Monday, July 30, 2007

Sizzlin' (Heather)

It's been a busy week here in the Big Smoke as FabricFan has whirled into town!

She brought me a Hound for my birthday:

Here pictured on my dismembered spinning wheel(!), a Hound Designs 'Dervish'. And boy, does it ever live up to its name! This bad boy spins so fast and true that you can barely see it. I can't wait for a chance to use it more, but humid dog days do not inspire me to play with wooly fluff.

What do you think? Is it a dog or a tulip? A subject of much controversy 'round these parts this weekend.

As you might have inferred from above, having a handy presence inspired us to deconstruct the Ashford Traditional that has been lodging with me in order to remove the wobble from the wheel. It has since been reconstructed and awaits a drive band, a brake band, and a wee dowel for tensioning the brake band. I have no idea how much these items might cost (apart from the dowel, I should say) but considering that this wheel is priced at $479+ new, I would say I am far ahead of the game.

The wheel itself has a slight but noticeable warp to it, but it spins nicely now, and without wobbling.

In other news, I wore Coachella to work last week and was so buoyed by comments there in addition to the comments on Ravelry that I cast on for Sizzle.

The yarn is Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece, and the colour is Limelight. Think of this as the sort of sizzle you get from a Thai curry. Despite my constant protests against cotton, I am quite enjoying knitting with this yarn, and have already received a few random comments on the colour. I was afraid it was too green to wear, but I love it so much that I just don't care. I have been pulling it out on the subway quite a bit since the knitting is pretty mindless, so it is coming along nicely.

Some more birthday yarn...

...and a gorgeous Argos-eye pottery bowl all the way from Thetis Island. Pretty good week, eh?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A Monumentous Event (Adriana)

When I drafted up this blog post at work (sometimes data entry gets just a little bit boring :P) I hadn't realized that I going to be making the 100th post to this blog. It's a pretty exciting event and one which I'd like to celebrate by doing a magic trick.
Watch as I turn this:

Into this:
(Yarn posed in front of Cleo's cat tent.)

This magical moment was brought to you by:
The lovely duo of Ballwinder and Swift! (I got the idea from Heather's frogging of the Kermit Sweater)

As much as I'm tempted (tee hee, accidental pun!) to start a sweater with this reclaimed yarn right away it is definitely too hot for that right now. But it is tank top weather and work on Leela has been ongoing, albeit slowly. Things are very busy around here these days. Pete is doing a one-man show in the local fringe festival (website here for those interested) and I've been helping out however I can. Also I've been picking up overtime at work to earn some extra cash for when I get back to school in the fall.
Despite all these distractions I have managed to make some progress on the mystery stole. Here it is after completing clue 2 (I neglected to post about this earlier)

And after clue 3:

Close up on the beautiful pattern

I'm still a ways behind as clue 4 was released without me realizing it. Hopefully I'll be able to get to work on it soon. Part of what makes this project so much fun is seeing the pattern develop as I knit it so I'm worried about seeing spoilers on the net.

Time to get back to Leela. I'm well into the stockinette stitch portion so my goal is to have it finished for this weekend so I can wear it to the show. I promise pictures when it's done!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Coachella FO'd!

The cowl is cowl-y and the linen is drapey. Can you ask for anything more?

It was even a good day for modeling.

I cast off first thing this morning (those twisted stitches are slow going) after dropping a whole mess of stitches last night and giving up in disgust.

I really ought to undo the bottom edge and cast off more loosely. It looked almost ridiculously loose when I was casting off, but it is definitely too tight. But really, I am far too pleased with this top. I am smug, even.

Also smug about this:

I started a new job this week and celebrated by buying my very first skein of Socks That Rock! The colourway is algae and it was very very hard to choose. I think I finally have my Monkey yarn!

So, I am now projectless and bereft. I need something new and exciting. I have a whole mess of sweaters in my Ravelry queue, but after my very first summer top success, I sort of want to run with that. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Comings and Goings (Adriana)

Right before becoming embroiled in the excitement that is the Mystery Stole, I had cast on for the Lelah tank in my birthday Calmer. Work on this top has continued slowly since the body is a rather boring 6 row lace repeat over 176 stitches which has to be done 12 times. I figured it was time to show off what I've done so far.

This is after 9 repeats

Slightly blurry close up of the lace pattern

Held up to the window a la SpillyJane

I should mention that this top has been renamed "Leela" by the Spilly One after the character on Futurama. Jane is right now on a super cool road trip, hopefully not spending all her time knitting :)

Leela was the coming part of the title of this post. Now for the going.

Today at work I was pondering my first ever sweater, Tempting. It was such a thrill to make a real garment but I've only worn it twice in the 1.5 years since I made it.
Tempting in Mission Falls 1824 Wool, Crocus

Tempting in front of the Victoria BC Legislature buildings (Feb 2006)

The 2x2 rib makes the fabric seem too thick and the sleeves stop at an awkward spot. I am seriously considering ripping it out to make something that I will actually wear. I wanted to get some opinions on this plan before I go ahead. Any thoughts?

By the way, how great is Ravelry? I've been poring over sweater patterns today to see how I could repurpose this yarn and I can't even remember how I looked for patterns before. Best thing ever!!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

A Little Story (Adriana)

I don't remember when I first learned how to knit. I know it was sometime after I was home-schooled, before I started high school (I know this because the woman who taught me to knit was also a home-schooling mom). I didn't take to it at the time but the muscle memory was still there when Heather retaught me two years ago. I don't remember actually making anything usable then.

While I was home-schooled we were able to go visit my grandparents a lot in Montreal. On one memorable occasion, Granny and I visited Old Montreal, the oldest part of a very old city (by Canadian standards, at least) with lots of historical sites and touristy shops. I have very clear memories of visiting Musée Marguerite-Bourgeoys, a museum within an 300 year old chapel which had displays of miniature figures illustrated scenes from her life (looking at the website it is clear that a lot has changed in the past decade and a half. A return visit is definitely in order). After the museum we had lunch at a cafe and then browsed through the interesting shops in the area. Granny bought for me a figurine of a lady holding a bouquet of dried flowers. This has become one of my favourite possessions and I have taken very good care of it.

I've had this figurine for so long (I was probably around 11 when we got it) that I have stopped really looking at it. This might explain why I hadn't really seen what she was wearing around her shoulders:

That, my friends, is my very first piece of knitting. You can see the dramatic increase in size from the cast on edge (I must have increased without realizing it), the dropped stitch in the middle and the lovely cast off edge where I threaded the yarn through the live stitches.

What I think is most amazing about this is that even though I didn't take to knitting at the time, this piece was special enough that I have kept it in a place of honour for so many years. It really is such a cool discovery.

Pete just pointed out that my first project was a shawl which is appropriate since I'm such a shawl nut :)
Speaking of, work on the mystery stole continues. I need to get a good picture of it before I start clue #3!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

May I Introduce.... (Heather)

I think I just flashed y'all a picture of my Coachella-in-progress without actually mentioning that I was knitting it. Well, I actually made some progress on it yesterday as I spent a fair amount of time on the subway, on the bus, and in a Tim Horton's. Air conditioning, baby!

It might be physically impossible to photograph this in progress. It is a racer-back top knit top down. Those holes are the armholes, and that thin strip in the middle is the back. It is a very interesting design, and if it fits like it is supposed to, I will be very very happy. I am knitting this in some fingering weight linen that Adriana handed off to me... I am holding it tripled, and while it is a little string-like before washing, it is not bad to knit with at all. No one is more surprised than me. Another plus is that the linen seems tangleproof, which is a really great feature in a yarn. I am crossing my fingers that it drapes nicely after a good wash, and perhaps an ironing.

I tried to get a shot of how the top will actually work:

If my arm was a neck...

At least you sort of get an idea of the orientation of the top.

In other news, Adriana and Gen gave me a birthday present!

Fleece Artist Sea Wool! Would it be copying to make Coupling?

It has been sweltering all week, and now that it has cooled down, I have a lot of housekeeping on which to catch up. But I have an urge to do something really fun this week. Any suggestions on what a gal could do in the big city?

Monday, July 9, 2007

Knitter Down (Adriana)

Last weekend I helped my parents move into their beautiful new house. Unfortunately, the next day I got laid out with a nasty flu bug which kept throwing new symptoms at me everyday. I forced myself to work through it for most of last week which definitely left no energy for knitting. On Friday, SpillyJane emailed to say that she was being tempted by the Mystery Stole 3. I encourage her to join but I said that I had too much on the go right now and, since I was still sick, lace was definitely over my head. But then the Harlot posted about her experience being drawn over to the dark side and the next thing I knew I'd signed up too.
I decided to use the dye-your-own laceweight I've had sitting in the stash for over a year but not to include beads since that would make things too complicated.
I cast on Friday after work and knit continuously until I finished the first clue Saturday evening (Spilly and I had fun emailing back and forth checking on each other's progress).
It was really nice to have this project to get me through the weekend spent resting on the couch. I knit the majority of it during a Bridget Jones marathon on Saturday.

Here are the pictures of the first clue:

Close up of the beautiful edging

Close up of the centre panel

This is one of the most beautiful things I have ever made. I love watching the pattern become clear as I knit it. It reminds me of a medieval tapestry. I started the second clue yesterday and have done 20 out of 50 rows. I'm trying to avoid seeing pictures of it until I am done my own because I don't want the surprise to be ruined. I will post pictures once I'm done.

P.S. The Coupling-at-Sea socks are done but I've been took sick to get some good pictures. I'll try to do that soon.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Progress is Made (Heather)

Though my non-sleeping/eating/bathing time has been pretty much consumed by a family project this week, I have managed to finish up some loose ends!

We took pictures of Amaya! (right before the skies opened up yet again). Now if I could only get it in the mail...

I knit a bit on Coachella! The linen is working for me, surprisingly! I am using to cotton bugging my hands, so I was pleasantly surprised that the linen seems to be easy to work with so far. My hands do get tired, but it takes longer, and they aren't sore. I love how knitting stockinette in smaller needles creates a nice tight rolled edge that doesn't take over. I am a little concerned that the neck will not be droopy enough, I pulled it over my head and it doesn't seem that loose. But I am knitting to gauge and I have followed the pattern, so I guess I will just trust the designer and knit on.

In fabric news, Leslie took me to Quilter's Palette on Saturday morning!

As some of you may know, I am a dedicated Kaffe girl. The problem with that is that I love Kaffe's fabrics too much to experiment on!

I picked out some fat quarters at QP that I loved, but hopefully not so much that I will be afraid to cut into them. The roll of fabric is a bolt end, about 0.6m, so altogether I have about 1.5 metres to play with. Could either be enough to put together a pieced sampler-type quilt, or if I found a few more co-ordinating colours it could be a good start to a 'stack and cut' stained-glass type quilt. I saw a fantastic quilt that New Brunswick Kate's mom had made for her and I have been thinking about it ever since. Thanks to Leslie for taking me out to the wilds of Etobicoke; I haven't been fabric shopping with a sewer since I got interested in fabric, so I needed that knowledgeable presence.

Another busy weekend approaches, so who knows how much progress will continue. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

One Year Older... (Heather)

I celebrated my birthday this weekend... we went out to stay for the long (Canadian) weekend at my parents' place. We caught a play on Sunday!

A Comedy of Errors at the world-famous Stratford Festival (I love how Stratford makes it all but impossible for even the most nervous tourist to get lost. I did about half of my driving lessons there, but I still appreciate the ample signage!). The play was fanTAStic. All Greco-Roman costumes, the backdrop and set design were amazing, and the comedy was perfect! I am not a usual fan of physical comedy, but this production had just the right amount. And, it being Canada Day, we were asked to stand for the national anthem. Mike heard a woman in front of us say 'Just like at the hockey games!'. She wasn't singing, so we guessed she was a visitor from the States. Anyway. If you have any connection with or interest in Classics, go and see the play. Even if you don't, see the play. If you aren't familiar with the plot, it is a mashup of Plautus' Menaechmi and Amphitrio. This production was set in the 50s AD, so there were even some Roman soliders for Mike.

In the theatre lounge:

What may be one of the coolest quilts ever. Each square represents a Shakespearean play. Around the border are 140 swans. Mike and I had a lot of fun guessing each square.

Sorry for the crappy picture. I took a few, but the lighting was dim. Is there anything neater than stumbling upon a Shakespearean quilt square inspired by an Exekias tondo? Which play do you think it is?

I finished seaming Amaya. The seaming was not as bad as I was thinking it would be. I do want to fiddle with the neck twist, though. If you are on Ravelry you can see the AWFUL picture Mike took of me wearing the just-finished garment. For the rest of you, I will get a better picture tonight.

I did manage to cast on Coachella, but that is literally all. It was a pretty knit-free weekend. Lest you think it was completely yarn-less, however:

Mike, being the wonderful husband he is, ventured into Lettuce Knits to buy me a skein of sock yarn... one I had never even mentioned to him! This is Dream in Color Smooshy, the color is In Vino Veritas. I think I am in love. It is a very smooshy yarn, and there is lots of it. I am thinking I will divide it in half somehow and give that toe-up recipe in the summer IK a shot. I seem to remember Mary wanted to do a knitalong. Still up for it?