There’s a larval real-time marvel to be found

July 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

I’m sad to say this is not an update on the mittens – as I’m nearing the end of my Bachelor’s thesis, I needed something a little more brainless. So I cast on a blanket. That’s right, it’s July and I’ve started with this year’s Christmas presents, and OF COURSE a blanket in bulky-weight wool yarn is the perfect project for these warm summer days.

Anyway, the point being, I’m using Cascade Ecological Wool and Eco+ (which is the same thing, only dyed), and they come in these HUGE 250 g skeins. Good lord. As I’ve discovered when I split some 400 g sock yarn cones into thirds, 130 g of yarn is really all I can comfortably wind, after that, the ball gets too bulky for me to hold without putting some considerable strain on my hands.

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This discovery was only validated and expanded upon when I wound two of my five Eco skeins into balls, and I figured: there’s gotta be a better way of doing that.

As it turns out, there is. Jacqueline Fee’s yarn cocoon is something I’d tried before with disastrous results in cobweb-weight yarn, but it seems perfect for these big, thick skeins where the yarn sticks together a bit instead of just becoming a big tangled mess of slip-slidey thread. And winding them is really quite relaxing.

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Also, I love the look of them. They really do look like cocoons, don’t they? They are, admittedly, a bit bigger than the balls/ yarn cakes I wind – they end up being around the size of the original skein – but they don’t tend to roll around quite as much, which is always a relief.

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I’ll report back when I’ve knitted up more of them, i.e. how much they collapse when a bit more of the center is gone, and how well they hold up under the stress of being hauled around, but as of right now, I’m thoroughly charmed. Also, my hands hurt way less.

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Short and stout

December 16, 2010 § 8 Comments

I like tea.

And I’m not even British. I like tea, I drink copious amounts of it, and I have since I was twelve or thirteen. Most of the time, I’ll just throw a tea bag in a big ol’ mug and curl up around it, and since I have many big mugs, I somehow never got around to using the nifty little teapot my mother gave me for my birthday one year, which separates into a pot and a matching tea cup.

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Somehow, sitting at my desk, doing Spanish exercises and pouring myself tea, it somehow elevated the commodity, the necessity that tea has become in my life to something more. It slowed me down, from unnecessarily hectic to calm. There’s something magical about a steaming cup of tea.

I haven’t really been taking my time with things recently. I’ve been increasingly impatient, I’ve thrown knitting away in disgust much more than usual. When I do sit down to knit, I only want to get it done and over with. It’s not even that I’m that much under pressure, because uni is easy this semester and I’m way early with presents this year, but somehow I’m cracking. I haven’t been taking my time.

Maybe I need some medium-size projects. All I have at the moment are sweaters and teeny things like camera cozies or single socks in thick yarn, and no grey area in between at all.

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But maybe what I need is more tea. More sitting down with a tea pot and a small cup. (Small, in this household, is anything under 350 ml. We have mugs going up to 750 ml here.) More enjoying in small quantities. Less flitting from one project to another. Maybe even less composing hateful monologues to my Spanish teacher in my head.

More clearing my head, and breathing in the fragrant steam from the tea cup cradled in my hands.

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… and it’s gonna be totally awesome

November 24, 2010 § 9 Comments

I haven’t been posting; I think it’s mostly due to the fact that I got a new paper journal that I love writing in – yet another Moleskine. The third over a relatively short time. Used to be that I thought they were pretentious, now I appreciate their simplistic design and rounded corners.

Speaking of rounded corners. Last night, my old laptop broke, which was a kind of a shame and kind of a relief. I liked Graham, I really did, but I’d had nothing but trouble with him in the last months – freezing, especially, and overheating, and freezing some more, and more random shit that was just annoying. Then last night, he wouldn’t recognize the fact that he was plugged in. I tried the usual – pull the plug out, stick it back in, thump it on the back – nothing.

So I rather hysterically backed everything important up onto my external harddrive, transferred some money, and bought a Macbook today. The Macbook I’ve been planning on for… a while. Ever since summer, I guess, since Graham started acting up more and more.

I was a bit afraid of the Big Bad Apple, but so far I’m loving it. It’s friendly, it’s streamlined, it’s simplistic. I’m sure I’ll encounter some problems at some point, but right now, I’m very much charmed. Oscar (i.e. the Macbook) isn’t quite as big as Graham, which might put a damper on watching movies, but seriously… if that’s all I have to complain about, I’ll take that any day.

Status updates on the Frantic Christmas Knitting: 30 days to go, Girl Friday halfway done, Henry around 60 %. I’d post pictures but it’s at a point where it just looks… more of the same, basically. Which isn’t very exciting as photos go. (Also I don’t have anything on this computer yet.)

Cute knitting-related anecdote: One of my classmates was wearing this stylish beret, so I asked here where she got it. Her answer? Ravelry! So Saskia and I squeed a bit, and started chatting about knitting, and the pattern (Meret/Mystery Beret by Wooly Wormhead, by the way), and yarn, and the whole shebang. It was nice, having a little outpost of normality in the ‘real world’. The Bunter November yarn market (the little brother of the Wollefest each May) was, of course, right on the mainland of the Wondrous Land of Knitting, and I spent a couple of hours deliriously petting yarn, knitting and chatting with people I knew from Ravelry or the Strickcafé or didn’t know at all, at least not their faces (hallo, Jana!).

Why I never posted about this? Well, of course I’d forgotten my camera (figures), and I just haven’t felt like posting yarn porn. Shocking, I know. I’ll post ’em one of these days, when I’ve figured out whether Oscar is compatible with Bobby the External Harddrive. But first, Glee.

No regrets, just love

November 13, 2010 § 1 Comment

Today, with all of last post’s issues still brewing under the surface, we return to the scheduled program with A Word on Henry.

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Oh my god. This is seriously one of the coolest things I’ve ever knit. So. Cool. It’s subtle, it’s easy, it’s clever… my, is it clever. Clever to a point where it doesn’t even look knit, and how amazing is that? It works well with the slightly heathered Alpaca sock yarn I’m using, and did I mention how clever it is?

The clear lines, the simple yet striking design, I’m in love with all it. Seriously, I’m kind of sad I’m giving it away.  Even if I do, deep down in my heart, know that this isn’t the type of scarf I wear. Lucky recipient.

Though the body pattern consists of only four different rows, there’s a bit of a challenge in the construction: for one, it starts with a tubular cast-on and ends with a matching cast-off. That’s a first for me, at least this way, with waste yarn. I think there was a tubular CO without waste yarn on the Endpaper mitts I made way back when, but I hated that one, and I think I chickened out on the BO. No chickening out this time!

The other obvious disadvantage of this scarf is that you have 452-stitch rows. However, there’s ‘only’ 150 rows, so in terms of total stitch count, it’s still around what you’d have to contend with in a fingering-weight scarf anyway. Or what you would have to if you slipped half the freaking stitches every row. So, yeah.

Progress is going ok, though not quite as well as it did in that first, over-enthusiastic week, but that’s mostly due to lighting issues. And the fact that the Girl Friday front I’m working on? Has 43 stitches a row.

If I go crazy then would you still call me Superman?

November 9, 2010 § 4 Comments

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As always, I can count on my desk to be a pretty accurate snapshot of my life. Mostly because I just pile stuff on there, pull things that I need from the bottom to the top, until everything’s arranged in a kind of organized chaos.

My life seems to be a pretty even split between knitting and Spanish right now. Which… is kind of what it’s been for the last year, to be honest. Except now it’s more fun and less fun at the same time – more fun because I read books in Spanish now, even if my dictionary is never particularly far – less fun because my Spanish course kind of sucks, for several reasons I won’t go into.

But those rather vague lumps in the picture, that’s top to bottom: Henry scarf (for Adam), Vespergyle Mitts (for me), Watson sweater (tan-colored lump, for me), Girl Friday (grey, for my sister). Featured in the background: Thermal sweater, for me, which I haven’t touched in a while due to, well, the big pile in the middle.

I’ve tried rotating working on them by day, which was a veritable shipwreck due to my project ADD, so I mostly work on each of them every day. Which sounds like I’m getting a lot more done than is actually the case.

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Which is weird, because I’m actually more lazy recently than in a while. I love knitting, but with Christmas at the door it’s mostly a low-level stress factor, along with something that kind of feels like a chore. Plus I have Smallville and Psych to supplement my usual shows, so more knitting time there. Plus I ordered a webcam the other day and it should get here this week, which means I can knit while webcamming with Adam.

And gosh, doesn’t that sound naughty.

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Take a look ahead

November 1, 2010 § 2 Comments

It’s not like I’m not stressed, with Christmas only 53 days away – especially since I kind of randomly decided to knit a Henry for Adam. On the plus side, I’m almost done with the backside of the Girl Friday for my sister, despite my incredible slackerdom when it comes to that thing.

I’d much rather work on Watson (also only about 15cm to go on that back), or the Thermal (started a sleeve, back done, half the front also), or my Vespergyle mittens (halfway up the thumb on the second mitt), or Saskia’s Super Secret Christmas Present (finished, booyeah! but I’m considering making matching mittens). I’m also done with the Brambles beret and scarf, even if I haven’t gotten around to wearing them. I have a feeling I’ll have to run some kind of elastic through the brim of the beret, since it’s pretty loose, but I’ll wait till after I’ve actually worn it.

In conclusion: I feel like I’m getting somewhere. Making progress. Which is important for my sanity, since uni doesn’t exactly evoke the same feeling at the moment.

Also, it’s kind of hard to get really stressed out if the foot of my bed looks like this most evenings.

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Yes, I also got my other roomie to join us on the dark side. She’s making a hat. Which she was half done with, then discovered a mistake two rows down from where she was, and subsequently… frogged the whole thing. And started over. I’m still kind of flabbergasted.

Speaking of flabbergasted. I’m making good on my resolution to go to the knitting café more, and lo and behold. I was just hanging out there on Saturday, very content indeed about just having bought truly luscious yarn for Henry,

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(Bremont Camino Alpaca, fingering weight, 60% merino, 20% alpaca, 20% nylon)

… and then Christine plunked an armful of yarn on the table in front of me. Not just any yarn. Wollmeise.

I tried, for about three hours, to discourage myself from buying one. I failed. Mostly because I didn’t really have any good arguments except for how it was kind of expensive (€17.50 for 150g, which… isn’t that bad, but not that cheap either), but then I had that exact amount in my wallet and that must’ve been a sign.

It was kind of hard to decide, because all the colors were gorgeous. No kidding. Even the ones I usually can’t stand. ALL. GORGEOUS. But I settled on this beautiful green, Grashüpfer, and my photo doesn’t do it justice.

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Also, it’s so tightly twisted that the 150g look like 100g, and you could probably bludgeon someone to death with the skein. Death by Wollmeise. There’s worse ways to go.

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.

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