Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Knitting & reading

This is what happens when you leave your knitting outside during the night. It got wet. We were so tired last night that I left my knitting bag on the porch and there was a big shower early this morning. Oh well, luckily it was the cotton project I'm working on (potholders again), not the wool one. This will dry a lot sooner, I think.
I finished reading four books by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee and I think that is enough for now. It's fun to read them, but the idea of stash building (or actually not being able to do that) started to haunt me and that's not fun at all (not her fault, I'm just susceptible to worrying right now.
The book in the picture I found in the free library at the supermarket. It's an older book (1970's) by a CuraƧaoan woman about a girl moving to the Netherlands and then back to the island and how she copes with all things related to that. I hope it's a bit more uplifting than the cover suggests, but I really want to learn more about the people on this island.
This morning I'm also driving into town to pick up my order from Amazon. It took a month to arrive here and I have to pay taxes before I get it, but then I will be the owner of Elizabeth Zimmerman's 'The Opinionated Knitter'.
It's been on my wishlist ever since Amanda wrote about it, so I'm really happy about this. Can't wait to start reading it!

Linking up with Kat's Unraveled Wednesday
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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Keep calm and craft on

It really feels like that, right now.
Yesterday and today we had to be at the new house early because we were awaiting deliveries (material to repair the cesspit). That meant getting up even earlier than normal, getting ready faster than usual. Not the best way to start the day.
But once we're at the house, I can relax. Well, yes, there is a lot to do. But I'm still not feeling great, so I'm taking it kind of easy. I'm so grateful to be able to sit on the porch, watch that view and knit. We have internet here now, so we can work and blog from here too. It's starting to feel like home more and more, even though we can't really move in yet (no running water, no electricity, no cesspit).

I'm working on a few things at once right now. Potholders from cotton scraps, a sweater/shirt/tunic from light gray wool and (not pictured) a scarf from dark gray wool. Not the most exciting projects, but just what I need to stay calm.

linking up with Nicole's Crafting On
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Monday, June 17, 2019

Right now

Right now I am...

:: sitting on the porch of the new house
:: listening to the birds singing
:: looking at that view (I don't think I'll ever get enough of it)
:: so happy that we have internet there now. Still no electricity though, so I have to be mindful about my battery.
:: thinking that being mindful about how much to use the computer isn't too bad actually
:: catching my breath after another morning of rushing about (though this time I knew it from the start - that helped
:: hoping the delivery we had to be here for so early is coming early too (between 8 am and 5 pm is a bit of a wide window of time)
:: planning to get some painting done
:: wondering if I can't just sit and knit for another day though
:: glad that I have done that last week
:: feeling a lot better now, though I could use another week of rest
:: looking back at a fun weekend (lots of gatherings with friends)
:: smiling because in that second picture I keep seeing more birds the longer I stare at it (the bigger ones are orioles, but there are a lot of bananaquits)
:: hoping this will be a good week
:: wishing you all a great start to your week
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Friday, June 14, 2019

Giant potholders (or: so maybe gauge does matter - a little bit)

I needed a simple and washable project to take with me to the house. So I decided to knit some potholders. I have been doing that the same way for years now.
Just knit diagonal squares by casting on three stitches, make a stitch in the second stitch of every row until I have sixty stitches, knit one row without decreasing or increasing and then knit the second and third stitch together every row until three remain.

Simple as that. No need to worry about gauge or needle sizes. Size isn't that important for potholders and since I make them by crocheting or sewing two squares together they're always thick enough even if I knit a bit loosely. I like that, because gauging is not my thing, really (yes, yes, I know... but I rarely knit clothing from real patterns, I usually just wing things).

I finished the first square rather quickly, but when I got halfway the second one, I remembered that I've always gotten only one and a half square from one ball of cotton. So I frogged part of the first one and added black stripes on both of them.

After finishing the first two squares I got kind of bored, so I thought it would be a brilliant idea to make crochet squares for the backs. I happily crocheted away, but I found that every time I thought I was done, the knitted square stretched just a bit more and I needed to add another round of crochet.

After a while, I realized that this cotton was a bit (or actually a lot) thicker than the cotton I normally use for potholders. I was also using larger needles and I could have stopped increasing at fifty stitches to get the size I make them normally (which is already bigger than most store-bought potholders).
By then I was almost done (or so I thought before I found I needed to add another round of crochet), so I thought 'Oh well, bigger is better'.

I did not take into account that with crochet the squares also gets thicker.  Ahem.

So now I have two giant, really thick potholders. But you know what? I love them. I use that cast iron frying pan a lot and with normal sized potholders I often accidentally touch the hot handle. With these, I have never done that (and I have been using them at least twice a day for almost a week now).

All is well that ends well, I guess. But I will try to remember to at least consider gauge for my next project.
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Thursday, June 13, 2019

Three things - a good day

Three things I did yesterday:

:: freak out when I heard T. on the phone saying 'we will be there in 30 minutes'. We had to go to the house because they were digging out the cesspit. It's a 30-minute drive, so that could work. But I had to pack food and water for the day, I was about to make breakfast, I had to make the bed, tidy the room, write a column (that's paid work, so kind of important) and... well, you get the drift.
I took a deep breath (okay, and some valerian) and started doing what I had to do. Made breakfast, packed lunch and water, tried to ignore the rest.
It took me the whole day to realize that I shouldn't have panicked. Eat lunch for breakfast (lunch doesn't need to be cooked), go out for lunch. Just pack water and let the rest be. Oh well, sometimes life gets a bit overwhelming and then I can't think straight. I'm learning to accept that, but I also hope to remember this lesson when something like this happens again (I'm sure it will).

We arrived only 20 minutes late, which is totally acceptable around here, and found they were almost done already.
Next week they'll start to build the walls for the pit and then we will have indoor plumbing! (no running water yet, though, but we hope that will be connected this month too)

:: decide to take it easy for the rest of the day, so I sat on the porch and did some knitting. Yes, of course, I brought my knitting.  In fact, when the phone call came, I was packing my knitting for the day. First things first, you know. Priorities.
I spend the morning and part of the afternoon knitting on the porch (with that fantastic view) and then all was well with the world again. Especially when I realized that this really is my home now and within a few months I'll spend all my knitting hours there.
We also brought our laptops and I managed to write next week's column and then I felt up to sweeping the attic. I had been ignoring that part of the house because the bats used to live there, but it seems they moved out permanently. It felt good to do the sweeping and then I moved on to putting stuff away and tidying up a bit. It's time I start treating the house as my home instead of a renovation project.

:: visit friends for 'rum night'. Which is always fun when you're the only one drinking water ;-)
No, it really was fun. Good people, good talks. And they have a fantastic view too.

I guess it was a good day after all.

Linking up to Carole's Three on Thursday
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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Knitting & reading - a little bit obsessed

- Knitting

 I've finished the poncho and the potholders, so right now I'm thinking about what to make next. I want to use up my 'stash' (don't laugh, pictures below show all I have) before I buy new yarn (that will be a bit of a challenge on this island), but I'm not sure what I want to make. A hat, of course. Maybe even a few hats, now that I know where I can send them to (see the link in the first comment on this post). And while I'm at it, I might even consider a scarf to donate. Try my hand at some cables or something to make it interesting. I'm not too happy about all that gray, but it is good yarn (most of it is real wool), so I don't want to waste it.
I think the cotton scraps will be another set of potholders and maybe a headband (or two). And maybe the pink is enough to try knitting a sunhat?
Wouldn't that be great, to be knitting hats that I can use myself? I still have to figure out how to get a stiff brim though. Maybe knitting them on a much smaller size needles would help. Going to look into those patterns I found.

- Reading

I wanted to use my e-reader to get through the endless stockinette (I can't read paper books when I knit) and found out that though my subscription stopped working here on CuraƧao, I can download books that I downloaded before. And since I hadn't read all of the books I chose before, I started browsing my archives. And found that I had five books by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee at my fingertips (one of them I own, the rest through the subscription). So now I'm happily reading away.
And getting a bit obsessed with knitting, because she makes that sound perfectly normal. She also makes me itchy to build a real stash, but I'm holding that off until we move. I hope to be able to buy myself a 'crafting cupboard' to hold my yarn and fabrics and other stuff (oh, I do dream of claiming an entire room, but for now a whole cupboard would be heaven!).

linking up with Kat's Unraveled Wednesday
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Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Cheaper than therapy

Last week I was looking at my knitting projects and not feeling it at all. I didn't like how the potholders were working out (more on that later this week) and the poncho was still in the phase of endless stockinette. I needed something a bit more fun and a bit more capable of taking my mind off things.
So I cast on for a hat. Reluctantly, I might add.
I finished my last hat in December, a few short of my goal of 52 in 2018. At that time I thought I was sick and tired of knitting hats and wouldn't like to knit one for a long time. Also, I felt bad about dumping most of those hats at the thrift store in March, because my family was already drowning in hats. Such a waste of time and yarn. But the mad hat knitter inside me is stronger than my reasoning. I need to knit hats every once in a while. Or so it seems.
Because I happily knit the brim, alternated with the other two projects and finished it only two days later.
And now all is well in my world. Well, in my knitting world anyway. And I do feel a bit better overall too. So maybe I should be knitting hats, despite not knowing what to do with them. It's cheaper (and more fun) than therapy.

Pattern: the Rosa Hat, a free pattern by Soulemama
Yarn: a thrift store find

linking up with Nicole's Crafting On
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