Knitseason 2020-21

So, I‘ve finally finished my Emma Cardigan, and have cast on directly for another one. At time of writing, I‘m halfway through.
No one will believe that this really is a quick knit because the first one took me more than six months to complete. I spent ages waffling on how to put the pockets in (so chuffed about that bee-print fabric), then I just did it, only to spend more months waffling on how to close up the armpits.
A couple weeks ago, I discovered Søstrene Grene, a small Danish chain in Trier and brought home a sweater quantity of this soft pink bamboo-wool blend. Lana Grossa just put out their winter collection and this fuschia pink turtleneck vest (above, left) grabbed my attention.
Now that the weather is turning chilly, I‘ve started thinking about cowls, dickeys and vests to keep my throat and chest warm.

Kids are back in kindergarten and school, bringing home the sniffles. But for adults, one wrong sniffle or cough can be awkward out in public these days.

Stay healthy.

Summer‘s over

My impressions of summer: The Porta Nigra and other sights to see in Trier, Boutique hotel Jungenwald and the Alte Zunftscheue restaurant in Traben-Trarbach on the Mosel river, my Emma cardigan is finally finished. And harvesting pears.

In and around the Stubaital glacier in Austria. I don’t know how anyone can deny global warming or climate change. The glacier is almost gone. It’s shocking and truly sad to see the efforts the folks in Stubaital are making to protect what’s left…
And now Autumn is upon us. What are you looking forward to this knitting/ crafting season?

Summer Catch-up

Well, school‘s out once again. The temperatures have shot up and most people had to reconsider their holiday plans. Some decided to anyway. We all watched with bated breath. And a few came come with Covid-19, but the health authorities are doing what they can to get people tested at airports and train stations.
A lot of people, unable or unwilling to travel overseas are looking into traveling within Germany or to stable neighboring countries.
This summer we‘ve been chilling at home watching shows like – „Eurovision, The Story of Fire Saga“, which is a must see, not only for the fabulous knits (I was laughing so hard, I only managed to snap this pic), but also for the fairly humorous explanation of what the heck Eurovision is, and why Europeans go gaga every spring.

This year, the show was cancelled, so the film was a lovely replacement. There were a lot of real Eurovision stars from former years to spot, and the music was actually as good as what we would have seen in the show! (Link to the singalong)

All Europeans vote in by telephone or App, but the catch is you can’t vote for your own country. Sort of like regular people wearing cloth masks: you’re not protecting yourself, but other people as a public service.

Stay safe and healthy, and keep on crafting.

Q notes 4: Online inspiration

Puttering around the website of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, I learned that multimedia collage artist, Wangechi Mutu was commissioned to create sculptures for the Museum facade. She explains the inspiration behind her 4 pieces, titled The New Ones, will free us in her artist interview.

They have a regal, ethereal, otherworldly beauty that reminds me of the Watchers/ Monitors from comic books, who observe humanity.

The texture of these modern caryatids‘ tunics remind me not only of ribbing, but of brioche, which has been on my to do list for YEARS. As Dana of Yards of Happiness recently said, now is the time to learn it. Because we have the time now.

 

Ribbed Cowlet by Shannon Charles
Ribbed Capelet by StevenBe
Horizontal Ribbed Cowl by Maxine Levinson

Very Pink Knits‘ brioche tutorial.
Felicia from Sweet Georgia yarn has a very soothing, well-shot and clear video on how to do 2 color brioche.

Links to online content @ Metropolitan Museum of Art:

Coco Chanel: Romanticism
Christian Dior‘s The New Look
The Millicent Rogers Collection of Schiaparelli at the Brooklyn Museum
Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons Art of the In-Between
Charles James Muslins
At the Tate Britain: Re.Create with Tate Britain: Fashion

More links to virtual museum offerings.

And CreativeLive is offering free health and wellness courses.

Stay well.

Stash and Hoard


A German lady I was talking to this week expressed amazement at  people’s hoarding behaviour. She said she’s never experienced empty store shelves in her life. Because of anxiety about the Corona epidemic, people having been rushing to stores to buy noodles, tomato sauce, flour, sugar, disinfectants and toilet paper. Everything else is still available. Just those things are sold out. Or are being rationed to prevent panic-buying and hoarding, called Hamsterkäufe, which brings up loads of jokes about hamsters.
And so, I’ve just pulled a favourite cookbook and knitting book from my collection: Judith Will‘s The New Home Larder and Cathy Carron’s Cowlgirls. The cookbook is to get my kitchen, larder and headspace ready for cooking from non-perishables (if it should come to it), and Cowlgirls has me thinking about high necked woolen hugs, acting like a barrier between us and the dangerous world.


Although the styling of the photos feels a little dated, the super bulky knit Ribbed Cowl has a feel similar to Espace Tricot’s bulky  Getting Warmer cowl… It’s interesting that the stitch patterns are reversed.

This morning, I heard that wiggling your toes can help with feelings of anxiety and helplessness. Stay well everyone, and keep knitting….

 

 

The Woman from the Sea

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Angela Rossi /arte.tv

I just finished watching Julien Trousselier’s six-part series, Une Île, (The Woman from the Sea). A fascinating, fantasy-horror-crime story that just gives one a lot of food for thought.

There’s pretty much every issue in Europe right now, simmering under the surface here: immigration, how we treat immigrants, how good intentions can backfire, friendship, families intact and torn apart, the decline of rural communities (often helpless and relying on the mainland/capital/city), youth unemployment and subsequent departures from these communities, and lastly the currently seemingly troubled relationships between men and women (a drug-aided rape attempt, obsessive stalking, kidnapping, and even an uncommunicative, grief-stalled, alcohol-numbed marriage).

The series works, because it keeps the viewer guessing what exactly is happening, and although they play with these myths of Nature as woman, the Woman (like Tiamat, the angry mother) out of the deep, coming to take revenge on humanity, the filmmaker has a light touch.
It’s as much a coming of age story, as it is a romance and a detective story. And yes, former model Laetitia Casta ( shown here with Noée Abita above) is the titular “Woman”, and I think she does a brilliant job being gorgeous yet creepy.
The Mediterranean land and seascapes are gorgeous and

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Michelangelo di Battista /arte.tv

There are a few sweaters. I liked this one best, and reminded me of these:


Ajeng Sitoresmi’s No Seam Cable Pullover, Adrienne Vittadini’s #9 Cabled Pullover and Kristen TenDyke’s Cable Rib Pullover. The last is a free sweater, child-sized but not too difficult to adapt to adult size.

The Woman from the Sea is pretty much the perfect mix of winter thriller, worrying about the environment, and a bit of wishing for the warmth of summer by the seaside.
So I couldn’t resist throwing in this gorgeous The crocheted swimsuit Poliana by Nomad Stitches is quite lovely…

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Other Links:

Barbarakafka‘s lovely post on swimsuits, knitting and Sonia Delaunay’s art.

Dressed Podcast has a two part podcast on the history of Swimwear (here and here) which is a delightful listen while knitting your one-piece, bikini, coverup or beachbag.

New Year wishes

 

Well, Happy New Year to you! And I hope you’ve had a productive January.
The month is almost over, and we’re now well into the decade last known as the twenties!

Knitting-wise: I’m still working on my cardigan: I’ll be putting in the pockets, knitting on the button band and sewing ends in. The end is in sight!

My knitting buddy is already onto her second piece from the Cocoknits Workshop, but I don’t seem able to let go. Maybe I need to knit another one.

I visited an amazing retrospective exhibition of works by Karin Kneffel in Baden-Baden at the Frieder Burda Museum. Her large scale photorealistic pieces are beautiful, haunting and force the viewer to comtemplate on herself as a viewer/voyeur as part of the artwork. Runs til March 8, 2020.

 

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Screenshot from Digitorial, Gods in Color, Liebieghaus Sculpture Collection

Another museum tip: Gods in Color in Frankfurt. The Liebieghaus sculpture collection presents the work of the archeologists and art historians who over many years have been using modern technology to figure out how ancient Greeks may have painted their statues. The images are quite breathtaking: not just the use of color, but also the use of pattern. Worth a look, the exhibit runs til August 2020.

Just looking at these patterns has put me in mind of diamonds and such… This evening, we’ll be raising a glass to wish the Brits all the very best, as they leave the EU, and our prayers for everyone fighting that nasty Corona virus.

Take care, and happy crafting.

 

First cardy: Emma C

 

Started out with Julie Weisenberger‘s Emma cardy from her Cocoknits Sweater Workshop. This book is unbelievably complete.
I‘m not a speedy knitter, but her worksheet facilitates efficient knitting. Even though I redid the back of the neck several times, it took me two days to get to the armholes. Yes, I have a slightly bulky yarn, but it took me more time to do the swatches than the body.

I’m currently on the sleeves. What I‘ve learned so far: I  have spent time at the swatching stage to practice the new-to-me increase techniques like KLL, etc. That would have saved me time and several attempts before ripping out. Julie also recommends what to do it ones yarn is normally vs tightly spun. In hindsight, I‘d have made two mini swatches just to see which looked better.

I‘m waiting to knit the sleeves, so that I can do it in one go, so I don’t lose my place with the decreases and elbow ribbing pattern.

What I watched while knitting: Les hommes au tricot (with subtitles) about men who knit in Iceland. It starts out working the idea of Iceland‘s viking history (and what would those vikings think?!) to death, but it eventually gets into discussing Lopi, the Lopapeysa industry, burgeoning tourism to the small nation state, and we follow a young man as he goes to visit a sheep farmer, a small wool producer, the large wool producer Istex, and the Handknitting Association, where women can earn money with their sweaters (average of 70 sweaters a year!).
Filmmaker Vincent Froehly also highlights the conundrum of exporting the Lopi to Asia, where it is made into sweaters then reimported to Iceland and sold in souvenir shops. Terrible carbon footprint compared to made in Iceland.
Apart from the clichés in the beginning, I got a great look at modern Iceland (love seeing everyday street scenes, people sitting at cafés, in parks or busstops). And I loved that Peter finished his Riddari pullover (by Védís Jónsdóttir) by the end of the documentary. And as I learned from my headband, Lopi is knit with metal needles.

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Riddari pullover / Screenshot from arte.tv

Nothing wild: swatching

A great many people hate swatching. I used to. Until I started to trick myself by telling myself that my time is valuable and spending a few hours getting gauge is a good thing.

I‘m a relatively slow knitter. It‘ll take me 6 weeks to knit a pullover. How heartbreaking is it to spend even half that time knitting, only to find that sleeves are too long, or yarn runs out because gauge was off? Playing yarn chicken is not fun.

So, I spent yesterday evening swatching for my Emma cardigan. And a good thing too.

Since going on that Fair Fashion tour, I‘ve been trying to be aware of which yarns I purchase. I got hold of this lovely Landlust Merino 120 from Lana Grossa, which is GOTS certified and has the Green button.

This yarn is amazingly soft. It is a chain yarn with a delicate halo, but still retains stitch definition. It isn’t a pain to unknit, and works almost as well with wood as with metal needles. But there’s a slight problem with German yarn systems. Surprisingly, for a culture which is so precise, the yarn system isn‘t. Basically companies will produce various yarns and then put a needle recommendation on the ball band.

On Ravelry, the yarn company says this is a Bulky yarn. The ball band says 7-8mm. The pattern says start with an 8mm needle. Lovely. Except, I wasn’t getting gauge.

I went down to 7mm (which is why I tend not to drink and knit, math and logic get wonky) and then up to 9mm. Feeling like a rebel going against the yarn company recommendations, I finally got gauge with a 10mm. The difference between the swatches is staggering.

Landlust Merino120 from Lana Grossa
7mm, 9mm, 10mm swatches

All three swatches are 20 stitches cast on (2 stitch borders on each side).
The larger needles provide a relaxed fabric. Just hoping it isn’t too stretchy.

Well. Time to cast on!