I knit sweaters that don’t fit

Before I start babbling about my latest knitting ‘adventure’ I want to say thanks to all of you for all the kind messages I received these past weeks. It means a lot to me knowing there are so many kind souls out there sending me virtual hugs. 🙂

The last week I’ve been in the search of my knitting mojo and tried to find it by trying to knit on several of my projects hidden in my big pile o’ wips. I put all of them away after just a few rows, until I realised what I needed most was endless stockinette. Somewhere I knew I had a sweater in hibernation and I had this vague memory that I was about to separate the sleeves, after which it would indeed be endless stockinette. Perfect!

Sperry

This post is full of life lessons I would like to remind myself of, and the first one is: please please please future self, make decent notes on where you left of in a project if there’s any chance of you putting it away for a long period of time. It took a lot of head scratching before I figured out where the hell I left off in this thing, and the fact that the pattern is written without any paragraphs (most of it is just a looooong piece of text) I felt like poking my eyes out rather than knitting. After lots of head scratching I found my way back into the pattern, separated the sleeves and was ready for endless stockinette.

As for the second message for my future self is one I expect to be ignored, because this isn’t the first time I’m reprimanding myself for this. It’s no secret at all that I’m lazy when it comes to gauge swatches. Making a gauge swatch requires planning and patience. By the time I get the yarn for a new project I feel like I’ve already done a lot of planning (picking yarn is hard work!!) and my patience has run out. I have to start the project, there’s no time for swatching. With this sweater I actually did a gauge swatch though.. kind of… I knit a swatch, saw it was off and instead of any smart decisions about it I decided to just go down a size and by the force of knitting magic this sweater would end up fitting perfectly!

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Apparently magic is dead and when I got to a point I could try my new sweater on for size I found out it was way too big. I spent an evening in denial, thinking I could just do some extra waist decreases or maybe throw it in the dryer for a bit. But I think we all know this isn’t the way to go and the progress so far will be frogged. You’d think this would set back my knitting mojo entirely but actually that isn’t the case, because getting this far in the project I realised a couple of thing. Firstly, I’m still happy with the colours I chose! It happens quite often I think I chose the perfect colours but once I cast on I change my mind completely. So yay for me still liking the colours! Secondly, I feel like this sweater is going to be really really pretty! The design is simple, the colours are simple, but if I get this to fit I’m going to wear it a lot. With that certainty I feel motivated to start a proper swatch and then do my calculations before diving into the knitting again.

Next time I’m going to knit something that needs to fit without doing a gauge swatch please remind me of this post, because I know I won’t.

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Mending a broken heart and on new beginnings

It’s hard to judge how these things will affect you in advance, but in my case the sudden loss of my furry friend really had me fall apart. Some things and habits in your life are so strongly interweaved with associations, it is hard to keep your mind of the thing you miss so dearly. For me, my indoor hobbies like knitting and reading, I do on the couch, with a content cat on my lap. So the sudden hole in my heart left me without any motivation to do these things. I even almost felt guilty, weirdly enough. I guess these things must sound pretty drastic to some, after all it’s just a cat, but when you own a pet you know it is so much more than that. In the past 2 weeks I don’t think I’ve knit more than a couple of rows, and I haven’t read anything at all, despite having a good start to my year reading-wise.

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Anyway, no knitting ment no blogging, so I know I’ve been a bit silent around here. I think what I needed was something new, something association free. It was a coincidence that I’d already signed up for a sewing class last week. At first I felt like cancelling, but a new challenge might just be what I need to keep my mind distracted. So I went to my first ever sewing class, without any experience whatsoever.

There’s so many talented bloggers out there that have mastered both knitting and sewing, and I love the idea of a handmade wardrobe with additions of both of these crafts. I don’t have any illusions that I’ll be making my own dresses anytime soon, but my goal this year was to at least start learning the basics. Really just learning how a sewing machine works would already be an improvement to my current state.

During the first class I made a pillow case with a zipper. When I got home the boyfriend seemed very impressed. The thing is, the nice lady that taught the class put in the zipper, and all the seams I made were in the inside, invisible to the non-inquisitive eye. I’ll spare you pictures of these seams, but just imagine a drunken person trying to draw a straight line. Yes, it looks something like that.. Because you know what? Making a straight seam is HARD!!

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Anyways, lesson 2 followed this week, and the friend I was taking the class with and I felt confident we could make an apron. I selected a simple pattern and a nice fabric, but when we came to class the instructor suggested a different pattern, one with ruffles! Geesh, I can hardly do a straight seam, I’m not sure why she’d think I can do ruffles. Also the pattern required a contrasting fabric. My friend and I had by coincidence both selected a blue fabric. My thoughts at the time were ‘what a coincidence, this will look great!’. My current thoughts are ‘it’s a good thing I’ll learn a lot from this, because this apron is going to be an eyesore..’.

How much of an eyesore this thing is going to be remains to be seen, because during the last class I didn’t get much further than fabric cutting and one seam in the pocket. So if you like the idea of a dark blue apron with flower ruffles, stay tuned! In any case I’m learning, I’m trying and I definitely was distracted from my heartache, so the class has already been a success.

 

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

Striation5 Striation

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.