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?
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!
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.
So I have sewn myself a pencil pouch. It is just a zippered, lined, boxy pouch, but I urgently needed something to put my Tombow Dual Pens in. I used some leftover cotton fabric, white polka dots on grey and purple, reinforced with Vlieseline H250. You can find a lot of good tutorials for this type of bag on YouTube, so it was quite easy to sew.
I recently realised, I actually never posted a status from my WIP bingo. This is a pity as I truly like the concept. I currently have finished four items. The first one was a pair of scrappy ankle socks:
Last week I finished a linen sweater I had no time to photograph yet, and now the pencil pouch. The body of the batwing pullover is waiting for added sleeves and the lyrics for my next album only lack the last details. Maybe I will stick to this concept of a visualised to-do list, it seems to keep me a bit more focused.
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.
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.
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.
2017 is the year of fighting my sock yarn stash, it seems. I have finished two pairs in a row, one for me, one for my boyfriend. My entrelac socks were quite an effort to knit and consumed 85g of Lana Grossa Meilenweit for a pair in EU size 39/40. I have read, a lot of people had problems understanding the heel construction. I followed the instructions exactly and a well-shaped heel was the result. However, these socks are worth the effort although I had to force myself to knit one row of entrelacs each day to see any progress.
My boyfriend received a shiny new pair of plain vanilla socks, knit in Drachenwolle sock yarn, colourway Inversnebeltiger. Surprisingly, the pair weighs only 86g in EU size 45. I really like the stripes of different shades of grey paired with jet black and am looking forward to knit the colourway Inversnebeltiger into socks for myself later this year.
Enough socks for now, I urgently need a different project type. Probably a linen handbag. Apart from that, WGT 2017 is approaching and I definetely want to wear something handknit again this year! I’ll tell you about my next projects soon.
This is a technique I wanted to try for quite a while. As I still am in destashing mode, I chose two balls of sock yarn leftovers to knit a pair of split socks. One half in green stripes, the other one in a pinkish variegated colourway. My version is knit toe-up using Judy’s Magic Cast On, has a short-row heel and is bound off in JSSBO.
There are several techniques to knit intarsia in the round. I have followed pumora’s tutorial, which joins the two colour sections by twisting the yarn strands at one transition and by a wrap and turn at the other one. This technique suits my knitting preferences well, so I will probably stick to it. Once you’ve got the hang of it, it is really not difficult.
My ankle socks have used 26g of fingering weight yarn per colour.
This is all Rebekka‘s fault. If she had not asked me a few questions about the pattern, I probably would not have knit them. At least not now. But as my sock yarn stash is huge and requires urgently to shrink a bit, I found a perfect colour match to knit a pair.
The pattern is Slippery Slope Socks by General Hogbuffer, whose designs I like a lot so far. They are well written and easy to follow, even if the construction sometimes is unusual. I have used 38g of turquoise Lana Grossa Meilenweit Merino as main colour and 29g of variegated cheap sock yarn as contrasting colour for an EU size 39/40. I like Meilenweit Merino in general. It is quite soft although it acts like a true German workhorse sock yarn. I prefer it a lot from its sister, Lana Grossa Meilenweit Uni, which is just as scratchy as the standard Regia 4-ply. However, I love how the socks turned out. Particularly, as they were planned and knit as a selfish little treat.
Thanks to Watery from the Yarnicorns, I stumbled upon LSG Cold Sheep. The idea is to make a stash inventory to be aware of its extent and in consequence try to knit from stash only for a year. Exceptions to not being allowed to buy new yarn are:
Finishing a project
A premeditated splurge (or two)
Gifts or swaps
Yarn clubs already in progress
Baby knitting/ gifts that can’t be done from your stash
As I just have added more than 2kg of so far unstashed yarn to my inventory, knowing that even more is lurking somewhere close to some old WIPs, I’m in for the challenge.
There also are monthly challenges, e.g. stash catalogue, selfish knitting and finish things in January. I’m trying to participate in all three of them. As my stash now is a lot more up to date then before, I already qualify for stash catalogue. I just have started a pair of Slippery Slope Socks with stash yarn only, which is going to be my selfish knitting. As my pullover, mentioned in my last post, is progressing well, I might finish it in January as well. Let’s see.