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?

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?

Knitting: Dealing with WIPs and social media

 

How do you keep WIPs in check?

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Maybe I just need to make more project bags to have more WIPs?

I have been knitting for a couple of years now, and it has definitely become part of who I am, a knitter, and I knit most days. I love that there are so many different techniques and ideas around creating fabrics using 2 sticks and some yarn. The creativity of all the different designers out there inspires me and makes me want to try new patterns, techniques and yarns out all the time.

This of course results in many started but no finished projects. And recently this started to stress me out a bit, especially as more and more lovely autumn patterns were coming out, and I haven’t even started the summery ones I wanted to make. How do you deal with WIPs?

My current method:

I try to limit myself to 3-5 project max. And if I go above 3 then the other two will be something small like a hat or sock. Like a quick palette cleanser.

I have ripped back a few projects to remove them from my WIP queue especially if the thought of the project doesn’t excite me anymore. This more often than not is to do with the pairing of yarn and pattern. I am getting better at this buts watching really does help.

Do you rip back WIPs? I have spoken to other knitters who have had projects in progress for over a year. It has taken me 9 months to complete a project but I did knit it at least once a month. I did not just ignore it for a month.

Currently my WIP include a brioche shawl in countess ablaze DK, my first cardigan in a combo of fingering yarns from Blacker yarns and countess ablaze, as well as a mystery knit along shawl, that no longer is a mystery. haha!

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The snail is a tape measure! The rest is my timely cardigan.
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Halfway there!

I am itching to cast on socks, 2 hats and about 5 jumpers that I have the yarn for but want to at least finish one of the bigger shawls.

Is it bad to have so many things in progress or are you laughing at me because currently my WIPs are just 3 and you have like 10 on the go? The three I have on the go are ones I do want to see finished, but there is no real urgency apart from wanting to cast on new ones.

Maybe I am overthinking this, but it is not making me feel good to not have finished anything in a while. Which is kinda wrong because in Late August/early sept I finished this jumper.

Social media

This is leading me to another point. Social media. I am starting to feel bad that I am favouriting and buying so many patterns but cannot make all of them.

At the same time social media is a great place for inspiration but maybe I just need to have a break to focus on what I have and enjoy that rather than focus on what I do not have. I already uninstalled things like Facebook from my phone but maybe I need to also uninstall instagram and limit my time on revelry.

How do you deal with the constant stream of inspiration? Currently I just feel tired. I feel like I cannot keep up. I do love sharing and seeing what my friends all over the world are creating and join in with their achievements and support them through not so great times.

But I feel like as much as people focus on detoxes of the physical we do not focus on the detox of the mind as much and my mind is overloaded with inspiration and desires to make all the things.

So with that I may distance myself for a while until I get a bit more focused and actually enjoy making again rather than be making for the next project.

Making should be about something you feel good and for me social media has taken that away currently. I kinda of feel relief already saying I will check less and post less. Let’s see how long this lasts. Ha! I will keep the apps on my tablet which I only check once a day and delete them off my phone to focus more. πŸ™‚ This sounds like a good plan. Let’s see how I do. I will do this until Christmas and maybe longer if it is working. πŸ™‚