I’m lucky it wasn’t a yarn auction

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There has been quite some travelling lately. First we went to Warsaw and bought a huge amount of yarn. I love every single skein. I hope to also knit every single skein but I’m not sure when that will happen. Then we came back and I spent less than two days at home before leaving again, this time for northern Sweden to visit my friend Emma. It was only for a few days but it was a great few days.

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One of the first things I found out was that my skills as a knitter was needed. Emma’s sister-in-law had had an accident with her hand and was adviced not to put her hand in direct sunlight so she needed a wristwarmer. She had one but it was a woolen one and  when I arrived it was a very hot day. She really needed something in cotten and luckily I had my new summer cardigan project with me, i.e a lot of white cotton. Since the day was hot we went to the pool and spent the afternoon there. In the evening we were at a concert by the river where the band was playing on a raft in the middle of the river with the audience on the shore. It was a lovely evening.

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The next day saw a new experience for me. Emma took me to my first auction. It was a huge one that took a lot of time but I must say, I like auctions.

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Luckily, mainly because Emma and her mother are such smart women, we had seats in the front and I could sit there and knit on the cotton wristwarmer while comfortably following the action in the auction. It was really interesting.

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By the time the wristwarmer was finished we were pretty tired and I had bid on two things, a lamp and a basket with some weaving utensils. I’m not taking up weaving but in the basket were also some crochet lace, crochet yarn and two teeny tiny crochet needles, perfect for attaching beads to knitting. I won both biddings and I’m giving the weaving gadgets to my bobbin lace teacher who is also a weaver. I have tried my crochet needles on my current MKAL and they work excellent.

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My last day we went to the village where my grandparents lived. I haven’t been there for quite some time so it was truly a trip down memory lane. We looked around, went to places that remember from my childhood and we also found a yarn store where Emma found some very pretty yarn. We got a few skeins and once they are out of the obligatory quarantine in the freezer I’m going to knit her a shawl.

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The wristwarmer was blocking was blocking together with its’ sister by the time I went back home and I hope it fills its’ purpose. This has truly been a yarn summer, there is no other way to describe it. Over 60 new skeins and yarn balls have so far found their way to my stash and I am very pleased with this. Now it’s really time for some knitting.

Some MKAL TLC (acronyms FTW!)

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With all the travelling the last couple of weeks my current MKAL has been terribly neglected. So far there are five clues out and I only hope to get through the second cue tonight.

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I didn’t start it in time, I was trying to finish something else, and when I did start I realized I didn’t like the beads that came with the kit so I ordered some new ones and then we left on vacation and even though I really could do it, beading is awfully tricky to do on a plane even if they do let you keep your crochet needle.

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Theoretically I could use dental floss but I find a crochet hook easier and either way, it’s a lot of fiddling with the beads. Fiddling while in a moving plane where you really should be seated all the time is a bad a idea. Hence, my MKAL should get some TLC.

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I’m thinking I should just take a little break with my summe cardigan and just spend a few nights with the MKAL and that should be fine. It’s kind of pretty and the stitch amount does not change.

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I’m not completely sure about the color choice yet but it’s better than the last MKAL (where I didn’t like the kit beads either, come to think of it, but luckily I had some blue pretty ones in my so far small but well selected bead stash).

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I keep evaluating whether or not I should continue in the yarn club – there are quite a few shawls I don’t really care for – but so far the fun of it is still the strongest factor. Also, based on what I’ve seen on the color choices for the up and coming MKAL, I’m pretty sure it will be great. And again, there was been some really great ones before. From last year’s MKALs there are three out of five that I find pretty and useful and yet another one that is pretty and was fun to knit (I just haven’t had the time to use it yet) so really, there was only one that wasn’t really for me (mainly due to size issues, the colors are lovely). That’s a pretty good ratio.

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So basically the pros are way higher than the cons and I will continue knitting on the current MKAL. As I said, it just needs a little TLC right now (I also like the pattern so far, I think it might be very nice when it’s done).

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Pattern: Bollenstreek by Cindy Garland. Yarn: Stunning Superwash from Stunning String Studio, colors Delft Blue and Natural. Mods: none but I changed the beads from the ones that came with the kit.

It sure knows its sunsets

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I’m back home after a few days in northern Sweden. It’s been lovely, filled with fun new things and some unexpected rush knitting. More will come but for now, I need to satisfy basic needs such as food and sleep. Have a lovely Friday evening!

The exception to the rule

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So, it was me who quite recently said that I need to make more sweaters and in order to do so I should be kind to myself and make them with heavy yarn and big needles. I still think it’s a good idea and I’ve bought the yarn for at least two sweaters on bigger needles. Then my white cotton cardigan disappeared…

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And now I have cast on a new sweater in white fingering weight cotton yarn on needles sized 3,5 mm. We’ll see how this goes.

Missing: one white (store bought) cardigan

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We are back, tired but happy after a great week in Warsaw. I have yarn and I have chocolate and memories and all in all it’s been a great week. On the train from the airport to our place I realized my cardigan was gone. I didn’t pack it. I’m not even sure when I last wore it and where I might have dropped it. I only know that I liked it and that it’s unfortunately gone. My first thought was obviously to get a new one since I kind of need it. Somehow I think knitting one is a good way to get one fast. We’ll see if I still have that illusion tomorrow when I’ve slept a bit.

Note to self – how to buy yarn

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I am enjoying this week’s yarn purchases and even though I didn’t have a plan for all of it when I bought it, I realise I’ve grown. I have bought a lot of yarn in my life. A lot I tell you. Some of it is wonderful and some of it is, well, a little difficult to work with, to put it mildly. Some yarn I don’t have enough to do almost anything with and some have been just perfect. I have tried to learn from my mistakes and I try to have a plan for my purchases (most of the time, yarn that is intended for something is hard to make something else with. Even though the first plan is no longer on the table, the yarn is still designated somehow) to know how much I want need and so on. Even with a plan, mistakes still occur though.

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This time I really do believe I’ve grown though. I’ve been looking at my new skeins and I know I can make a lot from this and I doubt there are any mistakes there. In the upper picture there is still a few skeins “for fun”, where there were either only one skein left (and of course I had to adopt that one, we can’t have a lonely little skein left in the store when I have so many at home that want a new friend (completely disregarding that the store still has much, much more yarn than I do so far) or I was making up for previous mistakes or the color was just irresistible and I plan to make a lot of wrist warmers. But looking at the lower picture though, we can draw a few conclusions on how to think when buying yarn.

1. Buy yarn in meters or yards, not in skeins. Most yarn come in skeins of 50 or 100 grams (I don’t know how much that is in ounces) and a lighter weight yarn will have more meters/yards per 100 grams than a heavier weight yarn. For a lace weight shawl it’s common that it only requires 400 meters and one skein will be enough but another shawl in, say, DK weight might still require 400 meters of yarn but the skeins only have about 200 meters and therefore you need at least two skeins. The rule is, the heavier the weight, the more skeins are needed.

2. If buying more than one color, try to pick colors that go together. This is useful if you realise you haven’t got enough yarn for a project. Most projects can be done in a  two color version and voilà, you all of a sudden have enough yarn. This is also good if you don’t think you want an entire garment in, for example, hot pink (I don’t have a problem with this but some people might look upon hot pink more as an accessory color), with a calmer contrasting color you can still make pretty much any project.

3. If you are thinking of making something bigger, buy enough yarn for the project. This really don’t need an explanation and is so elementary and still I have failed to do this. Look through the pattern, or look at similar garments if you haven’t fixed on a pattern yet, and see how much yarn is needed for your size. Order that amount or a little more if you are unsure. Yarn chicken is never fun (but can be very satisfying if you win, which you rarely do), better safe than sorry!

4. All of the rules above can be used simultaneously. In the upper picture there are some red and green skeins next to each other on the first row of yarn. When buying this I used both rule #2 and #3 (and also rule #1 since it was a chunky weight yarn). I looked at patterns that interested me, realised I needed at least 8 skeins of chunky weight yarn, added one extra for good measure, and saw that there were only six skeins left of the red I wanted. So I picked all those and added three more skeins in a contrasting color. Stripes always works!

These are a few things to think about when I’m about to make a big yarn purchase. I will try to remember this in the future, now that it seems I’ve managed to crack the code, I’ve grown and I’ve managed to make wise yarn decisions. Yeah. Good plan.

Out on the piers

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The Freaking Amazing is finished and it is pretty freaking amazing. Things turned out pretty much as I had hoped, the tank top together with the jeans and the hair and everything. I like my outfit and the best part is that I’ve made it myself. The color is great and it’s simply a nice summer garment.

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I wore it out for a walk tonight on the pier with all the people chilling in the hot summer city. The sunset in one direction and the full moon in the other. It was quite magical of perhaps not as sad as in Marit Bergman’s song Out On The Piers (sometimes I wonder if I associate all my knittings to songs but I guess not). Although, I do think a lot of the people there might not have any other place to go, there were people there with friends or on a date but also people there alone, everyone with their own story. My story was perhaps not very interesting, it was mostly about a new tank top, but it sure was gorgeous.

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Pattern: Solan from Yllotyll. Yarn: Tunna Lin from Yllotyll, color 53 Rubinröd (Ruby red). No mods.

Over on the corner there’s a happy noise

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I don’t know about you but I am sometimes a bit shy to use a new language before I feel comfortable with it. I have studied Polish quite a bit but I haven’t really used it a lot so while at the same time I can explain complex grammar phenomenons in Polish, I can’t really say much. Today though I had a small break through. It turns out that the love for chocolate and yarn is stronger than any shyness. I had a friend when I lived in France who was shy using French and she had been looking for oat meal for quite some time but hadn’t found any. In Sweden it’s a common breakfast but not in Poland. Then, in a health food store, she finally found it and she got so happy that she forgot to be shy and started talking. That happens to me in yarn stores and today also at the very hipster-y restaurant down on the corner. I was in much need of a cookie, a chocolate chip cookie, so I got one. The cookie wasn’t the best I’ve had but it was just the sweeter because I had ordered it myself. I should get more cookies (and yarn), it seems to be good for may language development.

A color preference

It seems I have a color preference when it comes to yarn (I guess it shouldn’t really come as a surprise but you know, sometimes I’m not the most perceptive person). Ironically enough I mostly wear blue this summer. We ran in to a yarn store on our long walk today and it was a good one (both the store and the walk). I found some nice things, yarn really makes the best souvenirs, and I think there might be at least one shawl and and a pair of (much needed) socks in there. Maybe a hat to. And I found some new interesting yarn as well, we’ll see what I can do with it.

Just a few more centimeters

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I’m spending a nice Sunday evening on the couch knitting. The linen is getting to me and I will be happy when this project is done. The back is finished and I’ve started the front. There is just so very much front left. I might have to take a little break and knit on something else, something not linen. The color is nice and I have M&M’s to keep me company and to reward myself. Once I start the decreases it will all be easier and go quicker. Just a few centimeters left. Right, let’s do that tonight and be done with it!