Category Archives: designing

Colour your knitting!

How do we see colours? What is interesting about them to us knitters? Those are the things I have been thinking about lately.

Colours don´t stand on their own, they always interact with one another. It doesn´t actually happen in real life that all we see is one colour. And our perception of any particular colour heavily depends on the context we see it in.

For example, the exact same grey can look very different when it is put on a blue versus an orange-brown shade.

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Only when you add a grey frame and, from the frame, lines to the two grey squares connecting them with the frame, does it become evident that it is, indeed, the same grey.

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And the identical grey looks different if projected on black versus white horizontal stripes, as is illustrated on the left below. The image on the right shows the blocks of grey without overlapping stripes.

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The next example illustrates a similar illusion. A solid grey appears to have a gradient if placed on a gradient background. Again, on the right you see the grey block without the gradient background revealing how our eyes have been deceived.

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There´s also this mind-boggling effect of the complementary afterglow. Stare at this bright blue for about 60 seconds, and make sure to actually last that long, then on the white image on the right, focusing on the grey squares in the centre each time. You should see an afterglow in the complementary colour, i. e. in yellow. This is something our brain does. Whenever the complementary colour is missing, it is assumed and added by some process in our brain. Researchers are still debating what´s behind this effect. Probably a contributing factor is the fatigue of the colour receptors of the eye. If a receptor for a colour gets tired, the colour it is absorbing, which is always the contrast colour, gets enhanced.

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We also tend to subconsciously assume volume in 2-dimensional images. All of the following lines are perfectly parallel. Hard to believe, right?

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It´s tempting to use this in a future design, but I kind of get the feeling I might cause some headaches with that. And being a headache sufferer myself, I definitely want to avoid that.

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Meet my new tech editor!

Apologies to my German readers, this post will be in English./Entschuldigung für den Beitrag auf Englisch.

It is already the end of January, and I am only now writing the first blogpost of the year! There never seems to be enough time for everything – and for me writing definitely often gets the short end of the stick. Right now I am working on a few very exciting projects. I will be able to talk about them soon, so please do check back in!

I am starting into 2016 on the blog with something that I don´t do too often, even though I always enjoy it tremendously; I have an interview for you all! James Bartley is my new tech editor and a very fascinating guy. He is a mathematician who used to be a professional dancer. Also, he has a knitting podcast that you can find as “DancingGeek Podcast” on Youtube and iTunes. On Ravelry, Twitter and Instagram he is using the alias dancinggeek as well.

James was really generous with his time and answered all of my many questions – and the best is: He is accepting new clients. So if you are a designer looking for someone to check your knitting patterns make sure to get in touch with him.

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Hi James, thank you for taking the time to talk to me on my blog. Let´s tell people a bit about you. To start things off, how did it come about that you became a knitter and when was that? I first tried knitting thanks to my Mum, who was very talented and multi-craftual! It wasn’t until many years later, when I saw my sister knitting, that I tried picking it up again. That was about 4 years ago, and I’ve been hooked since then.

What things do you knit the most often, and do you have any favourite colours? I’m pretty sure I must have knit more socks than other projects, I know they’ll get worn lots, they’re a smaller project, and the complexity can vary to suit all moods. I love knitting blankets on my giant 27mm wooden needles, but don’t do it too often as it needs a lot of yarn and then I have to find a home for the finished item!

My absolute favourite colour is orange. It’s vibrant & warm, reminding of the sunny Mediterranean, citrus fruit, pottery & clay. All earthy, warm and joyful things for me. I love to see it mixed in with blue, green and brown. Those four together cover my entire wardrobe, I suspect.

Which designers do you like? I really like geometrical patterns & textures in knitting, so a couple of designers that pop to mind are Josh Ryks & Anthony Casalena. They both do a lot of beautiful shawls that make me wish I liked wearing shawls more often! If I knit more jumpers I would make them based on their shawl designs.

Do you have a local knitting group that you attend? There is a local knitting group that I went to a few times, but I find it difficult to knit and socialise at the same time. I love to get engrossed in my knitting and the patterns, so trying to hold a conversation at the same time really stumps me. That’s why I love Ravelry, podcasts, and the online knitting community in general. That and I’m a big nerd!

You have a popular knitting podcast. What are your experiences with it, and are you planning on recording new episodes this year? I really struggle to think of my podcast as being popular, though I’m lucky enough to have meet some wonderful people who pay me lovely compliments on it. It was originally started as a way of joining the community, as I find forums difficult to engage with, and it has been such an uplifting experience. I have said this many, many times: the online knitting community is the nicest place I know.

I’m always thinking about the next episode, so I’m always planning on doing another. I always want to do more, both in number and content, however I’m learning that I have limits on what I can achieve without burning out. I’ll keep recording, even if the gaps between episodes vary sometimes.

Which part of your podcast gets the most feedback? The stuff that gets the most consistent feedback is when I talk about my personal life. The knitting side is what binds us together (who doesn’t want to look at pretty yarn, right?!) but I consistently find that it is when I talk about myself that I connect with people, who then write some amazing messages to me.

Do you have any hobbies other than knitting and podcasting, and what´s your professional background and career path, I know you´ve changed directions quite a bit? Hobbies wax and wane for me, right now I’m thoroughly obsessed with Dungeons and Dragons! Others include foreign languages, maths, dance & running. And anything online.

My career path is not a traditional one for sure; I left uni with a degree in maths, fluent in French, & time spent studying contemporary dance. I then went and did customer support for software for schools, obviously! Following that I had some time out and changed to working as a freelance contemporary dancer and lecturer. After a while, my obsession with knitting started to take over, and I have recently turned professional as a Tech Editor for knitting patterns. It may not look like it, but these jobs are all connected by a love of patterns and systems. I love to be a nerd, I just change which domain I’m in.

How did you decide to start a tech editing business? Deciding to Tech Edit came through coming into contact online with a wonderful lady called Joeli, from Joeli’s Kitchen. At some point she mentioned that Tech Editing would probably be a great fit for me and I was curious, I’d never heard of this work before. I started to find out about it, had some great conversations with her, and after working through her exercises realised that it was something that I could really enjoy and be good at. The idea that someone would pay me to do this was perfect!

Why do you enjoy editing patterns and does your math degree come in handy? Editing patterns is so natural, that I do it whenever I follow one. It didn’t occur to me at first that other people don’t do this! I’m always checking details, making sure the numbers work, and asking questions when something seems wrong. I’m a perfectionist, which has its downsides, but makes editing fun! Mathematics uses the same skills, if more abstracted. It’s about making sure every detail works, and makes sense together, otherwise the whole thing could fall apart. If it wasn’t such a fun puzzle I imagine it would sound quite stressful.

Since I am enjoying the random question section your your podcast very much, here are two very random questions for you.  What invention would you like to see happening next, knitting-related or not? Oooh, great question! I think it would be awesome to be able to teleport. I love being abroad, but I hate traveling. To be able to just appear somewhere immediately would be amazing! Spend a few hours in Kenya, a day trip to Australia, a meal in a different continent. The internet does a lot to make the world a smaller place, but there’s something special about physical presence still.

Who would you like to talk to if you had the opportunity and what would you say? Who to talk to? That’s tricky. World leaders, late family members, admired performers. How to choose?!  I’ll go for my future self, so I can ask if everything works out ok. Life can be hard, so a little reassurance would go a long way!

Thank you James for taking the time to answer all those questions and for making it a fascinating read!

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Hoku

I really haven´t been blogging much this year, have I? There´s so much to talk about – there just never seems to be enough time for everything.

My last fall pattern has just been released. It´s a pattern for a shawl featuring elements like stripes and dots, silk and merino, lace and dk weights named Hoku. It’s perfect for using up those odd skeins in your stash. The beginner-friendly design looks more complicated than it is, and uses a simple blister stitch to produce the dots. Combining contrasting yarns, such as the soft and squishy Malabrigo Rastita with shimmering silk Ito Kinu, creates the most powerful visual effect. I really hope you like it and will knit many Hokus!

There are a few things coming up in December, so stay tuned!

 

Hoku

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Dies Jahr habe ich wirklich nicht besonders viel gebloggt. Obwohl es wirklich viel zu sagen gibt, scheint nie genug Zeit zu bleiben darüber zu schreiben.

Jetzt ist gerade mein letztes Herbstmuster ist veröffentlicht: Hoku kombiniert kontrastierende Elemente wie Streifen und Punkte sowie glänzendes Lacegarn und kuscheligere Wolle zu einer harmonischen Gesamtkomposition. So eignet sich das Tuch als Projekt für zwei einzelne Knäuel aus dem eigenen Wollvorrat, die man sonst vielleicht nicht zusammen verstrickt hätte. Die Punkte sind viel leichter zu stricken als es auf den ersten Blick wirkt, auch Anfänger sollten keine Probleme mit dem Fototutorial zum Stich haben. Ich hoffe euch gefällt das Tuch und ihr strickt eine Menge Hokus!

Im Dezember wird es noch einige Neuigkeiten geben, also schaut mal wieder rein!

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Mehr ITO-Zauber │ More ITO magic

Endlich kann ich euch erzählen, woran ich diesen Sommer gearbeitet habe: An einer Schalkollektion. Mit ihr folge ich sozusagen den Fußstapfen von Goliatha, North Sea Mist und besonders dem Tsuru-Schal, Tücher, die auch von der minimalistischen Eleganz der japanischen Stils inspiriert sind und bei denen ich ebenfalls mit den hochwertigen Garnen von ITO – fine yarn from Japan gearbeitet hatte. Es war total spannend mit den im besten Sinne des Wortes außergewöhnlichen und qualitativ hochwertigen Garnen zu arbeiten. Wie ihr inzwischen wisst, wenn ihr meinen Blog regelmäßig verfolgt, experimentiere ich gern und probiere ständig Neues. Genau dafür sind die ITO-Fasern ideal. Dadurch, dass sie so dünn sind, lassen sie sich auf verschiedenste Arten kombinieren; es gibt praktisch unendlich viele Möglichkeiten. Ich bin definitiv noch nicht durch mit ihnen!

Alle drei Tücher verwenden dieselbe Technik: Für das Motiv, in diesem Fall also Kreise oder Streifen, wird ein Beilauffaden zum Hauptfaden hinzugenommen, wodurch sehr leichte und fast durchscheinende Motive entstehen. Ich habe die Technik “falsche Intarsien” getauft, weil ich sie bisher noch nicht kannte. Allerdings bin ich völlig sicher, dass ich nicht die erste bin, die das macht. Falls sie euch schon einmal über den Weg gelaufen ist und ihr den richtigen Namen dafür wisst, schreibt mir bitte kurz damit ich es übernehmen kann.

Die Technik arbeitet sich wirklich einfach, mit nur ein klein wenig Übung sind die Resultate phantastisch. Was bei den eigentlichen Intarsien nicht immer der Fall ist. Sobald eine Rundung im Motiv ist, wird es da kniffelig und es entstehen schnell kleine Löcher. Nicht aber hier.

Und hier sind die Tücher:

Abacatha, der erste Schal der Sammlung, zeigt Perlen aneinandergereiht wie an einer Kette oder einem Abakus, welche auf dem einfarbigen glatt rechts gestrickten Hintergrund einen effektvollen Akzent setzen. Er strickt sich sehr entspannt und bleibt durch das Motiv, die ungewöhnliche Technik und die verwendeten Fasern immer spannend. Im Hintergrund ist zum Washi-Garn aus Papier und Viskose ein Beilauffaden mit Metallanteil, Tetsu, hinzugenommen. Dadurch ergibt sich eine stylische Knitteroptik.

Imprinta dagegen hat blaue Kreise ins Grundmuster mit eingewoben. Fast sehen sie wie gedruckt aus. Die Bilder geben nicht annähernd wieder, wie außergewöhnlich die Textur von Tebiki und Kinu Kasuri im Hintergrund sowie Kinu in den blauen Kreisen ist. Alles besteht aus reiner Seide und wirkt gleichzeitig spröde und schimmernd.

Ein lebhafter Wechsel aus Punkten und Streifen machen den Charme von Rheindrops aus. Er ist ein leichter und sehr langer, wunderschöner Sommerschal, der sich angenehm trägt und edel wirkt. Für den Hintergrund habe ich Shio, das aus reiner Schurwolle besteht, verwendet. Es läuft herrlich weich durch die Finger. Die Motive werden wie bei Abacatha mit Sensai aufgestrickt.

Das ist auch schon die Kollektion! Ihr findet sie und noch viel mehr Details und Fotos hier.

Ich bin nun endlich auch vom Instagram-Virus erfasst worden, wahrscheinlich bin ich die letzte auf diesem Planeten, die noch nicht davon befallen war. Wenn ihr mögt, könnt ihr mir dort folgen und schon einige Einblicke in die nächsten Veröffentlichungen bekommen.

Und für den Oktober ist in meiner ravelry-Gruppe ein Mystery-KAL für ein Tuch aus Rosy Green Wool-Resten oder kleinen Mengen von ähnlichen Garnen geplant. Genaueres werde ich in rechtzeitig in meiner ravelry-Gruppe bekanntgeben, damit ihr euch schon einmal vorbereiten könnt. Haltet euch den Oktober also stricktechnisch frei, wenn ihr dabei sein wollt!

 

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Finally I can share with you what I have been working on this summer: A scarf collection. With it I am following in the footsteps of my Goliatha, North Sea Mist, and Tsuru shawls, in which I had also been inspired by the minimalistic elegance of Japanese design and had been working with the sumptuous ITO fibres as well. It was a great experience for me to work some more with these in the best sense of the word different and high-quality fibres, and to explore the possibilities they open up for design and style. Since they are, for the most part anyway, very light weight yarns, they can be combined in countless ways. I am definitely not done with them yet!

All three scarves of the collection use the same technique: To create a motif, an additional thread is held together with the background thread(s). This makes for light and almost ethereal elements in the designs. I dubbed the technique “dimensional intarsia” because the extra thread adds a bit of depth to your knitting. I am sure this has been done before, but I haven´t seen it described in any of my technique books, hence I felt it was ok to come up with my own name. If someone of you knows better and can enlighten me, I am very interested!

It is a technique that is really simple to work. With just a little bit of practise, you´ll achieve fantastic results. It´s definitely much easier to work than actual intarsia. Where, as soon as you are working a curved shape, you´ll struggle to avoid ending up with small holes in your knitted fabric. Not an issue with the “dimensional intarsia”.

And here are the shawls:

Abacatha” is featuring a line of pearls reminiscent of an elegant necklace, or the beads of an abacus. It is a very relaxing knit, at the same time working a motiv in an unusual technique, and the ITO fibres keep the knit interesting. Washi and Tetsu combine paper, silk and stainless steel to create a crisp and cool-to-the-touch feel and fashionably creased body, while Sensai adds a wisp of fuzzy mohair to the pearls.

In “Imprinta,” blue bubbles are knit into the rich linen stitch texture of the scarf’s fabric, giving them an aged look, almost like printing on burlap. The background is knit with two fibres, changing from Kinu Kasuri to Tebiki every two rows when working the linen stitch background pattern. Kinu is used for the blue circles. All fibres are one hundred percent silk.

Finally, the cheerful pattern of “Rheindrops” playfully combines dots with stripes for an airy scarf that’s a delight to wear. Shio, the background yarn, is pure wool and feels incredibly soft when it´s running through your fingers as you are knitting your scarf up. As in “Abacatha”, Sensai is setting some accents on the plain stocking stitch background.

Follow the links above to purchase the indiviudal patterns and to find all the technical information of interest, or have a look at the collection here.

Oh, and by the way, you can now follow me on instagram as well, if you like. Also, in October, there´s a mystery-KAL coming up in my ravelry-group, so keep your schedule open in October if you are interested! We´ll be knitting a shawl in four Rosy Green Wool colours. Of course you can search your stash for good alternatives as well. I´ll write about it in my ravelry-group well in time for you to prepare before we cast on.

 

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Hier wird nicht geklecktert! │Go Big!

Giant stitches!Giant stitchMit meinen Designs versuche ich, wann immer es geht, etwas Neues auszuprobieren. Die RIESENMASCHEN in diesem Tuch sind zwar nicht meine Erfindung, aber ich habe sie zum ersten Mal gestrickt. Und besonders oft habe ich sie auch noch nicht gesehen. Das Faszinierende ist, dass diese Maschen größer und dicker sind als die Maschen vom kraus rechten Hintergrund. Sie scheinen auf ihnen zu reiten und geben dem Gestrick eine einmalige Plastizität. Wie man diese langen Linien überdimensionierter Stiche arbeitet, habe ich im Strickmuster mit einem Fototutorial genau und Schritt-für-Schritt erklärt. Im Grunde sind es wiederaufgenommene Fallmaschen.

Für das Tuch braucht es weniger als fünfhundert Meter Lace- oder Sockengarn. Ich habe mit dem fantastischen Ito Urugami in mint und in white gearbeitet. Die Kombination mit Ito Sensai als Beilaufgarn ist eine absolut glückliche und traumhafte Verbindung. Seit meinem Tsuru-Tuch kann ich gar nicht mehr damit aufhören, Ideen für diese beiden Garne zu entwickeln. Natürlich ist die Kombination von Mohair und Fallmaschen weniger ideal, aber mir war es die Sache wert. Wer anders denkt, steigt auf weniger hakige Fasern um oder lässt den zweiten Faden einfach weg.

Mit nur hundertsechundzwanzig Zentimetern Länge ist ein ein wirklich süßes und besonders kleines Tuch. Das Muster enthält Angaben, wie man es ganz einfach verlängern kann – in Abhängigkeit von der vorhandenen Wollmenge oder der gewünschten Tuchgröße.

Ich hoffe ihr seid genauso begeistert wie ich von den Riesenmaschen und strickt eine Menge davon!

Das Muster sowie mehr Fotos und alle Details gibt es auf der Ravelry-Musterseite.

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When I am designing, I enjoy very much trying new techniques or new construction or anything that´s new to me at all. I have never before knit the GIANT STITCHES of this shawl, in fact I haven´t seen them very often in a design. What´s fascinating about them is that the huge stitches are larger and wider than the regular stitches of the garter stitch background. The huge stitches cross perpendicular to the garter ridges. The result is an asymmetrical triangle scarf that undulates with offset textures and subtle dimensions – a stunning effect that looks much more complicated than it is. You´ll just be dropping stitches and picking them up again. There is a photo tutorial in the directions explaining the process step-by-step.

You´ll need no more than five hundred metres of lace or sock weight yarn – possibly in combination with a second thread of the same length, both held together. I have been working with the incredible Ito Urugami in mint and white. Combining Ito Urugami with Ito Sensai is a very lucky and gorgeous choice. Ever since I used them both in the Tsuru shawl I cannot stop coming up with new ideas for these two yarns. Of course the combination of mohair and drop stitches is less ideal – but it was worth it to me. If you don´t want to bother with the extra hooky mohair fibres, you can choose a different kind of yarn or omit the second thread completely.

With a length of only a hundred and six centimetres the shawl is on the small side, after knitting many large shawls  needed a shorter one for a change. However, the pattern gives directions for making the shawl longer – depending on the amount of yarn at hand or the desired dimensions.

I hope you are as excited as me about those extra large stitches and will knit them too!

You can get the pattern as well as more pictures and additional information on the Ravelry pattern page.

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Neu!│New!

Zum Jahreswechsel denke ich gern zwölf Monate zurück. Was war gut, was möchte ich verbessern? Das letzte Jahr stand definitiv unter dem Zeichen “alles Neu”. Nicht dass ich Altes besonders geändert hätte, aber es gab einen ersten janukke-Mystery, ich war auf meiner ersten Wollmesse und meinem ersten Raveller-Treffen, habe meinen ersten Workshop gegeben und zum ersten Mal in meiner Gruppe einen Adventskalender gestaltet. Besonders Letzteres ist noch ganz frisch in meinem Kopf und hat mir riesig Spaß gemacht. Diese Explosion an Kreativität in meiner Strickgruppe hat mich richtig umgehauen. Es gab Rezepte, Bastelanleitungen, Gedichte, Geschichten, Lustiges, Nachdenkliches, einfach eine bunte Mischung. Und natürlich auch viele Gewinne. Schenken gehört einfach in die Weihnachtszeit.

Ich habe eine Menge positive Rückmeldungen für den Kalender bekommen (und das Lob geht an alle, die eines der wunderschönen Türchen gestaltet oder einen Preis gespendet haben), weswegen es dies Jahr wieder einen geben wird. Und auch die anderen Dinge möchte ich gerne wiederholen. Mit dem Raveller-Treffen ist es noch nicht sicher, weil es für mich eine wirklich lange Anreise nach Regensburg ist, aber alles andere sollte drin sein.

Charity_14_blogDann gab es noch die allererste janukke-Spendenaktion. Von jedem bis zum 31. Dezember verkauften Muster von “See the Rhythm” gehen 1,50 Euro an Ärzte ohne Grenzen. Insgesamt sind stolze 225 Euro zusammengekommen!

Nicht neu sind dies Jahr meine Preise für die Muster. Vielleicht habt Ihr es schon gehört, ab dem 1. Januar gelten neue Umsatzsteuersätze in Europa. Genauer gesagt, die Steuern müssen jetzt europaweit dort gezahlt werden, wo der Kunde sitzt. Dadurch fällt die bisher in Deutschland geltende Kleinunternehmer-Regelung weg, nach der man erst Umsatzsteuer zahlt, wenn man mehr als einen bestimmten Betrag verdient. Ich habe beschlossen, erst einmal abzuwarten und dann, falls es notwendig ist, zum nächsten Quartal hin meine Preise leicht anzuheben.

 

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At the turn of the year I like to think back twelve months. What was good, what would I like to improve? Last year definitely was the year of new things. I organised my first mystery-KAL, was at my first wool trade show, gave my first workshop and for the first time put together an Advent calendar in my knitting group. Especially the calendar is still fresh in my mind. It was great fun. This explosion of creativity blew me away. Knitters sent in recepies for delicious food, poems, stories, funny and philosophical stuff, simply a colourful mix. And of course, in the spirit of the season, there were many prizes. 

I got a lot of positive feedback for the calendar (and this goes to everyone who contributed), so there will be another one next year. And all the other things will hopefully be repeated this year. Just the Raveller meeting is not certain, it´s a long drive to Regensburg.

Then there was the first janukke-charity. For every copy of “See the Rhythm” that sold until Decembre 31st, 1.50 Euros are donated to Doctors Without Borders. We collected a whooping 225 Euros!!

Totally not new are my prices for the knitting patterns. You might have heard that there are new VAT laws in Europe, starting on January 1st. Sellers now are mandated to pay taxes in the country where the buyer is located. Since there are no thresholds as with the old law, this will probably mean that I will have to augment my prices eventuelly. For now everything will remain the same though.

 

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Jetzt liegt das Neue Jahr frisch und unbenutzt vor mir und ich kann es gar nicht erwarten, es mit neuen kreativen Projekten zu füllen und mit Euch allen, wenn Ihr sie nachstrickt, eine tolle Zeit zu haben!

Now the new year lies fresh and empty in front of me and I cannot wait to fill it with creative projects and to have a great time with all of you when you knit them too!

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wenn fische fliegen│when fish are flying off

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Heute schicke ich meine lange gehegten und gepflegten Fliegenden Fische auf den Weg, bzw. den Flug, in die weite Welt hinaus. Ich fühle mich wirklich ein wenig wie eine Fisch-Mama, die ihre Kleinen großgezogen hat und jetzt am großen Tag etwas nervös ist. Aber die Strickwelt ist ja nicht der ungemütlichste aller Plätze. Ich hoffe, sie werden viel genadelt, Escher muss einfach gesehen und getragen werden.

Mal wieder war es ein Vergnügen, die Skizze in Maschen zu übersetzen. Es ist die Grafik Nummer 73, wie ihr wahrscheinlich schon über den Link in meinem letzten Post erfahren habt. Diesmal war es etwas anders als sonst, zum ersten Mal habe ich nur mit Farben und nicht mit Textur gearbeitet. Ich bin richtig erstaunt, wie sehr mir das Ergebnis gefällt. Sogar das Stricken hat Spaß gemacht. Ich arbeite sehr selten mit Fair Isle und es ist meine erste Begegnung mit der Doppelstricktechnik, es war also einfach Glück. Auch die Merino Wolle von Rosy Green Wool war eine gute Wahl, da kratzt nix am Hals, man kann sich gemütlich einkuscheln. Der Winter kann kommen!

Alle Details und das Muster findet Ihr hier. Heute bis morgen um Mitternacht bekommen Newsletterabonnenten einen Rabatt von zwanzig Prozent. Einfach den Code aus dem Newsletter eingeben und ganz normal auschecken.

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Today is the day! The Flying Fish are honouring their name and are flying off. I feel a bit like a fish mom that has cared for the little ones for the last few months, and now is a bit nervous on the big day. At least I guess that´s how a fish mom feels. Anyway, I hope that many, many knitters will make their own Flying Fish loops, Escher just needs to be seen and worn!

Once again I had a blast translating the sketch into stitches. It´s sketch number 73, as you might know from my last blogpost. This time it´s been different, I have been working with colours only, and totally ignoring texture. I am actually surprised how much I like the result. Even the knitting was fun. I don´t do a lot of fair isle and it was the first time of double knitting for me, so I really got lucky. The organic merino yarn from Rosy Green Wool was a good choice, it´s super comfy and warm around the neck. I am prepared for the colder season.

You can find the pattern and all details here. Until tomorrow midnight GMT+1, the pattern will be available with a discount of 20 percent for everyone who has signed up for my newsletter. If you check the latest one, you will find a code there. 

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Tsuru

Tsuru-Bild1 Ich fange also gleich mal damit an, Euch zu erzählen, woran ich so arbeite: Gerade ist das Muster für das Dreiecktuch “Tsuru” fertig geworden, das wirklich ungewöhnlich schön fällt. Es ist das exquisiteste Tuch, das ich bisher gestrickt habe, so viel ist sicher. Das Ito Garn ist schon besonders. Ich habe immer zwei Qualitäten auf einmal verarbeitet, weil die Fäden sehr dünn sind. Dabei habe ich das flauschig-mohairige Ito-Sensai, das Ito-Urugami mit Papierkern und das Ito-Tetsu mit Metallanteil miteinander kombiniert. Es war ein Experiment mit Wollqualitäten. Ich war sehr fasziniert, wie die Kombination der verschiedenen Wollsorten die Eigenschaften vom Gestrick verändert hat. Das Ergebnis ist ein Tuch mit wirklich sehr besonderem Faltenwurf. Aber auch meine TeststrickerInnen, die nicht alle das Originalgarn verwendet haben, haben wunderschöne Tücher gestrickt. Schaut hier und lasst Euch inspirieren!

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So I´ll start with telling you what I am working on: I´ve just released the Tsuru pattern, it´s a triangular shawl with an extraordinary drape. It´s the most luxurious shawl I have ever knit in my life, that´s for sure. The Ito yarn really is precious. I always held the strands of two qualities together, as the yarn is very thin. So I combined the fluffy Ito-Sensai mohair fibres, the Ito-Urugami paper core-fibres and the partly metallic Ito-Tetsu. It was a study in materials. I really enjoyed experimenting with the different yarn alliances and studying the new properties of the resulting fabric. It was a great experience.

My test knitters, even if not all of them used the original yarn, knit up beautiful shawls as well. Have a look at their projects and get inspired!

Papierkranich-1

Meine Inspiration warTsuru_schematic das Origami, wohl zum Teil, weil das Garn aus Japan kommt und zum Teil, weil das Urugami einen Papierkern hat. Irgendwie fasziniert mich der Gedanke, Papier zu verstricken. Jedenfalls habe ich das Tuch nach der bekanntesten Figur des Origami benannt, dem Kranich. Das bedeutet “Tsuru” nämlich auf Deutsch: Kranich. Die klaren Linien in der Tuchkonstruktion sollen an die scharfen Kniffe der Papierkunst erinnern.

Also, schlagt schnell an und Ihr habt noch zwei Wochen Zeit bis zum großen Herbst-KAL, um mit dem Tuch fertig zu werden!

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My inspiration was the Japanese art of origami, maybe partly because the Urugami with its paper content really got my imagination going, and partly, because the Ito yarn comes from Japan. So I named the shawl for the most well-known figure of the ancient craft, the crane. That´s what “Tsuru” means, crane. And the crisp geometric lines in the shawl construction are supposed to evoke the papercraft’s creases.

So, be quick and cast on now! You still have two weeks to go until the big Autumn-KAL in my Ravelry-group.

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Was geht denn hier!?│What is this !?

Lange hab ich´s geplant, jetzt ist es so weit: Es gibt von mir einen ersten Mystery-KAL! Und zwar habe ich zwei Muster vorbereitet, eins für Anfänger und eins für Fortgeschrittene. Ihr findet Genaueres in meiner Ravelry-Gruppe und auf den beiden Patternseiten auf Ravelry (Tuch und Loop).

Ich bin schon extrem gespannt. Strickt im Moment überhaupt jemand? Immerhin haben wir Sommer. Deswegen habe ich zwei leichte Projekte ausgesucht, Ihr braucht für das Anfänger-geeignete Tuch Sockenwolle und für den etwas anspruchsvolleren Loop Lacewolle, beides in zwei verschiedenen Farben. Aber das wollte ich hier gar nicht alles noch einmal ausbreiten, Ihr könnt es ja unter den Links oben nachlesen.

Eins noch: Ich habe diesen Mystery mit zwei sehr talentierten Handfärberinnen organisiert. Ihr bekommt die benötigte Wolle im Kit bei Anja, der Frau der Wollträume, und die Lacewolle bei Bettina aus dem Wollkenschloss, sowie das Kontrastgarn für den Loop bei Lanade. Natürlich ist es auch möglich, die Wolle zu ersetzen. Aber wenn Ihr Euch etwas gönnen wollt, dann kann ich Euch die Wolle von beiden nur empfehlen. Die Farben sind kräftig und die Garne stricken sich wunderbar.

Also, wir sehen uns drüben, wenn Ihr mögt!

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I´ve been secretively planning this for a long time, and now I can finally tell you: There will be a mystery KAL, featuring two of my designs! One of them can be knit by the adventurous beginner, and the other one has been written with the advanced knitter in mind. You will find all the details in my Ravelry group and on the pattern pages for the shawl and the loop.

This is really exciting. I hope that someone out there is knitting in summer, because what is a KAL without knitters? I chose two light-weight projects, the easier pattern is a shawl that is worked with fingering weight yarn, and the one that is a bit more challenging will use lace weight yarn, both in two colours. Before I tell you all those details again, I´ll stop and let you find the information under the links above.

One thing I want to mention is that I am organizing the KAL in cooperation with two German hand-dyers. You can get the yarn for the shawl from Anja, in her shop Wolltraeume, and the yarn for the loop from the castle-lady Bettina (Wollkenschloss) and Drops. Of course it´s possible to substitute the yarns. But if you are in the mood to treat yourself to something nice, I can highly recommend both of them. The colours are bright and rich, and the yarns are fun to knit up.

Alright, see you in my group for the mystery-KAL!

 

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who´s designing here?

Brandie_14aToday I´d like to tell you a bit about my co-designer, or the mastermind I should say, of the Rivulets sweater from my previous post. That is, she´ll do the talking herself. I was lucky enough to meet Brandie through one of the very first designs I ever made, she was one of my test knitters (have a peak at her Siris scarf of Doom!). Since then we´ve become friends, and as a translater and reviewer, she´s been helping me out with quite a few tech edits of knitting patterns. She´s also one of the kindest and smartest people you´ll ever come around. So, let´s hear from her about how she´s experienced our collaboration on the Rivulets sweater:

 

Brandie, you are not a professional designer, was this the first hand-knitted design you have ever worked on?

Absolutely! I have been knitting for a long time now, but always from patterns. I have occasionally had ideas for pieces I would like to knit for myself from scratch. But I am an impatient person, so I had never taken the time to experiment with my yarn and needles. Truthfully, I was afraid of the frustration that would come from failure. My tendency was to prefer the “safety” or “guaranteed results” you get from a good pattern.

Do you do craftsy or creative work in other areas?

My craft obsession before knitting was card-making. I have an enormous collection of gorgeous papers, stamps and inks that is sitting idle at the back of my closet. But sice I started knitting, I haven’t invested much time in other creative pursuits. It seems I am a monogamous crafter: one hobby at a time!

How long have you been knitting? And what do you like to knit most?

I have been knitting for around 10 years. My knitting personality is similar to my travelling philosophy: I like to go somewhere I’ve never been. This means I’m usually drawn to projects that feature something new to me, whether it is the garment type, construction, stitch pattern or yarn. I especially enjoy making sweaters because I think they are the ultimate reward for a knitter, but lately I have been really drawn to hats because there is so much variety and they are always quick projects!

What was your source of inspiration for the Rivulets sweater?

I once owned a sweater whose shape was similar to the silhouette of the Rivulets sweater. It was my favorite piece of clothing and I wore it with practically everything – skirts, capri pants, sundresses – in the spring, summer and autumn. It was my dream sweater, but it eventually had to be retired and I longed for a replacement.

How did you come up with such a stunning stitch pattern?

I had a very specific goal for what I wanted the Rivulets pattern to evoke: drops of water that stream down and merge with other droplets. I wanted it to flow and undulate. The only way to figure it out was to start experimenting. Because I don’t do much lace knitting, I wasn’t even familiar with how to make eyelets! I browsed through a lot of stitch dictionaries at the library, and noted the stitch combinations that yielded the kinds of effects I was aiming for. Then I started combining them. In all, I probably knit about 10 different swatches in 3 yarns before I settled on a stitch pattern that conveyed what I wanted. The biggest challenge here was knitting swatches in the round because the yarn-overs and decreases simply didn’t work on the reverse side of the work.

How did you like the process of designing the Rivulets sweater?

Anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis has a sense of Jana’s openness and generosity of spirit. Working with her was the best part of this adventure. We communicated by email and Skype and shared lots of pictures. At every stage, Jana was very receptive to all my ideas and was brilliant at interpreting my vague descriptions of what I was hoping we could create. Readers can only imagine the laughable result of my first misguided attempt at chart writing! I love that we each tried out different yarns and stitch patterns and even sleeve types to determine what the final product would look like. The pattern repeat is big and the stitch count is not very accommodating, so to me the most incredible thing was when Jana found the perfect way to avoid the math challenges of grading the pattern!

I know that as a translator and reviewer, you are used to working closely with texts. How did that knowledge help you with writing a knitting pattern? How is writing a knitting pattern different from what you usually do?

My work as a translator and editor demands attention to detail. This means I already have the patience it takes to write and rewrite the text until it seems right. Everything I write or review must be perfectly clear and explicit. I hope that this is reflected in our pattern, because I would not like to leave knitters to fill in the gaps. Writing a pattern from scratch is very different from my everyday work. When I translate or edit a text, the ideas come from someone else. In this case, all the content was originated by Jana and me, so there is no one to blame for any faulty logic or missing information!

What does knitting mean to you?

Knitting is a way to explore the world. With all the different fibers, weights and dyeing techniques, I think I could spend a lifetime playing with yarn. I travel often and yarn is a great souvenir for me. I try to go into yarn shops in every city I visit. Although I’m trying to tame my stash, I always allow myself to buy something if it’s locally made or somehow specific to the place. My business trips cause me to spend lots of time in airports, airplanes, subways, buses and so on. There is a lot of “dead time” and knitting is my refuge in these moments. As soon as I sit down, I pull out my knitting. It’s a great conversation starter: passersby ask what I’m making or how I learned to knit or if it’s hard. Sometimes they tell me about their own knitting or their family members who knit.
Finally, I get a lot of pleasure from the finished result. Some people are about the process, but I’m all about the product. I enjoy wearing my hand-knitted garments. And I am even more delighted when I give away a hand-knitted project. Knitted items are the most thoughtful of gifts: the pattern and yarn are chosen specifically for the occasion and every stitch is worked with a thought for the recipient. It is very gratifying when a friend or loved one recognizes the time and care that have gone into a hand-made gift.
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