Monday, July 31, 2006

how could i resist?

although i'm already working on way too many socks... i just had to sign up for sock wars. what a great idea....
let the battle commence!!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

i'm so boring.


is how much tv i watched last night. i really should be doing something more exciting with my friday nights. perhaps i need a more active social life??

Friday, July 28, 2006

back in the spin

so i've heard rumours that people dye their own roving for spinning, but i have no idea how it's done. as if that would stop me from trying it anyways... *

starting with white merino roving from texere, some cherry kool-aid, & a pyrex dish, i just laid the roving in the dish & poured the kool-aid over the top (very scientific, eh?). then i microwaved it for a couple of minutes - i'm not sure if i microwaved it for long enough, but i was a bit worried about the whole thing going up in (cherry/sheep scented) smoke! after it cooled down, i rinsed it out & hung it up to dry, which took a while.

i tried to spin it up fairly thinly, and as consistently as i could manage. i'm not someone who feels that i need to be 100% consistent; if i wanted that, i'd just use machine-spun yarn. i think that part of the beauty of handmade objects are the tiny imperfections that remind us that they were made by a person, and not a machine.

and the result - about 225 yards of a 2-ply yarn, slightly heavier than sock weight, of a colour that i can only describe as "candyfloss". it's more pink than i would have hoped, as i'm not a big pink fan, but all in all i'm really pleased with the results.

* after i did some online research (naturally, i didn't do that before i tried dyeing, don't be silly!) i'm pretty sure that my method isn't that great, & i'm concerned that the colour may not stay. so don't try this at home - look it up somewhere else first!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

paris en photos

(l to r) the view from the apartment window onto terraces; the luscious la droguerie

(l to r) the cafe "mon ange" across the street from the apartment, where the truly angelic proprietor brought me wine & the best chocolate dessert i've ever had, which prevented any birthday blues; baudelaire does breakfast

some excellent paris randomness - (l to r) i spent the rest of the day wondering if there are other body parts scattered over the rest of the city; in a public park, no cars, motorbikes, bicycles, or scorpions allowed

and this picture sums up the whole week for me....

Monday, July 24, 2006

the holiday is over

& it's back to porridge & old clothes, as my mother would say. alas, my paris photos are on a friend's camera memory card, & i haven't been able to upload them yet, so no photos yet!
paris was excellent. i'm not the kind of person who goes on holiday to "do things", so there was no climbing the eiffel tower or trekking through the louvre or waiting in an enormous queue to see inside notre dame. instead, there was a lot of sitting in cafes, a lot of eating delicious things, & an awful lot of drinking wine.
and of course, a visit here... much yarn was fondled, and much yarn was bought (again, photos to come). and despite the slightly off-putting review of the staff on this page, i didn't have any problems at all - the women who helped me buy my yarn were super-friendly & very helpful, and didn't care about my mangled french & eventual lapse into english.
and of course, it was 38 degree heat for the whole week (one night it was still 30 degrees at midnight!) so i didn't wear arisaig at all. typical...

Saturday, July 15, 2006

noise = progress?

i want to be asleep.
however, the social club across the street decrees that i must stay awake, and listen to their loud & terrible music, and appaling karaoke. so instead of sleeping, i have been doing this:

baudelaire from the summer knitty, with the gorgeous wool/silk yarn that elaine brought back from spain for me. this is going to be my take-to-paris project, but i had to make sure i liked it first, didn't i? despite a bit of trouble casting on (the yarn is quite "sticky", and i had a slight problem tightening up my figure eight cast on because the yarn didn't want to slide) i'm sailing through it already, aided by a few glasses of wine & my inability to go to sleep. as far as i'm concerned that means this is a brilliant pattern - if i can knit it while sleep-deprived & full of wine, yet still find it interesting & challenging when i've got my wits about me, then it's beautifully written - & has a beautiful result so far as well.

now if only i could get some sleep...

Friday, July 14, 2006

arisaig, at last

with two and a half days to paris departure...
it's finally finished.

(look at me, trying to be all artistic by the sea...)

pattern: arisaig from knitty
materials: cashmere sock yarn from hipknits, colourway "bruised", approx. 250g (roughly 1600 yards), knitted on 2.75mm bamboo straight needles & seamed with embroidery floss
modifications: i ribbed up to the elbows on the sleeves instead of doing the whole sleeve in the lace pattern as written. i also made the body & sleeves a couple of inches longer than written, but as you can see it's still quite short (possibly due to the fact that unlike ysolde, i'm not teeny). i'd probably suggest that if you're even slightly busty, or of larger than average girth, it would be wise to lengthen it unless you like showing off your belly. & i didn't do the ties in a contrasting colour, but stuck to one colour throughout (i did mean to do a contrasting tie, but never got around to buying the yarn i would need to do it!).
and i even found a brooch at a charity shop to go with it:

now i can be tres chic comme les parisiennes, non?

(edited to add: is there anyone conversant with blogger who can tell me why some of my pictures can be "clicked" on & some can't? i'm not so good with all this newfangled technology...)

Sunday, July 09, 2006

progress & presents

first, some long-awaited progress on arisaig...

it's finally blocking. or at least the pieces for the body are, because i'm still knitting the sleeves. i've got about 20 rows to go on the sleeve caps, but it suddenly occurred to me that i don't actually own enough pins to block all the pieces at once. sure, i could go and buy more... or i could block it in stages, the theory being that when i'm done knitting the sleeves, i can sew the body together while the sleeves are blocking, and then i can sew in the sleeves. oh yeah, and i still have to knit the side ties, one of which is to be sewn all around the entire neckline & so therefore has to be about 80" long. all in time to be worn to paris in a week...
no problem.
and of course, i can't possibly contemplate going away on holiday without taking a knitting project, can i? i've been trying to find something portable to take with me... and then elaine arrived at last week's stitch & bitch with the solution. add the new issue of knitty, which is all about the socks, and i've got my perfect paris project:

a gorgeous wool/silk mix sock yarn that she brought back from her trip to spain for my birthday present, and baudelaire from the new knitty issue. who could ask for anything more? the colour and the yarn go perfectly with the pattern, and the pattern goes perfectly with wine, chocolate, and paris. and at a rough estimate, there's just over 600 yards of the yarn, and since the pattern is to

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

sometimes, the pattern is right.

i haven't been blogging much over the past few days as i'm furiously knitting away on arisaig. i've been working on it for months - since about january, i think, although i can't even remember that far back so it could have been longer. it's not that it's an exceptionally hard knit; i just got a bit relaxed with the timing. i've been knitting it all along with the plan to wear it in paris when we go on holiday. "i've got ages", i thought, and i did when i started... except now i'm going to paris the week after next & it's still not done!!
part of the reason that it's taking so long is my pattern modifications. i loved the deep ribbing at the waist, so much so that i wanted more of it. "wouldn't it be a good idea", i thought, "if there was deep ribbing at the sleeves as well? & wouldn't it be a good idea to echo the pattern of the body on the arms, so the sleeve would be ribbed to the same depth as the waist?". & although i'm sure it will look great when it's done, what i failed to realise when i came up with this cunning plan was that i would have to knit this:

12 inches of ribbing. on 2.75mm needles. with sock weight yarn (cashmere sock yarn from hipknits, if anyone's curious). on both sleeves. that's 24 inches of ribbing. on 2.75mm needles. with sock weight yarn. sigh....
sometimes, it pays to follow the pattern.