January 31, 2005

Shawl

I’ve finished the shawl — and it looks remarkably like the first one I made. Nonetheless, I’ll give you a picture of it, since it’s in better light this time:

shawl2done.jpg

And a close-up of the pattern and the border (the colours are a bit washed out in this one):

shawl2closeup.jpg

Project info: Lion Brand Homespun, colour: Adirondack, free pattern called “Grey Triangle Shawl” from the Lion Brand website.

Of course it’s warmed up somewhat here — but when the next cold snap hits, I’ll be ready!

Posted by Aven at 09:15 AM | Comments (5)

January 29, 2005

Front and back

I’ve finished the back of the grey sweater:

chevronbackdone.jpg

The armholes seem remarkably long, but I’m trying not to worry. I’ve started a sleeve, to try to vary the knitting as much as possible.

I’ve also finished the front of my dad’s sweater, and I’ve attached the left shoulder to the back. I short-rowed the shoulder, instead of casting off, partly in order to be able to use a three-needle bindoff to join the shoulders. I just wanted to make sure it would all work, which is why I went ahead and joined the pieces, even though I still have the last sleeve to complete. The join isn’t as invisible as I would have liked, but at least it matches, stitch for stitch — with 1X1 ribbing that was my biggest concern.

dadsweaterfrontdone.jpg

In case you’re interested, here is a picture of the neckline.

I still haven’t quite finished the shawl, but I’m on the last repeat. By the end of the weekend, probably.

It’s warming up a bit, though now it’s grey, of course; Tigger still doesn’t want to go outside (or rather, he wants to go outside, but he wants it to be nice out first) and spends his days much like this:

tiggerbed.jpg

Such a hard life he leads.

Posted by Aven at 05:11 PM | Comments (1)

January 27, 2005

Blogiversary

I forgot! Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of my first post on this blog. I knew it was coming up, but then I forgot anyway. Story of my life…

When I started the blog I said: “I have been lurking and reading other people’s knitting blogs for several months now, and I’m very impressed with the friendliness of the on-line community, and the enjoyment everyone seems to get from being part of it. I’ve decided to stop enjoying it only vicariously, and try my hand at participating.”

Well, I’m still impressed with the friendliness of the community, and I’ve definitely reaped alot of enjoyment from my participation in it. I’d like to thank everyone who’s dropped by, and everyone who’s left me a comment, given me help, answered my questions, and complimented my work. I feel that I’ve truly made friends through this blog, and also have an awful lot of wonderful acquaintances whom I can’t wait to get to know better. Thank you all!

Posted by Aven at 04:05 PM | Comments (4)

Adventures in Dyeing

I did something new today! For me, that is. Last night at the SnB Jane, one of the regulars, was kind enough to give me a whole whack of yarn — some Kroy 3-ply sock yarn (the older version of their 4ply Kroy Socks) and some lovely heathery pink Alafoss Lopi. I’ll show you the Lopi a little later, when I’ve decided what I want to do with it. Today’s story is about the sock yarn. There are 5 balls of it, and they’re light yellow. Not particularly my most favourite sock colour! Jane had originally intended to make baby clothes from it, and then had come to her senses and realised there was no need to use fingering weight yarn for such things! But, as she said, it would no doubt dye easily enough, since it’s a very light colour.

I’ve never dyed any yarn before, but this seemed the perfect opportunity to try it! So, because I’m impatient, I decided to go ahead and try dyeing two balls of the yarn with what I had on hand — food colouring. I read a little about the process, but then went ahead and ignored most of it. But it was fun!

Here’s what the yarn looked like soaking in some clear water, just to get it wet:

yellowkroy.jpg

You can see that I’m already doing it wrong — the yarn should be in skeins, not balls, it’ll never absorb the dye evenly. I know this, but do I care? Nah.

I made up a dye solution with all the blue food colouring I had, and dunked the balls in it:

kroydye1.jpg

I hadn’t really believed that stuff about the dye being “exhausted” and the water going clear — but my, yes, it does. Especially when you clearly don’t have enough dye for the amount of yarn!

Here’s the ball that resulted from that first dip:

kroydye2.jpg

The inside of the ball was, predictably, still pretty yellow. So I skeined the balls (while wet. Yes, I know that wasn’t proper either. Too bad!), which then looked like this. There were definitely too many patches of yellow, though it was looking pretty cool. But I had no blue dye left. No problem, I just emptied the little bottle of red food colouring into my solution, and dunked the skeins in. Again the dye was immediately exhausted, so only one side of each skein actually got any red on it — resulting in this:

kroydye4.jpg

I think they look pretty great! I have no idea how they’ll knit up, but it doesn’t much matter — these are definitely for me, and I’ll love them no matter what. I made variegated yarn! How cool is that?

Now I just have to restrain myself from starting the socks… at least until I finish my shawl. Three projects at once is straining my limits — four would cause a breakdown. But soon!

Thanks again, Jane — I can’t wait to do something with the other three skeins, now. But I’ll have to get more dye!

Posted by Aven at 02:54 PM | Comments (6)

January 25, 2005

Haggis for warmth?

The weather has warmed up (it’s only -8C right now), so I’m not feeling as unhappy sitting in front of the computer. But I am still working on the shawl, which is getting pretty close to completion. I’ll be prepared when the temperature dips again, as it seems likely to do in the next few days. This has slowed down my progress on the other two sweaters, but I’m close to finishing the back of the grey sweater.

I was making up a test for my class for this Friday, and I actually cut and pasted something from a photocopy of the textbook — with scissors and tape, I mean, not on the computer. I felt so old-fashioned! I hope they don’t all do too well on this test… my fear is always that I make the tests too easy, which is a harder thing to fix than making them too hard, actually. We’ll see.

Happy Robbie Burns Day to everyone! We’re heading out tonight for some haggis and whisky (well, I don’t like Scotch, but Mark will be enjoying his wee tipple). I don’t know if we’ll catch the pipers, but it would be nice.

Posted by Aven at 03:22 PM | Comments (1)

January 22, 2005

Cold

Boy, it’s cold. Not just outside — in my house. I’m working at the computer, and the room it’s in is FREEZING. It’s currently -17C outside, but the big problem is the wind — gusts up to 52 km/h, meaning the windchill’s around -35C. This shouldn’t be a big deal when I’m inside — but the storm window of this room is stuck open several inches, so the window is incredibly drafty, especially with the wind coming seemingly straight at it. When there’s a gust of wind, the curtain moves with the strength of it, even though the window is theoretically closed. And my computer’s right by the window. My toes are so cold… and I’ve got a lap blanket over my legs and a bright pink wrap around my shoulders. I’ve decided to join in on the inspired-by-currently-freezing-temperatures rush, and have cast on for something to make me warmer NOW. I don’t have any wool sock yarn, so I’m making this instead:

shawl2beginning.jpg

It may not look like much, but it’s the beginnings of a second shawl from the Lion Brand Homespun Stephanie gave me back in the fall. The first one was a gift for my mother-in-law, but I wanted to keep it for myself. So I’m making another one — I was going to try another pattern, but the cold is driving me to want something as fast and easy as possible, so I’m sticking with the tried and true formula.

I wish I had work to do that I could take somewhere else… or a laptop, so I could get out of this refrigerator. But I’ve got work to do on mailing lists, and I said I’d have them done by Monday, so there’s no help for it. I’ll just have to get yet another cup of tea!

Posted by Aven at 03:16 PM | Comments (4)

January 20, 2005

Progress!

I’ve reached the armhole shaping on both sweater pieces! That means pictures! First, the fisherman’s rib sweater — which I’ve shown before, and isn’t very interesting to look at, so I tried to jazz up the picture a little by placing the piece in its natural habitat, snow:

dadsweaterfront.jpg

It’s another cold, bright day here — pretty to look at, though a little challenging to be out in.

Next, here’s the back of the grey sweater for Mark. It’s a raglan, so from now on it’s all decreasing. I love raglans. They make me feel like I’m progressing faster than I am.

chevronback.jpg

And here’s a close-up of the pattern (Fancy Chevron Stitch):

fancychevronstitch.jpg

Of course, I’ve still got a long way to go on both projects — but they’re moving along. There’s still a slim chance I could get my dad’s sweater done in time for him to wear it once or twice this year… in Ottawa… maybe.

Posted by Aven at 01:28 PM | Comments (2)

January 18, 2005

Hmmm...

Sorry, I have nothing interesting to report on the knitting front. I haven’t started any new projects, and I’m still working on the same pieces for the brown and grey sweaters. So no progress pictures.

There is one knitting-related thing, though, that I meant to blog about a while ago and forgot to mention. A friend down at the Lettuce Knit SnB, Jae, recently put out a knitting zine entitled Take Back the Knit. It’s a fun and informative mix of stories, patterns, recipes, and other knit-related material — and it contains a little piece that I wrote about my blogging experience. It’s a great little publication, and it was fun to see my words and name in print… if you’re in Toronto, I think they’re available at Lettuce Knit, Toronto Women’s Bookstore (at Harbord and Spadina), Knit-O-Matic (on Bathurst), the Knit Cafe (on Queen), Uprising Bookstore (on Kensington), and also, in fact, Speak Volumes Bookstore (in Peterborough). Lots of good stuff in one little package!

Otherwise, this term is indeed turning out to be much busier than last term, as I knew it would. I’m teaching, which in itself eats up an amazing amount of time, and helping to organise a conference in April, work for which is just starting to pick up, Mark’s still doing job applications, which always involves work on both our parts, and of course I still need to be hard at work on the dissertation (hah!). Not an unmanageable amount of stuff — just more “scheduled” time than last term. Still, at least I’m leaving the house more often!

Not today, though. And in spite of how well prepared I am for the cold (I’ve got a kick-ass coat with a very warm hood, good boots, lots of knit stuff, long underwear… oh yeah, I’m ready!) I’m just as happy not to have to go out when this morning’s wind-chill was -33C. Admittedly the wind seems to be dying down now, and it’s only -15C out — but still. I’m inside, cosy in my reindeer lopi sweater, with lots of tea and CBC radio. Almost enough to make even compiling mailing lists for the conference pleasant!

Posted by Aven at 02:51 PM | Comments (2)

January 13, 2005

One brown down!

I’ve finished Mark’s brown socks:

marksbrownsocksdone.jpg

And a shot that shows the heels:

marksbrownsocksdoneside.jpg

I think they’re a little loose around the top; I don’t think they needed to have the first few inches done with a larger needle, as the pattern recommended. But they look good and match his sweater, so he’s happy — which is good enough for me. Plus, I’ve now got only 1 brown project to work on!

I’m almost back to the point I’d reached on the grey sweater before I ripped the first try out, and it should start speeding up now that the pattern is in place. Now I’m toying with the idea of starting something small and colourful for myself… hmm.

Posted by Aven at 02:05 PM | Comments (6)

January 11, 2005

I hate numbers

So, I had two repeats of the pattern done on the grey sweater, and it was starting to pick up speed as I became familiar with the pattern and no longer had to consult the book; so I showed it to Mark, just to confirm that he liked the stitch. He did — but he also mentioned that the piece seemed remarkably wide…

So I measured it. And it was more than 2.5” too wide. Which would have resulted in a sweater more than 5” too big. Not only had I mismeasured the gauge, apparently (it seems to be working out to 4.5 sts/”, not the 4.75 spi of the swatch), but I’d also allowed the sweater design programme to adjust the number of stitches in order to accomodate the length of the pattern repeat. I hadn’t properly processed the fact that this would, of course, affect the finished size — quite alot, since it added 7 sts to each piece. Plus, of course, the gauge was off. Argh!

I pulled it out, of course. I guess I should be glad we caught it pretty early on, so I don’t have much to reknit. And the re-do on the math resulted in fewer stitches to cast on, so it should go a little quicker this time. Still, it’s always frustrating to have to go back to square one.

Still no colourful knitting to report. If I can just finish those brown socks I might get something started…

Posted by Aven at 05:23 PM | Comments (1)

January 08, 2005

Christmas is over

Yes, today we took down our tree. I meant to do it on Thursday, the 12th day of Christmas, but there wasn’t time. So today I packed away our ornaments and most of the decorations in the house. We’ve left the lights up outside — is there some sort of protocol about when those come down? I love having the lights up in the darkest part of winter, which for me always means February, regardless of the actual date of the Solstice — but Mark seems to think it’s strange to leave the lights up much past Christmas. This is the first year we’ve put up outdoor lights, so we don’t have a pattern established.

The house looks so bare without the Christmas decorations — it brings home the sad reality of January. Back to school, back to teaching (I’m teaching Classical Myth again this term, after last term’s blessedly marking-free respite), and back to the dissertation. Oh well, this too shall pass…

Posted by Aven at 10:52 PM | Comments (4)

January 07, 2005

Boring Update

I’m afraid I won’t have anything very interesting to report on here for a while. I’m halfway through the leg of the second (brown) sock, I have 10 more inches to go before I start the armhole shaping for my dad’s (brown) sweater, and I’ve almost finished the first repeat of the pattern for the back of Mark’s (grey) sweater. None of these things merits a photograph, though I have made progress.

I may have to start some socks for myself or something, just so I can have some colourful pictures to put on the blog while I slog through the miles of man-coloured, man-sized knitting. The world outside is a mucky white, so I can’t even give you scenic outdoorsy shots, and Tigger is persistently curled up in dark corners being unphotogenic. Sorry!

Posted by Aven at 04:29 PM | Comments (0)

January 05, 2005

New Project

I’ve finished the first of Mark’s brown Ridged Rib socks:

marksbrownsockdone.jpg

The other may be languishing for a while, though, since I’ve started a new sweater, again for Mark (I do knit for myself, really I do — but I like knitting for Mark since he’s so appreciative). Here’s a really bad, blurry shot of the swatch for the pattern:

chevronswatch.jpg

The pattern is called “Fancy Chevron”, but you’ll have to imagine the chevron-iness of it, since my swatch isn’t big enough to show the whole pattern. And the colour, as you can see, is grey — boring, but a useful wardrobe colour. Since Mark now wears only sweaters and vests knit by me in the winter/fall/spring, he does need all the basics covered. But this does make me yearn to start the Tintin sweater, in all its comic-strip coloured glory!

I’ve found myself, in the last two days, in the rather odd position of wishing I’d been planning some luxurious purchase for myself this week so that I could gladly sacrifice it for Stephanie’s challenge for MSF. But what with the usual state of our finances, the excesses of the holidays, and the fact that I’ve already donated (not very much, but what I could) to another organisation, I wasn’t really planning to spend money on anything except groceries this week — apart, of course, from my regular on-going luxuries such as cable, the phone, and DSL. Oh, and my university education. And such. Yeah, poor me…

Still, I don’t know that Stephanie’s challenge needs my help — the total is currently over $18 000! Amazing.

I’m going to the SnB tonight for the first time in a month, almost — it’ll be nice to see everyone again.

Posted by Aven at 04:53 PM | Comments (3)