Monday, November 30, 2009

never a lonely knitter

I think whenever I'm lonely I'll sit in a crowded place knitting.

In the last year I've started knitting in public more that I had before: on the bus, on the train, at knit nights / meet-ups, in the park, in the lobby... I've gotten used to most of the weird looks and comments - usually positive, sometimes perplexed. A man on a train a few weeks ago leaned over me to plug in his laptop and said "If you knew there was power, you would have brought your knitting machine, eh?" To which I laughed nervously and didn't explain that's not how it works.

Today I brought Vivian sleeve #2 to university so I could knit a little when I needed a break from the computer lab. Sitting downstairs behind the Tim Hortons, I attracted the attention of one of the Tims ladies who exclaimed she used to knit when her children were small, but she doesn't remember a thing anymore. I don't know why, but it made me smile. I said something dumb about how she could learn again, but she was off.

Anyway. Little moments. Back to work now.

finishing

November is nearly over. No more inane daily blog posting for me? Haha.

I'm excited for December for a number of reasons, in no particular order:

-end of the semester
-4 weeks off before my last semester of grad school!
-going home, where this year there is no bus strike
-winter (maybe even snow)
-going to England for Christmas!

In preparation for the above, I am working hard to finish:
-2 gifts
-2 presentations
-some blog posts
-1 digital library
-1 final paper
-Vivian

So that's where things stand here. In terms of my workload, the worst is over, and although I'm not looking forward to the inevitable scramble before the very end, from this vantage point it all feels so manageable. :)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

suburban music

I might have posted this before, but I rediscovered it recently and it's so awesome I thought I'd share.



Six musicians break into an apartment while the owners are out and create a musical masterpiece.

Friday, November 27, 2009

FO: sneak peek

I finished knitting up the Debbie Bliss Fez, and here's an engimatic macro shot to prove it.

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Those of you on Ravelry can click on the photo to see the project details, but for now this one's staying in the deep web. A successful improvised project, if I do say so myself: I should try this more often.

Fez is really soft, and it nearly disintegrated when I tinked back a few rows... Not a yarn that frogs particularly well.

thursword

Decuman

adjective 1. large or immense, as a wave.
2. (in ancient Rome) of or pertaining to the tenth cohort of a legion.

3. Also called decuman gate. (in ancient Rome) the main gate of a military camp, facing away from the enemy and near which the tenth cohort of the legion was usually stationed.


~Dictionary.com

Also apparently a Celtic saint from the 7th century

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

To stash or not to stash

Looking at the growing pile of yarn in my closet and thinking about the odds and ends I left behind that I plan to return to, I fear that I have acquired a stash. How did this happen? I'm careful to buy yarn with a specific project in mind, but my project-related ambitions are greater than the time I have to knit them with. In the time between purchasing yarn and the present, the intended project often shifts and shifts again while the yarn languishes in the closet waiting for me to make a final decision.

So I have a stash. It's not a large one, but it is definitely a stash of some variety. This may not be a bad thing. Plenty of knitters have a stash and enjoy it. That's fair enough. But since I'm mentally gearing up for a huge move in the next 6 months or so, having a stash makes me nervous. I won't be able to take it all with me if it grows any more. I can hope that I'll get around to making all the things I intend to make with all this yarn before June/July 2010, but I don't know if it will happen.

Case study:
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(excuse the re-used picture)

I ordered this Sweet Paprika yarn for a gift knit. When I received it I fell in love and after some hemming and hawing decided to use it for an Ishbel for myself. Then I questioned that decision when I found Herbivore by Stephen West. I love the colour of the original scarf/shawl, and my yarn happens to be a similar green (though less variegated and more semi-solid), and hey. Love. Then there's the matter of my 101 in 1001 list: #4 is knit a lace shawl. Ishbel is lace, but Herbivore isn't, so if I end up knitting Herbivore with this yarn, I'll have to get some more to make Ishbel / other lace shawl. I definitely intend to knit Ishbel eventually, like everyone else in the universe,

But until I decide between the two patterns - or find another entirely - the yarn gets to sit all skeined up in a plastic bag in my closet. Stashy stash.

Camel teaser

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Trying Fez. I know 15% isn't a lot of camel content, but it's still pretty neat.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

skein fail

A skein of beautiful blue yarn. It's not just straight blue: there are hints of purple and green in their too.

It languished in my mom's stash for who knows how long until she gave it to me along with an eggplant purple skein of something similar. The only identifying feature is a torn label that reads "For the purpose of reordering" and lists colour number and dyelot, along with the attributiong "Produced by Cottage Craft Limited. St. Andrews, N.B."

Anyway, I've been excited to start using this yarn, but I'm having a lot of trouble winding it into a ball. First, the knot tying the skein together was felted together, then I found that the yarn is not a continuous strand.

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(Please excuse the flashed out bed shot.)

Some strands longer than others, but so far not one that will see me through to the end, or even a significant portion. Boo! I'm hoping I'll find that one long strand soon enough, but for now I've lost the ends entirely and it will have to wait for tomorrow.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

FO: Thing I can't show you

Last week was one of my most stressful this semester, and after it was over I just blinked and stared for a few days, wondering if things were really real. I still have work to do, but it all seems really manageable: a nice change from blind panic!

I finished knitting something, but it's a gift so I'm not going to show it around the internet just yet, so no pictures. But I'm so excited about it!

Maybe in a few days I'll have some more cryptic photos of almost-gifts to bandy about, but for now I'm working on my Vivian sweater. I'm nearly done the body up to the underarms, and I've finished one sleeve, so it's coming along! Can I finish it in a month? That's the plan.

winter fruit

It's nearly winter, though the weather has been pretty balmy in these parts. (Which is convenient since there is a bus strike, but you know. I do like real winter.)

EYES!

Thus, grapefruits! My winter fruit of choice. I wish I could have both cold winters and not have grapefruits shipped from millions of miles away... but alas, the world doesn't work like that. All this to say, I love grapefruit but I feel guilty about the carbon footprint, I guess.

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This one was really tasty and dare I say luscious... I wasn't expecting such an early grapefruit to be such a success, but hey. Hooray :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dickensian Demons

The Christmas decorations are out at the local mall. This is the first holiday season that I've been here, so I hadn't seen how the mall celebrates Christmas.

There's an array of characters decked out in Victorian garb, include a tree seller with a fistful of American cash, some children laughing at their friend who has fallen on the ice, roasting chestnuts, etc.... It's terrifying. I just had to go out and take pictures and videos of it.

There's a full nativity scene, complete with a stunned looked Joseph, a plush Eeyore-esque donkey, and my favourite: a totally smug camel.
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Moving along, there are some Victorian carol-singers making unfortunate faces.
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And the best part? All of these figures are robots that move. In slow motion.



I imagine "Christmas on Acid" by the Vestibules playing in the background when I walk past these displays.

When I was taking pictures, a woman came up to me and said something to the effect of, "It's such a nice display. An old-fashioned Christmas!" I laughed nervously. She sounded so proud and satisfied that I felt a little guilty knowing I was taking these pictures in order to ridicule them on the internet. But anyway.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Two words today because I'm tired of talking

pulverulent
dusty-looking; readily crumbling; powdery
~The Phrontistery

excoriate
1. to denounce or berate severely; flay verbally
2. to strip off or remove the skin from

~dictionary.com

It's Thursday! The moment of truth has passed - only time will tell if I also passed. In any case, it's over and there's nothing I can do about it now, so I'll stop excoriating myself. It was more internal than verbal or physical flaying, so I'm sure there's a more appropriate word for it, but that's all I've got for now.

And I've picked up my knitting for the first time since Saturday. Life is good. Tomorrow I'll go to the gym in an attempt to tackle these bad stress habits I've acquired.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Introducing a real post for real : Thoughts on Twist Collective's Winter Issue

Twist Collective's winter issue came out a few days ago and I immediately pored over it. I tend to head straight for the patterns and go back later, sometimes months later, to read the articles, but I do love it.

This time around I find myself most enthused by accessories projects. The sweaters are nice, but nothing is really shouting at me at the moment.

I like Tanit's Jacket by Gudrun Johnston, but I'm not sure I could pull it off without lots of mods - cropped, squarish... What's up with all the cropped jackets out there?

Four Winds by Alasdair Post-Quinn is gorgeous and could spell my first foray into double knitting. Maybe? With his neat tutorial and instruction videos also included in the issue maybe I'll actually get the kick in the pants I need.

The Polar Chullo by Mary Ann Stephens is pretty cute, but I don't know if I'd have the opportunity to make it. Polar bears are great, though!

Moxie by Kristi Schueler looks neat, but I'm a bit bewildered by the colour choice in the sample. The green and teal/turquoise are kind of the same level of intensity. I'd pick something with more contrast, I think, though maybe some people want less of a shock for a bold design.

Frost Tapestry by Robin Melanson is just beautiful. I love the curlicues. I don't know if I'd make the neckwarmer, but I definitely want the hat and mitts.

Basically, it appears as if I'm obsessed with colourwork. Yet, the endpaper mitts are my only real colourwork project so far in my knitting life. Clearly something has to change. I have several colourwork projects in my queue for priority this winter, and hopefully I'll get to them.

Blog post fail!!!

Frustration is vacillating between two choices for months, only to find that once the decision is made, someone else has already done it!! Boo. I am not impressed. Obviously I should have checked Youtube first before throwing myself into it.


Wow, I'm bored of talking about myself. Can it be possible?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

labour disputes follow me around?

There's a bus strike in London. When a strike was on last year in Ottawa, I managed to miss most of it by moving to London... But I can't escape this time. On the bright side, I live reasonably close to everywhere I need to go, so I'll be fine. I need to get more exercise anyway.

I'm preparing a seminar presentation for Thursday, and I just read Private Peaceful, by Michael Morpurgo, as part of it. It hit me harder than I thought it would. Simply written, not very long, and even though I'd read dozens of summaries and reviews, the ending shocked me. A look on the author's website shows that he and his wife started Farms for City Children, a charity that lets children from cities stay on the farm and experience farm work for a week at a time. Very inspiring.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Thursday creeps closer...

I find it interesting how I'm more inclined to engage in any other menial tasks rather than work on the big project of doom that seriously needs doing. I'll even gladly work on other projects - luckily these also need doing... It's at the point where I'm eagerly awaiting Thursday when it will all be over, but simultaneously hoping this week goes as slowly as possible so I'll have time to get everything done.

This experiment in blogging daily has kind of illuminated why I don't blog daily every other month. I don't really have much to blog about, other than saying "ACK SO STRESSED OUT. SMASH SMASH." Even more navel-gazing that usual, folks.

I did make some delicious muffins today, only they'd be more delicious if I hadn't forgotten to put cinnamon in. Oh well.

Boring boring boring.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Knit-a-thon!

Today 5 knitters sat in the grad lounge knitting, chatting, eating treats and watching movies, all for a good cause - raising money to build a library in Costa Rica. I didn't take any pictures, though. Anyway, it was good fun and I hope we do it again some time, though maybe without the fundraising since I'll soon run out of relatives willing to give me money to do what I might do already, i.e. knit for six hours.

I finished a sleeve for Vivian. Moving right along!

Friday, November 13, 2009

favourites



I first heard this in second year university, when my profs started each class with a musical selection. I stumbled into class a few minutes late (not my habit, I assure you), and the music was already playing, pouring out and filling the small lecture hall. Totally stunned me. Oscar Peterson was a genius, which I knew already, but it really hit me hard that time.

Whenever I'm stressed, sad, joyful, or emotional in some way I end up shuffling back to this piece, among others. Speechless.

Word Thursday and secret knitting

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Here's a peek at some gift knitting, or rather a 2.00 mm needle.

And today's word is...

Hypergelast

someone who laughs excessively.
~Wiktionary

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

101 in 1001 update: October

Just realized I forgot to do this. I didn't get a whole lot crossed off the list in October, but there were a few things.

Completed:
44. Write and send 3 letters
64. Invest in some comfortable flat black leather boots (not suede)
94. Be vegan (not raw) for a week (Sept/Oct)

Started:
5. Knit a cabled sweater (Vivian)

Continuing:
3. Learn 150 new words - 19 so far. Ouch.

Confession / identity crisis?

I actually kind of like this song. Does that mean I've gone mainstream? Haha. I stopped listening to commercial radio when I was maybe 13 and never looked back. Not that I ever had any street credit to begin with, but Taylor Swift? Really? She's an it-girl. I don't get it myself.

Anyway, here's something a little less well-known that I've been into lately: Resurrection Fern by Iron and Wine



I love the video - it's not the official video for this song, but it's so beautiful.

Excuse me, I haven't knit since Sunday. Too busy freaking out. Thank goodness I have a freezer full of cookies from a few weeks ago.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

sliver of colour

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My last night in Ottawa, there was a beautiful sunset. I took some photos. Upped the contrast a bit on this, and it's not a great photo, but the colours kind of come through.

Anyway. I'm hoping this blog doesn't turn into "here's some mediocre photos" every day, so tomorrow I'll aim for something real. Excuses, excuses: I had class from 9-12 and 6:30-9:30, I'm working on a billion projects all due next week, etc etc. Right.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Home again?

Ugh back in London already. No unforeseen events or hitches, just a long journey full of sitting and waiting. On the train from Toronto to London, a woman's alarm clock went off in her bag for about ten minutes as the whole train car tried to figure out where the noise was coming from. Then, a few minutes later it went off again - I guess she pressed snooze. That's about it, really. I'm so tired, so off to bed for me, and hopefully a less boring post tomorrow :)

Sunday, November 08, 2009

not hibernating?

I had a fun day of adventures (more later, maybe), and on the way home I nearly tripped over this dude.

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Freakin' huge spider on the sidewalk. Where was it going? Isn't it a little cold for spiders to be toddling across the sidewalk. Really cool looking, though. Does anyone know what it could be?

Friday, November 06, 2009

Working too hard

It finally hit me exactly how much work I have to do in the next two weeks. Not a happy feeling, but I have lots of distracting new yarn to use for distracting new projects, which should help/hinder the process all the more.

So, there was no sunlight again today, but I took yarn photos anyway. It worked better than I thought it would.

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My first Noro purchase. 2 skeins of Kureyon, colour #163 and #219. The picture above is actually nearly colour accurate. These are destined to become Vortex. This is my compromise: I love the look of the basic noro striped scarves, but I fear I'd never finish one. So, a hat with short rows and stripes and fun instead. I'm excited. Going to make the unpointy version.

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These colours are totally wrong, but I like the photo anyway.

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Time will tell if the two colourways are contrast-y enough, but I've been assured not to worry and that Noro always finds a way.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Thursday words and photoless cop-outs

Tope
to drink alcoholic liquor habitually and to excess.
~dictionary.com

Saccadic
jerky; twitching
~the Phrontistery

There was no light today, so I didn't take any yarn photos. Cop-out! But hey. It's not like I didn't get up in the morning. I did, but I couldn't cut through the overcast. Boo. Maybe tomorrow. It snowed some fluffy flakes that so far aren't sticking, so overcast wasn't a total loss.

Exciting times in the internet-yarn-stalking world!

Today I went to Knit Knackers, a local yarn shop that just moved and re-opened; I'd never been to the old location, but the new one is huge and spacious and full of pretty things, some of which I purchased - more on this tomorrow.

But especially excitingly, I saw Frosted Windowpanes, a gorgeous hat in the wild, worn by the designer herself! Nerdout. Upon exclaiming, "I recognize your hat from the internet!" we had a conversation and I tried not to be too fangirly, haha. Anyway, it's a really cute hat in person, too. I'd like to make it at some point. I've been poring over the Sweet Paprika site a lot lately, since the colours are so gorgeous (could I say that more often in this post? Probably), and I recently ordered some yarn, which I can't wait to start knitting.

On that note, here are some lacklustre yarn photos. Whee.

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Messa di Voce from Sweet Paprika.

The colour, Emerald City, is a bit brighter than the photo shows. A little brighter than I expected, but I like it a lot. So soft... I intended it for gift-knitting but I don't really want to part with it now. Gush gush gush. Ah well, I'll definitely be ordering from Sweet Paprika again.

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Train knitting

Rather than lug the body portion of Vivian on the train, I cast on for a sleeve as we pulled out of London.

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Picture shows progress just outside of Oshawa. I didn't knit the whole time; Kenneth Oppel's Airborn was my companion for some of the trip. I'm really enjoying it, and look forward to reading more of his books. I think the last I read might have been Silverwing ages and ages ago. Airborn reminds me a bit of the Golden Compass. But whoa, here I am doing this on the wrong blog. Scuse me.

I made a split-second decision to start the sleeves at row 7 of the sleeve chart, rather that row one, meaning there's one less little cable twist there... While I love the look of the knuckle-length sleeves on the model, something tells me they won't really suit my lifestyle. (No dainty here, folks). So I hope trimming a bit of length will help. We'll see how it goes.

Monday, November 02, 2009

leaf ghosts

Although there was no sign of any trick-or-treaters on the streets in my neighbourhood Saturday night, the Halloween aftermath Sunday morning was apparent.

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Good times.

There's some newly paved sidewalk in the area, and I've noticed that fallen leaves leave some colouring on it quite sharply. I'm going to call them leaf ghosts.

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Upped the contrast a bit artificially on this one, but I like it. They remind me of fossils.
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I feel like I should have some knitting content, but being a semi-monogamous knitter means my choices are limited. I've knit another few inches on my Vivian but it looks mostly the same. Oh, I've had an argument about the proper past tense form of "to knit," but that's doesn't provide interesting photos either. I'll work on it.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

It's November

And I've signed up for NaBloPoMo, since I figure I can bang out a blog post per day without killing myself, but there's no way I'll be able to tackle writing another novel while in grad school. Anyway, we'll see how this goes.

First:

Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies (originally typoed "chocolate hip cookies," rather appropriately).

I saw them on Cosmicpluto and immediately needed to make them. (Bandwagon! Hurray!) So, on Halloween without much else to do except hope no trick-or-treaters showed up (we have no candy), I made them.

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What I love is that the original recipe calls for canola oil instead of butter or anything else. That's my kind of recipe. I almost never use butter and substitute canola oil as much as possible, even when it doesn't seem ideal.

Mods: used brown sugar, half whole wheat flour, slightly more pumpkin, and only one egg.

You can probably see orange bits in the cookie: this is the day I learned that canned pumpkin doesn't freeze well. See, in the past I've been lucky enough to bake with home-pureed pumpkin, which lives quite well in the freezer, so when I used part of this can last month and froze the rest, I figured it would be fine. Not so. Upon thawing, the pumpkin puree itself was kind of stiff and chunky, and didn't mix into the dough as smoothly as I had hoped. It still worked pretty well, and the cookies turned out well, but yeah. Now I know. No freezing of the canned pumpkin.