This is a lighthouse, your call!

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It’s the last day of the last winter month. That doesn’t necessarily mean that winter is over but March is definitely a spring month so let’s look at a pair of mittens before we lose our winter month entirely.

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They turned out pretty good, didn’t they? Blockning was good, and a little distance as well, to change my mind about them. They are big enough to fit a pair of gloves underneath (at one point they actually reminded me of a pair of oven mittens) and they are unique in a way that you can be pretty safe that you’ll be the only one having a pair. They are an early birthday gift to Julle since they were more suited for winter and his birthday is next week (again, March is a spring month) and he likes both boats and lighthouses so that was definitely a hit.

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I like that they are different, left from right. It made it more fun to knit the other one. Also, looking into a better way to twist the yarn to avoid long floats made a huge difference.

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I still need to practise my color work though but it’s quite typical me to take on something very difficult without thinking when it comes to knitting. I remember my first bigger lace work. It was a cute little top and the pattern also happened to be in English, my first English pattern as it happens. I finished that top but it was very difficult. I have absolutely no respect for knitting, I expect to know everything at once and take on pretty much whatever. Luckily it most often work out well so I guess that’s why I still show no respect for difficult parts. These mittens where unnecessarily tricky but it went well in the end.

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I like the little details such as the thumbs having different patterns: gulls on one and waves on the other. A very clever, if still tricky, pattern. Hats off for the designer and happy early birthday to Julle!

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Pattern: Moonlit Coast Mittens by Erica Mount. Yarn: Rauma finullgarn, colors 400 and 449. The biggest question remains though: how many times can a husband’s bare foot be shown in a documentation of mittens?

Shawls and shenanigans

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I didn’t plan this but it amuses me to no end that my leisure time projects are currently color coordinated. I felt it was time for some steampunk and Gail Carriger is the author to turn to. This is the third novel in the Finishing School series about Sophronia Temminick – Waistcoats and Weaponry. So far it’s just as amusing as the previous ones and easy to follow but I’m only at the beginning and the plot will probably thicken and become more and more complex, as it usually does. When this is finished I have the next book in the series on my book shelf. It’s yellow so maybe there will be a yellow shawl in the near future too.

I have started on the second skein and eight rows later I finished the fourth chart repeat. That meant I used a little over 60 meters less than the pattern stated (even though I use bigger needles) and I have 86 grams left of my second skein. This means I most certainly will have enough yarn for another pattern repeat but I’m still unsure about a sixth. I’ll look into the possibility of only making half a pattern repeat should I have lots of yarn left after the fifth repeat. This shawl might work out well after all. I like big shawls but I barely have any. I don’t think any of tchem are long enough to cover as much of my back as I want and wide enough to cover enough of the front. It’s either/or or none at all. It’s actually quite annoying and I will have to do something about this, now that I’ve diagnosed the problem. Good goal for that next shawl!

And I would weave five hundred ends…

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The plan for this weekend was to knit the snot out of my blue shawl since I’m planning on wearing it on Saturday next week. But I also felt that it was time to finish something so yesterday afternoon, when I still felt I had oceans of knitting time in front of me (completely disregardning that Friday evenings usually make me too tired to even look at knitting) I sat down to sew the sleeves to my pink cardigan. How long could it take? It turned out it took me three hours to sew one sleeve. Three hours! That’s insane. However, I did sew it very pretty and I even looked up solutions for difficulties on youtbue, but still. Three hours. After that I didn’t have the energy to knit a single stitch. This morning I sew the other sleeve and it only took me an hour and in the afternoon I weaved in the four hundred and seventytwo million ends. That also took forever but now it’s done.

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I bought buttons (what a tricky task) and I’ve even sewn them. Apart from a fake pocket and a button for said pocket, the cardigan is finished and again apart from fake pocket and buttons for fake pocket, the rest of the weekend will be spent knitting blue shawl. So, my shawl is awaiting me, happy Saturday!

Constantly under-yarned

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Lately I’ve had a constant feeling that I’m notoriously under-yarned. Whatever I want to knit it seems I don’t have enough yarn. My blue shawl – I have sport weight and the pattern calls for fingering and this means I don’t have enough (according to the pattern, I’m still in denial and playing yarn chicken). I wanted to cast on a very lovely shawl in red, again sport weight which I had and also what the pattern called for, but two skeins wasn’t enough. I didn’t cast on, not even to try it out. I obviously know that most patterns call for more yarn than is actually needed (except my LYS for some reason who back in the days alsmot never stated enough yarn in to pattern to finish the project, they must have some a very tight knitters there). Before Christmas I ordered some yarn, I thought about it for a long time since it was expensive yarn and a whole sweater’s worth, only to find out that the pattern called for 10 skeins and the store only had nine skeins left. I ordered them anyway,thinking it would be fine, but I haven’t yet cast on. I’m afraid I’ll get disappointed. The other day I was ordering yarn, only to find out today that I needed two skeins of one color instead of one. (I might actually need three skeins of the main color and probably two skeins of the other colors but I opted for two of the main and one of the contrasting colors each. We’ll see if I cast on despite this.) I don’t know what’s the matter here, why this happens. One or two skeins used to be enough but apparently not anymore. What has changed? I learned the hard way to always buy two skeins of everything (which is bad when the pattern I later realize I want to make, only calls for one which leaves me stranded with one) but maybe I should start going for three skeins just to be on the safe side. Or, I should just knit these things, see if I win at yarn chicken and make up interesting color combinations of left over yarn to cover that I ran out of yarn mid-bind off. If you see me wearing weird things, please don’t say anything, I’m seriously under-yarned.

My so far not so big shawl

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The light is crappy but the knitting is coming along nicely. I have made three repeats of the chart and I want to make six but I don’t have enough yarn according to the pattern. It was a bad case of the pattern calling for fingering weight and me having only sport weight so I figure I will just knit till I run out of yarn. So far I’m only on my first skein so we’ll se how far it will take me. Some kind of shawl it will be, the only question is: how big?

How much is too much?

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I’m pretty sure this is the title of an Sex and the City episode but this is about something much more important, namely yarn. I have recently gotten the opportunity to get to fll some suitcase space with yarn. I will order the yarn to the address where the suitcase will stay and the owner will then fill the suitcase and bring it back to me. Now, the owner of the suitcase understands about yarn, or, at least, she understands about my relationship with yarn, but to my knowledge, the reciever of the yarn orders has no relationship what so ever with yarn and this is what troubles me. I surround myself with knitters and people who receive knit stuff, people who has come with me to the yarn store or has seen my stash (and some have learned the hard way what yarn means to me). They know about my relationship with yarn, they know what is much and what is barely scraping the surface.

Obviously I have gotten orders that I can’t order too much, but what is too much? There is “too much” for the suitcase space and there is “too much” in the eyes f the non-believers, the non-knitters. To me, two skeins is not even started and four is a bare minimum but someone else might think that four is more than anyone could possibly ever need. (One day I will make a count of how much yarn I use in one year and then we can really talk about what is too much and what is necessary to go through my every day.) Well, I’ll try to be as modest as I can and I guess in the end we might know what is too much or we will at least know what is not too much. Either way will be good for future yarn adventures.

The rain in Paris

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While we’re waiting for one UFO to be finished, let’s show another one. (Just to keep you updated, button bands are knit and the body is re-blocking (serves me right for blocking without a measuring tape the first time) and I have started on my shawl from yesterday.) This was the third MKAL of last year and I quit it about ten rows from the end. But that’s the thing about MKAL’s, you don’t know how close to the end you are.

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(Please ignore the dead tomato plant to the right. It’s a left over from last summer. Who has time to really clean their balcony? We brought the cushions back inside in mid-January…)

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Once I picked this one up again it was done in a blink of an eye. Or, it would have been if it wheren’t for all those beads. As it is, it took about five blinks but it was still darn quick. If only I had known. But then again, I had to prioritize the lace.

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This MKAL was inspired by springtime in Paris and it sure looks like little Eiffel Towers are being worked in there. The color combination is nice, it really feels like Paris in the springtime. It’s like we used to say when I was a teenager, you haven’t really been kissed until you’ve been kissed in the rain in Paris. (Technically I have been kissed in the rain in Paris and it wasn’t better nor worse than being kissed in the rain anywhere else. Rain is rain, it’s only romantic in movies and I’d say it all depends on who you are kissing but if you’re going to get wet it’s way better to be at home where all your dry clothes are instead of travelling where you only stay at a hotel room with limited suitcase space.)

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Gray seems to be an it-color this pre-spring so I’ve gotten som use of the shawl but it is not big, not if you are looking for a wrap. It works better as a shoulder warmer thing than an actual shawl. I wore it as a shawl the other day and it constantly fell off.

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All in all though it’s a nice little shawl and for once in a color combination that actually works and is not a challenge in itself. I especially like the middle rectangle pattern and the construction of it all was pretty cool, to actually form a rectangle by knitting in the round. I have a special bond with Paris and this shawl didn’t disappoint me in that aspect. Paris is pink, Paris is gray, Paris is lovely and romantic and our relationsship status? Well, it’s complicated.

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Pattern: Paris in the Springtime by Cindy Garland. Yarn: Twinkle and Posh from Stunning String Studio, colors French Lilac and Dove.

A fairy godmother with a two weeks delay

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One thing (among many) I love about being a knitter is that I can decide I need something and make sure I have it. It’s like waving a wand like a fairy godmother and voilà, there you have it. Or, you’ll have it a little while later. In Warsaw over Christmas I picked up this gorgeous black and blue lace dress and I wore it for New Year’s but didn’t really have a shawl for it. Since then I have purchased yarn that might work but didn’t really think more of it. A little while ago I got a party invitation and last night I started to think about what to wear. My gorgeous dress was the obvious answer and suddenly it hit me – I need a shawl. I have less than two weeks to finish it and the first step is to decide which yarn is best, the one to the right or the one to the left. I have decided on a pattern and if nothing hugely unexpected happens there will be a shawl – petrol blue or somber greenish – warming my shoulders on this party in less than two weeks. It will be fabulous!

Another one blocking in the corner

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Sorry about the dark picture but this is still supposed to be a little stealth. I have gotten a ton of knitting done this weekend (and I still wish I could have done more). I have blocked, oh, have I blocked. I blocked yesterday, things that I didn’t think I would have time to block this weekend, and I knit and knit and unexpectedly finished something, despite having to add about 4500 stitches, that is now occupying most of my livingroom floor. I have started the button bands on my cardigan and if you give me a few more evenings that might be done too. It’s about two million ends to weave in though so I might be a tad optimistic here. We’ll see.

Why I’m not a better baker

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I had great plans for today that got cancelled in the last minute. It’s sad but it gave me a opportunity to block my cardigan and the lace cowl. I know that the sleeves will be long enough and the body seems to have survived the hibernation but all that finishing, oh my. And, I didn’t cast off the shoulders, I put the stitches on a stitch holder instead and that might have been a mistake, I don’t know how drapey this cardy will be and kitchener stitch instead of shoulder seems might not be a good idea, the cardigan might be too heavy. Gaaah, the choices! I should probably just follow the pattern and cast off but if it’s not drapey and the cast off is unnecessary, I will have a much prettier shoulder. I wish patterns would tell why you do something in case you might be the sort who improvises. It’s the same with recipes. I wish they would take a moment to mention tricky parts and why you do things in a certain way and why it’s important. A lot of recipes in flashy cook books these days makes it sound so easy to make very complex pastries and candy and then you try it and it turns out terribly. If the recipe, or the pattern for that matter, had mentioned what you should think about and why, you will fast become a much better cook or knitter. If I was a better baker I would probably go more for those flashy new cook books but as it is I most often choose to follow the old classy ones, as long as you follow them to at least some extent, you will end up with good cookies. Sure, I can make a pastry over and over to learn how to make it, but really, who has the time? As with this cardigan, if I, after two and a half years of work in progress, end up with a cardigan that is impossible in every way, I’m not sure I will re-do it. I will get mad and move on without analyzing why it’s not working. This is probably a fault in my character but honestly, how fun is it to re-do things? How will I learn what is essential and what is open for improvisation if the pattern or recipe doesn’t tell me? Sure, experience and practise will do that but wouldn’t it be much faster if someone would just tell me why? Is that so much to ask for? They say anyone can bake or knit but is that really true if we keep things secret for everyone to figure out themselves? I’m not so sure about that.