Cookie A rocks my world

So, the finished socks. You know, the ones I finished out of order (fourth before third) cause they were so much freakin’ fun to knit. You wanna see them?

Frankly, I think they’re awesome. Now, this may sound like tooting my own horn, but all the credit goes to Cookie A here. Her Sock Innovation book really just keeps thrilling me. This pattern is called Lindsay, and I made absolutely no modification to it. It was perfect as it was. And it was an total joy to knit.

You start off with a few rounds in garter stitch, and then go on to the lace pattern. I’ve found that I love lace patterns that create a sort of “ladder” effect. You know, where you repeat the same motif over and over, and it sort of stacks up. Ah, let me show you.

Now, I know you won’t believe me, but it is actually really easy to do. And that’s the best thing about it. When you get a motif which looks so lovely and complex, but is actually simple enough to memorize after a few repeats and work on almost mindlessly during knit night, then you know you got a winner.

But you know what? Despite the yummy motif, my favourite part are the soles.

I love the contrast that the stockinette creates to the lace and the garter stitch heel. It sort of pulls you in, and says “Relax. Rest from the busyness of that lace. Just come here and be still for a minute.”

And there’s garter on the other end as well, to keep those chilly toes extra warm.

All in all, this pattern was satisfying in every possible way. It was enjoyable to knit, difficult to put down, and the end result is ever so pleasing. I would highly recommend it. And it didn’t even use all that much yarn! I’d say I still have about 35% of the skein left. And that with the shopkeeper having told me that there was no way this skein would be enough for a full pair of socks…

Well it was. Enough for a pair of very awesome socks indeed. And now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go look up some more Cookie A patterns… ;)

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chilly sunday

It. is. really. cold. here.

So I have no choice but to bundle up with a biiiiig mug of coffee (with some chocolate flavour added, of course) and my knitting. Before we go on to a proper FO post for the socks you glimpsed in the last post, let me show you what I’m working on now. The red socks from last week are actually my “Fourth Socks”, and I feel bad showing them off when I haven’t finished “Third Socks” yet. I’m doing my best to rectify the situation, though!

I’m working on these sort-of two at a time. I want to use up all the yarn, so I’m knitting them toe-up, one from each end of the skein (for one I’m using the centre-pull end of the skein, and for the other the outer end of the thread). I knit one section of one sock (e.g. up to the heel-flap), then leave that sock aside and knit the same section of the second sock. It’s working very nicely, I like this method! It also makes it easier to remember what I did on one sock and repeat it on the other one…

Another thing that’s been helping me remember everything properly is this little gizmo.

I know some people find row-counters to be useless, but I wanted to try one and I’ve found it really helpful (it’s also quite satisfying to look at it and go “whoa, I’ve knit eighty six rows!”)! It is tiny, though, and prone to wandering off in the recesses of my bed-slash-knitting-studio, so I decided to make it into a necklace (I must remember to take it off my neck before leaving the house though, as I can imagine it’s not quite the trendy accessory everyone’s been talking about… ;). What luck that I had some perfectly matching yarn!

Hope you all have a warm Sunday!

knitter’s lunch break

One of my favourite bloggers wrote out a (very amusing and so very very true) knitter’s monologue in a yarn shop yesterday… I read it and laughed. Today, during my lunch break, I thought of it again. This week was tough at work. And it wasn’t getting any easier today. After a morning during which I was handling seven different things at the same time, just before lunch yet another task was put on my plate. I had been planning to spend my lunch break at my desk, working, so as to get some extra time to get things done, but this last thing tipped the glass of overwhelmedness.

And so I decided to take a walk instead.

And on that walk I came across a yarn shop.

And in that yarn shop I vented all my frustration. I had promised myself I wouldn’t buy any yarn for a while. But no matter, there were toyz to be had!

And as I was waiting to pay, a little discount ball of yarn called my name. I took it along, because she whispered that yarn bought during a knitter’s lunch break doesn’t count… ;)

And thus finished my lunch break. The rest of the day at work was spent much happier. ;) And this weekend I’ll be trying out my new toys… :)

Braderie de Lille

One of the awesome things about Brussels is that it is close to many other awesome places. Drive from Brussels in any direction for about two hours and you’re in another country. Take a fast train and you’re in London or Paris in less than two hours. Germany and Holland are around the corner as well. But often you don’t even have to go that far. Belgium itself has many charming little towns that lend themselves to relaxing day-trips without having to plan transportation in advance or stay anywhere overnight.

Last weekend, my three Brussels friends and I (and yes, if you’re wondering, most of them I met at knit group) took advantage of this general proximity of awesomeness and of the nicest day Belgium has seen this summer, and headed over a bit across the border to France, for the “Braderie de Lille”.

In short, this is an annual weekend-long event in which the whole city of Lille is taken over by a flea-market (said to be the biggest in Europe). Not even the gas station is spared.

There is no traffic, and the city is open to everyone who wants to sell or buy pretty much anything. This results in hordes and hordes of people on the streets.

The atmosphere we experienced was amazing.  The sellers seemed to range from typical cheap made-in-China vendors, to professional antique traders, to families who just want to get rid of some stuff from their cellars. The families who simply set up camp in front of their houses were of course my favourites.

There was no pushiness, none of that feeling so usual at fleamarkets, that if you linger for longer than 5 seconds the seller will start haggling immediately. No one yelled at me for taking photos – actually people smiled and posed instead. :)

It was so much fun to go through this big mess of stuff and try to find some special little trinket just for yourself.

And some of the stuff we found seemed to belong in museums.

Some things seemed like the perfect house-ornaments for our crafty souls…

And some of it looked even potentially useful (blocking mittens anyone? ;)

In the end none of us bought much, we spent more time savouring the atmosphere, taking photos and smiling like mad.

But as if the universe knew just how to add a cherry on top of this experience, and make our smiles even bigger, towards the end of the day it led us to this box of buttons from 1920s Paris.

Squeals were heard. And you can bet that none of us four crafters left from this place empty-handed. You’re sure to be seeing some of these beauties in projects to come… ;)