Hygge CAL

It’s taken me a bit of time, but I’ve finally joined the Hygge CAL and I couldn’t be happier! I’ve heard some stories about how the bubble stitch doesn’t pop, and people who don’t get gauge and whatnot, but to be honest I haven’t had any problems so far. I’m a loose knitter, but apparently I also crochet on the loose side, so maybe that helps? I did tug on the last stitch to keep it tight, maybe that has something to do with it? I don’t know. Either way, super happy with the way it’s turning out ๐Ÿ™‚

I guess I’m either very low maintenance, lucky or just risky, because I cast on (do you say that with crochet as well?) without even so much as a gauge swatch! Oh snap! I guess I’ll see where I end up and if I have to get another ball of yarn at some point, but I don’t really mind. I like my wraps drapey and I like my stitches on the loose side (because I’m paranoid about my wrists people :P)

Look at the cuteness! I’m making mine in “Pastel” and I’m loving it! It’s not going to be mine to be honest, I’m making this one for my new baby ๐Ÿ™‚ I know a baby isn’t going to need a full sized wrap, but I probably will when I’m breastfeeding. I also plan on using it as a little blanket (just folded up).

I had a bit of a hard time choosing which one I wanted to make. Most people want the rainbow, the mermaid went like crazy, but the pastel seemed less popular. It’s funny to me because the moment I saw the pastel I fell in love with it, it’s just not really my colors. I’m a “fall” type, and pastel colors make me look.. eh.. ‘unhealthy’. On the other hand they’re absolutely perfect for a spring time baby, so I just went for it. There’s going to be a pink one as well, but I felt that one was a bit too pink for my liking.

I had never crocheted the bubble stitch before, but I honestly can’t get enough. I love how cute and adorable they are, I love how the colors look together and I love working on this thing. It’s really entertaining! I’m obviously only working on “week 1”, and I believe we’re almost in week 3, so I’m a bit behind, but I don’t mind at all ๐Ÿ™‚

So, a short and sweet little update ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m going to crochet some more! are you considering to join? you can also choose your own colors if you prefer! Go check Kirsten’sย blog! It’s the designers blog and she’s made a post about her favorite combinations!

happy knittingย crocheting!

ps: updated because I was missing a paragraph and some words ๐Ÿ™‚

Socks! Yay!

It took me so long to write this post I’m already done. No FO post today, but still a nice update ๐Ÿ™‚ I finshed the warming up socks last night and I love them! While working on these socks I learned a few very valuable lessons I’d like to share with you.

I’ve always been a lazy sock knitter. The idea of casting on more stitches and moving down a size was unthinkable. The interesting thing is how much pride I took in being a lazy sock knitter. It’s like a kid half-assing highschool and boasting about it. Which, incidentally, is exactly what I did during highschool. I half-assed everything and had the least amount of exams of anyone in the entire school, and I felt so good about myself haha.

So here’s the thing. The pattern calls for a 2,25mm needle and the last (and only) time I actually knit socks on a 2.25mm needle was when I was knitting my skew socks. I hated the process so much that I decided I’d never knit on 2.25 needles ever again. But knitting this sock was a completely different experience. Apparently I don’t like knitting socks on steel needles. They hurt my hands because they’re not as flexible as wooden needles. The tips of the needles I used when knitting Skew were too blunt. It was a real chore to knit with those needles and on top of that the yarn was handspun and too tightly plied so there was hardly any flexibility at all.

All of this gave me a good dose of hesitation every time I wanted to knit socks with 2.25mm needles.

Another thing I really learned to appreciate was the pattern. It was engaging and different than the socks I’ve knit so far. I guess now I know that the main reason I stopped knitting socks wasn’t that I didn’t have time or didn’t like to knit socks anymore, but I had unknowingly placed a limit on myself and I was just getting bored of this limit. I was only ‘allowed’ to knit with 2.5mm and I was only ‘allowed’ to knit vanilla socks. Boring!

I usually didn’t do colorwork knitting on socks either, because to me it felt like the process would take a lot longer. I think it actually happened: I became a process knitter instead of a project knitter. Who would’ve thought. I guess growth is always possible <3 Anyway, back to the knitting. I learned the Jacquard ladder technique. I think it’s not really suitable for this particular pattern of stranded knitting because the floats aren’t that big, but it was nice to practice with it anyway. The idea is that you use the double knitting technique to ‘double knit’ the floats. So you pick up an extra stitch on the inside and purl it from the right side, as you would do with double knitting. This technique is so much better than the twisting the float around the working yarn technique I used because it’s really invisible. I knit this one too tight, so you can still see indentions on the right side, but the second sock was much better already.

I still think that this pattern isn’t suitable for this technique, and in future I’ll only use it on longer floats, but a whole new world of socks just opened up to me, because honestly knitting a sock inside out kinda sucks ๐Ÿ˜›

I was going for a set of mismatched socks because they’re for DH and he always wears mismatched socks. It’s become a thing and I’m going to be knitting a lot of mismatched/ fraternal socks because I read that people who wear crazy socks are awesome (or something in those lines). Apparently it’s a trait that most creative people share. I’m personally not one of those people, but I guess I can live with fraternal socks ๐Ÿ™‚

Now I don’t know if this is true or not, but I’m going to choose to see this as an act of inner and personal growth. I’m blogging this and I don’t have perfect FO pictures. I just have the documented process on instagram and ravelry. I haven’t even washed/ blocked the second sock and I’m already doing this. 2012 me would die of shock haha.

Another thing I learned about myself is that, even though I don’t have problems with second sock syndrome, knitting fraternal socks is:
a: a lot of fun because it feels like a new sock all together.
b: is more yarn efficient, because I used 2 50 gram bals of yarn and otherwise I would’ve needed another ball of charcoal invicta extra to finish this pair. So much more efficient.

So I joined Sock Madness 11 and I can’t wait for it to begin. I don’t even care if I’m out of the race in the first round. I’m going to participate for the fun, the learning experience and to bask in my new found appreciation of the process of sock knitting. As a tribute to sock knitting we launched our first ever own handdyed sock brand: Sticks & Cups Socksanity. Why you ask? Because I want to knit socks dammit. That’s why <3

I honestly don’t mind the shameless plug, but I’m so incredibly happy with them!

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happy knitting!

goodbye 2016

Though it’s already February, and I’ve completely missed my blogiversary, I stil feel I should finish the post I started in December 2016. I started this blog 8 years ago on January 19th on blogger. It was a bit awkward and I was searching for something, anything. What I found was self acceptance, and more creative energy than I could ever dream of. I found a way to channel my inner creative being and just be. I started this blog because I felt like there was this creative monster residing in me that just wanted to be unleashed. I did everything I could find. Besides the studies in architecture and urbanism I was looking for something I could find myself in. So I tried a lot of things, airbrush, art, journaling, singing, writing, crochet, felting, sewing, knitting.

I guess knitting stuck. This blog changed who I am, made me a better version of me, a more focussed me. A me with better memories. Every time I look at this blog I remember the awesome (and not so awesome) things that have happened. It’s a reflection of my daily life, and without it, as it turns out, I actually feel rather lost.

It’s with this history in mind that, as the year was coming to an end, I heard and read a lot of people saying that 2016 was a shitty year. And, though a lot of terrible things have happened, on a personal level this was one of the better years.

Obviously 2015 was my greatest year yet, but 2016 was the year my little man turned 1 years old, when he learned to walk (run mostly… running is definitely his thing), and it’s the year where I feel that my 30s are beginning to kick in.

Obviously the new job title as yarn shop owner is helping tremendously. All of the sudden you go from couch potato to running and working 7 days a week. Looking back I see how, at the beginning of the year, I was looking desperately for structure and balance in my life. I’ve never really been one to sit at home and look at the walls all day. I need to do shit and get out of the house. But back then I didn’t have much to do and I structured my life around the naps and the time I had to blog. The time I spent ‘working’ on things was desperately measured out, and every disruptance or disturbanceย would actually stress me out so much a whole day would be ruined.

I’ve written about the ugly monster of depression a lot, so I’m sorry if this is repetitive and/ or boring, but he’s always hiding in the shadows. Waiting for that unguarded moment. Even though I thought I was ‘on top of things’, and happy, I was in fact lost and sinking deeper without even realizing it. I wasn’t knitting, I wasn’t blogging, I wasn’t doing the things that make me happy. I had unknowingly reduced my life to trying to control and micromanage the most insignificant little details of my life. Simply because I wasn’t in control of anything in life.

And then the yarn shop happened, or at least, the idea of the shop happened. On the 4th of april, which is also why I haven’t blogged between march and the end of June.

I saw everybody post “best nine” photos on instagram and I realized I haven’t posted anything since September and I felt really bad haha.

I’m not sure if I can actually reduce all of 2016 to the best nine, so here’s an attempt at a recap.

So here’s a list of FO’s and accomplishments of 2016. I actually forgot some of them, and some of them have already been blogged about. But since this is a 2016 recap I’m going to post them anyway.

I finished Ma’iqs blanket and he’s been sleeping on it every nap and night since it was finished.

I can’t believe this, but the shop is such a huge part of me and my life, but it feels like it’s always been there. It’s almost like having a baby, at first the baby isn’t there and you can’t imagine life with a baby, then you can’t remember what it was like without the baby. I can’t imagine life without the shop either, and seeing this picture feels like seeing a very old picture in a very old album.

My garden. I absolutely love my garden. I’ve never had a garden before and this garden was neglected like it was nobody’s business. Starting up a garden while moving to a new house, while looking for a new lifestyle and overall putting way too much pressure on myself might not have been the best way to go in hindsight. Now, a year later, I have even bigger plans, but this time I’m prepared and ready. Even though it was a bit hard at first, it absolutely worked, as the image above shows. This was a random day of plucking ๐Ÿ™‚

I had never planted broccoli and cauliflower, but it was a huge succes and they were delicious. You can see (on the top right) what the soil looks like in this area. It’s not fertile and it’s pretty much dead. When they build these new neighborhoods they cover huge areas with sand because it’s better and more stable for building, but it does mean that the soil is basically dead. It takes a few years for any life to find these gardens again, and it makes for a lot of trouble if you expect things to “just grow” in the dead sand.

So in order to be able to build a bit of quality earth I bought planting soil from the gardening store and mixed it with a bit of the sand. On top of that we’re building new soil by way of compost. We try to keep everything to rebuild the soil. We also use the bunny droppings on the compost heap.

Before I start planting this year I’m getting help building raised beds. The soil is not only very hard, it’s also covered in pebbles. I’m not sure if you remember what my garden looked like, but it was covered in plastic and layered with rocks. A very low maintenance yard, but there was less life than you’d find in the desert. When removing the pebbles and the plastic I tried to loosen the soil as much as possible, but there were a lot of ‘sunken’ rocks that I couldn’t get out of the way. As you can see my carrots had some issues with these rocks. This is the way they came out of the dirt, I haven’t cut them.

So the plan is to have raised beds on the sides of the garden and have rubber mats in the middle so Ma’iq can still play outside, without stumbling over all the veggies and fruits. This way I can allot more space for the angora bunnies and I don’t have to break my back checking on the garden. win/win/win ๐Ÿ™‚

In knitting news I had completely forgotten about this project. I was looking for a “poncho” ย for boys and I designed this for Ma’iq. It’s something between a a poncho and a body warmer, but he has a lot of freedom to move around. What I did notice is that the neck opening should be a bit roomier. I not only completely forgot about this project, it was going to be a pattern, so I’m going to have to write it down again.

I’m still happy with the way it turned out, and if I managed to design a better neck opening it’s going to be ready for testing ๐Ÿ™‚

I can’t even remember exactly when I started, worked on, or finished this thing, but apparently it happened! I really love this poncho, it’s nice and big and it’s very comfy, but for some reason not blogging about it made me completely forget about it ๐Ÿ™

The same goes for these socks. I remember what happened to them and where they went (and I’m happy they went there!) but I can’t remember knitting them. It’s so odd. I was actually confused when I saw this picture at first but when I remembered I was even more confused as to why I had forgotten about them.

Besides these projects I’ve actually only been working on shop related things. I had pretty, translucent bags made for the shops, and I’ve only been working on shop related knitting:

This is a free pattern by lionbrand, the yarn is Peru by scheepjes. I wanted to test it and see what it would look like. I mostly sell Scheepjes yarns, but it’s always nice to knit something to see what it does in different situations.

What I love most is to experiment with different yarns to see how they behave. The top picture was knit with Scheepjes Peru, the bottom hats are knit with the same needle size and the same pattern, but with Scheepjes Pittsburg held double. I have to say I like the crispness of the cables in this picture. The Peru one has a softer quality. Obviously the filter is helping too, ย but they’re a lot more crisp in real life too. This was a very interesting experiment!

This is “waiting for the rain” in einband lopi to show both the yarn and the pattern, because we also do in-store-ravelry sales and having a sample works a lot better than just printing a picture.

I love how this turned out! I stress-knit it while in France in September and I remember having to stop because my hand started to hurt. Then when I was getting better and could knit again I didn’t have enough yarn and had to stop knitting.

Of course I can’t blog without thanking my little helper for being a huge part of my inspiration. This little monster is so active I have a hard time keeping up ๐Ÿ™‚ But he looks so good in knitting <3

Here he is running around with the handspun seahorse vest I knit him in September. It took a while to finish and it’s really too big for him, but it’s okay, he looks adorable in it haha ๐Ÿ˜€

So now that we have covered the strange year of 2016, lets move forward with 2017! Happy 8th bloggiversary to me! <3

I joined the madness of Sock Madness 11 and I’ve plundered my stash for sock yarn. I’ll tell you all about it next time (because I have beads and they arrived at the shop today and I need to see them and organize them first before I can make any decisions!

Happy knitting! <3

FO: Romeo

Starting the new year with a bang! This one took forever, but now that it’s done I’m really excited about it!

I cast on for this project on December 12, 2015. I already had an image in mind, but I didn’t know how to execute the plans, so progress was slow. I wanted a traditional, but very untraditional vest for DH. Personally, I’m a big fan of argyle vests, because they’re classy and timeless, but at the same time they’re also oldfashioned and, well.. kind of ‘in-your-face’ with their argyliness.. (that’s not a word, I know).

So here I am. Ordering a tonal, dark colored yarn to make DH an argyle vest. So I went with cables instead. A very subdued and understated argyle that completely covers the vest. There’s no denying that this is an argyle vest, but it’s, at the same time, not a traditional one.

One of the problems I have to deal with when buying clothes is how tight and snug they can be, and while we’re always only focussed on ourselves, I noticed that men deal with the same issues we deal with. So I went for the opposite of what I found in the stores, a slim fit around the shoulders and arms, and a bit looser around the body.

Usually when designing something I have a clear vision in my mind of what I’d like to do with the top part, but with this project it was a total blank. This is (also) what caused this project to chill in the hibernation corner for so long. The knitting itself didn’t take any time at all, it’s the thought process behind the knitting that seemed to take forever.

There’s a lot of tiny details that I haven’t been able to capture with artificial light and my phone, but since I’m working on the pattern right now I’m not too worried.

One of the biggest issues I have with blogging is being a bit too difficult when it comes to photography. I need everything to be perfect all the time, but that’s why I can’t keep blogging. I don’t have the time to take pictures during the day (with the shop and all) and I can’t keep this not-blogging up anymore. It’s seriously giving me a headache.

Though I haven’t been posting (and honestly, I haven’t really been knitting either), I’ve never really left. I’ve always been thinking about this blog and I’ve always been feeling bad about not blogging. So I’m sorry about the phone quality photo’s, but at least there’s photos and I’ll be sharing some of the knitting projects (and other stuff) I’m working on, so bear with me ๐Ÿ™‚

Hope you all had a wonderful new year (I know I’m not allowed to say this anymore, but I’m a bit late to the party so yeah. So far, I’m having a great 2017, but I’ll have to tell you about the rest in another post. I’m trying to keep the posts organized and trying to keep the pictureless rants to a minimum ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for still being here and hope to see you more often ๐Ÿ™‚