Fingerless mittens · Knitting · Outdoors · Stash busting

Knitting, cycling and a few sheep

I might have mentioned earlier this summer that I’ve started to take my knitting with me on hikes. Turns out, I also take my knitting to bicycle rides. Cycling is not really one of those activities when one thinks of doing any knitting, but sometimes when the weather is just right and there is no rush to get anywhere, stopping for a few rows is just great. There is a place to sit on the bike and the saddle works fine as an arm rest. I can’t complain.

Knitting and cycling

I often ride over this bridge. Finland is not a big sheep country but quite often I can see some sheep from this bridge. I usually just shout something like “hello ladies”, as I ride past them. This time I sat knitting on the bridge and was so pleased to be able to show the sheep my progress. Only one was interested.

Sheep and a mitten

Happy knitting!

Knitting · Leg Warmers · Outdoors

A Midsummer Night’s Ramble

I always aim to get to bed in good time and be fast asleep well before midnight. Sometimes I choose to live dangerously, and instead of going to bed, I put my walking boots on and head to a nearby hill. From late May till mid July we have the midnight sun, which means that in that time the sun doesn’t set at all. The night is, well, almost like day.

Midnight Sun

Here it is, the midnight sun, and it won’t get any lower than that. The climb to this hill is quite easy, despite the boulder field. It’s quite strange though, because it looks like day (or perhaps an early evening would be better) but it’s very quiet, there are almost no cars on the roads and obviously no one climbing on hills. We’ve got the place to ourselves – mind you, it’s not exactly heaving with people here any other time, either.

As we were climbing up, the song ‘mad dogs and English men go out in the midnight sun’. It seemed quite fitting, the hubby being an English man. But does that make me the mad dog?

Midnight

This view shows the light better, the sun being behind the camera. Somewhere down there is our house.

Midnight

I love climbing well above the street level. Being higher up gives you a nice feeling of space. There is no one breathing down your neck. There is elbow space. And I love the peace and quiet. Here, one really could swing the proverbial cat!

Midnight knitting

This particular night was quite windy and not very warm. I thought about taking mittens but left them because, hey, it’s the middle of the summer. Boy, did I regret that. After knitting just a moment, my fingers were so cold that it became almost impossible to hold the needles. What kind of a knitter am I? My house is full of various handwear: mittens, fingerless mittens, gloves, you name it, and I go out without ANY of them. How stupid. I’ve made it a rule now NEVER to leave the house without mittens of some description in my rucksack. Even in the summer.

When we got home, I checked the temperature: +3°C. I don’t know what it was with the windchill.

Midnight knitting

Would this qualify as ‘knitting in public’? I’ve started to take my knitting with me a lot more than I used to. It’s nice to sit down after some hiking and climbing and knit while admiring the view. My usual ‘KIP’ would be knitting in a health centre waiting room, in a train or in a cafe. Knitting on top of a hill, practically in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night, is not so public, although it IS a public place.

Midnight knitting

I’m knitting leg warmers, if you were wondering. Something I’ve been meaning to knit for years.

As I’m writing this, we have moved on and the sun has started to set below the horizon again. Not that you’d notice yet. By the end of August we’ll see stars at night again. And so it goes.

Happy midnight knitting!

Knitting · Mittens · Outdoors

Arctic Wookiee

This is one seriously frozen Chewbacca!

Frozen Chewbacca

It’s been so cold that even Chewbacca freezes. Or is it the abominable snowman? I prefer Chewbacca, being a sci-fi fan and all 🙂

We’ve had temperatures below -30C for over two weeks now. These temperatures are not unusual here but when they continue for weeks on end, it starts to get on my nerves. We had a mini heatwave for two days of only -10C but today we are back to -33C. We have just over 50cm of snow now. I’m not sure but I think this is little less what we normally have at this time of winter. So there’s something positive.

Last weekend, Sodankylä, which is the municipality where we live, broke the cold record in Finland this winter, -38.7C. It was also the coldest place in the whole of Europe, if you don’t count Russia.

It is, however, business as usual here. I’ve never, ever, heard of any school ever being closed because of snow or low temperature. Buses or trains might be little delayed if tons of snow comes all at once but other than that, people just keep adding more clothes and start to look more and more like Michelin Men.

The mittens above are not a recent knit. I knitted them about 10 years ago. I use them a lot. I realised that they were really warm while ploughing snow, when combined with another pair of mittens or gloves underneath. Fingers freeze really easily while ploughing snow because of the metal bar you hold on to. I also put the blue furry mittens in the rucksack when going on winter hikes. I like to put them on while on a break and my fingers are frozen from messing with the flask or after taking some pictures. I think it must be those fluffy hairs that make them warm, even though they are only 45% wool and the rest acrylic and polyamide.

I hope you are all keeping warm, wherever you are.

Happy knitting!

Crochet · Hats · Outdoors · Stash busting

Fall on the fells

I’ve decided a hundred times that I would crochet more. I want to learn to crochet better and to be more comfortable and relaxed about it. And still I don’t crochet that often. I guess knitting just takes priority every time. But I do make the odd, simple crochet project once I put my mind to it.

Crocheted hat

I crocheted these cool, simple hats with some leftover yarn from a cardigan project. The blue is for my hubby and it has one more increase round than the white one, which is mine. The yarn is Novita Samos, which is 50% cotton and 50% acrylic. It’s a very spongy yarn and it feels nice and it’s lovely to knit and crochet.

Crocheted hat

There’s me wearing my cool hat just before snow came. I love this hat for hikes because it’s non-itchy and it stays well in place. It’s warm but not hot, even when it’s not cold.

This place is close to where we live. We usually cycle there because it’s so much faster and then we might continue by foot on top of the fell. The climb up here is a bit of a struggle as the path turns almost vertical at one point. You need good brakes on the way back down. The view out over the fells is especially nice in the autumn and is typical Lappish landscape.

Autumn cycling

Happy knitting!

Knitting · Outdoors · Woolly pants

Mandatory use of woolly pants

Probably the best thing I’ve ever knitted for winter use are my woolly pants. They are so warm and I don’t know how I’ve managed to stay alive without them. When you live way above the Arctic Circle where temperatures can easily drop below -40C (-40F), clothing needs to be seriously practical and most of all warm.

What you need to do is this: First put on your long johns and socks. Then woolly pants. Then padded pants. Add woolly socks as needed. That’s warm.

Woolly pants

I used a pattern (sorry in Finnish only) by Novita and also their yarn Nalle Taika. I love that colour. Shame that these pants are usually hidden from view.

Then of course my hubby needed woolly pants too.

Woolly pants

Their pattern is also by Novita and yarn is Nalle. He is also very pleased with his woolly pants.

I like the woolly pants so much that I’ve already earmarked another pair which I’ll knit some time. These are for me and these for hubby. I have yarn ready for mine as well.

Talking of woolly pants, there was a children’s programme on TV when I was little. It was called “Mandatory use of woolly pants”. A little boy, Timo, has been ill with a chest cold and he’s been off school for a few days. When he’s well again and gets ready to go to school, his father says that it’s very cold outside and he must wear woolly pants because he’s just been ill. Timo thinks this is embarrassing because the other boys don’t wear woolly pants. The pants his father brought to him had even a heart-shaped patch on the bum. Timo tries to protest by saying that he does not breath with his bum, but it doesn’t help. He has to put the pants on.

At school that day they have a doctor’s check-up. Timo is terrified because he thinks that other boys might see his woolly pants if he needs to take his clothes off. He can’t concentrate on anything and just has terrible images in his mind all day. He came up with the idea that if the president would announces on TV a mandatory use of woolly pants, he’d be ok. Everyone then would have to wear woolly pants. With his mind’s eye he sees the news anchor announcing the mandatory use of woolly pants, ordered by the president. It would last till first of May, when the use of summer clothes would be allowed, weather permitting. And then the news anchor starts a woolly pants rock dance presenting woolly pants fashion. That’s classic!

This whole film used to be available online not too long ago, but all I could find now were little snippets. If you want to see the woolly pants rock, click here. This is Finland in 1977. Enjoy!

Happy knitting!

Crochet · Outdoors · Reflective yarn

Shiny things

I like knitting jumpers and other big things and I even crochet big things at times. Sometimes, however, it’s nice to knit or crochet something really small. Not miniature small but just small. Instead of working on something for weeks or even months (or god forbid, years), it makes a change to get several items finished in just one afternoon.

Crochet heartsBefore Christmas I started crocheting these little hearts. I’m not terribly good at crocheting but I can handle simple things and these hearts seemed simple enough. They are actually (according to the pattern) decorations for Christmas lights. I left out a hanging loop and attached a pin back to the rear. The yarn is Novita Hohde (it could be translated as “Shine” or “Glow”), which is a nice worsted weight yarn with reflective fiber. Pin this on your coat, hat or bag and you are a little bit more visible during these dark winter months. It’s obviously not a replacement for a proper reflector, but surely anything helps.

Reflective heart pin

I popped these in the envelopes with my Christmas cards!

Reflective crochet heart

The pattern I used is here and it’s in English! I thought about crocheting other shapes too; stars or flowers and a skull would be nice, but I haven’t found small enough patterns yet. I wouldn’t like to pin a reflector that looks like a table cloth on my coat. I do like this puffy heart and I might try one later. Crocheted with reflective yarn and a string added, it could dangle.

As a side note, did you know that a reflector is a Finnish invention?

Happy knitting!

Knitting · Mittens · Outdoors

Fingerless mitts

I have never ever knitted mittens, fingerless or otherwise, on two needles. Until now. I don’t know what made me try.

Fingerless mittens

I had tiny balls of some nameless yarn. I knitted two rectangle pieces, did the seam and left a little gap for the thumb. Done.

These fingerless mitts are ok but I have to say that I do prefer knitting mittens in the round – doesn’t everyone? Unless, of course, there is a reason why they are done on two needle, like these. I want to try and make those babies one day.

Fingerless mittens

When out and about, I often have fingerless mittens in the rucksack. I swap my proper mittens to fingerless mittens when having a break. This way the hands still keep relatively warm but the grip on a mug is a bit more secure. Also, easier and tidier to hold on to one’s muffin!

Break

Happy knitting!