I’m back at last! Acquisitions, fos and more

Hi there, how are you? I hope you are doing well and  enjoying the last days of summer/winter (depending on where you are in the world).

Here in Normandy, France, summer is coming to an end although the weather could have us think otherwise. We have had a big heat wave which has calmed down now thankfully! So now the weather is just perfect. Sunny and a nice temperature of around 22-24°C. Which for an Icelander such as myself is just the best temperature, not too hot and not too cold.

I have been back from hospital now for just over a week. It was great to get back home to my family and friends. What was a little less nice; was having to go back to work straight away but hey, we all have to work to make a living so no complaining!

The stay at the hospital was really beneficial for me. I learned a lot about the back in general and how to use my back and body to best preserve my health. There are a million things we do everyday that affect the health of our back and sometimes we just need to be a little more careful about how we do things to make a big difference.

Being active is also a big thing when it comes to having a healthy back. People like myself that have health issues are not good with staying in the same position for hours be it standing up, sitting at a desk or lying in bed. As soon as I got back to working 8h a day at my desk, my back pain came running back! I have changed the position of my desk a little so that the computer is now higher up so I don’t need to look down at the screen. I’m also going to look for a very good ergonomic chair. The one I have is not good enough for such long hours. Getting a new chair will certainly make a difference for me.

I’m also going to have to get organised so that I can exercise. Since I came home, I have been going for walks and that is very good. But just walking is not enough. I need to do something more like swimming which I really like. So I’m going to look up the opening hours of the swimming pools near my home to see if I can go once a week and swim. And while I was at the hospital I did a little badminton and I thought that was quite fun so I might look into doing badminton as well. That is a good sport because it makes use of the entire body so all the muscles get some exercise. My problem is going to be the hours! Because I work 3 nights a week and most sports for adults are in the evening here, finding something that can work will be a challenge. Where as swimming; I can do alone, I just need to find the pool with the opening hours that allow me to go there.

Well that is enough and maybe way more health and sport update than you bargained for! Sorry about that:) So let’s get on with the knitting and fibre side of life. Since it’s been 2 weeks since I last posted I have a ton of things to share but I feel that would amount to an epic sized post that would just be too long for anyone to read so I’m going to tell you about some of the things today and the rest later in the week.

So first of, when I was in hospital I told you about knitting shorty socks for my son. Well I finished them while I was there. I really love how they turned out, mostly because of the yarn. I used my own SOX base hand dyed yarn and the way it was dyed gives it a fun patterning when knit up. Here they are all done:

shorties matteo

I also did a little bit of spinning. I had imagined doing way more spinning than I finally ended up doing. But hey, life happens. So I finished this fibre that I had begun spinning a very, very long time ago and I then plied the yarn too. The spindle is from my friend Louise of Spin City UK. She makes gorgeous hand spindles using resin for the whorl and she uses flowers and candy sprinkles and lots of fun stuff to make her spindles totally unique. Just looking at her spindles makes me smile.

The yarn is 2 ply and somewhere between fingering and DK in weight. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it. I need to wash it to set the twist and I really should measure the yardage as well. I just need to work up the courage and find the time and voila:)

And one more item that I finished during my hospital stay was the Risen

Qcardigan by Melanie Berg. I did the biggest size and I admit I was quite worried in the end that I would not have enough yarn to finish the sleeves and since I dyed the yarn especially for this cardigan I knew I did not have any extra! So I ended up playing a game of extreme yarn chicken and thankfully for me, I won! But by mere centimeters!

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I’m happy with the outcome and I have used it once and it fits nicely and it is warm without being heavy so I think I will get a lot of use out of this. And how much yarn did I have left once I bound off? Well,

risen 5 Yebb! That’s all I had left!

I also worked on my Pinwheel blanket and while I was away I got a package with minis. I signed up for a swapless swap on Ravelry and got 10 40 yard skeins from Mint Rain Yarns. I haven’t knit any of them up yet but I’m sure they will all look great in my blanket when I get to knitting them up.

mint rain yarn minis

Another gorgeous new acquisition is a purchase I made from Andre Sue Knits! The Andre Sue of the Andre Sue podcast I’m sure you all know and I’m guessing you are also familiar with her amazing hand painted sock blanks. It’s been a while since I started stalking her shop but her work is in such high demand that the only time you have a minimal chance of purchasing anything from her is if you set your alarm for her shop update and then choose and item and check out ASAP and then go back again if you want a second blank! Well, that is just what I did! I set my alarm for just before 1am and then I stayed on Etsy and refreshed the page until I saw her update. I managed to get 2 sock blanks and they arrived in just a week which is quite quick for an order from the US.

I was not disappointed! The sock blanks are so amazingly well done. I really do not comprehend how she does it! How she manages to paint so precisely on the sock blank. When I showed the blanks to my kids; my daughter said: “you shouldn’t unravel them and knit, you should just keep them like this” and I admit I’m tempted. BUT I did buy them to knit them into socks so… At the moment I haven’t started; I’m enjoying looking at them as they are currently. But I did purchase Mina’s Beyond Vanilla Socks Part 2 patterns and I think I’ll knit her patterns using the blanks. So here they are in all their glory:

andre sue sock blanks Talk about gorgeous! These will be sure to knit into some amazing socks I’m sure.

Well that’s all for now. I don’t want to take up all your day/night so thank you for stopping by and spending some time with me. I wish you a wonderful week and hope you will have lots of time for knitting or whatever fibery craft it is you enjoy the most.

Until next time, take care 🙂

 

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A FO, a HO and a WIP

Hi there and welcome back. I hope you are doing good and enjoying your month of August. I’m still in the hospital/physical rehabilitation center but not for much longer! One more week and I’ll be home at last! 4 weeks is a long time to be away and I’m really getting a bit homesick and dreaming of being with my family and friends and eating yummy meals! Soon, very soon 🙂

But enough about that. Lets talk knitting, as you can gather from the title, I’ve made some knitting progress.

First the FO, I finished the pair of Jelly Roll socks for my youngest. I really like how they turned out, I especially like the double cuff and how it rolls.

jelly rolls for InesThe yarn is my own hand dyed on my SPARKLES base. The yellow is actually highlighter yellow, it doesn’t show that good in the picture. And even though the yellow is super bright it is not scary strange as the grey really tones things down and just works really well with the yellow I think.

And the HO, is the pair of shorty socks that I’m knitting for my son. I’m not using any particular pattern but rather using my regular sock recipe in short version. I have one sock done and I’m well passed the heel now- I have made some progress since this picture was taken

shorties for Matteo

I hope they will fit. He has much bigger feet than I do and I haven’t been able to have him try them on. Just in case they are not long enough, I have decided not to weave in the end at the toe so I can easily undo it and knit them a little longer. I really like the yarn and how it knits up, its on my SOX base.

And for the WIP, it’s my Risen cardigan by Melanie Berg. I’ve made some good progress there. I’m only 8 rows from cast off for the body and the its on to the sleeves. I was hoping to make them longer but that is something I thought of AFTER dyeing my yarn so I will not have enough yarn for full length sleeves. Actually, I’m scared I might not even have enough for 3/4 length sleeves either! So once I have cast off the body, I’m going to rewind the rest of my yarn so that I can knit both sleeves simultaneously. It is going to be one stressful game of yarn chicken! This will serve as a lesson to me to ALWAYS allow for at least 10% more yardage than the pattern calls for and TO MAKE A GAUGE SWATCH! I’m ashamed to say so but….I actually did not make a swatch. I was going to but… something happened I guess…no nothing happened. This is just me being rebellious and over confident! That will teach me a lesson!

Anyway, here are some pictures – not great ones as it is quite difficult to photograph oneself in a mirror…

It feels good on me and I’m already thinking of making a second one!

This last week here in Granville, Normandy, I’m going to finish the shorty for my son, finish the body of my Risen and get going on the sleeves and possibly pick up my sock from my last qualifying round of Sock Madness! That is the most difficult and most beautiful sock I have knit so far and it has been in hibernation for a while now. I need to finish it and I think picking it up here where I’m alone in my room at night and can fully concentrate would be a good idea. You probably don’t know which sock this is so here’s a picture to refresh your memory. The pattern is called Coffee Cantata.

sock madness round 6And this is where I’m still at today, just passed the cuff on sock nr 2. I might not get to the sock but I’m going to try.

Anyway that’s about it for my knitting except that I’m occasionally working on my Pinwheel blanket by Mina Philipp of the Knitting Expat Podcast. I have finished square 4 and just began square 5 yesterday.

square 5That’s it for today. I hope you have a great week and lots of crafting time. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to blog next week as I might be busy the first days after coming home not to mention that I return to work as of Monday! But I will be posting when I get the chance and share my progress with you plus some amazing acquisitions that I made this week and will hopefully arrive very soon in my mailbox.  I’m super excited about those:)

But before I go, here a few pictures from yesterday- the beach and the  book market that was held here yesterday.

Until next time, take care 🙂

granville plage 14auggranville plage 14 aug -1marche du livremarche du livre 1

Pattern purchase crazyness

Hi there, how are you today? I hope you are doing well and enjoying your summer/winter (depending on where you are in the world). Here in Normandy the weather has not been very summery these last few days but this afternoon there is a glimpse of sun so maybe, just maybe we will get some nice summer days this weekend. That would be very nice.

I’d like to thank those of you who have sent me kind words and well wishes both here on the blog and on other social media. I’m almost half done with my 4 week treatment and I’m doing good. This is an intensive therapy for the back so my days are full of treatments and sports. It is difficult for someone who is used to being every sedentary like myself but I see progress already so that’s positive and everyone is very attentive to how we are doing and exercises are adapted on a need be basis. So all good news on the health front:)

So before coming here, I packed a certain number of knitting projects but finally I’m not knitting as much as I thought I would be. I don’t have so much free time and in the evenings I admit I’m quite tired so I usually don’t last very long. At the moment I’m working on the same 3 projects as last week.

I’m on square number 4 on my Pinwheel blanket

square 4 pinwheel blanket

I’m still working on my sock pattern test. I finished sock number 1 and I’m about to start the heel on sock number 2. I’m not yet at liberty to show you pictures but here is one of the yarns I’m using.

colors in sock knitting testThe main color is the blue/grey one (top right), the cuff/heel/toe is the bright yellow. Both these yarns are on my SPARKLES base. The little yarn balls are Madeline Tosh Unicorn Tails in different colours for the color patterning.

The result is a pair of very colourful and fun socks. I did run into trouble with the heel and toe so I used my “normal” toe on sock 1 and the heel is a mix of the pattern instructions and my own “normal” heel. It is a bit wonky but I was too lazy to rip it out and begin again. After all, I think I knit and ripped out the heel at least 4 times before just going with what I understood! So for sock number 2 I’m not complicating matters and I’m just going with my “normal” heel and toe. The look is very similar so it should not be a problem and should not be super apparent when wearing the socks.

And then there is the cardigan, Risen by Melanie Berg. I’ve separated for the sleeves and am now knitting the body. So far I really like the pattern. The collar/neckline has a very nice stitch pattern and I think this could become a piece of clothing that I will use a lot. I’m already thinking this could be great to have in different colours.

risen cardigan 3augThis picture was taken just before I put the sleeves on hold so I’m a bit further along now. I’m not going to cast on anything new until I have finished my sock test knitting and then I’m going to cast on for the Gilmore Girls socks.

 

I did a kit with CC Almon of the Geeky Girls Knit podcast/JavaPurl Designs and I dyed a skein of yarn for myself.  CC and VeganJilly of the Knitting Broomstick podcast are hosting a Gilmore Girls kal which started August 1st and runs until September 31st I believe. You do not have to knit using this particular yarn or pattern but IF you knit CC’s pattern  I believe you get extra points for the kal. Both groups on Ravelry have threads, the chatter thread is in the Knitting Broomstick group and the FO thread is in the Geeky Girls Knit group. So if  you like the Gilmore Girls show you should definitely join in. The pattern by CC can be found on Ravelry and is called Where you lead I will follow and here are a couple of pictures of the socks knit up in my yarn.

Now on the my latest acquisitions. As the title of this blog post indicates there has been some pattern purchase craziness going on! I don’t know if it is being away from everyone and having more time to browse the internet than usual or what but….I have bought loads of patterns lately! My last purchases were done on August 1st and although I did go slightly mad, to my defence, I did make use of coupon 7, patterns from Joji and amazingly they are all for cardigans! I guess I’m feeling very much like knitting up a wardrobe which is unusual as I mostly knit shawls and socks. But who can resist Joji’s patterns and her cardigans are all gorgeous. I already own a ton of her patterns; most of which I have yet to knit (can one talk about having a “pattern stash”?)

pattern purchases

Joji is having a special sale on all her independently published patterns until August 5 so you still have a few hours to make good use of her offer. You get -20% off her patterns using coupon code: jojifallkal

And then there is Andrea Mowry  which like I said before is a new to me designer. She has a number of very nice patterns that I can see myself knitting and wearing and she too is having a sale. I bought 5 of her patterns. 1 slipper socks, 2 shawls, 1 cowl and 1 hat. All very exciting patterns that I hope to knit up this coming winter. Andrea’s sale runs until August 7th and she offers -33% off her patterns using coupon code: bday33

I highly recommend you check out both Ravelry stores as I’m pretty sure you will find at least one pattern, if not 10, that you would like to make and getting them at a discounted price just makes the purchase even more exciting:)

That’s about all I have for you today. The weekend is coming up so I will have some more free time to knit and continue spinning also. I hope to finish my test sock this weekend so I can cast on for the Gilmore Girls socks. I’m donating a prize for the kal and you can find info on that by watching either or even better, both, podcasts: Geeky Girls Knit and The Knitting Broomstick. Do let me know if you are joining in and tell me what pattern and yarn you have chosen.

And before I leave you, here are a few pictures of some sights from my surroundings. The pink house is the family home of Mr Christian DIOR!

 

 

Knitting, spinning and exercise

That’s the program for the next 4 weeks for me. If you follow my blog you will know that I have a bad back and that I’m currently in hospital for a 4 week program for my back. So I arrived Sunday July 24th and I’ll stay until Saturday August 20th. Today was the first “real” day with lots of workout, more than I have done in years and years. I think I’ll probably fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow this evening. This program is to help us better understand our body and especially our back. To learn how to move and do things to best preserve our spine, to possibly find new drugs that work better than what I’m currently taking, to talk to others in the same situation and just generally to feel understood and not alone. Having a bad back is an invisible decease and while one may feel good and be able to do everything one day, that does not exclude us from having a horrible day the following day and not being able to accomplish half of what we normally do. And its not because we are lazy, its because we suffer even if it does not show on the outside.

It really feels good to be able to talk to people who have similar problems and feel understood and I have high hopes for all the exercise and just basically everything that I will do here for the next 4 weeks. But this is not a “bad back” blog and you may not be interested in the least in my troubles so lets talk some knitting:)

On my drive here, I finished a pair of socks that had been on my needles for quite a while. It was a pair of Cobblestone Socks by Mina Philipp- part of her Beyond Vanilla socks 1 collection. I knit those using yarn from a German indie dyer I found on Etsy some while ago. I really like the colours but the yarn is quite coarse to the touch but that should be ok and probably means sturdier socks. It’s just not quite as enjoyable to knit with. So here are some pictures.

The second picture shows you a close up of the patterning. It’s a simple knit and purl patterning that is only done on the front of the socks. It’s easy to memorise and I like the results so I’ll probably use this pattern in the future for some more socks.

I’m continuing my work on the Pinwheel blanket which is also by Mina Philipp. That is a very simple pattern for a scrap yarn blanket. I rather like this pattern because each square is quite big so I imagine that the blanket will feel like a quicker knit compared to the Cozy Memories blanket where you have to knit a gazillion mitred squares. It will take quite some time to complete of course but I like it. So I’m knitting a little bit on this from time to time. Here is a picture from square 3 which I’m currently working on.

IMG_5690

I’m also knitting my second test knit for a designer and this time it is also for a pair of socks. I’m not at liberty to show you a picture yet but I can tell you that this is a colourful pattern and it has an unusual construction based almost entirely on short rows. At the moment I’m ready to start the heel on sock 1. I’m planning to work a little on this every day. I have until August 19th to finish and I’m pretty sure I’ll be done way ahead of that deadline.

I also cast on and began knitting my Risen cardigan by Melanie Berg. I dyed the yarn for that myself and I was determined to do a swatch and block and everything like any serious knitter does……but…..somehow I never got around to it before leaving for the hospital and yesterday I could have done a swatch and just washed and laid it out flat to dry somewhere but…. again I’m not a serious knitter so rather than do the intelligent thing, I just cast on for the neckband and voila! Last night I finished the first part of the neckband and this evening I’ll get started on the neckline.

I love the look of this cardi. A bit like the Featherweight Cardi I think and I’m sure I’ll get a lot of use out of this all year round. Here’s a picture of the beginning of the neckband.

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And my last knitting project at the moment is a mini knitting challenge with Françoise of Aroha Knits and it’s the #5shawls5days challenge. Every day for 5 days she sends an email with a pattern for a mini shawl. This is to help us familiarise us with different shawl constructions and maybe one day actually be confident enough to make our very own shawl pattern.  Yesterday was day one and that was a triangular shawl and I knit that using some of my hand dyed SOX yarn and it turned out nicely I think.

IMG_5706

That’s about it I think for my knitting. I did bring some fibre and spindles with me too. I was stressed out about having time on my hands on the evenings and weekend and not enough projects to work on so I took a ton! At the moment I’m spinning a braid from Sweet Georgia Fibres and I’m using my latest spindle purchase which is a type of supported spindle which allows you to use both hands for spinning/drafting where a traditional supported spindle only lets you use one hand. I find using this spindle very enjoyable and easy and so I’m making good progress.

IMG_5708

Thats it for today. Thank you for stopping by and sorry if my health update bothered you. Before I leave I want to include a little slide show to show you the beautiful surroundings where I am now. It’s a town called Granville and apparently Christian Dior lived here part of his life and his house and garden are now a museum that I’ll definitely visit while here. I hope you enjoy looking at the pictures. I wish you a wonderful week, enjoy your summer and your knitting until next time 🙂

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