Sunday, November 30, 2008

New arrival!

Well, it's been a busy week to say the least. It looks as though I'll be working on assignments and essays right into my holidays, because there's no way I'm going to finish everything before Thursday when school ends. The two things I absolutely have to get done are two presentations that I have on Wednesday and Thursday respectively. I wasn't very excited for my presentation for my Survey of Linguistic Theories class at first. However, this whole class has been a discovery for me that I don't dislike theory as much as I thought I did. The theory I'm going to present next week actually makes a lot of sense to me, and reconciles some of the differences between formal and functionalist views in linguistics. So, for those of you in my class, you can look forward to that this week.

As you can imagine, not a whole lot of knitting has been getting done. I've been working on the Christmas present for my sister. It's a secret, but maybe I'll give you a sneak peek next post.

The biggest news this week is that my friend Sean has become a father and welcomed his daughter Rena into the world. Check out the pictures of the new little one on his blog. She's absolutely gorgeous. I've got a knitting project for her nearly finished, but again, no pictures yet, because it's a surprise!! You'll get to see it after I mail it off and it arrives in Singapore. If you're on Ravelry, pictures might appear up there sooner.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

2am Adventures

It's fairly unusual for me to make this many posts in such a short time, but it's been an unusual couple of days.

I was woken up at 1:30am last night by my housemate shouting, "There's water pouring out of the wall!" And sure enough, their WAS water pouring out of the wall. Around where the water pipes are, to be exact, and the torrent was turning the floor into a floodplain. Luckily, the floor slopes down right about there, so it was taking longer to spread into the kitchen and laundry room. I ran to get some towels to form a barricade, to keep the water from spreading into the carpeted area, my roommate heroically waded into the torrent and found the water shutoff valve, and our housemate went to go find our landlady who lives above us on the 2nd floor of the house.

All 3 missions were successful. Well, nearly successful because our landlady wasn't home, but her son was and he assured us that the necessary calls would be made in the morning to have the water fixed. In the meantime, we were busily sopping up the water with towels and squeezing it into buckets, with our pyjama pants rolled up to our knees. Once the water was stopped, we were fairly efficient in getting rid of all the water, and removing anything that was at floor level to higher ground. Here's an action shot of my awesome roomies working hard to get the water cleaned up.

The morning was fairly uneventful with the exception of a small but persistent trickle of water which refused to stop running, but luckily was small enough that we could contain it. After having an expert in to assess the situation, we now have cold water (a VAST improvement over no water at all) and hopefully should have hot water back by tomorrow.

Also, my other reason for writing is to let you know that my awesome friend who goes by the name ifihadaboat in the online world is having a sale at her Etsy shop! She's offering free shipping for a limited time, so if you have a chance you should check out all of her beautiful handmade jewelry.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Some FO's and some not-so-FO's

As promised, I come with pictures for you! First up is what may one day be a cardigan. I made a significant amount of modifications to this pattern (the pattern is Stardust from Knitty) by making it in lace weight yarn. When I get around to assembling these pathetic looking pieces, I'll see if I can arrange an action shot, wearing it with the dress I originally wanted to wear it with. The original goal was to have this done for October so that I could wear it to SilverIlix' wedding. Obviously, that didn't happen. But nevertheless I'm sure I'll find a good opportunity to wear this, provided it turns out to be wearable when all is said and done.

Now, this next one was a weekend knitting binge, when I was struck with inspiration. The colours look a little wonky in the picture due to my terrible camera, but the greenish yarn is some lovely Manos del Uruguay that I'd been saving to make a nice cozy wool hat for myself. Personally, I think the white might be a bit too overwhelming, so I might try this pattern again with the colours reversed (which....would require more yarn....but I love Manos so much). We'll see. I charted out the pattern in Excel, and knit the hat top-down so that I could try it on as I went along. It turned out too big the first time, so I had to rip it all out and re-arrange my pattern to make it smaller. Right now, it's absolutely perfect! All that's left to do is fix the placement of one of the ear flaps, weave in my ends, and do a little blocking.

Pattern: Stash Buster Slippers
Yarn: Random stash yarn I had lying around
Outcome: Decent. Not my favourite slipper pattern I think, but it knits up quickly and these will keep your feet quite warm.
Modeled by: Aforementioned stash yarn.
Guest photo appearance: Other spotlight-stealing stash yarn. It's like zombie stash - slowly taking over my desk and converting more innocent fibre into its evil minions.

Lastly, my twisty socks! The pattern is Cable Twist Socks and it calls for worsted weight yarn, so I had to modify it a bit to make these in my sock weight yarn (beautiful hand-dye from Knitopia). In retrospect, I think I would have done my mods a bit differently (added in another pattern repeat, and made less purls between repeats) but I'm very happy with how these came out. I am now a veteran sock knitter, ready to tackle any sock challenge! Maybe one day I'll be able to afford one of those pretty circulars and tackle the 'two socks on one circular needle' method.

And with that, it is time for me to sleep. Goodnight, and have a lovely weekend all.

Coming up, right after the break!

I went to go make this blog post today, and realized that the batteries in my camera are dead, as are my backup batteries. So, while they charge, here is a sneak preview of what sort of fun pictures will appear later today!

Stash-buster slippers! I made two pairs of these babies. Not the prettiest slippers ever, but true to their name they eat through a lot of yarn, and let you get rid of some of those half-balls of weird colours that you've had sitting around for ages. Made in a one-size-fits-all pattern.

The saga of the lacy cardigan continues. I've had the pieces finished for a few weeks now, and they're just sitting in a sad little pile on my desk, waiting to be transformed into a finished garment. Will I overcome my dislike of seaming to actually finish this project? Will the cardigan actually look nice at the end?

Remember those socks I started waaaaay back over the summer? Oh...maybe you don't remember them, because I don't think I mentioned them yet. Oh oh! I do have a picture of them back when I started them.
I loved that dock. What a nice relaxing summer. So yes, those socks have been finished for quite a while. Pictures will follow!

I designed a hat! It's Mario-licious. I'm still not happy with the earflaps, but that won't take too long to re-knit.

Check back soon!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Summer? What summer?

Oh hi! I guess it's about time to give an update here. You may wonder where the summer portion of my blog has gone. Well, it really has to do with the fact that I'm a sporadic blog-writer at best, and my internet connectivity this summer was rather limited. As well, I played Guild Wars in most of the time that I did have on the internet. I know, I neglected showing all of you my lovely knitting achievements because of a video game, it is sad. However, now that I'm back in school, you may get a few more blog posts due to my addiction to multitasking. Why focus on one thing, when you could focus on 5? Currently I'm tabbing through between writing this post, writing a paper on theoretical linguistics, checking for new anime releases, browsing various forums (I knew joining all those extra groups on Ravelry would turn out to be trouble...), and talking with my roommates. Maybe this is why I find it impossible to pay attention in lecture these days unless I'm knitting simultaneously. Keeping my hands busy helps to focus that scattered and capricious attention span of mine.

If your curious about the summer, well, we'd need a whole nother post on that (the linguist reader will spot the instance of infixation just now). If you, my (two? three?) devoted readers clamour to hear the tales of mosquitos and muffins, breads and bears, canoes and rescues by cute yacht club boys I shall oblige. Otherwise, let's get to the FO's!

First, I finished Jenn's wedding shawl right after arriving home in Ontario. The wedding was absolutely beautiful, and it's pretty special to have the bride wear something you've knit. They had one of the best receptions I've ever attended, which was basically an informal barbecue style that encouraged everyone to move around and socialize instead of being locked to their 'table' of acquaintances. Here's a picture of the lovely bride herself, who now, months later, is going to be the mother of twins come March! So exciting! (And yes, those are bride and groom transformers on top of the cake....I love my geeky friends)

Having become addicted to lace in the course of that pattern, I spent a couple weeks making another small lace shawl for a dear friend of mine in the UK. I used the Spiders Web Fichu pattern from the book Victorian Lace Today, although I didn't read their instructions carefully for attaching the beads, which turned out to be trouble. They have a tendency to snag and tangle in the shawl. Not optimal, but it was my first time using beads in my knitting, and a good learning experience. The yarn is more of Lynne's hand-dyed merino from Knitopia in Langley. You can't tell in the picture, but it has subtle variegations between dark and light purple that give the shawl some extra visual interest.

I also finally finished the Phoenix Scarf. Yes, it took a while. It was a pretty fun knit. Here's some of the finished pictures.

Another notable accomplishment in my pre-camp leisurely days on the ancestral farm were a couple of items for my favourite craftster swap of all time, the Make a Friend Swap. It was so much fun to make these! The first is a quilted table runner. *gasps of dismay* Not knitting? NOT KNITTING? Indeed. My wonderful Mama took me with her to her weekly quilting group, and let me raid her fabric stash. That week everyone in the group was making the same pattern, which is called Table Runner with a Twist. It was my first real quilting (besides a mini-quilt I made when I was really young that doesn't count) and I love how it turned out.

The other item I made for this swap was based upon the pattern Intricate Stag Bag. The pattern isn't actually available online anymore it seems, but for anyone who desperately wants to make this, I could send it to you. The pattern calls for DK yarn, and I ended up making this in worsted weight which made it a bit bigger than I expected. Ok, maybe a lot bigger than I expected. I knit it with yarn made from a sheep farm in my local area though, so hurrah for buying local and supporting farmers! The original pattern has an ugly chevron type border though, so I designed my border myself. It's supposed to be a leaf motif, to go along with the natural theme of the bag. In hindsight, I should have added a couple stitches on each side because some of my border got lost in the bag assembly.

Usually I do my colourwork in doubleknitting, so working with fair-isle technique again was a challenge for me. In particular, I always have trouble with my tension, and with securing the unused yarn over long floats. However, I gave this a bit of a tumble in my washing machine after I finished it, and then blocked it out in a square which seems to have helped. I didn't knit the back of the bag, but rather sewed it to a nice matching green plaid material, and used that to construct the bag (had to take advantage of my Mom's high-tech sewing machine while I was there). It's actually pretty huge. I really like this pattern though, and I think it came out great. I'd love to try this in doubleknit sometime, maybe for a placemat.

During the long summer days and stormy summer evenings I knit the katana scarf for Kraco. Camp was super isolated, but knitting helped keep my sanity. Or, most of it rather. Looking back, a lot of that time seems like an unreal ethereal experience that I only dreamed. Maybe because it's so incredibly different than living life at home or at school, my only two points of reference thus far in my life. At any rate, this scarf knit up surprisingly quickly, and it looks great so kudos to Kraco for the elegant design he provided.

Whew! Still reading? That's probably enough of an update for now. I'll write again soon to fill you in on my knitting adventures since the beginning of school. It's that busy time of the semester again, so knitting time is becoming scarce, but not to worry, there are new projects in the making!