Colour Craving Shawl Revealed

October 31, 2013

Finally, the Stephen West Mystery Shawl revealed! I actually finished it a while ago, only slightly behind schedule of the KAL. I'm glad I participated in this Mystery Knit Along. In all honestly, I would never have bought the pattern as it is. The original shape, the huge holes and the bold colour Stephen choose for his shawl are probably not features I would have fallen for, had I seen it on ravelry. Which actually is what makes the mystery KAL so awesome: knitting a surprise pattern yield results that you never expected but still enjoy greatly.

I've allready worn it quite a lot. It's warm, light, and simply huge. I can wrap it around myself completely. The colours are bright and colourfull, which is very welcome now the days get shorter and more grey.

I loved working with this yarn. I had used Holst Garn before but only the 100% Uld (wool) range and was really pleased with that yarn, but that doesn't always give guarantees for other yarns of the same brand. Turns out I had no need to worry. The Samarkand range is high quality yarn, super soft, being made out of  75% wool and 25% silk. The silk which is used is the "crunchy" silk variety, which I personally like better than the shiny variety. I think the colour range for Samarkand is pretty good, there are less colour choices than for their other yarns but they slowly add more. All in all I would definitely use this yarn again! And it made me even more eager to try out Holst other yarns, oh, dear!


A Sweater for Dad

October 22, 2013

In between working on my own projects I've also been quietly knitting on another project: a sweater for my father.

Originally this was not my project. My mother started it when she just got back into knitting, encouraged by my enthusiasm, no doubt. Starting a full sized man's sweater as a first project might not be the best idea ever. The project sat in her knitting basket next to the couch for a year or two, without much progress being made. So, when I stayed at my parents for a few nights, I sometimes used to knit on it a bit, and eventually I just offered to take the project with me and finish it for her. This way, at least it wouldn't be staring at her from the basket any more. Still, it wasn't priority knitting for me either, as I still had my own knitwork to knit on.

Primarily I'm a 'selfish knitter', as I mostly knit for myself.  I enjoy knitting without the pressure of having a deadline or expectations of others. Still, knitting for certain select deserving individuals  others can be fun, if you knit for people who appreciate the time and effort that goes into a knitted jumper. My BF wears the cardigan I knitted him so often, it's allready starting to show. I'd almost consider making him a new one, but only after I've finished my dad's jumper and satisfied my own inner selfish knitwear beast with some new knits of course!Do you guys often make things for others? Or not at all? Or like me the occasional hat and jumper for the deserving kind.

By now, the back panel is done and the front of the sweater is super close to being done. (The photo's aren't 100% up-to-date). The yarn I'm using is Silky Tweed, which is a discontinued yarn by Rowan. It's super soft, with 20% silk and 80% lambswool. I enjoy knitting with this yarn, even if it's a bit splitty when I don't pay enough attention to what my hands are doing. I´m really stoked that I'm actually knitting something textured again!

At the moment , craft-wise, things are at a slow pace at the treehouse, as it's exam time. Again! This week and the next will be spend cramming study books, typing essays and slaving away on exams at uni. This leaves very little time for anything else, which is also the reason why I still haven't been able to blog about the Stephen West shawl, even though it's been finished since the beginning of this month. It's so strange how fast time goes when I'm wrapped in uni things. Before you know it we'll be well into December already!

Well I'm off, back into the books again!


Overlock: time to sew some tricot!

October 17, 2013

Look what has arrived at the Treehouse! A new toy to play with! I'm now the proud owner of a overlocker, can you believe it??? Hide all the tricot fabric for none is safe from me anymore!

This overlocker is a second hand machine, the original owner was my grandmother who passed away little over a year ago. She was a keen craftster, she knitted an insane amount of jumpers for me and my brother when we were kids. She sewed and knitted a lot of her own clothing, until she got to ill to do either craft. She did like seeing me knit, next to her in the hospital, or talking to me about sewing. When we talked about crafts she got that proud look of understanding in her eyes, as if we belonged to the same secret society, the group of people who Make Things.

The machine itself is probably, just like my grandmother, quite old. I tried to look the model up online, but so far nothing has turned up. It doesn't matter much anyway, the machine is in perfect working condition and that's what matters most. With the machine came a huge box of thread, also from my grandmother. I only have to get my hands on some nice tricot fabric and I'm all set up to give it a go... I can't wait!



Going Mobile

October 11, 2013

We are well into autumn over here, and it's a bit colder than normally around this time of year. This means the days are mostly gray, rainy, slippery and chilly. This also means we can bust out the knitwear again so I definitely can't complain. The only downside is that I have to get used to take photo's inside for some of my finished makes. I don't know about you but I find taking photo's inside a lot more difficult than outside. Taking photo's outside definitely has my preference, but for some pieces it's just not possible, because not all clothes are made to be worn outside in the rain at a temperature below ten degrees Celsius. I have to admit that taking photo's in October of a cotton dress you finished sewing in August isn't my best idea ever either, but still.  My hat goes of to those bloggers who manage to take pretty in doors pictures all the time. If you have some advice how to take pretty pictures during the cold month, let me know.

Pattern: Sureau by deer and doe
Fabric: lightweight cotton 
Bought at: Local market 
Soundtrack: Queen - Bicycle Race & The Who - Going Mobile 

I love this dress! It really suits my style and I'm so happy I caved in and bought the pattern back in the summer.  Dresses like these are essential to my wardrobe. I've already been dreaming up different versions of this dress, a pretty 'sixties'-variety with lace and buttons is high on my to-do-list. I want to experiment with a tricot version as well. I'll let you know how it goes!

I know Deer and Doe has recently been featured on some more blogs and they are definitely becoming one of the more popular indie sewing brands out there. Most of the time I try not to be to to influenced by the buzz around some new brand, but at one point when I found myself lost in the blogosphere I stumbled upon their website and decided to try out one of their patterns.
The quality of their patterns in right up there with the best. I love their patterns, and style. Their pattern sizes work really well for me. The patterns are delivered in a sturdy envelope, which comes in handy when storing the patterns. The patterns are printed on sturdy paper as well, which I really appreciate, it makes the pattern more tear-resistent and I also find that it helps when tracing the pattern.

While all these reasons are already quite satisfactory I also like the fact that it's a European company. Now of course we have some great brands in Europe, like Burda and By Hand London, but most big brands are situated elsewhere. Even thought I happily but patterns from them as well it's nice to have one in Europe as well. Apart from the whole, support the indie business and the fact that I hope we'll get more of them in Europe, the fact that things as yardage and meaurements are already there in the metric system, so no having to recalculate, is a plus as well. Also the fact that when you order something from them it's just there in a couple of days, instead of weeks is a nice change as well. I'm not sure if this is actually a European thing, but they also use techniques I'm more familiar with as opposed to for example Colette. Now this can be a personal preference thing of the company of course, and you do learn stuff from unfamiliar techniques,  and I'm way to inexperienced as a garment seamstress to really say a lot about this but I do wonder about it. 

 Ah who would have though it, suddenly I'm being enthusiastic about my own geographical situation ;) Anyway all this has resulted in the fact that I already have sewed up three of their patterns...and I'm not even done yet...I want to make them aaaaaalllll...and like multiple versions. *insert manic laughter.*

Now I made my dress with a cotton fabric I found at my market place for a ridiculously cheap price. The bicycle & scooter print alone is irresistible. I bought it initially for my first version of Sureau. The plan was to just make one without making a muslin first, if I screwed up...well not much lost, right? The idea was that it'd become something of a 'wearable muslin'. Well guess what, it turned out great! The fit is absolutely perfect. Also it's a thing I have that I like sideways zippers a tiny bit more than a zipper on the back of a dress. I know...weird.

About the soundtrack for the project, I got slightly tempted to list all the vehicle related songs I know. Which are, not to brag, quite a lot. However, the post would be even longer then. Ultimately I only listed these two songs because these were in my head while sewing the dress. Lately I've been going through a major Queen phase. Usually I'm not into such bombastic music, I'm more of a folk girl.My brother used to be a huge Queen fan, and when we were kids we used to make these "radio programs", which basically featured us talking about a hodgepodge of quite unrelated things as kids do,  in-between Queen songs and recording all of these wonderful ramblings on compact cassettes. I think my parents still have these childhood treasures. Anyway this resulted in me knowing all their songs by heart before I was well in my teens.  So once in a while I get hit by the bug an listen almost solely to Queen songs for a couple if days. Anyway, the show must go on!

This dress is especially great for knitting...and bike rides of course! 
I really didn't know I had so much to say about this dress. In other news, I finished my Westknits shawl! Binding off a zillion stitches was fun...ahum. You can expect it later on the blog. Now if you excuse me I'm going to stash dive and find a new project to work on.
Have a great weekend!

Knit Alongs

Colour Craving: The work in progress

October 06, 2013

As you can see I didn't manage to blog again in the weekend, and university this week was so utterly rubbish that I only now found some breathing space to blog again. Thank God for the weekend! Let's hope next week will be better. Now, on with the really important stuff...

The Mystery Shawl. I intended to write about this shawl before, but due to essays and presentations, my time really has not been mine. Anyhow, the shawl is huge! I couldn't believe my eyes when I finished clue 1; with still three clues to go the thing was already a lot bigger than I had expected. This made it quite difficult to photograph. On these pictures I have four 80 cm needles in the shawl and I still can't fully stretch it. The space to fully photograph it was a bit difficult to find as well. Lace shawl knitters, you have my sympathy (and awe!).

In the photo's I'm still working on clue 3, I was able to finish it yesterday and today I hope to make a headstart with clue 4, before uni insanity begins again. I have used all three colours already and am pleased with how it looks, it resonates more of a spring like feeling than autumn, but oh well. The shawl needs to be properly blocked, with the holes and everything, I think this will make quite a difference (Good heavens, it will grow even more! )

I found clue 1 took me a lot longer than clue 2 and 3, while I was much busier during this time.

Errr..... Hello again!

So, a few weeks have past, and I have good news and bad news. As this is not social media, I have no way of asking you which one you'd like to hear first, so I'm going to start with the bad: Clue 4 has arrived, and I'm nowhere near completing Clue 1.  The good news, though? I'm still knitting!

It's not the easiest project to start knitting with, or so I tell myself. There's this part in every two rows that includes yarn-overs and then knitting one purl & one stitch in every yarn-over the next row. Especially in the beginning this got extremely confusing, as I slipped stitches or lost count. The rows grew exponentially. Now, a little further on, it starts getting easier. The work as a whole is more 'sturdy' and the increase relative to the lenght of the rows very small.

The thing is, I notice how this made a huge difference in the way and why of knitting between Nisse and myself. Not just in respect to speed and quality: Nisse knits to relax, but for me knitting almost is like a sport: knitting a few rows requires concentration, focus and effort. When I come back from work after a long day, the last thing I want is something that requires effort. So, mostly I've knitted in the weekends, and at those times, I did actually enjoy it.

I'm happy with the colours I picked, even though I've just only used two of the three, and I'm slightly worried wether the third one contrasts enough. (The second colour is orange, and the third one is yellow.)

At any rate, it seems it's going to take a while to finish this project, far more then the projected number of weeks of the KAL, but this was expected. It reminds my, in a way, of when I as a little kid read the Lord of the Rings trilogy for the first time: the first time took me months, close to or over half a year even, but afterwards I immedeatly started reading it anew, and finished it in a month. I've been an addicted LOTR-fan ever since. I wonder if the same goes for knitting?

So yeah...he's still knitting and still enjoys doing it. I think for a non-knitter there is no shame in not having finished clue 1. I'm quite proud that he actually persists and wants to finish it, even though it will take him longer than the four weeks given for the mystery KAL. It does make me think about back when I was still a beginner, and the difficulties I had when I made my first wobbly scarf back in the winter of 2006. Gosh...we've come a long way since then.

I'm quite enjoining myself with this KAL. Normally with KAL I become quite bored with the project before we even started. There is just something with the whole...time perspective and "have to" feeling that I apparently rebel under. I need the freedom of doing whatever I want whenever I want to do it. Therefore I normally refrain from KAL, both for my and my fellow KAL-ers sake. There is just no fun in ploughing though for weeks on a project while you actually have no joy doing it. What can I say some people thrive under KAL, but I am not one of those people. With this KAL it was different. I think the mystery of it all did that. Working each clue and having to knit it all up to reveal which direction it will go.

If all goes well I will be able to finish the shawl this week, with a little luck before the weekend so I can go back to my beloved sweater knitting. If anything this knit along made me insanely inspired to start new projects. I'm extremely stern for myself and I need to finish at least one project before I start the next. But I'm itching to finish this one to start the next. 


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