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Woollen Nethergarments

11 Jan

Nearly two weeks of the new year have gone in a blink of an eye. I have been on vacation, and then sick leave (it’s just sinusitis). For the duration of my vacation I experienced something that turned out to be rather wonderful. What with one thing and another, mostly because I couldn’t be arsed, I didn’t go online for a week except on my phone. My phone is fine and all, but not suited for marathon surfing sessions.

Turns out this meant I had time to read a book, have conversations, bake, sew a shirt, and of course knit and crochet a whole bunch.

So no blog posts either, even though I was itching to show and tell all these wonderful things. I had the best Christmas yarn craft wise since 2007, when I received my KnitPicks Symphonie interchangeable needle set, and if I recall correctly, also the double pointed needle set in the series.

Most importantly, I finished my brother’s woollen long johns in time. Well to be frank, I wove in the ends and wrapped them 30 minutes before we opened gifts on the 27th, so not exactly done for Christmas but close enough. Oh! And I also sewed in the casing for an elastic band the next day, after it had been established that the long johns actually fit my brother. Hooray!

Sadly I now have no proper pictures of them. Only this grainy one taken in the dark, of me wearing the things.

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Based on this experience, this Drops Tights pattern fits a range of sizes. That is, I knitted size M, and the resulting tights fit me and my brother equally well. He has slimmer legs than I do but is 5’10” to my 5′, so I guess it evens out.

I ended up going with a machine-washable wool and polyamide blend in worsted weight. It felt nicely soft and non-itchy at least to me. I got five 100 g (4 oz) balls and only used 2,5. I couldn’t begin to guess how much the legs would take up, but didn’t think I was overshooting by quite so much.

Oh well. I can think of a number of uses for the left-over balls.

Worsted weight pants on 5 mm needles knit up remarkably quickly it turns out, more quickly than, say, a sweater. If I had use for this kind of garment, I wouldn’t hesitate to whip up another pair for myself.

Next time I’ll write about all the new shiny (yarn crafty) toys I got, and the little projects I’ve been working on.

Giraffe Bookmark

17 Dec

I nearly forgot! I’ve been planning for a while to make a giraffe bookmark for Christmas – just as a little addition to another, bigger and better gift. The bit about it being a giraffe is the point. It’s only a bookmark because I couldn’t find anything else in a giraffe theme that I liked enough.

The pattern was free, and so I have no real complaints. But as a newish crocheter there was a lot of “I have no idea what I’m doing” going on while I made this. Like here. I was completely unsure of everything at this point.

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But whatever, I got it done and it looks like a giraffe. A really huge giraffe – as bookmarks go that is. Its head is nearly the size of my palm. I did use thicker yarn than the pattern suggested. It said “10” and I used “12” (Freccia from Anchor). I have no idea what that means, other than that these crochet yarns have a weight system of their own.

I’m stiffening it with sugar-water (1 dl sugar, 1 dl water). I hope the sugar is not a problem if this bookmark is actually used.

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I hadn’t used this crochet hook before, and I noticed something. When the hook is that small, I can’t really see which way it’s pointing. And when I can’t see, a round handle like that doesn’t really work. Some shaping in the handle allows me to feel what the hook is doing even though I can’t see it.

The round handle might be better for my hands if it worked at all in practice. In a lot of hooks the handle is very far from the tip of the hook, and the way I crochet means I need to have my fingers right near the hook itself. Like so:

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So the handle is pressed against my palm where it does no good at all.

I have a completely random assortment of hooks, and have come to love certain characteristics in them. Like I know now that I prefer my hooks to be sharp and thin as opposed to blunt and round. I only realized this after buying a hook like that completely accidentally. I have no idea how one goes about finding hooks with certain characteristics, but maybe I’ll come across some more if I keep my eyes open for them.

Stripes

16 Dec

So I came up with one more Christmas project. Aran weight, super simple socks in a women’s size, so why not. Socks whip up really quick when there are only 48 stitches in a round.

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These were quick even though I had to rip out the toe decreases. That was down to stupidity: I couldn’t believe the pattern I used which said to knit 20 cm of the foot before beginning the decreases. That sounded like a lot. So I decided it should be more like 18 or 19 cm.

Then there was a slight measurement error, and long story slightly shorter, when I finished the socks they were an absolute perfect fit for me. Unfortunately the person these are for wears a shoe size two sizes bigger than mine.

Oops.

But they’re all fixed now. I have to say, though, that the temptation to just keep them for myself was great. I really like these, and I should clearly knit more aran weight socks.

I used 7 Veljestä Raita from Novita, a self-striping yarn. And it was great. Look at these babies, all lined up perfect and nice. Normally I don’t care about matching stripes in socks but the color runs in this yarn seemed so even I decided to give it a go.

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It worked fine! Except for when it didn’t. There were four knots in this ball, which changed the color runs each time. By the first knot I was committed to getting the stripes just so, so I pulled out yarn to even out the color runs each time a knot happened. So what I ended up with is this: a bajillion ends to weave in where there should only be four. But by golly, at least the stripes look good.

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Giant Honey Bees

12 Dec

We had about a week or so of beautiful, snowy weather (or it could’ve been two weeks, I don’t really have a sense of time worth anything.) So I was planning to take pictures of my finished Apis Dorsata mitts outside. The yarn is pretty but hard to capture in artificial lighting. However, since I finished the mitts, we’ve had a little bit of a blizzard and after that, as a complete meteorological non sequitur, rain. 

So I give up, I’m taking the pictures inside.

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They’re nice and long as requested (they’re a Christmas gift). Personally I like some of the details in the design a lot. At first I didn’t understand the decreases in the arm and how they’re set on the inside like that where the wearer can see them clearly all the time. But then I saw how beautifully the decreases are mirrored in the thumb gusset increases.

I usually prefer all things to be symmetrical, but didn’t even notice at first that the honey comb patterns aren’t. That kept the knitting interesting, and makes sense in the context.

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The Cascade Yarns Heritage Silk Paint is very soft and has nice drape, and  I love the colors. I’m a little worried, though, about how well the yarn will hold up in use. I guess that’s something to think about before using a merino and mulberry silk blend. Still, the only place where I can see some wear on the yarn is in the cast on edge of the first mitt which I ripped back once or twice.

 

All my Christmas knitting is now done. I’ve never finished this well in advance, and the feeling is sort of odd. The cloud to this silver lining is that I finished because I’ve had a cold for a week. I feel like I’ve watched everything on Netflix, and must have knitted a record amount.

I still have to tuck in some ends and block some socks and slippers. Normally I wouldn’t bother with blocking foot wear, but since they are gifts, and blocking does give that nice finished look to practically speaking anything… I can’t get very excited about this bit, but it has to be done. Then there’s the gift tags that I haven’t figured out yet.

Meanwhile I’m getting excited about new, shiny things: touchscreen thread. How cool is that!

FOs: French Cancan and Bea’s Slippers

1 Dec
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French Cancan (click pic for pattern)

 

Some patterns are just so beautiful, and when you knit them, every stitch turns out perfectly where it ought to be. When that happens, and I’ve managed to choose the right yarn as well… Well usually that means that I’m knitting a gift! But this pattern was so quick to knit (first some auto-pilot garter stitch, then a simple braid and lace edge knitted on) that I might make myself one as well. Once Christmas knitting is done, that is.

I’m in awe of people who can come up with patterns like this, where there isn’t a need for a moment’s hesitation. Such a joy. If the recipient likes the gift, then all will have been perfection.

Oh, and turns out knitting white yarn wasn’t such a big deal. I just washed my hands every time before knitting, to be on the safe side, and kept the WIP in a yarn bowl when I wasn’t working on it. I even managed to block it and take pictures without spilling things on it. The SO suggested I gift wrap it as soon as possible to keep it safe, ha! To be honest that’s probably for the best. When I can keep white things white, that’s when I’m probably an adult… ish.

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3 balls of Rowan baby merino silk dk

I’ve been having such great luck with patterns as of late. I began Christmas knitting with Bea’s slippers, and was so happily surprised by this free pattern. I think they look suitably complex, but it’s just a deceptively simple design. I used Jeny’s surprisingly stretchy cast off, which is now getting to be my go to bind off for anything that needs stretch.

I’m just trying to think of a good way to gift wrap them because without feet in them, they do look sort of comical. Right? Maybe I could stuff them with silk paper, or something… Or cut cardboard feets! Sounds like a plan.

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Kotikulta Sukkalanka (a worsted weight wool acrylic blend)

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Next up, a pair of Apis Dorsata mitts

 

I’m here to tell you: there is life after knitting

27 Nov

Spoiler: It’s mostly knitting.

My blog posts have always been sporadic so that for a few months I post regularly, and then nothing at all for a while. This time, though, it wasn’t only that life happened and I didn’t have time to write, I also didn’t have time to knit. Last spring I wrote my Master’s Thesis, and in the summer I graduated. All is relative of course, and I did knit a Girl Friday cardigan over the spring, but it took me two months, and that was all I completed in that whole time. It wasn’t very enjoyable, I merely went through the motions out of a strange sense of duty. I went weeks without knitting, and am only just now emerging from a 10 month knitting funk.

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Girl Friday

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Paulie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The summer is a blur. As it began I remember thinking I’m going to knit so much and take back lost time over the summer, but that lasted all of one day. In fact, it seems the summer lasted about a week. I did knit a Paulie cardigan so I suppose I had more time than it seems. Also, I have photographic evidence, so clearly I have been outside at some point, doing something. Gazing out into the woods.

So I could go back and do a recap of the things I’ve knitted while I wasn’t knitting practically speaking at all, but that’s really no fun at all.

Instead, I submit to your consideration: am I unwise for buying acrylics today to knit a Faberge shawl? It was 90 cents per ball, fingering weight acrylic yarn, and it was as soft as a really soft thing. I was impressed.

Oddly enough, I had the most intense case of buyers remorse I have ever had about yarn. I figure my reasoning went like this: 90 cents per ball is  practically speaking free yarn. But I got four balls to be sure to have enough yardage, so suddenly I was paying 3,60€ for yarn that was supposed to be free! (Practically speaking.) I made myself feel swindled. Well done!

It still is really soft, though. I have also had very good luck with acrylic yarns staying neat, and I don’t mind it if it’s hot. I could do with a new, really warm shawl. They do say you should always buy the best you can afford to knit with, but I think, on occasion, it’s okay to splurge on something really cheap.

I have been very interested in icord knitting machines lately, especially after seeing one used together with a power drill. I’m not in that much of a hurry to get icord, but just the fact that the machine can be used like that makes it seem more likely to be durable and useful in the intended way.

There are mixed reviews of the Knit Embellish machine used in the above video, though, so I’ve been hesitant about ordering one online. I would probably just be so lazy I wouldn’t return a defective one if I was so unlucky as to receive one of those. I was therefore very pleased to see Prym’s Knitting Mill, their take on the same machine, at my local yarn shop. The machine was very hefty so I suppose it’s metallic, and less likely to break in my questionable care. This may very well be my Christmas gift for myself.

Maybe. I could really do with another spindle as well… But that’s a story for another day.

Pure, Unadulterated Awesome

18 Oct

That is what this hat is. This whole post is going to be shameless bragging but I guess that’s ok because I also write about the times when everything I try to do turns to complete shite. Ok? Ok.

First of all, this hat is the softest known object in the universe. The next time you pet a kitty or I don’t know, something else that is really soft, I can understand if you feel a little bit sad, because that thing is not as soft as this hat is. The softness of the hat and the firm warmth of the lining make putting it on your head feel like… like something is better, somehow, now. But that’s just my humble opinion.

If I didn’t make it for my brother, I’d wear the heck out of this hat. It is the best hat I have ever made.

The only thing that is less-than-stellar about it is that it is black, making it hard for me to take pictures that convey its greatness. This is the only reason  why I don’t particularly like knitting anything black. I go to all that effort, and then it’s like I could’ve gotten away with really crappy work. Because all those little details that miraculously went right this time? Obscured by the color. I mean, I once actually knitted a lace top with black yarn. Yeah, welcome to crazy town, population: me.

It was an amazingly good idea to keep the doubled hem of the wurm hat, the pattern from which the horizontal stripes are also. At first I only thought it was a good idea because that double layer would give the hem more structural integrity, making the rib last longer. Maybe. But that extra layer also turned out to be very useful for stitching on the lining without having to worry about the stitches being visible on the right side of the hat. Faaantastic.

My brother suggested that the ends of the lining not be attached to one another, but that they should just overlap instead. This way the lining will be the right size more easily and won’t lift the hat up. Also, this was far easier to do. I’m tempted to go make linings like this for all the knitted hats I wear regularly.

I am just happy about this hat because rarely does everything fall into place so well with anything I make.

If my brother likes the hat even half as much as I do, he’ll love it.

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