Monthly Archives: April 2007

Poppy

And on the occasion of my 100th post, how else to celebrate but with a Finished Object?

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Inexplicably, I am suddenly fretful, now that I’ve finished. (My sister keeps telling me “it’s FINE. Shut UP.”) Should i not have added length? Is it too big? Are the colours all wrong for me? Did I make too many stripes? Or, this could all be because of the fact that it is now spring and far too warm to wear this now (sob), and my psyche is pouting. ;)

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Pattern: Poppy, from Yarnplay by Lisa Shobhana Mason (size Medium)
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden #201 (7 skeins) and Noro Cash Iroha in black (4 skeins)
Cast On: March 31, 2007
Cast Off: April 30, 2007

Notes: I had to learn crochet for the finishing touches at the neck and bottom hemline for this sweater – in fact, it is this knowledge that has been impeding me from finishing off that WIP that’s been 99% done on my sidebar since, oh, February, but for some reason I decided to hold off and do the learning on Poppy instead. (Thank you, sister M.) I’m glad I now know some of the ways of teh evol crochet. ;)

The pattern overall is pretty user-friendly. If I were to do it again I would have knitted fewer coloured stripes in the body and left more of it just solid black – I remember as i was knitting the body that it was very, very hard to keep going in endless black without throwing in more stripes. I knitted the sleeves flat and seamed them up later instead of doing them in the round, just out of personal preference. I think the hardest part may actually have been the picking up stitches for the top, just because of the counting and my impatience. I think this would make a good sweater project for just about any skill level.

So, Poppy is done – she is the reason I bought Yarnplay back in January, and I knitted the Kitchen Sink sweater first instead while I waited for the Cash Iroha! I received most of the Silk Garden as a Christmas present from my sister, and admittedly I probably would not have splurged on the rest of the yarn otherwise. Come next winter, it’ll be a nice cozy treat waiting for me in my closet.

And then, to celebrate, I cast on for a little something. (While trying not to wake the sleeping tennis elbow.)
Have a great Monday!

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Filed under finished object: sweater, poppy

On the home stretch…

…for Poppy:

April25 005

My grand total knitting progress for the last two nights has consisted of seaming the body (transforming the long black rectangle into a tube), picking up stitches for the shoulders, and beginning the back section. It’s so close and yet so far…I was all nice and rested after my trip and then yesterday and today I’ve done so much sneezing and blowing my nose that I think allergies have suddenly found me and jumped all over my head. And I need to find some pills that will deal with that without making me want to go to bed at 7:30pm. (Or, you know, all day.)

In fact, I think I’ll go do that now…and stock up on kleenex while I’m at it. Home stretch, can’t stop yet…

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The thing about yarn stores

I wish I’d started this whole LYS-as-tourism thing sooner, it would have helped me out this time last year when I was in Chicago! All told, though, I feel that searching for yarn stores got me out to different parts of San Francisco and is a perfectly bonafide method of reading a map.

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My first foray was through Pacific Heights/the Marina area, where I knew I could find Greenwich Yarns and Atelier Yarns. I gleefully walked through these upscale neighbourhoods on a brilliantly sunny day (Sun, OMG, I’d almost forgotten what that was), but when I arrived at Greenwich Yarns I found to my dismay that I’d chosen the only day when it was closed. Be ye warned on Wednesdays!

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But from my peeking-in-from-the-windows vantage point, it looked just as cozy and well-stocked as everything I’ve heard. And there was a little sign tacked above the table and chairs reading, “As Ye Shall Knit, So Shall Ye Rip.” This store wins.

I carried on and found Atelier Yarns, which was indeed open. I happily perused their selection, and it is a fine one. They have a wide variety of all the major suppliers, and while I wasn’t drawn to any yarn in particular, I did find some Clover bamboo needles in sizes I haven’t found the last few times I’ve looked at home, so that’s cool. I made my purchase and asked if it would be all right to pull up a chair – there were a few ladies there with their knitting already – and yes, it was all right. The only odd thing I found was that when I asked about this, the woman warned me that this was okay “today”, but not on other days when someone else was on staffing duties. Hm. I’ve never been uninvited-in-advance from knitting in an LYS. So they lose points for that, IMHO, but I did sit with the ladies who were there, and nodded and smiled and eventually chatted a bit. One woman was absolutely lovely, she asked if I knew people in the city and I think was just about ready to give me her number in case I needed someone! I reassured her that as generous as this was, I was attending a conference and would make do just fine. But still – knitters, man, they’re good people.

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The next day I went with my friend J who is also a knitter down to the Mission/Castro area, where we did some walking and eventually found ImagiKnit (pictured above). I don’t mind saying that I think this was my favourite part of my SF yarn crawl – both for the store and the neighbourhoods we walked through. It struck me as a very eclectic and diverse area in every way, and also we ate at a Mexican place that had the best guacamole and tomatillo sauce ever. But anyway, back to the yarn…

This was where I made my one and only yarn purchase – I was trying to be good and mind the stash – and it could not be helped. J and I sort of drifted off in different directions and browsed the store (she deeply contemplated some chunky baby alpaca and my enabling was not successful enough against her willpower), and while I was by this point already convinced that ImagiKnit is quite possibly the best LYS I have ever been in, I hadn’t found anything that jumped out at me. Then, just as I was looking away from the glittery novelty yarn shelves, I turned and saw a tiered basket full of laceweight. And sitting right on top was this:

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It’s 1100 yards of handpainted 100% silk, from Claudia Handpainted yarns. It’s gorgeous. I picked it up and it was so soft and light and beautiful that I knew I absolutely could not put it down. I think light may have shone down upon it. I think I also walked around in a mild daze and just petted it for a little bit. Have I ever knit laceweight before? No. This did not stop me. I’ll find something to make with it, all in good time. But for now, it’s good for my soul. And ImagiKnit wins all points.

On Saturday morning I did walk over to Artfibers Yarn, since it wasn’t far from where I was staying, and I ogled all of their pretty things. They do have some gorgeous products, and if it wasn’t for trepidation over fitting things in my wee suitcase, and general lack of specific project ideas, I would have easily made some purchases. Next time.

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Then later that day my friend L drove us out to Napa for some winery visits (we went to 2, and after some tastings I think i am starting to catch the drift of why a $20 bottle really is very different from a $60 bottle), and even though it was raining it was still great to see some parts of the non-urban. And then she mentioned “I think there’s a yarn store around here somewhere, too…” (she is also a knitter), and lo and behold, we found Muse in St. Helena.

Once again, it was a beautiful store. Nice overall selection of yarns, needles, and books, and some other unique things like ribbons and handcrafted buttons. They have one of the best selections of Cascade 220 and Koigu that I have seen in an LYS (so far), and because they also had a basket filled with Noni patterns, I was finally able to purchase the flower patterns to go with the bag patterns I already own. Of course, when I do finally want to make any of these felted bags, that will require some stash enhancement once again, so I will weigh that option carefully in the meanwhile.

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The only place I feel they lost points was when the woman asked me if my (Canadian bank) credit card was ‘a debit card or a credit card?’. Um. It says ‘VISA’ on it – even the trainee Victoria’s Secret clerk figured that one out. ;) [EDIT: In the comments Kemma explains this may just be a difference in the way the US and Canada use credit cards - who'da thunk it.] But all told, an excellent stop. I’d go back in a heartbeat.

So, while I technically did not get to plink a toonie ($2) into my stash-busting jar last week according to my new rules, I feel quite at home with this. And since Poppy’s 2nd sleeve got finished along the way, I’m in striking distance of finishing that sweater this week, which will mean more stash-busting cash in the jar.

::phew:: that was quite a post. Have a fantastic day!

(More photos of the trip here, for anyone interested.) :)

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Filed under knitting tourism, stash, yarn stores

Tales from ‘the City’

San Francisco beautiful STOP
Saw 4 yarn stores STOP
May have bought one skein but only one STOP
Saw wineries STOP
Gorgeous trip STOP
Now ready to come home STOP
Send bubblebaths and chocolate STOP
Full report upon return STOP
Oh but wait one more thing

SF2

SF3

SF4

SF5

STOP

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The knitting still lives

I’m sure eventually I’ll join the ranks of people complaining about what a cold spring we’ve been having so far, but at the moment I’m doin’ just fine. Summers in southern Ontario can border on sauna-like, and I’m in no hurry to experience that. Besides, it lengthens my sweater-wearing time. ;)

After several days off of knitting I tried Rebecca’s advice of knitting in short 30-minute sessions, and this seems to be doing just fine. In fact, I was able to finish those last couple of inches on the Poppy body as well as the first sleeve.

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The second sleeve is what will accompany me on my trip tomorrow, on the off-chance that I can continue doing enough short knitting sessions to make some progress on that, too. My backup will be a couple of balls of Highland Silk, which has been in my stash for months. Finally I’m in striking distance of casting on with it.

You know what’s a fun non-knitting activity? Getting rid of stuff you don’t use.

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All of this and a bit more left my apartment on Friday afternoon thanks to my dad who took it all off to the church yard sale back home. Maybe someone else will enjoy the books I’ve already read and the kitchen doodads I don’t use. And as my friend B reminded me, this does allow more room for yarn. (Or at least, more breathing room for the yarn. Because I’m trying to watch the stash, yesiree.)

So, I’ve got my guidebook, got plans to visit a couple of yarny places on Saturday (surely lots of time to build up my willpower), got my bag of leftover Easter candy for the airplane, got most of my suitcase packed…Oh yeah, I just need to finish writing the presentation I’m giving. I knew there was something else to do today… ;)

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This is me not knitting

Thank you so much for the elbow sympathies! (Rebecca, when you had this problem, were you able to knit while it healed? How much time off did you take?)

Yeah, the whole thing about not knitting is that it’s not nearly as fun as actually knitting. But on the other hand, it does give me more time to consider things like the stash – and increase my stash guilt due to woe over how fast I’ll be able to knit it up (well, who are we kidding – how fast I’ll be able to knit some of it up) and how long the horrible elbow will sideline me. (Maybe I will bring yarn to San Fran with me next week…Maybe I’ll try just a little bit of easy flat knitting and see what happens…yeah…)

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So, the fine ladies over at Stash and Burn are collecting de-stash tips for their podcast, and I’ve been working on one so far this week that I’m actually kind of looking forward to trying. Since, really, my original personalized Knit from Your Stash rules still afford me a whoooooollllle lotta leeway, I’m going to give myself the incentive of paying myself for de-stashing. This means: I get a toonie (that’s a Canadian $2 coin) for every week that I don’t buy any yarn or for every small project that I finish (socks, hat), and $5 for every large project that I finish from the stash (sweater, blanket). Sadly I have not made this retroactive. All those weeks where my willpower held out will have to stand as their own little testimonial to stash-busting. But I’ll admit it, I’ve already cheated once on the original Knit From Your Stash – possibly twice.

(I sent this tip over to Stash and Burn and they asked me what I would do with the money I save. And I realized I hadn’t even thought that far yet. I suppose “roll around in it” would be overly decadent, so at the moment I’m thinking about a) gadgets, b) books, c) charitable donations, d) other options yet to be determined. Or, you know, all of the above, depending on how well I do ;) )

Since there ain’t much knitting going on right now I will have to concentrate on the not-buying. So far so good this week. ::plinks a toonie into the jar::

Send the Stash and Burn ladies your stash-busting tips, they’d love ‘em!

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Diagnosis

Tennis elbow. Although apparently few people actually get this from tennis, so calling it ‘knitter’s elbow’ would seem just as appropriate.

I caved and saw a doctor this afternoon (after waiting an hour after my appointment time, awesome) who diagnosed me after a few questions and much poking and prodding of the elbow (ow, ow, yes OW OW yes that hurts…). Interestingly enough, he didn’t tell me to stop knitting, he just said to stop and ice it and take ibuprofen when it hurts. (Nice to know I’m ahead on that). I’m not sure if this means that he is genuinely underestimating the ability of knitting to cause RSI or if it really is okay to knit in small doses while this heals. I may look for a second opinion in another week.

He also said that I’m not a professional knitter just a “recreational” knitter so I shouldn’t let it get me down too much. Ahahahah. (Buddy, I don’t care how professional my knitting is or isn’t, it is my frakking valuable creative outlet and my primary form of stress relief in this psychological wringer also known as Writing My PhD Dissertation. Calling my knitting ‘just recreational’ is not making me feel better.) He also said “don’t worry, it’ll clear up in a few months.” AHAHAHAHAHA.

I don’t know, what IS the recommended daily dose of chocolate in this situation? I’ll be over here in a crumpled heap trying to figure that out.

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