Monthly Archives: January 2009

Winter winter winter

The holidays are gone, but winter sure ain’t. Oh, would it were the other way around…

A scene from today:

Photobucket

The Charades would like to report that yes indeed, 15cm of snow has accumulated. On top of, you know, all the snow that was there already.

Photobucket

I have also not stopped with the winding of yarn. I can’t wait for all of it to grow up to be socks. In fact, given that this week I am sort of feeling like a weary screw-up, I sort of wish socks were my day job. Thank goodness for yarn.

Photobucket

Have some hot cocoa for me! And keep the knitting close by.

14 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Serious Winter

Despite the fact that I tallied up several sweaters in 2008 and several of these are already in constant rotation in my wardrobe this winter, I just need to keep on knitting more. We’re in the third week of -It’s Too Cold to Be Cheerful Celsius and I’ve got sweater quantities of yarn in the stash that need some serious attention. Also, since casting off my Twist cardigan in November all I’ve been working on are socks and small things for gifts, so it’s definitely time to get back to sweaters.

I wasn’t paying too much attention to this Winter’s Interweave Knits, until I flipped through and realized that the Blooming Cardigan pattern was a perfect gauge match for the Wild Apple Hill Farm 100% wool that I purchased more of at Rhinebeck this past October. So once I cleared the deck of a few projects this January, on this went to the needles.

Photobucket

The colour here is a bit greyer than reality, but the shade is a lovely heathery mix of purple and brown. Overall I’m hoping the finished cardigan will be a versatile piece that I could dress up or down, but I don’t mind admitting that my brain has more sweaters on the brain and I hope I can finish this piece quickly. The nosegay pattern is keeping it interesting for me since I have somehow managed to go over 4 years without knitting any bobbles, until now. Score one for learning a bit of new technique.

In an effort to add some psychological speed, I knitted the sleeves (all stockinette) first, and then cast on for the body all in one piece. This does make individual rows a little slower to progress, but in the long run I think it’ll be worth it. I’m looking forward to wearing it!

What sweater(s) are on your list this winter?

27 Comments

Filed under sweaters

It must be yarn o’clock

Is it wrong that this morning I spent so much time wandering through Ravelry and thinking about what socks I’d like to make and all the fun yarn I have that I could make socks with, that I was halfway through a session of winding yarn before it occurred to me that I hadn’t even had breakfast yet?

Well, if winding yarn is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.

Photobucket

But I have since fixed the lack of breakfast. Also, in answer to my decision-making needs on Tuesday…I started some Charades. I love them, along with the Cherry Tree Hill Supersock I’ve been hoarding.

Photobucket

The colours are fun, and the pattern is fun, and I am surrounded by other fun yarns and other fun patterns and I would like to knit them and all of their sock yarn kin all day, but somehow I think that might be a problem for my to-do list. We shall see.

Carry on.

23 Comments

Filed under socks, stash

Yummy Socks

It’s a hand-painted sock-knitter’s world out there, and I’m just living in it. Or so it seems, a lot of the time. And while I have my own little stash of hand-painted and hand-dyed sock yarns, it makes it that much more of a relief to be reminded that a person can actually knit quite a decent pair of socks for less than $20.

This new finished pair speaks the truth – a lovely comfy and sturdy pair from Fibra natura Yummy in what I believe is the Raspberry Mocha colourway (in a basic 3×1 ribbing which has become my fall-back sock pattern lately). This is a pot-dyed yarn with the swooshy-mottled colour consistency reminiscent of hand-painted yarns, but with a tight twist and sturdy texture more like Patons Kroy Socks. For me, this is a good thing. I’m telling you, once you feel the twist on this stuff…I’ll just say I’ll be surprised if this doesn’t wear extremely well.

Photobucket

I have another skein of this in the Sangria (both courtesy of the Purple Purl…someone should really go back there and buy all the Grapesicle purple skeins before I succumb even more), and I’m happy to knit another. As long as they keep on expanding the colour line I don’t see why this yarn shouldn’t be a popular seller. Lisa is using hers in a pair of gloves and is already planning a second pair, which tells me the attraction can’t just be a figment of my imagination.

And now…I need a new pair of socks to cast on. Decisions, decisions!

6 Comments

Filed under finished object: socks, yarn review

Oh, Knit Picks.

I have a sort of love/hate relationship with Knit Picks. Or rather, a like/confused relationship. On the one hand, I enjoy their needles, they have a nice book selection, and I have enough Palette to knit several sweaters. But on the other hand, I am often confused or vaguely dismayed by the marketing choices they make (remember when they did up a sample sweater from ‘No Sheep For You’ in a cotton/wool blend? Sigh.) And then things like this happen:

Photobucket

This is one of the pairs of gift socks I made for this Christmas (will be distributed late, sadly), and while I think the recipient will be pleased with them and wear them without concern, I’m a little embarrassed to be handing over a pair of socks that quite frankly does not match at all.

Both of these skeins were from the recently-added line of Knit Picks Essential Kettle-Dyed yarn, a yarn which is the same as their Essential sock yarn but dyed with a kettle-dye method. While they do warn on their site that this can result in variations between skeins, I’d like to think they would try to produce a little less variation than this – one sock looks like a solid blue, the other a highly variegated blue colourway.

Even if I were to have approached this by alternating skeins on the same project, this level of difference would have given me something more like stripes, not a blended semi-solid effect. Needless to say, I won’t be buying this yarn again. I think the extra savings isn’t worth it if the final product doesn’t give you what you want. Me, if I want a kettle-dyed effect, I’ll stick with Malabrigo sock or Araucania Ranco or something similar – the skeins are big enough for a full pair between them and I won’t end up with this kind of problem. For solid shades I don’t mind the regular Essential (it’s made several gifts for me in the past), but I’m not sure this ‘kettle-dye’ variation is worth it in the long run.

And I’ll also be investigating some yarn another pair for R, who deserves a pair of socks that match!

Hope your Sunday is going well. I have been struck by the sniffles and will be having a low-key day today. Thankfully with some knitting close by.

18 Comments

Filed under finished object: socks, socks

Just a bit late

I’ll admit that I wasn’t going to do a 2008 Roundup because I felt like I’d missed that window right in the first week of January. But then I realized that I couldn’t start my 2009 ‘Finished Objects’ sidebar until I cleared out the one from 2008. So, here we go on January 15th! A quick 2008 in review.

Photobucket

I did several pairs of socks, but my favourites have got to be the Noro striped knee-highs. I’ve been wearing them this week under my pants as a warm shield against the cold, and this makes me want to do more of them. Even if the world doesn’t see them it gives me ultimate warm fuzzies to know that underneath my semi-professional exterior lies a pair of knee highs in all the colours of the Noro universe. I also completed 3 pairs of Jaywalkers in Lorna’s Laces and would like to do more of those in 2009. They’ve become my favourite travel knitting and in my long term goals I would like to have a pair for every day of the week.

The socks:

*Monkey socks, Socks That Rock ‘Rooster Rock’
*Ribbed Socks, in Colinette Jitterbug, ‘Fruit Coulis’
*Rib and Cable Socks (Interweave Knits, Fall 2005, in Mountain Colors Bearfoot
*Stockinette Knee Socks, in Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock – Mediumweight, in ‘Garnet Dreams’
*Jaywalkers, by Grumperina, in Lorna’s Laces ‘Tahoe’
*Basic Socks, 3×1 rib, in Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Lightweight (chapman springs)
*Basic Socks (men’s) for my grandfather, in Knit Picks Essential (navy)
*Masonic Socks, in Dream in Color Smooshy (Gothic rose)
*Basic Socks, 3×1 rib, in Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Lightweight (Jail House Rock)
*Noro Knee Highs, in Kureyon Sock (colourways #40 and #188 )
*Coleen socks, pattern from Sweet Sheep Sock Club 2007, in Socks That Rock – Medium Weight (colourway Peacock)
*Jaywalker socks, in Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock (colourway Irving Park)
*So Simple Silk Garden socks, in Noro Silk Garden Sock (colourway S84)
*Primavera Socks, in Madeleinetosh Sock (violas colourway)
*Jaywalker socks, in Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock (Pilsen colourway)
*Basic socks, in Knit Picks Essential Kettle Dye (2 pairs for gifts)

Photobucket

The sweater I am most proud of is the Venezia pullover. I loved knitting it almost more than I love wearing it. It seems strange that I now just throw it on as a warm layer when it took so many colours and intricate stitches. It’s a funny old business, knitting. More recently, though, the Hourglass Pullover in the pink Malabrigo and the Cabled Swing Cardi in the brown Ultra Alpaca are probably the two that are getting the most action. I wear them every week now that it’s cool, and they are both so versatile.

All the sweaters:
*Ivy League Vest (by Eunny Jang for Interweave Knits), in Knit Picks Palette
*Ribby Cardi (by Bonne Marie Burns), in Briggs & Little Regal, ‘Grape’ and ‘Red BWO’
*Venezia pullover, Interweave Knits Winter 2006, in Knit Picks Palette
*Glowing, by Fiona Ellis in ‘Inspired Fair Isle Knits’, in Mission Falls 1824 Wool (raspberry and others)
*Halcyon, from ‘A Fine Fleece’ by Lisa Lloyd, in Briggs & Little Regal
*Hourglass Sweater, pattern from ‘Last Minute Knitted Gifts’ by Joelle Haverson, in Malabrigo worsted (colourway Holly Hock)
*Cabled Swing Cardi, pattern by Norah Gaughan in The Knitter’s Book of yarn, in Berrocco Ultra Alpaca (Lobster Mix)
*Twist, pattern by Bonne Marie Burns, in Wild Apple Hill Farm 2-ply wool

Photobucket

I got more into the accessories and bitty things this past year, and also did a couple of shawls which was new for me. I was very happy with my 2 Forest Canopy shawls and in 2009 I have got to tackle some of this laceweight yarn I’ve got sitting around. Real lace shawls for 2009! I also have to say that the little cat toys may possibly be the most well-loved of all the things I made in 2008. The little mice take turns being the favourites in their kitty household. I should make more.

The ‘other stuff’ of 2008:

*Korknisse, the California set*An Unoriginal Hat, in Briggs & Little Super, lilac
*Maine Morning Mitts, by Clara Parkes, in Noro Silk Garden #228
*Forest Canopy Shawl, in Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Mediumweight (Jasper, 2 skeins)
*Clapotis, pattern by Kate Gilbert, in Colinette Jitterbug (Gaugin colourway)
*Maine Morning Mitts #2, pattern by Clara Parkes in The Knitter’s Book of Yarn, in Noro Silk Garden
*Basic hat, in Briggs & Little Super
*Striped gloves, using Patons booklet #1159, in Patons Classic Merino (Petal Pink and Chestnut Brown)
*Garter stitch scarf, in Noro Silk Garden Sock
*Norwegian Star Earflap hat (Ravelry link), by Tiennie, in Patons Classic Merino
*2008 Korknisse set
*Herringbone mittens, gift for my aunt, Patons Classic Merino
*Gift cowl for my grandfather, Mission Falls 1824 wool, 3 x 2 ribbing.

That’s 17 pairs of socks, 8 sweaters (I can do better in 2009! Let’s get at least 10!), and over 35 Finished Objects in total. More gift knits than in years past. I can’t help feel as though I’m missing something. I think this is less than I did in 2007 by sheer numbers, but technically I’ve gotten a bit more complex. There is more colourwork and there are more pieces with cabling and lacy things, and a few starts on design work that haven’t seen the light of this blog yet. I need to get my ass back into gear on that.

Onwards to 2009! Best knitting ever is still to come, I am sure.

20 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Meek Urban Canadians

Well sure, it’s darned cold this week, but lest we forget that it was 10 years ago this week that the City of Toronto embarrassed itself by calling in the military to help clear snow? (Okay so it was a lot of snow…still, we are still living that down to the rest of Canada…)

Snow. Tell us about it, Rick Mercer Report:

10 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

I have a white balance?

So Jacquie sauntered by my blog yesterday and said, “hey man, groovy mitts. But your pictures are all blueish, check your white balance, dumbass.”

(Okay so she didn’t say dumbass, she was actually very nice, but even extremely friendly camera tips always remind me that I treat my perfectly serviceable digital camera like a point-and-shoot 35mm and maybe I should actually read a friggin’ manual one of these days. Or maybe I should have taken Jacquie and Michelle’s awesome knitting photography class when they ran it last year in Toronto. So many shoulds, so little time.)

But anyway, who knew? There’s a white balance, right there in the Menu settings. Mine is always set to ‘auto’, but I looked at the options, sure enough there is a ‘daylight’ setting. And my photos tend to be taken in daylight since the big windows by my desk have the best natural light going. So I clicked that little ‘daylight’ setting and lo and behold went from this:

Photobucket

To this:

Photobucket

Same glove, same spot, same time of day, but noticeably less blue. Neato. White balance, you and me, we’re gonna be pals.

Now you could say, “But isn’t this also just an excuse for you to photograph that same finished glove that you already showed us yesterday?” And to that I would say…yes. Yes it is. What can I say, I love my little Sanquhar Glove #1. It just needs its mate and then all will be right with the world.

Happy knitting on this Tuesday!

11 Comments

Filed under finished object: accessories

Now I can be in 2009

It gives me a great deal of reassurance to know that Kelly is still obsessively knitting Christmas gnomes, because I only just finished the last of my Christmas gift-knitting. Le-voila, a finished pair of Cat Mittens, the first FO of 2009 and the second-last thing I cast on in 2008:

Photobucket

Pattern: Cat Mittens (scroll down)
Yarn: Drops Alpaca in black and pale blue
Needles: 2.75mm Clover bamboo DPNs
Modifications: None.

Notes: The concept itself is brilliant, and it should come as no surprise these are headed towards P, aka Miss Beatrice the Cat’s mummy. You’ve got to be a cat lover to love these, and I think they will be well-receved.

This pattern is extremely well charted, so all you really have to do is cast on the required sts and then follow it along. I think one of the reasons I dragged my heels on finishing this is because of the need to follow the chart, though – it wasn’t something I could just memorize and take with me in my head, and that’s something I’ve gotten used to doing. But it is quite clearly written, and if you’ve gotten the hang of basic stranded colour-work, you should be fine. Just 2 colours needed, and you could probably grab some solid colour sock yarn sitting around and make these up nicely.

My only real concern with this pattern is that there is no explicit gauge measurement listed. The designer does tell you the anticipated mitten circumference for a certain needle size, but a stitch/row gauge would be helpful. After finishing these I found them running on the small side (bad for me but fine for the intended recipient, her hands are smaller), and after perusing Ravelry I found the same thing was true for many others who had done the pattern. So, if I were to do these again I would definitely go up a needle size and use a slightly squishier, floofy sock yarn like Dream in Color or STR. I see many on Ravelry have used Shi Bui Sock which seems about right. Or perhaps even a DK or sport-weight for extra sturdiness. The Drops Alpaca worked all right for this size but I think is ultimately too thin for anything larger, given how fiddly parts of the mitten are.

I’ve got about 22g of each colour left now, so perhaps there will be some alpaca Endpaper Mitts or similar in my future. In any case I’m just glad to have these done so I can move on to something new! I have just been itching to cast on a sweater after doing nothing but mitts and socks and bitty things for the last month and a half.

Finally, on the crazy update – the Sanqhuar gloves are still awesome, and Glove #1 is completely finished. I love it. Finishing it has given me renewed momentum and I have cast on for #2 immediately.

Photobucket

Bring on the cold. Knitters can take it.

15 Comments

Filed under accessories, fair isle, fearless knitting, finished object: accessories

At the expense of other hobbies

I think all my knitting has kept me inside and not spending enough time at the movie theatres. I might have seen about half a dozen films in 2008…and possibly only 1 or 2 clipped in this lovely little vid (how did I miss Wall-E? Yikes!)

Enjoy this little cinema treat today.

It’s a blustery one out there around these parts, and the real world must go on. Have your knitting close!

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized