6 weeks to go

Julia Temisevä
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Bought a bunch of carnations just because.

I feel like I’m running out of time. While most of the major things are now done, there are still bits and bobs left to sort out. My dress still isn’t complete. My shawl’s not done, but I am on the edging now, so that’s something. The seating plan display is about half done. Most of the RSVPs are in. I’ve picked a bunch of songs for the DJ to play at the reception. We have a photographer!

So really, the only major thing left that I’m getting rather antsy about is my ring. We still haven’t bought that. We’re going with the Finnish tradition of having a simple engagement ring and a more show-y wedding ring. O wanted to make sure I liked the expensive ring, so I get to pick it! Very happy about that aspect of it. I have a good idea of the style I’d like, so now we just need to go find it.

And to prove that I can talk about other stuff than just the wedding, I’ve won a book! I go through spurts of entering a bunch of Goodreads’ First Reads giveaways and yesterday’s efforts seemed to pay off. I just received a notification that I’ve won a copy of Ukrainian & Russian Bride Guide: Dangers & Joys Awaiting Western Men by Walter Parchomenko. I don’t think I’m quite the target audience for this book, but I did recently watch a documentary on Netflix called Love Me which was about the same topic. It’ll be interesting to see how the book tackles some of the problems the men in the documentary came across. I’ll post a review/link to my review on Goodreads once I’ve received the book and read it.

Purple is the colour of choice

Julia Temisevä
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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
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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
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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
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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.

ALL the swatches

Julia Temisevä
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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?

More wedding chat

Julia Temisevä
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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.

I seem to have a new hobby

Julia Temisevä
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Since I last blogged, I seem to have acquired two things: a shiny ring and a new hobby in the form of dressmaking. And yes, these two things are related since I’ve decided to not only design and knit my wedding shawl, but to also make my wedding dress. Or at least half of it.

So, this is the plan: buy the “base” of the dress, alter it a bit if need be and then make another dress out of just lace to go over the base. I’ve already purchased the base and I’m pretty sure I’m going to try to convert it from a halter neck to a strapless version. A few weeks ago I went to Brussels and found the lace I wanted to use from Maison Dorée. They also had so many pretty trims that I’m sure I’ll be going back there the next time I visit my sister. Sidenote: Lace can be ridiculously expensive. In the shops in Soho it was over £100/m, while most of the lace in Brussels was over 50€/m.

But because my sewing skills aren’t as good as I’d like them to be, I’ve decided to make a practice dress or two. The last time I used my sewing machine was about two years ago when Lucy and I decided to make advent calendars. And before that? Who knows? Probably when another friend of mine asked to borrow it which has to be about eight years ago (we made costumes for a play she was in, I think). What can I say, knitting kind of took over my life and sewing’s always been something I wanted to do but didn’t have the inclination to actually practice. Until now.

The first practice dress is almost done now. Before I went to Brussels, I went on a day trip to Bath. There I found a pattern I wanted to try out (princess seams in the bodice, full skirt, zip up the back) and got some green gingham to go with it. The pattern does say it’s lined and gives all the instructions needed to do that, but I figured since I won’t actually be lining the lace dress, I’d better not try it with this one either since I need to see what it would look like without the lining.

Practice dress 1

I woke up at 6:30am today (on a Saturday, why???) and since O was asleep, I figured I’d make the most of having the living room all to myself. Before today, I’d already sewn up the bodice and the skirt pieces and pinned the skirt to the bodice. By the time O came into the living room a few hours later, it was actually looking like a dress. The skirt has been sewn to the bodice, the zipper has been put in, the hem has been turned, the neckline (a major pain the in the neck!) is done. The only thing left to do is add in the sleeves. I haven’t cut those out yet actually, because I still haven’t decided what kinds of sleeves I want to try out. Honestly, if I didn’t have to practice making the sleeves, I’d leave this as a sleeveless summer dress.

It still needs a few tweaks in the bodice, but I think it fits pretty well considering it’s the first actual piece of clothing I’ve made in 17 years (made a few items of clothing back in school when I was 13 years old). No, wait, second. I made an A-line skirt back in January (again, practising). But this is the first dress I’ve ever made. Yay!