Archive for January, 2009

Double bill

Saw this on Laura’s blog and thought I’d pick it up as I’m bored mindless at work.

Here are the rules:
Link to the person who tagged you.
Mention the rules.
Tell six quirky yet boring, unspectacular details about yourself.
Tag six other bloggers by linking to them.
Go to each person’s blog and leave a comment that let’s them know they’ve been tagged.

Won’t tag anyone ūüôā

1)¬†Brian and¬†I own half a brain each. We know exactly how to follow a conversation even days after we had it. Example. Monday 0720, dropping me off at the¬†train station. Discussion – who sang Return of the Mack? Bobby Brown, surely not… can’t remember. Thursday evening. Brushing my teeth, I shout – MARK MORRISON!¬†“That was it” he says “It was driving me nuts!”¬†

2) I did a brief stint as a dancer at a club. Fully dressed, don’t get funny ideas.

3) If I’ve a craving, I will eat whatever I crave until I’m sick. I got REALLY sick with Nutella when I was 15 and I’m still unable to stomach it.

4) I haven’t been able to keep a hairstyle for longer than a year. I’ll change colour, length or style, invariably, I get very very bored.

5)¬†I have a hammer toe. Broke it as a kid when dancing and never got it fixed, though it hurts every now and then and I’m thinking about surgery.

6) I’ve never been great friends with women, my best friends have always been men.


Just another little bit of history repeated

Total tv geek moment to start with –¬†¬†I have said before how 3 of the Twilight actors had been in the OC, last night I was watching season 3, quietly knitting… I look at the credits. The Heavy Lifting is the episode, and it shows Cam Gigadet (James – Volchek), Nikki Reed (Rosalie – Sadie) and Jackson Rathbone (Jasper – Justin). I almost peed my pants I was watching a moment of twilight history being born, especially because Sadie and Volchek have history, and Justin is so cute.

What else to tell?¬†Scary Wednesday rolled smoothly as we were all pulled into a massive meeting room for a 2hr departmental meeting where we all expected to¬†hear the famous words (credit crunch, redundancies…) and it was all just to comment on last year’s successes. Having my name broadcasted via huge speakers gave me a little bit of confidence.

Apres Surf Hoodie? DONE. Last night I knit to my fingers’ ends, 1 and 1/2 inches of stockinette over the neckband (somewhat in the vicinity of 250stitches) and i-cord bind off over the same amount. I wanted to shoot anything on sight. I was so wired after I finished that I just HAD to cast on the club socks because I know I’m so far behind…

After ripping the heel off the 2nd Leyburn for the 2nd time around (total heels ripped in a pair of socks? 5, somewhat a record in my books), finally into the leg. I am most decidedly a top-down sock knitter. I hate the uncertainty of whether or not my yarn will take me to the end of the sock, but at least I can turn a very decent heel without ripping.

This weekend will be very quiet, blocking the ASH hood, handwashing some shawls, learning to minicable again with the Entangled Stitches gloves and spinning. I have to get my homework done for next week’s lesson on plying and haven’t even had a minute to start.

I’ve also been reading. By Brian’s suggestion, I borrowed his copy of The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver. Very heavy book. Dense, complex, psychology and history, religion and devotion. There’s an inherent need to embed yourself in the skin of who’s narrating the story, 4 sisters and¬†their mum, talking about the life they lived as a baptist mission family in Congo during the late 50s and early 60s. I’m in the last chapters of the book and still trying to decide whether I love it or I’m indifferent, given that I still need that *something* to turn the tables.

I’m feeling the pressure because it’s one of his favourite books and while we may agree on a lot of areas in life (movies, tv, music, food), books have not been one of them. He was spot-on when he gave me The Secret History by Donna Tartt, I liked it so much I reckon I may read it again right after finishing The Poisonwood Bible, but it may just be that this book’s characters lack a certain desire for the future –¬†I don’t see them as strong and determined women, sumission and silence are not¬†on my personality traits and I barely tolerate them on others, so¬†maybe my inability to relate to¬†them¬†keeps me from adding this book to my favourite’s shelf. The narration and description are spotless nonetheless and just for that, worth a read.

Spin weekend starts… now!

I got a new toooooy….

From Spindles

This purpleheart 0.8oz spindle arrived this morning on my desk. It even comes in its own little roll with padding to protect it. I’m in love. It’s so light, so purple….

In case you wondered, I took that picture like 5min ago holding the case between my knees and doing some stealthy photography on a corner of my desk.

The good news is I’ve been putting off spinning this week since I finished the first part of Razzcherry because on Sunday I’ve a spinning class and I knew I’d need my spindle. HOWEVER, having received this beauty, I can use it in the class and continue spinning on my other spindle tonight!

Packed weekend ahead, tomorrow’s trip to P&M will take the whole day and while I usually wouldn’t mind the train trip to the pick up point, this time I do because oh-joy the trains aren’t running for the second leg of my trip. Bus replacement service. Ugh.

Last night Alice, Ali, Diane and Mel tried to convince me to buy a wheel when we get there. I must admit I’m almost convinced, but I got paid this Tuesday and half the money is already gone (rent and bills are assumed, but the sofa wasn’t), and I kind of want to evaluate possible spendings this month before doing something completely Ruthlike and blow it all off on a wheel.

I must remember to buyonly fibre when I’m there. ONLY fibre… and maybe a book. I’m also buying fibre for a friend, and I get quite anxious about that because I really want her to like it. Me? I’m pretty set on any grey merino, or oatmeal BFL that you throw my way. Or the droolilicious alpaca silk blend.

Sunday PM will be spent at Socktopus for Superspin 2 part 1. I don’t know what the class will entail and I haven’t tried to find out either, I know to bring my spindle and I know I’ll have fun. And I promise, Diane, I won’t be a pest child *wink*

Oh – progress! Yesterday I finished my first Leyburn and today I finished the toe of the second one. I did all that because I wanted to free up my 2.75mm needle to cast on for the Socktopus first sock club package. Then I realised I’m working the sock on 3mm and what I really need to finish is my hoodie. Bummer.

A little anecdote from last night – on my train going home, Leyburn finished, fingers slightly twitchy, I thought… The sock club yarn comes in 2 skeins. I bet you I can ball one before I get home. I started in Redhill and when we got to Gatwick airport this Irish family got on. Loud, funny, not minding my weird task. All of a sudden this lady touches my shoulder “do you want me to hold the skein for you while you ball it?”. I was completely taken by surprise. Turns out her mam, who travelled with them, used to be a bonafide knitter before her sight got worse. They regaled me with stories of the aran and fair isle sweaters she used to knit for them every christmas and they were very appreciative of my work when I showed them the single sock and my mittens. Isn’t it great when out of nowhere you have an uplifting conversation with a stranger (or a whole family of them)?

I<3 spinning

There, I said it. Who knew that when I questioned the sanity of those who spin I’d be entering the realms of their wisdom!

This weekend I was doing some plying. I had to finish the orange string (aka Mango Fandango Merino from Spindlefrog that I got in Socktopus) and I had my foggy grey (aka grey merino from P&M Woolcraft. I’m SO getting some more on Sat!) ready to ply.

The orange one went without a glitch. I had split the batches, so I just joined them when I was winding it up. I didn’t measure, so there was my first mistake, but never mind, I put it aside and plied the grey merino. I didn’t split the batches there. I had an absolute “SPINNING FAIL” picture across the living room. My spindle looked like it was pregnant with triplets and I kept swearing so much I almost drove Brian out of the house. Alas, it did end. And so I wound it up.

Washed in a little Eucalan….

Gave a good tug…..

Left it to dry….

Kept going to see every 5 minutes if it was any drier….

For a whole day….

And so, last night –

From First Spinning


From Grey merino spun

The orange one is what I’d call a yarn with “personality”. It’s thick and thin, puffy and stringy, soft and cushiony. I have to measure it, but my guess is it’ll make a great hat.

I know it’s wrong to love one of your children more than you love the others, but look at Niebla, my grey one. Isn’t she pretty. She has inherited the soft and cushiony qualities of her sister, but she’s consistent, doesn’t have bipolar yarn disorder. I’m in love with this one.

Because a spinner is nothing other than a knitter with a BAD case of jones for drafting and twisting, I couldn’t sit down and wait. Just that week I had received 500g of undyed merino and I got my hands on some Oceanwinds Roving (shade Razzcherry). Spindle empty. Mind wanders.

“Maybe I should wait until I go to P&M to get another lighter spindle and see what I could do”

“Maybe I should just split the undyed merino, just to touch it a bit”

“What should I do with the Oceanwinds? aaaaaah let’s venture into 3ply there”

“It won’t hurt anyone if I do some more…. sorry Apres Surf hoodie, you’ve had half a hood since last monday but… ah yes, sorry Leyburn sock I never got around to finish”

Brian interrupted me.

“What are you doing?” – before I’d known it, I was splitting the Oceanwinds into 6 batches to do 2 3ply skeins. Oh. errrr… yeah…

From Razzcherry

I just cannot stop. Gorgeous spinny stuff, what did you do to the knitter in me?

Repeat with me – things can only get better

I think I’m going through some sort of bad luck spell or the world has decided to go against me. Let me list my last 24h:

  1. Lost one of my Chevalier mittens and looked like a right idiot emptying my handbag on Southwest trains
  2. While at Socktopus, I worked 4 rounds of Leyburn – wrong pattern. rip and start again.
  3. Missed the bus when I got out of Socktopus, waited for over 10min for the next one.
  4. Southern trains changed schedules meaning there’s no train service in my area from 20.45 to 21.16. Guess what time I got to the station? Ah yes, 20.46.
  5. Had a horrible mean disgusting Cornish pastry for whatsomemaycall dinner. Burnt my fingers while eating it and had to drink my Coke fast to disguise the horrible taste. Next time I’d rather miss another train and go find the nearest Subway.
  6. Got home, wide awake from Coke, went to bed too late, which leads to ….
  7. … waking up late and realising¬† there’s no time to wash my hair and dry it, so¬† hair is going up in bun today…..
  8. … and you get out of the shower to find your boy in the kitchen looking like he’s felted your socks and doesn’t know quite how to tell you: there’s not enough milk to make porridge. Balls.
  9. I decide to pick my wars, don’t get mad about it and say “well, at least there’ll be enough for coffee”. Boil kettle to realise there’s not even enough milk to have coffee for one. Consider tossing coin to see which one of us gets coffee, decide it’s unfair, we both go without coffee and are in a bad mood. Our blood is 85% caffeine, 15% water, so we REALLY are in a bad mood.
  10. Get dressed – rip tights. Find new tights.
  11. Getting dressed still. Can’t find shoes. Look around the mess and realise I’ve had SUCH a bad time so far I’m going to work in my Uggs and the world can bite my derriere.
  12. Look around for mittens. Ah yes. Remember #1?
  13. Get to train station. Train is late. Pick your wars…
  14. Clapham Junction rolls around, missed connection. Decide to pay for overpriced coffee as to avoid getting thrown out of station for foul withdrawal mood.
  15. Arrive at work. Forgot my¬†glasses. I can’t pick my wars anymore. I want to go home and hide under the duvet.
  16. Open drawer, pick up laptop, dock laptop, boot laptop. Look for piece of paper that slid through first drawer to second drawer. Put hand in… touch wool? MITTEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  17. Open Notes. Email from boss in inbox. Working from home as feeling unwell.

Will  have headache by end of day. But not being bossed helps. Finding mitten definitely helps.

Leyburn socks are 1in into the leg. Something is something, right?

Socks and plying

I succumbed to a KAL! The Socktopus board got notice of the Leyburn KAL that the STR board were doing and it’s a pretty pattern, so I decided to use my stashbusting skills to get started… looks dang pretty, huh?

From Leyburn Socks

And I’ve started what I meant to start in Spain but didn’t have the heart to. I’m plying my grey merino. I spun all of it over xmas but panic hit home when it came to plying, like it did with my orange Spindlefrog merino.

From Grey merino spun

I’m getting 12-13wpi, which I find nice and even, I don’t have¬†chunky/thin areas like I did with the orange stuff. I only seem to have issues with the fluffiness. I thought I’d spun this pretty tight so I could have a tight 2-ply, but apparently I didn’t spin enough. It’s looking pretty anyway and I’m happy about that.

Tonight I’m off to Socktopus to pay Alice and the girls a visit. I haven’t seen them since Dec 19th (eek, that long!) and I’m bringing choccies to celebrate the first meet up I can attend. I’m hoping to land my fingers into some Oceanwinds Merino to spin, to add it to the list of stuff I bought this week – 500g of Merino from Bluefaced and 200g each of a green mix and a pink/heather mix from World of Wool.

Reason being, I need to get better at spinning, as I signed up for Superspin 2 at Socktopus for next weekend and the following alternate one (it’s easier to say 25th and 8th, really), and as I didn’t do Superspin 1, I’m afraid I’ll be the child at the rear of the class eating paste. Nom.

Catriona? Done!

I finally managed to finish Catriona! This super intricately cabled vest has been with the WIP pile since September. I thought I’d take it with me on my holidays to have some knitting to do but decided against it, given that it was well complicated… and so it languised as a WIP for longer than it should.

I had made some changes from the original pattern, merely:

  • Sizing. The pattern allows for 10cm of positive ease. I do not do baggy. I considered the pattern, and the 10cm of ribbing at the waist would definitely look tight, so why would I have something tight between hips and waist yet have a baggy vest around my torso? I decided to go with my instincts and made the smallest size to have a tight FO.
  • Pattern. There are, if I’m not mistaken, 8 different cables for this pattern, and 2 different pattern sections (main cable and separating cable). I charted it out, used my felt tip pens to identify each cable. Also, there are areas of garter and stockinette stitch, so I bore that in mind and charted each individual stitch.
  • Yarn. Rialto dk is¬†good, but I couldn’t find a colour I wanted so while on holiday in Beverley, Yorkshire, I found the wonder that is Boyes. Boyes stocks James C Brett Pure Merino DK, a machine washable very soft and elastic merino, and I chose the cocoa colour over the deep¬† purple, as the saturation of purple may have hidden the cables. (Since then, I got some more colours, got to stock up!)
  • Stitch Pick up. The count of stitches given in the pattern to pick up for the neck and¬†arms would have given me a very big neckline and huge armbands, so I went with the flow, picked up what I had and didn’t care much for the count.

From the first moment, this was a very demanding knit, and I found myself tinking back several stitches and dropping stitches and fixing stitches more often than I usually do. This happened mostly in the garter stitch areas, given that I’d be on cruise control, purling all the stitches on the WS and forgetting that everything had to be patterned.

In any case, complicated got complicated, and I left it OTN when I was about 25cm into it. I knew I’d have to finish it, but it’s one of those projects that requires so much of your attention, you can’t just do one row here and there. When xmas rolled around and I knew I’d have 2 weeks of unadulterated knitting time, Catriona came home to Spain, finished in 3 days and washed it when I came back home.

Catriona came to work with me on Monday and I got compliments from the starter knitters and looks that said “oh you can do THAT?” on the face of those not-yet-converted.

She’s pretty, isn’t she???

From Catriona

And she’s also pretty from here…..

From Catriona

She’s also Oh-So-Warm. That first day of work after the holidays, the chilly wind… and my cozy vest.

In other news, the back to work blues isn’t quite there yet. Maybe because the boss isn’t due back until tomorrow, maybe because the task I’ve been given so far isn’t THAT demanding. No breakdowns expected for… another week at least!

This week I did some fibre purchasing, I want to ply my grey merino tonight, but I also know my Apres Surf Hoodie will be dry and the temptation to actually start the hood is quite high.

I also started the Leyburns. Having trouble fitting my skis  feet into that pattern. I need to widen it, I think. Using yummy Hazel Knits, the colours are beyooooteeefooool.

And thanks Diane for the heads up, I can sign up for the SuperSpin class starting next sunday at Socktopus, can’t wait!!!