Wednesday, January 30, 2008

House MD Socks while watching House MD

My contest ends tomorrow at midnight (PST).

I finished my House MD socks last night while watching House MD.

I used some hand dyed yarn from See Jayne Knit. I love the colours of this yarn and I think she does a fantastic job dyeing them.

I took the picture with no flash so that the lace work would show up better. As (I hope) you can see, there is a little row of canes all around the top. House walks with a cane, so I thought, why not modify the candy cane sock pattern to make it longer and more walking cane like.

I did learn something though, mixing bright colour patterns and texture stitches like lace don't go so well. As you can see here in this photo, bright light hides the texture pattern.

Next time I do lace I'll stick to a more solid colour rather than self striping yarn.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

why not check it out

Contest is on until the end of the month. That's midnight PST on January 31st. If you haven't entered yet, why not check it out?

Was feeling under the weather yesterday, so all I knit was a little bit of sleeve for The Sweater. This sweater has a lot of stocking stitch which makes it the perfect knit for sick days. Once I get the sleeves finished, then things start to get fun. The pattern has changed considerably since it's inception, but I think you will like it.

As for Japanese knitting, well, thanks to the genius of Rhonda I think I have the yarn I need to make that vest already in my stash. I'm still not one hundred percent certain that I'm going to knit it, but it would be fun. Anyway, check out this post to see just how ingenious she is. If you are Ravelry, check out this thread about the pattern.

And, before I forget, one more important bit of news: House MD is back on TV tonight (at least in North America). There are only three episodes left, one tonight, one Sunday and one next Tuesday. Something to do with the Hollywood strike means that we don't get a full season this year. Too bad, but perhaps that means that the DVD box set won't be as expensive as usual. If I'm well enough I'm spinning tonight, but I have a DVD recorder which will watch the show for me and tell me all about it when I get home.

Monday, January 28, 2008

It's like the next big knitting fix

Here for the Contest? It's still on and awaiting your participation. Click here, and it will take you right to it.

If my contest isn't enough for you, then check out this link. Mmmmmm..... look at all that lovely yarn.

I'm beginning to suspect that I'm one of those extreme knitters. I have lots of projects on the go at any given time, but I'm always on the look out for the next big fix.

My brother is a bit like that when it comes to climbing mountains. He even has a cliff named after him. Yet still, he is always looking for the next difficult climb, the next highest peak, or the next great cliff to conquer. He's like that with skiing, with scuba diving, and with cycling. I'm a bit like that with yarn.

I was drinking my morning coffee and reading blogs (my morning ritual) when I stumbled on this entry. Now I need a new vest. I even have some yarn in my stash reserved just for vest making. I've even done all the math and designed myself a nifty little v-neck vest based on the Yarn Harlot one row handspun scarf stitch pattern. I just have to get around to knitting it. But when I saw this new vest, especially when I clicked on the pattern link (pdf), I wanted to make it in the worst possible way. The vest itself is very nice, but what I think really captivates me is the idea of knitting a pattern that is written entirely in Japanese. It's like the next big knitting fix or the next highest climb.

I'm not going to do anything about it just yet. I'll see if I can figure out what kind of yarn it takes. If the pattern can be modified to take Briggs Little (aka. the world's most affordable yarn), then I might buy some yarn for it (Yes, I know, what about the yarn fast? I've been wondering that too.). But not just yet as I still have to finish The Sweater, two pairs of socks, the pillow, the adorable little crochet sheep, Jenshine's birthday present, and I'm certain there are one or two other projects around the house somewhere.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

It tastes really incredibly good, but dense

Blog Contest is still on, click here!

The Sweater is coming along well enough. Plane old stocking stitch in a dark colour isn't very photogenic, yet, so perhaps you could use your imagination and picture the first sleeve almost finished, looking for a change, very sleeve'ish. It makes me laugh a little bit to think that I am knitting this sweater during our cold snap (we have one about this time every year where the temperature hovers around freezing for a week or two) and not before the cold weather comes. I have a feeling that it is going to warm up considerably the day I have my sweater finished.

I was feeling better yesterday morning so I did some baking. I make my own sourdough bread and since I use wild yeast (sourdough starter captures yeast from the air, that's one of the things that makes it taste so good) and not store bought yeast, it takes a while to rise. When making your everyday bread, you first mix together some stuff, then you kneed it to make the stuff do their stuff. After that you set it to rise once. You kneed the dough again, shape it into, well, the shape you want the bread to be, and let it rise one last time before putting it in the oven. This can take anywhere from just over one hour to two days or more. Yet, over the entire process, it takes surprisingly little work: maybe 10 minutes of actual active participation on your part for the entire bread making enterprise. Everything else is a matter of timing.

Here is what happens if you forget to put the bread in the oven: Flat loaves.

It rose and then it fell and then it went into the oven. It tastes really incredibly good, but dense.

A few sites I've come across lately that I wanted to share with you.

Knot Magick is working on a project for peace. It looks like a lot of fun. She is looking for people to participate by making flags out of fibre using any method you enjoy (knitting, crocheting, weaving, felting, quilting, embroidery, tatting - are all examples she gives on her blog) and then send it in for her to sew up into a display. Click here for more about it.

As you know, I'm a huge fan of things that help the environment. When we combine eco-friendly activities and yarn, well, I'm all over it. Have a look at Hand Picked Yarn.

And last, but not least, the cutest (living) sheep I've ever seen. Can you imagine replacing your lawn mower with two of these babies? Lawnmowers put lots of nasty stuff into the air, so wouldn't it be a good idea if the city outlawed them and then provided the use of these sheep once a week or so to trim your grass? I bet they produce great fertilizer too.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

If you ever wanted to make me very, very happy

The contest is still going strong. I know there are lots of more products out there with soy in them. Hint, check your bathroom and your general household cleaning supplies.

If you ever wanted to make me very, very happy then you could always buy me one of these for my birthday. Go on, have a look. Aren't they gorgeous? I'm completely in love with them. You see, I love baking (Did I ever tell you about that book Jenshine gave me for my birthday last year? Huge success! It's all about baking. In fact, I'm baking from it right now.) and I especially love baking my own bread. There is something about nurturing yeast so that it grows and makes beautiful yummy bread. I love doing that. I have a silly notion in my head that if only I could grind my own grain I would be fully recovered from my mystery illness. It came to me in a dream. I'm not one to argue with silly notions that come to me in dreams.

Okay, it's true, the grinders are probably too expensive. Actually, they are priceless, insofar as I can't find a price for them. But shipping something that heavy from Germany must be expensive so I can imagine the grinder itself coasts quite a bit. It is beautiful though.

If you really wanted to get me something for my birthday, you could always take me here. It's a very busy website, isn't it? But you get the basic idea. They mill grains and you can buy stuff from them. I would love to go there and tour their mill. Then I could buy a great selection of flour to take home and play/bake with. Have I told you yet that I like to bake? 'Cause I really, really do.

I also like to knit.

It's been so cold lately that I thought to myself, I need to buy another sweater. What was I thinking? What I really need to do is to finish knitting The Sweater.

I frogged the sleeve and re-knit it last night. Silly me, I had decided to save time by not doing the math I needed to know how often to increase the sleeves. It's true what they say, short cuts make for long delays. I got the number wrong (by a lot). Re-knitting is going better so far. I just need to learn to trust my math. The one sweater I designed and knit exactly how the math told me to turned out perfectly proportioned. I just need to trust my math this time and it should turn out good as well.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Apparently today is Don't Smoke Day (or something of that ilk)

Wow, the blog contest has generated some great responce so far. Not only am I learning a lot about soy and allergies, I am meeting new friends. At the end of it I get to give away some presents. I should do this more often. There is still time to enter the contest if you like.

I was feeling pretty rotten in class today so I went for a walk around campus to get some fresh air. I just about stumbled into the grim reaper. Literally. I stubbed my toe on the ground and almost tripped right into him.

Talk about a weird feeling when you aren't feeling quite up to snuff. Somehow I always pictured death to be thinner.

Apparently today is Don't Smoke Day (or something of that ilk). This was a rally to show the students the dangers of smoking. I learnt that some of the universities in Canada have several million dollars invested in tobacco companies. I think the rally was well done. At least it got people's attention.

At one point everyone was encouraged to lye down for 60 seconds to symbolize the number of people that smoking kills. Fortunately for me people with cameras were exempt (thank you blog).

One die hard smoker had to have a last puff before he lay down dead. Surely that tells us something significant about the world these days.

Personally, I never saw the appeal of smoking. I always figured it was too expensive a habit to start. I've never been cool and I didn't think that smoking would do anything to help in that regard. Besides, even at that young age I figured I could spend the money on more important things like craft supplies or better still, chocolate. I know some people like smoking, that's okay too. I just wish that they wouldn't smoke near doorways. Maybe we could make little smoking shelters with heated seats or something, away from the main buildings, where people could go to smoke, then the rest of us wouldn't have to walk though the cloud every time we wanted to enter or exit a building. Just a thought.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I also bought myself a book and some fabric.

The Kitting blog contest is here (click)!

My pillow is coming along fantastic. I think I'll frog it.

Well, maybe I won't frog it just yet. I want it to be longer and narrower. I will knit from the other end and see how much yarn I have. Then if I need to frog the body, I will. I hate frogging but I want perfection. The yarn is perfect; the colour, perfect; the texture and stitch pattern, perfect; now I just want the shape to match. I'm not getting anal am I?

I also bought myself a book and some fabric.

After seeing Y's success with the sewing machine, I've decided this is the year when I will learn how to sew. There are some really easy patterns in this book. Easy like place mats. I've never made place mats before, I think I'll start there. It also encourages me to clean up my mess so that I can actually get at the sewing machine. That part, I think, will be the biggest challenge.

Today I cuddled up on the couch, wrapped in a blanket, with my tea and home made granola, reading my philosophy text. All the windows were wide open to try and get the (minus 1 degree Celsius) air moving through the house so that the book wouldn't bother me so much. I managed about four pages then I was all in for the day.

ETA: took out the rant about soy. It wasn't in keeping with the cheerful attitude I'm trying for.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Blog Contest for knitters and spinners

Alright people, It's Contest Time!

As I said yesterday, my loss if your gain. I have two prizes to give away.

First Prize: a full oz (that's around 28g for us Canadians) of soy silk spinning fibre (undyed).

Here is an excerpt from the original description:

SPIN, DYE or FELT, these mini-samplers are a perfect taster for these wonderful
eco-fibers.Soy silk is a recycled fiber made from the residue of the tofu
manufacturing process! Especially perfect for vegan, environmentally conscious
crafters & people allergic to animal fibers.

Second Prize: Two beautifully blended fibre samples also by Wool Dancer.

These gotta go because they also contain soy. These are small samples, but an absolute dream to play with. If you don't spin, I bet you could needle felt with this.

I love Wool Dancer's products and I suspect that two people are in for a real treat with these. I'm sad to see these go, but that's life.

I hear you say, "So, quick, tell me, how do I enter?" I say to you, there are three ways to enter this contest.

First: leave a comment (something legible) on this blog entry. Easy right?

Second: If you would like to have an extra entry, go to your kitchen or cleaning product cupboard and find something that has soy in it that you didn't think had soy in it. Please tell me what it is. Please don't use something someone else has already used. Please don't use something obvious like soy sauce. Include this in your comment and that automatically gets you two entries (that's one for leaving a comment and one for telling me about the soy). For example, caned chicken soup broth has soy in it (you can't use that one).

Third: tell the world about the contest. If someone tells me that you sent them here, you get another entry.

Hopefully that isn't too confusing for me to keep track of. Contest will end at midnight on the last day of January, 2008. I'll draw on the first of February using some sort of random selection process.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

My loss is your gain!

Thanks to the brainstorming of some wonderful people (who all magically came up with the idea within a day or so of each other - very cool!), I've been looking into soy allergy as a possible cause of my illness. The symptoms seem a perfect fit. So far I have almost every one of them except anaphylaxis, and I'm starting to feel my throat close up and breathing go thin when I'm exposed to certain things so that may not be far behind. I find out in two weeks or so if that is the cause. I hope so. It would mean an entire lifestyle change, but at this point I'll do almost anything to feel better and at least it would be something that I could do something about.

My loss is your gain. Even if soy isn't the cause of my problems, it is aggravating it. My lovely lushes soy fiber will be up for grabs in an upcoming blog contest. There isn't much of it, but what there is, is divine. Stay tuned, blog contest coming soon.

Any thoughts on the Socks?

I finally figured out a way to take the stress off knitting birthday presents.

I don't know what it is, but there is something about knitting for other people that I find more stressful than knitting for myself. Don't get me wrong, I love knitting for other people, it gives me a huge sense of accomplishment and satisfaction to make something special for someone I value. And yet, there is also something horribly stressful about it. With every stitch, I worry. Did I pick the right pattern? Does so-and-so like angora? Does my friend really need yet another scarf? Maybe I am the only one who is haunted by these questions.

The idea came to me from Y when she requested a specific knitted birthday gift. My friends by now must surely know by now that they are getting a knitted (or fibre related at least) gift for their birthdays. So I decided to try an experiment on my friend Jenshine. I told her that she is getting a knitted gift, but I am taking requests, what would she like?

She would like luxury socks for wearing around the house. That I can do. I don't know if I can/should do it with the yarn I have already (Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool), but it is exactly the right colours for her. I suppose I could always buy more yarn and use this yarn for myself. Best not to though. I was thinking I could do some colour work socks or perhaps colour work/cables. I don't know. It's okay that I don't know yet because I feel free somehow knowing that she wants socks, luxury socks, luxury socks for wearing around the house. Just like Y's birthday hat, I feel relieved of stress because I don't need to worry if my friend really needs yet another scarf.

Any thoughts on the socks?

Monday, January 21, 2008

like an incredibly long episode of House Md.

Thank you for all your support. My journey towards good health has become quite an adventure; something like an incredibly long episode of House Md. without the witty remarks. I have been seeing a Naturopath, and she has been a great help so far. She is the one who made me realize (and yes, I actually can be so stupid as to not figure this out for myself) that some foods upset my digestion. And, what's more, I should avoid eating those foods. My Naturopath is way smarter than I am.

As for cleaning my room, that was quite the task, although I thought it would take longer than it did. First we had to take everything out (I sure have a lot of stuff) and stack it in piles around the house.

Then the furniture had to go.

There were several large colonies of dust behind my furniture. We sent the dust to a better place (the garbage) then put back the bare necessities into my room (computer, bed, mp3 player-in order of importance).

I think it has done a lot of good. Dust and other evil environmental stuff may not be the cause of my troubles, but they certainly made it worse. I had the best sleep last night. I think the last time I had such a restful night was in January 2005.

Hopefully, that's enough about blogging about my health for a while. This blog is suppose to be about happier things. Things like Y's birthday party!

Y received her hat and I think she liked it. She danced around the house with it on.

I finally had the opportunity to meet C&A's daughter, H. This has to be one of the most beautiful and intelligent babies I have ever seen. I'm not much one for children, they tend to be noisy and sticky, but this darling girl was neither of those. She took quite an interest in my knitting and tried to tie my yarn in knots to help me out, so I let her play with the finished sock and she loved it - especially playing with the ends that have yet to be woven in. I think she has the knitting seed in her. It's always nice to see a child take to yarn like that.

That's H playing with my sock. I think I will have to learn how to make baby booties with the left over yarn as she seems to like the colour so much.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

There you have it

I may be without Internet for a few days. We are taking everything out of my room, furniture and all, cleaning the carpets with hypoallergenic soap, then re-introducing everything into my room slowly. We are trying to figure out what has had me sick for the last five months.

I haven't admitted to you all just how ill I have been. I suppose I haven't wanted to admit it to myself either. It doesn't help that my main doctor spent four months trying to convince me that it is all in my head while I got sicker and sicker. I finally got fed up and went to another doctor who said, "Wow! You are seriously malnourished. We need to do something to get you healthy, and fast."

Needless to say, I'm switching doctors. Sad thing is that I can only have this new doctor as long as I am a university student. I have just under a year to find a new and improved GP who will listen to me and stop telling me that every broken knee and bumped elbow is a symptom of depression, when it clearly isn't.

That did come out angrier than I expected. Sorry about that guys and gals, but I'm just so frustrated. I have gotten to the point now that I don't have the energy to even knit. I've become hugely sensitive to foods so that I can only really eat vegetables and rice, when I can eat at all. What's more, environmental sensitivities make it so I can't even read as there appears to be something in books and newspapers that makes me feel ill. Not being able to read is a really bad thing when you are a student.

There you have it. Sorry about the grumpy tenor of my post. I should be happier in a few days once my room is clean.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Where I learn that one can never have too many knitting needles

75 stitches works perfectly. Thank you A-Rose.

I thought maybe 75 stitches would be right, but I wasn't certain. Circles have a history of being tricky. They have pie and all sorts of other weird and wonderful things in them that never really made sense to me. They aren't like triangles - those I get, but it might be just because I'm a philosopher. You know those philosophers and triangles. Honestly, if you haven't heard it yet, you really should be told: Philosophers are obsessed with TRIANGLES! It's all Pythagoras's' fault, but even still, it stuck. Those three sided plane figures just keep on popping up again and again and again.... But I digress and you (most likely) came here for knitting.

Right, knitting! I adore this gorgeous yarn more and more each day. I chose a simple stitch pattern for the body so to better show off the lushes colours hidden in the yarn. I think this pillow is going to be exactly what I want in a pillow, what's more, I think I might just have enough yarn left over for those arm warmers, maybe. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Now, I thought I had a lot of knitting needles. Well, just look at them all there.

There's double points, circulars, regular knitting pins and ofcourse a small, yet growing selection of crochet hooks. I thought I had more needles than I would ever need. I know they don't take up much space, but I was beginning to think I had almost too many knitting needles. That's why I hesitated to accept the gift of yet another tube of knitting needles (even if it did come in a cool cloth bag).

You see the guild has a table where you put things you don't need any more so that other people can take them home. It's like a give and take table. It's funny how it works: one person doesn't need something any more and that something is exactly what another person needs at that time in their life. It's like magic.

I brought them home and I tell you, there are lots of needles in this tube.

This is a very good thing, as you see, I needed some new needles to be able to keep on with my pillow, but I didn't have the right size. I was sad. I didn't want to have to stop knitting, at least not until I finished my coffee. So, I looked in my new tube of needles and presto! There were exactly the needles I needed, exactly the right number of the right size of the needles I needed. Like I said, it is just like magic.

I was also given a lovely book on the Tudor period. Sorry, no photos available at the moment, as soon as the book came through the door my father saw it and said he wanted to read it. So he has got it for now.

The people at the guild are so generous. I hope one day I can be just like them and repay all their generosity.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Math whiz wanted for immediate calculation.

Well, I decided not to frog the arm warmers just yet. I really like them, so if I can keep them some how, I think I will. I will make the pillow and if I have enough yarn as it is, then I will also make the arm warmers. If I don't have enough yarn, then a-frogging I will go.

I cast on a little swatch for the pillow end.

I cast on fifty stitches and decreased every round. It appears to work, only it's too small. So my question for you, if fifty stitches gives me a circumference of 10 inches (just over 25cm), then how many stitches do I need for a circumference of 15" (about 38cm)? If this was a square it would be easy, but circles are tricky things. Any math whizzes out there?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

It's a tough decision, any thoughts?

So I bought this yarn the other day. It was on sale, I know, but I've already confessed my sins. This yarn is simply lovely. I am in love with this yarn. I think it would be great to make a sweater out of one day. The yarn is (new) New Tweed by Tahki Yarns.

Looking at it, I thought it would a great set of arm warmers. And it does. I started with a simple k1tbl, p1 rib and I love it.

But now, I love it too much. I am thinking of making a pillow with this yarn. As you can see I have other colours to go with it.

I am thinking of a cylinder shaped pillow that I can fill with buck wheat husks (probably line it first).

So what do I do? Do I give up on these lovely arm warmers in favour of a new pillow (something I need more than yet another set of arm warmers) or do I keep going with the project I already know the yarn loves? It's a tough decision. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I finished Y's Hat

Thank you for all your support with the yarn buying. I seem to have fallen off my yarn fast so often in the last little while, I am beginning to suspect I am some sort of yo yo. I am beginning to wonder if it is worth even getting back on again. I think it is. Yarn fasting does save money and it makes me be more creative by forcing me to knit from my stash. Still it is far more difficult than I had hoped.

I finished Y's hat with about four inches left of yarn. It looks fantastic. I am not going to bother keeping it a secret as Y already knows what she is getting for her birthday.

I dreamt last night. It was a weird dream. I was in a yarn shop, but I only had six dollars. There was someone, in my dream, trying to steel noro yarn by quietly frogging a sample sweater while it hung from the wall. There was a dog whose tail was/produced yarn so that everywhere it went it left a trail of yarn behind it. And there was these stitch keepers (click here for ravelry link). It was an odd dream and when I woke up, I couldn't remember if these stitch keepers were real or if I had made them up in my sleep. It must be a sign that I should make myself some.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Alright, I admit it, I bought yarn, again.

Alright, I admit it, I bought yarn, again.

I was weak. I've been ill the last week or so. Bed ridden even. Too ill to even knit. Things are getting better now. It does explain the lack of blogging though.

On my first trip out into the real world to try and get my strength up after almost a week in bed and I decide the yarn shop is just the place for me. Yarn shops can be magical. And why not? They are full of yarn after all. To make a long story short, this isn't all the yarn I bought. This yarn isn't even for me, it's for gift knitting. The other yarn, well, that is for me. I admit it. The people who work at the Boutique De Laine (ravelry link) were so nice, and the yarn so dazzling - I bought other yarn. I bought sale yarn. I couldn't resit their charm.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


My grandmother knit. Her mother knit like the wind blows, or so I'm told. I'm told a lot about Strawberry Grandma (my great grandmother) and from what I've heard, I'm a lot like her. Strawberry was a fantastic knitter and loved to bake. I never met Strawberry Grandma (so named because she was very pale), but I think we would have been fast friends.

I'm the young one in the family, pretty much a generation or two younger than my siblings and my cousins. My grandparents were already 'getting old' as it were, when I got to know them. My grandmother was a seamstress in her day, but although she never admitted it to me, also a fantastic knitter. She is the one who, patiently, every year, taught me how to knit. Over and over again, each winter, I learnt how to knit from her. It never really sunk in until later on. But, I loved sitting there at her knee while she taught me how to make those two sticks do their magic. It was an excuse to spend time with her. In my heart I knew she had a lot of knowledge and a lot of wisdom and that one day it would be all lost if I didn't try to hold on to some of it for myself.

That was several years ago now. That is one of the reasons why I knit so much. When I knit I feel that I am closer to her, almost as if part of her is still alive somehow.

The other day, my grandfather found a sweater knit by my grandmother a long time ago. It's knit in the local First Nations' style. It is beautifully knit, the inside of the colour work absolutely perfect. No mistake, nor error can be seen in this sweater. But you can tell by the attention to detail, every stitch was knit with love.

We put my Hemlock Ring blanket beside it. It is strange to see my knitting sitting there besides hers. I feel honoured that she taught me this craft. I feel very grateful.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Distaff Day

The Distaff Day event (based on Distaff Day) hosted by the Tzouhalem Spinners and Weavers Guild will be this Saturday. Sadly I cannot attend. But if you are on the Island, the event is at St John's Church Hall in Duncan. It's a pot-luck lunch and everyone brings their wheels or spindles and $3 donation to help pay for the hall, and has a wonderful spinning time. I'm told this is an amazing event. It's exactly the kind of thing I would love to spend my Saturday doing with exactly the kinds of people I would enjoy getting to know better. I've already blocked the day off for next year so that nothing can get in the way of me attending next year's Distaff Day.

I hope everyone enjoys themselves this year. Take photos. Lots of lovely photos. And have fun.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

There is a random ball of yarn

While drinking my coffee this morning, I looked around the room for something to blog about. I noticed something interesting. I have a lot of yarn related projects on the go at the moment. Even with the lovely new storage boxes, there is a lot of yarn in my room.

For example: These socks have been on the go for months now. Toe up, afterthought/Turkish heel, made with silk and baby alpaca, these are a little bit of luxury for my feet to wear on those days when I need something to remind me that the world isn't actually all that horrible after all. I'm almost finished. Just have to do the cuff on the second sock, then the last heel and we will be golden.

There is a random ball of yarn, probably related to the sweater I'm designing.

Y's socks which still need to be mended.

Some more yarn, lovely soft sock yarn from See Jayne Knit's etsy shop.

The current hand bag knitting, also of the same lovely hand dyed yarn.

The sock I should be spending all my time on. This is from the Guild one sock exchange and I'm thinking of putting everything else on hold so I can start knitting this sock.

My sweater. I've finished the body and it has turned out to be the correct size! Can you believe it? Now I just have to get the sleeves to work.

Some more sweater yarn.

Some handspun that hasn't made it into the stash box yet.

And not to forget the bag full of my cute little crochet sheep's body parts still waiting to be sewn up.

Then again, one also shouldn't forget Y's birthday hat is currently on the spinning wheel. Sorry, no new photos of that at the moment. I need to get my ass in gear if I am going to get that finished in time.

I think that this just might be a lot of projects, even for me. I think I need more focus to help me get some of these finished.

Monday, January 07, 2008

that would be mean, even for me

Riding the bus to campus and home again can be kind of dull. Not so much this morning where I saw a man walking down the street holding with one hand a large blanket pulled over his head and draping down his back like a superhero cape and with the other hand holding one shoe. It is a very odd thing to see a man with one foot unshod first thing in the morning when the temperature (before wind chill) was minus 2 degrees celsius.

On the way home, I was bord. There was no interesting/crazy man walking down the street to take my mind off things, so instead, I tried to think of what to get Jenshine for her Birthday. I am thinking that I would like to make her something, but I don't know what I should make. What is it that she needs? Well, I thought to myself, she likes to play tennis. Maybe I should get her something to do with that. I could, and this is where things begin to get silly, make her a racket cozy/bag; because, every racket needs a cozy/bag. Then a woman got on the bus and sat down a few rows in front of me. She was wearing the most daring crochet hat. Parts of it were brown, parts blue, there was some sort of white design on the front, and most strikingly, there was a giant handle sticking out one side, just like a tea pot, only bigger. I looked (maybe even stared) at this hat and began to think crazy thoughts. What if I make Jen a bag for her tennis racket out of all my stash yarn. It would be felted with a big round handle on one side and a strap for when she wanted to carry it over her shoulder. It would be done in some sort of college with a tennis ball and net on one side in all sorts of funky colours and the occasional bit of neon pink fuzzy yarn. Everything would clash. Jenshine would hate me forever!

It was that last thought that made me realize, maybe it's not such a good idea. I can imagine my extremely good friend opening her birthday present, all expectant and excited at receiving something so nicely wrapped, her facial expression turning to horror at the overwhelming display of clashing colours and eventually captivating an expression of pure terror when she realizes what it was and how much effort was put into making something so incredibly ugly.

I wouldn't do that to her. I just couldn't. (well, I could, then act hurt every time she didn't use it, but that would be mean, even for me)

In other news, I want to spend my summer vacation here.

knitting saints

This must be my year for learning new skills.

First, crochet. Then sewing up little fluffy animals (still working on that skill). Now it's time for me to learn how to repair knitting.

This time last year, I knit Y some socks for her birthday. Apparently, last month, she caught them on something and they began to unravel before she had noticed.

If it was the heel, I think I would be able to replace it easily - just undo the heal and re-knit. This I think will pose a bit more of a problem. So I got out my trusty darning mushroom...

...and this book.

What can I say about Mary Thomas? I think, we should have something like a hall of fame of knitters. Only, maybe more like a series of knitting saints. Even after they pass on to that great big yarn festival in the sky, they still manage to perform miracles. Their words and their wisdom continues to aid knitters in their darkest times of need. I believe that the spirit of people like Mary Thomas live in each and every one of us who has turned to her books for help. I honestly don't know what I would do without her.

In other news, the yarn for Y's hat is coming along nicely. I spun it woolen with a long draft in hopes of getting a nice lumpy, well textured yarn. It kind-of came out a bit even for what I was planing. Oh well. Beggars can't be choosers and I'm not good enough at this spinning thing yet to get the yarn I want; so I will use what ever yarn the fibre wants to be.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

the most adorable critters

You remember those little sheep I showed you? You know the ones. Where I not only re-learned how to crochet, I also learned how to read a crochet pattern. You remember those right?

Some of you asked what the books is. The book is "Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts: Amigurumi" by Tomoko Takamori. It is good luck for me that this book is translated into English, as the learning curve would have been far steeper if I had had to learn Japanese as well as crochet.

There are the most adorable critters in this book. Of course, I start with one of the more difficult patterns: sheep from the woolen planet.

This is what I have so far.

I'm looking at this mess of body parts and I imagine what the finished product would look like if it was put together by someone who had no idea what it is suppose to be. Imagine, a foot for a face and a tail for a foot. It would look quite silly really. I think to myself, I sure am glad it's not my job to put this mess of body parts together.... oh wait, it is. ops.

This is going to be an adventure.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

that little box with those Picasso-esque letters

My weather pixie seems to be alive again. That makes me glad, even if she seems to think it's raining out right now when it is actually sunny.

I finally gave the last of my holiday gifts yesterday. Back in September I began to make three scarves for three people.

I decided to try my hand at my new spinning skill, so I selected some hand painted merino fibre by Fleece Artist...

...and made it into yarn. Very, very thin yarn, which I Navajo Plyed and then knit into lace scarves using a variation of the Montego Bay Scarf by Amy Singer (Interweave Knits Summer 2007).

This pattern is very easy to learn and an excellent thing to try if you have never knit lace before. You can adjust it to your desired width and it really compliments the 'texture' of my handspun yarn. I'm very pleased that everyone likes their presents. Now I have to start thinking of birthdays.

In other news, spam is invading blogs. You know those comments where someone you never heard about says that here is that link to running your own business from home that you asked for but if you click on the link it takes you to a site that is either discontinued or a hacker site? I've been getting those popping up around my blog lately. So, I am going to do something I don't like to do. I'm putting word verification back on my comments page. I'm sorry, I know, it sucks. Personally, I cannot stand that little box with those Picasso-esque letters in it that cause major brain strain to read. You know, I never did get along well with the alphabet at the best of times, and I secretly suspect that someone designed these word verification boxes just to mess with me.

Today: study, study, study, spin, study some more while drinking tea, repeat.