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Pattern Writing Dilemmas

Textured Sweater Pattern

As I you already know, I am working on several patterns for Moeke 2017 knit collection that will be live in September. The first sweater knit in light Heritage yarn is almost ready, there is some ripping out/reknitting has to be done, but overall it’s done! The testing will start this week, you can follow the testing progress on Ioana’s and Sandra’s Instagram accounts.

I have love/hate relationships with actual pattern writing – I do enjoy the logic challenge, it’s like solving a puzzle, but grading… I think it is important to have as many sizes as possible available, so any knitter can make it for herself, but the grading part can become tricky at some point, especially if there is an unusual stitch placement involved. I am old-fashioned, I guess, and I like to use physical pen and paper before organizing everything into a systematic way on the computer. The funny thing is that when I come back to these scribbles after the pattern is done I can’t decipher it myself, but somehow during the actual process I manage to navigate in all these hectic notes.

Textured Sweater Pattern

The hardest part is to actually keep going and don’t get distracted by new projects and ideas, before the first one is done. At least this is how it works for me – I have to get done with one thing 100% before I allow myself to move to something different. I feel like it makes me stay more focused and not spread myself too thin. But just look at this lovely merino for my next project – how can you NOT get distracted?! Staying strong here 🙂 Only random swatching is allowed!

Textured Sweater Pattern

I am really looking forward to sharing with you all the projects I’ve finished over the last two months – I’ve never knitted so much in such a short period of time. But meanwhile, it is all about Heritage sweater and this absolutely gorgeous yarn…

Textured Sweater Pattern

That’s it for my weekly knitting update! What are you working on? Join Yarn Along to share your projects and reads! I am still reading “Catch-22″ and some non-fiction.

Have a great day!

And happy Women’s International Day!


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By | 2017-03-08T06:57:34+00:00 March 8th, 2017|Knitting, Yarn|21 Comments

Chainette Yarn

Debbie Bliss. Paloma.

Every time I talk to my Granny about knitting in times of her youth, I realize how lucky we are. She grew up and lived most of her life in times of the Soviet Union when the stores, any stores, were empty and you couldn’t get such things as furniture/clothes, forget about yarn! I remember her stories how she was waiting for a friend to come from Moscow to bring her yarn – pink acrylic skeins, very rough and pure quality, but it didn’t matter, it was actual yarn that was enough for a scarf and a hat. She considered herself very lucky – most of the times, she was just unraveling old sweaters to reuse the yarn.

So, each new and unusual skein for me is the reminder to be grateful for such small and simple things in our life such as original and beautiful yarn that bring so much joy! And I love to celebrate it with yarn “photostories” 🙂 One of my “fiber goals” for this year was to try unusual yarns, particularly the chainette yarn. It is quiet an unusual way to spun the fiber – the thread is basically a tube made of knit stitches, like a tiny i-cord.

Debbie Bliss. Paloma.

I have my precious skeins of cotton/silk blend by Rowan (that are waiting way too long to be turned into a sweater!) that are made using the similar technique, but very different from this Paloma alpaca/wool blend from Debbie Bliss. Rowan “flattened” the tube and wrapped it with thin silk thread; whether Paloma has a lot of volume and space inside the “tube”. Woolfolk yarn, that is on my must-try list, uses the similar technique to spun some of their gorgeous skeins.

Debbie Bliss. Paloma.

This technique creates a bulky yarn that knits incredibly fast, but the piece is so light  and airy that it feel like it was knit in DK. I guess it happens thanks to all the air trapped inside the thread.

The exciting thing is that this kind of spun can be done at home! I had this idea for a long time – the tube thread can be made from a very thin (lace/fingering weight) yarn using the i-cord maker! It will take time, of course, but if you have lace weight yarn in your stash and are scared to cast on a garments with it, because it will take quiet a lot of time, you can turn it into bulky chainette skein that will be perfect for cozy sweaters and quick to knit accessories. To speed up the process check this incredible tutorial  How To Knit I-Cord the Fast Way. How amazing is that?!

Debbie Bliss. Paloma.

I hope you are having a wonderful week and feel spring coming to your part of the world!

Debbie Bliss. Paloma.

Will see you at Yarn Along!


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By | 2017-03-29T08:44:15+00:00 March 1st, 2017|Yarn|17 Comments

Crochet Valentine

Crochet Hearts

I am not a big Valentine’s Day girl and I don’t think I’ve ever made anything Valentine’s related, except for the obligatory paper cards we had to make at school :), but this year I decided to join Meredith (who is such a big inspiration for me!!!) from One Social Girl for her #TheSocialHeartProject. Her idea is to crochet/knit/sew/etc a little heart, attach a sweet and encouraging note to it and put out there, in the world. It doesn’t have to be romantic, it’s just a note of kindness that might brighten a day of someone… I also had an idea to attach notes of gratitude and put them everywhere in the house and every time you find one of them, you’ll be reminded of the good things you already have in your life.

I knew exactly what yarn I am going to use for the crochet hearts – my December KnitCrate had the perfect yarn surprise for me! I can finally show it to you – I am being very careful of not revealing the monthly package content too early so I don’t spoil the surprise for any other KnitCraters 🙂

KnitCrate

December package brought two very generous skeins of Baa Baa Bulky Merino by Ewe Ewe Yarns, two hat patterns (for beginner’s – Shaggy Beanie; for more advanced knitters – Pineapple Expressions) and delicious dark cocoa. What a treat!

KnitCrate

I tried the yarn right away, because this is what happens when I get something new – I just have to get familiar with it before it can join my yarn basket. Baa Baa Bulky Merino has a great bounce, knits like butter and creates a great stitch definition. It will be perfect for baby knits, as it’s washable and isn’t itchy. Though if you are strongly against superwash yarns, it is not for you. I also tried it with the basic single crochet stitch and it worked really nice – afghans are definitely a great project for this yarn.

KnitCrate

If this is the first time you hear about this monthly surprise yarn project, you can read my full review with all the pros and cons here – Monthly Knitting Santa. KnitCrate Review. And don’t forget that you can always use my special 20% discount code for your first KnitCrateGOK20.

So, back to the crochet hearts. They are so addictive to make. You think of making 8, maybe 10, but end up with 20 of them! I used the pattern that Meredith shared on her Facebook page along with the step-by-step video tutorial – you will see how easy it is. I actually timed myself and one heart took me approximately 1 min 45 sec to make. It will also be a great project for all the scrap yarns that we all have and that are too good to throw away.

Crochet Hearts

If you prefer knitting, then there are tons of patterns out there – simple garter stitch heart or a lace heart, for example. You can also share your photos on social media with #TheSocialHeartProject hashtag. Spread the love! Thank you, for a great idea, Meredith!

Happy Sunday!


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By | 2017-02-12T08:00:29+00:00 February 12th, 2017|Crochet, Yarn|15 Comments

Ode to Heritage

Moeke Yarns. Heritage.

Getting to know yarn during the swatch process, taking photos of the beautiful skeins is the best way for me to get inspired not just in craft, but also in life in general. I’ve been so busy these last months feeling like I am doing it all, but not really finishing anything, that I just needed a quiet weekend morning with my camera, some flowers and yarn – it’s like a meditation for me. I hope you will also enjoy this little photostory and pick your needles today…

Moeke Yarns. Heritage.

I didn’t think that I would love any other Moeke yarn more than I love Elena, but when I started swatching with the new batch of Heritage yarn, my heart skipped a beat. What a fiber…

The new batch is slightly thinner and softer than the one I am using for my blanket and it creates such a wonderful fabric – with subtle neutral color variations, amazing drape and lightness. It will make perfect season-less garment – it will be light and soft enough to wear next to the skin for a summer evening; and it will also make a great layer piece for colder months.

Moeke Yarns. Heritage.

Even winding the skeins doesn’t feel monotonous – I just love watching how the thread is slipping through my fingers and how colors form into a beautiful and unique pattern…

Moeke Yarns. Heritage.

The swatching is over and I am quiet happy with the idea that I came up with, usually I am very critical and it takes me weeks to get the result that I like, but this time it went pretty smoothly and just clicked. Hope to show you the result as soon as I can!

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Moeke Yarns. Heritage.

Looking forward to seeing your projects at Yarn Along today!


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By | 2017-03-29T08:43:26+00:00 February 8th, 2017|Yarn|23 Comments

Swatch Frenzy and New Knitting Skills

Moeke Yarns

Knitting has officially taken over my life. These past 10 days I’ve become a swatching machine! How many Moeke swatches did I knit even I don’t know – 10, 15, 50?! Every single free minute of my day I am chasing this “aha” moment, trying to catch just the right stitch combination for the image in my head.

This time I decided with Ioana that I will experiment with holding two strands of Elena to create a little bit different from Journey and The Choice look. It’s fascinating to watch how such a small change can transform the fabric, plus it knits up much faster!

You should definitely experiment with your stash and mix it up a little bit. It doesn’t even have to be the same fiber, or color or yarn weight. If you have a lace yarn in your stash that you love and can’t wait to put it in use, but scared of committing to a lace weight big project, just hold two strands together. I am still in love with my Gallery sweater which was knit with 1 strand of lace weight merino + 1 strand of lace weight alpaca/silk blend.

Moeke Yarns

Now to something completely new for me… Sock knitting!!! Yep, I am going to make the first pair of socks in my life, that is decided! After reading Michelle’s, Tahnee’s, Tien’s and Andi’s blogs, I am giving up – I have to see for myself why sock knitting is so addictive!!

The timing is perfect. First of all, I’ve been freezing in the mornings and always have a pair of socks on, why not to put on the hand knit ones? Second, I need a small simple enough project to clear my head a little bit. And the last, but not least, I saw this photo on Purl Soho and fell in love – how adorable are those Pom Pom socklets?!

My latest stash enhancement from KnitCrate will be perfect for my first pair of socks – SilverSpun is a blend of cotton + nylon + spandex + silver. Cotton and nylon will be great for durability, spandex for the stretch and “memory” and silver has great therapeutic properties and blocks all the odor causing bacteria. Perfect sock yarn, in my opinion. What do you think?

SilverSpun Yarn

I am super excited to learn something completely new for me in knitting and have a pair of adorable pom pom socks on my feet. Let’s hope I am not going to frog the whole thing in a couple of weeks 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

SilverSpun Yarn

I’ll see you at Yarn Along!


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By | 2017-01-25T08:34:53+00:00 January 25th, 2017|Knitting, Yarn|16 Comments

Monthly Knitting Santa – KnitCrate Review

Thank you for your amazing birthday wishes yesterday! I haven’t been well 100% lately and your kind words definitely helped, I really appreciate it!

This weekend I got a special surprise package in my mail from KnitCrate, a subscription box yarn club for yarn lovers and fiber artists. They asked me to review one of their surprise packages. First I researched about the company and what it is all about and thought that their concept is very interesting and you will like it.

Knitcrate

KnitCrate is like a year-long yarn Santa for you 🙂 If you become a member of a club, each month you will receive a surprise box with some very delicious goodies inside. You won’t know what’s in there until you open it – pretty exciting, right?!

There are several subscription plans available. Let me break it down for you:

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  • KnitCrate for knitters with some experience – you will receive surprise premium yarn, a pattern or two, some cute bonus items and promo codes for exclusive discounts in different fiber related online shops!

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KnitCrate

KnitCrate Sock

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  • Learning series KnitCrate – if you want to learn the basics of the knitting, but don’t have a plan, then this package will be exactly what you need. Each month you will receive instructional videos, a simple pattern, tools and yarn, of course. So, basically each month you learn something new!

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KnitCrate Newbies

KnitCrate Sock Newbies

I received a standard KnitCrate for knitters with some experience. It was pretty exciting to open the box and have absolutely no idea what I’ll find there.

Here is what I got (It’s not a January box, so I won’t spoil the surprise for anybody 🙂 )

Knitcrate

2 skeins of SilverSpun yarn from Feel Good Yarn Company, Trellis Tam pattern by Wendy D. Johnson and some fun extras – tiny snip scissors that fit easily in any project bag and row counter to keep track of my knitting progress; plus promo codes for free shipping at Feel Good Yarn Company and 20% off the entire website The Buffalo Wool Co.

First I am going to tell you about the yarn and then will list pros and cons of such subscription box.

SilverSpun isn’t just a beautiful metaphorical name, this yarn is actually spun with silver! For me that was definitely a big surprise, I’ve never worked with anything like this before. It has 5% of silver interwoven with 87% of combed cotton, 5% Nylon and 3% Spandex.

Knitcrate

Feel Good Yarn Company claims that silver content in their yarns is therapeutic, inhibits the growth of odor causing bacteria, nontoxic and perfect for those suffering from arthritis and sensitive skin. The silver will not wash out of the yarn. Sounds amazing, right?

Knitcrate

This is the second time I get the combed cotton and I can say only good things about it – it is really soft and doesn’t feel stiff at all. If you’ve never worked with plant fibers before, but would love to give it a try, combed cotton is great to start with!

Knitcrate

OK, now let’s see what pros and cons surprise subscription has for you

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  • Surprise. You don’t know what you’ll get. The surprise part is so exciting!! You never know what you’ll find in the box.
  • Yarns. Each month you get new premium yarn from a different company. KnitCrate works with indie dyers and big yarn companies; well established and emerging fiber artists. Most probably you wouldn’t even try those yarns on your own, but this way each month you will surprised by new fiber in your hands.
  • New patterns and techniques. Sometimes we stay away from some patterns/projects just because we’ve never done them before. But if you already have the pattern, let’s say with new to you fair isle technique, you might as well try it out and see how it goes – who knows, maybe you’ll fall in love with it!
  • Price. Better prices – the retail value of each box is always bigger than what you pay for subscription.
  • Cancel any time. You don’t have to subscribe to 12 months, if you don’t want to, try one, two, three months and see if it works for you.
  • Bonus codes. Really nice exclusive discounts on yarn and notions.
  • Makes great gifts for fiber enthusiasts. A surprise box at your door each month is the perfect gift for your friends who love knitting!

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  • Surprise. You don’t know what you’ll get. If you don’t like the idea of “a pig in a poke” for your yarn stash and you always HAVE TO know what you are getting, then this package is not for you.
  • Yarns. If you have strong preferences in yarn, such as: you never work with plant fibers or vice versa you are allergic to animal fibers, then you probably won’t enjoy every single package.
  • New patterns and techniques. If you have a pretty small list of things that your prefer to knit and you are not excited about anything else than them, then you probably won’t use all the patterns that come with your monthly package. But you are free to use it for any other project that you like! I, for example, doubt that I will knit a suggested pattern, but I am already excited to try this yarn for some experimenting.
  • Price. If you promised yourself not to spend any money on new yarn for some time, then this is obviously not for you.
  • Bonus codes. Discounts are so good that you will want to use them and enhance your stash even more!

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So, if after reading pros and cons, you decide that you want to indulge yourself and receive a surprise box full of knit goodies, here is the promo code you can use – GOK20. This will give you 20% off your first KnitCrate, which makes it a great price for high quality yarns, patterns and other fun that comes along with it!

Let me know, please, what you think about the idea getting a surprise knitting package every month? Do you like the element of surprise or you prefer always know what you are getting?

Will definitely check all the fun projects you are working on in Yarn Along!

Have a great Wednesday!


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By | 2017-03-01T09:05:59+00:00 January 18th, 2017|Knitting, Yarn|22 Comments
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