Category: weekly catchup

Blooming Perianth

Perianth is growing a little bit each day. I work a few rows after I feel satisfied in my progress on my Christmas knitting. It’s my little treat for getting the knitting chores done.

Last night I decided to block what I had already finished on the needles to see how the yarn would change. I was having a little bit of puckering in my colorwork, so the perfectionist obsessive part of my brain wanted to make sure the puckering would block out before I continued on and worked the whole body. Well, the blocking worked its magic and I am satisfied – no more puckering and the stitches, especially the single white stitches stranded (haha – pun intended) out there by themselves, are looking much more even.

Then I got the brilliant (read as compulsive) idea to measure my gauge after blocking to see how my estimated measurements were holding up. And my gauge in the color work is about 1.5 stitches tighter than my original swatch. Whoops. (It’s like Holly had an overpowering psychic wave with her comment on my last post… She tried to warn me.) The difference in gauge shaves about 4 inches off my cardigan’s circumference. I’m always reading the warnings about how even being one stitch off in your gauge can drastically change the measurements of your garment. Turns out they (the collective they of the interwebs who are always trying to warn me) were right. Math works like that.

But I’m still charging ahead (the perfectionist part of my brain shuts right up about this problem). The gauge difference will really only effect the fit of the sweater over my bust. The addition of a button band will give me a little leeway on that front. Plus, it’s a cardigan, so I can always leave the bust unbuttoned and it’s a perfectly acceptable way to wear the sweater.

But for future steeked cardigans (I’m already planning another one because I’m having too much fun working large colorwork patterns), I will take this lesson to heart: swatch in the round with the colorwork. You only get lucky so many times before your luck runs out.

Linking up with KCCO and yarn along.

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Old favorites are good favorites

This week…

Knitting: Progress on the knitting gift list is going well. Last week I checked one Christmas project off the list, so this week I’m casting on another. I’m also making really good progress on the projects I was previously working on – just a few more pattern repeats on the largest project and it will soon be off the needles. It’s looking like I will actually pull this crazy idea off – things will be finished in time to mail to the States for the holidays and all but one item was made with stash yarn.

Reading: After finishing the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series I was suffering from major book drunkenness. You know, that feeling you suffer from when you finish a really good book that you just loved. I missed the world. I missed the characters. I missed it all. I sat staring at my bookshelf fighting with myself over what to start next. When I’m riding the emotional wave of a great book, I often find myself dreading the inevitable disappointment that comes from trying to find a book to fill the void. So I took the chicken’s way out and just went with a series I knew would take me to a place I loved. I haven’t read many of the Harry Potter books in years and years and years, so it’s time it got a reprieve from shelf life for a bit.

Listening: Lately I’ve been loving this new podcast, Serial. It’s a weekly, short podcast that tells a single story throughout the season, but unravels different aspects of the story each week. This season, the podcast’s first, Serial covers the story of a young man who was convicted of killing his high school girlfriend back in the late ’90’s. He’s been in prison every since, but claims he didn’t commit the murder. What makes the story so fascinating is that both has flaws and holes, and Serial is trying to uncover what really happened. It’s a real-life murder mystery that you are trying to solve along with the journalist, and it takes you on different twists and turns as the story is uncovered more each week. Check it out because it’s addicting.

Linking up with KCCO and yarn along.

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A little bit of crazy

I’ve made really good progress on all my planned Christmas knitting. I’m at least half way, if not two-thirds of the way, finished with the both projects I blogged about last week. And I am really happy with how they are turning out, which makes me very excited for Christmas. It is the best feeling giving a gift you are proud of and know will be enjoyed by the recipient.

I haven’t worked on much besides these two gifty projects, but with the progress I’ve made, I think I’ve eased myself into this safety zone. I feel like I will accomplish my goals for holiday knitting, so I’ve allowed myself to think just a bit about knitting some personal projects. Just a wee bit of selfish knitting, here and there. But I’ve been in a little bit of a slump when it comes to my personal knitting projects. After knitting the full back of my Yane sweater, I ran into some yarn issues that has put it on the back burner for a bit. I had projects I wanted to work on, but I just wasn’t completely in love with them as much as I wanted to be.

After digging through my favorites, I was really feeling a fair isle or stranded knitting project. I haven’t worked on a project with stranded knitting since my Endpaper mitts, so I had that on my mind while searching through patterns. And that’s also when I think I lost my mind. Because I ran across the beautiful Perianth mitten pattern and remembered the stunning cardigan that was adapted from the chart of the mittens. And I said to myself, “I really love this cardigan. I really want this cardigan. I will make. This. Cardigan.” And then I jumped off the deep end. I decided this would be my birthday present to myself and bought (what I hope will be) enough MadTosh Light to make the cardigan. It’s all very insane because this cardigan really has no pattern, so I basically have to figure out the shaping of the armhole and neck myself (ack!). But what is really crazy about this plan… steeking. This cardigan is steeked. Have I ever steeked? No way, Jose. So of course, I will try it out the first time with nice, expensive yarn and on a pattern I love. Why not?

I think this might be my quarter life crisis.

Oh, and I finished my book, Dreams of Gods and Monsters, by Laini Taylor. It completely lived up to the previous two books in the series. It was lovely, romantic, action packed, suspenseful, and great. The ending got a little muddled to me, trying to tie up all the loose ends (there is a lot going on in this series), but I was happy with how things got wrapped up overall. I loved this series, and I will miss reading these books, until I picked them up again soon.

Linking up with KCCO and yarn along.

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Second guessing

I worked on the planned holiday gifts I blogged about before all last week and made a decent amount of progress. But as I kept knitting away on one project, I had this growing seed of insecurity in the back of my mind. Although I was loving knitting the project (might as well admit to it being a shawl) and it was turning out splendidly, as it continued to grow, so did the thought, “Would this item actually be used?” Although I’m the receiver of the shawl would admire it and appreciate the work I had put into it, I just knew it wouldn’t get a lot (or probably even a little bit) of use. The longer I thought about it, the more I just couldn’t see my intended receiver wearing the finished item. It just wasn’t the right gift for the right person. So I set it aside for now. I will go back to it after the gift knitting fever has passed and will probably finish it up for myself (I swear, this was not my plan this whole time).

So in the mean time, I had to start over again, with a week less to work. So I grabbed some yarn in a lovely coopery yarn with a hint of shimmer, choose a pattern I knew would get good use (one many of you probably can recognize, but shh! it’s still a secret for now), and started knitting like a mad women. It’s been a fun knit and it’s turning out beautifully, so I know I made the right decision.

And when I’m tired of lace, I pick up a nice squishy garter stitch project which is also a gift. Look at that yarn – it’s like an amazing graffiti of yarn and color. I had this yarn first and had to go on the search for a project that would do it justice. It’s turning out so fun and playful – just what I was going for.

This week…

Knitting: Christmas gift fever continues, renewed. And I’ve managed to stay monogamous to these projects… for now.

Reading: I’m back to finishing A Dream of God and Monsters by Laini Taylor. I’ve stated how much I love this series (Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy) so much that I don’t want it to end. But I can’t wait to see what happens. It’s one of those conundrums we all face with a good book.

Linking up with KCCO and yarn along.

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Start the countdown to panic

Smart people started making Christmas gifts in January. Sane people started this summer. I finally decided to start this past weekend. I don’t always (or even usually) make gifts for holidays, but I love giving gifts and have been known to go a little crazy and spend a wee bit too much money. Because we are trying to be more money smart and stick to a stricter budget this year, Andy gave me an ultimatum challenge for this year’s Christmas: try to make the majority of gifts this year. And as if that isn’t enough, I need to do my best to only use yarn I already have in my stash. All of this is very easy for Andy to say, since I’ll be the one in charge of making the gifts while he watches the bank account. If I were one of the aforementioned smart people, I would have started to tackle all of this much sooner because I need to get it done by mid-December if it’s going to make it to the States in time for Christmas day.

But I must be insane, because I agreed to this idea. I actually put down all my selfish projects, matched patterns to yarn, and cast on a couple of gifts this weekend. (Okay, so it wasn’t an entirely selfless ordeal because most, if not all, of the patterns I choose for gifts were ones I’ve been wanting to make for awhile. I have good taste, though, so I’m sure my family will love them, too. And if not, they can give back all the presents so I can enjoy them.)

This week…

Knitting: Christmas knitting has officially begun. Two gifts out of five are on the needles. Because prying eyes view this blog, these projects have to remain very mysterious until after the holidays. It’s more exciting for everyone that way!

Reading: I’m also on a crunch to finish The Magician’s Land before it automatically gets sucked back into the interwebs and gets returned to the library – half way through with only 5 days left. I’m being realistic… it likely won’t get finished in time. But just maybe…

Linking up with KCCO and yarn along.

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Yane

Here’s the cure for a knitting set back:
  1. Wallow in self pity for an evening sipping some sort of alcoholic beverage. During cooler months, I recommend a warm beverage, like mulled wine or some spiked apple cider, to warm your sad, sorry soul.
  2. Whine about it to people who will understand your pain fully. This should be a fellow knitter or crafter who appreciates all the time, sweat, blood, and effort that can go into a project. Most of the time, this is not a life partner, as they generally will say something unhelpful like, “It’ll be fine. Don’t worry.” or “You can fix that easily, no problem!” 
  3. Cast on a brand new project on a whim. Something you really love and have just been waiting for the right time to start – this is it. If you must buy the pattern or the yarn, even better. 
And that’s exactly what I did (all you in blogworld stood in for my empathizing knitters, thank you). I cast on Yane from the spring/summer release of Wool People and I’m feeling much better already. I just needed to make some progress on a fun, new project and feel better about my knitting again. 
This week….
Knitting: Started Yane and continued to ignore my Darling Emma lacy cardigan. I am also starting a monthly sock challenge this month for the next year. It seems appropriate that one year after I taught myself to knit just so I could make socks that I set myself up to try to tackle 12 pairs in 12 months. I’ve reached the heel flap of my October socks, which are appropriately fall colored.
Reading: I finally have my hands on Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman, the final book in the Magicians trilogy. I had to stop midbook to start it because it’s a library loan, so I’m on a time limit. And I really need to pick up the pace on reading because I’m only about 50 pages in, but it’s good to be back in the world of Quentin, Brakebills, and Fillory.
Drinking: Apple cider is finally in the markets, so I’ve been making lots of mulled cider lately. It will come in handy in the next few days as the lows at night drop into the 30’s. Yuck.
Linking up with yarn along and KCCO

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Another day, another sweater

Lately, it seems like I have been popping out sweaters left and right. I don’t know if I actually am knitting jumpers at lightning speed, or if time is just flying by and it just doesn’t feel like 3-4 weeks have gone by when I get these sweaters finished. Either way, I have been working on lots of sweaters lately. I’m going to need to clean out my closet to make room for all these new additions. 
And if you are wondering why my yarn is wrapped around a paper towel roll, well, that is how us miserable, poor souls make nice, center-pull cakes of yarn without a ball winder. It all started when I found this picture on Pinterest. It’s so much better than the big, messy balls of yarn I was working with before, but it does look very silly when I’m actually making the cake. Or digging around for a discarded paper towel or toilet paper roll when I need to wind a skein…
This week…

Knitting: I finished up my Feathernest Raglan sweater this weekend, so now I’ve picked up my Peabody sweater again. With it’s lacy leaf motif on the front, it’s the perfect fall sweater, so I want to get it finished soon so it gets a chance to shine in this season. 
Reading: I gave in to the neverending library wait list and just bought Dreams of Gods and Monsters, the final book in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I freakin’ love this series. It is fantastical. It is dark. It is funny. It is oddly realistic and completely believable. It has great characters, forbidden love, and alternative universes. It’s just great. Read it.
Linking up with yarn along and KCCO

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What to do with blue

So I have two skeins of this yarn. It’s cashmere. It’s lace weight. And it’s very, very blue. Bright, primary blue. (The Whovian in me can’t help but note that this is the true definition of Tardis blue). I received this yarn a few years ago, before I knew how to knit. It was part of an online yarn exchange, and, full disclosure, I was disappointed when I received it. I hadn’t requested blue or lace weight yarn. When I was crocheting, I was not comfortable using yarn this thin and delicate. And this bright blue is just something that I am not drawn to as I tend to like blues with a bit more depth – things like teal, turquoise, sapphire. I just had no idea what to do with this yarn. It really intimidated me.

But I kept it all this time because I’m a bit of a yarn hoarder. This weekend I dug it out of my stash because I really wanted to conquer it. And this blue seems so hip and cool as an accent pop of color, and I’m nothing if I’m not hip and cool and keeping up with all the latest trends. Plus, it’s freakin’ cashmere. It is so, so soft. I knew I wanted something snuggly, worn close to my skin, and appreciated for its warmth, its coziness, its squishiness.

I cast on about four different project ideas. The first thing that came to mind was a big infinity scarf, but I didn’t want a pattern with a lot of purling in it. I didn’t want to really deal with a shawl and all the increases. Maybe some patterned stitches? Nah. And no intricate lace, please. Just an easy, sit in front of the tv and completely veg out knit. But no patterns I started really spoke to me. I couldn’t find that groove that I wanted. I mean, how difficult is it to find a preferably free, plain, but interesting, easy, no purling scarf in lace weight yarn? (Probably not that hard, but I could not find anything I liked in this shocking blue.) I was getting very frustrated with this yarn again.

I finally decided it was time to compromise, and then I finally came across the beautiful Imagine When shawl. Lovely squishy garter for easy, no purl knitting. Interesting construction with nice eyelet details. And a little, petite picot edging. This would do. I decided to just go with the thinner yarn on a much smaller needle than the pattern calls for. With some general hand waving and some iffy maths, after I measured my preliminary gauge, I’m hoping this project will come in at just about half the size of the original shawl, around 90cm. I’ve convinced myself (for now) that this will result in a nice kerchief that can be snuggled under my black peacoat or can be secured with a small, simple pin. 
And if it all goes to crap, I have a backup plan.
Linking up with KCCO and yarn along.

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Feathernest

This week…

Knitting: All three of my active cardigans have seen lots of action this week, but right now I’m particularly fond of my Feathernest raglan sweater. It is just working up so quickly and is a very fun knit with it’s chevron, herringbone-ish textural pattern. While I was originally not sure if I liked the color for this pattern, now I am liking the brighter blue. And the yarn is showing off the texture of the stitches perfectly. So I’m pretty happy with this one and look forward to it being finished soon.

One of the reasons I had selected this pattern is because I had access to it for free. It was published in the Winter 2014 Interweave Knits, which you generally have to subscribe to or your can purchase the individual patterns. But I found out that my library has a subscription to this magazine, along with Knitscene. And even better is that I can access each issue on my iPad through the app Zinio. But the best thing about the online library subscription is that I get to keep the magazines for-ev-er. There’s no expiry date – once I checkout and download each issue, it stays on my iPad until I remove it. If your library has a subscription with Zinio, I would definitely recommend you see if you can get great knitting magazines, too.

Reading: I’m almost done with Sea of Shadows and I’m liking it much more now. I’m excited to see how it ends.

Watching: Lots and lots of movies. The Toronto International Film Festival started last week and I’ve seen four movies already: The Tale of Princess Kaguya, Labyrinthus, The Good Lie, and The Theory of Everything. Andy and I have six more movies to see before Sunday and I’m looking forward to it. TIFF will get it’s very own blog post once things wrap up.

Linking up with yarn along and KCCO.

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Preparing for fall

The days have been warm lately, but I know it’s coming. Fall is on its way. It’s becoming very obvious that the days are getting shorter, which, unfortunately has caused me to use the dreaded flash photography (my eyes! It’s so bright and unnatural!). These days, by the time I get home from work and get dinner finished, the sun is already dipping far below the horizon. And am I at all organized enough to plan ahead for my blog photos? Of course not! That’s why flash is sometimes my best friend, even if I keep looking at my photos thinking they look just too… flashy. I have resigned myself that we may ne in for a long season of flash photography.

This week…

Knitting: I’ve started two new projects this week. In lovely eggplant purple I’m working on an Emelie cardigan because my brain is stuck on vintage cardigans. I love that this pattern offers three different lengths to work the sweater. I’m planning on working the middle length to have a nice vintage look without it being too cropped for my liking. I’ve also been kind of obsessed with the Feathernest Raglan sweater, but I couldn’t decide if I liked it in the shade of blue Cascade 220 I had on hand. I decided just to start it and have gone from loving it to hating it about 738 times, but now as it is growing, I’m starting to sit more firmly on the “love it” side. Or at least on the “like it” side of things. And working on a worsted weight sweater is a nice break from all the fingering weight projects I’ve been working on lately.

Reading: Still on Sea of Shadows. I know. It’s taking me forever. Get off my back already. I am liking it more these days, though.

Drinking: One thing fall means is a reason to drink more tea. Lately I’ve been obsessed with making Hong Kong style milk tea. I had only had it out and about in Asian bakeries or with my bubble tea in Chinatown, but I decided I wanted to try making it at home. After some research, we found out it was a blend of teas, so we headed to David’s Teas to pick up some Orange Pekoe and pu’erh tea to make our own special HK milk tea blend. Brewed with a dollop of condensed milk and I have a yummy cuppa milk tea at home! If you like black, earthy teas I highly recommend it.

Linking up with yarn along and KCCO.

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