Tag Archives: arne and carlos

Christmas Balls Are Go!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

What? It’s not Christmas yet?  But I’m drinking my morning coffee with egg nog instead of milk, and I may have just eaten a sugar cookie (breakfast of champions!), and my house is festive as all get out!  It certainly feels like Christmas around here.

We decorated last weekend.  Our front yard is full of twinkling lights (though some of our strands of lights are starting to get a little sad- I think we’re going to need to buy new ones for next year).  We’ve hung the stockings by the chimney with care, and we put up out (not quite straight) Christmas tree.

Usually I’m a “let’s use every single ornament we’ve ever come across” kind of tree decorator.  It’s usually packed to the gills, with almost every branch holding at least an ornament or two.  But this year we switched it up…

And used my Christmas Balls!I managed to finish 24 balls (I still have a handful that haven’t been filled yet), which turned out to be just enough to decorate the front of the tree!  I love how bold and cheerful they turned out.They look great, and (bonus!) I don’t have to worry about the dog pulling down the tree and breaking everything.I couldn’t be happier with how they’ve turned out.  Now I just have to make the other 30-ish balls, to finish out the book.  Maybe by next year, I’ll have them all finished?

(I tried to get a nice picture of Ollie in front of the tree, but he didn’t want to cooperate.  So, here’s the best one.)Have you decorated for the holidays yet?  What

Tutorial: Closing Up

As you guys all know, I’ve been going to town on some Christmas Balls. (I think my last count stood above 20, but I could be wrong.  There’s so many it’s getting hard to keep track of them all these days.)

Knitting these bad boys is fun and (fairly) easy, though some of the colorwork is a little bit challenging to knit up without making the balls pucker too much.  The finishing isn’t too bad, either, just a little bit of a pain when you have to repeat it so many times.  You stuff the balls, weave in all the ends, close up the top and the bottom, and add a loop to hang  the balls from. Easy, right?

Well, closing up the top of the balls is easy enough- you just pass your tail through the remaining active loops and pull, just like the top of a hat.

But the bottom is a different matter- one that took me a couple tries to figure out how to do neatly.

Because you cast on at the bottom of the ball, you have a big old hole down there, waiting for you.  And, there’s no obvious way to get rid of that hole, since you can’t just pull a string and have it disappear (believe me, I tried).

Here’s what I’ve been doing, and I think it works pretty well.

So, you see the long-tail cast-on edge? There are little slanted “stitches” all the way around the edge.  I use a yarn needle to carefully pass my needle through those stitches, counter-clockwise, starting right next to the spot where my tail yarn comes out of the ball.And I keep going…Until I get all the way around the hole.Then, I pull the tail snug,And voila!  A lovely finished ball bottom that looks just as good as the top!  You could use this technique on top-down hats, fingers-to-cuffs mittens, or really any time you need to close up an opening created by a long-tail cast on.

Now, all I’ve got to do is repeat this on the rest of my Christmas Balls. Oof.

Do you have any favorite techniques you’ve been using lately?

Dolly Dress

May was a crazy knitting month for me.  I spent it working full-out on three different patterns.  (Super-secret patterns, unfortunately… I’ll just say- next year you’re going to see some patterns that I’m pretty pleased with!)

So, when I get a weekend free from any “work knitting,” what do I do?  Do I go outside?  Do I get chores done around the house?  Do I go grocery shopping?

Of course not.

I knit a cute little dress for the Knit Doll I made last year.  She’s got a decently-sized wardrobe right now, but it’s mostly wintery clothes- sweaters and cardigans.

It was crazy hot this weekend, and I was looking for something small to knit, so one thing led to another and inspiration struck.I used Arne and Carlos’ dress pattern from their Knitted Dolls book (which is a delight, if you haven’t looked at it).  I used some Wool of the Andes DK I had laying around, and tiny, vintage mother-of-pearl buttons I inherited from my Grandma years ago.

I modified the pattern a little bit, which I think Arne and Carlos would approve of.  I cast on with bright green at the bottom of the skirt, and worked the pattern as written for a few rows, then joined some blue and did about an inch of Fair Isle to make the grass and the flowers’ stems.  I finished the dress using some lovely sky-blue heather.  Then (and this is the best part), I went back in with yellow, red, pink and purple, and embroidered tiny little flowers at the tops of each stem.

How cute did that turn out?!

I’m pretty tickled with the results, I have to say.  (And the fact that I finished a whole project in 24 hours is pretty satisfying after the last month.)

Have you ever made doll clothes before?  How did they turn out?

Christmas Balls

It’s snowing again!

The schools I teach at had a snow day on Monday, and a two-hour late start on Tuesday.  I can only imagine what’s going to happen now that it’s snowing again!  Maybe I’ll just get the rest of the week off (one can hope, right?).   (It’s amazing how much of a Seattleite I’ve become.  The first sign of flurries, and I go into full-blown hibernation mode.  Growing up in the Midwest, we didn’t change our plans unless there was a good 6″ of snow in an hour, and then we just drove a little slower.)

And what’s better than finishing up some of Arne and Carlos’ Christmas Balls on a snowy morning?

51jEZkkM8SL._SX379_BO1,204,203,200_[1]My mom gave me a copy of this adorable book for Christmas (thanks Mom!), and I’ve knit up a couple balls since the holidays.  They’re fun, quick, and don’t use too much yarn (though I did manage to run through my stash of red and white DK wool- I’ve got to order some more).img_4559These little guys are really fun if you want to practice your colorwork in the round.  They have dozens of different designs, and they even include a blank chart in the back of the book if you want to get fancy and design your own patterns!img_4576Of course, finishing is a little fiddly (but any small colorwork project is going to be a bit fiddly).  I sat down with the newest episode of Victoria and a cup of tea, and I had all three of these balls finished before the episode was over.

img_4601Now my only problem is that I want to make about three dozen more, so that next year my Christmas tree will be decorated only with these lovely guys!

Have you made Christmas ornaments before?  What’s your favorite?

Dress Up Time!

I finished my dollimg_3647She’s got little crocheted ears and a dopey smile (I was trying for a non-dopey smile, but this was the closest I could get).  She’s super cute, and sits on my desk.  She just needs a name… any recommendations?

And, we (OK, I) did a little fashion show this morning!  I didn’t want to start on the doll before the class last weekend, so instead, I made a bunch of clothes while I was waiting.

love this little ensemble.  The cardigan is made with vintage mother-of-pearl buttons from my grandmother’s button collection, and I think this skirt is my favorite garment. (I kind of want one for myself).  It’s covered with bugs!img_3650The next outfit features an oversized color-worked turtleneck and slightly-too-short wide-leg trousers. (Unfortunately, the turtleneck on this one is almost impossible to get over my doll’s head- Oops! Next time, I’ll make the neck with larger needles.)img_3589This more fitted sweater has the same problem as the yellow turtleneck (or maybe my doll just has a really big head?), but I really like the touches of Fair Isle around the edges.  I might even make myself something similar (but with a big enough neckhole).img_3604I’ve got a big bag of yarn in every color of the rainbow (except yellow, because I already used it up- oops!).  I think I’ll be making my doll a whole wardrobe! And, since she’s finished now, I can actually make clothes that fit her.  Exciting!

What should I make next?  What should I call my doll?

And don’t forget!  I’m holding a giveaway for the newest Knit Picks collection, Garter Ridge on Friday!  Comment here to sign up!

Dolls with Arne and Carlos

Last weekend, I did something really cool.

I got to meet Arne and Carlos!

(Of course I didn’t get any pictures, because… introvert.)

Arne and Carlos were in town for the Nordic Knitting Conference, and my mom and I spent Saturday in their Knitted Dolls class, where they walked us through their ridiculously cute doll pattern.img_3561They were fantastic teachers, and really nice people who took time to talk to everyone in the class.   They even signed everyone’s books!  (If you read Norwegian, let me know what this says… based on my high-school German and context clues, I think it says something about knitting, but I’m not sure.)img_3564The dolls are worked from their toes up, and I managed to almost get my legs finished in class.img_3583And, I’ve been working on the rest of my doll since then.  She’s still missing most of her head (which is a little creepy), but she’s coming along well.  I ended up making her super girly, but that’s OK.  I love her little blue top and stripey tights.  And who doesn’t love a pair of bright red shoes?

img_3574I’ve got a big pile of yarn in almost every color of the rainbow for this project.  So my next step is to decide what color to use for her hair (do I want her to be blonde?  Red-head? Or maybe she should have purple hair?).  And, of course, I need to make some clothes for my not-so-little dolly!img_3557This pattern is so much fun!  It’s not as fast as I thought it would be- my doll is probably going to be close to 18″ tall- but I am having a great time knitting her up.  And the clothes!  Who doesn’t like knitting miniature sweaters in every color of the rainbow?

Have you ever knit an Arne and Carlos pattern?  What did you make?

Pattern Spotlight: Christmas Balls

Have you guys ever come across Arne & Carlos?  They’re a ridiculous pair of Swedish/Norwegian knitwear designers.

They design ridiculously amazing sweaters:

Men’s Setesdal Sweater by Arne & Carlos

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Adorable customizable dolls (also with ridiculous sweaters):

Knitted Dolls: Handmade Toys with a Designer Wardrobe by Arne & Carlos

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And they’ve just put out an uber-charming video with instructions on making their perfectly festive Christmas Balls:

5067704452_a5c4cd9983_z[1]Just beautiful!

They’ve created literally dozens of designs for their Christmas balls, each inspired by traditional Scandinavian knitting patterns.  The balls are all worked following the same basic instructions (as outlined in this video), but each color work pattern is unique.  (Talk about a great way to practice your color work skills!)51jEZkkM8SL._SX379_BO1,204,203,200_[1]Their book, 55 Christmas Balls to Knit: Colorful Festive Ornaments, Tree Decorations, Centerpieces, Wreaths, Window Dressings, obviously has 55 different patterns.  But, they’ve got 24 patterns up for free here.  

Arne and Carlos say, in their video, that their Christmas tradition is to make a Christmas Ball each day leading up to Christmas.  I love that idea!  Maybe I’ll do it next year?  It would be like a create-your-own advent calendar!

Will you be knitting up any of these adorable Christmas Balls?