One FO, one failed steek

teddy1 Let’s start with the happy news, shall we? I finished the Teddy Sweater in no time and it’s soooo adorable! It was such a lovely thing to knit, partly because of the pattern (well written, easy to follow, enough variation to keep things interesting) and partly because of the yarn (Malabrigo Arroyo is so lovely, I’ll definitely be using it again). I don’t even think I have much more to say about this FO, because I think these picture do pretty much all the talking. Cute, soft, fast, perfect. teddy2

Now let’s look at the opposite of this, the Safran cardigan I’m working on. It’s a teeny tiny baby cardigan but it’s already 1 month past cast-on now. I do have a lot of love for the project, but the colourwork was fidgety, the tiny sleeves with colourwork were fidgety squared. And in the end I was avoiding the project because I was avoiding my first ever steek, with good reason apparently.

See, when making decisions for this project I wanted to do it all, cute pattern, wearable cardigan, soft yarn, machine washable yarn, and because it was such a small project I wanted to try a new technique. Of course all of this is feasible but the most deadly mistake I made here; using superwash yarn, which I chose for many of the above reason.
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When securing the stitches for the steek with a crochet method I was so relieved at how easy it was. When cutting the steek I was so relieved how easy it was. When noticing the first stitches slipping out of their secured position, well.. let’s just say the neighbours heard a lot of swearing that evening. safran_steeked2

I steeked, I failed. The yarn is too slippery and simply will not hold. The stupid thing is I KNEW not to use slippery yarn, I did actually do my homework. But along the way factoring everything in I forgot I guess.

safran_steeked3 The good news? First of all the colourwork looks pretty neat on the inside doesn’t it? The fabric is actually really lovely after washing. Also, I think this might be salveagable. The current plan is to carefully bring the cardigan to my grandmother and have her machine sew over the edges a couple of gazzilion times. It won’t look nearly as neat finished as the pretty yellow crochet version I was going for, but I think it might actually hold (fingers crossed). As I’m leaving for the States tomorrow morning though it’ll have to wait until I’m back from my trip. I stored it away safely, so as long as the elves don’t stop by at night and start pulling it it should be fine.

And I guess if it won’t hold and it truly and completely fails, I will have learned a very valuable lesson about steeking.

A week of extremes

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Two events I knew were coming up, one deeply dreaded, one happily anticipated, happened last week.

My dear dog Duke was getting old (nearly 13 must be like 100 in German Shepherd years) and his legs were slowly giving up on him. We were still trying to make his life comfortable, trying all sorts of pain medication, but the decision that it simply was enough seemed so subjective, we were living in a grey area. When is it really enough, when do you decide he would be better off gone, is he in pain, is he still happy? Questions continuously on my mind for months. There seemed no right or wrong answer, but I did set one clear cut-off; if he cannot walk anymore it would be too much stress for him to have a joyful life. And then last week Thursday night while wandering through the house, his hind legs give up and he couldn’t get up again. On Friday there were no improvements, at his age surgery would seem a folly. So I decided the dreaded moment had come, I wish I would never have to do this but I had to say my goodbyes. 5 of his 13 years he spend with my boyfriend and me, adopted at the age of 8 as a dog that was deemed by many as better put down. Not socialised, horribly insecure, constant tail-chasing (and chewing even) and growling at everything he did not know. Well, never underestimate the ability of dogs to bounce back, to still gain trust. With a little love and patience he turned into the most wonderful, loving, sweetest and cuddly dog, accompanying me on so many walks through fields and forest (and as it turned out addicted to eating apples). Thanks for all those wonderful memories Duke, you will be dearly dearly missed.

And then exactly one week after saying goodbye I got the keys to my new apartment, the first one I ever really own. And we move on, busy with painting, packing, and demolishing. Even though it seems like such a cruel coming together of events, I’m thankful for the distraction. The idea of an association free new home is appealing, not expecting your dog to appear out of certain rooms, simply because he has never been there. Not expecting the noise of his feet approaching, because he never walked on those floors. Making a clean start, making new memories, but never forgetting the wonderful times we had.

2015 in knitting

I hope you all had a lovely New Year’s Eve, spend with exactly the people you wanted to be with and exactly at the place you wanted to be at, whether it be at a big party or snuggled up at home. For me it was more of the latter, as I like to spend NYE at home, comforting my pets from all the hullabaloo outside if need be.

I wanted to do a little round-up of all my knitting this year and I already knew beforehand it would be less than I was hoping for. The sudden loss of my dear cat at the beginning of 2015 threw me off knitting for months, it being an activity so closely associated with a purring cat on my lap. Even though Dimmie will always be dearly missed, the hurt lost its edge and I rekindled my love for knitting throughout the year. 2015 was also the year in which Iva found her way into my life, and even though she’s just been living with us for 3 months now, I wouldn’t want to miss her for anything in the world.

2015_yellows

I finished 15 projects in 2015 (a little fitting, isn’t it?). I didn’t have any clear resolutions, other than that I wanted to knit more sweaters/cardigans. Although not an impressive amount, I did finish 1 sweater and 1 cardigan, so check I think?

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I only finished 4 pairs of socks, which I hope will be significantly more in 2016. Sock knitting always was ‘my thing’. I can get lost with other projects, but socks hardly ever fail me. So I want to reclaim my ‘addicted to sock knitting’ title in the coming year.

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Although I did work on a couple of colourwork projects throughout the year, none of them made it to a finished status. So one clear goal for 2016 will be to at least finish one of them. I do love stranded knitting, but I also do find it more tricky to pick up WIPs that involve stranded knitting for some reason.

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By far it is not all doom and gloom. I do wish I could’ve done more, but let’s be real, if I had finished 30 projects I probably still would’ve said that. Us knitters are probably always plagued by the thought that it is unlikely we will ever finish knitting everything we want in our lifetime, just like I’ll never be able to keep on top of all the books I want to read. Most importantly, knitting once again kept me sane. In a hectic second year of my PhD, knitting was my meditation. It brought me tremendous joy, from picking out patterns and matching yarns, to wearing my finished projects. I also knit two gifts that I know made people dear to me happy. So what more could I possibly be asking for? Here’s to more of that feeling in 2016!

A very happy Caturday indeed: meet Iva

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If you’ve been following this blog for a while you might know I had my heart completely broken at the beginning of this year by the sudden passing of my cat Dimmie. It took me months to get back to my regular self, my heart felt empty. Despite this, I was quick in making the decision to not get a new cat. The reason for that is that a couple of years after adopting Dimmie I developed a cat allergy. Getting rid of a pet you’ve grown to love was never an option after I got the diagnosis, but doing this to my body again seemed like a bad idea. Iva8
It was a few months later, I was still painfully aware of how empty my lap was every day, when a colleague mentioned he got himself a Siberian kitten. I had no clue, but apparently Siberian cats are hypoallergenic, and suddenly a whole new world of options opened up for me. I found a cattery that looked really good and registered for a waiting list for a kitten. No new litters were expected before mid-2016 however, so I was prepared to play the waiting game. Iva7

And that’s where Iva comes in. The cattery I registered with got one of their kittens back, in fact a daughter of Iva. Iva had had a litter of 7 kittens and had lost a lot of weight after this. They decided the new kitten would take over Iva’s role for further breeding, and Iva would get an early retirement (at the age of 2). As soon as I heard of her being in want of a new home I send out an email hoping this would work out.

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And I guess from this post it is pretty obvious that it did. We picked her up last Tuesday and we’ve quickly fallen in love. She is the sweetest thing, constantly asking for belly rubs and loudly purring. She also still LOVES to play. I heard before that Siberians can be a bit ‘dog like’ and it is so true! If you call her name she’ll come running to you and she even plays fetch, how cute is that?! It’s even funnier because our dog doesn’t know how to play fetch, and the confused look on his face while she’s bringing back a ball is priceless!

Iva