Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The last day of January

It's the day before Project Spectrum kicks off.

I have already got my blue(ish) socks on the go, and am working on the heel flap. So those will be out of the way soon.

I was planning on a pair of socks for each PS colour segment, and though these were mostly done beforehand, I'm counting them! (Yeah, okay, I started them in October...)

The bright pink will be next on the sock needles, even though pink doesn't come up till April.

(When I started knitting socks for Arthur, I could get all but the second toe out of one 50 g ball, but this time I only got one sock and most of a leg before I had to bring in the second ball.)

And I've got a scarf and hat on the go for Streetknit. I had four balls of this wool -- I paused the scarf after two, to make the hat, and then I'll use whatever's left to finish the scarf.

I hope the hat will be extra warm, with a strand of sock yarn knitted along with the main yarn. It's fun and fast, though the mistake rib scarf is dragging a bit!

This hardly counts as blue, but I'll finish it asap and move on to something that does.

I am itching to make a bigger project. I made an 8-inch square the other day for the school blanket, with cables! Got out my Alice Starmore book, set to work in earnest on a piece with a couple of different cables... and got completely bamboozled. Gauge goes right out the window, for one thing. There's been a rash of mis-crossed cables in the blogosphere lately, and I did my little part in that, too, though since it was just a wee square, it got ripped before being documented! In any case, it put me off cables for a while and the thought of a sweater full of them now fills me with dread. But I managed this square of three identical braids, and it looks so nice, that my present grand scheme for the blasted denim handles is to make a long thin braid! We'll see how many inches I can get before cracking.

And the plan for the bigger project will just simmer a bit longer.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Done Branching

My Branching Out scarf is done!

This scarf was fun to knit, though I never quite felt comfortable doing it without the chart at my side. It does use 5 different kinds of decrease, so by the end of it you know for sure how to slant to left or right, get rid of one stitch or two, or make a straight line in your double decrease.

And it's pretty.... The yarn is Lady Godiva, wool and silk. I think it's the colour "Forest" with a wee bit of "Mineral." I wish I'd done what I'd originally intended, years ago when I bought this yarn, and worked a whole piece with the two yarns together. Mmmm!

I think this brings to 19 the number of Mary-handknit scarves in the house!

I made it about 4 feet long, and saved a bit of the green wool for my green mish-mash pile. This will one day be some marvellous ... not sure what! Blanket, perhaps? I'll see what else I have to do in green season of Project Spectrum!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Getting itchy fingers

I've taken all my sock yarn out of the closet to "study" it. Yeah, and tossed it all over the unmade bed...

I've got another bag of yarn tipped out on the living room couch. I am looking at lace patterns for a shawl, and I don't even really want a shawl! I've got two projects almost completed, and I'm dying to toss them aside and start something else.

It's a sickness, I tell you! Must be strong! Must finish one sock before starting another! Must not try to knit all the yarn in the house at once!


Monday, January 22, 2007

33 and still handsome -- now closer to 50

How many times do you think I'll change my mind between now and the end of September, when I can buy more yarn? What will be the new project, once all the little projects are finished off?

This is my present pick. I've actually liked this sweater since 1989, when Vogue Knitting published it as a Then and Now pattern; the original is from 1956. I want to do some cabled something or other, but don't want a big bulky sweater. (This 1989 version calls for some yarn with golden nubs in it -- I'm all for tweed, but not glittery tweed!)

I could show you a dozen more, but let's not get overwhelmed with choices! And my Knitting from Stash means lots of little projects, since my stash is not full of sweaters-worth of yarn.

And the present projects are coming along:

Branching Out, with the patch of brown/ grey/ black in the forest of green. I like it.

Now I'm torn about how long to make it. Finish the ball, and make a quite long scarf, or have that little bit left over, making a scarf just long enough to tuck in? It doesn't seem right to make a long skinny lacy scarf...

And Arthur's second sock.

It gets carried around a lot, but not knitted on too much!

I've got banana bread in the oven, preparing for the Knitting Ladies to pop over this afternoon. Must get the clean laundry off the living room couch, and make room in the front hall for snowboots and big coats. It seems we're getting a bit of winter, after all. The thrill will wear off soon, but this morning the kids were up and ready to go early enough that they got the walk shoveled before going to school!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

What a difference a day makes

Same view as yesterday, but cloudy and attempting to snow. Minus 8, my computer tells me.

One day soon, I'll have knitting pictures!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Saturday sky

Lovely day today, all sunny and clear! Cold, though, -3 Celsius. Good day for a matching hat, scarf and mitts!

Friday, January 19, 2007

It's Friday again

Not blooming now, but in a few months... It's trying to snow today, just to cover up the icy, dirty, frozen slush of the last couple of days. I just hope the bulbs under the ground are doing the necessary whatever to bloom when spring comes!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

New books

I noticed a new bookstore had opened up down the street. I can't remember what used to be in that spot, perhaps some clothes store catering to the high school students. In any case, these days it's a store with long tables piled up with publishers' overstock bargain books. I have often found good things for the kids in such places, but now they are beyond the colourful ABC books that take up such a lot of the space.

However, I went in and looked around, finally finding the craft section -- passing over some beautiful gardening books, since, although we need to do some reworking of the front yard, we have a) no sun and b) not much space. Let's not get carried away.

There were a few knitting books, but I managed to come away with only Debbie Bliss's How To Knit. I like the stitch dictionary aspect of it, though the patterns are not so thrilling -- there's no way I'm ever knitting an entrelac sweater with cables on the little squares...

And I also got Color Harmony for Quilts. A lot of my knitting tends to use more than one colour, so I thought I'd have this at hand to look at the different arrangements. It's cool how just a touch of some colour spread through a quilt can change the whole look of it. I don't think I'll start in with the fabric and sewing machine any time soon, but I might need to go get a few more colours of Felted Tweed... in October, of course...

I've started on Arthur's blue sock, because I needed a subway-
friendly knit the other day. Am plugging away, and hope to actually be done before Blue season starts in Project Spectrum! And, as you can see, Branching Out is coming along nicely. I have a teeny bit of this yarn in a brown/ black/ grey colourway, and thought of adding a touch of it in here. Would it look good, a bit unusual, like metaphorical branches in the leaves, or would it look wacky, like I was worried I'd run out of yarn? I think there's only one way to find out!

Monday, January 15, 2007

After delurking week!

Looky that, I ask for comments, and I get comments! Not 801, like some people, but that's fine...

And some of the comments are easy to deal with (yeah, hi, guys) and some are more challenging.

Heather G -- Nice new two-headed blog! (And even though I am knitting from stash, I can still go to Alterknit to buy some needles and a brownie some day. Some day....)

Robyn -- I'm glad you got all that out! My brother does stained glass,too, and I think at about the same pace. Say hi to other Mary! And I think you are right about the photos, but why, oh why did old Blogger act more sensibly? I don't think this is an improvement. I sized this picture of my amaryllis down, and hope it works.

Lisa -- Yes, the hub is a super amazing physicist, as I understand. And you know, when you get to the oral defense part of the process, everyone will be so keen to recognise your excellence. Really.

And, the tough one, Anonymous Lucia. First, not tough, she asks for the name of the sock pattern: It's called Swordfish, and comes from an ancient Patons book, I think no longer in print, though they tend to reprint things these days. See the little fishy tails?

And then, she asks what I miss about the UK! Whoo.

I miss living in a small place, where I can walk across town without really thinking about it. And I miss being a foreigner -- I didn't have to get upset about increasing traffic in town, or have an opinion about the new shopping arcade or the recycling program. Here, things happen and I know that if they build some big building up the street I will have to live with it for the foreseeable future. So, I could be more detached from stuff there.

And I miss walking over a bridge over a river whenever I went anywhere, and I miss the frequent travel to very great places! And things being old, and of course the thrill of a new post box...

Plus also, right now we are experiencing freezing rain, ice pellets, and perhaps even snow this afternoon. The Brits don't stand for stuff like that!

So, thanks to all for saying hello, and don't be shy!

And now, a bit of knitting.

Both green socks are finished, toes grafted, all is well. The pattern was fun to knit, but since it's an adult pattern and I was knitting for an almost-10-year-old, I made them on 2 mm needles, which is toooo small! They fit fine, but my next trick will involve a simple ribbed sock, on the way-bigger 2.25 mm needles. Okay, not really much bigger, but if I don't have to check to make sure I did a p2tog on the previous row, I should be fine!

But now I have finished the green sock KAL, so, no more cool button...

Friday, January 12, 2007

Oh, almost missed it!

It's Delurking Week, I hear. All the kids are doing it, so come on, leave me a comment!

But now, here I am, asking for you to say hi, and I have nothing exciting to write about. It's a bit early in the morning.

I hear that Kentish KT is Kentish no more, and I saw the motorcade leave the neighbourhood yesterday afternoon heading for the airport to pick the family up, but haven't actually sighted them myself.

There's the sock club vs bank story, but you've probably already heard that one here, or here.

I could remind you about the Red Scarf Project -- it's time to mail your scarf in!

I could post a picture of my green sock, but I bet over the weekend I'll finish it and then I can show you the whole wonderful pair.

Oh well, today, you tell me something good, even "hello!"

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

What you might see in February and March

February and March see the beginning of this year's round of Project Spectrum. This time, each colour group gets two months, and to start, we have blue, white and grey. (One of my favourite things about this project is using those cool coloured words!)

I have a bunch of unfinished things in these colours, and since I'm supposed to be finishing up works in progress and knitting from my stash, it makes a ton of sense to do all these things at once!

So, I really, really, for sure, absolutely, will be doing those dang bag handles for the denim bag. I have gone through a billion ideas, but now think a) they have to be knitted from the denim yarn and b) they can't be i-cord, since that would be too narrow. So, I'm looking at some stitches in my little bookie, and might do stamen stitch, flat, about an inch and a half wide. I'm not looking forward to this, but I shall do it, since I think the bag will be ultra cool, ultimately. I don't know if you can see in the picture, but the balls of yarn are actually dusty from sitting on my bedside table since July.

I also have this single sock which needs a mate. Nice colour, nice yarn, nice pattern (simple yet elegant, I'd say!). So, no problemo.

Just need to finish the present sock, which is done down to the end of the gusset, and I'll be right on it. You can almost certainly see that my two socks will be made from different dye lots. I bought one ball on sale, and months later found another ball. Arthur's feet now need more than 50 g of sock yarn. I think I'll make the second leg from the same ball and switch when needed for the last few inches of the foot.

There's also this scarf, which, being slightly fuzzy, makes my kids sneeze. Pub knitting, if only I spent more time in the pub. Definitely lower priority, since it's a sort of make-work project.

That's probably enough blue, though I could start something new, of course.

And I have some grey Lopi, perfect for a hat or two, with a yellow stripe, perhaps.

I could go digging in the closet to find more yarn, but I think this is a doable quantity, and there's no need for me to burden myself with more!

Here's a Knit from Stash dilemma for you: I have 3 balls of red cotton left over from Elaine's dress. Should I take them back and get something more useable? I think that's perfectly legal, and since we're all making our own rules for this thing, that's what counts. I think another ball or two of Felted Tweed would be just the ticket.

And can anyone tell me why the clicked photos end up SO big? I think it's a feature of the new Blogger!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Green socks number 1 priority, yessiree

That Lolly, she's got me again!

She and another knitter are both knitting green socks, so they made a button and invited us all to join in. Since I'm already knitting green socks, and hope to finish up soon, I'll grab this groovy button and knit along with them.

I was cleaning beside my bed again yesterday, and came across not just one, but three scarves in progress.

One is the lovely Branching Out I showed you the other day.

One is for Streetknit, and the kind folks at Knitomatic gave me the yarn when I took in my last batch of hats for them. Can't just leave free yarn lying around!

And one is a condo style scarf made with a ball of Kidsilk Haze and some other blue wool I got at some sale or other. Can't just have a single ball of KSH lying around!

So, when I said that the sock and the one scarf were the only things on the needles, I really meant they were the only things I was paying any attention to! Along with the scarves there are several other bits and pieces about the place. So, I'm going to con-cen-trate on the green socks. Indeed. Right now. Yes.

And the green socks and the Branching Out scarf will be done in the next 3 weeks, so that I can then take up something blue out of my pile, and finish that!

Friday, January 05, 2007

On the needles now

Oh, it's Friday, so I shall find some Eye Candy for you.

I really wanted to show you the glorious decorated house sometime this season, but Mr Whosis, who decorates it, has not been in the usual mood. I hope he is not ill or something. This year, instead of a Nativity scene at the North Pole with light-up reindeer greeting Baby Jesus, we have a few push lawnmowers, a bunch of hay, and this ball peeking out. What's up?

But, things are getting a bit fancy -- the wooden fence bits are now protected from the elements by sheets of plastic. A never-ending source of delight, this...

And, what's getting knitted?
I am delighted to be turning the heel on this green sock. The first one was finished in June! Since I'm planning on finishing a pair of socks for each of the Project Spectrum 2-month periods, I'd better speed up! I did try the first one on Arthur again today, and it still fits, so at least he's not growing faster than I'm knitting!

His blue second sock will fit in with the Feb/March scheme, and so he should have 2 new pairs of wool socks just as sandal season rolls around. Sigh.

Funny, this Knit from Stash business. I've had
this beautiful ball of Lady Godiva wool/silk something-or-other for maybe 3 years. It may well be the nicest looking yarn in the whole closet. But since I am now knitting from stash, I simply must find something to do with it! Three guesses what the pattern is... Right in one, it's Branching Out. I hope it will be long enough!

That's really all I'm working on now, but I've started looking around for blue, white and grey projects for PS and find I have about seventy-million half-done bluish things lying around the house. I'm looking forward to these various blogiverse/ knitalong/ peer pressure things coalescing -- WIP Wipeout, Knit from Stash, and Project Spectrum to show the way. Come the end of September, things'll be different around here!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

A new favourite store, and Hooray, new Project Spectrum

Today Elaine and I went to the mall. It was so exciting, she was dancing around. We went to get our ears pierced! Shriek! Apparently all the girls go to Claire's Accessories, so we did that too, and the woman in the store was very sweet and all went very well. Elaine did not make a murmur as the little earring gun did its work on her ear. She got a lollypop, which just goes to show that this is the place for the almost-seven-year-old to go! I, too, was stoic and silent, but I didn't get a lollypop. Harumph!

I did get my ears pierced long long ago, in something like 1974. And I had these earrings -- from a hippy shop in Gastown, I remember buying them.

And then I had my pseudo punk phase, when I got a couple of extra holes in my ears and wore this little axe through the ear, and odd zipper pulls...

But then I had kids, and earrings were too much trouble, and did tend to get pulled on once in a while, so I just haven't worn any for years. I learned that my second hole in my left ear is still open, so I can have 3 earrings at once! First, we have to be patient and wash our lobes 3 times a day for 6 weeks.

And I have to sort through the rest of this box! I made myself a lot of earrings with beads at one point! That is a bucket of fun, and I see a trip to the bead store in my future... But also, another trip to Claire's for a different kind of fun. Love that wall of colour stuff!

Added later:
Hey, this is great! I just read Lolly's latest, and Project Spectrum 2.0 is a go, starting Feb 1. It goes like this:

February / March
Blue, White, Gray

April / May
Green, Yellow, Pink

June / July
Red, Black, Metallics

August / September
Brown, Orange, Purple

I'll be there! Blue, white and grey first up... shouldn't be too hard!

Monday, January 01, 2007

It's only day 1 and I've finished something already!

This little number got finished up this morning! There's no edging around the neck or armholes, so once you're done, you're done! Three-needle bind-off on the shoulders, sew ends in, voila!

I made it several inches longer than the pattern said, and it's still none too long! I need to block out the bottom, so it'll lie down flat, but generally I'm very pleased with it.

I will now work on teeny dpns and finish Arthur's sock, and giant dpns to make a pair of mitts to match my Limeade scarf!

We had a quiet New Year's Eve last night. We used to have the Toddler Friendly New Year's Eve party, where people would come at 5:30, have potluck supper, and home by 9. Most often someone was pregnant, so the champagne consumption was minimal. The kids would have a party, and we'd all yell "Happy New Year" whenever anyone had to go home, so it was fine.

This year we're all pooped out after our Christmas week of festivities, so we just stayed home en famille and struggled to stay awake enough to play Clue and eat popcorn. The kids insisted on staying up till midnight -- and midnight local time, not London time! -- though they would take a break once in a while to flake out on the couch. At midnight it was pouring rain -- ah! it'll turn to snow by morning! (not) -- and our internet was down, so we couldn't tune in to any exciting countdowns...

This lack of snow is driving us to desperate measures. There' s a park nearby with a skating rink, and the Zamboni clears the ice and dumps piles of snowy icy stuff outside. Since this is the only snow-like stuff in town, Arthur and a friend were out there today, excavating, trying to sled, getting totally wet and muddy. I'm wondering if it'll snow once they go back to school!