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

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