Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Oh look a distraction!

I mean a pattern, of course. I'm calling this one Purple Rain. Reasons are as follows:

  1. Prince is awesome, and I don't care who knows it.
  2. I started it on a day when it was raining.
  3. I hate when it rains in the winter because then scary ice forms
  4. I fell on said ice, and am still a little wobbly.
  5. But I still wear my giant platform heels everywhere.
  6. I didn't fall in said shoes, I fell in sneakers..I don't know why I was wearing sneakers, but I find it humorous that I manage just fine in the giants and not in shoes with, you know, grip.
  7. It's something lacy in hopes that spring will come soon.
  8. I really just wanted to make a list.

A little about the pattern: This is an incredibly simple pattern to follow and, I think, is great for beginners lace projects. If you're able to "read your knitting" you can easily memorize it. The yarn used is also extra special because the boyfriend got it for me after only knowing me for a week..and it's taken me this long to figure out exactly how to use it.

Finished Measurements (After Blocking!):
Length: 55"
Width: 20"

Yarn: Cadenza by Estelle [80% Superwash Merino, 20% Tussah Silk; 382yds/350m per 100g hank] colour: 955; 1 hank
Recommended Needle Size: 3.5-4.5mm [shown in 4mm, the bigger you go the more "airy" it is]
Yarn needle for weaving in ends, of course
Blocking Pins and quite a bit of them
A large flat surface out of the way, that you're willing to sacrifice for blocking time

Gauge: 30 stitches per 4 inches on 3.5mm

Abbreviations/Techniques Used:
yarn over
ssk: slip, slip, knit
k2tog: knit 2 together
p2tog tbl: purl 2 together, through the back loop (it's not that bad, seriously)


CO 60 Stitches

Row 1: k2, *yo, ssk, k1, k2tog, yo, k3,* k2
Row 2: p2, *p5, p2tog tbl, yo, p1,* p2
Row 3: k2, *k2, yo, ssk, k1, k2tog, yo, k1,* k2
Row 4: p2, *p3, p2tog tbl, yo, p3,* p2
Row 5: k1, *k2tog, yo, k3, yo, ssk, k1,* k3
Row 6: p2, *p1, p2tog tbl, yo, p5,* p2
Row 7: k2, *k1, k2tog, yo, k3, yo, ssk,* k2
Row 8: p1, *p2tog tbl, yo, p6,* p3

Repeat rows 1-8 until one of the following happens:
  1. Your arms fall off, which I hope doesn't happen before binding off. How unfortunate
  2. You run out of yarn. Again, I hope it doesn't happen before binding off, otherwise you'll have to go back.
  3. You get sick of it, put it down forever, and later decide to bind off, seam up the sides and turn it into a square hat, or small pouch.
  4. You reach the 8th row on what you decide to be your last repeat as you have just enough yarn to bind off, which you do peacefully because you didn't push your luck and try for one more row.
I'm not telling you how to run your knitting life, but I suggest #4.

Finishing: Weave in ends. Do some hardcore blocking. Wear with some flair.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Dear Canada Post (yeah, that's right)

Dear Canada post,

Please explain to me why it costs more to ship something in my own country than internationally. I guess I can wrap my head around sending something to Vancouver (from Toronto), and that being expensive but what I don't understand is why sending something to another area of Toronto is only 30 cents less expensive than sending it to England. And it's almost double to send something to British Columbia than to Texas.

There is only one obvious answer, Canada post is trying to up foreign relations, sending a nice homemade gift internationally seems to be the way to do it.

But really, I know I shouldn't because it's business, but I feel so awkward asking $11 for shipping within my own country, and practically shipping for free to others. I'm sure there's a totally logical explaination as to why, but it just seems completely insane if you don't know what these reasons are.

Yes, I just did that. I just wrote a post about Canada post, I think every Canadian blogger needs to, at some point, write one. I got it out of the way and now I can go on with my regular life.

I probably should've taken a photo of my latest WIP (which is almost done) before posting this, but that'd be much too easy. On the way: A scarf pattern (with photos, even!) and another pattern I'm working on for a nice lace scarf.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Burst of Spring

Okay, so it's been really cold lately or what I consider to be really cold because despite all my knitting, I never dress properly for the weather. Ever. I'm always the weird one who is in complete denial, my wardrobe isn't different depending on the season, I just make everything work in a different way. Because of this my body has a fairly stable temperature all the time, when I leave the house on a deathly cold day, I'm only cold for a couple minutes and all of a sudden I'm comfortable. Same goes for heat, I wear cardigans in the middle of the summer. I looooove cardigans and refuse to give them up just because it's a little warm. Again, hot for a little bit and then I'm fine.
So yes, it's very cold right now and while I've been inside for a few days because I slipped on a piece of ice and did something to my ankle, it looks dreary out there and that affects me more than the actual temperature does. I like to people watch, I'm the creeper that's sitting by their window watching you trudge through that disgusting slush on your way to work (and sometimes even laughing about it) Everyone is dressed in grey and black, which is fine, I love grey and black but you have to have a little pop.
And this is why you need to have hundreds and hundreds of scarves, one for each day that you'll be out and about in winter. On particularly dreary days you absolutely need something springy. My go-to spring-esque winter scarf this year is this. Here is a list:
  1. It was a fast knit.
  2. It's my two favourite colours
  3. Said two favourite colours are also the epitome of spring for me
  4. It was a stashbuster of yarn I bought forever ago, LOVED, but could never really find a use for.
  5. It's surprisingly warm.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Wow! A blue car! (and other things that impress me)

Before I attempted entrelac, I thought for sure I'd never be able to do it because it is just so impressive and only the best of the best know how. After gathering enough courage to start my first entrelac project (over a year ago now) I sat down, and made an entire scarf in one go.
I love love love entrelac with a gradient yarn (I used Moda Dea's Tweedle Dee above, which was sitting in my stash for along time from a sale) When I got the end of my yarn, I was feeling both impressed and foolish, I showed everyone. "Look! Just look at it! And it's so easy!" No one seemed to care, because no one is ever as impressed as you are when learning something new.

But much with every other technique, I felt so foolish for being so scared, I told myself I'd never be scared of anything knitting related again and if someone mentioned a technique, I'd immediately go out and learn how to do it. (which I also encourage everyone else to do)

So last year was the year of learning techniques. I always thought I was a rather fast knitter until I watched a few videos on the fastest knitter, and YouTube is a very scary place with their "related videos" and I quickly became consumed with learning to speed knit, not just for the sake of upping my speed, or competing or anything like that, but because I absolutely love to watch myself knit, and I love to watch my needles dance around creating stitches, because I also like to be impressed I also want this to be fast. I'm a total convert now, everything is so much easier, colourwork especially. When I first started, I loved how the knit stitch was going, I loved watching the stitches come together, I loved the feeling of picking and grabbing the yarn with my right needle, I loved my hands not really hurting anymore, but there was just something wrong with purling. It wasn't that I wasn't purling properly, but it just seemed to be very awkward to move the yarn to the front, and then I stumbled upon the Norwegian purl. Now, I've always loved Norway, big fan, but now I think I'm in love with it. Ribbing has never been easier, everything is a hundred times easier. In fact, I went from dreading any sort of purling, to loving it even more than knitting. Forget the knit stitch, there's nothing more beautiful than watching your needles dance around a purl. I needed a quick project to finish off '08. I queued the Dragon Scarf at the start of Christmas knitting and didn't have time to knit it, so boxing day was all about the Dragon Scarf. As you can see, there's quite a few inches of ribbing, no problem. It's knit length-wise, and I believe there are just over 200 stitches, 200 stitches of ribbing for many inches. Bah! Laughed in the face of all that ribbing, sat down and finished all that ribbing. I added a picot Bind Off to the ridges.

I got on a huge kick of making things easier for myself, surely if there was a way where I could fall in love with purling, there must be a way to do everything much more effectively. Then one day I'm roaming around on these series of tubes (a very dangerous thing to do, indeed) and I stumble upon this cabling without a cable needle, remembering how much of a hassle it is to bring out that needle each and every time I want to do a cable and how it can sometimes be a little awkward when working in the round, I tried it out. This time it not only looked impressive, but it was also kind of dangerous looking, what with the live stitches and all.

So I held my breath and tested it out. I'm even more in love with this technique!I'm participating in NaKniSweMoDo over on Ravelry, and my first sweater of the year is Starsky. I sat down during the first minutes of new years day and cast on, I knit a good nine inches or so and then realized I was following the pattern for the wrong size so it was a little wonky. I thought it was no big deal and ripped it all out, of course on the last row of frogging I realized I could've just ripped back to the ribbing...
So, I had to start again, and knit up to the armholes (16") incredibly fast. I probably wouldn't have gotten so far, and it would've sat at the bottom of the WIP pile if I wasn't cabling without a needle, there are cables on each row! Nothing scares me anymore!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Okay time to be honest...

I'm lazy. Very, very lazy. And that's really the only reason why I haven't touched this blog. Not because I don't create or can't bother to think of something to write about. No, it's because I'm horribly lazy with photos. First, I need to find batteries if there are no batteries I have to buy them, (as a side note, I usually have rechargables but they've died completely and I can never think of it to buy new ones) then I have to locate the camera, and it isn't like when I lose my phone. I'll call my camera for hours and hours and never find it. Clearly, I need a pager or I could just leave it in the same place like, perhaps, near my computer. But that'd just be too easy. Usually when I have found my camera and by chance there are batteries and everything is ready to go, it's dark. I hate taking photos at night because I cannot for the life of me find my "indoor" setting on my camera, it's stuck on natural light and I'm fine with that because photos usually look best with natural light anyway.

So now I have to wait until it's daytime, which is quite a feat in itself because I'm as pale as they come and you don't get this pale being awake during the day. So I go back into my coffin, wake when the sun goes down, and knit all night. But there is the off chance that I'm up during the day, usually on a cloudy day like today, where it's not an ideal photo-taking scenario but it's bright and much better than the middle of the night.So here are a ton of FOs, there are many many more from holiday knitting, but unfortunately I never got to take a photo (re: above) because they were gifted away before I could snap them.

So let's start the holiday gifts with this lovely little top-down keyhole capsleeve number for my Aunt. When I think of her I immediately think of knit shells, it seems like she has an endless supply of them because I've never seen her in the same one twice. But she doesn't have one especially made for her. Of course instead of picking the colours I usually see her in, I went for something which is almost there but not quite. This was the first gift of '08. I had plans in April to begin, and then August I thought for sure I would start, then November rolled around and I saw the first Christmas commercial of the season. Something about Santa and an iPod which I wasn't too fond of but in the middle of I screamed "I HAVEN'T STARTED MY CHRISTMAS KNITTING!" and immediately rushed to finalize the list to "Christmas Gift Ideas" to "Christmas Gifts" and that is what truly symbolizes the start of the Christmas season for me. I started with this because I thought it'd take the longest, most people would argue that throws would, but when the math was done they're surprisingly smaller. Following the sketch, the math, and the planning I shopped the stash (which, was practically gone by the end of Christmas only to be immediately filled again, can't have empty stash boxes, can we?) I cast on, knit a few rows, put it down. Let it sit for a few days, worked until I reached the armholes (which isn't very much if you're knitting top-down) and put it down again. I didn't make anything else. I called it Wendy, jot down some notes, thought about making it a pattern and that was that. (pattern to be posted soonish)Finally December rolls around, I immediately start watching Christmas movies (and ONLY Christmas movies) to scare myself into knitting more. I managed to finish a gift a day, but was still knitting up until the 23rd.

My dad complains every winter that everyone in his family knits/crochets and he's still wearing the scarf his mother made for him eons ago. So he kept saying how nobody loves him, and he's just going to teach himself how to knit, and make dozens of scarves and not share them with anyone! So I made him three different scarves, but the "My So Called Brown Scarf" seems to be the only one that he wears which magically match the mittens my sister made for him. He's all about the matching.

My sister is on an eco-friendly kick so I decided to go with Everlasting Bagstoppers, and dishcloths. Note that I only have one photo of one dishcloth, and none of the bags. Of course. I made a pack of three cupcake dishcloths (not just the one) and a pack of three all-over not just for your dishes cloths. 

After about 20 days of non-stop knitting, of the "Oh, I forgot to eat today" variety, my hands are burning. So I decided to give them a little break (but not too much, don't want to spoil them) and started on the sewing portion. Again, only have a few photos. I made two knitting totes/notions bag, and mysteriously only have photos of one (of course). I made them both in a day, basic totes with a pocket on one side of the inside, and a small zip pouch for notions. But one of the stupidest things you can do with burning hands is lift a fairly heavy sewing machine off the ground, move it around a bunch on the table, then put it back. Not to mention the cutting. But I made it through, hands in tact and still knitting.

And thus concludes the small Christmas knitting update (with absolutely no photos), the denial stage of blogging, and hope of future posts.