holstgarn supersoft weekender

My weekender sweater in holst supersoft

New Year, new sweater! It’s the weekender sweater by Drea Renee Knits

I made this in holst supersoft in the colorway crimson. I overdyed 150 grams to get this rich wine color and get the marled effect.

I’m so happy I got this colorway to work in the end, because this yarn has been through a lot! It’s been frogged twice! When I bought this, I had the idea of having a festive red sweater, and I made it. And barely wore it twice and felt strange. Too much red for me! So I tried to overdye it, and it worked, but then I had too little overdyed yarn for a full project, because I was afraid it would look horrible, and I was afraid to commit. Oh, the drama!

And then I just had this spark of inspiration that marled would just work out, and it did. So the final color is a much darker red, which I am very happy to wear.

I still have 187 grams of the crimson cone (I heard that the cone itself is 25 g, so 162g in total) and I think I can use it in a colorwork project.

As I was knitting, I was afraid I didn’t have enough of the burgundy yarn, but the whole sweater was 270 grams in the end, so I even had leftovers. Was it playing yarn chicken if you were fine, just needlessly stressing about it? I knit a size 1.

I liked this project, initially I thought the arms were too tight, but as I’ve worn it and the wool relaxed, it’s perfect! Wool is magical.

You can also see a peak of my Framework bralette by Jessie Maed, an FO I was going to frog, but couldn’t bring myself to do it, because it was just too beautiful. I sewed in an elastic casing as I saw Marina Skua do, and it was perfect! I was also iffy about wearing the Holst Coast I knit it in against my skin, but that was also totally fine!

I have some cotton yarn in my stash, and I’m thinking this could work in cotton as well. Oh, and it was all stash knitting 😇

I have more stash projects in progress this winter, and hopefully I’ll manage to post about it here as well. What are your knitting plans or intentions this year?

How colour palettes help make yarn stashing a more mindful process

After a month-long self-imposed no yarn purchase ban, I started obsessing, both about buying yarn and using what I had in my stash. Yes, I can be like that.

This is how the month went, more or less: some days I would get inspired and decide to just buy the yarn I need for the project I had in mind. Simple as that. I would then agonize about using what you have and how that can spark creativity, and mindful buying and stop myself.

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There are contradictory arguments in my head. Hear me out.

You should knit what you feel like knitting when you feel like knitting

Why? Because by the time you finish all your wips and gift-knitting and cast on that project you longed for so dearly, your joy has been reduced to 50%. It had expired. The inspiration has left you. It’s not the same.

So why knit things with 50% of joy, when you can always knit what you feel like? Would that make you less productive? Is being productive in knitting important to you?

Thus, one should go and buy the yarn.

You buy yarn to use it, not to collect it

As a person who doesn’t like to own more than is necessary, having a big stash can be a problem. It causes frustration. I don’t buy yarn as decor, I buy it as a tool for learning and making new things. I have yarn I don’t like so much, so I don’t knit with it. And then I have yarn I love, and I don’t knit with it because it’s too precious.

I have found a solution for both things, but it’s a continuous work in progress.

Solution 1:

I have found that, in most cases, over dyeing yarn can completely transform something blah into something exciting. The proof is my cantaloupe coloured cone of Holstgarn Coast. I tried my best. I almost knit a full jumper with it (minus one sleeve). Frogged it. I crocheted a cardigan and tried to wear it and love it for months. Also frogged it. And then, I started experimenting with over dyeing it, and what do you know? I have used the yarn in a shawl, a short-sleeved tee and still have some left, but in colours I really want to use!

Solution 2:

I don’t buy yarn that feels too precious. I want to wear my knitted things, not baby them around.

Creativity is sparked by using what you have

I know. It’s true. It has worked for me many times. Limit your tools and be amazed by what your brain will come up with.

There is the rush of the EVRIKA moment, and then there is the pride that you came up with it by yourself. It really doesn’t compare with following a pattern in the same yarn and colours as someone else because you just loved it.

Yet sometimes we just want to do that.

Right. So what’s the conclusion?

Now that October is here, my agonizing has made me buy new yarn I know I love 💕 that’s sturdy and lovely, in colours I have identified in my last adventure with autumn colour palettes.

It has stopped me from:

Buying yarn because it was on sale

Buying yarn that is very, very similar to yarn I already have (and have not used)

It has not stopped me from:

Overthinking my yarn purchases

Wanting to buy yarn that is very, very similar to yarn I already own.

So, how’s your knitting going?

Trying something new

I just created a newsletter here. It’s called Knitting with Noodles, because when you are obsessed with knitting you always think about knitting.

I’m not sure yet how often it will go out, but it will be just about knitting. There’s a button to subscribe in this post and the newsletter is free :https://knittingnoodles.substack.com/p/on-choosing-colours-for-knitting

This time I wrote about choosing a colour palette for knitting and my first colour work jumper!

double color round sweater yoke

On choosing colours for knitting

The summer sun is still toothy, here in the Mediterranean, but I still fantasize about autumn, the chill in the air, the leaves, the misty mornings.

I experimented with knitting with cotton this summer, and I wasn’t very successful. I didn’t like the knitting experience and I didn’t like the resulting fabric. So I am happy to start knitting with wool again.

I have a big stash, but I still wanted to buy new yarn and I started obsessing about colours, but just couldn’t decide. So many options!

I found some interesting ideas in Colour your Style by David Zyla that I wanted to share with you, hoping it would be helpful in choosing colours for your next knit.

According to Zyla, your ideal colour palette is created by the tones already existing in your eyes, hair and skin.

The neutrals

To find your neutrals, your version of black, brown and beige, the author advises the following:

Your version of black is the ring of your iris

Your version of brown is the darkest share of your hair (even if it’s not your natural colour)

Your version of beige is the lightest share in your hair

Your pastels and brights

Zyla calls them your tranquil and energetic colours to distinguish between these colours on a spectrum:

Your tranquil colour is the lightest colour found in your iris

Your energy colour is the colour found in the darkest part of your iris (not the ring of your iris, which is your black).

The accent colours

They are colours that complement and bring out your natural colour palette.

Your version of red is the share of red of your flushed skin, the tip of your ears in winter or the tip of your fingers after you squeeze it

Your version blue is the deepest colour of your veins, when you look at your wrist in natural light

I thought it was interesting to think of colour palettes in this way, so I choose a bunch of greens I had in my stash and cast on a round-yoke colour work jumper. It’s my first time doing colour work, I am sure I am not holding the yarn the right way, but I found a way that works for me, and I’m excited to see what comes of it. I am making up the pattern as I go along.

The yarn I am using is HolstSupersoft a mix of 50% merino and 50% Shetland wool, that’s very toothy and lovely. The green colour is of my own making, having over dyed a cake I didn’t like with food colouring, and the light blue is 042 Iced. The needles I am using are wooden Knit Pro.

What kind of colours are you drawn to? Have you discovered any new inspiring colours to knit or make with?

Happy knitting,

Sky

linen anker summer tee

My first Anker’s Summer Tee in Drops Bomull Lin

 

I had been looking at this pattern for a while, but I am not a big fan of trends, so I resisted purchasing it for a long while. In the end, seeing so many beautiful cotton and linen projects, I jumped and bought it. I was surprised that the pattern came in Spanish because the shop realized I was in Spain, but which a quick email to pattern support I got the English version as well.

anker's bomull lin summer blouse

The pattern

This was my first pattern from Petite Knit and I really like how it was written. Not too long, not too short and very clear. I get scared when I see a pattern with 30 pages, I prefer charts or understanding the recipe, so I can fly freely.

I had tried another round yoke before from an Elizabeth Zimmerman recipe, but I didn’t like the fit. Being all ribbed and having the increases spread in a smart way, this fits very nicely.

There are no short rows, so if you like them, you’ll need to add them yourself.

The yarn

It was also the first time I used Drops Bomull Lyn. The year before I had bought lace-weight 100% linen from a local yarn shop, which I loved, but couldn’t use if, because when I held it double, it was too see-through for my liking. When I held it triple, the fabric was too stiff and bulky, and not fit for a garment. I did use some of it (I’ll tell you later what I made with it) and still have some in stash, but I couldn’t make a garment out of it, and I was heartbroken. And wallet broken. But it’s nice yarn, it’s ok.

Anyway, the Drops Bomull Lyn. I was on the fence because it seems too thick for a summer garment, but I thought the added cotton in the composition would make it softer and more malleable. I thought I’d make a bag if the yarn didn’t work for the top. I bought 4 balls, knowing very well it was not enough, but sometimes we do inexplicable things.

I made an XS, very cropped and finished the bottom ribbing in a different yarn I had in stash, but I think it’s not really noticeable. I am a very loose knitter and my gauge was 18 st per 10 cm (4 inches) and I knew the yarn would grow. It fits perfectly, with just a few cm of ease for my 88 cm (34.5 in) bust.

I took the photo after I had already worn this many times. I didn’t block it, just put out to dry as it was. Line gets smoother after each wash but not cotton, so this feels a bit rough and crispy after washing, but soften after the first wear. I don’t mind the crispness though.

The needles

I used 3.25mm wooden needle, a Lykke shorty for this project. It was also my first time knitting with Lykke, I just bought one pair of needles and a cable. I would have preferred the 3mm, but it seems they only make fixed needles in that size? The needles are compatible with my KnitPro cables, hooray. I wasn’t sure about the shorties but I loved them. They helped me start another cotton project after many failed attempts at using that stash yarn.

anker summer tee

The project

If I make this again, I would make it a bit longer and decrease a few stitches after the sleeves. I think it would look better. I made it without short rows, but I think it’s OK without them.

I should also go and hide better my knots and yarn ends. I can do this with a needle and thread.

All in all, a fun, engaging knit that I would like to try again.

stack of knitted swaters

Warm weather closet rotation

After a cold and rainy spring, it seems summer has arrived in the Mediterranean area, where I live. Every year, I get overexcited and make the closet swap earlier than I should, and then I end up needing to layer things that shouldn’t be layered. This time I waited longer, and now it’s clear that my cold weather items are ready to go to storage. I always like the joy this swap brings: a celebration of the seasons, a fresh encounter with items I haven’t seen for months and that I can get reacquainted with. I always remake, over dye and rethink my wardrobe this time of year, and it’s the season I get more into sewing.

**Storing my cold weather wardrobe**

This also means it’s time for woolen knits to go into storage.

To keep them safe from hungry moths, I wash them before storing them. Moths are attracted to sweat and other things that might get on your clothes as you wear them.

It’s also a joy to wash woolens in summer, because it’s so warm and sunny that everything dried in a few hours.

I also put little bags of lavender in the same bag I store my knits, and I try to close them as airtight as possible. Those vacuum bags, if you have them, will work well for this and save you some space as well.

I also store turtlenecks, flannel shirts and thicker jeans.

**Bringing in the warm weather wardrobe**

When warm weather comes, I bring out all my summer clothes. I always surprised of how many I have. I have more summer clothes than cold-weather clothes. It’s a mild climate, but also in summer, where I live, you need to change clothes a lot. If you lived in a Mediterranean climate, you know when the season of never-again-having-that-feeling-of-a-fresh-tshirt. Everything is just sticky all the time.

Now, at the beginning of summer, I can still enjoy the warmth without the stickiness.

In the last few years, I’ve noticed that warm weather slows down my knitting and gets me in the mood to sew, while in the colder months I tend to only sew simple things like tote bags, napkins, pillowcases.

Last year, and the year before, I had only sown quite loose, oversized garments. Maybe it was the Pandemic, maybe it was the extra weight… maybe it was that phase. Now I feel like I can have ease and still sew things that fit and flatter my body.

I try everything on and decide what does and doesn’t work anymore. The items in the latter category are then surveyed to see if I can sell them or give them to someone who can give them a better home. Many times I alter them, and turn them into completely new things. As I’m writing this, I am wearing a dress I recut and over-dyed from a failed project. I had kept the fail project and the rage it still contained in a bag until seasons past and the fabric was neutral to me and ready to be given a second, or third or fourth life. I’ve already worn this dress more than ten times, and only made if a few weeks ago.

tiny scraps

I like to reset the fabric by opening seams, washing and when possible, over-dyeing. I have a black embroidered linen top that used to be a dress, then a skirt and now a top. I used embroidery to mend the holes it had acquired in its past lives, and it’s one of my favorite linen tops. Indeed, some of my favorite things are things I made out of repurposed or leftover fabric.

linen embroidered top

I keep the smallest pieces and I try to use them. Lately, I have been making tote-bags using a combination of quilting techniques and sashiko embroidery. I crocheted straps. I love these tote bags. I kept some for me as knitting project bags and some I gave away as gifts.

scrappy tote bag

Why we knit

I’m on a weeklong trip and I forgot to take my knitting with me.

A few days in, I am considering going on an emergency shopping trip and buying something (even though I have enough). So far I missed knitting when in long conversations with family members, in the early morning as I wake up and during lunch-break.

So I am spending some time today to reflect on why I knit and why others do it. In my research, I stumbled upon Ann Hood’s Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting, a collection of essays about knitting. [https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20663751-knitting-yarns](https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20663751-knitting-yarns)

Here are some excerpts from the book:

“But here’s the thing. The lesson in all this, which I did not learn then, is that so much of the joy of knitting is not in the creation of a perfect product. Rather, it is in the act of using one’s own bodily skills to make something for someone else’s body. The gift is not so much in the end result (although the end results are often if not usually spectacular), but in the way that something made with one’s own hands says a few things of utmost importance:
I made this for you.

I thought of you while I made it.

I guess I kind of love you.”

Elizabeth Berg

“My grandmother, born in Shanghai, knit brioche turtlenecks for the harsh winters of Wisconsin. She knit mohair cardigans in pale blues and in peach shades with matching buttons. My mother, sisters, and I wore and loved the things she made. Our family was short on money and purchased clothes so rarely that any breath of newness and prettiness in our lives was a treasure. She was a wonderful knitter. She never used patterns, but she had an eye for fashion; she studied the catalogues and newspapers for trends in collars and sleeves. We all knew that she spent every penny she had on yarn for us.”

Lan Samantha Chang

“And I was looking forward to wrapping it and giving it Christmas morning to my Aunt Jeannie down in Fishville, Louisiana. But this feeling of joyful anticipation rarely came while I was actually knitting, for the act itself was too calming for that, the constant sticking and looping and light cinching and more sticking and looping, my fingers moving in a rhythm they’d never known before. It required me to focus, and it allowed me to drift too, the way running a long distance required my feet and legs to do one thing while my mind could do another. ”

Andre Dubus III

I liked these quotes because the two knitting projects I was considering taking with me were both gifts I had hoped I would finish during my trip and gift them to their beloved recipient. But I know my needles are patiently waiting for me at home, and that I will be able to pick them up in a few days.

The Ranunculus sweater that almost never was

I see that my last post was in October, when I made Laura’s mittens and shared the pattern I made up for her. Many things have happened on a personal level, but they say you learn from challenges, right? I am grateful to have knitting and making things as a tool to slow down and heal.

Instead of doing a massive recap, I’ll just slowly talk about the things I made and learned, one by one, as they come to me. Starting with the ranunculus.

The Ranunculus sweater, by Midori Hirose is so popular, that It doen’t need any introduction. Instead, I’ll talk about my journey with the pattern and how it took me no less than 5 tries to get it done.

I initially bought this with the idea of making it from my mom. She chose the color from Holst Supersoft and I wanted to make it for her before Christmas. I tried different needles, holding it single, double, I tried it in a bigger wool, and very time it was huge, or I had made a mistake I couldn’t fix and had to frog it.

First try, holding the yarn single

Third frog, with the yarn held double[/caption]

Then, on a rainy Saturday evening, I started dyeing wool in my stash I didn’t love. Dyeing wool on a rainy day is a terrible idea, so please don’t be like me.

I have this idea in my head that I want to reduce and use my stash. There are yarns I don’t love and don’t use, and yarns I love too much and don’t use. Does this happen to anyone else out there?

So that rainy day, I decided to pick some wool I had in my stash that I didn’t love. A part of it were small and very small cakes of Holst Supersoft in orange, pale yellows and creams. I had some leftover food colorant from a previous dye experiment, so I decided to just go ahead and see what transformations I can bring to this yarn.

(Dyeing wool with food coloring is extremely easy, and you don’t need to buy anything except the colorant. I will tell you more about this in a future post).

Turns out, I loved the colors that I had created from over dyeing the Supersoft. And I love the wool, but only had a small amount, so I thought, maybe it’s time to bring back out the ranunculus. It helped that in the meantime Midori Hirose had updated her pattern to include smaller sizes, so I went ahead and cast on, holding the yarn double, on 4.5 mm needles.

I played extreme yarn chicken with this project, and had to sneak some yarn that I had for another project, but it worked out in the end and I was able to finish it.

This time I took my time and paid attention to the pattern, and it worked, I actually made the ranu culus sweater. It’s true what they say, it’s engaging and quick to knit, especially the short-sleeved version.

I was surprised that, by knitting the smallest size, the sleeves and bodice were quite fitted, the sleeves almost no positive ease, and then the body had maybe 10 if not more centimeters of positive ease. I don’t love the silhouette, but since it’s cropped, it works!

And that’s the story of the ranunculus sweater that almost never was!

easy fingerless mittens

October simple fingerless mitts (with knitting instructions)

I made these mittens for my friend L’s birthday. She’s a writer, the cold season is coming, and I can imagine her typing away at her computer while being cozy and warm.

It was the first time I used Drops Lima. This whole year I’ve been into wooly wools, the more scratchy and rustic, the better.

After knitting and frogging and reknitting and refrogging an albeit sleeveles, full sweater, I’ve realized the problem was the yarn. I had bought it from a local mill, last year, when the shops were closed, it was superwash wool, but the superwash treatment made it look and feel more like acrylic yarn than wool. It was too floopy and shiny.

Last month I found a local knitter who likes superwash on freecycle and gave her my superwash part of the stash (it rhymes!). That felt so good, after months of trying to use these yarns into the sweater above, slippers and shawls that would end up frogged.

So now I steer away from superwash and synthetic blends.

I had used Drops Karisma in the past to make a scarf for a family member, because I needed that garment to be easy to care for. It was okay, but you know… what I said above. So then I had this feeling that most other Drops yarns had some synthetics in them and I disregarded for a long time. But when I went a few weeks ago to my local yarn shop to find new yarn for making L’s mittens, I was surprised to see Lima and Nepal who are both a wool and alpaca mix. They’re really soft and warm. And not shiny!

Now to the mitten instructions, created with the spiritual guidance of Mrs Zimmerman. My friend has small hands, so they mittens look very small, but they were tested on big, manly hands, and they fit as well. If I made this for bigger hands, I would increase the original cast on (CO) with 2-4 stitches.

Fingerless mittens pattern

Yarn: Drops Lima (which is a DK weight)
Gauge: 20 st in stockinette stitch (ss) = 10 cm on 3 mm double pointed needles (DPNs)

Gauge is personal, make a swatch before to see which needles you need for this yarn!

CO 36 st on DPNs

Cuff

Knit the cuff in 1&1 rib (knit 1, purl 1) for 9 rows
K2, ssk to the end,
Knit 4 rounds
K2, kfb to end of round
Knit 15 rounds (keep the purls that you have created from the kfb and knit in pattern)

Afterthought Thumb (we will put in and afterthought thumb, which means we will keep the stitches we need to pick up and knit the thumb, on a spare piece of thread, while we finish the mitten).

K2, insert temporary thread, k7, move back to your main yarn, continue knitting 4 rounds in pattern. When you get to the spare thread stitches, just knit them normally.
Knit 9 more rows in 1&1 rib, then cast off loosely. You can use a bigger needle for your cast off.

Picking up thumb stitches

Now you have 6 st above your spare thread and 7 below, Pick up the 6 st and one on each side, from your knit, 8 st.
Knit 5 st, change needle
Knit 5 st, change needle,
You have 5 st left on your third needle.
Knit 4 rows
Rib 1&1 for 4 rows, cast off in pattern.

Abbreviations:

CO cast on
DPNs double pointed needles
SSK slip slip knit, slip 2 st onto your right needle and knit them together (decreases 1 stitch)
KFB knit front and back into the same stitch (makes 1 stitch)

Enjoy!

September forest wool hat

September Forest Hat (with knitting instructions)

Even though it’s still hot where I live, you can feel autumn in the air. It was a hard summer, so I am looking forward to the slow melancholy of the season.

In this mood was that I started feeling the itch to knit something to celebrate the coming of the new season. I wanted to knit something that reminded me of the forest as it is now, of tree bark and pines, the forest just starting to turn darker and wetter as the year gets older.

It was fun to me to rummage through my stash and play with a few Holstgarn Supersoft leftovers and marl them together. If you want to make this, the knitting pattern is below.

September Forest Hat knitting pattern

Yarn: Hostgarn Supersoft, held double
Gauge: 18 stitches (st) for 10 cm in stockinette stitch (ss)
Notions: circular needle, double-pointed needle, sewing needle.

This is a one size pattern that has enough ease to fit different sizes of adult heads.

Cast on

Cast on 96 st, then join the round without twisting your stitches.

Hat rib

Knit in one by one rib for 10 rounds or 4.5 cm (or until you’re pleased with the height of your rib). One by one rib is knit by alternating between knit and purl stitches. So row one is K1, P1 to the end.

Hat body

Knit in stockinette stitch (so knit every stitch, each round) for 14 rounds (or another 6 cm). Your knitting piece is now 10.5 cm from the cast on.

Decrease row 1: knit 7, k2tog, until end of row
Next 3 rows, knit
Decrease row 2: knit 6, k2tog, until end of row
Next 3 rows, knit
Decrease row 3: knit 5, k2tog, until end of row
Next 2 rows, knit
Decrease row 4: knit 4, k2tog, until end of row
Next 2 rows, knit
Decrease row 5: knit 3, k2tog, until end of row
Next row, knit
Decrease row 6: knit 2, k2tog, until end of row
Next row, knit
Decrease row 7: k2tog, until end of row

This is how the decreases will look if you fold the hat

Now cut off the thread, leaving a hand-to-elbow long tail, thread it through a needle, and then thread the needle through the remaining stitches, pulling the hat closed. Pull the tread towards the wrong side of your hat and weave in your ends. Weave in any other ends and wear with joy.

This is how your hat will look from above

Variation for straight needles.

You can knit this hat in the same way on straight needles by knitting on the front side and purling on the wrong side. Make the decreases, as the pattern suggests, on the front side only.