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Monday, February 24, 2014

Knitting Winter Games 2014 - complete

Pattern: Headger VI
Designer: Catherine Lowe - Site
Yarn: Wollmeise The "Pure" 100% Merino Superwash - Buxkranzl

Hard to believe that the winter Olympics are over. This is one of the first times I have watched the games where I just couldn't get that excited and I didn't feel like what they meant to me was represented. So I had the think long and hard about whether or not to knit an Olympic project this time around. I knew I didn't want to officially sign up for any group on Revelry, that was for certain.

In the end though I decided that it was important to carry on that tradition on this blog. One of the most memorable and meaningful things I knit with MG was the Kiri Shawl in 2006. We had so much fun challenging ourselves to complete it during the 2 weeks. MG even sat down and calculated how many stitches we had to do a day to meet our task. I had really hoped she would knit with me again this Olympic, but in the end she didn't.

I had great hopes of doing multiple simple accessories for the challenge but in the end I complete the Follow your Arrow Mystery KAL and Headger VI by Catherine Lowe. The KAL really couldn't be counted since only Clue 5 was knit during the Olympics. I also started to knit two other hats, but they were not the shape that really wanted. It kind of surprises me how few true beret patterns are available. Most of the ones on Ravelry are really more like Tam o' Shanter instead.

The Catherine Lowe hat may be the hardest thing I have ever tried to knit. The fluted Stitch and Selvage stitch worked out to about 10 rows every 45 minutes. It really was rather insane since I am not a slow knitter when I actually have time to knit. Heck I could have knit another shawl in the time it took to knit the headband.

The one major mistake I made was that I was so caught up in finishing the hat that I didn't check my gauge for the main body of the hat. The reality is though that it was knit on US 1's so I really only could have gone down much more in needle size. The gauge for my band was spot on. So the hat is pretty floppy. I could try to shrink it by throwing it in the dryer, but right now I am just happy I was able to complete it during the Olympics. It hasn't been blocked at this point while I wait to decide what to do. In the end, I am pretty happy with it, floppiness and all.

So this brings to an end another Winter Games Challenge on the blog!!!! I would say I got a gold for completion.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Follow your Arrow Mystery KAL

Pattern: Follow your arrow mystery kal

Designer: Ysolda Teague

Yarn: The Plucky Knitter Primo Fingering - Little Reata

How many times have I started this KAL or that KAL over the years. This is the first time I can say that I actually finished the KAL and in record time. Though I have to be honest I just don't think KAL's are for me. I am to much of a control freak. It will make a happy gift for someone in the future.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Ready for a cuppa tea?

Pattern: Tea-Jenny
Designer: Kate Davies
Yarn: Foula Wool (3ply / Double Knitting weight / Shetland wool)
Colour: Black (A), Moorit, (B) Fawn (C) , Mioget (D), Grey (E), Light Grey (F), White

It looks like all my holiday knitting this year centered around Kate Davies patterns. For a tea drinker with a sense of humor I can think of nothing funnier than wearing a hat with tea pots gracing the sides and crowns. Luckily this one is going off to a friend that fills that bill.

I purchased the kit when it was frist announced from Foulawool, but there was such a demand my kit didn't come until the middle of January.The yarn is really lovely and a pleasure to knit since you can still feel the lanolin in the fiber. I love the different shades that were used in the hat. Though there is no way I would have purchased the individual hanks had a kit not been available the cost would have been rather insane for such little yarn used. I really do want to order enough of the yarn to knit a sweater for myself once it comes back in stock.

It was a really a fast knit. I finished it in just onder two nights. The biggest issue was the fact that the only US size 6 DPN's that I own were those plastic ones that were designed for people with arthritist. I really have never understood why they are suppose to be so good for your hand. Mine just hurt for days after using them. I also find that my stitches are a lot more uneven when ever I use them.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sámi Bracelets

Its always nice to take the day off to play hookie once and awhile. Last Friday I had the opportunity to do just that and take a class on Sámi Bracelets at Knitting Temptations in Dublin, Ohio. To be honest before I saw the newsletter I had no idea about this amazing craft and of course had to do a little research on this century old tradition. Sadly there seems to be very little published about this craft.

The class was really well done and if anyone is in the area I strongly recommend taking the class in the future. They offer two levels basic and intermediate. In the basic class you learn how the bracelets are constructed and do a simple braid like you see in the picture above.

Instructor: Anita Miller

Sámi crafts are inspired by Scandinavia's indigenous population, the Saami people or the people of the sun and the wind. There homes extend from Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Kola Peninsula of Russia. The Sámi people are among the largest indigenous ethnic groups in Europe. They are the only group in Scandinavia that have legal rights to have reindeer heard. The reindeer's are sacred to the Saami people and when a reindeer is killed all parts of the animal must be used.

The respect for the reindeer can be seen in all the crafts and tools that are made with parts of the animal. The Sámi bracelets are just another example of this with using several parts: vegetable-tanned reindeer leather, reindeer horn (that is sheded) and the most amazing silver-tin alloy thread. The leather is tanned with a tannin commonly extracted from birch, willow, and fir trees. The process is rare since it is free of chrome and nickel making the reindeer hide actually hypoallergenic. What makes them truly unique though is the tin thread. A thread of coiled pewter is spun over a thread core. The Sámi invented a way to wrap the thread with a melted tin alloy made with 4 to 3% of silver. So over time it will create and amazing patina.

While Googling I found a great post in English about what is Tin Thread... Wild roses and Blackberries Definitely a very informative resource on the material and also references to where you can find more information about the supplies and resources.

There doesn't seem to be a lot of additional how to's online about the Sámi bracelets: Here are a few that I found.

Projectland - Click Here
Not Only Quilts has an online tutorial for making the bracelet in English - Click Here - Katrian Bracelet

Here are a couple of Swedish How to Sites (Goto love Google Translate)
Slojd-Detalje Click Here
Min Fritid - Click Here
Med glimten i ögat - Click Here

And finally here is a YouTube video I found of Ellen Hill Sewing a Saami Bracelet!

Ellen Hill Sewing Saami Bracelets - Beautiful Video I found on YouTube

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Christmas Snawheid

Pattern: Snawheid
Designer: Kate Davies
Yarn: Jamieson's Shetland 2-ply Spindrift Heritage
Colour: Madder and Natural

So what is a knitter to do when your future sister-in-law request a Christmas hat on her Christmas wish list? Well you quickly search Ravelry for the perfect hat and order yarn that day. The yarn was ordered on the 14th but didn't show up until Christmas Eve. So crap, that is a lot of knitting to do in colourwork that I am not to comfortable with in the first place to get it ready to fly home with her. Well I thankfully made it with some modifications in less than 2.5 days and here are photos of the final result.

I also wanted to wish you all a very Happy New Years! Hope that the year of the Horse will be a great one for you and your family.