Freitag, 3. Februar 2017

En Genser for Edel

Sometimes the man and one of his colleagues have work meetings in our living room, which happens to also be the room where I keep my crafty stuff. One day said colleague came over to my desk and began patting some wool I had hung from a shelf to dry. She liked what she saw and we began to chat about knitting and other fiber-related things. Is that... yes, that sweater is handknit. And the... yes, the shawl also. The socks, too, but they were a present from my mother. She told me she loves to wear wool during the winter, but her knitting is a bit slow and she does not have the confidence to try complicated patterns, so she mostly sticks to scarfs and cowls.

After that she went back to her meeting, but apparently it worked inside of her. A few days ago when the man was on the phone scheduling a new livingroom-meeting, I overheard that she asked him if there was possibly any chance that only if she has the time! his girlfriend (that's me) would just maybe be willing to ofcourseIwillpayher knit a sweater for her?

Well... yes, I'd love to!

So we got together, she explained to me what she wanted and what was important to her, I made some suggestions and then we rummaged through Ravelry to find the perfect Marius-genser (told you, he's everywhere!).

Today we went to town (literally) and got the pattern and yarn.


Both are by Sandnes, a brand that is very popular in Norway. You can buy the pattern in Norwegian from their website or in English from SKD yarns. The yarn is called Sisu and consists of 80% superwash wool plus 20% nylon. It's relatively thin, considered that I will knit a full sweater for an adult, but it has a great texture and is nice to work with.

Colourwise we went for three shades of blue instead of the classic Norwegian blue, red and white. Dark blue for the body, light blue for the Marius-mønster and a heathered medium blue for the neckline.


It does not happen very often that I decide to knit something just as the pattern suggests, in the yarn that the pattern suggests. Normally I don't care much about gauge and make adjustments as I go, by now I would not even bother to buy a pattern for this kind of sweater anymore. But this one is not for me and the recipient's size and body type is very different from mine, so I have to stick to the plan to make sure it actually fits her (and not me).


On to swatching!

Sonntag, 29. Januar 2017

With 2 Feet: Finland 1

Part II: Finland

So there I was, after 14 hours on the bus, sitting on my bed in a hostel room in the middle of nowhere Finland. And somehow, I was not scared anymore. There was only this feeling of curiosity, wondering how this whole thing would turn out, where I would go, who I would meet, and which stories I would get to tell afterwards.

The next morning I (unsuccessfully) tried to buy a map of the area, but western Finland does not seem to be big in hiking. Fortunately they bike a lot, so I was able to follow the bike lane north in the direction of Haukipudas. And already on this first day, I was able to establish the first of The Rules of Hiking:

1. You never "just" get lost. As soon as you get lost, it will also start to rain. 

But fate took pity in me and made up for it. After I got back to the road and the rain had stopped, I met the guy again who was responsible for my getting lost (I didn't tell him) and he offered me to camp in his backyard. Yay, no pooping in the woods and maybe even a shower in the morning! But fate was not yet finished. Long story short, I spent the night on a proper mattress in their daughters' playroom because the weather forecast had a storm coming and the guy's wife had asked me if I'd rather want to come inside.
Let me tell you, Finnish people are officially the nicest in the world. 

After arriving in Haukipudas. Please note the packed lunch Signe gave me.

This meeting nice Finns continued on the next day,  when I was walking on the side of the road towards Ii. A random woman pulled up her car next to me and gave me a ride that I had not asked for. She even gave me tips on which bus stop in town was best for hitchhiking, completely ignoring (in a very nice, polite and motherly way) everything I said about wanting to walk and this being a hiking trip after all. I (nice and polite as I am) waited until she was out of sight, and marched on.

The second night I spent on a river island just north of Iin Hamina, where I could finally pitch the tent and have some real camping experiences.


Which leads me to the first of The Facts about Camping:

1. As soon as everything (yourself included) is inside the tent, it will start to rain.

So if you want to have a wee before bedtime, do that before entering the tent.
But fate was either still making up for things or it was really impressed with how well I was doing. On the next day it sent me another ride, this time a German. Jens from Zwickau was on his way to Norway and could have taken me all the way, but we decided that Merihelmi Camping was far enough. It was only 12:30 when we arrived and my day's work was already done. I could get used to that.

Not included in the picture: The pain my feet caused me when I tried to walk. Which is why I avoided walking for the rest of the day.

The sun was shining, I did some knitting, washed my clothes, ate, and was generally lazy. And in these two hours of quiet contemplation between 1 o'clock and 3 o'clock in the afternoon, I discovered the next Rule of Hiking on the list:

2. When hiking, you will spend most of your time not hiking.

So the rest of the day consisted of napping, taking pictures of the campsite owner's dog, sorting my stuff, trying not to use my feet too much, admiring the beautiful sunset, and most importantly, being exactly where I wanted to be.


Sonntag, 15. Januar 2017

With 2 Feet

Over the past few months, I dropped some hints about some mysterious adventure. Well, here is the story behind:


One rainy Sunday in March 2016, I decided I wanted to go hiking. It could have been the über-flat landscape I was living in at that time, or the fact that I (not yet) married into a family of hikers and was never quite able to relate to their experiences and stories and the pictures of their adventures when we all got together around Christmas time and looked through old and not-so-old photographs and memories.
Of course I had gone hiking before. I had done day hikes. I had done overnight camping, going there one day and going back on the following. I did a multi-day-roadtrip in 2014, going from the south of Germany to the north of Norway by car. But I had never been on a proper, multiple-day, carry-it-yourself-or-leave-it-at-home hike. "Trekking" I think it's called nowadays. So on this rainy Sunday in March, a decision was made: I would go hiking in Summer.

And I did.


Part I: Before

I knew it would be easy to get carried away by the possibilities once I started researching, because when you don't know what you are looking for, everything could be the thing. So I came up with a list of things I wanted (and did not want) and then - don't laugh - opened Google Maps and randomly hacked in some placenames. Helsinki - Tromsø (way too far). Luleå - Bodø (omitting Finland). Tornio - Å i Lofoten (do those bridges have sidewalks?). Norge på langs? Nordkalotten? Kungsleden?

I guess this is not how you would normally approach such things, but remember that this was (and is!) all very new to me and you have to start somewhere, right?

Still without the slightest clue about what I was doing, my mind settled on Oulu - Narvik. I'll wait for you while you check the maps. This route went through Finland, Sweden and Norway, I would get to see the Bothnian Bay, the Atlantic Ocean, and lots of different types of landscape. Both cities could be reached by bus or plane. Google said that the distance between the two is 666 km, which I considered to be a good omen. 

The following weeks and months I tried to learn some Finnish (I used the FunEasyLearn app), got myself a book on the topic, bought a shedload of new camping and hiking equipment and asked the hikers in my life a ton of practical and impractical questions. I spent more time than I would ever admit on a) the question which knitting project to bring and b) spiders.

I did all of this while still not being entirely sure about my decision and this uncertainty did not leave me until I had booked the bus ticket to Oulu and a room in the hostel. Which was about three days before the planned departure. I won't lie: All of this scared the shit out of me.

But I went.

And it was awesome.


Stay tuned for part II :D

Samstag, 31. Dezember 2016

Do we still have a savegame from 2015?

Do you know this cartoon from Adam Ellis? Well, that kind of sums it up.


2016 started out really great. During the first half of the year I learned a lot of new things. I went skiing for the first time in my life and didn't suck at it (or that's what people told me), did a pottery class, saw the Sisters of Mercy live, quit sugar and spent most of the football matches in which Germany played running through my deserted village listening to that one album by Soilwork. One sunday morning I ran 5 km in 30 minutes and 14 seconds without even trying. Hillary was on top, my job got waaaay better, I was getting rid of lots of stuff I didn't need anymore, there were a pregnancy and several weddings (not mine, but I caught the flower bouquet). Life was good.



The man and I were preparing for our life together, this time for good. We found a flat, we found a way to make the move happen, we made the move happen. After that we both had some adventure time, he in the north, I in the south. I got some freckles on my nose, I got soaked more times than I care to remember, I got ill, I got better again. My feet hurt, my shoulder hurt, but I kept on walking. I didn't see an elk, but I think I heard one.


But when I got home, somehow, the spell was broken. I still don't fully understand why or how exactly things went wrong. I don't want to go into detail, and right now it doesn't matter. What matters is that I am finally able to accept it, because that is the first step to change it. It took me quite some time to get to this point, but since it's still 2016, I guess it counts. 



Honestly I don't know yet what to expect from and hope for in 2017 because I am so taken up with the current situation. My list with good intentions is written, but everything else is still shrouded by fog. Manage expectations and disappointments, make baby steps, celebrate small victories. Hang in there. That's all we can do, right? 

I hope you are well, had a good end-of-the-year holiday and spent some time with your loved ones. 2017 means 365 fresh days to make it a good year. Should be enough. :)

Samstag, 17. Dezember 2016

Come follow me we'll go down where the river flows

Aaaaand there is another pattern online (yay!). It's an asymmetrical knit triangular shawl with lots of garter stitch and a nice little lace border. Perfect for a late autumn walk (ehm), evenings in front of the fire or just everyday. The pattern features three different sizes, from small to bigger-than-you-might-think, but you can also adjust it to your yardage and preference. The sample was knit in size small.


I designed this shawl after I got hold of two skeins of Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend in a lovely deep petrol colour. It was a clear case of reward shopping, but I regret nothing.
   

As I said, there is a lot of garter stitch going on, which makes the main body of the shawl a rather mindless (and super fast!) business. The lace border is very simple, too, making it the perfect project for a lace beginner.


The pictures were again taken by the man, back when the sun was still shining. We had to walk up the mountain quite a bit to catch the last rays in the afternoon and it was damn cold, but so worth it. Just look how well the petrol and gold go together!


Right now you can purchase the pattern for the Elva Shawl on my Ravelry page, but I plan to offer it on Etsy, too. Bonus: The pattern is only 2 € until Christmas Eve (CET)!

And to lure you into another sales funnel: Sebastian has finally set up an online shop for his photographs. And just in time for Christmas, how convenient is that?! You can order either digital files or prints on different materials and in different sizes. We got one on canvas as a test and the quality both of the frame and the print is great! I especially like the landscapes, but the plants are nice, too. Go get one (or two, or three...)!

Merry whichever end-of-the-year holiday you are celebrating :D