There’s this sweater…

OPUS Pullover Pebby
Pull Peggy from German label OPUS

Now that summer is done, and the kids are back in school, I wanted to jump back on and talk about this pullover and why something like this: classic forms and eye-searing, on-trend red could very well be my next big project….

But then a note popped into my inbox about Berrocco‘s cable KAL, and I had to take a look. So although Berrocco yarns aren’t available in Germany, it’s got my imagination off and running! What better way to kick off the knitting season, than with what I shoulda-woulda-coulda knit from Berroco’s extensive collection of cable garments.

Cardamom by the Berroco team has a lovely edge treatment that is rather eye-catching. I love the Art Deco feel of Norah Gaughan’s Auberon sweater, and the subtlety of Amy Christoffers’ cables in Champlain.

However, Cirilia Rose’s Aidez and Norah Gaughan’s Zazanna and Blish have been on my favorites list for just about forever.

And then there are some newer Berroco designs that are also quite lovely like Allison Jane’s Isthmus.

Isthmus by Allison Jane
Isthmus by Allison Jane

 

I’m a teeny tiny bit glad that I don’t have to make a choice about which to knit. I’m still not so sure about what I’ll be knitting this winter. As the weather cools down, I think I‘ll just ease back into knitting and see where it goes from there…

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Wedding knits

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So knits for weddings? Apparently it’s a Thing.

So, in honour of Ms. Meghan Markle’s wedding to HRH Henry Prince of Wales, I thought we’d take a look at wedding knits.

Handcrafted wedding Dresses have been around for as long as there has been handcrafting.

 

Shirley Paden’s Lace Dress and the crocheted Chrysanthemum Gown by Chi Krneta (on a slight side note: Shirley Paden is an amazing designer – a designer’s designer. And her book Knitwear Design Workshop is a true knitter’ resource).

These days there are also wedding veils, wedding shawls, capes, capelets, boleros and shrugs, wristlets and the list goes on. (To illustrate, I’ve chosen clockwise from top left: Nicole Markley’s I Thee Wed fingerless gloves, Carol Feller’s Summer Affair, Louise Fitzpatrick’s Summer Rose capelet and Alison Reilly’s Wedding Canopy Chuppah) Often done in fingering or laceweight yarns, these pieces can and do become hierlooms for the families lucky enough to have such a  dedicated crafter in their midst.

Technically, anyone can knit a wedding item: ‘all’ that is required is time, patience, ability to follow a pattern and willingness to frog to correct any errors.  Would you knit for your or a loved one’s wedding? Or have you?

I hope you enjoy the royal wedding. I know I will. I’m inviting friends over for a viewing with champagne and finger sandwiches! And maybe some knitting…

 

 

Woolfest haul

 

There were about 26 vendors at Wollandia, but it seemed like more.

Even though sock yarn (ie fingering weight) is extremely popular here in Germany, I now get the feeling that the new trend (on top of Hand dyed and naturally dyed yarns) is socks with glitter?

I told Sandra from Farbenpracht, that you just can’t have enough glitter in your life. There is no way I would want to hide that in shoes! She even suggested the lovely Moonrise shawl pattern from Olga Buraya-Kefelian.

I found my Ultraviolet (every time I look at these skeins, I feel it in my Ajna!): The skeins from Filzlinge were by far and away the most Vibrant colours on Show. I realized that the yarns are single handspun, but the colours are so gorgeous, I figured that the Internet would teach me how to make it work: Charles at Knitmuch’s tips for knitting with fuzzy yarn.

 

Honourable Mention:

Lütt Wollhus on Facebook

How to visit a woolfest

 

So, I went to my first fibre Festival this Weekend: Wollandia. And it was awesome. It was an intimate (less than 100 exhibitors) gathering of independent dyers, Spinners and purveyors of other sheep-related goodness.  It was Wollandia’s first time too, so we had that in common! The organizer Erica Carnevale did an amazing job.

 

If this is going to be a yearly event, then I can definitely recommend stopping by if you’re in the Pforzheim area (any good sat-nav will get you there). There were independent dyers (whose names I only know from Ravelry and browsing Etsy or its German pendant Dawanda). And of course it’s great to be able to take the yarn into your hands before buying.

Tips for visiting yarn festivals:

  • Wear layers
  • Wear walking shoes
  • Take a friend – or make friends there -complimenting dyers’ work, collecting cards and having a chat always goes down a treat.
  • Beforehand – look at the exhibitor list and develop a strategy.
    • Do a full circle and have a good look at everything before starting to buy. Unless you plan to visit a specific vendor.
    • plan for emergencies: Enough cash on hand? the location of the next closest cash machine may be good to know.
    • have a plan for how to actually use those speckled or otherwise multicoloured skeins of yarn. (Skeinyarn’s tips on knitting with variegated yarns; Dana at Yards of Happiness is my inspiration to get more colour in my knitting life)
    • What’s the minimum amount of yarn that I should purchase? if I don’t have a project in mind?
  • Have a budget – look up what things cost in real life, so that you can recognize a deal on equipment if you see one.
  • Plan some breaks: At German events like this, there is ALWAYS food – cakes, waffles, sandwiches, even Flammkuchen.

Interweave’s Tips on how to shop at Yarn and Wool festivals.

Reverse Engineering Film Knits

One reason I cherish the day I stumbled upon Ravelry, is the community. Thousands of people who love handcrafts just like me. A place where it’s ok to geek out about yarn or the knits seen in a film.

Knitters actually left the movie theaters after watching Black Panther and got on Ravelry to find out more about that knit shawl/wrap.

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Some knitters were wondering about the yarns used, while others wanted to know about the designer, if there is an official pattern out, and still others just want a good look at the piece, to see if they can reconstruct it.

So threads popped up on Ravelry, and sure enough fellow knitters posted pictures of the shawl within days. The shawl is on show in Los Angeles.

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There’s been an impressive amount of detective work going on,

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Screenshot Ravelry.com
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Screenshot Ravelry.com

 

While some are waiting patiently, there is a very subtle convo taking place where folks want to make this piece but have to refrain from Reverse engineering it too closely or putting out patterns using the names of Black Panther or its characters, which are of course protected by Marvel copyright. No one wants to get caught in that trap!

What has impressed me though, is a new group that has popped up on Ravelry, which seeks to inspire knitters to take the Black Panther knit as creative inspiration.

 

Ravelry screenshot
Screenshot Ravelry.com

That to me embodies the spirit of afrofuturism, where such a small thing like a handknit shawl in a movie can inspire the ongoing creativity of so many knitters and crocheters around the world.

Colour Dilemma: Ultraviolet

redheart_ultraviolet
source: blog.redheart.com

The colour of the year 2018 has been released for a while now, and I’ve been looking at it and looking at it for a good while now. Why?

I’ve been wondering what to make of it, and more precisely what to make out of it. And even if I should make anything at all. It’s a bit of a shock that I can’t decide at all.

On the one hand, I see my knits as having a journaling function. I love taking a handknit in my hands, and recalling not just the lovely memories I had wearing it, but also what was going on while I was making it. A lot of memories can attach itself to a knit (or a crocheted) Piece.

So, what will Ultraviolet be saying to me about 2018? I think I’ll have to wait a bit to know for sure.

On the other hand, it’s a much more wearable colour than Greenery, because it has more blue mixed into it.

The real dilemma is: make a garment or an accent piece? With a colour as Vibrant as Ultraviolet, the garment is the accent.

Luckily, this colour isn’t in the shops yet, so I have a moment or two to make up my mind.

Delayed Hygge and Hurried Lagom

The wave of Hygge that has been rolling across the world, is finally settling in here in Germany. Especially in winter, we tend to look to the North: and especially to our neighbour, to learn their best tips for getting through winter. Because we forget every Spring. That and, trends take a while to waft over across the Atlantic.

So now it’s here: I was in a bookshop, buying a copy of a lovely new magazine called Hygge (surprise!), when I saw a little table set up with a bunch of hyggelige Things: thick woolly socks, candles, lovely books of quotes and, of course, mugs for cocoa.

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Having lived in Norway for a bit, I get the concept of Hygge. It appeals to that part of me (In German it’s called the innere Schweinehund, who is quite lazy and would rather do this, than go for a run through ice-rain) that wants to snuggle up in front of the fire with a cookie, some cocoa and some knitting. With an audiobook or something.

Hygge is really about the time taken and time spent with other People.

And because we’re kinda behind, we’re moving chop-chop straight on from Denmark into Swedish lagom. Because it’s always a good day to learn how someone says ‘Balance’ in a different language.

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

Fixing what’s broken

 

new textile economy ellen macarthur foundation
New Textile Economy Report of the Circular Fibres Initiative

We as knitters, makers and clothes-wearers also need to look at how we can help fix the broken Fashion system. There’s a new report out from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, not just restating the Problem, but giving suggestions as to how we can fix it:

 the report sets out four main ways to create “the new textiles economy”: phase out hazardous materials (including those that contribute to the microplastics problem); make better quality clothes and keep them in the system longer through rental models; improve recycling processes; and use renewable resources in manufacturing.

– Tess Riley, “The Ultimate Fashion Fail” in The Huffington Post

This may mean: using less acrylics (see how to Transition from acrylics); wearing what we knit longer; encouraging the use of recycled fibres alongside renewable fibres.

What say you?

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