July 29, 2004

Fun at the LYS

Last night I finally made it to Lettuce Knit for the Stitch ‘n Bitch. It was lovely! I felt right at home almost immediately (thanks, Jane!) and I met several people with whom I had only communicated electronically in the past. Everyone was just as funny and friendly as I’d imagined, and people were working on some truly beautiful pieces — check out Kelly’s scarf, for one! And Kathy (I think — I’m so horrible at names) completed her first project ever, a wonderful poncho — fabulous! I’m definitely going back, though not next week, since I’ll be out of town. Oh, and thanks again for the ride home, Stephanie!

I brought the silk sweater to work on, and by bedtime last night I’d finished the front:

silkback.jpg

Actually, I’ve now decided this is the back, not the front (the two pieces are worked identically). There are various imperfections and minor errors that I hope not to reproduce on the second piece, now that I know how it all works. Still, I’m pretty happy with it, and I’ve started the second square of the (new) front.

Enjoy the sudden return of summer temperatures, Torontonians, and everyone, have a great day!

Posted by Aven at 12:06 PM | Comments (4)

July 27, 2004

Mitring along

The silk sweater continues to grow steadily; I have one more square and a triangle to do, and then five smaller yoke squares, and then the front is finished. I think it’s going to look pretty good, even with the less than perfect job I’ve been doing of picking up stitches. I’m just not a perfectionist, and it shows in my knitting sometimes. However, the same nonchalance about doing the job right usually extends to my opinion of the finished piece, so I’m generally happy.

I’m considering getting started on my next sweater for Mark — I have alot of yarn stashed for him, and various other projects lined up after that, so I might go back to multi-tasking. Because I had some problems adapting a commercial pattern to a different yarn and stitch with the King Charles sweater, I’m thinking about using some sweater-designing software to make a custom pattern for this next sweater. Has anyone out there used Knitware Sweaters? Do you have any advice? I just have the free demo version, but as far as I can tell I can still design a sweater with it, I just can’t save the design or use certain functions. Anyway, we still have to decide on a stitch pattern and I have to do a proper swatch with it before I go any further, but I’m curious about other people’s experiences with this programme.

Posted by Aven at 11:58 PM | Comments (0)

July 24, 2004

Done, done, done!

Finally! The King Charles Brocade sweater for Mark is finished:

brocadedone.jpg

After all the pain and re-doing involved, I think it came out well. I don’t know why it took so long to finish, but I hope the next one I do for Mark is quicker!

I’ve also finished the second sock I was working on (or, almost — I just need to cast off with a larger needle). I think I’m done with socks for a little while — I don’t want to get too bored with them, so I’ll wait a week or two before starting the next pair.

As I was finishing Mark’s sweater, I actually started the next thing — I couldn’t sew seams while chatting or reading blogs, after all! Here is the beginning of my next sweater, in that silk from Elann I bought a while back:

silkstarted.jpg

Doesn’t look much like a front yet, does it? It’s a modular sweater from Just One More Row, so it’s constructed out of mitred squares and triangles, mainly. It’s fun to knit — after casting on/picking up for the square, it just keeps decreasing away to nothing. It’s very satisfying! It’s also just a joy to be working on something new, finally. I think it will go pretty quickly. Here is a closer look at some of the squares.

Tigger was interested in the photo shoot too:

silktigger.jpg

Now that I’m on to a new project, of course, I’m already thinking about the next… but this time I think I’ll try to finish one before starting another!

Posted by Aven at 05:22 PM | Comments (8)

July 21, 2004

Still not finished!

I’m ashamed to admit that I’m still not finished putting Mark’s sweater together. I have finally finished the collar, though — I had to redo it because the neck was far too wide (went down too far in the front) and thus there were too many stitches to pick up around the collar. After pulling out the collar, unpicking the shoulder seam, and ripping out the shoulders, I knit the neck to be an inch or so more shallow, finished the front again, and picked up the right number of stitches for the collar (oh, look, there might have been a reason for the number of stitches given in the original pattern… who’d have thunk it?). Anyway, it’s fine now, and I’ve seamed the sleeves and sides. I just need to set in the sleeves and weave in the ends, but that takes some concentration, and I just haven’t had a chance these last few days, what with all the fun we were having with my dad. However, he’s left now, so I might soon get some seaming done — but not tonight, we’re going out for a friend’s birthday.

I did get some sock knitting done while at Shakespeare in the Park in High Park last night, though — we saw a very good performance of As You Like It, a play I didn’t know well but enjoyed thoroughly. The acting and directing were very impressive, and it only rained on us a little, even though there had been Severe Thunderstorm warnings for Toronto all day, and torrential rains earlier in the afternoon. That did thin out the audience, though — no trouble finding seats.

I’ll try very hard to have Mark’s sweater finished by my next entry — but I make no promises, since I seem to have said I was near the end of this about 15 times already!

Posted by Aven at 06:41 PM | Comments (2)

July 18, 2004

Activity

There’s been alot of activity around here but little knitting, unfortunately. Still, it’s been fun-filled and relaxing, so I’m not complaining!

On Wednesday we went to the Sting concert. Briefly, it was great, though the fact that the bill was split with Annie Lennox meant that there was too much time waiting around in the middle while they completely reset the stage — at least half an hour. By the time Sting came on the crowd didn’t have a huge amount of energy, and though the set was very good, there was a bit less of an emotional connection and energy than I expected. Still, by the end of the set everyone was rocking, and I had lots of fun.

Thursday was our anniversary — we went for a lovely French dinner, in honour of our honeymoon in the south of France, and had a generally grand time.

Friday we cleaned the house and then my father arrived for a visit. Yesterday and today we’ve been doing “Toronto” things — all the things we never do in the city because we live here and never think of it. In particular, yesterday we went down to the newly opened (last year) Distillery District. This is the old Gooderham & Worts rum distillery, of which many of the buildings have been renovated and opened as cafes, art galleries, boutiques, and a brewery. There was a jazz festival going on, so there were numerous stages set up with lots of great live music, and even the alleyways had their own bands:

districtlatin.jpg

We had some very yummy food and generally enjoyed ourselves wandering around the area. Here’s my dad enjoying a steak and stout pie:

daddistrict.jpg

Today we went for dimsum again and wandered around Kensington Market, and now we’re resting after the great exertion of the day (ha!). Maybe now I’ll manage to do a little knitting on Mark’s sweater… would you believe I’m still re-doing the collar? I don’t know if I’ll ever get this done…

Posted by Aven at 05:56 PM | Comments (2)

July 14, 2004

Day off

Thanks for the lovely comments about the poncho — I’m very happy with it too! In fact, I’m planning to wear it tonight when we go out to the Sting concert. I don’t know if ponchos and Sting go together, but I don’t care.

Oh, Jane, if you’re reading this, thanks for the encouragement! I will definitely come out to Lettuce Knit for a S’nB — but not tonight, because of the aforementioned concert. Maybe next week…

I won’t be blogging tomorrow, or knitting much for that matter. It’s our wedding anniversary, so we’ll be taking it easy and indulging our love for fine food and laziness. This means that Mark’s sweater still won’t be done… but maybe on the weekend… except that my dad’s coming to visit starting Friday, so we’ll probably be pretty busy then too…

Posted by Aven at 04:22 PM | Comments (1)

July 13, 2004

Poncheriffic!

Ta da!

poncho.jpg

I love it! It was quick, the yarn is yummy to wear (as it was to knit, though I’m always a little thrown by having to keep the tension fairly loose, since I’m usually a tight knitter), and I think it looks wonderful. Thank you, lovely lady at Lettuce Knit!

This brings me to a point of etiquette I’m wondering about. Is it bad manners to attend a Stitch ‘n Bitch in a LYS and knit something that wasn’t bought at that store? I’d love to drop by Lettuce Knit on a Wednesday night and meet some Toronto knitters in person, but I just don’t think I can afford most of the yarns in the shop, at least not very often. I’ve also got several big projects waiting for me that I want to work on, so I’d rather not get derailed again (though I don’t regret the poncho!). However, I don’t want to be rude. What’s considered good form?

Speaking of meeting Toronto knitters, while I was in Lettuce Knit on Sunday I realised that one of the ladies sitting and knitting looked familiar. I had met her while I was doing a few hours of volunteer work on the Olivia Chow campaign — she was organising the NDP booth at the Bloor Street Festival. We’d chatted for a while, but hadn’t talked about knitting. When we met again, not only did she remember my name (I’m constantly amazed by other people’s ability to do that — I’m horrible at names, even of people I see fairly frequently) but she’d noticed it on another Toronto knit blog, and wondered if that was me. “Small World” occurrences like that always make me happy.

In continuing knitting news, I’m back to work on Mark’s sweater, but there are Issues at the moment. I hope to have them at least partially solved by tomorrow, so I’ll write more about them then.

Posted by Aven at 06:21 PM | Comments (11)

July 12, 2004

Happy

Yesterday was an absolutely perfect day. In fact, my whole weekend was pretty darn fabulous — but yesterday was particularly amazing. On Saturday we had dinner with friends, bbqing on the roof of their condo building on Queen’s Quay West, overlooking the lake, and that was wonderful — though bittersweet, because they’re leaving the city in August, off to Cornell for a job. We’ll miss them!

There was an element of sadness about Sunday, as well, because the day started (nice and late — that was part of the joy!) with dimsum to say goodbye to another couple, who will be leaving Toronto for Philadelphia for school. However, it was lovely to see them, even if sad to say goodbye, and dimsum was, as always, superbly yummy. After dimsum those of us who weren’t heading off to the airport started wandering — it was a perfect summer day, warm, even hot in the sun, but not too humid, and pleasant in the shade. So we wandered around Kensington Market for a while (which is now closed to cars on Sundays — there were street artists and musicians and the place was pleasantly crowded — very civilised!), surveying the vintage clothing and bulk spices shops. Then we headed down to College St. and hung out on a patio drinking beer and/or gin and tonics for a while… and then wandered a few more blocks and had some gourmet ice cream… and then wandered back to our place, sat around in the backyard eating takeout bbq’d chicken from a local Portuguese grill-shop and drinking wine, and chatted until everyone was tired and went home to bed. Perfect. It couldn’t have been a more relaxing and enjoyable day — so much so that all of us kept commenting on how wonderful it was all day, because we couldn’t quite believe it! I didn’t do any work at all and I didn’t even feel guilty. Pure pleasure.

And, to top it all off, there was even some knitting excitement! While we were in Kensington Market I stopped by Lettuce Knit, which I’d read about on other Toronto blogs but hadn’t yet visited. It’s a lovely and tiny store that carries mainly slightly more high-end yarn than I usually buy — but it gave me a chance to fondle some of the yarns I’ve only seen on other people’s blogs. And, unsurprisingly, I was seduced, even though I can’t really afford those yarns and I already have lots of projects waiting. I bought some Rowan Cotton Tape to make a poncho. I’ve been seeing ponchos everywhere, and while I’m still a little unsure if I’m cool enough to wear one, it seems so silly not to take advantage of my knitting abilities to make one, especially since they’re so easy. So, while the collar of Mark’s sweater languished upstairs, last night I started the poncho while we sat around in the garden, and by this morning I had this:

poncho1.jpg

I believe I was won over in part by the luscious, decadant yarn and in part by the cute little bag the kit came in:

ponchokit.jpg

The pink needles, the pattern, and two beaded stitch-markers were also included in the kit. Totally indulgent, and utterly satisfying. Now I just have to make sure I wear the poncho!

Even though today was a bit more back to reality, I’m still glowing from the happiness of the weekend. And we’ve got lots to look forward to this week — though I’ll talk about that later, since this entry is already far too long!

Wishing you all as much contentment as possible!

Posted by Aven at 06:28 PM | Comments (1)

July 08, 2004

Nearly there!

I’ve finished all the pieces for the King Charles Brocade sweater! I finished the second sleeve last night while playing a computer game (Civilisation III) with Mark… I think I’ve found the black hole of distraction — knitting and gaming. There’s no way to stop!

Anyway, now I just need to do the collar and sew it up. I have a bit of a dilemma, however. The original pattern I’m adapting, and indeed most of the patterns I’ve made for Mark, call for a simple ribbing for the collar, folded in half and tacked down around the neck. This looks good and works well. But with the yarn and stitch pattern I’m currently using I’m a little concerned. I used seed stitch at the waist and cuffs, not ribbing, so I’d like to use that at the collar as well. But the acrylic is stiffer than the wool I’m usually knitting with, and the seed stitch seems bulkier than ribbing, so I’m worried that if I do fold the collar over it will be too thick and look odd. On the other hand, I’m not happy with the idea of a cast-off edge at the top of the collar; I don’t think it would look very clean, and it might roll. Any suggestions? I realise I might just have to try various versions until I like the result, but if I can save myself the trial and error I’d like to!

And then, when that’s all done, it will finally be time to get started with the silk!

Posted by Aven at 03:12 PM | Comments (6)

July 04, 2004

Happy Fourth!

Happy Fourth of July to any American readers… I hope you have amazing weather and enjoy your barbeques and fireworks!

Posted by Aven at 11:18 AM | Comments (0)

July 03, 2004

Back to knitting...

Finally I have a little knitting news to report. I’ve finished another sock from the Esprit yarn:

espritsock2.jpg

It’s hard to see the colours properly in any of the pictures I’ve taken, but it’s got muted orange and yellow and green stripes. It’s the same pattern as the last pair but this time I started the lace on the top of the foot.

I’m about halfway through the sleeve for Mark’s sweater, so I may be getting close to the finishing work…

And I do have one more non-knitting thing I want to talk about. My mother’s new book of poetry has just come out, and I’m now the proud owner of a copy! Look:

momsbook.jpg

Isn’t it lovely? It’s called Until the Light Bends and it’s available from Amazon and Chapters… not that I’m suggesting you need to go buy it, but isn’t it cool that you could if you wanted to? I haven’t yet had time to settle in with it properly, but I’m sure it’s wonderful, as all of her books have been. Congratulations, mom!

And, finally, another random garden shot, this time of some flowers that I think are actually remnants of a fancy lettuce seed mix we planted years ago… I never did figure out what most of the plants were, and they’ve been running wild ever since!

cornflower.jpg

Posted by Aven at 11:07 AM | Comments (3)

July 01, 2004

Happy Canada Day

Happy Canada Day! I hope the weather’s as fabulous where you are as it is here. Today we’re going to be going to a bbq and playing some Canadian-edition Trivial Pursuit, I think — I hope you enjoy whatever you’ve got planned, if you’ve got the day off. If not, sorry! I hope your day’s great anyway!

Posted by Aven at 11:07 AM | Comments (1)