Courtyard beanie

Project: Courtyard beanie
Yarn: Cascade 220 in Charcoal and Turquoise
Pattern: Courtyard by Melissa Thompson
Sometimes I get so caught up in my bigger projects that I forget how satisfying and fun a quick knit can be. And how smaller projects are great for using up those partial skeins of yarn I insist upon hoarding. This hat is the epitome of a quick, satisfying knit. I started it Saturday night and finished it just before bed on Sunday (even though it meant pushing back bedtime an hour or so just because I wanted to wear the hat the next day).
When browsing patterns for hats on Ravelry, I started noticing a new (to me) trend in design: beautiful stitches traveling across a striped reverse stockinette background. And I loved it immediately. It is quite eye-catching and the result looks more complex than the pattern actually is. (Here are some of my other favorite hats with this design that I came across: Thermisto and Neon).
I ended up with Courtyard because I had worsted weight yarn I wanted to use up and I liked the shape. And it was great fun to knit (it would make a great last minute Christmas gift, if you don’t end up keeping it for yourself). My only modification to the pattern was to stick a pom pom on top, because it seemed like it needed one. And I’ve really wanted a pom pom hat for a while now, because I’m sort of a dork like that (I used this video tutorial for making the pompom).

Snow, snow, snow

When I woke up this morning, I peeked out the window, and this song immediately popped into my head. We had just a wee bit (sarcasm abounds) of snow overnight.And it’s just kept on snowing and snowing all day long.

So I took off from work early and headed to the market to pick up fixins for shepherd’s pie (those shepherds knew what was what because this stuff is perfect for snowy days) and gluhwein. I think it’s time to turn on White Christmas, snuggle with the fur baby, and settle in for the weekend (just a wee bit early, but what are massive amounts of snow for?).

Crew in progress

I’ve resigned myself to the fact that although my Perianth cardigan “fits,” it doesn’t really fit me. And by that I mean that I can get it without any problems, but it will never ever button comfortably. And that’s fine, too, just wearing it as an open-front cardigan. But there’s part of my brain that is hung up on the fact that it is wrong. That, on top of the fact that I kind of hate making sleeves, has stalled Perianth for now. I plan on making another one for myself and gifting this one to my sister who (if you can believe it) is even tinier than I am. 
In the mean time, I’m using the left over MadTosh from Perianth to work on a different project and get some of my mojo back. I cast on Crew last weekend and have been working up the stripey front. Because I’m using fingering weight yarn, I went up one size on the pattern to compensate. The purple and white stripes will be complimented by a charcoal grey back with some more MadTosh I bought on sale for Black Friday. 

As far as reading goes, very little has been done recently because of travel and holiday business. I’m still making my way through Going Bovine by Libba Bray and I’m liking it. Hopefully once things get less busy and I’m on holiday break, I’ll have more time to dedicate to some fun-time reading.

Linking up with KCCO and yarn along.

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November socks

Project: November socks
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock in Blue Box Fever
Pattern: Zigzagular Socks

The November socks are finished! (Check out all the socks completed for Liesl’s challenge here.) I got them off the needles while on my way home from San Diego (technically it was December already, but at least I started them in November). These socks had a false start early in November when they were coming out way way too big, even though I was using my usual needles and stitch count. So I started over, went down a size, and they are snug and fabulous. I may stick with this smaller size from now on because I’m liking the fit so much on these. 

The yarn is so psychedelic Socks that Rock that Andy gifted me for my birthday, so it felt appropriate that my November socks would be birthday socks, too. He said he picked the color because it was bright and something I didn’t already have. That kid knows my tastes pretty well. Plus, I think the name of the socks refers to the Tardis (at least that’s the only blue box I know about), which only makes me like the socks even more.

This is my first time working the zigzagular socks. I’m not usually a giant fan of twisted stitches (they throw off my knitting mojo). Something is just wrong with them, twisted. But I had fun making these socks and I love how they turned out. It is a great pattern for busy variegated yarn. Plus, it’s simple enough to work up quickly, but the cabled twisted stitches keeps your brain happy.

On to December! 

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That time I went to San Diego (and Disneyland)..

Just a few glimpses into my trip to San Diego to visit my parents…

 Sunset from my parents backyard overlooking the canyon.
Lovely, rocky coastline in La Jolla… and my mom’s hand.
Sunset at the Hotel del Coronado.
The hotel was also decked out for Christmas.
A live performance of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and this Seussian tree put us in the Christmas spirit, too.
No trip to Southern California is complete without a day at Disneyland, mouse-ears and all.

Disneyland was beautifully decked out for Christmas, too. Even the Haunted Mansion was in the spirit, with the Nightmare Before Christmas taking it over. 

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1/2 November socks

This week…
Knitting: I finished one of my November challenge socks on the plane to San Diego on Monday and have cast on for the next one. Whether I will actually finish it in November remains to be seen. It may just get done on the way home, which is technically December, but who’s really counting. I’ll employ some timey wimey hand waving to claim my November socks were finished in time. I would really like to find some Christmasy yarn to do my December socks in. Maybe I’ll find some while here in San Diego. 
I’m also working on the sleeves of my Perianth cardigan. It’s almost finished, but a bit on the small side. It’ll get its own entry when I get back to Toronto. 

Reading: I brought Libba Bray’s Going Bovine with me on my trip, but I’ve just barely read a few pages of it so far. I like Bray’s other books that I’ve read before, and this one gets high praise and sounds delightfully goofy, so I’m looking forward to reading it. 
Enjoying: Time with family, warm, sunny days, yummy food, and time off from work. I was getting burnt out at work and really needed a vacation, so the time off is wonderful! And I get to warm up before heading back to the frigid north. 
Linking up with yarn along and KCCO

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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The start of Perianth

The yarn for my Parienth cardigan has arrived! Let the knitting commence! I am making this a project a birthday present to myself (an half-decent excuse to buy some new yarn, for once). I also used it as an excuse to but some decent yarn, and went with MadTosh light in Antler and Medieval. Because if you are going to take scissors to your knitting, you better go big or go home. In reality though, if when this all works out fabulously, I want to be left with a beautiful “never taking this off ever again” sweater.
I got started yesterday by actually making a swatch. Or, a semi-swatch at least. I was too lazy to cast on enough stitches to work a swatch in the round, so I just worked a small rectangle in stockinette and hoped that my stranded knitting will match my regular gauge at least for the most part. I knew I probably would have a looser gauge doing stranded knitting, so I cast on in the smaller range and worked from there. 
I read up a lot of blogs on streaking before starting (most of which you can find pinned on my knitting Pinterest board). I knew going in that I want to work a crochet edged steek, so after working the ribbing flat, I joined everything to work in the round and added 7 center stitches where my steek will go – those are the pretty striped stitches in between the stitch markers. That’s where the magic will happen once I’ve finished working the chart on the body of the sweater. Every time I work these stitches I think to myself, “Oh dear, this is where the cutting happens. I have to cut this at some point.” I’m really hoping that if I just say knitting affirmations as I pass these stitches (things like “Steeking is easy!”, “This is going to be a beautifully steeked cardigan.”, and “All the cool kids are steeking these days.”) that by the time I actually get around to doing the task, it’ll be old news. A snooze. Nothing new happening here, just steeking like a pro. (I’m scared of the steeking. But I know it will be alright. It’s one of those classic, “if everyone before me can steek, I can, too” moments.)
At the end of one day of knitting, patterns are emerging. It’s starting to look like something. Something with potential. I’m excited because I’m having a lot of fun working this pattern. I think it’ll be slow going for a little bit (still have a decent amount of Christmas knitting I’d like to finish up in the next couple of weeks), but with a few rows here and there, I’m excited to take on this adventure.