Even more mitts

Hello,

Is anyone else noticing a trend in my recent projects too? I seem to be all about the mitts lately! I have another new pair to show off today and have plans for yet another pair. Thankfully todays pair I actually got to keep. All the others so far have been for others. 2015 might become the year that I start focusing more on gift knitting, although there are still a million more things I want to knit for myself too.

It’s been a bit of a hectic few days. It’s the end of the period at my university (who has 4 week classes, it’s pretty insane!?! You’ve just started and then BAMMM exams!) so I’m dealing with a lot of deadlines. As of now I have 1 exam left and 3 essays in varying states of completeness. I made myself promise to work on at least one after writing this blog post.

Back to the good stuff: Finished stuff!

My mitts! I had some souvenir yarn (from a trip to New York with my Dad. I ended up spending over 3 hours in a yarn shop with him patiently waiting!) lying around that I had yet to find a purpose for. As these were going to be for me I felt it would be perfectly fine to use the more expensive special yarn for this project. Not to say that the yarn used for the other mitts wasn’t great, I was really pleasantly surprised!

Pattern: The Seeta fingerless gloves by Maria Sheherazade. The pattern is well written and very clear, although it took me a while to figure out the chart. That was all me though, somehow I kept expecting this pattern to be devastatingly hard, but it never really was. The texture is very interesting to knit. It looks harder than it actually is.

Needles:  3.00 mm (US 2,5) Knitters Pride metal double point needles

Yarn: Frog tree pediboo in 11100 Grey. This has 233 meters per 100 grams. It’s 80% merino and 20% bamboo. This is a sport weight yarn. I really liked knitting with this! It’s sturdy and yet soft!

Experience: After I got over my initial fear of this pattern being terrifying and very hard, it as a breeze. The pattern is very easily memorisable. It makes a great on the go project, although you’ll have people keeping an eye on you and wondering what they heck you’re trying to do. My mitts fit perfectly (snug, but not too tight). I have small wrists and, although I have long fingers, my hands aren’t very broad. If you have larger hands or wrists I’d add some more plain stitches to the hand!

After I finish some other things, I need to cast on yet another pair of mitts. These next ones will be for my sister as a belated christmas gift. I’m going to be knitting the Vancouver Fog mitts by Jen Balfour in Lana Grossa McWool Merino Mix 140 in 404 grey. This is the same yarn I used for the previous mitts.

Love, Renée

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Mitts, mitts and more mitts

Hello,

Today I have some recent finished objects to share with you. These were (belated) Christmas gifts so I wanted to wait to share them until they had all been gifted.

I tried to pick patterns and colours that fit with the recipient and from the reactions I seem to have done well enough!

Pair 1:

Pattern: The pattern used for these mittens is the Beeswax Mitts by Amy van der Laar. I modified these by adding more rounds of ribbing.

Needles: I knit these on 3.5 mm bamboo double point needles.

Yarn: I used Lana Grossa McWool Merino Mix 140 in colour 440 Grey. This comes in 50 grams with 140 metres.

Experience: This pattern was great fun to knit. The chart is very clear and easy to follow if you have some experience working with charts. I love how the pattern is continued on the thumb, it just gives it that extra wow factor.

 

Pair 2:

Pattern: These mittens were made using the pattern H.G. by Zhora Design.

Needles: Knit on my 2.5 mm carbonise double point needles.

Yarn: These were made with Rico Design Superba Klassik 4-fadig in colour 103 Red. This comes in a 100 grams and has 420 metres.

Experience: Such a quick and easy knit! I spotted some tiny mistakes in the pattern, but the designer was very good about correcting the pattern as soon as I notified them. I had already knit the first mitten without noticing, so had to carry it through on the second one, but it’s very hard to notice even if you know about it. The recipient doesn’t knit so I’m pretty sure she won’t notice even if she reads this.

 

Pair 3:

Pattern: These are the Emilee Dee mitts by Paula McKeever. The pattern is written for sportweight and DK yarn.

Needles: Knit on 3.5 mm bamboo double point needles.

Yarn: I knit these in Lana Grossa McWool Merino Mix 140 in colour 414 petrol.Once again this was a 50 gram ball with 140 metres.

Experience: My yarn was knitting up too loosely on the needles recommended for the DK weight yarn (even though it’s technically DK weight yarn) so I knit on the needle size recommended for sport weight and followed the sport weight pattern. These ended up a little roomy, but very cozy. The pattern is super easy. The mitts look cabled, but are actually a lace pattern. Even though there’s lace they are still quite warm.

All three recipients seemed pretty pleased with them, so I’m pleased. A pair of mitts takes relatively little time and yarn and they’re fun quick knits. After seeing these my sister has also requested a pair (still looking for the perfect pattern) and I’ve also cast on a pair for me with some stash yarn (bought on my birthday trip to New York).

Do you ever knit fingerless mittens?

 

Love, Renée

Adopt-a-text Project

Hello,

I had been meaning to post about the Adopt-a-text project last Friday, but ended up overexerting myself a little too much and needed some time to recover (still working on that unfortunately).

I am studying Literature & society at the Vrije Universiteit.in Amsterdam. This is a bachelors course focussed on literature. In the first year you study both Dutch and English and in the second and third year you need to pick which language you will be studying. I’m going to be picking English and as a result most of my courses are already in English.

For the course Literary Analysis we had to participate in the adopt-a-text project. We had to choose a literary text and adapt it in a fun and original way. If you follow the blog, it’s pretty obvious. I’m addicted to knitting and so as soon as I heard o the project I wanted to incorporate my hobby in some way. This would add a personal touch to my adaptation (because knitting is very near and dear to my heart) and it’s certainly original.

The hardest part of the project for me was picking the perfect text. I wanted a text which i could illustrate via my knitting and a text that I felt a certain click with. I started looking for my text during the Christmas holidays. One of the things that bothered me was the lack of the white in White christmas… no snow. I love snow! Christmas just isn’t the same without a good few inches of the fluffy white stuff. I think this seriously influenced my choice of text.  I ended up knitting a cowl that depicts the story presented in my text.

The text I picked is Stopping by woods on a snowy evening by Robert Frost.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
BY ROBERT FROST
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

And here is my finished project:

And here is the accompanying video I made to present my project to the class:

And this is the motivation that I wrote for my project:

For the adopt-a-text project I chose the poem “Stopping by woods on a snowy evening” by Robert Frost. The poem was written in 1922 and the poem is actually quite famous. It was read in 1963 on the radio when John F. Kennedy’s casket arrived at the white house for example. Many adaptations have been made of this poem and it has often been referenced in novels. The poem is almost 100 years old, but even today it intrigues many. It has recently been used in several videogames such as Skyrim and The walking dead videogame and it has also been a part of an episode in the modern adaptation of Sherlock Holmes, Elemantary.

The poem appealed to me, because I love snow. When the snow starts coming down sounds change, everything becomes quiet. And like the narrator in the poem I can spend hours just watching the snow fall and thinking. Reading the poem by Robert Frost really brings this feeling to mind. I can almost smell the pine trees, hear the crunch of my shoes in yet untouched snow, feel the fresh wind on my cheeks. This feeling is what winter is all about.

I have been knitting for two years now and am quite addicted! Not a day goes by without me knitting at least a few rows. When given the challenge to come up with an original interpretation of a text I immediately started imagining how I could incorporate my knitting. I realized that whilst standing and watching the snow fall is fun, it can also be very cold. The narrator in the poem needs a nice scarf if he is going to be standing about in the snow! I decided to knit him a nice cowl instead of a regular scarf. The poem describes an easy wind and we don’t want the scarf blocking his sight once he goes on his way again and because a cowl is more secure around your neck it’s a bit warmer.

I knit the story told by the poem into the cowl. It illustrates the forest and the frozen lake, the lack of any nearby farmhouses, the village where the owner of the woods lives, etc. To knit the cowl I used 3 colors: navy, petrol and white. I didn’t want to use any more colours as it wouldn’t mesh with the serene calm represented in the poem. The white stands for the snow, the navy for the evening sky and the petrol for the trees. The cowl alternates the navy and petrol as backgrounds for the illustrations.

Here are some more pictures of the different motived (in order):

 

I’m quite pleased with how my cowl turned out in the end, although there were some things I would have done differently had I had more time to work on it (the deadline was a lot sooner than I had bargained on). I ended up knitting this in 4 days and taking the next 2 days to make the video, block the cowl and take pictures.

I couldn’t be quite as perfectionistic as I wanted and due to the time crunch couldn’t enjoy the knitting at all. The first person to say how much they liked it was gifted it on the spot.

Last Friday we had to present our projects. It was amazing to see what everyone else had created and to see my project well received. I have such an amazingly talented class! Some people sang, someone made a videogame (!), others wrote a poem and made a cool video of it, people painted and someone made a video in which the sims depicted her text! I had a great time and sort of wish we could do things like this more often.

I hope you enjoyed seeing my project!

Love, Renée

 

Pattern: Alpine Comfort

Hello,

I hope you’re all having a wonderful day? Mine was pretty damn good! We had the final presentation for the adopt-a-text project (more on this soon, for now you just need to know it was a uni project and very fun!) and I felt surprisingly well today. I am of course dead tired now, but from laughing a lot instead of being dead on my feet after getting dressed in the morning. I know what I prefer!

Today I also have a new pattern to show you. It’s paid so you can’t download it here, but you can find it on Ravelry.

 

Alpine Comfort is a cozy cabled headband. It reminds of sipping cocktails at the après ski or zooming down the slopes. Whatever you’re doing, Alpine Comfort is sure to keep your ears warm!

The cables are pretty basic and should be easy enough for first time cable knitters whilst still being a interesting (although quick) knit for more advanced knitters.
You do need to know how to do a provisional cast-on and how to kitchener the headband closed.

The pattern has been fully written, but has also been charted. You can pick the version you’re most comfortable working with.

You’ll need 5.5 mm needles and aran weight yarn.

The price of the pattern is €3,00 (€3,40 on Loveknitting due to the exchange rate).

Love, Renée

Recipe: Pink Meringue

Hello,

Today I’m sharing one of my recent kitchen experiments. I’ve always loved meringue, but I usually tend to think it’s too much of a hassle to make and end up forgetting about making them again. During the Christmas holidays, I finally took the time to make some! One reason that I was finally convinced I needed to make these again is that my dad splurged and bought a food processor. It’s sort of like a Kitchenaid, but a different brand (Kenwood). The thing is amazing!!! We got several attachment with the machine and I’m having a great time trying them all out. Even though it’s my dad’s I’m the one who has been using it most haha. Note to self: write a post about my favourite attachment, the juicer! I’ve been wanting a juicer for ages. I’ve taken to making a glass of juice every evening as a healthy treat. It’s so fun to make the juice and it tastes amazing!

But okay, back to the meringues. If you’ve ever made them, you’ll know that they involve beating egg whites until foamy. I used to do this by hand… exhausting! But with the new machine, I can just put the whites in the bowl, turn that machine on and wait for a minute. It’s quite fun to look at actually. Especially when you realise how much work you’re being saved. The only “scary” part of the process is now the splitting of the eggs. I always get so nervous. Probably because it’s gone wrong a few times in the past. I’d have 5 perfectly split eggs and then the last one completely fails and I’d have to start all over. Ugh!

Here’s the recipe:

6 egg whites

100 grams fine sugar

100 grams icing sugar

some lemon juice

food colouring

Piping bag

Parchment paper

Preheat the oven at 80 degrees Celsius.

Start by splitting the eggs. For the meringues we’ll only be needing the egg whites. Put the egg whites into a large bowl (it doesn’t look like much now, but it’s a lot!) and beat. Either by hand (it can double as a workout) or using a machine like I did. Beat until foamy and slightly stiff (the whites will form peaks, but the peaks will still fall down). Now add a splash of lemon juice (this keeps them shiny and crisp. If you’re not adding food colouring this also helps them to stay white). Whilst beating add the sugar (both kinds). Do this very slowly. Add it in small portions and after adding a portion wait until adding another until the sugar has been completely absorbed into the mix.

After adding all the sugar, add a tablespoon of food colouring. I used pink and my batter ended up neon!

Now beat the mixture again until stiff (it forms peaks and they don’t fall down). The mixture will get a little shiny.

Now for the fun part!

Put the mixture into a piping bag with a large opening and pipe small blobs of meringue onto a tray lined with parchment paper. Make sure not to put your meringues too close together! You might just end up with one large blob instead of fancy shapes. (if you accidentally do, no worries! You can crumble it over a desert/cake of make an  eton mess!)

Place tray(s) into the oven and bake for 2 hours. To check if they’re done take a toothpick and stick it into one of the meringues. Pull it back out and if the pick comes out clean they are done. If you have multiple trays (I ended up with 2 full trays) you can bake them at the same time, but the top tray will be doen a little faster. Pull that out when done and leave the second tray a little longer. Try to only open the oven door when you are sure the meringues are done. If you keep opening it, they might collapse. My meringues were nice and crispy, but sometimes i like them to stil have a slightly sticky core. If you do too pull them out just before they are done. Your toothpick will come out with a small bit of mix on it.

Leave meringues to cool and enjoy!

Love, Renée

 

Pattern: French Doily

Hello,

Today I’m showing you my French Doily.

The French Doily is a traditional crochet item with a modern twist. For a more traditional look crochet it in white. This lovely doily was inspired by some crochet pieces my mother brought back from a trip to France. They were so pretty and intricate and urged me to create this doily.

It uses the basic crochet stitches such as:
single crochet,
double crochet,
treble crochet,
slip stitch,
and chains.

It uses American crochet stitches and has written instructions.

To purchase this pattern head on over to the Ravelry pattern page. You will be able to download the pattern there for the small price of €3,50. The pattern is also available on Loveknitting.

I hope you like it!

Love, Renée

Pattern: Imperial Star

Hello,

On this page I will share my Imperial Star pattern (clicking this link will take you to the Ravelry pattern page) with you. This is a pattern for a fancy star shaped crochet motif. This cute star can be used in many different ways. I have used mine as coasters (they even fit the huge glasses we have here at home!), but they could also be hooked in a bulkier yarn to make a nice trivet or potholder. And if hooked in Red or white and sprayed with spray starch they make great ornaments for your christmas tree. Or hook them in lots of different colours and make a garland! The options are endless.

The motif has a floral centre and has a slightly hexagonal shape.

This motif uses American crochet terms.

Materials:

  • A crochet hook (of a size that matches your yarn, I used a 3 mm hook for the samples)
  • Cotton yarn. For the samples I used Anna Og Claras Bomuldsgarn from Søstrene Grene in several colours.
  • Scissors

Stitches used:

blo     = This stitch is worked through the back loop of the stitches in the

previous round.

ch     = Chain

dc     = Double crochet

hdc   = Half double crochet

sc     = Single crochet

sk st = Skip stitch

sl kn = Slip knot

sl st = Slipstitch

sp     = Space

tr     = Treble crochet

(…)   = Stitches in this section all go into the same stitch or space.

[…] x = This section is repeated. The number following the x represents the

number of times it needs to be repeated.

Pattern:

Note: Some rounds use both stitches through back loop as well as regular stitches!

Make a sl kn, ch 6 and sl st to first ch to form a ring.

Round 1: ch 3, 14 dc into ring, join with sl st to 3rd ch of beginning ch 3.

Round 2: ch 6, dc in same sp, [ch 1, sk 2 st, dc, ch 3, dc] x 4, ch 1 join with sl st to 3rd ch of beginning ch 6.

Round 3: sl st into ch 3 sp, (ch 3, 2 dc, ch 1, 3 dc), [sc into ch 1 sp, (3 dc into ch 3 sp, ch 1, 3 dc)] x 4, sc into ch 1 sp, sl st to 3rd ch of beginning ch 3.

Round 4: ch 3, 2 dc blo, ch 2, sk 1 st, 3 dc blo, [hdc, 3 dc blo, ch 2, sk 1 st, 3 dc blo] x 4, hdc, join with sc to 3rd ch of beginning ch 3.

Round 5: 2 sc, (2 dc, tr, ch 2, tr, 2 dc), 4 sc, [3 sc, (2 dc, tr, ch 2, tr, 2 dc), 4 sc] x 4, join with sc to 1st sc.

Round 6: sc, 3 hdc, (dc, ch 2, dc, ch 3, dc, ch 2, dc), 3 hdc, 3 sc, ch 3, sc into 1st ch, sk st, [3 sc, 3 hdc, (dc, ch 2, dc, ch 3, dc, ch 2, dc), 3 hdc, 3 sc, ch 3, sc into 1st ch, sk st] x 4 Join with sl st to first sc. Cut yarn and bind off.

Blocking brings out the best in this motif, but isn’t required, a good stretch does just as well.

I hope you enjoy the pattern!

Love, Renée

ps. Click here to download the pattern.