Saturday, July 28, 2007

How do you know it's love?

I've had a week from hell at work. Without going into details, it's been one of those weeks where my energy is entirely fuelled by mixture of stress and urgency. Friday was the worst, as is every Friday before a new student arrival date during the busiest time of the year: last-minute changes to student registrations, last-minute new student registrations, last-minute emergencies. So needless to say, I've been a bit irritable during those few hours when I'm home and trying desperately to relax on the couch with Nyron. But instead of getting upset at my irritability and saying things like, "don't take your stress out on me!" what does he do? He calls me up at the end of my office hours on Friday and says, "I've just cashed my $50 GST cheque. Why don't I take you over to Romni and buy you some yarn". He knows that Romni's July sale (20% off everything!) is ending this weekend and I haven't been able to take advantage of it at all because of my yarn diet. He also knows that gift yarn doesn't count as breaking the diet, so he dropped me off for the last half hour that Romni is open on Fridays with cart blanche to buy $50 worth of anything I wanted. See why I love this man?

I ended up buying 10 balls of Debbie Bliss Cotton DK in the Green Apple colourway. I don't usually like to buy yarn without a pattern in mind and Romni is especially overwhelming when one doesn't have an exact shopping list, but cotton DK of any variety is always useful and Debbie Bliss is a brand I've knit and enjoyed before so I'm happy with my purchase. It came to a little over the $50 limit, but who's counting?

Of course, the first thing I did this morning was add it to my Ravelry stash. Don't worry, I had every intention of telling you all; I got my Ravelry invite on Wednesday. This was perfect timing. Part of my stress of last week was caused by a terrible headache Tuesday night that made me to go home early Wednesday afternoon as I was still feeling pretty sick (the headache gave me a hangover like I haven't had since university!). Just before leaving work I checked my place in line and found that there were only 14 invites ahead of me. I willed my invite to be in my inbox by the time I got home and it was! That made me feel much better; I spent the afternoon starting to add things to my site, although it's still a work in progress, and joining a few groups.

So far, it's been the most helpful to me in getting inspiration for future projects. A lot of my stash is actually gift yarn which I received from a very generous knitter in England who heard my cries about the lack of decent yarn shops in the city. While I'm incredibly grateful to her, I have no idea what to do with most of what she gave me. Example: 20 balls of Jaeger merino DK weight in a lovely light gray that has been sitting in my stash for these 3 years without telling me what it wants to be. With Ravelry, I can add it to my stash and up pops a link to thumbnails of all the other projects that have or are being knit in that yarn. So I can browse through and see if there is anything that I particularly like and would want to knit. Unfortunately for this case, the projects that I liked the most were the aran knit sweaters from Aran Knitting by Alice Starmore, a book that costs over $300 on Amazon. So that yarn will have to sit a little longer. However, I have narrowed down what I'd like to do with my new cotton DK to two patterns: Green Gable or Rusted Root, both from Zephyr Style. I like Rusted Root the best and I think it would look great in this green colourway, but I'm not sure I'd want everyone to see the left cup of my bra through the shirt, and I don't tend to wear undershirts as a rule. I might like the pattern enough to cave in an buy one, though.

Until next we knit!


Sunday, July 15, 2007

Oh, the waiting!

I've become totally caught up in the anticipation over Ravelry. I sent in my invite request sometime in June and have been checking the blog regularly, watching as they add 1000 more people, 1200 more people, never knowing how close or far they were to my email address on the list. Until now! They've just added a new feature so that you can check your place in line and gauge how much longer you have to wait. And I'm very happy to say that I'm not as far down the list as I thought. I'd figured I'd added my name in mid June, but according to this new feature I sent in my request on June 4. There are less than 1200 people ahead of me in line and since they've been adding people in groups of 1200 lately, I think my chances are good that I'll be getting that invite sometime this week. I certainly hope so. I've heard excellent things about this community site and I'm really looking forward to exploring. A full review for those of you still waiting as soon as I'm in, I promise.

Until next we knit!


Saturday, July 14, 2007

A weekend for finishing

This past week has been very busy. Aside from the usual weekday stuff like work and pilates, Nyron and I have been helping out at the Chapters that he used to manage to decorate for the big Harry Potter midnight sale! We get to help out at the sale next Friday, too. We spent all Thursday night from when we got off work until almost 10:00 at night cutting out bristol board letters of FLOURISH & BLOTTS to put in the large windows above the front door. They've also printed out spells from the books spread out onto about 3 pieces of paper each and velcroed them to the walls. The spells are in black but the Unforgivable Curses are in red. Very cool.

So with all that going on I didn't get a lot of knitting done this past week. I did, however, finish the linen hand towel for Erin's bridal shower gift. Here's the finished towel:

I decided to forgo the chenille washcloth because I was having trouble working with the chenille. I'd always thought of chenille as this incredibly luxurious yarn that I would love working with, but when I actually tried it turned out to be fiddly and unyielding. Besides, I've now knit with baby alpaca, which beats chenille right out of the water in terms of luxury!

The whole spa kit is almost all put together; all it's lacking as a big bar of chocolate and a card. It currently contains: a cleansing cream, a facial mask, 2 bottles of nail polish, 1 bar of Sultana of Soap and a bar of Comforter Bubble Bar (both from Lush). And the hand towel, of course.

I've also finished Chart A of Clue 1 of the MS3 stole! I had to frog the whole thing back twice at row 23 and it took 6 times for get through row 45 without having too many or too few stitches on the needle, but I finally did it. All it took was some peace and quiet (Nyron can be very distracting, especially now that we've bought a Wii). I taped it to the back of the chart so I could take a picture:

It's not very clear, since I didn't want to take the time to block it - I want to keep knitting before Nyron gets here! It's knit in Misti Alpaca 100% baby alpaca 2 ply laceweight. The beads are fresh water pearl seed beads that I found for $5 a string at a bead store downtown (if anyone out there is into beading, you have to come to Toronto! There's practically a beading neighbourhood on Queen St.). This is my first lace project and my first time knitting with alpaca and I'm loving them both. I might even make a second one as a gift. Mom, what do you think, would you like a lace stole? Just in case Dad ever takes you anywhere nicer than one of the pubs in Halifax? ; )

Until next we knit!


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Friday, July 06, 2007

I am weak.

I've been peddling along nicely on my yarn diet thus far. I successfully completed the Stashalong June challenge by knitting the two blankets for Allison's twins and Nyron's God awful argyle sweater. I've knit over 20 granny squares to use up 5 balls from Mount Bernat to be made into a blanket for Warming Families. I've started a pair of socks and got as far as turning the heal and have been planning a yoga mat bag to take another chunk out of Mount Bernat. But today, something changed.

Now, I've heard of the Mystery Stole before, mentioned on other knitter's blogs, and have easily turned a disinterested eye. I haven't worn a stole or shawl of any kind since my high school prom and I have never felt the need to knit the same thing as thousands of other knitters at the same time. So I had every intention in the world to let another Mystery Stole pass me by unnoticed.

Let's set the scene: a young girl, going square-eyed at a computer in her small, windowless office staring down the very real likelihood that she will have to come in on her day off to get through her ever increasing workload. She decides to take a short mental vacation by skimming through some of her favourite knitting blogs. She comes across The Yarn Harlot's humourous account of being "tricked" into joining the Mystery Stole 3 KAL. She mentions that tonight is the deadline for signing up (instilling in me the Fear of Missing Out) and includes a picture of a first clue knitted up. It's so lovely. And I've never knit lace before. And I've been seriously considering learning. And before 5 minutes had passed I had signed up for MS3. Yarn Harlot, you are an enabler!

Of course, I will now have to by some laceweight yarn, as I don't have any (oh no) and some beads, because the stole calls for beads (double oh no!). This I can do on my way to work tomorrow (yes, I really do have to go in on my day off).

I won't be able to start on it until after next weekend, however, because I am working away on my friend's spa kit towel. Linen, I am finding, is not very soft to knit with, but the chenille will surely make up for it so I'm saving it as a prize to myself for finishing the towel.

Until next we knit!


Sunday, July 01, 2007

Happy Canada Day, eh?!

And an early Happy July 4th to my readers south of the border! My Canada Day is particularly happy because I finally finished that damned argyle sweater. Not only has that sweater fought me every step of the way, but in sewing it up I noticed all kinds of issues.
First of all, the new yarn that was of a different dye lot didn't match quite as well as I'd convinced myself it had while I was knitting it and if you look you can definitely see the difference. Also, because I had to re-knit much of the sleeves, I ended up mixing up the balls of frogged yarn and now one sleeve has a thick strip of a the old dye lot between 2 sections of the new. The change in dye lot is especially noticeable at the shoulder seams because the sleeves were mainly knit with the new dye lot and the front was entirely knit with the old. Also, the collar didn't work out as well as I would have liked, as I'm still pretty inexperienced with picking up stitches. Finally, I didn't notice until after I'd sewn everything up that on the photograph in the magazine the argyle ziz-zags stop short of the shoulders, where as I have made it go all the way up. I asked Nyron if he wanted me to pull it back so that I looked like the magazine but he said he likes it the way it is. He's such a trooper!

Of course, like a lot of other knitters (especially those who are meticulous as I tend to be) I continually see this sweater as unsatisfactory. Nyron kept asking me if I liked it and I would say things like, "I'm just glad you like it" or "I'm happy it's finished, but I'll never be happy with it". I even told him that I would understand if he didn't want to wear it out in public! But the important thing is he's happy with it (although at least he's had the honesty to admit that he notices the different dye lots, too). And even I have to admit he looks quite dashing in it:

Gotta love his male model pose. He's so cute. :)

I've only just finished this project and I'm on to others. I'm crocheting as many blanket squares as I can for the Homespun Helpers (previously Craft for a Cause) blanket square contest; the knitter/crocheter who makes the most gets a $25 (American!) gift certificate to the yarn shop of their choice and anyone who posts that they have made at least 5 by today goes into a draw for a skein of yarn. It's not against my yarn diet if it's a gift. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it!). I'm crocheting granny squares to piece together into a blanket for Warming Families; it's a great way to get rid of all that Bernat Berella 4 in my stash (I have a whole Rubbermade container full from when I used to do Knit for Kids through Lewiscrat at Christmas). Here's 14 of the 18 squares I've knit so far:

I'm also knitting the moss square towel from Mason-Dixon Knitting as part of a spa basket I'm putting together for my friend's bridal shower gift. I'd also like to knit her a chenille bath mitt if I have enough time. The bridal shower is on the 14th, so I only have 2 weeks to get it all together. Fortunately, it's a long weekend, so I don't have to work tomorrow and therefore should have lots of time to knit. Unfortunately, I have lots of housework that has to get done this weekend because we're having our annual house party/bbq next weekend. Also, spending so much time working on Nyron's sweater has made me neglect Nyron a bit and he was getting jealous. Speaking of which, I should go spend some time with him now. ;)

Until next we knit!