Friday, March 09, 2012

Extending your living space

The weather here in Finland is getting nicer! We've had a week now of gorgeously sunny days, and we're up to 11h11m of daylight as of today. In just one month we have gained almost 3 hours of daylight (Vermont - you've only gained about 1h15m!) After experiencing a very dark winter here, you can bet that I'm excited to enjoy every moment of daylight and sunshine that I can get.

Which is why I'm doing a couple of crochet projects for our outdoor living space. Utilizing your outdoor space here is important, especially when your indoor space is on the small side. We Americans call it a patio, but Finns call it a parveke (par-vay-kay). Whatever you want to call it, we've got two of them, and they give us a lot of extra living space once it warms up outside. Last year was our first year here, and I wasn't really sure how to utilize our outdoor space. We didn't have the "right" patio furniture to make it feel like a room, so it kind of felt like a sun deck/eating outside area/grill area/laundry drying area. The large parveke faces due west so it gets quite hot with the sun shining on it from about 1pm-11pm. It was so hot that using it was unbearable at times.

This year, I'm determined to make it liveable - since we would like to enjoy the space. We're going to put up some sun shades to keep the temperatures down a bit during the hotter parts of the day, and we just got some porch furniture to make it feel more like a room. I'm happy to say that I'm already using it, despite temperatures being in the 20s!

I'm taking a break from knitting wearable things and have begun some crochet projects for my "living space". I'm crocheting 2 large scale rugs - a circular one for Helen & Sophie's parveke and a rectangular one for ours. 
The circular one is going to be beautiful. I am totally flying by the seat of my pants on this one. I'm proud of the work I've done so far, but circular crochet is harder (for me) than just back and forth! Luckily I haven't had to rip out too much. I haven't written a pattern up for this, but I think that once I am finished Barb (our most seasoned crocheter) should be able to look at it come up with a great pattern. We'll probably make one up in Brown Sheep Burly Spun. (Did you know we are carrying that again? YAY!)
My circular rug taking shape.
My rectangular rug is going really well and is much easier because it's just single crochet. I bought some remnant Ikea fabric and after washing it, ripped it into 1.25" strips. 
The easy part is the crocheting. The tough part is the preparation of the strips! When I rip each strip there are a million threads I have to remove. It's a bit time consuming. 
This ripping was a total arm workout.
But, it's my very first crocheted rag rug and I am super excited about it.
Maisy is already enjoying the rug
For both rugs I'm using the largest hook in my Denise Crochet Kit (a US size 19/15mm) and I won't lie, it's tough on the hands! But the rugs are both so thick and comfy underfoot. I know they'll be awesome this summer.

The past few afternoons at 3pm I've ventured out with a cup of tea, my rug project, and my fabric strips and have joined the girls while they do their homework. 
Soaking up some sun
We open just one section of the patio windows to get that direct vitamin D, and now we're really itching for nice weather!
Not a bad view!

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