Tag Archives: Knitting

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?

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.

3 great ways to relax at home

How do you relax at home? Do you cook, watch a film, do something crafty?
cat on the couchI’m feeling a bit worn out lately, ready for a few days away to clear my mind and replenish those energy stores running low. Until my next vacation however I have to rely on my tried and true best ways to relax at home.

I’m an introvert in the sense that I need to spend at least a couple of hours a day quietly by myself. I have a job where I am around a lot of people all day which I absolutely love but it is also draining and by the time I get home I usually crave some alone time.

I want to share my top three favorite ways to relax at home with you.
knitting a cardigan
Make something
Sitting down comfortably (that involves at least two woolen blankets for me) and creating is a great way to let go of all those thoughts swirling around and making you dizzy and antsy. I have tried meditation without success but when I knit or sew I am in the moment and just concentrate on being present and enjoying the rhythm. I often find myself taking the first really deep breath of the day then, slowing down and letting go of pressures and responsibilities.
knitting a cardiganI have just started knitting my second cardigan (this one) and feel a real physical urge to sit down and knit all the time. I figure it’s a healthier addiction than coffee or cigarettes 😉

Read a book
Escaping to a different world from the safety of my couch (can you tell how much I love my couch and those woolen blankets?) is something I look forward to every day. I couldn’t not read. Sometimes it’s blogs, sometimes it’s a simple tale for a few days (love the ‘Daisy Dalrymple‘ series) and sometimes it’s sagas that stay with me for months (hello Game of Thrones). I need my stories.
urban vintage bookI just got the prettiest german book in the mail last week from Midsommarflicka. I won a giveaway on her blog and loved receiving this gorgeous ‘Urban Vintage‘ design guide. It’s like Pinterest in book form!
urban vintage book
Give the cats a cuddle

Granted this works best when you actually have a cat on hand but it also works with dogs, hamsters and any furry, warm creature in your home.
cat on the couch There is nothing to make you forget the outside world like a sleepy cat, snuggled up close to you and warming your legs, purring and snoring without a care in the world. Animals live in the moment completely. I know some people can’t relate to that but my home would not feel the same without these softfooted graceful beings.

So, how do you relax at home?

why buy when you can make? shapely boyfriend cardigan

Done, my first knitted cardigan is officially finished!
shapely boyfriend cardigan. little home by hand blog.
shapely boyfriend cardigan. little home by hand blog.
Can you tell I’m excited? I absolutely loved knitting this, it was a great evening project to have on hand while watching a series (soo hooked on Game of Thrones).
Started in late December it took just two months to complete. I’d been meaning to knit a cardigan for years but considered it beyond my skills. Why do we always let fear keep us from just jumping in? The Shapely Boyfriend cardigan turned out to be a very easy, straighforward pattern and an enjoyable knit. Not to mention I love the result!
My Ravelry Project page.
shapely boyfriend cardigan. little home by hand blog.
shapely boyfriend cardigan. little home by hand blog.
I knit the size 34 on Drops Nepal yarn in this lovely butterscotch yellow colorway. My knitting got looser after starting on the body and I worried the cardigan would turn out to be too big. My stokinette back and forth knitting is also much more uneven than when I knit on DPNs. Thankfully both issues were improved by washing and blocking and while it is a tiny bit big I’m completely in love with it!

I’m now a sweater knitting convert, I had so much fun making this that I can’t wait to start my next cardigan or sweater. I’ve been browsing patterns on Ravelry for days, trying to decide on my next project.
Buying natural clothing has been my goal for years. Cotton, silk or viscose shirts are not hard to find, but real wool sweaters is another matter. Wool is not only a natural fiber it also keeps warmer than synthetic fibers, important for me as I get cold so easily in winter. Finding that I can just knit my own is such a revelation!

The only changes I made to the pattern was to shorten it by about 10 rounds and to space the buttonholes more evenly between the ribbing (as a result it has only 6 buttons instead of 7)

shapely boyfriend cardigan. little home by hand blog.
Worn with my handmade half-circle skirt. The necklace is by Native Clutter on Etsy.

progress

Knitting is such a wonderful skill to have. The process of making something wearable from essentially a bit of string always amazes me. I’ve been eyeing handknit sweaters and cardigans wistfully for years and I’ve finally jumped in with the Shapely Boyfriend Cardigan. You can find my Ravelry project page here (after years of lying dormant I’m finally starting to actually use my Ravelry account).
cardigan knitting. tidytipsy
So far I’m loving this pattern. I could follow the instructions with hardly a problem and incredibly have not made a mistake yet (I think). I’m also making progress pretty fast. J and I have started watching Game of Thrones in the evenings and that has definitely been a good thing for this cardigan.
As always I’m now wondering why I waited so long to start a cardigan. The Shapely Boyfriend is an enjoyable knit even though the concept of constantly counting and keeping track of rows is novel for me. With socks and scarves I would just make it up as I went along, it’s so easy to try them on in between.
cardigan knitting. tidytipsy
Is it weird I’m still itching to cast on another pair of socks? I firmly believe sock knitting is as addictive as coffee or chocolate. I’m trying to keep myself far away from my yarn stash in order to finish one thing at a time.
Not sure if it’s an artist thing or if I’m just weird but the feeling of handling yarn and the smooth bamboo needles against it is such a joy. For me that is what handmade means…the sensual process of making things by hand is so satisfying and fulfilling.

In other random inspirations:

exhaling

I was so determined not to get caught up in the holiday rush this year, to bake cookies every sunday, to visit christmas markets and enjoy advent.
Yeah, that didn’t happen. It was a stressful time at work and the days just rushed by in a whirlwind, leaving me feeling completely tuckered out.
Yesterday was the last day at work and I am slowly starting to exhale and relax. I’m looking forward to the next few days, spending time with friends and family, going to the cinema, taking it slow and resting.
baking christmas cookies. tidytipsy
We did manage to bake one batch of cookies during the month and since I’m restricting myself to one item of sweets or chocolate a day (more on that soon), they’ve lasted us quite a while!
baking christmas cookies. tidytipsy
I got some orders in my Etsy shop and managed to send christmas cards to my portrait customers this year, so early mornings were spent packaging and shipping.
etsy orders. fotografiekoehler
christmas cards. fotografiekoehler
We had a christmas party at work, which was great fun.
party. fotografiekoehler
party. fotografiekoehler
The theme was “The night before Christmas – Pajama party” and the costumes were such fun! I serged together a blue jersey dress really quickly (as in, I didn’t even finish the hems) using the Grainline Scout pattern and went as starry sky.
december. tidytipsy
I also started knitting my first ever cardigan! Well, I took about a month to decide on the yarn and then 2 weeks to knit a test swatch (got it right the first time, thank goodness) and finally cast on yesterday.
You’ll have seen these photos on Instagram if you follow me there. Looking forward to digging out my “real” camera again in the quieter days to come.
Have a wonderful, relaxing weekend!

knitted smartphone case

After holding out for the longest time among my friends, I finally caved and got a smartphone. In my defence, I didn’t actually buy it, it was second-hand from a friend who didn’t need it any more. My friends are delighted that I finally have WhatsApp.
For me the draw of course was that I got to dream up and make a case for it. I knew I wanted to knit, not sew, one this time and thought about how I was going to do it, make it one rectangle or two, how it would look when I joined the seams and so on. And then I thought ‘duh, I can just make a sock for it and it won’t need any seams at all!’
knitted smartphone case. tidytipsy
knitted smartphone case. tidytipsy
I used some coarse natural wool I bought years ago, knitting two strands together to make it even thicker.
knitted smartphone case. tidytipsy
A super easy, quick project and somehow I love the rough natural look in contrast to the sleek and shiny phone.
knitted smartphone case. tidytipsy

knit red baby vest

More baby gifts! You might recall this post on my Easter holiday where I mentioned we were all knitting like crazy and I had made a baby vest for my then newly pregnant friend. Fast forward nearly six months, the finished vest has been delivered to its tiny recipient and is ready to be shown off here.
knitted baby vest. tidytipsy
It’s knit from a german pattern magazine which one of us bought so I can’t even point you to the pattern. I didn’t have the required yarn anyway but got some lovely icelandic Lopi wool from one of the other knitters (check out the Lopi website, it has free patterns!). The Lopi wool was much thicker, so I guessimated the amount of stitches needed and generally not kept to the pattern very much. To be honest, I am completely surprised it came out looking like it should!
knitted baby vest. tidytipsy
Yummy thick yarn!
knitted baby vest. tidytipsy
I am secretely so very much in love with these cute elephant buttons.
knitted baby vest. tidytipsy
knitted baby vest. tidytipsy
Here’s hoping this keeps one tiny baby P very warm this winter!

harvesting and knitting and dyeing

The tomatoes keep on coming.
harvest. tidytipsy
I grew four varieties on our balcony this year. The sweet and tiny red one are easiest to grow in containers whereas the Green Zebras and Black Plums were a bit disappointing. The tastiest is a pink beef tomato from Spain, the seeds coming from the brother of a friend’s own garden. It produced only a few fruits but they were very good!
My mom grew them in her garden and when allowed to root deeply these grow into the hugest tomatoes ever.
harvest. tidytipsy
She’s picking them to ripen indoors since the weather has turned cooler.

Speaking of cooler weather, I’ve picked up some knitting again that got cast aside in spring. This pea green cowl in seed stitch turned out to be almost done, it just needed joining and weaving in the ends.
pea green cowl. tidytipsy
pea green cowl. tidytipsy
The dress I’m wearing is years old and was originally a dark grey. I’ve always loved the fit but hated the color, so I decided to try dyeing it in the washing machine. It was that or putting it on the donation pile. The dyeing turned out to be the easiest thing ever! Here’s a before and after:
dyeing clothes. tidytipsy
Now I can’t stop thinking what else I’d like to dye! I dyed an old blazer as well but unfortunately it didn’t take the color much. I should have looked at the fiber content first…still, it’s a bit better than before:
dyeing clothes. tidytipsy
The fall sock knitting is progressing nicely too. A couple more nights and these should be done.
knitting . tidytipsy
Recently I’ve been digging out old books again. Some of the books you read as a child always stay with you I guess and it’s lovely getting back into the old stories. Some of these are quite old and were actually handed down to me by my mother.
One of my favourites is a story about a young norwegian girl leaving the isolated area she grew up in to live and work in the city, going through many hardships but finally achieving not only a school diploma but also starting her own business. A simple but heartwarming story and quite modern considering it was published in the 1950’s and is set sometime in the 1930’s and 1940’s! In fact, there are only a few passages that clearly date the story (for example when the protagonist gets pregnant and everyone she announces it to insists on downing a bottle of bubbly with her!). Apparently these were only published in german and scandinavian languages, but if you can read either, look up the author Berte Bratt for the “Anne” trilogy.

itching

8/52. tidytipsy
My 8/52 photo, a sweet but totally crazy dog at our barn.
dog. tidytipsy
As you can see, still very much winter over here, snowy and grey. Frozen pipes at the barn.
horse in winter. tidytipsy
drinking horse. tidytipsy
I am so ready for spring, and sunshine, and color, and flowers. I’ve made my balcony garden plans and I’m itching to start my seeds and to give the balcony a good scrub and clean up.
Just a few more weeks now.
Until then, I’m making baby succulents (well, the plants are doing all the work really, I just give all the baby succulent shoots their own pots and water occasionally).
baby succulents. tidytipsy
I was given some tulips at the farmer’s market last weekend as a thank you for giving one of the vendors an awesome pumpkin ginger soup recipe (do you want it? it’s super yummy and the vendor said it worked wonders for his date).
tulips. tidytipsy
tulips. tidytipsy
So good to have some color in the apartment! And speaking of color, I got some lovely summer fabrics in the mail and I’ve been dreaming up ways to use them for weeks. No actual sewing going on, I’m taking a little break after the red skirt and waiting for sun and motivation to show their faces around here.
fabric. tidytipsy
knitting. tidytipsy
There’s hope I’ll be getting some knitting finished though! And, saving the best for last, a sneak peek at some vintage patterns I scored on Etsy lately. I won’t be showing them in full because they’ll be presents for friends if/when I make them 🙂
vintage patterns. tidytipsy