Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Yarn Along 11: Cotton Candy Bobbles

Good morning and welcome to another Yarn Along, as always hosted by Ginny from Small Things.
Again, no new book to show but I think that will change next week, so stay tuned =)
But I've always some knitting to show and today it's my Cotton Candy Bobbles. The pattern is Bobble-Vine Jacket by Edie Eckman and it truly was love at first sight. Now I'm new to the whole bobble knitting business and it shows. Some bobbles look better than others and I severely have to restrain my petty knitting self from ripping back in order to knit every bobble perfectly. There will be many bobbles to knit on this cardigan so I decided to see it as good practice and I will leave the not so perfect looking bobbles untouched. Boy, I'm sweating just writing this =) There is a bit of cable-action, too and twisting of stitches and I have to pay a lot of attention to the chart. Which sadly isn't of very good quality, it's tiny and a bit blurry so blowing it up doesn't work as it only gets blurrier.
Want to take a closer look on the bobbles? Here you go:
I'm using Cascade 220 Wool in the colourway "Tutu". If you take a look at my projects page on Ravelry you can see that I ripped my "Asymmetrical Cabled Cardi" so that I can start on the bobbled cardigan. Well, I probably would have ripped the cabled cardi anyway, the pattern wasn't that good and many people made many modifications and I lost heart very early. The cables were just a tad too bulky and I found the instructions confusing in general. I had ordered the yarn online a while ago and it was intended for many things since then and ripped a lot. Ordering online isn't easy when it comes to colour choices. Every computer screen shows colours differently and the colours might already be off in the pictures to begin with. I admit that I had expected a slightly lighter pink so when I opened the box and took a first look on the yarn all I could say was "oink". But I rather like it now (maybe it was just the initial shock that it indeed was THAT pink) and I like how the bobbles look in that colour. The edges of the cardigan curl like crazy in the stockinette parts but I hope that will subside as the cardigan grows. There will be a bit of crocheting around the edges so that should definitely do the trick. I hope.

Have a lovely wednesday and do pop over to Ginny's so you can look at all the lovely projects and books!

Monday, 19 September 2011

Opportunities

Today I watched "Evan Almighty" on DVD. Not for the first time. I have seen this movie often, just like the prequel "Bruce Almighty". There is a lot in "Evan" that I don't like, Steve Carell does a bit too much screaming and falling down for example. And I cringe at most of the animal scenes, they may look funny but if you look closely you will see that many animals don't look that happy and from what I read about Kevin James' new movie "Zookeeper", there's often a lot of cruel business going on with animals on film sets. That's probably the main reason why I like the first "Almighty" movie better. But you just got to love Morgan Freeman as God. In my opinion he plays Him wonderfully, it just makes me happy to watch him in this role. Apart from all the funny and goofy stuff in those movies, there are certain scenes and dialogues that linger a long time after I turned off the TV. Sadly not as long as they should...

"How do you change the world? One single act of random kindness at a time."

"Let me ask you something. If one prays for patience, do you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If they pray for courage, does God give them courage, or does he give them opportunities to be courageous? If one prayed for their family to be closer, you think God zaps them with warm, fuzzy feelings? Or does he give them opportunities to love each other?"

God gives us endless opportunities to be all he wants us to be, we just have to seize them. This can be so hard and uncomfortable sometimes that we so often choose to sit on our hands and let those opportunities pass by, unseized and maybe even unnoticed. But He never said it would be easy!
And one single act of random kindness? How hard can that be?? Nobody expects us to change the world completely at once, today, all by ourselves. But one single act of random kindness, that should be possible to accomplish.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not accusing you of forgetting all this. I'm accusing me. I'm accusing me for sitting on my hands so often, feeling sorry for myself and letting countless opportunities fly by, unseized. This habit ends today.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Love for old things

I just have to share my newest acquisitions with you: 3 very old coffeemills!! That's right, not one - three! I've always been deeply in love with old things, or vintage goodies as they are called now =) I hardly ever use the word though, particularly because the fashion world in my eyes disgraced the word "vintage" by using it for just another fashion craze that I don't care for anyway. So for me they are just lovely old things, ideally connected with memories. I have inherited many things from my beloved grandmother, but not nearly as much as I'd liked. I was 15 years old when she died and had very little say in what I could keep of her stuff and what not. I secretly squirreled away as much as I could to my room while my parents were throwing most of her things away, partly because they thought it to be rubbish and partly because of some weird form of grief. I cried many tears because I would have loved to keep much more of her stuff and I thought (and still think) that it was an insult to my grandmother's memory to so hastily throw out things she had cared for greatly. I was allowed to keep a lot of dishes though and some cutlery as well. I packed it up in boxes and was looking forward to the day when I would finally be able to take it to my own home. Once in a while I opened the boxes just to look at all the pretty stuff. Sadly I had to realize that some of it was missing. My mother had developed a taste for it after all and felt it was her right to take whatever she wanted. Which was mostly cutlery. Nice, huh? And she won't give it back to this day. Considering that she had wanted to throw it all away, she could at least have the decency to ask.

But back to the coffeemills. I always wanted to have one - not the kind that runs with electricity though! I wanted an old one with a hand crank and a little drawer where the ground coffee would fall into. And will you look at those glorious mills! A cousin of my mother's collected coffeemills but now she moved into a smaller apartment and doesn't have enough room for her collection anymore. Another cousin of my mother's who actually is my godmother (with whom I stand in close contact and whom I like very much) speaks with her on the phone on a regular basis and immediately suggested that she could give me some of her coffeemills and telling her that I would never sell them or give them away otherwise but would treasure them as I treasure everything that once belonged to my grandmother. So this cousin not only gave me the coffeemill that once belonged to my grandmother, but also one that belonged to my great-grandmother, whom I never got to know. And she threw in a third one from someone else I don't know. 
The small one on the right is the one that belonged to my Oma (that's German for "Granny"), the one in the middle is the oldest and belonged to my great-grandmother (my Oma's mother) and the one on the left is the one from someone unknown to me. I'm so happy with them and I hope I can actually use them or one of them to grind coffeebeans. They are pretty greasy and dirty though and I still need to do some cleaning and maybe also a bit of refurbishing. I'm not sure of a good place for displaying them yet, our kitchen is very tiny and the surfaces are already too full but I'm sure I will find a good spot. Otherwise they will be put into boxes for later when we will have more room and maybe a bigger kitchen. I will certainly pull the coffeemills out once in a while to pet them and adore them and then put them safely back, dreaming of the day when I can display them oh so proudly. Some things never change.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Yarn Along 10

I'm again joining Ginny in her Yarn Along today. I don't know why it's just Yarn Along blogposts these days but I strongly suspect all the knitting. I have several things I would like to blog about but I'm knitting and knitting and knitting some more. In fact I once again have slight tendonitis problems which often come after hours of knitting at a tight gauge. Sticky, sweaty fingers and wooden needles don't help with that, no no. I'm showing you two pictures, the first one comes closer to the actual colours but the second one shows the stitches better!

No new book this week as LOTR is quite a giant opus both literally and metaphorically speaking!

Knittingwise I've finished the first mitten of the "Lady of the Wood mittens" and I'm quite pleased with the result. The process itself was such an ordeal and so hard on my hands and wrists but that could have been partly due to the frustration and crampy knitting. I must have knitted 4 mittens so far but only kept one version. It's not that the pattern isn't good, it's really nice and easy and knitting with beads is surprisingly easy, too. But to find the right size, gauge, needle size, total stitch number... a really frustrating piece of work in that case. I know that my hands are very small, but they must be even tinier than I thought. I started with the stitch count given in the pattern and knitted with a 2,00 mm needle. And believe me, I am a tight knitter!! (again, hello tendonitis!) The mitt was much too big. The next was too small. To cut the long story short, I tried everything: various needle sizes, less repeats of the pattern, smaller thumb gusset... In the end I went with fewer stitches on larger needles. It's not as perfect as I would have liked but it's nice and pretty and I just have to let it go now =) Plus my lace yarn was heavier than what others used for the pattern so that might have been a problem, too.
I suspect the real problem is that my wrists are so very narrow in relation to my palms and especially my thumb balls, that I just can't get the mittens over my hand if I knit them to tightly fit my wrists. But enough of that now, I'm going crazy... letting go and being satisfied now. Period.

I've also seamed the first of my "Mermaid's Gauntlets" by now and started the second one (currently parked on double pointed needles because I needed the circular needle for the third project in the picture. I need more needles! Or fewer projects. No, more needles. Seriously! But I'm being frugal and shift projects around so I don't need to buy more needles of the same size.).

And as if I haven't enough to work on already I started something from my queue today: "Stjärna" by Karolina Eckerdal. I hope this will work out, as it seems to be a great way to use up odd balls of yarn or even leftovers. A smooth cotton yarn might not have been the best way to go but the sheen is so nice and I want it to be something decorative and festive for Christmas. The construction seems to be quite interesting, I'm curious how it will turn out!

Now I'm off to take a look at YOUR wonderful projects and book suggestions! =)

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Yarn Along 9

Good morning!
I've been away too long... I missed two Yarn Alongs and I surely missed seeing all your wonderful projects. But now I'm back in the business and I'm happy to join Ginny in her weekly Yarn Along today.

A few months ago I started reading Tolkien's fantastic "The Lord of the Rings" again. It's been many years since I had last read it. I've watched the movies many times since then, but of course it's not the same. My copy of the book is a German translation but Sebastian has a stunning copy of the English original, with a beautiful cover! My German translation was divided into 6 or seven books (weird, I know), which was nice if you wanted to read in bed. It's easier to hold up a relatively thin book instead of lifting this whole chunky thing. Sebastian's book looks extra thick because it has been read in the bathtub a couple of times and also fallen into the tub by the looks of it. The pages are also starting to come apart so I have to be careful - but it looks positively ancient and I love it =)
I don't know why but I stopped reading after a bit, because of other books I suppose. The book was lying on our coffeetable all of the time, though. Now I've picked it up again (loving every single sentence) because of my current knitting (please click and then click again to see it bigger!):

It's the first mitten of Ann Kingstone's fabulous "Lady of the Wood" mittens. Didn't I promise you beads? Well, here they are. Not many, but oh so pretty. A closer look on the beads maybe? Here you go (why does my hand look so old??):

I had queued the pattern quite some time ago and when my penpal Linda gifted me my first lace yarn ever I gave it a go. Sadly, the brown colour of the yarn is too dark to properly show off the leafy pattern but I like it nevertheless. In any case, I want to knit those mittens again, maybe a pair for every season. I named this version "Lady of the Autumn Wood" because of the dark brown and the copper coloured beads. When I went to purchase the pattern on Ravelry I saw that it belonged to a whole book of wonderful patterns, so I purchased the whole book "Novel Knits" - as an e-book. All the patterns are inspired by literature - J.R.R. Tolkien, Jane Austen, J. K. Rowling - which I find so extremely great that I'm over the moon with my purchase. As you may have guessed the mittens are inspired by "The Lord of the Rings" and I feel very elfin and ladylike already while knitting them. Please ignore the weird orange yarn, it's the provisional cast on for the thumb =) Oh there will be a lot of "novel knitting" in the future, one pattern in the book is prettier than the other!


But I am of course also still knitting on my little KAL with Linda - the Surya shawl. I have to order new needles though, the metal Addi needles are too slippery for this project. Until the wooden needles arrive, I have to put the shawl on hold, I can't knit with the metal needles any longer, it's no fun.


I've finished my Mermaidia socks by now (pictures still to be taken) and cast on for a new pair of socks. Lately I've been frustrated by self-striping sockyarn. I don't know why but there always seems to be at least one colour that doesn't go with the rest and it ruins the whole pretty stripy look. It's like all pretty pastel pink and lavender and then BAM! bright orange stripe. So I'm making my own stripes now which is of course more work than knitting with self-striping yarn but it's fun. And no, these aren't Gryffindor colours. It's yellow and fuchsia but naturally I can't capture the colours correctly. And apparently I'm also not able to get the camera to focus on the right spot so it's a bit blurry. Definitely a field of expertise I need to work on.