And another thing

In the last few years, the infrequent things I’ve posted have mostly been finished things. Or at least I intended to post them. There’s been a lot of catch up. While my making of things hasn’t waned over the years, my reporting of them has. Which makes me reflect on what my intentions are in this space. I have been quite out of the habit of blogging for quite sometime and yet I can’t quite bring myself to call it quits entirely.

Crafty blogs have been quite important to me over the years, which is why I felt the need to start one up in the first place. Even when I haven’t been actively participating by sharing my own content, I have endeavoured to keep up with what other crafters have been posting and taking inspiration from that. Mostly, I read blogs though I rarely comment. It’s tricky when you follow a bunch of them. And commenting is one of the more frustrating experiences to try and do from a smartphone. I don’t intentionally lurk, but effectively I do.

Communities demand a certain amount of participation of their members in order to survive. And as I’ve become a big time smartphone user in the past few years, I’ve shifted to using more immediate forms of posting short commentary snippets, Twitter and Instagram mostly. So that’s satisfied my need to share things in the short term.

While this sharing is more immediate, impulsive and rewarding (with likes & favourites), it’s also less focused or detailed. Twitter & Instagram have been about whatever I’m doing at the moment, and thus not much about crafting. And I find I no longer am keeping track of many details of my projects. I start things to have something to work on. Finish them and use them. I might take pictures & try to remember when I worked on it to put something in Ravelry or on Flickr, eventually. Or often I won’t. Which is fine. Life moves on, we all understand.

But I kind of miss it. I miss delving into the detail of my inspiration. I miss sharing my excitement over a newly learned technique. I miss feeling connected to people who are maybe actually interested in hearing my rambling details of what changes I made to a pattern, or understand why handmade quilts make for the best naps. I miss being a contributing member to community that has been important to me.

And there has been no real reason for me to have stopped.


Now I’ll ramble a bit about a sweater I’m currently working on.

Garter stitch beginings

Back in May, I finished knitting a shawl (I’ll maybe tell you about it sometime). Once the end of the border was grafted to it’s beginning, and it took up it’s current residency on my coffee table, I begun swatching for Candlewick.

I have had this yarn and patterned picked out for sometime. I probably bought this yarn back in May/June 2012 after finishing the Audrey in Unst I knit using Briggs and Little sport (and never posted about).

This is one of the few times that I think I’ve purchased yarn with a specific pattern in mind. And I even started swatching right away. I don’t recall why this was put aside. I probably just got busy at work and continued with something that was further along and didn’t need as much thinking.

Or maybe I was cross stitching? I don’t remember.

Finished back & right front beginnings

Fast forward to May. I knit some new swatches, managed to find the right gauge with this yarn (2.75mm needle). Cast on for the back. Made sure to check the measurements in the schematic and compared them to my new favourite cardigan. And just this morning I finished the back and started on the right front.

Can I tell you something? I am in LOVE with this yarn! 40% Merino, 30% Organic Cotton and 30% New Zealand Possum fibre. I was intrigued by the possum and it’s just knitting up to make a beautiful fabric. There’s a great squishiness to the garter-stitch borders.

It’s too early to really tell, but this might just be the hand-knit sweater that I’ll finally wear. This could even become a favourite sweater (I hope I didn’t jinx anything).

So here’s to getting back into the habit of things.

HNY!

I’m behind. I’ve been behind for a while on the reportage of craftiness. I’m so behind that I can’t even use the holiday break to catch up. I’m away on vacation and there are projects (at home) that still await their time in front of the camera. So I’m postponing it until I get back. I’m also postponing my usual pictorial posts of the year in crafts. I’ll get to it. In the meantime enjoy this picture of my dad with half his Christmas present. I’m almost finished it’s friend.

Dad & half his Christmas present

There goes November too.

Whoosh, there goes November. In the first week I was even planning on posting everyday. That didn’t pan out very well did it. Hrm. This is the time of year that work starts to get nuts. Everyone starts their Muppet style freak outs (running around with arms flailing in the air). Again, there has been plenty of crafting and I’ve been working on the photo backlog. There’s no excuse really, just need to make the time to write.

I leave you with a pretty picture of the first snow of the season here in Montreal. It has since melted but there will be more someday soon.

BRB

The recent radio silence is due to a awesome long weekend trip to NYC. We took the train down and talked most of the way. It was awesome even if it took all day. Much more civilised than taking the bus and less of a hassle than taking a plane. We hunted for vinyl, found great books and visited craft mecca. There’s pics on my Flickr if you’re bored/interested.

I won’t have much to report on until sometime next week as my parents are in town visiting. But on the upside, my mom is actually letting me use her iPad. I know, I’m surprised too.

Baby steps

I’ve never been up for a full-on design re-hauls. So much work and I’m my own worst client when it comes to these sorts of things. But check the new gingham background. I think it’s pretty kickass and it was a super easy change.

Maybe one day I’ll even make a craftacular banner.

On the topic of comments

Just a quick note on the subject of comments. I (of course) LOVE getting comments and do my best to reply to them. My preferred method is by email, but Blogger doesn’t always let that happen. So if you prefer to keep you email private (something I completely understand), please note that I will be replying to your comment in the comments of the post on which your comment originated. It might be useful to check that little “Email follow-up comments to” box or check back.

Cool? Cool. Have a good day.

Sample Sock Knitter

On the topic of blog commenting, to bring up my last post. I got some great comments from people that definitely make me feel much less dweebish in commenting on the blogs that I read (and make me feel less guilty for not commenting in the past). it’s been a few weeks of me actively trying to comment and I’m happy to report I now feel like I have something worth adding rather than just ‘nice scarf, great colours.’ And I give myself permission to not force a comment for the sake of commenting (ie. not comment).

Someone asked me how I feel about people commenting here. I personally really look forward to getting comments. It kind of bums me out if I don’t get many, making me feel like no one reads this blog except my family. The smelly thing is that my motivation for posting also wanes if I don’t get many comments, hence the sporadic posting this last year. I should just get over it and post as I like and not care about the comments. But I do really like them even if Blogger doesn’t let me email reply to each one (I do try to for the ones it does let me).

Right. So back to knitting. I’ve started hanging out a lot at Effiloché and I’ve been knitting many socks lately. One day Ginette asked if I’d be willing to knit some sample socks for the store to show off the different sock yarns. I was like, uh yeah! All the fun of knitting a sock AND getting to work with all the pretty yarns? You betcha!

Pattern: Interlocking Leaves by Kelly Porpiglia
Materials:Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label Fingering Weight
Modifications: Plugged the lace repeat into a 60 st top down sock
Start Date: October 31, 2009
End Date: November 6, 2009

This latest sock is using Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label Fingering Weight and I am really enamoured with how the sock turned out which is why I’m posting about it. I had the hardest time settling on a pattern to use for this yarn. The request was for a lacy sock and I had the hardest time trying to find a sock I thought was lacy enough but would be a good display sock for the yarn. It was down to two contenders, Hourglass by Bev Elicerio and Interlocking Leaves by Kelly Porpiglia. I even worked a couple of pattern repeats of the Hourglass pattern before switching. The pattern just wasn’t doing it for me. I think the acid green in the project photos is just too perfect for the pattern.

I really just used the lace chart from the pattern and plugged it into my usual top down sock construction. I was partway through knitting the foot of the sock before I realised that the pattern is for a toe up sock and that my leaves were going the wrong way. Duh! Don’t tell Ginette! I also kind of goofed when turning the heel. I started leaving out the k1 after the decrease and unintentionally made a square heel. It looks really cool so I went with it rather than taking it out. Oh and for the final repeat of lace on the foot, I changed the reverse stockinette to stockinette so that it would blend more seamlessly into the toe of the sock.

Now I’m going to rave about the yarn. I really LOVED working with the Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label Fingering Weight (longest yarn name evers). It was super nice to knit with. And the colour! Really nicely saturated Peacock blue with nice subtle variations of other blues in there. Nothing strong enough to draw your attention to any kind of patterning but enough to give depth. And when I steam blocked the sock, the yarn really got a gorgeous drape to it. Slinky silky wonderful.

Oh and I did really enjoy the lace pattern too. This pattern (in all it’s toe-up glory) is in my queue for a future pair of socks.

Something’s changed

Do not adjust your television set. The blog colours have in fact changed. Do not be alarmed.

Truth be told I got a little carried away with things after making the sweater schematics yesterday and started messing with the blog colours and felt that I should probably finally put together a header graphic too. I’m not sold on the current state of affairs and still fully intend to knit up a proper craftyblog header. But in the meantime this is what we’re going with.

No substantial knitting to report. I’ve joined the sweater with the sleeves and am to the point where I start doing the raglan decreases. Not terribly interesting.

So I’ll distract you with a question. What’s the deal with Cut throat Bitch on House? Wearing a McGill sweatshirt and the comment ‘legs that go all the way up to Canada’…did I pass out on my couch and miss something in a previous episode (no, I don’t just sleep through CSI)? And when will they finally just get rid of her character? I don’t want depth and change from her. She’s served her purpose and now is fired. Not to mean that the actress is no good. She is. She does a great Cut throat Bitch. I just don’t think the character works as a recurring. Or am I taking the crazy pills? Am I the only one who’s tired of that whole thing?

Revenge of the Sweater Angst


It feels rather undeserved at the moment but Robyn gave me that ‘Made my Day Award.’ Now before Norway chimes in to argue with me, let me clarify. It feels undeserved because there’s sweater angst. But I suppose even if I can’t knit the Perfect sweater, I don’t seem to have any problems writing about it. And this isn’t a knitting award, so I’ll graciously accept. Thanks so much Robyn! You’ve made MY day that little bit better. Now onto the post:

I’m cursed. I jinxed it. I should be sent back to remedial knitting. Elizabeth Zimmermann should revoke my right to knit & purl. The sweater angst is still going strong. Not even a day since boasting that the sweater was perfect, I discovered that I was horribly wrong. Sigh.

Yes, you read correctly. The perfect sweater is not perfect. The body? It’s now too big. I’m the Goldilocks of knitting. First too small, then too big, hopefully this next time will be juuuuuuuust right.

So what happened between Wednesday and today? Weeeeeeeeeell. See, the Universe hates me. Whenever I think I’m a grown up and have things figured out, like being able to walk and chew gum, the Universe likes to remind me that I am in fact myself: uncoordinated, drop things and make big noises, rip things in embarrassing places, slip and fall hilariously on the ice, spill lunch on my boob, shoot fluids out of my nose or just generally miss my mouth. It’s usually very Buster Keaton and hilarious for everyone else. Then I go back to concentrating when going down/up stairs and ALWAYS looking before crossing the street. Let’s just say I generally stay away from pantyhose…yeah…tights work better with my temperment.

I tempted the gods with my hubris of declaring that I had achieved the perfect sweater and they decided to throw me some gauge fun. And I, thinking still with the hubrisness, didn’t think I needed to really check the gauge. With most of the knitting being in social situations/at the food court at work, I didn’t really measure. Instead I just kept knitting.

The sleeves were easy to check. At any time I could (and did) stick my arms in to see how they were fitting. But I was unable to do that with the sweater body. Maybe I should have listened to Mr. Peabody and his recommendation to use two circulars (one on each half of the sweater) so that I could easily lay it out to measure. Instead I knit and knit and knit until I had 2 more inches in length than I actually needed. THEN I put it on some spare yarn and tried it on. Too big. I’ve knit myself a pink potato sack out a good replacement for burlap.

So we sat down and analysed my potato sack and figured out the New Gauge with the new needles. This time I decided to measure over 10 inches and then average down to get a per inch number. It’s what I learned from science. The larger the sample size, the more accurate the average, the more accurate the resulting calculations. From this we figured out that I had 25 too many stitches.

And because the itchy pink potato sack was right there, we also did a more pragmatic approach. I put it on and then Mr. Peabody pinned off the extra fabric and then counted how many extra stitches were at the boobs and waist. The median of the two was 25 stitches. So the math is good.

This time is going to be different. This time I’m going to measure more (or at all). This time I’m going to be Smart Knitter. This time I’m not knitting the perfect sweater, I’m knitting a regular sweater. It’s not a race. I have to remember that.

Now I’ve got to give out some awards of my own. It’s so hard for me to pick just 10 as I subscribe to 50 odd blogs (yes, Boring Job Inc. is really THAT boring) and this award has made the rounds. But award I must do, so award I shall. Oh and I think there’s a probably a no-tag-backs clause in there too eh? ‘Cause Robyn would likely be in there for making SP11 so fabulous.

In no particular order, here’s my awardees in the category of ‘Made My Day’:

Brainylady— for fun theoretical conversations of the viability of knitted wrestling masks and wigs as potential winter attire.
Whistlepea— for making sweaters look so quick, easy & painless.
Jenna of Knits & Pieces— Random friending on Ravelry always makes my day (and is always followed by internet stalking).
Pinneguri— for always insisting I take a compliment dammit! and knitting amazing mittens.
Gretch0r— for hanging with the Pie and having mad interior design skillz (come redesign my apartment!).
Katie of Dyeing to Knit— for translating my vague personal preferences into a fabulous pair of thrummed mittens that rock my socks off every time I even look at them.
Cosmicpluto— for living my dream of knitting/designing/working in a yarn store. She also makes sweaters look so quick and easy.
The Ariadne Girls— for letting me use their microwave, hang out on the couch and talk loudly about various silliness, posting hilarious old school knitwear (and poking fun at times gone by) and general awesomeness.
Nicole Gastonguay— for creating the cutest creatures imaginable.
Missmalice— for living the dream life in Londinium and appreciating a bag of Swedish Berries.

Now I’m going to go see if Starbucks has finally got in some Earl Grey tea. Finger’s crossed.