Saturday, 29 November 2014

Hello Homemaker Readers

If you have found Abso-knitting-lutely in the current issue of Homemaker and made your way here: hello! Thank you for having a peek. I hope you have a great time exploring my blog. Feel free to comment on any posts that you enjoy. I look forward to getting to know you.

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Thursday, 27 November 2014

Rodney the Reindeer Kit from Let's Knit

(Image from my Instagram)

This month I have been on a surprising toy knitting binge. It's unusual because, normally, I do not knit toys at all. They are too fiddly and I have no space for them in our tiny flat. Besides, I am not sure how our vast number of resident teddies would feel about any further additions.

So what started this sudden toy knitting craze? I blame Let's Knit magazine.

While I am not a regular buyer of knitting magazines, I will get sucked in by an interesting pattern or knitting kit once in a while. So when Let's Knit published its issue with the Rodney kit, I just had to have it. Look at that little reindeer! Isn't he sweet? I am amazed he actually turned out the way he was meant to. Quite often, the result does not look like the picture, which is frustrating. This time, though, Rodney the reindeer came out perfect and I love him.

Eric, the teddy, is particularly thrilled. He is Rodney's biggest fan, as you can see. He even has the onesie to match! 

How do you feel about knitting toys? What's your favourite knitted toy so far? Let me know.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Spikelets Cowl: Knitted With Handspun Malabrigo

This yarn was destined to be a lovely warm cowl! It is soft and squishy and perfect to wear on skin. I used the Spikelets cowl pattern by Victoria Groger on Ravelry to make this wonderful cowl and it will definitely keep me cosy this winter. I never made a cowl before and wasn't sure I would like it, but the result is perfect. The colours are great as well and just what I look for in yarn.
I followed the pattern instructions and used 4 mm and 5 mm needles. The cabling is easy to do if you have worked with cables before and there is still a lot of mindless knitting involved on most rows. I ran out of yarn towards the end, unfortunately, so my cowl is about 8 rows shorter than it should be. However it is high enough, it turns out, and would have been too bulky had I knitted the full length. I had a look at other people's versions on Ravelry and it looks like I am not the only one to have a shorter cowl. So I am happy with it as it is!
Image: Instagram

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Addendum: Bed Socks for Oma

A while back I posted about the bed socks I knitted for my grandma for Christmas. I thought they looked a little boring since they didn't have any patterning at all, so I picked them up again and added a little bit of cross stitch along the sides. I tried to make snowflake shapes on the foot at first, but that made the socks much bulkier, so I undid it again. The stripes aren't particularly fascinating, of course, but at least they break up the plain socks a little bit. Who knows what else I might add before Christmas!

Monday, 17 November 2014

Dragon vs Moth

After 7 years of knitting, I suppose it was bound to happen. Moths.

The scourge of all knitters found my bag of hand-knitted socks and decided that my hand-dyed Smaug socks were the tastiest treat this year. I discovered the damage on one of the first cold days this autumn when I delved into the bag and pulled out these bright red socks that I only wore once before. They were a pleasure to knit and I love them. The first sock was fine, but when I put on the second, I spotted a number of holes along the foot and leg. Nooooo!

(Image: Instagram)
Parts of the sock were unravelling and I knew there was only one thing left to do: I'd have to start over. Luckily, it is only one sock that sustained any damage so I've ripped it back completely and started over. Since I dyed the yarn myself, I really hope I have enough of it to finish the socks. In some places the yarn is very thin and I also have a few short lengths I need to incorporate somehow towards the end, should I need them. In fact, I am thinking now that I should probably knit the socks all over again in a different yarn because this is just too fiddly. It would be a shame, though, as I dyed the yarn particularly for this project and won't get the exact shade of red again.

We'll see. I'll keep going for now, but if I do run out of yarn, there's nothing for it. I will have to start from scratch. Although I usually don't knit the same socks twice, these Smaug socks are fantastic and as a fan of Tolkien's work I simply need to have them. If all else fails, the 13-disc Lord of the Rings audio recording from the BBC should get me through this.

Did moths ever get a hold of one of your finished pieces? What did you do?

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Christmas order deadlines 2014

We are gradually nearing the end of the year and, of course, the start of the Christmas season. Yay! I love Christmas. It is important to make sure all orders you place at Abso-knitting-lutely get to you in time for the festivities and I have set the following deadlines for Christmas orders:

UK: 18 December
Europe: 8 December
Rest of world: 24 November

Any orders past these dates may not get to you by Christmas, especially if you are ordering from countries outside Europe.

Enjoy your holiday shopping and let me know if you have any questions or would like to place a custom order.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Hinagiku Hat in Handspun Malabrigo

When I spun up this yarn using Malabrigo Nube, I intended to turn it into a cowl, but it turns out it was better suited for the Hinagiku hat pattern I found on Ravelry. I loved the star stitch pattern that makes up the body of this hat and the long rounds of ribbing at the bottom are perfect for me. If you are looking for a slouchy hat pattern that is great for autumn, I recommend giving this one a go. It's free, too!

The colourway I used was Indiecita and the stripes are beautiful. Even though I usually prefer slightly darker shades, I do like this yarn a lot. I think a change away from my usual colour scheme is a good thing. The knitting instructions call for needles sizes 3 mm and 4.5 mm for the ribbing and the body, respectively. I went up to 5 mm for the star stitch instead  due to the weight of the yarn. 4.5 mm was just a tad too small and I found it hard to knit the star stitches, which are a little fiddly anyway. I could probably have gone up in size for the ribbing as well, but I do like it to be tight, so I am happy with it as it is.

After binding off, the hat was very snug and not at all slouchy, so I gave it a bath and blocked it. This is something I have never done before for a hat. Even though I tried not to stretch the ribbing, it is looser now, which is a shame, but the body is just right. It now shows off the stitch pattern much better and makes me wish I still had long hair to bundle up in it a slouchy hat. (At least until I remember just how practical short hair is!)

And might I just add how much I dislike taking photos of items I have to wear to photograph them? I took so many pictures and none of them came out well. I hope that I can take some photos outside with the help of a friend someday so that they show off the hat better and from all angles.

Monday, 3 November 2014

The Abso-knitting-lutely Wish List

We are slowly nearing Christmas, there is no denying it, and I have started doing my Christmas shopping. While I am thinking about what others might like, I am also looking at other knitters' wish lists and finding lots of good ideas for myself. That's not the way this is meant to work! Since I love looking at what other crafters would like, I thought you might fancy a peek at my own wish list. So, in no particular order, here we are!

1. Clover mini pompom maker: While I was knitting all those hats for The Big Knit, I was really wishing I had one of those small pompom makers to embellish them with. If only for that. They would come in useful every year.

2. Yarn bowl: Not just any yarn bowl, but this particular one! Sadly, the seller is in the US, which is why I haven't ordered one since discovering it two years ago. I love this bowl because of its colours and the design. The twist, the holes, the slit for the yarn - it is all just beautifully executed.

3. Debbie Bliss Fine Donegal: The yarn, not the book. I recently saw the book in my local wool shop and had a look at the actual yarn and I love it. There was a lovely teal I could imagine myself using as well as the gold from the cover photo. And the green. And the purple. And...

4: The Fleece and Fibre Sourcebook: This book has been on my wish list for a long time. It isn't a book I ever thought I would like, but now that I have been spinning for a long time, I'd like to learn about the different types of wool. It would be a useful resource.

As we crafters know, of course we cannot possibly narrow down our list too just four items, so here are some more items my wish list cannot possibly be without:

5. Storage cases for all my needles and hooks: Even though my needle collection is lacking in sizes, I do have quite a lot of circulars, DPNs, interchangeables and a few pairs of straight needles. I would love to have one single case or storage system that allows me to put all needles in it in an organised fashion. So far I haven't found a good solution to this.

6. Medium or large project bag: I love those little pyramid bags for my sock projects, but I need a nice project bag of medium or large size for shawls and jumpers, ideally with a little notions bag. There are lots of people making nice bags on Etsy and it is hard for me to decide which I like best.

7. Drumcarder: This is a big wish and at present I have no space for it, but one day I will have a drumcarder! At the first wool fair I visited, I had the chance to play with one and blend my own batt. I loved it and would really enjoy combining my own colours. 

So what's on your crafty wish list? I'd love to hear from you.