Guerilla Christmas

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As you can see, I have done more than a few of those hearts during the past week. And more than a few have found new homes. For example, I was visiting a friend from university times a few days back. While she was busy baking us the most amazing cinnamon swirls, I sat on her couch, crocheted, and secretly covered a corner of her living room with red hearts šŸ˜€ Some hearts have also sneaked into Christmas gifts. And the last lot above will become a garland, most probably in our own living room.

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Things are also progressing on my “not-a-snowflake” doily. I’ve always loved big projects because of the challenge they pose. And this one is definitely a challenge. The pattern is made up of four parts: a central doily, a round of leaves and flowers (each crocheted separately), a second layer of crocheting in the round, and another round of leaves and flowers. It will keep me busy for a while.

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It will also keep me busy for a while, because I ran out of thread! šŸ˜¦ I managed to buy the last ball from my local shop, and they don’t have a clue when the next batch comes in. I tried the same shop in a different town during a work trip, but of course I did not take the doily nor thread samples with me. The shop had several different types of off-white, and I was not sure which one was the correct one. I am going back this week – please keep your fingers crossed I’ll find the right thread!

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1st Advent

Today has been an absolutely luxurious day for me – I have the home all to myself! šŸ˜€ With the storm raging outside my day has been filled with organising stuff around the house, drinking lots of linden tea, and of course, crochet!

The Drops Design Christmas calendar had a heart pattern, so I decided to give crocheting decorations one more try. They’re not too bad, so I might make up some more during the upcoming weeks. After all, we decided we will be getting a Christmas tree this year.

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Sorry or the badly lit photo though. We’re in the season where instead of day and night we get dim, dark and darker. Which reminds me, I have to go and light the first advent candle… I wonder how many other countries have that tradition?

Great things come out of frustration

About two months ago I decided that this year I will be crocheting Christmas tree ornaments for my dearest and nearest (not necessarily geographically ;)). With great enthusiasm I went through Ravelry, Pinterest and dozens of blogs searching for patterns, purchased a small bag of cotton thread in Christmas colours, and with great confidence, started crocheting. My plan was to make around 15 sets, each containing a white snowflake, a red heart and a green Christmas tree.

I started with the snowflakes. I think I tried out 10 different snowflakes, but there was something wrong with each one – either the pattern, or the thread, or the hook, or my crochet style. Tried out 3 different hearts, with exactly the same results. And I never even started with the Christmas trees.

In a desperate search for inspiration I turned to my little treasure chest of handicraft magazines from the 90ies (because, you know, things were simpler back then :D). And I came across this:

multicolour large doily

And now, my friends will have to wait for a year (or more) for those ornaments. Because I got my crochet mojo back. First ball in, and so very happy with this project…

not a snowflake doily

 

 

Happy Hippo

Autumn hit us early and hard this year. I have spent hours on Ravelry looking at patterns of mittens and hats, regretting that I had not thought of it earlier. Like in June. Although, to be hones, even June required hats and mittens on certain nights.

But instead of knitting practical stuff, I have been working on something more fun. Meet my first attempt of Happypotamus,Ā the hippo made out of African flower motifs.

Pelagia's Happypotamus no 1

I’ve been eyeing Heidi Bears’ patterns for a long time – they are so cute and colourful! And, they are well-worth the money you pay for them: the pattern has written instructions, and photos and pattern schemes to help you along. And it is so much fun to pick the colours for each motif.

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I used Scheepjes Colour Crafter, as I had lots of leftovers from the Ugly Blanket. The eyes are stitched with yarn only – Happy will be moving in with a 6-month-old baby, so I did not want to have any bits that could potentially come loose.

Happy and his cute bum will be getting on the plane tomorrow to fly overseas to his new home. And I am very tempted to postpone the hats and mittens even longer, so I could make the next one… a camel maybe?

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Streamlining Projects

I read Agent Crochet’s post on how she has different crochet projects not only for when she is outside of the house, but also different projects for different parts of the house. And then I realised, I too have “assigned” projects to different circumstances. Here’s my current “pipeline”:

Hygge for evenings on my living room couch – colourful and cozy, requires a certain amount of attention and stability, and it goes well with watching the news or British crime series šŸ˜‰

Hygge week 2

Haapsalu shawl for when I am travelling by landis light and fits into a purse. As I am still working on the central part, which has a fairly basic pattern, I can knit and be sociable at the same time!

Haapsalu Shawl main part

And for flights and long layovers – granny squares! I am using a bamboo hook, so no-one freaks out at the security control. There is absolutely no system to the colours, so it does not matter which ball of yarn I pull out of the bag next. And it really helps pass all the hours I spend travelling.

Granny squares small

I’ll be absolutely honest, there are a few other works-in-progress here and there, but they are on hold for now… I guess until I find a time and place to assign for them too šŸ™‚

 

The Holy Grail

Although all signs might point to that, I have not stopped breathing nor have my arms dropped off. I’m still around, and when I am not working or flying or packing or unpacking, I am even knitting.

And I’m not just knitting… I am knitting the Haapsalu Shawl.

To me this shawl has always been like an unreachable Holy Grail… I am not even sure what exactly has been so scary… Maybe it is because the delicate lace seemed so unreal, there was no way I could have been able to create something so fairy-tale-like. Or because of the relatively strict rules that make a piece of knitting a real Haapsalu Shawl. Or maybe it was just the general level of my unawareness – I just had no clue where should I start from.

Haapsalu shawl
A swatch, that’s what you start with! šŸ™‚

Last month I had a chance to attend a two-day workshop by Ivika Viljasaar, a well-known Estonian Haapsalu Shawl enthusiast. I really enjoyed her way of “teaching” – there were handouts to be read, and formulas to be used, shawl samples to ooh! at, and enough coffee to fuel the whole process. And throughout the whole weekend she kept reassuring that it is really not scary at all!

Of course, wanting to do it all right (and, let’s be honest, a bit of shopping), the following Monday I equipped myself with suitable needles, yarn and some instructional materials.

Holy Grail Haapsalu Shawl

As you can see from my swatch I have decided to start off with a simpler pattern, without any nupps. I estimate I am about half way through knitting the centre section part, and so far it does not seem too impossible. However, let’s see how I feel about it when I start calculating the stitches for the lace edging šŸ˜‰

Tension Troubles

friendship-day-socks-ready-flatI am not happy with my knitting tension these days at all. The past week I spent three nights knitting up a Wurm hat, and ended up with a sloppy pile of who-knows what. It looked so bad, that felt I needed to frog it immediately. It is a pity, really, as I think the pattern is so lovely and simple, and the double edging is very practical!

I also finished the Friendship Day socks, and I am torn about what to do with them. The second start looked promising – I used smaller needles for the ribbing, I modified the pattern to be easier to knit, I turned the pattern so the switch between the rows would be “hidden” on the inside of the leg. And,Ā  managed to achieve a much tighter knit that I usually do!

But then, when I felt the end was close, I got too excited, and lost control over the tension again. What’s worse, due to that, one of the socks ended up about 5 mm bigger. But I am so not inspired to frog them again!

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I think I need to go for a few “test drives” before I make up my mind…