Tuesday, February 26, 2008

tedium & temptation

the tangled yoke progresses, albeit slowly. over the weekend, i was firmly convinced that there was no way this sweater would be finished by the end of the month (this friday! eeek!). i had made it to the "tangled" part of the "tangled yoke", aka the crazily intricate horizontal cable that stretches the entire width of the yoke. and what with the 400-odd teeny stitches and the eleventy-million cable twists, i was averaging a speed of one row every 45 minutes! and with the entire cabled section, plus the rest of the neckline, plus the button bands still to do, it wasn't looking good.
but - and i say this with a sense of achievement - the cables are done! i have twisted my last twist & bobbled my last bobble, and am now on to the stockinette portion at the neck, with only a few rows & a couple of button bands between me & the finish. and i would not hesitate to say that the process has been quite tedious. this is not to say that it hasn't been fascinating seeing the emergence of the tiny, intricately woven cables from the plain background, and to watch the pattern unfold in such an ingenious way (seriously? the designer? complete & utter genius). but this last bit has been a bit of a slog, and i won't be at all sorry to see this sweater off the needles (hopefully, by friday!).
& although part of the reason is so i can meet my self-imposed deadline of a sweater a month, the other part of the reason arrived by post last week...

sock - posh yarn - laura 4ply
hello. i am temptation, in the form of a pile of posh yarn...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

silly accidents - & a contest!!

we were having a discussion at my knitting group the other night about all the stupid accidents we've had. & either the folk at my knitting group are an exceedingly clumsy bunch, or it's something that happens to everyone at some point. i'm talking about the times you've fallen over for no reason, or walked into a telephone pole, or (as i once did) tripped over the dog, then the cat, & then the hoover, all in the space of two seconds, before sliding down the door into a crumpled heap on the floor.
& with perfect timing, the very next day after we'd been talking about these kind of things, i had yet another stupid accident yesterday morning on my way to work. my car ran out of screen wash, so i pulled over into a parking bay at the side of the road to refill it. i'd pulled quite far over to make sure that i was well clear of traffic, but the parking bay was banked by a big hedge. & when i went to open the back passenger door to get the extra screen wash & water out of the back seat, my (handknitted!) sweater got caught in the hedge, i lost my balance, and i whacked myself right in the face with the car door! & what's even worse is that although my left cheekbone is now incredibly painful, there's no bruise of any description, so i don't even have anything to show for it.
so to make myself feel like less of a clumsy ass, i'd love to hear some stories of ridiculous accidents from all of you. & just to make us all feel better about the stupid messes we get into, i'll even throw in a fabulous prize from my very own stash:

STR LW g-rocks
socks that rock lightweight, mill end skein, colourway "g-rocks"

so, tell me about your most idiotic stupid accident - bonus points if, like me, you've actually really hurt yourself, but have nothing to show for it, so you didn't get any sympathy. i'll keep the contest open until next friday (29th february), & here's how to enter:
if you have a blog, post your story on your blog with a link back to this post, and leave me a comment telling me you've posted your story.
if you don't have a blog, post your story in the comments to this post.
i'm sure we'll get some good laughs out of it, we'll all feel a little less stupid, and one of us will get a gorgeous skein of yarn!!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

feeling the love

i've got a fair amount of work on at the moment - a couple of wholesale orders here & there, and it's all suddenly piled up. my work strategy, i'll admit, isn't the greatest - i tend to go into panic mode very quickly, and feel the need to rush about madly, trying to cram in as much work as i possibly can, and end up not achieving very much at all apart from stressing myself out.
in addition to the wholesale orders i've been working on, i'm also trying to set up my online shop (which is a bit of a mess at the moment as i can't quite figure out the b&^*"* shopping cart software, but that's a story for another day!). i've been spinning, dyeing, and test knitting some new yarns, and it's been pretty busy here lately, what with everything.
it's always been one of my worries, when i started up this small business of dyeing & spinning, that i would end up doing it so much as "work" that i would stop seeing it as "fun". and sure enough, i got to a point this week where i had been rushing about so much that i just stopped feeling the love.
it was serious - i wasn't enjoying any of the spinning or dyeing, and i hadn't knitted a stitch in two days; so i decided i needed to take a little break. not from spinning, or knitting, but from the work side of it, at least. i dug through my fibre stash and found something that had been ignored for ages in favour of work fibres, and did the same with my knitting works-in-progress, and spent all of yesterday & today with them. and the result?

brown-eyed girl
a bobbin full of spun singles which will become sock yarn, spun from crown mountain farms "sock hop" roving in colourway "brown-eyed girl", which has been in the fibre stash since last april

pink monkey sock
one pink monkey sock in koigu kpppm and the start of the second, which was, until recently, one leg of one sock and one skein of yarn, forgotten since last october

now, i'm feeling the love. a little break with some fun stuff instead of work stuff was definitely what i needed to re-energize myself! i've still got a long list of work things to do, but i think they can probably wait until monday - & i'll try not to do too much rushing about.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

like a penguin, but slower

i've decided one big challenge for 2008 just isn't enough, so i've set myself a new goal.
i'll be participating in the race for life on 8th june in glasgow, which is a 5k run to raise money for Cancer Research UK. and despite the fact that i'm not, by any stretch of the imagination, a runner, i'm determined that i'm not just going to participate - i'm going to run the whole 5k.
i'll be doing it in memory of my lovely dad, who died 1st march 2001 from lung cancer. my younger brother & sister are both very talented runners, and my dad was the one who drove them to all their practices & cheered them on at every track meet & big race. he was such a dedicated supporter of the running groups in my hometown that the track association organised a memorial track meet in his honour, which is still held every year. so although he wasn't an athlete himself, it seems fitting for me to remember him by running.
although the run itself is a huge challenge for me (i'm short-ish, round-ish, and more at home on the sofa in pjs than on a track in running shoes), an even bigger challenge is the fundraising. i've set myself a goal of £1000; i think that with your help, i can easily reach & even surpass that goal.
i've set up a new blog to keep track of my progress - i've got until june to train, and i'm following the "couch to 5k" running program (since the title of the program most accurately describes my situation!). but if you go over to the new blog, you won't just see my posts about the agonies of training - you'll also see an ever-growing list of prizes!!
yes, that's right - prizes galore! & how do you win them? by sponsoring my epic run, that's how!! there is (or will be - the sponsorship website isn't working at this exact second, but the link should be active later today) a link in the new blog's sidebar that will take you to my online donation page, where you can sponsor me to whatever amount you choose. then, once you've sponsored me, send me an email to let me know how much you gave - for every £5 you donate, you get one entry into the prize draw. easy as pie - & definitely easier than running 5k!!
so, get on over there & see what's on offer, and sponsor me - i need all the encouragement i can get! tell all your friends, neighbours, workmates, relatives, everyone you know - donate money, win prizes, and be entertained by the progress of a penguin running...

Friday, February 01, 2008

hello, february

tangled yoke

well, it's the start of a new month, which this year, means a new sweater! february's sweater is a bit of a cheat, to be honest. it's the tangled yoke cardigan by eunny jang, which you can see finished pictures of here (or find details here if you're a ravelry user). & before your mind starts to boggle with the thought that i've done all the above knitting today, let me confess the truth.
this project was actually started way back in september 2007, as a relatively mindless project that could live at work and be knitted on the two days a week that i was there. until you get to the intricately cabled yoke of this sweater, it's pretty much just ribbing & stockinette, so it's a good project to knit when you know you're going to get interrupted every few minutes. & although i had good intentions of working on it, & only it, while i was at work, i got distracted time & time again by more interesting projects; and then, somewhere mid-november, it was left languishing in the closet at work and hasn't been knitted on since.
that said, i did manage to still make a reasonable amount of progress on it - the body has been finished up to the armpits (knitted on one piece on a big circular needle) and one sleeve is about 6 inches in. but there's still an awful lot to be done - finish the sleeve, knit a second sleeve, unite all the million tiny stitches for the yoke, and then the cabling....
i'm knitting it in rowan felted tweed, colour "carbon", on 3.75mm needles. & although it's a nice, relaxing knit, i'm already beginning to wonder if i've misjudged things by setting it as my february sweater. ok, so it's already started, which is an advantage when you're knitting a whole sweater in the shortest month of the year. but given the weather here lately (gray, rainy, gray, misty, gray, windy, & gray, punctuated by the occasional torrential downpour) i'm not convinced that a knit consisting of hundreds of thousands of tiny gray stitches is going to be as cheering as the flame-red yarn i worked with in january. maybe we'll get some sun... someday...