Friday, 29 October 2010


This has absolutely nothing to do with knitting, but I’ve been asked several times recently if we celebrate Halloween here, so I thought I’d give you all a global answer. It’s pretty much no, we don’t really. There is no Samhain or Thanksgiving tradition here to speak of, so there’s nothing to work with really. They do have Carnival, which takes place anywhere from November to February depending on where you are, but it’s not really the same thing. Carnival is more about music and dancing than anything else. Yes, they do dress up in Carnival, but the date varies (I think they like dragging it out so that you always have something fun you can go do during the winter) and it lasts longer. I think it usually lasts about a week in each place instead of just one night. The atmosphere is completely different, so there’s no place for Halloween to get its foot in the door.

They have tried to get it going the last few years, but not with a whole lot of success. Mostly there have just been adult parties, but the kids pretty much just get left out of it. It’s not traditional to go from door to door, so many people feel they’d just be bothering the neighbours if they sent their kids around. Having said that, I guess my boss’ neighbourhood does have a lot of kids who do trick or treat, so he’s laid in a store of candy. I live out in the country where there are, fortunately for my grumpy, cantankerous self, few children. The village children aren’t likely to walk all the way out to our house in any case, so even if it were a tradition, I doubt we’d get many. Anyway, I haven’t actually seen any ads for parties this year, just a few decorations and costumes on sale at the supermarket. Some people do carve pumpkins, but not many. I stopped carving them a few years ago because it’s a lot of work and there’s no one around to enjoy it (I don’t have one in the house, so I don’t even get to admire my own handiwork!)

So no, no Halloween to speak of. I did all my celebrating on Monday when I brought Halloween cookies to work (Christmas cookies cut out like bats, ghosts, cats and skulls and decorated with powered sugar and lemon juice frosting dyed black, orange and white). That’s all she wrote this year I’m afraid.

Friday, 22 October 2010


I am wearing my new sweater and I love it. It's bliss. Only thing is, I've said it so much, that I can't stand the name anymore, so it shall hereforth be named Happy Sweater, because I love it and it makes me all happy and comfy like.

That's all really. Hope everyone has a nice weekend!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Just when you thought it was all over…

You betcha! More Inishmore because I can apparently not get enough of it. Actually, I have worked on a plain sock with Knit Picks Kettle Dyed in Timber, getting the first one done and the second started. This is the same yarn that caused colour havoc, with the first and most of the second being a solid colour before the variations started popping out given the pair a sort of Frankensock appearance. However, this time, they are nice and lovely and I really like the colours that come out. These are how these socks are supposed to look.

I’ve also knit a slouchy hat from a pattern called Felicity in the left over Inishmore yarn (Knit Picks Simply Cotton Envy) for bedtime wear. I’ve never worn a hat to bed, but it used to be common practice, so I figure there must be something in it. I would have waited for pictures to post about it, but we’ve not been having good photo weather so I’ll wait until we do. That might be a while if the forecast is anywhere near right.

Speaking of forecasts, it’s autumn! And I love autumn! Cool enough to be comfortable, but not cold enough to freeze. The leaves are turning and everything is beautiful. I love kicking leaves, sometimes even wading through them, while walking the dog. The squirrels are out in full force picking up nuts off the ground and taunting the pooch. Every year I swear I see them sticking their tongues out at the dog before running up the nearest tree and holding their tirades (some of those little buggers are really grumpy!). Best of all, it’s knitting season again!

Which brings me to my latest project, another Inishmore. After having seen my choice of sweater, my aunt decided she’d like one too (in KP Simply Cotton Haze), so I cast on two nights ago and finished the back border last night. I’ll be starting the body pattern this evening. I was going to do this one in the round in order to avoid having to do those twisted stitches backwards, but I learned something very valuable from the last Inishmore that made me change my mind. Usually I sew up the side seams and then set the sleeves in, trying to make the sleeves fit the hole. This rarely works well and I usually wind up bunching up fabric in the arm pit to get it to fit in. The Inishmore, however, is one of those sweaters with sleeve saddles. I’ve not done well with these in the past, so I decided to follow the instructions to the letter and actually knit in the sleeves first. In retrospect, I have been stupid. It’s now totally clear to me that sewing the sleeves in first is the way to go. If you sew the sides up first, you have a finite hole in which you must set the sleeve. If you don’t sew the sides up first, you can fudge a bit by sewing the excess sleeve onto the “side” material. Your armpit might be a little bit further down, but at least there’s no fabric bunching. This might not work for certain, very tailored sweaters, but should work well for most of those I knit. Hindsight is 20/20 they say, but somehow I really think I should have seen all this coming and changed my ways ages ago.

The new, smarter me decided to put this knowledge to good use. The sleeves of my aunt’s Reindeer Arwen wound up terribly bunched (I wasn’t following a pattern and they were really too big I suppose) so I spent two evenings picking out the sleeve and side seams and re-sewing the sleeves in using my newfound fabric fudging method, all the while cursing my inborn fear of seams coming apart, well, at the seams (forgive me, I couldn’t help it). It took untold patience not to just pick a likely looking thread and cut, but I didn’t. I held myself together and picked out the woven in threads stitch by stitch; even though I sometimes couldn’t really see where the yarn was going (I weave into the seams “for good measure”). Two evenings later, voilĂ ! I had a sweater whose sleeves looked, if not brilliant, at least acceptable. I swear on my stack of knitting references, I will never sew up the sides first again.

All of my links are in Ravelry this time. I'm sort of assuming anyone who blogs about knitting, or reads knitting blogs, is on Ravelry. If that's not the case, let me know and I'll put in real links.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Inishmore Finale

Ok, Ok, I know you’re all tired of hearing about it by now, but I’m still thrilled to death with this sweater.  Especially as a friend who has been knitting for longer than I’ve been alive looked at it and declared it one seriously fabulous sweater.  She even thought the seams look good and didn’t find any of the many mistakes.  Then she was kind enough to come into an empty office with me to take pictures of it while I was in it.  I fell in love with it all over again.  I hate pictures of myself.  Cameras automatically go to the ugly setting when I get in front of them.  It doesn’t matter how good I look in front of the mirror, take a picture and I looked washed out and bald.  However even I have to admit that I look good in this sweater, even in the pictures.  Admittedly she cut off my head in all of them because I wanted the sweater and not my face, but they still look good.  Or maybe that’s why they look good.

OK, enough self-congratulations.  Here it is!


I will eventually get some more pictures hanging and folded for my Ravelry page (ones with better stitch definition and lighting, but I won’t subject you to them here. 

Now, what to knit next…

Oh yeah, Aunt wants one of the same…

Monday, 4 October 2010


It's done!!!!  And it's lovely!  It fits like it was made for me (har, har har), it's super comfy, the yarn is soft, the pattern turned out well and I love it!  Now it just needs to get cold so I can wear it. 

I feel like doing a dance of Joy whilst singing a rousing chorus of Hallelujah. 

However, seeing as it's 11pm, I think I'll refrain.  Not only do I have downstairs neighbours who might not quite share in my enthusiasm, especially at this time of night, said neighbour is my landlord and I kind of like living here.

Pictures will follow in a day or two.  Tomorrow is out since it's supposed to rain, but the rest of the week should be nice.  I'll manage it sometime.

Sunday, 3 October 2010


IT FITS!!!!!!!!!

The sleeves are finished, the seams sewn, the ends woven in and it fits!  Not only that, but the seams look good and I think I might actually be happy with this sweater.  *happy dance*  I'm sure there are mistakes and some sloppy work, but none of that's to be found unless you really look for it with a magnifying glass, so I'm not bothered.   I can't believe it actually fits!  Now I just have to do the neck and I'll be done.  Another two, maybe three evenings work.  I might even be more motivated to work on it now since I know I'll actually be able to wear it.  I think that might be the reason I've not been knitting so much lately, because I thought it surely wouldn't turn out right.  So yay!

Pictures will follow.

Now I'm off to say a bedtime prayer that I don't find any huge mistakes in the cold light of day tomorrow.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Dearth of Knitting

There has been a dearth of knitting in my household lately.  Actually, I have been knitting, it's just been knitting the same thing over and over and over again.  I'm still working on the Inishmore.  It's the sweater that keeps on giving, especially if you lack the necessary concentration.  After having knit the first sleeve three times, I figured I'd be pretty safe of the second sleeve.  Well, you can see where this is going, can't you.  One purl in the wrong place and several hours later you realize you get the pleasure of re-knitting the whole thing again! Woo Hoo! Second time around it seems to be going pretty well, thus far anyway, and with any luck I'll finish it sometime next week.  I'm managing about an inch an evening, so I won't hope for sooner.  After I get the sleeve done, I just have to sew the bits together and then add the neck and I'm done.  I think I'll have it finished by Christmas.  I hope so because it's green and I can call it my Christmas sweater.

Can you say, "this sweater is kicking my proverbial backside?"  I know I can.

Things I've learned from this sweater:

1. Complicated is not the same thing as difficult.  There are no stitches, stitch combinations or techniques in this sweater that are new to me.  I've done them all quite sucessfully in the past, so it is not difficult for me.  It is, however, complicated and if your attention wanders for a moment, you might as well just save yourself the time and frog before you find the mistake.

2.  Sweaters like this should be knit in the round with a fake seam added if necessary.  Yes, it might take longer and may be heavier on the needles, but it may just keep you from taking that short walk to the nice, soft room they have reserved especially for knitters.

3.  Cotton yarn is lovely, but not quite as forgiving as wool.  It's also not as strong if you catch an individual strand.

4.  Even a cotton sweater can be quite warm if you add enough cables.  If I had done this in wool, I would have had to vacation in the Antarctic in May to be able to wear it.  Norway in January might do too.

5.  Before offering to knit someone a sweater, make sure you know just what you're getting into.  Three seconds on your tongue will earn you three months of knitting.

Wish me luck on the rest of it!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Random Meme

Snagged from Scrabblequeen

1. Why did you start blogging? I frankly just don’t remember.
2. If you could travel anywhere in the world with no restriction of costs, where would it be and why? Canada and Alaska including a kayaking trip somewhere cool.
3. Did you have a teacher in school that had a great influence on your life? If so, what? I don’t remember many of my teachers and I don’t think any one particular teacher had any great influence.
4. If you could spend the day with a famous person, who would it be, and what would you do? I don’t think I’d want to spend the day with a famous person. It would be too odd. I also think their lives weren’t/aren’t as great as we think they are and finding out that were true would just be depressing. Just imagine visiting Victorian London. That would just kill the romance of the age methinks.
5. Toilet paper – over or under? Is under an option? I wasn’t aware that it was.
6. Name one thing in your life that you would do over if possible. My whole education and choice of occupation.
7. Tell about your pets – if any. I’m down to one dog, Biscuit the Great Dane and Sydney the really annoying cat. Biscuit is 6 and is a lovely dog who is so well behaved she’s very nearly boring (but not quite and I would take boring over misbehaved any time!). Sydney is a 10 year old second hand cat who was abused at her former home. I’m the only person she’ll let near her and she would turn herself into Velcro and attach herself to me if she could. It’s terribly irritating.
8. Do you live in a small town or a large town. A small village.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Lost my Knitting Mojo

Dunno if it's the Inishmore in it's twisted stitch frenzy or if I've just lost interest but I'm having a hard time concentrating of knitting at the moment. The Inishmore is a slow knit so progress is negligible and maybe that's what's doing it. I had hoped so, but then I started working on my Cabled Grapes (plain sock with plain cable down the sides) and things just got worse. First I forgot to write down how I had knit the first one and by the time I got to the second, I'd forgotten how many stitches I cast on and if I increased the amount of stitches on the leg for the cable. So, I winged the second sock. That would have been OK, but somewhere along the line, I kept losing stitches and cannot figure out where they went. This is very unlike me. I'm usually very good at socks (if I do say so myself). I can practically do them blindfolded. However, this pair just didn't want to be knit. Topping it all off, I just just about finished with the second sock when I realized the cable was running down the wrong side. Both should have been on the outside of the socks but now both are on the left side, which is silly. However, this still doesn't bother me enough to frog the whole sock (or even just up to the shaft) so I will be wearing silly socks. I console myself with the fact that I bought purple sock yarn in a silly moment and probably wouldn't wear them to be seen anyway.

Then, to make matters worse, I looked at the sleeve of the Inishmore, which I'd finally cast on last week and got going pretty good on. Turns out, I increased every other row instead of every third row and it was looking pretty bat like. I frogged back to the cuff, put the stitches back onto the needles and then realized that I lost a stitch somewhere. Now I'm going to have to frog the whole thing and start over. If I didn't really want to wear this sweater, I'd toss it in a corner and never look at it again. Wonder if that would hurt its feelings.

Maybe I should go cast on a washcloth. That's got to be foolproof, no?

Friday, 6 August 2010


Well, I've finally hit on the cable pattern that is the lace of cables. Confused? So am I. I've never had such a problem with cables, well, not after I discovered marking the cross row with a closable stitch marker anyway. I can look at it, it looks fine, 10 min. later I look at the same bit and it's completely wrong. There are places where I get stuck and can't figure out where I am and what I'm supposed to be doing, rows seems to melt into each other and everything just kinds of fades in and out of focus. It's really what I imagine Alzheimer's is like.

The bigger problem is that I'm just about finished with the back of the first, yes, the first of two sweaters. This is promising to be a very long knit.

On the positive front, our summer, or at least high summer, seems to be over with. It was hotter than heck for 6 weeks, then it turned and now we have autumn. I love it, everyone else hates me for loving it. It's cool but not cold, it will still get warmish this weekend, but not hot (25C / 78F). Nice and adaptable all around. You can sit out without freezing or keeling over from heat stroke. Brilliant. It does make me feel sorry for all those folks still suffering from the heat wave though. I hope that wave ends soon.

Thursday, 29 July 2010


I may have drown at lunch today while walking the dog. Either that, or I grew gills and didn't notice. We are currently experiencing liquid air. If it doesn't stop soon, I'm going to run out of dry clothes to change into. I changed my damp clothes after the lunch walk only to become newly drenched walking from the parking lot to the office door. What fun. If the rain gear from lunch isn't dry by the time I get home this evening, the dog will have to do without another walk.

I forgot to mention yesterday that I'm working the Inishmore on 3.5mm needles. This is probably another reason why it's taking so long. Even with the small needles I'm still over gauge and the sizing is already large. This will be the first time in a long time that I can acutally wear a small.

reminded me with her post that I forgot to mention my Celtic Knot Stole. I'm afraid it's taken a bsck seat to the Inishmore, but I did almost get one whole cross done first. I haven't mentioned it before because I haven't much to show for it. Oh look! A blob of possibly knitted material with a white line running through it!

Fascinating isn't it. Lace should buck up and realize that we'd all like it more if we could actually see some of the beauty while knitting it. I might knit more if I didn't have to wait unitl I'm finished to see decent results.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010


Because it will be a while before I actually have something to blog about, I thought I'd share my rather bad shot of the Inishmore Sweater I'm knitting at the moment. It's a slow knit with lots of twisted stitches. While I love the look of twisted stitches, I loath knitting them, from the back. The twist from the front is easy enough, if a bit slower, but the twisted purl stitch is enough to make me wish I'd elected to knit this in the round. As it will be a heavier sweater, I thought putting all that weight on the needles would be a bad move as far as my wrists are concerned, but now I'm regretting it a bit. Ah well, there's pros and cons to both sides.

I've probably mentioned it before, but I'm using the Knit Picks Simply Cotton in the Envy Heather flavour. The colour is completely washed out in this picture, but after 20 different shots everywhere from shady places to full on sun, I finally decided that the colour just doesn't want to be photographed.

Just so you get an idea of what the colour should look like,

I do have a good few more inches knit on this, but it will still be a while before it's finished.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Another Homer

Sometimes I just can't believe how overwhelmingly silly I can be. While procrastinating on the internet just now, I realized that I forgot to mention yesterday that the Celtic Knot Stole pattern is available for a free download, so my offer to share my Excel chart with other people should be both legally and morally acceptable. This led to me to the pattern page which I really read for the first time. Just under the note that errata were added two year ago, there is a link to the full Excel chart. D'oh! Seriously, how blind can you be? OK, my chart goes a long way to making it easier to read since I added what is for me clearer symbols, like a double line for k2tog and left the ssk single so I can tell the two apart (because it's amazing how long it can take me to figure out which direction a line is slanting in). I also coloured in the knit stitches and wrote in the number in that sequence so I didn't have to keep counting to make sure I got the number of knit stitches right. The point is though, that I could have done it all a lot faster by just modifying the chart that's already there instead of typing it all in again and hoping I got it all right. It would have saved me a lot of time and effort. Par for the course for me I suppose.

The other positive is that I always feel like I know and understand a pattern better once I've had to type it out myself. It makes the repeats clearer and helps me understand the design. I also got on a lot faster last night with the new chart, so all is not lost.

Still, D'OH!

Friday, 16 July 2010


Finally I’ve finished the Arwen. Well, almost. Maybe.

While it’s true that the sweater is done and it can be put on and worn, I’m not happy with the sleeves and will probably re-sew them in. They are, as sleeves always seem to be, too big for the armholes and I had to fudge a bit to get them in. There are a couple of bunches that didn’t come out in the washing, blocking, so I may redo the sleeves so that the bunching occurs under the arm or something. I know a true knitter would reknit the sleeves, but pigs will fly before I do that. I’d only mess them up a second time and regret ever having started the sweater.

The pictures also aren’t as good as I would like, but it’s hot and humid here and staying out in the sun is just not a good idea, even without bulky hand knit items. I also couldn’t get a good front shot since there are no clasps/buttons on it yet. This is because the recipient doesn’t want to make up her mind what she wants. Actually, she knows what she wants, it just won’t work. Ergo, it lacks clasps.

My latest project, because I’ve gone completely off the deep end with not so much as a greasy pipe to get back up, is the Celtic Knot Stole in Knit Picks Basalt Heather Merino Lace weight. As someone who usually sticks to DK weight for bigger projects, it’s a bit like knitting with cobwebs. Add that to my ineptitude at lace knitting and you have programmed rants, tears and incurable insanity. So why am I even bothering to try you ask? Well, that’s because God smote me with a triple helping of Stubborn squared when I was born and I’m darned if I’m going to let cobwebs and symbols on a piece of paper stand in my way of a nice, soft room at the local psychiatric clinic (randomly, our local clinic is just 800m away from where I work and not only does it provide for constant joke material, but it’s very, very nice with some of the most beautiful grounds I’ve ever seen). So, with a disproportionate sense of determination, I cast on and promptly spent two evening re-casting on after anywhere between 2-5 rows because I was simply not made to knit lace. Just as I was threatening yarn and pattern with death by cow (they are camped outside my window), they decided to behave themselves (the yarn and pattern, not the cows) and I now have 60 rows of completed lace with no less than 2 life lines. The eye strain was still getting to me though, so I did my Excel thing with the centre chart and now it’s much easier to read. If anyone is interested, I’m happy to share, although I don’t guarantee that my logic is comprehensible to anyone but myself. Provided they don’t ban the internet at the clinic, pictures will follow as soon as it looks like something other than a wad of wool.

As a last ditch attempt to grab hold of that non-existent, greasy pole, I’ll also be casting on the Inishmore in Envy Heather for me. Nothing like a few cables to relax you after a hard hour of lace knitting.

I will give lace one thing though; it’s a good summer project. It’s hot and humid here, and looks to stay that way for a while, so having a lump of wool on your lap isn’t the bonus it is in the winter. A lump of cobwebs, on the other hand, is hardly noticeable.

Finally, a gratuitous picture of my cat Sydney. It was all I could do to keep her off the sweater.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Just call me Homer

Discovered last night that:

I knit the Arwen Hood too short.

I weave my ends in much too well. I worry they will fall out, but apparently this is not necessary.

Knit Picks Simply Cotton does not like it when you spend three hours trying to pick the ends out with your fingernails and a needle. It will eventually become thin and break (if you don't go mad with the scisors first from frustration) leaving you with 27 pieces of short yarn you will never again be able to use.

Knitting time to knit hood properly the first time? 5-6 hours.

Knitting time to knit it too short, pick it apart and re-knit? 11 hours.

Wouldn't it be handy if I learned something from all this? Probably. Chances that I'll do it differently next time? Not very high. Sad, isn't it?

Monday, 5 July 2010


Wow! A post! Actually, it's more like, wow, it's been a long time since I updated. I'm afraid, once again, nothing blog worthy has happened. I've been steadily working on my aunt's Arwen in Knit Picks Reindeer Heather. I cannot possible say enough good about that yarn. It's really nice to work with and the finished product is lovely and soft. It remains to be seen how good it holds up, but I've not heard anything bad about it and I don't see why it shouldn't. I'm so convinced that it will be fine that I have another 2 colorways coming. One for me, Envy Heather (Dark Forest Green), and one for my aunt, Haze Heather (light blue with lavender). We both want the Inishmore sweater with the mock turtle neck. Sometimes I wish she would choose something different that I do, but at least I will have practice and she flatters my taste.

The other thunderous news, and yes, this is thunderous news, as in mark this date on your calendar because it's as rare as a pink moon, is that I went to the yarn store this weekend and came out not having purchased a single skein of yarn. Yes, you heard correctly, not one. Not a single one. Not even sock yarn. History has been made. The constellation that made this happen is that I have my next few projects planned and the yarn in on the way (Inishmore). I've put a gift I'd like to do off due to financial difficulties. Finally, it was hot. And humid. And it was worse in the store (no AC). Try being hot and sticky and still desirous of purchasing wool. It doesn't work. I had a gander to see if there were any new yarns I hadn't seen before and must have, there weren't. I picked up a couple and the immediate reaction was eeeewwwww, it's hot. So I left it. I still spent quite a bit on summer clothing in this store (because it's decided that we are going to have summer after all and they're saying it's going to stick around a while), but no yarn.

That's all for now. I'll be finishing the Arwen this week, so hopefully pics by the weekend! Then I will have something to blog about.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Dear Knit Picks

Dear Knit Picks

I have a small complaint. I understand that you cannot possibly check every single skein of yarn you have for defects and abnormalities. I know you cannot be held responsible for minor things that go wrong with your yarn. I realize that I purchased my Knit Picks Essential Kettle Dyed sock yarn about a year ago, that it was on sale and that I have no right to return to you and complain at this late date. Honestly though, as knitters, I think you’ll understand why I want to have my little rantfest about this particular yarn. Someone, somewhere, did something wrong and I wound up with some funky looking socks. Now, just so you know, I’m not particularly picky about socks and sock yarn. I don’t make any effort at all to avoid pooling or to match up my stripes on self striping yarn. For me, two socks that look like they came from the same dye lot are a pair, even if the stripes are off and that bothers other people. Seriously, I can’t be bothered with that sort of thing. If someone has enough time to look at, complain about or let themselves be bothered by my mis-matched socks, they simply have too much time on their hands – and they certainly shouldn’t expect me to knit anything for them, ever.

Back to the topic at hand. As mentioned, last year I bought some of the Knit Picks Essential (now stroll) kettle dyed yarn when it was on sale. My aunt picked out the colours she liked and I put it aside for (mostly) her socks. So far, so good. Last month, I dug the Timber yarn out and started knitting a pair of socks. However, instead of giving me that lovely shaded effect I usually got from the kettle dyed yarn, it was just a solid colour, and not a very pretty one at that (mud comes to mind, as do a few other shades, but we just won’t mention them since I prefer to keep that kind of language out of my blog). I figured since it was much to late to even contemplate complaining about it and my aunt likes the brown colours anyway, I just kept knitting. This is where we come to the heart of the problem. As I was nearly finished with the shaft of the Second Sock, I came to the last few yards of the skein and it suddenly started looking like it was supposed to look; the different shades started coming out. Worse still, I started a new skein to finish the pair, and it was perfect. All the highlights started popping out and it really looked quite nice. I was so surprised, I even checked the yarn and dye lot numbers to make sure I wasn’t using two different lots or even two different colours. I wasn’t. It was the same yarn, same dye lot. Since this is all very difficult to visualize, I give you pictures:

Tell me that after having seen the socks, you don’t understand what I mean. Tell me you can’t see the problem. Obviously as knitters, you will. It looks like I abruptly switched yarns 2/3rds of the way through. This tests even my ambivalence towards less than perfect socks. Seriously, a lot of knitters I know would have abandoned these socks, thrown out the yarn, knit a new pair and complained copiously about, at and to you at Knit Picks. Fortunately, I am lazy and have no desire to have knit for 12 hours without actually having something to show for it. I am now seriously trying to convince myself that not only will my aunt probably just be happy to have another pair of hand knit socks, but she’ll mostly likely only wear them with her boots and no one else will ever see them. It’s not easy, even for me. It’s asking a lot in my opinion.

I will say that I’ve been perfectly happy with the kettle dyed up until now and am slightly miffed that you’ve taken it out of your selection (although I have to admit I bought quite a lot of it during your sale). I’m sure something just went wrong during the dying process and someone fell asleep on the job and let it soak too long or forgot to agitate the barrel or something (I don’t dye yarn, so I’m guessing here). Still, I can’t help but find the whole episode a little less than satisfying. So Knit Picks, a slap on the hand to yourselves so that I feel better, OK?

Of course, you could always argue that if I have enough time to complain about this, I have too much time on my hands anyway, but shhhhhh!

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Driving by Again

We had an absolutely gorgeous weekend. It was warm, but breezy, so not too warm and we spent pretty much the whole of the weekend outdoors either walking the dog or lounging in the shade. I got my new outdoor beanbag bed thingy on Friday, which was perfect because it meant I could read and snooze in comfort. Got a lot of reading done and sleeping and playing with the dogs, and possibly a little imbibition of alcohol, but not much knitting. Still, since I last dashed by, I've finished my Spring Bandit

Yarn: Fluffy Cat in Morning Glory by Wanderingcatyarns
Pattern: Springtime Bandit by Kate Osborn

I love both the yarn and the pattern. The yarn is super soft and will be really warm. Even trying it on in this weather made me realize that you don't need a lot of weight to make something very warm. There's Alpaca, wool and cashmere in that there yarn, so it's bound to be warm. The pattern was insteresting to knit. Repetative enough that it was possible to remember the pattern without checking every few seconds but not enough to be boring. The only thing I had problems with was my own stupidity (again, so what's new there?). I tried using stitch markers to separate the pattern repeats, and it took me a while to realize that that just isn't going to work on a triangle like it does on a rectangular scarf. The increases take care of that. So, many frustrated hours later, I cottoned on and after that it was plain sailing. The only down side to the project was that I really didn't have enough yarn so it's a bit on the small side, especially as I had to stop before the pattern actually finished. It still looks fine, it's just a little small.

While waiting for the yarn for my next project to arrive (my aunt's Arwen in Knit Picks yarn), I'm working on what has got to be the world's most boring sock. It's a plain stockinet sock with a 2x2 cuff knit in Timber Knit Picks Kettle Dyed Essential sock yarn. The Timber flavour was on sale because they took it out of their colour range and now I know why. Most of it is just a coffee with milk coloured yarn with little to no variation, like the other kettle dyed yarns have. I'm not going to like these socks, but I have a sneaking suspiscion that my aunt will think they are the bee's knees.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Drive By Post

Just a quickie: I finally finished the Byzantine Bazic (with no further mishaps at all):

and have now started on Springtime Bandit recommended to me by Catbookmom of Ravelry in Fluffy Cat by Wandering Cat Yarns in the colour Morning Glory. No pictures as of yet, but I can tell you I now remember why I really don't like knitting lace. I don't get it, it confuses me and mistakes are harder to fix. You also can just ignore them because it will look like total, well, a total train wreck. However, I'm stubborn and the yarn is Wonderful and I will finish it.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Need Recommendations

Can anyone recommend a good, non-pilling, soft, 100% cotton yarn for knitting a sweater (Arwen)?

In other news, I'm sure Kathy Zimmerman would be very pleased to know that I've finished my first sleeve of the Bazic by following her very simple, straight forward directions and it looks really nice. Just like it should in fact. Nice, yes? Don't mess with Kathy, she's a Badass designer. I, on the other hand, am not.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010


Dear Kathy Zimmerman, despite never actually having criticized your pattern and never blaming you for my inability to knit the Bazic’s sleeves, I feel the need to apologize. Would a little self-flagellation be enough to atone for my last post? I would offer to knit a few things for charity, but that wouldn’t be painful enough because as the saying goes, stupidity should hurt. It really should and not just to punish people for being stupid, but to warn them that, yes, you are about to enter the stupid zone, so please, turn back now before it’s too late. After all, pain does tell us that it’s really not very healthy to touch a hot stove, so why shouldn’t it be there to warn us that we’re about to do something we will probably regret and/or cause us public humiliation? (Ehem, as in blogging about said stupidity before realizing just how dense you really are.)

But I digress. I thought I had put enough effort into deciphering your instructions. I spent hours thinking about just how to work the sleeve increases into the pattern. I mapped them out in Excel, I knit and re-knit and still I wasn’t happy with the result. Then I decided to read the pattern again. I did that and still I was confused. I went back to thinking, improvising, knitting and again was baffled. I couldn’t imagine that you wouldn’t have mentioned it if it were going to be this difficult. Then, suddenly, in a flash of “OMG I am so stupid I should be jailed” illumination, I realized that I am my own worst enemy. In my bid to be a smarty-pants and avoid sewing up the sleeves, I knit them in the round, even though your pattern says, knit flat. Looking at the work in my hands, I was looking at a piece of round work and trying to make those increases somehow fit perfectly between the first and last pattern repeat in every row. Needless to say, this doesn’t work. They aren’t going to fit perfectly. Ever. Never ever even. I needed to be working these increases into the pattern as if the sleeve were flat. As soon as I figured that little gem out, I realized that I had been thinking too far with all of my concentric pattern diddling (at one point I’d even thought about changing the pattern completely!). So Kathy, in that instant, I realized that your pattern was so simple any child could have done it without blinking and that I should be hauled up in front of the knitting inquisition where I should possibly have my all of my needles revoked. Like I said, I would apologize for having blamed you, but I never really did. From the beginning I figured I was missing something, and I was. Oh boy was I! (possibly a few million brain cells). Still, I’m sorry anyway.

I am now working the increases into the pattern like you told me to Kathy and the results are lovely. They no longer look like a train wreck of the worst kind, but like a pattern that was meant to be.

In the immortal words of Homer Simpson, “D’oh!”

Thursday, 22 April 2010


Seeing as how my elbow hasn’t heeled yet, and indeed shows no signs of getting any better at all, I know I shouldn’t knit. However, seeing as how I haven’t been knitting and it’s made no difference one way or t’other, I figured I’d start up slowly again and see how I, or rather it, faired. Thus, I took up my Byzantine Bazic sleeve last night. It was never going to be easy getting this sleeve going again, not after having let it sit for a month in the middle of increases I was unsure of in the first place. So, I knew I’d have to take my time about it. I sat down, looked at it, realized I was on a stitch adding row and stopped to think. The pattern instructions read: inc. one stitch at end of each needle every other row 8 times and then every 4 rows 21 times, working new stitches into pattern.

Deceptively simple. Dear Kathy Zimmerman, I love your pattern. It’s a beautiful sweater, lovely to knit, it will be wonderful to wear and I just can’t say enough good things about it. Honestly though, not all of us have your brain and you’ve sent mine into overdrive with your deceivingly simple, working new stitches into pattern. If this were simple ribbing, it wouldn’t be a problem. If the pattern were totally regular and concentric, it wouldn’t be a problem. Unfortunately, you, in your knitting wisdom, have chosen a pattern which is neither regular, nor concentric – or at least not with this stitch count. This means you really have to sit down and think about when to add which stitch and how to work them into the pattern without winding up with a lop-sided sleeve. It would have all been relatively simple if I could have just bunged in another 16 stitches in the middle of a repeat, but since the repeat starts and ends differently, this isn’t possible. Trust me on this one, I tried. If I had turned my brain off and continued knitting the way I had set up these new stitches a month or more ago, I would have wound up with one very uneven sleeve. One side would have dropped to the floor with the weight of the cables while the other tried to fly off the arm due to lack of balance. It did not look good.

On the other hand Kathy, I have to thank you for sparing my elbow by keeping me from knitting for at least another evening. As I sat down to knit, I looked at the train wreck of a sleeve I had in my hands and knew I must frog or face knitting a sweater I would have been too embarrassed to wear, unless I sold it as an M.C. Escher work. That might be just a tad difficult though, since I don’t think M.C. Escher ever wrote any knitting patterns. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong because they would most likely be brilliant and I would probably wind up knitting them ASAP, but I really don’t think it’s likely. So, returning to the subject at hand, I looked at the train wreck and frogged, re-wound the yarn and started to knit again. I got exactly one stitch on the needles before I realized that I still didn’t really know how to work the incs into the pattern.

It was time for the computer and a little bout with Excel. Two hours later, I had my increases mapped out and ready to be knit. I’m still not going to swear that these are going to work, but I think I have a better shot at it now and at least they look balanced, or they do on paper anyway. How they actually knit up, remains to be seen.

I do have to admit to another bonus in this lost evening for knitting. As I was winging my way through the incs on sleeve one, I couldn’t rid myself of the small, nagging feeling that I would never be able to recreate these stitches on the second sleeve. I could just see it coming that I would think I could wing that one too, and then finding out that, no, that just wasn’t going to work. Now that I’ve got them mapped out, that worry is gone and I can go on knitting without losing sleep over how I was ever going to manage to wing two identical sleeves. What a relief!

Monday, 19 April 2010

Life Without Knitting

Well, it's been a while. There's little to report in the way of knitting since my elbow is still not a happy camper. I had been really good about not knitting, alas, it's still inflamed and I finally gave up, or in, as the case may be. I just finished my Nordic Shorts, which, as the name says, were a little short. Not only in stature, but in yarn as well. I ran out of yarn just after starting the toe.

A normal knitter would have ripped back the toe of the first one and used a contrasting yarn to finish them so they would look the same. Or, they would have frogged both the socks and reknit even shorter. However, since I've never claimed to be normal and I'm fairly lazy, sooooo, I went and grabbed a similar yarn and finished the toe. Yes, it's different, no it doesn't have the nice blue bits in it, but in the light of the living room at night, which is when I'll be wearing the socks, it's not noticeable. Even if it is noticeable, it's not noticeable. I refuse to notice it. Refuse, point blank.

Actually, I think that it may actually endear them to me in the end. They're special and no one else will have a pair like it, ever. Of course, it might just be that I am thrilled that I was actually able to pick up the needles and knit without having to think about it. I was beginning to worry that I might have forgotten. It seems like it's the same as with a bike though, you don't forget. So, here they are, my lovely, non-matching, yarn disparate socks.

And should you be interested, I there's a a meme about blogging on my book blog. I'd like to hear everyone else's opinions too.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Crocheting and Math?

The elbow saga continues, so still no knitting. However, I did run across this today: "Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes" by mathematician Daina Taimina.

She won a prize for the oddest title. I think she was pretty ingenious myself. Of course, I think it might take a crafter, or maybe a crafter who understands math, to understand the book, but it’s an ingenious connection all the same. Crafts isn’t just crafts and math can be used everywhere.

Having said that, I use as little math as possible myself. The only mathematical principle I ever understood well enough to actually use in daily life is proportion. If I can turn it into a proportion, I can figure it out. I turn stitch counts into proportions all the time. Ok, so they don’t always turn out so well, but the math is usually right, even if the practical knitting is not. Theoretical Knitting is so much easier, don’t you think?

Still, even if I’m never going to understand hyperbolic planes (and frankly haven’t got the slightest desire to even try because when you’ve lived this long ), this is one math book I’d actually look at if I passed by it in the shop.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Knitting Substitutes, Frogs and Hedgehogs

I’m being really good about this no knitting thing. I’ve knit maybe 10 rows in the last week. OK, still too much, but when you can suddenly go cold turkey for 2-4 weeks, I’ll send you a cookie. Maybe a virtual one since I’m not really supposed to lift things and baking requires lifting of bowls etc.

So, what does one do if one can’t knit in front of the telly in the evenings? For a whole week I sat trying to resist knitting and not knowing what to do with myself. I spent more time at work, went to bed early, the dog got pet a whole lot (a trend she’d much like to continue), read more paper books, actually watched telly (It’s still overrated as a single entertainment media. Most of its value lies in accompanying another hobby.), and twiddled my thumbs. Then, last night, I asked myself whatever in the world did I do before I discovered knitting? I know I spent hours shelling Walnuts, cutting up pumpkins and ironing, but two of three are seasonal and I’ve stopped ironing entirely and never missed it/noticed I’m no longer freshly pressed so why take it up again? I also used to play video games with or without friends, but no longer have a console because I just can’t justify spending $500 on a Wii.

Suddenly I realized that I used to work puzzles and that I have three in the closet which I haven’t done because I learned to knit. Sooooo, I toddled off to the next room and got the board I had intended to use as a blocking board, but my experiment failed, so it was still just a board. Grabbed a 2000 piece puzzle, dumped it on the board and started working it. I have to say it frustrates me a bit because unlike in knitting, you don’t really see progress since it’s all spread out. I also have to mention that none of you will ever see this puzzle, because although it’s a quite amusing cartoon puzzle, it’s rather naughty in places - there’s at least one naked cartoon guy streaking through the streets - so I shan’t be posting a picture of it here for fear of being branded a porn blogger. Still, it gives me something to do that won’t hurt my elbow any further and by the time I’m done, I should, hopefully, be able to go back to knitting.

Of Hedgehogs and Frogs: one of the first signs of Spring, and Autumn, here is the frog fence. I live near a lake, to/from which many, many frogs migrate every year. The frog numbers started declining as traffic picked up, so now there is a frog fence that goes up on the forest side of the street every Spring and lake side every Autumn. Volunteers then patrol the fence, picking up frogs there and carrying them across the road to safety. Only, it really only seems to catch the frogs with lower IQs. The frogs with the higher IQs, or maybe the more bloody minded of them, get through this fence and cross by themselves. Unfortunately, as mentioned, crossing the road is fraught with dangers in the form of steel belted radials and many don’t make it. What this means for the frogs is that although their population is on the increase, the average frog IQ is actually dropping because the smart ones get run over. We’re breeding generations of stupid and docile frogs who will become entirely dependent on humans for their survival. Let’s just hope future generations of school children still really, really want to go and spend an hour before school every morning picking up frogs and carrying them across the street or we shall be frogless within just a few froggy generations.

Soooo, let’s return to reality now (that was all tongue in cheek, just for the record). There are actually volunteers who go out at midnight looking for the frogs who’ve gotten through the fence so they don’t get run over (thus saving those with higher IQs or who are just stubborn and independent). However, as I learned on Saturday night, this still doesn’t save all the frogs. I was driving along the road before the volunteers came along, duly tip-toeing my Good Years through the froggy maze, when I suddenly had to slam on the brakes for a hedgehog who was looking pretty funny. His legs were stuck out at a weird angle and I was thinking he’d been run over and I would need to get out and, and the very least, get him off the road. However, before I could even put on my emergency blinkers, he scuttled off at a fairly good clip turning just enough to allow me to see that what he had been doing was snatching a frog. Those weren’t his legs, but the legs of a frog who was sticking out of his mouth. Frogs legs are back on the menu boys. Even at midnight you can learn new things. I didn’t know Hedgehogs ate frogs, but now I do. I thought they stuck to insects and snails and the occasional can of cat food when they can get it, but I was wrong. I wonder if they just eat the legs and leave the rest or if they munch down the whole frog. Oh wait, it’s nature, nothing is voluntarily wasted in nature.

So what we’ve been doing all along hasn’t actually been just saving frogs, but creating Hedgehog Buffet Month. No wonder there are more hedgehogs than there used to be. I hope some of them move in with us. We have a few rock piles that have been empty since our last hedgehog got run over which means our slug and snail population is out of control. Maybe I should advertise over at the frog fence: Free room and board for hedgehogs across the road. There’s room for you and your whole family. Yung’ens welcome.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Knitter’s Elbow Continued

Thanks to everyone for their comments and suggestions about the knitter’s elbow and how to help it (resting). I did this over the weekend and also invested in an elbow strap specifically designed for tennis elbow, and it felt a lot better by Monday morning. Unfortunately after a half a day at work I was in pain again, despite the brace. This morning I had to go looking for ice at work just so I could sit at my desk. Post ice, pain killers, tightening of aforementioned brace and repositioning my chair to change the angle of my arm, I was relatively comfortable for the rest of the morning. I am, however, going to the doctor this afternoon just to get better pain meds and in the hope that he’ll have other helpful advice.

Also thanks for the comments about the needles. Everyone has their own favourites it seems. It all depends on what kind of knitter you are. The funny thing is that I used to adore my bamboo knitting needles until I discovered that, I tended to bend them while knitting so they became deformed, and that I really prefer using circulars for most things. Circulars mean you can spread your work out, try it on while knitting and the Options are exchangeable so I have all I need with my two sets. Unfortunately, they haven’t come up with the absolutely perfect needles yet. Addis kink, the Option cable joins are weak, Pony/Inox joins are horrid in general, straights are just dangerous (ask my cat who likes to sit next to me while I’m knitting) and too short, metal needles are slippery, wooden ones stick, etc. etc., and I’m sure there are hoards more out there that I haven’t tried. I’m equally sure they all have their good and bad points. Personally I want Addy metal tips and joins with the memory free Options cables – I’ve heard there are problems with the Addy circular sets too. I’d also like to see it mandatory to have the size indelibly printed on every needle ever made so that I’d never need to look for my sizer again. I must add a big thanks here to Uncle for lending me and showing me how to use his metal engraver to engrave the size on my Options needles without causing any snaggy edges. It worked a charm.

Knitting work has been slow to non-existent lately. People think knitting is such a quite, non-dangerous hobby. Little do they know…

Friday, 12 March 2010

Knitter's Elbow?

There's not much new on the knitting front. I'm still plugging away on my Byzantine Bazic, which I'm enjoying for the most part. The only part I'm not enjoying is that part where I make a mistake and have to fix it, but I can hardly blame that on the pattern, or can I? If you have a way I can do so, please let me know. Why should I take the blame for my own mistakes when most of the rest of the world doesn't? Of course, there are those who make mistakes and then make a big song and dance apology to the public. Somehow I can't help but think that no one reading this will care if I apologize for making mistakes in my knitting and that they would probably just tell me I'm the one suffering for my mistakes, which is quite true. But if it's true for me, why isn't it true for the rest of them? I'm sorry, but neither their apology nor their failure to make an apology effects my life in the slightest and I doubt it really effects the vast majority of the public either. If few people really care, make that apology to them. It might get you further.

Anyhoo, I digress (really, I wasn't intending to say any of that). Since I don't have any snazzy pictures or interesting things to say about my knitting, I'll tell you about my new Harmony needles. I'm terribly glad I didn't buy the whole set. I tried switching to the wood from my metal ones and it took me all of two seconds to realize that there's a reason I've liked the metal. I'm a very tight knitter and need the metal so I can slide the stitches along the needles. They don't slide on the wood and frankly, I just can't be bothered putting that much effort into knitting with wood. Ergo, I'm sticking with metal from here on out. I suppose I could try the new arylic ones, but I can't think of any reason they should be better than the metal, so why spend the money? Again, if anyone knows a reason, I'm open to new thoughts.

Finally, I have a question for you. Does anyone know if it's possible to get tennis elbow from knitting? From what I read in the Net, I have tennis elbow, but I don't know where I got it from. It could be from knitting or from mouse work at the office, but I don't know. Has anyone heard of someone getting it from knitting?

Monday, 8 March 2010


Knit & Play With Fire has returned to the blogosphere after a short break and was kind enough to hold a contest to celebrate, and guess what! I won! So a big thank you to her! She'll be picking something out specifically for me. Nothing like a bit of fibre to make your day. She does some wonderful yarn herself. If you like fibre, you ought to go over and check out her blog. She also posts some lovely photography and that's always worth checking out.

Thursday, 4 March 2010


I'm here plugging Wandering Cat Studio's Yarn Contest becuase she has some really scrummy yarns on offer. There's many a time I've thought I'm lucky to live 10'000 miles away from her or I'd be in trouble.

Speaking of which, now that Audible is owned by Amazon, I think Amazon actually owns my soul. I wonder if there's an AAA group out there, Amazon Addictives Anonymous. I think I might need one.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Oh Dear

When I was a kid, I was incessantly clumsy and was always dropping, losing or otherwise ruining things. My parents branded me as careless, which I suppose was true to a certain extent, but not quite. It wasn’t that I didn’t care, it was more that there were just too many things going on in my head for me to keep everything in there and I’d forget things because I was in a hurry or was trying to do too many things at one time. Just to be clear on this, it was, and still is, equal opportunity carelessness. It wasn’t just that I lost things I disliked, like my glasses, my retainer or those tops Mom bought me with pink lace that I loathed so much. I lost or ruined my favourite clothes and toys just as often as anything else. Regardless of whether loved or loathed, I sweat bullets and blood every time I realized that something else had gone wrong. I tried to hide things or cover them up just so I didn’t have to admit that, once again, I’d screwed it up. This means I pretty much lived in a constant state of anxiety for about 10 years of my life, since it really was a problem I didn’t seem to be able to solve, no matter how hard I tried. I think both my parents even asked me years later if I did it all on purpose and they finally believed me when I said I hadn’t.

It's years and years later, and finally some good came out of it all. My aunt told me the story of her Hermione Scarf this weekend. She and my uncle wanted a change of scene and so they drove up to Shaver to reccy their vacation spot and have some lunch. She bundled all her stuff up, including the scarf, and carried it out to the car. On the way, they stopped by the post office and then headed off to the mountains. When they got there, my aunt couldn’t find her scarf. They tore the car apart trying to find it. My poor uncle, not only did he have to search the car, but he knows how much my aunt loves her knit wear and they were probably both sick to their stomachs knowing it was lost. Uncle is a fix-it kind of guy and something lost is something you can’t just fix, so he would have been terribly frustrated. Anyway, no scarf. So, on the way back home, with Aunt sweating bullets, Aunt forces Uncle to stop off at the post office on the million to one chance that someone will have turned it in to lost and found, even though Uncle is sure they will just have taken it if she did drop it there. As they drive up, they see something black and sodden lying in the parking lot. Dreading the worst, Aunt went and looked. Sure enough, it was the scarf. Four hours of post office parking lot. You can imagine. She picked it up to an audience of onlookers who were surely wondering why such a nice lady would be picking up black, oily cloth from the ground and putting it in her car. But it was The Scarf and she wasn’t going to leave it there. So figuring she had nothing to lose, she took it home, washed it on the hand wash cycle and you’ll never believe it, but it apparently looks as good as new.

Now, I wasn’t particularly thrilled to hear that a scarf I’d knit and looked forward to giving her for months had lain in the post office parking lot for hours and was driven over hundreds of times, but I was reminded of my childhood and that I’d been there, done that and felt sick about it, so who was I to throw stones or be upset. It happens. Also, it wasn’t a Dale of Norway. $15 and 8 hours = a new one. Not a big deal.

It also taught me that Lang cotton yarns hold up really, really well, so if you’re looking for a very sturdy, light cotton yarn, look for Lang.

Bosch washing machines also seem to be quite good.

Finally, to break up all the text, meet O’Leary; knit for one of my friend’s dissertation profs. It’s knit with a new wool called Gala which is a merino, cashmere, angora, cotton blend. It’s very soft and yummy, if expensive. I hope he likes it.

Now really, onto my Byzantine.

Friday, 19 February 2010


I don't believe it. I really don't. I seriously wonder about myself sometimes (we're back to the, I'm not actually stupid bit). I just found something I didn't know I had, but needed and would have liked to have known that they were there.

I love my KP Options needles. Adore them. I love always having the right size needle handy (I have two sets). I love not having to wonder if I need to go buy needles before I can do a project. I love that the metal needles are smooth and the yarn slides over them nicely. I love that the cables don't kink. I love being able to use them for magic loop. In fact, there's only one thing wrong with them and that is that the cable joins are weak. This means that the occasionally come apart at the seams and I wind up scrambling to get a new cable in. I've tried fixing them and that doesn't work too well, so a couple of years ago when I was home on holiday, I bought a bunch of them. At some point, I started to miss them. I'd thought I'd bought more of them than I had and couldn't remember having broken quite that many. Still, after looking high and low, I didn't find them and assumed I just must have tossed them when they broke.

Now I mentioned I have two sets of Options. Long ago, I'd split them into one set of smaller needles and one set of the larger. Today, I got an order I placed for more cables, because of the great dearth of cables, and a starter set of the Harmony needles, which I bought just to try (it was a good deal and I already had to pay for shipping). I decided to pop the Harmonies in with the Options and thus got out my two sets. This means I opened up the set with the larger needles for the first time in a while and suddenly, there they were. All of those cables I'd thought I had but couldn't find. I can't believe I'd put them in the most obvious place and forgot them. Doh! Seriously, what am I going to do when I'm 80? Invest in post its and have them plastered all over my flat?

At least I have enough cables now for a while and won't have to worry about not having replacements when they break in the middle of a project. I'll also get to try out the Harmonies, which everyone seems to love.

I'll leave you with a picture of my Winterbourne Scarf, which I've finished in the meantime and love. This is unblocked and just a piece, but the whole scarf is the same, so you're not missing anything.

Thursday, 11 February 2010


Yep. I'm a moderately well educated person. I can't spell worth a darn, but I was taught to read, analyse and commit things to memory. My parents actually paid quite a lot of money to ensure that I went to University and got an education which would allow me to do more than just flip burgers for the rest of my life. I'm even fluent in two languages (and a half since Swiss German really is a bit of a language on it's own) and have a smattering of several others. The point being. I might not be Einstein, but I'm not stupid either.

So can someone tell me why I consistently fail to read knitting patterns correctly? Honestly. You'd think I could read the lines "knit set up row and rows 1 to 4, then repeat rows 1 to 4 six times" and then remember to carry the plan out as noted. You'd think. Apparently not. Instead of just reading and remembering these lines, I have to do things the hard way. Not only have I been having difficulty with the chart, as in when to knit even and when I need to do moss stitch, but I started right in on the full chart. I knew from the pictures this was wrong. I knew there was more ribbing than that before the cable panels started, yet I ignored all the little bells going off in my head and kept knitting. Bejeebus I'm dense. I just ripped out 15 rows (of 138 stiches each) of cable panel because the penny finally dropped and the gum ball went rolling across the floor. I can't even say I was tired, because I wasn't. It's all down to inattention and failure to, well, just failure.

Maybe I should stop knitting and start doing brain training in the evenings.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Claudia’s Cardy

Finally I have something to blog about. I’ve finished my friend’s cardigan after having re-knit the front panels and finishing the sleeves. Mark this date down in your books folks, because something amazing happened. Not only did the rest of the knitting go well, but sewing up the side seams and the setting the sleeves in was a breeze. Yes, you heard me correctly, a breeze. It all went just like it was supposed to. The seams are all even with little to no stretching/adjustments to make them fit, the sleeves fit more or less perfectly and sewed in well with no puckering, the buttons went on smoothly and fit like they are supposed to and the overall effect is really nice. I’m really happy with the finished product. Yay!

Now for the bonus, it actually fits the recipient. Not just sort of, but really perfectly. Like it was made for her. OK, it was made for her, but she sent me her measurements by e-mail and never tried any of it on while I was knitting. I had been quite uncertain since the size was given as just a little bigger than her measurements with the next size being a whole lot bigger, thus leaving it out of the question. I tried for a little more ease in the gauge, which usually goes horribly wrong (see my cardi), but this time it all actually came together as it should. Amazing. Maybe I can knit sweaters after all! This would be good as I’m about to venture into knitting the Byzantine Bazic, but I’ll get to that later. Anyway, my friend was thrilled with it and wore it to her latest job interview because it looks so good on her. The only negative, if you can call it that, is that the whole sweater only took half the yarn I had planned on which means I have 13 skeins of this yarn left and it’s not a colour many people like. Ah well, I’ll figure something out.

In the meantime, I test knit a new pattern for the lovely Yarnerinas and it too, turned out well. It’s called the 55 Hugs and Kisses hat. I used the same yarn I used for my own cardigan, the Drops Paris Cotton, which means it’s lovely and soft and comfortable and good for a child in California (one Christmas pressie down!). The pattern was well written and I can recommend it for anyone, but especially those knitting earflaps for the first time. Keep checking the Yarnerinas for release. I’ll try and let you know when they publish it.

Finally, I’m making another attempt at starting my Byzantine Bazic. I really would have liked to have this sweater for this winter, but the needs of said friend were higher what with her unforeseen job loss, unforeseen major back surgery and unforeseen major brain surgery, she really needed a pick me up. So, I started looking at the pattern again and realized part of the problem the first time around is that the charts are just too small. I’d be kind of ticked if I were the designer (Kathy Zimmerman) because if I weren’t determined to do this sweater, the difficulty in deciphering the symbols would have put me off. Even with my glasses I couldn’t decipher it and zooming in with the copier or digital methods didn’t help since it just became grainy and the symbols are all too closely related to tell them apart. Fortunately, I had the time to re-create the graph in Excel myself, so I can now print it out and read it without eye strain and guesswork. I need to proof the graphs now and then I can get started, with luck at the weekend. I may, or mayn’t, skip the gauge swatch on this one and just start. The given gauge is for the cable panels which basically take up the whole sweater; ergo knitting the whole thing is really the only way to get an accurate gauge. I’d wish she had knit a plain swatch with the same needles and same yarn to give us an idea if we’re on the right path or not without having to knit half the sweater first. However, she didn’t, so I may just guess and go for it.

In the meantime, I’m tiding myself over with the Winterbourne Scarf done in a 60% cotton 40% microfiber mix (dark blue because I’m boring). It’s nice and soft and will hopefully provide me with a good alternative to my Falling Water Scarf which is getting a bit tatty. I do still love my Scarf of Non-Doom, but it’s too thick for the coming spring, so I’ll need the Winterbourne to tide me over.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Beyond Primal

You know that place where you're sort of beyond feeling anything really? The point just after frustration but before hysterical laughter breaks out? I think if you knit long enough, you'll eventually reach this place. I did this evening. I've been working on my friend's cabled cardy. I have the back done and had (plz2bnoting past tense) the front left side and half of the right front side done. After finishing the front LH side, I realized that the incs and decs for the waist shaping were off, despite constant measurements. I considered frogging, but thought I'd block first because that might solve the problem (since the back is blocked). I did and they were still off. I also found a mistake which meant I was going to have to frog a third of it anyway. Still, I thought I might get away with the incs and decs.

Living in the wonderful world of denial, I cast on the front RH side and it was all going wonderfully well. I'd even remembered to do the buttonholes! Yet I was worried about those incs and decs. I thought I'd just count rows on the back and do it that way and then maybe I could get away with being a couple of rows off on the one side. As I was knitting along this evening, I forgot to do the upper decs for the cardy split and had to tink a row or two. Then I suddenly realized that I was decreasing when I should have been increasing. I'd have to rip back a few inches. Did that and started knitting again when I again very suddenly realized that there was another problem: I'd decreased on both sides of the front (as on the back) when I should have been decreasing just on the one side. Remedy? Frog the whole thing and start over. Fortunately, I was so worried about the incs and decs that were off, that it didn't really bother me. I figured it was the sign I needed to go back and correct it all. So that's what I'm doing. Good thing it's a fairly quick knit. I really do need to learn to pay more attention though. Unfortunately, that's easier said than done.

Thank heavens for ball winders. Without mine, I'd have a sore arm this evening.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Clasps For Happiness

My new clasps from Etsy arrived and I love them. Although they are a bit heavier, both physically and visually, than the last clasps I had on them, I think they are in keeping with the sweater and work well. They really are much better at keeping the sweater closed. I didn’t have it on for long, but move and jostle as I like, they did not come undone. I think they also my work better for washing and the like since I can hook them together when I’m not wearing the sweater, which will prevent the hooks from getting caught in the knitting like the others did. All in all, I’m pretty happy with them. Etsy really is a saviour.

I also got the wool to finish my Gingerbread Hat which I’d started with the last ball of the Miro yarn I used for the Waves Scarf. One skein wasn’t enough, so I’d had to order more. It arrived promptly and even though it’s not the same dye lot as the other, I finished the hat and am happy with it. As we haven’t had any, I haven’t been able to look closely at it in the sun, but I can’t spot the changeover inside. I also doubt I’ll be wearing it much when the sun is shining, so I won’t fret over that even if I can see it. I love this hat. I think it’s cute, yet not too cute and it’s really comfy. It’s destined to become another of my favourites.

Speaking of wearing hats, the temperature has risen here. It had been in the teens to single digits in the night with highs in the lower 20s (F), and now it’s risen again to mid to upper 20s at night to around freezing during the day. The difference is so marked that it feels quite warm out now. No need for those hats and long undies anymore. Scarves, yes, but only because you can adjust them. Frankly, I’m hoping the temperature dips again because, A – it’s winter and it should be cold, B – a cold winter makes you appreciate spring and summer more and C – I want to be able to wear my hand knits thank you very much. I may just have to move to Canada after all.

I also owe an apology to the road services here. I was thinking they either weren’t doing their jobs and/or that the government decided that they would move us to use public transport by not ploughing and salting the roads. I learned today, however, that salt doesn’t work when the temperature drops below -8°C (18°F) so that would explain the lack of melt. All in all, I think this may be a good thing. Until now, driving has been easier since the roads were really too snowy to ice over. Snow is OK to drive on, ice isn’t. I suppose now that it’s warming, the number of accidents will be on the rise. I just hope I’m not one of them. I have to make a dog food run tomorrow, which means more driving than I usually do. I’ll drive carefully, but there are enough idiots out there who don’t. That’s why I’ll try and spend most of the rest of the weekend at home working on the cabled cardy for my friend. I’m enjoying knitting this one as much as I enjoyed the last one. It’s pretty and interesting to knit, but still goes quite quickly and I’m making noticeable progress. It would be brilliant if I had it done by the end of the month. I still have my Byzantine Bazic to knit after all, and I don’t want to be doing that one in summer!

Tuesday, 12 January 2010


I’m finally fully back and up and running after my vacation. I’ve uploaded my pictures and am now ready to blog again.

Oh wait, you weren’t expecting vacation pictures were you? Sorry, my vacations aren’t really picture worthy for the most part. I have a few of friends, but I don’t like to post pictures of other people I know because it’s their face and not mine I’m plastering on the net. It’s not polite imho. So, my pictures are mostly of the knitting variety.

There’s my Waves Scarf, or Scarf of Non-Doom:

which I just finished for myself. A note on this scarf, it’s lovely. I adore it. It’s soft and fluffy and cosy to wear, if a bit self-indulgent. It’s a bit like making shortbread. You dump in a decadent amount of creamy, wonderful butter to get really good shortbread; with this scarf, you dump in a decadent amount of lovely, soft yarn to get a wonderful scarf. It also needs to be said that although it’s a simple pattern, knitting it is not. It’s a 24 stitch cable which is virtually impossible to knit (unless you’re the better knitter than I am). Had it not been for my Options, I would never have finished it. The cable gets too tight to knit, forcing you to either ruin your hands for life, or become really creative. In order not to ruin my hands, I sort of adapted the Magic Loop method of knitting by pulling the needle and cable through so I could continue knitting the rest of the cable in relative comfort. Then, when the stitches were too tight on the next round, I swapped the needle with the stitches on it for a smaller size making it easier to get the stitches off the cable and back onto the needle. The trick is to remember to swap that needle back before knitting the next row at the wrong gauge. We just won’t go into that, no? The end result is an impractical scarf that I love to wear to work or anywhere where its bulk won’t get in the way (I do take it off at work, just in case you were wondering).

Next is the reason I didn’t finish the Scarf of Non-Doom earlier. I knew the neighbour (a US “neighbour”) was having a baby, I knew this. I was told. However, it didn’t register until it was there and I needed knitwear asap. This baby is in California, so it had to be cotton and since it is a she, it “had” to be pink. The result of which is that I dropped the scarf and knit The Pink Baby Blanket of OMG Most People Will Think It’s Really Cute Because It’s Pink variety.

The Pattern in the Arabesque Baby Blanket and it’s knit in Sugar n’ Cream Cotton yarn, colour Strawberry.

Then before Christmas I knit the following as Secret Santa Presents:
The Cherry Leaf Scarf for a person in Costa Rica (so it had to be cotton lace, Baby Soft by Bernetta Wolle):

and a couple of Cabled Ornaments:

And a Christmas Scene dishcloth that never actually made it to the recipient because I am silly.

I think I might do a couple of those as random presents for next year. It’s the sort of things that’s inexpensive, quickly finished, is functional and still says I cared enough to put in a bit of effort.

There’s also the last hat I knit for my aunt so she always has one even if she loses one again.

The pattern in the Coronet Hat knit in Bernetta Wolle Speedy. I think she likes the lace one better, but was happy to have this one too.

Finally, I’ll leave you with a picture of the lemons that lived behind my vacation villa (aka my aunt’s and uncle’s vacation trailer). They actually didn’t live there very long. These very lemons became a really nice lemon meringue.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Ode to Etsy

When you're having trouble finding something you need for your projects, check Etsy. Even though it can be more expensive, you get what you want, they're almost all willing to send internationally and they have some beautiful things. What brings this on you ask? Well, as much as I loved the clasps
I bought for my Arwen sweater, they just don't stay clasped when the sweater is on. It's annoying and pointless. I had found some in the States I liked, but they only had 2 and I need three. Their loss. I just purchased these as a replacement. They're perfect and the seller believes they should stay closed since they have long pegs for the holes. Yay! I can't wait to get them now.

I should add that I really, really love the sweater. It's comfortable and warm and I'm really glad to have it right now what with all the cold weather, snow etc. It's also helped me discover something. Wool only itches when it's too warm to wear it. When the temp is right, you don't feel a thing (and don't anyone go bursting my bubble on this one thanks very much. I'm going to go on believing this even if you say it's codswallop.)