Wednesday, November 22, 2006

catching up

It's been a little while since I've posted, and since then I've been on an excursion to Toronto. Lettuce Knit, Romni...

Here's some worsted baby alpaca for a Christmas present (cowl pattern yet to be invented), in a colour that is near indescribable. It's about as dark a green as you can have before you're forced to call it brown. Gorgeous, rich, and incredibly soft. Then there's some DB Cashmerino Aran for Fetching (yes, I am on that bandwagon). But they're kind of a yarn test drive for knitting The Sweater That Must Be Mine. Which is Cardigan for Arwen. It is beautiful, it is exactly my style (well, slightly longer), and I must have it.

Also pictured, my bouquet of new tools. 2 sets of dpns, 2 new circs, and a few large-sized bent-tip sewing up needles. They're all for something specific, all in sizes I've not used before. There's something exciting about new needles.

You know, I've knit lots of kids sweaters, but never a full-sized grown-up sweater. And I have never knit myself a sweater. (Actually, Clapotis is the first seriously nice thing I've ever made for myself). But friends, I am about to embark on a serious, self-indulgent wave of selfish knitting. After this Christmas thing is over, I'm going to make Fetching, I'm going to make Shedir, and I'm going to make Cardi for Kate (Arwen). All for me!!! Mwah-ha-ha-ha!!!

In current generous gift-knitting news, the Paris Night scarf is knitting along nicely. I'm really enjoying this knit. Everything from using shorter straight needles (which is new for me), to the squishiness of the Malabrigo, using the birch cable needle from my secret pal (even though Grumperina wants us to do it without), and the ease of the cable pattern, even though I've never really cabled before either. It's all good.

PS: Gobble, gobble... happy Thanksgiving to all you folks south of 49.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

the not-so-swift (and another FO)

Greetings sportsfans. (I too believe knitting to be a sport... ask the Harlot)

Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention.

Here's the equation for my personal, homemade "not-so-swift".

spinning desk chair + 2(super size squishy pillow) + (extra x patience) =

2 yummy yarn cakes

Malabrigo, Paris Night colourway (smoky blues-purples), destined for a Christmas scarf

The good news is that a wonderful someone who is talented in the wood-arts is currently making me a swift using this pattern, and this is likely the last time I'll have to do something stupid to wind yarn. (watch for the "Ode to Richard" post once I get it!!!)

In further (mis)adventures, I give you my first short-row knitting project, a multi-directional scarf for the ever-expanding Christmas Pile. Misadventures? The pattern itself is simple and quick, but I still managed to get into some trouble. TWO near mishaps, actually.

1. I only bought 2 skeins of Kureyon for this task. One skein in, I knew I needed either a) to admit defeat, frog back and start a narrower scarf (NEVER!) or b) to come up with something else. I went with option b. I knew I'd think of something. I got lucky at Mouline on the Harlot trip to Montreal. I was hoping just to find another skein of 185-any-dye-lot-will-do, but wouldn't you know it, they even had the same dye lot I had purchased in Kingston. I also had a teeny tiny credit card accident at Mouline, but I'll get to that another day...

2. And while we're talking teeny-tiny, please take a moment to notice the teeny-tiny tail of red wool I left on the end for your viewing pleasure. That's how close I came to NOT ENOUGH YARN! In the last few rows I was contemplating options, trying to convince myself that "intentional" assymetry would be novel (yeah right). In the end, I'm happy it worked out and I didn't have to stretch my creativity any farther than the not-so-swift today.

Next up: variation on Grumperina's Shifting Sands with the freshly wound Malabrigo. Wheeeeee!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

we meet at last...

Yep, I drove to Montreal for Harlot mayhem, and I'm SO glad I did. What a fun day!

Stephanie is hilarious. HILARIOUS. I could not stop laughing, particularly when she discussed tactics to explain your stash away to someone who has unsuspectingly discovered it. When I last moved, I indeed had to explain some of the mysterious large boxes that didn't seem to weigh enough. "That's bedding", and "Oh, I have a lot of socks", with a silent "I just haven't knit them yet".

And Stephanie, you are immensely cool. Completely.

Here is a fuzzy picture of the Yarn Harlot taking a fuzzy picture of us.

And here is THE shawl. It's truly incredible.

Then I got to hold the sock and say hello... very exciting stuff! To say I'm thrilled that Stephanie Pearl-McPhee knew who I am would be an understatement. By a lot.

I have to say, the Knitters of Montreal are lovely people. I met someone called Maayke upon arrival at the Bookstore Cafe, and we were quickly joined by another, who made a little "knitters?" gesture with her fingers from across the room, then came right over. She introduced herself as Kate (of course, I said "me too"). Then she said "is that a clapotis?", gesturing to mine. I nodded, and she revealed her true superhero identity as Kate Gilbert. Kate Gilbert of the Clapotis. I think I said something truly brainless like "seriously?", "get over yourself", or some other such witticism. I am Kate, queen of all dorks.

I managed to get over my shyness later... and asked Kate to hold my clapotis for blogdom.

The whole event had such a nice atmosphere. Before Stephanie even arrived, there was this happy clicking anticipation of the fun, and knitters pinching each others FOs all over the room. It was kind of strange-cool to meet some people that I read all the time, as though they're actually real people (They are...). Lee Ann was there, and I met a whole bunch of Montreal Knits members. Thank you to Melanie, Deawn, Molly-Ann, Danica, Mary, Shaun, Alison, and everybody else... for adopting me when I turned around and said "I know I don't know any of you, but does anyone want to go for dinner?"

It's just a nice reminder that wherever you end up in the world, just find the knitters and everything will be okay.

ETA: got gauge? T-shirt was ordered from Cafe Press online. Man, they have some fun stuff!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Is this good for you???

Oh yeah!!! Bring on the Yarn Porn!

Have I mentioned how much I like Malabrigo??? I LOVE Malabrigo. I thought I should have some more. Meet Amoroso, Black, and Velvet Grapes. Hat, Mitts, and Mitts, respectively.

I also needed some Rowan Calmer (in 474 and 478) for my future Shedir and a likely a pair of Natalya gauntlets. I saw a pair knitted in Calmer here and have to have them!!!

The following happened a few weeks ago at the Needle Emporium. Meet Kureyon in 148 (I'm not sure this is the best name for her, but what do I know?), and some of the softest sock yarn ever. Mountain Colours Handpainted Bearfoot in "Juniper". Oh. So. Soft.... right. I'm back.

Then I had an accident at my LYS. Yes, you read that right. An accident.

I went in to exchange something. A few weeks back I bought 4 skeins of Manos in 105 (the reddy browny black one) and I really only need 2. So I went in to trade for 2 skeins of 112 (the browny greeny brown one).

I stopped for just a second at the sadly emptied Noro rack when my enabler stepped in. "Oh wait, before you do that... look at these!!!"

And she ambushed me with several brand new, unopened bags of Kureyon and Silk Garden in BRAND NEW COLOURS I haven't seen anywhere. What was I to do??? The only reasonable thing was to buy these. Kureyon 170, and yes, these colours are true. Wow. I think it may end up being a clapotis scarf. Or something.

Coming soon (I hope), my package from Webs!!!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

le Harlot roadtrip, le Vendredi

Okay... I think I'm going to go to Montreal on Friday to see the Harlot at McGill. Any one want to join me??? We'll head in kind of early-ish and find le good lunch, le good LYS, and le good seat at le McGill library.

Let me know if you're in.

Edited to add: Whoops! Thanks to "A Montreal Knitter" for the correction. I'll be getting le good seat at le Bookstore Cafe. Good to know. And yes, I know she'll be in Kingston tomorrow... but I'm already booked that night!!! Thanks again.

Monday, November 06, 2006

a new addict (or knitting evangelism)

Folks, let's have a warm welcome for our newest member Stefanie!

Stefanie is my German sister in Toronto (meine schwester for those of us keeping track), one of the close chosen members of what I like to call my "urban family". A little over a week ago I was having one of my far too infrequent phone chats with Steffi, when she started in, almost shyly: "I was waiting for my BF to finish at work the other day and there was a yarn shop, and I thought of you, and they had such pretty things...". My ears perked up. It sounded as though perhaps she had heard the Call. She continued, "the shop closed, but I went into a toyshop and they had a children's learn-to-knit kit and..."

I couldn't handle it and jumped in "Steffi, are you saying you want to learn to knit??? Because I can help you with that!" And another knitter was born.

We planned a weekend, a trip to Toronto (for me) so we could get started properly. Stefanie is a very crafty girl already (you would die to see her lovely first-ever mosaic piece, and she's a wonderful potter), so I knew I had to set her up right. I knew we had to go straight to mecca. It had to be Romni. (I can't wait to show her my other favourites, but we had to start somewhere!)

I tried to warn her, but you should have seen her face when we went in. Overwhelmed and excited all at once, eyes like saucers looking around, we spent over 2 tactile hours exploring. Stef's going to be a great knitter; she went straight for the cashmere (you know, those Handmaiden bin stacks, front right near the counter), and never looked back. Couldn't have pried it out of her hands for anything. (wouldn't have tried) I explained the concept of stash and she went BACK to the cashmere for another skein. This girl is a natural. Let's just say she took home a substantial amount of Handmaiden, and enough Luxury Alpaca in three colours to make a beautiful scarf. And artistic being that she is, she was already conceptualizing all the possibilities for how to combine stitches and colours to make something truly unique.

While at Romni we planned to meet up with Jen, too. She has already completed her first two scarves, and figured out how to cast off on her own! She needed a new project. Not to be outdone, she picked up some gorgeous deep green merino (I missed the label... not sure which kind), and is already designing something of a scarf/hood/shawl in her head, to replicate a favourite old garment that she can't seem to replace. See, ready to conquer...

After more than 2 hours in Romni, we three enjoyed a well-deserved coffee, corralled their men and met for a fantastic thai dinner (during which both of their guys were forced to fondle the day's spoils appreciatively... training begins early!). Then after a few drinks, Steffi and I went back to her place to learn to knit.

Yes, you read that right, we learned to knit after a few drinks. Stef is hardcore!!!

It was a lot of laughs, as is everything with this girl, and as she counted to herself in German, I got silly and started giving instructions auf Deutsch, and in spite of my language skills, I think we figured it all out. She has been gifted with the Knitting Rules, and as with Jen, I am certain she will be conquering the world in wool in no time.

And for extra fun... Stef's BF has ALSO expressed an interest in learning to knit!
Give me time, just give me time!!!

Tomorrow: my personal yarn porn from the day at Romni.

Friday, November 03, 2006

this, that, and the other...

First THIS.

Another FO for the Christmas pile!!! She's on fire! A self-proclaimed "slow knitter", lately I feel like the goddess of speed, the princess of presto... here's the official kitty hat, minus ears. (I guess that makes it less official.)

The only other modification was to adjust placement of the earflaps to reflect where I think my brothers ears are. At least, they are roughly placed where MY ears are, and since I like to believe we are both about average in terms of ear placement, I hope they will be in the right spots. Yarn is worsted Malabrigo in lime-blue. This was my first Malabrigo experience, and I love it. LOVE IT. There's lots left from this, too. I'll have to go flirt with a postal clerk to do a weigh in (heehee). Anyway if you have never knitted with this stuff, get thee to a yarn store and start a stash.

Which brings me to THAT.

Stash versus Hoard. Thank you all for your comments. G, it was in jest that I used the word "violated", I always knew you were speaking in good humour. And I only published your complete message so that the knitting community could see the friendly tone in which the whole discussion was raised! I would never reproduce a truly personal e-mail on a blog (or anywhere else), and I hope you were not offended by that.

So, back to the issue at hand. I think I can compromise on "Cache". I like that. Sonically, there's a harshness to the word "hoard" (and indeed, until one clips off the D at the end, it sounds incredibly ugly!!!). I like the soft happy shhhsshshhh sounds in stash and cache. I can also get on board with "reserves". Agree to disagree, perhaps?

And finally OTHER.

I was trying to play it all cool and stuff, but did anyone else notice that the Yarn Harlot actually commented on my blog a few days back????? Pretty exciting for me. This came after she even replied to one of my comments! And yes, I realize she's just a person like any of us, but I'm sure you would agree she's a pretty special person, and my personal knitting inspiration, and so on, and so on, so it was still pretty exciting. Makes me think I should try to come up with more witty and interesting things to say, because one never knows when the Harlot is watching. (that sounds a little 1984, doesn't it...) (hey, was that sort of witty and/or interesting???)

In any case, Stephanie, if you happen to be reading again, unfortunately I can't get out of my work obligations on the day of your Kingston visit. It's a rehearsal, and any contracted classical musician can tell you, you must be (practically) bleeding from the head in three places to legitimately escape a rehearsal. But if you're thirsty afterwards, I know some great establishments at which to knit/drink...

And still a little more OTHER.

I'm off to the big city (Toronto) this weekend for some gigging, and most especially to take 2 very good friends -- a brand new about-to-be knitter and a fairly new knitter -- to mecca. Very exciting. I need a new road project, so I'm going to cast on for Norovember with a multi-directional scarf with that Kureyon from a few days ago. This is a Star Trek knit for me (to boldly knit where I have never knit before); I just have to find some instructions...

Have good weekends!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

stash versus hoard, please respond!

Friends, I received the following note from my knitty friend Jen's fiance today. We'll call him G.

On the weekend the three of us were out enjoying a coffee and a browse at the local Chapters/Starbucks combo, when inevitably, we got into a discussion about yarn, projects, patterns, magazines, etc. Now, G was an awfully good sport, listening to the two knitters banter on and on about, well, all things knitting.

But then he asked, "how much yarn do you have?" Friends, I must say, I felt a little violated, and knew he was digging for some anti-stash ammunition. He continued, "Do you HOARD the way she does?"

Well that did it. "It's called STASHING. Not HOARDING." came the reply. There's something about the word hoarding that disagrees with my knitterly sensibilities. Thereafter, I (maturely) refused to acknowledge any further references to "hoarding".

Then came the letter:

Miss Ewe,

Jen told me about your blog and your mentioning of stash vs. hoard. Our discussion has spurred me to check out therespective dictionary definitions of stash & hoard and they end up being synonyms for each other. The other synonyms listed are cache, stockpile and store.

I still think hoard is best, but hey that's only my opinion. I will say that as an example of word usage, my dictonarysaid this for stash: "A 'stash' of narcotics."

Hmmmmm.....maybe yarn is closer to crack than I thought? Keep on hoarding! :->

take care,

Now... I will point out that this is all said and written with a very good humour, and G is a lovely person in general, but ladies: have at him.

What do you think?