Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sewing Festival 2010

My oh my. The Sewing Festival in Borås this year was absolutely fabulous! I went to Borås on Firday evening, to stay with my parents. When I came into my room (It's more of a spare room, the only thing that's really mine in there any longer is the bed), I was greeted by an insanely strong smell of cat pee. Turns out one of my parents' cats had peed on the couch in there. Yay. We removed the wet pillows, but the smell prevailed all through the night. The next morning we found out that the stupid cat had also peed on a pillow that was on the floor underneath the bed. No wonder it smelled! Once we removed that pillow too, the smell disappeared! Stupid cat.

Ok, on to the festival. This year I went with my mother, and I didn't partake in any of the workshops. There weren't that many of them that I was interested in anyway, but it was fun to just walk by them and see what they were all about. And let me tell you, the festival was a bit bigger this year than last! There were so many yarn vendors! And before you say anything, let me tell you that I actually didn't spend any of my own money! A month or so ago, my sister got a pair of insanely expensive boots and a new autumn coat as a gift from my grandmother (well, she got the money for them, and bought them herself). And even though my sister and I are 25 and 30 years old, my grandmother still thinks that all gifts have to be equal, so she gave me the same amount of money. So I decided to spend it on the sewing festival, which I did!

And I tell you, the harvest was bountiful this year! I didn't get as many skeins as I did last year, but went more for quality this year instead. I still managed to come home with 14 new skeins of yarn! I had my camera with me, but I only remembered to take two photos the whole day, on my favourite booth. It was the swedish dyer Färgkraft (which translates roughly as powerful colours, or strenght from colours). One of my LYS's here in town, Garnverket, carry some of this yarn as well, but this booth that was run directly by the Färgkraft people had such a huge selection! If the yarn wasn't so expensive, I would have bought the whole inventory!

All the yarn is made from swedish sheep, and dyed by hand. I walked away with three skeins of gorgeous lace yarn called SoftBlend. Two in a gorgeous dark pink/fuschia colour called Cerise:

And one in a lovely green colour called VarmGrön (warm green):

I love them all so very much! The pink is destined to become the Butterflies and Flowers shawl, and the green will become a Troll Forest shawl. I have to say that I'm very proud of myself, because I almost only bought yarn with specific projects in mind! I even wrote down a list of patterns that I have in my pattern stash, but that I don't have any yarn for yet, so I would know what to look for. 

Next we came upon a booth that only sold Opal sock yarn (the link goes to the booth people, the swedish vendors). This is a German company that only make sock yarn (I think), and in so many crazy, self-striping colours. Since I mostly knit patterned socks, I didn't think I'd want any of this, but it turns out that they had a lot of solid colours as well. So I bought five skeins in total here:




Green multi-coloured (because I couldn't help myself)

And crazy multicoloured (one crazy skein is all right, right?)

All of them except the green will be socks from my 10 patterns collection. The green skein was bought so I can make a pair of socks for Christmas for my youngest brother-in-law William (he's 14 years old, and my husband's brother, not married to my sister...). He asked for a pair of socks a while ago, and I'm going to make the Manly Aran socks from the Toe-Up Socks for Every Body book by Wendy D Johnson. All the Opal skeins have 100 grams in them, so they should be enough to make at least a pair of socks from (I think the socks for Willie will be a bit more though, as he has bigger feet than me). The yarn is 75 % superwash wool/25 % nylon (which seems to be a standard for many sock yarns).

The next booth I shopped in was Limmo Design, who also has a web shop. She had soooo many gorgeous, hand-painted sock yarns, it was hard to choose! I walked away with two skeins of gorgoeus skeins that were 100 g of 75 % wool/25 % polyamide:

Colourway Sun

Colourway Rosebud

These skeins will also go to the 10 socks pattern collection. With these skeins, I actually have ten different yarns that I'm planning to use for this pattern collection, so hopefully I will make all of them! I'm sort of in a sock zone right now (I'll tell you more about that later), so this suits me very well!

Oh, and at Limmo Design I also picked up five bags of Kool-Aid! It's a bit hard to come by here in Sweden, so I was very pleased to find it here. I have five different colours (or flavours, really): Grape, Cherry, Slammin' Strawberry/Kiwi, Black Cherry and Pink Lemonade. I realized yesterday evening though that I might actually need more than one bag to dye a whole skein, but I think I might be able to get more bags from the Limmo Design web shop. 

Next we went to the booth where GarnGalleriet sold it's wares. I got to fondle Hand Maiden for the first time, and of course I couldn't resist. One skein of AMAZING Lace Silk (100 % silk, 900 m/100g) in a beautiful, lustrous copper hue went with me home. 

This will become a Lirio shawl, which is a pattern that I've had in my queue for a while now but never got around to buying. The other day though, I got it as  RAK gift from Pyttan, and I couldn't be happier! The yarn is just so incredibly soft and shiny, it's going to be a real treat to work with it!

We then moved on to Nysta's booth, and this was also a real treat! She had lots of yarns from Colinette (although I didn't see any Jitterbug), and some Debbie Bliss and Heaven's Hand. This is the booth where I bought my only impulse yarn, that I didn't have anything planned for. Two skeins of Debbie Bliss Andes went home with me:

It's 65% alpaca/35 % silk, and oh so soft! The colour is a pale purple/grey, and I think they will become a pair of mittens for me. It's 100 m/50 g, so DK weight. 

Finally I also bought a pair of DPN's from Marks & Kattens (a swedish manufacturer), but I can't seem to remember which vendor I bought them from. They are very pretty wooden needles (you can see them in the photo of the Kool-aid above), and I'm very curious to work with them as they're not as smooth as the KnitPicks Harmony needles I'm used to.

Oh, and one more thing: I've finaly gotten my mother back on knitting! When I came home on Friday she showed me a scarf she had knitted! She used to knit a lot of sweaters and cardigans for me and my sister when we were young, but she quit some time in the late 80's. And even though I started obsessing about knitting about a year ago, she hasn't really picked it up again until now. So she went with me to the festival yesterday, and she bought some Caron Simply Soft yarn to make a sweater for herself! 

Yay! I doubt she will become as crazy as I am about it, but I love that she has finally started again. The 100 % acrylic yarn ws really, really soft, and as she wanted a white sweater I think she made a good choice in going with a washable yarn. 

There were of course LOTS of vendors that I didn't shop at, and it was so much fun to just look around! I stood a long time at Ullcentrum's booth and finally decided that I would wait with that! After the festival we went to visit my grandmother and uncle for a short while, and yeaterday afternoon I went back to Linköping again. Thomas and his friends went to a metal concert last night, so I had the apartment all to myself. I just sat in bed listening to my new audio book and knitted a bit (and Skyped with Sarah for 2.5 hours!). And fondled all my new yarn, of course! 

Ok, I'm actually going to talk a bit about my own knitting too. I finished my secret Christmas project the other day, so I decided that they would become a birthday present instead. My mother has a birthday coming up in October, so she got her gift a bit early on Friday evening. A while ago I found a free sock pattern on Ravelry called the Rosalie Socks. This was really funny, as my mother's name is Rosalie! The match was ment to be, so I knitted her a pair using KnitPicks Stroll yarn in the Saphire Heather Colourway:

She loved them, and put them on right away. Once I got into the zone knitting them, they went really fast, and as soon as I finished them I had to cast on for another pair of socks for myself! I just enjoy knitting socks so much right now! I chose the Wanida socks, from the Sock Innovation book by Cookie A. I'm using a yarn that I bought at last year's Crafts day in Old Linköping, it's Zitron Trekking XXL. 

So far I've only gotten past the cuff, so I don't have any photos to show you yet.

I've also been working a lot on the Tunic Dress, and I've finished the skirt part and just picked up stitches for the top part. Now I'm starting the pattern though, so it's become a bit too challenging to bring to work. I need to find another stockinette pattern that I can have as a work project! But today I think I'm actually going to knit some on the languishing India Stole! I'm more than half-way through it, and I really want to finish it so I can start something else :)

/ Jenny

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Slacker Saturday

We're having a stay-in Saturday today, just enjoying the fall rain outside and listening to audio books and actually spend some time together for once! I'm knitting on my first Christmas project, which I won't show until the recipient gets it. I'm about 25 % in the project, and hopefully I can finish it this week.

I also have a finished object to show you: I finished the St Hyacinthe Socks this week! 

They are made with 1.6 skeins of Drops Fabel, and I love them! I've already worn them to work once, washed them, and now I'm wearing them today again! As usual, I had to decrease some extra stitches in the gusset decreases, as my foot circumference is a lot smaller than my leg circumference. Thus, I need fewer stitches over the sole than most patterns call for. But other than that, I made no changes to the pattern. It was easy to remember, but lots of fun to knit!

I'm also working a lot on the Tunic dress, and I think I will finish the skirt part some time this coming week. I'm knitting on it almost exclusively at work, so it's a bit slow going, but it's looking great. I have no new photos to show you, as it is still scrunched up on the short circular needle, but I'll take some once I cast off the hem.

Now I'm going to have me some lunch, and knit some more. And to all my swedish readers: Don't forget to vote tomorrow! It's a very improtant election (for the swedish government), and we MUST get a change of governing parties! So please, vote with your heart and not with your wallet!

/ Jenny

Sunday, September 12, 2010

We're home!

We left Wednesday night for London, and met up with Thomas' family at the Stanstead airport. There were so many of us, we had to rent two cars to fit us all in, and then drove (I didn't drive, I don't do left-side traffic) almost the entire night to get to Worksop, which is located just at the edges of the Sherwood Forest (you know, where Robin Hood lived). It was a good flight, with no turbulence whatsoever, and it took us less than two hours from Nyköping (where we flew from) to London. I have to warn you about this fairly long post: I forgot my camera, so there will be no photos from England this time!

On Thursday we just walked around the center of Worksop, doing some window shopping and just spending time with the family. They all live in Borås (where both me and Thomas grew up), so we don't see them very often. Thomas has four brothers, so we had a really nice time. I found two knitting magazines that managed to come home with me too:

Then on Wednesday evening it was time for me to meet the english side of the family for the first time. I've only ever met Thomas' grandmother before, so there were LOTS of new faces for me! I have to say though that they were incredibly welcoming, and treated me like one in the family from the beginning. And despite this being a very sad occasion, they were all so nice and happy to meet me too. We had dinner at a local pub, and then went back to Nanna's favourite pub to have a few drinks and just chat some together.

And blogger insists on turning this photo around! The magazines are The knitter, issue 23 and Yarn Forward, Issue 29

Then on Friday we went to the funeral service, which was really beautiful, and afterwards we all went back to Nanna's pub to have a proper, english wake. Now, here in Sweden when you go to a funeral, you are often invited back to the family's place for some coffee and a bit of quiet get-together. In England, all the family and friends get together to celebrate the life of the deceased, with a proper sending-off. There were lots of good finger-food, and lots and lots of beer and laughter. I think this version of mourning was so much nicer, I could practically see Nanna sitting in one corner and just enjoying the whole thing. Sure the laughter was intersperced with some tears as well, but that's just to be expected. It was just a blast, and I even ended up singing some Karaoke ( sang Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow)! I only felt sorry that I had to meet all of these incredibly nice people under these sad circumstances. We swapped e-mail adresses with all of Thomas' cousins, and we'll definitely not wait another ten years until we go back again. Hopefully we can afford to visit a few days next summer!

Yesterday we flew back to Sweden, I think we were home at about 22.30 after a whole day of travelling. It's good to be back home with Hobbe! My sister has been taking care of him, and she's done a good job, but I think he hates being alone for so long a period (my sister is working during the days, and has two cats of her own to take care of, so she didn't live here with him). He seemed very happy to see us yesterday, and spoke to us all night (I think he was telling us about his weekend :).

And are you wondering about the knitting needles and the plane? It was a complete success! When we arrived at the security check-in at Skavsta (the swedish airport we flew from) I pulled up my knitting bag and asked if I could take my knitting with me. The security guy (who was a big, muscular guy of about 40 years or so) then asked me if the needles where thinner than size 12 (mm)? So he had obviously gotten that question before, and knew enough about knitting to know the needle sizes! My needles were 3 mmm, so they were fine! I've knitted a lot during the weekend, at the pub and so (although not on Friday, somehow it seemed inappropriate to bring knitting to a wake), and I've already finished a whole sock!

I cast on on Tuesday night, before we left, and finally decided on the St Hyacinthe socks. They are part of a set of ten sock patterns that I bought a while ago, and they are great! I learned the pattern by heart really fast, but the patterning is still tricky enough to keep me interested. The yarn I've used is Drops Fabel, from Garnstudio, and even though it's really cheap sock yarn, I really really enjoy knitting with it. I like the striping, and some time in about two weeks they are coming out with solid colours of this yarn as well. Yay! I won't buy any until after the USA trip this Spring (unless I find some cheap at the Sewing Festival in Borås on the 25th of September), but it's nice to know that it's there.

Oh, and I have to tell you about all the gluten free food I found in England! Apparently it's becoming more and more common over there too, and on Thursday we went to the supermarket (Sainsbury's) since the younger brothers wanted to buy some crisps. They had so many different cakes and cookies! I ended up buying a few kinds, in the hopes that I would be allowed to bring it on the plane with me (we didn't bring any check-in luggage, only carry-on). And it was ok! So I've spent today on the couch, knitting on my sock and eating jam tarts. I think I'll have to find a connection in England who'd be willing to send me some by mail!

Now me and Thomas are going to watch the last episode of Pillars of the Earth, a british mini series based on the book by Ken Follet. If you like history, and you haven't seen this one, I really recommend it! It follows the book pretty well, and there are some great, unknown (to me) actors in it.

Good night until next time!

/ Jenny

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Surprise visit

Today I went into town to buy a set of dpns in bamboo, that I can bring with me to England next week. We're leaving on Wednesday, and the funeral will be held on Friday. I haven't checked with the airline yet if I can bring the needles on board (we're only bringing carry-on bags and no check-in luggage), but they were insanely cheap so if I have to leave them it's no big deal. Then I'll try to get a new pair once we arrive, so I can knit while we're there at least. 

I also picked up some cheap sock yarn that I'm going to bring with me, so I have a small, portable project that I can work on. I'm going to make one of the pairs from a set of 10 models I bought a while ago. It's easier to bring a few sheets of paper than a whole book with patterns, and it definitely weighs less. Anyway, this is the yarn:

Drops Fabel, 205 m/50 g, 75 % superwash wool/25 % nylon

I bought the yarn just so I could have something cheap to bring with me on the trip, but I'm not sure if I'll have much knitting time while over there. We're coming back home again on Saturday, so it won't be a long trip, and as it is a funeral trip it's not much fun either.

I also went to the doctor's yesterday to get my test results evaluated, but he had nothing new to tell me. They don't know what's wrong with me, so I'm going back on the 14th of September to do some additional tests. If they can't find out what's wrong with me then, they'll try to treat the symptoms and not care about the underlying reason. Maybe I just have an over-active stomach. I just wish that it would let me work!

Oh, and I bet you're wondering about the blog title? Today when I was walking back home from town, my mother called and told me that they were outside my apartment! She and my dad had just decided to come visit me and my sister as a surprise, so we all had dinner together and chatted for a few hours. It was really nice, as it's been a while since I saw them, but on the other hand I'm going home for a visit in three weeks (for the sewing festival), so they could have just waited. But it was fun, albeit short (they've already left again).

The rest of the evening will probably be spent with some knitting and either a film or tv-games (we haven't decided yet). I've gotten a bit of a cold, so I'm very tired today, but at least it seems to be going away. I think I'm going to knit on the India Stole tonight :)

/ Jenny

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Sad times at the house of ours

On Thursday evening last week, Thomas' father called to tell us that Thomas' grandmother had had a stroke and was unconscious at the hospital in Worksop, England, where she lives. The weekend was spent discussing whether we should fly over there immediately, but we eventually decided to wait and see if she would wake up. Sadly, she didn't but died early Monday morning. She was a great little lady with lots of love and humour, and she will be very missed. Thomas is just glad that he and his brothers went there this past May to celebrate her 80th birthday, and it was a great time (remember, I knitted a pink shawl for her?). The funeral will be held on September 10th, and hopefully I can get time off so we can fly over there the both of us.

It's hard to make a transition from such sad news into yarn and knitting, but I'm doing it anyway. Last week I got the final shipment of the Nyansera summer yarn club, and it was a skein of gorgeous fingering weight yarn. It's called Nyansera Komplett, and is 100 % superwash merino (400 m/100 g). The colourway is called Stone Washed Jeans, and you can see why:

I love it, it is very similar in quality to Colinette Jitterbug, and I'm planning on making myself a pair of mittens from them.

On Sunday there was a crafts day in Old Linköping, and I went for a short while to have a look. I came home with some home-made marmalade, some locally produced goat cheese (boy is that delicious!) and of course two skeins of gorgeous lace yarn. I just can't seem to stop buying yarn! These skeins are hand dyed by the swedish seller Garnpaletten, and all her yarns are just to die for! The colourway is called Kattegatt (that's the name of the ocean just north of Denmark), it's 100 % swedish wool, and it's 600 m/100 g.

I knitted a Candle Flame shawl form this yarn before, in the colourway Pink Play, so I know that it knits up beautifully. I gave that shawl to my own grandmother, who loved it, and it will be nice to get to knit with this yarn again. 

I actually have three skeins that I bought last year too, in the colourway Lime, and this yarn is supposed to become the Heere Be Dragone shawl eventually.

I have also started work at the new unit, which is located about 4 minutes from our apartment. I have only been there Monday and Tuesday so far, and today my stomach exploded again so I had to stay at home. Man, I really really hate my stomach issues! On Friday I'm going back to the gastroenterology department to get some coaching, but I got my test results back yesterday in a mail. All my tests are normal and healthy! I just wanted to cry when I saw this, as there is definitely SOMETHING wrong! But hopefully they'll have some more tests lined up for me. At this point I would almost consider a full stomach transplant (yes, I know that's not possible, but a girl can dream, right?). It wouldn't be so bad if I could just manage work!

As far as my knitting goes, I'm making some progress on the tunic dress, but it's not much to show yet as it's just a lot of stockinette scrunched up on a small needle. But I have also picked up the India Stole again, and I'm almost finished with the first half! I've started the decreases for the tip, so the rest of this half should go pretty fast as the rows get shorter and shorter. Maybe I can even finish it in September (knock on wood)?

Ok, now I'm going to have a lie-down, as my head is really spinning today. Friday can not come fast enough!

/ Jenny