Never say never

Yesterday me and my family were at the biological museum. Me Made wasn’t very impressed but seven year old F was more interested. We got to see animals and birds and look at their different habitats but the coolest thing was that we got to color yarn with mushrooms. We could choose between purple, yellow and gray. I’ve probably talked about this before so there should be no surprise that I’m a bit sceptical when it comes to plant dying. I’ve seen what people have made and although it can be very nice it’s just not my color palet. I like vibrant colors and I’ve yet to see plant dyed yarn in vibrant colors. Also, I don’t like to get my hands dirty and I’m sure plant dying includes some messyness.

Therefore this visit was a great opportunity to see how it’s done without getting my hands dirty. We got some excellent help at the museum and at least I had the making of the yarn ball down (playing with yarn every single day needs to brush off somehow). Then we left for half an hour and when we got back, the mushrooms had done their job and the dying was done. I had chosen yellow, F chose purple and her mother also chose yellow. F had done her yarn ball in different types of yarn (no ball bands so I have no idea what types) and it was interesting to see how the color came out differently on different yarn. My own ball became a sort of ochre and that’ fine. I have no idea if I would ever wear anything in ochre but it was fun to see nontheless. Maybe I could make a hat and put the yarn ball on top. My first (and probably only) plant dying experience.

It’s fall

It’s fall and it’s beautiful. It’s leaves and colors and sunsets. It’s school bags and new note books and pens and books. It’s work and preparations and new beginnings. It’s too much and not enough time. It’s development and excitement over every new little thing and it’s a lovely journey. And there is pretty much no knitting at all.

Straight from the cottage – October

In the end of the summer I decided to join a yarn club. Sure, I’m already in one, my MKAL yarn club that I’ve been a member of for several years by now, where I get a package four times a year with supplies to make a mystery knit along shawl. I like that yarn club. This one is different though. This is a monthly yarn club, where I get a skein of yarn once every month for the next six months. There is somethin different every month and there is no designated design going with it. It’s simply a skein of yarn. Or is it?

Today I got the first package and I love it. It’s perhaps not as fancy as my other yarn club, it’s a brown paper package, a skein of yarn, a card, a soap and a tea bag and still I find it charming. The yarn was in a purple-pinkish shade, the soap is lavender flavored and the tea is a realiable one. There is no strings attached (pun intended) and I can do whatever I want with the  yarn. (Sure, technically I can do whatever I want with the yarn from the other club as well but since there is a designated design I have a hard time going rogue.)

The best part of the package (besides the yarn itself), was a pretty card and a letter where the dyers explained the thoughts behind the colorway. I found that utterly sweet. It made it all very personal and it’s not something you get very often, a chance to really understand the colorway. The more and more I get to know this yarn company, Eden Cottage Yarns, the more charmed I get. They have a well thought idea, they follow it, the yarn have lovely colors, it’s nice to work with and they are situated in the UK so I don’t have to wait too long for my packages to arrive. Now I just  have to look forward to the day when I can actually cast on too.

Lots of snow and bad plowing

I mentioned Christmas is coming and that I have already finished my Christmas socks (granted they are from last year, but does it realy matter?). I have actually finished two pairs of Christmas socks. These are a little more… intense than the last pair. They are more of a statement than just something to warm my feet.

These are heavy on the Christmas spirit. I feel like I need to be in a cabin in the woods, where it’s cold enough that a pair of knee high socks is needed. My place might be way too warm for these.

They were fun to make and turned out okay despite me not being super good at color work. Now we’ll just have to wish for lots of snow in December.

Pattern: Julsockan by Maja Karlsson. Yarn: Mellanraggi from Järbo Garn, colors 28211 and 28224. No mods.

Not too invested

My shawl is slowly progressing. I have an idea about how I want it too look but for the most part I’m making it up as I go along, should I stop here, should I do another one of these, should I change yarn here and so on. I’m not super invested in it though, which I think is a good thing – I won’t be too disappointed if it won’t work out. It started as an experiment and we’ll see what happens. It’s not super bad and I think it might actually work out fine, as far as an experiment goes. I really love that super hot pink though, and it contrasts well with the gray. Yeah, it’ll be fine.

When running out of yarn is a good thing

I’ve mentioned before the list of knitting goals I made for 2018 and today I got to unexpectedly tick off another goal on my list. I started to make this cardigan for Me Made (one thing on the list, a project for a baby) a while back, using stash yarn (another thing on the list, to use stash yarn (granted I get extra points for using light fingering, fingering or sport weight)) and today I finally finished the second sleeve. While finishing that, I also finished the yarn, which I didn’t expect. At first I was a bit worried, what was I going to do, I had a huge hem left to make. Then I thought that I could pick another ball of yarn, in a different color. I didn’t really like that idea since I only have purple and blue left of this yarn and both combinations would look a little too clownish in these shades, if you understand what I mean. Then I got it. I could use left over yarn! That’s another thing on my list, to use up some left overs. I went through the appropriate section of the left over part of the stash and found yarn of the same weight in a grayish sand color. It won’t be the perfect combo (this shade of pink is tricky) but it won’t look too much of a clown combination and the new yarn is soft so it will be nice against Me Made’s neck.

All in all I’m happy with the way things turned out: I got to use all the pink yarn, no left overs there, and I got to actually use some real left overs as well. Now, the only question is wether or not one single project is allowed to tick off multiple things on the list.

Please let me have this

Despite what you might have heard, or want to believe, Christmas is coming this year too. I’m not sure I like that statement myself this year (oh, okay, I do. I love Christmas) since I doubt I will have the time to make even a single little Christmas gift, but that doesn’t change the fact. Christmas is coming. I know looking at the gray sky and the rain doesn’t make you think of snowy fields and frosty trees but even if that doesn’t come, Christmas is.

Last year I started on two pairs of Christmas socks but I didn’t finish any of them until January, when it felt a little bit too late. But that’s just one side to it. I was either too late for last Christmas, or very much on time for this Christmas. Right now I feel much better about the latter so that’s what I’m sticking with. I was well on time with my socks for this Christmas. (And yes, they are mine!) I won’t have time to knit much (or anything) for Christmas this year but at least I’ll have my socks.

Pattern: Improvised. Yarn is: Raggi Multi from Järbo Garn. Color: 15141, a Christmas glitter print.

Strategies for a yarn fair

Every fall I try to go to a yarn fair. I simply love it and I’ve become very good at it. I have developed a strategy and I know what I like.

2014  2015  2016  (I was there in 2017 too, I just never blogged about it.)

This year I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to make it, with everything going on. Then, during the summer, I started to get updates of a new yarn fair, not too far from my town. Two of my knitter friends and I talked about it and decided to go and one sunny but windy Saturday in September we went.

It was a lovely fair, and a lot bigger than anyone expected. So many yarn producers and dyers. I did what I usually do at a yarn fair and despite there being so many people I was in and out as quick as one could ever expect with a lot of goodies and I don’t regret a single one, this even without making any research in beforehand. That’s when I realized afterwards how much of a strategy I have developed over the years.

Here is my guide to a successful fair visit, using my strategies.

1. Know what you like – and what you don’t.

I like merino. I can spot it from far away and I’m drawn to it like a moth a to badly protected yarn stash. I don’t like single ply though so this means that I can skip anything that is single ply and not merino.

2. Know your vendors

This is tricky and becomes easier with experience, obviously, but I follow a lot of vendors on Instagram, I hear about independent dyers, I try to keep an ear on the yarn world ground, so to speak. This means that I know what I find interesting and what is not really for me.

3. Decide on a budget

It’s easy to get carried away so decide on a budget before you go, and remember, it’s cool to be able to buy food and pay rent.

4. Be systematic

This was a small marketplace and it was easy (especially for someone as tall as me) to get an overview of the place. I started in one end and worked my way trough, using numer 1 and 2 above. I stopped at the booths that I liked and skipped the ones that weren’t for me.

5. Think it through before you purchase

I have peviously made a guide on how to buy yarn and this applies to yarn fairs as well. You don’t have to have a specific project in mind but try to think of items a specific yarn could be used for. Compare colors, do they complement each other? Also, if the vendor is new to you, pick a skein or two just to try it out, then when you know you like it, you can get more at a coming event.

.6 Go by yourself

Of course it’s more fun to visit a yarn fair with your friends and I don’t say you shouldn’t (I do it all the time) but what I do say is that while at the fair it’s easier to browse by yourself. You might not want to go to the same booths as your friends and it’s neither fun to wait for someone who has trouble deciding nor is it fun to have someone waiting for you while  your are trying to make a super hard and super important decision on wether you need two or three skeins of bright yellow, hand dyed, merino sock yarn. Also, if there is a lot of people, chances are you will lose each other in the crowd so it’s better to pick a time and a place to meet instead of spending way too long searching for your friend who was last seen behind the DK wool in the far right corner. Once you’ve each done your tour around the fair, meet up for coffee and show off your purchases.

Yarn fairs are wonderful! These are my strategies and they have worked wonders for me so far. Of course there are other ways to work a yarn fair but this is how I do it.

I’m not organized but at least I’m a knitter

I am not one of those people who plan ahead and put my winter clothes in marked boxes in the attic in April and switch them with summer clothes in October. I wish I was but I’m not. Perhaps if it  was easier, if circumstances were different, I’d do that. As it is, all winter coats and hats and mittens are in the hallway all year round. It’s not a good system, let me tell you, because once the cold weather comes I can never find mitts, mittens and so on. At least not two of each. The other day I found one yellow mitt and one purple. They just simply wouldn’t go together.

Then I remembered! I had a pair of unused mitts that I made a year ago for an acquaintance. Then I realized she wouldn’t want them and I’m not the one to knit for someone who is not going to appreciate it, so I kept them and figured I would just give them so someone else. I haven’t though which turned out to be lucky. Instead of looking through the entire appartment (and who has the time to do that before you leave the house?) I just picked these up and off I went, as warm as ever. It’s not really my color but the pattern is beautiful and the yarn is lovely and I will just keep wearing them till I either find two yellow or two purple mitts or I finish the blue version if these mitts that I started over a year ago but never finished – which ever comes first.

Most likely I will lose one of these mitts before any of that happens, but hopefully by then I have made myself (or someone) another pair. Either way is good.