Testing it out

I love Ravelry for all the opportunities it offers. And all the free patterns.

This week, I lucked in on a chance to test out a new sock pattern for wimpwoman, who is putting together a collection of Lord of the Rings-inspired sock patterns. I’m thrilled that I get to try one out!

I’m testing Gandalf, which features some simple cables combined with ribbing.

I cast on with some Trekking Jeans in colourway 332, which is light grey with dark grey randomly added in. I knit up 1.5 inches of ribbing. I did 5 rounds of cables. I couldn’t see the cables for the yarn.

Do you see any cables in those top rows? Yeah, me neither.

-sigh-

So I ripped it out, and dug through the stash for a less variegated yarn. I ended up with red. Someone else on the testing thread said that red wasn’t very “Gandalf-y”, but since I’ve never read the books or seen the movies (did I just hear a gasp of dismay?) I’m going to continue my blissful ignorance and use some red sock yarn that I’ve been hoarding ignoring saving for the right project.

Oh, that’s what they’re supposed to look like!

How many times do you rip out a project before you get the magic combination of yarn and pattern?

NaKniSweMo FAIL!

No finished sweater for me this month…my attempt failed!

I thought I was being smart by casting on fewer stitches for a narrower finished object. Well, that was true, but it also ended up being narrower than my body, on which it was supposed to fit.

-sigh-

See the left armscye? It was no where near my arm/shoulder. You know, where it should have been.

RIP, little sweater.

At this point I should know better than to participate. Any time I do, it ends up going badly. No more joining in for me!

To console myself, I cast on for a hat. Of course, I chose a fiddly pattern that needed tweaking…or so I thought. In a (possibly) ingenious move, I chose to sub in DK-weight yarn for the bulky the pattern called for. I went down eleventy billion needle sizes to get gauge…okay, more like four needle sizes, but that isn’t as dramatic as I want it to sound.

Four days later and a my hat is successfully half-finished. The sweater may have been a fail, but this looks like it will be a win!

NaKniSweMo

To knit or not to knit? This year I decided to knit, and joined in the NaKniSweMo action. On November 1st, I dutifully cast on for the back of the Brise-Soleil Cardigan, using some RY Silk Wool DK in an awesome shimmery grey.

A week later, I wasn’t digging it. The lace pattern just wasn’t doing it for me. I tried blocking it, but that didn’t help. After knitting eight inches over nine days, I ripped it. I re-cast on for the back, and did two inches of ribbing before switching to stockinette. I was another eight inches in before I realized that I didn’t like the look of the ribbing. -sigh-

The third time I cast on, I cast on all the stitches for the fronts and the back in one piece, and knit straight in stockinette. Ah, finally the look I want! You know, except for the rolling situation.

Does it look like a whole sweater yet?

On the bright side, I’m pretty sure I can be done by the end of the month!

I wouldn’t have believed

If I hadn’t actually done it, I wouldn’t have believed I could do it.

I knit an 800m shawl in five days.

FIVE DAYS.

It all began, quite innocently, with a comment I made on one of HellsBells‘ Ravelry project. I told her it was cute, and I’d love to see the pattern. Mere days later, Hellsbells contacted me to ask if I was interested in testing the pattern for her, since my comment had been the impetus for her to write up the pattern.

I said yes. She emailed the pattern. That was Friday November the 4th.

At home on Friday night, I tossed the stash looking for appropriate fingering weight yarns. When I selected a skein of Satin Turtletoes from Turtlepurl, it meant I had to wind it. Knitting finally commenced around 8pm.

Saturday was filled with hour after hour of knitting. At the same time, I was searching for the right contrast colour. The Turtlepurl yarn is an interesting grey with pink and beige over- (or do I mean under-?) tones, which made selection tricky. I also wanted the finished shawl to be relatively neutral, so I eventually settled on a degradée grey bamboo sock yarn from Fortissima/Schoeller+Stahl. Good thing too, as I moved on the the second section of the shawl Sunday.

This ruffle section was much slower knitting compared to the first section, but I pushed on. Working exclusively on this one project paid off in the end, as I started the bind-off Wednesday morning. I love the Russian lace or decrease bind-off for edges where an amount of stretch is needed, so that is what I used in this case (yeah, I’ve totally been calling it the wrong thing all this time!).

Since I had more yarn than called for in the pattern, I did four extra rows in the ruffle. It was a good thing I didn’t do more, as I only had 2 metres of the yarn in the end. Due to the extra rows, I ended up with almost 1200 stitches in my last row!

If I hadn’t actually done it, I wouldn’t have believed it would take me 2 1/2 hours to bind off!

After blocking the shawl looks great! I’m so happy I had a chance to test out this pattern for HellsBells. The pattern itself is easy, but a handy chart is included to help you keep track of your work. And the ruffle really sets this shawl apart!

 If you’re interested in it, the pattern is now available on Ravelry as the Cadence Shawl.

Resurrection

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Resurrection Sunday
Image from Luz Adriana Villa A.

Lately, I’ve been thinking more and more that I wish I had a place to write about some of the things that are going on in my life.

Duh.

So here begins the resurrection of this blog. It may not always be about knitting now, but at least it’s about something!

In that spirit, here’s a Vegan Interlude!

Instant Gratification Vegan Hot Chocolate
makes 1 serving

Small spoonful (maybe 1-2 tsp) cocoa powder
Spoonful (maybe 1 Tbsp) sugar 
Boiling water
Chocolate Silk soy milk

Mix the cocoa powder and sugar in a mug. Fill halfway with boiling water, and stir well to dissolve any lumps of cocoa. Fill mug the rest of the way with Chocolate Silk. Drink immediately.

Chocolate Silk is, in my opinion, the best non-dairy chocolate “milk”. It is rich and creamy and sooooo delicious. If you still do dairy, rock it with some Bailey’s for a wicked-good cocktail! My second choice is definitely Almond Breeze Chocolate. It isn’t as thick as Silk, but the flavour is good, and it would sub in well here.

 

A whirlwind of productivity

Four days off in a row was enough to make me productive. Who knew that was all it took?

Alas, practical things, like cleaning the bathroom, were not part of the scheme. This was a weekend full of fun, guilt-free, crafty productivity.

But first, let’s recap the progress on the goals I made for last week:
I finally made a sock project bag
I went to one yoga class…Astanga, no less!
I ripped out those green mystery socks. They just weren’t doing it for me
I started two pair of new socks
“That yarn” got itself procion-dyed black
One night was spent knitting on the 2-4 skirt
I even put in some time cleaning up the yarn room (not that you could tell now)

Once that long weekend hit, I made a list of even more (yes, more!) projects that I could complete:

I ripped out a shawl and a cardigan that were itchy and unflattering, plus another shawl for which I didn’t have enough yarn.
I Wilton-dyed the green sock yarn (see above) into a much more awesome peacock-ish blue-green. Some orange sock yarn was made purple. Both are destined to be shawls.
I made a total of four sock project bags: one in blue leopard print, three in traditional zebra…the awesomeness is overwhelming!
I turned a twin-sized duvet cover from Germany way-back-when into a personal-sized quilt by stuffing it with a wool blanket, then running waving lines of machine stitching over it. It’s on my bed already.
I cast on for a Lion Neck Cardi.
I also made soup and cookies, did groceries, and ate popsicles with the dog. He gets ice cubes, and we sit on the back deck together, out of the sun. Poor thing, he can’t take his fur coat off!

Goals for this coming week are
- go to spinning night 
- go to a yoga class (same night as spinning)
- work one night on the 2-4 skirt
- create a music playlist for yoga
- make a pair of earrings for S
- make pillowcases (finally) for the living room cushions

Morning panic, or, Sad but true story

This morning I tried on three pairs of jeans as I tried to get dressed. All were rejected.

Why?

Not because they weren’t clean, or were too casual, or too long for the shoes I planned to wear. No, it was because they were TOO SMALL!

This is so unfair.

I need to do more yoga.

And maybe cut back on the chocolate.

-sigh-

Life can be so cruel!

Progress made

Perhaps this whole goal-setting thing isn’t so crazy after all.

Looking back over the past week (made possible thanks to scrupulous notes made in my day planner…day planner, how I love thee!), I have made progress on all (do you see that? ALL!) the goals I set for myself last week.

Firstly, a triumph. I finished the Pink Socks of Awesomeness. Unfortunately, the second sock is less pink than the first…but they’re both still awesome! Plus there is a ton of yarn left over. It has “sockies” written all over it.

The Mystery socks are coming along, slowly. Clue 2 has been completed (yay!), but there is still more leg knitting to come (sigh).

I knit one whole evening on the May 2-4 Skirt. It’s definitely making progress, although right now it doesn’t look like much. But with some perseverance, I may even finish it before the end of the summer!

I also finished some mindless sock knitting, thanks to the knitting guild meeting and work: yet another pair of sockies. Truly, I have too much leftover sock yarn to let it languish indefinitely. I am not keen on the idea of knitting an afghan, so there is only one solution: sockies.

Let me extoll the virtues of sockies! Cute, fast, economical and nearly invisible in your trainers. What’s not to love?

On the non-crafty side of things, I even went to my one yoga class! Go me! Today, making it to yoga class, tomorrow, take over the world! And I did make a slight dent in the clutteryness of the yarn room, but not enough to make me feel good about it.
Since this last week was so productive, I think I’m going to keep up this goal-setting thingy. Here are my goals for this coming week:

- make a sock project bag (I already have the fabric, I just gotta do it)
- knit Mystery Socks clue 3
- start another pair of socks
- take one yoga class
- work (still) on cleaning up the yarn room
- dye that green DK yarn black

Since I have two! whole! days! off! this week, I’ll also try to squeeze in some other fun crafty or bake-y stuff. I’ll admit that it is easier to do this stuff when the husband isn’t home, although I am still not entirely sure why. Maybe it’s a girl thing, maybe it’s an Anneh thing. Either way, he’s gone for the weekend, so I’ll be gettin’ my crafty groove on once again!

Beginning anew

Here I am again, back after a long, accidental hiatus. Rather than go back and try to catch up by showing all my finished knitting, I’m looking ahead and making plans and setting goals.

Out there in the Rav world, people have declared 2010 the year of 10 Things. So I set up my own 10 Things: I planned to knit 10 large projects from the stash between January and December. So far, I am up to seven completed projects! The current project on the needles is languishing sadly, probably because it is in laceweight with beads, and seems to go really, really slowly. Nothing like looking at your knitting after two hours and not seeing progress to keep your motivation high!

Currently hibernating: Aquila in Knitpicks Shadow (started a long while ago).

Another large project that is in time-out is a hemp skirt. Knitting hemp is not fun!

Having knit several shawls as part of my personal 2010 Stash Knitdown project, I also decided to join 10 shawls in 2010. Aquila above will eventually be number 7, and another Aquila in sock yarn will be number 8 for the year.  At some point, I will also knit Aeolian in an awesome flame-red yarn I overdyed (the original orange just wasn’t my colour).

Then along came the summertime, and with it came Summer of Socks. Because my knitting life just isn’t complicated enough yet, starting tomorrow, June 21st, I will start working with another (overlapping) set of guidelines: I will knit mainly sockweight yarn until September 21st. I’ve decided that these projects don’t all have to be socks, but let’s be honest and say that most of them probably will be.

The first projects to be knit for Summer of Socks will be two UFOs: the Socks of Pink Awesomeness (it’s a free pattern: Brainless) and the I’m a Joiner socks (Solid Socks May-June 2010 Mystery Sock, also free). After that, I’m thinking…maybe something from Sock Innovation or New Pathways for Sock Knitting. I may even invest in Cat Bordhi’s new book, Personal Footprints etc. I don’t really have that planned out so far.

I recently finished spinning dog-fur yarn to make a hat for my beloved. The skein is currently “resting” (does that sound better than hibernating?), waiting to be knit into a toque. Here’s the yarn:

and here’s my personal “sheep”!

  The Suka-monster!

I’ve also dyed up some of the fur, which came out in awesome rich tones…can’t wait to spin that up! Now that I’ve proven to myself that I do like spinning, I am also on the lookout for a wheel. No rush, though. Summer is not a fun time to be covered in Malamute fluff.

In non-knitting news, this morning I went for a yoga class for the first time in about two months. I didn’t think it was possible to forget how to breathe, but there I was…chest breathing like a noobie, not like someone who is trained. This just proves to me the value of taking classes. Along with all the knitting I am trying to fit in, I’m also going to go to regular yoga classes, starting this week. Needless to say, if you are coming to visit me, call first because my floors aren’t the cleanest. What can I say? I am too busy knitting!
Knitting goals for the week:
finish Pink Socks of Awesomeness
finish Clue 2 of May Mystery Socks
knit one evening on May 2-4 skirt

Other goals this week:
tidy yarn room
go to one yoga class

Wollmeise, how I love thee…

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It came yesterday…after waiting for weeks and weeks, my Wollmeise arrived!

The packaging has an English-German knitting term glossary printed right on it!

I thought people were nuts when they said the yarn “smelled like Germany”, but I have to agree now that I have experienced it. The yarn smells like gummi bears or liquorice or some other yummy candy.

These are terrible flashed-out photos, but you get the idea:

I must make some scarves! The swift will be getting a workout this weekend!

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