I have been reading blogs all morning and got wildly inspired by all the beautiful pictures. I also love the morning light in our living room, so I grabbed my beloved James Dean and took a few pics. At least the yarn is very pretty, even if the pics are a bit crummy.

I raided my LYS yesterday - I heard they had Noro Kureyon sock yarn and needed no other excuse to drive down there, for it is a very nice yarn shop.

So I got my Noro.
noro sukkis
Colorway 180 - yummy!

I also found orange Berroco Cotton Twist, to go with the turquoise Cotton Twists I bought a long time ago. I couldn't figure out what to do with them, because I only bought 7 hanks (all they had then), and 7 hanks would probably be enough for a generously-sized hankie. And then I saw the orange hanks and behold! These'll be a festive summer top!
berroco cotton twistit

And I can never say no to sock yarn. Especially if it is on sale.
jitterbug magenta

And even if it isn't.

But before I even got to the sock yarns, I was attacked by these cuties in the sale bin.
ohuenohuet kidit
Crystal Palace something or other. (Will add later.)

Knitted projects? Not to be found here. (Maybe later.)

No Blocks Today

(Ei millään irtoa aivolohkosta polkkaa suomeksi tänään. Mennään kolmannella kotimaisella siis.)

I am still knitting the entrelac shawl, block after block, and haven't really knitted anything else.
entrelac shawl
Honestly, I can't recommend this yarn for a project like this. I am knitting this with #8 needles, since it is a shawl and I wanted it to drape nicely, and obviously, this is the problem. Patons SWS is a z-spun, 1-ply yarn, and I'm guessing it needs a tight gauge and a smaller needle size to prevent horrible pilling. I realized this yarn becomes very fuzzy and messy when knitting, and it certainly doesn't take frogging too well, as you can tell which blocks have been frogged and reknitted. I have had very bad experiences with Patons yarns before, and I can't say I'm happy with this one, either. I doubt I'll use this yarn again. The colors are pretty, though.

Which brings me to color in general, and Villapallo's meme about stranded knitting. My relationship with stranded knitting (or colorwork, whatever you want to call it) has always been somewhat difficult. Every single time I pick up a stranded project, I feel hopelessly inadequate. I am utterly unable to combine colors beautifully, especially if there are more than two colors, and I can't see what combination works and which doesn't, until I knit up a swatch and realize I have managed to produce a combination that certainly will not work. I am desperately envious of the true masters of the craft, the Feitelsons and Starmores and Jangs of the world.

However, whenever I pick up a stranded project and just knit on, I am amazed how two colors and the simplest stockinette stitch can produce such elegance and beauty. And whenever I have finished a project, I feel a little proud of it, and decide to continue with stranded projects, since they really are extremely beautiful.. and then I knit a swatch. Or get distracted by something else.

This is the reason why I haven't knitted too many stranded projects. There are some mittens of course..
...and a pair of socks, too.
The Hansa and Alise mittens are not pictured here, since they are being washed right now, as I've worn them a lot this winter. And yes, I do wear mittens! I hate the California winter. It is not properly cold, since to me, properly cold means -10 degrees and lots of snow. It is cold, though, even inside, and if it didn't prevent me from surfing the net (no, I don't have an addiction - I could quit this any day!), I'd wear my mittens even indoors. I need to keep my hands warm, and a few days ago MrChocolateEyes (our mail guy!) brought me four wittle black angora bunnies, all called Princesse obviously. I can't wait to use these for fingerless mitts!

So apart from the occasional mittens and the Ilmarinen cardi, I haven't really knitted too many stranded projects. I would love to, since I love intricate, elegant projects knitted with tiny little needles and lots of color. I suppose that is what is so fascinating about colorwork - the colors themselves. As far as garments go, I'm rather limited in my tastes - I wear a lot of blue and grey and brown and my clothes are almost always of solid colors. I would love to wear more warmer colors, but sadly they make me look like an air hostess (i.e. orange - if I had green hair, I'd fit right in the produce section). But colorwork is the perfect way to wear lots and lots of color at the same time, and that is what I find so fascinating about it. I love all the colors, although some are rather difficult to use, but given the proper project, anything goes, really.

And color brings me to this finished Revontuli shawl. Even though Mr HairyFeet asked me whether this was a "hippie" shawl (and perhaps he has a point), I still like the colors.
revontuli 1
This turned out to be a giant shawl. I had one skein of Estonian wool and I used all 7 oz of it, and with #6 needles I ended up with a 47" x 87" (roughly 120 cm x 220 cm) shawl, good enough to keep me warm (now that Bi-color Icarus is being washed as I've worn it a lot - every day in fact).
revontuli 3
I think the colors alone could keep me very warm!
revontuli 2


My life consists of nothing but blocks these days: there are some entrelac blocks...

Täällä on pelkkiä ruutuja vain. Konttineuleruutuja...

...and I am lost in the little blocks of the charting paper.
...ruutupaperin ruutuja.
joana 1

The first project is an entrelac shawl. I saw the Lady Eleanor Shawl pattern on ravelry, and I liked it a lot, but unfortunately I don't have the pattern so I came up with my own. This shawl consists of 7 blocks per tier, 10 sts in each block and I am knitting it until I run out of yarn (which is Patons SWS Natural Russet). I am using #8 (5 mm) needles, which are massive (I usually don't venture beyond #3), but the wonderful thing about this is that it is completely mind-numbing project on its own but absolutely perfect TV knitting. It is coming along nicely, although I have to do some adjusting with the yarn as far as colors go, as not all my balls are of the same dye lot and two balls are somewhat lighter in color. I like the way it is turning out, though.

Eka on aantrelakkihuivi, SSLA*-mallistosta. Mie ihastuin ravelryssä Lady Eleanor-huiviin, mutta kun ohjetta ei ollut, tein oman kun se originaali vaikutti vallan yksinkertaiselta. Seitsemän ruutua per ruuturivi, 10 silmukkaa ruudussa, ja pituus sen mukaan mihin lanka (Patons SWS Natural Russet) piisaa. Viitosen tikulla aivotonna töllön ääressä mennään, ja aika kivalta vaikuttaa. Vähän värjäyserien välinen väriheitto aiheuttaa päänvaivaa mutta eiköhän tästä aika hauska huivi tule.
*Suoraan Stetsonin Lipan Alta.

The second one is the purple cardi I'm working on. The next idea didn't quite work out, it was too simple and I confess, I didn't think it through. This time, I searched online for instructions on how to draw Celtic braid patterns, tried out several cables and charted them and picked this one for it asymmetrical form. I quite like it! I've spent these two days just charting my cardi, and I'm ready to cast on for the body today. This won't be anything like my Neito cardigan, but it should be alright, and I'm quite excited to see how it turns out. This cardi, however, is definitely not TV knitting!

Kakkoskuva on siitä purppuriaisesta villiksestä, jonka kanssa sompailin jo eka yrityksen aiemmin. Se meni purkuun kun oli vähän semmonen puoliksimietitty vasta. Tämän kanssa on sitten tehty kaiken taiteen sääntöjen mukaan: on kahlattu intternettiä ja kelttikippuroiden piirtämisohjeita, ja piirrelty puolen yötä tikkuaskiin kuvioita, joista tämä valikoitui sitten ihan neulottavaksi asti. Hyvältä vaikuttaa - pääsen vartalo-osaan tänään. Tuskin Neidon tasoista on odotettavissa mutta ihan hauska, vähän erilainen villis kuitenkin. Töllön ääressä tätä ei kuitenkaan neulota - ei tule kun sanomista.

The Northern Lights (or Revontuli) shawl is under progress. I cast on again a few days ago, made up my own chart 1, and am now about half-way through with the shawl. That, again, is good very TV knitting and it should be finished soon.

I'll be back with even more blocks later. 'Til then, enjoy your week!

Revontuli-huivi on uudessa alussa pienemmillä tikuilla ja uudella ykköskaaviolla. Olen siitä tikutellut noin puolet ja hyvältä näyttää. Aivotonna neulon sitäkin, joten valmistunee piakkoin.

Lisää ruutuja ens kerralla. Siihen asti - olkaatten ihmisiks.

What I Have Been Up To These Two Weeks

Nothing much, really. I've had a serious cold and apparent Post-Christmas Stress Disorder (which is more like I Need Someone to Clean this Mess Up kind of disorder), too, and I have achieved very little.

Ei täällä mitään ole saatu aikaseks. Nuppi on ollu täynnä räntää ja sohjoa viimiset kaks viikkoa lentsun ja joulunjälkeisenstressin kourissa, neulepuolella olen just ja just Icaruksen saanu väännettyä. Ei paljon mistä paukutella henkisiä henkseleitä, mutta aivan viehko huivi siitä tuli.

Well, there one Icarus, which isn't much to shout about. I used some left-over yarn and a good pattern, and can take credit only for following the instructions which was the only thing I managed while the only thing keeping me sane was NyQuil. But the shawl is very pretty.
icarus 5

icarus 3

icarus 2
ETA: The shawl is knitted with #7 (4,5 mm) needles and two colors of KnitPicks Palette, Marine Heather (darker blue) and Calypso Heather. I ended up using 1,5 balls of Palette in Calypso Heather after I ran out of Marine Heather. The color contrast was rather sharp so I used some blue acid dye when I soaked the shawl and I think it came out rather pretty. The shawl measures 46" x 90" (117 cm x 228 cm) so it is quite big, and I used almost exactly 4 balls (or 7 oz) and 920 yards of yarn.

Edit: Mie käytin tähän nelisen kerää lankaa, 1,5 kerää vaaleampaa ja tummaa sen mitä kaapista löytyi Ilmarisen jälkeen. Huivi painaa melko tarkkaan 200g, ja pingotin sen noin 117 cm x 228 cm mittoihin, eli reilun kokonen huivi on. Ihan originaalivärit huivissa ei ole, heitin huivin likoamaan siniseen väriaineeseen ennen pingotusta, että lankojen värinen ero vähän tasoittuisi. Oikein hyvä tuli, ja lämmin.

(Apparently not all of the meds were out of my system when my friend took pics of my shawl. She made me laugh hysterically, and
one accident photo* made it even to Flickr. Click with caution.)
*I realize that this picture may shatter any images you have of the serene and not-hideously (med journal type)-ugly me. But the world needs us Quasimodos, too, right?

Kuvasession yhteydessä Vieraileva Kuvaaja nauratti sirkeää mallia ja yks vahingonlaukauskin pääsi mukaan. Kilkkaa omalla vastuulla, elä piä juomia näppiksen likellä. (Mulla on tommonen rumempikin puoli joka ei usein pääse kuviin, paitsi aina, mutta maailmassahan pittää olla meitä einiinkauniitakin.)

Speaking of NyQuil, 'tis strong stuff. After one dose, I saw all the pretty colors of the rainbow!
This beautiful Estonian wool was supposed to become AnneM's Revontuli Shawl, but I had too big needles, and this combined with my inability to follow any instructions, I ended up frogging the beginning of the shawl. I like the pattern, though, so I will reknit it eventually.

Mie lentsulääkepöhnässä koitin Revontultaki tikutella, mutta siitä ei tullu ko sanomista. Liian isot tikut + ja huono ohjeenlukija = huivi sammakkolammella ja uusi yritys myöhemmin.

My cold is over, so I don't see the colors anymore. Now, I'm stuck with shades of purple. And would you look at them!

Uutta pukkaa, tästä myöhemmin jos tää toimii ees jotenkin. Pelkkä purppuriainen väri on jo ilonaihe kyllä, nätit on sävyt.

wota garnet
A cardi for me, more of this later if my idea actually works. (The yarn is Wool of the Andes Garnet Heather.)

Ja vähän sukkailoittelujakin, oli niin nätti väri tässä Trekkingissä:
trekking sukka
And some socks, I just couldn't resist the colors. Pattern is mine, extremely simple st st stripes combined with some seed st stripes and I think it works nicely. I'll try to knit a French Heel for these (essentially it'll be the heel in Baudelaire Socks but slightly modified), but these take forever to knit as the Options needles are very sharp and my poor fingers start to hurt. I do love the needles, though - and I adore the colors. The yarn is Zitron Trekking XXL, colorway 76.

Over the past few days, my blog - to my utter surprise - received several You Make My Day Awards. I have been amazed and deeply grateful for every single of them, so thank you Hemuli, MakePeace, Talutin, Krista äiti ja täti, Ilu, katjaii and Pirkko! I couldn't make up my mind and nominate my favorite blogs, but I enjoy several blogs and they all make my day. :)

Kuulema teen monelle mukavan päivän. Olemme hämmentyneitä ja perin kiitollisia näistä kunniamaininnoista, kiitoksia kovasti. En osaa nimetä mun päivän tekijöitä, koko blogikierros kuuluu aamurutiineihin kahvikupin lomassa joten ilman koko suosikkiläjää en pääsis ees käyntiin, kiits siitä teille :)

Ilu also tagged me with Favorite Yarns meme. And I'm not a big fan of memes but this one was cool, so here goes.

Umm.. Well, I must admit I'm a yarn novice. I am very much stuck with KnitPicks yarns, especially Wool of the Andes and Telemark, but there is a good reason for me to like them: they're extremely versatile. Also, the colorcard is amazing, there are so many brilliant colors, and the yarn is cheap. For the same reason I absolutely love their Palette, it is soft and pretty and perfect for stranded projects.

Also, I think there is a time and a place for most yarns. For example, variegated yarns do not really work with lace, in my opinion, and handwash wool may not be the best yarn for kid's garments. If a yarn is used in a way that complements the texture and colors of the yarn, it will probably become a favorite, because the garment is a favorite. So, if used properly, I am a big fan of Novita's mercerized cottons, because they look nice, knit up nicely and especially Kotiväki will last forever. They also take dyes beautifully, which is good, as Novita's colorcard has only a few colors and mostly the colors are not to my taste.

I also like Finnish yarns a lot, especially Pirtin Kehräämö yarns and Pirkka yarns. They're well-priced, have a wide range of colors and they're fingering weight wool so I would use them a lot more if I could just get them. They, just like all the mentioned yarns, are something I can buy limitless quantities without even thinking about it, without a project in mind, and that's what makes a favorite yarn to me. :)

Ilu nakkasi myös suosikkilankameemillä. Mie jotakin riipustin tuohon kolmannella kotimaisella, vanhoja tuttujahan sieltä löytyy nitpiksistä Pirkkalankaan :)