Monthly Archives: April 2012

Socks and Celebrations

The end of April is always a busy time for me, and this year it’s even more so. Luckily it’s mostly the fun kind of busy 🙂


It’s not really a celebration without flowers…


…or cake. This is only one of three cakes and the one made by me. The recipe is from a Finnish vegan cookbook (Puputytön juhlakirja). My mother made a vegan strawberry cake (from a recipe in Puputyttö ja vohvelisankari) that was absolutely delicious as well.

But I have been knitting too! Mostly socks. Maybe my sock mojo is really back this time?


Pattern: none, except for the heel. I inserted an afterthought heel to my basic sock using Lala’s sock pattern (ravelry pattern page here and video tutorial here). I don’t think I’ll be doing it again very soon -it requires kitchener stitch and is more fiddly than my usual short-row heel (that I learned from cosmicpluto’s tutorial years ago). But I’m happy that I tried it, and now I have perfectly stripy socks 🙂

Yarn: Baby Boom by Fiesta Yarns, colourway “spring chill”. I bought the skein from another raveller two(?) years ago. It’s not a self-striping yarn, so I was really amazed at the pretty even stripes. That’s why I tried the afterthought heel -I didn’t want the stripe sequence to get messed up.

Thoughts: They are very pretty and soft, but why do I have so many blue(ish) socks? I now have seven pairs of blue/turquoise socks. And more are on the way:


This sock has many firsts for me -first time I tried dying yarn myself, first time picking a stitch from a stitch dictionary, first time using such a skinny yarn (420m/100g) successfully for socks…You can tell that these are going to be extra-special.


Now With More Speed

It seems that there are still a few things I can do very fast, once I set my mind to it: reading, and socks.

Even after ripping out two UFOs, my knitting basket has been overflowing. Although I’e always been a multi-project knitter, this still annoys me somewhat. It means that I can knit for hours on various things and still see very little process. It certainly doesn’t help that I had a large-ish shawl in progress. 

So I got an itch to knit socks. Simple, stockinette socks; for the past year pretty much all patterned socks have ended up in the UFO pile.

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Pattern: None. CO 72 sts, 2×2 ribbing for 16 rnds, short-row heel. 

Yarn: Handu MCN sock, colourway “onnen oikotiellä”. Bought at the same time as the yarn for my beret-turned-cowl.

I started the socks on last Wednesday and finished them on Monday. For me, a pair of socks in 6 days is pretty phenomenal. We did have a long weekend in there, sure, but that also meant cooking, cleaning and travelling.

They are incredibly soft, reasonably lightweight, and might actually still be useful before the summer.

I had just finished the socks and blocked them when I got another idea: download the free sample of The Hunger Games

I’m pretty sure I only heard of The Hunger Games this winter, and mostly through Twitter. Then, when the movie premiere approached, I saw it mentioned in papers. The first plot descriptions I read did not make the whole thing very tempting, and in retrospect some were just misleading. Then of course the film reviews started pouring in, and the BF expressed interest in going to see it. I decided to give the book a try.

Now, I did read it in a day. But that’s not very uncommon in my case, and does not automatically mean high praise. Although lately my reading has mostly consisted of individual articles or random chapters from books that might be useful for my thesis, when I do read for pleasure, 12-hour marathons are my forte. The Help took 24 hours, most Dorothy Sayers books the same. And I read three Connie Willis’ novels in a week. In the end I liked all of them more than The Hunger Games, although I have to admit the book isn’t without some merits, either.

Hunger Games is fast-paced yet still has a relatively well-structured plot. The heroine is an interesting character. The writing is at times surprisingly vivid and the struggle for survival portrayed well: it is convincing but not too gory.The violence was what initially perplexed me -a YA  book about teenagers killing each other?- but is is as a whole handled in a way that suits the tone. Being aimed at teens, the book is also a very easy read and requires very little effort from an adult reader.

But. The story would have needed some more flesh. As it is, the world-building is very minimal (especially given the dystopic setting that provides plenty of opportunities), many characters barely more than their hair colour and the love triangle forced and unnecessary. My knowledge of the Twilight series is limited to half of the first book (a bad Mary Sue fanfic, if you ask me), the movie trailers and a few interviews on Conan, but I wouldn’t be surprised if someone thought the love triangle would attract the teenage girl audience. 

In spite of its flaws, The Hunger Games was a pleasant surprise. The main character shows such promise that I’m willing to belive that the rest of the cast improves as well in the remaining two books. I will almost certainly end up reading them, and I’m now relatively eager to go see the movie too.


The Accidental Cowl

I’ve been suffering from startitis and consequently haven’t finished very much. I have only two FOs to report, not hats! Although one of them was going to be a hat.

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Seems that the photographer failed to inform me of random bits of yarn sticking out. Sigh.

Pattern: Sugared violets (Ravelry-link) by Rose Beck, from the Be Mine -collection. As I’m sure I’ve already mentioned, I got the pattern collection as a prize, but had I paid for it, it totally would have been worth the money. Way too often do I buy knitting books and hardly knit any patterns from them, while from this I’ve now knit three out of five. This collection was probably perfect for me because the pattern are quite simple -as much as I admire complicated lace shawls, easy ones like these are really what I want to knit.

Yarn: Malabrigo Rios, colourway “zarzamora”, two skeins. I had to leave out the lace edge and still I ran out of yarn. I finished the bind off with Dream in Color Classy leftovers.

This scarf is supersoft and warm, but I actually already put it away for the summer (and then, we got snow. I might have been too eager with this). This next one, on the other hand, I haven’t gotten a chance to wear yet:

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Pattern: Reverie Beret from Knitty. But why is it not a beret, you ask? Well…

Usually, if I’m using fingering-weight yarn for a hat, I cast on 148-156 stitches for the brim. In the Reverie pattern the cast on number is 112. “Ridiculous!” I thought. “I’ve knit so many hats by now that I know what to do. I just cast on 156 and follow the pattern from there.”

What I missed here is that usually I CO 156 sts in rib, and then continue in stockinette. The Reverie pattern includes yarn overs, lots of them. The gauge is completely different. I had 208 stitches after the increase round, which might have been fine for a stockinette beret, but not for this. When I finally tried it on, it was huge. Like You-Could-Hide-A-Sombrero-In-There huge.

Before I could despair, I realized that it might make a nice cowl-thing for the spring (also, I don’t like ripping. Who does?). So I continued to knit with the 208 stitches until the whole thing was about 14cm, and then increased 1 stitch in every pattern repeat. Once it seemed that I was running out of yarn, I knit ribbing for a few rounds. Success!

I’m planning to wear it like this:

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The combination of a turtleneck pullover with a lace cowl is rather jarring, but maybe with a yellow t-shirt in air conditioned places? Hmm…

Oh, and the yarn is merino sock yarn from Handu that I bought about two years ago. The cowl used the whole skein.

April Dreaming (hurry up, spring)

It snowed here last night. Yes, snowed. Seeing it in the morning (before I’ve even had my coffee) was like a slap in the face.

So I played a bit with snapseed. We went to the Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden on Saturday, and also have flowers at home, so I had a lot of material.

This is for all the spring dreamers out there. One day the winter will end.

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