Saturday, 29 December 2012

Advent Calendar Scarf 2012: The Final Post

At last the Advent Calendar Scarf is knitted, blocked, dried and ready to wear! Just in time for the spring-like weather and the typical British rain, of course.
I will have to find other ways for wearing the scarf because it is too long for the usual way I wear it, but too short for some other things I have tried. Of course I would want people to be able to see some of the details and I hope I don't stretch the scarf too much so it gets all out of shape and needs another round of blocking already. 
At this point, if I just drape the scarf along my neck, the ends actually touch the floor! All right, I am not particularly tall, so that is no surprise, really.
On the whole I enjoyed this KAL even if the patterns as such were not a challenge and the scarf itself is just a sampler - something I am generally not very fond of. But the great thing about this particular scarf is the idea behind it: knitting something throughout the Advent season to finish on Christmas Eve was a wonderful idea. We all love Advent calendars, and this is a knitter's version. We should have many more of these, perhaps not just scarves, but all sorts of projects. 

Now that the scarf is finished, all participants have a pretty item that will remind them of this time of year. Lots of us now have this scarf, yet not all of them are the same. Some made changes, others made shorter or narrower versions - but the experience we had connects us.

For more details on my scarf, visit my project page on Ravelry here.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Advent Calendar Scarf 2012: Now Blocking

Now that the Christmas presents are out from under the tree and there is space on the floor again (at least a little bit), it's finally time to block the Advent Calendar Scarf! Earlier today I let it soak for 20-30 minutes which helped a lot to make the individual patterns stand out more. Since it is an absolutely huge scarf, I have folded it in the middle before pinning it onto the blocking mats. 
(This is the most accurate colour.)
Originally, it was my intention to block quite aggressively, but the patterns are clear enough without putting in too much effort, so I simply tried my best to get everything evenly laid out. The dimensions of the scarf are: 18” x 102.5” (46 cm x 262 cm). I know, that's huge!  Can I just say how glad I am to have blocking wires for such a big project?
I am really looking forward to wearing it soon.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Wishing You a Merry Christmas

It has crept up on us again, hasn't it? Christmas is just around the corner, we're doing our last Christmas shopping, planning the menu for the big day, and trying not to stress out. This morning I finished the grocery shop at 8 AM in an incredibly crowded store, so now I can relax till after the holidays. Unless I managed to burn Christmas dinner, all will be well.

This will most likely be my last post before Christmas, so I want to wish you a very merry Christmas time wherever you are. I hope you can enjoy it and do what you like best. It will be over sooner than you know it!

I leave you with my latest pair of fingerless gloves that I knitted just before starting the Advent Calendar Scarf (which is progressing nicely, by the way). Can't believe I forgot to post about it earlier! This is a free pattern called Knotty by Julia Moeller. She has very beautiful glove designs, but this is one of the very few free patterns available. These gloves are lovely and warm and ideal for me when I work on the computer in our cold flat. Brrr!

See you after the holidays!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

WIP: Advent Calendar Scarf 2012 - Day 16

We're now more than halfway through the KAL and I have managed to keep up, to my surprised. I was away almost all day yesterday and had a had time catching up with that day's pattern. I was finally done at midnight. 

Here are a few shots of the (unblocked) patterns since day 7:
It's fun to be part of such a KAL, but I am very annoyed by the many errors in the patterns every day. If I remember correctly, there was just one day without errors. Also, the English translations sometimes contain errors. On day 15 this led to completely different patterns as knit by German speakers and English speakers. The English ones were totally mangled and didn't look nice at all.

It's not a very original scarf. It is a sampler of different patterns that is easily assembled if you have stitch dictionaries, which is why I haven't joined the scores of others who have heaped praise on the designer/assembler. However, the good thing about it is that you have a very special scarf at the end that is special because of the occasion rather than anything else. Having knit throughout the Advent season is an achievement and contributes to the enjoyment of Christmas.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Liebster Award Nomination, or: How to While Away Half an Hour

Questions for my Nominees:

                                              Here are the Rules for Nominees:
1. List 11 facts about yourself.
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you.
3. Create 11 new questions for the bloggers you nominate for the award.
4. Choose 11 bloggers with 200 or less followers to nominate.
5. Go to each bloggers page and let them know about the award.
6. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.

Charlene from Creative Awakening nominated me for the Liebster Award, and even though I don't like these kind of chain mail type things (even though they masquerade as "awards" and are just meant to generate more views) I thought it would be a fun interlude for once. I will do my best to answer though I must say I am in a contrary mood tonight!


Eleven facts about me:

-  I am half German, half Bangladeshi and grew up in both countries.
-  I got a PhD because I loved the subject, not because I wanted to do something with it.
-  I wrote a book that's been published.
-  I am a damn good short fiction writer and poet, I have been told.
-  I taught myself to knit using online tutorials.
-  Fellow students wrote about me in our school-leaving magazine that I was most likely to move to the UK. 12 years later that's just what I did.
-  I am an extremely fast learner and especially good with crafts.
-  Basically, I believe I can do whatever I set my mind to.
-  The farthest country I have been to is New Zealand, right in-between the first two LOTR films.
-  I was in Canada for 15 minutes. Plus 30 in the traffic jam between Canada and the US.
-  I met my boyfriend in a chat room.
-  I woud like to learn Maori (and a slew of other languages).

And on to the questions:

1. If you could be anything for a day, what would it be?
 I would be a famous writer known and revered for her literary skill, innovation and knowledge of the craft. That's what I always wanted to be so it would be nice to experience that kind of a life.

2. What is the kindest thing that you didn't tell anyone?
I can't think of anything and doubt I ever did anything extraordinarily kind. Perhaps I did and forgot about it. You never know. If I did, it was probably a small, simple gesture that meant a lot to someone.

3. Do you have any regrets in life?
Ask me again at the end of it. I tend not to dwell on things I may not have achieved quite the way I wanted to. What will be will be.

4. What animals inspire you? What animal would you be and why?
Humans. I quite like being pretty high up on the food chain, actually.

5. Tell us about your pets.
We aren't allowed pets in our flat, but I used to have two gerbils before moving here and would love to have some again. I have seen how people keep gerbils here in the UK and am appalled. Mine had a darn good life! Sadly, they died shortly before my move to the UK (though that was very practical of them too because I couldn't take them with me).

6. Did you ever not tell anyone you loved them even though they did? What happened?
No. I'm no Penny.

7. What song speaks to who you are and your soul?
It depends on my mood and my circumstances. I must admit there were more suitable songs in my teens than now in adulthood since we tend not to need moral support through song lyrics at some stage in our lives. Also, I haven't listened to music in ages, though I like Adele a lot, especially her song "Someone like you".

8. How many languages do you speak?
Fluently? Two: German and English. Probably followed by French. Then I know some other languages I learnt at various stages, but would like to refresh to be able to converse in again: Dutch, Bangla, Spanish, Italian, Russian (though I am not keen on this one), Elvish (oh yes...). And a refresher in Anglo-Saxon would be lovely!

9. What do you think makes up the human spirit?
Define spirit. I suspect that's what you are asking me! I have no idea. To me what people refer to as spirit or soul is simply character. Therefore it differs from person to person.

10. If someone gave you a million dollars for a day - what would you do with it?
Well, I would enjoy a whole day and night doing the things I love with the one I love. We wouldn't need that much money, actually. So as not to lose any time, we'd stay in the area, probably go to a spa, have a lovely dinner at our favourite restaurant, and that's probably it. So I guess it is a fairly normal date night, really. Huh, that surprised even me.

11. If YOU were on a boat in the middle of the ocean with two horrible people who killed each other and yourself, what would you do to keep your spirit from dying? 
Given my definition of the spirit/soul, this would be a rather pointless thing to do - not to mention impossible. Besides, there is nothing after death. Anyway, I thought the soul never dies? What kind of spiritual belief system is this?

Abso-knitting-lutely on Google+

A lot of my friends on Facebook are considering moving to Google+ in the near future since further disadvantageous changes regarding privacy are about to take place. This move may be inevitable so I decided to set up a profile and a page for Abso-knitting-lutely too. At the moment there isn't much to see, but if you want you can follow me there.

I am still figuring out how things work there, but I do intend to update the G+ page as often as my FB page for the shop. Maybe I'll see you there?

Friday, 7 December 2012

WIP: Advent Calendar Scarf 2012 - Day 7

There may not have been any great challenges while knitting the Advent Calendar Scarf, but today was filled with a slight bit of trepidation. Why? Dropped stitches. Not the accidental kind, but the deliberate dropping of stitches in day 7's pattern.

Just as I finished the first few rows of it, I realised that I had accidentally dropped a stitch somewhere. Not a problem, I just picked it up and knit on. In the back of my head, though, I worried about how this might effect the pattern once I finished it and would be forced to drop stitches. It could be quite disastrous and instead of the drop stopping where it is meant to, it could go all the way down the entire scarf, thus ruining my work of the past week. 

Well, there was nothing else I could do. I just had to finish knitting and see what would happen in the end. I got to the final row and started dropping stitches... 
... and it worked! Each column of dropped stitches ended just where it was meant to. My four hours of knitting were not in vain! Huzzah!

In the Ravelry group dedicated to this KAL, some people weren't happy about having to drop stitches because this makes the scarf almost twice as wide as the previous sections. However, I decided to trust the pattern and I hope the designer knows what she is doing. I must say though that the scarves without dropped stitches are also looking great. Everyone has done a very good job so far.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

WIP: Advent Calendar Scarf 2012 - Day 4

Day 4 of the Advent Calendar Scarf KAL is drawing to a close and today's pattern was a nice relaxing change. Somehow I am spending far too long knitting the scarf every day - much longer than I had expected given information from knitters of previous years.

After day 3 I finally took pictures of my scarf. It is made with laceweight yarn, so the design will only come out fully once the scarf is finished and blocked aggressively. At the moment it looks like this:
I am using emerald green beads which don't come through as clearly as I had hoped. Since they have  a silver centre though, they do sparkle. I like that.
I bet Day 5 is already online so I shall go and have a look at it now. Another day of knitting awaits!

Monday, 3 December 2012

No Time This December

In between knitting the Advent calendar scarf (update to follow) and sleeping as if I were a hibernating bear this winter (as every winter), I don't really have time for anything else this month, it seems! So it's a good thing I made new items for my shop recently that I will add in regular intervals when I have a spare moment between knits. I tried my hand at bunnies, whales and Russian dolls for stitch markers that turned out quite well and there will be new necklaces too.

I am so glad I finished all my Christmas preparations so early! Today I bought the duck for our Christmas dinner (it's now in the freezer), I sent off the presents to family and friends abroad, I've put up most of the decorations and the Christmas tree will follow as soon as I figure out exactly where to put my spinning wheel - it is now where the tree normally is. We really do need a bigger flat.