Almost there

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Finishing things, that’s the boring part of knitting. Weaving in ends and doing seams, that I can live without (but then again, I mostly knit shawls so that I can avoid the boring things). Worst is when finishing also includes additional knitting, like button bands or neck bands or other type of edgings. My slipover contains no less than three additional knittings, two edgings and a neck band, but thankfully they are almost done and then I can concentrate on only weaving in ends. So many ends though, and the additional knitting only brought extra ends to weave in. Oh well, soon it will all be over and I will have a new slipover. That’s something to think about.

What happens at the craft fair stays at the craft fair, right?

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And so it was time for this year’s handcraft festival. I’ve gone twice before and both times has been great. This year I went with my friend Christine and we had a great time botanizing between all the different booths. Or as Christine put it, mutual enabling. It was awesome!

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I almost exclusively got yarn but there were some other great things there as well.

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I doubt I will ever start hand dyeing myself – way too sticky for me – but it’s fun to watch and see how they do it. And I’m happy just purchasing what other’s have dyed.

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I love meeting all the people, all the vendors and designers. Be enabled and enabling others, someone saying “I like all those colors together” and you immediately realize that you obviously need all of them, it’s not like you’ll ever be able to choose anyway. Someone helping you finding the right contrasting color and someone else suggesting the perfect pattern. A change of mind and an accomodating dyer and all of a sudden your bag contains the perfect color combination for almost any project. I got all the colors on the palette, blue, green, red, yellow, pink, white, gray. No orange, no black, no purple but all the rest. I’m so excited to see what will come of it.

A vendor did comment on my many bags though which I find a bit weird, it’s not like I’m going to drive for more than an hour to a place where all the great yarn is and just look. This is the perfect place to see and look at the yarn from small companies far away in the country that I never have the chance to try out otherwise.

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Oh well, at least the freezer is full.

Rebel without a gauge

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For quite a few years now I’ve been pondering the idea of a tattoo. I’ve been thinking of different pictures and different paces to put it but nothing has ever really stuck. Just for fun, today I googled tattoo and knitting and found some really fun ones. The best one seems quite common, a ball of yarn and the words “Knit fast, die warm”. I love it. That’s exactly what my knitting mission is, in knitting and in health so to speak. I doubt I will ever wear that on my body but I might do a cross-stitch with those words and hang it on the wall. It seems just like my kind of rebelliousness, if you can ever call knitting rebellious. Knit fast, die warm. That will be my motto, or one of them at least, from now on.

The Project Wave

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There is a funny thing about projects that if you start making one, others will follow. Yesterday I cast on my fifth hat this fall and before that I haven’t made a hat since January. In August I cast on my first pair of socks this year and now I’ve made three pairs. I quickly went through four pairs of wristwarmers between August and September and I have just made a fifth pair and have plans for at least three more. This summer I made one sweater, two tank tops and one cardigan, just like that. My single shawl in progress is horribly neglected right now but during the month of May I knit three big ones. Projects comes in lumps and it’s just impossible to break. I’ve started knitting hats that never got finished and now I’m almost done with the fifth in two months (no. 1-2 needs weaving in ends and some sewing, no. 3 is finished and no. 4 needs blocking). I’ve left socks and mitts and other things just because the time wasn’t right. I guess it’s a bit like surfing, once you find the perfect wave you can ride for quite some time but if the wave isn’t right then you’re going to fall (if you understand that I have never surfed in my life nor am I likely to do it, all my info about surfing comes from watching TV shows set in California and Florida so if my metaphore is bad, please forgive me). Baby sweaters have blown by and yet sometimes a single little newborn cardy feels like a huge knitting mountain that I will never be able to conquer, most likely because it was the wrong wave.

If you want a hat, now is the time to ask for one. The wave might be going a little while longer but eventually, like every wave, the knitting ones reach the shore and the ride is over, until the next project wave. I’m quite curious what the next one will be.

Sweets for my sweet

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One of my favorite persons to knit for is my darling Agnieszka. I’ve said that before and it’s still true. She likes what I make and she always make sure she gets some use out of it. That makes me want to knit more for her but I don’t always have the time to make everything I suggest she should have. Yet she is always patient and never asks what has become of my idea, even when I have bought the yarn. Sometimes she has an urgent need of something and I love when she asks me to knit for her. Then there is always the process of deciding pattern and color which can be a challenge – something she wants to wear and something I want to knit – but so far we’ve always come to an agreement in the end.

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A few weeks ago Agnieszka mentioned she needed a fall beret. I was delighted and we started looking into that. We decided on yarn and pattern and I cast on and I was going to bring the project on our trip. Then I realized I didn’t have the right needle size (how is that possible when I have so many needles?) and I didn’t have much time either but Agnieszka kindly agreed to go get me some needles. It was her first needle purchase so it was kind of a big deal. Needles quite literally in hand we went of on vacation.

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I kept on knitting but it turned out that my double pointed needles (I actually prefer dpn’s for hats but we can talk about that in another post) were a tad short (I got wooden ones for the plane instead of the longer metallic ones) and it was soon clear that it wouldn’t work since the stitches kept falling off all the time. This beret is knit with a smaller needle size for the ribbing and a bigger size for the crown and I had passed the the ribbing but had brought that needle size as well, just in case. Those needles were the longer metallic kind so in the end I had to keep the beret on the thinner needles while knitting with the bigger one and as soon as I had worked the stitches on a needle I moved tchem back to the smaller needle to free up the bigger one and continue knitting. It was a tidious work and I was quite frustrated with it all but in the end the hat was finished and now that it’s been blocked and given to Agnieszka and I’ve had some days to recover I’m pretty much over it. It turned out pretty and matches Agnieszka’s jacket the way we had hoped and really, what more could you ask for?

Pattern: Spring Beret by Natalie Larson. Yarn: Drops Alpaca from Garnstudio, color 7815 green/turquoise mix. Knit with yarn held double. No mods.

A dancer’s barre

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Some days I’m so grateful that I’m a knitter. Don’t get me wrong, I’m always grateful I’ve found a hobby that I love and that I’ve found something as delicious as knitting. Some days though I’m extra grateful. Today I got some unexpected waiting time due to different circumstances and that waiting time was also unexpectedly nerve wracking. Luckily I had my knitting, an interesting pattern that helped me take my mind of things and I feel grateful that knitting give me such pleasure and such calm that it’s something I can use to take my mind of things and help ease the most difficult of times. With a knitting in my hand I can relax, I can calm my nerves and it helps me make sense of my surroundings. I’m grateful it’s portable and light so that I can bring it everywhere, it’s always forgiving (except when it’s not) and always, always welcoming. It’s something completely familiar and it gives me a sense of coming home. There is a line in the movie Center Stage (one of my favorites by the way) where the ballet teacher tells one of the dancers that No matter what happened in class, performance, last week, five minutes ago… if you come back here… you’ll be home. The ballet teacher points at the barre but that quote can just as easily work with knitting too. When things are rough (or happy), you can always pick up your needles and knit a few rows and you will always, always feel better. That is truly something to be grateful of.

The mysterious garter stitch square – TV knitting

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I don’t know about you but often when I see people knitting in TV shows (quite often it’s Miss Marple I watch)  I wonder what they are making. Well, that is perhaps not the strangest question, I am myself a knitter after all, but that is the thing. I am a knitter and I can almost always tell what someone is making without asking by just looking at the work in progress (depending of course on the level of progress). If you are making a sock I can usually tell even before you’ve reached the heel on a top-down sock. If you are making a sweater I can tell by the amount of stitches. If you are making a shawl I know by the texture and the shape of your project. The cuff often tells me if it’s mittens you make and the circumference tells me if it’s a hat. With TV knitting though, I keep asking. Most often when someone is knitting in a TV show (Miss Marple has one (1) exception in all six seasons, where she’s saying that she’s making a sweater and her project could actually pass for a sweater. You will not see her knitting it though, she only holds it) they are making something in garter stitch that is about 6 inches (15 cm) wide and about 4 inches (10 cm) long. The yarn is most likely DK or heavier with an at least somewhat matching needle size. What is it, I wonder, that mysterious square? Are they all making scarves all the time? Miss Marple, for example, is an experienced knitter, she brings her knitting everywhere and picks it up where ever she can (much like I do and yet I have never had a knitting that looks like her’s) but she always seems to be making scarves (or washcloths). Sure, she can be a devoted scarf knitter but she has mentioned that she makes other things too, and it has been implied that she intends to knit a baby sweater.

The true reason behind all of it is most probably that the prop master was told to find a knitting and got the simplest ever, a knitting is a knitting, it should not be complicated and the audience need to be able to recognize it as knitting. Also, it has to be simple enough so that the actor can concentrate on her lines and the things that goes on in the scene instead of calculating the amount of stitches to pick up for the gusset on her lace sock (Miss Marple doesn’t knit very fast and doesn’t make many stitches in each scene). I understand all this but I still find it strange to see that garter stitch square. Again, what is it?

Tonight though I have made my own garter stitch square for the first time. It really looks like TV knitting but the difference is that by the time the scene ended – the scene being a book club meeting – I hade a finished slipper. From now on I will think that every garter stitch square made on TV will eventually become a slipper. That should, hopefully, ease my mind a bit the next time I come upon that TV square again.

Time flies no matter if you’re having fun or not

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Another busy day! Good busy, filled with great things, but still busy. I have at least managed to sew buttons onto two baby sweaters and delivered one of them. I have also gotten all material I need to wrap up the Christmas knitting which is really something. A few mitts, a shawl or two, a hat or so and I should be good to go. That’s doable, right? I mean, it’s not yet November. On the other hand, if my time will continue to be as limited as it has been, these few things might still be stretching it. But then again, it’s not yet November. Christmas is two months away. That’s, like, oceans of time, right? Right?

The importance of resting

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Underbara Clara, a Swedish blogger, recently wrote a post about how to keep your inspiration going. When you are a creative person and you do things where you need to keep the creativity flowing it can be hard to always have it ready when you need it. She has some very interesting thoughts on creativity and I agree with most of them. For me a new experience or new input, or a workout, often sets of a flow of creativity, but, as Clara writes in her blog post, it’s also important to rest. I completely agree, I need rest after a new experience so that I can take care of the creativity and inspiration that comes from that experience before I get new input and I think here we have the core of the knitting problem I’ve felt this fall.

This fall has been so full of new input and new experiences that I’m completely lost. I have rarely any knitting ideas, probably because I don’t have time to rest in between things. I’m so glad I found an explanation to the problem even though I’m fully aware the problem still exists despite me figuring it out. This explanation means that I at least know what to do about the problem even if it might be a while before I can do that. I need rest. I need to process my experiences and input and once I do that I’m sure I will get so many ideas on what to make. Till then I will stay with familiar projects that I know most often work out and I will try to concentrate on small Christmas gifts. I’m glad I figured this out, or rather, I’m glad and ever so greatful to Clara for helping me see what needs to be done and that there is actually an end to this madness.

Hello couch, did you miss me?

A pleasant surprise

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Somewhat unexpectedly I cast off my slipover today. I managed to get a lot done during a couple of meetings and in the evening there were only a few rows left and all of a sudden it was finished. I was sure I was going to knit on it for at least a few days more. Now I can block it on Saturday and hopefully by Sunday I can sew it together and start the neckband. I’m not really sure what to do now. I can start a new project but what shall I pick? A hat perhaps? This was a most pleasant surprise and I really needed one of those today. I hope your day was equally good!