Friday, March 07, 2014

Out of focus

We have not talked for a long time and I have missed you. I don't know how many times I have written the opening sentence, but then haven't had a glue how to carry on because there has been nothing to show to you. I'm fine and the family is as well - thank you for thinking of me. The winter here has been mild, to say the least. We had couple of weeks of very cold temperatures in January, but since then it has been exceptionally warm. I am not complaining... Although I am little worried, I am afraid that at some point cold front will wrap us in a tight grip and keep us there for several weeks... the rational side of me is saying that since it is March, the sun will have more power by the day and every single warm day is carving away one day of winter.
(Last month's Fairy Tale assignment) 
I have been all over in my creative life. With all over I mean that I don't seem to be able to concentrate on anything long enough to show any kind of progress or development. While I realize this might be good, because I am trying out many different new things and while nothing seems to work, I am gathering information and inspiration and hopefully someday all this will make sense, but at the same time this is most frustrating. As you know, I am taking the year long online class "The year of the Fairy Tale" taught by Carla Sonheim. I am learning (mostly about what I cannot do yet or maybe never) and the pile in the recycling bin gets higher but I am determined to keep at it. I need to tell me all over again, that I will get better (there are days when I don't sound that convincing) and that I cannot give up. Days go by when I freeze and stare at the blank paper but then there are days when all of a sudden something works out. 
This month's assignment is very, very interesting (we are working with yupo paper) but something I have never ever tried and it is like with everything new - hard. It is very difficult to be in a spot where you really don't have any experience but at the same time, it is most wonderful as discovering new things is... is refreshing.
I keep picking up my crochet hook. Since the granny square blanket, I have tried to make several things: a cardigan (did not work out), a basket (did not work out), a shawl (could not get the hang of combining lace yarn and big hook), another granny square blanket (have a pile of squares, but at the same time have doubts because I would really love to learn something new). After many false starts I made myself a small cowl, most simple stitch, almost like granny square, and the finished project made me happy. Finally!! (The yarn: Rustik Naturgarn 58% bourette silk and 42% cotton, 100g in total, hook size 3mm, which was a little bit too small, maybe.)
I have one successful and happy knitting project to show you. 
A sweater.
The inspiration... 
I have been on a cleaning assignment (I gave it to me) (a deep cleaning one where you dig out very old stuff and get rid of it, either goodwill or garbage depending on the condition) and I came across a big box of cotton yarn. There were three sweater projects on the needles, all three of them had to go, but I decided to knit something out of that box. I ripped out the old project with this yarn and cast on for a new one. More than anything else, this yarn (Rowan Revive 36% recycled silk, 36% recycled cotton, 28% recycled viscose) required some true determination: it was hard on the hands, the rough surface was almost like knitting with rope, there was absolutely no give, and it did not feel squishy and soft and lovely. I am sure I would have given it up if I had not knitted a swatch and blocked it first.
The swatch saved me because after a rough night with the sweater, I squeezed the swatch and again knitting made sense.
So no shaping! Shamelessly boxy! Raglan in the round! Plain stockinette! But I love it!! It is just the kind I love these days! Easy! The sleeves are short just the way I like them! Almost like a cocoon to live in (the color specially makes me think of a cocoon) or a shelter. Totally, absolutely no stress garment to make and wear. I love it! 
This is all I can think of today. 
I hope all is well with you, and yes, take wool, cotton is so hard on the hands,



  1. The sweater is gorgeous and so is the cowl. I have been just like you starting a sweater, it is on hold. Starting a blanket, I am going to toss it in the garbage bin, stated two scarves, ripped them both out. And I do not have one finished item, but I love yours.
    Hugs to you,

  2. I wish you a lot of sunshine.. and I love your Cocoon...
    greetings from Switzerland where the weather is also acting the way it normally does at this time of the year...

  3. .. of course it should read.. not acting...

  4. So glad to know you are well.

    There is nothing more peaceful than brainless knitting, round and round, which results in a cocoon of comfort. Perfect.

  5. Gretchen15:42

    What a beautiful sweater! So nice to make something from yarn long forgotten.
    Hope spring reaches you soon!

  6. Anonymous16:56

    Beautiful and cozy. I love them both. Hello from Minnesota in the USA where we have had a decidedly unfriendly winter.
    Spring is coming soon I hope.

  7. Such a beautiful sweater! And we have very similar footwear ;)
    I embarked on a deep-cleaning endeavor in December and January, and let go of some old projects and many bits and pieces of things saved "for later." I am not a good housekeeper at all, but this time I even moved appliances away from walls and scrubbed behind...ugh. It took forever because I am not limber anymore. It was not fun at all, but felt very good afterwards.
    Weatherwise, I think I am having your winter. When Spring comes, I hope it is a gentle one for all of us!

  8. It is always fun to SEE the person on the other side of the posts, and I think this is the first time I have seen YOU! Thank-you for that gift, because I know I find it hard to be in front of the camera.

  9. Love the sweater. So simple & so wearable. I may copy your idea with the stripes. I'm knitting my first top down raglan sleeved sweater now. I also like a shorter sleeve & am looking forward to being able to try it on as I go.

  10. A nice comfy jumper to live in, nothing wrong with that Dear!
    A mild weather did you say? I believe the US East coast does not share your sentiments, then again for the Pacific NW, this has been one of the wettest, colder weather we have experienced in the 11 years we have lived on this island!
    Spring, please come soon!!
    Love the little quacks, you have so much talent!
    Saying hello (slightly damp) and sending good thoughts and prayers from the NW,

  11. I love too love the ducks. The sweater looks cozy and I like the idea of a cocoon. We all need one to get through the last weeks of winter. Spring is around the corner - somewhere. Nice to hear from you and know that all is well.

  12. So happy to hear your ok. Love the sweater, I'm getting so cozy and easy are what I like right now too.

  13. Helllooo! I agree with Michelle, it was so nice to finally see you and put a face with all the wonderful words, pictures and talent. Thanks!

  14. Anonymous20:44

    Perfect sweater and cowl! Comfort + style.

  15. is that you, Lene? So funny, I've been reading your blog for such a long time, and I imagined you quite different. I love the sweater, It looks really appropriate for staying at home!

  16. Such a beautiful close up of your swatch! Very motivating to see that result as a preview.

    Greetings from Washington state, where the weather howls tonight.

  17. Anonymous07:58

    Beautiful sweater !

  18. It has been a very long winter here, too, and I have also not blogged since January, but have checked in several times to say hello to your lovely little Red Riding Hood and her Wolf. It is so nice to see a new post from you and to see LENE! in her lovely new sweater. Welcome back, and here's to the pending return of spring. :-)

  19. They've said all winter long that the polar vortex had shifted down to our part of the world...Canada and US. We've had an unusually cold winter but still a good winter to knit and felt and spin!
    Your sweater would be my perfect cocoon too! I'm a huge fan of stripes! Great way to use forgotten yarn!

  20. Anonymous02:59

    So happy to see a post from you! While I'm reading, I'm also watching a show on CNN by Dr. Sanjay Gupta about, surprisingly, using medicinal marijuana to diminish otherwise intractable seizure disorders. (They use a strain of the plant that is low on the hallucinatory component.)

  21. Anonymous04:25

    Love the color of the scarf against the sweater. Congratulations on your persistence.

    I guess we got all the cold left over from your NOT having a cold winter. But, as you said, March is here, and, even if we get more snow, it surely won't last long.

    Nice to see a picture of you.

  22. Like all have said, the sweater really is great. I can also relate to the struggles with creativity. I think you are not alone in this out of focus issue. I think it is quite common among creative people! Lovely to see you :)

  23. Beth in Maryland18:53

    So great to hear from you!! I LOL'ed at your words about the sweater - it looks terrific, of course.

  24. So nice to hear from you again!- The sweater is a classic one, very comfortable, I suppose...I would love to have one like that one...But I agree with you that wool is much better to work with than cotton. Maybe I will try hemp, now that I get my Spinning wheel in about 4 weeks...
    Have a wonderful March,you and your Family!

  25. Perfect! The sweater is perfect on you! I love it and your photo shoot shows your joy with it!

    Sending warm wishes from North Central Florida, USA...

  26. Very cool. Love the sweater and the cowl. Thanks for sharing.

  27. fishfarms20:30

    Beautiful sweater and cowl, Lene.

    Love the photos also!

    Super cold and lots of snow in northern Wisconsin.

    Spring will be along soon.


  28. How fitting that your "recycled " yarn should be recycled into something else!! It worked out really well, looks good - though I sympathise with the feel of it while knittig; I have become fussy about what I am prepared to work with and if it feels awful, it gets dumped… :o
    Nice to see you back on this platform!
    (from another Swiss reader…!)

  29. I so love your blog and always look forward to seeing what you're working on. You are so meticulous and I love that. I too am a knitter. My grandmother was my inspiration. I can still here her say "if you make a mistake, you'll always know it's there and it will drive you crazy. So take the time to go back and do it over." And so I do. Always! Thank you for your Blog. Stay warm!

  30. So glad you and your family are well. I wonder what is going on when you don't blog for a time.
    Your sweater and cowl are great, and even like and enjoy them! Hope the successful knitting and crocheting have inspired you to keep on with all your projects, and that you have success with them also.
    Hope your warmer weather comes soon, and you have all the sunshine and happiness that comes with it.
    Best regards, Candie

  31. Greetings from Chicago where a winter storm just gave us another 6" of snow.
    Love your sweater (and the short sleeves) could never make the cowl as I have never learned to crochet and never will (too much knitting to do)
    I love it that you rip out quite a lot - I always felt a failure if I did I feel a lot better about it thanks to you.
    You are looking great by the way..........

  32. Anonymous23:40

    Sometimes creativity disappears temporarily for no apparent reason and comes back again just as mysteriously. I love your sweater, it takes real talent to make something stylish out of such a simple thing.

    Pat in Somerset, England

  33. Fabulous yarn, great moral in the value of the swatch in keeping you knitting and in the end, a beautiful, useful, warm sweater. Great story. What on earth is yupa (?) paper?

  34. Your sweater is lovely and looks just so comfortable. Good to hear from you again. Best wishes from Prince Edward Island, Canada.

  35. That cocoon is delightfully warm and such a gorgeous color; I love snuggling into warm fuzzy, big and roomy sweaters, jumpers, jackets, coats, even quilts and fleece blankies. Yummy.

    First time visitor, I'll be back. Had a lovely time here with you.

  36. Anonymous01:59

    So nice to put the face to the blog Lene! Thank you for the picture and happy spring!
    Dinara in Northern California

  37. Anonymous21:57

    So nice to see you! (And lovely sweater!)

  38. Sometimes the simple or easy things are the best. Lovely jumper and cowl.

  39. Marjaana18:08

    Hi Lene,
    I have today bumped into your blog and spent a good part of the day reading, chuckling, admiring and sympathizing.
    I love reading your thoughts and updates (I started somewhere around the 6th year celebration and been jumping around), I love the works you have done and I definitely hate snow.
    This is your 9th year of blogging if I'm not totally wrong?
    Please carry on! :-)
    Greetings from Ireland!

  40. I love this sweater, just the kind of thing you want to wrap up in on a cold day. Love the cowl, too. I am into cowls this year.

  41. Hello! It has been such a long time since I have checked in, so how fitting that it was also a long while since you have posted. I look at the little projects I make and I wonder how you would work with them to add the little embellishments that make them so artistic personal. The fairy tale class sounds delightful. As always, I am appreciating the artistic endeavors of others as my own hands are all thumbs. How I wish my daughter could meet you some day!

    The cocoon sweater is the first thing to catch my eye in your photos, and it was gratifying to read of the repurposed yarn and the story behind your creation.

    I love the birds (geese?) in your first photo too. They made me smile. I cannot place the fairy tale they are from though.
    Marie N.

  42. Hello! It has been such a long time since I have checked in, so how fitting that it was also a long while since you have posted. I look at the little projects I make and I wonder how you would work with them to add the little embellishments that make them so artistic personal. The fairy tale class sounds delightful. As always, I am appreciating the artistic endeavors of others as my own hands are all thumbs. How I wish my daughter could meet you some day!

    The cocoon sweater is the first thing to catch my eye in your photos, and it was gratifying to read of the repurposed yarn and the story behind your creation.

    I love the birds (geese?) in your first photo too. They made me smile. I cannot place the fairy tale they are from though.
    Marie N.

  43. Anonymous05:31

    Dear Lene, what new wonderful things to you have to show us? Has the snow melted in your corner of the world? Helen