Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Today has been sort of stressful. I did some number crunching with my loans, expenses and resources, and things are not looking good. So I am going on a debt diet until the last day of classes - April 2. I will not buy anything, including yarn, for this whole month. I will still allow myself to buy groceries and necessities. I am alloting $20 a week for going out with friends, but other than that - no spending. I think I can do it, my main strategy is going to consist of just not going in any stores, so I can't be tempted.

However, today I was allowed to spend money. And I finally managed to find a nice dress for the Occupational Therapy Ball. I got a good deal on a black strapless number. It's nice and simple, so I can wear it more than once.

I am making some progress on thermal. I split the neckline and I am working my way up the back. I have about another 4 inches to go before I am done the back. Here is the sweater with my very cranky looking cat. She's not cranky in real life she just squints when the camera flashes!

I passed in my Grad School application today. That was a thrilling moment! Now all I have to do is wait and find out if I get in!

Lastly here is a picture of me and the cat that Mike took, I thought it was cute:

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I am actually making progress on thermal. After I finish this pattern repeat, or maybe the next repeat I will be able to divide for the placket neck. Exciting! I have included a horrible picture of me wearing the sweater so you can see the progress. It;s blurry because I have to use the landscape setting on my camera in order to turn the flash off. I can't even express how much I love this sweater, if there was a way for me to legally marry the sweater, I would.

I have included another picture of Sage with the sweater, again for scale. As you can see I know have enough sweater to make a kitty blanket. The whole thing measures about 12 inches right now. Speaking of the cat, she stayed at my parent's house last week while I was on Spring Break, and for the six weeks before that I was in Saint John and she was here with Mike. Well I think she has abandonment fears now because since she got back to the city she has had intense, constant needs for love, seriously there are not enough cuddles in the world to make this cat happy. In the above picture she is actually purring she is so happy! It's all very cute, but she makes it hard to knit when she's always in my lap.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Books I Own

Ok, so this won't be a very interesting post for most of you. I am simply going to list out the knitting books that I own. I have wanted to do this for a while, and I think it will help my family members and friends who have said to me that they would like to get me a knitting book, but don't know what I already own. So here goes:

1. Last Minute Knitted Gifts - Joelle Hoverson
2. One Skein - Leigh Radford
3. Vogue Knitting - The Ultimate Knitting Book
4. Natural Knits for Babies and Moms - Louisa Harding
5. Sensational Knitted Socks - Charlene Schurch
6. Knitting without Tears - Elizabeth Zimmerman
7. Knitting Around - Elizabeth Zimmerman
8. Knitting Workshop - Elizabeth Zimmerman
9.Knitter's Alamanac - Elizabeth Zimmerman
10. 45 Fine & Fanciful Hats to Knit - Anna Zilboorg
11. Knitted Toys - Fiona McTague
12. Dogs in Knits - Judith L. Swartz
13. Knitting Fair Isle Mittens & Gloves - Carol Rasmussen Noble
14. Hats On! - Charlene Schurch
15. The Little Box of Knitted Throws
16. Arctic Lace - Donna Druchunas
17. A Treasury of Knitting Patterns - Barbara G. Walker
18. Victorian Lace Today - Jane Sowerby
19. One Skein Wonders!
20. Knit Hats (can't remember the author and my mom has the book right now)
21. Knit Mittens (see above)
22. Knit One, Felt Too - Kathleen Taylor

I have a couple others lent out right now and I can't quite remember their names, but that's the bulk of it. Pretty impressive eh?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

I havn't updated in a little while, mostly because my knitting has consisted of knitting and then ripping out Ryan's Swell hat. I finally managed to get it right though! I added two extra pattern repeats, used a standard 8 stitch every second row decrease and voila! I couldn't finish it while in Maine because my dp's in 3.25mm were back in Halifax. I got home last night though so I really don't have any excuse to not finish it now.

I have made a bit of progress on Thermal. I don't usually knit in the car because I get car sick VERY easily, but this project was great. I wasn't able to do a ton, but I managed to do about 16 rows or so in the car. Here is a picture of my progress, doesn't look too different eh? I have included the cat for scale.

When I was in Maine the two books I ordered from Amazon came! I didn't think that they would arrive until after I left, so I was thrilled when they got there. I received EZ's Knitter's Almanac and Victorian Lace Today. I was a little disapointed with the Knitter's Alamanac, I bought it because I thought it would have some detailed instructions on knitting aran cardigans and picking up the cut edge. It tells you that it's a good idea to knit cardigans in the round and then cut them, but gives no info whatsoever on how! Does anyone know if any of EZ's books give directions in this?

As for Victorian Lace Today, oh wow. I am so very in love. The whole book is so beautiful and colorful and amazing... Oh I don't know what I am going to knit yet but it is going to be amazing!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Yesterday I started knitting a Swell hat for Ryan. I discovered though that the yarn I bought was actually sport weight and not worsed weight. I guess using the fingering weight for my Thermal sweater has distorted my normally very acute sense of yarn weights. I had just finished the color work on the hat when I realized that it was way too small, even though I was using the largest size. My new plan is to add about 2-3 more pattern repeats to the hat. That should make it fit, I am just worried I will run out of yarn. I only bought two 50 gram skeins. I am also unsure how big the earflaps should be. What I may do is cast on for the body of the hat first, and then add the earflaps afterwards, then if I run out of my main color I can do the earflaps in a contrasting color. Genius!

My Thermal sweater is coming along nicely, but I havn't done much work on it since I was working on Ryan's hat. So I won't bother posting a picture of the slightly longer body. I am into the second skein though! YAY!

While I am in Maine there are two Japanese girls staying here. Mike and Ryan's mom and dad take in two girls every year around this time for three weeks. They go to the UMaine campus every day and take an intensive ESL course. It's a neat program and the girls are always very nice to have around. Last night the girls showed me some Origami, here is a shot of my creations.

So, I am not super skilled, but it's coming! The girls gave me some extra paper to keep practicing.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

My KnitPicks Gloss was in Maine as I expected when I arrived here. I attempted to do a gauge swatch, got annoyed with it and cast on. I kept getting different measurements from it everytime I measured it, so I gave up and figured I can block the sweater to whatever size I want. I also discovered the Thermal KAL, which I have requested to join. I enjoyed seeing other people's progress, and I share with them some feelings of "holy hell this is never going to end". But I shall remain optimistic!!

Two books that I ordered from KnitPicks were here too, Arctic Lace Today, and Barbara Walker's first Treasury. I am loving the Barbara Walker book, but I am less hooked on Arctic Lace, it's a nice book but it is pretty skimpy on patterns, focusing more on the history of Qivuit in the arctic and how the down is harvested. Interesting enough, but not really what i was looking for.

I found some pictures of the tea cozy that I knit my aunt and uncle. Here it is from one side:

And here is it from the other:

I love how Noro Kureyon changes so much that the teapot looks so radically different from each angle (and yes those are the unwoven ends sticking out). I should have taken a picture of the tea pot naked because it is a work of art in itself. My aunt is a potter, and she made the tea pot. Her work is beautiful! You can see more of it here.

Yesterday I discovered a new yarn store, right here in Orono. It's called Fiberphilia, and it is a very sweet cozy little store. They have free coffee and encourage people to bring their knitting and stay a while. They have a nice selection of natural fibers. Mike's brother Ryan came with and picked out some Blue Sky Alpaca worsted weight so I would make him a hat. I promised him I would make him a hat if he bought the yarn. I also got some Blue Sky Alpaca sport weight to make a design a Mobius shawl.

Friday, February 16, 2007

I have completed two double flower facecloths, knit in wonderful soft Blue Sky Alpaca's Organic Cotton. If only Blue Sky wasn't so expensive, there are so many things I would love to knit with it, expecially a cushion cover. I bought a cushion form from fabric ville and now I am brainstorming what sort of cover I am going to knit for it. I think cotton would be best, it's a pillow so wool might feel a little itchy on the face.

But in the meantime I have a bit of knitter's block. I know that I will have something to knit tomorrow when I go to Maine, so I don't want to start something big and still have it on my needles when I get there. But what to do with my fingers in the meantime? I guess I can work away at backing up my computer. I have a strong feeling it is going to die on my soon because it keeps turning itself off and giving me the blue screen of death.

I forgot to mention, I also ordered a Barbara Walker Book, her first I think, I plan to make an EZ pi shawl. Another goal of mine for 2007, design a lace shawl... can't be that hard right? RIGHT? Ok so I am a little intimidated by this one, but I can do math, so as long as I can do math I can stick in some lace patterns. I just might have to make my first one very very simple.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I have been thinking about Julie's question on her blog: When did you learn to knit?

I learned to knit when I was in grade 3. My mother set me up with some red acrylic yarn and some plastic needles and cast on for a garter stitch scarf. I loved it right away, I couldn't wait to get home from school everyday so that I could work on my scarf. I would frequently make mistakes and then have to wait in agonizing anticipation until my mom got home from work so that she could fix it for me. My finished scarf was about 12 inches long and had about a 4 inch hole in it. I gave it to my step sister Lisa for christmas that year.

Funny, my mom taught me to knit, but my knitting skills now far exceed hers, and she often gets me to help her out when she wants to knit something (which is not very often).

After that I didn't knit very much until about junior high when my Nanny showed me how to make a hat and mittens, and how to do two color knitting. After that I took off, almost always having a project on the go, usually hats or mittens. Other than being taught how to knit and how to purl from my mother, and learning a few things from my nanny I am self taught. Most of what I learned I have picked up from books, and occasionally asking other knitters for advice.

Almost all of knitting is cabled patterns or textured stitch patterns in one color. The sad reason for this is that I am a little afraid of mixing colors. I really should pick up a color theory book and figure this whole thing out!

I am totally comfortable making up a hat or mitten pattern on my own, but I knit dozens from patterns before I was able to do this. I hope that before 2007 is out I will knit and design a sweater.
I havn't picked up my needles in about 5 days, until today when I started another Double Flower Facecloth, which has been my standby lately when I don't know what to knit. I don't want to get started on anything too big because I have a very overwhelming project that I am going to begin on Saturday.

I have ordered the yarn to make Thermal. I ordered it to be sent to Maine, cuz it's cheaper, and I am going to Maine on Saturday. I am pretty intimidated by the small gauge though. However, I have made several worsted weight wool sweaters in the past and I almost never wear them because they feel so bulky and itchy. This time last year I had an epiphany when I realized that using sock weight yarn to make socks was not THAT time consuming. So perhaps I will have the same revalation with this sweater. Then again, a sweater is a lot larger than a sock, so lets all hope and pray it isn't too awful!

This time of year I tend to get into a bit of a knitting slump and I feel really uninspired. I hope that by undertaking a large project I will have something satisfying to keep my fingers busy.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

So guess what? I have in fact not died, lost my computer or dropped off the face of the planet. I am just very very lazy, thus the blog was neglected when I was on fieldwork. The house that I was staying in did not have highspeed, just very slow dial-up. So I couldn't be bothered to update when I knew it was going to take so very long.

I didn't get very much knitting done while I was gone. And of the knitting I did do I took almost no pictures. So unlike after Christmas I am not going to have a amazingly long post with lots of things to show off.

I am back though, and I will be updating regularily again.