I promise I’ll be back and updating more, and then I just don’t. Well, part of that was because my camera went AWOL for a while, and it took me some time to find it again. More was from lingering stress.
But the camera has been found and the stress is slowly lifting, partially because I’m now on stress leave. Until halfway through July.
Yeah, after explaining my situation to the doctor, he decided that 12 weeks would be a good start to the time I’ll have off work, so I now find myself with a lot of free time on my hands.
So aside from being able to destress, this also means I have a lot more time to knit. Which I’ve been doing. I’ll get you all up to speed on what I’ve been doing.
I finished knitting Argosy, which only took up about half of the ball of sock yarn that I was using for it. Not too shabby, really, in terms of yardage. Still needs to be blocked, though.
That and the feather-and-fan stole I finished knitting last year. But now that I’m on leave, I’ll have the time to block them both and to make sure that the cats don’t muck it up.
But I can’t find where I put the scarf at the moment, so you’ll have to wait until I do and then block it to see pictures. Don’t worry, you’re not missing too much. :p
Slowly inching my way through my Clapotis. I love the colours of the Noro Kureyon Sock that I’m using, though I can’t imagine who’d use this stuff for socks. Too rough, and the thick-and-thin texture I don’t think would feel too nice on the feet.
But the colours are pretty, and I think they look good for a Clapotis. And happily, all that I’ve knit so far is less than one ball of the stuff, so I’m certainly getting my money’s worth.
I’ve been mentally working on a few patterns lately too, especially after picking up knitting journal with graph paper and a copy of Mary Walker Phillips’s Creative Knitting: A New Art Form. Definitely an inspirational book when it comes to pattern creation and experimentation. So far two potential scarf ideas have come out of it, which I’m going to start working on… When I can tear myself away from the Clapotis, that is. It’s a simple and fun pattern that’s easy to do while watching TV or reading, so I’ve been working on it a fair bit.
I’ve abandonned the Razzle Dazzle hat, and really do need to rip back that mangled part of Butterfly Fields so that I move forward and wirte up the pattern and release it for other people to knit if they so desire. There’s something really satisfying in knowing that I’ve designed patterns that other people end up using.
Kitties think so too. Or rather, Nick thinks it’s satisfying to sleep with his head on Jakob’s butt.
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!
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.
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.)
Not quite the sock you normally see here (when I bother to knit on it, that is). This sock is an ankle sock that my mother requested, and since she bought the yarn and I didn’t mind knitting, plus the fact that knitting socks is a surprising amount of fun, I figured why the heck not?
It’s dishcloth cotton, which isn’t a favourite for my hands, but she likes the colours and the feel. She who bought the yarn gets to call the shots, after all!
The first sock is almost done. Just got to knit the foot, do the toes, and then I can bind off and start the next sock. It shouldn’t take me too long, really, since the pattern I’m using isn’t exactly complicated (though the instructions were hard to interpret in a place or two, I figured it out in the end) and the yarn is thick… But I’ve been distracted by my feather and fan wrap.
It’s almost done. Just another two and a half repeats of the colour pattern, I think, and I’ll be ready to bind this one off, block it, and call it finished. Which I’m really excited to do, because I promised myself that I wouldn’t start knitting the Bardic shawl until this was finished. And I really want to knit the Bardic shawl. I have the pattern planned out, I know exactly where I want to go with it, and I just need to dye the yarn before the actual knitting can begin!
Which doesn’t really take much.
With my recent stashing, I’ve had so many projects in mind that I want to cast on for now now now that I’m finding it hard to hold myself back. I have plenty of other projects on the go that I could be, and indeed should be working on instead of butterflying back and forth the way I feel the urge to do. I like the process, of course, and am primarily a process knitter, but I also like to see the process reach a natural conclusion, a finished end that I can show off to a couple of people (even if only in blogland) and say, “Look at this cool thing I made!”
But I just have to keep on trucking with the feather and fan wrap, and then I can start the Bardic shawl. And then while knitting that, no doubt I’ll finish off those socks for my mother, and possibly the Kertzer socks for my roommate, and then my WiP list will go down and I’ll be happy again. Having lots of WiPs on the go makes for pretty blog pictures, but it doesn’tmake for much overall progress, I’m afraid.
Jakob says that he’s most certainly not a work in progress. He’s finished, and perfect for it.
This past fall, our landlord replaced the old heater with an electric one, to save money. (Or the other way around, I honestly can’t remember which.) This seemed like a great idea at the time. The less money he has to pay in heating, the more he can put into keeping the building in good repair, for example.
Problem is, the new heater sucks! In the winter, it frequently would blow out freezing cold air for 20 minutes before the air finally warmed up enough to actually be considered warm. By that point, it would usually run for another 10 minutes or so, and then turn off.
Now, it’s blowing out hot air. In July. When it’s been at least 15 degrees Celcius outside for the past three weeks! It’s sweltering in this apartment! We only have two windows that open, and those are in the very back of the apartment, in areas where there are no heating vents anyway!
We’re sending him a letter along with our rent cheque explaining this, and asking if he’d please please please do something before we all die of heat stroke in here!
Anyway, on a more knitterly note, yes indeed, I have been knitting. Not much, since I’ve started a new training thingy at work and thus can’t bring my knitting with me to work on anymore, but at home, I’ve been adding row after row to the feather and fan wrap.
It’s coming along, that’s for sure.
And yes, the socks have been put on hold for now. I’m determined to finish them by the end of July, though! This I promise!
June is over, and the Two Thousand and Lace challenge is half over! I wish I had more to show for it, really.My knitting has been sort of lackluster this year, it seems. Too many books and video games getting in the way. I need either two extra heads and two more pairs of hands, or else the day needs to be three times as long, so that I can do everything I want.
Well, maybe not three times as long. Maybe just another 6 hours of so would be nice.
And in the meantime, Nick sleeps on as cutely and as comfortably as a kitten can, completely oblivious to my temporal (and temporary) woes.
A few days ago, I finished watching a podcast called Let’s Knit 2gether. Yes, watch a podcast. It’s a videocast about knitting, and it’s very fun to watch. The episodes are short, but interesting. From it, I got inspiration for two or three new projects, which, let’s be honest, is usually more inspiration than I get out of most things.
So if you have some spare time, I definitely recommend checking this podcast out. It’s well worth it, is fun to watch and to listen to, and is good for getting in the knitting groove. (I always find that listening to people talk about their knitting inspires me to get a move on with my own knitting.)
Well, Snow Queen’s coming along quickly, thanks in part to my recent podcast kick.
There’s a definite slant showing now, as is to be expected with a load of k2togs. The downside of the slant and all the eyelets is that the end of my needle often ends up getting caught and tangled in with the knitting, and I have to stop and pull the end of the needle out of an eyelet or two.
Not a very helpful thing to have happen.
I suspect that the three balls of this yarn that I have will be more than enough to make a good-sized wrap. I don’t mind bigger knits; just means there’s more for me to wrap up in! It gets rid of some stash, and gives me something comfy to wrap around my shoulders when it’s chilly.
Of course, my primary motivation for knitting up some of my stash is so that I can justify buying more stash… I mean, what will happen if I suddenly go through a period of having even less money than I do now? Have to stock up for rainy days, right? Got to get yarn while the getting’s good! And if I knit up this stuff, there’ll be space for more new stuff…
I’m remorseless and insatiable. Then again, find me a knitter who isn’t. Plus I was born in the year of the Rat, which means I horde things anyway… There’s just no fighting it. Even the Chinese are telling me to expand my stash!
On a different subject, I’d like to bring your attention to this. It’s a live videofeed of a lioness and her three young cubs. As of this posting, they’re not very old, and it’s so cute to watch them bumble around, getting the hang of this funny new thing called walking. Most of the time they’re sleeping, which is still adorable to see.
This duck holds some special place in my heart because of the white stripe on his head. A few years ago, while at the park, my mother and I saw a young duckling with a white stripe like this one. Not being too original, we called him Stripe. I don’t know if this is the same duck, or perhaps another one in the same family (there’s another duck at the park with now, at another lake, with the same stripe on his head), but seeing him always brings back memories of seeing little Stripe for the first time.
This picture I managed to get by having my camera on 5x magnification, and lying on my stomach in the grass and slowly inching toward this duck and his mate. I got pretty close before they got sick of me and went into the water!
Why? For no other reason than the fact that I managed to justify taking today off work to celebrate my 24th birthday by bumming around the house.
Yup. Almost a quarter of a century old. Sounds kind of scary when I think about it that way… So I just won’t. Instead, I’ll post a progress pic of Snow Queen!
It’s coming along quite well, I think.
I mentioned last time that this was the first lace pattern I ever mastered. I did a poncho in this pattern for my roommate’s mother, a few Christmasses ago. It was… not so well-received, to say the least. But that’s not what I want to say here. I was going to bring up the fact that even though it’s a simple pattern, just a whole load of “yo, k2tog” and then purling on the wrong side, I still messed up. Frequently. I have no idea even how I could mess up, but there you have it. I can’t count the number of times I had to frog that damned poncho and try again. That was what I discovered the miracle of lifelines, and used them often. Saved my butt on more than one occasion, I can tell you!
It’s interesting sometimes to look back on early knitting days, remember the mistakes made, and to be able to say, “I don’t make that mistake anymore.”
I also have a bit of an announcement to make about the way the pictures on this blog are going to change. Photobucket, the host I normally use, has been giving me a load of crap lately. I can upload one picture, and if I try to do a second, or something even on the first if it’s feeling particularly bitchy, suddenly all the resources of my computer are being used and it freezes. Really annoying. Really.
Likely reason for this? They’re better. Seriously, when site upgrade, but leave their old way of doing things as an option, nine times out of 10 the old way, which worked fine before the upgrades, will now suck, and cause more problems than you can imagine. And for some reason their fancy shmancy new way of uploading pictures doesn’t work for me.
So I’m switching to Flickr. Flickr’s been good for helping me upload pictures to Ravelry, and I figure they can help me out with pictures for here until Photobucket gets off their duff and fixes whatever the heck they’ve done wrong. Yes, I’m publicly bashing a service. You won’t see it often, but boy when it happens, rest assured that it’s well-deserved!
So here’s the first Flickr-pic on this blog. Jakob-kitty! Who, as usual, is sleeping comfortably on my yarn.
I know, I know, I keep promising pictures of this mysterious Belleisle scarf and then not delivering. “Next time, I promise. Next entry, I swear.” I wonder how many ‘next entries’ there’ll be before I actually show anything. Or maybe it’ll become a running gag, that really there’s no Belleisle scarf and I’m just making stuff up to try to get people coming back.
No, honestly, there is a Belleisle scarf (which I realize now that I’ve been spelling wrong in previous entries), and someday I will show pictures of it. The reason I haven’t done so in this entry is because I’m still on a watching-stuff kick, which means I can’t read subtitles and concentrate on semi-complex lace patterns at the same time, so I’m limiting myself to simple things until I get through watching what I want to watch.
It’s lace, at least. Simple eyelet lace, the very first lace pattern I learnt how to make, and despite it’s simplicity, it can look very pretty when done with the right yarn. This yarn is Lion Brand Wool-Ease sportweight, in the White Frost colourway, which is 70% acrylic, 20% wool, and 10% nylon. I think I bought this stuff when it was on sale very cheap at a local department store; I don’t think I’d have bought it otherwise, since I normally prefer a higher natural fibre content in my yarn. But given that I seem to recall this stuff was less than $1 a ball…
Yeah, I was sure I could knit something with this. And after about a year, it turns out that I was right! I have three balls of this, and knit on US 9 needles in this eyelet lace pattern, will eventually turn into what I’ll call the Snow Queen wrap.
It’s quite warm, and I think it’ll come in very handy at work, where they keep it generally cold enough that I have to wear a sweater there even in the summer. (Sometimes it’s no wonder I get sick as often as I do!) 3 balls is a bit over 1000 yards, and that’ll be more than enough for a good sized wrap. And summer nights around here can still get a little chilly sometimes, but not so cold that wearing a jacket is necessarily warranted, so a nice wrap for maybe walking down to the corner store or something will be nice.
Jakob has his mind on something else. I wonder what. (Maybe the Belleisle scarf, perhaps?)
Yessir, the proof that I actually seem to accomplish more if I don’t feel I have deadlines looming over me.
Maybe I shouldn’t be striving to become a novelist someday…
Either way, though, I’ve accomplished a fair bit over this past week on various projects, namely the feather and fan wrap (which still needs a name)…
…and the Arvika shawl.
Kitten‘s right, it does sort of look like a watermelon without the rind right now.
I’m going to need circulars to continue Arvika, which unfortunately, I just don’t have at the moment. Hopefully I’ll be able to find a little bit of extra money in my budget to buy a set. I hope this shawl isn’t late. I already wasted too long on it, trying to work with patterns that just didn’t work even before I got to them.
But either way, I’m happy that progress has been made. Hopefully there’ll be more to come.
(That is, of course, assuming I don’t get side-tracked by the massive amount of books I just brought home today from the library’s annual book sale! Bibliogeek rides again!)