Femke Knits

Adventures in Knitting

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Ravelry One Skein Swap

The last two months some of the members of the Ravelry Dutch Crafter's Group participated in a One skein Swap. I knit a Forest Canopy for Deetje from Opal Handpainted sock yarn in the colorway 'Herbstmelodie'. I did 12 pattern repeats and ended up with a nice size shawl. I could have done more repeats if it were not for my hands...

In return I received a cowl/hood from Deetje, around Easter. I only got round to taking pictures this week. She made me the Sideways Rib Cowl/Hood from Drops Karisma in a very nice shade of red. I took about 20 (!) pictures and these came out best. It's great to receive something that has been hand-knit for you. Especially when you have been thinking about knitting yourself a cowl and the someone sends you one. Knitters rock!

The cable looks very nice!

It's really hard to take a picture of yourself which shows of a knitted garment nicely. Clearly, I need some more practice.

Monday, 24 March 2008

No knitting!

For the last three weeks or so my hands have been hurting. It feels to me like they are inflamed. I've been to my GP, my bloodwork is fine, so I just have to wait and see. I immediately stopped knitting when the hands started hurting. You use your hands in almost everything you do, I am not taking any risks!

Life without knitting is both empty and relaxing. I can get really engrossed by a project and at the same time I have a large list of future projects. This makes me very keen on making progress in my knitting. I am very good at making myself work hard and apparently I am equally good at making myself knit a lot. Not sure this is a good thing...

Over the last few weeks I did manage to finish my project for the one skein swap organized in the Dutch Crafters Group over on Ravelry. I just had to do the edging. I blocked it yesterday evening. It looked kind of meh when it got off the needles, but after blocking it looked really nice. Of course, I didn't take any pictures. I was in a hurry to send it off. I hope the recipient likes it.

I also participated in the tiny sock swap organized by Emily. My sock is on its way to Kim in Colorado. I have a cute picture of it, but I will post that after I hear that she has received it.

There is also a good side to no knitting. No knitting means time for reading! Last year I got a lot of books for Christmas and my birthday and I also like to buy second-hand books. I don't read as much as I used to because my head is often tired after a day at work. But, when there is no knitting, why not go to bed a little earlier and read a bit? I am currently reading Saturday by Ian McEwan, which I am enjoying immensely. Two weeks ago I finished reading A short history of tractors in Ukrainian, by Marina Lewycka, which I really liked.

No knitting also means fantasizing about other crafts. I really want to do some small crochet stuff, especially after seeing this gorgeous necklace. I also really want to learn how to spin. I never touched the spindle kit I bought. I think I was too busy knitting sweaters this winter. But, until my hands heal, I will stick to dreaming.

I think no post should be without a picture, so I leave you with this:

I really love the amaryllis. To see more gorgeous ones visit Jane Brocket!

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Finished!!! Or: Femke goes trendy, all thanks to knitting

Yesterday, I made myself sew the buttons on the drops cardigan. I wore it today and made my dad take some pictures this morning. I will try to get some daylight pictures this weekend, because these are really awful.

I think my yarn substitution was successful. I swatched with the Lana Grossa Royal Tweed I wanted to use. My gauge was 13.5 sts and 21.5 rows per 10 cm, which was in between both gauges from the pattern. So I calculated how many stitches I would like to have at the bust and looked for the size in the pattern that came closest to that number. This turned out to be size XL from the bulky version of the pattern. I knew I would have to compensate for the row gauge, but that only mattered for the sleeve caps.

Even though I compensated for row gauge on the sleeve caps, I still had some trouble getting them to fit right. I think the armhole should have been a little less long, about 2 cm I think. Or the sleeve caps should be taller. I just winged it and I have a little extra fabric under my armpit which no-one will notice.

The other trouble I had with finishing was that the yarn does not lend itself to sewing seams. There is no twist in the yarn, so even a little tug causes it to break. I used embroidery thread instead. I think this was also a good thing, because it really reduced the bulk in the seam.

When I tried this on during seaming I was very underwhelmed. I mean, it fit alright, but I didn't really like it. But now that I added the collar, it's great. It really makes the cardigan. That's also what my dad said when I showed it to him: "that's a nice collar".

Overall, I am very happy with this. I have to get used to the style. This is the first swingy cardigan I own. I think I'd never have followed this trend if it had not been for knitting. I think, in general, knitting makes me much more aware of the current fashion. Which is kinda cool, because I tend not to pay attention to it, out of sheer laziness of course.

So, what to knit next? I feel kind of lost without a sweater project... I have yarn for several projects, but there is nothing I really WANT TO KNIT NOW!!!!

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Project Monogamy?

I always thought that the idea of having multiple projects at once is a very good one. After all, different moods/stress levels, call for different kinds of knitting. However, in practice, I work on two projects at the time, no more, no less. I always have a sock in progress, that goes everywhere with me. But most of my time is spent on a larger project and lately I have been knitting a lot of sweaters/cardigans.

I finished knitting the collar of the Drops cardigan last Friday. I bought buttons yesterday, which I will sew on tonight. When I showed my father the buttonless cardigan he remarked: "So, what is your production rate, about one a month?" I guess that's the case, and I really like it that way. One large project at a time, but I am allowed to swatch for the next while finishing.

I haven't yet decided what my next big project will be. I am torn between a shawl and a smallish cardigan. Both projects are swatched and ready to be started. I thought I would just start them both, but it turns out I don't want to. I'd like to focus on one at a time, but I am not sure which one it will be.

I also finished my oldest UFO about 1,5 weeks ago. It is this pattern by Drops design. I started this in October 2006 (I think). I picked it up because I wanted to give it to a friend. She was really happy with it.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Minimalist Cardigan - Success!

About a week and a half ago I finished the Minimalist Cardigan. I've worn it a couple of times since then and I am really happy about this one! Here, in the Netherlands, we don't really have the cold winters. Wool turtleneck sweaters don't get a lot of wear in my wardrobe. But I think this cardigan will.

I really like the design, especially the contrast of the moss stitch and the rolling stockinette. The three-quarter sleeves and the way the front does not really close make this cardigan very suitable for Dutch weather.

On episode 35 of Stash and Burn Jenny and Nicole talk about their love for sweater projects. One of the things they point out, is that for their climate they prefer cardigans that look nice unbuttoned. I think this statement also applies to my country. The minimalist cardigan obviously falls in the category of things that look nice unbuttoned, but I suspect my current project will too.

I am currently knitting this cardigan from Drops/Garnstudio in Lana Grossa Royal Tweed. There are a lot of finished versions over on Ravelry. I didn't buy the yarn with a specific pattern in mind, so I swatched and decided that if I made the XL size of the Eskimo version I would end up with something my size. So far things look fine. I have finished the back and the fronts are both at the armholes. I have set myself the challenge of finishing this before February 1st. I hope I will find the time to post some progress pictures soon.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Where did September go?

I am not sure what happened to September. I can't really remember what I have been doing and I fear things will be the same for October.

Although I have several things on the needles I am currently dividing my time between this cardigan and some Thuja socks for my grandmother.

The socks are moving along pretty fast. I am using Trekking sock yarn. I have cast on 68 stitches and done k1p1 twisted rib for the cuff. I hope to have these socks finished soon so I can send them off to her. My grandmother was very thrilled when I gave her the Forest Canopy shawl I had knit for her, so I'm really motivated for these socks. I really like the idea of giving her warmth. This way I can give her some comfort, even when I don't see her very often.

Last week I received some very pretty yarn from Claudia at Tausendschoen. Ever since I received them I've kept them next to my bed so I could look at the pretty colors. I can't wait to knit with this yarn.

I hope October will inspire me to more blog posts than September did. Happy Socktoberfest!

Monday, 27 August 2007

Twisted stitches and multiple projects

This weekend I started a new pair of socks. I already had two pairs on the needles, but I wanted something new and challenging. So I cast on for the chalet socks from "Folk socks". I am using standard Regia sock yarn in a cream color, just like puralana did here. I cast on, the ribbing took ages, but now I loving it! The stiches twist and turn and I can't seem to stop! My poor other projects!

I always fight with multi-project mode. I love having different projects with different kinds of complexity, but I can't stand to be torn between different projects. If I don't like a project, it gets ripped or put away. The remaining projects are all things I love and really like to knit and finish. I sometimes get frustrated doing a couple of centimeters on this project and a repeat of the next, because it doesn't seem like I am making any progress.

So, here is a shot:

And a blurry picture of the seam:

I think I'll go knit some more now...