Sunday, 30 December 2012

Gift Wrap 2012 (Part 2)

As promised, here is the second instalment of this years gifts.

First up is a scarf/neckwarmer thing that I sort of made up as I went along, so there's not really a pattern for it.

I knew I wanted to make a nice warm manly scarf without too much bulk, so I started out knitting a fisherman's rib scarf.  It's just a little different than regular 1x1 ribbing, all of the purl stitches are normal, but all of the knit stitches are knit into the stitch below the stitch on the needle.  It makes it a bit more complex and doubles up the warmth of the scarf because each stitch is being knit twice. Unfortunately this also makes the knitting go a lot slower.  So instead of knitting a full length scarf I decided to add the buttons and some buttonholes to make it more interesting and stay put without having to wrap around a bunch of times.  Invention out of laziness!

Next are the Endpaper Mitts by Eunny Jang.

After knitting the Deep in the Forest mittens (see part 1), these pretty much flew off the needles.  Such a fun, simple knit where after getting used to the pattern I only needed to glance at it to see what row I was on.  The only thing I changed from the written pattern was that I omitted one repeat (10 rows) of the cuff section since the recipient has pretty small hands.  Also, because I didn't feel like knitting all of the repeats.

Next is Bias, a long scarf which looks much nicer in real life than it does in the picture.  (I apologize for these next two pictures, they were taken hurriedly after 10 pm just minutes before they were stuffed into boxes to be wrapped up.)

This one was a very simple portable knit.  Most of it was knitted on my lunch breaks or on the bus home from work.  The yarn (sweet georgia silk crush) was so beautiful that I think a more complicated pattern would have hid the variegation, and then what's the point of a lovely variegated yarn?  Exactly.

And last for today, Camptown Races, a cowl (infinity scarf) that just about killed me.  Not literally.

This pattern only became available in November.  Once I had the pattern I needed to find the yarn.  As soon as I first laid eyes on this cowl I imagined it in grey and yellow and started searching for yellow yarn.  You may or may not know this, but nice yellow yarn is very hard to find.  Not only is the right yellow hard to find, but finding it in the correct weight was even harder.  So hard in fact, that I never did find the right colour in the correct weight.  The pattern called for sport weight, but the closest I came was fingering weight.  Since it's a cowl, the difference in weight wasn't crucial so once I found the right yellow I didn't even care that it wasn't sport weight.  I knew I wasn't going to get any closer.  More difficult than finding the right yellow was giving this away.  Even though the colours were chosen with my friend in mind, I totally love them too, and I don't even wear yellow.  I guess when it's the right yellow, the rules change.  Luckily I have enough yarn left over to make another one.  I don't know if I actually will make another one, but I could if I wanted to, and that's the important thing.

After my last post I finished my last bit of Christmas knitting, which will come in a future post as it has not yet reached its intended recipient.  A few weeks ago I had started to knit a little something for myself as I thought I was farther along with my knitting than I actually was, and I almost paid dearly for my hubris with my sanity.  I kept it together though, and after finishing my Christmas 2012 knitting I celebrated by finishing the Deviate shawl for myself.

Blocking is much more enjoyable (and nicer looking) now with the assistance of my new blocking wires and knitter's block, courtesy of the Enabler.

Unfortunately,  I will have to wait until next year to wear it.

Fortunately, next year is only two days away.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Gift Wrap 2012 (Part 1)

Merry Christmas everyone!

I know I know, it's Christmas day, I should be spending time with my family, not sitting in front of a computer writing something that nobody is sure to read until probably next year.

Well to that I have two things to say.  The first thing is that I already spent all day yesterday with my family, and I will also spend all day tomorrow with my family.  Today so far I have spent all morning and part of the afternoon with my family, and the trend suggests that I will also spend the remaining part of the afternoon and all of the evening with my family.  I think they probably won't miss me (and I them) for an hour or so.

The second thing is that now that much of the Christmas knitting that I did has been distributed to their intended recipients, I can't wait any longer to show the projects off!

As I have said before, I was a little overly ambitious this year.  Although I started out with good intentions and did not mean to nearly drive myself crazy with Christmas knitting madness, most of the gifts I started were with tiny yarn and tiny needles and it would have been fine if just one or two were like that, but there were only a couple that WEREN'T like that.  Big mistake.  One that I am not going to make again.  Actually I probably will make that mistake again but at least not until next Christmas.

So, here are some of the projects that have now found their new homes (many of them photographed using my new photo studio in a box!.. but edited on my dad's computer which does not have much of a photo editor on it so I can't adjust colours/levels as much as I'd like to, but gimme a break, it's Christmas.):

First up, Highwayman Armwarmers for the Enabler.

This is the first time I have succeeded in knitting something for him in secret, so I was pretty proud of myself.  The colour of the yarn happened to perfectly match the colours that he picked out for the Earth and Sky scarf (shawl) that I made for him earlier this year, so I knew this yarn had to be something for him.  He wanted fingerless mitts for driving, so when I found this pattern I knew it was the perfect choice.

Next is the Cuss Hat for my (not so) little brother.

My evil big sister side really wanted to knit one of the... um... less family friendly charts, but better sense prevailed and I stuck with this one even though the other ones would have been hilarious.  Maybe when he's older. 

And now one of the most knitting madness inducing projects I took on this Christmas, Deep in the Forest Mittens for my mom.

The first one wasn't too bad, but I gotta say that starting the second mitten took an enormous strength of will and I nearly didn't make it.  Totally worth it though.

The last thing for today has a bit of a story to go with it.  Last year I made my dad a pair of fingerless mitts that he (said he) loved, but couldn't wear due to the Itch Factor.  Turns out that he has a sensitivity to wool, which is not something that a knitter likes to hear.  I vowed to make a better decision for him this year, so I chose a silk/cotton blend and was going to make him another pair of fingerless mitts.  Then I realized that silk/cotton would not make very good mitts, so for some inexplicable reason I decided to knit a tie instead.

Yes you read that right, a tie.  This tie, specifically (with modifications).  Who knits a tie??  Apparently I do.  This was clearly a symptom of my knitting induced madness.

In my haze, I knit the tie.  All 60 inches of it.  Well okay, it was about 62 inches by the time I stopped knitting, but that's because I kept measuring it and it was 58 inches every time I measured it.  I swear, three times over the course of an evening I measured it, and it was 58 inches.  After the third time I knew it had to be getting close, so I knit a few more rows, measured again, and it was 62 inches.  At that point I did what I could to retain some semblance of my sanity, and instead of ripping it back I said "CLOSE ENOUGH" and grafted the end together.

Then I blocked it.  I figured that it would grow a little during the soak, so I tried not to stretch it when I was pinning it out.  I measured it as I went and still managed to keep it to about 64 inches which I deemed CLOSE ENOUGH.

Finally Christmas Eve came around and I gave my dad the tie.  He was initially confused, then excited (only my dad would be excited over a knit tie... my knitting madness must have known that).  He put it on right away, but it was immediately obvious that it was too long.  He grabbed one of his usual ties, and we measured the ties next to each other.  The knitted tie was 72 inches long.  As my dad is about 5'9", the tie was taller than he is.  Something had to be done, as I wasn't about to let the second present in a row be a failure.

I slept on it, and today I did a tie-putation.  I marked the 60 inch point with a needle and set to ripping the tail back.

It was actually pretty fun.
It didn't take that long before I'd ripped it back enough, got the stitches back on the needle and grafted the end back together.

Now my dad is totally ready to rock.  All the other dads on the playground are gonna be super jealous.

Best tie/shirt combo EVAR

Sunday, 9 December 2012

I have no regrets

Dear Christmas Knitting,

I'm going to start out by saying that you're great.  I've really enjoyed the last few months together.  There's been some ups and downs, but mostly it's been a pleasure.  However, lately I've been feeling a little claustrophobic.  I feel like I'm being smothered, which is totally not your fault.  I know it's a cliché but it's really true: it's not you, it's me.  You know I've always liked to dabble with different projects and you were okay with that.  We had an understanding.  When it was time to buckle down and focus on you I did it without complaint, and I really enjoyed myself.  But now there's only one project left to be done this year, and I need a bit of a break.  Don't get me wrong, I fully intend to see this through, and I certainly don't want to neglect you.  I made a commitment, and I'm going to stick to it.  But you see, I have over two weeks to complete it, and two weeks is a long time to be knitting just one thing...

I think you see where this is going.  Fine, I'll admit it... I slipped.  I cast on another project, this time for myself.  I was feeling like I was giving and giving and I had nothing more to give.  I needed a little space, a little me time.  I'll come back to you soon, I promise.  I really just need a couple of hours with the new project.  If you saw it, you'd understand.  It's beautiful, and feels wonderful.

I'm sorry, I probably shouldn't have said that, but it's true and I feel like honesty is the best policy.  I hope you can forgive me.  I'll do my best to make it up to you... in a couple of hours.  Maybe a day.  I promise I'll see you soon.

With warm regards,

- Wooloholic


P.S. Yes, I started knitting Deviate.  I had sort of planned to knit Askew, but the needle size it called for was 3.5 mm and one of my 3.5 mm circular needles is stuck in the apparently never to be finished Honeycomb vest, and the other is stuck in the final Christmas project of 2012 (There's one more to be done which is technically part of Christmas 2012 but it doesn't need to get done until January so I'm not counting that one).  I obviously couldn't wait that long to cast on something new so when I saw that Deviate was knit with a 4 mm needle that solidified my decision.  Of course I managed to misplace the 4 mm needle somewhere between taking it out of the needle roll and sitting down to start knitting.  In between I had put away some patterns and some leftover yarn and made myself some tea and I came back to the couch and it had completely disappeared.  I thought I was losing my mind, and we combed the house up and down for it... and then I found it in my bin of leftover yarn.  I am so smart.

Just so there's more than one photo in this post, here is a teaser photo of the yarn for the final project!

And that's all you're gonna get.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

The problem with Christmas knitting

I started my Christmas knitting back in August.  I haven't just been knitting things for Christmas since then, but it has been on and off and there has always been a gift on the go.  Naturally, I can't post my finished (or even in-progress) items on here, because that would ruin the surprise for people at Christmas.  The reason I didn't post at all in November (aside from my super long last post) is because I have been knitting ONLY things for Christmas.  That's right.  Since I finished the Storm Fir Shawl, I haven't knit anything for myself because frankly I just haven't had the time.  I realized with about 45 knitting days to go that I still had a number of projects left to finish (or even start), and so it's been crunch time since then.  I was pretty sure that there was no way I was going to get it all done.  I thought about scaling back a project or two, but ultimately it wouldn't have been what I wanted to do so I stuck with my original plans.  I then started to prioritize.  I bumped back a project that didn't need to get done until January, and focused on the ones that need to be done before Christmas.  All I've been doing lately is knitting, so I haven't had time to blog, even if I DID have any projects that I could post pictures of.

Now it's December 1.  I've made a lot of progress in the last week, so my situation doesn't seem as dire to me as it did before.  I'm not out of the woods yet, but I can see a faint glimmer of light through the trees.

Which is a good thing, because as much as I totally love knitting things for other people, I have a whole bunch of things that I want to knit for myself.  Such as one of these two shawls by Lisa Mutch.

I think I am leaning towards Askew (pun intended), but I also really love Deviate.  The yarn is indigodragonfly MCN Sock in "Ooooo.. Shiny...".  If that isn't the best colour name ever I don't know what is.  Go check out their list of available yarn and just read the colour names, they are hilarious!  The yarn itself is pretty great too.

So that's about all I'm going to say for today...  Oh, I can show you one more thing!  I've been making tiny sock Christmas ornaments.  They are like potato chips, just one is not an option!  I have a bunch of them by now and I just love them.  They're so quick and adorable I can't even stop myself!

And for good measure, here is a picture of my cat sitting funny.

He thinks he's people!

Monday, 5 November 2012

Better get comfy, it's a long one!

Today is day one of my second (and last) vacation for this year.  Which, of course, means I've been up and about since 6 am.  The Enabler still has to work this week, and he gets up at waytoodamnearly-o'clock which means I wake up as well.  That's okay with me as I've never been one for sleeping in, but it seems a little silly to get up so early when I don't have to.

Then I reminded myself that last time I was on vacation I had all these plans for things that I wanted to do, and barely did any of them.  I also reminded myself that I still haven't done any of those things, and this is basically going to be my last chance.  This is still going to be a fairly busy week, but I'm going to try to get as many things done today as I possibly can.

First thing on the list was breakfast.

Second thing on the list was to write a new post since it's been over a week (again).  Last week was busy with Halloween and concert-going, and then on Saturday my creative efforts were directed toward making brownies for a family gathering that I had yesterday.

My mom had asked me to bring a couple of pans of brownies to this gathering and I really wanted to make good ones.  Everyone has their own idea of what a good brownie is, and I didn't have a recipe that I thought would be suitable.  I asked my BFF Stephanie for suggestions and she immediately suggested The Baked Brownie.  I read over the recipe and description - which explained that true brownies should be fudgey (not cakey), and should not have frosting (as in, they shouldn't need frosting to taste amazing) - and knew that this was going to be my best bet.

I read the recipe a few times and made sure I had everything before I started, but they still got off to a rocky start when I realized that although I had confirmed that I had the butter, eggs, chocolate, and sugar, I hadn't bothered to check if I had enough flour.  I always assume that I have flour, because it runs out so rarely, but I had about a cup and a half which was definitely not enough for my double batch of brownies.  So the lovely Enabler ran out to get me some and I started up again, this time definitely prepared.

That's what a pound of butter and 22 ounces of chocolate looks like before melting...
... during melting...
... and after melting and after 4 cups of sugar have been added.
After that point I got so excited that I forgot to take any more pictures of them until there were almost none left.  They seriously were the best brownies I've ever had, and if you want to know what they looked like, click the link to the recipe above, because that actually is what they look like.  And then stop thinking about how good they look, and make them.  You owe it to yourself.  You've been good this year, and a diet can't last forever.  Besides, winter is coming, and a little extra insulation couldn't hurt.

Ok enough about that, although I could probably talk about the brownies for awhile.  Now for my other favourite type of insulation, wool!  My LYS is having another knit-along for November, the Storm Fir Shawl.  As soon as I saw this I knew I wanted to make it.  Most of my knitting is on tiny needles with tiny yarn and I needed a break from it, and I also needed to take a break from Christmas knitting and knit something for myself.  The description of it also really appealed to me as it says it's possible to cast on in the morning and have it blocking by the evening, or if you have more time it can be a "relaxing weekend knit".

So, the last weekend in October, that's what I did (yeah I couldn't even wait until November).  I cast on on Saturday afternoon and knit well into the evening.  Unfortunately at about 10:30 I realized something very disturbing.  A few rows down from where I was knitting, there was a blunt piece of yarn sticking up from the shawl.  It looked like someone (probably a gremlin) had taken a scissor to it.  Upon closer inspection I saw that the yarn had started to come apart and the stitches were only held together by a few tiny strands of fibre.  Of course, panic set in and I quickly started weighing my options.  The first thing I tried was to thread some yarn onto a needle and try and duplicate the stitch where it was coming apart, but as I was attempting to do that the fibre gave way completely and I just had a hole in the middle of the shawl with no idea of how to fix it that way.

The only other viable option that I could think of at that hour of the night was to take it off the needle completely and frog it down to the hole.  So that's what I did.  I ripped back roughly four rows of knitting, and painstakingly attempted to put the shawl back onto the needle.  This was very stressful and took awhile, and when I finally had it back on the needle, my stitch count didn't make sense.  I looked at the pattern and at the shawl and saw that I had definitely dropped a few of the yarn-over stitches.  It was much later by this point, and the only thing I could think to do was tink back another two rows.  So that's what I did.  I undid two more rows of knitting which took ages, and counted my stitches.  Finally the stitch count made sense.  I still needed to make sure that it was alright so I knit another two rows to confirm where I was in the pattern.  At that point it was after 1:00 am so I realized I should probably go to bed.  The Enabler had long made himself scarce and gone to bed because I think I was scaring him with my fevered knitsanity.  Part of me knew that I shouldn't be trying to fix it so late at night and when I was so stressed, but the part of me that won out was the part that knew I wouldn't be able to sleep if I left the shawl in a messy heap of dropped stitches.

The worst part was thinking that maybe I had done something to cause the rip in the yarn, or that the yarn was too delicate for the pattern, or that it was going to happen again.  Maybe I accidentally caught it on something?  Maybe my scissors got near it somehow when I wasn't paying attention?  Maybe I pulled too hard on the softly spun yarn?

The next day when I went back to knitting it went smoothly, and when I got back to the end that had torn, I looked more carefully at it and saw that it was a manufacturing error.  When the yarn was being plied it had torn, and they tried to tie the broken ends together by giving it a few extra tight wraps, but it didn't work, and that's why it came apart.  Not my fault after all.

I did end up finishing the shawl that day, but I still wouldn't call it a relaxing weekend knit.  Not the "relaxing" part anyway.  The yarn I used was Baby Alpaca Sport by Diamond Luxury.  It was lovely and I will use it again, but I will try to be on the lookout for other breaks in the yarn like the one I had because that was not fun.

Olivia thought it was very soft and lovely and would have kept kneading it and probably slept on it if I had let her.
After blocking.
 It is a much softer and probably drapier yarn than the one called for in the pattern, so after blocking it still didn't hold the points on the bottom edge very well, but I don't really mind.  It's so soft it's like wearing a warm fluffy cloud around my neck!  Also it means I finally have a neutral coloured shawl/scarf to wear with my crazy coloured shirts, and I can look knitterly every day.  Success!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012


Today is one year from when I started this blog.  I know most bloggers call this day their "blogiversary" but my friend Amanda said she hates that word so I came up with blogthday.  Are you happy now, Amanda?  Are you?  You shouldn't be, because I'm pretty sure blogthday is even stupider than blogiversary.  I kinda like it, stupid as it is.  However, I'm willing to change it if anyone can come up with something better.  Go on, I dare you.

Truth time, I'm actually writing this on October 23, not October 24.  I'm writing it a bit early because I'm getting sicker by the moment and I'm pretty sure I won't have the energy to do it on the actual day.  As such, although there are things I could theoretically take pictures of, I can't do it because there is/was no light today/yesterday.  It is/was raining all day today/yesterday so outdoor pictures are out of the question, and it's so grey outside that there is almost no natural light coming in through the windows, especially since it is after 5 pm.  I forgot to turn on the light before I sat down at the computer, and there is considerably more light coming off the computer screen than through the window.

Anyhoo, all that to say that I don't have a lot of new pictures right now, which is kinda too bad for you, because this last weekend was the annual fall knitting retreat hosted by Wolseley Wool, and it was lots of fun, and I got a bunch of stuff that I don't have pictures of!  The lack of pictures isn't bad for me, because I can just look at all my lovely new yarn and fibre in person, but you can't.  So you'll have to wait.

Nothing nearly so dramatic as the drop spindling fiasco happened this year, which is kind of too bad because it made for a good story.  The classes I took this year were how to make toe-up socks, and tips on photography for knitters.  I successfully made toe-up socks with no tears, and I got to use a lightbox, with which I took this picture:

As awesome as taking pictures on my bed or on the windowsill is, a lightbox is pretty cool.  I think I'm gonna get one.  Or maybe someone will get me one.  *fingers crossed*

Then we went outside and took pictures of a shawl hanging on a tree.

It's a very lovely shawl and I would like to knit it someday, but I did not knit this one, so I didn't take that many pictures of it.

Then I took a picture of the woodland scenery around us.

And then I took a picture of my feet in the leaves.

Exciting right?  I know, I can barely contain myself remembering it all.  Seriously though, it was a good class and I did learn some good things.  Basically what I learned is that my camera doesn't really have a lot of useful settings on it, and I need a better one if I'm going to become Very Serious about my pictures.  But while I'm just kinda serious, it does just fine.

Another good part of the retreat was the White Elephant game, where we bring some unloved yarn and do a swap.  I brought three balls of black Bernat Boa (shush, I got them when I was still crocheting with acrylic and didn't know any better!), and I left with two balls of grey mottled Lana Grossa sock yarn.  I think that's a definite step up.  More than a step, that's a few flights of stairs up.  Like, I couldn't climb that many steps without getting out of breath.  So yeah, it was a good swap.

Nothing much else to report, I'm well into Christmas knitting so most of what I have going on will not be pictured until after the gifts have been gifted.  I've always got something for myself on the go, though, so I'm sure I'll have something to show off soon.

Seriously though, I can't believe it's already been a year!  I also can't believe I'm actually still doing this semi-regularly.  Most of the things I get interested in fall by the wayside after a little while.  Except for knitting.  I guess since I'm writing about the thing I love to do the most it helps me to keep this up.  Also because I like showing off, that helps too.

Tune in next time... for something!

Monday, 15 October 2012

Delayed Gratification

I think one of the most frustrating things to experience as a knitter is finally finding the perfect pattern, only to discover that it is not available for purchase. I went through this with the 16-cable hat already, and now I'm running into the same problem with a project that I want to make for someone for Christmas. The pattern will allegedly be available in November, but does that mean early November? Mid? Late? It's not a tiny project so I want to leave myself at least a month to get it done, and even that might be pushing it depending on the other things that will need to get done. Should I try to find another pattern, even though I'm positive that I won't find anything as perfect? I'm not confident enough in my skills to wing it, and I know it wouldn't end up being as lovely as I want it to be. I think I'll have to just buy the yarn that I'll need and then concentrate on the rest of my Christmas knitting. *grumble*

I'm not good at waiting.

Back to the 16-cable hat, I finally got the pattern for it and ended up knitting back in spring. Which, of course, was too warm to wear by then. So the finished hat went into my finished projects bag to be blocked eventually, and was forgotten about.

A couple of weeks ago I realized that I had a few things sitting in the "to block" pile and decided to have a little block party. The attendees: the 16 cable hat, the Earth and Sky for the Enabler, and Christmas gift the first. I should mention that Earth and Sky was finished in summer, but I was lazy about blocking it since it was also too hot to wear until now.  But now, in the throes of fall, it's the perfect manly accessory.

While I was knitting it I kept accidentally calling it his shawl but always corrected myself to call it a triangular scarf.  He's pretty okay with calling it a shawl though, so now that's what it is.

"I wonder if this is what she meant when she said I didn't have to look right at the camera?  Does staring off into the distance make me look cooler?  Will people recognize that I'm a unique hipster snowflake with my out of frame stare and ambiguous smirk?"
And, my finally blocked hat.  It's super soft and warm and purple.  I might have made the bigger version if I thought I would have had enough wool but I think I would have run out, and it wasn't worth it to buy another one, even though I think I would have liked it more.

"I'm just going to make him take a profile shot because whenever he takes a picture of me straight on my face looks weird.  Plus it's a picture of a hat so a straight on picture wouldn't make sense.  Good excuse right?  Right."
I still really like it, but if I'm being honest, almost a year of waiting from when I found the pattern to finally wearing it was long enough to curb my desire for it a little bit.

I have other things capturing my desires now, but with so much Christmas knitting to do in the next couple of months, I'm going to have to keep waiting.

... I hate waiting.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

At Last

Almost a year ago now, I wrote this post in which I mentioned my desire to make this hat out of this yarn.  Even though this desire was intense, I pushed it aside in favour of Christmas knitting and didn't get around to ordering the yarn for it.  My indecision on which colours to choose (they're all so pretty!) didn't help matters either.

A couple of months later, I bought some other yarn for the hat which I thought would work well.  I decided to stick with the classic combination of white and grey since it goes with everything, but I made the bold decision to reverse the colours, making grey the main colour and white the pattern colour.  It looked really nice.

However, after I had done the ribbing of the brim (twice, since I had the wrong needle size the first time), and done a couple of inches of the body of the hat, I realized that something was wrong.  I was knitting on a 16" circular needle, and the hat was close to the same size that the needle was.  If you know me well, you know that hats that say "one size fits all" don't fit me, because my head is bigger than "all" apparently.  This is why I like making my own hats.  

(As an aside, when the Enabler and I were in Minneapolis we went to the Twins game, and I was getting really overheated so we decided to go get me an overpriced Twins baseball cap just to keep some of the sun off of my face, and I had to get one of the men's hats because the ladies hats were all too small.  Honestly, I have a giant head.  Sorry, Mom... again.)

Anyway, so you see my problem.  My head is clearly larger than 16" around, and colourwork isn't very stretchy.  There was no way that it was going to be able to stretch enough to accommodate this bowling ball that I carry around on my shoulders.  So I stopped knitting it.

I still liked the yarn, so I briefly considered trying to do math and figure out how I could make the yarn work for the hat by measuring my gauge, comparing it to the gauge in the pattern, and then adding the appropriate number of repeats.  I even took the needle out of the hat and put the brim on my head to see how close it was to the right size, and confirmed that my head is not the size of a toddler's.  I got the brim on but just barely, and it would definitely have been much tighter than the slouchy beret style hat I so desired.  So I shoved the yarn and the partial toddler hat into a bag and forgot about it, until I eventually found it and put it out of its misery.

Some months later, the Enabler ended up travelling to Seattle on business.  Before he left he found out that there is a yarn store that sells Brooklyn Tweed yarns a mere 30 minute ferry ride away from downtown Seattle.  After I stopped jumping up and down with glee, I set to giving him my order for which colours I wanted.  I still couldn't decide exactly which I wanted to make the hat with so I ended up choosing a few different ones, thinking I could decide once I got them.  I've gotta say, the Enabler did not disappoint.  He even surprised me with a few extra things, just because.

Left to right: Hayloft, Meteorite, Faded Quilt, Button Jar, and Snowbound
Once I had the yarn in front of me, I settled on Snowbound for the main colour, and Button Jar for the contrast colour; and when I finally cast on for the hat, I knew it was right.  This yarn is everything that I hoped it would be, and this hat is even more than I hoped it would be.  It's not finished yet, but I'm getting close.  The cold weather that hit recently is spurring me on.  Even though it's so close to being done, I couldn't wait to write about it because it's just so lovely.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go listen to Etta James and knit my long-awaited perfect hat.

Thursday, 27 September 2012


Vacation.  Finally.  Although of course by the time I get around to writing a new post, my vacation is almost over.  It's been fairly busy though!  The first 5 days or so were spent in Minneapolis with the Enabler, and after getting back home I was so excited to be back home with the cats and my spinning wheel and homemade food that I kind of just hibernated for a few days, and blogging was nowhere on my mind.

Not that Minneapolis wasn't great, because it totally was!  I rarely go on vacation to a place where I could see myself living, but I could definitely see myself living in Minneapolis, if it weren't for the fact that it's not in Canada.  But we can't fault it for that.

We went to a number of amazing restaurants, went to a Twins game, the "premium outlet mall" in Albertville, and even *gasp* the Mall of America, and I loved every bit of it.  We walked through downtown many times, walked through the sculpture garden, spent all of our money (and then some), and basically had a lovely time.  I didn't take that many pictures because I so rarely do anything with my (non knitting related) pictures that it just wasn't worth spending my vacation behind a camera lens this time.  I did take a few though, here are some of my favourites:

Minnesota: #1 in voter fraud.
Target Field.  The Twins lost to the Chicago White Sox 9-2.  We had fun anyway.
On the roof of Brit's Pub, beside the rooftop lawn bowling green.
A cinnamon twist and a maple bacon long john from Yo-Yo's Donuts.
Holy.  Crap.
The Enabler showing off his impressive lung capacity.
Knitbomb found on the bridge close to the sculpture garden.
Size 75 (35 mm) knitting needles at StevenBe, otherwise known as "Yarnia" (according to one of the lovely employees that I spoke with).
Oh that's right, I went to StevenBe as well.  We parked in front, followed the signs around to the back, walked through a small room containing above couch and knitting needles, as well as some various knitting bags, and stepped through a small door into one of the largest yarn stores I've ever been in.  Shelves of wool stretched from floor to (very high) ceiling, and there was another square of shelves centred around the middle of the room, which contained numerous chairs for sitting and knitting.  There was even coffee.  The Enabler followed me around for a little while before settling into one of the chairs for the wait so that I could pile yarn on him as needed.  I circled the shop a number of times, picking things up and putting them back down, not able to make a decision in the face of so much choice.  I was offered help by at least three separate employees, one of whom gave me a tour of the store, told me where everything was, and directed me to a few shop exclusives.  I mainly wanted to get things that I couldn't get at home, and so after a few more rounds of the shop I did manage to make some decisions.  I came away with a few local yarns as well as a skein of Three Irish Girls in a colourway exclusive to the shop, and maybe one or two others that were just too pretty to resist.  There was also an amazing selection of fibre, so I ended up getting some of that as well.  Surprised?  Me neither.

On the left is some Polworth top that the Enabler picked up for me in Seattle a couple of months ago (but I hadn't shown off yet), colourway is Blue Lagoon.  On the right is the merino roving that I got at StevenBe, colourway is Toucan.  I can't wait to spin these!
I'll be honest though, I haven't worked up the nerve to spin anything variegated that I REALLY like yet.  I've only spun up some of that giant bag of fleece (which takes a lot of work since it has to be hand carded before it can be spun), and a bit of Corriedale top that I got at my LYS.  I picked this up a little while ago since I was tired of only spinning purple, and when I saw the colours lying next to each other up on the shelf I just about had an aneurysm.

These need to be striped.  Seriously.
So I've been working on spinning that up, partly as practice and partly because it looks awesome, and maybe soon I'll get the cajones to dive into the super nice stuff!  I just don't want to muck them up, so I've been debating with myself how I should try spinning them, whether I want to try to keep the colours together or if I should try fractal spinning.  I also want to start working on making a thicker yarn, but I think I'll use practice fleece for that.

Oh, in case you were worried that I didn't do much knitting on my vacation, I also finished the Clapotis for myself out of tosh merino light.  I hearts it.  I am wearing it right now.  I may not ever take it off.

Yep.  It's good.