Thursday, March 24

34 weeks & mixed feelings

34 weeks. I have mixed feelings towards this pregnancy since the terrorist attacks on our capital city Brussels on March 22nd. I'm so happy to bring new life into this world, yet I worry a lot in what kind of world I'm raising this child. However, there are far more worse countries to be born in than Belgium. So I guess I'll have to try and look at things positively and try to put things in perspective because war will be of all ages and you can't protect your children from everything. I just hope that one day this will all be over. So I'm thinking about all the people that lost their lives, lost relatives or were hurt, physically and emotionally, during the attacks, Belgian or not. No doubt that what happened is horrible, but we must go on. There are so many good things in the world to live for.

Saturday, March 19

Hardangervidda Socks

Almost two years ago, we went for a hike on the Hardangervidda plateau in Norway during our roadtrip through South Norway. I remember we just drove by and saw this magnificent piece of nature and decided to stop the car, get out and walk. I also remember it being very cold! When knitting these socks in a tweed yarn, the speckles in different colors reminded me of all the colors I saw there. However at first glace it was quite greyish there, the colors of the rocks, grasses and weird mosses during that time of the year gave the surroundings some color. When climbing a bit higher, we drank our soup in the snow.

Ravelry notes about these socks can be found here.

Friday, March 11

Organizing & decluttering

Sometimes I can't get my head clear, it's like I have too many ideas or projects I want to start and they are all in my head, but blurry. I even dream of it at night. Time for some decluttering and organizing!
I saw this lovely mintgreen basket at the shop a few days ago and thought it could be a nice yarn stash basket. I stash my unused yarn in plastic bags to prevent moths eating it - but recently heard that they just eat through plastic?! - and I keep the yarn I work from in a project bag. But this basket is actually pretty handy to knit from, because now I don't just throw my needles and scissors in it like I used to do with my project bags or fabric baskets. The holes in this basket makes me want to keep it organized and clean.
I also persuaded myself to wind up most of my yarn I currently work with into center pull skeins. What a difference! Everything is so much neater. I also like looking at it and an extra plus is that my man already complimented me about the basket, two times already... . So now the basket got a showy spot in my living room and not tucked away beside the sofa.

I was actually looking for a rope basket in a creamy like or pastel color. But until I find the perfect one I'll use this basket.
How do you stash your most used yarns?

Sunday, March 6

Grateful for maternity leave

I am so thankful for my longterm maternity leave. As a nurse working on an intensive care unit, we're sent on maternity leave as soon as we're 12 weeks pregnant. It actually depends on the head nurse and hospital management to make that decision (in our hospital on regular units, you're sent home immediately. I think that's weird since on an ICU you're much more at risk for contacting X-rays, arterial blood and other human fluids - and in one of the most prominent universitary hospitals of our country you have to work until 24 weeks, even on intensive care units). So there's no federal law that states when a nurse can be put on maternity leave exactly. There are laws about pregnancy leave and maternity leave for employees though, not working in healthcare and I'm sure there are other exceptions too, because, well it's Belgium :-D we live from exceptions in laws and only get on the frontpage of world newpapers when it's about pedophilia or creating the perfect circumstances for terrorists to make their plans to attack the world. ;-)
Back to maternity leave: I do enjoy it and think this advantage is very welcome, since through the year, for the last 11 years, I've been working one out of two weekends, one out of two holidays (yes, even Christmas and New Years, Easter, evenings, nights,...) and do a lot of irregular shifts. So while I'll be almost home for a year until I go to work again - if I plan to breastfeed - it might be that I won't even celebrate my baby's first Christmas, because maybe I'll have to work on Christmas Eve this year. So despite all the overload of free time I've been given - and really, physically I could have worked much longer, but maybe not in the circumstances of hospital care - I really think I deserve it :-)

I spent my time being creative, like knitting - duh - drawing, preparing birth announcements, doing the household chores - cooking - drinking tea and coffee with fellow pregnant colleagues and other friends who come and visit me, and basically planning almost everything for the baby. Within a few weeks, our lives' rhythm and organisation will change so much! But I'm looking forward to that. We've been together for 13 years now and have had enough time to do all the things we love together.

Thursday, March 3

On naming socks and finding great yarn

A few weeks ago, when I visited the yarn shop to buy some alpaca yarn for a second Canopy shawl, I strolled through all the other yarns they offered. Where I live in Belgium, there isn't a lot of 'cool and squishy' yarn to find in yarn shops. In this yarn shop it's either the King Cole Alpaca DK that was 100% wool or ou'll find wool-acrylic blends.

That's a thing that has been frustrating me for a while now. I come to a yarn shop, mostly it's a shop where they sell yarn, aluminium knittng needles, some fabrics, buttons, sewing supplies, and other haberdasheries, and I see shelves full of colorful yarn but when I come closer it's mostly these brands: Regia, Schachenmayr, Annell. They aren't bad yarns, but if you want to knit something other than socks and want pure wool or wool blends, there's nothing there. So whenever I want to buy some yarn like say Malabrigo, Cascade, Madeline Tosh, Quince and Co., Brooklyn Tweed, ... I have to drive to another province (okay, that's not so bad, but they usually only have one of the brands that I just named) or order it online. Am I complaining too much? I think so! But yeah, it would be nice to just enter a yarn shop and feel all the quality brand yarns before I buy them, in stead of browsing Ravelry project photos of certain colorways taken in different light for hours! For instance, if I want to knit something big like a sweater or cardigan, it's going to cost me some money, a lot of time and I want it to be the perfect color and non itchy yarn, or else I won't wear it eventually. It costs me a lot to order a lot of skeins (plus shipping!) for such a project. That's why I mostly knit socks I guess...or the occasional shawl.

So in this yarn shop, I found King Cole DK, 100% pure alpaca and I was thrilled! I could touch it! ;-) Even though I knew, the rest of the massive yarn pile in the shop isn't what I was looking for, I still searched for 100% wool yarns. Anyway, I didn't find it, but in the Regia section I found this Extra Twist Merino sock yarn that I'd never seen before. I couldn't resist (hey, I didn't have blue socks at the moment yet, so that argument was pretty crucial) and grabbed two skeins and another white-beige Regia sock yarn with it, because, you know, that's always a good color for cuffs, toes and heels in my opinion.

My fingers were itching to knit the Hermione's Everyday Socks again, so that's the pattern I used and I'm planning to knit pair of socks with this blue yarn but instead of a white-beige cuff and toe I want them to be dark blue. So these socks are named Polar Day, and those with the dark blue toes and cuffs will be named Polar Night.

Ravelry notes can be found here.

Wednesday, March 2

Sew along

Sewing: some ornaments for the baby mobile. I have no experience with handstitching a lot and I'm not so pleased with the result. Maybe I'll make them again but with both sides felt and with embroidery thread.

Reading: Maus by Art Spiegelman, seriously, a very good, Pulitzer price winning graphic novel, but the Dutch translation is bad....really bad. I wish I read it in English.

Linking up with Ginny and Nicole.