Tropical Tradition

Fall & Early winter ended up being really quite busy. Unfortunately that means crafting took the back seat again. So much so that I had no idea what craftivities to even pack and take with me.

I’m currently partaking in my family’s rather awesome tradition of running away to Hawaii for Christmas. A great escape that makes all the hectic running around during the year that much more bearable.

While most active crafty blogs take this chance to pause and reflect, I’ve been rather too out of step to really reflect. And too far away from everything to really catch up on things at the moment. As ever, I have been making things but (again as has become the new habit) I’m behind in recording things. So I guess I have to postpone my reflections until later.

And hopefully I don’t get too caught up into the busys once I get back to Montreal. That’s the one thing I really don’t want for 2013. By invoking the “busys”, I’m not trying to say that this space or that crafting & making isn’t of importance to me. The opposite really. it means that other parts of my life have (annoyingly) been demanding too much of my attention and energy, which sucks. I’d like 2013 to have less of me face-planting on my bed when I get home. Rushing around is SO not my thing.

Perfect socks

I rashly cast on a pair of socks last week. It couldn’t be avoided. As soon as I saw this incarnation (Ravelry link), I just had to dig out my Regia Nation Color and cast on right away. As the pattern is written as toe-up, I decided to make them Magic Loop too.

The toes look a little strange once started. My knitting curled as I was working on the toes reminding me of that iconic image of the Wicked Witch of the East from the Wizard of Oz. The very beginning part is really just to fit your big toe (purple stripe) and then as you start up the bias increases, you make the part that will fit the rest of your toes (teal stripe). And there’s really a right sock and left sock simply from this bias shaping. Though the instructions are the same for both socks until you get to the beginning of the heel instructions.

These socks never got boring. It might seem like the increase on one side and decrease on the other would become second nature, there’s so much more to do in this pattern to make them into socks. Increases to make the gussets leading up to the heel. All kinds of extra increases to make the fabric for the heel which is then grafted to itself. Then once you’ve grafted, you work decreases to get back to your original stitch number. Work straight for a bit (if you want longer socks) and then work short rows to straighten things out before you start up on the ribbing. Never a dull moment.

Pattern: Skew
by Lana Holden
Materials: Regia Nation Color 5399
Modifications: Magic loop baby.
Start Date: March 1, 2010
End Date: March 6, 2010

Oh and can I rave a bit about the resulting socks? They are awesome! If the fit works out well like mine did, then you might find you have the perfect pair of socks. Yes, I’ll repeat that. Perfect pair of socks. I do find that putting them on is on the tricky and snug side, but once they’re on, they’re awesome. Because of the strange slanted toe, there’s no seam to restrict foot movement. And the stretch of the fabric compliments the stretch of the toes — sideways. It’s all the beauty of bare feet, but like warm.

The bias of the fabric on the foot and leg and close fit of the sock keep these socks from having the usual handknit sock slouch that I usually get. You know what I mean. Socks are normally tugged up nicely for photos, but when worn, especially as you walk, they start to slouch and look sloppy. Lastly these are one of the few pairs of handknit socks that I have that will actually fit into my favourite sneakers. Needless to say, I’ve been wearing these socks for 3 days straight. I think I should cast on another pair right away. I think I’ve found my go to sock pattern.

Leaf Lace Scarf

This yarn has been burning a hole in my stash since February. Really dying to be knit. Even while working on other projects I’ve kept one eye on the lace patterns trying to find something worth using this super squishy awesome yarn. There were a couple of shawl contenders but would have been a stretch with one skein.

I came across this pattern during a crafternoon with Mr. Peabody and knew immediately it was THE pattern for this yarn.

I initially cast on as written in the pattern, with 4.5mm needles and two pattern repeats. After one chart repeat I could see the gauge was too loose and the scarf too narrow for my liking. I ripped and restarted on 3.0mm needles with an extra pattern repeat and went to town knitting away until the whole skein was used up.

Pattern: Haruha scarf by Mari Muinonen
Materials: Malabrigo Yarn Lace in Sealing Wax
Start Date: approx. September 30, 2009
End Date: October 24, 2009

I. Love. This. Yarn. Love it. Malabrigo lace is super soft squishy fabulous. With just enough spin to keep the fibres together this yarn is super nice to knit with. And the resulting fabric is just great. A nice density but really light too. The scarf is quite warm for how thin and light it is.

This scarf has been my pseudo mindless knitting in cafés, hanging out in yarn stores, at work during lunch for the past while. Mindlessly adding inches here and there in between working on other projects. Now I have to really think about what I want to work on next. Or maybe I’ll just cast on for another mindless scarf in the meantime.

Some contenders include:
Lace Ribbon Scarf
Anne
Chevron Scarf

Fall Repeats

I enjoyed the Jaywalkers that I made for my mom so much that I had to make myself a pair out of similarly striped yarn.

Pattern: Jaywalkers by Grumperina
Materials: Regia Crazy Color 5437
Start Date: September 16, 2009
End Date: September 24, 2009

I knit these pretty much as written. The second skein started with the right colour to match up the stripes but unfortunately not at the same point of the colour repeat so the stripes don’t quite match up. I did debate about starting at the next repeat of the colour but unraveling all that yarn seems like a waste to me. The stripes are in sync enough that it’s not too jarring. A person has to be really evaluating the harmony of the stripes to notice it which is good enough for me. My general attitude towards matching stripes is pretty lax. I don’t mind if socks end up being fraternal twins rather than a matched set.

The kind of unfortunate thing about these socks is the fit. They’re a bit on the loose side. I may try running them through the dryer to try and get a better fit but in the meantime they’re hanging out in the house socks.

Oh and I generally really love the colour combination.

We’re going Skatin’


The birthday fun continues this weekend. As some of you may know from the Book of Face, I want to go skating. So Saturday night, we are going ice skating in Old Montreal at the Quays of the Old Port. Mr. Peabody, Sylvain and I are planning to be there around 7ish. We may be earlier or a little later but we’ve been looking forward to this all month.

Alison very nicely gave me a pair of her old skates and Mr. Peabody is scrounging all the Village de Valeurs in Montreal for skates. So we mean business! Come on down and make the best of a snowy, gross, never ending winter that we’re having. Although originally associated with my birthday, now it’s just a thing, so feel free to come along. Skating is fun! I’m not an amazing skater, can barely skate backwards, but I enjoy skating fast and can most of the time stop myself, usually by using a nearby snowbank or the boards of the rink. I’m classy like that.

I lied and thought it was free. Skating costs $4 for adults with various other price breakdowns and of course there’s skate rentals and sharpening and toe pick removal and such. Parking Info for those with cars. Oh and there’s lockers but it’s bring your own lock (or rent one). For those so inclined, I believe there’s a bar in the warm toasty building as well.

Hope to see you there!

Hawaiian Holiday Hiatus


Aloha from an island in the sun.

I’m declaring an official personal holiday hiatus. I’m taking a holiday from winter and all winter related activities. Including shovelling snow, wearing mittens/hats/scarves/long underwears/sweaters, carefully planning what to do when I leave the warmth of my apartment to minimise the outside time and knitting.

Yes that’s right. I’ve run away for a Maui Christmas with my family and I didn’t bring ANY knitting or knitting related items. This is a full blown holiday. No stress related to misbehaving knit projects (in my attempt to be a sweater master, the sweaters have taught me a thing or two), no yarn related guilt/lack of inspiration, no shopiholia for new projects.

No Xmas stress of any kind (other than getting here but that’s a story for when I get back). Christmas shopping is non-existent on these family holidays.

Just beach & ocean & ice cream & lots of movies & hangout time & riding in slightly obnoxious generic SUVs that are just a bit too tall to be comfortable climbing in and out of for a shorty like me.

So Mele kalikimaka and Happy New Year to all and try to keep warm.

Now a Word From Our Sponsors

Well, not really. But I’m totally in love with my new hair clip. I bought it at Jean Coutu this weekend and have worn pretty much since. What makes this remarkable is that I CAN’T STAND having stuff in my hair. I don’t use any hair products, barely use elastics and occasionally use one or two bobby pins.

I’m getting used to having long hair again, but one thing that has been driving me kinda nuts is in the shower. I like to lather up with shampoo and let it sit while I soap up the rest of my body. Thing is that my long hair won’t stay up on its own anymore. The soapy lather used to be enough to keep it out of the way, now not. Thus the need for a hair clip. I pretty much purchase things out of necessity. I’ve done enough frivolous purchases of hair clips and such to make myself be honest and have a really good reason for such a clip.

Right. Well enough preamble to my inner crazy and onto the clip in action!

First, here’s my usual elastic-round-a-bun process.

And the resulting bun is pretty decent. Generally something that’s part of my sweats and t-shirt weekend wear.

The new clip doesn’t change a lot in the process. I still wrap my hair around in a bun, then squash as much as possible into the clip.

And the resulting secure hairstyle. Nice huh?