January 25, 2015

Libelle

Libelle

I'm now officially addicted to weaving pooling scarves. It's just that it's a perfect way to use up multi-colored yarns, which are difficult to knit with. Here I combined a multi-colored Wollmeise Pure with a bluish grey Cephalopod Yarns Skinny Bugga. The neutral grey tones down the brightness of the Libelle a little bit without affecting the hue itself. I'm quite pleased with the result.

A woven item feels quite different from an item knit with the same yarn. The woven fabric is thinner, less squishy and not very elastic. The scarf doesn't feel as warm against the skin, but on the other hand it seems like it's more windproof. The lack of elasticity has its pros and cons; the scarf won't stretch out of shape, but it can feel a bit tight around your neck, depending on how you wear it. I think I'll like woven scarves in the fall and spring, when I don't want them making me hot while looking good.

Project on Ravelry

January 20, 2015

Raku-Regenbogen

Raku-Regenbogen

Raku-Regenbogen

I'm a lot happier with my second weaving project than the first one! I think I've now found the perfect way to use multi-colored yarn: pooled weaving. Wollmeise Pure in Raku-Regenbogen for the warp and some black Versuchskaninchen as weft formed a happy marriage, where the solid-colored black gives a dark twist to the colorful Raku. The selvedges and picks per inch are a lot more consistent now that I learned with my first weaving project how to control them. For the pooling effect on the warp, the warp length has to be a multiple of the skein length, and the turns at the ends of the warp have to be in a middle of a color section. For this scarf, I made the warp three times the length of the loop of the skein. With Raku-Regenbogen, or at least with this particular skein, the color segments were long, which is probably a bit more forgiving to some slight irregularities in the lining up of the colors than short segments would be. If you use just one warping peg, like I did, the length of the warp threads varies a bit, because the distance from the peg is not exactly the same to the center and the edges of the warp, and there the color segments don't line up perfectly throughout. But it may not even be necessary to line them just right; I think a certain amount of randomness can look good, too. It's safe to say there will be more pooling scarves in my near future!

Project on Ravelry

January 18, 2015

Weaving: First Impressions

For years I've thought I'd like to learn to weave one day, but the idea of setting up the loom inherited from my maternal grandmother (an heirloom?) has felt overwhelming. Then I've been eyeing the simpler and more portable looms I've seen people mention online, not quite sure what the differences are to the more traditional types of looms, and what one can make with them. At the beginning of this year I finally made the decision that now is the time. I'd been starting to feel somehow bored or unchallenged by knitting, and felt I was ready to learn a new craft.

I learned that there is a Finnish reseller to Ashford Knitters Looms, so I placed an order on one. Having read about other people's experiences, I knew I'd need more reeds than the default one that comes with the loom, so immediately I also placed an order for a set of extra reeds. I couldn't find a Finnish reseller for the accessories, so I randomly picked a German online store. It took about a week for both of those orders to arrive, time which I spent looking for information that would come in handy once I finally had the loom.

Having read tips for newbies and following the instructions that came with the loom, setting it up for my first weave wasn't too difficult, although I felt some details were glossed over in the official instructions. Since the extra reeds arrived slightly later than the loom, I used the 7.5 dpi reed and some sport weight yarn for my first warping. I was able to get a relatively good tension while solo warping. My first weaving turned out a bit better than I'd expected, and it was a good learning experience. My picks per inch didn't exactly turn consistent, but I learned how to control it. The selvedges turned out a bit neater than I expected from a first weaving project, but particularly the right side has some irregularities. The scarf also turned out way too short to be practical, but since I didn't really expect to get anything useful out of my first weaving, it's OK. I'm now looking forward to trying out various things with this loom, and I'm also excited about being able to make a dent into my stash by weaving, although I've read warnings that eventually weaving just makes you buy more, different types of yarn, so the stashbusting this loom is marketed for may turn against itself.

First Weaving Project

First Weaving

January 17, 2015

Mrs. Jekyll & Little Hyde

Mrs. Jekyll & Little Hyde

Mrs. Jekyll & Little Hyde

I love how light-weight this double hat turned out when knit in the lace-weight Pigeonroof Studios Cassiopeia Lace Singles I've had marinating in my stash for a while. The yarn is so soft, shiny, and beautifully drapy. Knitting the hat was otherwise fun, but the part where you leave half the stitches on another needle for the lining to be worked later was a bit awkward. If I knit this again, I'm going to use something other than a needle to hold those stitches, because manoeuvring the piece with the other circular needle hanging in there was not very elegant. But I love the double-layered fabric, with the contrasting color peeking through the lace.

Ravelry project

January 10, 2015

Simple Garter Stitch Slippers

Simple Garter Stitch Slippers

A fast project to make me feel like I've already accomplished something this year, the Simple Garter Stitch Slippers aren't my most polished work. I love the simple construction, but the heels turned out a bit pointy, and I'm not entirely happy with my crochet seams and edgings. I tried to get a bit of a gradient effect by changing one of the two yarns held double, while the other yarn was a grey and black multi-colored one, but it isn't obvious. I plan on knitting more of these, but trying to avoid the things I dislike about this pair. I'll either use a doubled or thicker yarn for the crochet parts, and try to round up the heel a bit.

Project on Ravelry

January 6, 2015

The Curse of The Knitted-On Edging

It's rare that I have a WIP almost a year old, because usually by that time I've either finished the project or deemed it hopeless and frogged it. The rare WIP is a Quill that I cast on last February. I like it too much and have spent too much time on it to give up, but it has one of those things that I loathe knitting: a knitted-on edging. Were it an edging knitted in the round, I would have finished this project long before it came that UFO that, at the back of my mind, makes me feel guilty every time I cast on a new project instead of finishing an old one. I don't like unfinished business, which is why 95% of the time, if I don't feel like knitting something, I frog it, because I know it'll never become anything else than a burden on my conscience. But I feel all hope is not lost, even though thinking of the seemingly never-ending edging makes me shudder.

Quill

January 4, 2015

Westy Vesty (And Flashy Photos)

Westy VestyWesty Vesty

Westy Vesty

Since one of my first New Year's resolutions was to learn flash photography, I decided to tackle it head on. I've always been a big fan of natural light in photography, but this preference does not play well with the several months of the year in Finland when the only times I can take pictures are on the days I'm not working, since the sun is up only for a few hours every day. It means this time of the year I'm always waiting for the weekend to take photos of yarn or knitting projects.

I'm only starting to learn how to use a flash in a way that's pleasing to my eye, but I'm pretty happy with how my first serious flash photo shoot turned out. (I've been using Bryan Peterson's Understanding Flash Photography as a reference). For most of the pictures I bounced the flash off the wall or ceiling, except for the photos where there is intentional blur from movement, for which I used the flash directly pointed at myself, with rear curtain sync on the camera.

The knitting project pictured is Westy Vesty by Stephen West. I love it! It was fun and relaxing to knit, and I also love wearing it. I think I want to knit another one, in different colors. Wollmeise Pure works great with this pattern, giving it some nice drape.

Ravelry project link

January 2, 2015

In The Year 2015 (Cue Futuristic Music)

I've spent the last couple of days planning what I want to accomplish in the year 2015. I feel like having a fresh start, and I also want to challenge myself more when it comes to my hobbies. Goals I've come up with include:

- Learning double-knitting
- Knitting at least 15 km (about 9 miles) of yarn
- Not letting my stash get any more out of control it is at the moment (I don't remember ever seeing a New Year's resolution to buy more yarn)
- Learning to weave
- Learning flash photography
- Improving my creative photography skills

Of these, I think learning to weave is going to be the most challenging part. There is an unused loom at my parents' place I would like to set up some day, maybe with the help of my sister, who seems to have a passion for figuring out heirloom crafting tools (the inherited knitting machine she's been studying is one of the most intimidating devices I've come across, even though I'm not usually prone to technophobia).

And because I feel every crafting blog entry requires a photo, here's a WIP currently on the needles, the Rhombus sock pattern by Cookie A. I'm not completely sure these will get finished, but a part of me enjoys the challenge.

Rhombus

January 1, 2015

2015: The Age of Asparagus

The New Year feels like a fresh start, both when it comes to crafting and life in general. One of the things I felt I wanted to do this year was to get back to blogging. This time it's going to be a bit different from what it was before, when I felt compelled to make a post every time I finished a project, and only when I finished a project. Now it's going to be less organized and more inspired, and not necessarily limited to knitting related topics. There may be some yarn porn, even though I've made a pledge to myself not buy any more yarn in January (however, some yarn ordered back in November is still on its way, so if you see pictures of new yarn, it doesn't necessarily mean I caved).

Here is a recent acquisition from before the pledge was made, Eidos from The Verdant Gryphon in the Age of Asparagus colorway. 

The Vedrant Gryphon Eidos

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope my year-long break hasn't alienated all of my readers, and I'm hoping to meet some new ones, too.

January 1, 2014

A Break

I'm going to start the new year with a break from blogging. It's possible I'll be back if I start to feel like doing it again. I'm thankful for all the readers I've had and the comments you've left on my posts. Have a good New Year, everyone!