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Knitting calculators and generators

Because I always forget my bookmarks and have not found a proper way to organize all the great ressources I find on the internet, I thought I’d just publish useful links to knitting generators and calculators here.

First,Mimi’s knitulator to calculate increases and decreases. This is so useful !

Then a few generators to help make custom patterns :

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The Hemiplegic Migraine Scarf

So, I suffer from a rare neurological disease called Hemiplegic Migraine. And yes, I tick all the boxes below. Which sometimes makes life a little difficult. HMAnd sometimes I knit while being affected by brain fog, and the result is often an entangled mess. But this impromptu project turned out more interesting than usual :

  • First I finished it (after ripping it multiple times).
  • Second, it’s a mix of different patterns, not 100% delirium. I started with Tailwind, mixed with the lace pattern of Age of brass and there also some dents inspired by the HitchHiker pattern.
  • Third, these are colors I never wear, but I like the mix and I feel like wearing this scarf someday.
  • Fourth, this was a great stashbuster. I had the yellow cotton in stock for 10 years !

I learnt a lot knitting this :

I am going through a very hard time right now, but knitting something colorfull, free and fun really helped. But my wrists hurt like mad.

I learnt the I-chord border and I-chord bind off, so nice and such a great way of changing colors without the border being messed up ! This might encourage me to knit more stripes actually.

Ho yes, and blocking this thing was hilarious.

I don’t like talking about the disease, and how it destroyed my life, but I think it’s important to spread the word :

People who suffer from chronic illnesses are doing their best. The struggle is often invisible, the pain never stops and no, herbal tea is not a cure-all.
Actually, when we need to talk, we’re not asking you to find a solution. We probably went through it all already.
We just ask empathy, a non-judgmental friendly ear to listen. And often, we just want to talk about something else.
Like, you know, knitting.

More hats for the homeless

Since December, I started giving my hats to an association directly. I’ve also decided to be a mit more vocal about it, and people have been kind enough to join me.

You might have read about my homeless hat story somewhere. Due to personal reasons, I had to ask for my story to be erased from the hosting website.

But long story short, there’s a massive refugee crisis in Europe right now. And it’s freezing cold. So on top of an increasing amount of homeless people, we also have refugees who are scared and lost and, let’s tell the truth, not decently treated. Right now I’m helping two families from Sudan who don’t speak a word of French.

So, because I’m a rebel and it’s illegal to help them, I knit more and more hats. Just casted on the 10th hat today since december 1st. Because people are so cool, they help and send me leftover yarn. My faith in humanity is restored thanks to knitters, crocheters, crafters.

So if you want to help, you can join our Ravelry Group here.

If you want to start helping in your own hometown, please do. I know you might think it’s just a drop in the ocean. But believe me, giving someone a home-made item means a lot. And you’ll be surprised how many people are willing to help you. Sometimes it just takes some communication skills and a bit of yarn really.

Meditations on dyeing entangled yarn.

It is a cringe inducing process to detangle yarn. It physically hurts to stand for hours, during a whole week, battling those tiny felted knots. But it leads to an interesting meditation state, until you just wonder why.

Why do I actually fight this ? It would have saved me so much time and migraine to grab the scissors and happily cut away. It’s a 400m skein, it would be ok to loose a bit of yarn to the knots.

But I wouldn’t give in. Until this morning. I woke up at 5.30am, started right away and at 10am, I grabbed those scissors. And I’m done. And happy. And I’m proud to show you my beautiful first hand-dyed ball of yarn.

Why did I wait so long to cut the knot ? Why am I so pig-headed ? I would have been proud to be able to say that I didn’t cut it. But seriously, who cares ? It’s just a knot. I squinted for a week for a bloody knot. I have no regrets I cut it, but I’m not sure next time I would be able to cut it right away. Maybe because I’m not very good at putting my happiness and comfort first. But, hurting myself for some felted wool is a bit scary.

At least I know my skein by heart now. I just have to decide what to knit with it. I’d like some scarf or shawl.

Now, on to the fun part. It was my very first attempt at dyeing a ball of yarn. I had previously dyed some fiber and spun it, as you can see here.

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A tight ball of white yarn 

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First dye batch : way too much red for my liking

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Second dye batch : lovely teal gradient

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Winter sun

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Hints of green

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From turquoise to blue

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That knot.

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That finished ball of yarn that took me on such an introspective journey

I used vinegar and food coloring. And a 400m skein of Cascade Yarn Heritage, a fingering blend of 75%wool and 25% nylon. I found out the hard way this quality doesn’t like being touched too much as it felt very easily. Not with the warmth of the microwave though, but just turning the skein into a ball and then into a skein and then into a ball was too much.

I binged watched dying tutorials on youtube and decided to dip a ball of yarn in the dye to get a gradient effect. Those weird ideas you have when migraine creeps in.

So I ended up with this gradient from pure white to orange to red. And I didn’t like the red. I never wear red. I thought I could name this “the speckled red-head”, but the reference to Sherlock didn’t even make me laugh, so I didn’t.By that time, it was past 10pm and I decided to dye it again, at least to have a smoother gradient and less white.

But I had no more yellow. So I used blue. Totally makes sense, thanks migraine. Then I happily went on mixing red and blue and microwaved away and ended up with this.

Speckles of rich brown and a nice gradient of teal and blue. I don’t have a name yet. But this ball of yarn and I have been through a lot together. Ups and downs. I just squeeshed it. We should squeesh our yarn more often.

Thanks yarn for being a part of my life. Even when you felt, you teach me something.

(Sorry for wordpress messing the post again. Just writing this used 2 hours of my time, can’t be bothered trying to fix it to make it look nicer).

Free crochet pattern tutorial for a doily or dishcloth

Jazz age free crochet pattern tutorial

So today, I’m coming out as a lady that crochets lace dishcloths. I was looking for an easy but interesting pattern to improve my crocheting skills, and I’m happy with my choice. Not too complex, but not boring either.

 The free crochet pattern is available for download here, and here is the video tutorial the brand made, which I found really helpful.

I used some Katia dégradé sun yarn and a n°5 hook. This pattern would look lovely on a summer tank top.

I can’t decide wether to use it as a doily or a dishcloth, which reminds me of this epic moment :

Excuse me, that is a doily, not a dishcloth.

Remember you can find me on Ravelry !

Another cloudy sweater

IMG_8075.JPGSo I casted on this sweater in February 2016. Can’t believe it. Thanks Ravelry for keeping tracks.

I started this as a quick, easy sweater. I had previously completed one with the same yarn and pattern in just 10 days, you can see it here.

But for some reason, this one took me a very long time.

Mostly because I decided to make it a bit longer and add some ease for my hips.

Then I tried the sleeves over and over, but it was always way to loose. Original idea was to have long sleeves, then cut the middle to have a cardigan.

I gave up on long sleeves, I think raglan patterns don’t really work for flattering sleeves, and I improvised some ribs instead.

It’s not perfect. It’s actually rather bumpy. And I had to sew in a lot of ends, as I used a lot of small leftover balls of yarn. The dark one are from this shawl. Funny enough, I still have some yarn left.

I’m really pleased with the final result, it’s wearable, and that’s all I could have asked for. Sure next time I’ll have to figure out a better way to do stripes in the round and such. But I’m letting go of my perfectionism and actually finishing projects, so it’s all good.

 

Spinning hand-dyied wool first experience

So a friend showed me how to dye wool with food dye, and it was messy and pretty and fun and I managed to get this beautiful gradient. It does leak color a bit, but I hope I’ll get better at it with time.

I used 45g of white Cheviot, and spun it with my basic spindle in a few days and got about 170m of yarn (roughly 185 yards).

Because it’s not much, and I didn’t want to loose the gradient, I kept it as a single. But now I don’t really know what to knit with it. Any thoughts ?

Have you ever tried dying wool ? Do you prefer dying fibers then spinning it, or dying skeins of yarn ?