Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013 in Reflection and Looking Forward!




☆  Craft   

Favourite make of this year:
Knitting: My actual favourite knit is something I haven't blogged about yet, but out of the things that have turned up on my blog it's the hats! My Norse Hat I finished earlier this month and my There and Back Again Hat. Normally I'm much more of sweater girl than an accessory knitter. In general I wasn't to happy with most of the sweaters I knitted this year, so let's change that in 2014!

Sewing: My Reglisse Dress.

Biggest craft accomplishment:After years of only daring to sew cushion covers and skirts I finally took the plunge and made my first dress this summer. Since then I have sewed a variety of dresses and made plans for an army of handmade clothing. I learned to stop worrying and go for it.So far, it has worked our brilliantly and  and I am now (mostly) fearless and unstoppable on the sew front.

Craft ambition for 2014:
Knitting:
I want to make one of Lucy Hague's Shawls (She's well on her way to becoming one of my favourite designers, so far I want to make everything in her Celtic Cable Shawls collection)

Check list, make at least one of each of the following:

♥ Shetland cardigan/jumper

♥ Icelandic Cardigan/jumper
♥ Fishermen Sweater
♥ Vintage Cardigan/jumper
♥ A colourwork cardigan

I don't want to be to bothered by summer knitting this year. It doesn't really work for the country I live in anyway. It is either to hot for any knit wear or it's so cold you can wear your fall/winter/spring wear all year round. So instead of doing any summer knits I just want to focus on fall/winter (and spring) knits.



Sewing:
- Sew with difficult fabrics like sheer fabrics, slippery fabrics and knits
- Sew a coat
- Sew tops
-Sew a sturdy backpack to take to campus. (my current backpack is a really sad mess. I have to use sturdy fabric and carefully construct the bag as it will have to endure lots of weight from books, all weather conditions (I go to class on bike) and the dark, miserable place that is the cafeteria of the university ;)
Pattern suggestions for sewing backpacks and/or tips are most welcome!
-Sew dresses (this isn't much of a goal because I will mostly make and wear dresses anyway...but it are the things I wear most so...)
-Learn to sew button holes

Spinning:
Learn to spin with a navaho-spindle
Spin all my Icelandic fibre

Other
Learn to embroider

Overall:
I would like to knit and sew more projects next year than I did this year.




☆  Books   
What is the best book I read this year:
 As an avid reader and English literature student this is actually quite a hard question to answer.

♥ One Flew over  the Cuckoo's nest - Ken Kesey
♥ The Complete Maus - Art Spiegelman (Heads up: this is a graphic-novel, but even so it's one of the best pieces of literature I've read so far)
♥ Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close - Jonathan Safran Foer
 ♥ Whatever - Michel Houellebecq (I can't vouch for the English version, but the translator did an amazing job on the Dutch version "De wereld als markt en strijd")

♥ Oranges are not the Only Fruit - Jeanette Winterson  

Books I want to read next year:
My uni life already involves reading a lot of literature, even more so because next semester I choose a literature minor, so I have a lot of mandatory reading. One of the courses I choose is about early modern English women’s writing. I look very much forward to this course as it combines a lot of things I'm passionate about: Literature, history, social context and gender/feminist questions.
As not all books have to be college-related:
The Ocean at the End of the Lane - Neil Gaiman

Best Craft books I bought/was gifted this year: 
Dutch Traditional Ganseys (Visserstruien) - Stella Ruhe
The Art of Fair isle knitting - Ann Feitelson
Stranded Knits - Ann Kingstone



Craft Books I'm looking forward to read next year: 
Shetland Textiles 800 BC to present by Sarah Laurenson. I was gifted this book for Christmas and so far I have only been able to peek at some of the pages, but it looks amazing and I cannot wait to read it! It's about a Shetland crafts, and the photographs are so very inspiring. It's published by the Shetland Museum, and it has contributions by many historians and crafters, amongs whom Kate Davies. According to the 'further reading'-list at the end of te book, The vintage Shetland Project: Heirloom handknits from the Shetland museum by Susan Crawford will be published in 2014 as well! I'm really looking forward to it.


☆ Life  

What is my biggest non-craft accomplishment this year? 
This is easy, I got an important diploma at university back in the summer. It was pretty cool, I got to shake hands with important people, was in a room full of old portraits with stern men and women in black robes (it gave me a very hogwarts-y feeling) and my fellow students and I got a lot of applause. Also I celebrated with oreo cookies afterwards. That was a good day.


Non-craft ambition for next year:

- I will start my first minor in February, I choose something literature related, again. This means I will have to read a lot, probably more than I have ever done in my life. Things were already pretty hectic this semester with all the literature courses I was taking combined with all the preparations for my linguistic courses. Next semester will probably be even more busy and hectic, with the minor I'm taking, and some courses in middle English and some syntactic courses.  What I want to do is try to balance my university work load, my personal life (hobbies and sanity) and social life better.

-Be fearless and confident in myself and my abilities.

-Write more and let people read what I write.

-Blog more often and comment on other peoples blogs (I read a lot of blogs, and comment on some of them, but this has really been a learning curve for me. I love to hear from readers myself, but for the longest time I didn't comment on other blogs myself at all simply because I was too shy and thought that whatever I would write could only be dull and bothersome to the blogger. I'm glad I'm learning to be braver and silence that stupid voice in the back of my head).

-Learn to make better photographs and improve photo's for the blog. Learn to use props in blog photos!

- Start on my epic journey: Learn Gaelic.

Scariest part of the year:At the beginning my boyfriend having a pretty intense surgery. The surgery went well, but he couldn't really walk for a month or so after and things like cycling were a no-no for another few months. It was not a great time, but it was a lot better than the months before the surgery when he was in a lot of pain (I hate waiting lists at hospitals). It would be great to not have to go though all that again next year...or frankly any other year.


Person who will be missed most: 
My grandfather. He was my last grandparent and passed away in August. I miss them.  

Best recipe I tried: Pumpkin Pasta

TV-series or film I'm most looking forward to: The new Doctor Who Series & Shetland.

Do you have a lot to look forward to in the new year? Do you have any goals?
Let me now if you blogged about it! I'm curious to read them! 
Happy New Year's Eve! Cheers to a grand new year for all of us!
 See you in 2014!

Eine Goje Roetsj!


xxx
Nisse

Sunday, 22 December 2013

The Rhyme of the Ancient Christmas Jumper


The Christmas jumper. I finished the jumper almost a year ago, which makes this the oldest finished project ever to make it to the blog. I had taken pictures and written a blog post about it many months ago. But my hard disc drive crashed and I lost all the photo's I had taken of the jumper (and all my other photos...yeah lets not talk about that). The result was that my jumper lay forgotten in the back of my wardrobe for many months. It would still be laying there if not for a kind reader asking about it (Thank you Sandra!). So drum roll...here it is...



 I'm not going to lie,  I've been dreading this post. But I like to be honest, and give you the whole picture. I'm not sure what to say on this jumper, the process was slow, and while knitting it I just wasn't feeling this jumper. Which was odd, because I had wanted to knit it for a long time, had spend many months looking forward to knitting it and planning the project. The pattern included stranded colourwork, which is my favourite technique and the designer, Susan Crawford, is one of my favourite designers of all time. But still, almost from the start, I didn't enjoy knitting this jumper.
I wish I could say I had other thoughts on the finished project, but alas. I'm not "feeling" the finished project either. The whole process wasn't enjoyable for me and when my hardrive crashed and I lost all my photo's I couldn't even be sad about it...it seemed liked the perfect cynical end of the whole knitting process.



Let's go through the issues:

 First, it is way to big. I mean really way to big. It might not be super obvious from the pictures,but I should have knitted it one or two sizes smaller. I mentioned a few times to people while I was knitting it, that it looked so big, but it was my size...and I never had any issues with Crawford's patterns before so I continued knitting, ignoring the nagging doubts I had about it. It's not only the size of the jumper its also the sleeves that somehow turned out to long. As you can see above I had to fold back the sleeves to make it fit.

Then there is the fit, which is really strange. The back is all weird. The front is alright I guess. But the back just fits really weird. The neckline is awfull,  all weird and wobbly. This is a problem I could fix, but I' not sure if the other problems that this FO has going on, motivates me enough to actually do it.

Next up: Box sleeves, they really don't do anything for me... at all. It was the first time I did box head sleeves on a vintage jumper, and the process of doing it went well, I thought, and the finished sleeve caps look well enough in itself. I'm just not sure what they do on me. Again I could solve this by re-attaching them different but again I lack the motivation.


The silver lining, among all these 'ughs', is that I do love the colours together, a lot. I think that part played out wonderfully. I love the navy blue with the red colourwork. If I can't make this jumper work than I will most certainly make something else with it.

Well lesson learned, next time I will listen to that nagging feeling in my stomach and not knit further. Leave it and start something else, something I am enthusiastic about, and not something that feels like an obligation to me. I think that struggling with this jumper is the main reason why I turned away from vintage patterns for a bit (I'm not sure if you noticed?). It is a shame, but I will probably find my way back to them soon enough (did you hear of Susan Crawford´s vintage Shetland project? *gaspfangirlgasp*). There are some things I could do to solve the issues or make it a bit better. I just don't know if its worth the trouble. So I don't know if I will. Perhaps I will just frog it and make something different out of the yarn all together.


I'm actually glad it took me so long to blog about this jumper, because it made me able to look at this jumper a bit more objective. When I go back and read the blogpost I initially wrote about it I see a lot more vicious bitterness. But a couple of months later (and some more succes projects later) I mainly laugh a lot about the whole story.

xxx
Nisse




Tuesday, 10 December 2013

A hat for a Norse winter


I love Scandinavian style knits. Over the years I've been reading a lot about the Scandinavian knitting heritage, saving a lot of inspirational pictures and filled my queue with Scandinavian knitting patterns. While I've made quite some Icelandic patterns, I was quite surprised to find that I hadn't knit any Norse patterns, seeing I've loved them ever since I started knitting and I'm a fair isle fanatic.




I'm sure that you've propably heard about the famous Norse knitting company Dale of Norway. Aside from making rad ready to wear sweaters and being the brain behind the Norwegian olympic ski sweater they also produce great yarn. Sandes garn is another of those Norwegian companies that make my knitting hearth beat faster. Sadly they don't sell their patterns outside of Norway and I've never seen their yarn in any of the LYS I frequent either. I'll keep working on my master plan, however, on how to get my hands on one of these patterns.


In the meantime I've made a hat!


This is a pattern of firsts. My first Scandinavian-style pattern that is not Icelandic! And the first time for me knitting with Lima and the first time knitting something in black (I know!! How did I knit all this time?) Anyway I realised it was my first time knitting with black when I noticed it really is a lot harder to see, especially when it's dark. Given that we have about half a day normal day light these days it wasn't always easy, squinting at the strands of yarn in front of the bedroom window.
I really like the outcome though! Black and white is obviously not my most creative colour choice ever, but I like the classic look of it and think it works well in this traditional colourwork pattern.


 Pattern: Nordic Nights 
Designer: Garnstudio
Yarn: Drop Lima
Soundtrack:  Julie Fowlis -Oganaich Uir a Rinn M'Fhagail
Raveled here
 
It's the first time I'm using drops lima and its super soft, which is not that odd, given that it's wool mixed with alpaca.

I had tons of fun making this hat! After working on my father's sweater for a few weeks it was really nice to work on something just for me again. I had really missed doing colourwork, so I when I casted on I couldn't really stop!

Xx
Nisse