Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Difficult decisions

I mentioned a while back that I'm moving to a land far away.

Turns out that the move is now less than a week away. Holy crap, how did that happen?

Photobucket
Turns out I like blue, green, and purple. This wasn't a mystery to anyone.

In preparation, I've been going through my possessions and trying to minimize. This includes yarn. The above shows the final cut: this is the stash I'm bringing with me to the UK. If it fits. If it doesn't fit, I'll have to cull a bit more. Since I've been diligently trying NOT to stash for the last while, I don't have that much yarn, but I have enough that I'm leaving some behind. The fact that I can still store stuff in my childhood home is comforting in this situation, but it's also a bit of a crutch. It is stopping me from doing a total purge of my belongings. Really, I'm just putting it off. But for now, I'll settle for gradual simplification.

Friday, June 25, 2010

FO: Lavalette

Photobucket

Pattern: Lavalette, by Kirsten Kapur

Yarn: Classic Elite Silky Alpaca Lace

Mods:
Added one more repeat of the openwork section, and a few more rows of stockinette at the end. I very nearly ran out during the bind-off; in fact, I did run out binding off at least twice, and had to rip back a bit. The final bind-off finished with about 5 cm of yarn. That was a close one.

Photobucket

Notes:
Shawl measures 70 cm from point to top edge, and 150 cm along top edge.

I love this shawl. It was so much fun to knit, and never boring. The alternating sections of lace and stockinette kept me interested, I think. This one is for my grandma, but I'll definitely knit this again, maybe for me! This counts as my tenth knitted gift for my 101 in 1001 list, so technically I don't have to knit any more gifts. Haha, but I totally will. :)

Lavalette was my first project in laceweight yarn, and it hasn't scared me away. I count this as a good sign, or perhaps just a lucky mistake to prolong my naivete. Eh, in any case, I enjoyed knitting with the Silky Alpaca Lace, although it was difficult to manage the garter tab cast-on with such slippery, fiddly, tiny yarn. Next time I'll do better. I am a little concerned that this yarn will shed profusely. When I cam back inside from taking the photos, my tank top was covered in fuzz. I didn't notice any shedding when I was knitting, however.

Photobucket

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Quake!

There was an earthquake of magnitude 5.0 this afternoon. The epicentre was about 60 km away, and it shook for a long time. The internet says 15-20 seconds, but it felt like longer.

I've felt tremors before, but this is by far the most dramatic and longest I've ever experienced. When things started falling off shelves, I ran outside and heard things cracking and crashing. After a while I couldn't really tell whether the vibrations I felt under my barefoot were still earthquake or just my adrenaline rushing. I don't think I could handle living in California where the earthquakes are serious business!

Photobucket
This soapstone sculpture had a lucky save and somehow didn't fall off the mantle.

Nothing big broke in my house, but some pottery slid off the shelves and shattered. Plenty of books, cds, and miscellaneous other clutter also ended up on the floor. Ah well, I needed to clean my room anyway. The mess in my room was pretty extreme afterwards, but to be honest, I had piles of things on the floor to start with: I'm in the middle of packing to move.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

FO: Unicorn Barf Fraternal Twins (Skew)

Photobucket

Pattern: Skew by Lana Holden
Yarn:Elann Sock It To Me 4 ply, handdyed with Easter egg dyes.

Photobucket

When I handpainted this yarn, I laid two skeins side by side, attempted to paint them in the same way, and hoped for the best. As you can see above, the right sock is very different from the left sock. One sock ended up much more purple/gray than the other when the dyes blended. These would have been good candidates for alternating skeins, but I enjoy mismatched socks, so I like them. Ultimately, it was super fun watching the colours knit up. Next time I knit this pattern, and there will be a next time, I'll use a yarn with longer colour repeats to take advantage of the neat construction.

My gauge was tight, so these are pretty snug, but they still fit. I think they'll stretch. As noted by most ravelry users, they are a bit tough to put on because of their construction, but it's not so bad. I had to add about 10 more rounds in the foot to get the right length, which seems to have worked. Next time, if my gauge is similarly tight, I would add length in the ankle as well.

Photobucket

I could gush about the wild construction, but all that has been said. A super fun and surprisingly fast knit! Will knit again.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Anatomy of Fail

I've been sort of quiet about my noro knee socks these last few months, but it's time to come clean.

Photobucket
(some day I'll remember to clean the porch before I do a photoshoot)

I have very little yarn left, but only 1.5 socks. How did I let it come to this? Bad planning and a series of oversights. I should have known better. Don't be like me: here's what I did wrong.

1. Trusted others without thinking
Ravelry is brilliant, and I get a lot of useful information from other knitters' project notes. This time, however, I neglected to consider the differences between my circumstances and those of other ravelers who made the same socks using only one skein of Noro Kureyon Sock. Namely, I have average-to-large sized feet, and large calves. As such, I require bigger socks, and making bigger socks requires more yarn. There is a detailed yardage calculation section in the pattern, but because I assumed I would have enough yarn, I didn't even bother doing the calculations until it was too late. Dumb. Won't happen again.

2. Did not pay much attention to gauge.
When I started the first sock, I did take note of the fact that my gauge was much tighter than called for in the pattern, but since things were othewise working out, I didn't do anything with this knowledge. Tighter gauge = more stitches required. More stitches = more yarn.

Photobucket

3. Unfailing optimism / denial
So deep was my trust in those ravelers who have come before that I didn't even start thinking something was amiss until I was well into the second sock. At first, I thought I would only come up a little short, and so I could unravel the top of the first sock to make the two even. Alas, my optimism turned to despair when I finally realized I wouldn't have nearly enough.

4. Unwillingness to frog
I am not a committed frogger. Sometimes frogging is necessary, and I fear that is the case with this project, but I usually try to find a way around it. When I make mistakes in my knitting, I usually just live with the mistakes. I am not a perfectionist. In this case, I kept going, even when I started to have my doubts...

I guess I have a few options.
-rip back the first sock so it matches the second.
-buy more yarn and finish the socks
-frog the whole thing and make something else
-frog the whole thing, buy something to stripe the noro with, make striped knee socks

To be honest, I'm sick of looking at this project, so it's hibernating. I'm seriously considering buying more yarn since I like how the first sock turned out, but I don't know what I'd do with the leftovers. What do you think?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New acquisitions

A few weeks ago, the French school organized a trip to Montreal, and I took the opportunity to meet up with old friends and explore some yarn shops. I've been to Montreal many times, but I think I'll always enjoy going back and discovering new things.

Photobucket
Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label Fingering, from Mouliné, and Projeckt B Superwash Sock from Ariadne

First, I went to Ariadne Knits, and was immediately charmed. It was pouring out, so escaping the weather for a cozy, warm, dry, yarn-filled space was ideal. I tried not to drip all over the stock. I wandered round and round the small space, absorbing colours and squishing skeins, while chatting with the woman there, who was very friendly and helpful. Eventually I decided on the yellow/orange skein of sock yarn, pictured above. I didn't realize until later, when I looked it up on Ravelry, that Projekt B is the Ariadne Knits house brand, but I did notice that it was handdyed in Montreal. A fitting souvenir. I'm in love with the colour, and I hope it holds up well for socks. Finally, I'm going to make yellow socks!

Then, I wandered over to Mouliné, and I was surprised at how large the store was inside, since it doesn't look that big from the outside. Especially after the tiny coziness of Ariadne, the place seemed massive, although in reality it isn't huge. The selection was pretty broad and impressive, but I spent a lot of time gazing longingly at the Tanis Fiber Arts yarns. Mmmm more handdyed in Montreal. I picked up a skein of Blue Label, pictured above, in Mallard. It was a very difficult decision, especially since I gravitate towards blues, teals, and purples: Tanis' colour palette is biased heavily towards cool colours like those, and they are all gorgeous.

Photobucket

In the end, I also took home two skeins of Cascade 220 in aubergine to make a Top-Down Shoulder Warmer. I can't get enough aubergine, apparently. Also, it was the cheapest I've ever seen Cascade 220 in a brick-and-mortar shop. Wow. I suspect it was on sale.

All in all, a fruitful yarn exploration. Nevermind the fact that I'm moving to another continent in a few weeks, and I need to start purging rather than acquiring...

A Master at last

Bad blogger. Bad! In my defence, I've been busy. There are a few things I need to photograph before they can feature in posts of their own. But first:

I'm back from Quebec. I'm also back from London, ON - I finally graduated with my MLIS. I'm so glad to be finished this degree. It was really stressful, but hopefully worth it. Convocation was long and boring, as convocations tend to be, but it was also worth it. I had lots of fun catching up with my former classmates - officially qualified librarians, all!

Got hooded in a screechingly bright yellow colour, described in the programme as "lemon." Purple and yellow are fun, though.
Photobucket
(Hey, at least I didn't do an MBA. Their colour has the inspirational name of "drab.")

The procession at the end of the ceremony was totally the best bit, and I have some video to prove it. The university seems rather attached to traditional trappings - we even sang God Save the Queen in addition to O Canada - so I never expected this untraditional musical choice for the procession out.



Brilliant. Made my day.

Back soon with yarny goodness!

Friday, June 04, 2010

matchy matchy

Photobucket

Knitting away on Skew the other day, I noticed that my stitch markers match my unicorn-barf yarn. This is an accident: the only stitch markers I own in this particular style happen to be pastel orange and pastel green, two colours that feature prominently in my easter egg yarn. Win / Fail? It amuses me, in any case.

Skew is progressing really quickly! I've grafted the heel since taking these photos, and I'm starting to figure out how this is eventually going to be sock-shaped. Awesome! Possibly I need to get out more? Heh.

Photobucket
I think it looks kind of like a weird fish creature from this angle.