Three shawls, a pair of mittens …

The titel says it all: You will get shawls and mittens for this Sunday.

So far, this year hasn’t been really productive on the knitting front – 10 projects are currents marked with “2017” on my ravelry page (technically, there are twelve mittens, but since Philipp’s scrap socks and the lavender sock are currently in time out, I won’t count them).

Of these 10 projects, 3 have been for me – a fourth is currently on the needles (and, as I said – the lavender socks are in timeout. I might gift them, though. We’ll see.), but the rest has all been knit for wonderful people in my life.

After I had finished my father’s mittens, I got a lovely email at the beginning of February – Susanne from Nadelspielereien was throwing a birthday party, I got invited! YEAH! The email included the best invite ever: Bring your crafting! Now for those of you who read Susanne’s blog (if you speak German you should totally do it!), you know that Susanne is an avid cross stitcher, sews like a boss, and is incredibly talented at crafting and organising kids’ birthday parties, and upcycling, and decorating, and, simply, the best recipient for a handmade gift, because she knows how much time and love goes into it. Naturally, after accepting the invite, my first thought was: “What to knit her?”

I had gotten a couple of gift cards for bookshops for Christmas (which is the best, after books), and I had treated myself to Hunter Hammersen’s Curls 2, a wonderful book with a great collection of shawls that can be knit with any yarn in any size at any gauge you like. After going over the patterns twice or thrice, I settled on Subterfuge and bought yarn.

Susanne loves the sea, I knew that much, and I wanted to have colours that reflected the sky and the sand – which was exactly what the yarn did when I started knitting it up.

Subterfuge has two sides, on being a bit more subtle than the other one. I realised that I preferred the “wrong” side over the left one, but it is wearable either way, and really beautiful.

The yarn was a bit fuzzier than I would have liked it, but you could see the stitches okay, and so I powered on.

In the end, I ran out of time (the rows get long really quickly), and I would have preferred it to be a bit bigger, personally, but in the end, there are 460 metres of yarn in this shawl (that’s 503 yards), and I hope it is big enough.

I bundled it up, took the cake I had baked for dessert (food was going to be buffet-style, and I loved the concept, because everything was delicious and it went incredibly well together. I haven’t forgotten about the peanut soup, the apple crumble, and the puff pastries filled with salmon and/or bacon!!) and off I went. The evening was great – we were all women, mothers, colleagues, bloggers, Scottish Dancers, librarians, teachers, and I was incredibly thankful that I got invited!! Susanne said she loved the shawl, and although she is allergic to wool (AAAAAAAAAARGH!), I hope she can wear it despite.

 

During the party, I cast on for another birthday present. Anyone who has read this blog for quite some time surely knows that Monika, Little M.’s gran, is REALLY knitworthy – over the years, she has gotten an assortment of socks and shawls, and she loves everything dearly.

For her birthday, I had decided on making her The Big Skinny, a simple but fun pattern by Little Church Knits. The garter stitch shawl is knit in aran weight, and after spending a lot of time in the LYS, comparing yarn colours, I finally settled for camel and mint, which reminded me a bit of the 50’s, but seemed to be exactly Monika’s colours:

The shawl is big and uses up a lot of yarn for sure – the border instructions were a bit confusing, but with the help of a fellow raveler, I managed to figure it out.

Since this is 100% merino yarn, it’s wonderfully soft, but not too heavy – perfect for wearing it during Spring and Autumn in the evenings, or during winter time.

Since the ends of this shawl are really long, it even looks fancy when tied.

When Monika got the shawl, she looked at me, looked at the colours, simply said: “Mine!”, put it on and wore it for the rest of the day. YEAH! I have already considered making one for myself – with grey as the main colour and berry for the border.

The last project (before the great blanket desaster) was for a friend of mine. Lenka and I met … thanks to serendipity, I presume, because we “met” through a random post on tumblr. It was pure happenstance, but we have been getting on like a house on fire, and I could not be happier to have met her. Lenka is kind, caring, smart, has a great sense of humour, a sharp wit, and is as enthusiastic about all things Witcher as me (it’s her I have been writing the fanfiction story with. Just sayin’.).

Lenka wants to be a psychiatrist when she has finished her studies, and right before her first big medical exam last October, she got a package with something handknit from me:

This shawl was so much fun to knit, it was my summer project, and the pattern is Wendy’s Fern by Princesse Grenouille. I bought the yarn during my splurge at Tinkus last year:

And it is simply wonderful, 100% merino, a bit splitty, but so, so soft, and the colours this yarn comes in are amazing.

The shawl has a design that has been very popular for quite a while: A mixture of garter stitch and simple lace, and it was a pleasure to knit from start to finish. According to the picture Lenka sent me, it was also a big hit.

SCORE!

Since the shawl was met with so much enthusiasm, I thought MITTENS when her birthday came up, and set to work right away. The pattern is Fallberry Mitts, a knitting pattern, in size M, knit with some leftover merino yarn from Zitron (yes, I might have a theme going on).


These mittens were so much fun to knit, and, apparently, come in quite handy, too!

That’s all so far. Caught up with the most important stuff … Except … one shawl. But I will safe that for later.

For now, I am going to work on a pair of socks.

And yes, these are for me. πŸ˜‰

All the love!
Julia πŸ˜€

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Against the stress.

I will take a deep breath now and focus on writing a nice, calm post about knitting. And yarn. And planning presents for wonderful people. Because I just read another news article (this time about the upcoming French election), and the nationalism shown in the comments make my guts turn. I cannot escape politics right now. I check the news several times a day and in 90% of the time, something new comes up. Some of it is good, but most of it leaves me sitting in front of the screen with disbelief and worry.

I could write more about this, but I won’t. Enough. I need some space to breathe and to relax. There are other things, good things, important things. I think it is wonderful that in times like these, act of kindness still happen, and we should show them more, and use them to remind us and others that not everything has gone down the drain.

Here we go.

1. Look at this.

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Last year, I found Stacey from weekendknitter on tumblr (or rather: We found that tumblr was another way to connect for us, as I have been reading her blog for ages, and she, as I am happy to say, reads mine, occasionally), and it’s wonderful to see her short postings about spinning and spindling and doing all things yarny there, and to be in touch. Stacey is a mother of two, a wonderful, strong person, an incredibly talented (fiber-) artist, and she is all kinds of awesome. We updated our addresses, and she spotted this at Joann’s and send it to me. It’s absolutely terrific. Not only are the articles interesting (what awaits you at a fiber festival, how do you spin batts, how can you play with colourful fiber and spin it up the way you want to knit it later), but the patterns in this magazine are great. Simply wonderful. Stacey, I love you, and you’re one of the best people! πŸ™‚

2. The mittens are done.

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Knitting them was really interesting – I have only knit fingerless mittens before, and while I didn’t find knitting the fingers hard (it wasn’t even as fiddly, because I was knitting with aran weight yarn and 3.0mm needles), I changed the pattern a bit and measured my father’s hands thoroughly. I am really happy about the stripes (the original pattern has two, which looks nice as well), and, what is most important – my father loves them, and they fit him fine.

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3. I bought yarn.

250grams of aran weight, to be precise.

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As you may know (or not know – well, you know now), Little Church Knits (link to designer page on ravelry) has a Free Pattern Friday every week – this week, it’s The Big Skinny. (link to her blogpost, where you will get the code for this pattern).

Little M.’s grandmother will celebrate her birthday next month, and she wears mostly cold colours, so I thought that a nice garter stitch shawl would be a wonderful present for her. I am not 100% secure about the colour combination, but I like it, it reminds me of art deco somehow, and something else I cannot quite lay my finger on. But I hope she will love it as well.

4. I knit myself a new pair of socks.

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Last year, we were doing a Secret Santa at work. Quite a few colleagues joined us (we were ten people in the end), and the coworker who drew me got me – yarn. While I probably wasn’t the hardest candidate to get a present for (everybody at the office knows I love to knit), she really put a lot of thought into it, went to a LYS, asked whether the ball of yarn she selected would get me a pair of identical socks, because she was sure I’d prefer that (!), and made sure that one ball of yarn would be enough for a pair of socks at all. I was over the moon with joy, and at once decided that this would be the first sock project of the year for me.

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This was my travel project for January, so I put an afterthought heel in and did them in simple stockinette stitch. I love them! Yarn is Schoeller+Stahl Fortissima Color, knit on 2,0mm needles (64 sts). (Yes, I have worn them at work and showed her the socks. πŸ˜‰ ‘Course I did.)

5. Philipp is getting scrap socks.

When I weighed my “leftover” stash last year, I discovered that I had about 750grams of “leftover” sock yarn. This is quite a lot, particularly, because some of the balls are about 30grams. I put three colours together (the little ball at the top of the picture might not be used, I haven’t decided yet) and, after asking Philipp whether he approved of them (he did), cast on.

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The toe was knit in Opal Sweet & Spicey 2 “Weintraube” (the bright blue yarn), and now I am alternating the green yarn and the Regia yarn. Actually, I am on the second version … the first sock had really big ladders at the sides, but it’s better now.

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There is more to share, I knit so many things for Christmas I didn’t get around to blog about, and I took pictures of my stash as well – guess I am going to write one big post about all the projects and show them off in one go. Meanwhile, keep your heads up, my friends, and your hearts open! We will get through this, I know it.

All the love!
Julia πŸ˜€

More Socks, I say! More Socks!

This summer is bewitched. For lots of folks, it’s the bad weather (we have had lots and lots of rain or very high humidity), but for me, it’s hard to keep balance right now. There is so much stuff I have to DO …

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I have made a couple of socks over the past few weeks! πŸ™‚ The baby blanket I showed you here is almost finished (I need to knit the border and then I only have to sew in the ends and wait for the baby), but sometimes, you need something quicker.

Let’s start with a pair of sneaker socks! I had been circling this yarn for a while – I still want to stashbust, but this was a 50gram-ball of Regia Color, and I thought it wouldn’t do much harm to the stash. It didn’t by the way, since I used up everything except 8grams of yarn. πŸ˜‰

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This is a very simple “k3,p1” sock, and I bound off in ribbing, so they do look a bit weird from the front, but they are warm enough for the colder days and short enough for the hotter ones.

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The next pair of socks were for Philipp – surprise – and, funnily enough, they are made from Regia yarn as well (omg, I just realised that all the socks shown in this blogpost are made from Regia yarn. Who’d’ve known!)

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I love these ones a lot … We bought the yarn on a whim, I really liked the colours in the ball, and the store we were in had a sample sock to show (VERY clever selling strategy, in my opinion!). Philipp was really smitten with the yarn, and so I knit the socks as they were; I only did the “crossed” heel flap (meaning that you alternate between “sl1, k1 – purl back” and “sl2, k1,sl1 until the last 2 sts, k2 – purl back” on the heel flap). That was all.

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These socks didn’t use up as much yarn as I thought – there are still 30 grams left, enough to mix this yarn with something else for leftover socks! πŸ™‚

Next thing on the calendar, now that my sister celebrated her 27th birthday yesterday, is the birthday of a friend of ours …
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We have known her for YEARS (she went to school with us) and although I have no idea whether she’d like to get a pair of handknit socks, I know that she DOES love sewing, so it MIGHT be a hit (and no, this doesn’t have to make sense. πŸ˜‰ ). If not, it’s NOT because of the yarn. It can’t be the yarn.

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This is the first “Arne and Carlos” design line in the “Twilight” Colourway, and it’s GORGEOUS. GORGEOUS. Really. Hach … I didn’t manage to match the socks (as you can see from the picture above, the pattern repeat is incredibly long), but I don’t mind it and hopefully, she won’t, either. These were knit on 2,5mm needles (by accident, I only noticed it when I measured my gauge after finishing the first sock (I am so quick on the uptake ….) and realised that I was at my trusted 30sts/40rws = 4″/10cm again.

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Since our friend has small feet (European 36/37, the socks could be modelled by me nevertheless), so these socks only used up 59grams which means … LEFTOVER SOCKS! (And YES, this is an afterthought heel, because I didn’t want to break up the colour repeat).

Last, but not least …

Colour Explosion Sneakers 01
… another pair of sneaker socks for me, in the most beautiful, dazzling Regia Color. I only bought 50 grams of this, so it will become – guess what? Yeah. Sneaker socks.

Oh, and this is the “Hermione’s Everyday Socks” pattern I’m using here. Can’t spot it? Doesn’t matter.

I don’t think it will make much difference anyway. πŸ˜‰

 

Have the most beautiful day, my friends!
All the love!

Julia πŸ˜€

Socks for a Jolly Good Fellow

Saturday was a very special day …

… because a certain someone celebrated a very special birthday.

Sometimes, birthdays are a funny thing. As a kid, you count down the days to the big event, you probably can’t sleep very well the night before and you are nothing but excited to finally get another candle added to the cake.

The older you get, the less excited to become, because, well, you know the game, you know what to expect, but you are still looking forward to it, because there still is some cool stuff you get (like, the permission to buy/drink beer, get a driver’s licence, vote …)

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2016 marks the year of Philipp’s (and my) 30th birthday. On the one hand, this is a bit strange … Thinking that maybe a third of our time here is over, at least according to statistics. On the other hand, it’s a pretty cool thing (at least, that’s how I feel about it).

Since I wanted to knit Philipp more pairs of socks anyway (he’s got six now, I am aiming for 10), we went shopping on the day before New Year’s Eve and he picked the yarn above (early, but I don’t want to buy yarn until the end of March πŸ˜‰ ).

I wasn’t too fond of the colourway, but it was what he wanted, and since it’s his feet and his birthday and not mine, I shrugged it off and pictured myself knitting away happily on a pair of big socks (he asked me to make them loose so he can wear them over his sport socks for extra warmth), ignoring the colours and seeing the whole thing as a labour of love.

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Well, labour of love my arse. πŸ˜‰

The colours were alright – actually, you only see the stripes from very far away (like in the photo above), but the yarn is “busy in itself” (I don’t know if that makes any sense), and it was splitty as hell, demanding lots and lots of attention all the time. I cast on 72 stitches and started to work the cuff. That took ages and aeons until I reached 5cm, but I actually tried Wei’s Bark pattern (but decided that you wouldn’t see too much of it) and the Rotating Rib pattern the Yarn Harlot once posted on her blog, before finally settling for stockinette (I didn’t rip it all out in between trying out patterns. I may be strange, but I’m not masochistic).

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Because I wanted to try something new, I decided to use Wei’s Geek Sock pattern and do an afterthought heel – Philipp’s feet are slender, and I wanted to have two pairs of socks with this heel (my Geek socks have it, too), to see how well it holds up (this doesn’t judge the heel, but rather my skills at performing a decent kitchener stitch).

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There were some hardships on the way – at first, I knit the foot part until it measured not 10cm less than the overall length, but 11cm, and knit the toe according to the Regia chart. Philipp tried the sock on, but we could already see that it was WAY too long, so I ripped back and added another centimetre, before decreasing according to the Regia chart (accoding to the smaller size). This time, it came out a bit short, and in the end, I settled for Wei’s instructions for the Geek socks and that was absolutely fine.

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When the socks were done, Philipp tried them on (before his birthday – but we did the photos on Sunday, after he had reached the proper age, you know), and it became very clear that no, socks under this pair are not an option.

I was a bit bummed that they are so tight, but he loves them and we agreed that I will make him another pair (this time with 72 stitches and 2,5mm needles, though). The fit is great, and since he has slender ankles (see photo above), I made the heel as wide as my own and grafted when I had 24 stitches overall.

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This birthday was very interesting in so far as that there is a hint of pity starting to show in other people’s comments. A colleague of mine (who will turn 30 in May) asked me how my guy would “cope” with it, and admitted that he didn’t want to turn 30 (fun fact: Same colleague is getting married in Octobre. In my humble opinion, this is far more “grown-up” than your date of birth ever can be). Philipp has mentioned that he is “getting old” already a couple of times, and I don’t know why, but this irritates me a bit. 30 isn’t old. Yes, 30 isn’t 20, and yes, you can expect a certain degree of responsibility and maturity from a 30 year-old (at least more than from someone who’s 20) – but then, Philipp has never been irresponsible before, and he has always been calm and gentle, and thoughtful. He’ll be fine at 30.

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He was really, really happy when he unwrapped the socks on his birthday, and he was very enthusiastic about his other presents as well (I got him “The Thing-Explainer” book, the first season of Sherlock and The Witcher 3 for the PS4 – you actually have money to spend if you don’t buy yarn. πŸ˜‰ ), and he had a great birthday (he said so, too). I am so very thankful for having this wonderful man at my side, and I am curious what he’ll be like during the next 30 years to come. πŸ™‚

Love you.

The Calm after the Storm

Merry Belated Christmas everyone! πŸ˜€

I hope you had a wonderful couple of days with friends and family (or alone, which can be a blessing as well), you got a bit of peace, good food and lovely presents!

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Today was a very quiet day after three days of constant family company. On the 24th, Philipp went to see his father, brother and gran, while my parents picked me up at half past two to get to my sister’s, who had announced she wanted to do this year’s Christmas. It was Continue reading

Aaaand …. done!

Yay!

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I’m done! At about a quarter past 11pm, the socks were done and thus, I have finished all of my Christmas knitting for 2015! Yay! More info (and better photos) will follow after Christmas, when he will be allowed to wear and model the socks. πŸ˜‰ Continue reading