Sunday, May 30, 2010

(Summer) Home Owners!

Yep, we went and looked at the cabin yesterday. And it is the cutest thing ever! There are some things that needs to be feixed, like a small leakage in the roof, but otherwise it is in great shape. So we have now decided to buy a summer house!

It was built in the 1800's, and has no water or electricity. The current owners have put up two solar power cells on the roof, that can power two reading lights and a small TV, but that's it. It's got a very primitive outhouse toilet, and a pretty big barn that can be used for storage for now. The barn is pretty run down, but it could be fixed up to be used as extra living space in the future. 

The kitchen and one living room in the house are pretty small, but very cozy. The flooring is all original wood, and pretty worn down, but oh so cottage-y. We need to fix up the chimney some, as it is currently leaking smoke inside the house, and we want to change the wall papers and such. But nothing seems to crave any major renovations.

Living room

Other side of Living Room

Wood Stove

So now we just need to have a talk with our bank and see if we can get a loan! We're pretty darned excited about this! Hopefully we can get ownership rather quickly, so we can start fixing it up during the summer.

In fiber-related news, I forgot to show you yesterday that me and my sister went fabric-shopping at Ikea the other day. She's starting to get a pretty sizeable fabric stash by now! Anyhow, these are the three fabrics that went home with us:

Pale flowers

Dark Flowers


My sister is getting her teacher degree this coming week, so after that she will probably have at least some spare time. Then there will be lots of sewing done!

And as I had to cancel the knit night yesterday, I've knitted a lot on my own instead. I'm really starting to make headway on the Owls sweater! It's knitted on big needles (7 and 8 mm) in chunky yarn (Rowan cocoon), so it seems to fly off the needles!

Last night I also knitted a lot on the Guinevere gloves, and these babies are going to be soooo pretty! I love working with the yarn (KnitPicks Stroll), and the pattern is great and really easy to follow. I'm including three pictures to show you how the construction is made, it's really different from any other gloves I've seen!

First knitted part: Thumb and across the hand

Second knitted part: Pick up stitches and knit the fingers

Third knitted part: Pick up stitches and knit the cuff

I haven't touched the Kai-Mei socks in a while, but I thought I would show you how far I've gotten anyway. I'm just about to start the heel flap, and the patterning is starting once the heel is turned too.

I've worked some on the Haruni today. The weather has been pretty ok today, so me and Thomas sat outside in the garden for almost two hours, and I knitted while he watched Hobbe. Hobbe is really an indoors cat, but when it's warm outside he likes to come outside in the garden for a while. He refuses to wear a leash, so he only gets to go outside when one of us are outside and can watch him. He's the scardest cat in the world, so if something sounds a bit too loud for him, he just runs inside :) Anyway, the shawl is coming along nicely. I've finsihed 15 stems on each side of the middle, but I think I want to make 20 or so. I haven't weighed the yarn yet, so I don't know how much I have left of the first skein, but I'm planning on using at least 1.5 skeins of the yarn (KnitPicks Shadow). Maybe even two whole skeins.

Finally, I though I would tell you about a crash course in creativity I'm planning on participating in. Maegan who writes the blog Life Set to Words, is hosting a Creativity Boot Camp that starts on June 6th and ends on June 18th. There will be exercises every day to take part in, to challange your creativity. You can choose which creative media you want to work with (I think Maegan herself is a photographer), and it's completely free. And if you feel that two weeks in a row is a bit much, you can always just read the blog and do the exercises at your own pace. I think it sounds like so much fun! I really need a creative kick in the but, as I feel like I'm sort of loosing a bit of my knitting mojo now that I work so much.

If you feel like participating, just leave a comment on the Creativity Boot Camp blog, and you'll be enlisted!

/ Jenny

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Boy, working is hard!

I am very proud of myself that I'm handling work so well, because I'm really dog tired when I get home in the afternoons! I'm really not used to getting up at 6 in the morning, but I'm actually managing to do it without too much complaint! I was a bit scared that the depression would flare up again when I got the job, but it's actually pretty fun. I learn a lot, and so far my co-workers have been really nice.

Yesterday afternoon I actually had enough energy to go to a spontaneous knitting meet-up at Garnverket after work. I was only there for about an hour or so, but it was so nice to see some of the girls again! And of course, I can't enter a yarn shop without actually shopping! During the month of May, Garnstudio has had a 30 % sale on all their drops yarn at every retailer, so I took the opportunity to buy some cheap yarn for once. I think I told you that I've lately become very fond of the colour Turquoise, so this is what I bought:

Three skeins of Drops Karisma (100 % superwash wool), that are destined to become socks.

And six skeins of Drops Alpaca (100 % alpaca), that will turn into the 24 Carats shawl.

The main drawback with being so tired all the time is that the knitting is really suffering! I've been bringing my Haruni to work to knit on during the breaks, but that's about it really. I just don't have the energy when I get home! But it's at least coming along nicely, and I love working with the KnitPicks Shadow yarn. I just want to get it done so I can wear it!

Tonight I was supposed to have some of my girl friends over for a knit night to celebrate my birthday, but unfortunatley Thomas seems to have come down with a strep throat. He's had a fever for three days now, and a super soar throat, so when he called the physician's office yesterday they told him it was probably strep. Here in Sweden they don't really treat that with antibiotics anymore, as it usually heals by itself, so now he just has to wait to get better. And of course he's probably still contagious, so I cancelled the knit night. We'll just have to postpone it to another night. Thankfully the cakes that I bought (I don't really bake) can be frozen!

And I don't know if I've told you, but me and Thomas are actually thinking about buying a little cottage outside of Linköping! One of Thomas' relatives is selling her vacation cottage, and Thomas has been to see it (while I was at work) and is completely in love. It was built in the 1800's, and has no electricity or running water. So very primitive. Hopefully we can go there tomorrow so I get to see it too, before we commit to buy it :) Here's how it looks:

Isn't it super cute! There is of course some work to be done on it, as it is so old, but as it is just supposed to be a summer house we can just renovate it when we can afford/feel like it. I'll let you know what we decide!

Oh, and I completely forgot to tell you about the last birthday gift my sister gave me! I left it on the kitchen table, and when I started photographing all the stuff from last weekend, I completely forgot about it. Look:

It's actually a pencil case, but I'm using it to hold all of my KnitPicks Zephyr needles. And there's room for my crochet hooks as well! I really like it, and it's so portable and cute!

My sister (Sanna) borrowed my little triangle bag last weekend as well, and pretty quickly figured out how it was constructed. She then promptly made me this one, that I'm definitely keeping for myself!

It's a lot bigger than the one I bought at Designtorget, so I'm pretty happy about that. The fabric is one of those we bought from Get Knitted, I think it's Amy Butler, and it's just so pretty (did I tell you I like Turquoise right now?). I think these will be up for sale in our future web shop as well! And speaking of that one: it's sort of on ice right now, as I'm working too much to actually deal with it. We still haven't decided on a shop name, or which web host to use. But Sanna is sewing at least some, and she will be out of school in about a week, so then I think she'll have the time too.

Now I think I'll have some breakfast, and then go into town to buy Thomas a new TV-game (He wants Red Dead: Redemption). Maybe I'll pick up some more yarn too, the sale only lasts until Monday :)

/ Jenny

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I'm old

Yup, now I'm officially old. Today I turned 30! Although I have to admit I don't feel old yet :)

I've had a wonderful birthday weekend! On Friday morning me and Thomas took the train to Stockholm for a long weekend away. We stayed at the Clarion Sign hotel, which is really really nice, and by lunch time we were out on the town for a little shopping. We started out in Old Town, which is really tourist-y but still very nice. There are some really good stores there, including the Sci-Fi Book Store, and Comics Heaven. We did a fair bit of shopping in both those stores! These are the books and comics that followed us home from Stockholm:

Lilla Stjärna by John Ajvide Lindqvist, Zombies, edited by John Skipp, Metro 2023 by Dimitry Gluhkovsky, and Dead Sea by Brian Keene.

The Talisman, story by Stephen King, Locke and Key by Joe Hill, First issue of The Wheel of Time, and Wyrms by Orson Scott Card.

And finally, at the Sci-Fi book store, I found this little gem: Crobots - 20 amigurumi robots to make, by Nelly Pailloux.

I've already finished the Locke and Key, and it is just so incredibly good! I want to have all the issues NOW (there is only one more out so far...).

We've been so lucky with the weather this weekend too, it's been about 24 Centigrades so lots of skirts and T-shirts (well, Thomas wore shorts...). So lots of cold drinks and ice-cream. Here I am at a cafe in Old Town eating an absolutely fabulous fruit ice-cream. Such a lovely break from all the walking!

After Old Town we went to Söder (which translates as South, it's a part of central Stockholm that is often compared to Soho: Lots of artists and such) and I got to visit Marias Garn for the first time. Boy, do I wish I lived there! I came out with ten skeins of yarn, but I could easily have picked out ten more. Or fifty :) These are the skeins I bought anyway:

Two skeins of Marias Garn Handpainted Sock yarn (75 % superwash wool/25 % bamboo, 420 m/100g). I LOVE this colour! It turns out that the store is shifting owners next weekend, and lots of Maria's own handpainted yarns will probably disappear then. So I'm really happy to have found this! I think it will become at least one of the Windsbraut shawl patterns (the link only goes to one of the patterns, but you can find links to all of them at that page too), and possibly a pair of socks too!

Two skeins of Wetterhoff Silla yarn (30 % silk/70 % wool, 250 m/50 g). I fell completely for this colour, but it turns out to be very hard to photograph! It's a sort of rusty brown/pink and the yarn is super soft as well. I think these skeins will become a Brandywine shawl in the near (or far) future.

Three skeins of Butik Strik Ecological Fair Trade Pima Cotton (which I assume is 100 % cotton, but it actually doesn't say so on the label, 200 m/50 g) in a gorgeous lilac colour. I've never knitted with 100 % cotton before, but this yarn is just so incredibly soft! It feels almost like silk. These are destined to become another Windsbraut pattern.

One skein of Malabrigo Lace yarn (100 % Merino, 430 m/50 g), in colourway Emerald. I've recently become sort of fond of Turquoise, and this yarn more or less jumped on me! Unfortunately there was only one skein left in this colour, but I found another one on Garnkorgen, so I've actually ordered another one. I think this yarn will become a Historical Stole.

One skein of Marias Garn Baby Alpacka yarn (100 % baby alpaca, 500 m/100 g) in a gorgeous pale green colour. I really, really adore alpaca yarn, it is always so incredibly soft, so I fell directly for this yarn. This will turn into a Three Towers Shawl (that name really speaks to my inner nerd).

Finally I got one more skein of the baby alpaca yarn, in a deep wine red colour. I'm thinking of turning this into a Victorine shawl, but I'm a bit afraid that it will be too thin? I guess I'll just have to start it and see how it looks.

Ok, now you know my fiber purchases. After spending a loooong time in the shop, we went back to our hotel for an hour to rest and freshen up, and then we met up with our good friends Anders and Ellen, to have dinner with them. We've known Anders for at least 13 years (boy, we're old!), and him and Ellen have been together for a while now (at least a few years, I think). They are so nice, and we always try to meet up with them when we are in Stockholm or Borås at the same time. We had dinner at a place called Belgobaren, which is a Belgian themed restaurant, so they had LOTS of beers. I don't like beer, so I had a glass of wine instead :)

Thomas and Anders

Me and Ellen

After dinner we went to a bar and had some drinks together, which was a blast! We were back at the hotel right around midnight (yes, we're old), and I could barely keep my eyes open!

On Saturday the weather was just as nice, so we spent the morning shopping some more, and then to escape the sun around lunch time, we went to Nationalmuseét (The National Museum) and saw some great art. I've now seen my first real Van Gogh, and I'm such a huge fan of the impressionists! They also had some Rembrant, Gaugain, Titian, Monet, Manet, Ruben and Van Dyck. And one of my personal favourites: Swedish painter Carl Larsson. I enjoyed it so much! Thomas, on the other hand, works as a producer for the local museum here in Linköping, and he's a bit damaged by that so I think he looked more at the way thing were displayed, than on the actual art...

National Museum

After this we went and had a beer (soda for me) with a friend of Thomas, Anna, and we spotted this hillarious mis-spelling on the menue. Do you think they got a lot of damage complaints?

Finally that night we went to the restaurant Aquavit (which is also a name of a swedish snaps) to celebrate my birthday (which is actually today, but we were going home today). This restaurant is run by celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson (he has among other things catered for the american president Obama!). We had such high expectations on the food, and were a bit let down. My food was delicious, I ordered grilled sea-food and got so much yummy fish. Unfortunately my stomach chose this moment to act up, so I couldn't eat very much of it! This wasn't the restaurant's fault, but Thomas got a meal that wasn't very good. His lamb was very chewy, and the mushrooms were way too salty. Also, part of the lamb was almost uneatable due to some really stringy sinews... You wouldn't expect this sort of food at such an expensive restaurant (I think we payed about 120 dollars, including two glasses of wine). So we left the restaurant a bit disapointed.

Today Thomas gave me his gifts (well, the whole trip was my real gift), which was a comics album by my author God Neil Gaiman. It's called The Eternals, and I hadn't even heard of it before! He also tried real hard, and gave me the Stich 'n bitch Nation book, which I so much appreciated! I'm going to have so much fun reading it!

The Eternals

Stitch 'n bitch nation

After the amazing hotel breakfast we ventured out in the rain for a bit of last minute shopping, and I actually managed to find myself two tops! 

You'll have to excuse my poor modelling skills! I look a bit pregnant in both photos (which I'm not!), and as it is pretty late here the flash made me look deathly pale too :)

I also bought nine pairs of underwear at Top Shop, this shop isn't available in Linköping and I love their underwear. Now I have enough to last me for a while :)

We also went by Designtorget, which is a swedish design store, and they always have lots of fun stuff. This store is available in Linköping, but it's a lot smaller here. I found this super cute little triangular notions bag that I just had to have! I of course plan to use it as a project bag :)! I think I'll lend it to my sister so she can figure out how it's made!

Finally we had a cup of coffe/hot cocoa with Anders and Ellen before we had to go to the train station. My sister picked us up at the train station here in Linköping, and when we got home I got a package from her as well. She had bought me this hillarious piggy bank where I can save up my yarn money, and she also sewed me this super-cute box bag just for me (which was filled with candy)! She had bought all of the fabric in secret, so this wasn't anything I knew of before. I love it, and I'm going to use it for everything now!

All in all it's been a great weekend! I love that I got to pick out most of my gifts for myself, I think I've never got this good gifts before :) When we got home we ordered chinese food and watched a crappy movie, and it was just the perfect end to a perfect weekend! Now I'm off to go to sleep, so I can get to work tomorrow!

/ Jenny

Monday, May 17, 2010

Early Birthday Gifts

Today I got some early birthday gifts in the mail! And I have absolutely no self dicipline, so I pf course opened them right away. They were all from myself anyhow, and I just couldn't wait! The first package came from Wollmeise, and it is almost impossible to get any yarn from their online store. It is updated early on Friday mornings (European time), and on Saturday afternoons, and within five minutes all of the yarn is gone. I'm just so thrilled that I managed to snag a lace skein last weekend! I had no clue what colour it would be, so it was a huge surprise to open this package!

This is my HUGE skein of Wollmeise Lace-Garn, in Colourway We're Different (although the label under the We're Different label says Sanguinello):

Hobbe liked this yarn too! This skein contains 300 g of lace-weight superwash Merino (1592 m in total), and it is sooo big! I've never seen such a big hank before! I LOVE the colour, although it is really not my colour. I can't really wear red against my skin, as every blemish sort of blooms up to match the red piece of clothing. I'm contemplating trying to trade it for another colour, but I can't really make up my mind about it. I think I'll just keep it for now, and let it mature in the stash :)

The second package came from UK, for Chopped Tomatoes' Etsy store. I got two skeins of lace yarn in colourway Sister Sister:

And one skein in colourway Forever Young:

This yarn is 85 % wool/15% cashmere, 500 m in a 50 g hank, and it is incredibly soft! I can definitely see myself buying more of this yarn in the future. The colours are a bit paler in real life than what I saw on my computer screen when I ordered them, but they are still gorgeous so I don't care. I'm just happy that I'm happy about them, it's always a bit of a gamble buying yarn you haven't seen or touched in real life!

And can you believe I'm turning 30 on Sunday?! It sounds so old! I wonder when you start feeling grown up and stop feeling the same as you did when you were 20? Well, I think I might have matured a bit the last ten years, at least I hope so, but I still feel young! Maybe that has something to do with me having studied my whole life, up until now I've never had a regular job. 

And speaking of jobs: My new job is great! On Friday and today I've been allowed to draw blood from actual patients! I always ask everyone if it's ok that I do it, as I'm so inexperienced. That way all the people who are afraid of needles or such can say no, and then my lab supervisor takes the sample from them. But I'm really impressed at how many people agree to let me practice on them. And it's not as hard as I had imagined either, although I don't find the vein every time. But I'm getting better, and it is SO much fun! I just wish I could stay at this place for the whole summer, but I bet that the other primary care unit that I'm going to work at for the second half of the summer will be great too.

Oh, and are you waiting for an update on the socks for Christine? Well, my stomach gave up on me this Saturday, and completely prevented me from going to her party! I almost cried when I realised I wouldn't be able to go, I had been looking forward to it for a long time! Instead I spent Saturday here in Linköping, just hanging out on the couch and feeling sorry for myself. Unfortunately Christine herself came down with a migrane that very same night, so they had to cut the party short as she had to go lay down. I felt so sorry for her! I'm going to send the socks in a package in the mail for her this week instead.

At least now Thomas is back in Linköping, I picked him up at the train station tonight. He came home from England on Wednesday, but he stayed in Borås the rest of the week to go to Christine's party. He's been away from Linköping for almost two weeks, so it's great to have him back. Also, he can now help me take a better photo of the socks for Christine :)

His grandmother loved the Sari Lace shawl, by the way! I got to speak to her briefly on the phone on Tuesday, and she said she really loved how warm it was. She particularly liked the triangular shape too, so I'm happy. My father-in-law took some photos of her wearing it, so I'll try to get my hands on some of them soon!

On my own knitting front, things have gone slowly forward. I've knitted most on the Guinevere gloves, and I'm now knitting the cuff (which is knitted last, after the hand is completed. I was thinking I would post a photo of the construction of the glove, but now I'm thinking that might be copyright infringements? I think the designer is on Ravelry, so I'll see if I can't PM her and ask her. I love the pattern and the yarn is just incredibly vibrant (which doesn't really show on the photo), and they are so much fun to knit!

I've also knitted a lot on the Kai-Mei socks, but I'm still knitting only ribbing. The main part of the leg is just 3x3 ribbing, and I haven't reached the heel yet. These have turned out to be great work knitting though (I only knit at the coffee break, it would be a bit creepy to bring my knitting into the lab), as I don't need to concentrate at all. I haven't gotten a new photo of the sock yet, I'll show them to you once the lace pattern begins.

The Haruni and the Owls sweater are both beeing a bit neglected for the moment, but I'll get to them soon. Me and Thomas are going to Stockholm for the weekend to celebrate my birthday, and I need some knitting to bring on the train. I think the haruni will be perfect for that, so I think that will be my travelling project.

Now I'm going to spend some time with my newly-arrived husband! We're sort of in mourning today, as Ronnie James Dio (among other things he's been the lead singer in Black Sabbath after Ozzy Osbourne left) died today.  The Holy Diver will be sorely missed!

/ Jenny

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Keeping myself busy

Today has been a busy day for me! I don't know if you know this about me, but I like to sleep. If I have no alarm set, I can easily sleep until 11 in the morning. So now that I have a new job I need to get a better daily rhythm, so I set the alarm even when I'm off work. This means I have so much more time in the days to do stuff!

So today I went for coffee (well, I don't drink coffee, I had hot cocoa instead) with an old friend of mine who was in town just for the weekend. When I went to high school we were four girls who always hung out (well, sometimes we were more, but the four of us were the "core" of the girl gang), and when I left Borås in 1999 I only kept up contact with one of them, Christine. Well, Annika whom I went for coffee with today is one of those two girls that I don't really know anymore, but we managed to hook up for almost two hours today. It was just so much fun! We've sort of kept track of each other on Facebook, but haven't actually seen each other for at least four years. I'm sort of surprised at how little we reminisced, I guess we were just too busy updating each other on what we've been up to for the past 10 years!

Then when I got home I intended to do some cleaning, but the knitting pile was much more alluring :) For the first time in weeks I'm not doing any projects for any-one else but me, and I have absolutely no deadlines for anything I'm making. So today have been a real cast-on mania for me!

I began with the Owls sweater. So far I only have an inch or so of the ribbing at the bottom of the sweater, but this was so much fun! I haven't worked with needles bigger than 3 mm for quite a while, and this sweater is worked on 7 mm and 8 mm needles! They feel like drumsticks in my hands, but it is also nice with a change. And I bet this project will get done very fast, as the yarn is very thick as well (It's Rowan Cocoon, 80 % merino/20 % kid mohair, in colourway Bilberry).

Then I put that project down, and started a pair of gloves for me. On Ravelry I've namned them Super Complicated Gloves, because they are, but the pattern is Guinevere by Julia Mueller. I love basically all of her patterns, they are just gorgeous. This is the first pair I'm making, and the construction is far away from anything I've made before! They start with the thumb! I'll get a photo of the schematic diagram to show you once I get a little further. I'm making them with KnitPicks Stroll yarn (75 % superwash merino/25 % Nylon) in colourway Saphire Heather.

Finally I skeined my two hanks of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn (80 % Superwash wool/20 % nylon, colourway Aslan) and got started on a new pair of socks for myself. I had such a hard time deciding on a pattern, I just have too many sock patterns lined up! But as I realised I couldn't make up my mind, I just decided to pick a new pattern from the Sock Innovation book by Cookie A. This designer is just so amazingly talanted, all of her patterns are just amazing and beautiful. So I'm making the ones called Kai-Mei, and so far I only have a piece of ribbing to show you. This yarn knits up beautifully, and I'm going to love these socks!

I'm also thinking of casting on for another pair of gloves for myself, from the Selbuvotter book. I've decided to start with the ones called Annemor #15, and I'm going to use KnitPicks Palette yarn (100 % wool) in colourways black and Lipstick. But I might wait with these until I've finished one of my current four WIP's (remember I'm also working on the Haruni shawl). We'll see how much willpower I have this weekend!

Tomorrow I'm going back to work again, and I'm still excited about it. I hope to get to try drawing venous blood (you know, from the arm) for the first time! The only thing I don't like about working is the fact that I have to get up at 6.00 to get there in time...

/ Jenny