Plans, summer and… crafting

It’s all new: activities, projects, mood, targets, plans…
It seems this summer is bringing along a lot of changes… and I’m always thrilled when it comes to changes!!!

First of all, as some of you may already know, I made a video tutorial for my shawl Maestrale. I have a Youtube channel now, and… well, it makes me laugh every time I think about that. It wasn’t planned at all, but it happened. Some people asked me to make a video tutorial and I plunged in the filming sea. I couldn’t imagine it was so hard to make a 30 minutes video. The camera, the zoom, the lights, the editing (oh dear, the editing!), the voice and my poor laptop screaming the whole night in pain!
Yes, I didn’t (and I don’t) have the right equipment a vlogger should have. The camera I used for filming was almost 10 years ago. A nice camera (Canon Eos 500 D), but still old. I had to buy a microphone and some lights, but the best thing was filming during the night, when my kids were finally fast asleep. Recording the whole thing, getting to the last 20 seconds when I just had to end the tutorial and then… getting thunderstorms, lightning and heavy rain popping in. Oh thank you my beloved Dutch summer!

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Anyway, I survived, and now I’m even thinking about making other video tutorials. I’d really like to make something to help Italian knitters and crocheters out there who don’t speak English or just cannot read an English pattern. It’d be something very new and I really like the idea of introducing the international World of knitting and crochet to my own country.

In the meanwhile, I’m making an Italian version of my Maestrale pattern and see what happen. And, for those of you who already saw my video: did you notice that shawl on the dummy at my back? That’s my latest project. The pattern is ready, only the pictures are missing but I’m going to have a nice shooting next week. My test knitters are working very hard to finish everything in time, and I really hope I can publish the pattern for the end of this month, so you can all carry along with you a sweet memory of this summer (“Summer? Anybody said summer?”, asked Mr. Dutch Weather).

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Beside the pattern launch, I also have some plans for my holidays. Well, first of all, I’m going on holiday with my family, and that’s already a good point scored. When? Somewhere between the second and the forth week of the month. Where? Now, that’s a difficult question. I’d love to go back to Norway, this time around Bergen, Alesund and Molde. I’m in love with Norway, and I’d truly want to see it better than the last time (a cruise? Never again!). Unfortunately I think we have to give up for this year, but I’m determined to go sooner than later! So we’re focusing on the Italian Dolomites, that paradise around Bolzano and Trento where you can enjoy that mountain experience nowhere else to be found. It’ll be lovely and (I hope) very relaxing.

And then, last but not least, I’ll be joining Andrea Mowry’s MKAL What the Fade. So I finally can get my hands on some gorgeous Hedgehog Fibers. Ah! Yarn bliss! I can’t wait! And… oh yes, of course, I have another project going on with Scheepjes Whirl, but I can’t say much, it’ll be a surprise!

What are your plans for this summer? Let me know in your comments!
Happy crafting!!!

Stitch Anatomy – Knitting: substituting stitches in patterns

Some time ago a nice lady asked me a very interesting question: since I really don’t like the look of Garter Stitch, can I substitute it with Stockinette Stitch?

The answer is, yes BUT.

Let’s see the differences between these two stitches and why they are not completely interchangeable. I’ve knitted two small samples to see the differences.

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I’ve used the same yarn (Madelinetosh Vintage), the same needles (KnitPro Marblz double pointed needles size 4.5 mm / US 7), the same chair (Ikea something) and I’ve made them the same day, that is today…

As you can see, there is a HUGE difference, even for such a small sample. I’ve cast on the same amount of stitches and knitted the same amount of rows for both of them. The swatch is 15 st x 18 rows (I didn’t block them)

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The Stockinette Stitch sample measure 8 x 8 cm (about 3 x 3 inches), it’s a perfect square. The Garter Stitch sample measures 8,5 x 6 cm (about 3 1/2 x 2 1/4 inches). Quite a difference, don’t you think?

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How then can it be possible to knit a Stockinette section inside a Garter border and get a straight piece and not a odd shaped one?
Thanks to the Garter stitch: its great elasticity let it adapt easily beside almost any other kind of stitch. Beside the Stockinette Stitch section, it will stretch in height and thus let every stitch reach the same size.

Back to the initial question, then:

  • if a pattern calls for Garter Stitch, it’s possible to knit in Stockinette Stitch, but the different height of the two stitches must be taken into account (unless the shape or the length is not a problem, like in a blanket, for example). Remember also that Stockinette has the tendency to roll and you can’t really do anything about that (even blocking won’t fix the problem); the best thing to do is add a little border in Garter Stitch (for example), as it will keep the piece straight and avoid the curling.
  • if a pattern calls for Stockinette Stitch, it’s possible to knit in Garter Stitch, but, again, remember the differences in size. You will need a lot more rows to get to the same height, as the Stockinette Stitch is taller and slightly thinner. This also means you will end up using much more yarn than the amount stated in the pattern.

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My advise is: make a swatch and measure, do some basic calculations and adapt. This is really necessary if you are making a fitted garment, unless you don’t mind to end up with a long dress or a short top instead of a sweater!

Please, write me and let me know if you have any doubt or question about any aspect of knitting or crochet. I won’t say your name, don’t worry, you won’t be ashamed in public as a newby! It’ll be our secret! 😛

Have fun!!!

Blueberry Pie

While I was on holiday in Italy, I saw the new Millamia Naturally Soft Cotton on the Internet and I immediately decided that I wanted to make something with it. I loved the colour range; as usual, Millamia yarn shades are super rich and very unusual. They make me think of children, and I tend to imagine them combined in very simple yet stylish patterns. That’s why I thought about doing something for my young daughter.

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Ero in vacanza in Italia quando ho visto per la prima volta il nuovo filato di Millamia. Questa volta è uno sport in 100% cotone dai colori sgargianti, come ogni filato Millamia del resto. Così ho deciso che lo avrei provato subito. Questi colori mi fanno sempre pensare ai bambini e a modelli semplici ma allo stesso tempo di grande effetto. Ero certa che la mia bimba avrebbe apprezzato. 

I had a mini shawl in mind, as she loves to pose for me and to wrap herself like a little lady. Her favorite colour is yellow, so that was a must. I also loved the Indigo Purple shade, and I thought it would have been the perfect contrasting colour for my yellow. So I started measuring, drawing, swatching and doing all the pattern designing related stuff!

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Avevo in mente un mini scialle in due colori, visto che la mia piccola adora posare con i miei capi e avvolgersi nei miei scialli. Il suo colore è il giallo, quindi uno dei due colori era fissato. Indigo Purple mi è subito venuto incontro come ottimo colore di contrasto. Così mi sono messa subito all’opera, disegnando, facendo campioni di prova, prendendo le misure… insomma, tutte quelle cose che accompagnano la creazione di un modello.

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The mini shawl is really simple; it’s a long scarf that grows wider till the middle and then get narrow again. Half of it is knitted in yellow, the other half is knitted in purple, with a little fair isle in the middle to merge the two shades together. I also added the tassels in contrasting colours at the ends to give the scarf more weight and to add a playful touch to it. I wanted something very practical, as kids have a tendency to run, roll and get messy in no time. That’s what the ring in the back is for. One tail goes into the other so it won’t open and it stays thigh enough around little necks. Cotton is perfect for children as it’s not too hot, it’s light to wear and it can easily be washed. MillaMia cotton was the perfect match. I love the richness of the colours, and the texture when knitted.

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La costruzione del mini scialle è molto semplice; si tratta di una lunga sciarpa che si allarga fino al centro e poi si restringe di nuovo. Metà è lavorata in giallo, l’altra metà in viola. Al centro c’è un semplicissimo motivo in fair isle per permettere la transizione tra i due colori. Le due nappe ai due capi dello scialle danno peso alle code e aggiungono un tocco giocoso alla sciarpa. Il mio obiettivo era realizzare qualcosa di molto pratico visto che i bimbi non stanno un attimo fermi (giustamente!). Così ho pensato all’anello in cui far passare una delle due code per tenere la sciarpa sempre annodata dietro il collo. Il cotone è perfetto per questo progetto visto che è l’ideale sulla pelle dei bambini, lascia traspirare, non è troppo caldo e, soprattutto, si lava senza pensieri in lavatrice. Il nuovo filato di Millamia è perfetto. Adoro la definizione del lavoro e la brillantezza dei colori!

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I don’t usually knit fair isle with cotton as I’m aware of tension issues and such but MillaMia surprised me as it went really smooth and enjoyable, even in a flat piece! I tried to design a modern and practical accessory with a fresh look. The style is very simple and the fair isle is almost a hint, a funny way to blend the two colours together. My daughter loves it. I hope you’ll love it too. If you have question about the pattern, please, send me a message!

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Di solito non mi avventuro nel fair isle con il cotone per i noti problemi di tensione, ma questo filato mi ha davvero sorpresa. E’ stato divertente e semplice, nonostante il lavoro fosse piatto e non circolare come normalmente si lavora il fair isle. Ho cercato di disegnare un modello dal design moderno e pratico. La mia bambina ha apprezzato molto. Mi auguro che possa piacere anche a voi. Se avete domande, come al solito, scrivetemi!

You can find the pattern HERE
Modello scaricabile QUI