Friday, November 28, 2008

a few bright spots

the dark clouds of november continue to hover (more bad news, this time family/health related - seriously, november isn't going well at all, and it's getting to be a bit much). but this week, for me at least, there have been a few little bright spots to keep me going.

my ears have been brightened & my spirit has been lifted by the lovely elaine, who gave me her old & my now brand-new-to-me ipod mini, complete with uber-funky anti-scratch cover...

hello. i am funky.


also from elaine, although indirectly (i finally spent the gift voucher she gave me for my birthday waaaay back in july!), some lovely new yarn to brighten up my yarn stash. more posh yarn laceweight cashmere, in an oddly familiar colourway - i was inexplicably & irresistably drawn to this colourway as soon as i saw it, and didn't even realise how close it was to one i've already used until it arrived & i saw them both together - whoops. good thing i like the colour...

posh yarn sophia fern
hello. i am a copycat.


& despite the gray days, there's always the freshly-painted bright white walls of my new studio space...

hello. i am freshly painted.


oh wait, did i mention that i have a new studio space??? ahem. i got the keys this wednesday, & it's a work in progress to say the least (it's been painted, and i've moved in the couple of things that you can see above). cupboard units & a big counter are going in this weekend, and the rest of my stuff should be there next week, just in time for me to have my official "launch night" to coincide with this. so if you're going to be anywhere near west kilbride next friday (unlikely, eh?) feel free to come say hi - i'll be the one huddled in the corner, stressed out & eating my hair.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

a bit of a cheat

i've been feeling a little bit cheated lately - november hasn't been going well at all.
first, my iPod broke (most important for listening to my own music on car journeys to work, instead of radio rubbish). so i bought another one via ebay, which seemed like a really good deal (i know, i know - cue ominous music)...

ceci ne'st pas un pomme.


yeah, that's not an iPod - it's a chinese fake. after many irritating back & forth messages, the seller has reluctantly agreed to take it back, so at least i should get my money back. sigh.
then, i was in a car accident earlier this week - some not-paying-attention eejit ran straight into the back of my car while i was sitting in a queue at a red light minding my own business. the rear end of my lovely wee car is badly damaged, but fixable (although it'll take 3 weeks); my back & neck are also a little damaged, which means all the work i had planned for the rest of the week has gone out the window (plus i had to get my flu & pneumonia jags this week, so my back hurts, my neck hurts, and i can't move either of my arms - fabulous). and to top that all off, the RSA was away for work for a couple of days, so i couldn't even milk my injuries for any sympathy/getting out of doing the washing up. sigh.
& today, my wee cat had to go to the vet - she's been prone to UTIs in the past, but hasn't had any problems for a couple of years at least. alas, since one of the triggers to her getting sick is stress, it seems like november has just been too much for her as well. sigh.
after all that, it seemed only fair that i could cheat a bit on my november sweater. i'm knitting the eyelet front vest (ravelry link) from vogue holiday knits. yes, it is a fully-fledged sweater design. but here's the thing - it's only got cap sleeves, it's knitted on 6mm needles, and it features a wide lace edging (& as every knitter knows, a little lace takes up a lot of space) - so all in all, it's a pretty quick knit compared to some of my sweater-a-month projects.

november edging detail


it may be all i can handle right now.... sigh.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

september, revisited

you may remember that the september sweater was nearly finished on time (but not quite). then it had to go into time-out for a while - i wasn't happy with the way it was fitting, so i decided the only option was to rip out & redo the entire yoke. after working on it for so long, i just couldn't bring myself to do it - but i eventually bit the bullet this weekend, and ripped it out. & after two days of re-knitting, september is finished at last...

september


... & i absolutely love love LOVE it. it's a little baggy-looking in the picture - the shop dummy wearing it is considerably slimmer than me, so picture it being worn by someone much more - um - curvaceous. it's a great fit on me, & is hugely cozy & comfy & warm.

project specs:
started: 29th august 2008
completed: 30th september 2008; then re-worked 1st-2nd november 2008
yarn: elsebeth lavold classic AL (50% merino/50% alpaca), shade 008 "cognac", 13 balls (1400 yards)
needles: 5mm addi circulars
pattern: the cable pattern is from the "juno" cardigan (rowan magazine #40); the rest of the cardi i made up as i went along. apart from the cable panel, the cardi was knitted seamlessly from the bottom up; the cable panel was then sewn on afterwards. the silver clasps are from nordic fiber arts.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

october

october - the sunrise circle


the october sweater is finished, and it was even sunny enough this weekend to have a little photoshoot!

project specs:
started: 6th october 2008
completed: 31st october 2008
yarn: rowanspun aran colour 971 "heath" - alas, the yarn is sadly discontinued, which is a huge shame as it's a brilliant yarn to work with! it's a lovely wooly tweed, knits up to a nice firm fabric, & the yardage is phenomenal - i bought a 10-skein bag for about £35, and used exactly 5 skeins to knit this sweater (roughly 1100 yards). i also used about 1.5 balls of debbie bliss donegal luxury tweed colour 06 for the contrasting hems (which i forgot to take photos of. oh well!).
needles: 4.5mm addi circular for the jacket, 4mm dpns to knit i-cord toggle loops & toggle fasteners.
pattern: sunrise circle jacket by kate gilbert. for the most part, i knitted this exactly as written for the 41" size; alas, after knitting the back and the left front, i realised that somehow, my row gauge was completely off (yes, i swatched!). after some comparison measurements against my first version of this sweater, i decided to cut off the left arm at the armpit (since the cardi front is knitted in one piece with the sleeve, my only other option was to rip out the entire front/sleeve piece and start again), pick up the live stitches, and knit the left sleeve downwards to correct the length (it was about 6 inches too long!). i then used my corrected left sleeve to work out the right sleeve pattern, and knitted the right front as written. since my row gauge didn't just affect the sleeves, the whole cardi is very slightly off-kilter when compared to my first version - the front pieces overlap more, the body is longer (hip- as opposed to waist-length). but the only noticeable issue is that the raglan is a bit too long.

october - the sunrise circle 2


not that big a deal! i also knitted i-cord loops for the toggles instead of crocheting toggle loops, and knitted i-cords with little bobbles on the ends to fasten the toggles onto the sweater (a trick that i thought was particularly ingenious).

october - the sunrise circle 1


all in all, i'm very pleased with this month's efforts - it's a little looser than my first version (due mainly to my out-of-nowhere gauge issues!), so it's not necesssarily the most dressy or tailored of knits. but it's very sturdy, immensely warm, and will be much appreciated this winter, i'm sure!