Friday, 27 June 2014

Winning With Socks

As you may know, Let's Knit magazine has a fortnightly competition on Twitter and Facebook. You send in pictures of your knitting and they pick their five favourite makes. I usually share a photo as well unless I miss it and today I won first place with my Stitch Surfer socks! Good thing I just finished them. Here's what they said:
1. Surfer Socks by @KnittyNadiaWe were so taken with these striking socks, with their brilliant zig-zag design, and the colour choices really make them stand out. Congratulations Nadia, you’re the winner of this fortnight’s competition! Your two balls of Katia Silk-Mohair will be making their way to you very soon…

You can see all top 5 picks right here. If you want to participate next time, give @letsknitmag a follow and keep an eye out for their tweets every other Friday. You can also follow me on Twitter @KnittyNadia. See you there!

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Stitch Surfer - Finished!

It was a long journey, but finally the Stitch Surfer socks are DONE! I have knitted 1 3/4 pairs of these socks and am so glad they are done. Mind you, these are great socks to knit and not as difficult as they may seem, but I don't like having to knit the same thing more than once at the best of times. While I still prefer the original colours I chose at the start, sadly, I ran out of yarn halfway through the second sock and had to start over. I replaced the green yarn with this stripey green yarn from a previously frogged pair. The contrast is still lovely though and I am happy with them.
I like the flow of the two colours and how they match no matter which way round you want to wear the socks. The heel is one I never knitted before and it gave me a bit of trouble for a while. You need to watch the video tutorial in order to understand the written  instructions - well, I did, anyway. Once I did that, the heel was really simple to knit. It isn't the best or most flattering heel and I don't like the boxy fit at all, but I didn't know exactly how to substitute my favourite heel and just went with it.
The foot is a little too long for me and it's a bit baggy due to the yarn I used, but the socks will be very cosy in winter and will allow me to wear a thin pair of socks underneath on very cold days. I also decided to make the cuff shorter because the pattern calls for a cuff twice that length, which is just too high for me. The current length is just right. I was afraid it would make the pattern look odd, but it flows quite nicely.
I knitted these socks as part of a Stitch Surfer KAL and you can check out all other participants by using #SSKAL14 on social media. 

Have you been tempted to knit these socks as well? What colour combo would you use? Let me know!

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Brainstorming Ideas For Craft Classes

I have surprised myself with how much I really want to teach again. I was so excited about it that I  brainstormed  some ideas for classes. Very quickly, I had this pretty long list of easy (for me) classes. There are others I could do, too, but they would need a lot more preparation than these, so I have left them off for now. What do you think?

 One-day sessions:

- How to knit a triangular/circular/semicircular etc. shawl
- knitting with beads
- spinning your own yarn
- continental knitting
- how to read knitting charts
- knit your first scarf
- knit your first hat
- how to knit socks (mini sock)
- knitting: design your own colourwork

Multiple session classes:

- sock knitting
- how to knit gloves

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Customer Photo: Yellow Duck Crochet Marker

Look at what Becky sent me! A pic of her work in progress, using one of my new yellow duck crochet markers. Thank you, Becky! I love customer photos, so keep them coming!

I want to make some for myself to use as knitting row markers instead since I rarely crochet. Time to get out the clay box, I think.

Monday, 9 June 2014

To Teach or Not to Teach

People who know me from my previously life as an academic know that I taught at university for a bit while getting my PhD. Although the teaching side if it was what I considered a necessary evil of an academic career when all I wanted to do was research, I have recently been thinking about teaching again. Teaching knitting and possibly spinning, that is.

I would like to offer workshops and have been in touch with a place about this. However, instead of clear answers to my very specific questions, I didn't get a response for a month, and then when I did hear back, it was advertising for an event instead. So I am going to wait a while before trying again in the hope of getting some useful information. I like efficiency. I'm German.

In the meantime, I am considering taking a class in teaching crafts. This would definitely be helpful, no doubt. I am unsure about whether it would actually be much different from the advice you get about teaching in general, not just crafts. If it isn't, I wouldn't want to spend the money. I think I might just risk it, though, after a little more research into the class.

Tell me about classes you have taken. What were they like and did you enjoy them? Were they online or in person? What kind of classes would you like to take? Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Review: Big Girl Knits and More Big Girl Knits

You may have noticed that I have never really knitted a jumper before - not unless you count a very chunky sleeveless one from about two years ago. Being a very big girl, it is hard to find reliable patterns in my size to work with, so I haven't risked buying a huge amount of yarn for a jumper. I would love to knit one in fingering weight or DK yarn at some point as long as I can be sure I have a good pattern that works for me.

Cue Big Girl Knits. You may have heard of Moreno and Singer's two books Big Girl Knits, and More Big Girl Knits. By chance, I found the first one heavily discounted at a local store and had to have it. Recently, I was given the second book and thought I would share my thoughts with you.

There are pros and cons for each, and if you have been thinking about getting the books, I hope my thoughts help you decide whether to go for them or not.

Both books are divided into two sections. First, introductory chapters guide you into what flatters your shape, how to measure yourself and what to keep in mind when considering what to knit. For me, these were the best bits even though I disagreed with many 'rules' established by the authors - but then again they do mention that some rules are meant to be broken. Knitters have to choose between being a boob, belly or butt girl? Tough luck if you are all of the above, though. Then, the following section of the book consists of a number of patterns covering jumpers, cardigans, coats, shawls, socks and bags. Interestingly, the first book also has patterns for a dew skirts and a pair of yoga pants. This variety makes me prefer the first book.
Big Girl Knits also has better patterns than More Big Girl Knits. I especially like the Stacie pullover on the cover (my favourite pattern of all), Bombshell and the simple Cherry Bomb. I also like the knee-length skirts and the pants look comfy, though I probably wouldn't knit them. 

Sadly, the second book contains mainly boring, unflattering patterns that actually seem to contradict the advice given in the opening chapters. Luckily, the book has a sweater worksheet to help you knit a simple 'vanilla' jumper which will be a good start for me. 

There are only three patterns in More Big Girl Knits that I actually like, I'm sad to say. The faire isle in the Bountiful cardigan is beautiful as is the cabling in the Susie hoodie. Hot Cocoa has an interesting construction that fascinates me too.
The most ridiculous pattern in the whole book is Boo, Too. I have no idea what happened there, but that is just too much and not at all flattering. It does not make the lovely model look good, so how is this going to make you and me look? I dread to think about it. Too much colour, too many lines, too many ruffles. I am not a fan of Folly or the Guatemalan Floral Tunic either, though the sleeve solution for the latter is nice.

Having patterns for tops, skirts and even trousers included in the books, I am not sure why we need shawls, bags and socks as well. There are lots of these patterns available elsewhere since these things are not really dependent on your size. Therefore, I have the impression the patterns were simply added to pad out the book. Instead, I would have preferred more jumpers and cardigans.

All in all, I am certainly glad I have the books because I needed the information supplied in the introductory chapters. Knowing how to measure myself properly and how to use the measurements to calculate what I need to do with a pattern is essential. I hope that I can try to knit the 'vanilla' jumper using my measurements just to test if I can do it. I am sure that once I get that first jumper out of the way, it should be easy to knit with more patterns.

Do you have these books? If so, what are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!