Weekends done right

When your week starts out with you breaking an expensive piece of lab equipment essential to your research, you know it’s going to be a rough one. But all your troubles can be forgotten (or at least momentarily pushed aside) with a good recipe for the weekend. And I’ve figured out how to do it right. Follow this fool-proof recipe, and you are sure to chase away your weekday blues.
1. Spend a few hours ogling, petting, and drooling over some gorgeous yarn at the Toronto Knitter’s Frolic. 

If the Knitter’s Frolic isn’t available, your local yarn store will suffice. Bringing along a similarly minded, knitting/yarn obsessed friend/significant other/pen pal is highly recommended to achieve optimal results.

2. Momentarily, in a time of bliss, forget that you are on a student’s stipend, and let down your inhibitions (e.g. drop some cash on some majorly lovely yarns).

For best results, take advantage of rare and/or locally produced yarns you can’t find in above mentioned yarn store. You can substitute any beautiful, hand dyed yarn to achieve similar feelings of euphoria.

3. Finish with a generous helping of some homemade citrus sangria.

Most alcoholic beverages will be more than sufficient to meet this step.

Happy weekend! I hope you all have a great one.

FO Friday: Caramel cardigan

The second project I finished up last weekend was my caramel cardigan. I was really inspired by bluedogwoolie’s take on the sweater – I loved the asymmetrical stripping and the short-sleeves, especially. So, after looking through Knit Pick’s Swish line of yarn, I decided to go with teal and golden contrasting stripes. It’s a color combination that was interesting to me, but I didn’t have a ton of in my closet. It’s very easy for me to settle on purples and pinks for knitting projects (I’ve got a bit of a reputation for the abundance of purple in my wardrobe), but I have been trying to branch out and be a bit more adventurous in my color choices. I would hate to be predictable…

I’m pretty happy with how my version came out and both the pattern and yarn were great to work with. I just wish I had worked my sweater a little bit longer, but I was worried about running out of yarn. Oh well – you live and learn. The sweater is still a joy to wear and perfect for the chilly start to spring we seem to be having.

With two knitting projects down, I’m on the lookout for new projects to start up. And just in time, too, because tomorrow is the Toronto Knitter’s Frolic. It’ll be my first time to attend and I’ve been told it’s yummy yarns for as far as the eye can see. Good start to a weekend if you ask me.

Neon wave socks

The long holiday weekend allowed me to finish a couple of the projects I had on my needles, one of which was these neon wave socks

As you may have noticed, I’ve been drawn to bright, vivid colors lately, so I couldn’t resist this pink Malabrigo sock yarn on my latest trip to my LYS. I thought it was be fun to take this eye-popping color and integrate a traditional knitting motif, like cables.

I’ve also been trying to fully utilize the amazing abundance of gorgeous free sock patterns on Ravelry. So I settled on the seaweed sock pattern which uses lace to create a pseudo cable pattern. I think they came quite nice. The texture is interesting and the lace motif + bright color makes these a good pair of socks for spring and summer.

These are actually the first complete pair of toe-up socks. And I have to say they are growing on me. Especially with the two-at-a-time method. In my experience, working the heel on these is much easier to figure out doing TAAT than the top down sock method. Plus, I like that you can just keep going on the leg until you use as much yarn as you want.

Time for the weekly update.

Knitting: I’m on a total sock kick at the moment. These are my third pair of socks this year, and I’ve already cast on another pair of toe-up socks. I’m also working on a baby cardigan for my Ph.D. advisor who is having his first baby this fall, along with a drapey mohair pullover for myself.

Reading: Still working on The Girl Who Fell Below Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne Valente. It’s been slow going because I’ve had 2+ research articles to read each week for a short 6 week course I’m taking. I would much rather be reading about Fairyland.

Watching: I’m going back through all three seasons of Veronica Mars. It’s still as good as the first time I watched the series in 2009/2010. I was a late comer to the series, but I still love it.

Linking up with KCCO.

Neon lights

Unfortunately, no finished projects this week for me. But I have made really good progress and all three of the projects I blogged about last week, so hopefully those will be finished up soon. In the meantime, I thought I’d just share some projects that had caught my eye recently.

I keep hearing that pastels are in this spring, but I can’t help finding myself to bright bright neons. I blame the long, grey winter we had this year. I’m ready for a shot of amazing, bright, neon color!

1. © knittimo Spring kerchief
2. © nadja1981 Dewdrops
3. © Jenmama Shifting
4. © WomblingStar Kali

A shot of color


Stripes, patterns, and texture. But above all, lots of color. Just a few projects I’ve started on recently inspired by different vibrant colors.

From top left:

And a little shout out to my fur baby, Rufus, who turns 4 tomorrow. Happy birthday, buddy!

WIP Wednesday: Sweater catch-up

Yes, that is a box of half-knit sweaters. How many can you count? I think there’s six in there (+ one more in my travel knitting bag). Things may have gotten a wee bit out of hand.

But I’m trying to make progress. This week I have dedicated to lowering the number of sweaters in this basket and increasing the number in my closet. Even if it’s just a few rows at a time, it’s an accomplishment.

Knitting: sweaters, sweaters, and sweaters. Making some decent progress on my pink striped cardigan and my spring colorslide pullover. I’ve also been working on my April SKA challenge socks, but we had a bit of a fight earlier in the week that severely set back my progress (toe-up socks aren’t my friends).
Reading: I finished up Cinder last week. I was so apathetic about it in the end, I didn’t even write a review for it on GoodReads. I was in desperate need of a sure-thing book, so I turned to one of my current favorite authors, Catherynne Valente, and loaded The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There onto my iPad. Catherynne has a beautiful, poetic writing style and creates fantastic, complex worlds and characters. I have yet to read a piece by her that didn’t make my heart flutter. I’m looking forward to this book very much. And the gorgeous illustrations with each chapter doesn’t hurt things, either.

Linking up with Tami’s Ami’s and KCCO.

FO Friday: Golden Abalone

Pattern: Abalone by Beata Jezek
Yarn: Malabrigo worsted (Sunset)
Completion Date: March 31, 2014
Ravelry Project Page

Remember that Malabrigo worsted I shared a few weeks ago? Ta-da! Here it is. This sweater kind of snuck up on me – it was a super fast knit. I made it my “on-the-go” project, mainly working on it while commuting to/from school until poof! a sweater was suddenly there.

The pattern is, for the most part, a nice, simple knit. The pattern is not very detailed, but if you have a general knowledge of knitting and sweaters, it’s not too difficult to figure out as you go. I only ran into a problem when working the garter stitch edging of the body, which I had to completely redo before it worked out to my satisfaction.

But I’m pleased with how this sweater came out. And I really love the yarn which is so soft and smooshy. I’m totally jumping on the Malabrigo fan-wagon. When the budget permits, I would love to try out some of their other yarn weights. 

This sweater will get lots of wear now that spring finally seems to have arrived in my corner of the world. Happy spring, everyone! 
Linking up with Tami’s Amis.

WIP Wednesday: Calico shawlette

I always seem to find myself drawn to the leaf/petal lace motif. I’ve made probably three projects involving lace, and I think they all involved some variant of this motif. It’s a leaf lace addiction. It’s just so pretty.

So while browsing through the Summer 2013 Knitscene, I, of course, was immediately drawn to the Calico shawl. I can be quite predictable, sometimes. So, I selected skein of hand dyed merino wool from Toil and Trouble yarns in a lovely dusty shade of pink to cast on this weekend.

I got off to a little bit of a rocky start, having to completely redo the first chart when I realized I had done one less repeat of the motif than I was supposed to. Oops. Let’s just say this pattern does not have the most descriptive instructions, so it really requires some careful chart reading and stitch counting. But after a re-start, I was making decent progress. Until…

Until I realized Sunday night that the pattern called for 800 yards, and I only had 400. Again, me demonstrating my amazing pattern reading skills. Double oops. And, of course, this colorway is no longer available in the Toil and Trouble Etsy shop.

But it is just looking so pretty already. I can’t bring myself to rip it out again. So for now, I’ve convinced myself that it is entirely possible for me to make this in a shawlette, rather than a full shawl. I think the only aspect of the pattern this adjustment that will really take some tweaking is figuring out the border.

But it should work, right? Adjusting full shawls into half the size is totally plausible, right? This decision won’t bring me tears or waste hours of work, right?

Thanks, that’s what I thought. I feel better about this whole thing already.

Linking up with Tami’s Amis.

A little extra chocolate

I haven’t baked in a loooong time. That’s three extra ‘o’s, so you know it’s been a while. But this morning I was inspired by the idea of afternoon tea and cake (blame all the British period pieces I’m always watching). There was just something about a sunny Sunday afternoon…

After a long, lonely winter on top of the fridge, my poor stand mixer could really use some action (and it also need a bit of degreasing on the top… ew). I decided on the double chocolate loaf cake from BBC Good Food. You can never go wrong with something that has ‘double chocolate’ in the title. Plus, a recipe from the BBC means it has to be an authentic cake to have with tea, right?

Who bothers measuring out chocolate chips? This is one part of baking that is not a science – just follow your chocolatey heart. Your intuition on the measurement of chocolate chips can not lead you astray. Plus, a few extra chocolate chips never hurt anyone.

I may have licked the mixing paddle. Just a little bit. I had really missed that ‘baking’ smell in our house. It just makes you feel cozy and happy inside. I kept peeking into the oven waiting for the cake to finish because there’s just nothing quite like the first bite of warm chocolate cake fresh from the oven. 

After some very messy artistic splooshing (that’s the technical term) of melted chocolate across the top, I had myself a lovely chocolate loaf cake. Would you like some tea with that?

FO Friday: Rainbow Broken Seed Stitch Socks

They’re finished! And they are just so bright and cheerful. I managed to finish my rainbow broken seed stitch socks Wednesday night. I was treating myself to some well-earned knitting time after a marathon grading session earlier in the day (10 lab reports in 8 hours, phew!). 

I am quite pleased with how the have turned out, so of course I wore a skirt to work on Thursday to show them off. (What good are hand knit socks if you can’t show them off ever once in awhile?) On a rather gloomy day, they were just the shot of color I needed.

I think my next pair of socks to cast on will be part of the Ravelry Sock Knitter’s Anonymous 
monthly challenges. For April it is stranded knitting or another culturally traditional knitting technique (such as Celtic cables). I’ve had the Circle socks by Fnugg on my queue for awhile, so this is a great excuse to finally give them a go. 
New, socky adventures await. Happy Friday!
Linking up with Tami’s Amis and KCCO