Monday, November 30, 2009

Yarn diet be damned!

Yes, that's right! I went and bought myself some yarns today! I just couldn't resist. GarnNetto, one of the local yarn stores in Linköping, has just gotten the new Drops yarn from Garnstudio, it's called Delight. It is probably very trendy, as it is very similar to both Kunstgarn from Hjertegarn, and Fame Trend from Marks & Kattens. But as it is a new yarn line, GarnNetto has an introduction price on it, which I'm guessing was almost half of what it will cost full-price. So I had to buy it now, while the low price lasted. I bought six skeins in two different colourways. The first one is a purple variegated yarn:

Drops Delight (75 % superwash wool / 25 % polyamide)

The second is a gorgeous green variegated yarn, and I'm so happy that is seems to be all green hues and no browns or beige hues:

Drops Delight (75 % superwash wool / 25 % polyamide)

Just so you can compare, I'll show you the photos of the Kunstgarn from Hjertegarn (75 % superwash wool / 25 % nylon, top photo) and the Fame Trend from Marks & Kattens (75 % superwash wool / 25 % polyamide, bottom photo):

You get the similarities, right? I'm guessing these types of yarns are sort of a temporary trend, but I love them anyway. I made my first Ishbel (I can definitely see more of them in the future :) with the Kunstgarn (oh, and by the way, garn is the swedish word for yarn, kunst means art), and I love it but for one ting: The nylon content has made it pull together again after the blocking, so the lace pattern isn't as obvious anymore, I'm thinking I will probably have to block it again, and then steam it afterwards to block the nylon too. I just haven't gotten around to it yet.

I also went to Garnverket today, which is one of the other LYS'es in Linköping (we seem to have at least five that I know of... That must be a lot for a town of 120 000 inhabitants, right?), and two gorgeous wool skeins in lace weigth that I've had my eyes on (yes, both eyes) for a while now. I present to you Pälsull (it means fur wool) from Östergötlands Ullspinneri (Spinners of Östergötland, the landscape where Linköping is situated):

Unfortunately the photo had to be taken with flash, so the colour doesn't really show, but it's a really dark green, and the wool has a shine to it that I haven't actually seen on any other pure wool yarns before. It has 650 yarnds/100 g, and will make a good sized shawl for me in the future. I just couldn't help myself, I love this yarn so much!

I've also finished my Drops Beret that I started this Saturday! It was such a fast knit i the rather chunky KnitPicks Main Line yarn, so I finished it up last night. It is currently blocking around a dinner plate:

Bottom view:

Top view:

I hope that it will still fit after blocking, but I've tightened the ribbing a lot while blocking it, so hopefully it won't grow. I really like the yarn, which is good as I have 9 green skeins and 17 white skeins left... I'm going to make the knee-high socks and gloves (which I think I'll turn into mittens instead), and I think I'll try to make a sweater from it too. In the Custom Knits book there is a pattern for a cardigan called Updated Old Classic, and I'm thinking of adapting this to fit the Main Line yarn, and also change the pattern yoke to the snow flakes I've made on the Beret. That way I'll have a complete set of snow flake clothes!

Oh, and today was my first day back at work. It went really well, and I had a lot to do, catching up to all the email correspondance that I've neglected while on sick-leave. Since Klara left work in September to go work in England, I've had the office to myself, but now I've got two male students as roommates. I think it's a good thing, as I found it a bit boring to sit by myself. As long as I get to set the termostat as I want to (I'm always cold so some of my coworkers refer to my office as the Sauna Room)!

Tonight I think I'll knit some on the pink shawl, and possibly start the Moose mittens for my grandfather as well. I'll tell you later this week what I chose!

/ Jenny

Saturday, November 28, 2009

LKPG Knitters 5 years!

Today we have celebrated the 5 year birthday of Linköping Knitters! We are a group of knitters who meet at least once every week on a café in the city center and knit and talk and just generally hang out. I joined this september, I think it was, and I love that it is such a laid-back, easy-going club. There is no official membership, and you can just show up whenever you like and stay for as long as you like. There are a few of the girls who manage a blog as well, but I think that's also voluntarily. And today we gathered to celebrate that the club has existed for five years! We had some mini-workshops where some of the members showed the others something interesting they had learned, and we had lots and lots of coffee and cakes. And knitted a lot too, of course!

Helene showed us how to spin, both wit a drop spindel and on a spinning wheel. I tried the drop spindel, and it certainly isn't easy! But it feels like something that is difficult in the beginning, but not impossible to improve at. This is Maria, showing her own spindle in action:

Helene said that there are starter kits available quite cheap, where you get both a spindle and some wool to practice on. I think this might go on my christmas wish list, I thought it was really fun!

Helene also showed her spinning wheel, and here is Lovisa trying it out for the first time. It also looked fun, but I believe that one of these things might be a bit more expensive than a spindle... However, since some of my relatives on my mothers side are farmers, and some even raise sheep, I think I'll have a look around to see if there isn't a lonely spinning wheel in an attic somewhere gathereing dust, that I might rescue? It would be so much fun to actually own one, as I think they are very beautiful too.

We also had a workshop in stitch marker making, and I made myself ten of them. You can never have too many, right? Well, that turned out to be only too true, as I actually broke one as soon as I got home... I guess I hadn't tightened the end enough, so the beads came off. But that's all right, I still have nine of them that I'm going to use for everything from now on!

These are some of the Knitters gathered round the huge table where we sat for most of the day. There was also a small workshop in how to wrap gifts in a Japanese style, and Gunvor who showed us had brought some extraordinarily beautiful wraps to show us. Unfortunately, the battery in my camera died before I got a chance to take any photos, but I'm sure they will be up on the Linköping Knitters blog soon enough.

Maria also showed us the technique for short-row toes when knitting socks from the toe up. I've read about this method before, but never really tried it, and it wasn't that hard at all! So I guess it's time for me to start knitting some socks soon!

I had also brought my new knitting project along, which I worked on in between the workshops. I finally decided to start with the Drops beret, that I will make in my KnitPicks Main Line yarn. I actually finished about half the beret today, but I was stupid enough not to try it on until then. It was about two sizes too large! So I frogged the whole thing, and started over just now. I've made about 2 cm of ribbing, so I'll wait to show it to you until I actually have some colourwork to show off! Talk about annoying!

Oh, and we also got to buy the new Knitting Bags at the party today. They are canvas tote bags with the Linköping Knitters logo on, and they look fabulous! And they're qiute large, so you can fit a lot of yarn, or projects, in it.

And as you can see in that photo, I'm happily wearing my Lettuce coat! Here it is in all its glory, blocked and finished:

Please disregard the sweatpants... I've added some invisible clasps on the bottom half, so it can be closed all the way down, but I like it this way. Otherwise the only thing I changed is that I made the collar a little bit rounder at the front. Doesn't the yarn look gorgeous?!

And finally: Here are the finished Kingdom Gloves:

It is really hard to take a photo of them indoors at night, without using the flash, but with a bit of juggling with the reading spot light Thomas finally managed. They are still a little tight, but I think that will be all right after a bit of wear. I love the yarn, Zitron Noblesse (70 % Merino/30 % silk), and the grat thing is that I have almost a whole skein left! I made one whole glove, plus the had part of the second glove, plus one finger, with the first skein so it's very durable. I'm planning on making myself some lace-y fingerless gloves from the leftovers, but I think that will have to wait.

I haven't knitted much on the pink shawl, but I think I'll finish it some time next week. Oh, and speaking of next week: I'm starting work again on Monday! And it actually feels ok, I think it will be fun to see all my co-workers again. These three weeks of rest has really helped me, and I'm starting to feel a lot better generally. I went to see my councellor yesterday, and she said that I look much better already. We talked a lot about life goals and such, and I've realized that I've felt a bit adrift for a long time. When I had finished my Masters Degree in Medical Biology in 2003 I didn't know what I wanted to do at all. So when this PhD position came around I didn't think very much about it, but accepted. And I've realized that all this time I've never been sure that I actually wanted to work in research! I'm still not sure that I do, but I'm not sure that I don't either. So that's something I have to think about. But just knowing that I actually have a choice (I think I told you about the idea I had of going back to school to become a biomedical analysist) has made me feel a lot better. And the pills have finally started working too, so now I think I can handle work again!

And tomorrow is the first of advent, which we celebrate at least here in Sweden. We have Advent light stars that we put up in our windows, and candle holders with four candles that we light one on each Sunday until Christmas. It makes all the houses look so cozy and light-filled, which is nice as we have so few hours of daylight here in the Nordic countries in the winter. So tomorrow I'm going to the storage closet and try to find all my christmas things... Hopefully they are somewhere in the front, so I don't have to move everything around for too long!

Happy First of Advent to all of you!

/ Jenny

Thursday, November 26, 2009


I wasn't really planning on updating the blog today, as my knitting hasn't progressed very much since the last time. The gloves are still not completely dry, so I can't even show you a photo of them. And I've already showered and put on my PJ's, so I can't take a better photo of the Lettuce coat. Plus, Thomas isn't home to help me either... I'm knitting on the Candle Flame shawl though, and that I can show you! I'm almost out of yarn, we'll see if I run out of beads or yarn first. I decided to show you the photo taken without flash, as this is the one that shows off the pattern best. What you can't see in this photo are the beads, as they are so tiny. I've placed one bead at the top of every flame, and it looks so good (If I say so myself :)! I can't wait to be finished so I can wear it!

I also got a RAK package in the mail today! I think I've told you before, but I'm a member of a group on Ravelry that's called RAK in Europe (RAK means Random Acts of Kindness), where we send gifts to each other. It is not a swap, so everyone just posts a wishlist every month, and you chose for yourself which ones you want to fulfill. I got a package from Germany today, from a woman named Lisa, and she sent me four bags of beads that are just lovely. And I'm telling you, there must be at least 1500 beads of each kind!

Just look how tiny they are!

And remember I told you that I was going to make an Aeolian shawl without beads. Well screw that, now I actually have green beads that will go perfectly with the Chili Gredelin Madame yarn! So there will be pearls in my Aeolian too, I just like shawls with beads in them! I'm not sure yet what I'll use the rest of the beads for, but I'm sure I'll come up with something.

In the package were also included three packages of KoolAid powder, and one package of Easter Egg dye, that I will use to try my first dyeing (Is it spelled like that? I didn't just write that I'll try to die, did I?) experiment with! Last month I got some undyed silk yarn that will be perfect for this. Now I just have o find out how you do it, but I'm guessing that won't be too hard when I have Ravelry at hand! KoolAid was the only thing I wished for this month, and I'm so pleased that I got some. Me and Anna will definitely have a fun time trying this out!

And today my sister and I went for a long walk and went shopping in the middle of it :) She was going to get some Glögg (you know, the swedish version of Glühwine I told you about), and I went looking for winter shoes. I know what you're all thinking: "Doesn't she have enough shoes?", but alas, my winter boots from last winter hardly fit me anymore. I've gained so much weight the last year due to my antidepressants, that my boots barely zippered up when I wore pantyhose. And I was planning on wearing them over my skinny jeans... And the jeans definitely won't fit over the boots... And I really don't need any more excuses to buy shoes, so I bought these today:

They were super-cheap too, as they were half-price-off, so I really made a bargain! I'll try to take a photo of me actually wearing them some day too...

Thomas is drinking beer with his friends tonight, so I have the apartment for myself the whole evening. I'm just knitting away and watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which is awesome!

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving, to those of you who celebrate that!

/ Jenny

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I'm knitting like crazy

Yes, that's the main perk about beeing home all day on sick-leave! I've been knitting like crazy this week, and finished the cabled gloves! Anna was here almost all day yesterday, and it was so much fun! We ate sweet potato soup that I made, and then we knitted the rest of the day. She finished a gorgeous triangle shawl that she had knitted with two yarns together, one green and one white single ply wools. It turned out so good, and so thick and cozy. I'm betting she will use it all winter.

And as I said, late last night I finished the cabled gloves! They are blocking right now:

As you can see, I used almost every pin I own... I like them a lot, and I'm hoping they will grow a little bit while blocking. I've pinned them up quite hard, because they were a little bit tight when done. They look so advanced and complicated, but I actually didn't find them very difficult. Only time-consuming, as I did all the cabelling with a cable needle. I'm not comfortable with the method of cabelling without a cable needle, I always seem to drop stitches when I try. But the gloves look really good, and tomorrow I'll try to get some photos of them outside in daylight, so I don't have to use the flash. The flash just bounces off the yarn, and makes the cables really hard to see, but they look good to me :)

So, now I'm only working on the pink Candle Flame Shawl. That's right: I haven't started any other projects yet! I think I'll probably cast on the Moose gloves tomorrow, as these are the ones I've decided to start with. I don't think my grandfather will wear them while hunting, but he can wear them otherwise when he is outside.

My sister helped me print the pattern for the Aeolian shawl today too (our printer is out of ink), and I have a feeling I won't be able to wait to cast on for this until I've finished the pink shawl... I've been wanting to make an Aeolian since I first saw the pattern on Ravelry, and now I have the perfect yarn for it: The Chili Gredelin Madame yarn (45 % cashmere / 55 % silk). This is definitely the most luxurious yarn I've ever felt, and so beautiful! So I've decided it will turn into an Aeolian shawl, I just have to decide what size to make. I don't have yarn enough for the largest size, but I think I like the purple version best anywa. I'll also make it without any beads, maostly because I think 860 beads in one shawl seems a bit much, and also because I have beads on both my purple humongous shawl and now in my pink shawl as well. I think that's enough for now :)

Chili Gredelin Madame

I still have to decide what sweater or cardigan to cast on for! I have so many to choose from, and as I have a rather large stash I actually have yarn enough to make a lot of them. Don't worry, all of the planned sweaters and cardis will probably be made at some point! I just have to decide which to start with! I got a lot of Cotton Fleece from Brown Sheep from Ulrika a while ago, and I have some plans for those skeins that I might want to make. I'm thinking of making This Jacket, from the book Vintage Knitwear for Modern Knitters, by Lise-Lotte Lystrup. In the book it looks gorgeous, even though I actually didn't think it looked that good on the Ravelry page. However, it is knit in four pieces (well, six actually, if you count the sleeves) and sewn together. And since I really hate to sew, I'm thinking of making something similar to this, but to knit it from the top down. I don't think that would be too difficult, but might take some experimenting to get it right.

I also have the green top-down bolero that I started a while ago and frogged recently. I still want to make it like I had planned, but it's hard to get motivated enough to start over again. I love the yarn though (Symfoni from Lövegarn, 100 % Merino), and as it is very chunky it shouldn't take long to finish.

I also have all that blue/turquoise Alpaca yarn from Drops that was supposed to turn into a cabled tunic this passed summer. The tunic turned out way too heavy for what I had planned (it was knitted with the alpaca and Drops Cotton Viscose yarn together), so I frogged it. And now I have six skeins of this yarn in my stash, that I really really love. I was thinking about making this Silken Scabard sweater out of it instead, but as I recently tried to do cables in the alpaca yarn (when I started the cabled gloves the first time I used a pink alpaca. It looked horrible) and failed terribly, I'm not sure this sweater would look good in alpaca. I think it might have a bit too much halo to make the cables look good. Although it might also depend on the needle size used, so I think I might have to experiment some with this as well.

And I also have to decide which socks to cast on for! I have so many wonderful patterns, and so many wonderful sock yarns! Although I think I'll have to start with the knee-high stockings in the KnitPicks Main Line yarn, to get them done. I also want to get that hat done, because I would really like to see what I look like in a hat like that... I haven't done any swatches for these yet, and I'm sensing that the Drops Karisma used in the pattern is a lot thinner than the Main Line yarn. But I think I can adapt the pattern to fit me anyway. It will probably just take a little thinking...

Ok, I'll continue with the Candle Flame shawl for now, and think on future pattern while I knit. I think I'm at least half-way done with it, so it souldn't take that long now that I'm only knitting on that one project. Right?

/ Jenny

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Lazy day today

I have to admit I have barely budged from the sofa today! But it has been a great weekend even though we haven't done anything much. Thomas is playing Dragon Age on the X-box, and I like to watch while I knit so it's the perfect combo. The weather has been really bad today too, so none of us felt like going out. Sometimes this is just what you need! I think we'll go upstairs and light a fire in the fireplace later tonight too, to complete the coziness of the day.

I think I told you yesterday that I decided to sew on clasps on the Lettuce coat, so that it can be closed all the way down. I did that today, six invisible clasps, and boy do I hate to sew! But now they're on, and the coat looks so much better now that it's been blocked too. I'll try to take some photos of it tomorrow when I have clothes and make-up on. We'll I'm not exactly naked right now either, but somehow I don't think you want to see me in my pyjama with lots of holes in them (Gizmo liked to climb on people to sit on their shoulders, which led to me not having very many clothes that are actually whole any more...). I doubt anyone would think I'm adorable in that outfit :)

I'm also knitting away at the second cabled glove, I'm done with the cuff at least. And Yeay me for not giving in to the temptation to start something new before one of my ongoing projects is done! I'm not sure this resolve will last very long though, as I'm really aching to cast on for the Aeolian and the Cat mittens... I'm actually thinking that four ongoing projects might be optimal for me: One shawl, one sweater or cardigan, one pair of socks and one pair of gloves. That means that it would be ok for me to cast on TWO more projects today if I wanted to, as I'm currently not making any socks or sweaters. But I think I want to finsih the cabled gloves first, so I can cast on for the Cat mittens.

Oh, and the last time I visited my parents my grandfather came to visit for Father's day dinner. He is a hunter, and likes the outdoors a lot. We talked a bit about knitting and fibers, and I told him I had found a pattern for mittens with Mooses on them. I've seen that there is a similar pattern in the book Selbuvotter (a book that I'm definitely getting sometimes, I love the patterns in it!), and grandfather actually said that he often is cold about the hands when he's out in the woods. So I think I'll make him some gloves too, eventually. I just have to find a good yarn for them. Maybe I should make these gloves for him in the KnitPicks Palette yarn that I had planned to make the Cat mittens in, and give them to him for Christmas. I'm guessing I can get more of the Palette yarn after Christmas if I want to?

Oh, and Thomas and I decided today that instead of buying each other Christmas gifts this year we'll order a bunch of books together after Christmas. This was Thomas' idea, and I love it! I have so many books I want, so I'm guessing the hard part will be to limit myself... I'm definitely getting the books in the Song of Ice and Fire series, by George R.R. Martin, and I know that Thomas wants to read them too so I think it will be all right. Hopefully Adlibris (the online site we mostly order books from) will have gotten the Selbuvotter book then, as it is temporarily out of stock right now. And I'm sure I can find lots of other knitting books as well that I want :)

Oh, another pattern booklet that I really want to get is the Rauma Selbustrikk. I love these Nordic patterns, and I definitely think I have to visit Selbu in Norway some day. I've found a website in the States that sells this booklet, and I'm definitely going to order it after Christmas too. I guess I'm going to be knitting gloves and mittens all next year :). I've told my parents that my main wish for Christmas this year is money to buy knitting patterns, so I'm hoping that is what I'm going to get. Possibly some of that potential money will go towards increasing the stash too :).

At the end of February there will be another Sewing Festival, this time in Stockholm, and some of my fellow knitters in the Linköping Knitters group have been talking about making a field trip there. I think that if I go, I'll try to not buy so many kinds of yarn, but rather more quantity of the yarns I buy. I have so many yarns in my stash that I bought at the Sewing Festival in Borås this September that I only have one or two skeins of, and if I don't make socks of it all I'm not sure what to do with it all! Especially since I've had a hard time finding more of some of them. So I'll try to think about that when (if?) I get there (easier said than done, I was like a donkey between two hey taps the last time!).

I think I'll stop ranting now, and continue knitting on the gloves so I can start something new soon!

/ Jenny

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Blocking day

Tank you all for the very kind comments on my previous blog post! I'm actually very happy with the lettuce coat, and it's really nice to know that it's not just me :) I think I look a bit chubby in the photo, but I can't really be bothered! It was the best one we could manage, so it had to do. The coat looks good, though.

Today has been a tough day for me, I've been thinking a lot about Gizmo and generally been missing him a lot. He was such a sweet and social cat, and I loved him very much. He was just under three years old when he died last year, and it seems very unfair that he should be taken from us at such a young age. I'm very grateful that we still have Hobbe, who is the sweetest, cuddliest cat you can imagine. I wish we could get him a little kitty friend, but unfortunately Hobbe is an asymptomatic carrier of the FIP virus that killed Gizmo, so we don't dare take home another cat and risk having to go through all this again. So we have decided that we will test Hobbe every year when he gets his vaccinations for cat plague, in october, and as long as he stays positive we won't get another cat. This is one of my favourite photos of Gizmo:

Now onto some funnier stuff! I actually think that my three weeks of sick-leave from work will help, as I kind of think I'm starting to feel marginally better. This might sound weird considering the last paragraph, but that is just grief. That won't go away even when the anti-depressants start to kick in, I'll always miss Gizmo, but generally I'm feeling a lot more relaxed and content. I'm actually thinking that going back to work at the beginning of December won't be all that bad. And that is great, as work has been really tough lately, but I guess I just needed some time off.

And today I've finally gotten around to blocking the striped Alpaca scarf I finished a while ago (Hobbe helped me). I sat down this morning before breakfast and blocked the lettuce coat, and I thought: "Why not pin down the scarf while I'm at it?" So now my living room floor is filled with my blocking foam pieces. I think the coat will look a lot better once blocked, and I've decided to sew on some clasps so I can button the whole thing. I got some with a sewing kit I bought a while ago, and I think they'll work like a charm.

I just have to show you: I ran out of pins just as I was finishing pinning the scarf! So, you take what you have at hand (Anna: Man tager vad man haver...), and I finished up using five safety pins! It looks kind of funny, but they work. I think the scarf will look a lot better once finished blocking, and hopefully it won't curl up so much. It is soft as heaven, and very cozy to wear now that the winter cold is coming. Well, the winter cold hasn't actually arrived yet, we still have rainy autumn, but after Christmas the cold usually arrive for a few months to really rub it in that it is a long way to ge until Spring... I'm planning on getting a lot of use out of both the lettuce coat and the scarf!

Oh, and yesterday night I actually finished the first of the cabled gloves I've made! They are a little tight, but I will fix that with some blocking. I'm waiting to do the blocking until I've finished both of them though, as I'm sure they would turn out very different if I blocked them at separate times. I'm very pleased with the first glove at least, it looks really elegant and advanced! There was a lot of cabelling going on, but otherwise they were not difficult. I love the charts for the cables, they were so easy to read and relly logical. If you want the pattern, it is Kingdom Gloves from And to think I was terrified to try knitting from english patterns just this summer! Knitting terms are just so much more logical in english than they are in swedish: If you already know how to knit basic stuff, then you kind of understand what a yarn over or a ssk means. I think I might actually start to use the english versions of the Drops patterns as well (which I've been using a lot up until now).

Oh, and I forgot to tell you about the two knitting books that came home with me together with the Stephen King novel! The first one is Socks from the Toe Up, by Wendy D. Johnson. I've wanted to learn this technique for a while, and even though I could have found instruction videos online, I thought that this book had so many beaufiul patterns in it that it was worth it.

The second is Sock Innovation, by Cookie A. I've seen a lot of her patterns on Ravelry, and I think I love each one, so this book was a given for me. I've got a lot of sock yarns in my stash, so I'm thinking I will have at least ten pairs of socks from these two books before I have to fill up on sock yarn again. When I do, though, I think I'll splurge and actually order some yarns from The Knit Witch. I love her yarns, and as I got my yarn bowl from her a while ago, I figure I should have some yarn from her to put in it, too. But it is so darn expensive to get shipping to Europe, so it will have to wait until next year some time. Or when I become a millionaire :)

I think I want to finish one more project before I start a new one, so either the gloves or the candle flame shawl will have to get done. I'm not sure what I want to start first though! I definitely will start some socks, probably from Sock Innovation. I also want to make the Cat Mittens, and I bought some KnitPicks Palette yarn in green and cream colours to make these. I also want to use the KnitPicks Main Line yarn that I got from Ulrika, now that I finally got the white contrasting yarn from Pixie Knitter. I've planned to make a set of gloves, hat and knee-high stockings of this yarn. There is also a cardigan to go with the pattern set, but I'm not loving the model so I might improvise a sweater with the same snowflake pattern on it. I have enough Main Line yarn that I can swim in it (10 green skeins and 18 ivory skeins)! I also want to start the St James top I told you about last time, and I have some pink Drops Alpaca yarn that is screaming at me to become a pair of gloves for me. And I want to make some kind of fingerless gloves that I can wear while I'm knitting, as I always seem to feel cold about my hands! Oh, and I have a ton of shawls I want to make, including the Aeolian (I think I've decided that this is what the Chili Gredelin Madame yarn will turn into). What to do, what to do?! I certainly have no lack of patterns that I want to make!

Oh, and of course as soon as I had mentioned that I might put up a list of favourite books I had to do it. It's in the right column if you want to know what I read!

Now I think I'll go heat up some glühwine (you know, black-currant wine with Christmas spices in it, like Ginger, Cinnamon, Cardamom and Clove, we have it all the time in the winter here in Sweden, it's celled Glögg) and eat some gingerbread cookie dough! I'll leave you with a gorgeous photo of Hobbe!

/ Jenny

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Lettuce coat is done

Yes, I actually have a finished object to share with you today! It feels like that was ages ago, I can't really remember what I actually finished last? The striped scarf in Eco Alpaca? No, I think it was the incredibly boring leg warmers! Well, those weren't for me, and as they were so easy and boring to make, I hardly count them. Then I think it was the cream and nougat-coloured scarf. Yeesh, that seems like ages ago! That's probably due to the fact that I frogged the green bolero I was almost done with, and both the cabled gloves and the candle flame shawl are really creeping along as they are both done with thin yarn on thin needles.

Anyhow, I'm finished with the lettuce coat. I made it a lot shorter than the pattern suggested, so it's more of a cardigan really. But it's super-thick and warm, and I love the buttons!

I haven't decided if I should block it yet or not, as I kind of like the fit right now. I'm thinking that I migth pull it a little at the bottom, so the ribbing gets a little flatter. Especially on the sleeves, as you can see that the cuffs are really large! And it does fit around me, even if it looks a bit smallish in the photo. I'm also thinking of sewing on some invisible clasps so I can close the ribbing if I want to. We'll see what i decide.

This Wednesday Anna showed up for lunch, and we knitted the whole day. In the afternoon we went to the city center for the weekly knitting café, which was so much fun and really cozy in the November rain (as we were indoors). I just love sitting there with all those nice and friendly knitters, having hot cocoa and knitting the whole evening. Anna got to take home all of her KnitPicks yarn too, and she was sooooo pleased with all of it! So I'm guessing there might be more yarn orders from there in the future! I think I've found a pattern for my orange-pink palette yarn as well! I bougth 10 skeins of this to make sure I had enough for a sweater of some kind for me, and I found the St. James top. I'm going to swatch for it some day soon to see if the yarn works, but it is about the same weight as what is stated in the pattern so I'm thinking it will be fine.

I'm actually quite amazed that I've finished anything knitted this week, as it feels like I've done nothing but reading the new Stephen King novel, Under the Dome. It is just so good, definitely the best he has written since The Dark Tower books were done. I'm about half-way done (the book is almost 900 pages long), and so far it's hard to put down! I'm a real die hard Stephen King fan, as you might have guessed, and The Dark Tower books are the best books I've ever read. I cried for like an hour when I had finished them, because I knew I would never get to read them for the first time again. And I have a Dark Tower tattoo that says Unfound in the symbols that were in the books. But I highly recommend these books, and I would so far definitely recommend Under the Dome as well. I think I might make a blog list with all my favourite books some day, but as I love to read, this list might become quite long...

Oh, and my sister and I were supposed to go to Borås for the weekend to visit my grandmother who's turning 70 today. I don't know if I've told you, but she takes care of my uncle who has Down's syndrome. He's been very sick the last couple of years, basically he is just so old that his body is getting weaker. He's only 49, but that is very old for someone with Down's, so his physiqe is more like an 80 year old man's. And this week he's had so much trouble with everything that they are now in the hospital, and my mom said they don't know if they have to stay the whole weekend. So my grandmother said that it would be better if we didn't come this weekend, as they were bound to be tired even if they got to go home. I feel so sad for them both, and I really try to visit them every time I'm in Borås. I figured I will at least send the green cabled, chunky socks to her in the mail, so she'll get a present some time next week at least. Because now it looks like we won't get to see them until christmas.

Oh, and if you see the letter ä showing up sometimes where it's not supposed to be, it's because on my keyboard it is placed next to the ' sign. This is a sign that we don't use very much in swedish, and I'm not that used to typing it. So I accidentally hit ä sometimes instead! I try to look over the posts and correct it, but I'm sure I've missed some of them... Well, I guess it looks extra swedish that way!

Now I'm going to have some lunch, and maybe take a walk in the beautiful autumn weather we actually seem to have today!

/ Jenny

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

KnitPicks has arrived!

The mailman came knocking around 13.00 today, and brougth a huge package for me, that was filled with yarn! Mine and Annas order from KnitPicks had finally arrived! And I'm telling you it was like Christmas and birthday combined to open it up, it was filled with so much goodies. I took this photo just to show you how much we did order...

Ok, I'll show you more details. I ordered two skeins of KnitPicks Shadow Kettle Dyed lace yarn in colour Wine (100 % Merino) that will definitely turn into a shawl in a while. You can't really tell in this flash photo, but the colour is subtly variegated and I love it. Plus, it is super-soft!

I also ordered two skeins of the same yarn in another colourway, called Wilderness. It is a dark forest green, and soooo beautiful! Green is my absolute favourite colour, and these skeins will also transform into a shawl in a while. I have a lot of shawls planned!

Next in line is the KnitPicks Palette yarn, 100 % Highland wool in fingering weigth. The first colour I bougth was a cream white colour, one skein, which will turn into a pair of mittens for me together with the next colur, Clover green. I got a pattern as a gift a while ago from Ulrika, Cat mittens, that will be just perfect for me! And as I love green, I figured this combination would work out great.

I also ordered 10 skeins of another colour of this yarn, called conch. It is an orange-pink colour that will probably turn into some kind of sweater for me in the future.

I also got me some glove needles, in sizes 2 mm, 2.5 mm, 3 mm and 3.5 mm. These needles are only 10 cm long, and perfect for knitting tiny fingers on gloves and mittens. They will come in handy now that I've broken two of my 2 mm needles that I'm using for the cabled gloves.

I bought 10 KnitPicks buttons for a future sweater. I'm not sure which sweater yet, but I just love the colours on these buttons, the same as on the Harmony needles. I think they will go great with either pink, purple or possibly green. Or blue. Or black....

And finally I got myself a gorgeous Knitting Tote bag, to carry around my knitting in style! It is perfect, I can fit either several small projects or one large one into it, and it has some small pockets inside for notions and such. I love it!

So, that was what I ordered. Are you curious about the rest of the stuff that Anna got? I thought so, so I'm going to show you those too. SHe bought four skeins of Gloss yarn (70 % merino, 30 % silk) in two colourways, Burgundy (top) and Woodland Sage (bottom):

8 skeins of Palette in colours (from left to right) Rose Hip, Edamame, Sweet Potato and Salsa Heather:

6 skeins of Telemark (100 % Highland wool) in colours Persimmon Heather (left), Flame Heather (middle) and Garnet Heather (right):

And three skeins of Shamrock (100 % Highland wool) in colour Dougherty:

I tell you, I actually wish it were all mine... I love all the yarns, and I can't believe how cheap they were! I wish KnitPicks yarn was available in Europe as well, but maybe it's just as well as I'm sure I would be ruined in no time if I could get unlimited orders from this company! But if it's possible, I think I might like to place another order some time next year (Nalamienea, I'm looking at you, hint hint :)

Now I guess I have to get dressed and go leave my sick-note from the doctor to my boss. Otherwise I guess I won't get paid at all, and then I couldn't afford any yarn! The horror! Oh, and my new Stephen King Novel has arrived at the post office today, so I'm going to pick it up this afternoon as well. And what do you know, I think two knitting books managed to sneak into that order too...

/ Jenny

Saturday, November 14, 2009

What a week!

Well, I told you this week would be very intense! I'm glad I'm on sick-leave, as I'm not sure I would have found the energy to participate in all the knitting meetings I've been to this week. But it's been fun, and I've gotten pretty much done! I'm done with the incredibly boring leg-warmers, but I haven't even bothered to take a photo of them as they are only two brown, ribbed tubes. They look ok though, and I think they will be exactly what my mother asked for, so I'm ok with them anyway. She'll get them next weekend when we celebrate my grandmother's 70th birthday (she'll probably not get them at the actual party though...).

I've also knitted a lot on the pink candle flame shawl, and let me tell you: This yarn is PINK! I love it though, and I think I've used up about 1/3 of the skein. I haven't taken any new photos of it yet, I think you'll have to wait until it's finished. But as it's knitted from the tip up it's getting wider with every row, so it takes a little while now. I haven't counted the stitches for a while but I'm guerssing somewhere around 150 now. And I don't want to stop until I reach at least 400. It's a great pattern that you can choose to end almost whenever you like, and I had it memorized after two repeats so it works pretty fast too. It's just that the yarn is so thin so it doesn't grow as fast as I think it should :) Oh, and Kate asked me in the comments what I think about working with beads? I love it! I found a site somewhere online, I can't for the life of me remember where, that described how you put beads in as you knit, so you don't have to do the pre-threading. As I can't find the page, I thought I would show you how I do it. The method I found uses a small-gauge crochet hook, but I use a needle threader instead.

Ok, you start by putting the bead onto the needle threader, like this:

It's a little hard to see the actual threader wire, as they are so small, but there is a metal loop coming out of the bead, I promise. You then take your stitch where you want your bead, and lift it with your fingers off the needle:

It's easiset to place a bead on the sticht you've just worked, as it is loose enough then to givve the loop a tug to make sure you don't drop it. I know that some times when I worked the purpple giant shawl I forgot to put some beads in and had to do it on the next row before I knitted that stitch on the wrong side. It is possible, but a little trickier as the stitch then is surrounded by other stitches and doesn't have as much give.

Anyhow, when you've got your stitch between your fingers, you put the loop in the threader and pull it through the bead, as so:

This will give you a stitch with the bead at the bottom:

You then just put the stitch back onto your needle, with the bead below the needle, and continue knitting:

Don't you love my Zephyr needles? I think this is a great method, as you can use beads with very small holes in them. Just make sure that the hole is large enough to admit a double-folded stitch (that is, four strands of the yarn together) through, as this is what happens when you do the pulling of the yarn. If you use a crochet hook instead, the stitch won't have to be folded as you can place the hook into the stitch loop. The problem for me with crochet hooks is that I don't own any small enough to use for this, as I have found some pretty small beads. I hope you got the explanation anyhow, and have fun knitting with beads!

Back to the rest of my knitting: I've not worked much on the Lettuce coat, as it's getting a bit too bulky to take with me to the meetings. It's looking great though, and I love the striping of this yarn. I can't wait to show it to you when I model it! It needs to get a bit longer first though. The finishing of it includes two I-cord edgings on the front, and I can't do these until the length is finished. And thus the coat doesn't really close yet, as it's going to get a little bit wider too. And I think I'll need to block it a few cm as well, but that shouldn't be a problem. And I have to get some buttons for it too! I'm thinking something in brown or possibly black, large buttons on the front and smaller ones on the cuffs. Oh, I think I'll have to work on it some right now, I'm getting very motivated!

And the gloves are hibernating for a while, as I've managed to break two of my size 2 mm Harmony needles while making these! I think I'll invest in some metal ones instead in this tiny size, as I seem to be knitting very tightly... Maybe I'll bend those instead? I've ordered some 10 cm glove needles (that is, they are short, not a huge circumference...) in the KnitPicks order, which I hope will arrive some time next week, so I'll use those for a start to finish the first glove. I'm not sure that those will be long enough to do the whole hand of the next glove though, so I guess I'll have to decide which to buy before I make that one.

Oh, and today I got to see one of my very best friends, Klara, get her doctor's hat! The university has a great, pompous cermony for this two times a year, when all the PhD students that have finished get their diplomas and their hats. The participants have to wear really formal clothes, like ball gowns and dress suits (you know, the ones that makes the men look like penguins :), and it was a really beautiful cermony. I'm just glad I as an audience member didn't have to dress up like that, as the only really formal wear I own is my wedding gown! And I don't think I could've fitted into that if my life depended on it, as I've gained about 10 kg since my wedding, due to the anti-depressants... Klara moved to Liverpool in Great Britain in October this year to start her post doc, and I miss her a lot, so it was so much fun to see her. We got to speak a little while to her after the ceremony which was so much fun! We are four girls from work who've spent a lot of time together during the years we've worked there, and now Klara has moved, and in April Jenny (not me, another Jenny) will move to Amsterdam in the Netherlands to do her post doc there. I guess this is only natural when hanging out with PhD student, but it sucks anyway. At least they are both staying in Europe, so it's possible to visit some times at least. Anyhow it was great to see Klara again, and we've decided to meet again when she comes home for Christmas again.

Now I'll dig out the Lettuce coat from the yarn stash bag, and do some knitting before I go to sleep!

/ Jenny