7.4.17

Free Pattern: Baby Cotton Bonnet

Just finished my spring cleaning! And there were some cute baby stuff I had to say goodbye to. The two bonnets that I designed for my daughter are on top of the list.


I suppose the reason why I like these two so much is the fact that they match so perfectly the idea that was in my head. We didn't want to know if our baby was a boy or a girl until it actually happened, so such a simple, gender neutral design was perfect. I always thought that I would simply add a crocheted flower for a girl or some cute dinosaur button for a boy to the side of the bonnet. In the end, there was no need.

I had to learn a knitting technique that was new to me to get the exactly what I wanted. I made i-cords before, just never applied or attached them to anything. You can find a great tutorial here: https://www.purlsoho.com/create/attached-i-cord-tutorial/

On the same website, I found a baby vest pattern. I used the same yarn as for yellow-grey hat and modified it just a bit. The original pattern doesn't have the i-cord attached all the way around since it's done in a single color. Another difference between the bonnet and the vest is that I used 3.5mm instead of 3mm needles for the vest. In any case, it was a great match :)

 
The yarn that I used was in my stash for quite a long time and it's been discontinued, but any kind of 100% cotton yarn should work. The yellow yarn is Lana Grossa Pico, DK weight, other two are fingering weight. The grey one is Lang Yarns Baby Cotton and the orange is a vintage yarn I already wrote something about, Star Twist by Springer.
One final remark before the pattern. There is only one size, newborn, which should definitely fit until 3 months. My daughter wore the hats until about 4 months, I think. I was considering adding more sizes, the pattern is simple enough, but finally I decided no to. The thing is, as much as I loved the bonnet, I didn't knit it in a larger size for my baby either. In my opinion it is great for a newborn, as soon as they start moving more, not so much, since cotton is not stretchy enough. If someone really needs the pattern in a larger size, I will write it up, of course.
You can find the pdf version of the pattern here, or simply read on.


Yarn: 30-40g 100% cotton yarn in total (DK or fingering), Color A and B (yellow and grey) for a plain hat or Color A and C (yellow and orange) for a stripy hat 
Needles and tools: 3mm straight knitting needles and a set of 3mm DPNs (or a long 3mm circular needle for magic loop), 8 stitch markers, tapestry needle 
Necessary technique: knit, purl, knit 2 together, i-cord, applied i-cord 
Gauge: 26-28 stitches and 40 rows for 10cm in plain stockinette stitch 
Size: Newborn (0-3months) 
To fit: Approx. 35-40cm head circumference 
Finished size: 27cm at cast-on edge, 15cm height 

ABBREVIATIONS
Repeat between * *, st - stitch, RS – right side, WS – wrong side, k - knit, p - purl, DPN - double pointed needle, k2tog – knit 2 stitches together

CAST ON
Start with Color A. With 3mm straight knitting needles or a long circular one, cast on 72st. Work plain stockinette stitch as follows:

Row 1 (RS): Slip 1 st, k until the end
Row 2 (WS): Slip 1 st, p until the end

For a stripy hat, knit 3 rows in stockinette stitch and Color A, switch to Color C for 4 rows and continue switching colors like this until the work measures approx. 9cm from the cast-on edge, but ending with 3 rows in Color A. Switch to Color C before joining to work in the round.

For a plain hat, work with Color A until the work measures 9cm from the cast-on edge.
In both cases, join to work in the round using DPNs or continue with a circular needle, placing a marker at the beginning of the round. Continue with stockinette stitch in the round:

Round 1 – 4 (Plain round): K all st

During the last plain round place the rest of the markers 9 st from the beginning of the round and after every 9 st.

For a plain hat, work the rest of the body of the hat with Color A.
For a stripy hat, continue knitting and decreasing, switching colors in the same manner, after 4 rounds of Color C and 3 rounds of Color A. To maintain nice stripes, after switching colors, knit one round with the new color normally. At the beginning of the next round, pick the first stich of the old color and place it back on your left needle. Knit these two stitches together and continue. This technique will not interfere with the decreases, since they are not made at the beginning of a round until the very end. You may only notice some elongated stitches at the beginning of the round.


DECREASING
Decrease round: *k until 2 st before the marker, k2tog* until the end

Next round (Plain round): K all st

Knit another plain round.

Knit one more decrease round followed by 2 plain rounds and then continue repeating one decrease round, one plain round, until there are 16st left.

Next round: k2tog until the end

FINISHING
Cut yarn leaving a long tail, thread the yarn into a tapestry needle and pass it through the remaining stitches, then secure it firmly.
Make an i-cord, 20cm long, and then continue with applied i-cord on the cast-on edge. Match one row of i-cord to one st of the body of the bonnet. After covering the edge completely, continue with the regular i-cord for another 20cm and bind of all st. Using Color B for a plain hat or Color C for a stripy hat, apply an i-cord of 3st to the side edges of the part that was knitted flat or crochet one row of single crochets. Again, match one row of applied i-cord to one row of the body. Weave in all ends, covering the corners neatly.




And here it is finished, I hope you enjoyed the pattern!





23.3.17

Top 5 online knitting resources

About 5 years ago, I could still say I was a knitting beginner. Sure, I was able to make completely wearable garments using knit, purl and basic increases and decreases. But casting on was always something I'd get an "adult" to do for me and there was nobody around.
Before I turned to Internet for some help, I made this hat, for example. My husband still wears it, but it has a funny, uneven cast-on edge and it's a bit pointy, since the crown decreases were done too slowly. The idea and the color changes were very good, the end result just an average.

So, I decided to improve and here are top 5 websites that helped me. There are other, of course, but these are the ones I always go back to. 
  1. www.TejiendoPeru.com : This is a great website for a beginner, with tons of step by step instructions in the form of YouTube videos, patterns and lists of general knitting and crochet techniques. I learned how to knit from my Grandmother and my Nanny, so seeing Esperanza Rosas explaining everything in her videos hits all the right spots. After a short while, I made this vest for Dean following the instructions for a v-neck shaping. And then I chose just the right stitch for my sweater and my top from their gallery of stitches. The videos are easy to follow, the only downside is that you have to speak at least some Spanish to navigate the site.
    V-neck explained

  2. www.AllFreeKnitting.com : Once I got some more confidence, I started looking for more knitting patterns​ to match my new skills and this was the right place. What I especially like about this site is that in a single​ category you can find patterns from super simple to advanced, a bit of something for all occasions. Some of my favorite garments were made after visiting the site, plus I saved some for later in my account. You can imagine my excitement when I saw my own projects on their pages! I've noticed lately that they've been adding more tutorials as well. The downside: the patterns come from all over the web, so there can't be much consistency.
    Elegant Evening Sweater
    Gorgeous Toe Up Gingko Socks
  3. www.Filati.cc : This is a great website, but this refers mostly to people living in Austria and Germany. It is an online shop in its essence, but also a great place for knitting inspiration, plus they don't charge for delivery no matter how much you spend. They sell Lana Grossa yarn, needles, magazines and, my favorite, model packages. This means that if you buy the yarn for a certain project, you get a pattern for free and there's plenty to chose from. They sell basic yarns all the time and certain novelties every year. So there is always good quality yarn for small prices, because the last year's novelty yarn goes on sale. The downside is, of course, if you really like that discontinued yarn. Many times I wished I could get that same yarn from 6 months ago or I needed that extra ball of yarn to finish a project. One should be careful about this.
    On my needles right now - Lana Grossa Colorato
    One of the packages I ordered
  4. www.Ravelry.com : For some people this would definitely be number 1 and it's easy to understand why. This is the social media site for knitting and crochet crowd, all of it is included, yarns, patterns, people, their projects, a huge database. When it comes to online crafting aesthetics​ it doesn't get much better than this. We all hold our finished work in our hands, it has it's unique softness, stretchiness, warmth, it drapes in a certain way when worn, moves or stays still. Once we take a photo most of this information is gone. Except on Ravelry there are people who try very hard to make it look as if it was still there and they are doing a good job. Impressions can get very polished, almost alive, and this is what I like to see from time to time. Just getting a cup of coffee, enjoying the beauty of things knitted and crocheted all over the world. The reason why this is not my number 1 and why I hesitated for so long in actually joining in, is the feeling I get of this being a big marketplace. People are there to sell, buy or brag about something, which is fine I guess, we are all free to do that. But it gets unrealistic, too. And I can imagine knitting beginners paying for something that in my opinion should be free. Sometimes a basic pattern is just a basic pattern, even if it gets a special name and a price tag, or is that just me? 
    Anisette Scarf
  5. www.LoveKnitting.com : This site is like a mix of 3. and 4. Although it is an online store, there is plenty of free patterns to choose from and many interesting designers and other people projects to check out. They sell yarn from all over the world, but the overall style is more European. It's not perfect for purchasing yarn if you're like me and buy smaller quantities at a time, the delivery is free only if you spend more than 50 EUR.
    Collier Hat

You may have noticed that I prefer sites that have less to offer, but more structure. I personally find it easier to find what I'm looking for if the patterns are few, but relevant. Also, if you search directly on YouTube, you might get lost or you need to know at least the name of a specific technique and that can be tricky sometimes.
What about myself? When I started thinking about why I'm even writing this blog, it was clear that I feel that my own voice should be heard. I'm a rather shy person and sometimes I really turn my head away from new technology. Getting myself active online is definitely a step forward.
And what could that bring to others? I have two goals, achieving at least one of them would make me happy, both would be a complete success.
  1. Besides free patterns based on what I make and I always makee something, I will start gathering my favorite links. There are great knitting and crochet tutorials out there, pages that I always​ go back to, scattered all over different sites and blogs. Even if I never make a tutorial myself, it would be a challenge to complete such a collection.
  2. I'd love to discuss anything knitting related with the people out there. Having conversations about one of my patterns or helping someone with ANY pattern or a bad line would really make my day. If you ask me, I will reply. Maybe not right away, I do have a toddler running around, but I will. I haven't tried everything in knitting or crochet, but I know what I'm doing and there is not much that I wouldn't try. I make plenty of mistakes and fix them all the time. I can follow patterns in German and Spanish, so I can help in that department, too, not to mention knitting math. Let's connect :)

2.3.17

Inspiration: Waiting for the Spring

Yes, I'm waiting, waiting, waiting for the spring... And in doing so remembering one of the last sunny days in September. A lovely day with my family :)





I've been wearing my own design all summer and here I already had to get another layer and admit to myself that it's time to leave it alone for a while...



I was a bit self-conscious, I can see it now when I look at the photos. I guess all new moms are. But I also think that the top drapes nicely and fits well even with that extra baby weight.

I was also surprised this January while I browsed a new Linea Pura magazine. There's a pattern that looks terribly similar to this one. Did I maybe inspire someone? Now, that would be nice!

It was certainly intended for this pattern to be modified to fit everyone's needs, with stockinette part as long as desired or not even there.


If there's someone else who'd like to give it a try, the top is a part of matching tunic and scarf set and here's the link to the free pattern!

20.2.17

Free pattern: That Special Toddler Hat (Or, Happy Birthday, Philip!)




This winter there was either time to knit or write about it, so clearly I made no new posts! However, I've been rushing this week to finish a hat for a very special little boy. Only three months after our daughter was born, our dearest friends became parents to Philip, that sweet smiling face. And a bit later we became godparents! The hat that I've just finished and my girl is wearing on the photo should be one of his birthday presents (don't worry, he'll get plenty of fun stuff, too). And I had to share this pattern since I know there are many wonderful smiling faces out there and some of them might need a hat just like this.

Here's the Ravelry link to the PDF version of the pattern, but I would like to add some details.

The DK yarn I used has 3,5 - 4 mm recommended needle size, but it is quite common with brioche patterns to use slightly smaller needles and here I used 3 mm double pointed ones. The gauge is 18 stitches to 10 cm when the work is just a bit stretched.
Light yarn is 50% wool, 50% acrylic, while darker one is 50% wool, 50% cotton blend, so the hat should be warm, but not too warm. To add some warmth to the ears, I made the bottom part longer in order to fold it. If you don't want this, simply start decreasing after 10cm from cast-on edge.

Since the hat is quite stretchy and the brim is adjustable, I hope this also means it can be worn longer. It should certainly allow for some growth. It's difficult to be very precise about the size, but the idea here is to have a hat that would definitely fit around 12 - 18 months (45-48 cm head circumference) and how much earlier or later it could be worn depends a lot on the child. My daughter is 15 months old and the hat fits perfectly, with plenty of room left.

The beginning is a bit messy, but after 5 or 6 rounds it becomes quite relaxing. Even if you're new to brioche knitting, it's not very difficult to work in two colors, you only use one at the time. I just wouldn't say that this is really a quick knit.

ABBREVIATIONS

St - stitch, k - knit, p - purl, yo - yarn over, DPN - double pointed needle
Slstwyb - slip the following stitch with the yarn in the back
Slstwyf - slip the following stitch with the yarn in the front
Slstyo - slip stitch yarn over - move the yarn to the front of the work, slip the following stitch, yarn over
Brk - brioche knit - knit the stitch together with its yarn over
Brp - brioche purl - purl the stitch together with its yarn over
RSBD - right slanted brioche decrease - slip the stitch with its yarn over as if to knit, knit the following stitch, pass the slipped stitches over, move back to left needle, pass the following stitch with its yarn over over, move the stitch to the right needle (two stitches decreased)
LSBD - left slanted brioche decrease - slip the stitch with its yarn over as if to knit it, knit the following two stitches (one of them has a yarn over) together, pass the slipped stitches over (two stitches decreased)

The number of stitches indicated doesn't include the yarn overs, stitch with a yarn over counts as one stitch.

CAST ON

To cast on, you need a piece of scrap yarn. Using this yarn and a DPN, cast on loosely 35 stitches. Take two ends of your working yarn, light and dark colored ones, and tie them together. First row is worked in the right side color (in my case, light brown yarn). At the end of each row or round you switch. During the first row you should probably distribute the stitches to 3 or 4 DPNs to make it more comfortable.

Row 1 (Light color): *k1, yo* until the end (70 stitches), don't turn
Row 2 (Dark color): *slstwyb, p1* until the end

You now join to work in the round with the following rule: once you are finished with one color, take this yarn to the front and let it hang there before picking up the other color. This should keep the yarn from crossing.

Round 1 (Light color): *k1, slstwyf* until the end
Round 2 (Dark color): *slstwyb, p1* until the end
Round 3 (Light color): *k1, slstyo* until the end
Round 4 (Dark color): *slstyo, brp* until the end
Round 5 (Light color): *brk, slstyo* until the end

After Round 2 you can unravel the piece of yarn used to cast on and admire how nice and reversible it is.
Distribution of stitches when starting a light color round
Position of the yarn when starting a light color round

Distribution of stitches when starting a dark color round
Position of the yarn when starting a dark color round
Repeat rounds 4 and 5, ending with round 4 until the work measures 11 cm for a hat without brim or additional 5-10 cm for a hat with a brim.

DECREASING

1st Decrease Round (Light color): * **brk, slstyo** 2 times, RSBD, slstyo, LSBD, slstyo, brk, slstyo* 5 times (50st)

Continue with Rounds 4 and 5 for another 3cm, ending with Round 4.

2nd Decrease Round (Light color): *brk, slstyo, RSBD, slstyo, LSBD, slstyo* 5 times
Continue with Rounds 4 and 5 for the same number of rounds as between 1st and 2nd Decrease Round.

Next round (Light color): *brk, k2tog, slstyo, ssk* until the end (20st)
Next round (Dark color): *sl 2st, brp, sl1* until the end (yarn should be very tight in this round since the slipped stitches will be decreased in the next)
Next round (Light color): Bring the last light colored st from the previous round to the left needle, you should now have 3 light colored st on the left needle to be worked out next, *sl 2st together as if to knit, knit the following stitch, pass the slipped stitches over for a double decrease, slstwyf* until the end (10st)
Next round (Dark color): *slstwyb, p1* until the end
Next round (Light color): *k1, slstwyf* until the end
Next round (Dark color): *slstwyb,p1* until the end

FINISHING

Cut both yarns leaving long tails, thread the light colored yarn into a needle and pass it through the remaining stitches, then tie a firm knot with dark colored one. Weave in ends neatly to get a reversible hat. As a final touch, I also added a small label to mark the back side.
And the hat is finished!








27.7.16

Free Pattern: Bobble Filz

Not much different than any other crafter, there's a great thing I made, I really like and I just can't finish completely. That's the case with my little felted purse. It's sitting in my closet for a couple of years now, never finished with everything else getting in the way. Maybe after I publish this pattern, I finally get round to it.

When I went through a brief "felting period", I bought 2 balls of felting yarn for just 2 euros. I really liked it, but I just couldn't stand the fact that you need a lot more to make something useful. Bobbles and cables are my favorites when it comes to felting, so I did my best in using up all the materials and making something so much in my own style. And after felting in the washing machine, I loved the result. I even tried to sew the lining and the zipper right away, so I don't forget about it. Or so the thing that happened doesn't happen; when we leave things unfinished it gets harder to finish them as time goes by. Unfortunately, the material I had in dark blue (just the proper color I wanted for the lining) ended up too rough. And by the time I got some lighter, softer fabric, it was too late.

But here it is, the silent hero, just waiting to see the light of day!

Here you can find the free pattern! And good luck!


30.6.16

Why do I buy my yarn online

Currently, I'm in a phase of life and knitting where my stash is getting smaller... And it's great! The budget was a bit tight and somehow I simply didn't want to buy more, although I guess I still could. But why not make something that was waiting for such a long time.

That would be a gift scarf for Barbara, a very nice lady my husband met at work, a thank you for all the little favors she's been doing all the time. If you're interested in making one yourself, it's a free pattern, here is the link:
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/anisette



I'm quite happy with how it turned out, although I probably shouldn't have added more stitches to the central panel. I was a bit afraid of it being too narrow while I was casting on, but as a present it would have been just fine. With the original pattern one skein would have been enough, this way I used about one third of the second. No harm done, those two skeins were waiting for this scarf to happen for more than a year :) Getting new yarn is great, but sometimes it gets in the way of the old and some things are left behind for no reason.

This yarn was bought online, as most of my current stash. Sure, I'm missing out on that lovely feeling you get when you wonder through the yarn store, touching those little fluffy balls of potential. And I still go from time to time... But it simply isn't working for me anymore. Aside from that particular feeling, the rest is not worth much.

When I need small amount of yarn for a hat or scarf, I don't mind the price. But if I want to make a sweater or something similar, I'm looking for a discount. It's hard for me to come home saying: "Darling, I just spent 100 euros on something, it might be a sweater, but I'll keep it hidden under our bed for a while, we'll see how it turns out!" I wouldn't appreciate it if my darling did the same :)

For a good reason, if there's a discount in local yarn shops, I think of two things, either it's a minimal quantity or there is something wrong with the yarn. I have two projects to prove it, beloved and still worn, not deserving the flaws that they have.


This is the first sweater I made for myself, one of my favorite colors and simply what I like wearing with my jeans. The yarn was maybe 10% off, not such a bargain. It was only when I attached the sleeves that I noticed that one of them was darker in color then the rest. It won't stop me from wearing it, but I will always know. You know how men are not suppose to notice anything? Well, Dean noticed it the first time he saw me in it :D



 

The second time I got burned in Innsbruck yarn stores was when I got some rather robust yarn for Dean's sweater. We both liked the rough look and this is the kind of sweater he wears outside without a jacket when it's not terribly cold. Also, I assumed it's some small local manufacturer since the label stated MADE IN AUSTRIA and not much else and it was not expensive, some 40 euros all together.

 Here I was lucky enough that the bad ball of yarn is stretching across his back. Just a bit darker... Terrible...

This happened to me in two, let's say, serious yarn stores in Innsbruck, very disappointing. To be absolutely fair, there is a store in Museumstra├če that also sells yarn, this one is quite nice, but they sell many other things. It's mostly good yarn, decent prices, but not much variety. There is a similar store in Sillpark; both are perfect for buying sock yarn, which is not my main interest.

There is one more store that I know of, in Ursulinenpassage, so small that you can hardly enter it :) There, I only bought something when it was displayed outside and I could look around by myself. If you enter, you have to ask for something specific, usually without success.

At least I found an alternative, a great online shop that makes free deliveries in Austria no matter how much yarn you buy, free patterns when you buy the yarn, needles and hooks... There's a chance to buy discontinued yarn for a fine price. The only problem is that they keep sending me free stuff, including cute little brochures, so I end up buying more :) So I miss out on the yarn shop rituals, but I can't risk another shade mismatch, it would be too much...

16.6.16

I can make it on my own ;)

As I've mentioned in my previous post, when it comes to handmade gifts, I make them very often and I don't expect some sort of immense gratitude. It is what it is :) And I don't ask people to take photos while wearing/using something I've made. That's almost a rule for me.

So when I designed and knitted No Trouble Mesh Set for my sister in law Dana, I was very careful about asking for a photo. I explained how I want to take my blog more seriously since I have time right now, how I liked the way the whole thing turned out and if she would be so kind to take a few pictures once she tries it on, no big deal. And she was thrilled to help me, so I was too and I prepared it all. The photos I took were there just in case. When I published the pattern, I was hoping to get her photos in a day or two and add them to the post.

It took a bit longer, though. In the meanwhile I got curious, then bored and eventually started asking all sorts of silly questions. Even if the tunic somehow didn't fit or looked good on her, I didn't see what could be wrong with the scarf? Is it so that just because this one time I didn't actually buy the yarn it doesn't count as a gift? That the time I took designing, knitting, seaming and washing something is not worth the trouble of taking two photos on someones phone? If this was a big and successful blog, this would have been plainly embarrassing :)

On the upside, when I complained to Dean about his sister, he just said: "Who cares?! Why do you even need her photos?" And as usual, he was right. After all, he has seen all the things I've made these few years in Innsbruck.

We went through my stash together and found a perfect yarn to make a brand new set for little ol' me. It's even very old yarn, as I've just found out. Made in West Germany :D It's wonderfully soft and glowing 100% cotton. The color reminds me of  a warm sunset, me somewhere on the beach wearing my new thing over a swimsuit... Well, I can fantasize just a little as I cast on, it's allowed...


This would be my swatch, same needles 8,5mm and a made a few rows in stockinette just to feel the yarn, since the recommended needle size for this yarn is 3-3,5mm. I have to say I was satisfied and continued fantasizing about that beach. After all, this color looks better with a tan :)

The gauge was the same, 9st to 10cm, but I've made the adjustments for the size, to fit chest 92cm. It went something like this: 92*9/20=41,4, then rounding up and adding 2st makes 44st for each upper part in mesh pattern.


I'm amazed how fast it flows! I'm not used to working with large needles, I have to be honest. More often I go for the size smaller then recommended, I prefer dense fabric. But this project makes me smile :)

As things usually work out just fine, as soon as I started my new top, Dana sent me her photos. I guess nothing mysterious was going on after all. Still, I believe I was right not to ask for this kind of a favor so often. It's a great way to make things awkward, isn't it?