Adventures in cross-stitch

April 15, 2016 § Leave a comment

It’s not that I’ve stopped knitting. Quite the opposite, as I realized when I recently moved house, and 90% of my belongings were either knitted or knitting-related.

But I’ve been branching out into the wonderful world of embroidery, and with my recent addiction to The Adventure Zone, a hilarious D&D podcast with three brothers and their dad (and a half-real spectral unicorn called Darryl) came a truly inspirational cross-stitch to hang in my apartment.

So without further ado, here’s the

Abraca-fuck-you cross-stitch (right-click, save)

You’re welcome.

Knit to Flatter Worksheet

March 30, 2015 § 3 Comments

After five years of radio silence… I’m still not coming back to blogging about knitting. Or maybe I am! Who knows! The world is a mysterious place!

The point being, I’ve got something to share, and this is probably the easiest way to do that.

I got Amy Herzog’s fantastic book Knit to Flatter two Christmases ago, and then I did… nothing with it. I don’t even know. I looked at the patterns and loved them, but although I measured myself at the time and filled in the worksheet, I guess it just wasn’t a very sweater-y period in my life. Which is just as well, because I lost a bunch of weight, as I discovered when I unearthed the book recently. Plus, I couldn’t be bothered to do the math every. Single. Time.

So I made the math for always. And let me tell you, suddenly the sweaters I made started fitting perfectly. The world is a mysterious place.


So without further ado, here is the Excel version of the Knit to Flatter chapter 1 worksheet, except that this version calculates your stitch and row count for you, and has a couple of Elizabeth Zimmermann percentages that I use all the time. Just take a measuring tape to yourself and your gauge swatch, plug the numbers into the yellow fields, and knit away!

[Right-click, save link as!]

(For y’all Americans out there, just toggle to the second sheet for a version that uses inches.)

I guess this is a good time to mention that I am in no way, shape or form affiliated with Amy Herzog, that I make no profit off this, and that you should definitely buy her book for the excellent advice and beautiful patterns. I just don’t see why other people should have to do the math when I’ve already done it.


Its fleece was white as snow

August 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

People, I have good news and bad news. The bad news is: I’ve had the second part of the Mitten saga mostly done and in draft form for about a month, and with handing in my Bachelor’s thesis, the urge to procrastinate and write 1700 words on mitten cuffs has sort of evaporated. I’ll try and get to it sometime soon, I promise.

The good news is: not only did I get the Gryffindor mittens as far as I wanted to in time for Adam, but it was a very good thing I didn’t entirely finish them: I had to rip back the tips and add almost 2 cm to each hand to make them fit. I can’t even imagine the pain of unpicking the woven-in ends and splicing new yarn to the whole shebang.

It’s really hard to find a flattering pose for both gloves and the recipient’s face. I managed to fail on both counts.

The best news is: within two hours of arriving in Leipzig in the middle of the night (i.e. 6.42 am) last Friday, Adam had learned the knit stitch, and over the next days proceeded to knit like a madman, first on a little green garter stitch practice swatch, then on a project that made not only me go ‘holy shit, now that’s one hell of a first project!’: Susie’s Reading Mitts. Even with substituting the picot edge for a more manly straight edge, those mitts have it all: working in the round on DPNs, knit, purl, increase, decrease, yarn over, counting rows, fixing mistakes, casting on and binding off, sewing a hem down on the wrong side… and probably a couple of other things.

When knitters will have taken over the world, I’ll have done my part. Nobody spends more than a couple of hours here without at least trying a couple of knit stitches, but to say that he took to it like a fish to water is sort of an understatement.


I remain suitably impressed, as I wistfully glance in the vague direction of my abomination of a holey, green cotton garter stitch first-time scarf…

But yeah. Apart from showing him around the city (and boy, did I go all-out on that. I think the walking tour around the city center took a good three hours), I tried imparting as much knitting wisdom as I could: from how to use stitch markers to the brilliance that is the Yarn Harlot, from medieval knitting guilds to the boyfriend sweater curse, from how to wind yarn cocoons to washing your woolens, from the story behind the Spanish Armada shawl to how to spend more time on Ravelry looking at patterns instead of actually getting any knitting done. Although come to think of it, he didn’t need all that much instruction for that last bit…

I also took him for an afternoon at Annelie’s, where I quickly plied my yarn and then proceeded to coo over the baby and tell her the story of Bilbo and the thirteen dwarves, switching between English and German every time I was distracted or needed for some light interpreting, because I could never remember which language I’d started off with. My sanity didn’t take too well to the constant language mix – it’s a good thing I’m not becoming an interpreter after all. But spinning always makes the confusion a bit better. (Also, shininess.)


Anyway. I had a wonderful time, and I hope he did as well. There’s a slightly upsetting lack of photos, since he doesn’t have a camera and I seem to have very localized dementia when it comes to gadgets, but I made sure to get at least a couple of us, over the roofs of Leipzig.


And let me just say: I’ve never had quite as much alcohol in as short a time period as the last week. Holy moly.

There’s a larval real-time marvel to be found

July 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

I’m sad to say this is not an update on the mittens – as I’m nearing the end of my Bachelor’s thesis, I needed something a little more brainless. So I cast on a blanket. That’s right, it’s July and I’ve started with this year’s Christmas presents, and OF COURSE a blanket in bulky-weight wool yarn is the perfect project for these warm summer days.

Anyway, the point being, I’m using Cascade Ecological Wool and Eco+ (which is the same thing, only dyed), and they come in these HUGE 250 g skeins. Good lord. As I’ve discovered when I split some 400 g sock yarn cones into thirds, 130 g of yarn is really all I can comfortably wind, after that, the ball gets too bulky for me to hold without putting some considerable strain on my hands.


This discovery was only validated and expanded upon when I wound two of my five Eco skeins into balls, and I figured: there’s gotta be a better way of doing that.

As it turns out, there is. Jacqueline Fee’s yarn cocoon is something I’d tried before with disastrous results in cobweb-weight yarn, but it seems perfect for these big, thick skeins where the yarn sticks together a bit instead of just becoming a big tangled mess of slip-slidey thread. And winding them is really quite relaxing.


Also, I love the look of them. They really do look like cocoons, don’t they? They are, admittedly, a bit bigger than the balls/ yarn cakes I wind – they end up being around the size of the original skein – but they don’t tend to roll around quite as much, which is always a relief.


I’ll report back when I’ve knitted up more of them, i.e. how much they collapse when a bit more of the center is gone, and how well they hold up under the stress of being hauled around, but as of right now, I’m thoroughly charmed. Also, my hands hurt way less.

A Tale of Two Mittens

July 3, 2011 § 2 Comments

With only two weeks to go until I have to hand in my Bachelor’s thesis, I’ve been experiencing a serious case of startitis. And a bit of finish-it-up-itis, which is nice.

In the course of this, I recently finished a pair of Gryffindor mittens, nothing fancy: I did some corrugated ribbing for the wrist, took the chart from the House Bag pattern, and continued the checkerboard pattern on the palm. They’re awesome and I can’t wait to wear them, but I also learned a couple of things from them, and when my roomie and a good friend of mine both asked for a pair of House Mittens, I figured this might be a good opportunity to document my designing process, on the off-chance that others might be able to learn from my mistakes.

So, I present you with the first installment of:

A Tale of Two Mittens

Part One: Gathering wool. And books, and some more ideas, and general information.

IMG_4679 « Read the rest of this entry »

I shoulda known, shoulda known, shoulda known again

June 20, 2011 § 2 Comments

I don’t know what it is about KALs that makes me think that there’s a competitive element involved…

But either way, oh yes.


Skein to shawl in a week, baby!

This is the Gingko Shoulderette, in Wollmeise Frosch, 4mm bamboo needles.

Since Wollmeise skeins are 150g, I made the stockinette part a little bigger and subsequently added one lace repeat to each side, but otherwise, no mods.


It’s funny how much I hate the process of pinning out lace, but the results are worth it every. single. time.

And when the feeling’s right

June 12, 2011 § 1 Comment

It’s that time of the year again.

The sun shines brightly in the clear blue sky, I spend my time having extensive breakfast in cafés and lounging in the sun down by the canal instead of doing homework, Leipzig is overrun by black masses of the Goth persuasion, and I feel an acute case of startitis coming my way.


Last night I cast on Rock Island last night, I started swatching for my sweater project ‘Phony King of England’ this morning around 7.30, and after an entirely perfect afternoon at Annelie’s, which we spent eating, knitting, talking and cooing over the baby, I’m caving to peer pressure.


After struggling (for some unfathomable reason) with the technically easy lace for Rock Island and being bored to death by an entirely unexciting sock that I don’t want to finish lest I have to cast on its twin, and after a day of watching my friends zoom happily through the stockinette portion of Gingko… I give up. You hear that, the two of you?  Besides, you’ll need my ~expertise  once our KAL gets to the lace part. Possibly.

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