Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Koto - a new sweater

Koto is a pattern by Brooklyn Tweed that has been long on my list of sweaters to knit. I love it's architectural construction and unusual shape. I ordered the wool over a year ago but only knitted it a few months back and have been wearing it plenty this winter with the unusual cold weather we had.

This is not a difficult sweater to knit but you should be comfortable to knit short rows which is how the longer bell curved shape around the back is constructed.

I have become devoted to top-down knitting but Brooklyn Tweed patterns are often knit from the bottom up but at least front and back are knitted as one and the sleeves in the round resulting in relatively few seems to close.

I knitted the hem not quite as deep as suggested in the pattern as I did not want the back too long. A small alteration which I am very happy with.

The hem and collar are knit with a beatuiful facing and the collar is faced with stockinette stitch to give it shape and structure.

I used Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in Snowbound just as the original pattern as I fancied a lighter coloured sweater for the winter. But I do think that it would look stunning in a dark blue or even black and I am tempted to knit another one just like that.

The yarn is ideal for this knit as it has structure in itself but is very light and lofty. It also is incredibly warm. It's not the softest yarn as it is Wool instead of Merino but it feels still very good on my skin. It is quite a remarkable yarn indeed. I don't often use the same yarn as recommended in the pattern but in this case would recommend it as this pattern relies on a structural yarn.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

A quilt for Franka

Hello and happy New Year 2018 to everybody. I started the year with a new quilt. My friend and college's daughter hit the big first birthday yesterday and that meant that a quilt had to be created. As everybody knows a baby or toddler needs at least one quilt to cuddle up under or to play with.

So I spend the last two weekends designing, choosing fabric from my stach, assembling, sewing, quilting. And what a joy it was. As you can see my colour theme is centred around the cool tonal range, such as turquoise, blue, grey with a dash of pink thrown in now and then for good measure.

I literally tore through my entire stash to hunt for suitable fabrics and for a while it looked like a bombshell in my studio but that is all part of the fun (though the folding and ordering of said bombshell not so much).

I chose the hourglass pattern intersected with simple squares and I made sure I had a good amount of "I spy" objects to keep the little one interested and entertained.

The finished squares are all 3 1/2 inches and I started the hourglass blogs with 5 1/2  squares to ensure I had enough to square off given that anything sewn on a bias seam is prone to distortion.

I had some of these fabrics for many years now. I remember buying the flipflop fabric when my sister still lived in Bremen and I would take my nephew out in the pram and we would always pop into this  fabric store on the way to the playground. He is now 9 years old and although this is more than 6 years ago he still remembers this.

And come Cotton & Steele cats can't be missed out on the quilt together with the horses and cheeky slogans....

....and dresses and dogs and little windmills and balloons....

The quilt is bound with a teal print that echoes the colours in the quilt and gives it a nice slightly darker frame and in addition works well with the back of the quilt.

The quilt is about 42" by 49" with 84 hourglass blocks and a similar number of simple squares. I can't quite remember the number of different fabrics I used but it is in the same region.

What a great start to the year.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Advent calender for my nieces - finished

As so often it was a rush in the end but I did manage to finish the 2nd of the Advent Calenders for my lovely nieces Sophia and Lily a few weeks back and they are now hanging in their respective rooms filled with treasures and raided with much anticipation every morning.

I really enjoyed making these and am very happy with how they have turned out, knowing they will bring them joy for many years to come. In fact my nephew for whom I made one in 2011 is now 9 years old and only recently started to feel a little to "grown up" for it. Frankly he used it way more years than I anticipated.

And with that I am singing off for this year and would like to wish everybody reading this blog a very happy Christmas and New Year and much creativity to come in 2018. Thank you for visiting and reading about my creative adventures.

Previous posts on the progress of the Advent Calendars calendars can be found here and here.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

The Channel Cardigan from Brooklyn Tweed

When I saw the Channel cardigan in Brooklyn Tweed's collection about 2 years ago I was very taken by it. The pattern, the thoughtful way the raglan sleeves are set, the shawl collar and of course the stylish belt. It's a knit for somebody with advanced skills and although I am somebody that fits the bill, I was apprehensive to start as there were a few techniques new to me such as the tabular cast on.

It sounds like a lot of work and in a way it is but it really goes surprisingly fast. I did not use Brooklyn Tweed's Shelter but instead Loop Alpaca Tweed in the wonderfully named colour "House of Bees". It's a beautiful tweed yarn, possibly a little heavier than Shelter but perfect for this cardigan. The alpaca yarn is incredibly soft to the touch and very warm. While knitting I thought it had too many knots and too many areas where the spinning was inconsistent which for a yarn that expensive should not be the case. Although this was annoying (and I have since gave that feedback to Loop as they commissioned the yarn) it did not stop me and is hardly visibly in the finished jacket.


I knitted in the smallest size as the yarn,  although almost identical to Shelter in length is a little thicker. I thought it might not keep the form as well as shelter but it actually does hold incredibly well.

The tabular cast on was a first for me and I have since used it again and absolutely adore it. It's not difficult, just a bit time intensive to begin with. 

The pattern is not difficult to knit and its an easy repeat of knit and purl for the chevron part and in between it is decided through a brioche pattern. The belt and shawl colour are knit in brioche to give it structure. 

I started of the with just knitting an arm to see if the wool works out and whether I liked it. I did and then slowly made my way through the other pieces. The back and two fronts are knit in one piece and the arms are then attached which makes for a really fast construction. The shawl colour and belt took rather a long time to knit and I used an entire skein for them and in fact all I had left was maybe 10 meter of yarn in total! 


The finished cardigan fits extraordinarily well and I could not be more pleased with it. It's warm and cosy and above all very stylish and has been warn a lot over those past 3 months. 

And I was very pleased when I found those shell buttons in exactly the same yellow/green colour. 

Of all the garments I have knitted in the last two years since my knitting resurgence I am probably most proud of this one. Brookly Tweed pattern are very detailed and a joy to read. In fact I have already cast on another Brookly Tweed pattern cardigan....

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Advent Calendar for my nieces - part 2-

The first calendar (for Sophia) is finished and it really wasn't as much work as I thought and it was enormous fun too.

But in order to reduce the workload I made a few clever decisions. I invested in plastic number and letter templates instead of creating templates myself which saved an enormous amount of time. I simply ironed bondaweb onto the wrong side of the fabric, placed the templates on the right sight, drew around it with a pen, cut them out with scissor and ironed them onto the 10 x 10 pre-cut fabric pieces. This part of the process took no more than 2 hours.
I bought the templates on ebay and they are really good, come in a box and are of course reusable for ever.

I then affixed the numbers and letters (again by machine) permanently with an appliqué blanket stitch. This took a little while of course but again not to bad and to be honest I wasn't going for perfection. 

The rest is  straight forward. I basically made a quilt using a light grey as background so that the coloured and patterned pockets contrast well and therefore stand out. I quilted it in 1/2 in straight lines and bound it in a turquoise fabric that is also from the Cotton & Steele Noel collection.

All pockets are lined to give them better structure and are attached to the quilt by machine. I sewed over the edges several times as I can imagine little hands grabbing them in a haste and I also think this quilt will be used as a quilt (not just a wall hanging) and toy a lot. After all 3 year old kids really don't care to much if this is a Christmas quilt or not. Imagine all the things you can put into all these pockets over an entire year.

I am already onto the quilt for Lily but am not sure if I finish it before my big trip to Japan. Let's see.

First post on this here.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

A red pullover

I love colour in my quilts but also in my wardrobe and I wear it a lot too. I have bright green trousers that I wear happily to work and an all yellow trouser suit. Colour makes me feel good and brightens up the day. And its no different with my knits. I looked at my wardrobe a while back and thought I need a red jumper. And so I knitted a red jumper.

The pattern I chose is again from 'La maison Rililie" and is called "Dessine-moi un mouton". This is the second pattern I have knitted from 'La maison Rililie" after the funky Grandpa cardigan from last year. I love those patterns. They are wonderfully detailed and written with real skill and love to the job. And I have become quite obsessed with top-down knits.


This pattern has a wealth of detail and gave me again a chance to learn a few new techniques such as the wonderful finishing at the cuffs.

I used "Holst" yarn but not the Supersoft version that is used in the pattern, instead I knitted Coast which is half merino and half cotton as I intend to wear this jumper in Spring and Autumn when it is a little cold but not too cold. The yarn is very thin and runs at 350 meters per 50 gr. which is why I knitted it double and mixed two different reds to get a light heathered look. The colours I used are "Rosehip" and "Poppy" and both were bought online at Tangled Yarn here in the UK.

This yarn is fairly inexpensive and has a lot of fans but I yet have to wash the sweater and am a little apprehensive whether it shrinks. I did knit a swatch and washed it by hand in fairly hot water and I observed no discernible shrinkage. The yarn knitted very well but breaks quite easily. I have worn the sweater several times and it feels very good and soft on the skin.

There is so much I love with this jumper, the two colours, the edge finishings that are knitted with just the darker red, the yoke with the unusual raglan shape, the cuffs ....

The only other change (apart from the yarn) I made to the pattern, is that I omitted the raw neckline for a more finished refined look.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Advent Calendars for my nieces - part 1 -

I was going to start this blogpost by saying "It's that time of the year again..." but that would be just too depressing. Though it actually is and in particular for us crafters because making something for Christmas, be it something decorative or a present, takes time.

In 2011 when my lovely nephew was 3 years old I made him an Advent calendar made up of 24 miniature stockings. It was incredibly cute and a huge success and best of all it is still in use although he turned nice this year. That one I also started in the Summer with the intention to make a few stockings every months. In the end I made most of them in November by assembling a production line as it turned out this was a lot of work and a bit tidies too.

Fast forward 6 years and I have two new gorgeous nieces, Sophia aged three and Lily aged one. And both are in need of an Advent calendar. I spend a few weeks thinking and researching as I really don't want to make 48 miniature stockings (that might just push me over the stocking edge...), although they really would look great in their house hanging along he stairs. Sure I could not line the stockings , not quilt them, not add a cuff at the top but then they would look just boring...

So I decided on a different design altogether. During my search I found this gorgeous quilt advent calendar from Cynthia by Ahhh... Quilting and it immediatly hit home. It's a quilt with numbered pockets attached to it. Cynthia put a lot of work into her quilt with ribbons and gorgeous quilting too but I am going to make up my own version of this and keep it altogether a little simpler.  But for those of you who might want to follow her pattern, its on sale in her Craftsy shop. I am sure it is a great pattern but I just want to follow my own path and see where it takes me.

My other hope was to to make something that may not be as much work as the stockings were....well, I have given up on that hope...in for a penny in for a pound. And I don't mind because I think I am going to enjoy this very much.

The next consideration was what fabric to use. And as most manufacturer bring out their Christmas fabric in summer, bang on time Cotton & Steel released this years festive collection called "Noel". 

Its a super fun, contemporary take on Christmas and in style quite similar to the one I used for Hauke's stocking calendar. As much as I like Christmas, what I don't like are most of the fabrics with their dark tones and overly traditional patterns. So this fit the bill perfectly. I ordered at the Fat Quarter Shop a set of forty 10 x 10 squares which will be enough fabric to make forty pockets. I also ordered a half meter each of the "Snow Babies" in red and mint for the tree and 3 more half meters of some of the other patterns, two of which are for the binding and the rest for the tree stump and for the remaining 8 pockets and generally as spare fabric. I am adding solids from stach for the numbering and background fabric.

First up is Sophia's quilt. I was able to assemble the quilt including quilting very fast.  Essentially the tree is a simple triangle with a rectangle attached surrounding by solids. The numbers are (machine) appliquéd too. Next its on to making the pockets.

Happy crafting weekend.