Catching Up

It’s been a while, I know. But there was quite a bit going on here at the Moley headquarters (or hatquarters, as my husband likes to say). And I didn’t really feel like posting a new post, to be honest. My holiday season was quite stressful because I kept on finishing Christmas presents for the whole family. I gifted five pairs of socks (one stranded knitting pair and one pair in size EU 48/US 14!) and a hat. Perhaps I should try the gift-buying thing next year, it might bring some peace to the pre-holiday season.

Ever since 2016 started (and my mind still hasn’t caught up with that fact!) I have been having regrets about 2015. About not finishing enough things. About not doing enough stuff. About life in general I suppose. But this is a knitting blog, so I try to keep it on topic.
I guess up until now I measured my “knitting progress” in amount of finished garments per year. The reason must be that my initiative for knitting in the first place was custom fit sweaters. In 2014 I knitted 6 garments for myself, 3 of which were so successful that I wore them every time it was cold enough to do so (or even if it wasn’t).

So thinking about 2015, I felt like I hadn’t accomplished a single thing. I hadn’t finished six garments, not even four. I knit two sweaters, a semi-successful cardigan and a vest, and I fixed up one from the “reject pile” of 2014, so I could wear it. So not very much to wear in my wardrobe. Imagine my surprise when I rounded up my handknits of 2015 for the photo below and realized that I had started 22 projects of which I finished 18, frogged two and the other are still WIPs.

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And there are 11 shawls in that pile, of the 13 I knit last year (more like shawl-like neck-thingies but most of them actually shawls). That means I knit more than one shawl a month, which is quite a feat where I’m concerned. Apparently, when I mentioned to my friend M. sometime last summer that I was “on a shawl-kick” I didn’t realize how right I was.

What makes me most happy about this pile, however, is that there are four of my own designs in there. I know, none of them have actually been released yet. And M. keeps reminding me of that, too. I need to change that ASAP but I am too much of a perfectionist to release just some written up pages. I want a proper style sheet with good pictures of my designs, so it will look like an actual pattern to me. I will get to it, it just takes a bit for me. It is more of a process than I realized when I started out and I am teaching it all to myself.
One more hiccup is that back in 2014 I changed to a unix-based system, away from the Windows PC I had been using since my childhood and finding decent software for layouting and, finally, being able to use it are two different shoes.
Anyway, I am not here to whine about computer problems. I am actually quite happy with my progress in 2015 and very much look forward to what 2016 has in store for me.

It already brought me two finished pairs of socks (yes, really!) and I started knitting with this beautiful yarn:
Shibori Islington
It is Kettle Yarn Co. Islington Fingering, a delicious BFL/silk blend that was dyed in the shibori technique using real indigo. It was a one-off colourway and I was able to snatch up two skeins when I saw her post on Instagram. Unfortunately it makes the tips of my fingers very blue while knitting but I really like its smell somehow. It is a really special experience to knit with it and I am trying to do it justice with a new design.

Hopefully, your 2016 was off to a wonderful start as well and you enjoyed your holiday season! I leave you on the ominous note that there are some great news coming up next week that I have been waiting to share for aaaages.

1,2,3,4,5,6,7 – It’s big news!

Yeah, nobody gets the reference in the title but I don’t care. A lot of things have happened around here but instead of telling you all the bad stuff here’s a short summary of the good things:

Back in October I read a call for submissions and against my better judgement a good friend convinced me to submit an idea. Only a few days later I heard back from the editor of the magazine that they accepted my submission!
Then stuff happened, my submission was delayed but after some tho and fro, here’s Knit Now Issue 49, with my design in it!

Knit Now Issue 49 (June 2015)

And it’s on the cover, too! I was happily surprised to see that my hat was deemed “Luxury knit for under £5”. And it was high time that I got my hand on the printed copy. It’s not everyday that you can see your name in print, right?

At the moment I plan to publish the single pattern some time soon but meanwhile you can still get a digital or print copy at More Mags. The print edition comes with two cute gifts as well: one booklet full of baby knits and a (k)notions tin saying “Eat. Sleep. Knit.”

Anyhow, my imagination was so fired on that I have several other patterns in the works already. Let’s see how this will turn out.

Tension in EZ’s Sewn Bind Off

Today I want to give you a little tutorial for tensioning your yarn during EZ’s sewn bind off. If you don’t know who Elizabeth Zimmermann (or EZ for short) is, she’s one of the knitting icons. Although she passed away in 1999, her knitting recipes and ideas continue to inspire knitters and designers alike. There was a short article written by Jared Flood in last years’ spring issue of amirisu, page 69, if you want to know more about her.

It so happened that I needed to work this sewn bind off at the end of a Brooklyn Tweed pattern. Yes, I’m talking about my Lumen shawl. But the written directions don’t specify how loose or tight the bind off should be, only to adjust if you feel it’s not neat enough. Here’s what I did.

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Travel knitting

Hi friends,
tomorrow my husband accompanies me on a business trip that takes 5 days. Afterwards we’re planning on staying a little longer so we can have a look around town. I love city trips, there is always so much to see and experience!

Anyway, to avoid packing my suitcase (I’m one of those last minute packers), I started thinking about which projects to take with me on the journey. For my last road trip – which was also a business trip – I took a shawl and a sweater with me. It turned out that I mostly knit on the shawl because I didn’t have to constantly check my pattern, I had to reach a certain number of repeats.

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Most of my WIPs
My current shawl project is Icterine by Hunter Hammersen out of Kauni. It’s the yellow shawl in the upper picture. I wanted to try one of the Curls and hadn’t knit cables in a while, so this was ideal. But it is nearing its completion with only 30-something grams of yarn left.

That’s why, pondering over the upcoming trip, I cast on another shawl.
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It’s the start of a Lumen by Sivia Harding and I started knitting it with the yarn that I swapped last year, two skeins of Loft. Yes, the original Brooklyn Tweed Loft! (I don’t have to give you the link to their website, do I?) It’s so hard to come by here in Europe, the only yarn store that carries it is Loop in London and frankly, current exchange rates don’t entice to order there. I feel really privileged to be able to knit with it.

…and boy, does this yarn live up to its reputation.
IMG_9970
Look at that sheepiness. It’s soft and strong at the same time. I expected the yarn to break a bit during knitting because usually I’m a tight knitter. But perhaps I handle this yarn differently, I have yet to experience anything of the fragileness that other people described. We’ll see, I’m far from done and this shawl wants to be blocked in the end, too.

I had planned to pack the baby blanket that I started sometime last week but since I totally depend on a chart for that, it’s unlikely that I work on that one.

This will also be the first time that I take my knitting with me on the plane. It’s a domestic flight so I should be ok, right?

How are you packing for trips or vacations? Do you also think about your projects first? (That feels like a slogan on a sticker, “PROJECTS FIRST!” :D)

If you are interested in my journey, you can catch up with me on Instagram while I’m gone!

Yarn chicken

Hey, long time no see (or better yet, read)! It’s been quiet here for a while because I started a new job but mostly because there was nothing much to write about. The holidays came and went, even New Year’s caught me a bit by surprise due to being sick.

Anyway, today I wanted to talk to you about Nuvem. It’s one of those really popular patterns with currently 3622 projects (2570 of those are finished objects). There are even people who knit one shawl after the other and I’ve seen Ravelers knit 3 or more of them.

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Why do we DIY? (Sarah edition)

Recently I ran into many people asking me, “Why do you knit this? You know that you can buy that too, right?” And to be honest, they hurt quite a bit. I know that I like knitting and will continue to do so, no matter what they say. But the recent discussion around that infamous article in a German online magazine got me thinking. Of course I was a little offended but most of all I couldn’t understand her point of view.

Why wouldn’t you make things yourself? No matter if you call these makers names like “wifey” or think they have no mind for sexual equality. Disregarding the
fact that most of us actually are interested in politics, what we do as a hobby should be seen totally apart from that, right?

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Darn you, Stephen West!

He did it again! Every year there’s a shawl mystery knit-along. And every year I try to resist. But Mr. Westknits always charms me in. This fourth year it is even worse, I don’t even remember reading the description of the shawl before buying the pattern!
And all because he recommended Madelinetosh for this. I just finished a shawl in their quality Tosh Merino Light (or TML for short) and it’s heavenly! Seriously, I totally understand what the craze is about concerning this yarn. The colours have incredible depth, it is soft, shines like it would contain silk and almost knits itself. What more could you want?

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Die verstrickte Dienstagsfrage 25/2014

Ordinarily, I post in English but since I’m an avid reader of Wollschaf’s Dienstagsfrage I want to answer her question in German.

Today the Wollschaf asks:

Oft ist es so, daß gerade das Modell, in das man sich unsterblich verliebt hat, nicht in der eigenen Größe verfügbar ist.
Insbesondere deutsche Anleitungen sind in ihrem Größenspektrum ja oft sehr eingeschränkt.

Was macht Ihr, wenn Eure Größe nicht dabei ist?

  • Komplett umrechnen? Wenn ja, “zu Fuß” oder mit einem Strickrechner? Wenn letzteres, welchen benutzt Ihr?
  • Pi mal Daumen ein paar Maschen mehr oder weniger anschlagen und hoffen, daß es zum Schluss passen wird?
  • Dickeres bzw. dünneres Garn und Nadeln nehmen?
  • Ein ähnliches Modell suchen, das in Eurer Größe verfügbar ist?
  • Zähneknirschend verzichten und etwas anderes stricken?
  • Ganz was anderes, nämlich…

Vielen Dank an Tichiro für die heutige Frage.

Um ehrlich zu sein habe ich sehr oft dieses Problem. Gerade die deutschen Anleitungen haben ja – wie schon erwähnt – ein kleines Größenspektrum. Mit meiner Kleidergröße 48/50 fall’ ich oft aus den errechneten Größen heraus. Das ist auch mit ein Grund warum ich aufgehört habe, deutsche Zeitschriften zu kaufen. Natürlich sind da oft schöne Anleitungen drin, aber wenn ich das alles neu ausrechnen muss, brauche ich das Heft fast nicht zu kaufen. Dazu kommt, dass die Strickmuster in amerikanischen Heften (Interweave Knits, Knitscene u.Ä.) einfach ausgefallener sind und mir besser gefallen.

Natürlich habe ich auch eins, zwei Muster im Hinterkopf, die ich irgendwann mal umrechnen und stricken möchte. Wenn, dann würde ich das aber alles “zu Fuß” machen, mit Hilfe des Dreisatzes eine Anleitung auf die eigene Maschenprobe und/oder Größe umrechnen sollte jede Strickerin beherrschen. (Meiner Meinung nach kommt das gleich nach das Gestrick “lesen” können.) Schließlich kommt es doch sehr oft vor, dass man die Maschenprobe des Designers nicht erreicht, egal wie sehr man es versucht. Das kann ich nur aus eigener Erfahrung bestätigen.

Um die Frage kurz zu beantworten, ich bin schon oft auf eine andere Anleitung umgestiegen, weil meine Größe nicht dabei war. Leider passiert das auch häufiger bei Ravelry.