Wednesday, November 29, 2006

whoops

i wasn't paying attention, and i got tagged...

four jobs i have had in my life:
1. waitress
2. secretary
3. library staff
4. fruit picker/weigher on a strawberry farm

four movies i would watch over and over
1. save the last dance
2. 10 things i hate about you
3. zoolander
4. dodgeball
(as you can tell from the above, my inner child is about 11 years old.)

four places i have lived
1. here (ayrshire)
2. glasgow
3. hamilton, ontario
4. belleville, ontario

four tv shows i love to watch
1. alias
2. without a trace
3. charmed
4. one tree hill (again, this one is the fault of the inner child...)

i have been on vacation
1. paris
2. boston
3. toronto
4. london

websites visited daily
1. the knitty forums
2. bugheart
3. knitspot
4. january one

four of my favourite foods
1. lindt chocolates
2. cheesecake from mono in glasgow
3. sushi from ichiban
4. coffee from the second cup

four places i would rather be right now
1. paris
2. in a comfy chair, in a cafe that serves excellent coffee
3. in a hot bath
4. asleep

four people i’m tagging with this questionnaire
anyone who reads this, who hasn't already done it - you're IT!!

Monday, November 27, 2006

will work for yarn

being on a relatively limited budget, i'm having to become ever-inventive as to how to feed the sock yarn addiction. the answer? hook up with someone who has a big stash, and not enough time to knit it...
lanns, from the knitty board, has an excess of sock yarn, but no time to knit socks. she's sent me two skeins of gorgeous sock yarn - one to knit her a pair of socks, and one for me!!



the picture is slightly fuzzy but you can still see the beginnings of the lace pattern. it's the "elfine" socks from anna bell (a free pattern here) & the yarn is mama e's c*eye*ber fiber sock yarn in "chocolate". the yarn-for-socks swap is a great idea for someone like me - i love knitting socks; i've been meaning to try this pattern for ages; and not only do i get a skein of blue moon socks that rock in "rocktober" as "payment", but i also get to try mama e's yarn, which i've never tried before (& it's lovely!!).
other than that i've had a slow start to the week. i'm planning some more hat kits for the next craft fair, in "manly" colours - apparently some folk at the last fair were asking for hat kits in non-girly colours (so just brown & gray, then?) - but i haven't started spinning them yet. after an entire week of lethargy, maybe i need to ease back in slowly?

Friday, November 24, 2006

two more steps of the twelve-step program

finally, i got to use the posh yarn gift voucher that elaine sent me (oh, about six months ago!!). i've been stalking their one-off wednesday sales every week since i got the voucher, and i finally found something to buy - sock yarn, naturally. i can't stop. seriously, it's like an addiction.
(i was going to make a joke there about each new step of the sock addict's twelve-step program requiring a new pair of socks, but i've been reliably informed that my jokes are rarely as funny as i think they are, so i'd better just move on. quickly.)
two skeins of "lucia", posh yarn's cashmere/merino blend sock yarn, in two one-off colouways - "juggle", on the left, and "deep end" on the right.


if you look at the bottom left corner of the picture you can see the reason that the yarn stash is kept in the bedroom, with the bedroom door securely locked. the yarn had literally been in the house for two minutes before being investigated. we suspect our terrier cross may also be part collie - maybe the sheepiness of the yarn calls out to his herding instinct?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

baby, it's cold outside

as a canadian, it almost pains me to say this - it makes me feel a bit of a wimp. there's no snow, or ice, or arctic temperatures... but it's cold here today. and it's not just the temperature - it's the gale-force winds & horizontal driving rain. the pup still demands his big morning walk no matter what, so both of us come back dripping & chilled. apart from that enforced exercise, the lethargy of the week continues, and there's a lot of radiator love going on in this house.


there's still knitting happening in the midst of all this napping - after all, i have a red sweater to finish. now, don't be misled by my use of the word "finished" - by that, i mean that i'm about 6 inches into the cabled band that was intended to be a horizontal cabled yoke for the sweater, and i've changed my mind about the pattern. i'm a big fan of not ripping out knitting, so i'm still using the cabled band, only now it will be a waistband for an empire-waisted sweater along the lines of this (shamelessly ripped off from the anthropologie catalogue. i can't afford their clothes, so i will make my own).


it will be red (of course) and the cabled band will go horizontally around the empire waist, with similar cabled cuffs. i think. it's still a work in progress... i'm not 100% sure how to do the sleeves - i'm not a fan of finishing (seaming, that is) hence the original plan for a yoked sweater (all in the round! no seams! genius!) but this new sweater has set-in sleeves which means seaming. and figuring out how to knit them. would raglan sleeves work with that neckline??

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

recovering

after all the excitement of last week, i'm having to rest & recharge, so i have absolutely no exciting news to report. the civil partnership went fine - very low-key & relaxed as we had wanted, followed by lots of cocktails at a very swanky bar. there are no pictures that are worth sharing - we did take a few under immense pressure from various relatives but neither of us are very photogenic, so the likelihood that a photo could be taken in which both of us look good at the same time is very low. the best picture taken was the one in which a vast amount of water fell on my head while we were posed artistically under a tree, and the camera clicked just as i looked up & said"@#%#!!!!". that one was especially flattering, but also probably the most realistic.
i'm not an especially social person, so any periods of intense social activity need to be followed by a few days of peace & quiet. this week, therefore, will involve lots of this:


i might even take a nap myself if i can manage to find a chair.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

the ace of spades

finally, the shawl is finished. i unpinned it from blocking this morning & was so impressed with it (& myself!) that i swanned about for a bit with it on over my pajamas - it's so gorgeous it even makes ratty old pjs look good.


a full-sized picture just for scale - that's a two-seater sofa it's draped over & the shawl is actually too wide to cover it. because of the laceweight cashmere, it's incredibly soft & warm yet also light & drapey - perfect.



& some detail shots - on the left, the perfect little point. i love it - i love how the spade pattern & the edging slowly diminish into one little spade & a perfectly pointed edge. and on the right, the top corner with the bird's eye edging along the top edge - excruciating, it took me hours, but look how beautiful!!
pattern: the casino shawl from knitspot (a gift from anne, who is lovely!)
yarn: 100% cashmere laceweight (camilla), in a one-off colourway from posh yarn; 148 grams & roughly 1020 yards
needles: 3.75mm circular addi bamboo
started 14th october 2006, completed 15th november 2006
this pattern was a dream to knit - very clearly written, with pattern instructions in both charted & written form. although the cast-on was a bit off-putting (305 stitches!!) and the first few rows seemed interminable, the good thing about working top-down is that the rows get shorter as you go, which makes you feel like you're really making progress & is very encouraging if you get to the stage that i did - three days to deadline & six pattern repeats to go (plus edging!). and the bird's eye edging, although slow going for me, was clearly explained & easy to knit (i could even watch tv while i did it, which made it much more pleasant!). this is the first lace shawl i've ever knit, and i'd recommend the pattern wholeheartedly (& not just because i got it for free!).

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

at last...

it's so big i can't even fit it all in the picture.



wine... i need wine...

hat kits & handspun galore!

phew!!


all the kits & skeins have been labelled, & have been added to the other site (although blogger was giving me hassle this morning & i thought it would never work!). now i just have to drop them off in glasgow tomorrow afternoon, & sit back & let elaine do all the selling work (hee hee).
& for those who are curious what a finished hat could look like, i've started a gallery of completed hats (well, only a couple of pictures so far, but i'm hoping i'll get more from the people who've bought the kits once they're all knitted up!). one of them is mine, and the other is elaine's (you can read more about hers on her blog).
i still have the shawl edging to knit, so i'd better get on that... shawl-blocking photos soon!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

now i know why they call it a "deadline"

i've been spinning & knitting like a madwoman, all last week & this week, and i'm officially so exhausted i might die.
the shawl is nearly done; all that's left is the edging, which (if all goes according to plan) will be done tomorrow, and the shawl will be washed & blocked overnight. this will just squeak under the line of being ready in time, since i'm getting picked up on thursday afternoon (the civil partnership thing is on friday in glasgow, so we're staying in glasgow with friends on thursday night to make things easier - although noone seems to care that this seriously cuts into my shawl knitting time!) .
there is a mountain of handspun in the spare room:


again, if all goes according to plan, the skeins & kits will be labelled tomorrow & posted on the website, then taken in to glasgow for the market this weekend - again, just barely making it, as the market stuff has to get dropped off to elaine on thursday as well.
it's been a manic several days; i'm totally wiped out & yet oddly satisfied. i'm keeping my fingers crossed that i'll sell more hat kits & handspun at this market than last time - certainly the few sales from the website & the shop stocking my yarns since the first market have been encouraging, so i'm hopeful. things haven't worked out in the past for me as far as work goes, for various reasons, but i may just have found something that i love to do which will also make me a little bit of money. so despite the fact that i'm completely & utterly knackered...

...lucky me.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

not a caterpillar

i only have two feet. and yet, while doing laundry today, i was shocked to discover this:



in case it's not readily apparent from the picture, that's 12 pairs of handknit socks. twelve. i'm not sure how this happened; i knew i had a sock knitting problem, but i didn't realise it had reached such proportions. they don't even all fit on the magical sock-drying device anymore:


yes, i know it has another purpose, but to me it's all about the sock-drying. the reason they have to be dried this way can be seen if you look very carefully at the bottom of the first picture. the sock-drying device is located in the bedroom, which is the only room that does not allow entry to the small, furry, sock eating creature who practices his "innocent" look while unsuspecting stray socks disappear into his mouth.
surely i'm not the only one who has such an addiction? other sock-knitting folk must also have the problem of accumulating so many pairs of socks. someone on the knitty board confessed to having about 40 pairs... clearly, i've got some catching up to do. i am, however, about to order more sock yarn... just to get me through the winter, you know. i can stop anytime i want.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

a woman of substance

it suddenly occurred to me the other day that although i'm madly knitting away on the luscious cashmere shawl to wear to the civil partnership thing next week, i would also have to find something to wear under it (lace is, by its very nature, full of holes, so a cashmere shawl on its own would probably lead swiftly to an arrest for indecent exposure). although i've stipulated that the dress code is jeans/casual, all my shirts are pretty old & tatty, so i figured a new shirt was in order. my needs were simple - i wanted a basic black cotton or jersey shirt, preferably with longish sleeves, comfortable & casual yet flattering. pretty easy to find, you say? well.
i spent about 3 hours trawling around glasgow city centre, in the rain, becoming more & more annoyed & frustrated with the state of women's fashion. not only does it seem to be impossible to find anything "basic" (no frills, odd shapes, or mustard yellow, please!) but i was trying on the largest sizes in the shops & still finding them too small. either they were just too tight in general, or oddly shaped & badly fitted, or the body was big enough but you would have had to have arms the size of pipecleaners to get into the sleeves. eventually, i managed to find a shirt that was flattering, comfortable, and exactly the look i wanted...
... in a "specialist" shop for, shall we say, women of substance.
now, i'm not a tiny person, & i'd be the first to say it. but i'm also not enormous by any standards. my body shape tends towards the naturally curvy; the only point in my life where i was "thin" was during a period when i didn't have enough money to buy food. now, i still have no money, but luckily the resident sock appreciator earns enough that we can afford to eat, and consequently my body has returned to its natural shape. (also, i'm 30, and i'll never have the waist of a teenager again). sure, i could probably lose a little weight if i wanted to, but that would involve giving up everything that i enjoy (namely eating, and sedentary hobbies such as knitting) and would require copious amounts of exercise (which i hate). i'm fit enough to walk the dog every day for at least an hour (usually more), and i eat a relatively sensible diet, with treats as & when i want them.
generally, i'm very happy with my body - it's healthy, it (mostly) does what i want it to do, and it looks great. i'm over the body hangups i had as a teenager - until i try to go clothes shopping.
why is it that one afternoon of fluorescent-lit changing rooms can bring back all my old body image issues? why is women's fashion sized so bizarrely? how can a fairly average-sized person be unable to fit into the largest size provided by the standard high-street shop? and where, in this land of short, round scottish people, are all these tiny-waisted people with long, thin limbs??
all this from a simple expedition to find a top - don't even get me started on trying to find jeans that fit. why, oh why do the jeans manufacturers not realise that many women have hips & asses that are more marilyn than twiggy?
i'm not sure that i'm quite ready to sign up to the campaign for a pantsless society, but i'm definitely fed up with shopping for clothes. time to check out some clothing websites for women of substance - it's either that, or learn how to sew.

Monday, November 06, 2006

sneak peek


some of the upcoming hat kits, in various stages of completion - some are simply waiting for charms & labels to be added, some are bobbins of singles waiting to be plied, and some are just-dyed roving. there's merino, blue-faced leicester, angora blends, silk, shetland, and alpaca; there are nearly-solid colours, space-dyed variegated colours, and natural fleece. hopefully, something for everyone...
some of the the new kits should be added to the handspun site by the end of the week, the rest by the middle of next week, and all will be at the miso funky market on 18th november. just in time for an early christmas present for the knitter in your life (or for yourself?)...
or, if you want a chance to win your choice of hat kit, go to wendy knits & enter her prize drawing by making a donation to heifer international - a good cause with lots of prizes including one of the old maiden aunt hat kits!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

seriously...


did you really think i wasn't going to spin it?
fibre: 50% brown cashmere, 50% white silk from scottish fibres; 44g/86 yards
weight: approximately sport weight, at 12wpi
i feel very slightly miffed as the fibre was meant to be sold in 50g bundles, but according to my scales the finished skein only weighs 44 g. since i'm not entirely sure that my scales are 100% accurate, however, i'm trying not to be annoyed about it (especially since in other fibre bundles i've ordered from scottish fibres, i've often received up to 15g more than i paid for!).
as i suspected, i'm not completely satisfied with the finished product. i had been trying for a finer spin, something approaching laceweight, and didn't quite make it. not at all the fault of the fibre, mind you - just a spinner who needs more experience! overall, the yarn is lovely - extremely soft & shimmery. i have no idea what to do with it, though...
and in other news, i finally managed to make a start on my red sweater for the red sweater knitalong. i had initially planned a simple crossover-style raglan cardigan; since i'm an extremely fickle knitter, however, i've scrapped that idea & have started a sweater with a horizontal cabled yoke.


since i'm using 4-ply yarn on 2.75mm needles, i'm only about 4 inches into the cable panel for the yoke, so not a lot of progress has been made so far (despite the abundance of coffee). also, i'm not entirely sure how the construction of a yoked sweater works, but i'm sure i'll figure it out as i go - i mean, it's only knitting, how hard can it be??

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

lady luck

i was foiled in my attempts to make my "lucky tuesday" post on time for once by my computer. occasionally it decides that it has had enough; yesterday it was convinced that it could not connect to the internet no matter what, but after a good night's sleep it seems to have changed its mind. machines... sigh. they just don't like me.
despite the computer glitch, however, it was still a very good day. for once, i had a burst of energy, and by noon i had not only walked the dog , been to the library to pick up the next installment of "harry potter" on audiobook (essential for lace knitting - i'm now on book 3!) & done 3 loads of laundry, but i'd also dyed 3 batches of roving & plied 2 bobbins of spun singles for more hat kits. that left the rest of the afternoon for this:


it's the "casino shawl" from anne at knitspot, in the (on sale!) laceweight pure cashmere from posh yarn. i've been knitting it furiously for a little while, and it's finally to the stage where it can be photographed, although i've still got about 2 feet left to knit! i don't normally like knitting to a deadline - i did xmas knitting for people last year, and found it so horrendous that i've vowed never to give knitted xmas gifts again, unless the recipient is happy to get them in february. however, myself & the resident sock appreciator are finally getting around to registering for a civil partnership on 17th november, & although neither of us wants to make a big deal about it (the required dress code for the event is... jeans) i did want to have something nice & a bit special for it (the resident sock appreciator will no doubt get a new pair of socks).
i saw this finished shawl on anne's website, and loved it immediately... but days went by, and she hadn't published the pattern for sale yet... and i began to get impatient, so i emailed her. i was polite in my inquiries ("hey you, knitter that i've never spoken to before!! when can i get my hands on that pattern? what do you mean you have a full-time job? write it up now, i need to knit it!!") and anne, being a kind & lovely person, sent me an advance copy of the pattern for free. aren't knitters great??
& since i managed to get so much done in the morning, i got to spend the afternoon with a free pattern, half-price cashmere, and a big mug of hot chocolate, not to mention stephen fry reading books to me...

...lucky me!!