Stranded colorwork, steeks and a giveaway

Hi there how are you today? I do hope you have had a pleasant weekend with lots of time to craft to your hearts content.

I was able to make some progress. Not as much as I had imagined I  could but then when is that ever the case!

But hey for once, I’m not going to share about my current knits but rather share an older project with you AND there will be a giveaway too as promised!

A few months ago I decided it was time for me to make not only my first all over colorwork garment but to do my first ever steek too.

And I decided I would try the Holst Garn yarn as I had heard of that often in stranded knitting and it is a very affordable yarn too so off I went and ordered some balls of different coloured Holst Tides which is a wool and silk blend.

As for the pattern I decided on the Damejakka Loppa or Flea Cardigan by  Pinneguri.

This was a really fun pattern and it uses a number of different colours and one can totally loose one self when browsing the different versions that people have made and shared on Ravelry.

From the start I decided it would be for myself. I have since decided I have to make a second one in different colours for my mother and I hope to get to that later this year.

IMG_0841IMG_0825IMG_0842Here you see the beginning of my cardigan and the colorwork which is mostly in the yoke. After the yoke, the body has the typical Norwegian “flea” pattern which I did do as the pattern calls for. When I knit the second one which will be for my mother I will do a solid body as she asked me not to include the flea pattern on the body.

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The colours in the body are rather subtle and the pink main color is somewhat heathered which does not show in the pictures.

You can see my steek on the above picture. It looks like  a column of stitches on the front. I think there were just 5 steek stitches so it really does not add much to your knitting to do a steek but boy does it speed up the process of cardigan knitting. Not having to purl back but just knit  round and round makes for such a speedier process.

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Soon my body was done and then the sleeves went quickly. I think it was with this particular cardigan that I started knitting sleeves on 9″ circulars. I now cannot imagine doing sleeves any other way. I find that sleeve knitting on 9″ circulars is such a joy and way less fiddly than when knitting a sock as it is just round and round and  a few decreases. At least in my case; the sleeves go way quicker this way.

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Next step was to knit the button bands on either side of my steek. So I picked up and knitted stitches along the steek. And one thing I have to say, the idea of steeking and cutting my knitting has always scared me. I have imagined horror scenarios where the entire piece unravels once the steek has been cut. Or that I cut in the wrong place or just any other unlikely scenario might occur.

However I slowly overcame my fear as I knit on this garment because of the yarn. The Holst garn is not thick nor is it especially sturdy but it is a little rustic and so I was pretty sure the yarn would “stick” to itself and nothing would unravel. And of course that did turn out to be the case.

flea ready for steeking So once the button bands were done I crochet a chaine on either side of the middle stitch in my steek portion to secure the stitches before cutting between the crochet chains.

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And tada! Here it is open just after I cut the steek. And NOTHING is unravelling.

Unfortunately I forgot to take another picture to show it after tucking back the steek sides. I did not sew a ribbon over the cutting but I think I might next time I knit this. But for this first steeked garment it was very simple. I left the crochet chains in place and just folded back/inside the part of the steek on each side and sewed it loosely down. As the yarn is  a little rustic, it just clings together and even if I did not put a ribbon on top it still looks quite good.

And then I washed and blocked my cardigan…

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and promptly put it aside!

And so it languished for a few weeks, 99% done. Just missing the buttons. Why do I so dislike sewing on buttons?

As I was knitting on this cardigan I saw a shoutout from a French ceramist asking for people willing to test her products and give honest feedback. I jumped on the occasion and contacted her and was lucky enough that she accepted my proposition.

And so this first ever all over colorwork, steeked cardigan has super special hand made buttons.

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Are these amazing of what? These are just gorgeous. They are handmade from ceramic. They are not coated or glazed so feel “raw” to the touch. I love the little butterfly imprint and the colouring.

The creator behind these amazing buttons is a French lady called Cecile.

She creates ceramic buttons which are just amazing and really add value I feel to a garment that you have invested both time and money in making. These buttons are not fragile and you can handwash  your garment  without any worries.

Cecile has  a large selection of buttons on offer of different sizes and forms as well as in different colours so chances are that you will be able to find just the right set of buttons for yourself if you decide to go ahead and treat yourself.

Cecile also works with leather and has some handmade items out of leather on offer too.

She has a shop on Etsy as well as her own blog which you can find here 

Here is  a close up of the buttons sewn onto my cardigan.

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Beautiful right?

Now Cecile was generous enough to give me/you a set of her handmade ceramic buttons. This is not a  set like the one I used for my cardigan but rather a selection of different buttons to show you what she can make. These will look beautiful on any project that either does not require more than 1-2 buttons or one that is a little whimsical and you can allow yourself to show them all off in one fun garment.

camelir prize buttons

These come in a little linen (I think) bag, hand printed by Cecile. You will also get her business card and care instructions for the buttons. They will be well protected to travel in total security from my home to yours.

So this is the first giveaway to celebrate my blog now having reached 300 subscribers.

If you like these beautiful, hand made ceramic buttons and would like to have these to test out yourself, you can join in the giveaway by going to her shop and taking a look at what she has to offer. Then come back here and leave me a comment telling me what you liked most in her shop or if you won, what would you use these buttons for (do you have a project waiting for these or maybe these will be perfect for something you are dying to knit).

As there are more giveaways coming (yes you are lucky) this will be a short one. If you can comment to join sooner rather than later, I will draw the winner this Thursday June 22nd afternoon. I don’t know when I will get to the drawing so up until I do, you can still enter.

The second giveaway will then be launched over the coming weekend so do stay tuned for some more fun.

That’s it for today. I do hope you have enjoyed stopping buy and seeing my Damejakka Loppa and its beautiful handmade ceramic buttons. Join the giveaway and try your luck. I will ship worldwide so don’t be shy.

Happy knitting and best of luck 🙂

Knitting, spinning and planning

Hi there how are you today? I hope you had a nice weekend and that you were able to participate in the WorldWide Knit in Public day where you are. Unfortunately I did not. I had to work and just totally worked the day away not even remembering what day it was till the evening when I took a look at IG!

I’m sure there were things going on I could have joined but hey, maybe next year.

I have been knitting seriously this past week. I finished my secret test knitting wrap! That is such a relief! I’m always happy when I finish a test knit even if it is an enjoyable one. Just knowing that I managed to finish in time feels so good. So I will be sharing pictures of that when the pattern will be released.

My second test knit is going well. Today I finished the body and started sleeve one. I’m knitting the sleeve on a 9″ circular so it should go pretty quickly. I really like knitting sleeves on short circulars as I feel it goes so much quicker when there is no cable management, no pulling on the needle to get to the right place.

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I’m knitting this with Holst Garn Supersoft. It is the first time I use the Supersoft but it is working very nicely as all their other yarns.

I really like this red color and the pattern!

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This is the yoke detail, some lace and some ribbing.

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And the  bottom hem. I really like this unusual rib she uses.

Oh and by the way, this is a design by Suvi Simola, a Finnish designer 🙂

So I’m happily working on this every day and hope to make good progress on my sleeve this week. I would love to have this cardigan finished in 2 weeks time. That should not be an issue.

Since last week, I did take on a new test knit. Again. But a small one this time, just a pair of shorty socks.

This is a very fun pattern that is great for stash busting as you can knit using your left over sock yarns. You need two contrasting colors and the designer specifically asked that the main color be a speckled yarn.

I do have those and I love the one I chose but… I think it was not the best choice for this pattern. Because even if it is mostly white, it does have a lot of colored speckles and in all the colors! So it was not easy finding a contrasting color to go with it. Each time I ended up realizing that one of the “speckles” was the same color as my contrasting yarn! GRRRR

So I actually knit the part with the contrasting yarn 3 times… So the first time I really did not knit many rounds and I even did not take a picture of my progress before ripping back but this is the yarn I used.

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I felt my light pink was too similar to some of the speckles and just did not stand out enough. So I decided to try a more pink yarn.

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And again I felt it was not good enough so again I ripped back. And the third and last try was with a grey yarn. Again I feel it sometimes mixes with the speckled one but I’m not changing yet again.

I’m about to start the toe decreases so this is a super quick knit. I should have the pair  done next time I blog.

I’m feeling like knitting on and on and on! And I’m just loving browsing Ravelry for pattern ideas and going through my Ravelry library which is HUGE! And as summer is coming/here I’m thinking I should resist the long sleeved wool sweaters and go for something summery.

So I have printed out 3 patterns that I would like to cast on and I have (I think) found the yarns I want to use for them. I’d love to hear what you think.

First up is a pattern called Main Street by Pip and Pin. And the yarn I’m thinking of using is from Knit Cosmic Strings

main street idea

Ok so yes this is a CRAZY yarn but I still like it and so I’m going to give it a try in this summer top.

Then there is the Tegna by Caitlin Hunter of Boyland knitworks. Everyone seems to either have knit the Tegna or be knitting the Tegna. I resisted for a long time but now I had to give in. I’m thinking of using yarn from Mothy and the Squid.

tegna idea

This is the same colorway but 2 different dye lots so they are not exactly the same but I’m thinking if I blend them together doing 1-2 rounds of each it will just melt together.

And last but not least there is Este by Justyna Lorkowska and I’m thinking of knitting this with my own hand dyed yarn. I have the same yarn base as she used in the design but I don’t have enough in one color so I’m thinking of doing a striped version or maybe one main color with one big color block/stripe …Not sure yet.

estes idea

That is a lot of knitting! Not to mention when you know that I have a ton of wips that need finishing and that I constantly accept new test knits! So maybe I will only end up knitting one out of the three. Who knows! But at least planning and coming up with the yarns has been fun.

It was a little difficult though because most of my stash consists of single skeins! I love hand dyed yarns and usually those are on the expensive side meaning I rarely buy more than one or two at at time and when I do, I usually buy different colors! The more the merrier until one starts to knit garments and all of a sudden all those single skeins are useless!

I think I will have to seriously rethink my yarn buying and by less but more to the point, with a purpose. Even if I don’t have a pattern picked maybe just buy yarn thinking I will want to make a garment with it in the future.

And spinning! I have been spinning lately and I just finished what I think is a gorgeous skein of a two ply sock yarn. This is a blend of cheviot, silk and nylon so should be the perfect yarn for socks. Now I just need a little bit of time and the perfect pattern:)

I really love this rich burgundy shade.

And before I say good bye for  today, I’m almost at 300 subscribers to the blog! How fun and how amazing is that!

When I started about 3 years ago or so I wasn’t sure I would be able to stay with it and more importantly I didn’t know if people would actually come to my blog and want to follow my story. So I’m so happy and proud to still be here and for all the fun and interaction I have with you all that take the time out of your busy days to check in on me.

So this of course means it’s going to be time for a giveaway!

I do have 2 giveaways from different sponsors that I need to organise and I will also sponsor one myself! I’m thinking these should all take place in the next 10 days or so (if I get up to 300) so stay tuned! There will be a skein of self striping yarn, hand made ceramic buttons and a mix of things for the blog giveaway. I will tell you all about these in the coming days!

That’s it for today. Thank you again for stopping by. Have a great week and lots of crafting. See you soon:)

In need of some serious genes to stay focused

How are you today? A new week has begun and summer is more or less here. This past weekend I got to knit a little bit in the garden which was very nice.

I’m struggling somewhat with my knitting because I have so many things that I want to work on and not enough time. It’s difficult to prioritise even.
Of course my test knits are the most important and get worked on the most and then the other wips get a little love from time to time.

This week I have one finished object to show off and I’m super happy about it. It’ s my summer tee shirt called Notice (spring) by Ankestrick. I knit this using Holst Garn Coast which is a wool and cotton blend. It is a joy to knit with and once washed it blooms and feels really soft.

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Here I only had the sleeves to do.

IMG_1370Again but with a front view.

And on the blocking matt. The sleeves were almost done actually. When the body is done you just pick up the sleeve stitches, cast on a few more and on to the ribbing.

I really like the colors and the end result. I really want to cast on for a new summer/spring project using this yarn. I’m thinking of short sleeved tee shirt called Coctail (jumper) by Maison Rililie. That pattern calls for an all wool yarn but as it is short sleeved I think I would only use it in spring/summer so a wool/cotton blend would be better suited for me.

I’m trying to hold off from casting this on until one of my two test knits is done. Both need to be finished in June so … soon:)

Talking of test knits, the firs and older project is still a secret but here is a sneak peak I took when knitting in the garden this weekend.

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A beautiful brioche thingy:) I think I’m about 70% done so I’m getting close.

My second test knit is a cardigan and it is not a secret! It is a pattern by Finnish designer Suvi Simola and I’m knitting the cardigan with Holst Garn supersoft which is a 100% wool yarn. It is a little rustic but once washed will be perfect. I chose a beautiful red color which I think will look good with almost anything.

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The only “complaint” I have is that it is knit in rows and so it is taking longer to knit than if it were knit in the round and then steeked. I’m not a huge fan of purling though it does not generally bother me. But for such a big project I really see how this slows me down and if I knit a second cardigan like this I will definitely knit it in the round with a steek.

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But so far so good. I think this will be a beautiful piece once all knit up and I look forward to having it in my wardrobe.

I have fallen out of sock mojo! I used to knit a ton of socks but now it has been a while since I actually finished a pair. I have a billion socks on the go of course but I’m picking them up less frequently than normal.

Not sure why, maybe this is just a result of having lots of work and not enough time to knit. Or maybe I’m just too much into garment knitting at the moment.

I have though started yet another sock. This is the Huggle socks from one of Mina Philips (Knitting Expat) sock clubs. It’s the June socks and when I saw the simple and yet stunning  pattern I new I had to cast on immediately and I also knew what yarn to use.

I had been spinning a special sock blend that I have had in my fibre stash for a while. It is a cheviot, silk and nylon blend. The fibre feels rustic to the touch so it feels like a good and sturdy sock blend. I was going to do a two ply but then was too lazy to actually prepare to do a two ply and just went with my regular Navajo ply ( 3 ply). The resulting yarn is somewhere between fingering and sport weight and I have a 120 gr so should be plenty for an adult pair of socks.

Still to stay on the safe side, I decided to use a contrasting yarn for cuff, heels and toes. I had just recently purchased Tuku Sock yarn for the first time and that looked and felt very similar to my hand spun yarn and so that felt like a match.

My hand spun yarn is all sorts of shades of green from a sort of mustardy light green to a deeper brown green and anything in between and when knit up it is actually making a sort of striping pattern.

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I love seeing the color variations in the hand spun.

 

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I’m past the heel and getting close to the toe. I hope to finish sock one this week and plan on casting on for sock two immediately after. This is going to be a pair of very woolly socks for winter. I haven’t yet decided if they will be for me or a gift.

I really like the simple pattern, just this nice cable on one side that keeps the pattern from becoming boring to knit and yet allows for a simple, relaxing knit.

This coming week as I just said I hope to make good progress on my Huggle sock. I also hope to make good progress on my two test knits because I’m feeling itchy and wanting to cast on a lot of new things.

I’m trying to be strong and remind myself that I do have a lot of languishing wips that desperately need knitting on. I don’t know why casting on seems more attractive than actually picking up a wip and finishing an item! After all ticking off a knitting project as done is always a thrill so why on earth am I not finishing wips like a crazy person?

My oldest, my 21 year old daughter just left for Iceland yesterday where she will spend the summer working. It feels so strange to be just 4 home now. It was hard saying good bye and I know I will be calling her all the time. And now that she is gone, I’m thinking of the knitting projects I have languishing for her! I have a sweater that is 90% done! I have a few inches of the second sleeve to knit and then I need to sew it together as it is knit in pieces. And I have a huge blanket that I’m knitting using my early, chunky hand spun. It is a sort of a scrap blanket as I’m using all sorts of yarns and colors and I’m knitting it in linen stitch. How amazing would it be if I could present her with these two projects finished and ready for her to enjoy when she comes back home at the end of summer? That would be amazing! I really need to get myself motivated and start working towards that goal. Don’t even know why I put these two things in time out nor what is making picking them up again so difficult.

I guess a knitters mind is a real mystery:)

That is about all for today I think. Thank you for stopping  by as always. I hope you have enjoyed spending some time with me today. I so enjoy sharing my knitting with you. And guess what, I almost forgot, I’m almost at 300 subscribers!!!!!! When I hit 300 I’m going to do something fun like a little game or a prize draw to celebrate so stay tuned.

All the best and speak to you soon. Happy knitting 🙂