Saturday, February 27, 2010

Firsts

First Noro
First Toe-up socks
First Magic Loop

The beginning of Delicious Socks, by Laura Chau

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Before starting these socks, I hadn't realized how subtle Noro Kureyon is in the colour transitions. Photographs really don't capture all the colours involved. It's even tweedy in places. I know I'm the last person to discover this, but whoa! I'm a fan. The thick-and-thing nature of the yarn is a little bizarre since it varies from lace-weight to almost DK in places - I've snapped it once, but after that I was more careful. I don't know how it will wear, though.

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I quite like the magic loop as well, although DPNs and I are friends most of the time, and I'll definitely knit socks on them again. The reason I learned magic loop for this project was because I received 2-at-a-Time Socks for Christmas. At first I intended to try these socks two at a time, but I got scared since the pattern isn't written for that, and the technique in the book is explained for top-down socks. So. Noro socks are my introduction to Magic Loop, and I'll attempt two at a time at some later date.

Silliness and primates

Yesterday I mentioned a chocolate monkey that I received in the mail. I called it a monkey because that's what it said on the box, but I soon began to have my doubts.

I took it out of its box to make sure.
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As you can plainly see, this primate has no tail.

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So, correction: not a chocolate monkey, but a chocolate ape!

Friday, February 26, 2010

colour words

Because I'm fixated on yellow right now, here's a yellow word.

Gamboge
1. Also, cambogia. a gum resin from various Asian trees of the genus Garcinia, esp. G. hanburyi, used as a yellow pigment and as a cathartic.
2. yellow or yellow-orange.


~Dictionary.com

Quite unexpectedly, my new word of last week, incunabula, came up in one of my lectures today. Perhaps it shouldn't be so unexpected since I'm in library school; it may be a case of hearing a word everywhere once I've learned it.

In other news, yesterday our toilet flooded and leaked (luckily clean) water through the floor and out through our light fixtures in the living room. That's a sign of a brilliant house design! I'm hoping nothing is ruined. Then today we got a notice from the city threatening to shut off our water, hopefully due to a misunderstanding. Things are awesome, you guys! I love my house in London! Blah.

I feel like all I do is complain lately, so I'll finish this with some happy things.

-Yesterday was my birthday: I'm happy to be alive! (Even if yesterday's birthday festivities consisted of sitting through a boring night class and frantically mopping up toilet water - I'm trying to take it in stride)
-I have nice friends who regaled me with facebook birthday messages
-I have two new CDs that I'm enjoying: Heart of My Own by Basia Bulat and the Watchmen soundtrack.
-There is a lot of chocolate in the house, but I don't feel guilty about any of it!
-Right now a sizable chocolate monkey made of chocolate is peering at me curiously from my desk
-The monkey was a present from my lovely boyfriend across the sea who is wonderful even though he's so far away.
-The snow on the ground is dry and not slushy at all.
-Noro Kureyon Sock is so pretty, and eventually I'll have knee socks made of it.
-I'm going to the gym tomorrow.
-In about 7 weeks I will be finished graduate school!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

First bread

I bought some yeast soon after I moved into this house, with the intention of trying to bake some bread, but never got around to it until yesterday. Here's my first bread-baking attempt.

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Bread without a timetable, from Smitten Kitchen

Other than leaving out the wheat bran since I didn't have any, I followed the recipe pretty closely. The lack of time table for this bread was liberating, and I could see myself making it again even on a busier day than yesterday. I used buckwheat flour, like Deb did, but I'm not sure I'd do that again. It has a very distinctive taste that I wasn't really prepared for. Still tasty, though. Very dense and moist.

I suspect the oven in this house runs hot, since the bread was pretty much done in half an hour on 450F, without the extra 5-20 minutes at 425. I left it in for another 5 minutes anyway.

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The loaf turned out kind of lopsided, but that's okay!
Now, what to make next? As if I need encouragement to eat more carbs. Heh.

experimenting

I found out that the local bulk food store carries a large array of cake decorating materials, including many colours of Wilton's icing dye. My past forays into food colouring and kool aid dyeing have been interesting, and I've wanted to try more, so I bought some Wiltons in Golden Yellow for another experiment. I've also wanted to trying hand painting for a while, so I thought I'd give it a go. (#17 on my 101 in 1001 list).

I mixed up some wiltons golden yellow solid as well as with some red food colouring with vinegar and water, painted and poured it on a small amount of inherited handspun and this is what I ended up with.

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It's not exactly what I was going for and my first thought was bog people. It's not as intense as I had hoped, since the yarn didn't take up the dye very well with handpainting. I steamed it to set the colour, and ended up pouring more dye over it as it sat in the steamer basket. It's growing on me, though. Maybe marigolds are more pleasant.

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Basically, it was fun, but I still hate the smell of vinegar. Star Athena suggests using lemon juice, but I'm skeptical. Has anyone tried this and does it actually work? I will try to track down some straight up citric acid or colourless kool aid at some point anyway. I need to try dyeing with Wiltons in a pot for more intense colour, and try a different method of handpainting at some point.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Incunabula

I'm back in London after a fun few days in Ottawa. The break was too short, of course, but I had fun and got to catch up with a few people I hadn't seen in a while.

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Fun things included skating the length of the canal twice in one afternoon. It was warm, but the ice wasn't soft yet. There were lots of people out, since it was "Family Day" on Monday, but the ice was much better than I expected it to be.

Skating is my favourite athletic activity, and for a long time it was the only one I felt like I was any good at. I miss having an outdoor skating space nearby now that I'm in London. I'll miss it more once I go to England, but maybe I can schedule my vacations in February.

I also went to see Basia Bulat in concert. My only experience with her prior to the show was on youtube, but it was lots of fun seeing her live! She has a great voice, so I was disappointed to find that she tends to swallow it sometimes. I think this is a stylistic choice, but I wish she'd sing out instead! Anyway, it was a fun gig despite my annoyance at that part - I love how she played ukelele, autoharp, piano, and guitar. So cool. A while back I shared her song "In the Night," but here's another fun one.



And it's time for a word:

Incunabula

the early stages of the development of something; in particular, early printed books, especially those printed before 1501 . The word comes from Latin, meaning literally ‘swaddling clothes’.

~Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable

Appropriate, since I spent Wednesday pretending to do research in an archives. I'm pretty sure there are no true incunabula among the corporate and historical files in the municipal archives, but I did find some really old library cards.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

FO: Snail Mitts

Christmas mittens turned into Valentine's Day mittens. No harm done!

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Pattern: Norwegian Snail Mittens, by Adrian Bizilia

Yarn: mystery single-ply sticky wool

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Mods:
-Stockinette striped cuff instead of welts
-Changed colour chart at the top to shorten mitten
-Started decreases slightly earlier for the tops
-No third colour duplicate stitch accents

It wasn't necessarily the best idea to do a stockinette striped cuff, since it rolls a little, and the 2x2 stripes clash a little with the 1x1 strips on the mitten palm. I love the look of the duplicate stitch accents on other Snail Mitts I've seen, but I didn't have a third colour around that would have worked with the blue and purple. I think it still works, but because the yarn is a bit fuzzy and loosely spun in places the purple swallows the blue sometimes. This is not the crisp stitch definition intended, since I definitely did not use the recommended yarn. But I'm okay with it, and I think my mom (mitten recipient) is too. She gave me this yarn that has been sitting in the basement for ages, and I was happy to put it to use.

This marks the 9th item out of a required 10 that I resolved to knit for other people.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

FO: My So-Called Scarf

Pattern: My So-Called Scarf, by Allison Isaacs
Yarn: Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend, (300 yd skein)

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I cast on and bound off with 6 mm needles, but still got a little bit of flaring on the bind off end. I don't really care that much. For the body of the scarf I used 7 mm needles.

Because Manos Silk Blend is dkish weight, and I only had one skein (300 yds), I was a bit worried that my scarf would end up short, but when I ran out of yarn the scarf was a modest 160 cm (63 inches?). Nearly as tall as me, and plenty long to wrap around my neck.

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I think this will get a lot of wear. It's so incredibly soft (obviously), and I love the colors. I've been thinking of this scarf as an "I miss the sea" scarf, since the colours are rather oceanic.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Thursday for words and missed photo opportunities

echt
Authentic, genuine, typical.
~The Oxford Essential Dictionary of Foreign Terms in English

Despite some examples in Oxford Reference Online (thank goodness for a library subscription), I'm not really sure how to use this word. Does anyone out there know?

In completely unrelated news -

Things I wanted to take pictures of today, but didn't have my camera:

-a Wet Floor sign usually posted in or near the washrooms in my building at university that has been modified to read "Don't Slip on the BS"
-a rusted out muffler lying abandoned on the sidewalk

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

On repeat

Essay time. Ugh. I have such a bad attitude about my studies at the moment. Not sure if I'm prepared to enter the working world in earnest, but I am definitely ready to finish graduate school.

I found this today, and have been listening to it over and over. So fun.



If an angry mob ever tracks me down, I hope they are as cheerful as this one. And I hope there are drumming bears and skeletons involved. Awesome.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Knit-a-thon v 2.0

This weekend there was another Librarians Without Borders knit-a-thon. Obviously I went, though I didn't raise as much money as last time around. There were knitters, crocheters and embroiderers - inclusive fibre arts bunch. It was lots of fun watching silly movies, knitting away, chatting, and ignoring the fact that we are all in graduate school swamped with work.

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I brought My So-Called Scarf to work on, since I haven't touched it in a while. Nearing the end, now! Manos Del Uruguay Silk Blend is a gorgeous, gorgeous yarn. This was Christmas present yarn: it's much more luxe than what I usually use.

On that note, I'm a bit scared of what I may be becoming. Over the last few months I've acquired quite a bit of yarn, and much of it is fancy stuff, or at least fancier than my normal. I wouldn't call myself a yarn snob: I am perfectly happy to use Patons Classic for hats and mittens, for example. (though it sounds pretty snobby to have said that at all.... er). Anyway, let's have a look:

-First use of Malabrigo - Cowl for my brother
-First use of DIC Smooshy - Ishbel
-First use of Manos - My So-Called Scarf
-bought Noro Kureyon (for Vortex)
-bought Sweet Paprika Messa di Voce (for Herbivore)
-received Noro Kureyon Sock (for Delicious Socks)

But no worries. While I'm enjoying this foray into the fancy, it's not really a sustainable habit for a jobless grad student, so rest assured my next yarn purchase will probably be an inexpensive work-horse yarn like Cascade 220. (I have actually never used Cascade 220, which is strange given the fact that I'm usually cheap. I fully intend to one day). There's also a lot of recycled second-hand sweater yarn in the future, I think.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Thursword: Titivate

Titivate

to make smart or spruce

~Dictionary.com

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

FO: Ishbel

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Pattern: Ishbel, by Ysolda Teague
Yarn: DIC Smooshy, in Gothic Rose
Mods: Did stockinette for the small size, but lace for the large size.

So much fun to knit! I took a gamble and didn't use a single lifeline, and I had to fudge the pattern a few times, but nothing too horrendous happened. Towards the end the rows were so long that it dragged a bit, but the lace pattern kept it interesting.

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This turned out bigger than I expected. I wanted to use this beautiful yarn efficiently, so I opted for the large lace section, thinking it wouldn't be quite so large. It still works as a scarf, though.

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Please excuse the crappy mirror shot. My bathroom is crooked, not my photography ;)

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This one shows the colour most accurately, and you can see it was snowing outside this morning when I took the picture!

I've been wearing it all day, and I know it will be very useful. The yarn is quite soft, but still sturdy, so I hope it holds up.

Plus, now I can cross off #4 - Knit a lace shawl.

Fail.

Ishbel is finished and blocking, but that's about the only thing that has gone right today. And even then, I had to make a trek out of my way to find some sewing pins because they weren't where I thought I'd find them. Maybe I'm being overdramatic, but things aren't lining up the way I'd like them to. My timing is off, my motivation is low, I'm accident prone, and all I want to do is curl up with a cup of tea and something chocolate. (And maybe some knitting.)

Tomorrow:
-a less whiny post.
-pictures of Ishbel (hint: she's unexpectedly huge!)

Monday, February 01, 2010

Weekend words: an addendum to Thursday

Last night I got together with some friends for a night of jollity, including a rousing game of Balderdash, which led to me learning several new words, so I thought I'd add on the ones I remember. (Yes, Balderdash is rousing!) This puts me at 38 out of 150, in case anyone is keeping track.

biltong
(chiefly S. African) lean meat which is salted and dried in strips.
~OED

tamarau
a small brownish-black buffalo similar to the anoa, found only on Mindoro in the Philippines. • Bubalus mindorensis , family Bovidae.
~OED

sprod
(N. Amer.) a young cod, haddock, or similar fish.
~OED
(The Balderdash definition specified salmon...)

gundalow
a form of river barge, long obsolete, used in the USA. It had a high carved bow and a large lateen sail set on a short, stumpy mast. The lateen yard was very high in the peak and the lower end was heavily weighed and balanced so that it could easily be lowered on deck. The small offshore fishing schooners of Maine, USA, which had high sterns, were also known as gundalows. They, too, are obsolete.
~The Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea

(The best thing was two separate players submitted definitions for Gundalow that involved one storey houses--i.e bungalows-- filled with fire arms. Good times, good times.)

contango
(Brit. Stock Exchange) the normal situation in which the spot or cash price of a commodity is lower than the forward price. Often contrasted with backwardation.
~OED

teenter
A seesaw
~Dictionary.com

craquelure
a network of fine cracks in the paint or varnish of a painting.
~OED

There were more, but some of them I can't actually find definitions for, and some of them I don't remember. These words are obscure and specific enough that I'm sure I'll never use them, but hey. Words!