Friday, December 31, 2010

It's almost 2011

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! Mine included a lot of good food, seeing LOTS of people during the three short days I spent with my parents, and a bit too much driving around, just to have time to see everybody! But it was good, and I got to relax some too. Me and Thomas got a lot of contributions for our up-coming trip to the States, which was very nice. We're going to book the trip some time next week, after Thomas double-checks with his boss that he can get the time off.

Hobbe has had a wonderful Christmas at my parents' house! My sister brought her two cats, Medoxa and Daisy, but they're not really fond of other cats so they've spent the whole weekend growling at everybody else. But my parents have two cats as well, Isak and Sigge (imagine five cats in one house!), and they really enjoyed getting to play some with Hobbe! Those three have chased each other around the house, mainly through a play tunnel that my mom has bought for Sigge and Isak, and I really think Hobbe enjoyed getting to play with other cats too. Hobbe is an asymptomatic carrier of the virus that killed our previous cat, Gizmo, so we can't get a permanent companion for him. The virus is transmitted through the litter box, so when we visit my parents we can make sure that they don't use the same litter box, but that wouldn't work if Hobbe was to live full time with another cat. We're having him tested once a year and just hope that the virus will go away (which it might, although no-one seems to be able to say for sure).

Anyway, now that the Holidays are over, I can finally show you my secret Christmas projects! I knitted a pair of socks for my 14-year-old brother in law, William. These are the Manly Aran Socks (modelled by Thomas, who has a little bit smaller feet than William), from the Toe-Up Socks for Every Body by Wendy D. Johnson.

I've never made toe-up socks before, and I think I still prefer cuff-down. I like that once you get past the heel, you get to knit stockinette for the sole for half of every row. I think it's kind of relaxing, as I by that point start to tire of the pattern (for the most part). But I liked the socks, they're not really as hysterical-looking as they are in the photo. Lots and LOTS of cabelling! William loves them, and wore them for the whole Christmas Eve. Success! They're knitted in one full skein of Opal sock yarn, in colourway 3157, and I think I had about 10 meters left of the skein!

My next gift was a shawl for my mom. I think I've told you that her name is Rosalie, and a while ago I found a sock pattern named Rosalie socks. This time I found a shawl pattern named the Rosa shawl, and as that's my mother's nick-name, this was also ment to be.

The shawl is knitted in two skeins of KnitPicks Palette, in colourway Garnet Heather, and I really don't have any other photos than this! I blocked it two days before Christmas, so it was finished just in time! Mom seemed to like it, and I think it will look good with her white winter coat.

I also managed to finish a pair of socks for me over the holidays! These are the Pink Ribbon socks, from my collection of 10 socks for €15.

They are knitted in 75 g of sockyarn bought from Limmo Design at the Sewing festival earlier this fall, and I really enjoyed working with this yarn. The colourway is called Rosebud, which is perfect, and I finally have a pair of pink socks! I wore them to work yesterday, and I love wearing knitted socks at the lab since the AC is always on there to cool all of our machinery off.

Right now I'm working on my Paper Dolls sweater, and I've actually attached the arms and started on the colourwork pattern. I would LOVE to finish this one soon, as I have worked on it for ages (remember, I frogged it this summer as it turned out too big). It's looking good so far, but I have actually forgotten to take any new photos of it so I think you'll have to wait until next time.

I'm also working a bit on the Evenstar shawl, and it's a bit slow going. I'm using my skein of Wollmeise Lace-Garn in colourway Sabrina, and it is just sooooo pretty! However, I'm not a Wollmeise convert, as I can't say that I'm overly enjoying working with this yarn. It isn't as soft as I would like, and I actually find it to be a bit splitty. But it will probably soften once I wash and block it, and the colour is really, really gorgeous, so I think it's worth it. I don't think I'll be buying any more from that store though, especially since it's almost impossible to get anything during the updates. I have no new photos of this one either, mainly because the stitches are all scrunched together on a bit too short needle, so it just looks like green noodle soup so far. I can't wait to finish and block it, so I can actually see the pattern!

Oh, and tonight, at 12.01, the new 11 shawls in 2011 (the group is still called 20 shawls in 2010, but that will change tomorrow) starts! Yes, that's right, the challenge will continue for the next year! I am definitely going to join the group, but I doubt that I'll actually finish next year. I'm working a lot longer days now, and I just don't knit as much as I used to. I also plan on knitting a bunch of other stuff next year, lots and lots of socks and probably some more mittens, so I don't think I will focus on shawls as much. Which might be a good thing, as I have about ten of them hanging in my bedroom allready. It is very possible that I don't really need any more shawls for myself, but I just enjoy them so much! And let's face it: I don't have a black one, a purple one, a grey one, a yellow one...

I'm not sure if I'll actually cast on for a new one right after midnight tonight, as I think I might want to finish the Evenstar first. As that one was started in 2010, it won't count for the new challenge, and I don't want it to end up in some obscure corner while I focus on the 11 shawls that will count. I don't think I'll be that obsessed with the group! But I have yarn wound and patterns prepared for two more shawls: I'm going to make the Panama Tuch in my two skeins of Chopped Tomatoes' Heavenly Infusion yarn (85 % wool/15 % cashmere) in colourway Sister Sister (and what do you know, it's purple!). This yarn is so soft it is silly, and I atually had a bit of problems winding it, as it tended to break a bit too easily. I just hope it will hold up for knitting with!

Photo borrowed from Ravelry

And I'm going to make the Gordischer Knoten shawl with my skein of black lace wool from Ullcentrum on Öland (this is a swedish yarn, Öland is a swedish island off the east coast). This will be my first black shawl, which will be very wearable for me as I have a lot of dark clothes.

Photo borrowed from Ravelry

Did I moan about misplacing my mp3-player before Christmas? I don't remember if I told you, but it seems to have fallen out of my purse when I was walking from my car to my appartment, and as it has been snowing almost every day here, it was probably either covered in snow (and thus probably broken), or someone else found it and had a lucky break (it was a nice mp3-player with 5 Gb memory). I was very sad about it, as I plug it into the car stereo when I commute, but I got a new one for Christmas from Thomas. The new one holds a bit less memory, but it can be expanded with micro-SD cards, and it is very tiny and cute. I love it! Plus, the new one can play all my audiobooks from Audible (I subscribe to the british site, but there is also an american one), which my old player was too old to manage. Yay!

So, today is New Year's Eve. Are you all having fun stuff planned? Thomas' brother William is here visiting us over the weekend, so we're going to have dinner (Thomas is making Porter Steak) with my sister and her boyfriend, and then we're just going to play board games and have a relaxed evening. Especially since William is only 14 years old, the evening will be very calm and non-alcoholic for us (we haven't even bought any champagne!). It will be the perfect evening!

Now I'd better go clean up in the kitchen, so Thomas can cook there later on today. Have a wonderful evening, and I'll talk to you soon!

Happy new year!

/ Jenny

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Yes, this will be my last post until Christmas. Tomorrow morning me, Thomas and Hobbe are going down to Borås to spend the weekend at our parents' homes over the holidays. My parents only have sucky internet, so I won't be posting anything until I get home to Linköping again. So I thought I would take some time today to wish you all a very merry Christmas (or any other holiday you might be celebrating)! I hope you all get to have a fun and relaxing weekend, filled wtih family and good food!

I managed to finish all (actually it was only two) my Christmas knitting too, I blocked the last one on Sunday. I can't wait to get to show them to you, as I'm really pleased with both of them. I have to admit that I really don't like working under a deadline though! Even though I enjoyed making both of these projects, some of the joy went out of it as I felt I had to work on ONLY those two projects until they were done. I like to alternate between different projects, so I'm really happy that I get to go back to knitting on my ordinary projects now!

I'm working on three things right now, that have been WIP's for a while. The Evenstar shawl has been sadly neglected for quite some time, but I'm really looking forward to have some quality time with it over the weekend.

I'm also working away on my Paper Dolls sweater, and I've almost finished the body. Which reminds me, I have to bring my dpn's with me to Borås, so I can start the sleeves! This has mainly been worked on at work, as it's been more or less mindless stockinette knitting so far. But after the sleeves are attached, the colourwork will begin, which will be fun. Can't wait to get this finished, as this is the second time I'm trying it!

And finally, I cast on for a pair of socks on Sunday night, and yesterday we had a really slow hour at work, right before lunch, so I've almost finished the leg! This is one of the patterns from the 10 models for €15 that I bought a while ago. The pattern is called Pink Ribbon socks, and I'm using my Limmo Design Handpainted sock yarn in colourway Rosebud, that I bought at the sewing festival this past September. It's great to work woth, and it looks really pink and pretty in real life!

And if you're wondering why I'm writing today in the middle of the day (it's noon here), it's because my stomach is acting up again. It started on Sunday morning (which made me miss Anna's Christmas evening party!), and has been a bit on the fritz since then. Not too much, I've been to work Monday and Tuesday, but today it was worse again. If things don't look better tomorrow I think I'll have to cave in and take an Immodium, because I want to be able to enjoy all the Christmas food on Friday. I really don't like taking those pills, as they sort of stop up everything for a couple of days, which tends to hurt a bit, but for this once it might be worth it.

Oh, and on Saturday me and my sister went to the movies to see the new Harry Potter movie! I was a bit hesitant about it, as I found the last book to be a bit slow (good anyway, but there was a lot of just travelling back and forth). So I didn't know how that would work in the movie, especially since they've divided the last book into two films. But it was surprisingly good, and apparently it's been too long since I read the book because I didn't remeber much. It has a lot of sad parts in it, and now that I'm off my antidepressants and back to my normal, sappy self, I cried a lot. Thank God it's dark in the theatre! I'm glad I don'thave to wait longer than the summer for the last one though, as it's really close to the end now.

And can you believe it's been snowing more and more?! We have about a meter of snow right now, and yesterday it was almost -15 Centigrades outside! Brrrrrr! I'm so over the winter already, and ready for spring, but sadly I think I have to wait a while. Last "spring" the snow stayed until the beginning of April, and I bet it will be the same next year. Ugh! They're saying that there will come a huge snow storm on Christmas eve, bigger than in the pst 40 years or so, so we'll probably be trapped inside for the whole day!

Now I'm going upstairs to see if I can't wake my husband up. He has the day off today, and he likes to sleep in, but now it's noon and I think he should get up and spend some time with me instead. I've been up since 6, so I'm getting a bit bored!

Have a wonderful holiday everybody, and I'll be back next week!

/ Jenny

Monday, December 13, 2010


Ok, those of you who know me know that I sort of love to sing. I took singing lessons for about 5 years or so when I was a teenager, and I sang soprano in one of the student choirs here in Linköping when I went to the university. Today is S:t Lucia day here in Sweden, which we celebrate to honor the Italian saint Lucia who was a christian martyr (you can read more about it here). I don't know that we actually celebrate the saint any more, in swedish tradition it's more a festivity of lights to survive the dark time of year. A Lucia procession consists of a woman being the Lucia, wearing white with a crown of candles in her hair. She has a following of maids and star-carrying boys, and they sing lucia songs to celebrate. It's a very beautiful ceremony, and I've participated in too many processions to count. I sort of miss being in a choir just for that!

Tonight on swedish TV there is a lucia procession with Södra Latins Kammarkör (a swedish school choir), and it is just incredibly beautiful! They were just singing Pie Jesu, and my hairs on my arms stood up! It was soo sweet and clear and just amazing. If you want to watch a classical lucia procession, just go to the swedish tv site and watch it here!

/ Jenny

Sunday, December 12, 2010

It's almost Christmas!

I can't believe how fast time goes by these days! It's only 12 more days til Christmas (here in Sweden we celebrate on the 24th)! And I sound like I'm 100 years old when I say it like that too.

My health finally seems to be back on track! My stomach is behaving (knock on wood), and the treatment I got for my dizziness really helped, and 24 hours after I was back to normal again. It was a really weird treatment, that consisted of moving the dislodged particles (you know, the ones that had ended up in my balance bows in my ear) back into the liquid sack where they belonged. This was done by moving my head in a specific order, and then I had to keep the head completely still for 24 hours. And let me tell you, those 24 hours were no fun, but it was worth it! After sitting up the whole night I got a few hours of sleep in the morning, and when I woke up I wasn't dizzy anymore. Awesome!

So how is the Christmas shopping going? Me and my sister picked up the last gift yesterday, for our dad, so now I'm all set. It feel good to be finished already with that, as it can be a huge pressure! I'll finish the first knitted gift today, and hopefully the second (and last) one next weekend. I can't wait to get to tell you about them, as I'm very pleased with both of them! 

Last Saturday, on the 4th, Anna, Lovisa and Alexandra came here for an evening of yarn dyeing together. We had such a blast, we ate some quiche, drank lots of wine (now that I'm off the antidepressants I can finally have some wine again, and it was sooooo good!) and dyed about 14 skeins of yarn! 

Alexandra is winding yarn on our kitchen cabinets!


Lovisa is dyeing yellow yarn

Anna's purple and blue yarn

Lovisa's blue yarn

Alexandra's blue, red and orange yarn

Anna's orange and pink yarn

My green yarn

Anna knitting

Me and Anna got a bag of undyed sport yarn from Progg a while ago, and we divided these skeins between us, and both Lovisa and Alexandra had brought their own, so we ended up with some skeins each. I kept three skeins, one lace skein that I dyed green and two sport skeins that I dyed pink.

We used mostly KoolAid, but I also had some easter dyes that I got in a RAK gift from Ravelry a year or so ago. I think we were all very pleased with our skeins! I went for the solid colours, but the others mixed it up a bit, as you can see in the photo of the drying yarns (unfortunately, Annas skeins of gorgeous, blue-purple skeins are missing from that picture, but you'll have to make due).

I actually caved in and bought some yarn last week too, but only because I was running out on one of the Christmas gifts. A couple of days before the order Thomas had actually told me that he'd maybe like a pair of hand knitted socks after all (he's been refusing them for a while now, as he prefures regular, store-bought, black socks), since they look so warm. So I ordered two more skeins of sock yarn, Opal in black and green:

I think I'm going to make his black, as I think one skein should be enough, and keep the green one for myself. I haven't decided which pattern to use for his socks yet, but I don't think I'll start them until after Christmas anyway so I'll have some time to think about it.

Oh, and I have to tell you about this awesome package I got in the mail yesterday! I got a RAK gift from bastelwastel in Germany, which held a whole package of gluten-free cookies! I'm just overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness, and they taste amazing too! Yay! I also got a Christmas card from Fabie in the same group on Ravelry (RAK in Europe), and I just love this group so much!

And finally, I wasn't sure if I was going to mention this here on the blog, as I try to keep everything political and religious and stuff like that out of the blog. I'm not a very political person (or religious), but this just can't go by unnoticed. Yesterday it seems like we had the very first suicide bombing in Sweden, in Stockholm. A car blew up at around five in the afternoon, and shortly thereafter the police found a man who had blown himself up. Next to him was a bag full of nails, and apparently there were more bombs which hadn't gone off. Only the bomber died, and a few people were lightly injured, and the police is calling it a failed bombing attempt. The police got an e-mail about 10 minutes before the deed, where someone blaimed Sweden's involvement in Afghanistan, and our support of the artist Lars Vilks, who made the Mohammed charicatyrs a while ago. The last part is a bit scary, as Lars Vilks was in Linköping holding a lecture at the University just a couple of weeks ago. I thik we Swedes have just felt a bit too safe from these sorts of deeds, as we're such a small and sort of unimportant country. The Police is holding a press conference right now, butthey don't know very much yet. It's just terrifying, and I really feel for all those people in for example Palestine and Irak who live with this threat every day. Just horrible!

And to end the post on a bit more cheery note, me and Thomas are going to have breakfast together no, and light the third candle in aour advent candle holder. I'll try to be beck next weekend, so I get one more post in before Christmas!

/ Jenny