Tag Archives: may

The Winter of My Discontent

So the same hand/arm pain that stopped me from knitting for 4 months in 2010 came back at the end of January this year. In April I started seeing a physiotherapist and things are looking up now.

That is the short version. For the long version, continue reading.

Spring came exceptionally late to Finland this year, so when I say that this was a very long winter for me, I mean it both literally and figuratively. I have been mostly healthy all my life and did not react very well to the possibility that this problem with my hands might be chronic. When I stopped knitting, I also stopped visiting blogs and Ravelry -not only because I thought it best to limit my use of the computer, but because i was angry, like a jilted bride at someone else’s wedding.

I did try other crafts, sewing mostly, since it didn’t seem to affect my hands or arms. But for the most part I have used my extra time baking and reading. Between February and the end of April I read at least 10 books: All the Earthsea books (LOVED them) by Ursula Le Guin (including The Other Wind), 75% of Les Miserables (still working through it), Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brogol, Teemestarin kirja by Emmi Itäranta, The Passage by Justin Cronin, The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl by Shauna Reid, Bossypants by Tina Fey and This Rough Magic by Mary Stewart.

From the Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl I also picked up the Couch-to-5K plan. I started in April and have just completed the 5th week.

In April I also started seeing a physiotherapist. I have modified my work environment & posture and done my “homework” (various stretches) meticulously and it appears that my hands and arms are getting better. I was given permission to do crafts and so, on the first warm day this spring, I picked up the needles again.

I am slowly working on a hat.

If you have similar problems: please, do not be stubborn and continue through the pain! STOP knitting and consult a doctor. Do something else. If you’re open to trying other crafts, sewing might be a good option. Chrissy from the Snappy Stitches and Manic Purl podcasts also turned to sewing (and jogging) when hand pain stopped her from knitting (interview here).

I am most definitely not happy about not being able to knit for months, but it did make me read a lot and get some exercise, so maybe there is a silver lining.

Don’t get me wrong, I am still far from being back to normal. Knitting content will be very scant on this blog for some time, but I might post a book review or two as well as some baking-related stuff.

 

An Anniversary

I’ve had grand ambitions about all sorts of things that I want to write about (Rufus! VegFest! Spring walks in Helsinki! More vegan baking!) but have directed too much of my energy elsewhere to have any left for blogging. Luckily I have perfected the quick-and-dirty-version of cooking and cleaning -surely I can adapt the same principles to writing…

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The socks are done! Have been for a while now. 

Yarn: Zitron Trekking Pro Natura, dyed by me using KoolAid (success!)

Pattern: I picked the stitch pattern from Pieni suuri neulekirja (orig. Knitting Stitches: over 300 contemporary and traditional stitch patterns) by Mary Webb. Otherwise this is my basic sock – 72 sts, short-row heel and all that jazz.

Speaking of quick-and-dirty cooking…

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Some of our guests probably think that all I ever eat is salads, because I serve them so often. This one’s one of my favourites: tasty, healthy, filling and ready in 20 minutes. The recipe is from Viiden tähden vegaani.

Because I somehow felt too busy/tired to write last week, I also missed my blog’s anniversary. Yep, I’ve been writing here for a year now!

I’ve received prizes from other people’s giveaways, but have never hosted one myself. This occasion seemed like the perfect excuse to have one, especially since I have the perfect prize:

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It’s fingering weight sock yarn (60% wool, 20% bamboo, 20% silk) from Handu. She’s a fantastic Finnish dyer and co-author of the book Neulekirja. I’ve used her other yarns before (most recently in one of the stockinette socks), but this skein I got as a mistake. It’s still very pretty, though, and should make some knitter very happy.

So here’s the deal. I’ve learned that in the knitting community nothing draws out people like free yarn, and I’m shamelessly going to take advantage of this fact now.

Posterous has some kind of page-hit statistics, and although the numbers are fairly small, I’m guessing they can’t all be from M (or our cat-loving friend 😉 but have not entirely ruled out the possibility of Posterous reporting some ghost readers. Therefore: comments needed!

Place a comment for a chance to win the yarn. I’m going to randomly pick one winner on June 1st. You do not need to be in Finland/Europe to be eligible.

Please mention in your comment if you’re not a knitter (alternative prize needed) or are vegan/strict vegetarian (alternative yarn needed). Other information is also welcome, such as how you found me.

(total fail in quick-and-dirty blogging, btw!)

 

Copenhagen!

This year, my busy April also included a trip!

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My Travelling Sock Picture (à la Yarn Harlot). The sock is the second of the pair (first one was finished before we left).

Although I had knitting in my bag for most of the time, I actually knit very little during the trip. Most knitting was accomplished on the plane to & from Copenhagen. I also managed a few rounds while waiting in line at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. I even received a few comments from another Finnish tourist who was also a knitter. I gave her the address of the yarn store in Copenhagen I had already visited. Speaking of which…

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The store is called Sommerfuglen, you can see it behind the water fountain. It’s not the only yarn store in the city, but I’ve understood it is the best. I didn’t buy very much since a lot of the US import brands would be cheaper for me in Finland, because of the current Danish Krone-Euro -exchange rate. But it was the first time I saw Namaste bags in person. I have one I bought online and was seriously tempted to get a different one.

That’s pretty much all the knitting-related stuff about our trip. But I have some excellent restaurants to recommend!

For starters: I got all my information about where to get vegan food in Copenhagen from HappyCow. It has always served me well. If I went travelling in Finland I would also check the restaurant reviews from Animalia’s website.

Firefly

Homepage here

We went here on the first night, rather exhausted from a day of travel. It’s all-vegan and pretty near some of the other places we ate at. The place looks rather trendy which I always find scary, but the staff was friendly. At least on a weekday night, other customers seemed to be tourists as well.

The dinner was excellent -too pricey to be eaten every week but a perfect beginning to our vacation. I especially loved the desserts:

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I had raspberry cheesecake (the “cheese” made from cashews), the BF ate buckthorn berry sorbet. I loved the cake so much that we actually went back to Firefly another day, just for desserts.

Green Sushi

Homepage here (we only visited the restaurant on Gronnegade)

There aren’t that many places in Helsinki where you can get good vegan sushi, so in Copenhagen this restarant was a must. It isn’t all-vegan, but had a decent selection and vegan items were clearly marked on the menu.

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I had the 11-piece vegan set for lunch. Yummy! Very reasonably priced too. We came back another day for dinner and weren’t disappointed then either.

Naturbageriet

Homepage here

As the name suggests, this is a bakery. It’s pretty small but located near the Firely and Kalaset (see below) restaurants and had good vegan carrot cake 🙂

Kalaset

Info here

Very laid-back, nearly packed on a Saturday afternoon. Not all-vegan (or even all-vegetarian) but again, everything was clearly marked on the menu. I had the vegan burger:

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The (homemade) ketchup was like a revelation and the burger plenty big. Also: good beer!

SimpleRaw

Homepage here

All-raw, all-vegan, small place with a very Scandinavian decor. Menu was only in Danish but the waitress offered help (and I still remember some Swedish). We shared a meze-plate that had small portions of everything (pretty good, especially the lentil steak) but were too full to try the desserts. They looked delicious, though.

Finally, I have to mention Kokkeriet. It was recommended to us by a vegetarian couple, yet it’s by no means a vegetarian restaurant. I have no idea how they got the idea to eat there. However, I can testify that if you notify the restaurant ahead of time, they can prepare a vegan menu that is well-thought-out and definitely suitable for special occasion dinners.

Hat addiction(?)

The Symetrie beret is blocked and all ready for fall!

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I couldn’t resist photographing it with Pimm’s -the colours sort of match.

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We bought the bottle on our vacation, I’m pretty sure Pimm’s isn’t available in Finland.

 

After finishing Symetrie, I did knit on a sock, but after that…I cast on a hat. Again.

 

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The pattern is Quest from Knitty.com. The yarn is a vegan hand dyed skein bought from here.

 

Red for May: The Symetrie Beret

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My first knitting contribution to Project Spectrum!

I do not have a lot of red yarn, and even this one is more burgundy than true red. But let’s not split hairs, okay?

I was happy to finally find a project for this yarn. It’s  a skein of Schoppel-Wolle Admiral Bambus Seide (ie, sock yarn with bamboo and silk) that I have had for a few years now. Because I’m an extremely loose knitter, I can’t make socks out of a yarn this thin -I would need 1.5mm needles for that. However, I’ve been admiring Woolly Wormhead’s hat patterns a lot lately, and she had a few designed especially for hand-dyed sock yarn. The pattern I chose is called “Symetrie”, a very simple lace pattern that makes the colours zigzag. I have finished knitting the hat but it’s still blocking.

I’ve now knit 6 hats in a row and don’t even really know why. Maybe it was just something I needed to get out of my system, or maybe I needed something small but pretty that didn’t require a pair. I think I’m ready to move on to other projects now, or at least I hope so. I have quite a few lonely socks on the needles, and I’m planning to get all of them done (or frogged) within a month or two. We’ll see.

The basics

More info about Project Spectrum can be found here.

I am also on Ravelry as vi0let and on Twitter as ravelryvi0let.

 

For me, Project Spectrum is mostly about knitting and a little bit about cooking/baking. My camera is a pretty basic Canon PowerShot SX200 IS. 

I do currently have a red hat on the needles, but no pictures of it yet. So to start things off, I have a picture taken at the Botanical Gardens in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

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