Friday, January 22, 2016

I'll try to do better in 2016!

Hello Everybody! I'm so sorry that I've neglected you all so much this past Autumn and Winter! It's been a looong Autumn, both me and Thomas started working again with Ella in pre-school, and right around mid-November my stomach just gave up. I've undergone a bunch of tests and examinations, and I'm just waiting for the results now. So I've been off work a lot, and spent most of that time on the couch or taking care of Ella.

But, hopefully the Spring will be better! Today I had my last day at work for a whole year, because I'm going back to school! I'm going to study at Linköpings University for a year to get a Biomedical Analysts degree and licence. I'm starting Monday, and even though it feels a bit weird to be back in school (I thought I was done with that!), it's going to be a lot of fun too.

I've also accomplished a lot of knitting this Autumn, so this might be a somewhat long post. But I think you're getting used to that, right? In my last post, the last FO I had was the Miffy toy. So today, I Think I'll just start with the next FO after Miffy, and work my way to the most recent one.

First, I finished the Zebra socks for my mother. Last time I had one finished, and the second one went pretty fast.

They turned out pretty cool, and my mom loved them. I don't remember if she got them for her birthday in October or before that, but she has used them a lot this Winter at least. They were made with Regia 4-ply sock yarn, in the Zebra colourway, on size 2 mm needles, and they are just plain vanilla socks.

Next up is a project that you have not seen before. I decided that I wanted to use up the rest of My Fibernymph Dye Works Nyan Cat yarn, so I knit up a plain stockinette hat with ribbing at the bottom for Ella.

She has used this one a lot this Autumn, before it got too cold for a fingering weight hat, but she looked very cute in it!

After the hat was done I still had a lot of the yarn left, so I used up everything but a very small bit of the dark blue skein for a pair of fingerless mitts for myself.

They are so very soft and nice, and I wore these a lot too, before it got too cold and I needed whole mittens or gloves. Both the hat and the mittens were made without patterns, just simple stockinette with a ribbed bottom for the hat, and stockinette and ribbing for the mitts with a small thumb gusset.

At the beginning of Autumn my best friend called to tell me she had been diagnosed with breast cancer, which was devastating news to all of us. She has since undergone chemotherapy and has had surgery, and the tumour is completely gone! Still, I wanted to knit some stuff for her, so I started off with a pair of Mystik Spiral socks.

I made them in FiberNymph Dye Works Bounce yarn, in the Tardis colourway, as we're both Dr Who fans, and she loved them. Now I just need to buy an additional skein to make something for myself too...

I also finally finished the Firenze socks that I made from The FibroFibers Nightfall yarn. I loved the pattern, but I have to say I'm disappointed in the yarn. It was supposed to be divided into two identical skeins, but as you can see my socks are anything but identical.

I still wear them, but I don't like that they are so different. The yarn was a bit stiff to work with, and even though it has softened a bit with washing, I still didn't enjoy working with it, so I'll never buy from her again. Also, I've heard rumours that there's been some trouble with orders not being sent from the shop, so I'm just as glad.

As I wasn't very pleased with the Firenze socks, I wanted something happy for myself, so I balled up my skein of Mad Color Fiber Arts Slink yarn, in the The Last Centurion colourway, and made a pair of V-junkie socks for myself.

These I really love, both the pattern and the yarn. Since it has 10 % Tencel in it, the yarn was a bit stiff to work with too, but since the colours are so amazing I didn't mind, and they have softened a lot after washing too.

I need to take a break from the FO's here to tell you about some yarn purchases, as I used some of that yarn in some finished projects. At the end of September last year I got a weekend without Thomas and Ella, so me, my mother and sister went to Ullared, a huge outlet shopping centre in the south of Sweden, and bought lots and lots of stuff! I had planned to buy winter clothes for Ella, which I did, and we also got a lot of her Christmas presents in the toy department. I think we were there for almost seven hours! But it was a fun, although exhausting, day. And the very next day we three also went to the Sewing Festival in Borås. It was fun and all, but I feel like there is less and less yarn at this event, and more and more fabrics and beads. I'm not sure I'll go next year, maybe it's time to try the bigger one in Stockholm instead. we'll see. I did buy some yarn though, and I'll just show them all to you here:

Viking of Norway Sportsragg (60 % wool/20 % nylon/20 % acrylic), in a kit designed for socks. I'll use it to make a dress for Ella, I think.

Garnstudio Drops Karisma (100 % wool), in the colourway Purple 76. I'll use these for a Seamless Flower dress for Ella.

Viking of Norway Nordlys (75 % wool/25 % nylon), in the colourways Purples 969 and Green/Orange 934. I'm planning on making a colourwork hat for myself out of the green/orange one.

Garnstudio Drops Merino Cotton (52 % wool/48 % cotton), in the colourways Dark Green 22 and Light Green 10. I've already used up almost all of it in a hat for my friend Christine. I'll show it to you a bit further down.

John Arbon Textiles Knit By Numbers (100 % wool), in the colourways Purple and White. I've used up all of this too, in a sweater, hat, scarf and mittens for Ella, which I'll also show you further down.

Ok, now we'll get back to the FO parade. Next up I finished a Winter Hoodie for Ella. I used the Knit by Numbers yarn I bought at the sewing festival, and this yarn was so nice to work with!

I've been wanting to make this sweater since I first saw it, but at first it wasn't available in Europe due to the VAT changes. But then all of a sudden I could get it, and Ella has worn it a lot this winter as it is so warm: However, I knit it on the small side, so I actually put it away the other day as it is too small.

As this yarn was so soft and nice, I decided to use up the left-overs of it too, and made a really thick winter hat for Ella as well. I used the same colourwork pattern as for the sweater, knit a folded brim, and finally made an inner lining to prevent the strands from snagging.

When this was done, I made a matching striped scarf (as you can see in the photo above) and a pair of mittens to match as well. The mittens are also knit with a double hem and lined to prevent the fingers from snagging in the strands, but unfortunately I ran out of yarn so the thumbs are too short! Ella did NOT enjoy wearing them, so they have mostly been languishing in the drawer. But they are cute!

And as my friend Christine was undergoing chemo, she started to lose most of her hair, so I wanted to knit her a nice, soft hat. I used the Drops Cotton Merino I got at the sewing festival, and based the hat on the Tiima pattern. I could not get gauge though, so I ended up using the leaf pattern from the Spring Thaw shawl and just sort of fudged the decreases at the top. I then knit an inner lining in the paler green, to make it warmer, and it turned out very nice! Christine really loved it, and hopefully she's getting a lot of use out of it now that it has turned really cold here.

And as it turned colder here in Sweden I also needed to make Ella a pair of thicker socks, Raggsockar in Swedish. I got some cheap, thicker sock yarn, Järbo Mellanraggi, and just knit a pair of ribbed sock with a gusset heel for her.

She's worn them a lot these past few weeks too, and as I got another skein of yarn at the same time, Sandnes Alpakka Sock yarn, that is also a little bit thicker, I'll soon make another pair for her.

The final FO from last year is a pair of socks. I wanted to see if I could finish a final pair of self-striping socks before the year ran out, as that would make my twelfth self-striping project for the year for the Stockinette Zombies KAL. And I did! I finished them right before we went home for Christmas, and as they turned out a bit too big for me I decided to give them to my mom.

I knit the Getting Down version for both socks, from the Partying it Up and Getting Down socks, and I used a skein of Opal Happy with Silbereffekt 9090 Surprise yarn (Opal has self-striping with glitter. Just saying.) that I had to get as soon as I saw it. I also got a skein in another colourway, 9091.

In the middle of October my sister turned 30, so I went home to celebrate her. We went out for dinner with her boyfriend and our parents, and also went to a food festival in Borås that was conveniently taking place that very same weekend. It was a lot of fun, and we were so full afterwards! Me and my mom also went shopping a little bit that weekend, and I got some more yarn. Because you never have enough, right?

Hjertegarn Safari (75  % wool/25 % nylon), in the 7698 Tiger colourway. Mom claimed these as hers, so I'll probably make another pair of socks for her.

Online Supersocke Carneval colour yarn (75 % wool/25 % nylon), in the 1888 colourway. Destined to become socks, possibly for myself. We'll see.

Four skeins of Sandnes Alpakka Silke (70 % Alpaca/30 5 silk), that I've already used up in the first FO for this year. More on that further down.

Five Skeins of Garnstudio Drops Eskimo (100 % wool), in the colourway 54 Pale Purple. These will become an Owlet sweater for Ella.

And finally during January I finished two things. First up was the Orleans dress out of the Sandnes yarn I showed you, and it is just so cute!

It reaches her about midway down the calves, and she looks like a little medieval princess in it. I got her some purple buttons in the shape of snails, because right now she loves to sing the Swedish song Little Snail (Lilla snigel).

And two days ago I FINALLY finished the Alvi sweater!

This has been such an ordeal! I was almost done with it before Christmas, until I discovered that I had shifted the pattern on one of the sleeves. So I had to rip out almost all of the yoke, and half a sleeve, and then reknit it. When I had gotten almost back to where I was, I realized that I really didn't like my raglan decreases, so I ripped back the yoke one more time and re-knit it. Now that it is done I'm really glad that I did, as I LOVE the finished sweater. It is still drying upstairs, but I'll show you pictures of when I wear it when it's dry. It's made with Wollmeise Blend yarn (70 % merino/20 % cashmere/10 % nylon), in the colourways Ooohm and Krokodil. I love, love, love this yarn! It is incredibly soft, and with the Wollmeise colours it is just fabulous.

Ok, I still have some yarn purchases to show you, and there might be two more orders on their way (all the more reason to blog soon again!). I have decided that 2016 will be the year that I knit a steeked sweater, and I've decided on the Tiber Cardigan. So I got some Kauni solids yarn for that, and some other goodies might have fallen into the kart at the same time...

Kauni Solids (100 % wool), in the colourways Dark Purple LL7 and AA White.

Bumbo Strömpegarn Print (75 % wool/25 % nylon), in the colourway 146 Red and Purple.

Viking of Norway Aurora yarn (75 % wool/25 % nylon), in the 639 colourway.

Viking of Norway Nordlys yarn (75 % wool/25 % nylon), in the colourways black, white and Pinks.

Ok, now we've gotten through the FO's and all the yarns. But there's still the unfinished stuff to go! And as I think I have seven projects on the needles right now, this might take a while too, but unfortunately, most of the stuff that's still on the needles are things that I haven't really been working on. As I think about it, this section could go by pretty fast!

First up, the Fiori di Sole shawl out of Malabrigo Lace. I don't think I've even looked at it during all of the Fall, but I am going to finish it some day. I actually want to knit lace, but I very seldom have the time to sit uninterrupted and make it. As I've been so sick and tired the whole semester I usually go to bed at the same time as Ella does, which gives me about zero knitting time in the evenings. Anyway, as I haven't touched it you'll get no new photos.

Next is the February Fitted Pullover, that I'm making out of Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage yarn, in the Copper Penny colourway. I've just finished the waist decreases, but I only picked this one up the other day after a long hiatus, so I have no new photos of this one either. This will be the project that I focus on the most for the moment though, as I really want to wear the sweater.

The Teatime with Teddy Bear Cardigan that I'm making for Ella in Dream in Color Smooshy, colourway Melon Bomb, is also resting, but I want to finish this one soon too, before Ella outgrows it! No new photos though.

The fourth project is the Spelunking lace cardigan that I'm making in Wollmeise Lacegarn, the Cassis colourway. I really want to finish this one too, and it will probably be the next focus-project after the February fitted pullover is done. I haven't touched it in ages, so no new photos there either.

I still have three things left to show you, and all of them are things you haven't seen (or heard of) before. First, I cast on the Farmer McGregor socks, in my sockblank yarn from Stäkets hantverk.

I'm really enjoying them so far, but other stuff has come between, so I haven't touched them either in a while. I'm not sure I love knitting with the kinked yarn, but it's not horrible either.

Next to last, a pair of leg warmers for my mom, out of some Lorna's Laces Shepherd sock yarn, in the Envy colourway. I'm using the pattern for the Sailor's Ribbing socks to give them a bit more interest than just plain ribbing.

My mom requested these over a year ago, and for a while they were my purse knitting, but once again, other socks got in the way and they've been hibernating for a while too. They might become purse knitting soon again though.

My purse knitting right now is my final project, and these are the Dalekanium socks that I'm making for my brother-in-law, Adam.

I'm using more of my Mad Color Fiber Arts yarn, this is also Slink, in the colourway She'll Fool Ya. The colours are really bright and happy, and I'm very pleased with them, but I'm afraid that they might be a bit big. I'm going to have Thomas try them on, I just have to remember to take them out of my purse! I had to change the pattern a bit to match my gauge, so I'm working on fewer stitches than the pattern tells you too, and they still might be a bit big. We'll see.

Phew! That was all the knitting for this time! I'm going to try and update here a bit more frequently during the Spring, and hopefully my new schedule will allow me to do so. Ella is turning two years old in March, and she's taking up most of our time right now. She's super fun, she runs around everywhere and talks a lot, and she's almost always happy. I think we are very lucky ta have such an easy going kid!

/ Jenny

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Back to reality

Now we only have one week left off before we start working again, and we're spending all of it getting Ella used to her preschool. Here in Sweden children usually start preschool after they are one year old, so Ella is definitely one of the younger kids in her group. She has two weeks where we go with her there, to get her used to all of her teachers and her new surroundings before we actually leave her there for the full days. She'll be there from 7.30 to 15.00 every day, and so far everything is going great. She loves to play with the other kids and all of the new toys, so I think she'll be fine there.

The weather this summer has been really really awful here in Sweden! It's been cold and raining for almost all of July, which means that all of the house projects we had planned have been postponed. We've done some small outings around our own county, and we've spent a lot of time with our parents in Borås. We also rented a cabin for a week on Tjörn, a small island off the west coast of Sweden, at the end of July. Even though it was raining almost every day, we spent the week going round the island and the surrounding areas, and it was a perfect week. I got to buy some souvenir yarns as well, which I'll tell you about later.

Other than that the summer has mostly been spent hanging out as a family. It's been really awesome to have all of the summer off together, I wish we could do this every year. I have done a fair amount of knitting too, and I have six FO's since the last time I wrote. I'll just show them in the order they were done, and then I'll show you all of the acquisitions at the end.

First, at the end of June I finished a cardigan for Ella. It's the Kyoto cardigan, and I made it with Karabella Lacampo yarn that I bought when we were in New York a couple of years ago. 

The yarn is half cotton, half camel, and it is really super soft and nice. I only bought two skeins though, and about half-way through the cardigan I realized it wouldn't be enough. After finding out that the yarn seems to be discontinued, I went on Ravelry and found a woman who had ten skeins for sale, and she was very willing to sell only two of them to me, so I was eventually able to finish the cardigan. The new skeins even turned out to be the same dye lot as mine!

As I only used about half of one of the new skeins, I decided I wanted to make a matching hat with the rest of the yarn. I just cast on enough stitches to fit around Ella's head, made a couple of inches of ribbing to get a folded brim, and then used the same stitch pattern as on the cardigan to make a little hat. To use up most of the yarn I also added a pom pom at the top.

I think it turned out very cute! It will be perfect for fall when she spends the days outside at preschool!

Next up I finally finished the Twinkle Twinkle Little Star shawl that I've been making with the Chili Gredelin Geisha yarn. The pattern actually calls for a sport weight, so as mine is made in lace weight it turned out pretty small, more of a shoulderette than a full size shawl. I was well aware that that was going to be the case, so that was ok. 

However, I'm not crazy about it anyway. I think I might not enjoy the 100 % silk, as it didn't bloom at all when I blocked it. I guess that is the case with all silk, but I still think the stitches look uneven and the shawl is a bit too airy for my taste. I'll probably not use this one very much, and I'm thinking of giving it away to a better home. We'll see.

The Stockinette Zombies are running a "Not a sock self striping sock yarn (nasssy) KAL" during July and August, and once I heard about it I got a sudden craving for a colourful shawl. So I cast on for a Daybreak shawl out of Marks & Kattens Fame Trend yarn and a black Austermann Step yarn. I finished the shawl just before we left for Tjörn, I actually left it on the blocking mats when we left. 

I really like this one, but I hated working with the Fame Trend yarn! It is very thick-and-thin, and there were a couple of breaks in the skein I used that really messed up the colour repeats. I had two skeins, and I only used up one for the shawl, so I decided to get all of it out of my stash by making a Sockhead hat out of the remaining skein. I knit all of it during the week on Tjörn, and when we got back home I made a pom pom out of the last bits, so now it's all gone. 

I kind of like the hat, even though the colours are a bit hysterical, but I think I'll use it a lot this Fall. It was a good vacation project as it was all stockinette! Plus, I got to enter this one in the KAL as well.

The final FO is a small stuffy that I made for Ella. It's a Miffy rabbit that I made from Järbo Mini Akryl, the mini skeins that I bought ages ago to use for Christmas balls. I used up almost two white skeins of the white acrylic, and almost one skein of the blue wool ones (remember the skeins are only 10 g each). 

It was a fun knit, even though it was a little bit fiddly here and there, but the end result was really cute. Ella really likes it as well, she has been watching some Miffy on Netflix so I think she recognizes her.

Ok, that was all of the FO's. The KnitGirllls are running their usual Stash Dash this summer, where you use up stash. They have three categories this year, 3K, 5K and 10K. The idea is that you use up either 3000, 5000 or 10000 meters of yarn during the summer (middle of June to August 14th this year, it's the time Laura has her summer break I think). I actually managed to reach the 3K this year, which was very nice!

I currently have seven projects going too! I had a day a couple of weeks ago where I wanted to cast on all the things, so I did! I'll start with a report on the oldest projects though, to get them out of the way.

The longest running project so far are the Firenze socks that I'm making out of the FibroFibers Nightfall yarn. I've been working on them since November last year! I think they're taking so long as I'm really not enjoying the yarn. I thought the colour changes would be much more gradiating, but they're much more flecked than I like. 

I'll finish them as I really like the pattern, but I'll not buy any more of this yarn. I've turned the heel and started the gusset decreases on the first sock, so it should be finished pretty soon. I've actually worked some on them the past couple of days as I want them finished!

I've also worked some on the Fiori di Sole shawl, and this one I really love! The Malabrigo lace yarn is soft as butter, and the beads really pop. I managed to break my tiny crochet needle that I use to place the beads so I had to order a new one, but now it's going again. I can only work on this one when Ella is asleep though, as it is a bit difficult to follow charts when you have to chase a toddler around!

I've also tried to work a bit on the Alvi sweater, but it's a bit slow going. I think I'm just not in the mood for colourwork right now, but I would love to have it finished this Fall. I've gotten about to the waist, so half of the body is done. Then you put that aside, make the two sleeves, and then put all of it together and knit the yoke. We'll see when it gets done.

At the end of June I also cast on for a new pair of striping socks. I'm making a pair of knee-high socks for my mother, in some Regia Zoo striping Zebra yarn. 

At first I thought they were a bit boring, I think the white and black threw me off, but now that the first one is done I kind of like them. I think they turned out pretty cool! They are just plain vanilla socks, so it's all the yarn. I wasn't sure that they would count for the self-striping KAL (the year-long that the the Stockinette Zombies are running, not the nasssy KAL that I mentioned earlier), but I asked Megan on Ravelry and she approved them. I knit the heel on the second one last night, and if I finish them before the end of August I will actually have eight self-striping projects this year.

Then on the cast-on day, I started a new sweater for myself, the February Fitted Pullover by Amy Herzog. I'm using MadelineTosh Tosh Vintage yarn, in the colourway Copper Penny, and as the skeins seemed almost identical, I didn't bother alternating them. I'm just about to start the waist decreases, so I haven't gotten very far on it, but I enjoy it so far. The pattern is really easy, I had it memorized after the first repeat, so this one is pretty mindless.

I also started a new cardigan for myself, as I only had two sweaters on the needles. It's the Spelunking cardigan by Anna Dalvi, and I'm using Wollmeise Lace garn in the colourway Cassis. It is turning out very pretty, but as with the lace shawl I can only work on it while Ella sleeps as I need to follow the chart. And I know that the photo isn't much to see, as I only just started it!

Finally, as I had finished the Kyoto cardigan for Ella, I cast on yet another cardigan for her, the Teatime with Teddy Bear, and I'm using Dream in Color Smooshy in the colourway Melon Bomb. I've only made the ribbing collar so far, but I really enjoy the yarn.

And that's it for the knitting! I'm trying to finish up both pairs of socks first, and then I think I need to get to town on the Alvi sweater. But that might change...

I've also bought some nice stuff this summer! When my crochet needle broke I ordered a new one from Stäkets Hantverk, and as they had free shipping above a specific sum, I also got a skein of yarn. Or rather, I got my very first sock blank.

It's a basic 75 % superwash wool/25 % nylon sock yarn that has been knit up into a blank and then dyed. I am a sucker for green, so this one really fits me. It's marinating in the stash for now, but once I finish bith pair of socks I currently have going I might cast on with this.

Before we went to Tjörn me and my mother were out shopping in Borås, and I decided I wanted to visit the local yarn shop, Stickat och Klart. I've been there before, and I find it a bit boring, They mostly have standard base yarns, but I figured it was worth a look. I had looked through all of the yarn and found nothing I wanted, so we were about ready to leave, when I just threw a glance at the needle display. And saw a full set of KnitPicks Caspian wooden exchangeable needles! I have never seen these in Europe before, and I've been wanting a set since I first saw them on KnitPicks' website (where I borrowed the photo, my phone didn't want to upload my photo), so I immediately grabbed them. They are absolutely stunning and I really love them. They might have been part of the reason why I wanted to cast on so many things once I got back home...

I also wanted a pretty needle roll to hold them, as I really don't like the plastic bag that they come in, so that evening I had a little shopping spree on Etsy. I bought a needle case for the new set, and also a needle roll for my 6 inch KnitPro dpn's that I got a while ago but never got a case for, both from See Jane Sew. The case with TARDISse (or TARDI?) on holds the Caspian needles, and the one with the Daleks holds the dpn's. I really really love them!

One of the days we were on Tjörn we went shopping in Stenungsund, the closest town past the bridge to the main land. I went to the local yarn store there, Garn & Hantverkshuset (of course I had scouted it out beforehand), but this was also a little bit boring. Lot's of mainstream base yarns that I can get anywhere, so I just bought a couple of pairs of scissors and darning needles. I also got a package of ten mini skeins (Marks & Kattens Pysselnystan), that I'm also planning on using for more toys for Ella. 

We also went to a huge toy store in Stenungsund, and they had Järbo Mini Akryl skeins sets, so I bought two sets, one in Metallic and one in Neon.

Another day we went to Skärhamn, which is a town on Tjörn, and I visited another yarn shop there, Vinterverkstan. This was a much more fun store, probably because it has an extensive web shop as well, and I left with a few more skeins. I got three skeins of Crystal Palace Panda Silk yarn, in a gorgeous blue /teal colour. I'm not sure what I'll use it for, but it was very nice souvenir yarn. 

I also got three skeins of Onion Knits Tussah Silk yarn, in red. I already had two skeins of this yarn in the same colour, that I bought at the sewing festival last year, but I wanted a few more to make a bigger project. I don't know what yet, but now I should have enough.

Finally, one day we went to a huge shopping center on Orust, the island just to the north of Tjörn, and I got some sock yarn. I got five skeins of Marks & Kattens Fame sock yarn, which is a basic 75 % superwash wool/25 5 nylon yarn.

About a week ago I also got a set of Järbo Mini Acryl skeins in the Prints colours, to add to my collection. These mini skeins are about the most fun things Ella wants to play with right now...

I think that's about it! It's been a productive summer, and it seems I've really added to the stash! But to be fair, I haven't bought any yarn since February before this, so I think I'm ok. All of the yarns still fit in the same boxes, so at least I've used up as much as I've acquired.

This past Thursday Ella came down with a really nasty cold (daycare germs!), which she promptly gave to me, so this weekend has been spent on the couch watching lots of cartoons and taking it easy. I think the sleep deprivation is probably the worst part of it, as Ella seems to wake up and cry every time she coughs. But she's a lot better today, so let's hope that the worst is over. We're going back to preschool tomorrow, and in a week me and Thomas both go back to work, so we really want to have a good last week!

I'll be back in a while, as usual I don't know when :)

/ Jenny