Craftspotting

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It was a lot of fun to go food shopping in the Netherlands – the smoothie bottles from innocent Drinks were wearing hats! Knitted and crocheted, striped and patterned, with pompoms or bells, and in many different colours. I think I almost screeched with joy the first time I saw that little army of hats in a drinks’ cooler. Of course I could not leave the country without getting one (pardon the half-eaten donut in the background, we were having breakfast at the airport).

The label on the bottle said that the hat campaign was held to collect money for the elderly. We could not figure out though if it was the elderly themselves who made the hats though. But it is still adorably cute, right!?

Little “Oyles”

Owls seem to be very much in fashion… So, when I found this pattern on Hopscotch Lane, I decided immediately I want to try it out. Those owls are a great way to use up those little yarn leftovers – the doll-sized balls of yarn are usually just enough for the stripes, and I stuffed them with a variety of otherwise completely useless yarn bits from previous projects. And, because they are done by me, they are lovingly called oyles.

Oyles 1 and 2Oyles 3 and 4

One of the oyles is blinking because I somehow failed to produce a fourth french knot. The original pattern includes a crocheted beak, but after the second oyle I decided to stitch the beaks on instead.

All four oyles have found happy homes, but my home is still oyle-less. I am really looking forward to producing more yarn leftovers now! 🙂

Bees!

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When one is blessed with friends who are fun and creative, then one can hardly do traditional gift-shopping. So, when I travelled to the Netherlands for a week to visit a friend (who among other activities, sings in a clown choir – I guess that characterises her pretty adequatly), I took along my yarn stash, let her choose colours and form, and then I knitted her a pair of mittens right under her own eyes.

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I really love how colourful and warm those mittens turned out. I haven’t knitted with three different colours before, so that was a bit of a challenge. I mean, there were tangles that would make any respectable knitter faint. At some point I decided that it was easier to knit the right mitten in the lounge, and the left mitten in the dining room, just to keep the probability of a huge mess as low as possible

But of course, I was there for a whole week and could come up with more than just the mittens – my friend needed an actual bee to go with them. She found a crochet

 bee pattern at Crochet N Play, which is pretty easy if you pay attention (wink-wink)

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New Year’s resolutions? Yeah, right…

One of my resolutions for 2013 was to downsize my yarn stash to one box. Right now the balls of yarn and half-finished projects fill about two boxe and countless baskets in the corner of the living room. And the condition for the resolution was that there would be no new yarn-aquiring before I am down to that one box.

And as always, resolutions are made to be broken within the first week of the new year. This morning I was having coffee at a friend’s place, chatting and crocheting (because you know, I need to use up all that yarn). My friend looks at my work, and goes, “Hey, you know what colour would go well with that? Lilac.” I agree. She then asks me if I have lilac yarn. Well, I don’t. And then she digs deep into her yarn stash, pulls out a ball of lilac yarn and victoriously presents it to me as a new year gift! So much for not getting any new yarn…

However, somewhat later I managed to do some damage control. I made her choose something from my stash in return! 

Things I learned over Christmas

Lesson no 1 – pack plenty

Forest green bubbly mittens 1When packing your craft projects for the holiday travels, make sure you don’t just pack stuff for project A, but also for project B and project C. Because it might happen that when you arrive to your granny’s house, and want to happily knit away on that mohair lace shawl you’ve been working on, you might discover that the yarn has mysteriously gone missing. But you can’t possibly spend all those holidays  without doing anything. So, it is great to start working on a pair of forest green bubbly mittens. And then on a pair of pink bubbly mittens. And then come home and discover your ball of mohair on the stairs, loyally waiting for your return. (I know, I am such a careless yarn parent, I should not have custody of any yarn, I’m sorry!!!)

Lesson no 2 – new patterns and champagne don’t mix

Our extended family extends beyond blood ties, but what is common to us is that we all enjoy a glass or two of champagne before dinner during the festive season. Those who know me can attest that I have no problem working on simpler patterns  and having a glass of wine at the same time. However, if one is knitting mittens for the first time, one should definitely stay away from all spirit-raising drinks (and that includes coffee). This is how the knitting of the forest green mittens really went:

Day 1: start knitting, try not to be distracted by family conversations and champagne, get to the thumb and then undo everything because the mittens are too wide.

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Day 2: start knitting again, try not to be distracted by family conversations (especially when they make jokes about you undoing your mittens) and champagne, get done halfway and then undo everything down to the thumb, because somehow you ended up with two right-hand mittens. Then continue knitting, try not to be distracted by your family laughing even harder, and knit almost to the tip of the mittens, and undo a big part again, because there is a different amount of bubbles on the mittens.

Day 3: continue knitting, try not be distracted by your family making bets on how soon you’ll start undoing things again, and champagne, and victoriously finish your mittens and show off to all family members.

Days 4-5: work on a pair of pink mittens while remembering all the lessons from the past 3 days!

Socktober-y Christmas

26122012281Remember that day when I promised to make a pair of socks in a way completely new to me? Believe it or not, I actually managed to whip up my very first pair of lace-y socks, starting knitting from the toes, surprisingly fast. And the socks left my home even faster – mom loved them, put them on, and walked out with them before I managed to take any photos.

Christmas is a time of coming together. So, when visiting my hometown for the holidays I met up with mom and her new pair of favourite socks (and the traditional Christmas juniper, which you can see peeking from the background :)).26122012285

Knitting from the toe was somehow easier for me, it allows more flexibility with lace patterns, and I really like how the heel looks. I am thinking of making a pair for myself now… if only I remembered how they are made… back to google it is!

 

Pink Bubbles

I have been away from my needles too long… But as more and more snow is falling down from the sky, I have less and less enthusiasm to go outdoors. Don’t get me wrong, I love snow. I just adore gazing into the winter wonderland from my sofa while holding on to a cup of tea with ginger and my needles.

IMG_9097 I have a good friend who shares my feelings for the cold outdoors. However, she just moved to spend the winter in a much colder town.  So, I decided she deserves something pink and bubbly for Christmas.

It is ok to publish the work in progress here – the set will hardly be a surprise. Actually, I knitted most of the hat while a consuming gallons of tea and watching a Hot in Cleveland marathon with her.

And back to my needles I go, I have a lot of things to finish for the holidays!

 

Socks with a Little Ray of Sunshine

What else would be a more perfect start to a blog in the autumn than a pair of knitted socks? I must admit, I had only managed two pairs of socks before in my life – one pair more lopsided than the other. But even if I am not a 100% happy with my pair number three, I can still pat myself on the back for a rather decent and wearable(!) pair of socks.

It all started with the Estonian handicrafts forum, where they have declared October a month of socks. Or rather, Socktober. I have always admired (read: stalked excessively and with awe their collective projects, but never had the courage/initiative/time/(insert any other pathetic excuse) to join in. This time, I finally signed up. I mean, making a pair of socks couldn’t be that hard, could it?

And it appeared it really wasn’t. Especially when you spend your Saturday evenings at home watching 3-act ballets on TV and knitting (I know, I lead a life so terribly exciting).

I used grey Jumbo – an 80% acrylic yarn, which is a great practice material. Jumbo is affordable and comes in a variety of colours. To add a little flash, I used the yellow from the stash that I inherited from my maternal grandmother (I miss her. And I miss her socks. I could not even imagine how many pairs would one have to knit to achives such perfection as she did).

Praise is also due to the almighty internet. Without the possibility to google “how to knit a sock heel”, I would have had to go and hunt for the 6th grade handicraft books from the library. And of course, the more you surf around the more “I must do this next!”-ideas you gather. So, inspired by all the sock pictures that I’ve seen and the joy of actually being able to make a pair myself, I have decided to embark on a new sock-adventure. And this time I will start knitting from the toes!

Yeah, like I said, my life is full of exciting things… But to all of you, have a great Socktober!!!