2013 dreams

In 2013 I dream of:
:: adding more knitted pieces to my wardrobe
:: reading 20 books
:: baking more breads
:: do more embroidery
:: spend more time with family and friends
:: make gifts for my parents and my man

I wish you a very great new year.

Christmas Swap

Today my swap package from the 1001 books you must read before you die group Christmas swap came and it is wonderful.
I have no chance of taking pictures, but I will describe it for you.
I got 4 books:
The Thirteen Clocks
The Wonderful "O"
Possessing the Secret of Joy
Like Water for Chocolate

And the most wonderful yarn from the Neighborhood Fiber Co. called  Maisonette DK in the colour Thomas Circle. It is a 50% merino 50% tussah silk blend and it is sooo soft.
pic. from their website linked above.
On top of that, there were some dried pears that I can't wait to taste. I have never had dried pears before, but I like pears in their natural state.
There were also 3 bags of teas, that I will drink when I need to relax after long days of studying next month.

I must admit that I was a bit scared I would get something I wouldn't want. I had never been in a swap before and although I trust and love the ladies over in our group, I was weary of the concept as such. I was blown away by the gift I got and by the kindness of one of the ladies who offered to pay for my postage. She made it possible for me to join in and she holds a special part in my heart because of it. 

Stash enhancement all around

Yesterday I did a little shopping in my hometown LYS. I like spending my money there since it supports a family friend.
I got this lovely linen yarn to make Kage by Kirsten Johnstone:
Linea:: colour skifer, Karen Noe

pic. from pattern on Ravelry
I'm very excited to make it and think it could become a new favourite. But I couldn't decide what colour to make it in, so I also got this wonderful linen:

dunlin :: colour 06

 And as soon as I came home I knew I wanted to turn the second colour into this beauty:
pic. from pattern on Ravelry
It's Insouciant by Julie Hoover, originally made with silk but I think it will be pretty in linen. 
I might have a thing for linen. The pattern calls for a 5 mm needle, but to get gauge and a fabric I liked, I had to go down to 3,5 mm holding to strands together. This is likely to be the next project on my needles.

The stash enhancement didn't stop there, I also got half the yarn for Array by Shibui Knits:

the yarn is less blue, much more purple than pictured
pic. from pattern on Ravelry
So now I have yarn for 3 things in my queue, that currently holds 11 items, which in my mind is a very doable amount to knit over the years. My stash is a little big for my liking with 4 yarns in it, but that will change soon enough.

WIP Wednesday

The unthinkable happened. I ran out of knitting! How did I run out of knitting? Well, I finished the top boarder of the shawl:

The top part will be folded over and sewn to create a double thickness boarder. The shawl is huge now.

Then I sent the remaining yarn home with my in-laws (I also sent our camera, so you are stuck with bad iPod photos this week). The next step is to steak the shawl, which I've done plenty of times, but this is one big shawl so I would like a big table. Then there is picking up 800+ stitches and knitting around 40 rounds.   
Getting the shawl done before 2013 still seems unattainable when you think of the ca. 32.000 stitches I have yet to knit on it.

Friday I was done with the shawl and needed a new project, especially as my SILs and I were having our monthly knitting meetup on Sunday. I had been looking for a pattern to do with the heathered pink Wool of the Andes from a dear friend in the States. The original plan was to knit the French Press Slippers, she had gifted me the pattern and all. But at least two balls of yarn had been cut into. My man, who opened the package, swears he didn't use anything but his hands to do it, so I'm suspecting it went through customs. Oh well, nothing you can do about it. Since I needed every cm of the yarn for the slippers I decided not to bother and simply find another pattern. And while I wouldn't mind having this colour on my feet to remind me of a lovely lady, it isn't really a colour I would wear elsewhere. 

When I found the Baby Sophisticate by Linden Down, I knew I wanted to make it. So Saturday I cast on for it and Monday it looked like this:

The body is complete. I then wanted to make the sleeves, but I don't own 5,5 mm DPNs and I dislike magic looping, so I went on to the collar, read the pattern for it and knit the first 4 rows, then it hit me, this little thing is supposed to have 4 buttons. There are no button holes in the pattern. By then I was slightly annoyed and decided to let go of the needles before some real damage was done.
I keep telling myself that one day without knitting is managable. I could read on the ferry home Tuesday, and today I can figure out where to place the buttons with my mum. I can steal borrow a pair of 5,5 mm DPNs, which I'm hoping she has and I can use her giant dining table for the steaking. And then magically I will have plenty of knitting again. 

I think I might go back to working monogamously on the shawl, because I'm so close to being done, that I can almost taste it. 

A WIP Wednesday

Over a month ago I was so happy to tell you that I had changed the cord on my neddles and the knitting was goign well again. Well, since then my cords have broken twice and I got very tired of this huge shawl and knitting the flowers over and over again. After 10,5 flowers I decided the shawl was big enough. It's getting difficult to measure it, but I would say it's between 85-90 cm, hopefully closer to the 90 cm than the 80 cm. it has gotten longer than our table is wide.

 Can you see that thing on the top of the shawl? That is the boarder and I might just think that is the prettiest part of the entire shawl. I'm about halfway through the top front boarder, i.e. I have knitted 1/4 of the top boarder and still have to two massive side boarders to go.

This little voice inside my head is trying to convince me that finishing the shawl comepletely before 2013 is doable. I however am not sure I believe the voice, so I'm aiming to have it done before my parents come to visit on January 25th-28th.

In other news this shawl has meant that I have been a monogamous knitter for almost 3 months now. I do like it, but I think it would be better, if I had one big and one small project at all times. Since I can't haul this shawl with me everywhere I go, I feel like I'm missing out on some knitting time. On the other hand, I tend to read during those times and when I wasn't a monogamous knitter, I would have difficulty finding the time to read. I'm staying monogamous, at least until this shawl is finished, then we'll see what happens next.

Knitting flowers in the frost

So I’m finally at THAT POINT in my knitting on the corn flower shawl, which I’m knitting for a family friend’s yarn store. I’ve just finished the 9th flower in the center and the body is now 76 cm. I still have 4 more flowers to add, but I just want to be done with the body already.
This may stem from a want to knit all the things for me. I have an actual need for hand knitted socks. I have an almost need for t-shirts and cardigans. I want to knit miles of autopilot stockinette stitches on tiny needles and in a single colour.
I also find that my taste in colours for knitting has changed.
I have never liked multi coloured or self striping yarns. I’m a solid colours and some times heathers kinda gal. But now I’m fascinated by greys and other neutrals.

The reason I have not cast on for the one project I have yarn for (by the way, I love not having a stash), is that I’m afraid I’ll abandon this poor beautiful shawl. It’s the 500+ stitches of fair isle on every single round that is killing me...

How do you go about this thing? The only solution I can think of is power through and hope I'll get to the end of the body sooner rather than later. 

Bye bye, overlocker

I inherited an overlocker a good while back and have tried and re-tried to make it work ever since then.
I took it to a shop, when the needle holder broke. They couldn't fix it, but my 'grandad' the watchmaker could. I tried again...
It just wouldn't work...
Now I got it from my man's aunt and she got it from her mother-in-law, so it is old, but these things can last forever...

Well, at this point we are no longer at friendly terms and I would like to get it out of my house, as fast as possible. So I offered it up for free on Ravelry and hopefully somebody wants it.

Missing Summer #6

I actually love autumn and winter, but there are days where I miss having the entire summer off and just  go seeing the world and do as you please without any firm plans...
So I made up a small series of posts with summer pictures to make me and hopefully you, remember and rejoice in the goodness that is summer. 

Beijing, China

Missing Summer #5

I actually love autumn and winter, but there are days where I miss having the entire summer off and just  go seeing the world and do as you please without any firm plans...
So I made up a small series of posts with summer pictures to make me and hopefully you, remember and rejoice in the goodness that is summer. 

The Great Wall, China

A WIP Wednesday

This week we are supplementing the traditional (can we call a 4 week long blog instalment a tradition?) WIP post with a knitting diary.
Thursday I managed to knit 3 rounds, at that pace I'll never be done. But some progress is better than none.
Friday I changed the cord and went from 60 cm to 80 cm, that turned out to be too small as well, so on the same round I changed to 150 cm. It makes such a huge difference when your stitches isn't bunched up on the needle and I have no idea why I didn't do this sooner. Or maybe I do, maybe it was because I was afraid to know just how big this giant shawl is, when I know it'll get even bigger. The 150 cm cord is a bit too long, but I had nothing in between so it'll have to do. I knitted 6 rounds.

Today, I did half a round so that my total rounds this week could be 10 rounds. Progress is progress.

Missing Summer #4

I actually love autumn and winter, but there are days where I miss having the entire summer off and just  go seeing the world and do as you please without any firm plans...
So I made up a small series of posts with summer pictures to make me and hopefully you, remember and rejoice in the goodness that is summer. 

Beijing, China

And the comments return

I remember saying that they might not go away for ever and here they are back in the mix again.
Why is that? you might be wondering. Well, when I took them off just under 2 months ago, I did it because they were slowly becoming a measurement of success and I would not allow that to happen.
To do something one should never do, let me quote myself:

"I blog to make a scrapbook and not to be caught up in comments, stats and if my blog is 'good enough'. As long as it gives me joy to write for it, it is exactly as it should be."

I am now sure I have found and preserved that joy. A few of you have taken the liberty to comment via Ravelry and I have had so much enjoyment from that as well. 

So I decided that it was time to turn on the comments again. I want to be able to have a two-sided conversation. I want your input and ideas, you encouragement and advice. I want to learn from you and be inspired by you and simply chat about everything and nothing at all.

So feel free to comment, if you would like to.

A WIP Wednesday

I love these weekly updates!

The shawl was at 56 cm and this week I have a total of 60,5 cm. Progress is really slow, but at least I'm getting somewhere. I'm just over halfway through the 8th flower.
I would like to try and designate an hour to work on it every day. I miss knitting every day, but I just haven't been able to prioritize it for some reason.

Oh and I think I promised you a picture so here you go. The purple marker is where i was last Wednesday. I'll try to remember to move it so I can show you my progress again next week.

Sew Tuesday

I was so very close to not having any sewing to talk about this week. How much of a failure would I feel like if I didn't manage to do any sewing the week after I proclaimed that a weekly update would keep me acountable?  The truth is not very much, so this will be the last. But somehow it still got me to get out the sewing machine, the iron and the ironing board and get to work.

Remember the neck seam that was making me slightly upset last week? Well, I based it and sewed it on the machine and it turned out fine. Then I did the embellishing seam and that turned out fine. Then I decided that the front embellishing seam wasn't good enough (I'm not aiming for perfect, but I need to achieve the I-would-wear-this-in-public---good-enough look), so I redid that and then I packed it all away again.

It felt good to do a couple of seams and then put it all away. At this speed it will take me a long time to make this top, but I'm not in a hurry. Although I might already have decided on what my next project is going to be (a t-shirt out of the left over fabric).

I fear ending up with a fabric stash. I worked so dilligently to get rid of my yarn stash and next on the list is the fibre stash. I need to make sure I don't end up with a fabric stash, but I think I'm good so far.

All in all a very good sewing week.

Missing Summer #3

I actually love autumn and winter, but there are days where I miss having the entire summer off and just  go seeing the world and do as you please without any firm plans...
So I made up a small series of posts with summer pictures to make me and hopefully you, remember and rejoice in the goodness that is summer. 

Winecountry, Bernkastel, Germany

A WIP Wednesday

I'm battling a cold today, but I'll still give you the line up of how my shawl is going.
Last week I had just begun the 7th flower and I'm sad to report that this week the 7th flower is almost done.
I have added 3 cm to the shawl and I think progress is going to be slow from now on. The rounds are really beginning to be long.

I have yet to be bored by the pattern, I'm really enjoying knitting this shawl.

Because the knitting will slow down, I have put a marker in, so that next week, hopefully, I can share a picture of my actual progress.

Sew Tuesday

Sewing is something I want to get a lot better at and I'm slowly making progress. So far it seems that I'm only getting good at ripping seams and not getting sad, because I have to do something over for the n'th time.

Since WIP Wednesday is doing such a good job at keeping me accountable with my knitting I figured why not start to do the same for sewing.

You may remember how my very un-proportional, but beautiful body made my life difficult when I first began to work on this top.
The ladies at the shop, where I got the fabric, were so nice and helpful and I was spot on with my diagnosis.

So I began the treatment. I ripped all the seams and then I re-basted it all together again. This time with a 3 cm seam allawance instead of 2cm at the neckline and shoulders. I measured the pattern and size 38 was almost 1cm smaller than size 40, and I could use a size in between size 36 and 38 so 1 cm it was.
The next step was to try it on and it looked a lot better, although I find it hard to see, when it is just basted together.

I made it through half the sewing before one seam was so mean to me, that I put the whole thing in time out. Really, after trying and failing to sew it 2 times, I knew it was time to sit it down for another day and a fresh mind.

What have I learned?

  • ripping is key, never settle for less than good enough.
  • basting is your friend.
  • no matter how well things fit when basted, it is another story when it is sewn.
  • it takes time to learn how to sew well.
  • Learning to sew is a lot like learning to knit, the only difference is that I have been knitting for at least 15 years. 
  • If I sew as well as I knit now by the age of 37 (15 years from now), I will be very pleased. 

Missing Summer #2

I actually love autumn and winter, but there are days where I miss having the entire summer off and just  go seeing the world and do as you please without any firm plans...
So I made up a small series of posts with summer pictures to make me and hopefully you, remember and rejoice in the goodness that is summer. 

Bernkastel, Germany

In need of socks

As far as I can recall I have knitted 9 pairs of socks in my life. Only 3 of those were for me. All 3 of those are now thread bare and one pair even has a hole in it. My man told me to toss them, because I'm always forcing him to toss his commercial socks when they get holes. We don't wear clothes with holes and I can't be bothered to darn commercial socks.

You know that saying a stitch in time saves nine?? I know now, that it is true...

It must have snagged on something in the wardrobe. 

Living stash free means that I won't be knitting sock any time soon. I need to finish my shawl first. So I'll be mending these and hoping that the other two pairs will last all winter. I do have commercial socks so I won't be freezing my toes off this year, but I'm hoping that one day my sock basket will have nothing but hand knit wool socks in it. All part of the gameplan for a hand made wardrobe. One day...  

Sew far, sew bad...

It is no secret that I have dreamed of someday having a completely handmade wardrobe.
Knitting is a big part of that, but let's face it, I'm not going to knit all the clothes I need and want, ever.

So I have taken up sewing and have been working on a that pretty, long sleeved top my parents gave me fabric to make for my birthday. I came a long way, all my seams were so pretty, I was surprised how good it looked and then I ran into troubles.

You see, I need a size 40 to fit my chest, but at 165 and 52 kg the rest of me is, how should I put it, a lot smaller than my chest measurement would lead you to think.

At least that is what I think is the problem, as the top is gaping at the neckline. Because I'm fairly new to sewing. I really don't know what the matter is, all I know is that something needs to be altered a lot, before this top will be worn by me.

So I'll be going to the fabric shop that, thankfully, is a small independent shop in our town, and ask if they have any advice. I think the solution is to scale the part above my breast to a much smaller size, but how on earth do you do that?

Hopefully the nice ladies will answer my questions, help me and not just tell me to toss it and forget it. i don't think I'll ever fit into any commercial pattern straight off, because this is not the first time I've run into this very problem...

WIP Wednesday

Last week I was at almost 5 flowers on the shawl and was afraid that I might get bored with the project at some point. I'm still concerned about that, but so far I still love it.

You won't be getting a picture this week, because there really isn't anything to show, except that the shawl is bigger.

It's currently 53 cm from tip to top and a round takes 15 min and I have just begun the 7th flower.

I like doing these small updates each week on my progress because it keeps me accountable. As I've mentioned before I'm knitting this up as a sample for a family friend's yarn store. I don't have a deadline on it, but I want to get it done in a relatively short time. So far I have been knitting on it for a month and got half way through the body of the shawl. As the rounds are only getting longer and the border will take forever, I'm aiming at 4-5 months, hoping to have it done before March.

This is what the shawl is supposed to end up looking like:



I am bi-craftual. I have done so many crafts I stopped counting a long time ago and I'm sure I've even done some I can no longer remember. But being bi-craftual is not always a good thing and the last couple of years I've learned that I need to concentrate on a few and not spread myself too thin. There is studying to be done and food to be cooked and spaces to be cleaned, and there is only so many seconds in a day.

I've found even more reasons to be focused on a few crafts. You see doing crafts requires materials, those can be costly and they take up space.
So I'm gently and slowly weeding through my crafts. I know that fibre is truely where my passion is, so I'm going to focus on knitting, spinning and sewing for a while.

Painting is a craft I never got good at, so I have packed up all my supplies and they are ready to go to a new home with my friend, who is awesome at drawing and painting.

3D cards were another thing I used to make and lets face it, it has been years probably, since I last made one, so those are going as well. I haven't found them a new home yet, but I'm sure I will.

Drawing, like painting was something I never felt comfortable doing, but then I discovered the endless possibilities of lines, so my pencils aren't going anywhere at the moment.

As I dig out more crafts, that have been burried in the basement and forgotten, I'll relocate them to new and loving homes.

Monogamous crafting is not in the near future for me, and I don't mind that. As long as the suppies i have on hand are for crafts, I do on a regular basis, I'm good.

Missing summer #1

I actually love autumn and winter, but there are days where I miss having the entire summer off and just  go seeing the world and do as you please without any firm plans...
So I made up a small series of posts with summer pictures to make me and hopefully you, remember and rejoice in the goodness that is summer. 

Stained glass mosaics in Trier

Porta Nigra in Trier

A beautiful waterfall in Bernkarstel

WIP Wednesday

I think it is about time I show you how my shawl is coming along. Being a monogamous knitter haven't been hard at all and I haven't felt like casting on anything new, yet.

I love knitting on the shawl at the moment and I have almost 5 flowers in the center from tip till top. I have calculated that I need 13 and I will make however many I feel like or until the yarn runs out, which ever comes first.

I fear that at some point, I'll really hate this giant shawl and just want to be done with it. Especially since I'm not knitting it for myself. And I'm really glad that there is no deadline on this project, because the rounds are getting longer and I have a feeling they will take hours to knit at some point.
Last time I timed a round it took 10 min. I think it takes me about 15 min. to knit a round at the moment, but I haven't timed it lately.

Fabric and a sewing lesson

I asked my parents for fabric and a sewing lesson from my mum for my birthday and they said it was a lovely idea. I want to make this:
Simple, classic, but with a twist. Made in jersey, which can be tricky to sew in, but which is also very comfortable. I might be going for grey and black shoulders.

My maternal grandmother was a seamstress by profession, so my mum knows a bit about sewing. I have sewn before and I'm not a complete beginner, but it has been so many years since I last sewed something from a pattern, that I would like my mum to hold my hand through it. An added bonus is that we have to be on the same island for this project.

I can really see this piece finding it's way into my wardrobe in many colours and variations...

Trash the illusions

I have always wanted to be a painter. I have tried so many times to paint. I have half a box full of supplies in our tiny basement.

I'm not a painter. I always wanted to be a painter, but I'm not one. My creative medium is mainly fibre. I do a great job with fibre, not so much with paint.

It is time to accept this as a fact and enjoy the time I spend with fibre even more, since I'm not feeling guilty because I never use the paint stuff.

It is time to let go of the ideas and pictures I have of myself and find joy in the reality. To stop trying to be something I'm not.

It is time to trash the illusions.

Funny Stuff

I came across this George Carlin video on Cat's Meow and although I have no idea who the man is, I think the video was good and to the point. So take a look at this funny stuff:

Shawl on the go

I have a tiny photo diary of my brand new project to share with you today. As always the photos may not be the best quality, but they are what you get :)
The kit as it comes from the designer

I skeined and washed all of the yarn to get the spinning oil out. 
Then I wound all the yarn into cakes again, minus the border  colour
I then mixed and matched my own two cakes of all the colours..
and began knitting.