June 29, 2008

We're off

Our bags are packed, our apartment looks weirdly empty and speculation has begun as to whether I can get my travel knitting past 3 countries worth of airport screeners.

We're off to Canada to see my brother married, put some finishing touches on our own wedding plans and (we hope) figure out where we're going to be for the next few years. It's going to be a busy trip.

I'll blog from the road when I can and I'm wishing everyone a wonderful summer and good knitting.

June 25, 2008

Blanket coverage

The knitting of the Greenwood Blanket is done. The ends are woven and I just need to figure out how I'm going to block the thing but I feel I can allow myself a sigh of relief.

It really wasn't that much of a slog - and it was probably good that it was on a deadline. It turns out that if you keep working on something progress will be made and it will get done. Who knew?
The knit itself wasn't really enjoyable. The patten is great but I think lace on this scale just isn't for me. The chunky yarn and big needles said "mindless knitting" to me, but of course the chart reading was anything but. In fact the part of it that I enjoyed the most was when the charted bit was over and I got to settle in last night with a DVD and the garter edging. For some reason that's the sort of knitting I associate with afghans - quick and repetitive, something that can be worked on autopilot. I've been toying with the idea of a log cabin (a la Kay and Ann) to really explore the zen of garter stitch. I should probably hold off until we have some idea where we'll be living by the time the cool weather comes again.

All that said, I'm very happy with the results and looking forward to seeing how it blocks out. I suspect that because of the relatively high synthetic content it's not going to hold as hard a block as 100% wool would, but I think a little organic ripple will be okay here. There's a pre-block sneak photo on my Ravelry, and I will post a real set of photos here sometime in July after it has been gifted.

Yesterday was my Ravel-versary. A whole year of Ravelry, how many hours logged in I wonder? It's an amazing tool though and has fundamentally changed the online knitting culture. It's had a few growing pains, which I guess was inevitable but the volume of information and the ability to connect with other knitters is so valuable.

I hope to sneak in another post or two before the weekend when we start making our way back to Canada. July is going to be a very hectic month but there will still be knitting and I hope there's opportunity to blog it as well.

mmmm, pastis

June 21, 2008


Something to distract you from the lack of finished object photos - it is hot here and we've been busy.

'Tis the flickr meme: Type the answer to each question into flickr search. Using the first page of results only choose one image. Use fd's mosaic thingy to make, well, a mosaic.

From left to right, top to bottom:

What is your first name, what is your favourite food, what high school did you attend, favourite colour, celebrity crush, favourite drink, dream vacation, favourite dessert, what do you want to be when you grow up, what do you love most in the world, what one word describes you, what is your flickr user name?

I don't usually go in much for the memes, but as a visual person this one intrigued me. The real trick in is limiting yourself to the images on the first page. Can you guess my answers?

Inspired by Kristi and others.

It's mid-summers night and I'm planning to spend part of it relaxing on the balcony with Adam, a pastis and the slurm socks. I hope yours is as pleasant.

June 19, 2008

The Knitter Alone

Himself has gone off to Britain for a few days, and though disappointed not to be accompanying him, I'm coping with my usual aplomb.

I cannot stop knitting these socks! Sometimes one yarn and one pattern converge into something truly wonderful.

If you haven't already, please take the time to read (and consider) Franklin's post from Tuesday. It is moving and important and there is nothing I can possibly add.

June 16, 2008

Everybody Loves STR

There are so many good sock yarns out there these days (trust me on this, I've tried a few) but Socks That Rock is something special. I don't know what kind of mad chemistry the ladies over at Blue Moon use, but I hope they keep doing it. Just winding the skein of STR lightweight into a ball was enchanting - so soft and smooth and evenly spun.

The diffinition in this twisted rib is wonderful. I'm being selfish and starting a pair for myself, the first in months. The colour is actually slightly more lurid in real life that it appears here (if you can believe it) and has led these to be coined the slurm socks. The nerdy runs deep at our house.

There were no organized events here for World Wide Knit in Public Day, but I did manage a little on my own.
The knitting goddess smiled on us and it was nice to have a little sunshine for knitting in the park. Unfortunately the reprive was temporary and the rain is back today.

The vanilla cardi is ready for its bath and the greenwood blanket is less that 40 pattern rows from completion. After a couple of weeks of feeling like I've been knitting and knitting with no real progress it's nice that things are finally being wrapped up.

June 13, 2008

French shops, French Monks

An old friend has had a baby since I've been in France and I thought I'd whip up a quick little sweater to gift to her next month. I've got heaps of patterns for that sort of thing and figured it would be a nice, quick, fun project for odd moments and traveling. Normally a good stash-buster but I'm still many miles from my stash and so would need to buy yarn. Not exactly a hardship.

Well shouldn't be, at any rate. But I spent much of the afternoon questing about in search of 500m of worsted weight, machine washable yarn in nice colour for a red-headed little girl and was completely thwarted. To be fair one of the shops was in the midst of a going out of business sale and was pretty picked over, and I only received actively rude/hostile service at one of the three shops I tried (that counts as a good day here). But at the end of the day I came home not just without the yarn I wanted, but completely empty handed. I miss North American yarn shops and their variety.

Like so many things about France the yarn shops here aren't bad, necessarily, just different. I know that I came here and that it's up to me to adjust. Maybe I've not done a good job of that. I also miss fish and chips (with vinegar), saltines and Starbucks (heresy, I know). I could go on, but I won't.

So the baby sweater will have to wait and I'll knit from the ever-shrinking stash on hand. I carried this Socks That Rock lightweight here because the colour reminds me of Chartreuse and we live near the Chartreuse range (as well as the monastary where the legend began). Seems appropriate to begin to knit it here.

I know falling back on socks is hardly suprising for me.

In other news the knitting on the French Vanilla cardi is done! There are a few more ends to be woven (not many) and it need a good wash and block but the finish line is in sight on this one. I've had a few preliminary try-ons and I'm pretty happy with it. They'll be a real finished object post coming next week, but here's a little sneak peek.

mmmm, garter stitch goodness

Don't forget that Saturday, June 14 is World Wide Knit in Public Day. Please do so.

June 11, 2008


It's been awhile since I've had a finished object to show you, but I hope that this is the first of several coming up in the next week or three.

Stripey Socks
Lang Jawoll Aktion 132.0206
Raveled here

No pattern for these, just my usual sock recipe on 72 stitches and worked in 3x1 rib. As mentioned previously, I experimented with fit a bit on these, making the ball of the foot slightly looser by increasing needle size. I did the legs and heels on 2.25mm and went up to a 2.5mm after the gusset decreases. I had Adam try them on before washing and there is a noticeable difference in the fit. It will take a few wearings to get a true verdict, I'm sure, but I'm happy with the results. I plan to revisit this idea soon.

The French Vanilla cardi is also very nearly finished, needing only a neckband and a little weaving. I can't believe how long it has taken me to knit this thing. In truth it hasn't been the knitting time, but the waiting for things time and the fact that it keeps getting shunted out of the top knitting-time spot. I'm still keen on the pattern and the way it's coming out, so I'm really looking forward to finishing it up and giving it a good wash and block.

Even the Greenwood is crawling towards completion, nearly through the 5th pattern repeat which means about 75% of the knitting is done. Still can't show you much though.

This all makes it sound as though I've been very productive but in truth I've been feeling scrambled and at odds a lot lately. Knitting helps, but I'm feeling the need for a new project or two ( I haven't even picked up a cable needle for months). We'll be on the road for, well, July and I'm already plotting my travel knitting.

June 8, 2008

Skirt it

The tedium of the greenwood blanket may be starting to get to me. I suspect this because in defiance of all reason I have become obsessed with the idea that I must knit a skirt. I have never knit a skirt before, never even seriously contemplated it until the blanket began to suck me down.

I know this is madness. There are many reasons why I should do no such thing. Even leaving aside the fact that I need to finish the blanket I have several other projects in the planning stages which are finish-date dependant. I'm not even sure knitted skirts are a good idea - certainly it would seem that they could get a bit stretched out in certain areas. And I'm not certain that's an area of my person that should be covered with knitted fabric. With these things in mind the whole skirt-knitting idea should have passed quickly.

Instead I logged onto Ravelry and looked at patterns. This was a mistake. I had no idea how many patterns there are for this sort of thing! Clearly the knitted skirt is a thing people actually do. Knitters never cease to amaze. This book has just been released as well, so clearly there is a bit of the fibery zeitgeist going on here.

There's this one, though perhaps the detail is too much and a worsted weight skirt seems a little heavy. There's this, which really would be a LOT of stockinette in the round (not good blog fodder). I could never in a million years get away with this, but it's a great pattern. This has potential, though in a solid colour, I think. What should have been a fleeting thought has now nestled in and started getting comfortable.

What do you think: Knit skirts, yea or nay?

June 5, 2008


I said in my last post that the pattern for the greenwood blanket was becoming intuitive, but it's not relaxing. There is some lace knitting that I find, after a while, becomes meditative in its repetition. This is not that lace.

Part of this is absolutely my own doing. When I began looking at patterns for this project (months ago, my intentions were good) I was restricting myself to those which had plain (or rest) rows that were either all knit or all purl. I have found in the past that this really makes the work go faster as well as allowing the mind (and the hands) a little rest from time to time while still adding to the piece.

I don't know how this pattern slipped past my filter, but it did. It wasn't until the day I started knitting it that I realised that the wrong side rows also require attention. Not too much, just counting. Knit so many, purl so many, and only two of the wrong side rows are the same. This shouldn't be a big deal but having to pay strict attention all of the time, rather than half of the time (right side rows) is slowing me down.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not regretting the choice of pattern in the least. It's clearly written and interesting to work and it is coming out beautifully - you'll have to take my word on that for a but longer. I'm now about half way through the knitting and I'll be glad when it's done. Normally I consider myself a process knitter but on this one it's all about the product.

The yarn too is an issue. I like the feel of it, which surprises me considering the high synthetic content, but I find it a little difficult to manoeuvre. I think it's the weight - for some reason I can't manipulate the chunky yarn as quickly as I would something finer (though admittedly the thought of knitting something this size in a DK is enough to make the blood run cold).

In future I think I'll restrict my lace knitting to worsted weight yarns or lighter. And the next time I knit a blanket of this size, I'm doing it in winter.

June 1, 2008

Lucky me

Adam has me figured out - no question. We had several hours last weekend in Lyon to wander around in the city center and do a little shopping. Adam likes to plan these things out and had googled and mapped and researched and was ready to go. He was on the hunt for board games - Europe does amazing board games and we're developing quite the collection. Clever boy that he is, he'd also printed off a list of yarn shops and after lunch our first stop was La Droguerie.

It's an amazing shop with all manner of goodies. The ribbons and trim section was literally unlike anything I'd ever seen. As you might imagine, there was also yarn. The cashmere and linens were lovely and tempting but (as usual) I ended up with some good, plain wool.

It's lovely soft and the colour (picked by Adam) is really rich. There's 300 grams of it here, I'd guess between 600 and 700 meters at a light worsted weight. Sometime in the coming months it will become a scarf.

So, with me on the slight high of stash acquisition, Adam was able to spend the next several hours wandering amongst the game shops of Lyon in peace. It was a wonderful afternoon and a I am so fortunate to be with someone who not only understands my craft but encourages it.

On Sunday afternoon we visited the Lyon Textile Museum. Lyon was once the center of the silk trade in France and still supports a significant textile industry. The museum only had a few knitted pieces (including a pair of silk stockings knit at a gauge that I truly do not care to attempt - about15sts/in) but the collection is remarkable. Weavers in particular will be interested in the completely accurate scale models of looms showing changes in fabric making technology over the centuries.

The sock visits the musee tissus,

The greenwood blanket did not make the trip to Lyon, but I've been hard at work on it since we returned and it is growing steadily. I set myself a goal number of rows per day and usually manage to achieve it. The pattern has a 36 row repeat so there's no way I'm going to memorize it, but now that I'm into the third repeat it is at least beginning to become intuitive to some degree.

I can hardly believe that it's already June (the weather certainly seems to be stuck in April) and that in less than a month we'll be making our way to Canada. Best get knitting.