An Estonian girl who has found a home in Sweden.

Monday, February 20

FO Catch-Up

20.2.17 Posted by Vaire , ,

After the gift knitting for family was over, I still had more obligation knitting to do. I had promised more knitted things to more people than I really should have, but promise is a promise. As of now I have two more obligation knits left, but I needed some knitted things myself, so I took a break from gift knitting once the knits with deadlines were finished.

Rib and Cable Sweater

It is a FO although it is a pile of parts in this photo. I couldn't take a FO photo due to there being no light, before I handed it over to my colleague. It is a Cable and Rib Sweater with Hood by Debbie Bliss, knit in Sandnes Garn Peer Gynt. I am quite pleased with how it turned out even though the cables slowed the knitting considerably.

Ruby

Needing a break from obligation crafting, and a pair of gloves, I spun some red shetland. I divided the braid to light and dark colours, then blended each separately on my blending board. The idea was to avoid striping, but have maximum of barberpoling by plying a light and a dark single. The yarn didn't plump up as much as I expected, so it came out a light fingering. I used the 32 WPI groove on my control card for the singles, next time if I am aiming for 2-ply fingering, I'll try with the 28 WPI singles.

Ruby Gloves

Next time I need to do a better job of blending because I still got stripes, but they are more subtle than on the previous two pairs I knit out of my handspun. The pattern is inspired by Marjut's Gloves. They are light and warm and red, just perfect for the mild weather we have been having.

Drops 164-34 Hat

Back to gift knitting. This is a hat for another colleague, she picked the pattern and the yarn. It was a very quick knit, and the recipient was very happy with the result.

Nurmilintu

Being in the desperate need to cleanse my palate from the pink, I knit a Nurmilintu out of Schoppelwolle Zauberball, Cranberries colour. I wanted to use up all the yarn, so I continued the final lace section until I only had enough yarn left to bind off. I love it, being the perfect antidote for the winter greys and pink, but it is too thin even in this mild winter. I've set it aside to wait for the spring.

Big Squish

A couple of weekends ago I was feeling miserable. We had a some lovely below 0C temperatures, but I was feeling too sick and cold to enjoy the weather. Instead, I decided I needed something big and squishy. Brioche was the obvious choice for the squishiness, and there were two yarns in my stash that would accommodate the size in two colour brioche.

I weighed both the Kauni Wool 8/2 Effektgarn and Aade Lõng Artistic 8/2, and they came up almost 200 g each. Perfect. Before trying to invent a brioche pattern myself, I went and looked around on Ravelry and found Marley by Andrea Mowry of the Find Your Fade fame. Even more perfect, I could just follow the pattern for two colour brioche knitting without having to invent anything while being sick.

So I followed the pattern, and it is just as big, warm, and as squishy as I wanted it to be. That stick in the photo is one metre long, the shawl is 2 metres on the long side and one metre deep, and I have not even blocked it yet. I used up every scrap of both yarns, and had to use a little Kampes 2-trådigt ullgarn to finish last 20 cm of bind off. I chose not to have the garter border, but to do a crochet picot bind off which gave the shawl a lovely lettuce edge. It took me eight days to knit on 4 mm needles, not bad considering it is half a blanket.

Big Squish

I have been mostly cuddling under it at home, but I've worn it to work once and I wore it at Syfestivalen this past weekend. I love how the colours shift in the yarns and how the two colour brioche plays with them. I have other projects I need to finish, but it won't be long before I plunge back into two colour brioche knitting.

Friday, February 3

It's All About The Tools

3.2.17 Posted by Vaire ,

It is amazing how much faster it goes to make something with tools you enjoy using. Case in point: these two pairs of socks, one took 6 months, and I've been working on the other for only a week and I'm already half way through.

My preferred method of knitting socks is on DPNs, but last year I wanted to try out the two at a time on circular needles. I purchased two sets of 2.25 mm needles, one 60 cm length and one 80 cm length to see which one I like more. Turns out, neither. Addi Sock Rockets are just too sharp for the way I knit and while I managed not to poke an actual hole in my finger, they are very painful to knit on.

Relax Sox

I did want to finish the socks this year (after they'd languished for months), so I struggled on until I really wanted to finish these socks, and switched to Addi metal DPNs at the toe of the second sock. I do like how they turned out, but I remember the pain when I look at them. :(

Happy Socks

As soon as I was done with the previous pair, I cast on these and there is no pain while knitting, just joy. If I'd bought Addi Premium in 2.25 mm circulars, I would not have the poking problem. I love those tips, they are just perfect for me. However, I wasn't enjoying knitting socks on two circulars either. I gave it a fair try, but I prefer to knit with 5 DPNs because the circle they make is more flexible than one formed by a cable and two needle tips of circulars.

Knitting socks concurrently goes so fast, knitting on good tools goes so fast, and I love the yarn. I am calling these my Happy Socks because knitting on them makes me happy. I am glad I gave an alternate method a try, because I learned from it. I may give two at a time another try with blunter needles. Maybe. Maybe not.

Meanwhile, I've already planned out my next two pairs of socks, knit on DPNs.

Monday, January 23

Rainbow of Puni Rolags

23.1.17 Posted by Vaire ,

Last year, after the 2016 tally post, I decided to finish one more spinning project because it was almost there already. This rainbow of puni rolags is my 35th and final finished spinning project in 2016.

After combing the wool for the From Woolen to Worsted project I did last year during Tour de Fleece I had some leftover fluff. I decided to card that to punis and spin them up at some point.

Rainbow of Puni Rolags

I had not tried puni style rolags before, neither making them nor spinning them. It was during making them it became obvious that the hand cards I had were too coarse for merino, so the punis didn't come out as smooth as they could have. Thus the purchase of new finer hand cards at Syfestivalen.

Rainbow of Punis

They didn't spin as smoothly as the combed top does, but that is the nature of woollen preparation. I spun the punis into one single onto a paper quill on my bead spindle and used the plying bracelet to make a 2-ply yarn.

Due to the woollen texture, I don't think they are suitable for embroidery other than couching or Klosterstitch (German laid work), but I quite like the texture of these little minis.

I haven't quite figured out what to do with them yet, but as an experiment, they taught me so much. I'll definitely be making, and spinning, more punis.

Friday, January 13

Handmade Gifts, Continued

13.1.17 Posted by Vaire ,

Mum forwarded me the photos she took of the pouches. For her gift I chose the colours and patterns I knew she liked. All the florals probably also contributed to why it was such a struggle to get them done.

But what is the point of giving a gift that is not to the taste of the recipient? I don't think there is any, so I try to make the things the recipient will hopefully like. Even if it means sewing with florals, or knitting in pink, or sewing pink florals...

Pouches

Here they are, all 28 of them.

Monday, January 9

Handmade Gifts

9.1.17 Posted by Vaire , , ,

I went nuts last year. In the summer I got this idea to knit up some handspun gifts for my family. The idea was sparked by the shawl I spun and knit for my aunt. I figured that if I started in July, I'd have plenty of time to spin and knit for 6 people. Right?

Wrong! Three people got sewn gifts because I seriously ran out of time. Even with sewing, I was late. If I had visited over the holidays, I would have made it, but I didn't. I was late booking tickets, and I was late sending the package. All the manic crafting pre-holidays resulted in my one and only resolution for next year — no hand made holiday gifts in 2017!

Enough of whinging, on to the fun stuff!

Mossy Wildwood

First was the scarf for my dad. He picked the fibre, and gave me this desired measurements, I made up the pattern. Reportedly he is pleased with it. I love how the yarn turned out and I am chuffed that he likes it and will use it.

Zircon Gloves

Next were the gloves for my brother. I didn't have the right fibre for "no stripes", so I went and bought some new fibre. I stripped the blue and the green braids into tiny slivers, mixed them all up, combination drafted them into three singles, and the 3-ply still came up stripy! Happily, that level of stripyness was deemed to be not too stripy, and they fit. All in all, success!

Podster Gloves

Convertible gloves for SIL. She picked the yarn that I'd spun as an experiment, and requested the convertible mitt tops. I had so much trouble with these. First, trying to find a pattern that showed off the two different yarns, then to find a pattern with the convertible tops.

I am disappointed in two counts. One, the colours, and two, that there was not enough contrast between the 3-ply and the chain ply. So in the end I found a normal convertible pattern that fit my yarn and tension. I knit the cuffs and fingers with the 3-ply yarn and the palms and tops with the chain ply. I haven't heard back on those, so I have no idea if she is as disappointed with the colour as I am.

By the time I'd finished these, it was too late to try to spin and knit three more presents, so I switched to sewing. Mum requested small pouches to keep hear beads in, so I made 28 of them. This is what I meant when I said I went nuts. They may have been tiny, but in hindsight, 28 was a lot of pouches. In my holiday tradition is to forget to photograph at least one hand made gift before giving it. This year it was the pouches. I've asked Mum to snap a photo, but I haven't received it yet.

So. Why 28? Because I bought two of 5x5 cm pre-cut quilt square packs and used up all the squares. Three per pouch — two for sides and one for the drawstring tunnels. I forget exactly how many squares there were per pack, but they together made 28 pouches. In adding to the madness, I bought a new sewing machine to make these.

While I was dreaming up this project I realised that I needed features that my old machine did not have. The old machine was basic when I bought it in 1995, and it's ... less than basic? ... in today's standards. It does straight stitch and zig zag. That's it. There were more reasons to buy a new sewing machine. Like a topstitching foot, stretch stitches, three-step zig zag for sewing bras, and so on. I'll get into those when I do a post about it, but suffice to say, that I am very happy with my new "basic" machine.

The feature I needed for the bags was an overlock stitch that would bind and sew in one pass. I would have had to sew each seam (5 per pouch) twice with my old machine, and I really, really did not want to do that. As it was, even with the reduced number of passes, the first three or five pouches were fun, the rest were a pure grind. I grit my teeth and persevered, but that was painful to get through.

This proved my teenage self right — I knew then that I'd survive in a factory setting, doing the same thing over and over again, two weeks tops. I am never going to do this kind of project ever again! I love the result, my Mum was overjoyed, but I will not do a factory manufacture style project like this again. I have learned my lesson.

Haivaal

Sewing for fun again! This is a shark-whale mashup pencil case for my nephew from a free pattern on Craftsy. Simple, quick, fun, using both hand sewing and my new machine. My nephew started literally bouncing with joy when he unwrapped it. He LOVES it, with capital LOVE. This right there made all the effort for all the gifts worth it.

Lendorav

One more fun project. A flying squirrel for my niece from a free pattern on the internet. She is one year old, so she had no opinion on this, but I didn't expect any at that age. I had fun hand sewing it, and if she will play with it in the future, that's just a bonus.

That makes six gifts. I started in July and finished in December, and I won't be repeating this performance again for 2017. I love my family and I wanted to make them something special, but I am going to take a year off from this kind of pressure.