Monthly Archives: February 2009

Mmmph.

This is about exactly my state of mind this week. I have remembered that the only problem with having a break is that the re-entry to the real world is more of a crash-landing than a gentle refresher. I’ve been going pretty well straight since Sunday, and next week I get to be rewarded with – wait for it! – more of the same! Oie vey, how many more weeks until the end of term? How many more lectures to write and assignments to grade? Let’s hope I make it.

All of this makes knitting ever so much more appealing, and I keep trying to remind myself not to forget about the Small Projects. I love sweaters (and am admittedly mentally admonishing myself for getting to the end of February with only one completed sweater…there are currently at least 5 in my head and I’d figured I’d at least have started one of them by now past the swatching stage), but the small stuff really does have the instant gratification going for it.

On my weekend in DC (now so distant at almost 2 weeks away…::sob::), I started and finished a Koolhaas hat, with the Tanis Fiber Arts ‘Green Label’ aran weight purchased a few weeks ago, and lo, it is good. There’s a sister skein of this deliciously bright, stubbornly cheerful, pink ‘Royal Flush’ colour that only needs me to turn it into mittens and I’ll have a nice set to round out the end of winter.

Either the bright shade is resisting photographic stability, or it’s mimicking my general state of mind, because out of two photo sessions half the pictures came out a bit fuzzy.

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Hmmm, well that’s not quite right. Perhaps from the top…

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Almost but not quite. Perhaps an outdoors shot from the side?

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That’s a bit better. I have to give my props to Jared Flood for a brilliant pattern. I worked all the cable twists without a cable needle which made everything quite speedy, and completed most of it while sacked out on Liz‘s couch watching DVDs and gearing up for sightseeing, so you know that means it’s a good pattern if I could do it on minimal brain cells. (Mental note: good current criteria for knitting. Hmm…)

The yarn itself is lovely, quite sturdy, superwash, and beautifully dyed. If I could manage the cash I’d stock up a sweater’s worth, but I think the standout Tanis Fiber Arts colours make it a great candidate for small accessories. Next step…mittens? Time will tell.

Here’s looking forward to the weekend for some quality yarn time and battery-recharging. I do have to get buttons on the Blooming Cardigan (attempt #1 has turned out not quite up to snuff. I can do better!), and I am inching towards finishing up a sock design project that I’ve had under wraps for far too long and I am just twitching, waiting to share it with all of you.

Weekend soon. Soooooon….

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Filed under finished object: accessories

It’s the hardest part

Not the knitting, not the bobbles, not the psychological stamina of getting through all the seaming and then remembering to still knit the sash…nope. The hardest part is waiting for the danged thing to dry so you can sew the buttons on already and call it a day.

Aran-weight wool sure is warm and toasty but after a hand-wringing and two towel rolls it still needs another day’s air dry. The Blooming Cardigan is almost there….

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Check out that hot bobble action.

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The next hardest part? Figuring out which sweater to knit next. It’s a good thing swatching fills that between-time nicely.

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One more knitting week left in February. Better make it count!

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Filed under finished object: sweater, swatching, sweaters

What’s in your Altoids tin?

I know that I am not the only knitter who carries a mini knitting kit inside an empty Altoids tin. How do I know this? Because there is an entire discussion thread on Ravelry and now – wait for it – a Ravelry group dedicated to this pursuit. I don’t think knitting minutiae gets more awesome than that, people.

I know that it’s possible to get Altoids here in Canada but for some reason they are just so much easier to come by in the United States. (This probably has something to do with the company being owned by Wrigley’s since the 1990s, as I have now learned). In the States, drugstore candy shelves are always lined with several varieties, and I always come back with another tin in some form – dudes, there are Altoids mints, sours, “smalls”, gum…it goes on and on. Each one comes in its own tin of varying size, but so far I do have to give my props to the standard, rectangular, mints tin. It holds a lot.

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My main tin is several years old and I don’t exactly remember when or where I purchased it, but it was surely somewhere in the U.S. I use mine as a travel knitting kit, which means I need it to be a) above suspicion at the aiport, and b) able to fit into a pocket of my handbag. So essentially, this means no scissors, no extremely heavy or bulky things, I can’t stuff too much in there and yet I need it to include all the essentials of what I would need while knitting on the go. It’s a work in progress, but I think I’ve got it fine tuned to a good set of items.

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Inside, we have:

*Tape measure (for obvious reasons)

*A needle gauge pendant (I only just remembered I had this – an extra from a few gift items purchased last winter from Robyn – it’s meant to be worn as jewelry but since I hadn’t integrated it into my everyday jewelery for some reason, I decided it would probably get more work inside my knitting kit, so here it resides now)

*Safety pins (I’d actually forgotten I had a few in there. Good to know)

*Travel size dental floss (for the cutter – can’t bring scissors on flights)

*Stitch markers (mostly hand made, and more numerous than what I really need, but I like the variety of colour and style)

*Point protectors (I rarely use them…but when you need them you reaaaaaaalllly need them)

*Small cable needle (most useful for sock cabling – and I do often knit socks on flights

*Darning needles

*Waste yarn

It makes me inexplicably happy and prepared and DIY knowing I can cart all this around in a tiny little 3×2″ tin. I haven’t yet figured out how this method is going to help knitters to take over the world…but I’m sure it’s there somewhere.

So…what’s in your Altoids tin?
Happy Friday!

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Filed under knitting in public, knitting tourism

Dee Cee: The Second Part

I’m back again in the land north of the longest unconflicted border in the world, to discover that a) it is snowing, b) apparently the house next door has now had the same water problems as we did a few days ago and our little street is going to go down like dominoes, and c) I have entirely forgotten what day it is and what I am supposed to be doing with myself. But I also have d) awesome new socks on the needles, e) a 100% vacation-knitted FO (!), and f) lots to tell.

I have once again discovered confirmation that if you are a knitter in an unfamiliar city, this is what you do:

Step One: Find some knitters. (There is no Step Two).

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Liz graciously hosted me, and on Monday night we met up with Elspeth and Jessie, and had one of those sorts of dinners that goes on forever and yet too quickly, we talked about possibly every single thing in the universe, stuffed ourselves too much, and sadly had not a lot of time to do the actual knitting part of the knitting meetup, but that just means that we all clearly must do this again. (Also I am left with a vague inclination to refashion my life in their collective image.)

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We ate at a tapas restaurant featuring a ‘Restaurant Week’ prix fixe menu, which has left me re-thinking not only my relationship with tapas recipies but also the exact degree of “full” it is possible to leave a restaurant which features everything in small itty bitty plates. I think my stomach is still recovering.

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So, it is a good thing I also walked all over the place. On Monday Liz and I took a tour of the Mall and the Tidal Basin, and I did the knitterly thing and showed my sock the sights. Now when I wear the finished socks I shall think of Lincoln, FDR, Jefferson, the Korean war, and the offerings at the National Gallery. Then on Tuesday Elspeth met me and walked me over all of the rest of downtown, and it was great, though sadly and inexplicably unphotographed. Let’s do it all again sometime.

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Thanks for the visit, DC. I’ll try to come again soon.

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Filed under knitting in public, knitting tourism

Dee Cee: The First Part

You’re all on notice. Even those of you who have never heard of DC are on notice. How could you all let me go to DC when there was an exhibit featuring Obama and Lincoln’s faces drawn out of cupcakes, and nobody told me? Woe! I could have been there at the Smithsonian, admiring and enjoying and deliciously de-installing it like the 5,600 some people who would have had to devour it. Sigh.

But I can’t complain, really, because my Saturday and Sunday were great. I arrived bleary on Saturday morning and Liz picked me up from the airport and we meandered our way to three different knitting spots in the DC environs. She’d done research through Ravelry chatter and word of mouth, and had a long list of 7 and a short list of 3. We only made it to the short list, but it was lovely. More to save for next time.

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Our first stop was at Knit Happens, which was bustling with Saturday shoppers and chatter. This store came well recommended, and I have to admire a store with both a great sock yarn selection and a big table for sitting and knitting. My wallet met its fate at the sock yarn shelf indeed, and I walked out with some Neighbourhood Yarn Company (local to the area), and some Lorna’s Laces in an unfamiliar (to me) colour called Maple Grove. My Lorna’s Laces collection-for-Jaywalkers continues.

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My sister is now looking at this total haul thinking, “that’s all?” Indeed, I showed a moderate amount of self-restraint, though I did add a few needles and bits and bobs from various stops. I collected a couple of tiny cable needles which were just Altoids-tin sized, and a set of 2.25mm (labelled only as Size 1, and I had to do my metric-to-American conversion in the wilds of Virginia yarn shops…) at the next stop which was Aylnn’s Woolgatherer. This wasn’t a storefront shop so it took us a bit of searching and a helpful phone call to discover we had to go up to the 3rd floor of a building in a shopping plaza, but once we ascended the selection was lovely. Lots of nice standard faves as well as a wide selection of notions and magazines. When I inquired about the new issue of Interweave Knits, the women there were ready to sell me their lone preview copy if I was in desperate need (I graciously declined), so I call that some good solid knitterly dedication.

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Our final Saturday yarn stop was a little harder to find (curse you Google directions), but once we got there the browsing factor was high. I spent a long, long time looking at the sock yarn shelves once again, and escaped with the muted Caribou Club shade of Cherry Tree Hill (more Charades perhaps), and Liz left happily with some Ultra Alpaca Light for a spring Clapotis. I’d certainly return to all three of these spots.

Sunday we sat around and had a knitting morning, then ventured out to the Capitol in the afternoon, thus bridging the knitting and touristing portions of the weekend quite well. (Note: the Museum of the American Indian is recommendable not only for the thoughtful exhibits but also for the spicy hot chocolate. Mmm.) Today it’s off to the National Mall and further sightseeing. Have fun if you’ve got a holiday today, and if not, keep the knitting close by anyhow!

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Filed under knitting tourism, yarn stores

Escaaaaaaaaape

It’s not a mistake – the water is back at home, my teaching is done for a whole week, and I get to escape to DC for 4 days.

IKEA, you really do know how I feel…Now just insert “time off YAY” for “sale” and we’re all good ;)

Liz, Elspeth, Jessie –  START THE CAR!

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How not to have a knitting day

So after a frazzled week I was all planning a concerted effort today during my at-home day to finish up the main knitting on my Blackberry Cardigan (what I am calling my execution of the Blooming Cardigan, since the yarn colourway is called blackberry). Except what ended up happening is that I got up and found no water in the house. One call to the city, one call to a plumber, another call to the (by this time after-hours hotline from the) city) later, and there is still no water, though there is supposedly someone coming “in a while” tonight. (I can’t imagine how someone manages with no water all damned day when there is more than one person in the house. For real. People need to wash things and flush things and bathe things).

While I’m sure all of this would have been way easier if it had been a daywhen my parents (whose house I am still living it at this point – score another point for my pride and ego, yes siree) were at home, but no, it’s just been little me. Although I do at least now know where the house water main shutoff is, so hey, I at least gained new knowledge.

Also, I would really love to know how many hours of training city operators go through to perfect their tone of voice just right to make it sound like a lack of water coming into my house is actually my fault.

Anyhoozle, the Blackberry Cardigan still looks mostly like this, with two as-yet unattached sleeves.

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Sadly, it is not likely to be anywhere close to done by the time I leave at 0-dark-hundred on Saturday morning for my flight to DC, which bums me out majorly as I was hoping to clean that part of my slate and knit fresh on my vacation time. Siggghhhhh.

One would hope water will eventually return to the premises, as I would dearly love to shower before my work day tomorrow, and at the very least before I expose myself to the horrors and evil stresses wonders of airline travel, but we shall see.

If you were me, and trying to erase WIP guilt through new travel knitting (I still have the Sanquhar gloves and another pair of complex socks in progress that are likely to neither travel well nor be finished anywhere near this weekend), what would you bring? I’m seriously open to colour suggestions, even.

But in any case – knitter down and out for tonight…Catch you again on the flip side of my DC trip if not before!

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