Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

The year 2008 has been the most productive year ever concerning knitting - for me at least. Here are some of my FO's - not including the most recent Christmas presents, which I will come back to in the beginning of 2009. More photos here.

May the needles be as active in 2009 as they have been in 2008. I hope to spend lots of hours together with them, some yarn, and other knitters who enjoy knitting as much as I do.

My favorite fibers happen to be natural fibers, so when I became aware that the UN has declared 2009 to be the International Year of Natural Fibers I couldn't be more thrilled. You can read more about it here and don't forget to watch the video.

See you in 2009 with an update on the Christmas knitting.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Knitting prevents stress, depression, pain and dementia

As knitters we tend to believe this but until now it has only been a claim. At the moment it is being further investigated and scientists are about to show us that it is not just the actual occupation that causes the positive effect.

Yesterday I read a small paragraph in the local university newspaper. It shortly introduced a research project about the therapeutic benefits of knitting and other needlework, which is currently up and running. A bit of googling lead me to other articles about this exciting project. Anecdotal evidence has been collected since 2005 by ex senior physiotherapist Betsan Corkhill, who launched the project together with scientists from various universities. One of the claims is that knitting activates the same areas in the brain as meditation because of the rhythmic repetitive movements. These kinds of movements has shown to prevent pain and depression.

Apparently, knitting also leads to improved communication. Personally I reckon that as a fact due to my experiences from the different knitting groups I participate in now and then. Another interesting view on the benefits of knitting is the effect of color and texture, which Corkhill counts as important influences on our lives. People who suffer from depression is said to live in a world of gray. So bring on the colors and stave off depression!

For further reading check out these articles. Betsan Corkhill also created the site stitchlinks and she has a blog too.

Happy knitting!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A little bit of sewing

I have been sewing a little. A dress for a 5 year old.

It was fun to sew and so much faster than a knitting project, which still is my favorite, though. But I'd like to practice sewing some more. Next time: A skirt - for me.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The colorful Kaffe Fassett

Recently, I watched a program on TV about Kaffe Fassett. I've always disliked most of his designs simply because of the, in my opinion, exagerated use of color. Watching the program, though, gave me a better understanding of what he is up to in his work. It is actually really fascinating the way that you can always recognize his designs. He obviously has a special and individual form of expression, a special way of using colors. It is somehow a relief to see a designer use all these colors both in his knitting designs and in the interior arrangement of his home. There are so many minimalist and colorless designs in fashion - so much gray, white and black. The thing is that people sometimes get fascinated by his attitude to color and sometimes they think he is out of fashion. As he says himself: "I come and go", and he is perfectly OK with that. Personally, I'm still not comfortable with the complete contrast to the minimalist trend, which I think Kaffe Fassett stands for, the mixture and combination of colors in his designs, but watching the program did inspire me and made me take up and reconsider my opinion about the use of color in general.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Still knitting

Silence on the blog doesn't mean there's no knitting going on here at my place. On the contrary I have several wips on the needles, I just can't show all of them here - presents, you know! One wip I can show you, though, is the scarf knitted in Rowan Tapestry.

I want it to be a big and cozy scarf for winter. As I'm knitting it on needles 6 cm (US 10), it shouldn't take very long. Nevertheless, with many projects in the making, it does.

A couple of weeks ago I bought the Fall issue of Vogue Knitting. I really like that magazine. I don't know how to subscribe to it in Europe but I know that a lot of peolpe on Ravelry have been discussing their subscribtion and are somewhat dissatisfied with the delivery. So, as long as I can buy it in a shop, I'll stick to that.

Another magazine is this German one called Verena, never heard of it before. There's lots of great designs in that too - much to my surprise!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

New skills learned

Many of my anxious thoughts about this sweater have shown to be totally needless. It came out just the way I hoped.

One of the reasons for my anxiety about the sweater was the construction, which isn't similar to any other sweater I've knitted. During the process it was very hard to tell whether this would fit or not. It wasn't until the steek was cut that I was able to see if it would be a succes or a total failure. I did some measuring before I cut and felt fairly safe, but not until I could try it on, which was also beyond the point of no return, I knew I was going to be happy with it.

The construction also entails that there is absolutely no seaming, except from the underarms. It is knitted all in one piece, even though it has set-in sleeves. And this was new to me. All in all I learned quite a few new skills but to me the overriding new technique was doubtlessly the steeking. Much of the fear has disappeared now, though, and I'll definately do it again some time. I might use the same yarn (shetland wool) next time I knit something which includes steeking. I liked it and there is a wide range of colors.

I had some trouble about finding the right buttons but these were the ones I ended up with. I think they suit the sweater well.

The only moderation I made was making the sleeves a bit longer by adding one pattern repeat. I see now that it wasn't necessary, however, I dont' mind them being on the long side.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I cut the Birds!

The steek is cut. It all went fine, so I won't need to worry about steeking again. I'm glad that I made the reinforcement, though.

Also, edging is done, ends are weaved in and it's now blocking. Once it's dry I'll sew on the buttons.

Yesterday I bought three skeins of Rowan Tapestry. Have you tried it? What do you think? It contains 30% of soybean protein fiber. Now, that's interesting! Another fiber I haven't tried. The rest of the content is wool. It's very soft so I want to knit a scarf using the ogee pattern from Mary Thomas's Book of Knitting Patterns, which I also used for my cardigan.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Steeking - The Chicken and the other Birds

I guess I'm a chicken! I'm making a crocheted steek on Little Birds even though the pattern says you don't need to make a reinforcement. Shetland Wool is fuzzy and sticky enough to leave it as it is. It will felt enough by itself. But - since I haven't tried it with Shetland wool before - I can't just cut. I'm using Eunny Jang's tutorial.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Last days of September

I love fall...

Pictures from a walk in the park.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Outdoor knitting with the birds

Today was a perfect day for outdoor knitting. I love those clear and sunny days in early fall.

The Birds are coming along pretty well, though I am a bit anxious about the outcome of this. It’s really hard to tell how it’s going to turn out because of the construction with the steek thing. I’ve added one pattern repeat to lengthen the sleeves a bit because to me they seem pretty short. I hope one repeat is enough because I don’t think I’ll be able to reknit it when I’ve cut the steek. (I wonder if I’ll ever dare to do this!) And I can’t try it on before I cut it, as it’s really oddly shaped, so I’ll do some proper measuring before cutting.

Last night I was at my LYS, attending the monthly knit night, which was enjoyable as always with great company and lots of yarn, and I even bought some yarn which I’m going to use for my secret Christmas knitting. (Psst… If you’re on Ravelry you can follow the top secret Christmas knitting on my page there! Some of the recipients might read this blog.)

Happy knitting!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ogee Cardigan

I’ve been neglecting this cardigan during summer but now it’s finally finished.

I’m very new in designing my own garments so this is what I would call an experiment - but definitely a very exciting one. First thing I did was to find a stitch pattern I liked and I ended up using an ogee pattern from Mary Thomas’ Book of Knitting Patterns, hence the name, Ogee Cardigan. I made subtle changes to the pattern so that it suited my purpose. After that I thought about how the pattern could be placed on a cardigan and I came up with this.

In retrospect, I might have made some things different. For example, I could have made one more ogee pattern repeat on the sleeves, near the shoulders. But I have to admit that the sleeve caps were knit more or less randomly and I didn’t know exactly how they would turn out. Also, I think that the shoulders are a bit narrow so that the sleeves are drawn too much towards the top shoulders. Instead the seam should have been placed further towards the upper arm.

In spite of the minor ‘errors’ I’m really happy with this. I also like the buttons which I think suit the cardigan quite well, as the shape resembles the shape of the ogee pattern.

The yarn is Isager Tvinni and Spinni, one strand of each held together. The colors differ slightly in nuance and I like the blend of them, giving a special tweed effect. I love these yarns because they are 100 % natural fibers and they haven’t been exposed to any super wash treatment. That’s just right up my alley!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Birds and colorwork

The weather is changing. It’s getting colder, which means there is a need for more woolly knitwear. The cotton yarns are already hibernating and I can surrender myself completely to my favorite fiber, wool. Are you looking forward to this as much as I am?

I’ve started a project in Shetland wool which contains colorwork and steeking, haven’t tried the latter yet but I’m plucking up the courage, day by day, and hopefully one day I’ll be brave enough to CUT my knitting! I haven’t decided which method it’s going to be yet but I’m tending towards applying a crocheted steek. I know that when knitting with Shetland wool it shouldn’t be necessary to make any reinforcement at all – you just cut. I don’t know if I’ll ever be that courageous, though. Eunny Jang’s tutorial on steeking is such a great reference and I’m so going to use it.

If you haven’t guessed it by now, my new project is Little Birds by Ysolda. It’s from the new online magazine Twist Collective. This magazine is just so great and full of beautiful designs, and Ysolda’s Little Birds is just one of them.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Last call for summer knits

My summer cardigan is finished just in time to actually be included as a summer knit. It seems as if the summer here is turning into autumn but before I dive completely into the more woolly affairs I just want to show you Cherry.

I might be able to wear it only a couple of times this season but then again – to look at the positive side - it’s ready for next spring. It’s a great pattern and the cardigan turned out pretty much as I anticipated. The yarn was lovely too. It’s not spun very tightly, though, which means that it splits. However, it wasn’t a problem, just something to be aware of. And a good thing is that it results in a very soft garment when knit up.

I found some buttons I like. I wanted them to be red because that way the attention is pointed more towards the lovely pattern, I guess. They do have noticeable details, though.

Pattern: Cherry

Designer: Anna Bell in My Fashionable Life

Yarn: Jo Sharp Soho Summer DK Cotton in the color Carmen

Sunday, August 24, 2008


On the occasion of WWKIP Day, I started these socks, Monkey by Cookie A. I continued knitting on the bus to and from Berlin (great city) but haven’t finished them until now. They’re ready to wear and delightfully warm: I’m waiting for colder days.

The yarn is absolutely great and very soft, maybe because of the very small amount of cashmere (6 % isn’t much). Great pattern too. I’d like to try more of Cookie A’s sock patterns. This one was easy to memorize and a quick knit (if you’re steady and unlike me knit other projects in between), so it could be fun to try out a somewhat more challenging pattern of hers. These socks, though, I love.

Pattern: Monkey from Knitty (Winter 2006)

Designer: Cookie A.

Yarn: Gepard Garn Cash-Soft

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Color Blue

Maybe you’ve heard about Project Spectrum. It’s meant as a way of celebrating the colors around us by expressing yourself creatively, doing some kind of art or craft. As this includes photography and I wanted to play with my new camera I found that the project was perfect for that purpose. There is a group on Flickr but also one on Ravelry, if you're interested. In August and September the colors to celebrate are blue, black and purple – colors of the water element. I felt like posting some of the photos I took while practising - inspired by the color blue.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Vacation and birthday

The silence on the blog has been due to some really nice things that have taken my time lately. Vacation in Croatia is one of them. I brought my knitting but even though we spent 10 days there in total relaxation I didn’t knit a single row. We had the most terrific view and I really enjoyed swimming in the sea.

Back home I’ve been busy planning my birthday (30 years of age now!) and graduation party. It turned out to be a great day and I even got several knitting related gifts. My boyfriend gave me a knitting bag, The Knitter’s Satchel from Jordana Paige in deep red. I’m sure I’ll bring my knitting with me a lot more now and I’m looking forward to the next knit café. I was also fortunate to get a yarn swift, a gift voucher for Isager yarn and 6 skeins of Rowan Summer Tweed in red.

For a long time I’ve been dreaming about having a digital reflex camera. I’d like to take more pictures and learn more about photography, not only because I’d like to take better pictures of my knitting but because I’d like to take better photos in general. And guess what, now I have one! An Olympus E-510. It was another gift from my boyfriend and his family. I feel very lucky. Now I just have to practice, practice and practice some more. It’s great.

My knitting at the moment is restricted to the Cherry cardigan. I’d like to finish it before the summer is completely over, even though the weather here is NOT summer right now. Maybe I’ll be able to wear it just once this year, though, I hope so. The back is finished and the left front is in quick progress.

The yarn is Jo Sharp Soho Summer DK Cotton which is lovely, except from the knots where broken yarn is tied together (I hate that). It’s nice and soft, though, and 100 % cotton.


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