Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Spring is in the air!

The sun is shining, and as soon as I woke up today I could hear the birds outside the window. Lovely!

I like our house, but what I really miss is some kind of outdoor place with a real floor and sheltered from the wind. We have a porch at the front door, but it's facing north which makes it a pretty dark and cold place to be. Summertime is fine, the lawn is more than good enough. At least when the sun is shining... But a place to go when it's a little too cool to sit outside, or when it's windy. Which it is most of the time here.

So yesterday, when the sun was shining and the tree tops weren't moving at all, I made a quick decision that we would make supper outside. Didn't find any "real" outdoor food to be prepared in a rush, so I decided on fish soup on our little kerosene stove.

The kids love outdoor cooking, so they helped me with the preparations. Although one of them hardly tasted the soup, since I had put some "vegetables" in there. Carrots and parsnip...

The other one loved the soup, and asked when we could eat outside again. Soon? Maybe on Thursday? :)

Even if the soup wasn't acceptable to all, at least we had a wonderful time out in the fresh air together. I have to do this more often!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A lot going on

Here I am, ready to show you what I've been up to lately. I've been pretty tired from time to time, so I haven't done too much, and I couldn't show you the things I was actually working on since they were a birthday gift for a friend who happens to read this blog. I think... :) Anyway, she had told me that she would appreciate a shawl for her birthday, so I made her a couple. First out was this knitted one. It's an acrylic yarn and I chose it for it's color since the receiver loves army green and camouflage. Didn't find any camouflage yarns, so this had to do.

 I used a pattern, Boneyard Shawl by Stehpen West, a really nice and easy pattern. The yarn came in a 200 g skein, and I used all of it. I would have liked to make it a little bigger, but buying another huge skein seemed to much. But it turned out great. The yarn is called Duo from Järbo garn.

The second shawl is a triangular lover's knot shawl. Surprised, anyone? :)

I also made her a card. It took some time to make, I don't do cards very often anymore so I kind of loose my feeling between the ones I make. But I like how it came together. I know the picture is of really bad quality, sorry! I forgot (didn't have the time really) to take a picture of it at home, so this one is taken with a friends phone in the dark at the party... Good quality or not, I like to document everything I make for future inspiration. The numbers up in the corner is a little card that my daughter made, sitting next to me at the crafting table. 

I have been taking it easy with the needlework for a few days, since I have some problems with my hands and arms at the moment. But I did start on a new project yesterday. A bolero for my daughter. I can't share the pattern since it's from a magazine, but it's made as a rectangle that you sew together. I will show you when I'm getting there.

A friend asked me to make her a shawl, and I went to the yarn shop yesterday (the one in town, not the cozy one nearby) and I happened to be carrying this when we walked out of there... Well, not all of the books, I bought them elsewhere. On sale. Love that! Some of the yarn was on sale too. I already had some of that chunky yarn, but needed more to make something of it, and it was really cheap! Some of the cotton was on sale too, the red, yellow, orange and turqoise. (Which is used in the bolero.) I'll make something for my girl, I think. 

The rest of the cotton is thought to be a bag or two, together with some other colors I already had at home. I feel that I should use up most of my stash, and these will come in handy. My husband said that it was a bit strange that I had to buy more yarn to be able to use up my scraps before buying "new" yarn. I don't understand? Of course I have to buy more yarn, I always have to! ;)

So I have a lot on my mind, I just hope my body behaves and lets me get on with it!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Nothing much

I just have to show you, don't you just love these colors? I helped my daughter organizing her beads yesterday, until we realized that the little boxes with tiny compartments was not the best solution for her. So we simply disorganized all the tiniest beads into this box. We had organized them in colors, and when we poured them all into the box, we were both struck by the beauty of the colors. Like a summer meadow! And like a true blogger, I went for my camera... :)

 Oh, and look here, I finally remembered to take a picture of the scarfs I made a while ago. I also got the permission to share the picture of the... scarfs... Can't be too careful about what you share on the www, you know! ;)

I made them both with a few rows of garter stitch (knitted in the round) followed by plain knitting and then some garter stitch in the end. Thought it would work out, every time. And every time the curled up... When I made the one for the... ooops, that was a close one, I'm not allowed to say that... Hrrm... When I made the black and white one :) it stayed nice and flat for a long time. I actually thought I had succeeded, but as soon as I got to the finishing garter stitching, it curled up to something looking a lot like a camouflaged snake... But the owners love them anyway, so who am I to complain? But if I ever make a new one, I will make it differently. Maybe garter stitch all the way. But it's a practical scarf, it stays in place since you don't have any ends that can slip off or constantly get in your way.  Can't be perfect all the time! ;)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Flowers in gray

Hi there, remember me? The kid's had a break from school last week, and as usual when they stay at home I don't get my blogging done... But today everything is back to normal, which means they are in school and I get my computer time.

So, what's new here? I'm afraid I don't have too much to show you... There are some birthdays coming up and some projects to go with them, but I  can't show you since it might spoil the surprise for someone...

I've also had some wonderful time with my family, we visited my mum and went skiing/sledding/hot dogs-eating  the other day, but we need to download the pictures from my dad's camera. I was in charge of the fire place, a good place to be on a pretty chilly day. But we all had a great time together, me and my family, my parents, my brother and sister with her family. Loved it!

There has also been a lot of lying on the bed, aching, but I didn't take a picture of that... ;)

What I can show you is this:

One of those projects that never seems to get finished... But I finally attached the shoulder strap in the beginning of last week, now all I have to do is look for some buttons to decorate the strap with, and some kind of snap to close the bag with. Always avoid zippers when I can! Too tricky for my liking. I've decided not to line this one. Since I'm not using a zipper and it's felted, I see no need to. Besides, I couldn't find a pretty fabric to go with it, and it would certainly need a pretty lining.

Oh, and look here! This project is actually growing now. It's been only one single flower for such a long time I thought I would never make progress with it. But now I think I'm ready to continue with the rest of the bag.

You can see the original plan on my note pad, I'm not much of an artist when it comes to drawing but I hope you can see that it's a bag. Hmmm.... I just noticed that the sketch has four flowers in front, I've only made six... But I think that's enough. Now I just need to figure out how I want to put it all together. And I have so many other plans right now, I could easily start a new project every day from all the ideas I have spinning in my head. But I won't. I hope. Need to get some things finished first.

Oops, need to go! My daughter will be home any minute now, and she always want the computer when I have it. :) Be back soon, I promise!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Toddler's fingerless mitts

Thought I'd write down the pattern for the fingerless mitts I made for my 2-year-old nephews. This is a good place to save my patterns, I always seem to loose them in my mess at home... And maybe someone else would like to use it, even though there probably are hundreds of patterns just like this one out there.

I use sock yarn that suite 3 mm needles. I prefer to use the magic loop, but of course you could just as well use regular double pointed needles. You don't need a lot of yarn for these, I think I used about 10 grams for a pair...

I start by casting on 32 stitches. Knit in the round from now on. I then knit 2, purl 2 for the ribbing for 12 rounds. Then I knit 6 rounds.

Next round, start the increase for the thumb.
Right hand: Knit 1 stitch, increase 1, knit 1, increase 1. Place markers before and after the increase if you like.
Knit next round.
Knit 1, increase 1, knit 3 (the two increases from before and the stitch between them), increase 1.
Keep increasing every other round with two more stitches between the increases every time, until you have 9 stitches between your markers. Put them on a thread, and on next round you cast on one stitch in the place of the thumb.
Left hand: Like the right hand, but make the first increase when you have only 2 stitches left on the round. (Not necessary, it really doesn't make that much of a difference.)

Knit 6 more rounds, then 3 rounds of ribbing (knit 2, purl 2). Cast off. I usually knit and purl like in the ribbing when casting off, but of course you can just knit all the stitches.

Put the 9 stitches for the thumb on the needles, and pick up three more stitches in the gap created on the upper part of the thumb. Knit 2 rounds, make 2 rounds of ribbing (knit 2, purl 2) and cast off. Fasten all ends, and they're ready to be used!

 This was just the right size for my nephews, but they would probably fit toddlers from 1.5 to 3 years.

Feel free to ask if you have any questions, or if I wrote something wrong. Tried to put it simple enough for anyone to make them.

Finns nu även på svenska! (Now available in Swedish.)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Tired but happy

It's been a busy weekend. My sister and nephews live an hour and a half away from us, and sometimes they visit us for a few days. They left just a couple of hours ago, and it's rather quiet here now. It wasn't before, and I already miss them! :) But I need some rest now, I'm actually awfully tired.

We went to our kids' school for some winter play (twice), and I'm not used to all that action and fresh air I guess. 

But it's not all action when they're visiting. They also love to stroll around in our garden, sit down and read together or just cuddle for a while. I love it!

My kids love to spend some time with their cousins. By the way, can you tell her mum loves to make her stuff? ;)

I have a lovely photo of my son too, in his new scarf I haven't even mentioned to you. Shame on me! But he's getting all grown up about certain things now, so I'll have to ask his permission to show pictures of him online. Not more than fair, so I'll ask him if he'll let me show you. I made her (another) one too, but I don't have a picture of it yet.

I think I've mentioned making fingerless mitts for the oldest, and that the two little ones wanted me to make them a pair each. Well, last night I finished them, and I can tell you they were appreciated! That surely warms auntie's heart! You will see them again shortly, since I'm planning to share the pattern.

I've been working on that potholder too as you can see. It takes some time to make them since you should use thin yarn to create the right effect, but I enjoy working on them. The color is completely off here, they're really blue. I'll get that right next time, OK?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Potholder mystery solved

My original plan was to make myself a pair of mittens today. And keep knitting on my nephews' mitts. Instead I found myself on my bed again, with cotton and hooks this time.

And I am proud to say that I finally figured out how to make my favorite potholders. I have tried before and failed, so I'm quite pleased now. I'm also thinking about sharing the pattern, since I've looked for it all over the web with no success. Which means I am about to crochet my very first potholder! :-D Haha! Big moment, right? And the very best thing about all this is that I can use up some of my old cotton yarn that I saw no use for. See, I don't like to keep buying more yarn all the time, when I have a few stuffed boxes of yarn that I never use. Maybe that's a goal? To use up all that "useless" yarn? Maybe... I'll start with some potholders for the pattern post!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Loose ends

 Haven't done much today. Done some laundry. Sat down on the bed to weave in some loose ends on some crochet I've made.

They're part of a plan, a plan to get some color on my window sills without spending a fortune on plants with bright flowers, that will just last a few days and then die on me. They always do. My plan is to make bright pots instead, and fill them with green plants of that kind that don't usually die on me. And not to spend a fortune, since I'm planning to let my already existing plants become parents. I'll get back to that.

 I was planning to get some felt and some pots out and be creative, but my back was so sour after weaving in those ends that I had to take it easy for a while. Thought about this body of mine, it's lacking some in strength, endurance and health, that's for sure. Which sometimes limits my life. That's why I don't work. That's why I don't get as much done as I would like to sometimes. Don't get me wrong here, I don't want to complain and I don't want anybody to pity me. I'm doing OK most of the time, and I do have a good life. It's just that I sometimes feel that I want more of life, that I want to make a difference. Even the slightest difference.

So I grabbed my notebook and started to think. (I didn't have fun, colored pens at hand, so I compensated that by writing fun, ornate letters.:) Worked just as well!) What matters in life? What kind of difference can I make with what I have at hand right now, like my crafting? In general and specifically? I don't know if I had any new thoughts, but it felt good to spell it out and to see that I can actually make something good with this. No big changes, just being a little bit more aware of what I do and why, and maybe a little change in focus. Being more positive for instance. More encouraging. Trying to inspire more, and encourage others to be more creative. Maybe teach someone how to be creative. I know it brings me a lot of joy, and I want to share that feeling with others, who might think they can't. Be creative, I mean. To take what you have and make something of it.

Well, I had some good thoughts, and I guess only time will show if they will make a difference. I hope it will shine through, both here on the web and in real life. I started this blog as a tool to find out what I'm good at, what I like to do and what I want in life. Now that I've found a hobby that I really love, and become more creative than I thought I ever could be, I want to use it in the best way I can. And it actually feels a little like weaving in another loose end... :)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

It's tadah!

Here it is. It is finished! I finally have my precious shawl in Snöstorps-knitting! And I really like it. If you wonder about the buttons, we'll get down to that shortly. Or, you'll get down to that. I mean, it's further down. ;) (Trying to be funny. Was I? Not really? Ah, well...)

I bought the buttons for a very low price at a craft fair we visit every summer, in a nearby town called Hjo. Right by the lake Vättern, very pretty town. Anyway, here are some close ups, 'cause I really want you to understand why I wanted this shawl in this technique so badly. Isn't it pretty?

 The yarn is a little on the chunkiest end of what I would like to use though, but I fell for the colors. Plus it was on sale. :) The good thing is that it worked up really quickly.

OK, so now to the reason for the buttons. The original shawl was sewn to a poncho like shape, which I liked. But I have a belly problem. It aches when I get too warm. So I thought, that if I added buttons instead of stitching, I would be able to unbutton it when I'm getting warm. Genious, right? ;) And, I can use it in many more shapes. Ready for a whole bunch of pictures? Ready or not, here they come!

I'm not really comfortable in front of the camera. I worked with the timer, but the 10 seconds of waiting just made me stiff and even more uncomfortable. So I changed it to 2 seconds. Just push the button and run in front of the camera, no time to stiffen up here! (Sorry if you get sea-sick, I never manage to get the tripod straight...)

So much more fun! For me, anyway... :) And a change of scenery too, the sun (!) was giving me too much trouble downstairs. Poncho it is. But if you turn one of the ends once and then button the short ends together...


... you get a Moebius shawl. If you get too warm or just want to feel a bit more casual, just unbutton and wear it over your shoulders.

I look a little weird on this picture, but I do on most pictures so I don't mind. I'm quite pleased with the rest of them, so this one is on me. :) You can choose just to use one button, and make a funny face talking to a camera...

 Or you could be a little crazy and wear it like a tie. Or maybe not... Let's move on!

Cold neck? You can use it as a scarf too, you know. Nice and warm!

Even warm your head, a little movie star feeling here I think.

And you can even wear it as a hat. :) Haha, I think maybe we should stop right here, and maybe I should go back to bed?!

Well, I was going to anyway. Not to rest this time, but to knit and/or crochet something. I have so many ideas right now, I don't know where to start. And as I was feeling better and better, I kept carrying more and more yarn upstairs, so now I think I have more yarn beside my bed than in my crafting area, where it should be. And I have a nice, warm blanket up there too, which I appreciate today when it's below -10 C outside. I think it was even down to -17 C this morning. Brrr! Maybe I should finish the scarfs I'm making my kids, in case the cold is here to stay for a while. See ya!