Snow means more knitting

Well, not necessarily, but if you are trapped in your apartment, and even going to the nearest store is a carefully planned and executed operation, and you don’t watch TV (yeah, I’m weird) than the only way to entertain yourself is crafting. That’s why I have been so productive lately (and because being unemployed and searching for a job without success has to be balanced out with something positive, like proving to myself that I am able to make something pretty and usable and therefore I’m not an useless person).
So here’s what I have been up to lately:

Japanese lace cowl made from a single skein of St George’s Tara (80 % wool, 20% nylon, 115m/100g)

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It measures 60 x 20 cm
Not the best yarn I tried, on a scale from 1 to 10, it would be 6. I will probably use it in the future, since the price is unbeatable, but certainly not for something that comes in direct contact with the skin.

Improvised slippers

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Since I already had this inexpensive sturdy yarn in my stash, I thought that maybe I can save a couple of box by making a pair of slippers instead of buying them. It’s not a masterpiece, but wearable and comfy is good enough for me. About saving money by making things, it’s discussable at least. While the yarn was really inexpensive in this case, the time we spend crafting is significant, and time is money… But if someone has more time than money on her/his hands, that it is saving, right? Besides, it feels good to be able to make something, even if it’s not as pretty as store bought. What are your reasons, why you choose to make things that would be easier to buy?

Super warm hat from Gedifra Highland Alpaca

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I see why they discontinued this yarn, it sheds terribly. I would be very upset had I paid the full price for it. Used 10 mm needles, started with 6 sts at the top, increased with 6 sts every round until it measured a little less than the circumference of my head, knitted 4 more rounds, decreased by 18 in the next 3 rounds (-6 sts/round), knit in 1/1 rib until run out of yarn

Puff stitch hat #1 and #2

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I highly doubt that there’s a faster way to crochet a hat. If you know how to make a puff stitch, here’s the recipe: ch5, join to 1st ch, R1: 6 puff stitches with ch1 in between, join with sl st, R2: 12 puff stitches with a ch1 in between (2 in each ch1 hole of R1), R3: 18 puff stitches with ch1 in between (2 in every second ch1 hole of R2), R4: 24 puff stitches with ch1 in between (2 in every 3rd ch1 hole of R3), R5: 30 puff stitches with ch1 in between (2 in every 4th ch1 hole of R4), and so on. Basically you start with 6 puff stitches and increase by 6 in every round until you get the size you want. Then crochet without any decreases or increases until the hat covers 3/4 of the recipient’s ears. Next thing is 4 rounds of single crochet (2 scr in every ch1 hole in th 1st round) and you are done.

Owl hat

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This is an easy one too, I was done with it in no time.

Snowflake earrings

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Since I made up the pattern, I’m going to share it with you:
Ch5, join with slip stitch
R1: ch4 (counts as first dcr + ch1), [dcr, ch1] 11 times, join with sl st in 3rd ch of the ch4
R2: scr into the first ch1 loop (the one between the ch3+1 that counts as the first dcr + ch1), [2 dcr into next ch1 loop, ch6 and join with sl st into the first of the 6 ch (=picot), ch5 and join with sl st into the first of the 5 ch, ch 4 and join with sl st into the first of the 4 ch, ch5 and join with sl st into the first of the 5 ch and the sl st of the first ch5 picot, ch6 and join with sl st into the first of the 6 ch and the top of the 2nd dcr. 2 dcr into same ch1 loop, sc into the next ch loop] 6 times, but in the 6th repetition instead of the sc make a sl st into the first sc

I also made two Jacques Cousteau hats but the recipient took them while my needles was still smoking, I will try to take photos later.After browsing JC hats on Ravelry, decided that in order to get a less pointy top decrease five stitches in each row instead of four (140/5=28). Pulled together when 25 sts left. It worked out fine.

On my needles:

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I call this Gloves with twisted start. What you see here is the 2nd try. Wasn’t happy with the yarn, haven’t knit an inch and already found 3 almost broken sections. I don’t want gloves full of knots, so decided to cut that part and start over with few changes. I liked the changes made, but… the yarn again. After once again running into a broken part, examined the ball, it turns out all the damaged parts are lined up (yep, more to come later) and seems like this ball had a close encounter with a scissor/knife, very possibly in the store when they opened the package. It’s too late to go back, besides I didn’t purchased it in my city, didn’t saved the receipt, so I have to suck it up and learn the lesson (look at what you give money for).

I’m also knitting a pair of Fair Isle mittens from DK leftovers. This is my very first Fair Isle project, and also the very first time I knit with two circulars and both mittens simultaneously. It goes slowly, but at least there wont be second mitten syndrome. I plan to write my next post about this project.

Cheers,
Mimi

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Balancing

Lately I haven’t posted much. The reason is that there’s not much to show. I’m working on a crochet blanket that makes me miserable. It’s basically a huge granny square, a more than simple but big project. I started it in august and it was fun to work on it. I enjoyed having an easy and fast growing item, but as it progressed I started to get somewhat bored (who wouldn’t, it a granny square…) so I turned to small projects for instant gratification. I continued having mixed feelings about the blanket, but small projects helped for a while. By now, I have reached a faze that I don’t know will I be able to enjoy that blanket once it’s finished. You see, a row is longer than 6 meters and it takes me way more that an hour to crochet a row. I feel that no matter how hard I work, there’s no progress. Knitting on a plain vanilla sock – after I crochet for an hour or two – feels as exciting as a roller coaster ride . There’s “only” 5 more rows to go, but I’m drowning in the frustration that keeps building up. Can a crafter hate a project?
From my latest little projects I only managed to take a decent photo of this little purple hand warmer from St George Tina Superwash (DK):

It’s 48 sts in 2/2 rib, 52 rounds.
I also made two cowls, one is just garter stitch, the other has a lace motive (I find bulky lace cute). Currently working on a pair of sock that will keep my always icy feet warm in my beloved flip flops (no matter how cold it is, I rarely wear anything but a flip flop while home). If this pair shows practical, I’ll knit more of it.
Maybe I’ll try to knit Ugg style boots from bulky 80% wool 20% nylon yarn this winter, to see how I like wearing those at home. Any idea how to make the bottom more durable?

PS: speaking of instant gratification, I find my kitchen also quite sooting lately 🙂

Cheers,
Mimi

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Strong heart in Paris

Last week I took my newly finished Strong heart mitts on a trip. And I’m glad I did, it did great job keeping my hands warm in the rainy Paris.

I really enjoyed knitting these and decided to make a matching slouchy beret too. Cast on before departure, knit a lot on the bus, finished in Paris just in time to wear it while there:

I must admit, I was too lazy to check my gauge for the mitts, but they turned out just fine. The only modification is that I made seven instead of eight repetitions of the chart, so I have shorter cuffs, but since I’m petite it’s enough for me. I can sincerely recommend this pattern, it’s easy to understand and follow even if English isn’t your first language and the cable will most certainly keep you entertained. What I liked about it the most is the unusual thumb gusset. Thank you Kiwiyarns for sharing your design with us!
Now I’m thinking about a matching cowl…
Have a nice weekend!

Cheers,
Mimi

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Latest works gallery

I’m in such a hurry lately with my exams and trying to find a job, so forgive me for not posting for such a long period of time. Finally decided to only post pics of my latest works, thinking thet it’s better than not posting at all.
One hat:

made from Phildar Flamme 12,

two cowls:

two pairs of mitts:


Fetching by Cheryl Niamath

multiple earring:



a necklace:

four phone cosies:

three coffee cosies:


a scrunchie:

and a brooche:

That’s all folks!

Happy crafting!

Cheers,
Mimi

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The week of big projects

I started this week with a big spaghetti sauce project, 15 portions of spaghetti sauce made at once for the winter to come.

It contains 15 kg of tomatoes (peeled…), 5 kg of onions (my eyes wont ever forget this), 2 kg of bell peppers, 1 kg of carrots, 90 cloves of garlic, 300 g of olives, 3 squashes and spices.
The blanket is growing slowly:

It measures 110 x 110 cm (44 x 44 in), and it’s quite frustrating that it takes ages to finish a round (4.4 m long at this point). I see why crafters prefer to make bazillion little granny squares and put them together. The other inconvenience is having a huge pile of fabric to deal with, and since it’s 40 C outside the blanket would make me pass out if I wouldn’t keep it on a table instead on my lap. This solution also helps me keep a good posture, since I tend to bend over my work.
I still don’t know how will it look like when finished, the color changes are improvised and depends on the amount of yarn I own in particular colors. Until now I have done 12 round of blue, [1 round variegated, 1 round blue] x 5, 1 round of white, 1 round of blue, 1 round of white, 12 rounds of blue, [1 round of white, 1 round of blue] x 2, 7 rounds of white. I plan to make 5 more rounds of white before the next color change.
The third big project is a vest knit from the biggest ball of yarn I ever owned:

It will be a heavily modified version of the Concordia Scarf by Sandra Dauven
We’ll see how that works out.
In other news, I seem to be the only target of all mosquitos living in the area, it drives me crazy.

Cheers,
Mimi

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A few FOs, an unlikely new hobby & a surprise gift to show you

A friend of mine is due with a baby boy later this month, so I browsed Ravelry for patterns to get some inspiration (is it just me, or it’s really much harder to shower a baby boy?). I was looking for something practical that can be made in no time and most importantly that can be made from yarn already in my stash. There are some crazy cute baby stuffs, but either require more time to be made or are meant for girls. Still it was quite easy to find two free patterns (both gender neutral) that met all my requirements: Chaussons Mignons by Pruline and Shower’s in an hour baby hat (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/showers-in-an-hour-baby-hat)


I did everything as the pattern indicated. Used circa half skein of Phildar Rapido (100% acrylic, bulky), a yarn that is a good example for acrylic awesomeness.
The little shoes turned out cute, I’m just not sure it will fit the baby’s feet (on the other hand, I haven’t seen a lots of newborns yet…). However, since it’s such a fast knit and excellent for stash busting, decided to knit a bigger pair too.


Changes made to Chaussons Mignons:
Started with 8 sts and knit 24 rows, cast on 12 sts on both side, and knit 13 rows. The base is 5 cm x 8 cm, but can stretch out a lot, especially in length. Bind off needs to be stretchy.

Changes made to Shower’s in an hour baby hat:
I had somewhat wider gauge and added 4 sts, so the circumference is 34 cm. The first 4 rows are in garter stitch to be more stretchy. The hat measured 10 cm / 4 in in height before started the decreases:
R1: k5, k2tog, k6, k2tog x 3, k1 =40sts. Decreased on same place as previously every second row until I had only 10 sts left. K2tog five times. Pulled together those 5 sts.

The booty and the hat are made from a single skein of 100% acrylic bulky yarn (Alpina, Teteks, 1 skein = 100g/100m). I estimate it’s a 2 / 3 month old size, the baby will be able to wear them late October/November, so the bulky yarn should be a good choice.

Recently a fellow knitter/blogger wrote about learning to crochet: http://fridica.wordpress.com/2012/07/24/guess/ and made me think. I wasn’t interested in crochet because I find knitted garments prettier and way more practical. But after reading her post I made a mental pro/con list: I should learn to crochet because 1. it’s easy, 2. it’s faster than knitting, 3. I have tons of yarn I don’t know what to do with in my stash, mostly cotton, 4. I could use a cotton blanket with big holes during the summer, 5. knitting an entire blanket from cotton would be an endless nightmare; I shouldn’t learn to crochet because 1. I don’t like the thick fabric it creates, 2. I don’t plan to use it more projects. Finally I decided to give it a try, and made this little granny square following the instructions from a youtube video:

Conclusions:
1. I still don’t like the fabric but I can live with it,
2. it’s OK for a blanket / potholder / similar items,
3. it grows FAST

Unlike Fridica, who chose to make a complex and colorful blanket, I chose to continue my granny square (and avoid seaming) using only 3 colors. My goals are to have a blanket and to use up / reuse some yarn from my stash. The blue and the white yarns are 100 % cotton DK, the blue / white / black is 45% wool, 35% acrylic, 15% polyester, 5% rayon Worsted weight. Initially the blue was meant to be a blouse, but since it sat around sleeveless for years, the best thing I could do was to frog and reuse it. The white… It was meant to become a cabled poncho I was looking forward to wear so much. But after not touching that wip for more than a year I had to admit that it wont be finished. Still, it hurts to have to frog 😦

Here’s my progress on the blanket:

A friend of mine surprised me last week with this HUGE skein of handspun wool from Zlatibor:

My jaw dropped when I saw what a huge skein she bought me, just like that, to make me happy! I measured it since, it weights 360g and is bulky (7 wpi). I sure can make a vest of it. Do you have some advice for me, how to handle a handspun?

Cheers,
Mimi

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Poitiers

The first half of July I spent in Poitiers, a lovely French city. The old town has such a special atmosphere, somehow everything is vivid and peaceful at the same time. The architecture is just amazing, so many old buildings from so many different eras, and still, they are in harmony. I especially liked the medieval part and the City Hall. Oh, and the traditional macarons! And all other cookies I tried… I got the impression that they consume a lot of fish, more than other parts of France I visited. I’m a bit ashamed because of this, while there, I ate as much croissants as I could, but they are soooo delicious and you can get them only in France.














And of course I went yarn shopping! I found a lovely store close to the City Hall, called La Mercerie, full (their space is maximally used, trust me) of beautiful yarns. The saleswoman is a very nice lady, she patiently showed and explained me everything I wanted to know. They keep a box of mostly single skeins of discontinued yarns, and some other yarn that they have only one skein left, from which every skein is sold for 1 euro (good to know if you plan to visit Poitiers). That’s how I ended up with all this yarn (except the Debbie Bliss Rialto lace, that I payed the full price for):

Gedifra, Extra soft merino fino

Rowan, Purelife Revive

Gedifra, Highland Alpaca

Ornaghi Filati, Bamboo

Rowan, Summer Tweed

Plassard, Feutrée

Some of the yarn is already used up, for others I have plans. About my recent project and my new way to destash I’ll write the next time.

PS: The pattern of the cotton jersey maxi dress is finally downloadable, look between the free stuff.

Cheers,
Mimi

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