Monday, December 29, 2008

A Little Bit Late

Wow, this is already my 150th post!!!

First off, some belated x-mas greetings:

I'm not one for much christmas decoration in my place (heck, I don't even have a tree), but every year I set up this little group on top of my TV (of all places). The cute thing about this is that this is part of a puzzle and all pieces fit together in a really small box.

We are not much into christmas presents either. I did get a lovely, home-made bird feeding station from my nephews, but the birds haven't shown any interest in it so far. If they ever do, I'll be ready with my camera.
However, as my sister mentioned that she wanted some wrist warmers (in black, if you please) I quickly whipped a pair up.

The pattern is inspired by Rose's wrist warmers, which I found on ravelery. I did a couple of modifications, mainly because the yarn I used was a bit thicker than the one the pattern called for. I ended up with one extra, so in case my sister should ever grow a third arm (left please) I'm prepared. This third one (or rather the first one) was for testing the pattern and I decided, based on it, to change a few more things.

Other than that I've indeed went back to the Castle Sample for one last push to finish the monster.

This is from before christmas, to mark the point when I finally finished the border - including all back stitches. Go me!

Since then I've finished the three musicians and the background around them (except at the bottom), but not the back stitching there. This will be my next task.

After then all left to do is the stitching lady on the right hand side and I'm done, done, DONE!!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Final Dash

Only a couple of days to Christmas. Even though we don't normally give presents among the adults in my family (which does reduce the pre-chrismas stress by quite a bit) I do have one for somebody in the family. Though I can't say who. And what. So the picture will come up after the holidays.

I did finish the Charade socks from last weekend, though. Now I'm not soooo sure about the colors anymore, but not enough unsure to say I hate them. I guess, they're still perfectly alright to wear in my boots and stop me from getting cold feet.

I also finished another project, which was a sort of made up on the spot - I have to wool - lets make something with it project.

The scarf is warm and fluffy and I have absolutely nothing I can wear it too. My blue/black jacket has velcro all over it, which is just Bad to a knitted scarf. And it doesn't, by any stretch of the imagination, match to my red winter coat (for which I do have a nice, home made scarf anyway)

Even though I've started one more project for knitting (a simple, plain hat - nothing exciting in any way) I switched tracks, and went back to my x-stitch for a change. For the last two days I've stitched tiny green stitches in the border, over one, until I've got the feeling I'm getting blind. I'll make a pic as soon as I'm done with the border.

Various disasters did strike last week, the most annoying one my phone, that simply stopped working. When I pick up the receiver I don't get a free line (well, I don't hear one) but when I try to call myself, it sounds like the line is free, only I don't hear a ring tone from the phone I'm calling and the answering machine doesn't pick up. I already checked the line, at it seems fine.
I hope I can get it fixed tomorrow, even if that means I'm going to brave the pre-christmas shopping frenzy.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Socks ... again

I know, it's getting boring, but I'm still knitting socks.

Pattern is called Charade, yarn is from Schoppel and called Admiral Flakes in a color way called 'After the Rain'
In the forefront is the first finished sock, in the back the start of the second.
A fairly simple sock, but I love, love, loooooove how the colors are pooling.

So much for this week's update.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Torchwood .... socks?

Torchwood is a British TV show with now two full seasons (13 episodes each) to its credit. The show is a spin off of the long lived SciFi TV show Doctor Who. It is set in Cardiff of all places and shows the adventures of a team fighting aliens and supernatural occurances which happen to come through a rift in time and space that happens to be in the middle of Cardiff.

Over the last four weeks or so, I did watch all Torchwood episodes there are and I quite enjoyed it (else I probably wouldn't talk about the show at all)

Now, last week was also a fairly slow week in the office, so I happened to doodle a bit, and one of the things I doodled was the Torchwood logo (you can take a look at it here if you want)
And as I was doodling, I thought it shouldn't be too hard to make a pattern out of it for knitting.

It wasn't (very hard, I mean) and here's the first of two Torchwood socks

I didn't get quite the 3D-ness the logo has, but for the resolution I had at my disposal (the pattern is 25 stitches wide) I'm not too unhappy.

The knitting technique was a bit of a challenge, though. I know I could have easily stitched the pattern on top of the sock, once finished knitting it plain, but what would have been the fun in that?
So I did a sort of intarsia in the round where in row 1 I did normal fair isle until I was a the other side of the the pattern (at this point the main and the contrasting color threads are hanging on this side of the pattern. If I continue on, I would have had a problem with the contrasting color, as it would be on the wrong side of the pattern when I came back to it). So I turned around, slipped all stitches of the main color according to the next row in the pattern, but purled (after all I was on the wrong - inside - side of the sock now) all the contrasting stitches. Now the contrasting color is again at the beginning of the pattern. I turned the work again, slipped everything back to the other side of the pattern and continued knitting. At the point I reached the pattern again (now in row 2) I knitted all the main color stitches and slipped the contrasting ones (they have already been knitted in the row before). Row 3 I worked like row 1 again and row 4 like row 2 and so on.

Sounds complicates and in a way it is, but main thing is, it works.

My cookie stash is already much reduced - my parents got some and I brought some to friends and collegues to quite positive comments.
The sock yarn stash, on the other side, has grown thanks to a little trip to the Schoppel Wool factory sale outlet in Rodenbach.

I only feel a little bit guilty about this ...

Monday, December 01, 2008

Once a Year

... I get the x-mas cookie itch. I mean, serious, I don't bake much over the year, and why should x-mas time be different? Besides, I do prefer a nice sandwich over a sweet cookie any day. And there are the calories ...

Usually, I have three standard recipes I do every year, which are coco macarones, cinnamon stars and ginger Heidesand (which is a buttery cookie to which I decided a couple of years ago candied ginger would go well ... and it does fabulously)

This year, I haven't made any of my standards (yet), though one is going to be close.

Jam filled cookie stars. I made them for my dad, who loves those (or at least a variation of them, my mum used to make)

I got some of the dough left and made puzzled cookies.

I did get the cookie cutter a couple of weeks back and sure I had to try something with it.

Nutty triangles with chocolate

Coco-choco spirals

And finally (though I have plans for two more kinds I want to try)
Ginger bars (with candies ginger, tried apricots and almonds)

Not a dud so far in the lot

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Hurray, my new cardigan is finished. It took about a month, so not too bad on this front, especially, as I only knitted on the weekends.

The patterns is Mr. Greenjeans from Knitty, the yarn Bingo Chinè by Lana Grossa.
The construction is pretty cool and there's no sewing involved, which always is a big plus.
After the wash last week, it's know a wee bit too big, but I don't mind really. The arms are about an inch too long, too, but that is more of a plus than anything, considering how cold it got.
I'm not too happy about the collar, though, and am thinking about redoing parts of it (making it wider at the top.
It's warm, it fits (more or less) and it doesn't itch (which really, in the end, was the problem I had with Oblique)

Other than that I'm making even more socks.

I'm not quite sure what I was thinking when I bought the yarn last year, except maybe that sock from it will be warm for sure. It is pretty ugly, really. But the socks are perfect bed socks, and nobody but me will really see them, so never mind.

I did go back to working on the Afgan now. It's been a while, and now that it really got cold, the thought of a nice cuddly blanket has some appeal. I dropped the idea of making a bedspread though. I've finshed 16 squares so far and with eight more I'll get a nice, proper sized blanky. And I won't need ot worry about getting more of the yarn.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Socks Formerly Known As Crusoe

The socks that started out their live as Crusoe (because they were stranded (knitting ...) - you get it?) ended up as the miss-matched bright colored pair.

Same pattern, same yarn. Same ball for a good bit, too.
But totally different effect. I love the one on the right more than then one on the left.
But I'm not going to rip them (or one of them) up!

It is actually a quite pretty sock.

Next pair is on the needles and there can't really be another name for them than the 'Very Green Socks'

... because, that's what they are.
The pattern is from the favorite socks book, and actually the third pattern I did from this book. Or, rather, the fourth, as I started those with another pattern, which I then didn't like so much for this wool.
The yarn is actually the left over yarn from the pullover I made for my nephew. Remember, I need the some green yarn to stitch the letters and this sock yarn was the only color that came close to the color I wanted. It is a lovey sock yarn though, very nice and soft (Lana Grossa Meilenweit Merino). I would totally buy more of this yarn if I ever should come into the situation that I needed more sock yarn.
Which I won't.
You should see my stash.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Making Progress And One Step Back

Grayjeans is progressing nicely. The body is done as well as the right arm

(this is obviously before the arm was finished ...)

I realy enjoy knitting this. The contruction is pretty clever - no seams!!! - and the cable pattern does keep is interesting.

Cables are on the lower half of the body as well as the cuffs.

I've just started on the twelvest ball of yarn. Good thing I went back and bought some more. I think I should be able to finish this with about a ball to spare.

The sock I've started last week turned out not as I wanted it. So in the end I decided to start a new sock with a different pattern I sort of made up (standard sock pattern with some details from another pattern)

The heel caused me a bit of a headache - this is version three. With the first heel (the 'classic' turned heel) the colors in the gusset section began to pool like crazy - but only there. So I went to the frog pond and tried another heel (short row), but there I didn't like how the yarn crosses in the wrap and turn sections, so this was ripped as well. This here is okayish, but still not 100% what I wanted. Ah, well.
The yarn, by the way is not as good as the first from this batch - I found a minimum of two knots in the first ball, and one already in the second. Means there's going to be a lot of weaving in the ends.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Loads of sock yarn

One of our discounters here in Germany had a special offer on sock yarn the other week. I ended up with four packs (200gr yarn each) which would be 8 pairs of socks. Luckily, a friend was willing to liberate me of half of that yarn, so the pressure is a bit off (that is ignoring the ... ehr, ... not exactly small amount of sock yarn I've still got in my stash)

The first pair is this here:

Just a very plain, standard sock pattern (what we would call stinos - sticknormale Socken) The yarn did all the work and I seriously like them.

The next pair is already on the needle

A very bright yarn knitted in the pattern 'Crusoe'

Main project, though, is Greenjeans (which I should rename 'Grayjeans')

I washed the swatch from last week and, indeed, it did relaxed a bit and grew by about 5%.
So I did a recalculation of everything, scratched my head a lot, and decided to go on as I started. Just before the cable section started I slipped (as recommended in the pattern) all live stitches on some waste yarn and tried is on.
It's an almost perfect fit with very little ease - so, accepting that it will grow a bit, I guess I'm all set.

I had to go back to me yarn store, though, as I sort of forgot that when I switch yarns (as I did with this project) I might need to recheck the amount of balls I need. The first yarn had 120m / 50g and I bought 10 balls. Why I thought that buying the same number of balls of a yarn that has 80m / 50g is a bit beyond me. I've now have 16 balls, though I calculated that 13 should be enough. Right now I'm at the seventh.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Importance of Doing a Backup

The week started with the worst case scenario for my computer (laptop) at work. It crashed. Literately. To the floor from a height of about 1.20m. While it was switched on! (That's what you get when you try to do three things simultaneously, while talking to the customer on the phone at the same time)

After that all I got was the not so friendly message 'Operation System Cannot Be Found' and that was it. Dead. Nothing else. End of the line.

Luckily I got a replacement fairly quickly (I can't do a bloody thing without the computer), but, of course, my last backup has been ... oh ... a looooooong time ago. I did loose a lot of data, and reconstructing it from the e-mails I've sent out over the time is a slow and painful process.

So, people, stop reading right now, and make a backup of all your important data. You might not need it, but if you do you will be glad you made the effort.

Already done?


On the up front, my dad, who's been in the hospital for one thing and then was kept for another is back home. He doesn't have the results of the last examination yet, so there's a bit of worry still, but I try to be optimistic.

I've finished the wrist warmers and they are lovely and cozy, though a bit long in the hand section.

I've got a bit of the yarn left and thinking about making a headband from it. I'm thinking of Calorimetry from the winter issue of Knitty, though the pattern there is writing for a thicker wool. I'm also not quite sure I've got enough wool for it, but guess I'll give it a try anyway.

Last week I've mentioned I've bought material for a new cardigan. I want to knit Mr Greenjeans (again a Knitty pattern ... don't know what it is, but I really like a lot of the stuff they do)

I've started out with a yarn called Riana by Gedifra. According to the information in the band if would be a perfect fit gauge wise, and I sort of liked the gray with the little speckles of other colors. But when I started I found it knits up too loosely and that I don't like the colors after all.

So I returned to the store and exchanged it for another yarn, Bingo Chinè by Lana Grossa, which knits up much tighter and I like the lighter gray much better.

(it is a bit lighter than in the photo here)

When I knitted my swatch I've ended up with almost perfect gauge (18,5 stitches per 10cm instead of 18) and decided to start. Two and a half balls in the pattern, I checked my gauge again and now I'm suddenly at 16 stitches per 10cm!

How did that happen?

I guess I might be able to fudge the pattern to get it to fit, but then I've read that the wool grows when washed by another 20 ~ 25%, which would make the finished cardigan gigantic.

For now I've decided to knit another swatch and wash it to see if it really grows so much and then think about the whole idea again.


Progress on Castle Sampler

I've closed the border and everything aligns as it should.

Yeah me!!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Importance Of Doing Backstitches

So, my Aunt's Duty is done, all that's left is to deliver the finished product into the arms of my sister.

The knitting was the easy part, the sewing and the stiching not so much. First I tried to use normal stitching floss for the letters, but this looked crap. Of course I had no wool in the correct color in my stash (and considering how much wool I have in my stash, this surprised even me), so I went and bought some more yarn. As I was able to return two balls of the original yarn that I didn't need, this wasn't so bad. However, my self-control was so weak that I bought more yarn for my next big project, a new cardigan (more of that one maybe next week)
(or, rather, if I have to drive all the way to the yarn store, I m ight as well buy more wool, right?)

I have a little in-between project going, from a wool I bought two years ago on the Isle of Skye in Scottland. 100% wool in natural white ... that's pretty much all I know about that wool.
It's perfect though for this project:

Wrist warmers (the link to the pattern is here; it's in German though...)
One wrist warmer is finished, the other is half way there.

Last week I've got back to the Castle Sampler. As I was a bit sick of all that border stitching, I've started with one of the figures in the lower part of the sampler.

See: Man in chair (without back stitches)

And see: Man in chair WITH back stitches
I might bitch and moan about doing bs, but in the end it's so much worth it.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

No Pictures Today

Less said about this week, the better I think. Good thing it's over.

There was too much work, meaning that I didn't get to do any stitching done and only some of the knitting for the ABC pullover. I do hope to finish it by next weekend, though.

Other than that, not much I want to talk about at the moment.

See ya next week.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

An Aunt's Duty

End of August I've started a pair of socks in Noro Sock Wool. This wool is fairly new and as I've knitted with Noro before (and, man I do love my Lizard Ridge blanket, now that it gets colder) I wanted to give it try. I've heard a lot about the yarn - it varies in thickness drastically, it breaks easily, it's a pain to knit, it contains many knots, the yarn has no elasticity whatsoever ... and really, most of it is true. What makes is worth knitting though, is the amazing colors the yarn has and how they slowly change along the way.

(sorry about impossing my less than lovely calves on you ...)

Today, I finally finished the Ziggys (pattern can be found in the last summer edition of It's been a while since I did fair isle knitting, and going back to it by using a new (well, new to me at least) knitting technic wasn't maybe the smartest move. The new technic (Magic Loop - knitting of a sock toe up on a circular needle) did work, sort of, but I don't think it will replace the 'classical' sock knitting with double pointed needles for me.
The yarn didn't cooperate for some parts and I had to break it in a few places as I just couldn't see the pattern. This in turn lead to going into panic mode that the yarn won't last, resulting in me knitting the socks shorter than I've intended. (and of course, there is plenty left and I could have added some length) And there IS truely no elasticity - I had to increase the number of stitches so I'm able to get them over my heel.

So, conclusion: Lovely colors, but no more socks with that yarn for me.

To get a bit more relaxing knitting in, I've turned to a project that I'm doing for my youngest nephew. While I was in Sweden, my sister pushed a magazine into my hands, and let me know that I should make that pullover in that size for my darling nephew.

(the blue one on the right, but with the size of the red one)
My local yarn store had the wool asked for (though they had to order the specific color) and on Friday I've started knitting.
So far I've finished the back, and going to start on the front as soon as may be.
Easy - almost mindless - knit, absolutely perfect for watching TV.

And another update on the Castle Sampler - progress slowed a bit last week, but all in all, not too bad.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Place Holder

As I had to work on Sunday, there's no blog.
Not much to show anyway, unless you're interested in one single sock that I managed to finish last week.
So, I move the sock (and hopefully its partner) to next Sunday.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Booties, Beads and Borders

The wife of a dear collegue of mine is pregrant. Though the baby was scheduled for November, it looks like the little lady is going to make a premature entrance to this world. I thought I'd get a bit more time, but when I heard the news I quickly got some yarn, a couple of patterns and wiped out a pair of baby booties.

I do refuse to knit in pink, but this yarn works well for boys and girls (and it was cheap too)
The bottie pattern I found on Ravelry (one of my very favorite sides on the internet)
They were super easy to knit, fast and turned out very, very cute.
I do almost feel sorry that I don't have so many oppertunies to knit for babies.

I also did knit a little baby hat, but didn't get a picture.

Then, another collegue of mine is leaving the company end of the months. As she made the mistake to admire my simple, little flower bracelet last week, I made a bracelet for her too.
The pattern I made up and it took me only two tries to get it the way I wanted it. Then I added Svarosky crystals to add some color and a bit of sparkle.
I think it turned out nicely, and I hope she's going to like it.

I broke another of my thin beading needles on this and I'm now down to two (out of the six I've bought in Sweden). Guess I'm going to beg my sister-dear to get me another set somehow, as I can't find the really thin ones here (as well as the thin thread, please. Thank you)

Other than that, I'm still working on the Castle Sampler (and will work for a while still, by the looks of it)

Top border almost done. The border's a fairly easy to do and once I've worked out the sequence I barely checked the pattern any more (though, it's a good thing I do check is once in a while, as between the letter 'M' and the letter 'N' is a four stitch gap, and not a three stitch - caught it ahead of time, luckily)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Castle Update

Vacation's over, I'm back to work *sigh*

I took the Castle Sample with me last week to Dresden and worked mostly on the outside border.

That's about it ...

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend

...but, as I can't really afford diamonds, Swarovski crystals will have to do.

Last week I've experimented a lot on beading and some related technics (like chain maille jewellery). As several of those experiments didn't yield satisfactory results, I've got only a little to show.

First is a bracelet in black and white with Swarovski crystals on top. In reality it's very sparkly and I do love it dearly. The picture doesn't do it justice in a the least.

Second is a set of bracelet and necklace. This is mostly normal beads with cheap glass crystals. The necklace should have three rows, like the bracelet, but I did run out of crystals. I'm thinking about adding a pendant, but don't have any real idea at the moment what.

Both pattern are from the magazine I've mentioned last time.

Other than beadwork, I've worked some more on the Castle Sampler.

The left side is a bit narrow, and I probably will add a strip of fabric to extend it a bit for better manageability. At least I now know there's enough fabric for the pattern (I'm still short about 4 stitches, but there's just enough room for them). I didn't center the pattern very well, but this way I've got a bit more wiggling room on the right hand side.

Sigh, my vacation is now over and it will be back to traveling most of the time.
While spending almost two weeks at home I used a guest account for World of Warcraft, and I had a lot of fun trying the game. If I had more time at home, this might turn into a problem (as I would probably continue and spend way too much time in the virtual world)

My character was a Taurus warrior, though I thought her to be quite cute. I thought it hilarious that when you type in the command "/muh", she actually moohed like a cow. Only, if anybody would have told her that face to face, she would have smashed him with her big hammer.
I will miss her ...

Monday, September 01, 2008

More crafty stuff

... though mostly on knitting.

Finally, finally, my local yarn store got some of the Noro Kureyon Sock Yarn in stock (they've waited for over half a year)

The pattern is (surprise, surprise) from Knitty and is called Ziggy. Many people have said it's difficult to knit with the Noro and even though I didn't have much problems so far, it is a different yarn to your standard run-of-the-mill sock yarn. But, the colors do absolutely make up for it. They are stunning in real and this pattern does show it off wonderfully.
My first try on knitting a sock on a circular needle. Not sure if it will be my favorite way to knit socks, but I do like the look and the fact that there is a much smoother transition from needle to needle than with the double pointed needles.

A bit of beading: really just a simple flower motives bracelet, but it took my a long time yesterday to figure it out. It's my own design, so I was making it up as I went. I'm pretty happy, though, on how it turned out.

I did stitch some more on the castle sampler, but no update picture. Maybe next time.

Update on the Great Aran Afghan project. I do knit on it occationally as it's a good project to carry with you when you go somewhere, or when you just find you're in the mood for some knitting.

Block 13: (GAAA) designed by Hanna Burns: The double helix is suppose to depict a DNA strand, and me, being a science type of gal couldn't resist. I do love the center panel cable. I never did such a tight cable and I really like the look,

Block 14: (GAAA) designed by Dana Hurt: Not a particular exciting block and it ended up a bit on the loose side.

Block 15: (GAA #4) designed by Celeste Pinheiro: Now, here's a fun block. The appliques were a bit on the fiddly side, but fun nonetheless. I did that one in Sweden, as I thought it appropiate being so close to the sea. I don't know what I do wrong, but everytime I did that left hand cross in the water bit always gives me that little extra wide stitch on the left side. It looks okay here because of it being the water and all, but I know it's not right and it does bug me a bit.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Crafty Vacation Post

This is the second post of the day, covering the crafty stuff I've did while on vacation. And keep your hats on, it's quite a bit :)

While in Sweden, we watched a lot of TV. And when I watch TV, I almost always do something crafty.

The first thing I've started with was a new pair of sock. Basically, the travel sock bit (I started on the flight). The pattern is the Mock Wave Cable Socks from the Favorite Socks book. The wool is JitterBug sock yarn, which I bought in Alaska last year.

It is a fairly dark green, but maybe not quite as dark as in the first picture.

Second project was a necklace my sister made a while ago for my other sister. I wanted to learn how.

It's using the peyote stitch to create a circular tube of beads. By using four different sizes for those beads, this spiral effect is create. It's actually pretty simple.

Another craft I wanted to try my hands on is quilting. And a small kit I've also bought last year in Alaska was perfect for it, as it covered several technics, without being too big.

I did the quiliting in Sweden, but did the application back home. According to the kit you're supposed to add some beads for water droplets, but at the moment I like it just fine as it is.

Back home, I've felt inspired to go back (after almost half a year of abstinence) to my cross stitching. My sister is stitching on The Guardian from Teresa Wenzler, and I've got sitting at home the Castle Sampler (which my sister has finished herself, and framed and, gosh, it is lovely)

I finished the center panel now, and started with the greenery around the panel (which is nice and relaxing to stich, as it doesn't require a color change every two or three stitches)

I also bought a magazine in Sweden called Right-Angle Weave from Bead & Button.

I started out with with caterpillar bracelet, but am not happy about my color choices, so I possibly will undo it again, and use the beads for something else.

To staff off my frustration, I did just today two Wiggle Room bracelets, which are fun to make, and fast too. The second one took less than an hour.

The green one is a bit too long, but the blue one is perfect and I'm wearing it as I type.

Ah, and I also finished another square for my Aran Afghan.