Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Crafts - A few "firsts" & the next finished project...

Ever since I held the first hank of hand dyed yarn in my hands I was eager to start a proper project and make something out of it. Equipped with the right kind of tools and finding a project that appealed to me on the Usual Site(tm) - here comes the purple Dragonfly Wing!

I used the String Theory Caper Sock Yarn, the color is named Elderberry, a beautiful dark purple shade. The yarn itself is very soft to the touch and almost works itself. It normally asks for US 2 (2,75mm) needles but I went with what was suggested in the pattern - US 7-10 (4,5mm - 6mm). While the result turned out a little bit smaller than I would have liked it's perfect as a shawlette and I'm looking forward to wearing it - if my daughter doesn't snatch it away first :-) Blocking went easier than thought and I ended up with a size of 160x40cm (about 63”x16”). There are still some 50g left of the 110g of yarn and I wonder what I'll make out of this...

A big "thumbs-up" to the creator of the pattern, Boo Knits. The instructions are very well and clearly written and there's a chart for the lace part, which is great for a visual person like myself. I'm looking forward to trying more of their patterns!

So, about the "firsts":
  • First hank of hand dyed yarn
  • First English-only pattern
  • First project where I put the KnitPro needles to good use
  • First time doing a cable cast-on
  • First time doing a cast off other than the usual one
Last but not least, the beauty itself...

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Crafts - Choice of Weapons^cwNeedles

For most of my works I use(d) regular metal circular needles, for smaller projects like socks and where it was required, a set of the usual metal double pointed needles. Since I was/am getting sick of storing all those different needles - different cord length combined with the usual variety of needle sizes I remembered having heard of a system of interchangeable circulars. The needle itself in this case, as I looked at KnitPro, can be made out of different materials (wood, bamboo, carbon/metal) and can also have different shapes (round, cubic). I gave something like a "standard package" a try and went for a 100cm cable with 3mm wooden needles as I'm getting into lace shawls at the moment, which felt quite good but a little bit to weak as I work with a higher yarn tension than most people. I saw the Karbonz needles - carbon "body" and nickel plated brass tips - and knew I was in love :-) So guess who ordered a set in different sizes today? Can't wait to pick them up at the store and put them to good use... Especially with the two hanks of hand-dyed yarn I ordered from Dragonfly Fibers last night... *whistling-tunelessly*

Monday, May 18, 2015

Crafts - Yarn porn...

If you live in the German speaking part of Europe and own a TV you're probably familiar with the Zalando ad on TV. For those who aren't - stereotypical ad where you'd see/hear women squee and scream over the delivery from the store, usually shoes. I do have to admit that some things can evoke a similar reaction from me, but that's limited to finding/receiving beautiful yarn! So yes, I have an addiction. To beautiful yarn. Like probably every other prolific knitter...

Since I've started doing lightweight/lace projects a whole new box of yarn choices opened up for me. I do like gradient colors a lot so I couldn't NOT take this beauty home with me last week when dropping into a local store on my way home:

It's called "Lace ball" by Schoppel-Wolle, which is a pretty well known brand but was a novelty for me - lace (2 ply) weight, 100g and 800m (3.5oz/874yds) and waiting for the right project. Probably some kind of shawl?

My dear friend and coworker Kristin went to visit the home store of Rohrspatz & Wollmeise and asked if I wanted some yarn from that store as well. Frantic scanning of their website and narrowing down possible choices ensued and I ended up with two beauties, which she thankfully brought today - cue me almost doing The Squeeeee ;-)

While it doesn't look like much this is a 330g/1730m (11.6oz/1894yds) skein of most beautiful pure merino wool in a 2 ply/lace variety. Rather bright for my usual choice but a gorgeous shade of purple. And still looking for a project!

And since I'm a sucker for fitting names and my third favorite color (apart from black and purple) is grey I present - Heavy Metal \m/ :-)

A rich and warm/dark grey, totaling at 2099.5m/600g (2296yds and 21oz) so that should make a nice pullover, cardigan, jacket or something along that line...

I should probably get that third container to properly store my stash? *ahem*

Monday, May 11, 2015

Crafts - A custom made bag

It started out with a simple stripes crochet bag I made for myself as a bag to use for going to concerts, etc. to store just the basics - wallet, keys, phone. My mother was taken with it as she said it would complement one of her favorite short pullovers. As it sometimes happens the idea to make another bag for my Mom for Mother's Day immediately came to my mind. I asked my Dad to take pics of the pullover so I could match the colors (to cut the long story short, I didn't completely succeed but it didn't matter).

I'm doubly proud and super-happy with how this bag turned out as it included a couple of "firsts" for me:
  • Crocheting a chevron pattern
  • Using felt pieces
  • Punching holes in fabric and making them pretty with proper eyelets
  • Sewing other than "normal" fabrics on my sewing machine
As usual I went to consult the ladies at my favorite yarn store (Wedermann) about the choice of possible yarns. I ended up with a silver shining variant of Lana Grossa Lace Lux which I already had stashed and used for my Mandalay lace scarf, a light grey Lana Grossa Wakame and a black Lana Grossa Organico.

The crocheting itself went pretty fast and was easy once you understand the principle of decrease/increase around the wave pattern so it ends up a straight piece of work. The assembly of all pieces and finalization was great as I love working with different tools - making things from scratch is FUN!

Here are a few pictures of the result - what do you think?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Crafts - my favorite yarns and yarn stores

Like many people I love natural yarns and fibers - merino, cotton, the more the better. Somehow most of my stack contains Lana Grossa yarns but I have recently - thanks to fellow enablers... oops, I meant knitters ;-) - found some awesome stores and yarns and am trying NOT to spend too much money since my stash is big enough for now.

So in no particular order and mostly for myself as a kind of bookmark...
Look at these beauties... (Colour Adventures and String Theory) <3

Are there any other stores and yarns you think I should know about? Recommendations welcome!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Crafts - Praktischer Link - Begriffe und deren Übersetzung

Nachdem es vor allem auf Ravely einen Haufen von Anleitungen nur auf Englisch gibt - und ich trotz sehr guter Englisch-Kenntnisse und netten native speaking Freundinnen, die mir gern weiterhelfen, trotzdem manchmal wie die Kuh vor dem Tor steh was die Übersetzung angeht... dieser Link liefert die meist gebräuchlichen Bezeichnungen und deren Übersetzung ins Deutsche.

Crafts - My love-hate pixie coat

I've learned to knit, sew and crochet when I was in the single-digit area age-wise and I've been working on things on and off for some time. The big passion for those things came when I was pregnant and started making things for my kids. If you have an account over at Ravelry you can check out my my profile and a few things I have made over time.
So... there are some knitting communities over on Facebook, too, and seeing what was a relatively simple description for something along the lines of a Pixie Coat I decided to make one for myself. Being a half-goth with the favorite colors of black, dark gray and purple (blog colors, anyone?) I went to hunt for the appropriate yarns. I ended up at one of my favorite yarn stores, Wedermann, with the helpful ladies there suggesting I use fiber normally used for knitting machines, two strands of each color:

So far so good, I love the color combination and after some mistakes on the way which made me unravel a third of my work and not look at the coat for a few weeks out of frustration it's nearing its completion! I need to decide on which kind of fastening/closing mechanism to use - zip? Buttons? Some kind of clasps? We'll see - I'll keep you posted and will put up pics of the finished thing as soon as I can.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Food - Kärntner Reinling

I love both traditional (Austrian) food and exotic dishes. Through some good friends of mine I discovered a Carinthian cake traditionally made around Easter called "Kärntner Reinling" - the name comes from Rein = old German word for pan or pot. It's basically a sweet yeast dough, filled with granulated sugar, cinnamon and raisins and rolled up and baked in a ring cake baking pan. Most Carinthians will scream bloody murder but I love to add some ground nuts - mostly what I find at home, be it walnuts or hazelnuts. Ever since I made it for the first time a few years ago my Dad, who has something like a sweet tooth, asks me to make it every year. Well, this year I'm a little behind time-wise but decided to make it today as we were heading over to my parents' for a family lunch. It's best eaten almost fresh out of the oven and it was still warm inside when we had it as dessert today. Yummmmm.....