Friday Favourites #2

Happy Friday, friends! I hope you had a good week. We’ve been having very sunny, warm weather here in Lisbon — which makes me feel like I’m on Holiday and that I need to get to the beach ASAP. If, however, it’s still pretty cold where you are, here’s some reading/viewing to do over the weekend.

— A great review by Edan Lepucki on the book Selfish, Shallow and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids, edited my Megan Daum. I was interested in reading the book before, but Lepucki’s review makes me want to pick it up immediately.

— Stephanie from the Yarn Harlot blog met Chris Hadfield and it was pretty much the cutest thing ever.

Why is Jane Austen so popular? Why indeed? I like her because she’s funny, sarcastic, kind of mean and not afraid to throw all that in an otherwise conventional romance novel. Plus, I like pretty dresses and British accents.

— If you are interested in my bae Jane, then check out Ron Lit’s videos about her novels. Actually, watch all her videos. She’s smart, funny, and academic in a really cool way. I love her.

— Since it’s sunny, it’s about time to revisit one of my all-time favourite albums, Toro y Moi’s Anything in Return. Which I secretly listen to all year round, shh.

— Melody’s excursion to a Latvian mittens workshop. Check out her Instagram feed for several more pictures. She also talks about the experience on her podcast.

— Let’s all take a moment to appreciate how cool it is that Yoshi’s Woolly World is an actual game.

How was your week? What are you knitting/spinning/sewing/reading/working on? Let me know in the comments!

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A few WIPs

Quick update to let you know what I’m working on at the moment — I’m finished with the body on the Willard Pullover and have knit the first sleeve. Hurray! I ended up redoing the hemline since I used a regular bind-off and hated how tight it was.

Ravelry project page.
Ravelry project page.
Ravelry project page.
Ravelry project page.

I actually knit the sleeve 1.5 times. I was working a 72-stitch sleeve, as my size required, but when I tried it on, it was way too big. So I decreased it to 62 stitches, and it fits much more nicely now.

Ravelry project page.
Ravelry project page.

There are a couple of structural problems with this sweater, though: the decreases on the sleeve are very noticeable, as are the places where I did increases in the yoke. And, as I’ve mentioned previously, the floats on the fair-isle bit are a bit too loose. However, I am chalking all this up to experience and this being my first sweater. It’s still very warm and soft, which is I what I wanted, and it will provide a welcome burst of colour in my other black-brown-burgundy Winter wardrobe. Perfect timing now that Spring has officially arrived.

I finished the first sleeve yesterday, groaned at the thought of having to knit the second one, and picked up my Cranberry socks to work on for a bit.

Ravelry project page.

I’m about halfway through the heel flap, and they’re looking super cozy. This is the second pair I’ve knit using Schoppel-Wolle’s Admiral 4-ply, so I know they’ll become very fuzzy and pill a bit after a day on your feet — it is very thick and warm, but I just wouldn’t recommend this yarn for cables or intricate patterns, as I think they would end up engulfed in fuzz.

Ravelry project page.
Ravelry project page.

On the reading front, I’ve put down Yasunari Kawabata’s Snow Country for a while. I’m reading this one in Portuguese, so I don’t know if it’s a translation issue or what, but I’m not feeling very gripped by the story. Or the characters. Or anything, really. So, I picked up Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, by Amanda Foreman. I watched the movie adaptation of this biography a long, long time ago, but I was recently re-watching Marie Antoinette and was suddenly very curious about the friendship between these two women.

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This book marks a momentous occasion for me, because I’ve discovered that I can knit and read at the same time if I’m reading on my e-reader.

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My reading really has taken a toll ever since I took up knitting more seriously — which isn’t a bad thing, because that means I spend more time creating than consuming, but I have so many books I want to get to, and audiobooks sometimes just don’t work for every book I’m interested in. I’m already 50 pages into it and so far, it’s being very good. I’m very fickle about biographies — sometimes they’re great, narrative and interesting, and sometimes they’re like eating dry flour.

What about you? What are you working on? Have you read this book, or any other cool ones recently? Let me know in the comments below!

FO: A hat for Belgium

Last week, after doing approximately 20357 miles of endless stockinette on my Willard Pullover, I decided I needed a break. I’m planning on knitting Meghan Fernandes’ Waterlily so I had already purchased Pom Pom’s 2014 Spring Issue and printed out which patterns I’d like to knit. The Moss and Deer Horns hat by Silvia Bo Bilvia was one of those patterns.

Dear reader, I knitted it.

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Ravelry Project Page

I used DROPS Big Fabel, which actually has a funny story behind it. When I got into knitting a bit more seriously last year, this was the first yarn I bought that wasn’t a 70% acrylic 30% cotton blend. I was walking to the subway station from class, and noticed a yarn store that I’d never realized was there. Everything was so pretty. So I bought about four skeins of Big Fabel, all set on knitting a cowl. And I did. Kind of. It was actually a big rectangle knitted at a too-tight gauge which I seamed (very poorly) at the edges. It was hideous. I never wore it — mostly because it was super scratchy. And ugly. But! It was the first time I didn’t drop any stitches, did unintentional yarn-overs (not that I knew what a yarn-over was) and I felt very proud of myself. Alas, there came a time when I had to face the fact that I had a huge amount of yarn which was completely going to waste.

So, I ripped it out. I had a giant 400 gram ball that I wound by hand, slightly bigger than my head. I’m slowly using it in other, prettier projects. It’s fun to see how far I’ve progressed in my knitting in less than a year — I couldn’t read a pattern, was afraid of working lace, of doing colourwork, of knitting a sweater! I’m glad I really pushed myself. Knitting is the first really creative endeavour I’ve stuck with, and I feel more comfortable in doing more challenging — and nicer-looking — things now.

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Yes, that mug DOES have a unicorn on it!

This hat is going to be a birthday gift for a friend of mine who is studying in Belgium in the next semester (it’s cold in Belgium, and she might need a hat!). It features this really simple lace pattern that looks like deer antlers but isn’t overwhelming. I really like it, and I hope my friend does too. It’s also a super quick knit — I had it completed and soaking in one afternoon — making a perfect project for when you’re tired of endless, infinite, stockinette. Besides, I used up old yarn, which means I’m being a good knitter. And that means I can buy more yarn. Right?

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What are you working on? Have you finished anything lately? Let me know in the comments down below!

P.S. Thank you so much to everyone who has commented on my wee little blog! Knitters are just SO nice!

Friday Favourites #1

Happy Friday, friends! Here’s a quick round-up of my favourite reads/things on the Internet this past week:

Why I don’t believe in dressing for my body type: A great post on just wearing what you want and what makes you feel good. I feel like everyone has heard of INTO MIND, but if you haven’t, it’s a great blog on building a simple, minimalist wardrobe that works for you and isn’t overwhelming.

— A Portuguese newspaper published a small article on knitting and how it’s regaining popularity. They interviewed Rosa and Vera, who shared the full interview on their blogs (here and here).

Susan‘s sock reports always make me want to knit all the socks, and buy all the sock yarn.

— The always amazing Fringe Association wrote a post this week about inspiring women who have great handmade wardrobes. There is plenty more there to read and explore, I’m following so many new inspiring blogs because of it. And it made me think a lot about my own wardrobe goals/decisions for the future: more on that later!

Pomcast! This is not new to anyone else but me. Pom Pom Quarterly (to which I recently subscribed) has an amazing, hilarious podcast about knitting and other things. It’s a delight to listen to!

— Loved reading Leigh‘s post on working from your stash. This is something I often struggle with, as I want all the pretty things, and ignore that I already have pretty things at home that I can work and create with. It’s funny how you get so used to the things you own you stop seeing them.

Quince and Co.’s new collection for their worsted-weight linen yarn, Kestrel. I am especially enamoured with Yarrow and Hibiscus.

Bookrageous‘ latest podcast on strong female characters. They do a killer job of explaining exactly why pop culture places women on either the weak or strong side of the spectrum, and why that sucks.

— My favourite song this week: Way To Be Loved by TOPS. It’s been so sunny here, and this song is so spring-y.

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As for non-online reading, I’m working my way through two books at the moment: Yasunari Kawabata’s Snow Country and Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places on audiobook — I am enjoying the latter more, as I knew I would. Flynn always writes the most complicated, interesting characters, and super enjoyable, edge-of-your-seat mysteries.

What are your plans for the weekend? Will you be reading or knitting something (or maybe both?) Tell me in the comments below!

An Introduction?

Since this is my first post, I feel like I should write up a small introduction of who I am. But then again, eh. The tl;dr version — I’m 21, live in Portugal, love to knit, read and want to brag about the things I do on the Internet. For the last year I’ve been trying to lead a more sustainable and minimalist way of life.

That being being said, I’ve begun building my own wardrobe — no more acrylic sweaters from H&M that are super cold but still cost 40€, no sir! Up until this point in my life, I’ve mostly knit a bunch of socks, a lace cowl for my mom, a scarf for my boyfriend and a couple of hats for me. But I’ve been so scared of knitting sweaters. A month or two ago I was listening to the knit.fm podcast, and they mentioned that knitting top-down sweaters was the gateway to sweater knitting. And so it is! I cast on the Willard Pullover by Hannah Fettig about a week ago, and I am about halfway through knitting the body. This is my first sweater, as I’ve mentioned, but it was also the first time doing stranded colourwork, and also my first attempt at magic-looping something. After reading some comments on Ravelry that recommended keeping the floats super-duper-loose, I did so. They ended up a bit too loose, but I’m being very forgiving of myself, it being my first try at it and all.

So snuggly.
So snuggly. Ravelry project page.

I’m using DROPS Lima in the Off White colourway for the main colour and Rost for the contrast one. The yarn is very good, 65% wool and 35%. It’s very warm, has a bit of a halo, but isn’t super itchy. I’ve found that DROPS yarns are either great or horrible, so I’m happy with this one. It does, however, come all the way from Peru, and the very, very low price tag makes me squirm a bit — but it was the only one which ticked all the boxes (wool and alpaca blend, dk weight, being pretty).

DROPS Lima.
DROPS Lima.

I’m also working on a pair of simple socks for me. I’m using Schoppel-Wolle’s Admiral 4-ply in the burgundy colourway, bought at the lovely Retrosaria. These are simple socks with a *k3,p1* ribbing all along the leg and instep. I finished a pair a couple of weeks ago using the same pattern (but in dark green) and yarn for my boyfriend, and they were so warm I immediately cast-on a pair for myself. And then I abandoned them completely for the pullover. Socks are by far my favourite thing to knit — useful, gorgeous yarns and patterns, and quick! But I knit about 5 pairs in a row and then suffered a huge burn-out.

That little white thing in the cuff is an elastic thread I always knit together with the yarn (just so the socks stay up and don’t slip down to your ankles).