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: 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

#diversknitty (deutsch)

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Es hätte mir aufgrund meines persönlichen Hintergrundes klar sein müssen, dass es nirgends einen Schutzraum für Minderheiten gibt, erst recht nicht in Handarbeitskreisen. Ich bin weiß und damit privilegiert, genderqueer und lebe einen alternativen Lebensstil. Ich bin in meinem Leben oft herumgeschubst und ausgegrenzt worden, aber das ist lächerlich zu dem was BIPOC (black and indigenous people of colour) Menschen erlebt haben und auf Instagram teilen.

Die Diskussion begann Anfang Januar mit einem problematischen Blogbeitrag von Karen Templer über ihre bevorstehende Indienreise. @thecolormustard war eine der ersten, die ihr dazu einige Instagram stories widmete, die die rassistischen, von Privilegien der Weißen durchsetzten Teile des Blogbeitrags aufzeigen. Andere wichtige Beiträge dazu kamen unter anderem von @su.krita, @astitchtowear, @tina.say.knits, @ocean_bythesea, @booksandcables, @burkehousecrafts, @masteryarnsmith und @knitquiltsewstitch. Sie alle haben großartige story highlights darüber, worum es eigentlich geht und wie eins sich selbst mehr Wissen zu den Themen weiße Privilegien und (Alltags-)Rassismus aneignen kann. Karen Templer übrigens hat reagiert indem sie verstehen wollte, was weiße Vorherrschaft bedeutet und wie eins entsprechendes Verhalten ablegen kann. Sehr cool!

Eine oft genannte Quelle ist das Me and White Supremacy Workbook von Layla F. Saad. Es besteht aus 28 kurzen, einfachen Lektionen, die alle an jeweils einem Tag durchgearbeitet werden können. Die Einführung erklärt noch einmal tiefergehend, warum es so wichtig ist, sich mit dem Thema der weißen Vorherrschaft kritisch auseinanderzusetzen und erläutert auch einige Hintergründe zur Entstehung des Buches. Das Workbook ist kostenlos herunterladbar, man kann der Autorin aber auch einen beliebigen Betrag als Dank spenden. Auch ich beschäftige mich mit diesem Workbook, obwohl ich mich schon eingehend mit dem Thema Rassismus beschäftigt habe. Es gibt immer Raum, sich zu verbessern.

Nach etwa zwei Wochen fortlaufender Diskussion auf Instagram dachte ich, jeder hätte verstanden, dass es auch in der ach so kuscheligen Strickgemeinde ein großes Problem mit Rassismus gibt, auch wenn sich der dominante, weißhäutige Teil davon dessen nicht bewusst ist. Dann veröffentlichte Maria Tusken, eine Handfärberin, dieses Video. Wenn eins noch nicht allzu tief im Thema der weißen Vorherrschaft drin ist, ist es durchaus sinnvoll, sich erst mit dem oben genannten Workbook zu beschäftigen, bevor eins sich das Video anschaut. Mit “issue” ist übrigens “Rassismus” gemeint. Menschen werden einer einseitigen Sicht der Dinge (Rassismus) beschuldigt, die sie nur teilen, um andere zu schikanieren, auch wenn damit in Folge deren Unternehmen ruiniert wird. Sie glaubt, es gäbe eine große Mehrheit, die nur Angst hätte, sich gegen diese falschen Anschuldiungen (Rassismus, weiße Vorherrschaft) zu stellen. Als ob das noch nicht genug wäre, ist auch noch ein fragwürdiges Video verlinkt, das ihre Meinung stützt. Das war der Tropfen, der das Fass zum überlaufen brachte.

Falls unklar ist, was so falsch an tuskenknits’ Video ist, hat @antigonanyc eine gute Zusammenfassung in ihre Story Highlights gestellt. Was mir wirklich übel aufstößt, ist die Bemerkung zur schweigenden Mehrheit. Dieser Begriff wird hauptsächlich von Populisten und (Neu-)Rechten genutzt, um ihre Aktionen zu rechtfertigen. @astitchtowear hat auf ihrem Profil auch ein Story Highlight zum Thema “schweigende Mehrheit”, sowohl zur Herkunft des Begriffs als auch zu seiner heutigen Verwendung. Zusammengefasst handelt es sich bei der schweigenden Mehrheit um “gemütliche, gekleidete, satte Menschen mit Dach über dem Kopf, die die Mitte der Gesellschaft stellen. Aber sie streben nach mehr und fühlen sich von denen bedroht, die weniger haben”. Na, ertappt? Handle. Lerne. Werde laut.

Es gibt so viele BIPOC, LGBT und anders diskriminierte Menschen in der Handarbeitswelt. Es ist Zeit, die Perspektive zu ändern, weg vom Fokus auf weißhäutige Menschen. Wir müssen uns der weißen Vorherrschaft bewusst werden, sie aktiv verlernen, aufhören, Handarbeitende mit anderem sozio-kulturellem Hintergrund als dem eigenen auszugrenzen, Unternehmen von BIPOC Menschen unterstützen und aufstehen gegen Rassismus. Rassismus ist real.