Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wip in January

January is soon coming to an end, the first month of the new year have brought both good and bad news into my life. So I assume that it has been as life in general. Sometimes bad things happen and you just have to make the best of the situation.

Isola has been ill the past week, and she's still suffering from a nasty cough that keeps us all awake at night. I've been home from work to take care of her so I've had a couple of seconds extra each day to knit while she's resting. The Malabrigo Lace skein turned into a toddlers cowl, I used a stitch that is referred to as candle lights but I think it looks more like narrow leaves. I made a background in reversed stockinette stitch to it and think it turned out fine, at least I enjoyed knitting it and the yarn was soooo soft and light. It will be perfect for spring. I'll try to find time to write the pattern down if you want!

I'm also working on a striped vest with - what I hope - a cowl collar. I love stripes, and look forward to have it testknit in different colour combinations. Isola seems to like stripes too so it'll be a hit if I ever finish.

I also had a vision of a toddlers top with a little bit of crocheted crocodile stitch over the chest, made in Malabrigo lace. I actually wanted a cold grey hue for this but my LYS only grey was Polar Morn. I don't know how to described it, it's not a colour that I usually buy but I still think that it will be great for that Lemony Snicket-ish look I want. Can't wait to start with this, will be fun to crochet a little again. But first, I have to have a go at that herringbone stitch!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Curse of the Boyfriend Sweater

Being a knitter isn't always easy peasy. As if it's not enough with the anxiety around deciding on yarn weight and colours and figuring out how to knit twelve projects at the same time with only two hands, you also have to avoid destroying the relationship with your love just by casting on the wrong sweater. The tale tells that if you decide to knit a sweater for your sweetheart, you can expect him to say bye-bye before bind off. Interesting, huh? Just imagine the powers of knitting... 

Wiki says that a recent poll indicated that 15% of active knitters have experienced it first hand and as many as 41% consider it being a possibility that needs to be considered. Wiki also lists several plausible explanations to the phenomenon, some of them quite simple like
- Unlucky timing - it takes quite some time to knit a sweater and the relationship ends by other reasons before the sweater is finished.
- Rescue mission - the knitter senses that the relationship is about to end and knits the sweater as a dramatic gesture trying to save it.
But my favorite explanation is this one:

- Misdirected intention - the knitter loves the sweater a little too much and pesters the significant other about the sweater instead of working on their relationship - hahaha - OR Alternatively, the knitter loves to knit too much, and spends too much time with their knitting instead of with the significant other.  Hey, don't we all??? Or wait, I changed my mind, because nobody can "love to knit too much".

Wiki also claims that many knitters wait until after they are married to knit the sweater, because of the curse - really? - and that some have their partner sign a "pre-knitual agreement"!!! Hmm, I could use one of those agreements, but would probably not limit it to include sweaters only.

I don't think that I believe in this curse but I definitely think it's handy to use as an excuse: "Honey, I'd LOVE to knit you a sweater but you don't want us to split up, do you? OR, if you're involved with someone that you can't get rid off, just cast on, sister.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Transparent brag boots

I don't think these boots are that pretty... but they're unusal and a fun way to show off your handknit socks!


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Nice stitch!

I love this stitch but haven't tried it yet. I wonder what kind of pattern it would look good in? Would like to see it in something with a classic cut...

The Herringbone stitch:
Tutorial at

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Some days are better than others...

Some days are silky, some days have grin.
Some days have bouncers and won't let you in.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Are these babies for real?

Yes, I suppose they are! But the first time I saw a picture like this I thought it was a relly life-like doll. How could they otherwise pose like that? You see these type of pictures quite often and there is a market for "newborn photo props" now. Sure they are cute, but I feel a bit concerned about their necks! Newborns can't support their necks and backs like that... or maybe there is som kind of photo trick I don't know about...

Friday, January 13, 2012

January Interview: Lily Beltek of Hearty Gift

You remember when I told you about my plans to interview interesting crafters and other fiber-addicted people in 2012? Well, here is my first! I chose Lily Beltek, the owner of Hearty Gift on Etsy, firstly because she makes fabulous knitted bags. Secondly, you can see in her shop that she makes little things with love and care and last but not least, she's has a room in her heart for needle felting like myself.

- Please tell us a bit about Heartygift and yourself!

Hello everyone! My name is Lily and I run HeartyGift shop on Etsy. I live in Moldova, a country which is not widely represented on Etsy – just a few crafters - though we have a deeply rooted national tradition of handmade crafting, especially  in sewing and knitting. My shop ehh…it totally reflects me – it’s not concentrated on one kind of craft. I started it with the felted miniature toys, felted wool jewelry and embroidered wall hangings. But to stop at one thing was not enough for me and I have recently launched a new line of knitted bags that soon became popular. Knitted bags is a common project of my mom and me.
 In my ordinary life I’m a stay at home mom of a lovely boy, missing a little the time when I worked as a travel manager and wore heels and skirt everyday!

- What inspires you?
Music and my family. I adore listening to some chill-out music or some classic rock while creating. My two great loves – my husband and 3-year-old son support me in my crafting, and bring me new visions of some items. They are such wonderful company with a lot of ideas and fun. And you know, since I fell in love with Etsy I got lots of inspiration watching the unique and beautiful creations of etsians. Surely human imagination have no limits! To create something beautiful is much more easier when you have the beauty around you.

- Can you outline your creative process?
I have no plans when creating. It’s like an insight. The idea comes to my head and I try to think it out more detailed. Sometimes it happens that the bag is knitted and I just feel that it needs something else to look more balanced, fashion and actual. The finishing sometimes takes  weeks. 

- How did you come up with your business? Was it a sudden idea that struck you or did it evolve over time?

I’ve loved handmade from the early childhood when I hand-sewed Barbie dresses and soft toys.  I got to know about Etsy from my Canadian friend a year ago. ”That’s what I need!”, I thought, since sitting with a baby at home for some years I would surely suffer from the lack of communication. Moreover the spirit of anthropology (it’s my specialty) was awaken. Firstly I take this handmade market as an opportunity to communicate with interesting people, to know about cultural traditions and to get some compliments about my crafts. The more I’m here the more I learn about running the business. 

- What is the best and worst about running your own business in this industry?

I get so many positive emotions while creating my bags, miniature toys or felting the jewelry! The best thing is the self-realization. It’s true happiness when you do what you love and it’s precious for someone else. What can be negative? I don’t know. If there is any I try to see it as experience and seek to learn something from the situation. 

 - Do you have any advice for people who wants to pursue a career in crafts?

To tell you the truth I was simply struck by all the extraordinary things that people sell. Be sure that even the most weird fantasies of yours can be precious and demanded for by someone else. Put extra effort in showing your crafts and their beauty. I would buy every item I sell and think that’s also why my customers purchase them. Create, improve, advertise - I think these three points definitely lead to success! Good luck!

Lily, thank you so much for participating. I wish you and Hearty Gift a successful year! 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Zero calories

Cutting down on snacks and sweets as a new year resolution? Fear not, you can still enjoy crocheted deliciousness!

Visit Melbangel Crafts for patterns!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Knit Princess

I just found out that we knitters have our own comic super hero! The Knit Princess. How cool (in a dorky kind of way) is that?

The Knit Princess

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Planning projects for 2012

I read a blog the other day where the blogger looked back at the goals she had in 2011. It was three designs of her own and 28 finished projects. 28! She did succeed in making the tre designs but "only" finished 21 projects. My God. Of course she didn't have any kids. Ohterwise she'd be superhuman. I wish I could finish 21 objects in one year.

When I think about what stuff I'd like to knit this year I always devide them into two categories; stuff that I knit for myself, and things that I design for Isola/kids. When it comes to myself I like to knit straight off a pattern, I shouldn't have to make any alternations, I just want to follow the instructions without thinking and voilĂ , have an awesome garment. On my list for this year is to finish the cable dress I wrote about here, and to start and finish that awesome snake-a-licous sweater. And then I have these two coats on my wish lists; (wish list is stuff that I'd probably won't get around to knit unless I win on the lottery and can quit my day job, but hey, somebody has to win.)

Audrey Coat by Cheryl Nelson

Sylvi by Mari Muinonen

But when it comes to the kids stuff, I'm not as focused. For some reason, I don't like to follow kids patterns, I'd rather make up patterns of my own. So this is where I experiment and go crazy. This is where all the calculating, frogging and pulling out my hair takes place. I have several ideas for different multicoloured cowls and also a black-and white striped vest with big collar that I need to start working on asap. But that's as far as it goes for the moment... hmm, need to think more about this. At least I have made friends with the Malabrigo lace now and is busy knitting a soft candle flame cowl.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


I've spent five days with my Malabrigo Lace and have nothing to show! I keep frogging all the time... I think I have cast on six times now. Maybe my patience isn't ready for a lace weight yarn yet...

Friday, January 6, 2012

New year, new yarn

Is there any better way to start a new year than with some new fresh elements to your old stash? I've just put my hands on some wonderful Malabrigo Lace. I looked at Malabrigo's website and learned that they make this yarn in an endless variety of colours. To bad that the only LYS in town that carries this yarn only has about seven! Of course, I still had difficult to choose. But I decided to go for this crisp light blue that I think will be nice in this grey winter we have in Sweden. It's called Blue Surf.

As I got home I realized that this was the first time that I had to wind a ball from the hank myself. But with a little imagination I managed to do it with the help of my knees. Yes, knitting involves the whole body! But winding one skein took me over an hour! How long does it take to wind a ball if you use a swift? I will see where my affair with Malabrigo Lace takes me to see if it's worth getting one...
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