Diversity in the knitting community

diverseknitty

In the knitting community on Instagram, there is an ongoing discussion about inclusiveness and everyday racism. It got me thinking a lot. It probably a started with a blog post by Karen Templer. I have to admit, I wouldn’t have realized the impact of the content between the lines, hadn’t been for the important discussion it led to. But after almost of week of reading and listening to a lot of IG voices,  I begin to understand. And feel ashamed. And I am thankful, I learned.

I am not going to be defensive about my own behaviour, even if this might make me vulnerable (try it, you will feel it). I just want to add a few bits to speak up. And be another be a starting point for all who would like to read, listen and keep the discussion going. There cannot be enough of them.

Momentarily, I am reading Becoming by Michelle Obama. I haven’t finished the book yet (knitting gets in my way too often) but when I read the part of her time in Princeton a few weeks ago, there was a part that made me think a lot.  So here are the lines from Michelle Obama’s book, I would like to cite:

“I imagine the fact that the administrators of Princeton didn’t love the fact students of colour largely stuck together. The hope was that all of us would mingle in heterogenous harmony, deepening the quality of student life across the board. It’s a worthy goal. I understand when it comes to campus diversity, the ideal would be something resembling what’s often shown on colleges brochures – smiling students socializing in neat ethnically blended groups. But even today, with white students continuing to outnumber students of colour on college campuses, the burden of assimilation is largely put on the shoulders of minority students. In my experience, it’s a lot to ask.” *

It’s a lot to ask.

I had to put the book aside to process better. At that time, it made me think a lot about the German buzz words integration and inclusion.

diverseknitty

Now with the Instagram discussion, a lot of pieces are falling together. I found it especially shocking reading all the answers when Sukrita Mahon (@su.krita) asked the following question in her Instagram stories: “BIPOC folx, hit me with your experience of racism in the community”.

Sukrita Mahon will keep the answers in her Instagram story highlights. I would like to urge you all to read them. Thank you, Sukrita Mahon for asking that seemingly simple question. And for all the answers.

Follow #diverseknitty on Instagram

For the record, @su.krita is not the only one voice. There are also many others. However, you will find a lot more through her. Check them out and follow them. Make also sure you are following the Hashtag #diverseknitty – for a better Instagram feed. Read, listen and accept, think again, before speaking out. And first of all: Don’t get defensive, be vulnerable.

BIPOC are that ALL THE TIME.

* Michelle Obama, Becoming, Penguin Random House, 2018, p. 74

Karamell Cowl.

Karamell is a toasty cowl for a knitter who wants to explore different techniques in one project. Colourwork, mini bobbles, structure and stockinette: Karamell has it all. There is also a broader picot edging. It is asymmetrical shaped – for a better drape. Here is Karamell modelled by my radiant neighbour at an impromptu photo shoot on her 18th birthday. 

Karamell and matching vintage Tweed jacket

When I wanted to take another more clear picture for the cowl today, I realised that I just had the right jacket to style it. It is a from a vintage tweed suit my mother made. She gave the skirt and the jacket to me lately to sell it second hand, which I couldn’t convince me to do yet. In fact, right now I am very happy I didn’t.

It was made by the end of the late 60ties, early 70ties. The fabric is a woolly tweed and it was made for the cooler season. I remember it well. My mother is a trained seamstress. She started working when she was 14 which is incredible. I imagine her walking 3 km in the dark in the morning to get to the factory where she worked and feel very spoiled.

She made a lot of dresses for me when I was a kid. I remember being very impatient when I had to stand still when she measured the hemline. Or the frustration when I had to fit a dress which was only pinned together. Oh, that pins! I hated them. I liked the dresses, though. She also taught me how to sew my own clothes. However, I remember that it wasn’t very easy to match her high standard. But hey, look at the pocket detail:

There is so much perfection in that suit. Maybe it would be worth to write an extra post. And you know what, I have another suit as well, Chanel-style. And a really cool sixties dress. Too bad my mother is a tiny person and that there is no way that I will ever fit into these clothes.

Back to knitting – and the cowl

Okay, I got distracted a bit. Not every post is written as planned, but hey, my mom will like it. Back to the cowl: Karamell is knit with Ulysee from De Rerum Natura with 3.75 mm needles. If you want to knit Karamell, you can find the pattern  and all the related information on Ravelry by clicking the link. I promise you a fun knit.

Mimi – A stranded colourwork hat and a hike in the Vosges

It has been a while that I published something on this website. I still owe myself a post on my trips to New York and Lisboa earlier this year. On a few crafty people I met and the crafty places that I wanted to blog about.  But since I am working nine to five again there is less time for knitting, writing and taking pictures … and yes, I miss it. So this week a week of holiday, free, no trip planned. My hands are itching to knit, weave and plan some posts for this site.

Meet Mimi and my friends

Hey, what a summer here in the Northern hemisphere! I enjoyed every minute. And yes, I also knitted a few things. And, with fall approaching, there is actually a new design. I can show you here. Voilà: Mimi, a cute little hat with geometric flowers. It has a longer brim with an interesting ribbing detail with twisted stitches. I uploaded the pattern to Ravelry last week. 

Mimi

Mimi is knitted with De Rerum Natura Ulysee, a soft but rustic sports weight yarn. I like how the fibres bloom when washed an blocked. The colourwork part flew off my needles – so I decided to knit a second hat in a different colourway, with less contrast.

Mimi in rose and grey

While some very kindred Instagrammers offered to test my pattern and knitted their version of Mimi, I convinced my dear long-time real-life friends Julia and Elke that they are just the right models for the hats. So, during our hiking trip to the Vosges, we took some pictures high up on the Route des Cretes.

friends

It was a glorious day, not really hat weather. We took an approx. 18 km hike from Col de la Schlucht to Gazon de Faȋte which is absolutely amazing. The fermes auberges on the way are highly recommended. Try their cheeses plus a bottle of Cremant or a Gewürztraminer. Life is even better. We definitely will return for another hike to the Vosges, soon.

Want to see a few pictures?

Le Tanet

Heather.

Rose hip

Route de Cretes

Ah, and about Mimi:

You can find more details (yardage, needles sizes, gauge and pictures of some of my test knitters) in my Ravelry store. And what would be Mimi without Musetta? There will be matching mittens soon, too. The pattern for Musetta, a pair of fingerless mittens will be released this week. I will add a picture here later.

 

 

Summer Breeze Shawl

Imagine a walk along a breezy beach in late spring, wind and waves. Or a chillier summer evening outside. This is what I had in mind when I designed Summer Breeze shawl.

Therefore, I absolutely wanted to take the illustrating pictures for the pattern and the blog near water. Etang du Stock is a lake in Lorraine/France, just an hour drive from my home. My friend Michaela, a talented Graphic Designer, photographer (and so much more) thankfully agreed to assist and to model Summer Breeze shawl for me. We had been very lucky, the Saturday before Easter was probably the first sunny spring day here in our region.

So join us! Here are our pictures.

Summer Breeze is a basic minimalistic piece that complements every outfit. I absolutely love it and I am sure it will make me happy for a very long time.

The construction of Summer Breeze is straightforward and rectangular. What I like best: The pattern is reversible. It features a 2/2 ribbing with a lacy centre that looks equally pretty from both sides. This is an important detail for me when knitting a shawl. So, no wrong side here, you can just throw Summer Breeze casually around your shoulders and snuggle in. Borders are worked with a triple selvedge stitch that forms a neat mini i-cord along the side. A most satisfying finish for this simplistic shawl. 

Summer Breeze Shawl: Yarn & Pattern Specs

Summer Breeze shawl was designed for Meadow, a luxurious yarn blend by The Fibre Company. I gladly received the yarn as part of TFC’s great yarn support programme, that encourages self-publishing indie-designers like me to work with their yarn. I was over the moon when I learned that my design was selected and I got the chance to work with this great yarn.

Meadow has everything a shawl needs. It is soft with a little halo because of Merino wool and baby llama (oh, so soft against your skin). The silk has lovely sheen and after blocking it has an incredible drape thanks to the linen.

  • Finished dimension: 180 cm (71 inches) x 60 cm (23.5 inches)
  • Knit with 3 Skeins of Meadow, The Fibre Company (40% Merino wool, 25% baby llama, 20% silk, 15% linen), 498 m / 545 yds per 100 g hank
  • Gauge: 30 x 36 sts = 10 cm (4 inches)

The pattern is available in my Ravelry store.

Michi and I lingered at the dock. We took pictures, enjoyed the sun, the tranquillity, the wind (and the shawl), the mountain tops of the Vosges in the distance. I also dipped my feet in the lake or the very first time this year.

I also managed to knit a few rows.

photo credit: Michaela Reinhard

After we parted from the dock, we decided to visit David, who is the owner of Chateau d’Alteville that dates back to the 16th century.  If you ever happen to be in the region, make you spend the night! David transformed it into a Bed and Breakfast and kept its ancient charm. You will sleep in style.

 

 

 

KAL: Flowery Toe-Up Socks

Are you a sock knitter? What’s your favourite method? I started knitting and designing toe-up socks last year. And once I wrapped my mind around it, I am really happy with the technique.

The best part? For me definitely the cast on. I am using Judy’s Magic Cast-on. It looks so neat and I need no Kitchener stitches in the end.

flowery-toe-up-socks

So, dear reader,  toe-up socks? Have you already knit them? Or is it a new technique for you? Let’s do it together. My knitting buddy and kindred spirit Alice aka @brezelbutter on Instagram and I are hosting a KAL for my flowery toe-ups socks. We want to keep it casual and stressfree – you will have to finish one sock until the end of May – so no pressure. We want you to have the possibility join and chat, even if you have 5 other projects on the needles ;-). Or if you are suffering from 2nd sock syndrome (we are sure, if you do, you will finish eventually).

Join the “Flowery TOE-UP Socks KAL”

Here is how it works:

  • You can choose from all of my toe-up patterns, short, long, cables or lace – or both: Daffodilz, Liliez-of-the-Valley, Avokado, Walnutz, the vintage style sneaker socks Daisiez, Lilaks, or the non-flowery 😉 Memory and WildKables.
  • All above-mentioned patterns will be available at a reduced price with code FlowerysockKAL – you will save 20% until May 15, 2017
  • You can also join with Chili Vanilla which is a free pattern
  • There will be yarn prizes, we will announce them next week
  • I set up a thread in my Ravelry Groups for chatter, discussions and yarn show off
  • Use Hashtag #flowerysockKAL on Instagram
  • There will be a chatter free FO thread, too. Alice and I will draw a winner by end of May.
  • I will also show off some of your FOs on my blog, if you allow me too, of course. Full credit granted

Daffodilz Socks

Are you in? Join us on Ravelry here!  Or on Instagram with #FlowerySockKAL. Let’s have some fun together.

German Readers: Here is Alice’s lovely and chatty blog. 

 

 

Edinburgh Yarnfest 2018 : 3 questions to the women behind EYF!

It was a bit quiet here lately. The people who follow me on Instagram might know the reason. I started a new 9 to 5 job in December after a long creative sabbatical. And of course, there is a bit of adjustment and adaption necessary. Anyway, I am still knitting and I am still curious, so I will keep writing this blog that I started a year ago. One of my first posts last year was about my visit to Edinburgh Yarnfest in March 2017. So when I decided to visit again this year I asked Mica & Jo, the two women to whom we owe EYF if they could answer me three questions about our favourite knitting festival.

The first EYF took place in a small drill hall in Leith in 2013 and around 1.500 knitters came. Which, according to Mica and Jo was much to their surprise. If you are interested what it then looked like, you might want to watch this video.

It was filmed by a couple film students from Edinburgh. It was a much smaller event then, you are able to see why it is so successful. It is just wonderful.

Last year 5.000 visitors came to EYF at the Corn Exchange. This year Edinburgh Yarnfest will be held from March 15 to 17, 2018, so it even a day longer. Also, a lot of extra events and a larger knit night have been added. You can find all the information on the website.

Mica and Jo, Edinburgh YarnfesT became one of the most popular events in the knitting world. What drove you to organize the Edinburgh Yarnfest in the first place?

“The idea of EYF was born originally in 2012 with the aim to bring some of our favourite vendors of the UK knitting industry to Scotland. There was no such event up here in Scotland (and very few in the UK in general) and even yarn shops were few and far between. We felt left out. We yearned for a vibrant and colourful event like Knitnation in London 2011 (a one-off event). At that time knitting had already become much more than a hobby for us – we were obsessed! That’s what made us organize our first event in 2013.

After EYF 2013 we realised that there was a much bigger desire for a highly specialised knitting event that we had thought.

Jo has a background in teaching and I spent 16 years working in the IT sector and between us, we had the skills to put together the yarn event of our dreams. Fast forward five years and we now spend most of the year planning, and it dominates our lives.  We love everything about it though and will keep EYF going as long as people continue to love it!”

Jo and Mica, the women behind the Edinburgh Yarnfest. (photo: Edinburgh Yarnfest)

I Do love it. In addition to Friday and Saturday, EYF Will open on Thursday with only advanced tickets. What was the idea behind it?

“The idea was to offer one day that is a little bit quieter than the Friday and Saturday. Our visitor survey last year suggested that this would be much appreciated, so we thought we give it go. A positive side effect is that it also helps us (and the exhibitors and teachers) to ease ourselves into the event – EYF is an incredibly demanding event on us, and everybody involved, so we were happy to try this!”

How long did you plan Edinburgh Yarnfest 2018 and what are you going to do when this year’s show is over 😉

“It takes over a year to organise a show like this and even though things are quieter after EYF, it’s still a full-time job. Planning for 2019 has already started!

We are also writing a book (for knitters planning to travel and explore Scotland) at the moment, which will take up a lot of spare time we may have otherwise – 2018 will be very busy for us!”

Edinburgh Yarnfest Corn Exchange

So, thank you, Mica and Jo, for answering the questions. I really appreciate it as I know this must be the busiest time for you both. AND: Wow, this book is great news. I will definitely get hold of it as soon as you publish it. I love travelling Scotland and if I can add some yarny places to my itinerary, even better. I am really looking forward to EYF in March. All I need to do is book my flight tickets and set a budget for all the yarn I am going to buy.

Anyway, for all the people who did not get advance tickets Edinburgh Yarnfest 2018 for Friday and Saturday, don’t worry. Just go to the Corn Exchange a bit later, maybe around noon or 1 pm. Take your time in the queue. Bring your project and knit and talk to all the fellow knitters waiting there to get in. Also, use your chance to make new knitting friends. It’s nice to get in touch – and there will be enough yarn for everybody. I had no advance tickets last year and it was not boring at all to queue.

There is a Ravelry group for all things around EYF. Check it out here.

Finally, are you spending a few more days in Scotland? Don’t miss New Lanark Mill. It is definitely worth a visit! There is yarn, too. It is an hour drive from Edinburgh.

Do you want to knit with me at Edinburgh Yarnfest 2018? Get in touch via Ravelry or Instagram. I will be there on Thursday and Friday. I would love to meet some people I only know via the Internet.

Chili Vanilla Socks – Free Pattern To Download

Chili Vanilla Socks

My 2017 resolution was: Design, knit and publish 12 pairs of socks this year. A pair for each month. I failed. I made it to 10 only. And two of them are no proper socks. Plans change, I guess. I am not unhappy. So, are ready for a bit of scrolling? And yes, there will be a free download of the Chili Vanilla Socks at the end as promised in the headline.

MY YEAR 2017 IN SOCKS

The sock year 2017 started minimalistic: A small, irregular cable meanders over the leg and top of these socks. Voilà: MinimalSockz.

Saskia from Ovis et Cetera sent me these 2 wonderful colours on her Texelaar Base. I was inspired to knit Dotz. It is the only colour work sock pattern I designed this year. I have to get back to these.

Then, I tackled my first toe-up sock – a wild knit with cables. Therefore, WildkableSockz. And from now on I was stuck to the toe-up version.

I remember that I got this yellow yarn on a day with dreary weather. The acquisition from my LYS brightened up the day. I took the wip to Edinburgh Yarn Fest, daffodils were blooming everywhere, hence the name. DaffodilzSockz are featuring lace and cables.

Liliez-of-the-Valley were next. A lacy knit in a natural colourway. My tribute to May and my own favourite design for this year.

sneaker socksI got lazy in summer, so I shortened the socks ;-). Lilaks and Daisiez are comfy sneaker socks with a picot hem and different mesh patterns.

Time to knit up some yarn leftovers. The blue-bell stitch I used for MemorySockz (a tribute to the Cosy Memory Blanket) reminds me of a crochet stitch used for granny squares.

When I visited the Alpakas from Saaralpaka, Christiane, the owner gifted me two cakes of the softest sock yarn. I knitted Walnutz and they are my favourite socks this year because they are soooo soft. In fact, I am wearing them right now, while typing this blog post…

There was still one skein of sock yarn in my stash, namely the 2nd skein of John Arbon’s Exmoor Sock I bought at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival (Above shown Liliez-of-the-Valley are actually knit with the same yarn). So I decided on another cable pattern for AvokadoSockz.

Then I had to stop sock knitting for a while, for sanity reasons. And I was a bit bored by my Instagram feed, too. Only socks showed up. But then I received this bright red sock yarn from Novita to test. So I decided to knit a plain vanilla sock with my favourite recipe. Only some mindless stockinette, a few purls. A project that I could take to my Tuesday knit night and work while chatting.

Chili Vanilla socks – recipe

This is the toe-up version I used for most of my patterns this year. Even for the sneaker socks. It starts with Judy’s Magic Cast-on and a nicely rounded toe. It features a gusset heel and a heel that is shaped with short rows. I usually end my socks with Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off. All instructions are in the pattern and there are link to tutorials I consider helpful. You can download it here.

Chili Vanilla Socks

Now I have to finish one more pair of socks for Christmas. As a gift for my dad who made me the wonderful sock blockers I am using. They cannot be show here, anyway, they are plain vanilla do. So at least I knitted 12 pair of socks in 2017.

Ah, and yes … I have a question. Can somebody tell me where the name vanilla comes from?

 

Blatt: A hat with leaf pattern Fairisle Style

Blatt hat

Do you love knitting colourwork as much as I do? Then here is a perfect hat for you. Blatt is the name of my new hat design. I features a leaf pattern. Blatt is the German word for leaf, so an obvious name ;-). Blatt is worked with US 7 (4.5 mm needles) and is knit in a blast.

A hat with leaf pattern – Best for a hike in Autumn

Hat with leaf pattern

Add a pompom if you like. For the hat with the red colourwork I used up yarn left overs in pink, and red.

Wool and good Co.

I had so much fun working this quick pattern, so I knitted five.

I hope you like the hat. If you want to knit your own, here is the link to my Ravelry Store. You will find a few more hats in different colours there.

Autumnal Quiche With Chestnuts And Squash

Quiche With Chestnuts And Squash

I really love cooking with friends: to open a bottle, put on some music and start. I like eating, too, of course. ;-). The first October weekend I spent time with my friend Elke. She lives in a beautiful house in the countryside near Brussels. On Saturday she invited friends over for a party. No big dinner preparation, just a casual buffet. We would just look in the fridge and create some hopefully good-tasting dishes: dips, spreads, quiches, salads. We call that creative cooking. It’s always fun, especially if it is accompanied by a nice glass of bubbly.

A huge chestnut tree is growing in Elke’s garden and so we decided to use the chestnuts for a dish. We discussed soup (too many chestnuts needed – they are such a pain to peel …), Marrons Glacé (too complicated and we already bought pralinés at La Cabosse d’Or nearby which should cover the craving for sweet stuff). So after studying the fridge again, we came up with the following idea.

Autumnal Quiche With Chestnuts And Squash

Here is what you need:

  • ca. 250 g chestnuts
  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 1 onion
  • 200 g cream cheese
  • 1/2 a glass of white wine
  • fresh rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper
  • a package of ready-made puff pastry (or make your own shortcrust, if you want, am sure it will be delicious as well) for a circular tart pan
  • A large spoon of olive oil to fry

Roast or boil chestnuts. I admit, we just cut them in halves and cooked them in the microwave. Peel them, cut them in pieces. Wash butternut squash, cut in half and remove seeds. Chop into little cubes. Peel onion and dice.

Sweat onions in olive oil, add squash and stir bit. Then add chestnuts, stir some more. Taste if the white wine is okay. Be thorough! Use the rest to deglaze squash, onions and chestnuts. Put a lid on the pan an simmer at a low temperature until squash is almost done. Add freshly chopped rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper and let the mix cool down a bit.

Quiche With Chestnuts And Squash

In the meantime, roll the ready-made puff pastry onto your tart pan. Then mix the cream cheese with squash and chestnuts preparation and pour the mixture evenly over puff pastry. Fold in the overlapping pastry. Let it bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes (200°C / 375 F).

The quiche with chestnuts and squash tastes best when served tepid.

Quiche With Chestnuts And Squash

Brussels Favourites

Completely unrelated to the Quiche With Chestnuts And Squash, but of course completely related to my dear friend Elke and our happy times, here are some of our Brussels classics. The Belgian capital is absolutely worth a trip. And if you happen to be there you should try:

  • Kibbeling and a glass of white wine at La Mer du Nord in Place Sainte Catherine.
  • Chocolate … oh my god, where to start? My  three favourites are: Pierre Marcolini, Sablon (looking at the windows might give you a kind of Breakfast at Tiffany’s moment, they are like jewels), Neuhaus, Galerie Royale Saint-Hubert (after all, they invented pralines) and Frederic Blondeel, Quai aux Briques (try the pralines flavoured with spices, my favourite is Earl Grey).
  • Half and Half at Le Cirio, Bourse (Half wine, half champagne, just like that).
  • A Belgian beer at La Morte Subite (I order a Kriek, Elke a Lambic) accompanied by cheese cubes or Tartine aux Fromage Blancs.
  • Burn the calories browsing Marché aux Puce at Marolles on Sunday mornings.
  • Or climb the Lion in Waterloo.
  • Do you still want to go yarn shopping? Kaleidoscope in St. Gilles is the place to go. Beware – amazing choice of yarns.

New Pattern: Knitted Hat Fair Isle Style

Muetze im Norwegermuster stricken

Look at my new hat knitted Fair Isle Style. I guess I will wear it all winter. Novita, a Finnish yarn company asked me if I wanted to test some of their yarns. I decided to go for their Nordic Wool. According to Novita, 50 % of the fibres for this yarn originates from Scandinavia, mostly Norway, the other 50% is from UK Down breeds like Shropshire, Hampshire or Dorset. Nordic Wool is a rather soft DK weight yarn that is available in a lot of beautifully muted colours. The abundant colour palette, of course, inspired me to knit a hat Fair Isle Style. I chose the shades Stone, Pomegranate, Saffran and Acqua and I am quite happy with my decision. What do you think?Hat Fair Isle Technique - wool and good company

The pattern is easy to knit: There are only three rounds where I used more than two colours at once. I consider it a good pattern for people who would like to try stranded knitting for the first time. By the way, a hat is a good project for colourwork beginners, too. My tip: For an average adult head circumference I use a cable needle that is approximately 50 cm (20 inches) long (cable plus needle). This ensures almost automatically the right tension of the strands that you carry behind your work.

Whoop whoop! I couldn’t stop, the pattern is addictive. So I knitted two more hats.For the grellow one, I only used two shades. And I used a different yarn base in a similar yarn weight from my stash as the main colour. There: Another left-over is gone! The Tofane hat pattern is now available in my Ravelry store.