Category Archives: Knit Related

Christmas Has Come Early This Year!

I think I’ve mentioned before that I come from a creative family, where a lot of them like to work with their hands in some way (specially the women, there’s a lot of women in my family!). My grandmother learned to sew and embroider when she was just a little girl, she would sew her own clothes. Not only did she sew, she also knitted. She always favored sewing and embroidering, she was so good you couldn’t tell which side was the inside and which was the outside of whatever she was making. Unfortunately her hands aren’t fit for sewing any more, but she is always available for help and advice when it comes to embroidery and knitting.
My mother was at one point just as good, and I remember she made these beautiful embroidered pictures of flowers in 3D (yes 3D). I would always run my fingers over those portraits (I loved how they felt), and of course I was always told to keep my hands off them. She also knitted amazing pieces, my favorite was a Hardanger_bringeduk_helfigskirt and sweater she made for me in black and white, and leopard print pattern. When I was 15, mother made me a National dress (bunad in Norwegian) for my “coming-of-age” confirmation thing. My dress looks something like this, it’s a Hardanger bunad. I don’t have my dress at hand, so this picture I found on the interwebs will have to do. A few of my aunts are knit fiends, some of them like to sew, it really does run in the family.

20150723_124837The 2 aunts who knit are so sweet, not only do they bother to read this little blog of mine, they also keep me stocked up on yarn. About a year ago (maybe a year and a half)I got a big bag of yarn from one of them, and this year the other  one had gone through her 20150723_141712stack of leftovers to see if she had any for me. And lo and behold the mountain of yarn she gave me. This black plastic bag is a big garbage bag, completely full of delightful surprises. There were so much, I couldn’t fit it all in my luggage, and about half IMG_20150805_184211of it was sent in the mail. It arrived this week, and I’ve spent 9 glorious hours sorting and organizing it all. Some of the skeins didn’t have their tag on anymore, so I played the guessing game so that they ended up in the right piles. Here’s a “short” list of some of the yarn I got, and to my sweet aunt: THANK YOU!!!

Mandarin Petit, Classic, Soft.
Drops Alpaca, Cotton Viscose, Muskat, Kid-Silk, Karisma, Paris, Fabel, Bomull/Lin.
Dalegarn Falk, Freestyle, Magnolia.
Idena Juvel, Sport, Bambino Ull.
Sandnes Silk Mohair, Fritidsgarn.
Peer Gynt, Camomille, Gjestdal Orkid Luxuspels, Sisu, Labbetuss Raggegarn (Trysil Garn), Pingouin Pingorex Baby, PT2, PT4, PT5, Smart Superwash, PT Sumatra, Kitten Mohair, Monark Superwash, Silja Strømpegarn, Baby Superwash, Lanett Superwash, Topp ´t Tå.

Annonser

Up close and personal – therapeutic knitting

Today I thought I would talk about something very personal, and I’m actually dreading every minute of it. However, it’s an important subject, so I’m going to ignore my fears and push on. In “A Little Bit About Me” section on the menu, I’ve mentioned that I’m diagnosed with chronic depression, and how (among a few things) knitting has helped me get through the days. There are so many people out there who suffers from what I call “invisible illnesses” in dire need of help, support and purpose. So I’m going to share some of my life story with whoever reads my blog. And I do apologize in advance. This might be a long post before I get to the point. I hope you bare with me and read until the end.

For the better part of my life I’ve struggled to find my place in this world, to find my identity. Mostly because there was no room for me. When I was a little girl my mother told me that the reason why I was made, was to be a big sister for my brother. He was my responsibility, I had to take care of him (play with him, be with him etc). That was my purpose. Mother was always busy with her own things, at first with re-education, later with work and drinking. She’s a full on alcoholic who denies it (both my parents are alcoholics). So from as early as I can remember I was taught that mother’s needs came first, then my brother’s, and by the time that was done it was bed time.
I also had a shitty time at school, the majority of kids would bully me on a daily basis. I grew up in a small town where everyone knows everyone. And although hardly anyone lives up it to, most of them call themselves Christian. My parents never married, so in other people’s eyes I was a bastard child. So the fact is, because the so called Christian parents saw me as a bastard, their kids bullied me (there were other reasons for the bullying too, the bastard thing was just one). It’s amazing how ignorant people can be.
When I was 12 we moved to the city where mother had a job at the hospital. Mother got a boyfriend after a year who also drank heavily, and for 3 years we lived in a home with physical and mental abuse. The guy never laid a hand on me, but he scared the shit out of me on several occasions. He did however beat mother senseless more than I want to remember, and he laid his hands (and feet) on my bother. By the time I was 16, I left.

I’ve always been a little strange, not full on weird, just a little bit strange. I’ve been told on several occasions that when I was little and played with my toys, I wouldn’t make any kind of sounds. You see, I’ve always lived inside my head, created my own private world where no one may enter. I never really let anyone in to see the real me, and because of that no one has ever really known me or how bad I’ve had it. Because of this, and my life experience, I’ve never really had any friends. At least not any close friends. I can count on one hand how many friends I’ve had in my life, before I started therapy.

Because my childhood and teenage years were as they were, my adult years have been quite the struggle. For years I couldn’t really sleep. I could stay up for 2-3 days, then sleep for 3 hours, and then stay up again 2-3 days. I’ve struggled with anorexia and binge eating disorder. I’ve made more mistakes than I want to admit. For years I self medicated and got addicted to drugs. I’ve been in 2 abusive relationships. At one point I was even homeless (for 8 months). I’ve tried to kill myself so many times, I’ve lost count. When I was barely 20 years old, I made myself a pact. If my life was still a living nightmare by the time I was 29, I would end it, go out like all the rock stars and movie stars who didn’t live to see their thirtieth birthday. That was my plan.

Luckily, by the time I was 29, I had been in a relationship with the nicest person I had ever met, and because of him I finally got into therapy. I owe him my life, and today we are good friends. I spent 4 years in therapy, 3 years individual therapy and 2 years in group therapy (yes they overlapped). During those years I learned that most things I was taught as a kid and teenager from my mother, was wrong. Being an adult and having to rearrange what you thought was right, is difficult and at times shameful. I’ve never excepted to be “healthy” in a short amount of time, I’ve always had the notion that if I’ve lived one way for 29 years, it’ll probably take me 29 years to undo it (hopefully it won’t). I’m in a much better place now than I’ve ever been in my life (my worst days are when I have flashbacks or I wake up feeling sad for an unknown reason).
I finally have a safety net if I fall, I have people around me who understands what it is to be mentally ill (and of course there are people in my life who still doesn’t understand that although I might look fine, I’m not fine). I have an identity, I know who I am and what I want. I try to be selfish, because I need to be. Having spent so many years putting aside my needs for my immediate family (mother and brother), I really do need to be selfish. It’s not easy though, it’s programmed in my head that other people’s needs should come first. But I’m learning, and I’m trying.
Through group therapy I learned to actually speak, to talk about what’s in my head. I implode because I keep everything so close to my heart, which is very unhealthy. Today I talk about what bothers me. Not everything though, and not to anyone. But I do talk. I still have things I need to unlearn, to learn the right way.
I’ve tried a few different kinds of medication since I started therapy, but I’m not on any now. My two main reasons for this is that I can’t stand the side effects (I’ve always gotten at least one side effect I can’t live with), and my drug addiction. I don’t want to be addicted to drugs, prescription or otherwise.
I also have the most wonderful boyfriend, who lets me be as silly as I can be when I’m feeling bad. I have days when I’m so low and so sad, and still fully aware that what I’m doing and saying comes from the parts of me that’s ill. My boyfriend lets me be exactly who I am, and I love him dearly for it.

The one thing that really gets me through the days, specially the difficult ones, is knitting. Therapy has helped me in ways I cannot even explain, and so has knitting. The main reasons why knitting helps me is:
It keeps me focused, instead of drifting off into my own private dark world.
The feeling of accomplishment when I’ve made something, especially if it’s my own design.
It fills my time when I have nothing to do. I suffer from social anxiety, knitting gives me a purpose when I’m home alone.
It calms me down, when I’m stressed or angry.
It sharpens my brain, knitting involves math and reading patterns. This is good for brain exercise (this also helps me remember the past as it really happened, instead of remembering the dark moments of my past).
It gives me something constructive to do, instead of something destructive.

There have been several studies saying that knitting is good for you/us, not only for those suffering from depression, but any number of illnesses. I did a quick google search on therapeutic knitting, and found a number of articles and studies. And I also found this site: Stitchlinks. It is absolutely worth a look. There are also other helpful sites to look at, depending on your illness/diagnoses.

I know that knitting isn’t for everyone. But for those who feel they need something in their lives (for whatever reason) who thinks knitting could be an option, please start knitting! For those of you who couldn’t give a flying monkey’s butt about knitting, I encourage you to find something. Any hobby at all. Anything to give you a feeling of purpose, self worth, ego boost. Suffering from illnesses that no one can really see and often can’t understand (unless they go through something similar), is so lonely. We need to fill the loneliness with good things, otherwise we doom ourselves. I’m not saying you have to do this, I’m letting you know that this has helped me and countless of other people. There’s no harm in trying =).

Annonser

HOT TIP OF THE DAY: Support your local shops!

Every crafter knows how expensive it can be to make/craft something, be it knitting or painting or whatever your preference is. We’ll roam every corner of the world to find sales, bulk offers and slightly cheaper material (to replace expensive items). Internet shops does provide us with a variety of material with all kinds of sales and offers which are hard to refuse. This however is at the expense of our local shop, who very often have to jack up their prices to stay in buisness. And that is just too sad. The experience of shopping at your local store is so priceless, the personal service is undeniably awesome. Remember that your local shops are in the same position as you (if you’re the kind of person who’s trying to make your own buisness with homemade items).

My “local” shop doesn’t exist anymore. Not because it couldn’t stay open, but because the owner wanted to do something different. It was a tiny little shop called Hobbykroken, located in my hometown of Åkrehamn (on an island on the west coast of Norway). It was run by a mother and daughter, two of the most lovely people I’ve met. Going in to that shop was like heaven, the expertise they had was incredible. Among their suppliers was Drops Design, Sandnesgarn and Dalegarn.
Sometimes I would stop by, not knowing what I wanted (or even if I wanted to buy any yarn), and I would always leave with a bag of goodies. Any questions I had, they could answer. They also had a customer raffle. Every time you bought something, they added your name to the raffle, and the winner would get merchandize worth of a certain amount. In 2011 they put their shop up for sale (now it’s a beauty salon/spa place thingy). The last week they were open they had a huge sale, and I don’t think I’m wrong when I say that they must have sold pretty much everything in their shop. Of course I was there, who can refuse 70% off on everything! I ended up with bags of yarn, buttons and booklets worth almost 3000kr (376 US dollars), and only paid about 800kr (100 US dollars). I will always miss that shop, it was my favorite place!

 

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One of the things I was finally able to knit, was this jacket. Originally it would have cost me 1248kr, I only paid 374kr for it. Because of the vast sale they had that week, there wasn’t enough skeins in some of the colors. So compared to the pattern I used, there are some minor changes. In the pattern there is no grey IMG_20150329_145026color, it’s a lavender purple. I went with a light grey color instead. I also added pockets, and had slightly more blue at the top of the jacket. The pattern is from this booklet , model 10. It’s knitted with Alfa yarn , a wool yarn with 6% mohair. It is super soft and comfortable. I’ve had this jacket for years now, I’m going to keep it and wear it until it falls apart =P. Like my little local shop, it is my favorite =).

 

Support your local shop!

 

Annonser

Hot Tip of The Day! – Scraps

A long time ago, when I was still a novice in the knitting world, I really didn’t care much about recycling yarn. When a project was done, and all the ends were sewed in and cut off, they would go in the trash. Whenever some yarn had been in my knitting basket for too long, I would throw them away. I blame my youth and lack of life experience =).

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Now I save everything, almost to the point where I’m hording (it’s not that bad, I don’t have enough space for that =P). One thing I’ve become good at, is saving all my cut off’s, and I stuff them in glass jars for later use. As I’ve mentioned before, these last few years I’ve been all about recycling yarn, knitting with my leftover yarn, and using every tiny scrap I have.

Here are some ideas you can use your scraps with:

sunny23Make pompoms! Pompoms can be sewed to almost anything, to add a little color. You can decorate your home by making pompom art. Or you can sew them together to make coasters, trivets, pompom bookmarks, carpets. The possibilities are endless with pompoms! Click on the image to go to the website =)

yarn-1-525x350Glue or pin them to Styrofoam to make decorative ornaments! Click on the image to go to the website =)

 

Stuff teddy bears! If you’re going to stuff something, you should keep the machine washable scraps separated from your hand wash. It kind of sucks to stuff a machine washable teddy with hand wash scraps. The stuffing will felt, and whatever you stuffed will be ruined.

 

IMG_20150319_143948Add fringes to scarves and shawls! Knit or crochete tiny ornaments and make hairclips, or decorate shoes and clothing (image taken from my book).

 

Don’t waste anything =)

 

 

 

 

Just A Few Knitting Websites I Use

There are so incredibly many knit related websites these days, you can find almost anything if you just take the time to look for it. At some point you just have to choose which sites satisfy your needs. On average I use 2 websites when I’m looking for inspiration or specific patterns, I also subscribe to 2 newsletters and follow up on some of my bookmarks. There aren’t really many sites I visit, because I’m so satisfied with the ones I use.

  1. Garnstudio: www.garnstudio.com

I do love this site, it was the first site I ever used for my knit cravings. All patterns are free, they have quite the selection and a wide range of items. There are also “knitting school”, instruction on how-to, you can buy yarn and many other things. It’s well worth the visit, just choose your language, and you’re in =)

  1. Ravelry: www.ravelry.com

My second favorite site. This is truly a big community of crafting. To enter you have to register, there is no fee so don’t worry. You need a login to visit all the wonderful things Ravelry have to offer. This is a site driven by its founders and the community. All I can say is visit the site, you won’t be disappointed =)

  1. Other site I visit:

http://www.knitty.com/ – free patterns magazine

http://www.twistcollective.com/ – magazine

http://www.yarnspirations.com/ – I subscribe

http://www.loveknitting.com/ – I subscribe

http://mysistersknitter.typepad.com/ – blog

https://tinyowlknits.wordpress.com/ – blog

 

 

Every now and then I’ll also check out “fashion” sites. IRodarte bag‘m not very fashionable, I don’t really care what the latest trends are even though I follow up on designers to see what they’re doing. I do however look for knitwear, and the Norwegian magazine MbyM (Made by Me) is a good inspiration for where to look online, and which major fashion designers who uses knitwear in their designs. My absolute favorite of late, is Rodarte’s Fall/Winter 2014 collection (I love Rodarte, and at some point I’m going to make the crochet handbag from this collection!).

Happy Birthday To Me!

So I guess today is my day, at least that’s what I’m being told =P I’m now 36 wonderful winters, and at 00:05am my boyfriend gave me a present. A wonderful book with knitting techniques and inspirations. I do spend a lot of time roaming through magazines, websites and books for knitting inspiration, so this is a most welcome addition to my collection =D

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I also got this wonderful knitting book, filled with beautiful clothings. This was a gift from my boyfriend’s mother, Miss T =)

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(the header in this post is from the movie Happy Birthday To Me from 1981, directed by J. Lee Thompson)