Sunday, 22 December 2013

Spinning Projects 2013

When looking back on the yarns I have spun this year, I am not entirely sure how much I have actually accomplished. Until recently I never even noted down when exactly I finished spinning something up, so making a list of all of this year's handspun isn't easy. Here I am only including yarn I definitely know I spun in 2013, not counting samples.

In no particular order:

1. Midnight - 2-ply lace from space dyed 28 micron Falkland tops, 200g
2.  East Frisian sheep wool (Milchschaf) - singles, 50g
3. Light Rainbow - singles, 70% Shetland, 30% Tussah silk, 100g
4. Nearly Autumn -  2-ply, probably Polwarth, 100g
5. Seacell - cobweb, 50g
6. Banana top - lace singles, 50g
7. Blue Skies and Snowflakes: still in progress
8. Camel and Silk - still in progress, 70% white camel, 30% silk sliver, 100g

Considering how long it takes me to spin, I think I have done pretty well here. But at this pace, who knows when I will finally get through all my yet-to-be spun fibre purchases from Wonderwool 2012!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Knitting Projects 2013

Now that we are heading towards the end of the year I wondered how much knitting I have actually done in 2013. How much did you manage?

Going through my project list on Ravelry, I have completed 18 projects so far (the month isn't over so I may well add to the list later). So what did I knit?


In chronological order:
1. Rosebud from Berlin
2. Stockholm scarf
3. Skew
4. Ickle Bunny (made 3)
5. Delta socks
6. Ruislip
7. Graduation teddy (a gift - okay, crocheted, not knitted)
8. iPad Mini cover
9. Owling
10. Leftie
11. Spa Day flannel (made several)
12. Pi in the Sky (gift for grandma)
13. Blue Steps baby booties (custom order)
14. Christmas bauble
15. Bamboo socks
16. Kyna shawl
17. Gloves for V (gift)
18. Smaug socks

That doesn't look like a very impressive list on first glance, but I am happy with the things I have made this year. Between knitting, spinning and dyeing, this is a pretty good job, actually!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Smaug Socks In Progress

There was a time I knew everything about Tolkien's Middle-earth. And I do mean everything. I read so much about it that taking my Masters exam about Tolkien's work was a breeze. Then along came knitting and I read more about wool and fibre crafts, so Tolkien got a bit buried in my brain. But now with the second instalment of The Hobbit about to come out in theatres, I can actually combine Tolkien and knitting: meet Smaug.
(Image: Claire Ellen)
They look fantastic and I've been wanting to knit them for a year or so. So a week ago I dyed some sock yarn and was ready to cast on. It's going great so far. The entire first leg and heel are now finished and I'm going to begin the gusset today. Hope it goes well!
It's a real pleasure to knit the scales (and much simple than I expected it to be). I wish the heel were reinforced in some way though, but in that case you wouldn't be able to continue the scale pattern, I suspect. Really like the whole look so far!

What are you knitting right now?

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Bamboo Socks: Pattern Out Now

I announced it a while back and now it's done: the Bamboo Sock pattern is available in my Ravelry pattern store. 

The socks are great with flip flops. My Bamboo Socks will be knitted top down from written instructions (no charts at all). You can knit with two colours as I have done or simply use a single colour to save you the trouble of sewing in all those ends. I used variegated green and brown yarns to recreate the look of bamboo.

The general size is a medium adult fit. As always, size can be adapted by choosing smaller or larger needles though. The length can be changed by knitting fewer repeats for a smaller size or more repeats for a larger size.

You will need two 50g skeins of fingering weight yarn if you use two colours, or one 100g skein of a single colour. Use 2.5 mm DPNs or circular needles.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Finished: Kyna Shawl

It's finished, it's blocked and it's dry at last. My Kyna shawl is small, but it measures 140 cm from end to end nonetheless and I really love the cables. It's perfect as a scarf to go with my new winter coat!

The colour is hard to capture on photos and is closest to the first one. In reality, the brown is much richer and even though I am not usually a fan of brown, I really like this shade of Colinette Jitterbug yarn called Copperbeech. The intermingled colours help to make the yarn look very vivid and interesting. Well done, Colinette!
Blocking the shawl was easy: I soaked it in warm water with a drop of mild soap and used my trusty blocking wires. I folded the shawl in half, so drying took a little longer, but it was convenient and didn't take up much room. 
I really enjoyed knitting a shawl with fingering weight yarn, which I hadn't done before. Usually, I use lace weight though I did try DK on two occasions too. Fingering weight is great, but you need a lot of yarn for most shawls. Kyna needed less than a full 150g-skein of Colinette Jitterbug, which surprised me. I look forward to knitting another shawl with a fingering weight yarn soon!

Friday, 22 November 2013

Big Xmas Special on DaWanda

It's official, we are steadily nearing Christmas and there is no escaping the Christmas lights, music, decorations, gifts and wrapping paper! It also means that lots of shops are offering specials for the season and so am I.

If you are looking for treats for knitting friends and family or simply for yourself, drop by my DaWanda shop for 12% off selected items. The Big Xmas Special starts on November 25 and ends on December 8.

Keep in mind that my last order dates in time for Christmas are:

UK: 10 December 2013
Europe: 8 December 2013
Rest of World: 1 December 2013

You can still place orders after these dates, but it is likely that they won't reach you before Christmas.

I hope you enjoy your Christmas preparations! Happy Christmas shopping!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

100 Sales on Etsy - Thank You!

 This month I reached a milestone on Etsy. 100 sales! All thanks to you!

I want to thank every one of you who has visited my shop, passed on the link, and bought from this tiny one-woman business. It isn't easy spreading the word, so I am very grateful for those of you who have helped me get this enterprise off the ground - worldwide no less. It took 1 year and 3 months to reach 100 sales, though the total including sales from other venues is larger. Etsy is my main platform, so this is a big deal.

If you have followed my progress since 2012, you will have noticed the change in my work. Especially my stitch markers have improved, not to mention the range of different designs that are now available. I hope to keep doing what I do and I also hope you keep enjoying my knitting supplies for a long time to come.

Thank you for buying and sharing handmade! Thank you for placing your orders with me.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Gloves for V

Just when I thought I had finished all my Christmas knitting and could start on a new shawl, my friend Verena said she would like a pair of fingerless gloves! So we went through some yarn from my stash and she made a very good choice: Noro Silk Garden, which is an Aran weight and therefore thicker than I had hoped for gloves, but I knew it would look amazing.
After a fruitless search on Ravelry, I decided to design them myself instead. It became very obvious that trying to knit half fingers with this yarn wasn't going to work well due to its thickness, so I decided to knit an insert to sew into the gloves. It worked really well and the gloves are definitely going to keep Verena warm.
I plan to publish the pattern in my Ravelry store at a later date, so watch this space.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Feature: Abso-knitting-lutely in Simply Knitting

Have you been waiting for the next issue of Simply Knitting? It's out today and it features my set of Christmas stitch markers in one of its pages:
(Source: Simply Knitting, December issue 114)

I like what they've done there! What do you think?

There are only three sets left at this stage, so you may have to hurry if you think they will make great stocking fillers for a knitter in your life (or for yourself, of course). Also, I have listed last order dates for Christmas in  my shop announcement to avoid disappointment:

UK: 10th December 2013 * Europe: 8th December 2013 * Rest of World: 1st December 2013

Although I can't guarantee that orders will indeed arrive before Christmas because you never know whether there will be disruptions to the postal service at that time of year, the last order dates are very generously calculated and give ample time for orders to arrive.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Knitting & Crochet Inspiration: My Top 4 Favourites

I bet you've got a long list of favourite knitting and crochet projects you are looking forward to tackling at some point. I'd love to see what you've got queued up, so let me know in the comments!

Going through my own list, I've selected four projects I want to show you. Ready for some knitting inspiration?
1. Rams and Yowes looks like a really big project to tackle. If you are a confident knitter, it should be a great knit with all the stranded work involved and - eek! - steeking. I just love all those rams and ewes and will just have to work up the courage to work on a large project like that. After all, I am still working on my Beekeeper's Quilt.

2. If you are looking for crocheted fingerless gloves or gauntlets that are just a little bit different from all the others, how about Himbeerwellen (Rasperry ripples)? The construction looks fantastic and I love those cables.

3. North Shore is my absolute favourite amongst all jumpers! I want to knit it in exactly these colours, which is a problem since I can't seem to get the yarn here and it is not exactly affordable. But one day I WILL make it! The yoke is so beautifully patterned I just have to have it.

4. Do you love knitting shawls? Then have a look at Imagine When, a simple, but beautiful triangular shawl with an eyelet pattern. What I like about it is the arrangement of the eyelets that makes this shawl a simple yet elegant accessory. Really, really beautiful.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Bamboo Socks - Finished!

My mother asked for a pair of socks this Christmas, but not just any old socks. No, they had to be suitable for wearing with flip flops! Well, "gesagt, getan", as we say in German, and there I was, knitting this pair with two different coloured balls of yarn.
I have written the pattern down and will publish it at a later date once it has been tested. The hardest part about all this is really sewing in all the ends. Because I knitted stripes, there are two ends for each stripe that have to be woven into the fabric in the end. Not much fun, I can tell you that! Of course you can knit these socks in just one colour if you want to save yourself the trouble. In the end you'll have a lovely warm pair of socks and it's all worth it.
The toe section is quite simple once you have determined how you want to divide the stitches. I am very pleased with how it turned out. The colours remind me a bit of bamboo, hence the name. As you can see in the photos, I ran out of yarn towards the end, resulting in toes of a different colour! They were meant to be green, not brown. Oops.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Next Project: Kyna Shawl

At long last I have finished knitting the socks I started in September, so it's time to plan my next project. And I've already found it!
(Image source: Lucy Hague)

As soon as I saw the Kyna shawl pattern, I knew I wanted to knit it for myself. I just love the cables and also the fact that it is knitted sideways - a nice change from the usual top-down or bottom-up shawls. But the best thing is that I have just the right yarn in my stash too.

The pattern calls for fingering weight yarn, so I'll be using my squishy skein of Colinette Jitterbug in the colourway Copperbeech. 
(Image source: Colinette)

The photo on the Colinette website does not do it justice; Copperbeech has a wonderful sheen and it is very squishy like all of the range's yarn. I did not some time to get used to the colour, but I do love it now because of the many little spots of colour among the rich brown. It will be fantastic to knit with, I'm sure. Originally, I couldn't find a nice shawl pattern for this yarn's yardage, so I'm really glad I came across Kyna at last.

Now I just hope my tension is right and I don't run out of yarn before the end! What are you planning to do next?

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Books: Tausendschön - Das Lilane

Quite a while back I won the purple sock pattern book from Tausendschön in a giveaway and it has finally arrived!
It is a booklet containing six sock patterns that mainly seem easy to knit, as far as I can tell at first glance. (Here you can see a list of them. I especially like the Rapunzel socks.) I must say I am glad the instructions include charts because German knitting instructions just confuse me.

Regina Satta, the designer, is very popular among German knitters and I had heard of her booklets so often that I was keen to get my hands on one of them at some point. I have previously knit one of her patterns, Boxi, which I think is typical of her designs in its look and also in the ease with which you can knit her socks. You don't need to be an expert sock knitter, the patterns are simple to knit even though some may look daunting with the amount of cabling that's involved. To me, Satta is a designer of comfortable, easy knits. Sometimes they different designs are a bit too repetitive for me, though. If, however, easy, reliable patterns sound like your cup of tea, I recommend checking out her designs.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Guest Post: Why you should learn to crochet

Please welcome June, who has agreed to guest blog here on Abso-knitting-lutely today. Read about her take on the advantages of crochet, including many health benefits. Enjoy!

Crocheting allows even relative beginners to produce articles that are attractive and that serve a purpose. There are so many amazing and easy crochet patterns on the internet. Having others admire something that we have created with our own hands fulfils the need for self-expression that is inherent in all human beings. Those of us who are not a Picasso or Chopin in the making have no lesser need to be artistically expressive and crochet is a wonderful medium for accomplishing this. That is not to say that crochet work cannot find its way into an art museum. As detailed on Wikipedia, HildurBjarnadóttir of Iceland has magnificent examples of the art on permanent display at the Reykjavik Art Museum. It seems then that this is a craft that can take you as far as you wish to go.

Who Benefits Most From Learning to Crochet



http://www.flickr.com/photos/29694534@N03/
by Crafty Kitten

As a therapeutic tool, crochet can relieve the effects of stress and tension that most people experience in the normal course of modern-day living. Lengthy travel on a crowded bus or tube can be made more bearable if you are able to escape your circumstances by becoming immersed in the process of creating something of beauty. The same can be applied to most daily stresses and so to most people.

The value of the act of creating is discussed by Kathryn on a blog entitled, Crochet in Therapy vs Crochet as Therapy. She gives a few examples of the role crocheting can play in providing neutral ground as a much-needed, temporary respite for a group who suffer similar medical conditions. She also provides interviews with a few well-known personalities from the crafts world and others who admit to having found great relief from diverse psychological problems, including severe depression, in the act of crocheting.

Why Crocheting?



http://www.flickr.com/photos/easymakesmehappy/
by Easymakesmehappy

The type of therapeutic value found in crocheting is not unique to this craft, but the ease with which it can be learned adds to its attraction. Young children are quickly able to grasp the basics and begin to use this medium as a form of self-expression. There are a few incidences found online that describe the benefits of crocheting for persons suffering from self-esteem issues. These have included substance abusers and it seems logical that replacing destructive behaviour with a positive, creative act would produce a positive result.

People have always tended to associate art with drawing or painting, which is why so many persons profess to have no artistic talent whatsoever. It follows that those with self-esteem issues would discover surprising new aspects of their identity by actually producing an attractive and useful crocheted article. A first taste of admiration from others could motivate a desire to master this craft. It is also quite possible that this unexpected realisation could be the key to unlocking a hidden and quite unique talent regarding other art forms.

Conclusion

Of the many benefits to be found in learning to crochet, one is the fact that if you cannot find the exact item of clothing that you want, you can make it yourself. This could evolve into quite a lucrative small business if others begin to admire your unique creations. Crocheting can be a confidence builder that breaks the mental barriers constructed by low self-esteem and allows the creative mind to roam unrestricted through an infinite treasure trove of possibilities. Just a hook and some yarn are all that is needed to create a fresh mind-set and an exciting new beginning.

---This article was written by June, she loves finding new patterns online. Her favorite person to knit for is her daughter. 

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Branching Out: DaWanda

Given that I am German and therefore have the ability to naturally expand my German market, it makes sense for me to open a shop on DaWanda. So I did it! Have a look and check out the look and feel of the place if you haven't been there before.

This shop is not yet fully stocked, as you can see, but you can still go to my shop on Etsy. I look forward to meeting new customers, especially German ones! But don't worry: you will still have the choice between shopping with me on Etsy or DaWanda, whichever you feel most comfortable with, as both will stay available, .

While international customers will see my DaWanda shop in English, German customers will see it in German. Neat, eh? I look forward to engaging with the community there and meeting new people.

Have you bought something from DaWanda or other platform? What do you think  of those venues?

Friday, 11 October 2013

Interview: Abso-knitting-lutely on Art of Crafts

Alison from Art of Crafts has published her interview with me on her website, so go have a look and check out the other artists who have been featured previously. If you are an avid follower of the craft scene, you might recognise some of the faces there.

In the interview you will find out how I got started, what I do on an average day, and what my other hobbies are.

Also, have a look at my new banner and profile picture in my shop. The banner doesn't make quite as much of an impact as the old one, but I like how it is cleaner and fresher. Oh, and there's a new blog banner as well!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Tutorial: Christmas Bauble



You will need:

·      2.5 mm DPNs
·      Leftover sock yarn in 2 colours
·      Polyester fibre 

Note: Fill the bauble with polyester fibre as you go.


Abbreviations:


CO: cast on
BO: bind off
sts: stitches
k: knit
kfb: knit front and back
ssk: Slip the next two stitches and then insert the left needle into the front loops of the slipped stitches and knit them together.
k2tog: knit 2 stitches together

Make the bauble:

CO 12 sts on DPNs

Knit in the round according to chart, repeating the pattern on each needle. Increases are made on first and last stitches by knitting into front and back of the stitch. Knit decreases as follows: ssk first stiches and k2tog last stiches.

 Click to enlarge:


Once the chart is knitted, k2tog till there are 6 sts left.


Loop:

Knit icord: k all stitches in the round till it is 6 cm long. BO with Kitchener stitch. Fold the loop and sew it into place at the bottom of the loop. Done!