Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Yarn Along 16

It's Wednesday and I'm joining Ginny in her Yarn Along, why don't you join her and us all, too? Come on, it's fun!
I'm knitting another decorative star for my godmother and switched the colours so that red is now the main colour or the background colour if you will. I think I'm getting better at the colourwork, or maybe it's just wishful thinking - I'm not quite sure yet.
The first star is finished and despite some uneven stitches I'm happy with how it turned out. But I felt like something was missing somehow and after some pondering I came to the conclusion that it was the center of the star that was bothering me. So I added a red button on each side to make it look more "finished". Now I'm really happy with it! I sewed the buttons on nice and tight so that they create a dent in the center of the star. Without the buttons the middle part looked very puffed up, although I used only a very small amount of filling. And of course I take every opportunity to sew buttons on anything, I just love buttons =)
I also have something new to read for you this week: "The Subtle Knife" by Philip Pullman, which is the second book in the "His Dark Materials" trilogy. I finished "Northern Lights" and was simply blown away by the book. It's so original and ingenious, emotional, gripping and just wonderful in every single detail. The way the bond between humans and their animalform daemons is described made me cry several times. I'm so looking forward to what the second book will bring, I've only read a few pages yet. Is there anything as exciting as a new, fresh book? When I love a book I often read it more than once and you notice a lot more details when you read it for the second or third time. The first time I often rush through the book, greedily devouring the story. But even if I miss a thing here and there, the first time is the most intense and exciting. Thank God for people with such a powerful imagination and the gift of writing it down for others to enjoy, such as Mr. Pullman!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Yarn Along 15

It's been a little while but today I'm again joining Ginny in her weekly Yarn Along. No, don't worry - there will be no picture of the Surya shawl today. I'm still not done with it and let me tell you, that will be one giant shawl once it's finished and blocked!
Instead I'd like to show you the first finished stripy sock. I had to rip out the cuff because the rolled cuff I knit at first looked awful and was somehow uncomfortable on the leg. Now it's a simply ribbed cuff and I'm satisfied.
Furthermore I'd like to present a little bit of Christmas knitting. There are very few people amongst my family and friends who would be pleased by a handmade gift and would honestly appreciate it and one of those people is my godmother. I'm knitting a decorative star with a teeny bit of colourwork for her. Colourwork is a huge challenge for me. I'm a very tight knitter and the fact that I'm not allowed to pull on the thread until I nearly sever my fingertip if I want to have nice, non-puckering colourwork has lead to several fits and seething anger. And to too loose stitches - because it seems I'm quite digital. It's either nice and tight and EVEN stitches or floppy wonky ugly stitches with ridiculous long floats... But I have been told that it's all about practice so I might have to do a whole jumper of colourwork to get the hang of it.
Nothing new to read this week, but next week for sure as I only have a couple of pages left of "Northern Lights".
I'm off to make some tea now so I can enjoy looking at all your nice projects properly =)

Monday, 14 November 2011

The Art of Stashing

 ... has in no way been mastered by me but as of today my stash is a lot neater and more organized. I think I might have mentioned here that I have a fairly small stash. Well, I thought it to be tiny but now that I gathered all bits and pieces of yarn from all over the flat, I stand corrected. My stash is still small, especially compared to other knitters' stashes, but it is bigger than I thought.
Although I never had problems with moths so far *frantically knocking on wood now*, I always felt a bit uneasy about my yarn and projects lying about all over the place. Not only because of possible moths feasting on the skeins but also because of sunlight, dust and what not. Dumbledore and the piggies are living in our living room and the wood chips produce a lot of dust, so it's better to cover up or stow away precious things. So a few months ago we bought a couple of transparent plastic containers (a really nice and clear plastic, not so yellow-tinged as they look in the pictures) which are simply great. But - underestimating the size of my stash - I didn't take enough. 

On Saturday we went back to the store and bought more (a lot more). They're really great for storing anything and everything and I'm quite happy with them. I wasn't so happy when I had to wash them out first because they were a bit dusty and had a layer of some weird stuff on them (probably from the manufacturing process). I dried them almost completely with a towel and let the floor heating take care of the rest of the droplets over night =)
I organized my stash roughly by colours (solids and multi-coloured separately), except for the cottons I use for dishcloths - which I threw together into a big box. I still have the very old parts of my stash packed in cardboard boxes and I think I will leave them there. It's mostly stuff from my Grandmother and it's very old and thus has this weird "old" fabric smell. If I put it together with the newer stuff then everything will smell that way before long...

I still have boxes left but you can stack them together and they don't take up a lot of space, it's so neat! Maybe I'll use them for my cross-stitching stash, that too could use a bit more neatness and safety. And Sebastian wanted to have one or the other box as well for some of his stuff.

My current projects now occupy one of the larger boxes as well. It surely is prettier to keep them in a nice basket or in a nice bag, as I did before. I had all my WIPs in a beautiful colourful bag Sebastian brought back from Peru. It's a great bag for knitting stuff but it's not very safe ^^ One day I walked to the sofa from the kitchen, carrying a mug of coffee and I tripped, pouring most of the mug's content into the bag (which was open). So I'll now use the bag to take my knitting along with me on visits or travels and keep my WIPs safely in a plastic box when I'm at home and handle beverages =) And my needles are all organized now, too! See the little box on top? Ohhh yes, this is nice.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

KAL 3 and Yarn Along 14

Hello my dear knitters and readers! And crocheters of course, too!
Are you sick of pictures of the Surya shawl yet? If so, don't worry - it'll all be over soon. I am approaching the end of my little KAL with Linda and I can't wait to see how the shawl will look after blocking. But let's not get ahead of ourselves, I still have to knit the edge. Even in an unblocked state, the shawl is now so big that it takes up the whole length of the 100 cm circular needle (and more). Here's a close-up of the sunspots in their squishy, unblocked state:
While the pattern is marvellous and correct and neat and absolutely wonderful, I was more than happy to leave the sunspots behind me and move on to the more mindless garter stitch section. I'm usually not a big fan of garter stitch but in this case it was a welcome brainless knit (even if only for a few rows) and it does make a nice looking interlude between the two parts of the pattern. Now I'm two rows into the edge and I already feel the excitement of a soon to be finished project, oh yes!

I've finished "Voyager" by Diana Gabaldon and am now out of Outlander books *eek*. But Christmas is nearing and I have to be patient and work my way through other unread books that are waiting on the shelves. I started on "Northern Lights" by Philip Pullman, which is the first book of the "His Dark Materials"-Trilogy. I'm loving it so far and the fact that we already own the following two books as well pleases me a lot =)

I'm off to Ginny's now to look at your works and books, cya there! =)

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Yarn Along 13

It's Wednesday, it's Yarn Along time!
The book I'm showing you today isn't a new acquisition but I haven't shown it here before. It's in use almost every day (except for when I'm lazy) and has helped me to eliminate a lot of pain in my back and neck. "Die 7 Minuten" - I think the original version is called "7 Minutes of Magic" by Lee Holden. Mr. Holden encourages you to spend 7 minutes in the morning and 7 minutes before bedtime with training and breathing exercises, combining Yoga, Pilates and Qi Gong. I have to be honest with you, I need more than 7 minutes for the whole routine but then again I try very hard to do it right. The pictures in the book could be a bit better and I had to look up some postures on the INet because I wasn't clear about how my feet should be standing and things like that. But apart from that I like the book very much. Mr. Holden gives information on his own journey to exercising and provides additional helpful techniques that can be done during the day, like techniques to calm your mind when stress threatens to take over. Particularly the evening training helps me a lot, I can fall asleep better and I am in less pain when I wake up. Being the sloppy person that I am, I get lazy from time to time and climb into bed without my 7 (or 15) minutes of stretching and relaxing. Most of the times I regret that in the morning.

Knittingwise I am especially proud this week. Right now I have my very first own design on the needles! It's a pair of fingerless mittens in a sunny yellow fingering weight sockyarn, the first is already done and I'm happily knitting away on the second one while more ideas for designs swirl through my head. Once the knitting is done I have to take proper photos and write the instructions down so that everyone can understand them. So far I only have a lot of untidy scribbling on several loose pieces of paper... I hope I will be able to do this right but I'm certainly not lacking motivation or excitement =)

Please head over to Ginny's for more knitting inspiration and interesting books!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Yarn Along 12

Hi and welcome to the weekly Yarn Along, hosted by Ginny from Small Things! I finally got my new wooden circular needle and was therefore able to add some rows to the "Surya" shawl which I am knitting for my KAL with Linda from Norway! I have done 7 repeats of the shawl body pattern by now and could move on to the next part if I were aiming for the shawlette size. But as I decided on making the shawl size I have another 2 repeats to go. As much fun as it is to knit the sun spots, I'll be glad to move on with the pattern. I think there will be a couple of garter rows before the leafy edge - some mindless knitting for a change! I can't wait to finish and block the shawl and see those sun spots clearly.

The bobbles are growing, too and they are starting to look better and neater I think. The curling edge is driving me batty, it makes it harder to shift the stitches on the needles and is just a pain in the butt in general. But I so adore the bobbles! All in all I didn't make that much progress knittingwise for two reasons. One: I haven't been knitting as much as usual (I know, call an ambulance!). Two: When I've been knitting, I worked on these little beauties:

The pattern is "Autumn Pumpkins" by Jan Lewis. I've actually made three so far. I gave one to Sebastian's mother and the two in the picture made their way to my godmother, who celebrates her birthday this week. Now I will have to make at least two more because my mother wants one, too and I want at least one for myself! They are easy and fun to make but knitting them is extremely hard on my wrists because the gauge better be tight as hell so the stuffing won't show through. But still, fun to make!

I even have a book to show this week, yay me! It's "Meditation des Lichts" - "Meditation of Light" by Leonardo Boff. Sebastian's mother gave it to me for Easter this year but apart from flipping through I just kept it on the "to read"-pile so far. I haven't read much yet but I kind of like it. It deals with methods and techniques for meditation of the highest light that are suitable even for everyday life. A how-to on filling up on divine energy of light so to say. I've always had trouble with meditating, not being able to focus and getting my mind to shut up and be quiet. I'm often so anxious and antsy, a bit of meditating and calming the mind would be so great. I've picked up on Yoga and it has helped me a lot, especially when it comes to getting some sleep. But I still have to work on surpressing or outletting (is that even a verb??) the constant buzz of thoughts.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Yarn Along 11: Cotton Candy Bobbles

Good morning and welcome to another Yarn Along, as always hosted by Ginny from Small Things.
Again, no new book to show but I think that will change next week, so stay tuned =)
But I've always some knitting to show and today it's my Cotton Candy Bobbles. The pattern is Bobble-Vine Jacket by Edie Eckman and it truly was love at first sight. Now I'm new to the whole bobble knitting business and it shows. Some bobbles look better than others and I severely have to restrain my petty knitting self from ripping back in order to knit every bobble perfectly. There will be many bobbles to knit on this cardigan so I decided to see it as good practice and I will leave the not so perfect looking bobbles untouched. Boy, I'm sweating just writing this =) There is a bit of cable-action, too and twisting of stitches and I have to pay a lot of attention to the chart. Which sadly isn't of very good quality, it's tiny and a bit blurry so blowing it up doesn't work as it only gets blurrier.
Want to take a closer look on the bobbles? Here you go:
I'm using Cascade 220 Wool in the colourway "Tutu". If you take a look at my projects page on Ravelry you can see that I ripped my "Asymmetrical Cabled Cardi" so that I can start on the bobbled cardigan. Well, I probably would have ripped the cabled cardi anyway, the pattern wasn't that good and many people made many modifications and I lost heart very early. The cables were just a tad too bulky and I found the instructions confusing in general. I had ordered the yarn online a while ago and it was intended for many things since then and ripped a lot. Ordering online isn't easy when it comes to colour choices. Every computer screen shows colours differently and the colours might already be off in the pictures to begin with. I admit that I had expected a slightly lighter pink so when I opened the box and took a first look on the yarn all I could say was "oink". But I rather like it now (maybe it was just the initial shock that it indeed was THAT pink) and I like how the bobbles look in that colour. The edges of the cardigan curl like crazy in the stockinette parts but I hope that will subside as the cardigan grows. There will be a bit of crocheting around the edges so that should definitely do the trick. I hope.

Have a lovely wednesday and do pop over to Ginny's so you can look at all the lovely projects and books!

Monday, 19 September 2011


Today I watched "Evan Almighty" on DVD. Not for the first time. I have seen this movie often, just like the prequel "Bruce Almighty". There is a lot in "Evan" that I don't like, Steve Carell does a bit too much screaming and falling down for example. And I cringe at most of the animal scenes, they may look funny but if you look closely you will see that many animals don't look that happy and from what I read about Kevin James' new movie "Zookeeper", there's often a lot of cruel business going on with animals on film sets. That's probably the main reason why I like the first "Almighty" movie better. But you just got to love Morgan Freeman as God. In my opinion he plays Him wonderfully, it just makes me happy to watch him in this role. Apart from all the funny and goofy stuff in those movies, there are certain scenes and dialogues that linger a long time after I turned off the TV. Sadly not as long as they should...

"How do you change the world? One single act of random kindness at a time."

"Let me ask you something. If one prays for patience, do you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If they pray for courage, does God give them courage, or does he give them opportunities to be courageous? If one prayed for their family to be closer, you think God zaps them with warm, fuzzy feelings? Or does he give them opportunities to love each other?"

God gives us endless opportunities to be all he wants us to be, we just have to seize them. This can be so hard and uncomfortable sometimes that we so often choose to sit on our hands and let those opportunities pass by, unseized and maybe even unnoticed. But He never said it would be easy!
And one single act of random kindness? How hard can that be?? Nobody expects us to change the world completely at once, today, all by ourselves. But one single act of random kindness, that should be possible to accomplish.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not accusing you of forgetting all this. I'm accusing me. I'm accusing me for sitting on my hands so often, feeling sorry for myself and letting countless opportunities fly by, unseized. This habit ends today.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Love for old things

I just have to share my newest acquisitions with you: 3 very old coffeemills!! That's right, not one - three! I've always been deeply in love with old things, or vintage goodies as they are called now =) I hardly ever use the word though, particularly because the fashion world in my eyes disgraced the word "vintage" by using it for just another fashion craze that I don't care for anyway. So for me they are just lovely old things, ideally connected with memories. I have inherited many things from my beloved grandmother, but not nearly as much as I'd liked. I was 15 years old when she died and had very little say in what I could keep of her stuff and what not. I secretly squirreled away as much as I could to my room while my parents were throwing most of her things away, partly because they thought it to be rubbish and partly because of some weird form of grief. I cried many tears because I would have loved to keep much more of her stuff and I thought (and still think) that it was an insult to my grandmother's memory to so hastily throw out things she had cared for greatly. I was allowed to keep a lot of dishes though and some cutlery as well. I packed it up in boxes and was looking forward to the day when I would finally be able to take it to my own home. Once in a while I opened the boxes just to look at all the pretty stuff. Sadly I had to realize that some of it was missing. My mother had developed a taste for it after all and felt it was her right to take whatever she wanted. Which was mostly cutlery. Nice, huh? And she won't give it back to this day. Considering that she had wanted to throw it all away, she could at least have the decency to ask.

But back to the coffeemills. I always wanted to have one - not the kind that runs with electricity though! I wanted an old one with a hand crank and a little drawer where the ground coffee would fall into. And will you look at those glorious mills! A cousin of my mother's collected coffeemills but now she moved into a smaller apartment and doesn't have enough room for her collection anymore. Another cousin of my mother's who actually is my godmother (with whom I stand in close contact and whom I like very much) speaks with her on the phone on a regular basis and immediately suggested that she could give me some of her coffeemills and telling her that I would never sell them or give them away otherwise but would treasure them as I treasure everything that once belonged to my grandmother. So this cousin not only gave me the coffeemill that once belonged to my grandmother, but also one that belonged to my great-grandmother, whom I never got to know. And she threw in a third one from someone else I don't know. 
The small one on the right is the one that belonged to my Oma (that's German for "Granny"), the one in the middle is the oldest and belonged to my great-grandmother (my Oma's mother) and the one on the left is the one from someone unknown to me. I'm so happy with them and I hope I can actually use them or one of them to grind coffeebeans. They are pretty greasy and dirty though and I still need to do some cleaning and maybe also a bit of refurbishing. I'm not sure of a good place for displaying them yet, our kitchen is very tiny and the surfaces are already too full but I'm sure I will find a good spot. Otherwise they will be put into boxes for later when we will have more room and maybe a bigger kitchen. I will certainly pull the coffeemills out once in a while to pet them and adore them and then put them safely back, dreaming of the day when I can display them oh so proudly. Some things never change.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Yarn Along 10

I'm again joining Ginny in her Yarn Along today. I don't know why it's just Yarn Along blogposts these days but I strongly suspect all the knitting. I have several things I would like to blog about but I'm knitting and knitting and knitting some more. In fact I once again have slight tendonitis problems which often come after hours of knitting at a tight gauge. Sticky, sweaty fingers and wooden needles don't help with that, no no. I'm showing you two pictures, the first one comes closer to the actual colours but the second one shows the stitches better!

No new book this week as LOTR is quite a giant opus both literally and metaphorically speaking!

Knittingwise I've finished the first mitten of the "Lady of the Wood mittens" and I'm quite pleased with the result. The process itself was such an ordeal and so hard on my hands and wrists but that could have been partly due to the frustration and crampy knitting. I must have knitted 4 mittens so far but only kept one version. It's not that the pattern isn't good, it's really nice and easy and knitting with beads is surprisingly easy, too. But to find the right size, gauge, needle size, total stitch number... a really frustrating piece of work in that case. I know that my hands are very small, but they must be even tinier than I thought. I started with the stitch count given in the pattern and knitted with a 2,00 mm needle. And believe me, I am a tight knitter!! (again, hello tendonitis!) The mitt was much too big. The next was too small. To cut the long story short, I tried everything: various needle sizes, less repeats of the pattern, smaller thumb gusset... In the end I went with fewer stitches on larger needles. It's not as perfect as I would have liked but it's nice and pretty and I just have to let it go now =) Plus my lace yarn was heavier than what others used for the pattern so that might have been a problem, too.
I suspect the real problem is that my wrists are so very narrow in relation to my palms and especially my thumb balls, that I just can't get the mittens over my hand if I knit them to tightly fit my wrists. But enough of that now, I'm going crazy... letting go and being satisfied now. Period.

I've also seamed the first of my "Mermaid's Gauntlets" by now and started the second one (currently parked on double pointed needles because I needed the circular needle for the third project in the picture. I need more needles! Or fewer projects. No, more needles. Seriously! But I'm being frugal and shift projects around so I don't need to buy more needles of the same size.).

And as if I haven't enough to work on already I started something from my queue today: "Stjärna" by Karolina Eckerdal. I hope this will work out, as it seems to be a great way to use up odd balls of yarn or even leftovers. A smooth cotton yarn might not have been the best way to go but the sheen is so nice and I want it to be something decorative and festive for Christmas. The construction seems to be quite interesting, I'm curious how it will turn out!

Now I'm off to take a look at YOUR wonderful projects and book suggestions! =)

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Yarn Along 9

Good morning!
I've been away too long... I missed two Yarn Alongs and I surely missed seeing all your wonderful projects. But now I'm back in the business and I'm happy to join Ginny in her weekly Yarn Along today.

A few months ago I started reading Tolkien's fantastic "The Lord of the Rings" again. It's been many years since I had last read it. I've watched the movies many times since then, but of course it's not the same. My copy of the book is a German translation but Sebastian has a stunning copy of the English original, with a beautiful cover! My German translation was divided into 6 or seven books (weird, I know), which was nice if you wanted to read in bed. It's easier to hold up a relatively thin book instead of lifting this whole chunky thing. Sebastian's book looks extra thick because it has been read in the bathtub a couple of times and also fallen into the tub by the looks of it. The pages are also starting to come apart so I have to be careful - but it looks positively ancient and I love it =)
I don't know why but I stopped reading after a bit, because of other books I suppose. The book was lying on our coffeetable all of the time, though. Now I've picked it up again (loving every single sentence) because of my current knitting (please click and then click again to see it bigger!):

It's the first mitten of Ann Kingstone's fabulous "Lady of the Wood" mittens. Didn't I promise you beads? Well, here they are. Not many, but oh so pretty. A closer look on the beads maybe? Here you go (why does my hand look so old??):

I had queued the pattern quite some time ago and when my penpal Linda gifted me my first lace yarn ever I gave it a go. Sadly, the brown colour of the yarn is too dark to properly show off the leafy pattern but I like it nevertheless. In any case, I want to knit those mittens again, maybe a pair for every season. I named this version "Lady of the Autumn Wood" because of the dark brown and the copper coloured beads. When I went to purchase the pattern on Ravelry I saw that it belonged to a whole book of wonderful patterns, so I purchased the whole book "Novel Knits" - as an e-book. All the patterns are inspired by literature - J.R.R. Tolkien, Jane Austen, J. K. Rowling - which I find so extremely great that I'm over the moon with my purchase. As you may have guessed the mittens are inspired by "The Lord of the Rings" and I feel very elfin and ladylike already while knitting them. Please ignore the weird orange yarn, it's the provisional cast on for the thumb =) Oh there will be a lot of "novel knitting" in the future, one pattern in the book is prettier than the other!

But I am of course also still knitting on my little KAL with Linda - the Surya shawl. I have to order new needles though, the metal Addi needles are too slippery for this project. Until the wooden needles arrive, I have to put the shawl on hold, I can't knit with the metal needles any longer, it's no fun.

I've finished my Mermaidia socks by now (pictures still to be taken) and cast on for a new pair of socks. Lately I've been frustrated by self-striping sockyarn. I don't know why but there always seems to be at least one colour that doesn't go with the rest and it ruins the whole pretty stripy look. It's like all pretty pastel pink and lavender and then BAM! bright orange stripe. So I'm making my own stripes now which is of course more work than knitting with self-striping yarn but it's fun. And no, these aren't Gryffindor colours. It's yellow and fuchsia but naturally I can't capture the colours correctly. And apparently I'm also not able to get the camera to focus on the right spot so it's a bit blurry. Definitely a field of expertise I need to work on.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Yarn Along 8

It's Wednesday, so I'm joining Ginny in her Yarn Along again! I'm always looking forward to this little event =) (Please click on the photo to make it larger!)
I'm of course still knitting on the Surya shawl - together with Linda for our own little KAL. The pattern is written very good so far and I even learned a new technique: The Central Double Increase. The pattern provides a tutorial with photos for that technique and also a link to a how-to video. I didn't need to watch the video, though, as the pictures are excellent and show the technique very clearly.
I'm also still knitting on my Mermaidia socks, but I'm about to turn the heel on the second sock so it won't be long before I can wear them!
And because I am on a major casting-on-high at the moment I can show you even another project, the second square for my very own sockyarn blanket. This project already is immensely pleasing, you can read about it here - if you like =)

I started the third book of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, "Voyager". The German title is "Ferne Ufer - Distant Shores". For once I like the German title better, I immediately have to think of Star Trek when I hear "voyager"... I haven't read that much yet, but I think I already like it better than "Dragonfly in Amber" - I didn't like the whole France part there so much.

I have started another project but there isn't much to see, yet. And I have even more projects in mind, waiting to be cast on. I won't go into detail just yet but let me tell you this much: there will be beads! Pretty ones! Beads and yarn, oh my...

Monday, 15 August 2011

Waste not

I hate waste, I despise it. That goes for the neverending heaps of garbage we produce as well as for stuff that could still be put to good use but goes to the landfill along with stuff that's really garbage. Does that make sense? I hope so.
I try to use things up as much as possible. Now that doesn't involve washing out a margerine container in order to keep paperclips or earrings in but I wear and keep my clothes a looooong time and I do things like cutting open a bottle of body lotion so I can scrape out even the tiniest rest. And you would be surprised how much is still in there but won't come out the normal way =)
Now don't worry, I'm not a messie and I don't drown in things. But I agree that we have too much stuff in our house in general. I have already been decluttering a bit but I could do better. Some things I keep out of nostalgia, some things I keep because I already have my future kids in mind (like toys for example - my mother kept her barbie and all the fancy clothes for me and I was happy to have them) and some things I keep because I deeply believe they could be of use one day.
Yarn definitely falls into the third category. I have a very tiny stash and a good part of it is very old. Some skeins belonged to my Grandmother who died 16 years ago. At first I kept the yarn because I didn't know how to knit at that time but always wanted to learn and I thought I could use the yarn someday. It took me a long time to learn to knit and I kept the yarn. Then I knew how to knit but couldn't find the right project for it. It's mostly cotton yarn, leftovers from many potholder projects. Three months ago I finally found something to do with it: Dishcloths and washcloths! I am so happy that I can finally use up all that yarn and make something pretty AND useful with it! And I'm sure my sweet Grandmother is happy, too =) She was greatly into handcrafts so I think she probably likes it a lot that her granddaughter uses her yarn to make something good =)
Now the photo doesn't show all of my so far finished cloths because some of them were dirty... The one with the banana looks a bit wonky here - it had shrunk in the wash and I had to give it a good tug in all directions ^^

And now I found another fabulous project for leftover yarn - sockyarn that is. A blanket made entirely out of leftover sockyarn! Yes I know the idea isn't exactly new but I had been looking for a good pattern for a while but couldn't find one at first. Then I found the "sock yarn square pattern" by Shannon Geddes and I couldn't be happier with it. It's so easy and a perfectly mindless project, I highly recommend it! And you know what? I even get to use my 2,75 mm needle which I had ordered quite a while ago but then didn't use it. It drives me crazy to have stuff lying around unused! Particularly as I not only try to declutter our house but also try to not buy any more new things if it can be helped.
By the way: it's not only great to use up leftover yarn from sock projects, it also feels deeply satisfying to knit a blanket with it. A blanket that will someday keep me or a loved one warm and will look pretty and colourful!

I know that to some of you this might sound crazy or obsessive. But I can't make all those garbage that threatens to drown us go away, I can't just snap my fingers and rid the world of all that stinking toxic waste. But I can make a bit of an effort to reduce my part of that waste as much as possible. A step is a step, no matter how small, right?

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Yarn Along 7

Today I'm joining Ginny from Small Things in another Yarn Along, unfortunately I missed it last week. I've recently started another shawl for my first KAL, which I am doing with my very lovely penpal Linda from Norway. The pattern is "Surya" and I'm so excited about the so called sunspots in this pattern, they're fun to knit and look so different from all the leafy motives that are used in many shawl patterns. While I like leafy patterns very much this makes a nice change. For more information on this shawl and the KAL, kindly read this and this post. In the second post you will also find a much better picture of the colour of the yarn and see the pattern more clearly. The colour is not navy, it's a dark shade of teal. But I like how bobbly the sunspots look in this picture =)

I have only very little left to read of "Dragonfly in Amber" and am eager to start the third book of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I've mentioned here before that I never read just one book and so I pulled a book from the shelf which I read around 2004. It's "Faerie Tale" by Raymond Feist, the German title is "Elfenhügel" which means "Faerie Hill" or "Hill of Elves" in English =) The book is really intense at times, a gripping read in my opinion and oh so scary sometimes. I remember one particular scene that wouldn't let me sleep well for weeks and left me lying in bed with my eyes open, staring into the darkness of my bedroom, afraid I might just see what I've been reading about... Why read the book again, if it terrified me that much, you might ask. Well it's not scary all the time, it provides a lot of information on faerie lore and of course there's this kick that comes with scary stories. Another reason for reading this book again is: I'm an idiot. Which might be just the thing that my fiancé will say to me when I'll be waking him up at night by turning on as many lamps as possible.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Shawl KAL "Surya" 2

Here is a first peek at my version of the Surya shawl that I'm knitting together with my friend Linda. So far I knitted two and a half repeats of the shawl body. It doesn't look like much yet and lace is always hard to photograph because it's so scrunched up before blocking. I tried to stretch a part out a bit while taking a picture so you can at least see a little bit of the fabulous "sunspots" of the pattern. I'm not sure why but I think it looks more like crochet rather than knitting =) I'm still very happy with my colour choice and I'm equally happy with how good the pattern is written so far. I like it when patterns are not only charted but also written out. Although I can read knitting charts, I find it easier and more comfortable to read the words or abbreviations. Apparently that's a matter of taste, my mother for example likes the charts and symbols better.

This picture was taken without flash:

And this one was taken with flash. Just imagine the colour to be a mixture of both and you get the idea ^^:

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Shawl KAL "Surya" 1

In my last Yarn Along I promised new knitting projects and I'd like to present you one of them today: As of yesterday, I'm doing my first KAL, the wonderful shawl "Surya". In case you don't know what a KAL - a Knit Along - is: It means that two or more people agree to knit a particular pattern or project at the same time. In this case, it is a rather small KAL, as it's just lovely Linda and me. Linda is my Norwegian penpal whom I found on the penpal board on Ravelry. I found several penpals in this forum and seem to have lost some of them already. I guess sometimes it just doesn't work out. With others it goes really, really well and although Linda and I have only been penpals since February I like her a lot and am glad that things go well with the two of us. Linda had asked me right in one of her first letters if I wanted to do a KAL with her some time and of course I wanted that! So we agreed on a shawl pattern and decided to start in August.

So now I have another shawl on the needles besides my Haruni. I started knitting with a sockyarn in a fuchsia colour but after a few rows I decided that I didn't like it. Although the colour is pretty, it just didn't really work out with the pattern. So I ripped it and restarted with a sockyarn in a shade of teal and am pretty happy now. I don't know what it is with me and teal but I'm hooked on all shades of bluey greens and greeny blues these days =) It actually rivals my love for pinks and purples, who would have thought??
I'm really loving this KAL idea. People who live far away from you might be knitting the same thing you are working on that very moment. It makes you feel closer to them somehow, which is a nice feeling! =)

I will be posting pictures of my progress soon. Right now there are too few rows to see anything. Please head over to Linda's Blog, too. She too will be showing pictures soon and it will be quite interesting to see the same pattern in a different colour and a different yarn in general.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Yarn Along 6

Hello and welcome to another Yarn Along - as always hosted by Ginny from Small Things!
I have nothing new to read for you this week but there's a lot of knitting going on. And there will be much more new knitting soon. There will be at least 3 new projects on the needles, which makes me very excited. I love starting new things, either with new fresh yarn or with something from stash. My stash is fairly small and I intend to keep it that way. Sometimes, when I bought yarn for a specific project and it doesn't work out and has to be ripped, I immediately try to find a new project for that yarn. I could never stash huge amounts of lovely yarn for a long time, it would drive me crazy to have all those skeins lying around and not do something with them. I do have some sockyarn stashed, though. It's pretty much the only yarn I ever buy without having a pattern in mind because you only need one ball for socks and only one or two for a shawl.

I didn't really want to talk about my barely existent, where was I? Ah yes, the Yarn Along! I'm currently knitting my first mittens / gloves ever. Well, they are fingerless, but they have a thumb, with gusset and all! The pattern is "Susie's Reading Mitts" by Janelle Masters. A lot of people who knitted them talk about a choice of sizes in their project notes, I only found one size. One mitt is nearly finished, I still have to tuck in the edges to form some sort of picot edging. Please excuse the blurry picture, it's very difficult to take a shot of your own hand and arm! I cracked my neck a bit while doing this... I will show you better pictures once the mittens are finished.

The yarn was gifted to me by my Norwegian penpal Linda, who made me very happy! She gave me two skeins of this wonderful soft teal yarn and two skeins of a yummy brown lace yarn. I already have a project picked out for the lace yarn, too! At first I thought the yarn would be too busy for mittens with lacy edges because the four plies are all different shades of green and blue. But it knits up into such a wonderful colour, I'm completely over the moon with it. I have no word for that colour, it's not simply teal, it's green and blue and turquoise and just so beautiful. I named the mittens "Mermaid's Gauntlets" because the colour looks like deep and mysterious lagoon water or something like that and I figure it would be the perfect colour for a garment a mermaid would wear. As you can see from all the babbling, I'm really very excited about the colour ^^

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Yarn Along 5

Good day to you my dear readers!
I missed Ginny's Yarn Along last week =( I actually haven't posted anything since the Yarn Along two weeks ago. I had a lot of errands to run and some doctor's appointments I've been putting off for ages (nothing serious!). But this week I'm back in the saddle and would like to show you once again what I'm knitting and reading these days.

I really should be knitting on my Copper Bolero but can't seem to find motivation for that. Instead I pulled out my wonderfully red Haruni again - makes a nice change for all that sock knitting that's going on here. Please excuse the pale picture, it's so hard to capture red hues as they really look like. The yarn is actually a wonderful deep cherry red - in the picture it looks awfully pale and kind of washed out. But that's better than the tomato red that appeared in most shots I took. Many of you will know the pattern, it's quite popular - and for a good reason! "Haruni" by Emily Ross is an enchanting pattern, so pretty and very, very well written. And it's free! This time last year I was knitting feverishly on my first Haruni which was a birthday gift for my mother. I was using a dark navy sock yarn and would have been bored to death if it hadn't been for the fantastic pattern. I like most colours but navy blue really is not my cup of tea. But the pattern, lovely. It was my first serious lace project and I had no trouble with following the instructions. Except for the provisional cast-on maybe. I'm not a fan of that method and used a garter tab instead with my first Haruni.

Two weeks ago I presented Holly Black's "Tithe" to you, now I'm reading the sequel "Ironside", which is just as great. I know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover but I have to admit that I'm a sucker for pretty covers. Of course I don't buy books just because of their covers but I love when they are pretty or funky or simply unusual. And I think the illustrations on the cover should always be connected with the actual content of the book. Needless to say, this edition of "Ironside" pleases me in every way!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Yarn Along 4

Hello there!
Another Wednesday, another Yarn Along with Ginny, hooray =) The first Mermaidia sock is nearly finished (I haven't decided what bind-off I want to do this time) and I casted on for more socks already as the 2,5 mm needle was finally free. Well, so was the 2,75 mm needle. In my unstoppable enthusiasm to start a new project I pulled the wrong needle out of my ever growing heap of knitting projects and balls of yarn and started knitting with the 2,75 mm needle instead of the 2,5 mm needle. Usually I keep my needles in their original packaging so as to avoid situations like these but that day for some reason I had needles all over the place. I was half done with the first sock and was silently wondering why the stitches were so loose and stretchy (I'm such a tight knitter, this almost never happens). Then I spotted another needle poking out from under a heap of printed patterns, current projects, etc. that surround me on the couch. While the penny was dropping and exasperation was sinking in I closed my eyes and took a deep breath and then started ripping the sock apart. Without complaint! I really shouldn't cast on anything new late at night, with tired eyes and half-asleep brain.
Anyhow, the new sock project is "Jeck" by Regina Satta, a pattern I've knit before and found to be a very welcome alternative to plain stockinette or ribbing. Sadly the yarn doesn't bring out the pattern, although it changes colours in solid stripes. I'm not so fond of the colour combination but the yarn is very soft and it was a birthday present. The person who gave it to me is asking frequently if I already started to knit with the yarn and I don't want to disappoint people who are so nice to give me yarn for my birthday =)

I'm still reading "Dragonfly in Amber" but I'm treating books as I'm treating knitting projects: The more the merrier and gladly at the same time. I'm once again reading "Tithe" by Holly Black, one of my all time favourites - and the sequel "Ironside". I love those books so much that I pull them from the shelf every few months. They're fairly thin, so I'm not really neglecting any other current reading projects. At first I read "Tithe" in German but ordered the original version when I ordered "Ironside". Although the German translation of "Tithe" is good, I was surprised to find that some things were left out. Sometimes it's only a sentence but there is a particular scene where a big chunk didn't find its way into the translated version. I think it might have been too violent for the designated age group, I don't know. It's not that important for the progress of the story but if you know the book by heart as I do, you can't not notice. So, if you love all things faerie and especially when they get woven into the modern world you should really check this one out. And for those of you who don't mind a bit of drooling while reading: The male elfin protagonist alone is worth the read.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Yarn Along 3

I'm afraid I can't show you a new book today as I'm still reading "Dragonfly in Amber" by Diana Gabaldon. But knitwise there's something new that I want to share with you. Of course I'm still knitting on my Copper Bolero but Sebastian's Camouflage Anklets are finished and I cast on for a new sock project right away: Mermaidia by Christine Jeffery. I had this wonderful turquoise sockyarn (which of course looks blue in the picture...) in stash and found it to be very fitting for this pattern. After much debate, fiddling around, ripping, different needle sizes and some cursing I settled on a 2,25 mm needle. Which leaves the 2,5 mm needle free for another pair of socks, ha!
I haven't taken a picture of Seb's socks on his feet yet but I thought you might enjoy how they look on my feet =)

For more wonderful projects, books and a lot of inspiration please visit Ginny's Blog where you can find a linklist you can click through and be delighted!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Yarn Along 2

For the second time I'm participating in Ginny's Yarn Along and I hope to do so many more Wednesdays to come! There's so much inspiration to find, it's quite overwhelming at times =) (Please click on the picture to see it larger!)
Although Seb's anklets are not finished yet I want to show you a different project today. I pulled my Copper Bolero out of hibernation a while ago because I really want to wear it this summer. But due to the extremely slow progress I'm beginning to doubt that this will be happening. The yarn (a cotton / microfiber blend) is very difficult to knit with, it's so slippery but somehow also very tight once the stitches are on the needle. It's hard to explain, quite paradoxical really. But slowly or not, progress is being made. A few more rows and the back will be finished. Sadly I once again failed to capture the colour properly in a picture. It's not really orange, more like a vivid and shiny copper. Very beautiful but truly a yarn from hell. This is the third attempt at making something recognisable out of this yarn and I'm happy that the diamond lace pattern works well.

I finished the first book of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon shortly after my first Yarn Along and I'm now reading the second book "Dragonfly in Amber". The German title is "Die geliehene Zeit" - "Borrowed Time". Funny how the titles are often so different from one another ^^

Friday, 17 June 2011

Socks for me

I finished some socks a while ago and finally Sebastian took pictures. It's really hard to take a picture of your own feet at a decent angle ^^ Sometimes I knit socks with a particular pair of shoes in mind, for example my turquoise clogs:

Pattern: Jeck by Regina Satta
Modifications: Toe-up, Fleegle's Heel, different cuff
Yarn: SuperGarne Aktiv Cotton (a wool/cotton/nylon blend)
I finished the socks with E. Zimmerman's Sewn Bindoff, very nice and neat.

And more socks for said clogs:

Pattern: Rivulets Socks by Wendy D. Johnson
Yarn: Regia 4-fädig Best of Effects (a wool/nylon blend)
I finished the socks with Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bindoff but overdid it a bit, it's rather ruffly and loose. The yarn looks a bit too blue in the pictures but it's a more greenish teal. But then again my clogs look electric blue although they are of a light turquoise. It's so hard to get a realistic picture of colours =(

And here are some standard ribbing socks I knit with a yarn I had in stash for a while. They weren't destined for a particular pair of shoes but I had my Loonts on when we took a walk in order to take some pictures and I saw that the colours fit real nicely. By accident so to say =)

Pattern: Toe-up Slip-Stitch-Heel Socks by Wendy D. Johnson
Yarn: some cheap wool/nylon blend from a supermarket chain, very thin and coarse (I don't mind cheap yarns, some are really good and some expensive ones are really bad. But this yarn was cheap and not so good.)
I did E. Zimmerman's Sewn Bindoff again, it might be becoming my favourite way to bind off.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Yarn Along

This week I'm participating for the first time in Ginny's Yarn Along and I'm excited!
I finished the first sock of Sebastian's Camouflage Anklets a while ago and just couldn't find the motivation to cast on for the second sock. Although the yarn is lovely to knit with and I'm always happy to be able to knit something for him, it's a bit of a boring knitting project. The guy has freakishly huge feet and it's a simple stockinette / ribbing pattern *yawn*. At least they're only anklets so it will go faster than normal socks. AND I only have one 2,5 mm circular needle and I want to knit myself a new pair of socks soon, so I need that needle! But I have to say, it's nice to have a rather mindless knitting project from time to time. It's easier to take along and to knit on while watching TV.

I'm always reading several books at the same time (well, not exactly at the same time, but you know what I mean) and focus on the book that I like best at that day, that hour, that meal, whatever. For the last couple of days I've been reading only one book, the German edition of "Outlander" by Diana Gabaldon. The German title is "Feuer und Stein" - "Fire and Stone". It's the first book of the Outlander series and I'm reading it for the second time now. I've read the first half of the second book immediately after reading the first book for the first time but for some reason didn't finish it. It's been a few years so I decided to start at the beginning again. I usually don't like to read the translation of books but I have the first three books of the series in German and just can't stand to leave them untouched and buy the original versions, it seems like such a waste. But I might change my mind soon because I often catch myself rolling my eyes because of a particularly weird sentence. Some things just can't be translated and while some translators try to find adequate or similar expressions, others try to stick to the original as closely as possible. Both methods can either work very well or ruin the whole atmosphere by making it sound quirky and ridiculous.
Nevertheless it's a great book, always sounding highly authentic (to me at least), it's very addictive and quite steamy sometimes but never in a gross way.

Friday, 3 June 2011

I need more hands!!

Hmm this "A picture a day"-thing isn't working for me. It's not so much that I have to / should post every day, but finding one picture that's flashy enough or says enough to be the picture of the day. And I somehow can't just post one word or one sentence either... I don't know. So this is a normal post today, with more than one picture and too much text as usual.

I'm often finding myself thinking "I need more hands." because there are a million things I want to do, make, craft. Of course I also have days where everything bores me and I'm in the mood for nothing. We all have those kind of days from time to time, don't we? But most days I'm bursting with crafty energy and want to do everything at the same time. Today I couldn't decide on what to do first so I hopped from one crafty endeavour to the next, making very little progress with anything particular but I was busy and entertained the whole time =) There's is so much I want to knit, stitch, read, watch... Really, more hands (and eyes) are required!

The Oinkers were curious as usual when they heard the clicking of the camera (noise! it could be food!) and promptly took a break from napping.

Fiona was curious, too, but she is still very cautious. Or arrogant, I'm not sure. I sometimes get the feeling that she thinks we are beneath her!

Saturday, 28 May 2011

APAD 5: New Growth

Today I'm providing 2 pictures, who would have thought?
After saying "The ficus needs a new pot and fresh soil." at least once a week for ca. 1,5 years (as my mother so nastily brought to my attention) I finally bought a new pot (a terracotta pot, the poor thing had to live in plastic before) and fresh soil. Before I moved it into its new pot I had to cut it down quite drastically as it had grown way too high and spindly twigs. I had to endure the sight of two wooden sticks in a pot for some weeks and was afraid that I might had cut a bit too enthusiastically. But look! It's coming! Fresh green and healthy leaves. I hope there will be more to come, because I just hate losing plants, it
makes me sad.

Friday, 27 May 2011

APAD 4: Oinkers

Sorry for the delay, the past days were stressful - both mentally and physically. An unusually strong migraine hit me and today my head still feels numb with a dull pain. But without further ado I give you a picture of Kürbis (left), Fiona (right) and Luna (in the front). It somehow looks as if they had gathered to chat about something, or to even plan something evil!

Friday, 20 May 2011

A picture a day 3: WIPs

More like a picture every other day...but still!

Those are two of my current WIPs which have slumbered in hibernation for a while. I really should finish them before casting on anything new, especially because I want to wear them this summer. (It's not the best picture, I know.)