general ramblings · knitting

Instead of a Jumper (part 2)

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It’s less than a week left until Christmas, and it seems like there’s not enough time for anything, even without any big holiday plans. I’m still enjoying a break from work (starting again in February), but there’s always something going on these days. To make things more interesting, my mobile, vacuum cleaner, and finally the washing machine all decided to stop working around the same time. I also didn’t notice that something went wrong with the laundry and I opened the washing machine when it stopped without checking – which resulted in flooding our kitchen pretty badly. I’m super lucky that it didn’t sink through the floor to the neighbours below! And also that there is a nice launderette nearby, because the washing machine pump needs to be replaced, but since it’s an old model, it won’t be delivered until the beginning of the new year. Fun times!
At least the timing for all of this technological drama was good, right when I got paid for my work in the summer months, so at I was able to replace the old vacuum cleaner. And to my excitement, the store nearby has a Christmas offer for the exact model I found on Amazon, for the same price, but with a free steam mop as a bonus. Now, admittedly I’m a bit of a clean freak so you can imagine that it’s like the best Christmas gift ever! I redeemed the mop voucher online and it should be delivered in about a month (which is way longer than I want to wait, but let’s not look gift horse… etc.) I know, I know… what can I say, cleaning (contrary to cooking) is the one housekeeping task I enjoy 😉

But apart from these little disasters, things are going well. We’re going to have a quiet and nice Christmas, as usually with the combination of Polish and Greek meals (and other regional food when we meet up with our friends). Then, after Christmas, the Boyfriend is going to Greece for some time (while I’ll be here dealing with the pump replacement), and when he comes back, I’m going to Poland in the second half of January. In between our travels we’re going to Belfast for a weekend away, because due to his work we can’t go in December, so I’m already excited and planning what we’re going to see and do there.

I don’t usually make any plans or resolutions for the new year, and don’t really make any summary of the passing year, but I have to say that it was overall a good year for me, and my only 2019 plan is to make it even a better one. And to keep knitting 🙂

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Alright, so let’s talk about knitting. In addition to the socks from my previous post, I used the red yarn from the Jumper That Never Was to knit a set of gloves, shawl and a hat for myself. Initially I chose the Aubergine hat and shawl pattern. Knitting this set was fast, easy and really enjoyable, but I didn’t really like the hat. I mean it was cute but just didn’t feel comfortable on my head. So I kept the shawl, unraveled the hat and made a new one, together with matching fingerless gloves.

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This set is awesome; it’s very warm, comfy, and I love the leafy pattern. It works surprisingly well with the shawl, and I love how it brightens up my gray coat. Just a perfect match all around 🙂

And now I think I’m done with the jumper yarn, and even though I still have almost 3 skeins left, I’m going to put them away for another time.

I mentioned it before on my blog, but I’m not making any knitted or crocheted Christmas gifts this year. I made a few small items, like socks or gloves for my friends, but they weren’t specifically planned for  Christmas – they’re just “because I like you” gifts. I’ve also received some yarn for the Boyfriend’s new hats (one gray, one brown) today, so they should be ready before he goes to Greece. Other than that, my knitting queue is filled with selfish project and I hope to finish at least one sweater before our Belfast getaway. All in all, I’m looking forward to my peaceful and crafty Christmas!

general ramblings · knitting

So it’s winter!

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Last time I posted here, I was surprised that it was already November. Time keeps flying fast and December has started; with its cold, short and rainy (that’s Irish winter: it rains instead of snowing, pretty much like during any other season, but the rain is colder and accompanied by equally cold wind) days, Christmas songs on the radio and me decorating our apartment with Christmas ornaments without any self control.

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I’m really enjoying the cold weather and the darkness, they don’t seem hostile but friendly, and I try to take daily walks even on the worst days. I’m also in holiday mood and surround myself with shiny, red, green and white decorations. Even the lipstick I use these days is more red than usually, because Christmas! All of that is strange because I’m normally not a very sentimental or holiday-loving type of person. Maybe that’s just a sign of getting older?

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crochet

Wrapped in lace

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Over a year ago I made a lace shawl based on Bernadette Ambergen’s pattern. I wrote back then that I’d like to crochet it again in a more neutral colour, but as usually, there was always something else to do and it took me many months to even think about it again. But some time in early spring I bought this wonderful, soft lace yarn from West Yorkshire Spinners – Falkland wool with silk – and I knew it was time to crochet my neutral lacy shawl.

Except that when I started browsing Bernadette’s designs, I found another shawl that I just had to crochet instead of the previous one. The pattern is called Grace, and I think it’s absolutely beautiful, so I decided that this would be my choice.

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knitting

Something for me

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Since I’d used up half of the yarn bought for Mum’s Madigan top to knit Dad’s hat and scarf, I decided to steal the remaining half for my own selfish knitting. This way I’ll have an excuse to order another lovely colourway for Mum, and that already makes me happy! Besides after all this scarves and shawls knitting, I realised I haven’t actually made one for myself this year apart from the sort-of-felted scarf. Up till now I’ve been wearing my last year’s cabled shawl almost all the time and while I love it, one is simply not enough for a whole winter ahead of us, right? Plus I wanted something bigger, to be able to cover my shoulders and use it as additional layer over the jumper or cardigan.

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knitting

I’m ready for Christmas (sort of)

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The photo shows all my knitted Christmas gifts (except my Aunt’s shawl which had been posted separately earlier) waiting to be wrapped and posted. Somehow I managed to finish the last gift set just on time – and there’s no way I could also knit Mum’s top before tomorrow, so I’m glad I gave up on this idea and spared myself additional stress.

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knitting

Tourmaline and Moonstone Rain Outside

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My gift making has slowed down significantly recently. In fact, all my yarny projects have. I’ve been dealing with my never ending cold, work deadlines and general apathy. So while I’d finished knitting The Rain Outside shawl for my friend about 2 weeks ago, I couldn’t bring myself to actually write about it or take some acceptable photos.

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knitting

Lotus Shawl

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The gorgeous pine cones pin is from NataliStudio on Etsy

My plan to make shawls, scarfs and in some cases also matching hats as this year’s Christmas gifts for my loved ones is going smoothly so far. Last week I finished this thing of beauty, Lotus Shawl, by Yumiko Alexander (or DanDoh Design). I bought the Interweave book “Rustic Modern Knits” specifically for this pattern, because I fell in love with it as soon as I first saw it on the book’s cover online, and I knew I had to knit it one day. There are also other lovely patterns in the book and I’m going to knit some of them in the future too. I love Yumiko’s style, playing with textures, and unique way in which she makes vintage style look modern. Her designs are very feminine and flattering. She writes crochet patterns as well and there is a similar book “Rustic modern crochet” written by her.

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in the stash · knitting

To knit or not to knit…?

As I wrote in my previous post, I’d bought some gorgeous West Yorkshire Spinners wool recently to knit a shawl and a hat for my friend. The wool is very soft, but being a 100% sheep wool, it has these tiny fuzzy hair, which made me wonder if it would be comfortable to wear it around the neck, next to skin? Well, to find out I designed an almost scientific experiment (alright, not exactly, there’s no control trial and the sample is too small, but let’s say it’s enough for my home-based, yarny science) 😉

First I soaked one skein really well in Eucalan, which I love not only for its softening properties, but also because it’s no-rinse, which is great when you need to hand wash knitted clothes. I was a little worried that the wool would get tangled, but nothing like that happened.

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Eucalan bath

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life

Taxes, gifts and cooking

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Paying taxes is not the most pleasant part of my year. As a self employed person, I must send my self assessment for the previous year and cover the difference with the preliminary tax paid the year before. Oh, and pay the preliminary estimated tax for the current year. I have time to do it until the end of October but of course I try to send my assessment earlier, depending on the time when I am paid by the company I work with.

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