Tag Archives: mememe

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.

 

Happened so far

I finish three baby gifts, knit single socks like a mad woman and learn to crochet.

I’m also working as a translator, which means I’m using a computer for hours every day.

And then my hands begin to hurt.

At the moment this means no knitting, very limited use of the computer, lots of time to read, kool aid dying and coming up with ways to do things without using your hands.

(Ways like Dragon dictation)

Some Unofficial, Totally Casual Resolutions

I sort of didn’t want to make any new year’s resolutions but unofficially, in my head, I still made some. Could just as well write them down.

Knit more for other people. Last year I consciously only knit 12 things for others (in addition to which there were 5 things that I started for myself, but ended up gifting for various reasons). I really have all the scarves I need, not to mention hats, so it makes no sense to keep everything I make. Also, I often get these great ideas about what I could knit for someone, but only when it’s too late to get it finished in time. 

I am at heart a process knitter, and I know that if I feel like knitting a hat, then I will knit a hat. I don’t think I can change that, but maybe I can make the hat in a size that fits someone else.

Show your supporta.) I listen to a lot of knitting podcasts and read some blogs like they were novels. That equals a lot of free entertainment, and the authors should know how much I appreciate them. That means more comments, emails or Ravelry messages, and in the case of podcasts that don’t have advertisements, hitting that donate-button every now and then. 

(If you’re curious about my favourite podcasts or blogs, there’s a short list in the sidebar on the left. For a more comprehensive list of blogs, see my friends on Ravelry and the “friends’ blogs” tab. There’s a very lovely giveaway on one of them.)

b.) The Helsinki metropolitan area might be one of the best places in the world for local yarn stores. There are 12 that I visit at least once a year (and the few favourites about once a month) and I don’t even drive. If I did, there are a few more I might visit, too. Many of these places host knit nights and KIP events, offer classes, support and a place to meet other crafters. I really want to keep it this way. In 2013 I want to buy more of my knitting supplies from brick-and-mortar stores and limit my online shopping.

These resolutions do not, however, mean that I should forget the following:

Knit what you enjoy. This is a hobby; there’s no rule that says I should learn new things with every project, or that knitting garments is more worthwhile than knitting accessories. If I want to spend the year knitting stockinette beanies for everyone I know, I will do just that.

2012 in Review

Note: Posterous is apparently being a jerk and claims that my blog archive has one (1!) post. Should anyone feel any interest in reading older entries, I’ve tagged everything by month (see the tag cloud).

I again wanted to do an end-of-the-year review and so spent a while today frantically adding all my December projects to Ravelry, so I could count them all. 

So, in 2012 I knit:

54 items, of which

26 were hats

10 were socks

6 were scarves/shawls

4 were cowls

5 were mittens/gloves/armwarmers

3 were sweaters (one of which was baby-sized)

To compare these numbers to the stats from 2011, this year I knit considerably more. I managed to make more socks and less hats like I hoped (although 26 still sounds pretty insane).

Looking back at my projects now, there are many that I love dearly. The Essayist Sweater proved to be a great success. It’s warm and soft and I’ve used it as an alternative for a coat in the fall. The Reverie Cowl has been one of my most-used accessories in the warmer months, and I remember knitting it while watching a so-bad-it’s-funny movie with friends. I’m also very happy to have finally knit gloves and mittens successfully.

2012 was, in general, a great year for me and I can only hope that 2013 will be as good. I will in any case start it in the best possible way -with the bf, some knitting, some sparkling wine and vegan potato salad. It doesn’t get any better than that.

 

Fall in Pictures

August-September 

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Walking in Vanhakaupunki (literally “Oldtown”).

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The Girl Hat That Was On Fire (Slable by Woolly Wormhead)

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Even though I dislike Juha Tapio and have seen Kaksi vanhaa puuta lyrics used in way too many wedding invitations, the song still makes me cry every fricking time.

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My mother insisted on celebrating my graduation somehow. Because I threatened not to show up if I didn’t get to do the planning, the guests very few and all food vegan. The menu was:

Mushroom Focaccia (recipe from Chocochili)

My father’s Waldorf Salad, recipe for vegan dressing from Papu, porkkana ja hillopulla by Marianne Kiskola

Rachel Ray’s quinoa salad with roasted bell peppers (shown in the photo)

Soyballs from Veganissimo (shown)

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Dessert: modified version of the cake in Puputyttö ja vohvelisankari (featuring Airy & Creamy soycream) and banana-lingonberry cake (Chocochili)

October

More walking:

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Featuring yet another hat! This one I testknit for Stefanie Bold. The cardigan is also a handknit, but was made by my mother at least 20 years ago.

More eating:

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Vegan cupcakes from Niia’s Cupcakes. They have a stand in Forum Shopping Center and I’m pretty sure also do catering and stuff. The strawberry cupcake=piece of heaven.

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(Yep, more hats. Also featuring the Essayist Sweater.)

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We’ve been really enjoying the Great Outdoors this fall: mushroom picking with my father, walking in Keskuspuisto…It probably helped that temperatures were pretty high for most of September and October. However, it snowed last night so this weekend doesn’t look that promising. But I’m very happy I enjoyed it while it lasted!

(Un)selfish Knitting

I usually knit just for myself. Being able to wear things I’ve made is part of the fun, and I believe I will always appreciate my handknits more than anyone else would. When I do knit for others, it’s always small items that I then give as gifts. 

I’ve gotten used to thinking of myself as a selfish knitter because I keep most of the things I’ve made. But lately I’ve been wondering…Isn’t knitting something you have absolutely no use for, and because of that giving it to someone, just as selfish?

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Some weeks ago, I was thinking about how fun knitting sweaters is in theory: they have many parts (providing the knitter with some variation in the work), can be made so that all the yarn is used (especially easy if knitting top-down), and are eminently very useful and can be admired by other people (not hidden in your shoe like socks). In practise, however, a sweater for me takes a long time and a lot of yarn. So when my mother told me that a family friend had just had a baby girl, it felt like a Sign. A baby sweater! Of course!

Pattern: “Sock” It to Me (for Girls) from Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders

Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Lightweight, colourway “sweet pea”

Thoughts: I really had fun knitting this. It’s not too plain to be boring to knit, but not too complicated either. It’s an incredibly fast knit, too (took me a week, even with sewing the sleeves and getting buttons!). 

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Pattern: Gwynedd from Knitscene Fall 2010

Yarn: Leftovers from my Wondertunic -Le Fibre Nobili Super Tajmahal

Thoughts: The model in the magazine has a similar head shape than a friend of mine, who also celebrated her birthday recently, so I made the hat for her. I still think the hat’s cute, although I’m not sure whether she plans to ever wear it…

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Pattern: Pavone by Woolly Wormhead

Yarn: Artesano Superwash Merino DK

Thoughts: I wanted very much to knit this pattern in this yarn, but didn’t have enough yardage to make it in my size. I decided that I’d rather make it in a smaller size and give it to someone than try to make the bigger size and run out of yarn. Luckily I found someone who accepted it 🙂

But even among this sort-of-selfish knitting, I have managed to finish one true labour of love:

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Pattern: Cauchy from Sock Innovation

 Yarn: Wollmeise Twin (80% merino, 20% nylon), colourway “maus alt”

Thoughts: These socks took f o r e v e r. Really! I started them in July 2010 and finished in August this year. Mostly it was because of my decision to use 1.75mm needles for superdense fabric, but also because that damn pattern isn’t as easy to memorize as one might expect. While both socks have the same number of rounds, they are not identical because I sort of made up my own zigzags. I also changed the stitch count, did a different cast-on and my usual short-row heel. So very little of Cookie A’s pattern remains, really.

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beauty is twice beauty

and what is good is doubly good

when it is a matter of two socks

made of wool in winter. 

Pablo Neruda

 

Deutschland! (Part III)

The last post about my summer vacation -and about time too, since summer is pretty much over!

Part I (Berlin) is here.

Part II (Dresden) is here.

And my report on my excursion to the Wollmeise store is here.

Now all that remains is Münich.

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View from the tower in the Olympic Park. Note the huge BMW logo. If you ever go to Münich with a car-enthusiast, the BMW museum is a must. Even for me it wasn’t too dull.

It might be because we stayed in Münich longer than in the other cities, or because there we got to experience some serious summer heat, but it might have been my favourite. It’s not as huge as Berlin, so walking was easier, food was great, the weather was warm and people less homogeneous.

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We did a lot of the basic tourist stuff. There are a ton of beautiful churches in Münich -my favourite was one that is on a small shopping street, nestled between clothing stores and cafés. To step from a busy 21st century shopping area to a highly ornamental 19th century church feels surreal. There was also a small yarn store nearby, that I came across simpyl by accident. And it wasn’t even the only time – I found another LYS near the Filmmuseum of Münich. Even if the Wollmeise store wasn’t just a train ride away, Münich would still be a great place for knitters.

When it comes to the restaurants, there were a few definite highlights. The first one is Max Pett.

An all-vegan restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, the place was just the perfect one for dining on a hot July night. Fancy enough for special occasions, but not so formal as to make me uncomfortable in a tank top.

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This photo was taken the night we ate outside. My starter salad had a Asian vibe (with mushrooms and seitan meat), and was very delicious. The drink is rhubarb juice mixed with sparkling water. It’s hard to buy good rhubarb juice in Finland, so I used every opportunity for it in Germany,

We ate at Max Pett twice and I can’t recommend it highly enough. If you are planning to go, do reserve a table, however -the place got very full on our first visit.

For a compeltely different meal, I recommend Royal Kebabhaus, located at Arnulfstrasse 5 (right next to the main railway station):

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Yep, vegan kebab! The place was open pretty late, and the staff was very friendly and understood English. Especially great if you have only a short time in Münich.

So, that’s pretty much it! I had so much fun on the trip that I could seriously imagine going again.