I quilted myself a yoga mat

I don’t particularly like the foamy mats that you can get at any sporting goods store. In fact, I kind of hate them. Despite their supposed anti-slip qualities I often find myself sliding off of them, and that’s not what I want in a yoga mat. So, I decided to make one for myself. And then there was my longstanding wish to sew a quilt. I’d like my yoga mat to be a little softer than just two pieces of fabric sewn together, so that was perfect. One and one equals… a new yoga mat!

My mother-in-law gave me this batik fabric with the eye pattern over a year ago. I immediately loved it and thought it would be perfect for a yoga mat. I bought additional fabrics for the front and the back, and then I procrastinated actually making the mat for more than a year. I understood the theory of making a quilt, but somehow I was afraid to try for myself. And then, I realized that I only have a few days left before I go on a weekend long yoga retreat, and that if I wanted to take it with me, I’d better start sewing.

18444299_819648841526311_9057038519100243968_n

Sew I did – pun intended, of course. I started by determining how much fabric to add to the sides of the batik panel. The panel was about 60 centimeters wide, which I found a little narrow for a yoga mat. So I added a strip of ochre on either side to make it around 70 centimeters wide. That was the quilt top done.

I then made a sandwich that consisted of the top, the filling and the back. For the filling, I chose a thick flannel that I layered double. This way, the mat is more sturdy than it would be with traditional batting, but it still is soft. Plus, I wouldn’t want to stand on a carefully crafted quilt with cotton or woolen batting day in and day out. I don’t think it’d hold up against that. I then pinned this sandwich together in many, many places and started quilting. I decided to follow the meandering lines that weave between the eyes on the batik fabric, and to skip this for the smallest rows of eyes. I have a normal sewing machine, and it was hard enough maneuvering the whole mat under/around/through my machine without having to make tiny slaloms around those tiny eyes. I’m happy with how it turned out in the end, but this part really was a process. I now understand why people invest in walking foots for their machines! I ended up pushing and pulling the fabric through the machine, because it just could not properly feed it. So I have different stitch lengths all over the place, but you can only see that from the back, and who’s gonna see that?

IMG_20170514_193433_02

Lastly, I trimmed the quilt to the size I wanted it to be (70 x 190 centimeters) and sewed on the binding, which I had made from 6,5 centimeter wide strips. I sewed it onto the back and then top-stitched it in place on the front – and then it was done! It took me two evenings to make it, and I am very happy with the result!


TL;DR

  • Front: Batik panel and ochre woven cotton
  • Back and binding: burgundy woven cotton
  • Filling: thick flannel, doubled up

WIP Wednesday // 1 // Spring is coming

I’m so bad at updating Ravelry that I’ve given up. But I do occasionally snap a pic of my work in progress and put it on Instagram. So why not try to document what I’m making over here? Here you go, it’s WIP Wednesday!

Right now, I have two knits and a crochet blanket in the making. The latter is a story for another time, because I promised the intended recipient that the next time she’ll see it will be when it’s done. And because it’s not done yet (but getting there!), I’ll save that one for later.

As far as the knits go, I’m firstly knitting a delicious cabled sweater. I started it a week or two ago, when after spring finally seemed on its way it suddenly started freezing again. I figured that with that nonsense I needed a new sweater, if not to keep me warm then to cheer me up by knitting it.  The pattern is Dreams of Aran by Drops Design. I’m currently way farther along than in the picture below: I’ve bound of stitches for the underarms and have started working the back part flat. I have found Drops patterns to be cryptic at times, but I’m doing okay on this one so far. Even if I accidentally switched between knitting 3 to 4 rows between cables a few times. Oh, well. This sweater will be nice and comfy no matter what, and that’s all because of the yarn.

18095741_737418246445553_1095189112559763456_n

The yarn is something else! If I told you that it’s a merino/cashmere/nylon yarn and I bought close to a kilo of it for 10 euros, would you believe me? I still can barely believe that one myself. How did I manage that? I found a soft, soft sweater in a thriftstore, brand new. It hadn’t felted anywhere one single bit, so it hadn’t been worn at all (and after knitting with it I know this for a fact, because let me tell you: this yarn felts!). I didn’t like how that sweater looked on me, but after finding out the fiber blend I bought it anyway and frogged it. Later, when I looked up the brand of the sweater, I found out that it had originally cost around 200 euro!

The second WIP is a pair of plain socks I cast on last night. It’s my first pair of socks this year. It seems that just like the mild spring weather, my desire to knit socks has been lying dormant until now. This colorful Drachenwolle sock yarn certainly looks the part for a spring pair of socks! I’m also digging the pooling that’s occurring and even though I never try to get my socks to match, these are turning out to match pretty closely!


TL;DR

Sweater:

  • Pattern: Dreams of Aran by Drops Design
  • Yarn: 75% merino/20% nylon/5% cashmere DK-weight yarn frogged from sweater bought at the thriftstore for €10.

Socks:

  • Pattern: a plain vanilla sock: 20 rounds of 2×2 rib, 80 rounds on leg and foot. Heel to be determined.
  • Yarn: Drachenwolle Ein und Alles (+ TBD contrast for heels)

What are you working on? Any spring or summery knits, or are you too sticking with things to keep you warm?

From product to process knitter

When I started knitting, I was without a doubt a product knitter. To me, knitting was a means to an end: it was the sight of many beautifully knitted sweaters I saw on Ravelry that made me want to knit too. At first, I far from enjoyed the process of knitting: I wanted those sweaters, and that is why I did it. But once I got the hang of it, I started to enjoy the act of knitting as well. Recently, I concluded that somewhere along the way, I have transformed from a product knitter into a process knitter. Don’t get me wrong: I still want to knit beautiful sweaters, it’s not like I want to knit any old thing just for the sake of knitting. But in the past few months, I noticed a change in my attitude towards the process of knitting. Allow me to explain.

Sweater knitting addict

When I had gotten the hang of knitting, I was cranking out projects like crazy. I knit adult-sized sweaters in a week and children’s garments in days. In december 2015, I hadn’t knit a sock in my life, and I dediced that 2016 would be my ‘Year of the Sock’, in which I would knit a pair of socks each month. I think I made it to 9 pairs of socks, but I also managed to knit just as many sweaters that year. I knit nine adult-sized sweaters in twelve months. 2016 turned out to be my ‘Year of the Sweater’, an addiction I happily continue in 2017, having already finished one and being halfway through the second one.

I often noticed how I stopped enjoying the process when I was knitting the body of these sweaters. First I would get bored doing the endless rounds of stockinette, and eventually it would just frustrate me that the damn thing still wasn’t done yet. Even though these sweaters often took me a week or maybe two to knit, I got impatient and didn’t enjoy myself. Finally binding off and weaving in the ends was like a sigh of relief that the project was finally complete. And then I’d do it all over again.

However, lately I find myself enjoying each step of the process of knitting a sweater. Steadily working my way through the body of a sweater now has something comforting to it, because at the end of the body, I get to knit the yoke, or the sleeves. That isn’t any different than it was before, so what changed? 

Life changed. A lot.  

Around this time last year, I was working my ass off finishing my master thesis and applying for jobs. It was a very stressful time in which knitting prevented me from losing (all of) my sanity. Not having to think for a bit and just letting my hands do the work was such a welcome change to burying myself in academic writing and job hunting!

And then, last August, suddenly everything went right. I got hired for my dream job and then graduated university. A week later, I started my job as a professional nerd. I can hardly believe that I’m getting paid to do what I like all day, and I really enjoy working life. However, working does come with much less free time, and that leaves less time for knitting too. I used to have some knitting time during my daily train commute, but that’s no longer an option since I obtained my driver’s licence earlier this year.

These changes have left me being more picky about what I spend my precious knitting time working on. It also has made me enjoy the process of knitting more. Whereas knitting used to be my way to get that beautiful garment, it has now become my way of having some me-time after a day at work. And even though this change has slowed down my knitting significantly, it has made me appreciate it that much more.

I’m curious: are you a process or a product knitter? What do you enjoy most and least about knitting?