FO: New Girl

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These past weeks have been insane work-wise. I’m nearing the end of my first year as a PhD student, which means there are all kinds of creepy deadlines coming up for evaluation meetings, progress report presentations etc. And I keep thinking that it would be so nice if only I had a little bit more data to show, causing me to work too much and having sleepless nights overthinking things. Alas, next week will be the busiest and after that it will hopefully all calm down a bit. So despite all busy times I am super happy to be able to actually post an FO post!

Pattern: New Girl
Yarn: Schoppel Wolle Zauberball Stärke 6 in Dottergelb & Petrol

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All in all it took me little under a month to completely finish this skirt, including the time in which I pretended it didn’t exist because I didn’t feel like weaving in the ends. For me, that’s a pretty decent time for finishing a project like this. The biggest battle I’ve been having is second thoughts on the colour choice, and I still really don’t know whether I like the colours or not.. I change my mind about it every other day or so, my thoughts ranging from ‘this is a brilliant combination I should make everything in green and yellow’ to ‘what the hell was I thinking?!’. So if I’m ever knitting this skirt again it will be in nice safe colours, one of them being gray.

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The pattern itself isn’t the most exciting knit ever, there being so much stockinette involved, but with the hem, pockets and daisy stitch there is enough going on to keep the knitting interesting. As for the yarn I’m quite pleased with it. The green was splittier than the yellow (weird!) but not so bad that it was annoying. It became softer than I was expecting after washing, so it’s comfortable to wear. And bonus points for the yarn for having such a witty label (although someone should’ve told me this years ago).

It’s a kind of magic

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Let me start of by acknowledging that this is indeed a post about new projects, without there being a post about finished projects. I swear though that I very much finished my New Girl skirt, however my pure hatred for weaving in ends has led me to not blocking the skirt only until yesterday. As we speak the skirt is trying it’s very best to get dry as quickly as possible so that I can take some nice picture of it and post these to the blog.

So as you can see, my new cast ons are fully justified! And as soon as I weaved in the last end I immediately started with some new projects. The first one I cast one is a purple Wilshire shawl. Now usually I am a very very selfish knitter, and part of that is that I am rubbish at planning my knits. So 3 months before someone’s birthday I think, oh this would be so nice to knit for them! And then this thought disappears until 2 days before said persons birthday, when it is already too late for me to finish it on time and I run off to the stores to buy a gift.

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Not this time though! This shawl has to be birthday gifted at the beginning of october and I am super determined to get this done on time. I fell in love with this pattern and I really can see the recipient wearing it as well. And the yarn.. oh the yarn.. It’s Lana Grossa Lace Merino in the colour Lilla and it is so soft and a pleasure to knit with. It’s a good thing I am so bad at estimating how much yarn I need because I bought a whopping 1600 meters (1750 yards) with the idea of making one shawl out of it. But I’m fairly confident I’ll have more than enough left to make myself something nice with it as well.

I did have some big problems with this project so far, I already frogged it 4 times before even getting to the lace part. I think it was too easy at that point, and when something it too easy my mind switches of and I make unnecessary mistakes. So to get away from it a bit I started something that I’ve been meaning to do a long time, namely to learn how to knit socks two at a time toe up.

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I picked up this sock yarn (Maxi Ringel in 7735) while I was in Switzerland and since it came in two 50 grams skeins and I might possibly want to make knee socks if the yardage allows it, this seemed like the perfect time to learn. And guess what? It’s super easy! I had a lot of help from this tutorial, which explains all the steps very detailed and with clear photos. It feels so magical to me, I’m just knitting plain old stockinette but the combination of the striped yarn and the two at a time technique I’m getting two socks done at once that seem quite special. Maybe I will be converted from my top down DPN kind of ways.

Knitting Confessions #2

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This post is a link up which was initiated by Brandy from the blog Stitched up in Toronto. As she so well described this idea:

Like most things in the world, knitting has a set of rules and conventions. Sometimes, we knitters break them. This is my knitting confession.

So here is my second knitting confession:

I make horrible yardage estimations

I get excited about picking out new patterns, I get excited about picking nice yarn for the new pattern, I don’t get very excited to do the maths for how much yarn I need. In dutch we would call what I do ‘natte vinger werk’, which means guesswork (but disturbingly would literally translate into ‘wet finger work’, don’t ask). I’ll see a pattern and think, “hmmm, this looks like it might need 4 skeins, so lets buy 4 skeins”.

It’s quite a vital part of planning your knitting, because if neglected you will end up with either useless leftovers or a shortage. And that is what usually will happen, although I have to say I am often quite lucky and everything works out. But I am trying to better myself and there’s been a few projects now where I first checked the pattern and actually did make careful decisions, so there is hope for me yet!

How about you, do you have any confessing to do?

Review time! Sockupied Fall 2014

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As you might already know I’m a bit of a sock knitting addict, so I’m very excited to be reviewing the Fall 2014 version of Sockupied!

If you are not familiar with Sockupied, it is an interactive e-magazine, which besides patterns also has other interesting articles, like for example a feature on how to knit long-lasting socks or a piece on wool washes. So even for an experienced sock knitter, it is still a very interesting read.

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The interactive format of Sockupied is really fun, you download the magazine as a program (for either windows or mac) and easily install it on your computer. You can hop through the different parts of the magazine in a more versatile way than a traditional pdf format would offer. Although a pdf might seem more easy access, there is no need to be intimidated by the application, because it is easy to figure out. It is also easy to print the patterns from the program, if you’re more of a paper kind of person. However I could also see the downside in having to install another program with every new edition of the e-mag, and I wonder if it wouldn’t be possible to make this format browser based or maybe to have one central program for multiple editions for example.

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There are 6 featured patterns, by various designers and also varying degrees of difficulty, which can be found on Ravelry here. As you can see the patterns are really pretty. My favourites are the Time Traveler socks (pictured above), that got their name by being inspired by a vintage knitting pattern. And if you’re looking for a beautiful colourwork challenge, you will certainly like the True North socks, that come with some interesting construction techniques.

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One small detail that I really appreciate is that even in the patterns there are some interactive features. You can get some extra information on the designer or materials needed (with links to the used yarn), or you can view different pictures of the socks. For each pattern there is also the option for a pdf download, which I greatly appreciate!

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The retail price for Sockupied is $7,99 (which is around €6,00) is in my opinion already worth it for the sock patterns alone, but with the nice bonus of having an interesting magazine attached to it. All in all I really enjoyed reading through the different features, the patterns are gorgeous and made my sock knitters heart beat a little faster. And I actually learned a thing or two, so I can only heartily recommend Sockupied.

Knitting confessions

knittingconfessions
This post is a link up which was initiated by Brandy from the blog Stitched up in Toronto. As she so well described this idea:

Like most things in the world, knitting has a set of rules and conventions. Sometimes, we knitters break them. This is my knitting confession.

I can already reveal that there are more than a few knitting conventions that I tend to break, but let’s start with one I am annoying myself the most with.

I am a lazy pattern reader 

Phew, there I said it! A good knitter would probably happily receive their newly purchased pattern and first have a good read through, thinking ahead of things that might come. My style in general is that I skim through most of it, arrogantly thinking that there will be no surprises for my surely superb knitting skills, only to later on freak out because ‘this is not what I was expecting!!’.

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Also I will tend to read repeats only once, after that relying on my memory and finding out after a couple of repeats that it is not really looking like the picture in the pattern. One example being these Storm socks, where I had only lazily read the pattern and after finished the first sock finding it too deviated from what it should look like. Turned out I forgot one row of ribbing between the cable rows. Stupid and completely preventable.

And more recently I was happily starting the daisy stitch on my (almost finished!) New Girl skirt. Again I read the repeat once, after which I happily knitted on from memory. Few rows further along I noticed my blobs weren’t lining up, because I had AGAIN, memorised the pattern wronly. I guess I’ll never learn.

How about you, do you have any confessing to do?