Lately the weather was a little bit crazy. First it was snowing all the time, then it got very warm. And that’s when the first lambs were born.
This little girl is so cute and lively! She follows her mother everywhere. I really love the photo above, I think I managed to capture the amazing motherly bond between them.
The little lamb girl has a brother who’s quite a bit different. He is a lot less lively and keeps looking for food. My parents have to feed him seperately, because the sheep mother doesn’t have enough milk for both od them. This makes him very curious of people because he always suspects we have more milk for him.
We also have new baby goats! They are just as cute, but harder for me to capture with my camera. They keep hopping around and it’s a little bit dark in the barn we keep them in for now. It’s too cold for them outside at the moment.
I’ll finish this article with a picture of how lovely the weather was in here.
Last fall I encountered some very interesting pictures on Instagram. Apparently, people were exchanging these cute little packages by post, full of yarn and other craft related goodies. That’s how I found out about Fibreshare which is “…an international yarn and fiber swap open to all crafts”. It seems like a great way to connect with crafters from all over the world on a slightly deeper level than it is common on social media or blogs. You get to know two people you’re assigned to based on common interests and tastes. I think that sounds pretty awesome, don’t you?
To do this, you need to sign up and pay a small fee. You need to fill out several questions about yourself and your passion for craft. After some consideration, I decided to sign up for knitting as it seems to be my focus as of late.
The questions made me think about my preferences and what yarns I’m secretly dreaming about getting and I thought it would be nice to share some of them with you.
If you worked with any of these yarns, make sure to comment and let me know how you liked it!
Eden Cottage Yarns
I’ve been drooling over Eden Cottage Yarns for a long time now. The colors are simply amazing! The company resides in Yorkshire and is using a lot of Brittish wool. It’s a sustainable, nature friendly business. The owner Victoria hand dyes the yarns in her own kitchen sink!
Meadow by The Fibre Co.
The Fibre Co. was originally founded in Portland, Maine, but then it was moved to Cumbria in the United Kingdom. They have a very wide selection of natural yarns. Meadow caught my eye because of its rustic character.
Lettlopi by Alafoss
Lettlopi is a famous Icelandic yarn, commonly used for knitting a lopi sweater. Lopi is a classic Icelandic yoke sweater. Again, the colors are simply amazing and it looks so airy and soft!
Celtic Colours by S Twist Wool
Celtic Colours is Irish yarn at its best. The secret to their amazingly bright and unusual colors is overdyeing naturally light and dark grey Jacob wool with the same colour.
Like always, I have a bunch of excuses as to why I don’t update this blog as much. You know, Christmas is coming! That’s always a good excuse.
But I’ve actually been a little bit depressed, because a package full of handmade gifts that I sent to US have apparently been lost in the mail. Anyway, that’s what I figured as it’s been a month and a half now and there’s no package to be found, even though it was sent by priority post which usually takes about two weeks.
I’ve packed a lot of decorations in the package, for example these two hand-painted horses.
I guess what’s lost is lost and I can’t do anything about it, but it certainly wasn’t encouraging. So I’ve only focused on my own long-time projects since then – I keep working on my Kalevala blanket, missing only four squares now.
I’ve started to knit a sweater for myself that I’ve been temped to make for quite some time. I bought Holst Garn during Black Friday sales and it’s so pretty!
I’m knitting a sweater called Threipmuir by an amazing designer Ysolda Teague. It’s inspired by traditional icelandic sweaters, but the fingering weight yarn makes it much more delicate.
…But I’m still Going 🙂 Today I was scrolling through Instagram posts and I saw someone has not only finished the Kalevala blanket, but is already finishing a third one! I’m just a little bit depressed by that 😀 But then again, I’m crocheting with my own handspun yarn, which I occasionally run out of and have to spin some more.
The whole process might seem a bit extensive, but it’s also very rewarding. I want this blanket to be as beautiful and warm as possible and I plan to treasure it for years to come.
I’ve also noticed that my skills are improving as I go – my hanspun yarn is now much more balanced and soft without breaking. I’ve learnt a lot of new stitches and I’m trying to learn from my mistakes. But let me tell you, I usually do at least one row do-over per 1 blanket square. It might be mostly because I pay only a limited attention to it, because I have a habit of watching TV when I crochet. It’s double the fun .)
I’ve finished several more blanket squares – the total count now is 15. That means 9 to go if I’m not mistaken. It’s getting to be quite a pile.
Have you ever crocheted a blanket before? Would you do it again? 😀
My most important project these days was a knitted cowl (Or a neck warmer? I honestly don’t know what the difference is. If you do, please comment.) for a friend. Some time ago, she fell in love with the color of the handspun yarn that was hand-dyed with indigo.
I wanted to be extra careful with how I use this yarn, which is precious for me for many reasons. So I knitted a gauge swatch first. I knitted a piece that was approximately 10 by 10 cm (4” by 4”) and I counted the stitches and rows. Then I measured how long I want the cowl to be, which came to around 57 cm (22.4”). Thanks to the swatch I could calculate how many stitches I need to cast on.
I decided that moss stitch would be perfect for this simple design. At first I wanted to crochet the cowl, but that would require a lot more of the yarn which I didn’t want to waste away like that. I also needed to make sure I had enough of it.
When I reached the middle of the future cowl, I started to decrease evenly. My friend wanted the cowl to be more fitted, but also to have a nice layered “drapery effect”, which is what I tried to achieve by decreasing every few rounds when knitting the top half.
I tried the cowl on and I was very tempted to keep it. After all, it matches my coat 🙂
I’ve been designing quite a bit lately, because I want to re-stock my shop. I prefer to do that with completely original products rather than just using other people’s patterns. That leads to a very time consuming process.
I usually start with yarn – I pick something from my yarn stash and then I think of different ways I could use it. What is the weight sufficient for a pair of gloves, a sweater or just a hat? I also notice the quality of the yarn and what kind of fiber it is. Is the yarn chunky? That’s probably not gonna work for smaller projects. Chunky yarn has a very defining quality, it usually stands out more when you do simple stitches or you have to adjust the size of them substantially. For example a chunky yarn blanket with big cables looks just wonderful. When you do a chunky yarn neck warmer, a garter stitch will do. Another thing to consider is the character of the fiber – is it shiny, furry or is it speckled, contains more than one color? As much as I like yarn with multiply colors, it’s not the best if you want to create for example a delicate lace.
I usually go for sport-weight one-color-only yarn. But it is a question of taste. For my fingerless gloves project I chose Drops Baby Alpaca Silk. It was lying in my yarn stash for a long time, waiting for a suitable project. I think the silk shine looks pretty, but the cable stitch might have stood out more with a standard wool or alpaca yarn. This yarn is very very soft and looks kind of glamorous, but also romantic. I also love the “old pink” color.
After I chose the yarn, I drew a simple design with the cable stitch on top. Because of the character of the fiber, I decided I should use the knit stitch for most of the glove. It also makes the other stitches stand out more. I have re-done some parts of the glove several times before I was completely satisfied with the result.
So, what do you think? Would you do something differently? What is your creative process if / when you design?
So, I think I’ve reached maybe a 1/4th of the Kalevala blanket. I consider that a success 😀 I’m not usually the person with big projects, I prefer smaller ones that I can complete faster. They say there are two types of crafters – or crocheters, in this case – one that really enjoys the process and then there’s the type that focuses more on the results. I think most crocheters are both types mixed in together, but maybe gravitate to one side more than the other. I definitely enjoy finishing the products, that’s one of my favourite things. Don’t get me wrong, I love the process as well, but I don’t usually leave my projects unfinished.
My mom is actually more the first type, she just loves to create for the sake of creating. Let me tell you, I can’t even count all the projects she has going on, some of which I doubt will ever be finished. But the important thing is – she has fun.
Now back to the Kalevala project – I can’t say it’s an easy one! Some of the granny squares were definitely a little bit more challenging for me. But it’s also the great thing about it – you get to learn new stitches! In my case, there were some stitches, that I never did before, like the X and Y stitch. I also never used that much back post- front post stitches before. I use the written instructions, but there were some cases, when I had to look at the video tutorial to perform a specific step. I do like how the project is done, the instructions are carefully written and include details that are sometimes skipped over in other patterns. I would welcome a graphic chart as that’s my favourite type of instructions, but hey – you can’t have everything, right?!