Monthly Archives: March 2007

Dangit

(Knit the Classics picks)

I finished The Blind Assassin today at lunch – in the end I quite enjoyed it, although I may have to go back for a bit of a re-read. Is it just me or do some of the final plot reveals come out of flaming nowhere? Most of it I was intrigued by, though. Oh, Margaret Atwood, you so crazeh. I think it is tied with The Woman in White for my favourite pick so far, and although I haven’t knitted anything to tie into either book it wasn’t for lack of ideas. Also, as a pair I think they are interesting glimpses into feminist critique of very different centuries. Brideshead Revisited was fine, but I don’t think the narrative style grabbed me quite so much. It lacked something…more like I was reading several short novels than one whole one.

The Joy Luck Club is up next for April, and would ya lookie there, I am ahead by almost a full week. And it is a good thing I am finishing something around here, because there’s a dire lack of knitting finishing. I’ve been felled by dreaded knitting injury.

(Ice pack on my elbow. Woe, woe is me…)

I’d like to say this past weekend was to blame (and it is true, I did quite a bit of knitting this weekend, trying desperately to finish things and make way for new projects), but in fact I think it is the cumulative result of 2 heavy knitting weekends in a row, without enough ease-up time. I felt the symptomatic stiffness last week, but stupidly ignored it. And alas, now my cruel world has been sans knitting for the past 48 hours. Woe. Is this what it’s like for the rest of the world, people who don’t knit? How can people live like this every day of their lives? I can’t even talk about it.

So, with any luck I’ll be able to get ye olde needles and yarn out again tomorrow night, as I am hoping to get out to the knitting night again and possibly cast on for Poppy. In the mean time, I suppose there are other things I can do besides knit, right? Par example…

(Mmm. MMMM.)

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Filed under injury, knit the classics

Lost Objects


I think, had it not been for Project Spectrum encouraging me to notice colour in my daily life, I would not have stopped to notice a few other things – or perhaps I would have noticed, but I might not have felt as compelled to take photographic evidence. (Did anyone see me with my camera? What must they have been thinking…)


My main form of transportation is walking, and even on my daily route through the same neighbourhoods, and in the same buildings on campus, new lost objects always seem to turn up. These aren’t usually handknits, but all the same, it is always clear that some person has taken the care and attention to notice someone’s dropped scarf, hat, or mitten, and display it by the wayside where it might be noticed and found again.



I always wonder if anyone ever reclaims these items. Does the owner realize where they dropped them? Do they just get blown into the gutter and trampled into oblivion? Often I look again the next day and the same objects aren’t there anymore.


I wonder how many hats or mittens a city collects like this over the course of a winter. Do some of them reappear in the spring when the snow melts? Hm. Fleeting curiosities.

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Filed under non-knitting, project spectrum

Oh to be in New York

I still can’t believe I live in the same freakin’ city as the Yarn Harlot and have never actually met her. One of these days, maybe…

Anyhow, y’all have read today’s post by Kay at Mason-Dixon, right? If not, go and read! She has fantastic photos (and accompanying lyrics) from Part 1 of the ‘Represent’ NYC tour launch.
Also, I just had to pass on this small piece of the story from a friend of mine – she lives in New York and left work early just to go see the Yarn Harlot’s speech at the Fashion Institute (where apparently 600+ knitters showed up to represent). Some on-the-ground education of non-knitters:

But the most amusing part of my day was when I told boss where I was going when I was leaving early. Now, my boss knows my obsession with knitting. And he sort of has prior experience b/c his stepsister knits. But leaving work at 3 to go see a knitter give a speech? WHATEV! So I told him to call his sister while i waited and tell her where I was going. He looked at me strangely, but humored me (I had pointy sticks in my hands!). And so he told her “ok, she’s going to see someone called the Yarn Harlot”. Well his sister (who lives in [a far away city]), screamed so loudly that boss had to quickly pull the phone away from his ear. Turns out she loves Steph and was pissed that she would be so far away. I just smiled at boss and went my merry way, having proved my point that this was something worth leaving work early.

More, more, more. I can’t wait to read more stories on the knitterly interwebs…

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Soon, my pretties.

Soon.

(This is a Poppy-in-waiting.)

Soon…

(This is a pair of Clessidra socks. Pre-assembly.)

Soon, my pretties. I can only resist yarn for so long.

PS – I am insanely green with envy to hear about what’s going to happen today when the Yarn Harlot takes Manhattan. Come on NY knitters, show the muggles we mean business.

PS #2 – Meg has an awesome finished Ivy and she even wrote down her mods to adjust sizing for her petite frame.

PS #3 – why isn’t it Friday yet?

PS #4 – (Which should have been #3 but I forgot until later) I have to say that this is my new favourite podcast. The ladies at Stash and Burn could not be lovelier, and I am sad they only have 8 podcasts so far. I think I’ve already gone through all of them, le sigh.

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Knitting on the brain

Thank you so much for all the lovely comments on my finished EBTKS! It’s such a fun sweater. Everyone could make them. A couple of you were well-meaning enough to comment on how nice it must be to use up all my leftovers! Well, yes and no. I did use a lot of yarn in the sweater, but I still have this left behind:

(Hello, we’re your stash of oddball leftovers that hasn’t quite gone away.)

But now that the the EBTKS has made me aware of this presence, well, it might just be wrist-warmers and knitted change purses ahoy. Gotta be somethin’ to do with all of this, and all in good time.

In other news, my sister recently posted about her tales From The Land of Unfinished, so if you should happen to have knitterly sympathy and are interested in someone new for your Bloglines, do go over and say howdy ;) She also tells of her book purchases – I also added 2 books to the library last week. One was the book Folk Socks, by Nancy Bush. It is, of course, a fabulous collection of sock and knee-high stocking patterns, inspired by many different European textile traditions. Like Lolly, I am indeed smitten with the Norwegian stocking pattern:

(Norwegian stockings, from Folk Socks, by Nancy Bush)

I have no idea where I’d wear ‘em (although they’d darn sure keep my legs warm under my jeans in the cold snaps like we had this past February – oie…), but I want them. There is also a pattern for knee-high kilt hose, which quite frankly I would have merely flipped past in the book had I not already seen these pictures of a finished pair being worn. I think I might have gasped as I followed Lolly’s link to those socks of Terri’s. They are gorgeous, covetable, and 100% the reason why I purchased the book.

The book has other benefits, not the least of which is that it devotes several pages to a written history of sock and stocking knitting, and then several more pages on technique. She shows how to knit a basic sock and then shows you the difference between a few kinds of toes and heels. There is a great deal of knowledge contained in such a small volume.

My only significant complaint about this book is that it contains a dire lack of measurements – the patterns are only given general statements like, “sized for a man,” or “sized for a woman.” Well, but how many inches in leg circumference are you assuming a man or a woman has? It makes it very difficult to know how to substitute yarn or change gauge or add stitches as necessary, without knowing what the frame of reference is.

The other book I ordered was Viking Patterns for Knitting by Elsebeth Lavold. I borrowed my friend K’s copy last August, and even though I know I won’t get to knitting anything from this book any time in the very near future, I had to have my own copy to lick ogle and pore over on my own. I am completely taken with the ‘Ragna’ sweater pattern, and the cover pattern ‘Hervor’ is also beautiful. One of these days I may completely snap, buy an armload of Canadian wool (preferably something purple and heathery), and cast on for one of these. Well, or at least I could, once I get one small mishap cleared up:



Now, I know we knitters love to multi-task, but I don’t think we’ve reached the point where we are capable of actually knitting 2 patterns simultaneously. No, you’re not seeing things in these pics – the copy I received contains a horrific misprint, where about a dozen pages are printed like this with text and image from 2 pages contained in one. Several of the patterns are unscathed (including my precious Ragna), but still – this won’t do. I’ve contacted the book people and requested a replacement copy.

And finally, Happy Birthday wishes to Kelly, who also deserves congrats on the fabulous cabled sweater she just finished for her husband. He looks happy to be wearing it (as he rightly should, of course), and it is a lovely piece. Happy Tuesday to all…

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Filed under book review, books

Ta-da!

HOO-RAY!
(Pardon the bleary morning expression…)


Et le-voila, c’est fini…


Pattern: Everything But the Kitchen Sink sweater, from the book Yarnplay, by Lisa Shobhana Mason. In true ‘kitchen sink’ fashion, the body and each sleeve are different. My only modifications were to add an inch of ribbing and another inch on the body (adding 2 inches of length overall).
Needles: 5 mm circulars (for the body) and straights (for the sleeves)
Cast on: February 21, 2007
Cast off: March 16, 2007
Finishing: I worked the sleeves flat instead of in the round, so that required an extra bit of seaming time, then sewing the raglan sleeves together and working a collar. After that I just had to trim any loose ends on the inside – I wove in the ends as I knitted, thank goodness. I cannot imagine having to finish a sweater like this only to have to weave in what must be hundreds and hundreds of ends. It short-circuits the brain just thinking about it.
Yarn: 25(ish) different yarns. With the exception of 2 that I purchased to even out the palette a little bit, all yarns were either leftovers sitting in the stash, or single/half-balls of yarn snagged from projects-in-waiting that I thought could manage to miss 50 yards or so. These yarns included:

Philosopher’s Wool 2-ply worsted
- jade
- raspberry
- navy
- periwinkle blue
- light blue heather
- dark purple heather
- light purple heather
- maroon
Elann Quecha (held doubled)
- saxony teal
Elann Pamir
- black raspberry
Elann Highland Silk
- celadon
- calypso green
Knit Picks Andean Silk
- sangria
- hollyberry
Knit Picks Swish Superwash
- bordeaux
- wisteria
Plymouth Encore worsted
- hunter green
Patons Classic Merino wool
- light grey mix
- royal purple
- teal green
- old rose
- new denim
Debbie Bliss Cashmerino
- eggplant
- light blue (ish)
Patons Decor
- lilac

So, there’s a mix of ho-hum and luxury in here. There are likely more yarns than these, but these are the most I can remember by looking at it. It’s fantastic. I could indeed have easily cast on for a size smaller, but the way it is now fits fine, after all my fretting. It’ll be a comfy, cozy, gorgeous sweater – and no one else has one like it! Ha-HA!



And then to celebrate, I started a new sock.

(Basic cuff-down sock pattern, 2.75mm DPNs, Austermann Step)

Ah, if only Sundays didn’t have to make the weekend end. ;)

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Filed under everything but the kitchen sink, finished object: sweater

Fridays are for Finishing

I did it, I did it, hoo-ray…The EBTKS sweater now has 2 sleeves and a body. Now, just to do some seaming and a collar and that baby will be finished!


I’m hoping the sizing will come out all right in the end, here’s crossing the fingers.

In other news, since I commented last week about loving the Clessidra sock pattern so much, I noticed that my blog was getting hits from people google-searching for “Clessidra knitalong”. And there wasn’t one. And, darnit all, I wouldn’t mind a Clessidra knitalong either! So I decided to start one. We’ve got 4 people so far and I’m sure there will be more. I won’t be able to start the socks for another week or two at least, but I’m very happy to live vicariously through others! Go on and tell your friends, Knitalongs are all about the-more-the-merrier ;)

On Tuesday I went and waited at the Passport office (for 2 hours, a mercifully short time compared to the 5+ hours people were dealing with not too long ago – thank you, new US border regs), and read a bit of The Blind Assassin for this month’s Knit the Classics selection. I also knitted another purple tube. It’s always amazing to me how many people don’t bring things with them to occupy their time while they wait. I think I was the only knitter in the room, but there were plenty of others waiting with books, newspapers, crossword puzzles, toys for the kids…why just stare off into space? Oh well.


Then on Wednesday I went to knit night at Lettuce Knit, and may finally be getting over my Irrational Shyness of knitting groups. I sat between David and Elizabeth, who are fabulous conversationalists. Elizabeth also had her niece and daughter with her since it was March Break, and they were learning how to purl. And, Elizabeth showed me the socks-on-2-circulars method! Woo hoo, new skills, baby!


Those are her hands in the photo, showing off my 1/2-inch of progress after fixing a mistake – I ended up with all the stitches on one needle, which I’m told is a common mistake. I’m not ready to totally give up all my DPNs yet, but I will definitely keep giving this a try. I just need a 2nd 2.5mm Addi so I won’t have to have permanent custody of Elizabeth’s.

AND, finally, I’m pleased to say I found out this morning that a pattern of mine will indeed be featured in a forthcoming issue of MagKnits. Hoo-ray! I think I’ll have a cup of tea to celebrate.

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Filed under everything but the kitchen sink, lettuce knit

New pastures

So, I was knitting a sock with some Apple Laine Apple Pie yarn, which is gorgeous and silky and lovely, and was even well into the 2nd sock before I decided to just rip the sucker. I was trying a stranded colourwork pattern and while the Apple Pie stuff is beautiful, it’s a wee bit plump and has a bit of a halo on it, so I don’t think it’s ideal for stranded work. I considered just casting right on for a simple stockinette basic sock, but have decided just to let it sit and think for a bit – along with some pink Knit Picks Essential that is recovering from a past rip.

(Sock yarn – It’s sort of like coffee table art, right?)

And in any case, letting that sock project go means that I have a spot free on my still-only-2-projects-long WIP list, which was just fine with me. Since the beginning of January I’ve had oodles of new project and design ideas and hadn’t allowed myself to indulge them due to the lengthy WIP list, etc. Well, the time for indulging has finally come.

(A pile of purple Andean Silk)

Right now it looks like a bunch of weird purple tubes, but I dearly hope and pray promise it will turn into something fantabulous.

All of this is to distract you from the fact that I have no EBTKS progress shot because it would be laughable. I’m still not quite done the ribbing on the second sleeve. But with the internet as my witness, I will not make another blog post until I have finished that darned second sleeve. Now, if only I could do something about this whole, “it’s Monday again” thing, that’d be awesome…

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Some is better than none

This is the current progress shot of my EBTKS:

(Sleeve #2.)

I’m very excited about it.
Well all right, I admit I’m hitting that wall of project ennui – it’s 80% done, can’t it just finish itself? But I shall persevere, and I’ll be able to devote more knitting time in the next couple of days, and then the weekend will help. And I do still have the Poppy sweater to think about while there’s still a shred of hope of being able to knit more sweaters while the weather is cold. (I think I heard tell of a late spring following our late winter weather arrival, so perhaps there is still hope.) Also, I need a new project to liven up this blog – I see now that this is the downside of limiting my projects! Less blog fodder.

In other news, (for the two people who haven’t seen it yet) the new Knitty is up, and I am drooling over the Clessidra pattern! There are some other fun sock patterns – give it up for BMP, would ya? Come on, space invaders socks. That’s pretty frikkin’ brilliant. I give this issue two thumbs up.

I’m not looking forward to my work, but at least the weekend will be here soon, so that is a win. Happy Thursday!

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Beware the bar codes

In my quest to get my head together I’ve been trying to schedule a good amount of work time in my carrell at the main library here on campus. This works really well if I have knitting or other things to bait myself – If I get in [x amount of time/work] before lunch I can read while I eat, If I get in [x amount of time/work] after lunch then I can have a knitting break at mid-to-late afternoon, that sort of thing. Also, the cafeteria and accompanying common space was recently outfitted with a lot of new dining tables and a few clusters of armchairs, so overall it’s a more pleasant space to sit in that it was a few months ago.

Now, in order to get to this space and exit the stacks, or to exit the building from the main floor, you have to go through the library equivalent of metal detectors, designed to stop you from leaving the library with uncharged materials. Yesterday, I got stopped by these contraptions three times – and I do mean stopped; if the sensors go off, the little hinged barrier you would normally push aside and walk through immediately locks down, so instead you slam into it and end up with a nasty bruise on your hip and suddenly start mentally cataloguing all the contents of your bag and wonder what the frak you could possibly be carrying that is so horrible.

At lunch and at my break time, I had my handbag which was filled with the exact same items I’ve been carrying around with me for the last 2 weeks or so, without being stopped by library sensors. After being stopped 3 times without any conclusive ideas (the library staff immediately guessed either my cell phone, my novel that did have a bar code, or my metallic granola bar wrapper that also had a bar code on it – but then, I ate that and then the sensors still went off.

Later, it finally dawned on me. The innocuous items no one ever suspects: yarn and knitting needles.

(These balls of yarn and needle cases sure look innocent enough. Hah.)

It finally occurred to me that over the course of the weekend, I had tossed in a new ball of yarn and set of needles into my bag for miscellaneous playing, and just left them in there even though they weren’t involved in my lunchtime sock knitting. And lookie there – bar codes. It also occurred to me that the needles had probably been purchased at one of my LYSs that doesn’t use an electronic scanning system, unlike the big-ass craft stores, and so it’s entirely possible that the bar code is still active and ready and eager to set off library sensors and frustrate the hell out of me three times in one day. Ah, nobody ever suspects the knitters.

While I’m here talking about break-time knitting, let me say one more thing – what the HECK is up with students in every single library on campus doing this:

(Hello! I’m someone’s laptop, cell phone, and mp3 player, ready for you to swipe from under their noses!)

Most likely, the owner of these belongings is either a) off getting his/her coffee/food/something else and will return in an undefined amount of time, b) 15-20 feet away chatting with his/her buddies and will return in an undefined amount of time, or (my favourite) c) just about to leave his/her belongings behind and is right now asking me if I will look after them for him/her.

After spending X years on university campuses, I’ve lost patience with all of these scenarios. I don’t understand people who would risk losing what are probably their most expensive personal belongings like this, I don’t understand people who disrespect common space by allowing their belongings to take up space for them and prevent other people from using those tables and chairs, and I sure as heck don’t feel like it’s my job to take responsibility for someone else’s things merely because I happen to be knitting a sock in close proximity. Argh.

(EBTKS, the body and one sleeve)

Annnnd, that’s the closest I’ve gotten to a soapbox on this blog, so I’ll just sign off with a quick shot of the Everything But the Kitchen Sink sweater. Thank you all so much for the lovely comments about it! I’m actually starting to fret that it’s all going to turn out horribly wrong. Despite the fact that the stitches tell me I am getting proper stitch gauge, it’s turning out a little wider than I’d wanted, and I was already erring on the side of “cozy” fit since I have broad shoulders and I wanted a warm comfy sweater. Also, my row gauge appears to be much looser than called for, which means the sleeve openings are turning out more than an inch too long… Fret, fret, fret.

Well, I’m committed now, just one more sleeve to go! And it’s not as though I splurged on a bunch of new yarn for the project, after all ;) My sister reassures me that if I don’t like the way it fits, she’ll happily take it. (“You’ll still have enough yarn to knit yourself one afterwards!” she says.) Such love.

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Filed under everything but the kitchen sink, knitting in public