Saturday, 31 August 2013

Test-Knit Woes

Ok.  So remember how I started a new test-knit?

Well, I did. And I'm loving the pattern.

However, I think it's cursed.

This is my 4th attempt at a cast on.

The first, I accidentally twisted my cast-on when joining in the round.

The second, I screwed up the cuff pattern badly enough that I just decided it was easier to unravel.

The third, I had a double-pointed needle come loose of my knitting while it was in my bag, the yarn caught on my notebook, and I had an unraveled mess.

So, attempt number four is going well.  No pictures yet (nothing really of substance since I haven't finished the cuff yet), and I'm holding my breath hoping I don't have to cast on -again-!

However, despite my trouble with the cast-on, the pattern's looking pretty awesome.  It's the first time I'm doing a sock with arch shaping, so it also looks a touch intimidating.  But the designer's been awesome about answering questions, so I'm not too worried if I get stuck.

Something else cast on! (Was this a good idea?)

So, pretty much as the link says.

I'm just currently balling up the yarn for a pair of Marilyn Shorts, from the same pattern book as the Flying Geese Mittens I made previously.  The book's called Knitting Everyday Finery, and I've been very impressed by the patterns inside.

Was this a good idea?

No, not necessarily.

I've had the yarn for these for a while -- I got a bunch of Skeins of Spud and Chloe Sweater at the Toronto Knitters Frolic earlier in the year.

The main colour is going to be Skydiver:



with the contrast stripes in Ice Cream:


I wasn't originally planning on casting these on for a bit, since I had so much other stuff on my needles.

But I'm finding that all of my (super-old) pyjama bottoms have started to wear out and just can't be patched any more.  So, I need new pj shorts, and these should suffice.  I'm hoping to eventually make several pairs.

Also, interestingly enough, the pattern calls for Rowan Wool Cotton. In the Ravelry Pattern Database, it's a DK-weight yarn, but the pattern actually calls for a sport-weight yarn.  So I'm not sure exactly how this is going to work out.  I'm definitely going to have to swatch this.


Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Somewhat Belated Birthday Present

Short post right now, but I wanted to update people. :)

I finally got around to taking my birthday money, and ordering a Yarn Swift, like I said I was going to.

Like I said before, I've heard very good things about Hornshaw Wood Works, and so I decided to get a swift from there.  It's a bit more expensive, but an umbrella swift just isn't an option, and I've always like supporting local crafters.  Besides, I'd rather shell out more now then just have something that will break in a few years.

As usual, despite the Canadian and US dollars being almost at par, the exchange rate doesn't actually reflect that, but I've just come to a grudging acceptance of that.

It should arrive relatively soon, and I'll put it to work winding sock yarn from Stoddart Family Farms. (I got some of their yarn at the Toronto Knitter's Frolic, and I intend to get more at next years Frolic if they're there again.) 

Otherwise, It's been a much less hectic knitting schedule now, so I'm just going to take some fun projects and wander out to knit night tonight after dinner.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Lucky Lotto!

Wow.

So my final order (for now) from Eat.Sleep.Knit came today.

I got 6 skeins of Sweet Georgia Merino Silk Aran in the Saltwater colourway.  It's another yarn currently on power boost.


It's a little brighter then I thought it would be, but it's still a gorgeous colour.

However, tucked away at the bottom of the box was a Yarn Lotto ticket that ended up being worth 100 dollars of store credit!

This is awesome.  I'm going to send this out tomorrow.  It takes a while to get to them (international mail and all that), so I want to get this out as soon as I can.

Well, there's absolutely nothing wrong with cheap/free yarn. :D

First finger done! (And more math)

Ok, so I've gotten the pinky finger done on the Birthday Gloves.

I'm generally happy with how it turned out, but I've learned two things.

1) This pattern requires -a lot- of math to make it work.  Not necessarily hard math, but it's just making sure that things line up right and work right.

The pattern expected that I would do the pinky finger on 4 needles, 18 stitches on the needles.  That just seemed too finicky, so I went down to 3 needles.  Unfortunately, all of the pattern dicrections for the decreases at the top of the needle are written as "k2tog, k to end of needle, ssk."  So I had to do the math to figure out where the decreases were supposed to go on my 3 needles.

To make matter worse, you do the decrease round twice, with the same description.  But on the second decrease round, it doesn't make sense.  After the first decrease round you have 8 stitches decreased, (and 10 on the needles).  Ok, fine.  But 10 stitches won't give you 4 stitches per needle on 4 needles, so you can't do both k2tog and ssk on the same needle.  Three needles would have three stitches, and one needle would have 4 stitches.

I just ended up doing it as (k2tog, ssk) repeat to end, and it seems to have turned out ok.

2) I think I'm going to do the thumb next.  Because it's an afterthought thumb (which I've never done before but it doesn't look too hard)  I can do it whenever I want.   The reason for this is simply that it should make it a lot easier to try them on for rough sizing or to get pictures (my giftee's hands are only a little bit bigger then mine.)

Despite all the trouble, I am -really- liking the pattern, and I do plan to make a second pair (for myself!)


Sunday, 25 August 2013

Birthday Socks are done!

Well, the post title pretty much says it all.  I finished them this morning with about 3 hours to spare.

They're currently drying outside after being steam-blocked.

Here's a better look at the pattern:

Oh, and if anyone ever says you don't need to block socks; that's not necessarily true:

The right sock is post steam-blocking with an iron, the left sock has not been touched.

I just got the socks wet and then ironed them, using the steam setting of the iron to keep them wet (see my steam-blocking tutorial if you're curious).

As much as these were awesome to knit, I'm glad their off the needles. That deadline got really -really- close.

Note to self: give more time for birthday and Christmas knits next time!

Friday, 23 August 2013

Briggs and Little and Cats!

So, remember that Briggs and Little order I mentioned?

Well, it came today in a big brown bag of yarn.

So I pulled the yarn out to sort it, get photographs for my Ravelry stash, and get it put away.

But first, this happened.

 Kitty number one decided that the brown bag of yarn made a great hidey-hole!

But, that's not all.




Once I had the yarn out, kitty number two went a little nuts. . . apparently she -loves- Briggs and Little!  She didn't do anything other then nuzzle it, so I wasn't too worried.  She had both me and my roommate laughing! 

As you can probably see, she eventually nuzzled all the yarn away from her!

So yeah.  Briggs and Little is apparently definitely kitty-approved.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Birthday Socks and finishing by Sunday. . .

So, the Birthday Socks have to be done by Sunday.

I don't have any pictures of this frantic knitting, but it is frantic.  To keep my brain from exploding, I've started playing Knights of The Old Republic (and it was a trick to get it running on Windows 7, let me tell you!) Like most video games, I knit during cut-scenes and while waiting for Force Points to recharge.

That being said, though, KoTOR has an annoying tendency to crash-to-desktop. (It's supposedly due to the 'new' mult-core processors that are standard in most computers now).  While it does mean a bit more knitting time while it boots back up, it is rather annoying.

Anyway, this knitting and gaming has gotten me to the gusset decreases.  Considering that I only recently started the second sock, this is actually going surprisingly fast.

I'll have tomorrow and Saturday (including an RPG session) to finish the foot and toe.  And if I'm weaving in ends on the TTC Sunday morning, I can live with that!

Well, anyway, back to knitting and gaming. I get to go talk to the Jedi council now, and I want to see if I can finish the gusset decreases tonight.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

New Socks Test-knit

So, the details on my new test-knit.

The pattern is called My Gox, and the Ravelry database page for it is here.

I picked up two skiens of Tanis Blue Label from The Purple Purl today for this; and I have to admit, I'm actually really excited about these, despite my mounting pile of other knitting. (I even had enough reward points to get 25 dollars off, too!)

So, Tanis Blue Label in Frost:


It's a neat colourway, and I think it will really suit the pattern (not to mention, I'm loving the Tanis Blue Label for socks.  It seems to work really well.) 

I was hoping to only need one skein of Blue Label.  I still might only need the one.  But in speaking with the designer, the yardage for the pattern is just enough that I'd rather have the second skein.  I'd rather have it and not need it, then need it and not have it.  And, I have plans for that second skein anyway -- the leftovers from the Gox Socks will (hopefully) become the Birch Leaf Socks from "A Gathering of Lace."


Oh, and speaking of test-knits, the pattern for my previous pair of test-knit socks (I should really finish the other sock of that pair!) just went live.  They're Pacific Rim socks, and the pattern is a) really fun to knit, and b) a great way to use up oddiments of sock yarns.

The Mittens are Done: No More Grubby Hands!

So, if you recall, I was working on a pair of fingerless mittens to keep the crap, crud and general -stuff- off of my hands while using the wheelchair?

They're done!

I finished them up at Knit Night last night. I was one of the last people out, trying to actually get them done, and the ends woven in!  I really do find I'm more productive with my knitting at knit-night.

. . . maybe it's because there's no internet. . . :D

Anyway, when I pulled them back out for a picture today, I had missed an end.  That was a two-second fix, though.

I really like the pattern. The cable on the back keeps things interesting.  They're called Flying Geese Mittens, by Mel Clark (who is very awesome and really sweet about answering questions on Ravelry, by the way!).  They're from a book called Knitting Everyday Finery, which I picked up off of Amazon and am totally loving.  The book is in print and easily findable on Amazon (and I've seen a few stores stocking it too). 

The mittens knit up very quick, (when I'm not ignoring them in favour of other projects!).  Only comment is that the small isn't that small.  If you have smaller hands, like me, you might want to take out a few more stitches around.  For my purposes right now, a touch loose is perfect, because that way they can also go over coat cuffs and such and keep them protected.  It's an easy fix, though, and several people have put how to make them a touch smaller in their pattern notes on Ravelry.

I've also signed up for another sock test knit, so there'll be more on that soon!

Monday, 19 August 2013

Project Update -- August 19th

Ok, so a few new photos and general progress:

First, progress on the Birthday Gloves:

I've finished the chart, and ended up doing a few extra rows to get to the right measurement to divide for the fingers.


But they're a reasonably fast knit; and I'm not worried about making my deadline here.

Second, I went back to the mini-skeins from my EatSleepKnit order; and started working them into the Sock Yarn Blanket.  I haven't gotten to the Arroyo yet, but the Shibui Linen knits up quite nicely; though it's not a yarn I'm likely to get for myself.

 The square in progress there is actually leftover yarn from the Birthday Gloves -- like I said, I'm going to have lots of leftovers.

Finally, although there's no picture, I'm about half-way up the legs of the second of the  Birthday Socks.

That's it for updates for now, there will be more coming soon, as usual!

Friday, 16 August 2013

Briggs and Little, and plans for an experiment:

So, I gave in.

A few posts ago, I commented that I would have to make an order to the Briggs and Little Mill?
I did that today.

It's actually quite a sizable order, given that, like a lot of my recent yarn buying, I was waiting until I had money.

I was going to delay on this further, but my roommate requested a new pair of slippers in Atlantic, (her slippers are holding on with sewing and duct tape!)  and I've been meaning to make myself a new summer cap for a while, since I left the old one behind at a friends house a few weeks ago.  So, I decided that now was the time to do that order.  I also decided to do a bigger order because a) I do have money right now, and b) it saves on shipping.

They were really sweet over the phone, and told me that it will go out in the post tomorrow.   Unlike my previous annoyance with Canada Post (see the bottom of this post), the final price includes taxes and shipping, and shouldn't include any surprises, given that it's shipping in Canada to Canada.

I got a bunch of stuff in a variety of weights, including some Super for a knitting experiment:  Can I knit a winter coat that will stand up to a Toronto Winter?

See, I found a pattern for a Winter Parka (yes, I kid you not!) in an old Patons Leaflet that I inherited. I really like the look, but I don't think it's going to be warm enough on its own.  So, I'm upping the yarn weight from Bulky to Super-Bulky (at the same gauge, so it should be a good, tight, fabric), and I'm going to double-knit a lining into it (I'm currently thinking Blue Sky Alpaca's Techno for the lining).  Then I can also add in something else for warmth if needed (I'm thinking something along the lines of Briggs and Little's Carded Fleece, but that's still being explored).

After this, I really won't need any more yarn (Except the Sweet Georgia Superwash Worsted I've got wait-listed at EatSleepKnit, but that's for Christmas Gifts.)

Thursday, 15 August 2013

More yarn!

I just got my second order from Eat.Sleep.Knit.  I ordered 3 more skeins of Lady Godiva, to take advantage of the power boost (you get extra credit for yardage on certain yarns there when you order.)

  

So, this is Lady Godiva in 'Ocean.'


I also got the Welcome Package from Eat.Sleep.Knit.

Inside was a pattern for a mini-sweater (it'll make a good key-chain or Christmas ornament), as well as two mini-skiens.

The first is Malabrigo Arroyo:


and the second is Shibui Knits Linen:


Both are yarns I wouldn't have necessarily gotten on my own.  I do like the malabrigo in particular, but I'm not quite sure what to do with them. I'm suspecting they might end up in the Sock Yarn Blanket I'm working on. (It's not just sock yarn, but the point still stands).

I also won 5 dollars of store credit on their Yarn Lotto!  I'm having really good luck with that!

Only point of annoyance is with Canada Post.  Though the yarn doesn't have duty, thanks to NAFTA, I do have to pay the taxes on it.  That I don't mind.  I don't necessarily like taxes, but I recognize their use and necessity.

Canada post charges a handling fee of 10 dollars, to process about 10 dollars in taxes.   That is not so awesome.  There's no way to not pay this handling fee that's the same cost as the taxes.   That's the part that annoys me.

However, my annoyance didn't last long when I turned to take the box out to the recycling and was faced with this:

Like most cats, my kitty likes boxes.  She's actually gone to sleep in the box at the time of my typing.  I have to eventually disturb her to take the box out, but it can wait for the moment.    I have new yarn to put away first.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Birthday Knitting Reprive

So, I just found out that I've got an extra week on the Birthday Socks, since I won't be seeing my giftee until later in August.

Whew!

But, today is my birthday, so I feel absolutely no obligation to do any chores, and I don't have work today . . . so I'm just going to sit and knit on my fun projects for a while.  I'll probably take the socks to knit-night, just so that I do have impetus to work on them, though.  (That, and I haven't been to knit-night in a few weeks, with the new job and such, so I'm really looking forward to it!)


Monday, 12 August 2013

Birthday Wishes . .

So, tomorrow is my Birthday.

I know what I'm getting with my Birthday Money.

I'm going to get a yarn swift.

I've been eyeing the swifts from the Hornshaw Wood Works for a while now -- I love the fact that they're hand-crafted; and I'm hearing really good things about them.  I also need something that will compact for my small apartment.  I also like them because they don't need to be clamped to a table (I have very few surfaces that can take a clamp).  The shipping costs for shipping to Canada for aren't great, but they're not -horrible-, either.

So, I'll take my birthday money and splurge on a swift, -before- I pull out the 1000-yard skeins of lace weight yarn that are hiding around in my stash cupboard. :D

Birthday Knitting -- More Progress!

I've been productive over the last few days!

First, I finished sock number one on the Birthday Socks.


One more sock to go.  I might just get these done in time!  (Assuming I knit nothing else, which with my attention span isn't that likely. . . ) 

I took these to my cousin's birthday party.  Since I had a train ride to get there, that helped.   And, two of my aunts knit, so they and I sat in the living room later and chattered and knit. :)

Secondly, I got a good chunk done on the the Birthday Gloves.

(The picture keeps uploading sideways.  It's annoying, but I don't know how to fix it.  In the mean time, just tilt your head and you'll get the idea! :D)

Well, tonight was an evening meeting at work, and now I've ordered in some sushi.  I just intend to knit as fast as possible over the next little while.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Yarn Haul!

So, I went to the Purple Purl's sale, and came back with quite a nice haul of yarn and pattern books.

I got 5 skeins of Noro Silk Garden Sock for an Entrelac Scarf,   I meant to grab the heavyier-weight Silk Garden, but this should work just fine.

(I swear, this pattern is cursed, this is the second time I've grabbed the wrong weight of yarn for it!)


Anywyay, I also got 8 skeins of Classic Elite Yarns Solstice, for a t-shirt,


A bunch of different colours of Spud & ChloĆ« Fine, for another pair of Woman's Fair-Isle Gloves. It's the same pattern I'm using for the Birthday Gloves, but this pair is going to be for me! 




 



And some Tanis Fiber Arts Green Label for a pair of basic mittens that will be a Christmas Gift.


Finally, I got some Dye-Version Bamboo Fingering, in the custom colourway dyed up for the Purple Purl.   This is the only yarn I don't have plans for, but it's been calling my name for a while.  It will become something awesome, I'm sure, especially with the two new lace pattern books I got on sale, as well.


(Edit:  I've found a pattern for this -- it's the June Bunnies Shawl.  I think it will work nicely with the yardage I've got.)

And, along with all that, like I mentioned, I got two lace pattern books I've had my eye on on Ravelry for quite some time.  The first is 'A Gathering of Lace' and the second is 'Arctic Lace

I've already got plans for several patterns in there. 


All in all, it was a pretty good day.  I got a lot of good stuff for cheap, and I won't need to buy yarn again for a -long- while (though I do have some plans that require some Briggs and Little Regal -- might be time for a call to the Briggs and Little mill soon. . . .)

Thursday, 8 August 2013

So How Fast can I knit. . .?

Ok. 

So I've gotten work done on a bunch of projects. I got past the thumb on the Birthday Gloves (no new picture there yet, sorry!), and I got 6 more squares done on Christmas Scarf. . . .

The Birthday Socks that I now have 10 days to finish?

No,  I haven't worked on them at all over this marathon until today, and the only reason I worked on them today was because I was out and about, and my work meeting takes place about two blocks from The Purple Purl.  So, I went in and just sat and knit (and chattered to the owners) and got a few inches into the foot.  But I still have another whole sock to do. 

This is going to be interesting. . .   can I knit fast enough to finish these socks in ten days?

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Hooded Scarf is done!

Well, the title pretty much says it all.


I put it on my head to get a decent picture -- it's currently stashed away in my room to be gifted later.

It ended up being absurdly long after blocking! (It was long -before- blocking!) I think it was the yarn I used, in part.  But I'm still quite happy with it.  My giftee can always wrap the extra length in the ends like a cowl or something, and I don't think she'll mind.

I ended up with a lot more yarn then I thought I would.  I'm now wondering if this yarn will make really cozy-soft socks . . . I suspect it will.  I will have to give that a try.  (Edit:  I found this pattern for Cabin Socks on Ravelry, and I think it will work wonderfully.  I'll have to pick up the book, but I don't mind.)

Speaking of socks, I really have to finish those darn Birthday socks. . .

Monday, 5 August 2013

Project Update -- August 5th 2013

I mentioned the knitting marathon?  Well, I've got other WIP's too that I'm trying to get more done with.

I did some more work on my First Cable Sweater and almost finished the first sleeve -- I've only got a few more rows before I can set it aside and start on the other sleeve.


And I'm really quite proud of how the Spring Coat is turning out, if I do say so myself.


A Babylon 5 marathon really does make me a more productive knitter, it seems!

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Knitting Marathon and a Yarn Order

Hello again all!

So, life's gotten somewhat busier.

1) My role-playing group just started up a new game (we're running a game in the Star Trek setting, after the Dominion War.).  It's the Last Unicorn Games version, which, while a little clunky, is still fun.

2) The new job isn't too crazy, but it is requiring an adjustment given that I haven't been working for a bit.  I'm still having to get in the mindset of 'going to the office.'

3) Given the new job, however, I splurged and got a few more skeins of Lady Godiva from EatSleepKnit.  It's one of their "Power Boost" yarns right now (they change them up once every quarter), where you get additional 'yards' for their loyalty program.  This yarn's going to be a Maddy tank. (Ravelry Pattern link here.)

4) And with all this (or maybe in spite of it), I'm really on a knitting marathon. I -need- to finish the Birthday Socks. I've got two weeks to knit the foot of one sock and all of the second sock.   I can knit during the role-playing session, like always, but I'm actually quite concerned about if I can get these done. So today, I started up season 2 of Babylon 5, (sorry, U.S. link only, also see here) and I'm just going to knit like crazy.

Also, as a useful resource, I found this. It's a shoe size and foot length in inches conversion chart that gives a really good idea of how long you need to make a sock based on shoe size. I needed it for the Birthday Socks.

Ok, that's it for now, now to get back to the knitting.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Yarn Store Hunting in Durham Region

Ok. My new job does have me doing some optional traveling (and I actually like traveling around and seeing new things, so I volunteered to do so).  I won't be doing anything more then a day trip, and I can get my travel costs reimbursed, so why not!

That day trip will take me into Durham Region.  I have sites in Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, and Oshawa, to name a few; and I'd love to get some site visits in.

I feel like a bit of an idiot.  Someone on Ravelry mentioned the idea of looking up yarn stores when you take a trip.  And I started wondering if there are any good yarn stores in Durham.

Apparently, according to Ravelry, there's a Yarn Store right by where I'd be visiting in Ajax called Bouclair. No website, or anything, but I might still stick my head in to see what they have.

This is a double advantage for me, also, because I don't drive. So while I can get out to Ajax Go Station with relative ease, getting to my site will take a bit longer, because Durham Transit buses are every half-hour/every hour.  Now I'll (hopefully) have somewhere awesome to kill time while I wait for the bus.

Also, Kniterary (in Whitby, directly north of the Whitby Go Station), looks promising too, and it looks like it's only a short jaunt from my site in Whitby. 

I won't be doing either of these for a bit, I'll have to coordinate with the sites I'm working with and set up a proper site visit.  But now the idea is even more exciting. 

Exciting thoughts.  Nice to know there's somewhere to get yarn if I end up waiting for a Go Train or something.

Yarn Sale at The Purple Purl!

So, I found out this morning that the Purple Purl is having a sale.  Specifically, they're having their "We don't want to count the Inventory Blowout!"

Details are here, as well, but in summary:

25% off most of their regular stuff.  One day only (Sat, August 10th).  Some stuff will be more then 25%, but you'll have to go in-store to find out.  They also comment that their seating won't be available during this time (I'm now imagining armchairs full of yarn!)

Oh, and if you collect their reward points, you can't redeem them during the sale, but you'll still collect them.


I'm intending to go.  I don't have oodles of money right now, (new job, yes, but no pay until August 31st just due to how their payroll works) but I still want to see if I can get a couple of skeins of Tanis for some more Christmas knitting.  If I'm very lucky with my yarn budget, I might even get a couple of skeins of Spud and Chloe Fine for a pair of gloves I've been planning for myself.  

Since I usually do try to buy yarn on sale, this is perfect.

Hope to see some familiar faces there!

P.S. If you are in the Toronto area and haven't been to the Purple Purl before, you really should. It's actually quite a nice place, and their yarn selection is awesome.   They're right on the Queen streetcar, too, (or you can take a bus down from Donlands Subway) so they're not too hard to get to.  I don't drive, so I can't speak to the street parking, sorry!