Rest in peace my little friend

Dimmie

Although the day of saying goodbye to your best friend is inevitable, it is still heart breaking when the day arrives, and even more so if the goodbye arrives so sudden.

Up until last week everything was normal in the world of my 11 year old cat Dimmie. During the weekend I noticed some swelling in his tummy. After several exams the news was bad, the lining of his stomach was filled with tumors. There was nothing to be done, we wouldn’t be able to cure him. On Thursday we made the impossible decision to have him put to sleep. I didn’t want him to suffer and although I’d do anything to have more time with him, it would have been a selfish decision.

I am truly at a loss for words right now, but I felt a little tribute to something that has made such an impact on my life seemed like the right thing to do.

So I want to thank Dimmie for …

… always giving me a hug when I needed it, and also when I didn’t need it at all

… trying to find the most impossible positions on my lap whenever I tried to knit or work on my laptop, causing me to sit in an uncomfortable positions for hours, just to be able to hear you purr

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… loving the camera, getting into funny positions just so I’d have nice pictures and photobombing my knitting photos

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… being the first one to greet me in the morning, every morning

… listening to my rambling when I needed to vent my frustrations

… putting up with the dog

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… always making an effort at catching (and eating) all the creepy crawlies in the house

… sometimes allowing me to pet your fluffy tummy, even though you hated it

… being the best entertainer at every party we ever held. No lap was safe for your cuddles (and white hair)

… for all the mischief you were up to. Yes I got really mad at you at the time, but afterwards I could always laugh about it (yes, I now even laugh at the time you flung poo across the living room)

I’m still in denial I guess, kind of expecting him to jump onto my lap at any time now and begging me to feed him. It all happened too fast, it seems impossible for my brain to process the loss. I think my dog senses it as well, or maybe he’s just picking up on my sadness, but he’s been coming around for extra hugs these past few days. In any aspect it will take a long time for my heart to heal, and Dimmie will never ever be forgotten. I hope there’s a kitty heaven where he’ll receive cuddles all day long.

I’ll miss you <3

 

FO: Striation Socks

Yay, my first FO of 2015! All that lovely snow we had yesterday is more of a brown mush today, so no excuses anymore for taking some FO pics.

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Pattern: Striation Socks by Cookie A
Yarn: Eden Cottage Yarns Tempo 4ply in Copper Bucket

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It’s hard to capture the depth of the colour in a picture, but trust me, this colourway does its name justice. The semi-solidness works nice with all that lace, and it feels like perfect sock yarn. I’m quite optimistic that the yarn is sturdy enough to make these socks last a long time, and the stitch definition is great. I’ll definitely be using ECY yarn again.

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I didn’t modify anything in the pattern, but there’s one thing you might want to take into consideration. The lace part is super stretchy, so I went down to size S, which is knit over 56 stitches. I usually make my socks with 64 stitches, but really the smallest size gave me a perfect fit this time. However, I do like my sock legs long. And physically speaking, I do have calves. The cuff isn’t exactly the stretchiest ever, and although the blood supply to my feet isn’t exactly cut off, a little more stretch would’ve been nice.

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Other than the whole cuff thingie I really loved this pattern. Loads of yarn overs (maybe these aren’t the best winter socks ever) and it was really engaging without being frustrating. This pattern was at some point part of Cookie A’s sock club, so you’ll find loads of purple versions on the project page, which is really tempting me to make another pair in purple.

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 I’m very pleased with this project. The pattern is an enjoyable knit, the yarn is lovely and an enjoyable colour, and the end product is very pwetty. And just a general yay for the first FO of the year!

 

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!