Sunday, June 30, 2013

Birthday Give-Aways!

Today it's been four years since I wrote my very first post! It doesn't feel like it's been that long, and I still enjoy this blog very much. It really helps me keep track of all the stuff I make, and I've met some lovely people this way too. I'm not very good at replying to comments, which I'm trying to get better at, but I still read all of them and enjoy them.

Anyway, on with the celebrations! I have seven prizes to give away, which I hope you are all excited about. I've been racking my brain to find something fun for you all to do to compete for the prizes, but I have to admit that my mind has sort of drawn a blank. So I think we'll just do "the usual", in that you'll have to leave a comment here to be legible for the drawing. This is what you'll have to do:

1) Leave me a comment on this post, first telling me about your favourite book, podcast or TV show. I'm kind of in search of new stuff to read/listen to/watch. Keep in mind though, that I'm a HUGE nerd, and mostly enjoy sci-fi, fantasy and horror. And knitting blogs :)

2) Don't forget to tell me which of the prizes you want the most! Feel free to list all of them, in descending order, which will make it easier for me during the drawing.

3) If you are a follower of this blog, tell me so and you'll get one more spot in the drawing.

4) If you promote the drawing somewhere else (like your own blog, on facebook or anywhere else), please tell me (preferably with a link), and you'll get another spot in the drawing. 

Ok, I think that's it! Easy-Peasy, right? I really hope as many of you as possible will participate, so I can actually make a drawing. It would be kind of droll if I get fewer than seven replies, so get going you! And here are the prizes you can win (I know I told you last time, but it bears repeating, right?):

1) One skein of Colinette Jitterbug yarn (100 % merino, 291 m/110 g), in the colourway Jay. I've knit socks from Colinette before, one of my very first pair about four years or so ago, and they still look awesome! The colours have faded a little bit, but the yarn has held up structurally very well.

2) Five skeins of Rowan Silk Wool DK (50 % Merino/50 % Silk, 100 m/50 g), in the colourway Greenwood. I made a sweater from this yarn (The Silken Scabbard), and I really love it. I'll throw in my 0.6 skeins of leftovers too, so you'll get all of 564 m of it!

3) One skein of Cascade 220 Superwash (100 % superwash wool, 201 m/100 g), in the colourway Dark Aqua. I made a baby cocoon with this yarn, and it really is very soft and nice to work with. I used just under one skein, so one single skein should be more than enough for something like a hat or possibly some mittens.

4 and 5) Two sets of ChiaoGoo Red Lace fixed circular 3.5 mm, 24 inch needles in metal. I got these needles when someone sent me the wrong package, and I have never used them as I don't enjoy metal needles. I have thrown the packages away though, but I'll package them with some cardboard to protect them. These will go to two different winners.

6) One set of Addi Click Bamboo 3.5 mm interchangeable needles, with three lengths of cable to go with them (24, 32 and 40 inches. I bought these to try out some Addi's, but found them way too blunt for my taste, so I'll give them away. Once again I've thrown away the packaging, so you'll get them in a cardboard sandwich instead :)

7) The book Folk Socks: The History and Techniques of Handknitted Footwear, by Nancy Bush. This book has some awesome socks in it, but I haven't gotten around to knitting any of them yet. I got a duplicate of this book, and I would never part with my own copy as I really love it!

Ok, get going! I hope you enjoy the prizes, and go comment immediately. I'll leave the competition open for one week, I'll draw the winner on Sunday July 7th. Be sure to check back for that!

I don't really have a lot more to tell you this time. My mother has been to visit this weekend, and we've done A LOT of shopping, but nothing yarn related. It's been great fun though, I've got myself four pairs of new shoes. As if I needed more shoes...

See you soon!

/ Jenny

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

It's almost June 29th!

...Which is the official birthday of this blog! I have lots of fun contests and give-aways planned, so make sure you tune in this weekend! My mother is coming here to visit on Friday and Saturday though, so the celebrations will probably not start until on Sunday. Just so you know.

I've been going through my stash and picked out some very nice prizes for you all to compete for! I've come up with the following:

Prize no 1: 1 skein of Colinette Jitterbug (100 % merino), in the colourway Jay.

Prize no 2: 5 skeins of Rowan Silk Wool DK yarn (50 % merino/50 % silk).

Prize no 3: 1 skein of Cascade 220 Superwash (100 % superwash merino), in the Dark Aqua colourway.

Prizes no 4 and 5: 2 ChiaoGoo Red Lace metal circular 24 inches, 3.5 mm needles (these will be divided into two prizes).

Prize no 6: 1 set of Addi Click Bamboo 3.5 mm needles with three cables (24, 32 and 40 inches).

Prize no 7: The book Folk Socks: The History and Techniques of Handknitted Footwear, by Nancy Bush.

Kind of neat, right?! Let's have a party! Be sure to check back on Sunday to get the details on how you can win any of these prizes!


On Friday we had the day off, since it was Midsummer's Eve, and my mother-in-law, two brothers-in-law plus one girlfriend, and two of our friends came over for a traditional Midsummer's Party. We had pickled herring with new potatoes and clotted cream (which is a traditional Swedish Midsummer's dish), with schnapps of course, and we also had some barbecue and quiche, followed by strawberries and ice cream. We were very lucky with the weather, so we got to have a swim in the pool too. All of them stayed over, and we all had breakfast together on Saturday morning. It was really nice!

Then on Sunday I got to do lots and lots of knitting. First, I finished the Mind the Gap vanilla socks:

Even though I didn't really enjoy knitting with this yarn, I really like the finished socks. The colours are awesome, and they feel nice and durable on my feet. I haven't washed them yet, but I hope they soften a little bit. I used just over half of my skein, so I guess I might have enough to make something else small with it. I'm not sure I will though. Maybe I should offer it up as a prize this weekend too? Please, leave me a comment to let me know if I should!

As I was really in a sock zone, I actually picked up the Gördes socks again too, and I finished the first one!

These socks I really love, they are turning out very pretty and the yarn is great to work with (it's Shibui knits sock yarn). They are going to my mom, but I doubt I'll finish them for this weekend. She'll probably get them later this summer. They are a lot of fun though, and I'm really enjoying the cables now that I'm really into them.

And as I finished the vanilla socks, which were my work knitting, I had to cast on a new pair of mindless socks. I picked up the Mad Color Fiber Arts Trance yarn that was the May club yarn (the colourway They Church at Auvers, the Vincent van Gogh colours), and I started a pattern from the More Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch which is called Spaced Checks.

It is really easy, and I really love how this crazy yarn is spiralling! I know that you can't really see the spiralling in that photo, but I'm almost at the heel after today's day at work, and I'm too lazy to take a new photo. You'll have to wait until next time! I chose to make these toe up, as I want to use up most of the yarn, and I think I'll make an afterthought heel. The colours are completely insane, and they really shouldn't go together, but somehow it works. I love the yarn, the base is really soft and nice to knit with. Especially after knitting with the Trailing Clouds stuff, which was really stiff. I think I'll probably finish these pretty fast.

Yesterday I got the final shipment in the Doctor Who club from Mad Color Fiber Arts, and once again I love the yarn. This time we got a skein of Fugue (100 % superwash wool, 375 m/100 g), and the colourway is called The Fall of the Eleventh:

I really like the colours, but I think the coolest thing this month was the JessaLu bag that came with the yarn:

It has the Doctor's Foes on it! Me and Thomas sat for a long while yesterday evening trying to identify all of them, but I have to admit that my geek-dom isn't deep enough. There are several that I don't know, but the main, coolest ones are on there. I love the bag, this is my fifth JessaLu bag, and in three months I'll get one with Firefly on it too. But there's no such thing as too many project bags, is there?

Ok, I think that's it for today. I haven't knit anything on the Parcel sweater since last time, I think I lost a little momentum on it when I had to frog half of it. But I'll finish it soon! I might try to finish the Gördes socks first though.

Be sure to come back this weekend for an update on all the prize drawings and contests!

/ Jenny

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Late night posting

I really should go to bed, but I just have to show off my just recently finished Pikmin:

This is only my third or so attempt at crochet, so I'm pretty darned pleased with myself! It's a little bit wonky, the ears aren't exactly similar, and the legs are pretty weird too, but I don't care. I really really love this little guy! I'm going to start a red one as soon as I have time :)

I also, finally, got my shipments in Mad Color Fiber Arts Doctor Who club yesterday. The shipment had been stuck in customs, as I kind of suspected, but I was extremely happy to find that Heather had included an extra skein as an apology for forgetting my shipment in the first place! I think I'll start by showing you the club shipments. First, there was April's yarn:

This is Bling (63 % merino/20 % silk/15 % nylon/2 % metallic, 411 m/100 g), and the colourway is called Life is Short, and You are Hot (which is from the episode Blink, which is one of the very best, where we meet the weeping Angels for the first time). It is a little bit intense, but I think I like it anyway. 

Then, there was the May yarn:

This is Trance (80 % merino/10 % cashmere/10 % nylon, 412 m/100 g), and the colourway is called The Church at Auvers. This. Is Awesome! It's from the Vincent and the Doctor episode, which is probably even better than Blink. And that is kind of hard for me to admit, as Blink has David Tennant as the Doctor, while the Vincent van Gogh episode stars Matt Smith. And even though I prefer David Tennant (probably over anyone!), the Vincent episode is just so amazing!

Anyway, back to the yarn. I love the colours, and I think Heather did an amazing job capturing all the colours in the original painting (she sent along a picture of it, and I had to look extra closely to see if there was a monster in the window. There wasn't.). I think this skein might be my next pair of socks, after the Mind the Gap socks are done. Which they should be this weekend, I've only got the toe and heel let on the second sock.

Then, as a bonus, I got a skein of Verity (100 % merino, 247 m/100 g), in Dk weight. The colourway is called Police Box Blue!

Even more awesomeness! This is the one colour that I've really been coveting from Mad Color, but I've been too cheap to buy it. And now I have a skein! I think this will probably become a hat for me for next winter, I imagine it will go pretty well with the Tardis shawl I made last summer :) After getting all of these goodies, I decided to join in for the next round too, which will be themed Firefly.

Ok, now I really need to get some sleep. Tomorrow we're having my mother-in-law and at least three (out of four possible) brothers-in-law here for the weekend, which will be a lot of fun and probably lots and lots of board games, but I need some sleep before that. We've cleaned most of the house, I only have one bathroom left to rinse out, but I'll do that tomorrow. They won't arrive until the afternoon, so it should be fine.

See you after the weekend, with some teasers for the upcoming give-aways. This blog is celebrating its fourth anniversary on the 29th of June, and I think we should celebrate!

/ Jenny

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

New yarn and some knitting non-progress

I'll start with the fun stuff. I got yarn in the mail both yesterday and today! Yesterday after work I picked up my Wollmeise yarn from the post office. I got three skeins of DK (100 % superwash merino, 428 m/200 g), in the new colourway Zartbitter (which means bitter sweet), which I believed to be a reddish brown. My three skeins, however, are just cocoa brown:

They are a bit darker than the photo shows, and I think I kind of like them anyway, but the colour I had seen on the Ravelry forums was prettier. I think these will mature in the stash for a while, to see if they grow on me. Otherwise I think I might sell them.

Then today I got another package in the mail, the June shipment in the 7 Degrees of Kevin Bacon sock club. The yarn is The Knitting Goddess 4-ply Merino Nylon sock yarn (75 % superwash merino/25 % nylon, 424 m/100 g), and the colourway is called Looking Down.

I have no idea yet which movie this is from, but I LOVE the colour! It is such a pretty, dusky rose, and by far my favourite so far in the club. I can't wait for the pattern, to find out where the inspiration came from. Hopefully that will be stated in this pattern, as the last one didn't say which movie it was from (It was from Alice in Wonderland, but I had to google it to find out).

I'm almost finished with my first Pikmin! I only have three flower petals and two ears to finish, and hopefully I can manage that this weekend. I almost got the whole flower done this past weekend, but my hands were hurting too much. It is looking pretty cute so far though. I haven't gotten any new photos, as I haven't sewn on the new pieces yet.

I almost had the first sleeve finished on the Parcel sweater too, when I finally tried it on. It turns out that the shoulder is way too wide or me, so the sleeve cap looked really weird. The arm hole was also too long, so I decided to rip most of it out. I ended up ripping it out all the way down to the waist increases, as it was a little bit puffy in the chest area too. I made two less increases, and now I'm almost ready to divide for the sleeves again. It really sucks to have to rip that much out, as I felt I was almost on the last stretch, but I want the sweater to be wearable. Hopefully I can still finish it soon!

Other than that I'm knitting along on the Mind the Gap socks, and I've almost finished the leg part of the second sock. I think I'll probably finish those this month too. I haven't gotten any new photos of them though (or of the Parcel sweater), but you know what the first one looked like. I'm making the stripes matching on the two socks, so this one is more or less identical to the first one.

Friday is Midsummer's Eve here in Sweden, and we get the day off work. My mother-in-law and possibly some of my brothers-in-law are maybe coming to visit for the weekend, they haven't decided yet. We plan on making some barbecue, have pickled herring (which is traditional Swedish midsummer food) and just relax. Hopefully the weather will cooperate with us too, so we can sit outside. It's supposed to rain though, which it seems to do almost every Midsummer's Eve. Last year the rain didn't start until late in the evening, so we got to have dinner outside at least. As we had over 30 guests last year, that was very fortunate!

Ok, time for some knitting. I think I'll work on the sweater, just to make some recovery on it!

/ Jenny

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I'm crocheting!

I just couldn't wait, so about right after I finished writing last, I cast on for my very first Pikmin. I'm using the 100 % acrylic yarn I showed you last time, and it's actually pretty soft. The hard part for me is the actual crocheting, I'm really not good at it! But I have finished the main body and legs on the Pikmin, so now I just have to make two arms, ears and a head flower.

It's pretty fun, although I get a cramp in my hand after a while. I'm not used to the movements you make while crocheting, so I can only do it for a short time before I have to take a break. I'm planning on making a blue one and a red one too, while I'm at it. A whole Pikmin family!

This weekend I mainly worked on the Parcel sweater though, so now I've finished the body and started the first sleeve.

It fits me almost perfectly, although I've only tried it on while not wearing a bra. I think it will be fine anyway! In the photo the sleeve cap looks like it's a little bit scrunched up, but that is because the cable pattern started on the first row and pulls the cap together. It will block out. I like the sweater a lot, and it will definitely be very warm to wear this winter!

I've also been knitting a bit on the vanilla socks that I'm making from the Mind the Gap yarn, and I've finished the first of the socks:

The sock is amazingly pretty, and I love all the colours, but I'm just not overwhelmed by the yarn. It is a bit on the thin side for a fingering, and a bit too stiff for my taste. I'll probably wear them a lot anyway, as they are so cool, but I won't be buying this yarn again.

Yesterday when I came home from work I had gotten the final shipment in the Hunger Games yarn club from Friday Studios. The yarn this time is a little bit more luxurious, it's her Saturday base which is 80 % Merino/10 % cashmere/10 % nylon, and the colourway is called The 75th Arena:

It represents all the tropical colours of the last Hunger Games arena (in the final book), and I really, really like it! This has been a very good club, and if Frida has any more themes that I'd enjoy (the next one will be Breakfast at Tiffany's, which is a movie I've never seen, so I chose not to join), I'll definitely consider joining again.

And speaking of clubs: Mad Color Fiber Arts will be starting sign-ups for her next round of yarn clubs newt week. The coming three months will be themed Browncoats (which of course is about the TV show Firefly), and I'm very tempted to join. The problem is that I still haven't gotten the first two shipments of this round of club yarn. When the first month's yarn didn't show up I contacted Heather on Ravelry, and it turned out that she had completely missed my order. This is fine, I know that we're all human and it's easy to miss stuff sometimes. Heather was really nice about it too, and apologized profusely  As she didn't have any more of the yarn dyed up, she had to make a new skein for me. She then sent it together with the second month's yarn, but I think the package is probably stuck in customs. If the yarns had been sent separately, the packages' values would have been marked as below $30, which is the amount that I don't have to pay customs for. But as the yarns were combined, I'm guessing that Heather put the actual value of both skeins on the envelope, and then it gets held up in customs. Which sucks. I know that this isn't Heather's fault, but it still irritates me somewhat, so I'm thinking I won't join in for the next three months. We'll see.

Finally, today I got another book package in the mail. I've been buying books like crazy lately, but most of them have been very good. First, I got the package with the new Joe Hill book, Nos4A2, which was AMAZING, by the way! I usually say that I'd leave Thomas for Stephen King, if he only promised to keep writing for me, but I think the same might be true about his son too (and possibly about Neil Gaiman too...). He is such a good writer, and his comic book, Locke & Key, is the best comic I've ever read. The last two issues will be out this summer, and I can't wait!

Anyway, while I was waiting for that package to arrive, I re-read some Dianna Wynne Jones books, the main one being Howl's Moving Castle. If you haven't read that one you really should. It's such an amazing book, and the anime movie does not do it justice at all. I happened to look the author up on Fantastic Fiction, and discovered that there was a sequel that I hadn't read, so I immediately ordered more books. I'm planning on slowly getting all of the books by Dianna, as I really, really love her. It's a shame she isn't around any more.

Then, on my birthday, Thomas had gotten me three more books. And today I got yet another, albeit small, package of books! This one contains the new Stephen King book, Joyland, so now you know what I'll be doing for the rest of the week! I also got a knitting book that I've had my eye on for a while, Cast on, Bind off by Cap Sease. It's a really good reference book about cast-ons and bind-offs (obviously), which is actually something that I'm really lousy at. Or maybe lazy. I just keep using the same starts and finishes to most of the stuff I make, and I thought this book might inspire me to try some new things. 

Now, I'm going to go put on my PJ's and start m new book. See you in a couple of days, possibly with some more knitting contents. And there might possibly be a package on it's way from Germany with some more Wollmeise yarn. You never know!

/ Jenny

Friday, June 07, 2013

Knitting frenzy!

I have been knitting like a fiend this past week, trying to finish a special project. On Tuesday evening after work I finally cast on the Mermaid Cocoon Newborn Photo Prop, that I was planning to give to our friends Klara and Micke, who just had their first baby. I was going over to their place on Thursday, so I wasn't really sure I would be able to pull it off. I didn't finish all of it, but I knit the last 2 inches of ribbing, and sewed it together while I was at their place :)

It actually fit little Arvid! He is such a cute boy, and as Klara had sort of requested a fish tail cocoon she really like this one. I made it with Cascade 220 Superwash, on 5 mm needles, and I don't think it took me more than 10 hours or so in total. I'm very happy with it, as I think it turned out very cute, and I have a whole skein left to use for something else. I really like working with Cascade 220, I've used both the superwash and the feltable and like them both. I think I'll probably make a hat or something like it with the second skein.

On Saturday I went on a small shopping trip with my friend Anna, which was really nice. She was going to look for shoes and accessories for a wedding, and I wasn't looking for anything special. I came home with a new pair of shoes and yarn... We went to Panduro, which is a crafts store that has supplies for all kinds of crafts. They carry a few kinds of yarns, mostly acrylics, and that is actually what I got. I got 8 skeins of Järbo Garn Molly, in five different colours:

I very rarely buy acrylics, but these are for a very special project. I am going to make myself some stuffies! I found an amazing pattern on Ravelry the other day, to make Pikmins! If you've never played Pikmin on Nintendo, you've really missed something. I think you know that me and my husband are both gamers, but in truth I rarely play myself. I love watching him play though, so it's a hobby we have in common that way. But the Pikmin games I've actually played myself, and I love them. So now I'm going to make myself some Pikmins! They are crocheted, so they will probably take me ages to make!

Funny side note: The designer of the Pikmin pattern, Annie Johannson, actually lives in Linköping, and she knows who my husband is. It's a small world!

I've also gotten a new knitting book this week, Socktopus by Alice Yu. I like a lot of her patterns, and this book is very nice. A lot of the patterns are based on different TV shows that I actually watch, the one I love most is the Crowley socks pattern, based on the Lord of Hell on Supernatural.

And yesterday was our national day, so we had the day off from work. I spent most of the day at Klara and Micke's house in the sun, watching the new baby and having lunch. We've been having amazing weather this past week, and it was really nice to have a day off to enjoy it. Thomas is away on a conference this week, so he couldn't join us, but it was nice even so.

Today when I came home from work I had gotten the June shipment in the Cookie A sock club in the mail, and this skein is amazing!

It's Sweet Georgia Yarns Caxhluxe Fine (70 % merino/20 % cashmere/10 % nylon, 342 m/115 g), and the colourway is called Blood Orange. It really has the deep, red-orange colour of a Blood orange, and I'm surprised at how much I like it. Orange really isn't my colour, but this is such a deeply saturated colour. The patterns will be released on Monday, and I'm really excited to see them. However, I have to admit that I haven't been totally in love with any of the patterns so far this year. I think I'll probably not join in the club next year, even though I've enjoyed it this year. I've just found that I enjoy the clubs where I get indie dyer yarn instead, like the Mad Color Fiber Arts or Sheepy Time Knits yarn clubs I've been in this year too.

I have been knitting a little bit on the Parcel sweater too, I'm almost done with the back part, but I haven't gotten any new photos of it. I'm planning on starting on the front tonight, and hopefully finish the body some time this weekend. So you'll have to wait for photos until next time. I've also knit a lot on the vanilla socks I'm making with the Mind the Gap yarn, and the first sock is almost done, but you'll have to wait until next time with that one too. I've knit almost all of that on the breaks at work, and I'm kind of surprised at how fast it's going. 

Now I'm going to watch some podcasts and knit until I fall asleep. Sometimes it's nice to be home alone :)

/ Jenny