Sunday, August 16, 2015

Back to reality

Now we only have one week left off before we start working again, and we're spending all of it getting Ella used to her preschool. Here in Sweden children usually start preschool after they are one year old, so Ella is definitely one of the younger kids in her group. She has two weeks where we go with her there, to get her used to all of her teachers and her new surroundings before we actually leave her there for the full days. She'll be there from 7.30 to 15.00 every day, and so far everything is going great. She loves to play with the other kids and all of the new toys, so I think she'll be fine there.

The weather this summer has been really really awful here in Sweden! It's been cold and raining for almost all of July, which means that all of the house projects we had planned have been postponed. We've done some small outings around our own county, and we've spent a lot of time with our parents in Borås. We also rented a cabin for a week on Tjörn, a small island off the west coast of Sweden, at the end of July. Even though it was raining almost every day, we spent the week going round the island and the surrounding areas, and it was a perfect week. I got to buy some souvenir yarns as well, which I'll tell you about later.

Other than that the summer has mostly been spent hanging out as a family. It's been really awesome to have all of the summer off together, I wish we could do this every year. I have done a fair amount of knitting too, and I have six FO's since the last time I wrote. I'll just show them in the order they were done, and then I'll show you all of the acquisitions at the end.

First, at the end of June I finished a cardigan for Ella. It's the Kyoto cardigan, and I made it with Karabella Lacampo yarn that I bought when we were in New York a couple of years ago. 

The yarn is half cotton, half camel, and it is really super soft and nice. I only bought two skeins though, and about half-way through the cardigan I realized it wouldn't be enough. After finding out that the yarn seems to be discontinued, I went on Ravelry and found a woman who had ten skeins for sale, and she was very willing to sell only two of them to me, so I was eventually able to finish the cardigan. The new skeins even turned out to be the same dye lot as mine!

As I only used about half of one of the new skeins, I decided I wanted to make a matching hat with the rest of the yarn. I just cast on enough stitches to fit around Ella's head, made a couple of inches of ribbing to get a folded brim, and then used the same stitch pattern as on the cardigan to make a little hat. To use up most of the yarn I also added a pom pom at the top.

I think it turned out very cute! It will be perfect for fall when she spends the days outside at preschool!

Next up I finally finished the Twinkle Twinkle Little Star shawl that I've been making with the Chili Gredelin Geisha yarn. The pattern actually calls for a sport weight, so as mine is made in lace weight it turned out pretty small, more of a shoulderette than a full size shawl. I was well aware that that was going to be the case, so that was ok. 

However, I'm not crazy about it anyway. I think I might not enjoy the 100 % silk, as it didn't bloom at all when I blocked it. I guess that is the case with all silk, but I still think the stitches look uneven and the shawl is a bit too airy for my taste. I'll probably not use this one very much, and I'm thinking of giving it away to a better home. We'll see.

The Stockinette Zombies are running a "Not a sock self striping sock yarn (nasssy) KAL" during July and August, and once I heard about it I got a sudden craving for a colourful shawl. So I cast on for a Daybreak shawl out of Marks & Kattens Fame Trend yarn and a black Austermann Step yarn. I finished the shawl just before we left for Tjörn, I actually left it on the blocking mats when we left. 

I really like this one, but I hated working with the Fame Trend yarn! It is very thick-and-thin, and there were a couple of breaks in the skein I used that really messed up the colour repeats. I had two skeins, and I only used up one for the shawl, so I decided to get all of it out of my stash by making a Sockhead hat out of the remaining skein. I knit all of it during the week on Tjörn, and when we got back home I made a pom pom out of the last bits, so now it's all gone. 

I kind of like the hat, even though the colours are a bit hysterical, but I think I'll use it a lot this Fall. It was a good vacation project as it was all stockinette! Plus, I got to enter this one in the KAL as well.

The final FO is a small stuffy that I made for Ella. It's a Miffy rabbit that I made from Järbo Mini Akryl, the mini skeins that I bought ages ago to use for Christmas balls. I used up almost two white skeins of the white acrylic, and almost one skein of the blue wool ones (remember the skeins are only 10 g each). 

It was a fun knit, even though it was a little bit fiddly here and there, but the end result was really cute. Ella really likes it as well, she has been watching some Miffy on Netflix so I think she recognizes her.

Ok, that was all of the FO's. The KnitGirllls are running their usual Stash Dash this summer, where you use up stash. They have three categories this year, 3K, 5K and 10K. The idea is that you use up either 3000, 5000 or 10000 meters of yarn during the summer (middle of June to August 14th this year, it's the time Laura has her summer break I think). I actually managed to reach the 3K this year, which was very nice!

I currently have seven projects going too! I had a day a couple of weeks ago where I wanted to cast on all the things, so I did! I'll start with a report on the oldest projects though, to get them out of the way.

The longest running project so far are the Firenze socks that I'm making out of the FibroFibers Nightfall yarn. I've been working on them since November last year! I think they're taking so long as I'm really not enjoying the yarn. I thought the colour changes would be much more gradiating, but they're much more flecked than I like. 

I'll finish them as I really like the pattern, but I'll not buy any more of this yarn. I've turned the heel and started the gusset decreases on the first sock, so it should be finished pretty soon. I've actually worked some on them the past couple of days as I want them finished!

I've also worked some on the Fiori di Sole shawl, and this one I really love! The Malabrigo lace yarn is soft as butter, and the beads really pop. I managed to break my tiny crochet needle that I use to place the beads so I had to order a new one, but now it's going again. I can only work on this one when Ella is asleep though, as it is a bit difficult to follow charts when you have to chase a toddler around!

I've also tried to work a bit on the Alvi sweater, but it's a bit slow going. I think I'm just not in the mood for colourwork right now, but I would love to have it finished this Fall. I've gotten about to the waist, so half of the body is done. Then you put that aside, make the two sleeves, and then put all of it together and knit the yoke. We'll see when it gets done.

At the end of June I also cast on for a new pair of striping socks. I'm making a pair of knee-high socks for my mother, in some Regia Zoo striping Zebra yarn. 

At first I thought they were a bit boring, I think the white and black threw me off, but now that the first one is done I kind of like them. I think they turned out pretty cool! They are just plain vanilla socks, so it's all the yarn. I wasn't sure that they would count for the self-striping KAL (the year-long that the the Stockinette Zombies are running, not the nasssy KAL that I mentioned earlier), but I asked Megan on Ravelry and she approved them. I knit the heel on the second one last night, and if I finish them before the end of August I will actually have eight self-striping projects this year.

Then on the cast-on day, I started a new sweater for myself, the February Fitted Pullover by Amy Herzog. I'm using MadelineTosh Tosh Vintage yarn, in the colourway Copper Penny, and as the skeins seemed almost identical, I didn't bother alternating them. I'm just about to start the waist decreases, so I haven't gotten very far on it, but I enjoy it so far. The pattern is really easy, I had it memorized after the first repeat, so this one is pretty mindless.

I also started a new cardigan for myself, as I only had two sweaters on the needles. It's the Spelunking cardigan by Anna Dalvi, and I'm using Wollmeise Lace garn in the colourway Cassis. It is turning out very pretty, but as with the lace shawl I can only work on it while Ella sleeps as I need to follow the chart. And I know that the photo isn't much to see, as I only just started it!

Finally, as I had finished the Kyoto cardigan for Ella, I cast on yet another cardigan for her, the Teatime with Teddy Bear, and I'm using Dream in Color Smooshy in the colourway Melon Bomb. I've only made the ribbing collar so far, but I really enjoy the yarn.

And that's it for the knitting! I'm trying to finish up both pairs of socks first, and then I think I need to get to town on the Alvi sweater. But that might change...

I've also bought some nice stuff this summer! When my crochet needle broke I ordered a new one from Stäkets Hantverk, and as they had free shipping above a specific sum, I also got a skein of yarn. Or rather, I got my very first sock blank.

It's a basic 75 % superwash wool/25 % nylon sock yarn that has been knit up into a blank and then dyed. I am a sucker for green, so this one really fits me. It's marinating in the stash for now, but once I finish bith pair of socks I currently have going I might cast on with this.

Before we went to Tjörn me and my mother were out shopping in Borås, and I decided I wanted to visit the local yarn shop, Stickat och Klart. I've been there before, and I find it a bit boring, They mostly have standard base yarns, but I figured it was worth a look. I had looked through all of the yarn and found nothing I wanted, so we were about ready to leave, when I just threw a glance at the needle display. And saw a full set of KnitPicks Caspian wooden exchangeable needles! I have never seen these in Europe before, and I've been wanting a set since I first saw them on KnitPicks' website (where I borrowed the photo, my phone didn't want to upload my photo), so I immediately grabbed them. They are absolutely stunning and I really love them. They might have been part of the reason why I wanted to cast on so many things once I got back home...

I also wanted a pretty needle roll to hold them, as I really don't like the plastic bag that they come in, so that evening I had a little shopping spree on Etsy. I bought a needle case for the new set, and also a needle roll for my 6 inch KnitPro dpn's that I got a while ago but never got a case for, both from See Jane Sew. The case with TARDISse (or TARDI?) on holds the Caspian needles, and the one with the Daleks holds the dpn's. I really really love them!

One of the days we were on Tjörn we went shopping in Stenungsund, the closest town past the bridge to the main land. I went to the local yarn store there, Garn & Hantverkshuset (of course I had scouted it out beforehand), but this was also a little bit boring. Lot's of mainstream base yarns that I can get anywhere, so I just bought a couple of pairs of scissors and darning needles. I also got a package of ten mini skeins (Marks & Kattens Pysselnystan), that I'm also planning on using for more toys for Ella. 

We also went to a huge toy store in Stenungsund, and they had Järbo Mini Akryl skeins sets, so I bought two sets, one in Metallic and one in Neon.

Another day we went to Skärhamn, which is a town on Tjörn, and I visited another yarn shop there, Vinterverkstan. This was a much more fun store, probably because it has an extensive web shop as well, and I left with a few more skeins. I got three skeins of Crystal Palace Panda Silk yarn, in a gorgeous blue /teal colour. I'm not sure what I'll use it for, but it was very nice souvenir yarn. 

I also got three skeins of Onion Knits Tussah Silk yarn, in red. I already had two skeins of this yarn in the same colour, that I bought at the sewing festival last year, but I wanted a few more to make a bigger project. I don't know what yet, but now I should have enough.

Finally, one day we went to a huge shopping center on Orust, the island just to the north of Tjörn, and I got some sock yarn. I got five skeins of Marks & Kattens Fame sock yarn, which is a basic 75 % superwash wool/25 5 nylon yarn.

About a week ago I also got a set of Järbo Mini Acryl skeins in the Prints colours, to add to my collection. These mini skeins are about the most fun things Ella wants to play with right now...

I think that's about it! It's been a productive summer, and it seems I've really added to the stash! But to be fair, I haven't bought any yarn since February before this, so I think I'm ok. All of the yarns still fit in the same boxes, so at least I've used up as much as I've acquired.

This past Thursday Ella came down with a really nasty cold (daycare germs!), which she promptly gave to me, so this weekend has been spent on the couch watching lots of cartoons and taking it easy. I think the sleep deprivation is probably the worst part of it, as Ella seems to wake up and cry every time she coughs. But she's a lot better today, so let's hope that the worst is over. We're going back to preschool tomorrow, and in a week me and Thomas both go back to work, so we really want to have a good last week!

I'll be back in a while, as usual I don't know when :)

/ Jenny