31 December 2007

Finished in 2007

Mini Argyle Socks
Pattern: Jena's Knee Socks
Source: Lang Sockology 'Man's Knee Socks' with custom chart based on Eunny Jang's Mini-Argyle Stockings
Materials: 2 balls Regia Superwash Sockwool (1 each color, plus some scrap Lang Jawoll for cuff) from local yarn store.
Sticks: 2.00 mm Innox double points for cuff and 2.75 mm Brittany double points for rest of sock.
Start Date: February 2, 2007
Finished By: Uh, end of March I think?

Endpaper Mitts
Pattern: Endpaper Mitts
Adaptations: Ten rows ribbing at beginning. One repeat of Chart A before starting thumb shaping and ribbing immediately after finished Chart B. Five rows ribbing over hands and three rows over thumb area
Materials: Donated yarn from my brother. I think Rowan dropspun 2 ply (the brown, unsure colour) and Alice Starmore Fair Isle yarn (pale blue, unsure yarn name and color).
Start Date: Mid Aprilish, a Wednesday
Finished By: Saturday (even with reknitting a bunch of times).

Icarus Shawl
Pattern: Icarus Shawl - Interweave Knits Summer 06
Adaptations: Three repeats of Chart 1 and reduced 2 rows of Chart 4 (for yarn conservation purposes).
Materials: 1 ball Cashmere Painted Yarns in French Lilacs by Virginia van Santen.
Start Date: Marchish? Began as Print 'o' the Wave stole but lack of yarn caused design change.
Finished By: May 27, 2007

Le'Slouch no. 1 & 2
Pattern: Le' Slouch by Knit and Tonic
Adaptations: None.
Materials: 1.5 skeins Mission Falls Trading Colours Cotton - color 221 (from the stash)
Start Date: May 27, 2007
End Date: May 29, 2007 (two hats)

Stockings with form-fitted arch
Pattern: Grey and white stocking pattern, Meg Swansen's Knitting
Adaptations: added striping to foot of sock, grafted toe on inside.
Materials: Tongue River Sock Yarn
Start Date: May 29, 2007
Finished By: June 19, 2007

Deep V Argyle Vest
Pattern: Deep V Argyle Vest
Materials: Rowan Tapestry and Diamond Luxury Alpaca Silk
Adaptations: Followed instructions for size 46" to adjust for gauge differences (really size 38")
Start Date: Juneish 2007
Finished By: August 13, 2007

Sock Blocker Key Chain
Pattern: Sock Blocker Key Chain
Materials: Koigu
Start Date: August 16, 2007
Finished By: August 16, 2007

Le'Slouch no. 3
Pattern:Le' Slouch by Knit and Tonic
Adaptations: for finer gauge yarn and Italian Tubular Cast on
Materials: 2 skeins Zitron Samoa 42 Red
Start Date: August 12, 2007
End Date: August 19,2007

Secret Knitting Socks
Pattern: Secret Knitting Socks
Materials: 1/2 skein Fleece Artist Sea Wool
Start Date: September 4, 2007
End Date: September 24, 2007

Ravenclaw Knee High Toe-up Socks
Pattern: Striped Sports Socks
Materials: Briggs & Little Sport, Sheep's Grey and Royal Blue
Start Date: Mid July 2007
End Date: October 1, 2007

Squirrely Swedish Mittens
Pattern: Squirrely Swedish Mittens by Elli Stubenrauch
Adaptations: Using Hello Yarn's inclusion of Swedish Twisted Cast on. Working on 2.00 mm needles to create a smaller gauge to adapt for my hands.
Materials: Briggs & Little Sport in Washed White and Pink and Tongue River Sock Yarn in Sheep's Brown
Start Date: June 17, 2007
Finished By: October 6, 2007

Teeny Tiny Socks
Pattern: Los Lobe Hose by Carol Breitner
Materials: Regia Superwash Sockwool (unsure about colors, I don't read German) from local yarn store.
Start Date: October 9, 2007
Finished By: October 9, 2007

Interwoven Cable Hat
Pattern: Interwoven Cable Hat by Amy O'Dell
Modifications: For gauge. I kept the cable section the same.
Materials: 1/2 skein Fleece Artist Sea Wool
Start Date: October 5, 2007
Finished By: October 13, 2007

Latvian Mittens
Pattern: Mitten from the District of Kurzeme following chart 111. Latvian Mittens by Lizbeth Upitis
Materials:Briggs & Little Sport (in Scarlet, Sheep's Grey, Gold, Rust), Various (Cream, Orange, Red Orange, Deep Red, Green and Brown)
Start Date: October 27, 2007
Finished By: November 20, 2007

Teeny Jingle Socks
Pattern: Los Lobe Hose by Carol Breitner
Materials: Various Festive donations of sock yarns from Sharon
Start Date: December 4, 2007
Finished By: December 4, 2007

29 December 2007

Hawaiian Holiday Hiatus

Aloha from an island in the sun.

I'm declaring an official personal holiday hiatus. I'm taking a holiday from winter and all winter related activities. Including shovelling snow, wearing mittens/hats/scarves/long underwears/sweaters, carefully planning what to do when I leave the warmth of my apartment to minimise the outside time and knitting.

Yes that's right. I've run away for a Maui Christmas with my family and I didn't bring ANY knitting or knitting related items. This is a full blown holiday. No stress related to misbehaving knit projects (in my attempt to be a sweater master, the sweaters have taught me a thing or two), no yarn related guilt/lack of inspiration, no shopiholia for new projects.

No Xmas stress of any kind (other than getting here but that's a story for when I get back). Christmas shopping is non-existent on these family holidays.

Just beach & ocean & ice cream & lots of movies & hangout time & riding in slightly obnoxious generic SUVs that are just a bit too tall to be comfortable climbing in and out of for a shorty like me.

So Mele kalikimaka and Happy New Year to all and try to keep warm.

16 December 2007

Calling in sick

Hi, I'm calling a sick day. I'm just on the end of a REALLY bad cold and don't have much knitting to report. I don't get sick often, but when I do, it's pretty end-of-the-world, I'm never going to be able to breathe again, hit-by-a-snow-plow kind of sick.

And somehow I manage to stay healthy *just* until there's someone around to take care of me. Last time it was when my parent's visited in the spring (though my brother was sick too, but he was ALWAYS sick last year). This time it was my brother's pleasure to try and see me through another apocalyptic cold. I used to get little colds and still manage to go to school with my itchy watery eyes and make jokes about how everything made me cry. Yup, I try to keep my sense of humour through the whole thing.

But these days when I get sick, it takes all my energy to stay upright, can't sleep lying down or I will drown in the goo and barely get any rest. I even called in sick this week and that was after spending 3 days trying to make it through because it's not like I'm in the service industry and am on my feet all day. How much energy does it take to sit in front of a computer and make things pretty? Apparently more than I could manage. My agent laughed at me when phoned to tell her I would in fact be out for the rest of the week, saying there was no way she could accuse me of faking it.

And I guess I was quite the show at Ariadne's Knit Nite on Thursday with all the nose blowing/holding my head sideways/not able to concentrate enough to knit. I was just so excited that things were starting to flow and so starved for contact with the outside world (day one of the sick day). Though I was kind of a mess and being out in the frigid temperatures really didn't help anything, I had a really good night's sleep. And I know my brother, Jon, had a great time. He always does when he gets to show off his projects and talk about Briggs & Little yarn. Oh and thanks for the feel betters and I have to say every day is better than the last.

I've been spending too much time blowing my nose and trying to breathe to really make any progress on anything. But in the past couple of days the nose blowing/goo flowing has subsided enough for me to continue work on the Sideways Pullover. I have 2 skeins in a different dyelot to finish it off and plan to use the off colours for the back (currently in progress), the bottom cuff of the sweater and if needed, the cuffs of the sleeve (we'll see how far the old dyelot will go).

It would be nice if this horrible cold could be more productive than my using up of 3 full tissue boxes, drinking 2.5 litres of Apple juice, at least 60 oz of Decongestant/Expectorant tea, 4 bottles of green tea, 1 Gatorade, 5 bowls of soup (various from Tom Yum to Chicken Noodle), 3 litres of spit water, and about a millionty decongestant/Tylenol/Anti-histamine tablets.

12 December 2007

The flood gates have been opened

I wouldn't say I've been on a "yarn diet." We all know how I don't like trendy terms like that. But there has been a general lack of yarn being bought for new projects. My 'sporadic employment' has kept me from being a proper North American consumer, buying things willy nilly just cause their soft/sparkly/pretty. Instead I've had the challenge of what to make with the soft/sparkly/pretty yarns I've bought in the past.

This has brought you projects such as the Deep V Argyle Vest (though one of the yarns was purchased for the project), the Noro Surprise Jacket (still in a time out, but we'll talk about that later), some Endpaper Mitts, the Cable Eyelet Ribbed Cardigan (still in the works: shoulder shaping!), the Sideways Pullover (did have to buy a couple of skeins to be able to finish), and an Itchy Pink Lopi Raglan (I think I have WAY more than I'll need) not to mention a few Le'Slouches.

Though there has been some yarn buying for projects, I don't consider any of them major project purchases. I haven't bought a sweater's worth of yarn in years.

But the past month or so my professional life has been quite productive and busy so I have been able to reward myself with some yarn for future projects. I hear you laughing, 'MORE Briggs & Little Sport?!?!' Yes, thank you very much! Working with the Sheep's Grey for the Ravenclaw Knee Socks was such a pleasure that I used it again for the Latvian Mittens. I have been wanting a charcoal and a light grey cardigan for quite a while now, so rather than just buy one at the Gap, I'm going to have fun making my own. And with the yarn for one sweater costing $20, who's laughing now? Huh? That's what I thought.

I mean it may not be Rowan Felted Tweed destined for greatness but I really like how the straight-from-the-sheep yarn from Briggs & Little knits up. And to be honest, I'm not a cardigan against the bare skin kind of girl. That's just too risqué for moi!

Oh and the Anniversary Twist I plan on becoming a Sunrise Circle Jacket. Having seen a really nice one out of a handspun yarn, I thought the Anniversary Twist would lend itself really nicely to the pattern. Plus at the time of getting the yarn there was no way to get the pattern for the Central Park Hoodie (though I'd still like to get my hands on that issue of Knitscene, there's some other great patterns in there.

Oh and I snuck in some goodies for myself at Ariadne Knit's Opening Day Celebrations. The Whiskey was not to be resisted, and I have too many sock patterns and not enough sock yarns.

But while all this yarn buying hasn't broken the bank, it did open the flood gate. I spent the better part of a slow day at work pricing out yarn for future projects. In order to resist ordering it all on the spot, I made myself price out including shipping/taxes/exchange rate (benefits of working as a Cashier during University) to see exactly what projects will cost. Uh, for future reference, yeah, that's it.

10 December 2007

Knit at Work

(photo staged for your viewing pleasure, my actual desk at work was way cooler)

So as some of you probably know, I'm not a 'public' knitter. I don't knit on the bus, in the Metro, waiting in line (unless it's for my passport) or crossing the street. Partly it's because I'm still a bit 'in the closet' about my craftyness, partly because I like to give as little reason as possible for strangers to strike up conversation (I tend to have a pretty mean angry city-girl face when storming down the street). Knitting in cafés with a group of fellow crafty types is as public about my knitting as I've been since University when I used to knit mittens on my lunch hour.

I resurrected the practise of lunch time knitting during my latest call back to an Ad Agency Downtown. Because I would bring my lunch and eat it within 10 min and the conversation level doesn't quite allow for reading. I'm good at tuning out the French conversations, but not enough to prevent reading the same paragraph 18 times. So I begun to drag the Itchy Icelandic Pink Lopi Raglan along with me and whipped it out to work a few rounds while sort of following the conversation (good for improving the old comprehension).

Yes I did get comments about knitting, but what was surprising me was how sophisticated the conversation became. Sure there were a couple 'you're knitting me a sweater!' comments and some pantoufles comments (slippers with bemoaning the fentex), but then it turned into, 'I wanted to learn how to knit so I could make a really bad reindeer sweater like in Bridget Jones' Diary,' or a real understanding and appreciation when I showed off some of my finished products like the hat and mittens that I wear to work everyday.

In response to the mittens, 'That's when you have to knit one stitch with one yarn, and the next stitch with the other right?' and even noticing the braided cast on as being specialised. And my favourite request: 'Can you knit me a car? Full sized? Better yet, knit me a boyfriend!'

Definitely the sorts of conversations that I don't mind starting up.

7 December 2007

'Tis the season for Jingle Earrings

Pattern: Los Lobe Hose by Carol Breitner
Materials: Various Festive donations of sock yarns from Sharon
Start Date: December 4, 2007
Finished By: December 4, 2007

When I wore my Teeny Tiny Sock Earrings to a Sunday Sit 'n' Knit, Sharon immediately told me I absolutely NEEDED to make a pair to wear at Christmas time. We all laughed at the cheese-y-ness of such an idea and I (kinda joking) said, 'Bring me the yarn and I'll TOTALLY make a pair!'

So then why did it take me completely by surprise when a few Sunday meetings later, Sharon plopped a little baggie full of Xmas-y yarns in front of me just as I sat down. After instantly bursting into laughter, I promised her a pair of her very own. But without pierced ears, they would be destined to be a pin for Sharon's lapel. You know to show her support for Christmas.

If I'm ever a part of a Christmas related charity, I think pins with tiny knitted socks & mittens & gloves would HAVE to be our thing.

Destined to be earrings (for me)

Sharon gave me some leftovers of 4 great colours of sock yarn that I have no idea what they are and desperately love. Two shades of green: one a subtle vareagated olive-y sort of green, one a perfect holiday evergreen; A perfect holly berry red; and this FANTASTIC sparkling white (not only is the yarn pure pure white, it has little sparklies built right in).

I kept thinking what sort of magical combination of complicated colour changes I should come up with, but exhausted from work & watching way too many Crime Investigation shows on Peasant Vision, I opted for some simple striping with contrasting heel & toe action. I'm very happy with the result.

Don't worry, no ends are technically woven in this pattern so no itty bitty headache there.

Destined to be a pin (for Sharon)

After working two to be a matched pair (silly festive earrings should match non?) I opted to be a tiny bit crazier and switched it up for the greens. Secretly I want my own pair of mismatched socks and there's only so much of the olive green, don't tell. I feel this set are a little more Dr. Seussian which makes me very happy.

All these little festive socks have created a bitty obsession. I've decided as an ongoing project for all those leftover bits of sock yarn to knit teeny tiny socks and itty bitty mittens and make myself a lovely little garland. It may get a wee bit crazy with some mini sweaters added in here and there.

I have a tendency to get a bit carried away with tiny obsessive projects and my parents are storing my jars & jars of itty paper stars, paper cranes, and other origami items from my paper phase (I'll move them one day along with all my Design school projects/drawings/paintings). So I may end up with a whole garland sooner than anticipated. Or not.

Other inspiring holiday knitting ideas: a pair of knee-high or thigh-high socks with a Candy Cane swirl all the way down. Would be all sorts of awesome.

6 December 2007

Chillin' in a snow bank

Pattern: Mitten from the District of Kurzeme following chart 111. Latvian Mittens by Lizbeth Upitis
Modifications: Colours. It's all about changing up the colours. And often. Took me a while to work out the final scheme & colour changes for the actual mitten part. But well worth it.
Materials:Briggs & Little Sport, Various
Start Date: October 27, 2007
Finished By: November 20, 2007

They've been finished for a while. I have no idea why I've been procrastinating the taking of the pictures and the actually declaring them done. I was humming and hawwing for too long over the block or not-to-block. A full out Euclan soak & block seemed way to big a deal so I opted for the quick & instant steamy iron version. They are so much better after blocking. I really need to get over the mental blocking block and integrate it into the normal practice.

After the blocking debacle was done with, I started procrastinated with the picture taking. Had to charge the camera battery (not that it really takes long), then the setting up with the tripod & the finicky working of the 10 sec timer & figuring out where to pose, blah, blah, blah. There was just too too too many mental steps involved so I opted to just knit instead.

Then snow happened. And everyone's doing the mittens in the snow thing and who am I to argue? I managed to actually charge the camera and before work I tossed the mitts in the snow bank outside my front door, snapped a few, tossed it all inside and made the epic trek to the Metro.

While the post-knitting part of these mittens was such a trial, the actual knitting & even the working in a bazillion ends was surprisingly not. All the colour changes kept me on my toes and I couldn't help from speeding my way through the chart to see the finished product. Though it was a bit of a stretch for me to work on them at Knit Nites™ sometimes the multi-tasking is not my strong point.

I love love LOVE the Latvian Mittens book so totally worth buying. Immediately after ordering I thought it was probably a little silly to buy a whole book to make mittens for a swap, but once it finally arrived, I was BLOWN AWAY. So many many many colour images of fabulous amazing mittens and charts for each and every one. As a visual person, I was so excited by the colour section and all it did was challenge me to come up with something just as great. And I'm really happy with how they turned out.

They are soon to be on their way to Germany with some Maple Syrup as soon as I can find a little stuffed Canadian Goose or Moose or something. Surprisingly tricky to find in these off-tourist-season time of year.

2 December 2007

Steamy Windows & Lots of Fondling

That's right. A new yarn store opened up in Montreal and it's so terribly exciting. The girls of Ariadne Knits have gone lo-fi, offline and analog to create a lovely little yarn oasis near Lionel-Groulx and Place St. Henri Metro stations (like exactly equidistant I believe).

This fibre haven is located in the cutest little old corner shop that has been lovingly whipped into a beautifully lit, cosy, welcoming yarn shop. With the lovely knitting corner complete with 'fireplace' is the cherry on top and I immediately wished I had thought to bring some knitting with me.

The shop is open as of noon yesterday and I braved the Great White North Winter we're suddenly having to meet up with all the other Montreal Knitters to congratulate the owners on a job very well done and of course fondle yarn. Really that's the whole point of going to a real shop isn't it?

I can't stress enough how adorable, welcoming, cosy and a fantastic yarn showcase this shop is. If I was a smart girl, I'd have thought to bring my camera with me. Or even remembered that I have a camera phone. Whoops. I was just way too caught up with all the conversations about yarn, knitting, the bitter bitter cold weather, comic books, felting, how much we are all in love with all the whiskey colours, fun ideas for winter headgear (including Mexican wrestler Baclavas and cartoon wig tuques with built in headband/chin ties), tv shows, stick figure chunky sweater patterns, and so on.

And the people, they brought all sorts of fabulous treats. Jennie made super yummy better-than-teddy-grahams alpacas despite being a 'stress basket.' She even has a fabulous new kitty pattern called Charity and once I get my hands on it I will definitely be making some for Toy Mountain.

They got us casting on squares for the communal charity blanket and suddenly it turned into the usual sit 'n' knit. Yeah. Somehow Allison, Janet and I ended up closing out the shop. We left at like 7 or something crazy like that. Funny how time flies when hanging with the knitters.

Definitely a good cure for Canadian Winter.