Monday, December 16, 2013

It's a Wrap

Today is my birthday, and I'm surrounded by gifts, but none of them are for me!

I'll be going home to Ireland on Wednesday, and I'm wrapping up all the gifts I've made for my family. 

Just one sock and one pair of gloves left to knit before Christmas. I think I'll make it!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Gift Knitting So Far

Just under three weeks until Christmas is here. Nineteen days until Christmas eve. I have one and a half pairs of socks and a pair of gloves left to knit.

I think I have enough time.

Here's what I have finished (though weaving in ends and blocking remains to be done):

1. A miniature pair of socks for the little girl I mind. These took two or three evenings to knit. They are a merino-bamboo-nylon self-striping by Online Yarns, and the toes, heels and cuffs are knit in some sock wool from Lidl which is nowhere near as soft as the other wool. This is because I want enough of the stripy yarn left over for a pair of socks for myself. (Even in my gift knitting I'm selfish!)

2. Something secret

3. A convertible cowl/hat. This is the clever Howlcat pattern by Alexandra Tinsley.

And I have a feeling I'll be binding off on this pair of socks later on today!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Speedy Socks

A few weeks ago, I posted about my fastest pair of socks ever. That pair took a week to knit.

Today, I am posting about a pair that seems to be flying along even faster. I started this pair at the weekend, and got the first sock knit in two days. Part of the reason is that I had a lot of knitting time, another part is that they're only 60 stitches around. I did my normal 64 stitches on 2.25 mm needles and found them far too baggy, so I decreased and kept going. This is my progress as of this morning:

I do a lot of travelling on public transport during the day, usually about two hours, so I might even get this pair finished today. Maybe I should pack some extra yarn?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Gift knitting

Have you heard of the Indie Design Gift-Along on Ravelry?

I came across it last week and was inspired to make something other than socks as Christmas gifts. Up until Friday, there was a discount on every pattern included in the giftalong.

The first pattern I bought was the Howlcat by Alexandra Tinsley. It's a simple but clever pattern which can be worn as both a cowl and a hat. My version is in progress at the moment.

I liked the colour combination at first, but now I think I would have preferred a lighter colour for the blue portion and a darker colour for the thin, fingering weight section. The beige, tweed wool is a sock wool by Schoeller + Stahl, and I really hope it gets softer after washing. The blue wool, on the other hand, is divinely soft. It's a merino-acrylic blend, as I can't seem to be able to afford 100% wool yarns in this city. I think this cowl/hat will definitely be worn with the blue side against the owner's skin.

I bought a second pattern in the Gift-Along. The Woodstove Season cardigan by Alicia Plummer caught my eye, and I snapped it up. It would be naive to think I could knit an entire cardigan between now and Christmas, but maybe this one will get started in the New Year.

And let's be honest, it will probably be for me!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tension Issues

There are a lot of things I love about my current project.

I love the pattern. The Larch Cardigan is another beautiful design by Amy Christoffers, who is firmly at the top of my list of favourite designers.

I love the yarn, which is a 70% wool/30% silk blend by Anny Blatt. It's one of the softest yarns I've knit with and it looks like the finished product will be very squishy and comfortable. The yarn does split a lot, but it was also on sale at 50% off, and I got amazing value for my money. Each 50g ball cost €3.65, and back in Ireland I struggled to find acrylic blends which were cheaper than that.

I love the colour. It's perfect for this autumn weather, even though I don't think it will be finished until the orange leaves are long gone.

One thing I'm not so sure about is my tension. After starting this cardigan, I realised that I hadn't knit stockinette flat in a long, long time. As a result, my purl rows are much looser than my knit rows.

The uneven rows certainly don't bother me enough to rip back and start all over again. The more I knit, the less obvious it becomes. It might even be less visible after blocking.

And if not, I'll happily look back on this cardigan someday when my knitting is smooth and beautiful and think back to the time I was young, inexperienced, and struggling to knit evenly.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Seven Days

It's been just over a week since I cast on a new pair of socks on the train to college on the morning of my graduation. Imaginatively, these socks were named "Graduation Socks". In those eight days I have spent a lot of time travelling and a lot of time knitting.

Yesterday morning, on day seven, I bound off the last stitches on my fastest ever pair of socks.

One week for a pair of socks; six weeks until Christmas... Does that mean I'll have time to knit up a few pairs to give away?

Last year I didn't give any knitted gifts for Christmas. I had only been knitting for a year, and I still felt like I hadn't knit enough for myself. Until now, a pair of socks has taken me at least two weeks, and I loved them too much to give away.

Of course, I won't get six more pairs knit before Christmas, but maybe I can finish that half-made pair for one of my sisters and knit up the self-striping picked out by my other sister. And maybe a kids-sized pair for the girl I babysit, who is always interested in what I'm knitting and has asked me several times for a pair of socks (or a jumper!). I think that can be done!

For more FOs, check out Finished Object Fridays at Tami's Amis.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Successful Week

The weekend is nearly over and I've had a wonderful week.

First, I finished up my turquoise raglan jumper. I followed the Incredible Custom-Fit Raglan pattern, and was originally unhappy with the fit, but after blocking it has stretched out nicely and softened up quite a bit. The wool was a gift, and it has a very interesting texture. It's a two-ply, and one ply is loosely spun and the other ply is bouclé. The yarn looks great and I love how it has turned out in the jumper. I also added a dip at the back like I've seen on commercially knit jumpers by using short rows before the ribbing. It's completely improvised and turned out surprisingly well.

Then, I finished up a pair of socks which I had been working on for a while. I knit them in a 3x1 rib, which takes me a lot longer than plain stockinette socks. The wool for these socks was bought in Lidl and was very cheap. It also seems like great quality.

I weaved in the ends, and washed and blocked these two projects and took a very quick snap of them as they were drying.

As I had finished my big project, I went on a wool-seeking excursion so I could cast on a new jumper. My first stop was a shop called Handmade in Berlin, Germany. It's a yarn shop and café, and I'm very happy to have something like this in my area. I was very fortunate to find a wool-silk blend at 50% off in a beautiful autumn orange colourway.

I bought enough for a jumper, and cast on a swatch straight away. I tried both 4mm and 5mm needles (US 6 and 8), washed and blocked, and preferred the denser fabric. Then I measured my gauge and did search on Ravelry and came up with some patterns with the same gauge. One of the patterns which matched my gauge was the Larch Cardigan by Amy Christoffers, a pattern I had admired since I first spotted it a while back.

So I bought the pattern and cast on! It's in the early stages, but the wool is so soft and I can already tell that I'm going to adore wearing this cardigan.

Then on Wednesday evening, I left all this knitting behind to go home to Ireland for my graduation! Here is a very unprofessional photo of me on the blustery day:

So I'm enjoying my short time at home at the moment. I'm flying back to Berlin on Monday, and will take some nicer photos of my finished objects then, and I will also blog about what I've been knitting this weekend. Hope you're enjoying your weekend too!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Work-In-Progress Wednesday

Today's works-in-progress are very simple and straightforward.

First of all, let me show you my turquoise jumper. The pattern I followed was the Incredible Custom-Fit Raglan pattern "recipe" by Pamela Costello. This wool was given to me as a gift and I love the colour! Unfortunately, I'm just a bit less impressed with my knitting. The fit of the jumper isn't great, and it's quite baggy under the armpits. Maybe I did too many raglan increases, I'm not sure. The problem is that this is my first jumper of this type so I had no experience to rely on, only the pattern recipe which I was following. My next jumper attempt will almost definitely be a detailed, well-written pattern rather than a recipe-type one.

My next project is a very portable pair of socks. I've been working on these during my 50-minute commute while reading Little Women on my Kindle. It's a beautiful book and I can't believe I'd never read it before, especially as it's a free book on the Kindle. 

The socks are  a 3x1 rib pattern, and are knit from some great-value sock wool from Lidl, which seems to be very good quality. The wool came in a pack with enough for two pairs, one self-striping and the other in a denim-blue solid. The self-striping is a gift and the blue will be for me. I might even invent my own sock pattern, we'll see.

Both projects are almost finished, so maybe I'll have some things to show for Finished-Object Friday!

This post has been shared on Tami's Amis. Go take a look for more WIP Wednesday posts!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Hello, Berlin!

Orange leaves, pumpkins, and a chill in the air... Knitting season has arrived!

Just like many other knitters, my knitting slowed down this summer. There is less always motivation to finish a warm, woolly jumper when you won't have much opportunity to wear one. I was also working from 8am til 11pm at a summer camp in the Swiss Alps, so time spent alone was rare. I think I completed two sleeves over the course of the whole summer, and they weren't even full-length!

After the summer I moved to Berlin, and it didn't take long for autumn to catch up with me. Now that it is unmistakeably October, I wish I had finished my jumper during the summer! It's still languishing on the needles, waiting for me to complete the last few inches.

So what's Berlin like? It's definitely a city with character. 

It has history.

 This is where the Berlin wall once stood. I live on the east side of the wall and always wonder about living conditions here during the Soviet era.

It's grubby. 

This street lamp has years and years of posters stuck to it. And of course there's graffiti everywhere. 

But most importantly... It has knitting!


Well, knitting and crochet! Now I just have to scout out a good LYS and maybe a knitting group. With yarnbombing like this, there must be knitters around here somewhere!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Am I crazy?

Is it just me or is everyone knitting jumpers (sweaters) at the moment? It seems like lots the podcasters and bloggers I follow are anyway. Maybe I just notice it more because it's exactly what I want to do next.

I wore my Aidez for the first time yesterday, and it is so warm and cosy that I want a whole wardrobe full of woolly jumpers and cardigans. But when I try to find the wool to knit a jumper, I am not-so-pleasantly surprised. It seems like a jumper's worth of wool doesn't come any cheaper than €40 ($52/£35), even the bargains online add up to that with shipping. I'm a student without a job, so I was preparing myself for quite a bit of saving.

Then This is Knit, a lovely knitting shop in Dublin, wrote a blog post about a new yarn they're stocking. Araucania Botany Lace in some beautiful semi-solid colours. And it struck me that I could probably knit a Featherweight cardigan out of 2 skeins for a grand total of €24 ($31/£21).  And for some reason the alarm bells in my head are not ringing to warn me away from kntting a cardigan in such a fine yarn...

It looks like a loose gauge, so it won't be as slow as socks, and people who have commented on the pattern on Ravelry seem to suggest it goes much more quickly than they expected. And by the time I'm finished the cardigan it will probably be too warm for a big bulky Aidez anyway, so a featherweight might be perfect.

Am I crazy to consider knitting a laceweight cardigan, or would it be even more crazy to not take advantage of the €16 savings?

Monday, March 11, 2013

St Patrick's Day Knitting

Good morning! The sun was shining directly through my bedroom window this morning and gave me some perfect light to photograph my most recent thing to be proud of.

Last night I sat down with my Aidez cardigan and decided it was time to finally sew up the seams, weave in the ends and make it wearable. The cardigan's been finished for a month now, I should really stop putting off finishing.

I played a few podcasts, and some podcasters were talking about the knitting they're doing to wear on St. Patrick's Day, and it struck me that my green Aidez will be finished right on cue to be worn on Sunday.

It's currently blocking, but I wish it were dry because it has just started snowing here in Dublin and a big cosy Aidez would be the perfect thing to wear on a cold day like this.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Weaving in Ends

Weaving in ends is probably my least favourite thing about knitting. So much work has gone into the item, so much excitement as it nears completion, so much pride when the last stitch is cast off, and then when you're looking forward so much to showing the world the thing you've accomplished it's still not ready to be worn. I used to be very good about weaving in the ends straight away, but now I let it drag on and on. I have to admit, sometimes I just tie them in a knot so I can wear something before weaving in the ends.

These were the items I brought on the train last weekend hoping to get the ends woven in once and for all.

I managed to do one sock and a half-hearted job on the cowl. (You can see where I did my knot trick on it!) And yes, I wore the socks before the second one was done.

And that Aidez. It is beautiful, and I can't wait to finish it and finally have my first 100% wool hand-knit cardigan, but the amount of seaming to be done is so off-putting.

Next time I knit a jumper I'll remember to it in one piece!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Picking up where I left off

Do you get more motivated to knit after you finish a certain project?

I always do. I think it's the feeling of accomplishment that pushes me towards the finish line on projects which are taking longer.

Last week, after I finished my cosy red cowl, I picked up where I left off on my Aidez cardigan. This is an absolutely beautiful cardigan, and I'm knitting it with really nice wool. It's Cascade Eco + in a gorgeous shade of green with flecks of blue and yellow, and I love how it looks so far.

But it's cabled, and cables take me so long to knit and it felt like my progress was very slow, so I took a break. I knit the back and front panels already, so all that's left to knit is the two sleeves, which I cast on yesterday morning.

I'm knitting them in the round so that I'll have less seaming to do at the end, and so far I've knit about 14 inches of the first sleeve. It's knitting up much faster than I thought it would. Maybe by this time next week I'll have a whole new cardigan!

Here's a picture of my progress:

As for the cowl, I've worn it every day since I finished it, and it feels like it gets softer the more I wear it! It's so snuggly and warm, and I've got loads of compliments on it. I haven't enlisted anyone to take a picture of me wearing it yet because I keep forgetting to bring my camera to college, but I'm hoping to do that some time soon.

Monday, February 11, 2013


I've surprised myself!

Writing about my cowl seems to have given me the motivation I needed to finish it. I think I may have done more in the past 24 hours than I had done all week!

So here is a quick picture. My room is dark so I've tried to brighten it up a little. Hopefully I'll get some better ones in the morning.

What a great end to the weekend :)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Possibly my favourite knit yet!

It's been such a long time since I've had a minute to sit down and write a blog post! I had deadline after deadline this term in college, and this weekend is the first chance I'm getting to catch my breath.

Not only have I been too busy to make time for my blog, I haven't even had much time for knitting. I think I might have to train myself to knit while reading to help me get through the next few months of college work!

The worst part might just be that I didn't get to show you my birthday wool! I haven't photographed it all, so I will get round to that and show it off over the next few posts.

The first, and most exciting thing I'll show you is my Mirasol Tuhu. It is a DK weight yarn in a llama, merino and angora blend, and I think it might just be the softest wool I've ever felt! It makes it all the sweeter that I got it at 50% off with free shipping. I bought it in the Cranberry colourway, and my, my, it's gorgeous!

There has been some pretty chilly weather here in Ireland of late, so I knew I wanted some sort of soft, cosy cowl to keep me warm. I loved this one from Purl Soho, but I was worried it might be so simple I'd find it boring. How wrong I was. I love simple! Simple means I can knit in the dark and it still feels like no work at all.

I also thought that simple would mean it'd knit up in about two minutes, but I don't get a chance to knit every day so the cowl is taking its time. Here it is a few days ago:

If it looks as lovely as Purl Soho's when it's finished, this cowl has the potential to be my favourite project yet. So soft, so comfy, so cosy and so simple, I don't think I could ask for anything more!