Friday, 28 February 2014

Finally Knitting Fish

It took some time, and a few more times of ripping back what I had just knitted, to finally get on with my Bachforelle stole. It was an extremely frustrating and annoying knit and it was only thanks to other knitters' helpful notes on Ravelry that I finally had a break through and got the first row of fish done.
Now that I have cracked it, knitting is going well and flows nicely. I have finished the first repeat of fishes and I think i have at least 7 more to go! It will be a while till it is done, I think, but at least I won't be putting it all aside for yet another three years.
Let me know what you are working on right now. I can always use ideas for my next project!

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Seascape Stole - Finished!

You have been waiting very patiently for me to finish my Seascape Stole and now it is finally done! It only took three years...
I first began knitting this project in July 2011 and I cast off the final stitches in February 2014. That is an incredibly long time to be knitting, you might think, and you are right. But, really, I didn't spend that long actually knitting. There was a three-year gap in between because the knitting was not going well at all. 

Now, there were several reasons for this: 
  • I did not have good lighting.
  • I kept losing my place in the charts, sometimes I forgot which row I was on or I didn't know which stitch was next because the main chart was quite big.
  • The yarn is very fine and, most of all, fuzzy, so ripping back was almost impossible because the yarn would get knotted to other stitches.
Fast forward three years are things are different:
  • I have a nice little knitting corner in the flat with a comfy armchair and a floor lamp with a little reading lamp attached to it.
  • I bought myself a chart reader/folder a while back to help with the many knitting charts I use. It stands up so I can put the pattern on it and hold it in place with magnets that also serve to mark the row I happen to be on. 
 With these changes,  knitting Seascape became a breeze! It did not take me long at all - about two weeks - to finish it and I am genuinely surprised by how pleasant it was all of a sudden. And I love the result! This is a light and soft stole that I really look forward to wearing once it warms up slightly. And I also love the colour that really goes well with the design. Very pleased and happy!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Picking Up Another WIP

In an attempt to finally finish up all my WIPs, I recently dug out my "Grosse Bachforelle", a larger version of Kleine Bachforelle. I first started it in August 2011 after a Wendy, a good friend of mine, made me a full chart for a larger version. The trouble we both had with the original patterns is that the charts are so confusing and all over the place so you have to piece them together as you go. I don't know about you, but I have no patience for that!

(Image: Ute Sturm)

However, I really like the little fish in the pattern and didn't want to just let the pattern go and move on to something else just because it looked too confusing to get my head around. So I got my teal Fyberspates Scrumptious lace yarn and denim beads and cast on. I knitted the entire edging and started with the fish, only to discover that something wasn't working as it should. I kept having the wrong stitch count and couldn't figure out what went wrong. So much time has passed now that I really have no idea what I might have been doing at the time. I am beginning to suspect I might have switched to the wrong chart at some point without noticing. 

So now here I am, 3 years later, still none the wiser. I ripped back to just the edging and the stitch count is still off by a significant number. I've decided to start from the beginning now and see how it goes. Instead of unravelling the edging as well, I will leave it and start knitting from scratch. This way, if something goes wrong again, I can always go back to the first attempt or compare the two to see what's gone wrong. 

I am determined to finish it! My friend Wendy and I will be having a little KAL of our own.

Have you ever knitted something that drove you crazy? What is the oldest WIP you have?

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Teal Hand-Dyed Sock Yarn

Despite it being winter, which means that wet things such as laundry and wool dry really slowly in my cold flat, I did some more yarn dyeing recently. I used a skein of Regia 4-ply sock yarn that I had been wanting to turn into a lovely teal variegated yarn for future sock designs. Also, this was going to be my first attempt at dyeing in a new microwave oven so I had no idea if it would work at all!

It turns out, everything worked fine. I used a bit too much dye in this because I wanted to make sure there would be no white patches, and the yarn did take almost all of it in the end with only a little dye washing out afterwards. Mind you, we'll see how much more comes out when the finished socks get washed! I was quite surprised by the amount of red dye that came out of the Smaug socks not too long ago.

The yarn took 3 days to dry... We need some warmer temperatures over here. I, for one, am ready for spring.

The photos don't represent the true colour, unfortunately. The yarn looks blue while in reality it is actually a very nice shade of teal with lighter and darker strands. I think it will look perfect once knitted up and can't wait to cast on! But it will have to wait because I am finishing up some WIPs and I am also designing a set of mittens with stranded colourwork (and sheep!). Stay tuned!

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Turquoise Lana Grossa Aluminium Fashion DPNs

I’m a little late to the party, but as an avid sock knitter, I just had to get these turquoise DPNs from Lana Grossa. If you live in Germany, you may have come across them already: it seems that Lana Grossa had a limited edition run of these Aluminium Fashion knitting needles for a while sometime last year. Others on Ravelry were talking about them, but by the time I fell in love with the colour, the needles were no longer available.
So when I found out that  Lana Grossa was offering them again this year, I got in touch with a German friend who graciously sent them to me because they don’t seem to be for sale anywhere else. I even know of a friend in Austria, so close to Germany, who had to have a German friend post them to her.
After months of first learning about these turquoise needles, I now finally have a set that will come in useful next time I knit socks. They are 2.5 mm DPNs with a length of 15 cm. I haven’t tested them yet, but they look and feel just like you would expect good DPNs to, so I am sure they’re perfect for the job. I really do love this colour! I hope that there may be other colours in the future too and perhaps they could be sold in other countries as well. Let’s just hope I don’t hear about them when they’re already sold out again.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Etsy: Knitting Needles With Felt Toppers

It's time for a new product launch! Meet my latest darlings: bamboo knitting needles with felted toppers.
Cheerful and in a range of colours, these needles are great for beginning and long-time knitters alike. I needle-felted the toppers around the existing needle ends so they are mobile and yet secure. They can be twisted around the ends as they have not been glued on, and they'll resist everyday bumps and light tugs.
There are only 6 sets available at this time so grab them while you can. I hope to make more of these should they be in demand and should I find a reliable supplier of bamboo knitting needles (not as easy as it sounds).
Enjoy the cheery colours and happy knitting!

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Picking Up a Long-term Knitting Project

 (Image: Kieran Foley)

It's been so long that even long-time readers of this blog problaby don't remember this knitting project:
I started knitting the Seascape Stole by Kieran Foley in July 2011! I got the recommended yarn in a different colourway and it looks lovely. I chose a greenish shade that still resembles the sea thanks to a tinge of blue. However, knitting with Rowan Kidsilk Haze was such a hassle because of its fine and fuzzy nature, and keeping track of the detailed charts was so difficult that I put it all aside. Years passed and even though I love the stole, I just couldn't face knitting any more of it. 
Forward 3 years and things are different. I now have a decent, large knitting chart holder (KnitPro) and the patience to continue. And it's going great! Having the chart holder is making all the difference and now it is really enjoyable to sit back in my armchair with a good reading lamp to get on with this project. (I had neither the chair nor the lamp the first time around. Come to think of it, I don't think I had any stitch markers back then either! Knitting is so much easier now with all the right tools.)
It didn't take long to make progress and I am almost finished now. Within a few days I knitted over half of the stole and was enjoying it immensely. I am looking forward to finishing Seascape soon and I wonder how it will look once it's ready to wear.