Sunday, September 30, 2007

Back to Knitting

First, though, Siew, could you email me? I have questions!! :)

With the impending move, I really shouldn't be starting anything, should I? I should be finishing things, right? Yup, I thought so. But there was this yarn, in my stash, calling me, wanting to be played with. I yielded.

I had to find a pattern for this yarn. I did sort of have a pattern in mind and it seems the yarn is quite happy with my choice.

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The yarn is LanaKnits 100% laceweight hemp. The pattern is Elann's Luna Moth shawl. The needles are 3.25 mm (US 3). I could probably have gone a little bigger on the needles, but I'm really liking the texture I'm getting, so I'm not going to bother changing it. I'm almost through the first pattern repeat and I do like it already. This will be, I'm thinking, my leave me alone, I need to escape knitting.

While exploring on Elann's website, I also came across this little gem... click here. A shawl back shrug! It's worked up in a dk weight yarn. I like shrugs, but most of them are short in the back. That's not always a bad thing, but I do find that my kidney area feels the cold more than my other parts do, so I like the idea of a longer back. I'm adding this to my list of projects... my to do list.... or might I be right in calling it my UFO list? ;)

Here's what the front looks like (you have to scroll down in the pattern). I think it would be a fun little project. Now, I need to think about what yarn I'd like to knit it in.

Now, off to have a shower and I think we'll be starting some packing today. *sigh*

Friday, September 28, 2007

Ok, I can tell you now

I gave my notice at work today. I will be leaving the print shop at the end of October. I had to wait until I could talk to my boss before I could tell anyone anything.

John and I are moving. Not just to another house, but to another town. For anyone familiar with British Columbia's west coast, you'll know the Sunshine Coast and the town of Gibsons. That's where we're headed. It's about half an hour or so north east of Vancouver, about 3 hours closer to my family than we are now.

Beginning in November, John will be the new general manager of a restaurant, Molly's Reach. This is what we'll see every day...

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And this is where John will be working...

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Those of you who read this blog and grew up in Canada (and perhaps other parts of the world where I understand it may still be in reruns) will recognize Molly's Reach from the old TV show "The Beachcombers".

This has been in the works for a little over a month now. This week, we made the decision to accept the position and move there. I will not be involved in the restaurant. I have no problem with that. I have every intention of finding myself another job, and with my various skills, I'm sure I won't have a difficult time.

So, there you have it. No need to hold your collective breaths any longer.

I have an announcement to make

But not until Monday......... or maybe tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Here camel, camel

A while back, I got some camel yarn. If you remember wayyyyy back, you'll know that I designed and knitted a shawlette with camel yarn. I love the stuff! It's warm, cozy, feels like a hug on the shoulders. Speaking of which, it's almost time to dig it out; it's getting pretty chilly in this basement suite.

Anyway, I digress. I have more of it. It's been hanging around on a door handle and finally, this weekend, it said "Enough is enough! Wind me up!" There was one small problem.

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Have you ever seen a skein wound this way? If you have, and even if you haven't, you can imagine that you can't simply put it on to a swift and winder.

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I was going to get John to do the job of the two chairs, but he was fixing the toilet and I don't think he'd have had the patience to play the part of a yarn swift. The chairs had to do.

Fifteen or so minutes and half a cup of coffee later, I ended up with this...

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It was quite tangled in a couple of spots, but all in all, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Now, I have to decide what to do with it. I have two balls of it, about the same amount in each (hmm... how much DO I have?....122 grams total... just weighed it). I could make another shawl with it, but I'm leaning towards a cozy pair of wrist warmers. I have a feeling that, if we stay here, I will be needing something to keep my wrists and hands warm while I'm on my computer first thing in the morning.

I could get a few pairs out of 122 grams. I'll wait till the yarn tells me what it wants to be. In the meantime, I'll be storing it in one of those Ziploc veggie bags, just to keep it safe. If you have any good ideas for me, design suggestions, please feel free to pass them on.

On another subject, I did do a little bit of knitting yesterday. As you may remember, I bought Cat Bordhi's latest book, "New Pathways for Sock Knitters" a couple of weeks ago. I made one pair of baby socks from the book and yesterday I finished this little sock...

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It's a Coriolis sock. I love the construction! The "gusset" increases swirl across the top of the foot and the whole thing just looks so cool! I haven't decided whether I want to knit the second sock just yet (I probably should, huh?), or just go ahead and start a pair for me. I've already got yarn in mind (from the stash!). One smart lady, that Cat Bordhi!

Well, the sun is shining here. I think John and I had better get out and enjoy it while we have the opportunity. Who knows how much nice weather we still have ahead of us.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

It's Saturday Again

Time just seems to fly by now that I'm working full time; I seem to have gotten on to the same treadmill that many employees have... eagerly waiting for the weekend. Now that it's here, I hate to admit that I'm kind of bored. Oh well, Monday will be here soon enough.

On to knitting. I'm afraid I don't have much actual knitting to show you. I'm slowly working away at a couple of projects, but I'm finding that knitting in the evenings isn't the easiest thing to do around here. The lighting at this time of year, in a basement suite, just isn't conducive to complicated knitting.

I do, however, have a couple of purchases to share with you. The first is this book...

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I saw it and decided it deserved a place in my knitting library. It's "Sweater Design in Plain English" by Maggie Righetti. It's well written, easy to read and full of sensible information. The first half of the book explains the basics of measuring, body types and what styles suit those body types, as well as explaining the math involved in knitting and designing. For those of us who are mathematically challenged (read ME), it's explained simply and logically. This book definitely deserves a place in my knitting library!

The second half of the book contains some designs and explains how they're designed. Helpful, yes, but the designs are extremely dated (batwing sweaters???) and I can't see myself referring to that section. That said, it was worth the price just for the first half of the book.

Last weekend, when John was away (still can't talk about that), I went for a walk and checked out Art of Yarn's new home. They've moved across the street into a larger, brighter and much cozier location. (This is the yarn store I worked at for 3 years, until just last month.) Sally's also been bringing in some new, and luscious yarns. Could I resist?? Nope!

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I bought two skeins of this yarn, Hacho. I've never heard of it, but it's lovely. It's 100% hand dyed merino wool from Peru. This one is DK weight and I thought a cap would be perfect in this yarn. If I read the label correctly, the yarn company is Mirasol. They have a web site... MirasolPeru. According to the tag, "A portion of every purchase is dedicated directly to the funding of a school in the remote area of Munani in the region of Puno."

Then, I saw this...

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It's from the same company; this one is called Sulka. It's an absolutely decadent blend of 60% merino, 20% alpaca and 20% silk. It has a gorgeous sheen to it and is super soft. I could just stroke it and be content! It's a chunky weight yarn, 16 sts=4" on 6 mm (US10) needles. I'm thinking of making myself a hat with it. The main colour will be the charcoal, with the three other colours worked into a fairisle design. I'm still in the considering stage... considering what design I want to use. I'm content to think about it for now.

Incidentally, the price of these yarns wasn't bad at all. The Sulka is $7.95 for 50 grams (only 55 yards though) and the Hacho was $7.99 for 50 grams, 137 yards. Not outrageous for the quality.

In the meantime, I'm bound and determined to finish a couple of projects before starting anything new. Period!

...but that yarn is sure calling, whining, wheedling... pleading....

Sunday, September 16, 2007

No Pictures This Time

That's because John has the camera and he's away this weekend. I can't give out details yet as to why he's away, so let's just leave it at that for the moment.

I've had the entire weekend to myself and have I knitted a single stitch? Here it is, Sunday afternoon, and I haven't even picked up knitting needles. Well, that's not entirely true. I tidied up my knitting baskets (yes, baskets) yesterday and discovered a few sets of errant knitting needles. They're the only ones I've had in my hands, as I put them away. I also frogged a couple of projects I knew I'd never finish. At one point, I left everything sitting where it was, with firm instructions not to move, and walked to the grocery store to pick up some Ziploc bags, for storage. Now, my knitting is (more or less) organized into either small, single project baggies, or vegetable baggies for safe keeping (they're the ones with the tiny airholes that let air in, but keep critters out), or into the extra large storage bags. I filled three of the large bags. Ouch.

This morning has been spent processing the 20 lbs of peaches I picked yesterday. I now have 6 quarts of peaches, 3 pints of peaches and some peach puree, cooling, and waiting to be put into storage containers and frozen.

I feel good. Now, it's just past noon and I'm going have some lunch, go for a walk and then start knitting (after I finish washing up all the dishes I used in processing the peaches, now soaking in very hot water). And I'll be eagerly waiting for John to pull into the driveway.

Monday, September 10, 2007

A Dilemma

Sunday was spent around the house and I got quite a bit of knitting done. Unfortunately, on one small project, I'm at a standstill. I have a decision to make and I really don't know what to do. That's where you come in; I need your help in deciding.

Here's the little project...

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...a little wrap cardigan from the October 2007 Canadian Living magazine, but taken from a Louisa Harding book. The yarn I'm using is an Online Supersocke 6-ply yarn on 3.75 mm needles.

So, why am I stuck? Well, if I make the back in the same yarn, the stripes won't line up on the sides. Will that matter? I was thinking of working the sleeves in a complimentary solid yarn; I could do the back in the same solid colour, which isn't what I wanted going into this project. I wanted the front and back to be in the patternend yarn and the sleeves in a solid yarn (which I still need to find; it really should be the same sort of yarn... 75% wool, 25% nylon... shouldn't it?) I'm torn. I'm looking for input.

It's interesting how the two front pieces ended up not matching at the top. I started knitting at the same point in the self-patterning yarn and yet one piece ended up farther in the patterning than the other. I wonder why.

When I reached the decision-making point of this sweater, I turned to another small project. I started a pair of wrist warmers for a knitalong one of my Ravelry groups is doing. The group is meant to be a localized group (from Friesland, a province in the north of Holland); they're intending to get together for a SnB session and wanted a knitalong project for that day. I'm a long distance member of that group. I started the wristers yesterday. The pattern is Colinette's Acorn, done in a kid mohair yarn with 90 beads on each wrister. I'll post pictures when there's a little more than one inch of knitting to show you.

Now, it's on with my morning... catching up online and then getting ready for work.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Where do I start?

Let's jump right in. Robbyn asked me to elaborate on the top shaping and finishing of the baby rib hat.

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The hat is knit from the bottom up, in the round. When you reach the required length, it is split into two and each half is worked separately, using short rows. Each row is four stitches shorter than the previous row, until about 1/3 of the stitches remain. Once both sides have been completed (and you work the stitches to the end of the row), you still have the original number of stitches remaining on the needles, and each half is crescent shaped. Make sense so far? Then, the two halves are bound off, using a three-needle bind off. Ingenious! And no sewing involved!


If you look at the above picture carefully, you'll notice the corner of a book in the corner of the picture. That book is Cat Bordhi's new book, "New Pathways for Sock Knitters". Yup, I bought it this week. I made the mistake of going into the LYS near my workplace. Steven announced that the book had arrived that very day. Well, it just HAD to come home with me.

That night, I cast on for this...

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It's the Little Sky sock, one of the socks Cat recommends you make before jumping into the book with both feet. What a fun little sock to knit! And, no, I haven't made the second one yet. I will, though. I thought I might do that today because John was going to be working today, but those plans have changed. Apparently his work partner (who's also the boss's son) is not only still drunk, but is getting drunker still. So, no work today. Which means very little knitting today. At least I get to spend time with John. :)

Anyway, back to the topic at hand... or foot. I love this book! The socks in it are brilliant! I'd like to make every single one of them! And to think she's got another two books worth of ideas! I love this woman. Did I mention that I love this book? I honestly think that anyone who likes to knit socks needs to add this book to their knitting library.

I have been knitting on something else as well. I mentioned this project once on Chatters, and was chided for not having blogged about it. Well, I am now.

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This is the back of a little, lacy cardigan for myself. The yarn is Sirdar Country Style DK, and I'm working the little arrowhead lace pattern on 4.5 mm needles. I'm not rushing this project, but I would like it done before next summer. I'm finding it a relaxing, enjoyable knit with just enough interest to keep it from being boring. The little arrowhead lace is an easy one to read and it works up reasonably quickly. At least, it does if you work on it daily, which I don't. Which is why just the back has taken me all summer to knit.

Ah! What is it supposed to look like when it's finshed, you ask? I'm glad you asked because I just happen to have a picture of the pattern.

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It's a Sirdar pattern leaflet, #8648. I don't mind the turquoise colour used for the model, but it does not go with anything in my wardrobe. The brown does. And I'm loving it. I think I'll get a lot of wear out of this little cardigan. I am making one or two minor changes; the pattern calls for only two rows of garter stitch at the bottom edge, but I like it better with four rows. It gives it just a little bit more substance. I'm also making the body slightly longer than the pattern calls for. One thing I really like about this yarn (45% acrylic, 40% nylon, 15% wool and 348 yards) is that the pattern calls for 3 balls. At about $9.00 per ball, the sweater comes in at under $30.00. Not bad! And it's a yarn that washes well and wears well. No complaints here.

I could go on, but this post is getting pretty long as it is and there are things to be done around here, with John. So, I leave you with one last thing...

Have you seen the new Knit Picks Harmony wood needles?? OHMY!!! Go there!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Some quick knitting content

Baby Rib Hat
Originally uploaded by Strings 'n Things
We've been away for the weekend, and just got home last night. This is just a quick blog post; once I get organized again, I'll type up a longer, more descriptive (with pictures) post about our trip.

On the way home, I managed to finish this little cap for Jonathan, my newest grandson. I love the top finish on this cap. It is, obviously, knit from the bottom up. The hat is knit in the round, but split for the top shaping and finishing. It's shaped with short rows and then a 3-needle bind off "sews" the two sides together. I love it! I'll have to remember it so that I can use it in other hats.

Incidentally, I finished it while on a nail-biting gravel road that took us from one highway to another, moving from the prairies of Alberta into the foothils. It was the only way I could ignore the road and the engine thermometer, and keep my sanity and fingernails intact!

It was a fun weekend, but it's good to be home.