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)