Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 in Finished Objects

As I look back, it seems I've done quite a lot of knitting in 2011 - 40 (forty!) finished objects - more than 15 km of yarn! I end the year with three WIPs: an almost done red sweater (it was done actually, but I didn't like the sleeves and I'm redoing them now), a ribbed man's sweater, which I've put aside and feel no desire to finish and a crocheted cardigan, which is totally frozen as of present.

I did a lot of hats in 2011 - some were and are still worn a lot, others were complete failures. I love hats and I plan to knit many more. But nobody needs that many hats, so I'm going to unravel at least 3 or 4 of the 2011 hats to reuse the yarn in a new style and pattern.

I did a lot of summer sweaters too - though I like them, they were not worn that much. I found out that of my knitted garments I much prefer the cardigans, so I'm planning a few cotton and wool cardigans for 2012.

And there were some other small things, holiday knitting and other accessories. Of these bags and pouches are practical and maybe I might knit or crochet a bag next year, I also might try socks and probably a shawl:

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Project: Aesderina / Wurm Hybrid
Yarn: Lanoso Alpacana 35% wool 40% acrylic 25% alpaca
Needle: 5 mm
Time to knit: 1 day

Everything about this hat is a murky blend - the color from grey through blue to brown, the yarn from wool through acrylic to alpaca, the pattern from Aesderina through Slouchy Hat to Wurm. The pattern has the potential for a nice slouchy hat and I might give it a try with some other yarn, but the 130 m of this ball sufficed only for a beanie - but a warm and comfortable one.

This was a very quick knit - only a few hours of film watching and knitting yesterday, and today was its field test - an hour and a half stay outside by the skate ring, while the children where skating; and my head was kept warm the whole time - so it's definitely a keeper. Maybe I should make myself some socks out of this yarn too - because my feet were freezing in the end :)

Monday, December 26, 2011


Two new hats in Alize Lanagold Solids for my father and my son.
Actually, my son's hat is an exact replica of his grey snowflake, which was lost/stolen in a cinema last month. He liked it so much and wouldn't hear of another pattern - so I made him another snowflake. And the other ribbed hat is probably my favorite so far. It's modeled by me today (just a little bit big for my head) before being parceled and sent to its recipient.

Pattern: Grey Snowflake
Yarn: Alize Lanagold Solids 60 g
Needle: 3.5 mm
Time to knit: 2 days

Pattern: Waffle Hat
Yarn: Alize Lanagold Solids 70 g
Needle: 4 mm
Time to knit: 2 days

And a simple cowl in decorative yarn, which I made a few years ago:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Eggless Cake

An easy and simple recipe I found on a culinary forum.

2 cups of yogurt
1 tea spoon of baking soda
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
3 cups of flour
2 vanillas

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Spread in a baking tin and decorate with a grid of jam or chocolate cream. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 C for 30 min. Leave to cool and enjoy with your morning coffee :)

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Project: Ba, Ba, Sheep
Design: When Sampson Met Lila, Knitty, Deep Fall 2011
Yarn: YarnArt Pure Merino, 4 balls of brown and 2 ball of cream, 300 g total
Needle: 3 mm hem, 3.5 mm body and cowl
Time to knit, correct the length (added 8 rows of st st with grafting) and sew: two weeks

The pattern is interesting and the first to catch my eye when Knitty Deep Fall came out. I've done some modifications - the hem is jagged and I like it this way a lot, I knit it in the round up to the armholes, also lifted the neckline to the height of the armholes and it is still a bit low for my liking. I wish I had listened to my gut and made the neckline higher and narrower and the cowl with more stitches (this is 132 st) by picking 1 st for every knitted row and not 2 st for every 3 rows. I would also extend the final part of the cowl by changing the needles to 4 mm (which I also thought of as a possibility while knitting, but didn't dare to try it). Now the cowl does not fall as freely as I wished it to and hardly covers the neckline, so I decided to sew it folded in half, as seen on the pictures.
Because I never wear short sleeved wool sweaters, I made mine with 7/8 sleeves, no pattern here, just following my general idea of a sleeve.
The yarn is virgin wool and a bit itchy at first, until the skin adjusts to it. I like it, but I wouldn't knit another sweater out of it soon. Surprisingly, it didn't stretch at all in length or width after wet blocking and the sweater is probably a tiny bit too fitting. As a whole, though my gauge was exactly as needed, probably due to the different yarn (and knitter :) my sweater came out smaller than expected (thus the 8 rows of elongation).
The trinity stitch cowl makes this simple stockinette sweater look festive and just the thing I needed for the coming holiday season.

PS: Can you tell how cold I am while taking these pictures :)? Frost had fallen in the morning and I hurried to shoot the sweater before it began to snow. Now I'm sitting next to the heater, while a heavy snow outside falls on the trees and fields.

For other finished objects don't miss Linda's Creative Friday and Tami's Amis FO Friday

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Name: Diagonalley
Pattern: Staggered rib scarf
Yarn: Alize Lanagold 140 g
Needle: 4 mm

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Pattern: Sherlock
Yarn: Linate Multi Color 100 g 200 m
Needle: 4 mm

The idea of the brim came to me last year and I finally got to try it. I think it's a success and I intend to make also a beret brimmed this way.
Lately my daughter wears her hair gathered in a ponytail and you know how silly a ponytail looks under an ordinary hat! So I came with this idea of an opening, hidden in the cable of the beanie. The hat can be worn with loose hair too, the opening is almost invisible.
And why Sherlock - it's simple - when I was trying the hat on me, my husband said I looked like Sherlock Holmes minus the pipe :)

It's Raining Hats and ... Frogs

The frog curse has come upon me.
It all started with my three color summer sweater Frenchy, which I knit twice.
The Yosemite sweater was a disaster - frogged and turned into a short cardigan.
A lucky misfit was the first ribbed hat, intended for my husband - it turned out too small, so it went to our son, and I knit another one for hubby.
Then the fingerless gloves were too big - and I knit them twice - again.

And the story goes on with my latest two hats:
Robin seemed a simple enough project - but the pattern is totally unbecoming me. The yarn is going elsewhere ...

Followed Sherlock - a brimmed beanie with a ponytail opening. First the brim was too big, then the hat too short and narrow. So I ripped it out and did it again, and again.

The series is to be continued, I expect ... :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Autumn Berries

Pattern: Nalu Mitts
Yarn: YarnArt Pure Merino, hand dyed, 50 g
Needle: 3.25 mm DPN

The yarn is hand dyed with instant drinks, the process is described here.
Knit the first mitt as per pattern instructions, size medium, and as should have been expected, the mitt was too big for my small hands, especially in the wrist area. And I do love my gloves to fit like a glove.
Actually I was on the brim of abandoning the project altogether, but the design is beautiful, so I unraveled the mitt and knit it again with some alterations.
I cast on only 40 sts, knit rib for 10 rows, then started the chart on 11 st, but continued the rib on the other stitches for a full repeat of the chart (14 rows) and only then switched to st st. I also replaced the moss stitch with reverse stockinette stitch, as it suited the color of my yarn better.
Now the mitts fit just perfectly and I am very pleased with this project.
The mitts took 40 g of this delicious yarn, so I also made a brooch and a GSM trinket - knit to the last thread!

Linked to Creative Friday and Tami's Amis FO Friday
It's such fun to check out other people's amazing finished items, don't miss it!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Step by Step Yarn Dyeing

There comes a time, when a knitter feels fed up with the yarn color range available in her local yarn stores and is tempted to customize her yarn. So I've felt that urge to dye yarn for some time now, I read all about coffee, tea and Kool-Aid yarn dyeing and finally I was ready to go. I used STEP sugar free instant drink, available on our market.
But first a quick word about artificial sweeteners. Kool-Aid, as I gather, is sold sugar and artificial sweetener free, but it's not sold in my country and I couldn't find an instant drink that does not contain artificial sweeteners. Most bloggers on the Internet claim that sugar AND artificial sweeteners are bad for your yarn (for your health, yes, sure, but for your yarn??). So, I gathered all of my school days chemistry knowledge and started thinking. Sugar is carbohydrates. Carbs plus water mean starch and that is glue on your yarn - well, you do not want that for sure. BUT artificial sweeteners are NOT carbohydrates, but chemicals, which give that (artificially, ghrr) sweet taste to your drink and should not make starch with water - ERGO, no problem.
So, I bought four sachets of STEP - Berry Punch and Red Grapes, as I wanted my yarn to be slightly variegated, but not many-colored. My colors are E122 (carmoisine - deep pink red), the basic color of both drinks, E150d (caramel), E155 (chocolate brown), E133 (brilliant blue).
For my 50 g of yarn I used two STEP red grape and one STEP Berry Punch.

Here's my step-by-step process.

1. You'll get best results with 100% animal fibers - merino or other wool, alpaca, etc.
I bought two balls of 50g white pure merino (virgin wool). The first thing to do is to unwind the yarn into a hank. You don't have a niddy-noddly - ha, who has! - just use the four legs of an upturned small table or the backs of two of your kitchen chairs (as I did). Tie the hank at several places with a thread (I used 100% cotton theard to see if cotton would dye too - it didn't at all!)

2. Soak the yarn for 30 min into warm water and liquid soap. This is done to remove all dust particles and grease, that has stuck to your yarn from handling it here and there.

3. Gently rinse the yarn to remove the soap and then soak for another 30 min into a solution of 4 cups of warm water and 1 cup of white vinegar. True, instant drinks contain citric and malic acid, but to be on the safe side - you do need acid to open the fibers of your yarn and fix the color, and I'm not sure if the acid in the drinks is enough.

4. In the meantime prepare the dye (drinks), dissolving the powder with water. The amount of water doesn't matter, the amount of dye does!

5. Gently remove the water from the yarn (do not rinse it, do not twist) - it should be wet, but not dripping. Place it in a microwave-safe vessel. Because these drinks are supposedly health-hazard free (not that our family would drink such artificial s..t), I was not worried to use my cooking casserole. Now is the interesting part. Use your imagination and pour the dyes as you wish them to appear on your yarn. Gently press the yarn to distribute the dye. Cover with enough water (I used the same vinegar-water solution, in which the yarn had soaked before).

6. Cover with the lid and place it in the microwave oven, set it to the max heat and cook the yarn for 2 min, let it rest for 2 min. Repeat these 2 min sessions 3-4 more times (I did a total of 4 repeats, 8 min total heating time). Do not exceed 15 min and be careful not to boil the water, otherwise the yarn will felt.

7. Leave the yarn in the casserole to cool. The water should be clear and all the dye should be in the yarn.

8. After the yarn has cooled enough (for at least 2 hours), wash it with warm water (the same temperature as the yarn) and liquid soap (Perwoll in my case). I soaked it afterward in warm water with a softener too.

9. Place the hank on a hanger and leave it to dry.

10. Wind it into a ball. I found a method, using a toilet paper roll and it's miraculously comfortable to use. Knit something nice and wear it!