> To Knit is Divine: November 2006

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Ottawa knitters

I know this is a few days late, but last Wednesday I went to the Ottawa SnB Knit Night for the first time. Who knew there were so many fun knitters in Ottawa? I had a fabulous time and will definitely be going back. Although I took my camera, I didn’t take any pictures – but there’s a picture of the group over on Sarah’s blog, so go see that.

Speaking of Sarah, although she’s not in the picture on her blog, I already have a picture of her on mine, although I didn’t know it. Remember this picture from my Yarn Harlot post?

I didn't know who she was at the time, but now I know that it was Sarah. But she doesn’t always have that look on her face!

Wednesday evening I had a great time chatting with Lynne, who convinced me to check out the Ottawa Knitting Guild meeting on Monday. So I’m going to head there tomorrow, and will then decide if I want to join the guild. After 2 years of playing Everquest and 1 year of playing World of Warcraft (which I quit playing a year ago, thus freeing up way more knitting time), the whole “joining a guild” thing makes me think more of gaming than of knitting. I wonder if this guild does raids.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

3 FOs to Show

I have three finished objects to show today – two have been done for a while, and the other is more recently completed. I was waiting for a sunny day to take nicer pictures, but seeing as though we haven’t seen the sun in weeks here in Ottawa (it’s yellow, right? kinda orangish sometimes? I forget) and it feels like grey is going to be the ambient colour for some time to come, indoor photos it is. These aren’t in the gallery yet – I’ll try to get that done in the next couple of days.

Speaking of grey, first up is a grey watchcap:

Pattern: Brioche Stitch Watchcap from Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitting Without Tears
Yarn: 2 strands of Patons Classic Wool Merino, Colour 00225 Dark Grey Mix
Needles: Knitpicks Options US 11 (8mm)

(Note: Contrary to what the picture shows, the hat is not flat on top when worn on my head. The candle in the candle-holder, while a perfectly agreeable model, does suffer from being flat on top. I do not.)

I actually finished this hat a couple of weeks ago (when it was cold, before this mild, rainy, grey spell hit) and I seriously love this hat. I love the pattern. I love knitting it. I love wearing it. I made a red one a while back for Dulaan and decided to make one for myself. Are there others in my future? You betchya! I may even make a brioche stitch scarf to match the hat.

Next up is an earflap hat that I made for Rabbitch’s Hat Challenge:

Pattern: Basic Earflap Hat
Modifications: Different gauge; added basic fair-isle pattern, added applied i-cord edging
Yarn: Mission Falls 1824 Wool, 100% merino superwash
Colours: 04 Charcoal; 12 Raisin
Needles: Knitpicks Options 4.5mm

I’ll be sending this hat off in the next day or two so it gets there before the deadline.

I really enjoyed knitting this hat, and trying out some new things. I have been wanting to do some Fair Isle, which I haven’t done in many years. I’ve been resisting it, since I have memories of hating it and being horrible at it. So I decided to try it on this, and it wasn’t hard at all! Yes, it was a very simple pattern, but I thought I would find it really slow. I’ve read all sorts of stuff about two-handed stranding and I thought that was really the way to go. But I’m so slow with my right hand, because I have trouble doing it without letting go of the needle, and constantly letting go drives me nuts. Even though I originally learned that way, I’ve been knitting continental since I was 16 (and that’s more than a few years ago!) so I’m really much more comfortable with the yarn in my left hand. Then a couple of weeks ago I read a thread on the Knitlist where someone mentioned keeping both colours in the left hand, over the same finger, and just picking the right one. I tried that, and loved it. It’s fast and easy for me!

Also on this hat I did my first ever applied i-cord. After a couple of false starts, I got the hang of it. I like how it finishes the hat.

And finally, my Tomten for Dulaan:

Pattern: Modular Tomten Jacket from Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitting Without Tears
Modifications: Stripes and a crocheted edging up the front pieces and around the hood to make ties
Yarn: Patons Classic Wool (beige, lt blue, dk blue, red)
Needles: Knitpicks Options 4mm

This is so easy to make, and so very very cute. I didn’t have enough of one colour, so I added stripes. The size of the stripes was in direct relation to the amount of each colour I had on hand. I totally eyeballed it, and hoped I wouldn’t run out of any one colour. I didn’t.

I still need to add in a zipper, and I may even line it with fleece to make it even warmer. I’m also thinking of adding the red crocheted edging around the bottom and sleeves.

I have a few other WIPs that I want to get finished up. And then I need to make more socks. I just started making socks last winter. I have 4 pairs and my partner has four pairs. Since we both so love wearing my handknit socks, and we don’t do laundry every four days, I must make more socks.

Plus, I must make some dishcloths for my mother. I’m not sure why, but I think she needs some (Hi Mom!)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

An important anniversary for me

Three years ago today, on November 11, 2003, I quit smoking. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done, and I am still incredibly proud of myself for this.

If you smoke and want to quit, or have recently quit and are struggling, do yourself a favour and go visit QuitSmokingSupport.com, and even more importantly, that site’s message board, affectionately known as Blairsville (named after the founder, Blair). There are lots of support sites out there, but you won’t find a more friendly, caring, supportive group of people anywhere. This site was my lifeline early in my quit. Go there. Your life will thank you.

Friday, November 10, 2006

A fun evening with the Yarn Harlot

Yesterday evening the Yarn Harlot herself spoke at Yarn Forward in Kanata. Now, I don't get out to the 'burbs very often (in the 6 years I've lived in Ottawa, this was my first time in Kanata), but she was worth the trip. I headed out after work, spent almost an hour on the bus (within which time I got lots of knitting done - maybe I need to move farther away from the office so I have more knitting-commute time. Hmmm, what does that say about me?) and arrived early enough to get a seat up front.

By 7pm there were knitters everywhere. even on the floor.

All knitting, laughing and having fun. Louise from Yarn Forward was the opening act. She was very excited that Stephanie was coming. We worried that she would stop breathing every time the door opened.

Then she arrived. Wearing the wedding shawl, no less.

I laughed so hard it hurt. I've read all of her books, and I always read her blog. But she's even funnier in person. Her prepared stuff is great - lots of the great stories from her books and blog, but the spontaneous stuff before and after is even funnier.

She shattered my illusion that non-knitters think that knitting is as cool as I do. But I'll recover.

After her great talk, and a few Q&As, the book-signing portion began.

I got to pose with her and the sock (Sorry for the closed-eye picture of me - this is what I look like when I can't stop laughing!)

Kit presented Stephanie with a signed copy of her new book

Natalie presented Stephanie with a gift of a magnifying glass and a bottle of conditioner. If you don't understand what that is so funny, go read the PS at the end of this post.

The magnifying glass even had a light (sorry for the blurry photo, but her expression is just too good to skip).

It was a big hit.

Mairi showed Stephanie her multicoloured braided scarf, upon which she was working each strip at the same time. Stephanie seemed impressed.

J. forgot to bring her copy of the book, so she had Stephanie sign her hand

Louise posed with the picture of her blob and the sock (congrats, Louise!)

While Stephanie was busy signing books and chatting with knitters, a few of us snuck in a fondle of the Wedding Shawl. It is truly exquisite

All in all, it was a fabulous evening. And I got to meet some very nice Ottawa knitters that I didn't know.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I laugh in the face of grafting


So today during my lunchtime knitting club at work, I took out the messy grafting job from yesterday and started again. Having finally figured out which way the yarn needed to go to graft garter stitch, it was like I was channelling Elizabeth Zimmermann herself. Without hesitation the needle went in and out of each stitch and before you knew it, I had this:

(Don't you love the circle and arrows. Very Alice's Restaurant.)

So, in way more time than it would have taken to rip out and re-knit the 36 rows of 14 stitches, the two front pieces now match, and I can move onto the hood and sleeves.

And next time I'm faced with an error that can be fixed by grafting, I'll tackle it with confidence!

Spreading the news

In case you haven't heard, the Yarn Harlot herself is coming to Ottawa on Thursday (yup, day after tomorrow). She'll be at the Yarn Forward Bank Street store for a book signing from 2-4, and then at the Kanata store for a talk/signing at 7-9. Now, I've never been much for being a star-struck groupie, but I love her blog and I love her books and I must go see her. Since those people who pay me every two weeks expect me to be in the office on Thursday afternoons, it looks like I'll be heading out to Kanata. As I am car-less, I will be heading out on the bus - unless there is anyone driving out who could give me a lift. If so, please let me know.

Any Ottawa bloggers going (Dave? Paula? Anyone else who I don't know about who reads my blog?) If so, I would love to meet you.

To graft or not to graft

I haven't had a lot of knitting-related stuff to blog about lately. I have a couple of new FOs (a hat for me and a hat for Rabbitch's Hat Challenge, but one still needs blocking and both need to be photographed, and I haven't gotten to that yet.

I still haven't been inspired about any major projects (though I have a couple of things in mind now - it's just a matter of buying the yarn), so I started on a striped Tomten sweater for Dulaan, which inadvertently gave me something to blog about.

Yesterday evening, I was happily knitting along, had the bottom part and the two top fronts finished, and was working on the top back, when I noticed this.

I had knit the second top front on the bus while chatting with someone, which apparently renders me unable to count to four.

What to do, what to do? Well, I figured I had three choices. I could...

a) ignore it
b) rip out the rows to that point and re-do
c) unravel the stitches at that point, add another two rows (to make one ridge) and graft it back together.

a) was out of the question. Not me. Couldn't do it. b) seemed like the logical choice. After all, it was only 36 rows of 14 stitches each. That wouldn't take long. But then, where would be the fun in that.

Lately, I'm really enjoying trying new things in knitting. On the hat I just finished (photo to come, I promise) I did an applied i-cord around the edges just because I had never done it before. As the kind of repair involved in c) is something I've never done before, it was clearly the right thing to do.

So I started to take it out:

and I knit the missing rows:

and then attempted to graft it back together (attempt being the operative word):

As you can see, I had limited success. I got the hang of it about halfway through the row. The other half of the row is a mess, and the whole thing is off by a stitch. But it was getting to late to rip it out and try again. So I left it like that, and I will try again today.

Will I be successful? Or will I give up and just re-knit the thing? Stay tuned.