Monday, September 30, 2013

Safe hibernation for your in-progress knits

If you've ever set a knitting project aside for more than a couple of weeks, you know there's a right way and a wrong way.

The wrong way, of course, would be without moth protection, its needles or its pattern, or even all of its yarn - because there is no way you will remember where all of those things were when you finally pick it up again!  (and let's face it: if you set something aside for more than a couple of weeks, odds are good it's going to be months before you feel guilty enough to go back.)

The right way is pretty simple.  Keep all the tools and instructions and yarn and previously knit pieces in one mouse- and moth-proof place.

and leave notes.

Notes from the former you to the future you about where you left off, what decisions you made when the pattern was unclear, what you changed, what you liked, what was a pain, what kind of sandwich you had on that one Tuesday that you really liked and think you should try again sometime.  Stuff like that.

Exhaustive stuff, because...

When you get the project back out again and get re-obsessed, you won't make an entire second thumb gusset with the increases starting at a different place than they were in the first one and, consequently, a different number of stitches at the top.

Yesterday, as penance for the former me and insurance for the future one, I sat down and typed up everything about my pattern so far, and everything I think should come next, so this doesn't happen to me again.

But today: well, today I have to decide whether I like Left Gusset, which comes to a tidy little point at the bottom, or Right Gusset, with its wedge opening.

Either way, something is getting ripped out, so I will definitely need chocolate.

(I think I like the one on the left with the point. what about you?)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Tips for mobile knitting

I'm going to open this tip sheet on a positive note:

If you play your cards right, something like a rediscovery of an old but alluring unfinished project could be your outcome.

Plan for mobility

The key to fitting knitting into every nook and cranny of your day is: have knitting with you at all times.  That can be tough if you routinely knit large, complex sweaters that require a lot of yarn plus diverse, hard to replace tools... or if you are monogamous to each project and finish one before even buying yarn for the next in which case I envy your pristine yarn storage enormously.  However, if increasing your productivity or Zen time is important to you, you can perhaps justify cultivating a love for smaller easier projects as a means to that end.

There are a number of ways to ensure you have knitting with you.

If you are Trish, you always have a bag of some big knitting project (or maybe just a really awesome huge cowl) by the door.  Trish never seems to mind carting around an extra bag if it's for a worthy cause, which knitting definitely is, and as a result she is always able to settle in anywhere and be productive with minimal planning.

I should note as well that Trish doesn't even bother with pretty, petite metal and bead stitch markers that get lost in the bottom of the bag or in the grass at some outdoor event and cause pain and heartbreak when they do; she twists one of those plastic or paper-covered wire bag closures into a circle and uses that.  Those things are so much easier to spot, and also, to replace.

If you are me, you resent having to carry even one thing, so you always have a very compact knitting project with lots of mindless stitches in its future already tucked into a messenger bag that lets you keep your arms entirely free.  You're also now 100% equipped to knit while walking.  Bonus!

Take your knitting on a date

Yesterday I discovered that, for various boring reasons, I had to get my car downtown way earlier than I personally needed to be there.  Normally my thoughts would default to shopping, but this time I was strong and thought instead about how I could most compactly use that dead time to take care of some work-related knitting tasks.  And then I took my knitting on a date*.

A date is different than a party.  At a party - you know, the ones where you get together with a bunch of friends or fellow crafty fans in a yarn shop or somebody's house or a bar - you concentrate on the other people as much as on the work in your hands. 

On a date, you are focused entirely on your own knitting.  You are getting to know it better and to love it more.  You are not taking breaks to look up other patterns you might want to knit, or to put in a load of laundry, or take care of any other mundane tasks that get between you and your yarn. 

On my date, I triple checked some math for hat #1,

and did the very necessary gauge swatch for hat #2. 

Both of these tasks would have been hugely boring if I'd tried to do them at home surrounded by unfinished laundry and a messy kitchen counter, instead of in a Starbucks listening to the lady behind me make one full hour's worth of phone messages (plus the occasional actual conversation) to invite people to the launch of her new food-based business. 

I'm not being sarcastic - that woman was a machine!  She wasn't irritating at all but just so methodical and professional and did not hesitate to dial number after number.  I hope she does well.  And I kinda wonder whether she was taking her project on a date too.

* Taking this particular knitting on a date meant carrying a dedicated bag, which as I mentioned earlier is not something I love.  So when the date and my coffee were both done, I put the bag back in my car and then, ahem, went shopping.

Keep your hands on your work

When knitting in a mobile situation - and this may seem obvious but is worth stating - it is essential to keep your hands on your work.  See how I repeated that core message from the title of this tip?  Don't, for example, put it down to read a magazine article that beckons from the table beside your chair in a waiting room.  Even if that article is going to reassure you that your province or state has fewer traffic accidents than any other in your country.

(Ironically, some poor driver went through the guard rail of the Don Valley Parkway this morning shortly before I drove past, so apparently 'fewer' is not as reassuring as one might hope.)

By keeping your hands on your work - and, more specifically, on your work bag - you will avoid picking up a message hours after leaving said waiting room from somebody who picked up that bag from the floor, and thought it might be yours because there was a sock inside it, and probably you can come and pick it up again in a few days because it's been put aside safely.

Or worse: not getting such a call at all.  Ugh, it doesn't bear thinking about.

Stay open to mobile opportunities

By keeping an eye out for compact patterns and projects that interest you, you can always be prepared to replace any (temporarily, I hope) lost mobile knitting. 

Even starting and then getting distracted and not finishing such projects can be helpful.  That is how I rediscovered the little gloves I started knitting last winter, and didn't finish because the weather was getting too warm for them anyway and also, I had to pack for the Italy trip.

The first one is already at the porcupine stage and not at all appropriate for mobility.

But I left the second shortly after finishing its cuff, and right before the many many rounds of boring straight knit before I even have to start the thumb gusset.  Sooo...

mobile knitter status restored,

for today, anyway.

Have a marvelous weekend of knitting, whether it's out or at home, and I will see you tomorrow!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Thursday knitting bag

Five things for not-quite-the-weekend...

Green with knitting

Owing to the lure of the Stoddart socks there has been very slow progress on the last of the three hats I designed last week:

It's knit with Twisted Fiber Art's Playful, a sport weight superwash wool that has just a little texture and a lot of bounce.  It's funny how even with the same fibers, every yarn knits up differently... in this case, each ply is very distinct so you get a nice play of shadows when you choose a semisolid rather than one of the self-striping colourways.

Also funny: how a hat will come out totally the wrong size if you don't do a gauge swatch.  (It's frogged, to be cast back on today.)

Writer for a day week

It's official: I'm attending a writing workshop this fall.  Yay!  It's years since I was able to invest any time in writing (apart from this blog, which takes up a not-insignificant part of each day) so just getting myself to clear enough calendar to apply was a huge victory, and finding out I was accepted is some serious icing.

As it happens I was thinking recently about what on earth I am doing writing this blog at all, something I have to assume occurs to most blog-writers at some point or other.  A lot of days, I give up sleep to make space for it.  Turns out that apart from meeting nice people and knowing my chemo cap patterns in particular make a difference, it's about the writing - what I lose in time, I gain in contentment. 

So, thank you for reading Hugs as often as you do!

Earning my stripes

There is another band of striping on my latest Stoddart socks:

The other sock has another band of the cuff colour at the other end of this newest pink and blue bit - I must have picked this one up by accident when I went to take pictures.  But trust me: it looks cute.  SO CUTE.  I can't wait to be done.

(and yes, I did have to resort to counting out rows in other socks to figure out how long the leg and the heel flap should be.  Sadly for the feet, the math was different on every single pair I checked so I'm kinda on my own there.)

Where does the (knitting) time go?

Yesterday I had first-hand experience of the merits of tempered glass when I knocked a tumbler off the counter and into the dishwasher I was unloading.

Broken tempered glass chunks up into cube-y bits as advertised... but it turns out you also get tiny specks and shards of glass too.  Yay.  I spent over 90 minutes cleaning this up, which is why I may or may not have anything new to show you tomorrow, ahem.

Fiber temptations

Did I mention I joined the Twisted Fiber Art club again for this fall?  I had decided not to, and then for the first time ever there were some spaces left after the first ten minutes, so I guessed it must be a Sign.

I went for roving this round, and chose the earth-toney stream of colours (you get to choose between two for the club, and shop from either stream in the afterwards-market.)  It is absolutely stunning but I can't show it to you lest I spoil the surprise for somebody else in the club, which hurts me probably a lot more than it does you.

And that's me for today... with luck I'll actually cram in a little knitting in the next few hours because otherwise tomorrow's post will be a picture of a pile of projects I'm not making any progress on at all.  (ugh, what a terrifying thought.)

Take care and I will see you then!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Pretty knitty stripes of doom

We have a combination of Wow and Yikes today.  Here is the Wow:

The current Stoddart socks in progress are making me so happy.  I cast them on the other night after a super stressful day, when I should have been going to bed but something was on TV that I didn't hate and I just really needed to calm down.  I am telling you, this yarn is the best thing I know for cheering up with.

That first night I did the ribbing for both socks, and the second night I snuck back down to the TV for another movie and got both up to the first rounds of blue...

and the next, I did the start of the pink stripe on the first sock, and after that, the rest of it.

Mostly because the blue is already divided into two balls, but the pink is just in one, and as a result I can't knit the two sets of stripes concurrently.  It's so fast to get a big chunk of Something done in boot sock yarn, I feel like I've packed in a bonus accomplishment at the end of every day since I started them.

Love love love these socks, can't wait to wear them, what else is new?

The Yikes

Even though I am pretty sure I've knit approximately a thousand and three pairs of these socks and have mostly memorized the pattern I designed for them, I still refer to it for the leg length, heel flap, heel turn, and foot length.  Lately I've even taking to scribbling down on the back of said pattern how many rounds are involved for each specific weight of yarn I use for it, to maximize both the limited yarn supplies and the comfort factor of the finished product.

And I've lost the paper it's on.

Can't find it anywhere!  Plus, I have completely forgotten those highly relevant numbers.  So I am knitting these sock legs on faith and hoping I find it before I get to the end of the legs.

Fingers: so very much crossed... I mean, I can always count out the rounds on a pair I knit before, but I know there were some sneakinesses I added at some point for a better fit and I don't remember which socks came after that point.  Gah.

Hope your day has all its patterns and notes in it - go have a great one, and I'll see you here tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Slow socks and the knitting of same

It's another new month and I rejoined the Vesper sock club, so there was yarn in my mailbox last week.  The fact that it had to cross the border to end up there makes it yarn that is not at all 'slow' (as defined by the distance between creation and consumption.)

As always, I find this colour combination (Rhapsody in the Rain, so appropriate) totally beautiful and compelling and I want to knit with it right away.  Also not slow!

And yet.  Remember when I got all excited because I had finally caught up with turning all my beautiful Vesper sock yarn into functional foot warmers, and I was now in a position to welcome each new installment in the club without guilt?

Yeah, that's over.  There are I think five more skeins of Vesper sock concealed in a magazine holder on the bookshelf where I conduct all my yarn winding, plus a pair of cakes waiting to be cast on, to say nothing of the two pairs still on the needles that have been housing them since - what, May?

I'm having guilt.

Plus longing - because we're having Vesper weather now and will do for the next two months, when it turns to Stoddart weather.  Yes, I grade the seasons by sock weight now.  If you knit socks compulsively you know what I'm talking about.

And most urgently, insight.  I was doing some seriously fast sock knitting there for a while; it was awesome and I got all caught up.  Then suddenly it all changed.

You know why?

Well, leaving aside the possibility that I've just been incredibly busy (true)

and a little tired of socks (not so much true)

there is the definite fact that I turned away from double pointed square needles to Something Else.

I've been knitting with several Something Elses for months and none of them feel really right in my hands, and I'm asking myself: Could this be a factor?  I mean, honestly, with needles that felt like an extension of my brain impulses I was knitting fast socks, while with ones that have a series of disconnects between them and my fingers, I have slowed down.

And then yesterday I was putting socks away.  There is nothing like a handful of socks knit on the needles you rejected for reminding you that those socks were just fine thank you.  Yes, the stitches were marginally bigger on the square needles I loved working with so much.  Yes, those stitches didn't feel nearly as nice on my feet when the socks were done.


The soles haven't worn out just because the fabric is a little less dense.

The size of the arch on each one is absolutely perfect and non-squeezy.

The fabric has an incredibly soft fall that makes these socks the ones I reach for even when the colours aren't exactly right for the rest of what I'm wearing (you can afford to be picky when you have as many pairs of stripey socks as I do - but yes, I'm a bit obsessive, ahem.)

I think I might go back, when this round of socks are done.  If I do that and then knit like the wind on the squares, there's just a chance I might catch up yet.  You think?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Weekend knitting: hat edition

Greetings from the land of hats!  On Friday, when I sat down to work on the two new hat designs I'd mostly finished, I got a third idea and decided to cast that on first.

It came out great, but I can't show you more than this for a few weeks yet because Hello, surprises! I'll keep you posted.

What I can tell you now is that it is super fun to stick pins onto a hat. I used to put silver pins onto black felted wool hats but: so cute to put them onto the ribbing of a handknit hat, and so much easier than making a special embellishment or finding the perfect buttony button for an accent.

This particular pin is on marker duty, reminding where the beginning of the round starts, but it might end up living on the hat because I really love that book-reading, tea drinking squid.

Of course I do have a few other pin options, too.  (I know, I've posted this picture before, but it's too yummy not to share again today.)

Meanwhile - I'm sure this has never, ever happened to you, heh - I had to rip out hat #2 entirely and start all over on Saturday, because I thought of a better way to execute the idea and I hated waste the great yarn I'd used on something that wasn't as good as it could be. Maybe you've noticed that unlike learning curves in other aspects of life, no matter how many times you have to rip stuff out, it never gets less disappointing.  Gah.

And ripping out was a predominant part of my knitting this weekend, because I ripped out the squid hat on Saturday as well... agonizingly when I was about 8 rounds from the ending.  Your Weekly Heartbreak, right there.  Then I reknit it entirely, with the right number of ribbing stitches.

Safe to say I am pretty ready for something I can knit mindlessly and have come out right the first time.

Like... I don't know... socks?

(I know you wish I was kidding.)

Okay, that's me for today, but tomorrow I'll be back with a picture of a seriously delicious yarn that turned up in my mailbox on Friday and is inducing some Feelings of Guilt alongside the drool.  Stay tuned! and have a great day.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Movies to knit (or spin) by

The new-hat knitting has been fueled by the discovery that somebody's uploaded a lot more Hitchcock movies to YouTube since the last time I checked.

There's Spellbound, with Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck:

And also, Notorious (also starring Ingrid Bergman but with Cary Grant this time):

And let's not forget Rebecca, my goodness:

I personally enjoy The 39 Steps in both movie and book form:

Not to mention The Lady Vanishes, which is one of my very favourites - love love love it:

Or perhaps you would prefer Jamaica Inn, which I've read but never actually seen (but will shortly, now that I'm committed to a second new hat pattern this month, yay!):

And there are many many more, if you search on "Hitchcock Full Movie."

If you are sneaking in some crafty time after everybody else is in bed and you have to be very quiet, Hitchcock made a lot of silent films too.  You can turn off the volume and skip the musical accompaniment, and no one will be the wiser. 

I like The Farmer's Wife,

and I look forward to watching The Lodger (it gets pretty good reviews):

and also I'm pretty sure I've seen The Manxman in a theatre where the scale of the seascapes was impressive.  If I'm right, the story is incredibly moving as well.

And that probably enough company for a whole weekend of knitting!

Hope you have a terrific time whatever you end up doing - for the first time in ages I'll be knitting nonstop, huzzah - and I'll see you again on Monday.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Hat design progress report

Designing knits is a really, really satisfying activity when it's not frustrating as all get out.  Thankfully, the worst part of the design of this hat (so far) has been finding time to do it, but after five or six months of trying I've finally made some headway.  Ha ha.

Here it is, looking exactly the way I pictured it when I got the idea.

Except for the not being finished part, of course.  What do you think of the colours together now?  I'm pretty sure I love them, myself.  There is something about the fine weight of the yarn, and the amazing fiber content (there's cashmere in there) and the colour contrast, and the lustre as you knit it in soft light, that makes this project very jewel-boxy.  It's incredibly pleasant to work on at night alongside an old movie, now that the weather's turned cold outside and the leaves are starting to turn.

But the best part for me is how gorgeous the inside looks:

Well, I shouldn't say it's the best part because I'm also really happy with the trick I figured out for keep the stripes perfect and the running in of ends to a minimum.  Still: it feels great to stop knitting from time to time to admire these purly stripes.

The colours are another interesting thing... I had a hard time decided whether to use the cherry or the moss green for the ribbing, and as I work along I can't help wondering how the hat would look if I'd gone the other way.

Luckily, there's enough yarn here to find out.

And that's today's Hug: hope you have a great day and that I see you here tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

For the love of old wool blankets

A pretty important rule in the process of decluttering a house is that you do not bring new stuff in as you are taking old stuff out.  The goal is to eliminate duplication, focus on function, and keep like with like: not 'go shopping in thrift stores and fall in love'.

But... sometimes you just have to give in.

This happened at my favourite thrift store in Port Colborne, where I've been going with friends every summer for a lovely afternoon in the lakeshore park there (I'm sorry not to remember the name of the shop, but of the two thrift stores in town, both are excellent, so perhaps it doesn't matter).  The retail area had been renovated and expanded since my last visit but the kinds of things in it are the same: it's all stuff decluttered from the homes of longtime residents of the town, well-loved and always special.

The blankets were what did me in really.  I looked at many things I wished I had space for, but then I remembered how cold nights were at the cottage in early summer and thought perhaps I should check for wool blankets. 

The pink plaid one, which is almost completely square and keeps asking me to take it for a picnic, was I think $2; the larger green one, about a double-bed size, was $4.  Neither has any moth holes or stains, but they are both missing their wide satin borders.

If I don't give in to the urge knit or crochet a special replacement border, I am pretty sure I have some fabric kicking around that would look pretty awesome as blanket edges, ahem.  Frankly though, if you are using them for warmth and not Pretty, you can just layer a blanket like this between a top sheet and a better-looking blanket.  No one will know, and you will be toasty all night long.

Washing old wool blankets

I never have to pay more than about $8 for an old wool blanket in a thrift store, and since the worst thing that can happen to one (felting) turns it into fabulous sewing and crafting material, I put them right into the washing machine as soon as I'm home - hot water, gentle cycle if I think of it, soap for delicate fabrics.  From there, they go into the dryer.

If you've ever watched your mother or grandmother send these things off to the dry cleaner I'm sure that sounds crazy, but if there were any bedbugs or moth eggs or other nasties in there, you won't have to worry about them any more. And actually, if anything they only come out a bit softer than when they went in. One of the blankets I handled this way did shrink up a bit, but it didn't felt.  I think they must all have been treated with something to protect them from any clumsiness as regards washing.

Why to buy old books

Apart from the obvious reason to buy old books - the cover art! - there is a certain nostalgia factor in letting old books into your mostly decluttered home.

Judging from the publication dates and the personal note in the airplane adventure book, these books were all owned by people who were born in the late 1910s or early 1920s, and then kept on.  Until, of course, they were given up to the thrift store by somebody like me, probably, who just really needed to clear stuff out.  It made my heart ache a little to think of the children who'd loved them and since grown up and grown old, perhaps having left their homes at last for geriatric care, or simply having died.

And it's not like they take up that much room.  Besides which, there is art inside as well, like this gem from the back of the little train book:

I am absolutely smitten with this and I'm considering detaching it altogether to frame.  After all, the spine is already gone from the book and it's not like it has any commercial value. Check out this closeup of the colour gradation:

Love love love it: it's just so 1920s.  And also, what a gorgeous colour combination that would be - bottle green, yellow, and black.  Man hat?

Gah, gotta stop thinking about new knitting projects.  And that's enough book-gazing for now too - go have a good day and fingers crossed for some knitting for all of us!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Finished knits amongst the sock problem

There should be a weekly entry for Are You Sitting Down? here at Hugs, because it feels like forever since there's been a finished object to show. 

And today is not really any different because, erm,

Well, at least the knitting part is done.

The Sock Problem

A weird thing happened to my sock pattern when I started experimenting with different needle types, and it's going to be a pain to fix it.  I don't know whether my tension changed, or whether the difference between a size up in squares and regular round needles is more significant than I thought, or maybe my feet went up a size? which is extraordinarily unlikely, but the bottom line is: the sock pattern that used to fit just fine doesn't any more.

You may (or not) recall that I have three or maybe even four pairs of lightweight socks on different needles right now, most of them idling away between the gusset and the toe decreases.  And that is because I'm not sure how long to make the feet before I start those toes: when I do the usual number of rounds, the end result just feels too short.  And in a handknit sock, that is a sad sad result. 

Of course it wouldn't take long to figure out what is the right length.  An hour or two of uninterrupted time to do the math and work up a sample for checking against would do it.  A couple of movies' worth of knitting by trial and error would also be fine.  I just haven't been at the intersection of 'uninterrupted' and 'sufficient brain' to do it. 

So I've kept on with my Stoddart socks instead - they didn't change, but stayed on the same needles they've been on since I first did the math for them.  To date, the lovely purple socks have been my very favourites of all the Stoddarts - and then I got to the toe.

And wham.

Same problem!

Because the purple yarn I made do with is a bit heavier than my usual boot weight.  As I got to the toe I realized I was doomed and I started to put on the brakes, switching between socks and trying to guess or do math or go back to guessing as I knit.

In the end I decided to go with my usual length, and then miscounted by one round, which I was afraid meant a lot of ripping out but turned out to be just right.  WHEW.

And so, apart from the many dangling strands I have to run in before the weather really gets cold, these socks are done and they are perfect.  Even if they are a bit wider than usual in the foot, ahem.

Meanwhile, I'm besotted with another knit I want to tell you about, but maybe not tomorrow because there are a couple of other things I want to share too.  Hope to see you here either way, and have a great day today!

Monday, September 16, 2013

The power of paint

No Knitters' Fair for me this weekend, but I made up for it by painting a pair of chairs!

Okay, you're right.  It didn't really make up for it, but it was still a very satisfying project and, oddly, much faster than knitting a pair of socks.

Here's the story.  For about a year I have desperately needed a pair of chairs that would be comfy while being very very small to match my tiny house, and when I spotted those two chairs outside a second-hand store a few weekends ago I knew they were The Ones.  Partly because they had been painted white, and partly because they matched the red one I already have...

... which was, incidentally, dusty rose way back when I found it sitting on the curb for garbage collection a block from my place.

After I paid for them ($10 apiece: inflation) I realized they were only technically painted white.

I mean, one of them had been, but the other had been painted white with latex over oil, and if you know paint, you know that that pretty much means peel - and therefore scrape - city.

Oh dear, the wood underneath is a nice colour.  But still!  Definitely a mass-produced chair, and way faster to paint one white than to strip all three.  Onward and upward.

When I saw how much paint I was using up I took a break to drag out the medicine cabinet that's needed a new coat for the last 15 years or so (but more on that project another day, when it actually makes it onto a wall.)

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by the whole painting thing.  I used to paint stuff all the time, and I kind of gave it up because it's sticky and time-consuming and also I think I'd run out of stuff Pete would let me get near with a brush or a spray can.  Now though, I'm thinking how easy and fast it is to transform simple objects into something you'd pay more than $10 for, and especially, how incredibly peaceful it is to watch something turn pearly white. 

It's kind of reverse knitting, painting stuff white, because the idea is to have no pattern or texture at all.  And at the same time, such a great backdrop for a bowl of Sock.

Eh, enough philosophy.  After making barely a dent in a very small can of pearl-finish white one-coat paint, and almost as many hours as it would have taken to drive to and from Kitchener and shop for yarn, I was done with all of it.

Yay!  You'd never know what a mess that one chair was in the seat, would you.

Of course, now the red chair is looking more markedly its age - if you think the chipped spots on its front right spindle thing are bad, you should see the back.  But all that will have to wait for another sunny not-too-hot Saturday because I have knitting to do! and I'm sure so do you.

Take care and I will see you tomorrow - believe it or not, I have something to show off that's not only knitting, but finished.

Friday, September 13, 2013

The handknit legwarmer update

Remember way back in August I promised you pictures of something you simply wouldn't believe?  Well, the shock value has worn off I know, because in the five or so weeks since I said that and started trying to find the time to get the camera and the knit in the same space, I could probably have knit as many Aran sweaters.  You'll just have to trust me that I haven't touched this project since then.

It's the neverending leg things.  The plain, close knit legwarmers that looked so enticing in my imagination and seemed like they would go on forever once they were actually on my needles.  But they did end!

Or rather, they're about to... what they're still doing on the needles so close to the finish I'm not sure.  I think it had something to do with it being way, way too hot out to think about trying them on as a decision-making aid about whether the bottom cuff should be the same length as the top or quite a bit longer.  I do know that boots will probably be involved in that equation and it has definitely been too hot for boots.

I took this picture of the vertical decrease line to show you how practically invisible it is, but now I can't find it.  Maybe this is the wrong side, or maybe it's even more subtle than I thought?  I think I see a couple of ssks in there though.

My intention is to finish these things and write up the pattern for anybody who wants a similar pair... agonizingly, the plan was to do this in summer so there would be time for any interested/slightly crazy to have them ready for winter, but Life.  It just keeps doing things, doesn't it.  So I will aim for Very Very Soon instead.

In good news, it's also the time of year when people end up in grandstands watching people play outdoor games, right? which is almost as perfect a time for this particular mindless knit as 'driving to the cottage' time.

I'll be offering the pattern in one size because I know my limits at this point, but I'll include suggestions for taking them up or down an inch if your legs are less average than mine.  It might be worth it to you.  The nice thing about this design, I think, is that it is pretty densely woolly because it's got a pretty firm gauge so they will be warm, but I used sport weight so they don't add a lot of bulk.

(of course, the screamingly bright stripes do a pretty good job of that, but there's no reason not to choose a more recede-y colourway if that's an issue.)

And on that note, I'm off for the weekend.  Take care of yourselves, do something fun, and I will see you again on Monday!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The knitter's fair is coming

Way back in June I marked something very exciting on the calendar for this Saturday: The Kitchener-Waterloo Knitters' Fair

I love the Fair.  It's everything you want if you do anything crafty with yarn or fiber, and it's in a lovely building across the street from a pretty fabulous mini-putt with two different courses to choose from.  I've gone I think every year for the last few years and it's always been sunny and glorious outside, full of yummy things inside. 

Love love love the Fair.

This year I might not go.  Or I might!  (it sort of depends on Trish.) 

I shouldn't even think about going, because just now I have rather too much yarn that isn't yet made into anything.

But I can't stop wanting to go, because hello, too much yarn? What is that??

The only thing I could see myself getting more of is Stoddart sock yarns, which is of course crazypants because I still have some from the Knitter's Frolic.

Not much though.  Just enough for three pairs of socks.  That's hardly anything, right?  I have obviously blown through what I bought at the Knitter's Frolic in April.

Oh.  I guess really I only started out with yarn for six pairs, so I'm only halfway through, and technically that's plenty.  Especially since I'm spinning enough Stoddart sock yarn for three pairs more than that.

Also I have quite a few very sensible things to do at home on Saturday.

But I want to go anyway.  What is up with that?

Your Weekly Heartbreak

So, this happened yesterday:

When I got to my favourite parking lot I discovered that since my previous outing I'd I taken my travel sock out of my purse and put it somewhere else without, apparently, being aware of the fact.  It took me till late this afternoon to find it which was awful: I was beginning to freak out that I'd actually dropped it somewhere.  GAH.  And it was just one of two striped socks and the other one would have haunted me forever with its needles still resting mid-arch.

Anyway all is well now except that while I was looking for it I found another skein of sock yarn wound into two matching cakes ready and waiting to be turned into socks, on top of the 12 or so other skeins also waiting to be caked and turned into absolutely anything.

Couldn't this have happened after the Knitter's Fair?

There you go: I leave it to you to decide which is the bigger heartbreak.  And then you can go do something very nice and I'll see you later!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Building blocks

This post has nothing to do with knitting, except in the way that everything has something to do with knitting.  (have you noticed that?)

Tudor chimney vs Modern chimney vs Encroaching forest

Since I started taking my camera with me everywhere I've been noticing a lot of buildings I just really, really like - because of the way they emerge from behind something unrelated, or the way they cut into the sky, or the way the trees sort of hug them.

So many shapes going on here!

Or maybe it's because theses places are so much bigger than my little house (yes, it's starting to feel less Cute! than too little again.)

Pretty sure the condo 'yards' are bigger than the townhouse 'yards'

Regardless: I've enjoyed taking pictures of these buildings and I thought you might like to see them too.

Flat vs stickie-outie balconies

If only for a glimpse at how Toronto might, or might not, be from where you live.  (All these pictures were taken around the same neighbourhood, incidentally: Yonge and St. Clair-ish, in case you're wondering.)

Okay, that's it for me today - hope you get in a lot of knitting time because it looks like I won't!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Knitting with porcupines

Last night after watching a lot of home reno TV that made me feel a lot more competent about how I look after this place, I set down my knitting and walked away and then stopped.  H'mmmm, I thought: somebody might hurt themselves on that.

You think?

When you have two socks going at once, and the yarn is thick enough and knit dense enough for the double-point needles to stand on end, that's porcupine knitting.

And yet when you smooth them all out they look quite civilized.

Plus: close to being done, YAY.

I must say I am loving the way these are coming out.  I know 'mohair' doesn't suggest 'silk' on the smoothness front, but these babies are coming out like little twin heavens for feet.  And even though I have several friends who love purple and would be very very happy if I was knitting these socks for them... nope.  Still greedy here; they're for me.

Aren't the stitches just so pretty?

Less pretty but growing on me as a shabby chic thing: the distressed wood look on the porch.  Further to the whole home reno thing - perhaps you've been watching the paint slowly wearing away over the last few years of photography here?  I know I have.  For a variety of reasons we decided to just let it all go till our beloved contractor could come back and rebuild the whole package.

So: just in case you love the shabby effect, you will probably want to know that unless something terrible happens, he's coming next week.  Fingers Crossed.

But not too crossed because I need those fingers for knitting the rest of these socks.  Hope you've had a great day and I will see you tomorrow!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Brace yourself: there was weekend knitting

Are you sitting down?

I know this isn't a lot of knitting to show for two whole days, but I also snuck in some spinning and some sock and a whole lotta cleanup (surely the potential for cleanup has to dwindle soon??) so I'm pretty happy with this much progress.

It's the start of the first of three patterns I really want to publish this fall, and the hardest to translate from idea to finished object, so I thought I'd better start it first.  And by 'first', I obviously don't mean in July as I'd intended, le sigh. 

These colours looked very enticing together when I bought the yarn about a year ago, and I still like them, but I don't know what anybody else will think.

Yum, or ew ew ew?

Today's job will be to update the pattern I drafted at the start with all the smoothings I did while actually knitting it up.  It's been a while since I designed something new and I've really missed using the skills that go into it... it will be nice to get the house tidied up enough to operate on 'maintain' for a while so I can indulge myself more often.  Which is likely to happen a lot because the point of cleaning up was to give myself more free time to write, and when I'm writing, I am procrastinating, heh.  Meanwhile, I'm making do with this hat.

In other news: I found this amazing sweater while shopping for still more storage baskets this morning (don't ask), and had to buy it immediately:

I posted the back view to Hugs' Google+ page if you're wondering what that looks like and don't expect to be standing behind me anytime soon.

Or if you do expect to be standing behind me tomorrow.  Tomorrow we are supposed to get baking hot weather pretty much out of nowhere and immediately before things get cool and rainy again, so I will not be wearing this thing or even looking at it, probably.

(or maybe I might sneak a peek; you know how that goes with new knits, right?)

Have a great day and I'll see you Tuesday!