I used the short break we took from painting the house this morning, to sort through my the knitting basket in our living room and deep down I found this
Dornröschen-Wolle sock yarn, in 'Bitterkalt' (bitingly cold), a greyblue colour with greenish streaks. Quite nice, you say? Well, for whatever reason this yarn has been sitting in my stash forever and I started to knit with it at least three times. And just as often I frogged everything because I wasn't happy with the result. Meanwhile the yarn turned into my personal 'you failed again' memorial. Now, today I was just a second away from throwing it away (if only to get it out of sight), when DH said 'this would make a nice pair of socks for me'... and somehow he got me going. I cast on right away and this is my progress so far
Well, it is summer and you know what that means? Not much time for any crafty things, because a lot of time is spend outdoors, doing garden work, stuff around the house, go to events and all the things you do during the warmer season. But! I did finish a knitting project last night - after, hm, something like six months? You must know that there is always a knitting project in the car, which stays there at all times, meaning it is there 'just in case'. The ten minutes drive that turns into a 'stuck 2 hours in a traffic jam' trip? Right? Get this project out and work on it. Some get finished within a few weeks, others take forever. All I need to consider that it should be a pattern I remember when I pick up the project without reading through lots of instructions. And here is, ta-da, my latest car socks, if I reacall it right after a pattern called 'Bremen Socks'.
I had a pair just like these, in exactly the same yarn, and I literally loved them to pieces, so when I came across the leftover yarn in my stash I knew what I wanted to knit and made the project my car socks. And I still love the pattern and the colours of the yarn and I know I'll wear this pair a lot.
And because one just can't be without a 'just in case' knitting project, here' s the one I started and keep in the car for future 'emergencies'... :)
What have I been up to since I last posted about a project on my needles, you ask? Well, not much. The other day when I was looking for a particular skein of sock yarn in my stash, I had to realize what size my stash has and what a mess it is at present... So in a moment of zest for action I decided to sort through it and organize it a bit better. Hm. What an idea. I've worked on this for more than a week and I've got the feeling the mess gets worse. I think I'll have to look for a new home for some of my lovies, sigh.
Anyway, since I still haven't found the yarn I know must be in one of the boxes somewhere, I worked on a just for fun project. The other day I saw a post by Bijou Basin Ranch on Instagram and I really fell in love with the teddy bear. And snce my kit has arrived in the meantime, that's what kept me busy in the evenings. Here is my bear, half finished...
The yarn is Himalayan Trail, a blend of 75% Tibetan yak and 25% merino, and I really enjoyed knitting with it. The pattern is Teddy Bear Stripes by Frankie Brown, available for download from Ravelry. The pattern is easy enough, but all pieces are knit flat... so not my favourite activity to seam all the parts. So I gave it a try and worked my bear parts in the round and I think, the result doesn't differ at all from the pattern. :)
It has been once again a busy week, not the least since a leaking facett caused quite a mess in our bathroom and most of my leisure time was spent cleaning up and doing some repair work. Anyhow, today is Sunday, so finally some time for my knitting. I picked up a long neglected WiP, a pair of socks in a gradient yarn by White Birch Fiber Arts I bought in the States last year. So, so beautiful - I just love the slowly changing colours. Yes, it's hard to tell on this pic (of sock number two), but you'll see it once the pair is done. I only wish I had bought more than just this one set for a pair of socks. Sigh.
The socks are for another special internet friend I had the chance to meet last year. The pattern, which is almost ready for tech editing, will be my next contribution to my (No longer virtual) Friends collection and will also be available for individual download. Soon, I hope.
Now back to my knitting needles. :)
... there isn't much time for any crafty hobbies. It's garden season and our garden is huge - if you ask me it's way too huge for my taste and this year we've planned some major changes. Lots of conifers were cut down, we had to built a fence instead, resow lawn grass, bla bla... Lots of work, none of it enjoyable if you have to do it for hours and hours and it left me without any energy for new projects. The little time in the evening I had to spend on samples with a deadline. Sigh...
But it's Sunday today, I decided Ulli and I need a break, so no work today, but instead - just for fun knitting. :) I picked up this still secret project which has been a WiP for months and months. Maybe it was my pajama pants that made me choose this one to work on? Or maybe it was the fact that I know the pattern will be released on Thursday...
The other day, when the grey and dull winter weather was really getting on my nerves, I decided I needed a bit of colour in my life to cheer me up. And as always, I found what I was looking for in SpinningFates Etsy shop. The hardest decision was which yarns to order... Only a few days later these beauties arrived:
Wow! I love all of them and they sure brighten even the dullest of days. I had limited myself to three skeins, but my dear friend Laurel seems to be a mind reader and she send along a gift: the skein on the right, one of the yarns I had pondered whether to get it or not. What a fab surprise and I was tempted to knit that one up right away, but another skein told me it had to get knitted first. This one:
As I've told you the other day, I used most of my just for fun knitting time to knit up some ornaments for this year's ornament exchange. Most motifs are from the book '55 Christmas Balls to knit' by Arne and Carlos, but for a cat loving friend of mine I wanted to knit a Christmas ball with a cat motif. Well, my first attempt a while back was a fail...
... I spent a good deal of my Sunday working on it, to realize in the end that the cat looks more like an alien... Sigh. The tail was in the wrong position and also the eyes were way too big. So I gave it another try recently and this is what my cat x-mas balls now look like:
I've still kept myself busy with swatches for new designs most of the time, but I admit, I got addicted with the Christmas balls I started the other day. So whenever there was a minute for just for fun knitting, I've worked on these. I've already have enough for our exchange, but I think I'll have to go for the 'one for you, one for me' extra challenge. Some just have to stay here...
... for example the 'all Irish' one in orange, white and green. I really enjoy making these and I'm now playing around with my own patterns, like the one with the cat motif in the middle. We'll see what's next. :)
I've got to admit that all the grey and rain is really getting on my nerves and apparently my motivation doesn't like the weather either and has moved to some sunnier place. Not much to tell about my crafts, since all I seem to have worked on for nearly a week were swatches for new design ideas and a couple of x-mas ornaments for our ornament exchange. My creativity clearly has been in hibernation.
While searching for scrap yarn to use for the ornaments though, I came across some happy-coloured sock yarn. I was stumped when I realized it's the yarn I used for a pair of socks years ago. The socks no longer exist since they were a favourite pair and I literally wore them to pieces. And there was enough yarn left for another pair. So...
...I'm now trying to lure spring into arrving in Germany with these cheerful colours. ;-)
I'm using the Addi Sock Wonder needles for this; we'll see if with an easier pattern I like it better to work with them. At the moment I still feel pretty clumsy with this tiny circular needle. Oh, and even though I usually don't like to knit the same pattern more than once, I decided to go with the pattern of the 'original socks'. It's called 'Bremen Muster' by Kristin Benecken (free on Ravelry); it's fun and easy to knit and goes so well with a striping yarn.
... to start Christmas crafting, is it? I have to laugh while I write this, because I'm known to finish handmade x-mas gifts on Christmas Eve, if at all in time. However, I'm participating again in an x-mas ornaments exchange and last year I had to hurry a bit in the end, to get all ornaments done and shipped before Christmas. So... I try to be better organised this year and have started with my gift ornaments. Last year I went for lots of differet crocheted ones, this year I've decided to go for knitted Christmas balls with different motifs. The idea is to choose colours and motifs based on the likings of each participant. As a nice side effect I hope to make use of some of the leftover sock yarns I hoard, since there is only so little yarn needed for each ball.
Some time ago I received the book Julekuler by Arne and Carlos (english titel '55 Christmas Balls to knit') as a gift, so I had ideas at hand to get me started. The first two baubles are done - now to keep it rolling!
My start into 2017 was a really lame one, at least when it comes to my knitting. The stupid cold I caught last year already, came back in full swing just when I thought I was on the mend, and any itch to knit disppeared the same day the snotty nose was back... So apart from a few swatches, this is all I've managed since Christmas...
The start of a pair of fingerless mitts in my team's colours I had planned to wear to our first game in 2017 end of January. Ha, ha, at this rate I won't even wear them to our last game in 2017 in December. I'm not even quite sure I like the cast on round in green, but I guess I have to wait until I reach the main part until I can make a decision whether to frog or not. For now I'm just happy when I add a round or two to the corrugated ribbing once in a while.
Happy New Year, everyone!
Yes, I know, we are well into January, but it's the first time I'm around, so... not only were we away for new year, but I've also had a terrible cold and the little energy I had was spent on 'routine' things rather than being online. Or even knit. Can you believe it's the first day today I picked up my knitting since Christmas? Anyway, wishing you all a happy and healthy 2017, with lots of times for all the crafty things.
My first finished object this year is these pair of mittens (okay, I finished knitting them before Christmas, but it took me until today to weave in the ends) and with the darn cold we are facing in Germany they got finished at the right time.
And being the winter lover that I am (ha, ha), the mittens express perfectly what I think about the German weather... The pattern isn't my own, but it's a paid pattern called 'How Cold Is It' by Drunk Girl Designs , and I just made a few modifications to make the mittens perfect for me: a longer cuff, I changed the colours on the back of the hand, knitted the writing in different directions, stuff like that. However, I love my new mittens and I really hope I won't have to wear them for months. Already can't wait for spring to come along...
DH is a huge fan of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, so when a couple of years ago the One Ring Scarf pattern was published, I knew right away that a scarf like that would make a perfect gift for him. It's double knitting, a technique I like and when I started in August I was sure to have in done for Christmas. Hm, maybe a bit to ambitious? Because that was in 2011, lol. Even though it's not difficult to knit, you need some concentration for the pattern, so it's not a project for 'waiting room' knitting. In addition I only worked on it when I wasn't working on a sample and also only when Ulli wasn't around... When I noticed back in 2011 that I wouldn't make it for Christmas, I just decided to finish it for the next year... good plan, but ahem, I picked the project up again way too late with no chance of finishing it for Christmas and all that got added were a couple of rows. And the same happened in 2013, in 2014 and la la la in 2015 too...
This summer though, I couldn't stand the nagging feeling I always got when I came across the particular project bag any longer and made a 'deal' with myself (or maybe I should say I 'threatened' myself?): Finish for Christmas or frog the whole thing! Which would have been a pity, since by that time about half of the scarf was done. And obviously I really couldn't stand the idea of frogging it, because ta-dah, look:
Done, washed, blocked and already wrapped - just on time to put it under the tree tonight. Whoot! So happy I finally got this done! The name I gave the thing 'the scarf to rule my life for years' (referring to the inscription on the ring 'One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them') tells you all you need to know about how much of an effort it was. Now, Ulli better likes it when he opens his gifts tonight... ;-)
Lately I had to work on so many samples for publication, that there was hardly any 'just for fun' knitting time. So the same moment one of my big samples got finished, I really felt the urge to cast on something just for me. I already have lots of socks and fingerless mitts, but funnily enough no mittens that I really like to wear. If it is cold enough to wear mittens, then they should have a very long cuff, shouldn't they? Well, at least for always freezing me... so here's a start:
It took a while to knit the cuff in corrugated ribbing, but it's exactly how I want it to be: extra loooooong!
Now to see how long it'll take me to finish this pair...
The other day I told you about my latest design for SweetGeorgia Yarns, Penna, the triangular shawl in a material mix, but I haven't showed you my 'prototype' yet. When I started to work on this idea, I concentrated on different textures more than on different yarn weights, so I chose a smooth fingering weight merino yarn to go with a curly silk, mohair and nylon blend. The latter is a sport weight, but because of its structure it feels thicker than that.
I like the mix of smooth stripes and fuzzy ones as well as the fact that the Curly Silk is a variegated yarn with one of the greens in the colourway an exact match of the solid colourway.
The other day when I was looking for patterns for crochet ornaments I came across the most adorable Tetraeder Bird pattern by Tanja Osswald. I made one as a gift for a swap - and I found it so cute that I knew I had to use some of my scraps for more of them. So one morning, my breakfast table looked like this: bread roll, coffee in my fave mug, a boiled egg, a crochet hook and lots of scrap yarn....
Well, it didn't take long until my egg had disappeared and the next eggs cracked open...;-) The Tetraeder Birds have their own style of getting out of their eggs, it seems.
I started this project, ahem, back in 2009 already. We had a Great American Aran Afghan Knit Along in a German forum, with just one square per month, and I was on track until I had something like 13 or 14 squares and then, no idea why, I put it aside… and the project spent years and years in some dark corner…
Last year I picked it up again and knit the remaining squares (I knit and used all 24 for my blanket, including the ones used as pillows in the book), then it took another couple of months before I felt like assembling it and I started the border in April. Soooooo long and so, so, so boring to knit… The finished size is about 120 x 190 cm. But it’s finally done! Yay for the feeling of accomplishment! :)
As I already said the other day, I was amazed that during the busy summer I've had I managed to knit all of the Tour de Sock patterns. But apparently knitting by a given pattern instead of coming up with ideas myself was what I needed these past weeks.
Well, thanks to Sarah's idea with the supply list in which all materials were listed by 'houses' of Games of Thrones and my Ravelry friend Linda who raised the question whether anyone woud use the house colours, I now have a wonderful colleciton of socks... in the perfect colours, lol. Apparently I get easily obsessed with such stuff... but have a look yourself.
I am pretty amazed by myself, but indeed, I managed to knit all of the Tour de Sock patterns this year. The last pattern is Entanglements by Shayla Myst and her inspiriation were the creeping vines that seem to have no path in mind as they grow. The placement of the cables were set by a dice, to see which vine forms a cross and a coin to figure out which way the vine was to go. How fun!
My socks turned out pretty long, so I will store them in my wardrobe next to my longies - I know there'll be days in winter when I am happy I can wear them when we go to the stadium to root for our team.
Six Tastes, designed by Krysten Morganti, is a sock in mosaic knitting and by far my favourite TdS pattern this year. I love the idea behind it:
(From the pattern page)
This mosaic sock pattern is named for a problem described in a 2000-year-old Indian text. The author describes the six tastes of the Ayurveda (sweet, pungent, astringent, sour, saline, and bitter) and tallies up the numbers of ways one may incorporate different combinations of these tastes at once. In this way, he outlines one of the earliest known problems in combinatorics, a branch of mathematics dealing with the sizes and quantities of finite sets.
And the problem was addressed by giving knitters the choicse from three different patterns for the instep and four different patterns for the back. I love it and I think it works so well with the colours I chose.
Well, it seems that all I've worked on other than my samples for new patterns have been socks lately. Today I finished a pair of socks for a friend on the Canary Islands. I promised to knit him some when we met in April and even though I don't know when we'll go back, I've already knit them. A promise is a promise, right? Now only to make sure that they don't end up in someone else's sock drawer before we meet again.
The pattern is called 'Dawlish' by Rachel Cloopey and used wonderful yarn from New Zealand by Vintage Purls.
The next pattern in the Tour de Sock series was designed by the organiser herself, Sarah Bordelon, and it is called 'A Song of Beads and Lace'. Since for this sock the supply list entry was named 'Stark', I had to go with the colour grey. :) A quick knit and I just love the name of the pattern.
The third Tour de Sock pattern is called Diamondback Socks by Kirsten Hall. It's a fun pattern knit in short-row modules and it looks amazing in all kind of variegated and self-striping yarns. My yarn choice was very limited, since I wanted to knit from stash and I had to realize there aren't many variegated yarns green and yellow in my stash. So in the end I went with a yarn I received a short while ago in a 'travelling yarn box', even though it is a bit too light for my taste. Anyway, I really liked the pattern and how the socks turned out.
In one of the groups on Ravelry I'm in, we've run a round of 'travelling socks'. The idea is, that each participant starts a pair of socks, finishes the cuff and then sends the WiP on to a friend in the group. The socks travel from knitter to knitter, whoever wants to participate adds a bit, and once the socks are finished they are returned to the sock owner.
The 'sock owner' provides all details like sizes and construction preferences and also chooses the colours for their socks. It is al ways a fun activity and its fab to see how many beautiful pairs of sock are knit. Since it's only an inch or so everyone adds, it's a project even folks with little knitting time can participate in.
My socks started their journey end of January and I wished for them colours that make you think of faded jeans or the sea on a dull day. Today they cambe back home - and I LOVE them! So me! Many, many thanks to my friends all over the world who knit on them - these will be treasured!
... is the name of the second design in the Tour de Sock. A goregeous cabled pattern and a quicker knit than I had thought. The socks turned out great, but unfortunately a tad too big for me. Well, I'm sure I'll find a loving home for them.
The first of this year's Tour de Sock pattern is a lovely and pretty straight forward lace pattern called Twist and Turns and was designed by Adrienne Fong. A quick and easy knit and I am happy with the result.
Tomorrow is the start date for Tour de Sock, an annual speed-knitting competition named after the famous bike race taking place during the summer in France. During our two months sock knitting tour, six sock patterns are realeased and competitors race to finish each pair of socks in the given time frame, usually 10-11 days. There is a small registration fee and most of it goes to Doctors Without Borders - so this is not only a fab event for all sock knitting enthusiasts, but also helps a great cause. Oh, and there are prizes to win, too, not only for the ones fastest with their needles, but also some random prizes.
The patterns stay a secret until the day they are realease, but before the event starts, there is a supply list given to the pariticipants. Usually in the list the supplies are just called 'sock a' and 'sock b' and so on, but this year Sarah, the organiser of this terrific event, used the names of the houses in Games of Thrown as bullet... and for the pattern realsed tomorrow the supply under 'Baratheon' is needed... I already made my choice. :)
The even takes place on Ravelry, and it is still time to join the fun.
I wouldn't have thought I managed, but the other two pairs I started for our Stripemania challenge got finished before the end of May, too.
The ones in Stray Cat Sock in Revolution might be a new favourite of mine. So soft and I love the colour combination!
And my third pair, the lovely rainbow in SpinningFates yarn was finished, too. These socks make me smile whenever I look at them, so cheerful!
As always around this time of the year there's so much to do - work gets more in my 'normal' job plus plenty of stuff to do around the house - so there isn't much to share these days. But I did finish one pair of socks for our Stripemania Challenge... and apparently I picked the one to finish first that goes best with our garden at the moment, don't you think?
I am usually not a fan of afterthought heels, but to not interrupt the stripes I chose to go with one and I think I found the version that fits best when you have a high instep. Got to try it more often.
Obisously taking part in a challenge makes me wish to cast on all the stripey yarn I have in my stash... here is cast on number 3. The yarn is Toula, hand-dyed into a stunning rainbow by my friend Laurel, and if you haven't had a chance to check out here yarn, I highly recommend to do so. Such wonderful colours! You can find her shop on Etsy, here: SpinningFates.
The pattern is something I have tried a while ago for a pair of socks for my friend Yola and I hope that one day eventually I'll find the time to write it up for.
Well, I just realized that I withheld the second pair I cast on from you. Another self-striping yarn that told me to try and manipulate the stripes...
I love the colours and I'd love to keep these for myself. We'll see how I like the fit of the afterthought heel I've planned for this pair.
In one of the Ravelry groups I am in, we declared May the 'stripe mania' month and the goal is to knit whatever item with a striped pattern. No matter if the effect is created using self-striping yarn or by using several yarns and no matter what item, all that is important is stripes, stripes, stripes.
Well, I am not the biggest fan of self-striping yarn, but do have some in my stash and even received a beautiful skein in a swap we had to go with our stripemania challenge,
so this is the best opportunity to use them... For whatever reason I always feel the urge to manipulate the stripes created with self-striping yarn, so the socks I cast on with my Stray Cat yarn look like this so far
So for the past couple of days my ususal 'just one more row' was turned into 'just one more leaf' and the project I cast on last Sunday was done in no time: my Greenery scarf using this pattern. It really is a fun pattern for wildly variegated yarns and I am really pleased with the result. :)
And it makes me happy that for once I used a yarn that has been sitting in my stash forever... definitely something to continue with!
Remember that I said last year that I'd either frog or throw away all my long term WIPs if I haven't finished them by the end of 2015? Well, this did so not happen... Mainly, because I've worked on some of them, so even though they are far away from being done, I considered it reason enough to hold on to them. And this one, the Great American Aran Afghan, which I started years ago, is on the finishing line... I spent quite a while assembling the squares (the pictures shows half of the throw)
and at the moment I'm adding the border.
After a busy first week back at work after our wonderful holidays in the sun, I finally had some time yesterday to cast on a new project. The other day I got the pattern Optical Delusion: Conflagration as a gift and I was sure this is the perfect pattern to showcase wildly variegated yarn. And I had a yarn in mind I had wanted to use for years. The beautiful skein of Gaia's Colours - an indie dyer who isn't any longer in business - has been in my stash forever, even though I do love the colours. But whatever pattern I tried to use it for, it simply didn't look good - too variegated for most patterns for my taste. But with this one.... I am really pleased and I think the result will look great. :)
It's a fun pattern, easy to knit and very addictive... but instead of 'just one more row' it's now 'just one more leaf'. I'm pretty sure it won't take long until I can share the FO with you.
... hours in a day... Ah, well, 2016 really has done its best so far to be crazy and chaotic. Not much time for fun 'crafting adventures' and just as little to be around. Most of my knitting time is spent with samples - which is great because it means there are quite some new patterns coming later in the year, but it also means, there isn't much to share. Except for the next hexagon for my Persian Dreams blanket.
So happy with the colours, the dark background really makes the colours pop.
Oh my, it has been a while, but as so often times are really busy over here. I’ve worked on a bigger project that gave me a bit trouble, because I calculated and recalculated and was really
worried I might run out of yarn. In the end I didn’t take time for much else but finish it. Which I did yesterday and it was a close call with less than 1 gram of yarn to spare. So happy it’s
done, but unfortunately I can’t share pics yet.
Well, not all my knitting time was spent with said project, but a few other things got finished too. Socks for Ulli – and I admit these were hard work too, for the simple reason that I had to knit a pattern I had already knit twice before, my Paul the Penguin Socks. And that’s not very high on my list of things I like. I mean, there are so many other patterns, why repeat one? But Ulli mentioned more than once how much he loved the socks I gave away for Christmas, so he got his own pair…
and my 'reward' was that he modeled them in the penguin’s ‘habitat’. :) A small price to pay for new socks, don’t you think?
I also finished the second sleeve for one of my long term WIPs, which leaves me with the hardest part to attach them. Hm… we’ll see when I tackle that.
Oh, and for reasons unknown, since I am always complaining about my lack of knitting time, I started another big project: Persian Dreams. A beautiful blanket made up of hexagons in stranded knitting and the goal in our Ravelry group is to knit one hexagon per month. Sounds easy enough, but I was late right from the start and knit my January square only last week.
I was tempted to call the post ‚50 shades of grey’ but it is hard to tell how many there are in my new shawl. It’s just 4 colours, but looks so many more thanks to the fun illusion knitting technique. I love it, especially in this checked pattern and I am pretty sure I’ll have to knit something in this pattern again. Probably not a shawl, although I already know that my selfish knitting project will not stay for long in my wardrobe… my niece saw it and the only reason I still have it, is that it wasn’t completely finished when she went back home again… Here she is, modeling it
and yes, it suits her very well, so eventually she will get it. So much for my ‘knit for me’ plans…
Another family member was very interested in the new shawl and amused us with ‘Hm, I’m still tired but curious what that is’,
As you can see, I am not giving up with the hook. But then, I really have to say that I like crochet for small toys; so much easier to get tiny pieces in the shape I want than with knitting. Okay, the tentacles turned out a bit weird, but hey, there needs to be room for improvement, right?
However, this is Matilda, the Math Whiz (pattern from the German book Wollowbies by Jana Ganseforth). She’s a gift for my niece as a lucky charm for her math exam and since Matilda claims to be good at mental calculation, I hope she’ll do the trick and help my niece with her exam. There's even a tag on her snail shell that reads 'Du schaffst das' - 'You can do it!'. :) Now to hope that the snail mail is quick and Matilda gets to her destination before Friday.
Well, that's what I am doing, although I admit it was more of a guilty conscience that made me start my latest project. The other day when I was searching for the yarn for Jenny’s monster, I came across a pile of yarn in coordinating colours... still in the box it came in and that was when? In 2012? I know, I bought the yarn right away after the pattern I wanted to use it for was published, because I found the Illustriation Shawl so intriguing that I decided right away that I had to knit it. Well, at least that was the plan. So after stumbling upon the yarn – do you think it popped up on purpose to remind me? – I used the few minutes I had time on Christmas Day and got started. It’s the perfect ‘TV knitting’, interesting enough to keep me going, but mindless enough to work on with little concentration. And the effect really is stunning; Ijust love illusion knitting (or shadow knitting). Have you ever tried the technique? It really is so fun and one can create such amazing projects. Visit the Woolly Thoughts World of Illusion Knitting to see what you can create with just knit and purl stitches, it’s incredible. My ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ – created by the use of 4 colours only! - are about 1/3 done and I can’t wait to see it finished.
So after my first (more or less) success with the crochet hook the other day, I decided to crochet some more gifts. The first one is another gift for my partner in the Christmas swap who owns an Alpaca farm. So why not add a toy one to her real ones? ;)
It wasn't hard to crochet Alfie the Alpaca (pattern available here), but assembling the pieces took me forever. But I am pretty pleased how it turned out.
Now, for my dear friend Yola I was determined to crochet a sheep, because she collects anything sheep. And boy, this one... you can't even imagine how often I frogged the thing. I had a pattern from the German book 'Wollowbies' including instructions for the loop stitch, but no matter how often I tried, I didn't get it right and in the end my sheep looked like a sheepshearer had have a very bad day... No idea why, but it took me several attempts until I finally had the idea to look for instructions in the internet. Which I found and with the different way explained there, I still struggled with the hook, but I got the hang of it right away. And the sheep looked so much better. :) I hope Yola will love her Christmas gift too.
Well, embarrassing as it is, this thing
took me, hm, years to knit. But it was not the knitting that took me so long, but to get started at all. I have no idea what I was thinking when I promised my niece a couple of years back to knit her a monster (if I recall it right, it was her 23rd birthday and she's 27 now...), because I hardly ever knit toys. It’s usually not the knitting I don’t like, but all the assembling there is to do. In this case it was even worse because I promised to knit it in her favourite colour: pale pink, one of the colours I am so not a fan of… and even though it’s silly, it slows my knitting down when I have to work with yarn that I don’t enjoy.
Anyway, years ago Jenny chose the pattern – Bea the Basement Monster from the book The Big Book of Knitted Monsters by Rebecca Danger - and I had really meant to knit it that year for x-mas, but all I managed was to buy the yarn… which I re-discovered the other day when going through my stash. Well, Jenny still loves the colour and she’ll be here for Christmas this year, so tonight she’ll get to unwrap the promised monster. Let’s hope she still wants to have one…
Another gift I made for my partner in the Christmas swap was this hat with a snowflake motif.
The pattern is Double Feature Hat by Virpi Tarvo and it is availabe through Ravelry, here. The hat is knit in double knit technique. I really enjoy this technique that creates two right sides at the same time, but this was the first time I went for the 'extreme' form with different motifs on both sides. It requires a bit more concentration and in the beginning I found it a bit tricky to get the tension of the floats right. Well, as it is with any new technique you try. However, I am really pleased with the finished piece and I'm sure I'll knit another project using the 'extreme' form of the technique very soon.
Some other things I have worked on over the past few months have meanwhile arrived at their destination, so I can now share them here. :) For my partner in our Christmas swap I made a pair of Candlesmoke Mittens (Pattern by Barbara Gregory, available on the Twist Collective Website, here). It’s a great and easy to follow pattern, but I knit the mittens in size L and I admit, I was quite worried whether these would fit. My hands are rather small and these looked sooo big. But by now I know they fit perfectly and were well received. I might have to knit them again, love the look of them.
Another gift I finished a while ago is the Glimmer Beret (pattern by Erron Anderson, available at Ravelry, here), or rather I knit three of them, one for all the ‘girls’ in the family. It’s a bit ‘bead heavy’ for my taste, but I like the style, very 40ies. I used Wollmeise Pure and one skein was sufficient for three hats.
As always the holiday season is a busy one, and when not working I am frantically trying to finish my handmade gifts. With a little more than a week to go it's looking good for most, but I do admit not for all. Well, there is a reason why my favourite card reads 'Keep calm and finish next Christmas', lol.
Since I'd rather not show the gifts that are yet to be received or unwrapped, how about I show you some of the gifts I made in the past few months? My dear friend Laurel had a baby boy in October and I couldn't resist to make a funny frog hat and mittens set for him
Can't wait to see him wearing it, maybe I'll see a picture together with his big brother who got the shark set I showed you the other day. But the 'real' gift for the baby boy was a romper. The pattern is called Pepita by Martina Behm and it is for free availabe on Ravelry.
The length of my 'must finish quickly' knitting list still reminds me of the local phone book, so I try to stick to my plan to not add another 'just for fun' WIP. Well, at least not a knitting project. Now, sewing tiny pieces wasn't as much fun as I thought, so I looked for something else to keep me happy when I need a break from knitting. And found it. Well, Ulli's only comment was 'Really?!?' - and I can't blame him. After all he is the one who has to put up with my ranting whenever a project calls for the tiniest bit of crochet, so starting a crochet project, no matter how small, really is an out-of-the-way decision for me. I actually learnt to crochet before I learnt to knit and I manage okay, it's just that it feels 'wrong' not to work with two or more needles... You can tell by the colours that it's a christmassy project, so let's see how I do and if the crochet hook and I eventually make friends...
Well, I know that this is a very subjective point of view, but I've learnt that there is stuff that is too tiny for me to enjoy.
The past few weeks I've been busy with 'deadline' knitting projects - samples, swatches for new patterns, gifts I needed for a certain date - and I've realized that for me it takes the fun out of the knitting a bit when everything on my needles has to be finished at a certain date. So I decided that I need a project just for fun, but add another knitting WIP to my considerable pile? I wasn't keen on that either. Then I remembered about a sewing kit I bought a couple of months ago, so that sounded like a fun project to play around with when I needed a break from knitting. Ah, well... fun?! As much as I love to sew, these tiny pieces I had to stitch together weren't exactely my cup of tea... At one point I almost trashed the whole project and it was Ulli who saved it by telling me that he thinks it looks 'kind of cute'. Hm... He might be right if you don't get close enough to see my sloppy sewing... ;-). Anyway, I finished it and now to wait if the person who's going to get my flower fairy likes her.
In our Ravelry group, Cyclical Swaps, we often welcome new babies with a group project: a baby blanket made from squares knit from people all over the world. The last one was for Laurel’s Octavius (and the nick name is to be translated literally) and Laurel wished for a blue and grey colour scheme and the use of the wonderful animal motif patterns by Elaine Fitzpatrick, which you can see and download from her blog, Down Cloverlaine. I volunteered to be the ‘sponsor’ who assembles the blanket and it was such fun when all the squares kept arriving. But I admit it was hard work too… so difficult to decide which square to place where and also to even out the differences in size, thanks to all the different yarns used and the individual tension of each knitter.
Now the blanket is done and already winging its way towards its new home in the United States. Fingers crossed it’ll travel quickly and arrives at Laurel’s home in time for Octavius’ birth to give the wee one a warm welcome from her knitting buddies.
Why is it that birthdays just like x-mas always seem to come all of a sudden? Only last week it occurred to me that UIli's b-day was approaching fast... and although we've decided a couple of years ago that we rather spend our money on holidays or events we want to go to, there should be always a little something to unwrap. But what? Fortunately for me, Ulli lost one of his favourite mitts last winter and he had asked me several times to knit a new one (note: he wanted me to knit one mitt to go with the worn one he still had - as if that ever was going to happen...), so a new pair of mitts it was. I wanted them to go with his favourite scarf, the Wolves scarf (pattern available on Ravelry), but there wasn't much time and I couldn't come up with a nice wolf motif, so I went with this one, Siberian Husky. Looks close enough to a wolf to me (really, if I had told you it's a wolf you would have believed it, wouldn't you?) and I used the motif on the back of the hand and made up a paws pattern for the palm and then had a bit of speed knitting to do. But they were done in time and best of all, Ulli loves them. :)
Times have been busy at work and I've had a lot of travelling to do, so I decided to make the Pepita pattern by Martina Behm, a romper suit I've worked on for my friend Laurel's baby my travelling project. You know, easy to follow instructions, lots of stockinette in the round, so the perfect project 'on the go' one should think. And guess what? I haven't got much knitting done in all those hours travelling, because plain stockinette is sooo boring and makes me sooo sleepy... Well, it's good that wee Octavius isn't due before mid of October, lol.
Don't get this wrong: It's a wonderful pattern for babies and I'm sure it'll look great finished. The instructions are clear and well written - it's just that stockinette and I aren't the closest friends. I always wonder when people tell me they knit 'vanilla' socks to relax... for me it's hard work. I'm much quicker and a lot more motivated to continue knitting when there's a stitch pattern to follow, no matter how easy it is.
Well, to avoid that I fall asleep on the sofa as well as soon as I pick up my 'night time' knitting, I went through my long-time WiPs in my knitting basket. Why I had stopped working on my Criss Cross Cowl when I only had to bind it off I really don't know, but it came in handy after a long day at work. And since I had enough yarn left, I whipped up a pair of fingerless mitts to go with the cowl - and looking at the German weather it was high time I finished...
We had a rainy and cold weekend and as much as I regretted we couldn't continue with our renovation works outdoors, as much did I enjoy the hours of leisure time. To knit, or rather to cast on lots of new projects... I think it's my Ravelry friend Shelley who is to 'blame', because she announced the 'August cast-on crazies' mid of August and even though I tried to stay away from the event, in the end I started to cast on stuff. Okay, I tried to stick to my goal to get the WIPs out of my knitting basket so some of my cast-ons were squares for my long neglected GAAA (and I even finished them which means I'm up to 19 squares now, so just one more and I've got a blanket the size shown in the book, although I had meant to knit the other 4 squares too and add them to my blanket, we'll see), but I also cast on things just for fun. A while ago I was gifted a book with knit 'monster hats' and I had wanted to at least knit one of them since I got it... and I did. :) Including the matching mittens. So here comes a non-dangerous shark attack.
What a happy day! I finally made it and gave the finishing touches to the barn doors this afternoon. And it’s not just the one I showed you a picture of the other day – no, all of them are done! Finally! :)
Okay, they don’t look exactly as good as new as I said they would, but they do look as good as doors that are more than 50 years old can look. No idea how old they really are, because they were already there and weathered and worn when I was a kid. Anyway, happy I’m done with that job.
My knitting time was limited thanks to the doors, but I did finish something nevertheless and it’s actually something I was about to frog. When I was searching for a 2.25 mm needle the other day I remembered that there’s one in use for the doily, one of my ‘I can’t remember when I started this’ WIPs and I was just about to pull it out when Ulli said: You want to rip that out? Really? The colour is pretty. And well, he’s right. So I put the project on our kitchen table for an occasional round with my morning coffee and funnily enough I even enjoyed it. The crochet cast off not so much and we won’t talk about blocking the thing… but it’s done. And looks quite nice. Love the feeling of accomplishment.
I've finished this a while ago, but now that it is safe and sound in the hands of its recipient, I finally can share pictures with you. I made this shawl for my Canadian friend Eryn's birthday and like always Canadian customs and post made me worry a lot that my package might not make it in time. But it did - and Eryn loves her new shawl. The pattern is Angarika by Po Lena and I chose it the minute I saw it in Eryn's favourite list on Ravelry.
When I started to look for the perfect yarn I almost ordered something else, but than I came across The Unique Sheep's colourway 'Erin's Dream' and really, that was meant to be, wasn't it? Especially because Eryn loves orange and yellow.
I couldn’t help the title, because I just realized I should have written this post a couple of days ago on Star Wars Day, May the 4th, lol.
My friend Laurel is not only the dyer of beautiful yarn, such as the fun Twisted Sisters I used in this project, but also the mother of 7 wonderful kids. How she still finds the time to knit for her folks and her Ravelry friends I don’t know, but she always has lots of projects on her needles. Now her son Ryan wishes for a new blanket for his birthday – and that’s quite a lot to knit in only a couple of months, so some Rav friends volunteered right away to support her. Ryan turns 12, so these blanket squares can’t be our usual squares with cute motifs we often do when a baby arrives, but they have to be more suitable for a pre-teen. Ryan picked the colours himself and really, this boy has an eye for colour combination, don’t you think?
Most of the squares are supposed to be garter stitch squares, but to make the blankie even more special Laurel had the idea to add in a few themed ones – and since Ryan is a fan of Star Wars… here’s my contribution
Now that the socks have made it to their new home in New Zealand, just in time before winter in the southern hemisphere, I can finally share one of the projects I knit on holidays. You've already seen the beautiful socks Glen made for me in our 'Knit my Yarn' Sock Challenge, and these are the socks I knit for her in return.
The yarn Glen sent, SweetGeorgia Yarn Cashluxe Fine, was a dream to work with and after trying them on for the picture I'm sure they'll be a dream to wear too. So soft! I am so happy to hear the socks fit Glen! The pattern is called 'Wallace' and is by one of Glen's favourite designers, Rachel Coopey.
It feels like these socks took forever - probably because I get bored so easily when I have to repeat the same pattern over and over again - but today I finally finished the second pair of socks for our Sock Challenge. The yarn is Knitters Brewing Company Sock-aholic (and I just love the name!) and since DH is happy with his new socks, it was worth getting my act together and to finally finish them. But now I look forward to moving on to a more challenging pair. ;-)
I finished the first socks for our sock challenge the other day and like always I had no idea how to name them. That really is the hardest part, if you ask me, to come up with a nice name. So we had a small contest and asked my Ravelry friends to come up with suggestions - and the winning name is Pooh Sticks. I love it!
I love Pooh Bear and his stories and indeed, the pattern looks like the game 'Pooh Sticks', which you can play on any bridge over running water: each player drops a stick on the upstream side of a bridge and the one whose stick first appears on the downstream side is the winner. Thanks for this great suggestion, Debbie!
Well, I already cast on my second pair for the challenge. DH picked the skein to knit up next and when he saw the first rows of the pattern he named it right away: Strip Parquet. Maybe not the nicest name, but I see why he thought of it. :)
... has made it to its destination the other day. I'm not even sure Lauren suffers from cold feet looking at the 'hot stuff' she writes and publishes so successfully, lol, so I picked a yummy yarn in a coolish colour for her.
and I went with an overall knit and purl pattern that showcases the awesome colour nicely. Glad the socks arrived and Lauren loves them.
Another pair of my friendship socks has made it to its destination: So happy that Alix received her socks a couple of days ago. Perfect timing to wear them right away, since the weather channel tells me it's pretty cold where she lives. For Alix I chose a skein of Dream in Col
and the socks knit from it are really cosy and cushy. I went for a lace pattern and am thrilled that Alix likes them.
Well, I know that my Canadian friends often complain about their mail service and fair enough, I've had a couple of unpleasant experiences with packages taking forever to arrive too, but at the moment all I can say is 'Wow!'. Some of my 'friendship socks' started their journey really late, but German Post and Canada Post worked at lightening speed and delivered them in time for Christmas to the lovelies ladies I met last summer. Woo Hoo!
We had a whale of a time in Vancouver with Kelly showing us around, so I picked a yarn for her that reminded me of the terrific view we had from Granville Island with lots of blue to be seen: the sky, the water, and even blue skyscrapers (which I just realized when I looked at the pictures again). The yarn is Knitsch Yarns Merino Sock in 'Hydro' and it feels terrific knit up.
The pattern I picked reminded me of all the boats in the marina
And yet another pair of my friendship socks arrived in its new home in the States - Shelley found them in her stocking today. The yarn is by another one of my (so far only virtual) Ravelry friends, Laurel, SpinningFates. She dyes beautiful yarns and her 'Twisted Sisters' is an adorable self striping yarn line. The yarn has been dyed so that when knit into a pair socks (one sock from each skein) the stripes will be opposite of each other.
Well, anyone who knows me knows that I hardly ever knit 'plain vanilla socks', so Shelley's socks are patterned to and I like the fun effect how it breaks up the stripes.
Already in 2013 I had the chance to meet Yola, also one of my Raverly friends in person - so exciting and Yola and I had a whale of a time at Fibre East. This year I couldn't go with her, so I asked her to buy a skein of yarn for me. Requirements were that it had to be a yarn she really likes and at the same time something that takes me out of my 'colour comfort zone'. This is what she picked, a skein of Sparkleduck Socka in a colourway called 'Wildflower',
it's beautiful yarn that knits up like a dream, but boy, the colourway sure was way out of what I usually buy and knit up. However, I was determined to turn it into socks for Yola and today she'll find them in her Christmas package. I hope she'll like them.
The past two summers I was so lucky that during our summer holidays we went to places where friends of mine from the Ravelry forum live. What a pleasure to finally get to know 'virutal friends' in person - people I had the feeling I had known so well already and it was an awesome experience. Virtual friends turned into real ones and needless to say that since we met I was pondering on a special gift to remember the day. So I did what I do best: I knit socks. Lots of them. And today the first pair arrived at its new home in Canada.
Evey loves autumn colours, so this skein of Mountain Colors Bearfoot in colourway 'Gold Rush' seemed to be the perfect choice - and based on her reaction I chose the right yarn.