...is finally published!!!
I have been working on this baby since April! But with the workshop and my stay in Berlin for the whole of May and some other things that kept popping up, this pattern really took a long time to get finally out there!
I have to admit that I am very pleased with the SpliTTop! It has so many elements that make it quite unique (at least in my book). A lot of new stuff in terms of seamless techniques, that I discovered while experimenting with yarn & needles in my living-room (all of which are shown step by step in photo-tutorials as usual) and an unusual construction that allows for a (hopefully) very fun project and beautiful finished garment!
...you hold the package you recently ordered, full of knitting related goodies!!!
No, it wasn't yarn this time (but I am waiting for a shipment of some lovely wool, too... I am addicted to internet shopping, I know)!
This one is probably even better: I bought knitting accessories..... striped project bags, a fancy Japanese yarn clipper and a statement tote from Fringe Supply Co!
Isn't the little black yarn-clipper cute? I like the simple "mechanical" no-nonsense look of this one... makes me feel very accomplished when I cut my yarn with gusto!
And although I really didn't need another handbag for my overflowing collection, I had to have this tote! I mean, as a die-hard-knitter one has to share one's conviction and show that we knitter mean business wherever we go...
But the main reason for my internet-hunt was the need for a representable project-bag! I had a cloth drawstring bag that I lost somehow and soon found out that it was a really bad idea to keep your knitting without any protection together with all the other random things that accumulate in a large handbag (you know what I am talking about: The Miss-Marple-Effekt of opening a handbag and shoving all kind of meddled clutter on the table).
I always admired some really beautiful handmade project-bags, where you can store your knitting while on the go without having your yarn and needles all over the place. But most of the ones I found were a little bit too flamboyant and overly decorated for my taste....
The ones I got are called Bento-Bags and apparently they can be used as lunch parcels, too...
or indeed for whatever else you need to keep secure in your handbag. For my part they will have the one and only honourable job to exclusively house my precious WIPs!
They come in different sizes to hold small project like socks up to whole garments together with lots of yarn! I am thrilled!!!!!
Aren't they cute? Such an easy and practical design... I noticed that I like simple and clean lines with an unfussy shape that's easy to use.
And Fringe Supply & CO has just this aesthetic that I love!!!
So... now I definitely need to go somewhere just to sport my new tote with my WIP neatly packed in it's lovely project bag, where it belongs!
But I thought that it'll be the perfect time to make some smaller updates to 2 of my older tutorials, that you guys know already from older posts:
The first update is another, quicker way to work my LK2tog left leaning decrease.
A couple of months ago Steffi (a very nice member of my Ravelry-Group) told me about this variation and I was very happy with her excellent idea and thought I'll share it with you...
It's technically the exact same technique as before, only that Steffi's way made it quicker by eliminating some of the last steps. This version might work better for tight knitters than for looser ones, but tell me how it works for you.
Click on the images below to read the whole tutorial in higher resolution.
The second update is a photo-tutorial for the Purled CO with twist (until now only a video-tutorial was made about this method). Nothing has really changed at all with this technique... it's just that the new PDF format allows you to download it and to look at it offline or also print it and keep it as a reference (if you like it, of course).
Both of these updated PDFs can be found on the tutorial page of this site, here
Well, summer continues and we are testing out my new lightweight top at the moment. The very helpful and fun team of Testers work really hard on Ravelry so that I will be able to make the pattern available about mid of July!
Here is a sneak-peek of the new SpliTTop!
I hope you'll like it as much as I do....
So... what are you up to for summer? Do you knit at all?
And if yes... what is your favourite knitting project for the hot season???
You know the eternal problem with binding off a cuff on a toe-up sock: often it comes out too tight or it looks a little bit strange, like some kind of a mishap-ruffle that might be stretchy enough but somehow stays stretched out and never gets back into "pole-position" when not worn...
I usually like the i-cord bind off for garments, while for socks & mittens and the like I prefer the tubular bind off. Both of them are stretchy enough and look gorgeous, too.
But quite often I am not in the mood for these long-winded methods (although it's true, they are worth their while) and I just want a simple, straightforward and quick ending to my ribbed sock cuff that preferably stays in place when unworn and stretches out enough to pass over my foot without squeaky yarn sounds (or worse, squeaking me-sounds)!
So... as usual I experimented a little bit and I thought I'd share my "findings" with you:
(You can click on the pictures to read or download the PDF in a higher resolution).
For a simple stockinette fabric I would alternate the Increase Bind-Off and a traditional Bind-Off (every second stitch would be done in the Increase BO) to have an elastic version that does not flare. This variation might also be of interest for all the loose knitters out there, even for ribbing...
So.. that's the Increase Bind-Off... (sounds like an oxymoron, but that's probably why I chose this name! Stupid word-plays never fail to make me happy!). Well, I decided that I like the result of this cast-off technique and that all my next pairs of socks will definitely feature it!
I am sure that someone else has already thought about this simple method of discretely increasing stitches before binding them off before me, butI couldn't find anything similar looking when browsing the web:
The methods I have found on the net are the Lace-bind-off (the k2tog tbl version, which definitely is stretchy, but has aforementioned problems of bouncing back when unworn) and another technique, which also is perfect for Lace knitting and Casting-Off of shawls: The yarn-over method (or better known as Jeny's surprisingly stretchy bind off). It is decorative and beautiful, but a little bit too decorative for what I wanted for my ribbed cuffs in this case.
There is also a newer method by Lorraine LeGrand, which I still need to try out (she calls itLory's Twisty Bind Off).
And since we are talking bind-offs, here is a link to knitty.com with a compilation of different known bind-offs, stretchy or not, which you might find useful.
But do tell: What is your preferred method for a super-stretchy bind off?
I am always eager to learn....
If you like the tutorial you can also find other similar stuff on this page...
Here it is: A new shawl pattern! Reminiscent of a vintage, granny-style mixed with a contemporary colour-work and a simple border with a little twist.
It's a long time I wanted to make a shawl, one that is big enough to actually wear over the shoulders on a chilly summer evening. But it had to be in a retro half-circle shape with a little bit of texture in it (just enough to keep things interesting without getting too much in the way of some effortless beach knitting) and it had to have stripes of course - it wouldn't be me if it wouldn't feature at least some stripes! To cut up the horizontal bands of the stripes and colour-work I also added some dramatic vertical lines of eyelets....
...and voilà, my new shawl was born!
How about meeting up - you and me and other friends - and having a long and nice chat, while knitting together in a cozy shop full of wool......?????
Sounds nice, doesn't it?
Well... if you are in Berlin this month - we can definitely do something about that!
On two Saturdays (the 17th and the 24th of May) we will have 4 hours to meet, discuss, learn, chat and knit together! You will get my e-book "Shaken, Not Stirred!" and we can work through the pattern, start the project and mix and match our own cocktail side by side and needle by needle...
There will be new, detailed material and tutorials on the different techniques used in the pattern and we will work everything out together in German (or English or both... whatever you guys prefer).
The whole event will take place in lovely Berlin (at the bouclé shop) in the Nassauische Strasse 11-12, 10717. You can call Gabriele to book a space or to get more information about the whole workshop (Phone: 030-81853014) or you can write to email@example.com.
I am so excited to actually meet (like really physically meet) you guys.... there are so many ravelry connections and cyber-friends that I have made over the last couple of years - and now I will be able to see and talk with some of you!
This fact alone makes me EXTREMELY happy...
but anxious, too.... I am feeling a little bit like an adolescent on a first date with a pen-pal!
I have gotten some emails from people asking me about my pictures:
What kind of equipment I use and how I take them....
....So I thought that a "photography" post might interest you guys!
First of all you'd need good day light to take a picture that shows the true colours (of your yarn?) and has a crisp and bright image! The best light one can get is on a cloudy but bright day (you know, when you get this very "white" and cool light).
The clouds act almost like a giant diffuser in an enormous open-air studio and you won't get any harsh contrast lines, as you would if you'd take a pic in direct sunlight!
Well... here is my equipment!
A tripod: This one is a light one for travels. My "good" one is at home... it is quite a heavy and sturdy thing - and it should be one, since I don't want my camera to be blown away while I strike a pose!
My camera of course: A Nikon D5000. I have it for 6 years now and it has never let me down...
I am very happy with it, although the lenses are much more important than a camera body, so try to invest in a good lens and buy a basic camera body (that's my motto, anyway).
The remote: Very important piece of equipment! How do you think that I get my photos taken, if not with a remote control (some of you might have noticed that in most pics I hide a small, mysterious, black device in my hand)... Without it I would need to wait around until somebody would be kind enough to snap some (probably unflattering) pictures of me and I would feel bad to ask them to take lots more (you can never take enough pics, by the way: I take around 100-150 photos and then I choose the best 10-15 at most). Nobody would have the patience to take that many pictures whenever you (and the weather) want them too... so a remote is the best way to go! Another bonus point is that you can get as goofy as you want, since there won't be any witnesses out there, after all bad pics have been deleted!
And the white balance lens cap: That's the latest of my babies! It's a very handy little tool that doubles as a lens cap but is essentially an integrated grey-card. With this little disc you can measure the white balance right before you shoot a picture and save it as a preset. Mine is a cheap version I bought on Amazon and it does a very decent job, but there are a lot of them in quite a large price range out there...
But I have taken pictures where I am wearing the top, too today. I just need to edit these later on Photoshop: What I do there is to adjust brightness and contrast and I usually also crop the hell out of the pictures - because that's what happens when you take pics with a remote control, you usually end up with a shitty frame! Thankfully editing programs can help you get a much more dynamic and interesting frame out of the far away shot you took with the remote control.... (and you don't need Photoshop, lots of free programs can do most of these edits).
One can get so much information on the internet about photography (yes... the net can be used for stuff besides knitting!). There are lots of boards on pinterest with technical information and tips, that you can browse while procrastrinating in a productive way.
Here is mine for example (although I definitely need to add some more pins).
And probably the most important thing about photography is to get out there, get inspired and have lots of fun!!!! This usually is the best method to achieve anything anyway!
Tell me if you have any preferred equipment, app or program that you use -
I never feel like I know enough... especially when it comes to photography!
Since I have knitted my first pair of socks one and a half years ago I never have been without a sock-project in my knitting bag. There is something utterly soothing and nice when knitting a small project like this.
It is portable: which means that I can throw it in a smallish (for my standards at least) handbag and take it out quickly at any time without having to cope with too much bulk (at a train station for example) and put it away equally quick (when said train is rolling in).
It's perfect for traveling and can be very easy and repetitive if a simple pattern is chosen, so that I don't even bother taking a pattern with me most of the time.
There is always a sock WIP in my bag and when it's finished I immediately cast on another sock, to have it ready when needed.
When traveling by plane I tend to use bamboo DPNs (most companies don't allow metal needles on board), but I quickly remove them when I get off, since I find it annoying to knit with them. At least in the 2mm size they tend to be too flexible, don't let the yarn slide off as smoothly and my knitting tends to look much more irregular!
So I quickly get quite irritated by them...
I have tried the carbon DPNs in the same size and found them great - but after some use the metal tips loosened up a little (at least it got like that on my pair) and the yarn snags at the connection of the tip to the carbon body, which is no fun at all. So I got back to my old, bended, cheap aluminium version and I am happily knitting my socks again.
My preferred construction is the toe-up version I am describing in this free recipe here. I find the fit of the gusseted heel perfect for my feet: so I play around with the texture or colouring of each project but keep the main construction the same. In my last 2 pairs I have purled the gusset stitches which not only looks nice but also has the added bonus of making stitch markers for the gusset stitches redundant, since one can see immediately how many of them have been worked already!
The last one and a half year I am exclusively wearing home-knitted socks and I really hate store bought ones with a vengeance! It is such a difference to wear a sock that just fits you perfectly (without having it slide into the shoe when walking and producing a huge wedge underneath one's foot) and they are so much warmer and dryer and just pure bliss and perfection when worn!!!!
So, after all this sock-talk I wan't to know:
What do you think of knitted socks?
And do you have a preferred method or pattern?
Hm? By looking at my latest 4 pairs I seem to notice a preference for grey toes (and heels)!?!
..."Draw me a sheep!", these were the first words uttered by the little prince to the narrator in Saint-Exupéry's magnificent book!
I was listening to the audiobook when I was knitting up my design and was totally carried away to the fragile universe of this lovely character, when I noticed that the colours I chose for my project bore an uncanny resemblance to the colours of the beautiful illustrations that the author had sketched up himself! Even without having seen any of them for a long time (since audiobooks don't come with illustrations... yet!), I subconsciously adapted my choice to the little prince's taste - thus I just had to give my new pattern a name that was borrowed from a quote of the little highness himself!
The fine and sensitive book must have further inspired me to make a delicate little garment, worked out of fingering weight (and therefore being extra light) and with a simple texture that breaks up the striping with a playful repetition.
The boxy form of the pullover keeps it comfortable while a very slight waist-shaping allows for a flowing, feminine drape. To balance the larger body out the neckline is wide and rounded and more reminiscent of a ballet-neck, while fitted sleeves make the whole look more refined.
I had fun experimenting with the lower part of the sleeves: they are supposed to be a new take on the fancy renaissance cuffs. Less floppy and much more discreet, they add a nice feature and keep the whole jumper in accordance with the little prince's sensitive attention to detail.
This project also makes quite good use of rests in fingering weight yarn (that everybody of us seems to have lying around in abundance)! These can be used for the 7 different contrast-colours.
The main concept that was followed in my own sample for combining cool and warm hues, as also low and high contrast colours, are explained in the pattern itself.
You can buy the pattern on my website here, or directly at ravelry
Dessine-moi un mouton - Le monde est triste sans imagination
We all have our little methods and preferences when working on a project, that become second nature when knitting: from simple little things that help us remember repeating occurrences up to complicated systems that are the fruit of years of experience...
... well, today I thought to share a homely, unsophisticated but vital preference of mine - an item that is always to be found in my dotty "knitting-tool-box": one I always use when knitting a garment and which helps me keeping track of repetitions or points of reference without the need to note things down on bits and pieces of paper (that I am too likely to loose anyway)!
By pinning my tiny friends on every row in question, it is immediately visible how many repetitions have been worked already and when the next one is due...
... even if the project is pulled out of a neglected corner, after many months of hibernation!
I am sure that you all have some similar small devices and methods to keep track of your work, don't you? What are your favorite little helpers hidden in your tool box?
By the way, the project you see here is my next summer top (hopefully) that I am working out of Holst Coast in Redcurrant and Fairy.
Edit June 2014: I finally found these coil-less or bulb safety pins here at Fringe Supply & CO, which has the most gorgeous knitting tools and accessories you can find!
You might also like to take a look at the Fringe Association Blog, where Karen posts many interesting things related to knitting!