Last Day of 2015

I suppose the last day of the year is a time for reflection on what has passed and looking forward to a new start but I’m not going to do that. It’s been a year I’m happy to put behind us. Yes, there’s been plenty of good but there has also been heartache. I would rather concentrate on the now.

It will likely be a quiet New Year’s Eve for us. Kristen and the kids will probably not be here as she’s come down with some kind of bug. I’ll try to stay up until midnight to help ring in the new year but, realistically, I rarely stay up that late. Part of today will be spent making olie bollen (fritters) and I may make some soap but I’m not even sure about that yet.

I do know I will be doing some knitting… have already, in fact. John’s cardigan is coming along, if slowly. The back is finished and I’m working on the fronts simultaneously, sort of. I started with the right side and have it almost to the armhole shaping. Then I decided it would be a good idea to work on the left side as well, and get it to the same point, then work the shaping at the same time. That way, the shaping will be the same, at the same time.

Incidentally, the soap making thing? It’s really coming along. I’ve been making, and selling, quite a bit of soap. Christmas, it seems, is a good time for soap sales. This week, I even made shaving soap… real, use a brush, soft, creamy, shaving soap. It’s awesome!

Anyway, I need to get this day going. To all of you, from all of us, we wish you a very happy 2016. I’ll borrow an image, posted by an online friend, that perfectly describes what I wish for all of you.


Categories: Baking, Blogging, Cardigan, John's Sweater, Just stuff, Knitting, Making Soap, Review | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

When Swatching Becomes Fun – A Review

Ask any group of knitters about swatching and you’ll probably hear a collective groan. Swatching (the process of knitting a sample of knitting to check gauge, to familiarize yourself with the pattern, to make sure your yarn of choice works for your pattern of choice, etc.) is the bane of many knitters’ existence. However, it is a useful little tool, really; it’s especially useful if you want to knit a garment that will actually fit the intended wearer.┬áIt’s also a very good way of familiarizing yourself with, or learning, new patterns or working with an unfamiliar yarn.

When I received an email from Interweave Knits this week, advertising “Creative Estonian Knitting” by Merike Saarniit, I was intrigued. It isn’t a book; it’s a dvd/video download. And it isn’t for a garment of any kind; it’s a swatch made with a variety of Estonian stitches. Merike, who is an American of Estonian descent, teaches a variety of Estonian decorative stitches and techniques. Ok, now I was more than intrigued. I bought it. I downloaded the video and have spent most of today playing with stitches.

Estonianset300For the first time in a very long time, swatching has become fun! I’m very much enjoying her relaxed, easy to listen to explanations of the stitches. I can even see that some of the stitches she demonstrates could make a simple garment completely unique, without much difficulty.

swatch2One advantage of having the video is that I can stop it and play with the stitch patterns at my leisure (it comes with a four page pdf of written instructions for each of the stitches).

swatchHere’s my swatch so far, with five of the stitches already done. (In order, from the beginning to the needles: 1. Wrapped Nupp in Ribbing; 2. Wrapped Nupp over 3 stitches; 3. Knot Nupps; 4. Quilted Embrace; and 5. Horizontal Braid separator.

If you’re at all interested in learning about knitting from other cultures (as I certainly am), I can heartily recommend Merike’s video. Her voice is easy to listen to; the stitches are explained very well and the demos are well filmed. The cost isn’t prohibitive ($24.99 for the DVD disk, $19.95 for the download) and I know that I’ll be referring to the video again and again.

Yup, swatching CAN be fun!




Categories: Blogging, Knitting, Review | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

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