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.