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March 27, 2013

For the Love of Socks

One of my new knitting year resolutions for 2013 was to learn knitting socks. I don't really know why I've always been so hesitant trying it out. Maybe one of the books I had grabbed on the topic of sock knitting was at fault, maybe it was just my own imagination that grew and grew exponentially to a Mount Everest size respect giant.

Ever since I had learned to utilize the Magic Loop method for i.e. hat or sleeve knitting, at least I didn't need to be intimidated by 3, 4 or 5 teeny tiny DPNs (double pointed needles) anymore, with which to handle a fiddly sock adventure. I highly recommend this method, personally, I do all smaller circumference round knitting that way.

Here's a great video tutorial on the topic of the Magic Loop:



For those of you who haven't started your own first socks yet, and hiding behind whichever mountain of fear or respect, get out of there, you might just find a wonderful new knitting addiction too, and agree with me quickly: "Why didn't I try this sooner - this is so much fun!"

Decide for a construction that you're most interested in, or, like in my case, I picked the one that in my imagination also was the "toughest" one, giving me the confidence that if I'd managed that one, I wouldn't have any problems with all the other methods of construction either. Just my personal approach, and it works for me. 

I started out with the cuff down or top down method of sock knitting, working my way from the cuff, over the leg and heel towards the toes and ending with the kitchener stitch. I picked a pattern that had a lot of interest in the stitch pattern, since I didn't want to be bored with miles of stockinette stitch in between.

And so I made these soft and cuddly socks, pattern "Slip-n-Slide" by Chrissy Gardiner:



I was thrilled!! - And, I was ready for and craving the next challenge: knitting a pair of socks two-at-a-time, toe up. It was also a lot of fun, and a great experience to see both socks grow at the same time, getting them off the needles at the same time. I made those for my husband, a pattern by Melissa Morgan-Oakes, called "Twisted Baskets".




For my birthday, I had asked my husband for two essential books, both of the previously mentioned pairs were patterns from these books. The books are filled not only with great patterns, but also with great information, references, techniques. I highly recommend them both.







Well, that was all the time I could spare...- being bit by the notorious sock virus, I have to get back to knitting the third pair, a wonderful ribbed cable pattern, I'll share next time! :)

Happy Knitting,

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February 19, 2013

Here's to another knitting year

Since I'm such an infrequent blogger, 2013 has already been in full swing without any posts - didn't I have plans to change that in place? Must have been last year... ;)

Anyways, on the finished knitting objects side, I've been much more productive - time to share some of those on the blog. I've had the pleasure to work with some beautiful patterns by designers I just recently discovered, among them Terri Kruse and Laura Aylor. Both write wonderful patterns to work with, I became a fan right away!

A sweet little baby boy will be snuggled up the following winter in this adorable sweater with a toggle button. I found the toggle buttons at a Canadian Etsy store (I love browsing for buttons on Etsy).


Personally, I'll be wrapped in this gorgeous shawl until spring is ready to stay



  

And last not least, a little baby girl or boy will be hugged by this soft baby blanket, that just came off my needles last weekend




Quite a collection of neutral colors, I know - but aren't they just adorable and so timeless and classy? 

And in other knitting news: Stitches South is coming up in April here in Atlanta. Not sure yet if I'll be going, I think I might get some early bird tickets next year (there's always next year, right?!). I officially missed Sweater Day (even though I most likely wore one that day), but think this is a great idea and cause, and have to also put that on my calendar for the following year.

In totally unrelated TV news (well, maybe not totally unrelated, since TV makes for such perfect background noise while knitting), there are some new TV shows we've started watching and enjoying: The Americans, Continuum, and The Following. Very sadly we've had to say goodbye to Fringe - can't get over that, one of my absolute favorites...wish they'd had another season *heavy sigh*. And, Touch just got back for its 2nd season, as well as The Walking Dead returning from their winter break - so mostly all is well in TV series land.



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December 30, 2012

Winding swiftly now

Ever since I spent about 1 hour winding a hank of yarn manually into not-such-a-perfect skein, I've understood what all the fuzz about swifts is about. (Some yarns don't come in skeins or balls but in hanks, they have to be wound into skeins, so that you're able to work with them.)

My creative husband at once offered to built one - first wanting to create a prototype, to learn about building the perfect swift. Well, for me the current version is as perfect as it gets already, and I'm so thrilled to have my own swift now! He built it to use with a floor stand as well as with a table fastener, and carved and painted a whole lot of loving into it as well :)



On the floor stand he painted: "From spinner to swift then into a ball, to the hand of the knitter who knits love into all."



The top is a little crown :)



Here's a great video from verypink.com about how to use a ball winder and a swift - easy to understand how this can save you lots of time?!!




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December 27, 2012

Last Finished Object for 2012


2012 has been the ultimate knitting year for me, I've learned many new techniques, facts, found valuable information I never knew I needed - and overall had just so much fun with all the different projects and challenges.

My presumably last finished project for this year is the blue twisted stitch pattern scarf that turned out really nice - if I may say so ;) Finished dimensions are approximately 13" x 62", it's a very light weight, soft scarf with a beautiful drape.





The major skill needed for this scarf beyond knitting, purling, counting and patience..., are twisted stitches. Here are some great tutorials on both these stitches (these are English style, but easy to understand for any Continental knitter also):  

Happy Knitting...!

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December 22, 2012

Lunar Blue Scarf in Sport Weight Yarn

Without a doubt, 'tis the season of shawls, wraps, cowls, and scarves. With thousands of appealing designs and pattern ideas out there, there'll probably never be a shortage of finding just the right one (or finding one that you never knew you wanted to knit so badly ;) ).

Currently, I'm working on a scarf in Knit Pick's Galileo sport weight yarn, colorway Lunar. I love the sheen to the blend of Merino and Bamboo. I'm not the biggest fan of knitting with thinner yarns than DK weight, just puts my knitting patience to the test a tad too much - even though I do love the finished objects in lace weights lots too.


In US stores you'll usually find this terminology of yarn weights (thickness of the yarn) from thin to thick: Lace, Fingering, Sport, DK, Worsted, Bulky and Super Bulky. Wikipedia has gathered some great info on yarn weights.

I find sport and fingering weight yarns still mostly nice to work with, and depending on the project you choose, you're going to be enjoying your work just fine. And, then there are truly mind blowing, gorgeous (lace) projects out there that just have to be knit in a lace weight yarn to bloom and shine in all their beauty - some people can't imagine ever doing anything else, while other's endurance level has long been reached in the sport or sock weight yarn range (that'd be me lol). Find out which preferences you have, maybe you like switching between them all.

Before committing to a more complex or larger pattern or yarn purchase in any of these weights, I recommend trying out yarn weights to find out what you like to work with. Then there's of course at the same time the choice between different yarn types such as wools, cottons, acrylics, silks, blends and such. Your local yarn store should be a great place to find advice and literally get a feel for what you like and enjoy to work with (...and/or realize what you actually can afford to work with lol ;) ).

When working with a particular pattern, I find it a good advice to stick with at least a similar yarn as suggested in the pattern. Also, always make a gauge swatch - it'll save you some frustration or disappointment along the way!


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