Wednesday, July 09, 2014

At least some knitting is getting done!

It's been a month and a half since I wrote last, and Ella is turning four months old on Saturday. We're starting to find a routine for our days, and I'm getting more and more comfortable going on outings and visiting friends and stuff like that. It takes some getting used to, toting a baby and all that comes with her around!

Since Ella is a pretty easy-going baby, I am actually finding some knitting time during some of the days. Since I wrote last I've finished two pairs of socks, one baby hat, and blocked my gigantous Mandala II shawl! First, I finished the Fruit Stripe Gum socks:

They are made with Regia sock yarn, in the colourway cassis, and I really like them. They turned out very soft after their wash, and I love the colours.

Then I picked up my Stricken socks, by Cookie A, and finshed them:

They are made with the Knitting Goddess sock yarn that I got from last year's sock club, and the colourway is called Where the Sun Does Not Shine, which is from the Dark Shadows movie. I really enjoyed working both this pattern and this yarn, and I think there might be more cabled socks soon.

After I finished both pairs of socks I only had two cardigans on the needles (Dark and Stormy, and the Austin Hoodie), so I decided I needed some smaller projects. This coincided with us going home to our parents for a few days, so I cast on for a new pair of striped socks:

These are the Walk the Line socks, and I'm using some more Regia sock yarn, this time in the colourway Clown. I made the heel as written in the pattern, but it turned out way too pointy for my taste (and didn't fit), so I ripped it out and put in some waste yarn to make an afterthought heel instead. I'm still enjoying the pattern though, and the yarn is a lot of fun to work with.

I also started a baby hat for Ella, the Swirl hat, in the Knitting Goddess sock yarn leftovers I had from the striped pyjama I made for her, in the colourway Trousers for a Fiend. I got almost perfect gauge, so I cast on for the 4-6 months size, and it still turned out way, way too small! So I ripped that one out too, and cast on a new one two sizes larger. I finished it in a few days, and it fits perfectly, just in time for the lovely warm weather we've been having to disappear. So Ella has worn it a couple of times already when we go for walks.

The other week I also blocked the Mandala II shawl that I finished in February, and it turned out huge! It's almost two meters across, and it's very pretty. I had to buy an additional skein to finsh it, and as you might recall that skein turned out to e very pale compared to my old ones. So after some thought I decided to over-dye it with some dyes I got fom KnitPicks a few years ago. It's still not perfect, some of the edging is still a litte bit lighter than the rest of the shawl, but it's a big improvement. I'm saving the shawl to wear at Ella's christening next weekend.

I also have yarn wound for a new shawl and a baby carigan. I'm going to start the Twinkle Twinkle Little Star shawl in Chili Gredelin Geisha silk lace yarn, in the colourway Lettuce, and the Flower cardigan in Wollmese DK yarn in the Sabrina colourway. There is also a matching Little Flower hat that I'll make if I have enough yarn. But before I start those projects I really want to finish the Austin Hoodie, and as I'm almost half-way through the first sleeve that should be prerty soon. I'm really liking this yarn with this pattern, I just hope I have enough to finish the hood! 

I noticed the other day that apparently my skeins (it's Manos Del Uruguay Fino) differ some in colour, and I was stupid enough not to alternate skeins. I should have, as it's hand dyed, but I have had pretty good luck not alternating in the past, so I just never remember to do it! But I won't frog the entire cardigan now that I've gotten this far, it will just have to be a design feature.

Other than knitting, my days are mostly filled with taking care of Ella and the household. It's still a bit overwhelming at times, but I'm also starting to feel comfortable in my role as a mother. And Ella is growing like a weed! It's so much fun to see her develop, sometimes I think she's learning new things every day. 

And Thomas is on vacation now until the beginning of August, which means that we'll get a lot of time together as a family. The project for this summer is to move our bedroom upstairs, as we have two rooms upstairs and one will be Ella's room eventually. The room which will be our new bedroom is now Thomas' computer/music room, and Ella's room is now my hobby room. So in order to fit everything in we're going to put Thomas' video game stuff in the guest room instead. But first we'll have to clean that out... Our schedule looks like this:
  1. Clean out the storage room next to the garage. It is currently filled nostly with trash that needs to go to the dump, we just have to get it dobe.
  2. Clean out the garage. A lot of stuff has been put in the garage since the storage room is full, but once that is emptied out the garage will be cleaned and sorted too.
  3. Clean out the guest room. We have a lot of Thomas' brother's stuff in there as he currently lives in a student dorm room where he can't fit all his furniture. We will use some of it in the guest room, but some of it will go in the garage and some of it he's going to have to find some storage for himself.
  4. Redecorate the guest room and move some of Thomas' stuff in there. It will mostly be a gaming room.
  5. Move our bedroom downstairs up into Thomas' room. Also, put some of my craft stuff in the new bedroom.
  6. Move the rest of Thomas' stuff into the now empty room downstairs.
  7. Redecorate my hobby room into Ella's nursery.
Who said anything about resting during the vacation?! Hopefully most of it won't take too long, as it mostly involves moving stuff around. The only two things that might take some time is sorting through all the stuff in the garage and redecorating Ella's room, but the nursery doesn't have to be done duribg the summer as Ella will have her crib in our bedroom for a while yet. It's a lot of work, but it's also going to be a lot of fun to finally get all of this stuff done!

Ok, I think that's it for today. Next time I hope I'll have some new decorating to show you, and hopefully a new cardigan too!

/ Jenny

Monday, May 19, 2014

Welcome Ella!

Wow, it's been a long time! Lots of stuff has been going on, but not very much knitting related. The main thing of course being the birth of our wonderful daughter! Please say hello to Ella Marion Clifford!

At the end of February we found out that the baby (by then we didn't know the gender) had turned around in the womb and placed her buttocks firmly downwards. We went to the hospital where they attempted to turn her around, but it didn't succeed. The attempt was very painful, and I had some very pretty black bruises on my belly afterwards! The doctor asked me if I still wanted to try and give birth the natural way, even though the baby was upside down, but I decided pretty fast to have a c-section instead. So on the 5th of March me and Thomas went to Norrköping's hospital, and at 14:32 our little daughter was born. Everything went very well, she weighed 3210 grams and was 49 cm long so pretty much in the middle of the curve. She is now ten weeks old, and every minute has been wonderful and overwhelming. I have healed very fast, so I think I've been very lucky in that too. And I can almost fit into my old pants!

So these past three months have been filled with baby stuff, and lots of friends of family visiting to meet Ella. Thomas went back to work after two weeks, but I will be on maternity leave until the beginning of January next year. The days are filled with taking care of the baby, and I haven't had much time to knit. I did manage to finish my Star Leaves shawl the other week, and today I had time to block it while Ella slept! Yay!

Now I'm mostly focusing on the Austin hoodie, and I'm almost up to the arm holes. It's not going fast, as I usually only manage a couple of rows in the evening, and not even every evening, but it will get done eventually. I have a lot of other stuff on the needles too (two pairs of socks, and one sweater), and I should also make a few more cardigans for Ella. She has two that I've made right now, and she will probably be able to fit into the Abernathy cardigan for a month or two more, but the sleeves on the Puerperium cardigan are alrready getting a bit short. So if I want her to have any hand knits at all for the fall I should get going!

And those two cardigans were almost my only successful baby knits! The first set I made, the hat with the pom-poms, the booties and the mittens) turned out way too small (well, she had the mittens for a few weeks, but they were on the small side), and the Abernathy cap fit but the ties ended up right in front of her mouth rather than under the shin! The Wollmeise hat that I made to match the Puerperium cardigan also fit for a short while, then she grew out of that too. So more hats and cardigans will be forthcoming!

The pyjamas I made for Ella was also a fail. It fit her perfectly, but I quickly found out that a jumpsuit that you have to remove all the way just to check the diaper is way too fussy! Also, the buttons were very pretty, but almost impossible to button and unbutton, so I'll probably just let Ella have that one as doll's clothing in the future. It is pretty, but very impractical.

Ella also got some knitted gifts from some of our friends. When she was a little over a week, our dear friends from Clifton Forge, Sarah and Chris, came to Sweden for their first visit! They stayed with our friends Anna and Peter, and all four of them came here to see us and Ella. We haven't seen Sarah and Chris since our USA trip three years ago, so it was so wonderful to get to see them again! Sarah had made Ella a super cute little sock yarn hat:

And Anna brought an alpaca hat and a pair of bootees:

Ella has, as you can see in the photos, almost grown out of both hats, but the bootees still fit, and she often wears them when we go out for walks. 

Finally, Ella got a scarf and a hat from my grandmother (she's a great grandmother now and loving it), and although she didn't make them herself, they are just so cute that I have to share the photo:

Ok, now it's getting close to feeding time, so I'll have to go. I have no idea when I'll be back, but hopefully there will be some more recent knitting!

/ Jenny

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Lots of knitting going on!

I really meant to write sooner, but I decided I wanted to finish some stuff before I did. And then things got kind of out of hand... So, lots and lots of knitting has happened these last few weeks! Just to warn you, this might be a quite long post!

First, I got loads of buttons in the mail. I found this Canadian shop on Etsy, Forbeadin' Treasures, that makes super cute plastic buttons. So I ordered four sets, because they are also super cheap:

As you can see, I went with the children theme. I had planned to use one of the sets on the Abernathy cardigan that I finished last time, but I finally decided that I wasn't completely happy with either set on that particular garment. So I chose to sew on a couple of sheep buttons that I had in my stash instead, and I'm super happy with this cardigan!

It's only three weeks until the baby is due, and I am slowly accumulating baby knits. You'll see them later in this post. After I had sewn on the buttons, I decided to finish off some socks. First I finished the vanilla goth socks that I made from Crazy Zauberball sock yarn:

They are almost knee highs, and I really like wearing them. They are just plain vanilla socks with afterthought heels, and as the yarn is labelled as striping I got to count them in the striping KAL (I asked in the forum, and got approval). So January socks are done!

Then I finished my Watermelon Slice socks:

I LOVE these! They are just so cute and whimsical, and the yarn softened at least some when I washed them. They feel very sturdy, so they'll probably last forever, and they are very warm and wooly. I have enough yarn left to make at least a pair of children's socks, but I'll wait with that. The yarn is still too scratchy to put on a small baby anyway.

Once I had finshed those socks, I only had two projects left to work on, the Mandala II shawl and the Stricken socks were left on the needles. I hadn't gotten my skein of Tosh lace from Eat.Sleep.Knit yet, so I cast on for a baby pyjama suit instead, the Hel dress pattern. I chose three colours of sock yarn from my stash, Two were the Knitting Goddess sock yarn that I got in the club last year, and one was Opal sock yarn. 

The green is called Trousers for a Fiend, and the brown is called Fun Fur. I discovered very soon that I HATE knitting with three colours, as the yarn just kept on tangling. I'm very happy that this was just a tiny baby knit! I made a lot of changes to the pattern, as I didn't realize that it was meant to be steeked. I've tried steeking superwash yarn before, and that's an experience I don't want to have again, so I decided to knit it flat instead. I also chose another colourwork band across the chest, the red dragon chart which is free on Ravelry, and this was my first time knitting colourwork flat. It turned out to be a little bit fiddly, but ok. finally, I picked up for the button bands and collar, and knit them in garter stitch. 

As an intermission, in the middle of knitting the pyjama I got the lace yarn from Eat.Sleep.Knit, but it turned out to be a lot paler than my two skeins. I knew this was a risk, since they are hand dyed and my old skeins had been in my stash for almost three years, so I decided to use it anyway. I really wanted to finish the shawl, so I knit, and knit, and knit, and finally it is done!

I'm way too heavy and non-mobile right now with my huge belly to spend an hour on the floor blocking this, so that will have to wait until the baby is here. As you can see it has a very pale border, and I can't decide if I should try over-dyeing the whole thing or leave it as it is. I want to decide before I block it, as blocking a circular shawl is a pain in the butt and I don't want to do it more than once. But right now I'm leaning towards not changing it, I think I can live with the paler border. Dyeing is always a risk, and I really don't want to destroy this thing!

Then I picked up the pyjama again, and finished it. 

I sewed on the buttons the other day (of course I chose the dragon buttons, as there were already knit dragons on it), and I'm very happy with this one! It is very soft, so it should be comfortable on the baby, and it is super cute. If I were to make another one (which I probably won't), I would probably just use two colours though.

Ok, I was finally down to just one project on the needles, the Cookie A socks. Which I really didn't feel like working on! So on Thursday this week I cast on all the things! First on the needles was the Star Leaves shawl:

I'm making it from two stash skeins of Chili Gredelin Madame yarn (55 % silk/45 % cashmere, 365 m/110 g), which might be my all time favourite lace yarn, and I also found some beads in the stash that I'm using. I don't think you can see the beads in the photo, but they're there. I had some problems getting this one started, and I've messaged the designer some times, but finally after finishing the first chart it turned out that the problem was my reading skills. The pattern is very clear and obviously correct, I just missed one line of text... Now it's fine, and I'm really enjoying this one.

Next I started the Dark and Stormy cardigan, with some Cascade 220 from stash (100 % wool, 201 m/100 g), in the colourway Liechen 9338.

I have literally just cast this one on, and then I haven't had time to work on it any more than the first row, I think, so this one doesn't look like much. But it will be very pretty!

And as if one cardigan wasn't enough, I decided to start yet another one for me. I started the Austin Hoodie about a year and a half ago, but it didn't work with the yarn I chose, so this time I picked a yarn that was a little bit thicker in my stash. I'm using Manos del Uruguay Fino (70 % merino/30 % silk, 225 m/50 g), in the colourway British 2334. I thought I had six skeins in total of this, which should be about what is needed for the hoodie, but when I started to wind the fourth or fifth skein, I discovered this:

Yeah, half of the strands in the skein had been cut! I had bought four of these skeins in a yarn store in Uppsala back in October 2012, but this skein came from Garnkorgen as I decided I wanted enough of the yarn to make a sweater and ordered some more later on. I have to admit that I hadn't opened the skein when I got it, but just put it in the stash with the other skeins. But all of the skeins had been sealed in a plastic bag together (and the bag was completely intact), and none of the other skeins were affected, so I doubt it was bugs. I contacted the shop, but as I had bought it so long ago I didn't think there was anything the owner could do either. She graciously offered me to buy another skein for half price though, which I thought was really nice. I've decided to wait a bit with ordering it though, to see if I can finish the cardigan with what I've got. I haven't tried to ball up the broken skein yet, so I don't know how much of it will be salvageable. 

I have made the folded hem on the cardigan though, so now it's just an eternity of stockinette knitting for a while:

I am enjoying working on it, as the yarn is super soft and it's completely mindless. I think it will take me a while to get done though, as I'm not focusing on this one at the moment. The project I am prioritizing right now is the fourth cast on I made on Thursday, namely the Puerperium baby cardigan:

I'm using the Wollmeise DK leftovers (100 % superwash wool, 428 m/200 g) in the colourway Pesto. This is the yarn I made my Gnarled Oak cardigan from, right before new year's, so now the baby and I will have matching sweaters! I wear mine all the time, I really love both the model and the yarn, and I think this baby cardigan will be very cute as well. I'm putting the sleeves on waste yarn today, so I'm almost half-way done already. DK baby clothes equal fast knitting!

Finally, I decided that I needed to think on what knitting I want to bring to the hospital when the baby comes. No, I can't imagine going there without knitting, why do you ask? So I started a pair of striping socks in some Regia sock yarn from stash (75 % superwash wool/25 % nylon, 420 m/100 g), in the colourway Cassis 04536.

The pattern is Fruit Stripe Gum socks, and I'm really liking it! It is completely mindless, I had to look at it twice before I had it memorized, but the results almost looks like entrelac! I have knit a little bit on them, just to get a feel for the pattern, but I'll probably save these in the hospital bag for now.

Ok, I think that's it on the knitting front! As I said, a lot! But I have had two really lousy stomach weeks, so knitting has been about the only thing I've done. It seems like it's getting marginally better this weekend (knock on wood), so hopefully I'll get three weeks of rest before the baby comes. I haven't done much these past few weeks, but yesterday my sister and mother came for a visit, and we went to see a Swedish production of the musical Jesus Christ Superstar (we gave our mother tickets for Christmas). It was really, really good, and then we bought pizza and just hung out for a short while before they went home again. I think they both thought it was nice to see me one last time before the baby comes, so they could laugh at how ridiculous I look :)

We'll see if I get around to updating again before the baby. I'll probably want to show off the baby cardigan if I finish it! Otherwise you'll get some very different photos next time!

/ Jenny

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Baby stuff goes so fast!

Since last time I've knit a lot, as I've discovered that baby clothes makes for very fast knitting. I started, and finished, an Abernathy cardigan, in Dream in Color Everlasting yarn (100 % superwash merino, 384 m/100 g) in the colourway Violet Hour, and Sanguine Gryphon Bugga! (70 % superwash merino/20 % cashmere/10 % nylon, 377 m/113 g) in the colourway Oleander Nymph:

The Dream in Color yarn I got from last year's Cookie A sock club, and the Bugga! was leftovers from a pair of socks I made in 2012 I think. I made the 3 months old size, and I opted not to make the button bands with intarsia and picked up for them once the rst of the body was finished instead. It was a fun, quick knit, but I have to admit that the Dream in Color wasn't the nicest yarn to work with. It's soft to the touch, but it feels a little bit stiff when working with it, and it is very loosely plied. I wouldn't trust it to make for durable socks! I have ordered some buttons from Etsy, but they haven't arrived yet so I'll show them once they get here.

I also made the matching Abernathy Cap, which took about two days to make, with the same yarn:

Some people seem to think that the purple is a bit girly, but we still don't know what gender our baby will have. I think that purple will work for both a girl and a boy, and fortunately it will be too small to contradict me!

Unfortunately, this last part of the pregnancy (only about 1.5 months left now!) includes lots of hormones, and my stomach does not react well to those so I've been home sick a lot. On Thursday I went to my doctor, and now I'm on sick leave until the baby comes. It feels good to not have to work any more, because I've been so exhausted, but I get a bit bored just being home. But at least that gives me lots and lots of knitting time! 

In between all the stomach issues I've worked a lot on my Mandala II shawl, as I would really love to have it finished before the baby arrives. I doubt I'll get lots of uninterrupted knitting time with an infant to take care of! I haven't gotten any new photos of that one though, as it is still so scrunched up on the needles. The sad part is that yesterday I ran out of yarn! I've now used up two whole skeins of Madelinetosh Tosh Lace yarn, which makes for over 1700 m! I have about 20 rows left on the last chart, plus the edging, so I've ordered one more skein from Eat.Sleep.Knit (I know that I'm not supposed to buy any more yarn, but the exception will have to be when I run out before I finish a project). I think it will take a few weeks to arrive though, so I don't know if I'll finish it in time. It's a fun knit, and I've really enjoyed knitting a bit of lace, but I don't think I should start a new shawl before this one is done. We'll see how long that resolve lasts!

The past couple of days I've been knitting on my socks instead, as I find that three pairs going at the same time might be a little bit much. I'm done with the first of the Zauberball Vanilla socks, and about halfway through the second one:

I thought that Zauberball was a striping yarn, but it is more of a gradient I guess. I don't think they will count in the stripey KAL challenge, but I don't mind that too much. The colours are pretty, and they've flown off the needles. 

Yesterday I picked up my Watermelon Slice socks instead, and finished the first one:

This is The Knitters Brewing Company sock yarn, and it isn't the softest, but I think they will make for almost everlasting socks! They feel nice on the foot, and they are so much fun! I've started the second one today, and as I'm spending so much time at home right now it should be done in a couple of days. 

Other than that I've gotten two yarn shipments in the mail since I wrote last, which were the last of the Christmas shopping. First, I managed to snag two half-skeins of sock yarn from Fibrofibers, in the Nightfall Fingering Sock base:

The colourway is called Deep Purple, and the yarn is 100 % superwash wool, 448 m/114 g. The way that it is dyed is that each skein is a single gradient from pure purple into black, which will make for two identical socks. I love this idea, and I've been stalking the updates for a while without getting any. This time I got one skein though, and I wasn't going to let such a boring thing as saving money stop me from getting it!

I also got three skeins of Chili Gredelin Madame lace yarn (55 % silk/45 % cashmere, 366 m/55 g), in the colourway A Blanket and Two Beagles:

I think that Madame might be my very favourite lace yarn, and I'm so happy that Kia has started up the business again. I won't be buying much from her this coming year though, but I was very happy that I had some Christmas money to spend on this. 

The last thing I have on my needles is the Stricken socks, but as I haven't touched them since I wrote last I have no new photos. I'll pick these up again soon, but I think I want to finish either the vanilla socks or the Watermelon socks first.

And I think that's it for this time. We're starting to prepare the house for the arrival of the baby, but I'll not go into that here. Let's just say that a baby needs so much stuff! We've been buying most stuff second hand, which is good for both our economy and the environment, and it's been a lot of fun looking for stuff online. At least that gives me a shopping outlet now that I'm not buying any more yarn!

/ Jenny

Monday, January 06, 2014

March is approaching...

So, it's a new year! Due to all the holiday days that we have off from work, I've only worked three days so far this year, which has been very nice. We spent New Year's Eve with a couple of friends and their 7 month old baby, Arvid, so we got a little practice for the future. It was very nice, we had some very good food and played a board game, and even though Arvid did NOT want to sleep, he was very cheerful and happy the whole evening.

A few days before New Year's I finished my Gnarled Oak cardigan, so I got to wear it to the dinner. It actually fits me very well right now, I can even button it if I strain it a little, so that makes me wonder how big it will be once the baby has arrived...

I really like it though, and I don't think I'll mind a bit of an over-sized cardigan anyway. It's made with Wollmeise DK yarn, so it's very nice and soft, and it was a fun knit too.

That left me with one single project on the needle, which is the Mandala II shawl. I've finished more than half of the last chart before the edging, but it has actually been resting for a couple of days now. You see, I've realized that March (and, hence, the baby) is coming soon, so I've started making baby stuff. These past few days I've finished a hat, a pair of booties and a pair of mittens...

These are the Kid at Any Age hat, the Dreamy Baby booties and the Easy Knit Baby mittens (although I changed that pattern quite a bit). I used the same yarn for all three projects, my skein of Tanis Fiber Arts Purple Label Cashmere Sock yarn that I got as the December shipment in the Cookie A sock club, and it really is super soft. All of these projects went super fast, as they are so small! Next up is probably some kind of baby cardigan, I just have to decide which yarn to use.

Once all those projects were going I also needed some projects for myself, so these past few days I've cast on for three different socks for myself. Maybe I went a little overboard... The first pair is a pair of Stricken socks, by Cookie A:

I'm using a skein of The Knitting Goddess sock yarn that I got in the 7 Degrees of Kevin Bacon sock club last year (I don't remember which month), in the colourway Where the Sun Doesn't Shine (which is from the Dark Shadows movie. I think it might be a little on the dark side for this pattern, but I'm still enjoying making them so I don't mind. It's nice to have a pair of semi-solid socks going again!

Next up are the Watermelon Slice socks that I got both pattern and yarn as a kit from The Knitters Brewing Company at the start of the summer. I decided not to use the beads that came with it, because I find beaded socks a bit uncomfortable to wear.

I'm enjoying these too, the pattern is pretty easy so I plan on using these as my coffee break knitting. The yarn is The Knitters Brewing Company Sock-aholic, in the colourways Watermelon Fizz, Sour Apple Twist and Heavy Cream. The yarn isn't the softest, but it should be very durable.

Finally today I started a plain vanilla pair of socks, in some self-striping Crazy Zauberball yarn that has been in my stash for a while, in the colourway Charisma:

I wasn't certain that I'd be able to remember the pattern for the Watermelon Slice socks at work, and I don't want to bring the pattern (I haven't printed it, it's only on my iPad), so I needed something really easy. I'm making them toe-up, so I can use up most of the yarn, and as the Stockinette Zombies are continuing the Stripy KAL for another year, these will probably be my January entry. I don't have twelve skeins of self-striping in my stash any more, and as I plan on not buying any more yarn for a while I don't think I'll be able to finish twelve striping projects this year too. But I'll make some and enter them as they are finished.

Oh, and speaking of yarn. I actually decided to spend a little bit of my Christmas money on yarn, as I found out that one of my favourite dyers, Chili Gredelin, has opened her store again! So first I ordered a skein of sock yarn, Cassiopeia (75 % superwash merino/20 % nylon/5 % stellina), in the colourway It's Oh So Quiet:

Then she did another update, and I got three skeins of her lace yarn Madame (55 % silk/45 % cashmere), but that hasn't arrived yet so I'll show it to you once it does. I think that my next lace project, once the giant shawl is done, will be in some Madame.

Ok, I think that's it for today. Lots and lots of knitting! I'll try to be back soon, but it's all depending on how well I feel. But now it's only two more months, then the baby will be here!

/ Jenny

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A late Merry Christmas!

I hope you've all had a really lovely and relaxing week! We went to visit our parents on Sunday last week, and came back to Mantorp yesterday evening, so we've been gone for almost a week. It's been a really good Christmas for both of us, I've spent a lot of time with my family just hanging out and knitting a lot, and Thomas got to see his family a lot and spend lots of time with his brothers too. We got a lot of cute and functional baby stuff for Christmas gifts, which I won't show off here, and had lots of lovely food. Everyone was so pleased to see us this year too, especially me and my growing stomach!

Since the last time I wrote I've done a lot of knitting too. On the weekend of the first of Advent, Thomas helped his brother move, so I had the whole Saturday to put up the Christmas decoration and knit. I finished the Show-off Stranded socks in Friday Studios Monday base yarn (colourway Girl on Fire) in just about a week, which I'm very proud of!

These makes number eleven this year in the Stripey KAL that the Stockinette Zombies are hosting, and almost immediately I cast on for the last pair. I was actually thinking of using this yarn for a baby hat, but I decided that it wasn't quite soft enough for that so it got to become another pair of socks for me. This is the Georgia on My Mind socks, and I made them with Austermann Step sock yarn (75 % superwash wool/25 % nylon, 421 m/100 g), in the colourway 220.

I really, really like these socks! I think the yarn is a really good work horse yarn, and it has some Aloe Vera in it that makes your feet feel soft and pampered when you wear them. I made these socks really fast too, just under a week. and they completed the twelve pairs of striped socks this year! Yay!

Those are the projects that I finished, and I also chose to put one in hibernation on Ravelry. I was intending to make three Pikmin toys, but I decided to hold off on the second and third. I made the yellow one a while ago, and it is super cute, but I just don't enjoy crochet! It's very fiddly for me, and makes my hands hurt, so I'm going to wait. I do want the finished objects some day, just not right now.

And this means that I've only got two projects on the needles right now. I've actually been working a lot on my Mandala II shawl, and I'm a third through the last chart before the edging. I used up the first whole skein and switched to the second a while ago, but I think there should be enough. I really hope so!

I'm quite enjoying the lace knitting, it's just that each row is a little bit over 1100 stitches and takes me almost an hour. And there are no rest rows either, there is patterning on every row. I won't finish it this year, but hopefully in January.

I've also knit a lot on the Gnarled Oak cardigan, and that one is almost finished. I've knit and attached both sleeves, and I'm almost done with the leaf motives on the yoke. Then it's just button bands and collar bands left, which should go pretty quickly. The photo is taken just before I attached the sleeves, but I just couldn't be bothered with taking a new one today in the dreary dark weather (we've had the warmest Christmas in Sweden for fifty years, with more rain than has been measured since the country started keeping records...).

I'm enjoying this one very much, and since it's DK weight (I'm making it in Wollmeise DK, colourway Pesto) it's going really fast. I also ordered button off of Etsy a couple of weeks ago, from a store called Wooden Artist:

I'm so pleased with these! They are made from two different types of wood (Kozika to the left and Acacia to the right), and oiled, and they will fit this cardigan perfectly. I just haven't decided which set I'm going to use yet, I'll show them to you with the cardigan next time. I noticed after I got them that the one that is in the pattern on Ravelry also has wooden buttons, and it looks great.

I got my last shipments in both yarn clubs I'm in these past weeks too. First I got the December shipment in the Cookie A sock club, which was an absolutely gorgeous skein from Tanis Fiber Arts:

This is Purple Label Cashmere Sock yarn (70 % merino/20 % cashmere/10 % nylon, 366 m/115 g), in the colourway Julep. I've actually already skeined this one up, and it is becoming a baby hat. It is incredibly soft, and I really like the colour too.

Then I got the last shipment in the 7 Degrees of Kevin Bacon sock club too, which is a skein of the Knitting Goddess sock yarn in the colourway Everglot (which is from the movie Corpse Bride). It is a really pretty shade of silver grey, and I'm happy with this one too. I've been happy with almost all of the colours in this club, but I'm not going to join in for another round (I don't remember what the theme was next year, but it was something else). We're just not splurging on stuff like that next year, what with the baby coming.

Ok, I think that was it with the knitting. I was really hoping to get everything off the needles for the start of the new year, but I'm just not going to be able to finish the shawl. I think I'll finish the cardigan though, so I'll just have to be content with one thing on the needles. And once January comes along I'll start a new pair of socks (I haven't decided which pattern yet, but it will be something semisolid and cabled) and a baby hat. And probably a baby cardigan too. It's only a little more than two months until it's due to arrive so I better get a move on!

I'll not get back to you before New Year's Eve, so I'll talk to you again next year!

/ Jenny