Friday, 24 October 2014

Is it time to prepare for Christmas yet? - Honning hjerter recipe

Let me be frank, my birthday is tomorrow. This is why I hate it when the store and the interwebs explode with all things Christmas before my birthday. You see my birthday marks exactly two months till Christmas.

Please don't get me wrong, I love Christmas, Advent is a very special time for me and who doesn't love the food... But Christmas-shennanigans shouldn't start until the first sunday in Advent. That's my  rule and I'm sticking to it... except... for food.

Food, glorious food. So much food is only made and available in the Christmas season. I'm having my first black pudding of the season later today. I love me some good blood sausage! Another Christmas stable is honing hjerter and it just so happens, that you have to prepare those around my birthday if you want them to be ready in time for Advent.

Honning hjerter - pre-dough

Making honing hjerter (honey hearts) is easy, but time consuming. It won't take up a lot of your time per se, but it does take a lot of time before they are ready to munch on. I figured I'd share the process with you in real time so you can join me if you'd like to. 

For the pre-dough you'll need:
500g Honey
500g Flour

I go all out when I make these and only use the best of the best ingredients, local honey and local flour!
If your familiar with making pasta, the process is somewhat similar to being with.
Place your flour on your counter top, and put the honey on top.

Fold the flour into the honey, you'll get to a point where it seems like it will never make a dough but just keep working.

It may help to do a handful or so at a time, above you can see the difference. Gathering this dough is a workout for your hands, so enrol any and all family members to help you. When you have a consistent dough, work it a little more until it becomes very sticky, then put it in a container (I prefer glass) and place it in your fridge. 

 If you are finding it very difficult to gather the dough and are lucky enough to have a stand mixer then just pop it in with a dough hook and leave it to do its magic. It will likely take a while, but so will making it by hand.

That's all for now. The dough needs to sit in the fridge for about a month, the longer the better.

What is your favourite Christmas food?

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Debating centimetres

Centimetres, they give me a good deal of trouble in pattern writing! If I was queen of the world everyone would work in cm. They make much more sense to me and are easier to work with in knitting as they give a smaller unit of measurement without having to be broken up. Sadly I'm not the queen of the world and a good deal of the world, at least in the knitting market, is used to operating in inches.

Inches, they give me a good deal of trouble in pattern writing! I want a piece to be x cm long and it always converts to x,something-odd inches. Could we please just all become part of the Knitmoregirls' metric revolution??!! Pretty please...

Now I'm debating going strictly centimetres or strictly inches in my patterns, because including both, which I have thus far to make it easy for you no matter what you are used to, is simple proving to be a looooot of work.

One of the patterns I'm currently writing up has 10 sizes (see I'm all about making it easy for you), which translates to 20, TWENTY, different measurements every. single. time. That isn't easy for me and certainly not for you either!

What do you think? Should I stick to my roots and go cm only? Maybe go international with only inches?  Or should I just stop wining and keep giving both?

Monday, 20 October 2014

#NUCRAL - Lesson 4, Sleeves and Shoulders

Carol Feller's class on short rows is the first class of the #NUCRAL. The idea behind the a-long is to share progress, swatches, questions and idea. Basically, I needed an accountability partner and figured you might too.

We've made it to lesson 4, if you've just joined us, then please check out lesson 1, 2 and 3.

Are you ready for a confession? Alright then, here we go: I didn't actually swatch for this lesson. This means I don't really have any pictures to show you, but don't fret I still have a lot to say about the lesson.

First, lets get to why I didn't swatch this time around. There are several reasons:
1) I was busy sewing in ends on a design while watching.
2) I had just worked short rows as a part of the shoulders on said design.
3) I had also just used a 3-needle-bind-off on said design.

Enough with my excuses already, lets get to the chapters.

Chapter 1 - Shoulder slopes

The short row method makes for a much cleaner finish than the stair step effect of the bind-off method. It makes the piece seem more coherent in my eyes, whereas the bind-off can at times look like you just cut off a part of your knitting. On a design I'm working on at the moment, I used short rows to shape the back of the shoulders only and it made for a really nice finish. I'm  so pleased I've learned the Japanese method in time for those short rows. The wraps became much smaller and aren't really visible, even on the wrong side, at all. 

Chapter 2 - Three needle bind-off

If you aren't familiar with this method then be ready to be amazed. This technique is so simple, yet elegant. I tend to use it all the time because I'm to lazy I prefer knitting to sewing any day. As I mentioned, I used it to join some cables on the design I'm plucking away at.

Chapter 3 - The set in sleeve

The only concept in this lesson I haven't used before was the actual short row, set in sleeve, but when you've worked short rows before, then there really isn't anything to it. Just watching Carol  do it made me confident I could too and the little detail she includes (you'll have to watch to know what I'm talking about here) makes it look very stylish. I'm determined to try it out on a sweater soon.

Now, let me know what you think.. Have you done short row shoulders or set in sleeves before?

Friday, 17 October 2014

Purple Knight Baby sweater - Pattern now available!

It is with great pleasure that I'm releasing the pattern for the Purple Knight baby sweater today. This pattern was one of those that just had to be knit. The pattern, if you recall is inspired by my parents' bedspread and I have to say the mix of colours will make this pattern work for any little knight or princess in your life.

Baby Erik was by far the cutest model I've used so far and I might cast on more designs for children, just to have him model them. I know his parents wouldn't mind getting more knits either.

Purple Knight is a bottom up raglan sweater with all the colour work inclosed, so no tiny fingers will get stuck. The pattern is wonderful for using up leftovers and different colours will create very different expressions, just take a look at Mimi's stunning sweater:

When knitting for babies, I recommend taking both the season and their size into consideration. It is always better to knit something larger than expected, so the child can grow into it. Baby Erik is 6,5 mo in the photos and modelling a size 12 mo, which should fit him perfectly this winter. 

All the stats are on the Ravelry page and the pattern can be yours for 30 DKK. 

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

The True Cost

Money. We all need it, but it's a subject most avoid talking about like the plague. This post is partly spurred by Woolly Wormhead's brilliant post on The true costs of a pattern and her follow up post. Please go read them both. I think they should be mandatory reading for any knitter/crocheter/craftsperson.

Making it in the pattern design world is tough folks. Making a living, whew... that is almost impossible. Before I got into the world of designing, I had no idea and while I now have some inkling of what there is to it, I'm still a far cry from the insight Woolly Wormhead can provide you with.

What I can chime in with are my own two cents. Oh wait, that's right, I don't have two cents to rub together. I do of course have some money, what I'm talking about is money made on patterns.

Recently, I gathered up my courage and made a big scary spreadsheet of income and expenses. My expenses so far have been limited. No yarn, no needles, no fees for anything really. What I have spent money on is a few Craftsy classes, hoping to improve my skills and thus the final patterns I can present to you guys.

The following should be prefaced by telling you, that I have made twice what I hoped to this year. You should also know i had very low expectations. Nonetheless: I'm severely in the red and thankful this is not what has to pay my bills.

Hopefully, the income will grow as I publish more patterns. I mean, how much can you expect to earn off of two patterns, right?! What is important here is not wether or not I make it in this business. This post has a greater good in view.

As mentioned, it takes a lot to make a living and you should know, that more or less no matter how much a designer is charging for a pattern, you are getting it way cheaper than it should be. I love free just as much as the next guy, but I'm also beginning to understand, how spending just a few dollars for something you'll really value, will make a big difference in a designer's life.  

Please take every opportunity you have to buy from independent designers, yarnies and crafters alike. Like Nadia of Abso-knitting-lutely, Marie of Frogged Designs or me:

DKK 15,00

Monday, 13 October 2014

#NUCRAL - Lesson 3, Japanese and Yarn Over

Carol Feller's class on short rows is the first class of the #NUCRAL. The idea behind the a-long is to share progress, swatches, questions and idea. Basically, I needed an accountability partner and figured you might too.

We've made it to lesson 3, you can read about lesson 1 and 2 here.

Chapter 1 - Japanese Short Rows

Eureka! While this is a little fiddly, the wraps is much smaller. Neither me nor my mum have ever seen this method before, but it seems really promising.  Have you used it?

Chapter 2 - Working the Wrap

This proved a tiny bit fiddly as well, but entirely worth it. As you can see the result is very neat for my first try ever. 

Here is my swatch at this stage:

Chapter 3 - The Yarn Over Short Row

This method is not for me. I'm not sure if it is easier to work if you are a thrower, for me, a picker it was just annoying, especially compared to the 3 previous methods. The result, however, turned out okay.

Now that we've worked all the methods and completed our swatch (you did do a swatch, right?!), let me know what your favourite method is in the comments. Mine would have to be the Japanese!

Come back next Monday to read my notes on the use of short rows in garments and share yours. 

Friday, 10 October 2014

Frogged Designs - Knitting bag review

Besides being a wonderful knitter, Marie over at Frogged Designs is a great seamstress. Her motto is stilvoll stricken or for those of you who don't read German, knit in style. Marie has a shop with project bags, needles cases and more, that certainly allows you to do just that. Recently, she sent me a bag in a lovely black and white print. To me this fabric is a picture of a birch tree forrest in a pitch black night, lit up by stars. I knew from the fabric alone that I would love the bag.

There is, however, so much more to the bag than just the nice fabric. It's lined and has a layer of vliseline (matting) between the two layers of fabric, making it very sturdy, but also soft. I have no worries of needles pocking holes in the fabric (yes, that may have happened to me with other project bags).

The bag has a flat bottom, sit up on its own and closes with drawstrings. No seams are exposed and everything looks as though it has been neatly pressed before being sewed. The bag has a handy loop with the Frogged Designs label and a keychain ring. This makes it easy to attach it to another bag, should you want to.

I believe my bag is the medium size, and while not large enough to haul an entire sweater around, it worked just fine for a large shawl, that I dragged back and forth on my commute for a while.

Marie sent along a few goodies as well, and my man really appreciated the chocolate, while I've been enjoying the tea and stitch markers.

There are still some things left in Marie's shop after her most recent update (October 6th). Go check them out and let her know I sent you.