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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Comfy poncho

 I have been longing to show you the result of my efforts to make the yarn last for a poncho in this super bulky, chunky yarn. The original plan was to knit it in garter stitch only, but that ate up too much yarn. So I decided to try out dropped stitches, that I imagined would make the yarn last longer. (You don't really drop them, just make the stitches longer by wrapping the yarn around the needle one row, and dropping the extra wraps the next row.) And it did. But not more than enough, I used up all of my four balls of  yarn. Luckily, I had the tassel already, a left-over from a hat I made two years ago.


The poncho is knitted in one piece, a long rectangle. I haven't checked, but I think it's about 100 cm long. And 25 stitches wide... :) When it was all done, I simple stitched one of the short sides onto the long side, from the corner and in. Do you get the idea? Didn't really get a good picture of it. The stitching is right on my shoulder. The poncho is straight on my back, the only corner is this one with the tassel. Wish I had taken a picture of the back too. But I think you understand. Right? :)


I am really in love with this poncho, it's very cuddly and comfy. I was wearing it at work, and was a little worried that it would feel tight, or that the corner would get in my way as I have a desk job. But it really didn't. At all. So I've been wearing it for two days already, with joy!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

True optimist

 It's not always true, but when it comes to yarn I apparently am a true optimist. I reckon any small skein or ball of yarn will take me to the moon and back. At least! :) I have four balls of this super bulky yarn, Dream from Svarta FĂ„ret. Each ball contains 33 m (36 yards) of yarn. It's not much. I feel embarrassed when I remember that I actually thought it would last for a small poncho and a pair of simple mitts. :) Haha! After knitting up the first ball, I was afraid I would only get half a poncho... 


 I really should learn from my mistakes. But also, I love the challenge of making the yarn last in some way. Like this time. I really, really wanted that poncho. Warm and cuddly. I think the color will go so well with my jeans. :) The original plan was garter stitch on big needles. That wouldn't do. So I thought I might prolong it some by making dropped stitches. And it worked! Yippee! It made the knitted piece 25% longer, which I think will be enough.


I also went up one number in needles, from 9 mm circular to 10 mm straight. I love using circulars, but all those yo's made it really hard to get the stitches back up on the needle once they had slipped down on the cable. And the yarn really calls for 10 mm anyway... I wish I had even bigger ones, need to buy me a pair. 12 mm perhaps.


Do you see the blue rubber band on the needle? I use it to remember when to start wrapping that yarn. The pattern is so simple, just knit 4 rows, then *k1, 2 yo* for one row, and knit the stitches and drop the yo's on the 6th row. But you see, 4 rows of knitting is enough to make me confused. Now I only have to think half as much. When the rubber needle is free, I can immediately see if it's time for yo's yet or not. :) That's me.

This is a quick knit. I would have finished it today, if I hadn't ripped it all up last night. I had used up two balls, and then realized the work looked all wonky on one side. The pattern said "k1, 2 yo the entire row", so I did. Even the last stitch was followed by yo's, which apparently was a mistake. Too much yarn that did not make a straight, good looking edge. So I put the needle through the stitches before the first row of dropping and ripped it up.

I also want to remind you, do you remember that post I wrote about felting ends together? It came in very handy in this project too. No ends to weave in, how lovely is that!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

My blanket-cardigan :)

I have taken some pictures for you today. Not the best ones mankind has ever seen, but at least you get a decent understanding for what I'm trying to show you. I hope! ;) I find it terribly hard to take my own picture.

My blanket-cardigan (cape sounds too... fashionable?) is really one big piece of fabric, somewhat like a blanket in size. I cut it in half, only not all the way through. I stopped a little bit after the middle of it. Then I sat blanket stitching all day...


How to wear it is truly simple. Drape it over your back, with your head in the cut and the cut pieces over your arms.



Like this. Dead simple!



This is probably how I will use mine, just throw it over my shoulders before stepping outside. The fabric is wooly, which is really all I can tell you about it. No, that's not true. I can tell you it's itchy too! :) I bought it cheap in a second-hand shop years ago, and I don't know a lot about different kinds of fabrics. But it doesn't weigh a lot, and I like that. 


If I want to drape it, it's easy to just throw one of the side pieces over the shoulder. And maybe use a pin or a brooch to keep it there.


I already had a few crochet flowers hiding in a corner, so I didn't have to make something new.


Good to have options, right? To go with the mood of the day!


But I think I prefer to have it hang loose, wrapping it around me easily. I love the idea of this "cardigan", since it will fit me just as well if I wear another cardigan (or even a coat) underneath, or just a t-shirt. It won't feel tight anywhere! :) Perfect on a cloudy day like this, in late summer.


Pretty comfy, even if my girl thought it was too itchy to wear. :) But then I get to keep it for myself! I don't mind a little itching. 


I had a walk around the garden, trying to find a decent background or a good place to put the camera. Didn't find too much of either. But I did find this little one. Did you know you can it them? At least as long as they are firm and white (no yellow inside!). Slice them thin and fry them, and you'll find they taste like pancakes! My daughter doesn't usually eat mushrooms, but she loved this one.


We still have a lot of wild strawberries, big ones. I eat a bunch every day, would hate to see them rot away. Wouldn't eat this one though... Someone else beat me to it!


And finally, a glimpse of the latest project. I have some chunky knitting going on, but as usual I seem to have too little yarn for the project I planned. :( I must be overly optimistic, or why is this happening to me all the time? Hopefully I can work it out somehow, I will keep you posted. 


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Stitching

Just a quick hi there from me today. Still need to get some kind of routine when it comes to computer time. I am home alone when the kids are in school, but that seems to be my creative time now. I don't want to sit down typing then. And now I blog on the android again, the son is absorbed in some new computer game... :)
Anyway, here's a glimpse of what I've been up to. Blanket stitch! A lot of it. It's not a blanket I've made, rather a cape. Or maybe a blanket-cardigan. :) I'll show you tomorrow!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Granny sweater

I managed to finish the improvised granny sweater before school started. Yay! I had that goal set up for myself, secretly, this week. School starts tomorrow, so it was a close one. I made the last rounds on the last sleeve sitting in our garden, annoying my reading husband with crochet talk all the time. ;)


I also managed to persuade Elsa to try it on one more time to take a few pictures. She loves to get her picture taken, but she was tired of me wanting her to try this on too many times. Probably the worst part of improvising... 


Well, two snaps before she ran off...! But not too far away luckily. :) I think the shaping turned out alright, since I used a very simple design. I was surprised though, that it was so tight on her. When I had made the first rounds of granny squares, it seemed huge around her waist. But I think it's rather flexible, and I hope she will be able to use it for a long time.


 The design is simple, as I said. Round after round of granny squares, all joined as I went. No sewing if I don't have too, thank you! When I realized I was running out of yarn, I switched to granny stripes. Color changes on the front...

... and green on the back. Thought it could calm it down a bit. Had to play around a lot with the colors to make the yarn last, and the simple back cools it down a bit.


Granny stripes on the sleeves too, alternating in red and pink as I was almost out of green. I had just enough to make two rounds of sc in the end.The length of the sleeves was simply based on the amount of yarn that remained, making them as long as I could. The ending four rounds of sc are made in the three dc's in the granny stripe, skipping the ch between the dc groups. To narrow it down a little.


The upper three photos are taken with my camera, and I was amazed at how true it was to the green color. I had noticed that it had a tendency to look grey on earlier pictures taken with my mobile. But I did take few pictures with my mobile too, and was surprised when I compared them. Look at the one above and the one below, see the difference? The camera pictures are much softer and true to the green while the red is hard to catch. And on the mobile pictures the red looks really sharp, and you can see just how crisp the yarn looks in reality, although the green is to pale. It actually made it hard to choose what pictures to use!


 I decided to leave some extra space for the head, splitting the front a bit before the shoulders. I made the split a little wider by leaving three dc's between the two shoulder parts. Some of that gap was filled when I made two rounds of sc around the entire neck line, but I wanted to make sure her head would get through. My kids (and their parents) are blessed with rather big heads... To keep the collar in place, I made braids to weigh them down. The shoulders were crocheted together, everything straight and square.


I thought the bottom would look nice with an edging of some kind, and found this in a book. I think it looks great with the granny squares and stripes.


As usual  I got a little optimistic about how far the yarn would take me, which makes me use it up a little too soon... That's how some of my color design emerges - out of necessity! :) This is all that remained when it was all done... I used nine balls in all, and since it was a really cheap yarn, this sweater cost me nearly nothing. I love that fact! (But I don't like how the yarn kept splitting, not perfect for crochet!)


Well, I'm happy and the girl is happy. She wants to wear it on the first day in school tomorrow. That warms a mother's heart! :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What I've been up to lately...

When I look back at this summer, I have so many strong memories. I don't even know where to start... Concerts, the sea, family, nature, garden, fixing at home, trips... I could never cover it all, so I'll simply tell you what I've been up to the last couple of weeks.

Yesterday, my husband and I celebrated our 13th anniversary. Amazing how time flies! At the same time, it feels like he's always been by my side. Well, yesterday he had to work a long day away from home, so we took the chance to celebrate the occasion a little early. Almost two weeks ago, we left our kids with my parents, packed the car and took off. We didn't have much of a plan, just going west to a part of our country called Dalsland. Lots of wild nature but not too far away from home. Simply stopping when we spotted something worth a look, we had a great day together. We visited an old fashioned market with a lot of goodies, I actually bought a pair of pot holders although I really don't need any more of those. I simply fell for them! :) So soft, and still thick enough to use for the oven.



Just walking around in our own pace, without having to break up earlier because of tired/hungry/bored kids was great! ;) I think all of you parents out there know what I mean. We also visited a pretty herb garden, an artists studio and a museum filled with things from the past. Inspiring places, really! We also went to a beautiful church, unfortunately closed, but even the graveyard and the surroundings were worth a visit.


The next stop was a very special experience for me, since I am very afraid of heights. Not any height, a hill can be high and steep, I don't mind. But bridges and other kinds of buildings, with mostly air under my feet... Waaah!!! The sight worth seeing this time was an aqueduct, a canal dug through soft rocks wouldn't do here, so they had to build a bridge for the boats. First we crossed a bridge on foot, and it was high (!) up. I took this picture from it, but seeing it from underneath almost made me to nervous to cross it again. So high up! :)


You can see the aqueduct below, passing over the rocky dried out creak below. We took a walk along the canal, and suddenly realized we had to turn back or cross that aqueduct, on that thin, curved edge with a very unsteady (at least by the look of it) railing. I knew I was to scared, but I said firmly that I can't always let my fears win, and I walked! And almost died, it was worse than I thought. My husband walked behind me and could actually see my knees shaking, but I fixed my eyes to the other side, firmly avoiding to look down, and I made it! :D So proud of myself, but I'm not sure I could do it again...


I was enjoying life much more on the picture below, I have to say. We put up our tiny tent for two (and nothing more, where are you supposed to keep your things?) and rented a canoe for the evening. It was lovely! So peaceful... Just my love and I...


The next day involved some more sightseeing, tea and cookies in the beautiful garden of a friend (or rather boss...) of my husband's and turning back home again. More in love than ever! :)

Well, back at home we started painting. Not furniture this time, now was the time to fix the son's room. Painting ceiling, walls and door posts in just a few days. Thought my arms would fall off, but I made it! That's happiness, can't take it for granted that my rheumatism would allow me to get carried away like that.The room went from light baby blue with too much stuff and pieces of furniture, to two shades of brown with less furniture and more grown-up. More space for him, a TV of his own, and it looks great if you ask me! :) No pictures, I'm afraid...

Well, the paint had just dried when we left again... We had promised the kids at least one night in a cabin or hotel, so we took the train to Stockholm to take them to some museums. We had a great time! We visited the technical museum and Skansen the first day. Skansen is an area with a lot of Swedish old buildings, and Swedish wild animals like rein-deers, bears, and wolves. They also have an aquarium with non-Swedish animals, like snakes, spiders, crocodiles and monkeys. Proud to say that the entire family dared to pat a snake, even though one is really scared of them. Was surprised to see the daughter patting a snake with confidence, and even following a deadly bush-snak's head with her finger, with only thin glass between them. I mean, she's afraid of kittens! :)

The last day was spent on the Vasa-museum, a museum containing a ship that was built in 1628, but sank after only 20 min or so... They managed to pull her up 30 years ago, and now you can see her and a lot of things from that time. Most interesting history lesson I ever had, I think. (You get the feeling of her size if you manage to spot the people way down on the floor, this is a huge ship!)


So, now you know why I haven't been showing up here a lot lately. Busy life! :) But it's calming down now, so hopefully I'll be posting more often.

Steph Macleod


I was meaning to tell you about my two last trips this summer, but then I started listening to some music from this summer, and feel I have to share it with you. My husband worked at a music festival earlier this summer, with a lot of different artists performing. I would have missed out on this guy if they hadn't interviewed him on the stage where my husband was working. He told the story of his life as an ordinary guy, ending up on the streets. Homeless and addicted to drugs. Trying to deal with his problems he started writing music, found his way to a Christian rehab where he found both help and a faith. And a guitar. He performed "Amazing grace" in such a way I just knew I had to attend his concert. I did, and it was the strongest musical experience I have ever had. If you ever get the chance, go listen to Steph Macleod!



Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Slow motion

I'm having slow motion days. Or rather, slow no-motion. Sitting down, crochet in lap. Or in front of the computer, involved in that online-game the kids like so much. Not much gets done. But it's alright. So much have already been done. Painting my son's room, changing furniture to make it less childish and more practical for him. Lot's of short trips, most recently to Stockholm with the kids. Before that a trip to the west, only me and my husband. I'll tell you more when I get the chance to spend some time by the computer, where all the pictures are.

I just took a walk around the garden. Getting an early feeling of autumn. Husband back to work this week, the school starting on Monday. Felt a soft wind of inspiration, things I want to make. Haven't been very creative when it comes to needlework, painting and interior design has taken my creativity. But I hope to finish the improvised sweater soon. The ams remain to be done, but not much more.

I guess you will see me around more often when things go back to normal. I long for inspiration and new, exciting projects. Until then, I guess I'll try to finish this one. Still not sure how to shape the arms. :)