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Posts from March 2005

Panic setting in

We get the house tomorrow.  I haven't heard from the super yet about getting the keys, but I'll take care of that in the morning.  The movers don't come until next Saturday, but all the sudden it seems like there's a whole lot to do.  And while I'm feeling a bit better, being sick is not helping things.

Me thinks there won't be much knitting done in the next week or so either.  Yesterday I did make some good progress on Sophie--I finished the back and started the sleeve.  And my jungle stripe sock is progressing--the back of Sophie makes a nice background.

Sophie_and_jungle

And yes Sophie is long.  The yarn is Elann Denim and like Twilleys Denim (the called for yarn), it is meant to be washed and shrunk, so the pattern is knit longer to account for the change in row gauge from 6.75 rows to the inch to 8 rows to the inch.  I also remember why this project got abandoned last summer--the cotton is hard on the hands.  I'm going to try alternating knit-nights with this and something nice and woollen and elastic, though I think all I'll be holding this month is a hammer and a paint brush. 

That's when I get excited instead of panicky--this new place is going to be great.  And just like birth, I'll probably forget the worst of the move once it's all over.


Spring!

I'm sick.  The only thing that kept me from staying in bed feeling all bleh and sorry for myself was the weather (and work if I'm being totally truthful).  Spring has finally arrived and it was beautiful today.  No mitts beautiful.  Wash the snowpants and pack them away not to emerge until next December beautiful.  Everyone just seemed happier weather.

Even though I'm feeling icky, I finished Charlotte last night.  Here she is modelled by me--an elegant shawl to compliment my pj's.  I think my Memere will love it.  It seems a bit strange knitting for my grandmother--a non-knitter--but I like how it troubles our ideas about what both academic types and grandmothers should be doing. 

Memere_done

And, I figured out where I left off on Sophie and got to the armhole shaping on the back--nothing worth photographing though.  I probably won't knit much tonight because I'm going to attempt to be sensible and get to bed right after the kids.  I'm not usually this sensible, but I want to feel better so I can enjoy every minute of this lovely weather.


Still leaving room for knitting

We spent the bulk of this long weekend packing for the move.  We're now at the point where we start packing the everyday things we need to live, so we get to stop for a bit.  We get the new house on Friday, but we have our old place until the 10th so we can do a slow move.  I'm thinking a get-it-over-with-move-and-just-deal-with-it move would be nice right about now because it feels like it will never end, but I know this way will be much less stressful.  So far, so good.

And this way there's still time to knit a bit.  I got past the heel on my latest sock, and Charlotte's Web IV is blocking. 

Memere3

What is most impressive is that there's enough room to block it.  Tonight I'll put on the fringe (I really hate this part) and put it away and then I can resurrect (is that impertinent of me?) some abandoned projects--Colourwork Classic and Sophie.  It's time to wear a sweater like Sophie so hopefully I can figure out where I left off and what modifications I was planning (must learn to take some notes on my WIPs) so I don't have to rip back the few inches I've already completed.


Steek 101--Steph Style

It has been done.  And it was good.  Wanna know how?

1. This pattern instructs you to mark the centre stitch for the steek.  I wisely marked it a few times while knitting so I would know where it was, then I added a few more to be sure.

Retro_middle

2. Using a smaller crochet hook and yarn I chained on each half of vee of this centre stitch.  There's a good explanation of what I did here--much better than I can explain.  I followed the little diagram and it work perfectly.  Then I ended up with a ridge down the middle that looks like this:

Retro_ridge

3. I made sure the middle of the sweater wasn't distorted--this took a few tries with the crochet--it's not my best needle-work skill and then I tried it on for Mandy and for good measure.  I think I over blocked it because it grew a bit, but another wet blocking when I'm done should cure that.

Retro_uncut

4. Then I gathered my supplies: scissors--I ended up using the short ones, sweater, a glass and the potent potable of choice--today I chose Bushmills (I couldn't find my Glenlivett). 

Retro_supplies

Of course, this part is optional, but a shot does loosen up that part of your knitting brain that doesn't like putting scissors to knit stitches. 

Retro_drink

And it's yummy.

Retro_bottoms_up

5. If you look at the space between the two crochet chains there is a ladder of stitches that runs up the middle.  This is what you're cutting, and it's pretty easy to see.

Retro_ladder

6. Then you cut.  Once you do the first few snips and see that the whole thing doesn't unravel into a mess, the rest is easy. 

Retro_cut

7. Voila, now it's a cardi.  The crochet steek is so neat you could just wear it as is (weaving in the ends of course).  I'm going to pick up stitches a couple of stitches in from the crochet steek and do button bands--but I have to wait for my yarn from Amy.  So for now I'll do a Rachael:

Retro_the_rachael

A second drink to celebrate is also a fine idea. 


Steek interrupted

This crochet steek thing seems to be harder than I thought.  The first run distorted the middle and it looked bad.  So I ripped and I'm working it again.  And I'm taking pictures so you can see the whole thing in one tutorial--I don't want to lead you astray with what I'm doing now, in case I change it.

But I also had a sad revelation last night.  I won't have enough yarn to finish the button bands.  Crap.  But my pal Amy comes to the rescue and extra yarn is in the mail.  However, I ain't cutting anything until I'm sure I can make this a cardi. 


Saved from the sewing machine

This weekend I finished knitting and blocking my retro-prep sweater.  I was planning on grafting the underarms and then putting it away until after the move.  The main reason was because I packed all my sewing stuff, and I hate my sewing machine--so procrastination ruled. 

Retroprep_blocking

But then I saw it laying quietly on the couch, with that come hither look.  Whispering "finish me" while I worked on something else.  I really could use a new cardi this time of year.  So today I investigated crocheted steeks and I'm going to give it a go.  Rachel did it perfectly, and uber-knitter Lisa likes them, and there's good instructions here at Schoolhouse Press.  The best part, I don't have to use my sewing machine.  I'll be sure to take good pictures (I don't plan to cut until tomorrow).  Now to find my scissors.


Stunning Sock Surprise

My sockapalooza socks arrived yesterday.  I eagerly opened the package and what I saw literally stopped me in my tracks.

Norge_3

How beautiful are these?  My secret sock pal Helene from Norway has been spying on me and made the most beautiful pair of socks I ever seen.  They are stunning.

Norge_2

Here's an excerpt from the lovely letter she sent me:

I had great fun making these socks. I never used this pattern before, but it comes from a pattern book from Rauma Ullvarefabrikk (www.raumaull.no) where I used to work some years ago.  The pattern is an old traditional pattern called "Russian socks".  They are called Russian because people in the north of Norway used to trade with Russians, and they often traded these socks for other goods.  Mine are knitted from Rauna 3-tr strikkegarn, and the coloured yarn is plant dyed.  I used a root called krapp for the peachy colour, and cochenille lice for the pink one.  Yes, that's right.  Real lice.  The colour comes from the back shield of the pregnant female lice, and gives a lovely red, purple or pink colour....

She hand-dyed the yarn.  With bugs (I'm very intrigued about this).  She picked a pattern with interesting cultural and historical origins.  She sent some lovely postcards of the area she lives in (which is breathtaking) and she did this all for little me.  Wow. 

Norge_socks

Helene, thanks a million.  These are the nicest knitted gift I have ever received.  I love them.


That's better

I had jungle stripe socks on my needles yesterday and it was good.  I knit on the subway, I knit while I waited and I was happy.  How could anyone be sad when they see socks like these.  I'm using a plain toe-up pattern because there's enough going on with the colour:

Jungle_stripe_socks

I also shopped around a bit for headphones on the net and at the Radio Shack (only spot on my travels yesterday--so geeky) based on your fab suggestions.  I didn't buy anything though.  I know sharing headphones is icky, but I want to try some on before I plop down some bucks on a new pair to avoid something uncomfortable or ugly or bad sounding.  I don't really need a discarded headphone grave yard.

But rocking to tunes while flipping through endless newspapers has made this boring part of my work far nicer.  I'm collecting data for a comprehensive media analysis of physical and activity and obesity stories in Canadian news.  I've been handsearching 11 daily newspapers and watch tapes of 4 daily newscasts since November and while I'm up on my current events, it's not the most exciting work.  Now I'm the head-bopping chick in the Toronto Reference Library's newspaper room.  With socks in her bag.

And to my sock pal: thanks for the teaser message.  I didn't look up your IP address to see where you're from (showing tremendous restraint).  I can't wait for my new socks!


Waiting and Wondering

Waiting part one:

Right now Craig is happily untangling some Lorna's Laces in Jungle Stripe that I managed to tangle up while winding.  It's only the last couple of yards of the skein and I say cut it, but he's seeing this as a project.

Wondering part one:

Is it just me or my being left-handed that results in ball winding problems with my swift and winder most times or is it my old tools?  It would have been faster to wind these two skeins by hand.

Waiting part two:

The reason I am winding this yarn is because I spent much of yesterday waiting without knitting in my bag.  I need socks on the needles to avoid: Waiting at the hair colourist.  Waiting at the doctor's office.  Waiting at the lab to get my arm bruised from the bloodwork.  Waiting on the subway.  You get the idea.  Good thing I had my iPod.

Wondering part two:

Is it just me who has problems with the ear buds?  I mean I can't look sideways without one of them falling out.  You should see what happens when I sneeze.  Those Apple commercials with the silhouettes jumping around to some rockin' tunes is pure fiction as far as my ears are concerned.  I see new headphones in my future.  I just want some people to tell me it's not just me.

Waiting part three:

It was sockapalooza send off day today.  My socks are flying off to California to some lucky recipient.  I guess this means my socks are in the mail.  Neat.

Wondering part three:

I wonder what my sock pal will think of her socks.  I sure hope they fit and that she likes them as much as I did.

Off to make socks for me.  I wonder what they will look like.


Purple Two-Armed Blob

The sleeves are attached!  (I'm trying to spice up some boring knitting which means boring blogging).  I'm happy though because this sweater is something I need in my wardrobe and is about all I can handle after the packing. 

Retro_prep_body

We're almost at the point where we start packing stuff we use every day, so things are rolling along.  We're also realized that our new place is going to be pretty empty furniture wise.  It'll be great to have the space and to fill it, but it's going to be a mess until it's done.  I'm trying not to stress too much about it, with varying levels of success.  The purple blob and the iPod are good diversions.

The fun will be with choosing the paint colours and getting the kids settled in their own rooms.  And setting up the den/library/computer/knitting/non-tv room in the attic.  My yarn and related-knit stuff won't have to be banished to the basement for much longer.  The blob and a cup of tea are calling.  Have a great week.