Monday, November 07, 2011

The Surprise Wash Cloth

I ordered yarn form at one point. One of the yarn was a skein of 100% linen called Linus.

Last spring I needed a quick take-along project to work on while waiting for the kids while they had their activities. I grabbed this skein of Linus and started a crochet washcloth where I did every row with a single crochet (sc) through the back loop of the previous row. The idea was to get a washcloth with a texture. Then I did 'crab stitch' around. Crab stitch is basically backwards 'single crochet' worked from left to right, while crochet normally goes from right to left. This is an excellent edging stitch for crocheted objects.

I made the washcloth last May, but for some reason I never actually did the finishing until couple of weeks ago (October 23rd according to Ravelry). This is what it looked like when I was done:

I used it the next day in the shower and something strange happened. The washcloth grew longways! It did not retain any of the structure but just stretched out and became flat! Completely flat! It was a joy to use though and felt great on the skin.

It's been washed now and it even more soft than before (the yarn is barely spun and therefore soft for a linen yarn even as I crochet it up) and it regained a little bit of it's structure but not a lot.

I was excited though. This was a great washcloth material. It felt great and would make a great gift, but I wanted to try different stitch patterns or different gauges etc. My mind was all fired up. Then I tried to find it on Elann's website. No luck :( Turns out the yarn is DISCONTINUED. AAAAARRRRRGGGG!!!!!!!

Of course.

Back to the drawing board.

p.s. if you know of any yarn that I could use instead (and no not Euroflax), please let me know!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Good housekeeping

I had Thursday and Friday off last week to recuperate after a very busy time at work. By Sunday I felt so much better. I had energy to do things I normally don't on the weekend, like cleaning. Getting my room/craft space in order resulted in me finishing up some small projects that only needed a little bit of work. One was recent (the Lizard Ridge Dishcloth) and two were some I made in May and only had a little bit of finishing left).

One of the patterns made in May was a potholder / hot pad I made from three strands double worsted weight Peaches and Creme. Unfortunately, this yarn had been discontinued, although the worsted weight equivalent is still being produced.

I made them by casting on few stitches and knitting stockinette stitch for a while (knit one row, knit backwards the next). I made it rather long and then folded it in half on the 'wrong' side and sew together. This thing is like an inch thick! It will protect you or your table well from the heat.

The yarn was left over from a project I had just finished at the time (in May 2011): Adsorba from the first Mason-Dixon book.

I never blogged it, but it is super squishy and soft. A dream to step on after a shower or a bath (I'm more of a shower person). When the Peaches and Creme company was bought out, I figured I better order this yarn (double worsted) so I can make this bathmat before it's too late. I'm glad I did, since the yarn was discontinued. The bathmat is made from Hunter (dark green), celery (light green) and white. I was originally going to get off-white, but they were out of that color, but I'm glad, because the white really makes the other colors pop, whereas the off-white would have made the colors more blend. I bought three other colors, dark and light gray and yellow. Hopefully someday I'll make another Absorba bathmat.

The other project I worked on in May was a linen washcloth. I had gotten the yarn from, but sadly it's discontinued. I crochet a square with SC (single crochet - fastapinni) through the back loops to give it more texture.After I had a square, I did a reverse SC on the edges ( crab stitch - krabbahekl) for support since it was rather flimsy. I only had a few crab stitches left because I hadn't secured it well enough and some of the stitches had come undone.

Linen dishcloth before use

I used it this morning in the shower, and what a luxury. I loved the feel of it and it held the soap very well. But something unexpected happened. It grew! The yarn relaxed so much, I've never seen anything like it.

Perhaps it's because it's linen. Perhaps it's because the yarn is barely spun. Perhaps it's the stitch pattern. Maybe it's all of those things. I wish I could try another stitch pattern or a tighter gauge. I would love more linen washcloths, but unfortunately the yarn has been discontinued.

The final project I finished yesterday (Sunday 10-23-11, 23. október) was another dishcloth I only had a couple of garter stitch rows left on. I saw denim colors of Sugar'n cream yarn - indigo and stonewash - which were irresistible. It's not actually denim yarn (which shrinks and fades with wash), just denim colored yarn, but it's supercool just the same. I made the Lizard Ridge dishcloth pattern, using 'indigo' as the ridges and 'stonewash' as the short-row valleys.

I was looking around for a dishcloth intarsia project to hone my intarsia skills, when I came upon a intarsia 'Dr. Who' pattern of the Tardis. It was designed for exactly the same colors I had in the denim yarn. I got some more of them to be sure I'd have enough and I finished the Tardis pattern a week earlier (Oct 16th) and blogged right away.

If you are a "Dr. Who" fan, you'll think this is super cool. If not, you probably think I'm nuts for knitting a intarsia dishcloth pattern of a Police Box.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


If you know what a Tardis is, you'll be thrilled. If you have no idea what a Tardis is you'll be perplexed.

A Tardis is a time-travel machine in the shape of a Police Box, and it's bigger on the inside.

For more information, watch any episode of the British show Dr. Who.

I got the pattern on Ravelry (where else!) and it was knit with Sugar'n Cream dishcloth cotton in Denim colors (Indigo and Stonewash), which incidentally are the recommended colors in the pattern!

This dishcloth will NEVER be used to wash anything.

It was fairly hard to do, including colorwork on the purl side, which was a first for me. I got used to intarsia though when I knit my Stephen West mystery KAL. I actually came across this pattern while looking for intarsia/colorwork dishcloth patterns.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Earth and Sky - Stephen West's Mystery KAL

I participated in the Mystery KAL organized by Stephen West that took place in August. Since I had over 2 weeks off in August, it was perfect timing for me. I knit at least half of this shawl while I was in Iceland. I finished casting off last Saturday and I blocked it today (also Saturday).

The pattern is called, Earth & Sky, and is supposed to be made with fingering weight yarn. However, I didn't have any fingering weight yarn in 3 colors that I wanted to use for this project. I did however have a lot of Icelandic lace weight yarn, Einband, so I decided to use it with white as the main color and yellow and turquois as extra colors.

This is clue nr. 1:

Already we had intarsia! Yep, this pattern has intarsia in it. It's a very simple intarsia, but intarsia nonetheless. (It's a lot of fun to write the word intarsia).

The clues came every Monday (except for clue number 3 which came on Friday and included the bulk of the knitting). This is clue number 2:

And clue nr. 3:

You could knit the shawl in 3 different sized (small, medium, large) depending on how many repeats of clue 2 and clue 3 you did. It was very tempting to do a large size, since I´ve been wanting a larger shawl and I'd made a good progress while I was in Iceland.

It was not easy to knit this shawl unless you could focus on it and have a lot of space. With the exception of the white stripes, you had 3 balls of yarn going and this yarn (Einband) sticks together like it's made out of Velcro! But I got more and more used to handling the yarn and the yarn tangling up was less and less of an issue. It was never a very portable project though.

Finally, one of me wearing it.

It was a lot of fun participating in this KAL, along with over 2000 other people!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Cooler weather - socks number 4

Yay. The weather is cooler. Instead of being 28 - 35 °C (82-95F), it's more like 14C (57F) and rainy. We can start wearing our woolly goodies. First wool thing: socks.

I made these socks out of dk/sport weight leftover yarn in July, and now I can finally wear them.

The pattern is 'International Sock of Doom' which was a pattern made for the Sock Wars with the intent of being super quick to knit.

This reminds me that I never finished blogging about the socks I've been knitting this summer, plus lots of other stuff too. These are the 4th pair of socks I've knit since the start of summer out of a total of 5 pairs! Socks are great traveling, summer kind of knitting :)

Sunday, September 04, 2011

10 lbs of yarn

Have you ever wondered how 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of yarn look like?

That's how much yarn I brought back to the US from my trip to Iceland in August.

Here is the plötulopi (unspun Icelandic wool):

I put the yarn in a small suitcase, but didn't end up using that suitcase. It was funny though that it filled up a whole (tiny) suitcase.

Here is the rest of the yarn stacked up:

Here is how it looks all vacuum packed. That's how I fit it all in one suitcase (along with the unspun yarn).

Most of it is Icelandic wool, but a little bit of Norwegian and Danish yarn slipped in too. I have a lot of knitting ahead of me :) Not all the yarn is mine. I bought most of the unspun yarn for my friends in the US.

Finally I have a picture of most of my Icelandic wool stash:

At the top is a blanket (throw) I have in progress made out of Kambgarn, which is Icelandic yarn, although it's not made out of Icelandic wool. It's merino wool, dyed in Iceland.

The top most box is full of Álafoss lopi (10x 100 gr skeins), which is the bulky weight Icelandic wool. The next one has my lace weight yarn (Einband), and the bottom one my plötulopi (the unspun) and létt-lopi (the worsted weight). Good times :)

Monday, August 01, 2011

Westknits Mystery Knits

I'm so excited. I'm participating in a Mystery knit-a-long (Ravelry link) organized by no other than Stephen West. He has some beautiful shawls out there. His designs are more about color and texture and less about lace and delicacy.

You can follow both the knit-a-long and other Westknits news on the Westknits fan Ravelry group. The first clue of the KAL came out today (it's not too late to start!). I'm using einband (Icelandic lace weight) with white as the main color and yellow and turquoise as the accent colors. I have no idea how it's going to come out but I can't wait to see.

I finished off the first clue earlier tonight, but when I checked in on the spoiler thread in the Ravelry group, I noticed I'd made a mistake. It's easy to fix it though and I'm almost done.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Husband Hat

Few weeks ago, at the start of summer, end of spring, my husband asked for two things of me: a knitted hat and felted slippers. He's had hats before, but has the habit of washing them until they can fit the kids, and then even more! He's also had couple of pairs of felted slippers before, but worn them through. He really loves these things and uses them a lot in the winter time.

My go-to pattern for felted slippers is from a Norwegian booklet for knitted/crochet items for Christmas presents, and I've made them about dozen times. The yarn that is required is a heavy worsted and although I have substituted it in the past, I like to use the original yarn. It's hard to come by in the US and so are any other heavy worsted yarns. I'm not inspired to use any of my leftover stash for this project so I've decided to get the yarn (Fritidsgarn) in Iceland when I visit in August. Fritidsgarn is ideal for felting and will make hard wearing slippers (even for my husband). Here is a blog post where I show unfelted slippers, probably the last pair I made for my husband.

I've been inspired lately to use my leftover stash, especially since I took over the kid's play room. I looked at my leftover worsted weight yarn, which I don't have a lot of in wool yarn, but I managed to find some colors that would look good on a hat for a grown man.

The pattern is from Last Minute Knitted Gifts and it called "Kim's Hats". I used 5.5 mm needles (two circular) and started out with the man's size, but it was coming out too wide, so I started over with the woman's size. I made a garter stitch black ribbing in the bottom, then stockinette gray-black-gray stripe combo and worked the top decreases in black. I made the hat shorter than in the pattern so it comes out as a beanie. Originally, my husband was dead set on ear flaps, but he seems to like the hat quite well as it is ;)

The black yarn is left over from a hat I made for my uncle. Him and Clint were close when we lived in Iceland, and his health has deteriorated in the years since we moved away and I quite like this connection between my husband's hat and my uncle's. Unfortunately, I didn't seem to have blogged about the hat (it was a Christmas gift), but here is the Ravelry link. The two shades of gray come from a vest I knit with lopi yarn I got last time I was in Iceland (2,5 years ago!).

I think the hat looks great (especially in person, it looks a lot more bland in the photos) and the last photo shows him wearing it, with artwork we got as a wedding present (almost 10 years ago) in the background.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sock Saga - Pair number 1

Now it is getting close to the end of July, but this story begins in May. The first installment of the Saga is about the first pair of socks I made in a series of sock knitting that took place from end of May until . I have my trusty ol' Ravelry to help me remembering the details since some of this knitting took place 'long' time ago ;)

The first pairs of socks I made were for my (almost) 8 year old daughter Kamilla. I named them 'Yankee Socks' on Ravelry, since she was playing in Rookie league (baseball) and her team was called the Yankees. Serendipitously, the Yankees played in blue uniforms (T-shirts and baseball caps) and I got blue striped (light and dark blue) yarn at the library's yarn swap, and blue is her favorite color! To top it off, I knit on the socks while watching her play baseball.

At first I tried to swing it, starting from toe-up, which is my favorite way to do socks. Especially when you are not exactly following a pattern because you increase for the toe until you have enough stitches to go around the foot. It's very straight forwards. Unfortunately, it's been a while since I've knitted socks, so I was a bit rusty on the increases as well as the cast-on. I then turned to the trusted Ann Budd, who made a pattern for Interweave Knits in the Summer 2007 issue about toe-up socks starting with the Turkish cast-on (my favorite, which she calls Eastern cast-on) for an array of sizes and gauges.

My gauge was 9 stitches per inch (yebb, 9) on a size 0 needles (sturdier socks). Ann's pattern only goes to a 8 sts/inch gauge, so I had to improvise a bit on the number of cast-on stitches (20?) and the final number of stitches (56). The yarn is called 'Cascade Yarns - Sassy Stripes'.

I had the first sock more or less finished (all except the cast-off at the top) when I went on a road trip with my friend Nancy and my friend, who was visiting from Iceland, Ingibjörg. We drove from Ohio to Alabama where Nancy's aunt and her aunt's husband have an house by a lake. We had a great time visiting them and spending time at and on the lake. I couldn't get much knitting done on the way down there (I was recuperating from having being sick with a sore throat), but I finished the second sock when I was there.

The second sock was finished with about a foot length of yarn left! That was close! It means that my daughter has come to an end of an era. These are the last socks I'll knit for her out of one 50 gr. skein of sock yarn. My baby is growing up!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Craft Room

Now that my two daughters (almost 8 and just turned 6) are spending the summer in Iceland with their grandparents, I took the opportunity to turn their play room into a craft room. How selfish of me ;)

I put my leftover yarn into the toy bins:

Then I put my sewing machine on their table:

As a result of this I've been inspired to use my leftover stash and do some of the sewing projects I've wanted to do for a long time, but never made the time to do.

But first I finished up some two projects that were a one seam away from being finished.

The first is the bandana pillow. I sewed two bandana's together and stuffed them with polyfill. The problem was that I ran out of polyfill, and when I finally got more (from a dear friend), I'd put the sewing machine away. The pillow has a red bandana on one side

and blue on the other

I also fixed a pillow case I made long time ago. My husband and daughter picked out the pattern and insisted I made a pillow case out of it. How could I resist. I just had to fix it a little bit, and now it's functional again ;)

A Story of a Dress

Last time I was in Iceland, year an a half ago, I got some pink plötulopi (unspun Icelandic wool) for my daughter. I got purple for my older daughter, from which I made a vest shortly after we came back to Ohio.

However, I had a little trouble with what to do with the pink yarn for my younger daughter. I had been trying to ignore the fact that she had a slight (or not so slight) aversion to wool. It just seemed as she had a sensitive skin and it would itch her and she just wanted to take it off. I didn't loose hope and kept the pink yarn.

I even kept adding to the pink yarn, since she was growing and I came across a perfect pattern for her, And All Things Nice, by the very talented Harpa Jónsdóttir.

I never lost the hope that I would be able to use this pink plötulopi for a dress for her. And finally the time came this last winter when it seemed that she didn't mind too much to try on some woolen things ;)

I had made another clothing item for her sister, a tomten by Elizabeth Zimmermann, and it made me even more anxious to knit the dress for her from the pink wool.

So I started this at the end of April and finished knitting it at the end of May. It was actually a fairly quick knit and it helped that a big portion of the main body was knit during soccer games (AKA extra knitting time). The pattern is well written (even if it had some minor errors, that didn't slow me down any) and the dress just flowed off my needles. I made the 8 year old size (she just turned 6 in June) but with the length for the 10 year old size. The pattern is a little small to begin with, so it fits her perfectly now.

Here is a close up of the stranded color pattern:

And here are couple of pictures of her wearing it:

As you can see, she is tolerating the wool just fine. Neither complaining nor trying to pull it off ;) Yay!

More details on Ravelry.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bulletin board

What you see in the picture is a bulletin board I made today. It's made out of regular store bought cork board, and half a burlap coffee bag (evidently from Guatemala).

The whole project took about 10 minutes and 2 months. The 10 minutes was the actual time it took to get the burlap ready (I'd already washed it long time ago), iron it, cut it and stable it to the cork board. The two months is how long it took to actually get started.

It helps that my two daughters are in Iceland with their grandparents, and it's just me and my husband now.

Expect me to be more active on the blog in the coming weeks.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Potholder swap 2011 - the receiving

Potholder swap 2011
Originally uploaded by rajnos.

Remember these babies? Well, here are the potholders I got in return.

It was so much fun to participate in this swap. I can't wait for the next time :)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Gotta love quick projects

Yesterday I started a Swiffer cover. And this morning I finished it. Sometimes you just need to make a super quick project.

Now, normally I dislike things like Swiffer and wouldn't even think of buying it. The reason is that it's one of those things that they sell you the stuff for cheap, but then make a lot of money on the consumables. In this case disposable cloths you put on the Swiffer for cleaning your floors.

We have a parquet (parket) in our bedrooms but nowhere else in the house. Sweeping them only goes so far, so I thought the Swiffer was perfect to shine them up and get rid of the extra dust, plus it's small and easy to get in and under stuff. But instead of getting the disposable cloths, I wanted to make reusable cloths.

I'd made some for my mom in the past and now it's my turn ;) The pattern was free and I used Sugar'n cream cotton (Green Twist), and voila:

(since I took these photos I added some velcro on top to keep the cloth in place).

Another thing that made this project so enjoyable (and even quicker) was that I tried knitting backwards for the first time. It was much easier than I thought it would be and it made the knitting easier too because I didn't have to keep turning my work. I could just go back and fro and then it's hard to quit. I was a little bit afraid that the tension would be different, but the resulting fabric looks very even. I'm very excited about having this new weapon in my knitting arsenal.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The View from the Clothesline

I've watched and admired the Potholder Swap of 2009 and 2010 (they don't have the 2010 separated out, they are mixed with the 2011 potholders).

I first heard about it through Grumperina and at first was mildly amused that people were interested in making potholder, but was increasingly intrigued by the beauty and quality of most of the potholders. The second year I was basically drooling over the photos, but didn't have the opportunity to participate. This year, the time was right. A local yarn shop had the correct yarn (100% cotton, sport weight). It is called Reynolds Saucy Sport, which is 100% mercerized cotton at a reasonable price and I got a bunch of colors, because I wanted the potholders to be colorful.

I looked at different patterns to try. Originally I wanted to try some vintage patterns but ended up with a pattern I've wanted to do for a while. It's called African Flower and is a fun pattern, a hexagon (always a plus) and has an interesting construction. The back is plain sc hexagon (Ravelry link) (a pattern from Lion Brand) and the joining of the front and back is done by using the Bobble-shell edging from Attic24.

In the first prototypes, I changed color for every line (after the flower), but I didn't like so much how it was working out. It wasn't until I thought off 'framing' the flower with the white background that I was happy with how they were turning out.

These were a pure joy to make. They were quick, maybe 3 hours total, so I could do one in an (long) evening and you don't see the full effect until you do the edging, so you are very motivated to finish all the all-white sc rows on the plain side so you can see how it looks in the end with the complimentary color on the edging.

Oh, and I used a smallish hook in order to make the fabric sturdier. It is size D/3.25mm and the potholder is so thick and scrumptious. I will send them away next week and will be receiving 5 other ones in few weeks time. Exciting.

p.s. the Ravelry group for the swap has all the info.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Hexagon love

I'm halfway done with my blanket. Four skeins out of the 8 I had for the main color are gone and 72 hexagons are done (that is 18 hexagons per main color).

The pattern is from a tutorial by Attic24 (hexagon how-to).

The yarn is Kambgarn - a sport weight merino yarn, processed (dyed? packaged?) in Iceland. They have great colors in this yarn.

The hook is 4.5 mm (US 7). The one I'm using is from Susan Bates and it has a nice wooden handle on an aluminum hook.

I have about 10 colors, plus the main color. It is so much fun to always have different color combination. I don't select the colors randomly so it is a bit of a puzzle to select a color without repeating the same color too much at any one point. At the same time I don't have to worry too much about what all the other hexagons are, only the ones closest to the one I'm doing at that moment. So easy-piecy lemon-squeesy (as my 7 year old would put it - the one in the picture).

p.s. the blanket has been blogged before, here and here.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Periodic table of fibre

The geek in me is thrilled. Click for full size.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Shopping Socks

I finally got some photos of the finished socks.

You can see that the navy blue that Jodie gave me blends in nicely with the rest of the sock, even if it is obviously not the same yarn, it's not glaringly obvious.

The flash exaggerates the difference quite a bit and the real colors are somewhere in between the photos with and without flash.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Photos of the Tomten

I finally have photos of the finished Tomten, complete with zipper and all. It's been a while since I finished it, but I have not been able to take a photo. First the kids were sick, then the parents were sick and when we were finally all well again, the snow was all gone (I'd hope to get a nice outside photo).

When it came to putting the zipper in, my mom came to the rescue with a link to a Knitting Daily video, showing how to prepare a zipper for attaching it to a knitted garment. You use a knitpicker, and put stitches on the zipper.

This is a bit fiddly, and time consuming, but boy, oh, boy. It's a great way to attach a zipper to a knitted fabric. Sewing a zipper in a machine is hard, because you tend to pull the fabric out of shape. Handsewing the zipper in is better, but it's still a bit awkward, and stiff. By running these stitches up the zipper, the knitted fabric isn't restricted as much as for a sewn-on zipper.

First I marked the location of each garter with a permanent marker (sharpie) and then I made the stitches run up the zipper (using black einband (Icelandic lace weight yarn), which is stronger than the plötulopi) . Then I used crab stitch (reversed single crochet) to attach the zipper to the jacket, using one strand plötulopi and one strand einband, and to outline the hood while I was at it. I think it looks great and I'm very happy on how the zipper is attached.

The younger daughter wants one too, in pink. Oh my, oh my. There is no way a pink jacket is going to look nearly as good as this one. I have the yarn, had planned to use it for a pink dress, but she´d rather have the jacket. Wow, now that's a compliment. Just that she'd prefer this jacket over a DRESS, is saying a lot about it. Of course, she'd also just want what her sister has!