Wednesday, January 31, 2007
For my birthday I was gifted with some lovely Koigu from Samantha of the comments. It lingered in my stash until I could find the perfect pattern for it. After finishing Tubey earlier this month, I was inspired to knit Anastasia Socks with it. This was an easily memorized pattern which really shows off the gorgeous colours of the Koigu. I knit it toe-up, 64 stitches around on 2.5mm needles (my standard sock formula), and I finished with a twisted rib.
I love taking sock pictures from this angle
These socks makes me feel like doing a pirouette!
Unfortunately we weren't able to capture it on camera, but trust me, I can do it :)
As you know, I picked up some Manos in Toronto to make a matching hat for my Clap.
Hat and Clap! (Notice the stripes on my stomach? That means I wore my Tubey! Go me!)
Blurry but colour-accurate picture
Unfortunately I'm not totally thrilled with this hat. Don't get me wrong, I'm lovin' the Manos. It's the inner lining of Cotton Fleece that I'm not happy with. It was purchased with the idea of knitting an inner lining but allowing a little to peek out to pick up on the pinks in my Clap. The Cotton Fleece was a total pain to knit and I ended up doing it twice! But now I find that the hat sits strangely on my head. It doesn't fully cover my ears, even though it's long enough. I think the inner lining may be the problem, either that or I have too much hair. Any ideas what I could do to solve this problem? It's very cold here and my ears need covering!
Sunday, January 28, 2007
- I am a germaphobe which means that I have to wash my hands before touching anything which will go into my mouth. The exception to this rule is when I am comfy on the couch knitting (I always feel my needles are dirty) and I want to eat some candy I already have in front of me. Then I will grab it really quickly and toss it into my mouth. I feel that the speed with which I do this means that none of the germs have time to transfer.
- I am slightly obsessed with my cat. When I am away from her it’s not unusual for me to ask my boyfriend what he thinks she’s doing at that moment. Also, I got a little hysterical when she was taken to the vet to be spayed and I may have worried that they were going to give her a sex change at the same time [I knew at the time that I was being irrational but it kept me from any real worries about the procedure]. I also like to change the lyrics to popular songs to be about her and I may say that animals on tv (such as tigers and monkeys) resemble my cat.
- Although I am often a practical person, I do have hopeless-romantic tendencies and I have frequently gotten hooked on The Bachelor. I know I shouldn’t because they never really live happily-ever-after. I thought that living with my boyfriend would cure me of these tendencies (since I would be too embarrassed to admit that I’d been watching such trash) but unfortunately he works nights every other week which allows me lots of trash tv time. My recent viewing has included Flavor of Love 2 and Grease: You’re the One that I Want. I can quit any time, I swear :)
- I was home-schooled (that’s actually not weird thing number 4) and so I played by myself a lot. I used to love the Game of Life but there were only so many times that my mom or brother would play with me. Often I’d play it with myself but I always had a favourite car (the white one) and I would cheat to make sure that the white car always got the good job, the good house and had twins. Also, I invented the concept of getting an extra spin for your job-moon (you got to spin for your honeymoon so I thought it was only fair). My parents brought my old game here recently so if anyone wants to play, it’s so on!
- In keeping with Heather’s breakfast confession, I cannot function if I do not have my bowl of cereal first thing in the morning. Nothing else suffices, except on Christmas morning when my mom’s amazing apple muffins fill me up nicely.
- Although I have knit myself a number of sweaters, I barely ever wear them. I think I feel that they are too nice for everyday wear and should be saved for special occasions. I’m going to try to break this habit with Tubey and I will wear it to work on Wednesday!
Sorry for the lack of spacing, Blogger and I were not getting along.
Saturday we did some mid-winter cleaning. The bedroom looks foreign now... we keep walking in and just looking around in amazement. All in all, I haven't knit a stitch! Which means it's time for a meme:
6 Weird Things about Me!
1. Although I was a breakfast cook for 6 summers, I rarely eat breakfast. (perhaps it is because I was a breakfast cook for 6 summers?). I guess that isn't too weird.
2. Fresh air and sunlight make me extremely sleepy. I sat down to pet my dog in a patch of winter sun once and feel fast asleep on the floor.
3. When I was young I thought I was Laura Ingalls Wilder and called my parents 'Ma' and 'Pa'. There may have also been an apron involved.
4. There is a specific order in which dishes can be washed in my house, and I either cringe or fly off the handle if this order is not observed.
5. At our wedding reception, the head table was seated in front of a mural of the Parthenon, which featured likenesses of the bride and groom!
6. I always have a beautiful calendar, and never write on them because it would wreck the pictures, so this year I purposely bought a calendar that was not by a favourite artist so that I would get more use out of it.
I am sure that there are much weirder things about me, I just can't think of them right now. Commenters who know me can feel free to contribute :) In the meantime I think I might have a nap, since I just got in from outside. Three cups of coffee is no match for a walk in the fresh air!
I tag Adriana, Jane, and Kate!
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Back to the shawl. Coincidentally, I had just received two balls of the recommended yarn, Misti Alpaca Laceweight in red (actual colour name is Lipstick Lace; I love it!) from an online swap. I cast on in mid-August and worked diligently on it until early September. I decided to increase the body by 5 extra repeats, which I am very glad I did because it's still pretty small. Of course, it doesn't help that I did it on 3.25mm needles instead of the 3.5mm called for. I ran into a problem when I reached the nupps section; I kept having the wrong number of stitches. I just couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. A phone call to Heather revealed the problem: I had misread the part of the pattern where it says to k1, yo, k1, yo, k1 in the same stitch!! Needless to say this was a major problem. I was disheartened and put the shawl aside. I tried to come back to it several times on the following months but the nupps were driivng me crazy!! I figured I was going to wash my hands of it until in mid-January when I got the brilliant idea to finish the shawl in time to wear on Valentine's Day. After that I pretty much worked exclusively on the shawl until my triumphant finish.
Yesterday I showed you the pre-blocked, aka Ramen noodles, pictures. Today I can show off the true beauty of this shawl.
Held up in front of the window
Shot from behind
This picture makes me feel like a senorita!
Now that I have shown off the glory of this shawl, I need to point out the problem. If you look closely you'll be able to see that the spine veers to the left amid the nupps. I know exactly what caused this to happen; there were a few times when I had the wrong number of stitches so I decreased every other row until I had the right number. I thought I was being so clever however, since this only happened on one side of the spine, it caused the lovely detour that we see. Normally I'm a perfectionist but I'm just so happy to be done that I'm refusing to consider doing anything about it. As SpillyJane said, now it's a design element. (Hey, Spilly, when are we going to get to see the blocked pictures of your shawl?)
Friday, January 26, 2007
Here's it is in progress looking very similar to SpillyJane's Shetland Triangle in progress.
Scrunched up on the carpet resembling Ramen noodles
Stretched out looking slightly more like a real shawl. (Notice how little yarn I had left. It was getting a little scary doing the bind-off.)
And finally, its current state, soaking in my sink (in fact, it's soaking in the SOAK I got for Christmas from Heather and Gen!).
Next up, blocking time! Stay tuned for more pictures as I play with my beloved blocking wires.
One to go...
(chapstick included for scale)
I am chronically worried about running out of yarn, and when you are dealing with socks of epic proportions, one perhaps has a valid reason to worry. If the proprietors of my local post office weren't so grumpy, I would ask them to weigh the remaining yarn for me, but as it is, I think I will just play it by ear.
You guys brought up some important things to consider with the log cabin blanket... I will have to ponder further. I didn't really expect such support for option #2! Portability is not crucial to this project, but it would make it more convenient.
Gen asked about the tidiness of my seams: I am twisting each picked-up stitch by knitting through the back of the loop, and I am really happy with how tight a seam this produces. I don't know if this is recommended, but since I am a loose knitter, I think it really improves the look of my squares. Also, I am using wool, not cotton, which has a very forgiving amount of elasticity.
Any suggestions for her on picking up stitches more neatly?
Now, to cast on for the second sock before I get distracted...
Thursday, January 25, 2007
I knit it with one full skein of Debbie Bliss Donegal Chunky Tweed, I knit it top down, using this pattern and cast off when I thought I was going to run out. Since I was left with about a metre, I can say that this worked very well. Also, since this hat was 24 inches in circumference, and with brim unfolded can cover the nose, I can say with fair authority that there is enough yarn in one skein for any human-sized hat. I also knit it at a tighter gauge for extra warmth, so the result is a nice and sturdy hat that can stand up to our delayed but now vigorous winter.
Now, on to the crux of the post!
Since I seem unable to knit with only one thing on the needles, I had a bit of startitis the other day. Long meaning to knit a log cabin blanket, and inspired by a friend's start, I got busy and knit a square. Then I knit some more, and so on...
As I got to this point, I stopped and pondered. I have a bag of Noro Kureyon that was earmarked for this adventure, you see it in the middle. I wanted a blanket with potential to be as big as I wanted, so I decided to add a contrasting plain colour, cue some Ram Wools Selkirk: certainly not the softest yarn out there, but neither is Kureyon, and they are nearly identical in weight.
My original plan was something that looked like this:
The swampy-brown representing the Kureyon, of course... it will move from bright pink to electric teal, etc. This option has the benefit of having no finite end, therefore I can stop when I run out. I have enough extra selkirk to make a border of my choice.
Of course, a quilt would be lovely... cue option 2!
This would be stunning, no? But there is a finite end to this quilt, and knowing my luck, that end would come just after I run out of Kureyon...
I was too lazy to make a brand new template, so you will have to extrapolate for yourself. I haven't seen one done like this, but maybe there is a reason? Maybe this blanket would be unbalanced? This one of course ends when you want it to, so no yarn shortage looming here.
This is going to be a long-term need-some-boring-garter-stitch project, no deadlines.
Any ideas? I can't promise I will stick to your advice, but I would sure like to hear what you think!
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
There is another swatch, on larger needles. Still not loose enough. I am waiting to borrow larger needles. I have no need for bigger addis than the ones I have, at least not on a regular basis. We hates the gauge, yes we do!
In the meantime, I have been at loose ends. I finished Mike's Donegal Tweed hat, it needs a good blocking, but I can't seem to snatch it away, which is a good sign. I finished that Trekking sock which was kicking around, waiting for an in-person foot fitting...
There are many pictures, they are all this fuzzy. The trekking defies photography. But they fit! I love love love this yarn. I think the next pair of socks on the needles will be a pair for me.
Speaking of socks, for a while the subway sock was the only thing on the needles so they got some attention this weekend:
If these were for me, I would be done now! This is usually the point in the sock where I lose interest. I mean, the gusset decreases are done, right? Time for the toe... wait! I have to knit many inches of straight stockinette before I can start thinking about toes. Bah.
So I did what any self respecting knitter would do. I started a few other things, just to take the edge off from knitting with wee metal toothpicks.
I cast on for a sweater. It occurs to me that I asked for advice on what sweater to do after Kermit, gave two options, and this is neither one. This is in fact yarn that I had completely forgotten about, acquired at clearance prices sometime last year (?). It is Gedifra English Tweed, in a delightfully creamy pumpkin coloured mix of merino, angora, and nylon. It has that same two dimensional fabric effect as Felted Tweed, but it has a recommended gauge of 16 sts, which makes it a little easier to swallow in my current apathy. And did I mention the fact that it is orange? It looks so yummy that it begged a kitchen photo shoot. What shall I name her?
I am planning a fitted sweater with a deep v-neck, as this yarn is more than delicious enough to wear against skin. I am doing the sleeves first since I have to make some measurements from my closet regarding neck depth. I also have not made any decisions regarding edgings, hence the provisional cast on. I tried a twisted rib, but it looked very wonky.
I finished something else, and started something else too, but that will have to wait for a later post.
(Oh! The Spring Interweave preview is out, and I for one am excited!)
Monday, January 22, 2007
My next project will be a Manos hat!
The yarn was purchased at Romni Wools in Toronto. It was not a preplanned purchase, like I usually do. We were drooling over the Manos when I spotted one which I thought was a pretty close match to the Silk Garden I used for my Clapotis. Since the Manos is more purpley than my Clap I also got some pink Cotton Fleece to use as lining which will peek out a bit to supply the much needed pink element.
While taking these pictures at Heather's she accused me of being too symmetrical
My attempt at non-symmetry
The Cotton Fleece undressed! Look! It's naked!
I will swatch for my hat tonight because winter has finally come to Southern Ontario and I wear my Clap everywhere. It's high time I had a matching hat :)
Speaking of Clapotis, while out at dinner with our respective partners on Saturday, Heather and I (both proud members of the Clap-club) spotted a Clapotis out in the wild! It was a very exciting moment for us. We weren't able to recognize the yarn used and were too chicken to approach the wearer but it was still very cool.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
When I finished Tubey I was stuck as to what to knit next. I finally ended up casting on for a pair of Koigu socks to give myself something to knit on the trip to Toronto. I felt unsatisfied as a knitter because I was bereft of knitting projects. Luckily a trip to the yarn store with Heather solved that problem. But now I have a new problem: I have too much to knit!
I have Swallowtail on the needles which has been a UFO since August. I've abandoned it several times but now I have a reason to finish it; I want to wear it on Valentine's Day. So that means I need to knit at least a few rows on it a day. My question is what else I should be working on while finishing Swallowtail. Here is the list:
- Manos hat to match my Clapotis
- Granny's socks for her 90th
- Secret Odessa
- Finish Koigu sock
- Knit second Trekking sock (Thanks Heather for sock #1!)
- Stashbuster gloves in Silky Wool
My problem is I want to knit them all! Please help me out by voting on what else I should knit. Thanks :)
Friday, January 19, 2007
Finished Tubey in the floral department at the local Loblaws :)
(Please note that you are not "technically" allowed to take pictures in Loblaws. The kind florist lady said that we could do it as long as we were fast)
Just smellin' the flowers (I'd like to say that this picture lies and I do not have a big gut as it seems to show. That's all bulging fabric)
Tubey in all it's glory
This is, of course, Cassie Rovitti's Tubey knit in Mission Falls 1824 Wool (Natural, Teal and Mallow, I think). It was a pretty fast knit, done in 16 days. I love this wool; this is my second sweater made of it (and I have enough for a third). I think that this is my favourite handknit sweater (I especially like the bell sleeves) and I promise to wear it lots!
I tried on my sweater as I went along (the plus side to the unusual construction) to determine length and location of stripes. Unfortunately, MF is a very heavy wool, especially when wet so it stretched A LOT during the washing process. This resulted in a larger, or rather longer, garment that had been planned. I'll need to get the boyfriend's help next time to try to keep it in shape. Thank goodness for the elastic quality of wool.
I swatched for the first one. I really truly honestly did. There were witnesses. The swatch for this one is just inexplicably an entire stitch smaller per inch. I wasn't even particularly tense when knitting.. it is just inexplicable. I used up the first gauge in my race against yarn last time, so I can't go back and prove it, but I know what I know. Gauge lies.
So, while I continue on the quest for gauge, I have been philandering. In an effort to mitigate my sweater-guilt, all items currently on needles are also for Mike:
Subway sock! (Regia Canadian Colors 4748 Orion) I finally got my hands on a pair of Knitpicks classic circulars... nice flexible cord and a pleasant heft to the needles, nice price, but I got what I paid for. Within the first two inches of ribbing, I pulled the needle through to start a new row, and the cord separated from the needle, leaving 36 orphaned rib stitches dangling. Much cursing ensued. I stuck the cord back in, and I am now pushing the needle through rather than pulling, but I don't really feel that I should have to. To be clear, I am not a vicious knitter! I have only ever broken one needle, and it was a 2.25 birch dpn. Back to Addis I go!
Winter came this week, and with it came the realization that my husband is hatless. As the partner of a knitter/yarn hoarder, this is pretty rephrensible. Cue the skein of Debbie Bliss Donegal Chunky Tweed. I am using Knitting Fiend's spiral top-down pattern because I wanted to get as much hat as I could out of the one skein. I needn't have worried, there is tons left, and it already covers Mike's ears. I could have saved myself a lot of time if I had checked my gauge; I probably would have been done the first day. This seems to be a recurring theme. (I did a swatch for the socks!).
Adriana is here visiting today. I have a feeling it's going to be a knitty day!
Monday, January 15, 2007
To keep things interesting over here (and so that Heather doesn't have to do all the entertaining), I decided to take some pictures of the inside of Tubey. They didn't quite turn out how I had hoped (they ended up being more weird than artsy) but I'm going to show them to you anyways :)
Please stayed tuned for proper pictures of Tubey within the next few days.
"I love when my mama knits because I get to play with her yarn!"
Sunday, January 14, 2007
I have a very supportive husband. He not only tolerates the yarn habit, but against what surely must be his better judgement, he actually encourages it. He likes to ask about my stash yarns and what my plans are, he notices when I make progress, he takes pictures of me cavorting in a park while onlookers stare; in all a pretty good setup.
So, I wanted to repay his many kindnesses with some wooly interest: a sweater. He has lots of socks, even a scarf (oh how I despise knitting scarves) but never a sweater. Jamesey is on the needles, officially, but it might be nice for him to have a sweater some time before he retires.
First problem: I wanted it to be a surprise. Second problem, I only had a month before Christmas. Third and greatest problem: Mike is a very very snoopy man.
Most of the year, it can be waved off as curiosity and showing genuine interest. In the month or so preceeding Christmas and his birthday, it transforms our marriage into a cloak-and-dagger flurry of espionage and occasional tantrums. I love surprising. Mike loves snooping. I wanted to knit him a sweater. It was a conundrum.
But, being me, I started anyway. I remembered his measurements from Jamesey, acquired yarn, swatched, and cast on. I spent the weekend in London with Adriana feverishly knitting (then frogging, then reknitting...) and every day when Mike would go off to school I would leap out of bed and proceed to knit until he texted me to say he was on his way home, at which time I would fly around the apartment looking for telltale green yarn bits that he would surely notice (Hey, what's this? I didn't know you had a bulky yarn in this shade.) There were a few close calls, but as far as I know he never figured it out (and if that is not the case, he ain't telling!)
Then I realized I didn't have enough yarn.
After some depressed consultations with Adriana, I came to grips with the fact that a vest would not convey my love in the same way. I decided to finish the body and wrap up the remaining skeins with a promise of eventual sleeves. I finished the neck (looked a little small?) and wrapped it all up about ten minutes before he got home from his last day of school.
On Christmas morning, he ripped open his present and immediately tried it on. It was bad. Very bad. It is a testament to knitting denial that I continued to knit a lovely ribbed and cabled sweater without any real thought to how a clingy bulky alpaca sweater would look on its intended wearer. Just trust me when I say it was bad. There will be no pictures because I am trying to get the image of that my poor husband wearing that terrible sweater/vest out of my head.
If there was anything that needed a good frogging, it was this. I finally got up the nerve and wound the dreadful mistake right onto the ballwinder. Thank goodness I had the foresight to knit it in the round! I even got smart towards the end:
Yes, I do live in a sty.
Anyway, Mike is happy to get in on the design decisions this time around, and has requested cables all the way up the front, a smallish v-neck, and I am going for raglan sleeves this time.
We are all set! I think I shall name it Kermit.
And in case of a necessary distraction:
I love this book. I want to make every single thing in this book. Thank you Amazon, for your promotional coupon!
Saturday, January 13, 2007
Well, truthfully it was finished about 3:30 on Thursday afternoon. I just lacked another pair of hands to take pictures for me. And my usual photographer didn't get home before dusk either Thursday or Friday. Such are the hard times that befall us these short winter days. Even more apalling, it actually snowed last night! Really!
Anyway, we headed off to the park to get the shot I have been waiting for all these months:
See? Sweater named York? City of York? Get it? Even better, just a block or so over is Raglan Ave. Be prepared. There was a 'York Region' park bench that I wanted to get a shot of, but there was a guy sitting on it, and he just didn't seem to be the sharing type.
Yep, the sweater odyssey is over. I can't believe that a sweater this simple took so long to complete. A testament to a short attention span if ever I saw one.
But I don't regret a minute of it (well, except for having to rip back BOTH sleeves upon the discovery that the cast on edge was just too loosey-goosey for my own admittedly low standards).
York from Noro Knits (by Jane Ellison)
Noro Silk Garden 247, just under 8 balls
Started August 2006, finished January 11, 2007
Final word? LOVE IT!
One word of warning, though: I used almost an entire ball more than the pattern called for in my size. And there was a lot of this:
This drives me a little crazy at the best of times, but in Noro it is even worse because the breaks in the yarn ALWAYS break up colour patterns. Until I wised up and started spit-splicing, I had ends dangling from every edge. The thing is, I have knit two clapotises and a sweater previous with noro yarns, and the random knots are usually the exception, not the rule. Maybe this bag caught Mr. Noro on a bad day. Still, I love the yarn and wouldn't hesitate to use it again. And the sweater itself is extremely comfortable and wearable and well-fitting. Even despite the fact that I apparently missed part of the neck shaping on the fronts. Did I mention a short attention span?
So, as soon as I finish that trekking sock and Mike's sweater (wait, did I say finish the sweater? how about start?) then I can freely start on a whole new batch of knits for 2007!
Friday, January 12, 2007
My Granny is one of my favourite people to knit for. She adores everything I make for her and wears them all the time. Last year for Christmas I knit her a pair of socks which she wore so much that it was hard to get her to give them up for a weekend trip to me so I could double check the dimensions. This year's socks are made of Austermann Step with aloe and jojoba oil; nothing but the best for my Granny.
Granny reclining on the couch in her new socks (note the cool glowing cane!)
Close up on the socks. The long colour blocks were boring to me so I made the socks fraternal twins to spice things up!
I'm pleased to report that these socks are a hit! Granny wore them every day from Christmas on. I got a call from my mom early in January to say that she finally managed to pry them away from Granny in order to wash them :)
When I was packing to come home I couldn't bring much beyond the essentials since my uncle had to squeeze 4 adults and a cat into his little Honda Civic. As a result I couldn't bring any projects home with me beyond a pair of socks. Once those were complete I offered to knit my mom a cool hat and she happily agreed. We hit up the local Michaels (my hometown is sadly lacking in a LYS) to get supplies to feed my cravings.
I decided to make my mom a Fake Isle hat with Patons SWS in Natural Plum and Patons Classic Merino in Purple. It was a fairly fast pattern and a lot of fun. We ran into disaster when I finished and tried it on mom only to discover that the point at the top stuck out a full 2 inches beyond her head. After ripping back and doing more rapid decreases it was done at 6pm on Christmas Eve (apparently I'm all about dramatic completion times).
Mom showing off her new favourite hat (notice she's still wearing her Christmas sweater even though this picture was taken days later)
Gotta love those decreases.
Time to get back to Tubey. I've had to rethink my striping plan due to fear of running out of yarn. Hopefully I'll have something to show off soon.