hair

When I don’t want to wash my hair but need it out of my face, I usually get it all pinned up. :) I’m so happy now that it’s finally long enough to be able to do that! I recently bought a new set of hair pins and Tuesday morning ended up being playful.

It kind of maybe sort of somehow resembles Ysolda’s little hair tutorial, which you can find in her Flickr set entitled ‘hair’.

Spent the rest of my day watching documentaries on the war in South Sudan. Not the most uplifting of days. But at least I could work away at my baby sweater simultaneously. I’m kind of having a rough period emotionally and knitting is putting the light back into my life, it’s so comforting.

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what a difference a yarn makes

Same pattern, different yarn. This time I used a fingering weight yarn, as opposed to the Aran weight recommended in the pattern. To compensate for this, I added one pattern repeat.

I’m quite proud of the fact that I modified this to knit in the round myself. It involved some advanced knitting math (well, it seemed advanced to me, it’s been too long since I’ve done any serious math, and by serious I mean anything more than adding things up on a calculator), and the pattern I wrote out is definitely too complicated to be reproduced anywhere, but I understand how it works and that’s all I need! :)

This pattern isn’t particularly exciting or interesting to knit, but the results are just so yummy, I keep going back to it…

I’ve already written about how it sometimes surprizes me which of my projects get the most ‘hearts’ on Ravelry, and this was definitely one of them – it seems that it has gone by completely unnoticed. It doesn’t affect how much I love it (and I really do), I just find it interesting how my order of preference for my projects seems to differ from other people’s opinions. Or how flukes influence the whole thing: I am suspecting that one of the reasons it went by unnoticed was the fact that I uploaded the photos and shared them with a bunch of groups for five projects at the same time. This one came first, so in the display of recent projects shared it was pushed to the bottom. I am guessing this might have influenced it. Online ‘marketing’ works in such interesting ways, since I do have wild dreams about possibly one day becoming an Etsy seller (a long long way away in the hypothetical future), I’m glad I get to learn about it through such a painless experience as this. :)

If you fancy showing this white babe some love, here’s the project page. I hope you have a scrumptious Tuesday! :)

colorful!

I still haven’t run out of old projects to show you! And I’m working away at new ones so I can keep up! Today, I present the beret I made for my best friend. She needed a hat, I was still a very much dabbling beginner and I couldn’t promise to make her one because I was scared of how it would turn out. Also, I luuuuuuv surprizing people! ;))) So this was made in utter secrecy and it was sooo exciting!

It’s a Debbie Bliss pattern, from the first issue of her magazine. I didn’t check gauge, so it came out too big, though looking at other knitters’ projects (I heart Ravelry) I think everyone’s is coming out a bit too big, so maybe it wasn’t just a gauge problem.

In any case, it is extra extra soft and Maja loves it. I’ve made her another hat in the meantime, so this is her reaaaaally-cold-weather hat, while the other one is a more autumn like affair. She sometimes lets me know how the weather is back home by telling me which of the hats I made her she’s wearing… :)

The instructions were very clear and straightforward, though for some reason the hat’s not knit in the round. If I understand correctly, this is quite usual for Debbie Bliss patterns, but there is no design justification for it, so when I made another hat by this pattern I converted it to knit in the round. (More on that one later… ;)

Photos by my talented friend Milena. I wish she lived close by me so I could claim her as my official knitwear photographer.

Ravelled here.

Have a nice day! :)

purl

This is what I am doing this evening. With a huge mug of mint tea that I didn’t manage to squeeze into the photo.

Whatever it is that you’re doing tonight, I hope it’s as soul-healing as this.

p.s. I did one purl stitch per attempt to get the photo right. Needless to say I got through almost the entire row before I was finally happy with the pic.

saturday morning

It’s been a while since I’ve had a proper Saturday morning, you know, one of those that you spend at the local cafe with someone you feel comfortable seeing you bleary-eyed and with uncombed hair. I had one today and it made me very very (very) happy! :)

I thought it would be a good opportunity to share with you what I think is my most cheerful project so far! The pattern is Lychee Mittens by Kate Gagnon Osborn of Kelbourne Wollens. I love Kate’s patterns. And they’re free!

I’ve been meaning to make more mittens (and I plan a post on the patterns that are intriguing me the most at the moment – look out for it soon), actually I have two pairs almost finished (they are missing buttons and blocking), so I hope I’ll be able to show you more soon! For now, this pair is Ravelled here.

Mittens are great fun to photograph! So much that I photographed these before they were finished. ;) They turned out a bit too small for me so my niece got them – and she loved them!

What makes these especially dear to my heart is that they’re made from the leftover yarn from my first very own scarf and my first hat, which was made for my best friend in the whole wide world. It’s only appropriate that the two resulted in an item that always makes me smile – just like any combination of the two of us does. :)

I hope your Saturday is cheerful and silly! :)

have you heard of…

blog it forward?

In several words, it’s a “blog mash-up”, with 300 bloggers participating, 30 of them posting each day on what inspires them (I haven’t got it quite clear if there will be other topics too, for now it’s this one). It started this Wednesday (two days ago). Click on the photo for a little more info.

I personally see it as a great opportunity to meet three hundred new creative people! :) Not sure my rss reader will be able to handle so much at such a short time, though, so I’ve saved the list of all bloggers participating in my favorites, that way I can take my time exploring. Here is the link: three hundred bloggers oh my! on the site of the wonderful initiator sfgirlbybay. Enjoy!

Paper Dolls

Let’s take a break from hats, I want to show you a To Be Ripped. After much deliberation I’ve decided to part with what was supposed to be my first adult garment. It’s just not working out, but I’ve invested too much love and effort into it to just let it go without a proper tribute. The pattern is Paper Dolls by Kate Davies.

Kate is a very thoughtful blogger who walks, knits, sews and writes about it with great love. Reading her blog, you are bound to be transported to the stunning Scottish vistas she walks in and learn loads about the history and culture of all things yarny and fabricky. She has been a huge source of inspiration and education for me. One of her most famous patterns is Owls, which was completely free until recently, when she had to give it a symbolic price because her copyrights were continually being violated. But back to the sweater at hand. Apart from Kate’s, I particularly like Saz’s and Nasseknits’ versions of Paper Dolls.

– photos belong to the ladies, click on each photo to go to the respective Ravelry project page –

I had to make one for myself! Well, it turns out that, for now, I had to try to make one for myself, but I do not regret it – I learned so much in the process and that’s what I’d like to share with you today. I love projects that make you learn new skills and this one was just brimming with it, from start to end. You start off using an I-cord cast-on. In the pattern, Kate explains how to do it, I had a little trouble conceptualizing it at first, but I got the hang of it soon enough. It’s tiresome and slow, but the result is oh-so-beautiful.

After you’re done with that, here comes a new challenge: corrugated rib. Oooh it took me a long time to figure this one out! After a while, my Rav page notes: “I was doing it like an idiot :)” Basically, I tried doing it by continually dropping one yarn and picking up the other one. Since corrugated rib consists of k1 in color A, p1 in color B, you can imagine how slow this was! After a while I decided to look it up online and found two methods I liked:

  • by stell66 – which seemed like it would be a bit tricky at first but quite easy once you get the hang of it
  • by Wendy Knits – which is just so clever :)

Actually, I ended up doing it a third way – holding one yarn in my left hand and knitting continental, holding the other yarn in my right hand and knitting English style. So after some troubles in the beginning, making the corrugated rib became very fast and enjoyable – at some point I had to rip a few rounds of the sleevecaps because I had got carried away – I was loving the process of making it that much. :)

The main body of the sweater is plain knitting in the round, which I really enjoyed! It was extremely pleasurable and great to take along to meet-ups with friends. While I was working on Paper Dolls, they got used to me knitting while we chatted away… One day we were having coffee with a friend I don’t see that often and when I took out my needles, she said “Oh, don’t knit now, you won’t be able to talk,” but another friend happily explained that I could multitask (she had seen me do it before). I think they also got used to the weird looks we would get. :) I followed the pattern very consistently, but after a while it seemed to me that the body would be a bit too long. As this was my first sweater, however, I was scared of tampering with the pattern, and I tried it on far too late. It was indeed incredibly long.

There was a moment of crisis when I tried the sweater on and a quarter of my stitches fell off the needle in the process. There were many sad faces on my Ravelry project page that day. :(((((( I had been taking such good care with this project, looking after every little detail so thoroughly and then 2 mins of being careless “ruins it all.” Well, of course, I managed to pick up the stitches, no great damage was done, and a huge lesson was learned – get a long enough circular needle!

Connecting the sleeve caps with the body took a few attempts with some unravelling, apparently due to my inability to imagine in my head how material objects will fit together in the real world (that is why I’m not an architect). That got me thinking about how hard it must be to design and write up a good pattern – so many details to think of… And then finally, finally, the moment came! The dolls. As I worked on their legs, their rich dark red against the undyed background made me feel like I was painting rather than knitting – wonderful… I was so eager to do the next row of colorwork and have the girls emerge that I couldn’t put down the knitting. In the end, the colorwork came out somewhat puckered, but hey, it was my first attempt at it ever, and anyway it had been long ago that I decided to call any imperfections on this sweater ‘charming’… :)

The real troubles came, however, at the back decreases. They are supposed to be done with short rows, with which I had no experience, and which I really should have practiced before trying to do them on this. Also, I ran into problems with the decrease round: I kept ending up with 9 stitches less than I should have, and even if I tried doing the math it just seemed like there was something wrong in the pattern. This was a deal-breaker. On top of the length issues, disliking the fit of the body, realizing my i-cord and corrugated rib could’ve been better executed, I decided to let this one down in history and give it another try some other time.

But my Paper Dolls, which I named “A Norwegian Summer,” still have a wonderful story to tell. Started in Slovenia, worked on in Croatia, Kosovo and Norway – not many sweaters get to travel that much even before they’re finished. I enjoyed every aspect of it and loved every minute of my time devoted to it. And I look forward to making another one, to finish and to wear, loving it double for the knowledge of its predecessor.