Monday, October 7, 2013


While sewing up the shoulders seams I noticed that 1 of the 3 pieces is bound of with grey, while on the other 2 I used black.

Good thing I was "awake" enough to notice.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Pushing the limits.

More later, but knitting lace weight with 1,75 mm is easier than I dared to hope. Will see tomorrow what I will say about knitting stranded with lace weight on 1,75 mm. :)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith

What do you do when you realize you made a mistake 8 rows ago? If it's plain one color knitting, it's no biggie, you just get angry at yourself, frog to that point, fix the mistake and forget about it. Lace knitting, well, that's something else, but still fixable as there's only one thread, after all.

But what do you do when you realize you made a mistake 8 rows ago when working intarsia, with 3 twists of colors per row, which makes it 24 twists with VERY catchy yarn total?

First, you panic. Then you go into state of denial, convince yourself it will not be visible after blocking as you can even it out. You knit some more, trying not to listen to the tiny voice in your head telling you that it will be visible no matter what you do. 6 rows and 18 twists later you realize it's not just a mistake, it's a mistake next to a buttonhole and then it's really crucial that 2 fronts match. And that you could live with it if you were making it for yourself but you aren't and the "every handmade item should have a mistake"-excuse does NOT apply. You curse the tiny voice in your head for not insisting harder, you take a deep breath and ... you take the needles out.

You start ripping it out, row by row, 49 stitches, 3 twists per row, 14 rows. People on the train stare at you AND the growing, tangled mess on your lap. You try to keep a poker face, but the only thing you think of is: "How on Earth will I EVER untagle this???".

You try to remember what Hélène said about it on her blog and you realize that if you start winding tiny center-pulled balls on your thumb right now, people will be 100% sure you're insane. One option then: just pick up stitches and start knitting. Luckily there's plenty of time left on the train.

And then somehow, after you've knitted a couple of rows you notice that the mess is getting smaller, the threads are not tangling even more, but on the contrary, coming out nicely. And by the time you reach your destination nothing is left of the mess except a couple of twists.

A leap of faith is all it takes sometimes.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Link to the Hélène's blog

Just because I forgot to do it in the previous 2 posts...

"Don't be afraid, it's just yarn"

That's one of the most useful and encouraging things I've ever heard about knitting. I got this advice on Ravelry, after I said I was afraid to try color knitting. Words "Icelandic intarsia" definitely would have sounded like something waaaay too advanced back then. Today, I'm knitting a coat in Icelandic intarsia with 5 colors at the same time and it's not scary at all (though I'm sure that people on the train think differently).

Blog of Hélène Magnusson has been a huge help so far. The post about basics of Icelandic intarsia is like reading about magic. It doesn't make sense the first time you read it, nor does it the second, but when you start knitting and just trust her and do it the way she tells you to, it all works out.

I'm talking about shifts in pattern. Say, you have 2 blocks of grey and 2 blocks of black. Then the pattern shifts and you have 1 grey and 3 black blocks. Or other way, 3 greys and 1 black. I'm sure that if I had to do that on my own, the wrong side of my knitting would have been a mess. But with tips of Hélène, it's VERY neat. I'm not going to explain it here, just read her blog, if you're curious, it's worth it.

But as with everything, once you get over your fear for one thing, another scary tjing replaces it. Look at this crazy intarsia and you'll see what I mean. That's Dayana's work, who in my eyes is an absolute goddess of knitting. :)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Icelandic intarsia: first experience

A week ago I started knitting a coat in Icelandic intarsia. And while "knitting a coat" sounds like it will take ages, this one knits up rather fast.

The pattern is Flowerpot by Hélène Magnusson and it uses Alafosslopi which is exactly the type of wool we all hated when we were children: thick, rough, scratchy and it sheds. :) But I like knitting with it (except for one thing that I'll talk about later) and I'm sure the end result will be amazingly warm and nice to wear.

The pattern itself, while being very simple and straightforward,  is written with experienced knitter in mind. It assumes a lot and doesn't give super clear step-by-step instructions. But once you read through it a couple of times, you understand it.

It's my first time knitting intarsia (and Icelandic intarsia is knit entirely in garter stitch), so I made sure to read all tutorials on Hélène's website. She does not recommend knitting Icelandic intarsia on circular needles, but I never knit on straight needles (except DPNs), so I decided to give it a try. It's possible, though very fiddly in the beginning, because you have one extra "thread" - the needles cable - to take care of, in addition to all the colors you knit with.

What works the best for me is this:
1. When starting to work RS, make sure your yarn(s) are hanging behind your work, grab the free needle from the left side and bring it to the right across the work on the RS.
2. When finished, turn your work clockwise (the right neddle's tip is moving away from you)
3. Don't untagle the yarns now, even though it will be messy.
4. When starting working the WS (and this took me some time to figure out), let your yarns hang in front of the work (the threads will go under the work to the skeins), pass your right hand under the threads from right to left, grab the free needle and bring it to the right as in step 1. The cord should be under the yarns, not above them.
5. Turn your work counter clockwise now. Normally your yarns should be untangled now all by themselves.

A word about the yarn management. Hélène recommends putting the skeins in a box and pull the thread from the center. It does work like a charm, but... if you plan to do it this way, rewind your skeins to form center-pulled balls. Because: 1. It's very difficult to find the 2nd end without quarter of the skein coming out. 2. There's a chance you'll come across a tangle in the middle of the skein (speaking from experience here). So, to spare yourself some frustration, rewind.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Feeling lazy

I had a huge case of startitis in the beginning of the year. Knit knit knit, the more the better. Might be the reason why I need instant gratification now.

Despite 2 ongoing test knits (ran out of yarn on the first and can't find anything that'll give me the gauge on the second) the only thing I've been working on for the last week is the Drops Delight blanket.

One square takes about 30 minutes to make which means at least 4 squares a day. Perfect!