Browsing Category

Crafts

Crafts

Happiness Project 19 in 2019- Part I: All the Crafty Things

February 25, 2019

Happy New Year, everyone! It’s taken me quite a bit of time to sit down and write this first post of 2019 because I was too relaxed when I was off work and too stressed out once my vacation was over. Since a lot of podcasters haven been talking about their 19 happiness projects for 2019, I’ve decided to write a series of posts, beginning with all the crafty things on my list. A lot of my projects are long-term goals, but I am hoping that this list will be a lot more tangible than the new year’s resolutions I’ve made in the past. Hopefully, I will be able to check off most of the items on my list at the end of the year.

Continue Reading…
Crafts, Thoughts

Knitted Roots

December 27, 2018

As I child, all I wanted for christmas, birthdays, and other special occasions was a new sweater knit by my grandmother Stephanie. I had one favorite, very colorful striped sweater that I refused to stop wearing, so each time it had gotten too small, she had to add another color block to the body and sleeves. It never occurred to me to start knitting myself though because life back then was all about fast fashion and nobody saw the need to knit since it was easier and cheaper to just buy from a store. Almost 20 years later, I got into knitting and have never felt more connected to my ancestors, especially my grandmother, who grew up producing garments and other knitted items from sheep to finished object on their small family farm in lower Austria.

Continue Reading…
Crafts, Thoughts

Christmas Gifts

November 27, 2018

I have always loved Christmas. As a child, it was the most magical time of the year for me, perhaps because I believed in the Christkind (christ child), our version of Santa Claus, until I was 10 years old. Even though my classmates in primary school regularly told me that it didn’t actually exist, I didn’t want to hear any of it. Instead, I enjoyed exchanging letters with the Christkindhelfer (christ child’s helper), who I imagined living in our attic, and always found little goodies in my advent calendar every morning before I had to go to school. Every 23rd of December, my parents spent the whole night decorating the christmas tree without me knowing it, covered the window of the living room door with wrapping paper and locked the room. In the morning, I would get up and try to peek through the keyhole and, sometimes, could even see some of the presents and a few tree branches. On Christmas Eve, I was later told, one of my parents always left church a bit earlier than the rest of our family to prepare the living room to look like the christ child had just left. Once I entered the house, of course full of anticipation of which presents had been left underneath the tree for me, I heard a bell ringing upstairs, as well as lovely Christmas music playing in our living room. Often without taking my shoes off, I would sprint upstairs in order to catch the christ child “in the act.” Unfortunately, every year, I was only able to see its wings disappearing into the darkness outside. Since I was so convinced that the christ child was real, my parents decided to tell me the truth before I started high school so my classmates wouldn’t make fun of me. Even though I was upset for a while, I still love Christmas, and am so grateful that my parents went to great lengths to make sure I had the most magical holidays as a child.

Continue Reading…

Crafts, Thoughts

Socktober

October 21, 2018

It is socktober and temperatures are certainly dropping in my little corner of the world. During the day, I dream of snuggling up in front of the TV, drinking a warm beverage, and cuddling with my furry babies. When I come home from work and take off my fancy office shoes, I tend to reach for cozy handknit socks to keep my feet warm for the rest of the day. I have a sizeable collection, but haven’t woven in the ends on most of them because until this year, I hadn’t really worn any of my handknit socks. Shock! Horror! Why would I knit socks and almost never wear them? Well, I really enjoy knitting them because they’re very portable and the perfect project to work on when you don’t want to think about a pattern or just want to knit a few rows on the tram to the office.

Continue Reading…

Crafts

2018 Garment Knitting Plans

April 16, 2018

I have been knitting for over five years, but have never finished a garment for myself. Shocking, I know! I have knit a cardigan for my husband, which took me over a year, as well as several children’s garments. However, my own garments are either half-finished, shoved into a project bag and hidden in the back of one of our cabinets, or only exist in my imagination. I have a fairly short attention span when it comes to my knitting, which means that I often quickly lose interest in my projects, and have always had more than a reasonable amount of projects on the needles in the past. Let me tell you, it certainly is not a good combination because you don’t make enough progress before losing interest. Recently, I’ve become more of a product knitter, who is quite utilitarian when it comes to the choice of projects. It doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy the process, but I think very carefully about what is missing in my wardrobe and then work on only a small number of projects so the season the garment, for instance, is most suitable for, is not over before I am able to finish anything. The only exception, perhaps, is socks because I knit them all year round and almost never wear them. But that is a different story.

Continue Reading…

Crafts, Thoughts

The current weather and seasonal knitting

March 26, 2018

After several cold, dark and dreary days, the sun has finally made an appearance. Whenever the sun is shining, I feel extremely hopeful. I feel inspired and have the impression that anything is possible. It is a very distinct feeling that I nevertheless have a hard time describing. It is a very abstract answer to deep longings I have, a cozy warm feeling deep inside me that makes me see the world in a different light.

Even though temperatures are still sometimes slightly below freezing at night, I am currently happiest when I imagine sitting on our tiny balcony with my husband, enjoying warm summer evenings while sipping a glass of rum or a cocktail. As a person who does not feel comfortable in darkness, my favorite seasons are definitely spring and summer. Only since becoming a knitter have I started tolerating the colder and darker months of the year because lower temperatures certainly act as a catalyst for my knitting output. This year, fueled by my interest in designing, I have actually stated considering more consciously which projects are seasonally appropriate to knit, as well as wear. Perhaps it is merely an excuse for not picking up some languishing works in progress now that I would deem more appropriate for “summer knitting,” but I feel a lot more in charge of my creative process, as well as my making in general now.

Continue Reading…

Crafts, Thoughts

My grandmother’s socks

January 28, 2018

I recently found a single gray sock that my grandmother must have knit several years or even decades ago in my apartment. I inspected it very thoroughly, trying to figure out which techniques she had used. The sock was knit with thicker yarn (I would guess sport weight) and at a looser gauge than I usually do. I also didn’t recognize the type of heel flap and gusset construction. When I started knitting socks, my grandmother told me the story that when she was young, she was the family member responsible for knitting all socks. She would not only knit the socks, but also process, spin and dye the wool. As a child growing up on a farm in the Austrian countryside in the inter-war period and during World War II, she didn’t have many clothes and the ones she had were hand-made by one of her family members. I was very impressed by her story, especially that she was in charge of the whole process from sheep to finished sock, and asked her if she could write down her sock recipe for me. I asked her a few times and she always said she would do it as soon as she got a chance. However, I never actually got anything from her and thought it was probably because she couldn’t remember how she’d knit her socks. After all, she is turning 92 this year and had to stop knitting several years ago due to pain in her fingers.

Once I mentioned to my mother that I thought it was very unfortunate that my grandmother didn’t remember her sock recipe. My mother laughed and told me that my grandmother probably didn’t know how to write down instructions because back then, they simply knit socks without a “recipe.” Of course I knew that there weren’t any knitting patterns as we know them today when my grandmother was growing up, but I didn’t consider the possibility that knitting techniques and instructions were only passed down orally and items were “just knit”. Being someone who would be lost without patterns (especially when making garments), I am deeply impressed by people who just know how to knit specific items or modify them. But I guess it was normal back then. It is not like they had any other options.

Continue Reading…