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.
Samstag, 10. Dezember 2011
For the better part of this year I've been tumbling down the slippery slope of EDC carrying. What's EDC? Here's how Bernard Capulong, founder of the Everyday Carry Blog puts it:
"Everyday Carry, or EDC, generally refers to small items or gadgets worn, carried, or made available in pockets, holsters, or bags on a daily basis to manage common tasks or for use in unexpected situations or emergencies. In a broader sense, it is a lifestyle, discipline, or philosophy of preparedness."
As any good EDCer I'm always looking for ways to optimize my EDC - trying stuff out, carrying it around for a while, swapping things, getting new gadgets to try out, slimming things down. It's a fun process. But I'm not only looking for functional stuff, it's also got to fit my personal style. The most important part of my EDC seems to be my keychain and the stuff in my pockets. I usually carry my phone and a pocket knife - preferably a Spyderco - in my pockets. As for the keychain, well those have undergone a few changes in the last 6 months. Most importantly I reorganized the decluttered them. The one constant thing so far has been a Victorinox Classic of some kind and the carabiner. As far as lights and other keychain tools go I've been through a few iterations so far.
Key-chain EDC, Sept 2011 - True Utility KeyTool and FireStash, iTP A3 EOS light, Victorinox Classic Alox
I wanted a light source on my keys. It started out with a cheapo promotional LED light. Updraged to an iTP A3 EOS after a while and quite liked this neat little light. The three modes are very convenient. Somehow the A3 EOS migrated from my house keys to my car keys and I find they come in handy there more often than not. But now I was in need of a replacement light for my house keys. I discovered the follow-up model of the A3 EOS was going under the Olight brand as "Olight i3 EOS" and it even came in purple. No question as to whether I would buy this one or not ;-)
Keys with EDC tools, Dec 2012 - Victorinox Classic, Olight i3 EOS, Gerber Shard
The other must have for my keys was a bottle opener. Something small. I tried the True Utility KeyTool for a few months. And while I really liked the ingenious idea with so many cool functions in one small package I didn't like it so much in real life. The one thing I got it for - the bottle opener - was a pain to use. I never managed to pop of a bottle cap at the first try and on top of that the sharp edges of the tool cut into my hands painfully. I dumped the Key Tool and got myself a Gerber Shard instead. While Gerber promotes the tool with 7 functions - "Phillips driver, small and medium flat head driver, bottle opener, pry bar, wire stripper and lanyard ring" - I don't really believe they all are actually worth anything. Except for the bottle opener and the pry bar. Which is perfectly fine with me. Will see how this one carries in real life a couple of months from now.
One other thing I've been trying was a key-chain lighter. I've had the True Utility FireStash but after only 3 or 4 months it broke down on me. I got a couple of cheaper key-chain lighters from EDCdepot.com but while they are they are a bit more comfortable to use they are also too large for my keys. I'll keep one on a lanyard in my hand bag just case though.
While at first I thought this whole EDC business was a bit over the top and really, how much stuff do you really need on an everyday basis and what's with all the firearms, I was surprised at how interesting and appealing the idea of EDC as a lifestyle and philosophy becomes once you've started to dig deeper. And it's not only a guy's thing either. Especially women seem to carry around everything but the kitchen sink in enormous purses and hand bags. It's fodder for jokes between the guys in the cafeteria or break room. A little more EDC thinking would certainly not go amiss. I hated not being able to find the stuff I knew was sitting SOMEWHERE way down there in my bag. And if push came to shove I was still missing this little thing that could help me out in this particularly situation. I went over all my stuff with a critical eye and made some serious changes. I feel better now that there's less clutter and more thoughtfully assembled stuff. And I'm not done by a long shot. I'm more critical now when it comes to packing my bags. And of course there's always more cool tools to discover and to try :-D
Montag, 7. November 2011
Fixed a hole in my favorite cardigan
While washing some of my woolen garments for winter I was shocked to find my beloved Wollmeise cardigan with two holes and a thin spot on the collar. How can this be? I frantically searched my wardrobe for other signs of moth infestation but couldn't find any. Which is good, of course. But what happened to the Wollmeise cardi? I really don't know. Gourmet moths maybe only out for the finest Merino?! It seemed fine the last time I wore it but after washing it suddenly turned up holey :-( May didn't like the washing machine. Now what to do?
I knew I didn't have any of the original yarn left because I gave the left-over skein to my sister. But I knew there was a swatch somewhere in my binders with project notes. While I'm not the most religious swatch knitter ever I do so most of the time to calculate my gauge and do the sizing. As predicted I found the swatch tacked to my notes and it was quickly unraveled. I sat down and carefully retraced the stitches over a few rows - not so easy in moss stitch - to close up the two holes as invisibly as possible. And it worked quite alright. It's not totally invisible but also not right in your face either. I undid maybe a third of the bind off row on the collar and replaced this one too to take care of the thin spot there. Steam ironed it a bit and now it's as good as now. Let's hope this doesn't happen to more of my hand-knits.
Sonntag, 6. November 2011
Miata (Mazda MX5) on autocross track
Yesterday the best husband of all took part in the last autocross events on this year's schedule. The weather even though mighty cold in the morning warmed up nicely during the day and made the last day of the season a huge success. The number of participants was astonishing and it seemed like everyone wanted to take their car to the track one last time before winter lowers its white blanket.
Birkenallee in Groß Dölln - birch lined country road
I enjoyed the trip through the flat Brandenburg countryside prettied up by the low autumn sun and those awesome tree lined country roads. This one here is on the terrain of former Soviet air base in Groß Dölln. The clearing on the right side would have been the parade-ground. Weird how quiet and peaceful this place is today. Privately owned "Driving Center Groß Dölln" has become a mecca for motorsports enthusiasts across the country. And imagine, it's still an active air strip. So from time to time you'll have small air planes making their way down onto the tarmac where the guys do their dance around the cones. But with two air strips of 4000 meters there's plenty of room for everyone.
Basic handknit socks for Nike. Very pink, of course.
With the switch from DST to regular time the evenings start mighty early all of a sudden. Four o'clock in the evening has had us seeing the most beautiful sunsets this past week. For most knitters this turn of the clock signals the upcoming high season for our hobby. There's mittens and socks needed to keep small hands and feet warm. Wool garments pulled out of the closet to ward off the chill. Christmas presents to be planned and materials to be acquired. And the of course there's much knitting to be done. Let the fun begin :-)
Freitag, 7. Oktober 2011
Spydercos from back to front: Delica 4 FFG, Squeak, Kiwi, Grasshopper
I am beyond happy about the pink Delica. The Delica model is about my favorite Spydie with the only drawback that it's not legal to carry in Germany because it locks and is one hand operated. This one has been a special edition for the Spyderco distributor Midwest Gun Exchange and I secured one via eBay. The other three knives are non-locking folders and therefore legal. The Kiwi is really cool and I particularly like the Wharncliff blade. Unfortunately my husband thought so, too and the knife is now his :-)
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