Mittwoch, 14. November 2018

Sternchen - Star-Shaped Ornament

Now that we're in the middle of November, Christmas decorations are starting to be seen again. To get into the right mood, I tried to a knit small 3-dimensional star. And once I finished one, I couldn't stop and did quite a few more - because they really look cute and it's fun knitting them.
Even though these stars are 3-dimensional they are knitted flat. They have six points, are constructed of short rows and knitted (nearly) all in garter stitch. They come in two sizes and can be used to decorate your house for Christmas.
As to the name, "Sternchen" is the German word for little star.






The pattern is available as a PDF on Ravelry here. Until the first sunday of Advent (Dec 2nd), 2018 - there is a 25% discount available - no coupon code necessary.

The pattern PDF contains
  • a written pattern for two sizes
  • a chart for two sizes
  • photo illustrations for various stages of star

Skills
In order to knit one of these stars, you need the following knitting skills:
  • Provisional CO
  • Short rows with wrap and turn - there is also an explanation how to adapt it to use german short rows
  • Grafting in garter stitch
  • Grafting in stockinette
  • kfb and ssk

Materials
To knit these stars you need
  • yarn - leftovers will do, when using fingering weight yarn, I used about 5 grams of yarn to knit a bigger star, with Sports weight it was about 10 grams
  • straight knitting needles - I used a size that was a bit too small for the yarn to get a tight texture
  • crochet hook and scrap yarn for provisional CO
  • stuffing - I used old yarn ends that I had collected from my last knitting projects
  • a tapestry needle for grafting and to weave in ends
  • one stitch marker



Freitag, 2. November 2018

The Right Yarn for the Right Pattern

For #socktober I wanted to knit a pair of short row socks - with a similar toe construction to the Tipsy Toe Socks, but with a bit more of a short row pattern for the main part. At first I wasn't quite sure about the effect I wanted to achieve. That's why I tried it a few times - and with different yarns. But once I had roughly settled for a pattern (or rather a pattern idea), I found out that not every kind of variegated yarn worked for it and - as a general rule - how important it is to choose the right yarn for the right pattern.

Here's how it went for me when trying to knit these socks:


  • Upper Left - 1st Attempt: This was my first attempt and done with Lang Yarns Twin Wash - the yarn worked beautifully for the shape I had in mind - especially with the longer dark yarn between the lovely rainbow color changes, but I hadn't quite fixed how exactly the socks were supposed to look. I tried once with a shadow wrap heel and once with a sweet tomato heel, but I wasn't quite happy with both. So in order to save this yarn (i.e. not to frog it too often) I tried the same shape with different yarn. 
  • Upper Right - 2nd Attempt: For the 2nd try I used yarn from years ago (to be exact from the second pair of Pieces of Eight Mitts) - a beautiful autumnal dark-green, red and yellow combination of Schoeller+Stahl Fortissima Mexico. When trying the socks with this yarn, I found out that the color change was a bit too long to look nice. I finished the sock anyway, just to frog it later on. But at least I figured out, the actual pattern I wanted to knit.
  • Lower Left - 3rd Attempt: So I tried again, with a yarn that had much shorter color changes: a Regia Mosaik Color colorway I bought this year on holiday. The yarn is beautiful, but the lack of longer strands of one color results in a lack of color blocks that you usually get from short rows and therefore the shape wasn't quite visible. But while knitting the tip of this sock, I finally figured out, how to best do the short rows in the round (hint: with shadow-wraps). 
  • Lower Right - 4th Attempt: I then dived into my stash again and found some of last year's cheap Aldi yarn. Since I knew what socks pattern and what heel I wanted to knit (plus I had figured out a way to do nice looking short rows in the round), it worked a treat - and I finished a pair of them and I am really happy with the look.

Since the pattern also fits the first yarn I tried it with, I have started another pair with my Lang Yarns Twin Socks yarn. I guess I will also write and publish the pattern for it.

As an aside, this sock was the first time, I tried to use shadow-wrap short rows for something other than a heel - and I really liked how neat they looked.