My little sweatshop

June 28, 2010 @ 3:21 pm
posted by kris
Filed under: sewing

Baby Dress Tunic
Can’t get enough of little girls dresses!
Baby Dress Tunic
Itty Bitty Baby DressesSock monkey dresses!
My boys and their new aprons
Everyone has an apron now
Bringing the sewing machine back out!New pajama pants

So I have been sewing like mad and my living room has turned into a mini sweatshop! Unfortunately, the only sweat involved is mine. :) I have really been enjoying re-learning how to sew and am just amazed at the information that is on the internet nowadays. I have learned so much in the past few days than in all the days I have been sewing! I am doing things I have never done before like creating custom bias tape and it has been so much fun! And I just love little girl dresses, too bad I have only boys. So all of my friends out there with girl babies, don’t be surprised if I push some of my obviously home made dresses on you!!

Both dresses are from free patterns – The sock monkey dress is the Itty Bitty Baby Dress in the 1-3 month size, and the other ones are the Baby Dress Tunic in the 9-12 month size (warning, I had a bitch of a time printing out the pattern because it doesn’t automatically split print the file).

I also managed to make some stuff for my boys. Everyone wanted an apron after I bought one on Etsy and the boys love to put it on a help me in the kitchen when I’m cooking dinner. They actually fight over who is going to cook and set the table. :) I also made some pajama pants that would’ve been the easiest things in the world if I didn’t make the hole in the pants for boy parts. But I thought I should try something new. It totally wasn’t worth the effort, since they will never use it.

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Any people out there who sew?

June 24, 2010 @ 10:03 am
posted by kris
Filed under: sewing

So I brought the sewing machine out to make some gifts for people and have gotten the sewing bug! I went through some of my old craft stuff and I have a question: what do you do with fabric that you KNOW you aren’t going to use because it is ugly as hell and you wondered why you even spent money on it years ago? I feel bad just throwing it in the trash and I would feel bad “gifting” it to someone.

Also, for those of you in Germany, where do you get your sewing supplies (like interfacing, elastic, ribbon, etc)? And what is interfacing auf deutsch?

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For those of you on Facebook

June 18, 2010 @ 2:47 pm
posted by kris
Filed under: misc

you can follow what I’m spinning on my Bockstark Handspun Facebook page. I’ve been so lame about updating this page, and FB is just

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so much easier… What can I say, I’m lazy! ;)

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Just keep spinning

April 5, 2010 @ 12:59 pm
posted by kris
Filed under: spinning

March 2010 Spinning
March spinning

It’s just been spinning, spinning, spinning at Chez Bockstark. I have gone off the deep end and immersed myself in it again and LOVE it!!! I’ve also been doing some singles spinning, which is totally new for me. I am still overspinning a tad and have to do a pass back through to let out some of the twist, but it works. Merino/tencel is just perfect for singles! Here are the yarns that I finished last month – 9 skeins!!

I also ordered some new woven labels for the knits that I’ve been making and I love them (see new header!). Much better than my 15 year old “Made with tender loving care by …” ones.

I guess that’s all the news fit to print…just keep spinning!

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Everyone should make a fleece lined hat!

March 8, 2010 @ 10:01 pm
posted by kris
Filed under: finished projects

Michael's new climbing chullo
Michael’s new chullo
Bockstark Handspun 2ply sw merino laceweight in Malaekahana
this one took me a year to finish!
Bee Mice Elf alpaca/silk in Secluded
Bee Mice Elf alpaca/silk

I just finished lining Michael’s new chullo hat with fleece. I’ve never done that before and couldn’t believe how easy it was! The best part about it is that because I knitted it loose, it came out slightly too big for him, and the fleece makes it fit PERFECTLY! For more detailed instructions, see this article from techknitting.

After I was done knitting that, I got the spinning bug again! It took me about a year to finish off this 2ply and was amazed that I got 680 yards!!! I think that is a record for me. After I finished that one up, I started right away on some alpaca/silk from Bee Mice Elf. I bought it awhile back and am in love with the colors. For some reason, I’ve been really hankering to spin with alpaca, have no idea why!! It’s great to be spinning again!

And on that note, I opened up my etsy shop again and added a few new yarns.

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Getting back into the knitting swing

February 19, 2010 @ 5:13 pm
posted by kris

Kiseki's Oriental Lily
Kiseki’s Oriental Lily – front detail
Kiseki's Oriental Lily
full view
WIP:  Cross Country Chullo in Wollmeise
Cross Country Chullo

So ever since I finished the shrug, I have found a lot of projects that I NEED to do! :) But I need to start with the “necessities”. The first up is a gift for my niece who is turning 1 in April. I knitted Oriental Lily in Sublime Yarns Extra Fine Merino DK. The pattern is fabulous – top down construction and she can wear it awhile since it would look good as a tunic as well. And the yarn, oh the yarn!!! I want to knit more stuff using their merino!!! It’s so divine, you would think it has some cashmere in it or something!

So now the next project I’m working on is a Cross Country Chullo for Michael. I’m doing the Anemoi variation. He lost his beloved handspun hat somewhere in Austria (shame on him). I can’t complain though, he has used that hat quite a bit and it has been on summits such as Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn and it was probably time for a new one anyways. I am knitting it using Wollmeise Spice Market dark and natur. I am quite pleased with it so far but my stranded knitting needs a lot of work. I think I’m knitting quite loose but it turns out a tad bit tight. I hope blocking helps! And then I’m planning to line it with fleece, which is a first for me. Thank goodness for the techKnitting blog, I don’t know what I would do without it!!

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Re-inventing myself

February 6, 2010 @ 4:55 pm
posted by kris


Loch Ness Marathon

I’m a work in progress
Monoton Ribbed Shrug
My first shrug!
20091103-DSC_7073
Stephen and me at the Munich airport
20100127-_DSC0331
WonderMike and me at SFO

Wow, it’s been almost a year since I last posted. I’m sure a lot of you are wondering what the hell happened to me! I haven’t been blogging/checking blogs/knitting/spinning in awhile (obviously!). A lot of it has to do with not being able to really afford to buy stuff anymore (or at least controlling the habit) and reading blogs, looking at flickr pics and being on Ravelry was really making me spend a lot of money and all it did was build up my stash.

So what did I do for all that time? Well, I decided to get off my butt and start exercising. Computers, knitting and spinning involves lots of time sitting. It just got to the point where I had to do something. And I’m also at that age where you hear a lot more about people getting sick, dying, or what not because they didn’t have a healthy lifestyle. I feared that I was going to end up in that camp.

I started casually walk/running from November 2008 – 1 or 2 times a week, for 2 to 3 miles. Nothing major, just something to get started. Then in March, I got an advertisement in the mail to run the Munich Half Marathon and I thought about it for a few days and then decided “why not”? I started training in earnest then walk/running 3 days a week – 2 of them short runs (3 miles) and 1 of them a long run. I was really serious about it and stuck to my schedule. In June 2009, I completed my first half marathon! I was the very last person to cross the finish line and it was a slightly humiliating experience, but there you are. But I was just happy that I did it.

Then one evening after drinking some wine, I thought “hell, why not just go and do a full marathon!” Crazy, I know, but I was really determined to do something BIG. So I searched around for marathons that have a long time limit (most ones in Germany have a 6 hour limit, which isn’t enough for me) and since I’ve always wanted to go to the Scottish Highlands, I decided on the Loch Ness Marathon. I am happy to say that on October 4, 2009, I completed it AND I wasn’t the last one. :)

During the year of training, I lost about 35 lbs. I didn’t have weight loss as a goal, but it was a very nice side benefit. I bought new clothes and feel more confident and more like myself again. I still have a ways to go before I’m in the “normal” weight range, and that’s what I’m working on this year.

All this running and activity has made it uncomfortable for me to sit and knit or spin for long periods of time. I know at some point I will pick it up again because I do miss it, but for right now I’m putting it aside. So that’s my story.

So now that I bought a whole bunch of new clothes, one of which is a sleeveless dress, I had to make something to cover up my saggy arms. And I love shrugs but never owned one so it was my first knitting project in a year (or maybe even more) beside a couple of Jayne Cobb hats that I knitted for some friends. The pattern is the Two-tone Ribbed Shrug from Fitted Knits and the only mod I did was to make the sleeves longer. I really like it and will probably make another one in the short sleeve version!

In other fiber news, I was also lucky enough to meet up with the Y-Knit boys, Stephen at the Munich airport and WonderMike at the SF airport. I just love both of them, they are so much fun to hang out with! Mike was such a doll and brought me some wonderful Verb goodies and fiber!!! Thanks so much, Mike!!

So that’s all the news fit to print. Thanks so much for listening!

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Just checking in!

May 14, 2009 @ 5:56 pm
posted by kris
Filed under: misc

Hey there folks. Sorry for the long absence. I’ve lost my blogging mojo, mostly because all I do is spin spin spin. And there’s not too much blogging excitement in that – here’s roving, here’s yarn. Tadaaaaa! :) I also apologize that I haven’t been very good with reading my favorite blogs and flickr pics too, I’m terrible!

But mostly, I’ve been focusing my energies into running. I am kind of going through a mid-life crisis of sorts and decided I need to get off my lazy butt and exercise. I started back in November, kind of casually – about 2 or so times a week. I am ashamed to admit that I couldn’t go more than a block or two without getting winded. Then I became more serious whenever I went to Hawaii in December, upping it to 3 miles/3x a week. When we came back to Munich, I continued on, through the rain, snow and cold.

In March, I decided I needed to have a goal other than “run 3x a week”, so I signed up for the Munich half marathon. It was really overwhelming at first and I thought I would die just training for it. But as the weeks went on and I started doing longer and longer runs, I now feel like it will be a piece o’ cake. Ok, not EASY, but finish-able. On my birthday, after a few glasses of wine, I decided I needed yet another challenge, so I signed up to run the Loch Ness Marathon in Scotland in October. YEAH! I think the idea of the marathon being somewhere I’ve always wanted to go, as well as being such a famous area, makes me really really excited. I will run the full length of the Loch (maybe catch a glimpse of Nessie while I’m there) and then end in Inverness. For part of my training, I will run a full marathon a month before the actual race. So really, I will run 2 marathons this year, one official, and one not. One in Munich, one in Scotland. It will be the most physically demanding thing I have ever done in my life. But I am actually ENJOYING it, which is really surprising me.

I am currently able to run 8 miles, with only a few stops to walk. It is amazing how fast my cardio has developed. As a nice side effect, I lost 20 lbs so far and am able to fit some pre-pregnancy jeans! That in itself is keeping me going!

I am going on vacation for a couple of weeks, first to Paris. I’ve never been there before and since my parents will be watching the boys, I will fly and meet my husband, who will be arriving by train from Brussels (he works for a company there and goes 1 week a month). We don’t have much plans, other than visiting with our friends, shop for Maille mustard (mmmmmm) as well as stuff at La Drougerie, and I’m really interested in going to Le Refuge des Fondus, where you drink wine out of baby bottles. And we’re also going to do a 10 mile run through the city that will take us on a little sight seeing tour – to the Eiffel tower, along the Seine, and end at the l’Arc de Triomphe. Fantastic! I’m really looking forward to it. After we get back, we’re going with the whole family down to our favorite parts of Italy – Bolzano and Gardasee. Paris, Brussels, Italy, Scotland…we sound so european! :)

Surprise package from Robin!

One last note, I wanted to thank Robin of Robin’s Nest! I won a contest on her blog and she sent me an amazing package filled with a bunch of patterns/pattern books, lovely citrus-y soap, a stitch marker, sheep note paper and sticky notes, and a wonderful calming “Peaceful Pond” CD. Ahhhh…it’s like a day in a knitting spa! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

That’s all the news fit to print…until next time!

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A Year of Spinning

April 15, 2009 @ 2:41 pm
posted by kris
Filed under: Uncategorized

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been a year already since I’ve started spinning! In that time, I have created 60 skeins of yarn, about 18,000 yards of handspun. Wow…that is a lot! I am a true spinner, don’t want to knit anything anymore. How crazy is that?! Of course, I do have some babies to knit for soon (my sister is due to pop any day now and have I knit anything yet…??? ummm…yeah, working on it!). Here are a few highlights of my spinning year.

Here is a picture of my very sad, sad first yarn, totally overspun and plied and feels so stringy rather than soft, even though it is merino. I will forever treasure this yarn because it was the beginning of my whole spinning obsession:

My first handspun

Here is my 5th or so skein of yarn and when I really felt like I was getting the hang of spinning. It was still over-plied, but it was knittable!

Handspun Twisted Fiber Art superwash merino in Angst

After 2 weeks of spinning almost non-stop, I decided I just HAD to get a wheel, so I ordered up my Kromski Minstrel, who is named Seamus. He has been a real work horse…gone through 3 drive bands, had one of his whorls damaged (and not yet replaced) and still going strong.

Is something missing here?

My first Navajo ply. It was waaaay too tight and very stringy. But the colors are so pretty! After this skein, I was so scared to do N-plies for a long long time!

Handspun Lovesticks sw merino in Patina

Then in September, I learned Bowerbird Knits 2 step Navajo ply method and it has really made a big change in my spinning. It has made me into a N-ply convert and now I mostly do N-plies! Here is the first one of those skeins.

Handspun Sunshine Yarns sw merino in Drift

I have spun with merino, extra fine merino, superwash merino, merino/bamboo, merino/alpaca, merino/tencel, merino/seacell, merino/silk, bamboo, falkland, silk, BFL, superwash BFL and soysilk. I think my favorite is still superwash merino, for it’s softness/bounce and right amount of slickness. But of course I will spin pretty much anything! :)

And last but not least, here is the last skein that I finished up yesterday. The fiber is from All Spun Up in the January 2009 Spin-A-Long colorway. If I had to pick a “perfect” colorway, I think this would be it! A fitting end to a wonderful year of spinning!

Handspun All Spun Up sw merino/alpaca blend in Ko'olina

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New Labels are here

March 13, 2009 @ 3:39 pm
posted by kris
Filed under: misc

and I love them! Makes me all official-like! :)

I have arrived

The new labels

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What does bockstark mean (pronounced bok-shtark)? My crazy German friend, Matthias, made that word up to mean "really cool" and says that it is catching on in Garmisch. So I am helping him popularize the word! I thought if I ever opened a yarn store, I would call it "Bockstark Yarns". This blog is all about my projects, yarns and crazy ideas related to knitting and other crafts. Contact me at bockstark.knits(at)gmail(dot)com.