Month: January 2015

Hunkering Down

Hi, there.

Winter Storm Juno has come and gone, leaving us stunned and with over 2 feet of snow that no one really knows what to do with. Things started to get blustery on Monday night (the 26th) and since we all knew what was coming, people got into Survival Mode. School was cancelled for that afternoon and Tuesday (and then, amazingly, Wednesday). The grocery store was a general panic-fest: I went in on Monday to get some olive oil for soap making (that’s another story) and saw that all the bottled water was gone and just a few loaves of bread remained. Stranger still, there were no individual checkout lines – just one superline that snaked around the perimetre of the store (at least a 40 min wait I would guess) with the store manager marshalling people to available cashiers. Considering that I had enough groceries to get through the next few days anyway, I just turned around and left.

A winter storm isn’t so bad when you have knitting. (I think knitters would do really well in apocalyptic scenarios: we could knit garments for survival while staying entertained and relatively stress-free). In this case, since the power never went out (hallelujah) things were cozy indeed. I knit on my Ease sweater and contemplated the view outside.

photo (13)

That was only around lunchtime.

While it was great to get some one-on-one with Ease, I’m really not sure how the old girl is doing. It’s really roomy up top, to the point that I’m not sure if it will cross the line from casual chic to just frumpy. I knit a bit on the ribbed hem and then put those stitches on hold. My plan is to finish the sweater and then see if adding more length would visually balance out the boxier upper portion. I then moved onto the funnel neck! After picking up the stitches and knitting a few rows, the neckline already looked way more fitted. Round and round I knit, until the funnel neck was complete (drawstring to come).

photo 4 (11)

Excuse the Sasquatch-like photo quality. Looks kind of cool, right? What concerns me is the collar rolling so much. It rolls right over, making it look as if I’m wearing a neck donut. Could this be something that blocking will help sort out? Or is this whole sweater just a train wreck that would be better to frog and knit a size smaller…

I don’t know, you guys. I’m at a loss.

In times like these, therapy is casting on a new project. Preferably with a yummy yarn. Preferably with a coveted skein of Tanis Fibre Arts “Red Label” cashmere/silk single-ply in the Sunset colourway. Mmm…

photo 1 (30)

This was one of those I-see-you-looking-at-me-looking-at-you-across-the-room-could-it-be-love purchases at Espace Tricot in Montreal. In which there was no particular project in mind but it didn’t matter, the yarn would soon tell me what it needed.

And so it did: Herbivore by Stephen West.

This yarn is like something out of a dream. It’s so soft it makes angels weep. This pattern is a joy to knit; the perfect balance of relaxing yet still interesting. And look at the colours. Just look!

photo 3 (24)

It’s going to be okay.

Advertisements

Pure Laine

Hi!

Well, it’s back to the grind here in Boss-town. I’ve successfully removed my brain and shaken out any knowledge that had managed to stick around since last semester. Then I wiped out my cranium, reinserted my tender, newly emptied brain, and am ready to roll for ROUND TWO – FIGHT! of nutrition learning.

This past weekend (MLK long weekend here in the States) I was able to sneak away to Montreal for one last hurrah of the Christmas break. Jason drove the 600 mile round trip. I knit and curated playlists and cogné des clous.

Heading back to my once-home of 6 years includes: a) hitting all our favourite food spots, b) meeting up with the best knitting friends, c) visiting all 3 favourite yarn shops, or d) being outdoorsy on the mountain? Trick question, yo. All of the above! Although, visiting 3 yarn shops in 3 days was kind of extreme even to me – but not exactly unwelcome. One of these was La Maison Tricotée, traditional knitting-and-tea-meet-up location for some of my favourite people. If you’re reading this, you know who you are! I don’t think there’s anything more wonderful or indulgent than reconnecting with friends over tea in fancy teapots and knitting on beautiful projects. Meanwhile, completely insulated from the -20˚C weather outside, thanks to the shelves and baskets of yarn surrounding us.

These are also ideal conditions for expanding the stash. Not that I have room for more stuff to come home with me. But hey. There’s been a lot of knitting going on with dental floss and toothpicks (e.g. monstrous fingering weight pi shawl, a pair of socks I’m not really feeling at the moment) and a big ol’ skein of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Sookie called out to me at Maison. It’s the colour of snow on a bright day (that hint of blue in the right lighting) and looks and feels like a cumulus cloud come down to Earth. It’s a mega-bulky single-ply that demands 10 mm needles or above. It was really one of those moments where you realize that your whole life you had been searching for something… and then here it was in your hands. I cast on the same day I bought it.

photo 1 (28)

No need for a pattern when all I wanted was something outrageously voluminous to wrap around my neck. I jotted down the general recipe on my project page.

photo 1 (29)

And it works doubled-up, too! Seems like a miracle for a 130-yard skein.

photo 2 (26)

Now that that bulky affair is out of my system, it’s back to the usual suspects. Currently, I am working on my Ease pullover, which at this point, is just starting the hip increases. I put it on a longer pair of circular needles so I could un-bunch the thing and see how it’s doing. Prognosis: questionable.photo 3 (23)

Should it be looking like this?? This is a size small, I got gauge, and it’s supposed to have a few inches of ease built in. The body is less fitted than I was expecting, which is fine, but you guys… the shoulders and arms look like they’re going to the Super Bowl. They’re massive! I could fit both my arms into one armhole. Now, I personally believe that my arms are twigs relative to the rest of me, but would this arm size even make sense for anyone? I guess at this point all I can do is start knitting the arms and see what happens. Hopefully this is just some terrible optical illusion based on the fact that the arm stitches are currently on hold and the neckline is not finished. Otherwise, I’ll try decreasing down to an arm circumference more appropriate to my ET-like body:arm ratio. Or maybe just work on my guns.

Surfacing

Hi guys, whaaat’s happening.

Yeeeahh… I’m gonna need to you to ignore my lack of posts lately… mmhm yeahh… so if you could just go ahead and do that, that would be great.

bill

Look for new posts every Friday, right here on this very blog. That’s my 2015 resolution, guys. Because I have been knitting. So much knitting. Buried in UFOs and random skeins and tangled in my new swift.

Check it out! No more winding balls of yarn by hand for an hour with a contraption of chairs, kettle bells, or other people’s limbs as my skein holders. The best part is the whole thing collapses into a slim little case that I can easily put in my suitcase. Here it is over Christmas break, winding another skein of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock for my pi shawl. Now that I’m back in Boston, I’ve been putting it to good use with my ball winder and whipping out yarn cakes like it ain’t a thang.

swift

See that crumpled mess on the table? This pi shawl is my first Elizabeth Zimmermann (EZ) project. This has been said before but it doesn’t hurt to repeat that the woman is a genius. Not just in terms of pattern brilliance, but the Knitter’s Almanac (where the shawl pattern exists) is also storytelling brilliance and humour brilliance. Check out the link above for the 2000+ pi shawls that other Ravelers have made. At this point, I’m working on the border, and it’s not as bad as I was expecting. True, there are ~600 stitches per row so the border is time consuming but I’m just looking forward to the massive finished product. Can’t wait to have this behemoth off the needles and blocked to its full potential.

pi

The shawl even came on the family ski trip, though I admit there wasn’t as much knitting potential during the two 6-hour drives as I would have liked. 3 adults in the back seat of a car apparently means elbows are in lockdown. But the trip itself was out of control in all the right ways:

silverstar

Dat pow. This is a -20˚C morning on Silver Star mountain.

Back in Boston now and another project has leapt onto the needles: Ease by Alicia Plummer, which I am knitting in the “old” Dream in Colour Classy base. The colourway is Deep Regret, charming as usual. I should have about 1250 yards total, so that should be enough to do the cool funnel collar. I love the look of this sweater! And the yarn is so satisfying to work with… it’s round and sproingy and a beautiful colour. I also noticed that unlike similar yarns out there, there’s no undyed white “core” in Classy, at least not this batch I have. Anyone know if this is a good sign? It seems like a good thing to me. Or maybe this is just a result of the way it’s dyed and has no effect on the yarn’s quality. Here’s a questionable-quality photo of the sweater in progress, all bunched up due to too-short circular needles.

ease

Can you see that knitting takes priority over biochem reading? For anyone considering this pattern, so far it’s been very simple to follow. It’s a top-down raglan, so everything is knit seamlessly, then the optional funnel neck knit after by picking up and knitting the neckline stitches.

Lastly, a wee taste of what I’ve been spinning lately! This is my first Spunky Eclectic fibre club shipment from October; it’s polwarth dyed in a sushi coloured theme (amazing). Yo I have never spun polwarth before in my young spinning life, but it’s so easy to spin and surprisingly soft. I’m attempting to fractal spin this (we will see if it works) and make a chunky hat with a pom-pom! That seems like a good antidote to the depths of winter.

bobbin

On the other hand, winter today was not bad. 

run