Tension in EZ’s Sewn Bind Off

Today I want to give you a little tutorial for tensioning your yarn during EZ’s sewn bind off. If you don’t know who Elizabeth Zimmermann (or EZ for short) is, she’s one of the knitting icons. Although she passed away in 1999, her knitting recipes and ideas continue to inspire knitters and designers alike. There was a short article written by Jared Flood in last years’ spring issue of amirisu, page 69, if you want to know more about her.

It so happened that I needed to work this sewn bind off at the end of a Brooklyn Tweed pattern. Yes, I’m talking about my Lumen shawl. But the written directions don’t specify how loose or tight the bind off should be, only to adjust if you feel it’s not neat enough. Here’s what I did.

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Travel knitting

Hi friends,
tomorrow my husband accompanies me on a business trip that takes 5 days. Afterwards we’re planning on staying a little longer so we can have a look around town. I love city trips, there is always so much to see and experience!

Anyway, to avoid packing my suitcase (I’m one of those last minute packers), I started thinking about which projects to take with me on the journey. For my last road trip – which was also a business trip – I took a shawl and a sweater with me. It turned out that I mostly knit on the shawl because I didn’t have to constantly check my pattern, I had to reach a certain number of repeats.

Most of my WIPs
My current shawl project is Icterine by Hunter Hammersen out of Kauni. It’s the yellow shawl in the upper picture. I wanted to try one of the Curls and hadn’t knit cables in a while, so this was ideal. But it is nearing its completion with only 30-something grams of yarn left.

That’s why, pondering over the upcoming trip, I cast on another shawl.
It’s the start of a Lumen by Sivia Harding and I started knitting it with the yarn that I swapped last year, two skeins of Loft. Yes, the original Brooklyn Tweed Loft! (I don’t have to give you the link to their website, do I?) It’s so hard to come by here in Europe, the only yarn store that carries it is Loop in London and frankly, current exchange rates don’t entice to order there. I feel really privileged to be able to knit with it.

…and boy, does this yarn live up to its reputation.
Look at that sheepiness. It’s soft and strong at the same time. I expected the yarn to break a bit during knitting because usually I’m a tight knitter. But perhaps I handle this yarn differently, I have yet to experience anything of the fragileness that other people described. We’ll see, I’m far from done and this shawl wants to be blocked in the end, too.

I had planned to pack the baby blanket that I started sometime last week but since I totally depend on a chart for that, it’s unlikely that I work on that one.

This will also be the first time that I take my knitting with me on the plane. It’s a domestic flight so I should be ok, right?

How are you packing for trips or vacations? Do you also think about your projects first? (That feels like a slogan on a sticker, “PROJECTS FIRST!” :D)

If you are interested in my journey, you can catch up with me on Instagram while I’m gone!

5 things I enjoyed this week

This past week was pretty busy for me and next week will be more so, but I wanted to take the time to write down a few things that I particularly enjoyed.

1. Reducing my stash
Although it doesn’t sound like it, cleaning out and reducing my yarn stash was infinitely fun and even a little liberating. Because I spontaneously decided to do so, the few hours it took flew by. I got to see everything I own, and edited out the skeins of yarn that I didn’t want to knit with anymore.
Like those skeins I got because I liked the fabric content, but not the colour. I always wanted to dye them over but never got around to do it. Or sock yarn that was an impulse buy (and who doesn’t have one or two of those skeins lying around?). In the end, there was a whole box filled with things that I could sell or give away.

2. Cleaning out a closet
This one proved really tricky and is unusual for me. I hate cleaning or sorting through things. But at my parents’ house, I still had an old closet filled with clothes and since my mother wants to use that bedroom for other purposes, I had to clean it out. This task took me several days to complete, deciding which clothes I still like and want to keep and which ones to give away. It was hard but afterwards I had five sacks of clothing to give to goodwill. It was a good feeling to not throw them away and to know they somebody, somewhere will still wear them. I even thanked the lady at the goodwill store, omitting that I thanked her for accepting my clothes. I guess she wondered what a strange person I was.

Usually I use this photo backdrop for yarn, so please excuse the sheep hair everywhere!

3. Being surprised
Usually, on my way back from my workplace, to my car, I call my husband. It’s a little catch-up for not talking to each other for a whole day. On Thursday, he said he had a little surprise for me. I hate surprises and love them at the same time. I hate the anticipation, I’m much too impatient to wait on a particular date or time to receive something or be told something. But I will love the result, the gift or the new knowledge.
Anyway, the husband surprised me with a necklace that was on my wishlist! I gave him the link before Christmas, because usually he doesn’t know what to get me. I don’t blame him – I’m difficult to shop for – so wishlists it is. But I was really surprised that he remembered the list and got me something that was on it. Also, this was the first time he got me jewelry since he got our wedding bands, so this is really special to me.

4. Childhood treats
I really don’t know what made me remember this, but the other day when I was grocery shopping I went by a particular sweet that we had often during our childhood. There were those chocolate marshmallows called “Dickmanns” and we used to heat them up in the microwave and eat them. During my teenage days someone told me that you could eat them as a spread, too and that’s what I did today:

5. Packing up
In the background of the last photo, you can see all the packing supplies I used this week. I got rid of most of the skeins of yarn this week by selling and mailing them. I love packing boxes and including little notes, so the recipient will look forward to unpacking his shipment. For the last one, I even plan on wrapping it like a gift, so it will hopefully be a nice surprise in the buyer’s mailbox.

Was there anything that you enjoyed this week? Lately I try to appreciate the little things, to make this never ending winter a little brighter.

Yarn chicken

Hey, long time no see (or better yet, read)! It’s been quiet here for a while because I started a new job but mostly because there was nothing much to write about. The holidays came and went, even New Year’s caught me a bit by surprise due to being sick.

Anyway, today I wanted to talk to you about Nuvem. It’s one of those really popular patterns with currently 3622 projects (2570 of those are finished objects). There are even people who knit one shawl after the other and I’ve seen Ravelers knit 3 or more of them.

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Why do we DIY? (Sarah edition)

Recently I ran into many people asking me, “Why do you knit this? You know that you can buy that too, right?” And to be honest, they hurt quite a bit. I know that I like knitting and will continue to do so, no matter what they say. But the recent discussion around that infamous article in a German online magazine got me thinking. Of course I was a little offended but most of all I couldn’t understand her point of view.

Why wouldn’t you make things yourself? No matter if you call these makers names like “wifey” or think they have no mind for sexual equality. Disregarding the
fact that most of us actually are interested in politics, what we do as a hobby should be seen totally apart from that, right?

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Darn you, Stephen West!

He did it again! Every year there’s a shawl mystery knit-along. And every year I try to resist. But Mr. Westknits always charms me in. This fourth year it is even worse, I don’t even remember reading the description of the shawl before buying the pattern!
And all because he recommended Madelinetosh for this. I just finished a shawl in their quality Tosh Merino Light (or TML for short) and it’s heavenly! Seriously, I totally understand what the craze is about concerning this yarn. The colours have incredible depth, it is soft, shines like it would contain silk and almost knits itself. What more could you want?

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Things other than knitting

There are many non-knitting things going on around here lately! Here’s tonight’s leftovers of another upcoming project of mine.
This is what our floor looked like before I tidied it all up. A huge heap of paper, white bits and blue bits and darker green bits. My mother was so not amused when she heard I was doing this. Her comment was, “Why do can’t you do anything the ordinary way? Does everything have to be extraordinary?” It took me a bit to swallow that question but my final answer is, yes, it has to be special for me. Every. Little. Bit. It’s just the way my head works.

And another sneaky bit!
A little oval box that I painted with blackboard paint, so it’s easier to write on later. Which reminds me, I still need a chalk pen. (Note to self: Start a list so you don’t have to go shopping every day!) All that’s left is a ribbon that I don’t know how to put on it. :D

On a different note, it’s officially summer now! What are your plans? We want to go away for a week at the beginning of July but other than that, I hope for a nice, long, relaxing summer.

Die verstrickte Dienstagsfrage 25/2014

Ordinarily, I post in English but since I’m an avid reader of Wollschaf’s Dienstagsfrage I want to answer her question in German.

Today the Wollschaf asks:

Oft ist es so, daß gerade das Modell, in das man sich unsterblich verliebt hat, nicht in der eigenen Größe verfügbar ist.
Insbesondere deutsche Anleitungen sind in ihrem Größenspektrum ja oft sehr eingeschränkt.

Was macht Ihr, wenn Eure Größe nicht dabei ist?

  • Komplett umrechnen? Wenn ja, “zu Fuß” oder mit einem Strickrechner? Wenn letzteres, welchen benutzt Ihr?
  • Pi mal Daumen ein paar Maschen mehr oder weniger anschlagen und hoffen, daß es zum Schluss passen wird?
  • Dickeres bzw. dünneres Garn und Nadeln nehmen?
  • Ein ähnliches Modell suchen, das in Eurer Größe verfügbar ist?
  • Zähneknirschend verzichten und etwas anderes stricken?
  • Ganz was anderes, nämlich…

Vielen Dank an Tichiro für die heutige Frage.

Um ehrlich zu sein habe ich sehr oft dieses Problem. Gerade die deutschen Anleitungen haben ja – wie schon erwähnt – ein kleines Größenspektrum. Mit meiner Kleidergröße 48/50 fall’ ich oft aus den errechneten Größen heraus. Das ist auch mit ein Grund warum ich aufgehört habe, deutsche Zeitschriften zu kaufen. Natürlich sind da oft schöne Anleitungen drin, aber wenn ich das alles neu ausrechnen muss, brauche ich das Heft fast nicht zu kaufen. Dazu kommt, dass die Strickmuster in amerikanischen Heften (Interweave Knits, Knitscene u.Ä.) einfach ausgefallener sind und mir besser gefallen.

Natürlich habe ich auch eins, zwei Muster im Hinterkopf, die ich irgendwann mal umrechnen und stricken möchte. Wenn, dann würde ich das aber alles “zu Fuß” machen, mit Hilfe des Dreisatzes eine Anleitung auf die eigene Maschenprobe und/oder Größe umrechnen sollte jede Strickerin beherrschen. (Meiner Meinung nach kommt das gleich nach das Gestrick “lesen” können.) Schließlich kommt es doch sehr oft vor, dass man die Maschenprobe des Designers nicht erreicht, egal wie sehr man es versucht. Das kann ich nur aus eigener Erfahrung bestätigen.

Um die Frage kurz zu beantworten, ich bin schon oft auf eine andere Anleitung umgestiegen, weil meine Größe nicht dabei war. Leider passiert das auch häufiger bei Ravelry.

WIP Parade

Inspired by a recent post by Karen of Fringe Association fame (if you don’t already follow her, do so now!), I got the urge to pluck out all my works in progress (WIPs) and  take a picture. Well, it turned out that I needed not one but two pictures, because a) I didn’t have enough space to put them all in one photo and b) the size I’m knitting is large, I would have needed two pictures anyhow.

So, without further ado I give you picture numero uno.

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Knit ALL the sweaters!

Not only do I have three different sweaters on my needles, no. I’m always lusting for new ones!

For example, as soon as I got the current issue of PomPom Quarterly into my hands (order yours here, it’s so worth it!), there were at least two sweaters and as many shawls inside that I wanted to cast on immediately. The shawl Baya is very high on my summer knit-list. Although it’s such a wide shawl I think it will be knit up in a breeze. And Creamsicle, well. I even gave up on my yarn diet and bought the recommended yarn for this. Don’t know what I was thinking really, but I just loved the fun bobbles on the front. I have yet to see if they’re even fun to knit. Never having knitted something before doesn’t deter me from trying them out, though. At least the designer promises great stuff in her post about her design.

Lately I’m much more into seamed sweater constructions (I have to thank Lori Versaci for this!) but I still haven’t given up on the top-down all-in-one thing yet. The only negative point I see with this kind of construction is that I have to lug around that huge piece of sweater. And most of the time that is far from practical and sometimes even irritating to knit. You just don’t know where to pack all of that knitting! Be that as it may, I got Laura Aylor’s Sun Rose jumper and Ankestrick’s Holsten to compare them both for their take on the contiguous method of starting a sweater. If I find the time, I might knit both and tell you which one I liked best.

And I don’t even know where to start with all the patterns that I bought lately. New things that made it into my library include Amy Christoffers’ New American Knits, Veera Välimäki’s Juniper and Laneway (although I don’t even know if the former is even sized up to my size) and loads and loads of mystery knitalongs. There are so many things floating around in my head that it’s hard to not start them all, riiiiiiight now.

What is your next project? Anything you are looking forward to? We are having a holiday weekend ahead of us, with many things planned but I hope to get at least one day of uninterrupted knitting in. It’s high time, since I also have a time-sensitive project on the needles. And it’s not even Christmas yet!