Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paris Bound

I am leaving tomorrow morning for an 8 day trip to Paris. This is kind of a last minute thing so I'm a lot less organized than usual. When I went to Europe for 2 months a couple years ago I planned for months. I had pages and pages of information. I remember how I excited I was when my countdown hit 100 days. We only bought our tickets for this trip 3 weeks ago.

Nevertheless I am very excited to be returning to Paris. The last time I was there was kind of rough (nervous breakdowns in foreign cities and all that) and it will be nice to go back under entirely different circumstances. I'm excited to see the city of love with the person I love (as incredibly corny as I realize that is).

I'll be back with more knitting in 9 days. Hopefully I'm able to knit on the plane.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

FO - Hanami

Is finished! This is my longest project to date: started April 19th and finished September 18th so almost exactly five months. I could have finished it a lot faster if I hadn't gotten so distracted by other things like school, life etc.

I've been off work sick with a weird sinusy thing which allowed me to finish it. I sailed through Chart G because there isn't really a chart, certainly not compared to the basketweave chart and charts A - F. It turned out about ten inches shorter than the pattern measurements which is fine because I'm short and I don't know that I want a stole that is six inches taller than me. I blocked it yesterday and since I am without blocking wires that was a bit of an undertaking (must get me some of those). The edges are slightly scallopy which I rather like. I think it suits this piece to not have a perfectly straight edge.

This was my second lace pattern and my first time knitting with actual laceweight. It isn't a particularly hard pattern. It is very well charted so there wasn't any guessing on my part. The nice thing about it is the hardest part is the first section so once you get through that it's a lot easier. I made a few little mistakes of course but nothing major.

One thing I found about this pattern was that since I couldn't memorize the chart I actually made fewer mistakes because I had to concentrate on it. I only made mistakes when I tried to work on it when I couldn't concentrate.

Pattern: Hanami Stole by Melanie Gibbons (
Yarn: unknown yarn by Botto Paola (an Italian mill), received in a Christmas Swap
Dimensions: 18inches wide, 60 inches long

I have no idea how many yards I used because I'm not sure how much of the yarn I had to begin with. It was admittedly a bit of a gamble. I have quite a big of yarn left too.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

At last, an FO

I won't discuss how long it's been since I've blogged an FO. I finished the Koolhaas hat on Friday. I really like how it turned out. I was nervous in the beginning because it didn't look like I was doing it right but then the pattern began to appear and it was all good. I learned to cable without a cable needle for this project and it was definitely a godsend. Not only was it faster but I didn't have to worry about having a cable needle handy when I wanted to work on it (I tend to lose these things). It knit up very fast, taking only about two weeks of sporadic knitting to complete. And it fits its recipient nicely.

I knit it out of Malabrigo worsted in a brown/grey colourway. I can't find the tag so I don't know the exact name but it's a good masculine colour. I'm surprised I didn't get bored of this because I usually prefer more interesting colours. The slight variegation helped keep my attention I think.

I'm making good progress on Hanami. I just finished chart E so I have charts F and G left and then the ruffle. I want to get this done before September 28 because I am going to Paris for 8 days and won't be back until two days before the event I want to wear it for. That doesn't allow a lot of time for blocking and there's no guarantee that I'd be able to get it done in Paris anyway. I think September 28 is doable though so long as I stay mostly monogamous.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Just keep spinning, spinning spinning

As a reward to myself for surviving school I signed up for a spinning class at Birkland Bros. I've dabbled with a drop spindle and have been playing with my new wheel for the last few weeks but figured a class wouldn't be a bad idea.

My first lesson was Wednesday. At first it was frustrating. I was having my usual problem of joining the fibre to the leader and joining new fibre later. The teacher showed me a way of doing it that clicked and it went much better after that. Below is the result after one class. It's definitely overspun in places but it's getting much more even. By the end of the class I couldn't believe 2 hours hand gone by so quickly. The fibre is corriedale from Shades of Narnia in Chilliwack.
This spinning thing might get addictive now that I'm getting the hang of it. I bought a new drop spindle too (my old one suffered a terrible accident while I was in Saskatchewan) and even that seems easier. I'm trying to practice both each day.

September and its new beginnings

Because of school, I didn’t get much of a summer this year so I made the most of the last few weeks in August. First there was Gibsons, then a weekend in Maple Ridge for the wedding of a long time friend. In fact, I helped her husband propose many moons ago. Then this past weekend I went to Ucuelet/Long Beach. There was a large group of my boyfriend’s friends (his name is Andrew by the way, I figure it’s time I referred to him by name). It was a good weekend, other than the car trouble. I had to jumpstart my car 4 times in 3 days for no particular reason. The car is only 15 months old so it will be making a visit to the car doctor as soon as I can get it to the dealer. Thank goodness for warranties though.

I spent the time in Ucuelet sitting on the beach, watching surfers and knitting. Camping with a large group is always fun too. Can you believe this was the first time in 11 years that I’ve been to Vancouver Island? Ridiculous.

And now September has come. There are many who hate this time of year: the end of summer and the start of school. Personally, I’ve always loved September. It is my favourite month. It’s always symbolized fresh starts to me. I had a pretty great summer. I think it’s going to be an awesome fall.

What’s on my needles? AKA WIP round up

Remember when I used to finish things? So Andrew mentioned rather innocently that I have not finished a project since I started dating him. I tried to refute this accusation but upon reflection I realized he was absolutely right. Whoops. I have started many things and frogged many of them, leaving far too many WIPs. So now is the time to make myself accountable. Just what am I working on?

Hanami: This is the priority right now. I want to wear this shawl for graduation in October. That was a long ways away when I started this stole but it isn’t anymore. Ugh, this was never supposed to be deadline knitting.

Central Park Hoodie: I want to work on finishing this once Hanami is done

Koolhaas out of Malabrigo – finished 1 repeat, 4 more to go

Unwind Yarns Merlot Sport Socks: Halfway done first sock

Shibui Socks: first attempt at 2 socks at once


View from the hotel

Months ago I forwarded information about the Gibsons Landing Fibre Festival to a coworker. She thought it sounded like a great idea and we decided to make a trip of it. This was the first true fibre fest I’d been too and it was great. I took two workshops: 2 socks at once and Moebius Knitting. The sock class was a lot of fun. New local Rav friend Yarn Piggy was also in attendance so there was a lot of chatting and promoting of Ravelry going on. I would have preferred that the class have more demos instead of one on one instruction. I found that I was often waiting for the instructor to finish helping someone else. One method that might work would be to use step outs to demonstrate each step at the start of the class and then provide individual help as required. It is an interesting technique though. I don’t know how much I’ll use it though because I like socks for portable knitting and I haven’t found a good way to keep the two balls of yarn from getting disorganized and tangled.

The Moebius class was fabulous. I really enjoyed it. Venessa Bentley is an excellent teacher and Cat Bordhi’s techniques are of course incredible. It took me awhile to get the hang of it, partly because my cable was a tad on the short side. Serendipitously, I found a 47” knitpicks cable in the merchant mall so the afternoon went much better. It really is incredible how it works.

I spent break times on Thursday visiting the Merchant Mall. I always enjoy the opportunity to fondle yarns that I don’t normally get to see in person. Imagine my delight when I came upon Malabrigo sock yarn. I picked up one skein right away and ended up buying two more (I couldn’t resist). It is so soft and lovely and the colours are to die for. I also bought Merlot Sport sock yarn and Chiraz Fingering Sock Yarn from Unwind Yarns (Khetala on etsy), a skein of bamboo lace yarn, a large skein of silvery tencel lace weight, a skein of Twist of Fate sock yarn, assorted spinning fibre from Twist of Fate and a sample bag of spinning fibre from Homespun Haven. All in all it was a great trip.

Olympic Failure

I must confess I was not among those knitters burning the midnight oil with caffeine and wine to get my project done. Nope, I threw in the towel by the start of week 2. It was clear that I didn’t have the time or even the motivation to complete the sweater within the timeframe. My life had been missing me during the semester and it was time to get back to it. I did get a decent chunk completed though: the back, left front and about half of the right front. It knits a lot faster than I would have thought.

Even though I didn’t finish, it was a fun excuse to cast on a project I’ve been wanting to try. I think I am really going to enjoy this sweater and will hopefully finish it sometime soon. Just in time for sweater season.

I did learn quite a bit from the Ravelympics. I learned that after a semester of having almost all my time spoken for, it’s hard to get motivated. I also learned that there are some serious overachievers on Ravelry!