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,Β 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 πŸ˜‰

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 πŸ™‚

 

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! πŸ™‚

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 πŸ˜‰

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,Β  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…

Hygge and Yarn Barf

When it comes to international post, both of the countries I currently live at are considered the backwaters of the world. So, when ordering something, I try to keep my expectations under control. However, when everyone else started posting the photos of the Hygge kits they received on Facebook, I got a little bit excited every morning I went to work, and every evening I returned… Because maybe, just maybe it had arrived.

The post office system at my original home country also likes to keep things exciting. They don’t deliver packages to your door… they leave you a notification to go pick up your package at their shop. And the notification always states it is “an international letter weighing 100 grams”. So, you never really know what you are getting until you are at the post office.

box-of-hygge

Needless to say, the 100 grams of international letter consisted of a box of Hygge this time. And of course, despite of all the other unfinished projects, I had to open the kit and start on the swatch that very moment.

I must say, love the colours and the texture of Catona. To me it seems it makes a much better yarn for embroidery than knitting/crochet. And did I tell you that I love the colours?

The first ball of Stone Washed is a major disappointment though. It has a nice little “Easy Start” tag attached to the centre-pull end to make things easier. But when I pulled it, a huge mess came out: both the outside and inside ends were completely tangled with each other, and . Both of the ends were completely tangled inside the skein. In addition, one of the ends had several knots, so I had to cut off a bit.

So, my swatching proceeded in the following rhythm: crochet a row, untangle yarn for next row, crochet, untangle… But guess what, my swatch is ready!!! And it makes me all happy and optimistic, so I am really hoping that the next balls of Stonewashed will be better.

hygge

The Beauty of Jet Lag

I don’t know why, but travelling between the Americas and Europe has always given me a massive jet lag. It usually takes me at least a week to adjust, and that on both directions! Travelling between Europe and Asia however is usually a child’s play.

But as it appears, jet lag isn’t all that bad. When you’re wide awake at 4am what do you do? Of course you won’t do house chores, as this would make way too much noise. Of course you won’t do any work, because it is 4am! So, you sit in the silence of your living room, catch up on blogs and knit! All those hours of uninterrupted knitting time! Why haven’t I thought of it before?

Of course, from a certain point of time it is also wiser to put down the knitting and at least pretend to sleep. Because otherwise the next morning 4am you’ll see me in the silence of my living room with a lot of uninterrupted frogging going on.

 

Regress is also kind of progress

Remember the Friendship Day Socks I am knitting? That’s their current state.

friendship-day-sock-frog-small

Just kidding. I do actually have a bit more than that by now. But I did come to the point where I frogged both of them into little balls of yarn. I just could not continue convincing myself I was happy with the quality of my work.

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When I started knitting those socks, I completely shrugged off the well-known truth that multi-yarn knitting has a tendency to pull and be too tight. I have always been a rather loose knitter, so I thought that it will never become an issue for me. Besides, for the first time I was knitting with the inside out – a method advised to avoid pulling.

Let’s just say that I achieved loose knitting and pulling at the same time. For most of the time I convinced myself that it is ok for the socks to be a bit 3d (:P)and besides, it is more about the process anyway.

And then I passed the heels. And all of the sudden my tension went tighter. And it looked so much better. And I just could not lie to myself any more. So, I pulled the socks apart.
If only I had thought of how annoying it is to frog three yarns at the same time too! πŸ˜€