Monday, October 31, 2011

Be square or not?

I will soon be needing new needles. I have a fair amount of needles already but I don't have any size 5 mm needles. Most of the time I can do without them but I'm working on a new project now and I think that they would give me the desired gauge. Once I started to use Knit Pro in wood I never buy anything else. I just love them, they're sharp and give just the right friction and with the interchangeable system they have you can't ask for anything more. But sometimes I wonder what they're made of because my cats like to chew on them (not that I let them).

But I can't make up my mind whether to try the new Cubics model that they are now selling at my LYS. I don't know how long they have been on the market but they are new here in Sweden. I got to test knit with them at the store but I didn't really feel any difference. But the SA said that some experience a smoother, more even result with the square needles. And also, if you have problem with the garment twisting around the cable when you knit in the round, the square neeedles will help to stop that because they stay still in your hands. No risk for them twisting. Maybe I should give them a try. If you have the Cubics needles, please share your experience! Are they really useful or is it just another trend?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sisters in yarn

Sarah Jessica Parker
 Knitters are never alone. They suffer from an addiction they don't have to be ashamed of. It won't hurt you. (Well except for maybe your shoulders, arms or hands. And wallet.) But as long as there is needles and yarn everything will be fine. Just keep calm and cast on.

Kristin Davies

Felicity Huffman

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

On my way...

I started a new project today, using some chunky yarn and my size 13/9 mm circular needles. They are in PINK PLASTIC and in fact the first needles I bought. I prefer my KnitPros that I always use but I don't have any in the larger sizes. It's been a while since I knitted something in a chunky yarn. You don't often see kids knitwear patterns in chunky yarn and it's to bad because they will be knit in no time! There is always a risk that it will look too bulky on small children but I think that I will get away with this one...  But what will it become? We'll you'll see soon, I hope! 

Monday, October 24, 2011

I can too!

I wrote about the knitting technique Entrelac the other day and how I failed to learn how to do it. But this weekend I gave it another try, following the tutorial I linked to in a previous post. And I think I did pretty well, what do you think?

I used Garnstudio Drops Delight, a selfstriping wool yarn, and 3 mm needles. Couldn't find my regular needles but double pointed worked out fine since it was just a sample piece. About this yarn - I love the colors! Both the combination of colors and how it changes, not too fast, not too slow. But to knit with it - blah.... don't know what's its problem. It feels like it hasn't been spun enough. The thread is very easily split and I alway end up sticking the needles right through it..

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Penguin Jumper?

Now here's something I'd never thought I'd knit. But then when I think about it, it's a super idea. A company in New Zeeland wants people to knit wool sweaters that will be shipped to workers rescuing birds that are victims of an oil spill. The sweaters keep the birds warm until they are healthy enough to be scrubbed clean and they also prevent the birds for picking their feathers and thus ingest the toxic oil.
So if you have patterns, color combinations or other things you want to experiment with but not yet have the project for it, this one is perfect. Or if you just want to do some mindless knitting in front of the TV and make a good deed at the same time.

If you want an easy pattern to follow, click on this link, where you will also find the address to where you send your little penguin sweaters.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Together in Tweed - wristwarmers for kids and their mums, free pattern!

I finally did find a fun project for my teeny tiny tweed! And I'd love to share it with you:

Child fits mother so hold your baby tight...

In this pattern I teamed up lovely tweed with soft alpaca. Just as good a team as mothers and their kids. Both yarns come in a wide color range so the choices of color combinations are endless. Make one pair to each outfit! One skein of each will give be enough for both mum and kids size!

You'll need
50 g Drops Alpaca
25 g Rowan Fine Tweed
One set of double pointed needles, size 3mm, US size 2,5.
Gauge 9 sts of k1p1 rib on 1''

Toddler size, 1-4 years.
CO 34 sts with Drops Alpaca. Work in rib, k1p1. Work 21 rounds.
Switch to Rowan Fine Tweed and begin to work in moss stitch like this:
Round 1: k1, p1 and repeat. At the same time, decrease 4 sts evenly by knitting or purling two sts together, wichever is applicable = 30 sts.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Enter Entrelac

Except for knitting faster than I can do today, there is two more things that I really wish to improve. One is to master color knitting, to be able to knit with several colors at once. I never get satisfied with the result, it is quite uneven and bumpy, not to mention that the different strands always get tangled and make me nuts. Until I get better at it, I sometimes use self-striping yarn to make something really colorful.

The other thing I want to learn is the entrelac knitting. I've tried it once and didn't quite catch it. It just didn't work out, and I use to LOVE complicated patterns. So I decided that I should try another tutorial. There are quite a few instructions for entrelac on the web and I've singled out this one, it looks great, easy to follow and is free.

AND then I made a search for both entrelac and self-striping yarn and found great examples of a successful combination. Just look at this beautiful entrelac scarf by Hikko. She made this with yarn from Noro. Knits like these really inspire me.

Entrelac Scarf by Hikko

Sunday, October 16, 2011


I just had to share these finds I came across on Etsy. They are knitting patterns from the 60s or so from the Etsy shop Pattern Peddler Annex. I'm not sure if I love them or hate them but they are fun!
Maybe I should wear that purple suit to work...

Mad about Mad Men

I am a bit obsessed with the AMC series Mad Men. Those of you who watch it knows what I'm talking about. That Don Draper. Drool. And Joan Holloway, well, a little drool for her too. And the wardrobe! Double drool. There are many many reasons to be a fan of Mad Men, it has won thirteen Emmys and four Golden Globes to prove it, and even if you wouldn't sympathize with the characters or be interested in the plot (unlikely) you should watch it just for the visual style alone.

Even before Mad Men came into my life I've had moments when I wanted to throw out my wardrobe and just replace it with 50s and 60s garments only. And I mean classy outfits, not rockabilly-style. It's still on my to-do-list. The full skirt dresses and the wiggle dresses, I like them a lot. But I'm not that impressed with the knitwear. OK, those twin set cardigans are cute but how boring to knit! Mostly stockinette stitches and the gauge is always so damn small. It will take forever to knit a garment for an adult not to mention how boring it would be. I don't get how anybody can take time and have the energy to do that. I have a womens' magazine from 1959 where a reader sent in a letter asking for knitting advice. She had several kilos of a particular yarn and wanted to knit full lenght curtains! I envy her patience and endurance.

But I do have one pattern for a top inspired by the 50s that I need to knit. It's in my mental queue and looks like this. Isn't it cute? It involves a zipper, cable knitting and a bit of sewing so now how can I possibly be bored with that?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Tiny tweed project

I finally did find a project for my tiny tweed skeins. I teamed them up with soft Drops Alpaca and made wristlets for mums and their kids. Perfect match for both yarn and wearer. Pattern will come, the kids size were made without problem but the mum size is still under unravelling, retouching and test knitting. At the moment I'm working on a green pair, on the needles you see Alpaca in Oliven Mix and the tweed is in a color called Hubberholme. Both of them are great green hues, both popping and sophisticated at the same time. Will definately knit more project in Oliven Mix or them both.

I really like knitting in the round on double pointed needles, except for the first two or three rounds when the project still is unstable. It seems like the needles just slip around. If the project is small like this one it's quite manageable, but with a larger project or projects with five needles I feel like Edward Scissorhands.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

One step forward... two steps back.

I haven't really posted any pictures of my current projects. That's because it seems that I spend more time unravelling than knitting. For example, I spend most of last weekend trying to knit the skirt part of a toddlers dress. I say try because I had to steal time inbetween domestic chores and other stuff that you need to do during the days off. After finally knitting in the round for 14 inches I realized that I had miscalculated the decreases. And I had to start all over again. Two days work for "nothing". I really don't love the math part of pattern designing. Not at all. Well, you know what they say, practising makes perfect.

So I spent the day searching for "speed knitting", trying to learn some techniques to speed it up. But I think it's a little like teaching old dogs to sit. It would feel like learning to knit all over again. And THAT is something that I definately don't have time to do.

Take a look at this, it's a clip with Miriam Tegels, the world's fastest knitter. I need to hire her!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Not your grandma's knitting

I came across Sandra Backlund years ago by chance when I was browsing the net and my heart literally stopped. Talk about designing outside the box! Years later I still never get tired of looking at her creations. They are amazing, amazing AMAZING! She is truly my knit designer goddess and a never ending source of inspiration. Maybe "knit designer" is too small a word for her. She's a true artist. Yes, there are many very skillful designers out there but, hand on your heart, how often is it that you see a design that really blow your socks off? Love.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Follow the yellow brick road

Buttons by Robin sells handmade buttons on Etsy. They are really cute! I can totally see them on several childrens garments, they are perfect to brighten up a simple stockinette sweater. Some of them have themes, like these Wizard of Oz-buttons, which I immediately fell for. That story was a big part of childhood and I'd love to have these buttons on a coat for Isola. AND they are washable/dryer safe!  

Friday, October 7, 2011

Mama needs new bag

Namaste Inc makes bags. Really nice ones. They make bags for knitters and mums. And vegans. They make them for me!

Most of them looks like regular and stylish bags but are so damn smart and have great compartments. Others are more specialized like the circular case pictured here.

They only have two retailers in Sweden and one of them is my LYS! Must be fate, right? It would be against the universe's wish not to buy one, right? 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Knitting for charity - keep an AIDS orphan i Africa warm

I'm so happy I found this! I was browsing the web, searching for a charity project where I could use my knitting skills, and I found KasCare's knitting charity project, Knit-a-square.
You simply knit, or crochet, a square that is 8x8 inches, or 20x20 cm and post it to Africa. It will be sewned together with other squares into a blanket to keep an orphan or abondoned child warm. Two Australian families started this project a couple of years ago and now they have over 5.000 members in over 40 countries! Wow, that's amazing. I'm gonna be one of them! In 2009, 54.000 squares arrived to Africa and now in 2011, over 170.000 are made already!
If you rather knit a garment, there are instructions for you too, just visit their site, Knit-a-square.
No time to waste! Just start knitting!

And PS this is a GREAT project to introduce to your kids school, it is easy and the children will understand that they CAN make a difference and will raise awareness of this tragedy.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Heart Stealer Mittens - Free Pattern for Mittens!

She's a little bit of sunshine/ She's a smile to light your days/ She will steal your heart and keep it/ With her warm endearing ways

She's your precious little daughter/ With a sweetness from above/ Who will fill your years with laughter/ And your lives with lots of love 

Like I said in an earlier post, this poem always reminds me of Isola and her sweet smile. I thought I had to make her mittens holding my heart! Now you can make them too, they are fast knits and great gifts. 
I've used a sport weight yarn and double pointed needles, size 3 mm and the mittens fit any 2-4 years old. I made instructions for hearts on both hands but I think it's quite cute with a heart on only one too. You'll need one main color, one skein is enough, and scrap yarn of a constrasting color...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Screaming skeins

Once in a while you stumble upon a yarn that almost screams out to you. It NEEDS to be knit! But you don't know what to make of it. It's like there is a perfect project for each yarn and vice versa. You just need to find the perfect match. Or in the words of Tim Gunn; Make it work!

I came across these skeins on my daily Etsy-browsing and just love them. Sarah Knopf runs the shop anothercraftygirl and hand dyes this yarn which make each skein different and unique. The colors pictured here are Companion Cube, Clematis, Hideous Zippleback and Terrible Terror. She also lets you know what inspired her to make each color, it feels like there is a story behind each skein,which is truly the charm with buying hand made.
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