Friday, 31 May 2013

Sock Inspiration

Socks are probably the thing I like to knit most. They're perfect because you only usually need 100g of yarn, it's a small project you can carry with you if you have to, and it is fairly quick to finish them. My to-do list of sock patterns spans many, many pages and I keep finding new socks to add all the time. Isn't it a shame we only have two feet to knit for? I am running out of excuses why I need yet another pair of woolly socks.

If you need inspiration for a new project, have a look at these patterns that are among my top favourites (you know where to get your yarn from):
1. Smaug by Claire Ellen is a must-have for any fan of Middle-earth. I want to dye some yarn in a semisolid red to make these socks, but they would also look great in a golden-orange shade, I think.

2. The Owlie Socks by Julie Elswick Suchomel are simply cute! I love those owls and the use of beads for eyes. These socks are best knitted in a solid or semisolid shade so the pattern doesn't get swallowed up by all the colours.

3. I've actually knitted these Swedish Fish socks by Spilly Jane before, but they shrunk a tiny bit in the wash and now I can't get my feet back in! I would like to knit them again another time because they are just beautiful.

4. Cookie A.'s Clandestine have also been on my to-do list for a while and the only thing that's stopping me is the lack of a solid colour and the number of other beautiful socks. I will get around to them eventually!

What's on your list?

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Meet Dr Ted, the Graduation Teddy

Just over a month ago I met a lovely German girl who has moved to Bath a short period for her PhD studies. We met up at the Bath Artisan Market and immediately hit it off. She invited me to her birthday and I had just the right present in mind for her: the Graduation Teddy!
Usually, I don't crochet at all and I have only once made another crochet toy. Even though my Dr Ted looks nothing like the original, he is kinda cute with his mortar board, diploma and bow tie. I know Elena will like him so I just need to find him a nice little gift bag and wait till this evening's party!

Nominate This Blog!

The Cosmopolitan Blog Awards 2013 are coming up! It's your chance to nominate your favourite blogs in a number of different categories. When you have a moment, I'd love it if you would consider me for the Best Craft Blog category. Just click on the Cosmopolitan badge on the right hand side under my profile and nominate Abso-knitting-lutely! 

And now I am off to nominate my favourite one. Wheeeee!

Friday, 24 May 2013

Knitted iPad Mini Cover With Swedish Fish

Last week I treated myself to an iPad Mini after a very long wait. I've never had an Apple product and don't even own a smartphone, so this was a big leap - and I love it!

Trying to keep the cost down as much as possible, I did not get a cover for my gadget and have now decided to knit one. Why spend money on a cover if I can knit one? I have three skeins of King Cole Cottonsoft in ecru, cherry and mint that will work perfectly. 
I've decided to use the Swedish fish pattern that I have also used on socks before. The background colour is ecru, which is basically the same shade as undyed wool. The fish will be knitted in alternating colours row by row. I must admit that I made the mistake of having the fish face the wrong way on the second row, so now the pattern isn't the way I had planned, but there you go. Now there are two rows of fish facing one way while the next two face the other way. I don't feel like knitting back to fix the second row even though I should.

Once the knitting is done, I want to sew a proper lining, possibly with batting as well to cushion the iPad. I am looking forward to it being done so that I can use it!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Pablo Neruda's Ode to My Socks

Pablo Neruda has some of the most beautiful poems, but this is one I hadn't come across before. As a sock knitter, I can appreciate it even more. Look  further down the page for the original Spanish version.

Ode to My Socks (trans. Robert Bly)

Mara Mori brought me
a pair of socks
which she knitted herself
with her sheepherder’s hands,
two socks as soft as rabbits.
I slipped my feet into them
as if they were two cases
knitted with threads of twilight and goatskin,

Violent socks,
my feet were two fish made of wool,
two long sharks
sea blue, shot through
by one golden thread,
two immense blackbirds,
two cannons:
my feet were honored in this way
by these heavenly socks.

They were so handsome for the first time
my feet seemed to me unacceptable
like two decrepit firemen,
firemen unworthy of that woven fire,
of those glowing socks.

Nevertheless, I resisted the sharp temptation
to save them somewhere as schoolboys
keep fireflies,
as learned men collect
sacred texts,
I resisted the mad impulse to put them
in a golden cage and each day give them
birdseed and pieces of pink melon.

Like explorers in the jungle
who hand over the very rare green deer
to the spit and eat it with remorse,
I stretched out my feet and pulled on
the magnificent socks and then my shoes.

The moral of my ode is this:
beauty is twice beauty
and what is good is doubly good
when it is a matter of two socks
made of wool in winter.

Oda a Los Calcetines

Me trajo Mara Mori
un par de calcetines
que tejió con sus manos de pastora,
dos calcetines suaves como liebres.
En ellos metí los pies
como en dos estuches
tejidos con hebras del
crepúsculo y pellejos de ovejas.

Violentos calcetines,
mis pies fueron dos pescados de lana,
dos largos tiburones
de azul ultramarino
atravesados por una trenza de oro,
dos gigantescos mirlos,
dos cañones:
mis pies fueron honrados de este modo
por estos celestiales calcetines.

Eran tan hermosos que por primera vez
mis pies parecieron inaceptables,
como dos decrépitos bomberos,
bomberos indignos de aquel fuego bordado,
de aquellos luminosos calcetines.

Sin embargo, resistí la tentación
aguda de guardarlos como los colegiales preservan sus luciérnagas,
como los eruditos coleccionan
documentos sagrados,
resistí el impulso furioso de ponerlos
en una jaula de oro y darles cada
dia alpiste y pulpa de melón rosado.

Como descubridores que en la selva
entregan el rarísimo venado verde
al asador y se lo comen con remordimiento,
estiré los pies y me enfundé
los bellos calcetines y luego los zapatos.

Y es esta la moral de mi Oda:
Dos veces es belleza la belleza,
y lo que es bueno es doblemente bueno,
cuando se trata de dos calcetines
de lana en el invierno.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

New Lace Stitch Markers Available Now!

This is just a quick post to let you know that the lace stitch markers are now live!
You can get sets of 20 in four different colours. I love them!

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Making Lace Stitch Markers

For quite some time I've been in love with the simple lace stitch markers that consist of only a ring and a bead, the ones that look like the ball closure rings often used for piercings. I don't know why I didn't try making these before, but recently I saw them elsewhere again and decided to give it a go. 
I ordered silver rings, trying to decide what would be the best size, and the best glue for the job. I still have lots of beads here from my knitting and beading projects so I was all set. Obviously, making these markers is fairly quick and easy and the glue is the key because you don't want the bead to come loose and turn the beautiful snag-free markers into horribly distracting rings that get caught on your knitting.
At the moment I am waiting for the glue to be delivered so the markers aren't quite finished yet, but they're looking good so far! I really like them and hope to make more for both my customers and me. I would love to make them with rings in different colours, not just beads in different shades. Perhaps offering different sizes would be a good idea too. Hm, so many choices!

Friday, 17 May 2013

Etsy Update: Stitch Marker Sets, Row Counters and Mini Scissors

It was time for something new! I've added tow stitch marker sets that each comes with a row counter and a decorative mini scissors charm. 
The stitch markers consist of red beads of faceted glass, a heart charm and nylon-coated tiger tail wire. This way, the markers won't damage your needles and will slip along easily with your stitches. The row counters can also slipped onto your needles like a stitch marker, which I always find very helpful when using circular needles. The mini scissors are decorative only and not entirely functional, but they look cute with their protective covering and little lanyard.

There are two different sets available right now: set 1 has smaller stitch markers while set 2 consists of larger, round beads.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Behind the Scenes: Pretzels Stitch Markers

Having grown up in Germany for the greater part of my youth, it's no surprise I occasionally miss some of the food now that I've moved to the UK. Something I wish I could get in Bath is a traditional soft German pretzel. Or even a pretzel roll! While studying for my A-levels/baccalaureate in Laubach, I used to go pick up a pretzel roll during lunch break, enjoying a stroll into town and hurrying back just in time for my next class. It is a lovely place to go for walks: there's an old castle that is still inhabited by the descendents of the Earl of Solms-Laubach, spa gardens, cobbled streets and timberframed houses in the old town centre.
(Image: Peter Grahlmann)

There are quite a few recipes on the web for all sorts of homemade pretzels, but few are anything like the real thing, sadly.
 (Pretzel roll/Laugenbrötchen)

So I started making my own pretzels, albeit out of polymer clay and unfortunately inedible. But for now they'll just have to do until my next visit to Germany when I will once again feel compelled to go into every decent bakery to ask for the real thing.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Artist Interview on OPIAN

Exciting news! Chloe from OPIAN has interviewed me about my work, influences and plans and you can find the feature in both French and English right here on her blog.
I very much enjoyed answering all her questions and it was very interesting for me to read her French translation too. (I used to be very good in French and miss it now that I haven't had to use it for many years.) 
Chloe runs OPIAN, an organic fashion label based in London. Her items are limited editions for consumers who like a comfortable modern style that is eco friendly at the same time. Check out her collections here.
OPIAN: Cowl top

Thursday, 9 May 2013

More Knitting Needle Toppers

I’ve been busy making some more knitting needle toppers. At the beginning they were quite hard to make separately from the needles, so the best method seems to be to just mould them straight onto the ends. The trouble is that this brings with it its own problems, but I should be able to sort them out through trial and error. Or so I hope!

So far the toppers include sheep, cupcakes and sushi rice balls. I like how they look and am thinking of some more designs that would suit these bamboo needles. Perhaps ghosts made from glow-in-the-dark clay, mushrooms or beehives with tiny bees would be good too. I’ll give them a try next!

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Leftie in Green and White

Shortly after Leftie was published, a nice lady from the German RAK group bought me the pattern as a gift because I liked the look of it so much. I'd always planned to knit it mainly in white with colourful leaves and stripes, pretty much like the original from the designer. However, that never happened.
Coincidentally, I got yarn on my birthday last month, including a 150g skein of Colinette Jitterbug in the Lagoon colourway. Even though I wasn't too sure about the green at first and was already thinking about swapping it, it soon grew on me. And best of all, it makes the perfect main colour for my Leftie. I also found a ball of unloved white acrylic yarn with which to knit the stripes and leaves, so I was all set to begin.
This is a very easy knit - a bit too easy perhaps because it gets very boring the longer the rows become. All you need to do is knit in stockinette, do short rows and increases. I can't knit more than one section at a time because I get too restless.
That said, I love how it looks so far. I've woven in most of the ends along the way so I won't have to do it at the very end. There are two ends for every stripe after all! It's not going as fast as I'd hoped, but once my Leftie is done, it will be fantastic.