Hurricane knitting

ICE Train in station
Waiting for the Train / Source: Pexel stock photos

 

When instead of having your Train arrive, what you’re looking at is

 

Because trains and planes have been cancelled all over Europe because of Hurricane Friederike, knitting or crocheting can help pass the time and ease the pain.

Photo source: Ravelry

Friederike Shawl by Monika Eckert and Longing for Spring Socks by Friederike Erbslein and Frederique by Elsebeth Lavold

 

Safe travels, my friends.

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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

#MakeSmthng: Knitters Assemble!

 

If China’s going to be taking less of our waste on, then we have to start to seriously look at how to produce less waste. In all aspects of our lives. This is some serious world-changing, so I am on tenterhooks. What will happen next? Will we make the Change we want to see happen? Will it take?

All the same, these things tend to do well when we start one step at a time.

As makers, we’re in a unique position to do something practical. This week, December 2-10 is Make Something Week, to turn our thoughts away from necessarily buying something in gift-giving season, but towards how we can take time to consider our own wardrobe needs, or the people we want to give a gift.

Even a small step is a start, and as German poet Herman Hesse wrote:

In every new beginning lives a special magic,
protecting us and helping us to live…

‘Steps’ by Herman Hesse

The rest of the poem is here.

Links from the #Makesmthng blog:
How making can make us consume less
The value of a handmade gift

From this blog:
Loved Things last longer
Clothes that last longer are loved

 

What are you making this week?

 

 

 

 

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Tenterhooks

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

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.

 

Knitting Calendar: Sharing

 

This weekend, we celebrated quite a few events in southern Germany, to mark the start of the dark half of the year.

Carnival – at 11:11 on November the 11th, the fifth season in the German year starts. And this is taken very seriously here: Karneval, also called Fasnacht and Fasching.  I did say that Germans like to party, right? Well, once Oktoberfest is wound up, and the kids have stocked up on Halloween candy (yes, it’s now a thing here as well), then it’s on to Carnival, which stretches all the way around (with Advent and Christmas in the middle)to Rose Monday (where the biggest parades take place in Cologne and in cities along the Rhine!), before Lent starts

St Martin’s Day – Kids carry around mostly homemade lanterns and sing songs about the generous saint, who cut his cloak in half to share with a beggar.

Each village (kindergartens and primary schools) often hold processions, where children go for a early evening walk with their lanterns and end up at a big bonfire, where St. Martin’s story is reenacted (with a real horse sometimes). Afterwards, punch and snacks are served.
The saint is also associated with geese, so we often have little baked geese (see above) or a Weckmann (where I live, he’s called a Dambedei) for breakfast. Many people also serve goose on St. Martin’s Day as well.
The focus of St. Martin’s Day though is sharing, which I think fits well with our knitting.

Every once in a while, we need a breather from work and partying, and that’s where knitting (in particular slow knitting comes in handy), where we can sit back, relax and start planning how to share our knitting with others:
In other words, who’s on the knit-worthy list in the runup to Christmas (or whichever gift-giving winter holiday you celebrate)?

 

 

 

 

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!