Monday, March 10, 2014

the start into 2014

I’ve written this post over and over, and no, it’s not a good-bye. I miss this space, but the time is scarce and I hardly get to sit down and write it all down, the way I want it, without interruption, without my thoughts wandering off only to come back and write it all fast without a coherent how did we get here.

Lagamta and all that’s attached to it is taking up most of my time. Fb, Pinterest, Twitter, all need their time and I haven't been much of an online person until now apart from Ravelry, my Feedly reader and this blog. I'm joining the conversations out there more and more these days, which felt unnatural first, for an introvert like me.

Yes, I'm happiest alone or with those closest to me. Give me some yarn, a good book, some good tv series, and the time will fly without me missing anyone for days and weeks. I have my little family and I treasure our times together, this is a tough and demanding time to be a parent, but I know that we’ll cherish these memories once our daughter is grown. And our knees might hurt this evening from having played tigers, lions, wolves and cats for all afternoon, but we will never regret having spent time with each other.

The new year has started and I also want to review 2013. Fairisle did not happen. In fact, it was a fail. I started Ursula cardigan with such a joy, all my attention was consumed by it. I already envisaged how I was going to wear it, I adore the design, the wool, it seemed a perfect match. What I did not consider, was that this wasn’t a pattern for my body. With no shaping, it’d have turned to be a nice embroidered sack. I tried putting in some waist shaping, but it was not working. In short, I haven’t touched this project in months. I cannot bear the thought of ripping it out, but that’s what’ll have to be.

So what's in for 2014? I decided I'll go from Amy to Stephen and back. If I want an item that should fit, I'll turn to Amy's designs and especially her custom fit website. If, however, I want a crazy item without thinking about fit or future wearing/not wearing of the clothing piece, I will turn to Stephen West and alike designs that have no intention of having to fit.

Again, some random numbers "at the start of the year":
- 185 Rav projects, 38 finished in 2013, which might be wrong as I did not care to double-check it twice.
- 45 items queued, yes, I cleaned up the queue, 2 items have made it into queue in 2014 already.
- no new chocolate cake recipes learnt last year, I know now how to make a fool-proof Flammkuchen.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

old news; Stephen-West-worthy

If you're on Ravelry, then you've seen these pictures already. This is my Paris sweater, a very mindless knit that used up my scraps of some sockweight yarn and proved to me that I am ready for my very own Enchanted Mesa. I am picking out some special skeins for that.

This sweater was started with what now is my "back side", Noro Kureyon Sock. I started adding some brown garter stripes in a discontinued Schoppel-Wolle yarn here and there. Then I realized that I had nowhere enough of Noro to finish this, thus, I mirrored the whole thing for the front, reversing the colours. When I was done, I saw that I still need some length and Noro yarn was gone, so I took in some red Wollmeise for garter stripes and the same brown Schoppel-Wolle for the stockinette area. Once the needed length was achieved, I cast off.

This is the most fun knit that I LOVE wearing. And I've converted two knitters who thought Paris was not flattering to knitting this pattern as well. Right now, this is the most me-knit that I own. Brown? Tick. Red? Tick! Not off the rack? Tick!

My lesson from this is: I will knit either knit customfit or Stephen-West-crazy garments.

Friday, November 22, 2013

yet another week

This year is seriously flying by. This morning we woke up to this...

That is good news to me. The past weeks have felt like snow was near. It was chilly and all autumn I planned knitting camp out wrist warmers for my toddler but never came round to it. It was too late for wrist warmers, we seriously needed mittens. Finally, last week I knit these in an evening. The pattern is very recommendable, it's spot on for my two-year old.

I used Schoppel-Wolle Gradient leftovers, and I still have more than enough. Maybe I will make a few more. Toddlers loose things, right?

Speaking of Gradient, I recently visited Schoppel-Wolle factory shop in Wallhausen and got two other skeins that were meant to become something (maybe Christmas presents). And I just knit two cowls according to the same pattern

One in blue...

And one in black, which is still drying...

The blue skein had two knots in it, which was very disappointing. I could not use some of the yarn as the joint was becoming too obvious.

I used 4mm needles for both cowls instead of 5mms, which makes for a denser yet also a shorter cowl. This goes very fast, so if you are looking for some Xmas knitting, this might be a pattern for you.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday, November 15, 2013

working towards the better

There is something that I have been working on for a long long time now. It is hard to pinpoint the inspiration part - there have been so much. The knitting, the sewing and crafting blogs. The wish to be a better employer. The wish to make clothing better.

I still have much work to do on the site and the pictures of products will be uploaded soon, but to my blog readers, who have known me for a long while and who have most likely also inspired this, I am offering a discount till December 12th. Just enter "blogfriend13" and you will get 25% discount of the purchase price.

Please come and find my winter collection here.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

FO: Esjan in fall colours

A must-knit. This shawl is big, warm, has interesting details and went fast. What more can a knitter ask? It is really a very clever construction. 

This was a first Stephen West pattern for me. You may think of him whatever you like, but he is one of the most creative knitting designers out there. His pictures led me to think he was a creatively chaotic type. Or maybe chaotically creative? His patterns are surely not boring. His patterns clearly stir up the knitting world on Ravelry. Just check out the comments on his latest designs.

As the quality of knitwear patterns varies greatly, it was a relief to see Stephen's clearly and meticulously written instructions. He's a professional and no wannabe. And in support of him I'm purchasing definitely one pattern out of The Amazing Sweater Trio.

For now I am cozying up in this. Don't be jealous, just get out your yarn and knit! :)

Friday, October 18, 2013

season's colours on the needles

As if there weren't enough projects on my needles, I decided it was time to cast on for Esjan shawl by Stephen West this week. My version will be much more colourful than Mr. West's (which we all know is hardly ever possible) and very fall-inspired.

I feel in a rut with all my three cardigans, so this is a welcoming change to be able to knit on 8 mm needles with worsted weight yarn. I might have an FO to show soon.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

what those swatches are good for

The ends will have to be woven in. And strangely enough, I want to start swatching more so that all dolls can be tucked in like this.

Friday, October 11, 2013

on blankets again

This time I blame Martina Behm (for that, what's to come and for the fact that I just discovered her website and spent a good half hour reading through past posts).

Photo © Martina Behm
From the description of her new pattern, Angles:
Recently I read about how making your bed in the morning and putting on a pretty bedspread can make a real difference for your day: Minutes after getting up you have already done something to turn your home into a more pleasant place. What used to be chaotic is now neat, a true joy to look at and lifts your spirit! That sounded great to me, but I did not have a bedspread that I liked. So – of course! – I knit one. In soft and squishy, beautiful and simple garter stitch. Also modularly, so there is no sewing involved, but totally reversible (even the joining lines look good from both sides) and with a geometrically intriguing design: Each triangle is knit in a different direction, but each one features a right angle (hence the name).

I do not need any further convincing that a knitted blanket is a good idea, do you? Now, I do have to add that I have been looking for that right blanket idea for a while now.

First I thought, I will use my worsted weight leftovers (and yarn that needs to be re-purposed) to knit a Garter Stitch blanket by Stephen West:

Photo © Stephen West
I need a blanket that can act both as a bed-throw and a thing to cuddle in for our family. Garter Stitch blanket is tempting as it'd knit up fast, but wouldn't it be too heavy? After all, it's worsted weight doubled.

Probably one of the most stylish blanket designs that are out there is the Kex blanket. Again by the oh so talented Mr. West.

Photo © Stephen West
I would have enough yarn for two of the needed colours, but the rest would be a patchwork. Stephen encourages in his pattern description to use leftovers "for an even more colorful blanket", but I fear that would mess up the beauty of this pattern. This means, I'd need to buy more yarn.

Or maybe I should go with some plain colourblocking and knit a simple baby blanket (only enlarged)?

Photo © purlsoho

Then again, I remember how much I like the airiness of Zig and Zag Pram Baby blanket that I knit for my daugher. I could do a family version of this. It'd take a year, but it'd be worth it for sure.

Though perhaps, just because life is short and my knitting queue is not, I should go for something new? Like this Breezy Baby Blanket?

Photo © Anna & Heidi Pickles
And now after admitting that I have enough fingering weight yarn to knit a spread for a double bed, I will go and hide in my stash, embarrassed.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

a knit that didn't make it to a proper FO

My Liesl was knit in just five days. Malabrigo Yarn Rios is so squishy and this sunset colourway made it hard to put it down. The pattern is very clearly written and it was a first Ysolda pattern for me. However, the fact that this "FO" was in this pre-blocked state for over a year (since July 2012!) made the decision to frog easy.

Why did this pattern not work for me? To start with, this is a fitted knit in a worsted weight yarn. That screams unflattering for hourglass figures like me. In addition to that, the short sleeves hit my arms at their widest point making them seem even larger. This could have easily been modified had I for once bought enough yarn. We all know I never do.

But most of all, I was knitting a piece for a younger version of myself. This could have been a perfect cardi for me maybe ten years ago. My style and my figure have changed. Somehow my knitting mind hasn't caught up with these changes yet.

On the bright side, I have two hanks of most wonderful wool to play with anew.