Is it a bad thing that all I want to do is knit cowls?
Neckwarmers that hug you tight and keep you warm?
(Duelling Diamonds of DEATH! neckwarmer in Indigodragonfly MCN Sport)
(Triune in Fiber Optics Gradient handspun--my handspun!--Merino Silk)
Totally makes sense to me. It's November. It's often chilly in the morning and I need to fill in the gaps on my outerwear for my bike into work.
Cowls look nice and tidy as a jaunty accessory. They're that perfect extra layer for a cold house or office.
And they're the perfect, not too complicated knitting for a person like me who has been hit by the busy season at work and at home and who doesn't have much horsepower in the old brain in the evening.
Size 10mm needles and cozy knitting.
Bring it on.
Finished. With almost no yarn to spare (I even dipped into my swatch), on time for Rhinebeck.
It is fantastic. The fit is good, though I confess I would like it a bit looser (maybe Maxfield 2?) and the overall look is super.
If you look really closely at the middle of the collar you can see where I cheated a bit to save on the blue yarn. Instead of working two rows of each colour, I worked four of the varigated for about 6 stripes. I can't see it and I bet you didn't notice in the colourful trippy haze. Buy a bit extra if you make this sweater (or really any sweater).
The yarn, Indigodragonfly Polwarth Silk is divine. I love this stuff. It's so soft after washing. The colours are perfect: Kathleen Turner Overdrive (navy) and Paging Dr. Smartass (which is a colourway named for me).
This pattern using varigated yarns perfectly. I even got to show it to Amy Christoffers at Rhinebeck (though I was too silly to remember to take a photo).
All the details are on my Ravelry page.
I finished my Rhinebeck sweater, with a bit of time to spare, and this much yarn:
I wore it at the fair, where the weather was perfect, but didn't remember to do a proper set of photos, so I have no evidence.
I stayed in a beautiful place with fantastic friends, excellent wine and food and I didn't think to get even one group shot.
I went to the Custom Fit meet up and did get a photo of Amy measuring people, but we didn't get a chance to chat.
I bought some pretty yarn and fibre, which will turn into lovely things later, but assed up all my festival knitting because of lively conversation and aforementioned wine. Most of it is fixed now that I'm home.
I did get a photo of Keri taking a photo of sheep!
Really the whole weekend was perfect. We drive down in record time, my friends are fabulous women who do great things in their lives (from which Rhinebeck provides a perfect reward/escape), and it's so great to go to the fair and fondle the yarns and talk to the knitters and eat the fair food and play.
I just forgot to take pictures.
We won the 2013 Women's Ballhockey Championship!
I've been playing for 4 1/2 years and I've never won. This was my best season ever in terms of my own play (I even had an assist on the first of our two goals last night) and because I played with a fabulous team of fun, skilled and easy-going women.
We scored the first goal and our opponents tied it up in the second half. We went to overtime and the best comment: "You know what's awesome about overtime? We get to play 10 more minutes of ballhockey!"
Those post-hockey beers tasted great. Thanks for a great season Team White and to everyone at WPBHL.
It's been a tense week in Rhinebeck-sweater-knitting-land.
The knitting is going just fine. The body of the sweater is knit. The underarms are grafted. One zig zag front is knit up (ish) and blocked. The other is coming along nicely.
But my yarn supply seems a tad light. It's my fault as I did modify things a wee bit and since I always seem to have huge amounts left over, I have a false sense of security with yarn amounts.
You know things aren't going well when you start doing this
And then you get out the calculator and start following Kate's math to calculate the weight of yarn used for each stitch.
Except I can't do the math on how much I've knit already because it's a lot of shapes and the yarn was custom dyed so I don't have the original weight, just the yardage.
So I weigh the yarn and knit 6 rows. That uses a gram of yarn for 318 sts.
Then I start adding up how many stitches I need to knit. It looks good. Really close, but I should be fine.
And to ease the growing anxiety I just start knitting faster. Except that speed doesn't increase mass. (Do I have that right?, I didn't take physics so I can't say for sure).
Turns out, constantly weighing the yarn doesn't help either.
Last night, I start thinking about where I can use the contrast colour instead (like the back of the collar that I will never see).
This morning, I get excited because I remember I have a swatch (which means more yarn).
The good news is that I have enough yarn to make a sweater, albeit one that might not have the final edge band along the collar. Or it might have a skinnier band.
I can live with that.
I suspect I will run out right in the middle of binding off the 275 sts for the band.
Because of this:
I totally deserve it too. At least Steph can get more yarn.
Now the question is have I learned my lesson about a) buying enough yarn and b) not being a smartass to other knitters?
The timing was perfect--she put out a call to borrow handknits, I had a cardigan almost finished that needed a blocking and I was happy to have it done by a pro.
My sweater even shows up in the promo video (it's famous!). And it came back nicely blocked so all I had to do was sew on the buttons.
Kate is a fantastic teacher and she has the same zealous love of blocking handknits as I do (full disclosure: we talk about blocking over beers).
Blocking makes your knits easier to seam, pretty and soft. Blocking hides imperfections and evens out your stitches. And if you use nice woolwash like Soak or Eulacan your handknits smell nice too.
The video/class covers all kinds of knitwear and techniques and shows you how getting your woolies wet is a risk free, worthwhile part of finishing.
Go check it out.
Also: isn't Craftsy amazing? Online, video craft classes--I love the internet!
I have a new pattern for sale on Ravelry: Ellipses
The original release was part of the Smart Ass Knitters/World Domination 1 Skein Club from Indigodragonfly. It was a lot of fun to work with fellow smartasses on this one as it brought out our rather morbid (but fun!) side.
Why Ellipses? Sometimes it's better not to talk about how your design ideas happen...**
These mittens are knit in soft, fuzzy Indigodragonfly Organic Merino fingering weight, held double for a more solid mitten. The yarn felts with wear making the mittens cozy warm and almost windproof.
The colourway is Goodbye Kitty. You might notice the bow motif on the hands and the XXs on the cuff (poor kitty). I believe that colour is exclusive to Club members but any varigated yarn will work nicely. As will a dk or light worsted held single.
These are my Spring and Fall biking mittens and they've held up very nicely under hard wear. (In the Winter I wear my Fiddleheads, sometimes with another pair inside).
The pattern includes options for knitting with silk hankies (yum) and to make fingerless mittens. The stitch patterns are in chart form only and while the cuff is a bit fiddly (I love me an applied Icord), the rest is fairly easy.
**No Hello Kitties were hurt in the production of these mittens.
I try (and usually succeed) to have a new finished piece for Rhinebeck.
This year, it's Maxfield. I fell in love with this pattern as soon as it was released but didn't have stash yarn to make it, so I put it in my queue and tried to forget about it.
I kept thinking about it.
Plotted yarn ideas (the called for yarn had alpaca and it bothers me so I needed a substitution).
Caved and asked Kim at Indigodragonfly to dye me something spectacular to make it.
Polwarth/Silk to the rescue.
The main colour is a bluer Kathleen Turner Overdrive and the variegated is my namesake yarn, Paging Dr. Smartass.
It's a fun knit and I'm loving it. Here's the back and sleeves.
Only the fronts to go. Should be done in time for the trip. I've been blocking and seaming as I go. Don't want to have to do that one the road.
I have extra yarn and love the colour (Edward Discovers the Woodchippers make Excellent Juicers) so I'm considering options to fix it without having to do a major rip out.
The construction is a one piece body and the cable collar is added like a giant button band. That's the part I'm going to remove and redo. This picture gives you an idea of what I mean.
1. Rip out the 2nd and 3rd cables and redo them with no increases (I don't love the increases). Then do a wide garter stitch edge that can serve as a foldover collar. I worry it might cover the cable part, but it might not.
2. Lazier option: don't rip out the 2nd and 3rd cables, and instead just undo the bindoff and do the garter collar.
3. Similar to the Maxfield construction: rip out the entire cable collar and redo it as a separate piece in the width I want. Knit two strips, graft them together and sew them to the sweater. This is the very industrious option...
I've been thinking about fixing this cardigan for over a year. And now, by writing about it, I think I've settled on the lazy version with the big garter collar.
Anyone have other ideas?
Today I'm wearing it for the first time and I LOVE it.
Beautiful yarn (Madeline Tosh Merino Lite in Byzantine).
Excellent pattern (Honeybee by Laura Chau).
As usual, Laura's pattern was perfectly written and easy to follow. The honeybee stitch pattern was surprisingly easy to memorize and I just zipped through the knitting.
Except for the sleeves. I hate knitting sleeves in the round. Next time I run into that construction, I'll seam them.
I did modify the pattern after this lovely version. I like the longer sleeves--though I made mine a bit too long (I like bracelet length).
It's a short and uneventful drive. The only thing epic about today is the laundry.
We bid a last goodbye to summer at Lake Stocco and now reality starts creeping in.
I'm a metrics girl so here's the numbers (I should do up an inforgraphic!)
4700km driven--Canada is frickin' big.
We slept in eight places:
- Quebec City,
We saw four provincial legislatures.
We ate far too many French fries but not enough seafood.
Best place visited: I vote for North Rustico, Clam Harbour also rates high.
Where we'll return to: Need to do a proper vacation in Nova Scotia. I've never been to Cape Breton. I could totally go to Quebec City again. A week on the ocean in PEI would also be perfect.
What I learned: I was really nervous about being the only driver for this trip (long unblogable story--but everything was resolved by Halifax) so I am super proud of myself for deciding not to cancel the trip and push myself. I drove over 3500km! I am awesome.
My family is fantastic. We travel together well. We have fun and Emma and Alexander get along really well, even for teenagers. We crammed ourselves into our tiny Jetta and we had a great time. The kids were away for most of the summer and it was great to end it all together exploring part of our country.
We're already plotting next year's trip. I think we'll go West.
No one wants to do anything.
Instead, we all sit around and enjoy the fact that we're not moving.
I knit a ton on my Eden Prairie. I might even finish it for the Accessoregatta deadline (here it is at Peggy's Cove, I now have the last green stripe finished).
We all nap. The kids check in on their Little Free Library.
We eat delicious ribs. Grampy makes the best ribs.
We relax but everyone is anxious to be home.
I had every intention of getting out of bed early and getting the day started, but the bed in the hotel had the whitest, smoothest sheets, and it was cozy and warm and Craig dropped a Globe and Mail beside me and told me he was off to scavenge breakfast for us...so I stayed and bed and read the paper. It was gloriously vacationy.
He returned with strong coffee, croissants, strawberries, orange juice and dark chocolate toblerone.
I love him.
Then we all took a swim in the pool, had a steam (it was like a warm Clam Harbour--without the awesome waves) and got ready for the last big adventure of our trip.
I had no real knowledge of the tides at the Bay of Fundy or the Hopewell Rocks until I started thinking about this trip and then it became something I needed to see. The underwhelming tidal bore the night before also made me want to see the "real thing" and so off we went.
By the time we arrived, the tide was out and we could walk on the ocean floor. The way the rocks have morphed with the types was spectacular. I loved it.
I took a majillion photos with Emma's DSLR, but haven't gotten to those yet. You'll have to enjoy my Iphone photography instead.
It was quite rainy and cold so it took us a while to get into the spirit of wandering, but the weather improved and we just hung out in nature.
The green stuff is some kind of seaweed. It was everywhere. It was sorta nifty.
We spent a bit of time to watch the tide come in--it's both fast and slow. Apparently it rises 6 inches an hour which is fast, but not when you're obsessively watching it.
Then it was time to start towards home. No one wanted to do the journey, but it was time and we were all a bit ready. After an easy drive to Edmundston, we had a hurried dinner (poor staff were so nice to serve us at almost 10) and a great sleep.
One little extra revelation: Booking a hotel on my Ipad powered by the personal hotspot on my Iphone using travel points rocks!
This is the part where road trips get rather uneventful...
We woke up, showered, packed, checked out and drove.
We crossed into Quebec (forgot how close Edmundston is to the border).
We charted a route that gave us a wide berth around Montreal. It is the Friday before the long weekend, and I'm not going anywhere near that traffic/chaos den.
We were successful. We hit some traffic due to construction, but nothing as bad as on the way there.
We drive more.
We cross into Ontario.
We arrive in Tweed eleven hours later. Time for a quick visit with family so the kids can visit their grampy.
While this was pretty boring to read, it was mighty boring to experience. Next road trip I plan a route home with some stops along the way (or maybe I continue on my less planning is more fun roadtrip experience!)
So close to home, but not quite there yet.
Time to leave PEI and see some more of the Maritimes. We were mean parents and made the kids get up really early so we could catch the ferry to Nova Scotia. We thought it would be fun to get to the Island by bridge but leave by boat even though the ferry takes a bit longer. I haven't been on a ferry to anywhere since I was ten years old (and it was the ferry to Manitoulin Island).
The Woods Island ferry area gave us a chance to see a few more things. It's the southern most tip of PEI.
Instead of driving straight to Halifax, we drove through the middle of the province on a windy highway to the ocean so we could see the little places along the coast. That was a great idea. The landscape is so different from PEI. Everything was rugged and forested. Craig scoped out a beach for us so we could put our feet in the ocean; it was the big find of the trip.
The waves were amazing. Even though no one had swimsuits on, we all ended up in the waves trying to keep dry. When that failed the kids (and Craig) stripped down to their underwear and went body surfing in the waves. The water was freezing. I decided to stay sort of dry and watched them swim and crash and have a great time. This is one of those remember it forever afternoons. Fantastic.
When Xander started to look like he was going to turn blue, we got everyone out of the water and got changed. The air was so heavy with fog that we were totally damp even when "dry". I tried to knit for a bit on the beach and yarn just stuck to my fingers.
It was still an hour to our hotel in Halifax and the fog cleared less than 15 minutes from the beach. I wonder if it's always foggy out there. It was amazing.
The night was spent together at the hotel. There was Much bragging about wave surfing and some pretty tired swimmers.
I remember my first and only visit to Peggy's Cove in 1994. It was late spring and it was quiet and serene.
Emma said it looks like the swamp before Mordor. Yep.
Turns out that while it remains a beautiful place, it's a busy place in late August. And we came early.
It is amazing. All those rocks being pushed by glaciers into this craggy shore.
The fog giving it this gloomy cool feel. The waves crashing scarily on the rocks--a dangerous place.
It was fun to boulder along, inspect the rocks and sea. I even saw a seal in the water.
And it's so different from anywhere we saw this vacation.
We explored the village a bit.
Our visit to the fourth provincial capital would not be complete without a tour of the Nova Scotia Legislature.
Emma tries being the angry politician.
I loved the little library.
The chamber is bigger than PEI's!
We had time for a quick walk on the tourist trap pier (which I'm sure has another name) where I sampled another lobster roll and Emma confirmed that poutine is a life sustaining food.
We had a hotel booked in Moncton so back in the car for us. It is a shorter drive so I got it in my head that we should do something along the way. We were right at the end of the Bay of Fundy and the timing was just about right so we drove to the end of Tidal Bore Road outside of Truro and waited.
This is a time when knitting is a very good thing.
Turns out that this tidal bore thing isn't all that exciting. But watching the water current change direction as the river filled in was pretty interesting. At least for Craig and I.
What it looked like as we left:
The evening capped off nicely with dinner at a local brew-pub--Pump House Brewery. They made a good stone oven pizza and we sampled the local New Brunswick offerings. The car was too jammed to bring any home though.
I'm a planner, an order muppet, a "I need a schedule" person. One of my goals (see that order required thing) for this trip was to let go a bit. Under plan, and let the mood take us.
I'm doing pretty well. I'm writing this from Halifax and I didn't imagine the trip taking us to Nova Scotia.
The downside of not planning is missing stuff. Turns out that Anne of Green Gables, The Musical doesn't play every night. Only Monday to Wednesday. We were supposed to leave Monday, but decided to stay the extra night to see the play. We snagged a hotel in Charlottetown, checked out of the one in Summerside (Clarke's Sunny Isle Motel, which was just right) and took a leisurely drive along the south shore.
We stopped in Victoria By the Sea. It was a bit touristy, but very pretty. And it had this:
I bought a braid of locally produced BFL, dyed by a local artisan and had a nice chat with the son of the potter and fibre artist who made the lovely things in the shop.
We sampled some chocolate made right in front of us.
And we had lunch right beside a lighthouse.
There was a little exhibit inside and it had interesting photos of the local history. I really liked the spinning bee:
We also got to climb up to the top. It's not big for three.
Then there was more driving along windy coastal roads. I really loved driving on PEI and I'm not a huge fan of being the driver.
We found a lighthouse right near Charlottetown. A very pretty spot.
With an impressive coast
After a quick swim at our hotel and dinner we went to see Anne, the Musical.
It was charming. Not perfect, but as a lover of Anne of Green Gables, it was a great way to end our time on PEI. Now I want to read the books again.
Then it was time to sleep. We had to break the holiday sleep schedule and get up early; we had a ferry to catch in the morning.
Yikes! It's been more than a month since I've posted anything. I certainly haven't been hiding from social media, but it does steal the blog ideas far too often.
I like the more reflective writing that comes with blogging, but need to make and take the time to do that writing.
So here's a fast recap of the last month.
School ended. Emma graduated grade 8 and is going to high school.
Ya, I know, she looks rather grown up. I love this picture. I took it on the subway platform on our way to the graduation ceremony (that's Craig, not some random stranger).
Then to celebrate, we went crazy and drove NORTH to visit my family in Moonbeam (yes, Moonbeam).
And yes, they have a space ship
My cousins have a beautiful place on Remi Lake and we enjoyed the long days and dark starry nights (the sun didn't set until 10:30!)
Sadly, we could only stay for 2 days so we took a day to drive up (11 hours) and a day to drive back (10 hours)--1750kms round trip for 2 days of fun. It was totally worth it. I spent a lot of summer vacations on that lake and hadn't been back for 25 years. Now I want to go for another, longer visit.
Now we're into the lazy days of summer. Well the kids are. They're off doing summer stuff--at their grandparents' houses, at camps, at home. And Craig and I are at work (sadface).
I'm using the childfree time to catch up on some knitting (when it's not too hot).
I finished a shawl on our roadtrip:
Lunatic Fringe from Knitty. The yarn is a no-name merino felted single that my pal Keri brought me from New Zealand. It was dyed up by the amazing Kim in the colourway: Just Say Oregano. It was an amazing yarn to knit with and a really fun pattern.
I'm also plugging away at my Honeybee cardigan in Tosh Merino Light
And something a bit crazy. Apostrophe by Rosemary Hill in Indigodragonfly Merino Silk Sock (yum). I love the design, but the knitting is a bit fiddly. In the current heat wave it's a good project because it only touches my fingers.
It's been nice to hang out over here in my blog. I've been absent because life is good. And I'll try to come back and say more about that this summer.
There's nothing quite like finishing a sweater. The happiness of having a new knitted piece. The sense of accomplishment, the fact that you get to cast on a bunch of new projects to celebrate. And you get to wear your new sweater, take in all the compliments and say "I made this". It's great.
Finishing a sweater when it's a hot week in May does dull the enthusiam a bit.
I wore my Tangled Yoke without buttons or blocking the day after I finished it because it looked like it would be cool out and the rest of the week was going to be too warm.
The heat was still on in our office and I was baking.
A few weeks later I bought the buttons.
A bit after that I sewed them on (I did wear it again to a knitter party because that's what knitters do).
Then I sewed on the buttons and posed for these photos.
Then I washed it (it was a hot photo shoot). Now it is going into my cedar chest until cooler weather comes around.
I actually crave some hot summer days. But did wish I could have worn my Tangled Yoke a few times. Ah well, it'll still feel new in the Fall.
I really do love this sweater. I got the fit just right. The Bugga is fabulous at this slightly looser gauge (6sts to the inch) and is super soft after a wash and run through the dryer.
The knitting itself was a bit boring at times (I really hate knitting sleeves in the round for some reason) but the yoke was fun. And the pattern was perfectly detailed and accurate.
I also love the colour. When I had red hair I couldn't wear these rich colours because I looked too pale and washed out. Now in my dark blonde look I can totally wear this red/purple combo.