February 29, 2004

Random thoughts

It seems to have been a beautiful day here - heck, a beautiful weekend, with temperatures around 8C, sun, melting snow, everything. But I say “it seems” because I have no first-hand knowledge; I was inside both days, and the closest I got to enjoying the sunshine was letting the cat out. Not that I’m complaining… oh, wait, yes I am. But feel free to ignore it, I’m sure it will pass. There are probably lots of people who would love to be able to spend hours sitting around indoors reading Greek philosophy… maybe? A few?

Rogue looks much like it did yesterday, though I have finished a few more rows. No pictures until there’s noticeable progress.

We did have a yummy dinner last night - homemade pizza. Mark has written it up in scrumptious detail in his blog; go on over and check it out! He’ll be the official chronicler of our cooking endeavours, though I’m sorry to say that while I’m in the throes of my Major Fields it’s unlikely that we’ll be doing anything particularly extravagant. Once that’s over with maybe we’ll get back into the swing of our ridiculously over-the-top cooking, though. I hope so - we both enjoy the process as much as the result.

And, finally, because I don’t have much to say today, and I haven’t had a picture of him in a while, here’s a gratuitous Tigger shot. Right now I really feel like following his example and curling up somewhere for a while…

tigbasket.jpg

Onwards.

Posted by Aven at 06:55 PM | Comments (5)

February 28, 2004

Hooding away

Sorry for the slightly sporadic posting - I’m starting to feel a little more panicked about my upcoming exams, so I’m trying to spend less time on the computer - it’s probably the most distracting activity in my life right now, even more than knitting, since I can more easily knit and read than knit and type (or even mouse). Nonetheless, along with finishing up Juvenal’s Satires last night (boy, that man had just a disgusting mind. I mean, I’m not particularly bothered by the sometimes disgusting/graphic descriptions and, more often, insults in Catullus’ poems, for instance, because they’re fairly witty and cheerful and surrounded by lots of other beautiful and interesting poems. But Juvenal is just bitter, angry, and sarcastic - so when he goes on at length about things I wouldn’t presume to talk about in anything approaching a public forum (let’s just say certain body parts and bodily fluids are prominent) there aren’t many pleasant aspects to redeem the poems. Plus, he’s even more explicitly and deeply misogynisitic, racist, and homophobic than most ancient writers - and that’s saying a lot! I think I’m glad I’m won’t be working on Juvenal very much for my thesis) I did manage some knitting. (Ha! I managed to follow my train of thought through that entire parenthetical passage - did you?) Here is Rogue, with the beginning of the hood:

roguebodyjoined.jpg

And here’s a closer shot of the cabling on the neck, which will extend up and around the hood:

rogueneck.jpg

I’m enjoying this part of the knitting quite a lot - I’m looking forward to watching this turn into a hood.

Right, that’s all for now. It’s time to clear my mind of Juvenalian smut and turn to Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. I live a strange, strange life…

Posted by Aven at 12:07 PM | Comments (0)

February 26, 2004

Another blogger!

Not too much knitting done - I’ve finished the back and am almost at the split for the neck on the front of Rogue. I’ll post a picture tomorrow.

The big news around here, however, is that my husband Mark now has his very own blog! No longer must he live vicariously through the comments on my blog! At the moment there is no particular theme to his musings, though he will probably write a fair amount about his various passions: language (and its history), books, music and gourmet cooking. If you feel like dropping by and saying hello, I’m sure he’ll be delighted. Mark is very supportive of my knitting (we’ve dubbed him my Knitting Squire because he does all the support jobs for me - helps me wind balls, attaches new balls, and rewards me with demonstrative displays of excitement when I reach a knitting milestone, no matter how small) and encouraged me to start this blog; now it’s his turn to explore the wonderful online world that is the blogging community, and see how he fits into it. Have fun, sweetie!

Posted by Aven at 11:23 AM | Comments (0)

February 25, 2004

Brief update

With my Major Field exams fast approaching (March 4th & 5th! Ack!) I’ve been cutting down on my knitting somewhat, trying to finish everything that needs to be read. I therefore haven’t started any new projects, though there’s an aran sweater for Mark waiting, and a cotton top for me, not to mention getting the yarn from the frogged brown top sorted out and ready to knit. But I have managed some progress on Rogue; I’ve finished the side cable pattern on the body and split for the armholes. I’m about half done the back:

roguebodysplit.jpg

Exciting, isn’t it? Here’s a rather disheveled picture of the side cabling, which is a little truer to the real colour of the yarn:

bodycables.jpg

There has been a great deal of discussion on the Rogue-along list about the hem facing - what type of facing to use, and how to attach it. For what it’s worth, on the body I used the k1p1 ribbing and knit the facing into the hem. I didn’t have any real problem with the hem biasing since the ribbing isn’t biased, but you can see the line caused by the knitting in of the hem in these pictures. I don’t really mind it, and it mostly disappears when it’s stretched slightly. At least I know it’s straight because I knit it in; if I’d sewn it, I might have wavered a little. When I did the sleeves I knit the biased facing and sewed it in, so it looks a little different - maybe I’ll post a picture of that tomorrow.

That’s all for now.

Posted by Aven at 03:09 PM | Comments (1)

February 23, 2004

Knitting for protection

Rogue was put aside for a night so that I could use my knitting skills for a more urgent cause. First, some background.

Meet Bear.

bear.jpg

Bear is an old, dear friend. Over the years he has, like all of us, suffered the depredations of Time. Unfortunately, he has also had to endure the depredations of a more active and destructive foe - Tigger. Tigger enjoys kneading Bear’s back, so much so that he will spend 10-15 minutes at a time kneading, purring, and drooling gently. This has resulted in some unfortunate hair loss on Bear’s back, and the losses are increasing. (Here is a close-up of the damage) I can’t bring myself to deprive Tigger entirely of his comfort, so I decided I needed to protect Bear somehow. Immediately, of course, I thought of a sweater, or, more accurately, a vest. I pulled out some leftover Patons Classic Merino, cast on a somewhat arbitrary number of stitches in the round, and (using a very clumsy method to make the armholes, about which the less said the better) produced a little top-down vest for Bear, which increased gently from his neck to his waist.

bearsweater.jpg

However, Bear is somewhat uniquely shaped, due mainly to his sitting position. His back is much longer than his front, and it is his back that needs the protection of the vest, as does the back of his head; but, of course, the vest shouldn’t cover his face on the front. So I thought of using short row shaping to create an extension for the bottom, and I picked up stitches along the top of the back and added a short-row “hood” flap on the top as well. In the end, the back of the vest looked like this:

bearsweaterback.jpg

I’m very pleased with it, especially since it’s the first time I’ve ever made something up without any pattern at all. If I were to make another sweater there are a few adjustments I would make, including leaving off the ribbing on the top of the back so that when I pick up the stitches for the hood it is more seamless, but overall I think it turned out well and will perform its function admirably. The only question now is whether Tigger will still enjoy kneading a wool-sheathed bear. He generally seems to like woolen items, so I have high hopes.

And now, rescue accomplished, I’ll get back to Rogue!

Posted by Aven at 12:42 PM | Comments (1)

February 22, 2004

Shh! Don't tell my mother!

I have a confession to make. Watching Hockey Day in Canada was not our only planned activity yesterday. After doing that in the afternoon we went over to see some other friends for dinner and a (gasp) Poker Night. I’m more of a bridge-player myself, and I barely even know the rules for poker. And, we were going to be playing for money! Admittedly, measured in cents not dollars, but still, that’s a lot of pressure! Plus, it’s gambling… horrors! But Mark assured me he would make up for my losses with his winnings, so I decided it wouldn’t hurt to sit in on the game. And I knew we’d have fun with these friends, because we always do, no matter what the activity.

Well, I won’t bore you with a blow by blow account, but I will say that both Mark and I came out ahead by the end of the evening, though Mark did significantly better than I by winning big on the last hand of the evening. And I did enjoy myself, though I still prefer bridge. So as long as I don’t suddenly find myself sitting in front of a slot machine in a zombie-like state, all is well. I might even be persuaded to attend another such evening…

In fact, yesterday was a very pleasant day all around. We didn’t get a single moment of work done, but we saw two sets of friends whom we don’t see nearly as often as we’d like and enjoyed lovely hospitality and good entertainment. No doubt I’ll pay for my day off later, but for now, I’m happy.

Still no knitting pictures; Rogue progresses slowly. But I’m very inspired by Steph’s accomplishments - her Rogue looks lovely. I have a feeling that I’ll find the grafting on the hood very problematic, if Steph had to work to figure it out - I have real problems grafting plain old stocking stitch. I have to figure this technique out; it’s too useful a tool for me not to be able to use it.

And now, back to work.

Posted by Aven at 04:39 PM | Comments (1)

February 21, 2004

Not knitting

No real knitting content today. I’ve been working on the body of Rogue, but I haven’t done enough rounds to bother taking a picture of it. Instead, I’ll tell you about the tv premier we attended last night.

Well, not exactly. A friend of ours worked as Assistant Director on a television show being produced in Ottawa, and he was in Toronto for the airing of the first episode. So, we joined him at the Duke of York pub and turned up the sound on the closest tv and watched the show. I should mention that the show is called “Mann to Mann” and is about two sisters running their father’s male strip club. Yup. Lots of male semi-nudity and cheesy strip scenes. Woohoo! We got some strange looks from the other patrons, but I saw them sneaking peeks at the show! I seen ‘em, I tell you!

The show is actually pretty funny - it’s cheesy, but it is set in a strip club, so the cheesiness is fully justified, and it had some funny lines. For anyone in the Toronto area who wants to check it out, it’s on the NewVR at 10:30pm on Friday, for the next 5 weeks. And you already know as much about the premise as you need to understand it!

It was also fun to see friends from out of town, of course. And we’re breaking with long-established habit by going out today, as well - two days in a row! Shocking. We’ll be hanging out at a friends house and watching the Hockey Day in Canada festivities. I’m bringing my knitting, so maybe I’ll have something photo-worthy by tomorrow.

Enjoy your Saturday!

Posted by Aven at 01:09 PM | Comments (0)

February 20, 2004

Yes, it's a sweater!

Done! Here’s the Lett-Lopi sweater in all its finished glory, handsomely modeled by my husband Mark:

marklopi.jpg

It needs some blocking and/or wearing to stretch it out a bit (how does one block these round-shouldered Lopi sweaters? They’re so circular, I’m a little unsure of how to lay them out), but he’s happy with it.

This is the second time I’ve knit this pattern for Mark. He liked the first sweater, which was in a blue colourway, very much, and wanted a grey Lopi sweater as well. When he couldn’t find another pattern he liked, he asked me to just make the same sweater again, in a different colour. Here are the two together:

twinlopi.jpg

The older sweater has stretched, relaxed, and settled (I never blocked it, so it’s just through wearing) so that it is somewhat larger and the pattern parts lie flatter. The biggest difference, though, is that the blue sweater is much softer to the touch. It’s the same yarn, but with wearing it’s softened up remarkably; all the itchiness is gone, and the fabric doesn’t feel much different than one knit from a normal fine wool. And that’s only through wearing, because it’s never been washed. (In Toronto there are only a certain number of days when it’s cold enough for such a warm sweater, so it hasn’t had extremely heavy use).

Anyway, I’m very happy with how the project turned out, and just as happy to be able to start something new! Though I might spend a couple of days devoting all my energy to Rogue, to get the body well underway, before I begin another project.

Have a great weekend!

Posted by Aven at 12:26 PM | Comments (4)

Quick update

Just a quick thing - Hi Anatole! Sorry I didn’t reply to your email! Your concern for Tigger was much appreciated, too! I hope you’re having a fabulous time down in Australia with the kangaroos and fur seals, and I look forward to reading your tales of adventure in your travel blog.

Right. Back to your regularly scheduled blog reading.

Posted by Aven at 01:28 AM | Comments (0)

February 19, 2004

Not done yet

Oh well, the best laid plans of mice and men…

The collars took longer than I thought they would, in part because I always cast off too tightly and had to redo my cast-off several times. I finally ended up using an 8mm needle to cast off from my 3.75mm needles, just to make sure the neck would be wide enough for Mark to get his head through! The neck now looks like this:

lopineck.jpg

I still have to graft the underarms, and then it will be done! I’ll have a picture of Mark modeling it tomorrow, I promise!

I thought you (whoever you are who might be reading this - it’s somewhat strange, talking to the world at large when I’m not even sure anyone’s listening at all! Though I know some people do stop by - Hi, Miriam! Thanks for the good wishes about Tigger!) might be interested in what the inside of the colourwork section looks like. I know that I don’t carry the yarns the way I’m supposed to - I don’t do two-handed knitting, for one thing. But the insides of my sweaters are starting to look a little neater:

lopiinside.jpg

Here’s a closer view. I had some longer floats, especially in the middle section of the pattern, but the tension of the stitches seems ok, and I’m hoping the “stickiness” of the wool will keep everything in place and stop the floats from catching on things.

Tomorrow. I will have a Finished Object tomorrow. I hope…

Good night!

Posted by Aven at 11:57 PM | Comments (1)

February 18, 2004

Nearly finished!

I’m getting close to the end of the Lett Lopi sweater! I finished the patterned yoke last night and started the ribbing for the neck:

lopiyoke2.jpg

You can see a close-up of the stitches here. I think I should be able to finish the neck tonight (there’s a second collar knitted inside this collar) and, I hope, graft the underarm stitches, and then I’m done! I’m horrible at grafting, though, so it is possible it won’t all get finished.

I also cast on for the body of Rogue, but that is literally all I’ve done, so it’s certainly not picture-worthy yet! And the second sleeve looks just like the first sleeve (fortunately), and so doesn’t need much photographing, I think.

It is possible that I’m spending a little too much time on knitting/blogging, and not enough time on working - or at least that’s what a certain member of my department thinks (Hi Anne-Marie!). However, I did hand in my major field paper to my committee today, so I think that shows progress. Now there’s just the two exams and the oral… oy.

Now I’m off to compose probing and elucidating questions about books 9-16 of the Odyssey to guide my students through those dangerous waters. I hope I’ll have an FO to show you tomorrow!

Posted by Aven at 04:05 PM | Comments (1)

February 17, 2004

Success!

tiginbed.jpg

He likes it! I will admit that it took a bit of persuasion and a catnip toy to get him to investigate it, but once he stepped into the bed he curled up quite happily and is sleeping cosily in it as I type. Huzzah!

I’m almost finished the second sleeve of Rogue, but no pictures yet. And the Lopi is starting to fly along (relatively speaking) now that the decrease rows have kicked in. I’m starting to think ahead to my next project; I had intended to do something with the yarn from the frogged brown camisole, but there’s still a lot of work to do to get all that yarn ready, so I’m thinking of starting something else in the meantime. Hmmm.

That’s it for now. Ta ta!

Posted by Aven at 05:33 PM | Comments (2)

February 16, 2004

Much better

Tigger’s crinkliness is much reduced, and he’s back to his normal energetic self. His infirmity drove me to work very hard on his kitty bed, though, out of guilt and pity, and I finished it last night. This is what it looked like pre-felting. I put it through three cycles in the washer and then blocked it on a very large pot and left it to dry:

bedblocking.jpg

The end result, revealed today, was this:

beddone.jpg

There are no pictures of Tigger in his bed, because he has not deigned to step into it yet. I think I tipped my hand by showing it to him too enthusiastically; now he’ll have to wait a while before he investigates it, just to demonstrate his independence. But I’m pretty confident he’ll like it.

My other two projects didn’t progress much this weekend, because of my detour into felting, but I’ll be getting back to them now. I’m starting to get impatient to work on the body of Rogue, so I’m trying to speed through the stocking stitch portion of the second sleeve. At least I can work on that while reading.

No other news - although I had intended to, I ended up not leaving the house today, and it’s Reading Week at UofT, so Mark didn’t go in either. We made some yummy avgolemono soup and Greek salad for dinner - a very summery dish to eat while watching a hockey game! And that’s all the excitement around here.

Back to work. Until tomorrow!

Posted by Aven at 11:12 PM | Comments (4)

February 15, 2004

The saga of crinkle-head

Well, yesterday being Valentine’s Day and all, Mark and I were intending to spend it quietly together, in a relaxing and enjoyable manner. However, events intervened, as they so often do, and things didn’t quite work out as planned.

When Tigger came in yesterday morning around 11:00, about two hours after he went out, it was clear that there had been some sort of Altercation, since he was covered with mud and had managed to get his right front paw completely through his collar (which is the stretchy kind designed not to strangle a cat should he manage to do such a thing - it had fulfilled that part of its mandate well, but he still didn’t look very comfortable!) and was limping around looking disgruntled. We took off his collar and wiped off some of the mud, and he settled down to his breakfast quite happily. We looked him over a bit for wounds, and he did have some scratches and little patches of missing fur, but nothing drastic, and he didn’t seem to be in pain from any of them, so we decided to leave him be. He was little quieter than usual, but we assumed he was still recovering from his (undoubted) loss in the fight. (We think he goes around picking fights and consistently losing them, though we have no proof - we’ve never seen “the other guy” at the end of the fight!). However, a little while later Mark was petting him and suddenly called out “You’d better come here and see this!”. It turned out that when we patted the top of his head, that forehead/between the ears part that cats always want to rub on your hand, it crinkled. That is, it felt like there were little air-bubbles under the skin, which moved around when you pushed them, and make a “crinkling” sound almost like cellophane. It was freaky weird, let me tell you! I’ve never experienced anything like it. Tigger didn’t seem at all worried, and he wasn’t reacting as if he was in any pain, or as if the spot was tender, but it was still very unnerving.

Anyway, to cut an already long story short, we managed to get an appointment for 6:20 at the vet, spent the day worrying, and then took Tigger in. It turns out that he has a small puncture wound on the top of his head (which we’d noticed, but it didn’t look very big or scary), almost certainly a bite, and that had allowed air to be introduced under his skin, and then the wound had closed, leaving the air in there. Apparently this is not particularly uncommon, though usually it happens with larger wounds. The air itself is not a problem (it should slowly be absorbed by his body), but it indicates that bacteria may have been introduced into his body, and that could lead to a rather huge abcess. So, Tigger’s now on antibiotics, and we’re applying a warm compress to his head a few times a day to try to encourage any intrusive matter to come out through the puncture. He’s clearly not back up to his full energy level, but his head still isn’t hurting him, and he’s not acting feverish, so we’re not too worried. However, his head is still “crinkly”, and it’s still very unnerving. And that is the saga of Crinkle-Head!

We did manage to get home in time to salvage some of our Valentine’s Day plans - we ordered excessive amounts of Chinese takeout from the lovely restaurant on the corner and watched the hockey game. Then we watched “An American in Paris” followed by “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”, accompanied by Häagen Dazs ice cream and a bottle of Ice Wine. In the end it was quite a pleasant evening, in spite of the worries of the day.

And now, a picture or two to reward you for making it through the saga. On Friday the wool for the kitty bed came, which was immediately approved by Tigger:

tigbedyarn.jpg

I started it last night and worked on it during the movies, producing this:

bed.jpg

You can just see the start of the third colour; there’s one more skein to go after that, and then it will be felting time. I want to get this done quickly so that Tigger has somewhere comfy to lie as he recuperates from his crinkliness. For that reason everything else is on hold until the bed is done - which shouldn’t take long, since I’m working with Bulky Lopi again.

I’m sorry, btw, if you’ve been having problems accessing this site - there have been some problems with my friend’s server (that hosts this site), which have caused him to have to do various complicated things that involved this blog being down for a while. May I just mention, once again, how much I appreciate his kindness in hosting and managing this site, and many others? Thanks Mike!

Happy Sunday, everyone.

Posted by Aven at 12:45 PM | Comments (2)

February 13, 2004

Ripping good fun

Right now I have lots and lots of work to do for my major fields, and a fair amount of work to do for the class that I’m teaching. So, of course, instead of doing either, last night I started another project. Or, to be precise, I started destroying one project in order to someday start another. I’ve been planning to rip this for a while:

browntank.jpg

What ever made me think I should make a fancy evening camisole out of a metallic-gold-flecked mohair blend I do not know. It was entirely the wrong yarn for the task (who wants to wear a furry sleeveless tank top?), plus I made it at least a size too large. Which was only exacerbated when I lost 30 pounds. I knit the project last spring, and never even came close to wearing it. I decided to rip it and use the yarn for something else, probably a lacy shawl. So, yesterday I began the process. First, I cut off the straps and separated the two body pieces (here), and then I started ripping. This was complicated by the crocheted edging around the entire thing, and I’m afraid that, not being a very patient person, I cut some things that ought not to have been cut, so there are quite a few short lengths of yarn. But after I passed the armholes it started to go more smoothly. Tigger helped out:

tigfrog1.jpg

Actually, he wasn’t a lot of help, but who could tell this face to go away?

tigfrog2.jpg

Anyway, when I’d pulled everything out, I was left with this:

froggedyarn.jpg

Unfortunately, the tank had been made with doubled yarn, so all of that mess needs to be separated into single strands. I started by winding one big pile into a ball, and then started pulling that ball into two strands, and winding those into separate hanks. But it was all a big pain, and I didn’t get very much done last night. What did get skeined I then washed and hung to try to straighten it:

hanging.jpg

I think this will be a slow process, which is fine, of course, since I still haven’t finished either of the projects I’m currently working on.

Now, all of this destruction raised a question. Where does the term “to frog,” meaning to rip out a knitted object, come from? Is it a new term, or has it been around for a while? It isn’t in the OED, but sometimes technical terms are hard to track down. Or has it been spawned (heh heh) only recently? I’m sure someone out there knows, and my husband and I would love to find out.

Finally, to answer Anne’s question, the visiting speaker was John Miles Foley, an expert in orality, who has done extensive fieldwork in the former Yugoslavia listening to oral poetry, and works with both Anglo-Saxon texts and Homer doing mainly comparative studies of story patterns and formulaic composition. He is also, it turns out, a very nice man, and a very interesting conversationalist. Which, I suppose, is only to be expected of an expert in orality!

This afternoon we’re going out to celebrate a good friend’s dissertation defence. I enjoy such occasions not only for the pleasure of seeing my friend succeed, but also because it gives me hope. It really can be done!

Have a great Friday!

Posted by Aven at 10:39 AM | Comments (1)

February 12, 2004

Progress

Oops! I missed a day, for the first time since I started keeping this blog. I hope it’s not the first step on a slippery slope…

It wasn’t even that busy a day yesterday; it was mainly spent in socialising with a visiting speaker, and attending a seminar he gave in the afternoon. It was unusual in that Mark and I were both interested in his work, and it was applicable to his department and mine. It’s not very common to have someone come speak about both Anglo-Saxon and Classical texts at the same event. Not only did we both attend the seminar, but we went out for a drink with the speaker afterward with a member of Mark’s committee and the chair of my department - world’s colliding! Bizarre, but fun.

I did manage some knitting in the evening. I’ve just started the third set (of 5) of patterns around the yoke of the Lopi sweater:

lopiyoke.jpg
I find that I can’t work on this for more than 3 or 4 rounds at a time. After that my attention begins to lapse and I find the physical effort of pushing all the stitches around and dealing with the great mass of knitted fabric becomes too irritating. Fortunately, I can put it down and work on Rogue for a while. Last night I finished the facing on the second sleeve and started on the cable pattern. No pictures, though, since it looks remarkably like the first sleeve! Which is gratifying, of course.

Thanks to everyone who gave me encouragement about my schoolwork - sometimes it just feels like there will never be an end, but I know that’s not true, and it helps to know that other people go through this too, and, most importantly, finish the process successfully, and go on to enjoy themselves! Most encouraging!

Speaking of which, I think I need to get back to work!

Posted by Aven at 03:26 PM | Comments (1)

February 10, 2004

Slacking off

I finished the first sleeve for Rogue; here it is, blocking on the elegant “garbage bag on spare mattress” blocking setup I’m currently using:

roguesleeveblock.jpg
I also, I hope and pray, am done with the current incarnation of my Major Field paper. It’s gone to my supervisor for one last review, but assuming I haven’t mucked it all up in my final edit, it should be ready to be officially submitted. It feels like I’ve been revising this forever. If I have to go through all of this for every chapter of my dissertation, my supervisor and I will both go mad! I can only hope that I’m getting the hang of this academic writing and scholarly argumentation, finally, and that it will start to go more smoothly now.

In celebration of handing the paper in, I’ve done none of the things that I really need to get going on. Instead, I attended a lecture on “Homer and the South Slavic Poets”, went to the reception afterward, and then ended up going down to the pub with the speaker, my husband and some of his friends from medieval studies, and one of his professors. I only tore myself away because I had to get back to my department to hold my office hour, but now I’m spending said office hour writing my blog entry! Having spent the intervening half hour gossiping with my supervisor and bemoaning the decline of western civilisation and the depressing level of education of the general public. He was in a ranting kind of mood…

I have to wrench my mind into contemplation of serious things in time for my class tonight, or the lecture will just end up being “some things I think are funny about the Odyssey” and over in 20 minutes. Not that there aren’t two hours worth of funny things in the Odyssey, but my attention span seems very short right now.

Well, toodle pip for now, have a good evening! I’m off to read about Orality in Homer…

Posted by Aven at 11:19 AM | Comments (4)

February 09, 2004

That's a lot of stitches...

I finished the second sleeve for the Lett-Lopi sweater. Here are the pieces waiting to be joined together:

lettlopiprejoin.jpg
Then I knit all the stitches onto one needle (except for a few underarm stitches at the join between sleeves and body), and produced this:

lettlopijoined.jpg
Not much different, is it? I’ve only knit one round past the join; the yoke pattern starts now, but I haven’t had time to get going on it. And 318 stitches is an awful lot of stitches - one round is suddenly a monumental task. It will be even better when I’m doing colour work on that huge round; I just hope I don’t make any mistakes and have to tink back. After about 7 rows of pattern the decreases start, which will make it easier to bear.

Actually, I’m looking forward to starting the pattern, it’s just a little daunting to cope with so much fabric and so many stitches! On the plus side, though, there won’t be any seaming at all to be done!

Rogue is progressing very slowly - I’ve been devoting myself to the Lopi, mostly. Plus, I’m theoretically working on my paper, which isn’t conducive to knitting. Or shouldn’t be. Not like the NHL All-Star game yesterday, the reason for my progress on the Lopi! (Go Mats Sundin and Gary Roberts!)

Until tomorrow!

Posted by Aven at 01:31 PM | Comments (1)

February 08, 2004

Raking up the past

I was digging into the very back of my closet yesterday, looking for a dress to wear to a party that night, and I found the first sweater I ever knit. I think it was also the first project of any sort that I knit. Here it is, in all its awful glory:

first.jpg
Isn’t it horrible? I think it was knit on 12 mm needles, or something like that, in a doubled acrylic yarn. And it isn’t helped by the fact that bits of the yarn seem to have broken and stitches seem to be unraveling in places. However, I plead mitigating circumstances: I was twelve years old, and it was 1988, which helps explain both the poor construction and the unfortunate colour choice. I don’t remember, to be honest, who started me knitting, but I presume it was my mom, who has knitted most of her life, intermittently. Maybe she can refresh my memory on that point?

Perhaps it’s not surprising that I didn’t finish another project until I started knitting again in my second year of undergrad. I still remembered the knit and purl stitches, but that was all. At the end of term, when I had finished my exams but was staying in the city for another few weeks, mostly hanging out with my boyfriend, I passed a yarn store and suddenly decided I wanted to knit something. So I went in and bought a pattern, needles, and some worsted-weight cotton (of all things to start with!) and, over the course of the few weeks I was still in Toronto, re-learned the knitting skills and made myself a sweater. I think my second “first project” is quite a bit better than the first:
bluecotton.jpg

The finishing isn’t perfect, and I didn’t believe the pattern and didn’t make the body as long as it said, so it’s a little more cropped than it was meant to be, but it’s still a useful sweater, and it started me on the long road that has led to this blog. Unfortunately that LYS had closed by the time I returned to Toronto, but I managed to find other places to buy yarn, and the obsession has just grown ever since, nurtured, I have to mention, by my then boyfriend (now my husband), who has enthusiastically requested sweaters, hats, scarves, socks, and anything else I will make for him. It’s fun making things for myself, but it’s also very gratifying to be able to make things for those you love, and have them appreciate them so much. He’s also really good about showing off the things I make for him, and making sure everyone knows I made them!

Anyway, that’s my “origin story” - thanks for coming along! Tomorrow I’ll get back to more current knitting events.

Posted by Aven at 11:56 AM | Comments (2)

February 07, 2004

Felting

I ran the big swatch of Bulky Lopi through two hot wash cycles and produced this:

bulkyfelt.jpg
Fuzzy, isn’t it! I forgot to take a picture of it pre-felting, but it looked much like the coat, of course. Up close, you can see that the stitch definition hasn’t disappeared, but the fabric is stiff and very furry, so I don’t think I’m going to worrry about it.

bulkyfeltcloseup.jpg
I’ve ordered some yarn and some large dpns and circular needles to make the kitty bed. I hope Tigger likes it - he hasn’t shown a lot of interest in the felted swatch yet, but it was wet yesterday; and it’s not really big enough for him to curl up on. We’ll see!

I’ve also finished the cabling section on the first sleeve of Rogue:

roguesleeve.jpg
I’m quite happy with how it’s turning out, though of course it will need some blocking, and I have to sew the hem facing down. The colour is closer in this picture than in the picture of the swatch, but in real life it’s a little richer. (If only that were the way it always worked! But alas, it seems the reverse is usually true, of people, anyway!)

I’ve finished marking my first test, and I’ve almost completed the marks sheet and entered all the grades. I swear, this is my least favourite part of the entire process - entering all the names into a table, and setting up a marks record for 175 students. There has to be a better way…

Tomorrow I will show you my first knitted item ever - be afraid, be very afraid!

Posted by Aven at 12:15 PM | Comments (1)

February 06, 2004

New Project - oops!

I still haven’t quite decided what to do with the Lopi coat, but it has been brought to my attention that if I have any intention at all of removing it from the spare mattress that it’s lying on now, I darn well better have a replacement ready. Someone is enjoying it too much to lose it:

tiglying.jpg
He walks in, steps onto the wool, and starts purring. Loudly.

tiglying2.jpg
He doesn’t seem to want to sleep anywhere else.

tiglying3.jpg
So I’m thinking I need to make him a felted kitty bed with some Bulky Lopi. That might make up for taking away the coat, which will have to happen soon, one way or another. To that end, I’m knitting up a big swatch with the ends of the coat yarn, to see how it felts, and to make sure that Tigger still likes it once it’s felted. If it all works, I think I’ll have to order a few skeins and get cracking. It’s not like it will take very long, right? And domestic harmony must be achieved…

It’s currently freezing rain here, on top of the snow we got last night. Icky, icky, icky! But I have to go in to school anyway. Bleagh.

Have a great weekend!

Posted by Aven at 11:07 AM | Comments (0)

February 05, 2004

Done!

The coat is done!

coatdone2.jpg
Here’s another picture, with me looking somewhat crazed (I think I was over-emotional becasue of last night’s Angel and Cordelia’s fate), and a weird one of the back:

coatdone.jpg

coatdoneback.jpg
So, as you can see, the sweater does fit; but not quite as I’d imagined it. I was expecting more of a coat; this fits me rather tightly, and I couldn’t wear very much more than a t-shirt under it. What do you think? Should I keep it, or find someone smaller than me to gift it to? Interested parties (those who might be recipients) are welcome to speak up!

Still, I’m quite pleased with it. Though my finishing work leaves a fair amount to be desired; I don’t know why, but it seemed harder on this than on the finer sweaters I’m used to. Or maybe it’s just that I didn’t take enough care over it.

Now that I’m finished the coat, it’s on to Rogue! I’ve done the hem facing for one sleeve, and some of the cabling, but I have to rip it out to the beginning of the cable pattern because I misread the directions for increasing. So no pictures yet. And the Lett-Lopi sweater continues, but all I got done yesterday was the ribbing on the second sleeve.

Today I’ll be working on revisions to my major field paper; oh joy. I can’t wait to be done with that! There’s only so many times one can look at the same introductory paragraph without wanting to do something violent to it or oneself! But that’s all part of the process, I know.

Have a good Thursday, and Go Leafs Go tonight against Ottawa!

Posted by Aven at 09:44 AM | Comments (4)

February 04, 2004

Quickly

No time for pictures this morning (maybe I’ll post some tonight), but I did sew up the coat; I still need to weave in some ends and sew on buttons. I’m not sure if I have any that will work, or if I need to go buy some. I think the coat is too small for me, unfortunately. But I’m still reserving final judgement until the buttons are on.

I also finished the first sleeve of the Lett-Lopi sweater, and am just now starting the second. And then, as soon as the sewing is finished on the coat, I’m starting Rogue! I’m going to start with a sleeve, I think; it seems less intimidating, somehow.

I didn’t make it to the gym yesterday; I went into the department for coffee hour instead. And then I socialised and worked and waited for students in my office hour, but no one came to see me, so I finished my reading for the day. My class had a quiz; I had intended it to be fairly straight-forward and short, but I think I miscalculated somewhat. I allowed 45 minutes for the quiz, with the lecture starting at 10 minutes past the second hour of the class. Within 6 minutes of the beginning of the quiz people had started handing them in, and by the end of 30 minutes everyone was done. So we all sat around for a while, and it was all faintly ludicrous, but the class didn’t seem to mind too much. And they didn’t all ace the test, either, judging from a cursory glance over the papers. I guess they were just the sort of questions that one either knows or doesn’t know, and can make that determination very quickly.

Anyway, the lecture afterward by my TA went well, and I’m not really worried about the 10% quiz, but it was amusing, nonetheless.

Today I really will get to the gym, and then I’m going to the library. So not much knitting for me today; but I’ll try to put up a picture of the coat by tomorrow.

Happy Wednesday!

Posted by Aven at 10:16 AM | Comments (0)

February 03, 2004

Kitties

First, knitting content: all the pieces of the coat are finished blocking (with, I’m happy to see, full approval from Tigger) and I hope to sew them up this evening. The front bands do seem to have stretched with blocking, so they may yet work. I’m only a few rounds from finishing the first sleeve of the Lett-Lopi sweater - it’s going faster than I thought it would, probably because I’ve been knitting it while I’ve been doing my reading, and I’ve actually managed a fair amount of reading recently. Which is about to change somewhat, since when I go into school today I’ll be picking up the draft of my Major Field paper, which a member of my committee has just looked at. She said it was close, but that there were a couple of things to change; and those things, of course, are the very things I find hardest to do. So I will be writing, not reading, for the next few days.

I also wanted to follow up the pictures of my sister’s cat. We took those when we were staying with him at my parents’ house over Christmas. He’s only 7 or 8 months old, and very sweet and loving, but he has way more energy than our 7-year old Tigger. When they were first introduced, there was a state of cautious detente:

detente.jpg
However, this soon degenerated into a state of “stalk Tigger everywhere he goes and leap on him repeatedly, even though Sasha loses every fight because he’s half Tigger’s weight”. It was a little wearing, especially when the Battle Royales happened at 3 in the morning. But there were occasional moments of peace and harmony, befitting the holiday season:

harmony.jpg
Mark and I decided, after showing Pirates of the Caribbean to my parents, that Sasha was, in fact, the demon monkey from the movie - with all the energy and mischief of our simian friends. And he is thus enshrined in our memory. Apparently he misses Tigger, now that he’s alone at my parents’ house; but I’m sorry to say that I don’t think Tigger misses him!

Now I’m going in to school to go to the gym, do some reading at the library, and teach my class in the evening. Actually, I won’t be doing much teaching; they have a test for the first hour, and then one of my Teaching Assistants is taking the lecture for the second hour. But I’ll be there, to make sure the students don’t just leave. They often think that the TA’s lectures aren’t important (i.e. testable). Which is not true, at least in my classes.

I hope to have an FO to show you tomorrow!

Posted by Aven at 10:20 AM | Comments (0)

February 02, 2004

A new week already?

The trouble with being a shut-in is that the days run together, and it’s hard to keep track of the weeks. It disturbs me that the time seems to be flying by so quickly; it’s already Groundhog Day, for goodness sake!

I’ve finished the front bands on the coat; here is the body, blocking:

coatblocking.jpg
I’m not happy with the bands. Not because they’re the wrong colour - I think they look fine. But because I didn’t pick up as many stitches as I was told to, and so they’re too short and pull in the front panels. But I can’t reknit them right now, because I used up all the yarn I have (except a little bit of white, which I don’t think would look very good) and if I reknit with more stitches it would take more yarn than I have. So I think I’ll leave it for now and finish the rest of the coat, and perhaps next time I order wool I’ll get an extra skein of the grey and reknit the edges with that.

Other than that, though, I’m happy with how it’s turning out. I think it will fit, now that it’s coming together.

In honour of my sister, who, it has come to my attention, has dropped by this blog at least once recently, I include two pictures of her very cute kitten Sasha:

sasha.jpg
sasha2.jpg
Have a good Monday!

Posted by Aven at 10:34 AM | Comments (3)

February 01, 2004

Yes, it's a body!

It may not be a sweater yet, but I’ve reached the point on the body of the Lett Lopi sweater where I set it aside and start the sleeves:

lettbody.jpg
For anyone who’s interested in seeing what the Lopi looks like up close, here’s a closeup of the stitches. I’ve started the first sleeve, but I’m still on the ribbing at the cuff. I can’t wait until that’s done, because it uses double pointed needles; I’m getting better at using them, but I still dislike them fairly heartily.

I’m also working on seaming and finishing the coat. However, there are a few issues to deal with during this process. First, I don’t have enough yarn, at least of the colours I should have. Perhaps this is due to my increasing the size of the two front panels, though I wouldn’t have thought that would make such a drastic difference in yarn usage. I was supposed to have enough of the dark grey to do a 5 1/4” collar, and two 2” front bands. Instead, I shortened the collar slightly and did the second half of it (which is folded back to the inside) in the maroon:

coatcollar.jpg
This leaves me with a very small ball of the grey, a fair amount of the maroon, and two small balls of the white to finish the front bands. I think I’ll do them both at the same time, so that I make sure they’re the same, and start with the maroon. I may well have to do a row or two of the white or the grey in order to get the full width. I hope it will look okay.

The other problem is seaming. The bulky yarn is way too thick to seam with, even if I had more of it left over. I tried splitting a length of it into two two-ply strands, but this yarn is very loosely spun, and the yarn isn’t really strong enough to seam with. I’ve done the shoulder seams, but I’m going to have to reinforce them. I would use the grey lett lopi, since it’s the same colour, but I don’t want to find myself short of yarn for that sweater, so I don’t want to use it until I’m sure I have enough extra yarn.

Anyway, I’m sure it’ll all work out, but I think the finishing will take as long as the knitting did!

And as soon as it’s done, I can start Rogue…

Posted by Aven at 11:40 AM | Comments (0)