Category Archives: Yarn


So it’s time to evaluate the red yarn.

The colour is very close to perfect. Which would be great.

But I wasn’t thinking when I threw myself head over heels into this dyeing adventure. This will not come as a surprise to those of you who know me well – I tend to get ideas and act on them straight away, when sometimes it might have worked better had I stopped to think about it….

The thing is. The colour is near perfection. But the yarn weight is still wrong.

{The colour is impossible to get on camera. Trust me when I say it's perfect..}

While a lot of shawls knit up great in sock yarn – I had forgot to think about that this project has you hold the yarn double  most of the time – making it aran weight when using sock yarn. And this design really needs something a bit more elegant.

I did swatches of the pattern with this yarn, and then decided to do a swatch in which I combined two of the other red yarns.

{Again - it's really hard to get the colour right. These are the yarns I'm going with}

And I sort of really like it knit up. Also. One of the yarns has silk in it.

So I think I made my decision. I’m making a poppy shawl.

P.S. I’m also still working at my boatneck jumper. I’m almost at the waist.

Dying for red

So I want to make myself a second Camomille.
One in red.
But not just any red.
It has to be the perfect shade.

So I’ve been to several yarn shops. I have purchased colour cards from webshops and even small skeins in colours I thought would work. Some are too pink-ish. Some are to orangy. Some are too brownish. Some are too fair. Some are perfect in colour, but way too heavy for this project.

Plenty of red yarns. And none are just right

But I did find the perfect colour and weight. It’s this colourway called Carmine. But. It’s out of stock. I e-mailed to see when it would be back, but there is no telling when. And I still really really want to get this project going (the boatneck will very soon be too big and complicated to bring along to conferences and meetings – and really, that’s where I knit these days).

So I decided to try and dye some yarn using food colouring, and see if I can get a good red that’s close enough.

I have this undyed sock yarn in a drawer. It’s a very basic yarn, that I got at the supermarket during a sale some years ago for less than 0.50 € a skein. So I got plenty to play with.

Making the long skeins

I set up the swift, skeined the yarn out and tied it with contrasting cotton yarn (cotton wont take the dye, so I’ll be able to see where it’s tied).
Then I filled a bucket with lukewarm water, added a good slug of cheap vinegar and let the yarn soak for an hour.

In the mean time, I got the dyes ready. I’m using Wilton’s Icing Colors, which I got at a speciality cake shop in Copenhagen. If I had easy and affordable access to Kool Aid I would probably have used that. But I don’t. I used the Christmas red and the black to get a darker bluish red. For 100 g of yarn, I used about 6 ml of dye. I mixed the dye with a little bit of vinegar and topped up with hot water from the tab. Then I added the dye and more hot water to a plastic bowl (that’ll go into the microwave oven) and then the yarn.

The dyes I'm using

I then cooked the yarn in the microwave for 2 minutes, let it rest for 2 minutes, cooked for 2 minutes etc. until the dye was absorbed by the yarn and the water looked clear (the first batch took 6 minutes, the  second 8 minutes of cooking).

The water is now clear

Then I’ve let the yarn cool, rinsed it in lukewarm water, wringed it carefully (I don’t want it to felt) and it’s now hanging to dry. The second batch (in which I used more black than in the first one) looks very promising. But I won’t know until it’s dry and I can look at it in daylight.

I’ll be sure to let you know :-)




On being short..

.. on material

As I told you, when writing about the almost-half-a-Terra-shawl, I ran out of yarn, because I was knitting from stash. The logical thing for me to do, when starting a new project, would of course be, to use some of the yarn I’m selling in my shop. But because I have a stash (= a lot of previously purchased/acquired material, that I didn’t get with a specific project in mind) and because I might be somewhat cheap, I chose yarn already in my personal stash.

The next thing I should have done, when I decided I wanted to knit this shawl, was to look up the pattern to figure out how much yarn was needed, and then combining that information with how much I had of the yarn I wanted to use, I could have decided if I had enough.

But nooooooooo. I was guessing guesstimating, which sometimes works, but very often doesn’t…    

Which brings me on to The Striped Dress.

The pattern I had planned for the striped jersey...

I really really want to make a baby-doll-ish striped dress using ONION 2035 and this lovely striped grey/black jersey. But I don’t have enough fabric, you see.. I have been sewing for so many years now, but still, I often underestimate how much fabric I might actually need. In this case, I apparently had bought only 125 cm of the fabric because I thought it wanted to be a t-shirt. Well, I was wrong, wasn’t I?!

The fabric that could have been a dress

On Saturday, when I had cut the pattern and ironed the fabric, I was ready to cut the fabric and start sewing immediately. But a little drama in the family (nothing serious, thankfully, but I was forced to change my plans) made me put everything away, and then I thought I could have a look at Sunday afternoon.

So I was getting ready to sew up a very nice dress, laid out the fabric on my table and began to think something was wrong. And when placing the pattern pieces I realised that this will be a very very short dress. So I decided to leave it and think it over. Now I’m thinking, that if I combine some pattern pieces (re-tracing the pattern) and lay the pattern out carefully, I might be able to get something out of it. We’ll see this week-end… Otherwise, the fabric might get it’s way and become a t-shirt…..

And craft-wise all I have been doing, is knitting on two pairs of socks. Especially the no-thinking-required pair. Obviously that’s perfect for me right now….

What do you do, when buying for stash, to make sure you have enough? Any good amounts, you always buy?

In other news – I have added a very special offer (only good until Monday!) to the shop. I have 3 reprinted patterns, that are back in the shop, and I’ve created an offer where you get 3 patterns for the price of 2.

Moving forward

My A-Little-More-Than-Half-a-Terra is dry and soft and lovely.

I would  have preferred a complete Terra, but this is what happens when you knit from stash… You don’t always have the amount needed, and you have to make do… (And it’s the same with fabric… I have a story about striped jersey to share with you)

Well, I love my new shawl, and especially how it is red and warm and matches my Luxury Mitts (which are made in completely different yarn!)

Actually, I would kind of like to make another one… I might not be sick of garter ridges yet..

But first I cast on for some new toe-up vanilla socks in a lovely blue Malabrigo!

This is my new no-thinking-required knitting. In a very lovely yarn!

My creative week-end

(doesn’t that sound like something out of a magazine?)

After a couple of weeks with very little creative outlet (I’m working on some knit designs, that I can’t really show you – but I’ve only actually been knitting very little), I got a lot done this week-end:

On Saturday my friend Karen (whom I’ve known since we were 6 and been friends with since we were 14) came to visit me because she needed help in altering some patterns to create some maternity clothing. She is having a surprise baby in April – and she just gave all of her old maternity clothing to charity… 

Karen standing, me drawing.. My dining table is right next to my small sewing room...

Anyway. We spent the entire day chatting and measuring and tracing and altering patterns before cutting. We used ONION 2007 (a knit dress with raglan sleeves) as a starting point, and created t-shirts, tunics and of course a dress.  I’ll tell you how in a later post.

And from a different angle. Please excuse the no make-up look. The photos were taken by Dennis

We then had a nice evening chatting some more and then on Sunday I went to Copenhagen to meet up with Lisbeth and others to participate in a knitting workshop by Helga Isager (who is the daughter of Marianne Isager, that I wrote about some time ago).

Action shot. Everybody is trying techniques or touching yarn (I was behind the camera)

We did some swatches and talked about designing and touched yarn  a bit (like you do when you are at a very nice yarnstore and get a 10 % discount…). We had a very inspirering session and I left with a lot of new ideas jumping around inside my head.

Helga Isager is the second from the left. Very nice! And a super talented designer! I love her stuff!

What a lovely week-end!

Snapshots from my week-end

First: Important message: Paypal is acting up. Apparently a lot of peple have had trouble paying with Paypal in the shop the last couple of days. The webmaster (you know – Dennis :-))is looking into it – but until he can work it out, you are very welcome to e-mail me at mariaATshoponionDOTcom (substitute At for @ and DOT for.) with your order, so that I can process it manually. I’ll need your address and paypal account address, as well as your order.
Now on with the regular posting:

Wow – the week-end swooshed by!

Most of all because I was spending a lot of time adding yarn to the shop. It’s an experiment. I asked my costumers if they would be interested in the luxurious Onion yarn and I got quite a lot of people saying they would be. SO I ordered a bunch and started adding the yarn to the shop. I have added a bulky weight Alpaca/wool blend and a DK weight superfine Merino. The Alpaca is really soft and feels wonderfull to knit with. Also looks great with cables. The superfine Merino is 100% superwash wool and also soft, but mostly it’s noted for it’s great stitch definition – and it comes in so many colours!

BTW – I’m having an indroductory offer with 25% off! – Should you be interested.. – Feel free to spread the word!!

They are both lovely yarns, and I’m curious to see if my regular sewing customers will buy it…
socks and cat
That was Friday and Saturday taken care of. Well, I did manage to knit a bit – mostly I worked on my fathers ragsocks – knitted in aran weight sock yarn. I don’t know if it’s been too long since I last knitted a sock, but I had big problems with working out the heel (was knitting late at night and watching a movie..).

Sunday, Lisbeth came to see me. We had such a great time talking and knitting and sorting out my personal yarn stash and swapping yarn and sewing patterns and having tea and talking and knitting – you get the picture. I had to rip out the heel of the stupid sock 3 time – because I was trying out new techniques that didn’t really work for me… (I know. My own fault!)

We talked a lot about the shop – and Lisbeth had a fantastic idea that really made my mind reel and that I’m very excited about. I can’t share it right now, but will as soon as I can! All in all a fantastic day!

Lisbeth had only just left, when my father and his wife arrived with a door for my room. When I cast on the socks for my father, I was told that he wears a size 43 in shoes. But it turns out that he is indeed wearing a size 45 – and that the sock (which was pretty d*** close to being finished) is too small!

Needless to say, I threw it into the knitting basket and have been knitting on my Raspberry Jumper since that.

Finished Shawl

The #Stashbustarmy shawl(ette) is done.


The #Stashbustarmy shawlette

I started this inspired by hearing about other Stashbustarmy projects. I decided to use some of my good yarn, that was just waiting for a project. So I cast this one on.

How Í made it:

I just started this by beginning the same way as when I cast on for Ishbel and Traveling Woman:

CO 3st, work 6 rows, pick up and knit 3 st along the side, then 3 st along the CO row. = 9 st

Working right side like this:
k3, YO, knit to center st, YO, knit Center stitch,YO, knit to last 3 st, YO, k3.

Working wrong side like this:
k3, YO, p to last 3 st, YO, k3.

This was perfect for mindless knitting. No need for counting – justfast faorward (and yet a tiny bit of variation).
I continued until the shawl was 150 cm wide, then I did one row of K2tg, Yo (actually I did SSK on the first half, K2tgt on the second half), then I knit 6 rows (3 garter st ridges) before binding off using this method: knit 1, knit 1, slip both st back to left needle, SSK, knit 1, slip both st back sto left needle, etc.. which gives a nice stretchy bind off edge.

Before blocking it looked like this and wasn't very soft.

 The Evilla yarn is not very soft. There is still spinning oil in it, and soome dye too.

After a nice soak and blocking, it looks and feels much better!

After blocking - softer (but still filled with cat hair)

In other knitting news: The Raspberry jumper is coming along nicely:

Moving along nicely - waist shaping almost done...

More about sewing tomorrow!

On a lighter note – WIPs

After that former serious post – I would like to share some of what I have been working on instead of smoking and eating :-) Knitting is perfect on-the-go when you stop smoking – and sewing is great at home – it keeps my hands occupied! 

The #Stashbustarmy shawl(ette)

I started this shawlette after listening to Voolenvine’s podcast about stashbusting, and I decided it was time to use some of the good yarn sitting in my stash. Also I really need a greenish-blue scarf to wear with some of my outfits now it’s getting colder!


Made in Evilla yarn

I digged out some Evilla yarn I bought 2½ years ago in Kiel and found me some 5mm needles.  This is the “pattern”:

CO 3st, work 6 rows, pick up and knit 3 st along the side, then 3 st along the CO row. = 9 st

Working right side like this:
k3, YO, knit to center st, YO, knit Center stitch,YO, knit to last 3 st, YO, k3.

Working wrong side like this:
k3, YO, p to last 3 st, YO, k3.

I am going to work like this, until I think it’s big enough, and then I’ll do some sort of edging. I knit on this during breaks in school and other times when I need completely mindless knitting.

The Manos Boatneck

Last week I started swatching in the raspberry Silk Blend I got for my birthday. I want to make a loose fitting raglan boatneck jumper, with drape and a bit of transparency (to wear with slim jeans and a tank top) and I settled on 7mm needles.


The initial sketch and swatch for the raspberry boatneck.

I cast on Sunday evening, and am slowly moving towards seperating the sleeves and the body – working the sweater top down in one piece, naturally :-)


When I had just worked a few rounds. I love the pinguin stitch markers!

I’m also having a few active sewing projects going on:


The soon to be dress 2026 version 8.

Yet another knit dress with neckline edge. I think I have made 7 of these so far – two have died, one went to life with a friend (better colour for her than for me)… This one is going to be blue! The pattern is Onion 2026, which I think is one of my favorite patterns. I have it cut and have sewn and pressed the darts. Maybe I’ll get around to work some more on it tonight.

And one more sewing project:

I am experimenting with making a knitting bag with coordinating toolback and needle book. I am using remnants of the purple dotted fabric from the cutting table. Most of the work is done on paper – I need to figure out the dimensions, so there is not much to show, yet – but here is the fabric.


love this purple fabric with white dots.

What is your favourite size for knitting project bags?

A night out – inspiration!

On Tuesday evening, I went to central Copenhagen for an event where Marianne Isager would speak about her inspiration and design ideas. I ordered 2 tickets for the event in the early summer, but it turned out, that the friend I had thought would go with me, was unable to. So in the very last minute I posted in the Danish Knitters group on Ravelry, that I had an extra ticket to trade for a skein of yarn.

Isager tickets

The tickets!

I was fortunate enough that Lisbeth replied that she would love to go. I had’t met her before, but we arranged to meet outside Sommerfuglen (who had organized the event) and then go and have something to eat before going to the venue.

We clicked immediately and had a great time eating Indian take-out and chatting about knitting. Lisbeth had some lovely yarn for me and we talked and talked and then we had to go.

When we entered the venue, we immediately realised that we were very yong compared to the rest of the crowd. But we got a seat and took out our knitting and in a few minutes Marianne Isager began her speaking. Now is the time to explain why I had ordered the tickets, even though I don’t really like most of her designs (I adore most of her daughter’s design (she is Helga Isager [ravelry link]), but that’s a different blog post:-)). Marianne Isager is one of the most respected Danish knit designers and is very inventive with new techniques and patterns, and I thought it would be interesting to hear about where her inspiration for the new designs come from.

It was. She talked about getting inspiration from travels – from artefacts at museums (and this is mostly her fairisle knitting patterns) and from old sweaters. She had a lot of her garments available for trying on, but unfortuntely we weren’t able to take any pictures. She showed some of her new designs (childrens) and some of them were really very interesting. I especilly liked a girls tunic inspired by the H.C. Andersen’s fairytale The Snow Queen (sorry, that I can’t show you pictures (they are copyright protected), but follow the link to see it).

Yarn from Lisbeth.This is Colinette sock yarn-

All in all I had a great night – but the most giving part was hanging out with Lisbeth. I love making new knitting and sewing friends! And she also sews a  lot!


Parting shot: Lace yarn (another gift!)

Photo light box

Today I took a vacation day (I knew I would be home late after the Marianne Isager workshop/speech last night (more on that later)) and I spend an hour this morning creating a lightbox for photographing yarn, WIPs, etc.

I basicly used the instructions from this tutorial, except I used baking paper for the windows. I am amazed at the effect! I need to learn more ways to fiddle with the camera settings, and to work with Photoshop, but I shot a few pics, that showed the colours just about perfectly.

Light box

The lightbox. fancy word for a box with holes.

It’s a cardboard box, that some of Dennis’ music equipment came in. I cut it smaller and cut holes in the sides, the front and the top. I reinforced the (heavy) cardboard with packaging tape, and then taped baking paper (I could have used tracing paper, but the stuff I have has squares on it) to the sides and the top. Then I inserted a piece of white cardboard – and Voila! A light box – all made from stuff I already had in the house!

The plexiglass jewelry box in front of the lightbox was used instead of a tripod.

First I took pictures of some of my new nail polish -because it was sitting on my desk, and I could check the colours out. 

Nail Varnish

My new Essies. They're called 'In Stitches' and 'SewPsyched'. How could I not buy them?

Then I continued taking pictures of the yarn I got yesterday (will be in a later post) and also some of the yarn I got for my birthday in August

Wollmeise from Tini

Lovely Wollmeise I got from Tini. Very hard to photograph! Took a lot of playing w camera settings.

Iphone pic

This was taken with the Iphone. It's teal manos del Uruguay, that Dennis gave me for myB-day.

I am swatching the red Manos del Uruguay for a boat neck jumper I am going to knit as my next mindles knittng project. Think I’ll go up to 6 mm needles…

red Manos

Swatching the raspberry Manos (more from my wonderful husband!)

In conclusion – I am very happy with how the light filters through the baking paper. I have taken these pics by daylight coming in through the window + a little bit of light (from the top) from my 7W table lamp. I already told the kids that they can make me a bigger (and maybe more sturdy) box for Christmas :-)

Do you have any photography tips for me? Tutorials, articles, tips?? I would love to learn more!