Slippers

It feels a bit strange to knit slippers from sock yarn, but it totally makes sense if you live in an apartment with well working radiators. Often, bulky slippers are too warm for my feet, even in winter. However, this pair is not for me but for a dear friend of mine. I really hope he enjoys them, as some time ago I knit him a pair of cabled socks that came out way too tight.

The pattern is Compass Points, a free pattern from DROPS Design. Each slipper is knit modularly with eight squares seamlessly. Nonetheless, there are quite a few ends to sew in after finishing the last square. The pattern is easy to follow and includes a very helpful schematic to visualise in which order the squares are knit. The yarn is from my huge Tausendschön stash, a Halbstarke colourway called Maria Schroeder. The largest size used 81g of yarn and hopefully fits an EU size 43.

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Sideways Socks

I am still trying to use up notable amounts of multicoloured sock yarns from my stash. Sadly, I am getting tired of knitting socks, so I had to try out a different approach: sock knitting with unusual constructions. In this case, I have tried out Longitudinal by Nicola Susen/ Nicolor, a free pattern which was published in Knitty. It actually calls for striped yarns with long pattern repeats to show off their colour changes, but I am happy already not to see the usual Tausendschön pooling once again.

The pattern is well written and easy to follow. Grafting together almost 200 stitches in the last row was a challenge, nonetheless. I am just not the most patient person when it comes to boring, repetitive activities. Apart from that, I am very happy with the result. As usually, it was a pleasure to knit Tausendschön sock yarn, I really like their yarn bases. I especially like that I have used up 93g of sock yarn for a pair of EU size 40 socks! This pattern really is a yarn eater!

I have already cast on the next unusual sock construction, so stay tuned.

Wollfestival 2017

Of course, I had to attend a yarn festival so close to the place I live! I went there last Sunday with my friend Rebekka who even had organised our tickets (thank you so much, again!). Apparently, Sunday was a lot more enjoyable than Saturday as you could breathe, rest a moment and even take a relaxed look at the yarn stands.

As I am still trying to destash, I had strictly planned possible yarn acquisitions. I needed black and white fingering Merino Singles to combine them with a hank of Tosh Merino Light in Tart for a Black Lodge Shawl. When the pattern was published, I instantly fell in love with it. It combines so many things I like, Inspiration from the Twin Peaks TV series, darkness and an edgy, very talented designer. Just take a look at Lisa Mutch‘s other designs if you haven’t done already and you’ll understand why I like her style so much. A lot of her designs are in my favourites and my queue just waiting for me to find yarn for them. By the way, Lisa much also dyes her own yarns and carries wonderful, dark colourways.

However, I chose a hank of Dibadu Funnies Simply Merino in Mondlicht and a hank of Das Mondschaf Aurora in Black Hole. Dibadu as well as Das Mondschaf are both German Indie Dyers with stunning colourways but different focuses. You will find a large selection of speckled and shaded yarns even for the darker taste on luxurious, but quite common yarn bases at Das Mondschaf, whereas Dibadu is not overly dark, but carries a lot of stunning colourways on a huge variety of common as well as less common yarn bases. I definitely need to try their Curly Silk one day, to name only one of their gems.

I had allowed myself to buy yarn for another project as long as it inspired me to knit something specific. To be honest, the Wolle Willich booth inspired me as a whole. They carry traditional British yarns and similar yarn constructions from elsewhere only, so I could have bought everything if they just sold more blacks and darks. After a long and pleasant conversation with the shop owner, I chose a Blacker Yarns Mohair Blend in purple to knit a Lestat shawl.

And here’s a picture of the beauties I bought:


In fact, I spent most of my time at Wollfestival not shopping but in the company of wonderful people. There was a lot of space to hang around in groups and have a cup of coffee together:

So we were chatting and discussing knitting ideas a lot. Thank you, RebekkaDaniela and all the other lovely people I met for a perfect Sunday knitting afternoon! See you next year!

Blue Socks

I am still trying to destash my vast amount of colourful sock yarns by knitting colourful socks. The latest finished pair is a gift for a dear friend of mine who kindly asked me for a pair of blue socks. Here they are, 72g of Wolle Kunterbunt sock yarn in softline blue, knit up to a pair of plain vanilla socks in EU size 40. As far as I know, the yarn is dyed on Zitron, a classic German sock yarn. I really like how the different intensities of blue arrange in stripes although nowadays, I would rather buy such a colourway based on dark greys, dark reds or dark purples.

The Daisy Shawl

Actually, I never wanted to knit this. I accidentally started it when Rebekka asked me to find a way to increase invisibly in daisy stitch. I just took a ball of yarn I could not think of a project for and started knitting. After the first 10cm, I was way too lazy to frog and continued to knit a triangular shawl in daisy stitch. Then, suddenly, I had knit up the full two balls of yarn! But what to do with a striped shawl in muddy grey scales? I decided to add a purple i-cord from scraps which definitely makes the project more appealing. Nonetheless, I have gifted it to a friend as I never would have worn it. I am sure, she will love it a lot more than I would.

The shawl is knit from two balls of Schachenmayr Merino Extrafine 285 Lace, a standard Merino lace yarn in an exceptionally ugly colourway, and 11g of Wollmeise Lace in Lavendel WD for the i-cord. I will not buy any of the used yarns again. The Schachenmayr yarn is good but nothing special, and Wollmeise and me are never going to be friends. When I use wollen yarns, I want them to feel at least a bit sheepy and not completely like softly spun cotton. But this is my opinion and I am totally okay with you when you love that brand. It’s just not my style.

H+H Cologne 2017, part 2

As announced before, here is the second and last part of my H+H Cologne 2017 report.

I stumbled upon a Canadian hand dyer, Zen Yarn Garden, who stood out by offering yarn shades in colour families. This means there are different colours intended to be combined, e.g. a speckled and a semisolid shade. How cool is that, please? Furthermore, the colours are rich and vibrant, all dyed on luxurious yarn bases. I really should try them out.

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BC Garn, a Danish yarn manufacturer, well know for its natural, high-quality and often organic yarns has presented a remarkable addition to its GOTS certified palette: Bio Shetland, a light fingering weight pure shetland yarn which comes in a wide range of colours. I truly appreciate their policy of providing luxurious yet natural yarns. I salute BC Garn for this consistency and hope Bio Shetland will be available in my LYS soon! Until then, I already have a project in mind for their beautiful Lino.

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Another Nordic yarn manufacturer I was happy to see was Novita, a Finnish yarn company, namely the largest hand-knitting yarn spinner in the Nordic region. They also collaborate with WYS, who I had presented in H+H Cologne 2017, part 1. The great news is, Novita yarns will be available in Germany, soon! This means a new supplier of durable Nordic wool for me! They offer a lot of natural yarns, sometimes blended with a little Nylon for even more increased durability, in a wide range of colours. So, welcome to Germany, Novita, I am looking forward to your arrival!

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I accidentally found Merchant and Mills, a British sewing supplier with a very unique style. Their booth was pure eye candy yet! They offer working style patterns to sew a capsule wardrobe, high-quality cloths, trims, sewing kits (I LOVE the oilskin bag kit!), tools, books, stationery. But have a look at the pictures. They deserve a full blog post, soon.

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I am so glad to have met the wonderful Madame Tricot in person! This year, she brought an assortment of knit cheeses, presented adequately. As I admire her work a lot, I have set her exhibition as featured image of this blog post. Please support her art by buying her book, it is stunning.

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I will not write too much about about the large yarn manufacturers, there are other bloggers who have more insight and will write detailed posts about theses companies. Nonetheless, some of their new products have caught my eye.

Lana Grossa, e.g., has shown their large new collection for A/W 2017/18. My favourites are Silkhair 2.0, a Kid Mohair and silk blend with a slightly darker core, and Fluffy Tweed, a soft tweed yarn with a beautiful halo, from their Lala Berlin collection.

My favourite latest addition to the Rowan collection is called Sultano, a luxurious ribbon yarn made of 38% silk, 38% mohair und 24% cashmere. Definetely worth a try!

Some Madelinetosh eye candy (new colours!):

A beautiful way to show off the different qualities of Blue Sky Fibers:

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Knitted art at Kartopu

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…and Katia:

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Now to something completely different. Have you heard of Earebel yet? I had, but as an audiophile, I did not expect too much from their product. They offer bluetooth headphones to be knit into hats or headbands. They are available as kits or individually for your own ideas. I have to admit, they are pretty good with respect to their low price. The high frequencies are a bit flat, but the lows are pretty okay. In sum, they are a cool novelty item.

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I have spent two fantastic days at H+H Cologne 2017 and hope you have enjoyed my report about it. I have met wonderful people, had great conversations and have learned a lot. Thanks to everyone I have met!

 

 

H+H Cologne 2017, part 1

After some years of absence, I finally managed to attend this year’s H+H Cologne again. What shall I say, the weekend exceeded my already high expectations. I spent quite a lot of time with Sabine Berlipp who I got to now accidentally only a few days before. That seems to have been sort of karma as we had a really great time discussing ideas, fashion and music. I really hope we will realise some of our ideas soon.

As Rebekka was working at the trade fair, there was only time for a quick hello and an improvised selfie together (thank you, Rebekka!). As you can see, we were in an excellent mood.

Of course, I did not try to spot any trends. As usually, I focused on interesting yarns and colours as well as artsy things.

I’ll start with the Pascuali booth. They sell luxury, high-quality yarns, in the unlikely case you have not heard of them, yet.

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One of my favourite Pascuali yarns so far is Cairo 4, a 100% camel DK weight yarn which is available undyed (second from left) as well as in a nice range of colours. It is all soft, warming yet lightweight and supposed to be very durable. I surely will give it a try, soon.

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Another yarn that caught my eye and turned out to be some sort of love at first sight is Nepal. It is a sport weight yarn consisting of 60% cotton, 28% linen and 12% nettle. The structure is visibly plied, which gives it a slightly raw touch when knitted. It is unexpectedly very soft and urges to be knit into some goth summer top or dress. As a first appetizer, Paul Pascuali gifted me a dark green skein to try it out. Thanks a lot, I will swatch it very soon!

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My next stop was the Schoppel booth. Famous for their long colour repeats and gradients, e.g. in Zauberball, as well as for interesting yarn structures (Cashmere QueenReggae) and innovative knitting patterns, they just never disappoint.

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As I happened to knit a garment for their upcoming collection, I received a skein of their beautiful 6 Karat laceweight merino and silk yarn which is going to become a new shawl design. Thank you so much!

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I was very happy to see Blacker Yarns at H+H. I saw an almost full range of their yarns for the first time on a trip to Edinburgh 18 months ago, but they have introduced two stunning new yarns since then. Tamar, introduced last spring, is a worsted spun lustre blend of Cornish Mule, Wensleydale, Teeswater, Cotswold and Black Leicester Longwool. The colours come out all vibrant and shiny, in fingering weight as well as in DK weight.

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This spring’s addition to the Blacker range is a silk blend, Samite. It is a woolen spun (!) light fingering weight yarn that consists of 30% Blue-faced Leicester wool, 40% Shetland wool, 20% Ahimsa silk, and 10% Gotland wool. It has an extraordinary colour depth, beautiful shine and drape and a silky yet woolen soft touch. I am looking forward to test this beauty, especially as I have been gifted a sample. I am so happy with it, thank you!

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I’ll stick with the British for a while, as I was happy to meet each one of them and discuss their yarn ranges, which have all some sort of signature style far from classic and popular Merino yarns.

My next stop led me to Baa Ram Ewe, whose Titus, a 50% Wensleydale Longwool, 20% Bluefaced Leicester and 30% Alpaca blend, I already know and like a lot. Its shades are deep and underline its natural halo.

img_20170401_163001.jpgimg_20170401_163021.jpgThey also showcased their sister yarns Dovestone DK and Dovestone Natural Aran, both blends of 50% Bluefaced Leicester, 25% Masham and 25% Wensleydale. The worsted spinning adds a heathered look to the wonderful shades of the DK weight, whereas the Aran shades are undyed natural sheep colours. I am all happy to have been gifted two samples of Dovestone DK, whose structure I like a lot. I am looking forward to play with it, thank you!

 

The third British yarn manufacturer I visited was West Yorkshire Spinners. Apart from their single breed yarns (the Fleece range) and their prize-winning Signature sock yarn, two jewels caught my eye, namely the Wensleydale Gems DK collection and the Exquisite lace yarn. The first one is a pure Wensleydale yarn, the 20 colours showcasing the natural lustre and sheen of the fibre. What a rare beauty! But, WYS can do even better. Exquisite does full justice to its name. It consists of 80% Falkland wool and 20% Mulberry silk. It glows even without spotlight on it and seems like a perfect choice for intricate lace projects. I am looking forward to try their yarns, they feel and look just gorgeous!

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I will leave you with the first part for now, but I am sure you will like the second part as well. Be prepared for Northern yarns and some eye candy!