Thursday, 29 December 2016

A Woolly Engagement - With Photos!

A woolly knitting engagement k2tog

I'm not sure what happened this year, but it has seemed like the shortest year of my life. It has probably also been the worst year for a lot of people for various reasons and while we look forward to 2016 coming to an end, many of us are very likely worried about 2017.

The only good thing, it seems, to have come out of this year for me is our engagement. After 9 years, Mark and I are fairly sure that we like each other so we are making it official now and getting married next year. 

Wool and engagement ring

The proposal was not at all how I expected it (and I didn't know it was going to happen then and there), but it was better! We were on holiday at the seaside in Torquay, out in a garden, all by ourselves. Mark was so nervous that I had to put the ring on my finger myself because he was afraid he'd drop it. And of course I said yes, as if there was ever any doubt.

And being a knitter, of course our engagement photos had to have a woolly theme. After all, what encapsulates the love between two people better than k2tog? May life knit us together for many more years to come till our yarn is cut short.

Engagement ring photo
(Photography: John Barwood)

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Opal Advent Calendar: The Final Six

Opal Advent Calendar 2016 on Absoknittinglutely

Hello again! I hope you are enjoying the Bank Holiday today and had a wonderful Christmas. Are you like me at this time of year? I have no idea what day of the week it is or the exact date because Christmas was filled with a lot of excitement, rest, mindfulness and a distinct lack of routine.

No wonder I am late showing you what I found in my Opal Advent Calendar the last 6 days. In the past week, the calendar felt noticeably lighter and I held on to the hope that a mini-skein of red sock yarn would be somewhere in there. Well, there is no really red skein, but I did get one that was close. I now have 26 little skeins of yarn that I can't wait to cast on even though I feel I should probably get back to my jumper from last year... One little skein won't hurt, though, I'm sure, and besides: I haven't knitted a single stitch this Christmas. I am looking forward to seeing how they all knit up. It is hard to tell because they are multicoloured and I don't think I have used Opal yarn before. 

Once the calendar was empty, I couldn't help but take it apart to see how it was constructed. The yarn was held by 4 cardboard shelves with little cubicles arranged around a hollow centre. The printed sides all slotted together and I noticed that the calendar was made in the German town my grandmother is from. What a nice surprise!

Opal 4-ply sock yarn

I am already looking forward to whatever calendar I choose next year. Maybe it will be a woolly one again because it was a lot of fun and the contents are useful for some of my projects. Or maybe I will go for something entirely different, who knows? Luckily, there is lots of time to decide.

Enjoy your last days of the year!

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

At first I was going to show you the last mini-skeins from my Opal Advent Calendar, but it's been such a wonderful day full of Christmas goings-on that I simply want to wish you all a merry Christmas and happy holidays, whatever you celebrate at this time of year, regardless of faith or lack thereof. 

As I tweeted earlier today, seeing how much I love Christmas, you'd never guess I was a born Muslim turned atheist. This season is such a wonderful time for me for a variety of reasons: the decorations, the twinkling lights everywhere, the atmosphere, strangers being more friendly and charitable towards others, choosing gifts for the ones you love, baking cookies, making your home feel even more cosy, crafting seasonal decorations, the food... There is so much I enjoy about Christmas and I hope that you do, too. 

This year Mark and I are spending the holidays by ourselves and the days are filled with music, films and food preparation. I cook, he bakes, and currently the flat smells so wonderfully of lemons because of Mark's first baked cheesecake that's cooling in the oven.

Today we will have a traditional German Christmas Eve dinner of potato salad and Frankfurters, but tomorrow I am making our usual German/British Christmas dinner. (The German bits are potato dumplings and caramelised sauerkraut.) 

I wish you all a fantastic time, peace and good health. See you after the holidays!

Sunday, 18 December 2016

More Opal Advent Calendar Yarn

9 more days have passed, 9 more mini-skeins of Opal yarn have jumped out of the Advent Calendar to join my stash.

There is an array of colours, many featuring blues and greens as well as purple. At the start I wondered if all Opal calendars had the same colourways in them, but now I am not so sure. I have seen other people's mini-skeins and they are quite different. To be honest, I am still hoping for a nice red skein similar to one I saw another knitter get. I am a bit bored of the greens and blues of my own calendar now. Still, I do not regret buying it and would do it again in order to get a move on with my Beekeeper's Quilt.

Even though it is the 18th already, I haven't started knitting any hexipuffs. So the yarn is waiting patiently in my stash till all skeins are out of the box. There is no chance I will knit all of them in one go, so the quilt will slowly grow as it has done over the past 5 years. There's no rush after all.

The mini-skeins have me wondering how a pair of socks would look, made from random colourways. I think it would look very nice, actually. I can also imagine knitting a jumper in this way, but I suspect you would need a few more calendars to get all the yarn together!

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

#craftblogclub Secret Santa 2016

knitted Cecelia Cowl

A little while ago I treated myself to my first hank of pencil roving from Countess Ablaze. This is wool that's been loosely spun to the thickness of a pencil. You can either spin it into yarn or knit it as is. Originally, the plan was to spin it. Originally, the plan was also to use it for myself, but you know: The best laid plans of mice and men...

Last year I took part in a Secret Santa organised by the ladies of the #craftblogclub Twitter chat and it was so much fun that I am joining in again this year. I was assigned my swap partner and then it dawned on me that I had no idea what to make! Of course it was going to be something knitted. (I briefly considered other crafts, but let's be honest, nothing comes close to knitting.)

Cecelia cowl

Since I needed a project that would knit up quickly, I decided on a cowl and searched for suitable patterns. In the end I went for the Cecelia Cowl, a free downloadable pattern. The yarn used there is chunkier than pencil roving, so I cast on more stitches and, frankly, hoped for the best. It went well and the cowl turned out wider than in the original pattern. The top photo of this post shows it folded in half. 

I love how the colours pop and I am considering buying more of this roving in the Psychosocial colourway to knit something for myself. Luckily I do have quite a bit left over, so I may get a hat out of it. Well, it may be a game of yarn chicken, but you never know. Worth a try.

Countess Ablaze pencil roving psychosocial

I hope the recipient loves it - it's so squishy! After some online stalking of her blog, I think it will suit her.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Opal Advent Calendar: 6 More Days of Yarn

Opal Advent Calandar

After 6 more days of Advent Calendar goodness, I now have these six colourful mini-skeins of 4-ply to add to my stash. There really is something for everyone. So far blues are dominating and I hope there will be more reds soon. I have seen others posting photos of their Opal Advent Calendar yarn and they certainly have a different mix. So every calendar seems to have a different arrangement of colours. 

In other news, we have finally got round to putting up Christmas decorations at home. The tree is up, too, and we will light it this evening along with the Advent wreath for a hygge night in.

Have a happy Advent! Schönen dritten Advent!

(If you are reading this on a large screen, I apologize for the quality of my photos. I noticed recently that my pictures aren't as clear as they used to be. While I'd love a DSLR at some point, I make do with my point-and-shoot camera or the iPad. The latter doesn't seem to do very well anymore.)

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Opal Advent Calendar 2016

I could not resist. This year I was simply too tempted by calendars different from the usual chocolate-filled variety and when I saw that something like a woolly calendar actually existed - a knitter's dream!-, I had to have it. I didn't hesitate even though the price would have put me off at any other time. At up to £55 this isn't a calendar you can just buy without being sure you want to spend that kind of money.

The Opal Advent calendar is filled with 24 mini-skeins of sock-weight yarn. I think they are perfect for knitters working on the Beekeper's Quilt, which is what I will be using mine for. As it is 4th December, I have now opened four of the doors. Every day you get a little skein of yarn in a different colourway. Each mini-skein has a festive band around it with a different design. I've now had a snowman, a house, baubles and stars, and all skeins have been mixed colours. I'd like there to also be some solid coours, but I suspect there probably aren't any.

It is exciting to see what's behind each door and I like knowing that what I am getting will come in handy for a project. So in a way this calendar lasts you quite a bit longer than the chocolate kind - it's a gift that keeps on giving. Here I can keep the yarn and knit it into something and the finished project will still be around afterwards.

The calendar itself is in the shape of a cube. It is quite large so I am having to move it from place to place every day because I have nowhere to keep it. The yarn is behind doors on four sides of the cube that each have a different festive design. The cube is very sturdy and made of thick cardboard so it doesn't get damaged in transit if bought online. There is a handle on the top for you to carry it. I suppose you could even hang it from the ceiling if you wanted to. 

I may well buy another one of these next year because I am enjoying the suspense so much. Let me know if there are any other kinds of Advent calendars for knitters! It's such a fantastic idea.