To sum up

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So, I passed 100 000 stitches a few days ago and this year’s total lands on 11171 sts past target. That’s more than 20 000 sts less than last year which I find very, very weird since I have a less stressful time this year. Or maybe that’s it, I have a less stressful Novemer this year just because I made less than last year. Hm…

Anyway, it doesn’t really matter, I went past 100 000 sts which was the goal in the first place and I feel happy about myself. Now I can concentrate on reading my books, crochet some flowers (*gasp* I know, right!?), color in my coloring book and eat gingerbread. I also still have some major knitting to do before Christmas but at least I don’t have to waste time counting the stitches from now on.

All in all, a good November (and it went by so quick, I don’t know what happened).

Guilty pleasure

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I’ve always read a lot of books. I’m a slow reader but I’m an efficient reader, meaning that I find time to read when most others don’t. From age eleven to age 24 I always had a book with me where ever I went. Then that book became a knitting instead but I still read a lot. The past two years that hasn’t really been the case though. I haven’t really felt the serenity to read mostly because my demands on a book, that were always high, became even higher. When I say that I have high demands on a book I don’t mean that it has to be a classic or whatever, I’m a pretty shallow reader in the sense that if a book is good I’m reading it no matter who wrote it or when he or she wrote it. Life’s too short for bad books. But a couple of years ago it became harder to concentrate on a book and there were a lot of topics that I just couldn’t stand. I’m gradually coming back from that and I have noticed that I have a lot easier to read during holidays when I have more spare time. Of course I still read but not as much or as naturally as before.

A week or so ago Julle bought me a book – Princess Elizabeth’s Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal – that I started reading right away and kept on reading. It’s about a young MI-5 agent, Maggie Hope, in England in 1940, who is a math tutor for Princess Elizabeth at Windsor Castle at the same time as she, Maggie, is trying to uncover a plot to kidnap the princess. The agent is delightful of course and the book was quite exciting but it also had a few flaws.

For example, I was a keen reader of Nancy Drew novels when I was a kid but I always wondered why she let herself be captured in each and every book. Nancy Drew has solved over a hundred mysteries and I figure she should know by now that things can get tough and that she should plan accordingly. In one book it even said that she had taken some self-defence classes but not enough. Why, I thought, why haven’t you taken more of those classes? (I also thought that hopefully this would teach her to take more classes for the next book but no, she was still getting captured.) Also, why doesn’t she always bring a kit for opening doors and why does she never tell the police where she is going? Classic horror movie mistake – if it’s a windy, dark night and you are all alone, don’t go down to the basement. With Nancy Drew, or Kitty, as she is called in Swedish, I can understand that the books aren’t that well written and that capturing Nancy is an easy way to keep the books entertaining and exciting for young readers. Since all books have different writers I understand that continuity from previous books isn’t the first thing on the list when a new one is in progress. Again though, this annoyed me when I was a kid.

Nancy Drew is an amateur detective after all but Maggie Hope is supposed to be a trained agent for MI-5, why is she behaving like Nancy Drew? I must say, if all MI-5 agents were like Maggie Hoppe, the British would never have been able to conquer anything or anyone, so poorly are the planning and the spying executed in this book. How a trained agent can let her feelings get the best of her judgement – she was mean to me, she must be one of the bad guys although there is no evidence to proove it – is incomprehensible. Then again, it probably wouldn’t have been as good a plot (to break the case and save the kidnapped princess on an enemy U-boat is probably much more interesting to read about than if the princess in question is never kidnapped at all due to good intelligence and quick reflexes) so I can live with that.

What I really don’t like though, is the continuity problems. Things like “this thing happened on a Thursday, now it is Sunday but we still refer to the events from Thursday as if they happened last night”. On one page someone throws a bottle in the sea and four lines later he throws the same bottle in the sea. Small things like that doesn’t really disturb the plot even if it interrupts the reading but when the main character decrypts something, saying that a U-boat is involved and tell people about this, and then 20 pages later has no recollection of said U-boat and is really surprised that a submarine is involved and so is apparently everyone else, it makes me start to question their intelligence. How can the commander not remember this U-boat when the question of nation security and the order of succession are at stake? It feels like someone should have read through this novel at least one more time before it was published.

Despite this, and I totally had to wake Julle up early one morning so I had someone to discuss this with, the last chapters were so thrilling I had to have more. So I ordered more, the prequel and the sequel. I have also bought another pair of books and, while waiting for my books to arrive, I started re-reading another book, which is also a great one. This weeks Book Club book is already a favorite and it seems I have gone from having nothing to read and being in between books to having so much intriguing stories around me that I don’t know what to do. Luckily Christmas is coming up and when all the knitting is done I will have some days off when I can just relax on the couch and read whatever I want. We’ll see if Maggie Hope has gotten her stuff together for the next book. One can always Hope.

I made it!

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As of yesterday I’ve reached my goal, 100 000 stitches, with three days still to go. One year it would be fun to see how much I actually knit in a year but the trouble of keeping tabs on all the stitches and how many they are is probably too much. We’ll see, one day. Just knowing I can get in 100 000 stitches in a month though is pretty darn cool to me.

Friday Heels #9

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So, it’s Friday again and time for another pair of heels. Today I’m showing you what is probably the prettiest shoes I own. It’s difficult to take pictures of black on black but oh my, are they pretty! They have the perfect round toe, I find it somewhat childish in a delightful way at the same time as it’s elegant and classic. I’m not a big fan of very pointed shoes, I prefer the 50’s style, it’s timeless somehow (albeit very 50’s).

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I have these shoes in white as well and I wore them at my wedding. I’ve shown them before and I don’t think I will be wearing them for this round of Friday Heels as white is kind of hard to pull off together with black pantyhose and transparent pantyhose looks a little weird in the winter (or at least it looks cold). The story of these shoes is a wonderful one. One summer I was on vacation visiting a friend in a little town a few hours drive from here. We went looking in shops and I saw a pair of white high heeled shoes that were simply gorgeous. They came in black as well but since this was in August, the white ones were on sale, half off, but the black ones were full price. I tried the white ones on and they fit perfectly and I bought them without hesitation. I loved them so much and the year after I was in the same town, visiting the same friend. We went into the same shop and I kept thinking that maybe they would still have the black shoes. It wasn’t a regular shoe shop, it had different things like clothes and interious decorating articlesas well. I saw my show, in black, on a shelf and I asked the cashier if perhaps they had it in my size. I didn’t have much hope of that but lo and behold, they did. They had the shoes in my size, on sale. Of course I bought them, what else was I to do?

I love the shoes, both the black ones and the White ones and they love me back. They are the perfect pumps and I doubt I will ever find as pretty shoes ever again and I hope they will never wear out. They are simply adorable.

That’s something we didn’t think of

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I have started on a new Vacillate, this time for Agnieszka. She as decided on the order of the colors and I have agreed on that order. The yarn kit is called Degas and is inspired by one of Degas’ ballerina paintings. I think it will be really pretty.

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It’s fun to be knitting a Vacillate again but I can’t help thinking that we must have done something wrong with the order of the colors. It can’t be that from the two, out of eight, contasting colors that were also on the first Vacillate, they happen to be the same two contrasting colors that are the first ones in this version. It is actually a little boring. I was hoping for new color sensations but instead so far all I’ve got is same old, same old. The solution is to knit fast so I can get done with the first two pattern repeats and move on to new experiences. Luckily it’s not much left before I can leave the orange and the off white behind. I expect it will happen sometime this weekend and I’m really looking forward to it.

The irony of the hood

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So, remember this? The cardigan that was so much work? Well, I finished it a little while ago and last week it was finally delivered to it’s recipient. We had our wedding at a mansion and the mansion wedding co-ordinator was just the sweetest person imaginable. Nothing was impossible and everything just worked out perfectly.

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She had a little baby at home so to thank her for letting us getting so much of her time I decided to make a little cardigan for the baby once all of the wedding stuff was over. I decided on a pattern, bought the yarn and got started. Let me tell you, the construction on this cardigan does not make for a quick knit. It just goes on forever and with the sleeves the rows where just incredibly long. Eventually though it was done and I could start on the hood, the forever-taking hood.

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The irony with the hood though, I was knitting on it and knitting and knitting and knitting and finally it was done but when I was finishing up and was about to sew the hood together I noted that it was – get this – too long. I had to rip out almost four inches but then it was perfect.

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Obstacles and boredom aside, I really love how this cardigan turned out. I left out the chrocheted edges and I just think it’s a cool yet adorable little cardigan and I’m sure the kid in question will look super cute. I just hope the cardigan is as comfortable at it looks. The end result almost makes up for the process of making it but I think it will take a while before I give it another go.

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Pattern: Buttercup Jacket from Drops Design. Yarn: Drops Baby Merino from Garnstudio, color 35 dark Purple. Mods: I left out the crochet.

In between. Too efficient?

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It looks as if I’ve been too efficient this weekend. Not only am I currently between knittings right now, but I am also between books. All my knittings are either blocking, secret or impossible to continue before the next MKAL clue comes out. Sure, there is yarn and there is a lot that can be cast on but not without effort. It requires some kind of preparation, finding needles, winding yarn or something like that. I have nothing that I can just pick up and knit a few rounds on before I go to bed.

Ok, so no knitting right now, but how about a book? Well, I finished the book I was reading this morning and sure, the book shelves are filled with unread books (and read ones too, both those that can be read again and those that I never want to open ever) but again, it requires some kind of preparation. If nothing else, I need to decide what I’m in the mood for and then find something that works with that. Not to mention that it takes a little while to really get in to a new book, it takes a few pages to settle in. Again, it requires time that I don’t have. I just want to read a page or two before I got to sleep, not invest time in a new book.

Luckily this will hopefully be solved tomorrow as Agnieszka has promised to see me to decide in which order she wants the contrasting colors in her Vacillate shawl. Once I know that, all I need to do is cast on (I guess technically I can cast on tonight because it starts with the main color anyway but again, that requires a search for needles and such). Tomorrow though, tomorrow we’ll be in the middle again, not in between.

To my advantage

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All is well in knitterland. Yesterday I made up for the non-knitting on Friday, a few projects are blocking on the livingroom floor, I’m quite caught up with my latest MKAL (despite the fact that I never received my yarn kit) and I also finished today’s book club book and made a cake that we are going to have during the meeting.

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I’ve broken in my new dough-scraper, see the knitting pattern on there? It’s great! Not only that but I think that even our unreliable oven has worked in my favor for once. The cake actually looks like it might be both edible and will hold together long enough to put it on a plate. Even my black hole knitting is done. I love weekends where I feel I’m getting progress in many areas without being stressed. Let’s hope next week will be the same.

Black hole knitting

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I was smug about my workout yesterday but that very same thing also made me really tired so I didn’t manage to knit at all. I made up for this today though. I’ve managed to block all the things I was going to block and I have vowen in the ends, I have taken pictures of a finished shawl and I have knitted on my boring knitting. I have knitted a million rows, well, at least twenty, but the piece still measures 8 inches. Then plan is to make around 12 inches but those last two inches just isn’t coming. I think I have met a so called black hole project were you can knit and knit and knit and still get nothing to show for it. I put a marker where I started and can see I’ve made progress but the measuring tape stands firmly on 8 inches. A bit unfair but then again me and this knitting haven’t really been friends from the beginning. We’ll se what happens tomorrow.