Monday, 28 April 2008

Sunny weather knitting

David's boyfriend socks are finished... just in time as he won't be my boyfriend for much longer - just over a month to go now!

The weather here in Helsinki has been really good for the last couple of weeks, and from the forecasts I've seen it's meant to continue (more or less). We've been taking the opportunity to spend some time outside to make the most of it. The weekend before this one we were meant to go over to David's boss's house for dinner on the Sunday. As the weather was so nice we decided to cycle - he cancelled, but we still went for a bike ride anyway.

We just happened to end up cycling past, what is turning out to be our favourite pub in Helsinki - The Black Door

They serve real ale and other more interesting beers than the usual Carlsberg and Koff that is sold in most of the bars around here. And you can sit outside in the sun.

This weekend I met up with Cecilie and Quinn to continue with Cecilie's indoctrination into knitting and what is turning into an informal Saturday knitting group. We did try to sit outside of the Black Door but unfortunately there weren't any tables free so we ended up on the sun terrace of MBar. We were having a sock knitting session, so we got Cecilie started off with her first sock and Quinn and I cast on (with varying levels of success) for socks for ourselves. Quinn was eventually successful, but I cast on again on Sunday morning as I'd completely miscounted my gauge and I think the sock I cast on at MBar could have become a jumper.

I'm using Trekking pro natura in a green/blue colourway and am knitting using the sailor's ribbing pattern from More Sensational Knitted Socks.

Thursday, 17 April 2008


We seem to have been pretty busy lately - with Finnish class, Finnish homework, our weekly trip to the cinema, a beer festival, various amounts of work and just general living.

I've been plugging away on my boyfriend socks that I talked about in my last post and am just about to turn the heel on the second sock, and then I'm on the homeward stretch. David tried the first sock on and it looked pretty good (it's all relative as it is just a sock after all!). I don't think Cecilie's quite ready to start learning socks yet, so I should get the 2nd sock finished while she's still scarf-ing.

I've also been knitting my jacob cardigan - I'm knitting the cabling that's on either side of the front - it's pretty slow going and I don't seem to be able to learn the pattern so am having to follow along with each stitch. I'm also a little concerned that it's going to be too small - but I'll keep going for at least one side and then see what I think.

I've also been sewing. I've made a pair of trousers....

They're made using the now discontinued vogue 2865 pattern. They're simple, lined trousers with darts at the front and back, no separate waistband and a side zip. I altered them at the waistline and also made them a little shorter (they still look pretty long, but I like my trousers longer rather than shorter). I'm pleased with how they look, I think they're quite flattering and my changes to the waist have worked. I have enough fabric to maybe make a jacket as well. Not that I really need a suit at the moment. I have no idea what the fabric is composed of, it's pretty light and has a bit of stretch - I bought it from a little shop in Bristol.

And finally, we bought a compost heap.... now the weather's improving I'm looking forward to doing some digging and no doubt making some garden waste to go along with the kitchen waste that David produces, and also hopefully growing some veg for David to use in the kitchen.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Boyfriend socks

There's a project I'm working on at the moment that I haven't blogged about yet. Well, actually there's a couple, but they'll come later probably as they're mostly wedding-related. I'm knitting David another pair of socks. I'm following the boyfriend socks pattern by slippedstitch.

They're worked toe up with a short row heel and are so far working out fine. I've only done about 5cm of the leg after turning the heel, which is why they look so out of proportion. I'm enjoying the cables, they're an easy repetitive cable that doesn't take too much concentration.

The wool I'm using is Regia silk, which is a blend of merino, silk and nylon. It's lovely and soft and has a really nice sheen to it. I'm hoping that with having the silk in it these socks won't be too hot for boy feet and might even get warn inside shoes rather than for just lounging around in when it's cold.

I mentioned in one of my last posts that I've been trying to teach myself how to knit continental so that I can help Cecilie learn to knit. We had a visit to the yarn shop and a lesson on Saturday morning. She could already cast on and knit, but now she can purl as well. I think she's doing really well - I remember some of the first times when I was learning to knit and how I would start out with 20 stitches and by the end of the 2nd or 3rd row I'd have 23 stitches and have now idea where they came from, and then after another few rows I'd have 18 stitches and have no idea where they went. I don't think it was my counting, although I was quite little. Anyway, she doesn't seem to be having this problem and her tension looked as if it was getting more even at least in her knit rows.

She's knitting scarves at the moment - but is wanting to knit socks. I'm hoping to get at least the 1st of the boyfriend socks finished before she's ready for a sock knitting lesson as I think it will be useful if I cast on a similarly constructed sock at the same time as she does.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

potting on

I had a potting on session yesterday, so now the seed tray has expanded into lots and lots of little pots. I expect there'll be some casualties as the tomatoes, especially, are very leggy from not getting quite enough light when they first germinated. I planted the tomatoes deep to try to make up for their legginess and encourage some roots to form along their stems.

Monsieur le Sammy has been given four tumbling tom plants to look after.

I'm still a bit nervous about putting anything out in the cold frame yet, but there are some spinach, chard and cabbage plants that will move outside when the time's right.

It was fun potting everything on yesterday. I love growing plants, especially vegetables, from seeds. I like thinking about how the plants are going to develop and wondering how much veg we'll get this year and what we will make. I've also been wondering about where to plant the little fruit bushes and the rhubarb plant we have - the soil's definitely not warm enough for digging yet, but that doesn't stop me from thinking about these things.

On the knitting front, the cable and rib cardigan I'm making using the Jacob wool is coming on well, the back is finished, so I've started on the front cabling. So far so good. The ribbed part is all twisted rib, and the wool I'm using is really letting the texture stand out. I can't wait to see how the cables look.

I've also been having a go at knitting "Continental" rather than "English" - a friend, Cecilie, has decided to expand upon the little bit of knitting she was taught when she was younger, of course she was taught continental and I think it would be useful if I could knit the same way, in case she needs help. Although from what she's been saying she's been getting on pretty well on her own with the help of the Internet. I've also read that being able to knit both ways is useful for speeding up stranded, colourwork knitting, so it'll be a useful skill to learn. So far I can knit and purl continental although it's slow and uneven and very awkward feeling - I'm sure with some practice I can get better.