Case solved: Boot match found

Sometimes it takes a while to find the right match. Yes, I did carry the boot around in my handbag, just in case I found a snippet of time to stop in at my local yarn shop.

IMG_1792When I finally did, I didn’t have the boot, but I did have a colour sample taken using the ColorMate App. I brought home another skein of that lovely Debbie Bliss Falkland Aran, and two 50g balls of Cool Wool from Lana Grossa.
The Cool Wool was a closer match. So, the case has been solved.

Now all I need to settle with my knitting-bestie, is which boot sock we’re going to knit together.

 

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Newsstand Review: Brigitte

brigitte

It’s on my to-do list every year, to have a look in at the Brigitte magazine’s Knit Feature in autumn. This year it’s quite lovely. Twenty-one very wearable and very knittable designs styled with designer (and non-designer clothing).

fotosource: Brigitte magazine

These are my absolute favourites (including the rainbow pullover on the cover). Oversized pieces, relaxed silhouettes, drop shoulders, snuggly hygge-inspired. And yet each piece has a little something to make it extra special – yarn embroidery, colour-blocking, ends left hanging as tassels, contrast colour edgings.
It’s shaping up to be a very snuggly (the German word is kuschelig)  knit-season this year.

Knit Autumn’s Trends 5: 3Rs

So, I was minding my own business, watching listening to youtube while knitting. When I ran into a little extra from The Knit Show: Knitting and Crochet Trends from Vogue Knitting.

So, those three Rs are Ribs, Ruffles and Ruanas.

Ribs

Fotosource: Ravelry

Are ribs ever not in? I think it’s very much about texture and structure. Solène Le Roux, a designer out of Hong Kong, has some very classic pieces (Rib and Garter Stitch Shawl right, and Ribbed Raglan Sweater top left), while Meghan Fernandes’ contribution to the Slow Knitting book, Spruce features ribbing in cozy cowl form.
In fact, the more I think about it, the more I want to include my Sheep Sorrel in as a rib (because panels are also about texture and structure).

 

Ruffles
Now, I’ve been seeing ruffles for quite a while now, so I will not ask if we have reached ‘peak ruffle.’ If you like ruffles (I love ruffles, and am finally thrilled to have learned how to knit them), then I say knit ruffles.

Fotosource: Ravelry

I see ruffles on garments (like Ankestrick’s Organic) and Shawls (like Kathy Elkin’s Northfield Gradient Shawl), but new this year on sleeves. Statement sleeves (like Amy Herzog’s Flutter Pullover and Zoe Scheffy’s  Ruffle Sleeve Pullover).

 

Ruanas

 

Fotosource Ravelry

And lastly, I was disappointed to find that there aren’t a lot of clear definitions on the interwebs about what exactly a Ruana is. So, I’ve done a bit of research for us, my dear readers.

A poncho is more or less a square or rectangular shaped outer garment, with a slit/hole in the middle where the head slips through. They can be knit on the bias (with a point in front), or straight (often referred to as a serape). In contrast, a ruana looks like a T or a Y when lain flat. Deidre at BiddyMurphy says that ruanas come from the Andes region of Venezuela, and the word originally meant ‘Lord of Blankets.’ They may or may not have a hood attached, but tend to generally be longer than a poncho.

Above: Santa Fe Ruana by Judith Shangold, Striped Ruana by Kaffe Fasset, a more modern design Wrap it Up Ruana by Lidia Karabinech.

 

 

Slow knitting: How to Read your knitting

sheepsorrel_pamallen
Sheep Sorrel by Pam Allen in Hannah Thiessen’s Slow Knitting

I’m knitting Pam Allen’s Sheep Sorrel hat using Falkland Aran by Debbie Bliss in Claret. This is a soft, shiny organic wool, from a farming community in the Falklands. It’s a three-ply, with a good amount of twist, stitch definition, and has a good amount of loft (ie very springy and squishy) and elasticity.

The pattern is clearly and efficiently written, even including instructions on how to do the cables with and without a cable needle.

Why bother
You can knit faster. You know when sections change, and know what comes next. You can find (and correct) errors faster. With a recurring pattern, you reading your knitting means you understand what the designer intended, and you can actually let go of the pattern (which means portability). Many people often praise patterns for being easy to memorize. Reading your knitting means you don’t need to memorize at all.

How-to
Read the general description in the pattern introduction first. This will not click at first. But we’ll come back to that later.

Then look at the pattern section. Make a rough stitch chart if there isn’t one. (If there is, then skip to the next step).  It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be good enough for you to understand. The Sheep Sorrel hat has a 15 stitch repeat over 4 rounds.

Do a mini-swatch 
If you are a learning-by-doing knitter like me, making a swatch to learn a pattern isn’t such a hardship. Cast on the required stitch number plus 6 extra for a 3 stitch border on each side. Place stitch markers, so you don’t forget where your border sits.  Knit three rows (for a garter stitch/ non rolling edge) and then get going. Once you’ve done two or three repeat, finish off with with three knit rows and bind off.
I wouldn’t bother cutting my yarn. This swatch isn’t to be blocked, so it is perfectly fine to rip it out after, and knit it into the hat.

I definitely am not a big fan of swatching in the round, however I wanted to see how quickly it would take me to learn the pattern on the fly. I took me four repeats, dear Readers. In my defense, a glass of red wine was involved.

On the fly
Once you’ve gotten into knitting the pattern, exactly as written (a stitch marker after each repeat will help you keep your place), stop and have a good look at what’s on the needles.
Now is the time to revisit that general description and compare it to what you have before you. Sheep Sorrel seems to be about panels and mini-cables (actually twisted stitches, but hey, let’s not quibble). We can see that the garter and patterned panels alternate and are separated by columns of cable. We also see that each column of cable has a p1 before and after it.
Once I realized this, I realized that one type of twist was used per column. Some columns twisted to the right and others to the left. That meant I could undo and repair any twist that was incorrect (if something looks like an S, then it’s wrong). I left one S, because nothing in this world is perfect.
At this point, I knit another round, without peeking, to see if I understood the pattern. Once I had done that, checked, then made my corrections, I knew I could let go the pattern and continue the required length of knitting. I wouldn’t say that I’ve memorized the pattern, but I’ve understood the logic behind it: I want to keep my panels going, and the cables twisting the right way round.

Happy knitting!

 

 

Newsstands: Knitting Magazines in Germany

01

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.

 

 

Knit Autumn’s Trends 4

Not just footwear, but sock season. Because where there are boots, there are very often also socks.

My best knitting friend asked me if we could knit something together. #bestfriendbonding. At first she mentioned us knitting a Pullover together, but because I had been talking about my boots that I really want to wear more often this autumn and winter, she said we have to knit socks. My breath caught and that is when I realized that I have sock anxiety. Now technically, I do know how to knit socks. I’ve done it before. babysize and adult-size. As gifts. I just haven’t knit socks for me.

So I took a few deep breaths, and decided to puzzle out what I would like to knit to wear with my ankle wedge booties. I can’t find an exact picture of my booties. These are similar, and from the same company that sells organic and fair clothing, Waschbär.

 fotosource: Waschbaer.de

top left: Boot in ‘bordeaux’ from Waschbär; Bottom left: Ankle boot in ‘chianti’ from Enna; middle: Wedge bootie in ‘vino’ from Punto Pigro; right: Alhambra bootie in red from El Naturalista

Now, according to Harper’s Bazaar magazine, the trends are basically sky-high boots, combat boots, slouchy boots, red, metallics, glitter, embellishments, white and so on.

Here’s my what if: What if I matched the red of my boot, and knit matching boot socks. Kinda like

bootidea_fashionthirstycom
fotosource: ebay (fashionthirsty.com)

… in effect elongating the line of the leg. They could be pulled straight like a sky-high boot or slouched like a slouchboot (in theory).

fotosource: Ravelry

top left : Daring Red Boot Socks by Cecily Glowik MacDonald; bottom left: Blueberry Waffle Socks by Sandy Turner; middle: Red Star Boot socks by Lobug Designs; right: Twist Stirrup Boot socks by Tilli Tomas.

My friend is not a big fan of nylon in sock yarn, but that may be a story for another day…

 

 

 

Knit Autumn’s Trends 3

Oktoberfest Season

Fotosource: Schachenmayr.com

I know, I know! Anyone who knits or crochets, knows that the pieces above are crocheted. The point I want to make is, Oktoberfest is a THING in Germany. Yes, we love a good party. With lots of good beer and good food to soak up said beer.  Bear with me here (excuse the pun!)

Oktoberfest is originally from Bavaria. It was exported to other parts of Germany (yes, Bavaria was once it’s own kingdom with a King, a mad prince, fairytale castles and the whole kit), and is still a great excuse to throw a party – the basic menu is so simple, it’s any host’s dream (beer, soft pretzels, done).

Be aware though, that Oktoberfest is only ever a Thing from late September to early November. It’s one of many Festivals taking place in western and southern Germany. Along the Rhine, for example, you’ll find more wine festivals (each village with their very own wine princess or the occasional prince).

However, we’re more interested in what to wear to Oktoberfest. And that brings us to the traditional costmes: Dirndls, Lederhosen and knits/crochets.

Traditional costumes (Trachten) differ from region to region. In the Black Forest, it’s mostly black, with red accents. Married women wear wide-brimmed hats with black pompoms, while single girls wear red pompoms on their hats.

The Dirndl is worn with a blouse, the overdress, a skirt and an apron in it’s simplest variation. How you tie the bow of the Apron, signifies your marital status (left, if you’re single and looking). Nowadays, you’ll also see young women wearing Lederhosen (from Hotpants to regular length).

October evenings do tend to get cold, so having something to layer on, is quite important. One option is a felted wool jacket called a Janker; others opt for a reverse stockinette stitch/ garter-stitch  jacket. Not unheard of, is a nice big warm shawl (with a flounce, or an accent trim to match the colour of the apron).

 

Northfield-gradient_webs
Northfield Gradient shawl from Kathy Elkins/Webs on The Knit Show

 

This is a lovely alternative, if you don’t crochet, especially as it really calls back to the traditional knit jackets. And who doesn’t love a ruffle?

 

 

 

Celebrating this month…

5th Anniversary PomPom Quarterly – I know it’s been going on since summer, but I’ thought I’d wrap it all up here. How time flies: PomPom Quarterly is 5 years old. A high quality, gorgeous magazine.

 

fotosource: Ravelry

My favourites from the Anniversary issue: Anniversaire by Veera Välimäki; Fête by Bristol Ivy. And of course, we can keep on celebrating, because the new Autumn issue is out.

Soumack_OlgaBuraya-Kefelianfotosource: Ravelry

My favourite this month are the Soumak fingerless mitts by Olga Buraya-Kefelian. Why only one this week? I’m kind of over PomPom’s seeming fascination with the cropped sweater silhouette. I’m not sure it’s flattering on every body shape. And not every knitter wants that twee look.

 

35th Anniversary of Vogue Knitting – Vogue Knitting is celebrating 35 years in its current iteration (the brand is actually 85 years old, but age is just a number, and if you can dance like a 35 year old at the ripe old age of 85, well then!)

Editorial Director, Trisha Malcolm does an interesting interview with Kara Gott Warner on the powerpurlspodcast. There’s also a link to the free collection of 35th anniversary patterns. My favourites:

fotosource: Ravelry

from left: Sleeve Scarf/Wrap by Barb Brown, Fringe Pullover by Norah Gaughan; Long Coat by Pierrot

 

First Episode of Vicki Howell’s The Knit Show – if there is anything more conducive to binge watching and/or binge knitting, it is Vicki Howell’s new project. We donated to the Kickstarter fund to get the show off the ground, and now it’s here. And it is a delight!

vickihowell_theknitshow

fotosource: theknitshow.com

I know I should be objective, and I will objectively tell you that I wanted to be charmed, and I was. It is a sleek production, fluid, interesting with high production values. I felt she rushed along Oejung Kim from Loopy Mango in episode 2 a little bit. Some of the demo knitters’ hands were shaking (from nerves). And Howell often had to remind knitters to turn the work to the camera more. So, a few hiccups there.

Talk about ready-made community. She called us ‘hivesters’. My geek girl preened! Of course I’m a hivester. Yarncrafts rock! (Just had to get that out! #feelsomuchbetternow) The set decoration threw me for a bit of a loop, as the retro feel just screams 70s. However, she seems to have chosen the bee hive motif,  calling it a ‘knit hive.’

“A nod to the knitting bees of old and the modern, “hive mind” mentality that refers to the gathering of stitchers, either physically or virtually, for the purpose of supporting and sharing a common passion for knitting, crochet, crafts and creativity.”

-The Knit Show website

I’m only one and a half episodes in, but so far I want to knit all the patterns I’ve seen:

counterclockwise: PomPom Picot socks by Lydia Gluck; Northfield Gradient Shawl by Kathy Elkins for Webs in the episode one shownotes; Aster Flower Scarf by Loopy Mango in the episode two shownotes.

I also VERY much enjoyed the talk with Skacel’s Ingrid and Karin Skacel. Especially Ingrid. Ingrid is a very astute business woman, who emigrated to the US and opened her import business because she saw a niche in the US knitting market. And so Skacel is the US distributor of Zitron, Schoppel and Addi. So although Karin was more fluent and everything, I’d  love to hear more from Ingrid (she’s sitting there sweetly, looking like someone’s favourite grandma who gives the best hugs and handknit socks, when really she’s also the woman who made circular needles BIG in the US) about her knitting journey over the years.

Just because someone is searching for words, doesn’t mean they don’t have awesome stories to tell or cool things to teach us. So kudos to The Knit Show for being inclusive.

Looking forward to more binge watching.