Thursday, November 29, 2007

3 quick things--hurry go do

1) Priscilla is having a contest and it closes tomorrow. It's about charity. Go enter!

2) There are still openings for Lucky Lurkers to get in on the newest sock club. Go buy a spot! Not just beautiful colours, but dreamy to knit and lovely to wear, too.

3) Make Mittens! Soaring Eagle Project needs more mittens for school kids. Quick to knit. Do it!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Weekend update

I have spent the weekend glued to the computer, writing a brilliant paper assigning Library of Congress Subject Headings. I didn't make time for blogging, there was too much head banging and gnashing of teeth. I have just turned the paper in, and am about to head off to knit and watch a DVD with my #1Man. So here's a few notes from the week.

Black Friday--that's what they call this crazy shopping day here in the States. I used to aggressively shop the flyers, but I determined that too many deals were only available if I was at the store's door at 5am. I don't do shopping at 5am. This year, I was throwing out the flyers when I noticed a store had a sale on Webkinz. These are the hottest toys in the fourth grade. Naturally, my #1grrl wanted one, too. I told her she wasn't going to have some toy she had to log on to feed, and she assured me she didn't need to interact with it online, she just wanted the soft and fuzzy cuteness to hold. So she saved up her allowance and has been bugging me for a trip to the store to get her a WebKinz. We ventured out on Black Friday, and I was amazed we were able to not only get a parking spot, but she found the very Webkinz she wanted, the pug. The grrl has good taste. :)

While we were out anyway, we took a trip to the yarn store. Yarn stores are above all this Black Friday nonsense, and there were no special sales or deals to encourage rampant spending, but I managed to spend, anyway. I had gone in thinking about Blue Sky Alpaca Organic Cotton, but this merino was exceptionally soft, and the very perfect colour.

Also, I haven't yet shown the Lucky Lurker November yarn I received. She's starting a new club for 2008. I thought long and hard about rejoining, but I've discovered I'm not much of a club person. As fun as it is to await a yarny surprise in my mailbox, I'd rather spend that money on colourways I choose myself. Hopefully some other Lucky Lurker will get my spot and I'm sure they'll love it. Anyway, this is the November yarn, which is Duet XXL. This is one huge chunk of yarn! It's so soft, as always, and I would have loved to cast it on. When the holiday knitting madness is over, I'm casting on this yarn, and my Larkyarn.

My Candleflame shawl is making good progress. I'm afraid I haven't knit a stitch on it at all today, but that's okay. I managed four--count them, four!--repeats over the last week. Today's knitting breaks were all about the new merino pictured above. I swatched and swatched, working towards some good measurements for a hat for my dad.

That's the week. kthnxbai.

(edited to fix picture disasters)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

candle flame update

No pictures of the candle flame shawl, but it looks just like it did before, only longer. I've been knitting it for 16 days, and I'm officially past the half way point at 36 inches, and 8 repeats. I managed to exceed my goals for the week. Instead of 2 repeats, I did 2.5. But I fell short for the weekend, only managing 1.5. Of course it all came out the same, but I had high hopes of being ahead.

I had a terrible setback Saturday when I finished the first ball of yarn and started the second. In a very short time, only 16 rows, the yarn had broken 6 times! At that point it was obvious I was foolish to continue--not to mention I didn't have much more spit-slicing left in me--and I switched balls of yarn. This means that if I finish up the current ball of yarn and don't try to employ the breaking ball of yarn, my project may come up some inches short. The final length should be 70", but I'm hoping to at least make it to 65" with what I have. I also hope the rounds knitted with the breaking yarn don't break further. Usually it seemed to be a weakness in one of the two plies.

In other news, my Jingle Spells CD arrived yesterday, but I only saw it this morning. It's pretty cute! It has already been loaded onto the kids' mp3 players, so they can enjoy it lots and lots, but the parents don't have to hear it over and over. That's one blessing of this modern technology. :)

Yarn Swap

Last night I attended an event which was entitled a Yarn Swap. For me, it was really all about touching everybody's yarn. I just couldn't get into the spirit of barter, but to wander around the room, getting my grubby fingers on all the fibre, well, that's as good as it gets, yes it is. Well, no, I just lied. Dinner out at a middle eastern restaurant with a bunch of rowdy grrls, that even trumped touching the stashes.

But I didn't just touch, I fell in love. And not with sock yarn! It was lace weight yarn. Which means, you see, I'm going to have to make lace. A one-skein lace project. This wasn't barter yarn, this was Yarn Pusher Yarn. As I was paying Lark for it, she asked if I had enough for my project. I responded that I didn't have a project, I just needed to have the colours. This is alpaca/soy silk delicious pettable squeezable yarn. I spent a great deal of time today trying to perfectly capture the colours with my camera.


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Deep Freeze

I've been wanting to freeze the Magic Cabin Wool that's been in quarantine, but I don't have space in my freezer. I finally realized that nature usually provides a nice big deep freeze for me, so I've boxed the wool up and placed it out in the middle of the backyard. Considering people are frolicking about outside in tank tops today, it seems unlikely I'll ever get a freeze, but rumour suggests it may well come.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Saturday Sky

Our gorgeous but unseasonable autumn weather continues, with people wearing shirt sleeves outdoors the weekend before American Thanksgiving.
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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

candle flame burning bright

I may well drive myself totally insane. My fear of knitting nothing but shawl for the rest of 2007 has driven me to sandwich in knitting when I shouldn't be knitting, and to articulate some lofty but achievable goals. At this point I'm trying to do 2 repeats a weekend, and 2 repeats a week. I'm right on schedule, at 5 repeats complete: 2 from last weekend, and 1 of 2 for this week.

I seriously am getting a little manic about this. I've noticed it takes me about 5 minutes per row, valuable information for when I'm knitting on a break at work. It helps me know when I have time to complete another row, and when I should just close up shop now. So last night I calculated that with 36 rows per repeat, that's 3 hours per repeat. Today I'm home with a sick grrlee, and while she rested, I was knitting against the clock. I time myself in pairs of rows, since the wrong side usually is faster. I started at 10 minutes per pair, but then got 8 minutes, and once even 6 minutes! After that, I evened out at 8 minutes per pair. At that speed I can save myself, oh, 36 minutes per repeat!

Okay, enough of this. I'm off to see if the grrlee can eat, then do some homework.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Conversation

I was sitting at a film, knitting while waiting for the event to start. The gentleman next to me inquired what I was knitting, and I told him it was a shawl, and showed him the picture on the pattern of the candle-flame design.

He: A good friend of mine has become really well known around the world as a knitting expert.

Me: Oh really?

He: Yes, maybe you've heard of her? Nancy Bush

Me: (have I heard of her? have I heard of her???? but I'm so cool and just say,) I have her books

He: In fact we just had dinner with them the other week. I grew up with her.

Me: (I pull my foot up from the darkness so he can see my Lost Lornas and say) She designed these socks!

He went on to tell me a little about her, nothing that isn't already in the common Nancy Bush lore, how she just travels the world looking at yarn, how she had the foresight to close down the physical shop Wooly West and just go online.

When will it be my job to travel the world, looking at yarn...

In Candle Flame news, I've finished 3 repeats and am 15 inches into it.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Saturday Sky

I've never officially joined the Saturday Sky rings, but the idea has always appealed to me. Just for kicks and grins, here's tonight's sky. It was so warm this afternoon that I found myself scooting to take the garbage out in barefeet.
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Mirror mirror

Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
who's the ADD-est of them all?

Goodness, even while all wrapped up in my own personal race against time to see if I can double my amount of knitting a week to make faster progress on the flame shawl, I've got that wandering eye! Today my eyes fell upon some plied home spun, not very much, but there it is, and I got all excited to spin more. I started thinking about socks from homespun. What's with that? I hardly have time to even pick up needles, what with all the homework I've got. Plus so many projects to finish, so many holiday season projects I'd like to do...

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Knitting update

First of all, Bella. Bella is not hibernating, but she needed a little time off. There were two issues.

Issue #1. I've never done knee-socks before and I wasn't entirely happy with the cuff. Not quite sure how to fix it, I backed off for a little while.
Look, up near the cuff... there's pooling! When I increased, I got pooling. I'm not a fan of pooling.

Issue #2. The unthinkable happened. I've composed funny short films (in my head) about this scenario. It's not so funny in real life. My neatly balled duets yarn fell out of the knitting bag and I kept walking. By the time I noticed, the ball was no longer a ball. It was not even a nice long line of yarn, it was a mess. I'm knitting from both ends of this ball, and it's very complicated to sort out. I'm afraid I just tossed the mess aside to deal with when I have, oh, more than 2 seconds of spare time. Which will be, uhm, some time in 2010?

Next up, the candle flame shawl. Princess Anne let me have the needles back. I cast on last Friday night, and at this point I have 8" complete. The goal is 70". Let's say I can knit 10 inches on this a week, this will take another 6 weeks to finish. That puts me way too close to Christmas, and no time for anything else! School, work, that's all got to go.

Moroccan Squash and Cous-Cous Stew

Tonight's dinner, Moroccan Squash and Cous-Cous Stew, was brought to you by 150 Vegan Favorites, a well-loved cookbook. Other favourites include Indian Lentils with Sweet Potatoes and Javanese Noodles with Lime-Peanut Sauce. Tonight's stew was rich with butternut squash and garlic & onions, and it was the first time I made it. The picky 13 year old hated it. What better recommendation do you need?

Make mittens!

Here's a shout-out for the Soaring Eagle Project. Make mittens or socks in easy-to-wash yarn for underprivileged kids. I know it's the time of year of mad Christmas knitting, as well as mad oh-my-god-I'm-cold knitting, but if you could squeeze in a couple pairs of mittens, that would be awesome. Mittens are so fast to make! My pirate mittens will be heading that way, but I broke my needle before I could get to the thumb. :( Another pair will be in the works as soon as I can go get something new and washable.

Soaring Eagle Project

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Autumn Sunday

All week I've been looking forward to escaping to the hills this weekend. And while I even scheduled the escape with the family, other forces intervened and I was forced to remain in the city all weekend. My paper is coming along very slowly, but I will crank out the final thousand words this evening, after a pizza-infused visit with a friend recovering from surgery.

While I didn't make it to the hills, I did get a lovely walk through the park to appreciate the gorgeous, if chilly, fall day.




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Lithuanian Socks, better pictures

I was unhappy with the pictures for my Lithuanian Amber Socks so I finally took new ones.

Friday, November 02, 2007


Yesterday, my knitting buddy at work and I took a lunch time stroll to the closest yarn store. Despite tremendous temptation, all I purchased was a pair of size 6 Clover Bamboo needles. This is in preparation for knitting a Candle Flame Shawl out of Knit Picks Gossamer in blue jeans. (Look! It's on clearance!) I really do like this yarn. It's all springy. My pink shawl is also made from gossamer, and I still love it. I actually wound this yarn into balls last January, fully intending to start on the shawl then. About time! I had originally set aside some Boye straight metal needles for this project, but at some point decided that bamboo would make me much happier.

Princess Anne, who lurves the new needles, is posed in front of an original print by Wally Pacholka at

Thursday, November 01, 2007

the one she loves, rubious red

Last night I picked out a CD for the late-night listen. As I put it in, I had this discussion...

Me: I want you to guess what CD I'm about to play
#1Man: You just want me to take a wild guess?
Me: You get one clue. The label.
#1Man: Oh, sure.
Me: Ryko
#1Man: John and Mary

That's right. He didn't even hesitate. I suppose it's not all that impressive, while we have a variety of discs published by Ryko, we don't have a zillion or anything. It just amuses me because I don't keep track of which labels release which CDs at all. While I could, tonight, rattle off every disc we own released by Ryko, simply because we had the conversation last night, I'll have forgotten in a week, and couldn't name the labels for my other CDs.

So. All my John and Mary CDs are out of print. But they're back together, making new discs, and performing. Look, I found a clip recorded this year of Claire's Scarf, from The Weedkiller's Daughter, which was last night's listen. It's live, which is cool, but I tell ya. On the CD version, you've got Mary Ramsey and Mary Margaret O'Hara howling like wolves. Now that's worth hearing.