For books

The fun thing about thrift shopping is that you hardly ever find things when you need them. And then suddenly you do.
At least that’s how it works for me.
I’ve been looking for a small book case that I wanted to have next to the couch for months. At last I found a secretaire and loved it. A happy ending.

Last week I found the perfect book case. That I didn’t need anymore, so I left it behind. But when I told my husband and daughter over lunch they asked why I didn’t buy it to use upstairs (where most of our books live in ikea billy book cases). Oh yes. That’s right. What was I thinking?
So I went back to the store and luckily it was still there. And now it’s right where it belongs, at my side of the bed, filled with some of my favorite books.

Warm necks for everyone

It started oh so innocent.
Inspired by this post on Soulemama, I thought: what if I made some of those drop stitch cowls for my sister and her family, as a thank you gift for hosting Christmas dinner the 26th? Four cowls in two weeks. Totally doable.
Maybe some for my parents too? Six in two weeks. I can do that.
I was working on the first one when one of my girls walked in and said: “Oh, I love that cowl.”
So I planned for three more. And a hat for my husband since he already uses a hand-knit-by-me cowl.
But if I was going to knit for the whole family, I couldn’t forget my brother and sister-in-law…

So I knit twelve cowls and a hat. That’s one cowl too many, I know. But after I finished the pink/orange one that I loved very much myself, I couldn’t link it to any one of the people on my list. So I added that one to my own collection of cowls (can’t have too many, we already established that) and started another one in a more muted color.

I’m not a knitting machine. I finished the last one after I already handed out the first ones. (That’s why there are no pictures of all cowls together.)
Stephanie’s post about knitting presents and what if you didn’t finish came right on time. You could also use words to say you love people. Brilliant. (Also, I made some peppermint bark to give and bought some flowers too – we’re not the kind of family that actually uses words to say things like that)
But I did finish in time. And it was fun.

Top two pictures: Marl wool by Zeeman – CO 66 stitches, 7mm needles, 5 repeats (the pattern says “4 more times, so a total of 5, but the original picture has 4, I decided how many to do by looking at the height of the cowl and the amount of yarn I had)
Third picture: Julia by Zeeman – CO 71 steken stitches, 7mm needles, 5 repeats
Fourth picture:  1: purple cowl –  Olga byZeeman, 8mm needles, original pattern, 4 repeats;
2: white cowl – two threads Sparkle byZeeman and 1 thread Royal by Zeeman held together), 8mm needles, original pattern, 4 repeats; 3: green/white cowl – two threads Royal by Zeeman held together, CO 66 stitches, 7mm needles, 5 repeats
Hat: Marl wool by Zeeman, 6 mm needles, own pattern (or: I just started knitting)

My neck will be warm

I love the Honey Cowl pattern. I already knew that it would be a pattern I’d make over and over again when I knit the very first one. And then I knit another and a third.

So when I found myself some beautiful yarn at a thriftshop, I immediately knew what I wanted to knit with it to show off those gorgeous colors.

Yes, I do have quite a few cowls right now (though my husband claimed the grey one). But can one really have too many beautiful handknits? I think not.

Winter solstice

Hello, sun in my face.

Hello, you who made the morning

and spread it over the fields

and into the faces of the tulips

and the nodding morning glories,

and into the windows of, even, the

miserable and the crotchety –

best preacher that ever was,

dear star, that just happens

to be where you are in the universe

to keep us from ever-darkness,

to ease us with warm touching,

to hold us in the great hands of light –

good morning, good morning, good morning.

Watch, now, how I start the day

in happiness, in kindness.

― Mary Oliver

Butterfly hat

After finishing the sweater-that-took-forever, I really wanted to make something small and easy. So, of course, I decided to make a hat. I also didn’t want to think too much and make one up myself, so I went searching for a pattern.
I was browsing Soulemama’s archives, when I found this hat she made. And I’m such a long-time die-hard fan that I remembered she had made one before. Both times I loved that hat when she posted it. It was worth a try.

So I made the Butterfly hat. It was just what I needed. It’s simple, but with a nice little twist (those butterflies look wonderful, but are really easy to make). And the finished hat feels so soft and warm on my hat. I love it. The yarn is real wool from a bag of yarn my father found (someone was throwing it out and he saved it). I already made a cowl with it last year. If we do get a real winter after all, I’m all set 😉

Oh Christmas tree

Years ago I used to be one the first among the people I knew to set up the tree. I started on December 6th, right after Sinterklaas and I got lots of comments about that being so soon.
Right now, I’m the one who’s late. It has become quite normal to have the tree up on the 6th or even sooner. But after moving to a house with a smaller living room and getting a bigger tree (no, not logical, but I love how it looks) I got into the habit of waiting until after my youngest daughters birthday.
In a few years (or even sooner) she will move out and celebrate her birthday at her own place, but I think I will keep’doing it this way. I like the way this works out.
It’s good to have some space to breath and time to shift gears between holidays.

Bright side

Last Sunday I finally finished my sweater.
It doesn’t fit.
I know, that’s sad. I was so optimistic about a lot of things when I started it in July. I thought I was finally knitting again and I expected to finish it in a few weeks. Also I had lost a few pounds at that time and I was convinced I was on my way back to a healthier weight and a smaller size. I wasn’t. In fact, I gained the pounds back and then a few more. Ahem.

On the bright side: it did come out remarkably well, considering I didn’t use a pattern. And maybe this is the little push I needed to start eating right again? It’s cotton and definitely a summer sweater (hence the shorter sleeves – they’re about 3/4) so there’s still time.
We’ll see. (it may also end up in one of the girls’ closets)