Friday, 28 December 2007

inbetweeny time

Christmas is over and we're in that funny bit between Christmas and New Year. David's back at work, but I won't be until after New Year.

We had a good Christmas, we had our first visitor here in Helsinki - David's younger brother... as we were moving, we were trying to predict who would be the first to visit us, and we never thought it would be him. My parents usually arrive just as we're unpacking the boxes, but this time they aren't coming till February, as they thought it would be too dark at the moment (it does limit what can be done in a day when it gets dark so early).

I believe my knitted gifts have gone down pretty well - I only gave the socks and knitted purse to my Mum and have heard that the socks fit, but nothing about the purse - no doubt when we next talk properly I can get some proper feedback.

There's lots of thoughts about what to knit and make next year going on... including what's already on the ikke ferdig list there's the wedding dress, and also a couple of accessories (for both me and David - don't worry I'm not going to try to make David a suit!). I also got some knitting books for Christmas, two about socks and a vogue book that I've had my eye on for ages now - so lots of food for thought.

Sunday, 23 December 2007

It'll only get lighter

Yesterday was the shortest day.

In Helsinki the sun came up at 09:25, and went back down again at 15:10. I make that 5 3/4 hours of official day light. Not too bad compared to Trondheim, where yesterday the sun came up at 09:59 and went back down at 14:28 (just short of 4 1/2 hours). We've really noticed the extra 1 1/4 hours - it hasn't seemed anywhere near as oppressively dark as it did last year. I think this time last year in Trondheim it was cloudy a lot of the time, which didn't help, whereas here in Helsinki we've had some clear, cold, crisp sunny days (like yesterday).

I still think back to when I moved from Knoxville, Tennessee back to the UK (in 2003) - I think Knoxville this time of year has about 9 1/2 hours of day light, and Bristol has about 7 3/4 hours, I remember really noticing the difference over the winter, and thinking that Bristol was really dark - looking back, I didn't know anything. I can't imagine living north of the arctic circle and not getting any light whatsoever.

I've altered the Koolhaas hat so that it covers my ears - it was quite stressful ripping back the crown shaping - before I ripped anything I thread a smaller circular needle through what I thought was a row and unravelled back to it - I had managed to thread through a row (they're difficult to spot through the cables) and so it all went OK. So, here's a definitely finished Koolhaas hat:

Wednesday, 19 December 2007


There was a beautiful sunset here in Helsinki this evening - not a delicate wispy multi-coloured affair, but a stong, vivid, bright, the sky is on fire, deep pink sunset. Red sky at night, shepherds delight - I'm now excited about what tomorrow's weather is going to be like. I did think about taking a picture, but I think in order to do justice to a sunset you must have a super-dooper camera and a certain skill for taking sunsets, otherwise I think it's best to just enjoy them while they're here.

I've now properly finished my koolhaas hat (photo to follow) and have managed to make a decision about what to knit next. I finally decided to start a pair of bee socks for Rach - part of what has become the Poulton bee series! Not a lot done yet, but the stripes are taking shape.
I'm using the same basic Sirdar pattern as I have for quite a few of the socks I've knitted and some suitably bee-coloured wool. I'm using a random stripe generator to figure out the stripes and am trying to do stationary jogless stripes.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

finished Koolhaas (edit - not quite...)

A finished project to show.. This is the red hat I've been knitting from the Interweaves Knit Holiday Gifts 2007 magazine. I like the pattern and geometric-ness of the design and its shaping etc... it's pretty snug, and I'm not sure it's really warm enough for the Finnish winter weather, but it's cute and it matches my red coat.

(Edit - I wore it to the shops and decided that it's too short - so I've just ripped back to the beginning of the crown shaping and am going to make it a bit longer.... )

I really like the Debbie Bliss Cashmerino aran that I used, it's ever so soft and squishy. There's a couple of different thicknesses of wool in the Cashmerino range, so I'm wondering what else I could use it for?
I've been pondering what I should knit next - there's so many different knitting techniques that I've heard about and would like to try... I'd like to do some more cables, and I'd like to try my hand at some colour work, maybe some mosaic stitch, and there's always the lure of stripes. Decisions decisions (not an easy thing to make for a libra!).

Friday, 14 December 2007

Shrouded lady

I went to my first ever knitting group meeting - at the Kamppi Cafe in the centre of Helsinki. I've never been to a knitting group before and was pleased that I fit in with the groups demographic (rather than it being lots of older ladies knitting for their grandchildren) - it was fun, I'm at an obvious disadavantage not speaking Finnish, but they were very nice and spoke some English so that I was included. I think I was also the only one knitting "English" style - I've never really been around anyone else knitting, other than my Mum and Nanna (both who knit English), so it was interesting to see it done "continental". The majority of people seemed to be knitting socks, although I seemed to end up in the red corner as I took along one of my current red projects and the lady to my right was knitting a red shawl and the lady to my left was knitting a red cardigan - maybe there's something in the water? There was also some books that had been brought to look at, and there was some wool as well. I was told about some other knitting groups that happen at various times of the month - I'll probably stick to just this one for now as it's so convenient to get to. We're also hoping to start Finnish lessons in the New Year, so I don't want to fill up too many evenings that are then going to end up clashing with classes. So, all in all a good evening.

I spent a bit of time during the week making progress with the wedding dress dummy run. I've done as much as I need to do now (altered the pattern and made the dress from an old sheet, without lining including a zip and the foundation) and am happy with how it's turned out - so next step is to start making the actual dress. I need to find out when David's working weekends so that I can work on it then.

Here's how it's looking....
Ha ha - you didn't really think I'd show a picture, did you? Felicity Anne, is again helping me model, but she's shrouded so that David doesn't see too much.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

A case of the reds

I seem to be going through a red phase at the moment - not sure why - although red is my favourite colour, so it's bound to happen at some point.

I'm making progress with the red cardigan - I'm knitting it in a slightly different order than the pattern calls for - I'm knitting up from the cabled belt first as I think I may want to make it a little longer, but I only have a finite amount of wool. Lots of stocking stitch at the moment, but I'm managing to keep it pretty even and neat. I've also cast on a Koolhaas hat, again in red - a dark, overcast Finnish day has made the hat look much pinker than it really is.
This is taking more concentration than the cardigan, but I'm doing OK so far. And the Debbie Bliss cashmerino aran that I'm using feels lovely and soft - I'm hoping there won't be any itchy forehead syndrome once it's done.

The latest baby booties went in the post yesterday along with our wedding invitations - so no going back now! I've got a plan for some socks for Mum-to-be-Rach, so once I finish the Koolhaas hat I'll get on with them. And I've also got a small project called wedding dress to make progress with and a date of February 5th to have it finished by so that my parents can take it back to the UK with them when they come to visit us. Now if I can just figure out how to measure the length of my legs by myself...

Monday, 10 December 2007

Even more booties

I think I mentioned in a previous post that I had a request for some baby booties to match the bee socks I'd made for Rob for his birthday. The baby isn't due until mid-January, but I thought it would be nice to get them done and in the post along with all the Christmas post. So, here they are: Thinner stripes than Rob's socks, as always I hope they fit.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Snow report

On Saturday night we had about 5cm of snow here, it was lovely to wake up and it be white over. There was the peacefulness that comes with everything being covered in snow too. David did a bit of snow clearing and we walked through it to get to and from the swimming pool, but apart from that we just enjoyed looking at its whiteness and wondering how long it would last. It didn't take long to realise that the temperature was rising during the day, and when it was 4°C by the evening we knew it wouldn't last. There's still a little bit left today, but according to the BBC the temperature's meant to get to the heady heights of 7°C by the middle of the week. I'm sure it'll be back and I'm still feeling positive about a white Christmas.

I've finished the socks I've been knitting for my Mum. It seems to have taken me ages to knit these - I guess I did have three attempts at starting them, which didn't help. As I said in another post the pattern isn't exactly as written - but it gives an interesting textural ribbing, which I like, and I hope my Mum does too.