Monthly Archives: December 2007

Happy Holidays!

Back again from the Grand Holiday Tour, and hoping everyone had as happy holidays as I! Apart from being internet-free for the better part of a week (and none too active before that) many things have been happening!

I survived my pre-holiday bake-a-thon, including Icing Night (a new tradition of mine), and all my friends and family got cookie trays.


christmas cookies

Thanks to the Pioneer Woman, I had beautifully decorated sugar cookies this year.

I finished all my holiday knitting (mostly). Some things were gifted to other folks than I had originally been knitting for (Koolhaus, Endpaper mitts), but everything worked out just right.

The big one was a Swallowtail Shawl I was knitting for my MIL — finished knitting at 5:30pm Christmas eve, blocked in secret later that night, ready for sneaking under the tree in the morning!
swallowtail shawl
Swallowtail’s lacy tip.

I myself got some fibery gifts: Vogue Stitchionary #1, a 1/2lb Coopworth and 1/2lb merino-silk blend to spin, oh, and just a tiny bit of something else…
qiviuq yarn
My brother in the Yukon loves me!

Also received, not as a Christmas present but coincidentally timed…
wheel whorl

And now I’m back home, looking forward to New Year’s parties, hanging out with friends, spending days in my pyjamas, and knitting things just for me!
knitted clog

FiberTrends felted clog, pre-felting — it’s huge!

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Filed under fibre, FOs, knitting, lace, out & about, rambling, spinning, yarn

Drumroll please…

What was I doing here?….

Oh, that’s right — my contest!

(I really hadn’t forgotten about it. Really! I’m just caught in the throes of pre-holiday work and cookie-baking insanity.)

Huh? What was that? Oh, right! Contest.

…Drumroll please…

And the winners are: Lady O and Deb!!!

Congratulations you two! I’ll be emailing you shortly (shorter than I did with posting these results, at least) and figuring out the best prizes to send off. I’m thinking it will come down to your preference between pre-made yarn vs. proto-yarn (spinning), with perhaps a handspun option…

In the end, I had 42 comments (thanks everyone!) and 2 pingbacks (thanks Chris and Chan!). The contest page has also had more than 300 unique views since it was first posted (wow!), which I’m taking to mean either I got about a 20% response rate or a few of you were really trying to mess with my stats. No matter what, I’m really grateful for all the comments you guys left, I’ve been turned on to some great new blogs through them (your own included, perhaps?), and have had a lot of fun!

Now back to the paperwork mines and cookie mill…

P.S. there will be a mitten update tomorrow-ish, with pictures and everything! Stay tuned for visual excitement and potential patternage!

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Mitten Maddness

It all started with the Bird in the Hand Mittens. I know, they’re popping up everywhere. They’re this season’s Anemoi mittens. Uber-popular. Must-Have Mittens.

Yes, I love this pattern too. Unfortunately my “e-money” budget this holiday season doesn’t allow for impulse purchases of trendy patterns, even when I do need to knit a mitten set for a gift. (Stay with me, I’m going somewhere with this. Apologies if my whinging over patterns I can’t have is boring anyone!)

These mittens, they’ve really opened my eyes to some elements of design here, stirring up all kinds of thinky-thoughts. For one, they are non-repeating and non-symmetrical. Quite a change from most Norwegian mittens out there. For two, they have cute designs in unexpected places, especially the palm-motif that breaks up the background repeat. And for three, for all that they are very visually interesting, they’re also relatively simple.

I have a strange disconnect when it comes to designs I find appealing. I need things to be balanced (e.g. asymmetrical hems are not for me, unless there are an even number of points or something like that), and yet, I also have issues thinking geometrically (math intimidates me). Knitting-wise, this means that I’ll avoid both freeforms and square blocks! But charting a design that has to fill a set space, but not necessarily repeat x times over y rows… that I guess just struck the right balance in my mind.

For the past three nights I have done hardly any knitting at all. I have searched Ravelry all through, looking at cuffs and hems and stranded patterns. I’ve found inspiration in Persian textiles, Roman mosaics, and on blackwork embroidery websites (sadly, you can’t just use those charts directly). And done a lot of scribbling in knitter’s chart-paper!

In these evenings I’ve had moments of inspiration where I’ve been in the kind of zone I haven’t found for a long while. I think of these as “muse-struck” moments; when I don’t entirely know what I’m creating, I just know that it’s right. The creativity flows, everything works, and then it ebbs away… When I start struggling for the next rhyme or line or stitch, I know the moment has passed.

Oh Muse, how I have missed you! Thank you for returning in this new and strange guise.

I’ve charted at least one design that I absolutely must knit for Dru as a result of these muse-moments. (In January, when there are no more knitting deadlines!) And I’ve struck on a design for the gift-mittens I’m quite pleased with, if I do say so myself. For three evenings straight, I have been designing. Now I knit, and see how it all works out…

mitten wip

* * * * *
Remember, today’s the last chance to enter my contest! I know I said Friday evening, but I’ll probably not tally up until mid-day tomorrow…

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Filed under contest, knitting, mitts, rambling

Knitty: Winter 2007

Have you seen it yet?

Well, go on! (I’ll wait for you.)

Pretty awesome, eh? This is the issue full of patterns that I look at and think, “My gods! Why didn’t I think about that? Of course you can do this with that!” Like the slipped-stitch cables in these Slippery socks, or the openwork, reversible cables in the amazing Jeanie wrap, or even the trick of using Noro to produce faux-Fair Isle tams.

There are so many ultimately knittable patterns in this issue, it makes me wish I hadn’t already got my queue of holiday gift projects lined up! “You didn’t really want a hat and mitts for Christmas, did you? I thought so. Good, now I can go knit things JUST FOR ME.”

* * * * *

In other news, there are only a few days left to enter my contest. Go on, leave me a comment, and then take some time to read through the amazing links — and blogs of the commenters — that have been left there already!

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Just My Week

This is just my week.

I’m overtired, working overtime, and still have a very long work-week ahead of me…

I have in no way finished knitting, shopping, or baking for the holidays…

It is cold and icy and snowy and I am wearing impractical boots…

And yet

I have fibery gifties in the mail for me, which will arrive like a surprise from Santa when I’ve forgotten about it entirely…

I have made great new friendships with some terribly nifty knitterly folk, and am doing things that would probably make you all jealous, so I won’t go into the details I can barely keep from typing they’re just so darnedly, unexpectedly cool…

I have a partner who recognizes my stress, does all our laundry on his day off, and is willing to pick me up and drive me to the yarn shop so that I can have some down-time in the company of knitters…

So really, when you think about it, I guess things aren’t so bad.

In fact, I’m a pretty lucky blogger here. I have spindles made and ready to (hopefully) sell (!), and have been getting a huge kick out of all the links you folks are sending me for my contest. If you haven’t entered yet, just pop over there and leave me a comment — I think with a few more I’ll be needing to shop for at least three prizes! If you already have, or are just bored, pop over there and read some of the great links!

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Crafts and Cocoa

EDIT: This post has been stolen by some sort of horrible blog-bot and appears in full at “sewing.unix-fu.org/sewing-talk” THIS IS NOT ME, and I am really upset that my words and photos have been stolen whole-hog. Anyone know how to make this stop?

Dru’s off on a Boy’s Day Out (read: all-day video game-a-thon), so I’ve had a nice quiet afternoon to myself. I spend a few hours on Queen St. West in fabric, bead, and button shops, which are all glorious and overwhelming in their own way, and did a very good job of a) getting what I needed and b) not going to any yarn stores (ok, so I went into Americo, but only becuase I knew I wouldn’t buy anything there!). My haul for the day was: 1) beads, for spindle-whorls, 2) spindle whorl shafts, 3) adhesive, and 4) lining fabric. (I am so restrained!)

glass beads
Glass beads for whorls.


plastic beads

Plastic, but very pretty, beads for whorls.

This is the fabric I bought:
lining fabric
Burgundy-purple kasha lining (a satin-fronted, flannel-backed lining, perfect for winter coats).

It is going to go into this coat:
winter coat

I bought this coat in early September last year because I loved it (and still do). It is wool (a passerby once has even guessed part cashmere); it has amazing Victorian-esq details and very clever feminine seaming; it is warm and lovely. Unfortunately, on top of being shamefully in need of a good de-linting* and missing a button**, it is also quite dreadfully ripped inside:

coat - inside

I don’t even have pockets anymore. This needs to be fixed! And, since I have the technology (sewing machine on loan), ability ( I’ve even made a complete winter coat once before, with much advice from Kelly), and bloody-mindedness (what, like I’d actually pay someone else to sew it?!?), I will be doing the work myself. This involves pre-washing the fabric, cutting the entirity of the old lining out from the coat, using it to get my pattern, cutting out the pieces, sewing them together (properly, without taking my usual no-pins, kamikaze, git’er done approach), and hand-stitching the hem. Which I don’t feel like doing today, and you can’t make me! :P

I have spend several hours making spindles, though, so barring the adhesive issues (anyone know of a mega-adhesive that works like a gel or putty?) I feel like I’ve acomplished some good today. Now I’m going to curl up on the couch with my knitting, drink some hot chocolate, and relax!

And speaking of hot cocoa… there’s going to be a new swap starting up for Jan/Feb, the Mmmm…Hot Cocoa chocolate and yarn swap! Channon tipped me off to this, and it sounds like it’ll be awesome. There’s a contest on to spead the word, so when sign-ups open on Dec. 15, tell them you heard about it here!

And speaking of contestsdon’t forget to enter mine! I’m leaving it open until Friday, and I’m loving discovering your favourite blog posts! Don’t be shy, leave me a comment!!

*I am such a geek that even typing “de-lint” I think of one of my favorite authors!

**I tried to find buttons, but I guess after being nearly lost in the labyrinthine fabric stores and barely avoiding the catfights at the bead stores (wow are those bead ladies pushy!), I just didn’t have the stamena to endure the wall-to-wall boxes of buttons. I can always go back later!

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Filed under contest, crafting, DIY, drop-spindle, out & about, sewing