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.