Sunday, December 30, 2012

Friday, December 14, 2012

You've probably seen this one already, but what the heck

Those Scandinavians. They know what they're doing. via Those Who Make

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Progress is Being Made

So it looks like my unfortunate brush with Fate did not permanently ruin Christmas and I am happy to announce that all of my urgent gift knitting is finished and ready to ship.

I am having a really really really hard time letting this one go.  But you know, it's a bit ornate for my personal taste, so I should just get over it already.

I've said it before and I'm sure you'll hear me say it again: lace knitting is magical.  While you're knitting, it feels like you're handling a pile of cooked noodles, but once you soak that sucker in warm water and pin the shit out of it, it transforms into the most amazing fabric you'll ever see or feel.  This is alpaca and silk, so you can just imagine...  Delicious.  And I still have a ball and a quarter of it left, so mama's getting a new scarf!  (I mean ME, of course.  My mother is already getting this shawl, so she's not getting a new scarf.)

I should probably mention (this will go in my Ravelry notes, too) that if you have never knit lace, this is NOT the type of project to start with.  I attended a lace knitting class a couple of months ago and I am not sure I could have made this shawl without having learned some very crucial points from the teacher.  Even just reading the chart takes some getting used to, never mind all the new types of decreases/double decreases.  If you're interested in lace, start small and work your way up.  And don't use lace weight yarn on your first time out of the gate.  Fingering is thin enough to get the effect and is much easier on the hands, not to mention the eyes.  And acrylic is a no-no.  Lace must be blocked and acrylic doesn't really block.

This type of lace knitting isn't really done for enjoyment or entertainment - it's actually kind of gruelling.  I must have gotten lost and/or missed stitches at least 25 times.  It takes a lot of concentration and vigilance.  The teacher told us this at the seminar and I didn't believe her until I tried it.  She was totally right - my neck and shoulder muscles are screaming at me.

Having said that, this pattern is incredibly beautiful (am still totally shocked that I have created something so stunning) and very well-written.  I don't know how the designer did it, but it's perfect.  I am in total awe. 

And the softness and sheen of the yarn is gorgeous beyond description.  I can't wait to make myself that scarf. 

My mom is going to totally love this thing.

Friday, December 7, 2012

No News is Good News

I know, it's been real quiet around here.  But, in my defense, it's not just me.  I would say that this is the case for most of the knitting blogs I read.

Why?  Christmas Knitting.

We're all working on stuff we can't show you.

But there are actually a couple of things I can share:

This is a cowl that I knitted up from stash yarn (some O-Wool balance - which I'm not super fond of, btw - and some grey mixed wool from BMM, with a SUPER GORGEOUS cashmere (!) blend fingering weight - also from BMM - on the inside, as a liner).  The buttons are vintage, from a variety of garage sale/flea market sources.

This is actually a gift for someone, but she doesn't even know about the blog, so I'm safe. 

{Um, so crazy story: I am estranged from my biological father.  It's a long, sordid story.  Haven't seen or heard from him since I was in kindergarten, which 30 years ago...yikes.  He never made any effort to be in my life and it was extremely traumatic.  Anyway, last year I decided that I had spent enough time living with this dark cloud of ancient sadness/anger/stress over my head and I contacted him.  We've been corresponding for a little over a year and it's been ok.  I haven't met with him in person yet - we live half a continent apart - but I feel liberated, in a lot of ways.  I found out that he and his wife adopted two kids who are biological siblings and I've been corresponding with the daughter, who is 14 years old.  This cowl is for her.}

And here is an awfully-posed photo of me wearing it (yikes with the white hair...not that I plan on doing anything about it- I just don't usually get such a good view of it):

And I made another Tomten:

I just remembered that I need to add the zipper.  Oops.

This guy is for the cutest, fattest, yummiest baby I know: Fatty D.  Here is the most recent photo I have of him, wearing the legwarmers I knit for him when he was still a bun in my cousin's oven:

And the last wip that I can safely show you is this:

I know.  Fascinating, right?  Ok, keep your panties on.  Here's a better shot of it (draped across the corner of my mattress - lace doesn't photograph well until it's block so cut me a break, would ya?):

This is a Dew Drops Shawl (free pattern!) and I'm using yarn that I bought with my mom in Ottawa, on Canada Day.  She ok'd the colour, so I know I'm safe in that respect and I think she'll like the pattern.

(Knitting notes: do not try this as your first lace pattern.  This is definitely not for the faint-of-heart or the short-of-temper.  I have gotten lost more times than I can count.)

My mom has started to - ahem - go through "The Change" and her hot flashes are epic.  She isn't used to this - we're both wool-sock-wearing, flannel-nightgown-sporting, duvet-covered, hot-water-bottle-toting shiverers.  Once I get warm I stay that way and I can tolerate low temps easily, but let's just say that I don't have the luxury of walking around outside in winter in high heels.  My toes might not actually freeze off, but I'd be miserable.  And she is - or WAS - the same.  We dress warmly and stay happy.  Except that now, she cranks the windows down on her car in the middle of March.  And she can't live without air conditioning (in winter).  It's confusing for me.  And for her too, I suppose.

So that's why I chose a shawl.  I wanted to knit her something pretty and useful (she taught me to knit and really appreciates handknits, so I have deemed her an Approved Handknit Recipient), but it couldn't be too warm.  Enter lace.

{She just moved to Kamloops, BC (that's on the other side of North America from me) so we're 4 time zones apart now.  I, for one, find it hard having her so far away and I think she's going to start feeling it soon, if she hasn't already.  The rest of our family is right smack in the middle - in Winnipeg.  I'm hoping this shawl acts as a virtual hug.}

Anyway, so that's it for the wips for now.  I'll keep you posted on progress and anything else that comes up.  Happy knitting!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Peace Silk

If you watch this, please be sure to watch it all the way to the end. The first half depicts the traditional method of farming/producing silk (NOT the peace silk method - that comes in the second half), which is a little deceiving. Note: if bugs give you the heebie jeebies, don't watch this.

Peace Silk from Shrinivas on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Urgent Update

Knitting has resumed.

Much to the relief of my long-suffering husband (who has had to listen to me piss and moan all week about my boredom).