Seven days a week

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Knitwise, this week has felt as one those homiletic nursery rhymes about good girls and boys who keep busy all week with milking of cows, churning butter, baking bread and so on so they can spend Sunday angelically resting. That’s my week, knitwise. One sweater, from spike to loaf.

1. Thursday: wpid-DSC_1757.jpg
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I realize I need to knit something delicious and pick up the most delicious yarn I can find in my stash. It’s yellow. I add delicious pink and a little green since the yellow and pink won’t be enough. I cast on, using the instructions for Doreen L. Marquart’s Modular cardigan to know how many stitches I need. I change needles to 2,75 and decide that I’m happy with that. I do not swatch, the recipient is small enough to fit in practically anything I make and the number of stitches are for a bigger size.

2. Friday
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I continue knitting on the bodice, making it longer than the pattern states because I want the  stripes to match the sleeves. I also buy buttons that I think will look great on the finished cardigan.

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I knit all day, bringing my knittin with me everywhere I go. Late in the evening I finish the last buttonband and give the cardigan a bath together with some no-rinse soap (best invention ever, by the way. What did I ever do before I tried this? I’ve always been reluctant of hand-washing things because I’ve been scared I wouldn’t get all the soap out but with no-rinse soap all problems are solved!).

4. Sunday
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Cardigan is still blocking and takes forever to dry. Meanwhile I cheat and cast on another sweater (blocking as we speak), a girl in a homiletic nursery rhyme can’t let her hands rest, idle hands…

5. Monday
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Cardigan is finally dry and I weave in ends and sew buttons. There are many ends to weave in and I don’t really like sewing buttons but they are so cute it’s all I can do not starting to nibble on the colors.

6. Tuesday
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I fasten my little label that tells that I’m the one who has made this cardigan should anyone forget. If nothing else they should know who to blame if the thing is scratchy. I take photos of the finished cardigan and then I warp it in tissue paper, write a card and send it off to the recipient as a little surprise. The recipient is very far away and I wish to remember them to come back home soon, hence I give away hand made cardigans. Also, the little darling might be cold and we can’t have that.

7. Wednesday

I rest, pleased to know that the post delivery will do the rest. Today the cardigan arrives at the recipient and my week of knitting a sweater is done. Therefore I can proudly present to you…

The Ice Cream Cardigan!

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The Ice Cream Cardigan has borrowed some of it’s stitch amount from the Modular cardigan by Doreen L. Marquart but is heavily modified and improvised.

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Since I don’t like sewing together a knitted garment I try to make as much as possible in one piece. Therefore this is a raglan cardigan knit on a circular needle so I won’t have to cast off any stitches under the sleeves.

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The  yarn is from Marks & Kattens, Eco Baby Bomull. The ball bands are long lost but I think the yellow is discontinued. I had a cotton period about five years ago and I think these balls are from then (I particularly remember a lace skirt and a tank top, the latter with unfortunately long shoulder straps as a result of my cotton period).

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Buttons have elephants on them! Tiny baby elephants for a tiny baby shrimp.

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The Ice Cream Cardigan is knit with only good colors, ice cream colors and will probably make the recipient look like a tiny bonbon. Or some scoops of ice cream with sprinklers. I should have added a warning tag to the parents not to chew on the baby.

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I totally can’t get enough of the yellow, it makes me so happy, and really, that was the idea with this cardigan in the first place.

This was a good week – I made a cardigan and I learnt a new word: homiletic.

After work

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Drinking tea, eating chocolate cake and knitting. That’s what I have spent my evening doing. And talking and listening. One of my best ways of spending time, definitely my kind of after work. I finished the little sleeve I was working on and also weaved in all the ends. Now it’s time for blocking.

Baby elephant sewing

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Deliciously I move on. Blocking is finally done, it took two full days which is crazy, and now I’m ready for the next step. I don’t really like sewing buttons but it helps if they are cute. Elephants are my favorite animals so these buttons I particularly like. I mean, who won’t be happy by cute little elephants in happy colors?

Plan in progess

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So far my plan to only paint with the good colors has worked out great. Ice cream colors. Mango, pistachio and strawberry.

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The plan to make small and quick projects also goes well. My little ice cream project is now blocking on the apartment floor and I only have to sew it up, weave in ends and add buttons. The button part is not to take easily, it’s quite boring to add buttons but I’ve found some great looking ones that will hopefully be a joy to sew.

I can’t believe though that it takes longer for the project to dry after blocking than it takes to knit up. Luckily I can’t knit on something else while it blocks. I’m a little obsessed with the yellow actually. The yarn is Marks & Katten, Eco Baby Bomull but the color, which I have no idea what it’s called since the ball band is long gone, seem to be discontinued. It’s sad because it’s truly delicious.

Lion yellow and pumpkin knits

Almost every year around August I fall in love with a certain color. It’s the only color I can see, it’s everywhere and I love it. I buy clothes in it, I choose calendars in it, I keep it around me and everything I see in that color interests me.

2009 it was deep purple and I kept that color all around me, everywhere. I can still find traces of that obession around the apartment. I still think it’s a great color, I’m just not as in love with it as I once was.

2010 it was a certain shade of orange, a warm orange that went closer to yellow than black. I usually have problems with orange since I think it sometimes tends to look a little dirty and sad and I that makes me uncomfortable. In 2010 all I could find in that perfect shade of oragen was a scarf but I was overjoyed when I finally found it. How great!

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2011 it was lion yellow. I knit my first raglan sweater and totally redid a pattern that I like the shape of but not the lace cuffs and collar. Also, my yarn was not at all what the pattern asked for so I knit a swatch and did some math and no one was more surprised than I when it actually worked out well. It’s a great sweater in the perfect lion yellow. (The first few times that I wore it though, no one mentioned how great it looked even if they had seen me knit on it for weeks and weeks, all they could do was comment on a loose stitch that I had missed and that was unfortunately placed in the front straight on my stomach. I understand it was hard to miss but still, was that the only thing about my great sweater in the perfect lion yellow dhade that was worth commenting on? Why not be quiet then instead! It’s been a couple of years now, I’m almost over it.)

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2012 it was bright red and I bought yarn that I never had time to start on but thought about often. This was probably because the other red thing I bought, my calendar, was so full all the time with things I had to do. I still have the yarn though and I know the project for it so I’ll eventually get to it.

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2013 I’m back with my warm orange shade but this time it’s the combination with lime green that makes me itch. It’s a delicious combination and I haven’t gotten it out of my system yet.

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It reminds me of pumpkins and apples. I wonder which little pumpkin will get something out of this. Hopefully by the time I’ve made these cuties into an equally delicious piece of knitting, I’m done with the itch too. Or not, it’s so pretty I could probably knit with this forever. Or at least till next fall.

By the way, as you can see, I’ve bought yarn which makes the total amount of skeins and balls this summer 73. So far…

 

Revelation

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I’ve had problems with my knitting lately. It’s been chafing and nothing seems to be right. I doesn’t tempt me, it’s all wrong and I don’t want to do it. There is something amiss it every project I pick up, the wrong color, the wrong yarn, the wrong pattern, the wrong sentiment, you name it, it’s wrong. It feels a bit like when you’re sitting in an uncomfortable chair and you keep changing position every fifth second because you there is always something wrong, something hurting somehow. I’ve tried to continue with my jacket but got overwhelmed with the feeling of a never ending project, I’ve tried to cast on the next project in line but wasn’t in the mood, I’ve tried buying yarn but couldn’t find what I was looking for and ended up buying a silly substitute that didn’t to the trick, I’ve tried not knitting, I’ve tried a little knitting, I’ve tried it all. Nothing works.

Suddenly it hit me the other night and I started putting two and two together. Almost everything in my life chafe right now, I just hadn’t noticed. Well, obviously I had noticed but it’s been more of as if you sit on a wooden bench you know you’ll eventually end up with a sore bum if you sit there long enough so therefor you might not notice when the soreness comes earlier than predicted due to a splinter or something. Everything usually chafes at some point (but usually not everything chafe at the same time), going back to work after summer vacation, going to the gym, relations to other people, cooking, baking, reading, sleeping, activities or whatever. Even if it’s things that are usually nice (I mean, the wooden bench is great when your feet are sore or the alternative is to stand up for two hours listening to a verbose speach) you’ll eventually end up with it chafing a bit one way or another: you miss being able to be outside on a sunny day when you have to sit at your computer at work, you can’t seem to go to bed early enough to get enough sleep, you have a fight with someone, you don’t have the energy to go to the gym, things like that. Usually though, all things doesn’t feel like this at the same time, you experience some of it while other things are great which makes life move on in an even pace with not too many setbacks at the same time.

This time though, things are not even. They are chafing. I realized I’ve been making up solutions to stop the chafing on all levels of my life for quite some time now, but it never works. If it feels weird not seeing someone I try to make sure I see that person, only to discover that didn’t do the trick either and I can’t get rid of the feeling that something is amiss. I can’t explain it better than that it’s chafing and so far the only thing that seems to work at least a little bit is a few hours of solitude every day.

I noticed the chafing quicker when it came to the knitting because knitting never chafes. Knitting is wilful and miserable and ugly and mean and mischievous and cheating and a lot of other things from time to time but knitting never chafes. Knitting is always the big friendly comfort blanket you can go back to whenever things are bad. Sure, one project can make you wan’t to start gnawing frantically on your needles but then there is always another project there to comfort you. Not this time, which makes my entire life upside down and I don’t know how to handle things.

I know why it’s chafing everywhere right now but I also know there is absolutely nothing I can do about it, which is a little discouraging, I must say. I can only sit down and wait (perhaps that’s it, I’ve sat down to wait on the wooden bench which is now turning uncomfortable) and hopefully everything will gradually turn back to, at least semi-, normal. Kind of wish it would happen soon though. I want my comfort project now!

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Now that I’ve realized this, that it’s not the knitting itself, it’s life, I think I have more of a chance to help me handle at least the knitting part (and the rest too eventually, it’s always better to put words on your feelings). I’m going to be nice to myself and leave all the thoughts that include a “should” in them and only knit what instinctively feels right. I should finish my pink and white jacket but I’ll do that another time. Or not, if I don’t want to. There is no prestige in making your main hobby into something virtous, of course we always look down on the person who can never finish something and moves from project to project but what if the finished item is not the important thing? What if starting projects is what’s fun? And if that be the case, why not do it? It’s knitting, it’s not eating dessert (even though those to work perfect together), and you should be able to do whatever you want with your hobby. If you only want to do the fun parts then so be it, start how many projects you want. No one will love you more, you won’t be a much better person if you restrain yourself and force yourself to do the boring parts of finishing before you can start a new project (with the dessert eating it’s a little different since only eating dessert and nothing else can actually be a health risk but starting a new project without finishing another doesn’t hurt anybody, at least not until you have some many unfinished projects that you are ready for being on an episode of Hoarders).

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So, I will throw prestige out the window and start as many projects I want and whichever projects I want (forget about Christmas knitting, I need to sort myself out first). (For me, the fun part, apart from the actual knitting, is seeing progress and to close up on finishing. It’s like with a good book, you really like it but you also want to finish it so you’ll know what happens in the end. It’s bittersweet since finding out what happens in the end also means finishing it and that your reading it is over. That’s why I really like epilogues.)

Therefor I will now only paint with the good colors, the ice-cream colors, and do fun projects where I don’t need to learn a new technique and where I can see progress in almost every row. I need to be nice to myself!

Experiment

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Sometimes knitting feels like pure experimenting.

You pick your pattern
You pick your yarn
You realize the yarn is not good for that pattern
You search for another yarn
You find new pattern that would work with the old yarn except for the color
You search for the same yarn in a new color
You find new color but in a different yarn
You search for new pattern for new yarn
You find old pattern and remembers original idea
You let go of new yarn and start searching for yarn to go with pattern
You find yarn
You knit a swatch
You cannot get gauge
You try other needles
You cannot get gauge
You try other needles
You cannot get gauge
You try other needles
You cannot get gauge
You try other needles
You cannot get gauge
You abandon yarn
You find new yarn but no needles
You have pattern, yarn and needles, all is good
Except they don’t work together.
You realize you need trip to yarn store
You buy new pattern, new yarn and new needles for a totally new project that wasn’t at all what you were supposed to knit.

And this is only before the actual knitting begins.

In search of something delicious

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It seems I’m always in search of something delicious to knit. It’s not entirely true but my mood gets much better when there is something delicious around. Not every project is delicious, some are just great, others are okay and they can all be enjoyable for me as a knitter. It’s just that sometimes I really need something delicious. Some projects are delicious from the picking of the yarn, others from the pattern, some from the combination of yarn and pattern, some from the first few rows and some doesn’t show their deliciousness untill the last stitches.

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Right now I need something delicious. I’m a little tired of never getting to finish anything, the pink and white jacket takes forever and I need a break. I’ve told you before about my, after what it seems according to knitting patterns, abnormaly long arms and now I’m in the middle of knitting a sleeve for one of those arms and I just need to finish something. There are other projects that I could just put some effort into and they would be finished but that won’t do it, not this time. I need to start something interesting, something delicious and then finish it.

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Therefor I’ve been roaming my stash and come up with yarn for two projects I’ve planned. I don’t know yet whether they are delicious but I intend to find out, soon.

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In here are a shawl and a beret. Hopefully pattern and yarn will work out great, get along well and help me get over my sense of hopelessness for the never ending sleeve.

Off I go!

Fika* break

Chocolate chip cookie dough must be the best tasting dough. Except for gingerbread cookie dough, which is truly the best but can usually only be eaten once a year – one or two weeks before Christmas (perhaps that’s what makes it the best dough, the sweetness of the limited access). Chocolate chip cookie dough can be reached whenever which is a huge advantage but it still only makes a strong two on the scale.

We’ve gotten a new colleague at work and today was our first work meeting all together so I though it would be appropriate to bring some goodies to have with the coffee, to make everyone feel a little extra welcome.

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Hence, I decided to bake something. Plus, it gave me a chance to initiate my new apron that I got this summer.

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I really detest getting my fingers sticky and choping chocolate bars into little chocolate chips definitely makes my hands sticky so for once I decided to buy chocolate chips. It’s not exacly economic but it saves a little time. Also, they look cute.

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It’s actually a pretty easy dough to make and it tastes so good, I totally get why some ice cream makers have had the great taste to put chocolate chip cookie dough in their ice cream.

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My recipe says to roll pieces of dough into balls, then split them, turn the halves and put them together again. I don’t really ge it but I figure they are supposed to not look smooth and in order. I figure I can make them look untidy without this procedure by simply taking pieces of dough from the bowl with and dump it on the baking sheet.

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They all smooth out in the oven anyway.

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Speaking of baking sheets, yesterday I mentioned how my toes are intact. Last time I made cookies for a co-worker I accidentally droped a baking sheet corner first right on my left middle toe. Luckily the baking sheet wasn’t hot but it still hurt like crazy, the toe was blue for weeks and still hurts if I press a finger to it. Yesterday before I went home my co-worker told me to be careful with my toes and well, I was.

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Today we had a great fika* at our meeting, the cookies tasted great and we also had fruits and biscuits and plenty of tea and coffee but most importantly: my toes are still intact.

* Fika – the activity that you do at a café: having coffee/tea/something else to drink and (often but not necessarily) eat some kind of pastry. Swedes take our fika serious and make sure to do it multiple times a day – a fifteen minutes fika break in the morning at work and again one in the afternoon, when visiting with friends, by yourself in the evening or whenever it seems suitable. The level of the fika can vary, everything from seven different kinds of cookies together with your friends and the nice china to a simple cup of coffee while watching the news on TV. The word fika comes from vagabond slang where the syllables in the word kaffe (coffee) were inversed to make fekafika.

Naval Affection

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I have completely forgotten to show this. It’s been done for about three weeks and I use it frequently (it goes very well with my new white jacket my mother-in-law gave me, thank you, Ula!) because, you know, stripes are great! Plus my back and neck hurt like crazy and there is nothing like a gorgeous shawl that you knit yourself to make the pain a little easier. Also it helps that it is wool, it’s summer and

that those two combined mean that a shawl, made of the former, around your neck during the latter will be as warm as a bonfire in Sahara at noon.

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This is, (finally!) my Color Affection, designed by Veera Välimäki.

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The yarn is Malabrigo Sock in colors Côte d’Azur, Ravelry Red and Natural.

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I modified it a bit. I used backwards loop cast on increases to make the edge stretchier. Also, the pattern says to use contrasting color no. 2 (i.e. the red) for the bottom edge but I just thought it would look better in blue.

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I love that the colors are not completely solid so that there are some tints in the blue especially.

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I enjoyed every moment of knitting this shawl and I’m so happy I finally got something I really liked instead of that icky attempt back in April. Now maybe I can get this shawl out of my system.

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I wear it several days a week and I’m even making sure new attires match this shawl before I buy something. Aparentely stripes in blue, white and red are “in” right now if I can trust what’s on display in the stores, so I totally made a lucky guess with my colors choices there.We will have a long and sweet relationship, me and the shawl. This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Also, my toes are still intact. I’ll tell you tomorrow why that is significant.