Friday, 9 June 2017

Finished Object: The Oa

Pattern: The Oa by Kate Davies
Yarn: Kate Davies Designs Buachaille
Colour: Ptarmigan, Between Weathers and Macallum
Needles: 3.5, 3.75 and 4mm Round Needles
Start of project: March 11th, 2017
End of project: June 7th, 2017

On Ravelry

This was one of the patterns that had me head over heels at first sight. Right away I knew I had to make this. The combination of the beautiful all over pattern with the contrasting details at the hem, cuff and hood are just perfect. I even decided to use the original wool, which I knew was going to be much more sheepy than what I usually like to wear. I was a bit scared that it might turn out to be super scratchy but right from the start it felt ok. Slightly rough and a bit smelly but not too much so and not itchy at all. After the blocking the fabric is even less stiff and I am sure it will soften more with use.

Knitting this was a real challenge. I had to learn new techniques (now I know how to do a provisional cast on, I had to cut a crochet reinforced steek and there were a few other details). But the really difficult part was to get the size right, even though I did the most elaborate swatch with steek ever.

I don't think it was only my fault that it didn't work out, I read a lot of posts by people who found it as difficult to get the size right. I started with size 3 which is bigger than what I would normally knit / wear. I had finished all of body when I realised that it was too tight, so back I frogged. The second time I had done about 5 inches when I noticed that I had twisted the cast on, no idea why it took me so long to see it, but there was nothing to be done, I had to go back again. The third time - following size 4 - seemed ok and I was ready to start the sleeves.

At first it seemed to work out but I only got to the last increases right before the end of the sleeves and again, it was just too tight. I changed the increase rate on my second try and it seemed to fit better. Most of the sleeves was actually knit while we were in California, it must have looked super weird when I was knitting something so obviously warm while wearing a bikini.

I think that it's always extra cool when something I am wearing has been made far away, I am sure there is still a bit of ocean air and sand trapped in there somewhere.

Back home I was finally able to join everthing together. It was as wobbly as I expected, this is really my least favourite part of bottom up knitting. I had to adapt the pattern again for the increases, but at least I got it right on the first try. And would you believe that it was still really close to being too tight.

I knit the hood and added the trimming and then -  I ran out of yarn. Fortunately it didn't take that long for more of it to arrive from Scotland and I could finally finish the last remaining parts, the cuffs and the hem. I was quite fed up with the whole thing by then because it definitely looked like the biggest waste of time: it looked more like a sausage than anything comfortable and wearable. But I knew that I had to try to block it as hard as possible, because the fabric of the swatch felt really different from the unblocked sweater. I gave it a long bath and then I stretched as wide as possible, especially at the sleeves.

And now it's off the mat and it fits ok. In a perfect world the sleeves would be wider but I think it will be ok and I definitely can't be bothered to frog anything back. This is it and I gave my best ;-) After this I really need a few nice and easy projects...

Monday, 5 June 2017

Finished Objects: Broken Seed Stitch Socks and Take Heart Hat

Pattern: Broken Seed Stitch Socks by Hanna Leväniemi
Yarn: Malabrigo Socks and Froehlich Wolle Special Blauband
Colour: Abril and off white
Needles: 2mm Round Needles
Start of project: February 15th, 2017
End of project: March 5th, 2017

On Ravelry

It's been a long time since I wrote about my knitting. Mostly because it took me ages to finish my current project, the Oa Sweater (which is currently blocking) but also because I finished a pair of socks without writing about and I didn't knit as much.

Somehow it still feels uncompleted so here they are...

I knit quite a bit of these beautiful socks while I was away in Feldis / GR on a yoga retreat. It was a great activity in between yoga classes and hikes in all kinds of weather. I really like how they look and I might use that pattern again.

While we were there we also had time for a hike up to the still snow covered mountains. It was fun going back to winter and taking photos even though we almost got lost at one point.

Pattern: Take Heart by Fiona Alice
Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Merino Worsted
Colour: Azul Profundo
Needles: 5mm and 6mm Round Needles
Start of project: March 5th, 2017
End of project: June 3rd, 2017

On Ravelry

This is already the third time I knit this pattern. When I was on winter holidays I promised the second little girl that I would also make her a hat.

Due to missing needles and then the whole Oa it took far longer than usual to finish it. Nevertheless at least it's finished now and I am sure she will still like it next winter ;-). It's a bit too small for me but for her smaller head it should be perfect.


I am finally ready to post the photos of our last stop. They have been ready for a few days but life has been busy and maybe I just wanted to keep up the illusion that this whole holiday isn't slowly slipping away in the past already for a little while longer.

When I planned the whole road trip I knew that I wanted to end it in a place next to the Pacific, not in a busy city like San Francisco. Pacifica sounded perfect, close to San Francisco, to the airport and right next to the waves once more.

We left the Golden Gate Bridge and drove along the coast. It was so beautiful that I would have stopped every five minutes but Yannick and Antonia got a bit bored of getting out of the car yet again so we only stopped twice on the Lands End Trail. The first time we could still see the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance, the second time it was only the wide open ocean at Point Lobos.

In Pacifica the weather was beautiful, but it was so windy and almost too cold to be outside. Luckily the hotel pool was in a nicely sheltered spot, so that's where we went to knit and to chill.

In the evening the light got more and more beautiful and I got really antsy to go out to explore. Fortunately Antonia was easy to convince to go sunset hunting. We tried to walk to the north at first but when we got stuck very quickly we turned around and walked to the south. Our little hike was amazing, just the right distance. beautiful scenery bathed in golden light everywhere and it was great to spend this time with Antonia. In the end we had to almost run down the hill through bushes and high grass, hoping that all the snakes had already gone to sleep because the light was fading fast and we wanted to catch the sun at the beach before it disappeared for the day.

We ended the days with an awesome dinner at Nick's right next to our hotel. The whole day was perfect, it was probably my favourite of the trip even though we didn't do anything extra special.

On our last day we drove south to Half Moon Bay. At first we went yarn shopping and sight seeing. Then we headed to the beach for a little while. Again it was so very windy that it was just too cold to stay for long but I wanted to soak it up as much as possible.

In the evening we walked to the Bowling Alley just across the street (which was definitely a stupid idea, you shouldn't cross a freeway on foot and then walk the rest even if it's only 5 minutes away, it was just too dangerous to walk). We were pretty bad at bowling but nevertheless we had a lot of fun.

Our last day in the USA started much the same way as many before -  with beautiful weather. So I dressed quickly and went for  a fast morning walk before breakfast. This time I found a path to the north. It included some steep hiking and a close encounter with another snake but it was so worth the sweat ;-)

Our plane left in the late afternoon and about a day later we were safely back home. All in all it was an amazing trip and I miss the sound and the smell of the Pacific so much. Travelling with two teenager who are constantly at each other's throats wasn't always fun but I hope that we will look back to this trip and remember the good times we also had.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

San Francisco

For us, highway 101 ended in San Francisco. I would have loved to go on and I am sure I will one day but for this road trip, we had gone as far as possible (even though San Francisco was not our last stop, but that's for later).

After quite a few days with relatively calm freeways, it was intense to arrive in San Francisco. All of a sudden we were again on one of 7 lanes and it was so busy. Then we had to get off the freeway and were right in the middle of the city. We only had to follow Van Ness Avenue almost to the end, but somehow I found it very challenging. I was so relieved when we found our hotel. Unfortunately our real troubles only started then: After almost two weeks of faithful service, my credit card seemed not to work. The clerk told me in a rather unfriendly way to either give him another card or to leave right away. Thing is, in Switzerland most people don't have different credit cards (we have money though ;-). But the guy wasn't impressed and almost knew no pity. Finally he gave in and told me to call my bank. Which I did and a friendly Swiss guy told me that it was neither my nor my credit card's fault, but the hotel's / clerk's which had tried to use my outdated (stored) credit card details instead of the credit card I'd given him. Even now I can remember that stupid feeling of arriving somewhere without knowing how to go on...


We calmed down and then we went out for a walk. It was only a few minutes to get to the water and the piers. The kids loved being in a city again and I had fun watching other tourists. We walked and walked, took the cable car across town and then we walked back for pizza in North Beach. On our way back to the hotel we enjoyed a beautiful sunset while climbing up and down towards our hotel.

On our second day in San Francisco the sun had disappeared and it was foggy and grizzly. Ideal weather to take the boat to Alcatraz. Everybody loved the tour around the prison grounds, even though we were glad that we were free to leave at our own desire again afterwards

The next day the sun was back and so we headed to the Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center and just enjoyed the view of the bridge and the surfers for a while. San Francisco is definitely one of the cities I could imagine staying for a while, at least I hope I'll be back sometimes in the future...