Sechsecke aus Deutschland.

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Originally posted on madebypatch:
More international hexagons today for our Collaborative Crochet Blanket. You might have guessed from the title where they come from…  Yep,  Carina has sent them to us from Berlin. [gallery type="rectangular" ids="1314,1315,1316,1317,1318"] As you can see,…

Color of Water Wrap

Again, blocking did its magic. The wrap is done and it turned out to be just the way I wanted it to be. Makes me happy – can you tell?

easy lace wrap

easy lace wrapEven more important, I am ready to move on to the next level, that is to say: move on to a more complicated pattern (once I have finished all else …). Looks like the “lace bug” finally bit me!

Travelling to Illinois

Very soon, I get to go to Illinois. Too late for the YarnCon 2014 but still: a good week southwest of Chicago and then 4 days in the Windy City!

Yes – I am excited and I have two questions for you:

(1) Would you know whether I am allowed to bring (circular) knitting needles on board when flying United Airlines?

(2) Where would I go in Chicago in terms of “yarn” (cafés, stores, guild …)

What else is new? I have almost finished the lacy wrap for my host – maybe another inch or two – and will block it tonight. I wanted to give her something that’s nice to have in summer over a dress or a t-shirt and useful in winter (has any winter ever been that cold and long in IL before??), wrapped around neck and shoulders. This is it:

easy lace wrap haekelmonster.comeasy lace wrap haekelmonster.comIt looks like a bug’s parade to me on that picture, crawling north.

Oh yes, I am excited to go …


Book review: “Knitting Hats and Mittens from Around the World”

Sometimes, skimming through a book is like travelling the world, picking up new experiences every time you turn a page. Seriously, when getting my hands on a copy of (the German version of) Knitting Hats & Mittens from around the World (Voyageur Press) the photos made me long for the faraway.

Knitting Hats and Mittens from Around the World

by Kari Cornell (Editor), Janine Kosel (Photographer), Sue Flanders (Photographer)

The books 34 patterns cover an awesome variety of traditional knitting techniques from lace to braiding, from Scandinavia to Central Europe, Asia, South America, New Zealand … including knitting customs and history. You’ll find a French beret as well as a Peruvian Ch’ullo, the Greek fishermen’s hat next to a Finnish hat named after their sun goddess Päivätär, a Japanese Sashiko and an American Fenceline hat, just to mention a few. I particularly like the twisted rope cables, a pattern based on Maori tribal creation myths and pretty much all of the two-color designs. Most of the hats come with matching mittens or gloves.

Mützen und Handschuhe von Welt haekelmonster.comEach pattern covers several pages with written instructions, charts, and extra notes that seem to be elaborate and according to custom.

However, when surfing the net I happened to read a rather critical review that should not be overread. So I gave the book a closer look. Unfortunately, most complaints are true for the translated (German) patterns as well: not all of them are correct, charts are missing, and mitten seizes are weird. However, there is an (English) errata list on the publisher’s homepage for the Min Ulla hat, the Greek Fisherman’s hat, and the Aran Islands hat. (Thank you!).

Nevertheless, some of the patterns look highly complicated to me, long-winded and awkward. To find out whether this is actually true I decided to knit the French lacy fingerless gloves (“Französische fingerlose Handschuhe” p.69). I had to start over once after rereading the pattern, but that is me: I tend to be confused if a pattern exceeds two pages. However, so far I am doing good with my 2nd attempt and I am perfectly happy with the outcome. The lacy part is an easy 6-row-repeat that looks spectacular und the medium size instructions work very well for me.

IMG_0766Summing up, I would still recommend the book, if only to experienced knitters or as a source of inspiration for any armchair tourist.

A little bit about my choice of yarn: “Wannsee by schoenstricken” is a beautiful, luxuriously soft, 100% cashmere yarn, very nice to work with, while perfectly showing off the lacy pattern. Its color fuchsia isn’t even for sale (yet) – Jessica gave it to me for testing purposes. So far, I have used one ball (25gr., 115m) wth both fingerless gloves being done, except for the thumbs. Definitly a must buy :).

The book was not sent to me for review. I didn’t receive any financial compensation for what I wrote. Opinions stated are my own.

A Blanket for Jacob

It is done. Finally! With too many WIPs on my needles this took waaaaay too long to finish. But it does look nice: all these colored bobbles, the simple green edging, very “spring” – even the back side is pretty. I will mail it to Washington tomorrow. Supposedly, it is still winter over there …

bobbly blanketbobbly blanketbobbly blanket bobbly blanket

Book Review: Crochet at Play

The publisher (Edition Fischer) was nice enough to send me a (German) copy of Kat Goldin’s Crochet at Play. A book packed with ingenious and lovely – still practical – garments as well as cheerful accessories for babies and kindergartners. A book you’ll instantly want to flip through – if only to admire the beautiful color photos.

Crochet at PlayThere are four sections of different patterns: (1) Head and Shoulders, (2) Fingers, Knees, and Toes, (3) the Whole Self, and (4) the Play Room. They feature a total of 30 cute cool projects. Even J was tempted to ask for the Dandy Veste (Dandy-Weste, p. 93) and that’s saying something!

My favorite in the 1st section is clearly the Acorn Hat (Eichelhut, p. 19); the Beastie Feet Slippers (Tatzen-Schuhe, p. 59) in the 2nd section are adorable dangerous, and the Rainbow Dress (Regenbogen-Oberteil, p. 97) in section 3 is as simple as it is ravishing.

Plus, there is a lot of valuable general information on how to get started, including techniques and basic stitches. At the same time, skill levels are given for each pattern, as well as measurements and – of course – written instructions. I assume that even crochet novices should have no problem crocheting any pattern flagged as “beginner.”

To me, there is no reviewing a crochet (or knitting) book without having a go at (at least) one of its patterns. Hence, I tried the cutest sleeping bag ever: the Mermaid Tail Sleep Sack. Actually, I am no huge fan of mermaids so I rather refer to it as a fish tail. Be it as it may: the pattern is easy to follow, clear and complete, it took me less than a weekend to make it, and the outcome is fabulous. Mermaid Tail Sleep SackMermaid Tail Sleep Sack Mermaid Tail Sleep Sack Mermaid Tail Sleep SackThe only thing I did not according to the pattern: I chose a different yarn. Bingo by Filace, a cashmere (50%) / wool blend (colorway Bahamas) that was pure joy to work with. It has a linen feel to it that I thought would work better for a summer baby’s sleep sack than the yarn recommended in the book.

To conclude there is a small video on youtube promoting the book:

The book was not sent to me for review. I didn’t receive any financial compensation for what I wrote. Opinions stated are my own.


The Vogue Dictionary

The Vogue Dictionary of Knitting Stitches was published first in 1984.

IMG_0699I remember looking at those 485 colored stitch patterns as a teenager, over and over again, admiring each and every one. Years later, I found a German copy at the fleamarket and since then it has become my favorite of all books about knitting, the foundation of my knitting library so to speak. No matter what I am looking for – whether it’d be colorwork or lace, knit-purl combinations or cable patterns – I am sure to find the perfect stitch or inspiration or both. Everything from very easy to very complicated, even fair-isle patterns.

I attached some pictures – have a look for yourself. Published in the 80s! Isn’t that crazy?! What is your favorite reference guide when it comes to knitting and why? I would love to know!


Supposedly, Mrs. Montaigne came up with this pattern to make stockings for Queen Elisabeth I. in the 16th century.

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Poncho? Done!

It took me a while, I know … However, it turned out to be exactly the poncho that I wanted it to be:

somewhere between a wrap and a jacket

comfortable but with “arm room” when needed

loose-fit but pleasing

something to keep me warm.

knitted PonchoThank you Jessica for choosing yarn and color – (as so often) you were right :)

Granny Square Blanket, completed

The granny square blanket is finished and it turned out to be so very beautiful!

Thanks to the wonderful green dragonfly ! Her comment underneath my last post to use turquoise AND orange, in short: to use COLORS was the perfect suggestion.

Hence, I would border half of the (12) squares with an extra row of red, pink, orange or yellow before joining all of them in turquoise. The edging is a tiny little row of single crochet in orange.

Granny Square BlanketGranny Square BlanketI love the outcome! Thanks a million Janette! Doesn’t it look like it has been sitting on my sofa forever?!

Granny Square Blanket

Granny Square blanket without orange edging … (I added that in the meantime but had to take pictures beforehand)

Granny Square Blanket

Trial and Error

In spring I want to wear a poncho. Something soft and warm, yet not too warm. Plain-colored, knitted, loose-fit, with armholes and a pretty neckline. Hence, I searched for the perfect pattern on ravelry. I love ravelry, but this time its magic would not work: I would not find anything to match the poncho I had in mind.

Therefore, I decided to write my own pattern. A decision with far reaching consequences, I guess …

I picked a beautiful yarn (50% wool, 50% alpaca) in brown red, that is pure fun to work with, knit a sample to ascertain the proper gauge, put J into bed and got started Thursday evening. Paper and pen within reach. So far, so good.

IMG_0564However, last night, I had to unravel my first attempt. Regardless of sample and gauge, it was way too small and (to top it) the neckline looked stupid. Hence (slightly frustrated), I started over (different neckline) and spent half of the night knitting, trying to make up for lost time.

Definitly NOT a good idea (sometimes it is well worth to wait for daylight) as I realized just now that about 15 rows earlier I must have missed an increase … So I am unraveling again.

IMG_0586Ambition has grabbed me now :) I will keep you posted on whatever may emerge. Wish me luck!