Sunday, June 29 / 12:00 PM

Learn Intarsia


click for a larger chart


This Canada Day weekend, knit yourself a Maple Leaf! I created the chart this evening, and will be teaching myself Intarsia over the next few days. Why not join me? I'm going to be using this web site along with Vogue Knitting and Knitting in Plain English. There are more tips here. I'm always trying to learn new techniques, even if I don't quite feel ready. Time to cross one more thing of the "I can't do this yet" list!

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Saturday, June 28 / 5:22 AM

And the winner is...


Norge 2000 - blue colourway - 33%


This *is* a pretty fantastic sweater. And I think I'm going to do the dark blue colourway (which is not pictured here but in a previous post - this picture is just fun!). Then again, I hadn't noticed that nice red version....

In case you're curious, Norge 2000 - black colourway and Gjende tied for second, with 22% of the vote each. Third was Team USA - black, with 17% (the blue version received 6%), and Besseggen limped over the finish line with no votes. Two posts today, so make sure you read the one below this. I gave blood today, so I think I'm going to have some orange juice and go lie down. See you tomorrow!

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Friday, June 27 / 7:35 PM

Standing stereotypes on their heads
Today's entry contains an excerpt from a book by Terry Pratchett, one of my favourite novelists. I'll set it up: These robbers are about to take an old woman camped out in the cold for everything she's got.

"She had a blanket around her to keep out the cold. She was knitting. Stuck in the snow beside her was the largest sword the robbers had ever seen.
   Intelligent robbers would have started to count up the incongruities here.
   These, however, were the other kind, the kind for whom evolution was invented.
   The woman glanced up, nodded at them, and went on with her knitting.
   'Well now, what have we here?' said the leader. 'Are you--'
   'Hold this, will you?' said the old woman, standing up. 'Over your thumbs, young man. It won't take a moment for me to wind a fresh ball. I was hoping someone would drop by.'
   She held out a skein of wool.
The robber took it uncertainly, aware of the grins on the faces of his men. But he opened his arms with what he hoped was a suitably evil l   ittle-does-she-suspect look on his face.
   'That's right,' said the old woman, standing back. She kicked him viciously in the groin in an incredibly efficient if unladylike way, reached down as he toppled, caught up the cauldron, flung it accurately at the face of the first henchman, and picked up her knitting before he fell.
   The two surviving robbers hadn't had time to move, but then one unfroze and leapt for the sword. He staggered back under its weight, but the blade was long and reassuring.
   'Aha!' he said, and grunted as he raised the sword. 'How the hell did you carry this, old woman?'
   'It's not my sword,' she said. 'It belonged to the man over there.'
   The man risked looking sideways. A pair of feet in armoured sandals were just visible behind a rock. They were very big feet.
   But I've got a weapon, he thought. And then he thought: so did he.
   The old woman sighed and drew two knitting needles from the ball of wool. The light glinted on them, and the blanket slid away from her shoulders and fell on to the snow.
'   Well, gentlemen?' she said."

I like this not because, as the KnitDweebs would say, "Look! Look! Someone mentioned knitting in a book! See? It's okay to knit!" but because Terry Pratchett makes an interesting point here about things always being what they seem... and about knitters not necessarily being grandmotherly-types, which I absolutely love.... and more importantly, that bad things happen to people who assume they are! It's from The Last Hero and unlike most of his novels is a big hardcover picture book. I can't recommend Terry Pratchet highly enough. Start with Small Gods, it's my favourite. These books are fantasy/humour/philosophy all about a place called the Discworld, and each one usually deals with a theme while it follows the stories of your favourite characters; Small Gods is about religion. They seem simple but they're actually amazingly complex.

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Thursday, June 26 / 7:33 PM

Woo hoo!
Fortunately the new version of blogger let me fix my problem. Unfortunately it meant I couldn't post to my blog last night. For your viewing pleasure this morning, however, is a computer-generated poem about my blog. Bits of it make suprising sense, and some of it is, I think, very funny.

KnitWit Just
need to do it is the
hideous fringe. a few patterns included to
obsess about
the library....which is
providing me too, big
enough to make sure I
was designed
with the bigger size, period.
Blocking alter the digital camera, so my
blog wins the knit bloggers ring
So I was sort of blood and
book ever read,
and . I either
need it looks childish.

--Rob's Amazing Poem Generator

courtesy of purlgirl.

Keep those sweater votes coming! Today is the last day to vote.

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Tuesday, June 24 / 11:55 PM

Problems
Hey guys, I'm having some blogger problems at the moment (grrr) - there's a post sitting here that I can't edit or delete. This is driving me crazy. Anyway, while you're considering poll options, check out this link that explains the symbols in the Norge 2000 sweater: Link

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/ 11:32 PM

Hmmmm...
For my next trick, I want to make a Norwegian sweater. I especially like those by Dale of Norway. But I'm having a little trouble deciding which to choose. That's where you come in! Here are the contenders:


Gjende - This one's kinda plain, but since I've never made one of these before, perhaps that's the best plan. The detailing around the shoulders and cuffs is nice.



Besseggen - a little more interesting....





Team USA 2002 - This one is very cool. I like the zipper at the neck and I like the colour combinations. The star motif is pretty.





Norge 2000 - Similar to the previous one. Unsure whether I like the plain body or the dotted body better. The pattern looks a little silly at first, but all the symbols in the windows come from Norwegian history (and as a history major, I find that very cool). Plus, the non-repeating nature would make it more interesting to knit.



And now, the poll! Keep in mind I won't be starting this sweater next week. I've still got to work on St. Brigid and a new yarn purchase is not in my near future. But I love to plan! Oh, right. I also reserve the right to overrule any and all poll results... muahahahaha!
Polls are now closed. Results to be announced shortly.

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/ 4:17 AM

Street Speak
So I was talking to my friend Graham last night on ICQ, and I was telling him how I hadn't got much accomplished in certain areas lately but I'd been doing lots of knitting. Here's a transcript of his response:

Interiority: Ah, the addict's lament.
Interiority: Street name for knitting: "stitch."
Interiority: As in, "she was hittin' the stitch pretty bad lately."

Krista Jo: Haha that's hillarious. I'm putting it on my knitting blog.
Interiority: Excuse me? Knitting blog?
Krista Jo: Dude, I TOLD you I was addicted!

Charts
I found a cool tip on Annie Modesitt's blog, I think, but I can't find it anymore. Basically, she cuts a slit in the bottom fold of a file folder big enough to fit her chart through, then pulls it through the hole a bit more each time she finishes a row. I thought that was a neat way to keep track of rows without resorting to magnets, etc. I have a chart-following tip of my own:

If the chart is in black and white, I colour it in. If it's a cable chart, I pick a colour for each different cable or twist, and I colour that in too - and the legend. After a few rows I've memorized the different colours, and I can see what I should do next at a glance, without squinting to make sure I haven't got it backwards - colours are much easier for me to read than weirdo cable symbols.



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Monday, June 23 / 1:30 AM

Better Blogging
In an effort to be a better blogger, I'm going to attempt to post every day. Note: I said attempt.

Old Friend
This is the second sweater I knitted, and the first Aran, the first pockets, and the first hood. I unfortunately screwed the hood up and it ended up way too big (if I put it on, I look like a druid or something) but it looks nice hanging down the back of the sweater, and who actually wears hoods anyway? (<-- rationalization) I'm not too happy with the finishing, either. However, at the time I considered it a huge success and I received tons of compliments and I do still wear it.


Click for larger photo


It's funny, though -- the pattern seemed so intricate and complicated. But when you compare it to St. Brigid, it looks childish. I wonder how often I'll wear it after St. Brigid is knitted? I'm guessing not much.


Before and after!


Then again, St. Brigid is coming out a little smaller than I'd anticipated. Not sure how that happened -- I measured repeatedly during the first few inches, I guess I was stretching it a bit too much. I know blocking can't alter the size much, but I just need it to be a centimetre or two wider. Then again, I'm thinking maybe I should have made the bigger size, period. Blocking won't help with that! I compared it so far to another sweater that I like, though, and it's a bit wider than that, so my fingers are crossed.

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Sunday, June 22 / 1:33 AM

Random Observations

  • This blog wins the prize for most depressing title in the universe.

  • For all those knitting bloggers out there who want to join the Pagan knit-a-long, I thought I should point out that Pagan is one of a very few patterns offered individually on Rowan's web site. You can order the pattern by itself here instead of buying the entire Rowan 27 magazine, for the price of £1.

  • I watched The Name of the Rose last night, a Sean Connery/Christian Slater movie based on Umberto Eco's novel of the same name (that is, the English translation has the same name). It wins the prize for worst movie adaptation in the universe. I wasn't expecting much but this was ridiculous. They took what is possibily the most beautiful, complicated, and thought-provoking book I've ever read, and turned it into a 3rd-rate Sherlock Holmes mystery with lots of blood and gore.

  • Interesting fact for those of you who are familiar with the University of Toronto's campus: Umberto Eco spent some time at U of T while writing The Name of the Rose and the labyrinth/library (designed to keep readers out) was inspired by Robarts library (which often feels like it was designed with the same purpose in mind).


    Robarts, in all its concrete-monolith glory. I've spent too much of my life in that place.


  • Speaking of Umberto Eco, has anyone read his newest book, Baudolino? I'm on a waiting list at the library....

  • I also watched The Paper Chase, which made me very glad I chose grad over law school.

  • I took my dog to York Redoubt; it was a beautiful day and he swam in the ocean and then sat impatiently while I knitted in the sunshine. It's definitely my favourite place in Halifax. Unfortunately, there are no good photos on the web and my parents had the digital camera, so I missed several great photo opportunities.

  • I'm working on the 6th pattern repeat on St. Brigid. Still not bored, which is great. Still can't stop staring at it.

  • I got a compliment from Wendy! She is my knitting role model. I aspire someday to achieve her level of skill (and speed!). That put a big smile on my face all day. Her beautiful work has convinced me to do a Norwegian sweater for my first foray into knitting with colour (mittens don't count!). Now I just have to decide which one.... any suggestions?

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Wednesday, June 18 / 11:50 PM

St. Brigid
I'm just past the halfway mark on the back of St. Brigid and things are going swimmingly. The pattern looks so beautiful I have to keep stopping and staring at it (which is good, 'cause then I invariably notice the mistake I made 4 rows back, and frog to fix it). Here are a couple of photos:


Click image for larger photo; if you want to see a close-up of the celtic knotwork, click here.


Blogging Pet-Peeves:
  1. People who apologize for stuff. "I'm sorry I haven't been talking about knitting stuff." "I'm sorry I didn't post a photo." "I'm sorry I didn't get any knitting done last night." The urge is strong in me too, but people - the blogs are YOURS. You don't have to apologize for them! You don't owe people anything, and you can use your blog for whatever you want.
  2. That being said, it drives me crazy when members of the knit bloggers ring (and there are lots of them) who haven't updated in, say, a month and receive a warning from the administrator make a post along the lines of
    Hi, haven't posted in a month, so I got a warning
    from the web ring administrator - if I don't
    make a post, I'll be removed from the ring.
    So here's my post. Haven't done any knitting.
    Nothing to say.
    Now, if these people want to have blogs they never update, that's totally cool. But those blogs don't belong in the knitting bloggers web ring. What's the point of updating if it's just to say that nothing's going on? I would say to myself "H'm. I haven't updated my blog in a month. I either need to start making regular updates, or bow out of the ring because I just don't have time for this blogging stuff."*


*OK, OK, I know I'm not the most frequent blog-updater. But I do aim for at least once a week.

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Tuesday, June 10 / 1:17 AM

Progress...


  • I'm about halfway finished the thumb on my first mitten. I hate doing thumbs! But the end is in sight.

  • I went to the yarn store and bought the 9 extra balls of Classic Wool I needed for St. Brigid

  • I've started swatching the brown silk with two strands

  • I've been watching "The Jewel in the Crown," an A&E miniseries in a zillion parts (it's 12 and a half hours long) about the last years of British India, based on "The Raj Quartet" novels by Paul Scott, which I've always meant to read and haven't. It's very good, and very depressing, and is providing me with lots of knitting time.
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Friday, June 6 / 10:49 PM

Starmore


I've been swatching for St. Brigid by Alice Starmore, found in Aran Knitting. I'd post a picture but that might cause a problem so you'll just have to follow the link. I was thinking about using Briggs & Little yarn, which is nice and very very cheap (especially for you Americans out there, what with the exchange rate and all), but the cables weren't really popping out because the colour I wanted (green) was sort of heathered. So now it's going to be made in Patons Classic Merino, in forest green, and without the hideous horse-blanket fringe.

Here's a photo of my pattern swatch, Briggs & Little on top, Patons on bottom. The gauge swatch was worked in moss stitch, and I was NOT EVEN CLOSE on row gauge, so I started knitting the back of the sweater with all the patterns included to see if the cables would stretch it out a bit. Think it's going to work out! Need to buy more wool, though - just had one ball for swatching. I'll work on the mittens in the meantime.

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Wednesday, June 4 / 6:22 AM

Startitis

Hmm.... well, the fleece artist silk is closer to sock weight than sport weight, so a project with it is on hold at the moment while I figure out what to use it for. However, in the meantime I started making a pair of mittens from Folk Knitting in Estonia by Nancy Bush. I highly recommend this book. It's full of beautiful sock, glove, and mitten patterns, plus nifty traditional Estonian techniques. I'm using plain old Regia 4-ply in cream and blue. Started on Saturday and I've already finished one mitten, save for the thumb!

I tried making a pair of gloves from this book last year, they're absolutely beautiful with a snowflake pattern on the back of the hand and vertical stripes on the palms and fingers. However, I've realized I hate hate hate knitting gloves, because of the fingers. I finished one, and I just can't bring myself to add fingers to the second. Anyone wanna do it for me? This was, of course, my first stranded colourwork pattern (and my first glove pattern, and my first DPN pattern, and my first non-chunky yarn pattern... it was destined to fail!) so the tension is a bit wonky at colour joins. I can't bring myself to finish them, and I can't bring myself to rip 'em out and start 'em over, so I think they're just gonna sit there. Too bad - they were in Koigu, too. Beautiful stuff. At any rate, the mittens should be finished by next week!

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