Monthly Archives: December 2007

Oh thank the sweet merciful heavens

[Edit]: The Korknisse invasion is complete. You’ve got to check out Martha‘s new blog header. :D

The blanket is DONE.

ModerneFO

The option was there to just put this sucker into hibernation, but the thought of starting 2008 with this WIP still on the list made me feel deflated. So I just pulled it out again last weekend and decided to work on it a bit each day whether I liked it or not, and once I got going I realized how little I actually had left to do. The final block(s) – the bottom section with the 2 parallel squares – didn’t get quite as long as I wanted to, but the finished dimensions are actually quite close to the 60 x 50 inches of the size called for in the pattern, so that’s pretty decent. For finishing, I just did 2 rounds of single crochet. The pattern calls for a mitred garter stitch border – which would have been lovely and even and pretty – but the thought of picking up all those edge stitches again for a border made me want to cry, so I did the crochet thing instead.

The thing with the log cab is that it’s extremely versatile, not too difficult, and you can customize it for whatever combination of colours you want. And it was a great fit for the selection of chunky Jamieson’s Shetland that I got on sale this past August, which had no more than 4 or 5 skeins in any single colour. I realized what this blanket lacks in seaming, though, it makes up for in size. The cumulative nature of the blocks means that you can’t even consider making this a portable project, as you could if you were knitting a blanket in small blocks. But mostly – damn, y’all. That’s a lot of soul-sucking garter stitch. I’m glad i have this FO now and the yarn is gorgeous in this finished format, but I will never, ever, do a garter stitch blanket again. If I make any noises about another garter stitch blanket, somebody jump in and stick some sock yarn in my hand to distract me.

I’ll give it a bit of a wash and then can put it into lovely rotation as a couch blanket. Or cat snoozing location, whichever. And I never have to knit it again. :D

And now I’m going to knit some socks.

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Filed under finished object: home, mason-dixon

And on Earth Fleece…

…and good wool to all. ;)

KorknisseChristmasSmall

I wish all of you the very best of holidays, however you celebrate.

Trine was educating me a bit more about the ‘Nisser’ of Scandinavian lore, which the Korknisse pattern imitates. Apparently in times past one would leave out treats for the Nisse at the holidays, (i.e. rice pudding with extra sugar) so that they would bring good luck and keep the land well. Anger the Nisse, your farm might fail the next year.

Well, all I can say is I hope these little wee ones like the rum balls I made yesterday. ;)

Merry Christmas!

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Filed under holiday knitting, korknisse

Someone should use it

A propos of nothing in particular, have you ever tried making pesto with cilantro instead of basil? You skip the cheese and use about twice the garlic and use peanuts instead of pine nuts and it’s awesome. And if you add some peeled-lengthwise carrots into the noodles just as they finish cooking, you can feel like you’re in some cool cooking show saying things like, “and don’t be afraid to use what you have on hand, Liz, that’s what innovative cooking for quick meals is all about…” and it’s tasty. I finally tried this tonight, after intending to do so pretty much every other time I’ve had cilantro going wilty in the fridge after using about 1/5th of the bunch for a recipe and forgetting about the rest. Good times.

But a propos of work in the kitchen, I’ve got to get on the holiday baking. Have any of you seen the cookie recipes emerging from Smitten Kitchen lately? Mmmmnnnnggghhh. Knitting, you’ve got competition this week.

In any case, speaking of other forgotten, possibly wilty things, remember how I was knitting a Moderne Log Cabin blanket? Yep, it’s still there. Still in the WIP category of my Ravelry projects, and believe me I’ve pondered the idea of putting it into hibernation. I’ll knit about 4 rows, then become weary and put it aside, and pick it up about 10 days later and knit another 4 rows, then repeat. At least Beatrice likes it. (Apologies for the blurry):

ModerneDec

I draped it over the footstool so that at least one creature in the household can get some enjoyment out of it, which kitty does indeed. She even slept on it all night one time, so there’s that. It’s not the most active WIP ever, but to put it into hibernation makes me fear I’ll never get it done. And yet would forcing myself to finish make me even more weary? Oh, the decisions.

In other news, after digging myself into a horrible pit of misery for a short while earlier this week, I forced myself to chill today and begin on the holiday do-nothing time. (I have to start writing lectures soon ohgodohgodohgodohgod but am going to try to work up to that in increments). The Ivy League Vest has seen quite a bit more action as a result, and is now a couple of inches past the progress in this photo:

ILVDec18

Thanks to my stress-addled brain, I’ve done a few mishaps along the way, but in large part these are mostly colour errors. A couple of times on the large peeries I’ve forgotten to change the background or foreground colour partway through, for example. But thankfully peeries are forgiving and still look good. I’m glad now that I started with this first – by the time I get to Venezia perhaps I will have trained my brain to read colour charting a bit more precisely.

The other thing I’m grappling with is the stitch counts – this pattern indicates # of decreases very clearly, but I find I’m more comfortable with indications of stitch counts remaining, of which there are not so many. I’d like to know for certain how many sts are supposed to be left behind for each shoulder, as for example. I can backtrack that info from the rest of the pattern numbers, but sometimes I just want the security blanket of knowing for sure, yanno?

My wee brigade of Korknisse does continue to grow. I did this little subset on Sunday at my sister’s place and then added four more today. They continue to be adorable, and I continue to want more. I am debating whether to add any to the tree as ornaments or to just keep them as little standalone decorations.

KorknisseDec16

I am pretty easy about the corks – regular cork, newfangled plastic recycled corks, whatever. I mean, when you are basically making tiny knitted hats and sweaters for wine corks, the composite material of said corks is probably the least of your worries, right? ;) But I have started to ponder the fact that these wee darlings could use a bit more diversity in their population, which is certainly aided by the plastic corks that come in different shades. (Note to self: locate silver marker to provide black Korknisse with eyes.)

And what of the California corks? Is it wrong to make them knitted hats, as they come from such warm climes? Would they prefer brighter colours? Or perhaps cotton duds, not wool? A person could get a little too involved in such a project as this. You’ll have to keep me in line. ;)

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Filed under fair isle, ivy league vest, korknisse, mason-dixon

Just a few flakes

Southern Ontario is getting hit big time – and from what I hear the northeastern United States got it big before it got to us. I think Hamilton’s been doused with more than 20cm so far and the snow isn’t stopping until late tonight according to reports. It’s a good thing I pushed myself to finish these, because they’re now the only complete pair of mitts I own! (I lost a glove on the bus on Thursday, boo)

ConvertiblesFinished

It’s been a weekend of cancelled plans. Plans to get to a party on Saturday night were nixed, and my poor sister has had to forgo the holiday open house at her place this afternoon. The roads just aren’t drivable. Thankfully the one form of transportation left – walking – is enough to get me over to her place, so she and I will sit and knit and have a party for two instead of ten, and I’ll get to put in some quality knitting time with Ivy League and maybe a few more Korknisse. But dude. What else would you do on a day like this?

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Well, there is ONE other good thing to do on a weekend like this.

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But it needs a few knitted ornaments. Must get on that ;)
May you have a warm and knitterly Sunday, wherever you are.

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Filed under finished object: accessories

December 12 of 12

First, allow me to extend a warm thank you to blog reader Melissa who is generously and flatteringly sending me wine corks from France. Never fear, Melissa, I will do my best to see the new recruits are properly clothed! ::salutes::

Anyhow, here I am again, back for my third round of the 12 of 12. (of 12!) On this day I was at home for work and miscellaney, so I thought hey! this will be boring! No bus rides to Toronto or dining out or anything remotely exciting. I’ll have a shot of my laptop and then one of my knitting and then I’ll be done. HAH. No siree bob, this day had other plans.

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(1) 6:55am – I am vaguely awake and hear snarling coming from the living room. Yes, this means Beatrice has indeed encountered Arch Nemesis Orange Cat at the front window and is expressing her frustration through the usual snarling and pounding on window. Orange Cat is immune. I toss Beez outside for a bit to get it all sorted out.

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(2) 9am (ish) – post-breakfast, post-knitting pause, I enjoy the look of the 2 Korknisse (see companion shot in my post from yesterday) I knitted. They are so adorable I want to just stare at them and smile giddily the whole time. And it was nice to see the sun coming out after the overnight freezing rain.

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(3) 12:05pm – walking down to the grocery store and post office. (Job application to send off. It’s never to early to get rejected! Whee!) We didn’t get the snow the weather report had been calling for – just freezing rain! Boo! – but at least the sun is out and I can navigate the melted and clear spots on the sidewalk.

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(4) 12:45pm – at the grocery store. No, taking a picture of my own shopping cart doesn’t make me feel odd. Not at ALL. Thankfully it’s the middle of a weekday, fewer potential gawkers in the aisles ;) Here are just a few needed items, several for the evening cupcake baking.

When I was in line there was a middle-aged man behind me, looking at my cart and then looking at me. I smiled nicely and said, “Um, yes?” And he sort of blinked and explained that “oh, I always look at other people’s carts and then I remember what it was I forgot to buy.” And I chuckled and said, “oh, so what did you forget?” And he shrugged and said, “I don’t know! Your cart didn’t help me.” Well, I suppose we’re not all making Egg Nog Cupcakes, what can you do.

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(5) – Some time between 2pm and 3pm.
So, I get back from the store and let Beatrice back in (she will rarely go outside unless you’re out too, so this was a solid hour-and-a-half of cabin-fever-prevention-tactic), and as I’m eating my lunch I notice she has some splotches on her coat. At first i thought, “oh, she got rain dribbles on her from a drainspout” or something, but then they weren’t going away. So I came and sat next to her and petted her, pulling at the splotches on the back of her neck (which she enjoyed, purring all the time), and discovered it was greasy. What the heck, B? Sitting under someone’s car?

Sure enough, I blotted at them with a dry towel and it came off as pale muddy-looking gunk. Sigh. While waiting for an email response from Beatrice’s mummy I applied a soapy wet cloth all over her, then another towel, then another wet washcloth. I managed to do a lot of this while keeping her restrained on top of the bed (thanks B, I appreciate you bringing your oily self to my sleeping space). She calmed a bit (long enough to be photographed), but then after further advice I did the whole works again with a kitty-shampooed-rag and another towelling. In all of this she fled around the upstairs trying to get away from me and was appropriately peeved during the bathing. (You may insert your own sound effects here, complete with kitty flailing, growling, and scrabbling of claws). Miraculously I came away unscathed, which is more than I can say for the times when I put her outside for an hour of recreation on any other day.

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(6) 5:30pm – Working. The dissertation draft is 99% done, I am going through it now and inserting miscellaney and checking my bibliography and, you know, praying that it has some semblance of organization and thought. Close proximity of knitting and cheetos are important for morale.

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(7) 7:00pm – Dinner’s on, now the cupcake preparation can begin. Oops, must let butter soften first. These cupcakes are once again from Cupcake Bakeshop, specifically the Egg Nog ones with dark rum. I went with the Canadian way and used screech as my dark rum ingredient. That’ll work, right? In retrospect, I should have also had a wee tot of rum just for me, given the cat shenanigans. Hm. Note to self: make up for this failure tonight.

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(8) 7:30pm – Christmas decorations in my room above the TV. Aren’t they soothing? I think they’re soothing. Let’s look at them for a little bit. Ahhhhh.

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(9) 8:10pm – Dinner and knitting.
A 4th Korknisse member joins the ranks and a 5th will be quick behind. Dinner is chicken curry, very warm and soothing on a cold evening. Also, if you look closely there you can see it looks like I’ve drawn a little “hrrrmmmm” crooked mouth on the little dude, but actually it’s just a crack in the cork. (I am clearly just a little bit touched to be getting so much fascination out of these.)

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(10) 9:00pm – The Korknisse number 5 at the end of the day. They are still so adorable I could squee. By this point the cupcakes are also done, waiting for frosting.

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(11) 10:15pm – The Ivy League Vest.
The progress is slow this evening, what with all the other occupations of the day. (I had another go at Beatrice with the damp towel. It’s OK though, she had a bit of kibble and we were friends again by bedtime.) But I did get to the beginning of the neck steek which makes me feel comfortable, and by the weekend I’d like to be on the armhole steeks as well. The rows will start to get shorter now with the neckline decreases! Woo hoo!

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(12) 10:30pm – Cupcakes.
MMMM. I frost them but don’t sample yet. These will be for the staff meeting on campus on Thursday, when we will all appreciate the good cheer. I’ve still got the egg nog in the fridge, which makes me wonder if I’ll need to actually drink it. I don’t really drink egg nog…but then, if you can put rum in it then that’s not all bad, right? ;)

And a 13th bonus shot, which this month is meant to be based on the word “Believe.”
Me? I believe that knitters are changing the world. I thought it was about time I donated again.

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And a happy Thursday to everyone out there in blogland. The Korknisse and I thank you for reading. ;)

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Filed under 12 of 12, baking, cats, holiday knitting, korknisse

::headdesk::

I was halfway to my huge long 12-of-12 post and then hit a wrong key by mistake and it all DISAPPEARED. Wah. ::sniffsniff:: I’ll have to try again later when I’ve got more time, but here’s one shot for preview. The current Korknisse brigade, now with 5 members.

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Filed under holiday knitting

I am dead from all the cute

The internet is dragging slower than molasses, and we were supposed to get 10cm of lovely fluffy snow last night and all we got was freezing rain, and I have work and crap that needs doing, but that is all FINE, because these little creatures are now peeking down at me from their current residence on the window ledge:

Korknisse1

I want to make more. Seriously, these are not little one-shot projects. This is a pattern that cries out to be made by the dozen. A veritable Korknisse army, that is what I want. Unfortunately, after scouring the kitchen I have come up with only 8 stashed corks. 8 Korknisse are clearly not enough. Anyone who knows me and drinks wine…your corks are not safe. I must have them.

(Also, blog reader Cricket reports that her 8-year old has been enjoying making this pattern, and it is completely beginner-friendly. Just think of that, all of you with young’uns at home – you could be creating new knitters and getting them to churn out holiday ornaments at the same time. That’s good knit-savvy right there.)

Also, here’s an Ivy League progress shot. Lookin’ good, no? I’m just about ready to start the v-neck steek. Fun times ahead, baby.

ILVDec11

And now I should get on with my day, including conservation of further photo-documentation, as I am meant to be 12-of-12-ing it again. (Although in December I suppose that makes it 12-of-12-of-12!)

May your knitting be close by today.

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Filed under fair isle, holiday knitting, ivy league vest

It was an accident, I swear.

I was on my way to cast on for Korknisse. Really. These 200+ stitches totally cast themselves on without warning.

ILVtake1

I’m taking this as a sign that I’m not fully ready to commit to a Venezia colour scheme yet. (But thank you all so much for the comments. It pleases me that not all of you are in agreement either) ;) I rather think at this point I should just put them all on the floor and see which one Beatrice likes best.

Congrats to Twig on her finished Basic Black (or, Basic Burgundy perhaps?), modified for winter wear with full sleeves. It is always incredibly reassuring to know that my patterns work in someone else’s hands and not just mine. Also, now I want another one with full sleeves too. Hmm.

Happy weekend!

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Filed under fair isle, ivy league vest

More with the swatching

I’m still totally on the love train for Venezia, but believe me when I say I have twice had to hold myself back from casting on for the Ivy League Vest, just to take the edge off my impatience. After two swatches I had lots of love for all the colours, was extolling the virtures to myself of being able to mix and match different shades according to one’s preference…and then I knitted 2 more swatches and now my brain is all OMG just pick a danged colour combination already.

In the last chapter of this Venezia journey, I did 2 swatches, a blue/green and a red/purple, and disliked 1 shade of the blue/green one so I decided to try a different combo to make sure I was sure whether or not I liked it. Along the way I decided to also pluck out the bright yellow shade in the centre of the motif just to see what that would look like. The only colour I wear less often than brown is yellow, and I was concerned it was getting in the way of me fully committing to either set of options.

Version #1, take 2:

Venezia1b

I think the blue/green combination is much better here, and I am actually pretty sold on the removal of the yellow, too. With the new shade of dark green, I think the more balanced combo of the foreground shades is rather soothing. On the other hand, I’m not sure if yellow was actually harming anything in the 2nd one.

Version #2, take 2:

Venezia2b

Here I think the centre pale purple shade washes out the light tan (which is indeed different from the two foreground shades before and after – but it is totally lost here), and eliminates that nice sort of glowy vibe I was getting off of the previous red/purple combination. Well y’all, I dunno. I might be back where I started, contemplating the nice rusty red/purple variation I swatched in the first round.

Wanna see them all together?

Venezia1aVenezia1b

Venezia2aVenezia2b

Oh yeah, and I also switched in an actual ‘white’, in the process of bumping everything in the foreground forward to eliminate the yellow. Somewhere in here, I am convinced, is a lesson on colour theory and the value of…something. This is valuable stuff, don’tcha know, G? Revel in the virtues of shades, be not afraid that thou hast not yet begun thy sweater.

The next time I talk about this sweater, I swear by my stash it will be to report on a hem, or a sleeve cuff in progress, or something that constitutes actual knitting. Gotta be with the moving forward. But in the meanwhile, it’s winter now, and I pulled out my pair of convertible mitts to discover one had been chewed by mice (I am convinced of this, the work was so precise. They went right for my right mitt and left my 8 foot Harry Potter scarf untouched. Surely moths would not be so discriminating). So, I’m making another one, with a skein of yon Briggs & Little Regal that’s waiting patiently to become a Brennan Cardigan one day:

ConvertiblesDec4

I love the heathery-ness so much I could just plotz. It soothes me.
Onwards!

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Filed under fair isle, swatching, venezia

Just pictures

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(Winter has arrived.)

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(Everyone knows radiators are for sitting on.)

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(The beginnings of an SWS hat.)

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(Crunchy Cabbage Salad)

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(Carrot & Potato Soup)

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(Hello Dolly bars. Next time: need higher nut/coconut to butterscotch ratio.)

And one more thing…

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It’s 98% done, but the last 2% won’t get done until after my supervisor returns from a trip, so I am giving myself a couple of days permission to not think about the Thesis and return to it with (hopefully) fresh thoughts. I’m at a point where I need to do big “what does it all mean” statements and by Friday last week my brain was resisting. At this point, the draft is done enough that I’m giving myself permission to start Venezia…just as soon as I can get the last swatch or two done for confirmation. Of course, now, the knitting ennui strikes again ;) Maybe after the weekend is done I’ll get it back.

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Filed under cats, cooking, real life miscellaney