One of my coworkers recently had a baby, so I made her (and him) this cute little hat:
This coworker keeps bees as a hobby, which is why I chose this colour scheme and the little bee decoration. The pattern is Dino cap by Kris Hanson, although obviously without the spikes. It's an ingenious little hat that uses short rows to create the ear flaps, meaning that a double layer of fabric protects the ears and forehead. Here is a picture of the inside, showing this construction:
It's a pattern that is definitely worth making again. I made only minor changes. For a newborn, the straight part after joining the cast on edge seemed long, so I knit only 10 cm instead of the 11.5 in the pattern. I also cast off one decrease round early, as it was getting a little pointy. From other projects on Ravelry, I gather that this is a problem with the newborn size not quite scaling down right from the larger sizes. The fit of the larger sizes seems perfect. Next time, I will use a provisional cast on to try and make the join of the cast on edge and the live stitches after knitting the ear flaps a bit less prominent. Apart from that, however, I consider this a great success!
In preparation for my upcoming move, I am of course opening every drawer, cupboard and box to try and get a grip on exactly what I have and what I need to take. I am moving in with my partner, which means that we now have doubles of everything - do we take your ironing board or mine? How many bookcases do we need? We'll take my vacuum cleaner, but I want to buy new plates together. Etcetera, etcetera etcetera.
Part of this was opening a bag where I had, over the years, put the various things I made that I did not use. Here is a selection of these items:
I cheated slightly on the WIP-list, by the way: that blue-red-white hat on the lowest row and the red and white hat above it were made last week, to finish up some scraps of yarn that I was sick and tired of having in the house.
The reason I have not been using these is not that I'm unhappy with them - on the contrary, some of these things are awesome! The mittens in particular are amazing and I want to make another pair as soon as possible. However, they just don't suit my wardrobe or they're too small (I have a big head). I vaguely thought I'll keep these as a sort of stash of gifts, but in the end I am always hesitant to give someone something that wasn't made with their tastes in mind.
Luckily, a solution presented itself: I sent this picture around to my friends and family and asked if anyone was interested in anything. And yep, they were! So, I no longer have to move or stash these things and I made other people happy with it. Win-win!
I will soon be posting some gifts (Secret Santa and baby gifts) that I finished recently, as soon as they've been delivered to the recipients!
This weekend, I finished the knit summer top I cast on recently:
The pattern is ‘Anjou’ by the Berroco Design Team and is freely available. The yarn is Rowan’s Tetra cotton and was given to me by my mother. I used two skeins of the pink yarn and four and a half of the grey. I am very pleased with the yarn, which is easy to work with, comfortable to wear and had no snags or knots in any of the skeins. The pattern worked up really easily. I adapted it for working in the round. I started off making a medium size, but realized pretty quickly it would be too big. Being, shall we say, somewhat averse to unravelling and starting over, I simply decreased more often to the waist to reach size small and continued in that size from there. This does mean that below the waist, there is a bit of a bulge in the side seams, but not enough that it bothers me. The sleeves don’t have any ribbing: the natural curling of stocking stitch is used as a design element. I made sure the seam of the sleeves (only a short one, 10 rows) was visible only on the right side of the fabric, which is hidden by the curling.
I am quite happy with this top. What’s more, I have enough yarn left (four skeins of pink and 1.5 of grey) to make a second top. I am thinking of the notched hem tank top by Purl Soho. That pattern was written for a linen, ribbon-like yarn, which I think the tetra cotton would be a good substitute for. But first I must finish some other WIPs!
Another summer vacation season has passed (well, for me, anyway). This year, I did much the same as last year… which is to say, not very much. Sometimes you just need downtime. But here is an overview of the (relevant) things I did do.
1. I bought fabric
Yes, yes, I know. I shouldn’t have. But I did. My mother and I made a little trip to a fabric store in a nearby village. Our reason (i.e. excuse) was that I needed fabric for a gift for yet another coworker’s baby, as well as fabric backing for the Star Wars blanket I made for my boyfriend to stop it curling so much. I bought both of those, which would be fine since they clearly fall under the ‘only buy supplies for gifts’ rule… and then I found the clearance section. So, apart from the fabric for gifts, I bought:
On the left are two remnants of a great cotton/linen mix. It's a quite firm fabric and I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it yet, but I loved the colours and the different patterns within each fabric. On the right is the lovely embroidered fabric I got for a snip. The fabric on the bottom has a beautiful edge which I would love to use as the hem on a dress. I'm going to try to combine the two, but if that gets too busy they will have to become two separate items, of course.
2. I was given yarn
My parents went on holiday and my mother brought me a souvenir! In the shape of two big bags of yarn. One of them I wasn't able to take home straight away (I don't drive), so you'll have to take my word for it that it was a purple cotton/wool blend from Rowan. The other bag was filled with Rowan tetra cotton:
The yarn is made of small individual threads that appear to be knitted in the round around a central, thicker thread. The pink one has some of the grey in it, and the grey one some of the pink, which means they combine really well. It's a nice, light cotton and perfect for a summer top. Thanks, mom!
3. I wanted to start a cardigan, but I didn’t…
For ages now, I have wanted to make a stranded cardigan using rainbow coloured yarn. I finally got the rainbow coloured yarn, I had my pattern all picked out - and then my gauge would not match the pattern. The pattern had no sizing options, and since the gauge at which the fabric looked nice was tighter than was called for in the pattern, knitting it at that gauge would have meant I would never have been able to wear it. So I'm shelving that project until I find a new pattern with a gauge that matches (or with sizing options so I can just cheat and knit a larger size at my tight gauge).
4. ... so I started a summer top instead
Remember how I said at nr. 2 that Rowan tetra cotton is perfect for a summer top? Well, after the failure of the stranded cardigan, I started that summer top! It's knitting up really quickly and I expect to be finished soon. The pattern is Anjou by Berroco and is freely available. I am knitting some pink stripes at the bottom, the rest of the body and the sleeves in grey, and the collar in pink again.
5. I made a wrap blouse
Being in a summery mood, I couldn't stop myself from making a nice summer top using another Lekala pattern sold by BootstrapFashion. This time, I used pattern SKU 57589. I will tell you all about it in a minute, but first, pictures:
I wanted to use up this fabric because I needed scraps for my quilt (although in the end I still have enough of this fabric to make something else). I also wanted to try another made-to-measure pattern after the two-colour dress I made. While I like the end result and am happily wearing it, I wouldn't consider this an unqualified success. As with the dress, I didn't understand all the instructions so I ended up muddling along a bit to get everything to fit. This did not work out as well for the blouse as it did for the dress. Let's just say there's a reason I'm not showing you the inside of the collar. In addition, I think this model is probably more suited for someone with boobs. I have very small breasts and even made-to-measure patterns can't fix everything: this model makes it look like my waist is the widest part of my torso. If I had a larger cup size (or indeed a cup size - yes, they're that small) the blouse would fall a bit better in front, it wouldn't bunch up at the waist quite as much and the whole thing would be a bit better balanced. But, the fabric is beautiful, it's very comfortable and summery and I'm happy I made it.
In the pictures, the right side of the blouse is pulled up a bit which is why it looks uneven in the back. That's not an issue with the pattern, that's just me not looking in the mirror properly.
6. I made good progress on my quilts
In fact, I made such good progress on my quilts, that I am making a blog post specifically about them! Check back at the weekend to see some pictures and me babbling about my first experiences with quilting.
Way back at the beginning of this blog, I said my goal was to never let the WIP-list get over eight again. A while back, I managed to get it down below eight - and now it has crept up again to nine.
The problem, or at least my problem, is that I had no knitting projects in progress. After I finished the Bauhaus sweater, I started two new sewing projects (the Burda dress and the long-sleeved knit dress from Bootstrap fashion), even though I already had a lot of sewing WIPs, instead of a new knitting project. Turns out I don't do well without a knitting project. Sewing projects are fun! But you can't do them while watching tv or Skyping with people, and they're not very portable.
So, to have a project I could take with me, I cast on for Julia Frank's Saxon the City stockings.
I have had these stockings in my queue since 2011. Back in January 2014, I got the yarn for it. I'm using DROPS Lima in red and black. And now, I've finally cast on!
Almost immediately, I ran into a problem. The other projects on Ravelry all have notes saying it's very important to make a size that's small enough to give you plenty of negative ease. Even though I intend to wear these with garters, that stuck in my mind. So for my 54 cm thighs, I cast on size small. And, having knit 3 Saxon braid pattern repeats so far, it fits... just. But it's stretched to the limit. It just doesn't look very nice, even though it does stay up reliably on its own like this. Before continueing, I'm going to cast on for a second stocking in the medium size and see how that fits. If that fits nicely, I will continue with that size. If I don't like the look or feel of that either... Then I guess the 5 year wait for this pattern was in vain.
In between the other projects I have going, I made a quick little hat:
I call it the copycat hat because it is made after the example of this NYfashion101 hat, which is no longer available for sale:
As you can see, there are some differences between that one and my version. The NYfashion101 version is apparently made with Aran weight yarn, whereas mine is made with a bulky yarn, needle sizes 5 mm and 6 mm. The original is also more slouchy, starting the decreases after the last reverse stocking stitch section, whereas I started the decreases in that section because I prefer a less slouchy hat. I also decreased more gradually, for the same reason, as the original looks like it did not decrease for a couple of centimeters and then suddenly decreased a lot to get that gathered look. The hat used exactly two skeins of yarn (100 meters) and was a quick knit to kill time during excessively long loading screens. Now, back to the sewing!
The latest project to be finished is my Bauhaus sweater:
This pattern by Ann Weaver was published in 'Knitting Architecture: 20 Patterns Exploring Form, Function, and Detail'. The original pattern is for a cardigan, but I prefer sweaters so I omitted the button bands and then just knit the whole thing in the round. This posed some slight problems with the colour blocks on the back. Knitting in the round, you can't knit intarsia, so I did a wrap-and-turn at the end and beginning of every round so I could knit back and forth. Unfortunately, that wasn't quite as invisible as I had hoped:
Having seen that the join would be visible in the side seam, I decided that for the last colour block, when I had joined the sleeves to the body, I would do it differently. I decided that on one round, I would make the wrap-and-turn behind the sleeve and on the other round in front of the sleeve and that way, there would be no long thick join.
If, reading that, you can see why that is a stupid idea, you are smarter than I am.
Because there were so many stitches on the needle, I didn't realise until after I had finished the blue block that this method meant that one shoulder contained twice as many rows as the rest of the sweater. I had created a hunchback, but on the shoulder. Not my proudest moment. So, I unraveled the whole block and knitted it up again with all the wrap-and-turns in the same place. It's on my back, so at least I can't see it myself.
While that problem was entirely my own doing, there were a few other things I felt were more a problem with the pattern. One of these is that the end result was a bit baggy. Here on the left is the sweater before taking in the sides and on the right the final version:
While there is some waist shaping, I wonder why: It's only 4 stitches. I mean, why bother? Either leave it without waist shaping, in which case it would be expected to be somewhat baggy around the waist, or do some proper waist shaping. What's the point of just 4 stitches? As per usual, I didn't think of doing anything about this as I was knitting. The cardigan looked fairly close-fitting in the pictures, I was making the smallest size and my gauge was good. And while the above wasn't bad - it would have been a perfectly serviceable sweater - it's not what I had in mind. So I did some minor alterations to the sides, by taking in up to 7 stitches on each side. On the inside I sewed down the seam and trimmed it. In the pictures above, you can see on the left-hand side between the shoulder and back the row of wrap-and-turns I was unable to avoid.
Another issue I had is that the squares seem smaller, proportionally speaking, in real life than they did in the pattern. I'm not sure if this is a result of me using the same yarn for both the squares and the sweater itself (the pattern calls for a lace-weight yarn for the squares, which is a nice effect for a cardigan but not very practical for a sweater), but to be honest I don't see how it could be.
Finally, the top of the blue square stretches to both sides because of the many decreases for the yoke in that row. Perhaps it would have made more sense to do gradual raglan-style decreases to avoid this problem.
The sweater was made using DROPS Air, a great, soft and very VERY warm yarn. It is very light, meaning you get a lot of meters in 50 grams and that a big garment like this isn't uncomfortably heavy. Modifications I made (apart from what was already mentioned) were lengthening the sleeves by about 6 cm and knitting only 8 cm of collar instead of 10 cm. The end result is a sweater I am looking forward to wearing a lot next winter.
After an embarassing three years, two of which were spent doing absolutely nothing on it, I have finally finished... the lovliest coat!
The pattern is 'A swagger coat', originally published in the 1930's and republished in A Stitch in Time, Vol. 2 by Susan Crawford. I had preordered the book and this was one of the first patterns I wanted to make from it. But, it takes a lot of yarn, a lot of time, I lost interest... and it sat in a bag somewhere for years, 95% done. In the end, this project has mostly been a lesson in things you should NOT do:
In the end, I am reasonably happy with the final result. I have accepted that it is not really what I set out to make, but it has certainly been a learning experience. It's not a great fit: the front is too open, the three panels (back, two sides) are not all the same length so the hem is wonky. I'm going to use this in spring/summer as a vest for when the weather is just a little too cool to go without a coat.
Mostly, I'm just happy it's finished.
In other news: Yet another coworker had a baby, so another baby cardigan has made it's way onto the WIP-list. Knitting for babies is fun, but I am happy that this is (as far as I know) the last one for a while!
For more than a year, I have been working on this birthday present for my boyfriend - birthday present for spring 2015. Needless to say I did not anticipate it being this much work. Luckily, my boyfriend is very patient and so I had the motivation to keep going, even as the deadline kept being pushed back and kept being missed. After all this time, I present to you: The Empire blanket!
The blanket is based on the banner of the Galactic Empire from Star Wars. It measures 205x95 cm. There was no pattern for this, so I set out to make one. I won't say it was a big mistake, but it was perhaps... optimistic? There are a million things I would do differently if I had the chance (which, NO. This was TOO MUCH work, I am not doing it again). A short list:
So, with all that being said, my final verdict on the blanket is... it's AWESOME. It's warm and woolly and soft. My boyfriend loves it. He loves wrapping it around us when we're watching tv. He knows how much work I put in it and that, to him, is the important bit, not that the emblem puckers or the edges curl (ok fine he gets a bit neurotic about the curling edges). Seeing how happy it makes him, makes it all worth it.
But I'm still not making a second one.
In other news: Having finished my knitting projects except for the knit jacket, for which I have to fix some fiddly bits that require a lot of attention, I was without a 'tv-knitting' project. So, naturally, having no self control and completely ignoring the rules I set for myself, I cast on another project. It's the Bauhaus cardigan from Knitting Architecture by Tanis Gray, made in DROPS Air. This should keep me busy for quite some time, while I finish the knit jacket (working on it right now! Well, I mean, not right now as I'm typing, but it's on the table behind me with pins and needles in it) and hopefully a few sewing projects. May the Force be with you.
That's right, not one sweater, but two! In the time it took me to make the first sweater, another of my coworkers had a baby so I got my skates on and made two!
The first one is the Button it! baby sweater from Stitch 'n' Bitch: Superstar Knitting. I used DROPS Cotton Merino, which is a machine washable 50/50 merino/cotton yarn, Oeko-Tex certified, EU-made yarn that is an absolute dream. Seriously. I am already planning (once I am at an appropriate point in my decluttering) to buy some yarn to make something for myself. It's soft, has all the best qualities of wool and cotton, has lovely drape - it's everything you could possibly want in a yarn.
Wait, right. The sweater.
I think the idea for the Button it! sweater is very cute. You make a really basic sweater and then add squares with animal (or other, of course) pictures that can be buttoned on and replaced at will:
I did not use the charts for the squares that came with the pattern but a variety of others I found on Ravelry. In theory, you can use the squares again on a bigger sweater as the kid grows. Like I said, the sweater is quite basic, no shaping, but the combination of rolled hem and 2x2 rib is nice. I knit the underside of the sweater and the sleeves in the round to eliminate the risk of seams showing on the rolled edges.
The second sweater I made was Elena Nodel's Maxi top/dress for babies. I changed the pattern a bit to make use of all of the white and red I had. Because it's one of the smaller sizes, I did not include the 10 rows of garter stitch in contrast colour at the waist, but just continued with white until that ran out and then started the ruffle edging:
Unfortunately the light had gone by the time I was done, so this is the only picture I have. I finished the bottom a few rows later. This makes it sweater-length with a dress ruffle bottom, but, well... it's cute. And I ran out of yarn.
I also finished... the Star Wars blanket!! But that will get it's own post this weekend. Regardless, that means that the WIP-list is now at 7. Down from 17 at it's max, with a few gifts thrown in over the course of the last 9 months, that is progress I am extremely happy with. Pretty soon I'll be able to start new projects guilt-free!
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