Sonntag, 15. Januar 2017

With 2 Feet

Over the past few months, I dropped some hints about some mysterious adventure. Well, here is the story behind:

One rainy Sunday in March 2016, I decided I wanted to go hiking. It could have been the über-flat landscape I was living in at that time, or the fact that I (not yet) married into a family of hikers and was never quite able to relate to their experiences and stories and the pictures of their adventures when we all got together around Christmas time and looked through old and not-so-old photographs and memories.
Of course I had gone hiking before. I had done day hikes. I had done overnight camping, going there one day and going back on the following. I did a multi-day-roadtrip in 2014, going from the south of Germany to the north of Norway by car. But I had never been on a proper, multiple-day, carry-it-yourself-or-leave-it-at-home hike. "Trekking" I think it's called nowadays. So on this rainy Sunday in March, a decision was made: I would go hiking in Summer.

And I did.

Part I: Before

I knew it would be easy to get carried away by the possibilities once I started researching, because when you don't know what you are looking for, everything could be the thing. So I came up with a list of things I wanted (and did not want) and then - don't laugh - opened Google Maps and randomly hacked in some placenames. Helsinki - Tromsø (way too far). Luleå - Bodø (omitting Finland). Tornio - Å i Lofoten (do those bridges have sidewalks?). Norge på langs? Nordkalotten? Kungsleden?

I guess this is not how you would normally approach such things, but remember that this was (and is!) all very new to me and you have to start somewhere, right?

Still without the slightest clue about what I was doing, my mind settled on Oulu - Narvik. I'll wait for you while you check the maps. This route went through Finland, Sweden and Norway, I would get to see the Bothnian Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Both cities could be reached by bus or plane. Google said that the distance between the two is 666 km, which I considered to be a good omen. 

The following weeks and months I tried to learn some Finnish (I used the FunEasyLearn app), got myself a book on the topic, bought a shedload of new camping and hiking equipment and asked the hikers in my life a ton of practical and impractical questions. I spent more time than I would ever admit on a) the question which knitting project to bring and b) spiders.

I did all of this while still not being entirely sure about my decision and this uncertainty did not leave me until I had booked the bus ticket to Oulu and a room in the hostel. Which was about three days before the planned departure. I won't lie: All of this scared the shit out of me.

But I went.

And it was awesome.

Stay tuned for part II :D

Samstag, 31. Dezember 2016

Do we still have a savegame from 2015?

Do you know this cartoon from Adam Ellis? Well, that kind of sums it up.

2016 started out really great. During the first half of the year I learned a lot of new things. I went skiing for the first time in my life and didn't suck at it (or that's what people told me), did a pottery class, saw the Sisters of Mercy live, quit sugar and spent most of the football matches in which Germany played running through my deserted village listening to that one album by Soilwork. One sunday morning I ran 5 km in 30 minutes and 14 seconds without even trying. Hillary was on top, my job got waaaay better, I was getting rid of lots of stuff I didn't need anymore, there were a pregnancy and several weddings (not mine, but I caught the flower bouquet). Life was good.

The man and I were preparing for our life together, this time for good. We found a flat, we found a way to make the move happen, we made the move happen. After that we both had some adventure time, he in the north, I in the south. I got some freckles on my nose, I got soaked more times than I care to remember, I got ill, I got better again. My feet hurt, my shoulder hurt, but I kept on walking. I didn't see an elk, but I think I heard one.

But when I got home, somehow, the spell was broken. I still don't fully understand why or how exactly things went wrong. I don't want to go into detail, and right now it doesn't matter. What matters is that I am finally able to accept it, because that is the first step to change it. It took me quite some time to get to this point, but since it's still 2016, I guess it counts. 

Honestly I don't know yet what to expect from and hope for in 2017 because I am so taken up with the current situation. My list with good intentions is written, but everything else is still shrouded by fog. Manage expectations and disappointments, make baby steps, celebrate small victories. Hang in there. That's all we can do, right? 

I hope you are well, had a good end-of-the-year holiday and spent some time with your loved ones. 2017 means 365 fresh days to make it a good year. Should be enough. :)

Samstag, 17. Dezember 2016

Come follow me we'll go down where the river flows

Aaaaand there is another pattern online (yay!). It's an asymmetrical knit triangular shawl with lots of garter stitch and a nice little lace border. Perfect for a late autumn walk (ehm), evenings in front of the fire or just everyday. The pattern features three different sizes, from small to bigger-than-you-might-think, but you can also adjust it to your yardage and preference. The sample was knit in size small.

I designed this shawl after I got hold of two skeins of Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend in a lovely deep petrol colour. It was a clear case of reward shopping, but I regret nothing.

As I said, there is a lot of garter stitch going on, which makes the main body of the shawl a rather mindless (and super fast!) business. The lace border is very simple, too, making it the perfect project for a lace beginner.

The pictures were again taken by the man, back when the sun was still shining. We had to walk up the mountain quite a bit to catch the last rays in the afternoon and it was damn cold, but so worth it. Just look how well the petrol and gold go together!

Right now you can purchase the pattern for the Elva Shawl on my Ravelry page, but I plan to offer it on Etsy, too. Bonus: The pattern is only 2 € until Christmas Eve (CET)!

And to lure you into another sales funnel: Sebastian has finally set up an online shop for his photographs. And just in time for Christmas, how convenient is that?! You can order either digital files or prints on different materials and in different sizes. We got one on canvas as a test and the quality both of the frame and the print is great! I especially like the landscapes, but the plants are nice, too. Go get one (or two, or three...)!

Merry whichever end-of-the-year holiday you are celebrating :D

Mittwoch, 30. November 2016

Marius Fingerless Mittens - Pattern release!

Remember the Marius Fingerless Mittens from a month back? Well, the pattern has now been tested, tweaked to perfection, and... uploaded!

Yes! And just in time for the holidays! 

Either knit them up and place them under the tree for a loved one, or make a kit complete with pattern, yarn and all, and give it to the knitter in your life. In my experience, this almost certainly results in YOU getting a pair of mittens some weeks or months later.

To purchase the pattern, please follow this link to Ravelry or click on the button in the sidebar.

I hope you like the pattern and I very very much look forward to see your projects. The 36 colours of Holst Tides should leave enough room for you to find the perfect combination.

Enjoy and happy knitting!

Update: And if you are on Instagram, there is a discount code that gives you 25% off (until Monday night (CET)!

Follow me on @themidnightarchitect

Samstag, 19. November 2016

Waning light

It's dark outside and getting darker every day. Officially the sun will go down (and stay there for about two months) only next weekend, but our house is located in a valley with a mountain to the south, which means that the last time I saw the sun from the kitchen window was already a few weeks ago.

To counteract the darkness outside we stocked up on candles and I am trying to wrap my head around vitamin D, lumen, and where to get a daylight lamp. And, after more than two years (WTF?!), I finally got my dyepot out again. Woohoo!

This blend of 70% BFL and 30% silk seems to be one of my staple bases, I have used it a lot in the past and still like it. The colours are also very "me", I thought that since I became a bit rusty, it would be nice to start out with an easy colour combo that I knew would work.

These two came out of the same pot, but the bases are different and so are the results. The Polwarth/Tencel/Seacell blend (50/25/25) in the top picture came out much darker than the BFL/Bamboo blend (50/50) below, but I like them both. Looks a bit like burnt candy.

And, because I could not help myself, a (slightly messy) gradient. The base is 50% Shetland with 20% Silk and 20% Tencel. The wool was not entirely white, but a mixture of white and grey, toning the colours down somewhat. The silk adds a bit of shiny-ness, and white streaks come from the Tencel (a cellulose fiber that is not touched by the acid dyes).

I added the braids to my Ravelry stash and they will go up for sale soon. I also got myself an Instagram Account and a Facebook page. And, to add to the good news, it finally started snowing. Yippieh!