The heat reflection

There have been a few really hot days and I’m reminded about last summer. Last summer was insufferably hot and we endured pain, worry, depression and visits to the hospital. We couldn’t go outdoors until the evening when there was more shade and it just kept going week after week. No one was happy and I’m glad we’ve had these hot days, partly to remember that no, I wasn’t crazy, last summer was hard, and partly because we’ve been able to handle it so much better this time, now that Einar is older. We’ve gone to the beach and the playground and spent as much time as possible on my mum’s porch. I’m not as scared of the sun as last summer either, and it’s also been so much easier now that we can go by bike and don’t have to walk with the stroller everywhere. It’s much cooler to ride a bike than to walk.

This week it will be cooler again and I welcome it. I liked the reminder, and I’m really happy about the trip to the beach, but now I’m fine with going back to cooler days. If nothing else, I have a load of gooseberries that wants to become marmalade and I’m not cooking berries for an hour during a heat wave.

Aaaaand the freezer is full again

I did my big yarn purchase today. It was quite amazing actually. Close to 70 skeins and yarn balls and I’m happy about each and everyone. I’ve planned some of the projects but some of the are just pretty to have. I have the patterns and yarn for two crochet blankets, two sweaters for me and one shawl. There is also some yarn for baby sweaters and another shawl.

Next time I rearrange the stash I will make sure to put all yarn, that are planned for something, together, maybe even with the pattern. Then I will put all those planned projects in their own section in the stash. Despite the frustration with the current sock project I really liked just picking a project that was sitting there just waiting. I didin’t have to plan anything, that was already done.

Maybe I should make a special hash tag just for this purchase, to see how long it takes me to knit it all up…

We don’t eat much

I’m planning a bigger yarn purchase and I figured I should make room in the freezer for that yarn. I took out all the yarn I’ve accumulated there lately, and apparently never moved to the stash, and it filled the entire living room table. I have a few kits here and a huge amount of mini-skeins (we should really talk about mini-skeins one day, I love them) and some other things. If you don’t count mini-skeins and kits I counted 44 skeins of yarn that have been hiding in my freezer. Some of it are from last summer (it was a hot summer and I was sleep deprived, standing by the freezer was a treat) and the rest has been accumulated over the past year. Crafts fair, yarn club, webpages. None of it has been bought in a store.

A part of me tells me to stop hoarding and another part says that it’s good to have a lot of yarn, you never know when you’ll need it. With that being said, I really wish I had more knitting time so that I could actually make a dent in the stash that is noticeable.

There is also the question about what to do with all the hand knits. I have so many shawls I can’t fit them in my closet anymore. What should I do with them? I’m not ready to part with them but soon I need to take care of the problem. I guess the family should expect more hand knits coming there way in the future.

Queen of the flowers

When I was a child there was a flowerbed with roses around the house. They were a deep pink and smelled lovely. My mum took them in and put them in a vase and it was beautiful. Roses come in so many shapes and colors, it’s wonderful. The flowerbed and the roses are long gone but I remember them fondly.

Roses are also a popular flavor in perfume and body lotion and such. It’s quite agreeable but I never understood the smell. I thought it was artificial and just wrong. It wasn’t until I visited the rose garden of pałac w Wilanowie, Wilanów Palace, the , in Warsaw that I actually understood the smell of the perfumes and both lotions. There I smelled roses that actually smelled like the perfumes. I had never done that before since the roses where I grew up smelled differently and now every time I smell a rose like that I’m still surprised.

The rose in the picture smelled like the ones in the rose garden at the palace and it felt quite royal to me, despite growing in a small garden in a small city in a small country away from Poland. But then again, roses are the queens of the flowers, right?

I feel a bit lika a wizard actually

Remember when I said I wanted a simpler project before I start a more complicated one? I also said that the answer was a kit, a sock kit. Well, famous last words. This has been nothing like that and instead my ability as a knitter has been tested.

Let me start form the beginning. A couple of years ago I bought a sock kit at the crafts fair. It don’t particularly like color work but I made an exception since the colors and the pattern was so delicious. On the kit it only said that if you have bigger feet than size 37 you should add a skein of the main color. Sure, I thought, I’ll do that, and I did and home I went, happy with my purchase.

Fast forward to this past week. I opened the kit and started reading through it and it turned out the pattern was written exclusively for size 37 and a foot circumference of 19 cm. That is a really think foot. My feet are size 40, a very common size, especially if you are taller. My feet have a circumference of 26 cm. That is not an abnormally wide foot but again fairly common. I don’t have problems finding shoes. I spoke to friends with thinner feet and none of them had feet circumference below 21 cm. Now I was starting to get a bit frustrated and also feel a bit deceived – the kit could have stated this on the outside instead of just telling me to buy more yarn.

I looked among the other color work sock books I have, linked to the same store where I got this kit, to get some help and realized that they were all knit for very small feet with pretty much no guidance how to widen the sock. Instead all the patterns seemed to show the same sock, just different color work patterns (something else I hadn’t realized when I bought them and made me feel even more deceived). The color work patterns are very pretty but perhaps the designer has gotten a little too much cred for her sock patterns when really all the 20-something patterns are just pretty much the same sock. And since I have at least three other sock kits from this designer I felt even more deceived.

The thing about stranded knitting is that it’s not as stretchy as your average stockinette stitch, which means that gauge is even more important when you do color work than when you don’t. I realized I needed to swatch but knitting stranded color work in the round is something else completely than doing it back and forth and in the end I figured I’d just be better off knitting the actual cuff and measure that rather than making a swatch, which would have to be the same size anyway. Since I new from the beginning that I needed to widen the socks, I picked bigger needles from start.

When in doubt you should always turn to someone you trust and sure enough, this past spring Yarnharlot had written two blog posts that not only helped me immensely but also encouraged me a lot. (I’ve doubts about color work and I don’t trust my ability. Yarnharlot helped me believe in myself.) After reading her blog I was ready to take on the socks.

It soon became clear that I needed two more stitches to the decimeter than the pattern asked for, and that was on two sizes bigger needles. This meant that I had to add 25 stitches to make the socks fit my foot. The cuff seemed big enough with less stitches but once it was done, I added those 25 stitches.

The pattern called for an afterthought heel but after reading the Yarnharlot blog I decided to go with a heel flap instead, which would fit my foot much better. The result was better than expected and as I tried the socks on I realized I could decrease more stitches so that I only had 15 more than the pattern stated.

And that’s where we’re at right now. I have an almost finished sock and it fits me great – it’s great with a garment that you can try on during the process to consider the fit. I’m still not super impressed with the pattern, I still feel a bit deceived, but knowing what I know now I should have every possibility to succeed with my other three sock kits, which is very nice. It wasn’t the simple project I had hoped for my I’m happy and proud that I was able to sort it all out eventually.

Now, on to sock number two.

Tip of the day

Being around yarn all the time inspires me. And ever since I went through my left overs I’ve  had the thought of blankets in the back of my head. I really should do a left over blanket but there are other blankets as well, and I’ve seen so many beautiful ones lately. Today I contemplated these color combinations for a blanket and although I really like the colors, I was worried some of them wouldn’t have enough of a contrast. To check that there is a fairly easy way of doing it. You take a picture of your colors next to each other.

Then you turn it into black and white. I use a snap chat filter to do it and it comes in quite handy. When the picture is black and white you can see if the colors have enough of a contrast and by consequence if they will stand out from each other when next to one another. The two colors to the bottom left are quite close, and so is the one to the bottom right. Since they are so different in color though, I doubt it will be much of a problem.

Now I just need to figure out what my main color should be (white or whiter?) and then I can start whenever I want.

Party people

Saturday night. I’m turning a heel while listening on the radio. This is totally my kind of party. What are you up to?

Straight from the cottage: June

June brought lilacs and also purple yarn from the Eden Cottage Yarns‘ yarn club. With glitter! I love getting these little packages. They are so sweet, little boxes with tissue paper with flowers on them. And inside, the yarn, the soap and the image. Einar always want to play with the containers of lip balm and body lotion. I think he, correctly, finds the containers pretty and shiny.

June was inspired by red clover, a field flower very common in Sweden too. Every midsummer flower crown had red clover in them. The night before Midsummer, me and my mum always went up on the hills nearby to pick flowers and make a crown that I could wear on Midsummer Eve. Maybe next year Einar and I will be picking flowers for a crown for him. I’ll make sure to put red clover in it.

Unexpected but good

I need a project. Einar’s summer cardigan is almost finished and I need something to knit. I should be making a big lace shaw, which is next in pipeline, but my knitting time is so limited and fragmented these days that I don’t dare to start a complicated project like that. I hope that the baby will start sleeping better in a few weeks but right now, I need something that doesn’t require much thinking, that I can leave at any moment.

I thought long and hard about different things, shawls, socks, mittens, mitts, and so on. I even swatched for a simple cardigan but nothing seemed appealing. Then I thought again and looked at the stash. Kits. I have plenty of kits. I should knit a kit! I have socks kits for example. Sock kits that contain color work but suddenly I don’t feel so bad about that. I have a kit that I’ve been thinking of making lately and this is the time I believe. A pair of color work socks. Good choice!

Think like a yarn store

Two years ago I reorganized my stash in the Stash dash 2017. I went from sorting by color and loosely by weight (as in “heavy” and “not so heavy”) to sorting only by weight, from lace to bulky. Now, later in the summer I will have the opportunity to reorganize the stash again, due to a re-furnishing of the living room, and I wonder if I should keep the order I have or if I should take the opportunity to re-organize again.

I will have more space this time but I’m not sure I will have enough space to sort by weight and color for example. Or maybe I should just keep it the way I have it and just give each weight a little more room. How does other people organize their stash? A yarn store sort by brands and perhaps fibers but I don’t have those quantities (yet). I suppose I could still try to sort by brand within the weight, and perhaps also by fiber within the weight, that should really help me when I try to pick out yarn for a project. That would also help me to separate the expensive fancy-schmancy yarn from the bulk yarn, the one that have good quality and is useful to have around but there’s nothing spectacular about it.

This might actually be a good idea! I should think more like a yarn store when I organize the stash. How do I like my yarn stores to be organized and why? What are they usually doing and do I like that? This will be really helpful and I can’t wait to start putting it all together.

I’m also contemplating shelf for kits and one for mini-skeins.