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Schoolhouse Press—Newsletter #18 September 2012


"I have found a use for what I formerly thought was the only true 'mistake' in knitting: a split stitch. Now when I knit with 2 un-spun strands of that unique, hairy, Icelandic wool, I am liable to deliberately split a stitch when I want to increase...knit into one strand, then into the other.”

— Elizabeth Zimmermann, in Knitting Around

a knitting newsletter from
Meg Swansen

Dear Knitter graphic

With the thought that last year's rather wussy winter was an anomaly, I feel myself bracing for a proper Wisconsin Winter this year. Someone online just started a Knit-Along for a Garter Stitch Blanket knitted with our Sheepsdown, and I felt my fingers itching to cast on (especially with all the deep and rich colors of Sheepsdown now available).

I love Garter Stitch blankets the best; when you fling yourself down on the sofa and reach for a snug blannie, you don't want to be bothered with "right" and "wrong" sides. I am just trying to decide upon a color and will knit a 36 - 40" sofa (or crib) square in the Elizabeth Zimmermann mode: Provisionally cast on half the final wanted width of the banket, turn 4 corners and weave the end to the beginning. Then stabilize the shape with EZ's Applied I-Cord around the periphery.

When working applied cord in a strongly contrasting color, blips of the MC are liable to poke through on the side that faces you as you work. We used to get around that by applying cord always from the INside of the garment, thus the OUTside would be perfect. However, we were precluded from working free-lance cord as surface decoration, or any situation where both sides are visible. Enter, Joyce Williams and her anti-blip-technique (see below).

Applied I-Cord is identical to I-Cord Cast Off, but worked with picked-up stitches instead of raw sts. Begin by picking up some sts along the selvedge to be bordered (a smaller size needle is helpful).
On a second needle, cast on 3 (or 2) Cord sts. Transfer them to the pick-up needle and,
*k2 (or 1), slip 1, k1 (picked up stitch), psso. Replace 3 (or 2) sts to left needle and repeat from *.

(EZ's drawing from Knit One Knit All)

The drawing above shows 3-stitch Applied I-Cord.

If a strongly contrasting I-Cord color is used, Joyce Williams' method will eliminate blips of the MC from showing through the work as follows:
*k2 (or 1), slip 1, k1 (picked up stitch), yo, p2sso.
Replace 3 (or 2) sts to left needle and repeat from *.

Speaking of Sheepsdown, I am reminded of Cheryl Oberle's beautiful design - in Sheepsdown - from her book, Knitted Jackets: 20 Designs from Classic to Contemporary. And I mustn't forget our own Sheepsdown Aran Coat in Knitting Around. Speaking of Cheryl Oberle - her beautiful version of EZ's Long Collared Coat is in Knit One Knit All.


(Books with Long Hand-Knitted Coats)

My other favorite wool for coats is the Unspun Icelandic.

  image for icelandic color samples 

One has the option of knitting 2-, 3- or even 4-ply and the resulting fabric is amazingly lightweight and malleable. Since the wool is unspun, the guard hairs stand out like a halo on the surface, and snowflakes settle gently on them - away from the surface (not unlike this image of Bill).

image for bill the cat

There is an Unspun Icelandic belted-jacket of mine in the out-of-print book Meg Swansen's Knitting, and I also designed an Unspun Icelandic Turkish Coat that appeared in Threads magazine long ago. (I will add both to my new book; we're in the early stages of planning). My Unspun Icelandic adaptation of Ma's Ribwarmer (below) in a full-length, sleeveless coat version is available for three dollars in SO42.

image for long ribwarmer coat


Also, I recently knitted a single-strand Icelandic Stocking Stitch version of Elizabeth's Garter stitch Icelandic Overblouse (in Knit One Knit All), and we offer instructions for my green one as a free download at the following url beneath the Knit One Knit All book description: http://www.schoolhousepress.com/gen_books.htm

Clara Parkes posted a most wonderful Knitter's Review of our Unspun Icelandic wool:

Speaking of SPPs (this is rather a stream-of-consciousness Newsletter), we now have my Norwegian Rose finished, SPP#35 (see right column). This design was originally in a Land's End special 2002 booklet, along with Dale Long's, Christmas Past (SPP#8) and Joyce Williams' beautiful, Acorns & Tumbling Boxes, which we hope to make into an SPP in the near future.

Now - what does "the near future" remind me of? That we are now working on several new SPPs; that Amy Detjen and I have a Two-Color Workshop this weekend; that we are enticingly close to having our SPPs available as electronic downloads; that I am happily knitting on a number of new designs when I am able to wrench myself away from the keyboard... like right now.

Sneak peek: Meg's knitting (Two new yoke designs by Elizabeth Zimmermann; variation on a soon-to-be published design by Cully Swansen; new design by Meg Swansen)

Newsletter Archive:

We have established a newsletter archive page where you can re-view NL #1-17. Note that discount offers in those newsletters no longer apply, and internal links may not always work. However, the technique information is still valid and, we think, helpful.

Featured New Book:

Designs and Patterns from Muhu Island: This extraordinary tome is for those intrigued by traditional knitted garments, charts, photos, and lore. If you love visual and verbal data about historical textiles, including embroidery and crochet, then this 384 page book! is for you. Hardcover $135

If you have questions you wish to see answered in a future newsletter or a topic suggestion, please write to us at info@schoolhousepress.com.



Meg's signature




New Patterns:

Click image to go to its product page

Norwegian Rose Jacket

image for Norwegian Rose Jacket


Faroese & Modular Footlets

image for Faroese/Mod Footlets


The Gordian Knot

image for Gordian Knit pattern


WG 87 Brioche Vest

image for wg brioche vest

image for brioche vest


Christmas Past

A Customer Favorite

image for Two Guernseys pattern


Aspen Yoke

image for aspen yoke pattern


Knitting with Two Colors

Two Color Knitting Book


NL Subscriber Sale
20% Discount on orders over $75
Offer valid 9/26 to 9/30, 2012
image for Unspun Icelandic wool
*To receive the discount, copy and paste the following discount code NL2820% into the comments section of your order.
*We will apply the discount when we receive the order; your e-invoice will not reflect the discount .
*Discount does not apply to items already discounted.









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