My Purrfect Project Bag

[advertisement: unpaid links]

When I started knitting, my go-to project bags were plastic shopping bags. But as the needles in them often destroyed them completely before the project was finished, I needed something else. My knitting buddies introduced me to some fancy project bag makers, but the ones I liked were way above my budget. So I decided to sew one myself.

During my research on suitable patterns, I found this tutorial, which makes a zipper bag (yay, less lost items!) large enough for a large shawl project. In my opinion, its size fits most portable projects, be it to knit night or your next travel. The last and biggest problem was finding some nice fabric. It obviously needed to be black and preferably related to cats. To my surprise, I found exactly what I was looking for at my local fabric store. Both prints are 100% cotton, originally intended for patchworking, reinforced with Vlieseline H640 fusible fleece. I couldn’t be happier with the result!

Advertisements

New Knitting Pattern: Spikes

[advertisement: free yarn sample, unpaid links]

For quite a while, I had the idea of a three-dimensional statement hat in mind. It should not be too complicated to knit and when I had received my Schoeller + Stahl chic & warm sample, I knew it was the right time to work on that idea. The result is a bottom-up knit hat. The spikes are constructed by simple increases and decreases paired with a tight gauge. There are no short rows involved, so you should be able to knit this hat as an advanced beginner already.

Spikes is available as individual Ravelry Download for €6.00 plus VAT. I hope you enjoy the pattern and am looking forward for your interpretations!

#diversknitty

I should have known there is no such thing as a safe place from my personal, privileged background, particularly not a crafting community. I am a white, genderqueer person living an alternative lifestyle. I have been pushed around and excluded often in my life, but this is nothing compared to the stories BIPOC (black and indigenous people of colour) have shared on Instagram.

The discussion started in early January with a problematic blog post by Karen Templer about her upcoming trip to india. @thecolormustard was one of the first people to dedicate her a series of Instagram stories highlighting the racist, white-privileged parts of the blog post. Other important contributors to this discussion are, among others, @su.krita,
@astitchtowear, @tina.say.knits, @ocean_bythesea, @booksandcables, @burkehousecrafts, @masteryarnsmith and @knitquiltsewstitch. All of them have fantastic story highlights on what it is all about and how to educate yourself on the topics of white privilege and (everyday) racism. Karen Templer reacted by trying to understand and unlearn her white supremacy. Nice move!

The Me and White Supremacy Workbook by Layla F. Saad is one of the most mentioned good sources. It consists of 28 short and easy lessons, each intended to be completed in one day. The introduction gives a round-up on the importance of working on one’s white supremacy and a short background to the book as such. It is completely free, but you may also donate a certain amount of money to the author. I am working with this workbook, too, although I have dealt with educating myself on racism before. There is always room for improvement.

After about two weeks of ongoing discussion on Instagram, I thought everyone had understood, that even in the oh-so-cosy knitting community there is a major issue with racism even if the dominant white part of it was not aware. Then Maria Tusken, a hand-dyer posted this video. If you are new to the topic of white supremacy, you may want to start the above mentioned workbook before you watch the video. The “issue” mentioned is called “racism”. People are accused of following a one-sided belief (racism) to bully others no matter if it ruined their business. She thinks there was a huge majority afraid to speak up against these false accusations. As if this was not enough, she has linked to a questionable video to support her views. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

In case you do not understand what is wrong with tuskenknits’ video, @antigonanyc has put a pretty good summary in her story highlights. What strikes me most, is the remark on the silent majority. This is a term used mainly by populist and right-wing activists to justify their actions. @astitchtowear also has a story highlight on the term “silent majority”, its origin as well as its current meaning. In short, the silent majority are “comfortable, housed, clad and fed [people], who constitute the middle stratum of society. But they aspire to more and feel menaced by those who have less”. Please let this sink in. Are you feeling exposed now? Act. Educate yourself. Speak up.

There are so many wonderful BIPOC, LGBT and differently discriminated people in the fibre world. It is time to change perspective from the current white-centered point of view. Be aware of white supremacy, unlearn it, stop excluding crafters with a different socio-cultural background from yours, support small BIPOC businesses, speak up. Racism is real.

Free Knitting Pattern: Lazy Hearts

[advertisement: free yarn sample, unpaid links]

When I first saw the pink, red and purplish colours of this yarn, I just had to knit some heart ornaments from it. As the yarn is a gradient one, I was looking for a one-piece, bottom-up construction with short-row shaping to form the top and minimal sewing. Sadly, I could not find what I wanted on Ravelry, so I made up my own pattern.

You can download it for free on Ravelry, but I would be happy if you mentioned me or linked to my Instagram when you knit it.

I used Schoeller + Stahl Limone Color in colourway 315, but the pattern is adjustable to any yarn weight and a matching needle size. One ball (50g) was enough to make nine hearts, in my case. Now grab your needles and knit a heart (or more) for your valentine! Happy knitting!

Yarn Review: Schachenmayr Regia Premium Alpaca Soft

[advertisement: free yarn sample, unpaid links]

During Yarncamp 2018, I was offered a ball of Schachenmayr Regia Premium Alpaca Soft. After some initial problems (testing a set of dpns at the same time, a very bad idea for a convinced magic loop knitter) and some Christmas knitting, I finally have finished my pair of socks.

The sport weight yarn is a blend of 62% wool, 23% Nylon and 15% alpaca, which is pretty close to the classic Regia blend of 75% wool and 25% Nylon. The alpaca adds a light halo, but I have used way softer alpaca yarns before. I have followed a textured pattern, petäja sukat (free but Finnish only), to test both stockinette stitch on the soles and stitch definition on the patterned parts. The yarn looks very elegant in stockinette stitch and the halo surprisingly even highlights the textured pattern. There only is one point I did not like at all: the yarn fuzzes horribly. Whenever I worked on the socks, my pants were covered in short alpaca fibres afterwards. This raises the question how the yarn will behave over time and I am a bit worried the yarn might keep losing fibres. This probably will keep me from using this yarn again, but apart from the fuzzing, the yarn looks really good both in textured knits and in stockinette stitch.

I am very thankful for this testing opportunity and am looking forward to testing the yak version of this yarn, soon.

2018 Recap and a First Glimpse at 2019

[advertisement: unpaid links]

What a year. There were so many ideas but way too little time to follow all of them. Nonetheless, I have learned from any project I carried out this year.

The first project I want to mention here is the bullet journal I started in February. I have tried to involve monthly and weekly calendars, but changed to monthly and weekly to do’s as I tend to feel stressed by rigid deadlines. I also included mood and habit trackers which I gradually adapted to my needs. In late summer, I quit the concept of an analogue bullet journal and changed to an android app for mood and habit tracking as well as online notes I can share with others for my to do lists. This was the best decision as I did not like to always carry an A5 notebook with me and do not like to illustrate the pages, either. However, the notebook as such now serves as my DIY knitting planner and poetry notebook perfectly.

In March, I joined a WIP bingo which I followed loosely over the year. My lesson learned is, that any pressure does not help me to finish anything. When I am in a bad mood I will rather cry over the project I am forcing myself to finish than actually finish it. Nonetheless, I have finished 7/9 projects, another one requires only finishing and the last one is currently in progress. Not too bad, in my opinion.

I have participated in Fibreshare twice among other, smaller swaps. I was not aware I liked the idea that much, but it makes me happy to surprise other people. I will probably stick with this new approach.

The Inside Schoeller event was an overall highlight. I totally enjoyed the deep insight into the Schoeller company as well as the opportunity to test some of their yarns. I also was completely stunned, when Novita sent me a pattern booklet and some yarn samples for free after I had asked how to get a specific pattern. I meanwhile have ordered and stashed the rest of the yarns needed for the pattern. I actually wanted to knit the sweater as a KAL together with my friend Alice aka Brezelbutter, but this did not happen for several reasons. I hope we will start again in January.

Another development I am totally happy about is that I finally have freed myself from knitting patterns. Of course, I will always buy and knit patterns I like, but with projects like my Black Metal Hoodie and the cropped linen sweater which I have both designed myself, I see myself able to follow more my own ideas of fashion now. Maybe, I finally will publish some of the patterns. Be scared. 😉

Designing my own knits goes hand in hand with sewing my own garments. I have sewn myself an all black Linden Sweatshirt which I will show you in January as well as some party garments and have prepared some pure Merino cloth I am going to turn into a pair of pants, soon. I am dreaming of a 100% handmade wardrobe, but I am not sure how long this will take.

A project I have been working on for years now is my ever-growing stash. I currently hoard about 34 kg of yarn. About 7 kg of it are yarns I have acquired only last year and not used up. At least, I have knit almost 2.4 kg of yarn equivalenting 7670 m. That makes my average yarn weight in 2018 a sport weight. I hope to reduce my yarn stash in 2019, but we will see.

In contrast to my yarn hoarding problem, you will definitely see me at several meet-ups this year, which does not mean I might not show up at others:

29.-31.03.19 H+H Cologne

13./14.04.19 Leipziger Wollefest und Stoffmesse

17./18.08.19 Wollfestival Düsseldorf

September 2019 Berlin Knits

19./20.10.19 German Raveler Meeting Leipzig

02./03.11.19 Yarncamp Frankfurt

Enough for now as the first fireworks start to illuminate Leipzig’s evening sky. Have a fantastic New Year’s Eve and an even better start in 2019! Thank you for following me!