Friday, December 28, 2012

Looking back on 2012

Wow, this year has gone by so fast! I wonder if it's a sign that I'm getting old, that I feel like time is going faster?!

I've done a lot of new stuff this year, but I think the biggest thing that happened is that we bought a house. We moved in March, so we've soon lived here for a whole year, and we love it! We haven't regretted that decision one second. The house is old, and we have mice in the walls, but I'm ok with that. The cats will catch them if they come into the house. I hope!

And speaking of cats: We got a new family member this summer as well. Toki is settling in very well, and after having spent Christmas at my parents' house, him and Hobbe seem to be much better friends too. They are just the cutest babies!

Knitting-wise I've managed to finish 20 projects this year, which is only one less than last year. I thought it would be a lot less, since I didn't knit very much during the move and the following unpacking period, but I think the last month's Crazy KAL when I knit down to zero helped me a lot. I'm quite happy with 20 projects, that's almost two every month. And since this year also seem to be the year of frogging (I ripped out nearly a whole cardigan when I decided that the Chili Gredelin Anastasia yarn and the Austin Hoodie pattern didn't work well together, and recently I ripped out more than half a shawl when I ran out of yarn on the Omelet shawl), I could almost say that I made 22 things :). I actually had to rip out the start on my Gray Havens sweater today as well, as it turned out way too big. I've restarted it with smaller needles and in a smaller size as well, so I'm hoping that will be enough.

I've branched out in my needle usage this year as well. Since I started this blog in 2009 I've almost exclusively used KnitPicks Harmony needles, both circular and dpn's. But this year I grew tired of the quality of the circulars, so I've tried some new brands. I have a set of interchangeable ChiaoGoo bamboo needles in the smaller sizes, and I really love those. They aren't as sharp as the KnitPicks', but the amazing cables makes up for that. I got myself two sizes of Blackthorn dpn's as well, in carbon fibre, and those are really amazing as well. I don't plan on using these exclusively though, as I still love my KnitPicks dpn's a lot. They are super sharp, and the hard wood makes them practically unbendy (except for the smallest size). But I like the Blackthorn's a lot, though they are very expensive. I had high hopes for the Knitter's Pride Karbonz needles that came out about a month ago, but it turns out that they are nickel-tipped, and as I hate working with metal I decided not to even try them.

Today I got a Christmas package in the mail as well (from myself, I spent some of my Christmas money at Garnkorgen), which contained a set of Addi Click Bamboo needles that I was really curious about. They are size 3.5 mm, and I can say without even trying them that they are pretty blunt. I think that the Addi lace needles are a lot sharper, but as I don't like metal I don't think Addi's are for me. I don't know about the sharpness of Signature needles, as I haven't seen them, but I think I might be set for now with my KnitPicks and my ChiaoGoo.

I've tried a lot of new techniques this year as well. I started the year by finishing the Ramona Mittens, which were double knit. I have used those mittens all this winter, and I love them! I think I'll probably wear them to death, and then make a new pair when they break! I made an Entrelac Cowl for my mother this Autumn as well, which was also completely new to me. I'm very happy with that result, and now that I write about it I realize that I completely forgot to take pictures of that one, and the Bobbie gloves that I also gave mom for her birthday, when I was home for Christmas! Oh well, maybe next time.

On one of the very last projects I made this year, the Companion Cube that I made for Thomas, I got to try out three new techniques! I made steeks and cut them, I did duplicate stitch, and I did matress stitching when I sewed it all together. I'm feeling pretty proud of myself for that one!

Finally, the last new thing I did this year was trying my hand at podcasting. I've only made three episodes, and there won't be a new one today as I'm still in my pj's. But that has been a lot more fun than I thought, and I think I'll ask Thomas to help me with that so we can set up the new camera he got for Christmas, and possibly try to get it on iTunes as well.

Ok, I think that was my year in hindsight! It's been an eventful year, but I've had lots of fun and learned a lot of new stuff. And I got a lot of yarn!


Ok, let's talk about the more recent events. How has your holiday been? I went home to my parents' house on Sunday, and came back yesterday. It's been a good couple of days, but there are always so many people that you want to see in such a short time! I feel like I've been driving around almost constantly. But I spent Christmas Eve with my family, Christmas Day with Thomas' brothers and father, and Boxing day with some friends. Then we drove back home yesterday, and it felt rather good to just sit on the couch and knit for the whole evening yesterday!

I think I told you that I got the Cookie A sock club from my parents this year, so I didn't get very much else from them. I got an electric blanket from my sister, which I freaking adore (why haven't I had one of these before?!), and I got a Sandman comics collection from Thomas that I'm really looking forward to reading.

I also got some money from my grandfather and some from my grandmother (they're divorced), and I've spent some already. I should never be left alone with an internet! I was bored the other night while I was waiting for my sister to call (she was out partying with her friends, and I had promised to pick her up in the night as her designated driver), so I went on a small shopping spree on Etsy. I ordered three new project bags, and some buttons for upcoming projects. None of that has arrived yet though, so I'll tell you more about it next year when it gets here.

I also got the package with the Addi needles from Garnkorgen, and they were accompanied by two skeins of Koigu KPPPM sock yarn, in colourway 860:

I have been looking at these skeins for such a long time, and now that I got some spending money I finally ordered them. They are gorgeous! I'm just really into self-striping and self-patterning sock yarns right now! That is quite good timing though, as the Stockinette Zombies are hosting a January KAL for self-striping yarns. Actually, they'll be doing one each month, as the goal is for Megan to finally use up some of her stash, and all the other participants are just joining her. I'll probably cast on for a pair of socks on New Year's day!

Oh, and speaking of KAL's! I finished my For Good hat!

It's made with Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted yarn (100 % merino) in colourway Berry, and I love it! It's a little bit big on me, but I'm ok with that. I'm just waiting on the buttons I ordered to arrive, so I can sew them on! I actually have almost half a skein left, so I'm thinking about making another one in a slightly smaller size.

I've also made some progress on the Ill Met by Moonlight socks, that I'm making in the Mackintosh sock yarn:

I enjoy these quite a lot, and they are turning out pretty great. I can't say enough good things about Claire Ellen, as all of her sock designs are gorgeous. I'm planning on making a lot more of them next year!

I have barely had time to knit on anything else while at my parents', but yesterday I made a lot of progress on the Grey Havens sweater. This morning I decided to try it on, and it was HUGE! I'd only made the bottom ribbing, and it was anything but tight on me. So I ripped the whole thing out, and started over again. So I have no new photos to show you on that one. I haven't knit anything at all on the Morning Echo cardigan either.

But tonight I found the Christmas Ball that I completely forgot to unpin before we left, so I've stuffed it:

I'm pretty pleased with it, even though it isn't perfect. I just have to make a loop of that last yarn end, and hang it on the tree. I'm not sure if there will be any more for next year, as I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought, but maybe I can make a tradition of making one each year :)

Ok, I've been rambling on for ages! Tomorrow we're going into town to buy groceries for our New Year's Eve party, and Sunday will be spent cleaning and preparing the food. I'll be back next year, hopefully with a new podcast too.

Happy New Year!

/ Jenny

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Casting on ALL THE THINGS!

On Wednesday evening, really really late, I finally finished the Omelet shawl!

I started this one in August, so I've been working on it for a long time. Well, I haven't touched it in forever until I picked it up a month ago, but now it's finally done. I have about 25 grams left of the yarn now that I ripped it back, but that yarn is just going in the leftovers bag! I'm very happy with the shawl though, it's very pretty, even though it isn't very soft. I'll wear it anyway, because I'm not bothered when wearing scratchy wool. I'll not buy that yarn again though!

Then on Thursday, me and Thomas got our tree up!

We bought a very nice tree, as this is the first year that we have a tree, and decorated it for most of that evening. I have bought a TON of decorations this year, and we had to leave a lot of them down since it would have been way too much. But it looks really good now, and we're both happy with it. No presents underneath it though, as Toki would just shred the paper. That cat gets into everything and eats anything he can get his tiny mouth on! He's a real handful, but oh so cute and cuddly too.

Yesterday evening after work I hunkered down and finished the Christmas ball too, which left me with zero projects on the needles!

I'm blocking the ball just a little bit, as I think it will stretch a bit when I stuff it, but that will have to wait until tomorrow when it's dry. I decided to just make one of the balls for now, as I've been dying to cast on new stuff. But I'm very happy that I finished the Crazy KAL and actually got down to zero projects. I've re-affirmed that I really don't like having too few projects going as I prefer the variety of different sized needles and different thicknesses of yarn. 

So, yesterday evening I got crazy, and cast on ALL THE THINGS instead! First off were the Ill Met by Moonlight socks, by Claire Ellen.

I was going to do these as a KAL, but that ended yesterday so I was a bit too late. I still love the patten though, so I cast on as soon as I was able. I chose Mackintosh Celtic Sock yarn (90 % superwash wool/10 % nylon, 366 m/100 g) that I got from Eat.Sleep.Knit over a year ago, in the colourway Black Plum. This yarn is amazing! It has awesome stitch definition, and it is super soft and springy at the same time. As you can see I've only knit a tiny bit of the cuff, but I am already smitten.

Next, I started my For Good hat by Megan Williams. Megan is one of the Stockinette Zombies duo, and she designed this hat in honour of her dead sister. All the profits go to charity, and the hat is beautiful. There is a KAL going for this one too, that ends on December 31st, and I think I might focus on this one to try and get it done until then.

I'm using my Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted (100 % merino, 206 m/114 g) in the colourway Berry, and this yarn is also pretty nice. It's super soft, and also has pretty good definition, even though it isn't quite as awesome as the Mackintosh yarn. I love working with it though, and since it's a worsted weight it feels like it's flying off the needles. I just have to find a really cute button for the hat!

The third project I started was the Morning Echo Cardigan, by Elizabeth Sullivan. I finally got to wind and use my Wollmeise DK (100 % superwash Merino, 428 m /200 g) in the Sabrina colourway.

It took me a while to wind, but it is really a wonderful yarn. It is a lot softer to work with than the lace weight Wollmeise, and the stitch definition is still the best I've ever seen. I don't know why the Wollmeise yarns are so exceptional when it comes to stitch definition, but they are definitely the masters. I think this cardigan is going to be very pretty!

The last project I started yesterday was the Gray Havens sweater, by Maria Olson. 

I'm using my Madelinetosh Pashmina yarn (75 % merino/ 15 % silk/10 % cashmere, 329 m/113 g) in the colourway Dried Rose, and once again I can see why people rave about this yarn. It is very soft and nice to work with, although I did get an incredible yarn barf from the ball! I managed to untangle it though, so now it's going smoothly again. I don't have as much yarn as the pattern calls for, but I plan on making it shorter, and I've read some of the pattern notes that states that it took way less yarn than called for. So I hope I'll be all right! Otherwise I guess I'll have to try to get one more skein from Eat.Sleep.Knit!

So, yesterday was really a cast on hollapalooza! And when I went to bed I was still not completely satisfied, so today I've wound yarn for the Mandala II shawl (Madelinetosh Tosh Lace, in the Rose Colourway) and the Archer tunic (more Wollmeise DK, in the pesto colourway).

I don't know if I'll cast on for those two today, or if I'll wait a couple of days. Tomorrow we're leaving for Borås for Christmas, so I guess I'll just bring everything along with me and see what I'll have time for! I had planned to start a pair of self-striping socks as well, but the Stockinette Zombies are having a monthly self-striping KAL starting in January, so I'll wait with those until after New Year's. I also think I'll wait with the shawl until then, so I can enter it in the 12 shawls forever group on Ravelry too. That's the group that's been 10 shawls in 2010, 11 shawls in 2011 and 12 shawls in 2012, but now they don't want to increase the number any more, so the new group name will be 12 shawls forever. I'm not going to make 12 shawls next year either (I made four this year), but it's a fun and active group that I like to keep up with.

Oh, on Thursday, after we got our tree up, Thomas got his Companion Cube! I couldn't keep quiet any longer, so he got it a bit early, and he loves it! He didn't believe me when I told him I had worked on it with him sitting next to me! But it was very well received so I'm pleased. 

Also, at the beginning of the week, I finally got my Time Traveller's yarn club sock yarn! It's Sheepy Time Knits Panda Feet yarn (60 % merino/30 % bamboo/10 % nylon, 397 m/113 g), and the colourway is called Exterminate!

It is an amazing colour, all bronze and gold hues, and the bamboo makes it really shiny! I'm going to have to find a really special pattern for this yarn! I'm so glad it finally arrived, apparently it came back to the dyer so she sent it again, and the second time it arrived really fast. I can't wait for the next shipment in February!

On that day I went into Linköping before I picked up the mail, to finish my Christmas shopping, and I just happened to go by the yarn store and pick up a skein of sock yarn there too. I got a skein of Shoppel-Wolle Crazy Zauberball sock yarn (75 % superwash wool/25 % nylon, 420 m/100 g) in the colourway Charisma. It is a really cool self-striping yarn!

Ok, now I have to start packing for our trip tomorrow. We'll only be gone for a couple of days, but there are gifts to be wrapped and all the cat stuff to be packed as well, so I better get going. I'll try to be back with a new post before New Year's!

You all have a very Merry Christmas!

/ Jenny

Saturday, December 15, 2012

It's almost Christmas!

I really meant to write on Tuesday this week, but I had completely forgotten that I had made plans that evening after work! I went to a craft night with my friends Klara and Karin, at a local flower shop. I made a Christmas flower arrangement, candle holders, and a wreath to hang on the door. 

It was so much fun! We got to choose among lots and lots of supplies in the flower shop, and got lots of help from the shop owner and her mom. It really made us get into the Christmas spirit!

Then on Thursday I had also planned to write, and record a new podcast, but then Thomas called and said he wouldn't be at band practice that evening and came home. I haven't told him yet that I have started recording, because I've talked so much about his Christmas present! I know that he doesn't read the blog, but if I told him I had recorded I think he would be curious and have a listen. So I can only record when he isn't at home :)

But tonight he is a t a concert in Linköping, so I have a couple of hours to myself. I have just finished recording, and I was wondering if any of you know where one can edit the video files? I have Windows Live Movie Maker, but that program just saves the files as something that I can't post online. I want to be able to save it as an mp4 or wmv file, so I can put them up online. Anyone have any tips?

Anywho, I had really hoped that I would be able to show you a finished Omelet shawl by now. I don't remember if I told you the last time, but I was afraid that I would run out of yarn, and I did. I had about 10 rows left, and I really didn't want to buy another skein. I'm not very fond of knitting with this yarn (Färgkraft Pälsblend), and it's quite expensive, so I tried to match it with other stuff in my stash. I tried it with some green Madelinetosh, some green Chili Gredelin yarn, some green Kampes wool, but nothing worked. 

I then went online to Garnkorgen, and ordered another skein of Kampes lace one-ply wool yarn, in colourway Green 215. It arrived on Thursday, and it really, really didn't work at all!

I have no idea what to make with this skein! It's 600 m of lace weight wool, and it's also quite scratchy (I only ordered it because it's cheap). I'm thinking of raffling it off here on the blog, but I don't know if anyone would be interested? I feel like I'm not really promoting this yarn...

So, when no yarns worked, yesterday I finally decided to rip the shawl back. I had made 6 repeats of chart B, and I ripped back until I only had 4. That was 90 rows! That really, really sucked, because I'm so tired of knitting on this one! I just want it off the needles, and now I have to make all of charts D and E all over again (I've knit chart C today). Hopefully it will get done next week.

I'm also itching to cast on for new stuff! I want to make socks so bad! I'm going to cast on for the Ill Met by Moonlight as soon as I've finished the shawl and the Christmas Balls (remember, I'm doing the Crazy KAL where I'm knitting to zero). I also want to use some of my multicoloured Regia sock yarn I bought a while back, but I haven't decided on a pattern yet. I know I said I wanted to make a pair of Carousels, but I have some other options as well.

When I ordered the green skein of Kampes, I also got one skein of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted yarn, in colourway Berry:

I'm going to use this to make a For Good hat, and this one I want to make as soon as possible too. It's a really pretty pattern, and the proceeds go to charity. Plus, I want to support Megan of the Stockinette Zombies too.

Finally, I want to make me some sweaters! I have some Wollmeise DK in sweater quantity, and I also have the Madelinetosh Pashmina yarn, so I haven't decided which one I'm going to start with. I have several patterns lined up, and today I've also rearranged my queue on Ravelry. I just have to finish my projects first!

Ok, now I'm going to enjoy the rest of the evening alone (I'm going to pick Thomas up at the train station later tonight, so I need to stay awake). I'm sending lots of love and sympathy to all the grieving families in Connecticut today too, it's just too horrible to take in.

/ Jenny

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Last yarn of the year?

When I came home from work yesterday, the package from Wollmesie had arrived. I got three skeins of DK (100 % wool) in colourway Pesto:

And one skein of DK in colourway Sabrina:

I already have two skeins of DK Sabrina in my stash, but with this third skein it is enough to make a good-sized sweater. So with this yarn I'll be able to make two sweaters or cardigans for me. I just have to finish the Omelet shawl first! I'm slugging along on it, and it feels like it's taking forever. I finished chart C yesterday and I'm almost halfway through chart D, so I guess it's going faster than I think. But now I'm worried I'll run out of yarn! I decided I wanted to make it a large shawl, so I made two extra repeats of chart B, and I'm starting to doubt that decision. And I of course forgot to put in lifelines. I really don't want to buy another skein of this yarn (Färgkraft Softblend), because I don't really enjoy working with it, so I guess if I do run out, I'll just have to bind off early. I'll have to cross that bridge when I get there.

I also have an FO for you! I finally finished the Companion Cube!

I bought two chair seat cushions that I cut up with a pair of scissors to get the cube shape, and it looks really good! I sewed the last two seams together on Thursday, and now it's hiding in my craft room closet until Christmas. I think I'll probably give it to Thomas before we leave for our parents', the day before Christmas.

Ok, that's it for now. Hopefully I'll be back next week with a finished shawl to show you. I really, really hope so, as I'm getting tired of knitting on it and just want it done!

/ Jenny

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

I just can't stop buying yarn!

Yes, more yarn arrived in the mail today! I got my Black Friday order from EatSleepKnit, and I'm very happy with it. I got one skein of Dream in Color Smooshy, in colourway Melon Bomb:

It's 100 % superwash merino, and really nice and squishy. It feels a little bit similar to Colinette Jitterbug to me, I think it's plied in the same way, so I think it will hold up very nicely for socks. I think I'm not a hard wearer on socks, as I still haven't had to darn any of my pairs, so this yarn should be fine as well.

I also got one skein of Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere, in colourway Cinnamon Girl:

This is 70 % superwash merino/20 % cashmere/10 % nylon, and it is just sooooo soft! I only have one pair of socks with cashmere in them, those were made with the Sanguine Gryphon Bugga! yarn, and this yarn feels pretty much as soft as those socks do. I'm really looking forward to more cashmere socks!

Finally I ordered four skeins (yes, sweater quantity) of Madelinetosh Pashmina yarn, in colourway Dried Rose:

This is 75 % merino/15 % silk/10 % cashmere, and I get why people love this yarn. It is really soft and squishy, and the silk gives it a nice sheen as well. I'm planning on knitting some kind of cardigan or sweater with it eventually.

Other than that I'm still knitting away on the Omelet shawl. I've finished almost six repeats of chart B now, I should finish it tonight if I pick it up at all (I have a killer headache, so I don't know if I have the energy to knit at all). But it seems like it's taking me forever!

Finally, I have a new podcast episode for you! 

Please, leave me some comments on it! I really want to hear how you like it!

/ Jenny

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Happy First of Advent

Today we're celebrating the first of Advent here in Sweden. Which meant that I spent most of yesterday putting up all of our Advent and Christmas decorations. We put lights in all of our windows, either in the shapes of candelabras or hanging stars.

It's very pretty, and it really helps fight the darkness that arrives here in wintertime. We also had our first snow this week, and it's been really cold the past couple of days. I'd much rather have snow and cold than soggy and grey though, so it's ok.

Today I went to a Christmas market with my sister and her friend, and even though it was very cold it was also very cozy. It took place in Old Linköping, which is a part of town where lots of old buildings have been saved, and it has lots of old-fashioned shops as well. I bought some chocolate and some small Christmas ornaments.

This is a Lucia procession, with a Lucia with a crown of candles, a maid with glitter in her hair, and a starboy (he's the one with the cone on his head). In Sweden we celebrate St Lucia day on the 13th of December by having Lucia processions. The people in the procession sings Lucia songs, and Lucia is also called the lightbringer. It is very pretty, and I'll link you to the one that will be on Swedish television on the 13th so you get to see one. I always took part in the processions when I was in school and in the student choirs, it is so much fun!

I also found the cutest little ear rings!

I know I can't wear these all year round, but I figured they were cute enough to warrant the few days around Christmas when I can show them off. Both these and the Lucia procession are made from clay.

I've also made a lot of knitting progress, and so far I'm sticking to the Crazy KAL! I'm still waiting on the stuffing for the cube, so it's still lying in its bag, but I think that will arrive some time this week. Thomas will be away for Tuesday and Thursday night, so one of those days I'll finish it.

I also finished and blocked the Serina Cardigan!

I haven't worn it yet, as it is a bit too cold here right now for a fingering weight cardi, but I like it a lot! It is one of those patterns that looks good both open and closed, and I chose to not make any buttonholes so I'll wear it with a shawl pin. I'm planning on wearing it on both Christmas and New Year's.

Since I finished that one, I've been focusing on the Omelet shawl. I'm really enjoying the pattern, but I'm growing a bit tired of the yarn. I'm using Färgkraft SoftBlend, which is a Swedish yarn. It's 100 % wool, and it's a little bit too scratchy for my taste. I hope it softens a lot with wash and wear, but right now it's a little bit rough on my hands. I'm about half-way done I think, but as the rows grow longer and longer it feels like it's taking me forever. I've knit almost two repeats of chart B this weekend though, and once they are done I'm moving on to chart C (and then D and E too...). Hopefully I'll finish it by Christmas too.

Today was also the start of the sock KAL that Clare Ellen is hosting on Ravelry, and I couldn't help myself so I signed up. I told her in advance though that I would probably not be able to partake in the actual KAL that closes on December 21st, as I have to finish my other stuff first if I want to finish the Crazy KAL, and she was fine with that. So I don't think I'll start those immediately. I chose the Ill Met By Moonlight socks, and they are very pretty. I'll probably buy the whole e-book once it's out.

Oh, and did I mention my AWESOME Christmas gift I'm getting from my parents? They're giving me a membership in the Cookie A Sock Club 2013! I'm so very happy about this! I've put it off for two years, thinking it's too much money to fork out right before Christmas, but this year I asked them if they would consider giving it to me instead. This might be the best gift I've ever gotten!

Ok, I'd better get back to knitting on the shawl if I ever want it finished. I'll probably be back sometime next week with another podcast episode. I'm looking into getting it on iTunes, but I think I want to make some more episodes to decide whether I like it or not first. Also, I need to get a better camera!

/ Jenny

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Working on the CRAZY KAL

I decided to join the Stockinette Zombies in their Crazy KAL, so right now I'm trying to knit to zero. That is, I'm going to finish all of my projects before I cast on for something new! I'm really itching to cast on for some socks though, so we'll see how that goes.

I'm right now knitting on the button band on the Serina Cardigan. I've finished both sleeves, so I think I might get the whole thing done tonight or tomorrow!

I really really like it, and I'm really looking forward to wearing it! I decided to not make a shawl collar on it like I planned to, I think it will look best with the simpler, ribbed flat version.

I've also seamed most of the Companion Cube together, right now I'm just waiting for the foam filling to arrive in the mail. Then I'll sew the two remaining seams, and then that one is done as well!

Once both of those are done, I'll try to get the Omelet shawl done as well. And then I just have the Christmas ball ornaments to do. But as I think I have made my increases too tight on that one, I think I'll just frog it and call it done. Then I'll be at zero, and allowed to cast on for something new (socks). Yay!

Ok, I have something new to show you. I have been watching podcasts like crazy these past few weeks, and I finally decided to try it out myself! I haven't got a name for the podcast yet, as I still don't know if I'll do it ever again. Please let me know what you think!

I know the quality isn't very good, as I'm using the built-in webcam on the computer. But as this is the first time I didn't want to splurge on a new one until I know if anyone is watching. Also, who knows what Santa might bring!

And please be a little bit gentle and do not mock my accent! I have also found the button for mirroring the image, so next time you'll be able to read book titles and stuff like that too :)

I think most of the stuff I talk about are linked above in the blog post. If not, feel free to leave a comment to remind me, and I'll add it later. I just couldn't bear to watch it one more time!

/ Jenny

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Crafty weekend!

Yesterday my sister came here to visit, and we finally used our soap making supplies that we bought over a year ago! I ordered them from Panduro, a Swedish crafts shop, so that we could make some as Christmas gifts. For last Christmas! We just haven't gotten around to it yet, but yesterday we finally made them. We started out by melting the soap base, then added scent (we had bought apple scent) and colours (we made two batches, one green and one purple). We then poured the liquid soap into some ice trays that I bought at Ikea with this in mind, plus Sanna had a tray that makes robot shaped chocolates that we also used.

They came out looking so cute!

It was pretty fun, even though Sanna did most of the job (I did the dishes while she stirred the soap mixture), and I can definitely see myself making more soap.

I have also been knitting a lot this past week. Thomas has been away for three evenings, so I've had plenty of time to knit undisturbed after work. I've finished all the knitting on the Companion Cube, and I've duplicate stitched the first of the squares. 

I haven't cut them yet, I think I'll block them before I do that. I am very satisfied with how the pink stitches came out, I think it's looking pretty neat. I really hope that it will hold up better this time, because I'm definitely not making another one! I'm contemplating actually making reinforcement seams on a sewing machine this time too. 

I've also knitted a lot on my Serina cardigan, as I would love to finish this one before Christmas. I bought a very pretty dress last weekend, and I would love to be able to wear it with the green cardigan on Christmas Eve.

The colour is a little off in the photo, as I took it late last night with a flash. It's much more green than it looks like, and not at all yellow-ish. I haven't tried it on for a while, but I think I'm almost ready to start the ribbing at the bottom. After that it's just sleeves and the button band. I'm going to make the sleeves full length, as I have much more use for that than the 3/4 sleeves, so I think I'll do those before I start the button band. I'm thinking of adding a small shawl collar to it too, as the one on the Dark and Stormy cardigan (which is another pattern I really want to make), but I need to see how much yarn I have left. I'll let you know what I decide.

I haven't picked up the Omelet shawl or the Christmas ball decorations in quite some time. I think I'll have to rip out the Christmas ball, as I've made the increases at the bottom of it a bit too tight. It's no big deal though, it's only about an hour's work, so I think I'll have it back pretty fast. But I want to finish the cube and the Cardigan first.

And I haven't started any new socks! Megan and Amy of the Stockinette Zombies podcast, are having a KAL that's called the Crazy KAL. You're supposed to make a goal that seems crazy to you! Amy is knitting monogamously on one project at a time, as she is a very polygamous knitter otherwise, while Megan is doing the complete opposite and have cast on for lots and lots of projects simultaneously. I think I might want to join in, and my Crazy will be to finish all of my projects before I cast on for anything new. I very rarely have fewer than four projects going at once, so it will be very strange for me if I actually finish all four of them before I start something new. Hopefully I'll manage to finish all of them before the end of December, when the KAL ends.

This weekend is a very nice one for me, as I have both Monday and Tuesday off from work. I took two vacation days, and I'm just going to spend them at home, knitting lots and cleaning some too. I just felt that I needed some time to relax, and as I have several days of vacation left this year I decided to use two of them. Today though, I'm spending the day with Thomas, probably mostly hanging out on the couch, playing video games and knitting (I'll leave it up to you to guess which one of us will be doing what :)

/ Jenny

Friday, November 09, 2012

Still sick, but at least I'm getting knitting done!

Yep, my stomach is still giving me grief, but today it's slightly better. I'll be back to work on Monday. This week I've spent most of my time on the couch, knitting and listening to podcasts. Right now I'm going through all of the episodes of Stockinette Zombies, as well as We're Alive - A Story of Survival. So, lots of Zombies! Although Stockinette Zombies isn't actually about Zombies.

Anyway, I've finished the Faramir socks!

I LOVE them! The Opal Sock yarn (75 % superwash wool/25 % nylon) isn't the softest I've ever used, but it's a good enough, reasonably cheap sock yarn that really holds up through wear and tear. I used just about 70 grams of the 100 grams skein, and I kind of wish I had made another repeat on the leg part. I like my socks a little longer. Oh well, they're fine, and they are so beautiful! Claire Ellen is such a talented designer!

Yesterday my new yarn arrived, Garnkorgen has super fast shipping! I got three skeins if Cascade 220, in Charcoal Gray, Cotton Candy Pink and Light Gray:

I've already wound them and cast on again for the Companion Cube. Let's hope it goes better this time! I'm planning on making the pink details with duplicate stitch after the rest of the knitting is finished, just so I can avoid the floats behind the steek stitches. I've never done duplicate stitch before, so this will also be a new experience for me. Lot's of new things with this project! I'll show you some photos once it's gotten a little bit further, right now I've knit about four rows.

I also got two more skeins of Regia Design Line sock yarn, this time in the Herb Garden 03305 colourway:

This month, Sock Knitters Anonymous is having a Textured stitches KAL in their group, so I'm thinking of casting on the Aquaphobia socks. I just have to decide which of all the colourful yarns I want to use first. I think it might be the Herb Garden or the Spring ones I bought last week. The KAL stretches for two months, so I should be able to finish in time.

I also got one skein of Opal Sock yarn in white, to use for colourwork socks:

Today though, I'm planning on knitting some on my Serina Cardigan. I'm almost at the point where I take the sleeve stitches off, so I've gotten some headway on this one. I haven't gotten any photos of it yet though, so you'll have to wait for those too.

Yesterday when I was really bored, I started using both Plurk (as you can see in the left side column) and Pinterest. I've never been on any of those sites before, so that was fun. Please feel free to befriend me on both places! I'm jench24 on Plurk, and Jenny Clifford on Pinterest. Although I have to say I haven't pinned anything on Pinterest yet, mostly because I can't get the stupid "Pin it" button to work...

/ Jenny