knitting a wardrobe – the marsa alam cardigan

I finished my second knit cardigan, whoohoo! The more I knit, the more I love it. Yes, it takes longer than sewing but so far I am loving my knitted wardrobe better than my sewn clothing.

The pattern is the marsa alam cardigan by Isabell Kraemer and you can find my project page for this cardigan here on Ravelry. marsa alam cardigan. little home by hand blogThe yarn is Holst Coast in the crab apple colorway, bought directly from Holst in Denmark. This yarn is wonderful and the color such a nice, fresh green! Contrary to the pattern I knit it all in one color instead of doing stripes. Vintage mother of pearl buttons from my grandma’s stash give it a classic, elegant look.

marsa alam cardigan. little home by hand blogmarsa alam cardigan. little home by hand blogThe pattern itself is lovely, easy to follow and straightforward. Lots of hours of plain stockinette which I didn’t really mind. I love to watch youtube documentaries while knitting.

I made one mistake where I started a sleeve, twisting the stitches the wrong way as I picked them up from the stitches on hold. It shows in the right sleeve. Oh well.

Unfortunately, all while knitting I had an inkling it would turn out too small. I pushed the thought aside, thinking a good wash and block would take care of that. Ahem.

Washing did improve the sizing slightly but contrary to my first cardigan the yarn didn’t stretch as much as I had hoped.

I can absolutely still wear it. As long as I don’t try to close the buttons across the bust. marsa alam cardigan. little home by hand blogmarsa alam cardigan. little home by hand blogI might try washing and blocking again more vigorously to see if I can stretch it a bit more.

Still, I can’t help loving it, the color is so nice to wear and the fit is otherwise really lovely. It’s too warm to wear at the moment but I’m looking forward to having an in-between season cardigan come fall.

I think knitting cardigans is “it” for me right now, I am itching to start the next one, to expand my knitting skills and try cables and colorwork and much more. I love to watch the project take shape row after row, all the while looking forward to wearing it. It’s easy enough to enjoy while watching a movie or series and still gives you something useful to do with your hands while sitting on the couch.

Yes, knitting is definitely it.

 

canada – part 1

Sooo, I am still not done editing all photos the way I want them, but that will likely take weeks and I can’t wait that long to share the first part of our road trip in Canada! I’ll include lots of tipps on what to see and where to stay and eat. The route we chose worked out perfectly for three weeks and my friend S and I had some amazing food and accommodation along the way.
Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogWe flew out to Vancouver from London with one day to spare for exploring the city before we headed out to into the country.
In Vancouver, I fell head over heels for Starbucks Chai Latte (soy). It became my go-to companion drink on this trip.
Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogI am not usually a city person but Vancouver is special – the architecture, the closeness to nature and wildlife and the incredibly friendly people made me fall in love with the city (I mean, a city with several beaches, come on!). We stayed at a hotel in Robson street and spent the day wandering all over Stanley Park, into Gastown and down to Sunset Beach in the evening.
We shopped at Roots, ate well at the Old Spaghetti Factory and got lost in a scary neighbourhood on our way into Chinatown.

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogBy evening we were weary and our feet were sore but we felt content that we had crammed as much Vancouver as possible into our one city day. Jetlag had not yet kicked in so with that crazy mixture of tired out, travel fever and sleep-deprived elation we limped back to our hotel.

We had pre-booked a ferry to Vancouver Island for the next morning and were up bright and early to leave the city behind on a beautiful sunny day.

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogOn the ferry we chose to stay outside and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air, watching the Vancouver skyline vanish in the distance. With a long day ahead we soaked up some sun and rest on the deck.

Arriving in Nanaimo we made straight for the Pacific Rim National Park in our rental car, a Ford that was huge compared to european cars and smallish compared to the vehicles we saw on canadian roads.

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogOur first stop was to buy an annual pass to all the National Parks at the visitor center. This turned out to be a smart move as it not only saved money but also spared us any hassle of buying new passes whenever we reached a new park.

We walked the Wild Pacific Trail near Ucluelet and marvelled at being at the sea on a warm, sunny, salty day. After that we entered the Pacific Rim National Park and walked several small trails. The Rainforest Trail was out of this world and that was as much fascinating as it was scary. We suddenly realized that we were in the wild now, surrounded by trees so thick and tall that we couldn’t see the their tops, with a population of around sixty blackbears in the area and no other people or tourists. A mix of exciting and downright scary and a sure way to make two city girls feel very small indeed.

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogThe famous long beach was the last place of interest we visited that day, a windy, endless stretch of perfect beach with driftwood all around.

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogArriving in Tofino we made straight for the “Tofino Travellers Guesthouse” a gem as far as accommodation goes. A bright, warm place with a handmade hippie surfer feel, a very friendly welcome from the owner and chatty guests from around the world. We had booked a mix of hotels, motels and guesthouses for the trip and the guesthouses won hands down.

Unfortunately by then jetlag, fueled by a mix of little sleep and the strain of travelling for hours in a new country, kicked in big time and I passed out on the bed, shivering. An hour’s sleep and a hot shower pulled me back on my legs and a pizza from Tony’s was the perfect hot, cheesy meal to end the day by the docks.

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogA full night’s rest and the waffle breakfast at the guesthouse worked wonders and we set out for the next adventure, whale watching by boat!

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogWe went with Jamie’s Whaling Station and saw a humpback whale and two grey whales just off the Tofino coast line. ‘Amazing’ doesn’t suffice to describe the experience of seeing these animals in the wild, playing and feeding in the water.

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogIMG_Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogWe also saw sea lions and bald eagles.

After hours out on the rocking boat we were frozen and more than a little nauseous and had a rest before setting out again, this time back through the National Park towards Nanaimo, where we would take the ferry back to the main land the following morning. The bog trail within the park was our first stop on the way and it was there we saw our first animal tracks right beside the trail. We immediately became convinced a bear was near, posed to attack and pretty much ran the rest of the track, shouting loudly to ward off any predators. These two Canada tourists certainly had a lot to learn!

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogWe were happy to be back on the road again after that, only stopping along the highway to walk through the awe inspiring Cathedral Grove before arriving back in Nanaimo.

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogDizzy from so many experiences to process we were glad to arrive at our motel in Nanaimo.

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogFor dinner we walked out to the harbor and had Fish and Chips at Troller’s, a floating restaurant serving the day’s catch. A perfect end to an exciting day!

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogSo much for part 1 and I only covered the first three days. Oh dear. I will try to condense our trip into a maximum of 3-5 parts. That’s the plan, anyway.

I hope you enjoyed this walk through Vancouver and Vancouver Island. Have you ever been and done similar things? Or has your experience been completely different? Let me know :)

 

 

 

finding the rhythm

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the rhythm of life (yes, here comes one of those rambling posts in which I bare my heart). Not the all-encompassing stages of life we all go through but the day-to-day pace of our hours, days and weeks.

Going travelling for three weeks has thrown me off my daily and weekly schedules and that’s a good thing. Being thrown out of the treadmill has enabled me to take a step back and look at my life more objectively than I could while I was in the middle of it, running. I usually see things more clearly after I’ve been away for a while.
When I look at my life from a distance I see myself running like a hamster in a wheel, rushing, trying to catch up, barely meeting my own expectations and constantly falling behind on the grand goals I set myself.

It’s not a picture I cherish.
I don’t want to be that person. I look at her and see someone trying to do too much and stumbling.
rhythm. little home by hand blogI strive to change that and it’s SO HARD. I fall back into it almost the minute I get back from travelling.

I look at other small business owners and all they make, the new lines of work they launch, the marketing they do, the picture they paint of a life submerged in creativity and I want it, all of it. I look at photographers doing beautiful, styled photoshoots that look more like works of art than just a pretty photo and I want to be like that. I look at people sewing and knitting and gardening and crafting a life and I want that too. Too many wants. Too many lives to live at once.

I feel this burning desire to succeed creatively, personally and professionally. And I start racing after it and life rushes by in a blur and I realize I have been too busy looking at my to do lists to actually enjoy the moments as they pass.
taking a breath. fotografie kristina koehler(photo from a recent photoshoot)

And it’s not how I imagine my life. I want to find joy in the little things, to live simply, to enjoy a sunshiny day, a cup of tea on the balcony, an hour spent knitting, to cherish the here and now and the beauty of it. A slower, more thoughtful rhythm of life.

In the last two weeks I’ve been trying to preserve a bit of slow, to not get sucked back into the crazy whirlwind of commitments, self-imposed deadlines and chasing the clock. I make myself do one thing at a time and accept that it means other things don’t get done or get done much later. I lapse into busyness lots of times during the day but I try to pull myself back, to take a deep breath and let it go. It feels good and I am happier and less stretched thin at the end of the day, more whole and less shattered (isn’t it funny how we use words like ‘shattered’ without giving it a second thought? I realized now that I can literally feel ‘shattered’, split into a million pieces all stretching in different directions when I have too much going on at once).

I’m stumbling to find the right words to express myself here but I guess what I mean is:
Find your pace. Cut yourself some slack today.

wait for it

Some of you may have noticed I have been a little absent from the internet, though I did my best to schedule some stuff ahead of time to not disappear completely.

In June I was travelling through Canada with a friend for nearly the whole month! We covered over 5000 km (about 3200 miles) all over BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan. A wonderful, exciting, exhausting road trip that I will blog about soon.

Canada. Little home by hand blog.I’ve been home for a week but catching up on both office work and photo work (the shop is open again), getting rid of that annoying jet lag and getting back into the pace of things takes time. I am trying to preserve a bit of slow, of laid-back, of letting go and taking time, something 5000 km of car time on endless canadian roads definitely teaches you.

It will be a while before I’ve sorted out the thousands of photos from our trip and before I’ll be ready to write it up into coherent blog posts.

how to carry your knitting everywhere – make a knitting bag

Since starting my next sweater I’ve been knitting away like crazy. I don’t like leaving my knitting stuff all over the place though (hello playing kitties!) and realized I needed a bag to put everything needed for this project in one place.

Enter the knitting pouch. I sewed it up in about an hour. Oh, and it took me an hour to decide on the fabrics before that. Choosing fabrics makes me all emotional, ha.

make a knitting bag. little home by hand blog.make a knitting bag. little home by hand blog.make a knitting bag. little home by hand blog.make a knitting bag. little home by hand blog.I used this easy peasy tutorial for sewing a zipper pouch and made up the dimensions myself (meaning I sort of eyeballed everything and crossed my fingers it would turn out ok – I’m such a sloppy sewist!).

make a knitting bag. little home by hand blog.make a knitting bag. little home by hand blog.make a knitting bag. little home by hand blog.I love how it turned out! It’s big enough to not only hold the current project but also extra yarn and needles plus the instructions and scissors. Basically it’s a great way to keep everything in one place and take your knitting with you while travelling (and that’s a teaser, just wait for my next post!).

make a knitting bag. little home by hand blog.make a knitting bag. little home by hand blog.Do you have your own project pouches? Do you take your knitting with you everywhere or are you a strictly-at-home knitter?

 

the secret to even knitting

Ever wondered why your back and forth knitting was so uneven? I know I did for years…

the secret to even knitting. little home by hand blog.Maybe this is something only I struggled with but I could never get it right and it was getting incredibly frustrating. Knitting in the round (as with socks) the knitting would look lovely and even but whenever I had to knit back and forth (alternating knit and purl rows) the knitting would be loose and ugly.

With the new cardigan I started it it was becoming a real problem.

the secret to even knitting. little home by hand blog.The wrong side was even worse.

the secret to even knitting. little home by hand blog.I needed to start fresh anyway so I decided to try and vary my knitting technique. I wanted to see if I could find out what was causing the problem. I had tried this before without success but now it finally worked! It turned out that the problem was my purl stitches and the solution was ridiculously easy:

With every single purl stitch I need to give it a little tug right at the end after slipping the stitch from the needle. So, make my purl stitch, slip it from the needle and tug to tighten. I can’t believe it took me so long to find this out! It immediately turned my knitting from the hot mess above into this:

the secret to even knitting. little home by hand blog.the secret to even knitting. little home by hand blog.Amazing, right? Again, I might be the only one with this problem but finding the solution made me dance for joy with a silly grin on my face so I had to share!

It gave me a huge motivation boost too so I have been knitting away like crazy for the last few days.

the secret to even knitting. little home by hand blog.the secret to even knitting. little home by hand blog.Did you ever have this problem? Or find your own solution to a knitting issue?

 

weekend by the sea

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you know I spend a few days each year in spring on the dutch island Ameland with friends and this year was no exception!

(If you want to read up on the last few years, here’s 2013, 2012 and 2010)

Let’s go for a little picture tour, yes?

ameland weekend trip. little home by hand blog.ameland weekend trip. little home by hand blog.ameland weekend trip. little home by hand blog.We went later than usual this year, since last year it was actually snowing and we wanted sunshine and warmth this time. The weather god smiled on us and we had glorious weather nearly every day.

We wandered and biked around the island, bought fresh fish and local eggs and had a wonderful time.

ameland weekend trip. little home by hand blog.ameland weekend trip. little home by hand blog.ameland weekend trip. little home by hand blog.ameland weekend trip. little home by hand blog.ameland weekend trip. little home by hand blog.ameland weekend trip. little home by hand blog.ameland weekend trip. little home by hand blog.The island has such a variety of landscapes – beach, dunes, woods, flat fields – that I could spend days just biking across, stopping in a beach cafĂ© now and then for the famous dutch fries and apple cake.

ameland weekend trip. little home by hand blog.ameland weekend trip. little home by hand blog.ameland weekend trip. little home by hand blog.ameland weekend trip. little home by hand blog.ameland weekend trip. little home by hand blog.Even seeing these photos I want to turn right back and hop on the ferry again!

If you’re not tired of landscape shots yet there are some more stunning beach photos on my photo blog (such luck with the light one evening!) and I’ll be putting up one more landscape post on there in the next few days.