Saturday, May 31, 2008

A fine and hearty stash

Yesterday I hopped on my bike and went on down to the "More Than Just a Yardage Sale" hosted by the Textile Museum of Canada. Apparently this is a yearly event that I've been totally missing out on. Fabric, notions and yes, yarn are all sold off cheapy-cheapy to raise funds for the museum. Woah Nelly! Talk about accidental stash enhancement!

Because I never met a bulky I didn't like:

4 skeins of mystery yarn similar to Burly spun. The label only tells me it's wool and made in Canada.More bulky bits:
I think it may be Lopi, though it's not quite as rough. Who's willing to bet there's a dude walking around in a ski sweater in those colours?

Then I got a little cotton-eyed:

Five skeins of a yummy sunshine-yellow (the colour is considerably more vibrant than in this photo). I think this may become a baby item of some kind. What with all of my friends being 30ish this reproduction business appears to be a booming trend. I must fortify the stash in preparation!

THIS cotton however, tricked me:

What appeared to be a bag of 6 skeins of Katia, turned out to be 4 skeins of Katia and 2 skeins of Pingouin. Sneaky! (The yarns are almost identical despite a slight variance in the shade of black). I must have picked this up in the thick of the yarn-tent frenzy as I a) do not particularly enjoy knitting with cotton yarn and b) most definitely do not enjoy knitting with black yarn of any variety. Ah well, I'll let it marinate in the stash for a while and see what happens.

In the infinitely more usable category:

Grey worsted superwash merino. Could this BE more versatile?

Bringing in the rear (tee-hee), a little bit of luxury:

A skein of lace-weight merino/silk blend. There were actually two skeins, one red which I gave to Laura. I'm not super keen on lace-weight projects and the red was too much on the orange side for my taste. She was there, she looks good in red, I had stash guilt, it all came together. (Laura made an awesome score herself, which I'm sure will be blogged in due time)

So that's the haul! The best part? $31.00. THIRTY ONE DOLLARS! For ALL of it! I'm a sucker for a deal and this is why my stash is at least 50% thrifted. I feel a little embarrassed that my stash has grown to such monumental proportions but it looks like I'm going to need it. Remember that whole job-quitting thing? The new laptop? New cell phone? I'm going to need a hearty stash to get through the lean months. Now if only I could pay my rent in yarn...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Good Life

Welcome to my new office:

My co-workers are pansies but the coffee is much better. And what's this in my new "cubicle"?

A finished pair of Prairie boots!

PATTERN: Prairie Boots from Coco Knits
YARN: Renolds Reynolds Icelandic Lopi Tweed (thrift store find)
NOTES/MODIFICATIONS: I had a bit of trouble getting gauge which may explain why the slippers are a little on the big side. The sole turned out exactly the same size as my foot, but the boot upper is a little too roomy. If I were to knit them again, I'd go down a needle size for the body of the boot. I might go back with a single ply of yarn and crochet around the the button holes to stabilize them a little. Overall though, it's a very clever and well-written pattern. Quick too!

(I sympathize with sock knitters everywhere; taking a picture of one's own feet is not an, feat.) I can't say I'm distraught about the sizing issue considering current temperatures in my new workspace (knit flip-flops might be more appropriate). And how 'bout them buttons?

Yes, I bought different buttons. They may look quite similar to those in my last post, but I'm infinitely more happy with them.

And to complete the outdoor office/knitwear portion of today's program:

My new cell phone got a new cozy!

PATTERN: CO 26sts, knit in the round for a while, 3-needle bind off - finit!
YARN: Noro Kureyon Sock (I think the colour is S184 - left over from this)
NEEDLES: 2.5 mm
NOTES/MODS: I'm aware this looks like a woolly prophylactic, but I'm cool with that.

Now where's that squirrel with my files?

Friday, May 23, 2008

How do you spell "chotchkies"?

Tuesday was my last day at the office and I spent most of it cleaning out the old "cube":

I can't seem to find appropriate places for my office chotchkies at home. Is that a sign?
Then there's the plant from my cubicle:

Totally thriving in it's new home -and I'm terrible at keeping plants alive! Is that a sign?
If that's not enough, I nearly forgot this book at the office:

That's totally a sign, right?
Perhaps I'm just reading too much into it.

Funny, that now that I have all the time in the world to blog my little heart out, I've been totally uninspired. It's not like I haven't been knitting:

I have one prairie boot pretty much finished. I even bought buttons:

I'm not really happy with my choice, so I think these are going to end up in what will eventually become a button stash. Heck, I have a yarn stash, a fabric stash, what's one more stash? Buttons are small. Time to start hording!

I turned the heel on my the sock that's been living in my purse for a while:

I can't say I turned it well:

I really have no excuse for turning out such a sloppy heel considering I knit it at stitch 'n' bitch where I was surrounded by expert knitters. Expert sock knitters no less. I keep claiming to be "not a sock knitter" but maybe that's just an excuse to continue knitting them poorly. This is the fourth pair of socks I've knit after all!

And then there's Ms.Marigold:

She's progressing at an alarming rate. Now that she's at the point where I just knit around and around in stockinette, I'm saving her for "mindless knitting". I can't keep knitting that same sorry old sock at stitch 'n' bitch!

I'm sure before long, I'll be blogging up a storm with all this new-found free time. In the meantime, you can find me on Facebook. Yes, I finally broke down and joined the masses. I am a lemming. I resisted for as long as possible but sadly, it seems to be the only method by which some people communicate*. Besides now that I'm unemployed self-employed: I gotta network, baby!

*If you ever catch me using "facebook" as a verb, as in "I'll facebook you tonight!", please shoot me. (Yes, I realize I use blog as a verb all the time. But that's funny!)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Think Pink

It's a long weekend here in Toronto and while half of the city's population has packed up and headed north to ready their cottages for summer, I'm reveling in the peace and quiet. As much as the rain is putting a damper on things, at least it will force me to stay indoors and get some work done instead of doing this:

After such a long and snow-heavy winter, every time the sun comes out all I want to do is sit on my patio with a cocktail and do a little knitting. This little number is the Ms.Marigold vest from Zephr style. The yarn is a thrift score from last summer I originally intended to over-dye but I may just keep it as is. Neutral works best for layering, n'est pas?

After last week's washcloth turned out too nice for washing dishes, I came up with a new dish-cloth agenda. I will try out new patterns and techniques with the cotton yarn I have in my stash and use the resulting swatches as dish cloths. Win-win!

This is the Pin Box slip stitch pattern from Barbara Walker's Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns (pg.68). I've been trying work on my colour knitting skills and this taught me a whole new technique: colour slip-stitch knitting. I was under the impression all colour-work was either of the stranded/fair isle variety or intarsia. Turns out these techniques have a lesser known sibling; kind of like the Stephen Baldwin of knitting. Um, except with a more appealing body of work.

Once I got the hang of it this slip-stitch thing was pretty easy and fun. Unfortunately, the nature of the technique results in a less than smooth fabric, but I suspect the cotton I knit with exaggerated the problem.

Despite it's imperfections, it sure beats a dollar-store sponge for washing dishes!

And while we're on a pink-kick, allow me to introduce you to my snazzy new water receptacle:

This little peach is one of the many schmancy designs from Sigg (purchased at Curbside Cycle here in Toronto). I can't say I've totally bought into the whole panic about bisphenol A, however I did need to replace my 3-year old, sorry-looking Nalgene bottle. These puppies are such hot sellers I had to settle for my third choice of design. Third choice, yes, but I still love it! If you're gonna avoid "hormone disruptors", this sure is a cute way to do it:

Enjoy your May two-four!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Lazing on a sunny afternoon

Ah, the weekend. If there is one thing I'll miss about having a 9-5 job, it's the exhilarating feeling of freedom that comes with the weekend. Nothing makes Saturday feel better than Monday through Friday spent in a cubicle. I celebrated my Saturday freedom with brunch and a little sock knitting:

I brought this poor little sock out from hibernation recently, deciding it should live in my purse instead of the bottom of the stash. As a result, it's actually getting knitted. Fancy that! Though I seem immune to sock knitting fever, I do agree that they make good travel projects.

During said brunch with m'lady Cathy, we got to talking about washcloths. (Not your usual topic of conversation over eggs and coffee but believe it or not it came up) I love knitted cloths for washing dishes yet have never knit one - quite a shocker for Cathy as she swears the washcloths she does her dishes with were in fact, knit by me. (I told her she can continue to tell people I knit them, as long as they look nice). Later that afternoon I decided to do something about this washcloth situation:

Nothing beats a little cocktail and some outdoor knitting on a sunny afternoon! And what's that in the background?

I "accidentally" went into Lettuce Knit and lord knows I can't leave that place empty handed. I finally picked up the latest Vogue Knitting, and got myself a copy of the Knitting Workshop to boot. I figured it's about time I jumped on that Zimmerman bandwagon!

But back to the washcloth:

Cute, no?

PATTERN: Flower Power washcloth from Whimsical Knitting Designs
YARN: Blue Sky organic cotton in "sage"
NEEDLES: 4.5 mm
NOTES/MODS: The pattern includes three different instructions for decreasing the centre section and I used the "spiral" instructions. If I hadn't had this yarn leftover from a past project, I probably wouldn't have used it because it's just too darn nice! The cloth ended up being a lot larger than I anticipated and I now realize this pattern is probably meant to be a face-cloth not a dish-cloth. Regardless, the pattern is very simple and quick and I'll definitely be knitting more of these. But this one? Far too soft and lovely to be scrubbing my dishes! I'm going to put it away to have on hand for a gift. A nice soft washcloth with some schmancy soap? Who wouldn't want that? Actually, that would make a good mother's day gift, non? Don't forget to call your mummies today!


Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Frolic, part deux: The Twin Colours

I never really intended to use Lord of the Rings references for my Knitter's Frolic posts. I'm just not that kind of girl. Oh sure, I enjoyed reading the books and watching the movies, but I'm not obsessive about it. I don't speak Elvish or belong to an Orlando Bloom fan club or anything. (Okay, to be honest, I actually had a brief thing with Mr.Bloom after seeing the first Pirates movie, but we're totally broken up now!) When I think about it though, the L.O.T.R thing is actually sort of fitting. Adventure! An epic journey! ! The wizardry of yarn! The wizardry of yarn? Okay, maybe this is beginning to sound more nerdy than speaking Elvish. As per usual, I'm probably just over analyzing my actions. Did anyone even notice that I followed up "The Fellowship of the Yarn" with "The Twin Colours"? Probably not. And hey, let's just get to the knitting shall we?

What are these twin colours I speak of? Intarsia!

At this year's Frolic I decided to take a class; "Picture This: Intarsia Knitting" with Maureen Mason-Jamieson. I've wanted learn colourwork techniques for a while now and I thought a class might be the only way to get off my keister and finally give it a go. I probably could have taught myself what we learned, but the classroom provided gossip I may not have picked up in a reference book. For instance; Kaffe Fassett uses knots at the back of his knitting and doesn't weave in ends! Gasp! For goodness sake, when you've got 45 colours and thousands of ends to weave in, who cares?

Turns out almost everybody. Well, at least everybody cares about seeing the back of your colourwork no matter what you do with your ends. Oh, right:

So at the end of my epic journey I realized intarsia was really not the land of Mordor after all. (Sorry, couldn't resist one last dorky reference). Now I can safely threaten to knit my boyfriend Cosby sweaters!

***note*** I don't have a third post about the Frolic coming, but if I did I would dub it; "Return of the String "