A Full Intarsia Argyle Sweater

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When my dad asked me to knit him a fingering weight, Shetland argyle sweater, I did not expect how long it would take. I started it in September 2018 as a Christmas gift, but it ended up as a 2019 Easter gift. However, my dad is super happy with it.

I have modified the Jagger pattern by Martin Storey as a full intarsia front with navy sleeves and back. The yarn is Jamieson’s of Shetland Spindrift, a classic Shetland yarn for colourwork sweaters.

The largest size used about 450g of yarn on 3.5mm needles, 3.0mm for the ribbings.

This was my first large intarsia project, with up to 40 bobbins hanging at the back of each row of the front part. Nonetheless, intarsia knitting is not complicated once you get the hang of it. You may need a lot longer than usually to knit one row as you need to twist every crossing of two colours, but it does not get more complicated. The hard part comes when you have finished knitting and start to sew in a gazillion of loose ends. And that may be the reason why I finished knitting the pieces in January and finished the sweater as a whole in April.

I have to admit, I like the technique of intarsia knitting but I do not plan to knit such a large size in fingering weight ever again. However, I already have cast on the next large intarsia project, but this time a sweater for myself in a heavier yarn weight. At least, this time all pieces will have colourwork. I am already curious to see how much I will regret it.

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New Knitting Pattern: The Hipster

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When I improvised a bum bag last year, I knew right away I wanted to publish it as a pattern. Here it is now, The Hipster!

I have designed it to be attached to your favourite belt. It is knit with Schoppel-Wolle Reggae, an aran weight, lightly felted yarn, at a very tight gauge. The resulting fabric is so dense, you do not need to line it. The body of the bag is knit bottom-up as one-piece in the round, the lid is then knit in rows using short-row shaping. The only sewing involved apart from sewing in the yarn ends is adding the zipper. This may seem difficult, but if you pin it in place with enough pins, it will work out easily.

The finished size is approximately 23 x 16 x 10 cm, large enough to fit your phone, your keys, your purse, a powder compact and a lipstick. At least, this is what I have tested it with and there still was some space left. It is a fun accessory to your everyday or festival outfit and a really quick knit. My version used only 58g of yarn. You can buy the pattern on Ravelry. I am looking forward to seeing your versions! Happy knitting!

Leipzig Wollefest 2019

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Last weekend, I attended the 12th edition of the annual Leipzig Wollefest. I love this event as the location, the exhibition centre’s glass hall, and the vendor’s list are both pretty extraordinary. As usually, I will introduce you to my latest discoveries as you probably already know the well-established exhibitors.

The very first booth that caught my eye was Kathienchen, a German hand dyer from Dresden.

She offers complex colourways on a variety of mostly Merino based yarn bases. She also sells high-quality kid silk lace yarns with a very high fibre length.

I have found the perfect match for two other yarns there that needed a third colour to become a shawl for a friend. I could not be happier with my High Twist in Peony!

Mominoki, a Berlin based hand dyer, showed semi-solid colourways on rustic yarns.

This is exactly what I had been looking for for quite a while now, and they even have two different bases, a fingering weight Finnish wool and a DK weight German Merino. Both are available undyed and plant dyed, the Finnwool also has acid dyed colourways.

Apart from those perfect-for-me bases, Mominoki offers some more yarns, an optionally plant dyed, drapey ramie silk, plied Merinos, singly-ply Merino and sock yarns. You definitely might want to give them a try.

Another vendor selling beautiful, rustic wool was Nordische Wolle.

They sell rustic, DK weight Baltic yarns in hanks of about 200g in a large variety of colours, but also ready-made stranded hats. The yarns are collected from the area around the Baltic spinnery, so they are entirely locally produced.

Moi Naturwaren showed handwoven linen and woollen cloths as well as plant-dyed yarns and ready-made caps.

All of their natural products are manufactured using traditional methods and processes as well as natural dyes where possible. I am very happy for every company that dares to follow such a consistent approach in today’s volatile times and hope there are enough customers to support them even in the long run.

Another cloth vendor worth I did not know before is Natur zum Anziehen.

This Berlin based online shop offers natural cloths only along with their own sewing patterns. I am particularly delighted to hear they plan to open a brick and mortar shop in the near future in Berlin.

Do you know the concept of Peace Silk?

This means that the silk worms are allowed to complete their metamorphosis and live, which results economically in a much longer process with shorter silk threads. This does not lead to a lower silk quality, it is just more difficult to produce. It is even possible to weave superfine cloths with a classik silken touch.

Seidentraum offer quite a large range of silk cloths, silk yarns and many more silk products. This is definitely a company worth supporting!

Another ethical company I found is we are KAL, a slow-fashion producer of handwoven scarves, handmade garments, handspun yarns, home textiles and hand knits.

They mainly use local and organic raw materials which are plant-dyed only. The idea is to preserve craft and culture in Ladakh, Assam and Himachal Pradesh by valueing their handmade textiles. I greatly appreciate this approach!

There were quite some local alpaca breeders showing their products. One of them was Starker Alpakas from the Dresden region, who sold handmade soaps, yarns, socks and other products.

Another breeder was Sachsen Alpakas, who sold yarns, spinning fibre, garments and cloths.

What I particularly liked was their faux fur, woven with alpaca fibre. It is super soft and warm and has a fantastic look and feel.

I am looking forward to the next Wollefest in 2020! It is always a pleasure to be there!

New Knitting Pattern: Sleeves

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I like the idea of shrugs to add sleeves to a sleeveless top on chilly summer evenings. The problem I have with them is that the connection between the sleeves covers the back of the top underneath. As it always looks ridiculous when you pair a shrug with a dramatic top, I decided to find a solution to my problem.

What I wanted was a pair of dramatic sleeves held together in a minimalist way. When I was still figuring out the details, I was given three balls of GGH Bambu for free at Yarncamp 2018 which turned out to be the perfect yarn with its wonderful drape. It was clear that I needed more yarn, so I bought seven more balls.

gathered sleeve

The result is a pair of extremely oversized balloon sleeves, held together by a steel chain at the neck and two i-cords to adjust the fit at your lower back:

© ggh-garn.de
© ggh-garn.de

You can buy the pattern on Ravelry. I am looking forward to see your interpretations!

The sample used almost ten balls of GGH Bambu in colourway 012 anthracite. Thanks a lot for providing the photos, ggh-garn.de!

skull cord ends

Birds of a Feather

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When the wonderful Uschitita was looking for sample knitters, I did not hesitate a second to apply. My project was a Birds of a Feather shawl in Uschitita Merino Singles and Uschitita Kidsilk Lace, both in her new colourway Cloudbusting.

The yarns are a dream to work with. Both are super soft and of very good fibre quality. The colours are subtle, yet have endless depth. I would describe the colourway as a toned-down variegated to be used as a semisolid colourway. Try to see her handdyed yarns with your own eyes and you will know what I mean.

The pattern seems to be written for beginners which confused me more than once. You can break it down to a set-up, two pattern blocks and a border in two different shaping variations. So I do not understand why it is spread out onto five pages. Maybe it is due to my engineering background that this bothers me. However, it is well written and suitable even for beginners.

I have used 144g of Merino Singles and 49g of Kidsilk Lace. The finished and lightly blocked shawl has a wingspan of almost 4m. You can see it live at 2019 Edinburgh Yarn Festival. I really enjoyed knitting this!