Friday, June 30, 2006


Is there anything more delicious than packages?

With, for example, shiny yellow cotton-viscose yarn, and pretty old-rose cotton yarn, and slightly dull-olive cotton yarn, and more shiny cotton- viscose baby-blue yarn... for example.

I had ordered the yarn in a slight rush of eBay madness, not quite knowing what I would do with it; colours never show up properly on eBay yarn photos, and I thought that green and pink and yellow sounded like colours that I could wear. When they arrived, though, they proved to be just as pastel as the photo had advertised.

Not quite suitable for a sophisticated adult knitter, then. But for the not one, not two, but THREE baby girls who have been born to my friends and family in the last month? Oh yes. And perhaps also for the little boy who is no longer a baby and has a birthday coming up this summer too? Yes indeed.

Now to go poring over baby patterns online. Not something I have ever done before, but I think it might well be fun. Does anyone have any good suggestions for pretty summer cotton dresses and jumpers? (I know that soakers are all the rage, but even the name of them makes me shudder. No no no. I'm not quite ready to face the messy squicky aspect of baby care yet.)

Thursday, June 29, 2006

die Sonne kommt wieder

Greetings! I have been away in Vienna, and although I meant to do a thorough scour of the yarn shops there, I got no further than peering through the window shutters of a small yarnery late at night. The prices were in keeping with Vienna, i.e.: not small, and as you may have gathered by now, cheapness is of the essence in my yarn purchasing. Perhaps this blog should be called MiserKnits instead. Sigh.

I didn't bring knitting with me, but have been lashing into Soleil since I came back. It'll be finished by the end of the week, I hope - I most devoutly hope. I had entirely forgotten how utterly dull stocking stitch is, and even though I'm only slogging up the back of the neck at the moment, every purl row is torture. Never again.

Isn't it funny how one's idea of what is a nice garment changes once one starts knitting? At least, that's what happened to me. When I started, I wanted to knit what I saw in the shops: simple, stretchy stocking-stitch and rib knits, in this season's shape. And then, I knocked out a couple of boringly-shaped stocking-stitch jumpers, and realised that I probably never, ever wanted to knit that much predictable fabric again. Now, I find myself looking at knitwear and admiring fussy little details like fairisle, lacework, fancy shoulder shaping, neat waist details - none of which are fashionable, all of which would be both fun to knit and very instructive. Soleil is fine, it'll be a sturdy flattering vest in my wardrobe, but have I learned anything from it? No. Until I get to the crochet edging, of course.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

die Sonne über Berlin

Hooray! I have cast on for Soleil in the ggh Molina cotton, and it's going to be gorgeous. The yarn is so silky and soft and light, I can't wait to wear it.
(Some use fancy beaded stitch markers. Till the day when I can afford those, hair elastics do me just fine.)

In other good news, not once but two of my school friends have had baby daughters in the past two weeks. Thank goodness that I have that yellow cotton/viscose coming in the post this week; it'll make some luscious baby items. Now the fun part of deciding which.

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Cheapskate's Guide to Stash Enhancement

1. I hoped this was a recycled yarn score: hand-knitted charity shop jumper, with a gorgeous drape, made from a luscious heavy cotton/viscose (I think) yarn. In the shop, I think,Huzzah! One of those classy chic mixed-fibre German yarns will be mine as soon as I have unravelled the rather ridiculous 80s batwing shape!

But alas, alas, alas. This second picture shows the colour better, and may also give you some idea of the horror of the hand-stitching, all done in thread, not yarn. All the ends are SEWN in, and WORSE, when you manage to unravel them , the cotton becomes unplied from the viscose and aaaargh. Aaaargh, the horror. It took me six hours or so to do (don't worry, I fitted in some wine and flirtation while I was slaving), and I lost about a quarter of the yarn in the process. What to do with a small amount of heavy semi-ravelled viscose/cotton? Some kind of simple shrug, perhaps? Oh, I don't know.

2. Today I needed some proper stash enhancement to recover. Et voici: 100% cotton ggh Molina, on sale for €1.50 for 50g. I bought 250g, and that better be enough for a mini flirty vest top. The summer isn't getting any cooler, thank goodness.

Some day, I will be a proper rich grown-up, and will buy silks and angoras without count for the cost, won't I? Some day.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

More dilemmas from the land of dirt-cheap yarn

This is what happens to women who are too poor to pay for proper yarn and too obsessed with flea markets to say no to bad bargains. I was wandering around the flea market at Boxhagener Platz in east Berlin last Sunday and found this extraordinary mass of lilac yarn. Now, of course, at a flea market, you can hardly whip out a lighter and demand to carry out a burn test on the spot, surrounded by old newspapers and various other flammable goods. But it was only €1.50, so who cares, right?

Once I got the peculiar pie-like object home, the test suggested, unsurprisingly, that it's acrylic. Possibly with a slight odour of burning wool around the edges, but mostly pure itchy plastic.
So what to do? I was lusting after the pattern on the left in this edition of Rebecca, and swatched it for the lace, but it's a touch too fine. And anyway, the thought of acrylic lace anywhere next to the skin... urrgh.

I should, I suppose, give it up. Alas. But it was SO CHEAP! How can I part with the prospect of a fabulous €1.50 FO?

random knitting link

From the Guardian:
Kick one, purl one. An unusually knit-positive article from the Guardian's World Cup blog. I especially like the article's focus on the positive values of knitting for men:

[...]And younger males concerned about the flak they may get from their mates need not worry.

A Knitter's Review forum dedicated solely to this kind of anxiety has Pamela Kite boasting how when her "closet knitter" sons went public they were hated by the other boys not because they knitted, but because they became the centre of all the girls' attention.

But I like Elsie's advice best: "I always encouraged [my son] to do things well, do it because you like it, and the hell with everyone's else opinions."
Oh yes, I like that. I'm not doing a Knitting World Cup, though: it's hardly as though I need any encouragement to knit ever faster and ever vaster.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


So, there's this yarn, right? Fabulous, fine, Russian rasberry-coloured yarn in a soft shiny wool/angora mix.

And there's this gorgeous, luscious lacy stole pattern: Eunny Jang's Print O' the Wave Stole

Oh! Just look at it! So shimmery and airy and very, very clever! Would it not be the most fabulous project ever?

But... look a little closer.

That stitch pattern. If you look at it REALLY closely? It's somehow very, very similar to the dull wave-with-fingers pattern Convertible, isn't it? Only magically transformed into a complex, bewitching design. But still. Could I bear to submit to that damn pattern again, so soon?

Ripe for conversion

Up close and looking... socky.

the skinny

Pattern: Convertible, from this spring's Knitty

Yarn: Lana Grossa Meilenweit Cotton Fantasy sock yarn, 45% cotton, 42% wool, 13% polyamide, in colour 809

Needles: 4 mm Addi Turbos

Pattern modifications: None as such; I stopped after 14 buttonholes, rather than 16, but otherwise it was knitted entirely to pattern.

Time sucked: About two weeks, from 20 May till 8 June, knitting pretty constantly while I read during the day.


I'm not sure about this entire project, and haven't been from start to finish. I was seduced by the fabulous flexibility of the stole-with-buttonholes concept, and jumped on the first yarn I found to make it. I'd heard before that sock yarn is a good idea for making stoles with, but it was horribly, horribly inelastic. Perhaps the places where I heard this rumour were American knitting blogs, written by knitters who have access to seductive silky merinoey handpainted sock yarn. Perhaps this yarn had too little wool to adapt properly to knitting lace. As it was, knitting it was a pain: the yarn was completely inelastic, as I've said, and the shiny needles were completely wrong for it, so the stitches kept falling off. Moreover, the lace pattern was actually very, very dull to knit. I think I prefer lace with pretty figurative patterns where you can go "Look! I just completed a leaf!" rather than this kind of quiet repetitive pattern.

I'm not sure how I feel about the FO: I still love the colours of the yarn, and I'm hoping that a cotton/wool blend will indeed be, as the label promises, "klimatisierend". I've yet to buy buttons for it (which I am ridiculously excited about, as Knopf Paul is an emporium of delights and wonders), and I think I'll wait till I've actually tried it on in all its permutations before I decide whether or not to keep it.


Hooray! I just scored 1.5 kg of cotton yarn on eBay. Just in time, really, because my fingers were getting itchy, but itchy for something new to knit. I suspect it may become a Soleil, seeing as half of the yarn looks as though it is exactly the same colour as the model, but I might just get daring and knit me a W instead. Or as well. It is a kilo and a half of yarn, after all. Or maybe the yellow could be dyed green, for more of a red-head colour?

Ebaying yarn is SO much more fun than buying it new, I tell you. So much more room for ridiculous experimentation, because hey, it's only cheap, right?

Sunday, June 11, 2006

first post...

Hello, and welcome to glitzknits, complete with the very annoying spelling. The first entries will backdated, I think, because otherwise my mighty knitting progress might look rather poor.