Monday, October 16, 2017

Black snow

It is around this time of the year when we usually get the first snow. I have begun to anticipate it. As much as I hate to see the light go and the shadows creeping in deeper and deeper every day, I love the new snow and the brisk air it brings along. The temperatures are going to dip below zero soon and will stay there for the good many months, possibly until April, or maybe even close to June, like this year. This was the year, when the summer was a fleeting moment, so fleeting, that I really did not catch it at all. When the temperature dips under zero and there is no snow, the time is referred as black snow winter, which I must have told you many, many times, as this blog just turned 12 years old. Some of you have been with me for all these years, thank you so much for it, thank you for the good company, and all you newer readers, I am happy to have you.
These past weeks have been insanely busy for me. Usually my life is slow pace, country life, with a good amount of outdoors and crafting, but lately I have been doing various jobs that have taken me to town and I am exhausted. I have not had time to knit, nor do much else craft related, and it always makes me feel like I lose connection to me… Many of you must share the same feeling. I need to build this cocoon of yarn and fabric and wool around me to find peace of mind. Last night, I cleaned the immediate surroundings around my knitting area, lit few candles, drank many cups of cinnamon and apple spiced tea and started a new sock. It did wonders. Today, I am going to treat myself with slow going rainy Monday, keep wool socks on my feet, take a long walk with the dogs – if the rain will stop or slow down little bit, and just keep calming down.
It is the time of the year when the reindeer are being gathered and sorted out, the new little ones are following their mamas and get ear marked so that everyone knows to whom they belong to. After they all have been gathered, they are released again to roam freely, and this means that these huge herds stay together for quite some time, roam around as groups on the nearby fields. So far, I have seen only one small herd, maybe 10 or so, but soon, I think I start to see more. It is a bit scary to have them around. Mostly because, when they see me with the dogs, or just any one walking close by, they might suddenly get moving, and I am always worried that they will charge towards the road and might cause an accident. It is not too bad now that there is no ice on the road, but when the ice comes, it is just plain dangerous. We have signs on the roads warning drivers, but most of them are ordinary signs that people are so used to seeing around, that you sort of forget that you have them. During the last couple of years, there have been additional signs about these roaming herds which I think is good. But as you can guess, walking is little bit worrisome during the fall. 
When I come from our little road to the big way, I always pause for quite some time in advance, to listen and to read the dogs’ ears to see if the herd is close by and then try to listen to the traffic noise to pick the perfect timing to come closer to the road.
Piki, our new son, had a very good bird hunting season. Here is a little video clip, where he is taking a break and having blueberries for lunch. If you are wondering what he is wearing, he has a vest and a phone attached to it. While he is hunting, my husband is following him on his phone screen and when he finds a bird, he will bark around 120 times per minute and the app alerts.
Väinö has done his share of hunting too… Here he is after Piki, but the other day he made a remark of us being happy when Piki finds a bird and not so much when he does it. He just cannot understand why.
Hopefully I will have something craft related to show you next time. But this is all for now, thank you for reading, have a good week,
And wool, as always,

Monday, September 18, 2017

Cats forever

Hi you all!
For days, I have been hunting for a perfect, quiet time to sit down at the desk and share some of the things I have been making and to share pictures of them… To find the right mindset, to gather thoughts, to collect right words has been almost impossible. There never seems to be long enough stretch of time for that. Today I realized how long it has been since I updated the blog and decided just to gather up some words and then hit publish. I do realize why Instagram is so popular, there the word count is smaller, but then again, there should be really good pictures. I seem to be lacking both. Small part of the problem has been the fact that I have been mostly making more cats and it feels like I have said enough of them already.

As always, I have treasured each one of your comments. Thank you to everyone from the bottom of my heart. xxxxxx
I was searching for some inspiration about cats the other day and came across Dr Seuss’s Cat in a Hat movie. I watched it and I really liked the tiny bits where the teller read the book. I loved the rhymes, I need to get a copy of one of his books. I don’t think they have been translated into Finnish. I searched the Lapland library database and found one book and ordered it. 

While talking about books… I find historical mystery books quite entertaining and I listened to C. J. Sansom’s books some time ago. I was lost for a bit what to listen to next. Last week I bought D. K. Wilson’s The First Horseman and am quite happy again to roam around the dark alleys of the Tudor times London while knitting soft kittens. It might seem a bit strange for me to be enjoying something like that, but there is knitting connection there… AliceStarmore brought these Tudor (Roses) women into my life. Then I had to find some reading around them, that lead to Alison Weir’s books and Hilary Mantell’s Wolf Hall and then to Renaissance English History podcast. Now that I know more (which is still quite little) of those times and the real personnel, it is easier to read the fiction and it becomes more interesting. Tudor times aside, enough good words cannot be said of CraftlitAt the moment Heather is explaining and picking apart and pointing out interesting things of The Count of Monte Christo by Alexander Dumas and I am truly enjoying it too. I am not caught up yet but making a good progress. What could be better than to have a good book in the ears and an interesting knit/crochet/sewing/drawing in hands.
There have been more cats… The house is getting crowded little by little and the words “crazy cat lady” might just be very fitting nickname for me. In a way, I have enjoyed staying loyal to one design. Often, my mind rushes into something new and I drop the first idea without really considering it or taking the time to explore the theme for more. Some time ago I read from somewhere that if you want to design, I think it was to design, something, draw 100 pictures first because it is only after the first 100 are out of your mind, you come up with something unique. I have a long way to 100 cats, so I might just keep going.
I have played with yarns and I made one cat using yarn held double, I think my yarn is Jamieson’s Spindrift, but I am not sure, as I got a bag of very little balls without labels. I used several different shades to make this one; when one tiny ball was used up, I added a new little ball.
Then I made two as if they were using onesies, as I wanted to embroider something, but the little dots were the only design I could think of (the pink cat).
The one I am making now, has two strands of Jamieson’s and one strand of silky mohair and the feel is again very different. Using different yarns for the bodies has been interesting. Some yarns just flow into stitches, round up to fill the space and are soft to touch, while others have their own minds, feel odd, have no interest in turning into soft cat bodies, it feels like their stitches have corners and would like to keep their straight form, never to become curvy stitches. I found some black yarn in worsted weight from my stash last week. I must make one black cat, since Halloween is just around the corner and it would be very fitting to have a black cat.

How far into the fall or spring are you (Hello dear friends there Down South!)? My morning routines don’t include building the fire yet, and I have not been lighting the candles, but this week I am going to buy some when I drive to the town to buy groceries. There have been few walks when I have been truly freezing and then few when I have been too hot, as the weather is different from day to day. Dressing up just right seems to be impossible in this time of the year. But, I have used gloves and a hat few times already.
The fabric work continues. I have been quilting here and there. There are days when I quite like my stitches and am proud of them, then there are days when the stitches come out wonky. I know why this happens. I can knit more or less the same gauge; my state of mind does not seem to affect the quality of my knitting stitches as much as it affects the quality of my quilting stitches. I need a peaceful mind to be able to quilt, if I am in a hurry, all goes to pieces. (This quilt in progress had fallen off the chair to the floor and I found him sleeping inside. The batting is wool and it must be cozy and warm, perfect for an afternoon nap.)
Fall would not feel like fall without socks on the needles. I am knitting plain socks (2mm dpns, 18 stitches per needle to start with, long ribbing k1tbl/p1, 50 rounds, then plain stockinette for 60-80 rounds at the same time decreasing down to 16 stitches per needle around the ankle, heel flap for 30 rows, normal heal turn, then decreasing to15 stitches per needle around the foot, plain stockinette until toe decreases, and finishing with grafting the stitches) out of Austermann Step.
There is no name for the color, just humble number 309, mixture of greys. This might be discontinued number. My left hand (around the knuckles) still hurts from the fall last spring when I hold small needles for a long time. I seem to grab my needles as if they were my lifeline. Last night I switched to 2mm wooden needles, they break easily and I cannot hold them quite as tightly and this seems to help. I just need to concentrate all the time that these needles won’t stand any stress.

This is all for now. Hope you are well,
Wool with you, as always,