Sunday, June 21, 2015

Vacation!


It's finally summer, and even though the weather has been rainy and cold, I still have time off from work! I'm taking both vacation days and maternity leave, so me and Thomas will be home together with Ella until the middle of August. This past spring has been very tough for us, which is probably why I haven't written here for so long. We have had three bouts of stomach flu, and just haven't had any energy to do anything more than the basics. So these days off from work and anything else are very well timed!

Well, even though we've mostly been working (me) and taking care of Ella (Thomas), I have managed to get a lot of knitting done. I have seven new FO's for you since the last time! I'll just go through them as they were finished. 

The first thing I finished was the Star Bright cardigan for Ella. It was finished in February and it is still a bit too big. I had to re-knit the sleeves as they turned out too tight, so I just ended up omitting all of the decreases and making them straight. The cardigan is very pretty and I think it will be perfect for this fall.


It was made with Cascade 220 superwash (100 % superwash wool), in the colourway Marionberry.

Next up I finished the Porthos socks that I made for my brother-in-law William. They turned out very nice, and I used up all but a few meters of the skeins.


They are made with Regia Design Line sock yarn, in the Herb Garden colourway, and they were even striping enough that I got to count them for the Self-Striping KAL that's going on in the Stockinette Zombies Ravelry group. William really likes them too.

I then realized that I have four brothers-in-law, but I've only ever made socks for one of them. So at the beginning of April I cast on for a pair of vanilla socks for my other brother-in-law, Marcus. I used two skeins of Regia Design Line Arne & Carlos yarn that I got in February, in the colourway Winter Night.


They turned out very pretty, and Marcus was very pleased with them. I really like this yarn, the only downside is that since the stripes are so busy it is hard to make anything but vanilla socks with it. Any pattern just obscures the fake colourwork that the yarn is doing by itself.

Next up I started and finished a hat for my best friend for her 35th birthday. I was going to make her a pair of socks, but she asked if I could make a hat instead. I dug deep into the stash to find a suiting yarn, as she isn't a knitter and would probably not appreciate anything with too much colour. I found three skeins of Drops Delight yarn (75 % superwash wool/25 % nylon), in a green and brown striping colourway, and that fit her perfectly. The yarn is a bit thick-and-thin, so I wouldn't use it for socks, but it was perfect for a hat. I started to make the sockhead hat, but to liven it up a bit I made it in reverse stockinette with some knit tbl stitches running along the head. I think it turned out great!


And please excuse the very weird photo of me wearing it! It is pretty difficult to take a picture of yourself and get a good angle of the hat! Christine didn't pose for any photos as it was very warm when I gave it to her. And we were in a church at a Christening that was just about to start too :)

I've also started and finished a little sweater for Ella, the Persille sweater. I used almost a whole skein of Chili Gredelin Cassiopeia yarn (75 % merino/20 % nylon/5 % stellina), in the colourway Glitter Canary, and it is super soft! I have one more skein of this yarn in a blue colourway, and I think I'll make something else for Ella from it as it is just perfect for soft baby skin!


This sweater was a bit of a challenge for me, as the whole thing is knit in pieces and then seamed. I am really not good at seaming, but I made sure I had plenty of time to get it right, and it turned out very good! It is such a pretty little sweater, perfect for summer evenings (if the rain would just stop for a while...).

Right before I went on vacation I also finished the Krydda cardigan for me! It seems like I haven't made anything for myself for a while, so this one was a very fun FO. I really, really love it, and it fits perfectly!


It is made from Cascade 220 (100 % wool), in the colourway Liechen, and the colour is very pretty. I really like Cascade, and this cardigan will be perfect all year round I think.

Finally, yesterday I finished another little cardigan for Ella. I made her a My Aunt Doris cardigan, out of the Araucania llama yarn that I got at the sewing festival last autumn. I haven't had a chance to put it on her after blocking it, as it is still drying upstairs, but it fit her before I soaked it so I think it will be fine. The red semisolid colour is very pretty, and it was a very fun and fast knit.


I also have five projects on the needles. Both the shawls (the Twinkle Twinkle Little Star shawl and the Fiori Di Sole shawl) are still going, and I have made very little progress on them. I very rarely get to knit on anything complicated these days, as I almost always keep an eye on Ella while she crawls around and plays while I knit. She still isn't walking by herself, but she walks while holding on to stuff so I think she will start walking very soon. Anyway, I haven't gotten any new photos of the shawls, since very little has happened to them.

I'm also still working on the Firenze socks by Coopknits, and I have made a little bit of progress on them. I am four repeats into the leg, out of six total, but I think I'll probably make the sock a little longer as I prefer them that way. I have very small feet, so the yarn will be enough to make them a little bit taller.


I had hoped that the colours of the yarn would fade a bit more into each other, so far there are only increasing amounts of purple flecks in the black (it's FibroFibers Nightfall yarn). I'll leave my final judgement of the yarn until the sock is done though, as it is still predominantly black.

I've also started a pair of striping vanilla socks for me, in another skein if Regia Design Line Arne & Carlos yarn, this time in the colourway Star Night. I have just started the second sock, and I had to make them completely un-matching as the starting point of the two skeins was almost exactly different enough to be half-way through the entire stripe repeat! Good thing they're for me!


Finally, at the beginning of May I cast on for a colourwork sweater for myself. I got inspired by Megan of the Stockinette Zombies, who made an Alvi out of Wollmeise Blend yarn, so I started one for myself as well. I was very well on gauge, so even though the pattern calls for a DK, I'm using a sport weight.


The colourways are Krokodil and Ooohm. This is such a fun knit, and I've actually memorized the pattern so I can use it as social knitting. I'm just going to finish the striping socks first, and then this will be my primary knitting I think.

And that's it for knitting! The only yarn I've bought since the last time was the skeins of Arne & Carlos yarn, and I've already used up all of that. I hope to get to do some lace knitting this summer as well, to at least finish one of the shawls. And I'll probably start something new for Ella soon too, as right now I only have projects for myself on the needles!

Other than knitting, it feels like this spring has mostly been spent doing nothing at all. On the first day of vacation though, we went to Gothenburg to see Foo Fighters play! We left Ella with Thomas' mother for the evening (her first time alone with a babysitter! It went perfectly, she was happy all the evening and fell soundly asleep), and me, Thomas, my sister and her boyfriend went to the concert. The opening act was the Linköping band Ghost, which we love, and they were amazing. Then Foo Fighters came on, and after 1.5 songs Dave Grohl fell off the stage and broke his leg! It's been in a lot of international media too, so I guess you've probably heard that he came back and finished the concert with a cast on his leg. It was an amazing show, the crowd was really happy that the show went on so the energy was through the roof (although it was an outside arena...), and the band was just in shock I think. Dave Grohl was probably on a lot of painkillers as well :) All in all it was a perfect evening, and it was very nice to finally get away and do something as adults, without Ella.

Friday this past week was Midsummer's Eve, but since the weather was horrible we didn't go and see the rising of the maypole. We had two friends over for dinner, and just sat around playing board games and had a very good time. Ella is still too small to appreciate any celebrating, so she was content just hanging out with us and playing with her toys. And she got to watch some cartoons too, which she loves.

Ok, I think that's it for this time. Hopefully we'll get to save some energy during the summer, and the autumn will be a better one. Ella is starting daycare in August, and I'm decreasing my working hours to 75 % weeks instead, which should be good for all of us. I'll try to get back sooner next time, but once again I make no promises :)

/ Jenny

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A long winter seems to be ending soon!


It seems like I haven't written here in forever, and indeed, I haven't since September last year! The winter has seemed very long and dark, but now it's finally starting to get lighter and a tiny bit warmer. Thomas worked almost around the clock until Christmas, and this coincided with Ella getting her first teeth and being very cranky and clingy, so I didn't have very much time to do anything but take care of her. 

However, at the end of September I went to the sewing festival in Borås, which was very nice. I haven't been in a couple of years, so it was a lot of fun, although this year I found it to be more focused on sewing than on knitting and yarn. I did come home with some yarn though:


Two skeins of The Natural Dye Studio Dazzling sock yarn (55 % wool/45 % silk, 400 m/100 g)), in colourways Lundy (the orange one) and Woody Bay (the green one).

Onion Knit Tussah silk yarn (66 % merino/34 % silk134 m/50 g)), in the colourway Red 210.

Onion Knit Nettle sock yarn (70 % wool/30 % plant fiber, 185 m/50 g), in the colourway Green 1006.

Arucania Puelo yarn (100 % Llama, 210 m/100 g), in the colourway Red 5004.

I also bought a kit for a Strawberry hat from Tant Kofta, which contained a lace weight merino/angora yarn dyed in three different colours, to make a hat from:


Then we went home to our parents for Christmas and New Year's, which was very nice, but there wasn't much time for blogging then either. Ella had a lovely first Christmas, and as she is the first grandchild of both mine and Thomas' parents, she got very spoiled! But it was a great holiday, filled with lots of friends and family, and good food of course.

In January both me and Thomas stayed home with Ella (here in Sweden we have something called double days, where both parents can be home with their child. I think it's 30 days that we can use during the first year), and that was exactly what we needed. We spent the whole month just hanging out as a family, making small outings and just enjoying ourselves. That month there was also some knitting getting done, but I'll get to that.

On the second of February I went back to work, after being home for almost exactly one year with Ella. Thomas is staying home with her this spring, and then we'll both be home with her during the summer, and in the Autumn she'll start pre-school. I think the timing for me starting work again was near perfect: I was starting to get a little bit lonely just being home with Ella for all those months, Thomas was fed up with his job and just wanted to spend more time with Ella, and Ella was starting to be a bit too "mom-ish", just being very clingy with me. She needed to be with another adult, and getting more used to being alone with her dad. So now we're all happy again!

I have managed to do a lot of knitting since I wrote last. I think I'll just show them off in chronological order. The first thing I finished, on September 24th, was a pair of socks. These are the Walk the Line socks, and I made them in Regia Color 4-ply sock yarn (75 % superwash wool/25 % nylon), in the colourway Ringel Clown:


I really liked them, and the colours were a lot of fun, but I ended up giving them to my mother-in-law, as she had started to wear out her previous pair I gave her. She loves them and wears them all the time.

Next up was a pair of socks for me, a pair of vanilla socks in Fibernymph Dye Works Bedazzled sock yarn. I managed to snag a set of Nyan Cat sock yarn in one of her updates, and I cast them on almost as soon as I got the yarn:


I really, really love these, and they were most definitely for me! I have a lot of yarn let over, and I think I'll make a matching pair for Ella eventually.

Then I started a winter set for Ella, a hat, a scarf, a pair of mittens, and I had yarn left over to make a pair of matching socks as well. I bought two skeins of Drops Baby Alpaca Silk yarn in an off-white colour, and made a set from a Drops pattern. I finished the set on October 18th.



The set is very cute, but she actually moves around too much for the hat to stay still (it shifts sideways, so she ends up with it over her face...), and I think she used the mittens twice before we dropped one of them outside and never found them again! The socks fit for a while but are too small now, but we still use the scarf a lot.

As she lost the mitten, I started a new set for her, which I finished on November 21st. I used the yarn I got from Tant Kofta at the sewing festival and made a hat and a pair of matching mittens for Ella:


I chose not to use the pattern that came with the hat, where the green leafy edge was at the bottom of the hat, but used this Drops pattern instead. I made the mittens as simple tubes, and to protect the small fingers from the colourwork strands I also made an inside lining with the red yarn, so they're double layered and very warm. Ella has used this set all winter, and gotten lots of compliments on them as well.

Then in January I finally finished the Minni cardigan that I started in August. It turned out super cute, and a little big, but Ella has worn it a lot anyway, and she will grow into it.



It's made with Fleece Artist merino sock yarn in the colourway Blush, KnitPicks Stroll yarn in the colourway Aurora Heather, and Gepard CashSoft sock yarn in a pale pink.

At the beginning of winter Thomas asked me if I could make him a new hat, and I chose the Weather the Weather pattern. I first bought a skein of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted, in the colourway Kerfluffle, but Thomas thought it was a bit too purple (he wanted black or grey). I then bought two skeins of Malabrigo Worsted in black (and boy did those skeins stain my hands when I knit with it!), and made the hat twice as the first attempt turned out too small.


The final hat is a smidge too big, but I just won't knit it a third time so he'll have to be satisfied. It was a fun and easy knit though.

I also got some yarn money from my parents this Christmas, so at the beginning of January I made two orders. The first one was from Garnkorgen, and contained:


Lorna's Laces Shepherd sock yarn (80 % wool/20 % nylon, 398 m/100g), in the colourways Childsplay (the multi-coloured one) and Envy (the green one). Both of these are destined to become socks for my mother.


Regia Color 4-ply in the colourways Zebra and Tiger (I think you can guess which is which). My mother claimed the white ones, and the orange ones will be socks for me.

I also ordered two skeins of Wollmeise Blend yarn (70 % merino/20 % cashmere/10 % nylon, 499 m/150 g), the new sport weight yarn, from Wollmeise, in colourways Ooohm (the teal one) and Krokodil (the green one), that I plan on using for a striped sweater or cardigan for me.



Ok, more knitting! At the end of September I started a little dress for Ella, the Little Sister's dress. I chose to use my two skeins of Koigu KPPPM yarn, and of course I ran out. I finally found more skeins in the same colourway at Webs, so I ordered them (even though the shipping was almost as much as the yarn). They were of course not from the same dye lot, and they didn't match. At all! So I ended up striping the different skeins to make them last.


I finished the dress on January 22nd, and I was so glad to be done with it! As I had to frog it back to nothing to alternate the skeins, I had knit it twice, and the yarn was a nightmare! I think I ended up having to weave in over 30 ends in this tiny thing, due to all the knots and breaks in the yarn! I will never buy it again, and I can't believe this is such an expensive and popular yarn. It is pretty though.

On January 30th I also finished a pair of socks, the MineCraft socks, that I made of a skein of Opal Surprise! sock yarn, in the colourway Leckerbissen. 


I honestly can't remember when I ordered this (it says December 9th 2014 on Ravelry, so maybe I got it when I ordered the yarn for Thomas' hat?). I was planning on keeping them for myself, but I ended up giving them to my mother-in-law as she's been going through some stuff this winter. She was very happy with them too!

One more FO for you! On Valentine's Day I finished another little cardigan for Ella, the Korrigan


I used MarigoldJen Yarns BFL/nylon sock yarn (75 % wool/25 % nylon) in the colourway Apple of Megan's Eye, and it turned out super cute! She has been wearing it almost every day since it was finished, and she seems to like it (although she doesn't really have a choice yet!).

I also have a lot of stuff on the needles, as I seem to have had a bit of cast-on-itis lately. In November I started a new shawl, the Twinkle Twinkle Little Star shawl, in some Chili Gredelin Geisha yarn (100 % silk), in the colourway Selleri.


I've made almost half of the first chart, but I don't get to work a lot on my lace projects right now as I spend most of my non-working time with Ella, and I'm too tired in the evenings after she goes to sleep. As I get more used to working again I'll probably not feel as tired in the evenings, then I can hopefully work some lace again.

I also have a pair of cabled socks on the needles, and these ones are for me. They are the Firenze socks that I got in the 7 Degrees of Kevin Bacon sock club back in 2013. I'm using my skein of FibroFibers Nightfall sock yarn in the Deep Purple colourway. They are also a bit slow going, but I'm really enjoying them.


Next up is another lace shawl, and this one I'm making with beads! It's the Fiori de Sole shawl, and I'm using some old stash Malabrigo Lace yarn, in the colurway Emerald. It's so much fun, but I'm not working much on this one either right now. It will get done eventually though.


A couple of years ago I made a pair of socks for my youngest brother-in-law, William, and he has finally worn them through. So I'm making him a new pair, the Porthos socks, in Regia Design Line sock yarn, colourway Herb Garden. They are so much fun, and the pattern is really easy to memorize. I was hoping to have them finished by the end of the month, but that's not going to happen. Soon, though!


As I finished the Korrigan cardigan for Ella, I immediately cast on for another one for her. I'm making the Star Bright cardigan (and I'll make the matching hat too, if I have enough yarn left over), in Cascade 220 superwash, in the colourway Marionberry. I'm using this as my break knitting at work, and it goes by really fast. I should be done some time next week, I think.


Finally, I also cast on for a new cardigan for me. I haven't really knitted much for myself, other than socks, for a long while, so I thought it was time. I had a couple of skeins of Cascade 220 in the Liechen colourway balled up, that I had started a Dark and Stormy cardigan with a long, long while ago. A couple of weeks ago I finally decided that I didn't want that cardigan anymore, so I frogged the five rows I had made, and now I'm using the yarn for the Krydda cardigan. So far it's going by very fast, but I haven't started the lace pattern yet. It should be fun though!


So, lots of knitting and yarn! Ella is growing fast, right now she's crawling around all of the house and exploring (and tasting!) everything. On March 5th she'll turn one year old, I can't believe it's been a year already! We're having our families over for her birthday party, which will be a lot of fun, so we'll have to bake a birthday cake!

I think I'll leave you with that, congratulations if you managed to get all the way through! I'll try not to take five months off until next time, but I make no promises :)

/ Jenny

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Kids are apparently time consuming...


I knew when we got Ella that my knitting time would be diminished, and that is totally fine. I love taking care of our daughter, and we have a lot of fun during the days, I just wish I wasn't so tired when she goes to sleep at night! Most evenings I just haven't got the energy to do any knitting at all, which means that the projects take a lot longer than usual. Oh well. I have managed to finish four things since I wrote last though, although three of them are baby items.

The first thing off the needles since last time was my Austin hoodie, and I am very pleased with it:


It is made with Manos del Uruguay Fino yarn (70 % merino/30 % silk), and I started it back in February before Ella was born. It turned out great, and fits me perfectly. I had to shorten the armhole length, which I almost always have to do, but I think that's the only modification I made. I bought frog fastenings and sewed them on to the fronts, and it took me three tries to get them placed right! But now it's finally done, and I've worn it a lot.

Once that was finished I started the Flower cardigan for Ella, and finished it about two weeks ago I think. I made the one year size, so it's a little big on her still, but she can wear it this fall anyway:



The construction on this one was really unique, and I don't think I'm giving the pattern away by saying that you start with knitting the flower on the back in the round, and then continue on with the sides and sleeves. It was so much fun, not difficult because the pattern is very well written, but I had to keep track in the pattern. I made it in Wollmeise DK (100 % superwash merino), in the colourway Sabrina, which I had a little more than one whole skein left over after my Julissa sweater.

I then cast on for the matching Little Flower hat, in the same yarn, and finished it in less than a week:



It is also a little bit big, but as long as I fold the ribbing, she can wear it right now. And she will grow into it during the winter I think.

Then I cast on for another hat, mostly to use up the last of the Wollmeise yarn. Yesterday I finished the Owl baby hat, and it fits Ella right now. It is a little bit wide, but it is fine. I like this one a lot, and it was a lot of fun to knit the owl too.



I have made a little bit of progress on the Walk the Line socks, the first one is almost finished. I finished the toe a while ago, but I just haven't felt like knitting socks lately so the heel is taking me forever. They will get done eventually though.

Finally I also cast on for a new cardigan for Ella, and this one is so much fun! It's the Minni cardigan, and I read about it on the Yarn Harlot blog as she's making one right now. It has stripes and short rows and intarsia colour changing, so it is a challenge, but so far it's fun. I took a picture when I had just started, and you'll have to make do with that. I'm making it in three different sock yarns: Gepard Cash-soft in pink and KnitPicks Stroll in Merlot for the main body, and Fleece Artist Merino 2/6 in Blush for the accents (the green yarn in the photo is just the provisional cast-on). 



I also bought some new yarn a couple of weeks ago. I ordered another skein of Manos del Uruguay for the Austin Hoodie as I wasn't sure I had enough to finish, and I noticed that that colour was to be discontinued. So I got three new skeins, as I really love it, and I figured I could just use the left-overs for something else eventually. It turned out I didn't actually need any of that yarn, but I'll just keep it in the stash for now. Along on that order I also got four skeins of Cascade 220 superwash, in colourways Saphire Heather and Marionberry, to make some baby clothes for Ella.



I got the book 60 more quick baby knits, that only uses Cascade yarns, and there are some stuff in there that I want to make. I really really like the Cascade 220 superwash yarn too, and it's fairly inexpensive, so I figured I'd get some to have on hand.

Yesterday I also got a package in the mail, and although it didn't contain yarn it had some craft supplies. I got a new set of dpn's, KnitPro Natural needles (KnitPro is the European version of KnitPicks I think, and they usually change the name of the products. The Harmony needles are called Symphony here in Europe, for example). These are 20 cm long (8 inches), even in the smallest sizes, which is very nice.


I also got a set of pom pom makers, as I figured that the ones I was going to make for the Owl hat will probably not be my last ones, now that we have Ella. I used them yesterday evening, and it was so much faster to use these than the ones I have made myself previously. They were very cheap, so a very worthwhile investment!


This past weekend we went and visited Anna and Peter in Linköping, and Anna had gotten a package in the mail from Sarah. Anna and Sarah have been making a baby blanket for Ella, but due to lots of other stuff happening in their lives it has taken a while (and that is more than all right, I'm just so happy they wanted to do it at all!), but now it's finished. It's absolutely wonderful, and we both love it!


It's also made with Cascade 220 superwash, and I got to pick the colours myself. We have already used it, and Ella seems to like it too as she is keen on grabbing it when it's hanging from the couch back so she can reach it. Also included in the package was a little cardigan that Sarah knit for Ella, in white thick-and-thin cotton, and it's absolutely gorgeous! I'm so happy to have yarny friends!


I think that's probably it for this time. The last weekend in September I'm going home to my parents for a visit, and to visit the annual sewing festival that takes place in Borås each September. I haven't been for a couple of years now, so that will be a lot of fun. I'll be back with a full report on that!

/ Jenny