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