Feb 012011

So here it is after a bit of procrastination because I found that I was a bit scared of talking English in “public”, the über-long special English of my knitting podcast. Complete with German accent that gets worse towards the end, and a few “Germanisms” thrown in for good measure.

I mostly talk about all the projects I’ve been working on since August which you can find on my ravelry projects page. Sorry there are so few pictures.

I mentioned Tini because she gave me the idea for one of the topics, and

the Ouroborous Sweater by Debbie New.

Also there is a lot of mention of Wollmeise yarn.

Jan 122011

Ein gutes neues Jahr wünsche ich allen und nun zu den guten Vorsätzen:

Gute Vorsätze allgemein:

  • flylady
  • word of the year (Das ist ein Link zu einem Post von mir, in dem ich über meine Wahl eines “Wort des Jahres” für 2009 schreibe und der Post enthält auch Links zu dem Blog von dem ich die Idee habe.)


Die nächste Folge wird eine Spezialfolge auf Englisch sein, aber keine Angst, das wird “Best of”, diejenigen, die nicht so gut Englisch können, verpassen nichts wesentliches.

Was ich gerade stricke und spinne:

weiter wurden erwähnt:

Dec 062010

Es gibt recht viel zu erzählen, schließlich ist das die erste Sendung seit vier Wochen.

NaNoWriMo habe ich überstanden und mir meine “Gewinner-Urkunde” abgeholt, mein NaKniSweMo-Pulli ist fertig und ich war beim Adventsspinnen in Ohlstadt. (Ich kann leider nicht direkt auf das Spinntreffen verlinken, nur auf das Forum als Ganzes.)

Fertige Projekte:

In Arbeit:

Liegt dumm rum und geht nichts weiter:

Außerdem wurde erwähnt:

Des weiteren habe ich noch einen blöden Fehler gemacht, ich habe des öfteren von linksgerichteten Abnahmen geredet und dabei jedes Mal gesagt, dass ich die Maschen links zusammenstricke. Das war falsch, ich stricke die Maschen natürlich rechts zusammen, verschränkt oder sonstwie….

Nov 052010

Viel Altes und auch etwas Neues, dieses Mal denke ich darüber nach, was Strickgenuss ausmacht.

Ferner wurden erwähnt:

Außerdem ist mir dieses Mal beim Anhören das erste Mal aufgefallen, dass mein Podcast zischelt. Es gibt so einen hochfrequenten Nachhall, der daher kommt, dass mein Kopfhörer nicht ganz dicht ist und das Mikrophon mich von dort zusätzlich aufnimmt. Tut mir sehr leid, dass ist mir vorher nie aufgefallen. Ich dachte, ich hätte einen geschlossenen Kopfhörer, aber nein. Nächstes Mal nehme ich den wirklich geschlossenen Kopfhörer von meinem Mann, dann dürfte das nicht mehr vorkommen.

Oct 302010

This is what happens when you stop doing project 365, and then you no longer feel guilty when you blog less than once a week, and then life happens, and – you know… You post a short thing about the crap you lug around every day, and that was that. Thanks for all of you ideas, by the way, maybe I will get a basket or tote, or something. Maybe I will just re-organize myself and put things back in time, and then I won’t have to carry all that stuff around all the time. I also had this vision of making a giant tote bag with extra pockets for the laptop, all the gadgets, my giant thermos, and a used mug. The idea was great, and I could use the expandable tote pattern and Lisa’s laptop bag pattern from her book “the bag making bible” and mix the two. Right after I have finished making the skirt, and a couple of spindle bags and a Kindle cover. Which reminds me that I have dowels and toy wheels sitting on my desk that I had wanted to make into drop spindles.

But then this is the first day of fall break (which lasts a whole week, ahem), and we’ll ignore the fact that it’s only two more days until NaNoWriMo, and that I still have to read through the first part of the novel I’m supposed to write the second part of so that I can make a list of things that happened, and people I wrote about. It would be especially nice to remember the spelling of my main character’s name.

I’m also currently doing a self-imposed round of spinning workshops. I suppose things won’t get boring any time soon, which is a good thing. I did take a few more pictures that I haven’t shown here, so get something nice to drink, lean back and let me show you what I did:

I recorded more podcast episodes:


I got out my sewing machine and made “treadle booties” for my spinning wheel. When folded the treadles tend to knock against the wheel which then leaves marks in turn. Majacraft recommends wrapping the wheel in a towel but that’s bulky and tends to slip.

treadle booties

My husband happened to run errands for once, and he remembered how much I love roses and got me these:


I looked around for pretty things to take pictures of and these were on my desk.


Trying to take another “artsy” picture, this is a table that my son arranged in his room.


I got a surprise package that was all wrapped up in Mozart galleys:


That confused me a bit because I have a friend who used to do research for the new complete edition of Mozart’s works, and that was what the package was wrapped in. It turned out that the package was a very belated birthday present that a knitterly friend had gotten for me in Scotland:

surprise wool

It is the most amazing roving. It’s from sheep that live on the beach and eat seaweed. They have a dual coats and the soft layer is gorgeous and really soft, and special. I might have to learn how to dye fiber for this.

I also spent a lot of time and energy finishing knitting projects that have been sitting around for up to a year. First, a new sweater (pardon the sweat pants):


Socks for my husband:

devon in teal

A shawl (another Damson by Ysolda Teague made from Drachenwolle):

damson in plum

Now on to my self-imposed (and self-taught) spinning workshop. I wanted to learn how to make really thin singles for lace because I have this gorgeous Blue Faced Leicester top that I want to make into a shawl. I started spinning from that top only to find that there is much to learn, and so I used something else I had sitting around. Here you see the fruits of an evening of spinning:

lace singles

After two nights of this I decided to learn how to chain-ply it on the third night:

lace chain-ply

The pin in the picture above is a big pin but still, the yarn is pretty skinny. I know a lot more about spinning real thin now, I also think it might be a good idea to wait with the spinning of this until I can afford a lace-flyer and lace-bobbins. Not that they are a magic trick but I think they will make spinning lace yarn considerably easier.

I will go on and take pictures and post them here because I like it very much. I only stopped doing the “a picture a day”-thing because I have too many things I need to see to every day, and more often than not I was frantically taking a picture at 11.30 at night. Also my life is not very visually interesting, I sit at home all the time, and often when I do go out I forget to take the camera.

Oct 132010

I promised my podcast listeners to post pictures of my stash. (And this is all of it by the way, nothing hidden, all out in the open.)

First the corner in my bedroom that holds all the crafting books and most of the yarn:


Looking into those boxes:


The biggest box holds sweater yarn, the medium one is mostly dk and sports weight, and the smallest one holds most of the sock yarn. Then there is the drawer that holds mostly the yarn of works in progress. Also, miscellaneous sock yarn, notions, fabric and interfacing. There is more fabric stash elsewhere, I have a box with 3 meters of canvas in another dresser, and a box with 3 meters of denim up in the attic. On top of the dresser is a plastic bag with yarn for a hat and mittens for my husband, and several pairs of socks in use together with the library books. (Since taking the picture the socks have been washed, I have installed a dirty socks basket, the hat has been knitted, and the rest of the yarn has been put into the drawer.)


Then there is the small shelf above the bed that holds all my handpainted sock yarn. Also dictionaries. (You might note that there are way more dictionaries than sock yarn.)


In my studio there are some bins with spinning fiber. There is also another, very small box that holds yarn and finished projects that I need to take pictures of for ravelry. Don’t panic, the yarn fits easily into the drawer in the bedroom.


Looking at these I think that I might not have enough yarn in the house. What do you think?

Oct 112010

Eine extralange Folge dieses Mal, aus lauter Angst, wieder nur eine Mini-Show abzuliefern hatte ich mir etwas viel vorgenommen. Ich rede über:

Mir ist dann erst später aufgefallen, dass ich die in der voherigen Folge versprochenen Stash-Fotos immer noch nicht veröffentlicht habe. Ich habe sie schon gemacht und sie sind auf Flickr zu sehen. Hier im Blog gibt es sie bald. Versprochen.

(Und hier sind sie nun: Stash-Fotos.)

Apr 062010

First of all I have finally managed to finish writing, translating and uploading the two lace patters I had designed for my lace classes.

It all started way back last summer when suddenly I realized that if I wanted to teach a lace knitting class I would have to provide the students with some sort of pattern. I couldn’t take somebody else’s pattern for teaching (well, I would have needed permission), most patterns I like are in English (and I’m teaching these classes in German), plus I had very specific ideas about what to teach.

So I decided to design a pattern. Now, I have designed things before, I did a lot of knitting in the 80s when there weren’t a lot of nice patterns around, and all sweaters were very boxy. Apart from the sweater that had a fancy brioche pattern in three colors there was never anything fancy. (Well, and then the lace sweater, and when I taught myself how to knit entrelac, and gloves.)

I already had a sketch lying around somewhere because back when I made a purple stole for a friend of mine I originally had planned to design a pattern just for her. My problem was, though, that there is no lace yarn to be found at my local yarn store (apart from mohair, and I’m not going to give a beginner mohair which is impossible to unravel). So I had to make something that used sock yarn. And that idea was for a big stole with very thin yarn.

I ordered nice hand dyed semi-solid yarn with bamboo from Drachenwolle, made another sketch and thought, “I’ll do this during summer break.” Summer break came and went and – surprise – I hadn’t worked on my pattern. Fall came around, I found that I was somewhat reluctant to design something without even knowing if there would be enough people interested in a class but then I had to start some time. Finally, I gave in, pulled out a couple of stitch dictionaries and used those instead of doing it all from scratch. I made the prototype in two weeks time, it went really fast and easy. Then came the charting. Not easy and fast at all. I think I changed the charts four times to make them clear and easy to follow.

The lace knitting class provided me with test knitters. I had wanted this class to be the “lace knitting class to end all lace knitting classes”. I set out to teach them everything so that they would be able to knit every lace project they ever wanted to. So this little shawlette is quite complicated. It uses almost every kind of decrease known to knitters, and it has nupps, and stars.


It’s called Estnisches Tüchlein/Estonian Shawlette because that’s what it is. You can download it for free. There’s a German and an English version of the pattern.

My students liked the pattern, and the class even though after week one they were sure they’d never get it. But all of them came back for more, and at the end of our fourth evening everybody was confident they knew everything necessary to finish the shawl. And then they asked me for a follow-up class.

Silly me, I thought I had taught them everything they needed to know to go off on their own but they wanted to come back. So there’s a second lace knitting class this semester. Sadly I can’t use the same pattern as last time because of the students who already did that. So I had to design a new pattern. This time I wanted to teach them two things they hadn’t learned the class before, namely provisional cast-on and doing lace on both right and wrong side rows. And I wanted the pattern to be a bit easier than the first seeing that the first one kicked everybody’s ass.

Well, the thought of me making simple things is really funny. I wrote the pattern, I thought it’d be easy-peasy, then I got bored (as I’m wont to do), and slapped on a border that’s so hard to knit it made my own head hurt. Also, I – again – designed on a deadline, not only was there the beginning of the class looming, I also decided to do it during the ravelympics.

What are the ravelympics, you’ll ask? Unless you’re one of the thousands of people participating. The ravelympics are something that took place on ravelry during the winter olympics. The goal was to find a challenging but doable project, cast on during the opening ceremony and finish before the closing ceremony. I wouldn’t have thought about joining (much) if not for a friend of mine who was team captain for team Germany. And you know how much I love crazy internet challenges and strange, artificial, and arbitrary deadlines.

I tried to stay sensible though, and only planned two projects during that time. Project A was making this roving into socks:



All the pictures are dark and dreary because that’s what the weather was like in February.

My socks were done in time and I got some medals:

And project B was to design and knit that lace scarf, write the pattern and publish it on ravelry.


And I did it! And I have the medals to prove it.

And out of the process you get a free pattern for a lace scarf. The scarf is called Erster Frühling/First Spring for download here. (And I get a very cozy pair of yummy socks. Even though I’m not really taken with the colors. I will have to learn chain plying for my next pair. I already ordered the roving. Because while my sock drawer is so full that I can’t quite close it anymore, I really need some more hand-spun, hand-knit socks that are really, really warm. Just in time for spring.)

Mar 312010

As crafty people we often pride ourselves of living besides the mainstream, not prone to consumerism, we feel a bit more independent of the big corporations and are less prone to fall for the next plastic thing that comes our way with a promise to make us happier or more beautiful. But then we don’t live in a bubble, and we do consume all the time. As was brought home to me last week.

A few days earlier the new spring and summer edition of knitty went public. For those of you who don’t know, knitty is an online knitting magazine with all free patterns. When I saw that it had come out I went over and had a look. Now, the first thing I always look at is knittyspin. That’s the part of knitty about spinning, and about patterns made with handspun. And then I saw Tappan Zee. It’s a short-sleeved cardigan with a little lace around the yoke. I looked at it and thought, “I have to have this!” I looked at the requirements for the yarn, found that I didn’t have anything in stash that was suitable, went over to an online fiber shop, ordered 400 grams of merino-silk top, threw in another 300 grams of assorted merino for sock yarn, printed out the pattern, and started waiting.

And that was the moment it hit me. This is insane. I felt that I absolutely had to print out the pattern this instant, when first I would have to wait for the fiber to arrive, then I would have to spin it, ply it, wash it, and only then could I start knitting. I won’t be needing the pattern for another four weeks or so. The only thing I need earlier is the specifications of the yarn I have to make for it. But I absolutely felt that I needed the pattern to sit there, right in the middle of my desk.

Now, I have to add that I made a little pact with myself not to buy any more fiber until the 400 grams I already have sitting here are all spun up. I’m a little fed up with the way that there’s yarn everywhere in my house, leaping at me from unexpected places. I just finished spinning the yarn I bought last June, and am slowly starting to inch my way through some of what I bought last September. I’m not quite sure but since last summer I have spun about 800 grams of fiber. I still have 500 grams sitting around here (See how that became 100 grams more over the last two sentences? That’s because I remembered the other fiber I still have.), and then I went out to buy 700 more grams just because I had seen a pattern for a little orange cardigan in a magazine. By my own estimate once that fiber arrives I will have enough fiber here to keep me spinning for the next year or longer.

So, what started this? For one – as you all know – I can’t resist anything orange. If that cardigan hadn’t been made of orange wool I probably would have thought, “Oh, that’s interesting but I don’t need a pattern for it, I can make that myself.” and I would have put it aside because yoke sweaters don’t look that good on me, and I never wear short sleeved cardigans. But since it is orange, and the model has pink hair – I couldn’t resist. Well, I could have if I really had wanted to but I didn’t want to.

Also I really need a cardigan or two. One of my go-to cotton cardigans is starting to look old and ratty, no surprise if you know that I bought it in 2003, and I wore it almost constantly since then. On the other hand a merino and silk cardi will probably be too hot. But maybe the short sleeves will help.

The other thing is that despite my deeply felt cardigan shortage I do have a handspun cardigan and a handknit sweater sitting here that are almost finished. I only need to weave in the ends and sew on some buttons. These sweaters have been sitting here for months, and I haven’t managed to finish them despite my desperate need for more cardigans.

So, to be frank, I really didn’t act in any way sensible when I ordered all that fiber. I had this “I want that!”-impulse, and acted upon it. And it’s that same impulse that makes us buy yet more shoes, or three dozen skeins of sock yarn even thought we could insulate our houses with the yarn we already have sitting around. It’s not the most mature thing to do.

I’m still okay with my decision, and I did start spinning that merino-silk as soon as it arrives. My impulse cost me about 25 Euros, and I will make something out of that fiber for sure. But I have to see to it that I don’t give in to the Want too often.

Giving in to the Want once in a while is a good thing and can make us happy. Giving in to it all the times is unhealthy and makes us unhappy.