Saturday, 28 June 2008

WIP: Susurra

For quite some time I have been thinking of trying my hand at something bigger than I have done so far. I had several jumpers in mind, but since it is summer now, I decided to design something for warmer days. Or nights, more precisely. What I wanted to do was make a babydoll with an ordinary knitted breast section and lace below. Svetlana at My Knitting Island posted a modification for her ribs and lace tank that I thought would be ideal for my first big project. Unfortunately, the pattern as given there is not quite right and I had quite a hard time trying to figure out how to get it right. I shall post the results once I have finished Susurra.

I only came up with the name for it yesterday while watching a film with Spanish subs. Susurra means whisper, which seemd very suitable for this babydoll.

Today I will finish up the second cup and strap before deciding on exactly what kind of lace pattern I want to use for the rest of it. I will choose it from the new book (see previous entry), and I am sure it will be a combination of two different kinds of lace. I certainly want to try some more fishnet lace to make the item look light and airy. That won't be easy because the material is too thick, actually. I decided to go for a cheap yarn for this first attempt instead of buying something expensive only to find that I can't do it in the end.

I do, however, have an idea for a nice summer top and would like to use a summer yarn for it instead. Something with bamboo would be perfect.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Book: The New Knitting Stitch Library

I was in Giessen today, the town where I studied, and had the unfortunately rare opportunity to look around the shops. There was some yarn I had to buy for a lingerie project and I remembered to look into one of the bookshops that, I think, is no good for the usual books - but it has a few handicrafts books that can be quite interesting. I was pretty certain they would have something on knitting and so they did.

There was a collection of Regia socks that weren't too appealing. I decided against buying it because there are so many great patterns online that I won't spend 10 Euros on a book like that, knowing I won't even knit half of those socks because I don't like them. What caught my eye, however, was Lesley Stanfield's The New Knitting Stitch Library right next to it.

Since I like to improvise my own designs for various projects, this seemed the perfect book for me even if it is in German, which means I may not be familiar with all the terms. It contains 300 patterns of various kinds and it was surprisingly cheap too. I am very happy I bought the book and am sure it will come in useful very soon.

There are 8 chapters: a two-page introduction about how the book came about, followed by a list of small images of all patterns contained. Each image is assigned a number that enables you to easily find the instructions you are looking for.

The third chapter explains how to read the diagrammes, and chapter four subsequently lists all abbreviations and symbols. This part is particularly necessary for me as I am not familiar with the German ones at the moment. Then, finally, the last four chapters contain the actual patterns, divided into types: patterns consisting solely of k- and p-stitches; cables; eyelet and nob patterns; patterns with crossing (leaning?) stitches.

In the first of these chapters you have both diagrammes as well as description so you can get used to reading the diagrammes for starters. Later on, only the diagrammes are given, which should not be a problem. The images are fairly large for the most part, allowign you to see the details perfectly. All patterns have been photographed in light beige yarn for clearer view.

So far, this is the best cheap collection of patterns I have come across. 300 patterns are a lot! It is a great reference book if you are looking to create something of your own and need some inspiration.


  • Publisher: Weltbild
  • Year: 2006
  • Format: hardback
  • Pages: 191
  • Language: German
  • ISBN: 3828925421
  • Price. EUR 8.95

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Wispish Eyelet Shawl

Well, that was a Wisp gone wrong! Nonetheless, it is a nice soft, light and warming eyelet shawl.

  • 5 mm circulars
  • 75g Sirdar Blur
While following the Wisp pattern, it wasn't clear that the fishnet lace section has to be knit without k-rows, resulting in an ordinary eyelet pattern instead. Ah well. I learned and followed this shawl up with the proper Wisp as posted earlier on this blog.

This was a gift for Mark's mum on her 60th birthday. She liked it very much and Mark's dad took the picture above as I couldn't do so before parting with the shawl.

Teddy's Bag

There's gonna be one happy teddy in Bath soon!

After having made a mini sock for Mark's teddy to use as a bag, I decided to make him a proper bag as well. This was a scrap yarn project once again and a simple knit - nothing special. I cast on 12 stitches, knit till one side was done, and then knitted on to make the back by picking up stitches from the front part's sides to make the turn. Once all stitches were picked up and I reached the top of the bag, I crocheted the strap and then bound off the edges.

Since Teddy is a very sophisticated teddy, I also made him a tiny book - A Bear of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, Penguin edition 2008 - to fit into his new bag. Now it's all wrapped up in pretty paper, tied with a string, and his nametag on it. What more could a bear want?

Monday, 16 June 2008

Mini Socks for Teddy

Koigu yarn isn't meant to be thrown away even if you have only little scraps of it left. My idea was to make some miniature socks, one of which Mark's teddy is now wearing as a bag. By now I have another that I will have to give him once we meet again. In the meantime this one is staying safely in my knitting bag.

By the way, I am adding a better quality picture to my Queen of Cups entry.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Blue-fringed Socks

At last I can post pictures of one of my very early socks! Oddly enough, my first few were improvised for the most part, like this pair of blue-fringed socks. Nowadays I actually search for patterns instead of coming up with something of my own or putting together bits and pieces of different patterns. These here were made using a general lace pattern I found in a friend's book. I converted it into a sock pattern, which worked very nicely. The yarn is from a pair of store-bought socks that were too tight. Since I had to throw away the toe and heel sections of the socks, I didn't have enough yarn left to knit a longer leg. I helped myself to the fancy blue yarn I happened to have at home. I wouldn't do it again, but some people like it. For me it is a bit too girly, perhaps.

  • 100g scrap yarn(s)
  • 2.5 mm DPNs
  • tapestry needle
You can use your favourite toe and heel for this one like I did. Don't forget the gusset! The lace pattern repeat for foot and leg are as follows:

Row 1: k1, yo, k2, k2tog, k2, yo
Row 2: k all
Row 3: k2, yo, k1, k2tog, k1, yo, k1
Row 4: k all
Row 5: k3, yo, k2tog, yo, k2
Row 6: k all

End with a k1 p1 ribbed cuff. And you're done!

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Careless Wisp-er

Please excuse the George Michael reference, but it had to be done. Finally, here it is: Wisp! It was my second attempt at it, the first being a shawl for Mark's mother recently. This time it worked much better and I actually got the pattern I wanted it to have. It turned out beautifully and very colourful. The yarn is quite suitable for such a project even though it is certainly heavier than the kind suggested in the original pattern.

  • approx. 50 g Noro Kureyon
  • 5mm straight needles or circulars
  • tapestry needle to weave in ends

Another thing you will need is good weather for blocking, I realised. I went outside to do this since I had no space indoors to stretch out the shawl properly. It was sunny and windy when I pinned it all down; after an hour there came a heavy downpour and I rushed outside to save my knittin, but too late. I was drenched and the Wisp was still moist. Luckily, the blocking had worked and I was able to let the rest dry without needing any further pinning. Needless to mention it didn't rain again for the rest of the day.

Despite following the instructions, I made some alterations of my own: my Wisp has repeats of 10 rows or fishnet lace and 6 k-rows because I wanted more of the lovely fishnet in this shawl. If I were to knit it again (which I hope to do someday with some Rowan Kid Silk Haze), I would even make this bit longer. Because I would rather have a Wisp made from that material, I won't be keeping this one. I plan to frog it (hence the "careless Wisp-er")- though it is hard to, seeing how beautiful it is - and make something else from it. Even though Noro Kureyon is comparatively heavy for this pattern, it works very well and does not weight the item down, in my opinion. It is amazing how pretty something his simple is!

Friday, 13 June 2008

Dragonflies on My Feet

Dragonfly was the first pair of socks I ever made and they remain one of my favourite and perhaps even the comfiest socks I ever knit. The yarn is very cheap and the kind I used most often for my first projects, but I still like to use it today.

  • 2.5 mm DPNs
  • 100g Fabiani Balu (red)
  • darning needle to sew in ends
  • stitchmarker to mark beginning
The lace pattern is very easily done and memorised. I recommend knitting these while watching TV or listening to the radio or an audiobook. I only started the lace pattern once I began the leg as I didn't feel confident enough at the time to begin what I thought might be a complicated pattern so early on. The pattern is reminiscent of a number of dragonflies, hence the name.

I experimented quite a bit with this pattern in the end and knit a different toe, foot and heel altogether. That is because I used the bits I was most comfortable with knitting as a beginner. The Dutch heel I used here is a nightmare - I couldn't stand it then and I couldn't stand it now. I never tried it again, which has probably saved me some nerves. Instead of the simple ribbed cuff, I chose a picot edge, which was also a first for me. It looks lovely, though it is not terribly stretchy. This picot tutorial can be found here.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Work In Progress

I think this is the first time I have more than two projects going at the same time. This is probably due to my impatience recently, but I am sure that getting back to work and also having all this new yarn is making it hard for me to stick to one thing alone.

Since I got a new camera I thought I should knit a bag for it from some left-over yarn. To make it a bit more interesting, I chose the cabled owl pattern from some potholders I made earlier. I have a thing for owls, but don't ask me why! Anyway, I had to have it on the bag. It is a very quick knit, but I am so impatient with my knitting at the moment that I couldn't even sit down to finish sewing the sides together yet. That is all that is left to do and I may have to add a strap with which to fasten the flap to keep the bag closed. I don't want to use a button for fear of damaging the camera. So this is project 1.

Project 2 is awful. These Firestarter socks are driving me crazy, letme tell you. Ever since I learned to knit I have been wanting to make these, but the pattern put me off. It sounded terribly difficult on the page, so I waited till now to give it a go. Big mistake. The cable pattern seen below was a problem at first because the English description made it sound far more difficult than it really was. Only with the help of some fellow-knitters did I manage to get it right.

By now I have finished the heel and have to continue with the leg, but I am sick and tired of it. I encountered more problems while trying to join the gusset stitches with the heel. Either I kept making mistakes or the pattern is wrong in places (I suppose it is the former). I don't think I will finish these socks. Instead, I will take some more pictures for a separate entry, frog the sock and use the yarn for something else. This particular colour combo isn't any good for Firestarter anyway because it obscures the pattern too much. Pity.

Project 3 on the other hand is one I had trouble with the first time, but not this time around. While in Bath, I knitted Wisp for Mark's mother with some fuzzy soft Sirdar Blur yarn. I spotted a mistake in the pattern that made the whole thing look more like your ordinary eyelet scarf, unfortunately. This time, however, I was able to knit it properly and I am enjoying it very much. Using Noro Kureyon yarn, I have a shawl that is not too soft, but the fishnet lace keeps it from being too tough. I can't wait to see what it looks like after blocking!

I am not sure if I like the many colours in the scarf, but it does look good. I don't think it is my sort of garment due to the colours, but I want to finish it anyway. If I don't want it, I can always frog it and make socks from the yarn as originally planned. Mind, there is so much of that yarn that I might not even need all of it and might still have enough left for socks. Who knows?

Friday, 6 June 2008

Nutkin With a Twist

Oh yes, it is a twisted Nutkin! Why? Because I have the same problem that many other knitters have with this sock: the unwanted twist along the leg. But first things first.

  • 2 skeins Koigu KPPPM
  • 2.5 mm DPNs
I used Knitzi's Nutkin pattern (pdf), which is easily memorised and a pleasure to knit. It is ideal for keeping busy while watching television, I find. This pair came into being while watching the current Doctor Who series, various auction shows, The Apprentice, property development shows, and others. The result is very satisfying even though I have read elsewhere that the sock twists due to the pattern, and so does mine. However, it only twists around the leg, which isn’t too bad. I still like them.

I knitted these from the toe up since that is my preferred method, using my favourite toe and heel so that I only used the actual cable-like pattern from the instructions. I noticed that an 8-st-cast on is a bit too small here because the toe is a bit too pointy even when I wear the sock. Not too big a deal, but something worth remembering for the future when knitting with Koigu yarn, perhaps. Apart from that the socks fit well and are stretchier than most others I knitted previously.

A note on the images: they are clearer if viewed in original size. Click to see.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Belated Summer Socks

A belated post about socks I made in winter. By now they are just in time for summer, luckily. To make these, I frogged an old pair of store-bought socks that was made of worsted weight yarn - way too thick for the pattern I used in the end, but I had really had enough of those winter socks and needed to do something about them.

  • 2.5 mm DPNs
  • worsted weight yarn from two old socks
I used Angela Mühlpfordt's pattern for summer eyelet socks (German), an easy pattern that looks far better with normal sock yarn in nice solid colours, I think. Originally, I set out to knit a pair for myself, a European size 39. However, I did not consider that the yarn would of course influence how big the final item would be and therefore just went ahead, knitting happily on, and ended up with a pair of huge socks... Luckily, they turned out to be just the right size for Mark and the pair was posted off to England as part of his birthday present. I had forgotten to take a photo before posting, but on my last visit I managed to make Mark pose for me. Or at least his feet.

Despite the thick yarn, the socks aren't too warm and ideal for wearing indoors when it is cold, but not freezing. With sock yarn I would imagine they are nice and airy and perfect with sandals.

Six Weeks in Bath - A Day in Brislington

It's been a while since I posted. I was on visiting Mark in Bath and spent six weeks in what has become my favourite city in England. While there I took the opportunity to buy new yarn, especially some Koigu which I haven't been able to find in Germany yet. On my birthday, Mark took me to Get Knitted in Brislington which is so very different from my local yarn shops! It looked rather shabby from outside, but the inside is very spacious and I coldn't get enough of all the colours. So much yarn! I have never seen that much before. I wish I had a place like that near me.

All in all I bought:
  • KnitPicks 2 mm DPNs
  • KnitPicks 3 mm interchangables
  • 2 skeins each of 2 Koigu KPPPM yarn (green and purple)
  • 2 skeins Sirdar Blur
  • 1 skein Noro Kureyon sock yarn (just loved the colours)
The needles were necessary! I have very few of my own since most are either my mother's or grandma's. I have got a set of KNitPicks interchangeables (Harmony) already so I wanted to get a smaller sized metal pair as well. The DPNs are coming in handy when knitting with the Noro yarn since it is rather thin.

I simply love the Koigu yarns! It was a hard choice, but the purple caught my eye from the start. I had to have it, and since I couldn't resist the temptation, I bought another two skeins in green. By now I have made a pair of socks from the purple one and I must say that it is a pleasure to knit with this yarn. It is smooth and soft and allows for quick knitting. Not to mention the wonderful colours. The purple is my favourite by far and somehow I wish I could frog the socks and just keep on knitting with it!

Sirdar Blur was a cheap alternative to the Rowan Kid Silk Haze that I had in mind for a present for Mark's mum. I do like Rowan, but the price has kept me from buying any so far. The day I went to the shop, Rowan did not have the right colours I was looking for either, so I settled for Sirdar instead. It is not quite as fine as I had hoped, but it makes nice light items as well. I still have about half of a skein left (see below) and am wondering what to make out of it. My fingers are itching to do something nice.

Noro Kureyon was a chance buy, actually. I had wanted to get another Noro yarn that turned out not to look as nice in reality as it did online. Instead, this one caught my eye, mainly because of the lovely colours. I had no idea how it would look once knitted - a problem I always have, which usually keeps me from buying anything with too contrasting colours -, but I loved the combination so much that I went ahead and bought it after some debating. It wasn't cheap, but I am glad I did it.

Get Knitted is jsut one of the many things I miss now that I am no longer in Bath. But one day I will get back, and maybe to stay.