Dec 9, 2011

Reversible knitting

Cowls, cowls, cowls....

I recently made my first Moebius cowl following Cat Bordhi's Moebius Cast-On instructions on Youtube.
What a genius technique!

The pattern for this cowl was Sivia Harding's Harmonia's Rings Cowl, a beautiful cowl pattern using the Moebius Cast-on method.

I used some worsted weight yarn, which I had handspun from handpainted Targhee top.

Even though the pattern is absolutely wonderful, I did want to make a few changes to the fit.

So I cast on for another Moebius cowl, shaping it slightly differently and trying out different stitch patters.
Since these cowls show the 'right' and the 'wrong' side of the knitted piece a reversible pattern is required.

Unfortunately I do not own any of the Reversible Knitting books available, for example Lynne Barr's Reversible Knitting - which would have sped up choosing stitch patterns, I guess - but I still came up with a few stitch patterns that work well.

If you want to try this too, my tip is to use ribs; ribs in many shapes or formats. The cowls in the picture at the top all look quite different but the patterns are all based on ribs - alternating knit and purl stitches or rows.

From left to right:
1: 1x1 rib, broken up by a few garter stitch rows
2: simple 2x2 rib
3: horizontal ribs by alternating a few rows of stockinette stitch with a few rows reverse stockinette stitch
4: simple 1x1 rib in chunky yarn
5: 2 rows of 2x2 rib, 1 purl row, 1 knit row
6: simple 1x1 rib in worsted yarn
7: reversible cables combined with 1x1 rib

My latest one is a more refined reversible cable pattern - in progress here:
I now have far too many cowls for me to wear, so some of them are available in my Etsy shop :-)

Nov 30, 2011

Free Shawlette pattern

Now that test knitting has been completed I posted the pattern for this semicircular shawl as a free download. Click on the pattern image in the right column.

The pattern is also available on Ravelry.

Happy knitting!

Nov 28, 2011

What I learned from participating in a designer market

As I posted before I was invited to participate in the Handmade December Gifts market put on by Karin Roeling who owns Gesamt Galerie and sells her handmade products on Etsy.

My primary goal for the weekend was to connect with other designers and crafters. This was a great success! (it was nice to sell a few items, too :-).
Unfortunately I do not have everyone's contact details but check out the wonderful ceramic items made by Noot en zo.

I learned a lot from the others and from the experience itself.

Something important I learned is that I should not mix my handwoven shawls with handspun yarn. Having the yarn displayed next to the shawls made the stand appear like a yarn store aimed at crafters rather than the high-end clothing / accessory booth I like to aim for. Having my spinning wheel there didn't help in that department either :-)

And another thing was that I am so immersed in the world of hand spinning, knitting and weaving that I was very surprised that those activities (with the exception of knitting) mean very little to the majority of people. I think a lot of the visitors were wondering why a yarn store owner would present yarn at a designers market...
So, I very much need to improve how I present my different products!

Nov 24, 2011

Cutest handknit mittens ever

I went to visit a friend yesterday, and she showed me the cutest handknit mittens ever!

Her Finish mother, Riitta Aholainen, knitted them for her grandson.

Aren't they adorable? I want some, too!

Nov 18, 2011

Usch Engelmann at Gesamt Galerie

I will participate in the Handmade December Gifts / Designer Market put on by Gesamt Galerie in Rotterdam.

Saturday and Sunday, 26 and 27 November 2011, 12pm - 6pm.
Pijnackerplein 2a, Rotterdam

Looking for original gifts these Holidays?
Stop by at Gesamt Galerie from 26-27 November and let
the designers seduce you with their handmade products.
Each piece is original and small-scale produced.

Notenboom Ceramics / Porcelain & Stoneware jewelry and tableware
Studio Lilesadi / Screen printed pillows, accessories & illustrations
Astronaud / Leather bags & accessories
Usch Engelmann / Usch's handwoven, handspun, handknit
Nov'82 architecten / products made with laser-cutter
---stiksel--- / Home textiles, bags & accessories
La Lisette / Bags and accessories
GriezeligGoed / buttons for KIKA
Annebet Philips / I like it. What is it? lamp
Mind What You Wear / WASH YOUR PROBLEMS AWAY, ritual soaps

Come and stop by!

Sep 9, 2011

Jakob's Felted Clogs

I have long admired Bev Galeskas' pattern for Felted Clogs, and have knitted about 6 or 7 pairs in various adult sizes. I think the fit is great, mine never slip of my feet, and they look great on women and men.

After having knit several pairs of baby booties for my son, I now thought he deserves some felted clogs, too, and was delighted to see that Bev Galeska has a pattern out for children including toddlers sizes. I guess I could have figured out the math myself, but  it's so much easier to just follow the pattern :-)

I had several small leftover balls of Cascade 220, the yarn I usually use for the clogs, and determined he will get colored clogs using up these odds and ends.

He is very excited and particularly happy that they match his car.

I made one slight modification to the pattern that you might want to try out, too:

Instead of casting on the desired number of sts for back and forth knitting, I cast on the same number using Judy's Magic Cast-on.
To duplicate the garter st of the original pattern I purled one row, then knit row 1 as described but also knit instead of purled after the first w&t. From here on I kept knitting or purling depending what was needed in that particular row, or part of a row to get garter st.When the sole is done it's just following the pattern again since from here on it's knit in the round.

This way you don't need to seam the two soles (4 in total) nor the back of the foot.
I hope this makes sense. If not, send me a message and I will try to explain more.

Sep 7, 2011

Spinning disaster and spinning delight

My recent spinning adventures were a mixed bag.
Strangely enough I love the spindling results, but the yarns I spun on my wheel are a nightmare.

So first the nightmares:

4oz Falkland roving dyed by Spunky Eclectic. I  love Falkland because it is soft, spins easy, usually provides instant gratification. Well, I overspun this - which seems to be my major problem at the moment, after skeins and skeins of low twist yarns....
And I didn't only overspin but also split the roving in a way that the beautiful fall colors into a muddy mess.

4oz Merino/Bamboo roving, also dyed by Spunky Eclectic. Again I wanted to give this a little more twist than I usually do, and .... a rope. A rope in pretty colors, but a rope nonetheless.

The worst of all:
100% Pygora. You might remember that I spun Pygora twice before, one beautiful silver colored yarn and an ivory white fuzzy shiny beauty. The third lot I had was the largest, more than 4 oz, and it seemed as if this was the softest lot of the three. We will never know because - again - I overspun. You would think I would learn, no? This is the real nightmare, nothing I can do with this camel colored wire...


Now to the delights (thankfully there were a few, otherwise I think I would have tossed my equipment)

2 of 4 oz pure tussah silk, hand dyed by Squoosh fiberarts in colorway Fraises.

This is the second lot of Pygora. Absolutely gorgeous, I think. It's shiny and fuzzy and soft. The fiber was by Shaggy Bear Farmd in Oregon, sorry, I don't have a website link.

And some spindling in process that seems to turn out OK:

SW Merino/Cashmere blend on my Golding ringspindle hand dyed by Corgi Hill Farm, and

Merino/Bamboo blend, hand dyed by NewHuehandspuns, spun on my new Jenkins turkish spindle.

And I am trying to take the curse off my wheel be feeding it some beautifully soft Merino/Angora blend.  I will let you know how that goes...

Jul 29, 2011

Elvia - new shawl pattern

Yeah, I finally finished my newest pattern (not that I have that many out there yet... :-)
You might have seen the semicircle shawl I knit recently on my Ravelry project page.

It's half-pi shaped shawl knit in stockinette stitch with a small flower lace motif and a ruffle all around that is knit simultaneously with the main body of the shawl. It can easily be knit without the bobbles that adorn the lower section.
Well, the pattern has now been tested and is available on Ravelry and in my Etsy store.
Since blue is my favorite color my version is knit in a light blue Alpaca/Silk blend from Garnstudio Drops:
However, I was extremely fortunate that one of my test knitters, catpurloo on Ravelry, knit this shawl in a very different color scheme and also granted me permission to use her wonderful photographs with beautiful model Ashlynn Eggebrecht wearing her shawl:

I have been knitting on other projects but a two week vacation on a sail boat slowed me down a little. I will post images of my progress in a following blog post.


Jun 18, 2011

socks, socks, socks

On the needles
I am not sure what it is, but I am in sock knitting mode. And this in June when warm foot wear doesn't seam to be the most suitable item to make.

This is a pair of socks for my niece. I used a small lace pattern from a stitch dictionary and added some ribbing topped by a ruffle for the cuff. I followed the size information from a book and unfortunately they turned out way too big for her. Here they are before ripping out the entire leg and heel (toe-up socks...)
 I hope to get the size right this time around.

Then I started a pair of socks for myself to use up a skein of Buffy Sock yarn by June Fibre Arts. The color is Seaswept Winter Sea, and I love it! For these I chose a pattern with slipped stitches that are picked up 2 rows higher up to form little flower like shapes.

But the best of all (there are more socks on the needles) is a pattern by Wendy Gaal - Bridge of Roses. There is a KAL on Ravelry for these socks. They are absolutely beautiful and interesting to knit. I have just finished the knitting on mine and need to start the embroidered roses. The pattern comes in a kit with part of the sales going to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
Here is the official pattern photo, copyright Wendy Gaal, Knitters Brewing Co:

and here is a close-up of mine:

Off the needles
Ferla Box bag was a test knit for TessVintageKnits. It's a great pattern with detailed instructions. I just need to find the perfect buttons for mine. You should keep an eye out for the pattern to be officialy published.

The tiny recipient of this baby blanket is a gorgeous little boy, three weeks of age. My blankie is based on the Cerys Baby Blankie by Leah J Williams. I have made a few modifications which are noted on my Ravelry project page.

Last Monday I attended markt van wol enzo in Ouwerkerk. It was a wonderful day, not least because friends of mine entertained my son so that I had a chance to talk fiber with the friends from our SnB Rotterdam and met new people.
The only thing I bought is a wonderful cloud of silver gray Alpaca. It is Huacaya Alpaca which is the only kind of Alpaca fiber I ever spun. Fortunately the vendor Alpaca Milestones had some Suri Alpaca also, so I bought a little bit of raw, combed and carded fiber. I am very curious how different this will be from the Huacaya. The funny thing was that when my knitting/spinning friend Ballee and I compared our purchases we realized we had bought the exact same fiber!

I hope to sit down at my wheel again soon - I hear it calling.

May 31, 2011

Proudest knitting mom ever

My 2 and a half year old's first knitting project:
He prefers size 6 mm needles and cotton yarn :-)

On my needles
Recently I purchased B. Walker's book Mosaic Knitting. I love the idea of creating two-color designs without stranding the yarn. Mosaic knitting patterns are accomplished by slipping stitches which appear in the color of the row below. I started a shawl with a diamond pattern. Here it is before blocking:
I am quite excited to see what blocking will do!

Soon on my wheel
My sister bought these lovely batts from Needlework's Pleasure. She wants me to spin this into fingering weight yarn for a shawl. I am excited to get my current project spun up, so that I can get started on this!

May 26, 2011


I am so happy I finshed a few items recently. Because I keep wanting to start new projects...

Yes, after many variations the name is Pebbles now... And finally, here is a picture of the completed sweater I knit for my son. I am still not done writing up the pattern but promised myself I will do this now since I want to knit him another one using the same construction style. I love the hems and the longer back side covers his behind nicely. If you remember it's an almost seamless construction with the upper sleeves knit with the body, not Raglan shaping but the shape of set-in sleeves.

Dewdrops is a lovely design by Bex Hopkins. I used a beautiful handpainted yarn from Needlework's Pleasure in the colorway Fresh Mint.
And I have finally finished knitting Rosebud by Tonia Barry with some lovely handspun Alpaca, also by Needlework's Pleasure. 

Isn't he the cutest? From a pattern by Patons. It was a quick gift for my boy. Unfortunately now he wants me to knit him Timmy, too....

My first Cookie A's...
I gave in and knit a pair of socks from Sock Innovation by Cookie A. Not that I didn't like her socks before, there was just too much hype, and I prefer toe-up. But like so many others I got hooked. This pattern is Wanida. One thing I did changed is that I let the pattern end in a point  just above the toes rather than having a blunt stop.


I have been spinning as well recently, just not much on my wheel. Somehow I currently prefer the spindle. Here I spun a batt from StormopZolder, very vibrant colors in Merino/Silk.

And finally - I have finished a new shawl design that is currently being test knit, jippieh! More about that later.

May 5, 2011


Lot's of knitting
It's finally May and the roses in my yard are starting to bloom. I love roses! No wonder I always wanted to design a shawl with a rose theme. After I had spun up the shetland from Juno Fibrearts in the Smokey Rose colorway I decided that this was going to be the yarn for the project.
Since I had 400 yd of this heavy lace / light fingering 2-ply handspun yarn it had to be a shawlette. I am not too fond of the triangular shape and therefore designed a rounded shawlette with plain stockinette sections and others with a rosebud motif.
I am currently writing up the pattern before having it tested. I hope to have a nice photo of the blocked shawlette for you soon. The top photo has the accurate colors.

Baby Camel - oh so soft
Knitting another Twinleaves stole from some Baby Camel that I spun into a laceweight 2-ply yarn years ago.

Birthday socks
2 days ago I realized that my boyfriends birthday is next Monday! OMG, I have a non-fibery gift for him but wanted to make some socks , too. So I am trying to whip out a pair in time, just plain socks in a variegated yarn. But not only that, he has a twin sister who, for the very first time, showed any interest in anything handknit. So of course she will get some socks, too. I decided to make her Wanida by Cookie A. Got one sock knit in 1.5 days, started the second one.

My 2-year old LOVES Shaun the Sheep - not that he understands any of the humor but he loves sheep, the music, and the part where the cabbage flies through the window. So I decided to buy the Patons Shaun kit and knit it for him. I think there will be Timmy in our future, too...

Please excuse the bad pictures, I will try to set up a better environment with enough light to take decent pictures.
Enough chatting - got to get back to the socks...

Apr 21, 2011

Shetland and Pygora

Off my wheel and spindle
I had the opportunity to spin two types of fiber that I had never spun before. So exciting!

I purchased a braid of hand dyed fiber from Juno FibreArts because I loved the colorway Smoky Rose. I was a little hesitant at first because the colorway was only available in Shetland which I thought was a little to skratchy for my liking.
Well, I was wrong, not only was it a delight to spin but it is also very soft, maybe due to the fact that Shetland, or at least my Shetland, bloomed like crazy after soaking in water. I spun it so thin that I thought the 2-ply result would be a light fingering weight - how wrong! It puffed up like crazy!

Wow, a friend of mine in Seattle purchased 3 different batches of Pygora fiber when he came upon a sheep fair by accident (thank you, Conrad!!!).  I had heard and read but never touched it before and had to do a little research. Pygora is a goat bred from Pygmy and Angora goats. There are three types of fiber they produce: Type A is Mohair like, Type B is like a blend of Mohair and Cashmere and Type C is like Cashmere. This is not a scientific description - just what I remember reading. I think, the first 1 oz batch that I had from a goat called Sally Moon in a beautiful silvery grey color is Type A because the fibers were long and shiny. It's not really scratchy but definately not cashmere soft either.

The second batch are 2 oz in natural white provided by 'Drake'. It feels fuzzier and softer so I am assuming that it might be Type B. As with Sally Moon, I am spinning Drake's fiber on my Wildcraft spindle. Most of my spindles are light weight (around 3/4 oz) but this one has a long shaft, so I am hoping to be able to spin the 2 oz in one go.

Pygora Breeders Association

Off my needles
We have a large living room window looking out onto the street and sidewalk. I don't mind it much when people walking by look inside but it is nice to have something there that gives you a little more privacy. So I make decorational items that I hang in the window. They draw people's attention away from the inside and sometimes make them smile. With Easter around the corner I used some of my variegated sock yarn left-overs to knit colorful eastereggs. My son, being 2 years old, loves them, but imagine how surpised he will be when on Sunday he finds chocolate eggs instead of woolly ones.

On my needles
I have been knitting, but will update you on my various progress in the next post.

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