March 31, 2005

Little to report

I haven’t finished any more pieces of the Tintin sweater, and I have no pictures of the sleeves in progress, because Mark has the camera. But I’m getting near the cap shaping on them, and since I’m doing both sleeves at once, that means I’m actually pretty close to being ready to cast on for the back. The big question will be whether I have enough yarn for the back, or whether I need to put another picture on it. I’d rather not, even though I had fun with the intarsia on the front — I’d have to chart another picture, and it would slow me down.

Of course, I don’t really know what I’m going to do next; I think I want to use up some more of the silk I bought last year, but I don’t know what to make out of it — there’s not really enough of any one colour for anything big, so do I make some sort of tank or short-sleeved top from one colour, or do something multicoloured? And if the second, what? I’ve got 721 yards of the blue, 618 yards of the grey, and 850 yards of the purple. It knits up to an aran weight, somewhere around 4-4.5 sts/”. Any ideas? I’d like another useful, fairly classic garment to add to my wardrobe.

And thanks, everyone, for the very gratifying compliments on the Tintin picture. I’m very pleased with it — and I can’t wait to see my husband wearing it! It’ll be priceless.

Posted by Aven at 01:48 PM | Comments (3)

March 29, 2005

Tintin has a face!

The front is done, and all the features have been filled in:

tintinfrontdone.jpg

I’d never noticed before, but my, Tintin has some oddly placed eyebrows!

Tigger shows what he thinks of a sweater with a DOG on it:

tintinfronttigger.jpg

It’s a beautiful, beautiful day outside (hence the outdoor photography, even if it does put half the front in shadow — Mark suggested I take a picture outside, as my only taste of the lovely weather). It’s currently 10C! Amazing. Makes you almost believe that real warmth is possible…

Posted by Aven at 12:11 PM | Comments (16)

March 27, 2005

I can feel it coming...

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Sunny, 6C, and green things poking through the snow! I think I can see Spring coming!

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Yesterday was the first day we could actually see earth in our front garden through the snow, but look how far along these brave little growing things are!

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Happy spring, everyone!

Posted by Aven at 01:24 PM | Comments (5)

March 25, 2005

200!

This is my 200th entry!

Just felt like that needed to be marked. Thank you.

I’ve finished the knitting for the front of the Tintin sweater and have begun the duplicate stitching of the outline. Here it is, in a moody sunlit shot:

tintinfrontnearly.jpg

I’ve woven in all the ends, which actually didn’t take as long as I thought it would. I’ve also begun the sleeves, since I don’t like duplicate stitching enough to do it for very long at a time. I’m doing both sleeves at the same time; normally I find it too clumsy to work with two balls of yarn at once, but after working with 6 or 7 balls at once for the intarsia, 2 balls doesn’t seem too bad. I’m a tiny bit worried that I don’t have quite enough of the blue, so I thought I’d do the back last; if I don’t think I have enough blue wool to finish it, I could always put a picture on the back as well.

Happy Easter to those celebrating it, or even eating chocolate in its honour. I’m going to be marking papers most of the weekend, but we’ll take a quick break for lambchops and mint jelly on Sunday. Also, I think I might take down the Christmas lights… that’s a spring ritual, right?

Posted by Aven at 11:44 AM | Comments (7)

March 21, 2005

Pink blob

Just because I’m enamoured by the slow (or not so slow — there’s something about this sweater that’s making it just fly along!) emergence of the picture:

tintinfrontprogress.jpg

The facelessness is a bit creepy, especially the big blob of pink, but otherwise I think this is looking pretty good! I won’t show you the horror that is the back, though… I think weaving in ends will take as long as knitting the front!

Posted by Aven at 05:30 PM | Comments (6)

March 20, 2005

Tintin et Milou

J’ai commencé le chandail de Tintin!

tintinfrontbegun.jpg

It doesn’t look like much yet, but it should eventually resemble this:

tintincharted.jpg

Except with white where there’s yellow on the chart. This is the first time I’ve done a large amount of intarsia, and I don’t think I’m handling the colour changes very well, but we’ll see. I’m going to add the black outline in afterward using duplicate stitch, so that should make it a bit easier.

It’s fun to watch the picture start to take shape, even if most of it is an undifferentiated blob of white at the moment. And I certainly can’t complain that Mark isn’t letting me play with bright colours this time!

Posted by Aven at 12:03 PM | Comments (2)

March 18, 2005

Anybody out there?

For reasons that I can’t currently go into, I’d love to know if anyone who reads this blog lives in Antigonish, Nova Scotia or the surrounding area. Or knows someone who lives there, especially if he/she is a knitter. Or knows of any knitting groups in the area. Or anything.

Just asking.

Oh, and thank you, everyone, for all the compliments on the various FOs. I do appreciate them. I also apologise for potentially leading others to disappointment — apparently the Adagio Teas rewards page is telling people that they need to have a US address to get their free stuff. Which is a little surprising, since I’m fairly certain Toronto’s still in Canada (though you never know…). Still, if you tried to get some stuff, and can’t, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to raise false hopes!

Posted by Aven at 11:32 PM | Comments (4)

March 17, 2005

Done, done, done!

The blue raglan is done!

blueraglanpose1.jpg

And an action shot, just because:

blueraglanpose2.jpg

It took just under 2 weeks — I can definitely see myself doing more sweaters on this basic pattern, I really enjoyed the simplicity and speed of the knitting, and I think the result is flattering and very useful for my wardrobe. I’ll probably play around with the neckline, though — I’m happy enough with this, but it’s not what I had in mind. Here’s the sweater laid out flat — you can see the waist shaping better:

blueraglandone.jpg

Details are in the sidebar.

But wait! That’s not the only FO — I also finished the second blue striped sock last night:

bluestripedsocksdone.jpg

The colours are deeper than this picture shows, but I’ve already mentioned how impossible it is to photograph this colour properly. The socks are a little shorter than I usually like, but I don’t care — I love these socks! Sadly, they don’t really go with the new sweater very well, but I may just wear them with it anyway. Hah!

And finally, here’s Mark wearing his new grey sweater for the first time:

chevrondoneonmark.jpg

He’s found the length to be ok, so I’m not going to worry about it. I’ll just be careful with future patterns.

I wish it had been a nicer day, since we were taking all these pictures — but although it’s warmer, and the snow is melting, it’s grey and icky. Very hard to find an attractive backdrop, or a well-lit spot to pose. But I’ll just hope that the sweaters speak for themselves.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Posted by Aven at 12:07 PM | Comments (10)

March 16, 2005

Free tea for all!

For those intrigued by the idea of getting tea in exchange for a bit of blog space, try going to Adagio’s Rewards Page. If you put a link to them on your page, and let them know, they’ll send you things. Or so they say — let me know how it works out. I believe the world needs more tea!

In other news, Tigger asks “Am I a sweater yet?”

tigissweater.jpg

Photo by Mark. That’s his dresser, where he keeps some of the sweaters in current circulation — there’s a whole other trunk for the rest of his sweaters, and we may soon have to think about an addition to the house just for knitted products…

Posted by Aven at 05:02 PM | Comments (1)

March 15, 2005

Tea-licious!

A while back, I received an email from Adagio Teas, asking me if I would put a link to their website on my blog. They specifically cited the overlap between tea-drinkers and knitters, and pointed me to several other knitting blog entries extolling their virtues. Finally, they offered to send me a “starter kit” to introduce me to the teas, so that I could decide whether I wanted to link to them or not. Well, that seemed like a pretty good deal to me, since I am definitely a die-hard tea drinker (we already have about 50 different types of tea in the house, but I’m always happy to get more!). I’d seen Adagio tea mentioned on other blogs, and had been vaguely curious, but I try not to find out too much about potentially attractive places to spend more money. Still, this involved me getting free stuff for no commitment, so why not?

I’d rather forgotten about it all until yesterday, when a box landed on our front porch. In it was this embarrassment of riches:

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Three separate sample packs of tea: black teas, green teas, and herbal teas, all packed in lovely little tins, and each with enough tea for at least 5 or 6 cups, probably more:

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On top of that, there was a fancy “teapot” for brewing looseleaf teas. You put the leaves in the pot (more like a large plastic mug with a lid) and pour in the boiling water. When it’s done steeping, you just place the pot over your cup, which releases a valve and lets the tea drain into your cup through a mesh infuser, leaving the tealeaves in the pot. It really is quite a clever device, and perfect for making one or two cups of really classy tea. Here it is, having admirably performed its duty with some English Breakfast tea:

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I enjoyed my tea with a piece of this Apple Spice Snacking Cake:

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It’s living up to its name — I can’t stop eating it, as you can tell from the cake on the right!

I’ve tried the afore-mentioned English Breakfast, and last night I had a really nummy cup of Fruit Medley, which really is just a bunch of dried fruit pieces, with some herbs and flowers thrown in. So, while my sampling range is limited so far, I can say that I’ve been quite impressed with Adagio so far. They have an impressive range of teas, and clearly they’re very interested in increasing their customer base. It also looks like, from both the literature they included in my package and the information on their website, they’re interersted in organic and fair-trade teas, which makes me happy.

Having fully declared my bias, therefore, (I got free stuff, after all!) I would definitely recommend this company to anyone looking for gourmet tea. I’m going to put a link to them on my sidebar — who knew my blog was so high-powered that a link here would be so desirable?! — and I may well report back from time to time as I work my way through the other samples.

I do have knitting news, too. The second sleeve of the blue raglan is blocking right now:

blueraglansleeve.jpg

Seaming tonight! I’m going out to dinner on Thursday, and I’m hoping to be able to wear this sweater by then. Next up, Tintin!

Posted by Aven at 01:05 PM | Comments (4)

March 13, 2005

Ovidiana

Well, like most conferences, this one was exhausting — but it was fabulous. Really, it was quite remarkable. All the papers were very good — itself a surprising thing, really, there’s usually a range of quality — and each panel was so well put together that there were noticeable themes and correspondences in each, even though the topics were extremely wide-ranging. Sample topics: 15th century Italian art, Gower’s use of Ovid for political purposes, the textual history of the Ovide Moralisé, Ovid and Alchemy, and how Ovid’s art and life are relevant to the current political climate in the United States. The most fascinating part of the whole weekend was the extremely animated and intelligent discussions that followed the papers, and the connections people were making between widely divergent fields and approaches. In short, it was really everything one could hope a conference should be!

Plus I spent some time with friends I don’t see as often as I’d like, including one old friend who came all the way from Stanford to attend. Since it’s possible some of my ‘real-life’ friends still read this, I’ll mention that it was Jack Mitchell, now working on a PhD in Homer at Stanford. It was really lovely to see him again, after at least three or four years; we went to high school together, but I’ve only kept up with him intermittently.

Of course, little knitting was done, and even less work — but I feel intellectually stimulated and generally educated, so I don’t care. And I did manage to finish the first sleeve of the blue sweater… picture coming soon. I will wear this sweater before spring! (Not really much of a declaration, given that it was -14C with windchill this morning! Spring still seems rather far away). Knitting is just another kind of metamorphosis, after all — so it fits in with the weekend just fine.

Posted by Aven at 11:16 PM | Comments (0)

March 11, 2005

Academia

First, I’ve submitted my site to a new ring, called “Academic Knits” (see the button on the sidebar). I saw it on Anne’s blog; I don’t know how long it’s been around, but it seemed appropriate! I was surprised to see that Anne’s was the only site I recognised on the ring.

In honour of this new potential affiliation (well, not really, the plan’s been made for weeks) I’m attending (just as audience, not a presenter) a conference on Ovid this weekend at the University of Toronto. It’s called Metamorphosis: The Changing Face of Ovid in Medieval and Early Modern Europe and it’s sponsored by the Centre for Medieval Studies and the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies. In a way, because it’s focussing on the reception of Ovid, it’s not as useful for me — but it should be fun. Sadly, I don’t think I’ll bring my knitting — I just don’t feel comfortable knitting during talks by people who don’t know me. I wouldn’t want them to feel I wasn’t paying attention. So progress will stall a bit this weekend, I think — but I’m still hoping to be done my blue raglan pretty soon, maybe even by the end of next week.

Have a great weekend!

Posted by Aven at 09:04 AM | Comments (4)

March 10, 2005

Effrontery

The front of the sweater is done:

blueraglanfront.jpg

I’m having problems blocking these sweater pieces straight. The fabric has a tendency to bias, and I find it very hard to adjust it by eye alone. I really need gridlines! I wish I could get me a blocking board like this one, but there don’t seem to be any Canadian suppliers, and once the exchange and the shipping are figured in, it’s far too much money. And yes, I know that it’s possible to make a blocking board, and probably not even that difficult to make one that has gridlines on it — but that takes time, money, energy, and possibly a car for transporting large flat things. None of which I really feel I have enough of right now to spare any for this task. So for now I guess I’ll just have to live with wonky knitting. My, isn’t my life hard…

Posted by Aven at 03:14 PM | Comments (3)

March 08, 2005

Blue

Still merrily working away on the blue sweater for ME! It’s going to be a simple raglan with a scoop neck and 3/4-length sleeves, with a bit of waist-shaping. I just want a plain, useful garment. And it’s going very quickly, as I said, so I’m happy with it.

It turns out that I’m only working on blue projects, at this moment — the blue sweater and the second striped blue sock. I’ve just turned the heel, so I hope to have a matching pair in four or five days (I only work on the sock while blog-reading). Hey, I wonder if the socks will go with the sweater? Hmmm…

Posted by Aven at 03:39 PM | Comments (1)

March 06, 2005

Endings and beginnings

I don’t have a modelled shot yet, but here’s the finished Fancy Chevron Raglan:

chevrondone.jpg

I don’t feel as triumphant as I might, because I don’t think it’s a complete success. It came out to the specified dimensions, but I think my dimensions might have been wrong — the body is rather shorter than Mark would like, especially for an acrylic sweater with a rather inflexible fabric. It’s wearable, but not ideal. I’ll have to measure his other sweaters and compare the schematics, to make sure I get the next one right. But still, it’s nice to be done with the project, and I think Mark will get some use out of it, so that’s ok. I’ll try to get a picture of him in it tomorrow.

I actually finished the grey sweater on Thursday, so I started the blue raglan for myself — and it’s going very quickly. So quickly, indeed, that here’s the back:

blueraglanback.jpg

Simple stocking stitch, fun raglan shaping, and yummy blue wool. I may well finish this in time to be able to wear it this season! The Elann Peruvian Highland Wool is lovely to work with, and I love the price — if this all goes to plan, it’s going to be very tempting to get myself a couple more sweaters’ worth, in various colours. Of course, I’ve got a fair amount of yarn already that I need to get through… we’ll see.

Posted by Aven at 02:25 PM | Comments (3)

March 03, 2005

Housekeeping

The Fancy Chevron sweater is in the last stages of seaming. I have severe misgivings about its proportions — but they will have to wait until I’m done the seaming, at which point I will show you FO pictures, even if it’s all a disaster.

In the meantime, a few details. First, I’ve finally updated the list of blogs I read on my sidebar — you may note it’s much longer than it was! The list is generated by Bloglines — thanks go to Dani for helping me figure out my Bloglines username, which was remarkably difficult, considering I’ve been using Bloglines for half a year… anyway, that’s the main list, though I also surf a few rings.

Also, for any readers who are interested in sharing their experiences with knitting with the wider world, Jae is calling for submissions for the second edition of her knit zine, Take Back the Knit. The first edition was great, and I strongly urge you to get in on the action, if you’ve any interest in such things. Details can be found here.

That’s it for now. I hope I’ll have successful FO pictures tomorrow… we’ll see!

Posted by Aven at 02:43 PM | Comments (4)

March 01, 2005

Planning ahead

First things first: I’ve finished the second sleeve of the grey sweater, sewed a couple of seams, and finished the collar:

chevronhalfseamed.jpg

I anticipate having some FO shots to show you by the end of the week! I don’t think Mark will be skiing or skating in them, but we’ll do our best to add visual appeal.

This means it’s almost time to start a new project. In fact, since I don’t want to be seaming at the SnB tomorrow evening, I will probably be starting a sweater for myself this evening or tomorrow! It’ll be a simple pullover in this yarn; details once it’s started.

Next up after that will be the Tintin sweater, at last! Here’s the latest version of the chart, superimposed on a schematic of a basic sweater front. We’ll have to see if I can actually knit it from so small a chart!

tintincharted.jpg

(The yellow represents white — don’t worry, I know Snowy/Milou isn’t yellow!)

And, in the long-term planning department, I just received these two books:

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On top of the great patterns in both books, they both seem like great resources for felting tips and techniques — which may come in handy for a potential design project down the road. More on that later.

Finally, I just have to share with you a great discorvery in the culinary department. At least, it’s a great discovery for me, though I can’t believe I never thought of something so simple and delicious before, and needed the Milk Calendar to give me the recipe. Actually, it was in a “Best of Milk Calendar Recipes” booklet… we like our Milk recipes! Anyway, all I did was saute a few minced cloves of garlic in a couple of tablespoons of butter, and add that and some chopped parsley to ordinary tea biscuits (you could easily use the boxed biscuit mix, if you wanted). Instant garlic bread, but in biscuit form! With some homemade chicken noodle soup, a perfect meal.

As I said, a totally simple idea, but I’d never done it before — and man, are those biscuits tasty. Especially warm, with a little more butter spread on them… mmm. Highly recommended.

Posted by Aven at 02:06 PM | Comments (9)