knitting

Purple is the colour of choice

Julia Temisevä
— This upcoming video may not be available to view yet.

Hemulen inspecting the hair accessories in progress

The thing about deciding to make a lot of the things for one’s wedding means there isn’t much time to do other stuff. That’s okay though, I’m having fun. My dress is almost done. I had my mom and grandma help me fit it so that all I have left to do is sew the neckline/back seam and attach the little hooks to close it. I have some really small white lace that I could use to finish off the neckline, but I haven’t quite decided yet whether I want the neckline plain or not.

I was wandering around in HobbyCraft yesterday with one of my bridesmaids (we were looking for supplies to make the table seating plan) and I found purple paper flowers. I was going to buy my wedding hair accessories off Etsy, but after having a look at the back of the flowers in the pack, I decided to give it a go myself. So far, so good. Four down, two to go!

Other things that have been distracting me lately: knitting a baby blanket for my nephew! He’s expected in mid-September, so I’ve still got some time. The squares in the Tamarix Quilt are so addictive. I’m already at 42. The geek in me would like to leave it at that, but the perfectionist in me won’t let me. So it looks like all 100 squares will be knit. Hopefully before the little man arrives.

And of course, xBox games and Instagram. My youngest sister convinced me to reactive my Instagram account, so if you want to see random things I take pictures of, go find me there. As for the games, we recently started playing Badlands (so much fun, but man my fingers cramp up after awhile) and Lego Jurassic World. Which of course has led us to rewatching the movies. Can’t wait to actually see Jurassic World, but I don’t think I’ll be going to the cinema to see it. DVD/Netflix is a lot easier since I can knit at the same time.

Good mail days, ideas and plans

Julia Temisevä
— This upcoming video may not be available to view yet.

The last few weeks have been full of good mail days. The latest Knitscene arrived first, then came the Mason-Dixon knitting book (a bargain at just £6 including shipping), and then… yarn! That’s the yarn for my little nephew’s blanket, plus an extra skein of lace for me. Funny thing, as I was entering the details of the lace into my stash, I realised that I already had a skein of laceweight from the same dyer in the same colour. Different base, but still! Apparently I really like teal. It’s not one of my “safe” colours that I usually go for (pinks and reds, for the those who haven’t known me for long), so I don’t know what it is that drew me to it.

Knitscene Summer 2015, Mason-Dixon Knitting, lace for me and cotton for my sister's baby blanket

I’m sure you could guess from the above paragraph, one of my many sisters is pregnant! And obviously I’m going to knit for the baby. The blanket, which I’ve started tonight, is the Tamarix Quilt by Heather Zoppetti. I’d mentally queued the blanket when the magazine first came out, so when I received the issue of Interweave Knits (Fall 2010) for free from a fellow knitter in London I was thrilled to bits. I love Heather’s work. I’ve knit at least 5 pairs of socks by her so far and I’ve got at least one of her sweaters in my queue too.

I also came up with another idea for her kids. When she’s too tired or doesn’t have time or whatever, she can play the boys a recording of me reading to them. Since I can’t actually see them as often as I’d like, at least they can hear me. And hopefully learn Finnish at the same time. I did a test recording tonight (just read a few paragraphs from Little House in the Big Woods) to see if it would work before suggesting it to my sister. Sounded fine to me, just need to find books where turning the pages won’t make too much noise. And as a bonus, it turns out that I don’t hate hearing my own voice! I used to really dislike it, but I’m okay with it now. Just like I used to hate photographs of me, now I don’t. So the plan now is for us to pick out a book or two when we’re both in Finland for our youngest sister’s graduation. How I’ll find the time to do it in between all of the wedding sheningans remains a mystery.

Speaking of wedding shenanigans, I’ve started my dress. Finally. I’ve cut out and sewn the bodice pieces together. So far so good. I keep looking at the skirt pieces and placing them on the lace and pinning and then unpinning and rearranging and so on and so forth. I’m such a chicken when it comes to cutting. If something doesn’t work in knitting, that’s okay, I can always rip it out and start over without wasting anything (unless it’s mohair, learned that the hard way). But when you cut fabric, that’s it. There are no do-overs in the same sense. I’m still hoping to get the main bits of the dress all sewn up and ready by the end of the month though. Then I’ll take it to Finland with me and get my grandma to help me do the tweaks for it (she used to sew her own clothes). That’s the plan. Here’s hoping I stick to it.

Channelling Yoda

Julia Temisevä
— This upcoming video may not be available to view yet.

I look ridiculous right now. There’s this thing I read about online called plopping. Basically it’s a way to dry curly hair so that the curls stay nice. So now I’ve got a T-shirt wrapped comically around my head, being held in place by hair clips. I don’t have high hopes, but I figured I might as well try it. I kinda have a feeling that I’ve wrapped the T-shirt incorrectly, but it seems to be staying on my head okay, so I’ve decided to just leave it as is. Who cares that I look like Yoda’s cousin with the green shirt around my head? :D

There isn’t much point in showing another picture of the wedding shawl because it looks pretty much the same as before: a big blob. A very pretty blob, but a blob nonetheless. I’m also now 95% certain that I will not have enough yarn to complete the knit-on edging. I’ve been stash diving and came up with a really pretty dark purple that I think will work nicely as the edging. And the beads will really pop!

The wedding shoe hunt continues. I thought I’d found some good options, but nope. Why do shoes look great online but are a disappointment in person? One of the The Irregular Choice pairs looks rather tacky and the other one… well, they seemed okay. But I’m not going to spend £75 on a pair of shoes that I’m not absolutely in love with already in the shop. So today I went to New Look to try on a pair I’d seen online. They’re an option to keep in mind if I’m going to embellish the shoes myself, but really, I think I’d rather just pay a little bit more and get a nice pair that I won’t have to do anything to.

Fun with technology

Julia Temisevä
— This upcoming video may not be available to view yet.

So this past week or so, I’ve been having fun with technology. And I mean that both sincerely and sarcastically. The sarcasm is to do with work, so I’ll just leave it at that.

The actual fun with technology happened mainly this weekend. Our friend Ryan came over for the weekend and we spent it playing all sorts of games. I’d forgotten how much fun we three used to have playing Civ IV, each of us on our own computers. Because the turns took awhile to complete, I had plenty of knitting time. It was just like the good old days back up in Sheffield, including the game going out of sync after we hit about 1840 AD and then us giving up because we still don’t know why it does that.

Wedding shawl with this week's bouquet and cloth embroidered by my great-grandma

Yep, it still looks like a blob. And the wedding shawl will continue looking like a blob until I start the edging. At least I’ve now moved onto the next section! Small victories. Each round is now over 600 sts, so it’ll take awhile before I can start the edging. I’m also slightly worried that I won’t have enough yarn for the knit on edging. I could of course just weigh the remaining ball of yarn I have and estimate how much there’ll be left before I start the edging, but that’d be too sensible and obvious. Clearly, I like to live on the edge.

I’ve also learned that the only way I’m going to get my dad’s socks done by the time I go visit next month, I have to work on them during my lunch breaks. Now that the weather’s nice again, I see lots of knitting time in the park during my breaks. So there’s hope. Not holding my breath though. I seem to remember to bring my knitting with me, I just forget to take it out of my bag. That’s what happened three out of five days last week. Oops.

I seem to be torn between two phases right now. The first phase is to buy all the things (right now, I’m drooling over Irregular Choice shoes and Wildcraft’s fibre club). The other one is to get rid of everything and go live in a teeny tiny house. These two phases seem to be keeping each other in check, so it’s okay. Stuff isn’t coming in but it’s not going out either. But it is making me feel somewhat split in half. And stagnant. I need to do something. O & I should try to find a weekend when we’re not doing anything so we could go up to Sheffield together and go through some of our things that his parents are storing for us. Normally I’d say the urge to get rid of things comes from watching shows like Hoarders (or even just listening to others talk about clearing out things), but that hasn’t happened recently. So I’m not sure where it’s coming from.

Spring is definitely here

Julia Temisevä
— This upcoming video may not be available to view yet.

 Last week has been gorgeous, weather-wise at least. The one grey day before all of the glorious sunshine, I bought some tulips on an impulse to try to cheer up the flat a bit. They lasted about a week, so I’d say it was a well spent £2.50.

Another sign of spring being here, for me anyway, is how colourful my recent meals have been. First there was my lunch, where raspberries added a great pop of colour to my honey & yoghurt. The teacup and saucer are a bit of an anomaly from what I usually choose colour-wise. But I love them. I think it’s because the cup is a lot more delicate than my usual mugs (which means I can’t haphazardly set down the cup without looking), so it forces me to slow down and actually focus on the beverage in the cup. It’s the kind of cup that I drink from when pretending to be sitting outside on a balcony in sunshine and reading a book. The big sturdy mugs are for curling up on the sofa under a blanket with rain coming down outside. The other splash of colour came in the form of a salade Nicoise, recipe from The Skinny French Kitchen by Harry Eastwood. I love this book, it has so many great recipes in there.

The practice dresses are both almost complete now. Only a few bits of hand-sewing left to do on both. The first one needs some adjusting of the seams right under the bust. And I’m probably going to shorted the sleeves a fair amount. Right now they’re full-length, but considering the rest of the dress, shorter sleeves would work a lot better. The second dress just has a few seams that can’t be sewn by machine. The neckline is currently a round neck and it looks fine. I’m going to wear it once, just to see how I cope with it being that high, then decide whether I want to change it to be slightly lower or leave it as is.

As for knitting, well, it’s slow going on all fronts. I haven’t touched the socks that are meant for my dad in weeks. N&M’s wedding blanket has had a bit of progress. I now just need to knit the border and weave in the ends. Not a quick thing to accomplish. Most of my knitting focus has been on my wedding shawl. Haven’t managed to get to the point where I can start the next section’s chart, but that’s understandable. It’s now over 450 sts per round and the next section won’t start until I’m at over 600 sts. Amazon Prime has been keeping me company while I knit away on it. I keep alternating between episodes of Community, Devious Maids and Nashville. As well as Friends if I feel like I really to concentrate. A whole lotta TV in my life right now. But I am making time to go out running every once in a while, so that balances out my couch potato ways at least a little bit.

ALL the swatches

Julia Temisevä
— This upcoming video may not be available to view yet.

I’m finally at the point in my wedding shawl where I need to decide which pattern to do next. So I’ve been swatching. And re-doing charts (I love charts, btw). And swatching some more. And then swatching again. I’ve churned out at least five swatches just for this section of the shawl. I’ll admit, I was a bit reckless and didn’t swatch at all for the centre bit or the lace bits that separate the points. Then again, those three lace patterns that I’m using as fillers are my favourite patterns of all time (patterning on both sides!) and I’ve used them before, so I was fairly confident that my charts would work out just fine without a test run.

Swatching, swatching, swatching...

Anyway, it turns out that the leaf motif I’d picked out, while awesome, really isn’t going to work with the rest of my shawl. Which is a shame because in my head it looked fabulous. Reality had other ideas. But that’s okay too. I’ll just use the leaf motif in something else later on. It’s really pretty and I’ve got plenty to swatches to look at to try to figure out what works and what doesn’t with it.

I think I’ve got it figured out now. I know what the next section will be. I’m just taking a little break from it this week and knitting on N&M’s wedding blanket. Garter stitch is a very nice change from having to pay attention all the time to what patterning I’m supposed to be doing and where to put the beads.

Now I just need to figure out what to do with all of the swatches I’ve created. I’m thinking of possibly framing the ones I really like and putting them up on the walls. Any other ideas?

Mrs Lear's Scarf

Julia Temisevä
— This upcoming video may not be available to view yet.

Here’s the second of my two patterns from Defarge Does Shakespeare: Mrs Lear’s Scarf. It has cabling and wrapped stitches, just like the mitts and sections of textured stitches in between the columns of cables. So if you’d rather make a wrap instead of a scarf, super easy to just modify the stitch count to make it wider.

If I wasn’t in the middle of lots of deadline knitting projects (as well as sewing projects), I’d start playing around with the pattern in various weights to see what it’d be like. I can just imagine the stole being knit up in a mohair laceweight feeling like a cloud of cotton candy (without the sugary stickiness) being wrapped around you. I would do it myself, but I really dislike knitting with mohair, so that’s not going to happen. Someone else, make it happen! And show me pictures.

In other news, I think there’s something hinky going on with our mail. Some days, no mail at all. Then wham! We get a massive pile in one go. And yes, I check the mailbox daily, so it’s not like we’re the ones letting it pile up. What brought it to my attention was a letter from my grandma arriving last Friday. It was dated back in February. So like a month late. And then receiving another letter from her yesterday (ie the following Monday) dated just 27.03. So clearly the mail can get here in a timely manner from Finland, it just chooses not to. Baffling. Still, I’m going to keep writing replies, because handwritten mail is always nice to receive. And I’ve got pretty stationery that I want to use. I’ll just make sure that nothing time sensitive is said in the letters, that’s what phones are for.

Mrs Lear mitts

Julia Temisevä
— This upcoming video may not be available to view yet.

As I mentioned earlier, I have two patterns in the new Defarge Does Shakespeare book that’s coming out soon (digital copy out tomorrow, March 27th, print version ships two weeks later). I’m the kind of person who likes clothes, accessories to match/co-ordinate, so I designed a scarf and a pair of mitts meant to be worn together.

Side note: Yes, this started as a kid. My grandma keeps telling me how at three years old, I’d tell her in English (not Finnish, I don’t know why) if outfits/jewellery matched or not. If they did, it’d be good, if not I’d apparently wrinkle my nose and suggest something else.

Anyway, back to the focus of this post: Mrs Lear mitts! I’m an indecisive person at times (those of you who know me in person, stop laughing, I can be! You just don’t see it often). But the beautiful thing about the pattern that I came up with is that it’s totally customisable to the yarn and needles. The red sample is done in DK (Fyberspates Scrumptious was so nice to work with) and the lavender is laceweight (Natural Dye Studio Angel 2-ply which is now sadly discontinued - the links are to my Ravelry project pages which are still lacking photos).

The focus of the mitts is the cuff, which has a picot edge and a cable & wrap pattern. The body of the mitt is plain stockinette and then it’s finished off a picot bind off.

Now, I was a dork and didn’t take good pictures of the finished items before I sent them off to be photographed for the book. Both sets were knit to fit me, and I’ve got fairly big hands. The samples look a bit loose (especially the laceweight ones) on the models, but when I wore them to check the fit, they were perfect. Snug, but not too tight. But as I said, the pattern is totally customisable so they can be knit in any size.

And because I like the whole matchy-matchy thing, I’ve cast on for another pair of the laceweight mitts in a yellow Malabrigo (I forgot the colourway name) to go with my lacy Malabrigo scarf that I knit last summer (again, need to take pictures of that too, I’ve really slipped this last year with updating everything). Who knows when I’ll actually finish them, because I’ve got a ton of other projects that are time sensitive, but I’d say it’s a good sign if I want want to knit a pattern more than once. I don’t always want to knit my own designs again, because sometimes they drive me a bit batty due to all of the work I put into them, but these? Totally want to knit them again. Interesting but easy, and that’s something that I need right now to keep me sane with all of the wedding planning.

It's coming!

Julia Temisevä
— This upcoming video may not be available to view yet.

Defarge Does Shakespeare

Finally! So excited. The next Defarge book - Defarge Does Shakespeare - will be out this Friday, March 27th. I have two patterns in it, a scarf and a pair of fingerless mitts, both based on King Lear. But I want to give both patterns their own separate posts, so this is just a general “squee!” post.

There are lots of goodies to go along with the release of the book. Just sign up to the mailing list to get in on the freebies, raffles, etc. And if you pre-order the book, you also get a free pattern! I don’t know what that pattern is yet, but there was a peek of it on the mailing list.  *hint hint*

I don’t have my copy yet, but I’ve been browsing the patterns in the book on Ravelry. If you follow me on Twitter (@Luliriisi), then you’ll see which ones have caught my eye so far. It’s hard to pick favourites actually! So many neat socks, accessories, even a few sweaters. And they’re all Shakespeare themed, which makes my literature mind happy. I can’t wait to read the essays that come with the patterns. I like finding out what inspired each pattern. They’re like mini-stories. Knowing what the thought process behind the pattern makes it more interesting to me, otherwise it tends to be just a piece of knitting. Nice knitting, but it’s the stories that pull me in.

Less than a week to go! Yay!

More wedding chat

Julia Temisevä
— This upcoming video may not be available to view yet.

Shawl progress

I’ve made a decent dent into my wedding shawl knitting. I’ve got to the lace sections now and even though I have three pages of charts (because there are three different lace patterns) to follow if I need them, I seem to be just fine reading my knitting and working out what to knit that way. I’m loving the lace sections. Patterning on every row is just so much fun. Plus it makes the lace look really delicate.

I also really like the teeny tiny star shape that the circular cast on method created. It’s the small details like that make me really happy. I’m probably the only one who’ll notice it, but just knowing it’s there is enough. The same usually applies to mistakes too, though. If I know it’s there, it’ll drive me nuts, even if no one else notices it.

Practice dress #2 is fairly far along. Before I insert the sleeves and the zip, I think I need to figure out if I want to alter the neckline at all. Right now it’s a plain round neck fairly close to my throat and well… I’m not used to having anything that close to my neck. So I’m possibly going to change it to a scoop neck. And maybe add in bias binding to the neckline and the hem. But so far the fit seems good, so I think I’ll be sticking with these particular pattern pieces (I’ve taken the bodice from one dress pattern and the skirt of another) for my wedding dress. I’ve also got grand plans for details for the wedding dress to hide things like possibly slightly wonky seams, because let’s face it, I’m not a professional dressmaker. Now I just need to find the things I’m thinking of adding to it.

We have the venue and the registrar booked! And we’ve got an appointment for the notice of marriage for next week. Things are moving on nicely. And my stress levels have definitely lowered a lot ever since we booked the venue. That was my biggest worry. Now I can concentrate on the fun things! Like my dress and the decorations. And figuring out what music to play in the background while guests are arriving. I recently found a list of photos that would be great to have but might be forgotten since they’re not traditionally on lists. Most of them seemed reasonable, but two of them really weren’t applicable to my wedding: “Groom 5 hours before the wedding” and “Bride 5 hours before the wedding.” Uhm… yeah. That would be at 7am. I don’t think we’ll be wanting a photographer to be showing up that early.