Wanted – future recipient wearing brown shirts

Once again it strikes me how there are no ugly colors. Some months ago I bought a skein of yarn online and when it arrived to me I realized it was not at all what I had hoped for, it’s not my colors at all, and I hid it in my stash while I forgot all about figured out what to do with it.

For some reason I found it in my stash the other day and by some sort of impulse I took it out and left it in the apartment. I’ve been looking at it, I’ve realized it’s still not pretty (on the other hand, the same colorway in a worsted weight yarn from the same brand looks muck prettier. Still not my colors though), and I’ve shown it to friends.

Last night it was laying on my blue kitchen table while my friends where here and I moved it to the wooden chest that I use as a coffee table when we cleaned up after having tea. This morning, when I was sitting in my armchair by the coffee table (it should be tea table since I don’t drink coffee at all), happily knitting on my red and orange shawl, I look up and that’s when it hit me.

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This yarn looks wonderful next to something brown! It was all about how to match it. No wonder I couldn’t figure out what to do with it, I rarely wear brown. But now I can totally see this yarn becoming a shawl worn over a deep brown shirt. I actually had gotten an idea on what to do with it but now that I’ve realized what this yarn’s purpose is, I don’t think I want to go ahead with my plan anymore. This yarn is destined for something bigger than I had thought and now I need to find out if there is someone I know that wears a lot of deep brown shirts and would love a shawl to go over said shirt.

If you know someone who is willing to cherish this yarn (and the shawl it will become) the way it deserves and equally willing to wear it always and often with a brown shirt (and perhaps a brown skirt too), then please give me a call. This yarn should not be wasted on boring things just because it’s knitter doesn’t happen to wear brown very much.

The perfect combination

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What a lovely Friday night! I’ve been looking forward to it all week and made preparations. Sunday I cleaned the entire apartment (well, I had help), Tuesday I made chocolate chip cookies. Thursday I made brownies (a potentially sad story that turned out beautiful, I didn’t have a baking tin that was big enough so I had so make do with a smaller one which made the brownies-to-be much thicker than planned. I tried to compensate for that by leaving them in the over for another ten minutes and then I put the baking tin to cool. When I tried to cut the brownies I realized it wouldn’t work out at all so I put them in the oven again. But by then it was really late and I was too tired to even know my own name so I took the brownies out and went to bed, deciding that I would look at them in the morning instead and possibly have another go in the afternoon. I might have been full-blown a little fustrated too. This morning though the brownies were a piece of cake to cut (pun intented) and tasted divine so all is well that ends well). Today I made some last minute cleaning and brew tea and this evening three of my favorite knitters gathered at my place for some cookies (besides the brownies and chocolate chip cookies we also had “sticky cake” (a chocolate cake that is really good) that one of these wonderful knitters had made) and a lot of knitting. Friends, cookies and knitting, the perfect combination.

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We talked about knitting and about work and about life in general and so much, much more. It’s great talking about one’s stash

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and projects with everyone knowing exactly what you mean (and don’t think you’re a lunatic for loving yarn that much, no I do not have an unhealthy relationship to yarn, it is in fact very healthy, it keeps me from going insane). We all had lovely projects that we admired, there was a lot of nice yarn around and fast, clever and experienced movements of hands and knitting needles.

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I made goood progress on my shawl too and am now at the lace boarder. I wanted to knit something really delicious in honor of our get together and since I’m really happy with my shawl-in-progress and the yarn, I choose that one. Maybe I can have it finished by the end of the weekend…

Thank you, dear friends, for a lovely evening, I had a really good time! Let’s do it again very soon!

Summer of beads

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During this summer I’ve had a MKAL (mystery knit-along) on the needles. I ordered a yarn kit to go with the pattern, the colors were very summery and had wonderful names like sprout and petal pink and there were even beads.

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When my yarn arrived I was thrilled and a little scared. Light pink and lime green, summery and possibly not wearable for anyone over six years old.

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Then I spoke to a lady in a yarn store and we discussed colors and she said it’s interesting how we can say that some colors doesn’t go together or miss-match when at the same time you can find those colors together in nature and have no problem with them. Nothing in nature ever miss-match. Then I decided I was peased with my color choices for the shawl and proceeded boldly on (I’m pretty sure this was not what Jack Halberstam ment but I made an interpretation). Those are nuances of my favorite colors after all.

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This also made me on a constant look-out this summer for the pink-green color combination.

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I’ve might have developed a tiny obsession with geraniums. (There is one in

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a garden close to my building and I kind of want to take a picture of it but I don’t dare doing it during the day in case the people living there might see me. I have thought of going there during night time though and pretty much the only thing stopping me is that it’s too dark at night to photograph it well and that I get tired in the evening.)

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Well, back to the project. This is the summer of… by Cindy Garland, knit with two colors of fingering weight yarn with a lace pattern.

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Every clue gave a new part of the pattern and also a different piece of lace or construction.

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I’ve worked with beads a lot before but then I’ve threaded the beads onto the yarn before the knitting started, now I got to use a small crochet hook to attach the beads. Quite genius even if it takes some extra time to add a bead.

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I liked it though because I got to use my great aunt’s crochet hook that she used to crochet lace many years ago. I like when women reach out to each other across generations to help out with crafts. I also like that my great aunt lives on in this way (and in the million of small crocheted lace table cloths that are in my mother’s linen closet), that she may not exist in this world anymore but that the same tool that she used almost daily to create beautiful things, I can now use in my turn also to make beautiful things. She’s not here anymore but her tools and her projects are still with us.

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I ordered a yarn kit from Stunning String Studio, colors Sprout and Petal Pink, which gave me more than enough of each color to finish the project. It also provided me with beads and stitch markers.

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It was super easy to get the yarn kits even though it had to be shipped overseas. My only concern was that it seemed to be just enough beads in there to finish the project which made me pretty freaked out every time I dropped a bead. I might have dropped about ten of them and could only find about five (they are small and disappears easily, you can barely see them from above and even though it’s easier to spot them from the side they fall on the floor and me being a, in comparison, huge human and the bead being a very small, well, bead, it is hard to have a look at them from the side). In the end I had five beads left which I think was cutting it short.

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The yarn is less bouncy than I had hoped but still a perfectly good yarn.

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I like my shawl. I do, even though I have some concerns.

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I simply think there is too much going on. There are two contrasting colors. There are two different types of lace besides the boarder lace. There is a garder stitch striped area and there are beads. It’s just too much. That’s also the hard thing with a mystery KAL, you can’t be sure you’ve picked the right colors because you have no idea what the design is.

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Also, I’m not sure I like those bigger holes in the lace. At the beginning I really disliked them and they are growing on me but I’m still a bit sceptical.

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I think this shawl is best worn wrapped aorund your neck rather than layed smoothly over your shoulders. That way it’s not too busy. If I make another one I will probably choose different colors, I saw a white and blue combo that I liked, and perhaps loose the lace diamonds on the main colors, but keep the boarder.

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we had a little problem getting it out of the tree after the photo shoot. I bet it was the colors, it liked being in nature.

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The best part though is that I managed to block it into the exact size the pattern stated. No shawlette here. Quite a different from that little Misty Meadow shawl, right?

Planning

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Tonight has been a night of planning. My friend is going to live abroad for a few months and she

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obviously needs some things to keep her warm, things that I can provide her with. Therefore we have spent a few hours looking at patterns and discussed which yarns would go best with each pattern. We’ve had multiple pattern books up and we’ve looked at already knit shawls and non-knit skeins to compare colors and had tea and cookies and great fun. These things need to be taken seriously but at last I think we’ve found things that will work together. Now everything is ordered and hopefully I can cast on in a week or so.

Time flies

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I have no idea where this evening went. Somewhere between power walk and making chocolate chip cookies, time flew and

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now I need to go to bed. I’m tired and a little fussy around the edges so I think it’s appropriate that my pictures are also a little fussy.

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I have had time to knit today too though and made excellent progress on my project. I had a meeting and I could knit during that meeting so I was happy as a clam all the time. Maybe I can make one more row before I fall asleep…

Tea time

Some people say it’s fall already but I disagree. It’s not as if you see sign of spring in January so why start looking for autumn in August? Plus, the weather has been lovely even though August. School has started though so I know the fall is close but I refuse to see it until September.

That doesn’t mean I can’t start preparing for September already now. I mean, there is only a few days left of August. I’ve picked up fall colors for my knitting and I enjoy them. I’ve bought a new sweater that I also enjoy very much. And I drink buckets of tea.

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The other day we got three packets of tea from a co-worker as a thank you for all the help we’ve given him. It’s all red tea, which I really like. My favorite of the three is strawberry and sallow thorn. We also got one with a lot of citrus in it and one with champagne and chocolate. The latter I don’t appreciate as much as the former. It’s weird, I really like chocolate in any form except tea. I don’t know why but I’ve tried two different teas with chocolate and I didn’t care for any of them. But that’s okay, there are so many good teas out there anyway.

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I think the absolute best tea I’ve tasted though, was this one that Agnieszka bought home from Poland. It’s pear and marzipan! Marzipan, I’ve never had that in tea before and it’s soooo good. It’s adds that perfect sweetness without being insipid at the bottom of the cup. I never have any sweetner in my tea, nor milk, but this has just a hint of sweet which is simply lovely. Marzipan tea, oh yeah!

 

Efficiency

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I hope you’ve had a great weekend. I certainly have. Not that I have done anything exciting really but I’ve put things in order and that’s very satisfying sometimes. We’ve cleaned the apartment, dusting, vaccuming, kitchen, bathroom, everything and we’ve done laundry. I don’t think there is a dustbunny to be found for miles, or at least not between our four walls.

Yesterday I was totally on a roll too, and finished no less than four projects. Sure, some of them didn’t have much left to do, some buttons, but still, it had to be done. The finishing of a project is usually the most boring part: block, sewing up, weave in ends, attach buttons, it sometimes feel very far from actual knitting – knit and purl. My best projects are the ones that you can knit in one piece, like raglan sleeves, to minimize the sewing. That’s one thing I like about the two mystery knit-alongs I’ve done so far, with patterns from Cindy Garland, that after each clue the pattern instructs the knitter to weave in ends. Such a great idea, since you have to wait for the next clue anyway you might as well weave in the ends while you do it. Plus, you don’t have that much ends each time and when you’re done with the whole project you only have one or two ends to weave in. Excellent!

Therefore it was very easy to finish the green and pink shawl, when the knitting was done I only had two ends to weave in before I could block it. I also did the last few centimeters of Lyndsey’s hat and to top it all I sewed on the buttons for two baby cardigans (even though one of them only had one button so I might have come off easy there, but why can’t you do that sometimes too?). Now everything is neat and tidy and finished and also photographed so you’ll get to see them all soon here in the blog. Next project is already on the needles and I’m happy about it so far. Soon I might be able to take care of some of my things that are closely becoming UFO’s (UnFinished Objects), but I think I’ll wait until the next time I’m on a roll.

Maniac

There is nothing like a promise of a chance to win yarn to make you knit like a maniac. Two days ago Jenny told me that pictures for our summer mystery knit-along should be up on ravelry by Sunday and then you had the chance to win some yarn. I hade barely just started with the lace boarder when other more interesting knittings stole my attention a few weeks ago, mainly because I wasn’t really sure I liked how the shawl was coming along. When Jenny said this however, I realized a deadline was probably just what I needed to get the shawl finished and I figured that if I could be done with the knitting by Saturday and blocked it over night I could have pictures up on ravelry by Sunday afternoon. Sometimes it’s very good to be more than six hours ahead of time.

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I knit like a little maniac yesterday, “she’s a maniac, maniac on the floor and she’s knitting like she’s never knit before” (a song I really like by the way, I am a dancer after all). No, that’s not really true, I think the time when I had a wrist-warmer deadline coming up and I was to knit ten pairs of wrist-warmers in a week, then I knit like a maniac. I was doing outdoor theater that week and knit between scenes. I was supposed to be carrying some clothes covered in blood in a bowl across the stage (the scene was commonly called “I carried a watermelon” by the actors because of the shape of the bowl and the silliness of the whole scene – that’s the only thing that charecter is doing, carrying a bowl of clothes across the stage (anyone who has seen Dirty Dancing knows what I’m talking about). The clothes the actor get to wear are really nice though (and not bloody at all)). For me it was great because I could hide the knitting under the rags that were supposed to symbolize clothes. Had it been indoors I could of course have just left the knitting on a table or so when my entrance came up but this was outdoor and the stage left entrance was directly from the street where people were walking and biking so I simply stuffed the wrist-warmer-in-progress in the bowl under the rags and made my entrance.)

Well, back to the maniac knitting at hand, I finished the lace boarder earlier today and could put the shawl to block. Do you remember my blocking problem from earlier this summer? Well, I’ve solved that one and today I could put it to great use.

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Two boxes of kid’s play mats, perfect for pushing needles into (plus you can make up really long and intricate figures at the same time), nine mats in each box.

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I had to use ten mats and four edges. I don’t really like blocking, I think it’s hard to get everything even and smooth but at least now I didn’t have to worry about any carpets or towels being too small, now I could just move the mats around as I wished.

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So, the whole shebang is blocking and tomorrow I will take some pictures. The shawl is better now that it’s finished than before but we’ll know for sure what I think about it once it’s dry. Stay tuned.

Q&A

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My friend Rachel has given us a little challenge in her blog Tossing the script. Five questions to be answered to tell a little bit more about ourselves. The questions are harder than you’d think and the balance between telling what someone else wants to hear and be boring, and telling the truth and be suspected of needing some kind of therapy, is a close one.

1. Who is your best friend?

I have many close friends, I really do. I have friends who have known me for many years and I have friends who I got to know just recently. I talk to different people about different things, things I know we have similar views on and things we are equally interested in.

My best friend though has many good qualities but the best one for me as a knitter, is that she is often kind of cold and therefore loves anything knitted and will wear it all the time. I think she has more of my work that I do myself. Once I was talking to one of our a mutual acquaintances who found out that I’m a knitter and mentioned that my friend is also a knitter. No, she’s not, I said. I’ve known her well for almost half my life and I can say with certainty that she does not knit (I actually tried to force her to knit a few stitches once when we were giving a handknit sweater to another friend but she totally refused, but she helped out in other ways instead). “Oh,” our mutual acquaintance said, “but she’s wearing so many handknit things.” Yes, indeed she does but it’s all me. Could there be a more perfect friendship – a knitter and a cold one (and not “cold one” in the Twilight-sense but cold as in chilly and freezing).

2. What is your favorite thing about yourself?

Well, I love that I’m a quite accomplished knitter. I also love that I have a decent yarn stash. I love that I am the kind of person who can look into her yarn bins and start a project at 2 am. I love a lot of other things too but let’s take one thing at a time.

3. What is the best meal you’ve had this year?

That’s a hard one, I don’t know. I don’t know what I’ve been eating really but Julle makes darn good food and so does my mum. Perhaps the best meal is my mother’s meat sauce with pasta and then a Swedish lent bun (semla) for dessert.

4. If you could dine with any historical figure, who would you choose?

Hm, perhaps one of the Pankhursts… I would want to know their views on what would be the next important issues to fight for after the women suffrage was won.

5. What fictional character do you  most relate to?

I once took a test in a book who told you which Jane Austen character you were most alike. According to the test I was most alike Mary Crawford, the only person in that book that the author didn’t like and repeatedly scolded. I hadn’t read Mansfield Park then but when I did a few years later I could not understand what was so horrible about Mary Crawford. Sure, she chooses money and nice dresses and parties over her love but in a time when marriage was the only way of making a carreer, can you blame her? She knew she couldn’t be happy on a vicar’s salary and wasn’t it the wise thing to do then, to back away instead of engaging herself in a life that she would dislike as soon as the first strong crush wore off? I can’t say I see any similarities between me and Mary Crawford other than that we might both be pretty pragmatic, but I think she is a character with more depth than you might think (especially next to that utterly boring Fanny Price whom I couldn’t stand after 200 pages).

6. What recently made you laugh out loud?

This morning when I read an unecpected e-mail from a co-worker. I can’t reveal the content though but it was funny (funny because it was true).

Well, there you have it, my answers to Rachel’s questions. I hope you’ve enjoyed it!

Goodbye baby

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Tomorrow my friend Maja leaves our town to go far and away, across an ocean and will not be back for a whole year. She had a little farewell after work today at a pub and we were all there to mingle and laugh and eventually say goodbye. I had my knitting with me of course, to keep me from tearing up completely, and I was seated next to other knitters and craftswomen.

I wish Maja to have a good year and to discover a lot of new things and have a really marvelous time. I also gave her a goodbye gift, something to do on the long plane ride.

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Obviously it was a skein of merino in a color that I think Maja will appreciate. She is a knitter and what better gift to give to a knitter than yarn?

I will miss her terribly but eventually she will be back and we can all knit together again.