Posted in Knitting

A Knitting Mentor

It’s so cold out. Snowflakes and crisp air always bring up a feeling of joy in me. I have a perfect excuse to get back to my knitting 🙂

Check out a pic of my Florentine Frieze + Woven Tweed + cablesChocolate woolen scarf in the works:

Bohemian Flower MyTrailingHobbies | Florentine Frieze | Woven Tweed | Cable | Knitted Scarf | mytrailinghobbies.wordpress.com

The stitch patterns come from the Walker Treasury, which makes it easy to improvise when you have no plan, other than “making a scarf”, but feel like using a more complex stitch pattern. It helps to use a stitch counter to follow patterns like Florentine Frieze, as Barbara’s books don’t always offer knitting charts.

I like thinking of Barbara Walker, an unsurpassed designer, author, and knit stitch pattern collector, as my knitting mentor.

Stitch dictionaries are a necessity if you like to knit and there’s always something new to learn from each book in the niche. I certainly do not consider investing in a variety of dictionaries a waste. But, if I were to give my younger self one piece of advice regarding a good comprehensive knitting book as a starter and a core, I’d recommend Ms. Walker’s work – from the four Treasuries of Knitting Patterns, to Learn-to-Knit, to Knitting from the Top.

Barbara Walker Treasury of Knitting Patterns | Bohemian Flower MyTrailingHobbies | mytrailinghobbies.wordpress.com

One thing I want to mention, regarding her Mosaic Knitting book: if shopping online, take a close look at the cover before ordering it. Doing some research on her work helped me overcome the shock I felt taking my first look at that book.

The mosaic knitting technique itself is pretty awesome and she does offer some lovely patterns.

Even though her books could use more knitting charts – which is virtually a given in European books of the 20th century, the variety of stitch patterns and combinations thereof always get ideas popping in my head as I flip through the Treasury.

Thanks, Schoolhouse Press, for making her work available to us today 🙂 Seriously, I feel we are lucky to be able to access the info she invested so much time and effort in putting together. And the gray-scale and black and white images of patterns and swatches only help make it look like a classy classic.

Anyway, where was I  – ah my scarf, gotta get back to my scarfie!

Who would you consider your knitting mentor?

🧣

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Posted in Knitting

Intuitive Knits: a Sock

Intuitive Sock | MyTrailingHobbies.wordpress.com

– my intuitive custom-fit knitted holiday sock. This past holiday season, one of my favorite projects was my improvised knitted sock – I only had enough time to make one 🙂 even though it didn’t involve any fancy patterning.  I threw in a couple of “seasonal” colors, a candy-like braid, a reinforced heel, a padded sole, and did some shaping along the way as I felt fit. I can’t say it’s a cute sock, but it is super comfy.

 

 

This one was the first attempt:

Intuitive Sock 1 | MyTrailingHobbies.wordpress.com

– featuring an invisible join at the beginning of work, an elastic 2×2 ribbing and stripes that flow smoothly from color to color and maintaining the pleasant softness of the ribbing.

What made me set the piece aside, for better times, and start anew was the specs of color in purl sections:

Intuitive Sock 2 | MyTrailingHobbies.wordpress.com

– generally, no big deal and oftentimes a desired effect, but not in this case.

So I did the “knit the first row around” when changing colors to get clean stripes. Effect achieved, as seen in the top pic. But the downside is a ribbing not as soft or bouncy as the original.

So this was my intuitive sock knitting bit. Did I enjoy it? Yes. Will my next pair of socks be intuitive? Absolutely.

Pros: freedom to knit as you please; no swatching (never mind the scrapped piece, it’s still usable 🙂

Cons: you do have to try your sock on a few times if you want it to fit nicely (it’s actually fun and could be another ‘pro’ 🙂 ; your pattern options are limited to plain and elastic, unless you are an absolute pro and know exactly how any stitch pattern is going to work out (is it even possible with the wealth of yarn, needles and stitch patterns?). Speaking of plain though, graph patterns are an awesome way to decorate any knitting, I am yet to try doing that with no prior planning whatsoever.

Do you normally knit intuitively or do you prefer to follow a pattern?

🧦

 

 

Posted in Knitting

A Haapsalutely Lovely Day

It was a regular summer day  – sunny-rainy-sunny again -, with one exception: I spent it on a trip to the heart of Estonian lace hearts 🙂 Haapsalu that is.

Haapsalu 0

If you aren’t familiar with Estonian lace yet, Haapsalu is a small charming resort town on the Baltic Sea famous for its exquisite delicate lace shawls often adorned with nupps – tiny bobbles. A Haapsalu shawl is made using very fine merino wool, around 1,400m per 100gr, and 3-3.5mm wooden or bamboo knitting pins or circular needles (and 4-4.5mm – for cast-on).

I’ve noticed that Italian- and Bulgarian- made merino wool is very much loved and birch laminated needles are very popular.

A traditional Haapsalu shawl consists of (a) the center part, square or rectangular, framed with a garter border and (b) the edging knitted separately and then sewn onto the center piece using a special long and fine “ball-point” needle.

A traditional Haapsalu scarf has a more complex composition than a shawl. It includes a lace border placed between the center piece and the separately knitted edging.

I am haapsalutely in love with both the shawl and the scarf. Needless to say, I was super excited to visit the Haapsalu Lace Center!!!

Haapsalu 2

I’ll give you a quick tour via the pictures I took with my phone:

Haapsalu 1

If you’re happy and you own any of these – clap your hands:

Haapsalu 9

Haapsalu 8

– Clap! Clap!

Haapsalu 11Haapsalu 16Haapsalu 17

Apparently, lace knitted wedding dresses are a big thing now.

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Amazingly, every woman I saw that day strolling along the street, where the lace center is located, was wearing or carrying an item made of knitted lace, from a gorgeous lavender lace scarf, to a mother of pearl lace top, to a cream-white lace purse, to a sky-blue lace cardigan…I did not take any pics of those 🙂 but here is a photo of a lace pattern, Royal Lily, that won an August 2017 lace pattern contest in Haapsalu:

Haapsalu Lace Pattern Contest Winner August 2017
Kuningliilia kiri. Aime Edasi ja Siiri Reimann. Haapsalu 2017

 

 

Cheers!

 

Posted in Knitting

A Knitting Drill

“Put the needle in,

Place the cotton round,

Bring this cotton through,

Slip the old stitch off.

Put in,

Place round,

Bring through,

Slip off.

In,

Round,

Through,

Off.”

– Henrietta Warleigh

If you’re a little bit of a musician and a little bit of a knitter, you may be familiar with this 19th century musical drill 🙂 or not. Anyway, it’s the lyrics for The Warleigh Musical Drill I thought I’d share, just because I’ve been doing both musical and knitting drills…

Look  –

MyTrailingHobbies | Tubular Knits - Rainbow

What do you think it’s going to be?

I’m calling the project a Rainbow, which it obviously isn’t, colorway-wise, but, as I work, the colorful yarn and needles bring up images of beautiful rainbows, which I love, kind of like these ones:

MyTrailingHobbies - Rainbow.jpg

– double the fun!

Oh, and that pale blue little thingie on that rainbow needle is a straw stitch marker I never knit without anymore 🙂

Cheers!

 

Posted in Knitting

A Lacy Day

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– a day when I don’t feel like doing much, so I pick up pins and/or needles and do some lace knitting.

The other day, I made a Cornflower circular block:

Lace Knitting - Cornflower Circular Block

The wool is Lithuanian made Artistic colorway yarn – so lovely – and easy to work with. Lesley Stanfield and Melody Griffiths have a perfect pattern – a variation of a classic easy and simple eyelet circle. So I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel and used their pattern to make the Cornflower.

Then, I swatched an ‘eyelet hearts’ pattern, which can be found on VogueKnitting here, using wool that comes from Raasiku:

Lace Hearts - Lace Knitting

Then, I made another piece of lace hearts fabric and wet-felted it:

Lace Hearts - Lace Knitting - Wet-Felted

The next little project – for another lacy day – making these lace hearts the Estonian way, using Estonian yarn and a pattern in Pitsilised Koekirjad, an Estonian lace knitting book, 2nd edition, by Leily Reimann:

Pitsilised Koerkirjad - Estonian Lace

The pattern is slightly larger, with a multiple of 14 sts and a repeat of 12 rows, techniques are a bit different too, but the overall results, judging by the photo in the book, should be as pretty, if not prettier, as the swatches above 🙂

Oh, and at the top of this post is an attempt to claim my blog on bloglovin, which, allegedly, makes it easier to keep up with updates on our favorite blogs. All I have to do is include the link at the top of my post 🙂

Cheers!

Posted in Knitting

The Last Straw, Upcycled

I was on a longish flight from point A to point B, with no project to work on, because I checked most of my stuff in an attempt to travel super light. A few minutes into the flight a lady across the isle pulled out her sketchbook and pencils and got to work – how fun! A little while later, another person, right behind her, got her crochet out – what were the odds? Reading the word “blog” on a random car in heavy traffic was sort of the last straw…and here I am 🙂

Speaking of straws, did you know these could make the best stitch markers ever for your knitting, circular or not? I was working on a large piece of lace knitting when one of the padlock-type markers snapped in the middle of the work for no apparent reason and I had no more markers left.  My mind rushed through a number of options, none of which were good enough. Then I found a bright colored straw in a kitchen drawer, which I immediately visualized as a set of perfect tiny round stitch markers slipping easily from one needle to the other. I highly recommend making yourself some of these DIY stitch markers and saving yourself some money and doing good for the environment by upcycling some plastic!!!

Upcycled Straw - DIY Stitch Marker

Additionally, these markers make the job of tracking your stitch count a breeze!!!

DIY Stitch Markers

Here’s my latest lace knitting designing project ‘featuring’ my upcycled straw stitch markers and the stitch count technique 🙂

Lace Knitting with DIY Stitch Markers.jpg

 

The lovely royal blue 2-ply pure (brushed?) wool comes from Lithuania; it’s a bit on a coarse side, but still very pleasant to touch (thankfully, I’m not allergic to this type of fiber). This yarn and the laminated birch circular needles – my new favorite – are a pleasure to work with, even in the summer!  ❤

Posted in Knitting, Yarn

Woolen Treasures

Note to self, and anyone this may resonate with:

Don’t resent change! Go with the flow!!! Get out there and look for gems it has in store for you. Results may more than pleasantly surprise you 🙂

8.2 Art Yarn 1
Loving my scarf to be
8.1 Art Yarn 2
Oh the lovely colors of the heavenly yarn that still smells of soft and fluffy sheep!
8.2 Art Yarn 3
Bouncy ball of pure wool yarn

Happy lace knitting and crocheting to me and to you 🙂

Posted in Knitting

Bohemian Knitting

Literally.

I love this one book of lace knitting designs by Marianne Kinzel. Or, actually, both of her books. I wonder if she had more published… The author-designer was born and learned to knit and design her knits in Bohemia. I am in love with her floral designs. And, her books include both written instructions and symbol charts!

So, I decided to make a wall hanging of a lace knit flower based on her Thistle Design. I got some crochet cotton thread and a set of bamboo double ended knitting needles. I thought I’d complete about 30 rounds or so to get a nice size flower. I know, her design is too majestic to be only partially completed  for a mere purpose of making a wall hanging. But such was my idea. The first 2 dozen rounds worked up beautifully on the tiny bamboo pins, at which point I had to switch to a circular set of needles as the piece was outgrowing the size of my bamboo pins.

Bohemian Knitting 1

I placed the work on a set of these shiny sleek circular needles – I love the color and how smooth they are. Half way into the next round I realized that hadn’t been the best choice for the project. Cotton thread was getting caught on the join between the cord and the needle. This determined the size of my bohemian knit flower:

Bohemian Knitting 2

It’s not the first time that these lovely needles didn’t work with cotton. I’d previously had to unravel my cotton blend hearts:

Lace Hearts

They do work great with acryllic and wool. I have to keep that in mind each time I pick up cotton. They just look so nice and appear to be such a perfect match for cotton thread and yarn that I keep wanting to experiment, hoping that it’ll work better next time.

Well, for my next project, I’ll have to get a set of circular bamboo needles in this particular size. Time and time again, I come to a conclusion that bamboo needles are the best. I still love working with my colorful needles made from different materials, but investing in a complete set of circular ‘bamboo’ of all useful sizes appears to be a must at this point…

Although, I’m not sure if I’d change my mind if I tried a pair of Prym ergonomic knitting needles. I am hoping to figure out the best way to purchase one. I want to see if they work any better. They look super cool and futuristic 🙂

Posted in Crochet, Knitting

Knitting, Knooking, and Crocheting too

My knit and crochet Lucky Lilac scarf is still work in progress. I’ve used up one skein of I Love this Cotton! and I’d like to add about two more:

Lucky Lilac Knit and Crochet Scarf

I really like this pattern, which I picked out to make “imitation” lilac bush/tree leaves.

Speaking of leaf patterns, if you don’t have a stitch collection/dictionary around, such as Barbara Walker’s treasury books, or Harmony guides, or (include your favorite 🙂 ), or Vogue Knitting Stitchitionary publications (see also: http://www.vogueknitting.com/resources/stitchionary), you can find some lovely vintage or antique patterns in books that are in the public domain now. There’s a nice variety of crochet, knitting, tatting, embroidery… books on The Antique Pattern Library – New Media Arts Inc’s project – site (www.antiquepatternlibrary.org), which looks like a great resource listing materials donated by folks from different parts of the world. Per New Media Arts Inc’s website, “Antique Pattern Library is a library of public domain craft publications and patterns, helping ancient crafts survive and allowing everybody, regardless of money, to share in the rich heritage of patterns our ancestors left us. It provides inspiration and tutorials, patterns and philosopies. Much work goes into making the sources useful for crafters, and as a result this maker’s library is appreciated and used worldwide.”

Anyway, where was I, ah right, you can find a nice leaf pattern or two in Antique Pattern Library’s or the Internet Archive’s public domain files:

  • Knitting: How to Knit and What to Knit. Compiled and Edited by Marie Louise Kerzman. – see p.75-76;
  • Kant-Breiwerk naar Oude Patronen door Luoise Thompson en Elis. M. Rogge – see p.66.
  • The Jenny June Series Manuals for Ladies. Knitting and Crochet. A Guide to the Use of the Needle and the Hook. 200 Illustrations. Edited by Jenny June. (see p.71-72…for a nice border pattern).

I bet there’s more too. It’s a pretty amazing collection.

Back to my scarf, when the knitting is complete, I’ll decorate it with my little Lucky Lilac crochet flowers:

Crochet Lucky Lilac

Here’s a quick pattern for the flower, which I’ll chart and share at some point 🙂

Foundation: unfinished slipknot (usk, see image in my blogspot post for details re usk), ch3, sl st in usk to join. Rnd 1: ch1, 10sc around, sl st in 1st sc to join.

Rnd 2: ch4, 3tr closed cluster (chain 3 loop on hook, work 3 incomplete trs in same sc as join – 4 loops on hook, yo, pull through 3 loops – 2 loops on hook, yo, pull through remaining 2 loops to make a closing chain – 3tr closed cluster complete); ch4, sl st in same sc as join. One petal complete.

3tr closed cluster - crochet stitch

(sl st in next sc. In next sc: sl st, ch4, 3tr closed cluster, ch4, sl st) x4; sl st in sl st to join.

I like regular lilacs too – just work 8 sc in Rnd 1 and make 4 petals.

The other day, I felt like doing some knooking, but didn’t have a knooking needle – there happened to be none available in any of the huge craft stores nearby the day I wanted to try knooking, so I ended up using a tunisian crochet hook and a piece of satin cord, which made what I call my perfect DIY knooking needle.

DIY Knooking Needle Experiment

The satin cord was too thin to make the knooking process faster or easier; a thicker cord made too big a knot that would not slide through loops. It was not a speedy process, but the tool did work well enough to satisfy my curiosity about the knooking technique. I’ll be doing more of it once I have an adequate knooking needle.

Cheers!