Knitting. Sand and Arizona

It’s Wednesday, which means it’s time to share what’s on the needles/crochet hooks at Yarn Along.

My WIP list is pretty short right now. Sand sweater I am working on is slowly growing. When I am knitting a tuck stitch on the machine it feels like weaving – so much hand manipulation. I will try to put a post with step-by-step photos to show you how it is being formed. The process is really mesmerizing – you have to stop every 4th row to change the carriage settings and the position of needles.

Texture. Machine Knitting

I took the back part of the machine yesterday to see how the fabric is working out. Tuck stitch is creating a beautiful texture! I am using 100% mercerized cotton, so the fabric is pretty stiff right now, I hope it will loosen up after blocking. But just touching and looking at it brought so many ideas what else can be done with that. The fabric created holds the shape beautifully and I believe can be used for pretty structured garments! How exciting! I will finish this simple sweater, but I am sure I will use this technique more than once in the future. I imagine how different it will feel and look like in wool/alpaca/linen. So many possibilities for creativity!

Texture. Machine Knitting

My second WIP is a cotton/silk pullover, Arizona, using a Contiguous method I told you about on Sunday. As you can see I haven’t made much progress yet – I was experimenting with the number of stitches for a “shoulder seam” and increase methods. The beginning of a Contiguous method is very similar to top down raglan, the main difference is that you don’t increase stitches for a sleeve, but create a shoulder seam out of which a set-in sleeve will grow later. The other difference is that you increase not every other row/every 4th row as usually done in the classic raglan, but you increase stitches outside of markers every row. I started using a usual M1 increase, but quickly understood it wasn’t working out – the stitches were leaning into different directions. Turns out there is whole discussion devoted to shoulder increases in the Contiguous Method Ravelry group, where knitters experiment and share different ways of creating a shoulder seam with nice looking increases. I really loved one of the knitter’s posts (mwaa on Ravelry) where she knitted a very big swatch and tried all kinds of increase methods, took photos of each of them and shared a step-by-step instructions!

Texture Knitting

So I am still experimenting with it and curious to see where it will take me!

I hope you are having a great week and enjoying your craft!


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Summer Yarns

Happy Sunday!

There is really nothing better for me than spring early Sunday mornings when the windows are wide open, birds are starting to sing and the sun is slowly waking up while I am still in my pajamas playing with the yarn. I am head and toes into our fall mini pattern collection with Moeke, but once in awhile I take a break and play with new fiber, textures and shapes. I did a revision of my stash on Friday afternoon and organised everything properly. I took every single skein out and sorted all of them. It took forever, because I would stop often just to touch yarn and become driven away into the realm of future project fantasies. I don’t have any “just for fun” projects on my needles and I desperately need one. While sorting out my stash, I found Rowan skeins that are 1.5 years old. How could I forget about them?!

Summer Yarn

Savannah, 94% cotton/6% silk. It is not a usual blend though. The thread itself is basically a cotton ribbon wrapped with silk thin thread. How amazing is that?! The ribbon is of different width throughout the skein which creates a very unusual texture.

Summer Yarn

Unfortunately the yarn is discontinued, such a shame! I would love to get more in other colors. Mine is called Arizona, a beautiful shade of brown.

Looking at the swatch, I realized that simple stockinette is just enough for this rich texture. And it will be perfect for a project I had in mind for ages. I would love to finally knit a sweater using Contiguous method by Susie Myers. I had it in queue for ages and I actually knitted something using it in the “pre-blog” era, but I would love to come back to it again. Contiguous method is a way of knitting a set-in sleeve together with the body from the top. I will experiment with it and let you know how it works out.

Summer Yarn

The second re-found treasure brought so many memories. I got the yarn 2 years ago when visiting my family in Russia. I was ecstatic to find Italian cotton/linen blend – BBB filati LINO – in the LYS. While on vacation I made a garter stitch loose summer sweater that I absolutely loved, but didn’t have a chance to wear – a couple of weeks after I came back home we were hit by a huge hurricane that tore our house apart and the sweater along with it.

Knitting Sweater

It hurts my eyes to look at it even right now… Anyway, I was happy to find leftovers from the sweater. I think I had more skeins left than I used for a sweater :) It should be enough for a light summer sleeveless top with a little bit of texture. I am not sure yet if I use a pattern or just experiment as I go. I would really recommend this yarn for summer garments  – it is loosely spun which makes it springy and not stiff at all! As far as I know, it is mostly sold in Europe; I am not sure if you can get it in the States, but if you find it – go for it. I used it in different shade for my Soho Dress, it’s still in perfect condition.

Summer Yarn

Summer yarns are always so refreshing to work with! It always feels great to switch between the fibers – a great boost for creativity!
Summer Yarn

Enjoy your Sunday!

P.S. In case you are wondering about the crochet background blanket, it is Textured Chevron Crochet blanket, you can find a free pattern HERE.


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Friday Knitting Inspiration. Johan Ku.

Happy Friday!

It’s been awhile since my last Knitting Inspiration post, life’s been busy. Today I would love to introduce you one of my favorite and inspiring knitwear designers – Johan Ku. Johan was born in Taiwan, in a family who was very far from the world of art or fashion. At the age of 17 Johan started working as a freelance graphic designer and later became fascinated with the fashion and textile design. During his studies, Johan released his “Emotional Sculpture” knitwear collection – a mix between wearable shapes and art pieces; after that the world’s fashion industry labeled him “The Glory of Taiwan”, acknowledging his innovative approach to knit textiles.

Knitting inspiration
“Emotional Sculpture” collection. Photo: www.johanku.com

Johan’s signature style is sculpture-like silhouette garments, unique textiles and chunky yarn. Designer is mostly inspired by “interesting textiles and yarn” – this is always a starting point for his collections. His label is a mix of wearable pieces and knitwear art installations. I find the latter especially fascinating – yarn takes an incredible shape in the hands of Johan.

Knitting Inspiration
“Emotional Sculpture” collection. Photo: www.johanku.com

One of Johan’s life goals is to have 100% creative freedom. He believes that the fashion can be “a sort of art, if designers create from their soul”.

Knitting Inspiration
Fall/Winter 2011/12 collection. Gold Label. Photo: www.johanku.com

To see more of Johan Ku’s knitwear pieces visit designer’s official website www.johanku.com

Have a great weekend!


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Inspiration and Frogging

Happy Wednesday!

This week I am having craft ups and downs. While the pattern for Journey sweater is still brewing in my computer (I am the slowest pattern writer ever!), I started swatching for a second project with Moeke. By the way, you should definitely check #Journeysweater hashtag on Instagram (if you don’t have one just click the link) – Josh and Saskia are posting so many photos of their progress! Can’t wait to see their Journeys!

moeke-yarns-17-5-14-2

Swatching part is always such a challenge for me – I am inspired by so many stitch combinations that narrowing down the choice to just a couple of them is the hardest thing in the world! Elena yarn is inspiring to work with… It’s so different from all yarns I have ever used and I am curious to see how that or this stitch will appear.

moeke-yarns-17-5-14-3

My crochet project is unfortunately not doing so well. The pattern doesn’t have anything to do with it, I am using it more like a guideline than the instructions. My first problem was the gauge that kept changing on me, I restarted the whole thing 4 times because of that! Then I realized that I cannot just crochet straight without shaping as the pattern suggests, because the yarn I chose (2 threads of mercerized cotton) is creating a very firm and stiff fabric and the cardigan will pucker without shaping. With this kind of fabric, it has to be pretty fitting. So, I restarted for the 5th or 6th time. Still, no luck – to taper the cardigan perfectly I would have to decrease every second row and this is what it creates:

crochet-17-5-14-2

Do you see how the fabric puckers on the sides? It happens when the decreases are stuck up too close to each other in a very stiff fabric like this one, but it also puckers if I don’t decrease, because of a big difference between the hips and the waist :( So, after struggling and struggling with it for weeks, I have to admit my defeat. Frogging. Yes, I am frogging it. This is the first project in 2 years that I am frogging. I can’t stand frogging. I love the yarn, but it is just not suitable for this project. I have to choose something soft and woolly for it to wrap myself in this wonderful cardigan. But not now, I have to take a break from it.

Things to learn from this experience:

  1. Don’t try to make yarn into something that it is not.
  2. Don’t crochet hip length tapered garments in a stiff fabric.
  3. Know when to stop. (I had a feeling I had to give up on it after the 4th ripping out, but I loved this relaxing crochet rhythm and deceived myself).

crochet-17-5-14-1

I hope you are having only great experience with your projects! See you at Yarn Along.


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Yarn Spot

Happy Sunday!

When we just moved to San Miguel de Allende, I was ecstatic to find out that there is an actual LYS! It’s been awhile since I had one of those in my neighborhood. If you ever find yourself in this part of the world, you just have to visit it! The shop can be found right in the center of downtown, just minutes away from the main square and cathedral. You will definitely enjoy the walk.

Yarn Shop in San Miguel de Allende

The store is owned by a very lovely lady, Kathy. Originally from San Francisco, Kathy moved to Mexico more than 20 years ago and since then this country became her home. The shop, “Kathy’s Yarn”, is 8 years old; it is based right in Kathy’s house! When you walk in you find yourself in such a warm cozy and beautiful room, that you feel like you never want to leave and you want to spend all your money there :)

Yarn Shop in San Miguel de Allende

The shop is bursting with color! Kathy is carrying a great variety of novelty yarns, Mexican cotton and wool. The owner is obviously a knitter and besides yarn you can buy her handknit accessories – shawls, scarves and hats.

Yarn Shop in San Miguel de Allende

Most visitors of the shop are tourists who can’t help but take a look at what is hidden inside this beautiful building. It’s been awhile since I visited this lovely space, the life is pretty hectic these days and I don’t have time to enjoy long walks, but if you ever find yourself in town, here are my personal picks.

I would definitely recommend getting this 100% Mexican wool. Just look at these colors! It is very chunky and rustic, it would make an amazing rug!

Yarn Shop in San Miguel de Allende

Hand dyed 100% organic silk skeins. I’ve never seen a silk like this one before, it is very sturdy!

Yarn Shop in San Miguel de Allende

One of my favorite yarns are these colorful skeins of 100% pima cotton. Hand dyed with natural ingredients, these skeins are so delicious to touch! If you remember I used them for my Fall Raglan sweater awhile ago. I am still wearing it almost every evening! The colors are so beautiful, the fabric created with pima cotton is soft and the unusual “bumpy” thread creates an amazing texture!

Yarn Shop in San Miguel de Allende

I hope you enjoyed this little LYS tour!

You can find “Kathy’s Yarn” in San Miguel de Allende, Aldama 27. It’s open from 12-6 p.m (Sundays 12-5 p.m.), closed on Tuesday/Wednesday.

Have a wonderful day!


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