Saturday, April 5, 2014

Never-ending knitting

The kind of projects I am currently working on knitting wise seem to be never-ending. Either because I knit and unravel a million times or because I've simply just taken on huge projects (blankets, anyone?):

The "Over The Rainbow"-blanket from Drops. 

Last time I was in Denmark I went yarn shopping. My mom came with me, and even if she's a great companion in terms of giving advice and ideas, she's not as keen a knitter as I am. However, when she saw the pattern of this project she fell in love instantly and asked me if I would like to knit a blanket for her. Of course, I said, not considering how long it actually takes to knit something that covers your whole body. 

Honestly it's not the most exciting thing I've ever knitted: the pattern repeats itself with each fan, but then again that gives me the opportunity to do other stuff while I knit: talk on skype with friends, watch tv, listen to the radio etc. Also I'm usually not into things that are THAT colorful, but that just makes it much more valuable as a gift: it's truly something I am knitting for her. My aim is to have it finished by June, and I'm halfway, so I think it's possible. 

Top down pullover

2nd never-ending project is a sweater for Marco. This is the third time I am starting this sweater. Either because the size hasn't been quite right or because I haven't been happy with the shape. Not fun. But I am determined and I will finish the goddamn thing. I'm knitting top down raglan with help from this generator with a double moss stitch to give it some texture. It's getting warmer in Madrid now with spring and everything, so I'm not in a hurry to have it done - my ultimate deadline is August where we leave for a three week trip to Japan possibly with some trekking on Mount Fuji which might get cold: enter pullover. 

With these two babies on my hands plus this granny square crochet blanket (mostly for the sake of having something to do while commuting - those little squares surely are a lot more handy on the metro than a huge blanket) I have promised myself that I will not start up any other projects before having finished these. Let's see how long I can keep that promise to myself. Hrm. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Usera Snapshots 2: Hiking in La Sierra

Last weekend we (meaning Marco, because I don't even have a driver's license) became the proud owner of an old but sturdy car, making it possible for us to go wherever we want whenever we want. Obviously we took off immediately and went for a hike around El Embalse del Atazar:

We ended up doing only four hours, as the weather wasn't the best, but with spring coming soon I am hoping to do a lot more hikes in the near future. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Monday, January 20, 2014

Free Pattern: Latvian Inspired Mittens

One of the things I love the most about living in Madrid is its many hours of sunshine, especially this time of year. There’s only a few things better than taking a walk in the park (which I do daily because of this little guy) in sunshine, no matter how cold it may be. But it does get cold too and I needed some mittens so I knit myself a pair. 

The yarn was originally intended to be used for these Latvian mittens from this shop (which just made a trip possible trip to Riga a lot more interesting) but when I started knitting I realized that I actually wanted to do something else with the yarn. 

I loved the idea of a black background with strong contrasting colors, so mixing these mittens with this kind of braid and adding a touch of yarn dominance this is what I ended up with. 

Mittens are knitted top-down, using three colors of thin 100% wool yarn (attended for 3mm needles) and 2,5mm circular needles. The reasons I am using smaller needles than the yarn calls for are 1) my knitting is very loose and 2) when I knit mittens I like the knit to be really right to keep my hands keep warm. 
I've used aprox 100 grams of the base color and 50 grams of each contrast color. 

Top of mittens

With your base color and circular needles, using the Judy’s Magic Cast On Technique cast on 24 stitches (12 stitches on each needle). 

Row 1: Knit all stitches
Row 2: *Knit 1 stitch, increase 1, knit until last stitch on first needle, increase 1, knit 1* (you have now knit all stitches on first needle), repeat *-* on second needle. (You have now increased four stitches and have 16 stitches in total)

Repeat row 2 until you have 40 stitches on needles. 

Next row:: Knit all stitches
Next row: Knit row increasing four stitches in total, as in row 2. 

Repeat these two rows until you 52 stitches on your needles (26 on each) - or whatever width goes with the size of your hand. 

Color chart

Start working color chart on both sides.

As you knit color chart, remember to incorporate an afterthought thumb (here’s a great tutorial if you don’t know how) by working in 16 stitches (8 stitches on two rows) when you reach your thumb (aprox. 11 cm from the top). After having incorporated an afterthought thumb continue knitting until whole piece measures aprox 16 cm. from top. 


Knit 1 entire round only with base color, disregarding what chart calls for. One next three rounds knit a braid using the base color and one color (just for kicks let’s call them Color A (base) and Color B (contrast) using this tutorial

Going back to knit stitches, knit two rounds of color A. 

Next row: Knit 1 stitch with color A and 1 stitch with color C (other contrasting color) making sure to keep the color A thread “under” color C thread when alternating. When color C is furthest away from the work, color A will stand out more. Repeat these two stitches throughout row. 

Repeat row for 6 cm.

Knit two rows of color A. 

Knit another braid using color A and color B. 

Switch to color A and start working rib pattern; k1, p1. Knit rib for 2 cm, bind off. 

Pick up stitches from afterthought thumb and knit thumb in color like this: knit stockinette in the round for 3,5 cm, increase one round (k2, k2tog), repeat throughout round. Knit one one normal round, increase one round (k1, k2tog), knit one normal round, cut yarn and thread yarn sewing needle, introduce needle through the remaining stitches, tighten and sew on inside of thumb. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

2014: The Year of Free Knitting Patterns

It's been a while since I blogged last time. I have no excuses but will make up for it by sharing lots of goodies, including free patterns on some things I've been working on during these last couple of months, including mittens, sweaters, cowls etc.

First of is my Latvian-inspired mittens, a pattern that I will be publishing shortly. Here's a sneak preview:

Friday, October 25, 2013

Organizing yarn in bookshelves and crocheted pot holders in linen and cotton

I am still in post-moving process and even if the place we have moved to is in a great condition, it always takes a while to get settled. Especially because I have taken advantage of the move in order to sort out a whole bunch of stuff, such as textiles, painting materials and yarn.

My yarn stash has been growing solidly over the last couple of years and I didn't have a clue what sort of yarn I've been stuffing into boxes, plastic bags, baskets etc. for a while now. So, I gave myself a housewarming present and invested in a yarn winder, purchased on e-bay for the mere price of 20-something euros. Best 20 euros I've spent in a while, because now I have winded up all my yarns in neat skeins that are easy to knit with as well as organize in bookshelves.

After having wound up some 100 skeins (oh yes! Collecting is my thing!) I tried organizing them after type of yarn and color, but lost my patience and ended up stacking them randomly. While organizing I discovered two skeins I had forgotten about (I don't even remember purchasing these): one blue heavy cotton and one raw linen (flax). Perfect timing seeing how our potholders went missing after the move and a great occasion to practice the "less is more" rule that I often end up following when doing my own patterns. So; here are the first crocheted items I have made for the new place.

They're super simple: 30 chain stitches worked back and forth until the pot holder is twice as long as it is wide. Then it's folded over in half, sewn together on the sides and topped off with a single chain stitch hook in the corner.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Terrace life in Madrid

Big news: We are moving house! After having thought about the move for some time now and having seen a dozen apartments in different areas of the city we have finally decided on a place in the heart of Madrid's Chinatown Usera, close to Madrid Río Park, the Anillo Verde (the "green" ring of bicycle and walking paths that go all around the city of Madrid) and the used to be slaughter house and now cultural centre Matadero

The best thing about the move though is the big terrace that comes with the new apartment. After having lived here for more than two years I am starting to realize just how big a part of the Madrileño culture the weather plays. October is right around the corner and people on the streets are still wearing shorts and flip flops. Having our own terrace means being able to enjoy those Indian summers and early arrival of spring from home. I love the green parks that Madrid has to offer, but I also love drinking my morning coffee at home in the sun, being able to grow my own urban garden and have access to some fresh air in general. 

With the prospect of having a private outdoor space for gardening and carpentry  I have gone Pinterest-crazy and am already planning projects for this coming spring and some of the things I'd love to start working on including: 

This stool
A lamp like this

A vertical salad garden grown in gutters
5 Potting Bench Plans
A potting bench (click link for a free plan)

If you want to know more about urban gardening in Madrid I just wrote this piece on specifics where to go and how to do it. And for more inspiration I can highly recommend this blog (Danish girl in London, write in Danish, but use it with google translate) as well as this extremly urban tomato garden built on roof tops in Copenhagen. The site is partly in English and has some great videos on how to do your own self watering containers that will ensure your plants the exact amount of water they need.

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