Sunday, July 31, 2005

I just rearranged the furniture over in my knitting gallery.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Huge score at the thrift store

This post was going to be an installment of "What's That Fibre?" but I went ahead and solved the mystery myself with a little help from Google. Would you like to play along anyway?

On my way to school this afternoon, I stopped at the V.V., as I am wont to do, and I found five skeins of ... something. Two skeins were in one bag, priced at $1.99, and three were in another, priced at $2.99. I couldn't see any labels, but one bag had already been ripped open, so I could feel the yarn. I was pretty sure it was at least partly wool. I didn't have a lighter on me, so I couldn't do the fire test. I decided to buy both bags, bring them home, and ask you for help.

It turned out that one of the skeins in the as-yet-unopened bag had a wee label taped around a few strands of the yarn. A clue! Hey, George and Bess, we can work with this!

Very interesting. Do acrylics even have dye lots? This was looking good. Enter Google, and we find Cottage Craft Fine Woollens, a company that has been going strong in the Maritimes since 1915. And we also find that, for five dollars, I'm the proud owner of 1,350 yards of light worsted wool. I see an Aran sweater in my future... (The label says it's white, but it's actually that perfect creamy Aran colour.)

p.s. Cottage Craft has some nice (and affordable) sweater kits on their site, and they offer lots of different colours of wool, too.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Outside: Chaos

Inside: Progress

Sure, we put the cats on the couch together, but they stayed. There was such a crazy storm outside earlier, but these two were warm and dry -- Bea on a couch cushion and Mooky on his blankie. I like this shot, too:

That was an instant before Bea took a swipe and Mook jumped down and ran away. Apparently she's the boss of him.

Sock Progress Report: I finished one Wildfoote sock and then finished a Silja sock from the Drawer of Languishing Knits. Then I started a new one: a plain sock for Bill from that brown and grey Fleece Artist that I bought a couple of weeks ago. I'm just going to keep rotating single socks, and eventually I'll end up with pairs. Brilliant!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

One Skein Wonder

Pattern: One Skein Wonder by Glammy Stefanie
Yarn: 1.5 balls Lily Sugar 'n Cream 100% cotton (colour: warm brown)
Needles: 5mm and 4mm

What a garment. It looks cute, it was quick to make, it auto-corrects my posture, and if need be, I could wash the dishes with it!

Friday, July 22, 2005

It's Friday already?!

Ooh, geez, where does the time go? I don't have much to say, so I'll leave you with a few Friday afternoon links.

"Knitting night for Mariners": Seattle knitters targeted in baseball marketing campaign.

"Porn fans made to do sit-ups": Oh, India, you nutty country. (You'll notice the "porn fans" were made to do ten sit-ups. That'll teach 'em!) (At least, it'll teach 'em watching porn can lead to better abs...)

"This little pig goes post modernist": Watch academics being too serious and taking all the fun out of reading!

"Grammarians can't get no satisfaction from lyrics": Oh, Neil, the songs you sang to me, the sounds you brang to me...

"Le Tigre is of an optimistic stripe": Mentioning Karl Rove in a story about Kathleen Hanna makes me feel a little uncomfortable. Enough said.

Have a great weekend! I'll be back soon with a little cotton surprise. ;)

Monday, July 18, 2005

Wanna see my big pink noodle?

Before Saturday, I had only showed it to Bill. I just wasn't quite ready to let other people see it. I was keeping it kind of private, I guess. Then, on Saturday, I exposed it in public. Lots of people wanted to have a look at it. Some people even wanted to touch it! Next thing I knew, the Yarn Harlot had photographed my big pink noodle and posted the photo on her blog. So there's no sense keeping it to myself anymore.

This is the Ruffles scarf from the Scarf Style book. (Well, what did you think it was going to be?) I'm knitting it in a silk-wool blend (Scheepjeswol Thorobred Silk Lambswool) that I thrifted last fall. I love this pattern. And I love that the corkscrew collapses into a stack of wool coins.

But I just don't see ruffles -- I see fusilli.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Hanging with the Harlot

Stephanie came to my town yesterday with her book, her friends, her charming self, and of course her travelling sock.

After pawing various skeins at the yarn shop, I actually made a purchase: one skein of Fleece Artist merino sock yarn, which is destined for a pair of socks for Billy.

(Stephanie bought a pale blue skein, but it felt a little itchy to me. Nope, I didn't want that blue at all. And I nearly got a rash just looking at that green Celestial Merino. Poor Stephanie...)

Of course, while I was out knitting, pawing yarn, and drinking beer yesterday, Bill was home with one screaming cat (Bea), one mellow cat (Mook), and several closed doors. This morning we decided to take the next step and keep all the doors open, come what may. And you know what has happened?


Not a peep from either of them. Bea just hasn't taken her eyes off the Mookster. Right now he's sleeping on our bed, and Bea is watching him sleep on our bed. I was prepared for flying fur, so this is a huge relief. She just wants to know where he is, and who can blame her? Mooky weighs a full ten pounds more than she does!

Friday, July 15, 2005

You gotta keep 'em separated

Beatrix is on the couch...

...and Mooky is in the bathroom... (What? Oh, yeah, like your cat doesn't prefer to drink water from a glass!)

...and this is how it's going to be for a while. They've both done a lot of sniffing around. Bea spent last night outside, so Mook was able to hang out all over the house. This morning Bea was upstairs and Mook was downstairs. There have been a couple of times when they've found themselves on opposite sides of the same French door, and Bea has flipped out. (A sheet has since been tacked up over the glass in that door.) We're taking it slow. It's really pretty smooth so far...

In hopes that both the Sock Muse and the Finishing Fairy will stick around for a while, I thought I'd confront the languishing socks head on. I have four pairs, each pair abandoned at a different stage of being knitted. Let's have a look and then run down the list:

1. Toe-up, ribbed Silja socks. (Status: three-quarters of the way through the first sock.) I love the look and feel of sturdy ribbed socks (these are k3, p1), but ribbing is boring. Still, I love the colours in this yarn, and it's really soft, so knowing I'll love wearing them should spur me on.

2. The scrapbuster spirals. (Status: one complete sock + one complete foot, including heel.) These are fun and colourful, so I'm not sure what happened here. Probably the fact that I'm knitting these on dpns, and using three yarns at the same time can get a little tangly. But I only have the leg to do, so no excuses here.

3. Citrus cotton socks. (Status: one complete sock + a few inches of cuff.) The only thing more boring than ribbing is plain stockinette. But I'm a little conservative with sock-knitting: I don't believe in mixing self-striping sock yarn with fancy stitches. I really wish I'd used this yarn to make two pairs of ankle socks, but I've come too far to turn back now.

4. Dad's double diamonds. (Status: a toe away from one complete sock.) Oh, the shame. These were supposed to be a Christmas present for my dad. Last Christmas. I think I need to admit that I only want to knit for myself. Even more, I need to finish these blasted socks!

I'm working on a pair of pretty comfy socks in Wildfoote right now (which means I cast on 72 sts instead of 48), and when I finish, with you as my witness, I will finish one of the pairs of languishing socks. Yes I will.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


The word alone seems insufficient. High heat and humidity warnings in Montreal this week. It isn't just hot -- it's ... hawwwt.

I'm heading home tomorrow. It's going to be a long day: eight-ish hours in the car with a cat who can't remember who the hell I am and won't know what the hell is going on. We'll arrive home in the early evening, where there will be another human he can't remember and a cat he's never met who is a spazz. Oh lordy. This whole thing is a make-stress project. I'll survive, though; I've got bagels and knitting.

(No Mook photo yet, as he's been elusive. Just imagine the biggest black cat you've ever seen, and he's a little bigger than that.)

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

On the road again

I know, I'm vacationing my whole summer away. Today I drove to Montreal, but it's not just a pleasure trip. I'm (finally) picking up our other cat, Mooky. Yes, it's time for Bea to start sharing her space, whether she likes it or not.

Mooky is the cat we had before we even went to Taiwan. He has been living with friends here in Montreal for a little over three years now. I'm going to hang out here for a few days, and then the Mook and I are going home together. Wish us luck.

By the way, I started a new sock with some Wildfoote that Cari sent me ages ago, and I'm in love with this yarn. Coming off the skein it feels a bit like string, but knitted up? Luscious, Jackson.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Blue socks for a grey day

Come closer...

Pattern: Lace Panel Socks, from Patons book Pull Up Your Socks
Yarn: Patons Kroy 4-ply (colour: Regatta)
Needles: four 2.25mm double-pointed needles
Project started: September 2003 (Yes, I said 2003.)
Project completed: today

There was an excellent downpour here this afternoon. The air even had a bit of an autumn feel to it. A very good time to be indoors, knowing that your cat is curled up on your bed, safe from the storm and oblivious to it. An especially good afternoon to make a pot of coffee and do little knitting.

The sock I finished today is a bit bigger all over than the first one, as I have become ::ahem:: a looser knitter over the past couple of years. A shameless hussy of a knitter, really. Rowrrr.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The Sock Muse and a thrift score

I am tentatively pleased to report that the Sock Muse is back! Perhaps it was from the one-week Kroy binge that became those orange socks. In any case, I'm back on the sockwagon. The Sock Muse wasn't alone, either; she brought along the Finishing Fairy. I know, it's unbelievable, but I feel a tiny urge to rescue a few things from the Drawer of Languishing Knits. How convenient, then, that my very oldest languishing project was a pair of socks! I started knitting the lace panel socks from the Pull Up Your Socks pattern booklet a loooong time ago, in Taipei. I finished one lovely sock and then, for some reason, moved on. Well, I'm back. Fortunately, I had put the finished sock, the second ball of yarn, and the dpns in an envelope together. Unfortunately, I'm knitting on dpns. I didn't want to risk a wild difference in gauge from the first sock to the second, but man, now I remember why I switched to one long circular.

I love lace socks because they are fast. They look complex, but they take no time. I started the second lace panel sock the day before yesterday, and last night I got halfway through the heel flap! Maybe knowing that I only have to make one is giving me sock-knitting superpowers of speed.

I thought a lot about my knitting while I was among knitters in NYC last weekend. Other than my brief visit a few years ago with the lovely and talented Jo and Veronik, this was the first time I'd actually physically been among knitters. I could watch how they held the yarn, I could pester them with questions like "Is that Continental?" Anyway (and I'm not sure how this is related), I'm realizing that I'm happiest knitting accessories. I've made some good sweaters, but now I have enough, really. What I really love is wearing handknitted socks and mitts. I'm scoping out lace shawl patterns at the moment, too.

Anyway, thrifting! I was reminded by Nadia's recent post on bargain yarn shopping that I scored a couple of weeks ago at la boutique V.V. Behold the two balls of Emu sock yarn (machine washable 100% wool) that together cost me $1.99:

But wait, there's more! Behold the chunky Pingouin Mohican (60% wool + acrylic/viscose) -- four 50-g balls for a mere $3.98:

Bargains make me giddy. But don't get me wrong -- full-priced, brand-new yarn is pretty good, too. I bought one lonely, gorgeous skein of Manos del Uruguay when I was in NYC:

And all of it destined to become accessories. Fact is, I'm not a picky knitter; I don't swatch, and I'll only rip to fix a major disaster. I'm anal about punctuation and grammar, but not so much with knitting. Could it be that I'm just six months late with some kind of new year's knitting resolution? Yes, I shall knit accessories!*

* Resolution subject to change without notice.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Finished socks and a free pattern

yummy orangina socks

I've put up the pattern for these socks. If you knit them and find any problems with the pattern, please let me know. Enjoy!

Friday, July 01, 2005


I got home Wednesday night -- my train was almost three hours late. Still, it wasn't a bad trip. It seemed that every passenger except me was headed to an international A.A. convention in Toronto, and they were all friendly and chatty and in a good mood.

A bit of blog housekeeping is in order: I have a few more NYC photos to show you. I had such a good trip. After the crazy-busy weekend, Monday and Tuesday were nice and slow. On Monday I met Amy! (Yes, Amy who lives two hours from me in Toronto. We met in New York City's Little Italy, of course. Nothing strange about that, nope.) She's just as warm and fun as one would expect. In fact, I think the word that best describes Amy is "animated." (Look at her gorgeous bamboo Clapotis-in-progress.)

On Tuesday night, there was knitting at Cari's house. Mindy and Cassie were there:

So was Jackie and her dog, Ty, seen gazing lovingly at Cari:

Em and Regina were there, too. It was so much fun to sit with a group of people who knit! A huge treat for me.

And now I'm home, and it's already July (Happy Canada Day!), and it's high time I got some work done. (But watch this space for a sock pattern in the next couple of days!)