Monday, December 31, 2007

How to use a swatch to plan a project.

Thanks all for your help with justifying my yarn slip-up. I figure I'll just ignore it, I'm only human after all, and pretend it never happened. When it comes to these little addictions, we all fall off the wagon sometimes and it's best not to waste time beating yourself up about it. Rather I will use the energy I would have used beating myself up about it, and direct said energy into crocheting these little sheep.

House Guest (HG) is on her way home again. I do hope she comes back soon, I have way too much fun when she visits even if it is rather hard on my yarn fast.

I realized that I had forgotten to show HG how to use one's swatch for doing math. I'm not a big fan of swatches generally, but they can be useful from time to time. So here we go: How to use a swatch to plan a project.

First off, you need a swatch. A swatch is a small knitted sample knitted prior to the main project and used to test the yarn, the fabric, the needles and the knitter. Swatches help you to know the finished texture, drape and other important qualities of the fabric before you begin the main project (which can save you a great deal of time and energy).

Bigger is better when it comes to swatches. You can use a 1.5" wide swatch if you like, but when working on bigger projects like a sweater, you really want one somewhere over 6" wide. The bigger your swatch, the more accurate your measurements. Then again, don't go knitting sweater sized swatches every time you want to knit some socks - a little bit of common sense is also involved here.

The ideal swatch size is around 4" square for a smaller project like a hat and 6" square for a larger one like a sweater.

Another important thing to know about swatches is to knit them with the same size needles you plan to knit your project in.

Now, go knit a swatch (cast on 30 stitches or so, knit in the intended stitch pattern for lets say 30 rows and take the needles out - HG, you already have a lovely swatch which you can use). The size of your swatch depends on the size of your yarn, the size of your needles, and the individual knitter's style. And they told me size doesn't matter.

Now that you have your lovely swatch (See, mine is done in the intended colour work that will be present on the final sweater. I've also knit mine in the round as the sweater will be knitted that way and I get a more accurate reading this way.), lay it flat on a table. Take a ruler (we will use imperial measurements here as HG spends most of her time in the USA) and lay it on top of the swatch so that it lines up with one row of knitting.

Count how many stitches are in two inches.

Each stitch looks like a little "V".

It's okay to get 1/2 or even 1/4 stitch counts. What's important is that you don't ignore it as 1/4 of a stitch over two inches can mean a great difference in something as large as say, a hat. So keep it in. So for example, maybe you got 8.25 stitches per two inches, don't round down to 8. Keep it as you see it.

Do this three times at three different places around the swatch and calculate the average (first+second+third=sum. Divide sum by three and the result is your average stitch count over two inches).

So, for example, on my swatch I got 9 stitches per 2 inches on size 5.0mm needles.

There are two things to do with this number to make it usable.

First, most yarn labels and patterns list gage by 4" or 10cm, so take your stitches per 2 inches and times it by two. In my case 9x2= 18. I have 18 stitches per 4". This is most helpful if you are following a pattern as you can adjust your needle size if the number of stitches doesn't match the pattern recommendation. So if I wanted 17 stitches per 4" I would knit a new swatch with a larger needle size and play around that way until I got the number of stitches desired.

Second, and this is the most helpful step when designing a project yourself, divide your stitches per 2 inches number (in my case 9) by 2 so that you know how many stitches per one inch you have. In my case 9/2=4.5. 4.5:1" or 4.5 stitches per one inch.

My numbers so far:

4.5sts : 1"

9sts : 2"

18sts: 4"

Next we look and see how big we want the finished project to be. Now there is a great deal of literature on ease and the like, all of which effect the desired measurements in relation to the actual body size of the individual.... it's complicated. Let's ignore it as we are going to knit a hat.

My head measures 22" around, but I like tight hats, so let's say I want my hat to be 21.5" around.

So I take my stitches per one inch and I take my desired hat circumference and I multiply the two together.


This means that I should cast on 96.75 stitches if I want my hat to be the desired size.

Sounds good to me, except, I don't know how to cast on point seven five of a stitch. So I'm thinking there is still more work to be done.

Next I look at my stitch pattern. How many stitches does it take to repeat one pattern? Well the ribbing is k1, p1 ribbing, so it only takes two stitches to repeat. However, the colour work takes 6 stitches to repeat one pattern.

If I take my magic number (96.75) and round it up (97) I get an odd number, which I know doesn't work with a 1x1 ribbing (it doesn't divide into two). So let's round it down to 96 sts.

To refresh your memory, these are the numbers I have so far:

gage - 4.5sts : 1" or 18sts : 4"

Stitch patterns

ribbing - 2 stitch repeat

colour work - 6 stitch repeat

desired circumference - 21.5"

cast on number - 96sts

Now we test to see if 96 sts will actually work.

We will divide the cast on number by each stitch pattern number to see if it comes out with an even number.

96/2=48 <---happy!

96/6=16 <---also happy!

Good, it works. I can use this number to make a hat.

But what would I do if it didn't work?

Let's pretend that I have a pattern that has a repeat of 49 stitches. 96 divided by 49 does not equal an even number (96/49=1.9591). So I know that I either have to adjust the stitch pattern or adjust the number of stitches. Let's do the latter as it's much easier.

Look at the funny number I got when I divided the desired total number of stitches by 49. Take that funny number and round it to the nearest whole number (in this case 2) then take the number 49 and times it by 2. What do you get? 98. 98 is very similar to 96, so maybe I can use 98 stitches on this hat instead of 96. But let's test it.

How big would a hat, knit at this gage, be if I had 98 stitches? 98 divided by the number of stitches per one inch (98/4.5=21.777) means that my hat would be just under 22 inches around. That's well within the desired range, so I could make it work with 98 stitches.

It seems a little bit complicated at first, but it really can save quite a bit of time and frustration, especially when designing your own knitted object. Give it a try and if you have any questions or comments, drop me a line.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

and created art

I told you the other day that House Guest (HG) and I were working on a project together. Well, I've finally had the right light to take photos of our creations.

We thought that adding some artwork to the walls would liven up the place a bit. I had been planning this for some time, (shh.... don't tell HG) ever since I heard that HG was coming to visit. She has a great eye for colour and composition, much better than myself, and I thought that I should take advantage of her talents. She didn't seem to mind and it was great fun working on these pictures together. It was really quite simple once we got started. We took some bits of fabric that I had laying around and created art. How cool is that?

In other news, HG is also responsible for me buying more yarn. You see, she gave me this really awesome book for Christmas with all these adorable little crochet animals in it and instructions on how to make them. It's a Japanese style book translated into English, so you know it's going to be cute as.... To make a long story short, even though I don't crochet much, they were too adorable not to make. I accidentally bought the yarn needed to make them. I don't know how to justify this slip in regards to the rules of my yarn fast, but I'll think of something, I'm sure.

But how can you resit these little guys? Honestly?

Friday, December 28, 2007

and the winner is...

The contest is complete and the winner is...

Congratulations. mail me at (mail recieved) and I'll work out a way to get the yarn to you.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas at my work truly is a peace filled day.

I'm leaving the contest open a few more hours, until sometimes this evening when I get back from work, so if there is anyone out there that is absolutely desperate for the chance to win some yarn, this is your chance.

I worked Christmas Day. I volunteered to work, not because I get extra money, I don't, rather I like to work because of how lovely everyone is on the holiday. It's great to work there on the holiday. We have people visiting from all over the world. There are different cultures, different religions, and all sorts of differences. But it doesn't matter on Christmas Day at the Hostel. We cook a dinner that day, for all the guest who are spending the holiday with us instead of with their family. It doesn't matter what if they are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Shinto, Pagan, or any other religion, they all really enjoy the day. The guests all pitch in and prepare the dinner together, then once it is cooked, they all tuck in. There is not complaining that this isn't a holiday they celibate, rather it's the chance to experience a friendly dinner with other people of different backgrounds. Many people who come have never celebrated Christmas before and I think this kind of dinner gives them the chance to experience the joyful, peace-filled aspect of the holiday. Christmas at my work truly is a peace filled day.

I'm off to work again today. As you have probably figured out I have my ups and downs there, most of it is wonderful, but I find some of the specific kinds of problem (people) solving difficult and exhausting. I'm not going until I've finished my...

In other news, life with House Guest is going exceptionally well. She is such a fun and interesting person. She is one of those rare individuals who help me to feel energized by spending time with her. I think I'm very fortunate that way, in the last few months, I've had lots of people like her in my life. They are inspiring and make aspire to be more like them.

I have given House Guest her gift, a little bag knit from Last-Minute knitted Gifts (Cabled purse by Mary Lou Risely) knit in Koigu Painter's Palette Premium Merino. I was amazed, not only did I get it knit in time for Christmas, but I also had time to block it. This book is amazing for gifts.

Yesterday afternoon was a craft day. Y came over and sewed, I ironed and knit, and House Guest and myself made something special which I'll show you once I have photos.

Wishing you all a wonderful day.

Don't forget to check out that contest, I'll post the winner here once I have a chance to draw the names.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Holidays to all.

The Contest ends tomorrow at midnight.

Christmas Eve is a day for me to do what I love best.

After sleeping in a little bit and drinking my yummy, yummy coffee, I baked goodies for the evening.

Mincemeat tarts and cheese biscuits, both very old family recipes and a holiday tradition.

Then, come early afternoon, we packed up all the goodies (including the plumb pudding I made a couple of weeks ago, now well soaked in rum) and went to my G'pas house where we cooked, played cards, and exchanged gifts with my G'pa, my brother, and his wife. I think my G'pa liked the Hemlock Ring blanket. I hope he did. I told him that washing instructions were to give it to me to be washed. I wouldn't want for my poor grandfather, in his ninetieth year, to go through the sort of trouble it takes to block that blanket.

I think Christmas eve is my favorite time of year. I don't really care about the presents, although I did receive this very lovely scarf from my brother and my sister-in-law. What I really enjoy is the chance to gather around me the people I care about most in the world and to feed them. There is something so comforting in feeding people good food. It's one of my most favorite things. The holidays provide a great excuse to do this and with a little bit of practice, and a whole lot of forethought, you can feed all sorts of people relatively stress free. Needless to say, it's been a good Christmas so far.

I also did some of my 'swatch' for the sweater I'm designing. I did the swatch in the round like how I would do a hat, only a bit smaller. It looks good so far, I really like how the colours contrast each other. Next comes the math part. Thank goodness for Elizabeth Zimmermann and Priscilla A. Gibson-Roberts, both of which have great books for designing sweaters.

Happy Holidays to all. I wish everyone, be you Christian or of another faith, a happy day filled with good things, family, fun, and many acts of yarn related kindness.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

I've lost the label

ETA: I forgot to mention, the contest is open until Boxing Day. Now, back to our regularly scheduled post:

Very cute little sock for my friend Curlysalamander. The pattern is in the book Last-Minute Knitted Gifts and I used Briggs & Little singles yarn (I think it's called sport, but I've lost the labels).

The book says it takes less than two hours to make, I did it in just over one, with another 10 minutes of finishing by sewing in the ends. I supposed I could have knit it faster, but I was hosting a dinner party at the time so I wasn't really focused on my knitting. That would explain why I fudged my way through the heel, but I doubt many people will be wearing this itty-bitty-way-too-cute sock.

Anyway, it's just a wee little token to say thank you for a lovely afternoon. Thank you Curleysalamander. (Is it just me or does she remind anyone else of dancing? There is something in the way that she moves which is very light and joyful. I think that she would make a good dancer.)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

But you know, it's all just a bit of fun

Here for the contest?
It's still open. Click here, or scroll down.

I have a confession to make to you.

I've been putting off telling you about it long enough. The thing is, I don't actually feel bad about what I did. I should feel bad, but I don't, and that makes me feel guilty. Human emotions are so complex, don't you think?

Back in September, I started my yarn fast, creating a set of guidelines that I thought would help me save some money and help shrink down to a manageable size, that ever growing creature we call a stash. So far, it's gone quite well - I have successfully rationalized every purchase of fibre and yarn I've made over the last four months on the basis of my rather complex, albeit, arbitrary set or rules.

No longer can I do so. I have bought yarn. I have bought a considerable amount of yarn. Not for knitting a gift, someone else didn't buy it for me, I didn't buy it at a fibre fest... I bought it for me. I have finally blown my yarn fast.

But you know, it's all just a bit of fun. I challenge myself to see how long I can stick to a resolution. In this case, about four months (maybe a bit less).

The theory is that this pile of Briggs & Little heritage yarn

will turn into this sweater.

Okay, yes the drawing needs a little bit of work, but here is the chart I'm planing to work from.

It's all in the developmental stage at the moment, so it might be difficult to see what it is (hopefully) going to be like. The charts are slightly modified versions of some of the earliest known knitting shown in Rutt's History of Hand Knitting. I don't know if this sweater will work out or not, but it will be fun to try.

As far as the no-yarn-for-me adventure is concerned, I am still fasting. If you look at exception 3 on my slightly arbitrary list of exceptions, you can see that I have three chances to buy yarn and not feel too bad about it. Now I have only two left (plus my birthday allowance - but that's reserved for FunKnits (she is getting some very specially sock yarn in early next year, and I want it!)). I'm only human and one can't expect me to resit every yarn I see. It is yarn after all.

Just so you understand how much temptation I have endured, I want to share with you some links to some of the lovely yarns I've not bought - although I really, really want to.

You see what I'm up against here.

Just a parting thought. If you ever have an online yarn shop, or any other sort of online shop, and you want to make me happy enough to buy from you, please, please, please, PLEASE, put both the currency you list in and where you are shipping from somewhere obvious (in little print at the bottom of the page is best).

Friday, December 21, 2007

No matter, I'll think of something

If you are here for the Contest, it's here and it's still open. It's off to a good start, but I think we could use a few more contestants.

Now that I've reached 100 on my completely arbitrary numbering system, I'm not certain what to title my blog posts. I could try the alphabet thing, something like "A, aardvark" "AB, a small buzzing insect that makes honey"... (okay, not my joke, think Black Adder, that's a great show.) No matter, I'll think of something. Probably random phrases from the blog entry itself.

I've been cleaning house preparing for our guest's arrival. I received some boxes from a fibre friend this week, so I took the entire stash out from under my bed and everywhere else it has spread to (a daunting experience) and sorted through it (an even more daunting experience). What I can say here is thank goodness for Ravelry and their stash feature.

For those of you who aren't 'in' Ravelry yet, the stash feature lets you organize your yarn stash online by taking photos of your yarn, typing in a few key bits of info like make, amount, colour and dye lot, and then you can look at it when ever you want to. The theory is if you are away from home, you can check to see if you have that particular yarn or if you need to buy more. I'm certain there are other things you can do with this, but I haven't quite figured it out yet. It was quite a bit of fun taking photos of yarn and putting them in the computer thing. It's a good excuse to play with your stash.

The majority of my yarn now fits snugly in these two boxes, and most (well.... some really) of my spinning fibre now lives in a suitcase. I fear though, my stash is not decreasing, despite my yarn fast. Have you ever seen the Star Trek show with the Tribbles? That is what my room/life is beginning to feel like, only with yarn. At least you can knit yarn, and you can't do that with tribbles, so I'm content.

I'm off to work this morning, then it's a mad dash around town to get everything done today as our House Guest arrives tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

One Hundred - Contest time

Contest Time

After witnessing and receiving many random acts of yarn related kindness over the last few months, I have decided to share in the giving. Sadly, despite the large state of my stash, I don't have enough yarn to give to each and every one of you, so I will host a contest instead.

This lovely little skein of 80% wool / 20% nylon blue and blue (with orange flecks) reclaimed yarn from my stash could be yours.

There are two ways to enter the contest.

The first way to enter the contest is to leave a comment on this post, answering this question: What is it about a blog that brings you back again? What do you look for in a blog? Do you come just for the yarn, or is it something else that attracts you to a blog? Okay, maybe I should have said "these questions", but I think you get the idea of what I want to know. I'm looking to discover, why do people read certain blogs more than others, and if you can tell me something along those lines, something that is true for you personally, then I would be most grateful.

The second way to enter the contest (and this is how you can get more than one entry): Tell the world about this contest on your blog. If a person comes and leaves a comment and if they (being the good and kind person that they are) tell me who sent them, the person who sent them, gets an extra entry (each time they are mentioned).

So there you have it folks. I'll figure out how to use a random number generator or get some paper and a hat to decide the winner. The contest will be up until midnight Boxing Day (Dec 26th) Pacific time.

Good luck.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Yesterday was a day for baking. I got most of my holiday baking stuff done. I made sourdough bread (from my very own rye starter that I raised myself), some mince meat tarts (real mince meat from my great grandmother's recipe), some cookies, and some steamed pudding (for me). It took all day to do and it didn't make as much as I had hoped. I was thinking of making ginger snaps, but the universe had other plans.

Today is a day for knitting. Now that I have the right needles (yes the magic loop is a good idea; however I wonder, doesn't it decrease the life you your needles and cause the cable between the two needles to break down sooner?) I can get a good chunk of knitting done today. It's raining out, so I will be happy to stay home with a nice pot of tea and some yarn.

I have realized that although I get some knitting done at the spinning group, I don't actually get as much done as I thought. I am too busy looking at all the beautiful things everyone else is making. One woman, who I don't actually have a pseudonym for yet, but let's call her Kitten because she has a kitten, carded together some wool of different natural colours. At one side of the batt the wool is a light, almost white colour and as you travel to the other side of the batt, the colour gradually gets darker until at the far end, it's a deep chocolate colour. It amazes me that sheep come in such a variety of different colours and to see them blended like that, it really makes you appreciate the beautiful colours that nature produces. I don't know how she did it exactly, but when it's all spun up, the singles gradually change from one colour to the next. Kitten spins so fine and so even, I want to capture her spinning skills and bake it in a special cake so I can eat it and be just as good at spinning as her. She also has a great eye for colour and does the most amazing things with kool-aid.

I'm like a cat that way, I was distracted by all the pretty string and by all the pretty Christmas decorations and all the yummy food and tea and all the funny stories of silly cats and other pets and how they shouldn't eat the shiny stuff that goes on the tree... Well, the conclusion is that I didn't knit quite so much as I had hoped, but I had a great time as always.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Good Yarn Shop

I am now very, very happy!

The Boutique De Laine is now officially my LYS. I went there this morning to tell them about the book and the bad, bad thing that someone did to it and they were so nice to me. I am well pleased with the people who work there. I was thrilled that they had another book in stock, so we just did an exchange. It is such a lovely book, and I would be sad not to own it after so much trouble and despair.

I also picked up some new needles, not 12" circulars as I had hoped, but rather, a set of five bamboo double points, which should do the trick nicely.

I have lots of baking to do today, bread, mince meat tarts (my great, great grandmother's recipe), steamed pudding, and maybe some cookies. Not to mention I have to catch up on all the knitting time I missed out on this weekend.

But I'll leave you with this one thought:

People who hurt knitting books deserve to have red hot, jumbo sized, knitting needles suck in each and every orifice. But that's just my opinion. If I ever caught someone doing something like that to a knitting book, I would bring down upon them wrath the like that which only the divine could equal. It just makes me so very, very angry. Do it to your own books, fine, but don't do it to a book in a shop. Be nice to the poor shop owners, they deserve your kindness.


Which Princess Bride Character are You?
this quiz was made by mysti

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Yarn shopping, the good and the bad

Well, I had one of the nicest yarn shopping experiences I've ever had yesterday. With House Guest on her way and with all my holiday knitting finished early, I thought I would knit her something for her holiday gift this year. I went to this little yarn shop I had never been to before. It was cozy, lots of yarn everywhere, with enough room to move around. A good balance of yarn and space, I'd say. The staff there were helpful and friendly. They helped me pick out a pattern, a pattern book, some absolutely scrummy yarn (scrummy being a cross between scrumptious and yummy - if you've watched Black Adder II, you will know what I mean), and some needles. It only took a few minutes and I left the shop brimming with good feeling that pure sensation of delight you can only have after a good yarn shopping experience.

It didn't last.

Like I said, the yarn was scrummy! I was quite excited because I've never used the recommended yarn for the pattern before, so I got out my swift and my nostepinne and sat in front of the TV winding my new friend into a ball. That went beautifully, the hand dyed merino practically sang like a choir of angles as it danced off the swift into my hands.

Then I went to cast on. The yarn behaved beautifully with no splitting or one stitch being too tight or too loose like. I looked at them sitting on the needles, all 72 stitches lined up there looking so sweet and well behaved, and I looked at the needle. The needle (a bamboo circular) was about 4" too long. I couldn't join in the round and I didn't have the double points around the house to work with either. An honest mistake, the shop keeper took a number 16" circular needle off the shelf instead of a 12". Disappointed that I was missing an afternoons knitting time, I put the stitches to one side and decided to go buy an Audi 12" 3.25mm circular needle the next day. "It's only a small setback," I said to comfort myself. It will be all better on the morrow.

With that in mind, I thought I would make good use of the time by flipping through the shiny new book I had purchased. I flipped through all these lovely patterns, discussions about colour, fibre content and yarn, and I thought to myself, "this books is a real gem, well done." Then I saw it. A small irregularity in the way the pages lined up. I looked again and I realized that some pages had been torn out of my new book. Someone had torn pages out of My Book!

I felt soiled. How could anyone think of tearing pages out of a book? What's worse, how could anyone think of tearing pages out of a knitting book? Even more flabbergasting, how could anyone actually do it?!? Someone had molested my brand new shiny knitting book and I didn't want it any more.

I don't really want to return it. The people at that shop were so nice and friendly, and I know it's not their fault that someone did a bad, bad thing. It's not fair, someone else did something wrong, and now I feel guilty about it.

Maybe it's that cause and effect thing, for every action there must be a re-action. Maybe for every negative action done, someone must feel guilty about it - only the world is so messed up that the person who feels guilty isn't always the person who does the bad, bad thing.

But I do know, if they don't have another copy of this book, I'm not going to ask for cash back like I would in any other shop. I'll ask for credit to buy more yarn with it, even if that means breaking my yarn fast.

How could such a great yarn shopping expierence turn so wrong?

(NB: yarn fast does not apply to gifts knit for other people)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Party Hardy and exams

I'm happy to tell you that the exams are over, at least for now. There will be more to come soon, I'm certain of it, but not this month. From now on in, this month is for having fun.

Speaking of fun, I had two parties during my exams: one for work, one for the guild. Both of them were fantastic (I also knit during both, tee hee).

Here is my sock at the pub during the work party.

There was much drinking, but lucky for me, my sock stayed sober. I'm not the only one who can knit at my workplace. Egg Man (as he wishes to be known) had knit his own vest and it is simply fantastic.

The back is laced up with hemp and it looks amazing too. We just love our Egg Man, he's such a happy addition to our workplace.

All in all, I think I have some of the best co-workers in the world. We are all so distinctly different from each other, but that's what makes this particular workplace so invigorating.

Now for the Guild potluck party.

We were suppose to bring our own place setting, of course, mine is quite sparse, but take a look at this one. Here is a person who knows how to bring some holiday cheer to a place setting.

There were gifts for a white elephant exchange. It was so funny and the most popular gifts were, you guessed it, fibre.

Here's my sock next to HM's fish that she got in the exchange. I think it suits here, it matches her skirt.

The one sock exchange was a hit. There were so many different socks. I especially liked these ones (I secretly coveted them) but I got a pretty snazzy sock with some great colours. I've never knit with this yarn before, so it will be exciting to watch the colours automatically change.

That's my current WIP getting to know my new one sock.

Oh yes, and in case you didn't click on the link to the free pattern, here's the sock I knit for the exchange. I think it turned out quite nice. In the end, for me, it was more exciting to see all the different styles of socks than it was actually knitting my own. Definitely something I'll participate in next year.

Well, I'm tuckered out. It's been a rather busy week for me and I have a day of relaxation (and maybe a bit of holiday shopping) before things get crazy again around here. More than anything, I am looking forward to catching up on every one's blogs. I've been remiss while the exams loomed, but now that they have passed, I can't wait to go a-blogging.

Thanks to everyone who commented on my Holiday Hemlock. You people really are the best, you know that don't you? I'm working on the destash contest, I'll have it up soon.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Hemlock Ring Blanket

My Holiday Hemlock Ring Blanket is finally finished and it's stunning.

It took two people to block this blanket, It was quite an adventure, trust me. When I look at it laid out on the table like that, I find it hard to believe that I made it. All the pain and frustration of knitting lace, and un-knitting lace, and re-knitting lace seems to have vanished when I look at it there, resting on the kitchen table in the sunlight.

I hope my G'pa likes it.

Monday, December 10, 2007

I have been eaten by exams

Exams will be finished by the end of the week. I'm thinking of a de-stash contest to celebrate, keep tuned.

In the mean time, here are some photos from my walk the other day:

It's amazing how many abandoned shoes you can see in 10 min.

Saturday, December 08, 2007


It's sunny and cold outside today. I think I might take some time off and go for a walk up to the mall and buy a hot watter bottle (a second one) so I can knit another hot watter bottle cozy for it. My feet were so cold last night, one hot watter bottle just doesn't do it. I know, I could have got up and closed the window, thus eliminating the source of the draft, but I was too comfy, albeit cold.

So what have I been up to this week? Mostly I've been stressing out over my exams. I'm talking major stressing out here. I'm talking about can't eat, barely sleeping, sitting at my desk almost 12 hours at a time stressing out while studying for my exams. Even when I do sleep, it's dreams about medieval knits (ops, I meant knights, talk about your Freudian slip) in shining armor mistaking me for a dragon and trying to poke me with their sword. I've finally figured out this is not the way to do well on my exams. I need to relax, step back and the come at it anew. So I've set myself a very small study task for this morning and once it's done I'll play with fibre and go for a long walk.

There has been some yarn playing amongst this madness. I'm knitting a second set of semi-secret holiday sock. This time for myself. I've also been spinning some yarn for some knee high socks.

It's three ply, but I think the finished yarn may be a bit thicker than I intended. No matter, it's merino silk and a pure dream to spin. One day I'll figure out how to make the yarn I want, but for now I just love spinning.

Speaking of making the yarn I want, I made yarn.

This time it is alpaca silk blend and I tell you if heaven made yarn, it would be like this. I had originally intended to make a nice even yarn, but the fibre had other plans. Even though it didn't end out as I hoped, I can't wait to knit with it. Now what can I make with 88 yards of semi-bulky yarn?

I am almost finished my holiday hemlock blanket. It desperately needs blocking! But first, I need to finish binding off.

I've been binding off for over a week now. You think binding off is easy right? So did I. This isn't your usual bind off. First you knit 4 sts with a YO, then you knit back increasing to 7 stitches, then you turn and bind off those seven stitches. So I worked it out and I came to the conclusion that for every 4 stitches you bind off you actually knit 19 sts. Needless to say, it's taking a while.

Good news, House Guest (HG) is coming to stay for Christmas. This is going to be great!