Week 20/18

Wow, so this is week 20 already! It’s been a while since my last weekly post. Now on the plus side, I finished the socks I started at the beginning of the year, started another pair but frogged it almost immediately because I didn’t like the yarn, and bought this lovely ONline merino yarn in those beautiful pinks that you see above instead. I’m still on my first sock, though. I keep dragging my knitting around, determined to sit and read or watch TV and knit along but somehow I hardly ever do. Life is just so full of amazing things right now, and somehow, knitting gets pushed to the back burner all the time.

Among the amazing things is this:

We built a raised bed last year – or rather, I kind of requested it and Steve, kind as ever, did all the manual labour that I wouldn’t know how to do – and planted a few herbs. Parsley, basil and chives, to be precise. When winter came, I totally forgot to take them out and pot them to take them inside. The basil and parsley did not make it, but just look at the chives! Growing strong, about twice as much as I planted last year, and blooming so beautifully! Every time I walk past the bed, I stop to admire them.

Then there’s rosemary, we planted it this year and it takes much longer to grow. I have no idea if it is as hardy as the chives, so I’m definitely going to bring it inside when it gets cold (would somebody please remind me in, say, November? Thank you so much!). We also planted mint that has grown into quite a bush already, and Steve added a bell pepper plant yesterday. I have no idea if bell peppers will grow in a raised bed but I’m all for trying. Steve also bought three tomato plants, a cherry tree and a peach tree. The plan is to grow some kind of „pick and taste“ garden all around the house. We already have five varieties of grapes and a yellow raspberry in front of the house plus the wild raspberries and strawberries that self-seeded a few years ago, and let’s not forget the elderberry bushes the former owners planted many, many moons ago.

So while I’m not exactly a successful knitter / crocheter at present, I have rekindled my love for photography. My Canon DSLR is still the love of my life but just recently, I decided to give snapping away with my cellphone another chance. The main purpose was to take photos of the shop and post them to Instagram, and one day while I fiddled with it, I discovered that my cell actually has „professionel“ settings. It’s no comparison to my DSLR, of course, but the more I try, the more comfortable I become with it, the more I realize it’s a nice tool and just as easy as shooting a polaroid, but with better quality results. So I’ve started taking one photo per day to post on Instagram and share on Facebook. It’s quite an exciting learning curve for me, and I’m so curious to find out where it’ll lead me in the end. You can find the link to my Instagram account in the footer if you’re interested. I’d be so honoured if you followed me. As for Facebook, I only share things with my friends, and I don’t accept random friend requests, so if you’d like to follow me on Facebook, please PM me first.

So much for this week. I still owe you the list of books I’ve read in the meantime but I’ve decided to write an extra post for them to catch up, and get back to posting them in my weeklies from next week on.

Week 4/18

Hello my dears, thanks so much for all your lovely  comments on my last post. Melvin says thank you, too. He’s a very content little fish (read: spoiled brat) today, his quarters were freshened up with some fresh water, and his chow is in the making, or rather, defrosting.

Let’s move on to the yarny goodness, shall we? This:

is my latest yarn haul. 11 balls of Lang Presto in dark grey and 6 balls in light blue. Since the yarn is discontinued, my LYS had a special sale, and I grabbed these in the hope they’ll be enough for a yoke sweater for yours truly. It’s a cotton mix yarn with only about 65 m per 50 g, so not really much mileage to get out of one ball. The 11 balls of dark grey wouldn’t have been enough so I decided to add some stranded colourwork in light blue. I’m planning to do a stranded pattern in the yoke, plus smaller patterns at the ends of both the body and sleeves. I never made a seamless top-down yoke before but how hard can it be? (Famous last words, I know.) I’m going to follow the excellent instructions in „The Knitter’s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters“ by Ann Budd and hope to get it right. I might wait until March and my vacation, though. Might be a good idea to be able to concentrate on this for a few days in a row.

Other than that, I finished the crocheting part of Chai (with many thanks to Indiana Jones and the Holy Grail – somehow, I crochet faster when watching a nice movie), started the second sock, and even managed a few more stitches on my Fruit Salad Wave blanket. I still skipped week 3 because frankly, my mind was stuffed full with shop talk. I so enjoyed that trip to Hamburg even though it was quite a long day, it’s a 500+ km drive (one way!) so since we had to start early, I had to get up at 2 a.m., but as I was so excited (and nervous as well), I hardly slept at all the night before. We did get there alright, had a lovely day walking around the trade fair, ordered our tea, and after an early dinner, got home just in time for the snow storm. Since many of you asked about what teas I was going to pick, I decided to „show“ you the shop I work at and tell you a little more about it in an extra post.

The better part of last week was spent trying to remember a song. Do you know this feeling when you hear this one line of a song in your head, it’s on repeat, you know that you know and like that song, but no matter how hard you try, you can’t remember the title or any other part of the lyrics except for this one line that keeps playing on and on and on and on … Back in the old days, I would have gone to the record store and told the guy working there that I was looking for a song, „and it goes like this: *sing*“. These days, I’m spared the embarrassment because I can ask „okay, Google“. Thankfully, Auntie G. knew the song and even directed me to Youtube where I found:

Yeah, I know, right? I’ve no idea where that came from, it’s way out of my musical comfort zone.

And I also managed to squeeze a couple of books in:

„Murder at Merisham Lodge“ is the first in a three book series about Joan Hart and Verity Hunter. I liked it very much, it’s a typical British cosy. „Which end is up?“ is all about change, with infuriating and sad parts, but I still enjoyed it, even though I thought the ending was a bit rushed.

With luck, I might have my first new FO to show next week. Seriously, how much longer can it take to finish some plain vanillas?

Week 2/18

Hi there, my dears. I’m so embarrassed – I’ve got nothing new to show. I did manage to finish the first sock (except for the bind-off, that is) but I didn’t get to take a photo. For some reason, this week just flew by, and all of a sudden, it’s Sunday and I’m busy preparing for my business trip tomorrow. I’m going to Hamburg trade fair with my boss to get a tea selection for the shop I work at. We had a few selected varieties (mostly flavoured) for Christmas, and since they sold surprisingly well, my boss decided to jump in and let me pick an assortment. I’ve got my list of must-have teas ready and written, and even managed to narrow it down to only 25 teas (I’m so proud of myself, I started out with more than double). Wish me luck, please, I’ve never done anything similar before, and am equal parts nervous and excited.

I did manage to do my homework, so to speak, by finishing this book:

It’s an amazing book full of information on all things tea-related, and beautifully written as well. I do think I’ll have to re-read it a couple of times to make sure I’ve really got the important stuff memorized, though. Another six weeks until we hold our first Tea Party at the shop (again, equal parts nervous and excited), I’m sooooo very much looking forward to it.

So since I don’t have anything crafty to show today, I thought I’d just leave you with a pic of Melvin, my very own darling fish:

He’s a Betta Splendens var Halfmoon, and a beautiful specimen, I think, but then again, I’m absolutely, totally biased.

Week 1/18

Hello, my dears, and welcome to the first edition of my weekly review where I’ll show you what I was up to this week. Let’s get started right away, shall we?

This beautifully soft ball of yarn is ONline Supersocke Silk Color, a superwash sockyarn containing 55% merino, 25% poly and 20% silk. Yes, it’s just as soft and yummy to touch as it looks! And aren’t the colours just gorgeous?

I decided on plain vanillas, I want the softness of the yarn and the beautiful colours to speak for themselves. Isn’t it a shame that all that gorgeousness will be invisible to the world at large? My toes will be happy, though. I’m trying to finish the socks before the 15th so I can wear them on my business trip to Hamburg.

Next, there’s Chai by The Firefly Hook. It has taken me incredibly long for such a simple pattern, and it’s still not finished.  A few more rows to crochet, then it needs to be blocked before I can add the tassels. I chose this pattern because frankly, I just didn’t know what else to do with the yarn. I used it for the mosaic socks I tried last year, and it just wouldn’t play nicely with other colours. This is a much better use, and once the shawl is blocked and doesn’t resemble an old crumpled fishing net anymore, I guess I’m going to be in love. By the way, I love the name of the pattern – Chai is one of my favourite teas, and that business trip to Hamburg will be all about tea, so it kind of fits.

I also managed to add a few stitches to my Fruit Salad Wave blanket. The original pattern by Sue Pinner is for a scarf but I really don’t need any more scarfs in my life. I have this awful lot of sock yarn leftovers plus entire balls of sock yarn in what has been described as „man colours“ – you know, the dark, dank, depression-inducing castaways of the sockyarn community – and so another blanket taketh shape.

On to the books I’ve read this week:

I don’t plan on writing book reviews, I simply don’t have the time between two jobs, my family, and my crafting adventures. Suffice to say I absolutely loved „Ender’s Game“, it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read. I was a bit disappointed by „Alice“, though, somehow it just wasn’t as exciting as I remembered from my childhood days. I should finish a book about tea next but I have a feeling I’ll be off on another trip to Enderverse first.