Knitwit's Rambles

My attempt to actually have a knitting blog, and to update it regularly. We'll see how well that works.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Moving House

Hey everyone, just posting here to let you know that I've moved the blog over to Wordpress, and won't be updating here. Blogger has been ticking me off with a few annoying traits and so all the old entries as well as new ones can be found over at:

Don't forget to update your bookmarks!

Friday, May 25, 2007



Where in the hell is that 2.5mm circular I bought? This is the only thing I don't like about circs--trying to store them. I think I'm going to have to consider getting a binder with plastic sleeves or something. Of course tidying my room and organizing my knitting stuff would work too, but that would actually be work.

Of course the reason I'm looking for it is because I finished the Trekking socks and I want to move on to a new pair, but it makes it rather difficult to do that when I can't find the *&^% needle I want to use. Of course this should probably be a sign to finish the ones I already have on the needles, particularly as I'm planning to join a knitalong which does not involve socks--or doesn't this month at least. More on that when I actually join.

I'll have pictures of the Trekking socks in a couple days, as I've been working all day and I want to try taking pictures of things under natural light, so it'll have to wait for tomorrow.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

"Mrs. Fairfax had settled into a corner with her knitting..."

Well here I was thinking that the photos I took of the socks I'm making in Lisa Souza yarn were going to be sadly outdated by the time I got them up on the blog. Then, with both heels turned, I actually tried them on.

You can see where this is going, right?

I had tried them on before doing the heels, but looks like I was mistaken in my idea of where they should start--the heel is shorter than ones I've made in other yarns, and so those heels and the small amount of what I'd knit on the cuff had to come out.

That was a week ago, though, and I've managed to turn both heels and get a few inches up the leg--quite a few inches on one of them, thanks to a marathon viewing of the 4-hour Masterpiece Theatre adaptation of Jane Eyre (one of my favourite books; more on the miniseries in a minute). And I have pictures this time, pictures that are only a day or two old!

Both socks, nearly the same length
Detail of the calf increases--a bit wonky, as I was
making it up as I went along, but looks better when it's on.

In other good news, we have a local stitch n' bitch again, desipite the closure of the store that was hosting it. The person from that store that started it has moved it to a cafe downtown and even better, it'll be on the first Thursday evening of the month, which works well with my work schedule.

As for Jane Eyre, I thought it was done pretty well. There were a few moments early on where Rochester seemed to be portrayed more emo than I got a feeling for in the book (I was referring to him as "emo boy" for a while), but I did like that both he and Jane also had their more lighthearted moments instead of being permanently dour. There were a few things that were changed from the book of course, even those that weren't just for length reasons, though most of them I didn't mind. Really, it's to be expected in any adaptation for television or the movies. And this is better than a lot of the more recent adaptations of Jane Eyre simply by its being twice as long as the other films--four hours instead of two. The others (the A&E version with Ciaran Hinds and the big-screen William Hurt version) sufferend by having to cram too much into too little time, and I've been hoping that someone would do a longer version for years now. Definitely good to knit to!

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Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Times They Are A-Changin'

I'm not dead yet! Work and other things (*coughRPGcough*) have made the last couple months busy ones, and somehow whenever I sat down to update my brain shied away from forming sentences. So how about I spare you a long synopsis of everything that's been going on and just cut to the news of the day?

Well it was nice while it lasted. Looks like the more upscale yarn store in town is closing, as the owners are moving. No more cashmere, no more Malabrigo, no more higher-end alpaca and 100% wool. The ladies at the other yarn store in town are nice, but a lot of the stock...well it's kind of old and not as nice as the stuff at the other store. Definitely no cashmere, no handpaints, no Elsebeth Lavold, and very little sock yarn (thought admittedly the upscale store didn't really have that much handpainted stuff either). Looks like it's back to waiting until I go into Toronto for the good stuff; either that or ordering off the internet. Though some things will hopefully only mean more trips into Niagara Falls to the yarn store there, as they have some things that the yarn stores here don't carry (laceweight!).

It also means no more second-Saturday knitting group, which has me thinking about starting one up. The main problems are timing and location, but those are pretty big problems. There are only a couple cafes downtown that are a distinct possibility. I know the library's policy on room usage and that's out--it would be costly and there's a line in the policy about groups not using it too many times. Community centres tend to be out of the downtown core and I'd like it to be close to the bus station.

The other problem is my work schedule, as I work every other Saturday afternoon, which is problematic. Also probiematic is that while I have a regular evening shift on Fridays, technically I can work any night between Tues-Thurs as well. I'm not sure I like the idea of making it only once a month, as if you miss that one day you're kind of screwed (as I know from personal experience). There is a gathering at the other yarn store in town but I only got to go once before I had a string of months where I couldn't make it that one night a month, and I haven't really been able to get back to it. Having it every Saturday afternoon, or on a night when I have to work that week would be all right once it's an established group and there are one or tow other people I know will show up (and that I could give signs to, or whatever), but it's problematic when you're starting. I'd also have to check with the owners of the venue and see how they would feel about people being there every week, though if we could find a time when they're not usually that busy they might welcome an every-week gathering! Ah well. I'll check those cafes, speak with the owners and see about it.

It's something I think I'd especially like to do as there doesn't seem to be much of a knitting community here, and the yarn stores here never really seem that busy, though maybe it's just the times that I drop in. The knitting groups at the yarn store also seem to be heavy on the friends/co-workers of the owner, too, which can be a little awkward and off-putting, particularly when it's a small group.

Now the yarn store in the Falls, I dropped into a couple weeks ago and wasn't there for more than fifteen minutes before the owner was asking if I'd like to teach a class--and I've only been there twice in the last year! There were a group of people sitting in the back and they invited me to sit down and knit, and I readily agreed as I'd had to go into the Falls for a dermatologist's appointment (whose office, handily, was about a 20 minute walk from the yarn store). It took a load off my feet, pulled out the sock I was working on on one circular needle, and the owner and I got discussing it, and bam, she asked me to consider doing a workshop. She's always looking for teachers, and this was before I mentioned that I teach knitting at the library. I'd love to do it though the timing is going to be a little tricky with my work schedule, and the fact that I don't have a car so I have to take buses into the Falls. During the university fall/winter semesters Niagara Falls transit runs a bus to the university that can let me off right near the store, but in the summer I'd have to use the Greyhound, then take a bus from the terminal. We'll see if we can work it out, though.

And finally, some picspam of recently finished socks: I call them my "Table Rock" socks. The yarn is "Cliffhanger" by Sunshine Yarns, and I wanted to do a themed sock with it, so I thought about cliffs nearby. Of course the biggest one in this area is the Niagara Escarpment and, naturally, Niagara Falls, so I decided on a stitch pattern of my own "unvention", to make a similar effect to that in Knitty's Wavy Scarf. With the colour of the yarn the pattern doesn't show up as much as it could, but I know it's there. Using cabled waves instead of knit and purls would show up better, but I decided I didn't want to do cable twists 12 times every 4 rows. They're named after the rock formation on the Canadian side, right at the edge of the Falls.

The vertical wave pattern, while in progress, click for larger pic

The finished sock!

Next time: photos of the socks I'm making with Lisa Souza yarn. I loooooove it.

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Friday, March 02, 2007

Heavy on the "Rambles"

I just finished mopping up a surprise remnant of the flood we had in the basement of the library branch I work at this morning (from other staff's reports, we had about an inch or two of water on the floor), so as a treat for dealing with the water and slime, I've been experimenting with Google's Blog Search feature looking for sock knitting blog posts. Recently I've been thinking I really should knit something other than socks sometime, but then socks are such wonderful projects; portable, relatively fast (says she who takes about a month to finish a pair) and I have such pretty sock yarn, why bother at the moment. I'll keep knitting them for the moment; a sweater can wait.

I actually haven't knit a sweater yet, something that shocked the ladies at the Sit & Knit last month. I had t explain that for four of the six years I've been knitting I was in university, and therefore if I was going to be knitting a sweater it would have to be in Red Heart, which I didn't want to do. In the last two years I've gone through various stages of employment (or unemployment) and it's only in the last year that I've really had the ability to...well, somewhat afford nice yarn.

There's also the issue of my being a plus-size, yadda, yadda. As I said, a sweater can wait.

So instead, it's socks, socks, socks, and I am unrepentant. Particularly as this way I can get truly yummy yarn without breaking the bank, like the ones I'm working on now. I also got more inspiration in the form of Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush via Inter-Library Loan.

Now hopefully, despite a leaky sink in the staff bathroom there won't be any more mopping to do. The fun of working at a small branch without its own on-duty maintenance person--all maintenance staff work out of the main library downtown. It's not something I'm not used to though; for a couple summers during university I worked at Hutchison House Museum in Peterborough, which was so small that staff--including the curator herself--were responsible for everything. If there was sweeping or dusting-- or mopping, considering Peterborough's penchant for flooding--or anything to be done, you did it. Working at a small branch is a bit like that, though we do have cleaners in the evenings, which helps.

Anyway, more experimenting to do. Google + Librarians = OTP!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

A Perfect Time to Knit

The wind is whistling in the trees and beating against the walls of the building, so this is definitely a good day to curl up with some knitting. Particularly as the power is flickering somewhat ominously. I'm dogsitting for my brother while he and his girlfriend are in Las Vegas, and I'm in their apartment, above the roofline of the surrounding houses, so the strength of the wind is really noticeable.

At least I've had a fair bit of knitting to do. I've finished the Blood and Bruises socks, though I don't have my camera here so I can't get a photo of the finished socks. I do have photos of the Times Squared socks, though, finally.

As I mentioned in my last post they're wonderfully soft and warm, particularly after they've been washed.

Since then I've been trying the Magic Loop method of working on sock--I know, me, who said she preferred DPNs and didn't see herself switching any time soon.

I can't exactly say why I decided I'd try doing magic loop, I was mainly just curious about the technique, and thought it might be interesting to find out how to do it. You can never know too many techniques after all.

I got a small 2mm circ when I was at the yarn store for the second Knit & Chat a couple weeks ago. It's too small to do socks for me on it comfortably (in true tradition I didn't see any of the sites where people said "longer circs are better!" until I'd actually bought the needles) but luckily I know a couple people that have spawned, and have been intending to make them baby socks with leftover sock yarn that I've had lying around in the stash.

I figured out how to do the figure-eight cast on and got to work, and I have to admit, it is a handy technique. No knitting needles poking out of my totebag, and it's not as unwieldy to lug around as socks on two circs does. I finished the first sock a couple days ago and have cast on for a second.

Unfortunately the yarn stores in my town aren't the greatest at stocking very small size circs however, and I wanted another 2mm circ in a longer length, as the yarn I got from Lisa Souza and Sunshine Yarns is fairly fine. I was also far too impatient to order off the internet and wait for them to arrive, so yesterday I made a trip to a yarn store in Niagara Falls that I really like, The Knitting Habit, using the local transit system. We don't have a regional transit system, but Niagara Falls and Welland Transit each have one bus that goes to Brock University, so I can head up there and get one of those. Even better, the N. Falls transit bus goes right by the intersection closest to the store, and as I have a monthly pass for St. Catharines Transit, the expense was really only the extra fare for the Niagara Falls bus.
I may have to make that trip more often, as there were quite a few things at the store that I wanted but stopped myself from buying as I have way too much stash already, and I remembered correctly that they had Addi Turbo needles, so I was able to get a 29" 2mm Addi needle as well as a long circ by...I think Aero in 2.25mm and another in 3.5mm for a project that I want to do. I've already started on the first sock using Sunshine Yarns in the "Cliffhanger" colourway, and I think I know what theme I want to do with this one. I'm just loving the yarn so far--it's so wonderfully soft and makes a really nice fabric.

Now if only the interlibrary loan I put in for for Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch and Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush would come in, I'd be in sockmaking heaven. I don't think I'm going to give up the DPNs completely for circs, but it's nice to have yet another set of tools I can use to make socks, so I can have more on the go at once.

At the moment, though, I'd just prefer it if the power came back on so I could knit, as it finally went out about 45 minutes ago, and I've been touch-typing since then. Luckily brother and his girlfriend have digital cable which appears to provide a powersource for the router and TV, so I can still post this!

Friday, January 26, 2007

As the Yarn Ball Turns

Well, I wrote this whole huge post the other night and when I went to post it, Blogger gave me a "Hey! We're doing maintenance!" message and I lost the entire thing. I know, I know, I should have saved it as a draft, but a lot of times if I stop writing to do that, I lose my mojo and don't end up finishing the post. So here's the point form version of what I'd written.

--Times Squared socks: DONE! I've worn & washed these and the Cherry Tree Hill bloomed so nicely after hand-washing. They feel even softer now that I've washed them than they were when I was knitting them. I'll post project details and photos tomorrow as I'm on my break at work.

--Dad's Worksocks: DONE! Thank God.

--Afghan from Knitting group: Still ongoing. Oy. Don't ask.

--Knitting group at the local LYS! Only three people showed up including me, but it felt great to get out and meet some other local knitters. We're hoping to find a cafe to host it as the person who was organizing it--while affiliated with the shop--doesn't actually own it, and she knows from other groups she's contacted that a common complaint about having one in a store is that people might feel obligated to buy stuff.

--Knitting group at the library! It's turning out really well so far. I have two adults and eight teens so far actually, thanks to a misprint in the announcements for it, but it hasn't really been a problem. The girls seem to have taken no notice that there's a couple adults there, and the adults don't seem to be put off my the teenagers--they've been chatting along quite amicably really. The adults have been picking it up really quickly, though one of them I know said she'd been shown how to knit long before, and the other I'm assuming has because of her age--considering the time period she would have grown up in I'd find it hard to believe that she hadn't at some point. My new teens are picking it up really quickly as well, which is probably helped by the fact that with the new adults going well I can spend more time with them, not that they need much help.

--Yarn Porn! I got the skeins I ordered from Sunshine Yarns and they're gorgeous. They're even more beautiful in person as there's a subtlety to the colourways that you really don't get to see in the photos on Etsy. They're so wonderfully soft, too. I can't wait to get started knitting them, but then I also have the Violet's Pink Ribbon, and the Lorna's Laces, and the Trekking...

--I have started on the Blood & Bruises socks! I'm doing them in a 4x2 rib as the colours in the variegate really wouldn't let any pattern show up--the rib is so I don't get bored and also to make them fit better. I'm doing them toe up and am into the foot on one; I'll wind the other skein into a ball this weekend and start that one soon, as I like to stagger my socks a bit. So far it's working up really nicely, though this is one colourway where I almost wish it would pool, however the colour splotches are really short. But then that's an idea if I ever wanted to ask one of the great yarn dyers for a custom dye job. ;) It feels a little thicker than I remember the other Koigu being but then that could be a combination of my imagination and the colours used.

I think I'm forgetting things, but then this update is long enough, so I'll leave it at that for now. Photos this weekend!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Small Victories

*squees, dances* I got a package in the mail this morning, and it had yarn in it!

Yes, the Lisa Souza sock yarn in the "Violet's Pink Ribbon" colourway arrived this morning and I'm in love. The colours are vibrant and gorgeous, and it's soooooo soft. I just couldn't stop touching it or rubbing it against my cheek and revelling in its softness. It's seriously yummy stuff.

Of course it only makes me want to finish all the other projects in the queue ahead of it even faster, and luckily there's some progress on those fronts. I think I've found a rib pattern that would suit the Blood & Bruises socks. Of course it likely won't be too obvious as the colourway will hide some of the texture, but if it's not too eye-hurty I might do it anyway, simply for my own personal giggles.

As for the socks already on the needles, last night after a few concentrated hours of knitting I turned the heel on Dad's second sock, and am now starting on the leg.

It was a nice accomplishment, too, as yesterday was a real bitch of a day, and I was worn out, somewhat pissed off, not feeling well and probably hormonal, just to make things that much more fun. And then today, while commuting around before work, I managed to start the cuff on the Times Squared socks. So far I've only got about a half and inch of 2x2 ribbing on each, but there's a certain comfort to knowing that you're working the cuff, and have entered the home stretch. Hopefully finishing those won't take long.

It'll be about time, too, for me to have a new pair of socks, as I really have to go through my stash and get rid of some. Mainly some of the first ones I knit, which at the time I thought fit fine, but as I've refined my tehnique and gained experience in sock knitting, I've come to realize that some of them really don't fit that well. There's one pair that I wore the other day that I couldn't keep up for more than about 5 minutes, and there are about 3 pairs I've already moved to the "donate" pile, as I only wore and washed them a couple times before I decided that they really were too small, but didn't feel like ripping them out, even when that would only really involve making the foot a little longer. A lot of the earlier ones are also looking somewhat the worse for wear; no holes as yet, but more the heels felting or pilling really badly. They're pretty sorry-looking and even though they might fit someone else, I wouldn't want to donate something that looked as awful as these things do.

Of course this will also answer my mother when she says, upon seeing me knitting another sock, "More socks? Don't you have enough socks?"

The answer, obviously, is "No, mother. You can never have enough hand-knit socks."

I'll probably have to knit her some, just so she can see for herself. ;)

As for knitting other than socks? I had a brainwave tonight (just before I, um...announced we were closing in five minutes an hour before we actually closed *facepalm*), and have an idea for another project. This would be for whenever I finish the afghan and the Swallowtail Shawl, and a couple scarves and...

I need to learn to function without sleep so I can knit. Can't someone invent some kind of regeneration thing like the Borg use (circa Star Trek: The Next Generation) at least?

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