Spetskrage

Days are getting longer, the autumnal equinox was last week. And I can’t get enough of grey wool.

Lace cowl
Lace cowl

Pattern: Spetskrage (Lace cowl) from Varmt & stickat
Design: Erika Åberg
Yarn: 1-ply lace weight grey wool from the Jakobsdal woolen mill
Yarn source: Sätergläntan
Needles: 4,5 mm
Started: 11 July 2015
Finished: 6 August 2015
Modifications: I made it slightly shorter, only about 30 cm instead of 50 cm.

The designer is my talented friend Erika, who is an expert at finding the beauty in simple things.

The pattern is a simple and easy lace pattern repeat that is very easy to remember. After the first row you don’t need to look at the description, it’s pure knitting joy.

Lace cowl
Lace cowl

I’m working on a shawl in the same pattern and yarn. I need to wrap myself in grey wool.

I picked up the yarn at Sätergläntan many years ago. It’s a 1-ply lace weight yarn from the Jakobsdal spinning mill. I bought a huge cone without a plan. It’s now coming to good use. It has quite a lot of lanolin in it, and it smells like sheep. I love it. And I have lots of it. I don’t think the spinning mill is running any more.

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Probably stupid

When I was new to knitting and discovered the internet knitting community, back in 2004-2005, I loved the idea of knitting challenges. Knit-a-longs, sock challenges, knitting-in-particular-colour-challenges, thematic blogging regarding knitting and whatnot. I gradually discovered that I was totally rubbish at it. Whenever I set myself to one of these, I got bored with it rather quickly and just dropped the whole thing. Just to pick up another challenge.

Keeping this character trait in mind, I’ve always loved the idea of presenting my family and friends with thoughtful and lovely knitted gifts for Christmas. I only ever did it once, and not even for everyone, and that was back in 2005, I think. I still think it’s a wonderful idea, but with a little sadness, because I will never accomplish it. Or will I?

Me and my husband spent last Christmas (2014) in New York City with a bunch of friends and had an abolutely lovely time! When I came home, though, I felt a bit robbed of Christmas. Despite all the Christmas decorations, wonderful food and even the Christmas Spectacular at the Radio City Music Hall, I lacked the Christmas feeling. So, what? You might ask. How old are you? Do you really need that Christmas feeling? The thing is, I do.

I’ve always loved Christmas. Not because of the origins of it, I’m not a christian, but because what it has come to mean for me. For as long as I can remember, Christmas has meant not just gifts and decorations and certain types of food, but that time and space itself was altered. Transformed. Become otherworldly. It’s difficult to describe. It’s a feeling. Something I perceive. And it’s impossible for me to experience that when I’m not at home.

So. No more going away during Christmas. We’ve done it a few times now, but I’ve finally realised that I don’t want to do it anymore. I need to stay at home and prepare. And be there when it happens.

Now that I’ve realised this, I want to do everything I can to make the most of it. One thing might be to finally give my family and loved ones the things I want to give them.

This will of course take up a lot of my time and require a lot of dedication and determination. I know I have dedication and determination, but only when it comes to things that I find meaningful. Knitting a ton of things to meet a deadline might not be one of them, but I’m going to give it a try. In fact, I’ve alreday started! A simple, but elegant shawl in a very nice wool yarn I bought in Estonia a few years ago. And it’s almost finished, even…

Trekantssjal med spetskant

To be continued…

Recovering

I’ve been afflicted with a string of bad colds this winter. It started in November and I think this is the fifth installment of The Cold That Will Not Give In. I visited my GP yesterday and there was blood drawn and snot sampled, which  hopefully will tell me if I need antibiotics or if my body is lacking in any other way (iron, or what have you).

Anyway, I felt better today, and the spring-like weather encouraged me to venture outdoors. I went for a short walk to Vasaparken, a nearby park, where children were frollicing on the ice (with skates on) and riding toboggans down the small slope. I was not just a little bit envious…

Vasaparken

The miniature golf course was still covered with snow.

Snowcovered miniature golf course

When I got back, I treated myself to a snack. Finncrisp (one of my favourite crisp breads) with cheese from Väddö farm dairy (this particular cheese is called Fogdö is flavoured with fenugreek) and my favourite ginger beer.

Afternoon snack

I think the fresh air did me good, I feel a lot better now (probably in combination with medications and vitamins) and I’ll probably go back to work tomorrow.

Trekantssjal med spetskant

But for now, I’ll get back to my knitting, which I will tell you more about next time…

Sheep heid

I’m very happy with this lovely fair isle tam. The design is by Kate Davies, one of my favourite knitwear designers. This is the first project by her design I have completed, but I love her stuff and I want to knit almost everything by her!

Sheep heid

Pattern: Sheep Heid from Kate Davies Design
Design: Kate Davies
Yarn: Jamieson & Smith Shetland Supreme Jumper Weight
Yarn source: Jamieson & Smith (Shetland Wool Brokers)
Needles: 2,75 mm and 3 mm, circular and dpns
Started: 22 September 2014
Finished: 18 January 2015
Modifications: None

Sheep heid

I’ve had the yarn in my stash for quite some time. Emmy and I bought a kit from Jamieson & Smith together and split the yarn between us, since one skein of each shade is more than enough for two tams. Emmy finished hers a long time ago! I’m a bit slower…

I think it turned out quite well, and I really do enjoy fair isle knitting. The pattern was easy to follow and the instructions clear.

Sheep heid

The yarn is a little scratchier than I expected, even after washing and blocking. But it doesn’t bother me that much, I’m not very sensitive. What I really love about the Shetland Supreme Jumper Weight is that none of the shades are dyed. They’re all the natural shades of the fleeces of the shetland sheep. And there are nine different shades in this tam. Beautiful.

The snow is all but gone now, very sad indeed. I hope winter will return before it’s time for spring.

Happy knitting!

Striped mittens, Christmas markets and baking

Just in time for winter, I finished a pair of soft woolly mittens.

Striped mittens Alice
My Alice mittens

Pattern: Alice
Design: Me
Yarn: Kampes 2-ply 100% wool in grey and charcoal
Yarn source: Marias garn
Needles: 2,75 mm and 3,0 mm dpns
Started: 15 september 2013
Finished: 8 November 2013

I’ve used them quite a lot, it hasn’t been very cold yet, so one layer of wool is quite enough.

Striped mittens Alice
Me and my mittens

Striped mittens Alice
Naturally, they have thumb wedges

I love winter almost as much as I love autumn, and the weeks before Christmas are sometimes more exciting than Christmas itself. I love the planning and preparing.

And Christmas markets. I’ve visited three so far. Here are some photos from the market at the Royal Stable:

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Lovely wool yarn and handknits

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There were horses there as well, of course

The market at Skansen is probably my favourite. I return to it every year.

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Wolves

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A wolverine

I saw a robin in the wolverine’s pen, which made me more exciting that the wolverine itself! Robin’s are my favorite birds, but they’re very rare where I live.

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Darling sheep

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And very cute pigs!

I’ve found myself in a baking mood lately. I’ve made some plain white bread:

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…christmas bread…

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…and saffron buns!

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But don’t worry, I haven’t been neglecting my knitting! I’ve started another pair of mittens:

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…and a cowl:

Söderängskrage
It’s almost finished now, but I have no current photos of it

Happy knitting!

October

This is my time of year. I can’t even begin to explain how much I love autumn. I’ll show you some photos I took today during my lunch break. I work in a truly beautiful part of Stockholm.

Autumn on Skeppsholmen
Chestnut

Autumn on Skeppsholmen
Leaves are turning

Autumn on Skeppsholmen
The grass is still very green

Autumn on Skeppsholmen
Rose hip

Autumn on Skeppsholmen
Sculpure park

Striped mittens
Striped mittens

This is what I’m working on right now; a pair of striped mittens. I haven’t finished the aran jumper yet, but inspiration took over when I watched Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland a few weeks ago and I had to cast on for a new project. Alice was wearing a pair of sheer striped half-mitts and I just had to make something that reminded me of those. Mine will turn in to much more solid wooly mittens instead, I have very little use for half-mitts and I prefer wool to gauzy fabric. And these mittens will remind me of other Tim Burton movies as well, stripes are a common feature in his world as you probably know.

I picked out some yarn I already had in my stash, I’m quite certain I used both these shades of grey when I knit these gloves many years ago.

Autumn on Skeppsholmen
The view from my window at work

Autumn on Skeppsholmen
I have an almost pathological urge to pick up chestnuts when I find them. I try to refrain myself, but it’s difficult.

I hope for a long autumn filled with woolly mittens, hats and scarves.

September

September is commonly known as the first month of autumn in the northern hemisphere. In my part of the world, autumn (in strict meteorological terms) appears when the average daily temperature is between 0 and 10 degrees celsius. We’re not there yet here in Stockholm, but there is a definitive crispness in the air and a few leaves are starting to turn.

This morning was slightly overcast and even though it’s quite sunny now, the wind has picked up and the temperature is about 13 degrees in the shade.

Hedemoratäppan
Slightly overcast morning in the small park behind my building

Yesterday saw some torrential rain and the drains became quite flooded.

Torrential rain
Yesterday’s torrential rain

More than a puddle
Slightly flooded

I’ve loved autumn for as long as I can remember and I really want to make the most of the season. I will try to spend as much of it as I can outdoors. However, I suspect that it might prove difficult, since, a part from working full time, I will start studying again. I’ve decided to finish my education to become an archivist. I originally began studying for this ten years ago and I worked as an archivist briefly in 2004 and 2005, but I’ve now decided to start over and complete my education. Luckily there is one college in Sweden that offers these courses part-time. This will probably mean less time for knitting, but it’s an investment in myself, and I’m sure it’ll be worth it in the end.

Speaking of knitting, I’m now working on an Aran jumper in a lovely grey tweed yarn that I picked up in Dublin earlier this year. During Saint Patrick’s actually. I haven’t blogged about it yet, but I plan to share that trip with you eventually. It was great, I love Ireland.

Aran jumper in the making
Aran jumper in the making

A few weaks ago, when we were sorting out the study, we arranged almost all of my yarn into the top section of the book case. Looks great! And just watching all that lovely yarn really inspires me to create!

Yarn stash
About three quarters of my yarn stash.

Happy knitting!

P.S. If you’re curious, I’m originally an archaeologist, but right now I work as a research coordinator in an art museum.

Lazy Sunday

August. Late summer. The light changes. It’s still warm, but there is a hint of the autumn that soon will be upon us. I want everyday to be a lazy Sunday in late August.

Lemon curd muffins

I like to spend it with freshly made lemon curd muffins and tea.

Summer in the city

I’ve been neglecting this space for quite some time now, but I intend to change that. I haven’t really felt like blogging much lately, but I really think that’s about to change. I have been knitting quite a lot, though, and I have a couple of finished projects that I want to share with you. But not today.

go for a swim

I’m enjoying my summer vacation immensely and I wish it could last much longer that it will. But it’s not over yet! Yesterday we headed off to the other side of town to a place called Vinterviken (literally “winter bay”) on the outskirts of the city proper where there is a lovely garden café next to an alotment area.

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The garden café at Vinterviken

We enjoyed our lunch at the café along with some ale from the fairly new micro brewery Skebo Bruksbryggeri located in Skebobruk in the northern part of the province of Uppland.

ale
Triple Gold from Skebo Bruksbryggeri

Sometimes I wish I had a proper camera, these mobile images doesn’t do the garden justice.

in bloom

poppy

pods

summer flowers

close up

stems

yellow

golden

chard

purplish pink

blue

I brought my knitting along only to discover I hadn’t brought enough yarn!

not enough yarn
A bit annoying

Our timing couldn’t have been better, just when we’d finished our lunch it started to rain. We headed off for the underground. Luckily it wasn’t very heavy, and we the trees along the path sheltered us for the most part.

Rain
Rain on lake Trekanten

Reflections
Reflections

Brook
Small brook running down to the lake

path
Path along the lake

It was a lovely little excursion all in all. Later last night the rain came down quite heavily and we got quite a bit of thunder as well. Wonderful! We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening sorting out our spare room which is intended to be a place for me to sit and knit and sow but has increasingly become a place where we put all of that stuff we don’t know what to do with. We’re almost completely done now with the sorting and cleaning and it looks wonderful! I’m actually looking forward to the arrival of autumn, when I can sit there in my favourite chair with my knitting, a cup of tea and a cat on my lap listening to the radio or a podcast. But I’m not done with summer yet! I promise you that.

See you soon!

Winter wonderland

I went for a long walk on Friday. The weather was glorious.

Frost

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When I came home, I had a large mug of hot chocolate with whipped cream.

On Saturday, there was even more frost.

Frost i Röda bergen

Frost på träd och buskar

Later that evening it was almost -20 degrees celsius. I spent it in front of the fireplace with a glass of sherry, knitting. A perfect day.

My next post will be about knitting. I promise.