Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Acquiring freckles

It's been a great big week of knitting and knitting related activities, and this post won't even cover the knitting part of it.  It was World Wide Knit in Public Day on Saturday June 9, what did you do to celebrate?  For the first time in a million years, I was actually free and available that day to enjoy the festivities, instead of rushing around like a crazy to fit it in when I was supposed to be going to work or doing something work-related.  I headed over to Shall We Knit? for their day of fun.  It was raining most of the time I was there, so there wasn't too much blatant outdoor in-your-face knitting.  I wandered the shop half looking for an appropriate yarn for my pillow sham project, and half just looking around.  Since the shop moved to Waterloo, I had still never fully explored it, and I went upstairs for the first time!

Everyone likes to hear about stuff I bought, so let me satisfy your craving:

 My haul from Shall We Knit? during WWKIP day

 Have you heard about Soakbox?  I have, and I love it, and I think it's such a smart idea.  I bought this little beauty partly because I was responsible for introducing the designer of the pattern included with these kits for the Knitters' Guild Adjudicated Show, and because I love pretty things.  The box includes a baby bottle of Soak wool wash (convenient travel size), a coordinating bottle of Handmaid hand cream, Lorna's Lace yarn, and a pattern for fingerless mitts designed by Fiona Ellis.

 I also got a sampler of Soak scentless for just showing up to the fun!

 The boxes come in four colours, and this one is called Cuff Au Lait, and my pretty little fingies are wearing the polish as I type.

Sock yarn!  I missed my chance to buy some indigodragonfly yarns at a Guild meeting earlier this year (ne pas de cash on hand), but I was quick to load up my arms with all indigodragonfly lovelies.

Sonic f**king death monkey

Slutty Thursday afternoon things

We gotta go to the crappy town where I'm a hero!

Oh Glenna and her lemongrass martinis

My Soakbox all out of the box

Very shortly after my fun at WWKIP Day, I was also responsibly for MCing the KW Knitters' Guild Adjudicated Show.  How did I land such a prestigious role, you ask?  Why dear readers, I was volun-told.  At a Guild Executive meeting earlier this year, when we were discussing how to make the Show happen now that our Show Coordinator had stepped down with 2 months to go before the Show, I was informed that it is tradition for the incoming Guild President to be the MC.  Neato, huh?  I prepped my speaking notes in the week before the Show, with most of it being done the night before, well into the wee hours of the morning.  With the actual adjudication of the show pieces done on Monday and the Show on Tuesday, I didn't receive all of Fiona's comments until Monday evening, and I had one of those completely-miss-the-tab-at-the-bottom-of-the-Excel-notebook moments, that resulted in me retyping information and looking back and forth between different copies of the information unnecessarily.  Ugh.  

Oh, and then there was the plumbing issue that came up on Monday/Tuesday at the church where our meetings are held.  We had the church booked and reserved for the whole day on Tuesday for Show preparation, and on Monday I got several frantic emails from the nice lady at the church and other Guild members about how there would be no bathrooms available on Tuesday night.  It wasn't a SUPER big deal.  We were just, you know, serving drinks to 100+ people for 2.5 hours.  After some back and forth phone calls and emails, we found out that the plumbing crew hadn't even started the work on the bathrooms at 2pm on Tuesday afternoon, so they would just hold off on the work until the next day.  Phew!

Other than that hiccup, I think everything went really well.  The biggest "oops" on my end of things was not communicating what I had done with refreshments before I left the church to grab dinner.  I was super-duper organized - I filled three coffee percs with water (AND tested them all to make sure plugging all three in at once wouldn't pop a fuse), and adding coffee/decaf where appropriate, then left them in their respective corners, ready to be plugged in and turned on when I got back.  I was held up at dinner since I went out with Fiona and another Guild Exec member, and when I got back I noticed that some kind person has started one of the percs.  But just one of them.  Hmm.  The one that was blupping away was the one clearly labeled TEA WATER ONLY and I had left it filled with water and next to the tea supplies on the counter.  The other two percs were farther down the kitchen, where they were ready to plug into separate circuits, and these were not on.  "Curious" I thought, and then I plugged in the other two and went on my merry way.  A short while later, soon to be past-president came up to me looking flustered and asked if the coffee in the blue plastic bin was ours.  I told her it was, and said that was the extra coffee.  She told me she just dumped it in to the perc and set it off because she thought the coffee should be on by now.  My little heart sank, and I asked her which one she put coffee into.  Yes, of course it was the TEA WATER ONLY one.  Ugh.  I unplugged it as fast as I could and poured out the half-brewed coffee.  It was reassuring to note that I was clearly not the only one to brew coffee in the tea perc since the inside of it was mildly coffee-stained.  Oh, and hardly anyone drank any coffee.  

So the rest of the night was pretty uneventful, and went along without any problems.  The pieces were modeled and walked around the room while Fiona read out her comments about each one, and then the top three pieces in each category were announced.  I read out the winners and butchered my way through reading out the names of the prizes each winner got. 

Oh, and I won some things!

My prize haul!

I won a door prize!  I never win door prizes, and this one looks super cute

This is the pretty bag I won for winning FIRST PLACE for my Laminaria shawl in the "from a pattern" category

Inside the bag were more goodies!  This pretty little purple lace weight yarn will likely become some kind of lovely shawl, maybe for Skim Jim

And finally, there was a shawl pin that was just perfect for holding my WINNING SHAWL in place.  Wa-bam!



Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sunday afternoon swears

I've been in a knitting slump for the last few weeks, with no new yarn tickling my fancy, and no really great projects I'm itching to start.  I've been determined to work through the yarn I bought at the 2011 Knitters' Fair, partly because it seems silly to buy more when I was so excited about the new yarns I bought last year, and partly because I shouldn't be spending money on yarn when I have real things to pay for.  I finished off the last of the sock yarn I had stashed with my Laurel socks, and now I am officially without back-burner knitting.  I used to be a die-hard one-project-at-a-timer, but I graduated to keeping two or three on the go, and now I'm feeling a little lost.  I went to Thursday knit night this week without any real project to work on!  I spent my night swatching a swatch that got way too big for what it was, and left early because I ran out of things to do.  Here's the low down on where I stand project-wise: 

 Laurel socks: DONE.  Finished these puppies about a week ago, and I've already worn them twice.  I've never had such a lacey pair of handknit socks, and I was worried that I would feel the stitches too much, but I really like them.  Slim Jim has a deep, deep problem with handknit socks because she can feel the individual stitches on the bottoms of her feet (she has texture issues), and I must admit, I have a wee bit of this problem too.  When my feet get sweaty (get over it, everyone gets sweaty feet and I'm sure I'm not the first one to mention it), I can really feel the stitches and it starts to bother me.  This is true of any pair of handknit socks I own, BUT, the lacework on the tops of my footsies and up the leg don't bother me in the least, hurrah!

 Don't think it's this side, but I made one mistake (that I'm aware of) in the back-and-forth baby twisted stitches up the side, but other than that, they are perfection.

 It's been a rainy weekend and these socks are too cute next to my rubber boots.  Sadly, these boots are only a prop for the socks since they're a year old and have already sprouted leaks - the rubber split on the outside edge of both boots, and they're not that great at keeping my feet dry anymore.

 The fingerless mitts in my lovely Viola fingering in "Bruised Plum" are complete!  Here is my left hand next to the too-big swatch I made at knit night for the coordinating neckwarmer.  I'm still playing around with needle sizes for the nicest drape of the fabric, and any way I slice it, I don't have the correct circular needle size for the project.  A quick sidebar on my needle inventory: I have a set of interchangeable plastic needles which include every needle combination I could ever need, except the little ones.  The smallest size I have is 3.75mm, and from my swatching, I need either a 3.0mm or 2.75mm for my neckwarmer.  KnitPicks doesn't seem to have an interchangeable circular set with smaller gauge needles either - is this a thing?  I am firmly against buying a fixed circular needle in one size and length, is there such a thing as an itty bitty interchangeable needle set?
Both hands together, thanks Fuzzyhead for taking this picture!  The twists really evened out after blocking, they're so much smoother and relaxed.  The pattern called for me to soak the mitts for an hour (!), and since I regularly forget about things I've left in the sink to soak, this would have happened anyway.  Not sure if an hour of soaking is what really made the difference, but I love them!

After humming and hawing for weeks about which shawl pattern to use for my last skein of luscious Viola yarn, I had narrowed it down to Rock Island or Annis.  I liked the idea of having a challenging project on the go, so I chose Rock Island and bought the pattern last night.  I've adopted a wind-on-demand system for all of my new yarns after winding for hours when I first got my ball winder (and releasing clouds and clouds of dust and yarn fibre into the air causing me to sneeze for days), and it was a big exciting moment to unwrap the skein for the first time.  I sat down to wind with the yarn on my swift just after letting the dog outside, and when I got nerve-y about how it had been a little too long since I last saw Oscar outside and thought the gate might have been blown open, I dropped my ball winder.  Bad news bears - plastic ball winders aren't designed to stand up to repeated winding and dropping (this was not the first time I dropped it...).  The handle snapped clean off, somewhat inside the winder, making it useless and unfixable.  Ugh.  I was only about a third of the way through winding the skein and had to finish winding by hand.  As you can see from the picture below, this makes for an ugly and somewhat tightly wound little ball.  New ball winder is going on my list of things to buy with my next KnitPicks order.

The first four rows of the border edging, next to an ugly ball of yarn.  I did a garter stitch swatch first, which is nestled inside my project book.  I did my first swatch with my favourite (and only) Addi 3.75mm 32" circular fixed needles, but they were too small.  I ripped out the swatch and did it again with a 4.0mm and I was happy with the sizing and the way the fabric looked. 

 The edging pattern when it is stretched out a little bit.  I'm loving the YO loops at the top for picking up stitches later - Brooklyn Tweed gets my stamp of approval so far.

Next project on my list is a set of throw pillows for my living room, from the Winter 2011/2012 Vogue Knitting.  This will be my mindless knitting project to take wherever my knitting takes me, and I already bought the pillow forms from Ikea.  No word on colour choices yet since I will need to go yarn shopping for this one, but I'm thinking soft neutrals.  Our living room includes a purple couch, yellow-green chair with elephants, and brown, green, and blue accents.  Suggestions?

 One of the stitch patterns for the pillows, with a front and back view.

 My living room, from two different angles.  This is an old set of pictures, from when we first moved in - the rug is no more (Oscar ripped open a can of sardines in tomato sauce over it, thanks dog), and there are different accent pieces in the room now.  Some greys wouldn't be a bad idea since the curtain in the room is grey, but I would like some colour too.

Until we meet again,