Knitting for Charity

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When temperatures are falling and my hands, neck and ears start to freeze, I just put on one of my handknit hats, scarves and gloves to stay warm. Of course, I also could buy some ready-made items if I did not have the time to knit. But what if things are not so easy? What if you rely on donations and the goodwill of others because you just cannot afford new clothes?

Pattern: Lara Mittens by shinysuperhero

Sarah, who I have been following for quite a while now, mainly knits for homeless people in Berlin from donated yarns. She also ran a knit along for charity items where she also asked the participants to research local charities and ask what they need. My online research for charities in Leipzig led me to Sachspendenzentrale, a central place where donations are collected and distributed.

It took me a while to gather information on what was needed, but in general, they are looking for scarves (1.2m or longer), large hats, large gloves and mittens and socks (mainly EU size 42-45). Ideally, the items use classic designs in decent colours and are knit in machine-washable yarns.

All items are knit using leftover yarns from finished projects apart from the socks which are machine knit from PR samples. So call your local charities, ask what they need, knit from stash and do some good! Your help is greatly appreciated!

Tiffany Epiphany

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Now that my godchild has grown out of her baby scarf, her parents asked me for a larger one. As she is a very special little person, I decided to knit her a very special scarf, namely a child sized Tiffany Epiphany. To downsize the pattern, I have followed the smaller size and knit only four segments. With a finished length of about 160cm, my plan has failed quite a bit. Nonetheless, it should work out fine as the scarf is knit in fingering weight yarn and thus can be looped around the neck once more without adding too much warmth.

The pattern is well written with a lot of photos guiding you through less usual techniques. The scarf is knit modularly in garter stitch with minimal finishing. I liked to watch the shapes evolve while knitting although I have to admit that this is not a mindless knit. There is a lot of short row shaping involved and you may want to count your stitches every other row to make sure the shaping is correct.

I have used 20g blue Schoppel Wolle Admiral and 34g grey Zauberwiese Supertwist Falkland Nylon from my leftovers stash, 74g Hedgehog Fibres Skinny Singles in wibble, a Fibreshare gift, and 63g pink Schoppel Wolle Admiral Hanf, a new sock yarn with bio-degradable nylon which I got for free at Yarncamp 2019. Thanks to garter stitch, the four different yarn textures blend well into each other. A nice surprise was the Admiral Hanf yarn, whose 10% hemp content adds an interesting structure. Sadly, this is more or less invisible in garter stitch, but very classy in stockinette stitch. I definitely need to experiment more with it. Now let’s hope my godchild likes her new, colourful scarf and enjoys wearing it!

A Scrap Yarn Sweater, Luxury Edition

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First, I have to admit I finished this one about a year ago, wore it all winter and forgot to blog about it. Today, I have started to wear it again so I better tell you about it right now.

I decided to knit this sweater as an experiment on how to use up several black sock yarn leftovers from different brands at once. Of course, there were some differences in colour and texture, so I held them together with a neon blue Kidsilk yarn from my stash which I never would have used on its own. The result just looks stunning with the marled effect of the two yarn types together. As a plus, you only feel the softness of the Kidsilk yarn on your skin, there is no itchyness of the sock yarn involved.

The pattern used is Top-Down Top by Anna & Heidi Pickles, a cleverly constructed, batwing sleeved sweater. It is super easy to follow and quick to knit on 5.5 mm needles. It is knit top-down in one piece with minimal finishing. The batwing sleeves end around the elbows and the waistline, respectively, followed by tight ribbing to make it a long-sleeved, hip-length sweater. This makes it very comfortable to wear as you can still fit into a regular coat. Perfect!

The blue yarn, by the way, is Kid Seta by Madil Yarns. In my opinion, the quality of this yarn is outstanding with long fibre lengths and extreme softness. It is a pleasure to knit and wear. I am really sad this yarn is discontinued.

However, this sweater already has become a winter wardrobe favourite. It is lightweight, yet warm and can be styled in a million ways from casual to glamorous. Maybe I should mix up leftover and unloved yarns more often.

Oscillating Almond

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It is no secret that I love the fresh approach of Xandy Peters‘ knitting patterns. So when a dear friend asked me to knit her something between a scarf and a shawl, I initially thought of Oscillating Almond. This design uses a simple form of stacked stitches to create an almond shaped shawl and can be used to practise the technique. It is intended to be knit in at least one main colour plus one contrasting colour, but will also look good in a lot more colours. I have used two balls of the discontinued Colinette Jitterbug in Lichen as main colour and one ball of some sparkling high twist yarn of unknown origin as well as some Kathienchen High Twist in Peony as contrasting colours.

The yarns

My version is a lot larger than the pattern version as I wanted to use up my main colour. This approach resulted in a shawl with five full pattern repeats plus eight rows more. It weighs about 380g and has almost blanket size.

It’s HUGE!

Well aware of the large size, I did a beaded picot bind-off over 940 stitches which took me an entire Sunday afternoon and evening, but was totally worth the effort. I really like the slight reflections of the beads at the edge.

Beaded picot bind-off

Oscillating Almond was a pleasure to knit. The pattern is well-written and easy to follow and my yarn choice was perfect. Maybe I’ll knit another version of it one day in black with scrappy colour pops.

Rowan Roadshow

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I still remember how I spent some of my childhood days in Britain. When I was exploring the city with my mum, I would always stop at the local yarn shop and gaze at the windows in wonder. None of us was knitting back then, but both of us admired the stranded colourwork, heavy intarsia and cable knit jumpers in beautiful, muted colour palettes.  The pattern books that also were on display indicated a yarn brand called Rowan which was responsible for the designs I instantly had fallen in love with.

More than a decade later when I finally started to knit, I was happy to learn that this company still existed and was pretty famous for their high quality yarns and exquisite designs. I browsed their patterns on Ravelry and started to collect older issues of the knitting and crochet magazine. My first Rowan sweater followed soon. It was knit in Kid Classic, a wool, mohair and nylon blend I still like a lot. Currently, I am knitting a yoked sweater in Kidsilk Haze, but I will tell you more about it another time.

I am glad to have been invited to the Rowan roadshow in Hamburg where I had the opportunity to learn more about a brand that has been inspiring me for such a long time. The company still follows its heritage of quality yarns in paintbox colour palettes paired with timeless design. I was a bit ashamed that I had missed the launch of two pure British yarn qualities, Valley Tweed and Moordale. Both are spun in Britain from British Fleece and are featured in this autumn’s British Made pamphlet. You may have noticed already that the Knitting and Crochet Magazine now is divided into a main collection and the Focus magazine. This season, Rowan focuses on natural fibres but the topic will change every season. You can purchase these two publications bound together with a wrap or individually which I find a pretty cool idea.

A completely new concept is Mode at Rowan. This collection is a capsule wardrobe in a contemporary design that reflects current fashion trends. The patterns are intended to fit easily into your wardrobe and beginner-friendly to knit. This fall, Mode at Rowan consists of a large pattern book with 18 patterns and four smaller publications showcasing one yarn quality each.

Another new concept is the 4 project pamphlet. Each issue has four patterns in one yarn quality and is yarn shop exclusive, so not available online. But talking online availability, I am delighted to find the patterns of all other new Rowan publications for individual purchase on their website! An exception is the Rowan Magazine which is available in a digital version only in the Rowan App.

One of my personal highlights this season is Arne & Carlos’ remarkable men’s collection. It is called New Nordic Men’s Collection and interprets classic Norwegian knits in a fresh and modern way. Vegard, Vidar and Jens are my favourites, but all designs are really clever. I would definitely wear them myself as they perfectly work as unisex designs.

There are two new yarns for this season, Cashmere Haze and Island Blend. Cashmere Haze is a laceweight blend of 40% alpaca, 30% cashmere and 30% silk with a meterage of 230m per 25g ball. It is a sister yarn to Kidsilk Haze but even softer and more luxurious.

Island Blend is a DK weight yarn composed of 70% Falkland merino wool, 15% baby alpaca and 15% silk. It is super soft and has a beautiful stitch definition.

I also was allowed to take a first glimpse at the SS20 collection, but at the moment, I am mainly looking forward to fully indulge in winter, my favourite season. I will let you know more later this year.

Thank you, Rowan, for the wonderful and informative meeting in Hamburg! Also thank you for the product samples, I am looking forward to try them out!

New Knitting Pattern: Jewels

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When I first started to experiment with stacked stitches, a technique Xandy Peters is quite famous for, I was fascinated by the endless possibilites that opened up to me. One of them was using stacked increases for shaping, so I created an unusual edging for an otherwise pretty classic, cap-sleeved, slightly cropped tee. This included contrasting bobbles to add that little extra something. Jewels was born and already is my favourite top to wear this fall.

If you have never worked stacked stitches before, the technique may seem a bit intimidating, but I found it quite easy to learn. It allows to create wavy structures without any short rows or a gazillion of individually attached pieces. Nonetheless, I recommend to take a test run with some scrap yarn to get used to it.

Jewels is part of The Fibre Co.‘s yarn support programme and uses their wonderful Road to China Light, a luxury blend of 65% baby alpaca, 15% silk, 10% camel and 10% cashmere. The sport weight yarn is very soft, warm yet light and gives extraordinary drape. Jewels is worked top-down in one piece with set-in sleeves. It is slightly cropped and intended to end at the top edge of a medium-waist pair of jeans. Jewels comes in 17 sizes from 28” – 60” bust circumference. You can buy the pattern on Ravelry. I am looking forward to your interpretations!

Please contact me in case you need a larger size, I am sure we can work it out.

New Knitting Pattern: Nightshade

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The idea behind Nightshade dates back quite a while to when my aunt asked me to knit her a cropped summer sweater. It should be ridiculously wide and boxy but at the same really short to just cover the breasts. The sleeves were intended to look like long sleeves, but in fact should just reach from the wrists to the elbows and be super tight. Sounds like a challenge? Well, here is the solution!

Nightshade is a lightweight, drapey, cropped sweater. This perfect layering piece for chilly summer evenings ends above your waist so you can wear it 90s-style to a pair of low-rise pants or in a more contemporary fashion to a high-waist bottom. The body is worked flat, the sleeves are worked in the round. All pieces are knit bottom-up and then sewn together. You can easily adapt the body to knitting in-the-round, but I recommend to stick to the pattern as the side seams add structure.

The shape of this sweater is very bold, so I have added minimalist, rolled edges to keep the focus on the shape. The yarn used is The Fibre Co. Meadow, a luxurious, fingering weight blend of 40% Merino wool, 25% baby llama, 20% silk and 15% linen. The yarn is drapey, soft and rustic at the same time with a beautiful semisolid colour effect due to the different fibre types. The surprisingly good meterage of the yarn makes my size M (36-38” bust circumference) sample weigh only 214g!

As Nightshade is my first graded pattern and I had problems finding test knitters, the sizes currently range from 28-30” to 52-54” bust circumference. If you need a larger size, please contact me and let me know which size you are interested in. I am sure we can work it out together. Please also contact me when you like my style and are interested in test knitting future patterns. I have a lot of ideas waiting to become new patterns!

You can buy the Nightshade pattern on Ravelry, as always. Go, show it a little love! Happy knitting!