Trying something new – moving blog

When I started this blog I just wanted to write random ramblings again.

Then last week i became inspired to try something a bit more focused and new and came up with “Wool Principle“. I will continue my blogging over there regarding anything craft and especially knitting related.Β https://woolprinciple.com/blog/Β 

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Crafting reflection: Making your “maker’s marks”

Maker’s marks is what one of my knitting teachers Suzanne calls the mistakes we make and leave in our knitting.

Maybe we leave them because we notice them too late or maybe someone points them out to us after we have finished the garment or maybe we know the mistake is there and actually like it or don’t care. At the end of the day it makes it your garment as someone else’s version of the pattern is unlikely to have the exact same mistake in it.

I think it is nice to not call them mistakes. Who says it is wrong? I love interpreting patterns or just being inspired by them. I am yet to to follow one exactly and not leave a modification in it, on purpose or not. ha!

The great thing about knitting is that more often than not, if you are unhappy with your make, you can unravel it and start again or make something different using the same materials. Psychologically I like this safety net. I used to sew a lot but have fallen into the trap of being scared to make something in case I ruin it. If I think back on my crafting journey this seems weird.

Being something like 17 I wanted long enough trousers that flared really widely at the bottom so I bought a simple trouser pattern and made pattern adjustments and sewed them in a lightweight red denim. No fear. I didn’t even know how you are meant to put in an invisible zipper so let’s say it was very visible.

I have since been adventurous in my sewing but not a lot of those items live on now. I am more about simple lines and makes that do not take too much time.

Similar with my knitting. A few years ago I wanted a jumper with owls on it. It was Owls by Katie Davies and without knowing what I was doing I bought the materials and made it. When I joined the sleeves I seem to have knitted backwards through the knitted stitches creating a joining line. None of my threads are weaved in, I simply tied knots leaving lumps all over it and the neckline cast off is super tight.

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But I still have this jumper and loved that I had made it. Why start with a rectangle when you can make something you are actually excited about, right?

Right now I am making my first cardigan which has a steek in it. When I got to the arm separation I realised I had knitted about 30 rows too many. I have since noticed that my colour work swatch contains an incorrect interpretation of the chart and I made a mistake in the actual cardigan. Those things can get you down but actually it seems to not make a difference to the actual garment in the end.

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Oh yeah I ran put of the grey yarn as well… the golden bits should be more of a curve.

Since, I have noticed that when I wear the finished item I don’t remember there are mistakes and just love that I have made it.

Do you live with your maker’s marks or do you rectify them at all cost?

 

 

My favourite knitting resources

At work in my day job I have a rule of, “if someone asks me about X and it is not documented then I will document it”.

So, the more I have been talking and posting about knitting the more I have been asked about sharing some resources and this is what I want to do here. I do want to add though that you do not need any of these things. I learned most from talking to friends and knitting with them over a coffee and chatting. Knit groups or even knit classes can be really valuable for that too.

And before I start, I just read Anna Maltz’ editorial in the most recent Pom Pom magazine and I was literally just talking at knit night about how we all knit differently and there is no right or wrong way really. There may be an advised way by the pattern you are following but in the end you make it how you you like whether you are a thrower or a picker. The act of creating and the side effect of community is what drives my knitting.

 

Beginning to knit.

Kate Templer has put together a great guide already. You can find it here with many links.

 

Techniques. Books.

Credit for these first two books goes to Suzanne.

  1. The Knowledgable Knitter. With lots of actual photos.
  2. Β Knitter’s Handbook. This book can generally be found on eBay or amazon cheap if you look around a bit. It contains drawings rather than photos.
  3. Fresh Brioche. This book was instrumental in teaching me brioche knitting. It shows you every technique in English and continental style using many pictures.

 

Techniques. Blogs and websites.

  1. Purl soho website. Lots of posts and tutorials.
  2. Kelbourne woollens website. Again lots of easy tutorials.
  3. Ysolda’s blog – tutorials.

 

Interesting posts.

This lists some of my favourite posts that are more specifically about a certain subject.

  1. Why you should swatch.
  2. Increases. Ever wonder what different increases look like? Ysolda shows you here.
  3. Creating a colour story for a yoke perhaps.
  4. Swatching in the round by Ysolda.
  5. Make your own sock blockers.

 

Stitch dictionaries.

  1. AlterknitΒ – it contains great graphical patterns but also a pooping pig. πŸ™‚
  2. Norah Gaughan’s Knitted Cable sourcebook. OMG cables so beautiful!
  3. 150 Scandinavian Knitting Designs. I used a lot of the stitch patterns in this make from this book.

Review: Knitting Project bags

Note: What follows is my own opinions and I have not received any incentive to review any product.

What do you use as a project bag? Perhaps you have made your own or bought one?

I have bought some and also made some. Initially I invested into project bags because I was going to be commuting by train and wanted something sturdy to carry my knitting in that would last.

Make your own: The Stowe bag

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Enter the Stowebag which was made by collaboration between Fringe Association and Grainline Studio. Having previously been an avid seamstress this seemed to be best starting point for me. I had some canvas fabric and sturdy furnishing fabric that really needed a purpose. πŸ™‚

The pattern comes in 2 sizes. I made both in my first go. The small and the large version. The bias tape finishing is clever if a bit fiddly at first but it is good practice, if you need to practice this technique.

The small one was perfect for on the go and fitted small shawls, and all sorts of hats and would be great for socks and the beginnings of a jumper too. It may even fit a cropped jumper.

The large one will fit anything you could dream of bringing. I actually found it to be a bit overwhelming and could never find anything in it. I also think the handles came out a bit big but maybe I made it wrong. I only made the large size once. It is mostly used for storage inside my wardrobe.

I have however made an adjusted version of the small bag again in a waxed cotton and love it. It is lined with a fun linen fabric and has become my go to bag for socks.

You have the option to sew the bag so it stands up or you can leave that part out.

Buy one: Fringe Field Bag

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The fringe field bag is really popular and more interesting and varied versions keep being added. I am not sure if I am an addict but I currently own three; grey, toffee and black.

I was nervous when I bought this bag as I had never seen one in person and was ordering it from the US. We now have a UK local stockist so no more thoughts of “Will the postman lose mine”. But when I ordered it, I was nervous that it may not be as good as it looked but I certainly wasn’t disappointed. It is well made and super sturdy. The canvas fabric softens up with use and the leather handle ages! I hadn’t noticed this until I put my bags all next to each other.

There are generous pockets and the bag closes nicely with drawstrings. It stands up in its own making it a portable Yarn bowl in a sense.

The grey bag has come with me all over the world in the last 2 years of my knitting adventures and you wouldn’t know it. It is still lovely and a joy to use.

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What is your favourite project bag? Have you made your own or bought one?

Running update

Do you ever lose your running mojo and energy? I feel completely drained and I know running will make me feel better but for some reason I just can’t. It is really weird.

I talked about struggling to run here before and since have made it to 1000km and am now on 1200km. This feels amazing as managing to run that much is more than 100% increase in my yearly mileage but there is still the question of “can I make it 1000 miles?”. 1000 miles would be roughly 1600km and running that much in what is barely 40 days is overwhelming.

When I haven’t run in a few days I get super worried that I cannot run anymore and I set ridiculous high expectations such as “I need to run 10km” or “I need to run really fast”. Not sure why I do that to myself.

I have been recording my walking to work too in an attempt to still make it to 1000 miles this year. I don’t feel like this is cheating as I am wearing down my trainers and it is a good 30 mins power walk and I am saving money not taking the bus. Every little step helps.

I need to remember what I have achieved this year:

  • Ran 5 km in under 25 mins
  • Ran 12km in one go
  • I have run all over the world on all but 1 holiday.

Most recently I ran in Philadelphia and as part of a morning group run as part of a software testing conference too. I try to motivate myself to make new experiences but this thing of making it to 1000 miles is still super daunting, but who knows maybe I can do it?

Argh.

Some pics for motivation!

Yarn shopping in Philadelphia

As part of the travels I mentioned, I was lucky enough to go to Philadelphia and have a couple of days off strolling around.

To my own shame one of the first two things I figured out was where the nearest yarn shops and cafes were. Coffee and knitting are very important to my well being. πŸ™‚

In terms of yarn shops I picked two to go to.

  1. Yarnphoria
  2. Loop

First we went to Yarnphoria. This shop contained all sorts of yarn weight and also had a little doggy in a knitted or crochet jacket. (I can’t remember now).

I was super impressed with the choice of Freia yarns and have been hoping to see the bulky weight in real life. They also stocked lovely hand painted yarn. All I bought was some orange sock yarn though. I was a bit overwhelmed and jet lagged and also just too excited to be in Philadelphia.

The day before I left I had another day to wander around and we went to Loop. Now what an experience. It was bright and airy and so colourful. A highlight was that they stocked loads of Brooklyn tweed yarns and also Lykke sets and singulars.

I have been looking for some wooden sock needles. The cheap knit pro ones I had snapped unfortunately and the super glue didn’t really work. I hope these will be sturdier but I will find out soon enough. πŸ™‚

Otherwise I also treated myself to a Lykke crochet hook set and some Quarry in colour Slate to make my dream chunky cabled cardigan. Probably for next winter considering the slow rate I am going at the moment.

Philadelphia has even more yarn shops but I just did not have time or money to visit them all. Ha! But I am glad I went to these two at least.

Have you been to Philadelphia and yarn shopped? Any other favourites?

 

Travel knitting, but all you have in progress is bulky! Socks!

These past two weeks have been super hectic and I have travelled a lot.

This meant that basically all of my WIPs weren’t going to make the cut when it came to being travel knitting items. So what do you do!? Well I don’t know about you but I cast on a pair of socks.

I actually prefer to knit them one at a time when they are toe up. I still haven’t knitted them top down as I learned in the sock class over at YAK.Β You can see the orange and grey one being knitted two at a time. πŸ™‚

So how did the travel knitting go? Relatively well. The tools I used were:

  • Yarn – countess ablaze
  • Chiaogoo fixed circular needles in size 2.5 – long length for magic loop
  • Fringe supply bag to carry everything
  • Stitch markers
  • Evernote or Notes to keep the pattern notes- I like that both sync with my laptop

This worked well. And the result from one 8 hour flight can be seen below.

However I followed the instructions blindly forgetting I was making custom socks from the Custom Socks book by Kate Atherley.Β 

So…. they ended up way too small, but hey maybe they will become a present. πŸ™‚ They are certainly fun to make in a simple rib pattern with such fun yarn. The flight back was overnight so no knitting and apart from that I knitted a little bit in my hotel room near Berlin. So the other sock is still in progress but I am certainly a convert for making socks while on the go. πŸ™‚

What is your favourite thing to knit while travelling?