Maybe 2016 is for colorwork?

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Last day of 2015. I try to tie up some loose ends regarding my knitting but there are more and that’s okay. These past few weeks has given me a little surprise knitwise and that doesn’t happen often. It all started with this year’s last mystery knit along – a hat in stranded colorwork. As you know, colorwork is not my strongest talent when it comes to knitting and I’ve turned my back to it before. When this hat came along though, I figured I had to try, the MKAL patterns are well written and I thought I shouldn’t be to obstinate when it comes to colorwork.

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I usually get yarn with my patterns but for this one it took forever to arrive. Finally I just got my own yarn and started anyway. It turned out it wasn’t so bad actually and when the yarn finally arrived I quickly cast on a new hat.

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With the actual yarn intended for this hat it went even better and a weekend later I had another hat.

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The big question was how to block  the hats. Finally I blew up two ballons, measured them to get the right circumference and put the hats on the ballons. It worked like a charm and made colorwork really pop.

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Pattern: Stranded in Toronto by Cindy Garland. Yarn, the purple hat: Drops Karisma from Garnstudio, colors 76 dark purple, 21 medium grey and 01 off white. Yarn, the grey hat: Simple Single DK from Stunning String Studio, colors Snow Cloud, Red Canoe and Little Black Dress.

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Apparently these hats wet my appetite because I started planning a shawl, a Christmas shawl. I have wanted to try this yarn out for quite some time, ever since Christine showed it to me, and an opportunity to squeeze it and purchase it came at the knitting fair back in October. That’s also when the idea of a Christmas shawl was born.

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I searched for a long time to find the right pattern but nothing felt right. The months passed and I kept searching for different colorworks. Finally I found one that could possibly work out but it had a little more color work, and more colors, than I thought necessary. The pattern included holly and I love holly, there is nothing that says Christmas as much and as easily as holly (well, maybe the first gingerbreads or a Christmas tree, decorated Polish style with lots of glass baubles).

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I decided to use only one background color and reduce the colorwork to only be a border at the bottom of the shawl. I was happy with the vision I had in my head and was ready cast on. When I did however, the next problem revealed itself. I simply couldn’t figure out the pattern. The needles were too big, the increases were difficult to understand and there just felt that something was missing from the pattern. No one else had knit it so I couldn’t get any help from that. It was late in the evening and I decided to put it off till I was more rested.

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The next morning I had an idea, why not use another pattern as a base and then add the colorwork to that one? I toyed around with needle sizes for a while and started knitting. I knit and knit, plain white stitches (I thought I had made enough white shawls for one year but apparently not), on my in-laws couch on Christmas Eve, at our hotel room, in the car to see babcia and to see dziadek and when we returned back home from Warsaw I had only a few rows of colorwork left. Between the hats and the shawl I did some studying of colorwork and learned that the color you hold closest to you on your tension finger will pop more and I tried to work with that knowledge. That had been the problem on the hats, that I didnt now this and couldn’t take it into consideration.

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The hats were knit in the round so it took a while to figure out how to work stranded knitting from both sides including purl stitches but eventually it worked out. I think that I worry too much about the floats, when I actively try to make them very long by pulling a little extra, they get too long and just really just let them be, it works anyway. The end result is pretty, especially from a distance, even though up close things are a little uneven at times.  I’m happy with it and I will try to use it as much as I can now, before Christmas feels terribly “last week”. I’m mostly happy that my plan worked out so well, with me combining two different patterns and one including colorwork. Maybe I shouldn’t be so afraid of colorwork in the future. That is really something that will make for new possibilites in 2016.

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Patterns: Sonar shawl by Cindy Garland for the shawl construction and Deck the Halls Stranded Shawl by Deborah Tomasello for the colorwork. Yarn: Cheeky Merino Joy from Rosy Green Wool, colors Edelweiss, Rose Garden and Moss.

 

So much fun

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I know it’s after Christmas and most of my Christmas gifts have been opened by their respective recipients and I should really start showing all my knits but no, I haven’t yet. It’s just so much that compete for my attention. The weather is lovely, the sun is shining and is snow on the ground and I try to be outside and meet friends and cast on new projects and oops, maybe I can finish something quick till tomorrow when I meet a friend who is working in a very cold library at the moment. I want to cast on a shawl as soon as I have decided if I want it yellow or red (I started thinking of it as yellow but it is no longer fall and a chanterelle colored shawl might not be the best idea right now. The red is a pinkish red so it’s not all too Christmas connected but quite suitable for spring. I think, the yarn is still in the frezer) and I want to finish two other shawls as well. And maybe cast on a new sweater. It is days off after all and no one can blame me for wanting to make the most out of it. By most, I obviously mean the most knitting but since knitting is very portable I can bring it wherever, except maybe to the gym, the instructors would probably frown upon me knitting in zumba class even if I explained that I was trying to finish something on a tight deadline.

Enjoy your days and happy knitting!

Turn your back to it

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I have decided to set a good example. I was searching for a pattern online and thought I had found just the thing but I wanted to see both sides of it, not just the fancy front but also the back. Not many people had shared photos of their version of this pattern but a few had. Most of them showed only the fancy front (in multiple pictures, I might add) which annoyed me a bit but I had definitely had enough when someone instead of showing the back of the project, had decided to put up a picture of their cat. I understand that people love their pets (I should hope so, otherwise they shouldn’t have pets) but maybe your pet isn’t really the important thing when you are showing off knitting? This might be because I am not an animal person at all but unless you are knitting something for a pet that said pet is modelling for you, I can’t really see how a pet picture can be of use in this context. There must be other forums where a pet picture is not only accepted but wanted but a knitting community might not be it (even though I’m definitely familiar with and understand the lovely and often-shown-in-kid’s-stories combination of a knitter and a pet (you wouldn’t catch me in one of those combinations though, when I knit at friends’-with-pets houses the pet in question either look too interested in my yarn for my taste or simply lies down on my pattern which makes knitting from that pattern much harder)). Not that I have a pet, and since I couldn’t get a view of this particular project from the back I will just have to cast on and see what happens and set a good example by showing the not only back but wrong side (remember, I never asked to see the wrong side, only the back of this project) of my current project. It’s stranded and it’s unblocked but here it is. And there is no pet to cover it up.

Thank you, Santa!

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Santa brought me this amazing book yesterday so you can tell I’m keeping myself occupied. This i something that combines my love for books and knitting – The Fairytale Knitting Book. I’ll let you know more as soon as I finish it.

I hope your holiday continues to be lovely!

It’s beginning to look a lot like…

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…a shawl. I’m making progress on my Christmas shawl. It will soon be time to start the color work. This is an experiment shawl so we’ll see how it turns out but I just couldn’t resist those colors together. So very Christmas-y. It’s close now, can you feel it?

It’s coming together

I said yesterday that next year I will have everything ready a week before Christmas so that I can knit and watch Christmas movies and taste all the candy. Well, it’s not a week before Christmas, and there are still some things to be done, but it’s coming together. (Ask me again tomorrow, I’ll probably be totally crazed out.)

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Today at work me and my closest co-workers had made some treats for our last staff meeting of the year. We also exchanged gifts. We had gingerbread, saffron truffles, saffron cake, marzipan and much more. It was delicious and lovely.

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Tonight I wrapped all my gifts while watching Miracle on 34th street, which is probably my favorite Christmas movie. The Christmas knitting is all done and I have spent some time tonight knitting on a new Christmas shawl. I’m not sure I will get it done before Christmas but close enough, I hope. I also put on a Christmas table cloth on the dining room table. I figure if I can’t have a tree nor Christmas curtains I can at least put on a table cloth. So I did. Only three days left now, bon courage!

They are very crunchy

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I think this time of the year a lot of people are trying to decide what is so important that you can’t do without it at Christmas and what is okay the give up this year. There are so many things to prepare for some reason and so little time to do it.

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I have made decisions too. Everything that needs to be knitted is finished, just some last touches and then it’s done. I have wrapped things, not everything but almost and I even have scotch tape, scissors, wrapping paper and ribbons and I can tell you exactly where all those things are right now. Some gifts have been given to their respectively recipients. The Christmas cards will hopefully go out tomorrow. All that is great. There is one thing that won’t be done though, I seriously doubt there will be a Christmas tree this year. We will just have to spend more time at Agnieszka’s and admire her tree. Also, and I know this is something everybody says but why not me too, next year I will do better. I will start the Christmas cards in October, the decorating of the Christmas tree will be scheduled and I will generally be more prepared so I can spend the last week before Christmas watching Christmas movies while knitting and trying out the Christmas candy and cookies. This is my goal and I will, in all honesty, see if I can make that work.

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Something I have made is gingerbread and saffron truffles. I guess trying them out while watching movies will work just as fine after Christmas as it does before.

 

Friday Heels #12

We are down to our last Friday Heels. Today is my last Friday working this side of 2016. Next week is Christmas Day and the Friday in two weeks is New Year’s Day and I don’t plan to be at work on either of those days. So, out with a bang it is with our last heels. And I’ve saved a good pair for you.

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In honor of Christmas here are a pair of red pumps, a pair never worn before (except in the shoe shop where I bought them, I have no idea who might have tried them on before me). They are much redder than I remembered and a great pair of heels for Christmas. I also actually think the might be more comfortable than the other two pairs I have in different colors. That might be because these are the twelfth pair of heels this fall so I have gotten good practise.

Now, why do I have three pairs of the same shoe in different colors, you ask. Well, the first two pairs where an impulse purchase just before Easter a year or so ago. I went into the shoe store, saw the blue pair, it’s shinyness mesmerized me, and I had to have it. But there was also a green shoe there and I just couldn’t decide which ones to get so I got both. Then, six months later, the shoe store had a sale and I was looking for some good shoes for fall and I saw these red pairs and I had to have them too (I also got shoes for fall). I guess you just can’t have too many shoes.

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They are bright and shiny and pretty. A friend of mine always says that red shoes makes you happy and that is very, very true. The heel is pretty, it’s like a 50’s ad where you wear a pretty dress and brightly colored lips and you are leaning a little backwards and lifting a foot so that you can hold on to your heel. I don’t recommend doing that unless you have removed the price tag though (which I haven’t, something I might have discovered while doing that, or I might not). As I said, I was surprised of the brightness and how red they were and I am seriously thinking of wearing them on Christmas. So definitely a good last pair in Friday Heels. It’s been fun. We’ll see what we come up with for next year.

Closer and closer stitch by stitch

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Little by little, stitch by stitch, I’m getting closer and closer to the finishing line. I have about five shawls waiting for me when this is over and I can’t wait to get started. Some serious blocking and a few more projects, that’s what’s left and I try to work as quick as I can. All around me I see knitter after knitter finishing up before Christmas and I get more and more jealous and want to knit faster and faster. I will get to my shawls and soon. Knit on!