Monday, June 28, 2010

Knitter's "to-do/have done" list

From my friend, YarnSalad's blog, who got it from Purling-a-long

Bold= things I have done.

* Afghan
* I-cord
* Garter stitch
* Knitting with metal wire
* Shawl
* Stockinette stitch
* Socks: top-down
* Socks: toe-up
* Knitting with camel yarn
* Mittens: Cuff-up
* Mittens: Tip-down
* Hat
* Knitting with silk
* Moebius band knitting
* Participating in a KAL
* Sweater
* Drop stitch patterns
* Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
* Slip stitch patterns
* Knitting with banana fiber yarn
* Domino knitting (modular knitting)
* Twisted stitch patterns
* Knitting with bamboo yarn
* Two end knitting
* Charity knitting
* Knitting with soy yarn (does dyeing it count? if so, then yes)
* Cardigan
* Toy/doll clothing
* Knitting with circular needles
* Baby items
* Knitting with your own handspun yarn
* Slippers
* Graffiti knitting: knitting items on, or to be left on the street
* Continental knitting
* Designing knitted garments
* Cable stitch patterns
* Lace patterns
* Publishing a knitting book
* Scarf
* Teaching a child to knit
* Knitting to make money
* Button holes
* Knitting with alpaca
* Fair Isle knitting
* Norwegian knitting
* Household items: dishcloths, washcloths, tea cosies…
* knitting socks- or other small tubular items- on two circulars
* Dyeing with plant colours
* Knitting items for a wedding
* Olympic knitting
* Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn
* Knitting with dpns
* Holiday related knitting
* Teaching a male how to knit
* Bobbles
* Knitting for a living
* Knitting with cotton
* Knitting smocking
* Dyeing yarn (i would think so, as it's one of my jobs!)
* Steeks
* Knitting art
* Fulling/felting
* Knitting with wool
* Textured knitting
* Kitchener BO
* Purses/bags
* Knitting with beads
* Swatching
* Long Tail CO
* Entrelac
* Knitting and purling backwards
* Machine knitting
* Knitting with self-patterning/self-striping/variegated yarn
* Stuffed toys
* Knitting with cashmere
* Darning
* Jewelry
* Knitting with synthetic yarn
* Writing a pattern
* Gloves
* Intarsia
* Knitting with linen
* Knitting for preemies
* Tubular CO
* Free-form knitting
* Short rows
* Cuffs/fingerless mitts/arm-warmers
* Pillows
* Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
* Rug
* Knitting on a loom - does this mean using a "Knitter's Loom"? if so, I've done this.
* Thrummed knitting
* Knitting a gift
* Knitting for pets
* Shrug/bolero/poncho
* Knitting with dog/cat hair
* Hair accessories
* Knitting in public

Emerging from the Kleenex box...

I'm still here!  Yes, it has been a fortnight since my last post, but I have good excuses - I was finishing and then participating in the Victoria Fibre Festival (bet you are tired of hearing me go on about this), and then I promptly got sick.  A cold.  A bad cold, that I am still getting over.

Some great news though, in all this.  First, the market day of the VFF went really well and I did triple my sales from last year.  Second, I was able to use some of the money from the sales to invest in a new digital camera for the business.  And third, I had a nap every day this week - something I haven't done since I was either pregnant or a new mom.   Oh, and fourth, the cold seems to be waning.

During this time I lost my voice.  Really lost it.  And now, a week later, I sound like I've been smoking three packs a day for forty years, but it's a sight better than last Monday - Wednesday when all I could do was whisper and squeak.  Very elegant.

The camera?  Why, it's the Samsung NX10.  There is a lot to it - it's more than a "point & shoot" but not quite as fully complex as a DSLR.  I'm likely over-simplifying here, as I'm new to cameras beyond the P&S, but it seems user-friendly, and I'm enjoying the process and results so far.

This is a short update, as it's late.  Now that things have slowed down a little with Gaia's Colours, I can work on other things that have taken the back burners in the last months - knitting, spinning, writing, weaving, gardening.  I also want to put up a hammock in our backyard this summer  -  oh, lying in the dappled sun under the apple trees.... bliss, no?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Funny that.

In the realm of another "creepy story" in the sun, now that I've finished listening to Sleepy Hollow, we are moving, in episode 30, to Henry James' The Turn of the Screw.  It's another ghost story.  I am warned.  Yet, so hard to take seriously on a glorious day like today.  Hm.

In the Gaia's Colours workshop, things are starting to wrap up for the Fibre Fest (thanks be to the Gods!), as today is the last day of dyeing.  The rest of the week will be spent in some reskeining, braiding fibre, and lots of labeling!

Hope you have a sunny day, wherever you may roam...

Update for Green Gables

Just a quick note before I head to bed - my Green Gables top is going really smoothly, and it looks like I'll make my deadline of next Friday, for the fashion show where I have to wear it.  Yay!  I'm at the waist and it's moving faster now.  Fingers crossed!

A side note: I've now listened to two of the three sections of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and am really enjoying it.  Not sure what Heather (of "CraftLit") means about the being scared about "the vocabulary of the story", and about being "almost as hard to listen to as Shakespeare".   Okay, I've seen/listened to Shakespeare and now to Washington Irving (author of Sleepy Hollow), and Irving's story is not even remotely as difficult to listen to or understand, to me anyhow.  Hm, I wonder why.  Maybe because I've read or listened to many period piece-type stories?

Nice to know that Disney did a reasonable job of translating the story into their cartoon adaptation though...

another post script: Tappan Zee is more than just a cardigan - it's a bridge in New York, and is a Dutch name.  Who knew?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Creepy stories in the sun

This weekend I'm waist-deep in the listening of episode after episode of the podcast "CraftLit".  We finished Pride & Prejudice around episode 21, which I was both a little saddened by, but also relieved.  For one, I have listened to and read Pride & Prejudice many times, and by the time Lydia was running off with Wickham, I was bored, so I skipped to the last few chapters to be done with it.  The other reason I was ready to be done with this particular LibriVox recording is that the reader didn't have the right voice for this book - it was nasal, higher pitched, and her American accent (perhaps from the East or South East US?) just sounded so strange reading Jane Austen.  Oh, and don't get me started on how she pronounced several of the names and words, that if you, like me, have listened to in an English-read audio version of P&P, would know how they are supposed to be pronounced.  Really off-putting. 

So we were finally done with P&P.  I was ready for another book, but to my surprise, Heather Ordover (who creates this podcast, and has a fabulous "radio" voice, perfect for podcasting, rather like our much-loved Brenda Dayne) pulled out some poems and short stories.  She touched on the theme of irony, and how many stories and people (ahem, youth) today are missing that much-needed sense of irony.  Deep irony, as Heather says.  So of course Edgar Allen Poe and William Butler Yeats were brought in.  There was also a reading of a short story by Ambrose Bierce’s “The Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge.”  Unfortunately the man that read the story made such loud, whistled, almost shrill "s's" that after a minute of listening I had to forward to the end - it was that hard to hear!

Heather then brought out some short stories written by or about women ("ChickLit"), including Edna Ferber and Charlotte Perkins Gillman.  Slightly odd, slightly depressing, but ahead-of-their-time, sorts of stories.

And then all of these fascinating but odd stories leads us into, during the time of recording, October 2006, when Heather wants to bring in the creepier stories.  I think The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is up next, starting in episode #26, leading up to Hallowe'en.  However, in the bright, warm June sun this weekend, it does strike me as unusual to be listening to dark stories for dark and dreary days.  Good thing I have the right sense of humour that won't let me be daunted by this. :-)

p.s. Was there ever such an odd name as "Ichabod"?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Giving my baby a fresh coat of paint

If you are new to my blog, you will not likely have noticed changes to the site.  But hey, welcome!

However, if you have been reading my blog for a while now, even since it's recent creation in mid-April, you'll notice the new look.  I decided to spruce things up, especially after finding It's fun, finding a new flavour, a new mood for my baby.

I hope you like it!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Back in my good graces

The purple QED BFL yarn that was used in the making (and now re-making) of my Estelle cardigan has now been forgiven.  Though really, it didn't need forgiving, as the problems with the too-large almost completed project was not the fault of the yarn.  But you know how it is - sometimes you need to blame someone or something else, just to make you feel better, even if the intended target is innocent.  In this case, I suspect it was a mix of the knitter (me) and the pattern that are the guilty parties.

I'm not exactly sure how I went wrong as the knitter, as my gauge and type of yarn were right on.  Perhaps I chose the wrong size for myself?  'Tis possible, as I've done this before - choosing a size or two too large for my body.  And yet, the yoke/top part and sleeve holes were the areas that were too large, but not the body/abdomen area.

Which brings me to the pattern.  And here I see that I wasn't alone in finding the yoke coming out over-sized while the body fits.  A few others noted on Ravelry that they had just this trouble happen.  I've mentioned it to the designer, but haven't heard back from her yet on this.

I've started the cardigan again, this time using two sizes smaller to start for the lace yoke/top, and then I'll add extra increases around the bust to make sure that the body is wide enough.  And it's so nice to work with my beloved QED again - how I've missed you!

Lest any of you think I'm neglecting my deadline Green Gable piece, let me reassure you that I'm not.  It's just that I'm doing straight stockinette for about 10 more inches, plus a half inch of ribbing, and I'm finding it tedious.  I need a few rows of the more challenging lace pattern of the Estelle cardigan in between to break up the monotony.   Say, have you ever noticed that "monotony" and "monogamy" are very close?  And really, I can't be monogamous in my knitting projects, I just can't.  The knitting has to accept that I'll cheat on all of them with each other on a regular basis.

Monday, June 7, 2010

On birthdays, Gandhi, and spinning

As if there wasn't enough going on right now, I've just emerged from a three-day weekend of birthday madness!  My older son turned six, a day before my MIL's birthday, so there were two family suppers and a kid's backyard party.  Much socialising, eating, cooking, present-opening, running about, drinking, and general merry-making.  And boy, I came away exhausted by it all!

The final countdown to the events I'm attending at the Victoria Fibre Festival is on, and I'm just starting to feel the crunch.  There is a lot yet to do, but I think I can handle it (ask me again on the 17th!).  And I've got help in those last days, so that makes a difference in my stress levels.

In other musings, I've been listening to a podcast called "CraftLit", where part of each episode is devoted to reading chapters of books, from the LibriVox recordings.  This podcast started in 2006, and is still going strong with about 170+ episodes.  I'm on episode eleven.  So I have lots to look forward to.  The book they are currently playing from LibriVox is Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice, a classic, and a personal favourite.

In episode eleven, the host Heather Ordover shares her views on Mohandas (or more commonly known as Mahatma) Gandhi, and how he started a movement to encourage people to spin.  From a class curriculum from the Yale-New Haven Teacher's Institute, section F

"Gandhi believed that hand spinning, combined with weaving on hand looms, was the only logical way for the people of India to become self-sufficient and independent. He claimed that if India employed his methods, poverty would be greatly reduced if not totally eliminated. He said, 'I feel convinced that the revival of hand-spinning and hand-weaving will make the largest contribution to the economic and the moral regeneration of India.' (Young India, July 21, 1920). Consider the fact that at the time Gandhi returned to India in 1914 most of India’s farmers were idle for four months of the year, a factor which greatly contributed to their poverty and hopelessness. Gandhi believed that if the poor people of India would learn to spin thread from cotton or flax at home and diligently applied these newly learned skills they could overcome many of their economic and social ills."

I must admit to knowing very, very little about Gandhi, other than seeing a few bits from the film of the same name, and only aware of some of his actions, life & death by the little I've absorbed over the years by living on this planet.  However, of this aspect of the spinning, and encouraging others to learn to spin, I knew absolutely nothing.  But I was thrilled to learn of it.  And it drives me to learn more about that great man.  First I'll start with the movie, as seems natural.  Plus I love Sir Ben Kinsley - he once traveled on the ferry boat I used to work on, though I wasn't present that day (dang!).   Start with the movie, and go from there.

I love that Gandhi was a spinner!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

On Morality in Dreams

In a previous post (see On Dreams), I talked about getting very wrapped up in my dreams, especially the lust/love story dreams, and wanting to spend more time in that heart-achingly lovely and often passionate environment.  I'm such a sucker for the romantic...

So where does the morality come in?  Well, being a mother of two young children, and a wife to a lovely man, I have made certain commitments to them and our life together here in the waking world.  When lusty and/or love-filled dream scenarios come along with other people/characters, I would prefer to leave my family (and my commitment to them) out of it.  I mean really, these are dreams I'm talking about!  Can't I have a crazy fling with a hot actor without thinking or telling "Dang, I can't do this with you, I'm married", or, "I would love to run away with you, but I just can't leave my boys!"?

Now, to be fair, this sort of Jiminy-Cricket-sitting-on-my-shoulder doesn't happen in every single lusty dream incident, but it does have a niggling habit of showing up sometimes, just when it's wanted the least.  Damn!  Why must I be so moral - in my dreams!  Why can't I have some fun and passion that is outside the realm of my waking life?  Dreams are for escapism and adventures unlike most of what we'd be likely to encounter in our day-to-day experiences, so why not engage in them to the fullest?

Perhaps what I need to do is try to give myself permission in the dreams, to say "It's okay, you can do this here", or some such similar reassurance.  I'll give that a try next time I'm having a lovely dream, see if it actually works.  Will post again with any results.

Now to prepare for family birthday supper!

Friday, June 4, 2010

At home with Green Gables

Green Gables means two things to me these days - the obvious and much loved home of the fictional Canadian character Anne Shirley, and the name of a knitting pattern that I am currently working on.

The latter is my sole knitting focus now, as my purple Estelle cardigan is balls of yarn sulking in the corner, waiting for me to not be mad at it anymore.  The Green Gable top is pretty, basic and easy to knit.  When I was knitting both it and the Estelle cardigan, it was the cardigan that drew more of my love and attention, so was worked on more.  I found the cardigan more interesting, and challenging, plus I really loved working with the QED BFL wool.  The Green Gable tee-shirt just wasn't really grabbing me, even though I am using my own hand-dyed.  I think part of the problem was that I was using my Hiya-Hiya interchangable needles, which I don't really like that much.  They aren't as smooth and easy to use as my Addi Turbo needles.  And really, for 3.5mm and up in circulars needles, the Addi Turbos are the best, and by far my favourite.

Once I set aside the cardigan, and knew I had to buckle down on the Green Gable top, I ordered some Addi Turbo circs in the 4.5mm size that I needed.  They arrived yesterday, and I immediately put them on the project.  Oh!  What a difference a really good set of needles makes in the ease and desire to knit...

So now, after staying up late listening to a Librivox recording of The Age of Innocence, narrated by Brenda Dayne (of Cast On podcast fame), I have divided for the sleeves and even finished on of the short sleeves. Today, I'll finish the other and return to the body of the piece.  From there it's straight stockinette stitch till it's long enough, then some ribbing and I'm done!

For the other Green Gables, those who know me, know how much I love the Anne of Green Gables books.  For those who don't - Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne books and her many other novels (almost all of contained young females as the main character, like Anne) had a long and profound influence on my formative years.  I loved, and still love, all of her books, and reread them every so often, with reverence and fond recollection.   They are decidedly 'comfort' books, and I highly recommend them to all young readers, especially girls.  They are as food stuffs for the soul.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

On writing non-fiction

A fellow blogger & knitting friend mentioned the idea today of doing some non-fiction writing, for possible publication of a newsletter, possibly in a "foodie"-theme.

Now, I'm a fiction gal at heart, with a slight bent to poetry, so I don't have a lot of experience in writing non-fiction, other than blog posts, school essays and the like.  Non-fiction doesn't come very easily to me.  However, with the proper research and/or knowledge of a specific subject, I don't see why I couldn't try my hand at it - it is a form of writing after all, and would be an excellent way to stretch and grow as a writer.

So once my time opens up again, after the craziness of the next few weeks, I'll be ready to flex my writing muscles and get to work.  And I will hopefully be working with a couple of other lovely people who will be forming/brainstorming this into some semblance of fruition.

Side note: the word "fruition" makes me think of paying one's school fees with apples, pears and berries....

Back to the dye-pots!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Do you ever have one of these days?  Where a thousand little things go wrong, and perhaps a few larger things too.  Where nothing seems to go your way?  Where the world, nee, the universe seems to be conspiring against you?

Judith Viorst wrote the children's book entitled Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, and like our little hero, bad days happen to all of us (some of us more than others, unfortunately).

Today has been just such a day for me.  Now, I won't bore you with most of the details, just bring out some of the high(low?)lights of today's troubles.

The first main hit was that PayPal is refusing to let me use my already set-up bank account to pay for some yarn.  For some reason, PayPal gets suspicious when unusual amounts of money are spent in an account.  But this wasn't unusual!  It's fairly common for me, if they really looked at my account.  And yet, I couldn't access my bank account.  I phoned the PayPal help line and apparently this "lock" was put on by machine and couldn't be removed manually.  So I have to wait for it to come off.  If it's still on tomorrow, I'll call them again.  Meantime, I had to contact the yarn company to explain why I couldn't pay, and ask if they could hold it for me.  Argh.

The second big hit was my lovely cardigan-in-progress, the purple QED one.  It became glaringly apparent at knit night last night, when I tried it on for the ladies present, that the top/yoke was way too big and overlapped by at least 5-6 inches, when it should overlap only about an inch.  I contemplated wearing it overlapping at the top, with one large button instead of the six that the pattern calls for.  But after mulling it over today - should I keep going and wear/have it very different than it's supposed to be, but have it done in time for the Victoria Fibre Festival like I planned?  Or should I frog (rip-it, rip-it) it completely, and start again, sizing it smaller to begin with but increases to fit in the body as it was fitting okay there.

There is now a pile of purple yarn "cakes" sitting on my bed.  Shortly I'll need to reskein them, soak them to get out all the kinkiness from knitting, let them dry, and then wind them back into "cakes".

Days like this make me want to close myself in my room with knitting that works and comfort movies or music...