Note to self – how to buy yarn

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I am enjoying this week’s yarn purchases and even though I didn’t have a plan for all of it when I bought it, I realise I’ve grown. I have bought a lot of yarn in my life. A lot I tell you. Some of it is wonderful and some of it is, well, a little difficult to work with, to put it mildly. Some yarn I don’t have enough to do almost anything with and some have been just perfect. I have tried to learn from my mistakes and I try to have a plan for my purchases (most of the time, yarn that is intended for something is hard to make something else with. Even though the first plan is no longer on the table, the yarn is still designated somehow) to know how much I want need and so on. Even with a plan, mistakes still occur though.

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This time I really do believe I’ve grown though. I’ve been looking at my new skeins and I know I can make a lot from this and I doubt there are any mistakes there. In the upper picture there is still a few skeins “for fun”, where there were either only one skein left (and of course I had to adopt that one, we can’t have a lonely little skein left in the store when I have so many at home that want a new friend (completely disregarding that the store still has much, much more yarn than I do so far) or I was making up for previous mistakes or the color was just irresistible and I plan to make a lot of wrist warmers. But looking at the lower picture though, we can draw a few conclusions on how to think when buying yarn.

1. Buy yarn in meters or yards, not in skeins. Most yarn come in skeins of 50 or 100 grams (I don’t know how much that is in ounces) and a lighter weight yarn will have more meters/yards per 100 grams than a heavier weight yarn. For a lace weight shawl it’s common that it only requires 400 meters and one skein will be enough but another shawl in, say, DK weight might still require 400 meters of yarn but the skeins only have about 200 meters and therefore you need at least two skeins. The rule is, the heavier the weight, the more skeins are needed.

2. If buying more than one color, try to pick colors that go together. This is useful if you realise you haven’t got enough yarn for a project. Most projects can be done in a  two color version and voilà, you all of a sudden have enough yarn. This is also good if you don’t think you want an entire garment in, for example, hot pink (I don’t have a problem with this but some people might look upon hot pink more as an accessory color), with a calmer contrasting color you can still make pretty much any project.

3. If you are thinking of making something bigger, buy enough yarn for the project. This really don’t need an explanation and is so elementary and still I have failed to do this. Look through the pattern, or look at similar garments if you haven’t fixed on a pattern yet, and see how much yarn is needed for your size. Order that amount or a little more if you are unsure. Yarn chicken is never fun (but can be very satisfying if you win, which you rarely do), better safe than sorry!

4. All of the rules above can be used simultaneously. In the upper picture there are some red and green skeins next to each other on the first row of yarn. When buying this I used both rule #2 and #3 (and also rule #1 since it was a chunky weight yarn). I looked at patterns that interested me, realised I needed at least 8 skeins of chunky weight yarn, added one extra for good measure, and saw that there were only six skeins left of the red I wanted. So I picked all those and added three more skeins in a contrasting color. Stripes always works!

These are a few things to think about when I’m about to make a big yarn purchase. I will try to remember this in the future, now that it seems I’ve managed to crack the code, I’ve grown and I’ve managed to make wise yarn decisions. Yeah. Good plan.

Out on the piers

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The Freaking Amazing is finished and it is pretty freaking amazing. Things turned out pretty much as I had hoped, the tank top together with the jeans and the hair and everything. I like my outfit and the best part is that I’ve made it myself. The color is great and it’s simply a nice summer garment.

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I wore it out for a walk tonight on the pier with all the people chilling in the hot summer city. The sunset in one direction and the full moon in the other. It was quite magical of perhaps not as sad as in Marit Bergman’s song Out On The Piers (sometimes I wonder if I associate all my knittings to songs but I guess not). Although, I do think a lot of the people there might not have any other place to go, there were people there with friends or on a date but also people there alone, everyone with their own story. My story was perhaps not very interesting, it was mostly about a new tank top, but it sure was gorgeous.

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Pattern: Solan from Yllotyll. Yarn: Tunna Lin from Yllotyll, color 53 Rubinröd (Ruby red). No mods.

 

 

Over on the corner there’s a happy noise

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I don’t know about you but I am sometimes a bit shy to use a new language before I feel comfortable with it. I have studied Polish quite a bit but I haven’t really used it a lot so while at the same time I can explain complex grammar phenomenons in Polish, I can’t really say much. Today though I had a small break through. It turns out that the love for chocolate and yarn is stronger than any shyness. I had a friend when I lived in France who was shy using French and she had been looking for oat meal for quite some time but hadn’t found any. In Sweden it’s a common breakfast but not in Poland. Then, in a health food store, she finally found it and she got so happy that she forgot to be shy and started talking. That happens to me in yarn stores and today also at the very hipster-y restaurant down on the corner. I was in much need of a cookie, a chocolate chip cookie, so I got one. The cookie wasn’t the best I’ve had but it was just the sweeter because I had ordered it myself. I should get more cookies (and yarn), it seems to be good for may language development.

A color preference

It seems I have a color preference when it comes to yarn (I guess it shouldn’t really come as a surprise but you know, sometimes I’m not the most perceptive person). Ironically enough I mostly wear blue this summer. We ran in to a yarn store on our long walk today and it was a good one (both the store and the walk). I found some nice things, yarn really makes the best souvenirs, and I think there might be at least one shawl and and a pair of (much needed) socks in there. Maybe a hat to. And I found some new interesting yarn as well, we’ll see what I can do with it.

Just a few more centimeters

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I’m spending a nice Sunday evening on the couch knitting. The linen is getting to me and I will be happy when this project is done. The back is finished and I’ve started the front. There is just so very much front left. I might have to take a little break and knit on something else, something not linen. The color is nice and I have M&M’s to keep me company and to reward myself. Once I start the decreases it will all be easier and go quicker. Just a few centimeters left. Right, let’s do that tonight and be done with it!

The true reason why I should knit sweaters or A reflection over knitting equality

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Since yesterday I’ve had a knitting epiphany and, inspired by my new knitting friend Annelie who makes really nifty sweaters and cardigans, it’s now clear to me that I really do need to knit more sweaters. My knitting inspiration has been quite low lately, I have a few things I want to do but they require some preparations and I haven’t had the peace of mind to do those preparations.

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Do you ever get the feeling that people judge knitted garments and rank them? Not knitters themselves (although that is also possible) but other people. Socks and mittens are good things to make because they are useful (except perhaps the fingering weight socks that traditionally haven’t really been that popular in Sweden; when people think of knitted socks here, they think of heavy ones, made of worsted weight yarn to wear in your heavy boots during winter (preferably if you work in the woods somehow), or on the ice cold floor of your vacation cabin) unless you make too many of them, or perhaps too many of the fancy looking ones. A hat is a good thing to make, also useful and very much appreciated if you are a young adult and your mother made one for you.

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Scarfs are okay, they are quite useful, but are looked upon as too easy, most people learned to knit in school and therefore feel that theoretically everyone can make a scarf (I’m the only person I know who went to school in Sweden but doesn’t remember knitting in school, I don’t know if that’s because I never did it or because I already knew how to knit and it therefore didn’t make any impression on me).

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Blankets… Blankets are good, useful and warm, everybody needs a blanket from time to time. Baby clothes? Sure, how nice of you to make it but isn’t it really just because you don’t have the patience to knit bigger things? Shawls? Shawls are not really considered a useful garment (unless you ask us shawl users who are totally dependant on a cosy shawl every day) and why do you need so many? No, the answer is sweaters. When people think of knitting, they think of sweaters and that’s what they expect you to make. Nice sweaters, warm sweaters. A knitter makes sweaters, and the occasional socks, mittens, hat and scarf before winter comes around, but mainly sweaters.

Disclaimer: I might be wrong on this but I have knit in public for more than ten years and this is just observations that I’ve made from comments I’ve gotten. Other knitters might have a different opinion and experience.

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So, is this the reason I should make sweaters? No, of course not, I couldn’t care less what other people think about my knitting, it’s mine and I do whatever I want with it (and yes, I do need all that yarn). But, since I’ve started this blog three years ago I’ve made a total of 66 shawls, wraps and cowls to this date. Not all of them has been for me but 41 of them are mine. This means that technically I have 41 shawls (actually more, this is only since the beginning of the blog in 2013). During the same time I’ve made nine sweaters, cardigans and tank tops for adults. 6 of them has been for me. Six has been for me. There is obviously room for improvment here.

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I’ve made sweater comittments before. That resulted in one new sweater. My epihany now concerns a reflection over what type of sweaters I’ve knit and if that is really necessary. The first one was the Pink Dream in the oh, so horrible linen (we’ve come on speaking terms again, these past weeks, me and linen). Second, we had the Ballou, that turned out too big, on thin all needles, that I didn’t even bother to blog about (really should frog it, the yarn is delicious and could come to better use). Then there was Cria, which turned out nice but was tricky in the beginning and was nothing short of a crazy game of yarn chicken. And again, thin needles. Then we had the chic lit Chanel jacket, a lovely thing on super thin needles that was quite complicated and took forever to finish. Lastly we have the ribbon yarn sweater and the burgundy tank top, none of which I’ve gotten around to take Pictures of yet but I can say that due to a misunderstanding with the pattern, the ribbon yarn sweater turned out a little more over sized than expected. The burgundy tank top is lovely though.

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What I’ve been thinking is that I don’t have to make it so hard. I don’t have to knit in fingering weight on needle size 3 mm. I can knit in worsted weight on needles 5 or 6 mm and that will really make a difference. That is what I should look into. I have so many lovely sweater patterns and over 40 shawls and it’s time those sweater patterns got into use. I will try to make a sweater, a nice one that fits (I will swatch!), in heavier yarn before next summer (I want to say before winter but we do have Christmas in a few months). I will still make shawls, I love shawls, but I should get some sweaters in there too. I can do it, I know I can!

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Pattern: Island Retreat by Cindy Garland. Yarn: Luxury Fingering from Stunning String Studio, colors Glow Stick and Natural. No mods except I might have changed the color of the shawl body beads (and changed my yarn color choices a million times) from green to white. I’m happy with the result.

The pleasures of summer #4 – A little cleaning that leads to inspiration

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One thing that can be done in summer is cleaning. Spring is most often such a busy time that things like cleaning get neglected. I’m not sure it’s a pleasure to clean but it sure is a pleasure when it’s done. Today was such a day for cleaning. I looked through and oraganized my desk a bit. There were a lot of knitting pattern now, patterns now stored in my knitting library. I also took some time to look through a few knitting magazines that I found. I’ve looked through them before but a girl needs a break. It’s now clear to me that I need to make more sweaters. I usually get this feeling before fall but I never really follow through. After the burgundy tank top I and the ribbon sweater I like the idea of making more tank tops (I love not having to make sleeves) and also some sweaters and cardigans. Now, what might the perfect cardigan pattern be?

The pleasures of summer #3 – What do writers think?

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The things one can do in the summer continues. I was tired today and it was a rainy day so part of it was spent on the balcony while I finished a book and drank tea and nibbled on some chocolate. I have spent quite a few hours reading on the balcony this summer, both day and night. If I tilt the knitting lamp behind the couch and bend it to face the window, I can see to read on the balcony even after the sun goes down. This book was a good one, Kerry Greenwood is a good author and I have read about four of her books about Phryne Fisher so far (there is also an excellent TV show about her). I think I liked this the best. It was a quick read, over before I even noticed it starting, as happens with knittings sometimes. The only thing I didn’t like was the use of bad words. The culprit used many bad words throughout the book and I didn’t care for it. Once or twice is fine, to show character and so on, but this was a bit exagerated. Also, the Miss Fisher I know would never tolerate such a language (not that she did in the book either).

I sometimes wonder how authors and screen writers think when they write something. A bad word or something like that is sometimes necessary to provoke a bit or, as I mentioned earlier, show character, but it can’t be too much or the audience will abandon the book, movie or TV show. I have a friend who stopped watching a show because there were too many rape threats. I myself have stopped watching another show because there was too much slapping women around (that was a police show and if you don’t like the detective in question – the hero - you might as well stop watching. In this case he slapped women in pretty much every episode, and not just him, and that was not okay by me. I mean, sure, this might be true of the 19th century society that was portrayed, police detectives perhaps used violence in every encounter with the female sex, but let’s not forget that the show isn’t real, it’s fiction and we can never pretend it’s not, and we have a choice in how we decide to portray it). I don’t even think the line is that fine when it comes to something nasty that might be necessary for the plot and an excessive use of said nastiness and I think it’s a cheap trick that make me wonder about the writers’ imagination and values.

Besides the use of invectives though, the book was really good. Now I’m on to the next Phryne Fisher Mystery. More tea, please!

The pleasures of summer #2 – A friend with a car

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For me there is a Håkan Hellström song to almost all the major happenings in life and also one connected to almost all the people in my life. The best way to enjoy his songs is at a concert when you are newly dumped. Ironically enough I’ve been to no less than two of his concerts while being dumped just the day before or not very long ago, one time I was even there with the ex in question. There are happy songs as well but they don’t hit you the way the sad onces does.

There are also Håkan Hellström songs connected to minor events, like today for example. There is a song from Håkan’s first album called En vän med en bil (A friend with a car – connected to the movie Festival which is filmed at a music festival in Sweden, a festival that me and Agnieszka visited together in 2001 and then watched the movie later that same summer (while eating cherries and practising making little knots of the stem using only our tounges, but that’s a whole different story) that felt very suiting today.

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A friend of mine recently got his driver’s license and is looking for opportunities to use the car. One opportunity happened today when we went for coffee at an old mill a little outside the town. Small field trips are definitely something that happens in the summer. My friend’s driving was very good and I also had an excellent chocolate cake. A very good field trip despite the rain that came pouring down at a couple of times (but then we were all sitting under a roof or safely seated in the car).

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In the evening me and another friend borrowed a car and went for a little ride. It was a lovely evening, warm and clear and we had tea while talking and watching the sunset. It was simply a good day for friends with cars.