New blanket

Ripple blanket – here’s the pattern

Just finished my new blanket. Took me less than a week – yarn I needed arrived on Wednesday and the whole thing was done on Sunday. Pretty quick.

I should probably start at the beginning.

Some time ago there was a sale on DROPS yarns (very nice stuff in general) and I bought some random balls in colours that seemed interesting. “Andes” was one of these and finally I made a cowl/scarf thing out of it. Which was a total failure, because the outcome was way too thick and stiff. Probably I used a hook some sizes too small. Well.

So this week I undid it and added some cream Andes to it as a contrast, took a 8mm hook and hooked a round ripple blanket. In three days (was kind of busy on Saturday). After work only.

So, here’s the outcome. Photographed inside, no natural light, so colours are a bit wrong, but it’s, in general, somewhat purple-ish. It’s 130 cm in diameter (from point to point) and it covers my new armchair quite nicely :)

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Yarn Review – YarnArt Magic (SURF)

Brand: Magic/Magic SURF

Producer: YarnArt

Country: Turkey

Contents: 100% wool

Thickness: 200m/100g

Colours: mixes

Suggested needle size: 5,5 (I use anything from 3,5 hook to 6mm hook/needles, depending on intended outcome)

The colours. That’s what won my heart. The COLOURS. Have a look at the producer’s website and try telling me you didn’t just drool over the colours. I love all of them, especially 600 (have a pair of socks knit with it), SURF 441 and 446 (waiting their turn to be turned into scarves) and 601 (I’d sooo want to knit a sweater with this one).

The yarn is very, very even, with slight fuzz. Undoes with effort, leaves lots of small threads/threadballs on the undone yarn. Slight scratch, but I can tolerate it even in a winter hat.

No discernible strands, but in places when one colour blends into another you will see the “tail” of one colour twisted with the next one (see producer’s photo for 592 or 602). The gradient change is quite long and single colour also lasts long. In socks it makes for ~5cm per colour + soft colour change.

The colour saturation and combinations give effects very close to DROPS Big Delight (I used a bit of Magic in my Big Delight poncho when I miscounted and run out of the main yarn half a row before end). Can be easily mixed in the same work/substituted.

Needles? Yes. Crochet? Totally. Knitting mill? Perfect, makes lovely hats and scarves, with these colours you will be visible from afar this winter :)

Would I buy more? I already did! Lots and lots, waiting for their time, lying quietly in the box.


Yarn Review – DROPS Alasca

Brand: DROPS Alasca (Mix)

Colour: grey, dark blue (also other dark-ish and smoky colours and gray pink)

Content: 100% pure new wool/100% wool

Thickness: 140m/100g (70m/50g)

Country of origin: EU

Suggested needle size: 5mm, I’m using a 4mm hook.

Suggested patterns on producer’s page.

Structure: Three strands, visible and separable, well twisted together. Next to no scratch. I wouldn’t make a hat out of it, but I’d be willing to risk a scarf.

There was a big sale on DROPS yarns in May and I kind of went overboard with various kinds I bought, so I have yet another DROPS to check out and review. I’ve unpacked my 8 balls of Alasca (so, total of 400g) and started on a waistcoat for my son. Combination of dark blue and dark grey seems to have this “proper, school-ish” vibe, so he will have something lighter than a full pullover for the official school days.

I’ve started on the blue squares and the yarn is really, really nice. As it’s thick, the outcome is visible almost immediately, but of course also the balls disappear almost immediately. Four 11cm squares and one ball is almost gone (so 4 will make 16 or 17 squares). The feel of if when working is really soft, with almost no scratch. Also almost no sheep smell, which sometimes accompanies untreated wool yarns.

Now, I wouldn’t recommend using it for hats, if you have any kind of sensitivity towards wool, but I personally would risk a scarf or mittens. Would not knit a polo neck sweater or anything tight-fitting/direct on skin (except for abovementioned scarf or mittens). Feels very, very warm. I’m thinking about a pair of ugly but warm socks when I look at it (all my socks are slightly ugly and these colours would not cover my sock-knitting blunders).

Would buy more? Yep. The colour range seems nice and I may be in need of a sober, grownup scarf someday.


Yarn Review – Rozetti Always Magic

Brand: Always Magic

Producer: Rozetti

Country: ?

Contents: 75% wool, 25% acrylic

Thickness: 180m/100g

Colours: mixes

Unfortunately this very nice yarn is no longer available. I found only a few pictures left on shops’ websites:

Cream/beige/mustard/grey/brown

I found it very good in both knitting and crochet, works up quickly and has great colours.

Here are socks I knitted for my niece and nephew:

SkarpetkiAlwaysMagic

Pros: very nice structure and great colours, yarn doesn’t unravel and it doesn’t easily come apart by itself. Doesn’t scratch. Easy to undo, if needed.

Cons: Well, hard to buy it now. But if I found some, I’d definitely buy, especially the green-blue-brown mix.


Yarn Review – Novita Puro Batik

Brand: Puro batik

Producer: Novita

Country: Finland

Contents: 100% acrylic

Thickness: 200m/100g

Colours: mixes

…and what mixes they are! Just wow, really.

Back to the beginning. I’ve bought green (no longer listed) Puro Batik in Finland last year and it was just lying around for a year and something, waiting for mercy. Finally, I knitted a pair of socks for my son, as he wanted green ones. And it’s soooo nice. Normally, well, 75% of cases, acrylic has this structure that makes it “crinkle” when squished. Well, this one is perfectly silent. It didn’t squeak against my needles, either. It had a very natural feel when I worked.

The finished socks look like this:

Socks

He loves them :)

Now, you see how the gradient-stripes come when knit in small rounds.

Pros: softsoftsoft. Soft. And has great colours. and my fav thickness. And it’s all acrylic, so less chance of someone getting allergic reaction.

Cons: None, really. Apart from the fact that it is, more or less, completely unavailable anywhere outside Finland and Estonia.


Yarn Review – Novita 7 Veljesta (Raita)

Brand: 7 Veljesta (Raita)

Producer: Novita

Country: Finland

Contents: 75% wool, 25% polyamide

Colours: Mixes of coordinated dyes (way of mixing depends on type)

Weight: All “7 Veljesta” are 100/200 (exactly this or 150/300):

Linnut

Nostalgia

Polkka

Raita

Tweed

I have checked out two colour sets, brown/cream/gray and eyesore orange/purple/green/blue. See top-left on this photo:

IMAG0576

Absolutely perfect beginner’s yarn. Works up quickly, being 1/2, next to no fuzz, and combinations of colours look really nice. Example from the producer’s page. I’d love to try some others sets – maybe the ones currently listed on Raita subpage, especially the green one, and also Polkka, green and blue ones.

Now the brown one is being used as source of tons of granny squares, and the eyesore one is now my spaghetti scarf.

Would I recommend it? Hell, yes. It is a bit scratchy, but working with it is perfectly nice. I wouldn’t make a hat with it, I suspect I would scratch a hole in my forehead, but socks would be nice, and everything like afghans or other home decoration items, too.


Yarn Review – Novita Wool

Brand: Wool

Producer: Novita

Country: Finland

Contents: 100% wool

Colours: LOTS. Solids.

Thickness: 135/50 (270/100)

 

I really like this one. It is a tad bit thinner than I prefer, but it’s still very nice. I have dark-teal one (191) and aqua (369) and boy do I have plans for them :) If I can, I’ll order some similar or the same in black and make myself a truly eye-popping shawl.

As to the yarn itself, it’s nice to touch, very little fuzz and easy to undo. Crocheting it is a pleasure.

As always with Novita, I’m quite sorry that it’s not distributed widely in Europe. It’s becoming one of the main reasons to possibly visit Finland again, actually ;)

Would buy more? Sure.

Would suggest for beginners? Well, yes, with the proviso that it may be too thin for some (especially ones with less patience).

Haven’t tried knitting or millknitting it – it’s just perfect for crochet for me, though.


Yarn Review – Novita Puro

Brand: Puro

Producer: Novita

Country: Finland

Contents: 100% wool

Colours: LOTS

I’ve described my shopping sprees in Finland (and Estonia and Lithuania) last year here and here. And I must say I still didn’t manage to use up the stash I bought at the time, it really was a lot. However I’m still sorry I didn’t buy more. That yarn – each kind – is so nice and absolutely and completely not buyable in Poland. Sniff.

How much did I buy? Two bags full. I’m not kidding, two big “vacuum” ziplocks, see:IMAG0571 IMAG0570

And I have bought wool. In fact, several different balls. Name is “Puro” and it looks like this:

IMAG0574

This is, as far as I remember, 10 x 50g of one colour, which I have already partly knitted, making the start of my son’s sweater. You see the way the colours change? Loved it on sight. And there were other hues, like the bottom row here:

IMAG0576

The “flame” four have since became a scarf and the two on the right – my new gloves, just last week.

So, the yarn. It’s really nice to work with, really nice to touch. Pure wool, so none of that ugly “squeak” you hear when working with acrylics, and very, very light. And comparing to what I could get back home – real cheap. 3,40 euro per 50g, and the brown-gray one was actually on sale, 50%. Couldn’t leave it in that shop, could I? It wanted me to buy it.

Pros:

  • Really great colours (see the gloves!). Unfortunately the producer now shows only one kind on their webpage. Looks cute, but really, only one? Not fair. If you can find it in some shop, check the colours yourself. Google images search for Novita Puro.
  • Light. Very light.
  • Warm. It’s wool after all.
  • Soft, no lumpy hard pieces, no parts spun too tightly, very nice to knit.
  • Ok, I’m weird, but… it smells nice. Some wools have unpleasant smell, but this one reminds me of something soft that you could just wrap around yourself and go to sleep. Really.

Cons:

  • Well, colour range seems to be limited now.
  • It is slightly uneven in thickness – some parts are more stringy (but the spin is even).
  • It isn’t that nice to crochet – as the yarn isn’t spun very tightly, it is easy to put the crochet hook into it and pull it apart. Knitting needles, especially the wooden ones, are much safer.
  • Has fuzz. Lotsa fuzz. Hard to undo, even knitting, not to mention crochet. Not for beginners.

Would I buy more? I wish! I wish I had enough to make a full total blanket of it. But, for the time being, I have my mitts, and now I’m knitting a pair for my husband. I really hope that by the time I have a chance to go to Finland again, they will have more colours available again.


Fingertip-less gloves

As smartphones and other touchscreen gadgets need to be used during winter, too, there is a need for some way to use them without getting frostbite on our hands.

Option 1: buy special gloves with fingertips woven with conductive thread. Pros: easy and quick. Cons: they come in one-size-fits-nobody, have short cuffs and are usually quite thin.

Option 2: take your old gloves and stick a piece of alufoil in the appropriate places. Pros: quick, dirt cheap and you can use any gloves you want. Cons: doesn’t work that well and tends to fell apart.

Option 3: buy the special thread (see 1) and sew your gloves’ fingertips through with it. Pros: you use any gloves you want and it works ok. Cons: no idea how to google for that thread!

Option 4: knit yourself gloves with no fingertips! Pros: you can knit them whatever colour you like (if you play Ingress, you can make faction colours). Cons: still cold fingertips and it may take some time.

I will cover that last option (but if you find that thread, give me the link in a comment, I’d be grateful!). I’ve just knitted myself a pair of pretty gloves last week and I’m still in “yay!” mode over them.

My new gloves

Now, how I made them. If you follow the same steps, you will hopefully get a reasonably tolerable outcome.

1. Wool. I had two 50g balls of wool 100% yarn I bought in Finland a year ago. It has thickness of 100m/50g, so 200m/100g. This is a nice thickness to work on, as it allows you to get an effect quickly (unlike thinner yarns) and still the result isn’t too bulky.

2. DPNs. Really, gloves and socks just need them. You’ll need two sets, preferably. One thick (4,5mm) and one thinner (2,5mm). Knitting on them isn’t that hard, I actually learned it by myself when I just wanted to start a sock. You cast on on 2 of them and then just… work around :)

3. Check rows and stitches. Measure your hand around the place where you want to have your cuff. I got 15 cm there. Make a swatch of 2 knit 2 purl (20 stitches at least) and 10-15 rows. See how many cm you make out of it when it’s slightly stretched horizontally. Remember, if the cuff you make is too loose, it won’t stay on your hand, and if it’s too tight, it will leave marks on your skin.

If your hand is 15 cm around and your swatch gives you 7,5cm for 20 stitches, then you need 40 stitches. In general, the calculation is [needed stitches] = [swatch stitches] * [needed cm] / [swatch cm] (ie. [needed] = 20 * 15 / 7,5 = 20 * 2 = 40).

The rows will not be that needed, but noting down how many rows you actually made in the first glove will help with the second one.

4. Cast on your counted stitches (for me: 40). Pull out one DPN from the casting on pair. Now you can go on in two ways:

1. Just start knitting, and after 10 stitches leave that needle and add a second one, and so on. After finishing the fourth needle, the fifth you don’t start “back”, but go on with knitting from the “back” of the first one, closing the circle.

2. Move stitches in groups of 10 to the other needles, leaving one free, and start knitting from the back of needle 1, closing the circle at this point.

5. Knit one row, then change to 2 knit 2 purl to make the stretchy cuff. First 2-3 rows may look a bit loopy, but then the stitches will even out.

6. Knit as many rows as you need to get from your desired cuff edge to your wrist/thumb base. For me it was 8cm. Write down the number of rows.

7. Move the stitches around your needles in such a way that on one of them you will have 6 stitches. It is good if your yarn start is below them, to make it easier to remember.

8. Knit 1cm.

9. From this point, on every other row add 1 stitch at the end of the preceding needle and at the start of the next needle (use whatever way you like, just keep it consistent; I use my crochet hook to add stitches). this makes thumb space. After you add 6 or 7 rows like this (12 or 14 new stitches), knit until you get to the point where thumb separates from the rest of your palm. Write down all numbers, to make sure you can repeat it for the other glove. From now on write down all numbers of rows you knit for each finger and each needles’ change, all stitches cast on, reduced and picked up.

10. There are two ways to knit thumb and all fingers. One is flat (then gloves will be “any hand”) and the other is profiled, like our palms are. Whatever I try to do, my gloves always end up as the second type.

11. Put your glove on your left hand and count how many stitches you will need for front, back and “outer” side of your thumb. Leave these on needles, transfer all others to safety pins. Make sure you’re not pinning through yarn or losing any stitch.

12. Work first row around the thumb until you get to that point where thumb is attached to the rest of the palm. Cast on 6 stitches and knit on for 1-2cm. You can decrease 2-6 stitches to make the finger a bit tighter than at the base. When you’re 1cm from the base of your nail, switch to the thinner DPNs and knit the last rows with them. Finish the finger, making sure the tie off row isn’t too tight.

13. Transfer yarn from safety pins back to DPNs, again making sure you got all your stitches. One DPN put through the stitches at the thumb base, picking up 4 or 6 stitches there. Knit around, straight, up to your pinky’s base. Check how many stitches you need for pinky, transfer others to safety pins.

14. Knit first row, cast on 3-4 stitches for space between pinky and ring finger, knit until 1cm from nail base, switch to thin DPNs, knit, tie off.

15. Move stitches to DPNs from safety pins, knit 2-3 rows (depending on the difference between your pinky base and other fingers’ bases). In first row, pick up the pinky base stitches and knit on them, too.

16. Count stitches needed for ring finger, move others to safety pins, knit first row, cast on 3-4 stitches, repeat as for pinky.

17. Repeat 16 for middle and index fingers. For index, of course, there will be no casting on, just picking up the 3-4 stitches from middle finger.

18. Weave in all yarn ends. Turn right side out.

Now repeat the same for the other glove, making sure this time the thumb is turned the other way, or you will get 2 identical gloves. Best is to keep the first turned the right side out – both should look the same now.

Looks complicated? I know. It’s just to make sure you get a pair of gloves that REALLY fit you. Unlike abovementioned one size fits nobody.

(I have a pair of those. Their fingers are too short for me and the cuff is so short it doesn’t even touch my jacket sleeve.)

All numbers of additional stitches etc are made in relation to that 40-stitch measurement at the start. If your yarn is much bulkier, it will be less added and less reduced stitches in all cases. If your yarn is much thinner – more stitches.


Pillowcases

During last summer holidays I was invited to a Christmas handmade fair. Of course, it was a longterm planning thing, so it allowed me to prepare a goodly amount of things to sell. The fair outcome wasn’t that satisfactory, but during the process of thinking up and making the goods I’ve crocheted a number of granny squares.

I planned to make shawls or scarves with them, but I miscounted and it turned out that either I’ll never get an adult-sized one, or I will have to charge way more than people would be willing to pay – and that would only cover the costs!

So I never finished the garments, and all to the better, as the fair failed miserably and I would have been mad, had I taken the effort to finish these.

Now I had these squares, sewn into “triangles”, in a box. Last week I decided something has to be done about them. So I took each, added loose squares in key places and now I have two new beautiful pillowcases, buttoned with huge wooden buttons, and very, very huggable.

Number one is a “tomato” (more of “tomato soup”) case, done in wool. Big squares, not that precise, but it’s really nice to touch. Inside, a small square blue pillow.

pomidorowa poduszka

Number two is 100% cotton, several shades of (off)white, yellow, red, brown and black. Nice, quite heavy (cotton tends to be heavy) and is big enough to seat on. Inside, an ikea pillow, green. Will pick a yellow or black one for the future.

kraciasta poduszka