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birthday socks

for Brandon’s 28th birthday (first socks I ever knit, I’m so happy they fit! In Knit Pick’s Wool of the Andes hand-dyed):

mad hatter

This is a hat I knit as a gift recently. I only had one day to knit it, so I was knitting madly all day long, and finished it just in time! The pattern is called Cloche du Bois and can be found here. I knit it in Sirdar Chunky with Wool – not my first choice, since it has only a small percentage of wool, but the only thing I could find at short notice in the desired color. I’m quite please with how it turned out, though.

 

 

…but I wish I had! I love love love going treasure-hunting in thrift stores. It’s one of my favorite things, especially since I love vintage clothing. On one of our recent trips to our local store, a special find was this:

It’s 100% pure new wool, handknit, the tag reads “Fisherman, out of Ireland”. I love the fair isle pattern as well as the tweedy flecks. It’s making me want to tackle a fair isle project next! But I think I should focus on some summer cotton knitting first.

Anyway, I took this beauty with me when my husband, puppy and I went camping last weekend. Even though the weather was gorgeous, it still got pretty cold at night. The sweater kept me wonderfully warm by the campfire in the evening and I even wore it on top of my pajamas while sleeping. We had such a fun time camping, walking in the woods, shivering on the (due to the strong North Sea wind still cold) beach, grilling our dinners and telling each other ghost stories by the fire. It was great! 

That reminds me, I recently read a discussion somewhere about whether or not wonderful handknits should be taken on such trips at all. The drawback of course is that they might get dirty, but I firmly believe that handknits should be worn, especially, even, on occasions like these. That is what they are made for after all, right? I can understand the sentiment of not wanting something you put so much time, effort and love into making, to get dirty or worn out at some point, but then, what is the point of having it at all? Wool is such a wonderfully strong material, and handknits stand the test of time much better than store-bought items. It makes me think a bit of some of the rugs we have in our house. They are stunning, handmade Middle Eastern rugs made of wool and silk with beautiful colours and patterns. At first I was almost afraid to step on them! Well, not really, but the thought of our then-not-yet housetrained puppy having a “moment” on them definitely worried me. Yet my husband, the rug afficionada who taught me all about rugs, was not at all faced by the prospect (which in the end did happen several times). As he said, these rugs have been made for centuries, and were originally designed to cover the sandy floor of a bedouin’s tent in the desert. Not only people, but camels as well, would walk on them. They can withstand a whole lot, which is why they’re so great – they’re functional, yet beautiful. That’s how I feel about handknits as well.

While I live too far away from any stitch and bitch gathering or knitting circle that I know of, I never lack company while knitting. Frequently, my husband will serenade me with beautiful trumpet music while I knit, or our puppy will try to climb in my lap, even though she is rather too big for that. I love knitting with my mom as well. We only get to do that every once in a while, as we live in different countries. Luckily we often get to visit though. This summer we are all going camping in France together and I already look forward to hours of knitting in the shade in front of our tent or caravan. My mom tends to joke about this, as she has never before brought her knitting with her on vacation, and the image of us knitting by the tent, on the beach, or by the side of the pool amuses her greatly. But I am of course very serious, and knit we shall!

 

 

Below are some of my first knitting projects I completed since I (re-)learned how to knit. The very first ones are at the bottom of the post. Since completing these projects I have knit a scarf and hat set for my wonderful husband, as well as a V-neck sweater from Rowan’s “New Shapes”. I think that’s about all I knit the past (almost) year or so. Currently I’m working on the “Cardigan with Leaf Ties” from Stefanie Japel, a cabled sweater for my husband (“Charley” by Sarah Hatton from Rowan mag #37)  and a striped tank top design of my own, that evolved out of trying to knit a striped sweater as my second sweater, with too big needles and at a way too big gauge. After lying sadly abandoned for months I decided to turn the sweater-to-be into something different, and in the process learn to knit in the round… which I have quickly grown rather addicted to. I hope it will turn out moderately wearable! As for my first few knittings…

Pictured below is the first sweater I knit that I really love to wear. The others I like as well, but this one, I simply really love to wear, especially this time of year, in the decidedly cool English springtime. It’s the famous (or infamous?) 3-hour sweater. A pattern from the 1930s, most people knitting this seem to have some issues with the gauge, as did I. Switching from 5mm to 10mm needles seems to be a bit much! I first knitted this sweater exactly according to pattern, using Alessandra Filati’s Morbidoso, a heavy DK weight yarn, double stranded to get the proper gauge. As you can see, the finish project, below in pink, turned out a bit large. It’s still wearable, but definitely not my favorite. Halfway knitting the sweater however, I came upon a knitalong on Crafster for this pattern, where a kind fellow knitter had posted her modern day version of this pattern. So next, I knitted the modern version as well (in Knitpick’s Shine Worsted) and the result was much more to my liking. Here are the pictures: 

My first scarf, “Branching Out” from Knitty. Knitted in Alessandra Filati’s Morbidoso, as a present for my mom’s birthday. It was my first lace project, and while I really enjoyed knitting it, I was also happy it was a worsted weight yarn and knitted up fairly quickly, because it definitely was a lot of work and a lot of counting.

My first sweater, “To Dye For” from Stitch ‘n Bitch (which incidentally also re-taught me to knit… luckily as I began practicing I remembered quite a bit of my first foray into the world of knitting, as a wee 8 year old). I made a few mistakes, but thankfully they are not too noticeable. Knitted in a yarn (sadly forgot the name and cannot find it online) from Alessandra Filati. Something with 70% wool, a little mohair and a little acrylic, I really enjoy the heathered colours and fitted shape of this one.

first sweater

This little baby bear was my very first (completed) knitting project. I knit it for my little baby niece who at the time had just entered the world. As you can tell from the picture, our puppy Sophie was quite fascinated!

my very first (completed) knitting project