Watching Who: 7×05 The Angels Take Manhattan

Things we’re taking away from this episode:
  • Important men always wear trench coats on this show.
  • Battery Park seems lovely. When it’s not infested with angels, that is. Also, Tove has a massive architecture crush on the Chrystler Building.
  • The Doctor really SHOULD stick to the science part instead of commenting on glasses and wrinkles and stuff.
  • Only thing creepier than angels? Baby angels. NO NO A WORLD OF NO. GO AWAY.
  • This episode has interesting definitions of marriage.
  • Smiling angels is a BAD sign.
  • Makeover for the Statue of Liberty. WE DON’T LIKE IT.
  • What a gorgeous episode. Setting, costumes, the whole thing. Yowzah!
  • Tears, goosebumps, waaaah. Does ANYONE like endings?
Best moment:

The Doctor: Well come on, come on, come on! Where is he?
River: If it was that easy I’d get you to do it.

Verdict:

Through our sniffling, we’re giving this episode 4.5 out of five DPNs, for being scary, gorgeous, and sad, yet not TOO sad… for an ending.

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Tips Theme Week: Online yarn shops

(I know, we are a bit partial to Madelinetosh. I apologize for this in advance.)

I have a confession to make. I know there’s lots of people who love shopping and taking a whole Saturday to visit every boutique in town (or even worse, going to the capital of Sweden for this purpose). I hate that kind of shopping. It is absolutely exhausting! So thank goodness I live in a time where online shops thrive.

Now, online shopping is a completely different story. No elbowing to make your way, no sweating, no need to worry about fainting when the blood sugar runs low, or finding bathrooms when you need one. You can take your time to chose, you can even drink tea whilst doing your shopping AND watch Doctor Who, and then a nice little package is delivered to your home which you can rip up in childish delight. What can compete with that I wonder?

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The other reason for purchasing yarn online is the limited supply. Yarn is one of the few exceptions where I’d actually prefer to visit a boutique IRL. There is a nice little yarn boutique in Västerås, where I live (not IN the boutique obviously), and an even better one in Stockholm, where Tove brought me when I was new to yarn (and I won’t mention just how much I spent… erhm). Unfortunately neither of them keep Madelinetosh. Just a couple of months ago I actually suggested it to Litet Nystan in Stockholm and they told me that Madelinetosh were currently not accepting more suppliers… How sad is that!

There is in fact just one supplier of Madelinetosh in Sweden: Garnkorgen. It’s a nice online shop with excellent service and if you’re really lucky they might have the tosh variety and the color of your choice. They have quite a nice selection of other yarn brands, needles and beads.

In our opinion, the absolut best online shop for yarn (and Madelinetosh especially) is Jimmy Beans Wool. They have almost everything, not always in stock, but they make sure to get it when you ask. The downer is that they ship from the US (and for me especially because the Swedish customs seems to have blacklisted my name or something because ALL my packages get held up).

So, I just had to do something about this. And because inventing a pseudo is not my first option on the list, I thought it must be better to order from somewhere within the borders of Europe. Apart from listing all their products, Madelinetosh have also listed their suppliers on their website. And that’s how I found a nice little online shop in Switzerland called Woll Wirr Ware. They have a large selection of Madelinetosh Merino Light in stock and offered really good service. The two challenges were first to order in German, which Google translate solved conveniently for me, and the second to pay invoices across country borders, but it all worked out perfectly.

Madelinetosh also have their own shop where they sell “non-retail bases” and other limited special offers. That is how Tove came across her treasured Madelintosh Lush Seaglass just before it went out of stock completely.

Other yarn shops that we know of worth checking out are:

  • This Is Knit, the one Tove visited when she was last in Ireland. They have a nice selection of Malabrigo among other things.
  • Webs, ships from the US and has a huge selection.
  • Whitknits, also ships from the US. Tove bought a “bag” (four skeins) of Tosh for a cardigan project from here for a very good price, so it’s well worth keeping an eye out if they run that special offer again.
  • The Loopy Ewe (one day Tove will tell the story of how she HASN’T been to this store…) which is another US shop with a wide selection.

And a few more Swedish online yarn shops for our local readers:

  • Islinda, where you find Icelandic yarn.
  • Stäket, with their hand dyed more unique yarn varieties.
  • Deisy Design, a Swedish online yarn shop.

Have we missed your favorite? Please tell us in a comment. We’re always eager to find new yarn shopping experiences!

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Tips Theme Week: Blogs and other sources of inspiration

First of all, I have to confess I don’t really read any knitting blogs regularly. Oops. Having said that, here are some nuggets of inspiration on the net that Anneli and I like, in no particular order.

  • Yarn Harlot, because her status as a big name within knitting is well deserved.
  • One Sheepish Girl, whose pictures are constantly gorgeous.
  • Wendy Knits – patterns! Cats! Cupcakes!!
  • Ysolda – it’s possible I have a teensy blog crush on Ysolda Teague. Maybe.
  • Knit Purl Gurl, who does video blogs as well!
  • Twisted Knitter, whose aesthetics and style really appeal to me.
  • Knitting to Stay Sane, because a) who can’t relate to THAT feeling and b) being a great place for finding both inspiration and really useful instructions. And socks! Socks galore!
  • Slip Slip Knit, which has a ton of great patterns and really lovely pictures.
  • Pepperknit. Knitting and baking. What’s not to love.
  • Damn, Knit and Blast It! GREAT name, and really funny stories along with some great knitting.

Like I said, I’m not a prolific yarn blog reader, and these are only a few of the great ones out there. A few more of the many, many, MANY can be found on this list – give it a go!

One things I do do an awful lot of, as opposed to regularly reading blogs, is listen to podcasts. During my commute, during work (don’t worry, only when appropriate!), whilst knitting… you name it. (I think it has to do with my inability to do one thing at a time.) I’d actually really love some more tips for good podcasts (I DID hear rumours that there is a podcast run by knitting Doctor Who fans – WHERE CAN I FIND THIS?!), but some of my favourites are:

  • Stickpodden – in Swedish. Really good quality, relaxed and funny hosts, and a good mix between straight-up yarn talk and other things.
  • Stash and Burn is actually quite similar to the abovementioned, but in English.
  • Knitting Pipeline. I haven’t listened that much but I like what I’ve heard.
  • Never Not Knitting – the very first thing I heard from this was about hexipuffs. I could relate. She also has a great blog!
  • 90% Knitting is a video podcast, which makes it less ideally suited for, say, work hours, but has its own merits.
  • Knitting in Circles is another video podcast, with such a rare thing as a male co-host!

I never really understood the charm of Pinterest until I browsed it on my iPad. Boy howdy, did that eat up some time when I did. (Note to self: never use the phrase “boy howdy” again.) Just searching for “knitting” will bring up dozens upon dozens upon dozens of boards full of inspiration, pretty yarn, and funny quotes. (My own knitting board is 99% funny quotes. Well. I think they’re funny.) Here are some good ones to get you started:

DISCLAIMER: Along with Ravelry, Pinterest – especially the iPad app – will eat your life. I take no responsibility for the neglect of your social life, house plants, pets, small children etc which may result from the browsing of these sites. You have been warned.

That’s a few of the places we go to for inspiration – are there any great ones we’re missing out on? Share them in the comments!

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Tips Theme Week: Find knit patterns

My absolute favourite site of all for finding patterns is Ravelry. I love Ravelry for lots of other reasons too: like keeping track of your stash and your projects, connecting with fellow knitters, seeing what others have knit, intriguing forum discussions, seeing what the yarn you’ve bought looks like when knitted and soooo much more!

patterns

You have to create your own account, but once you have that the wonderful and extensive pattern database is all yours. There are many patterns for free and others to buy. If selecting the advanced pattern search you have many useful options for filtering out patterns. (Like knit or crochet, free or purchase pattern, what type of item, yarn weight and yardage.) It’s one of the most impressive databases I’ve come across (and I work with system development) where patterns and projects are connected. This means that you can view fellow knitter’s results from the pattern you’re considering. You can also access their helpful comments.

There are many sites for purchasing or finding free patterns. Many of them display at Ravelry as well. But we thought we could mention a few here anyway:

  • Knitty is an online knitting magazine that publishes 4 times a year. The June selection of patterns were made available just last week. Knitty acts a little bit like a platform for introducing new designers. (I’m eying the Glitz at the Ritz shawlette convinced an afternoon tea shawlette is just what my wardrobe is short of).
  • Drops is not only the Norwegian brand of soft alpaca yarn, but also a free pattern database. If you don’t like knitting in English Drops might be an alternative as they publish patterns in 14 different languages.
  • Twist collective is an online magazine where you can purchase patterns. Their issues contain wonderful and inspiring pictures of the patterns available. A definite stop for inspiration! (I wish I had an Eiffel tower to model in the background when I photograph my completed projects… Maybe I can settle for a rune stone.)
  • Knitpicks is an online knit store with their own brands of yarn and much more including some free knitting patterns. Unfortunately, for us European citizens, Knitpicks only ships within the US. (We bought some yarn for dyeing and whilst I was scampering about the neighboring woods looking for mushrooms, Tove was busy stuffing skeins in her suitcase across the Atlantic.)
  • Knitting Help offers a nice selection of free patterns.
  • Vogue Knitting, with their elaborate and inspiring patterns, also offers some patterns for free.
  • Knitting Patterns Central is a knitting pattern database.
  • Islinda is a Swedish online shop for Icelandic yarn. They have both patterns for free and to purchase.
  • Tanis Knits is the homepage of the designer Tanis who has been working for Vogue Knitting among others. You’ll find a few free patterns available on the site.
  • Pick-A-Stitch is a Digital Knitting Stitch Collection, so something else entirely. I came across them because of a pattern I wanted from Ravelry and I had to sign up for their newsletter to get it. What they actually do is that they’ve collected over 300 different stitches or knit structures and with a purchased subscription you can access the database.

Most of Tove’s and my pattern resources are online, but there’s quite many magazines and books as well containing patterns among other things (I’m leaving that subject to Tove…). I’m not too fond of having to purchase a whole pattern book because often there’s just one or two patterns you’re after (in my case at least). Then I much prefer sites like Ravelry and I really don’t mind paying a few euros for a pattern. There are many patterns available for free, but since I’m a bit picky (it IS my time after all, and I only want to knit the things I want most of all) I don’t mind paying a few euros for a nice pattern. I know that by doing this I’m also sponsoring a designers work.

Being online and all there’s mobile apps with patterns as well. Tove stumbled upon the Craftsy app just the other day, which is well worth a look.

Where do you get your patterns? Please tell us, we’re dying to learn all the best ways to find patterns!

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Adventures in blocking

I finished my Eiffel Tower shawl yesterday. Mmm overcooked noodles:

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Popped it in the sink and returned ten minutes later to find this:

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Yikes! I’ve never had problems with Madelinetosh bleeding like this before. I kept rinsing and rinsing but it just kept bleeding, so I got my trusty citric acid out, dumped some in, and voila:

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Like magic!

Next step; the designated blocking towel. This towel is from my grandparents’ summer house and I always get nostalgic using it.

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I block on a foam hopscotch mat I bought at Biltema. It’s great because you can shape it to your needs, and once you’re not using it it doesn’t take up much space.

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It’s STUPIDLY hard to find good pins in this country. I bought these rustproof t-pins in the US but I need more of them…

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… because I’m kind of crazy when it comes to pinning, as you can see from the finished result:

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I actually love blocking. It’s like magic. So satisfying to see the overcooked noodles open up into gorgeous lace patterns!

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Exciting theme week coming up!

Tove and I have decided to run our first theme week (ever) and we’re really excited about this! Of course we hope that this theme week will come in handy for all of our readers. We’ve decided to share some of our best knit tips and resources.

What do you need to get started? Which are the best online shops for yarn, tools and accessories? Where do you find the best patterns? And where do you get inspiration?

Well, that’s just some of the questions we intend to answer! These are the topics we’ve planned to cover:

  1. Patterns
  2. Blogs and other online sources
  3. Online shops
  4. Designers
  5. Techniques, tutorials and tools
  6. Books and magazines
  7. Accessories

They are all big topics, we know. We’ll share what we’ve learnt so far and hopefully you can go from there!

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A stretchy shawl edging

I usually prefer to knit in wool as it’s stretchy and forgiving, but the “Liv” shawlette was made in silk/kashmir. I tried the knit together stretchy bind-off, but unsuccessfully. Instead I decided to turn the knit project 90 degrees and knit the edge. Many shawls use this trick and add an extra patterned finish this way. I didn’t want more pattern, just a nice framing.

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I’ve knit the top edge with 3 stitches in garter and decided to go for a 4 stitch garter edge at the bottom. I don’t really like the idea of casting on more stitches as in that new part I’d lose the 3 stitches garter edge. Like in this example:

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My 4 stitches garter edge:

Knit 6 rows of the 3 stitches which form the top garter edge, leaving the rest of the stitches live on the needles.

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Then bind off two stitches.

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With 1 live stitch on the right-hand needle pick up 3 stitches from the left-hand side of the garter edge (like you do for a garter tab provisional cast-on).

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Turn the project and knit the wrong side of the 4 stitches.

Then repeat the following rows:

  • Row 1 (right side): Knit 3, then knit the last stitch together with the first live stitch from the body of the shawl
  • Row 2 (wrong side): Knit 4

Repeat the rows until 2 live stitches remains on your left-hand needle. Knit the 2 remaining stitches. Then repeat the following:

  • Row 1 (wrong side): Knit 2, knit 2 together
  • Row 2 (right side): Knit 3

Continue until only 3 stitches remain and bind off on the right side row.

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Closing in on season 7

I haven’t yet seen much of Doctor Who season 7, but today a nice surprise was waiting for me. Unfortunately part 2 arrived first, so some more patience is needed (I won’t skip to the last episode… I will at least give my best effort not to).

And I haven’t broken my promise (about yarn purchases) because one of the ongoing projects called for another skein (whatever Tove may say, I’m not at all into hand-knit jade beaded guest towels). So voila, a second Malabrigo lace Oceanos! I just love this blue blend!

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