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.
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.
When I see the colours on the black background of this hat-in-progress, I can’t help but think of coloured sparks, like fireworks.
And so I keep thinking of it as my Razzle Dazzle hat. So that’s what I’m calling it.
It’s my first real jump into using two colours in a single row, and I’m rather enjoying it. I’m knitting it from Paton’s Classic Wool Merino, some leftover colours from various projects. Except for that green; that’s part of a skein of tapestry wool, in approximately the same thickness as the rest of the yarn. I’m knitting it on a US 6 circular, a little tighter than I’d normally use, but I figured with all the colour changes it’d end up a little looser than I’m used to, so I could compensate this way. If it works out, great. If not, then I can rip it back and call it a lesson learned.
I’m fairly sure it’ll fit me. And if it doesn’t, well, I’m more than sure I know a few people who might like it who would fit into it a little better. So that’s a win-win situation.
Jakob is playing hide-and-seek. Can you find him?
That funny tube-looking thing? Yeah, that’s all I have done of the slipper for my mother. I technically knit more, but as it turns out, I wasn’t paying quite enough attention and ending up knitting two right soles instead of a right and a left.
And as strange as my mother can be sometimes, she doesn’t have that particular problem.
So what was there to do but make a third sole, this time the correct one.
At least I have the circular needle now, so as soon as I’m done that sole, I can start knitting the rest of it. The fact that NaNoWriMo is now over also means I’ll have the time to knit at work again on my overnight shifts. Seeing as it how it’s almost always dead for about 4-6 hours of my overnight shifts there, that’s plenty of time to work on Christmas and Yule gifts where nobody can see them.
Jakob thinks I was very silly for now paying closer attention to the pattern.
Or, in this case, abandoning the challenge. There’s no way, by this point in time, that I’ll be able to accomplish my own 2klace challenge for 50% lace projects completed this year. Not with the holiday knitting I have to do, none of which involves even a small bit of lace. So I’m calling it quits, and telling myself it’s a lesson learnt. It’s a bit of a disappointment, but what can you do? Gift knitting take precedence over personal challenges, after all.
Speaking of, I’ve started on one of my holiday projects.
This is the first part of the sole of one of the Aran Isle Slippers [Ravelry link] from the 2008 holiday issue of Interweave Knits. Requested by my mother when she looked through the issue, and since I had no idea what to get her for Christmas, this was the perfect thing. It’s something she both wants and needs, so it works out well.
The yarn I’m using is recycled from a thrift store sweater (hands up, all of you who are surprised at that), and is 70/30 acrylic/alpaca. No the softest yarn I’ve ever used, but it’s still nice, and the acrylic content will make it both machine-washable and harder-wearing than if it had been 100% alpaca. And my mother doesn’t like wool much, so that was out of the question before I ever picked up the needles!
Speaking of needles, I’m using 1 size smaller than the pattern calls for, since my mother’s feet are a little smaller than what the pattern says the slippers will fit best. Hopefully it should all even out in the end.
And if it doesn’t, Jakob will claw your eyes out so that you’ll never know.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
Not from knitting in general. Just from knitting Butterfly Fields. I’m putting that aside for a little while to knit some baby clothes for a pregnant coworker.
This is the Pink Tweed for Baby design (Ravelry link) from 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders, which I was bad and bought recently. The yarn is mostly synthetic, but contains 20% wool, and if nicely soft and fluffy, good for delicate baby skin. I want to get this finished as quickly as possible, as well as perhaps knitting a hat if I have time.
She’s not due until December. The reason I want to hurry is that if all goes well, I might not be working there in a week or so. I went in for job testing for another potential employer today, and tomorrow I’ll call in my references, and then hope and pray they call me back for an interview. And then hope and pray some more that they hire me. It’s work that I’m still not too keen on (call centre life, blah), but it’s more money than I’m making now, and I figure heck, if I can’t be in a job I enjoy 100%, I may as well be paid top dollar for it all!
Nick wonders if a pay raise for me will mean fancier cats foods for him. Not that he needs anything else, the big fatty!