sausage

How does that old American proverb go… “There are two things you don’t want to see being made – sausages and laws.”

Well, I’m starting to think knitted toys (or at least this one) are actually sausages! They may look all shiny and polished (and yummy) from  outside…

But if you take a look behind the scenes, you’ll regret it.

And possibly have nightmares about The Attack of Mutant Knitted Toys!

Sweet dreams and a very wonderful week to you all!

on knitting, business, and being a woman

I’ve heard of her name many times. I’ve followed links to her blog posts, read them and agreed wholeheartedly (or was thoroughly amused) with many of them. I don’t know why it has taken me so long to subscribe to her blog in my Reader, but I finally did. And then, just a few days later, I discovered on it a post that is just so damn bang on.

Now I can say it, by Yarn Harlot

Most of us here are hobby-knitters. Myself fully included. And I love it for what it is to me. But my hobby also depends on the people for whom it is a business. Yes, it’s a business for the people who breed the sheep and create the yarn I knit with. Yes, it’s a business for the people who write the patterns I buy online. Yes, it’s a business for the people who write the books I learn my skills from. And there’s nothing dirty or un-nice about that. Just because it’s a business doesn’t mean it can’t be done with passion and love for the craft and the community.

I can’t help disliking the word “business” any more than the next person, I guess it’s just intrinsic in the society we live in today. But I dislike the stereotypes Yarn Harlot writes about much much more. Read the post. I promise it’ll give you some good food for thought during your hobby-knitting weekend.

knitty animals in the Belgian countryside

A few weeks before the holidays, my friends and I put into action a longstanding plan: we rented a cottage in the Belgian countryside for the weekend and left the chaos of Brussels behind us for a few days. It was only a weekend, but the amount of relaxation and calm we got out of it made it feel as if we had been there for much longer. It was just what we all needed. We spent most of our time sleeping, cooking together and eating great food (some of it bought directly from friendly local farmers).

After all the rest and food, we’d go off and explore our surroundings. Though it was chilly we took a few very long walks, and were rewarded with some wonderful sights.

But one thing that made me even happier was the fact that we ran into many sweet animals. I grew up in the countryside, but I have to say that animals seem to have taken on a completely new shape in my thinking since I’ve become a knitter. When I see a sheep, I no longer see just a farm animal, but associate with it all the joys that I derive from my knitterly pursuits.

Sheep wool is after all my topmost preferred material. And when I see this many sheep, well, I can’t help but think: stash! :)

And imagine my surprise and exhilaration when we came across these!

I’m not sure if they’re lamas or alpacas (the former seems more likely), but they were adorable and I just wanted to run up to them and hug them (though the electric fence was pretty efficient in preventing me from doing that). Especially this little black feller. Just look at him, all you can see is black. :D Cutesy pie.

In the end we ran into some chickens too. Not that I’ve heard of chicken yarn before, but you never know what they’ll come up with next… ;)

I’m curious, has the way you think about animals changed as a result of your knitting?

toyz

One of my intentions (see how I cleverly avoided the R word there? ;) this year is to start knitting toyz. I bought my first pack of stuffing about a year ago, with the same intention, but nothing came of it for a long time. Well things are about to change! One of the impeti (impetuses?) was the realisation that there are going to be many babies popping up around me quite soon. Another was this adorable little feller published in Ysolda’s new installment of the Whimsical Little Knits publications. And guess what – he’s already under way!

He may not look like much yet, but he’s already capable of making a big mess!

Yes, this project involves a tiny little bit of intarsia, which is a completely new thing for me, so things have been getting a little tangled. But nothing too bad! I’m certainly emboldened by the pace at which this little one is growing and there will most definitely be many more to follow him. When you think about it, knitted toys are really just like very very small garments – the outer shell itself is really rather small, it’s the stuffing that gives them the image of being large projects.

If you are interested in what other toy patterns I plan on making, you can take a look at my toy queue on Ravelry. And if you have favourite knitted toy patterns that I have missed, please do let me know about them!

garmentless buttons

It was 8 September when I told you the story of my adventures at the Braderie de Lille, which ended with a box full of some lovely buttons. It’s sad, my friends, that I’ve only managed to photograph the buttons four and a half months later, but better late than never, eh? So, without any further ado, here are the lovelies I snatched up from that box and bought for some ridiculously small amount of money (if I remember correctly, the vendor had even given me a further discount simply because I hadn’t had the exact change to pay him in coins…).

Mismatched, yet matching.

Art Deco…

Star Trek :D

Large red tones…

Three of a kind

And my favourite colour combination lately – green and blue!

Pulling them out again and setting them in front of my camera reminded me how much I had loved these in the first place. I really must knit some garments to go with them!

second mitten syndrome

Tonight at knit group, one of the ladies who hadn’t attended in a while glanced at my knitting and went: “You’re still knitting those mittens?!” And she was right, though only partially. Yes, the last time she had been there, about two months ago, I was working on my Fiddleheads. But where she was wrong was that I’m not working on them still – I am working on them again. Oh yeah, after I finished the first one, I got me some of that good ol’ second mitten syndrome! Funny how I don’t get that with socks… Well, I better not say that twice! ;)

Anyway, yes, I am working on the second Fiddlehead. And as I navigate the troubled waters of colourwork again, I’d like to say two heartfelt thankyous.

Firstly, to Adrian Bizilia, the designer, for having the brilliance and the foresight to divide the chart into 5×5 squares. It is indescribable how much easier it is to read and follow a chart that is presented like that. So great that it should be made obligatory, by knitterly law, for all charts. Ever.

Secondly, to the several people (both here and in real life) who advised me to try turning my colourwork inside out while I knit. At first the idea baffled me, but since I’ve tried it I haven’t gone back. I am now best friends with my floats and my tension.

And I think there might just be a finished pair of mittens soon. Maybe even in time to wear this winter… :)

what happened

What happened was that…

– his father and grandfather took him to see a ski race

– they didn’t have any tissues, plastic bags or anything similar on them

– they had to take the bus up the windy mountain path

– he got nauseous

– there, on the mountain, in the bus, the only “receptacle” they had at hand was the hat

– he puked in the hat (it was that or all over the other passengers)

– the father rubbed out the hat in the snow to clean it a bit

– when they came back home, the father rinsed the hat under hot water to get it a bit cleaner

– when the mother came home, they gave her the hat to wash in the washing machine

– the mother put the hat on the “wool” cycle

– the hat came out of the machine in a size more suitable for a Barbie doll than for an 8-year-old boy

What he did then was that…

– he cried inconsolably

– he spoke to his grandmother, and told her that she must tell on his father to his auntie, and that she must please please somehow convince auntie to knit him another hat for his birthday (which is in a few weeks)

And what happened to auntie then was that…

– her heart filled with joy. A hat can easily be reknit, but to know that it was loved that much, well that is just something you don’t get every day.