Sunday, August 29, 2010

This week on the needles & in the ears, August 29th

Another combo post, as I'm a little short on time.  The post for "This week on the needles/ears" that would come next Sunday, September 5th, will be delayed by a few days, as I'm off to Alberta and Montana for a wedding (my baby sister!) and won't be back on time.

It's a bit quiet on the knitting front this week.  I didn't get as far in my sock as I thought, and won't likely finish it before September 1st, but that's okay.  I have another six diamonds and the 2 inch cuff left.  I didn't knit much in the past week, as we had a friend "move in" to stay for a month, and it was settling-in time, catching-up time, etc.

The lace scarf is getting some work done, but quite honestly, this feels like the scarf that will never end.  I weighed the remaining ball last week, and I had exactly 2oz of the formerly 4oz of the skein.  What?  So even though I have completed about 36 or 37 of the 49 repeats, I still have lots of yarn left.  And I don't want any yarn left.  I want to use the whole skein.  Hence the never-ending scarf.  It looks fabulous, and I will likely love wearing once done, but really, I am bored with it currently.

Oh, and the blue sweater hasn't had any action.  No time, no time.

As for listening, I am working through some of the CogKnitive podcast (very cool!), and am coming back into the fold of the Dragonfly in Amber.  I also listened to the first two episodes of the Caithness Craft Collective.

Right, off to pack!  I'll try to take some pictures while I'm away, to post upon my return.  Lakeside Montana...mmmm....

Friday, August 27, 2010

REALLY back in Scotland

(Spoiler info ahead...)
Yes, it's finally happened - the storyline of Dragonfly in Amber has taken our main characters, Jaimie and Claire, back to Scotland.  I'm so glad they are home, back at Jaimie's land, the Fraser lands, on his family farm.  They are settling back into farm-life, including harvesting their very first crop of potatoes (new to Highland Scotland in 1745, as I understand).

No sooner have they become happy and comfortable again the months of home-life and work, then Jaimie receives a letter from his friend, Bonny Prince Charlie, to say that the reclaiming of the throne is back on (this plot is the main reason Claire and Jamie went to France - to stop it, to save the many Scots and the ruin of Scotland).


And that is as far as I've gotten in the audiobook.  I've put it down temporarily, because I have a feeling it's only going to go south again.  Sigh.  So I am listening something else Scottish - the podcast from Caithness (north-east Scotland), called Caithness Craft Collective.  I love listening to our lady of the Collective!  Jaimie and Claire will have to wait until I'm ready for them again.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

This week on the needles, August 22nd

I have three projects to finish over the next couple of weeks.  First is the green socks that I have mentioned in previous posts.  I finished the first sock on the 16th, and cast on for the second on the 18th, and last night knit the heel (it's toe-up).  So I am progressing nicely and will hopefully have it done by next week.  Will take a photo or two once they are finished.

Second and third are two coming out of hibernation.  A scarf, knit with a DK-weight, muted rainbow variegated organic merino from The Sanguine Gryphon, in the criss-cross lace pattern called "La Novia", by Anne Hanson.  I think I've mentioned this one before.  And now I have a photo to show for it!  I'm about 50% or so done.  I'm going to continue the 6-row repeat until I use up the 285 yards or so of yarn.  This picture below show the zig-zag pattern fairly well:

The other hibernation project that is going to be finished is a sweater, knit out of my own hand-dyed Pales Twisty DK merino wool, in the powder-blue colourway "Azer-Ava".  The pattern is called "Big Cables and Baby Cables too".  It's a garter stitch-yoke, with some cables, knit in the round, then it moves to Stockinette.  I am on the stockinette body, then it'll be time for the sleeves, that do have a lot of cable details to pay attention too.  I hope this will be done by mid-to-late September. This photo is from a while back, before I had divided for the sleeves and body.

And that's what I'm currently knitting.  Until next week....

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Push

The push to write is back, with a vengeance.  I am surprised at how strong the yearning is, really, as it's been quite a while since I've wanted to write seriously, and often.  This all started very slowly, perhaps two years ago, with the first spark of inspiration about my current story project (the "Scottish project", as I'll call it), coming on in that gradual glimmer of "not yet, but soon".  Coming on as tiny morsels of ideas, snapshots, specks of dust blown in by the Muses, until they form a fine layer of film, as on a neglected piano forte, waiting to be noticed and collected.  Until they can't be ignored anymore.

So I'm getting more active in this, still fairly slowly, as I'm unsure how to proceed.  But it's coming, and the beads on the string are being added, one by one, as they present themselves in as the next logical step.

Yes, a story* coming together.

*Sorry to be so secretive, but it's all still new and fragile, and I'm not even sure if this will be completed or what will come of it all.  Can't be more open until that hopeful "when it is done" comes.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

This week on the needles & in the ears, August 15th

I'm combining this week, the blog posts about what I'm knitting and listening to, as they are usually happening at the same time.

On the needles, I have completed the first sock (my "August Socks") of my green Diamond Gansey socks, knitted with my own hand-dyed Kuan-Yin sock yarn in the "Eriu" colourway.  I had divided the skein into two, one for each sock.  They are toe-up socks.  I was casting off/binding off the first sock when I ran out of yarn in the last 10 stitches.  So I stole a yard or two from the second part of the skein.  Hopefully I can still get the same size sock in the second go.

The other project I've been working on is my QED Hoodie, which is now complete.  Mostly.  I finished knitting the kangaroo pocket, and now just need to sew it on.  Then a little weaving in of ends and I'm ready to make use of it this fall.  Pictures to follow after sewing is complete.

As for what I'm listening to, I've mentioned previously about starting the second of the Outlander novels, called Dragonfly in Amber.  I intend to use this for the knitting of the second green sock, in the remaining two weeks of August.

I've also subscribed to two new crafting podcasts - Knit a Journey, and Caithness Craft Collective.  Don't know much about them yet, but will report back once I've listened to a few episodes of each.

Off to bed now, with a belly full of Rooibus tea...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Eeet's Mine, ALL Mine!

Chesterman's Beach.  My favourite beach, that I've had the privilege and pleasure to walk upon.  It's located a few miles (kilometres?) before the lovely and popular Tofino, BC, just up island from us here in Victoria.  We went for a four-day jaunt this past weekend, to Port Alberni (3hrs North-West of us), and to Chesterman's Beach, Tofino, and very briefly, Ucluelet (1/2hr from Tofino).  We normally stay four days or so at a cabin, minutes away from Chesterman's, but couldn't afford it this year, so I had to settle for a day-trip to the beach and to Tofino.  We stayed at my aunt's spacious house, and, despite the heat, kept fairly cool, thanks to her fab pool!

Necessary beach shots, taken by me in June 2006.  I didn't take any this time 'round because I was a forgetful ninny and neglected to bring my wonderful new camera.  Oh well, the shots from '06 are still pretty good.
This first one is looking south, slightly west. It was about 9 or 10am. This photos were all taken within about 1/2hr of each other.

These two above are looking east-ish.  The surfers are out already.

This shot is of the same area as the first photo, but further back.

Looking west.  I love to use this one as a desktop wallpaper.

Can you see why I want to live near here?  Sigh.

As it turns out...

I'm not back in Scotland, as the previous post mentioned.  Not in the second of the Outlander novels, anyway.  Spoiler! (for anyone who hasn't read the second book, Dragonfly in Amber, but plans to) I am actually in France.  Our two main characters, Jaimie and Claire are in France, planning/hoping to stop Bonny Prince Charlie from his upcoming attempt at taking back his throne, thus preventing the major battles at Culloden, Scotland and the further destruction of many Scottish peoples and lands by the English.  Claire, having come from the future, knows about this whole plot/battle/aftermath, and wishes to stop it.

Will she and Jaimie succeed...?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Back in Scotland

It's going to happen, tonight.  I'm going back to Scotland, mid-18th century.  Back into the world of the Outlander series.  I've downloaded the second novel, Dragonfly in Amber, and will be starting it shortly, as soon as my iPod has finished charging.

I must admit, I'm nervous.  Alright, mildly terrified.  I've peeked a little at the second book, because I have a paper copy, and if this one is anywhere as nerve-wracking as the first, I'm in going to be back on that emotional roller-coaster.  I'm not sure if I can handle it, yet I must know what happens next!

Gasp!  In I go.  Will let you know how things progress...

Too busy holidaying to blog?

Funny this, but before I started my vacation time in late June, I thought I'd be blogging in reams, in a proliferation of profound monologues.


My blog count has barely increased, and the content could hardly be called profound.

How can the time where I have so much more of it still be full?  I blame the knitting.  I've been on such a mad bent to finish as many WIPs as possible this summer, that it took a lot of the steam out of my free time.  I find the knitting often competes with other things I want/have to do - knitting or blogging?  knitting or writing?  knitting or weaving?  knitting or spinning?  knitting or doing dishes?  knitting or working out?  knitting or sleep?  Yeah, I suspect most of you knitters understand.

Do you ever find that when you have free time, you have so many things you'd love to do that you just can't decide and end up wasting it puttering around not doing anything of substance?  I do.

And while I'm enjoying my vacation time (haven't had this much time off in over two years), I must admit to be excited about our new schedule come mid-September when both of my young sons will be in school full-time (six hours or so).  Then I get to work at home for Gaia's Colours, and also do other house-hold chores and errands and have lots of day-time "ME-time".  Oh yeah!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

This week on the needles, August 8th

Are the same two items as last week.  Wasn't that easy?

No, but really, I'm on the second sleeve of my hoodie, but still the first sock of the green diamond gansey socks.  I can't watch telly/movies when knitting the socks, so I use it for knitting while listening to audiobooks and podcasts.  And that's it for this week.  Like I said, easy.

Random "FO"

Finished Object, that is.  A knitting project that wasn't part of my mentioned list of "to-do's", but needed to be finished regardless.  A cotton sweater for my youngest, who is three.  I started it when he was not quite two, and then, one sleeve left, put it aside for other more exciting "me" projects.

So this week I buckled down and finished that last sleeve.  I think one reason I continually delayed the knitting of the last sleeve was that I didn't like the needles I was using.  They were cheap, stiff 6mm circulars that were difficult and unpleasant to use.

However, I did finish the sweater, and it fits a little large on my son, so he'll be able to wear it this winter.  It's knitted out of naturally-coloured, organic cotton from Blue Sky Alpacas.  The pattern is a basic top-down raglan, with stockinette body and ribbed neck, cuffs and bottom, and with one blue stripe in the middle of the body.

In case you are wondering where my son's head is - I cropped it - he won't mind, but I don't like posting the faces of my children on the internet.  It's a privacy, safety issue for me - the internet is too vast, with too many people searching for such sweet faces.  You understand.

Anyway, I'm glad it's done, and he can have a soft sweater for the next year.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

This week on the needles, August 1st

Now that I've finished my main two recent projects (the purple Estelle cardigan and the orange socks), I get to move into August with two-three WIPs that need to be completed.  I can't recall if I mentioned this earlier in a post, but I'm not letting myself start any new knitting until I complete ALL my WIPs (works-in-progress).  So I have much work to do.

So for this week, and likely to fill some of August, I have two projects to work on.

The first is my QED Hoodie sweater that I started earlier this year (March), and have now completed the body and need to finish the arms.  Hopefully I'll have that done this week.  It'll be a great casual winter pullover sweater.  Pictures to follow upon completion.

And second is another pair of socks that need to be finished.  These will also be my "August" socks for the 12 socks project (a pair a month).  I am knitting them out of my own hand-dyed Kuan-Yin sock yarn (merino/cashmere/silk), in another Wendy D. Johnson pattern from one of her toe-up sock pattern books.  It's a diamond gansey pattern.  Pretty basic, but I can't really watch TV/Movies while doing it with all the knit/purl changes.  It's good for podcasts and audiobooks though.

That's it for this week :-)