Sunday, December 21, 2014

Wishing you all the best of the season

In the end of the busy week, it feels good to celebrate Sunday, the fourth advent and to take time to write a post. Just what I need, to sit here calmly and try to look inside my mind to see if there is anything to write about. 

I have had almost no time to knit; there is not anything new to show to you of Ursula, still working on the button bands, sort of got stuck there, had to rip and start all over again. My own doing, not the pattern. This little mishap did not diminish my love of Ursula and it is not that what is holding me back, it is this season. There is much going on with the cardigan all the time; the one and only moment of boredom might occur with the second sleeve... but somehow I am sure I will stay motivated, because it will be the last stretch. When the button bands and the first sleeve are done, and when I am casting off the second, all that is left to do, is to decide on the buttons or the zipper. I am hoping to get it done before the new year, but we'll see - I might be a little bit too optimistic here. 
Looking forward for the moment when everything calms down Christmas Eve and I can sit down with spiced wine and knit away the long dark night. Because of the magic of Christmas, all the animals can talk through the night, and we all will have a lively conversation. Ruusu has a lot on her mind (and mouth).
This is the season of the color red... mostly anyway. Excuse for the too-bright-too-glowy photos, red is so difficult to get good pictures off. I am happy with my newish (crocheted) cowl and mittens - finally a matching set for me.
The embroidery on the mittens is the famous Unikko (Poppy) of Marimekko (my interpretation, click on the link). The print was designed 1964 by Maija Isola and it is recognized as Marimekko all over the world. I love this bold, colorful print and their other prints as well. Never get tired of them. If you click on the link here you can see my absolute favorite from this fall. I have a table cloth made out of this.
I talked to my friend Pirjo K about the felted mittens. The old original pattern, garter stitch mittens with two needles, was taught in schools in the old times. It was very easy first knit for the little ones. In the beginning of 2000 she made the pattern using two strands of fingering weight yarn held together, yarn that would felt easily and rewrote the pattern for these felted mittens. The pattern became very popular here in Rovaniemi and I am sure that most knitters around here and maybe all over Finland have used hers for their felted mittens. She worked for Taito-Lappi then and currently teaches all kinds of workshops there. Sadly this pattern is not available online anywhere.

Today is the day of Tuomas (Thomas) in Finland. In the old times this was the day when Christmas celebrations began. All the preparations should already be done, the house clean and the Christmas beer that had been prepared earlier, could finally be tasted. And during the next three days the sun is resting in her nest before she starts the new circle. I should do the same.

Wishing you all the best of the season and
wool with you,

Monday, December 15, 2014

Steeking Ursula

The last few busy days before the holidays are here. Even though it seems that, I am not doing extra, days just slip through my hands.
(I am including pictures from my walk the other day. They do not look like much now, but on that day, they were special. I normally walk the dogs during the dark hours - early morning - of the day but finally I was able to catch some daylight and all the bare birch trees just kept popping up against their subtle background. DAYLIGHT! The pictures were taken around noon...)
Dear Ursula is moving along. With a few mishaps and tinking, I finally reached the end of the body. I was so unhappy with the unevenness that I soaked the cardigan and then afterwards threw it into the washing machine for the spin circle (yes, spin only, never rinse, just spin with 1400). This is what I always do with my knits, I put them into very hot water, gently push them under the surface, let them soak at least until the water is cool. Straight from the sink, I throw the knit into the washing machine and spin all the water out, and every single time the outcome is beautiful. Lace always goes inside a mesh bag if it is knitted with delicate yarn.
After she was completely dry, she was looking so much better and I crocheted the neck opening and the fronts. Cutting was uneventful, careful snipping of the stitches.
I used green wool for the steeks so that I could see well where to cut. I don't think that any of the stitches have gone loose. It is amazing.
Now the front bands.
I am doing them little bit differently from the original, because I am considering adding a zipper to the front. I have not decided this yet; I will see how the cardigan feels once it is done.
I know this will change the feel and the look of the cardigan totally. If the fit is snug, I will install a zipper if I can find a good one. If it is loose (doubt it, it looks small), will add buttons. Or then not.

While Ursula was soaking and drying, I knitted and felted (in the washer) a pair of mittens. This is an old pattern, originally done many many years ago by Pirjo K. It is a very easy and clever knit and you can play with colors and leftovers. As you can see I left some beige areas, I was going to add some embroidery on them, but no matter how long I have been looking at them, I do not seem to come up with any idea. The mittens are very silent; they will not talk to me and tell me what they need. Obviously they need more time.

Wool with you,