Time marches on.

September 10, 2009 at 6:18 pm | Posted in lace, pattern design, Random babble, stash, WIPs | 1 Comment

So much has changed since the last time I updated. For one thing, I’m unemployed now. Yup, the company shut down. With no notice. And is refusing to pay us for hours that we worked.

Needless to say, a complaint has been filed with the Labour Board by at least 3 employees, myself included, and we’re mad as hell about it. And really, who can blame us?

So now I spend my days desperately hunting for jobs. You know, in between fibres arts projects.

My old laptop decided it didn’t want to live anymore, so now I have a new one. Well, semi-new. Second-hand, but it’s better than the old one and is working just fine.

I performed on stage last month for the first time in nearly a decade. It was awesome! Lots of fun, and something I will definitely be doing again next year, so long as the theatre company runs the event again.

Summer passed rather wetly, and I can’t believe September’s here already. The weather, however, seems to think that it overslept and now it’s really October or November, because temperatures have been dipping only a few degrees above the freezing mark since mid-August, and we had a frost warning last night.

And joy of joys, my mojo is back! It’s been helped along by a nice package in the mail the other day, from Kristen. She sent me a metric buttload of old swatches, which thrilled me right to death!

My roommate and I went through them all yesterday afternoon, and some of the swatches have whispered to me their desired FO-form. So far I’ve got a hat in mind (really, the swatch itself is big enough for the hat, and all I need to do is seam the top), as well as a pair of wristlets. I suspect a stranded pouch or two may be in future, as well as plenty of yarn to practice tablet weaving with! (It’s not knitting, but I get to fondle yarn, so it gets a mention here.)

I do have a cowl on the needles right now, too.

You can’t tell from the picture, but it’s actually a forest green, not black.

It’s not much to look at right now, but it’s growing. I’ll end up writing up a pattern for it when it’s finished, no doubt. A free pattern, since it’s simple enough to do.

And I’ve also got plans for a pair of knit (and possibly felted) bracers, much like the ones shown here.

Little by little I’m also knitting some leprosy bandages to send off to charity, though these usually get worked on when I’m watched a movie or TV shows that has subtitles. Garter stitch can be done without looking at the stitches.

Yup, plenty of mojo to last me a good long while, if it sticks around!

Jakob seems indifferent to my happiness. Really, though, he’s just worn out from cheering me on.


Walking on air.

November 13, 2008 at 4:12 pm | Posted in lace, Random babble, scarves, WIPs | Leave a comment

Very recently, I got a sort of promotion at my job. The whole situation is far too complicated and tangled to detail here (if you’re curious, it’s all typed up on my personal blog), but suffice to say I’ve been moved to the overnight shifts with a decent increase in pay, more duties, and also more free time, plus guaranteed hours each week. Considering I’m 3rd from the bottom on the seniority ladder, I’m pleased as punch about this!

Makes the view from my window at work seem all the brighter. (Ignore the lines of the screen over the windows, if you please. :p)

In addition to all that, I ended up getting two packages in the mail yesterday. One contained a professor’s gift from the Hogwarts Little-Bit-of-Everything swap.

It’s a bookmark, with a little Prisoner of Azkaban book cover charm at the bottom. It’s very awesome! (Thanks, Pren!)

I also received a package from a dear friend of mine who goes by the name of Bugen, containing two delicious items. The first was this:

And the second was this:

A box of Swiss Miss French Vanilla hot chocolate mix. Yum! I tried some last night at work, and while I think I put in a bit too much water, it’s still very delicious!

Just in case you though this entire post was going to be devoid of knitting content, here’s the progress on my one-row lace scarf.

Cat paw for… Well, I’d say it’s there for scale, but really, it’s there because Jakob wouldn’t move it out of the way when I tried to take a picture, so in the end, I just draped the scarf over it and let it be.

Speaking of Jakob… He’s a weird kitty sometimes, but rarely so weird as when we’ve just washed our hair with Head & Shoulders shampoo. He loves the smell, and will do everything in his power to rub against our heads and groom us a little more, sometimes with a teensy bit of teeth and/or claws. He never hurts us, but it’s always funny to watch him try to rub as much of himself as kittenly possible over a freshly shampooed head!

Good Samhain!

October 31, 2008 at 4:54 pm | Posted in lace, Random babble, scarves, WIPs | 2 Comments

Here’s some scary lace for you!

I hate how ugly this pattern looks when it’s not stretched and blocked out. The lacy parts just look all loose and frumpy. It really does look better when it’s all neatly stretched, I promise. It’s just a shame I’m not knitting on this thing nearly as quickly as I want to in order to get it done faster so I can prove it. Too many things taking up my time.

Which reminds me! I probably won’t be around much this coming month. I’m doing NaNoWriMo again this year, and I’ve decided to double the challenge. Instead of writing 50000 words in November, which I know I can do, I’ve decided to push it a little further and try to write 100000 words instead. At my current typing speed, that’ll mean I’ll really only have to write for about an hour and a half each day, and then only 25 days out of the month’s 30. Wish me luck!

It’s a shame the foliage isn’t looking this nice anymore. We’ve had a few windy rainy days this past week, and most of the colours have been blown from the trees down onto sidewalks, where they end up doing little besides clogging drains. Shame, really, since I was hoping to get more fall foliage pictures before it was too late. But procrastination is ever an enemy of mine, and so I’ll take my lumps gracefully. Maybe next year!

For anyone who wants to have a little bit of long-term and long-lasting fun (and is a Harry Potter fan), you might want to consider joining the Hogwarts Little-Bit-of-Everything swap. I’m currently a professor there, which means I get all kinds of extra fun work to do. Which, I’ve now noticed, has been updated since I last checked in on it, and so I’ve got a few emails to send off. Oops! I’ll have to remember to be more diligent in the future.

Jakob wishes you all a very happy (and comfy) Halloween! May all the vampires bite you in all the right ways!

Newness in a time of fading.

October 20, 2008 at 3:48 pm | Posted in lace, scarves, WIPs | 3 Comments

So much in my life has been new lately. A few new projects, some new friends, a new job. Yup, an entirely new job, one that’s actually different than the last new job I mentioned here. The other company was just starting to feel more uncomfortable to me, and the job too restrictive, so I took a look around and applied at the place I’m now working. I guess saying, “They hired me,” is rather redundant at this point.

I’m much happier in this new job. For starters, it’s still a call centre but it doesn’t feel like it, since the location is in two revamped studio apartments uptown. It’s still got a nice home-like feel. They’re relaxed on policies, too, and don’t mind you wandering around in slippers, and they actively encourage crafts during slow times (if there’s no other work to do, of course) because a good percentage of them employees (all 40 of them) are cross-stitchers. I feel so good about working there that sometimes it hardly feels like a job at all.

Plus the view from the western windows at sunset is really something to behold!

As for what I’ve got on the needles… Well, I’m still slogging away at those Kertzer basic socks. I go through cycles with those. Some days I’ll knit on them obsessively, other days I won’t touch them. The deadline’s looming, though, so I’d better get a move on.

I also have the delightful One Row Lace Scarf on the needles, which I’m knitting whenever I’m watching something on my computer. It’s simple, but pretty, and I’m enjoying knitting it even if one of my needles is crooked at the tip. (No idea how that happened…)

And I still need to block that dang feather and fan wrap I did ages ago. I’m not counting it as finished until it’s blocked. Well, I have tomorrow off work, and I plan to do some baking in the kitchen for most of the day, so maybe I’ll block it then, where I can keep an eye on it and shoo the cats off it if I have to.

Jakob protests that he’s too sleepy to walk on my knitting right now anyway.

FO: Feather and fan headband

October 8, 2008 at 3:01 pm | Posted in FOs, lace | 4 Comments

Knit on size US 8 needles, with about half a skein of green-grey tapestry wool. Nothing special, but it was quick to knit, and is a useful item too.

Not much to say beyond that, really. I’m feeling back in the lace groove, so I suspect another scarf will be forthcoming soon enough. Can’t guarantee when, but some of those wide-bordered scarves from Victorian Lace Today are calling me. And when the call comes, you can’t just ignore it!

See, even Jakob hears the call and is going to answer it!

Back in action!

October 3, 2008 at 9:52 pm | Posted in lace, WIPs | 1 Comment

Back in the lace-knitting game. See, part of my problem was that I wanted to something semi-mindless to knit while watching things that required my attention. Lace usually doesn’t so the trick for this, unless it’s a pattern that’s both simple and memorized. Feather and fan’s about the only one that stood out, besides slanting eyelets.

But I’ve already done enough feather and fan scarves. What else could I do?

Then it hit me. Good to use up a small ball of yarn that I have, quick, simple, and functional too.

A headband!

It’s knit on US 8 needles, from a skein of tapestry wool that I got in an old grab bag at Value Village. (Really, where does most of my yarn come from if not Value Village?) It’s very soft yarn, too, softer than I was expecting. It’s a simple enough pattern, too. Cast on 6 stitches. Knit in garter stitch for an inch or two, then start increasing on every row until there are 18 stitches. Do the feather and fan pattern until it’s as long as you want it. Decrease every row until you have six stitches, knit in garter for another inch or so, then bind off. Improvised on the fly, and easy as anything to do while watching TV with subtitles.

Reality just shows up sometimes.

September 20, 2008 at 3:25 pm | Posted in 2klace, lace, Random babble, scarves | 5 Comments

My knitting time has been slim as of late, despite the fact that I’ve been between jobs now for a week. It seems I just can’t get my mojo going. This usually happens once or twice a year, where I start to feel a little burned out by one near-constant action, and I take a break. I usually feel a little guilty about it, too, especially now, since I’m behind on my 2klace challenge. And I’ll be even further behind by the end of the year, what with most of my knitted Christmas and Yule gifts not including a single bit of lace. I’ll have to knit lace for every project that isn’t a holiday gift just to meet that 50% goal, I think, and the pressure of that over the next three months just isn’t a happy thought.

Aren’t challenges supposed to be fun?

I am still knitting, mind. Just not as much as I probably ought to be. The baby sweater has been taken off the needles, since the coworker I was knitting it for is, well, no longer able to receive it. I ought to have finished it before I left my old job, I know, but there you have it. It was to be a surprise, and now I can’t surprise her. I’ll put the already finished pieces away, and perhaps finish it some other time and give it to someone else, someone I can actually still see to give it to.

I’ve got a Rabbit Tracks scarf on the needles right now, but it’s not quite the engaging pattern I thought it would be. I wanted something simple but quick, and so cast on for that, but I just don’t like it. Maybe it’s the yarn I’m using, maybe that pattern would be better suited to yarn lighter than worsted weight. I’m probably going to frog it and work on something else. No sense in knitting it if I’m not enjoying it, after all.

No sense in trying to knit 20 scarves for a craft fair I can no longer sell at, either, since the one I was planning on is run by the job I no longer have. And I don’t think my new job does anything like that. If they don’t, I’ll suggest it for next year, perhaps, just to drum up a little publicity and to give people who work there an outlet for their creativity.

I’m tempted to cast on another pair of cotton socks for my mother, since she really likes the ones I knit for her before. If I do a feather and fan cuff, too, there’ll be lace involved and the socks will go quickly, so that’ll be a bonus.

I tell you, I’m not doing any year-long knitting challenges next year. I’m just going to knit whatever the heck I feel like knitting, and to heck with trying to live up to a goal. The challenges are fun, and maybe I’ll do a monthly challenge or two, but not another year-long one, not even one imposed upon myself. I love lace, but sometimes I want to do a little mindless knitting without the guilt of knowing that I’m taking away from a lace FO count.

I also keep having unfounded minor panic about my no spending challenge next year. How could I possibly have enough yarn to knit through the year without buying more? What if I need yarn for a specific project and I don’t have anything that will suffice? Then I remember that I have about 13 sweaters right now in various stages of being frogged and used, have 5 more being shipped from someone I met on Ravelry, and still have other commercial yarns to use too. I’ll be fine.

Sure, some of those sweaters are going to be dyed and sold, or at least I’m going to attempt to sell the yarn. But I’ve already rationalized that to myself. I can still buy sweaters to frog for yarn provided they’re the ones that will be for sale later. No personal spending. I’m having to revise and be specific on a very general rule that I gave myself, but I think the spending challenge will go just fine. I’m not in any danger of running out of yarn, even if I go for a whole year without buying any more.

Heck, I probably have a large enough stash that I could go for two years without having to worry. The pickings may be slim at the end, but I’d still have enough, I think.

I expect my knitting mojo to come back soon after I start my new job on Monday. I’ll be working full-time again, no options of going home early like in my old job, and so the familiarity and relaxation of knitting will likely make me pick up the needles and yarn and get back to work on the various projects I have lying around. When I’m stressed, knitting really does calm me down. Cranky callers are handled with greater efficiency and politeness, I find, when my hands have something to do but my brain can still keep focusing on what they’re telling me. Mindless knitting is good for work, even if technically I’m not supposed to knit on calls.

I’m not even sure if my current job will allow me to take knitting in with me to work on between calls. If not, you can be sure my knitting mojo will go up hugely. Nothing makes me want to do something like not being able to do it. I guess I’ll just have to see, though.

Okay, I’ve babbled enough without general purpose. I’ll go now and find something constructive to do with my time.

Which is it?

August 24, 2008 at 1:37 pm | Posted in Butterfly Fields, lace, pattern design, Reinyarnations, shawls, WIPs | 6 Comments

Did I fail at succeeding? Or did I succeed at failing? Because part of me knew I wouldn’t be able to finish the Ravelympics challenge this year, and true to form, I didn’t.

Bah. Oh well. Regardless, the challenge gave me inspiration, and really, that’s something of the Olympic spirit to start with. So I came away a better person, even if I didn’t have an FO to bring with me.

The stole I’m knitting, though, is coming along decently. It’s almost halfway finished, and I’ve finally found the name. Butterfly Fields.

Though the first stitch pattern I used was called “Checkered Lace”, it reminded me more of butterflies. That put my in the mind of a field of flowers, especially with the light spring green colour of the yarn I’m using. So after five repeats of the butterfly pattern, I switched to Tulip Lace instead, to make the flowers that the butterflies are heading for. Once it’s almost long enough, I’ll switch back and do five more repeats of the butterflies.

A butterfly’s eye view, heading toward the field of flowers.

I can’t remember if I mentioned this before, but yes, I’m going to write this all up and release it as a free pattern once it’s all finished up.

In other news, I have successfully learnt to spin! With pencil roving, at least, which I got lucky enough to find in a grab bag at Value Village, and I’ll probably never find any more there, either. Shame, really, since it was fun to spin with. However, it got me some experience using the drop spindle I bought ages ago, and now I feel a little bit more confident about working with the braids of roving I also purchased ages ago. I suspect I’ll spend a lot of time drafting everything out to make it all nice and even before I even go near the spindle, though. It’ll be time-consuming, but I think it’ll be worth it, to not mess up the pretty wool that I have.

But yes, very proud of myself for that. I’ve conquered another hurdle.

Which is one more hurdle than Nick’s conquered. Thus far, he seems to have mastered the power of positive lazing around. But I was good at that years ago!

Change of plans.

August 12, 2008 at 2:32 pm | Posted in 2klace, lace, shawls, stash, thrift, WIPs | 3 Comments

Instead of doing the Top Secret sweater for my Ravelympics challenge, I’m doing a self-designed lace pattern instead. It’s more fitting to 2klace, I think, and I really need to knit more things that I can also bring to work with me, after all.

I’m stuck on the name right now. “Chalices” comes to mind, but it’s not quite right. Any suggestions?

And for the curious, yes I will write up the pattern when it’s finished, so anyone who’d like to can knit one of their own.

I did a little more stashing the other day, too.

The pale one is a Pierre Cardin sweater, the third one I’ve acquired in as many weeks, with lovely laceweight merino yarn. I’ve got another two in various stages of frogging, too; one that’s a rich brown, and the other a delicious deep navy blue. The brown stuff is destined to become an Aquila shawl. I’ve got to tell you, puzzling out Finnish is not the most easy thing in the world. I’ve managed to figure out the pertinent words, like “rows” “knit”, “needles”, that sort of thing, and I’m hoping it’ll be enough to get me through the pattern.

No idea what the blue will become yet, but I’m sure I’ll figure something out.

Anyway, back to what I got distracted from. The other sweater in the picture above is 70/30 wool/nylon, which makes it just about perfect for knitting socks. I expect I’ll do a lot of dye experiments with the yarn from that, especially since I blew a load of money on some Wilton cake dyes specifically for yarny use the other day. I’m looking forward to seeing what fun colourways I can create with what I bought.

Nick has decided that going near the vacuum cleaner is a viable option only when it’s not being used.

Back and ready to blog!

August 1, 2008 at 1:34 pm | Posted in lace, Random babble, shawls, stash | 2 Comments

Howdy, all! Did you miss me while I was away?

(Warning, this post will be more photo-heavy than usual!)

My little holiday in Dartmouth went wonderfully, and I had an great time! Though we didn’t get to do all that we’d originally wanted, three nights away from home was just about right for us. Neither my roommate nor I sleep quite as well in unfamiliar places, and we missed our pets something awful, so coming back home was also a good thing.

To start with, I’d like to say that I can’t praise the Days Inn in Dartmouth enough. It was a very awesome hotel that was clean, well-staffed with friendly people, and allowed us both an early check in and a late check out. The restaurant attached to it, Favourite’s, had so much good food that I could have eaten there for weeks and not gotten sick of it. If you ever go, I recommend the potato skins for an appetizer, chicken florentine for a main course, and/or the apple cinnamon pancakes for breakfast!

Nice room, huh? King size bed, right on the corner of the building so it’s by default larger than the regular rooms, TV with all local cable channels… I liked it there!

At the Museum of Natural History in Halifax, we saw butterflies:

Including the above blue morpho that was kind enough to pose on a girl’s butt while we took pictures. (Also thanks to the girl for letting everyone take pictures of her butterfly’d butt!)

We saw cool preserved animals and birds:

And we saw some lovely scenery at the Halifax Public Gardens:

And just to let you know, I didn’t get to go to the yarn store in Dartmouth, because there wasn’t really enough time and we weren’t familiar enough with the bus routes to properly plan a trip out just for that. I did, however, get to go to another yarn store in downtown Halifax.

Yup, I went to The Loop, where the person working there was very kind and helpful, and let us use their swift and winder to make this:

It’s a skein of Skacel Merino Lace, wound into a ball. 1350 yards of delicious laceweight wool, in a beautiful forest green colour, and it only cost $17! I couldn’t get over how good a price that way, considering this was enough yarn to make a full-sized shawl from!

And just to make sure I had a shawl to make it into, I also picked up this:

The Arabesque stole, by Dorothy Siemens. There were more patterns there that I wanted, but since I was limited by credit cards, I decided to just go with the one,and one I could knit on straights instead of needing circulars or to bunch all the stitches up trying to knit a triangular shawl on straights.

So those are the highlights of my vacation, at least the yarny parts! More was done, of course, and plenty of fun was had, but this being a knitting blog and all, I’m keeping it short and sweet here, and doing a full post over at my personal blog soon, if anyone’s interested. (Just keep checking back if it’s not the first post there when you see it. It should take me an hour or so to finish typing everything up.)

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