Unfortunately, all my crafting combined with my desk job has lead to tendonitis. As such, I won't be updating this blog in a while. I hope to be back in August!
I have been quite busy the last few weeks trying to knit as many hats as possible for the Pussyhat Project!
In the end I knit five hats in Garnstudio’s DROPS Nepal (one hat not pictured), two in DROPS Alaska and one in DROPS Loves You 5. The hats were originally meant for people I know who were going to attend a protest in town, but in the end all but one decided not to go. I gave the rest to the organizing committee to hand out on the day. I hope they made seven people very happy!
Mini yarn review: While DROPS Nepal and DROPS Alaska are both excellent yarns - especially Nepal, which knits so easily and feels like a dream - I really can't recommend DROPS Loves You 5. It was a limited edition yarn and I think they stopped producing it now, which is good. It's a recycled cotton, which appealed to me because of the sustainability aspect. However, it's coarse, difficult to knit, splits far too easily and is just a pain in the neck in general. I had enough yarn to make a second hat with, but decided against it because it was that bad. You have been warned.
Me-Made-May, the yearly challenge for people to wear more of their handmade items, has been under way for two weeks now. This is my first year participating. My personal challenge is to wear all of my (weather-appropriate) handmade items at least once during the month of May. Here’s how I’ve been doing so far:
04-05: I wore the Bauhaus sweater I made. This sweater is a favourite and I wear it often. For a while it looked like it would be too warm already to grab a sweater, but then we got a week of nothing but rain and grey skies. Good for the challenge, but I would rather have had nice spring weather. The season is short enough as it is!
05-05: The previous day made me aware that regardless of the weather outside, the temperature in our new office block is HIGH. So today I chose to wear a short-sleeved sweater that I knitted some years ago. It was knit from a vintage pattern and I was never very happy with it. It was supposed to be form fitting, but is anything but. Additionally, the sleeves are weirdly shaped and bunch up under the arms. However, it is very comfortable, I love the yarn (an undyed Bluefaced Leicester yarn and Cascade 220 for the blue and green) and other people keep telling me it looks nice, so I keep wearing it. No one else has seen the pictures of the original pattern, so no one else knows how ‘wrong’ it is!
06-05: Today was a lazy stay-at-home day, so after coming back from grocery shopping, I changed into my flowery housedress. This is also a favourite, although I somehow lost the belt I used to wear with it in the move and now only wear it around the house. I am planning to get a new belt, though. The housedress was worn a few times over the next few days, usually after coming home from work, but I’m not going to mention each time separately to prevent this post becoming too long.
15-05: The weather has really been picking up, so it was time to pull out some summery clothes! I wore my self-drafted split skirt today, with two layers of white blouse on top. I’m still very happy with these trousers/this skirt, and would like to make a second one now that I understand a bit more about drafting.
16-05: I wore a vintage sweater I knit some years ago. It is still one of the favourite things I have ever knitted even though the cotton has stretched and it has lost some of the blouson effect at the waist and sleeves. I now wear it with a less ostentatious broche, a plain metal one of a bird. The pattern was included in A Stitch in Time vol. 1.
So far, it could be better. There was a whole week where I didn't wear anything handmade. For the remainder of the month, I hope the weather will be good (after 30+ degrees yesterday, it went back to 17 C and rain today) because I have a bunch of summer tops I could wear. We'll just have to see!
My latest project to be finished is this lovely hat:
The pattern is Do-it-yourself peasant cap by Melody Parker Narvaez. I’m not sure why it’s called a peasant cap, but the do-it-yourself refers to the fact that this is apparently a copycat pattern from an expensive hat the designer once saw. The pattern starts with the tie, which is worked end-to-end. This is TEDIOUS. It is in fact so tedious that the pattern warns you about it. While knitting it, I was reminded of a lady I met who was making an entrelac something and had taught herself to knit the other way without turning her needles to save time. That would certainly have come in handy here. After finishing the tie, the rest of the hat was fairly easy, although the construction is by no means straightforward. It wasn’t clear to me at first that the tie actually lies against the hat, and that both the upper portion of the hat and the brim are knit from the same side as the tie.
( The only minor (very minor) point of criticism, and I can’t even say for sure if that is the pattern or my lack of understanding and subsequent mistakes in making it, is the way the slipped stitches on the brim look. You pick up two more stitches on each row, and you slip the first stitch on each row, which leads to a number of quite large knit stitches in an otherwise garter stitch brim. But, perhaps due to the variegated yarn, it’s not all that noticeable. It’s also pretty safe to bet that no one is going to be inspecting my hat that closely! I cast off loosely, as the pattern instructed, but the next time I would cast off normally so that the brim lies closer against my forehead.
For this hat, I used Manos del Uruguay Maxima yarn. I absolutely love all Manos del Uruguay yarns. Their colours are amazing, they feel wonderful, they are a delight to work with, and to top it off it’s a fair trade yarn. It’s expensive, yes, but it is so worth it for me.
I treasure every item I have made with a Manos del Uruguay yarn. I usually buy mine online, because it is rare to find it in local yarn stores around here (because it is so expensive, I think it’s hard to market it from a regular brick-and-mortar store).
Before I moved at the beginning of this year, I gave away my whole stash of handmade gifts – hats, mittens, scarfs, etc – and I had intended this hat as the start of a new stash. However, I like it so much that I’ve decided to keep it! The gift drawer will remain empty for now.
This blog seems to be turning into something of a knitting blog, doesn't it? I'm sorry about that! I will try to rectify this and focus more on sewing or other crafts in the coming months. Now that I have access to my sewing machine and table again (yay!) this should be easier.
In the meantime, though, I have finished another knitting project: a summer top:
The pattern is 'Admit' by Nora Gaughan. I made quite a few adjustments to the pattern. The pattern itself is fairly simple, there's not waist or armhole shaping so the only challenging bit is the yarn overs on the front and back yoke, which are combined with 'right twist' and 'left twist' stitches that I had not encountered before. Not being a fan of the unfinished and unshaped armholes, I did some shaping and added cap sleeves using this tutorial for knitting 'afterthought sleeves' by By Gum, by Golly. Also, because I wasn't sure how much yarn I would have, I started with a provisional cast on at the waist and then knitted down at the end to the desired length, finishing with a few rows of purls as for the neck edge and sleeve edges. Unfortunately because I didn't use stitch markers (because I am lazy and arrogant) My stitch count was slightly off... in that my back yarn overs were one stitch too far to the right, which eventually somehow led to a three-stitch difference between the two sides. This may not seem like such a big deal, but it meant that the yarn overs had reached the armhole on one side while still continuing on the other side. I attempted to fix this when I found out by decreasing twice in rapid succession, but I'm afraid it does show a bit in the end result... luckily it's on the back and I won't be able to see it myself!
All in all, I like the double v-yarn overs, but the rest of the pattern is not great. In the original, the hem isn't finished in any way to prevent curling and as the recommended yarn is a cotton, it's not very easy to block either. The unshaped armholes may have looked ok on a thin frame, but 'ok' isn't good enough for me. Also, as the armholes are also unfinished, they had a tendency to curl inward. I also found the armholes very tall. If you like the look of this pattern, I suggest using another shell/tanktop/whatever pattern and adding in the double-v pattern. The yarn, on the other hand, is great: it's Hjertegarn Cotton Silk, a cotton-silk blend that is a delight to work with and to wear. Perfect for summer garments! I expect this top will grow in time, given the yarn, and give a slightly looser fit.
It's May, and that means Me-Made-May is here, the annual challenge of wearing more selfmade items so that all that sewing, knitting, refashioning etc actually feels productive! In the past, I've not participated in Me-Made-May, even though I was aware of it. I always felt that I didn't have enough handmade clothing to justify it. And actually, this year is the worst year to participate, because I had to donate a lot of clothes that didn't fit anymore after losing weight (I am particularly sad about this dress, which I was very proud of and which had the most beautiful fabric. In hindsight I can see it doesn't fit very well but I still loved it!).
However! I decided that there will always be excuses. I can always come up with a reason that this is not a good year. That is not why Me-Made-May was invented, though. It's not about being perfect. It's not about having a different handmade item to wear every day otherwise you are a failure. And it doesn't matter if currently a lot of my selfmade items are sweaters which are too warm to wear in May. What matters is that I challenge myself to dive into my wardrobe and make the most of what I have. Participating will also make me more aware of the gaps in my wardrobe and what I should focus on making next. I like knitting or sewing unusual patterns and want to find a way to incorporate that in my wardrober more. I know a lot of sewing blogs call this 'cake vs frosting'* problem (i.e. needing more basics but sewing more frilly dresses), but I don't really see it in those terms. If I want to make only 'frosting', I'll just wear frosting!
So here's what I'll do: Because I don't want to turn this blog into a 'what I wore today' blog (also, I don't have the patience), I will instead keep track of what I wore when. If possible, I will take a picture of each outfit. I will post two evaluation posts, one halfway though May and one at the beginning of June. My goals are:
- To wear all my weather-appropriate handmade items at least once this month
- To count how many handmade items I have in the various categories (sweater, dress, etc) to get a better picture of what my wardrobe still needs
We'll see how it goes! I'm looking forward to it!
Unrelated: that 'Burda dress 122-A 07/2013' that's in my WIP-list... where the hell did that go?! I have unpacked all the moving boxes now and have not found the pieces to that one yet. What on earth did I do with it?
Coming up this weekend: a finished summer top!
My latest project to be finished is a toy mouse for - you guessed it, a friend who had a baby! For those keeping count, that's 7 babies in just over a year. I guess it's the age group I hang out with. Anyway, because I occassionally have not-so-smart moments, I only took a picture with my phone before wrapping the gift:
The pattern is Boy mouse in a cabled sweater by Julie Williams, which can be bought as a pdf via Ravelry. It is part of a range of patterns, also including rabbits, bears, elephants and foxes and girls of each species. You can check out more on Ms Williams website, Little Cotton Rabbits. I highly recommend these patterns. They are well-written and illustrated throughout with clear photographs. The construction of the mouse was ingenious, with some interesting shaping of the head and feet. The entire mouse is roughly 25 cm tall, though I made the legs and trousers a bit longer. And, happily: the mouse was made entirely from scrap yarn from my stash!
Now for the things I could improve on: I could not figure out the complicated increase method Ms Williams recommends, so I followed her recommendation for an easier one and that worked out fine. I messed up a bit on the sweater, but since it's only a toy it doesn't matter much. I did not read the instructions properly and made the sweater on the same needle size as the rest of the mouse instead of 0.5 mm smaller, so the sweater is oversized (as you can see in the picture, I rolled up the sleeves a bit). I also thought that instead of cabling the whole sweater, I would just cable one column of stitches - and promptly forgot about it the moment I joined the four pieces of the sweater to work on as one. It's a miracle those two cable twists even ended up on the front. And finally, I really need to work on making nice eyes for toys for young children, when I don't want to use safety eyes or buttons. Any tips are welcome!
A while ago, I finished a set of gifts for my fiancé: a matching hat and scarf set. The problem is, they are black, and as such I had a hard time taking a good photograph! I finally decided it was better to upload this post with mediocre pictures than not to upload it at all, so here they are:
I made him a hat some years ago, from a pattern he chose, but he was never fully satisfied with it. He failed to notice the cable pattern on the hat when chosing the pattern, and it was also slightly shorter than he wanted. So for our winter holidays 2017, I promised to make him a new one, and a matching scarf. In the end I finished the hat before the holiday and the scarf on holiday, but they both got a lot of wear anyway. The pattern is copied from a hat we saw in a warehouse and that appealed to him instantly. Basically it's the following pattern repeat (worked in rows, not in the round):
Row 1: [K1, P3]*, repeat * to end, K1
Row 2: P2, [K1, P3]*, repeat * to end, K1, P2
It's slightly more interesting than a straightforward rib, and the scarf is fully reversible:
The hat was a different story. He wanted a very warm hat that absolutely no wind could get through. Having recently finished the Bee cap (Dino cap), I had the bright idea to line the hat. This would probably have worked out better if I had used a different, thinner yarn for the lining. Using the same yarn, Garnstudio's DROPS Alaska, for both the lining and the outside makes the hat very bulky. Even more so because my fiancé wanted this hat to have a brim. So, the brim is now four layers of Aran-weight yarn. At least his ears are definitely warm!
In other news: I removed the vintage jumper I was working on from the WIP-list. Not because it's finished - quite the opposite. This weekend, having almost completed the back, I discovered that my gauge was way off. No wonder I had doubts about the fit! I'm not sure how it happened, because I always swatch. I had to completely unravel the project. Right now I don't have the energy to start it again, so I'm just removing it from the list completely. I may start a smaller knitting project soon instead.
Today I am showing you a quick project I did while on holiday with yarn left over from the Saxon the City stockings: a neckwarmer!
I like small, portable projects like this to take with me when I travel. After my knitting needles were confiscated at an airport once (a set of really nice bamboo double-pointed needles) I daren't take any project in my hand luggage anymore, or I would probably have already finished this on the flight there! I did not use a pattern, since this is a really simple concept. The neckwarmer is diagonally knit in garter stitch. This means that I started at a point, then increased one stitch at each end of every right side row until I was satisfied with the width, and from that point on decreased one stitch at the start of each right side row and increased one stitch at the end of that row. Once you have the length you want, you just start decreasing on both ends of each right side row. The neckwarmer has three buttonholes. The fourth button is a fake! Here is a series of pictures showing how to button it:
This was very easy, fairly quick and the end result is both good-looking and practical! If I were to make something like this again, I would perhaps make it slightly less wide. The yarn is leftover Garnstudio DROPS Lima, a 65% Wool, 35% Alpaca DK weight yarn. I still have some more balls left over (I think the yarn requirements for the Saxon the City stockings were off! I was left with so much even though I knitted three full pattern repeats extra per stocking) so originally I had intended to do a full-length scarf. I had trouble coming up with a nice pattern, though, so in the end I went for this. I will have to see what I do with what is left now!
You may have noticed it has been very quiet around here. This is partly because of a two week vacation abroad, but mostly because I moved! The move has finally been completed and we are down to six still-packed boxes. The move has brought with it a few DIY projects, some of which I happily outsourced (like making curtains) and others which are being added to my WIP-list one at a time. The first one is to make cushions for our new chairs. Also, yet another friend has had a baby so that gift is on the WIP-list as well. And finally, I started a knitting project for myself to make the Young and pretty sweater from Susan Crawford's A Stitch in Time Vol 1. Good news: all are stash busters!
I finished some smaller project, though, which I will upload this weekend. Stay tuned!
Hi, I'm Mina and I have a stash problem. This is my way of trying to fix it.
Last yarn purchase:
Last fabric purchase: 02/03/2017