Monthly Archives: March 2009

Two for two

In my head, I’ve totally been participating in the NaKnitSweMoDo (or whatever it’s called when you pledge to knit a sweater a month for a year), but so far the 3rd month of the year is coming to an end and I have only finished two sweaters. Oh well. Hope springs eternal, yes?

This is also my second from last Winter’s Interweave Knits – the Climbing Vines Pullover by Joelle Meier Rioux. I call it a win.

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Sadly the late-March weather has been giving a lot of clouds and not quite as much outdoor photoshoot light as one might prefer, and some of the best shots came out slightly blurry. Perhaps fittingly so, given that the yarn is Dream in Color Classy ‘Blue Lagoon’, and it certainly does have an ‘underwater’ look about it.

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I’m happy with the ease on this, I worked it for about 2 inches of positive ease and it fits comfortably. I did add about 1.5 ins of length overall and wish now that I’d added about an inch more, but I’ll live. It’s comfortable, relatively fitted, and I can happily go out into the world in it this spring. Tall girls, take note – definitely one for the modifications. Another thing I will note about the pattern is that the sleeves are quite snug. If I were to do it again I’d add 4-6 sts at the beginning of the cuff and adjust from there. The 3/4 sleeves are great for spring but are less accommodating around the muscles of your arms when they hit mid-forearm.

The Dream in Color is designed to prevent pooling, however between skeins there was the occasional variation in colour and consistency, so I alternated skeins every 2-3 rows while working the body. I still ended up with a bit of flashing, as you’ll note from the pictures above, but at least it’s an overall effect. You can see an example of this on the shoulder, where the top 2 inches were done in a new skein, and the colour changed obviously.

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Because this was mostly stockinette, I was able to work through it pretty quickly during my evening knitting time, and the actual knitting only took me 15 days. Now I am left with the decision, once again, as to which sweater to make next. Naturally this means that I have since cast on 2 new pairs of socks and one shawl, but no new sweater yet. Stay tuned as further news bulletins occur on that front.

And finally, I am really looking forward to a bit of rest in a few weeks when the term comes to an end, as I have once again picked up the current variation of viral plague circulating throughout Ontario, and would very much like to stop coughing some time soon. Thankfully the new Sock Summit website is up to distract me, my plane ticket to Portland is now booked for August, and Rebecca and I are already plotting. How soon is August? Can it be August now?

At least April will be here soon. I see lace knitting in my future.

Keep the knitting close by!

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Filed under finished object: sweater

As it turns out

As it turns out, getting over some of my knitting ennui was just a matter of perseverence. I sat down yesterday afternoon to finish those month-and-a-half socks, darn it all, and was sewing up the toes by dinner time:

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These are the ubiquitous Jaywalker pattern, in Lorna’s Laces ‘Devon’, purchased last summer on one of my excursions to Lettuce Knit in Toronto. This makes my fourth pair of Jaywalkers in Lorna’s Laces, and it’s one of my favourite pattern/yarn combinations. I’d like to get a pair for every day of the week, so I’m more than halfway there.

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Now all I have to do is make it to the weekend, and then I can start re-energizing some of my next-project daydreams. Sweater? Socks? Perhaps a shawl? Or perhaps all 3…Better give myself time to figure that out.

Happy almost-weekend!

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I Want to Want To

I’m having a bizarre week, knitting-wise. I started out on a bit of a high, having finished the Climbing Vines Pullover in just a touch over 2 weeks’ time (boo-yah). I even started toying with a sock design idea, and was spending all my bedtime reading poring through books like A Fine Fleece (Portland or Staghorn?) or Knitting Vintage Socks (finally my long-stashed Schaeffer Anne can come out of hibernation and be Gentleman’s Stockings) or looking through all the shawl patterns I’ve been stacking up for a year (Norwegian Woods shawl, I’m coming for you.)

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But the heavier work days of my week take their inevitable toll, and I always seem to arrive at Thursdays a little less motivated. I want very much to knit things, all things, anything…and yet when I sit down to do it I feel a little restless, resistant, even dare I say it, reluctant. Not the most fun place ever, for a knitter.

It could be related to my fatigue over having had the same socks in my travel-knitting pouch for over a month. I cast these Jaywalkers on in mid-February during my DC trip, and although the first one practically fell off of the needles, the second one has spent much more time tucked away in its bag than actually being knit upon. It’s not their fault, they’re lovely socks and the Lorna’s Laces is my go-to for Jaywalkers. But a month and a half starts to wear on a person.

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Or, maybe, just maybe, it’s a colour thing. I’ve spent the last two weeks looking at a whole lot of teal blue, and while that’s been lovely as a first step into spring, I can’t help but notice my most recent yarn acquisitions look a little bit different…

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These are a beautiful purple-pink skein from Tanis Fiber Arts, from the Robyn’s Nest March sock club, and two skeins of Lorna’s Laces from Red Bird Knits in the Flamingo Stripe colourway that I’ve been coveting for a while. Purple and pink – I like the sound of that. Now if I can just get the other socks finished first…hmmm…

I hope your Thursday has whatever colour yarn you want. Keep the knitting close by!

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And then

So, no word of a lie, this time yesterday my biggest accomplishments for the week, outside of having only one more workday left to survive, was that I’d won a free drink in Roll up the Rim and that since Saturday I’d found a cumulative total of $0.39 in loose change on the sidewalk.

And then yesterday afternoon Stephanie blogged about my super fannish little sock pattern, and then my blog stats exploded and I logged on this morning to discover that the number of Viper Pilots projects and queues on Ravelry had doubled, and then I had to go get that tea and have a little sit down for a bit.

And then it occurred to me that it is entirely possible, given that I didn’t manage to get the pattern out sooner, that (like Stephanie) there are handfuls of knitters all over fandom frantically trying to knit as much of this pattern as possible before tonight’s final episode, who have (let’s face it – I know how long it took me to knit these) no hope of finishing by tonight…

And you know, I think that’s fine. The fun part of being a passionate television fan in this moment that we’re in, is that you can keep on going back to it as many times as you want. If you’re knitting these socks, you know you’ll be watching those DVDs again, or you’ll be rediscovering it while converting encouraging your friends to watch, or even if you don’t watch again you’ll have put your memories of the show into the knitting process, and I think that’s the best part. The insanity never dies.

I’ll be watching tonight in the company of a few friends and am going to enjoy the fond farewell. Then this weekend I’ll clutch the knitting and look forward to a bit of a re-watch sometime.

I hope you’re enjoying the pattern if you’re knitting it, and if you have no interest in BSG whatsoever – with any luck there will be a finished Climbing Vines Pullover in this space by my next post. Is it wrong to keep wanting to knit sweaters when impending spring tells me different? If so, don’t tell me. Some insanity is a little bit comforting.

Catch you on the flip side of the finale, my imaginary knitting friends!

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Sometimes you win

Every year when Roll up the Rim rolls around at Tim Horton’s, there are people who seem to win left right and centre. There are all sorts of people collecting up the donuts and coffees, taking home the cash…The caretaker in my office sat at a sports game a few rows behind a guy who won one of the few big screen TVs. Those little paper cups are tiny little potential goldmines of elation. Some people even collect them to redistribute to the homeless, and apparently there is much debate raging about whether British Columbia and Alberta have been unfairly advantaged in their odds of winning the grand prize.

Dudes, I don’t need a car, or a big screen TV. But the little tiny winning rim sure is bright and shiny when it happens. I got my first one in a few years yesterday, and will happily turn my coffee win into a nice free cup of tea:

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But let me tells ya, a free cup of anything is just about cause for celebration, as is the soothing mostly-stockinette of my Climbing Vines Pullover (zipping along nicely – another weekend should complete most of it). I’m on the homestretch of my heaviest teaching semester ever, and folks, I’m flagging. I’m close enough to look out and see the end, but not so close that I don’t still have lectures to write or that I can just imagine away the mountain of grading that still waits for me. It’s a long treadmill that will certainly be a little easier the next time I get on it, but still. No getting around it, I’m tired.

Me and my free cup of tea, we’re going to clutch the cheerful green Climbing Vines Pullover on the bus today, and add things to the “Things to do in April When I’m Done Teaching” list. It’s helping a lot.

What knits are you dreaming of? And have you ever rolled up the rim and won?
Happy Tuesday, my imaginary knitting friends – here’s hoping Friday comes soon!

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Filed under real life miscellaney, sweaters

Sigh

Previously, I had thought that the worst knitterly circumstances one could get into would be to be without knitting altogether. I no longer believe this to be true.

The most unfortunate thing for a knitter, is when you settle in for your 45+ minute bus ride at the beginning of your day, remove your knitting pouch from your bag, pull out the sock…and discover it holds only 3 DPNs, not 4. The thing worse than having no knitting with you at all, I am here to say…

…Is having your knitting with you, and being completely unable to knit it. How much longer until I get to go home at the end of the day?

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Viper Pilots

[Note from later in 2009: This pattern is now available in hard copy from The Purple Purl, in Toronto.]

Brace yourselves, because this is pretty much as geek-tastic as my knitting gets. BSG knitters in the house? This is for us.

This pattern is something I’ve had on the brain since about, oh, last spring or so. I was pondering the Season 3 finale of Battlestar Galactica, and Starbuck and Apollo, and the emblematic maelstrom and the Eye of Jupiter, and so of course the most logical response in my head was, “hey let’s put that into a really complicated sock and then write it into a pattern.” Several months and three attempts later, and after a few different variations and lots and lots of poring over stitch dictionaries, this is what it turned into:

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I present to you, Viper Pilots (Ravelry store link). Visually, it combines all the elements I wanted to achieve – the swirled, dynamic twists that represent exactly those same maelstroms that Starbuck and Apollo fly through practically on a daily basis, and the chevron, arrow-like cables that bear more than a passing resemblance to the Vipers they fly. It’s sort of violent and beautiful at the same time.

And now the pattern is out in the world (which fills me with simultaneous excitement and just a little bit of terror…but I feel this way about pretty much everything I’ve ever designed ever, so I’m hoping that’s normal), and is currently available as a sale download on Ravelry. (See that linkie above). I’m charging $5.00 which seemed pretty reasonable to me, so I hope it seems reasonable to knitters, too. (There are charts! And instructions! And everything!)

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In knitting this pattern I chose Dream in Color Smooshy, in the aptly-named ‘Nightwatch’ colourway, but one of the reasons I liked the DiC option is that there are so many different colourways in the blue-black area; Dusky Aurora, Black Parade, Midnight Derby…I’d love to know what it looks like in all sorts of shades. I also like Smooshy for its fantastic yardage – cables eat yarn for breakfast and I wanted a skein that would get me through a pair of socks in my Size 11 feet without trouble, and I’m pleased to say this fits the bill. Any substitution would be fine for something with a bit of ‘squish’ to it, in a moderate fingering weight.

The biggest challenge with this pattern would be adjusting for size, given that it is hard to simply alter stitch repeats. I have written this pattern for one size which will comfortably fit feet 8.5-10 ins or so in circumference, at an anticipated stockinette gauge of 32 sts over 4 inches. I used 2.75mm needles, which is the size I would use if I were knitting a plain pair of 64-sts stockinette socks. Up-sizing or down-sizing would be easiest with a change in needle size, depending on your anticipated gauge, but also by altering the # of purl sts between the repeats – each individual stitch pattern is separated by 2 purl sts, so changing that # could change the overall circumference of the leg or foot.

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In executing this design I am more than just a little bit grateful to my test-knitters. Rebecca took the first hit got it first, and helped me go through several key edits before passing it off to Abbie, who went a little cross-eyed somehow completed the entire first sock in less than a week, and Jacquie had a look-see to see if my suggestions for Magic Loop knitters made any sense at all (she says they do). They have thus reassured me that this pattern is capable of being executed by people possessing a brain other than my own, and have even expressed some enjoyment of doing so;

Jacquie called them “boss”, Rebecca said they were “hard but stunning” (I’ll go ahead and wait while you think about that in the context of Starbuck and Apollo…), and Abbie ranked the pattern as “A++ Would Knit Again Just As Soon As I Drink This Scotch Right Here”, so that pretty much sums up everything I was going for in the first place. And when you put them on…well. Nothing has made me feel quite this badass as a knitter in quite a while.

I hope you’ll enjoy, and thanks for reading as I babble about this crazy process of what happens when we do strange things like watch TV shows and knit patterns inspired by them. And now, I’m off to enjoy a glass of wine.

Happy knitting!

Update Mar-28-08
Many people have been expressing interest in this pattern, and for that, dear knitters, I thank you from the bottom of my sock yarn stash. Thank you, so very very much.

I have received a few questions/queries and in case you are wondering, I will offer a few comments:

Is there a way to buy the pattern without using Paypal?
At the moment, no. I will happily start to investigate this as a future addition/upgrade, but for the moment the Ravelry/Paypal combination is the best option for me to be able to distribute to a wide variety of knitters, who may be using a variety of currencies.

[ETA May-4-09] If you’re really not interested/able to do the Paypal thing, send me an email (address below) if you would like to do a postal exchange of cash or cheque. Once i receive payment I will send you an electronic copy of the pattern.

I bought your pattern but I can’t find it. Where is it?
After you make the purchase, you will be sent an email with a download link for the pattern PDF. This link expires a short while after you first use it, so please ensure you save the file to your own computer.

Also, check your Ravelry pattern library. A copy is saved to your pattern library once you complete the purchase.

If all of these options have still not worked out, please contact me (crazy.knitting.lady@gmail.com), and we will work it out. Have no fear!

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The shape of things to come

The sock pattern I’ve had in the works for a little while now is finally just about ready to go out into the world. If you’ve been by my Ravelry projects page lately, you know what that’s about, but if you haven’t, here’s a quick taste.

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My pattern testers, bless them, have alternately called this “frakking hard” and “cracktastically awesome”. I think that pretty much sums up what I was going for. Full reveal soon. ::tents fingers:: Sooooon….

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Filed under design, socks

Recommendable

I seem to recall that it was around this time last year that I was clinging to shades of blue and green. I remember I bought a skein of Socks That Rock from Lettuce Knit in those shades, and just sort of carried it around in my bag for a week, in case I needed to look at it. (If this is wrong, then I don’t ever want to be right).

There is something about the gradual process of March and digging one’s self out of the winter slog that flicks a sort of teal-shaded switch in my brain. I don’t think there is a better testament to the value of knitting than March. Around here there is the promise of spring down the road, the promise of growing things yet to come, but half-melted piles of snow are still lingering in shady corners and the grass is still matted and damp and trying to remember that it can grow, so if you want colour you had better get the knitting on it.

To wit:

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If there is a downside to Dream in Color yarn, I don’t want to know about it. The colours are gorgeous and the yardage goes for days and I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to know that I’m knitting a sweater that I won’t have to wait a day to let air-dry before I can wear it after washing.

Round about early February I was browsing on Robyn’s store and looking at her sales and something snapped. I grabbed up 5 skeins of Classy in Blue Lagoon (and okay fine 3 in Midnight Derby, shut up it’ll make a great fall vest), and it has been sitting there for a month waiting ever so patiently. It has been waiting, as it turns out, to be turned into the Climbing Vines Pullover. I’ve only been knitting this since Saturday but I’m almost done both sleeves and plan to start in on the body tonight. March will see a finished sweater if I have anything to say about it. The dark purple Mission Falls will have to wait a bit longer to be assembled into Bonnie, but I think it’s okay with that. Dark purple yarn is friendly that way.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I have to arrange my Dream in Color in a place where I can see it from my desk. You understand about that, right?

Happy Moan-day. Keep the knitting close by!

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Filed under stash, sweaters

The Next Sweater

I think one of the unsung benefits of knitting is that it helps you practice decision-making skills. Most of the day in our non-knitting lives we have to make a lot of decisions, often very quickly, many of which we don’t actually have a personal interest in. But when you sit down to choose your next sweater you have to make about a bazillion choices (or, at the very least, two or three) right off the top: Which pattern? Which yarn? Which size? Should I swatch? Should I modify it? Should I make it for a special occasion? What if it doesn’t turn out, then what will I do with it?

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All this is just my way of saying at the moment I am deciding between two sweaters for my Next Sweater: Bonnie, and the Climbing Vines Pullover (holla, Winter 2008 IK). I’m delaying this decision because, well, the anticipation is actually sort of enjoyable. There is no pressure in either direction and I’ve got the yarn for both. I’ve even swatched for both, take that knitting fates!

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The dark purple Mission Falls 1824 wool is part of my stash that’s been there for a year now, thanks to a sale last winter. I went looking for ideas on what to do with it and that’s when I found Bonnie. I love how deep and dark it is, and even on a sweater with a lot of cables, I think it would do fine. And Fiona Ellis does know her way around some Mission Falls, and (HAH!) my gauge is perfect.

As for the Climbing Vines Pullover, I admittedly hadn’t even considered it until I went browsing on Ravelry and saw all the nice dark and mottled versions of it. I think what made it escape my notice in the magazine was quite simply the sample colour, so pale and washed out. But in the blue lagoon Dream in Color Classy? And only 5 skeins for a sweater? Yes please.

In the end, it may all come down to which one my brain chooses tonight when I get home and sack out. Further bulletins as events occur, so stay tuned.

Keep the knitting close by!

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