#operationsockdrawer - dad edition

Is there ever someone you follow, who seems very prolific, but you can't help but wonder, if they took a bunch of pictures once of a project and then pretend it is a number of different ones?

I would never do that to you, but have been wondering if all my sock knitting for my dad has made you suspicious.

You know what they say, the proof is in the pudding, so here you go: pudding in the shape of my dad's sock drawer and for good measure the sock I'm currently knitting for him.

There is a grand total of 7 finished and well loved socks and a pair on the needles as well. I knitted another pair for him in fancy yarn, that shrunk (shrinked? / shrank?) in the washing machine..

I wish my sock drawer had this many hand knit socks. How many pairs do you have?

Useful bargains and a little FYI

These past few day have included a little enhancement of my belongings.
First I found an amazing 'new' cook book from 1896. Its by a famous woman who had a number of restaurants with her husband back in her day. It is so much fun to read and cost me only 20 DKK on sale.

Next, I discovered a new charity shop by the red cross and in it was a dress that had my name all over it. It ends a little above the ankle  and is made of pure and lovely silk. For 175dkk it was most likely less than 10% of what it would be in a shop.

For a while I've been adding a cm to every measurement I had to make since my old measuring tape lost its first cm. Patterns says knit to 26cm, I have to measure 27cm. It gets old very quickly.
This means I've been hunting for a tape measure with both cm and inches. It's proven slightly difficult, so when my mum found this bear she thought of me and got it as a small present for me!

The last purchase I've made is a skein of yarn for my Still Light Tunic. Now instead of running out I'll have a lot left over, but I'm planning to knit some cute baby items of the leftovers so I don't really mind that much. The best parts about having to buy this skein was that a) my mum and I got to go to a new (to us) yarn store and b) there was a 35% sale on the yarn.

And now for the FYI: I started my study break (two words that do not belong together) yesterday and will be crazy bussy for the next 3 weeks. I plan to relax in the evenings with a little crafting, but in case I go a little MIA you know the deal and I'll be back (said in an Arnold accent) once my real vacation begin. 2 months of crafting time is worth the wait. 

Let's review: Adorable Animal Knits for Little People by Nuriya Khegay


First impressions

It was the front page on this book that reeled me in and upon showing it to my man, he exclaimed: Yoda! Can I just tell you there are some cute headgear in this book!That each chapter begins with a page, that not only contains pictures of the patterns in it, but detail shots in addition really appealed to me.

The patterns

The book start out with 3-4 photos of each hat showing both the entire project and details well. Towards the end there are fewer photos of the projects and i miss a (big) direct shot of the Robot (there is only one picture of this project with the pattern and one small on the index page for the chapter). The additional pieces, mittens, scarfs and socks correspond nicely to the hats overall, although a few are just plain or seem a little forced to me (like the socks for the Bear and the Robot, which appears only to differ in the cuff). 
The patterns are offered in 3 sizes: 6-12mo, 12-24mo and 2-3yo. 

Addittional info

In the back of the book there is a technique section taking you all the way from the gear you need, advice on selecting yarn, how to read a pattern and the basics of both knitting and crocheting. The one thing that gets me in this section is the part about taking care of your knits. Most knitters are fairly visual people and this books seems aimed at complete beginners, so why, oh why do you combine a relatively big picture of a mitten hanging on a line and then say in the small print that it is best to dry your knits flat? It's really a small complaint, but it just gets me.

What would I knit

The best way to judge a (knitting) book is not by the cover,  but by how many pieces you want to knit from it.
This book says it has 20 patterns in it and of those I would like to knit 9:

The Bear hat
The Baby Bear mittens
The Clever Owl hat   
The Space Elf (aka Yoda) hat
The Robot hat
The Shark hat
The Fox hat
The Reindeer hat
The Pinguin mittens

and my man also really likes:
 the Snowman hat

A 50% wanna-knit rate is not at all bad for a book. 

Final judgement

This is a great book for the new or fairly new knitter, especially one with small children or grandbabies.    I would say you should flip through it before you buy it and while it is not at the top of my wishlist I would like for it to join my personal library some day. 

I am in no way paid to do this review and make it a point to always give my honest opinion about anything I review. This book was generously provided for the review by the Public Library. The copy I reviewed was translated to Danish, so layout etc. may vary. 

Pair No.3 - Socks for dad.

My mum will be here next weekend and beacuse of that it was very important for me to finish a new pair of socks for my dad, that she could bring home with her. Thus I have been knitting my little fingers off and voilá the second to last pair of the year is done. To be honest I'm about ready to be done with all these socks for the year now and move on to other projects, like the dress. That remind me, I still have to go find a skein of drops baby alpaca to finish that dress...

Not so much sewing, but still...

After another day of studying, it is just so wonderful to relax with a bit of creating. I got out the fabric, ironed it and cut all the pieces.

There isn't much to show or tell really. I've always found it odd that this sewing thing involves very little sewing compared to the ironing, pinning, measuring, cutting...

As a knitter I still find myself terrified to cut into my fabric. In knitting you can always undo pretty much any mistake. Once you've made the cut in sewing, then there is no way back. Strangly enough, I have no qualms about steaking. Most of the time I don't even secure the yarn before cutting, I just go to town (much to the regret of my mum and nana, who shouldn't be in the room with me when it happens). It must be, that I'm just so much more confident in my knitting. I know when the wool requires stitching and when it doesn't. While I have sewn about 4 garments (in addition to other items) in my life, I still feel like a complete beginner, wishing someone was there to hold my hand. 

There is this sewing school I dream of attending, but it is 1000DKK for 4 times and entirely out of the question for years to come. But one can dream, right?!

Are you doing any spring sewing?

Remember when...

Remember when I was spinning that royal blue yarn for my mum? Well, back then my man made a short video of it and I had completely forgotten. But as I was browsing Youtube for some spinning videos (you do that too, right?! - okay then.) it actually popped up!

I would love to convince him to do some more videos like this one and if you would too then please leave a comment so I can show him, that it isn't just me, who thinks he needs to explore this talent. (Or leave me a comment saying I'm completely bias and it's no good, if you are so inclined). What ever you choose I hope you enjoy it.

Beautiful day

The weather is nice, so after studying my tail off, 
I went for a walk in the woods and spent some time with the cows...  

Enjoy the weekend!

Medicinal spinning

There is a lot going on at the moment here and almost all of it is study related. I was ill for about a week and that put me very far behind on homework, so I'm trying to catch up while doing all my regular work as well. Whew.
When evening comes and my eyes fail me and my brain refuses to read another word, I've found it hard to relax. My body is reacting to all this pressure so it is quite important, that I really do find a way to relax.

This is where the title of this post comes in. It turns out, I have done an unusual amount of spinning over the last say 2 weeks. I pop a sermon in my ears for some spiritual refreshment and spin away. The center-pull balls are making my spinning more delightful than ever before and I am finally getting close to finishing the 226g. of Malabrigo Nube I've been working on since December (oh dear, has it really been that long?!). Now there is only 50g left to spin, and it should leave me with 4 big skeins and the small test skein and probably around 1000m total.

Any ideas for what I should make with it? 

How to make a pre-drafted center pull ball for spinning

With about 4 years of spinning under my belt I finally feel comfortable sharing some of the things I do with you. I do not in any way consider myself and expert, so take this for what it is, chatter from an average jane spinner. For a long time the drafting part of spinning caused me heart ache after hearth ache, then I discovered pre-drafting and I haven't looked back since, but evolved how I go about it quite a bit. There is nothing as pleasing to me as knitting from a center pull ball/cake and thus I came to unvent the center pull cake for spinning. Here is how you go about it. 

How to make a pre-drafted center pull ball from roving

Weigh off the amount of roving you want to work with. 

Split it down the middle

Continue to split every strip down the middle until you have a suitable thickness, 
this is a question of preference, mine are about the width of my pinky. 

Fluff up the first strip, this fibre, Malabrigo Nube doesn't need a whole lot of pre-drafting in my opinion, but you do as much as you like. This is where you lay the foundation for trouble free spinning.

Now wind the first strip loosely (the key word for all the winding you will do!) around your hand.

Make sure you have the end sticking out a little so you can find it later on.

Your cake will now look something like this and you can move on
 to fluffing up your next strip (or you could do all the strips at once). 

For the join, make sure you place the new strip under the old one. 
I have found this to be the best way to ensure it gribs the next strip when spinning. 
Continue the process until you have a cake of your desired size and then enjoy the spinning. 

I would love to know how it went if you try this out or tell me in the comments how you pre-draft your fibre.

Let's Review: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbera Kingsolver

If there is one thing besides fibre arts that really intrigue me, then I'd have to say it is cooking and baking. Few things make me more excited than good food from great ingredients. Thus I've wanted to read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbera Kingsolver ever since I read The Poisonwood Bible, which is one of my favourite novels.

I had no real idea of what this book was about except food and the good kind, so I didn't really have any expectations, except that it would be well written. And I think the book lived up to that one.

This book is a chronicle of Mrs. Kingsolver's family's year of eating localy and seasonally. It is a collaboration between her, her husband Steven L. Hopp and her daugther Camille Kingsolver and features plenty of stories about their youngest daugther as well. Mrs. Kingsolver writes the main part of each chapter, with her husband writing about a page on an issue related to the topic. At the end there is a short part written by her daugther, from the teenager's perspective including recipes and meal plans.
If I could have changed one thing about all this it would have been the layout as Mr. Hopp's parts were placed in the middle of Mrs. Kingsolver's text and I either had to stop in the middle of the chapter or risk forgetting to return to his part, which did happen once and frankly annoyed me.

As with all books, this one is written from their point of view and you may not agree with everything in it, but I learned a few things and it certainly made me want to read and learn more. And while I haven't laid off the bananas yet, I have seen other changes in my grocery shopping while I've been reading this book.

Have you read it, or have a suggestion for something similar that I should read? Let me know in the comments.

P.S. Blogger is misbehaving, I'm trying to discover what is causing this odd behaviour, so sadly there will be no picture for now.

Rhubarb crumble?

It is rhubarb season!

Rhubarb season means all things rhubarb in my kitchen if I have my way. One of my favourite ways to have rhubarb is in a sort of crumble that is fast to make and delicious!

You will need:
Rhubarb, about 100-150g per person
Sugar, I prefer brown cane sugar 

Cut up your rhubarb and toss it with sugar in a pan for the oven. A note on the sugar: how you like your rhubarb is a very personal thing. I like it tangy, others like it sweet. You will need to add sugar according to taste. For a middle sweet version use half the weight of the rhubarb. Say you have 300g then you would use 150g sugar. I use less, about 100g. You can also use more, but wait till they are done cooking, so you know how sweet they are (this depends on the kind of rhubarb you have as well as the sugar) before you add more than half the weight's worth.

Now cook it at 200C for 8-12 min. You want the rhubarb to be somewhat al dente, soft, but keeping its shape. 

While the rhubarb is in the oven, you prepare the oats. I use a generous handful per person, toss it in a pan with sugar. You need enough sugar to slightly brown/caramelize the oats, but you don't want them drenched in it. Start with a little and add more until they are crisp and golden.  You need to stir it almost constantly, so you don't end up with a lump of caramel. 

When both the rhubarb and the oats are done you have to choices. Layer the two like you would a lasagna, either in small portions or a big bowl and

a) stick it in the fridge to cool and settle for an hour or two, then proceed to b.


b) whip the cream, add it on top and enjoy!

Up next: Summer Sewing

I've been to more stores than I care to think about, hunting for a few new summer pieces since my wardrobe, if you exclude everything that is either so washed out it's hardly worth donating or threadbare, promising to rip at any moment now, is fairly empty and a girl has got to have something to wear in the heat. 

After a good many trials and tribulations I started to feel like the only way I was going to get something to wear that a) I could afford and b) Wouldn't burn my skin (yes, I'm looking at you petrol based fibres!) I would just have to bite the bullet and make it myself. 

I ended up in the small fabric shop in the town we live in and the owner is just so kind and helpful. I found a pattern I liked and that should be easy to make and some fabric that made my heart sing. I love dots and this pattern is just so random and perfectly organised at the same time. 

Now the fabric is being washed and I've just copied the pieces and with any luck I may be able to cut them this weekend and they will be done before my vacation begins. 

Are you doing any sewing at the moment?