The more we find, the more we see

August 12, 2010 § 6 Comments

Today, I wanted to start on my paper.

Today, I also I duplicate stitched a P on my Weasley sweater, cooked, cleaned the kitchen, started my first pair of Christmas socks, taught myself two-handed stranded knitting, watched the first episode of Castle and decided I loved it, and… contemplated the meaning of life. Or something.

Damn rain. I’m blaming it all on the rain, and the need for a sweater, and then I pulled out the initial-less Weasley sweater, and it went all downhill from there.

But hey, at least now my Weasley sweater is a proper Weasley sweater. Despite the terrible yarn.

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I swear, if I had the long needle, I would’ve finished the damn Girl Friday cardi today from sheer boredom and procrastinationg. I’m also sick of having it hang around on my chair and mocking me. I wanna wear it, damn it!

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These are the first Christmas socks of the year, and I’m pretty much keeping my trap shut about those on the blog, since I don’t want to risk spoiling the surprise. I’m keeping my knitting restricted to times when I’m alone, etc. All very hush-hush, but I’m having a great time on them. There’s slightly more info on Rav though, so, yeah.

What else… yesterday I turned this

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into this

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with a heavy heart. I put so much work and love into it last winter, but then I had to face the fact that the contrast between the colors wasn’t prominent enough. It looks fine in the photo, but trust me, you had to know there was a pattern to see it. Which is the reason I abandoned it, and that yarn really deserves better. So I ripped it, but I’ll restart the Ruba’iyat mittens with the brown yarn and… I haven’t decided, actually, either white or light blue.

I’m still vaguely stumped by how much I’m looking forward to winter this year. Well, to be perfectly honest, I’m more looking forward to fall, but right now I’m romanticizing winter so much I’m ignoring the fact that especially towards the end of January, it’s my least favorite season.

In other news…

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I have a shawl drawer now. For the laceweight shawls. The sockweight ones still hang from hooks, the scarves hang in my wardrobe, the hats and gloves have their compartment in the sideboard, the socks are in a big box, and in none of these places was space for laceweight shawls. Somebody fucking stop me.

High as the spirits

August 11, 2010 § 4 Comments

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Awo weeks of focused knitting, frustrated hair-pulling, painstakingly ripping back rows 110 to 70, and most of an audiobook as well as several seasons of QI, I give you…

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Balmoral, by Marianne Kinzel, from her Second Book of Modern Lace Knitting, knit semicircular instead of circular, on 4mm bamboo circs. Yarn: Zitron Filigran Lace No. 1 in white. Weight: 85g.

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Practicality factor: most likely zero. Wearing it slung around my neck like I do with all the others makes it look like a bib, but maybe I’ll find another way. It’s big enough to wear over my shoulders, it’s true, but I rarely go out without a backpack, so, yeah.

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Awesome factor: pretty damn awesome.

I can’t wait to start the English Rose.

I’ll have you know I’m glad to be back

August 10, 2010 § 4 Comments

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After a five-hour drive, I’m back, I’m back, I’m back in Leipzig. Cut loose from the noose and all that, and I’ve never been more relieved to see these green walls of mine. I’ve already done laundry and photographed my knitting and made myself a Southern Comfort with lemonade, and I’m enjoying the quiet of a flat that has just me in it. And the dog. And my freshly laundered, newly fluffy rugs. I could write about those some more (cause they’re fairly exciting, all white instead of greyish, except for that pink spot on one of them), but I’m also pretty sure y’all would prefer some knitty photos to my yabbering about rugs.

Even if they’re pretty rugs.

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These are the old new socks, the ones I have finished and one of which my mother has already messed with. Or rather the velcro on her shoes. The little standy-uppy tuft is annoying, but I’m kind of hoping it’ll vanish with washing, so there’s that. Either way, they’re Zitron Trekking HandArt experimental tweed yarn, on 2.25mm Knitpicks, pattern is Blueberry Waffle Socks by Sandy Turner. Quick, entertaining, I’ll have to wait and see how they hold up in shoes but very comfy nonetheless.

However, adding another pair of socks to my already vast collection means my new sock box is also becoming very full very fast.

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Maybe I should retire some of the older, thinned-out socks to a bag or something so I can go on knitting new ones. Not yet though, Christmas is coming after all and I’m almost certain most of the socks I’ll be knitting in the near future won’t be for me. (I have one pair planned for Saskia already. Gosh, I’m excited for those, even though my knitting time on them will be restricted to when she’s not there.)

Speaking of new socks, the socks I started yesterday? Are kind of gorgeous, even if I just only finished the first half-repeat.

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It’s new Zitron Trekking XXL from a line called Salz und Pfeffer (salt and pepper), color 436 (I love it when they have romantic names), and I’m pretty enchanted with the way it totally looks like grass, or fresh minced herbs, or any other sort of springy-summery nature stuff.

And now, and believe me when I say I wish I had it blocked, but that’s gonna have to wait until at least tomorrow… the thistle shawl.

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My brain can’t wait to block it, but my back is already groaning.

These lines of lightening

August 5, 2010 § 2 Comments

I’m at my parents’, and to counteract the slow, slippery slide towards absolutely bonkers, I thought I’d sit down and blog a bit, even if I don’t have a camera to show my impressive progress with the socks or the Thistle shawl or anything.

Because, oh boy, have I made progress! One of the Rhubarb Tweed Waffle socks is done, the other is almost down to the heel – it’s kind of a long shaft, plus I’ve pretty much only touched them when I needed something for waiting rooms, that kind of thing. I’ve even offered my mother to knit on them for a bit, since she can’t do much more than sit around all day due to knee surgery, but she declined. Strange woman.

But the Thistle shawl… oh man. Last Saturday, I was up to row 110, just after the start of the zig-zag-y edging, and I realized I’d made a colossal mistake in doing the whole daffodil blooms (or whatever those triangles are) on the edges. To demonstrate:

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(Photo not mine)

Doing the whole daffodils on the edges of a semicircular shawl would’ve meant two things: a slight bend in the otherwise straight line – I could’ve dealt with that. In fact, that was kind of what I was counting on making the decision. But the other thing, which I didn’t realize until I started the edging, was that it would’ve meant the corners would have been one of the low points of the stockinette parts, and that would’ve just looked plain silly.

And so I ripped back. 40 rows. Forty. Rows. Of lace. With a fluffy-ish yarn that meant it took well over 2 hours to ravel down due to the stitches sticking together. My heart bled, people. Bled as I was sitting in the sunshine.

But you know what the amazing thing is? Three days later, I was back to row 110, and right now, I’m on 133, and there’s a total of 138. Which means I’m almost done knitting, and then I’ll put off the endless crochet bind-off until I’m home, where I have hooks small enough for that kind of thing. I’m a busy, busy bee. Especially considering one row takes about 15 minutes. I’ve been watching a lot of QI.

So yeah, mentally insert a picture of a thistle segment pinned out to my bed, all pretty and clever and brilliant, and I’ll show you the finished thing in a couple of days.

On another note, I went to Zitron on Monday, found out that my extra-long 160 cm circular needle had not in fact been forgotten, and bought some extra-special, tremendously exciting yarn coming out in October or so which I can’t show you until then, but rest assured, it really is pretty exciting.

Be proud of me. It’s only August and I’m starting on Christmas presents already.

(To remedy the lack of photos in this post, a panorama pic of our new and improved kitchen, with the shelf (on the right) Saskia and I built ourselves, from scratch! Click photo to embiggen slightly, or here for an enormous version)

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High may your proud standards gloriously wave

July 27, 2010 § 3 Comments

I love Scotland.

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I’m not ashamed to admit it, either. The Highlands are gorgeous, Edinburgh is an entirely charming city, and Scottish accents set my heart on fire. I’ve had a single-bagpipe version of  ‘Scotland the Brave’ as the world’s most annoying ringtone since August 2007, which has led to frantic episodes of digging for my cell phone in all kinds of places (most notably on Westminster Bridge, where I didn’t spot the lone bagpiper in time).

I’ve also been coveting Marianne Kinzel’s Thistle Design ‘Balmoral’ at least since January – that’s when I queued it, though I’m pretty sure I’ve had it in my favorites longer than that, it’s just that I got the book around that time. It’s an outstanding design, timeless, gorgeous, Scottish – and it doesn’t repeat. Well, the background pattern does, but the rest? Mostly line-by-line work of pre-computer charts.

The most surprising thing of all? I’m making ridiculous progress. I’ve been at it for five days, and I’m almost done with the second chart, i.e. the tops of the thistles. Granted, I’m doing half the design, cause I have little to no use for a circular shawl (not that I have too much use for other shawls, mind. ahem), but I’ve still put in a lot of hours, and it shows.

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I’m thinking it might also be due to the yarn. It’s the white Zitron Filigran No. 1, but unlike the skeins I made Haruni out of, it’s the second generation. Filigran No. 1.2, so to speak. Apparently it’s steamed at 1°C higher than the previous incarnation, which astonishingly enough results in an amazing increase of softness. It feels at bit fluffier, too, but what’s most remarkable is that it’s softer than butter. It almost feels like baby alpaca, that’s how soft it is.

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I had to take some leaps of faith – especially the asymmetrical-seeming kfb increases, which turned out to be perfectly symmetrical after all – but on the whole, I find it perfectly charming. The thistles are remarkably thistle-like, I love the wide mesh in the middle of the thistle-heads, the background is very textured yet just airy enough, and I have yet to figure out where exactly the row increases are hidden.

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All in all, it’s quite marvelous.

And also, I’ve been watching entirely too much QI to be unaffected by the brilliant Stephen Fry’s speech patterns. Oh dear.

Now excuse me, I need to tink back two rows to fix the background in the last panel. And also refurbish the kitchen.

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