Saturday, 27 September 2008

WIP: Swallowtail

I assume that my current project is going to take some time. I've wanted to knit Swallowtail ever since I saw it on Ravelry some months ago. Now I finally have the chance and the right yarn for it, so I cast on the first stitches last night. Since I am planning to make it quite a bit bigger than required in the original pattern (by adding either 10 or 14 additional repeats), I am not sure exactly how long I will have to wait till it is finished. In any case, I am very impatient because I love this shawl already!

At first, I wasn't sure exactly what I was doing as I followed the instructions. I had assumed that I wold start at the very tip of the shawl and work my way up to the broader sections. That, however, isn't the case here, as I realised after some frantic minutes of reading and comparing. Now that I know what I am doing, it is going very well. Occasionally, I seem to have more stitches than I should, and I am not entirely sure why that is. Still, so far it hasn't caused any problems and I have been able to fix the mistake.

In the current unblocked state it is hard to see what Swallowtail is going to look like in the end, of course. The pictures don't do it justice as yet either, but the final result should be very pretty. The yarn's colour as shown in the pictures isn't quite accurate. It resembles the yarn I used for Marie-Noelle and is actually the same 3-ply merino wool ordered from the Hamburger Wollfabrik, but it is in fact a deep purple or plum colour. I will make sure to take more accurate photos later on. What I like best about the yarn is that it is so light and soft that the work hardly weighs anything as I knit.

As long as I count my repeats correctly and stop finding more stitches than there should be, this project should go very well.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Calling on Mr Jones Again

It was that time of the month again: a group of knit- and crochet-crazy women meet up in a bar to do what must be a very strange site in a place as hip as Mr Jones. Yes, our group Kreative Mittelhessen got together again in the afternoon to work on those WIPs and have a good chat. And, of course, stealthy me was able to sneak a few photos as usual when no one was looking.

This time, there were far more knitters than the last two times I came. Some were new to the meetings, so we met a few new faces as well as some familiar ones. Due to some difficulties with the trains (surprise, surprise) Nina was unable to join us this time and we did feel that something was missing. Some of us had trouble remembering everybody's names, which is quite difficult for people like me who have a sieve for brains at such moments. Luckily, I wasn't the only one! In the end, given our number, we had to add two more tables to the ones we had already booked, so that we had a long row that reached from on side of the bar almost to the kitchen door. Very convenient, I thought, as they could simply pass the food on to us that way.

Speaking of which, I was finally finally finally able to sample the food! With my ginger ale I had the turkey stripes with potato wedges, salad, and two dips. It was a little dry, but I was starving and the food was good. I shall have to try some other things from the menu in the future to compare. It wasn't quite as good as I had expected, but it was nicely filling anyway.

As is usually the case at out meetings, there were more books to look at, interesting patterns to share, and we could provide help to those who needed any. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to help Friederike with her crochet pattern as I am not familiar with the terminology there. Eventually, she went back to knitting socks with the most beautiful blue yarn I have ever seen. I need to know what it's called and where I can get it! Usually, I don't like variegated yarns, but this one looked just right.

I received a lot of praise for the pair of Marie-Noelle I've been making for my friend's birthday. I wish I had counted how many hours I spent knitting them because I really can't tell. I was told not to sell them under € 30 if I wanted to sell them. That seems like a lot to me, but they are a lovely pair, of course. I should really try and sell some of my knitting one day.

Belinda brought her Secret of Bad Nauheim shawl along, which, as it turns out, was made from the same yarn I used for socks last year. The shawl pattern is one I have seen on Ravelry before and thought very pretty. Unfortunately, it isn't a free pattern, so I haven't added it to my favourites yet. Seeing Belinda's work made me look forward to my planned Swallowtail too. That is a project I had had my eye on for some time and finally I have enough yarn for it.

Since we met at 2 PM this month, I had to stay quite long till my train left. Nadine and I were the last ones and ended the evening with some milkshakes. On that occasion I realised that the chocolate milkshake I raved about after my first meeting was actually an iced chocolate and not a milkshake at all! So yesterday's chocolate milkshake was quite a disappointment. However, Nadine's was made of real strawberries and looked at least as good as it must have tasted.

The rest of the evening consisted of 4 hours of waiting at two stations and I found it harder to bear than last time. I assume that it is easier for me when we meet later in the afternoon. I shall have to see what it's like next month. As usual, I am looking forward to seeing everyone again and talking knitting and more.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Marie-Noëlle

Half of my friend's birthday present is complete! I have really enjoyed making these Marie-Noëlles - named after my friend -, mainly becaus they are probably the most beautiful items I have ever knitted so far. This, I assume, is due to the fine yarn that was a lot of work to knit with, but proved to come out very nicely in the glove.


Materials:
  • 2.0 mm DPNs
  • Hamburger Wollfabrik: Merino extrafein (3-ply); colour 610
  • Pattern: improvisation using some charts Robin Griffith's Hourglass socks. I used the chart for socks for men and the side panels.
Pattern:
  • CO 90 sts
  • k1tbl, p1-ribbing for about 3-4 cm
  • knit top half in pattern and continue ribbing on the other half
  • start thumb gusset after 3 repeats and continue for two pattern repeats
  • put thumb sts on spare thread and knit the rest in the round in pattern till one pattern repeat is completed
  • ribbing until desired length is reached (here 6 rows)
  • BO
  • pick up the thumb stitches + 3 sts
  • knit in k1 p1 ribbing for 6 rows
  • BO
Done!

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Never Trust a Fuzzy Rabbit


My sister's rabbit got into my room while I was away and gnawed a hole into my favourite Koigu-yarn socks! Grrr! I've unraveled Nutkin now and will knit another pair with a different pattern sometime. I'd planned to do that anyway at some point, but not so soon. Maybe I can make another pair of Firestarters now. At least my other things seem to be safe now. My knitting is safely packed away.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Autumnal Pillow Case

Last Christmas I gave my grandma a voucher so she could ask for a knitted item of her choice for me to make. I was hoping she would give me a challenge while she, on the other hand, wanted to make it easy for me. So she asled for a plain pillow case. *sigh*

She got the idea because I had mentioned a skein of novelty yarn I had bought in autumnal colours. Orignally, I had wanted to use it for one of my first hats as a trim. It turned out awful, so I frogged it and had had the odd yarn for ages since then. My grandmother thought it would look lovely as a pillow case.

Material:
  • 3.5 mm circs
  • 1 skein Fabiani Samba Meliert
  • 2 skeins Schachenmayr nomotta Brazilia
  • tapestry needle
After a few initial attempts to get the right gauge - I forgot how many stitches I cast on -, I realised that one skein, of course, would never suffice. It took a long time for me to buy two more skeins because the original colour was no longer available. I had to settle for a dark red/black combo and decided to knit a stripy item. It was easy enough and was such a boring knit that it again too ages till I got it done. I left it for another half a month till I decided I should really get down to weaving in the ends and such.

And today I finally did it - it's done! It looks okay and feels very nice. The sizing isn't quite as I had hoped and I have no idea if an ordinary 40 x 40 cm pillow willl fit well. Luckily, the pillow case is very stretchy.Instead of sewing in a zipper or using buttons, I sewed the bottom closed except for a small opening to slip the pillow in. Later today, I will bring it to my grandmother and we can check the fit.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

WIP: Another Present for Marie

Now that Marie's birthday/Christmas socks are finished, I can finally start on her fingerless gloves with the new Merino yarn. It really is very thin yarn, I must say. I am using 2mm DPNs rightnow because anything bigger wouldn't work at all. It is a bit annoying to have to work this way because it takes ages, but it will look very good - perhaps even better than most other things I have made before.

I have decided to use Robin Griffiths' Twisted Hourglass Sock pattern for the upper side, but since this is only the beginning, I may well change my mind about it. I think that this pattern would like very good with this yarn and I don't want to make anything too fancy, which I am sure Marie will appreciate.

The thinness of the yarn is making me reconsider what I might do for myself later on. I think the best thing would be to make a lace shawl, but I doubt I have enough for something that size. Socks are a possibility, but would take ages, I think. However, I could try some very intricate patterns there, which I always like to do. As long as it isn't boring, I am all for it. Perhaps I will end up with yet another pair of fingerless gloves for myself, which would be thinner and therefore more versatile than the ones I have at the moment.

Monday, 1 September 2008

A Hamburger Wollfabrik Experience

Today my order from the Hamburger Wollfabrik arrived! Two cones of extra-fine 3-ply merino wool. The violet yarn is for myself while the dark red is going to be knit into a present for Marie at some point. I already have a pair of fingerless gloves in mind for her, though I assume the pattern will be my own improvisation. I am not sure what I will make of the violet yarn yet - originally, I had ordered it to make socks, but since it is very thin I might try to do something more lacy than that. But there is still time.

When I placed the order, I wasn't sure whether to choose 3- or 4-ply. I looked up my favourite merino yarn and found out that it had been 4-ply and rather thick. So I chose 3-play, which is too thin here, now that I can see it. It can't be helped now and I like it all anyway, so it's staying in my stash.

I am, however, not impressed with the Hamburger Wollfabrik as such. They do sell very good yarn for a very low price, so I will remain one of their customers, but their online shop needs improving as well as their service. I had to email them two times to give me their bank details so that I could pay them before they could send my packet to me. That took quite long, all in all. Also, their website is quite basic and some things just don't work. For instance, I have an account there, but can no longer access it for some reason. That, too, delayed payment.

Another thing that I thought odd was that they gave me more than I asked for. I had ordered 100g of each yarn, but got 120g and 130g, respectively. Of course that cost me more than expected too. They never asked me if it was okay and there is no reason they would do this, as far as I can see. Had it cost me much more, I would have had to cancel my order.

Their yarns always come on cones, it seems. Unfortunately, even though I asked for each yarn to be divided into 50g-batches, this was impossible. That makes knitting a little difficult if I can't weigh it. I don't like the idea of running out of yarn towards the end of a sock.

We shall see how it goes. I have too many WIPs at the moment to start something new with the merino yarn. I am really looking forward to it though! It's just going to take ages to get anything done, seeing how thin it is.