2018-02-28

Why do you knit?

When I look back in time and how it all started, I remember a very early passion for all kinds of crafts. It was my grandmother who taught me to crochet at the age of 3 or 4 (I can't remember exactly), and my mother taught me to knit one year later. 
I have to say that it came easy to me. There was no Internet at that time, no YouTube. All I know now came from my mother and grandmother. Of course sometimes you learn a new stitch or find a new way how to do things, but the basics were settled at a very early age. I remember reading charts before I read books. They made total sense to me, as they pictured what the knitted piece should look like.
What we had were craft magazines. A pattern usually was half a page of written instructions, charts and possibly schematics if it was a garment. Besides I was eager to create things of my own.
This passion for crafts has been with me for as long as I can think. There have been breaks of course, there have been times in my life when crafting wasn't as important. When I made my steps into adult life, there were a lot of things that I considered more important than yarn. But somehow I always returned to it. A life without crafts would be a life where there is something missing for me. 

Why do you knit?


I know I'm not the only one. There are others out there who share my passion. You do. The way it came to you may have been different. What you want to achieve with it may be different. But the passion is the same. And there are reasons why we do it. I'll tell you mine.
  •  I love to see something grow in my hands. I am creating something pretty or useful or both. Knitting and crocheting makes me feel content, because I get something accomplished.
  • It is relaxing. When I knit, I am in peace with myself. Whatever happens out there, knitting helps. It does not make ugly things go away, but it gives me peace of mind. Some people say it is a kind of meditation.
  • I get compliments. Yeah, I love getting compliments!
The most important factor is probably the one when it comes to relaxing. 
I could grow tomatoes for example. That would be pretty and useful too. I could watch them grow and feel accomplished. But, well, that's not me, and it is not relaxing when the hailstorm hits.
There are other ways to get compliments. Go ask your mother. But, well, they are not relaxing.
Certainly there are other ways to find peace as well. But, well, knitting, that's me.

(Picture taken from the Have a Seat Please shawl pattern)

2018-02-25

The red poppy hat is done - and I need something new to do

Hard to believe that another week has gone by already. It seems like I got nothing at all done. But looking at the pictures, there is some visible progress.

The red hat to match the scarf and cuffs set is finished, and I have to say that I love it.

Red hat with flowers

My new WIP (work in progress) is a blanket. I'm crocheting a lot of different squares which will later be joined.

A blanket in the making
There will be several of the simple afghan blocks that I showed you in my last post, but also some new blocks which I hope to write patterns for. My main problem is that I never finished a blanket before. But one can try!

2018-02-19

The very simple afghan block

I've got this silly idea. I want to crochet an afghan. Lots of little squares, and when I'm done, I've got a huge blanket. I need one :-)
So yesterday I sat down and crocheted my first afghan block.

Very simple afghan block



It is a very basic one, the next ones will be more complicated. The second square is work in progress already.
But I would like to share my joy with you. Here's the pattern:

Free crochet pattern easy afghan block


This afghan block is worked in fingering weight yarn. Of course you can use other yarn weights as well, but keeo in mind that a different yarn weight will have influence on the size.
The pattern is written using American crochet terms. 

Difficulty level: easy (slip stitch, chain and double crochet)
Yarn: Lana Grossa Meilenweit (80% wool, 20 % nylon; 210m/50g; 225yds/1.76oz), 1 ball. Sample used 46m (50yds).
Hook: 3.5mm/US E
Notions: yarn needle
Gauge: 24 stitches/15 rows in dc = 10cm/4in.
Size: 15 x 15cm (6 x 6in)

Abbreviations and stitches:
sl st: slip stitch
ch: chain
dc: double crochet
rnd/rnds: round/rounds
rep: repeat

The block is worked in rounds. Ch 3 at the beginning of each round counts as 1st dc. 

Instructions:
Rnd 1: ch 4, 7 dc in 4th chain from hook, sl st into top of starting chain. (8 dc including the ch 3 from the beginning).
Rnd 2: ch 3 (counts as 1st dc), (dc, ch 2, dc) in next dc, *dc in next dc, (dc, ch 2, dc) in next dc; rep from * to end of rnd, join to top of starting ch 3 with a sl st.
Rnd 3: ch 3, dc in next dc, (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) in ch 2 space, *dc in each dc before next space, (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) in ch 2 space; rep from * to last corner space, dc in next dc, sl st in top of starting ch 3.
Rnds 4 - 6: ch 3, *dc in each dc before ch 2 space, (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) in ch 2 space; rep from * to last corner space, dc in each dc before starting ch 3, join with a sl st.
Rnd 7: ch 4, (skip 1 dc, dc in next dc, ch 1) 4 times, (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) in ch 2 space, *ch 1, (skip 1 dc, dc in next dc, ch 1) 9 times, (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) in ch 2 space; rep from * to last corner space, ch 1, (skip 1 dc, dc in next dc, ch 1) 4 times, join to top of starting ch 3 with a sl st.
Rnd 8: ch 3, dc in ch 1 space, (dc in next dc, dc in ch 1 space) 4 times, dc in next 2 dc, (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) in ch 2 space, *dc in next 2 dc, dc in ch 1 space, (dc in next dc, dc in ch 1 space) 9 times, dc in next 2 dc, (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) in ch 2 space; rep from * to last corner space, dc in next 2 dc, dc in ch 1 space, (dc in next dc, dc in ch 1 space) 4 times, join with a sl st.
Rnds 9 and 10: ch 3, *dc in each dc before ch 2 space, (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) in ch 2 space; rep from * to last corner space, dc in each dc before starting ch 3, join with a sl st.



Finishing:
Cut yarn and thread through loop. Weave in ends.

That's it. Have fun with it!
In case you would prefer the pattern as an easier to print PDF file, you can find it over here.

Update February 28th: You can find the PDF in German on the Crazypatterns site now. 


2018-02-18

Poppy scarf and cuffs

A few days ago I showed you the red scarf with the lacy flower pattern. It is finished! And I love it! 

Red alpaca scarf, hand knitted with flower stitch pattern

There was still some yarn left after finishing, so I decided to knit a matching pair of cuffs.

Knitted lace cuffs with flower pattern

Unfortunately there is still some yarn left :-) It will be turned into a matching hat. 
I plan to write patterns for all three of them and release them as an ebook. Here's another pattern detail:

Red scarf with flower pattern

P.S.: Update May 2018 - The Poppy Scarf pattern has now been published. You can find it here on Ravelry.

2018-02-17

How to write knitting patterns in English when you are not a native speaker

You may have guessed it, my native language is not English. It is German. I'd say my knowledge of English is above average in my country, but it is far from perfect. My main problems are prepositions: on, at, by, in etc. On the side, at the side, by the side, what the heck, how would one know! Punctuation marks as well, oh my! And probably you will find other issues that I don't even notice.
However, I write my knitting patterns in English. Sometimes I translate them to German later on, but the first version is always in English.  First of all, I trust in English speaking people that they will understand what I want to say, but there are some things that you can do to provide a pattern in good English even if your English is not good.
Sometimes the question comes up in German forums that I read: Is it worth it? Does it make a difference? This is a question that everybody has to answer for themselves. You may have a strong following in your own language, be it German, Italian, French or whatever, and may not see any need for providing your patterns in another language. If that's the case, you can stop reading now, this blog post will not give you any useful information.

Writing knitting patterns when English is not your first language


When I first started writing up my patterns, it was beyond question for me to write them in English. Why? First of all, obviously you reach a larger audience. Probably you could do that in Chinese or Russian as well. Maybe Spanish would be a good starting point. My problem with these languages is: neither do I speak Russian, nor Chinese or even Spanish, but I have a basic knowledge of English. Otherwise I would consider writing Russian, Chinese and Spanish patterns.
My second reason is that I find it much easier to write them in English. There is such a huge vocabulary of knitting and crochet terms in English. There is a word for every stitch you make and for every technique that you use. English is a very exact and detailed language when it comes to knitting. While German is a language of nuances, English is exact and to the point. Compare an English list of knitting abbreviations to a German list of abbreviations. You will notice that the English list is 5 times as long. The reason is that German does not have words for many of those stitches, thus no abbreviations for words that do not exist. Usually my problems start when I want to translate my patterns to German. There simply aren't any words for all those wonderful English knitting terms.
Which leads to my third reason: When writing in English (needs not be about knitting), my brain works in a different way. Thinking in German often is poetic and excessive and very wordy. Thinking in English comes straight to the point. Which may of course be conditioned by my limited vocabulary. However, when I write in English, I also think in (faulty) English. This opens a whole new world to me.

But back to the knitting patterns, which in my first draft version often are not perfect. They usually are fine concerning stitch counts and instructions - not always - but my English! Phew! 
I have most of my patterns tested by native speakers. I really appreciate my pattern testers for the reassurance, for providing valuable information about yardage and measurements, for catching errors, and for generally being lovely people. Nowadays those tests take place in the Knitting Sofa group on Ravelry.  If you are just starting out and don't have an own Ravelry group, there are several testing groups where you can run your tests. The Testing Pool, Free Pattern Testers or Open for Testing come to my mind.
And finally the other thing to do: Let your patterns check by someone who is a native speaker. I am lucky, because I found someone who I trust and the chemistry is right. You can find her under the name "CablingKaren" on Ravelry. Her services are especially aimed at people who are not native speakers. You certainly know that example: you search for an English word in the dictionary, the dictionary tells you 4 different words for what you want to say, and of course you pick the wrong one. It is not totally wrong, but it does not sound quite right for a native speaker. She eliminates those words from my patterns. She also checks my grammar, my punctuation marks and those pesky prepositions. Those flaws disappear before a pattern gets published. Plus she is good at checking the math. As you may know, writing knitting patterns is a science of its own.

If you have read this far, I assume that you know the basics of English. You can read a text that is written in English and you have a decent vocabulary. It is the subtleties of language that scare you and prevent you from offering your patterns in English. Go for it! Have your patterns tested and find someone who is a native speaker.

If you have only skimmed this blog post and in reality don't know English at all, don't go for it. You should be able to communicate with your customers when they have questions.

2018-02-11

Super bulky crochet scarf Faux Fur

I've got a new pattern!

Scarf crochet pattern in super bulky yarn


Make yourself a super warm crochet scarf in super bulky yarn! This is a surprisingly easy pattern. If you have not seen the stitches before, no reason to fear. They are explained in a photo tutorial.


Super warm and super bulky scarf crochet pattern

Any bulky or super bulky yarn will work for the pattern.

2018-02-05

Poppy

My current knitting project (besides the temperature scarf) is another scarf. I think I saw this stitch pattern for the first time when I was a child. Sure it is much older. But oh so pretty!

a flowery knitting pattern



The yarn is a heavenly soft fingering alpaca yarn. 

2018-02-02

Valentines Day is just around the corner

We are in February already. Do you celebrate Valentine's Day? It is a somewhat "newish" day here. I don't think my parents' generation celebrated it. But it is one of the newish days that I actually like. Celebrating love can't be wrong.
For all those knitters out there who are looking for something special to gift on this special day - here is an idea for you:


Bag with hearts knitting pattern, gift idea for Valentine's Day



See the pattern over here. It is so much fun to knit!

2018-02-01

What's new: new patterns and a Ravelry group

It has been a while. A lot has changed, and life has kept me busy. However, I am still knitting. I spent the last two years preparing for a new life, a life without a day job. My dream came true a few months ago.
You may notice, I won't write in two languages anymore. Please use the translate button on the right side.
A lot of new patterns got added to my pattern store over the last two years. See them here if interested. My friend Karen (who is a wonderful knitter and a great designer) and I also started a Ravelry group, the Knitting Sofa. We've got some KALs going on, and members always get informed about discounts and free patterns first. We'd be happy to see you there!
One KAL that is real fun is the Temperature Scarf KAL. We knit two rows every day in a color that represents the temperature of that day. You will notice, it has been a very warm January here.

temperature scarf kal free pattern
  

But my greatest pleasure over the last months was and still is nature. This is the one source of power and peace that always works when everything else fails. The mountains, the forest, the river, each and every small flower and my friends the squirrels of course. 

squirrel sitting by the tree with a nut

(Lousy picture, I know)
I hope to keep you updated more often now!