Sunday, August 24 / 11:00 AM

The rest is silence...
If I haven't been around as much lately it's because I've been volunteering in a production of Hamlet. Basically these days I go to work, go to Hamlet, and go to sleep. It doesn't make for much knitting time, or much blogging time.

I've finished about two pattern repeats of St. Brigid, and am dismayed at how slow it's going. I think it will be much quicker when I get back to school, though. I also stopped by Gaspereau Valley Fibres again (on a rare Hamlet break, I went to see Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods at the Atlantic Theatre Festival), and picked up some yummy wool/silk in beautiful greens and browns to make a hat. Photos shall definitely be posted!

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Saturday, August 16 / 8:01 PM

I've got gauge!
After waaay too much experimenting, I'm finally on gauge for St. Brigid. Or close enough that it's all good, anyway! I had planned to get the sweater finished this summer, but with one thing and another it just didn't happen. There will be many knitting hours on the drive up to Ontario, and many procrastinating hours after that while I avoid writing essays. Plus I have an entire week between the end of work and the beginning of classes.... On the other hand, this is the most complicated thing I've ever knitted, and the gauge is fairly small. I'm gonna shoot for the end of October just to be on the safe side.

I bought Interweave Knits sight unseen, since it was all wrapped in plastic (gah). At first flip-through I hated it, but I suppose it has some redeeming qualities. The camel neck warmer thingum would be a good Christmas present for my mom, and my grandma would look awesome in the Byzantine cables (but there's no WAY I'm gonna launch into that one after completing St. Brigid!), and I suppose the article on intarsia in the round may come in handy some day. All in all, I'm unimpressed. If anyone wanted to trade me smthg for it, they could go right ahead.

Not much more knitting news, I'm off to my first rehearsal as person-in-crowd. What a piece of work is man!

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Tuesday, August 12 / 10:39 AM

Digital Camera is back from vacation

OK folks, back to the eye candy. Here's what I've been up to, in no particular order.

Spinning!


Spindle: handtooled maple and birch
Yarn: Fleece Artist Merino roving


My first ball of yarn!
Actually, it's my second. The first was some sort of grey English-sheep roving.
It was much easier to spin.
But I forgot to take a photo.

Mystery Knitting!


The first step of my mystery listserv project.
I have no idea what this is going to be.
But I did learn to do the provisional cast-on. See?
And I taught myself to knit backwards.
And I'm working on caterpillar cables.
You'll see a photo of those when I'm done!

St. Brigid!


I finally realized swatching was useless, as my moss stitch gauge doesn't necessarily indicate my moss-stitch-and-four-cable-patterns gauge. Hence, I have been knitting the first 15 or so rows in several different needle sizes. This is taking forEVER. But I WILL get gauge, damnit!

If I don't, I may knit this:


But it's uber-cropped and would require some pattern modification... bleah! I just want to knit.

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Friday, August 8 / 5:31 AM

Summer Contest Winner
Hey everybody, thanks for playing. Julie is the winner of the Smooch contest: Not only did she sway me with MANY good arguments as to why she especially deserved to win, but she made me an offer I couldn't refuse: "a 4" x 6" illumination of a (brief) quotation of your choosing, on calfskin vellum, with traditional inks and paints handmixed with egg whites and semi-precious pigments." Check out her work, it's fantastic!

You guys were all great and I wish everybody could've won. Next time I've got something cool up for grabs, I'll be sure to hold another contest.

In knitting news, I did about 2 rows on the thumb of the Estonian mitten (damn, I hate doing thumbs. Plus I didn't mark the start with a stitch marker and keep getting confused as to where the pattern starts and ends). I have also re-started St. Brigid. Well, I've re-started swatching for it. I have a feeling that nothing I do with this yarn is gonna work, though. Any other suggestions for 10 balls of light worsted-weight green wool? (Besides a contest, that is!)

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Tuesday, August 5 / 1:14 AM

No wonder I'm having trouble finishing anything I start!
The fall Rowan and Jaeger collections are now out (Bonne Marie Burns beat me to the punch, as usual, despite my obsessive website-checking!) and I'm definitely inspired. That's not to say there aren't some laughable and downright ugly designs. For example....


Aaaaahahaha! Louisa Harding, what were you thinking?
Actually, this design wouldn't be half-bad without the plaid.


Is this some kind of sick joke?
Actually, the Jaeger line this fall is all pretty much this bad.
I tend to like the Rowan stuff, OR the Jaeger stuff, but never both at the same time.
Also, am I the only one who wonders why Jaeger doesn't have a web site?


On to the good...


I like funky hats. This funky hat is cool.


This sweater, entitled Parka, is also very cool.
I could love it in blue, or a greenish brown.


This is far weirder than the things I usually wear.
But I feel a strange pull to knit it, even if it is only to be worn once.
It could be very edgy in black, though black is not much fun to knit with.
I'd change the seed stitch at the waist to ribbing, though, I think -
the seed stitch creates unnecessary bulk at the waist, which I'd also probably lengthen.



There's lots of other good stuff, too! Some guys' designs I like in the new Plaid collection, and a couple of good ideas in The Next Big Thing, although it mostly seems designated for the Junior High set.

Spinning news
I think I'm starting to get the hang of it! Here's my mini-review of Spin It: The spinning instructions are fairly clear, and I really like the way she guides you from spinning just using the wool and your hand, to using a hook, to using a drop spindle. On the down side, I would've liked more pictures of different kinds of yarn, more techniques, and information about what kinds of wool for beginners to use - I made my first attempt using Merino and failed miserably, but the nice lady from the world's coolest yarn store told me that it's a bit difficult and gave me some easier stuff to work with. I spun half a skein of lumpy, chunky yarn, then said "I can do better" and spun the rest much thinner. Haven't set the twist yet but I think it's about worsted-weight. I won't know until I swatch, though. I thought it would take a million years to spin all that fibre, but it actually went rather quickly.

Knitting news
I've actually been itching to restart St. Brigid, which is a very good thing. I'm gonna have to do some more swatching first, though. I've also been itching, however, to start a new project (gaaah!) so we'll see what happens.

Don't forget, contest closes on Wednesday (see below)!


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Saturday, August 2 / 9:07 AM

Instant Gratification


What most of us can only dream about: a bathtub
full of fibre. Click on the photo for more info!


Decided to make a day of going to Wolfville to visit Gaspereau Valley Fibres and go for a hike with my dog. WOW, what a great place! Nestled, of course, in the picturesque Annapolis Valley region (I do enjoy pastoral landscapes - but only in small doses!), on a farm with sheep (and chickens. My dog was v. interested in the chickens), and inside a high-ceilinged red barn, is the largest quantity of high-quality fibre you can find in Nova Scotia. All kinds of local yarn, wool (and other fibres) ready to be spun, hand-crafted wooden drop spindles, cute knick-knacks and accessories, and even (gee, wouldn't it be nice?) spinning wheels for sale.

The proprieter was very friendly and helpful, and though she didn't know much about spindle-spinning, she let me have a crack at her wheel, which cleared up my confusion about drafting. I bought some dark grey roving (damn, can't remember what breed of sheep it was. I'll have to email her and ask. But it was British and the fibres were very long and easy to pull, unlike the Fleece Artist stuff I couldn't spin, which I now realize was practically felted) and a maple/birch drop spindle. Whee! I have been watching Hamlet (in preparation for my big debut) and spinning (very badly) all evening. It's pretty fun! Then I'm going to ply the yarn and knit something with it. It's rough and lumpy but I'm proud of it. If I ever figure this spinning thing out, I'll post a tutorial. Note: The photo to the left does not depict my spindle, but a similar one, as my digital camera is on vacation. Click on the photo for more spindle info)

Don't forget: the contest (see below) closes on Wednesday!



Yes, I know that there's a giant space in front of this entry. And yes, I know that my blog looks like hell in Netscape. Serves me right for using a template. However, the list of better things I have to do than to redesign my blog is, sadly, ever lengthening. A redesign might possibly occur during mid-term procrastination....

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Friday, August 1 / 8:30 AM

Delayed Pleasure


I randomly happened upon Spin It! Making Yarn from Scratch in a bookstore in the Valley today. It's the second time I'd randomly seen a single copy in a small bookstore, and figured Fate was trying to tell me something. On the way home from a very long day at work, I picked up 50 grams of red-and-orange Fleece Artist Wensleydale roving, and then since no one in Halifax seems to sell spindles, I headed to Kent Lumber to buy the dowel, hook, and grommet I needed to make my own CD Spindle (note: You can find instructions for making a CD spindle here. These are not the same instructions as the ones I'm using). Unfortunately, there were no rubber grommets (or gaskets) to be had for love or money at Kent Lumber or Canadian Tire (I even phoned Radio Shack, as suggested in the above link, and they had never heard of them). So I'm thinking that these instructions might save anyone who assumes that hardware stores carry grommets some trouble. In the meantime, I'm brainstorming ways to fit the CDs onto the dowel sans grommet (which is actually quite difficult, since I have absolutely no idea where the glue gun is), and it's all really moot anyway 'cause my dowel's about four feet long and I can't find the hacksaw either. Daaaaah!! All I want to do is spin!

P.S. Can't recommend the book yet as I haven't actually tried spinning. Just to warn anyone who's thinking of ordering: it's more a booklet than a book, running about 30 pages (and $14.95 Cdn. Ouch).

P.P.S. The guy in the bookstore asked me if I was a knitter, and when I responded in the affirmative, he gave me a brochure for this wonderful place. It's a brand-new store near Wolfville; I'll have to check it out soon. (Anna: Road trip?)


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