Summer update

June 29, 2015

Hi there,

It took a bit longer than usual to get back to the blog after my last post. As many of you probably assumed, my final exam and thesis got intense in the past month and I didn't even have time to give you an update of what was going on... Oops, sorry!

To top off the stress, I had to deal with computer that was tumbling down, a replacement that wasn't working properly and an external HDD that decided this was the perfect time to die as well. I was naively thinking that these kind of situations were only reserved for cartoons and sitcoms. The lesson to be taken from this it that you cannot back up your documents enough. Luckily, I backed up most of my uni-related documents, and today I managed to find a SD-disk with my holiday pictures!

Nimue helped with re-cataloguing my yarn-stash.

 Earlier this week I handed in my last paper for uni. If all goes well, I'll have some spare time ahead, but you never know. I am now slowly emerging out of my carefully crafted study cave, feeling like the first amphibian slowly taking its first steps on solid ground. I want to thank all of you for the good luck messages and comments I got here and on other platforms! They did the trick when I was bogged down with work and stress.

Nimue did, however, insist on taking regular breaks to enjoy the 30 °C sun through the window.

I have been planning what I hope will be an avalanche of summer crafting projects; mainly knitting and sewing. The length of my summer read-knit-and-sew list is marvellously unrealistic, but for me making the list was already lots of fun and it savours that small window of the summer in which everything still seems possible. I've been reorganising my yarn and (modest) fabric stash as well, as my documentation was all lost in the HDD-crash, and combined what I have with projects I want to make. So many possibilities. Wonderful, not a bad place to stand at at all!

I will be back in a couple of days to show you one of my new makes.


Finished Knits

My First Socks

June 09, 2015

I just finished my first socks. My first hand knitted socks, ever. After almost a decade of knitting  (what, really?)  I've taken my needles on a trip to ground level. I know knitted socks are quite popular; There are people who solely knit socks. I never was one of those knitters: I did enjoy seeing knitter's socks and their enthusiasm for different methods, but I've never had the urge to cast on any myself. This changed around a week ago, when I was browsing through my Istex books and a little sock pattern caught my eye. The urge to cast on for one right away hit me hard.What better time to teach myself new things, and knit my first socks than just before my final exams and (gasp) thesis writing... right?

The socks are made using a combination of Alafoss lopi, for the main portion of the socks, and Lett lopi for the contrasting colours. For the stripes, two strands of different colours are held together to create a marbled effect. I just loved the effect that produced. I might try it with Plotulopi for a different project. I almost squeezed this pair out of one ball of Alafoss lopi, but had to break into a second ball for the final two or three rows of the second sock. All in all, good value for a pair of socks. It will be interesting to see how they will hold up to wear and tear. I'm pretty confident that they will hold up well, because it is Icelandic wool, but you never know.

The day the yarn arrived was a happy day. I had anticipated that it would take me quite a while to finish the socks, because there were new techniques to learn and the aforementioned thesis demanded so much of my time. It turns out that Icelandic wool puts my knitting speed into turbo mode. Okay, maybe the relatively thick yarn and needles had something to do with the speed as well. I knit most of my projects on needle sizes 3-4-5, so knitting Alafoss lopi on needle size 6 was something new for me. I didn't even have the right needle size. I was pretty shocked! I sort of assumed that I probably had multiple versions of any size of needle by this time. I was wrong. Some days of looking for the mail man later, and my new wooden dpn's and I were finally on my way.

I know they are not the most elegant socks, but I really like them. They are the kind of socks that I wear a lot during the colder months. Taking sock pictures was something new. I'm used to taking finished project pictures, but sock pictures are a whole different kettle of fish all together. That's one of the fun parts about learning how to knit socks: There is a whole new world of knitting and styling to explore. Second-sock-syndrome has always been some mythical term that I heard of but never experienced for myself (and still haven't!). There are shelves of self striping and patterning yarn that need to be examined. A dazzling amount of different heel methods that so far have gone untried in the Treehouse. There's a whole lot more to sock knitting that I still have to discover.

It will be interesting to see where my sock knitting career will lead me. I don't suspect that it will make a large dent in the sweater, shawls and hats hegemony but you never know. Are you a sock knitter? What are your favourite sock yarns/patterns? Do tell! I've got lots to learn. 

Have a great week! 


Something colourful

June 01, 2015

Something colourful arrived at the Treehouse last week. Due to my considerable enthusiasm and anticipation in the wake of its arrival my boyfriend expected that an unruly amount of yarn was coming the Treehouse's way. But no, this time a very different, and curiously flat package arrived my way. It was packed with a wealth of  cardboard rectangles with colourful pieces of string tied to them: Shade cards!

I only relatively recently discovered how practical these cards are, especially for planning colourwork projects. Ravelry is great for getting an idea of how the colours will look, and I can easily spend days on end musing about different colours from behind a screen, but the cards are perfect for more thorough colour planning. These are shade cards for the different Istex Icelandic yarn ranges. I bought the Lett Lopi card a couple a months ago, At the time I didn't think I would get much use of the other cards, but as of late I've been itching to trying their other yarns.  Plotulopi and Alafoss particularly had been on my radar, so this week I completed the set. 

Do you use shade cards often? Who knows, if these are a success I might go and source cards for other brands I use often. Now however, I'm off to do some serious colour plotting for a lopapeysa wardrobe...

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