I never got the hype about Liberty fabrics.

Until today, that is.

Maybe you remember this post? I certainly do. This fabric just kept spooking around in my head. And a couple of weeks ago, I felt like I needed to treat myself to some luxury. So off I went on a virtual shopping tour, and ordered the most expensive single meter of fabric I’ve ever bought.

It was delivered today – to my actual house, an occurence so rare that it’s noteworthy! – and it’s even prettier in person. It’s also so soft and floaty … yeah, this is love, actually. (It’s also pre-washed already and drying in the gentle breeze on my balcony. I know.)

Just freshly unwrapped - oh, the pretty! It hurts!
Just freshly unwrapped – oh, the pretty! It hurts!

This is totally destined to be another Laurel!

Speaking of gentle breeze – today, as for the last several days, the Levante was blowing. And that makes for a bizarre phenomenon, The Rock is covered in a cloud that seems to be floating over it’s top (well, it actually does …) while over the border in Spain, it’s sunny and 5C warmer.

Levante.
Levante.

And to make for a really great day, I’ve also scored massively at the De-Stash event of the Knitting Club in Gibraltar.

Score!!
Score!!

100gr of Noro, conveniently wound already. I’m not entirely sure what it is, I suspect Silk Garden, but to be honest, I don’t really care. I’ve loved each and every single Noro yarn I’ve touched so far, so I’m down.

Even better – something I’ve coveted for a long time, but didn’t quite have the play money to buy – Baby Alpaca! 16 x 50gr worth of it, to be exact – at 2 GBP each. So excited!

Now to quickly finish this baby present I’m actually supposed to be knitting right now … see you later!

I haz knitting!

Maybe, if I had worn my new amulet, things would have gone differently. Maybe Sun Wukong would have saved me.

Sun Wukong
Sun Wukong

Or, rather my knitting needle, that is. Because I am actually fine. The needle, however, isn’t:

Broken KnitPro :(
Broken KnitPro 😦

But I’m telling the story from the end to the beginning, and that’s never a good thing.

The beginning is rather pleasant, really. I told you that after several knitting related disasters  I had cast on the very simple lace stole again, just using a different yarn:

Easy lace stole
Easy lace stole

Things were going swimmingly (ha.ha. See what I did here? Just so you know I’m still moaning about the rain.), and it’s now nearly as long as I am tall. It’s a stole, after all, and needs to be long enough to be comfortably wrapped around my rather substantial shoulders.

now longer ;)
now longer 😉

But of course I got bored, and under my coffee table, there was the bag with the cotton-wool-mix yarn I’d carried over in my suitcase, as the beginning of a t-shirt that didn’t really work out the way I intended, and consequently got frogged.

And a couple of days ago, while digging through one of the last unpacked boxes (they contain books and magazines and some old bills), I found an Interweave mag from last year. Leafing through it, this cardigan jumped out to me:

Manteo Cardigan, back
Manteo Cardigan, back

So I cast on, decided to ignore the little fluke in the first few rows of the ribbing (I know. It’s hurting my eyes now, too.), and finished most of the back in one lazy Saturday on the sofa.

Then it happened. I went to get more tea, and when I sat back down, I sat on my knitting – accidentally, I might add. SNAP! I heard the noise, I feared the worst, and I was right – the needle had cleanly broken.

Which is really sad 😦 Not only did I have to continue knitting the cardigan with a 3.5mm needle instead of the 3.75mm (which, frankly, doesn’t seem to make even the tiniest difference), but of course I can’t get KnitPro needles anywhere here. So they have to be ordered … LeSigh.

Am I the only person who ever breaks her knitting needles by accidentally sitting on them, I wonder?

Another stripey triangle

Looking back over the makes of the last months, it’s clear that I have been fascinated by the interaction between colour and texture. A lot of my makes utilise purl ridges to make a contrast colour really pop – like my Caterpillar Cardigan.

This triangle shawl uses the same basic technique, and even very similar yarns. The green lambswool has been replacec by (naturally) brown shetland lace, but the long colour changes are provided by some Kauni effect yarn in pink/beige (or EJ, on the linked page):

Kauni effect yarn pink/beige

Other than that, it’s a very simple, classic triangle shawl. Started at the top of the “spine”, I just alternated 2 rows of Shetland in garter stitch with 2 rows of Kauni in stockinette until I thought it was big enough (it’s just about, could have done with a couple of more inches, as I really wanted a huge shawl to wrap around me and use as jacket substitute).

Stripey triangle blocking
Stripey triangle blocking

Initially, I was going to do a bi-colour ruffled edging, but then ran out of yarn. Or, as it turned out, didn’t really, however could not find the 2 balls I was sure were somewhere (a project bag in the big seagrass box all my WIPs live in – in other words, exactly where they should have been. I’m not sure how that temporary blindness came over me …) but couldn’t locate at the time.

So I ripped it out, smartly without having taken any photos, and replaced it by a simple variation on a Van Dyke Edging.

Stripey triangle van dyke-ish edging
Stripey triangle van dyke-ish edging

I really like the effect these long colour changes have when combined with a solid contrast colour, and have a feeling I’m not done playing with that … I think a striped cardigan might be next, this time leaving out the purl ridges and sticking to stockinette.

Stripey triangle
Stripey triangle

Or maybe another shawl, as I have a a skein of Kauni lace …

Another shawl?

A scarf for Him

This scarf has been made as a (by now embarrassingly late) birthday present for my mum’s hubby. He specified it should be “black” and “soft”.

That, it is:

Diagonally textured scarf

I used Rowan Cashsoft, which is indeed wonderfully soft. I’m still a bit miffed about the splicing bumps, and I do have a feeling it’ll pill quite badly, but that remains to be seen.

At this point, I’m happy with how the scarf turned out, and hope the recipient will like it, too!

Other than that it’s been quiet on the blog, and you know by now that means my life has taken a turn in one way or another. I’ll give you more details as soon as I have convinced myself I’m not dreaming, and this is all really happening 😀 Only so much – it’s all good, and I believe I’ve just been given a great opportunity.

Now move along, please. Nothing to see.

 

New Slippers!

Instead of the promised finished Temperley, I’ll give you a pair of new slippers today.

It’s winter, and my old ones held up admirably but finally were falling apart. Okay, only one of them did – I think I sewed on the sole slightly off kilter, so I pulled the heel down, and hence walked a hole into it. Sad. I loved them very much.

But on the bright side, this gave me the opportunity to make a new pair. Lovely as the old ones were, there were a few things I wanted to make better.

For one, they’d really grown. So I couldn’t really lift my feet while walking around, my usual mode of transportation within the appartment became a bit of a shuffle, and I feel a bit too young for that.

So I sat down, dug out my notes from last year, and started. After having located some Lithuanian wool on Ebay. Now, don’t get me wrong when I say I had a specific, non-high-tech yarn in mind when I bought this. This is meant as a compliment. What I needed was a yarn that felts beautifully, and I find that most of the UK and EU yarns I usually buy just don’t do that.

The construction is rather simple: I knit a rectangle that’s slightly tapered at one end, sew the top together, put another seam there to close the toes, and yet another one for the heel. Then I chucked them in the washing machine with two old towels and felted the heck out of them (white cotton, no prewash).

New Slipper Embroidery

I even added a teensy bit of embroidery … one day, I’d like them to be at least a little bit pretty on top of being super comfy, lol. This … well, let’s say the longest way starts with a single step, non?

My last pair were initially made without added soles, and it didn’t take long until I’d walked (shuffled?) holes in them. At which point I added a pleather sole, and a felted insole for extra comfort.

This time, I went for two different sort of quilting padding, and the pleather again. Here they are just before being assembled:

New Slipper Assembly

The stacked sole in the background is glued together … okay, I poured a generous helping of glue onto it, which sadly did exactly nothing. In the end I basted them, and then held them in place with safety pins before sewing them on.

And an hour of hand sewing with (OMG, THIS IS BETTER THAN SLICED BREAD) waxed thread later, they’re done:

New Slippers!

I think they achieve everything I was after … the right one is a teensy bit tight, but I’m full of hope that’ll sort itself over time. They are warm, cozy and the different sole construction definitely makes the soles cushier.

Yay – what do you think of the new slippers? Have you ever made your own?

The birth of a scarf. With complications.

A while back I knit two shawls for family members, to give to them as birthday presents. I designed these simple shawls myself, if you fancy details you can see them on (publicly, so you don’t need to have an account) Ravelry – the simple Old Shale Triangle, and Nicoletta.

Now, I didn’t design these myself because there wasn’t enough choice out there. On the contrary, the knitting world is brimming with stunning and amazing shawl patterns. I designed them myself because I was in a bit of a triangle shawl frenzy, and also because it was fun to play around with some simple elements. It was very satisfying, and I am led to believe the recipients liked them, too.

A few weeks ago, it was my mother’s husband’s birthday. Obviously he should get a scarf, him not being a twenty-something hipster who’d appreciate a shawl. I did talk to him, so his, contrary to the two first ones, would not be a surprise, but I think that’s alright.

After having established his wish for a nice, soft, black scarf, I started to search for a pattern. And it was devastating. I was looking for something classy, rather conservative, but not boring. Well, yeah. Speaking of the proverbial needle in the haystack.

Serpentello

I eventually settled for Serpentello. It looked promising, and since my chosen yarn, Rowan Cashsoft 4 ply, was a good bit less chunky, I roughly doubled the stitch count.

rowan cashsoft black

That’s where the trouble really started. The yarn knits up rather nicely, it’s soft and squishy. The pattern is great, too – the two together, not so much. Or they would have been lovely for me – I can just see it with my Lady’s Raincoat … but not for Mr. MomsHubby.

One should think a simple ribbed cable would be gender neutral, but it had a very clear vibe of femininity about it.

So off to the frog pond it went. That made things more complicated. Not only did I already know, from my previous search, that good male scarf patterns are as easy to find as hen’s teeth. On top of that did the yarn not take the treatment too well. By that time, I started reading reviews for the yarn, which I probably should have done before I shelled out for it (okay, so it was on sale and required a fast decision …). All the reviewers pretty much agreed that it was a lovely yarn – until you wash it. Or, you know, wear it. It apparently pills like crazy.

And I have to say, it did look rather worse for wear after being frogged. Not unusable, but enough to give me doubts about it’s durability. But, with a shortage of funds and being really behind on my schedule, I knew I had to press on.

So I sat down, made a few drawings, and then came up with a super simple textured diagonal design that I’m happy with.

Unblocked mess

Why are there no great patterns for male scarfs out there, what do you think? Are the ones we actually like and use so simple nobody ever bothers writing them down?

Diagonal textured stripes

Psst! Knitting!

Considering that I started this blog as my knitting place, there has been a rather noticeable absence of knitting content lately.

It’s not that I stopped knitting … but I’m proceeding rather slowly, so there isn’t a lot to show. Except for the days when I have to START.ALL.THE.THINGS.

But let’s not talk about that 🙂 Let’s talk about men’s scarfs. My mother’s hubby has requested a “soft, black” scarf.

Black – not a problem. Other than the fact that I’ve been lusting after a black scarf for months. Well, this way, I can test the yarn 🙂

Soft – 10% cashmere, I hope, will suffice for his requirements? I’m using Rowan Cashsoft, which has a slightly higher acrylic content than I’d have chosen for myself, but that will surely add to durability and ease of care.

Rowan Cashsoft (black)

Now, the pattern … dude. On Ravelry, there are a total of 48,652 patterns in the Accessories > Neck/Torso category listed, 22,365 are scarfs. Now, that sounds like a great number of choices, no?

Well, after narrowing it down to free knitting pattern, which contain a photo and are marked as for “male” people, I’m down to 31. Now, this next observation is just that, an observation and has not been studied in detail, but looking at these 31 patterns, I see a whopping total of 5 male faces. All other scarfs/shawls at this point are modeled by women. Or purple. A surprising number both.

So I widen my search, and include unisex … well, let’s cut this short, it took me several hours to find something I thought suitable for the rather unexperimental tastes of the scarf’s recipient.

A simple 1by1 rib, reversible (which I believe he’ll like), with a single cable running up one side.

Cable

The yarn is super soft, and has a nice sheen to it. The only thing I noticed are some irregularities I find slightly annoying – how is it that the huge yarn companies so often get away with these things, but no indie spinner or dyer would ever deliver anything like this to you?

Bad splice
Bad splice