Ship Ahoy!

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I hope you don’t think I have forgotten the mittens. I haven’t but I don’t prioritize them. I have one project going for when I’m out and about and I have my MKAL. When the clue for the MKAL is done and I’m home, that’s when I knit on these. Since I’m busy most evenings except Fridays and Saturdays, there is not much time left to work on these. And admittedly I’m getting a little tired of them. Half of the second mitten is done and I will finish it, I just can’t tell when. I’ve done ten rows today and I hope to make a few more before bed. I’m powering through.

A real hoot

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Owls have been in for quite some time now, you can find them on cross-stitch table cloths, pictures and bookmarks and I’ve seen them on cups and notepads and you name it. Of course they can also been found on knitting.

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I hadn’t really followed the trend but when I saw a pattern for a very warm cardigan with an owl pattern at the same time as I got a dress with owls on it, I was hooked. I was going to make myself a cardigan to match my dress. When I saw that there were also patterns for a sweater for an adult and a cardigan and a sweater for a child I knew my Christmas gifts were as good as done.

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First out was a cardigan for nephew. I picked that one first because it required the smallest needles so it would take longer despite being smaller. It took me a long weekend to finish it and I was lucky to find small enough buttons as eyes for the owl.

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Next out was a sweater for niece. The yarn was knew to me and it knit up very fast. I worried the neck wouldn’t be big enough but niece’s mother has assured me it worked out. I’ve also seen a picture.

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This owl got the most eye looking buttons and it looks very much like an owl. A very serious owl too.

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Third sweater was for my Lyndsey-bean. This worried me the most. I had to count a lot to get gauge and the yoke looked really small, almost the same size as niece’s sweater and she’s not even four.

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When I put the sweater on the dummy it looked better but I was still worried even though it was supposed to have negative ease. Lyndsey has assured me though that it fits her which pleases me a lot. It’s difficult to knit a garment for someone when you don’t have the exact measurements and can’t fit it during the process.

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I wish I had done one thing differently though. I wish I had tried the sweater on the dummy before sewing the buttons on. That way I would have known which owl to pick and not have an owl way up on Lyndsey’s shoulder. Then again, an owl on the shoulder sounds kind of cool, very mysterious and powerful.

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Patterns: Wowligan, Owlet and Owls by Kate Davies. Yarn: Drops Baby Merino from Garnstudio in color 18 Brown (nephew), Alpaca Superfine from Viking of Norway in color 233 Verde (niece) and Ecological wool from Cascade Yarns  in color 8285 Mocha(Lyndsey). No mods.

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For me? Well, I got myself an owl too. Not a cardigan, even though I haven’t given up hope about that yet, but a sweat little creature named Wanda that came to live with me on Christmas Eve. We’re very good friends.

When you’re friends with a knitter

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Yesterday I talked about what you can say with knitting. Today I’ve changed the perspective a little to how it is to be friends with a knitter. When you’re friends with a knitter you basically know that you only get soft packages for Christmas and birthdays. You are most often warm even if it’s very cold outside. You find your clothes subject to scrutiny, especially if you’re wearing a knitted sweater. You can sense someone lightly touching the fabric of your new cardigan or asking what material it contains. You also get pampered with wool, especially if you breathe something about cold or sore or fancying a certain type of shawl.

A couple of weeks ago my friend Karin mentioned she was in need of an indoor cowl (actually she might have said that she could feel a draft around her neck but what I heard was that she needed knitting) so I immediately started planning. I searched ravelry for patterns. I texted Karin about colors and went stash diving and came up with two suggestions but I wanted her to feel them before I picked one. Today I finished one of my current projects and realized I could cast on a new. I hunted Karin down in the cafeteria and pressed yarn against her neck. She picked one and I ran a pattern suggestion by her. She looked at me like I was a little crazy, which might be true and now I realize I might have been very clear to another knitter but was probably not making any sense at all to a non-knitter. She agreed with my suggestions though so I’m going to stick with that. Now, all that’s left is to cast on. Oh, lovely Friday evening!

Say it with knitting

One can say a lot with knitting and knitted gifts and I’m not talking about the obvious gifts like for birthdays, Christmas, newborn babies, weddings and such. No, there are other things you can say with knitting. Here are a few suggestions.

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If someone has helped out you with someting and you want to do a little something extra for them – knit them something (or buy them flowers, whatever seems more fit). I have knit at lot to say thank you, some things are big and some are small. It shows how much you appreciated what they did. Sometimes I knit just as a way to say thank you for being you, you’re a wonderful person and I’m so happy you’re in my life.

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Are you going through a rough time? Here is something to show that I think about you. Also, my own experience is that when you get a gift at a time when you’re falling apart, it’s about the prettiest thing you’ve ever gotten. One of the gifts that has made me the happiest was a small bottle of chocolate smelling shower gel and a loofah. I love to eat chocolate but I don’t care for chocolate as a smell and I don’t use that kind of loofahs but it’s still one of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten because I was so, so sad and getting a gift at that time was about the best that could happen – someone was thinking of me. I’ve knit a lot of things to show I care and to help cheer up. It doesn’t have to be the perfect gift but it’s at least something, especially if the receiver wasn’t expecting anything. It can also be a physical thing. You often have a sore neck? Let me knit you a scarf to keep it warm.

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One can appologize with knitting. Or rather, you should never forget to say you’re sorry but a little added knitting shows you are willing to make amends. Also, to wool people up can be a smooth way to make interaction work better. And that’s just not with knitted gifts. Sometimes I pick up my work in progress in public situations where there are a lot of emotions going on and things might get a little heated and it doesn’t work all the time obviously but it’s darn hard to have a fight in a room where someone is knitting. If nothing else, people either start asking questions (maybe insulting ones but I have my knitting, I’m happy anyway and I did stop a conflict by turning the attention on me) or talk about their own knitting. And, if the conflict happens anyway, I’ve done what I could and I can hide behind the knitting if it isn’t an option to walk away.

What do you say with knitting?

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Pattern: Winter wrist warmers by Kim Sanborns. Yarn: Drops Karisma, color 16 dark grey. A quick knit, warm and flattering. Probably my favorite wrist warmer pattern right now. Mods: continued with established pattern for five repeats then cast off.

Why fix me if I ain’t broken?

wpid-dsc_7565.jpgJust a little more information about what I talked about yesterday. I found an article about it. Apparently 20 minutes of knitting lowers your cardiac rythm with eleven beats and is as relaxing as yoga and meditation. I will remember this. Especially next time someone tells me I should do yoga or mindfulness instead of knit. I am not knitting because I’m insane, I’m knitting to stay sane. I would never have been able to accomplish all the things I’ve done in last ten years if I didn’t have my knitting (well, yes I would but it would have been so much harder). Yoga essentially makes me mad. Mindfulness and meditation is not for me. I have found my way of relaxing and it works (and now I also have proof is works just as well as yoga or meditation). Per hour it’s probably also cheaper than yoga (unless you are very good at yoga and do it at home without and instructor). One semester is usually 8-15 meetings and can cost a lot. Way more than the 200 SEK for a skein of sock yarn that keeps me occupied for 16 hours. You can’t compete with that.

Relaxing as nothing else

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It’s one of those weeks. One of those weeks when there is too much to do and not enough knitting time. I heard today that knitting lowers your pulse which means you get really relaxed while you knit and I can totally vouch for that, depending, of course, of the knitting but that’s a different story. So can you blame me if I get stressed out if I don’t get to knit as much as I want? Today someone even mentioned that I need to knit less in order to relax more. Not in so many words but that was the general meaning. That person does not know me, that’s all I can say. And I am relaxed because I knit, not in spite of it. I need to remember that when I meet this person the next time, I need my knitting and there is nothing wrong with that.

So, I need to relax for a while before bed now. I’m going to knit.

Cookies and knitting

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It’s late and the at-home knitting opportunities aren’t many this week so I’ll spend the time before bed knitting. And eating cookies. It’s a new recipe that I got from a friend. They are super yummy despite that I melted the butter instead of just softning it. So cookies and knitting, here I come!

Spring business

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Speaking of socks in my last blog post, there are a couple that I haven’t shown you. This pattern is really lovely and this yarn made it justice.

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But thiis the yarn that Julle chose at the fair in Öregrund back in October. I talked him out of picking one with only grey and red but instead he chose orange (that should teach me not to interfer). I wasn’t a fan of the yarn color, the yarn itself was good, especially after knitting Zombie bbq, but the pattern made it much easier not to get stuck.

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I was afraid I would run out of yarn so I made one row less before the tow increases on one sock and it altered everything, or rather, it put the pooling of the orange on top of the toe instead of under it. I think it helps differentiate between left and right.

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With the green pair I had learn my lesson and made one less pattern repeat on the leg. That save both time and yarn and I doubt it effected the fit of the socks.

Even thought I love the Zombie bbq socks I think the green ones are my favorite. They are soft and the pattern works well with the color. There are no highly contrasting color changes which makes the cables much more gradient. They feel very April, as Jenny put it, with fresh dirt, a careful greenery in plants and trees and withered leaves from last year still on the ground.

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Pattern: Business casual by Tanis Lavallee. Yarn: Austermann hand painted, color 10 Morning fog (grey pair) and Zwerger Garn Opal Sweet & Spicy, color 6755 Spice (the green ones).

White Queen Stole

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I know that these pictures seem a little odd this time of the year but let me tell you, it all makes sense.  First of all, even though winter is the best time of the year to wear knitted goods (I’m wearing my Vampire shawl right now), one can need a little break from pictures of socks and mittens and so on. One can also need a reminder that even though I love snow and prefer it much much more to the alternative (slushy) this time of the year, there is a summer with warm and lovely colors and green lawns and flowers and vacation and so on.

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It’s funny, this time of the year I can’t even imagine that the sun can be up till 10 pm and during summer I can’t understand that it can be dark by 3 pm. Right now it’s difficult to see that the greenery in these pictures have actually been and will come back and when we were taking these photos I couldn’t understand that I would plod in snow a few months later. In October, when I plan things for May, I have a hard time to believe that May will come again.

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I know intellectually that February is close and that I should be careful with what colors I pick to knit but even thought it’s January 21st I can’t seem to understand that February is here in just ten days. Neither can I understand that it’s only four weeks since Christmas and that I have only been back to work two weeks. Insane.

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The snow helps with the color depression and that most days are sunny. It also helps that our home is lovely and light and that we have a pink couch (and chocolate). Two years ago we had just moved in to our new home and it takes a while to get everything ready and that was not helping with my need for color (and to not knit in blue).

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I have been knitting a lot of blues, grays and white’s lately so maybe I should look into something more colorful before February hits me. I should also try to finish Julle’s second mitten so that he won’t have to walk around with one warm and one cold hand. Also, this is the time when they are needed, not later on in May (at least let’s hope so).

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I have been okay with my knittings so far but the other day I started longing for something new to cast on and looked disappointedly at all my current projects. The solution is to finish, and quick. My MKAL is nowhere near finished so there is not much to do there but keep up so I don’t fall behind. I have just started the sixth color on my third Vacillate so more than half of it is done. It should be finished in a week or so.

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The second mitten isn’t cast on yet but I hope to take care of that tonight. The second mitten has a different pattern than the first so it should continue to be interesting (although I saw someone else’s mitten in progress, still colorwork but a different pattern, and that colorwork was flawless, and not lumpy at all, from what the picture told me and that was a little demoralizing. It didn’t even looked blocked).

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Luckily I also have my back-up. I have that UFO in glowing green left from last summer and that should imeadiately lift my spirits up should they start to sink. I will just have to remember that in time. I will give the second mitten a fair chance but if it doesn’t work my glowing green is the answer to everything.

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There is Another reason I think this shawl is appropriate to show right now. It’s called the White Queen Stole and from what I remember, the White Queen was quite into winter. I made it this summer to wear over my wedding dress in case it would be a chilly day – with all of July being quite cold and it raining like crazy the whole day two days before the wedding, it wasn’t crazy thought at all – but it turned out to be the most beautiful summer day so I never needed it. Now it’s a shawl I bring out for parties and special occasions. I’m especially fond of the little beads that covers it.

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Pattern: White Queen Stole by Susanna IC. Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Silkpaca, color Natural. I made a few extra pattern repeats of the middle part of the shawl to really make it a wrap. It’s surprisingly warm for such a light shawl.

A little break

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I had to take a little break from color work and do some good old single colored cables. A pair of wristwarmers later and it feels good to have that out of my system. I think I might cast on mitten number two tomorrow but I should really study as well so we’ll see. And on Friday next MKAL clue arrives and I don’t want to fall behind. All these things makes me really busy but at least I have another finished project. Blocking will have to wait till tomorrow though and pictures this weekend. It felt good to finish something, to really feel the progress as I was knitting. Then again, this is probably the quickest pattern I’ve ever knit. And the result is fab!