Hello! How are you doing my Friends? I hope everyone is fine, staying safe in self-isolation.
Who would have thought a year ago that this would be a common way to begin a blog entry? We live in interesting times, and I miss the good old boredom!
Here in Ireland, we entered the first stage of a 5-phase roadmap to reopening the country yesterday, and it seems that everyone assumes we’re already past the danger. I went to do my weekly grocery shopping yesterday, and I was baffled to see people without masks, gloves and approaching each other casually as if everything was already back to normal. But the 1st phase is hardly any change at all, the process is supposed to be a gradual (and slow – until August) transition into “business as usual”. Right now, some outdoor vendors and workers can reopen/ get back to work, and people from different households can meet up outdoors, but still keeping the distance. Meanwhile, all the neighbourhood kids are running around together in a large group today, and I just can’t see it ending well. I hope I’m wrong!
I guess challenging myself with trying to defeat my summer knits anxiety has made me bolder than usual, and I decided to give a try to my other usually avoided type of projects: made with bulky yarn.
Maybe you noticed reading my posts, that I mostly knit with thinner yarns, preferable fingering weight. Fingering or DK is my favourite, with worsted or aran weight reserved for hats (sometimes) and an occasional sweater. I’ve only tried to knit a jumper with bulky yarn once in my life, and I found it such a pain that I promptly unravelled the few centimetres I made and swapped the yarn for something lighter in my knitting group, promising myself never to do that again. It just felt so awkward! The needles were large and uncomfortable, and they felt like paddles in my hands rather than crafty accessories meant to create a garment (even though I LOVE kayaking 😉 ).
Well, since it’s time for crafty challenges and (hopefully) small victories, I dug out some bulky multicoloured wool and acrylic yarn from Ice Yarns in the shades of peach, light brown, pink and grey from my stash, and decided to give it a try.
This is a post I’ve meant to write for more than a month now, and I could never find the time or mood for that, so I think it’s high time to present my Summer Carnival Bolero finally!
It’s the shortest cardigan I’ve ever owned (or knitted), and it’s a somewhat surprising addition to my wardrobe, as I’m usually more of a tunic kind of gal. But recently I’ve found myself knitting smaller and shorter sweaters, and it culminated (at least I think so, if I go any shorter, it’s not going to be a sweater anymore but… I don’t know… a cowl?) in this bolero. As it’s finally getting warmer, it’s a functional, lightweight, not too covering layer that I can wear below my spring jacket. That is, at least I could do it if I went out – my only trips are taking the rubbish out, going for short walks in the neighbourhood (we don’t have many places to walk here even though the area is rural and green, as there are mostly fenced pastures and there are no pavements. To have a proper walk we have to go by car first, a little farther than is allowed for non-essential reasons now) and rare grocery shopping, that we try to limit as much as possible. But in theory… the bolero is perfect for now 😉
Content warning: there will be talking about the pandemics so if you feel like you need to avoid this topic, skip to the part after the first photo.
Hello friends! I hope everyone is staying safe when all the world around is in chaos. Please remember not only to protect yourselves and others from the virus but also to take care of your mental health. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed by the situation, especially with the forced self-isolation and staying home. I’m an introvert who needs her alone time (and lots of it!) each day to charge my batteries, and it still feels wrong when staying home is not my choice. I can only imagine how difficult it must be for anyone social and outgoing.
Myself, I’m not taking the situation well. I’m not feeling anxious, and I’m not panicking, but my good old friend, dissociation, is having a field day (month?) in my mind. Hence the title of this post: I’m really numb, and I don’t feel real, as if there was this thick fog between me and the rest of the world, and even between my own body and mind. I’m trying to use the grounding techniques learned over the years in therapy but so far, no success. Somewhere deep inside I feel concern for my parents, my brother and my nephew in Poland – and the fact that I can’t see them and won’t be able to see them any time soon (even if I travelled there, I’d still have to be quarantined, and I can’t risk infecting for my not-so-young parents). I worry what would happen to my cats if we got sick and possibly hospitalised (I prepared a long list with cat-care instructions for the Boyfriend, as I’m in the higher risk group so chances are I might need to be hospitalised if I got infected), and I really worry about the economic situation and what happens when the recession strikes, because it’s always scary living abroad without a strong support network.
But all this anxiety is hidden, and mostly it’s this awful fog and derealization, which makes it extremely hard to focus and work – finishing some of the work projects in the last two weeks has felt like a herculean mental effort. I also miss the entire hours that I can’t recall, and my short-term memory is terrible. I literally get up and forget what I was going to do before I’m standing!
But we’ll get through that, too, won’t we? We just need to figure out how to adjust to this situation, stay vigilant and be careful to minimise the risk of contracting or spreading the disease.
It’s a very dark and rainy November day, I’m sitting wrapped in my blanket at home (cats are enjoying the heating pad, and I’m a little jealous of how warm and cosy they look) so I thought it’s an excellent opportunity to update my blog. The last few weeks have been quite eventful both with the good and the not so good stuff and I’ve managed to finish some small knitting projects and start a new larger one.
But first of all: my Scheepjes CAL – the Rozeta Blanket – is officially hibernating for an unspecified time. I managed to finish the first three weeks of the CAL and I had to give up because of shoulder tendonitis. I know exactly what caused it: I sleep on the side, with my arm under my head, and it’s been causing me shoulder pain for months now, but even when I try to sleep on my back, I wake up turned to the side again, and with the arm lifted up and placed under my head. Such repeated minor injury is a common way to get shoulder tendonitis according to my GP. I have to be careful, avoid lifting my arm and generally let it rest, which is quite challenging considering it’s the right arm, and I am right-handed. Not fun! Anyways, I noticed that it gets considerably worse when I crochet, whereas knitting, for some reason, doesn’t make the pain worse.
So for now – no more CAL and no more crochet, at least until I sort this problem out and get some physical therapy to learn how to improve the way I move and use my arm not to cause any more harm. So far the pain isn’t lessening, so I doubt that I’ll be able to get back to this project any time soon.
Last year I participated in my first CAL – Arizona Blanket. It was fun, I liked working on it in the slow pace of the weekly pattern releases, and I really loved the final result. This blanket now is in my parents home, and my Mum claimed it. The good thing is that it’s machine washable and easy in maintenance, so even if one of their dogs decides to use it as a placemat and drag a bone or jump on it with muddy paws, it’s simple to fix the mess.
I’ve been thinking about making another blanket, for my Father this time – and finally I found the right opportunity when I saw the announcement for a new Scheepjes CAL: the Rozeta Blanket. The pattern is crocheted and incorporates some embroidered elements, and I really like the look of this blanket. The original kits are sold in a number of colour versions and in two types of yarn: acrylic Colour Crafter and the luxury version, 70% Merino Superwash and 30% Polyamide Scheepjes Our Tribe. For me the choice was simple, both because of the price and the yarn content, and I ordered a Colour Crafter kit in the Twilight colourway.
First of all, I’d like to thank you all for your kind words under my previous post. Your encouragement and support means a lot!
I’m still working on digging myself out of the black hole and it gets better every day. I’m functional again, resumed my regular workouts, and they always help keep my mood up. I also keep knitting a lot and that’s why I already have another sweater to share here.
Remember the Silver Blossom Tee I’ve knitted in July for my Mum? Well, I decided to knit it again, this time in a winter version. I had a sweater worth of Drops Sky in my stash. It’s a super soft and light alpaca yarn that I’d bought during the last year’s Drops Alpaca Party. I didn’t have any specific plans for it, I just took the opportunity of a reduced price, because this yarn is really wonderful and so pleasant to work with. I’d used it in the past for my Mint Tulip Skirt and despite my worries that it might not survive too long (as the yarn is so delicate and seems very fragile), it’s still fine and looks well after being worn a lot during the last winter. I decided that Drops Sky will work well with this pattern, but I wanted to knit longer sleeves. I actually hesitated between full length or elbow-length, and eventually compromised with 3/4 sleeves!
Woollinn 2019 has come and gone, and as much as I was going to take tons of photos and post a nice write up of the festival, guess what? I managed to take exactly 0 pictures! I don’t even have an excuse, I was just busy and also a little overwhelmed with everything, and I just haven’t thought to take out my phone and take some photos. So the best I can do is try to describe everything now, and send you to check the #woollinn hashtag on Instagram to get a visual idea of all the yarny goodness.
I wanted to write a new post a few times over the last two weeks, but I just really wasn’t in the headspace for that. Between my travel to Brussels and now, a lot has been going on, and I think that my “knitting” reflected that! It’s been chaotic, with some failed attempts (summer knits of course, right?) and inability to focus on anything, and with one broken knitting needle (because of TENSION! Can you believe that stress )
So I thought it would be the best to break this post down into points and just write a little about everything. Buckle up!
Summer knits: me 2:0
After all the failed summer projects from last year, it seems that things are not improving this year at all. I started and almost finished (see the photo above) the Purl Soho design Notched Hem Top. I had perfect yarn (linen with bamboo from Ice Yarns), I loved the pattern, it was simple and should be a blast – and yet I managed to ruin it completely. Just look at the armholes. I don’t even know how to comment on that! Just how did I manage to knit one armhole so big, and another one much smaller, is a big mystery and I don’t have an answer to it. I was so disgusted with myself when I realised what I’d done, that I just unraveled the whole thing. Maybe next year I will come up with a better idea for this yarn.
Then I tried to knit few different tops (I don’t even remember all the patterns right now) with another, cotton based summer yarn. That’s about as much as I went before ripping it all out each time:
I don’t know why, I’m just not feeling it at all. But I really want to make something with this silver cotton yarn, so I’m not giving up hope that the next I try to use it, it’s actually going to work out.