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I’m here to tell you: there is life after knitting

27 Nov

Spoiler: It’s mostly knitting.

My blog posts have always been sporadic so that for a few months I post regularly, and then nothing at all for a while. This time, though, it wasn’t only that life happened and I didn’t have time to write, I also didn’t have time to knit. Last spring I wrote my Master’s Thesis, and in the summer I graduated. All is relative of course, and I did knit a Girl Friday cardigan over the spring, but it took me two months, and that was all I completed in that whole time. It wasn’t very enjoyable, I merely went through the motions out of a strange sense of duty. I went weeks without knitting, and am only just now emerging from a 10 month knitting funk.

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Girl Friday

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Paulie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The summer is a blur. As it began I remember thinking I’m going to knit so much and take back lost time over the summer, but that lasted all of one day. In fact, it seems the summer lasted about a week. I did knit a Paulie cardigan so I suppose I had more time than it seems. Also, I have photographic evidence, so clearly I have been outside at some point, doing something. Gazing out into the woods.

So I could go back and do a recap of the things I’ve knitted while I wasn’t knitting practically speaking at all, but that’s really no fun at all.

Instead, I submit to your consideration: am I unwise for buying acrylics today to knit a Faberge shawl? It was 90 cents per ball, fingering weight acrylic yarn, and it was as soft as a really soft thing. I was impressed.

Oddly enough, I had the most intense case of buyers remorse I have ever had about yarn. I figure my reasoning went like this: 90 cents per ball is  practically speaking free yarn. But I got four balls to be sure to have enough yardage, so suddenly I was paying 3,60€ for yarn that was supposed to be free! (Practically speaking.) I made myself feel swindled. Well done!

It still is really soft, though. I have also had very good luck with acrylic yarns staying neat, and I don’t mind it if it’s hot. I could do with a new, really warm shawl. They do say you should always buy the best you can afford to knit with, but I think, on occasion, it’s okay to splurge on something really cheap.

I have been very interested in icord knitting machines lately, especially after seeing one used together with a power drill. I’m not in that much of a hurry to get icord, but just the fact that the machine can be used like that makes it seem more likely to be durable and useful in the intended way.

There are mixed reviews of the Knit Embellish machine used in the above video, though, so I’ve been hesitant about ordering one online. I would probably just be so lazy I wouldn’t return a defective one if I was so unlucky as to receive one of those. I was therefore very pleased to see Prym’s Knitting Mill, their take on the same machine, at my local yarn shop. The machine was very hefty so I suppose it’s metallic, and less likely to break in my questionable care. This may very well be my Christmas gift for myself.

Maybe. I could really do with another spindle as well… But that’s a story for another day.

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Better than Ever, I’m Back

15 Oct

So I realize I just broke my arm and then went away for, like, two months. But I forgive myself, because, you know, the broken arm turned out to be both a more and less dramatic experience than I had expected. Then I went to London for three weeks, alone, and that was something. When I came home, I and the boy packed up and moved house. Then I started writing a graduate thesis.

I am also the type of person for whom something like finding a secondhand couch on the local equivalent of Craigslist (except less seedy), arranging for transportation for said couch and then going to get it is a whole-day affair requiring all of my energy and concentration. And since moving house entails many such a stressful occasion, overly complicated by yours truly with fun things like being afraid of talking to people over the phone, I’ve had my hands kind of full.

This doesn’t mean I haven’t done any crafts, no sirree bob. I have my priorities straight.

Admittedly the three weeks in London went by without a moment for knitting or crochet – oops, no, I tell a lie: I did cast on for a pair of socks from the Socktopus books while sitting in a cafe waiting for my  silver ring making course to start (I’ll get to that). I guess those ten minutes spent knitting ribbing totally justified three weeks of carrying needles and yarn with me all around London.

I was crafty and cunning, and packed two easily portable projects for my trip. I decided to pick things that would be interesting enough to keep me entertained for a whole three weeks while still being easy enough not to require total devotion. I think I failed on that a little bit.

The sock pattern was fine. It’s a crossed stitches type of cabled sock pattern called Farmer McGregor from the Socktopus book I’m knitting through (that’s a great book o ‘ socks, btw).  I just had other things to do while I was there. I’ve since finished one sock of the pair (apart from grafting the toe), one weekend when nothing much else was on.

We can blame the wonky rib stitches on Pret getting me over-caffeinated at that point. (Honestly it’s fine.)

The bigger fail was the crochet shawl pattern I chose because it was gorgeous: Venus. When I read the pattern, I noticed that it would require I learn a completely new crochet technique, but instead of putting off doing the pattern (perhaps appreciating the extra challenge I was already facing crocheting with lace weight yarn) I congratulated myself on noticing this before I actually left on my trip. So I kind of learned the new thing (Tunisian crochet I believe it’s called, maybe).

There was a clear need to get a wooden crochet hook just so I could crochet on the plane, so in my pre-trip shopping frenzy I bought a pretty one disregarding both the price tag and the fact that I had a plastic one that would be just as acceptable to the airline. This was before I admitted that leaving at the damned crack of dawn would probably mean I wouldn’t have the energy to even think about crochet for the whole duration of my flight, anyway.

Turns out I was too busy fearing for my life on the first flight and then running through the whole Helsinki-Vantaa airport to catch my next flight to give too much thought to crochet. When I was safely seated on the next plane, I was barely able to keep awake until a nice lady brought me the best sandwich and cup of coffee I had ever eaten in my life (until I found the sandwiches at Eat – we Finns really don’t know anything about proper sandwiches), and then I slept until the plane was nearing Heathrow.

When I got there I was promptly so completely freaked out and overwhelmed by a city, which has a population of 1,5 times that of my entire friggin country, that I spent my first afternoon not acknowledging what lay outside my window, and also not feeling up to facing Tunisian crochet. It only got worse for the shawl from then on, but for very pleasant reasons. No regrets!

Later on I saw that the four rows I had crocheted at the airport here were entirely wrong anyway, ripped back and forgot about the whole thing for a few weeks.

I’ve since then gone back to it, but my results aren’t all that fantastic. Still, I’ll probably get this done at some point. Maybe.

So that’s me, back with a bang.

A Broken Bone, and Broken Plans

19 Jul

Yesterday I learned that I did actually break a bone on Monday when I fell with my bike: it is a teeny tiny fracture in my right elbow. A GP told me I will probably need to hold the elbow stationary for quite a while. Today I saw an orthopedist and got some good news: instead of  holding my elbow immobile for a few weeks it’s actually better if I start using it within the limits of the pain right away.

So knitting, crochet and spinning are back on just as soon as my arm and elbow feel ok enough for them 🙂

But for some reason I don’t much feel like starting any of the projects I had lined up earlier. Partly it’s because I do feel like knitting and spinning might not be the best of ideas right now.

I need to do some sort of craft or something because I’m losing my mind, just sitting and watching TV all day long – I still can’t clean or cook or do anything that requires lifting or putting pressure on my elbow.

So I’m starting to consider maybe trying to learn crochet left-handed. Maybe I could crochet a small granny square blanket or something, something where inconsistencies in the gauge wouldn’t matter that much. That way I can get back to my original plans once my elbow has healed.

I have no idea whether it’s a feasible plan but I’ll find out soon.

Half-finished Merino of Doom

17 Jul

I finished the first half of the 100 g of merino I complained about in my last post.

I think my twist is again better or more even than the last time, but I did have more trouble keeping the single an even thickness. This is, however, closer to the fingering weight I’m aiming for.

I just need to be more careful when spinning and maybe limit the amount of time I’m allowed to spin at once. I find myself hurrying along and that’s when the unevenness occurs. I’m not good enough to not pay my full attention to this.

There’s going to be a break in my spinning and knitting for an unspecified time, though, because I fell down with my bike yesterday and hurt both my arms. I’m writing this, and took that image, with only my left hand since my right is pretty much out of it. I don’t think I broke any bones but the elbow and muscles seem to have taken a hit. I can’t lift my left arm because my shoulder is cranky, so I wouldn’t be able to spin even if my right arm was fine and dandy. I’m going to the doctor today – here’s hoping for no broken bones or tendons.

I’m bummed about not knitting and spinning but mostly I’m worried because I’m supposed to go to London in a little under 4 weeks. I have all  sorts of crafting fun lined up for when I get there.

The Versatile Blogger Award – or How Nice to Be Back

20 Jun

Good morning! And that’s the first time in a few weeks that I could honestly say that. I have been waking up lately and instantly feeling stressed out because I’ve been working in the mornings and spending the whole rest of the day, every day, for a few weeks working on a seminar paper. It’s the first step towards writing my Master’s thesis. But now it is done, and a weight has lifted! I also got a grade last week, and I’m satisfied 🙂

Unfortunately I got the flu just as soon as I finished, and have been too out of it to really sit at the computer and write this.

The blog took a back seat when I got to the point where I couldn’t even think of writing anything after working on the seminar the whole day. I tried most evenings, especially since, and now I can’t help but feel the irony, I got nominated for The Versatile Blogger award by the very kind Agujas. Thank you so much 🙂 You made my whole week! It’s so nice to get this sort of feedback.

The rules for the Versatile Blogger Award can be found here.

In short, if you accept the nomination: blog about the award, thank the nominator, list 7 random things about yourself (eta: had a typo there but corrected it), list the rules, and pass the award on to 15 other bloggers (new and/or excellent blogs you follow).

And as per those rules, here are 7 random things about me

  1. I have entomophobia – more specifically a phobia of beetles, not any other insects, but there isn’t a word for that – and acrophobia (fear of high places). This usually only becomes a problem on vacation… why must so many tourist attractions be high places? 😀
  2. I’m 5′ tall. When I was a teenager, I was offered growth hormones to “correct” this “fault”, but I refused.
  3. I mostly read sci-fi, fantasy and classics. I took it up as a kid since those were the books lying around the house, and was surprised to learn as I grew older that 2/3 of these are not “girly”. I’m interested in seeing this common attitude change.
  4. I dream of taking singing lessons.
  5. I practice fat acceptance and believe in health at every size.
  6. I actively try to find the positive in everything because if I don’t, I start feeling depressed little by little. I don’t believe positivity is the same as naivety, and I don’t believe life experience must make a person a pessimist.
  7. I daydream about having all kinds of pets, but I’m far too selfish to properly take care of one. Maybe one day when I’m All Grown Up I’ll get gold fish. Or or a stick insect. Oooh, or a hermit crab!

I’m a shy commenter, so some of these nominations may come as a surprise in that regard, but here are my nominations anyway 🙂

Some of the blogs I enjoy:

A Fountain of Mirth

Frostbites/Pakkasenpuremia

Kraftwork

Captain Creates

A Pile of Sheep

Weekend Knitter

Made in Oxford

I Should Be Cleaning

4 May

I’m not a very organized cleaner and often get distracted by the things I’m trying to tidy or arrange. If I start cleaning the kitchen cupboards, it’s pretty likely I just end up baking something. Rearranging the bookshelves deteriorates into sitting on the floor and leafing through books or getting sucked into reading a comic… And now, dusting turned into arranging my Knitting Notions Box.

I found some tools and things in there that aren’t really needed on a daily basis (a stack of yarn ball bands, a magnetic pincushion I thought would be awesome that I have never used etc.), and decided to move them into my Knitting Notions Drawer.

My stash has layers and this I have always known. But today, looking at the stash set-of-drawers that’s spilled over a long while ago, I understood that the layers are the reason why it keeps invading new areas in the apartment. In fact I would say I have several separate stashes that I’ve used up and spat out, leaving only the unsavory bits.

Different stashes don’t mix in my world, so when a new chapter somehow begins in my knitting life, I find a new place to stash. Somehow the presence of old yarn would take away some of the shiny of the new yarn.

If you were to remove all the parts of my stash that are just the bones of old stashes, what would be left would be a tiny amount of yarn. Not even a stash, really – a stashlette at most. That’s why I have a lot of yarn but nothing to knit.

Clearly.

Score!

29 Apr

I went to a craft fair at Rovaniemi, and the haul was pretty good! 🙂

I got five bamboo circular needles for 1 € each. For that price, they seem pretty awesome. The cables are very soft and bendy and the joins are very smooth. Of course I fully expect them to snap into pieces the moment I try to knit with them, but if not, then  I call this a win. They’re sizes 2; 2,25; 2,75; 3,25 and 3,5 and 40 cm long.

I had a few goals in mind when I went to the fair, and I achieved one of them: beads I think should be ok for knitting. So purty. They’re glass beads with a metal center. 

In the impulse buy category, I got me some buttons that might work for the alpaca cardigan I’m planning on knitting. If not, no biggie. Some day, I’ll find a way to use these… 

and these. The polka dot ones are plastic, but these are wood and seem kind of nice, actually.

And last, but not least, I got me some Finnish sheep wool that’s been prepared and is ready to be spun. I’m not feeling like I’ll get ’round to that any time soon, but it feels nice to have the fiber at hand. I also don’t have a spindle, though. A while back I made some myself but honestly, they’re more trouble than fun. I’d rather just wait until I can afford to buy one.

In all, it was a successful outing 🙂

Also, earlier I saw a leather pencil scroll thing in a cute little boutique and thought it would be perfect for taking a small stash of needles on the go. I don’t like the idea of taking my entire needle stash with me all at once (what if they got lost… the horror…) so often when I’m out of town, I’ll end up with only one set of needles and no project to work on because of that.

Problem solved. Besides, it’s yellow on the outside and pink inside – d’awww how cute is that 🙂 There are four compartments and they just happen to be the perfect length for dpn’s and wide enough for circulars.

 

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