Friday, February 26, 2010

gold medal knitting

well ahead of the finsh line, my knitting olympics project is complete - and i just managed to scrape through, with less than a metre of yarn left over (the tiny little scrap above the socks in the photo is what was left from the skein of yarn i used).

trystero socks

project specs:
started 12th february 2010, finished 25th february 2010
needles: 2.5mm addi circular (magic loop)
yarn: handmaiden casbah - almost exactly one skein (115g/325m)
pattern: trystero by cookie a.
modifications: i used a larger needle size (2.5mm instead of the recommended 2.25mm). i worked the pattern as written except i shortened the toe slightly, working the toe decreases to 28 sts total instead of the recommended 16 sts. for a UK6 foot, i worked foot chart C, chart A, chart C, and chart A ending on row 9.

trystero leg detail

this pattern is gorgeous, with some great, well-thought-out detailing (like all cookie a. patterns). the cuff ribbing flows nicely into the leg pattern, and the cable detailing framing the heel looks beautiful as well as being fantastically comfortable to wear. i'm really pleased with these, and i may have gotten me over my fear of cookie a. patterns - maybe i'll try these ones next!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

seven reasons

seven reasons why today was better than yesterday:

  1. the snow is gone - it turned to rain overnight, so everything's been washed away. it's been gray & rainy, but the wind is a lot calmer, so i'm no longer getting a face full of snow every time i walk out the door.
  2. welly boots plus woolly socks is a great combination (i even splashed through some giant puddles in the park, just because i could).
  3. i planned ahead, and brought spare clothes to work today, so i had something dry to change into after the rainy, puddly dog-walk in the park.
  4. we're now officially in single digits in the RSA-comes-back-from-india countdown - 9 days left!!!
  5. i had to get to the studio early for a courier pickup - i didn't love the early start, but i got lots of work done this morning, and even had time for some coffee & a cake.
  6. the courier pickup was a big box of yarn that was heading off to Loop London - who have started stocking some of my yarn!! (i'm super-excited about this as i always thought that Loop was a pretty swanky place, so i guess that means i'm swanky now too!)
  7. i finished my knitting olympics project, well ahead of schedule! (i'll take pictures tomorrow when there's better light.) i was completely convinced that i was going to run out of yarn, so much so that i'd dyed up a skein of my own merino/cashmere/nylon (a base that's almost identical to the handmaiden yarn i was using for the socks) in a colourway that i tried to match to the project yarn, in case i needed it - but i managed to finish the second sock with less than a metre of yarn left (which is just as well, since my dye-matching job wasn't too great).

maybe the week is picking up...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

i give up

we're in the middle of a completely ridiculous snow-blizzard here, so i've decided that's it for the day - i give up. the problem is not so much the snowiness (it's very wet snow, so it's not really "sticking", and the road surfaces are mainly clear) as the blowiness. the wind is so strong that the snow is "falling" more or less horizontally. & if you have to go out walking in it (which, if you have a dog, is pretty much a given) you instantly resemble some kind of human/yeti hybrid, as whichever side of you is facing the wind becomes immediately plastered with thick, soggy snow-globs. as for driving, the wind is also performing frequent, random gusts of multi-directional wildness, so you have to go considerably slower than normal, lest the road ahead of you suddenly disappear in a mad swirl of giant fat snowflakes.
by the time i got to the studio, i was fairly well drenched, & had to spend most of the afternoon wearing wet trousers; today was also the day that my nearly-brand-new snowboots (purchased during the last freak snowstorm a couple of months ago) decided they would spring a leak, so i also spent most of the afternoon in wet socks. despair.
so, what with everything, i've decided it's time to give up on the day. i closed up the studio a little bit early (i thought it was probably safe to say that nobody was coming in to see me today), and made a detour to tesco's on the way home, where i found something to cheer me up:

happy feet

wellies with butterflies on them, yay! hint - always check the kid's section. the largest kid's size is a UK 6, which is exactly the same as a UK women's 6, but their stuff is always way more fun. plus, if (like me) you suffer from disproportionately large calves, kids' boots tend to be shorter in the leg, which avoids the calf-size issue altogether. so until i get my proper winter boots replaced (they'll be going back to the store as soon as i can get up there - i'm really not happy that a so-called pair of serious walking boots only lasted 2 months!), at least i'll have happy, dry feet!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

olympic progress

trystero sock #1
olympic challenge sock #1, nearly completed

Thursday, February 11, 2010

citius, altius, fortius

i've decided, at almost the last minute, to attempt the knitting olympics this year. there aren't any hard & fast rules, except that a) you can't start your olympic project until the olympic flame is lit at the opening ceremonies, and you have to finish before the flame goes out at the closing ceremonies; and b) that whatever project you choose, it has to be something that will be a personal challenge for you to complete in these 17 days.
i had thought about joining in this time (i haven't before) but since i'd already started a few new projects recently, i figured i had enough going on, and i would probably give it a miss. but then i realised that one of my newly-started projects was going to be too small (i underestimated the circumference of my calf, and there's nothing worse than too-tight socks!) so it looks like i'm going to have to start over. the pattern is trystero from cookie a., whose sock patterns are beautiful, but full of intricate cables...

month 02 week 02 photo 03
trystero "swatch"

& although i've bought several of her sock patterns, as well as her new book, i've yet to knit any of them, because i'm frankly a little scared of how complex they all look! but i decided that it was about time i tried one of them - and actually, although you have to pay close attention to what's going on, it's not nearly as scary as i had thought it would be. & since i've had to rip out the first few inches of the first sock so i can change my needle size & start again, i've decided to make this my olympic project, and consider the first attempt my "swatch" (& swatching ahead of time is allowed!). maybe challenging myself to knit my first pair of intricate cookie a. socks will inspire me to move on to another of her patterns (which i bought ages ago, at the same time as this one, and really want to knit - but it's really scary!!).
& in case you suspect advance-knitting-olympic-cheating, i absolutely ripped out my "swatch" and will not be starting over until tomorrow - here's the proof!

olympic re-start

no head starts or false starts, i promise...

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

cheering my tuesday

look what arrived in the middle of my day-off drudgery (i'm not in the studio on tuesdays, which means i have to clean the house, boo!)...

un-valentine flowers

some "un-valentine" flowers from the RSA (who's still in india until the beginning of next month - but yay for online florist deliveries!). there were so many of them that they wouldn't fit in my one & only teeny, tiny vase, so i had to go get something to put them in (all i could find was a big glass pitcher, but i think it works!). while i was out, i may have accidentally stumbled into a sale of cheap dvds, and bought these three bad movies (whoops). so once i finished all my house-cleaning, i got back into my pjs, and have been alternating between watching dvds & gazing at my lovely flowers.
i also managed to finish these, so i've been wearing them as well (i love the colourway name, it makes me laugh every time i see them...

crabby mchappysocks
plain toe-up socks in socks that rock lightweight, colourway "crabby mchappypants"

and, i've finally started the shawl that i've been dying to start since i bought the yarn for it in paris this summer...

agatha shawl
agatha shawl, 4ply alpaca from la droguerie

so all in all, my tuesday has been well & truly cheered - how about you?

Monday, February 01, 2010

starting over

why is it, as knitters, that so many of us keep going with projects that we know just aren't working? we convince ourselves that somehow, if we just keep knitting, all our concerns about a project will disappear. somehow, it will fit properly, it will flatter us, it will work out...
and then, without much effort, we're confronted with an almost (or entirely) finished knit that just isn't what we wanted. it doesn't fit; or it fits, but in the least flattering way possible; or the pattern modifcations that we thought were such a good idea, really weren't; or the yarn/pattern combination is awful; and so on, and so on.
some knitters will deal with this problem by finishing the damn thing anyways, then wearing it once before folding it away in their closet of mistakes, from where it will never return. but some of us take a different route:

starting over

this was, up until yesterday, the o'keeffe cardigan, and it was very nearly finished - all i had left to do was sew on the sleeves & knit the collar. and as i was plodding away at it, the realisation was slowly dawning that this was not a good knit for me. it wasn't going to work the way i wanted it to, and it certainly wasn't going to look good on me. and despite knowing this, i kept on knitting - until it came to me. the only reason i wanted to finish this project was so that it would be finished. i didn't want to wear it; i wouldn't be happy with the result; i just wanted it done. and as far as i'm concerned, that's not a good enough reason.
so, i spent most of yesterday afternoon ripping out an almost-finished cardigan, and winding the yarn back into neat little yarn-cakes. and now, i'm starting over. i'm working from a "pattern" idea that i've already used (my january sweater, modified for an aran rather than a chunky weight yarn) - it's one of the cardigans that i wear all the time, so i know that it works for me. and although i'm a little disappointed that all that knitting work has been undone, i'd much rather have the extra effort go into something that i'll actually use - i don't have enough closet space to hang onto my mistakes.