Archive for the 'Not knitting' Category

Late Christmas round-up

The preparations

We baked

Chocolate chip cookies. All told, we reached the required seven sorts of Christmas cookies. But these were the runaway favourites.

We did some fun holiday crafts:
We made felt ornaments and painted some baubles with glass paints. The kids had a lot of fun. We even gave some of the baubles away as Christmas presents.

The presents

I kept the crafty presents to a minimum this year. I finished the scarf, but that doesn’t strictly qualify as a Christmas present as it was a replacement for a lost scarf. I finished two identical (apart from the size) super-simple velour skirts for my daughter and niece:
Velour skirt

I used some leftovers to make a little toy for my baby nephew:


I also sewed a dress for myself – but I’ll save that for the next post.


Christmas cookies


I prefer salty to sweet, so I’m expanding the traditional Christmas cookie baking to include some wonderful cheese biscuits. 


50 grams strong-flavoured cheese – I used parmesan
100 grams butter or margarine
100 grams wheat flour

Grate the cheese. Soften the butter and fold in the cheese and the flour a little at a time. Leave in fridge for an hour.

Roll the dough out and cut biscuits out with glass. 

Bake for ten minutes at 200 degree Celsius.

Enjoy! They are fabulous with cheese and grapes.

Memories of Summer

This weekend has marked the start of Christmas preparations at our house. Advent Calendar gifts have been purchased and the first three batches of Christmas cookies have been baked. But before I get to that, I need to share some pictures I’ve been trying to find since I shot them in June. Turns out I had uploaded them to my MP3-player, which I never use for picture storage and deleted them from the camera memory card. I wanted to share them to remind myself that summer will be here again, even if its -13 and several centimetres of snow right now.

Museum Tunic:
Museum Tunic
This very simple – and not altogether flattering, unfortunately – dress was made after seeing Anna Maria Horner’s beautiful dress and instructions. I made things unnecessarily difficult for myself by making a mistake in the cutting – I split the fabric lengthwise as well as widthwise. I’m not too happy with it, but it’s comfortable for summer lounging. Next year I’ll probably get it out and close up the sleeves alittle while lowering the neckline a little both in the front and back.

I’ve been working on this little flannel suit for my nephew since well before he was born. Unfortunately I ran into some trouble with the fabric, which frayed more than I had anticipated, and with the twin needles I used to attach the ribbed edging. As always, the solution is “get better tools”, and after I upgraded from cheapo twin needles to the proper Bernina needles, I had no trouble.

Baby kimono
 Baby trousers

Both patterns are from SikkSakk, but the trousers are really an amalgam of two patterns, where I combined some balloon-type trousers with a pair that has some very practical long ribbing in the waist. For the smallest babies, I remember liking the long ribbing very much because it kept them warm even if the jacket rode up and sat on while not pinching their waist.

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Some more from the summer archives: One of the best things about our house is the giant rhubarb plant that the former owners had planted. It keeps us supplied with fresh, lovely rhubarb all summer long, and one harvest gives us exactly enough for a proper rhubarb crumble.

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I like to use less sugar than called for in the recipe, but I serve it with fresh whipped cream, which makes it exactly sweet enough to eat while keeping the fresh taste of the rhubarb.
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And last from the summer archives – we went with some friends to Vinga, and I got these two pictures of the inside of the lighthouse. I like the pattern on the lamp – I wonder if I could replicate it in knitting?
To the lighthouse

To the lighthouse

A new kind of stitching

In the last few years, I’ve noticed that knitting blogs have developed in many new directions. Some have been closed down or just ignored, some knit bloggers have started spinning, some have started weaving and some have been sewing. I, of course, have dabbled in spinning, have been drooling over some lovely weaving, but sewing has mostly left me cold. Until now.

I asked my mother if I could borrow her sewing machine (a Husqvarna from the 80s), visited the fabric shop and just started:


Pattern: Two Kates project bag

Fabrics: Outer is Kaffe Fassett quilting cotton, lining is a relatively generic quilter’s cotton, both fat quarters.

Modifications: The bag is slightly narrower than the pattern suggests. The strap is around two inches narrower, as the pattern strap seemed too broad to carry the bag by.


I sewed this bag without sewing even one test seam! This is a charming little pattern, and extremely easy to follow. I really liked that the pattern contained directions to draw my own template.

I also tried my hand at a smaller sock knitting bag. This wasn’t as successful, unfortunately, but the less fortunate parts are easily hidden:


Pattern: Yarnmonster’s drawstring bag tutorial

Fabric: One fat quarter of quilter’s cotton, designer unfortunately forgotten

Modifications: None intentionally, but the bottom turned out too big for the sides, so the bottom is a little scrunched. Also, the topstitching created some unintentional creases.

I really like this bag. It’s small enough to fit comfortably in my handbag and keep my knitting from getting tangled in keys, my mobile phone or my mp3-player headset. At the same time, it comfortably holds a full skein of sock yarn and my project. And because it has a separately-sewn-on bottom, it sits open rather than flopping over uselessly. I’ll make more of these, I think.



We’ve been reorganizing our house a little lately, as a result of the baby moving out of our room. There was an old set of drawers in the kids’ room that I wanted to redo to make it suitable for our bedroom to store some of my yarn stash. I don’t often do DIY, but I do think sanding and refinishing a set of drawers is the kind of thing everyone should be able to manage, so off I went to the hardware store.


Worn old varnish, chipped and broken drawer pulls, some stains. Not so nice.


Single-use gloves, brush, screwdriver, sandpaper, matte oak-stain varnish (the hardware store assistant told me to buy a darker varnish to hide old stains), new drawer pulls (can you see in the picture that I bought two different size drawer pulls? I couldn’t until I put them on, which annoys me but not enough to have the big ones replaced). I use gloves for all DIY jobs, I hate getting sticky paint or varnish on my hands. I managed to get a little on them while removing the gloves, and discovered that nail varnish remover works really well even with furniture varnish 🙂

Step 1:
Remove old drawer pulls

Step 2:
Sand all surface areas. I sanded the top very carefully to remove all the old, chipped varnish, but I was less careful with the rest of the surfaces, as the hardware store assistant had said that I only needed to roughen the surface of the old varnish. As you can see on the drawer fronts below, that wasn’t strictly true and they became quite mottled-looking after the first coat of varnish. They improved slightly with the second coat, though.

Step 3:
Apply two coats of varnish.

Drawer fronts after one coat of varnish:

Top of the set of drawers after two coats of varnish:

Step 4:
Attach new drawer pulls and (optional) cut out and insert paper liners for the drawers. I wanted liners because the interior was quite worn and to avoid snagging the stash yarns.


Yoga is the new knitting

…at least for me. I have never done any regular workout except for weekly pilates after the birth of my son. Inspired by my colleagues’ post-Christmas guilt I decided to attend my workplace’s weekly yoga lesson, and I was hooked. I went to that class last Monday, and every night since I have tried to do some form of yoga at home, partially displacing knitting as an evening activity. I can’t wait for tomorrow’s class!

In the meantime, I’m inspired by Lollygirl‘s yoga adventures and her Yoga Wednesday pictures. I thoroughly enjoy Yoga Journal’s practice videos.

A thousand years apart

I received my long-awaited package yesterday:


Two Bosworth midis, the top in maple (25 g/.81 oz) and the bottom in bocote (39 g/1.34 oz) and 500 g of BFL Humbug – a striated blend of three natural colours. I love them! I ordered from P&M Woolcraft, which I can heartily recommend (the delay in receiving spindles was not due to them, but to an earlier order with another firm, which fell through due to a backorder).

Bosworth 009

I started trying out my new spindles immediately, and I got to thinking about something. If a viking-era woman were to enter my home, chances are she would be completely mystified by it. Nothing we have would be recognisable to her (we don’t even have a fireplace) – except this little tool, with its tail of unspun, fluffy fibre. For some reason I like the feeling of having something, even so little as this, in common with my foremother. Spinning is a fairly obvious source of symbolism, and the Norse mythology is no exception. I was very fascinated with Norse mythology when I was younger, so you’ll have to excuse a little lecture:

In Norse mythology, the ash tree Yggdrasil is considered the centre of the earth, and its branches encircle the heavens. Its three roots run from three different well springs – one from Mime’s well, one from the Norse hell Helheim and one from the dwelling of the Norns (Urd’s well). The Norns are Urd, Verdande and Skuld (the past, the present and the future). They spin the life thread of every newborn baby as well as the gods (who are not considered immortal in Norse mythology). Skuld spins the thread (birth), Verdande plies it (life) and Urd cuts it (death). Considering that the Norse myths were mainly told by and for men, it is interesting to consider the power which was attributed to the Norns and their spinning. Were women and their activities considered mysterious and incomprehensible by the men at the time?