Coffee Date

Wednesday, May 24, 2017




Tuesday, May 23, 2017

This is my tiny collection of Koigu. Mostly KPPPM. It's my new favourite. It's my new favourite not only because it is lovely all on its own, but also because it's solved a long standing problem for me. 

Years ago I was looking for a scrappy pattern to solve the What To Do With Sock Yarn Leftovers problem. Of course I found the famous Sock Yarn Blankie as well as the Hexipuff of The Beekeeper's Quilt fame. Neither stuck although I gave each the good ol' college try. I tried a few related off-shoot modular things as well. Nothing stuck. 

I learned a few things though. I wanted a modular pattern for a long term project. I wanted something easy to memorize. Something that travels well. 

I think I have finally found it!

For posterity, I will share the story of tracking down the pattern with you. It wasn't easy. 

While reading the recent Vogue Knitting magazine, I saw an ad for a pattern called Pastel Squares Scarf. The scarf excited me as it seemed to be exactly what I had been looking for. The ad was advertising Koigu yarn and the small print mentioned the pattern being available in Koigu Magazine 8. 

Finding Koigu Magazine 8 was my next challenge. My 'local' yarn stores - the closest of which is 45 minutes away - didn't have it. The very cool and excellent Yarn Truck answered my inquiry though...they would have it - and save a copy especially for me! - in a few weeks when they opened for the season. 

So I waited and Mr. A and I made a day of driving an hour and a quarter to a very small town north of here where the Yarn Turck was having its opening day for the season at a craft fair. I spent a few minutes picking out a couple of skeins of KPPPM to go with my Magazine and, mission accomplished, I was happily on my way home. (Also, it was a lovely day with Mr. A.)

I swatched, if you can imagine that I would do such a thing. I even washed the swatches and laid them out shaped nicely to dry. 

And now, finally, I have begun to knit. And I am very pleased with the outcome. Which, for some reason, I must show you sideways:

The funny thing is, the Pastel Squares Scarf pattern has not shown up on Ravelry yet. There was a bit of online discussion as to whether the scarf pattern, shown in the Vogue advertisement, was included in Koigu Magazine 8. It is, I can tell you with certainty. But when Koigu 8 went live on Ravelry, it was not included in the database entry. Curious. 

I am looking forward to amassing a collection of squares and then arranging them in a pleasing layout and perhaps making a bed sized blanket with them. They knit up so quickly that they are a wonderful solution to that 'I never finish anything' feeling. I've made ten or so in the last few days and I feel pretty proud of myself. Hopefully all continues as established...



Birds! Arne & Carlos

Sunday, May 21, 2017

In honor of Jean's ( recent question about Arne & Carlos' newest book, I though I would revive my ancient blog and post a few pictures. 

I am a new Arne & Carlos fan, although I have known about them for quite some time. I have been watching their YouTube videos with much amusement. I was watching for the English publication of their book Field Guide to Knitted Birds. The American publisher did not have a user friendly online shopping solution and I ended up ordering through the UK based Book Depository. Highly recommended. 

I am quite smitten with the book. Lovely quality, a beautiful addition to any coffee table. Inside the front and back covers, there are impressive fold-outs. Lots of inspirational photos as well as good information to make a flock of your own.

A chapter is devoted to the general construction of the birds and all their parts. I find the videos for the making of the beak and the 'supports', the adorable wire feet, quite helpful as I'm not sure I could have muddled through with just the written instructions.

Since birds are not necessarily required or justifiable knitted items the same way a sweater or mittens might be, I appreciate the many suggestions Arne and Carlos provide as to how your birds might be displayed around your home. The tea cozy that Jean mentioned in her blog is very cute. The wreath can be reinvented a hundred different ways for every season and holiday. 

The back cover fold-out, shown above, has a handy section on the right-hand side. On one page is the written pattern. On the other is the chart. So no matter which you prefer, you can fold out the final page of the book, close the book and knit away to your heart's content with all the required details available at a glance. (There are a couple of errors on the fold-out that are not present in Chapter 3 where the Basic Pattern is first presented, so user beware. And if you are an experienced knitter, the errors really aren't cumbersome at all.)

I am very pleased with my bird knitting so far. The most recent creation is a Koigu masterpiece of rainbow persuasion. I am using Briggs & Little Roving to stuff the wee birds as I have a whack of it on hand. It has a very pleasing finished feel to it: slightly dense yet still light and enough memory to hold the finished bird shape. Not near so floofy and light and bouncy as polyester fill.

I'm sure I'll expand from the plain basic pattern eventually and try decorating with feathers and sequins and trying a display or two for my fireplace mantles. But for now, I am quite amused by the differences in character created by different yarns and wrestling the wire into bird feet. 

So a solid 10/10 to Arne & Carlos for a beautiful and inspirational book.



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