It finally snowed!

There was no snow predicted for this weekend. In fact, the weather report mentioned it would start getting warmer again. So imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning to a winter wonderland. As giddy as a small child, I couldn’t wait to get up and start exploring the snow.

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And I wasn’t the only one that couldn’t wait to get out. My doggie, an 11,5 year old German Shepherd, is normally best described as a gentle giant. Add a little snow to that and you’ve got yourself an overactive puppy, it’s incredibly cute to see. Look at those puppy eyes!

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We don’t usually get snow very often, and it’s easy forget how it completely transforms the landscape. Loads of people were out and about and everyone seemed cheerful 🙂

snow31 snow29 You can hardly tell if this is the Netherlands or Austria, right?! (just nod in agreement..) Can you spot the tiny sleighers on the top of the hill?

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My original plan for today was to use the opportunity of having spare time whilst it’s light outside to take some FO pictures, but obviously I used up those hours frolicking around in the snow. So the FO post will have to wait until tomorrow, it’s likely the snow will have melted by then anyway.

The first week of the year

2015 certainly has brought me productivity so far, but mainly work-wise. I remember after graduating thinking that I’d spend my Christmas break laughing at the poor student that would still have to cram for exams, while I’d be relaxing and sleeping. I was so naive. This was my second Christmas break as a PhD student and I think I was about 12 hours into my break when my supervisor mailed me to ask how the new draft of my paper was coming along. Plus I had a very important presentation right after the break. So the 3 sweaters I thought I would knit during the break were of course a bit overambitious. Knitting has been slow, but steady. I haven’t even showed off my Christmas presents yet (scandalous!!!!). So let’s start with that.

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It might have taken some non-subtle hinting from my side, but my family gifted me two gorgeous skeins of Spun Right Round SW Sock 80/20. One colourway is called Bug Jar and the other Martian got Moves. I’ve already dived into the Ravelry archives to see what I’ll make with them, but I haven’t found the perfect pattern yet. And for yarn this beautiful I will need an absolutely perfect pattern.

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I finished the largest part of one of my Northman mittens, that were started before Christmas. It is still thumbless and the lining still has to be knit. It’s not the most complicated knit, only my colourwork is a bit messy.  But that’s ok, my goal in colourwork is always to get it to such a level that I know it’ll block out, and I think this is still well within those margins. I’m very selective in my perfectionism, some projects allow for no error at all, whereas in others I’m very relaxed and just see how things work out. There’s no telling in advance in which category a project will fall, I usually know after knitting a few rounds.

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These socks, that I started right after Christmas, fall into the other category. Some parts have been reknit a couple of times because I was sloppy in reading the pattern and I’m pretty sure sock #1 came out without any mistakes. They look a bit crumpled, as lace knits tend to do pre-block, but I have a gut feeling that once they’re blocked and on my feet they’re going to be perfect. I love the rusty colour in combination with the openness created by all the yarn overs. The yarn I’m using is Eden Cottage Yarns Tempo 4ply in Copper Bucket.

One major achievement during the break was that I finally picked up a book again! For years I’ve been a very fanatic reader, reading everyday, even if it was just a few pages before going to sleep. But at some point during the beginning of 2014 that stopped. We often have the tv on in our house and I was good at blocking out the tv noise while reading, but at some point I couldn’t anymore. I guess during that time I was particularly busy and tired. So knitting invaded my reading time, because that was perfectly combinable with background tv noise. And my reading habit slowly faded away, until it was actually months of not touching a book at all. 2015 will have to change again, so I’m starting out with getting the reading before bed in my routine again, which so far is working fine. I’m currently reading The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. He’s one of my favourite authors and it’s a very enjoyable read. I’m really hoping I can keep up with this, so maybe by mentioning in my blogposts what I’m reading every now and again I’ll have a better motivation to stick with it!

How was your start of 2015? Did you manage to implement some resolutions already?

A year in knitting

Christmas is over. Food has been eaten, things have been baked, baked things have been eaten, the scale has been avoided. Lovely time altogether. And now 2015 is just around the corner and is time to reflect on a great year.

I didn’t plan any knitting goals for 2014, the only thing I promised myself was that I would continue to challenge myself and try and learn new things, and that I certainly did. I completed a total of 19 projects, which seems a bit meagre, but I think I can live with that number (especially knowing there are still several WIPs in various stages of completeness). 8 of those projects were socks, 2 lace shawls, 3 hats, one pair of mittens, one skirt, and 4 projects involving toy knitting. The thing that surprised me most is that although I see myself as a selfish knitter, 7 out of 19 projects were gifts! That’s over 35% of projects that are gifts, which isn’t bad for a self proclaimed selfish knitter..

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Top row L to R: Caramel Brulee hat (of which I also made a duplicate as a last minute Christmas gift for my grandmother), a birthday cake made for a friend’s birthday and the Prairie Spring socks.
Middle row L to R: Lakeside knee socks made for my sister, the slightly silly but immensely fun to make Breaking Cat project and a pair of plain ribbing knee socks (where did I find the patience for this?!).
Bottom row L to R: Sir Knights Helmet (another gift), Rainbow Wanderer socks and Chu and Chibi Totoros as last minute Christmas gifts.

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Top row L to R: Lakeside kneesocks, New Girl skirt and the Stormborn Shawl.
Middle row L to R: Tintern Abbey socks, Wilshire shawl (birthday gift) and Plants vs. Zombies (birthday gift).
Bottom row L to R: Cold as Fuck mittens,  Thunderstorm socks, and Herringbone socks.

Of course I didn’t enjoy making every one of these to the same degree. One of my favourites to knit is probably the lakeside knee socks, otherwise I’d never have made two pairs! The lace shawls were without a doubt a labour of love, and the Breaking Cat was a joy to make, because it was so silly and funny to come up with the different scenes. The obvious thing that is missing are sweaters and cardigans! I only started one sweater, which is yet to be finished. So I’ll try to shift my focus in 2015 a little towards sweaters and cardigans.

My favourite project of 2014, however, has to be starting this blog! I didn’t know what to expect and whether it’d be something I would actually like. And I LOVE doing this. I love the connections it has brought me, the inspiration and how it makes me think about knitting in a different way. So for 2014 I want to give a big THANK YOU to everyone who has visited this blog, happy new year everyone!

Merry Christmas!

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Merry Christmas everyone! May your days be filled with good food and a wonderful time with your loved ones. And some yarnie goodies under the tree wouldn’t hurt either I guess 🙂

Faux furry fluffy fantasticness

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Only recently did I discover that there is such a thing as faux fur pompoms, you can buy to put on your handknits. I don’t know what kind of rock I’ve been hiding under, but as soon as I learned of their existence I had to buy all the faux fur pompoms. And I didn’t just buy any fake fur pompom, I bought the BIGGEST fake fur pompom I could find. This is me opening the mail the day of its arrival.

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Who am I kidding, this is still me just thinking about it. I didn’t have anything in the works I could attach this huge pompom to. Socks? Seems a bit random.. A sweater in progress? Probably not. Mittens? Maybe a bit inconvenient. So a hat I should make.

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I found a hat pattern I liked and the pattern instructions literally state “Find the biggest pom you can and attach it firmly by seaming.” Bingo! So I was off to make the Caramel Brulee pattern, with some softsoftsoft Lana Grossa Cool Wool Alpaca yarn in brown. In brown?! I don’t even like brown. I swear, sometimes my alter ego takes over and does my yarn ordering for me. Never mind, I can live with a brown hat.

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I haven’t knit a hat in ages and I forget that these things practically knit themselves. I cast on and then POOF, a hat was born. It’s soft, it’s warm, it’s comfy and it has the biggest pompom ever. Bike helmets are from now on redundant, because that huge pompom will break my fall (just kidding of course). I’m a very happy knitter right now.

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In other news, remember how I said I didn’t plan to do any Christmas knitting this year? Well I guess I say a lot of things, because I’m doing last minute Christmas knitting. Not my fault though!! I ordered some books for my sister as a present, none of the local book stores seem to have them. And last week I started panicking that they might not arrive on time, eek! I at least wanted to have something for her to unpack, so I wanted to make something small. I picked the Chibi and Chu Totoro toy patterns and thought I’d just make these in a couple of hours with some leftover sock yarn. But I always forget how much I hate to make these kind of small fiddly things, with tiny needles and tiny yarn. And then there’s also embroidery, not my strongest skill, and the Chu Totoro involves intarsia. I hate intarsia, and I hate it even more in tiny projects. Making this on a deadline it looked like a complete mess yesterday. My last resort was wet blocking, otherwise I’d forget about the entire thing. I guess they say that the water settles the stitches or whatever, but we all know that in reality the knitting elves come at night to fix it. And they did, because the Chu Totoro body looks halfway decent. Now I just quickly need to knit a tail, close it up and embroider the face on it.

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And that’s not all! Bear with me, this is one of my longest posts ever I think. As you can see I’m done with monogamous knitting. I started a pair of mittens. I have only one pair of handknit mittens, which I love to death. But they’re quite thin and aren’t warm enough to keep my hands warm on the bike anymore. So these Northman mittens are knit with thicker yak merino yarn and will be lined with alpaca. My hands are warm just thinking about it. Very happy with this project so far.

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And lastly, some knitting unhappiness. I started a pair of Broken Seed Stitch socks, which have been in my queue for ages. The yarn (mini mochi) was bought specifically with this pattern in mind, but it’s not working out as I wanted. It seems way too messy, the yarn is super soft, which makes me doubt whether it should be made into socks. I’ve done several ravelry searches to see if I could find another pattern that I’d like for the yarn, but I cannot really find anything. Not sure whether I should soldier on, or just frog it already and let the right pattern find me.

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Phew, that’s it! What are you knitting? Did you finish all your Christmas knitting?