WIP: Make a Wish

I have been knitting away on my Make a Wish, a gorgeous pattern by Joji. When I was swatching for it, I wrote about it here. This is my progress so far! And this time I have managed to edit my photo to get a pretty good likeness of the yarn (Garnstudios Drops Alpaca). With these two photos side by side, you can see the difference between the unedited photo (left) and the edited one (right).

wishcompareNow when I say “editing” I don’t mean anything fancy. All I did with this one was to up the saturation, and how much I upped it was determined by holding the yarn up to the screen and stopping when the colour of the photo matched the real life. I think it turned out quite well!

The part of the cardi that I am knitting now involves the lace border, which is a very simple pattern. It has ‘wedges’ or repeats, shaped through using short rows, and together the pizza slice shaped wedges start to make this lovely curve which you can see appearing in the photos above. I am a little more than half way through my wedge repeats, and now that I have pretty much memorised the pattern, things are progressing much more quickly than at the very beginning. It’s gotten to the stage of being a ‘stay at home’ project rather than a handbag project, which is always a good sign (but does slow down knitting time a bit).

Right – back to knitting… I can’t wait until this ‘flounce’ (as it’s called in the pattern) is finished and I can get on to knitting the parts that make it look more like a cardigan! It’s delayed gratification – with my previous large project (Dragonflies Jersey), it was a top down raglan pattern, which gives some jersey-shaped results after only a little knitting time.

FO: Plain old socks

Nothing like a pair of good, plain, stockingette socks. They are the kind that you can take in your bag with you anywhere, knit in cafes, bars, restaurants, on the bus, while having a conversations. After I finished these, I found that I was missing having something for my hands to do in all of these situations! I will need to start a new pair of plain socks ASAP… I was a bit silly and lost the bands for the wool that I used. I do remember that it is an NZ wool, bought in two separate 50g balls – on sale at a shop in Tauranga. A mix of wool and nylon, the usual for sock wool. It feels tough and a little scratchy on my feet, but I think that they will soften up with washing and wearing. 

Image

 I always knit my socks toe-up, and I cast on 26 stitches instead of the smaller number that the pattern (All the Math) suggests. I don’t like having flappy little pointy toes! I’ve knitted so many pairs of socks using this pattern now, that I hardly actually refer to it. Sometimes I just need a reminder when it comes to turning the heel to get the exact counts of stitches. I used a new (to me) kind of increase in these socks, as you can see in the picture above, and I am in love with it. It’s a Lifted Increase: LLI and RLI are the codes for the left and right leaning versions. It’s a bit complicated to get your head around, but once your head is all wrapped around it, it’s easy and makes a lovely looking increase. If you want to try it, there is a pretty clear tutorial here

Image

 

 

Image

The heels are reinforced with a slip one knit one on all of the right side rows. It makes such a thick, cushy heel, and I haven’t had a pair like this wear through yet. I have, however, had a couple of holes in the bottom part of the heel, which is not reinforced. 

Image

I also changed the ribbing on the top of the cuff to a ‘knit through back loop, purl one’ style, because I think it looks a lot tidier than the regular K1P1 or K2P2 ribbing. I bind off using Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off, as always. Image

 

Toasty. 

 

Learning

Learning

I forgot to post this photo after I took it….

It’s my Mum, learning how to knit socks on DPNs, from the toe up. It’s her first ever pair of socks, and the first time knitting in the round, and she’s doing awesomely!

Just before I left to come back to Wellington, we did the short rows to turn the heel of one sock. She is knitting two socks at (nearly) one time, on two sets of DPNs. This is especially good for a learner, and anyone really, because it means that, for example, you don’t knit all of one sock, then come back to the toe of the other and go ‘How do I do that again?!’.

We chose some Opal self-patterning yarn, which is also fantastic, because it means that although the sock is plain stockingette, there is something interesting and exciting going on in terms of the pattern, too.

Good luck for the next heel turn, Mum!

Dragonflies and the Pacific

I have exciting news. I started knitting my very very first jersey [sweater, jumper]. Well, technically this is not true, because I did knit one baby sized jersey, which I never shared on this blog, even though it is super lovely and cute! I can’t quite bear to send it to its recipient…

 

Anyway, let’s revise the preivous statement to ‘I started knitting my very very first full sized sweater’. I have challenged myself in knitting a lot over the past year or two, I learned how to confidently knit lace and cables, I have become so much better at reading and interpreting patterns, and there is not a thing on Ravelry that I wouldn’t at least consider. So, I really have all the skills needed to knit a jersey, I just haven’t yet cast on.

 

For my very very first full sized jersey, I decided on the pattern ‘Dragonflies‘ by Joji Locatelli. You can buy it for 6USD through Ravelry. The pattern itself is so excellent, wondefully clearly written and definitely a win for a first attempt at jersey making. It is top-down, which, for the same reasons as toe-up socks, I enjoy immensely. I absolutely hate casting on dozens of stitches in the round, fighting with them for several rows to avoid unintended mobius socks/jerseys. 

 

The lace and cable pattern on Dragonflies is just gorgeous. It reminds me of tapa cloth patterns, which are very common here in the Pacific. 

Image

 

Image from Te Papa Museum (click for link).

 

Speaking of the Pacific, I have made good headway on Dragonflies, mostly while looking at that very ocean while camping on the East Coast of New Zealand. Here is Dragonflies enjoying the view from the pub at Waihau Bay

 

Image

 

 

Now I am back home in Tauranga, and though the view is not as stunning, I do have a cuddly helper… 

 

Image

Souvenir Yarns

I am still here, I promise! The last few months have been totally hectic for me, and it won’t slow down any time soon. I’ve moved from Germany to spend a month in London, and subsequently to the Netherlands for the next 2 semesters… Although, I also have tickets booked home to my lovely New Zealand for Christmas. In all of these places, I have managed to pick up some “souvenir” stash, most of which I am currently knitting up. I was putting of starting too many projects, but somehow in the last two weeks, I have cast on two more projects. Whatever! Variety is the spice of life. Here are my stash favourites at the moment:

Image

This lovely number is Juno Fibre Arts Alice Lace, which I bought in London at the wonderful wonderful yarn shop Loop. If you ever get to London, definitely go and visit this yarn shop – and don’t miss the fact that they have two stories! The yarn is a gorgeous blend of alpaca, silk and cashmere, and just feels like butter through my fingers. It is becoming another version of the Echo Flower Shawl (Ravelry). This is a gorgeous and free (!) pattern, which I have already knitted once for my Mum. I am not usually one to knit a pattern more than once, but there is something strangely calming knitting this one, with its distinctive stitch pattern (3 into 9s!), in a different place, in a different season, in a different yarn…

Image

These balls of Baby Alpaca, from a large craft shop in Hamburg are becoming a pair of soft silky (alpacary?) Strong Heart Mittens (Ravelry). I wasn’t originally going to buy this yarn, but it was so gorgeous that I kept going back to it over and over in the shop! The colour is a deep turquoise, quite a dark colour, but somehow it just glows. I knitted one mitten within two days, and I loooooove it. I keep putting it on and looking at it. I will knit the next one in the coming days and take some pictures. It was very very cold the other day here in the Netherlands, but it has inexplicably warmed up again. However with all this bike riding, even relatively warm temperatures feel chilly on my little hands, so I am so looking forward to having these mittens on them! I’m so thankful to talented people who share their creations!

Image

Last but not least, because one should always have a pair of socks on the needles, these balls of Regia Sock Yarn are very very slowly becoming Starlock Socks (Ravelry). I actually started these socks 3 or 4 times, a combination of changing my mind about the pattern (originally I started to knit the Elementary Watson sock pattern, but I didn’t like the purled flying geese). It also took a while to get going because I am knitting them from the toe up rather than top down like the pattern. Nothing like a bit of a challenge, huh?

So, that’s what’s going on with my needles. Lots of knitting, not much finishing!

Echo Flower Shawl

I haven’t even shared a cheeky preview of this finished object. Over the past months, I have been knitting the most beautiful shawl for my Mum for her birthday. Finally it arrived in New Zealand, so now I can share photos of it here too!

I used the pattern Echo Flower Shawl, which is available free on Ravelry. The pattern itself is a little confusing, especially for me, who has never knitted a triangular shawl before. The beauty of Ravelry is though, every pattern has a built-in support community, and I found answers to many of my questions there.

I am so incredibly happy with the finished shawl, the flowers are gorgeous and delicate, and the edge with Estonian-lace-inspired “nupps” (the little bobbles) is just amazing. Anyway, fewer words, more pictures. These photos were taken at Park Sanssoucci, near my home in Potsdam. The temperature on this day was about 30 c, and it was very hot taking photos of a wool scarf! So you can see that the rest of my outfit certainly doesn’t match the cosiness of the Echo Flower Shawl.

Image

Infront of the Orangerie in Park Sanssoucci – I am so lucky to have such a photogenic location right around the corner!

Image

Packaged up and ready to send to New Zealand

Image

Flowers on the edge of the shawl

Image

The wingspan – I found these photos on Ravelry to be very useful in estimating how many repeats of the lace pattern I would need in order to get the size shawl I wanted. I did 15 repeats of the flower pattern in laceweight yarn.

Detail of the flower pattern

Detail of the edge with nupps.

 

 

A Scarf for a Pilot

I have mentioned a few times that I was doing secret knitting with a deadline of last Saturday, and yes, I did finish it on time!

 

Here I have the lovely recipient of the scarf modelling on the golf course (isn’t it nice to have a willing model, usually it’s me trying to take a photo of myself!).

 

Pilotscarf1

 

Pilotscarf3

He picked the reddish wool himself (I had to make him, because he’s very sensitive to itchy things, like my warm jerseys…).  Here is a close up of the pattern on the scarf:

 

Pilotscarf2

 

It was such a bright shiny day, I apologise for the glow on the photo!  Also, you can see that it is not yet cold enough in Tauranga for a scarf (a scarf and a tshirt?!), lucky us.  Today we climbed up Mount Maunganui, and it was so hot!  I can’t believe that it is already June, although I think that I will get a reminder when I go down to Wellington at the end of the month.

 

Happy Birthdaaaaaay!  (I have to admit that I did not bake that perfect Pavlova – it was my Mum!  Thanks Mum!)

Pilotscarfcake1

Tastes and Toes

I’ve recently discovered the most amazing website.  I don’t know if you’ve heard the term “Food Porn”, but this site is definitely full of it.  It’s called TasteSpotting and collects photos and descriptions of food sent in by people (and edited by humans), which you can then click on to get the recipe via a blog or something.  It’s so delicious.  I haven’t been able to stop looking at it for the last two days, but luckily this turned out to be productive, because last night’s dinner (and today’s lunch – can’t wait!) came out of it!  This is my first ever risotto (I won’t count being the designated stirrer of my friend’s lovely mushroom risotto).  It’s not a hard recipe, but not one you’d want to cook in summertime, as it involves a lot of standing at the stove and stirring.

 

Lemon Risotto with Peas and Leeks from Kitchen Grrrls.

It’s also the first time I’ve cooked leeks.  I think they are nice because they give bulk and nutrition, and feel like onions, but don’t have a super distinct flavour, so they let the lemon flavour of the risotto come through.

 

Here is the finished product:

I have to say, risotto doesn’t photograph very well…  But it tastes delicious!  I can’t wait for my lunch!

Now for the toes part:

If you’re a sock knitter, you may know what that is.  That is a sock being knitted from the toe up.  I’m pretty darn excited about this, as my boyfriend the Pilot will attest to – I keep interrupting whatever he is doing to point and say “It’s a toe!  It’s a toe!”.  I’m pretty sure he understands how exciting it is… Hmm..

 

Anyway, after numerous failed attempts at various ways of casting on, I used Judy’s Magic Cast-On, which is indeed magic.  I tried two other ways, the Short Row Cast-On and the “Easy” Toe (not so easy for me), and the Magic Cast-On was definitely the easiest way to do it for me.

 

I decided to knit these socks toe up because Alice told me that the wool knits quite tightly, and also I want to use all of it!  I love the idea of toe up socks because of that – when I was knitting my last pair I just kept stressing out that I would run out of wool just before my toes or something!  So this method, because it starts right at the end of the toe means that I can keep increasing until the sock seems big enough around for me.

 

Right, back to work.

 

The Stockholm Scarf Experiment

Questions:

Once I started my Stockholm Scarf, I realised that I had some questions about the pattern:

a) Where do I hold the yarn when slipping stitches?  Does it get held to match the preceding stitches (in front for a purl, or back for a knit), or the following stitches (ditto)?

b) Do I slip the stitches knitwise, or purlwise?

Hypothesis:

I’m probably overthinking, and it doesn’t really matter what I do.  But on the other hand, I could knit 10 rows of 252 stitches and then discover I’ve done something terribly wrong.  That’s 2520 stitches, and that’s a lot of stitches to re-knit.

Method:

Knit a swatch with the following pattern variations (do click on the above link to look at a copy of the pattern, it may make more sense!).  I’ve included the pattern for Row 2 to give an example of how I did it (once again, look at the pattern link above for context!).  I want to see if there is a major difference between how the pattern turns out with a few different combinations of where I hold the yarn, and whether I’m slipping the stitches knitwise or purlwise…

1)  hold the yarn as for the preceding stitch, slip one purlwise

e.g. ROW 2:  K1, P1, K1, YO, K1 [hold yarn in back], S1-purlwise, [bring yarn to front] P2, PSSO

2) hold the yarn as for the following stitch(es), slip one knitwise.

e.g. ROW 2:  K1, P1, K1, YO, K1 [hold yarn in back], S1-knitwise, [bring yarn to front] P2, PSSO

3)  move the yarn *before* slipping one, to match the following stitch(es), slip one purlwise

e.g. ROW 2:  K1, P1, K1, YO, K1 [move yarn to front], S1-purlwise, P2, PSSO

4) move the yarn *before* slipping one, to match the following stitch(es), slip one knitwise

e.g. ROW 2:  K1, P1, K1, YO, K1 [move yarn to front], S1-knitwise, P2, PSSO

Results:

As you can see in Figure 1 (a) and (b), there is not a huge difference between the different methods of doing these stitches.  Remember that there is not really a “right” and “wrong” side to this pattern, since it is reversible.  I just wanted to show what each side looks like.  The “right side” is the one where you are working rows 2 and 4 (the ones with all the flash stitches in them) and the “wrong side” is where you are knitting rows 1 and 3, with just knit and purl stitches.  Of course, if you’re knitting in the round like I am going to do, everything is the “right side”!  It shouldn’t make a difference to how the stitches look with the variations on where you’re holding your yarn, and how you’re slipping your stitches though…

Figure 1 (a) “Right Side”

Figure 1 (b) “Wrong Side”

Discussion:

So, you can judge for yourself.  They all look quite similar at a glance, but I have decided that I do prefer Variation 3, which is where you move your yarn to match the following stitches before slipping the stitch purlwise.  The main point of difference can be seen in the purly bits, they just look tidier and nicer than the other ways of doing these stitches, in my opinion.  A close up of this variation can be seen in Figure 2.

Figure 2: “Close up of Variation 3”

I should also point out that I have knitted these swatches on 4mm needles, and have decided to knit the Stockholm Scarf on this size also.  I like the tighter stitches and the slight sturdiness of the fabric more than the somewhat loose fabric that the 5 mm needles were producing for me.   The original pattern calls for a 6 mm needle – wow!  I think I must be quite a loose knitter, because even with the 5mm needle I was losing stitches left right and centre.  I think that’s also to do with the Paton’s Totem Merino, which is quite thin for an 8ply/DK yarn…  Anyway, I’ve cast on more stitches than the pattern calls for  (it doesn’t matter how many stitches you have for this pattern, as long as they are a multiple of 7 when knitting in the round, or a multiple of 7 + 2 flat).  I think I have 301, hopefully it’s long enough!

Conclusion:

I hope this helps anyone else who is thinking of knitting the Stockholm Scarf pattern, and tends to overthink things as I do!  Hello and welcome if you are going to knit this along with me and Alice!  I also found this chart (Ravelry link) from Love and Knitologie to be very helpful for knitting in the round.  I’ve never been much into charts, but this totally makes sense to me!  Also, her scarf is teal too, so I’m biased!

Two Cowls for Sisters

I said yesterday that I cast on a new project, which is neither a tea cosy nor a pair of socks..  It is however, a cowl.  I’m using the Stockholm Scarf  pattern (available for free!) which looks so gorgeous and warm.  I have 50 g balls of merino (Paton’s Totem, which I got cheap because the colour has been discontinued)…  Starting this project made me remember that I forgot (what a funny phrase) to show you this:

It’s a cowl that I made for my sister, finished just before Easter… I used the pattern for A Noble Cowl, but made it longer so that it could be wrapped around twice (I don’t like the picture of me modeling it, so sorry that’s not going up here!).   It’s also knitted with Paton’s Totem Merino, in a dark grey – it was going cheap as an end of the line also…  It’s lovely to knit with, though it’s so slippery that you have to be careful not to drop stitches!  It’s a crepe wool, I’ve tried to find out what is different about crepe wool, but all I get is how to make pancakes!  I’ll have to ask my Mum about it…  Anyway, I bought three balls (all that was left at the shop) and made my sister this cowl.

Here is a close-up of the lace pattern, it’s like interlocking shields (although I also think they looks like tropical leaves), and is so pretty .  It looks fairly difficult, but once you have done a few rows, there is a pattern (haha) to it, and it’s fairly easy to pick up.  As you can see in the top picture, the cowl is starting to curl at the edges, which I don’t quite like because you can see the “wrong side” of it.  I’m sure non-knitters don’t notice the reverse stockingette stitch sneaking out from behind the “right side”, but it does bug me a little!

That’s why I decided to use the Stockholm Scarf Pattern for *my* cowl, because the lace is reversible!  What a clever idea.  I’m having a bit of trouble figuring out if I’m doing the stitches right, and already frogged the first 4 rows when I realised that converting the pattern to the round did not just mean reversing the knit and purl stitches in the uneven rows.  Luckily I found some helpful posts through Ravelry, so I’m on to the second round of the second round!  I’m still having trouble with some of the stitches, because the pattern does not have much detail (if you’re a knitter, have a look – I don’t know whether to hold my yarn in front or back when I slip the stitches, and whether to slip them knitwise or purlwise…).  I’ll let you know how I go – at the moment I am just holding the stitches where they ended up *before* the slipped stitch (ie in front if the preceding stitch was a purl, behind if it was knit), and I’m slipping the stitches purlwise, which tends to be the default.  I’ll have to knit a few more rows to see how it looks, but hopefully it will look good, even if I’m not quite doing it right!  I’ll let you know how it goes…