Category : knitting

All Tucked In

All right, so I managed to do the seaming, the i-cord edging, and the (shudder) weaving-in of the ends.

Here, a sneak preview:
Edgy

Tomorrow is still promising to be warm & sunny, which means perfect conditions for blocking the afghan on the deck, with at least 12 hours left over to wrap it up and whip up a quick accompanying card before heading to the wedding.

Awesome.

The best part (I mean, apart from having a kick-ass wedding present for my step-sister and soon-to-be-step-brother-in-law)? I’ve not allowed myself to start anything new in ages so that I would have to work on this, and now I can do the cute little summer shrug I’ve been envisioning. Yay!


I am the Queen of Smooshing

Afghan Update

The completed pieces, assembly begun.
Afghan Pieces Assembly
Now, you may notice something: there’s an awful lot of floor showing between the pieces that are supposed to fit perfectly together. This is entirely my own fault.

It seems I got really sloppy with tension especially in the last piece and therefore it’s substantially larger than it should be. I suspected this was happening, and yet did nothing to rectify it while knitting. Sad, pathetic really.
However, as I am indeed the Queen of Smooshing, I made it do this:
Afghan Pieces Smooshed

I may not be nearly meticulous enough (I even have a hard time remembering the word when I want to use it: serious mental block, folks) to maintain vaguely consistent tension on a project this large, but darned if I’m not expert at making imperfect things work anyways.

I am fervently hoping that a good blocking will make it all come together, though somewhat afraid that the imbalance can’t be saved even by the powers of water on good wool. We shall see. However it turns out, it will certainly be warm and cozy and squooshy and lovely in the middle of winter (at the other side of the year from now…)

Next up, i-cord trim and then (horror of horrors) weaving in the ends. Why do I so loathe weaving in the ends? I’m not sure. I suppose because for a long time I didn’t really know just how it ought to be done and went about it quite randomly, but now I have a better grasp on the process so that shouldn’t be a problem. Probably because when it comes time to end-weave, the project is done, I’m done with it and it feels like there shouldn’t be anything more to do. I guess I just don’t include it on my mental list of parts of the making process so it always feels extra.

Sigh.


Bring back the 70’s!

Well, I do believe I have found an excellent toy! Poladroid has got to be one of the easiest and funniest (just like the website says!) apps I’ve found recently.

We all know that Polaroid look, right? Those saturated-yet-smoushy colours that even though they’re not quite right, look awesome instead of sickly, the slight vignetting of the edges, the feeling of carefree summer days in a white plastic frame? Well this thing’s got it all, just a drag-and-drop away.

I took this (which by the way is the orange sweater I started in January and of which I just realized I haven’t until now posted a finished pic):

Orange DoneAnd made this:Orange Pola

There are basic controls such as how much vignetting, flash effect, and blur so you can determine just how “Polaroid” you want to go. It’s a free beta right now (donations accepted, of course) but it looks like there will be a Pro version at some point.

Maybe it’s a little gimmicky, but given the rarity and expense of real Polaroid cameras & film (though luckily it looks like thanks to “an eccentric Austrian artist and businessman” the Impossible Project has bought up the Polaroid factory in the Netherlands and will be making SX-70 & 600 style film again), and that we’ve all got digital cameras these days for that instant satisfaction, I think it’s well worth the couple of minutes to download and, heck, I may even make a donation if I use it a bunch.

Oh, and it even makes that g-zhzhhzhzh sound and makes you wait a few minutes as the image “develops”. Very clever, I must say.


The Afghan’s Progress

In the interest of demonstrating that I have indeed been knitting, an update on the wedding afghan.

I’m very nearly 5/8 finished:
five-eighths
I say very nearly, because you see that little gap between the needles and the lighter section? I got to within two rows and binding off of completing that this evening when my yarn ran out. That’s right, two ginormous skeins were 72 stitches shy of being precisely the right amount for that piece.

so close and yet

Now this would not really be anything more than a curiosity, perhaps eliciting a slight “hrmph” under the breath, if not for the fact that the remaining skeins have not been wound, and I still don’t have a ball winder. And even though, yes, I have to wind them for the next section anyways, somehow it still FEELS like I have to wind them (by hand, natch) just for those last 72 stitches. Those last 72 stitches that might not have existed if my tension were a little more accurate, or some other impossible variance.

Speaking of tension, I’m predicting some very creative manoeuvering to match up the various edges when it comes time to assemble the squishy beast, as my lengthwise and width wise measurements do not seem to agree on the proper distribution of stitches between them. Therefore I am thankful in advance for the manipulable and forgiving nature of wool, and the miracles achievable with blocking.

And I’m just loving the Cascade Ecological Wool; the colours are so soothing and harmonious, the natural lanolin makes it feel like lotion and smell like, well, sheep I suppose; but very clean sheep that have just been bathed in a cool fresh stream and air dried in a sunny hayfield, not the dank wet ones that have been trudging about in the fog through musty undergrowth and fetid mud all day.
And it’s pretty too, especially nestled in the basket with the bamboo needles for some pleasing visual contrast.
woolicious

There’s a decent chance I’ll get the last piece finished before the wedding (i.e. in the next two weeks) with reminders from a certain friend, and assuming my stiff left thumb & index finger don’t rebel. But then the pieces still have to be crocheted together, and the i-cord binding applied to the outer rim, and of course the aforementioned blocking which will require one good solid sunny day on the deck. So all in all, I think it highly, nay maximally improbable that it will actually be completed when the happy betrothal occurs.

That said, what do you think? Should I knit a tiny little version, say seat cushion size and present it with explanatory note? Or a photo of the nearly-finished object? Perhaps just a mysterious promise of forthcoming warm coziness? What does protocol demand in this situation?


Patterns

My deck planters were explored by a squirrel a couple of nights ago… fortunately I only lost one jalapeno (of which I had an extra) and the weakest of the three Mountain Princess tomatoes, which just gives me an excuse to buy a cherry tomato plant…

I have sprinkled cayenne around the little seedlings now. I have slight misgivings about doing this, as I don’t particularly want to injure the little beastie, just dissuade it. But hopefully it’ll get enough of a whiff to stay away until the plants get big enough to withstand the occasional excavating foray, without getting blinded or anything nasty like that.

Sigh.

A couple of weeks ago I was knitting socks while waiting for a train at Union Station when I happened to look up from the ball of yarn in my lap
Yarn Diamonds
and stretch my neck by looking up at the ceiling:
Ceiling Diamonds

Nifty, n’est-ce pas?

And the finished socks (sadly lacking in diamonds, but nevertheless comfy warm weather socks):
Short Socks


Easter

For your viewing pleasure (or dismay, though I hope not), a barrage of Easter weekend images:
MollyBirch1Curly
Last Kale StandingPathIris Rhizome
StartupsRuBunny
And for those who have never seen eggs that are not just plain brown or white, size Large:
Real Eggs

Now I want chickens…


And then there were two…

Well, I did it.

Better judgement put up a token fight, but did not prevail. I wound the second gargantuan skein into a second likewise gargantuan ball.
Two
(The cat was surprisingly unfazed by the lurking orbs; I suspect they fall firmly into the “stupid things humans do that have no bearing on me or my food” category for her and thus merit little to no notice.)

In other, less woolly, news, my “found” orchid has finally popped open it’s first flower.
Snakey
I came across this plant last summer, cavalierly placed on the sidewalk in a somewhat upscale neighbourhood on my walk home from the gym. I guess the first flower spike died back and the owner couldn’t be bothered to cut it back and wait for another to emerge. So naturally I brought it home.

(For the record, it does feel somewhat irregular to just casually pluck a potted orchid off the sidewalk and adopt it, but nobody seemed to notice or care…)

I had one orchid already, retrieved by the OH one day a year or so ago when I said “Get me some flowers while you’re out” (I do get desperate for blooms at this time of year). It’s bloomed once or twice since then:
Orchid1

But the thing with orchids (and I’m not an orchid nut by any means) is that there are so many different varieties, and it’s impossible for someone who’s not an expert to know what the flowers will look like. So I was pleased when this one finally popped (after months of watching the spike grow, and the buds bulge) and while it’s quite similar, its lighter colour is different enough to make me happy.

A lovely present for the first day of spring.


In Soviet Russia, wool plays with cat.

I’ve decided to make EZ’s Garter Stitch Afghan as a wedding gift (for my stepsister who hopefully isn’t reading this or who will look no further if she is…) and I picked up the yarn today.

I’m going with Cascade Eco Wool (because it just looks so darned sexy on Brooklyn Tweed, and I didn’t have to promise my first born to leave Romni with it), and it looks and feels as squishy in person as on screen but, dude, huge skeins – HUGE. 250g/437m each. And me having forgotten to buy a ball winder while I was there drooling over yarn.

So, being the impatient let’s-get-on-with-it person that I am, I wanted to try a swatch to check gauge and my planned colour combo, which required winding a skein.

15 minutes and two sore wrists later, I have one 7″ ball of yarn.

EcoWool1

To really grasp the scale here, consider that the very fluffy fat cat weighs in at about 13 lbs.

EcoWoolPye

The sad part is, if I want the first ginormous ball to be worthwhile, I have to wind another in the other colour, which I will do, by hand, because I am just that impatient and foolish. But for the 6 skeins after that? I’m definitely waiting until I’ve gotten a ball winder.


Pink!!!!

Finally I can post the latest socks:
TheseAlso Bubbly
and hereBubbly are likely the funnest socks I have ever knit.

The bubblewrap pattern is just enough detail to not go all zombified midway through the instep, but easy enough for slight absent-mindendness.

But really, the best part was the pink. I think I will knit something bright pink every February. I don’t think it matters what, as long as it’s fast and easy and oh-so-cheerful!

And even better than how much I enjoyed knitting the socks is that I’ve created another convert to hand-knit socks! (They’ll probably show up herehere.) We shall conquer the world! Mua ha ha ha!!!

Of course, this does mean I’m now expected to knit many socks. Oh well, it’s a small price to pay for happy feet.


hnngg.

So I’m doing my taxes, and accounting and other such number-rich stuff, and once again bemoaning the lack of a number keypad on my (otherwise beloved) Macbook. Sure the design is more elegant without it; sure it means the rest of the keys can be a little bigger/less crowded. But when you’re entering in lots of numbers? Man oh man it’s irritating. I’ve spent enough time using adding machines and number keypads to really miss being able to enter numbers that way.

So I thought to myself, “what I’d really like is a Bluetooth number pad” and did a quick search online. I found one that’s not too bad looking but kind of expensive and it looks more like a calculator than just a number pad (I have a calculator, I want a number pad). By this time the OH is looking over my shoulder (the Y-chromosome detected the search for electronics) as I’m doing an image search and indicates a promising one. As we wait for the page to load he’s asking “does it go with the Mac look?” when what to our wandering eyes should appear but this:

inumber

Sweet, yo.

This is not at all helping me to want an iphone less. Because this would actually be Useful. I would definitely put it to Practical Purpose. It would not merely be a toy, an expensive gadget to entertain myself with (because I don’t actually really need a cell phone more than once or twice a week). It would be a Tool. Heck, it would almost be a legitimate Business Expense.

Sigh.

In other news… knitting!
This:Orange is what is finally developing from my lovely orange llama/wool harvested from the sweater I made years ago with more enthusiasm than wisdom. (The tension was a little loose, and I obviously chose the styling thinking I was about 6″ taller and many inches narrower than I have been in my adult existence – so I had a love-disappointed relationship with it and rarely wore it, but the yarn; yummy like pumpkin pie – don’t let the washed-out pic delude you.)

It’s new life will be as an easy top-down raglan sweater from this “pattern”, with short sleeves and a cable panel down the front of the left side to give it more than just orangeness for interest. (The fastidious among you may notice the cable looks a little odd: that’s because I missed a cross while watching The Visitor [highly recommended BTW, kind of sad but very good] and I will be repairing it tonight.)

I’m very much looking forward to completing this and being able to ensconce myself in orange warmness again. Though given the short sleevedness of it I might have to whip up a set of arm warmers to go with it. Hm, I do have some great orange-mix sock yarn left… OK, I’m not allowed to start another project before finishing the two I’m working on. (When I was a voraciously reading teen I always had 4 or 5 books on the go at once… I figure it’s good to have projects for each mood to stay interested.)

Speaking of the other project, it’s slightly beyond half done, and I’ll post it in its complete, bright happy springy glory in about 6 days. Give or take.