Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ball of Bliss

Isn't it beautiful?! I want this yarn so bad, I can literally feel it running through my fingers as I knit it into gorgeous socks. It's all of my favourite colours rolled into one ball of bliss.

So, of course, I'm going the extra mile and jumping through every possible hoop to get extra entries into Nicole's giveaway.

The yarn is by Luna Grey Fibre Arts and I'm almost afraid to browse that website with my credit card anywhere nearby because I *don't* need anymore yarn.

Okay, just this teal yarn. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Please feel free to cross your fingers too - I only have two hands!

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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Doing the Kitchener

I did something really silly a few nights ago. On a whim, I tried to Kitchener that sock closed. Dumb, dumb, dumb! It was late, I was tired and the light is never great in my apartment at that time of night (I still have a deep hankering for a really bright floor lamp).

I ended up tearing out several rows and reconstructing the toe of the sock. This terrified me at first, but I was able to get back to my starting point: 10 stitches on each needle. Then I left well enough alone! I was entertaining fantasies of a handy Kitchener Booth at the mall, where you can pay someone else to finish your problem socks. It felt overwhelming, but really, 10 stitches is a tiny piece of knitting-real-estate to graft. I think I can suck up and do it myself.

And I did. Last night, I spent a happy evening teaching myself Kitchener stitch by knitting up scraps time and time again until I had the hang of it. I'd watched a couple videos to get the gist, but the best tutorial, in my opinion, is the one by Theresa Vinson Stenerson on Knitty.com.

In terms of learning this, I can't emphasize enough how helpful it was to practise it several times with contrasting colours of yarn. By using a different colour for the graft, I was able to better understand how it worked and how to tighten the graft to the correct tension for my knitting. The other tip (which was offered in the Knitty article) was to leave the graft loose and tighten it up every inch or so.

It took me a few tries to get the knack, but before long I was ready to debut this new skill on Festive Red Sock #1. As you can see, it turned out great and I'm a new convert to the Kitchener!

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Friday, January 4, 2013

Black Leg Warmers are complete

I completed the black legwarmers last night, stayed up late to finish Legwarmer #2. I had these earmarked as my 'winter break project' because I wanted to finish them in time for the beginning of the winter session.

I've been wearing them all day and they're great! I spent too many hours last year searching stores for black legwarmers that look exactly like these. Easier just to knit them up myself! I can't wait to start the orange ones, which are next on my list.

The pattern is 'Classic Leg Warmers - Worsted Version' from Kate Atherley's book 'Knit Accessories'. The yarn is Berroco Vintage 'Cast Iron' (I really loved working with this yarn!). You can find the project is on my Ravelry: Black Leg Warmers.

Festive Red Sock #1 is nearly finished too. I have four rows left before the Kitchener stitch. I don't know how to do the Kitchener (doesn't is sound like a dance?) *yet*. But I just reviewed a YouTube video and it doesn't look that hard.

Dare I say, it even looks kinda fun? ;-)

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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year Knitting Corner

Happy New Year!

I had a little bit of fun for the New Year. I did a furniture shuffle!

You see, as a city-dweller, I live in a very small space. Think 'closets' or Lilliputian habitats. I only have a few pieces of furniture, which I need to maximise to make things workable in my apartment.

So here's what I did: I moved my red bedside table and placed it beside my official 'knitting chair' to create the ultimate Knitter's Nook.

I adopted this table from the loading dock, where people in my building give stuff away or, alternatively, old furniture goes to die. In previous incarnations, it had functioned as a computer cabinet and as an altar for my Buddha statue.

There were a few logistics to work out. I had to relocate a power bar (more complicated than it sounds) and move some artwork around, which incredibly, made room for *more* artwork - no mean feat when you have a dearth of wallspace.

Also: Dust bunnies. Whole warrens of them.

When I finished, the red bedside table had found a new home beside my chair, where I do most of my reading and knitting. My stash now lives in a shelf inside, along with all of my knitting supplies. Everything is organised and within easy reach. I love it!

The table provides a great place for my lamp (this was very important - I was having a 'light crisis'), a photograph of my mother (my knitting progenitor and first knitting teacher) and my new yarn bowl.

The yarn bowl is a story in itself. I didn't know that such a thing existed until I saw one at LK and fell in love with it. I didn't buy it, though. I wanted to look around bit, thinking that I shouldn't fall for the first yarn bowl I ever laid eyes on. So I did some perusing, both in-person and online and in the end, I realised that this yarn bowl was *exactly* the one I wanted, so I went ahead and bought my 'first love'.

The bowl is white stoneware (porcelain?), glazed with a cream colour with a touch of orange and texture in the outer glaze. The inner glaze is smooth and shiny. It totally works for its intended purpose too - I put yarn in the bowl and pretty much forget it's there. It slides around in there and feeds out through a little hole in the side.

And the crazy thing is, I *really* love it, much more than I would have imagined. It's much easier to knit when I have something to contain my yarn, it's beautiful and it makes my 'knitting corner' that much more cozy and inviting.

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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Eye Pillows

Tonight in class, I gave my students the eye pillows I sewed up over the break. I think they were a hit! I sure enjoyed making them.

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Hiatus my ass!

Yarn hiatus, schmarn hiatus.

My spending spree has continued! I swear, after today, though, I not spending another dime on yarn. My stash bin is bursting at the seams!
I was catsitting over the holidays and decided to take the money I earned to LK's annual Boxing Day sale.

I bought yarn for another pair of fuzzy socks, two toques (a variagated Malibrigo), legwarmers (Orange Malabrigo Rios - gorgeous yarn!) and another pair of leg warmers (Berroco Vintage, a very soft teal colour).
I also picked up two winter-themed project bags because they were so cheap ($5 each!) and a de-fuzzer because I sorely need one.

I saved a lot of money, but really, really and truly, I'm through buying yarn.

Done. No more.

I swear.

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Monday, December 24, 2012

Do Not Disturb

During the holidays, I enjoy a quaint ritual: I watch movies based on Jane Austen books. My favourite is BBC's 'Pride and Predjudice' series, but I also have 'Sense and Sensibility' and 'Persuasion'. Fittingly, as I watched, I embroidered. I'm trying to get all the embroidery done on those eye pillows so I can sew them up tomorrow.

The embroidery is taking a while, but it looks really retro and cute. I'm enjoying it too! I sewed up one of the eye pillows last night (with the embroidery) and it looks great! I'm actually floored by how cute it turned out!

I had a brief panic episode with my sewing machine yesterday. The handwheel jammed. I phoned my Sewing Guru at the shop I bought it at and she said she couldn't tell me how to fix it over the phone, but I could come in.

Then she dropped a hint about the bobbin area and caught thread. It was just enough information that I could figure it out if I was so inclined. So I took apart the bobbin area and released the caught thread and carried on. It wasn't that hard and I was so proud of myself for solving the problem.

I spoke to my mother yesterday and told her about the sewing machine. Technically, it's her Christmas gift to me and I think she's very pleased. And she offered me her Bernina Serger, said I could take it home with me the next time I visited. OMG. Bernina is the 'cadillac' of sewing machines and the sergers are expensive. I'm not sure what I would do with a serger, but I'm sure I would figure it out!

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