Friday, June 30, 2006

Finally Yarn! Finally stash!

I'm swamped. I thought that after the defence I'd be less stress but in fact I'm more stressed. I have to get rid of stuff, pack stuff and pack and somewhere in there are two young children. Think god for mothers. Without my mom I would have lost my sanity way back.

Yesterday I did get away from this and go yarn shopping with my stepmom, who is a knitter. We started out going to Álafoss factory shop, where they have anything you need and it's cheap. A skein of eingirni (Icelandic laceweight wool) costs $2.25 (170 kr) and I got a sweater's worth of a beautiful steel grey color (5 skeins) and some red natural colors (yes, we have redhead sheeps here too) - mórautt.

I discovered that they have cheap sockyarn and lot's of it. I got some green. They also have demin cotton yarn. Both these are danish yarn. Even if this is a factory outlet it also sells variety of yarn. I had wanted to knit a denim skokkur (sleeveless dress for kids) for Kamilla for a long time and this stuff was at least half the price of Rowan's denim.

I got some léttlopi (lopi light) in beautiful red colors for French Market Bag from Knitty. My MIL (tengdó) goes to farmer's markets a lot and I want to make it for her. I wanted to make it while I was here but I kept starting it over and over again. I was using a wrong color it turned out. This red one is much better, before I used black for the bottom.

I ended up buying about $70 worth of yarn. But that is a lot of yarn. One Icelandic shopping bag (which is much bigger and sturdier than the US equivalent) and two 4 mm needles as I didn't have one in 80 cm length (since 4 inches are 10 cm then 80 cm is 32 inches).

Later we went to Ullarselið. I had wanted to go there for a while since I went there last summer. I just love their herb colored eingirni. Now they have expanded the selection and have the yarn clearly marked from which plant it is (you don't have to check each hank). They have 50 gr. hanks and 10-15 gr. hanks. I got 4 of the later ones, which is perfect for a shawl with white being the main color. The colors varied from yellow to green. These colors are just so beautiful. As you would expect green and browns dominate the color palette. But there is a lot of variation just from one type of plant. What supprised me most was the onion and the black currant (? krækiber) colors.

This place also has some really cool buttons, made from animal bones and horns as well as stones and shells. I could have gone all out there but I didn't have a project in mind so I just looked.

So now I have stash, at last. Until now I've only bought yarn for one project at a time but the awailability of wool is so little in California (wonder why?) that I have to stack up.

In Iceland you can buy yarn at the grocery store (well, only in small villages where there is just one shop that sells everything). But in the US you can only buy yarn in yarn shops and craft stores. Why doesn't Target sell yarn, especially cotton and superwash yarn??????

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Not much knitting being done at the moment. If I'm not preparing for the defence, I am visiting people. Up to 2 visits per day.

The defence is on Tuesday and after that - yarn shopping. (and perhaps a little packing)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The knitting type

There were come discussions in my knitting group (Garnaflækja) about following the patterns. It was clear that knitters come in all shapes and sizes.

1) Some of us don't follow a pattern at all but only knit from inspiration and what they've learnt from others.

2) Other knitters use patterns (more than one at a time) as guidelines to put together the exact garment they are looking for.

3) Others (and this applies to me most of the time) follow the pattern more or less but have to make certain changes (e.g. simplify or change the colors).

4) And then whe have the knitters that follow the pattern all the way.

There are pros and cons to every sort of knitting style. The style I choose helps me get an outlet for some creativity. I don't think I can actually follow a pattern without changing something. Sometimes I don't follow a pattern but make it up as I go. That applies to the Bulky Lopi jacket I made for Kamilla and the neck warmer I made for me.

So which type do you follow?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Quiet on the homefront

I'm not blogging much. It's not because I haven't been knitting, but on the contrary because I've been knitting. I'm knitting a gift so I haven't been terribly motivated to write about it here. It's a pattern that I've wanted to do for ages. It's supposed to be done in Rowan's cotton glacé but I'm doing it in Mandarin Classic. One of the thing I missed the most from Iceland is good quality cheap yarn. I just don't get it why I can't go to Joann's or other craft stores in California (I don't know how it is elsewhere in the US) and get decent yarn! How come I can't get normal superwash wool? I don't always fancy knitting with expensive yarn. Especially when knitting for someone else than me and when I'm broke. The craft stores in CA have a lot of yarn, a lot. But it is just crappy Acrylic or acrylic blends. I don't fancy yarn that's only 20% wool.

I wan't to save the expensive yarn for special occations. Here in Iceland I would predominately knit with Sandnes products. Sandnes is a Norwegian company and I think it distributes to the Nordic countries. These yarns are e.g. SISU for fingerweight wool/nylon blend (comparable to sock yarn) and Mandarin Petit for fingerweight egyptian cotton (both knit with 2.5 mm needles). Then we have Smart for 100% superwash wool and Mandarin Classic egyptian cotton for sportweight yarn (3.5 mm needles). The last one is the one I'm knitting with at the moment. Other wool yarn they have is Alfa, Fritidsgarn, Lanett and Peer Gynt (for their traditional Norwegian sweaters). Then there are some novelty yarn or yarn that's derived from their basic yarns (like adding glitter to various yarn types). These yarns all cost $3 - $4 per 50 gr. skeins.

Back to my project. I chose colors when I was at the store (a department store, Hagkaup) and as soon as I started I thought of a better color combination and now there are at least 3 other colors combinations I would rather be knitting it in. Not that the one I'm making is bad. I just think the other ones are better. It's really fustrating and I'm trying to make me content with the colors I'm working with. Has anyone else had this problem?

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Back home

We are safe and sound back in Iceland inspite of flying on 06.06.06! Back to the land of the ice and snow, from the midnight sun where the hot springs flow. I'm not kidding about the midnight sun. It is really confusing for a certain little 1 year old (my little baby is one!), who thinks, when she wakes up late at night, that it's a new day. Well it isn't.

My friend Kristín was visiting me and came back with us. On our trip to Berkeley I made her go into Article Pract (since we were driving past it on our way to Berkeley). What a great store! It was beautiful, well arranged and had it all! Just name it, it was there (or so it seemed). It was so great that even Kristín, a non-knitter, bought yarn. That's amazing. The yarn she bought was habu, in silk and stainless steel! It was just too cool to pass up. I bought a skein of baby alpaca. I was really overwhelmed and since I didn't have a project in mind it is amazing I bought anything at all (I'm a one project at a time kind of girl).

There are two things I need to get when I'm here. Lace weight Icelandic yarn (eingirni) colored with herbs and Lopi light (léttlopi) for a zipped up sweater. These zipped up, tight-fit sweaters were very popular last year but then I had no interest in them. When we came to California it was freezing (literally) and suddenly I desired nothing more than that new lopapeysa (Lopi sweater).

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Bath mittens

I started a project last night and finished it tonight. I love these quick knits. The project is a cotton bath mitten from a $1.59 skein of Sugar'n Cream in ivory. I got it at Joann's this weekend. Unfortunately I can't show you a picture of it since my camera is on a strike and demands better working conditions. Apparently I have to give her a spa treatment (cleaning) but I better leave that to the professional.

I think I can make another one from the skein it is a 4 oz. / 113 gr. skein and the pattern is on the label. How convenient is that!

I want to make this pattern in linen for some reason. To bad I don't have any. This is a great pattern for gifts. Just pack it with some Lush products and you're set.