It's been a while hasn't it? There is of course the usual stuff, what with the start of the academic year, me taking on more courses, and the inevitable arrival of the midterms. Like a lot of you I've been trying to make sense of last week's very unwelcome political news and the absolute garbage pile of a a year that 2016 is turning out to be in all corners of the world. I've also been dealing with some other things that have decreased my blogging motivation. One of these things is that I lost quite some weight over a short period of time. Some of the things I made at the end of the summer already look like a potato sack on me. Because of this, I struggled a bit with sewing and knitting altogether. Why even go through the trouble of making anything if I don’t know whether I’ll be able to wear it once it’s finished?
Another reason for decreased desire to show my face here on the blog is because since the summer I'm dealing with some skin problems. I've had allergies before, but as long as I'm not using products with certain chemicals in them I'm usually fine. But over the summer I've been hit with some truly awful and stubborn allergies which are especially bad on my face and neck. I know that it is a bit superficial, but that doesn't detract from me feeling uncomfortable about it. Anyway, I’ve been trying some different treatments over the past few months and although it’s not gone yet, it’s way better than it was during the summer.
Not sewing or knitting certainly wasn't doing anything to make me feel better, so I quickly abandoned that path. I think I now have a (sort of) good balance, I just need to stay away from all things overly fitted until matters, weight-wise, have balanced out. So for a while I focussed on some non-clothing makes. I started my first quilt (short version: -fun- -learning a lot- -advancing in baby steps- -will do a post about it-), I’ve been doing Colette’s Wardrobe Architect and I’ve been knitting more accessories than I usually do.
One of the things that I made is the Theme and Variation by Veera Välimäki. I made this what feels like forever ago. Even the pictures have been sitting on my computer for way too long (you'll notice the short sleeves!). I started it at the end of July and finished it a little over a week later. I was in a knitting/making rut at the time, mainly due to what I mentioned above, but I’m guessing the summer heat was to blame as well. So, to get my knitting going again I thought I try something a bit different than usual, though still in line with my style: I jumped on the speckled yarn bandwagon!
If you are a knitter that spends even a tiny fraction of time online, you can hardly have missed the whooshing, splashing, colourful noise of the speckled bandwagon over the past year or so. At first, I was a bit hesitant to join in. I admire Stephen West and the likes, and love following them, but I always thought their style too overwhelming for myself. Nevertheless, this time I grabbed hold of the bandwagon’s rear bumper as it sped by, and I bought myself three skeins of sock yarn, one brightly speckled.
The Book of Haps provided the perfect occasion. Veera's hap offers a very comfortable knit to experiment with colours. The contrast shade is just there enough to make it worth it, but also modest enough to prevent being too much out there. It’s also comfortable in a more literal sense: it’s really comfy to wear! I made the biggest size, which I can wrap around and tie in the back (the model wears it like this in the pictures in the book). If you make one of the smaller sizes you won’t be able to wear it this way. Even though I knitted the biggest size the knitting went really fast because it’s made in garter stitch, and the speckled stripes were just a lot of fun to knit.
I changed the edging of the shawl. I first knitted the edging as described in the pattern, but while it is a more unique edging, I simply didn’t like it that much. So I frogged that bit and replaced it with a garter stitch edging which suits my tastes a bit better.
The yarn is made by Wol-met-Verve, a Dutch indie-dyer. Despite of living in the Netherlands, I had not heard of her before this summer. She’s got a large range of colours, and I especially like her speckled yarns (which she dubbed the Confetti range) and her semi-solid range. As with any indie-dyer, her assortment changes a lot depending on what she has in stock, but you can find her current range here.
I’ve worn this shawl a lot since the colder weather has kicked in. It’s a recent make, but it already feels like a long-time favourite. The colours fit my everyday style and I think the size is spot on. I’ve worn it so much already, this blogpost has a ‘first’ in that I can already judge how the yarn holds up. I’ve got to say I’m really satisfied with it. It’s knitted up smooth but not slippery, and that’s how it stays: soft, smooth and without pilling.
Now, here's to waiting for actual winter to set in. It's not far away now, but I can't wait for it!