Just an update

Life’s been busy recently, mostly because of work. Being a consultant and working as a subcontractor, sometimes I have way too much free time, and sometimes almost no time at all. At the moment it is something in between, closer to “no time at all”. I wish I could spend more time crocheting or knitting, but it’s not working out too well when I try. The only thing I managed to finish recently is probably not very surprising:

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That’s right, socks! I decided to knit them in 3×1 rib and I think it’s a pretty good idea, they fit even better. I’m thinking that with my next pair, I could try a single cable, because the remaining 2 skeins of sock yarn in my stash are still self-striping and I don’t want to make anything too ornamental, but it’s also time to try to knit something slightly more complicated that what I’ve knitted so far.

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Quick projects

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Last days have been keeping me busy with work, so my crochet and knitting projects were easy and fast, not to distract me too much.

In practice, it means two more pair of socks, this time one pair for my Dad (his birthday is soon so I have an excuse to knit them for him) in black and white, and one pair for my Nephew, mostly in blue. Both are, again, knitted with Drops Fabel (have enough of it for 3 pairs more) and based on Ann Budd’s basic socks patterns. I can’t believe I actually consider knitting socks “easy”, but in case of this basic pattern it really is, once I understood how it works and what exactly needs to be done.

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Surprises!

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This beautiful wool arrived by post as a gift from a dear friend. This is Kauni yarn, a Danish lamb wool brand manufactured in Estonia. It’s gorgeous and the colours make me want to keep it on the shelf just to look at it whenever my mood is low 🙂 I’ve been thinking to order this yarn for ages now but I never have, because I was worried that it would be too coarse, as natural 100% sheep wool tends to be. And let’s be honest, it is coarse, but not as much as I thought, and I think a good soak in Eucalan will help it a lot. Each of these 24 gorgeous skeins is 175 metres, and I would say it’s probably sport weight – not as thin as fingering but not as thick as DK either.

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Troublemaker

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I have mixed feelings when it comes to doilies. I appreciate their beauty and all the delicate, subtle details. I have no idea how can anyone write a doily pattern – I think it requires some mad skills, experience, patience, and amazing visual imagination. At the same time, I don’t really like the vintage ‘granny’ style associated with doilies and I don’t have much use for them at my home. This is actually strange because I don’t mind the ‘old-fashioned’ look of granny squares and I really like my Bavarian stitch cushion, but somehow doilies seem different, I think they really require special environment. Even the only doily I’ve crocheted so far is grey not to look so classic. Thinking about it, I have maybe one friend who actually likes this type of vintage home decor and would certainly appreciate some hand-made doilies in her living room and they would suit it – all the others prefer more modern style too. All of that means that I need to think hard before deciding to crochet a doily: is it really something that would be used? Or would it just stay in the closet without any purpose?

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Back to crochet: fan pattern gloves

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I’ve been taking a bit of a break break from any crafts recently. Partly because of work, and partly because I’ve been busy planning the trip to Poland around Easter, buying and setting up the new working area for me in the apartment (finally! no more working at the kitchen table, yay!) and generally trying to figure out the plan for the rest of the year. Some things are still not certain, like my boyfriend’s employment once his current contract is over, so it’s a bit of transition time for us, which has been keeping my attention away from my hooks or needles. The only crafty thing I made is a pair of gloves for Mum – crochet this time.

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Something blue!

 

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So… it happened! I knitted my first top – not exactly a sweater but a summer sleeveless top in cotton yarn. Yay!

I wasn’t sure if knitting an actual garment was a good idea at this stage. I thought that maybe I should stick to scarves, gloves, small projects more suitable for a beginner. But I really wanted to try, to move beyond things that could just be crocheted – to feel why learning to knit was the right choice. And this is when Drops designs came to the rescue, one more time 🙂

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Knitting, crochet and colours!

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Can there be anything better for a beginner knitter with crochet skills and colour fixation  than a project covering it all? You are right, probably not 😉 That’s why my latest project, baktus scarf, has been such a joy!

I’ve had my eye on the Drops pattern (another one from their basic patterns collection) for a while. First – it took me some time and learning to understand it, as knitting patterns in general are still somewhat mysterious to me, and Drops patterns are written in their strange, specific way, which usually makes me want to give up instantly after reading them for the first time. Second – I really wanted it to be as colourful as possible, but I didn’t have the right yarn. I had worked with the recommended Drops Delight before and I didn’t like the feel of this yarn too much, especially for something to be worn close to the skin. It is a little too coarse and stiff and the nylon in it is too visible, so despite the beautiful colorways I knew I needed something else. When I added all the new yarn to my stash last week, Noro Silk Garden reminded me about this pattern and I knew it was time to knit it.

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Combined (=combination) knitting

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As I mentioned in the past, I have serious problems with maintaining a nice looking, even stocking (stockinette) stitch when knitting flat. I figured that the reason was the difference in tension between knit and purl rows, but it still didn’t make fixing the problem any easier. I was planning to go to a few knitting classes and ask for advice there, hoping that someone experienced could tell me how exactly to correct it. But then I found an advice to try combination (or combined) knitting if I can’t knit in the rounds and my stitches really look very bad. I only regret that I don’t remember the address or name of the website where I first read about it, and my browser’s cache has been cleaned since then 😦

In any case, I’d read more about the method and tried it out immediately – and  was amazed by the result. You can see it on the photo above: the bottom part of the sampler was knitted in the regular, Western way, and the top part – in the combined method. It’s still not perfect and requires more practice before it looks really well, but the difference is clear and the quality of the stitch is acceptable for me now.

Below another picture, in different light: the stitches in the upper part are smaller and more regular, while those in the lower part just… just make no sense at all.

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