Tuesday, 31 December 2013

A Yarny Christmas

So I actually got yarn and fiber stuff for Christmas!

I got a ball winder!

No pictures yet, but I'm loving it.  I already balled up several things for new projects, (I like that the cakes of yarn compact better for storage, and I've read that the yarn stores better in a cake and doesn't get stretched out) as well as balling up yarn for current projects.

. . . just don't get over-enthusiastic and try to ball up something that's still attached to your knitting.  I spent most of the morning trying to untangle -that- mistake!

I haven't tried it with the swift yet, but I'm looking forward to when I do.  Also, tucked away in the same gift bag were 3 pretty beaded stitch markers.  I'd never used the ring-style stitch markers before, but they're quite nice to use.

Also, I gave in and ordered another skein of Dream In Colour Smooshy with Cashmere from EatSleepKnit for the Mariah Cardigan, with the last of my Store Credit.  I just really don't think I'll have enough yarn to finish the hood, otherwise.  And considering I won't need much, the rest of it will be a  pair of Knotty or Nice Socks (non Ravelry link here).

Finally, I got in on Tanis Fiber Arts Boxing Day update at her Etsy store.

I got three skeins of the 75/25 Merino Silk Blend in the 'Tropics" Colourway, that is going to become a  Beginner's Triangle from "A Gathering of Lace".  I wanted something that would show off the colour changes.

And that was my yarny Christmas.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, all!

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Illness and a knitting reprive.

Ugh.  So I feel horrible today.  I know why, it's just health stuff, it will go away on its own in a day or two, hopefully in time for New Years.

But that means that the party I was supposed to be going to tomorrow isn't happening.

I was originally trying to finish the Sit and Knit Mitts for it, but that wasn't happening either.

So, after a lot of shuffling around of ungifted knitted stuff, trying to find things homes where I know they would be appreciated and worn, the Marian Cowl will go to a friend, (my step-sister couldn't make Christmas Day and I don't have her mailing address)  and the Sit and Knit mittens will become next year's Birthday Gift for the same friend. 

This makes things a lot less rushed, which is wonderful.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Dragon Rider Gloves are done!

Well, that's pretty much what it sounds like! I finished them off on the transit while coming back from my parent's place for Christmas.

My apologies for the less-then-awesome picture, but I'm stuck with the tablet camera for the moment.

The photo's not quite true-to-colour, but I'm still quite happy with how they turned out, even if the pattern does need some erratta written up.   Maybe I'll do that for Ravelry.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

. . . and Knitting on Christmas Day!

I think a lot of knitters have been guilty of frantically knitting on Christmas Day.

This year, it's the Dragon Rider Gloves that didn't quite make it done in time.

 I think that's for two reasons.

One: is because I couldn't knit them at home when my roommate was home.

And Two: is because I considered them a 'fast knit' I neglected them in favour of other, more complicated or fiddly projects. 

That being said, though, I expect to have them finished by the end of Christmas Day -- I have a bus ride to my parent's place, and I'm at the point now where I can knit these on the transit without having to refer to the book constantly.   I can also knit -at- my parent's place too, if I need to.  I'll also take the Sit and Knit Lace Mitts, too, since they need to be done for the 30th of December.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Knitting on Christmas Eve. . .

Yep, it's Christmas Eve, and I'm still knitting.

However, I did finish the Marian Cowl (it knits up superbly fast!)

Unfortunately I have not yet finished the Dragon Rider Gloves.  I've got about a glove-and-a-half to go, still.  But these are my only project for the day, and hopefully I can finish them before my roommate gets home!  She's getting home early, though, because it's Christmas Eve.  Here's hoping.  In fact, one of the reasons they've taken longer is simply because I can't work on them when she's home!

Also, I started a new project, a pair of Lace Mittens in old worsted-weight acrylic.  They're for a Secret Santa on the 30th. The pattern is called 'Sit N' Knit Mitts', and it's available on Ravelry as a payed download (I was lucky enough to get it for free with a coupon a while ago!)  No picture yet, but they're coming along.

That's the end of the Christmas Knitting for now; here's hoping everyone has a great Christmas; and is staying safe with all the ice still out there.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Help With Mattress Stitch

I've yet to memorize Mattress Stitch.

Like grafting (kitchener stitch), it's just something that hasn't yet become automatic.

However, since I have to seam my Marian Cowl (the pattern is written in-the-round, but I don't have any 12.75 mm circulars, just straights), I wanted something that would be close to invisible but not too heavy.

So, hence my searching for a tutorial on Mattress Stitch.

And, once again, Knitty came to my rescue.   They have a wonderful tutorial on Mattress Stitch that I currently have open while I seam. 

. . . I love the internet.  Just having this information at my fingertips with a simple web search is -amazing!-

However, I should return to seaming.  I'll try and get pictures of the finished cowl once I get daylight tomorrow.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Surprises for Christmas

I just found out my Step-Sister will be around for Christmas.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing.  She and I aren't close, but we get along reasonably well.  I didn't expect her, since she'd just moved down to the States for a new job.  But apparently, things are going well enough for her that she can fly back on Christmas Eve.

Ok, awesome. . . but everyone else in my immediate family has knitted christmas gifts.  And I don't necessarily mind knitting for her.

Well, the Purple Purl's Sale worked out in my favour this year -- I got a skein of Sweet Georgia Superwash Chunky, and a set of monstrous 12.75 mm needles (I usually use 4mm or smaller!).

I've already balled it up, and unfortunately the light isn't the best, but here:

 It's actually far more of a tan colour, the light makes it look more blue.

(I got other stuff at the sale, too, but I don't have good pictures since I'm currently taking pictures with my tablet. )

I also found a (free) 1-skein cowl pattern, which is the Marian Cowl.  It actually calls for super-bulky, but I thought that might be too stiff, and besides which, I was working with what I could a) easily get my hands on and b) was superwash. 

Also, it's supposed to be worked in the round, but the only bigger needles I could find were straight needles, but I've decided I can just seam it afterwards. Yes, I hate seaming, but I can put up with it in this case.

So, my step-sister is getting a cowl, a cowl that is actually kniting up really, really fast.  I'm already 1.5 inches along with just some work on it tonight.

 Man, for instant gratification, bulky yarn and big needles can't be beat!

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Last-Minute Birthday Knitting

So. . . despite my best efforts at planning out this holiday and birthday knitting, I still ended up knitting my Grandmother's Birthday Scarf on the morning of her birthday party.

 I've really got to get better about that, I did the same thing with my father's socks!

But, I liked the pattern of this scarf, even if it is a little thin for my tastes.  But because it's so thin, it does knit up quite quickly.

My picture, however, is not so awesome.  It was taken on the floor, while I was trying to pack and get out the door.  It was the only picture I could get before it was gifted.  It makes it look rather deformed, which it's not,  and yes, I'm not quite sure why that one end stretched out more.  It annoys me, but you can't tell on the finished scarf when it's hanging around your neck.

Regardless, though, the scarf's been gifted to a good (and loving) home.  It really brought a smile to her face, and she was so proud that my knitting's advanced.  I think she still remembers the kid who was learning to knit and purl, which was really sweet. :D

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Short Socks

I thought I'd posted this before, but it looks like Blogger ate my post.

So, I also finished the first of the Flying Hearts Socks for a test knit.  It came right down to the night of the 15th.  That's what I get for trying to take on too many things at once, I guess.

Anyway, given both a possible shortage of yarn, and a tightly looming deadline, I made these quite short at the ankle.

I usually wouldn't make them this short, but this way I can wear them with my running shoes in the summer (they're lacy enough I wouldn't want to wear them in the winter).

Also, I found that while people suggest the elastic bind-off for toe-up socks, as you can see from the photo, it's actually a touch too big and didn't contract enough.  They do still stay up ok, which is the important part, though.   I think I'll stick with the cable bind-off for my toe-up socks from now on, unless it really looks like they're going to be tight. 

Nice Warm Mittens

So I finished my Fair-Isle Mittens.  I -almost- had them done by the KAL deadline of the 15th, but weekends around the holidays are very, very busy.

All I had left to do was the thumb and weaving in the ends, but it just didn't get done.

Oh well, they're done now, and its a good thing, too.  My previous flannel mittens weren't keeping out the cold.  These are stranded, so all the yarn floats on the inside add to the warmth and layering of the mitten.

There's still a cowl and hat to come in this set, but I don't need those nearly as much.

Oh, yeah, and they're apparently kitty-approved, since I caught one of the cats dragging them off of the towel where I'd left them to dry after blocking!  Kitty number two really does love Briggs and Little, it seems!

Friday, 13 December 2013

Black Friday Sale Haul

I want to preface this:  I don't usually get involved in the Black Friday craziness, unless something just happens to be on sale that I actually need.  And even then, unless I'm desperate, it's not worth the craziness of even attempt to try the malls and shopping centres that weekend.

Online is a little different, but even then, my -only- Black Friday purchase was this stuff from EatSleepKnit.   I try to buy most of my yarn on sale in some form -- it helps me get really nice yarn for less then it would otherwise cost, and yarn (properly stored) doesn't go bad.

So, my package came in the mail today.   My apologies for the pictures, but it's dim and grey enough here I actually need the flash, so the colours aren't quite right.

I got 1 skein of Sweet Georgia Superwash Worsted, in "Violet Hill"

This will become A River Runs Through Mitt, for a friend`s Birthday next year

I got 9 skeins of Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Cotton, in "Indigo". 

This is for a Big Honkin' Bag, for me.  I've had my eye on this for quite some time.  My current purse is beginning to fall apart, and also isn't big enough to hold my water bottle.  So I was very glad to get the yarn on sale. :)

That was all I ordered, but that wasn't all I got.  EatSleepKnit does their wonderful Yarnathon, and this purchase got me to their 20 mile surprise mark.

What was the 20 mile surprise?  Well. . .

This was one of the additional things in my box.

It's a full skein of Shibui Knits Baby Alpaca DK, in "Fjord"!

This is why I really like ESK. They're one of the few buisnesses I know that will give away entire skeins of yarn like this!  There was other awesome stuff in the box too, like a needle case, and their usual Yarn Lotto ticket (didn't win anything this time, but that's ok.).

So now I have more new yarn.  This has decided that it will be a Penobscot Scarf.  It just seemed to suit the pattern really well.

So yeah, I just got a bunch of new yarn. :)

Thursday, 12 December 2013

One Christmas knit left, and updates on the Sock-Along.

I finished the Pine Cone Mittens yesterday night, and got a picture this morning in the sun.

I am glad to have yet one more thing done.  The pile of WIP's is starting to come back down to a manageable level, which is nice.

Currently, I'm frantically knitting on my test-knit socks to make the December 15th deadline, but I should have most of today and tomorrow to try and finish them.

Unfortunately, I've kind of given up on the Sock-Along.  If I do manage to finish, great, but I'm honestly not expecting to at this point, sadly.  I've been neglecting my socks, and I don't think I can knit two more socks by the 15th.   It was good incentive for me to make those hand-knit pairs of socks I wanted, though!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

A Pre-Boxing Day Sale

Like a good number of my previous posts, this is also, pretty much what the title says.

The Purple Purl is holding their Pre-Boxing Day Sale on Sunday the 22nd.

All the details are in their Newsletter Post. But basically, everything's 20% off (with a few exceptions), and you can still earn loyalty points, you just can't redeam them during the sale.

I intend to go, money and time allowing.  I have a shopping list of yarns I can get at the Purple Purl, and so I might as well get them on sale.

Sadly, my purchases at the upcoming Purple Purl sale probably not be as much as I got at their Summer Sale, simply because there's less on my shopping list, and I'm trying to compact what stash I do have (it's creeping out of its cupboard and I'm not happy with that).  I am, however, thinking of picking up a couple of skeins of the Juniper Moon Findley laceweight (because laceweight takes up a lot less space, and I have several projects I'd like to do in it!)

Sunday, 8 December 2013

More things off the needles

I'm glad to be clearing out WIPs. It gives me more time to work on my upcoming deadlines.

So, here's my Evening Star Cowl finished up and off of my new blocking mats.

I'm not completely happy with the picture, but there was no way to get a decent one with the sun glare the way it was (and my hair, as usual, looks terrible!)

I wore it to church this morning -- it's nice as a light hood to supplement a hat on cold days or to 'line' the hood of my coat. It's not super-warm, but I wasn't expecting it to be.

 It also keeps the cold from coming down the front of my sweater and coat.   I quite like it!

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Chocolate and Yarn

I love the 'Selfish Knitters and Crocheters' Group on Ravelry. They're a constant reminder that my first reason to knit should be because I enjoy it. 

So, their Holiday Swap is a genius idea -- it's a swap to yourself.  It's giving tacit permission to splurge on yourself in a season where stuff usually revolves around the expectations of others. 

Anyway, I just got the results of my swap.

They had three things.

The first was a 'Yarny Treat'.

Well, I think two skeins of Tanis Fiber Arts Red Label in "Dove" definitely qualifies.  This stuff is -so- soft and squish-able!  I'm not usually the type to pull out skeins of yarn to fondle, but this one is definitely tempting me!

It's lighter then this picture shows.  I love it.  It's going to become a 'Summer Queen Shawl', which is another pattern from the 'Knits for Nerds' book -- the same book my Dragon Rider Gloves came from.

I got it during Tanis' visit to the Purple Purl.  It was an awesome night, and we had a chance to win yarn for each Tanis Fiber Arts purchase.  Alas, I didn't win anything, but that's ok. This is awesome enough.

The second thing is a 'Yummy Treat.'

Well, I think a can of fair-trade and organic hot chocolate mix fills that role quite nicely!

And the third is a holiday treat.  My first idea wasn't available yet, so I went ahead and finally bought some kids play mats to use as blocking mats.

I don't care that they're colourful, I only want them as a surface that holds t-pins.

So that was my swap to myself. The really nice thing is that the yarn had a chance to win, the chocolate was on sale, and the blocking mats were free with a gift certificate to the hardware store! 


Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Christmas Wrap-Up and Pretty Yarn

I just went back and checked my Christmas List, and actually, most of my gift knitting is done, or getting close to done.

Last night, while at the Knit Cafe's Knit Night, I finished up the Mini Dalek Coffee Cozy.  Let it dry overnight after blocking, and volia!

 Ugh, and yes, the pictures are sideways.  I thought I'd fixed that, but I guess not.

Also while at the Knit Cafe, I discovered that they sell some of the Fleece Artist yarns.  I don't know how I missed this, they've apparently had them all summer!  I was seriously debating waiting until the boxing day sales to get this, (given that I already got yarn at EatSleepKnit's Black Friday sale) but it just kept calling me.

Anyway, given my roommate's love of deep forest and regal greens, I came home with a skein of Fleece Artist BFL Sock, in what I think is "Spruce."  (Fleece Artist doesn't label their colourways, so that's my best guess).   The photo doesn't do the deepness of the greens justice, I think.

When I showed her the skein, she loved it, and requested a hat in it.  I was kind of hoping to make socks, but she declared that "it's too pretty for socks!"  So it's going to become a Small-Gauge "Knotty but Nice" hat.   It may be next year's birthday or Christmas present. I'm not sure yet.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

More WIP insanity

So, if you remember my last post, lamenting my insanity about picking up a test-knit?

Well, I've got yet one more new thing on the needles.

I started a Silky Scallops Lace Scarf as a birthday present for my Grandmother.

 I already had the yarn in stash, so why not?  She goes out and plays cards twice a week at the local community centre, and so I figure I can make her something slightly dressy (but still warm), to wear in the winter when she goes out.

It's a bit thinner then I was originally hoping for, but hey, it's a nice fast knit that's an easy pattern to memorize.  It should grow somewhat when I block it with the silk content of the yarn.

Calling All Fans of Tanis Fiber Arts!

So yeah. . . Tanis is going to be in Toronto on Friday.

She's being hosted at the Purple Purl this Friday, November 29th, from 6 to 9 pm.

Details are here, on the Purple Purl's Ravelry Post about the event.

I definitely intend to go.

And, in celebration, here's some TFA patterns and projects I've updated over the past little while.  I'll be bringing these two, at least to show off while I'm there. :)

My Fairview Scarf:

and further progress on the Elementary Watson Socks:

I guess it's kind of telling that most of my knits in TFA yarns are knits for me. . . .  Shows how much I like it!

Looking Forward to Friday!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Mittens for Me

So I've been working on many things over the last little while.  Lots of knitting going on.

Anyway, one of my more rewarding 'quick knit' projects is my Fair Isle Mittens. They knit up really quickly in the worsted-weight wool, and they're heavy, and nice and warm.

I intend to make the matching cowl and hat, too, when I get the right size circulars.

I've just finished the fair-isle chart and am onto the decreases for the top of the mittens. I should easily get the other mitten finished by the deadline for the knit-along (December 15th).

Sorry for the slightly blurry picture, but it's hard to take a picture with my off hand.

With a bit more time, the right mitten should be done!

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Slow and Steady finishes a sweater

I mentioned earlier that I'd almost gotten around to joining the yoke for my Cabled Cardigan.

Well, I finally did a few days ago.

It might look a little odd now, but it's coming together ok.   The two balls are from my two alternating skeins.  If I look -really- close, there are a few spots where I can see the very subtle striping at the yoke.  But I don't think anyone's going to notice.

I still don't know if I need more yarn.  I'm pretty sure I will, (see here) but I just might be able to stretch the yarn I have. So I'm going to keep knitting on this, for now, and see how far I get before I run out of yarn.

It's funny. A lot of people are saying there is a problem with the yoke shaping in the pattern. 

However, because I'm doing this cardigan in fingering-weight yarn when it calls for worsted-weight yarn, so far, the yoke is working out just fine.  It's because my row gauge is screwy for this pattern. (I got stitch gauge, just not row gauge.)

I've been working on this sweater a row or two a day (pretty much every day unless I got super-busy), and it proves that slow and steady work means you can finish almost anything. I'm quite proud of how it's turning out.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Pretty (but annoying) Dragon Rider Gloves

The title pretty much says it all. 

The Dragon Rider Gloves are quite pretty, and I'm really happy with how they're turning out.  They're also a quick knit, so I'm not too worried about not being able to finish them for Christmas.

I've gotten past the thumb gusset, and I'm onto the hand proper now, which isn't that many repeats since they're stretchy lace and worsted-weight.

 (Not the best shot, but it works to show progress).

However, the pattern is riddled with typos and weird construction.

First, it's one of the glove patterns that isn't identical, it uses mirrored construction for the left and right glove.  That in itself is fine, but it does require you to pay attention. 

Where it describes the pattern row for the hand, it adds in markers that you only use for the thumb gusset, and the marker placement didn't seem quite right anyway.  I just ignored those. 

It also increases oddly for the thumb gusset, using 3 markers and increasing 2, 3, or no stitches.  (For that, just follow the pattern, it does look odd but it does work).

Finally, when you put the thumb stitches onto a stitch holder, the pattern doesn't tell you to cast on an additional stitch to replace the one you started with for the thumb gusset.   However, if you don't, your pattern stitch won't line up properly. You have to cast on 1 stitch to make the thumb work.

Also, in reading ahead in the pattern, the descriptions to split the stitches for the fingers is rather vague.  I'm glad I've done gloves before because it would be very easy to not realize that you have to take half your index finger stitches from the palm and half your index finger stitches from the back-of-hand. All the pattern says is to 'divide 12 stitches evenly among 3 needles' for the index finger.   If you just take the next 12 stitches from the needle, that won't work, and your index finger will be in the wrong place!

All that being said, though, the pattern is a fun knit, and isn't hard once you realize what's going on.  Provided you have experience making gloves/mittens, you should be able to figure it all out.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Ok, I am insane.

Hello all!

So, with this pile of Christmas Knitting still not really shrinking, plus the Sock-Along is still going. . .

And I add two things to my knitting.

The first is a new sock test-knit.  It's pretty, and just called my name so much I really rather have to do it.

I'll be using EliteSpun Fingering Weight in 'Sky.'

And the second. . . do you remember that Fairview Scarf pattern I bought a while ago?

Well, Tanis Fiber Arts is hosting a holiday Knit-Along.  So, I figured I'd give that a try.

So it will hopefully be a Fairview Scarf in Silver Label in "Cobalt."  

I'm actually really excited, since this has been queued for me for a while now.

However, I now have a great many WIPs.  This could be . . . interesting.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Ravelry Re-organization and Purple Purl Purple Sale!

So I've embarked on an ambitious task:  I want to re-organize and clear out my Ravelry Queue. 

It's a challenge, considering that I basically stuck any pattern that caught my fancy into my queue.  Now it's gotten way too long and unwieldy, so it's getting chopped down to size and most of the stuff is going into the favorites.

. . . this is going to take a while, considering it's 64 pages long, and that's after chopping it down already.

But, it's an ongoing battle.

In other news, the Purple Purl is having a Purple Sale. (Try saying that three times fast!)  It's just at the bottom of the newsletter link, and it's this weekend (Saturday, November 16th).  There will also be food, and, if you donate non-perishable food to their food bank drive, there are prize draws. :)

I'm going to try and go.  I want some Classic Elite Yarns Solstice (which is being discontinued, which -sucks-), to make a Sakura Tee, so I'm going to see if I can pick some up in a shade of purple. Usually I wouldn't grab yarn for a pattern this early, but since this is being discontinued, I want to grab it while I can.

Also, if money allows, I'll get a skein of Silver Label. Last time I was there, they still had some in the "Grape" colourway, which is both purple, and very pretty.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Christmas Knitting Update

I finished the Christmas Mittens!

I actually finished them last night, but only got the picture today.

They were a nice, simple knit in stocking stitch, and the 'string' is chain crochet attached by a small tab of single crochet (I wanted a sturdy connection between the chain and the mittens). 

They're for someone who is rather forgetful, so now these will be mittens that are harder to lose.   He (obviously jokingly) asked me for a pair of mittens-on-a-string for Christmas.  He thought it was a joke, so these will be a great surprise.

It's nice to have another finished Christmas gift, that's for sure.  

Friday, 8 November 2013

A search for stitch-holders and cable needles

First off, thank you -so- much!  Almost 2500 views -- I never thought I would really get any views. So, thank you!

Now, onto my realization of the day:  I need more stitch holders.

I mean, I have one holding the sleeve for my Cabled Cardigan (I'm hoping to join the yoke in on that next week, which will be exciting and picture worthy), I have one holding the thumb for my Pine Cone Mittens, I have one holding the one leg of my Pyjama Shorts, and I have one holding the thumb of my Christmas Mittens.

I never, ever thought I would need more then 4 stitch holders.

"But can't you just use scrap yarn?  That's what you use for stitch markers." 

Well, yes, but I find it really hard to get stitches off of scrap yarn and onto a needle, so I really don't like using scrap yarn to hold stitches.  As stitch markers, yes, I love scrap yarn.  It means that I can't accidentally knit my marker into my work, and I don't have to worry.  It also is a nice way to use up yarn scraps.  But for holding stitches, no, it's not my first choice.  I grudgingly use it for lifelines (when I remember to put in lifelines), but that's about it.

So, my current "important" projects are now the projects that are using my stitch holders, so that I can put the thumbs on my various christmas knitting projects.

Also, I lost my little cable needle.   I have several cable needles, but one is this little purple one, and it's thinner then most cable needles I usually see.  The other ones are a bit too big for working on my Cabled Cardigan.

I would say that since I lost it at home it can't have gone too far.  With two cats, though, that cable needle could be just about anywhere. . . .

 I can pick up a new cable needle at Knit Night, it's just annoying because that one was nice and thin, perfect for cabling on socks and such. 

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Knitting and Novel-Writing

So, November is here, and with it comes colder weather.  This means, it's quite nice to sit inside and knit with a warm mug of hot chocolate. 

However, I do have to be aware that National Novel Writing Month is now happening, and my spare time is, well, pretty much non-existent.  However, luckily, most of my Holiday Knitting is transit friendly, and it's also a good way to give my brain a break when I just can't think of the next line to write.

So, the Mini-Dalek is progressing quite nicely.  I had an in-person chat with my giftee earlier in the week, and I now have a proper reference point for the sizing of this -- I'm going to have to make it longer, so I'm adding a second set of bobbles after the first welt.

 I'll have to go hunting through my button-jar to see if I have 3 matching buttons for this, but if not, a trip to the fabric store is in order anyway, as I have several projects that need various notions.

The Pine Cone mittens are also coming along well, especially considering that they were a stash-dive.  Left mitten is done except for the thumb, now, and the cuff's cast on for the right mitten.

The charted pattern on the back of the hand means this is a bit less transit-friendly, but the ribbing and such still is something I can bring with me while travelling.

Finally, the Christmas Mittens are one of the fastest knits I've ever done.  They're been almost completely made on various bus and subway rides, as I'm already done the thumb gusset and half-way up the palm for the right mitten.  It really does help that they're basically plain stocking stitch.

However, with all the various mittens I've been making, I'm beginning to run out of stitch holders!  They're all being used to hold thumb gusset stitches!

In less-stressful knitting news;  in my rare moments of relaxation where I'm not trying to write frantically, (usually while working on my Mass Effect 2 re-play), I've been working on my Evening Star Cowl and my Cabled Cardigan.  Even if it's only one row a day, I'm really enjoying my work on both of them, it keeps me feeling accomplished, and it's nice to see that the second sleeve for my cardigan is almost done. 

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Progress, and things off the needles!

Well, it's been a bit of time, but life's been busy over the last few days.

I'm not feeling so great today, thank goodness it's a slower day.  I was supposed to have a volunteer meeting today, but I let them know I won't be able to come (I don't think running to the bathroom every few minutes would make me that productive).

On the plus side, feeling like crap means I'll just stay home and knit today.

But even over the last few days, I've been productive with my knitting.

1) The Christmas Mittens are a wonderfully simple pattern, and I got mitten number one finished on the bus and during a volunteer photo shoot. (I did, I found, have to go up to 3.5 mm needles for the right tension, but that's ok.)

It seems like this picture is better indicative of the true colour, even though it was taken at night with a camera flash.  Weird. . . .

I've since added the thumb, sewn in the ends, and started in on mitten two.  (And one of the complete non-knitters at my volunteering asked me in surprise if I was knitting with the tapestry needle while I was sewing in ends at the photo shoot.  I laughed and explained that 'no, this is just for sewing it together.  She told me that made a lot more sense, and we both laughed.)

Also, the Fall Lake Slippers are finally done!  The tubular cast-off takes a while, but it's worth it for the stretchy edge.

No new picture there, since I gave the second one to my roommate pretty much the moment it was done.  But I think you folks can get the idea.

That's it for the moment, more to come when I feel better.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Eat.Sleep.Knit's Yarn Sale

My apologies for not blogging about this sooner, but EatSleepKnit is having an overstock sale.  They've still got some colours left, if you'd like to check them out.

The reason I remember this today is that my order came today with Shibui Knits Heichi, in "column".

It's not something I would have usually bought, but it was a Power Boost yarn at 20% off.  I can find a use for it, I'm quite sure. (And I got 5 dollars of store credit on the Yarn Lotto that came with it too, so that makes it even better.)

I still have on order from their overstock sale a skein of Claudia Silk Lace in "Argyle",  6 skeins of Manos del Uruguay Maxima in "Fire" for a next year's Christmas Present (see, I -do- plan ahead sometimes, I swear!) and a skein of Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Hand Dyes in "Mullberry", also for a next years Birthday. 

It's only some colours that are on sale, but their sale list is here, if you want to check it out.  A lot of their yarns on sale are also power boost yarns, and that does stack, if there's something you want.

My other current knitting challenge is revising my Ravelry Queue, tagging it all, and moving most of it into my Favorites, so that it's all sorted for next year.  My queue's just gotten too unwieldy. 

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Cable Disasters

I screwed up.

No.  It's not supposed to look like that.  Not at all.

I mis-crossed the centre cable on the Sleeve of my Spring Coat.  That's what I get for knitting cable patterns while distracted.  Now usually, I'm the type to leave small mistakes where they lie, but this, this is a big mistake, and annoyingly visible.  It will bug me.  It looks deformed and I hate it.

But I also can't just ladder down and fix it, because there are other cables in the way.


This wonderful post on how to darn over screwed up cables, from the Yarn Harlot's Blog

I'll be doing option number two (aka, the voodoo), as soon as I hit the end of this skein and have some yarn free to do the darning.

Because that is just too ugly for me to be happy with it otherwise. 

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Slipper Love and Christmas Knitting Update

Well, it's hard to have second-slipper syndrome when the slipper is really well loved.

My roommate took the finished Fall Lake Slipper and is wearing it mis-matched with her remaining old slipper -- she loves it that much.  Apparently it's really nice and warm.

 It's really heartening to see a knitted gift so well received.  And she's not pestering me for the mate, either. . . though when I was uninspired when my knitting tonight, I asked her what I should work on, and she grinned and told me I should work on her slipper.   But I consider that funny, not pestering.  Besides, I did ask.

Beyond the slippers, the Christmas Knitting is progressing nicely.  There's not yet pictures of everything, but, I'll share the pictures I do have.

1) The Pine Cone Mittens:

These are turning out better then I'd hoped, considering that they were a complete stash-dive and I wasn't sure how the yarn would turn out.   There's more ribbing done now then the picture shows.

2) The Mini-Dalek Coffee Cozy:

This is easily my most complicated Christmas Gift, but it's a nice challenge.  I do find I can only take so much of the bobbles, though, before I need a break from this.   Also, it was a real trick getting the gauge right, since I'm scaling down the pattern.  Basically, I took the dimensions my giftee gave me (about the size of a water-glass), and then did some swatches to see what stitches-per-inch would give me that finished size.

Didn't -quite- work as easily as that, but I got it sorted out in the end.

3) The Dragon Rider Gloves:

I was surprised by this pattern, since there's no ribbing around the edge of the cuffs, just a band of ribbing on the palm.  Also, there's some typos in the pattern before the thumb gusset, which make things kind of confusing.  If it weren't for Ravelry, I probably would be a lot more frustrated with these then I am.

So for once, the Christmas Knitting is actually kind of under control.  It's keeping me busy, yes, but I don't feel overwhelmed by it.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Piles and Piles of Christmas Knitting (and stuff for me, too!)

I decided to enter a KAL featuring Christmas Knitting.

While only one entry can actually be entered, you can knit as many things as you want, provided you only post one finished object in the final thread for the knit-along.

While you can't knit until October the 15th (tomorrow), you can swatch and wind yarn before, so I spent yesterday winding a whole bunch of yarn for these projects.

1) Dragon Rider Gloves.  They're for someone who reads this blog, so I'm hoping not to spoil the surprise too badly.

2) Mittens on a String.  These are a simple free mitten pattern.  My giftee for these is one of those types, while a really sweet person, who would leave his head behind if it wasn't attached to his body.   Hence, the mitten-string.

3) Mini-Dalek Coffee Cozy.  This is going to be the most complicated of my Christmas gifts since I'm re-sizing the pattern.  It's just a matter of recalculating and shrinking stitches per inch, but it still has to be done. Gauge isn't absolutely crucial on this, which does give me a bit of wiggle room.

4) Pine Cone Mittens.  Yet another pattern from Knitting Everyday Finery, these are the only project I haven't created a Ravelry Project Page for, because the yarn for them doesn't need to be wound, it's a giant ball of worsted-weight mill ends I got ages ago that came pre-wound.   These are for the friend who was kind enough to lend me a netbook to get through the laptop being down.  He wasn't initially on my knitting list, but he really did come to my rescue since I need the computer for work.

Finally, there's a project for me, as part of the idea of this KAL is that you don't forget about yourself during the frantic rush of holiday knitting.  The idea is you get one entry for a gift, and one entry for something you knit for yourself.  So, like I mentioned before, I'm going to be making myself a fair-isle hat/cowl/mitten set.

It's going to be a busy next few months.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Scarf is done (or, progress on the Christmas Knitting!)

So, the Entrelac Scarf for my Father is finally done.


It's nice to have something off the needles, since several more things will be going on the needles in the next little while.

There's another KAL here on Ravelry that's all about Christmas knitting, so I'm going to enter that with my remaining Christmas Gifts.

Also, that KAL challenges you to make one thing for yourself, as well, so I'm going to make these (non ravelry link here), using Briggs and Little I got early in 2013.  The DROPS patterns are actually really nice patterns, even if sometimes the instructions are a touch vague (but that's probably just due to the translations, I suspect.)

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Technical Acheivements

My laptop is now back up and working wonderfully.


I am however, fighting a cold.   But that's secondary.

Because my laptop died, I needed some way to access the internet for work.   I've been meaning to buy a tablet computer for a while now, so my laptop not working (plus having the paycheque to actually pay for this tablet) meant that I had the impetus to actually go -get- a tablet.

I quite like it.  More then I thought I would.

I don't like the touch-screen keyboard, but as a small note-taking device/portable day planner/to-do list/portable knitting library it works great!

However, I had one puzzle to figure out, and having figured it out, I thought I would share.

Most of my digital knitting patterns are in PDF format.  That was easy. All I had to do was to download the PDF reader app.

However, some of my patterns are websites (the two that come immediately to mind are the DROPS pattern site and the Knitty E-zine.)  Now don't get me wrong, I love both those sites.  But I didn't bother to pay for data on my tablet.  Data is absurdly expensive for what you get here in Canada, and most places do have available wi-fi.

This did mean, however, that I couldn't access the pattern websites when I was somewhere without wi-fi, like, for example, on the subway.

Now, on my computer, my work-around was simple -- I just saved the entire web page with the pattern I wanted to my hard drive.  That means that in case the website was down, or eventually expires, I still have the pattern saved.  But you can't do that on a mobile device -- at least, not easily.

What you can do, however, is use the Mozilla Firefox Mobile Browser, and use its 'Save as PDF' function.  This allows you to save a web page as a PDF, which then can be read off-line.

Puzzle solved!   I have to admit to finding this quite a useful little feature! 

Second Slipper Syndrome

So laptop is working again.  This is actually really good news, as I'm back on my own machine and I have all my pictures.

 But despite my increased knitting, I've been neglecting my Fall Lake Slippers. Though they don't have a specific set deadline, I've been asked to have them finished for when the weather starts to get cold, which is has.

And yet, I can't find the impetus to work on the second slipper.  First one is done, finished:

But the second one is completely unappealing to knit, despite that they knit up really fast in the bulky yarn.

Well, maybe when I get a few more things off of my needles, I'll get inspiration for these again.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Knit-Along, Sock-Along

Hello again, and sorry for the brief hiatus.   I do not yet have a working laptop, but a friend has been kind enough to lend me his old netbook until my laptop is fixed. The laptop technician is hopefully coming on Tuesday.

In more knitting-related news, the cowl KAL is done, and I did not finish.  I got about half-way done.

But, I am loving how it's turning out.

I did get the needles I ordered from EatSleepKnit, but I realized that I wanted the HiyaHiya Sharps.  I'd ordered the standard HiyaHiya circulars.  It's my own fault for not paying more attention.

That's ok, you can never have too many circular needles in various sizes and lengths.  At this point I've gotten used to the Aero needles for this cowl, so I'll just keep it on those, I think.

As for the Sock-Along, it's progressing pretty well.  I did my first toe-up cast on with the Elementary Socks, and it wasn't nearly as hard as I thought.

The Froot Loops Socks have just been started again after I had to frog them.  But they're coming along ok.

They are coming along and I'm quite liking the colour.  This photo turned out pretty true-to-life for the colour, which makes them one of my more vibrant pairs of socks, but hey, I can live with that. 

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Laptop Woes and beginning the Sock-Along

So for those of you who saw this post earlier, I apologize for the weirdness, Blogger and a tablet don't work so well together.

Yes, my laptop went sputch.

It's back running for now, with a priviso from the techs that "lets see if this happens again," basically.  They're going to call back tomorrow after I run some tests and see how well this thing works out over the next few days, and if their fix holds or if they need a new fix.

In the mean time, my yarn came for the ESK Sock-Along.  The poor postman actually came to the door while I was on the phone with the laptop tech, so I feel rather bad for him.

Anyway:  Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label in 'Natural'

and in 'Peacock'

(and yes, my hair got in the way of the camera on that second pic!)

I've done a lot of knitting with having a non-functioning laptop, but not actually a lot to show for it, since my primary knitting has been on the Evening Star Cowl KAL, which while pretty, doesn't knit up very fast at all.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Tubular Cast-Off Tutorial

Hello all!

When it comes to casting off, I usually have the problem of my cast-off being -way- too tight for my project.   This is ok, or at least tolerable, on a sleeve, or something that will be seamed.

It -sucks- for any edge that needs the elasticity.  The only reason my Freestyle Shawl (an older project) didn't suffer from this is because it was knit on a bigger needle size, and even then, the cast off edge is far tighter then I would like.

So, since the Fall Lake Slippers are knit toe-up, and I was really worrying about that cuff.  Would my cast-off make the cuff just too darn tight?

But then I learned about a technique called Tubular Cast-Off. It's a touch more time-consuming, but it's worth it if you don't want a tight bind-off edge.  The pattern actually contains a really nice tutorial on this. 

From my internet research, there seem to be several ways of doing this, but I'm going to show you the one I like -- and the one that the pattern specifies.

(P. S.:  I'm still perfecting taking camera pictures of my work in a way that doesn't come out blurry.  I'd like to think I'm getting better, but I do know they're still not the greatest pictures.)

 Start by doing at least one row of k1 p1 ribbing before your bind off row.

Then, measure across your work (or around if you're working in the round), and cut a tail of yarn four times longer then your measurement.  Thread that through a tapestry needle.

 In this photo, I've already done part of the cast off, but that's ok, there's no set-up required for this, other then the previous row of ribbing.

Step one is to pass the tapestry needle through the first stitch on your needle as if to knit, slip the first stitch off of the needle.

Now, pass the tapestry needle through the second stitch on your needle as if to purl.  Leave this stitch on the needle.

Next, keeping the yarn in front, pass the tapestry needle through the first stitch on the needle as if to purl and slip this stitch off of the needle.

Now, bring the yarn behind (not over the needle, you don't want a yarn-over here), and insert the tapestry needle between the first and second stitches on the needle, going from back to front.

The last step is to pass the needle, once again, through the second stitch on the needle as if to knit.

And that is that!  Repeat this until all the stitches have been cast off, pull the tail through the last stitch, if necessary, and weave in the end.

As a note, this is actually a variant on grafting (aka kitchener stitch), so you'll see a lot of online tutorials asking you to split your work onto two needles.  I like this method because you don't have to do that, but if you find that works better for you, then by all means.

This is a slower method then the typical cable cast-off, and it does mean that if you don't cut a long enough tail of yarn you could be in trouble.  Also, because it does use the k1 p1 ribbing, it might not work for something like a shawl edge.  But for things like cuffs (I'm betting this will see a lot of use when I try out toe-up socks!), it's actually really nice.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Treasure Finds at Knit-O-Matic

My apologies, I meant to get this post up earlier!  But I was distracted by knitting. Can I be forgiven?



Due to scheduling between my volunteer work and choir practice, there is the occasional day where I don't have enough time to go home, but I still have time to kill.  And Knit-O-Matic is basically right along my travel path.

So I decided to stick my head in there (I'd only been briefly, once before), and hang out and knit.

It was actually really awesome.  They've got a good selection of yarn (and for the more budget conscious, their sale bins usually have something awesome in them), and the woman I met (whom I'm assuming is the store's owner, and I'm sadly blanking on her name), had a real live lovebird on her shoulder, which is amazing!

I am the type that if I'm in a new yarn store and I've spent a good bit of time knitting, I find it polite to buy something.  I've taken up their time, used their space; I don't mind supporting them. (If I'm a regular, I won't buy something every time I'm there, but I do still try and buy something occassionally, even it's just a snack, tea, or a new set of needles).

So I walked away with three things:

1) Two skeins of Dream in Colour Classy from their Sale Bin:

"Some Summer Sky"

and "Midnight Derby".

I have plans for both skeins already, both are, hopefully, going to become heavy socks.

Speaking of socks, though, the far more exciting find, though, was a copy of "Knit.Sock.Love"

While the e-book on Ravelry isn't too badly priced, the physical book is out of print, and, due to oddities (or should that be stupidities?) in Amazon's pricing algorithms, is currently priced at around 300 dollars for a new copy and starts at 60 for a used copy. My copy was 35 dollars and change, which is far more reasonable. 

When I saw that on the shelf, I just knew I -had- to pick it up while I had the chance.  Though I'm not a sock-knitting addict, socks make wonderful portable projects, and great gifts.  You can never have too many sock patterns, I figure, since you will almost always need more socks.

Project Update -- September 27th, 2013

No pictures (it's dark now, so pictures don't turn out as well), but some news.

1)  I've determined that yes, I -will- need more yarn to finish my Mariah Cabled Cardigan. It's been an interesting adventure, knitting this, because I started when I knew a lot less then I know now.

So, I've put 1 more skein of the Dream In Colour Smooshy with Cashmere on my wishlist at EatSleepKnit.  (It's not in stock there right now).    Where I originally got the yarn, back in 2012, is no longer carrying Dream in Colour yarns, in fact, I haven't found a local place that carries the Smooshy with Cashmere.  Knit-O-Matic could order a bag of the Smooshy with Cashmere, I've been told, but I don't need a bag, just one more skein.  And though yes, I could use the other skeins in luxurious socks, I don't like the cashmere content in socks, because I want my socks to be machine washable.

However, this means that my new skein, like most hand-dyed yarns, won't be an exact match.  So, my plan is to finish up the sleeve with the skein I have now, then alternate the new skein with the ends from my various old skeins, and hope that hides the worst of the dye lot variation.

2) My Cowl KAL is progressing. . . slowly.  I just sat down with Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan (can I say that I love the original series far more then the JJ Abrams reboot?)  and knit through that, which got me to the second pattern repeat (the pattern repeats 6 times).   When I'm done here, I'm going to stick on the Star Trek original series episode "Space Seed" and see if I can't get more knitting done tonight before my roommate gets home from work.

3) My Christmas Entrelac Scarf is getting closer to completion.  It's become my take-along brainless knitting for the moment, because it really is.  Entrelac looks complicated, but so long as you don't knit too many stitches in a section, you're fine.  I'm going to use three balls of the Liberty Wool Light, and then I'll see how much longer I think it needs to be.  I'm also going to add some fringe to it -- I think it would look better.

Knitting In Public Trials

So, there have been a few things that happened in my knitting life, but this one is kind of sad.

I do volunteer work, and I often knit something brainless through the meetings.  They can get quite long, and while I do totally appreciate making sure that everyone is heard, it does mean that the meetings can drag sometimes.

So, I knit.  It helps me pay attention, and it keeps me from fidgeting or going stir-crazy during the long meetings.

Apparently someone took objection to that.  It's probably the assumption that I'm being disrespectful to the speakers, or that I'm not paying attention (despite the fact that I tend to be pretty vocal during these meetings).   I can understand that, it's a common assumption, and I can totally see why someone who doesn't knit could think that my attention is not on the speakers or the meeting.

The sad part of it is, they didn't come to me.  They wrote a note to the person running the meeting, who then had to talk to me.  Now, the person running the meeting doesn't mind my knitting at all, (and hadn't even noticed until it was pointed out) so as long as I am still actually paying attention, and am not distracting the people next to me, it's not a problem in their mind.

Fair enough.

I just wish that whoever felt that my knitting was disruptive for some reason could have come to me directly.   I would have happily explained.   I'd have to find the links again, (and if someone is curious, I can go digging for them) but there are actual studies showing that knitting actually increases your absorption of information.

Anyway, I did agree to bring a smaller project (I was working on my scarf, and it's getting kind of long), in case it was just the size that was distracting -- if it's a much smaller 'in hand' kind of project, maybe it won't bug others as much. I don't mind compromising at all, I really just wish I could have had this sort of discussion with whoever it is that is bothered by my knitting.  

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Gox Sock the first is done!

Well, the post title pretty much says it all.  I finished up the first of the Gox Socks at about 11:30 tonight.

I could have waited to get a better picture tomorrow morning in sunlight, but I'm impatient!  (That and I have lots to do tomorrow, so I didn't want to have these languishing without a picture for too long).

Since the test-knit only asked for one sock, this means that they can be back-burnered for a while while I focus on holiday knitting and my various KALs.

They're actually -really- comfy.  The arch shaping felt a little odd when I first tried it on, but it works out well.  Don't let the odd look of this sock deceive you, it really does work.