feeling smart

While making Gretel, I remembered one of the reasons why I love hats – they are my number one choice of knitted gifts for friends! Even the very intricate hats can be finished and delivered relatively quickly, and the patterns and colours I choose are always well-received by my friends (hehe, non-knitters think hats are much more difficult than they actually are ;). I love making them as surprizes for friends who I want to show that they mean a lot to me, even if we don’t speak on the phone or write each other emails non-stop.

So finishing Gretel inspired me to make a surprize gift for another friend living far away. I recently asked for her address so I could send her a postcard, and now I can also use it for sending happy packages without her suspecting a thing! She’s a very special lady, if I had to describe her in two words, it would be: beautiful and strong. When I thought of her, I knew I couldn’t just make her any hat. I didn’t have an image of what to make, but I knew I’d recognize it if I saw it.

Enter Ravelry.

Step number 1: I looked through my queue. It wasn’t long before I noticed this. That was it! Simple, but special. Interesting but classy.

Step number 2: Find the perfect yarn. I recently discovered that every pattern page on Ravelry has a tab called yarn ideas. If you click on it, you get an overview of all the yarns knitters have used for this pattern (ordered by frequency), and you can click straight through to the projects. Perfect for a yarn novice like me!

The three yarns used most often on the Sixteen Cable Hat were Malabrigo Merino Worsted, Rowan Kid Classic and Cascade 220 Wool. The neat thing is that you can click on each yarn and there, on one page, you see photos of all the projects made from the relevant pattern and yarn. I clicked through all of them and decided that on average I liked the Rowan Kid Classic results best. This solidified my decision.

Step number 3: Buy pattern. Done with the help of Ravelry and PayPal within less than a minute. Pattern is already printed and waiting eagerly.

Step number 4: Buy yarn. That’s what I’ll be doing today at KnitNation! Report coming soon… ;)

p.s. Yay Ravelry for making all this so easy! I’m also feeling very smart personally for taking advantage of its potential to the full today… :)

almost done

See what my finger is pointing to? We have a centre. And having a centre means that we’re – almost done!

I was a good girl and sewed in all the ends immediately! In honor of that, you get a photo of the interior. Cables are so funny.

Now blocking and posing. Then proper photos… ;)

p.s. I’m going to KnitNation tomorrow! :)

comments on comments!

Every once in a while, I make a little change on the blog to make it better / nicer / friendlier… I’m not sure if anyone notices, but I do hope it moves towards making your visit here a bit more pleasant. My last change has been to start responding to comments by email. I used to respond on the blog, but I’m not sure people come back to check. I know that I personally tend to forget all the places where I’ve left comments and sometimes discover only weeks later that the blogger had actually responded. Since I cherish and try to respond to every comment, I wanted to make sure that people actually notice my responses!

But I wonder what you think about it… Do you like getting a response back by email? Or does it feel like a step too much, like an intrusion into your privacy? Would you find it annoying to get an email in response to every comment you make? Do you come back and check here if I’ve responded to your comment? I really want you to feel comfortable with what goes on here, so I looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the matter! :)

cabling without a needle?

I’d heard about cabling without a cable needle before, and it had been recommended to me on several occasions, especially when I moaned about not liking cables. But I put off trying it for a very long time, it just didn’t appeal to me. However, after I started Gretel a few days ago, it became so apparent that cabling was going to be slowing me down significantly. So I decided to try this needle-less cabling everyone’s been talking about. Luckily, Ysolda’s pattern recommended to check out Grumperina’s site. I was absolutely thrilled! This is by far one of the best knitting tutorials I have seen anywhere on the net. Everything is so clear, and any question that may occur to you has already been answered. Seriously, even if you don’t care one bit about cabling without a cable needle, go look at these two tutorials (for right-twist and left-twist cables), they are awesome.

And the technique is very easy.

And indeed much faster. But I’m not sure if my stitches are coming out kind of soggy, i.e. stretched out… No final verdict at the moment.

a tangle

I’m utterly enjoying the feel of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, but my oh my, it is the worst-wound ball of yarn I ever have seen! The yarn is wound super-loose and the whole ball just utterly falls apart after you start knitting from it. And don’t even think about using it as a centre-pull ball… I actually got so irritated that I completely dropped one ball and started with a fresh one, but soon enough, I was again faced with something like this…

You may notice, however, that it’s not slowing me down too much… ;)

my temporary neighborhood

Neighborhoods are really important to me. I want to be comfortable and at home in my immediate surroundings. I like it when there is something to look forward to on my way home. And I am pleased to announce that my current (albeit quite temporary) neighborhood is the perfect candidate! Let me show you what I mean…

It may look kind of empty (aah, Sunday mornings :) but if you look close enough, you’ll notice Someone Was Here…

I’ll take that piece of advice any day! :)

This shop above, on the other hand, has pretty much got life figured out. I still haven’t seen it open, though, so I can’t tell you if their food is as good as their motto.

I actually took these photos on the walk from my new neighborhood to my old one. Don’t you just love this juxtaposition of pretty fence and wild plants? And just a few meters away from the city hall!

I also find it hard to resist signs whose style reminds me of other, older times…

Of course, it’s my weekend excursion, you know there’s always one thing that comes up: a street band! :) This time with a particularly inspired lead man… :)

Oh yeah, and I’m still close to the river! Always a good thing.

And this fellow is just around the corner. I’m not a particularly big fan of horse statues, but this one looks somehow… friendly.

I think it’s a good sign. This neighborhood and I are going to be good friends, even if the friendship is short. :) I leave you with a sight that’s becoming quite ubiquitous, as London busily prepares for its free-city-bike scheme…

I hope you all have a busy (the good kind of busy) week! :)

it’s been a while

It’s been quite a while since I indulged in my favorite knitting activity, so I decided to rectify that today.

I worked at the computer because I had to follow the video instructions for the cast-on. It took me several attempts, and at the moment I’m not sure about my gauge so I might have to do it again. But I’ve taken a liking to this cast-on, which is supposed to produce an extremely stretchy edge, so I wouldn’t mind practising it some more.

The yarn I’m using is Debbie Bliss cashmerino aran, and it is a total joy! I’m a little scared as to how it will hold up with use, though, it seems to be giving some hints of piling…

Have a lovely Sunday, everyone! :) I suggest you do something you really like, but haven’t done in a while… It’s been a thrill for me to rediscover this old love… :)