TUCT-14 – Vättern Edition. Day #5

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We are back home again after an eventless drive home (even though we were on our way to Göteborg for five kilometers and we also did get to see Enköping which wasn’t reallt the plan).

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We did visit the chocolate factory in Askersund before we left too. We got chocolate and some luxury chocolate balls before heading home. And we might have gotten a Christmas tablecloth embroidery too, but not at the chocolate factory obviously (that would have been some chocolate factory, don’t you think?).

TUCT-14 – Vättern Edition. Day #4

Yesterday I promised garden, tablecloth and waffles and that’s exactly what happened today. We started by going to the Chinese Garden where Ulrika works.

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She had taken the morning off to be able to guide us through the garden. I must say that despite the fact that there has been some gardening posts lately, I find gardening quite boring. It’s a science that I know very little about and I have never been interested enough to learn more. I think this dislike for biology and herbage came in fifth grade when we were supposed to draw seedcases. Brown seedcases in grey leads, not my colours, not my task since I’ve never been good at drawing, simply not my cup of tea and I think somewhere among those seedcases a lifelong reluctance for anything vegetation-y started to sprout (pun intended).

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When Ulrika talked about the plants though, it was interesting. It was the perfect mix of knowledge, talent, fun and details that made it really interesting. Also, gardens has of course, like everything else, different trends and ideals and history, something I’ve never thought about before. How something can look random and dishevelled and how that randomness is really, really well-planned, otherwise it wouldn’t as random (I know, it’s a bit contradictive but it’s true). I knew a little about it, I do work in an English park after all (and by that I mean that my work place is situated in an English park, not that I work in the actual park with the part, so to speak), but now I understand it much better.

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I also like the idea with contrasts and harmony, water and rocks and buildings, soft against hard. It is more inviting than the regular (at least in Europe) castle gardens with straight paths and well-mowed lawns, that you cannot under no circumstances walk on (unless perhaps you are lawn mower or something but probably not even then), and hedges. After all, a garden should be a place to sit down and rest and not just study from the window of the second floor of the castle.

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Even Catherine de Bourgh in Pride and Prejudice must have like this kinds of gardens better, why else would she ask Elizabeth out for a walk on the wild side (of the lawn). “Miss Bennet, there seemed to be a prettyish kind of a little wilderness on one side of your lawn. I should be glad to take a turn in it, if you will favour me with your company” (chapter 56). It seems she got at least some things right, the noble lady.

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My favourite tree in the garden is this, the Cercidiphyllum. I love how it puts the leaves in one long lane like that.

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There were waterlilies!

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Even red waterlilies which is a bit unusual. These ones come from a nearby lake where red waterlilies first were discovered. It might also be that Claude Monet got a seed from that pond to his waterlily pond in Giverny, but that is a very weak maybe. Anyway, a garden with self-respect should have waterlilies in my opinion.

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Julle made a new friend.

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This seed looked like a jester’s hat.

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I really like the idea with the bridges, that they are not straight but in sharp corners to prevent the spirits to follow you since the spirits aren’t very good at turning. It also gives you a chance to see things from another perspective, what’s behind you and what things looks like from another angle. Personally, I’m going to start trying this technique when it comes to headaches, if I make sharp enough turns, maybe the headache will get lost.

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After the garden we did indeed go to the weaving mill that we visited last year. It resulted in a red tablecloth to use at Christmas and considering how much I fell in love with another tablecloth, in green, we will probably be back another year.

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Then we went to Övralid, like we did last year, and I was right last year, it was much easier to get there by car.

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We had waffles and tea and other goodies before it was time to look through the museum.

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Last year we arrived to Övralid, sweaty and with a swarm of flies around us. We thought we might be too dirty to visit the museum and also our main concern was food. That was the famous day when Julle uttered the words “I want real food, otherwise I will get crabby”, to which I didn’t respond the obvious, that he already was crabby. He was so sulky that the staff at the place were we had lunch became so worried about him that we got coffee and tea for free. Well, that was earlier in the day before we got to Övralid, and we thought it best not to push it anymore that day so we decided to have waffles first and then we didn’t think that a day on the bike had made us suitable museum visitors and we decided to do that another year instead. We did by a kitchen magnet though, one that showed Verner von Heidenstam’s fridge, which they have made into a kitchen magnet that we, in our turn, has put on our fridge. I like the meta in that.

This year we got to see the actual fridge! And it was still working.

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Verner von Heidenstam‘s study. He was a writer and Nobel laureate who built this nice house with a great view of Vättern. I’m pretty sure I’ve at least read some of his poems but I can’t remember much besides the usual.

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His library was the nicest room in the house. He had wall fixed book cases, something that we really want too, and he had colour coded his books. The red ones were by the window where you could see the red cottage where we had waffles.

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The blue ones were by the window closest to lake Vättern.

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The golden ones were on the opposite side from the windows so that the setting sun shone on them. Very clever, I must say.

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Outside the museum I sat down to knit a few rows while Julle took pictures of the great view. I haven’t knit at all for a few days and that’s very unusual, but we have had a pretty full schedule on this, our little vacation.

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Tomorrow though, we’ll go back home together with a lamp, tablecloth, laces patterns and many, many memories (and even more pictures!).

 

TUCT-14 – Vättern Edition. Day #3

This day was spent on and by the lake. We did what we never had the chance to really do last year, cross the lake. It all started innocently enough, we took the car to Olshammar, on the Western side of the lake.

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There lives my cousin Ulrika and her husband. We met them, not by chance obviously, this was well planned, at the harbour and soon we were out on the lake in there boat Big Boat.

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A summer day should definitely be spent on a lake in a boat, it’s just the right thing to do. The sun is warm and the water glitters.

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There are sailboats and the view is just lovely.

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The destination for our boat trip was Stjernsund slott, a castle on the Eastern side of the lake, built in the 19th century by Prince Gustaf (obviously not him personally, but he took the initiative. He was perhaps better at composing songs than building castles and he is also called the Singing Prince since he did compose a lot of still famous songs. He was also the Duke of my province and he studied at my university and has become a statue outside the university library).

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Anyways, he had this castle built and it’s now a museum and very pretty. There is something very romantic about castles but I’m not sure it would actually be fun to live in one even if you didn’t have to think about money. Especially an old one, I would constantly be afraid of breaking something and you can’t live like that in your own home. But it sure is nice to watch and they new how to decorate things back then.

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They also had a sense of drama and knew what would be the most spectacular. Like this entrance for example, to this castle you’d do best to arrive by boat. The castle is situated on a cape so it has water on both the South side and the North side and the main entrance is from the South side, up this very stair.

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After lunch and a castle tour and a visit in the very nice museum shop we took the boat back to Olshammar and waved goodbye to Ulrika and Nicklas. It was the perfect summer outing, boat, food, castle and great views.

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Dinner was spent at Idas brygga in Karlsborg, where we also had dinner last year. So far we’ve only had dinner at places were we also ate last year and to be honest I don’t know why we went back to the previous ones but Idas brygga is a hit. The food is lovely, the view is great if you like boats which we happen to do and the tea is neat. I can fully recommend Idas brygga to anyone hungry. And to those who isn’t hungry too, they could always drink the tea.

Tomorrow, we are off to some gardens, table cloths and waffles. Good night!

TUCT-14 – Vättern Edition. Day #2. Lace-cation

This has been a lacey day. I figure if people have vacations and stay-cations, we have had a lace-cation. We went to Vadstena which is sort of the bobbin lace center in Sweden. We visited Svenska spetsar, Swedish Laces, and looked through their shop.

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They didn’t only have patterns and such but also bobbins, thread and lots of other things. We had a nice conversation with Britt-Inger who took care of us and helped us find what we were looking for.

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I got a lot of thread in many different colours. There is something about making lace in colours rather than just white, even though the white ones are very nice too.

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We continued on a found the store Elsa Pettersons Spetsaffär Eftr. In there we met Gunnel.

wpid-dsc_4822.jpgGunnel is 92 years old and has taken care of the shop for 44 years. Her mother, Elsa Petterson, had the store for 50 years and had 400 lace makers making laces for her to sell in the shop. These days Gunnel mostly sells pattern but you could still find a lot of nice laces from that time.

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Small laces.

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Huge laces.

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Laces in the making.

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Laces under the counter. Gunnel told us that there were no information on the patterns her mother left her, just the cardboard with lines and holes for the needles, no information about what size thread to use, how many bobbins, where to start, which turns to make, nothing, and she has spent many years trying to figure out the patterns so she can sell them on. Her store was a little museum in its own.

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Outside the lace world Vadstena is mostly known for its Birgitta convent, the convent that Saint Birgitta founded, so we took time to visit the convent museum as well.

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Some things were really interesting but I can’t say it was cooler than all the laces we had seen earlier. We are people who judge a museum by its’ museum shop and its’ café and this one had a pretty boring shop and a non-existing café. It might also be that we found the museum a bit boorish because by the time we went there we were really in the mood for coffee (tea!), our feet were a little tired and yeah, some coffee was of need and there were none. We probably weren’t fair to the museum but coffee or not, the lady at the counter was not as nice as the lace ladies we had already met that day.

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After the museum we went to a coffee shop, a polka dotted coffee shop, Jenny would have loved it, and had some well deserved sandwiches and tea. The blood sugar was a bit too low at that time but once the tea and sandwiches kicked in we were happy as clams again and could continue with our day.

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Even the pedestrian crossings in Vadstena are about laces, isn’t this just the prettiest thing ever? The lace is called Viggen and you can by the pattern at Svenska spetsar. Another thing about Vadstena is that it seems to be populated (or visited?) by only two categories of people – one is Norwegian ladies in the 40’s and the other is older ladies who has trouble walking due to either injuries or old age. It seems like, the Norwegian ladies aside, Vadstena is a place where senior citizens go on group tours. But then again, bobbin lace is  perhaps not the first thing you connect with youth so it only makes sense the average age was a bit… higher.

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After the coffee shop we were walking towards our car when a cat came meowing at us. It meowed and meowed and it looked like it really wanted something, and snuggled against our legs. Julle was bothered and thought the cat might be injured or something and when it rose on its’ hind legs and stretched its’ front legs at me, Julle decided we should walk away. The cat followed us for a bit and than say down, continuing meowing (none of us know anything about cats and we had no idea what this one wanted) and we walked on, in a completely different direction from our car but that was a good thing because we happen to run into the Lace museum! (Please compare the above to my little lavender stalk, I think it might be the same technique.)

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In there we found Gun-Britt, who in 1976 was pictured on a stamp, making lace.

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Meeting Gun-Britt was really nice and the stamp itself was cool and it almost felt like we had met a celebrity. Can you imagine being pictured on a stamp? That only happens to royalty and flowers and people making cool sports goals and such, and apparently in 1976, to a young lace maker in Vadstena.

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There were some really cool stuff. I mean, don’t you find it absolutely necessary to match your chair with your bobbin lace pillow, after you’ve seen this picture?

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Yep, it’s a hat. And it’s lace.

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Different kinds of bobbin lace pillows.

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A somewhat bigger lace.

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Julle making his first go at bobbin lace. Well done!

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After all this lace we did something completely different. We went to Borenshult and watched some locks before it was time for dinner.

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You can tell we’ve done this before. We took it easy, bought ice-cream and sat down to wait for the boats to come.

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They came and let me tell you,

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it’s just as fun to watch locks this summer as it was last summer.

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Then it was six o’clock and the locks were closed for the day. One day we will do this by boat.

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We find it a bit dark in our hotel room so we bought a lamp to lighten things up a bit. Yep. Or rather, we did find a lamp, one that we have been looking for for two years, and since we are not on a bike this year, we got it. But we didn’t want it in the car for the rest of our trip so we brought it into our hotel room. It sure looked a bit fun when Julle came walking through the reception carrying a lamp.

Tomorrow we’ll actually be on Vättern instead of just beside it. See you then!

 

 

 

TUCT-14 – Vättern Edition. Day #1

Do you remember TUBT-13? The Ultimate Bike Trip we did last year. Well, we figured there were so many pretty things we missed because our only focus was food and to avoid roads with lorries, that we decided to go back, but this time by car. Hence, TUCT – The Ultimate Car Trip, starting today.

wpid-dsc_4789.jpgWe have arrived in Askersund, at the very top of the lake Vättern. Today we have only walked around and thought of last year’s trip and pointed at things we remembered from that year.

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We even had dinner at the same place (and, knowing our habits, I’m pretty sure we even ordered the same kind of meal as last year). I must admit though that one we were sitting down and had ordered none of us remembered why we thought we’d go back to this place, the ambiance is really weird and today we also met the local player (and we know way too much about his life from the phone call he made to someone), but the food is good even though the fries could do with some more salt and it’s beautifully situated by the water.

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Just like the last time we were here, it has rained earlier in the day and the air was a bit chilly, but the sun came out it was all very pretty.

Tomorrow we’ll continue our reminiscence further down the lake and also visit some new places. Till then, I bid thee good night!

 

Cables over colorwork

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Colorwork is not my thing. Every time I try it things go downhill. I prefer stripes or slipped stitches but colorwork, no. For some reason I can’t get the tension right in two colors at the same time.

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I’ve thought this ridiculous, why can’t I just get it right? I can make so many other things right when it comes to knitting, why not colorwork? To do something about it I decided to try some easy colorwork as part of Project Baby Love.

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Maybe this wasn’t the easiest colorwork after all, I don’t know, but it was a hard one for me tensionwise. Also, the numer of ends to weave in, it was ridiculous. It turned out okay, those little contrasting stitches, but it was a struggle and it wasn’t fun. I will try on more colorwork though, but not in the near future.

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I much rather prefer cables and the cables in this sweater were nice but I modified them a bit so they would be more to my taste. Also, I totally changed the construction of the sweater, it was supposed to be done in pieces but I did it seamless, I knit the body in the round and then picked up stitches for the sleeves. So, a lot of ends to weave in but no seams, I would still call that a win.

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Pattern: Lilla Loppan from Yllotyll. Yarn: Sirdar Snuggly Baby Bamboo DK, colors Limey, Yellow and Blue.

Vest is the best?

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That I suffer from a severe case of SSS – Second Sleeve Syndrome is no secret. Sleeves are my nemesis, I try and I start but it’s a challenge to finish. I’m not sure why. I think it might be that when I’ve finished the bodice I think that I’m nearly done when I’m really not and I get disappointed when it then takes longer than I expect to finish and I get bored and I moved on.

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I’ve discussed this with a friend and we’ve laughed about it and when she became pregnant I promised to knit for her baby and to not make any sleeves.

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Now shortcuts usually tend to be longer than expected and this was no exception but of course I didn’t know that when I started. I cast on and knit happily till it was time to divide the stitches between front and back. That was easily done and soon the bodice was finished.

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Or so I thought. It turned out that not only was I to pick up stitches for the neckband, both front and back, different neckbands that is since the two were not connected.

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I also had to pick up stitches around where the sleeves would have been. On both sides.

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Then there were the stitches for the buton bands over the shoulders, four all in all. Of course, this was a lot quicker than making sleeves but also a little trickier since it involved a lot of stitches picked up and so.

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Also, not to mention all the sleeves that had to be weaved in! About 16 ends just for the edges. That’s insane for such a small garment.

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Well, in the end it turned out to be a very, very cute little vest. And now I know that vests aren’t always better than sleeves.

Pattern: Viggo by Drops Design. Yarn: Drops Alpaca Silk from Garnstudio, colors Powder and Pale Green.

Bound by Bustles

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You know how fashion seems to reappear every few decades or so? A little more modern version but still with some distinct features. A few years ago the 60’s was really in vogue and when I was in junior high the 70’s were back. The 50’s seem to never really disappear, which I love since a 50’s inspired dress probably the prettiest thing ever, and so flattering. But, why does it end there? Why is the 50’s the earliest decade we steal fashion from? Is it because we just want to forget the 40’s and it’s military inspired jackets? The 30’s with the long slim dresses? Or the 20’s with the flapper dress and low waist. Ok, the swing dress with fringes has been back, I give you that but where are the low waist and the charleston and the head decorations?

What I really would like back in fashion is the bustle. I just find it utterly spiffing. Unpractical of course but still. I was once at a ball with a 1860’s theme and I wore a homemade dress with a bustle. Someone commented that it was nice to see someone who wasn’t afraid to show a different fashion ideal than the current one. I couldn’t agree more but I don’t think that’s the only reason for my fascination with the bustle. I don’t know why it’s so appealing but it is.

Maybe that’s why I like steampunk so much. It’s set during the second half of the 19th century, there are nice dresses, steam powered machinery, parasols, vampires, dirigibles, huge binoculars, Victorian era, top hats, clock work, cog wheels, decorum and etiquette and – most importantly – bustles. I particularly enjoy Gail Carriger’s books about the Parasol Protectorate and the Finishing school. It has everything I ever wished for. I’m not sci fi reader and a reluctant fantasy reader but steampunk, or rather Gail Carriger’s steampunk, I really like. I think it’s because of the humour and the fact that completely unexpected things can happen since it mixes Victorian era with things that wasn’t invented then and isn’t invented now either. Also,it takes the politness and etiquette of British 19th century to the extent. Our heroine can be in an awful pickle but only because one is tied down and thrown into a cellar (really, what an awful way to treat a lady) doesn’t mean one should be rude even though it is a bit of a trifle to make a curtsey and even though one’s petticoat has been awfully wrinkled. Or what do you think?

A lighter shade of grey

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Today some newly arrived yarn got out of quarantine and I set do decide which shade of grey would go better with the blue one, by knitting a swatch. The blue on is the one in the middle. I think the conclusion must be that the darker shade of grey is probably a better contrast but the strokes of blue clashes a bit with the original blue. The lighter grey is better in that aspect, it doesn’t clash and it doesn’t steal the thunder from the blue, which is the main attraction in this garment. Also, the lighter grey is called Chris Grey and I simply can’t get past that, it’s too funny. Especially since I don’t think this yarn contains that many shades of grey, let alone 50, and I think Christian Grey would have thought this a way too pale grey for his taste and even more so since I think it will be a nice subordinate color to my darling blue . Of course I should be wearing Chris Grey around my back, anything else would be just wrong.

A multiple projects defence.

Sometimes non-knitters ask me how many projects I have going on at the same time. This question is usually the follow-up of a comment about how much yarn I have (it’s like my stern look and assurance that this is not much at all since I can easily knit it up in a life time has no effect on them). When I answer that right now I have four active projects going on they reply, with a look that makes me understand that I am indeed weird, by commenting on how many projects that is. I can only conclude that these people probably never have more than one book going on at the same time. They never change clothes during the day and they never have more than one meal’s worth of food in the frigde at the same time. They only do one sport, if they are runners they will never stop for a game of badminton or go swimming. Or, they simply don’t see that the reasons why they do indeed change clothes or have more food in their fridge than they can in eat in a day or mix skiing with soccer, is also applicable to having multiple active works-in-progress.

I’ve always, ever since I was a kid, had multiple books going on at the same time. I mean, not all books can be used the same way (luckily, imagine how boring that would be). Some books are so scary you can only read them in the morning (and then what are you going to do in the evening?). Some books are to valuable to be read in the bathtub. Some books are too heavy to bring to a day at the beach and some books aren’t thick enough to bring on a long train ride. Some books are too difficult to read when you are tired and some books are not interesting enough to keep you occupied for many hours.

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This exact thing is applicable to knitting. Right now I have five active works-in-progress. One is my lace that I can only do when it’s reasonably quiet and I’m not too tired and I can only manage on or two pattern repeats at a time, then I have to rest. Rest from the project that is, not from knitting. But imagine if I could only have the one work-in-progress, what would I do when I need to rest from the lace?

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Then there is this summer’s mystery knit along where there is one clue each Friday. Those clues are usually finished within a few days, and then what? The only-one-work-in-progress-rule states that this is it, so what am I going to do the other five days of the week? Rip it, like Penelope, every night and re-knit it the next morning?

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My delicious shawl in BFL wool has come to a Point where the pattern says I can add beads if I’d like. I do like. But I don’t have any beads at the moment. Till I have found matching beads, there is no possibility to continue with the shawl, and I noticed this yesterday, a Sunday, evening. That means that I would have had an entire evening without any knitting had I been stuck to only one project, till I could go get some beads today. And what if I can’t find matching beads today? Then there would be even more evenings without knitting. Now, why would anyone do that to themselves?

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My blue cardigan is at a Point where I need to add Another skein of yarn, but since I didn’t have enough yarn I had to buy this in a contrasting color. This yarn arrived last week but is currently in quarantine in the freezer and has been for almost a week. That would have been a sad non-knitting week had I not been able to have multiple works-in-progress.

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Finally, I have a green blanket on the needles.  It’s coming along well and doesn’t require non-existing beads or quarantine yarn or clues. But, of course there is a but, it’s getting heavy. It is a blanket after all and the more I knit the bigger it gets. It’s become big enough that I can’t take it out of the house and it’s getting heavy enough that I can’t knit on it for too long at the time since my arms get tired from holding the weight.

So you see, there is a project for every moment and there is every reason in the world to have multiple active projects. At least if you are inclined to knit almost every waking hour, which I tend to do.