Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Knitting the popular patterns

I am knitting for about 35 years now and in the last year I found myself knitting my fair share of popular patters. I did it for a couple of reasons. First and most I live in a small country, far and away (Hungary) where speaking English is NOT the norm. Much less making sense of patterns written in English. So there is little chance coming up to someone, even in one of the so very few yarn stores and see let’s say a clapotis. Or someone walking up to me and asking "OMG is that a NORO scarf? Are you a knitter?"
I did some of those because I wanted to understand some construction. The knucks for gloves. I did a kid sized version of the FLS to see the top down raglan. (I have to tell you though I hated knitting it and while it suits the eight year old girl I made it for, I wouldn’t make one for myself.) I fell in love with the knucks, and knit them in different colors. I found they are pretty useful, as it has been said for the urban commuter.
I’ve knit the Dahlia because the romantic, empire style is my favourite. Ditto for the Hey teach or the Green Amelia which also had the advantage for me to try the upward seamless thing out.
Clapotis… I think them as a knitter’s badge. If you have one you are a knitter (or close enough to one). I liked wearing it, even if I wasn’t happy with the colors, so I gave it away. Ever since I am on the search for the perfect yarn for it.
I shared the “so what” opinion for the caliometry for the longest, until I found myself with about 30 grams of leftover hand dyed yarn. It would have been a shame to waste it, but it wouldn’t be enough for anything else. It had a rather special color to match it up with something in knitting, but it would go well with some items from my wardrobe. I do like the look of wide headbands and headscarves, so when I was between projects I thought why not. It took me about an hour to knit up one. I never could manage any headband/headscarf to stay put on my head -without tying them so tight they’d hurt my head or ears. My caliometry stayed where I’ve put it even hours later, and it was comfortable. I never got as many compliment on a hand kitted item, than when I was wearing this. And not forget the felted clogs. I want to try felting. Making footwear intrigued me. Put two and two together. Knit them, and finding who figured all that out must be a genius.
I don’t get fetching, but that might be because I prefer my gloves with fingers even if they have the ends chopped off. And I have to admit I don’t get dishcloths either, but then, there are some who don’t understand why would I think of starting the silver belle and spend maybe months with it, when I could do a few dishcloths in a night.
I think I wouldn’t give up on a pattern just because it is popular if otherwise it would suit my style, yarn, mood, need etc. But I wouldn’t make something just because everyone else makes it…
BTW The Yarn Harlot is knitting an FLS

Sunday, February 22, 2009

oops...(over) felted clogs

For so long I wanted to do the felted clogs. I even bought the pattern.
The major problem was to find the right yarn. As I already mentioned (just about a hundred times) the selection here is VERY limited, it is difficult to find yarn that have wool in it, much less one that is chunky and not treated (to make it washable). Of course I could order some cascade, but I never done felting, and that would be just too dear for a try-out piece.
The thrift store -again- comes to the rescue where I found a few hanks of pure wool, the band says "jacket wolle". the small swatch felted up nicely so I went on knitting the small woman's size:

I knew they will come out huge, so that was no surprise, but even while I knitted I though the woman who thought up that pattern is genius!

It took me a while to get them in the washing machine. After the first run, nothing happened. They came out as they went in. So, the next time I throw an old jeans of Chris beside it and set the temperature higher, and forgot about it... when I took them out........

They were way too small for me...But just the right size for my boy (who was on me for getting on his own red clogs anyway):

And here is two pictures for the sake of comparison. The shoe/sock-less foot in both pic is mine:

I decided I am not giving up on felting. This was exciting, so I will declare this a success. The next time I have to watch the process more carefully.

Chris is very happy with them! He keeps telling me these are the most comfortable footwear he ever had!


Kids and farsang go together... When I was a kid my dad hated these programs. He did everything he could to get out of them (Usually bribing me with some big present, like a Rollerblade one year)... But I remember I still had a hankering after dressing up, so I kind of promised that as long as Chris wants he will have a costume. This year however I didn't nor the energy or the time to think up and make something new. Thankfully last year he was in kindergarten(óvoda), and this year he is in school, so we could go back to what he had before. I looked, and found the penguin and the water-spider too, but at the end decided that we would go with Pumukli . He is a cartoon character, only the children (or the one he lives with) can see him. He is also very mischievous.

The biggest challenge was the hair, but then I found a pattern and technique for loopy knitting. Sewing a yellow T-shirt and a green sweatpants was a piece of cake. I only made a couple of pics this year, which are not nearly as good as last years, but here he is:

He won the competition in the category for the "legkedvesebb jelmez" the sweetest/cutest/most lovable dress up.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Something.........not blue, but green

There is one advantage of spending all that time at the doctors and home sick... Lots of knitting. In my current waiting for spring mood, a new light green something was in order...

The pattern is from knitty The yarn is Adriafil's Mirage in this light kiwi/lime green.3 mm circular ADDI needles, and 3mm DPNs for the sleeves.

Because of the different yarn/gauge I went two sizes up. I went with the pattern, up until I realized that because of the way I knit (and my stitches sit on the needle) the easiest for me is to do the twisted ribs in a "zig-zag" or herring bone way. Looking at it one of them is twisting to the right, the next row to the left. Then about the 20th row of stockinette that I didn't changed for smaller needles, then later when I did more rows, before deciding what to do later. I've put the waistband a little higher, closer to the real waistline (which is in dressmaking is the narrowest part of your body), and to make it more peplum like I decreased some stitches, which I increased after the waistband. Knitting the sleeves I've seen it would be just too tight, so I increased more, which had to come back at the neckline somehow. At the row before the last I decreased at the sleeves a few stitches. Put the buttonholes to different places, the top one to the neckband, which ended up being wider than in the pattern. That is about it I guess.

Some close ups from the details:

Jenny, thank you for shooting the pictures!

Oh and excuse my red face. I am still not completely well, and it is very cold outside.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Something new

I always liked the look of headbands, headscarves, and such. At the same time I always had difficult time to keep them on. They either fell of my head, slide back, or if I tie them tight enough to stay where I put them they hurt my head or my ear.

I kept seeing that thousands of people knitted the Caliometry. first I though they are kind of blah, what a heck is up with them? Then I was left with about thirty grams of yarn leftover from my Urchin hat. when I finished my last big project I wanted to do something fast and satisfactory.

So at one point I just made the connection.... :-)

I just love it! From what I've read I knew it has a tendency to run big, so for this worsted weight yarn I cast on about 80 stitches. It fits perfectly, holds my hair back. this is the first thing that stays on my head where I put it, without hurting me.

BTW, pictures are, once again shot by my son, Christopher. Good job, my boy!

I can see already that though this was the first, but definitely not the last Caliometry I've knit. They will be coming in many different color (just to match my other outfits ;-)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Something old

I store some stuff at my dad's. Like my old dolls. The last time I was there I asked him to see the box, and brough home one of them.
She was my first doll. Well, according to the pictures I had a baby shaped doll too, but he had problems with his eyes (I believe it was a boy baby), and through all that moving around got lost somewhere.
Bori is different. She is a lady. I have no idea from who presented me with her, or when, or how she got her name. From my earliest times she was with me, and even back then she was "ancient", i.e she was there before my memory. Originally she had a blue pantsuit (probably my mom made it from some blue seersucker, but when I was about six year old my grandma taught me how to knit and crochet. Ever since she is wearing my first F.O.

The dress is combination of crochet and knitting... see any tendency there? The bodice and the ruffle is knitted, the skirt is crocheted. I guess my love for the combination of knitting and crochet goes back far.Some stitches are twisted, the ruffle is rolling up, and the seeming would need some improvement, but what do you expect from a six year old girl, who just learned how to use the hook and the needles?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Back to work

Thursday -after two weeks of absence- I went back to work. Getting up was not as hard, as I did that every day just about the same time, to take Chris to school.When I arrived to the office my card didn't worked... I guess you can imagine the feeling "OMG I don't work here anymore?", but it turned out it was blocked because I didn't took back the temporary card I used the last day.
Then as I got to my table I found my phone-headset dismantled. Somebody needed one for a conference call, and they thought the easiest way to acquire one is to take mine. Which is my own, I got it as a kind of good by present from the call center.
Then it took me half a day to clean up my mail.
Friday was a strange day, because even though I took care of many things I couldn't get around to one (not so important) task. As I was leaving (an hour later than usual) my boss asked just about that task... I came away feeling so...I don't know what would be the right word. Inadequate?
Then my ex colleagues in the call center... we were told (last summer) that we (umm they) would have a job until march 31, and ten people can stay on. Last week EVERYBODY got their paper, that they last work there in Feb 20.
Then the communication came out that there will be no raise until July. (darn I counted on that money to make up for what I miss because of the sick-leave).
I was only thinking the next day (today) that it was Friday the 13th...no wonder people do not like that day.

Today once again I ventured in the small room that P. made into a storage room. I want to make it into a craft room, and take my sewing machines there out of Chris's room (so he can have his own room, and enough space.)
The small room at the moment looks like this:

Steel industrial shelving (what was P. thinking putting that in a tenth floor flat?...and what was I thinking letting him do it???). Lots of boxes and all kind of stuff. Tools, pieces of lamps, lampshades, food, whatever. You name it, it is in there. I found about 15 kilos of pasta 10 kilos of rice there. P. always had this fear? tendency to hoard. For decades in every year I heard from him: This year is going to be hard, the prices will be rising, we have to collect as much food as we can... If I went to a supermarket and asked what shall I bring home, in the answer there always was pasta and/or rice. Well as we say in Hungarian "it doesn't ask for bred" i.e. it doesn't cost anything to keep it. But the rest of the stuff... It is rather disheartening, but I have to do it. Christopher is quite messy kid, and I can't order him to be tidier if he doesn't have the space to put away stuff easily. And the mess in his room makes me more and more frustrated every day. I don't mind the ....what is the right word when there is just too much "stuff in a room???... anyway I don't mind the mess elsewhere as much, but I want Chris to have his own room.

Friday, February 6, 2009


It seems whatever I have is bordering (or even over the line ) pneumonia... I had a viral one when I was pregnant (definitely no fun), this (according to the blood test) is bacterial... yay...now I know why I still have temps and awful cough after five days of antibiotics and other meds...
Work started to bug, but I can't help it. I don't think it would be better if I'd go in and cough all over everybody (which sometimes end up in a nasty retching--- not a good sight) and infect them as well...
Spent four hours in the morning at the doctor's and the Xray. Thank god I had my knitting with me (did half a sleeve for my Amelia), but even with that I had serious desire to poke someone with the DPNs... Hungarian health care system at its best.
I guess I just go back to bed now and give an other go at the home-makeover shows :-)))

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Well, this wasn't the best of weeks for me... sometimes last week I caught some bug. It started with feeling cold, then shivering on wednesday, continued with diarrhea on thursday (which I had off...what a surprise), then coughing on friday... I ploughed on with my stuff, knitted on...

My dad was having a birthday and I asked him:
"Dad, what do you want to get for your birthday?" then came the typical answer:
"Oh, I don't know... nothing really..." to which I replied rather threateningly:
"If you don't tell me I am going to knit you a pair of socks..." In the same time he also said
"well, if you really want to, you can knit me a pair of socks" as we said the knit a pair of socks came out just the same time... so I just had to...you know...knit a pair of socks. I wasn't really sure i can make it in a less than a week, but on friday night five minutes before midnight I waved in the last end, and on saturday I gave it to him. First he said it is going to be too big, but when I insisted he tries them on they fit him well. My own pattern, toe up, and 2x2 ribbing. The ribbing pulls it in and makes it longer than it really is, but on his feet:

They were good. The yarn is semi solid regia on the foot and leg and a heathered grey one on the toes, heels, and stripes on the leg, and the turned down cuff. Needles, 2.5 mm short bamboo dpns. Sorry for the pic being so dark, but he asked for grey.

By Saturday I felt pretty bad, still I took Chris to my dad's, but when I got home on Sunday evening I knew I am going to start the week at the dr's. The night was awful, and I am not even going into the wait at the dr's. Is it enough to say that I haven't/couldn't knit all day?

Got antibiotics, and other stuff...Now I am on the third day of the meds, and still not feeling ...no, not only don't feel 100%, but I don't feel OK at all... I still feel my head (especially my nose) is stuffed, and every time I cough feels like my lungs want to get out too...

The highlight of the week was when I opened my mail one day... and what name I see in the inbox???? Stephanie Pearl McPhee!!! The Yarnharlot herself... I commented on her blog (of which I am an avid reader) and she sent me a note that she agrees with me... oh. my...

So at the moment I am still at home (Chris is at his father's for the day) a head full of snot coughing my insides out... I try to knit some from time to time on my Amelia, which comes along nicely...

And just to leave with a positive note... here is my son wearing his elephant tam, and the scarf I made for him:

Sorry for being it a bit blurry, all the above pictures were shot by my phone...