9/07/2017

Smell the flowers

Can you believe I've run out of wips? This recently finished shawl was the last ufo I had, and oh my, how nice it is to cast on something new on a clean slate. Well, not so much a clean slate as a dusty sofa, but you get the point.


What: Nuffield / Own pattern
How: Circular needle 3.75 mm
From: Frida Fuchs SCHNIEKE Single + Madelinetosh Merino Light, 258 + 14 g
Ravelryssa

I started this project long ago in the early spring. These pennant shaped shawls with increases at the edges and decreases in the middle have been on trend for a while now. I too wanted to try designing one.


The shawl has a fun shape and is brightened up by contrasting colored stripes and lace sections that both keep growing bigger and bigger. The shawl is finished off with a picot bind off. The lace is such that there are decreases and yo's on the wrong side as well but the pattern is simple and easily memorized.


Knitting this shawl starts at the sharpest corner. Once you have worked enough increases so that the bottom edge is of desired length, the rest of the shawl is shaped with short rows until the "dent" in the middle is filled up. If this sounds confusing, you haven't knitted one of these shawls before and you should because it's totally fun and entertaining. Because I wanted to knit all the short rows in the lace pattern, the final lace section is humongous. But I like it. I think it gives the shawl a very delicate look.


The yarn is my most recent yarn love, Frida Fuchs SCHNIEKE Single. It's not only lovely single ply merino but it has a luxurous 30 % silk which gives the yarn a beautiful shine. And the colors! Oh! The shawl used about 2.5 skeins of the main color. So now I have enough left overs to make a pair of fingerless mitts to go with the shawl. For the contrast color, I used Tosh Merino Light in a gorgeous copper color.



I named the shawl Nuffield, after Nuffield College in Oxford. I was viting the place with my god daughter and she wouldn't go inside because she wanted to stay in the garden smelling all the spring flowers. It reminded me that you should always have time to smell the flowers, which brought my mind to the main color of the shawl, Hanami. It was a good thing also to keep in mind while knitting the endless lace rows of the final section of the shawl. Yes, you should always have time to smell the flowers and enjoy the moment - even the boring endless lace knitting moments.


Now I need to decide if I have the energy to write the pattern for this shawl.

9/01/2017

Lala

I was in need of a white lace cardigan that would go with all my clothes. And, of course it should be knitted top down in one piece. So I designed one.


What: Lala / Own pattern
How: Circular needle 4.0 mm
From: Manos del Uruguay Fino, 200 g
Ravelryssa

Since I decided on the cardigan need two weeks before our summer trip to Scotland, I also desided that two weeks would be enough time to design, calculate and knit the cardigan. And, if one is a crazy enough knitting lady, one might actually finish the cardigan a few days before the trip.



Since I was in a hurry I had to optimize the time I had. One cannot design a cardigan without knitting a swatch but that takes time. Since the cardigan starts at the back of the neck with the shawl collar, I used the left side of the collar as my swatch. I chose the number of sts for the collar so it worked well with the lace pattern, knitted and blocked the little piece that would be the left side of the shawl collar. Handy, and quick! Though, it did look funny while knitting that the other side of the collar was all neat and blocked and the other wasn't.



Lala is a lace cardigan with shawl collar and raglan sleeves. It starts by knitting the left side of the collar, picking up sts and knitting the right side of the collar to the opposite direction. Then, you pick up some sts at the bottom edge of the collar and make room for the sleeves with raglan increases. There's no waist shaping, so once you leave the sleeve sts on hold, it's straight forward knitting.



The sleeves have no shaping as well. They're straight and a bit oversized. It makes them really comfy. The cuffs and the hem have a long twisted ribbing. The cardigan has buttons that took quite some time to choose. I love this kind of cardigans where you get to show off a few special buttons. I found my wooden buttons few years ago on Etsy.



As usual, the pattern has 9 sizes, XXS-XS-S (M1-M2-L1) L2-XL-XXL. You can purchase your copy by clicking the link below:

The yarn I used is Fino by Manos del Uruguay. Its 70 % merino and 30 % silk. It's fingering weight, although it has more meters, 450 m. I actually made my Lala with just two skeins!


I knitted the sample in size M2 so two skeins should be enough for the smaller sizes. For the M2 size, I'd recommend to buy three since we all have differing tensions and I only had a few meters left over. I thoroughly recommend the yarn. It's one of the softest I've ever knitted and feels like cotton candy. The silk gives it a nice shimmer and drape.


If the yarn and knitting were fun, writing the pattern wasn't. It took so much time to get all those charts finetuned. And I won't be writing another lace pattern any time soon. The pdf file is long because all of those charts but you can leave out the other sizes so you won't have too many pages to print. The pattern includes both charts and written instructions



My test knitters made so cute cardigans I might have to make a few more myself. The name of the cardigan comes from the fact that the lace reminds me of tulips. Lala means tulip in Bosnia.

8/10/2017

Nordic arrows

The was the knit festival. And all I had on my needles required way too much thinking. So I was forced to cast on something new, you know.


How: Circular needle 4.0 mm
From: Frida Fuchs SCHNIEKE Single + Hedgehog Fibres Skinny Singles + Kässäkerho Pom Pom Donegal Tweed, 86 + 100 + 72 g
Ravelryssa

I've been meaning to cast on this lovely shawl from the first issue of Laine Magazine for quite some time already. Now was the perfect time since garter stitch and brioche should make for a good social knitting project. Right? What do you mean, no?


Oh... Well, that escalated quite quickly. I realized pretty soon that even garter stitch can be too much thinking when knitting it in brioche style with both colors on each row. And oh my, once the brioche started. There was garter stitch, brioche, several increases, moving stitch markers and all the works. All at the same time and at different paces.


On thursday, I sat at the info booth of the festival and got to show my project to the designer herself. She bursted in laughter and said I shoulden't try to continue the shawl at the festival. Atleast not after row five. Yep. She was right.

But after the festival we went off on our summer holiday trip. There was plenty of sitting on the train, in an aeroplain, for a week in the car, back in the plane and the train. I took three projects with me but couldn't set this one aside. Once I finally got the jist, this shawl was super entertaining knit.


All I had to do after the trip, was to finish the contrast colored edge. And it took me a whole day from morning to night. But all in all, I rushed through the shawl in no time because it was such a fun project.


This triangular shawl starts at the sharpest point. First, there's some garter which is later joined by brioche triangles that get bigger and bigger until there's six of them. I like traditional striped garter stitch more but brioche requires this style, so it's not up to me.


Finally, you pick up stitches for the contrast colored border which is shaped with short rows. The border also has these cute little brioche bits in the corners. So pretty and so beautifully graphic.


For some reason, I was craving for colors for this shawl. I'm a bit annoyed how the light green Shamrock by Hedgehog Fibres totally ate up the lovely navy blue Frida Fuchs but I'm in love with this warm yellow tweed yarn by a Finnish dyer, Kässäkerho Pom Pom. Lovely colors. Though, I'm not sure if the suite me. Therefore I asked a friend to model this one.


And oh, what a friend she is for letting me use this one. Luv you!

8/04/2017

Retro stripes

Sometimes a girl has got knit just basic striped socks. Or atleast, that was the plan but the end result is something a bit different.


What: Stripy socks / Own pattern
How: Circular needle 2.25 mm
From: Cowgirlblues Sock weight, 60 g
Ravelryssa

In the spring I took my sister to a yarn shop with the intent that my sister would shop yarn, I wouldn't. Well, that didn't exactly turn out the way I planned. No surprises there.


But I was helpless. There I was standing in front of shelf filled with super cute little yarn cakes in glorious colors and in the most perfectly sproingy yarn base. The tiny yarn cakes felt like little stress toys. I had no choice. Except on which colors to choose.


The yarn is sport weight which gave me a good excuse to buy three skeins. Just to be on the safe side. I ended up choosing quite a retro color combo. It remainds my of the Weasley family in Harry Potter.


An the simple stripy socks? Well, I started out that way but soon came up with the idea of a different kind of heel to make the stripes go all the way to the sole.


And after the heels, when the knitting started to feel a bit too relaxed, I came up with the idea of anatomical toes. Meaning, I made the decreases only on the other side at first. And ofcourse, I didn't write it all down because of course you can just count it from the finished sock when you need to and life would be way too easy any other way.


Cute but not too relaxing. But when has it ever been with me?

7/30/2017

Lady in waiting

The summer has been super busy but I'm back and you should get ready to see more than a few knits.


What: Allure / Kim Hargreaves
How: Circular needles 2.5 mm ja 3.0 mm
From: Drops Lace, 119 g
Ravelryssa

It feels like a life time ago when I found Kim Hargreaves' books and knitting in English. One alltime favorite I've made from her is been Allure. Even though I knitted it from mohair which I haven't been able to stand for years now. Yet, the mohair Allure is a staple piece in my wardrope.


I've been planning for ages to reknit Allure in some nicer material. A year ago I went a bit crazy and started three different projects in Drops Lace - two sweaters and one shawl that made me insane. Amazingly, I finished the shawl already last autumn and this is the first of the two sweaters. (Actually I'm well on my way on getting rid of all my wips and the second sweater is coming along nicely too.)



But let's get back to the important stuff. So, I took a rematch at the favorite sweater with alpaca lace yarn. This project had three things I wouldn't recomend to anyone who isn't as much of a crazy knitting lady as I am:
  1. A lace sweater in lace weight yarn.
  2. And not in just any lace weight yarn, but BLACK lace weight yarn.
  3. Modifying the pattern the whole time to not be knitted in pieces but seamlessly.
Yep, that's me. Just my kind of a project. Some say it's crazy. I say it's a challenge and boy, does it sound daunting and interesting.


The beginning was easy knitting. The front and back could easily be knitted in the round. All I had to do was to make sure my stitch count worked with the lace pattern. I knitted the body in one piece to underarms and then separated the front and the back. I could've used kitchener stitch to join the shoulders but it was way easier to just sew them together. With this light yarn, the seams are very slim.



Then came the interesting part. I modified the sleeves to be seamless as well and knitted them top down. First, I checked how many stitches there should be at the widest part of the sleeve and picked up that many stitches from the armholes. Then I needed to check how many stitches there should be at the highest point of the sleeve before starting short rows to shape the sleeve tops. After that it was just short rows taking in one more stitch at the end of each row until I had used all the stitches.


This would've been easy and a piece of a cake if the sweater wasn't black lace. And if I hadn't used smaller needles to make it easier to pick up the sleeve stitches and forgot to change back into the bigger needles. I managed to finish the first sleeve top just in time to realize I have to tink it all. Well, practice makes perfect, right?


One little problem was that I had no way of knowing, how long I should knit straight before starting sleeve decreases because the instructions only stated how long the sleeve should measure fromt the wrist, not the underarm. Oh well, I made a lucky guess and ended up being right.



Finally, all that was left was to pick up stitches from the neck opening to knit the turtle neck collar. I can't believe the pattern instructed to knit that in a separate piece as well and then sew on. Oh the times. You know, everything wasn't better in the golden olden days. Oh no, not at all!



The sweater turned out beautiful. I especially love the sleeves that are really wide and a bit too long just above the wrist. Black lace is always stylish and makes for a great outfit for more formal occations as well.



The yarn choice worked nicely to substitute the icky mohair. Except for the collar. The alpaca yarn is way too drapy to hold up the collar and it looks like there's just a pile of yarn where the collar should be. But you can't win every battle. Atleast the sweater isn't itchy.


We found this amazing back drop for the photoshoot and I'm pretty sure we will never be able to top this one. The pics are taken at Armadale caste ruins on the Isle of Skye. The lovely window shots aren't from the caste ruins but the old laundry ruins on the castle grounds