Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I'm still here

I haven't gone anywhere... I'm just still working 10 hour days and almost every Saturday. I'm exhausted, but the overtime is REALLY nice!!! (cha)(ching)

So, I have a couple of pics of birthday gifts I received, which I haven't been able to take the time to pull off the camera. I have knitting to take pictures of, but I can't post those yet because they are (shhh... it's a secret) presents for friends. So, the blog hasn't had much excitement of late. Sorry.

There is snow on the ground, so the drive home today should be fun. I may have some ranting "stupid driver" stories to share...

I completed one (shhh....) christmas present which is evidence that my brain has not been functioning lately. I seem to have knit the entire project using the WRONG SIZE on the pattern. It's really small. The intended recipient is by no means large, but it would be VERY fitted and I'm sure that's not what she would want. So... a frogging we shall go.

Another (shh....) christmas present is progressing well, but it's at that point where I have to bribe myself to get through a row. Not good.

I think I'll do a small project to get my head back in the Christmas present knitting game... toques. mittens. Something smallish. I think I'll have people to give those away to so it will be like I'm working on Christmas stuff, right??

Oh how we rationalize when we have long rows to knit.

Anyway, if you're still out there, thanks for comin' by. I promise I'll try to be more interesting soon...

One final thing. My aunt (well, she's not technically my aunt. She's my mom's cousin/best friend from when they were kids/good friend. it's just easier to call her my aunt) said that she couldn't picture what my apartment looked like (after reading what I wrote about idiosyncrasies) so... (feel free to avert your eyes)

I give you: one corner of my living room:

It's sort of like an I Spy book. See what you can find!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The big 3-5 and yarn

So, I turn 35 this week. Yes. 35. It feels like every other day/year, but when you say it out loud or write it out it seems like it should hold some significance. I am not overly bothered about turning 35, but there are definately areas of my life that aren't all that I thought they would be at this point (job, social life etc). Mostly, it's not that big a deal for me. Mostly.

To that end, I have been thinking. About a year ago, this girl I know was telling me that she and her group of friends used to always make lists for each other of "New Things" that they had to do over the course of the coming year. I have a tendency to stay in my hermit cave and not get out and do anything. So, I am asking you, my blog-reading friends, for suggestions.** New things. Things that will stretch me. Things I might never have thought of.

**keep in mind this is a family show. I reserve the right to pick and choose.

Nextly, (is that a word?) I have knitting pics.

First: the only WIP that I can show you and TELL you what it is. A v-neck for me. Out of recycled yarn (was a turtleneck I never wore b/c i can't deal with turtlenecks).

The measuring tape is there to show that I am being careful this time about the length of the sweater. I kept measuring, then knitting 5 rounds, then measuring again. It was ALWAYS the same length. Then, suddenly, it jumped 3 inches and I was good.

we won't mention the slightly panic-y feeling that I have that I might not have enough yarn. we won't mention the number of times during this quick knit that I have reassured myself that I HAVE enough yarn and it was a sweater that fit me before and it had a turtleneck then and it was at a smaller gauge...

Second: You may want to sit down for this one. In the MIDDLE of a really long row on *cough*Cobi's secret Christmas present sweater*cough* I BROKE MY DENISE CORD!!!!

Much cussing and panic as I tried to keep stitches from falling off. grr.

(and I wish I knew how to track traffic to my blog for this one. the word must be used, it's appropriate and it's common usage among knit-bloggers. I just wonder how many people end up at your blog by accident when you use it.)

Third: Yarn Porn

I'm not going to tell you what these items are, the people who may or may not receive them for Christmas may or may not read the blog. I just wanted to show you. Pretty, but gratuitous shots of knitting and yarn.

Friday, November 11, 2005

I was tagged (again! Yay!)

I finally finished (sort of) the massive project I was working on at work, so I finally am done working 10 hour days (hopefully) although I will miss the nice overtime paychecks.

Which means, I finally have time/energy to post again. However, I don't have any knitting/crafting pics to post.

I was tagged by Steph at craftoholic and I've been trying to get around to answering... so, here goes:

What is your all time favorite yarn to knit with?
Um, well, I don't know! I haven't knit with any of the really great yarns that I drool over, since I am a bit of a cheap-skate and tend to talk myself out of splurging on yarn (when the yarn I want to use is priced at $17 for a skein). I have made a few projects with LionBrand Wool-Ease (I know! I'm sorry! It's cheap! and washable!) which I have enjoyed, but I think it's a case of not having used better yarns so I don't know any better. I have used Alafoss Lopi for a number of felting projects, which I love and would like to use for something more significant and not felted, but haven't attempted yet. I have developed a bit of an addiction to sock yarns, but haven't settled on a favorite yet.

Your favorite needles?
I knit almost everything on circular needles, so those. I have one pair of bamboo needles that I really enjoyed. I like the way they feel and they seemed to grip the yarn just enough so I wasn't fighting to keep stitches in place, but the yarn slid nicely on them too. Don't know how that happens. I have a set of Denise Interchangeables which I enjoy, but at the moment EVERY SINGLE CORD** is in use. How did that happen?

**with the exception of one which at the moment has caused me great heartache and I'll tell you about it later when I have a pic to post

The worst thing you've ever knit?
Um... Back when I was first getting back into knitting, I wasn't really paying any attention to appropriate yarn for the project and/or gauge and I knit (and frogged quickly thereafter) a monsterous sweater out of some sort of cotton. The gauge was WAY WAY WAY off and it was gigantic, and really fugly. (also, the yarn may not have been all of one dye lot. noticeably so)

That or the poncho (what was I thinking) that I made myself. On some people I can see the poncho working, but how did I get sucked into the craze? I live in CALGARY for crying out loud. There are approximately 2.3 days a year where a poncho would be a useful garment. Plus, this one was fuzzy (not fun-furry, just strangely fuzzy) and just wrong. I haven't frogged it, because, frankly, it's impossible to frog. I have only ever worn it in the apartment when I was cold but didn't want to bother with an afghan. I guess it has its uses.

Your most favorite knit pattern? (maybe you don't like wearing it but it was the most fun to knit)
Hmm... I don't know if I can choose just one...
The hourglass sweater, ChicKnits Ribbi Cardis (as evidenced by the multiple examples I own), the intarsia duck and giraffe sweaters I made my friend's kids, the Booga bag ... um... socks...

Most valuable knitting technique?
Short row toes and heels for socks (learned from wendy's toe-up sock pattern and grafting and spit splicing (an explanation with pictures is here: which is not where I learned it from, but it explains it pretty well)

Best book or magazine?
I have a slight addiction to knitting magazines, (Interweave Knits, Vogue Knitting, Family Circle Easy Knitting etc) and I love my Last Minute Knitted Gifts. I love the craziness and possibilities of Loop-d-Loop, but I haven't really made anything from it (yet).

Your favorite knit-along?
I've never done one.

Your favorite knit-blogs?
Um... I don't know where to start here. I hate making lists like this, b/c I always forget someone or the second I post I'll think of another one. Can I cop out on this one? Please? (I will try to make a list someday...)

Your favorite knitwear designer?
Um, I don't know... I never pay that much attention to who the designer is... um... Teva Durham is really interesting, even though a lot of her stuff is a little, um, out-there and possibly unwearable (for me anyway). I like some of the patterns Veronik Avery has had in Interweave Knits. Um...

The knit item you wear the most? (how about a picture of it?)
Probably one of my Ribbi Cardis (you've seen the pics of these), or, now that it's winter, my bright turquoise mittens (from a recycled sweater) (no pic of them at the moment) or my socks...

I'll try to think of who's next... Right now, it's an accomplishment that my brain functioned long enough for this. I have the day off today and I'm NOT GOING TO WORK TOMORROW (I've worked the last couple of Saturdays). I'm trying to talk myself into cleaning today so tomorrow will be a relaxing Saturday. Possiblity of that happening (the cleaning)? Slim to nil.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Christmas Present Extravaganza!!

in which only one potential Christmas Present will be viewed because the future recipients of other Christmas Presents occasionally read the blog on which this Extravaganza!! is being posted

First of all, I started this post last weekend (!!) and am only now, one week later, finding the time/energy/will to sit at the computer when I get home from work. So, when I started this post, last Saturday, this afghan was potentially a Christmas present for my mom, but I didn't get her name (in our family we pick names among the adults) so, it's still for her, but it will be a late housewarming gift rather than a Christmas gift.

(I'm still not gonna show you the other presents I've been working on, so don't get your hopes up) (COBI. I mean you) (I may still decide to keep your present for myself - you'll never know, right?) (no I won't) (maybe)

So, the first strip of the sampler afghan. I'm working from a pattern in the 2004 Knit It! (why the exclamation mark, I do not understand. Is it a very emphatic command?) but I'm substituting at least one of the blocks for one of my own. The blocks are approximately 9x12". I haven't worked on it for a week or so, but it was going quickly when I was. I'm knitting the blocks in a long strip, rather than binding off individual blocks.

the blocks are all the same measurements, that green one just looks a little wonky. also, the colors don't look quite right, but you get the general idea

The above 4 blocks are from the pattern. The one below is my own. I tried to find a pattern for a stalk of wheat (farm kid, my mom was a farm wife, it was harvest time when I started this... ) to put on one of the blocks. I couldn't find one that I liked or that looked enough like wheat (to me) so I came up with my own (handy dandy graph paper). I was first just thinking a background of reverse stocking stitch and to do the wheat in stocking stitch. As I started it, I remembered a block I had seen elsewhere for a tree done with cabling type stitches, which made the branches look connected and it really popped from the knitting. So, I decided to try crossing some of the stitches, as though I was cabling. It worked! (although I have no idea if I'll remember what I did for the next one...)

i'm choosing to not notice things about this block that I'm not completely happy with (the wheat should taper more at the top etc) and just be happy that it worked

And now, since I can't show you the pictures of the 3 sweaters mystery Christmas present projects I have going right now, you will just have to take my word for it that I've been working on them all. Not getting distracted by little things like discovering that Lewiscraft still exists (I had heard that they closed) and not only exists but carries Patons Kroy and Scheepjes sock yarn (along with other non-fun-fur yarns!!). They don't have a huge selection, but they have some. I never seem to be able to get to the LYS so I was EXTREMELY angry disappointed a couple of weeks ago to discover that Michael's in Calgary...

Actually, maybe you should sit down for this. You may remember my little rant concern over the masses of "fun" "fur" being foisted on an unsuspecting new-knitter population. Imagine, then, my dismay upon discovering that Michaels (in Calgary anyway) no longer carries Wool-Ease (by my friends at Lionbrand) or Patons Kroy Sock yarn!!!! They have Wool-Ease Thick & Quick, which is great if I want to make a really really bulky and really quick something, and they still (for now anyway) carry Patons Classic Merino Wool, but I needed some Wool-Ease and I wanted some Patons Kroy!!

Okay, where was I? Oh, yeah, Lewiscraft. Lewiscraft carries Patons yarns, and more importantly (for me, since that was what I wanted) they carry Kroy Sock yarn. Not that I bought any. I have all those Christmas presents to knit. I have discipline and self control and I wouldn't do that.

Okay, fine. You caught me. But it's not necessarily for me. I might need extra Christmas gifts or birthday presents for someone. I will still keep working on the projects on the needles. Honest. I won't cast on for a sock.

Okay, fine, you got me again. I'm sorry. I couldn't resist. It was so pretty. I haven't knit with variegated sock yarn and I wanted to see what it looked like. This could be a present for someone, you never know. But I wouldn't knit more than this. I just wanted to see what it looked like, honest.

actual time lapsed between casting on and the bottom picture: one Sunday late afternoon and evening's worth of football, talking on the phone, and Sunday evening TV. I don't know how that happened. Apparently a) I knit faster than I think I do, especially if the pattern/yarn have some element of mystery (as in "how is this going to turn out") and b) I have no self-control and I'm rationalizing