ramona cardigan

There’s something about knitting a cardigan or sweater that is just intensely gratifying and comforting. Maybe it’s working with wool in general, maybe it’s the fact that so SO many hours of work go into it and maybe it’s sheer amazement that you made something so intricate and it actually turned out looking good.

handknit cardigan. little home by hand blog.handknit cardigan. little home by hand blog.Either way, I am seriously in love with knitting cardigans this year and the Ramona cardigan in particular. I wanted a basic, neutral cardi that would go with everything and the classic shape of the Ramona pattern seemed a good fit.

The yarn is Cascade Ecological Wool in a color mix of oatmeal and cream which gives it a nice subtly marbled look. The Cascade yarn is another new favorite, it was a dream to work with and the whole cardigan only took 1.5 skeins.

handknit cardigan. little home by hand blog.handknit cardigan. little home by hand blog.The pattern is pretty straightforward and came together easily. I added a bit of length but it still is just a tiny bit short and I especially wish the sleeves were longer. I haven’t decided yet whether to frog and redo the last bit of sleeve but I probably will.

The buttons were a tough decision, I actually spent an hour picking them out, deciding in the end on some rather unusual wood buttons that go well with the oatmeal of the yarn. To add a tiny bit of color I sewed the second last one on with red thread instead of white.

handknit cardigan. little home by hand blog.I’ve already worn the cardigan a lot since it was finished. I’m constantly trying to downsize my wardrobe to a few favorite pieces that go well together and this cardigan will definitely be a staple. Plus real wool is just incredibly warm, always a good thing for me as I am cold pretty much all the time in winter.

Already planning my next cardigan! Does it ever stop, the wanting… (ok, ok, enough with the ‘Outlander‘ references already…). For more info on pattern and yarn, visit my Ravelry project page.

hiking in germany : eifel

The fourth advent calender door is open and today I am giving away a print of mine on my Facebook page. Have a look and participate for a chance to win!

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Hiking has become an outlet for me, a way to get back in touch with nature after being cooped up inside all week. Especially in winter I feel the urge to get out, to get moving and warm in the fresh air and sunshine.

hiking in germany. little home by hand bloghiking in germany. little home by hand bloghiking in germany. little home by hand blog

Of course, the sunlight hours are few and few in between at the moment. Often the days start out foggy and wet like on this trip. We were lucky, the sun fought its way through and we enjoyed our little trail (the Bergheidenweg in Germany’s low mountain range ‘Eifel) very much.

hiking in germany. little home by hand bloghiking in germany. little home by hand bloghiking in germany. little home by hand bloghiking in germany. little home by hand bloghiking in germany. little home by hand blog

A small hike of 10km this trail still offered a variety of beautiful landscapes. Being away from the noises of the city, with just the rustling leaves under my feet and the odd animal sound in the air I could literally feel stress and worry fall away.

hiking in germany. little home by hand bloghiking in germany. little home by hand bloghiking in germany. little home by hand bloghiking in germany. little home by hand bloghiking in germany. little home by hand bloghiking in germany. little home by hand blog

I’m looking forward to taking more hiking trips this winter and I hope you enjoy these little photo documentations!

tea time and an etsy advent calender

December is tea time (well technically it’s tea time year round for me but in December the amount of tea I consume daily increases exponentially).

I’m talking about my love for tea on Vibeke’s blog in a little interview so fellow tea lovers head over there and have a look.

tea time

The waiting for Christmas has officially started and I am trying to preserve a bit of the season’s magic among the daily rush that seems to intensify in the streets at this time of year.

The Etsy Germany team has decided to sweeten the wait with an online advent calender this year and every day a new door opens on a giveaway on their Facebook page.

Pssst, my shop is participating too so keep a close look on both the Etsy Germany Page as well as my own Facebook page this week ;)

fall knitting – magnolia hat

I’ve been knitting away like crazy in the past few weeks, finishing a new cardigan (to be blogged soon) and a hat. When it comes to knitting I’m strictly a “1-project-at-a-time” maker. Having multiple knitting projects underway makes me nervous.

Except for socks. There will be socks in various finishing stages hanging around at any given time.

magnolia hat. little home by hand blog.Anyway, while travelling in Scotland a few weeks ago I picked up a few skeins of Shilasdair yarn on Skye, among these a single skein of white Aran yarn. I knew right away this needed to be a hat. I don’t usually wear hats, having very fine hair that gets flattened by a hat so awfully that I’d rather brave the cold. However, since taking up hiking as a hobby I knew I would need one for winter. I settled on the Magnolia hat pattern which seemed both a nice challenge and exactly the look I was going for.

magnolia hat. little home by hand blog.Notice my new favourite knitting accessory, a beautiful project bag by Windwardmade!

I used size 4 needles which is two sizes smaller than recommended in the pattern. I have a very small head though and knew I had to go smaller to get a good fit (true story: when my mom was in labour with me and you could see the head, the doctor says “oh, the head is really small, the child will likely be disabled”. After I graduated from university with top grades I always wished I could find that guy and shove my diploma in his face).

Surprisingly I found the pattern quite easy, despite it being my first time knitting off a chart. I did wonder if I should do an extra repeat of the pattern to counter the small needle size but in the end I just did the pattern exactly as it was written and the fit is great.

magnolia hat. little home by hand blog.I wore it already on a hiking trip last weekend. Definitely a hit.

Now, what next? Do I finish one of the unfinished pairs of socks? A shawl? A sweater? Too many decisions!

 

 

walking in the woods

Fall smells so good. The rich, earthy smell of wet leaves and colder nights, mingled with the comforting scent of woodsmoke from a chimney being used for the first time in months.

I feel the urge to be outside and in motion in the crisp air, to walk and climb until I am pleasantly warm and breathless.

hiking in Germany. little home by hand blog.hiking in Germany. little home by hand blog.The woods around here are exploding with color and I treasure every minute of this season. I could spend all day outside, hiking, leaving civilization behind (and it never really is far behind in this densely populated part of Germany).

hiking in Germany. little home by hand blog.hiking in Germany. little home by hand blog.hiking in Germany. little home by hand blog.Given the choice I would hop on a plane to Scotland right now or drive down all the way to the Alps. As it is, I try to make time to explore areas within an hour’s drive. These photos were taken two weeks ago on a day trip. We hiked from the Müngstener bridge up to Schloss Burg.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen my phone photos from the day already. These days I seem to shoot as much with my phone as with my ‘real’ camera.

M6hiking in Germany. little home by hand blog.hiking in Germany. little home by hand blog.hiking in Germany. little home by hand blog.hiking in Germany. little home by hand blog.hiking in Germany. little home by hand blog.With the daylight hours spent like this and the dark time in the evening used knitting by candle light, that is one perfect day.

What’s your perfect day? Similar to mine or completely different?

pea green – colette moneta #2

I have a new obsession – knit dresses! Making my first Colette Moneta dress made me realize how comfortable and versatile a knit dress really is. And soo quickly done with a serger. Were it not for the elastic waist – don’t get me started on that.

I made this pea green version soon after my stripey grey one and finally got it photographed this weekend.

colette moneta dress. little home by hand blogThe fabric is a lovely jersey knit with a little less stretch than the striped fabric – thus the dress fits more snugly. It’s so hard to find a really nice green color and I just love this dress. A nice change from all the navy blue I usually wear.

Though I admit the grey tights weren’t the best choice – blue tights? Brown, black? Help me out here!

colette moneta dress. little home by hand blogNecklines are usually a spot of bother for me – they nearly always gape at front and back in any pattern. I use Rae’s method of taking off the excess fabric while tracing the pattern onto the fabric and it works like a dream. Just letting you know in case you ever run into the same problem.

I love that these dresses can be worn in virtually any season. I look forward to wearing them in winter with thick knit cardigans. A handmade dress with a handknit cardigan – pretty cool, huh!

If you’re itching to make your own – find the pattern here.

giveaway – win one of my landscape prints

I hope you all had a lovely weekend. We are having such a warm and sunny spell that it’s hard to believe Christmas is only 6 weeks away!

If you’ve been thinking of giving a print as a present this year or if you want to make your home more cozy for the holidays by adding one to the walls you’re in luck. I teamed up with the wonderful Liesl from Buckaloo View and she is giving away a print of your choice from my shop this week! Head on over to Buckaloo View and enter to win.

Rocky Mountains. Fotografie Kristina KoehlerJust in time I have started putting some Canada landscape photos in my shop. These are from my three-week road trip in June to BC and Alberta and make me all homesick for the mountains. ‘Fernweh’ must be the most beautiful word of the german language.

Flower macro. Fotografie Kristina Koehler

creative blog hop

I have been invited by Liesl to join the the creative blog hop and talk about my creative process. I love answering questions like these, it’s always an opportunity to reflect and I usually find out something about myself that I didn’t know before I got writing and thinking!

Check out previous posts by Liesl, Inge and Melody (who invited me too a few weeks ago but whose message I read too late to participate then).

talking about creativity. little home by hand blogWhat am I working on?

I am primarily a photographer but I strive to incorporate handmade in all areas of my life – I sew, knit, garden and cook, with varying success.

Photography wise in between doing some fall portrait photoshoots I am working on putting a new travel photo series in my shop with images of a trip to Canada I took this year. It’s a long process of culling, editing, having samples printed, re-editing, stocking, writing descriptions and finally listing and promoting.

Fall is also knitting season for me – I am working on a new cardigan and there might be a shawl and a new pair of socks in sight too.

I have some sewing projects waiting to happen but since sewing takes much more of an effort to set up and requires me getting off the couch these take a backseat over knitting right now.

talking about creativity. little home by hand blogtalking about creativity. little home by hand blogHow does my work differ from others of its genre?

Does it? I see a lot of incredible artists creating wonderful things and I am not at all sure how my work differs, except that I always wish it was better! It has a certain, very colorful look for sure. I find every artist has their own style and it’s impossible to break that. Two people can photograph the exact same scene and their photos will be completely different. Nobody can see the world as you yourself see it and that’s wonderful. At the same time I see many people inspired by the same things and I am glad for kindred spirits who capture the beauty of the world in their own way.

I am not someone who gets lost in only one thing forever. Yes, photography is ‘it’ for me, but my other creative pursuits are also a big and necessary part of my life. I am interested in so many different things. Maybe that sets me apart from some other artists, who dive very deeply into one subject matter.

talking about creativity. little home by hand blogWhy do I create what I do?

I have always felt a need to create. Working with my hands and building something useful with them is as much a physical need as a mental one for me.

As a child I knew only that it made me happy. As an adult I also see another level to it – handmade has a value of its own. I want to live in a world where we still do things with our hands and value the process and materials. The animals and plants our wool and leather, fabric and color come from – they’re real, they existed, they have value. By making things by hand and using them I feel like I honor that worth.

As much as technology and media has expanded our world (and I revel in that) it sometimes feels like we are now very exposed and very anonymous at the same time – everything laid bare, interconnected and yet much more automatized and impersonal. Creating and building a life based on making things with my hands and knowing where they came from grounds and comforts me. Knitting a cardigan out of natural fibers warms the cold polyester world around me.

With my photography I try to capture feelings and emotions – the invisible connection between two people, the wonder at nature’s beauty in a world so far removed from it, the joy of shaping rough yarn into something wearable, the pride of watching a tiny seedling turn into a thriving edible plant under my hands.

talking about creativity. little home by hand blogtalking about creativity. little home by hand blogHow does my creative process work?

It’s a strange mixture of intuition and careful thought. My inspiration comes from nature, from connecting with other artists and from sites like Pinterest and Instagram. From there I try to break it down and shape the images and thoughts and feelings they conjure to my own needs. It’s a tough balance – being inspired but still doing things my own way.

With a craft project I usually need to give an idea time to grow, to take root and shape itself in my head. It’s quite unnerving, mulling something over in my head for days until the image has sharpened enough to be put into action.

With photography it’s often much more intuitive (which can be even more unnerving). I sometimes meet my portrait clients for the first time on location and I need to grasp immediately how these people tick, what makes them beautiful and tickle it out of them while also trying to use the location to its best advantage. My travel photography is much more relaxed, I simply capture moments as they happen, completely immersed in my own emotions and experience of the scenery.

 

Liesl, thanks so much for inviting me! Lindsay and Ruth, two wonderful creatives and bloggers, will be continuing the blog hop and will have their posts up within the next two weeks so hop on over to their blogs too.

transitioning into fall

It happens every year. As soon as the leaves start to turn and the days get shorter I feel the need to hibernate. Getting up early is harder when it’s cold and dark and staying awake in the evenings becomes a thing of impossibility.

knitting through fall. little home by hand blogStill, I manage to get a few rows of knitting and reading in most nights before heading to bed bleary eyed.

I’m making slow but steady progress on another cardigan for fall, the Ramona. The classical shape is beautiful and I hope it will be another staple in my wardrobe. With a bit of cardigan experience under my belt I am also itching to try some more advanced knitting, like cables or colorwork next. Oh, and a shawl with some yarn I bought in Scotland. So many projects, so little time.

knitting through fall. little home by hand blogOther news and inspiration:

knitting through fall. little home by hand blogAre you feeling the changing of the seasons too? Any knitting projects to inspire me and add to my neverending queue? (I just had to look up how to spell ‘queue’). What are your five words you describe yourself with?

the most beautiful place in the world – how scotland captured my heart

If you have been reading here for a time you know that two years ago I travelled to Scotland (see the old blog post here).

I fell in love with the country back then and have been longing to go back. With a few days off at the start of the month J and I decided to take a short trip to the Isle of Skye, a place we hadn’t managed to fit into our schedule two years ago. The flight to Glasgow was over in a wink but the drive up into the highlands took several hours, plenty of time for J to practice driving on the left side of the road, for me to gasp at the countryside and for us both to make some scenic detours…scotland. little home by hand blogscotland. little home by hand blogscotland. little home by hand blogscotland. little home by hand blogWe visited Kilchurn Castle and drove along beautiful Glen Etive, stopped for a bite to eat at the fantastic Ben Nevis Inn (what a lovely place!) and arrived on Skye rather late and tired.

After indulging in a hearty breakfast the next morning including porridge, homemade banana bread and scrambled eggs with smoked salmon (so good!) we set out for some serious walking. First stop was the “Old Man of Storr”, an absolutely stunning landscape.

scotland. little home by hand blogscotland. little home by hand blogI think the pictures pretty much speak for themselves. Screaming, really :)

Ever since we got out of Glasgow we had found ourselves in breathtakingly beautiful surroundings and every corner we turned provided us with more unbelievable views. Walking in this landscape is simply a dream.

A pretty demanding one I’ll admit. I haven’t been able to do any sports in the past year (save some hikes in Canada) and am sadly out of shape.

The Quiraing was next.scotland. little home by hand blogscotland. little home by hand blogscotland. little home by hand blogWhat I love about walking in Scotland is that there are sheep and cattle everywhere looking curiously at you panting past.

scotland. little home by hand blogscotland. little home by hand blogscotland. little home by hand blogscotland. little home by hand blogOn our second day on Skye we visited Skyeskyns, a wonderful local sheepskin workshop that offers informative tours on their handmade processing of sheepskins.

I just had to do some yarn shopping too of course and picked up a few skeins at the Shilasdair shop. They have a little exhibition on dyeing with local plants which was very interesting.

We saw the ruins of two Iron Age brochs, Dun Fiadhairt and Dun Beag, impressive structures slowly crumbling among the grass and blooming heather.

scotland. little home by hand blogscotland. little home by hand blogscotland. little home by hand blogscotland. little home by hand blogWe had left what would turn out to be my personal highlight for last – a walk to the Fairy Pools near Glenbrittle. Situated at the foot of the Cuillin mountain range this landscape just takes your breath away. Oh, and the wind did too. It was so windy that day that I was actually, physically blown over once. Good thing we had decided earlier to skip a walk near high cliffs that day *mustnotkillmyselfwhileonholiday*.

scotland. little home by hand blogscotland. little home by hand blogscotland. little home by hand blogscotland. little home by hand blogWe said goodbye to Skye all to soon and with a heavy heart. One last warm breakfast at lovely Blairdhu House and then it was off again on the road.

Bye teddybear cattle!

scotland. little home by hand blogscotland. little home by hand blogWe had decided to do a completely touristy thing on the way and visit a distillery. We took a tour at the Edradour distillery which turned out to be so much fun! The smallest distillery in Scotland, they produce only small quantities of whisky, a lot of the process still by hand involving century old machinery.  We also got to taste the whisky and a whisky cream mix (like Baileys but so much better). I had never thought about how whisky is really made and found it fascinating.

scotland. little home by hand blogscotland. little home by hand blogMy only regret in this holiday: we could easily have stayed three times as long and it would still have been too short. In Scotland I have found the country I want to return to again and again, savoring the landscape, the people, the language.

Highlands, I’ll be back. For sure.

scotland. little home by hand blog