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:

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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…

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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!

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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!

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Lacey Toes

My sister requested a pair of ‘white’ socks. Before now, I have been knitting LOTS of socks (I promise, even though I have not been updating my blog, my hands have been busy knitting!). I must say, that I don’t quite understand how people get obsessed with knitting socks, but somehow I have become addicted too! I think that it is because they are so nicely portable, I can take them travelling, on the train, to a cafe – wherever. By this stage I don’t really need a pattern (except for some parts of the heel) and the rhythm is soothing.

So anyway, on to these lovely socks. I chose the Mermaidia pattern through Ravelry, and it really is lovely. I got a bit mixed up on coming out of the heel (oh, I should point out that I always knit from the toe up now – I tried it for my second pair of socks, and I will never ever ever go back to top down!) because I substituted a slip stitch heel for the one on the pattern.

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I sent them off to New Zealand, where it is wintry and cold now, unlike Germany where the weather swings from tropical one week, to dull and rainy the next (it has done this fairly consistently for over a month now!). However, the weather is always a bit too warm for toasty feet. I sent my mum and my sister a pile of hand knitted socks to see them through the winter, with the added benefit that now I positively NEED to knit another pile to keep my feet warm for the coming European winter.

Good to be back. I will try to update more often than once a year now!

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!

Rotorua Intermediate Hat

Recently in Rotorua, we went for a trip to Spotlight (which now we don’t need to do, since we have one right around the corner here!).  I bought three colours of wool, which for some reason just looked lovely together to me – a dark grey, a dark green and a funny mustardy yellow colour.  My mum said they looked like her old school uniform from Rotorua Intermediate, so that’s what I’ve called my hat!

It’s a pattern I made up as I went along, with a grey picot edge, even stripes, and some lacy eyelet holes in it.  It was super quick to knit, especially after (or maybe it was during!) the scarf I made my friend (which by the way, she tells me is super warm and cuddly in the Wellington wind!).

This hat probably wouldn’t stand up to the Welly wind – look at all the holes in it!  But it’s perfect for the Tauranga autumn weather, and it goes perfectly with a mustardy yellow merino wool top that I bought too.  I never realised it before, but I’m really drawn to that colour!  It’s a bit more mustardy than it looks in the photos here, the sun was shining too brightly here in the Bay, I guess…  I like the way this hat turned out, very simple, a nice way to make a simple striped hat a bit more interesting, and so it doesn’t turn out looking like a sports supporters hat (I only realised afterwards that I have made this hat in the Australian colours, I’ll have to put it away for the Rugby World Cup later this year…)  Here is a shot of the hat on my head;  I did knit it a liiiiittle bit too big for me (especially after I blocked it, and it stretched a little).

Over the next few posts I’ll try to catch you up on what I’ve been knitting – for me the hardest part of having a knitting and cooking blog is not doing the knitting and the cooking, but then sitting down, uploading pictures, and actually getting around to writing a blog post!!  If only there were a way that I could knit and type at the same time.  I did manage to knit and read at the same time the other day, though from my laptop and not a book…

Purple lacy snuggles

I just finished knitting this loooooong snuggly scarf for my friend.  It’s not cold enough in Tauranga for a wooly scarf yet, but I’d say it is in Wellington where she is!  I used the Checkerboard Lace Scarf pattern from the Purl Bee.  It was a great in-front-of-the-TV knitting project, because it was simple enough that you can get away with not paying attention all the time, but not too simple to be boring.  It also knits up very fast with all of those YOs!

And me being all Top Model so you can see the scale of it.