Friday, December 26, 2008

Whew! Time to knit for me again!

I am really really glad that the season for gift-knitting is pretty much over. I might make a new pair of fingerless gloves for dad for his birthday, but I have not actually offered any yet, and the ones he has are doing not too badly. Getting fuzzy, though... In any case, I think I've found the right people to give knitted things to. Marksman's family had much better reactions to their knitted things than my family ever has. Granted, I think this most recent crop of knitted things has been of a somewhat higher quality than the last few batches. No tea cosy hats this time round. Anyways, apparently December is the month for finishing projects. Seeing as how I managed to finish all the gift-knitting (*just* in time) and also finish up a pair of socks for me that had been languishing. So now I can show you pictures (well, of most of it. My socks didn't make it out of the bag before the camera got plugged in, so you'll just have to wait.)

In order of cast on:


(Mom likes the blue side better, it seems)

The November Blues cowl.
Pattern: Tapestry Cowl, via Pepperknit
Needle: Aero 12" circ, 2.25mm
Yarn: Dream in Colour Smooshy, in November Muse and Deep Seaflower

Mods: I cut off about... 20 rows of the chart, I think. The first mod was done about a month ago, when I realized that the thing was going to be huge, due to a lack of checking row gauge, and the second was done on Christmas Eve in the morning (I got up really really early so I could get the knitting finished) when I determined that 1) it was going to be long/tall enough anyways, and 2) if I didn't, I wouldn't get it finished on time. The grafting together of all 220 stitches took some time, so I am glad I like grafting. Yes, that's right, I LIKE grafting. I suppose you'll have to shun me now? Also, I've decided I really don't like the aero circs in smaller sizes. The joins leave a lot to be desired. I had to do a lot of pushing and shoving stitches while I was knitting. The whole thing got steam blocked/lightly ironed after I finished
so that I could wrap it.

Erin's socks

Basic socks for my sister (the same one who got that Monteagle Purse) because when I asked her what she wanted for Christmas, she answered, in what we, her family, call the "feed me voice," "Can I have some socks? Like, thick ones I can use like slippers but are not slippers?" So she got socks. They were easy to knit, and she really likes them (and they fit perfect, apparently) so all is well in the world.

Double stranding jacquard-dyed yarn is hard

Pattern: made up on the fly. Basic toe up sock with short-row toes and heels, with a reverse-stockinette sole (went over really well; she likes the smooth inside) with some extra depth built in around the heel and the instep.
Needle: 3.5mm bamboo, which I used to have 2 sets of (4 each) but now only have 5 needles total. I am bad for breaking needles.
Yarn: Patons Kroy Socks, in Natural and some Jacquard multi (don't know where the ball bands are, too lazy to hunt right now), all double stranded, using the natural for the heels and toes and cuffs. Weaving in that many ends (14 per sock-each strand was done separately even though the yarn was used double) was the most painful part. I made some sock blockers out of wire coat hangers to stretch them out a little, mostly for looks, since they were curling funny due to the reverse-stockinette soles.

Paisley Mitts (aka Susan mitts)

Please excuse the pathetic attempt at embroidery

Really simple fingerless mitts made for Susan, to match the toque Marksman found for her.
Pattern: made up
Needles: 3.5 and 3.0 mm knitpicks 47" circs (nickel)
Yarn: some mystery brown acrylic from the days of buying cheap yarn, and some Elann Baby Silk in natural to make up for it.
Notes: I'd do these differently next time. Like line up the thumb increases along the side of the hand, instead of the side of the thumb, and probably use nicer yarn to begin with. Also need to find a REALLY stretchy bind off (I'm using a modified tubular bind off, but I'm still not happy with it) though the non-stretchy ness of the yarn might have been a factor as well (the cuffs are a tiny bit snug, but not problematic)

Emily Mittens


This was the very last project to get started, and also therefore the last one to be finished. I really liked doing them though, once I had gotten them to a suitable size and mucked through the gusset a couple times.
Pattern: generic mitten? similar to the Susan mittens, with the intended modifications (mostly the moving the increases part) and some stripes to make it interesting.
Needle: 3mm knitpicks 47" nickel circ
Yarn: Elann Superwash worsted in grey, far less than I had expected (less than a full ball) and Koigu Premium Merino in sky blue and lime green
Notes: I had an interesting time working in the thumb gusset, so I could switch colours tidily and not have colours "move up" a row while increasing (I knit into the stitch below-a "raised increase" according to the Readers' Digest Needlework Companion) as well as I had to try a couple times to get the gusset length right. The top of the mitten was easier, though I might try a few patterns to make my math work better. I am also lucky that Em's hands are just a tiny bit smaller than mine (good thing to keep note of...) because they were a little snug on me.

Finally, I've also finished the second pair of Jaywalkers (the Trekking XXL in the crazy long-repeat colourway) so I've now cast on for some Bartholomew's Tantalizing socks from New Pathways for Sock Knitters with the green Indigo Moon yarn I got this summer in the Knitters on Belay swap.

And I got new yarn, and a new book. Jemmy gave me the Anticraft book (whee!) and I got some really nice OnLine sock yarn, and some really pretty 2-ply that we (we meaning Auntie Thea) think is Romney in natural, that I think I might have to take up to Sweet Georgia to dye. Maybe. Now I get to knit for me again, and spin, too! (Also I am allowed to give myself my christmas present, of some superwash bamboo from Sweet Georgia that I bought the day I waited for the van to get fixed)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Shameless promotion

(0f my mom :p)

So, some of you know (and most of you likely don't) that my mom is a personal chef. She mostly does in-home cooking for people, that they can freeze or store, and also runs the Gilmore United Church community meal every Thursday. Of course, she's been the Biscotti Queen since long before that. (Biscotti is the holiday mainstay of the whole operation, I think. I've helped package the past two weekends. Lots of sealing packages and tying nice bows.)

Yesterday, on the Global 6pm news (Vancouver local) she was featured by the Savvy Shopper, Elaine Yong, for a quick and easy homemade food gift. Now, anyone who has ever tried to make biscotti knows that it is not a quick and easy process. So the featured recipe was Cracker Toffee, which is pretty much the easiest treat to make, ever. (Except for maybe Erin's microwave fudge.) All you need is regular soda crackers (salted tops-like the kind you get with your soup), brown sugar, butter, and chocolate. It's fast and easy, and you might not actually want to give it away....

Recipe and instructions here. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Giving up

I hereby give up on actually posting regularly. I was trying (or at least pretending to try) and then... It felt like every week, I had no knitting content to post. See previous two posts for reference material... So instead of making an attempt to placate my prose-hungry fingers, I'm going to make them knit instead.

However, I have been knitting. None of it is secret, but I don't have any recent pictures of most of it. I have managed to finish the Monteagle Purse, with a very nice green lining and a zipper, and it's going to be stuffed with socks (one pair handknit, that hasn't even made it to Ravelry yet) and two pairs bought, because I'm not insane.

that was a lot of handstitching... worth it, though

I'm still working on the November Blues cowl, which feels like it is never going to be finished on time. I am a little less than halfway through the (self-modified due to row gauge issues) chart. I am working on finishing a pair of fingerless mitts for Susan (Marksman's brother's gf), to go with the nice toque we got her. There might be mittens in the works for Emily, and possibly her partner. My family is not getting knitted things this year, except for the purse recipient, because I've never since seen the ones they've already got. Or that's what I'm telling myself, anyways. Might as well warm up a new crop of people, anyways :p

Also, last weekend there was a cookie extravaganza. Me, and Jemmy, and Amanda got together and made many many gingerbread. And also some sugar cookies. I took pictures, too. (Please excuse my infatuation with the macro function on my camera. I like how things look from closer than usual.)

Mmm... fresh gingerbread. Not quite ready yet, though.

We used ALL the cookie cutters. Except the butterfly.

What happens when you're determined to use every last bit of dough. (That cookie cutter is about loonie-sized)

I can mix fast :)

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Yellow stars, green trees, and red girls (no, they are not scarlet women)

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I actually couldn't get all of the cookies in one shot. We have about 8 baking sheets (standard consumer size, about 4 commercial size) of cookies. That's... a lot of cookies.

Oh, and it snowed. Lysander was not impressed.
Does he look impressed to you?

If you've actually gotten to the end of this post and you want to see more (god forbid) the rest are on Flickr; click on any of the above pictures to get there.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Out of the world for a spell

Once again, with the apologizing. However, until Desert Bus ends, it's stupidly addictive to watch/interact with. (So addictive that Icola [the geek-star roomate] got home at 2am the other day from work, and didn't go to bed until 8am, because of it).

For those who don't know, Desert Bus for Hope (2008) is a video-game marathon for charity. Child's Play, to be exact. It's run by Loading Ready Run, a sketch comedy group out of Victoria, that posts a weekly video (well, except for this week, so far, because they're to busy raising money for charity) Of course, this is no ordinary video game. It's the most absolutely boring video game EVER. However, I am bad at this whole paraphrasing thing, so I'll just send you to the Press Release. Clearly, someone can do this better than I can.

In any case, this is why I probably won't have much to show, in the way of knitting or spinning or craft-related things. At least until Wednesday... (When they are playing until, at the time of posting)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Because I refuse to do this on Facebook...

I thought that I could just tell people what I wanted for Christmas when they asked. I really did. But then I realized that I never actually remember when people ask me. And I have online wishlists kicking around all over, too. So. An amalgamation, or something like that.

Inspiration, Instructions:
Craft (zine) any of issues 1-8 or a subscription. (6 and 8 are the ones that intrigue me the most at this point)
Knits, Cloth Paper Scissors, or PieceWork (from Interweave)
Last-Minute Knitted or Patchwork and Quilted Gifts (Joelle Hoverson)
Mason-Dixon Knitting (or M-D K Outside the Lines) (Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne)

Ingredients, Parts, Materials:
Lilypad E-Sewing Kit (from the Maker SHED)
Actually, just about any of the Craft kits from the Maker SHED
Yarn (colours are good)
Spinning Fibre

Toys and Tools
Size 0 (2mm) or smaller circular needles in ≥40" lengths
Metolius Portable Power Grips (I found them at MEC)
A compass (preferably with decent sighting funtionality)
A couple of those awesome surgical brushes (the Lee Valley kind)
Extra Robertson bits (#2 and #3 are the most useful, in ≥2" lengths, so I can fit them in my screwdriver)
A good seam/stitch ripper (like this one)
Fabric Scissors (because I am now old enough to take care of them)
Board Games (Carcassone, or Settlers of Catan, or brain-type games)

Enjoyable Authors (fiction)
Guy Gavriel Kay (I have the Fionavar Tapestry, as well as Last Light of the Sun)
Terry Pratchett (Anything but the first 5 Discworld books)
Jack Whyte
Diana Gabaldon (I have the whole Outlander series to date)
Jasper Fforde

Places I like to shop
Lee Valley
Three Bags Full (the yarn store on Main Street)
(I have wishlists at MEC and (but not .ca))

I'm pretty sure that covers it. Now, what's on YOUR wishlist?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Stupid Weather Gods

So. I should be just getting home now from a hiking trip, soaked to the skin, but fairly pleased about getting out into the green, and making a summit attempt of a local mountain. However. This is not the case. I came home yesterday morning. Because we got (essentially) flooded out. The trail we were hiking (we were trying to get up to Alder Flats, in Golden Ears park, for anyone that cares) was alternately a trail and a creek. Or at least so it seemed. There was lots of rain (plus the previous week's worth, making its way down) and some trail marking issues. We ended up coming back to where the rest of our group (all of 2 people) were holding down the fort for the weekend, in the car-camping area of the park. One of our guys' stuff was absolutely soaked, so he went home, and dragged marksman along too, to play video games. The rest of us stuck it out for the night (it stopped raining about an hour after we got into camp, until after we went to bed) and came home the next morning. So, instead of minor amounts of knitting on Jaywalkers numero dos, I instead have some Jaywalker knitting *and* some spinning. I finished the green stuff that was on the wheel, which I've decided to call Tollana, after one of those comfortably Pacific-Northwestern (well, Southwestern to us Canadians :p) planets of Stargate SG-1, Tollana being the one that's mostly set at the SFU campus. It's named after that because it's well, comfortably Pacific Northwestern-coloured. Green, with wee bits of browniness and blue. Oh, wait. I took pictures. I could just show you those...

This is the single, before plying. It's not the *most* even thing I've ever spun, but it's not bad, considering it's been done over the span of a few months.

This is the finished 3-ply. That's a penny there, off to the side, as an attempt to show the size of the yarn...

Details on the yarn: I have three skeins of varying sizes, depending on how comfortable I was with how full the bobbin full of singles was. The first is 170 yards, the second was 205 and the most recent one is 255. I have about 25 grams left, I'd say, out of 200. I'm not sure I care enough to spin it up. I might just keep it for some kind of carding experiment later. It's all 100% merino roving that I bought from Birkeland Brothers a while back (after that purple stuff, actually...) in the colour English Garden.

Not having yet set the twist, this will probably sit in the lazy kate box until I'm ready to do something with it. But I do have a new project on the wheel. It's Yummy Yarns' 50/50 merino soysilk, in some colourway that reminds me somehow of sugarplums. I have no pictures to show you yet, but I started it on my aunt's wheel at Thanksgiving, filled a bobbin, and then went back to the green stuff. I don't have any pictures of it yet, because I put it back on the wheel *after* clearing the camera and was too lazy to take more pictures. Even though I know now that they turn out ok, even when I am inside, because I can set my own white balance. Awesome tool, that...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Crisp fall morning for the win!

For once, I took advanteage of the fact that it was morning, and nice, and that Marksman was still asleep to take pictures of knitting. Because daylight is just best for that. Though I forgot I had pics of the (knitting finished, but project itself not quite yet) Monteagle Purse kicking around, that I took indoor. So here we go:

1) Monteagle Purse


specs: Bernat Handicrafter cotton "naturals" in Avocado, some amount inconsequential to the giant-size ball. 3.5 mm needles, because instead of swatching I figured I'd just go for it. Since I normally knit all loose-like. That would be the reason it's purse-sized, and thus, will be a Christmas present for some lucky family member. After it gets a lining and a zipper. (For a sense of scale, it's being stretched out by a 4L milk jug full of water. It's not very big)

2) Jaywalker socks, numero dos:


specs: Zitron Trekking XXL in some crazy long-repeat colourway. Like, 2/3 of the foot crazy long-repeat colourway. Size 1.5 or 1.75 mm needles. Probably the 1.5's. These have been on the needles for ages and have been relegated to bus or "sitting and waiting for short periods" knitting. The kind where I don't have the time to pull out the chart for the

3) November Blues (Tapestry Cowl)


specs: Dream in Color Smooshy, November Muse and Deep Seaflower. Size 2.25mm needle, because 2mm was just a wee bit small. (Like, for the first time in my entire life...) This is going to be for Mom (the one that lives on the Island, not the one I'm related to) because she is always cold. I may or may not alter the chart a little to make it shorter, because my row gauge is worrying me (8sts=1") and I don't want it to be giant. (there are 67 rows of chart, plus the 18 rows of plain knitting before and after. You do the math).

4) Monteagle Bag, for real this time. (well, maybe. We'll see)


specs: Value Village 97-cent yarn that I can't currently find the ballband for. Lily Naturale? All I kow is the dye is making my fingertips blue. Size 5.5 mm needle. Should work out to be be properly bag-sized this time. We'll see.

5) Checkerboard teacozy, made on a whim


worsted acrylic yarn, double stranded. 5 or 6 mm needles, which one escapes me right now. I totally need to make a taxi version of this...

Now back to your regularly sceduled inactivity? (here's hoping not.)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

In absence of actual knitting content, because I haven't had any daylight to take pictures of it lately* ('cause I'm all about colour-correctness, and I live in a basement with fluorescent lighting...), I give you this:

*I would actually have knitting content, too. Since the kilt hose (of DOOM) got finished, I have allowed myself to have many projects at once again. So there's a Tapestry Cowl, and a Monteagle Bag, and a Monteagle purse, and the second pair of Jaywalker socks... Yeah. I need to take pictures this weekend.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Home From Camp

So. I did not quite finish the socks on time. Not really. They made me feel like I knit tremendously slowly... I finally finished them up yesterday afternoon, in time to wear them around camp a bit before the dance, and then I wore them today until we got home. I am already thinking about what I will change for the next ones.

From the inside

From the outside

1) They will be in a sport or fingering weight yarn. Worsted is great and all, but it is too coarse on the inside to be comfortable for very long
2) there will be some thought put into how to keep them up. Tied garters are nice and all, but there's got to be a better way
3) I will think of some way to centre the cable on the leg. These are ok but I'm not huge on them.
4) I will measure better, and take distortion (length for width) into account so they fit better.

Now, I can start new stuff :p

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Oh, was I supposed to knit, too?

The last couple weekends have been full of crafting, but there has been very little knitting. This is because I have had the same knitting project for the last month-and-a-bit, those friggin kilt hose, and while they are now SOCLOSE to being done, and will in fact be done for the upcoming weekend, there were other things that needed doing too. That I can't do in the car on the way to work. So.

Last weekend, I made a kilt. Kinda. Master Marksman wanted a kilt for the upcoming Rover/Venturer camp (aka Mardi Gras) for which the theme is the Highland Games. Understandable to want a kilt, then. He spent a lot of time wondering if it was worth it to go Utilikilt, and then decided to buy an iPod instead. Fair enough. He's used the iPod every day since he bought it; he would not have gotten the same kind of usage from a kilt. But that left him kiltless. So I said I'd make him one. All well and good. We went fabric shopping, bought fabric and a pattern for both a kilt and a shirt. And it sat in the livingroom until the weekend, when I started sewing. Originally, I was going to go kinda half-assed in the kiltmaking, and not pleat it "properly", and follow the costume pattern. But then I decided to make it look nice. So I ended up hand-pleating just about 5 yards of (not quite) tartan fabric.

And then I basted it.

And pressed it.

And tapered it from hips to waist.

Pressed it. And then sewed down EVERY SINGLE ONE of the pleats in the hip to waist stretch. About 8 inches or so.

There were occasions that I was sewing through about 14 layers of fabric at once, because of how the pleating worked out.

Yikes. Luckily, the sewing machine took it in stride. I'm going to make another one one of these days. Out of real wool.

And then I worked all week. Got maybe 10 rows of knitting in between working and dinner and Rovers and what-have-you. Turned heels on Friday night at Jenny's.

Yesterday I made the shirt to go with the kilt. It seemed to take longer than the kilt did, though it might just be because I actually used the pattern this time, and traced my pattern pieces instead of cutting them out directly, and did a little extra work on the seams... (all the torso seams are self-bound (maybe that's the right word? I basically turned a narrow hem with the seam allowance so there are no raw edges to get frayed or itchy)) It still needs a little work (and we need to find the buttons) but it looks good.


Today, I made the Prima Nocta Playset. One of the scavenger hunt items for MG is Prima Nocta. We joked about offering up Christina, but apparently it's too late for that. So the next best thing, of course, is a diorama. I love that I still have diorama-making opportunities... It's awesome. I was all set to be diorama making, with pipecleaner people and everything. There was going to be a castle cutaway, with a bed, mostly made of foamcore... And then I realized that before I could start drafting plans for furniture, I needed to make the actual figures first. One trip to the dollar store later, I had everything, set everything up, started crafting. And then... I finished making the people. And didn't really want to make a castle. And none of the Warhammer ones were the right size. Thus was born the playset. I made a quick cardboard and hot glue bed, with fabric scraps for bedlinens, and took everything outside to take pictures. Including the not-to scale Warhammer castle. Everything then got dumped into Photoshop, and the composite of 5 images gave me the front of a toy package. Glued onto a cereal box, with some text-only filler on the other 5 sides, I present:



It's going to be a giveaway to whoever is judging. They'd better like it.

Knitting will continue as scheduled for the rest of this week. I hope.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Uhm, oops

I forgot about my blog for a while, there. Apologies to anyone that actually reads it, though there can't be many. Self indulgence to the max... Anyways. I finished the BSJ two weekends ago, with about 18 inches of yarn to spare. I'd have taken a picture (or the leftovers) but, well... Lazy, I guess. We were on the Island at Marksman's parents' place, for Mom's birthday. I did all the main body knitting while we were there, and then went out to Nanaimo for edging yarn, having become disenchanted with the bubblegum pink I'd originally chosen. Found a nice green, and some kickass buttons. Started a single crochet border. Came back to the house (after birthday dinner) to realize the cat had found the knitting and dragged it across the house, undoing single crochet in the process. That was ok, it didn't look too hot to begin with. So I went for applied i-cord instead. I'm still not sure if I like it or not, but it's not necessarily bad. Finished it on the ferry home, and then I dressed up the ferry like a small child. See?


Ok, enough with the silliness and I'll get to a better picture. This would be some rocking i-cord and those awesome buttons.


And this is the whole thing, not too close, to reveal how I got the ferry to cooperate.


Anyways, since then, I have moved on to a new adult-sized project, of kilt hose for me, which even have a deadline, because the theme for Mardi Gras is the Highland Games! And I've been wanting some decent kilt hose for a while now, and it seemed like a good time to do it. I'm knitting them both at the same time on one of those 47" knitpicks needles (3mm) because I want them to be the SAME. Which is all well and good until you realize (like I did, last night) that despite all efforts the calf shaping is in the wrong place, and you have to rip back the last week worth of knitting. To be fair, it was only about 3-4 inches, so not such a big deal, but still. Picking up stitches in the right row was a pain. I'm making these up as I go along, but there might be a pattern at some point, if I can remember to put it together. I am at least writing things down as I go. But, so far, so good. The cables are a little bit close to the front of my leg but that will get better as they move down and the leg gets smaller around.


I think it looks better when actually on a leg, though, as opposed to a fence


Finally, there was a yarn sale at Three Bags Full today. It goes until tomorrow, but they had sock yarn for 50% off (well, some of it). So obviously I had to go this morning. And I got... two balls of Dream in Color Smooshy,

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two Dream in Colour Classy,

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and then some Cherry Tree Hill Supersock that I paired with Koigu KPM to do Christmas knitting:

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The Smooshy is, I think, going to become a hat, and the Classy will be another baby sweater. Maybe a BSJ for Chantelle and Sharp, or maybe something different for Maria. Time to go knit some more :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

And I've already started new things...

I finally finished Marksman's socks. I decided, after much thought, not to duplicate-stitch "i am not a work sock" onto them, and instead (hopefully) firmly impressed this upon him. even if he is not allowed to subject them to his work boots (for a while, anyways) he is still pretty happy with them. See?

After finishing that, I proceeded to cast on immediately for a new pair of Jaywalkers, even though I have a drawer full of unworn handknit socks right now, because it is the summer and I wear slightly-too-big steel toes to work, and have to compensate with really thick socks. On the weekends, there are no socks to be seen. For good reason. But I will have plenty when it cools off again. I'm using the yarn I got the last time I was in Victoria, from the beehive, the Trekking XXL in the really bright colourway. It turns out that it also has a crazy long repeat; I have now gotten so far as the heel flap, and have yet to find the end of the repeat. I'm starting to wonder if it actually exists. It's a 4-ply yarn, and the plies change colours one at a time, so there are a crazy number of options when it comes to tweedy, subtle colour changes. In any case. They look good, so that's all I'm gonna worry about.

Also, I haven't mentioned it yet, but I have a new cousin! Her name is Maria, and she has infected me with a need to knit a BSJ. I bought the pattern and the yarn (Dream in Color Classy) about a week and a half ago, only to discover I didn't have the right needles in stock. So I ordered some from Knitpicks (the 47" circs, because, well, it's really hard to have too much cable) and they came today! I cast on when marksman was in the shower, and then again after my shower, and then again after a snack. It's been a very long time since I had to count more than 80 stitches all at once... But progress has now been made, and I have about 10 rows done. More to follow post-posting. And pictures soon :)