Category Archives: mason-dixon

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

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

Flux

Not only am I a little perturbed that it is already Wednesday, but I am most distressed to discover that it almost the middle of September. I mean, I’m trying to make friends with September since, let’s face it, August was pretty sucktastic in case I haven’t mentioned it (stress of moving, anxiety over dissertation, rejection of several things, that sort of sums it up), but I somehow thought it would progress a bit more slowly than this. It’s fall, right? Fall is leisurely and soothing? Isn’t it? Quick! Start smelling the roses! Or, smelling the fall produce, as it were…The house-sitting house also comes with a weekly local vegetable box, and now I am in possession of not only several tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, beets, and mushrooms, but two bunches of this:

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It’s mizuna, a Japanese green similar to mustard greens and which can be used relatively interchangeably with things like kale or swiss chard. Apparently this gets snuck into our salad mixes all the time, which means I must like it. This is the first time I’ve been presented with a bunch (or two) of it on its own. I am investigating stir-fry and stew recipes as we speak. Mizuna goodness shall be mine. (Then I will conquer the beet greens.)

My knitting this week is progressing slowly. I hope that one day soon I will be able to show you pictures of something besides this Moderne Log Cabin…but on the other hand, I am happy to report that the blanket does receive the seal of approval from Miss Beatrice the Cat:

Moderne3

She rolled around on it as if to say, ‘this is for me, yes?’ She also reports that, despite all visual evidence to the contrary, it is very, very, very hard work being a cat all day.

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I’m a little jealous. (But I am comforted by the knitting and the leafy greens.)

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Filed under cats, cooking, mason-dixon

Rambling

Oof, I’ve been a bad blogger this week – in both the reading and the writing sense. I’ve spent the last 3 days in a row being a Toronto commuter and learning what that’s all about, and let me tell you I don’t know how people manage to do it 5 days a week every week! The getting up at 6am is a new thing for me. My hope is that I’ll only need to go in 2-3 days a week, and not necessarily consecutively, to do what I need to do. I’ll be kept busy on campus quite a bit in September with non-Thesis work as the year starts up again. But damn, I still have to get that draft done. Only smidgeons of writing have gotten through this week (although some is better than none). Can I put through the effort to make this Friday count? Time shall tell that tale…My brain has so far been in a haze all morning.

Knitting, though a bit slower, has been decent this week. I’m almost done block #4 on the Moderne Log Cabin, and it’s taking shape nicely:

Moderne2

It’s going to be super warm and cozy. I’d like to have the fifth block started by the weekend, and I might also just indulge my start-itis and cast on something else for the heck of it. I’ve got more projects on the brain, and itchy fingers. Yesterday a package also arrived for me which is making me think and scratch my head a bit. Way back in July I signed up for the Sweet Sheep’s sock club, as a birthday present to myself. It’s a 3-month set of monthly sock kits, and I thought I’d give it a try since I’ve never done a sock club before and this one was short enough just to get a taste of what it’s like.

SweetSheep1

The pattern is simple but attractive, and I’ll be happy to give that a try. The yarn is the Sweet Sheep’s ‘Sweet Socks’ in a semi-solid called ‘Shamrock’. It’s a nice soft superwash merino/nylon blend, it’s got great yardage (430yds) and is dyed beautifully…but it’s bright green. I have to say that if I were picking out colours for myself, this wouldn’t be something I’d pick. So, hmm. I definitely won’t be knitting this up for myself, so it’s a matter of deciding whether I’ll knit something up as a gift for someone else. I’ll let it sit and percolate.

And on that note…I’ve got the rest of the morning and I haven’t had my tea yet. I should write. I need to write. Of course, what I would like to do is watch Pride and Prejudice for the bazillionth time, or knit, or read recipes, or have a nap….But I should write. I’ll percolate on that, too, while I drink tea and contemplate my new blanket in progress.

Happy Friday!

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Filed under mason-dixon, socks

(Haven’t you always wanted a monkey?)*

I admit that I did not get any work done yesterday. Instead I moped around the house and procrastinated fearfully and then finished my 2nd pair of Monkey socks. But aren’t they cute?

Monkey2FO

And then I realized I don’t think I ever posted an FO photo of my first pair of Monkeys. They’re 1 repeat too short to fit me, so I’ll turn ‘em into a gift (I gotta figure out exactly how much I can get out of a single skein of Socks That Rock – size 11 feet are not meant for this kind of game of derring-do without a nice method of splitting the skein evenly in half), but that’s fine. More Monkeys will come, I’m sure.

Monkey1

And earlier this week, after a day of commuting when I couldn’t stand to look at the same knitting I’d been knitting on transit both ways, I sat down and started in on that damn garter stitch. It has this lovely only-minimal-thought-required sort of quality, and it made me realize that were it not for the rapid yarn-eating pace of garter stitch, I’d surely do it more often. Anyhoo, I’m already on block 3 of the Moderne Log Cabin:

ModerneLogCabin1

It’s going to be warm and cozy when it’s done. The trouble is, with every block the rows get longer and longer and so does the time it takes to complete a block, so…we’ll see how speedy it is all in due course. Or until start-itis striks again. Heh.

*Actually, I’d be okay with just the $1,000,000. (Or maybe another exotic pet. Like a llama or an emu. Okay yeah, the procrastination is making me a little punchy.)

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Filed under finished object: socks, mason-dixon

Almost After Dark

AfterDark-blocking

The nightie is blocking. Once it’s dry I’ll be able to weave in a few ends and go on the hunt for some bra straps, and still be able to wear this baby while the summer’s still on. it’s close enough for me to call it done. I would very much like to knit the robe as well, although I don’t think i will do it exactly as it appears in the book – seed stitch is not my first choice for trim. I’ll ponder that for a wee bit.

Pattern: After Dark Nightie by Allison Will Green, in Mason-Dixon Knitting.
Size: 37″ (third size)
Yarn: Elann Camila, 6 skeins
Cast on: July 2, 2007
Cast off: July 26, 2007
Note: I strongly recommend reading Julia’s pattern notes from her experience over at Mind of Winter. They are comprehensive and very helpful.

First, let me talk about the yarn – Elann Camila. I was very pleased with it, and would not hesitate to knit with it again. Obviously I haven’t worn the whole finished garment yet, so I can’t say for certain how it will hold up over time, but based on my experience knitting with it I was quite happy. In fact, I think it would make a great yarn substitute for the Cables and Os cardigan from No Sheep For You, and it is only through sheer force of willpower that I haven’t rushed over and bought more for exactly that purpose. The Queensland Cotolino that the pattern calls for is very, very close to the Elann Camila, and in fact at knit night a few weeks ago Elizabeth was knitting the Cables and Os with the Queensland, and I had my nightie, and we compared the yarns and they were so close it was nearly perfect. The only thing I wish is that the Elann Camila came in more colours – the ones on offer are a pretty pale palette.

Camila feels exactly how you would expect a 50-50 cotton/linen yarn to feel. A little bit soft, and a little bit crisp, and smooth to the touch. There was a faint “grassy” smell to it as i worked with it, and the occasional bit of flotsam, but not to the same extent as, say, Noro Silk Garden. I wasn’t bothered by that.

Next, the pattern. It is a beautiful pattern. I love me some stockinette panels, and the lace trip at bottom and top is enough to take the level of challenge up a notch and give me practice at lace patterns. It is meant to be worked flat in two pieces, however I modified this for in-the-round knitting because I didn’t want to be sleeping on long side seams, and stockinette on circulars is My Favourite Kind Of Knitting.

There is, however, some room for improvement, most notably for the fact that there is no pattern schematic accompanying the pattern. This is not a small detail to miss, particularly since I think the pattern is sized for a fairly petite woman. I’m 5’9″, so I’m used to adding an inch or two in length. However, the added challenge with this pattern is that there is no guideline for where the, ahm, ::ahem:: nipple line is supposed to fall. Is the lace trim at the top supposed to keep you fully covered or sit directly across the bust line? These are details I would have appreciated, because it would have helped me to know how much length to add in the stockinette section of the torso, to accommodate my own size and preferences.

Adding length in the skirt section is easily enough done – but sadly I didn’t add length there and now I wish I had done, because it would cover me just a little bit more. I think I may go back and seam up the edges of the lace panels on the skirt, it would give the whole thing a bit more sturdy feel.

So there you have it, folks, an almost-finished-object. I will be happy to move on to other things and look forward to wearing this to bed. Will you get a shot of me wearing it? Ahm, no. ;) That will remain between me and my duvet cover. (Literally! Yuk yuk yuk. I kill me.)

On with the day…

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Filed under finished object, mason-dixon, summer knitting, yarn review

Can’t knit. Reading.

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Although the After Dark Nightie is so close to done that some knitting breaks may be required. As will be food, drink, and sleep breaks, naturally. The day started out quite busy and bustly but now I’m settled in, enough to give myself lots of time for this this weekend. No speed-reading for me. ;)

Better get down to business…

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Filed under mason-dixon, reading