29 May 2008

Yarn and needle sizes?

I have received quite a lot of questions regarding needle sizes for my patterns, and I thought I'd write a post to answer the question. As for now, my patterns aren't connected to any specific yarn. The suggested yarn weight is given, and of course gauge. So why aren't there needle sizes suggested, you ask me.

Because every yarn behaves different in itself, so it would depend on the yarn chosen. But most of all, because every knitter has her own personal knitting style. Some of us knit tightly, some quite loosely, and this has enormous effect on the actual gauge on your knitted piece of fabric.

So, what to do, then? Well, there is a simple (some would say boring) solution: Swatch! Whereas some think this a tedious exercise, I find it's a great way not only to avoid having to frog a whole lot of stitches after finding out the garment won't fit at all due to gauge difference between my piece and the pattern, but also a great way to see how the yarn fits the pattern in question. Not all yarns are suited for all types of patterns, and by knitting a small square of about 12x12 cm, you'll actually be able to tell whether you like the combination or not.

And - if your swatching energy hasn't run out quite yet - wash and block the swatch. The finished garment will most probably need some washing at some point, and it would be a shame if the garment stretched or shrank during washing, resulting in an out of shape, not wearable, not at all the same size as before washing garment, which took you hours to make. By washing (and drying) the swatch, you'll be able to foresee quite a lot about how your knitted garment will look we finished.

So, go find a yarn with the right gauge printed on the label. Grab the needles corresponding to the needle size suggested on the label (or one size up if if you're a tight knitter, the opposite if you're a loose one). Make sure to check if the pattern gauge is for Stockinette stitch or for any other stitch pattern. Then, CO about 30-40 sts, and make your swatch. Do it again with larger/smaller needles if your gauge is off. Wash and block the swatch(es) when hitting gauge, and see if the gauge is still right.

Then use whatever needle size YOU need for getting gauge with your particular yarn and your personal knitting style, and cast on for the project you've been wanting to make!

26 May 2008

Thank you!

I have enjoyed reading your comments this weekend! Thank you all for contributing to my hundredth postiversary, and to helping me discover some new knitting blogs! I have picked a winner - or rather random.org's integer generator did. Congratulations to Strikkelise, the knitting bag is yours! I will send it to you as soon as you e-mail me your address. I hope you'll like it!

My Magda was surprisingly featured at whip up on Saturday, and I'm really happy for the response on the dress! The pattern is actually finished, I've just made some improvements, and I'm knitting like mad to finish the new dress to be pictured along with the directions. I hope to make the pattern available for purchase sometime later this week.

22 May 2008

100

I made this knitting bag today. I have a pattern to finish, and I'm at a point in that process that is a bit intense, so let's say I just felt like having a break, and then I did some sewing. The bag is just like the one I made for Hanne, and my own (which I use all the time). Both the floral fabric and the solid red is cotton, the red is heavy weight. And like Hanne's bag, it's lined with silk, a deep red this time.

A week ago, I discovered there are web sites ready to help me spy on those reading my blog, and have thus just discovered that quite a lot of people actually do. In fact, the last week, people from all over the world have been visiting. I have found that most of you are Danish or American, and there are also quite a lot from Norway and the rest of Europe. But then there have also been visitors from as far away as Australia, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, China, Brazil, India, Kuwait, Russia and Greenland! I guess Ravelry is to blame.

Anyway, I'm thrilled that there are people out there actually interested in what I do! I love to knit, I really do. It gives me so much pleasure, and after I started designing patterns, it has become even more enjoyable. And getting feedback on what I love to do, is of course satisfying. I deeply appreciate every comment you leave for me. I also like being able to visit your places, discovering more clever knitters with lots of inspiration to give.

Therefore, on this, my hundredth post, it's time for celebration. I missed my first blogiversary, so I figured this would be a proper occasion. And when there's celebration, there's usually cake. I must admit I prefer real life cakes over the virtual ones, so there won't be any today. But I have this knitting bag, though. Maybe that could be something?

So. One of you gets the knitting bag. And in return, I'd like a comment by Sunday. If you have made any of my designs, I would be very happy for a link to the picture! If you haven't, inspire me with some fabulous knitting! And if you don't feel like going fabulous knitting hunting, that's ok, too. Just make me feel special! And of course, identify yourself so I can discover your blog (if you have one, that is)!

17 May 2008

Magda

May I present to you, the recently finished, lovely summer dress modelled by my daughter!

After a few hot dogs, ice creams, some chocolate, watching the children's parade and celebrating my sister's birthday, she gladly acted as a model while I photographed her in her new dress. Being advised to stand on top of the stove in the living room during the photo shooting didn't make the assignment any less popular..

Well, the details: I have named the dress Magda, and it is (of course) worked top down, with raglan puff sleeves. The yarn was actually a pleasant surprise. As you probably know, I'm not so into knitting with cotton, but this yarn was somehow different. Less static, more comfortable to work with. I will definitely order some more for summer garments, as the price is quite nice, too. Well, I guess I'll put the dress in the washing machine to see how it behaves when washed, and then decide whether or not to buy more. Anyway, besides from being very pleasant to work with, it also looks good. It yields a shiny, even fabric, which is thin enough for hot summer days, playing in the sun.

Magda [@ravelry] specs:
Pattern: Magda by Tora Frøseth
Needles: 2.5 and 3.0 mm
Yarn: 200 g of Hifa Perle

Celebration day!

Today is the Norwegian Constitution Day, a day every child in this country has been looking forward to: there will be parades, hot dogs, as much ice cream as possible and bands marching in the streets. Unfortunately, it's raining. Well, there will be celebration anyway! We'll put on out best clothes under the rain garments, at least knowing ourselves we look good..

My Angel got a recipient yesterday evening. My brother in law has become a father for the first time! A brand new cousin for my kids. A good reason for celebration, if you ask me!

And I have an FO! The girly tunic is finished, but since my daughter refused to model, I have only this boring picture to show you. She hasn't even tried it on, so I don't really know yet if it's hot or not. I'll try to get a modelled shot later, saving the facts box for that post.

Today is also my sister's birthday. We'll be off to celebrate her in the afternoon. Happy birthday little sister!

05 May 2008

Three things to make me happy

1. Knitting with my feet in green grass.

2. Flowers in my garden. I have been out there every day lately, and yesterday the yellow goodness was finally there! My lovely yellow tulips and these little ones which name I do not know bring me so much joy!

3. Bare skin in the sun. My skin haven't been kissed by any kind of sun in a long time, so be sure to wear sunglasses in my proximity.

The girly summer top is about half way done, and I'm actually enjoying working with the cotton yarn. I'm very surprised and a bit confused, not sure what it is they've done to make the yarn behave so not like ordinary cotton.

The pattern is a good one to work with, too. Quite mindless, but with interruptions in the monotony at apt intervals. A nice little project for sunny afternoons, while drinking my ice coffee. Which could have been a fourth happy thing, if hadn't it disappeared so fast. It always does. I wonder why..