Friday, December 14, 2007

Hoppelpoppel Socks

As leftovers of sockyarn were piling up, I figured I'd have enough to make a whole new pair of socks for bf out of them. They are rather ugly; yet at the same time, I love them for what they are, something useful made from leftovers, like a scrap quilt, or a rag rug. Bf loves them too, the crazier the better, he says.
Hoppelpoppel Socks
Pattern: Basic top down 2x2 rib
Needles: US 2
Yarn: mostly Lana Grossa Meilenweit leftovers

soon: sewing fo's.
btw: hoppelpoppel is a dish made from it can be pretty much anything.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Deep-V Sweater

When I first flipped through Erica Knight's Classic Knits I was more impressed by the beautiful styling and photos than the actual projects, they seemed almost too simple. But over the next few months I kept coming back to that book and started to fall in love with the projects in it, especially the Deep-V sweater. I've had a bag of Debbie Bliss' Cathay in my stash, which is the suggested yarn. All that stockinette didn't put me off, I wanted some mindless knitting for a change. Well, that pattern turned out be an absolute joy to knit. Cathay, despite being a bit splitty at first try, is wonderfully soft; it reminded me of melting vanilla ice cream. After a nice steam, any uneven knitting transformed into an even, drapey fabric.
Deep-V Sweater1
Deep-V Sweater2
and check out the lovely decreases:
Deep-V Sweater detail
Pattern: Deep-V Sweater, from Classic Knits by Erica Knight, second size
Yarn: 11 balls of Debbie Bliss Cathay
Needles: US 5 (3.75mm)
Mods: I used a tubular cast-on and knit in the round instead of separate pieces. If I were to knit this sweater again however, I'd knit it in pieces and seam it up (yes, me, the I-wanna-turning-everything into-seamless knitter). Why? Because you end up weaving in lose ends within the knitted fabric, and no matter how careful I was, you can see a slight indentation on the other side. When you have such a smooth fabric, seams provide a place to weave in your ends and keep the rest of the fabric looking perfect. Lesson learned. Sometimes, seams are good (argh).
The only thing I would change is to make the sweater a size bigger. It fits great, it's just that when I started, I wanted something more fitted, something I could wear to the office and look professional. Now that I'm freelancing from home, I crave the casual lounge-around look that enticed me to the sweater in the first place. I guess I could always frog it....;-) Yeah, no way!
I see more Classic knits projects in my future, the kelly cardi and maybe the slouchy socks, but right now, there is more stockinette going on, and a little bit of cabling. I'm making the Jana Tunic from Rowan Studio 3. There are no sleeves so this should be a quick knit.

I've added some more details of my mods to Flicca, you can find them here.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Peaches on my head

One of my cousins still has every little piece of craft from her childhood. This is a good thing for me, because between being slightly o/c about getting rid of stuff, having moved a lot and having a bad memory in general, trips back in time to my childhood tend to yield murky pictures. On my recent visit to Germany my brain got a refresher when she brought out a box filled with stuff from our childhood. As kids we loved clubs, and in our years playing together must have formed a dozen or so, all either about animals or TV shows or even hats. Yes, hats. Berets, to be more exact. I had a black one, my cousin's was red, and we were the club of the Basques ( in German, a beret is called a Baskenmuetze). Looking at our manifesto and handdrawn passports, this club seemed to have been a spy club (don't remember who we were spying on), and my code name was Britta (which was my favourite name at the time, stemming I believe from some kid's book about a girl named Britta and her pony, Silver. Oh, the memories, they're coming back..)
So, this is a pretty long intro to be telling you that I still love berets and have been excited about so many of them popping up in blogland. But hey, I usually don't tell you much, so here you go. This is the second Kim Hargreaves kit I made, Peaches, from her 'Summer Breeze' collection. Described as a "slouchy crochet beret" it was anything but on my first attempt, though I can't really fault Kim for that. Everyone's head is a different size, and mine must be huge, since the first version of the beret perched on top like a deflated muffin. Easy to fix, I just ripped back to the increase rows, added two more of those, one more regular and one more decrease row. I'm still not sure if it's ok the way it is, I may wash it and stretch it a little, to get it more relaxed and not so flowery looking.
Pattern: Peaches kit, from Kim Hargreaves' Summer Breeze collection.
Yarn: 2 skeins of Rowan handknit cotton in 'thunder'.
Mods: Added more rows to make the beret bigger.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Monkeys on my feet

In more than one way. I've been back from Europe for awhile, but the travelling hasn't stopped. I've been spending my days hiking around Northern California and just a few days ago bf and I came back from a week-long roadtrip to Pinnacles NM and the deserts of Southern California. My mind is still boggled by all the wildlife we saw - a bobcat upclose, a fox, bats, wild turkeys, a tarantula, weird bugs and tons of birds I can never identify. I'm having a hard time sitting still, and need to get re-aquainted with yarn, fabric and thread. Checking through my bloglines feed was a little daunting at first, but it really kickstarted my desire to pick up the needles again thanks to all the great projects I've seen there.
Anyway, here is a pair of socks, finished right before the big trip, that I forgot to photograph and blog. What with all the pretty monkeys out there, I needed a pair myself. A skein of squishy soft pureknits sockyarn in a barely there creamy pink was the perfect fit.
Pattern: Monkey socks designed by Cookie A., available at Knitty.
Yarn: 1 skein of Pureknits sockyarn in 'alabaster'.
Needles: US 1 bamboo dpn's.
Mods: I knit these toe up. In order to have the pattern face down as it does in the top-down version, I sliced the pattern repeat through the middle and tucked the left part onto the right side of the right part.

Now I'm just one sleeve away from finishing my Deep V-sweater from Erika Knights "Classic Knits", and I've started a pair of socks for bf with this Aloe & Jojoba sockyarn I've had in my tiny stash for ages. It doesn't feel as extra nice and soft as I thought it would, but maybe it'll feel good on bf's feet. I lost the ball band, but I think it's from either Regia or Lana Grossa.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Somewhere on a distant planet...

ok, maybe I‘m not quite that far, though I am currently on another continent, and California does feel like it‘s on a different planet. Call it early midlife crisis or the thirst for something new, a few weeks ago I quit my job and went to Germany to visit family and friends. I just got back from the most northern part of the country and will stay in Bavaria until mid September or so. I brought some knitting, but have yet to pick up the needles. Back in SF, a pile of FO‘s is still waiting to be photographed and blogged about, but for the next few weeks, I‘ll remain silent. When I get back, who knows what‘ll happen? Anything is possible, and that thought is incredibly thrilling.
With love from the seaside,
on the island

Monday, June 11, 2007


or, summer in San Francisco




Pattern: Flicca by Anna Bell, available here
Yarn: 15 skeins of Rowan Yorkshire Tweed Chunky in 'Stout'
Needles: US 9
Modifications: I made plenty though not because I didn't like the original pattern or found mistakes. First off, I decided to knit the back and fronts in one piece so I could avoid seaming. The sleeves were knit in the round as well, then attached to the body by knitting the front, sleeve, back, sleeve and front all in one piece (this was definitely not a portable project). I opted to knit a raglan yoke and because I was afraid that the weight of the jacket would have me constantly tugging at it, I attached two buttons to the front bands which were knit a bit wider than the pattern states. In the end, there were just a few ends to weave in (hooray). Oh, and I used size 9 needles by mistake! I had swatched with the suggested 10.5 but when I cast on I grabbed the wrong needles and didn't notice my mistake until I had finished the first tier. In the end it was a lucky mistake because I wouldn't have gotten such a nice fit with the bigger gauge. The pictures may not show it but instead of using regular knit stitches, I used ktbl on the right side and ptbl on the wrong side to get more defined stitches.
I really love it! It's a beautiful design and a very well written pattern. I can't wait for Anna's book to come out!

*mods in detail:

Flicca mods:
Here is a more detailed description of my Flicca mods. I took no notes during knitting, and I've forgotten a few things over the last few months, but it should give you a good enough idea how to adjust the pattern for yourself. I'm not giving any stitch counts as I don't want to interfere with Anna's pattern sales, you'll still have to buy the pattern for details.

A big help in grasping the idea of knitting three tubes onto one needle was the
Vogue Knitting book. Check out page 190, the chapter on 'Circular design with Yoke'. It shows three tubes (two sleeves and one body). You'll have two tubes (the sleeves) and the third tube is open (because it's a cardi, not a sweater).
How I started:
Instead of knitting two separate fronts and a back, I knit everything in one piece, from the bottom up. I made sure to place markers between right front and back and back and left front. Knit to the desired height to cast off for the armholes.
Now knit both sleeves in the round (I first used circs, then dpn's, or magic loop is another possibilty), until ready to cast off for the armholes.

Depending on how many stitches the pattern tells you to cast off for the first arm hole decreases, put the sts form the right front and back and from the left front and back on scrap yarn. Do the same with the sleeve sts.

Pin the sleeves to the body, the holding sts facing each other.
Now start knitting:
Knit right front until you get to the pinned sleeve, knit the sts of the right sleeve onto the same needle (you're omitting sts on holder), then knit back sts, knit sts of left sleeve onto same needle, then sts of left front. Knit one row (WS).
Now you'll have to do a little math. You need to figure out how many sts you have to decrease until the neckedge (use your washed and blocked gauge swatch). In my case I knit a few rounds back and forth, then started the raglan decreases on every RS row until the yoke reached the right height. The decreases on the front edges were started at the same time. I followed the pattern for the collar and frontbands, but I added a few shortrows for a wider collar, making sure to add the same number of extra rows for the frontbands.
Good luck :-)

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Down Under Socks

I don't have too many words this week, but I wanted to show you a pair of socks knitted from the toastiest sock yarn my feet have ever felt.
They are so cozy!
Pattern: Cable Twist Socks from Hello Yarn.
Yarn: Cherries sock yarn from The Knittery, sent to me by the lovely Jaqueline
Needles: US 1 bamboo
I loved knitting these, the yarn is so soft and the pattern was easy to remember, though I did get a case of pattern envy after seeing isel's pomatomus socks knit in the same yarn and color. They are gorgeous!
Soon I'll have a finished Flicca to show you, all that's left to do is the collar and frontbands (and I'll be adding buttons!).

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Let me eat cake!

Thank you all so much for your comments and emails, I'm still working on returning them!
In order to not spend too much time knitting, I've spent more time baking. I've always loved baking because it lets me create something from scratch in a relatively short amount of time which others get to enjoy as well (I am a bit selfish when it comes to sharing other crafty output, bf socks excluded). I tend to stick to my favorite cakes from my childhood, but with all the wonderful recipes available on the internet, I've been trying to expand the repetoire (and hopefully not the waistline, tehee. How I love a bad pun.). Here are some old stand-by's, and a new recipe that's so good, I've made it twice already:
Rhubarb Crumble Cake
hmm, rhubarb crumble cake from my favourite food blog, delicious days. I love Nicky and Oliver's blog so much, they always post recipes I've been craving (lots of them good old Bavarian fare) and can never seem to find. It's getting a bit strange actually, I'll be intently thinking about something and visit their blog and they'll have posted about it! If you think German food is all about heavy, stomach cramps inducing dishes, you should go and take a look through their archive, if just for the amazing photography! Anyway, this recipe is just perfect. Tart, moist rhubarb and sweet crumbles are a match made in heaven. It's become bf's favorite. You can find it here.
Next, my grammy's sunken apple cake, or in German "versunkener Apfelkuchen", because the apples sink into the dough as it bakes. This is a very easy recipe that requires the apples to be coated in lemon juice. The result is a very light and fresh tasting cake that I can't get enough of.
Sunken Apple Cake
The grooves are made by running a fork down the back of the quartered apples. It looks pretty and soaks up the lemon juice well.
When I get the craving for a little bit of chocolate, I make this recipe from an old roommate's cooking light cookbook (which I'd lost, then found again on their website). Marbled Chocolate Banana Bread:
Chocolate Banana Bread
Don't let that picture fool you, I usually mix the cocoa powder in the whole dough, so that there's chocolatey goodness everywhere, instead of it looking 'marbled'. What I love about this recipe is that it uses just half a stick of butter instead of oil. Most 'breads' you get in stores or coffee shops are too greasy for my taste, this version is not greasy at all, and may seem a bit dry to some palates. Just add a little bit of milk to the dough, or get a big cup of coffee or tea with your slice. I've made a few changes to their recipe: Instead of egg substitute, I use one real egg, instead of chocolate chips I use organic cocoa powder, plus a bit of milk to keep the dough moist enough. I mix my dough really well instead of "just combining it", because I don't like to bite down on bits and pieces of banana.
Ok, now back to knitting..or maybe I should go the gym...

Monday, May 14, 2007

Look who's back!

Wow, it's mid May, I can't believe how fast time went by. I had to take a break from crafting and blogging for awhile as I was sick through most of March and then had to recover from some whiplash I got in a small car accident. It all turned out to be a blessing in disguise though; at the beginning of the year I had felt a bit uninspired and uncreative, butI'm now pretty excited again about knitting and sewing, and rested enough to have the energy for it. To ease my body gently back into slouch position, I've finished a pair of socks in the loveliest yarn:
Sundara Yarn sock yarn in 'charcoal over rose'. The colors are so beautiful, and I wanted a simple but interesting pattern to show it off.
Yarn: Sundara Yarn sock yarn in 'charcoal over rose'
Pattern: Snicket Socks from MagKnits
Needles: Us 1
Mods: I used the short row heel I always knit, instead of the one in the pattern. I also knit these socks a little shorter than all my other socks, as they will stretch out a bit over time from washing and wearing.

I'll have another pair of socks to show you very soon!
During the last few months my computer time has been limited as well, so I would like to apologize to everyone who has commented or asked me for a pattern or anything else without getting a response. Since it's not possible for me right now to wade through all the past emails, if there's anything you still need answered, please email me and I will get back to you as promptly as possible.
It's good to be back :-)

Monday, January 29, 2007

Not so Deep V Argyle Vest

Mental blocks are a curious thing. Why can I breeze through a pattern in a matter of weeks only to be waylaid for a month by something so simple as picking up stitches for the armbands and sewing down the neckband ends? The very thought sent shivers down my spine. A couple of weeks ago I had enough, sat down to my Eighties! playlist in i-tunes and finished that baby. Nothing like a good dose of Morrissey to get the hands moving.
Pattern: Deep V Argyle Vest by Eunny Jang
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas melange, 4 skeins of pesto and 3 skeins of relish (though I prefer to call those colors olive and green)
Needles: US 4
Mods: Plenty. I knit a big gauge swatch in the round, it made all the difference. My row gauge was off, instead of getting Eunny's 7.5 rows, I got 6 rows. Having to knit less rows is great, though I had to do a fair amount of adjustments to get a perfect fit. I divided the chart into three areas (beginning to waist, waist to bust, bust to end) and converted the actual number of pattern rows in each area to my gauge. I also wanted a little less plunge on my vest and moved the start of the neckband further up, and used tubular cast-on for better looks and more stretch. I'm very happy with my changes, my vest fits perfectly. It wasn't all beer and roses though. The steeking was easy, yet I didn't really trust the whole idea and ended up running a few seams with my sewing my machine along each crocheted edge, just to be safe. Blue Sky Alpaca is supposed to felt well (at least the scarf I saw at my lys made of BSA sportweight felted really well), but melange seemed a little slippery. It's beautiful yarn though, so soft, and really made me look forward to knitting.
Opinion: This is a great pattern, especially if you're new to fair-isle. Make sure you pick the right yarn and take the time to swatch and adjust the pattern to your stitch and row gauge. I put my vest on scrap yarn and tried it on multiple times to make sure it was ok. BSA is usually not within my budget, and I didn't want to mess it up. I love the warmth of the vest, worn with a thin silk blouse underneath it's perfect for SF climate.
The next couple of weeks will be devoted to my secret knit, but after that, I'll be working on the lovely Flicca coat by Anna. I've also been itching to sew again, thinking about quilt patterns.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Where did you get that yarn??

Just a couple of quick notes on the last post: The Malabrigo (hmmm-ahhh) is called pink frost, number 17. I got it at my LYS, but you can probably find it somewhere on the internet. The Yarntini sock yarn can be purchased
here. It sells out super fast so you may want to get on the mailing list.
Stay tuned for more socks, a polar bear and a 2006 review. Oh, and a vest. Soon :-)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Knits for others

I hope everyone had lovely holidays! Mine were relaxing and definitely not long enough. I made a few presents, socks for my boyfriend which you'll see in another post (of course they're in Lana Grossa, what else?), jewelry and cards. I forgot to take a picture of the cards, but here are the two gift knits I managed to do:
A pair of 2x2 rib socks in the lovely 'vintage' colorway from Yarntini, knit on US 2's. The tablecloth my feet are resting on inspired this colorway, I wanted something cute and stripey, but lacked the energy to take up dyeing as yet another hobby. But there are fabulous people on the internet who help make your ideas come true, and soon enough I had a skein of sockyarn in my hands that I didn't want to unwind, it was so pretty. Initially I meant to make socks for myself, but a sweet girl at work was going through some rough times, and since she had admired the colors when I was knitting during lunch, I decided to gift them to her. Good thing she has the same shoe size.
I also made a simple garter stitch scarf for my niece with one skein of Malabrigo.
My hands start to twitch whenever I think of its softness. I definitely see a Malabrigo sweater or cardi in my future. Maybe a Malabrigo blanket, or wait, even better, a sleeping bag...or a head to toe body suit! Ahhhh, soooft.