Sports and Knitting

(Fotosource: ravelry.com)

 

Winter Games 2018 Cowl by Tanis Gray,

… because sometimes we want something sporty (ie in our country colours) but not too cheesy. I would definitely knit this up in black, red and Gold. This takes the fuss out of wondering what to knit. All about keeping it simple.

I just watched the Opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeong-Chang at lunchtime, and it was quite lovely: a mix of Tradition and high-tech.

The most moving moments were when the Iranian athlete came in, almost in tears (She almost made me cry too!).  And the Nigerian Bobsled ladies  and a lone Kenyan Skier*(how cool are they? #BlackGirlMagic). I got a lump in my throat, when I saw the two Koreas entering together as one Team. The German commentators were also moved, because we remember when Germany was two states.

I absolutely love that countries that are not traditionally winter countries, are now participating in the Winter Games. It not only speaks to how Migration has been shaping our lives, but also to the magical effect of Sports (in particular Olympic sports) on countries big and small.

But about the knits:

 

OL2018_Germany
Olympic Team Uniform 2018 Pyeong-Chang /Source: teamdeutschland.de

 

 

I may be biased, but I thought the German team had the cutest hats. Red with cable diamonds and a pom pom. (One thing all Germans can agree on, is that there will ALWAYS be someone who doesn’t like the team uniform – I’m just glad they didn’t show up in some dark colours because it is supposed to be a party/ celebration of sports!)

The cutest scarves were worn by the Japanese team. Alternative headwear prize goes to Nigeria (because glitter headwraps). And the chicest outfit goes to Iran. And best non-knit outfit goes to Tonga (I hope he doesn’t catch cold). I’ll try to come back and post photos or screenshots when I can**.

So wherever you are, whomever you’re rooting for, have fun watching and knitting…

 

By the way, Tanis’ pattern is a free download from her site or Ravelry. I found out too late, that Ravellers are once again knitting, crocheting, ripping and Spinning along with the Games in their Ravellenics. I don’t think I have time for that this year… but it is good fun. This cowl would fit in the ‘Cowl Curling’ Event, and be even be eligible for a Colorwork Laurel Award.

 

*The Kenyan Skier, Sabrina Simader got a shout out from the German commentators  because she grew up in Austria, and often gets a helping Hand from the Austrian and German Teams.

via Daily Prompt: Simplify

**Updated to add Screenshots.

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Permit yourself a knitting break

I can’t read everything on the Internet the instant it comes out. And sometimes it takes me months to get back around to casting a glance on well-loved knitting-related sites and magazines. What with kids, work, keeping up with the news, politics, and life, things get hectic.

And I thought this New Year totally needs to also be about not stressing oneself about the knitting. Hobby-stress is not cool.

Lee Ann Dalton wrote about how to get your knitting mojo back in Twist Collective a while back. She suggests starting with something small, or moving on to another needlecraft til that loving feeling comes back.

I say why not just relabel it a pause. A break. A chance to regroup.

That’s the tack I’m taking. I plan to finish certain Things; but I also want to start new challenges: I want to knit a friend of mine a set of hats for when she starts chemotherapy.

Fotosource: Ravelry.com

I’m particularly taken with these hat Patterns (ClockWise): Gudrun Johnston’s Isthmus, Sari Norlund’s Femte, and Fiona Ellis’ Rebe. Honourable mention to Margaret Miller’s Svartifoss, which is so beautiful, but I’m not ready for laceweight hats just yet.

Femte and Isthmus make me see, that I need to brush up on my provisional cast on.

Links:
2-Step Provisional Cast-On by Purl Soho
TECHknitting’s instructions with detailed illustration.

via Daily Prompt: Permit

Scifi and Avantgarde fashion

Comme des Garcons ss2018
Rei Kawakubo / Comme des Garcons SS2018

Looking at the work of Avantgarde Designers like Rei Kawakubo is a little bit like reading a science fiction book in one gulp. It’s not the same Thing as looking up what trend forecasters are saying or projecting for the next Season (or several Seasons in advance) – although that can be fun too.

My Book Club is looking at science fiction novels, and I had the distinct pleasure of reading prolific author Ray Bradbury’s ‘There will come Soft Rains‘ from “The Martian Chronicles” at our Christmas Party. It’s amazing how stories published in 1950s are still relevant and gripping today.

This month, we’re moving on from “Blade Runner” to Cixin Liu’s “The Three Body Problem.” It’s a challenge, to choose books for people who know nothing about science fiction and claim not to be interested in anything ‘Star Warsy’ (even though Star Wars is turning out to be more space opera/space fantasy than scifi, and that’s ok too).

Just as in science fiction, avantgarde fashion asks us ‘What if?’ In her Spring Summer Pret à Porter collection, I think Kawakubo is posing the question of what it would look like if we were to seriously recycle what we have, now that we are at peak stuff? Through the lense of clothes? One answer may very well be a profuse collage of textiles, colours and prints.

Which leads me to ask myself: what would it look like through the lense of knitting?

Knitting Superstar: Aspen Poole

Aspen Poole knitter

 

You can’t stifle kindness and creativity! I thought I’d share this story today.

Aspen Poole is a 19 year-old knitter at Vestal High School, who knits (at an amazing pace!) and crafts for charity. She learned to knit through touch at about age seven, as she was born blind.

Like many of us, she uses her knitting to stay focussed.

Several of Poole’s teachers, including her Participation in Government teacher, Brian Donlin, understand knitting helps Poole learn and allow her to knit in class.
Other teachers have also adapted to Poole’s unique way of focusing. She was cast as a townsperson who knits in “Beauty and the Beast” and will even knit onstage…
If she doesn’t need to use her hands or type on her BrailleNote, Poole keeps her hands busy by knitting.

 – USA Today

Yup, knitters come in all kinds of different packaging.

There are knitting and crochet books in Braille, and even Guidelines for transcribing Knitting and Crochet Patterns.

via Daily Prompt: Stifle

Spring/ Summer knitting

daniela gregis striped pullover 222018
Daniela Gregis ss2018 striped Pullover

 

Have you started your knitting for spring/ summer yet? Or are you still gathering Inspiration like me?

So far, the dominant trends seem to be pastels, especially lavender, brights and rainbows on the colour front.

Patterns: stripes, polka dots and florals. Silhouettes: easy-going forms alternate with statement sleeves.

photo source: Vogue.com

 

We still have a bit of time to flip through the glossies before we make up our minds and head out to the LYS.

Glamour Feb 2018 Tracee Ellis Ross in Jil Sander
Tracee Ellis Ross on the cover of February 2018 Glamour

Here’s how the Jil Sander two-piece looks on a real Person (well, although Tracee Ellis Ross is built like an amazon… Interesting that it’s styled with Jeans. Wouldn’t that be way too hot for summer?)

 

via Daily Prompt: Dominant

Knit to entertain

image

Happy New Year!

I’ve been away from the keyboard for a minute. And it got me thinking: most non-knitters think that we knit to entertain ourselves. But that isn’t even often the main reason we knit (for meditation, to calm, to create, to name a few).

I know quite a few people who get upset if a person knits in their presence. They believe that we aren’t paying Attention, some are even insulted by it. I can totally play board games and knit at the same time!

During the Holiday Season, I’ve been spending time with the Kids on Holiday, and thinking about blog goals for the New Year: more of everything, and consistency really. Same as every year, James.*

*From the classic “Dinner for One” comedy sketch that runs  every year in Germany on New Year’s Eve at least 15 times on various TV channels.

 

via Daily Prompt: Entertain

Christmas knitting procrastination

cozy_lalaberlin_lanagrossaI have a natural proclivity to think things over and over, which looks a lot like procrastination. And I honestly cannot say that it isn’t.

Every year, I knit a hat for my extremely knitworthy sister-in-law. Every year, I follow a pattern. This year, I decided to design one myself. It took me ages to decide how I wanted the hat to look: I even went to a Christmas Market, hung around sipping Mulled Wine (= Glühwein) and had a look at people’s heads, to get inspiration.

By the time I got it cast on and knit the band, I realized that I had cast on too many stitches. I had to rip it out and start again. And then I realized that I had to keep it simple because I had so little time to get to it, in-between shopping, menu-planning, and prepping to have the house full of relatives for the Holidays.

The Yarn: Lana Grossa Cosy by Lala Berlin. A soft fuzzy alpaca-wool blend. With just a smidgen of Nylon.

Very cozy and cuddly bulky yarn with a nice hand. And a gorgeous halo, which means that this yarn does not love too much frogging, but on the positive side, the easiest yarn splice ( I prefer not to splice with spit. I use water) I’ve ever done.

I’ll get into my new design once I’ve got it all written down. Suffice it to say, I finished it on Boxing Day while we were all watching Paddington. And it’s now winging ist way to Japan where my sister-in-law is on Holiday.

 

Link: How to spit splice (also called a felted join)

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Proclivity

Handmade: Homemade vs Couture

The quick answer, is that with knits, there is no difference. The longer answer is more nuanced. All three are made by hand. There are a few differences that set Haute Couture apart:

The maker is a dedicated craft specialist, using materials of the highest quality (alternately using exclusive, luxury fibres). And of course, the finishing. If we take the time to get the finishing just right, then there is no difference between homemade and Haute Couture.

DailyPrompt

Newsstands: Knitting Magazines in Germany

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This survey in no way claims to be a comprehensive list of all knitting magazines published in Germany. It is however a list based on what you would find in any well-stocked local supermarket or yarn shop.

Publications by Yarn Companies – like the one above, the yarn companies are now putting out their catalogues, which look more like Fashion magazines. Filati from Lana Grossa, and Made by Me – Handknitting from Rico. Depending on which yarns the LYS carries, you’ll find a variety of these magazines in yarn shops, but also on the magazine racks in supermarkets, bookstores and even railway stations.

 

brigitte

Publications in women’s magazines – like Brigitte. Although Brigitte has recently branched off into the yarn market. They have launched a wool line, in cooperation with Lana Grossa, they publish a yearly knit-issue, and have launched a Special Edition Brigitte Creative magazine, with patterns and kits for sale. Another notable magazine venturing into patterns and yarn and kits is Landlust, which started out as a magazine celebrating living the good life in the countryside. Their patterns turned out to be so successful, that it seems only natural that they now offer the yarns (lovely tweedy yarns).

 

verena

Publications by craft companies – for some strange reason (probably post-war Mad Men era publishers and ad-men deciding what housewives wanted) most of the craft-focused magazines have girly names like Ana, Diana, Verena, and Sabrina. There’s also Häkeln for you (for crocheters) and a Stricktrends (Knittrends).

A solid exception is Burda, well-known for years in sewist circles, they started out with Burda Stricken, and has recently responded to the growing market for more creative crafty magazines by putting out a Burda Creative with a wider mix of interesting craft projects.

Following this upsurge, we also saw the introduction of Mollie Makes in German, and of course, The Knitter, more or less recycling years-old material for German knitters.

One final note: International knitting publications from the US  (like Interweave) and the UK (like the english version of The Knitter), are available mostly in railway stations or in the larger chain bookstores. Vogue Knitting is called Designer Knitting outside the US.

Where do you prefer to get your knitting magazines?

Made in Germany 3

There are now a few brave independent yarn dyers doing amazing things with wool and various fibre blends. Here are a few that I know about:

 

Yarn Dyers

Wollmeise

wollmeise_sock_flaschenpost (2)

Sock weight in Flaschenpost/ Message in a bottle.

Wollmeise is the nickname of Claudia Höll-Wellman (her husband is the Rohrspatz, and it’s a bit of a play on bird names plus their hobbies – she likes wool and he likes metallworking and Rohr is German for a metal tube or pipe), who just seems to have not only a hand for  making lovely colours, but also very inventive colour names as well.   She got started in 2002, when she couldn’t seem to find the colours she wanted to knit with. She has grown a very large and devoted following, and quite frankly has put her small town of Pfaffenhofen in Bavaria on the knitter’s world map.

She’s recently opened a brick and mortar shop and occasionally holds open days and sales, that have people all over Germany stopping off in Pfaffenhofen. If you can’t get there in person just yet, you can have a browse around her very modern and efficient web shop (in German and English) and look at the shop on her Panorama Viewer. Gorgeous!

 

Dye for Yarn & Dye for Wool

foto source: DyeforWool Etsy shop

I love the story of how two scientists, met at work and discovered their shared love for shawl knitting. Cordula Surmann-Schmitt and Nicole Eitzinger also couldn’t find the laceweight yarns they wanted on the German market, so they decided to try their hand at importing and dyeing them themselves. Their Etsy shop DyeforYarn started in early 2010, while their second shop DyeforWool was started in October of the same year. They also opened an In Real Life shop in Fürth near Nürnberg (Nueremberg).

They have a quirky sense of humour, which comes out in their yarn names which often have to do with death, decay and things that may not sound so appetizing (Splitted Lime and Naughty Piglet above are good examples), but when translated to yarn are just lovely, show that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. They do fairly small batches in lace-, fingering- and DK weights, so it’s crucial to get a sufficient quantity of yarn all at once.

It’s quite a treat to browse through their Etsy shop, especially their Cabinet of Wonders and their Cabinet of Horrors, special sections with skeins they think are particulary beautiful, and not quite successful respectively. They also do a lovely Advents calendar in the runup to Christmas, which is also worth checking out.

 

HeyMamaWolf

Jule Kebelman is a textile designer and teacher who lives just outside Berlin. She also produces small batches of organic plant-dyed regional wools. HeyMamaWolf is small but is definitely worth watching, as Kebelman is working with and sourcing her wool regionally (ie in Germany), although many yarn companies prefer to source outside Germany as the wool isn’t considered fine enough. Plus she gets some amazing colours using plant dyes.

heymamawolf.jpg

fotosource: http://www.heymamawolf.de

If you know of any more intrepid independent yarn dyers in Germany, or wider Europe or wherever you are, please drop me a line and let me know.