New pattern: Six Million Bicycles

I have a new pattern available on Ravelry and (soon) Loveknitting and Patternfish! The German version will also be available at Kuschelfein Maschendesign. From now until October 18th, end of day (Switzerland time) you can get it for 30 % off with the coupon code “Bicycle” (without the quotes) on Ravelry!

Six Million Bicycles Scarf uses a stunning, yet easy to work, reversible stitch pattern that looks great in uni, self-striping or variegated yarns. The day before I started the scarf, I received some cute bicycle stitch markers and while knitting the sample, I kept thinking of Katie Melua’s beautiful song “Nine Million Bicycles”. The stitch pattern is written out as well as charted. Many thanks to my tech editor cupani and my testknitters blessedspeedy, dancerdawnky42, katisha and ktknitstoo.

Size:
15 cm [6”] wide, 163 cm [64”] long; easily adjustable

Blocked Gauge:
22 sts = 13 cm [5”] in pattern
14 rows = 5.4 cm [2.1”] in pattern

Materials:
Hedgehog Fibres Sock (100 g [3.5 oz], 400 m [437.4 yd], 90 % merino, 10 % nylon), 1 skein in colorway Poison
or 275 m [305 yd] fingering weight yarn of your choice
3.25 mm needles of your choice
2 stitch markers

Skills needed:
Simple lace knitting

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Strange things

I didn’t think I would ever say that, but I have sewn something. No, really, I did! I know, my relationship with sewing has always been somewhere between “I could never do that, why even bother” and “Hm, maybe I should try and learn it. Someday. Later.”

More than a year ago, during a short phase of “Maybe I should learn it NOW”, I bought a Makerist course for beginners (that’s like Craftsy, but in German), checked the materials list, bought fabric and cushions and a kit of things you are supposed to need for sewing – and stashed it all away in my yarn room.

But thanks to a wonderful Ravelry group with lots and lots of awesomly talented sewing geniuses, I began thinking of the course and the materials again and decided to make cushions before we were to leave for Ascona in the beginning of September.

And – drumroll please – I really made it through the first project!

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The result were three of these cushions with an evelope opening. I know it looks like they have been made by a total beginner, but that is because they are and I’m proud of them. They live in our bedroom now – I’m not that proud that I wanted to display them in the livingroom.

The next project in the course is another cushion, but this time with a zipper. I tried. I started another three cushions, but these zippers are beyond my skills for now…

Just so I wouldn’t even think of giving up, I checked the projects in a beginner’s book I bought about the same time I bought the video course and promised myself that I would make a bag next.

Back from Ascona, I ordered gorgeous fabric.

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The first one is a photo print, I’m not crazy enough to tackle knitted fabric yet  🙂

When the parcel with the fabric arrived yesterday around lunchtime, a little voice in my head began to talk. It told me that these fabrics are too beautiful for me to use and that I was just going to destroy them and that giving up was always an option.

Well, I decided to show that voice who’s boss! Fast forward to this morning (and skip the part where hubby had to repair the sewing maching because I made a lot of thread barf and broke a needle) and I have a bag! With lining even!

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Looking at my “leftovers”, I have bought enough fabric to make about a ton of them. Which is a good thing – after I had finished it I learned that I should have washed the fabric before using it because it might shrink. The photo doesn’t show it, but the bag is quite small to begin with – ca. 28 x 30 cm.

Well, at least I will carry around my handkerchief in style now!

Pawprints on my Heart

Lena

April 1st, 2016 seemed to be an evening like any other. My husband and I were sitting on the sofa, watching something on TV and our cat, Lena, was lying on my husband’s lap. At some time, she decided it was time to go to bed. When she jumped to the floor and walked to the stairs, we noticed that she was hobbling. We didn’t think too much of it first, but it didn’t get better over the weekend and so we made an appointment to see the vet. The devastating diagnosis was that cancer had eaten most of the bone in her leg. We took her to the animal hospital on the next day. We were told that bone cancer most of the time hasn’t spread in cats when it is diagnosed and that we could amputate her leg. We were worried, because Lena was almost fifteen years old, but the doctors said that she wouldn’t have any problems soon after the surgery. We waited for the results of the biopsy and bloodwork. The cancer was malignant, but it hadn’t spread and her bloodwork showed that she was healthy enough for the surgery, which happened on Friday, April 15th. We got Lena back on Sunday, minus one leg and were told to come back or call our vet if she didn’t eat or drink in the first 24 hours. Despite all our efforts, she didn’t want to eat or drink, so our vet came on Monday and gave her cortisone, injected water under the skin and set some acupuncture needles. A little bit later, Lena began to eat again and we were so happy. She was also trying to walk and already getting better at it. On Tuesday, I had her lying next to me on the sofa and suddenly she jumped down on the floor. I was frightened, but she didn’t fall, walked a few steps to a sunny spot on the carpet and lay down to sleep. I let her lie there, but when I left the room for just a few minutes and came back, she wasn’t there anymore. I searched for her everywhere and found her in the garden, lying in the grass. She had crossed the living room, the dining room, gone outside through the cat flap, went to a step, up the step and then a few more meters in the grass. I was frightened, but also proud of what she had achieved. I brought her back inside and put her into the enclosure that hubby had built for her and she began to cry. When I brought her to lie on the sofa next to me, she calmed down again. Two hours later, I realized that she was completely apathetic. I called hubby at work and asked him come home immediately. I also called our vet and the hospital, but they just said to bring her on the next day if it didn’t get better. Every now and then, she cried – most of the time when somebody stood up and went away. In the night, she began to cry more often. In the morning, she was so cold. We put her into a heating blanket and drove to the hospital. They suspected that she had an aorta thrombosis, something similar to a stroke, and kept her for more bloodwork. Back home, I read about aorta thromboses, neither hubby nor I had ever heard of it. I was devastated when I realized that Lena’s symptoms matched exactly and that it would mean she didn’t have a chance. A little later the hospital called with more bad news. Her blood had way too little oxygen, which had already damaged her liver and her kidneys. At half past eleven that morning, we had to let our baby go.
A little later, I ordered a skein of Ancient Fibre Arts The Meow Collection, and as soon as it arrived, I knew exactly what the shawl I wanted to make from it should look like. I wanted hearts, pawprints on and between the hearts, a cat’s eye pattern and a border with beads in the color of Lena’s eyes. Knitting the shawl has given me great comfort, and although I still miss my baby every day and still cry a lot, I can now snuggle my Tribute to Lena.

Pawprints on my Heart is a triangular shawl work from the top down. You’ll need to know how to (or be willing to learn) work a garter tab cast on, simple lace knitting, knitting on a border and – this is optional – adding beads. All techniques are explained and / or a tutorial is linked in the pattern.

If you’ve made it to here – thank you! Use the coupon code “Lena” (without the quotes) to receive 30 % off the single patterns from my Ravelry store (except Daddy’s Prayer Shawl)! The code is valid until September 4th 2016, end of day (Switzerland time).

Tulips

The lovestory between me and Caterpillargreen Yarns Shawl Stripes is still going strong! Today I’ve released the next shawl in my series to explore the gorgeous yarn with non-triangular shawls.

Tulpan (Swedish for tulip) is a crescent-shaped shawl. It’s the first time I’ve designed a crescent shawl, and – oh, the possibilities! So much more to try out, so many ideas! Why haven’t I done that sooner?

I hope you like Tulpan as much as I do 🙂

I’ve used two lace patterns and a knit-on border. For the second lace pattern, which is of Estonian origin, you can work nupps, as I did for the sample, or beads.

Work both lace patterns garter stitch based, both stockinette based or mix and match – whichever look you prefer.

From now until July 10th, end of day (Switzerland time), receive the pattern for 50 % off on Ravelry. No coupon code needed, just put the pattern in your cart.

Size: 184 cm [72.5”] wingspan, 47 cm [18.5”] deep

Gauge: 15 sts = 10 cm [4”] in garter stitch after blocking
(Gauge is not vital for this project, but it will affect the size of the FO and yardage.)

Materials:
Caterpillargreen Yarns MCN Shawl Stripes (170 g [6 oz], 548 m [599 yd], 70 % superwash merino, 20 % cashmere, 10% nylon), 1 hank size XL, colorway Concrete and Tulips
Or approx. 548 m [599 yd] fingering weight yarn of your choice
(Designer’s note: I had only 1.2 g left of my skein)
3.25 mm [US 3] 80 cm (32”) circular needle, or a size that gives you a fabric you like.
(Designer’s note: I’m a loose knitter, so you may want to try bigger needles if you aren’t.)
2 stitch markers
Optional: 273 beads to use instead of the nupps (size 6/0, or take a length of yarn to your store and see if the beads fit and you like the look)
Optional: Small crochet hook or dental floss for beading (I use a 0.75 mm crochet hook)

Skills needed:
Garter tab cast on (explained in the pattern)
Simple lace knitting
Nupps (see Techniques on page 6)
Knitting on a border (explained and tutorial linked in the pattern)

 

First peacocks, now butterflies

Yes, my little collection of animals continues! After the Peacock at the Beach Shawl in April, I published Butterflies in the Sunset Shawl today 🙂

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Just like the Peacock Shawl , it is knit in Caterpillargreen Yarns Shawl Stripes – I’m still madly in love with the yarn and I love that it works just as well for shawls that are not triangular.

You can buy the tech-edited and test-knit pattern on Ravelry, and soon also on Loveknitting and Patternfish. On Ravelry, receive 25 % off from now until June 5th, end of day (Switzerland time). No coupon code needed, just put the pattern in your cart 🙂

Size: 145 cm [57”] wingspan, 67 cm [26.5”] deep

Gauge: 22 sts = 10 cm [4”] in stockinette stitch after blocking
(Gauge is not vital for this project, but it will affect the size of the FO and yardage.)

Materials:
Caterpillargreen Yarns MCN Shawl Stripes (170 g [6 oz], 548 m [599 yd], 70 % superwash merino, 20 % cashmere, 10% nylon), 1 hank size XL, colorway Ocean Sunset
Or approx. 535 m [585 yd] fingering weight yarn of your choice
4 mm [US 6] 80 cm (32”) circular needle, or a size that gives you a fabric you like.
(Designer’s note: I’m a loose knitter, so you may want to try bigger needles if you aren’t.)
4 stitch markers, 2 of Color A, 2 (preferably open or lockable) of Color B

Skills needed:
Garter tab cast on (explained in the pattern)
Increases (yo, central double increase; see Abbreviations on page 8-9 and photo tutorial for cdi on page 10)
Decreases (k2tog, ssk, k3tog, sssk, central double decrease, p2tog, ssp; see Abbreviations on page 8-9 )
A few WS rows of the Butterfly Chart are patterned.
Knitting on a border (explained and tutorial linked in the pattern)

I hope you enjoy the pattern 🙂

Peacock at the Beach

Things are really crazy here at the moment, but I managed to publish a new pattern today!

Receive 25 % off with the coupon code “Beach” (without the quotation marks) until April 15th (end of day, Switzerland time)

When I first got my hands on the gorgeous shawl-striping yarn by Caterpillargreen Yarns, I knit it into the top-down triangular shawl that it is meant to be. But after that, my mind began to wonder – what would happen if I broke the rules and tried other shawl scapes for the yarn? Well, the yarn works just as wonderful as for triangular shawls! Peacock at the Beach is the first in a series of shawls using Caterpillargreen yarn for shawls that are not triangular. The pattern is written out as well as charted. Instructions for a shawl without the border, using just one XL skein of the Shawl stripes yarn, are given as well. Tech edited by cupani, test-knit by dancerdawnky42, Gurimall, KnitterScarlet and pinhappy.

Size: 96 cm [37.75”] in diameter

Gauge: 22 sts = 10 cm in garter stitch after blocking
(Gauge is not vital for this project, but it will affect the size of the FO and yardage)

Materials
Caterpillargreen Yarns MCN Shawl Stripes (170 g [6 oz], 548 m [599 yd], 70 % superwash merino, 20 % cashmere, 10% nylon), 1 hank size XL, colorway Peacock
Regia 4-ply (50 g [1.76 oz], 210 m [230 yd], 75 % wool, 25 % nylon), 2 balls #540, Royal
Or approx. 950 m [1040 yd] fingering weight yarn of your choice, 548 m [599 yd] for the body and 400 m [440 yd] for the border

Instructions for a shawl without the border using just one XL skein of the shawl striping yarn are given as well

Crochet hook for cast on
A set of 4 dpns 3.5 mm [US 4], or a size to give you a fabric you like
3.5 mm [US 4] 80 cm [32”] circular nedle, or a size to give you a fabric you like.
(Designer’s note: I’m a loose knitter, so you may want to try bigger needles if you aren’t.)
1 stitch marker of Color A for the beginning of the round
Optional: 23 stitch markers of Color B to use after every pattern repeat

Skills needed
Emily Ocker’s Cast On (see Techniques on page 6-7 )
k-tbl
Simple lace knitting
All stitch patterns are written out as well as charted

Spring

It’s March! It’s spring! Well, I have to ignore all the snow outside of my windows to really believe this, but I’m good at ignoring snow, as long as I’m inside 🙂 And my new socks help as well – the gorgeous colors from String Theory Colorworks gorgeous yarn remind me of the warmer days soon to come!

If you need some help dreaming about spring, too, you can receive the pattern for 25 % off on Ravelry with the coupon code “spring” (without the quotes) from now until March 6th, end of day (Switzerland time).

There’s no need to panic and grab nail polish or hairspray for the runs in these socks – they make up a beautiful design element! The stitch pattern is super easy to knit – if you can knit and purl, you can do it! Detailed instructions for the heel and toe are included. The stitch pattern is written out as well as charted.
Many thanks to my tech editor cupani and my testknitters Dreamchaser0202, Elizabeth11, Ichbinsalso, Kathinka14 and KnitterScarlet.

Size: S (M, L)
Finished sock circumference: 18 cm [7”], (20 cm [8”], 23 cm [9”])

Gauge: 30 sts and 46 rounds = 10 cm [4”] in pattern after blocking

Materials:
String Theory Colorworks Entanglement Self Striping (100 g [3.53 oz], 421 m [460 yd], 75 % merino, 25 % nylon), 1 hank Aconite
String Theory Colorworks Entanglement Heel/Toe (25 g [0.9 oz], 105 m [115 yd], 75 % superwash wool, 25 % nylon), 1 hank Avocado (optional)
2 mm [US 0] double pointed needles, or a size required to get gauge.
(Designer’s note: I’m a loose knitter, so you may want to try bigger needles if you aren’t.)
3 stitch markers

Skills needed:
Knit and purl
Working in the round
K2tog, k3tog, ssk, p2tog (s. Abbreviations on page 5 for all decreases)
yo

Supermodels

A few days ago I had a super fun photoshoot with my cats as models! The photos, especially from our Tigi, came out so great that I want to share them with you. 🙂

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Tigi was a little bit sceptical at first.

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But after a few seconds she found out that it took her only one single step to get out of that strange thing I had put on her and she remembered how much she loves being photographed.

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Of course I had to take photos of Lena with the cowl as well. Lena loved it! No wonder, the Malabrigo Merino Worsted is sooo soft! She began cuddling the cowl right away.

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Unfortunately, she was in a dark corner of the bathroom, but she’s my baby – so of course I still love the photo! 🙂 Many thanks go to Lindsay Lewchuk (KnitEcoChic on Ravelry) and her photoshop skills for saving the photo 🙂

The cowl in the picture is available on Ravelry in German and English. The English version will be available on Patternfish and Loveknitting as well, soon.

This cowl, using a beautiful Estonian pattern, knits up really fast in the gorgeous Merino Worsted by Malabrigo. It is a pleasure to knit and a pleasure to wear, and the stitch pattern is much easier to work than it looks! Charted and written instructions for a short as well as a long cowl are included.
Many thanks to my tech editor cupani and my test-knitters dancerdawnky42, ellyB, gilby, hydrangealover, Ildolcesuono and tamewe (Englisch version) as well as Adiantum, littlewoman49, pafor, SINessi and SusiKlein (German version).

Size:
Short: 66 cm [26”] around, 15 cm [6”] high
Long: 117 cm [46”] around, 15 cm [6”] high
(Designer’s note: The second half of the repeat is a little bit wider than the first half)

Gauge: 1 pattern repeat = 7.3 cm [2.9”] wide and 15 cm (6”) high after blocking

Materials:
Malabrigo Yarn Merino Worsted (100 g [3.53 oz], 192 m [210 yd], 100 % merino), 1 (2) hanks #21, Cactus Flower, or approx. 110 m [120 yd] (195 m [215 yd] worsted weight yarn of your choice

The yardage given includes 10 % extra from what I used. As I knit very loosely, my testers normally use less yarn than I do. One hank my be enough for the long cowl. If you don’t want to buy two hanks, consider using a contrast color for casting on and binding off.)

4.5 mm [US 7] circular needle
(Designer’s note: I’m a loose knitter, so you may want to try bigger needles if you aren’t.)
1 lockable stitch marker

Skills needed:
Knit and Purl
Increases (k1, yo, k1 into one stitch; M1FP, M1RP; 5-into-9; see Abbreviations for all on page 5)
Decreases (sssk, sssp, p2tog, p3tog, s2tog-k1-p2sso; see Abbreviations for all on page 5)

From now until February 4th, end of day (Switzerland time) use the coupon code “Tigi” (without the quotes) on Ravelry to receive this pattern for 25 % off!

 

Designer Interview: Triona Murphy

Merry Christmas everyone! Santa brought me another designer interview to share with you 🙂

Triona Murphy’s Ravelry store offers everything your heart might desire, be it for adults or children!

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How did you come to knitting?
Unlike many people who have a parent or friend who taught them to knit, I grew up without any knitters around me. When I was nineteen, I found a “Learn to Knit” kit that someone had left at my parents’ house and decided to give it a try. I wrestled with the horrible blunt needles and acrylic yarn for a few hours and was totally hooked! I learned everything else I needed to know from the internet.

How did you come to designing?
I bought a sweater that I wore a lot, but there were all these things I didn’t like about it. It was boxy with no waist shaping, had an unflattering neckline, and the cables were all out of proportion. So I decided to design my own roughly-inspired version. When I posted it to my Ravelry project page, I was very surprised when a whole bunch of people said they would purchase a pattern for that sweater. I studied every pattern I could get my hands on and then gave it a shot. That sweater (Chandail) is still my most popular pattern to date!

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What inspires your designs?
I’m always on the lookout for design inspiration. I take tons of pictures with my phone of buildings, textile patterns, nature, and just about anything else that catches my eye.

What is your design process?
For a self-published design, I usually start with a brief sketch of the item and a whole bunch of swatches to find a stitch pattern/yarn combo that I like. Then I do some preliminary math and start the sample. I’m trying to get better about doing the math for all the sizes before I start knitting, but I’m usually too impatient!

Do you have a favourite fiber?
Definitely wool! I adore the bounciness and resilience of it. I like superwash and non-superwash equally (which isn’t that common, I think). They’re both perfect for certain things.

If you could only knit/crochet one type of item, what would it be?
Probably hats! I think they’re perfect for trying out colorwork, intricate cables, and other stitch patterns. They’re so small that you’re done before you have a chance to get bored. And I wear a lot of hats, so they get a lot of use, too!

Which of your patterns make for really great gift knitting?
I’m really fond of one of my newer patterns, the Land Under Wave hat. I think it looks very impressive for non-knitters, but it’s fairly easy and interesting for the knitter to work, which is always a bonus.

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Do you have any new patterns coming out during the GAL that you want to talk about?
I just released a new baby/child pullover pattern, Hoist the Sails. My son did the modeling for me—he’s so patient with me! I really like the simplicity of this pattern. I ended up knitting two samples and didn’t mind at all. It makes for great TV knitting.

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