The past few months I’ve made some gifts for knitter friends that have found their way to their owners in the past week. Now I can share them with you.
First up: the secret wap in the Dutch Karma Group.
when we have swaps in the Dutch Karma Group you put together a parcel for one of the other members without telling them. You have to stalk them and their projects to find out what they like. It is a stressfull and very fun activity.
Right now, we are wrapping up the Luxury Gift Swap. The goal for this swap was to actually knit/crochet something for your swappee, using a luxury yarn. Then add a small luxury item such as soap or CHOCOLATE and send it to her.
Sounds easy. Isn’t easy at all! It is very scary to make something for someone else. Especially if you want it to be GOOD. You start to doubt yourself at every step of the way. The choice of colour, the choice of yarn, the choice of pattern.
Luckily we are experienced swappers by now and we know that we have to guide the person who is going to spoil us as much as possible. Give clear instruction what you would like. Restrict the vast array of possibilities as much as possible. Nothing is worse than trying to spoil someone who says: “really, anything is fine, I like everything.” Where to start??
Like I said, we are a lucky bunch, we know that the more and clearer preferences are stated, the easier it is to combat the inner doubts. My swappee was clear fortunately. Her name is Brigiet and this is her colour choice fot this swap:
she also provided her secret spoiler -me- with a list of Wollmeise yarn colours. These are nearly a standard for identifying colours in the world of knitters, just like Panthone is in paint.
“I love most colours but for this swap I am thinking of these Wollmeise colours:
Petitie poison 5
Ein klein wenig verrucht
Chim chim chimney
One of the Wollmeise Groups over on Ravelry.com has a page listing the various colours, with pictures. So I could just go over there and browse to try and understand fully what my swappee really loves.
She also gave examples of shawls she likes. She would love a shawl that is a bit round -not triangle- to wear over her shoulders at work coming winter. She listed some examples and what she liked about them particularly. Wonderful! Ideas for the perfect luxury gift where taking shape in my mind.
Then I found the perfect yarn: a blue fingering weight by Posh Yarn with glitter: Posh Yarn Pamela in colour Bala. I could have ordered one of the Wollmeises she mentioned but then I would not have had glitter. And I really loved this colour for her. Besides, there was no Wollmeise in a right colour to be had when I wanted to start knitting. Wollmeise is hard to get and you have to be fast and confident. I have not been any of those recently.
it even has the glitter of the ice in her picture! I would not have thought so but the glitter is actually very soft. I felt it and pondered it before I decided to actually buy it. This is better then buying over the internet where colours are never certain. Nor softness!
I loved it so much, both colour and texture, that it was a real pleasure to knit with. I would have loved to have kept it myself. Which made it easier to offer it to her and garantee that if she didn’t absolutely love it too, I would gladly take it back and exchange it for something in a better colour.
It was knitted into a pattern my swappee had identified herself as a good one. I purchased it and knit it, as is. It is Marella by Knitting-Delight.com from Birgit Freyer:
I knitted it on needles 3,25mm. I did alter the increases in the ‘spine’ a bit as you see. I let them float out sideways. I do not like the ‘spiney’ look. I also did M1 for increases, by knitting in the stitch below the stitch that is to be knit (also). Sometimes I like my increases to be not ‘holey’.
Still a bit nervous but also fairly confident I wrote a nice letter on my nicest stationary, wrapped the goodies and send away my parcel. My swappee was very glad with it! And so am I.
THE SECOND GIFT:
Next I knitted a shawl for a good friend who turned 40 the other day. Her favourite colour is green. She doesn’t find much joy in knitting lace but does enjoy wearing lace shawls. And as I had just knitted Marelle which was still very much in my knitter hands memory, I casted on:
this time I played a bit with the pattern. The ‘spine’ is broader now, I increased the number of stitches between the two vertical lines of increases. I much prefer this. It yield a bit of a rounder shaped shawl. I also played with the lace part since the original pattern, Marella by Brigit Freyer, is fairly straight. Gothic if you will (architectural term, not the fashion term):
pattern page picture by triametes71
see what I mean? straight lines, triangles.
I made them into more fluent lines and a different rythme of the small ‘blobs’ in the lace. I also changed the knitting of these ‘blobs’. The pattern makes them all the same, I divided them in left leaning and right leaning double decreases. Depending on where they were in relation to the centre lines.
Still pointy pointy. But less triangles and less stacks of ‘blobs’. I really like it!
This was knitted in a lovely green yarn Dream in Color Smooshy:
of the colour way “Happy Forest”. I had received this yarn myself in a previous swap but as this is a superwash yarn I knew I would prefer to knit it for someone else to wear. This was a perfect gift, the colour is very much ‘her’. (and ‘me’. This colour is great! too warm to compliment my own colouring but hey, don’t need to look absolute gorgeous every day!)
She celebrated her birthday at her house, she baked cakes and made soup, she invited only knitters and we sat around all day eating wonderful food and chatting and being comfortable and knitting and spinning and having a really really wonderful time. It was so relaxed!
I was very proud of how the shawl looked on her. A very good gift. I knitted this on needles 3,25 mm and used 321 meters which is 351 yards. link to project page
THE THIRD GIFT:
Now let me tell you about the gift that took the longest time of these three. It is weaving.
About two years ago my friend Meilindis started spinning. I was having a rough time and as a cheer-up she send me two of her very first handspun. This is a very precious gif! Because first hand spun are like many firsts in creations: you can never repeat them and you create a little wonder without restrictions of experience.
it is the top one, the blue one. It has a myriad of colours. You can put your nose to it and keep looking, the colours keep changing. It is like a caleidoscope.
I have looked at this yarn for a year and a half. I knew knitting would mix the colours too much. Crocheting would eat up too much yarn, it is only about 30 m. Other techniques that would compliment this yarn could be Lace Crochet or knitting with elongated stitches. But I was still searching.
Then I learned weaving.
And it all came together. I wove it as one of my first weaves:
the technique showed of the ‘journey’ through colours and fibre Meilindis had made while spinning it in a great way:
I started this weaving just around the time we were talking about Colour Analysis on the Karma Group and Meilindis had her colours analysed and was determined a Summer. It was very educational, for all of us. I decided to use a Summer apropiate colour for the warp: bourette silk in dusty rose.
After a while looking and admiring the woven piece I decided to make it into a small pouch. I myself love useful things. Pretty useful things. And sewing the pouch gave me another opportunity to work with this yarn up close:
see how many colours one strand of yarn has? I LOVE it when you travel from a small scale to the big one and back and on each scale there is something interesting to see and colours to enjoy.
I wove in the ends and put a button on it:
Then I brought it with me when I went to visit her.
we had a lovely afternoon of chatting about knitting and about cats and about life and we went to a ’50s store to try on dresses and then we ate chocolate bonbons at an Italian ice cream salon.
Here’s her cat Fiona, approving of the little pouch and of the bonbons:
the red shawl she’s resting on is one of Meilindis’ own designs: Rapunzel Crescent. It has wonderful detail!
again, attention to every scale (stitchdefinition, stitch pattern, areas, shape shawl) which delights the designer/urban architect in me. I plan to make this shawl for me one day! Soon I hope. But she also has Frou Holle that I’d love to make…
The blue shawl near the back of cat Fiona is the shawl that Meilindis received from her secret spoiler in the Secret Luxury Swap. A silk shawl in an ab-so-lute perfect colour for her!!
accompanied by luxury chocolate, the remainder of the skein and a nice letter. Send by…Brigiet. The very girl I send my package too! Great Karma!