FO: Rye Mitts

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October is tempting for any knitter, so many new pattern releases, an abundance of inspiration and it’s nearly impossible to not catch a serious case of Startitis. I could feel it coming, my fingers were tingling with the urge to cast on. But the thought made me sad as well, because there were some really old WIPs awaiting my attention as well. So I decided that for at least one month, I wouldn’t cast on anything new, and finish my attention on finishing up old stuff. So now I find myself WIP-busting my way through October. Finishing the vanilla self striping socks that were over a year in the making already felt really good, and this is my second finish this month.

Pattern: Rye Mitts by Hanne Katajamäki
Yarn: Malabrigo sock in African Violet

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If this shade of purple seems familiar, it’s because this was knit up with leftover yarn from my Blossom cap I knit earlier this year. These mitts were cast on at the end of May and it’s such a quick little knit it’s a mystery why I waited so long to finish mitt number 2. Interestingly though, these couple of months made quite a big difference in my tension, making one mitt a little bigger than the other. No worries though, they fit just fine so I’m not sweating it.

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I knew I still had these super cute buttons stowed away especially for these mitts, it just took me an hour sifting through my house to find them. Note to self: find some sort of button organising system that is better than randomly throwing them somewhere.

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Bonus number 1 is that these are perfectly in time to keep my hands warm in the office that is getting colder by the day. Bonus number 2, they are cat approved.

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After finishing these I started focusing all my energy on the Tiller scarf I started in November last year, hoping to finish it before the WIP hits that 1-year mark. I need all the strength I can get to stick to my fantastic WIP-busting resolution, so keep me in your thoughts dear knitters!

FO: Pebble Beach #2 and Vanilla Socks

PebbleBeachNr2 I finished not one, but two (!!!) projects during my holiday and I finally got them washed and blocked. First up is my second Pebble Beach shawl. I made the shawlette version for myself a little while back, and when my aunt saw that one she loved it. So I decided to make one for her too as a gift.

Pattern: Pebble Beach Shawl
Yarn: Fyberspates Vivacious 4ply in Blue Lagoon

I went for the medium size, as my aunt said she’d like a nice big version and I think the size worked out really nice. Here’s a pic of the shawlette version stacked on it for scale.

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Pretty nice size no? And with this yarn it’ll certainly drape around the shoulders nicely. Once again I’m really pleased with Fyberspates. I tried to find a nice, intense blue colour and this one certainly ticks all the boxes.

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It did get a little boring at some point, at least knitting the repetitive part up to the border. So there’ll be no Pebble Beach #3 anytime soon, nevertheless I can really recommend the pattern.

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As for the socks, these were over a year in the making. I cast them on as a project to knit on the train, but I guess I rarely ride the train though, hence the long in the making period (I’m full of brilliant plans). Surprisingly, this is my first vanilla pair of socks in my collection. After I learned to knit socks I got bored with vanilla socks after 1 sock, and I immediately moved on to more interesting patterns. But there’s nothing wrong with some simple self striping socks every once in a while. The yarn is Froehlich Wolle Maxi Ringel that I bought in Switzerland last year. Pretty happy they’re finished though, especially because I want to make October a month of finishing up some old WIPs.

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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!

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The Canadian Adventure part 2

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This gathering of lazy female sea lions (surely the correct term for this should be sea lionesses, but shockingly it isn’t) welcome you into the second part of my Canadadian adventure post. Tomorrow morning I’ll be flying back to the Netherlands again, and as expected I’ve taken another gazzilion pictures which first need sorting, but this one kind of stood out for me so I wanted to share. First of all because a lazy sea lioness might be my spirit animal, I felt a strong bond observing them and their undisturbable sleep. Secondly, because this observation was made from a boat during a whale watching excursion. Sounds lovely doesn’t it? Well apparently my lack of knowledge about anything boat came to bite me in the ass, because when I booked this trip on the ‘small zodiac boat’ I had no clue what I was getting into (honestly, I thought the name of the boat was zodiac). If you ever find yourself in a boat trip booking sort of situation, a zodiac might look like a cute rubber boat, but is actually a floating death trap, literally launching itself across a wild and ice cold pacific ocean at a million miles an hour. I probably should’ve known when we had to hoist ourselves into a lifeSUIT, rather than just a lifevest. In any case fun was had, a whale was observed and tears were shed (mostly because of the high speed on rough sea situation).

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In much warmer and much less wet news, I had a fantastic day in Victoria yesterday and managed to pop into my last yarn store of the journey. If you ever find yourself in Victoria, really do stop by at Beehive wool shop, it is a fantastic store. I stuck to my rules of buying only yarns that are hard to get by at home, and green sock yarn was out of the question. Luckily no rules were made about green anything else yarn so 2 skeins of Brooklyn Tweed Shelter yarn are coming home with me. I’m already dreaming about making either 2 cabled hats or a nice cabled cowl.

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My second purchase was a skein of true Canadian yarn, Super Sweet sock in the Spanish Coin colourway by Sweet Fiber. The gold is so stunning, I’m really really pleased with this one. Very certain I’ll make a pair of socks with these and it’ll be a great addition to the sock drawer.

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So where does that leave me at the end of these 3 weeks.. Well, I finished two projects, the Pebble Beach shawl and a pair of vanilla self striping socks, both will get a bath and a block once I’m back home. And before you get all impressed by my swift sock knitting, these were cast on over a year ago! I visited 3 yarn stores (Maiwa in Vancouver, Art of Yarn in Kelowna and Beehive Wool Shop in Victoria) and purchased 5 skeins (Ancient Arts, Sweet Georgia Tough Sock Love, Sweet Fiber Super Sweet Sock and Brooklyn Tweed Shelter). Not bad, eh? (I apologise to all my Canadian readers for that bad joke.. Actually I apologise to all my readers for that joke.)

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The Canadian Adventure part 1

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Phew, halfway the Canadian adventure and I thought it was time for a little update. First I figured I’d make a little picture post, then I realised I took 15GB worth of pictures in that short amount of time, so I’ll probably have to sort through the best shots once I get home. But at least here’s a pic of lake Maligne taken yesterday evening at sunset. Canada has proven to be a truly magical place so far.

So we’ve been driving, starting off in Vancouver, going to the Okanagan valley, Revelstoke, Banff national park, Jasper national park and starting tomorrow we’ll be slowly making our way back to Vancouver island, where we’ll spend the last week. Days have been filled with driving, hiking and wildlife spotting, so I haven’t gotten that much knitting done. I started on my second Pebble Beach shawl with the beautiful blue Fyberspates Vivacious 4ply yarn I bought in the nick of time before leaving. This is going to be a gift for my aunt and it’ll be one size bigger than the shawlette version I made previously.

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Holiday reading right now is The Bees by Laline Paull, a book described as “The Handmaid’s Tale meets The Hunger Games”, but with bees. So far a very enjoyable read I must say, certainly interesting reading a book from a bee POV!

Now if you think I haven’t visited any Canadian yarn stores yet you are certainly mistaken! In my defence I set up some very clear rules to follow. Rule #1 is that I cannot buy any yarn that I could easily get my hands on back in Europe and rule #2; if I’m going to buy sock yarn (like I ever buy sock yarn!) it should be in a colour that is not yet properly represented in my hand knit sock drawer. The latter rule is mainly to prevent me ending up with only green socks, oh I have such a weak spot for green sock yarn! Also can I just point out that with the current standing of the Canadian dollar I’d be insane not to purchase some yarns.

AncientYarns First stop was when I happened to stumble into Maiwa Handprints on Granville Island, Vancouver. Really a sweet little shop, also featuring undyed yarns and lots of natural dyes, which I considered but seemed a bit adventurous to me. So I ended up purchasing a new to me brand called Ancient Arts Yarns, which is a hand dyed Canadian yarn brand (score!) in a beautiful bordeaux red colour not yet present in my sock drawer (score!).

Now I know this was an excellent purchase because shortly after taking the yarn pics this bird hopped onto the bench right next to me ready to steal my yarnie goodness. Canadian pigeons sure look funny though (just kidding, I obviously know this is a great.. western.. canadian.. arctic.. blackish birdhawksparrow. Ok no clue what kind of bird this is).

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Next yarn-stop was Art of Yarn in Kelowna (thanks for the recommendation Rebecca!). This shop was a huge temptation to all my rules because there was Madelinetosh EVERYWHERE. Sooo much yarn goodness it was hard to be strict with myself. But Madelinetosh can be bought at home, and I managed to walk out only buying one amazing skein of Sweet Georgia Tough Sock Love (colourway Rogue). Isn’t it a beauty?

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And that’s already it for now! I still have my eye on one particular yarn shop I hope to stop by in Victoria, other than that I’ve shown great self restraint. Ok maybe I’ll share just one more holiday pic then!

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