Friday, October 28, 2016

A Mad Tea-Party

Dear Reader,

I worked a lot on a few different designs lately. But I owe you one more design of my children's literature collection, before I show you the new (some of them inspired by my Baltic trip...shhh!) designs.
So here are my crazy, funny and a bit weird contributions to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol.


For me, thinking of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is thinking of the Mad Tea-Party with the Mad Hatter, the March Hare and the Dormouse. I LOVE this chapter of the book and it is definitely one of my most beloved pieces of literature. The fabulous nonsense of the conversation, all the riddles and stories Alice is told and the hilarious characters in this scene are just GREAT. And I always imagined the table full of cups and teapots as a wonderful explosion of colours and patterns.
I wanted to design something, that is really funny, colourful and practical as well, so I designed two cozies, one for a teapot and another one for a French Press (coffeepot).
I don't know, if I ever mentioned my big love for Icelandic wool on this blog (I didn't, did I?), but it was instantly clear to me, that I had to use Istex Alafoss Lopi, one of my all time favourite yarns. It is an incredibly warming, water-repellent, fluffy yarn and is available in a wonderful colour palette. Yes, I know, some say it is very scratchy, but that doesn't matter to me and doesn't for a tea or coffee cozy either.
So I knit a tea cozy in a really - for me - unusual colour combination (looks a bit french, doesn't it?).



When I look at it, I think of the craziest coloured english cakes I could imagine. ;-)

And here is the French Press cozy in a more-like-me colour combination.



Don't take a too close look at my French Press. It looks a bit dusty on the picture... ;-)

So these are my last designs of the children's books collection, two cozies with a lot of nupps, seed stitch, garter stitch and a top loop for hanging the thingy up in the kitchen while not using it. 6mm/US10 needles and a (maybe alafoss? ;-) ) bulky weight yarn in three colours promise a super quick and entertaining knit. Want to make one yourself? HERE you are!

Happy knitting!
Love,
Nena

P.S.: In the background of the pictures you can see my collection of Alice editions. Yes, I do love these books....

Friday, September 30, 2016

Tallinn & Green Gables

Dear Reader,

I have been away for a few days. A short trip to Tallinn, Estonia. And it was G R E A T !
The North is always special for me and the mix of scandinavian and russian influences/flair, the wonderful medieval old town of Tallinn and the Baltic Sea really are all breathtaking beautiful. If you have the chance, visit Tallinn!
Old Town of Tallinn and Baltic Sea

These cute dolls - dressed in beautiful estonian knitted
garments - stood at the entrances of souvenir shops
Like Miss Estonia Doll up there, another wonderful girl has red hair, the girl of a book (or better a series of books) I adored as a little girl and had a big influence on me: Anne of Green Gables (and the sequels) by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

Source: http://www.thewrap.com/anne-of-green-gables-miniseries-in-the-works-at-cbc/

Oh did I adore this feisty girl with her constant daydreaming, love for books, unorthodox behaviour and adoration for art and beauty. She was - in Anne's words - a "kindred spirit". I loved this girl and do so till today.
The house Anne is growing up in, after Marilla and Matthew adopting her, seams like a main character itself. Green Gables, the old wooden house of the stories, is Anne's true home. 

http://www.gypsynester.com/green-gables.htm

When I came up with the idea to design a small collection of knitting patterns in respect of great works of children's literature, there was no possible way for me to leave out Anne of Green Gables. And it soon became clear to me, that there had to be a tribute to Green Gables and to Anne's despised red hair.
This is, what all those thoughts and ideas finally became: The Green Gables Bag




This little (but big enought to carry a book) bag is knit with bulky weight yarn, features a cable handle (to reach your hips or make a shorter one for children) and tassels that should resemble Anne's red braids. I tried to immitate the Green Gables House of Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, Canada for the front of the bag (but used other colours). The back is knit in seed stitch, using two colours. 
I really loved the process of creating the chart for the front, because with every row I draw, Green Gables came to life.




For my first version I used Malabrigo Yarn Chunky (blue version), for my second one Istex Alafoss Lopi (grey version). I braided the tassels of the second version, just for fun. I think this looks nice too. Both yarns are a real pleasure to work with. The Malabrigo Chunky is amazingly soft and can be bought in a range of vivid colours, the Alafoss Lopi has a wonderful hairy, texture and offers a more natural colour palette. It is a matter of taste which yarn to choose, because I can recommend both yarns equally for this pattern. 
I must admit, I love them both. These bags are my little Anne of Green Gables - tribute to the world and that makes me smile. 
Interested in making one yourself? Here is the pattern for download.

Happy knitting,
Nena

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Pippi

Dear Reader,

today it's raining and foggy outside...just very uncomfortable weather and I fear summer is almost over. I do like autumn, but I will miss the sunny, warm days outside and I dread the foggy, cold windy days that are likely to come.
To brighten this unfriendly day, I will show you another design of my children's literature pattern collection. 
Here is PIPPI!


It's a colourful tote-bag, using Malabrigo Yarn Chunky and 6mm/US 10 needles, what makes a quick knit. Using slipped stitches (you may have found out by now, that I LOVE working mosaic...), it's an easy, but varied knit, because of the colour changes.

The tote can be worn on both sides. The outside looks a bit more sober, the inside saucier.

inside out
"right" side
For the handles I used all four colours equally, making I-Cords. They are pretty and stable enough to carry some books for instance.


I named the tote-bag after Pippi Longstocking (Langstrumpf in German), because it's so colourful, witty - with fringes on one side-  and strong enough for carrying big books. 
Pippi Longstocking is the heroine of Astrid Lindgren's equally named books, super strong, unconventional, always making fun of adults and a good friend for Tommy and Annika (the neighbour's children). 
My niece loves her as I did, when I was a child. She loves, when somebody reads the books to her and is giggling from time to time and wants peculiar hilarious passages to be read again and again. Pippi is a wonderful friend for children and a really strong - in all different ways - girl. When the whole family sat around a table, listening to Pippi's adventures and speeches and was laughing heartily, adults and child alike, I really thought to myself: These books never grow old (- The first book of Pippi's adventures was published in 1945!). Pippi Longstocking really is a classic.


Maybe you need a tote to carry your edition of Pippi Longstocking (or any other book or item) around, maybe you have these wonderful chunky yarn leftovers in your stash.... Whatever reason, if you want to make a Pippi - tote for yourself (or a friend, a relative, etc...), HERE you'll get the pattern!

Happy knitting!
Nena

Friday, September 09, 2016

Rainbow dragon

Dear Reader,

this is a sneek peek of a project I recently finished...


Want to see more? What could it be?


It's a... shawl... but which pattern?


A small shawl... A shawlette ...


It's a dragon! This is my blue, blue, I love you -  version of FUCHUR !


Used Dibadus Funnies Etudes Seda Grande for MC, in the astonishing, great, great, great colourway Calypso. It's so BLUE! You know, who Calypso was (is?), don't you (If not, check out the link)?  So I am not really astonished, that I fell in love with the colourway...
As CC I used Schoppel Wolle Zauberball in the colourway Frische Fische

What a cheerful match! Happy, glorious, makes me think of the sea, summer and swimming. 
Maybe summer will stay a little longer while wearing it? That would be nice....

Lots of love and happy knitting,
Nena


Thursday, September 01, 2016

Fuchur

Dear Reader,

today is the 37th anniversary of the publication of The Neverending Story by Michael Ende. As a child, this was one of my first books I owned to read for myself. I read it about 10 times, naturally fell in love with Atreyu, cried with him over the death of his horse Artax, feared Gmork and The Nothing. My greatest wish at that time was to get an AURYN (a talisman, given to Atreyu by the Childlike Empress, which protects him from all harm) for my birthday or christmas. But back then, the merchandising was not at all that big as it is nowadays. So, no AURYN for me, but I managed to get a luckdragon-shawl by inventing one.
I've made a pattern inspired by one of the most popular characters of the book, the luckdragon Falkor (Fuchur in German), a few months ago. Testing is now finished, so this day seems perfect for the publication of the pattern. 

It's a (rather wide) shawlette, featuring different garter stitch, seed stitch and slipped stitches sections, worked in two colours from left to right. The shape is built by decreases/increases and German short rows. If you are unfamiliar with German short rows, here is a wonderful Tutorial by Asa Tricosa!

http://de.drachen.wikia.com/wiki/Fuchur


The dragon Falkor has a silvery, light purple-rose skin and hair and I tried to immitate that by choosing the silver pure silk yarn from Dibadu (Dibadu Funnies Etudes Seda Grande - Moonmilkshake) as my MC and the purple-pink Zauberball yarn (Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball - Brombeere) as CC. I really like how the colours respond to each other.



I tried to emulate the different skin surfaces of the dragon by changing stitch patterns, so this shawl consists of several sections in alternating garter stitch, seed stitch and slipped stitches segments. 
Slipped stitches are a wonderful opportunity to avoid knitting with two colours at a time. It's either the MC-yarn or the CC-yarn you use for two rows. I really love this technique. 
Generally the shawlette is departed in a garter stitch/slipped stitches-section and a seed stitch/slipped stitches-section and I wanted the CC highlighted, so I tried to really use it scatteredly, but in eye-catching shapes and patterns.



For the border I decided to BO in steps, to make a dragonridge-like edge. The whole section is knitted in MC (maybe you should listen to an audiobook or watch a movie while knitting the border, because it takes a little longer to knit than the rest of the shawl... maybe "The Neverending Story"?;-))

I am really pleased with this little shawl. It is superlight, shimmers silvery because of the silky yarn I used and has wonderful beaming Zauberball-highlights in it. It is fun to knit, because of the different stitch patterns and colourchanges and drapes very scarf-like around your neck. 
If you want to make yourself a knitted shawl-dragon, HERE you are!

Happy knitting to everyone!
Love,
Nena

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Nils Holgersson

Dear Reader,

Last time I promised to write a few words about my latest design, called Nils Holgersson. It's a simple beanie, worked in Stockinette Stitch and accompanied by five small flying geese on the front to reference the book this beanie is inspired by. 
Inspiration for this design was the great children’s classic "The wonderful adventures of Nils" by Selma Lagerlöf. In this story a boy named Nils gets punished for his bad behaviour by a tomte (an imp), what leaves him shrunk, but given the ability to speak with animals. By trying to stop his white farm goose flying away with some wild geese passing by, Nils finds himself on the back of the farm goose and joining the wild ones. This is the start of a journey from the south of Sweden to the north and back again. 

When I was a child, there was an anime TV-show about Nils and his adventures. I really have dear child memories of it and can sing the opening title along until today. 
I read the book this TV-show based on, when I was about 13 or 14 years old. I loved reading about the different parts of Sweden, the wild geese and the dangerous Smirre fox. 
A few years ago I saw a TV-adaption of the book made in Germany and I totally fell in love with the beanie this Nils (of the TV-movie) was wearing.


I definitely wanted to make one for myself. My lifepartner always wears an old beanie like Nils for working in his carpenter's workshop. So, when I decided to make a pattern for this easy-peasy beanie, I wanted to add different sizes, so almost everybody - from child to adult - could wear one. 



Sport-Weight-Yarn is one of my favourite yarn-weights and Dibadu Funnies Etudes Cool Merino is just wonderful to work with, has a precise stitch definition, is smooth and available in wonderful hand-dyed colours. I adore this yarn and always love to work with it. So it came natural for me to choose this one for my simple beanie design. 
The beanie is knit bottom-up, has a rolled up edge and features a simple stockinette stitch pattern. A small chart of five flying geese is worked on the right front of the beanie, simply made by adding some reverse stockinette stitches (the chart is included to the pattern) to the stockinette pattern. 


Nils Holgersson is intended to be worn with a tight fit, but if you want to have a slouchier beanie, just choose the bigger size. I modeled the M-size (red) and the L-size (blue) in these pictures.

pointy top and tight fit
lightly rolled-up (slouchier style)
Greeting the geese... (massively rolled up edge)
If you want to make yourself a Nils Holgersson - beanie, just click HERE and get the pattern. It's an easy begginer's project or just a quick project in between for advanced knitters. 
I would love to see many different beanies in gorgeous colours all over the knitting-world! 

Love and happy knitting,
Nena

Thank you

Dear Reader,

my Edema Ruh - pattern recently went somewhat famous, because the great Kate Davies wrote about ten amazing knitter's projects on her blog and featured Helen's wonderful version of my pattern. I got wonderful feedback from other knitters who loved the project and liked my pattern. I am really proud and thankful for this. Thank you to all of you lovely knitters, to Helen, who made a wonderful job with her shawl and last, but not least, to Kate Davies, who spread the word. This last two weeks have been incredible comforting.

I am so proud of my baby...

Although I neglected my blog over the last few months, I didn't stop knitting and designing. I have designed a bunch of patterns, which I will publish gradually. All of these designs have one thing in common: They are all inspired by some wonderful children's/young adult books I really love. Some friends have said, my eyes always begin to sparkle, when I talk about books I admire. I think the reason for this is, that - in my opinion - there are no more wonderful sources of wisdom, happiness and comfort than in the written word. The characters you get to know while reading a book are sometimes wonderful role models, sometimes they also teach you how to don't act in a specific situation. Sometimes they inspire you, sometimes they make you feel understood and not so lonely in the world, sometimes they are beeing despised by you and teach you, how you definitely don't want to become. And these characters are - for me, in the best of books - on such wonderful, fabulous adventures, which expand the world, the mind and the spirit and are such a contrast to everybody's daily routine, that you start to think, what possibilities a life really offers apart from your daily habits. Especially children's literature is a constant well of inspiration for me.

In my next blogpost I will tell you a little bit about the pattern I recently published on
Ravelry . It is called Nils Holgersson. ;-)

Beanies in Sizes S (yellow), M (red) and L (blue)

Lots of love and happy knitting to you all!
Nena

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Yarnhome - do it yourself

Dear Reader,

last summer I decided to give my yarnstash a new home.
I ordered some wooden boxes. They were made of smoked wood and really beautiful, but I wanted the yarn to be "safe" from possible sootleftovers or splinters.
Because I left my former home to a new one, I decided to sacrifice my old curtains for a boxlining.

So I had four wooden boxes....

...my old curtains

and a stapler.


I took measurements and made myself a really odd looking template, fixed this with needles on the fabric and cut my former curtains along the edges of the template. The stapler did the rest.

It was a really fun and rewarding project and I love the outcome.
Look for yourself.





Now my yarn is stashed in four boxes, organized in different yarn-weights. 
Here is my lace- & light-fingering & fingering-weight-yarn-box.


A have one box for sport- & dk-weight-yarn, one for worsted- and aran-weight-yarn and one for bulky- & superbulky-weight-yarn.
And the boxes are perfect for piling. 


But the best of all: I brought my (from my granny inherited) curtains to my new home, used in a totally different way than before. New beginnings, new challenges, but old friends. 

Happy knitting!
Love,
Nena

Monday, April 25, 2016

Variety is the spice of life

Dear Reader,

it's snowing outside!
WHAT???? Yes, indeed.

We had some wonderful springdays the last couple of weeks with a strange mix of sunny-rainy days in between. But today, it's snowing! It's almost end of April and that's what it's like up here in the north of Austria: It's snowing. And the funny thing is, there's sun too, right behind the snowclouds somewhere up in the sky and you can watch it shine in between snowstorms. April is just unbelievable unpredictable. But tell you what: I love it.



Cold, snowy or rainy days are good excuses for knitting inside, being snuggled down in a blanket on the couch or on a chair in front of the oven. Sunny days are wonderful opportunities for knitting outside and enjoying fresh air, getting the first tan and hearing the birds sing. So April is the perfect month for people who like variety and a variation of knitting-locations. And I am such a person. I really enjoy shifting my knitting-locations spontaneously and I love variety in general.

A couple of months ago I've designed a shawl called "The Colours of the Wind", using a light-fingering-weight-yarn, consisting of pure silk, in 11 different  colours.
Because I'm a fan of variation, I've decided to knit a fingering-weight-yarn version, using only 3 colours and made of pure wool. The yarn of my choice was Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball, A yarn I really love working with and have already used in a lot of different projects.
I didn't change the pattern, I only modified the colour-instructions: Regarding wing-sections, I used "Schokocreme" for all even numbered mentions of colour  and "Grashalm" for all odd numbered mentions. I used "Gebrannte Mandeln" as my third colour for the centrepiece.

And this is how "The Colours of the Wind" looks in Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball.









I really love how this shawl turned out. So maybe you will knit one too using Zauberball-yarn? I would be so excited to see your versions!! Pattern is up HERE.

Happy Knitting and varied days of April to you all!
Love,
Nena


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Edema Ruh and Gyptian

Dear Reader,

a few weeks ago I published a new design on ravelry, but didn't find the time to write about it until today. For all of you, who haven't seen it. Here it is: EDEMA RUH !




It is a rather big shawl with (optional) fringes, containing a little bit of colourwork, stripes, slipped stitches, stockinette and garter stitch. It's a good colourwork project for beginners, because of the small gaps between the changing of colours. 
This shawl is named after the "Edema Ruh", a travelling folk of artists prominently mentionend in "The Kingkiller Chronicle" of Patrick Rothfuss, which I adore and strongly recommend reading for those of you who haven't. The Edema Ruh are reminiscent of the Roma/Sinti of this world, so I imagined they would use a lot of colours and different stitch patterns for their garments. As you can see on the pics below, I tried to incorporate both features. 




I used 7 different colours and repeated/adapted 4 pattern sections alternating the colours. I thought the Edema Ruh would choose a down to earth yarn with natural colours and warmth, so I used the wonderful and almost brandnew Buachaille yarn of Kate Davies Designs. It's  made of pure scottish sheepwool, is extremely sturdy, nevertheless smooth and available in wonderful nature-like colours. 

In the meantime I made a second, sparklier version using lighter sport weight yarns: Dibadu's Curly Silk and Manos del Uruquay's Serena. Because the shawl has become a different character by changing the yarn, I called this project Gyptian. For those of you who have read Philip Pullman's "His dark materials"- trilogy, it's obvious why (- For those of you who haven't: READ IT!). The Gyptians are sort of the Edema Ruh or Roma/Sinti in Pullman's world. I always imagined them a bit "fancier" than the Edema Ruh, so I think the yarnchoice matches with that. 





If you like my bookish Gypsy-shawl, buy and download the pattern HERE!
I would be honoured to see your versions!

Happy knitting and let there be spring!
Love,
Nena