Flicca Frustration & Retro Fabrics

I've been waiting for the yarn I need to finish Flicca for more than 6 weeks now. The staff at Strikk have no idea why it's taking so long. I don't feel like scanning the city for other retailers (who are likely to have the same problem anyway). Annoying, indeed, I would like to be able to wear the sweater while it's still winter!

Nothing bad comes without something good, or what is it the optimistic say? While waiting for my Flicca yarn I've worked on several small ideas I've had for a while.

This sweater was boring and never worn. The orange shade is wrong for me. Too much pink? I'm not sure why, but I don't like it. I didn't dare to attempt dyeing it, instead I tried to cheer it up with some appliqué, et voilà:

I'm not sure I'll wear it more often, but it certainly looks more interesting this way.

I recently recieved some very cool retro materials. A distant realtive to Chris, who has worked a lifetime as a seamstress, was moving and needed to get rid of some stash fabrics. Of course my patchworking and quilting mother in law was called in to salvage whatever she could use. She rescued some awesome fabrics for me. Lovely, boldly printed textiles from the 60's and 70's! Most of them were already cut into pattern pieces for large blouses or dresses. But that's something that certainly doesn't discourage me. Future projects:

1. Blue printed cotton - use for retro dress

2. Silky blue floral - use for handbag

3. Crazy 60's floral print - use for blouse

4. More flowers, semi-transparent - use for skirt

5. Wild flowers and bees - Use for dress

Finally I'll get to use some of the dress patterns I mentioned about 6 months ago!


Dad's Socks

Finally, I present to you my father's socks, finished back in September and modeled by the man himself:

He reports that they are very warm and way too fancy to walk around the house with. Perfect to put on before he sits back in his armchair to peel himself an orange and watch the evening news.

Yarn: Swedish wool yarn in three different natural shades of grey.
Pattern: Knitty's univeral toe-up sock formula combined with a traditional Baltic mozaic pattern that I found in the book Vantar från När och Fjärran by Eva Maria Leszner


Labwork and Studying have kept me busy lately. So not a lot of crafting going on. I have spent some time at my dad's place however, and he has a shelf full of old photo albums that I've rummaged through. Except for nostalgia and longing for loved ones who are gone, the photos also gave me a strong urge to pick up my pencil and paper and draw, which is something I haven't done since I was in art school three years ago. Lately it seems the only thing I use pencils for are taking notes.

These are quick little sketches, nothing I'm going to frame and hang. But I did enjoy making them. I just wanted to make the top one as a tribute to my Grandpa, who I got to see way too little of. I don't remember talking to him very much, just that he was one of the kindest people I've known.


Sewing, Thrifting and Mangoes

I'm in a good mood today. For what reason? Well, I wrote a biomedicine exam yesterday that I have a good feeling about. And when I came home today this was waiting for me inside the door:

It's a brown silk dress from Iro. A late little birthday present from myself. I don't think I've ever owned something this luxurious before...

Completely unrelated, I've been looking through my sewing basket to see what half finished forgotten challenges I may find there. This is one of the things I dug up, a green jacket that I started sewing more than a year ago.

(It's in desperate need of some good ironing, I know)

I never finished it because I didn't have any lining. I still don't, but I mean to get some so I can finish it before spring, I could use a new spring jacket. What I like most about this jacket, except for the lovely green color, is that it's made from an old curtain panel from several decades ago. Yay for recycling! Also, I love the mix of something really simple and cheap, such as old 70's curtains, and something quite exclusive and technically complicated, such as a tailored peacoat. I'm probably going to change the buttons, though, I don't like how it turned out with these wooden ones.

I've also done some thrift store shopping. It's something I like to treat myself to after an exam. I walk from University half way home and stop along all the good thrift stores on the way. This blouse is one of the things I found. I love the floral pattern! I'm just going to make some shaping darts on it and probably switch buttons, and then it'll be ready wear!

They were selling mangoes cheap at the supermarket last week. I like mangoes so I bought a bunch. Then I got home and realised I had 7 mangoes that I had to eat before they went bad. So I had a look around my recipes and decided to turn the majority of the fruits into Mango Coconut Vice Cream.

Mangoes, Datepuré and Coconut Milk

In the Blender - Looking Good!

The finished vice cream didn't look very appetizing, it reminded me of peasoup, which is something I've dreaded since I was a child. I think some fresh fruit for garnish would help a lot. The flavour was just fine, although it probably would have been wonderful if my mangoes had been a bit more ripe. Still it was good, and healthy too I'd like to think. At least it's an excellent way to consume 5 mangoes in one evening!

And before I end, I ate the strawberry and it was delicious!


November Strawberries

Not having a garden is probably what I miss most about living in the city. I don't even have a balcony to place large plant-filled pots on. What I do have are 3 windows facing east and west, which fortunately have turned out to be ideal for growing herbs and other small plants that don't require lots of soil or constant sunlight.

When I went to water the greens this morning I found this:

A Strawberry in November!

When I planted the seeds in April I honestly didn't expect any berries, it was just an attempt to make my window resemble my childhood garden a little more. The fact that I read on the seed envelope, that the plants won't give any fruit the first summer, didn't exactly increase my expectations. Now it isn't really summer anymore so I suppose technically speaking the seed company are right.

I'll let my precious little berry hang for another day or two before I harvest it. It smells delicious so my expectations are quite high. And the best part is that there's more where that one came from!

I hope they will make it, soon the daylight will be reduced to a mere 6-7 hours. I have three more plants, but they're not as lively as this one. Only one of them has buds, and they are two rather sad-looking buds to be honest.


Flicca and Birthday

I finally bought yarn for Flicca: Greenland from Coats HP, a mix of wool (50%), acrylic (35%) and some alpaca (15%). It's very soft and dark brown with discrete white strands here and there (the alpaca I assume). Excellent for a household with two white cats.

It's amazing how quickly this cardigan is knit. I've already finished the full back. I'm really looking forward to wear it. It's getting cold here; the temperature is creeping down towards 0 celsius.

I celebrated my birthday, the 16th, in a calm manner, attending classes and reading up on steroid hormones. No cake, but I did get some really nice presents.

Christian's sisters spoiled me rotten and literally gave me everything I really wanted, it was almost like being a 6 year old again. The beautiful gold & wood leaf earrings are from them. So is the Fitted Knits book, the moss green yarn (Garnstudio's Eskimo) and the giant tub of herbed salt(yum!). I used the yarn for an Urchin, but made it full of mistakes and one size too small (apparently I have a large head...), so I'm going to re-knit it.
The necklace is from my wonderful childhood friends, who spotted the earrings I was wearing and thought I could use a matching necklace.

I recieved some financial support from dad and the in-laws, very much appreciated as well. Dad's gift magiclly transformed into 28 Balls of Greenland for Flicca, A Laptop Lunches Bento Box, and Some Expensive Food. The rest I'm saving for a reading lamp and a pair of brown wool pants.

Thanks everyone!


Wristwarmers & Magic Yarn Ball

The lacy circular cardigan is finished and totally wearable. Pictures will be posted as soon as I can get some decent photos of it.

I made a bunch of wristwarmers this summer:

I'm thinking of making the yellow/grey one in a red version as Christmas gift for my mother in law. She gave me an inspirational book with tons of different patterns for wristwarmers last Christmas, and has been hinting that she would like a pair for herself. The pattern on these specific wristwarmer's are a sunwheel from Gotland, where some of her ancestors are from.

I recieved two lovely Magic Yarn Balls from Greenapples. Instead of just unravelling the yarny goodness all at once, I really wanted to knit them both out and gradually discover all the little hidden surprises. It's so much more fun that way. My knitting time, however, is very limited at the moment so I made a little compromise with myself. I decided to knit the green scarf yarn ball out and then unravel the purple one before knitting the hat. I even started on the scarf. And then I brought the MYBs with me to class and showed them to a friend who was very excited and convinced me to unwind both of them there, immediately. Ok, so it didn't really take a lot of convincing ;). Here they are, unraveled and awesome:

The purple yarn is for the Shedir cap from Knitty and the green yarn is for another Knitty pattern, Branching Out, which is by now finished and very much loved!


Still knitting...

My summer of funemployment is over and I'm back at uni. This means less time for everything other than either studying too much or being anxious that I'm studying way too little.

But I still have some crafting content: my father's 60th birthday is coming up and I've been working on a pair of socks for him since August. I'm using knitty's universal toe-up formula combined with an old Baltic pattern I found in a mitten knitting book.

The socks are taking forever and are not half as fun to knit as I hoped they'd be. But I have learned several things about knitting intricate mosaics with several colors along the road:
  • Don't knit too tightly, try to find a relaxed gauge.
  • Don't knit too relaxed or you'll get loops to get stuck in on the wrong side.
  • Avoid mosaics on garments that are supposed to be elastic (I knew that already, but didn't expect it to be this bad!)
  • Don't knit a tight fitting gift and expect to keep it a secret all the way until you give it. I tried the socks on myselt and found them a bit tight. Now I have big feet for being a lady, but not as big feet as my dad, so of course that worried me. I had Chris (who could probably wear canoes for shoes) try them on. He said they cut off the blood-flow to his feet. Not a good quality for a piece of clothing that is supposed to prevent gangrene rather than iniate it. So I had to let dad try them. And indeed they were too small. But only over the ankles, which made them totally rescuable. I just made a ribbed leg instead of a patterned one. Not as pretty as a mosaic leg, but it's not like he'll be wearing them with shorts anyway. I've finished one sock so far and knit the toe on the other one. Now I have about a week to finish the other one too.

Dad's Socks

Flicca was supposed to be my next big knitting project, but I keep putting it off. Earlier, I didn't have yarn money, and now when I have it I can't choose color. I bought a light grey wool/acrylic mix yarn and was meaning to make a swatch of it, but on my way home from the yarn store I changed my mind and decided I wanted to use brown instead. This happened despite the 30 minutes I spent staring at different colors in the store. But now I think I'll settle for a nice chocolate brown, it probably looks better on me than gray.

The scanner-squished skein of yarn that won't be used for my flicca. Now, the question is should I take it back or should I use it for something else?

Meanwhile I've been working on a lacy cardigan from the book Feminin Strikk. It's a really entertaining and different piece, knit in the round with an interesting lace pattern.

Book picture from Feminin Strikk by Lene Holme Samsoe

It's written for a kidmohair yarn, for instance kidsilk, but I'm using a thin moss green vintage wool. It's a one size piece that is said to be "extremely elastic". I just hope it doesn't end up too big.

What will become my lovely lacy cardigan

I found a new project I really want to make, the Geneva Camisole from Rowan Magazine #42, a beautiful lace camisole made with merino wool. Once again the color is an issue. I want to use the recommended yarn: Rowan's 4 ply soft. But there are several pretty colors that I can't choose from: Sooty, Dove, Folly, Clover, Daydream or Leafy. See my problem? I can't even determine if I want to go with a more red or green shade. :/

I was looking through my stash of old knitting magazines the other day. In a 1969 issue of Woman's Day Knitting Book I found this mini dress.

I love it! Wouldn't it look great with a ribbed turtle neck added? I'm going to put it in line with the rest of my future projects right away!

I figured out how to solve the shoulder problems I had with the green cardigan in my last post. It didn't even require any thinking from my side. Ever since I wrote that post I've been stumbling over yoke sweaters everywhere (Knitty, Interweave Knits - Eunny Jang's Tangled yoke cardigan). A yoke. That is clearly just what my cardigan needs. But don't expect any FO in the near future, this is a long term project. Lots of thinking to do before I get started. Well, at least I don't have to worry about colors this time. I've already established that I want my cardigan to look as much as the original as possible!


Some inspiration

I'm back from a nice and lazy week in Greece. I survived the heat and mosquitos. At the moment I'm house-sitting for the in-laws, and the things I have to occupy myself with, apart from household chores (there's an impressive amount of plants to water!), are sockknitting (ruled out due to a case of wry neck) and the computer. Long live the internet, if you can't craft, then craft-surf!

I came across an amazing wedding dress while looking for some sweater yarn. This would be the one thing that could convince me to get married, if it justified knitting a baroque wedding gown. For anyone seriously interested in the dress a free pattern will be available at Järbo Garn in October according to their announcement. However it will probably only be in swedish. To accompany the dress pattern there will also be one for the bridal crown. For some reason I don't feel the same urge to make the crown...

The reason I found the dress was because I was searching for yarn to make a sweater similar to the one on this book cover:

I love the color combination used, the location of the patterned panel, and the overall style of the cardigan. In fact I would like an exact copy of it. I've already begun to draw a chart for it and I added it on ravelry. However I'm not quite sure how it's made, the image shows no trace of raglan or sleeve attachment seams. Are the seams concealed in some clever way I don't know of, or is it simply knit in one, maybe two pieces? I think I've seen something with similar shoulders and neck in one of my craft magazines. As soon as I get back to the flat I'll go through my enourmous pile of magazines and see if I can find it. I really want to make this cardigan!


Swaps Galore

(For my Matrioshka Doll Swap partner koi, if you by any chance read this and haven't recieved your package yet, it will spoil the surprise!)

Here are the photos of the swap items I've been making that I promised to post.

First some wallets for the Sweat Shop Swap:

I made a bunch to try some different ideas. I'm going to make more of the orange one, the one with green chairs and the retro flower print one and put up for sale on my etsy.
I chose five of them to use for the swap:

And now over to the Matrioshka Doll Swap! I decided to make a stenciled t-shirt, which was on my partners wishlist, and some other useful trinkets.

T-shirt sizes can be trucky when you don't have the right measurements. I had a men's size small baggy white t-shirt to start with and needed to transform it to a size small womens t-shirt... I looked up clothing patterns for measurements, and did my best, hopefully it fits. At least I'm certain it won't be to small! Then I got to the fun part stenciling! I made the stencils from adhesive plastic. The black lines are done with a fabric marker.

I loved the result and I'll have to make one of these for myself. It was really sad to part with it! Hopefully koi will like it as much as I do!
The notecards below are made from magazines that I surprisingly, but also very conveniently, found in one of Chris's stock magazines a week after starting the swap.

I also wanted to use one of the cross-stitch diagrams I designed, so I made a cross stitch keyring to go with the rest.


The grass is greener on the other side

I am blogging from my brother Adam's student's room in a Stockholm suburb. It's my last night here and I thought I'd give a brief account of my visit. I've done the necessary walk in the city, but this time I had Adam as a guide, which was far more enjoyable than getting lost on my own as I did last time I was here. He took us out to eat at one of his favorite restaurants, Same Same But Different, a thai place on Södermalm. Getting used to the dim rooms, lit only by fluorescent UV-lights and a candle or two took some time. The food was all right, very spicy indeed. Definitely a fun place to have lunch, and probably an awesome bar in the evenings, but beware of the washrooms! People washing their hands only need to turn their heads slightly to get a view straight into one of the booths. I learned the hard way. I won't tell if I was the one washing or weeing, though. ;)

We spent day two in the archipelago on the quaint island Grinda. It takes a good two hours by boat to get out there, but it's a nice boat trip. Out there I saw this:

Apparently in Stockholm, like everywhere else, the grass is greener on the other side...

Today, on our third day, dad and I went to Sigtuna, a small town with a with ancient church ruins and rune stones everywhere. Interesting, indeed.

Before I end this for the night, I have some crafting content. I've been working on the theme matrioshka dolls, because of a swap I am organizing on craftster. I've been trying different techniques on the theme, and here is one of my favourites, cross stitch on a thrifted remodelled giant tee:

I'm very proud of the fact that I designed the cross stitch diagram myself! I'll see if I can post a template here if anyone is interested.

I will be back soon with more matrioshka doll stuff, and also some pictures of the wallets I made for the Sweat Shop Swap.



Seaside Knitting + Finished Shrug

I finished my circular shrug and decided to get some action shots. It's made from a pattern I found on a craftster knit-a-long. I wanted a shiny fancy yarn as I intended to wear the shrug to a wedding, so I used Garnstudio's Cotton Viscose in dark grey. The wedding was in April and I finished the shrug yesterday, so that plan didn't work out. But I'm still very pleased with it and find it very wearable.

Grey, Grey, Grey, What A Rainy Day!

And The Back...

At the beginning of this week I went on a mini vacation with friends Jess and Jo. We drove southwards along the coast to Varberg where we rented a cabin for 2 nights.

Ice Cream Man Welcoming Us

It rained non-stop, with the exception for tuesday afternoon. In addition Jo had was overworked and had a bad cold, so we spent a lot of time indoors chatting and watching American talk shows. Cozy indoor chats and crappy tv both are both great opportunities to multitask and do some knitting, and so I did.

Knitting On The Rocks

I worked half way through my cabled vest, just to realise I'm probably never going to wear it. I'll put it away for now. Maybe I'll finish it some other time, maybe I'll frog it and use the yarn for something else. I also finished a rather short version of the Falling Water Lace Scarf(PDF-link) in some kind of blue mohair blend that I bought at the Red Cross. Not sure if I'll ever wear it. I'm starting all kinds of small projects, but I'm not really inspired for any of them. I just want to get started on my Flicca. I purchased the pattern today. But I won't be able to afford any yarn until I'm off my cheapskate summer budget. I'm trying to decide whether I should go with Garnstudio's Eskimo or Lovikka Yarn. It's going to be one warm coat, both yarns are 100% wool!

Good Night All!


Circular Shrug and Fitting Doll Pictures!

Hooray! I only have 7 cm to go on my circular shrug! I cast on for it in February with the intention to wear it to a wedding in April. Lofty ambitions, indeed. No need to say I was doomed to fail on that goal. It's a small gauge project and quite monotonous too, as it's essentially just one long rectangular piece. A typical "TV-knit" or "bus-knit".

The ribbing is 400 sts wide and the main part is 200 sts wide in mock rib stitch. By know I have knit 53 cm on the 3 mm needles I'm using. But now I can see the end of it, that's what keeps me going.

Just for fun I compared it to one of my other projects, a cabled vest of which I've knit 1/3 in 3 days...

I'm not a big fan of chunky knits, I think they usually turn out too bulky for my taste. But I might be on the verge of expanding my horizons, after all I'm knitting a vest on 6 mm needles. And the othe day I had a look around and found a project that really fell into my liking: http://soknitpickygallery.blogspot.com/2007/05/shopping-tunic.html. Doesn't it look wonderfully warm and cosy? Makes me think of windy autumn days... (:

And just because I've been going on and on about it in previous posts, my duct tape dress form is finished and I have pictures!

We chose the worst day possible to make this. It was the hottest summer day of the year with 32 degrees celsius outside and glaring sunlight flooding in through the windows. Our apartment has no balcony and is very easily heated to a nice sauna temperature. To that, add having duct tape firmly wrapped around your chest and upper body. It's a miracle we didn't pass out!

The dress forms however turned out great and are extremely useful.


Finished Cardigan!

Finally I'm done with my cabled cardigan!

The cables run from shoulder to bottom edge and gather in the waist both on front and back.

I chose vintage looking metal buttons to get the right look ;) . There's picot border around all the edges:

As I mentioned in a previous post I had problems with excess shoulder width, so I "cheated" a bit, there's a good 5 cm of the back piece hidden in parts of the side seams:

Looks like I'm not the only one loving my new sweater!