Category Archives: Knitting

waiting and making

It’s a funny feeling, sitting at home, waiting for labor to start and having no clue if you’re hours or days or weeks away from an enormous change in your life (though ‘weeks’ is getting more unlikely each day obviously).
winter | little home by hand blog

Right on cue after my last post about how great I was feeling there came several days of being not so great. The belly has grown to be enormous after being quite small throughout the pregnancy and with it the aches and pains of having everything cramped together in a tight space increased. Some days are good, others not so much. A little uncomfortable but ok on the whole.

Thankfully knitting is keeping me busy whithout actually having to move much. I would be a lot more restless if I didn’t have something on the needles! It’s also nice to feel you have accomplished something at the end of the day. In the last few weeks several finished objects have been crossed off the list.

baby knits | little home by hand blog
These baby pants are a free Drops pattern. Knit on 2,5mm needles they were a nice project to keep me busy for several days. Hopefully they won’t be too big on baby before the warm weather hits.

baby knits | little home by hand blogbaby knits | little home by hand blog
I have a thing for vintage looking rompers! The Kjapptstrikka suit is a norwegian pattern and just adorable. Also a rather quick knit which will fit baby at around 6 months.

winter | little home by hand blogpregnancy | little home by hand blogMy first handknit cardigan is coming in very handy these days since I really knit it too big back then and it fits comfortably in my present ‘watermelon-belly’ state.

I had been itching to cast on another project for myself ever since finishing the Alpenglühen cardigan in July and finally settled on the Wolf River sweater. Deciding on a color was hard. The natural grays and whites on the Ravelry page are so gorgeous! Colors look good on me though, especially warm reds and oranges, so the ‘cinnamon’ colorway won out in the end. I would still love to own this in a creamy white so who knows, maybe I’ll even make another one of these. Front and back are blocking now so we’ll see if I can get any further on this before baby arrives.

sweater knitting in progress | little home by hand blogsweater knitting in progress | little home by hand blog

 

 

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baby knits

Progress is being made in the baby knitting department! Now that I’m at home and have all day to tackle the last preparations before the little one joins us I get a bit of knitting and sewing in almost every day.

baby knits | little home by hand blog

After the ‘Baby Sophisticate’ pattern the ‘Short Notice’ cardigan is the second newborn sized cardi I’ve finished.

Baby knits are such satisfying little projects compared to adult sized clothing! There are so many cute patterns and they are usually done in just a few hours.

Baby would absolutely need a little gnome hat, so I used some leftover Cascade yarn from my Alpenglühen Cardigan for the Small things Bonnet pattern. I thought this little hat would fly off the needles but I ended up ripping it out and starting over four times. Turns out it makes sense to actually follow the instructions to a t instead of thinking you’d be fine eyeballing it…baby knits | little home by hand blog

Hopefully we’ll also get some use out of the mitts before the weather turns warm.

I was on a roll stashbusting by that time so I used some leftover sock yarn to make a pair of baby socks and matching hat (no pattern for the socks, I jumbled together a few instructions and length guidelines and ended up winging it).

baby knits | little home by hand blogbaby knits | little home by hand blogbaby knits | little home by hand blog

The cabled baby blanket I finished before christmas is waiting for a cotton backing to be sewn on. I made up my own pattern for this. It’s quite simple but I’d be happy to share the chart if anyone is interested!

baby knits | little home by hand blog

I think I’m nearly done making newborn sized clothing because, honestly,  how many woolen sweaters and hats will a newbown wear anyway? Time to move on to bigger sizes!

My own handknits will be joined by a few items from my own babyhood – how marvelous that these look almost new after 30 years in storage!

baby knits | little home by hand blog
baby knits | little home by hand blog

Baby’s colour palette is definitely leaning towards greys and blues which is just fine since I think blue is a great colour no matter the sex. I do want to plan for some yellow and orange knits though.

On the needles right now are these cute baby pants in a cream white yarn.

I’m also hoping to finish some sewing for the nursery (a mobile and fabric baskets) plus sew some summery baby clothes. It is quite the effort to haul the belly up two flights of stairs and in front of the sewing machine though, so we’ll see. Right now knitting cozily on the couch while watching ‘Making A Murderer’ is definitely more enticing. Plus, the company’s not bad either.

cozy at home | little home by hand blog

What’s on your needles right now?

an announcement

I’m so not good at announcements. It’s like they suddenly make me centre of attention which introvert me doesn’t feel comfortable with at all (which is weird, considering I’ve had this blog for 6 years and somehow chose to make myself centre of attention here).
You maaaay have already guessed from my Pinterest activity in the last few weeks, like a friend of mine has.

Ok, no more beating about the bush. Fact is, in addition to just buying a house and all that, I have some other big news to share.
handknit baby cardigan | little home by hand
We’re expecting a baby next spring!

We’re excited – and still incredulous (growing a tiny human inside you? how crazy is that!) – and a little bit scared (how will we even like our new life as a family of three?).

I’m due in late February so hopefully we’ll have plenty of time to get our new house ready and move in.
20 week bump | little home by hand blog
Twenty weeks along today and feeling pretty good! After the queasy first weeks which were followed by exhausting weeks of fatigue (say what? I have to work 10 hours a day and cannot take a 2 hour nap in between?) things are great now.
The bump is growing, baby is already kicking noticeably sometimes and the last ultrasound confirmed that he or she is healthy and well.

We’ve decided not to find out the gender since neither of us really cares if it’s a boy or a girl. We’ll be happy either way and I imagine it will be so nice to find out after the birth. Apparently hardly anyone waits anymore to find out and people have been acting surprised by our decision.

I started showing really early (like, if you knew me well and had seen me in a bikini at 9 weeks you’d have noticed) and it has been quite a challenge to keep it hidden until I felt comfortable sharing the news. I’ve been pretty cautious about it and strangely not at all eager to shout it from the rooftops. Pregnancy somehow feels very private to me. We told family and close friends and my team at work at around 12 weeks and our larger circle at 16 weeks (I mean, it was preeetty obvious by then anyway).

Pregnancy has been a lesson in letting go – you are suddenly faced with something you can’t control and have to make the decision to either worry constantly what could go wrong or just embrace not knowing and trusting all will be well and as it should be.

In between the slew of appointments that come with pregnancy plus the many many things we need to organise and learn and discuss for the house it’s been hard to make time for anything else, but I do try to get a bit of knitting in here and there on weekends. Thankfully tiny baby things knit up fast!

handknit baby cardigan | little home by hand
handknit baby cardigan | little home by hand

Knitting for baby means some serious stash busting! With so much yarn left over from previous projects I can’t really justify splurging on more so this first cardigan (the popular Baby Sophisticate pattern) is knit with leftover Cascade Eco yarn from my Ramona cardigan.
I’ve always imagined any baby of mine would be drowning in hand knits and handmade outfits but with the house taking priority right now – we’ll see how much I can get done before this little person arrives 🙂

knitting a fall wardrobe – alpenglühen cardigan

Feels good to be back here! I’ve been working on my Alpenglühen cardigan for so long, I began to doubt I would ever finish it.
But, 7 months after the first stitch, here it is:
Knitting a fall wardrobe - Alpengluhen Cardigan | little home by hand blogKnitting a fall wardrobe - Alpengluhen Cardigan | little home by hand blog
The yarn is Cascade 220 in the colorway Bright Red. I wanted a cheery but warm red (cool colors make my skin look even paler) and I remember agonizing over just the right shade of red for days, scouring Ravelry and pictures of different yarns and reds. In the end I ordered the Cascade yarn from France as it wasn’t available in this specific colorway in Germany.
Knitting a fall wardrobe - Alpengluhen Cardigan | little home by hand blog
Cables are actually fun to knit and they look much more complicated on a finished garment than they are to make!
Why did this cardigan take me so long?
For one thing, I am finding out more and more that I don’t enjoy working bottom up on cardigans. Top-down knitting is so much more motivating because the garment takes shape more quickly and you can try it on in between. Once I did get to the shoulder part I hated the many many wrap and turns the pattern called for and if you looked closely you could see I didn’t manage them very well. It was just not a fun project to work on and I would not knit this particular pattern again. Not because it’s a bad pattern (it’s wonderful, really) but because it just wasn’t for me.
Knitting a fall wardrobe - Alpengluhen Cardigan | little home by hand blog
The finished cardigan however? Simply gorgeous! Love the fit, love the cables, love the color to bits! I will be wanting to wear this every day once the weather gets cooler!

For those of you wondering where I’ve been in the past few weeks: I went to Scotland in July (to be blogged soon!) and had to take a spontaneous break in all things internet and social media due to some personal changes afterwards. All good though and one thing I can share is that we’ve just bought a house!
We’re super happy since demand for houses in our area is huge and prices are skyrocketing. We’ve been very lucky to find an affordable house we liked AND get it too (thanks to our super quick financial advisor who managed to secure a written statement from the bank that they would finance us within two hours!). We’ll get the keys to our snug and small terraced house in December and will be in before Christmas after some renovation and redecorating.
The last few weeks have been stressful since everything happened so fast and there were many many appointments we needed to fit in around our daily work schedules and many many things we needed to wrap our heads around when it came to financing it all. I’d never taken out a loan or been in debt before in my entire life and here I went getting myself a mortgage I’ll be paying off until I reach pension age! Scary, admittedly!
Now I’m looking forward to the more fun aspect of house buying – planning the rooms and the changes we’ll make. I’ll even have a small garden to plan for next year 🙂

On another note: I don’t usually comment on political stuff on here but Germany seems to get a lot of international attention these days for how we handle the refugee crisis. The amount of help people are offering and organising really is astonishing and heartwarming! I even have trouble finding a place to drop off donations these days since all storage spaces are full. Yes, some people are negative and scared here too but the overwhelming public feeling is one of empathy and welcoming. A proud time to be German and we Germans sure don’t say that lightly!

the last of winter and some socks

knitting socks. little home by hand

Finally finished and what gratifying little project a pair of socks is! Easy to take up whenever there is time and need for some mindless stockinette (there is always need for mindless stockinette) and you get a highly wearable everday item out of it.

The yarn is Madeline Tosh in the colour ‘dusk’. My love affair with Madeline Tosh started years ago and it is still my all-time favourite sock yarn.

knitting socks. little home by hand

I see all those lovely sock patterns about but I confess I have never knit socks from a pattern. Having learned to knit socks at age 12 or 13 my socks are always plain stockinette, made to fit by trying them on in between and gauging the right time to start the heel or the toe. No counting, no need to remember anything. Mindless knitting at its best.

Knitting is meditative, I’ve written about it often enough but if you trust numbers more have a look at this survey on how knitting helps fight depression. Right now I’m working on a Henny hat, one of Liesl’s gorgeous patterns. Check out her lovely new shop!

I cannot imagine a more perfect winter evening than sitting by a stove and knitting accompanied to the sounds of crackling wood. Sigh. Still working on the wood stove part, getting my fix digitally until then right here (fire with a touch of thunder is perfect!).

beautiful winter scenes. little home by handbeautiful winter scenes. little home by handbeautiful winter scenes. little home by hand

Speaking of winter evenings – we have had terrible weather for the last few days and I haven’t been able to go hiking once in the past few weeks! Cold, stormy and rainy, winter is really reluctant to give up this year. I kind of adore the colors in this weather though and did manage some outdoor time with the pony on Sunday. What’s a little drizzle in a good rain coat, right?

I’ve been quite busy recently with photoshoots and trying to catch up on blogging them. Check out this maternity session with an adorable couple (seriously, they were so much fun) and some more photoshoots on my photo blog.

There’s been some sewing and some spring gardening going which I’m looking forward to sharing soon. What have you been doing? Still deep in the cozy winter quietness or already up and busy preparing for the warmer season?

beautiful winter scenes. little home by hand

working on it

Between some travelling, some hiking and some early nights (hey, it’s still winter which means it’s a good day if I manage to stay up for an hour or two after getting home from work) I have still been eeking out a few minutes here and there for creative time.
As this is meant to be a creative blog I figured I better show you what I’ve been working on.
knitting. little home by hand blog
The Alpenglühen cardigan has been on my needles for a while. Getting the body done and doing cables for the first time went really well but then I got stuck a little and have been waiting for motivation to strike to pick it back up again. I love the deep rich red of the yarn and I’m sure whenever this gets done it will be worn a lot!
knitting. little home by hand blog
knitting. little home by hand blog
For mindless evening knitting while watching a series I’ve picked up a pair of socks again that has been lying in wait for months. I think I might actually finish them this year. I love knitting socks but it usually takes me months to complete a pair in between other projects.

Speaking of other projects, have you seen Liesl‘s new pattern, the Henny Hat? Liesl has been one of my favorite blog people for a long time and I’m thrilled that she is starting to sell her own yarn and patterns! I already started my Henny Hat, so that makes three projects on the needles now – I’ve officially become one of those knitters with an overflowing project basket and no idea what to turn to next. Sigh.
meal planning. little home by hand blog
You might remember the healthy eating series I started a while back? Well, I’ve been working on eating better for a long time now and progress is being made, slowly but surely! The fact remains that neither J nor I have a knack for cooking so I needed to approach this systematically.
I took a day off to figure out what kind of food I wanted to be able to prepare (easy, healthy, quick, few and readily available ingredients) and picked out a few choice recipes for us. These were printed on heavy cardstock and I made up our very own recipe book which we consult every week before going shopping. So far this is working really well for us! Having a plan has resulted in more focussed food shopping and a sense of obligation to actually cook at the weekend.

Two new favorite recipes of ours are roasted veggies of any kind and this yummy kale quinoa bowl. I’ve compiled all my recipe research on Pinterest though not all of those recipes actually made it in ‘our’ book.
meal planning. little home by hand blog
I have much more to say on this subject but for the sake of actually getting this post done before work I’ll stop here and write a more detailed post on request. Let me know if you’re interested!
learning tin whistle. little home by hand blog
Last but not least I have a new hobby (as if I needed another one, right?) – for years I’ve been thinking of picking up the Irish Tin Whistle again and learning to play it. Having lived in Ireland for a year as a teenager this has always been a dream of mine. I played the recorder as a kid (who didn’t?) and there were actually several tin whistles I bought in my teens lurking in my mom’s basement.

As soon as I picked it up again I remembered how much fun it is and this time I mean to go through with it. Getting started with a few online lessons and this Lord of the Rings tutorial I am now on my way through a few simple tunes. The hardest part is getting the fingers up to speed but maybe by next Christmas my brother (who teaches himself piano) and I will be able to provide some family entertainment.

Any of you play a musical instrument? Are you a natural cook or did you have to learn it the hard way like me?

I have more hiking and travelling posts lined up. If you want to be really up to date and see my mobile photography be sure to follow me on Instagram or Twitter for daily peeks 🙂

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.

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!

 

 

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?