Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Yarn Along 21

Once again, I missed a couple of Yarn Alongs, but today I'm joining Ginny again for a weekly appreciation of yarn and books.
Things have been a bit busy around here. First of all I am getting married at the end of August and although it will be a teeny, tiny wedding with only closest family there is still a lot to organize and think of. It's not so much the wedding itself that still needs a bit of organizing (although Sebastian still needs a shirt) but all the paperwork and what comes after the wedding. Insurance, changing my last name, informing the bank, and whatnot...
Second of all I have finally kicked myself in the butt and finished my design: "Honey Mustard Mittens". Maybe some of you remember the fingerless mittens I have been working on, they came up in one or two Yarn Along posts. The design has been on hold for a while but now it is finished and I published it last week on Ravelry. For more information, please read this post or go straight to the Ravelry pattern page. Thank you =)

But now on to the Yarn Along. I have nearly finished the Goodale Cardigan, all that's left is the final steps like finishing the neck and sewing down the fronts. I'm not so happy with the fit of this cardigan but I have learned from other projects not to judge before washing and blocking. So I'll not complain and whine now =)
I also started a new sock that was in a special sock issue of Verena Knitting magazine. I'm not so sure I will actually stick with this pattern, it is highly complicated and demands a lot of attention. Usually I don't mind that but I just can't get into the flow with this one. I had to rip back already - I'm knitting the sock toe-up whereas the pattern is written for cuff-down. I'm not giving up so quickly though, especially since I want to use the yarn. I started several things with it but always frogged. I don't know what it is, it is a nice sock yarn in a pretty pumpkin orange but somehow it seems to be cursed.

We have a couple of hot days around here and I am enjoying them immensely. So far summer was almost nothing but rain and cool days and I am so happy to at last have sun and warmth. It probably won't last that long, weather forecast says that we will be back to bad weather for the weekend. 
I was sorting through my books the other day and found one of my childhood favourites: "Meine Freundin Roberta und der K├Ânig" - "My friend Roberta and the king" by Viveca Sundvall. The original version is Swedish, so for the Swedes of our Yarn Along group, the original title is "Vi smyger pa Enok". This is the perfect children's book for summer holidays. It is of course a super quick read for adults but I remember reading in the summer because it is a story of how a little girl spends her summer holidays and makes new friends, goes swimming, builds a fort, ... The whole story spells SUMMER and it is a nice book for children. I had to laugh when I saw my own crooked handwriting from primary school in the book, I had written my name and who gifted me the book on the first page. The whole book has writing or colouring in it, smudged fingerprints ( I probably took the book into the garden or to the pool back then) and even a bit of sand stuck between the pages. Ah...memories =))

I hope you enjoy a bit of summer, too, with your favourite books and some knitting.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Honey Mustard Mittens - a Toadstool Knittery Design

Long time, no see... But I haven't been just lazy, oh no! Some of you may remember me talking about a design for mittens I have been working on for quite some time now, it came up in one or two Yarn Along posts. I lost my motivation somewhere in the process but found it back, too. Last week I finally published my very first, very own knitting pattern on Ravelry and of course I want to share it here, too! So may I present - proudly and humbly at the same time: Honey Mustard Mittens by Toadstool Knittery:

"The Honey Mustard Mittens are fingerless mittens that are knitted in the round, form the cuff onwards. They feature a thumb gusset in order to obtain a perfectly tight and yet comfortable fit. Sizes are given in small, medium and large but you can easily adjust the stitch number to your own liking. [...]"

So far the pattern is only available on Ravelry but I plan to put it on Etsy and Dawanda as well. The pattern is in English - the German version will be up soon, I'm working on it. Fur further information please go to the Ravelry pattern page.

I am very excited about this. It took a long time to have the pattern the way I wanted it to be and I put a lot of thought and effort into writing the pattern. It is written in a highly detailed fashion so that even beginners can follow it. I wanted to be as neat and clear as possible and corrected and changed the instructions many times. I can't wait to see other knitters' versions of the mittens!!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Yarn Along 20

Joining Ginny from Small Things in her weekly Yarn Along

I'm not doing that much reading at the moment but I am knitting a lot. Too much actually because my wrists and hands hurt again. I haven't had problems with that in a while but now it's back. I partly blame the yarn I'm knitting with at the moment. It's Linolo from ONline Garne, a blend of linen, viscose and cotton. While it's nice to knit with in general, it's of course different than knitting with wool. Despite the 42 % linen fiber it's relatively smooth and the viscose compensates a lot, but still it's a bit stiff and I have a lot of stitches on the needles.
The pattern is Goodale by Cecily Glowik MacDonald and has been in my queue a very short time because my lovely friend Linda gave me the pattern for my birthday this year. I spent a lot of time searching for the right yarn (and then spent even more time choosing the colour). I wanted to knit with something other than wool and as I like linen very much, I decided to go with Linolo. So far I'm pleased with the yarn, I hope it will be nice to wear. It is spun rather unevenly, so for once I'm not fussing about uneven stitches =) I had a hard time deciding on a colour, they were all very pretty. I ordered the yarn online and was hoping that the pictures (and what my screen made of them) were close to the actual colour. I have to admit, I was hoping for a more reddish colour and not so much the pink it actually turned out to be but I like it nonetheless.
The cardigan is knit from the top down, which is a first for me. I will have to switch to a longer circular needle or put the stitches on scrap yarn if I want to try it on during the process but the fact that I can rather pleases me.

Like I said, not much reading happening around here at the time but I do read a couple of pages at a time from the second Harry Potter book in between all the knitting. I know the HP books so well anyway that not much concentration is needed =)

I finally posted pictures of my finished Cotton Candy Bobbles Cardigan which was the subject of several Yarn Alongs. If you'd like to see how it turned out, please read this post or go straight to my project page on Ravelry (project notes still need to be filled in...).

Have a nice day with lots of inspiration from fellow knitters and crocheters!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Cotton Candy Bobbles Cardigan

Someone recently complained that I always promise pictures of finished objects, but never deliver them - which is true and absolutely not good. I'm not sure I will be able to show all of the knitting I've finished since then but let me start with showing you the finished Cotton Candy Bobbles Cardigan that has been in several Yarn Along posts.
The cardi was my first Raglan piece and it was quite a challenge when it came to joining the sleeves. They were knit in the round and I already had a lot of stitches on my needle before adding those tubes to the whole piece. I nearly broke my wrists trying to knit the sleeve stitches, so I used three (or four?) circular needles to cover the length of the very long rows and magic looped the sleeve parts like I usually do when knitting in the round. This technique created a bit of uneven knitting at the needle junctions but that's better than stretched stitches and broken wrists...
The cardigan is a bit roomy around the armpits and upper arms, which leads to occasional bulking up in that area but that's ok. It's knitted in Cascade 220 wool, colourway "Tutu", a worsted weight and will therefore mostly been worn in Autumn and Winter, so a little bit more room around the arms might not be too bad when I want to wear blouse or a long-sleeved top underneath.
If you've read my Yarn Along posts, you know how much pain the curling of the stockinette parts gave me. A good blocking totally helped in that area but to be sure I added a crochet border (and for decorative reasons, too) which consists of double crochet stitches (or for US residents: single crochet) all around every hem. I thought that the lower edge could use even more reinforcement so I added another row of crochet which is a variation of the Bobble-shell Edging of lovely Lucy from Attic24. It looked so nice that I gave the neck opening the same treatment =)
I wanted to have a longer cardigan than the pattern suggested so I added a bit of length and another pattern repeat - which wasn't enough. I should have added two repeats but there was no way I could have faced another ripping back and I was slowly but surely running out of yarn! Eeek!! The front panels now had a couple of rows of plain garter stitch on top and just looked wrong. Luckily I had recently found little transparent butterfly buttons and decided to sew them on those garter stitch sections. Now tiny lovely butterflies dance around the bobbly vines and I'm pretty much in love with them.

The pattern originally suggested a big button for closing the cardigan but I didn't even have enough yarn left to create a button loop. Furthermore I would have found a button too much and too busy for an already very frilly cardigan. I then sewed on 4 hooks and eyes (and that was very fiddly and tedious work!) and find that solution very nice. It didn't turn out as neat as I would have liked, there's still a bit of a gap but I was definitely out of yarn by then and quite honestly very tired from all the deciding and trying out and what not... I hope I never have to darn this cardigan because I truly have no yarn left!! I even had to use spit-splicing in order to felt yarn scraps together and used every bit of fluffly pink fiber =) The hooks add a bit of weight to the front panels, maybe I should have used 4 small ones instead of 2 small ones and 2 rather big ones. Coulda, shoulda, woulda - I will leave it as it is now or I'll surely go nuts.

The pattern is the Bobble-Vine Jacket by Edie Eckman and per se very pretty and a good idea. I found the sizing a bit off (I knitted the smallest size and it's not really that small) and the chart was so small and blurry that I had to blow it up a couple of sizes on the copier. That didn't take care of the blurriness but helped a bit with the size. The sleeves are way too roomy although I cast on less stitches than the pattern said. I had to go up to the stated amount eventually though because I am too much of a rookie in knitting raglan-shaped cardigans and there was no way I could have altered the sleeves and raglan sections and still keep the bobbly pattern and neck shaping in order.

To sum it up: I was at the same time loving and doubting this cardigan during the whole process and when I tried it on before blocking it looked horrible and wonky. After blocking it I was so surprised and pleased and now I love this piece and look forward to wearing it on colder days =) Never, NEVER judge a piece before blocking!

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Yarn Along 19

I'm joining Ginny from Small Things again in her weekly Yarn Along and well, it's been a while...
I hope you're all doing well! I can't believe it's May already, really - I just can't! What's up with time lately? I'm not even that busy and still, time just runs by and all I can do is stand there, look at the calendar and ask myself if I just overslept for several solid months.

At the moment I'm mainly focusing (knittingwise) on a new cardigan in a fingering weight yarn. It's "Bendir" from Verena Knitting, 2011 Spring issue and I loved it at first sight. I'm knitting this lovely little cardigan with yarn I'm pretty much in love with. It's a 50% cotton 50% merino blend and soooo soft. The colour is a light lavender, depending on the light it sometimes looks even light grey with a tiny hint of purple - definitely gorgeous! The pattern calls for prism beads all over the cardigan. I figured it would be highly uncomfortable to have rather big beads on the back part, for example when you sit back in a chair and have those beads poke you in the back. At first I wanted to just add beads on the front parts but in the end I decided to let go of the whole bead idea altogether.
It's a whole lot of stockinette at first, then you sew the parts together and pick up stitches all around the hem and knit a lacy border. This will be a lovely piece for summer days and I hope to get it done in time.

As for the reading part: I'm still reading "Drums of Autumn" but it's going rather slowly at the moment. I needed something familiar to read in between and pulled the first Harry Potter book from the shelf. I have this routine of reading all of the HP books over and over again in a loop, reading the whole series through and then start at book one again. It's been several months since I put the last book back on the shelf and I was starting to miss the wizarding world a lot. So here it goes again, right from the start =)

In case any of you wondered, I finished my Cotton Candy Bobbles Cardigan. Still have to take decent pictures though. It's so hard to do it myself so I'll try to get Sebastian to do it sometime this week. I tried to snap good pictures myself in front of every mirror in the house but only got crappy results. Some people really rock this technique but not me...

Please head over to Ginny's for excellent inspiration!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Yarn Along 18

Hello my fellow knitters, crocheters and readers!
Another long overdue (YarnAlong-) post from me... We recently had a bit of drama (for lack of a better word) around here, quite a few visits to the doctor's office, problems with my new job and what not. We have mostly recovered and look ahead with positive thoughts, so no need to worry =) I just was too tired to write or even knit and not very motivated to do anything besides working, lying on our new ginormous sofa and getting blood samples taken 3 times a week. Now I'm feeling good and full of energy again and as I have the rest of the month off from work because they don't know if they can pay me (that's the second time since I started the job in December), I have much time for knitting and other time-consuming luxuries.

I'm working very hard on my Cotton Candy Bobbles Cardigan, in fact I don't even look at or touch any other projects right now. That's more or less unheard of, I'm usually into several projects at once. But I realized that every time I put the cardigan away and then resume knitting on it, I have to spend too much time working my way into my notes and into the pattern again. So now I'm engulfed in pinky bobbly pleasure until it is finished! Maybe some of you remember my battle with the rolling and curling stockinette part from my last YarnAlong. I decided to add a crochet border to the lower edge to tame the curling a bit. Well it worked a teeny tiny bit but of course the stockinette part is so huge that it will curl again at some point. Actually it now folds over at the bottom and then curls =)) But I'm positive a good blocking will help in the end.
It may not look like much progress but believe me, there's been some serious, very focused knitting! The rows are quite long as the back part and both front parts are worked seamlessly. I guess it will be so nice once that part is finished because then it will only be the sleeves and then it's done. I'm so in love with those bobbly vines and look forward to wearing the cardigan. I'm not sure I will be able to wear it before next Autumn as it's worsted weight pure wool. Maybe on a rather crisp Spring evening if I really hurry...

I started the fourth book of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon "Drums of Autumn", this time in English. I read the first three books in German and now I'm happy to give the original version a go. So far it's a bit different but very nice. Doesn't the baby blue cover look pretty on my pink cardigan? =) Well, maybe it's a bit eye-watering ^^ I got the book at a very reasonable price but the pages are bound so tightly that it's sometimes not so easy to read the words that are nearest to the center.

Thank you for coming here and taking an interest in my knitting and reading! I'll be looking at your stuff now, too! =) For inspiration, go here: Ginny's Blog

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Yarn Along 17

Oh my... my first Yarn Along with Ginny this year and it's already February. I have some FOs to show you and want to write about a lot of things but I don't know... I'm in a Winter funk I guess. It's sooooooooo cold here in Germany, the night before last we had -19°C!! I feel so bad for all the animals who have to endure sleeping and finding food in such cruel weather. I'm regularly putting out birdfeed and hot water on the window sill but when it's that cold the birds don't even come. Today it's warmer and they have come back to gobble up all those fatty treats and warm water =)

Back to the Yarn Along:
The cold weather makes me want to knit socks non-stop. Yeah alright, I always want to knit socks non-stop but especially now. I washed a load of woollen socks the other day and found I don't have enough. But it was such a satisfying view, all those warm socks on the drying rack, it makes me feel a bit more prepared for cold days.
The new pair is knit in plain stockinette stitch. The rich colours and little specks of glittery lurex are enough to look at, even simple ribbing would be too much in my opinion.

I'm also still knitting on my Cotton Candy Bobbles Cardigan but it's so frustrating =( The yarn is Cascade 220 Wool and it keeps curling like mad. Not where the actual bobbles are but the stockinette parts drive me mad. It curls into such a tight wool sausage that the knitting is really hard on the hands, wrists and forearms (no, I'm not knitting worsted weight yarn with such small needles, I had to park the cardigan on smaller ones because I needed the 5 mm needle for legwarmers *g*). I am pondering the possibility of blocking it before I knit on. Any suggestions and experiences on that matter would be highly appreciated!! The Cardigan is knit in one piece so there won't even be seams to keep the yarn under control. I've had this problem before with Cascade and stockinette but it was a hat and an i-cord edge took care of that problem. Maybe I can add a crochet border afterwards? Edit: I've already knitted a short border at the foot of the stockinette part because I had an inkling that it would otherwise curl like hell. Apparently it doesn't suffice =/

I just had to take a picture of it with my wonderfully pink hyacinth. Isn't she lovely?? I was so suprised to see two additional blossoms hide within the leaves. And a bit concerned, too - I really like the scent but one blossom is usually enough to keep the whole room scented. But somehow these blossoms aren't that intense, so it's all good and so very pretty. Finally I have a pink hyacinth, so far I only had blue ones (which are pretty too). Now you could say that the pink container should have given me a hint. But there were black and red containers, too, so I guess the colour of the plastic container was completely random.

I'm reading Tolkiens "The Hobbit" at the moment. It's been a long time since I've read it and I thought I should read it again before I watch the new movie. This is our third edition of the book. I had a German translation before and so had Sebastian. As we are mostly reading the original versions of books now, I ordered an English copy. I'm enjoying it a lot and look forward to seeing the movie.

I hope you will forgive my long absence from the Yarn Along and the blog - again. I haven't even visited other blogs during that time, I think I'd just lost my blog-mojo. But I'm pretty sure it's back now!