. It’s difficult to try and find a balance right now, but do your best – connect with others using the means we have available, but take a step away and take some time for yourself when you need to. This is a really emotionally complex time. People lives are at stake. If you’re part of the high risk group, take extra care. We’re all in this together. xx


reflections on making


Halfway through the second month of 2020, I’m beginning to get a sense of how limited my time for making is at the moment (and is likely to remain for at least several more months). Hashtag PhD life, or something like that? I’m getting a little bit of knitting done here and there, but it all feels like it’s moving at a glacial pace. I have two sock projects on the go, which I sometimes bring on my commute to work on, but I’m still on the first sock of both pairs. Most of the sweaters I have on the needles are fingering weight sweaters, which prompted me to cast on a worsted weight sweater a few weeks ago in the hopes that I could bang it out, but that also feels slow and now I just have another WIP. So you could say I’ve been thinking lately about my priorities when it comes to my making this year, and I thought I’d share what I’m feeling with you all.


Firstly, after being apart from the majority of my WIPs and my stash for six months, I’m feeling slightly overwhelmed by it all now that I have it back. Not entirely in a bad way – I missed it and I feel an excitement to work on projects with all these beautiful materials I’ve collected – but what makes it overwhelming is the relatively slow pace at which I’m working on projects at the moment. I managed to work through a lot of what I had with me in the fall, which felt very freeing, and I’m just not feeling that freedom anymore. This means I’m feeling two strong desires: one is to work through my existing WIPs (16 is the current count, going by my Ravelry project page), and the other is a desire to work from stash for new projects. I really, genuinely want to be doing both of those things. And that feels really good, although it’s clearly going to take a little while to work on the WIPs. A few of them aren’t so far from being finished (like my Galore as well as this summery sweater) and trying to get them wrapped up in the next couple of months will probably help a lot.

The other thing I’m feeling really strongly is a desire to make things for friends and family. This isn’t entirely incompatible with wanting to knit from my stash, luckily, but it is somewhat at odds with trying to get through my WIPs. Nonetheless, after being reuinited with *all my knits* I’m also feeling how much I don’t need anything new, despite all the yarn kicking around in my stash. Of course there are sweaters and other things I want to make for myself that I already have yarn for, but I have plenty of yarn to do more knitting for others, as well.


I know a lot of this is really in line with how many other crafters are feeling right now – The Crimson Stitchery is one of my favorite podcasts, and Anushka has talked a lot in recent videos about storage space, stash, WIPs, and desire vs. necessity. I really appreciate her approach to crafting as it’s always creative and beautiful, but also thrifty and practical. (The tagline for her podcast is “making all things beautiful and useful.”) She’s hosting an initiative called Stashless2020 in which you can join in with the aim to do one of two things: either try to work through your existing stash to become completely stashless, or put less into your stash and work more from what you already have. I definitely fall into the latter category – even if I had all the time in the world to knit this year, I wouldn’t empty my stash – but I appreciate the encouragement provided by a group effort, and knowing there are others feeling the same. If you’re intrigued by the idea of Stashless2020, I’d encourage you to check out this video where Anuskha discusses the question, “Can I go stashless in 2020?”

I am so lucky to have so many beautiful things to make with, so when I feel frustrated by how slowly my projects seem to be going at the moment, I just try to remind myself: it’s not a race.

the north sea


I read a book a couple months ago called The Shetland Bus, which I picked up over Christmas break after someone posted about it on social media last fall. The phrase “the Shetland bus” refers to a British and Norwegian special operations unit who used fishing ships to carry supplies and refugees back and forth between Shetland and the west coast of Norway during World War II (as Norway was occupied by the Nazis, many Norwegians fled to the UK or the United States during the war). Shetland is due west from the west coast of southern Norway, with Lerwick and Bergen being on approximately equal latitudes, so it made sense as a home base for this type of special operations group.

The book itself is fascinating for a number of reasons, not least of which is that it was first published in 1951 and the author was part of the unit that carried out these trips. The trips this group carried out were not in large boats, but fishing boats small enough to be unassuming and less likely to be stopped or questioned. And as the sun doesn’t sink low enough below the horizon for total darkness in the summer time, these trips were carried out in fall and late winter, in the cold and under cover of darkness, often with stormy weather. Even having lived through my first Norwegian winter, I can’t even imagine what it must have been like.


Most of the action took place much farther south than where I live in Norway (Bergen sits at 60ºN while Tromsø is up at 69ºN) with the exception of chapter thirteen, which is one of the more incredible tales in the book about a seemingly impossible escape. Another chapter tells of the attempt to sabotage a German battleship in Trondheim – the attempt failed, but that battleship (Tirpitz) was later sunk just south of Tromsøya at the end of the war. The presence of a little bit of local history probably increased the impact of this book on me.

I also found myself thinking about knitting at different points in the book. Now, nothing in this book is about knitting, but there’s definitely a bit of shared history and tradition between Shetland and Norway – stretching back to the Viking age, of course, but also more recently. Both places are famous for their stranded knitting patterns, and though there are differences, there has always been a great deal of sharing of certain motifs between both places. As I neared the end of The Shetland Bus I found myself reaching for my needles.


I wound up with a hat that I feel is part Norwegian in spirit and part Shetland-style, too. While the main motifs stand out in a single color, the background cycles through different colors. I’ve called it The North Sea in tribute to the fishermen of the Shetland bus, all of whom were incredibly brave, and many of whom found their final resting place at the bottom of that sea.

I went down to Telegrafbukta to shoot the photos of the hat about two months ago, when it was still much snowier here. This park is one of my favorite spots in Tromsø, on the southwest side of the island right on the water. It was a windy day, so I found myself facing in one particular direction more than any other – it just so happens that I wound up looking toward the sunken wreck of the Tirpitz.

Using multiple background colors with colorwork makes this an excellent hat for leftovers, and that is exactly what I used – leftover yarn I had on hand. It is for this reason that the hat is knit in an American yarn (Brooklyn Tweed Shelter) though I’d love to see it worked up in wool from Norway or Shetland as well. It’s a great project for any worsted-weight leftovers you have in your stash. As written, the pattern uses a tubular cast on, but that can be swapped out for any other stretchy cast on you like, and otherwise it’s quite straightforward.

The one thing that’s unusual is that normally I write hat patterns for multiple sizes, but due to the very large repeat used on this hat, the pattern is written for just one size. In this case I would suggest trying to adjust gauge by changing needles sizes if you’d like to make the hat smaller or larger, and keep in mind that gauge from knitter to knitter can vary substantially in stranded colorwork, so you’ll probably find it useful to swatch first.

The North Sea is available on Ravelry now. Head over to that page for all the technical details about the pattern.


seven stars / knit purl

Last weekend I had the great pleasure of heading to Portland, Oregon to teach a colorwork workshop at Knit Purl downtown – based on a new pattern for colorwork mitts I have out!

Seven Stars is a pair of fingerless mitts that combines Spincycle’s Dyed in the Wool with stranded colorwork to create a pattern of colorwork with slow color gradients. I love watching the colors shift as these mitts knit up. The pattern is written for three sizes (small, medium, large) and further adjustments could be made using gauge.

For those unfamiliar with Spincycle Yarns and their Dyed in the Wool, it’s a small-batch mill-spun yarn that looks and feels like a handspun. To use Spincycle’s words, “Dyed In The Wool represents the fulfillment of our desire, here at Spincycle headquarters, to merge the beauty and texture of a handspun yarn with a more efficiently produced millspun yarn.” They collaborate with a mill on Camano Island here in western Washington state: Spincycle dyes the fiber before it’s sent to the mill to be spun – hence the dyed in the wool bit – and then the mother-daughter team at the mill spins it up! The result is a gorgeous plied yarn with unique colorways that truly looks like a handspun yarn.  (If actual handspun is more your thing, Spincycle carries several other yarns which are spun by hand in house). When the lovely ladies at Spincycle asked if I’d like to use their yarn for a design, I jumped at the chance to try Dyed in the Wool with colorwork!

For the first sample pair, I wanted to play up the rustic handspun feel of the Dyed in the Wool, so I paired it with Brooklyn Tweed Loft – when used as the main color, the woolen-spun Loft knits up into a fuzzy wool backdrop for the colorwork. That pair is pictured at left (with colors The Saddest Place in Dyed in the Wool and Snowbound in Loft). Rustic isn’t everybody’s thing, however, particularly with colorwork, so I dressed up my second sample pair with the luxurious Shibui Staccato, a sleek merino/silk blend. Pictured at right, that pair used Dyed in the Wool in Robin’s Egg and Staccato in Tar. When choosing your own colors, make sure to pick two yarns with high contrast throughout for best results.

I think these mitts have a thoroughly modern look (helped in no small part by the beautiful Dyed in the Wool) even though they make use of some very traditional techniques. I borrowed heavily from traditional Norwegian mitten construction – the cuff, gusset, and borders between the palm and back of the hand are all typical of Selbuvotter, or Selbu mittens. Instructions for working the gusset increases are written out (and I have plans to do a photo tutorial at some point in the near future) and the placement is also indicated in the charts.

The pattern is available exclusively through Knit Purl this month – you can grab a hard copy or a kit in store, or order one online. If you’d just like the pattern and you don’t live nearby, it’s also available as a PDF download from the Knit Purl Website. The kits are available in several colorways, using both Brooklyn Tweed Loft and Shibui Staccato! Here are the links:

Knit Purl – Seven Stars pattern & yarn kit
Seven Stars PDF download

I also wanted to extend a special thank you to Knit Purl for having me – and if you ever find yourself in Portland, you should absolutely pay them a visit! Their space is beautiful and well-organized, and it’s easy to while away a whole afternoon just checking out the yarn selection (I definitely came home with a few yarny souvenirs). And thanks to those of you came out for the workshop, as well! It was an incredibly fun weekend.

P.S. Yesterday was the official first day of the Hearth Slippers KAL! It’s not too late to join in! Which is good, as I’ve yet to cast on…

the evolution of a sweater

I didn’t do a ton of knitting while I was in Norway, but a few days after I arrived I did cast on for a Svalbard, the ingenius cardigan pattern by Bristol Ivy from Wool People vol. 6. Norway felt like the right place to do it, because Svalbard is a Norwegian archipelago, and I had decided to knit it in the Snowbound colorway of Brooklyn Tweed’s Shelter (Svalbard is halfway between mainland Norway and the north pole, so there is definitely snow on the islands year round).

Bristol is the kind of designer people like me only wish we could be – she’s incredibly innovative and terribly creative when it comes to actually constructing garments and accessories. Svalbard is one of her more innovative efforts, with unusual shaping beginning at the back neck and at the underarms. Bristol describes the construction of the garment in the interview she did for the Brooklyn Tweed blog. I had never knit anything put together like this before. Incidentally, this was also my first top-down sweater, so I enjoyed documenting the process as the sweater grew. I thought some of you might enjoy seeing the evolution, as well, so I’m sharing the photos here today:

(I especially enjoyed this stage, above, because it looked like something out of Game of Thrones)

The resulting sweater, after finishing, is so dreamy and perfect for so many occasions I can hardly stand it. It’s already become my go-to work sweater (the basement where my office/studio is located can be on the chilly side) and it works well with dresses, skirts, or pants. Bristol, my hat is off to you.

I also decided to make this a contribution to Shannon Cook’s annual Summer Sweater Knitalong, which runs through September 24th. I would encourage any of you with sweaters on the needles (or sweaters ready to go) to join in! You can read all about it at the link above.

If you’re hankering for some Bristol Ivy pieces of your own, several of her patterns are on sale until this Sunday, August 31st. Check out the eligible patterns right here and make sure to use the code 29on28 at checkout to receive the 29% discount. Svalbard is not among the patterns on sale, but there’s plenty of goodness whether you like sweaters, shawls, or other accessories.

Have any of you knit Svalbard? Any of Bristol’s other designs, or other patterns from Wool People 6? I’d love to see your projects!

wool people 7 / hoquiam


It is an exciting day in the knitting world: Brooklyn Tweed release day! I am thrilled to once again have a pattern in the latest collection in their guest designer series, Wool People. We’re up to Volume 7 now, which is full of some insanely wonderful sweaters (I’m already lusting after DevlanYane, and Seine) and a few accessories. Before I go on you should take a minute to go peek at the look book here, if you haven’t already. Go on, I’ll wait for you.

Are you back? Okay, now I can tell you a little bit about my pattern, Hoquiam. It is one of my favorite constructions: a seamless infinity scarf (or cowl, if you like), knit in the round as a tube, with the ends grafted together. I’ve made good use of this construction before (example oneexample two). As written, it’s long enough to loop around your neck twice, but you can also wear it long to show of the cable and lace textures (and it would be easy to knit a shorter or longer version if desired!).


Hoquiam came from a desire to combine cables and lace, and the motifs I chose for the two widest panels – the seed stitch medallions and pairs of leaves – are motifs I haven’t seen used very much of late. Once blocked, these run down either side of the cowl, framed by columns of cables. You can wear either side facing out. Looped twice around your neck, it’s quite cozy.

Hoquiam uses Brooklyn Tweed’s worsted weight, Shelter. The sample is knit in Hayloft, a bright pop of color in the collections largely muted palette. There are so many colors of Shelter I would love to knit this in, but at the top of my list are probably Snowbound, Sweatshirt, and Button Jar. Fossil would give it a very fisherman’s sweater feeling, and Embers would be wonderfully autumnal for those of you in the southern hemisphere. You get the idea… many, many possibilities here!

Hoquiam can be purchased via Ravelry or at We hope you like the collection.

brooklyn tweed / sundottir


I have a very big piece of news today: I’m incredibly honored to have a design in the newest guest designer collection by Brooklyn Tweed, Wool People Volume 6. I’ve been a longtime fan of Brooklyn Tweed patterns and I fell in love with their yarns this year, so it’s a dream come true to have a pattern in the collection. My design is a seamless bottom-up pullover called Sundottir, with a round yoke featuring stranded colorwork. Those of you who have been following the blog for a long time may remember a sweater I knit for myself three years ago with a similar name; it was the first sweater I’d ever knit without a pattern, and when I finished it, I hoped to turn it into a pattern eventually. Better late than never, right?


I met Jared (of Brooklyn Tweed) at the Madrona Fiber Arts Festival in Tacoma, Washington earlier this year, around the time BT was starting to put ideas together for Wool People 6. When Jared invited me to submit a few ideas, Sundottir was the first submission I put together. I was thrilled when it was the idea the team decided to go with, because I couldn’t have imagined a better way to finally release this design as a pattern. My prototype has seen a lot of wear as my go-to sweater, and it’s traveled the world with me. It’s pretty near and dear to my heart.


I made a few improvements to the design as I transitioned from prototype to pattern. The original sweater had no shaping to dip the yoke so that the neck opening was higher in the back and lower in the front, so the pattern features short row shaping before and after the stranded colorwork to make the yoke height taller in the back for a more comfortable fit. The original yoke chart was a repeat of 16 stitches, making it difficult to grade for different sizes, so I tweaked the chart a little bit to make it an 8-stitch repeat. I’m quite pleased with how it turned out! The sweater is also worked on smaller needles than my prototype was, so that the colorwork is easier to knit (I had trouble keeping my strand tension even on the yoke of the prototype because of the larger needle size on the original). All in all, I think the changes I made are all improvements that make a more comfortable, versatile pullover than the original. I might have to knit myself a new one out of Shelter in Almanac and Snowbound, although I love the muted palette of the sample I knit for Brooklyn Tweed (in Truffle Hunt and Fossil). Truffle Hunt is one of the Brooklyn Tweed yarn colors that seems to get used less, but I loved working with it – it’s full of depth and the blue flecks are just gorgeous. It’s a really rich and beautiful color in person.


As written, the sweater is intended to be worn with no ease or negative ease, though I think it looks great with a little bit of positive ease as well (as seen on the Brooklyn Tweed models). I got a quick snap of myself in the sample before I sent it off, so you can see what it looks like with a little less ease (there’s about a half inch of negative ease at the bust when I’m wearing it):


The list of designers for Wool People 6 is quite impressive, so I’m incredibly flattered to be among them. You can check out the rest of the patterns for Wool People 6 and view the lookbook on the Brooklyn Tweed website, and you can view the full details for Sundottir on the Ravelry page here. Thank you to Jared and Brooklyn Tweed for letting me be a part of this collection.

All photos copyright Brooklyn Tweed except the last two photos, which are mine.