Right choices?

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I did talk before about wether or not starting a new pair of mittens is the right way to go when you’ve just finished a pair that annoyed you a lot. The answer is apparently yes, you should cast on another pair since that’s what I did. I’m still nog sure this is the right choice but I can already say things are different. First of all, it goes much quicker. I have less stitches and a pattern that is easier to memorize and even though I’ve modified it a bit which led to some confusion in the beginning, it was fairly easy to get on track again. So far so good and we’ll see for how long it lasts and if my modifications made it pretty or not. I do like the colors and even if it’s blue and white I think it will work. For now at least.

Not one, but two

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I’m really proud of myself right now. I’ve managed what I couldn’t in 2013 (well, it was a crappy year in many ways so I shouldn’t be too hard on myself). I have now two sleeves. Two! Not one, but two. This cardigan cannot haunt me about the unfinished sleeves anymore. Now, there still is a lot of finishing before it’s done. I need to make the neck and there are button bands and seams and a fake pocket and buttons and weaving in ends and so much more. First of all though, it’s blocking time and that means I can knit on something else in the meantime without feeling like I’m neglecting it again. Two whole sleeves, even long enough to fit me, can you imagine? It might be too good to be true.

Let’s knit like it was 2014

In (relatively speaking) early 2014 I did a little summary of all the things I knit in 2013. It was fun to collect some statistics of what it is that I actually do all year. Then in early 2015 there were still a lot of unphotographed items and I was in a weird winter mood and didn’t feel very inspired when it came to blogging and also, we had a wedding to plan and lace to make, so I never made a summary of the knitting year 2014. Honestly, the picture problem was the biggest obstacle and there are still some things lost from that year but since then I have gotten better at taking pictures and these past few months I’ve really made an effort to find pictures of everything that were just blank spaces on my ravely project page.

To get some closure and really finish off 2014 and I figure it’s time to make a summary now (don’t worry, there will be one for 2015 too) divided in knits for me and knits for others. This is the summary of knits for others.

Amount of projects finished: 52
Amount of knitted gifts: 37 if you don’t count every single washcloth but merely the amount of receivers. If you count every washcloth the number is 40 and the above number is 55.
Most used needle size (gifts): 4 mm, used 11 times, followed by 3,5 mm used 7 times and 5 mm used six times. There were also two projects were I didn’t specify which needle size I used. I shouldn’t do that.
Biggest needles used: 7 mm, used one time on the Lace Texture Cowl.
Smallest needles used: 2.25 mm
Most common garment (gifts): sweaters/cardigans/vests for a total of 11 due to all those kids. Followed by 6 shawls and 6 washcloths. I’m most surpised about the 5 hats. I had totally forgotten about most of them.
Most used yarn weight: Sport 10 times, but only because I didn’t count every single washcloth, I only counted the number of receivers. Had I done that DK would have been most common with 11. Now it’s only in third place since Light fingering scored a 9 and DK 8. Least used was Lace with only one time (and there were also some that weren’t used at all but let’s leave them out. Actually, the left overs from that one lace project is what I use for my current lace project.
Most common recipient: Agnieszka and nephew got five things each. In total I have 25 friends and family who got something knitted in 2014. Other than that it was again the kids’ year. I made 15 projects for kids and babies. (15!) It also looks like it’s good to be friends with me – 18 projects were for friends (family not counted).
Amount of projects for me: a surprising 15

January

The first projects that was both started and finished in 2014 was for Agnieszka.

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Antler Hat by tincanknits. Yarn: Malabrigo Rios, color Sunset. I added a pompom.

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Purl Ridge Scarf by Stephen West in Malabrigo Rios, color Sunset.

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Sky Blue by Star Athena in Malabrigo Sock, color Persia. All these projects were meant to keep Agnieszka warm while spending a semester in the States.

February

In March I went to visit Agnieszka and other friends in the States which meant February was spent knitting for these lovely people.

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Haruni by Emily Ross. Yarn: Drops Lace from Garnstudio, color red. This shawl was meant as something light enough to work in the summer but also warm enough to protect from draught.

March

Lyndsey turned 30 in late February so I took the opportunity to celebrate her while visiting in the States.

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Luster shawl by Amélie Bernier in Malabrigo worsted, colors Jewel Blue and Lettuce. We took the pictures when it had finally started to look like spring.

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While in the States we also held a baby shower for Lyndsey and I had made this as a gift for my little nephew. It’s my own pattern and the yarn is Fin from Du store alpakka, color 221 Håndmalt i grønn/beige toner (handpainted in green/beige). I knit this when I was looking into having more colors in my life. I don’t know what I was thinking.

April

By the end of March I had realized that I was way behind on the baby sweaters and thus started Project Baby Love.

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Another one of my own patterns. Yarn is Malabrigo Sock, color Persia. I drew the cable charts while doodling during a conference.

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Puss – First size knitted set from Patons, a vintage pattern. Yarn: Drops Baby Alpaca Silk from Garnstudio, colors 7820 green and 5670 brown.  This was one of those projects that turned out just perfect. Not good, not great, but perfect.

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Go Your Own Way Shawlette by Star Athena in Malabrigo sock, color Terracota. For my friend Hanna who sadly isn’t here anymore.

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Lilla Loppan from Yllotyll in Sirdar Snuggly Baby Bamboo DK, colors Limey, Yellow and Blue. The yarn is great but the pattern reminded me of what I think of colorwork.

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Modular cardigan by Doreen L. Marquart in Drops Safran from Garnstudio, colors 20 Rust and 06 Denim. Mods: knit the cardigan top down with long-tail cast on instead of yoke up with a provisional cast on. This was knit together with…

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Star-Topped Hat by Doreen L. Marquart, also in Drops Safran from Garnstudio, colors 20 Rust and 06 Denim. Together they became a very cute set.

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Antler Cardigan by tincanknits in Drops Lima from Garnstudio in color 3609 red. This was the last cardigan for baby nephew that year.

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April was a productive month and I finished it by making a little matching bonnet for Sofia. Bonnet waves and half star by Siona Land modified with the lace from Puss – First size knitted set from Patons. Yarn: Drops Baby Alpaca Silk from Garnstudio, color and 5670 Brown. I think that this hat together with the cardigan is probably my favorite thing among the knits of 2014.

May

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After all those baby sweaters and cardigans in April I was happy to make something without sleeves for a change and in came Viggo by Drops Design in Drops Alpaca Silk from Garnstudio, colors Powder and Pale Green.

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I don’t only have a nephew, I have a niece too. A niece who at that time was very delighted by ladybugs so I made her the Ladybug Pullover by Heather Lodinsky in Snuggly Baby Bamboo DK from Sirdar, color is limey I think.

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In June a friend turned 30 but she decided to have her party about three weeks earlier than the actual birthday which gave me pretty short notice to finish her gift but I did it in time and before June had even started. Holden by Mindy Wilkes in Malabrigo sock, color Candombe.

June

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The first weekend in June we went to no less than three birthday parties. We were pretty tired after that. Another gift that was made for these parties was the Rosa Rubiginosa Mitts by Hunter Hammersen in Malabrigo Sock, color 204 Velvet grapes.

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A lot of my friends have their birthdays in June and there were many gifts made. 2014 was the year of wristwarmers apparently. Narcissus pseudo-narcissus Cuff by Hunter Hammersen in Malabrigo sock, color Light of Love.

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In June Agnieszka came home again and I hurried to finish her shawl, The Doctor Who inspired Bigger on the inside by Kate Atherley in Heart You from Nerd Girl Yarns, color Tardis Blue.

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Rosa Rubiginosa Mitts by Hunter Hammersen in Drops Baby Alpaca Silk from Garnstudio, color 6347 blue purple (I think).

July

I didn’t finish a single gift in July but it was a very hot month so I’m surprised I finished anything at all.

August

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I gave designing a go again in August and made a washcloth for a friends birthday. Yarn is Snuggly Baby Bamboo DK from Sirdar, color red.

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I found a yarn were the color practically screamed my co-worker’s name so I had to make her something from it. Lace Texture Cowl by Karen D. Kendrick-Hands. Yarn: BFL fingering from Blue Moon Fiber Arts, color Crabby Apple Green.

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Green became a theme when I made my first baby blanket. Sea of Dreams Baby Blanket by Aimee Alexander in Drops Merino Extra Fine from Garnstudio in color 18 Green.

September

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In September we went to a wedding. The wedding had fall colors as a theme so I made Three other washcloths in Sirdar Snyggly Baby Bambo DK in red, orange and purple.

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The recipient of the first vest I made grew very fast and had outgrown his vest before even wearing it so I made him another one. The pockets! Junior from DROPS design in DROPS Baby Alpaca Silk from Garnstudio, color 3609 red.

October

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I got sick in October and made use of the time by knitting a friend a hat. Sitka Spruce by tincanknits in Malabrigo Worsted, color Jewel Blue.

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One of my MKALs became a great gift my my aunt. Twisted Haze by Cindy Garland in Stunning String Studio’s Stunning Superwash in color Copper Berry.

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My friend Emelie mentioned on the blog that she likes socks so I made her a pair. Delias eucharis Sock by Hunter Hammersen in Cascade Yarns Heritage, color Primavera.

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II also decided that Shrimpie needed a neck warmer so I made one. I chose yellow so that it would be easy to spot at daycare. Spring neckwarmer by Justyna Lorkowska in Debbie Bliss’ Baby Cashmerino in colors Butter and Primrose.

November

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In November started the Christmas knitting for real and I set out for socks. My own pattern in Järbo garn mellanraggi, color 308.

December

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And another pair, also my own pattern, also an afterthought heel and also in Järbo garn mellanraggi but this time in color 312.

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As a Christmas gift for my niece I knit the most lovely dress. The brown ribbon was really the icing on the cake. It’s simply adorable. Snow Princess by Melissa Wehrle in Gaea Sport from Blue Moon Fiber Arts, color Strawberry and Rhubarb Pie.

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Then my niece’s grandma got a couple of spring colored washcloths. Again my own pattern in Sirdar Snuggly Baby Bamboo DK in limey and, I guess, blue.

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I stealth knit something during fall of 2014 too. A vest for Julle. 28-29-45 Men’s Cabled Vest by Pierrot (Gosyo Co., Ltd) in Cascade 220 from Cascade Yarns, color 4649. This was the first time I knit from a Japanese pattern.

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From the left over yarn I made a hat for my mum. Orvieto hat by Nina Machlin Dayton in Cascade 220 from Cascade Yarns, color 4649.

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The last knitted gift of 2014 was a lovely little cardigan for a new baby. The color must be the most perfect pink. Stella by Linden Down in Malabrigo sock, color Light of Love.

That’s it. All these projects were gifts in 2014. Most of them are great. Some of them are indifferent even though still good and a precious few are perfect in every way. It will be nice to be able to put 2014 behind us.

Back to square one

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I ran out of yarn. I ran out of yarn and now I had to tink back seven rows. It took forever and all I can show for today’s knitting is – nothing. I am back to exactly the same place as I left off yesterday. Or actually less since I ripped out one pattern repeat too to be able to cast off. It’s ironic, this yarn has an infinite yardage and I run out mid-cast off. I don’t really want to talk about it, I’m going to knit on something else and get a fresh start tomorrow. Over and out.

Rookie mistake

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I’ve made a rookie mistake. I can’t believe it. I have knit on the lace cowl and it’s been taking forever. Then the other day I felt I had gotten closer to the end. Today I had some unexpected knitting time and all of a sudden, the last part flew by and I was missing a smaller needle and couldn’t do the last part. That cowl could have been finished by now but it’s not, due to a needle left at home. I should know that if it takes two hours two knit eight rows during the middle of the project, those eight rows are done in about two minutes towards the end. I should know better. Basically I should just put everything I need to finish a project in the project bag and I didn’t. That’s just… wrong.

Happy Valentine’s!

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Happy Valentine’s to you all! I’ve spent the day on my couch with my knitting. It’s been awesome. I haven’t done all that I wanted to but you can’t have it all, knitwise I’m on track. I have finished this week’s MKAL clue and that was my biggest goal. I’ve also read a good part of this weeks book club book and actually rested, which was needed because yesterday was great fun but not much rest.

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Saturday – Galentine’s – was a real tribute to women in general and my friends in particular. It started with a meeting with the bobbin lace guild and continued with afternoon tea with a good friend. In the evening my hand craft friends came over and we drank a gallon of tea each and there were no shortage of snacks and chocolate. All the best things combined – friendship, handcraft, tea, chocolate, yarn and so much more.

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Tonight it’s a week since I picked up my UFO cardigan again and I can say I’ve gotten as far on the second sleeve as I had on the first sleeve when I put it down two and a  half years ago. This means I’ve made on whole sleeve in a week (while only knitting on it at home and never in public – I have a lace cowl for that) and that it might actually happen this time with this cardigan, it might get finished if not anything very unexpected happens. A whole sleeve, can you imagine? Also, I might now why I left off in the first place. There are a lot of increases over a long time in this cardigan and when you are finally done with them you want it to be time to start decreasing for the armhole but it isn’t. Not even close. I know this because I have one finished sleeve and I know that I have  76 rows left before the armhole. I can do that now because I know exactly what’s done (200 rows) and what’s left but I didn’t know that with the first sleeve, I had nothing to compare it to. I respond very well to math in cases like this, I like to know what I’ve done and how much is left in actual numbers, not something abstract like “knit a gazillion rows till you reach 20 inches” which was all I had on the first sleeve. 76 rows can obviously be done and I intend to do it. Soon.

The difficulty of photography

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While I continue to knit on my sleeve (and my lace cowl that reminds me how much I dislike knitting with lace weight yarn) I’ll take a moment here to look at something finished.

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Lat year a very Lovely woman made me a wedding dress and as a way to really thank her I wanted to knit her the most beautiful shawl. I picked out yarn and pattern and beads and knit and knit and then it was finished and I needed to take pictures of it before I gave it away.

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Taking pictures turned out to be tricky. I went out late one afternoon but it was hard to find som sunlight and a good place to place the shawl. Eventually I took a few clothes pegs and Went out to the nearly deserted school yard Close to my apartment. There I pegged the shawl to a fence and started shooting away. A few kids who were playing soccer asked me what I was doing and said they thought it would look cool with the sun through the holes in the shawl. I agreed.

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But even though I had found a good place I still wasn’t satisfied with the result. There was too much of the background shining through the shawl. The kids were right, it’s a cool effect but makes it so much harder to see the actual shawl. Then it hit me. The recipient of the shawl didn’t “just” make me a wedding dress and matching pantalettes, she aslo gave me a dummy.

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After that things got easy and has continued easy all through fall. Whenever I have a finished project like a sweater or a shawl I just put the dummy on the balcony and the garment on the dummy. I do sometimes miss not to be able to photograph the lenght of the shawl like I used to but it beats having all those dark winter pictures or not being able to take pictures at all between October and April.

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The shawl turned out just the way I wanted and was a pure delight (if somewhat tedious towards the end like most projects you just want to be finished. I’m still surprised things actually don’t knit themselves while I look away. I still expect the red lace I’m working on to knit itself but so far no luck (well, actually, I did a few rounds earlier today and I seem closer to the end than I thought so maybe it has actually knit itself a little bit, just to get me past the place where it seems on never makes any progres)).

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I’m really glad that I decided I would make a very elegant shawl and that I could pull through, that an elegant shawl was what I got. That should mean that if I want a warm shawl, the Chance is big that I actually make a warm shawl and so on. This might not sound like a big deal but I think it is, not all things turn out the way you want them or expect them to be.

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The first beads I found wasn’t right, I felt that from the beginning, but I didn’t want to frog the shawl so they are different on the top lace from the bottom lace. I don’t think it matters though, it’s still a very, very pretty shawl and it feels appropriate that it was the first garment that was photographed on the dummy. That dummy is really a knit pics saver.

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Pattern: Aliseda by Susanna IC. Yarn: Malabrigo Sock, color Azules.

On its way to become a big sleeve

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It’s been a gray and rainy day and I’ve been really tired after a very intense zumba workout and I’ve longed for the moment when I get to sit on the couch and knit. I only had time for a few rows but my little second sleeve is really growing. And it’s so pretty!

Requests from non-knitters

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Sometimes non-knitters ask me to knit them something particular and if a birthday or Christmas is coming up they usually receive that thing as a present. The difficulty though is to translate their expectations and visions into what can actually be made and was is a good idea or not.

The person who receives the most knits from me is without a doubt Agnieszka (and babies but they have no say in what they get). I have knit for her for many years and we have worked out a pretty good routine when it comes to knitting (not to mention that she lives two blocks away from the yarn store so we can usually go there together). She also knows most of the things I’ve knit for myself and others so we can usually understand each other very well. We might discuss size and I would say something like “bigger than the yellow Citron of 2012 but smaller than the Sonar of 2013?” and she might answer “yes, but the same yarn as the 2014 wrist warmers”. Once or twice we’ve gotten it wrong but we learn and we can, usually, laugh at the mistakes.

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With other people it’s not as easy. They don’t know my knitting as well as Agnieszka and they don’t have that many hand knitted objects. It’s sometimes difficult to understand what they want and for them to understand what can be made or not. When Hanna wanted a shawl I narrowed it down in little pieces, different questions so try to understand what she was after. Questions with titles such as Size? Texture? Shape? Fiber? Color? Warmth/thickness of yarn? After all these were answered we had a pretty good idea what she was looking for and I went online to find patterns. I chose three that I thought interesting enough for me to knit and she picked the one she liked best. I made a few yarn suggestions and she picked her favorite. I knit and she was very happy with the result. (I sometimes still wonder where that shawl is and I hope it makes someone warm.)

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Another time it might not be so easy. When my mother-in-law asked me for a cape of some sort to wear with a dress she had bought, she had a clear purpose in mind and the rest was pretty optional which actually made it harder. Since she didn’t have a clear vision of what she wanted, only what she wanted it for, it was harder for me to find a pattern. I knew what color she wanted, that it was for a certain summer dress and that she wanted it to cover her shoulders. The result was this capelet, something I hadn’t imagined at all before I saw some yarn in my stash that was the perfect color and then I just went from there. The result is pretty and worked wonderful with the dress and my mother-in-law was very pleased when she opened her Christmas gift. I don’t think either of us had this in mind when we first talked about it but it worked out just fine. And what could be better than that?

Pattern: The Galaxy Capelet by Cathy Briscoe. Yarn: Sirdar Snuggly Baby Bamboo DK in color 108. Mods: No frill at the bottom, I just ended with some garter stitch to keep it in place. I cast on, established the pattern and then knit on for a million rows until the size was finally right. It fit like a glove.