Now, where were we…

Due to some computer issues (read: it died a fast & furious death. We barely got the files we wanted off it) posting came to a dead stop and now I am so very behind I am seriously considering not trying to play catch up…but then again, this is precisely the time when photo heavy posts are good.

I was on quite a sweater roll for the first bit of the year, it has since dried up like the Sahara…not sure what happened, perhaps it was indecision or the never ending grind of this winter sucking the life out of me either way, it took a bit to find a few projects that I didn’t lose interest in.

January was the MadTosh Golden Wheat Cardi which has seen A LOT of wear, mainly at work where the non knitters I work with were duly impressed that it was handmade. You could almost see the thought process of “that’s really nice, I had no idea patterns like that were available….hmmmm perhaps I should try knitting?”. I still need to get a decent photo of me wearing it.

In February, I knit Strokkur. I’ve been a little obsessed with Iceland for the past few years & hope to visit (or just move there) one day…until such time I will have to occupy myself with knitting Lopapeysa’s…Strokkur is knit using the lighter Lett Lopi which makes for a less bulky sweater than you would get with AlafossLopi (love this yarn too!)

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There is one project I am slowly chipping away at, but as it’s a gift so photos will not be happening. Have no idea when it will be done, but the plan is for Christmas…hopefully before then. This is the yarn pile for it…it’s ALL FINGERING WEIGHT!!! I will be knitting it forever!

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My current transit project is coming along nicely & would be further along if I remembered my headphones more often. I like to listen to audio books and podcasts, specifically CraftLit (it’s the perfect combination of podcast & audiobook) during my commute. This is mainly to prevent people from trying to chat me up, asking how much I would charge to make (fill in the blank) for them or my personal favourite: “why are you wasting your time making something you can just buy for $10”  (answer: because I’m a better person than you are!) during the only time I can sit, knit & listen to a few chapters without interruption by kids, chores or dog.

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Pattern: From Afar

Yarn: Handmaiden Bess

Colourway: possibly Cedar? the labels never list the colour name.

I did manage to finally cast of a near year old project. I have named it “Your Mum Thinks Your Girlfriend Sucks”

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Pattern: Color Affection

The yarn: A sampling of Indigodragonfly Sock yarns.

Colourways: Tiny Bloodsucking Dancer, Sailor Bait: The Official Lipstick of the 2012 Walk of Shame & Slutty Thursday Afternoon Things.

My plan is to get back into a semi regular schedule of updating things, we’ll see how long this lasts…

 

 

 

Prep for Rhinebeck 2013

I figure I’ll have more success posting more often if I keep the posts short & photo heavy…or that’s the theory/delusion I’m working with.

Rhinebeck 2013 is fast approaching,  as of this typing – 6 days away! I am beyond thrilled with this impending short break from reality. It has been two years since I was last there & I had a blast, so the bar is set fairly high.

There are 8 of us who have rented a house in Hudson, New York. It’s roughly 30-40 (depending on your map) minutes North of Rhinebeck proper. Two of the house mates I haven’t seen since the last trip & 2 I have never met, but they come highly praised.

As time ticks closer to our departure, I’m working my way though the check list:

Passport is current.

Have actual grown-up luggage.

Completed Rhinebeck Sweater: Dressage from Twist Collective Yarn: Malabrigo Mecha in Solis colourway.

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Since taking this photo, I have ripped back the i-cord bind-off & added 3″ of rib as I kept feeling like the sweater was hikking up my backside.

Still to get:

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Hendricks Gin (will pick up at the Duty Free on way down) – Gin & Tonic has become the unofficial drink of whatever house we are staying at for Rhinebeck.

Finally narrow down my shopping list to keep to my budget.

Research the requirements for transporting a sheep across the border… Have already promised my car mates that I will not buy a sheep (or as I like to call them: Proto Sweaters) to bring home (although I am not new to transporting sheep in cars) but I will be looking at sheep for my future plan to sell up in the city, buy a plot of land, have a Hobbit Hole/cob house built and to keep a spinners flock & some chickens (I shall name them ALL Lola!). Other than the Hobbit Hole, my Dad is on board with my idea, the kids are all over this plan. Chris & my Mum think I’m a bit daft, but that’s really just par for the course.

Oh…I’ve been a busy bee

My plan to post more often went completely off the rails, but for good reason! I’ve been a busy little crafting bee!

It started with my turning 6 pairs of pants into knickerbockers. I’m planning on posting how I did this at a later date, but really it was pretty dead easy. I need to pick up some fun knee high argyle socks to complete my English Estate look and perhaps get a few Oxfod Cloth Button-down shirts & cravats so I can look like a complete Blue Blood tosser!

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Then I finished Innisfil. I wore it to the Knitters Frolic and received a few compliments which left me chuffed as it’s nice to have your hard work appreciated by complete strangers.

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On the tails of my knickerbocker success I set about sewing up some new spring frocks. Two have been finished thus far (one on black linen & one in red linen) using Sonya Phillips pattern from the 100 Acts of Sewing project she did last year. (not the greatest shots, I know, but my camera battery was dead and had to use the mobile camera.) Both dresses have already seen a lot of wear & I need to get cracking on the purple version. I can totally see this dress becoming a staple of my wardrobe and I have plans to sew a few heavier wool versions for cooler weather. This is a super easy pattern and really good for a beginning sewer as you just have 4 seams and a hem. If making your own bias tape is a bit intimidating, you can use store bought.

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I have also finished a Hugin & Munin shawl, there is no photo as it will probably become a Christmas present.

This massive upsurge in creative production has been the best therapy, things have been busy around here which has led to my not getting out to socialize as much as I should/need. Being able to hunker down in the Girl Cave and emerge a few hours later with a new dress or take to the couch with my knitting at the end of the day has given me a nice sense of accomplishment, some new skills and taken the edge off my lack of socializing. The only real down side from this flurry of activity is I’m getting more ideas for projects than I have hours in the day and with the Summer Break looming about 6 weeks off I’m going to miss this time…perhaps I’ll institute a Afternoons are for Crafting rule while the kids are at home…

 

 

The colour of Spring.

A few days into Spring and Toronto is cold, overcast & getting semi regular bits of snow. This is no where near seasonal temperatures and I’ve yet to see a single brave crocus peeking out of the ground. I did see a Robin Red Breast last week…it appeared to be very put out with the weather & indignantly screeching from it’s branch, if it had a fist, I imagine it would shake it at the sky yelling “Come off it you twat! I did not sign up for this shit!”

I rather agree with the Robin’s rage, but as my neighbours already think me a bit odd I figured screaming at the elements from my front porch would just add fuel to their self righteous fires. To keep the seasonal ennui & exhaustion at bay and to remind myself that it really truly can’t be winter forever & one day I will see the Sun again, I have been knitting a lovely Spring green cardi…it seems to be helping, at least until I set foot out doors…

Back in December, the lovely Laura was wearing a fabulous cardi during one of her last shifts at LettuceKnit. I was rather taken with it, it had nice shaping, was seamless (one day I will get over my seaming issues, today is not that day) and there was a fancy cable down the back. A few weeks back, Laura published the pattern for said cardi as Innisfil , and I couldn’t have been happier. I was in desperate need of a good knit that wasn’t a hat or cowl (I had been on a bit of a hat & cowl jag to try to alleviate the end of Winter blues) and would remind me that one day I will be warm. The stash was tossed & some well aged Rowanspun Aran was chosen and I got down to business…I was making great progress until March Break where a week with my kids paired with a 7 day stretch of shifts and almost 70k visitors at work sucked all the energy out of me and the knitting ground to a screeching halt.

To get back on track, I took my 2 days off this past week to recover from the previous week, watch way too much QI with my beloved Stephen Fry, hide from society at large and knit.

I must say, I’m happy with the progress and should have a completed sweater soon-ish.

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This green seems to fight being properly photographed, but trust me, it’s very nice.

Yet another chunk of time flies by…

I’m quite convinced that time is having a serious go at me or it’s my stellar lack of organization…probably the latter & I should get back into the “To Do List” habit as that keeps me on track.

Since I last blogged, I have been a semi busy crafter, I have a goal to get the stash down to a reasonable size so I can make better use of my Girl Cave and so far it seems to be working. I’m only buying supplies if all attempts to use stash yarn has failed and even then I have a serious think about if I really need to make the project in question or if there is something in my Ravelry queue that would be a better choice to work with the stash.

Since New Year it has been quite the roller coaster here, between the broken washer, perpetually sick kids (one of whom has recently busted out  in all over hives), leaking newly renovated basement and most recently the passing of a grandmother, I’m ready to call 2013 a complete write off! Through out all this insanity I have kept myself mostly sane (there have been a few break downs) by knitting up a storm…my plans to show everything with photos is not going to happen as the camera battery is in need of charging & if I wait for that, I will never get this long over due post up.

In a nut shell, since January, scarves, hats & a set of hot pink legwarmers (ie: instant gratification projects) have been flying off the needles as well as a red Bulle for Abi and I’m also dealing with the groaning pile of WIPs before the kids out grow the assorted sweaters in there I started Gods only know how long ago!

It wasn’t all knitting though, I managed to get Edna II warped & have been puttering away on her, unfortunatly as the basement can get quite cold, sitting at the loom long enough to accomplish more than a few inches weaving before my hands are too cold to catch the shuttle is a challenge. However, the coolness of the basement bodes well for lots of time spent down there once the heat of Summer hits! In the mean time, I have woven two scarves on Filipe, both using unspun fibers for the weft.

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Silk hankies from WoolieBullie for the weft & Viola Viola lace weight warp. I spent two days attenuating the hankies (awesome Knitty article on working with silk hankies) & winding them onto a stick shuttle.

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After the success of that scarf, I busted out some Fiber Optic Yarns pencil roving I bought at Rhinebeck 2 years ago and a skein of Northbound Knitting fingering weight for another go.

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I’m quite chuffed with this one!

As I have a bunch more unspun fibers in my stash, I’m plotting a few more scarves…this will be the next one:

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Northbound Knitting silk hankies & fingering weight yarn…it’s going to be lovely!

I’ve started a Shetland Ruffle scarf/shawl using 2 balls of Jawoll Magic in graduated shades of purple, grey & black as my new TTC project & an Innisfil cardi using some of the oldest yarn in my stash, Rowanspun aran in a nice Springy green.

Let’s see if I can get these two done in a respectable amount of time & get back to a semi regular blogging schedule…

 

 

Wild Hair

More often that is probably good for me I get “ideas” which quickly become “obsessions” or as I like to call them “Wild Hairs up my Butt”. These “hairs” most often have a fiber/textile focus, in my pre-fiber junkie days they covered the gamut from piercings to learning guitar, Chris is much happier that I have a focuse now. A friend once theorized that these obsessions are probably a low level manifestation of manic depression seeing as I have a family history of that illness. It’s an interesting theory, there may be some stock in it, but that’s besides the point. The point is that I have a wild hair up my butt that should last me through the summer and it’s pretty awesome!

Allow me to outline my plan (which contrary to Dr. Steph’s plan, it will not be me giving all my Indigodragonfly yarn to her!):  Kim dyes yarn, she dyes REALLY AWESOME YARN! and she & her man Ron give these yarns REALLY AWESOME NAMES! Put awesome yarn colours with awesome colourway names and have these awesome yarns made by a local-ish (based in Haliburton) small company, my resistance becomes futile. The fact that Kim and Ron are REALLY AWESOME PEOPLE is just icing on the cake & I think I just used up my awesome quota for this post…

It appears I have amassed a respectable collection of this AWESOME YARN (sorry, needed one more), a fair amount of which is fingering to lace weight and I’m fond of shawls, put these two things together and I’m feeling a Summer of Shawls coming on. I’ve made stabs at Summers of Shawls in the past & failed miserably mostly due to over commitment & a complete inability to accept that I cannot bend the space time continum to suite my needs. Drawing on these previous failures and my brand new mad knitting beaded lace skills I picked up in a recent beaded lace class with Laura Nelkin at Lettuceknit, I’ve set a goal (that sounds much better than ‘a plan’) of knitting three shawls with Indigodragonfly yarn between now & Labour Day.

The Shawl & yarn combos are as follows:

Aestlight Shawl using MCN Lace, Drusilla colourway – I started this in September 2011, it some how got buried in the Closet of Shame where it was excavated from the stash during the big stash organization binge I went on in January. I’ve hit a tricky part that I can’t quite make sense of yet which was probably why it was set aside way back when.

Colour Affection Shawl Of Nerd Awesomness using MCN Sock, Did I Listen to Pop Music Because I was Miserable or was I Miserable Because I Listened to Pop Music; and two skeins of  Merino Sock in Also, I can Kill you with my Brains and Bunnies, Bunnies! It must be bunnies! This shawl combines two of my favourite nerd/geek shows & a favourite book/movie.

The last shawl is Faberge, using a skein of MCN Sock in Did I listen to Pop Music… and a skein of Merino Sock in Slutty Thursday Things & it’s got beads! I have some charcoal seed beads but after the class with Laura, I’m concerned that the metallic lining on these beads may wear off & cause problems with the yarn or bleed/leach something onto the shawl. I really should just steele myself for a run up to BeadFX for the type of beads Laura reccomended and bring along a non crafting person who will slap my hand when I get distracted by something shiney or start getting “ideas” then before I know it, I’m some how $100 lighter than when I came in.

With my bathroom reno coming to an end and with it the subsequent chaos & upheaval it creates in ones life, I plan to get back to a semi regular blogging & crafting schedule as I have quite the backlog of stuff to show & tell like how I finished my first big weaving project, the new veggie patch & probably some other stuff…

 

 

 

It’s pronounced Nupp, like Sup

Last night I attended an advanced beaded lace knitting class with Laura Nelkin at LettuceKnit. In addition to learning how to incorporate beads into my lace work, I learned the gentle art of the nupp, the nemisis of many a lace knitter. They are tricky little buggars but I think I have it!

Sorry about the crap photo, but the proper camera battery is currently charging.

The class was well timed as I have a little plan/goal I’m setting for myself for the summer and the tips & tricks I picked up in the class will serve me well…

 

 

So I have these sock yarns…

Every so often I come across a sock yarn I really fancy. I fancy it so much that I forget that I am not all that fond of knitting socks as I suffer from a serious case of second sock syndrome. This could easily be solved by wrapping my brain around the technique of knitting one sock inside the other like that character from War & Peace, but right now, socks just aren’t my thing, not that it has stopped me from buying sock yarn in the past with the hope that things will change.

Since nothing has changed vis a vie my relationship with knitting socks and I’m holding to my New Year’s resolution to reduce the stash & purchase yarn only when absolutely nothing on hand will work, I’m coming up with alternative uses for my sock yarns. The loom has been the most usefull sock yarn stash buster and consequently a few gifts have been ticked off a list, but I have a few balls of single ply sock yarns that are not the best for warping a loom as they just don’t hold together under tension & it’s broken warp-a-palooza surrounded by a cloud of some of the foulest language possible.

Ravelry, however, has some really great ideas for none sock or weaving uses for these few balls of sock yarn…

 

As I’m also itching for a new transit/travel project that is a little more exciting than what I’m currently working on I believe I may have the perfect solution! I just have to decide between Summit, Wellenbaktus, Spectra, Creekbed, Daybreak or Akimbo (I’m not sure about you, but I’m sensing a theme…) or Coquille.

 

 

 

 

 

Sarah Lund Sweater

The husbeast & I have an inside joke that Sarah Lund’s full name really should be Sarah Lund Life Ruiner! If you watch the show it will all make sense…or not.

It appears that her sweater should have a similar name…after knitting the body to the armpits, I’ve come to accept that the gauge swatch was a filthy liar! The sweater is already baggy & will grow to epic 80s porportions with blocking. Wasn’t all that fond of the 80s when I lived through them the first time and am even less fond of the current attempt by BIG FASHION to bring it back. I will not suffer bad 80s style sweaters in my house!

The sweater will be frogged and the yarn repurposed for Warriston, which will hopefully fit properly!

By the way, have a look at the fairisle blanket in the banner of Kate Davies (designer of Warriston) blog…It’s called Rams & Yowes, I kinda love it, a lot and Jamieson & Smith sell kits for it!!! It would be a nice birthday gift if anyone is paying attention!

 

Recovery

This past weekend in Ontario (and a few other provinces) it was Family Day weekend & in the States it was Presidents Day. These two holidays combined made for a VERY busy weekend at work, according to the “Thank you” email sent out by my boss to my department, there were just shy of 19000 visitors. That’s a butt load of people, there was a line out the door that snaked around the corner of the building till about 3:30 each day. To say the least I am tired, my throat is sore and I’m finding the silence and solitude of my house very, very delicious!

After crazy busy weekends like this (we will see numbers like this during the Holiday break in December, March Break, Family day, the last weekend of a very popular exhibit etc) I will spend a day just in recovery. Minimal house work will be done, dinner will be a slow cooker affair & I will take to the couch for some knitting & guilty pleasure TV until the ringing in my ears stops (it gets so loud sometimes I’m reminded of being in a nightclub) & I feel like encountering humanity again.

My recovery knitting will be the Sarah Lund Sweater I started last week. The pattern that was released as part of the series 3 of The Killing announcement was in a typically European fashion really light on the instructions. I have a theory for why this is, from what I understand knitting is taught as part of the curriculum in a number of Scandinavian (and a few other countries) public schools as it helps childrento develop a number of skills (math, small motor etc). As with any skill one develops early, there are techniques & habits that become second nature and never occur to the knitter to include those instructions. Anyone who has tried to learn a cherished family recipe from their Grandma or Great Aunt knows of what I speak! Frustrated with the pattern, I did what any sane knitter would do, I turned to Elizabeth Zimmermann. Armed with my copy of Knitting Without Tears, a sweater that had been knit out of the same yarn acted as a giant gauge swatch, a calculator, some graph paper, measuring tape and a very large mug of Rooibos De Provence I got down to business. Measurement were taken &  numbers crunched, I did this a few times as there is nothing worse than getting 3/4 of a way through a sweater only to realize it’s 2 sizes too big or 2 small! After my third round of consistent numbers, I got to work using Elizabeth’s fail proof (unless you totally effed up your math!) Percentage System to knit my sweater from the hem up. The chart for the snowflake pattern at the yoke required a bit of tinkering to get the numbers right, but then I was good to go.

I’m a pretty dedicated no seams knitter (one of these days I will get over it, but for now I’m happy), I hate seams mainly because I’m terrible at it and being a curvy gal, I hate the bulk they can sometimes add to a garment. I like my sweaters to be knit with no seams and a nice amount of waist shaping to eliminate that unfortunate boxy look some of us were terrorized with in the 1980s.  Elizabeth has you start your sweater from the bottom hem, I’v only knit one sweater like this before so I’m lacking a bit of confidence in the sweater coming out like I imagine, but we will have to see. The nice thing about seamless sweaters is you can try them on as you knit and tweak as necessary. This is also why I have a preference for toe-up socks.

I’m knitting the sweater with about 2″ of positive ease so I can get a long sleeve shirt underneath it and pair it with my puffy vest to double as a winter “coat” on those days when my jacket would be too warm but my trench would be too light. The yarn is that most beloved Cascade Ecological, great yarn with excellent yardage for the 20$ a skein price tag, I can easily get a sweater out of 2 skeins, 3 if I do cables. Can’t really argue with a $40 handknit sweater!

I expect by the time I need to leave to pick up the kids, I should be done with my waist shaping and the sleeves will become my travel project as I’m almost done my current one.

This will have it’s own post shortly…

Providing I don’t run into any silly errors with my Sarah Lund Sweater, I just might be able to beat my current record of knitting a sweater in 16 days and then will start in on a sweater for my Dad which he has been patiently waiting for since I gave him an “I O U a sweater” card as his Christmas gift about 3 years ago. Which remindes me, Mum: I need his chest measurments!