Swatching continued

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My first swatch is blocking and it kind of worked out. I think I might dare to try the yarn together with the pattern next. That will have to wait till tomorrow, I bet I need to be well slept and well fed before taking the next step. I’m pretty sure it will happen tomorrow though. Pretty sure.

Spring pumps

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I love high-heeled shoes and pumps in particular. Spring is a particularly good time to wear pumps. As I discussed with a shoe sales person today, pumps are the perfect shoe for a spring coat. For example, they look a little cold together with a winter coat. And flat summer shoes looks to warm for a spring coat. When it’s warm enough to wear a spring coat but it’s still not warm enough to stop you from wearing pantyhose for the year. That’s when the pump comes in.

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Also, as the sales person pointed out, with pumps on you look welldressed.Someone I know always puts on ear clips and lipstick when she’s off to a meeting. I myself usually put on pumps. A brisk walk in pumps adds a certain confidence to the step. They are different from other high-heeled shoes that you might wear to a party. Pumps, almost no matter the height of the heel, the word sensible is obviously subjective, mean business. You don’t mess with someone in pumps.

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Today I ran past a shoe store and outside in a bin was a lovely blue shoe. I immeadiately stopped and tried it on. It fit like a glove and I got in to buy the other one. These year’s spring pumps are blue with an openwork pattern, lined with beige and a little bow on top. Lovely, intresting, a little fun but most importantly – elegant.

Swatch problem no. 2

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Yesterday I took care of my pattern problem so tonight I tried to take care of my yarn problems. 19 rows took me forever and that was only half of my swatch. It seems like this project, if it ever happens, will take forever. Each stitch takes about two or three times as long as stitch in a different yarn weight. This is very frustrating. I just want to keep my usual pace but I can’t this time and that’s very hard to deal with. If I go through with this, I will have to constantly remind myself to go slow and if I combine the yarn with the pattern I will have to work in complete silence, no TV, no sounds, no one will be allowed to talk to me. It’s going to be pretty boring. But then again, huge challenges are meant to take some effort, otherwise they wouldn’t be called huge challenges.

Swatch struggle

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Today I’ve worked on a major swatch problem. The problem was both with the yarn and with the pattern. After struggling hard with just a few short rows I got really upset, I’m not used to struggling with knitting like this. I let the swatch be for a while, went out for a long walk (it’s spring!) and when I got back inside again I sat down to continue solving my swatch problem. After a while I realized that I had to separate the yarn problem from the pattern problem. I started with the pattern problem and picked up a another yarn and larger needles to make a repeat of the lace where I could actually see what I was doing and getting some sort of context to every row. Apparently I have a problem with the yarn overs but at least I could see what I was doing and I managed to get it straight. Now I can use this as a reference when I’m trying to solve the yarn problem. But I’ll look into that tomorrow. Or the next day. We’ll see.

Peer pressure

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Yesterday I goot a text message with a picture of a bag and the word “oops”. The bag had no text on it, no label to tell where it came from but that wasn’t necessary. I recognize that bag anywhere. It’s transparent with big white squares on and I have had probably more than a hundred of those in my hands over the years. In fact, this morning when I cleaned my livingroom I found two, one empty on the floor (I must have been in a hurry, I don’t usually leave empty bags on the floor. At least not often) and one in another bag that I was cleaning out and there are five of them that I can see from where I’m sitting now writing. (Actually, about two minutes ago Julle asked me if a certain bag could be thown our and I asked what bag and it turns out even he knows these bags well despite the fact that there is no logo on them.) These bags come in different sizes and the one in the picture was fairly big which immeadiately tickled my imagination. The bag is from my LYS (local yarn store). Not only was this a bag from my LYS, it was not empty. The person texting me was showing me a picture of bag of yarn.

This was just before I was leaving work to go have dinner with Julle and friends (not to say that Julle is not a friend, or actually, this is indeed to say that Julle is not a friend, he is something else entirely but you get what my drift) and I looked at my watch. I had planned to run som errands, go to the shoemaker and the pharmacy, get ribbon for a hat and buttons for a sweater, things people normally do on their way from work, but now my thoughts were running marathons in my head and it only got worse when the next text arrived, which told me the contents of the bag. (Yes, I think this was pretty evil but I asked so I have myself to blame. Also, I probably wouldn’t have been able to sleep if I hadn’t found out what was in the bag. It would have been like the time when a friend of mine gave me a bag from a store, because it was pretty and practical and useful and handy and I needed it and it was pink and totally a thoughtful thing to do for me except for the fact that is was a bag from a yarn store and it was EMPTY!)

I can’t honestly say that I wouldn’t have gone to the yarn store if the fabric store, where I bought the ribbon (green, lovely), had had the wood buttons I wanted but as it was, I had to go there to get the buttons (sure, I could have gotten them another time but there is no time like the present) and while I was there four balls of Baby Alpaca Silk sort of just fell onto the counter and in the bag that looked the same as the one in the picture. So yeah, I kind of came home with four more balls of yarn than expected but since I was going to dinner I was in a real hurry and I didn’t have time to look more closely, otherwise there might have been even more yarn balls leaving that store that afternoon. There is a connection there, the longer you stay in a yarn store, the more yarn you buy.

Now I’m going to knit a vest. But first I’ll finish the lace edge on my shawl. As you can hear, you’ll know where to find me for the rest of the weekend. I’ll be the girl behind and under the knitting needles.

Final clue (spoiler!)

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The final clue for the MKAL Slip into spring by Cindy Garland, containing instructions for the bottom edge lace, arrived while I was asleep last night and this morning I hurried up to look through the pattern and imeadiately set out for the first repeat before having breakfast. It’s gorgeous! Look at those beads! They truly pop. Now I have 18 repeats left so I’ll get going on that tonight after work (and probably the rest of the weekend, I had vowed to get some ends weaved in and buttons sewn on this weekend for some stuff for my as-far-as-I-know-still-unborn nephew. He’ll arrive any day and I’m really excited (although apparently not excited enough to find it interesting to weave in ends, but that’s a different question). This will be such a lovely spring shawl, a petal pink color and a fragile and yet icy blue. Then only question now is what to wear with the shawl but I’ll Think of something. If nothing else it gives me yet another reason to unpack all the boxes that are still hanging around in the livingroom.

Creative blocking

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About a week ago I finished a little hat, bonnet style, and I blocked it flat before sewing it together. While sewing it together though, I realized the back wasn’t going to be flat enough so I had to get creative. What would be big enough to make the back of the hat flat without ruining the rest of the hat? A cylinder shaped drainer came to my rescue, I simply threaded the hat over the drainer and voilà! I had a perfect shape to form my little boonet. Now we’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed that the hat actually fits the baby.

North West for East(er)

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So, this Easter we backed our bags with our hand-knit socks, filled the car with skis and yarn (mine) and turned the car North. We drove for many hours and when we stopped there was snow around us. We’ve been here in the summer, but this was my first time during spring. The landscape is so different when there is snow.

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We’ve spent a marvellous Easter in Härjedalen. We started out early the first morning by a snowmobile tour up on the mountain. With us was our friend, driver and excellent guide Frej who showed us all the nice places that are too far to walk, especially in the snow. Mum sat behind Frej on the snow mobile and Julle and I were in the sledge. We felt like we were at an amusement park, it was so fun.

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Sure, it doesn’t look like that much snow and you can even see some bare spots but let me tell you something about snow crust. Snow crust is a wonderful thing. At least till it gives up under your weight and you find yourself stuck in the snow up to your hip. Then it’s a treacherous thing. You never know which step will be okay and which will give in and on at least two occasions someone had to help me up because my leg was stuck so deep I couldn’t bend my knee and thus get up by myself. The second time we also had to dig a little in the snow because my boot threatened to come off my foot and stay there, far down in the hole.

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Later in the day we would go out skiing and I’m not a downhill skier, I’m a cross-country skier. And why shouldn’t I? Just look at the view!

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Every now and then we took off our skis and sat down in the sun to warm our faces. It’s not even imaginable how strong the sun is, and with the reflection in the snow you have to be careful not to get sun-burned.

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It was so warm you really didn’t need much clothes and instead it was a great opportunity to sunbathe.

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Snow is and interesting thing, both beautiful with great opportunities but it can also be dangerours. In this picture you can se a small snow bridge. They are developed over creeks and streams and you can find them in the spring time. The look like they are strong enough to walk on (not this little one obviously but there are much bigger ones too) and sometimes that’s true but after a few days in the sun they are fragile and you fall right trough and into the water if you try to cross.

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It wasn’t all snow, mostly I’d say it was food. Easter, like any festivals in Sweden, is mostly about food. Of course there are eggs but also pickled herring, salmon and lots of other good things.

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And as icing on the cake, literally, there was my Easter cake, creamy chocolate cake with chocolate and raspberry ganache, decorated with marzipan chickens and in the middle a marzipan Easter witch. In Sweden we don’t have a tradition of trick or treating on Halloween, even though there has been some of that in latter years, but instead we have Easter witches. On Thursday before Easter kids dress up as Easter witches. They don’t look at all like a Halloween witch, but are wearing dresses, aprons and a shawlette over their heads and they have make up consisting of big red cheeks with black freckles on them. They go from door to dorr and hand out Easter cards that they’ve made themselves and in exchange for a card they get candy.

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Speaking of eggs, I’ve become very interested in poultry

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sociology. We visited the poultry in the hen house and it was quite the thing (and very Easteresque). Two of the hens were sitting on eggs and in a week or so there might be chickens! I’m so excited I almost want to go back next week just so I can visit them. We used a special lamp to try to shine through the eggs to see if there are any chickens in there but we weren’t able to tell and I really hope there are chickens.

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This is Ella Fitzgerald – the hen. I managed to take a picture of her just as she opened her beak to sing (actually, she needs to work on here skills if she’s going to live up to her name, the sound she made was more like sawing in metal than actual singing).

If I wasn’t living in a condo in the city, and if I were more interested in getting my hands dirty (literally) I might consider having a hen house myself. Till that day arrives, (if it arrives, I’m pretty sure I will never be comfortable touching, or even be near, sticky and dirty things (I’m not saying that hens are neither sticky nor dirty but hen feces is)) I have to settle for visiting the hen house when I get the opportunity.

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The last morning of our stay we Went up on the mountaing by the snowmobile, to have breakfast. It was pretty Amazing. Can you imagine that’s the same bench that I sat on this past summer knitting (or trying to knit, it was a little windy).

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It’s quite a difference when it’s snow all around. Much easier too, to get there by snowmobile rather than foot. I Think this just prooves that Härjedalen is an Amazing place all year round.

As I told you Before Easter, I hoped to have a lot of knitting time and even though we’ve done things all the time, I still managed to finish not just a hat but a baby cardigan and half of a toddler pullover. Not bad, if I may say so myself.

Greenery

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And we are back. After many hours in a car, while the view from our car window changed from melting snow under the shining sun to newly greening birch trees, we arrived back home, safe and sound, happy and with sun kissed faces. Spring is really here and I just happen to have a knitting that matches the tender greenery.

Right now I’m in the middle of an exam but as soon as that is done, I hope I can tell you about my Easter. Till then, knit on!