Monthly Archives: June 2007

Summer Distractions

In the heat this past week, my knitting progress has been slooooow. I think I’m also experiencing a bit of knitting ennui, but I think that might be starting to pass. I’m beginning to perk up at the idea of having new projects, which means that I have got to put the pedal to the metal on this honeymoon cami and my 2nd Jaywalker sock. Mama’s got more knittin’ to do.

On the other hand, I’ve been reading.

Summer reads

I’ve been reading Waverley as an alternative to the current Knit the Classics pick, (it’s Mansfield Park, which is neither my favourite Jane Austen novel nor a book I wish to read a second time, although I have indeed been considering a re-read of Pride and Prejudice.). It was starting to slow me down, though, so instead I went looking for some contemporary literature not of the pop crap variety. (Phillipa Gregory, I’m looking at you. I think I may have actually lost brain cells reading The Other Boleyn Girl.)

And lo, in the last few days I’ve torn through Atonement by Ian McEwan (which was GREAT, i think i will look for more by him), and Evening by Susan Minot (which was lovely but makes me very curious how they are going to turn the book into a film, it is far from linear storytelling), and am now contemplating something longer. I’ve had A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry on my shelf for ages and ages, and some fellow grads recommended it to me this week. Also, back towards the classic pics, I’m curious about The Red and The Black by Stendhal, in addition to being a little smug at the idea of using it as a ‘Project Spectrum’ tie-in. (June/July belong to Red, Black, and Metallics ;) )

In other news…my laptop is still not with me. It’s going to be another week at least. F@&%-ing Toshiba. So…I am trying ever more coping mechanisms, and am landing on summer treats, particularly since it is cooler again and I don’t feel the need to hide from the warm kitchen.

Several times a year the Ontario liquor board publishes a ‘Food and Drink’ magazine which is absolutely chock full of recipes, entertaining guides, and short articles. In my volunteer days there were women who would come to meetings in Toronto from other provinces and they would specifically make sure to collect copies of this magazine (it’s free in stores) to take home with them. Handily, all of the recipes are also catalogued online. In the current issue, there is a feature on homemade ice cream sandwiches, at least half a dozen kinds. At the moment, I am coveting the ‘Black Forest’ recipe which uses brownies instead of cookies, and black cherry ice cream mixed with bits of chocolate and cherry liqueur. Oh yeah, baby.

I wonder how fast I can get a few hundred words written so I can justify spending the rest of my day in the kitchen. Then reclining with a book and/or knitting in hand, nibbling on a homemade ice cream sandwich. It’s important to have little fantasies to cling to, right?

Happy long weekend to fellow Canucks!

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Filed under knit the classics, summer knitting

Limbo

I still do not have my laptop. Apparently the part they need has been backordered and they continue to wait for the manufacturer to deliver it. If a fourth Monday goes by without my own laptop in my possession, I may not be responsible for my actions. ::sob::

(PS I am never buying another Toshiba anything ever, ever again.)

Since my knitting mojo also appears to be broken and I have not made a great deal of progress on any of my projects, I’ll leave you instead with a picture from Thursday night on Bloor St, with my friend C outside the new Royal Ontario Museum, post-Pirates viewing. (Somewhere in those 2hrs 45 minutes is a really great 2 hour dramatic action flick.)

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I wonder how many precision* viewings of Pride and Prejudice it will take for me to forget about computer issues. I may also require copious amount of chocolate. Any and all other suggestions for coping mechanisms are greatly appreciated!

*Aka all Lizzie/Darcy scenes plus a few chez Bennets, with the scene at dawn taking possibly 3 or 4 extra views.

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Discovery

First, I must make a fannish PSA and relay some information I was mentioning to a couple of the gals at knit night last night (and for anyone else reading this who is a fan of Firefly/Serenity, or Joss Whedon productions in general). Tonight through Sunday, internationally (largely US and Canada cities, but some prime UK and Aussie sites are there too, also Paris and others), there will be charity screenings of the film Serenity. Check here for full details and to see if your city is on the list. Information for Saturday’s Toronto screening (and Ottawa and Edmonton) is on this page. This is the second year in a row Joss Whedon fans have staged this fundraiser for Equality Now (which works for gender equality rights), and the goal is to raise $100,000 this time around. (In my head I am thinking, dude, if knitters were involved surely we could make that without breaking a sweat.)

And really, even if you haven’t seen Firefly (the series upon which the film Serenity is based), if your city is on that list then I’d say that ticket would be $12 well spent. Should be a heckuva fun time with all those enthusiastic fans in the audience. I’ve been a fan of Firefly since watching it on DVD about a year and a half ago, and I have to say it was knitters who helped put it on my radar in the first place. All of a sudden there came a time when you couldn’t go on the knitting interwebs without people talking about knitting Jayne hats, and using words like “gorram” and “shiny.” (Now my only question is, what knitting do I bring with me on Saturday? ;) )

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My other important discovery was at knitting night last night, too – see this picture of Em? It might look like she’s holding some regular-old Brittany birch DPNs, but no. Those are hand-made needles made from teeny-tiny dowels found at a hardware store, that she got pre-cut and then sanded down into points herself. (That is also her own handspun fingering-weight. Hand-dyed too. Mm hmm.) We got out the gauge and sized them at 2.25mm – perfect for socks! Brilliant discovery, brilliant. Actually, I kind of feel like I’m stealing her thunder a little bit by posting about this, so I’ll stop that story right there and let her fill in all the miraculous details. But still – homemade birch DPNs! Oh the possibilities.

(Oh, there is also new stock of Lorna’s Laces sock yarn at Lettuce Knit. That was another discovery. I may have tripped nearby it and my credit card may have fallen out of my wallet. It couldn’t be helped, right? Right. I thought so.)

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Filed under fandom, lettuce knit

There will be no dishrag jag

My current state of mind is, shall we say, constantly subject to change. In addition to all the usual dissertation anxieties which all decided to gleefully jump on my head earlier this week, tomorrow I will officially enter the third week of being without my own laptop. I am losing the ability to be patient with other machines, and my sister’s laptop unfortunately does not seem to want to recognize my external hard drive, which is very disconcerting. I miss my laptop desperately, it’s fast, it has all my files and programs on it, and I want it back. ::sob::

June washrags

My knitting, on the other hand, does not give a flying fig what is going on with my laptop. It is just happy that I am knitting. This past weekend I decided to do something purposeless and mindless to match the state of my brain, and fell upon the 4 balls of Peaches and Creme dishcloth cotton that I added to Martha‘s order a few months ago. I promptly churned out 6 dishcloths in 5 days – I almost made it with just the 4 colours, but had to dip into some of M’s leftovers for a bit of green. I see now that the 4 colours I chose did not actually contrast very much with each other. Should I do this again, I’ll look for a broader palette in the mixture of cotton colours. (Not that I don’t like these, though – one is already in use and they have a nice happy look about them.) My original 4 shades:

June washrags

I finished Jaywalker #1 last night and have to cast on #2, to fend off SSS, but was left with another option to cast on for a second WIP. For me at this point, choosing a new knitting project is sort of like being a first-time tourist in Paris and dropped off with a map and guidebook and an entire day to fill with no discernable schedule. There are things I know objectively that I should do (the Eiffel Tower), things everyone else is doing (the Louvre), things I would really like to do but don’t know if now is exactly the right time (that obscure Monet museum off on the outskirts of town), and a whole lot of bustle and noise in between. I went with a combination of objectivity and ease, and cast on for my second Honeymoon Cami.

Honeymoon cami beginnings

I knitted one of these in Luna about a year ago in dark pink, and have had the purple and black sitting there waiting idly ever since. If I play my cards right, I’ll be able to finish this by the weekend. I’m planning on going to Pirates of the Caribbean 3 tomorrow night and will be glad for the stockinette acreage to keep my hands busy for 3 hours + previews. (Stockinette and I are buds. I love stockinette.) And tonight, there is Lettuce Knit. I’m looking forward to it :)

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Filed under mason-dixon, summer knitting

Dum dee dum

My Namaste bag and I have been getting along quite well on campus. Sad to say, my laptop is still not with me, so I am making do as best I can with campus machines. My current new project, a dishcloth, does not seem to have a problem with this.

Dishcloth

First step, ballband discloths. Next step? Oh yeah, baby, the After-Dark nightie. It’ll happen soon. My fingers are itching.

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Yarn Porn

This whole ‘not having access to my own computer’ thing is really starting to get to me, and it’s only been 5 days! I dearly hope they fix it soon…

But in any case, I still have a bit of squealing in delight to do from Saturday’s TTC Knitalong. I don’t usually do ‘yarn porn’ (aka look what I bought!) sort of posts, but in this case I must apologize, it simply can’t be helped with this level of knitterly squee from Saturday. The yarn stores on our routes were generous enough to give us a 10% discount on yarn, so I used it with some precision and forethought. There are a whole whack of fabulous smaller yarn companies whose yarns I have been ogling for a good long while, but sadly had never used before. Well, I am now finally in possession of some Fleece Artist, Schaeffer Anne, and Handmaiden:

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From the top, that’s a Fleece Artist thrummed mitten set – pink roving to match, oh how my girly heart leapt to see it. They even had thrummed sock kits, but I decided not to go for the full treatment just yet. Given that we’re heading into summer now (oh dear goodness the Toronto heat and humidity, how I fear the heat waves that will come…) it’s hard to imagine a time when I will want thrummed mittens, but I know that time will come. And toasty hands shall be mine. The Schaeffer Anne is enough to make a heckuva pair of socks, but I am also thinking about making a fingering-weight Clapotis scarf with it (I have yet to make the ubiquitous and mystical Clapotis). And Handmaiden Sea Silk…it is finally mine, one skein to make myself a lovely drapey soft pinkish-purple scarf with. These last two both came from Lettuce Knit. On Sunday I just sort of left all this yarn on the coffee table so that I could look at it and just enjoy the sight of it.

But wait! That’s not all. That little white lunchbox-like thing in behind the yarn? Well, that was one of the lovely goodie bags handed out by Village Yarns. They knew how to greet knitters, let me tells ya – they didn’t just stop at pastries, they gave out goodie bags and door prizes! Full points for Village Yarns.

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In my kit was the purple skein of Butterfly mercerized cotton DK, and another skein of tweedy brown aran 12-ply wool, which I traded for that green skein of Australian washable merino. And see that little wisp of red? That’s a few yards of laceweight qiviuk, straight from the Arctic. One of the other ladies suggested it would be enough for a little wee bookmark or something – but still, qiviuk, the fabled yarn spun from shedded muskox hair, so precious that knitters speak its name with reverence. I think the Village Yarns people just plucked out yarns they liked, and gave us enough to try ‘em out and get a feel for them on our own – from aran wool all the way up to laceweight qiviuk. Hoo boy.

And that skein of pink? That’s a skein of Colinette Jitterbug fingering weight superwash (in a colour not of my own choosing, but seriously, I could NOT have chosen better), from The Sweet Sheep. It was a prize at the end of the day (I won a prize! Me! I never win things! Oh happy day!), for Best Finished Object (Worn) – I wore my purple kilt hose on the day ;)

I did say in my last post that although the yarn buying was minimal, there was “something else”. No, Aven, I haven’t taken up spinning (although I am sure there it is only a matter of time before I succumb). In fact, I am the proud new owner of a Namaste knitting bag:

BTTC Knitalong 004

This is the ‘everyday’ model. At Village Yarns they carry the full selection of these bags, enough for you to touch and check out the colours and styles on your own. These bags have been on my radar for a little while thanks to the knitting interwebs, and since my current handbag is starting to show some wear and tear, I took the plunge and decided to go for it. It’s not every day that I’m standing in a store that carries them!

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There are enough pockets and compartments to make any knitter sigh with happiness. Here it is open with my yarn for scale, but I’m very happy to have one with 2 ‘halves’ – one can keep knitting things and the other half can have non-knitting things for everyday. It expands quite a bit when open. I’ll have to take some adjusting since things are in new places as compared to my old purse, but I think this bag and I will get along just fine.

Now, I am definitely going to have to get snuggly and re-acquainted with my stash, because that was definitely enough new acquisitions for last week! Happy Tuesday to all.

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Filed under knitting tourism, lettuce knit, stash, yarn stores

It’s contagious – Knit In Public Day Toronto 2007

This is a big (BIG) ol’ photograph post from my experience yesterday with the TTC Knitalong, with (perhaps somewhat cheezy) lyrical accompaniment by Regina Spektor, whose song ‘Us’ I heard right aroun the time the Yarn Harlot launced her ‘Represent’ book tour, and now the two are completely linked in my brain.

Thank you to Village Yarns, Romni Wools, Lettuce Knit, Americo Original, the Naked Sheep, and all the other Toronto yarn shops who opened their doors to us (and the TTC Knitalong discount), in celebration of Knit in Public Day. I think the best part was just being able to spend time with so many great knitters across the city – and of course, getting the full range of expressions from onlookers, that was a plus, too. ;)

(If you are in these photos please feel free to ID yourself in the comments, OR, if you’d prefer not to be pictured, let me know here or by email and I will remove pictures that you are in.)
On with the show…

They made a statue, of us.
And put it on a mountain top…

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Now tourists come and stare at us.

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Blow bubbles with their gum, take photographs for fun.
For fun…

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69TTC Knitalong 100.

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They’ll name a city after us.
And later say it’s all our fault…

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Then they’ll give us a talking to,
then they’ll give us a talking to,
Because they’ve got years of experience…

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We’re living in a den of thieves…

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Rummaging for answers in the pages…
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We’re living in a den of thieves,
And it’s contagious,
And it’s contagious…

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More tomorrow about my purchases and other miscellaney. All’s I’ll say is the yarn purchasing was minimal…but there was something else… ;)
Have a great Sunday!
4TTC Knitalong 003

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Filed under knitting in public, knitting tourism, lettuce knit, yarn stores

Twitchy

Yesterday I had to part ways with my laptop and give it over to the repair people. It’s having the same problem as a year ago, where it turns itself off without warning – no shut down sequence, just ::click:: ::black screen of doom:: – and at that time the problem was the fan overheating and needing replacing. They say it could be 2 weeks before I get it back. ::SOB:: (My baby! My BABY!) Oh, and did I also mention my DVD player is broken, too? This is making my evening life very unfortunate. (Thankfully, I have an external hard drive with important files and computer access on campus. If I didn’t, these would be very real tears.)

Thankfully x2┬áthere is one laptop still in the household, so hopefully I’ll still be able to take pics at the TTC Knitalong on Saturday and upload ‘em afterwards. But nevertheless, it’s hard times here at Knitting to Stay Sane. I guess this means I’ll actually have to do, oh, work.

In the meantime, though, I simply must know how to make these, the most awesome cupcakes known to knitter-kind. (Thanks to Marianne for the link!)

Is it Saturday yet?

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Yarny PSA (Or: Why Elann wins at yarn)

I should warn you that if your yarn-buying trigger finger is feeling a little itchy, this would be a good place to stop and turn around, while you’re ahead.

In the interest of full disclosure, I will admit that this week is the first week since I started my stash-maintentance incentives that I won’t be adding any money to the jar. Firstly, because I’m not in striking distance of finishing anything this week (unless I purposefully start something very small and finish it right away…hmm…), and secondly, because I may have taken the credit card for a brief spin by KnitPicks and Elann last night. (I do mean brief, though, we’re talking 3 projects’ worth of stuff – the damage could have been sooooo much worse.) I’d been stalking a few summery yarns for a while now, and the Canadian dollar is so high right now that that is what finally pushed me over the edge. (Seriously, it’s at $0.95 US. It’s never been that high in my lifetime, that’s for sure.) Also, who are we kidding. The TTC Knitalong is on Saturday and I know I’m going to be at least forking over for a wee bit of sock yarn at Lettuce Knit.

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(In the competition for TTC-Knitalong project, my purple Elann Luna reminds me it has been waiting since last summer to become a ballet camisole, and this pink/purple Online Linie reminds me it wants to be Jaywalker socks just like the ones I knitted on the last TTC Knitalong. Hm.)

But I need to make mention of Elann for another moment in case there’s anyone out there who hasn’t given it a second look lately. For starters, if you’re one of the people who’s been wanting to order KnitPicks’ CotLin but can’t because it’s been out of stock for freaking forever, it might interest you to know that yesterday Elann quietly unveiled their own line of Dk-weight cotton/linen blend. Camila does not come in the same colours as CotLin, but it does come in more colours overall, and is very similarly priced. Boo-yah.

And another thing – Elann has spent the last few months gradually introducing more and more of their own yarn lines, including a laceweight merino/alpaca blend, a cotton/linen/rayon blend, a sport-weight mercerized cotton (that looks very similar to their Sonata DK-weight cotton, but lighter), an aran-weight cotton, and an aran-weight cotton/linen blend. They’ve also been re-stocking their wool-based wintery yarn, but let’s deal with one brand of obsession at a time. I’ll admit that the colour selections in all of these yarns don’t appeal to me equally, and that I have absolutely no experience knitting with these few yarns I just listed. But dude. That’s a lot of yarn expansion. I’m taking notes and watching with interest.

Seriously, I think all Elann has to do at this point is develop their own line(s) of sock yarns in solid colours, come up with one or two modern fiber yarns like bamboo (or hemp – they had hemp last year, where’d it go?) as year-round staples, and maybe style up their samples a bit more and they will be set. Knit Picks should watch out – especially since Elann does ship overseas. ;)

And now, I think my enabling is done. And there is this supposed “Thesis” that I have to “write,” or whatever. Psh.

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I heart my LYSs

I really, really do. There will come a day in the not very distant future when I will no longer live within walking distance of Lettuce Knit and Romni Wools, and that thought makes me very, very sad. This past Saturday I went with my sister M and our friend C (blogless) down to Romni. I hadn’t been in a while and even though it was C who wanted to make a purchase in the first place, somehow I ended up walking out with 4 skeins…what can I say, I guess it was the yarn fumes. Romni is formidable.

Anyway, you sure can’t do this when you shop online, I tell you what:

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Sometimes you just need to hug a wall of sock yarn. (“It felt good to hug the sock yarn”, M reported later.) Yarn makes everything better. And you feel like you’ve been pulled into a vortex where time stops and there is only yarn, and so you don’t really notice how long you’re browsing for. It’s sort of intoxicating. (I even ran into Em, who was buying spinning-related things, and got into a conversation about how long I can possibly last before taking up spinning. I think the answer involved some amount of laughter.) I remember that when I was new to Romni, I didn’t buy anything for the first few visits, I just walked through and looked and touched so that I could get my bearings. After that it was all good. How could you not love this face?

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(That’s the back wall where the worsteds await – where you can get enough of something sturdy and basic for a whole sweater if you want.)

I’m so excited to be going on the TTC Knitalong for Worldwide Knit in Public Day. I can’t wait. I’ll be on the West Team (Or, “Go West, Ye Knitters, Go West”), due in large part to my desire not to be on a Romni-less route – everyone gets to go to Lettuce Knit afterwards, so that was helpful in my decision-making process, and all routes include the Naked Sheep and the West Route includes Village Yarns, so I’ll still get to experience 2 new LYSs in the bargain.

Toronto has some great local yarn stores. So do London and San Francisco, I was happy to find out in the last year. It was so discouraging to read Alison’s tale from a horrible LYS in her neck of the woods (I can’t imagine experiencing such harshness in any consumer experience, let alone in an LYS.) Not all LYSs can be painted with the same brush, and I’m glad to have been able to discover that in Toronto first hand.

In other knitting news from the weekend, during our sloth on Saturday night and John Cusack movie fest, C made her first ballband discloth:

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She’s planning to use it as a facecloth, which will be particularly comforting since by now she will be at home recovering from surgery and could surely use a nice wee knitted thing like that. And yes, she knows about the mistake she made and is quite content to leave it as-is. ;)

Happy knitting on this Tuesday…

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