Go on, knit a guirlande of little x-mas-mittens!

I’m done doubting. This KAL is for a guirlande of little mittens to celebrate x-mas romantics. Pretty much like her Mitten Garland Advent Calendar:

another free pattern by Kat Lewinski

I was thrown off course because my gauge got me an adult fitting mitten. But the consequent problems are… problematic. Not only the graphic design problem of the colour distribution but it also means I’d knit the pattern itself upside down. Literally meaning that all the v-shaped stitches will suddenly become ^-shaped.
And that does interfere with the design.

The back of the bird will have a different rhythm. So will its beak and its head floof. The white line separating it from its branch will be different when the stitches are upside down.

It may work out for the back and the branch, seeing how the design is. But it will certainly interfere with its breast. There will occur the staccato changes that are now on its back.
Its forehead and beak will be different. Its eye will be v instead of ^

^-eyes are smiling eyes.
v-eyes are closed, sleeping eyes. Or demure eyes.

I’ve encountered this before with a couple of foxes:

Eyes and top of ears have the stitches in v or ^. Happy eared fox or demure animal with non-pointy ears…

Besides, I don’t have enough yarn to make all the mittens in my size. That great green Shetland type of wool only gets me four mittens. How will I know which one to knit?

Long story short: this is a guirlande, not a parade of mittens. I now chose to think about it as bunting that happens to have mitten shape.

I’ve dug up some great alternative yarn: golden handspun Bombyx silk. Lace weight.
Now I’m dyeing some x-massy green to go with it:

It needs to be a tad more darker. It needs more contrast with the gold. This is also silk, a commercial one strand type of yarn. It was bright yellow and blue. The yellow is still shining through and communicating with my gold.

Here it is one shade darker:
Perhaps this will do.
Waiting for it to cool down and then dry. Only then will I know. I’m using Ashford Dye in Green. With a slosh of vinegar. Silk loves vinegar and colour.

I’ll be knitting the guirlande on my smallest needles: 1,75 mm
to get as small a mitten as I can get.

Can’t wait to get started. Staring that silk dry as we speak!


the 12 days of x-mas KAL started

Today the first installment for the 12 Days of Christmas Mitten Garland KAL by Kat Lewinski was released. We have two weeks to knit one mitten. This is the first design:

 pic by Kat Lewinski

You can find everything and more about this design at her great site Just Craftsy Enough.

I love this design very much! I adore wood block printing (think linocut prints if you need further mental images) and art with high contrast and/or colour blocks.

Cast on is 48 stitches and gauge is 40 st per 10 cm (4 inches) which I never get. I can do 32 at best, sock gauge. That’s already on my smallest needles (2 mm or even 1,75 mm).
This has the consequence that the mitten knits up to a functional size. My size!

It already fits me and I love the colours I’m using:

That’s the light green from the Mosaic Mittens. With dark brown.

I’d love to wear this mitten! Its partner would be the next mitten design. Or any of the other days of x-mas mittens. If I have enough yarn to prolong this colour scheme…

Knitting a wearable mitten has a consequence of its own though: I’d like to have the picture right side up. So I can see the partridge while wearing the mitten. Here’s a quick sketch next to the original picture of how that might look:


I just flipped the image in Photoshop and did some hotseflotsepocus.

But flipping the image has further consequences. As you can see I preserved the holly on the cuff of the mitten, I feel it should stay there. (This is a design choice. As is elongating the cuff a bit.) But how to go from there to the base of the “picture” that’s predominantly dark? And what colour thumb goes well with that?

I spend some time playing around on Photoshop to check out various options. And now I feel bad. Changing this design is not very respectful towards the designer, it feels.
She did host a KAL earlier this year teaching us to design our own mittens to our own measurements and own gauge so she might not feel offended but it doesn’t feel right. All her work and intentions and here I go scrambling things up… it doesn’t feel good.

Besides, I’ve now -finally- learned to be weary of knitting projects where I try and do a smart thing… I usually overthink things and then I get annoyed that I don’t get it perfect or I worry all the time while knitting that it won’t work out and I rob myself of the joy of knitting. I should be weary of such projects. This feels very much like such a project, where I to alter the design.

But I’m so confused! Because playing with contrast colours and their positions is a part of the (wood) block print designing that I love. LOVE. Not a chore at all. Always an interesting designing stage. Never malintended towards anyone. I cannot rhyme it with the hesitation I feel.

So I’m not knitting further on the mitten at the moment, nor designing on it. I’m going to let it rest for a few days, see if some preference surfaces.

Here are the sketches I made up, trying out dark and light details:


The role of the details is to support the main feature: the partridge and its elegant pear. I’m inclined to think the last one best for that. That’s when I realized how much I had butchered the picture of the designer, Kat Lewinksi. A picture I have no rights to. And that’s when I realized how I much I was enjoying the ride on the design-train and was solely focusing on solving a (graphic) design puzzle and had forgotten about everything else.
And that is when I applied the break.

Now I don’t know what to do so I’m going to bed. Always a sensible thing to do. Sleep on it.

X-mas in June

There’s a new KAL starting next Monday, to make 12 stranded mittens, themed to the 12 days of x-mas. Free pattern 12 Days of Christmas Mitten Garland KAL by Kat Lewinski.

The look of the designs is based on wood block printing and silhouette paper cut outs. Both of which I love. Clear contrasts. Playing with shapes and lines. Just my thing.
So I’m joining in. For the first mitten at least, which looks darling:

I’m also joining for the sheer giggles it gives me to do something x-massy in Summer, amidst roses in full bloom. And finding this KAL just as I’m secretly drinking tea from the tea mug I was saving for x-mas which also has that block printing vibe.

I so like it when things unexpectedly tie together. It’s so cheerful, this way I get to giggle each day.

I’m still giggling over two rabbits I met last week!
They are a short haired breed but have magnificent side burns. It’s whitish and so fluffy!
One is smart, the other dim. Both are very happy and they pounce and race and flop about. Living the bunny life.

When I left them I caught the bus and it was driven by a chauffeur that matched the rabbits exactly: magnificent white sideburns! The sort you only know from old Western movies. The kind you never see in modern days.
You couldn’t make it up. Nobody would believe you.

Now I have rabbits tied in my head to the profession of bus chauffeur, some being smart, some being dim. All of them racing across the room, feet squeaking across the flooring boards.
Someone is snoring under the couch.

Swedish Advent MKAL: stretchy cast-on from Estonia

It’s the first of December and the Swedish Mystery KAL over at Jul met Tålamodspåsen has begun.

It’s going to be a pair of socks!
With colourwork!
oei oei

I haven’t done colourwork in ages, because of my shoulder. And socks should fit (be knitted kind of tight) but they should also fit (be kind of stretchy which means even stranding).
This is quite the task for me.

But I’ll give it a go. With one sock for starters. Or one wrist warmer if the leg turns out too tight/loose.
Just for the fun of it.

The fun starts right away because as I hoped EvaL8 introduces some European knitting traditions. A stretchy cast-on from Estonia, explained by Nancy Bush (in American English) in this link to video on youtube:

It’s a variation on the long tail which I don’t like on principle because I always have too long or too short a tail. But I’m putting away my perfectionism for this knit-a-long, I want to try out this technique.

It’s a very pleasurable cast on! Especially the decorative version which Nancy demonstrates halfway the video.
It gives a thickish cast on which makes that dreary first row easier to knit.

advent cast on

I cast on 56 stitches because there will be ribbing, 2×2 (which I also don’t like to knit but love to see in my finished objects).
I knit on 2 mm needles (alternatively it could be 1,5 mm needles and the proper cast on number of 64 st) in a light green yarn.

Sorry for the fuzzy picture, I’m sitting at the table with Lillepoes on my lap and can’t go to grab my phone. Photobooth wants to focus on my face, not my knitting, and is swapping things from left to right. Tsk tsk.

Over at a New Stitch A Day is a better picture of how this cast on looks and they have a great tutorial:

My, what an interesting site is New Stitch A Day!
Aimed to show people all kind of knitting and crochet techniques, all for free.
I plan to check it out. After one more row…

Cat Blanket: cat nr. 2

Now that I’ve got my eyesight sorted again I crocheted a second cat for the Free From Crochet Cat Blanket:

It took two days of Swedish murdermysteries to make this. While I got used to the idea of frogging that blue Yuuret cardigan. Because that’s how my knitting works.

This cat has its tongue sticking out. You know how they get when they get interrupted while washing.

Here’s the post showing the first cat and the pattern this blanket is based upon. It’s made with various sockyarns using hook 3mm

Hiding from my sweater

so sweater Stientje needs some decisions. For one, she wants to know wether I set the twist on the two skeins she will eventually need for the sleeves. (I have no idea…)

She’d also like to know if I checked gauge (no) because her body seems to grow very very wide as I knit it. I already noticed last weekend and have ripped back to the yoke and reknit the body. Without checking gauge (I just forgot, how silly can I be?)

Even though I decreased a lot of stitches it still seems very wide. Which is why I remembered Gauge. Which I just checked. It is 10 or 12 stitched to the 10 centimeters. I should do some simple math that will tell me if what I have knit is too wide. I can see that it is, I don’t need Math to tell me. Math and Gauge are two obnoxious guys.

So I pretended I didn’t see Stientje sitting on the couch with two obnoxious guys on either side and instead I did this:

It’s the blanket we are designing together in my favourite group over at Ravelry.com. It’s the KarmaKnusDeken, the Cosy Blanket by the Dutch Karma Group.

49 members each design one block and each week one is released and we all knit that one. I started the blanket together with the others in week 1 of 2013 but I chose the wrong yarns. Last Monday I pulled all my stash out of it’s cave and spread it around the room to make a better choise

I made some swift choices:

  1. no sockyarn but soft, luxureous yarns
  2. no variegated yarns. they obscure patterns.
  3. no thick yarn because I’m a small person and smaller blocks will yield a smaller blanket/shawl to wrap myself in
  4. knit on 0,5 mm smaller needles as ‘normal’ people do
  5. knit from stash
  6. buy or dye yarn if you need it

I ended up choosing some sportsweight yarns in warm colours: red, yellow, orange and green.

After a few false starts to find the right needle size and accompanying yarns I knitted blocks on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Then on Friday the new design was presented, the one on the last picture. All cables. It took al of Friday to knit it.

So from now on, one block per week. At the end I will block them all and sew them together using the orange yarn. They will not all have the same dimensions and I will fix that with orange yarn.

Orange yarn fixes everything!

Pippi KAL Lace Shawl finished

the Pippi Lace Shawl is finished!

The lace opened up beautiful with the blocking. The knitting looked a bit crumpled pre-blocking (see top picture) but now it’s uniform.

I’m glad I chose to make a “ladylike” shawl: light and beautiful that I can wear at any occasion, also in Summer. The shawl is warm but also airy enough to prance around in in hot weather. Throw it unto my bear arms and shoulders, combine it with a dress.

not much prancing at the moment:

On the last day I had to unpick the cast-on because it was too tight. Normally this yarn (Lang Yarn Alpaca Light) frogs well but with a cast-on that usually doesn’t work because knitting has a direction.

*snip! snip*

You can see how fluffy the yarn is. It is supersoft and can be worn next to (baby) skin. Usually I steer clear from alpaca. It sheds and makes me sneeze or there are guard hairs in the yarn that make me itch. The animal itself doesn’t charm me either, me being more oriented towards the non-herd predatory cuddly species. Such as cats and cat-fish and people.

But this yarn is very good. Only 25 grams on a ball but I once made a sweater with 3,3 balls. That’s 660 m on needles 5mm:

The Pippi Lace Shawl was knitted on 4,5 mm and used slightly over 2 balls. It blocked to 1 meter long and 45 cm wide. (about 3 foot long and 1,5 foot wide?)(40″ long and 16.5″ wide) projectpage here

Pippi KAL: elastic finish

the Pippi shawl is neeeeeearly finished. We encountered some elastic time so we didn’t finish on Thursday but we’ll all be finishing in our own pace. Pippi-style!


for my progress: scroll at your own pace

this is how far I am now. It’s about 1 m long. Just a few more blocks and than the edge. It’s quite comfortable and oh so soft. That’s my third ball there, at 25 grams per ball. So a very lightweight shawl.

the yarn is Lang Yarn Alpaca Superlight on needles 4,5 mm

and my project can be found here on Ravelry


It’s such a nice pattern! the whimsical way in which you can decide which block to do next and how all the blocks fit together. I love the shapes it gives: I see tulips and hearts. And double winged bugs and beetles.

Pippi KAL on its way

I am knitting away 🙂

here’s my projectpage

I’m not using the dice to decide which block comes next, I’m using common sense. I read the knitting I’ve done, I estimate the chart of the blocks that could come next and I make a decision.

I may take a look at the cowl swatch I did in Noro yarn last month, when I just could not wait any longer:

this cowl swatch helped me to decide which block to do next. I saw a bit of a FLY starting to emerge in the white shawl….

do you see it?

here it is:

don’t want it. So I won’t chose a block that converges to a point, like it’s a head. So any block but nr.6!

otherwise it’s looking really nice, eh? quite flowery and leafy. 🙂

the yarn is Lang Yarn Alpca. The only alpaca I like to knit with. Spin with. Felt with. Share a heap of hay with. I really don’t like alpaca….. I feel no connection with the species. It’s yarn usually itches, even if it’s supposed to be very soft. It’s way too dirty to spin with. And when I knit with it, for example with Drops Alpaca, a great yarn for a great price, I sneeze all the time because small hairs are flying everywhere.

But this Lang Yarn Alpaca, it’s great. Light, warm, fluffy.

Pippi Lace Kal Day 1

Welcome in the New Year!

your task for today, should you care to accept it is to

Chose A Yarn:


get out a dice:

or unleash your inner Pippi Longstocking:


and join in the fun! Come over to the Pippi Longstocking Group on Ravelry where we will make a lace shawl in a very Pippi-esque way.

It’s really quite marvelous, Unikatissima, the designer of the Advent Shawl 2012 Poinsettia, designed another shawl, this one more ‘leafy’ and less ‘zigzag-y’. It was the Advent Shawl 2011. A free pattern, also.

Now I’ve got to go be busy so come to the Pippi Group to get an idea why I’m so enthousiastic about this design.  I’m there too, I’m snorrepot, and I’m kneedeep in yarn, trying to make a choice.