A Love Affair With Lice

For the last two weeks, I have exclusively been working on the Barnelopper (Baby Fleas) cardigan by Ann Myhre (Pinneguri) in Navia Duo as part of the Fringe and Friends Steekalong. I originally picked the design with the intent to use Navia Uno, but the range doesn’t come in the bright pink and mustard I was determined to work with, so my version is knit at a looser gauge than recommended. I also thought it would be a sweater for Lucy (a hefty 2 year old), but due to the looser gauge, I tweaked the math to fit Charlotte (a very petite almost 7 year old) without much extra knitting or effort, and imagine once Charlotte has grown out of it, it will fit Lucy in no time!

I tried to stick close to the pattern as written, but did tweak the numbers slightly to center the motifs on the front, and worked a deeper band of colorwork at the hem to bring more of the pink and yellow in. I also put waste yarn in for pockets in the front, and plan on working those up once the rest is complete. I’m not typically a monogamous knitter, but this yarn and pattern combination has completely wooed me and I can think of working on nothing else!

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As you can see, it took me a while to get into a grove with the steek stitches. Even though I know they won’t be seen at all once the sweater is finished, I’m still bothered by the difference between the disorganization in pattern in the yoke, and the clean repeat I was able to work when doing the lice stitch body. Otherwise, it has worked up quickly, even on size 2 needles, and I cannot wait to steek it and finish the sleeves and bands!

While prepping the sweater to block it before steeking (I’ll work the ribbing at the hem and collar after, just to be sure everything is as it should be), I was waxing poetic to Meghan and Courtney in the office about how much I loved the lice stitch and Setesdal sweaters in general, so I thought it would be fun to take a short trip down memory lane and revisit a few of my favorite Setesdal-inspired designs.

Top: Edmonton Mittens / Scandinavian Hat
Bottom: Setesdal Love Hat / Gretel

Hats and mittens make for really easy placement of Setesdal motifs, and I went through a phase a number of years ago where it was all I wanted to knit! The Setesdal Love Hat was one of the designs I first published in Knitscene over 8 years ago, and it remains a favorite to this day.

One of my most-worn sweaters is the Rawah Pullover I originally designed for Interweave Knits 20th Anniversary. (As you can see in the image of me holding my Baby Fleas above, I’m even wearing it today!)

I designed Rawah as an homage to the iconic "L.L. Bean Sweater" popular  in the 80s and 90s - with a few hand-knitting specific changes, such as working it in the round and shaping the yoke with seamless raglan decreases. The L.L. Bean sweater itself is an homage to much older Norwegian sweaters, and they were originally produced for L.L. Bean in Norway as an 80/20 wool/nylon blend and sold by the company to the United States market. (Later, in the 1990s, L.L.Bean changed production to China. They then changed the fiber to 100% wool and moved production back to Norway, but the cut and construction is different from the original classic design.)

Most recently, I designed Ballard and Rainier for the Scout Collection, and a pair of mittens for the Germantown Building Blocks collection.

If you’re looking for additional Setesdal inspiration, Setesdal Sweaters: The History of Norwegian Lice Pattern by Annemor Sundbo, and Nordic Knitting by Suzanne Pagoldh are both excellent resources and ones I recommend and reference often.