Tag Archives: organization

Sixth time’s the charm, and trip knitting!

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So, it turns out that even when a rule is self-imposed and you’ve decided it’s arbitrary, there are consequence when you break it. To wit: remember how the other day I was all excited about starting the Colour Affection shawl  but really had to because it was Tuesday and Tuesdays are for my sweater? Well, yeah. I finished the decreases for the waist and then decided that maybe that fulfilled my sweater obligation, and then cast on for the shawl.

Well. I read the pattern (a point in my favour, I think) and then decided that a 4mm needle for fingering weight yarn seemed awfully big. I like a tight gauge, so I thought I’d knit this on a 3mm needle instead. So, I cast on, using a cable cast on. As soon as I saw it, though, I thought that’s too tight and pulled it off and re-cast on with a long-tail cast on. Nice and stretchy. Well, yes, but then you have to M1L and M1R in the first row, and that’s super awkward with a long-tail cast on, so I ripped it off again and then tried to cast on more loosely using my preferred cable method. Well, tiny needles and tiny wool and tiny stitches does not make picking up stitches very easy and somehow in the process of picking up the second one, I managed to drop all of them. That’s quite a talent, right?

At that point, I decided that maybe Veera was on to something with the 4mm needle. So I went and dug one up and cast on again, once again using the long-tail cast on. Of course, then I tried to pick up stitches and realized that it wasn’t going to work well, so I ripped it off again and switched back to the cable cast on (are you keeping up? That’s five times I’ve cast on for this so far – thank goodness it’s only 5 stitches to start with). Anyway, that seemed to work, so I started the pattern. I was about 9 rows in when I thought I had a problem.

It looks more like a pouch than a shawl, right?

See that? I’m a big believer in the magic of blocking, but I just wasn’t convinced blocking was going to save me. My edges just seemed too tight. It was puckering. I was convinced that when I was finished and took it off the needles the edge wouldn’t block straight, but would instead give me a hump. That is not what I want. So, I ripped it off my needles. Of course, though, as soon as it was off, this happened.

Oh wait, the pouch fanned out just the way the pattern indicates it should. Rats.

Apparently, it was fine. But, because of the picked up stitches and whatnot, I decided to rip it all the way back to the beginning and start over. (Aside: I just want to say that the Madelinetosh held up like a pro during all this ripping and reknitting and I didn’t have to cut off any of the old yarn, which is excellent since I’m already slightly worried about yardage.)

Anywa, when I started to notice what I thought was a hump forming, I took to Ravelry to read other people’s notes. It seemed that everyone add a YO between the first and second stitches of the row, and then dropped it on the way back, so make for a looser edge. I figured I’d try that, just to be sure. I added the YOs for the first six rows and then stopped doing them because I didn’t like the way the edge looked. I have decided that, since the edge was actually fine even when I thought it was too tight, that if I just pay attention and knit the first two stitched loosely, everything will be fine. So far so good. (Yes, I went with option A. I feel good about it.)

I don’t want to jinx myself, but I like how this is looking.

This puts me in a good place for my trip knitting. Did I mention I was going away? Well, I am. For two weeks! I am beyond excited. My trip involves three countries and two very long travel days, so knitting and books are required. I’m still working on my trip reading, but my trip knitting is all arranged.

Obviously, Patio Affection is coming. It’s garter stitch, and not pattern intensive, which is perfect for the plane and any driving we do. It’s big, though (or it will be), so I decided I needed a smaller project too. Also, on the off chance I get a little tired of garter stitch (it’s been know to happen), I decided project 2 needed to be sort of fiddly. So, I decided that this lovely ball of Indigodragonfly Sock would become the famous and ubiquitous Monkeys, which I have not yet knit.

Indigodragonfly 100% merino sock, in colourway “Tiny Bloodsucking Dancer” (their colourways have the best names).

Pretty good, right? I’m going to pack the Monkey project away in my checked luggage, just in case, and keep the shawl in my carry on, at least for the initial travel day.

The thing is, though, I needed to sort out my project bag situation. I have my standard (and very pretty, if I do say so myself) bag for the socks, but Colour Affection requires three balls of yarn and is going to grow. I poked around and didn’t come up with anything besides something ugly (like a grocery bag) or silly (a cloth bag in Christmas fabric) when it hit me: stuff sack.Thus, this 5L stuff sack from MEC is now my shawl bag, which will expand as amy knitting does (it’s also pretty much water proof and made of 30-denier rip-stop nylon, so my Addis shouldn’t poke through).

Sock bag (by ZigZag stitches) and stuff sack (by MEC), all rolled up.

5L is pretty big, as it turns out.

Really, I’m only going away for two weeks, so this will for sure be enough wool. Yes?

Sock wool on the left, shawl wool on the right. It’s kind of a lot, isn’t it?

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City of Craft is an enabler

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The City of Craft Spring show was on Saturday, and you can bet Wendy and I had a countdown going. We got there shortly after doors opened and man oh man, the talent blooming in Toronto is just astounding. I have always loved going to craft-type shows where local artists sell their work, but since I began knitting in ernest I have developed a whole new appreciation for the ingenuity, dedication, and type committed to the work.

This is all a lead-in to say that it was a morning of purchases galore. I don’t shop much in my normal life, so I don’t mind splurging every once in a while, especially when it’s one beautiful handmade things – or things with which to make beautiful, handmade things. This is the beauty of the City of Craft setup: not only are you presented with gorgeous finished pieces, but crafters are notorious enablers, so you can fill your boots with supplies too.

Here’s what I got:

1 pound of fabric bits and two little bags of vintage buttons from The Workroom:

Green fabric! Check out those guitars...

Blue fabric! I love the elephants.

Buttons that have pairs.

Buttons that don't match.

I have no real plan for these except that I will need buttons for the sweater I’m knitting and I think some of the fabric might become napkins.

More vintage buttons from a vendor whose name I have completely forgotten (is it you? Please let me know):

Six unmatched buttons in a similar colour, in a similar size.

A lovely little notions pouch from Bookhou, whose prints I’ve been admiring for years (I also bought a little cloth wallet, but it’s in my purse in the other room and I’m being lazy):

Notions pouch!

These did not come with it.

And, drumroll please, a needle roll from Knotted Nest:

Unrolled.

Rolled up.

A drumroll for a needle roll might seem a bit over the top, but I have been looking for one of these (ie: one that’s pretty and interesting AND holds several sizes/types of needle) for months, to no avail. And I don’t mean casually looking. I mean scouring Etsy and knit shops and blogs. So, thank you Knotted Nest for ending my search in such a beautiful and satisfying manner.

Aside1 : When I got home and proudly showed L all of my purchases, he sort of looked on with casual interest until I got to the needle roll and then he said, “Oh no.”
Me: What?
Him: I guess it’s serious.
Me: What?
Him: You’re really serious about knitting.
Me: Well, yes. Also, this doesn’t mean I have more needles, just that they’ll be better organized.
Him: Still. Now it’s serious. You’re a knitter.

Aside 2: When we were leaving, Nicole (who was working the door) asked to see what we bought. One glance into my bag and she laughed. “You like green, huh?”

And that, my friends, is what we call a positive result!

Fake Spring Weather/Real Spring Cleaning (and cooking!)

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It is a gorgeous day in Toronto – about 7C and sunny – and L and I just went for a lovely walk around the neighbourhood (we brought a disc instead of a camera, though, because he wanted to toss a bit in the park). I am so ready for winter to be over that, in my mind, it already is. This weather just proves it, right? L, who doesn’t want me to be disappointed when the March storms inevitably roll in, was more tempered in his enthusiasm, but still, even Fake Spring feels pretty nice.

And, whether the season is fake or real, the cleaning it inspired over the weekend is unquestionable.

The nicest it's ever looked.

The nicest it's ever looked.

Look at how tidy my work space is! I didn’t take a before shot because, frankly, it was too embarrassing. There were half-unpacked boxes stacked there, with bags and shoes piled around in front, and it was so bad that my rolling chair was reduced to basically a swivel. But, on Saturday L got a new dresser, which meant his old one could be used for organization (can you believe a grown man used a dresser that small?). The top two drawers have been designated for our hats, mitts/gloves, and scarves, but I claimed the bottom drawer for knitting-related items, and have also gained an office surface on top. The basket is currently holding needles, notions, and other odds and sods, while my pattern books are stacked beside it and, on the shelf above those, my to-be-read pile (you can see my knitting – Almondine sock number 2, of which more later – on the desk at the edge of the photo). It may never look this neat again, but I’m very pleased with it.

Besides cleaning and organizing, this weekend involved lots of cooking, which I love. On Saturday we had friends over for dinner and I made some Georgian food, inspired by my parents’ Grub Club (monthly dinner club they’ve have going with friends for over a decade). I made Bostneulis Kharcho (tomato soup with walnuts and vermicelli) and Khachapuri (bread baked with cheese inside.

This soup looked much better in person.

This soup looked much better in person.

The lighting in my kitchen is a little iffy, but you get the idea. Both recipes were incredibly simple, but had rather impressive results, and I would highly recommend them – both are from The Georgian Feast by Darra Goldstein.

Khachapuri – all puffed up and fresh out of the oven.

Khachapuri – all puffed up and fresh out of the oven.

L, Carmen and Sam playing boardgames after dinner.

L, Carmen and Sam playing boardgames after dinner.

Boardgames!

Boardgames!

Yes, this is just the sort of Saturday night I like.