The Art of Wabi Sabi Knitting

Wabi Sabi What?

If you are not familiar with the Japanese term Wabi Sabi, you may be wondering what on earth I’m about to talk about. You may be asking yourself: ”Is this crazy woman about to tell me to knit with chop sticks?” Let me sooth your mind right now, I’m not. Wabi Sabi knitting is something entirely different.

Wabi Sabi is an aestetic celebrating the imperfect and transcient aspects of life. If you are anything like me, you tend toward perfection as a default and constantly having to remind yourself that good enough is in fact good enough. Perfection doesn’t exist.
This is why makers of real oriental rugs always make a tiny mistake on purpose in their rugs. Only God is perfect and competing with that is impossible. This is where a Wabi Sabi view on life can be of tremendous benefit.

Don’t be a slacker.

If you can’t be perfect you might as well not try your best, right?! – Wrong! Wabi Sabi isn’t about doing lefthanded work (unless of course that is your dominant hand). I believe many people devote great efforts to achieving a Wabi Sabi expression.
What separates these people from the rest of us is that they hold the follow three things to be true:
  1. Nothing lasts 
  2. Nothing is finished
  3.  Nothing is perfect

And the knitting bit?

What I’m about to say  next may come as a shock to you or it may not, depending where you are on the perfectionist to Wabi Sabi spectrum.

Your knitting doesn’t have to be perfect.

That’s right, it doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s okay to fudge small mistakes or to change the recipient of a project if your gauge did a number on you. That small mistake could be a design feature and all you’ve changed are your words. Forgot to make the increases on the last row, don’t know how to fix it? Don’t fret, just make them on this row. Really, how many people come that close to your underarm? And don’t be afraid to show off your less than perfect knit to your knitting friends, the ones worth keeping won’t give you any trouble and the really nice ones may even teach you how to fix it next time, that is if they ever find the ’mistake’.

There are times when your knitting has to be spot on, for instance if you are test knitting or designing an item. However, most of the time, embracing more of a Wabi Sabi look of this thing we do as a recreational pasttime will bring another level of joy to our stitching.

What are you waiting for? Carpe Lanem

Free Pattern: Not Another Dishcloth

Today I'm launching my newest design, which is just a quick project and free since really there isn't much to it. I've been debating for a while wether or not to release it, because there is such an abundance of dishcloth patterns out there. However, since it is my go-to pattern for dishcloths and I did 'unvent' it back in the days when I first strarted knitting dishcloths I really wanted to share it with you so here you go.

To make these great dishcloths you need about 55m / 60yd of cotton and a 3,5mm /US4 circular needle.
You can find additional pattern details over at Ravelry and you can download the pattern there as well or by clicking download now

Deciding what to spin next.

Up next on the spinning front is a birthday gift for my mum, who is all about blues. I'm having a difficult time deciding which of these lovely braids to spin.
The first is another Malabrigo Nube, which I know will be lovely, since I just finished spinning 2 braids of it. On the other hand I just finished spinning two braids of it. You get the dilemma, right?!

Malabrigo Nube  809 Solis
The second braid is a gift and with a fibre content I'm so excited to try my hands at. It is a BFL/Silk blend, which feels so soft and in my mind it spins like butter. 

BFL/silk blend
 in unknown colourway from Fiber Obsession. 
The Fiber Obsession is singing its sirene song to me at the moment and I know my mum wouldn't mind getting some BFL/Silk yarn...
What do you think? Should I just go with the Fiber Obsession?

Micro Business - Learning from the Pros vol.1

As a micro business newbee, I'm seaking to learn from the Pros. Thankfully, many of them offer some of their wonderful advice for free, allowing a poor student like me to get the basics down right.
My tiny way of saying thank you is by sharing their awesomeness with you in a monthly round-up.

Sister Diane over at CraftyPod taught me that I needed an editorial calendar for the blog in podcast #119.

The awesome Regina over at byRegina shared 12 quick tip on how not to be an amateur blogger and I think I've finally managed to implement them all.

Blogaholic Designs showed me how to install social media plugins and speaking of plugins, I used some free ones from Olivia over at Hopeful Honey.

Julie over at Fabulous Blogging helped me manage social media in a pinch, which was much needed in a month full of studying for exams.

And finally, Code it Pretty showed me how to do this cool thing:

Follow Pia's board small biz tips on Pinterest.

Would you like a peek into a design process?

One of the things I've been looking around the interwebs for is glimpses of designers' processes. I love reading about how people get their ideas and how they design, but the people who share this are few and far between.

Spilling the beans

Any half decent blogger knows, that you should blog about things you yourself would like to read about, so I decided that I would be one of those people, who shared a lot about their process and inspiration etc. while working on patterns.

This decision immediately made it clear why not that many do so and why many who do, wait until the pattern is finished and published. Here is what I discovered:

  1. It is very difficult to take a somewhat decent picture of a design in progress without giving away the secret sauce.
  2. It is very difficult to talk somewhat coherently about the design process of a design in progress without giving away the secret sauce. 

All about the secret sauce

Are you sensing a pattern? I did too. It's not that I have a giant ego and a huge fear that someone will steal my 'brilliant' idea. It's more a case of me wanting to leave something for the imagination, so that the finished pattern will not be completely old news before it is published. And that my friends is all about keeping the secret sauce, well, a secret. 

While I finally understood why designers don't share their progress and processes as much, I was still determined to do so. I only have so much knitting time and a lot of it will hopefully be devoted to working on patterns in the future, so if I'm not willing to show and tell, there really isn't much left to blog about and I really do enjoy blogging.

So what can I share?

After the initial shock, I've been looking for ways to share snippits and realized there was still a lot I could share about designs, such as:

  • colours
  • small details
  • road bumps
  • discarded ideas 
  • inspiration

Honestly, with a little attention, I think I'll be able to share loads with you, while still preserving the secret sauce for the great reveals, when the patterns are published.

The big question is are you interested? Would you like a peek into my design processes?

Let's Review: Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush

First Impressions
It has been a while since I truely had my first impression of this book, since I've owned it for years. However I do clearly recall them, which in and of itself speaks volumes of this book. My parents gifted it to me and I remember going home on the train from the city, reading the history section and constantly telling my mum about the interesting things I learned.
Another aspect of this book that charmed me from the get go was its spiral binding. It is just so nifty for keeping a book open when you are trying to knit from it or even for making a work copy of a pattern.

The patterns

There are 24 patterns in this book, all updated from Weldon's Practical Needlework book series. I find the intro to every pattern, explaning what was done to update the pattern, fascinating. The specifications are clear and helpful and the patterns easy to follow. I should know, since I've knitted both Child's First Sock in Shell Pattern and what feels like countless pairs of the Madder Ribbed Sock (with some mods) for my dad.

Additional info

The chapter on Updating Weldon's Techniques was my first real introduction to sock anatomy in English and was my go to source for years. Not only is it a great learning experience of knitting in the past, it will likely make you giggle and improve your knitting as well.

At the buttom of the pattern pages is a timeline with events of the period and a mark placing the pattern in time. Beginning in 1894, the timeline coveres a broad range of events from the invention of the ice cream cone (1896) to universal adult suffrage in the U.K. (1928), where it ends.

At the end of the book, you'll find the Glossary, complete with clear drawings and discriptions for the techniques used in the book.

What I would knit

Besides my yearly quota of Madder Ribbed Socks, I would like to knit a pair of Infant's Fancy Silk Sock, Evening Stockings for a Young Lady and another pair of Child's First Sock in Shell Pattern, which is my favourite pair of socks to wear.
Evening Stockings for a Young Lady

Infant's Fancy Silk Socks
Final judgement

This book is worth the cost for the history section alone. Some of the patterns do not speak to me, but those that do, do so immensely. If you don't already own this book, then why are you not halfway to the store already?

Looking for other book reviews?

Try Adorable Knits for Little People by Nuriya Khegay

I am in no way paid to do this review and make it a point to always give my honest opinion about anything I review. Your milage may vary. 

226g. of softness

There is something I've entirely neglected to tell you. I finished spinning all 226g of Malabrigo Nube. I've been working a little on it every now and then since October and also did some other spinning in between, so it has taken some time, but it was in deed worth the wait. 
For some reason the photo came out all blue-ish, you can see the actual colours much better here. The Plomo and Lavanda went so well together and have been a pleasure to spin. But the thing that really did it was the bath. The yarn puffed up so nicely and became even softer. 

Now I just have to figure out what to do with 226g of pure handspun softness. What would you make?

Knit Crush: Veera Välimäki

After finishing my cosy nymph dress, better known to the rest of the world as the Still Light Tunic, I had to share my knit crush on Veera Välimäki. All pictures in this post are borrowed with permission from their Ravelry project pages and by clicking their name you'll be taken right to them. 

Most people associate Veera with the most colourful and beautiful shawls.

Color Affection

But I have a giant crush on a number of her other designs.


Hip and Pop
Frill Sleeves


I am so happy to share the pictures of my Still Light Tunic. No more 4 sleeves, no more whale cosy.
The voilà that did it was the tacking down of the pockets. Due to my yarn choice the fabric wasn't falling in the same way as it was intended. I knew this would happen, I deliberately made the choice. I just hadn't expected that the difference would be 16 cm. Ah yes, 16 cm was what I tacked down on the inside to make the pockets falll the way I wanted them to.
Thankfully, it all turned out allright in the end. I'll let the remaining pictures speak for themselves.

Micro business update.

These days it seems like I'm learning non-stop. All day I'm studying for my exams and at night I'm either learning more about blogging, social media or small businesses in general.
I'm looking forward to the 21st, which will be the first day of my summer vacation and the day I begin to do more focused work on my little micro business endeavour. An endeavour I want to keep you updated on.
I have reinvested every penny I've made from pattern sales into learning more about designing. Back in April, a generous stranger gifted me a class on Craftsy. I had to pause the class because all the math and Excel work was too much for my mid-semester brain. But the class had me at hello and this week I was able to buy two additional classes on designing and pattern writing (taking advantage of a sale making the classes 50% and 70% off).
I've been taking the pattern writing class at night while knitting and am excited as it progresses to something that seems very useful.

There is a design that has lived in my mind for a long time now and keeps haunting me, so I finally got some yarn to do a giant swatch, hopefully before the 21st, so that I can do the math for it and this neglected design during July and August.

In other micro business news my beloved MacBook once again refused to do anything let alone locate the operating system. This time it only lasted for a few hours, thankfully. However, it seems safe to say that a new computer may be needed in the not too distant future.

I knitted a whale cosy

I knitted a whale cosy. There I said it. A 4 sleeved whale cosy. Do you think I'm being a little hard on the poor Still Light Tunic? You are right, I am. The tunic is wonderful. But you see, I made it a dress, with long sleeves and it makes me feel not unlike a huge stranded whale. Sigh.

The feeling has been there all along. Every time I tried it on I told myself, that the pockets would make it much better, perfect in fact. I just had to finish the pockets, weave in the ends and I would go from stranded whale to lovely nymph. I just had to finish those pockets...

Queue pocket #1 just bound off and me trying the dress on for the Nth time. The fit was no better, in fact it was worse. Yes, the pocket had made the dress fit me even less.
By now I was ready to rip out the entire dress and just be done with it. Thankfully, my much saner mum was standing right next to me and sensing the waterworks being seconds from opening, she jumped in with a 'tack this down, sew this in a little and voilà'.

I didn't entirely buy the voilà part, but with all the hours, not to mention moolah invested into this dress, I'm ready to give anything a chance and I have to say I do just love those pockets. They are inspired by ohakala's pockets.  

Have you ever knitted a whale cosy?

Island flowers

One of the things that always amazes me when I'm back on the island during spring and summer is all the lovely flowers. Just as I am certain there will be no more new flowers to take pictures of, a new kind begins to bloom in my parents' garden or house.

These flowers always bring a smile to my face, I love thecomplexity and colours of orchids.

A garden bouquet for my MIL from my parents' garden.

But my all time favourite flower is callas, here in a bouquet we bought for my MIL (sensing a theme? She had a birthday).

Oh and yes, my mum knit that poncho I'm wearing out of leftovers and then decided it would look much better on me than her, which it was rather difficult to disagree with.

4 sleeves and counting

For the knitting update on my Still Light Tunic you get a brief conversation between me and my darling and ever funny friend Zoë the other day on twitter:

Me: This is beginning to be one big and heavy knitting project.

Zoë: Why are there 4 sleeves?

Me: hehe 4 sleeves.. Thankfully those are pockets! But I wouldn't mind a second pair of arms right now...

Let's review: KnitPicks/KnitPro Cubics - Double Pointed Needles (DPNs)

 A DPN  (Double Pointed Needle) lovestory

Possibly the best DPNs in the world!

Childhood experiments

I’m a DPN kinda gal. I’ve tried it all, magic loop, two circs, you name it I’ve tried it at least once. A long time ago, I discovered that DPNs were the way to go for me. Back in the day, I was knitting on those old school metal ones, those cold, hard, hand-hurting needles. They were the only kinds around really. Does that make me sound ancient? Oh, well. My first several pairs of wooden DPNs were bamboo and while I liked them a lot more than the metal ones, they always ended up being unusable after a while. Why? Because I bent the life out of those things.  I was a hardcore, grip-the-needle-to-save-your-life kinda knitter, who even bent metal on a regular basis.  

Highschool sweethearts

Around 2008, the year I graduated from the gymnasium (not a place you work out, but an educational institution, look it up, it’s an English word), I discovered not only Ravelry and podcasts but the company KnitPicks or KnitPro as I believe they are marketed under here. That year is a knitting haze to me.  At some point I got my first pair of KnitPro DPNs, beautiful, colourful laminated wood, round, soft and still to this very day magically unbent (partly due to my much more relaxed approach to needles at this point). I still recall using them for the first time and having that feeling of being reunited with a long lost friend, I never knew I had. 

Bye-bye first love, hello perfection

For years I would rave about these needles to anyone making the mistake of lending me an ear. Then something happened, these wonderful needles suddenly fell to the bottom of my toolkit, where they still lay, neglected, rarely used. When they actually get a workout, it is to the whining tune of “why do I not have this size in those other needles”.
Let me tell you about those other needles, the ones that made me say goodbye to my first true DPN love, they are perfection in my eyes and they are called KnitPro Cubics. Beautiful, colourful laminated wood, square, soft and still to this very day magically unbent. I still recall using them for the first time and having that feeling of being reunited with a long lost friend, I never knew I had. Oh no dear, I’ve never said that to anyone but you, I promise (ahem) and I swear I really mean it with you… 
Unless of course you feel like challenging my one true love with another kind? 

New life - elbow patches

It's fashion baby

It finally happened. I managed to wear out a part of a knitted cardigan long before the body of it gave in to all the (ab)use. My best and currently only knitted cardigan was no longer just see-through-thin on the elbows, it was threatening to sport a giant hole any time soon. 
Handmade clothes are precious in my wardrobe and this was the first cardigan/sweater my mum ever knitted for me, so it is even more valuable to me. Thankfully, elbow patches are not only in style, but fairly cheap as well. I paid 50 DKK for my faux leather (aka machine washable) ones. 


Getting the perfect placement of these patches wasn't easy. I wouldn't have been able to do it without my mum's help. There were a few factors to keep in mind:
1) The worn patches had to be covered (obviously)
2) The new patches had to be centered on the sleeves
3) The new patches had to be placed at the same point on both sleeves.

The latter proved extremely difficult.

Secrets revealed

After struggling with the placement for a while, the measurering tape revealed a great secret, that not even my mum, the knitted of the garment, was aware of. I finally knew why I keep tucking at one sleeve, but not the other. There is a good 2-3 cm difference in length from one sleeve to the other. Of course the obligatory teasing of my poor mother ensued. Somehow she had been in a hurry to finish that cardigan. 

Iron and sew

With the placing problems resolved, we turned to the actual attachment of the patches, which frankly felt a little like cheating as they were ironed on. They were also neatly perforated, showing me where my stitches should go. It turns out sewing on patches takes longer than I assumed. I spent a good few 5 min brakes in betweeen studying, sewing the patches on carefully.

The final result

For the first day or so the patches were rather stiff and uncomfortable, but they are getting more pliable by the day and are placed perfectly (it was so worth spending a long time on placement). My guess is that these new patches will add a good 3-5 years of wear to the cardigan and they don't look too shabby either.