Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Koi Rama in Wollmeise

Three years ago I was gifted the pattern for the beautiful Koi Rama shawl that I had had my eye on. It took another two years before I actually cast on to knit it on Christmas Day 2013. After a few false starts, I finally got into the pattern and enjoyed knitting the shawl. I made the smaller size since that is all I could knit with one skein of Wollmeise Twin (colourway Mango), but when I blocked it, it grew quite a bit. With some more aggressive blocking, it could be a really good size, actually.

The name Koi Rama indicate what the design is about: the open lace in the body of the shawl resembles Koi while the edging is meant to depict butterflies (rama). These stitch patterns were competely new to me and I love them. They are the reason the pattern appealed to me as soon as I came across it and I just had to knit it.

I am not sure when I actually finished knitting Koi Rama in the end. When I cast off, I wasn't happy with how the last few repeats had turned out. I must have made a mistake along the way because the fabric seemed to bulge and pucker for some reason. So I put the shawl aside while I mulled over if I wanted to undo the rows and reknit them. Then other projects came along and I never got back to this one.

Then this month I finished a few other projects and had nothing else to knit. I saw my shawl lying there, waiting for me to finally get back to it and I could no longer put it off. In the end, it took me longer to find the pattern than it did to reknit the last bit of the shawl! The mistake was made somewhere in the last 5 rows or so, so it was easy to rip back and start over. I have no idea why I went wrong because I had no problem knitting this bit again. Now the shawl is finished, blocked and waiting to be worn. Can't wait! I hope to take some better pictures of it when we have a bit more light.

Friday, 24 October 2014

My First Wollmeise Lace

It is ironic that I should find out about Wollmeise only after leaving Germany to live in the UK. I was  a knitter for a few years before my move, but I had never heard of Wollmeise before and I was completely unaware of all the hype.

Once I became aware of the brand, I, like many others, loved the many colours and was keen to try the yarn for myself. Since Wollmeise is so popular, it is hard to get your hands on it, especially in the online store. I was lucky enough to receive a skein of their Twin yarn years ago and I will be posting photos of the shawl I made from it soon. I was happy with the Twin, but I didn't think it was anything particularly special. The colour was lovely, but the yarn felt unexpectedly rough.

The yarn I really wanted to try was Wollmeise lace. I once nearly bought a skein from a fellow knitter from my knitting group, but I was disappointed that it was a solid instead of one of the multicolour skeins and the roughness of the yarn put me off as well. So I declined and didn't think much about the yarn for a while.

Then came the release of Viajante, a pattern specifically designed with one skein of Wollmeise lace, and I was intrigued. I thought about substituting the yarn with another, but for a change I wanted to knit with the recommended yarn just to make sure the result is as close to the original pattern as possible. Now, Wollmeise isn't cheap and I spent quite a while saving up for it, enough so I don't feel bad about splashing out. Then I searched people's stashes on Ravelry to see who was selling any and I was lucky enough to find three skeins of interest. two were blue, but things got in the way and the sale didn't happen. Then I came across a lady who sold the Ruby Thursday colourway which, just by chance, happens to be the exact same yarn I nearly bought from my knitting group friend years ago! 

Yesterday, the huge skein of red lace arrived in the post and I love the colour. It is such a nice, deep red - just what I like in my favourite colour. I still think the yarn should be softer and nicer to the touch than it is, though, so I do not subscribe to the hype. It is a good yarn, but probably a bit overrated. I will be casting on my Viajante as soon as I finish my next project. I think it will come in useful in these colder days and I am really looking forward to knitting and wearing my lovely red Viajante.

I'm curious as to what you think of Wollmeise, if you have tried it. Do you think it is overrated or that it lives up to its hype? What have you made from your Wollmeise?

Sunday, 19 October 2014

A Little Abso-knitting-lutely Website

While I am saving up for a full-blown website with all the bells and whistles, I have set up a small site here to showcase my work and direct visitors to my stores. Let me know what you think of it and if there is something you would like to see. 

One day I hope to have a site using Wordpress, with an integrated store and blog so customers won't have to keep jumping between my current three shops, blog and little site. For now, this will have to do.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Spinning Malabrigo Nube - Indiecita

I have some more woolly goodness to show you: my finished skein of Malabrigo Nube in the Indiecita colourway. it is lovely and squishy and the colours are beautiful too. They are slightly paler than my usual colours of choice, but I already have plans for this skein. Once I finish my Christmas knitting, I want to turn this yarn into the Spikelets Cowl for colder days. I think the yarn would go really well with it.
As before, this braid of fibre was difficult to draft and spin, but I was prepared for it this time and it made for a more pleasant experience. I spun longdraw and chainplyed the singles to make a yarn slightly thicker than my usual choice. Because I had a short break while spinning this fibre, I ended up with one bobbin full of a slightly finer single than the previous one. At a difference of 1 - 2 WPI, it shouldn't make too much of a difference, I hope.
I can't wait to start knitting! My first skein of Malabrigo is earmarked for a hat to go with the cowl, so I will be busy knitting for the winter soon enough. Both hat and cowl will have gradual colour changes and result in nice stripes in the fabric. They'll go well with my black winter coat, which is in desperate need of some colourful accessories.
Are you spinning anything at the moment? Do you have any idea what you want to knit or crochet with it in the end? If you have any pictures, I'd love to see them.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Secret Christmas Knitting with Knit Pro Cubics

This is a bit of a mysterious post today. I am knitting a Christmas gift and don't want the recipient to see what it is, but I couldn't resist posting about it either. So I am not going to tell you what it is, except that it is lacy and made from my own hand-dyed sock yarn.

Made from 100% BFL, this yarn is great for more than just socks, which is why I am making something lacy from it. I dyed it with ultramarine, turquoise and emerald acid dyes and so far there has been no pooling in the knitted fabric, which is great. At just under 400 m, I may run out of yarn before the pattern says it should. Luckily, it probably won't make much of a difference, so I will just keep knitting till I run out.
The pattern itself isn't listed on Ravelry, which surprises me. It is available on The Knitter's blog, however, if  you would like to go on a hunt for my mystery knit. If you follow me on social media, you will have seen a link to it in the last two months. I know this all sounds frustratingly mysterious, but I will post all the details once Christmas is over.
The exciting thing about this project is that I had to buy new needles! I have a fairly small selection of sizes and this pattern called for 4.5 mm needles that I didn't have. A great excuse for trying out the Knit Pro Cubics made from Rosewood. I was curious about them because I know people who absolutely love them, but I also know some who absolutely hate them. 

Luckily, I like them too. They give me slightly better grip than rounded needles, which is perfect given this size. I can imagine that the edges may be uncomfortable on larger sizes, but at 4.5 mm it feels just right. Having been a fan of Knit Pro's wooden needles, I am also fond of the Rosewood range now. It looks a little bit more grown-up than the colourful Symphony, which was my favourite range for a long time. 

I have heard from a few people that their Cubics broke very easily, so I am hoping mine won't do the same. Rounded needles are generally stronger. (Physics, don't ask me why!) If you are a tight knitter, these may not be ideal for you. However, there are Cubics made from metal as well, in the Nova range, though I couldn't find them in British shops when I last looked. I am sure they'll be coming soon though.

Have you tried Cubics yet? I am curious how you are getting on with them. Let me know!

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Using My Turkish Spindle

I've been using my new Turkish spindle from IST Crafts ever since I received it. It is the perfect spindle for long, slow spinning that is more for enjoyment than quick, productive spinning. I started on a braid of Australian merino, probably at least 100g, so this is going to take some time to get through and I am in no hurry.

The spindle is a pleasure to use and I love it. There is an art to winding on the yarn just so. I have learned that this ball of yarn is called a tortoise - you'll see why if you have a look at the photo. I really enjoy winding the yarn onto the arms of the spindle in just the right way. It is as if you are creating a work of art, like the spindle itself.