Donnerstag, 21. November 2013
It always seems to be the same story: you've got lots and lots of knitting needles and exchangeable needle tips in your stash but somehow somewhere this particular size you would need for today's project seems to have disappeared. Or are stuck in some unknown project. And wasn't this the size you hardly ever needed anyway? Or they are your standard size and are always tied up somewhere. At least this is what happens to me and just recently I really needed 4 mm needle tips for my KnitPro system. Alright, I've got them in acrylic and in the dark, colorful Symfonie wood. Both were annoying with this particular yarn though. There must be something else. I wanted Bamboo! Why aren't there Bamboo needle tips yet? Oh, wait! Aren't there? Since Google is your friend - well, most of the time anyway - I actually found a German store that sold the new Bamboo needle tips. Oh, look, there's also a natural color for the Symfonie wood. And maybe those Karbonz DPNs would be cool, too.
The KnitPro Bamboo came in a pretty green packaging and the first thing I noticed were the gold plated joins. Ugh. I'm not fond of gold in any way. Besides, it doesn't go with my purple cables. I found out later that KnitPro now also offers black cables with gold plated screw joins. Wew. Talk about knowing how to make money. Anyway. This is all purely aesthetical so who cares.
From the get go knitting with those needles turned out a joy. That's really the only way to put it. They are not as slick as the standard colored ones, feels warmer to the touch and the tips don't seem to be as murderously sharp either. All very good things in my book because those were the points that bothered me about the original KnitPro needle tips from time to time. And the light color works particularly well with dark colored yarn. You can actually see what you're doing without lighting up the whole living room. The quality of the joins and all over fabrication seems to be on par with the other needle tips I have. I instantly got them in a few more sizes (see pic above) because at only 1.20 EUR more compared to the standards they certainly are worth having. They rank right beside my all time favorite bamboo needles from Clover which I particularly enjoy because they lack a metal join. If you don't care for bamboo needles in general those might not be for you of course. They do come with sharper tips than most bamboo needles I've tried so far so the might be worth a shot.
Those are looking really interesting - darker than the Bamboos and with more grain and light/dark contrast but still light colored. They come under the Pro Lana label/brand which I guess is a reseller of Knit Pro needles. They don't seem to be all that easy to come by. I found one store who sold the individual tips but only from size 4 mm upwards. Others carried the DPNs ore the tips as a whole set.
The Naturals knit and feel very similar to the standard KnitPro needles. Only they feel warmer somehow, less hard, more flexible. Which I'm sure must be some kind of trick of imagination, since they are supposed to be made from the same compound wood only minus the color. For me they feel also a bit less slick although slicker than the Bamboo edition. The color is light enough to see dark stitches clearly but will still give enough contrast to light colored yarn. The metal joins are silver-colored brass and mine looked a bit banged up and not quite as polished as I'm used to with new needles. On the other hand the pair of needle tips came more than 1 EUR less than the regular colored tips. I think I would actually prefer those over the colored KnitPro needles and I bought a couple of tips in those chunky sizes that did't already own.
These needles have been around for a while now and I've seen lots of friends enjoy them for knitting socks. I was hesitant to get a set because in all honesty, after 15 plus years of sock knitting I've probably got all the DPNs I'll ever need. But I WAS intrigued and in the end just ordered a set to satisfy my curiosity. Carbon is cool, right?
After only a few rounds on my latest pair of socks I knew I should have thrown them out of the shopping basket when I still had the chance. Being totally underwhelmed by their performance would be putting it mildly. The combination of Carbon and brass just didn't work for me. It was like combining the worst of both worlds. I like my old-school metal (steel) DPNs for their smooth surface, sometimes bemoan the blunt tips and tolerate the noise they generate and how cold they feel to the hands. They work great for knitting at a very tight gauge because you just can't break them. Here you had sharp tips - which is good - but then the stitches would catch on the join between tip and needle and on the carbon the stitches weren't able to glide smoothly. Where plastic and wooden needles usually score with a lower noise level these needles here seemed really LOUD. On the plus side they feel warmer than metal needles and are more flexible. I bought them (20 cm long) at the same price as a standard set. But whereas the wooden needles come as a set of 6 the Karbonz only come as a set of 5. Considering that carbon will hardly ever break they might be a good solution for those knitters who tend to bend or break other kinds of needles on a regular basis. They are not for me though and I'm glad I refrained from purchasing the Karbonz needle tips.
Right now I'm giving a set of Cubics DPNs a try. Jury is still out on this one.
Montag, 9. September 2013
Pretty fiber makes pretty yarn makes pretty sweater. The baby is pretty too, of course :-D (klick to enlarge)
Baby boy is 7 months old as of today and is already very mobile and quick to get around in a belly crawl that's just too cute for words. To keep his belly warm on the floor this little sweater got off the needles just in time. It's a basic top-down raglan with the yoke worked back and forth to create a larger neck opening. I could have done without it though because the head fit perfectly fine without the extra room. Yeah, well, at least it was much more enjoyable to knit the garter stitch yoke flat. No pesky purl rows that way. And it gave me the chance to put on those pretty green mother-of-pearl buttons.
The yarn was hand-spun on my spinning wheel and plied on a spindle. The BFL/silk blend is very soft and washing and some use gives it a wonderful halo.
Sonntag, 14. Juli 2013
Jelly rolls and quilting fabrics by the yard
More than 10 years ago I got quite heavily into sewing, especially into clothes. But I have to admit, copying a sewing pattern, transferring all the pieces onto the fabric, and all this cutting business before you ever sat down at the sewing maching really wasn't for me. Granted, once you've had your pieces ready the final sewing was fun and went quickly. But I found that I really did not care for the rest. I've done some small projects now and then, a bit of altering and mending but that's about it.
A while back I discovered quilting though and that was a whole different rabbit hole to tumble down. Now I own a new sewing machine better suited to the occasional quilting project and got myself a bit of a fabric stash. And I discovered jelly rolls and layer cakes and charm packs and all those fun precuts. What an adventure.
Freitag, 5. Juli 2013
Our little Mr. T at 4 months
This picture was taken nearly 4 weeks ago when Tiberius turned 4 months. He's quite the little charmer :-) With his big sister preparing to start school in August I've been going back and forth between organizing stuff for her and spending time soothing Mr. T through some heavy toothing pains. But there's always a crafts project on the back burner somewhere in this house. The last knitted thing that got finished were some cute baby leg warmers.
Baby Frog Legs
Free Pattern is "Baby Frog Legs" by Lauren Dahl. It's a very straight forward pattern but the result is so much fun. They are made from lovely Wollmeise 80/20 Twin in the "Küken" color way. Made another pair in Wollmeise "Magnolie" in for a friend's baby girl just because I knew she would love them to bits.
Donnerstag, 28. Februar 2013
The February baby is here
Tiberius Richard Ephraim
By now he's already three weeks old. We are very happy to finally have him here in our little family of four. Delivery went quickly and without complications so we were home soon after and could start getting to know this little fellow. His big sister is quite proud of him even though he's still a bit boring for her. We'll see what she has to say about this 12 months down the road when he's messing up her things ;-)
And of course he's already wearing hand knits :-)
Baby leg warmers
Pattern is improvised. Two simple tubes of two by two ribbing in pretty Wollmeise yarn.
Cutie baby pants
This one is based on a Drops/Garnstudio pattern with modifications to accommodate a slightly different gauge: Cozy and Cute
The colorful blanket I knitted back in 2007 for our daughter and it accompanied us through her first years being a constant companion - in the car seat, the stroller, the bed, the doll bed and so on. It held up great and now gets used again for the little one.
Freitag, 26. Oktober 2012
Baby stuff, knitted and quilted
I cannot believe that we're going on Halloween already. The halfway mark of my pregnancy came and went and now I'm already nearing the magical remaining 100 days. And the baby bundle is well and already kicking up a storm in my ever growing belly. Naturally baby knitting has been done - romper, pants, leg warmers are only the very first on my list. A cardigan is supposed to be next. And I managed to work up another quilt for a baby blanket.
Baby's quilted play blanket
I really like how this little quilt turned out. Bright, sunny cotton fabric against cold and drab winter days. I think the backside with it's cute butterfly fabric is to die for.
Baby quilt - backside
The little quilt might just be the right size to cover the changing table or to take with in the pram or in a bag. My first attempt at quilting triangles and putting them together in the windmill pattern. It was fun and easy.
Windmill quilt pattern - one block
Samstag, 1. September 2012
Last weekend at our spinning group a lady brought a patchwork project and some supplies and gave a mini patchwork and quilting workshop. I stood on the sidelines and watched with interest. The whole thing look intriguing and easy enough and my curiosity was piqued. Could I do this? Sew lines straight enough to make the squares fit? I'd dabbled in making clothes in the past and I'd like to think I'm a decent seamstress on a good day. Would do it more often if it wouldn't mean you had to tediously copy a pattern from a huge pattern sheet and cutting all those pieces beforehand. Somehow patchwork and quilting seemed more straight forward than sewing clothes.
Some books and a batch of Tilda fabric samples sized 11.5 x 11.5 cm
To start out simple I decided to forego the cutting altogether. Yes, I know. It felt a bit like cheating but I was a bit scared of the whole cutting experience. I found a few cute sample packs of Tilda fabrics already precut to a handy 11.5 x 11.5 cm online. The four sample packs supplied me with 86 patches of fabric. Bought me some books to go with the patches and off I went. First step was arranging the patches on the living room floor and shifting things this way and that. Once I had decided on a final installation I had used up 84 of my 86 patches in a 7 x 12 grid. Packed them into neat stacks and took them to my trusty albeit slightly wonky sewing machine.
Piecing together strips of patches
Piecing together all seven patches into one strip and repeat 12 times. This was the easy part. It worked out nicely. Next came the part where I took the strips to the ironing board taking care to press the seams into the opposite direction on alternating stripes. Phew. Worked okay. Now on to piecing the strips together - making sure to match up the seams. Which was a bit of a bear but with some tricking and coaxing I got along okay. Not all of them lined up exactly but a surprising number of seams met perfectly :-)
Matching up seams
After ironing the finished quilt top I called it a day - or night, if you will.
Finished quilt top
The next day I went shopping for some nice fabric for backside and binding and some notions as well. Needed clips and some serious pins. And you can never have too much thread. I found a cute dotted fabric in a mint color that went well with the quilt top and chose an intense turquoise cotton fabric for the binding. As batting I got an easy to care for polyester batting. Assembling the layers for the fairly small quilt wasn't too difficult. Safety pins helped. Quilting the three layers posed a slightly bigger challenge - especially for my sewing machine. The fabric transport seemed to have trouble. But in the end we managed. Don't look too closely on stitch length though. It will not be uniform. For quilting I mirrored the seam lines at the width of my sewing machine footer (0.75 mm). Turned out quite nice and now I was really excited to put the finishing touches to the small blanket.
Finishing a quilt with binding
For the binding I applied simple double faced strips that were machine stitched to the quilt and folded back and tacked in place by hand with matching thread. After seeing the final result I think I am in love. I've already gotten some more fabric to play with and can't wait to start another one. Maybe a little play blanket for the upcoming baby. That's the way down the rabbit hole, my friends ;o)
Tilda Quilt, 70 x 120 cm
Tila Quilt with lovely turquoise binding
My very first quilt. It's been fun.
Freitag, 10. August 2012
Pepita baby set in Wollmeise Pure
So, yeah, we're actually doing this baby adventure a second time :-) If things go as planned then this one is going to be a February baby. Perfect season for an avid knitter like myself ;-) The cute Pepita pattern has been on my to-do list for ages. Never felt like knitting this one for someone else's baby though. And it's just the perfect project for any of the stunning Wollmeise "Pure" color-ways. "Am Kalten Polar" (On the cold pole) has been sitting in my stash for far longer than I'd like to admit and I'm glad it turned into such a pretty finished object. And no, we don't know what it's going to be yet. I just love blues and purples no matter wether it's on a boy or a girl.
They baby bonnet is more than 5 years old now. I actually knitted this one for our first daughter. But since she's been a summer baby it was just plain to hot for a wool hat. Found the bonnet between her old baby clothes and maybe this time around it will actually see some wear :-)
Pattern: Pepita by Martina Behm
Yarn: Nearly one skein Wollmeise "Pure" (100% Merino Superwash, 525 m/150 grams) " Am Kalten Polar"
Needle: 2.5 mm
Modifications: None. Added snap-fasteners instead of regular buttons.
Sooza's Pepita project on Ravelry
Samstag, 2. Juni 2012
Trigonometry - blanket for a friend's baby boy
Finished this fun little blanket while on a visit to family last weekend. A four hours drive always provides ample of knitting time. The blanket is very graphic and constructed out of garter stitch triangles running in different directions. It's done with short-rows and modular knitting. It's been so much fun and a quick knit.Ate up some left-over yarns to boot. There's four different yarns in there but since they are all round about the same yardage they work well together. Thinking of doing a couple of color studies and some variations to make up a pattern for this one. I can see so many possibilities here, my mind is spinning.
Dienstag, 15. Mai 2012
New Ikea furniture for the hallway.
Every year spring seems to bring with it a strong urge to start some redecorating, to sort out old stuff and to rearrange some furniture. And maybe finally getting around to painting the darned staircase and get rid of the ugly terracotta color the previous owners had in the bedroom. This year things got even worse since my sister moved to Berlin and she needed furniture for this gorgeous little apartment she'd found in a nice, green quarter of town. Of course that meant numerous trips to Ikea. What a hardship ;o) And we all know how trips to Ikea end up. You buy way more stuff than you intended to. But that's half of the fun, isn't it?
Well, this time my sister's move finally got me to call the painter and within a week they showed up and fixed up the staircase and the bedroom. It's all nice and white now. The perfect canvas to put on some decoration myself. Can't wait for the wall tattoos to get here to brighten up the bedroom and the first floor hallway. Next big project is the carpet. The carpet itself is neutral enough and looks still okay to me. But the previous owners put these really ugly stair mats and a matching runner on the first floor hallway. Unfortunately they are glued tightly to the steps. The runner was easy enough to throw out. I'm glad it's finally gone. Stair mats are next on the agenda. The wooden staircase is really nice bit probably forever ruined by the carpet glue :-/ Nothing short of grinding them down would help, I'm afraid. I've made my peace with this though since the mats make the stairs safer to navigate anyway. I think I'll get some nice, natural colored sisal mats so the glue remains won't matter.
Now the freshly painted hallway looked kinda bland and it totally deserved some nice furniture, too. This little side table from Ikea was just too cute to resist. The mirror is a new addition, too and they both go really well together. Talk about Ikea style. But I really don't mind. It looks cute and bright and bit romantic. Not much of a decorator here anyway. Yes, I love my crafts and fiber hobbies but somehow decorating is not my thing. Too much work and I'd rather sit and knit – or spin – some more :-)
Freitag, 4. Mai 2012
Glindle support spindle by Bristlecone
I've been lusting after one of those special support spindles made by Bristlecone over at ArtFibre. He calls them Glindles – a composition of 'glass' and 'spindle', I suppose. I asked for a custom spindle with a glass bead that's got some magenta or pink in there. Obviously the posed quite the challenge for Chris. He said this wasn't something he could achieve easily in this kind of lamp-work. But he managed to come up with a bead that shows a pearlescent magenta sheen. It's quite pretty. And the Bird's Eye Maple shaft is really handsome, too.
The spindle came carefully and lovingly packed in a organza bag with a little fiber snack and all wrapped up in pretty pink and magenta tissue paper. Doing business with Chris has been a total pleasure. I love discovering all those craftsmen and craftswomen and talking back and forth about some custom work and what can or can't be done. It's always such an interesting experience.
How does the Glindle spin, you ask? Very nice! It weighs about 35 grams which is in the range I'm used to in support spindles. But it still spins slightly different because the glass bead gives it a distinctively lower center of gravity. It spins quickly but still very long. So it's not only pretty to look at but also good to work with. A very attractive combination.
Sonntag, 25. März 2012
As far as craft hobbies go I always seem to be on one kick or another. Probably mostly because while I might have time to extensively knit I wouldn't manage to do large crochet stuff on top of that AND spinning yarn at the same time. Days with 24 hours only and all that ;-) Lately I've been digging up some of my many spinning projects and I'm attempting to finish at least some of them. Here's what my spinning kick yielded so far.
The last two batches of CVM (California Variegated Mutant) fiber being plied/waiting to be plied. Spindle: Bosworth Midi in Ancient Kauri wood.
Finished yarn from CVM fiber. Lovely, squishy goodness.
This CVM fiber has been so much fun. In contrast to the usual industrial preparation this one came in form of roving processed by a small mill. Worked out beautifully if spun with a long draw making for a lofty, airy yarn and quite a good yardage.
Shetland fiber spun on supported spindles.
Still a lot of fiber to go on this project. This is the first batch of 200 grams in total. The Shetland fiber in form of carded batts worked great on support spindles. Perfect fiber to learn long draw.
Corriedale fiber spun on my Kromski wheel.
Practicing some wheel spinning too. I aimed for a lofty slightly heavier yarn and I got exactly that on my Kromski wheel. The fiber came in form of carded batts.
Bosworth Mini spindle in English Boxwood. Fiber: 'Chromatic Composition' by Into the Whirled. Special Spindle+Fiber lottery in January 2012.
Not that I would really need another spindle but I could not resist Sheila's offer of a Special Edition spindle in English Boxwood combined with 2 oz. of delicious Merino/Cashmere fiber dyed by Into The Whirled. But since for getting one of those you had to enter a lottery I was also pretty sure that my name would not ever come up. Well, I was wrong. I got this beauty to enhance my spindle collection. And Bosworth Minis are just so adorable. You can't ever have too many of those.
Sonntag, 11. März 2012
This weekend a friend asked about my well-being since I hadn't shared any new knitting around here for a while. Ouch. Apart from the regular everyday stuff like work, family, the house, friends and whatnot there has been knitting going on, of course.
Small Inspira Cowl
One of the most interesting and fun projects over the last months was the Inspiria Cowl. There were so many fabulous Inspira projectst in Ravelry's database! Beautiful colors. Many variations regarding size and shape. And all that based on the most basic colorwork. With pretty self-striping yarns that sported long color repeats.
Inspira as a kids poncho
The first Inspira was intended to end up as a small cowl or neck warmer for me. The pattern was a bit difficult to figure out and adjust at first. That's probably because the instructions are more of an entertaining guideline than a clearcut pattern. It took some frustrated ranting but in the end was possible to put two and two together. The photos and project descriptions on Ravelry helped, too. The pattern in combination with the lovely Drops yarn made for a lovely end result. Unfortunately I couldn't enjoy it for long. The girl laid claim to the cowl declared it a "kids poncho" and off she went :-)
Well, there was nothing to do but sit down and knit another Inspira to have one for myself. This time larger and with random variations on the stripes. It turned out just as lovely as the first one. And the simple stranding over only two stitches worked up nearly as quickly as plain ribbing. Who would have thought it?
Inspira shoulder wrap
This is definitely one of those knits that look much more complex than they actually are. In this one a traditional knitting technique paired with a modern yarn combine to the best effect.
Drops Delight self-striping yarn
Along the lines of those two projects I also discovered a new yarn that I hadn't worked with before. Drops Delight is one of those new yarns that are clearly inspired - I hesitate to call them poor copies - by Noro's trademark color gradations. For all intents and purposes Drops Delight appears as a soft singles yarn while a closer look shows that there might be more to it. The 75% wool, 25% nylon content suggests that it would also be suitable as a sock yarn. If knit on a somewhat tighter gauge it might actually hold up against harder wear. I haven't tried that myself though. In those projects I worked the yarn on 4mm neeedles producing a slightly looser gauge while still resulting in a nice, coherent fabric with a bit of drape. And while the yarn imitates Noro yarns to a certain degree it's an entirely different thing to knit with. Much softer, not as much knots or slubs and not half as much vegetable matter. Cheaper, too. On the other hand it's absolutely clear that nobody can imitate Noro's vibrant, unique color schemes. The same item worked in Noro yarn will always stand out in a crowd. So it's not a real competition at all.
Montag, 2. Januar 2012
Knitting projects 2011
And here we are. Another year in front of us. Full of new possibilites and challenges. Time to see what's been going on knitting wise here at Sooza's. The clever Ravelry database tells me I've got 35 projects logged in for 2011. Not bad. Lots of this has actually been crochet which was a surprise for me. The year 2011 was all about re-learning and improving my skills with a crochet hook. And it's been fun.
Another skill I wanted to try my hands on was weaving. No progress on this front though. But I've got the loom now and it will be one of the projects I'll take with me into 2012.
What else has been going on? I discovered the concept of everyday carry and fell down the rabbit hole of collecting pocket knives. To keep this blog mostly about my crafts and some personal side notes I've been setting up a Tumblr blog for my EDC hobby - Sooza's EDC and Stuff. I'm thinking about putting out some knife reviews in the upcoming weeks. Will have to see wether I find the time.
Happy New year everyone and the best of luck for all your new endeavors and discoveries.
Mittwoch, 14. Dezember 2011
Here's a knitted FO from back in October that went to a friend as a gift. Ishbel by Isolda Teague is one of rare patterns I've knitted more than once. And since the results are always so nice I'll probably do it again. I'm thinking Wollmeise this time. Project details on Ravelry.
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