Monday, March 7, 2016

Tootsie toppers

Knit baby legwarmers  |  Tootsie toppers on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
After I bound off the final stitch on the last knit goodie I'd planned to make for RF before his appearance, I decided to spend the last few weeks of my pregnancy making something for myself. I'd stopped in at two local yarn stores near Odenplan on the hunt for a particular shade of red for a gift, but rather than leave empty handed when I didn't find what I was looking for, I was enticed by a beautiful, variegated alpaca yarn (on sale) and a teensy pair of double-pointed knitting needles made specifically for knitting socks.

As so often happens, I gave into the temptation of something new (the yarn and the needles) and managed to forget that I don't particularly like knitting socks. They can be a bit tedious because when you finally finish one, there's still another whole sock to do. And while I've knit the kind of socks you use as slippers at home, I'd never knit proper socks to wear with shoes, which are finer and more delicate (and thus take more time when using teeny needles).

But forget all of that I did, and I scooped up a hank of the alpaca yarn and a new pair of needles and made my way home where I cobbled together my own pattern using one person's broken seed stitch pattern, another's interesting heel technique, and Purl Soho's general guidelines from their Pixel Stitch socks.

I managed to get 1.5 socks done before RF's grand appearance, and needless to say, the insanity that is life with a newborn means that I didn't get around to that last half a sock until recently.

Handknit wool socks  |  Tootsie toppers on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
Handknit wool socks  |  Tootsie toppers on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
Luckily Stockholm has been cooperating with the continuation of winter weather into March so there was/is still time for me to to make use of them this year and I have to say—hand knit wool socks (even ones with a few cosmetic irregularities here and there where I made mistakes but didn't have the patience to fix them) feel amazing inside winter boots.

(Amazing feeling aside, I don't think I'll be making another pair anytime soon.)

Once I'd finished these I needed a quick hit—something easy, fun and interesting to knit so I could recover from the monotony of those socks. Enter RF, who had finally put on enough weight to be able to wear the POOPS! cloth diapers we'd purchased from a local Swedish company for him.

Even though he's now big enough to wear them without fear of leakage, he's still small enough that we have to button them on at the smallest setting, which creates quite a bit of bulk around his tush and makes comfortably wearing the pants for his actual size a bit tough. So rather than cram him in his pants (and since we're still using disposables when we're out for long periods of the day), I realized I could keep him pantless at home if I knit some legwarmers to pop on his little legs.

Knit baby legwarmers  |  Tootsie toppers on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
I found a pattern for boot cuffs that I repurposed into legwarmers and voilà, comfy and warm and cabled while still being pantless.

(Note: those legwarmers are actually worn higher on the leg, but I didn't pull them up all the way so his tickle-able thighs could be in the picture.)

P.S. Ravelry notes: socks + legwarmers


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Thursday, March 3, 2016

A Sunday on the farm at Resta Gård

The view from Resta Gård Örsundsbro Stockholm  |  A Sunday on the farm at Resta Gård on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

I've long had an affinity for rich, farm-fresh milk in (reusable) glass bottles, but the closest thing I've found in Sweden to my beloved Hudson Valley Ronnybrook Creamline milk, which is pasteurized, but not homogenized, so the cream rises lusciously to the top, is lantmjölk, or gammaldagsmjölk (country and old-fashioned milk, respectively). But the most accessible one is from the biggest dairy supplier, which is not inherently a bad thing at all, I just find the notion of drinking local milk to be so much more romantic.

So when we were wandering through Gamla Stan in January and came across Resta Gårdsbutik, the city outpost of a farm an hour north of Stockholm, I was intrigued. The urban storefront is teeny, but beautifully set up with inviting chalkboard signs outside proclaiming lovingly-grown produce and milk and meat from well-cared for animals. We stepped inside and after one sip of their milk (and one glance at the beautiful glass bottles), we bought one to take home.

We were so enamored with the charming experience in Gamla Stan that we Googled the actual farm to find that not only is it an ecological farm, but a visitable one, too, so we began to plot when we could make it up for their weekend open hours, especially after seeing all their cozy homespun pictures and posts on Instagram and Facebook.

One gorgeously sunny Sunday work schedules and transportation availability aligned and we were finally able to make the drive up to visit the farm. We wandered around the property, accompanied by the owners' dog for a bit, and said hello to the sheep, the pigs, the piglets and the horses. The farm has only been up and running for a very short time, but the owners told us that they're already planning big things in the coming seasons (including hens, a B&B, etc.) for the property, which is nestled among open fields an easy drive from Stockholm.

Sheep at Resta Gård Örsundsbro Stockholm  |  A Sunday on the farm at Resta Gård on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
Roasting Korv at Resta Gård Örsundsbro Stockholm  |  A Sunday on the farm at Resta Gård on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

After visiting the animals and walking about we tucked ourselves into the small farmhouse shop to purchase korv (sausages) to roast over the open fire pit that had been lit outside. An afternoon spent with our faces turned toward the (surprisingly blazing!) sun, munching on piping hot sausages and listening to the livestock nuzzle around was the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon—and a lovely first excursion out of Stockholm for our little guy. We drove away completely refreshed from our romp in the country air—and with a trunk full of sausages, cuts of meat, and bottles of milk to take home.


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