Magic 12 – check up

I have indeed finished the purple shawl. Or, since it’s so small, shawlette. It’s blocking and I can add another finished project to the list. Since I mentioned the Magic 12 yesterday, I started looking how I am doing on that front. To tell the truth, it’s bad. Really bad. If I’m going to look strictly at the rules, which states that I am to make at least 12 bigger projects (bigger projects include shawls and sweaters and garments, not accessories like cuffs, mitts and socks) for myself, it’s really bad. To this day, counting the purple shawlette, I have exactly three (3). Three shawls. That’s it. If I stretch the rules a bit and count all projects for me, it’s a little better, then I have seven (7). Or maybe 8, I haven’t decided yet. I made something for someone and now I’m thinking that someone doesn’t want that project and I’m not sure whether to keep the project for myself or not.

But yes, there it is and I need to plan accordingly. Tomorrow my purple cardigan will be out of quarantine in the freezer and also my MKAL shawl. I have another shawl that needs blocking and a border and the blocking is fine but the border is crochet and I’m not sure what to make since I don’t have a lot of yarn (this project was exciting in many ways, I got yarn from a co-worker and got to take a look at a shawl that it was supposed to turn out to, but I have no pattern so it’s all a little hit and miss. I managed to make the body of the shawl (knitting), but since I’m not really a crocheter, I don’t know how to attack the problem really. Well, I can always start with the blocking.).

So, I’m not giving up, I can do this, even though I might have to bend the rules a bit. I’m strong and powerful and the knitting goddess is with me! Knit on, knit strong!

Summer of sorting (out the knitting)

My goal this summer was to sort out the knitting problem once and for all. Looking back in the blog it seems it had already started last summer so there is no wonder this spring was crazy knitwise.

In Scotland I got to see replicas of the embroideries made my Mary, Queen of Scots, while she was in confinement. She made wonderful embroideries and put all kinds of symbols in them to send secret messages to her friends on the outside. I got inspired, imagine having all that knitting time!

So I started with material. I got to visit some really great yarn stores while in Scotland and bought some delicious yarn as well, things I’ve been meaning to try for quite some time, things that are pretty and that I always find pretty and some new things too.

I continued to work with the material part of knitting once I got back home. I started to sort and organize my stash in Stash Dash 2017. I managed to take care of almost all of the stash before going on my next trip but had to leave the leftovers till after.

Italy was not a yarn trip, nor was it meant to be one. It was over 30 degrees Celsius every day so I didn’t really feel like yarn shopping (well, one can always shop for yarn but it wasn’t the first thing on my mind right there and then). Instead I was worried about the non-knitting. I had had two weeks at home after Edinburgh and I hadn’t finished a single project. What’s wrong? I had even gotten out of the habit to always have a project with me, in fact, I have bought a purse where I can only fit a really, really small project. Again, what’s wrong!?

I did get inspired though. I looked at the beautiful mosaics in Ravenna and I thought about color combinations and yarn quality and cross-stitch. There is a clear connection between mosaic and cross-stitch, where the picture is formed by one little stitch or one little piece of glass at the time and I got to think about the mosaics as a craft and the conditions under which they were formed. How was it done, what where their thoughts? The craftsmen must have had ups and downs as well, they must have made mistakes and solved them, either by redoing everything or by pretending the mistake never happened. Just like with knitting. There are corners in the mosaic borders at the Galla Placidia mausoleum that doesn’t really add up and I wonder why, was it deliberate or was it a mistake from the beginning? It got to the point where I actually bought myself a beginner’s mosaic kit, just to get a feel for the craft.

Then one evening it happened. We had asked for the check but it never arrived, we waited and waited and all of a sudden, I picked up my knitting. I didn’t get much work in but I did it, which was the important thing.

Once I got back home I continued with my stash dash. This time it was the leftovers that got sorted. I have a lot of leftovers! Once that was done I rewarded myself by adding the yarn from the freezer, the newest yarn, to the stash and by that it was all done.

I managed to empty 17 project bags (I have about 30(!)). I added shelves for WIP’s/UFO’s and project kits and all in all it’s just lovely. I realize I might have to go through an entire shelf (or three in the case of fingering weight) to find the yarn I’m looking for but at least I don’t have to go through six shelves to find yarn in different colors. No, all yarn in the same weight have sections of their own, no one is sharing. Except the leftovers but they can take it. It doesn’t look much on the picture but I happen to know that at least one of those shelves contain about 50 skeins of yarn. 50! I wonder how many kilometers of yarn I have…

When all this was done I went on another trip. This time I had a little more knitting time and most of all, knitting opportunity. I brought all my WIP’s so that I could knit whatever tempted me and off I went.

I picked the new cardigan to be my new best friend and cast on and knit the entire trip. It felt good and I wanted to keep on doing it but as a precaution, since someone said the horrible word moth, I put all the projects from that trip, aka all my WIP’s, in the freezer. Now what, no projects for a week? And here I was, just starting to get into knitting again.

In the end this proved to be easier than I thought. During the stash dahs I had found quite a few UFO’s and suddenly one of them just spoke to me. It whispered my name and lured me with promises of pretty cables. I picked it up and started knitting and I thought that I wouldn’t be able to finish Before the week, and with that the quarantine, was over. But there I was wrong. I am now close to the end and it all goes according to plan I might finish it tonight. That’s awesome! Not only will I have a new little shawlette (it was never intended for me when I cast on back in 2014 but the intended recipient never knew about it so I think I’m safe to keep it) but it will also free up one of my prettiest set of 4 mm needles, needles that I’ve been missing for some time now.

During the week I’ve also managed to block some things (that shawl was done in February but I never had the energy to block it) and also to take photos of a lot of shawls. The backlog at Ravelry has been huge but is a little less huge right now, which makes everything easier.

I’m not sure what this means. It might mean nothing (except perhaps a finished shawl and another set of 4 mm needles free) but it’s something and it’s also one step closer to the Magic12, the amount of projects for me in a year. Right now though, I feel pretty awesome.

Summarize summer

And then it was over. That amazing, long summer that seemed endless but proved to be way too short. Sometimes it feels like summer is all about collecting memories to remember in November and I have found that the best way to do that is to summarize summer a bit. I did it back in 2013 and that really helped me put some perspective over the summer. I don’t know why I didn’t do it in 2014 but in 2015 I was too caught up with the wedding and all, and suffering from post-wedding coma. Last year, well, from the blog I gather that I was way too caught up in thinking about socks to care about anything else. This year though, this is it. I’m summarizing summer to remember in November. Poetic, huh?

This has been a summer filled with travels. But let’s start from the beginning.

I kick-started summer with an intense week that started off with a party and a good friend’s thesis defence. I knit. It was a long defense, but super interesting, and I made good progress on a sock and danced the night away. I remembered how much I love dancing and I really should do it more often.

That same week I went to no less than two concerts. The first was Little Mix and me and my four friends were probably the oldest in the audience, a part from the accompanying parents to the thirteen year olds that contained the bulk of the audience. We danced and had fun and it was awesome.

The second concert was Håkan Hellström, an artist I’ve seen many times before. This time though, I fell in love. Not in Håkan, he captured my 16 year old heart a long time ago (well, 16 years ago) and even though I mostly listen for nostaligic reasons these day, he will always hold a special place in my heart. No, Håkan had a guest with him on stage, a super cool woman (seen in white in the picture) that I immediately wanted to know more about. I googled and I was hooked. Silvana Imam might be the coolest person ever and the rest of the summer has been defined by her music. I simply love it! All of it.

There was also another concert this summer – The Stars from The Commitments, at the beach in Ravenna. And yes, they did play Mustang Sally.

The thing I’ve done the most this summer is working out, which also means that I’ve been listening to music a lot. I’ve worked out in Edinburg and at home, indoors and outdoors, and it’s been great.

Scotland set off what would also be the summer of castles and palaces. I’ve been to the Holyrood castle, the residence of Queen Elizabeth II when she’s in Scotland. And I’ve seen…

…Sterling castle…

…Edinburgh Castle…

…Borgholm castle…

…Wik castle when me and Emma went swimming in the lake, and…

…Skokloster castle where there was a Jane Austen exhibition and me, Agnieszka and Hanna went there to have a look at, drum roll please…

…the very shirt worn by Colin Firth when he takes a swim in the lake at Pemberley as Mr. Darcy in the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice. The. Very. Shirt. Mhm!

We also saw some other really cool clothes from the Movies. Here is the wedding outfit that Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy wore in the same production. We also got to try on some really awesome poke bonnets (Bring the bonnet back!). Speaking of bonnets…

My friend Elina works out the Skansen outdoor museum and me and our friend Fatou went there to see her. Elina can really sport a bonnet. We had a great time, all of us and it was a perfect summer day in so many ways.

This summer has also included some really good food and drinks.

There is no summer without strawberries (I also tried a scottish strawberry flavored cider and it was good but the whisky flavored one was better).

A trip to the UK wouldn’t be complete without afternoon tea. With champange!

And pastries.

Fried vegetables are really the best thing ever and Woodstockholm Vinbar knows how to do it.

Along with the best desserts too! The wine was good too…

Scotland knew its ciders…

…and Italy its drinks…

…and pizza obviously.

Öland also offered some really good food, like this mybakelse for example.

But really, this summer has been all about the ice cream. From Italy with italian gelato…

…and capital ice cream (yes, Fatou is having an ice cream burger!)…

…to ice cream from Öland. So good, all of it!

And with a stop in Söderköping on the way. The ice cream was as delicious as I remembered it from last time and I got to see a lock again! How I’ve missed them! We never got to see it in action but it was still really awesome just to know it was there.

Since one of my New Year’s resolutions was to learn to drink whisky, I was pretty happy to visit some whisky distilleries while in Scotland.

The best one was Glengoyne and I think it’s safe to say that I have learned to drink whisky now. Not the smokey stuff, but the delicious single malt with a hint of honey.

This summer also offered beaches (this one in Ravenna)…

…both home (this is Borgholm) and abroad,

(I never Went swimming in Loch Lomond though)…

…and…

…a number of…

…pretty…

…amazing…

…sunsets.

I got to hang out with family…

…and friends…

…and men in kilts.

I got to sport my sunglasses, which might be the best sunglass purchase I’ve ever made, and I took many selfies with my mother, who was a little less impressed by the whole selfie thing than me, but she was a good sport about it anyway.

Julle on the other hand, he prefered taking pictures himself most of the time.

I got inspired to have an equally great library as this one in Bologna,

I visited cathedrals, baptisteries and churches,

I saw amazing and really old mosaics and I’m so thrilled about the craft,

I climbed that hill and I watched extraordinary nature.

It’s really been an amazing, long, funfilled summer but no matter how impressed I am about it all, mosaics, highlands, beaches, oceans, ice creams, whisky and chathedrals, the one cathedral I always want to come back to, is this one, the one further down the street from home.

A lesson in cabling

Do you remember these mitts? The ones I was complaining so much about at the beginning of the summer? Then I was confused and completely lacking in the department of creativity so I cast on a second pair. That project I really like but I haven’t made much progress because trips got in the way and non-knitting and stuff, but now I’m back on the knitting train, it seems, and I will tacke care of that projects… some other time

Anyway, one of the reasons I had problems with this pattern was the cabling. I like to cable without a cable needle but the knit-through-backloop through me off and that was tricky to get the upper hand on. After some swearing and some glaring and muttering I did get the hang of it though.

And it was lucky I did. Figuring this out really helped with my purple cardigan. It has a lot of cabling and it’s all through the backloop. It also has cabling on the wrong side which adds a completely new level of trickiness.

I will still have to figure that out but it’s so much easier since I’ve got it for the right side. So far I’ve mostly knit it in the dark so maybe it will be easier when it’s out of quarantine and I can have adequate lightning.

Not only that, but I remember leaving the UFO shawl back in 2014 because of trouble reading the pattern and I think I had some problems with the knit-through-backloop. Now though, I can’t understand what I was thinking (well, I also had a major cold when I cast on so that might be the reason why I wasn’t feeling it), I really like this project.

So, to sum up, even though I thought the mitts were a pain in the ass, I really learned something and as it happens, I also find knitting through the backloop to be extremely charming and elegant.

Pattern: Arya Mitts by Patti Waters. Yarn: Babyull Lanett from Sandnes, color 2650 beigemelert. Mods: six repeats before the increases, another five before the thumb gusset.

Surprise!

It turns out yesterday wasn’t the last day at the beach, well, at least not the last day to go swimming. That was a surprise and a very good one too. Apparently summer isn’t completely over after all. Not that I ever thought it would be but still, fall semester is fast approaching.

This day was actually full of surprises. While I was away this week someone said the most scary word ever – moth. I was assured it wasn’t the clothes moth and I think I handled it all very well but I am also being proactive and just to be sure I have put all the wool I brought on my trip in quarantine in the freezer.

There is just a slight problem. Since I wanted to use this trip to get my knitting mojo back, I brought a variety of projects, hoping that one of them would tempt me. As it turns out, while one did indeed tempt me, I brought all of my VIP’s. This means that all my current projects are now in the freezer for the next week. What to do?

This is when I surprised myself. I actaully picked up a UFO, a shawl from 2014. I have knit a few rounds and it feels good. I hope this lasts.

“Beach baby, beach baby there on the sand”

Last day at the beach. I’ve been bathing in the ocean, I’ve been eating strawberries and I’ve enjoyed the sun. Simply a day to remember in November.

My cardigan is coming along nicely and even though it’s not very summer-y, with it being a dark purple woolen cardy and all, at least my stitch markers are summer themed. I haven’t seen any dolphins but I have seen sea shells and I’ve worn beach appropriate shoes.

Now it’s time to start preparing for fall but I  will stay in summer mode for just a few more days. After all, it’s not even mid-August yet.

Dark despite the sun

I have cast on. It’s slow progress because I have apparently lost my abilities to see dark yarn in badly lit rooms (where I’ve mostly been knitting) but I am making progress. The bottom cuff is done and I’ve moved on to bigger needles and a little less “purl through backloop in the dark”. Next exciting thing will be to see how the pattern looks once I’v actually finished a chart repeat.

Mojo

I have left the city and my home and gone south again. Not very far but far enough, to the island of Öland. I will enjoy the last bit of vacation before I go back to work and I will do my best to get my knitting mojo back. Looking back through the blog posts I realise the knitting was already funky last summer and it’s about time something happens to set it straight. I have brought four different knittings, depending what I feel like making, and a friend who understands my mojo problem and hoppfully all will be okay eventually. I have cast on my purple cardigan (I managed to get 3,25 mm needles before we left) and so far it feels good. Hopefully the feeling lasts.

Stash dash 2017 pt. 6 and weekend plans

It’s Sunday evening and I have done my best to meet my goals. So how have I done?

Well, no. 1:

The stash is organized! This is a huge accomplishment and I’m really happy about it. It seems I knit most in light fingering and fingering weight and it’s also these weights together with worsted that I seem to buy the most. I also now have 17 empty project bags (out of approximately 30). I should knit more from leftovers in fingering weight though because that section is just waiting to flood.

No. 2. I have blocked three pairs of socks.

No. 3. I am about three ridges into clue 6 on the MKAL.

No. 4. I have put together the package but I haven’t mailed it yet. I will do that tomorrow.

No. 5. I have wounded five skeins of yarn and swatched. I did get stuck though. Apparently I only have one 3,25 mm needle. One. One single needle. One needle doesn’t make a knitting. I have to go to the yarn store tomorrow and pick up a new pair. Therefore I haven’t cast on yet so technically I haven’t met this goal.

No. 6. I have contemplated knitworthyness but not nearly as much as I want to. On the other hand, I feel better about it so it was good anyway.

All in all I’m happy about my weekend, knitwise, even though I had hoped to have cast on my new knitting. I will take care of that tomorrow though. And also bring a back up knitting in case this doesn’t work out.

Stash Dash 2017 pt. 5 – Leftovers

What do other knitters do with their leftovers? That’s the question I’ve been asking myself tonight. I have a huge amount of leftovers, as I’m sure does every knitter. Before I just stashed them in color coded sections in the stash but it wasn’t working and now that the stash section containing un-knit yarn, so to speak, has expanded in order to create a better over view and organization, something must be done about the leftovers. Some of it is pretty useless but some of it can become other things, like wristwarmers or something even bigger when combined. Some of it I know what it is and some… I have no idea. But, I can see the end of Stash Dash 2017 and I have saved the best for last, as a treat for when I’m done dealing with the leftovers, to add the freezer yarn to the stash. There are a lot of goodies in there that can finally move in to the new and improved stash and I’m actually very excited to get to use it.

But first, leftovers!