Friday, April 30, 2010

Knit and Crochet Blog week, day five

Today is the fifth day of the Knit and Crochet Blog Week. Today's topic is: 

"Location, Location, Location

Where do you like to indulge in your craft? Is your favourite arm chair your little knitting cubby area, or do you prefer to ‘knit in public’? Do you like to crochet in the great outdoors, perhaps, or knit in the bath, or at the pub?"

Well, I have knitted a lot in public during 2009, when I joined Linköping Knitters. We are a group of people who meet up once or twice a week and knit at different cafés in town. I love this group, there are so many different people, and if we didn't have knitting (or crocheting) in common, I would never have met them. 

But to be honest, my favourite knitting spot is the corner of our living room sofa. I have most of my stuff set up on the long end of the couch (the swedish word for this part of the sofa, the one that is almost like a bed, is called divan. I can't seem to find a translation!), and I have my laptop on hand, as well as the TV. I have all my stash "hidden" in giant bags next to the sofa, so everything is convenient. 

It's a mess, but I clean it away if we're going to have company who cares. Most of my friends don't care, they know that I'm knitting obsessed, and I don't care what most of Thomas' friends think either :) Thomas is just happy if he can have the other half of the sofa (the half without the "divan")!


In knitting news, I actually have some updates to show you! I'm steadily knitting away on the Sari Lace shawl for Nanna, and it is gorgeous! Maybe I shouldn't say that about my own work, but what the heck: I love it! I think I will have to make one for myself as well, I love the pattern so much. I'm getting over the huge charts too, or rather I'm getting used to them, so they are no problem any more. Which is good for when I decide to tackle the Heere be Dragone shawl, as that pattern is about 6 pages wide at the top... Anyway, here is the first half of the Sari Lace shawl: 

I now have six days to get it done, and I'm quite certain that I will make it. Now that there are only decrease rows left, it will feel like it's going a lot faster too. 

My sister has also finished two more bags! One she has decided to keep for herself, and she made it a bit bigger so that it can hold her shampoo bottles and such stuff when she travles. The shape looks a bit odd in some places, but it is actually symmetrical and very pretty. It's about 40 cm high and 30 cm wide and deep, I think. 

I love the model, and the fabric is very pretty too. As I said, Sanna is keeping this one for herself, but bags like these will soon be available for purchase, I'm guessing in the price range of about $20? We are currently looking in to different webhost for webshops, and we still haven't figured out a name. 

The second bag Sanna made is going to be for sale as soon as we get a shop up and running, and it's a simpler model: 

It's 33 x 18 cm, so quite long, but very pretty. I'm guessing these will be priced somewhere between $10-15, and the forthcoming versions will probably be a little bit wider. This one will easily hold a skein of yarn and a sock project though. 

This morning I was searching for a european retailer (because the shipping from the States are killing me) of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn (we have one in Sweden, but she doesn't have the colurway I was looking for). I got one skein of this yarn in colourway Aslan as a gift from Ulrika a while back, but it's not enough to make a whole pair of socks from, so I wanted another one. 

I found the online store Get Knitted in the UK, and boy do they have much fun stuff! Me and my sister ended up ordering lots and lots of new fabric, so we're now set for LOTS of bags! And I know you're all thinking: Wasn't Jenny on a yarn diet? Isn't she unemployed and poor? 

Well, let me tell you: It looks like I've got a summer job! Yay! I will be working four weeks at a lab at a physicians office in Mjölby (Mjölby vårdcentral, for my swedish readers), which is located about 30 km from Linköping. I'm going there on Monday for a visit to determine that I'm suitable for the job, so I haven't actually landed it 100 % yet, but I'm feeling pretty confident! I'll have to learn how to draw blood from patients though, and I'm a bit scared about that, but it will be fine. So I celebrated today by buying some yarn. And I have to say I was very restrictive, I only ordered the two skeins of Lorna's Laces I needed. Well, and the tons of fabric too, but I was restrictive on the yarn front! 

And today me and my sister are going to pick up her new sewing machine! She ordered one yesterday, and it has already arrived, so she'll get to play with it this afternoon. I'll be sure to take some photos of it and tell you more about the make and model of it when I see it. I will probably take over her old one that is somewhat defective, to use as practice. Her old one is called Tråckla, from Ikea, and I doubt that they make it anymore, so she was really due for a new one. 

Now I think I'll get dressed so we can go pick up the package! 

/ Jenny

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Knit and Crochet Blog week, day four

The topic for today's installment of Knit and Crochet Blog Week, is:

"A New Skill
Is there a skill related to your hobby that you hope to learn one day? maybe you’re a crocheter who’d also like to knit? Maybe you’d like to learn to knit continental, knit backwards, try cables or attempt stranded colourwork."

Yes, of course there are things I still want to learn! I want to become much better at crochet, right now I can do chain stitches and single, and double crochet (I think, I'm not 100 % sure of the english terms), but I can't follow any patterns. I bought a great book a while ago called Virkskolan (It's the Swedish translation of 300 Crochet Tips, Techniques and Trade Secrets, by Jane Eton), and I really plan to start learning soon. I think I've just been too impatient. I am a fairly good knitter by now, and I want to be as good at crochet NOW! And of course I'm not :)

I also plan to learn how to spin on my wheel. And this I plan to take up in the next week or so, because I really want to learn how to spin my own yarn! As I've mentioned, me and my sister plan to start a webshop in the near future, as she's sewing project bags. I thought I would start spinning yarn for sale there too, and probably also make some stitch markers to sell as well. My dream is to eventually, when we get the shop up and running, to get to sell commersial brands of yarn too, but I think that will be further into the future. First I need to learn how to spin!

Finally, I remembered a third thing I really would love to lear. A lot of people who do colourwork knitting hold one yarn in each hand, and pick with one hand and throw with the other. I keep both of my yarns in my left hand, but I actually just drop the one I'm not using in between. It is said that this causes uneven tention, but so far I haven't had any problems with that. It slows me down a lot though, so I really need to learn how to throw!


In regular knitting news, I'm halfway through the Sari lace shawl I'm knitting for Thomas' grandmother! Yay! Now it's only the decreasing half left, and I think this one will go a lot faster. I haven't taken any photos yet, but I'll try to do that later today so I can show it to you tomorrow. It's very, very pretty!

/ Jenny

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Knit and Crochet Blog week, day three

Today is the third day of the Knit and Crochet Blog week, so it's time to answer a new question:

"One Great Knitter

Write about a knitter whose work (whether because of project choice, photography, styling, scale of projects, stash, etc) you enjoy. If they have an enjoyable blog, you might find it a good opportunity to send a smile their way."

This is actually a pretty hard question for me, because there are sooo many knitters that I admire! I might have to tell you about more than one... I'll start with one who might be obvious to all of you who know how much lace I knit: Nancy Bush (the author of Knitted Lace of Estonia). She has designed the most amazing lace shawls, and lots and lots of other projects too, and I want to knit almost all of her shawls. She's actually going to be teaching classes at the Knit Nation meeting in London at the end of July, and I'm so torn about whether I want to attend or not. Well, I'm not torn about WANTING to attend, it's more a question about money. And the fact that none of my friends seem to want to go with me, and I'm a bit scared to go alone :). I bet I would make tons of new friends there though!

I'm also very inspired by Ysolda Teague, the young scottish designer. I think I've bought at least half of her designs that are for sale on Ravelry, although I've only knitted Ishbel so far. Ysolda also writes a very nice blog about her knitting life, and if you haven't seen it: Go have a look! Just to add a photo to this post, here's a picture of my Ishbel I finished last summer/fall:

I'm actually going to mention one more person whose knitting I adore, and that is LindaCC on Ravelry. She is one of the moderators in the 10 shawls in 2010 group, and she has already finished about 15 shawls this year! She knits beautiful shawls, and she designs some of her own too. Go and say hi from me, and check out all her gorgeous lace!

Ok, I think I'll settle for those three. Of course there are LOTS of other knitters and designers out there who make other stuff than lace (I don't knit only lace, but it's kind of my main focus right now). Just to mention a few of my favourites (but I won't write anything more about them), there's Cookie A., Wendy D. Johson, Anna Zilboorg, Jorid Linvik, Wendy Bernard, Monika Eckert,  Julia Mueller, Sharon Miller, Sharon Winsauer... I think I'll stop now before I bore you to death!

/ Jenny

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Knit and Crochet Blog week, day two

Yep, you'll get to see me every day for this week! Aren't you thrilled? ;)

It's time for the second question, which is this:

"An Inspirational Pattern
Blog about a pattern or project which you aspire to. Whether it happens to be because the skills needed are ones which you have not yet acquired, or just because it seems like a huge undertaking of time and dedication, most people feel they still have something to aspire to in their craft. If you don’t feel like you have any left of the mountain of learning yet to climb, say so! "

There are several patterns that I aspire to, I absolutely don't consider myself fully taught yet! So I thought I would share three different patterns for you that I some day want to make, when I'm good enough.

The first one is this one: Laura's Cardigan, from Inerweave Knits Summer 2009 issue. 

The reason that I'm intimidated by this one is that the colours are done with Intarsia. I've never done intarsia knitting (you know the technique where you don't strand colours behind the knitting, but rather use several smaller pieces of the yarn for each block of colour), and I'm a bit scared of it. Someday I'll venture into it though, as I really love this cardigan. I might not use these exact colours, but I think the blue is gorgeous.

The next pattern I'm aspiring to is the Crown Prince Square Shawl, from the Knitted Lace of Estonia book:

The thing I'm apprehensiva about with this shawl is the border that is knitted separately and sewn on afterward. I hate sewing, as I'm really not good at it (I'm planning on learning though), and to have to sew on an entire border like this sort of terrifies me! But I will definitely make this, and some of the other shawls in this book, some day. It's just so beautiful!

The third, and final shawl I want to make is the Heere be Dragone shawl, by Sharon Winsauer.

The thing I'm scared of with this one is the sheer size of it. It's using 1800 meters of lace-weight yarn, and there are a lot of special stitches in it that I've never done before (including horizontal stitches!). I don't know if I will actually wear this shawl, but it just speaks to the inner teen fantasy geek in me, and I love it. I have a lovely, lime green yarn from the swedish dyer Garnpaletten that I've planned for this, and it's going to be hysterical. If I have time, I'm going to try to make this one this year!


In keeping with the regular blog topics, my sister actually finished her first project bag yesterday! This one is made with some leftover yarn she had from making my green checkered one, and it was her first try at a cube (or actually a rectangle). It's a bit crooked, but I like it anyway!

It is a bit on the small side, and as it is a bit crooked we've decided not to sell this one. Which means I get to keep it! My sister doesn't knit very much, so she has no big use for project bags, so I'm bery happy to keep it. It can just fit a pair of 15 cm dpn's, so I'll use it for socks and gloves projects. 

We haven't really decided how much to charge for the bags yet (and I think the next one will be a little bit bigger), but I'll let you know when we've decided. I'm thinking that me might want to start an etsy shop, to get a bit more exposure. Or maybe I'll just keep it on the blog, I haven't decided yet. Maybe start an entirely new blog!

Today the weather is grey and boring, so I'll just stay inside and knit for the rest of the day. Yay!

/ Jenny

Monday, April 26, 2010

Knit and Crochet Blog week, day one

I've seen that some of the bloggers that I read are participating in this event, so I thought I would join in too. It seems like fun!

The idea is that the participants answer one crafts-related question every day for a week. To find other participants, try searching for the tag knitcroblo1 through knitcroblo7, one for each day, and there is also a wild card question if one day's question doesn't spike your muse, that search word is knitcroblowc) in google, then you should find all the entries.

Anyhow, the first day's question is this:

"Starting Out
How and when did you begin knitting/crocheting? was it a skill passed down through generations of your family, or something you learned from Knitting For Dummies? What or who made you pick up the needles/hook for the first time? Was it the celebrity knitting ‘trend’ or your great aunt Hilda?"

Ok, the first time I ever knitted was actually in middle school (I think in 5th or 6th grade) in the crafts lessons. I knitted a ribbed hat in the round, I remember it was grey and pretty itchy, and it has since disappeared into some forgotten realm or similar. Then in the spring of 2007 me and some of my girlfriends celebrated the international women's day by having a coffee and cake-night, and one of the girls knitted. It looked like so much fun, but unfortunately I had just broken my hand and had a huge (pink) cast on, so I caould only watch. Then it took quite some time until she showed me again, but I think it was some time in the Autumn of 2007. And for Christmas that year I got the Vogue knitting book from my parents, and from then on I was hooked.

Then in the Autumn of 2008 my dear kitty Gizmo died, and I couldn't knit for a long time. He always used to lie in my lap while I knitted, and loosing him was just horrible to me. It was the trigger for a very long and dull depression (that is now under control after therapy and medication), so I didn't pick up my knitting until the summer of 2009 again. Then I decided to take the knitting by the horns and just get on with it, as I knew that I loved it beneath all that sorrow. At the same time I started this blog, discovered the Linköping knitters group (we're the gang that meet up at different cafés in town and knit together), and realised for the first time that knitting was HUGE online! I got my Ravelry membership, and since then I haven't looked back :)

I've developed a huge fiber addiction (I think I counted my stash that I've listed on Ravelry, and I have about 250 skeins of yarn there. And I have some that I actually haven't bothered to add to Ravelry as it's cheap, boring acrylics that I won't use for a long time anyway), and I don't do much else but knit in my free time. I love it, my husband is very tired of it :)

So there you have it. My knitting history. See you tomorrow for the next question!

/ Jenny


I managed to start my old work-laptop yesterday (it's so old and worn that it only starts on about every fifth try, so I got to take it with me when I left work as no-one else wanted it), and as it turns out I've aparently been smart enough to back up my photo files on this computer too! I can't for the life of me figure out why, as it is almost broken, but I'm just so happy that I found almost all of the cat photos and all of the wedding photos again! YAY! I still have a couple of newer photos of Hobbe on the pink laptop, but if Thomas can't salvage them it's not the end of the world, as Hobbe is alive and we can take hundreds of new photos of him.

The main thing I'm missing are all of my bought knitting patterns, but luckily I'm a bit compulsive when it comes to patterns, so I like to have them printed out. I think I had saved about ten patterns on the laptop that I hadn't printed, and all of them except one were Ravelry downloads so I can just download them again. The last one was a cardigan pattern I bought from Webs a while ago, and I just e-mailed them and told me what had happened, together with my ordering number, and they just sent a reply with the file attached, so I haven't actually lost any patterns. I'll be very happy if Thomas manages to save the knitting folder, but it's not the end of the world if it isn't possible.

Ok, enough about the computer havoc. I'm much calmer about it now that I found the photos, so I'll just let it go and chalk it up to one of those things that happens.

This past Saturday when I was at Anna's and knitted with the girls, I had brought with me the green-and-white checkered project bag that my sister sewed for me for Christmas:

She actually made two more bags for me, one flowered and one striped, and I really love them. 

The striped one is currently housing my lace yarn, and the flowered one is holding all my lace shawls. Anyhow, the girls commented on the bag and asked if Sanna takes orders. I said I would ask her, and Sanna (which is my sister, I don't know if I've introduced her before?) was so glad about the comments that she immediately got into sewing again (the sewing machine has been sleeping for a while due to lack of time and mojo). We got to talking, and we thought that maybe she could start making some bags to sell? So today we've spent a long long time in one of the local fabric stores to see if we could find some nice fabrics. We ended up with six different outer fabrics, one white inner fabric and one stiffer lining fabric, some zippers and some other sewing-related stuff. I'll just show you the patterned fabrics:

I'm so excited about this! I want to learn to sew too, but Sanna is pretty good at it, so I think I'll leave it up to her for a while at least. I'll probably put them up for sale here once they're done, if you're interested! I don't really know what shapes or sizes she'll make yet, but I'll let you know once they're done.

After this we went to the library and picked up some books on sewing too, to see if we could find some inspiration. We took home a lot of books, so hopefully some of them will at least be good!

Now I'll continue knitting on the Sari Lace shawl. I'm almost done with chart three of ten, so I'm still fairly hopeful that I'll get it done in time! I haven't taken any photos of it yet though, so you'll have to wait until next time.

/ Jenny

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I've lost my computer!

Well, not exactly lost it. But it seems like the hard drive is fried, so it's broken. And I'm completely heart-broken about it, as it's only a little bit over a year old. I have all my photos on that hard drive, photos from our wedding, photos of Gizmo and Hobbe, everything! Thomas has some of the photos on his computer too, but far from all of them. He's still trying to save it, he's trying about every trick he can think of, but he's not very hopeful. DAMN! Thankfully, Thomas has a Samsung Laptop that he currently isn't using (as he has a better computer for work), so I can use that for now. I really can't afford a new computer right now!

On a much happier note, yesterday I went and visited my friend Anna for a very impulse knit-and-wine evening. We were five girls who got together and just chatted, knitted and ate snacks the whole evening. I didn't have any wine as I was driving, and I actually managed to not knit a single stitch for the whole evening (everything I'm knitting right now has lots of charts, and I didn't have the concentration needed for that last night, so I just chatted and laughed the whole evening instead). It was so much fun to actually get to hang out with some friends again, I can hardly remember when I last felt well enough to do this! I really don't want to jinx anything, but it seems like most of the nausea and dizziness has disappeared. I can't tell you how good this feels! Hopefully it will last!

And I don't know if I've told you, but in a month I'm turning 30. I don't feel the least bit bad about it, but I've chosen not to have a big party or anything. Me and Thomas are going to have a weekend in Stockholm (the capital of Sweden), and the only thing I've wished for from my family is some shopping money, so I can go on a shopping spree while in Stockholm. I'm really looking forward to it!

Now I'm going to spend some time with Thomas (and knit on the birthday shawl)!

/ Jenny

Friday, April 23, 2010

New cast-on

Today my parents very suddenly decided to come visit, so I've been hanging out with them the whole day. It was a really nice and cosy day, we just walked around the city center looking in shops and just generally having a good time. As my sister lives almost next door to me, it's very convenient for my parents to be able to visit us both at the same time. Mom had gotten her shawl in the mail too, and she seemed very happy with it! She has a black leather jacket with orange details on, and the shawl matched perfectly.

I managed to pick up a new pair of shoes today too, black summer shoes with a small wedge heel. Very pretty! I love that they are patterned on the inside too, so I can feel extra pretty in secret :)

The yarn I ordered from Garnkorgen also arrived today, and I couldn't be more happy with it! I can't believe it was so incrediby cheap, I promise that as soon as I get a new job (not that I've been looking for one yet!), there will be a new order for more colours of this yarn. It is a little bit stiff, but it's 100 % wool (single ply, 600 m/100g), but I think it will soften a lot when I've washed it, and these types of yarns tend to soften a lot with wear too. I bought three colours:




The yarn is called Kampes 100 % one-ply wool. The pink is absolutely gorgeous, a really old-fashioned hue, and I've already cast on for the shawl I'm making for Thomas' grandmother. I decided on the Sari Lace Triangle by Sylvie Beez. It is my first shawl knitted from side to side, so I'm really glad I get to try something new with this one too. 

Unfortunately, the whole thing is charted in the same way as the Murdered by Lace pattern, and I've happpened to print it on both sides of the paper, so I'm foreseeing a bit of puzzling here. But it will be ok, and hopefully it will be finished in time. Thomas is leaving for England on the 8th of May, so I only have two weeks to finish it! Yikes!

As the yarn didn't arrive until today, I've worked some on the Haruni shawl too. The photo is taken tonight after dark, so the flash is very bright. It makes the beads stand out a bit more than they do in real life. But I love this shawl, it will be so pretty when it's done!

I also cast on for a new pair of socks, and I decided to just make the next pair in the Sock Innovation book. These are called Eunice, and involve both cables and lace. Unfortunatley I discovered yesterday that I need two cable needles for the pattern, so I've bought some new ones today (I actually had two before, but one is 2.5 mm and the other is 5 mm, and too big as I'm making the socks with size 2 mm). I'm using the KnitPick's Essentials yarn in colourway Sarge. As I haven't started the pattern yet, I only have a cuff with ribbing done, so nothing much to show you yet. And they will be on the back burner until I finish the Sari Lace shawl. I'll try to have them done by the 15th of May, as Christine is having a party to celebrate her 30th birthday then (and they are for her).

Now I'm going to continue turbo-knitting :) If you don't hear from me for a few days, you now what I'll be doing!

/ Jenny

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Glynis socks - Check!

Ok, let's see if I can manage to write this and post it before midnight?! My stomach has been quite good the past few days, but tonight it is acting up again, so I figured I might as well stay awake for a while longer. So I finished the Glynis socks! FINALLY!

I've been working on these for FOUR MONTHS! They are horribly ugly, I've seen these types of yarn/pattern mis-matches referred to as "Clown Barf" on Ravelry, and that about sums it up. I'll still wear them, because they are extremely comfy and sort of squishy. They are made from Colinette Jitterbug yarn, in colourway Gaugain, using 2.25 mm needles. I think I had about 15 m left of the yarn, so it was a pretty close call!

If you look closely at the toe part, which is just plain stockinette, you can see that the yarn is actually quite cool looking when it's not in the way too tiny pattern. And I love the yarn so much, it's incredibly springy to knit with. I heard somewhere that it is spun in a certain way to gain this springy-ness, but I have no idea how it's done. I bet that if you're really interested, you can look it up on the Colinette webpage (I don't have a link for it, as it is late and I'm too lazy to look it up).

Other than that, not much is up. Thomas made a deliceous broccoli/ham/leek pie (or do you call it quiche when it's not a dessert (and I had to look up the spelling for dessert, I could just as easily have put down desert...)?) for dinner tonight, and I guess my stomach just thought that I shouldn't get to enjoy it (I did anyway so HA!). I'm just so thrilled that Thomas likes to cook! I'm totally kitchen handicapped, although I love to eat good food, so Thomas does almost all the cooking around here. Thank God! Besides my stomach issues, we've actually had a nice evening, just watching a zombie flick (Pontypool) and actually spending some time together. Even though I'm home all day, it seems like we haven't actually done that for a while (of course, he's still at work during the days).

Oh, and I think my eye infection might have plugged my tear canal shut, as I have been feeling almost too dry in the eye since yesterday. Well what do you know, the eye drops really helped with that! :) So my eye is feeling a bit better now too. Just so you know that not all is wrong in the house of Jenny!

Now I'm off to peruse my sock books, to find a perfect sock pattern to make for Christine, instead of the ugly (but still gorgeous, in a crazy sort of way) socks I'm currently wearing! I think I'm leaning towards something in the new Wendy D. Johnson Book, Toe-Up Socks for Every Body. Or maybe a pair from the Enchanted Sole book (I've forgotten the author's name, sorry, and the book is upstairs and I don't have the energy to go look it up). Or maybe I should just plug on with the next pattern in the Cookie A. book, Sock Innovation? Hmmm, decisions, decisions!

Good night to all of you, I'll be back soon with an update on the upcoming new yarn!

/ Jenny