Thursday, May 31, 2007

halfway there

i've officially reached the halfway point on a couple of projects.
small ones...


(the first re-footable sock, completed)

& bigger ones...

(a quite bad picture of the obstacles shawl)

i know i'm halfway through the refootable socks, because one sock is done - it's an easy calculation. & in another easy calculation, i know i'm halfway through the shawl because i've only got two 50 gram balls of the yarn that i'm using, and the first one just ran out, 13 repeats into the shawl pattern. i was worried that i wouldn't have enough yardage for this project. but the half-shawl roughly pinned out measures just over three feet, so the finished shawl should be just over six feet long, which is a fairly respectable length (although the pattern calls for 29 repeats total, & i'm not quite going to make that).
& since i'm halfway through two of my four current projects, what does that mean?

a new ball of sock yarn, ready to be knitted....


...into more monkeys.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

hello goodbye

one step forward...

(handspun socks, first sock finished)

...five steps back.

(susan shawl being ripped out)

i love making progress on a project when i knit. i love seeing the knit grow & develop, & i love the satisfaction of creating something amazing with my own hands. but one of the things that i truly love about knitting is ripping something out - not necessarily the act of doing it, but the fact that it's possible.
where else in my life can i do & redo something until it's exactly the way i want it? where else can i try something risky & possibly make a huge mistake, but know that i can go back & fix it if i need to? & where else can i truly have no regrets, when anything that isn't completely "perfect" can be undone?
this is not to say that my finished knits are error-free; i also love the small flaws that i think are part of the beauty of of a handmade object. but i love the fact that if i'm not fully happy with something, i can change it & remake it into something gorgeous. the undone yarn can be washed to get the kinks out, and reknitted into something beautiful...
i love it.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

a dilemma

remember this?


if you said no, don't worry about it - neither had i.
dee's post about "wallflower wednesdays" (setting aside one day a week to work on your "wallflower" project, the one that's been hanging about in the wings, unfinished, waiting patiently for your attentions) made me wonder what was lurking about unfinished in my house. most of my knitting projects get worked on fairly regularly - i'll alternate them depending on how much time & attention i have - but this one has been left untouched for ages. i don't quite know why - i was very excited about it when i started it, which is longer ago than i'd care to admit. it's not the yarn (lovely, luscious laceweight cashmere from hipknits), nor is it the pattern (the susan shawl from stahman's shawls & scarves). & i'm actually starting to feel fairly guilty about how long it's been since i've worked on it, especially as i had started knitting it as a way to remember my lovely wee scottish granny.
now, though, i'm faced with a dilemma. it's been so long since i've knitted on it that i've kind of lost interest. i'm only 5 repeats into the body of the shawl, & since i decided to use teeny tiny needles (3mm) that means that i'm only about 6 inches down what needs to be at least a 18 inch back length. & even better, since it's a faroese-style shawl, the rows get longer & longer & looooonger as i progress down the back, which means that each row takes longer & longer & looooonger to knit (from the best of my recollection, i was averaging about 20 minutes per row when i last knitted on it).
so, what should i do? i'm not too far into it that ripping it out would be overly traumatic, although i would feel badly about not following through & finishing it. however, i could then use the yarn to make this gorgeous stole - the colours would work beautifully with this pattern, i think, & since i saw (blogless) victoria's version in person at the shop yesterday, i'm quite taken with making my own.
help - i need your advice!!!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

a couple of little things

- the test sock is looking good so far! the stripes are coming out clearly & in the right proportion, and they didn't even get muddled going over the heel & instep. i'll be dyeing more self-striping sock yarn in the next few days, so look out for it appearing on the old maiden aunt site!

- the refootable sock is going well; it looks pretty weird at the moment (i'm halfway down the instep) but i think it's going to be really nice. it's strange knitting back & forth across the instep, but it makes it grow very quickly (even though i don't normally like purling as it slows me down). the yarn (socks that rock in "red rock canyon") might have something to do with how much i'm enjoying it.


- & most exciting of all, i got a new tattoo! i've been planning it for a while but just couldn't find the right design; finally, i found something i liked & the tattoo artist (francesco at kaya tattoos in glasgow) helped redesign it until it was exactly perfect.

it's three little butterflies, one tucked up behind my right ear, and two on my right wrist. it's been a good few years since i had my last tattoo so i didn't quite remember how getting tattooed felt & was quite worried about it, but everything was fine.
and in relation to the last post, yes, it is from the simpsons - this episode to be precise. i thought more people would have known that!! ikkinlala, email me with your address & i'll send you the book!!

Monday, May 21, 2007

purple monkey dishwasher

the purple money socks are finished! i wove in the last end on friday night, just in time for them to accompany me to work on saturday morning. first, they tried to get out of doing any actual labour by hiding amongst the shop socks.


after some persuasion, they gave in to the inevitable, & helped reshelve the sock yarn.

(they do like to show off a bit, those monkeys). although i wanted to cast on for yet another pair immediately (that's how much i love love love this pattern - the best fitting socks i've knitted so far!) i resisted, and cast on for a pair for the RSA instead (i can be generous when i want to be).


these are going to be the re-footable socks from "favorite socks" (spelled that way because it's an american book, but the sock patterns are good, so i'll allow it). the socks are knitted from the cuff down, with the leg worked in the round. the heel stitches are then set aside & the instep is worked flat to the toe, then the heel stitches are picked up, and the sole is also worked flat & attached to the instep as you work back & forth. that way, when the sole wears out you can take it off & knit a new sole, without unravelling the instep as well. the RSA does wear through knitted socks faster than i do (probably because she doesn't sit about knitting & is actually out & about doing things!) so it seemed like an interesting technique to try!
& if you've made it to the end of the post despite all the sock talk, here's your reward - a mini-contest! tell me where i got the title of this post from, & i'll put the names of everyone who gets it right into a hat & draw a winner for this:

contest will close on wednesday evening!!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

a cry for help

it's been gray & rainy today, so to cheer myself up, i did some sock yarn experimentation. i've been plotting & planning for a while about dyeing up a self-striping version of my hand-dyed sock yarn, so after a little swatching, a little math (eek! math!), & a little measuring out of yarn skeins, this happened...


since this was experimental, i took the opportunity to use up some of my least favourite colours of my kool-aid stash; that way, once i've perfected my self-striping-dyeing-technique, i can move on to colours that aren't quite so.... well...

candy bright sock yarn

i think the phrase is, "crazy-ass bright".
in theory, each skein should knit up to make socks striped with three rows of each colour (orange/green socks or orange/pink socks). but in reality?
that's where i need help - that is to say, a test knitter, who can whip me up a sample sock to test the stripe pattern. you need to be able to knit a bog-standard, 60 stitch top-down sock with a ribbed cuff & a heel flap, & do it fairly quickly - say, within two weeks at the most. then, you need to take some decent quality pictures of the modelled sock & email them to me, as well as giving me some basic feedback on the yarn. in exchange, you get to keep the test skein of sock yarn & the sample sock, and knit up the second sock in your own time so you end up with a pair of crazy-ass bright socks for yourself!
if this sounds appealing to anyone, leave me a comment - first commenter gets it (although i'd prefer someone relatively close geographically, so i might give preference to UK folk - sorry). let me know if you want orange/green or orange/pink, and i'll send you out the yarn as soon as it dries...

** edited to add: india gets it!! can't wait to see the sample sock...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

interview me!

in response to this post over at creampuff revolution, i screwed up my courage & asked the fabulous creampuff to interview me. i was a bit worried (if you've ever read her blog, you'll probably understand why - who knows what she would come up with for interview questions?) but ... here are her questions, & my answers!

If you could have any superpower, what would it be? "Knitting faster" is not an option.
um... knitting faster?? oh right, you said not that. ok... i always wished i could have some serious mental powers like jean gray from xmen (without the whole split personality/going completely crazy/dying that happens in the films, of course). & plus, if i was telekinetic, i could knit with the power of my mind!

Which embarassing teen film did you feel captured the essence of your experience but now, when you watch it, makes you cringe?
i can't think of a film that fits this criteria as i didn't really watch too many movies when i was a teenager - i was more of a reader. the book that i read as a teenager & thought "this is my life!!" was (oh dear, do i really have to answer?) girl, interrupted by susanna kaysen. so embarrassing now, but the tale of teen angst, depression, & writing bad poetry was what i was all about back then. the movie is ok mostly because is has angelina jolie in it, but i wouldn't ever read the book again.

Who was the first person to ever make you go weak in the knees?
sigh... i'll call her "D" (since that's pretty close to her actual name). i met her when i was in my third year of university; her partner was in my lesbian poetry class (yes, really). D was the first seriously butch dyke i'd ever met, and when we were introduced, i just about fainted. i was new on the gay scene, having just come out a few months before, & was pretty insecure around other dykes as i'd yet to have a girlfriend. probably because of this, & despite the fact that i was pretty good friends with her long-term partner, i got quite drunk at a party & confessed my undying love to her. then, she moved to vancouver with her partner. i prefer to think that these two things are not related.
(an interesting side effect of this question was the sudden need to google everyone i have ever crushed on to see what they're up to now. the cool little boy i had a huge thing for in grade school is now, disappointingly, a real estate agent, and one of my artsy highschool boyfriends is a semi-well-known indie film maker in toronto! googling people is fun.)

You have six months, perfect physical and mental health, unlimited funds, and no responsibilities. What do you do?
yikes - i'm overwhelmed! a lot of traveling, for sure - there's a ton of places that i'd love to go to but haven't seen yet due to limitations of time & money. also, i'd use my unlimited funds to buy a little house somewhere quiet & remote, with a granny flat at the back of the garden for my mum, a pet donkey, & an entire, mothproof room for my yarn stash.

What's the best thing about where you live?
two words - the sea. i'm in a 2 bedroom flat, moderately sized but not huge, in a building with a pub on the ground floor (so it can be a bit noisy). but every window except for the kitchen looks onto the sea, and we're just across the road from a beach. in the summer the lovely sunny days are perfect for taking the pup for long walks on the beach; in the winter we can wrap up warmly, make hot chocolate, and look out the window at the crashing waves... perfect!

& if you want to play along:
here are the rules of the interview post. participate - IF YOU DARE.
leave me a comment saying, “interview me!”
i'll send you five questions of my choosing; you must update your blog with the answers to the questions, whether you like them or not!
you have to include this explanation, and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
when others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.
that's it!

Monday, May 14, 2007

hey hey (it's a monkey)

it's not a phase - i'm still hooked on the monkey. i finished the first sock (of the third pair!) on sunday morning, and only the fact that i was away for the weekend & forgot my 2.5mm dpns (how could i??) prevented me from immediately casting on the second sock. thankfully, that was remedied when we came home on sunday evening...


and for those who thought my love for the monkey was fleeting, it wasn't just a weekend fling - we even had breakfast together this morning.


alas, i didn't get to spend much time with the monkey during the day, as i was busy working on the spinning commision i'd undertaken & had all these to ply (it's lorna's laces fibre in "irving park" for the curious)...


but now that that's done & the yarn is hanging to dry, it's back to the monkey socks for an evening of house. but it hasn't been all monkey, all the time - i still found time to swatch for a new project i'm planning, in laceweight cashmere from hipknits...


what do you think? i'm not normally a "pink" person, but (& you probably can't see this from the picture) this yarn is a variegated pinky-brown & is quite nice in person. i'm thinking of a loose, light throw-over sweater with a lace panel in the above pattern, but the details are still in the works.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

like crack

it started fairly innocuously, with a pair for my knitty sock swap pal, bryghtrose.


then, i wanted a pair for myself - after all, it's a very nice pattern, so much fun to knit, & i had this lovely koigu waiting patiently in the wings - what harm could it do?


after i finished them (just barely over a week ago, if you're keeping track) i felt odd. bereft, almost; a little sad, a little lost. it took me just over a week to realise what i was missing.


yes, it's my third pair of monkey socks - this time, in socks that rock lightweight in "puck's mischief". & seriously - it's sock crack. i can't stop. it's sucking up (socking up?) my energy, my attention, & all my knitting time; i only started this pair last night & they're already only 5 rows away from the heel flap. & it feels so good...
if you haven't already tried it, go get yourself some monkey!! all the cool kids are doing it...

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

a great deal of nothing at all

where have i been? well...

mainly knitting, knitting while working, & working while knitting.

(monkey socks finished, toe-up socks in posh yarn "lucia" sock yarn finished, handspun socks started)

& also, away for a long weekend at our "country retreat" (in reality, what was previously my granny's cottage but which now belongs to my aunt, who kindly lets us stay there for the odd weekend). it's down in dumfries & is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, with no mobile phone signal, no tv, and a huge amount of peace & quiet & wonderful countryside. the weekend consisted of a few good walks and a great deal of nothing at all (reading, sitting about, eating biscuits, reading some more, a little knitting, a little chatting, & some napping in comfy chairs).

(pretty nature at kendoon)

(finn enjoying the mud - what's a weekend retreat without a mudbath?)

(& cleaning up afterwards with a swim)

it's been equal parts busy & peaceful, & all of it has conspired to keep me away from my computer, so i've got a lot of catching up to do! & now that i've finished two pairs of socks, my sock needles are conspicuously empty - i'm torn between another pair of monkey socks, or another pair of pomatomus (pomatomi?). can you tell i like cookie's patterns? here's the yarn i'll be using - what do you think?