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?

FO: Prairie Spring socks

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This is what monogamous knitting will apparently get you, a relatively fast FO! Although it still took me 3 weeks, which isn’t exactly a sock knitting record.

Pattern: Prairie Spring
Yarn: Spun Right Round Superwash Sock 80/20 in Graffiti Overlay (you can find my pictures of the yarn here)

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I don’t think I have enough words to express how happy I am with this yarn, there’s not a single negative thing I could say about it. For me it has the perfect trade off between being sturdy and bouncy, and feeling like it can take the wear and tear of a sock, but still feeling very soft. Of course it remains to be seen how the yarn will last in the future of course. And again, I couldn’t be more pleased with the vibrant specks of colour. I do fear that variegated yarns become to busy for my taste, but in this case it adds something interesting without looking like clown vomit (maybe just a little). I’ve definitely added this yarn to my christmas wishlist!

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And I can recommend the pattern for any sort of variegated yarn. I didn’t make any interesting mods, just some tiny things you can find on my project page. I didn’t really get bored during the knitting, there’s just enough going on to keep it interesting. The only thing that I didn’t particularly like was that the sock was instructed to be knit on 3 needles, which I assumed would have some sort of reason. I’m still not quite sure if it had a purpose or was just a personal preference of the designer, but I’m a 4 DPNs kind of girl.

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Although in some ways I did appreciate the monogamous knitting, I think I used up all of my self restraint for the rest of the year. So I’ll probably be casting on all the things this weekend.

Lovely lovely winter

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These past weeks I’ve seen so many wonderful pictures of people celebrating Thanksgiving and I felt quite envious. But to be honest my December has been quite festive as well! Starting off with my birthday on the 1st, I had all of my family over and we had such a cosy afternoon.

This past weekend we celebrated Sinterklaas. If you’re not familiar with the concept, it’s an old traditional children’s holiday celebrated mainly in the Netherlands and Belgium, and some parts of Germany as well if I’m not mistaken. The basic concept is that Saint Nicholas arrives in the country ‘travelling by boat from Spain’ and we get to put our shoes by the fireplace, which in the morning will be filled with traditional candy and presents. Before the actual celebration we draw each others name out of a hat, and we prepare little gifts and a poem for the person we drew. On Sinterklaas eve (December 5th) you spend time with your family, opening presents and reading out the poems. The more creative families will also craft a ‘surprise’ (pronounced the french way), which is used as packaging for a gift. We usually skip the whole crafting bit, but writing each other poems and exchanging presents, together with a nice meal makes for a lovely evening.

I’m generally enjoying the arrival of winter a lot. Sure, I often find myself biking through icy wind and cold rain and I’ll complain endlessly. Sure, I dread leaving the warm house to walk the dog. But then coming home, settling myself by the fireplace with a blanket and some knitting makes it all worth while. Ever since I started my Spring Prairie socks I’ve been knitting very monogamously, leading to great progress (almost done with sock #2!) but also makes for very boring blogging apparently. I do have many new projects planned though. I’ve put most of my birthday money in a savings account, since I just booked a trip to Canada for next year, so I should do some yarn dieting. Yarn abstinence is not in my dictionary though, so some yarn is on its way to my house, however it has not yet arrived. So hopefully more on that later this week.

How about you, do you have any favourite winter traditions and do you enjoy the season?

Even more spring socks

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Finishing a pair of spring-like socks totally entitles me to cast on a new pair of spring-like socks. Remember the prettiest graffiti inspired sock yarn I bought a while ago? I could no longer resist it and wanted to see how it would knit up so badly.

I was looking for the perfect pattern that would show off the yarn without it being too boring. And I think I hit the pattern jackpot with this one. The pattern I’m using is called Prairie Spring. It has the nice twisting slipped stitches on the leg and still some stockinette on the foot, so there’s plenty of room to admire those beautiful specks of colour. And I’m so freaking in love with this yarn. It’s soft, yet sturdy, it’s colourful but not murder on the eyes. I’m confident I’m going to love love love these socks.

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