Bark around my neck

Time flies.

I have no other explanation for this long absence, except that I have started to write again (and that I am still fangirling) and that I am exercising more. On top of that, since the middle of April, I have two jobs, plus the dissertation, and so my free time has become something I have to manage well, if I want to tend to everything equally (obviously, I haven’t completely succeeded yet).

But: Here I am!:) And I even have something to show you.

When I visited the handmade in 2013 for the first time, I bought this beautiful skein of sock yarn from the Ponderosa booth:

Ponderosa Birke 01
It was displayed as a singular skein, and I fell in love with the colours. It sat in my stash for three years, and now, due to my promise to use up my most beautiful yarn instead of staring at it, I have finally found a pattern that is suitable.

Meet the Oaklet Shawl. This is a freebie pattern by the wonderful Megan Goodacre, and I wanted to knit it for ages, so I figured that it was a perfect match. There is an updated version of this pattern now, for a bigger shawl and more lace, but I liked the old one and thought it good enough.

I cast on at the beginning of April and finished it at the beginning of May:

Birch Shawl 02

and, if I may say so, it came out really, really lovely.

Birch Shawl 03
The shawl consists of a stockinette body with a spine in the middle and a lace border that is simple, but beautiful.

Birch Shawl 04

I knew the yarn would probably swallow it completely, but I wasn’t going so much for the lace part, but for the yarn itself, and after trying garter for a bit, I decided that stockinette would be best.

I got gauge (22sts/10cm) with a 4,0mm needle, and the only change I made to the pattern was increasing to 249 sts instead of starting  the border at 233 sts.

Birch Shawl 06

This is neither the largest shawl I have ever made, nor will it fit each and every one of my outfits.

Birch Shawl 08

But it certainly suits my complexion, and I love the look of it, especially when I am wearing it asymmetrically …

Birch Shawl 07

… instead of pulling it up, which would not do it justice.

Birch Shawl 09
The best thing about this project is not only that I used up 97 grams of a beautiful skein and do not have that much leftovers, but that I tried to take a chance with a heavily coloured yarn, and took my time to find pattern for it that I could be happy with.

Because sometimes, yarn is too good to be hidden as handknit socks inside your sneakers.😉
Have a lovely, lovely start into your weekend, my friends! I have more to show you and more is yet to come!

All the love!
Julia😀

So, how’s it going with the Stash?

Hi there!:)

Woah, that was a long time … Again … But there is a ton of stuff going on simultaneously right now (I’ll tell you in a separate post).

So! The first three-and-a-half months have flown by (at least that’s how it feels for me  – anybody else thinks time is slipping away right now?), and I thought I’d give you a first update on my stashbusting plans for this year!

So, if you remember, I started out with 9,202 kg of yarn, and over 1 kg of fibre (you can read more about this here, if you want to).

For those of you who have already read that blog entry, or don’t want to read it right now, here is a picture of it all being spread out in January:

Stash 2015
And you might remember me saying that this was absolutely too much. And it was. I want to bust some serious stash, especially because I’d love to buy yarn again without beating myself up the minute I step out of the store, and it has worked quite well over the first three months!

I have several ways to keep track of my stash. First of all, I put it all on my ravelry stash page – this is a quick and easy way for me to link yarn and patterns, or to have a look if there are any great items I can make when I have leftovers (this is especially handy for leftover lace yarn).

I am also a member of the “Stricken statt klicken” (“Knitting instead of clicking” – referring to clicking on “buy” when you buy yarn online) group and have an entry in the “Stashtistic” thread there. The “Stashtistic” entry can be as elaborate as you’d like it to be – I simply state how much yarn I buy, how much I knit, if I gift some or if I sell some (this is rarely the case).  I do the totals for every month and for a total for the whole year – and to be able to compare numbers, I made myself a very simple spreadsheet where I only enter the totals for each year, so I can see how much I knit up from (or added to) the Stash in 2014, 2015, 2016, etc. Really simple.

So! How did it go?

Stash 2016 01
I am very proud to say that one of these bags in front of the two boxes is GONE. Yes. I used up enough yarn to transfer the yarn from one bag into the box. Don’t get too excited, it’s the smallest bag in the middle – but it IS progress, and I am really happy.

During the last three months (fueled by the House Cup), I knit

Now, I know that for some folks, this isn’t much, but it was enough to keep me occupied, and with all the other stuff going on, it was sufficient.😉

I only bought 200 grams of yarn during these first two months: 100 gram as insurance so I could finish the sweater (I didn’t use it and won’t use it and I still have the receipt and I will finally take it back, so I didn’t photograph it), and a ball of sock yarn of Regia Vermont Color:

Regia Vermond Color
Which looks simply stunning when it’s knit up (look here!) and will become a pair of socks for Philipp.

And then I splurged (well, you can’t really call it a splurge) and bought 100grams of a uni-coloured sockyarn for a change:

Sport- und Strumpfwolle_hellblau

I know that I have enough sock yarn (although the number of unused balls starts to dwindle slowly, but surely), I have wanted to knit a pair of patterned socks for a change, and I since I have wanted to knit the Polly Jean socks for ages now (and in light blue, too), this was too good an opportunity to miss.:)

Apart from that, I didn’t buy anything new, and thus, I am happy to announce that I lost 520 grams so far, which leads to a total of 8,682 kg. When I will FINALLY have the Amiga Cardigan finished, I will be able to add at least another 300 grams on top of that, which is cool!:) (I’m small, so sweaters don’t seem to take up that much yarn. On the other hand, it also means that I don’t have to buy so much of it)

The only department where I haven’t made any progress so far, is spinning:

Stash 2016 03

But I am optimistic that I will get to that as well.:)

 

Have a wonderful Sunday, friends! Love ya!
Julia😀

It’s done! :)

I  finished!

I’m so, so proud … I think it looks quite nice!:)

Iron-Wrought Cables 19
I am very happy to say that YES, I finished in time and NO, it wasn’t stressful at all. The rest of the body did get done very quickly, and since there was only a tiny bit of ribbing, I finished with enough time to sew in all the ends and close the seams under the arms.

Iron-Wrought Cables 20
Looking back, the hip increases proved to be unneccessary; they make the sweater flare a bit, and I may frog the bottom to the part where I started th increases and reknit it just the way it is. This will mean picking out a lot of seams, since I used a couple of scraps for the bind-off, but it will be worth it, I think …

Iron-Wrought Cables 21
Because it really would be nice to be able to lift my arms in public.😉 I have about 85 metres left of the yarn (i.e. the swatch), and I don’t think I can make this very much longer, but just a bit would be nice, maybe one or two centimetres!

All in all, I am very, very happy how this sweater turned out! I never thought I could knit a whole sweater – let alone in a three-month’s time span! This sweater has boosted my self-esteem, and I am already looking forward to knitting the next one.:) (Maybe I should finish that cardigan first, though …)

The yarn was Wolle Roedel’s “Misto”, a cotton/acrylic mix that sadly isn’t produced anymore. I knit the sweater on 3,5mm needles and changed only very little in the pattern, which is Sandhurst Jumper by Artesano. I put all the changes into my project notes, and if you’re curious, feel free to have a look!:)

Now I only have to wash this … And see how it comes out …😉

Have a wonderful, relaxing weekend, my friends! Talk to you soon!
All the love,
Julia😀

P.S.: For those of you who are wondering what I’m knitting know: Here’s a hint:

A Shawl made out of Birch 01

Wait and see

I’m so sorry my friends.

I have been incredibly tired for a while. This month has been filled with lots and lots of work – one of my colleagues fell ill, and then I had to work tons. Also, the job prospect I told you about and that should have gotten on stage in February is still not on stage, and I am curious whether it will happen in April … We’ll see.

I haven’t knit so much during the last few weeks, to be honest. I have realised that there are a few “meh” spots when I look in the mirror, and so I started to work out again last week, and I have been going on foot to and fro work for a while (I have tried to make at least one way on foot).

In the evenings, I was often too tired to write on my story or knit or blog, and I am really sorry that I haven’t been in touch with you and that I haven’t visited your blogs or commented. I will try to better myself.

Iron-Wrought Cables 17

The climax of this “feeling stressed out” phase was reached on Tuesday, when all I literally wanted was to curl myself up into a ball and hide under my blanket. The sad news about Brussels didn’t help making it better one bit, and I am still shaken about it.

I cancelled everything I had set myself up for Wednesday and spent the day at home, talking to almost nobody except Philipp, working on my dissertation, knitting the second sleeve and listening to a lot of rain sounds.

I have finished the second sleeve of the Sandhurst Jumper already, and despite my fear, I had a little bit of yarn left for each sleeve.

creative sport DK

Since the yarn is indeed not available anymore, I got myself this one instead – it is a bit lighter than the original yarn, and a bit thinner, too, but I thought I could use it on the bottom ribbing of the sweater and maybe, maybe it all will work out.

We’ll see.
I am sending you lots and lots of love – thank you so much that so many of you checked in regularly! The next project will be something colourful again, I think.😉

All the love, and Happy Easter!
Julia

Going Down

Slowly, but surely, this thing starts to look like a sweater …

Iron-Wrought Cables 14
This was the Sandhurstj Jumper’s state for a week or two, while I was busy knitting small dishcloths and tiny mittens and socks (I have knit another dishcloth, but this is not important now).

My stash of unused yarn grows smaller and smaller (let’s be honest, it would be weird otherwise), and by now, I am seriously growing anxious that … well, thatImightnothaveenoughyarn.

There. I said it. “Misto” is a seasonal yarn, as far as I know, and I bought it last June when it was on sale (I’m glad that I log stuff like that on ravelry. It’s damn handy). I don’t know whether they have it again already (I think it comes in anually), but even if not, I can ask whether they will still get it … Hopefully before June!

This is my current progress so far:

Iron-Wrought Cables 16
and I still think that it fits fine (I am a bit worried about the underarm seams, to be honest. I might pick up the stitches from the seams and knit a few more rows before closing the seams. Otherwise, I might not be able to lift my arms. While that may make me a great life-sized dummy for the sweater, it’s not really practical for work. Or … life).

This is the front:

Iron-Wrought Cables 15
And you can see the new “problem” that has emerged at the bottom of the photograph. I have hips. Not very broad hips, but they are there nonetheless. And that means that “knit 31cms without shaping” isn’t going to happen with this sweater. Thus, Philipp and me have looked at my upper hip measurements, and have calculated (well, to be fair – Philipp calculated it) that I have to increase about 40 stitches. So far, I am increasing every other row, two stitches left and two on the right, and then I have a mind to knit one or two plain rounds before I start the 4cm or ribbing.

BUT.

The yarn. I might not have enough yarn.

And so I took one of the two balls I have left and started one of the sleeves … And then I will see how far I get with that. I might have to frog the swatch, but that’s no real problem. If all else fails, I am going to increase in every round, that would safe me yarn and would be faster.

So far, it’s looking good! What do you think, my friends?

Lots of love!
Julia😀

A Ton of Tiny Stuff

Apart from the socks, the last two months have been busy …

I think I told you that points play a very important role in the HPKCHC, so lots of people make small things like potholder or dishcloths to hand them in for classes and obtain 15 points for their house (and maybe something extra).

Since a big, big goal of mine is to do some stashbusting this year, I thought that I might kill two birds with one stone …

First of all, there were the potholders for E. and her husband. These were finished in January and February – one pair on white and blue, the othe one in yellow and black:

Topflappenset 04
Not the best picture I ever made, but I hope that they will serve the two of them well. Her husband’s potholders are a little bigger (bigger hands and all that), and hopefully, they are to their taste!

Talking about kitchen-related items – I also made a lot of dishcloths!

Dishcloth blau
I know I have often said that I would never ever knit one of these … but now I have become really fond of them.

Dishcloth weiß
They are quick to knit, hold up a lot better than sponges and the small cloths and can be washed at 60°C in the washing machine.

Sunny Rectangle 02
We usually use about three per week – to wipe down the stove top and the counter, and to clean up water stains. That’s about everything we need to do, so we don’t change them every day. I thought about making a few for general cleaning, but Philipp isn’t too fond of that idea, and I can see why.

Tiny Black Sun
This is the most recent (and maybe the most impractical and ugliest) one. It is a small version of the Almost forgotten dishcloth, and I might try and make the big one some time … But right now, this one will suffice as a scrubby or whatever. We’ll see.

I also did a bit of charity knitting for the cup – all of these items are going either to the “Tafel” or to one of the refugee lodgings in my hometown. You have seen the tiny mittens already:

Tiny blueish hands

But I also made a pair of socks (using leftovers from my mother’s Christmas socks the year before last)Tiny Fairy Feet
and, finally, another tiny hat in preemie size …

Tiny Hat 01

… for which I even found a model.😉

Tiny Hat 02
Have a great start into the week, everybody! See ya later!

Love,
Julia😀

Socks for a Jolly Good Fellow

Saturday was a very special day …

… because a certain someone celebrated a very special birthday.

Sometimes, birthdays are a funny thing. As a kid, you count down the days to the big event, you probably can’t sleep very well the night before and you are nothing but excited to finally get another candle added to the cake.

The older you get, the less excited to become, because, well, you know the game, you know what to expect, but you are still looking forward to it, because there still is some cool stuff you get (like, the permission to buy/drink beer, get a driver’s licence, vote …)

Biotopia Socks 01
2016 marks the year of Philipp’s (and my) 30th birthday. On the one hand, this is a bit strange … Thinking that maybe a third of our time here is over, at least according to statistics. On the other hand, it’s a pretty cool thing (at least, that’s how I feel about it).

Since I wanted to knit Philipp more pairs of socks anyway (he’s got six now, I am aiming for 10), we went shopping on the day before New Year’s Eve and he picked the yarn above (early, but I don’t want to buy yarn until the end of March😉 ).

I wasn’t too fond of the colourway, but it was what he wanted, and since it’s his feet and his birthday and not mine, I shrugged it off and pictured myself knitting away happily on a pair of big socks (he asked me to make them loose so he can wear them over his sport socks for extra warmth), ignoring the colours and seeing the whole thing as a labour of love.

Biotopia Socks 02

Well, labour of love my arse.😉

The colours were alright – actually, you only see the stripes from very far away (like in the photo above), but the yarn is “busy in itself” (I don’t know if that makes any sense), and it was splitty as hell, demanding lots and lots of attention all the time. I cast on 72 stitches and started to work the cuff. That took ages and aeons until I reached 5cm, but I actually tried Wei’s Bark pattern (but decided that you wouldn’t see too much of it) and the Rotating Rib pattern the Yarn Harlot once posted on her blog, before finally settling for stockinette (I didn’t rip it all out in between trying out patterns. I may be strange, but I’m not masochistic).

Biotopia Socks 03
Because I wanted to try something new, I decided to use Wei’s Geek Sock pattern and do an afterthought heel – Philipp’s feet are slender, and I wanted to have two pairs of socks with this heel (my Geek socks have it, too), to see how well it holds up (this doesn’t judge the heel, but rather my skills at performing a decent kitchener stitch).

Biotopia Socks 05

There were some hardships on the way – at first, I knit the foot part until it measured not 10cm less than the overall length, but 11cm, and knit the toe according to the Regia chart. Philipp tried the sock on, but we could already see that it was WAY too long, so I ripped back and added another centimetre, before decreasing according to the Regia chart (accoding to the smaller size). This time, it came out a bit short, and in the end, I settled for Wei’s instructions for the Geek socks and that was absolutely fine.

Biotopia Socks 08

When the socks were done, Philipp tried them on (before his birthday – but we did the photos on Sunday, after he had reached the proper age, you know), and it became very clear that no, socks under this pair are not an option.

I was a bit bummed that they are so tight, but he loves them and we agreed that I will make him another pair (this time with 72 stitches and 2,5mm needles, though). The fit is great, and since he has slender ankles (see photo above), I made the heel as wide as my own and grafted when I had 24 stitches overall.

Biotopia Socks 06
This birthday was very interesting in so far as that there is a hint of pity starting to show in other people’s comments. A colleague of mine (who will turn 30 in May) asked me how my guy would “cope” with it, and admitted that he didn’t want to turn 30 (fun fact: Same colleague is getting married in Octobre. In my humble opinion, this is far more “grown-up” than your date of birth ever can be). Philipp has mentioned that he is “getting old” already a couple of times, and I don’t know why, but this irritates me a bit. 30 isn’t old. Yes, 30 isn’t 20, and yes, you can expect a certain degree of responsibility and maturity from a 30 year-old (at least more than from someone who’s 20) – but then, Philipp has never been irresponsible before, and he has always been calm and gentle, and thoughtful. He’ll be fine at 30.

Biotopia Socks 07
He was really, really happy when he unwrapped the socks on his birthday, and he was very enthusiastic about his other presents as well (I got him “The Thing-Explainer” book, the first season of Sherlock and The Witcher 3 for the PS4 – you actually have money to spend if you don’t buy yarn.😉 ), and he had a great birthday (he said so, too). I am so very thankful for having this wonderful man at my side, and I am curious what he’ll be like during the next 30 years to come.:)

Love you.