The Epic Fail-Relief

Wow.

These last months were somewhat hard. I was pretty stressed in February already (that was why the last posting was really cheery – not), and then, at the end of March, something (a cold?) hit me so hard that I spent two weeks (2 weeks!) on sickleave, in bed, running a fever(!) and not doing much (except munching my way through two kinds of antibiotics. The second brand worked wonders, but left me stoned for half the day).

Work was a lot, in both jobs, I didn’t really have time to work on my dissertation until … the middle of April, and now I am really starting to freak out, because I have been at it so long, and I’m nowhere near I’d like to be and I’m fearing all kinds of things and … I am working on one of the original texts now, the historical/political chapter is halfway done, and I have read a ton of books and articles. I should be good. But … yeah. It’s eating away at me. There was some mess with a new contract in the second job, and when somebody asked me: “What do YOU want?”, I was really close to saying: “I want to go somewhere and sit there in solitude and sleep a lot and not talk for … dunno. Two weeks. Or more.”

Sometimes, admitting that you’re screwed is somewhat relieving, isn’t it? Like, yes, you messed up, but at least the thing is out of the bag, and now you deal with the aftermath. Let me give you examples.

Exhibit A – Socks.

I had this testknit I wanted to accomplish,

but I really could not concentrate for more than five minutes straight, so I contacted the designer immediately, and was released from the testknit. The pattern is out now, it’s Leaves Changing by Penny Schumers (if you like to knit your socks toe-up, there is a toe-up version as well), and it’s absolutely wonderful. I will post decent photographs when I am done with the second sock.

Exhibit B – Socks again.

Philipp’s sock kicked my arse pretty hard as well, so these are not finished either.

Somehow, “three times the charm” was key here, because that was how often I had to start over before the fabric was okay. I am not really happy about the cuff and the heel flap and heel, but … yeah, well. That is the way it is now. The second sock is – guess what – still in yarn stadium, I’ll get to it.

Exhibit C – the best example. A blanket.

Then, friends of ours (L, who got socks for her birthday last August, and her partner) are getting married this year, and I asked them if I should knit them a blanket. They were absoluely delighted and sent me a couple of pictures of what they wanted (I told them to think about what they wanted. I thought, they’d mention colours or something. My mistake). The blankets were gorgeous, but all crochet (L. sews, but doesn’t knit or crochet), and so I sent them a  picture of EZ’s April blanket, and we settled on colours, after a few emails and I set to work.

We bought a lot of yarn.

These were the colours (the white was the border) and this was what we ended up with.

They had requested small squares, and I had a sinking gut feeling about the whole affair, to be honest. Like “I can’t do this in this time”. They told me not to worry – they could imagine it was a lot of work and if they got it in December, that would be fine – but still. Somehow, this blanket was a HUGE spot on the mental TO DO list, and it was eating away energy constantly, because whatever I was doing, I felt that I should knit on the blanket and then I fell ill (as I said) and then I entered a state in which I was constantly overwhelmed. I started to join the first squares, and then discovered that, somewhere between squares, my gauge had changed and I was making larger squares than intended.

I made more (larger) squares and joined them, and the pressure got higher and higher and I found myself getting up in the morning and being absolutely drained of energy. Small things overwhelmed me.

So I bit the bullet and when we spoke to L. on the phone earlier this week, I brought up the subject. We were chatting about what’s to come up (the next two months are going to be SO FULL at the weekends, by the way) and what has been happening, and suddenly, she said “Oh my God, and then you have the blanket to knit … DO NOT STRESS ABOUT THE BLANKET. If we get it in December or next year, that is totally fine.”

I then suggested making two cushions for the bed, and then she said: “Erm… to be honest, the bed is already full. We have a ton of cushions.”

I thought I was going to lose it, but Philipp took the phone and explained that it would be a lot of work to drag until the end of the year, and she said: “Of course, and it would be yet another constant thing on her to-do list.”

“Exactly.”

“Hey, you know what?”, she said, “forget the blanket. DON’T MAKE THE BLANKET. I’m happy to take a pair of socks like the ones you made me last year for my birthday. I love them. You know I ALWAYS have cold feet, and I love the colours, they are so, so pretty, and I am wearing them constantly.”

“For real?”, I asked, “I am really feeling I’m letting you down on this.”

“No! You are not. You’ve got so much on the plate. If I get a pair of socks, I’ll be incredibly happy.”

It was almost too good to be true. She will get a pair of socks, two pairs, to be precise (one for her birthday, and one for Christmas), and her husband will get a scarf, made out of the white merino yarn.
I know that his is a no-go. I was brought up to be true to comittment, and it was incredibly hard to step up to these two, whom I have been friends with since we were all 16, and tell them: “I am sorry. I know I promised you a blanket for your wedding, and you were really looking forward to it, but it is not going to happen. I cannot do it. I’m sorry. It’s not possible right now.” I know that some people will find this impossible, and I am still beating myself up about the whole damn thing.

But then, there is – relief. Relief that I am free from this, that I have one HUGE thing less to constantly worry about, one thing less I have to drag myself to do, and free to choose yarn for a really beautiful pair of socks for her, and a gorgeous scarf pattern for him, and knitting these gifts freely, and with a happy heart, knowing that knitting brings me relaxation again, and picking up the needles is a way to let go after a hard and draining day.

So, for everybody who is experiencing a lot of stress right now, for whatever reason: Be wise about what you promise. But, please, don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and admit that you have bitten off more than you can chew, and that, if you’re not allowed to spit it out, you’re probably going to choke.
Take care, my friends, and all the love! The next posting will be happier.
Julia. 🙂

Advertisements

Against the stress.

I will take a deep breath now and focus on writing a nice, calm post about knitting. And yarn. And planning presents for wonderful people. Because I just read another news article (this time about the upcoming French election), and the nationalism shown in the comments make my guts turn. I cannot escape politics right now. I check the news several times a day and in 90% of the time, something new comes up. Some of it is good, but most of it leaves me sitting in front of the screen with disbelief and worry.

I could write more about this, but I won’t. Enough. I need some space to breathe and to relax. There are other things, good things, important things. I think it is wonderful that in times like these, act of kindness still happen, and we should show them more, and use them to remind us and others that not everything has gone down the drain.

Here we go.

1. Look at this.

geschenk-von-stacey-januar-2017

Last year, I found Stacey from weekendknitter on tumblr (or rather: We found that tumblr was another way to connect for us, as I have been reading her blog for ages, and she, as I am happy to say, reads mine, occasionally), and it’s wonderful to see her short postings about spinning and spindling and doing all things yarny there, and to be in touch. Stacey is a mother of two, a wonderful, strong person, an incredibly talented (fiber-) artist, and she is all kinds of awesome. We updated our addresses, and she spotted this at Joann’s and send it to me. It’s absolutely terrific. Not only are the articles interesting (what awaits you at a fiber festival, how do you spin batts, how can you play with colourful fiber and spin it up the way you want to knit it later), but the patterns in this magazine are great. Simply wonderful. Stacey, I love you, and you’re one of the best people! 🙂

2. The mittens are done.

raucherhandschuhe-07 raucherhandschuhe-04
Knitting them was really interesting – I have only knit fingerless mittens before, and while I didn’t find knitting the fingers hard (it wasn’t even as fiddly, because I was knitting with aran weight yarn and 3.0mm needles), I changed the pattern a bit and measured my father’s hands thoroughly. I am really happy about the stripes (the original pattern has two, which looks nice as well), and, what is most important – my father loves them, and they fit him fine.

raucherhandschuhe-05 raucherhandschuhe-06


3. I bought yarn.

250grams of aran weight, to be precise.

shawl-fur-monika

As you may know (or not know – well, you know now), Little Church Knits (link to designer page on ravelry) has a Free Pattern Friday every week – this week, it’s The Big Skinny. (link to her blogpost, where you will get the code for this pattern).

Little M.’s grandmother will celebrate her birthday next month, and she wears mostly cold colours, so I thought that a nice garter stitch shawl would be a wonderful present for her. I am not 100% secure about the colour combination, but I like it, it reminds me of art deco somehow, and something else I cannot quite lay my finger on. But I hope she will love it as well.

4. I knit myself a new pair of socks.

wearing-my-greens-05

Last year, we were doing a Secret Santa at work. Quite a few colleagues joined us (we were ten people in the end), and the coworker who drew me got me – yarn. While I probably wasn’t the hardest candidate to get a present for (everybody at the office knows I love to knit), she really put a lot of thought into it, went to a LYS, asked whether the ball of yarn she selected would get me a pair of identical socks, because she was sure I’d prefer that (!), and made sure that one ball of yarn would be enough for a pair of socks at all. I was over the moon with joy, and at once decided that this would be the first sock project of the year for me.

wearing-my-greens-06

This was my travel project for January, so I put an afterthought heel in and did them in simple stockinette stitch. I love them! Yarn is Schoeller+Stahl Fortissima Color, knit on 2,0mm needles (64 sts). (Yes, I have worn them at work and showed her the socks. 😉 ‘Course I did.)

5. Philipp is getting scrap socks.

When I weighed my “leftover” stash last year, I discovered that I had about 750grams of “leftover” sock yarn. This is quite a lot, particularly, because some of the balls are about 30grams. I put three colours together (the little ball at the top of the picture might not be used, I haven’t decided yet) and, after asking Philipp whether he approved of them (he did), cast on.

wolle-f-restesocken

The toe was knit in Opal Sweet & Spicey 2 “Weintraube” (the bright blue yarn), and now I am alternating the green yarn and the Regia yarn. Actually, I am on the second version … the first sock had really big ladders at the sides, but it’s better now.

10-for-31-02 10-for-31-01

There is more to share, I knit so many things for Christmas I didn’t get around to blog about, and I took pictures of my stash as well – guess I am going to write one big post about all the projects and show them off in one go. Meanwhile, keep your heads up, my friends, and your hearts open! We will get through this, I know it.

All the love!
Julia 😀

More Socks, I say! More Socks!

This summer is bewitched. For lots of folks, it’s the bad weather (we have had lots and lots of rain or very high humidity), but for me, it’s hard to keep balance right now. There is so much stuff I have to DO …

Sneakers for the Summer I 06

I have made a couple of socks over the past few weeks! 🙂 The baby blanket I showed you here is almost finished (I need to knit the border and then I only have to sew in the ends and wait for the baby), but sometimes, you need something quicker.

Let’s start with a pair of sneaker socks! I had been circling this yarn for a while – I still want to stashbust, but this was a 50gram-ball of Regia Color, and I thought it wouldn’t do much harm to the stash. It didn’t by the way, since I used up everything except 8grams of yarn. 😉

Sneakers for the Summer I 05

This is a very simple “k3,p1” sock, and I bound off in ribbing, so they do look a bit weird from the front, but they are warm enough for the colder days and short enough for the hotter ones.

Sneakers for the Summer I 04
The next pair of socks were for Philipp – surprise – and, funnily enough, they are made from Regia yarn as well (omg, I just realised that all the socks shown in this blogpost are made from Regia yarn. Who’d’ve known!)

Dress Socks 04

I love these ones a lot … We bought the yarn on a whim, I really liked the colours in the ball, and the store we were in had a sample sock to show (VERY clever selling strategy, in my opinion!). Philipp was really smitten with the yarn, and so I knit the socks as they were; I only did the “crossed” heel flap (meaning that you alternate between “sl1, k1 – purl back” and “sl2, k1,sl1 until the last 2 sts, k2 – purl back” on the heel flap). That was all.

Dress Socks 03
These socks didn’t use up as much yarn as I thought – there are still 30 grams left, enough to mix this yarn with something else for leftover socks! 🙂

Next thing on the calendar, now that my sister celebrated her 27th birthday yesterday, is the birthday of a friend of ours …
Summerchild Socks 06
We have known her for YEARS (she went to school with us) and although I have no idea whether she’d like to get a pair of handknit socks, I know that she DOES love sewing, so it MIGHT be a hit (and no, this doesn’t have to make sense. 😉 ). If not, it’s NOT because of the yarn. It can’t be the yarn.

Summerchild Socks 07

This is the first “Arne and Carlos” design line in the “Twilight” Colourway, and it’s GORGEOUS. GORGEOUS. Really. Hach … I didn’t manage to match the socks (as you can see from the picture above, the pattern repeat is incredibly long), but I don’t mind it and hopefully, she won’t, either. These were knit on 2,5mm needles (by accident, I only noticed it when I measured my gauge after finishing the first sock (I am so quick on the uptake ….) and realised that I was at my trusted 30sts/40rws = 4″/10cm again.

Summerchild Socks 08
Since our friend has small feet (European 36/37, the socks could be modelled by me nevertheless), so these socks only used up 59grams which means … LEFTOVER SOCKS! (And YES, this is an afterthought heel, because I didn’t want to break up the colour repeat).

Last, but not least …

Colour Explosion Sneakers 01
… another pair of sneaker socks for me, in the most beautiful, dazzling Regia Color. I only bought 50 grams of this, so it will become – guess what? Yeah. Sneaker socks.

Oh, and this is the “Hermione’s Everyday Socks” pattern I’m using here. Can’t spot it? Doesn’t matter.

I don’t think it will make much difference anyway. 😉

 

Have the most beautiful day, my friends!
All the love!

Julia 😀

Squares of Green

Hi all! 🙂

Wow, I sat down to write a blog post a couple of times already, but although I have finished some stuff, the words just wouldn’t come … So I am trying again tonight, this time with my current WIP. 😉

As you may recall, I have made a few baby items for friends and family members (i. e. my cousin) who were expecting additions to the family!

This time … E. is the lucky one! I am really, really happy about this, because E. knew that she wanted to be a mother for ages, and she wants to have more than one child and now, the Little One is expected at the end of August! 🙂

When E. told me the happy news, I immediately said: “I’ll knit something for the baby, if you like. What would you prefer – a cardigan, or a blanket?”

We talked a bit about that, E. conferred with her husband (who is awesome, by the way!), and they decided that they would like a blanket.

I sent them a few emails with suggestions for a pattern and suitable yarn, and in the end, they settled for the Sunny Baby Blanket, a wonderful freebie on ravelry. 🙂

I went and bought yarn:

Merino Plus 02
As you can see, the yarn is called “Merino Plus”, and it’s a very, very beautiful Merino/Acrylic blend that comes at 125 metres per 50 grams ball. Yay! 🙂 (I love the colour, by the way.)

I jotted down the basics of the pattern, knit a swatch with 3,5mm needles, got 17sts instead of 19 in garter stitch (without blocking) and took a ball of yarn, the notes and a 4,0mm needles to my monthly knitting group meeting.

Meadow Baby Blanket 01

I spent all afternoon happily casting on 321 stitches, and started to work on the bottom border, which consists of 16 rows of garter stitch (8 ridges).

I was just starting the pattern and wanted to check how the stitches were distributed, when the little voice that had been pacing around in my head for a while, forced me to look on the beginning of the pattern. “Co 132 sts”, it stated clear and simple.

Damn.

To be completely honest, I DID contemplate whether I should simply go on (because that’ such a great idea, right? … I mean, the baby WILL grow up and might own a kingsize bed one day … ), but then I pulled out the needles and spread the knitting out, and when I realised that it covered almost BOTH of our desks … I frogged it all, rewound the ball and started anew.

This time with 132 stitches.

Meadow Baby Blanket 02

So far, it’s going great. I love the pattern and the yarn. And with 132 stitches, things are going a lot more faster, too. 😉

Enjoy your weekend, friends! Love ya!

Julia 😀

The Calm after the Storm

Merry Belated Christmas everyone! 😀

I hope you had a wonderful couple of days with friends and family (or alone, which can be a blessing as well), you got a bit of peace, good food and lovely presents!

SDC13906
Today was a very quiet day after three days of constant family company. On the 24th, Philipp went to see his father, brother and gran, while my parents picked me up at half past two to get to my sister’s, who had announced she wanted to do this year’s Christmas. It was Continue reading

Small Gifts

Hi there!Jule the Cat

Man, that took a long time. Don’t you hate it when there is nothing much wrong with you, but you simply feel worn out and sleepy? Last week was like that again – on Friday, I felt too tired and groggy to go to the library (!), so I went to the doc again to make sure I didn’t catch bronchitis. Good news: No bronchitis. Bad news: The cold simply hadn’t worn off yet. Argh … I didn’t have to call in sick again, though, and so I spent yet another weekend on the couch, with lots of knitting, a new game for my DS (“Golden Sun – The Dark Descent”) and (since I didn’t have any new library books) Elizabeth Gilbert’s “The Signature of All Things”.

Rest was only interrupted on Saturday, when we went to E.’s birthday party.

Apart from the book she had asked for (a crime novel – E. will read just about anything if it contains corpses, a detective and gruesome murder), I had a surprise present in store.

The Blueberry Shawl.

I do not quite know how much I have told you about Continue reading