Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Getting better...

In the last post I mentioned that my socks ended up too tight, probably because I attempted to change the pattern a bit. So instead of being put off socks, I was a bit more put off changing patterns until I understand the science of stitches a bit better.

If I'm not changing a pattern, I have to find one that's almost exactly what I want. After hours of searching for free knitting patterns, I came across Ravelry.com. This is probably the single best thing I'll ever discover for my knitting, and something I would have known about long ago if I knew other knitters. Practically every pattern ever published anywhere, all on the one website! And it has every other feature we could want as well, one of my favourites being that I can see what the pattern looks like when other users have knitted it. I'm in awe.

So of course I signed up, and my profile can be found here. I have since found plenty of projects I eventually want to knit. The first one I got started on is this pair of socks. It's such a lovely pattern; I really hope it turns out a bit better than my last effort!

So far, it's looking good. They're very soft and stretchy and feel like they're going to be lovely to wear. Because the wool is quite dark, it's hard to see them properly in the pictures:

These socks are fun to knit, but I'm really looking forward to finishing them. I always imagined socks were difficult to knit and didn't expect to be making them already, so I'm quite proud of this project and I can't wait to see them off the needles!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Onwards and upwards: my first pair of socks

I always intended to learn to knit socks eventually, but thought they were probably too complicated for a beginner. I had just convinced myself I could do it if I put my mind to it when I came across a pack of sock wool in the german supermarket Aldi. Enough wool for two pairs of socks and a set of double-pointed needles, all for €6!

(There were only plain colours left unfortunately, no lovely stripes like in this picture)

So I gave it a try. I downloaded a free e-book from knittingdaily.com  and used a sock pattern which can be found here.

The pattern wasn't at all difficult, but for some reason it took me three weeks to complete just one sock.I couldn't wait to finish and see what it looked like so I tried it on halfway through:

It seemed fine then but once I had it bound off I tried it on and realised it was too tight. I managed to get it on to take a photo:

It's lovely, but far too hard to get on and off, probably because I doubled the yarn to make the socks thicker. So instead of knitting the second sock, I'm getting started on another pair. I was in Aldi again yesterday and found the last pack of this sock wool on sale for €2.50, so I have a feeling I'll be knitting socks for the next while!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Hat number 3

At this stage I was feeling comfortable with knitting hats, so I decided to try my hand at designing one of my own. Using tricksyknitter.com, I drew out this fair-isle colour chart:

I based the rest of the pattern on the first hat I knitted, making the ribbing a bit longer so it could be turned up. Not everything went smoothly; the grey yarn I started with was much too thick, and I almost ran out of red yarn before finishing. This was all easy enough to fix, I bought new grey wool of the right thickness and tightened up the red stitches to make the yarn go further. Here's a picture I took halfway through; it shows the pattern better than any other photo I have:

(You can see the thick wool I started out with at the ribbing. I ripped this out later and knitted downwards to finish it off.)

The hat turned out to be nice enough to give to my boyfriend as a present. Here's a picture he took of me wearing it. The photo was taken with a film camera and I love how old it looks! I forgot to get a photo of my own before giving it away so I'm afraid this is the best I have:

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My second hat, and knitting gets expensive

The pattern for my second hat came from the same magazine as my first and can be seen here on Phildar.fr.

I love the hat, it's so thick and soft, and it kept me warm through the bitter Strasbourg winter. Also, receiving compliments on something you've made yourself feels so much nicer than for something you just picked out in a shop.

I'm only knitting hats, but already I'm finding knitting expensive. I had to buy two pairs of needles for each of the hats (one for the ribbing and another for the rest). Also, as the magazine is produced by Phildar, the patterns call for particular yarns from the shop, which is one of the more expensive yarn stores around.

I know that I only have to buy needles once, but I'm not looking forward to paying €70 for wool once I start knitting bigger projects like jumpers and cardigans!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

My first knitting project

I was feeling quite ambitious after reading Debbie Stoller's Stitch 'n Bitch cover to cover. After looking through a few knitting magazines, I decided I decided my first project should be this fair-isle hat from Phildar.fr.

I decided it looked a bit baggy so I made it slightly shorter than the pattern required. It turned out well but feels a bit small when I wear it, especially with the massive pom-pom weighing it down!

Here's a picture of the finished product:

Thursday, March 8, 2012

First things first

This winter, Strasbourg, France was hit with temperatures I had never experienced before. I was unprepared for the eye-watering -12°C. I had forgotten my Aran jumper at home, and it seemed I was the only one to forget. Knitwear was everywhere. The more I looked at the knitted hats and scarves the more I realised I could probably learn to knit them myself.

Me and my Aran jumper in Basel, Switzerland

I started knitting two months ago. Now, I am almost halfway through my first ever pair of socks, with a few hats under my belt too. However, I have had some problems along the way. As a student, I don't have enough money to buy a pattern for every project I'm knitting. Especially when I know there are so many great free patterns on the internet.

The amount of free patterns out there presents its own problems. I want to knit items I will actually wear, patterns similar to the knitwear sold on the high street. This is why I've created my blog. To organise and share fashionable, wearable patterns. Though I haven't come across very many knitting blogs yet, I hope that I'll find more bloggers with similar aims and learn a thing or two from them as well. Maybe eventually I'll start making my own patterns too!