Mystery knitting along

I'm still working on the MMKAL (Murder Mystery Knit Along). It's really fun. It's turning into something I'd never chosen to knit from a picture, but I even think I might use it every once in a while (I'm not really a shawl person). I learned some new techniques and stitches that I probably will use on other projects and I learned to read a chart.
The story accompanying the patterns is actually very good. Even if you don't want to knit this pattern, you should go and read the narrative. Especially if you're familiar with knitting terms it's a really clever and enticing read.

But... it's a. lot. of. knitting. Really. I thought this would be a side project and I would be knitting hats too, but truth to be told, I'm always behind on clues. I just started clue #4, that came out on Friday. This one isn't that much knitting though, so maybe I will be catching up now.

Anyway. Pictures. Spoilers ahead (so if you want to knit it as a mystery knit along - don't scroll down).

The shawl after I got three chapters done. The fourth chapter starts on the right.

The first section was stripes and wedges. My popping color wasn't popping at all (it's a pastel variegated yarn), but I like the way that works out.

The second section was a very clever basket weave. I would love to make a blanket, pillowcases or bags with this stitch.

The third section was an illusion knit. Horizontal stripes if you look down on it...

Vertical stripes if you look from another angle. Fun!

The fourth section is lace, but I've only got two rows done.

The big question now is: will it end with the lace section, or are the other colors (after every section one color "dies") making a last appearance in a border or something? And of course: who was the killer? Oh, wait, chapter four already gives that away, we just don't know how the story will end yet - chapter four left our friendly P.I. (Slip Knitwise) in a dangerous situation. Have to wait till Friday to see if it all gets solved in the end. Told you it's a fun read ;-)

Linking up with Jeannie Gray Knits' Makers' Monday

47 - lots of candles and other facts

I was out of inspiration for blogposts, so I decided to google the number 47. Why? Well, as of today 47 is my answer to the question: "How old are you?".  I do know that it would make a lot of candles if we did the whole birthday cake with candles thing...

It feels like a weird age. Fifty is getting closer and closer. I'm not young, but I'm also not old. That's why they call it middle aged I guess ;-)
I used to think by now I would be older and wiser, but well, I'm not. Older yes, but wiser? Hmn.

Though I am wise enough to:
1. not to be ashamed of my age
2. be just happy and grateful that I'm alive
3. gift myself a day off. I'm allowing myself to do whatever I want (like writing a blogpost about the number 47) and to postpone the things I don't want to do (laundry).

Wikipedia told me a few interesting facts about 47. I already figured out it's a prime number (I am a bit of a nerd), but I now also know it's a safe prime (that means it's the outcome of 2 times a prime number plus 1).

47 is the atomic number of silver. Rather fitting for this age, I guess. I had my silver hairs dyed last week, but I do have them.

47 is the number of the French department Lot-et-Garonne, which is the only place in France we actually like. We even spent a few vacations there (we have friends that own a chambre d'hotes in Lot).

47 is also an interesting number if you are a Trekkie. I sort of am, but I never knew (or noticed) this:

It turns out 47 is an inside joke at the school (Pomona College) one of the writers attended. He incoorporated it in a few episodes and the other writers joined the fun. It's all over the place.There is even a complete website about the use of 47 in all Star Trek seriesM

Maybe being 47 is going to be fun after all ;-)

So I improvised a cardigan

(affiliate link used)

Well, I never intended to go into a blog silence for almost two weeks, but that ear infection was a bad one. The minimal amount of energy and concentration I could muster had to go into a big editing project (somebody else's novel). I'm also really sorry for not answering the friendly comments you all left, but I just wasn't able to find the words to do so. I guess that was a combination of pain, fever, fatigue and probably also because my focus was on Dutch for the editing job. This week, I'll try to pick up where I left off.

Despite all that, I was able to knit a bit. So last week, I finished my cardigan.

It started as a completely different cardigan five years ago. Back then I thought it would still fit if lost weight, but it turned out it didn't. I wore that first cardigan a lot the first three years, but when I actually lost that weight, I just didn't feel good anymore. And so it just hung in my closet. Until I finally got my act together and saved that yarn from ending up in a thrift store. I thought that would be a shame, it was a birthday gift and rather expensive. So I frogged the cardigan last year and started searching for the perfect pattern. But I couldn't find one, so I decided to improvise it since I did have an image of what I actually wanted in my mind.

It worked. The lace pattern is from an old booklet and for the yoke design I used my favorite knitting book (Knitting without tears by Elizabeth Zimmermann). I love that book. It's just what I need to help me to improvise the things I make (I tend to prefer not using patterns).

I'm so happy with the result! It fits like a glove and it feels so good to wear. I've been wearing it a lot ever since I finished it. On to another three (or more) years of enjoying this yarn...

Linking up with Jeannie Gray Knits' Makers' Monday and Frontier Dreams' Crafting on

Yarn Along :: look at that!

(affiliate links ahead)
Well, that settles it. I'm definitely a one-project-girl. After I decided to focus on the cardigan while I make up my mind about the colors of the MKAL (I think I'm going to keep them), I got into a flow. And now... well, look at that:

Finished the sleeves, added a bit of length to the body and now I'm knitting away at the yoke (with a bit of help from Elizabeth Zimmermann, ofcourse). 

Since it's a lot of garter stitch, I manage to read while I'm knitting. Still working my way through The Kitchen Witch series by Morgana Best. I'm now halfway the fourth book and this one is the best sofar. Still not brilliant, but entertaining and easy to read. Just what I need for knitting. And for nursing myself out of an inner ear infection (yeah fun! It seems this weekend was only the start of it)...

Linking up with Ginny's Yarn Along at Small Things

52 hats :: 16 - Tweed stripes

Meet my new model. He and his girlfriend came from my daughter's "workcloset" that is stuffed with her materials (she's a make-up artist, but took several courses on hairdressing too). She was happy to part with them and I'm happy not having to take pictures of my own head anymore. Though I'm not sure I'll take them with me to Curaçao so me and my wrinkles may pop up again later.
Anyway. Another hat. I've been working through my scraps, so stripes it is. But I do like it.

A long and lazy weekend

We had a long weekend here. Friday was King's Day, a public holiday.
We planned to stay home and work on the house, but we weren't really up to it (I had a cold and T. pulled something in his shoulder last week), so we ended up visiting Gouda for a few hours.
King's Day is traditionally the day we're allowed to have "free markets" all over the country and it's always fun to look around. We didn't buy anything though, partly because of the whole "moving to another country" thing (we're trying to get rid of stuff, not add to it), but also because there just weren't many treasures to find. Mostly toys, children's books and (boring) clothes. Maybe the good stuff was already gone, we were kind of late to the game.
We tried to find a place to have a drink after the market, but all the restaurants and bars were crowded, so we went back home.

The rest of the weekend I spent like this. Knitting, reading, browsing. I guess we needed a bit of a reset.
I'm reading a magical cozy mystery series (currently on book 3), The Kitchen Witch series by Morgana Best. Not as brilliant and funny as the Matchmaker's series, but rather entertaining and perfect for reading in bits and pieces while knitting (those were affiliate links).
I've also spent some time reading through the archives of Soulemama's blog. I love her blog and her writing, but browsing all thirteen years (!) of her blogging also gave me some perspective on my own life in that period (I've been reading along most of the time, found her blog in 2007). Weird maybe, but I'll take whatever works for soothing my crazy, worrying, emotional, perimenopausal mind ;-)

I'm almost done with the second sleeve of the cardigan and then I'm going to put it all together with a yoke.
The Mystery Knitalong is sort of frustrating. I'm not sure I like how the colors work out. I'm thinking about frogging the whole thing and starting over with different colors. I wasn't sure about the whole variegated yarn thing from the start (I never like it) and should have followed my instincts instead of the directions (those clearly stated two solids, two variegated). But that would mean I'd have to find time to go yarn shopping again. Hmn. It's not that I don't want to, but this week is an extra busy one - I have some editing (on someone elses novel) to be done on top of all my other tasks.
Anyway. I still have that cardigan to finish and I think I'll be focusing on that this week.

Linking up with Jeannie Gray Knits' Makers' Monday

p.s. did you make hats last month? Please consider joining my monthly Mad Hatters' Link party

Mad Hatters' Link Party - April

Wow, the end of the month kind of snuck up on me...
How can April be over already? Anyway. Time to round up the hats I posted about this month:

12 - Something different

13 - First Try Fair Isle

14 -  Slouchy Stripes

15 - Bobble Top 2.0

- - - - - - - - - - -

Three things

Three things I'm thinking about today:

:: how knitting a sweater is hard work for this instant gratification lover. Still working on those sleeves. Tempted to start a side project, but I'm not sure I want to. I'm usually a one project girl and when I do start several projects at once most of the time I end up working on just one and frogging the rest.

:: why I never realized that sweater dresses (still love the one I made a while ago) and leggings would make the comfiest winter uniform? I wore it a lot since we came back and would love to have more of them. But knitting a wardrobe full of those for the short periods of time we'll spend in real winter weather after our move to Curacao seems silly.
(I'm absolutely not thinking about all the hiccups we're encountering to actually make that move happen - nope, not me)

:: the color choices I made for the Mystery Knitalong. Not sure about the third one (the one on top in the picture below). The instructions say it should be variegated or speckled yarn and it can be a crazy accent/pop color with not much in common with the rest. I had a limited choice, limited time and a limited budget, so this was the best I could do. There was another yarn that was much more crazy and popping, but um... too crazy and popping to my taste. It's hard to see in the pictures, but this one has green and pink in it, which does make it different from the other three.
Anyway, we'll see how this works out. First clue will be online tomorrow. Oh wait, there's my side project. Didn't realize that until I wrote this down. Ha!
Also: I do feel a bit guilty about buying these yarns in a cheap textile store while the whole thing was set up to honor local yarn store day. But a. we don't have a lys around here; b. the only one I know of is not a shop I was very excited about after visiting it a few years ago and c. I really don't have the budget for it right now - never do actually. But... I googled for yarn stores in this region and found one in Rotterdam that I really do want to visit someday, preferably with (a lot of) spending money. So that's something, I guess.

Linking up with Carole Knits' Three Things

52 hats :: 15 - Bobbletop 2.0

I started this hat only a few days before we left Curaçao. There was a lot on my mind, so I thought I'd do something easy and knit a pattern I already made before. I considered another Soulemama Hat, but decided to choose my own Bobble Top Pattern instead. It reached 100 favorites on Ravelry and I thought I'd celebrate that by knitting it again.
There really must have been a lot on my mind. I remember checking my notes for the pattern after I finished the brim (my computer was off and I haven't printed it yet - we didn't have a printer in the apartment). I checked back later, it clearly states to K1, P1 in the third round. But somehow I started doing K2, P2 and I only discovered that when I started decreasing, since that was when I checked my notes again. Oops. But it didn't look too bad, so I decided to keep it this way.
Bobbletop 2.0 it is ;-)

Not enough

This morning I cleaned the kitchen, the bathroom and the toiletroom. I took all sheets and blankets of the bed, washed them and I hung a load of laundry outside (second load is in the machine right now). Oh, and I watered the plants.
This is only half of what's on my list of weekly household chores and it's lunch time already. We just ate and I'm trying to get myself to tackle that other half.
Actually, I sit here wondering how on earth a few months ago I managed to finish everything on my list in the morning, work on other things in the afternoon, keep up with my daily tasks and drive to my parents' to help them move and sort through their things at least once a week.
When I said this out loud, my husband replied: that's why you collapsed after the holidays. Hmn. I did? Okay, maybe kind of. But that's not what I wanted to hear. I wanted to hear that I could easily do more than I do now. Way more.
He told me I always seem to think I don't do enough and then he also mentioned he stopped denying that, because I just don't listen.
Well, it seems I just got permission to stop cleaning and pick up my knitting, doesn't it?

There has been knitting. But not enough. Really. I thought I would be almost done by now, but I'm not.
I had the body long enough to not look ridiculous and started the sleeves to find out how much yarn I would have left (I'd rather make the body a bit longer). And that's sort of where I slowed down an awful lot. I've got two sleeves half done. Yes, two. When the first one was wide enough to switch to circulars, I cast on the other sleeve on dpn's immediately. I don't like knitting on dpns, so I thought I'd better get it over with. The second sleeve is almost at the same point now, so I hope to pick up pace again tonight. Oh wait, no. I could start immediately after I finish this post. The vacuuming will have to wait. I did enough. So glad we had this conversation, honey ;-)

By the way... Have you seen this? It's a murder mystery knitalong! Two of my favorite things combined. I already downloaded the prologue (it's really cleverly written!), but I need to go shopping for the right yarn (the colors you need are in the pdf). And I need to find time to actually knit along and maybe even communicate with the other participants (that's what makes a KAL fun, isn't it?). Not sure if I can  make it happen, but I so want to do this...

Linking up with Jeannie Gray Knits' Makers' Monday

In my garden

I love my garden (even when it's overgrown again, since I never find enough time to keep up with it), If - no wait - when we've sold the house, I'm going to miss it so, so much (but there will be other gardens, for sure).
Anyway, I'm going to pretend that's why I'm going to take and post lots of pictures of my garden while we still live here...
Ofcourse my archives prove that I just love, love, love walking around in our back or front yard, taking pictures of buds, flowers and leaves - I guess my faithfull blogreaders just have to deal with it each summer. It wouldn't be my blog without it.

Three things

Three things that make me happy this week:

1. sunny and warm weather. Today we'll get temperatures over 25 degrees C (close to 80 F)! I know, so early. That seems to be a trend here in The Netherlands. Early summer weather in spring followed by a cool and wet summer. But we're not thinking about that yet (we'll be on a tropical island for a while anyway). Right now the whole country is in summer mode. Spanish music on the radio, shorts and skirts everywhere and probably large traffic jams on the roads to the beaches.

2. working in the garden. And even more: working in the garden when it's sunny and warm.

3. eating outside (had our first bbq yesterday), sitting outside, knitting outside. Being outside and not getting wet or cold, but soaking up sun and warmth instead.

Okay, maybe that's actually just one thing making me happy. Oh well.
Still going to link up with Carole Knits' Three Things ;-) Oops, forgot she's on vacation... 

52 hats :: 14 - Slouchy stripes (or Stripy Slouch?)

Another slouch... I love making these, especially when I don't feel like thinking too much about my knitting (oh, the lace on that cardigan is driving me crazy!). It's also a great way to use up scraps.
For this one I cast on 80 stitches (on 4 mm needles), did a K3, P1, K2, P2 rib for 4 inch, increased to 100 stitches and happily knit stockinette until it was long enough.

Linking up with Frontier Dreams' Crafting On

Knitting notes

Thank you so much for the encouraging comments on my last (slightly depressed sounding) post! It really made me feel better to read them.

We had a good weekend. Lots of smaller tasks done, a bit of work in the garden, a visit to one of the girls (to help hang a coat rack) on Friday and a visit from another one on Saturday.
We talked through some of my worries and had a great conversation with a young woman that owns our favorite place to buy fries. She recognized us and also remembered not seeing us for a while. When we mentioned having been in Curaçao she told us she was just back from two weeks vacation there. Although she was not really considering moving permantly (but she mentioned her boyfriend did talk about not wanting to leave), she loves the island as much as we do and it was great to talk about it. Got to keep the love alive.
Speaking of keeping the love alive: we did something crazy and booked tickets to go back for the month of June! Hopefully the house will be on the market by then, but if not... well, we decided to take things the way the come and to stop worrying.

Anyway. I titled this knitting notes, so let's move on to the knitting!

I manage to squeeze in a few rows of knitting between everything else and actually made some progress on the cardigan. The lace knitting turned out harder then I thought and I've been thinking about ripping back and just do stockinette more than I'd like to admit. But it seems I'm finally getting the hang of it. Though there's a mistake I discovered when it was too late to fix it (about 20 rows down, I feared I would mess up it even more) - I'll just try to ignore that part and see it as a lesson to let go of perfection. Also on hindsight I maybe should have mirrored the lace on one side, but I think figuring out how to do that and keeping up with an even more complicated pattern would be too much for me to handle right now. I do like the way it looks now so I'm hopeful that this will be a cardigan I'll actually wear a lot.

I also tried to organize my "stash". Ha! Yes, this is it. Most of it is cotton, which I think is not really suitable for knitting hats. It will be used to knit dishcloths I think, but I don't really feel like knitting them right now.
So I really need to go yarn shopping soon. Isn't that sad? ;-)

Linking up with Jeannie Gray Knits' Makers' Monday

Three things that make me happy

Oh no! It's Thursday already! I usually have a post with three things planned out in advance, but today I'm drawing a blank. I really want to keep posting regularly, but life is a bit stressful and overwhelming right now.
Work on the house is not going as fast as we'd like (something about being middle aged and having to acknowledge that our bodies need rest every once in a while - ahem!), the financial stuff is waiting on professionals to handle it (and I really mean waiting. I know we're not their only clients, but come on! at least send me that e-mail to start things up!) and there is a chance that we need to rethink our decision to permantly move to the island (but that has mostly to do with that financial stuff that is out of my hands now).
I feel frustrated, tired and actually a bit depressed. Not good. Need to work on that.

So let's try to find three things that make me happy...

1. The trees are finally turning green! Goodness, if this winter feels long for someone who spent most of it on a tropical island, how long must it feel for everyone else? Or is it harder for us because we've been away? It seems to be.
Anyway, seeing all that green is seriously boosting my moral and helping me to ignore the gray skies ;-)

2. We've indulged in watching some tv-series and are enjoying it very much. We hardly ever watch tv, but we do catch up on Supernatural every once in a while (I've got a little crush on Dean).
And when we needed more this week to take our mind off things, we decided to try Star Trek Discovery. Oh wow! We're so hooked. Such a shame that we're almost done with that one too... I'm trying to convince my husband to rewatch one of the older Star Trek series next.

3. Focusing on the progress we did make (this one took me a really long time to come up with...): We've replaced the kitchen ceiling (and added working (!) lights, replaced the ceiling in the toilet room and added a tiny sink for washing hands (we've been washing our hands in the kitchen for 12 years - the lack of a sink in the toilet room is actually quite common in older houses, but it's something that could turn off potential buyers). We've also painted the back wall of the entrance (it used to be dark wood) and finished the ceiling there too. Still lots of finishing touches needed in those spaces, but it is a lot of progress in just three weeks since we arrived home.
And today I finally finished working through my parents' archives. Everything we need to keep is sorted and the rest is gone. That felt so good!

Linking up with Carole Knits' Three Things

52 hats :: 13 - First Try Fair Isle

In all my years of knitting I never tried Fair Isle before. I guess I found it intimidating. If you look for patterns, it actually is. So I decided to do what I've always done: wing it. I made up a little zigzag pattern and hey presto! A fair isle hat.
I know, it's not perfect. A bit of a tension problem going on in some spots (if I can find some time I'm going to try if blocking it helps). And it's actually too small for my head. I should have realised it makes the knit less stretchy, so it ended up being a child's size. But that's okay.
I mean, I finally did Fair Isle. A whole world of colorful possibilities is opening up for me right now...

Linking up with Frontier Dreams' Crafting On