I found this sweater some years ago at my parent’s place, when my mother was sorting through clothes to donate or throw away. It’s a nice and simple wool sweater that nobody except moths were ever interested in: It had some bad holes in the shoulder area.
The second part of my Summer of Basics outfit is done! My goal is to create an entire outfit, and now only the third and last part is missing. I am quite sure, I will manage to get the outfit done by the end of the month. My black silk shirt is cut and ready to assemble. So here is my second piece, my summer scarf! I wrote down the pattern, you can find it below or on Ravelry.
It is finally getting hot in Berlin, and very much against the season, I finished my Acorn Sweater, designed by Junko Okamoto. Starting this sweater was quite impulsively – I saw the pattern and immediately wanted to start. I thought it could be a good way to use up leftover yarn from my No Frills Sweater, and to finally use the light grey Drops Puna yarn that I had bought on sale in winter and never used for its intended purpose.
I am starting the Summer of Basics make-along late, but I am ready and challenging myself to make an outfit entirely out of materials that I already own. Not buying new fabrics is hard, especially with the new Atelier Brunette collection around, but I have so much fabric stashed that needs to be used. I will also finally do things that sit in my making queue for too long, so I hope this will be a success all over! Creating an entire outfit is quite the challenge for me, as I usually just make single garments without really planning a wardrobe or matching items together. I always figure, if I like it, it will fit my style… However, this time it will be different!
My plan is to make:
Summer pants with deep pockets from an 80s Burda magazine from a beautiful blue cotton fabric
A black silk shirt, for which I will recycle an old skirt from my mother with beautiful pearl buttons
A summer scarf from rust colored cotton yarn in a cross stich pattern
I already started the scarf and the pants, so I am quite confident I will finish my Summer of Basics-Outfit in time!
I am almost done writing my master thesis, which means I have extra free time for knitting and sewing and new projects! But first, I want to share something that I learned the other day, while buying some wool to finish a sweater. I am currently knitting two projects on 4,5 needles and needed an extra pair. I asked in the shop, but they just had interchangeable needles from a different brand then the ones I already have. I was ready to search for simple cheap needles to finish my project in another shop… But! The friendly shop owner informed me that all interchangeable knitting needles, that use a screwed connection, are all produced by the same manufacturer (at lest in the european market, I guess…).
For me, that was such a revolutionary information! It means that I don’t have to stick to the more expensive KnitPro needle collection, but I can add other, cheaper brands to my set! I can buy exchangeable needles anywhere, and they will all fit together! Knitting can be an expensive hobby, so this is a nice way to show some ways to make it more financially accessible!
Just to compare: the KnitPro needle tips size 4,5 cost 5,99€, the Drops ones 4,50€. And just the colors are a bit different… 1,50€ saved that I can spend on more wool! Maybe this was not new for you, but for me, this is quite a revelation.
Anyway, of course there are other brands and systems out there: Addi needles are the only ones still produced in Germany (for the seventh generation!), and the have beautiful (but pricey) needles made of olive wood. For straight needles and crochet hooks, there are several small producers existing, some of them working with social projects, like these multi colored crochet hooks from Switzerland.
Currently I am supposed to be busy busy busy writing my master thesis, but even that can’t keep me from researching knitting patterns and looking at what all the knitters out there are creating! Here are two examples that I found especially funny lately:
A few weeks ago I started knitting a cotton top, and simultaneously started to have pain and numb feelings in my hands and fingers – something that probably a lot of knitters, crocheters and other crafters can relate to. Maybe my hands got tired after a long season of intense knitting, maybe the texture of the cotton yarn challenged my hands in new ways… Anyway, the pain is gone now, but it left me thinking and reflecting on how I, as a knitter, can take better care of my most important tools – my hands.
I think it all starts with acknowledging the importance of my hands as my main instruments, and at the same time, accepting that they have their limitations, as do body and mind in general. I learned through many mistakes when I need to stop making (when I am getting too angry at the fabric for example…). And now I need to learn how to see the limits of power of my hands (and arms, shoulders, back…) to make sure they will enable me to make things in the future.
The most important thing for me is to change projects every now and then. From bamboo needles to metal ones, big yarn to thin yarn, from knitting to crochet to embroidery or sewing. Or even taking a break from fiber stuff sometimes and make a drawing or take photos. This gives my hands the needed change of movements to prevent them from hurting. Other things include giving myself a hand massage and using a nice hand cream.
From my days doing actual sports I still remember my favorite stretching exercises for the hands, and I took pictures to share with fellow crafters. Take a moment before or after a knitting session and stretch:
I started making this improvised cropped sweater last April, and it was supposed to be done for last summer… I stopped at some point when I realized I wouldn’t finish it in time for summer, and there it sat in my unfinished projects box until I finished it last week! Also, I have to admit that even though I really like the linen/cotton mix, I didn’t really enjoy knitting with it as it is a bit hard on the needles and to the touch.
I initially wanted to a cabled pattern, but in the end I decided to stick to plain stockinette, as it brings out the lovely texture of the yarn beautifully. I am wearing it on the photo with a quickly refashioned linen shirt that I picked up at my parents on Christmas. It has these great side pockets but had huge sleeves that I just cut off. Bam, new shirt! Maybe this will be my next favorite summer outfit!
As soon as I discovered the No Frills Sweater on Instagram, I knew I had to try this pattern designed by Mette Wendeboe Okkels of PetiteKnit. It’s the perfect pattern for a first top-down experience and some easy and straightforward knitting. After spending time on complicated and elaborate patterns at the end of last year I really wanted something simple to enjoy. The pattern gives much room to experiment in colors and I have already several other color combinations in my mind.
I held a light beige brushed alpaca silk and brown alpaca yarn together and I really like the result, even though I will chose more contrasting yarns for the next versions. I love the oversized shape with the fitted ribbing, perfect! It’s freezing right now here in Berlin, so this is the perfect sweater for now.
I have been wearing this sweater for one week straight and I can’t make myself take it off! I think this is the most cozy sweater I ever made…
Last weekend I was so lucky as to spend a few days in Paris with my girlfriend and besides enjoying the time together and stuffing us with viennois chocolat and brioche I got the chance to dive in the magical world of Paris fabric shops and find some new treasures and supplies.
The first stop was La Bien Aimée, a tiny wool shop that sells hand-dyed yarn and an exquisite choice of magazines. I couldn’t resist buying the Stitching Up Paris guidebook of sewing and knitting stores in Paris, it’s a really great and updated overview and very tempting.
I got a flashy blue Field Bag at La Bien Aimée! I currently hosts my almost finished No Frills Sweater. I found some beautiful leather pieces at Sacrés Coupons, some lingerie elastic at Tissus Reine and fabric at Dreyfuss. I can’t wait to sew some mini pouches and finally make a Watson Bra. The shops are all in Montmartre, it’s really nice! You can’t miss anything…
And last but not least… The feminist bookshop! I went to the queer feminist bookshop ChickLit in Vienna and since then I am constantly on the hunt for more of these amazing places. Berlin doesn’t have a feminist or queer bookshop (shocking! I know! I should open one…), so every time I am in another city I try to find one. Violette and Co is a great little shop with an exhaustive french-international selection of books (no English books sadly…) on all things feminism. I got a great book on lesbian separatist communes in the US (so hard to find books on that in Germany!), two issues of revue WellWellWell, an excellent and entirely volunteer-run lesbian magazine and two issues of the Barbi(e)turix fanzine. On Saturday evening we went to the Wet For Me (organized by the Barbi(e)turix team), and that was hands-down the best lesbian party I have ever been to. What a successful weekend!