Why I don’t go to yarn shops..

Self restraint..? what..? Yarn diet? Budgeting?

I’m having a bit of a gradient craze. I found these yarns at my LYS (Penelope Craft) and had to take them home. I have no idea what I’m going to do with them, but they have a nice wintery feel to them. I think I’ll find something suitable by that time ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s about 300 meters (in total) so it’s enough for something nice ๐Ÿ™‚

I really can’t stop myself. The colors are really great so I had to take these three with me as well.

These were just amazing. Gotland yarn. I know that gotland might not be the most popular fiber out there, but I really like the rustic feel. I’ve spun some gotland in the past, but I haven’t knit my sample just yet.

I bought these with the intention to combine them with the kid mohair singles I bought at the Breidagen Fair in Amersfoort, but I’m not sure if the colors are a match. I like them anyway, so it’s not really a problem ๐Ÿ™‚

And then I found this little hank of yarn. It’s Manx Loaghtan yarn by Woolness. I’ve been spinning some Manx Loaghtan on my spindle (during last year’s Tour de Fleece), and I’m still very happy with the fleece. It spins like a dream and the yarn is rustic and nice. So when I saw it, I knew I had to buy it. Even if it’s just to use in with my won handspun ๐Ÿ™‚

What’s so funny about yarn shops is that you’ll visit one with the intention to just buy one thing. I went with the idea to buy some yarn suitable for baby garments. These two balls is what I went to buy. I came home with a huge bag of yarn, but I’m glad I didn’t forget to buy these two little balls of happiness. My neighbor is a very nice and very pregnant lady. I’m going to knit a little baby jacket. Maybe I’ll go for the baby surprise jacket, but I’m not sure. You may have noticed the gender-neutral color, well that’s because I don’t know if she’ll be having a girl or a boy, so this seemed like the safest choice ๐Ÿ™‚

Trying to feel less doomed..

by re-using fabrics. I wanted to start with something simple and cheap. Simply because I don’t know how much I’ll actually like it, and I don’t want to buy nice and pretty fabrics until I’ve made at least one simple quilt. So this will be my practice quilt. I decided to use some of the old jeans I had in my closet. They were either too big or worn out, so I decided to use what’s left of them for my first quilt. I also had a stack of jeans the BF didn’t want to wear anymore, so I decided to use those as well.

What I’ve already noticed about this quilting business, is that you really need to think ahead. At the moment I’m just practicing with my cutter and I’m just trying to get some nice 3″ squares. I’m happy to say that it’s very similar to cutting forms out for architecture models, but it still puts a strain on my wrist. I think it’s either because I’m using a rotary cutter that is too small (I bought the smallest size…..), and second it’s probably caused by the denim fabric being quite thick. I’ve been trying to pay attention to my posture, but that could have something to do with it as well.

Today I’m taking a little break from the cutting so I can let my hand rest a bit. I do believe that the cleaning, boxing and unboxing of stuff plays a big part as well. I’m using my old cutting mat (which is in cm), and a new quilting ruler (in inches). So far no confusions, but it’s important to keep taking breaks.

I like how the stacks are growing. I chose 3″ squares because I only had size 10 denim jeans at first (my size), and then I found some other (larger) sizes. I’m already used to sewing, so I don’t mind the small size, but I really didn’t want to go any smaller than this. On the other hand, I couldn’t go any larger than this, because of the size 10 jeans.

The picture above shows how many squares I got from my jeans (right) and the stack of squares I got from my BF’s jeans (on the left). That’s almost twice as many squares!

By comparison, the fabric I bought to use as a contrast/complementary fabric (the stack on the left), gives me much less. I’m still very happy with the amount though, it’s a thinner fabric to begin with, so I shouldn’t really compare them. I can’t wait to have all the squares cut out so I can play with the design. I’m still a gamer nerd and I’d like to make a monochromatic version of a scene from Zelda’s Link to the past game. I think it will like nice in blues. I’d like to add some pinks and purples for the hearts and rupies ๐Ÿ™‚

On another note: I finished my “Party in the back” socks and my own vanilla socks. This should actually be an FO post, but I’m too excited about the quilting (sorry). These socks were knit using 2.75mm needles and a Schoppel-Wolle sock yarn. The cheery colors are leftovers from my vanilla sock. I used Drops Fabel sock yarn in 543 Red Orange.

I still need to weave in the ends on the vanilla sock, but it was still wet (I usually weave in before I wash them, but I completely forgot…)

Why I’m doomed..

Curse you Pinterest! ..Flickr! ..Ravelry! ..(just add every awesome site you love here)!

I have way too many hobbies. There are so many things I like (and like doing) it’s not even funny anymore. I new I liked knitting, and then I fell in love with spinning (which I still like). Now there’s gardening and embroidery to add to the list. I already liked drawing and my ‘actual job’, which is architecture/ urbanism, so why not just add something else to the mix.

Let me take a moment to appreciate the fact that I’m not a social kind of person. Don’t get me wrong, I like to hang out with friends and family, but most of all: I just like to be left alone to spend all my time making sure I have less and less time to spend with other people.

Thank you Internet.

Thank you Pinterest.

Thank you, thank you Flickr!

So back to the evil masterplan. I have a lot of old denim lying around and I’m planning on using it as practice material for my first attempt at quilting. I’ve done some sewing in the past so sewing straight lines should (emphasis on should) not be an issue. I also have a bit of an obsessive streak thatย might come handy with precision quilting ๐Ÿ˜›

Before starting my new quilting hobby, I had already caught the embroidery/ cross stitch bug. I feel I’m more comfortable with cross stitch, so I decided on a (rather large) cross stitch project to get me started. I really needed something for during the day. The project I’m working on right now will become 30 x 47 cm, and I’m working in squares of 50 stitches (slightly smaller than 10 cm squares).

If found an awesome painting on Pinterest (which is what I’m making right now), and I’ve already contacted the artist for permission to post it on the blog. If she gives her permission that would be awesome, if she’s not comfortable with it, then I won’t be able to publish much about this project. It’s a personal project meant for practice.

Right now it’s looking something like this. I started out using the smaller ring, but this one is more comfortable. I’m really excited about this project because it’s so nice and brainless. The only drawback was the fact that I didn’t own a thimble (one that would fit me that is). I have small hands (apparently) and the ones I did have were all big. Thankfully, I found one in my size today when I visited the quiltshop.

Though I really like cross stitching, it really needs a lot of light. So I spent my evenings knitting. This here is the ‘party in the back’ sock, I’m knitting for Levi, my cousin’s BF. He seems like a very serious kind of guy when you first meet him, but he has quite a sense of humor, the sneaky devil. So these socks really do match his personality (in my opinion, he might not agree).

In other news: the plants are doing very well! We’ve had some nice warm weather these past few weeks/ days, and I’ve been watering and caring for them to the best of my abilities. We have a lot of wind and not much shelter, so I have to take some of the plants inside during the nights.

The Syrah grape and the banana plant are really not a fan of cold winds, so these are the only plants that currently ‘live’ indoors.

I meant to plant the petunia’s earlier, but then I discovered a huge, fat slug, eating its way through my plants. YUCK! I gently picked it up with a stick and ‘freed’. It can have all the grass and the trees, but please stay out of my petunia’s. (the gate is meant for the bunnies. They spent some time eating my blueberry plant and my Syrah’s leaves, so no balcony time for them, until I’ve managed to raise the plants a bit so they can’t reach them. Zuzu thankfully survived :).

I know that it takes time for a plant to start growing again once it’s been replanted, but this little guy is really taking his sweet time. I can finally see some new buds and leaves starting to grow, but for a while there I thought this little guy wasn’t going to live ๐Ÿ™

It’s a dwarf sized lemon tree, and I really can’t wait to see what it’ll look like when it’s grown up ๐Ÿ™‚

I know it’s really ย not much of a big deal, but I’ve never planted bulbs before in my life, so I’m pretty stoked. The gladiolus (am I spelling this right?) are growing and I’m really looking forward to seeing them bloom.

It’s also the first time I’ve attempted to grow cilantro. The tiny little leaves are looking so cute!

This is the second ‘patch’ of gladiolus. The straws are anti-kitty and are meant to deter the cats from digging and using the pot as their personal kitty litter.

Copyright and inspiration

I think I blatantly copied something, and to my shame I must confess that I’m not really sorry. I’m going to try to credit the owner/ creator of this awesome work, but I don’t know who made it and if it’s the original or a copy as well.

I’ve done some embroidery work when I was much younger. I believe I was about 7 years old when my mother taught me the basics. I’ve also done some cross stitching, but I’ve mostly worked on half cross stitch tapestries. I absolutely loved doing those, but I never got much further with cross stitch, because I was too (young?) lazy to actually think of/ find some interesting patterns. The tapestries (small ones) were so easy because the colors were already printed on them.

Now that I’m older I am much more appreciative of the possibilities it has to offer. I’m sorry for the bad language in this picture.

My stitches are quite wonky and the letters.. I’m usually the type of person who quits and restarts when something isn’t working out (so it’s really a very big deal for me to just finish this piece), but this time I’m willing to suck it up.

Last yearย I posted a list of things I’d like to tell my 19-year-old self. When I wrote that list I believed that I was already over those things, and I was in a position where I could have advised my 19-year-old self about “life”.ย Now, almost a year later, I feel like I’m actually starting to get there. Here’s the list:

1. You are not fat

2. You are not ugly

3. Learn to let go

4.ย Stop caring about what other people will think of you! Follow your dreams! As in get off your lazy butt and stick to it!

5. DON’T BE A QUITTER

I think it would’ve been better to phrase the first two as “learn to love yourself”. I guess that’s also a very important lesson for girls. Obviously I don’t mean to make silly, generalizing statements here, but I think I’m not the only one who’s had a problem with body image…

Learning to let go is a very big thing. I’m still learning to let go, but I can already see that I’ve improved a great deal since last year. I no longer carry things around with me. Letting go is not the same as forgetting and/ or forgiving. It’s just that. Letting go.

Right now I’m working on both 4 and 5. By finishing this piece, and then finishing the other knitting projects i’ve had lying around (for the past 3 years..).

I’m mostly done, but for some leaves on the vine. I’ll keep this little project as something to always remind me of rule number 4 and 5. I’m not saying that I should always finish everything. Sometimes it’s okay to realize that a certain project is just not working out. But if that is the case, then the project should be frogged. I still have 3 projects that have been lying around since forever. I’m not going to frog them, but they must get finished.

Now let me tell you about what I HAVE been growing on my balcony urban farm. I love having fresh mint on my balcony. It’s so easy to grow (it needs a lot of water and we have a lot of rain here). I love mint tea, but I also like some chopped mint leaves in my yoghurt. YUM

Two days ago you could only see some dirt, and now the seedlings are popping out from every crack.

Remember the single seedling in the previous post? The Spanish pepper is doing just fine ๐Ÿ™‚

I ordered a bag of (100) gladiolus bulbsย atย Bakker Hillegom‘s webshop and planted them as soon as they arrived.ย I forgot to cover the soil with sticks (as I usually do to deter my cats from digging/ peeing and sleeping on the plants), and so my cat Kiwi decided to use it as her personal toilet.

I poured a few liters of water over it (to dilute the pee) and hoped for the best. They seem to be fine ๐Ÿ™‚

The dahlia is doing great as well. I’m very happy with the weather we’ve been having these past few days. Last week was cold and very unpleasant, but the last few days were great!

I’m happy that the plants grow while I don’t have to do anything for it, that way I can focus on finishing my vanilla socks ๐Ÿ™‚

Expectations..

It always amazes me how little time you actually need to knit a pair of socks. Knitting socks is not hard, but sometimes it can take forever. Mostly, I think, it’s because we’re not actually knitting. I’m not sure if I’m the only one who thinks this way, or if it’s a common thing, but when I cast on for a sock I have a ‘starting point’. I usually expect the sock to be finished after a maximum of 14 days. This is an expectation based on experience, but also based on nothing at all. I make a mental estimation of how long I will need to knit before I’m done.

Sometimes this system works, and the pair of socks is finished within the estimated time. But other times, a sock seems to never get finished. It seems like I’ve spent weeks and weeks, and even months on a single sock (the first even, not the second) without there being any sign of progress at all.

My new years’ resolution was to knit two pairs of socks every month. I made this resolution based on the estimation of 14 days per sock. It should be doable. But as it turned out, it wasn’t. Right now I’ve just finished my second pair of March socks, and I do believe it’s already May..

So I tried to pay attention to what was going on.ย It’s a very obvious problem when you think of it. I hadn’t been knitting. I’d start knitting and then I’d get distracted. I’d get up to get myself a cup of coffee and decided to go out shopping instead.

I’d like to present my latest FO: vanilla socks. I actually really like vanilla (and they’re also very comfortable). I knit this on the way to “Tropical Islands“. It’s a ‘tropical’ park under a dome near Berlin, Germany. It’s a 6 hour drive, but we took our sweet time and enjoyed the small road trip ๐Ÿ™‚

I spent most of my time knitting, and actually finished these socks on the way. I thankfully had the presence of mind to bring some sock yarn with me, so on the way back I managed to cast on for another pair of socks.

We drove in the evening on the way to the park so I couldn’t enjoy the surroundings as much. This resulted in a LOT of knitting and talking. On the way back we drove while it was sunny and pleasant out, so there was a lot more to see. This resulted in a lot less knitting (distraction).

I think it’s very interesting to see how visual stimulants can distract a person from knitting. I don’t look at my knitting. I like knitting vanilla socks because I don’t have to look or count. I just have to let my hands do the work. But still I managed to knit a lot less during the day compared to what I knit during the night. This is the exact opposite of what I had been expecting.

This also made me realize that I don’t spend enough time knitting. I start my projects, I expect them to be done after a while, but I never give (some of) them enough attention.

The opposite goes for my plants. I give them a lot of attention and make sure to give them extra fertilizer etc. when they need it, however I never expect them to grow. I hope, but I don’t expect.

When I plant little seeds in the soil and I know that this is a hot Spanish pepper I’m planting in the (in comparison) much colder climate of Holland, I never expect to see a little sprouting seedling. I hope to see them, but I’m always amazed when I do.

When my uncle bought me a Dahlia bulb when we were at the Keukenhof, I carefully planted it, but I never expected it to actually grow. I hoped that it would, so I could show my uncle how pretty the plant will be and how beautiful the flower will grow. I hoped that it would grow, but even thought it is to be expected, I did not plant it with the expectation to grow, but with something that feels like curiosity and hope for the future.

I don’t have any expectations of these things because they are not in my hand and outside my control. I can nurture them and care for them, but I cannot grow for them. Or force them to grow. All I can do is create a nice environment for them to thrive. I can water them, I can ‘feed’ them and I can shelter them when it gets cold outside, or put them back outside when the sun is shining.

I don’t have expectations, when perhaps I could. After all, isn’t that what life does? Isn’t it logical that life grows? These plants might grow even if I never water them, or take them inside during the nights. But my sock will not.

I hereby officially end my silly new years resolution. The idea to knit more socks for myself and the BF is not bad, the method of execution, was. I like knitting socks,ย but this was taking the fun out of something I really enjoy doing. I like knitting vanilla socks, but I also really enjoy knitting socks with very interesting patterns.

Socks are not plants. Plants need love, socks need some actually knitting to grow.

end of rant

FO: Socks :)

You know, it can be a bit hard to admit that I’m probably not going to be able to knit 24 pairs of socks this year. It’s a bummer on the one hand, but on the other hand I’m happy with the organizing and cleaning up I’m doing. Another point is that the BF asked me to stop knitting socks for him. He wasn’t trying to be mean. He just never wears them because he has very warm feet. He’ll only wear them in the winter, and he felt bad about me using all my sockyarn to knit him socks he probably won’t wear much.

So instead, I’ll try to knit 1 pair of socks each month. I finished maelstrom a while ago, but it’s so incredibly comfortable I’ve been wearing it a LOT…

Then there’s Linex3. The pattern doesn’t really match up in my socks but that’s because I did something stoopid. The pattern is perfect and very well written, I just messed up the first sock. Obviously I only found out after I started on the second sock and by then I couldn’t be bothered to frog and re-knit the first one.

I know I’ll knit both of these socks again because the patterns are really awesome ๐Ÿ™‚ Both socks have been knit using Dutch Wool Diva yarns (Loki and Heaven of lost souls). They’re so comfy and cushiony (if that’s even a word).

Not much of a finished sock yet, but I’m working on another vanilla sock using Schoppel-Wolle admiral ombrรฉ in ‘rotes laub’. I love the color ๐Ÿ™‚

How do you like my gray wall? ๐Ÿ™‚ I like the way it makes the colors pop on the knitting ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Keukenhof

Hey look! it’s another post! This is going to be a very picture heavy post to make up for the lack of posting. I went to the Keukenhofย and decided to take the camera en try my hand at photographing flowers and nature. I’m still learning so If you have any tips or critiques please leave them below ๐Ÿ™‚ I haven’t edited the pictures (other than crop them and the ones I snapped at the end of the day needed a little extra lighting).

I must admit (to my shame) that this was the first time I ever visited the Keukenhof. It was exactly how I imagined it. It was beautiful and very colorful, but also extremely crowded (well duh). It’s understandable, but the masses of people do take away some of the magic. I’d like to visit again on a monday morning and see what it’s like.

I think the reason behind my shock was that I’ve seen so many pictures of the keukenhof and I’ve never seen any people in them. Of course many of those shots were promotional and meant for posters and calenders etc. But now, while posting my own pictures, I understand why.

I don’t mean to sound like some cranky people hater (lol). All I’m trying to say is try not to get distracted by the people and the surroundings. Now that I’m looking to the pictures I can really appreciate them even more. It’s much easier to appreciate nature’s beauty in solitude and silence, rather than with three photographers lying on their bellies and have people stepping over you ๐Ÿ˜›

This trip was also an exercise in using the settings on my ‘new’ camera. It was very interesting to see the difference it can make ๐Ÿ™‚

 

I made a lot of these, but this one really stood out. The first picture is what I would normally have produced, but the second picture is what I’ve always wanted.


I completely forgot to write down/ photograph the names of all these lovely flowers. There looked very odd to me for some strange reason.

But the colors were amazing.

Although I’d seen this plant before (I think my mom used to have one of these in the living room), I’d never actually taken the time to look. Plants are seriously amazing.

Obligatory tulip shotย I was amazed at the colors and the ‘gradient’ on this tulip.

From a distance this plant looked like it was covered in either snow or flour.

This is only a small selection of the pictures. I haven’t had time to look at all of them yet, so I’ll be sure to post some next time. In the mean time I’d like to show you something I’ve been working on.

I’m nearly done with my new workspace. There’s still so much left to do (I’ve already fixed the cables so it already looks much better).

While cleaning and working and trying to make this happen I realized how incredibly disorganized I actually am. Nothing has it’s own space/ shelf/ box. Everything is just completely mixed together and I’m never able to find anything. By now more than 5 boxes (the large ones below) are organized, so I’m very happy with the way things are going.

Now you know why I haven’t been posting as much as I’d like. I have, however, been knitting.. I still owe the blog some nice FO pictures, but that (again) will have to wait a bit longer.

One of the most important things is the blanket. It is finished. Again, no FO pictures just yet, but at least it’s done and baby Yara is now snuggling her blanky ๐Ÿ™‚

It was such a fantastic and brainless knit. It was exactly what I needed in this time of chaos and disorganization. I won’t make any promises to myself. I really love to blog more often, but I’ve caught the organizing bug and I can’t stop (I really don’t want to stop.. I reaaallly need to organize my life for once so sorry). ๐Ÿ™‚