Posted by Pirate in exercise
I’ve been riding my bikes more than I’ve been knitting. Alternating between short, hard mountain bike rides…
…and easier, long road bike rides. This is a nothing town halfway between The Plains and Middleburg, appropriately named Halfway, VA. Also appropriately, I was about halfway into my 30 mile loop when I stopped to take the picture.
This might be my new favourite picture of myself.
The weather is just too nice to stay indoors!
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Due to a number of unforeseen circumstances, I am woefully underprepared for Blog Week this year. Rather than stress myself out trying to carefully craft a week’s worth of posts with everything else that’s going on, I’m going to enjoy reading everyone else’s posts and leave as many comments as I can.
Hopefully there will be new knitting content soon.
Meanwhile, check out these cuties from MDSW!
I went this year with my Canadian friend Steph and my mom, and we had a great time. I even got to watch the herding dog demo for the first time since I’ve been going to MDSW. The weird thing is… for the first time ever, I didn’t buy anything except lunch.
Oh, yes, and I seem to have joined Instagram. :)
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Posted by Pirate in cats
I’ve spent a lot of time taking pictures of the cats over the past few years. Kipling, at least, loves the camera – Floyd, not so much. But all good things come to an end, and though it’s painful to write, this will be the final Feline Friday post.
Why? Well, Floyd was my ex’s cat from the beginning, and he wants his cat back now that he’s out of renting and into his own house. So on Sunday, Floyd will be embarking on an adventure of a trip to Colorado. He’ll be flying coach, and I hope the airline has received the rider about the red carpet and kibble he’s requested. (I admit that I feel bad for the other passengers, who will undoubtedly be serenaded for the duration of the flight.)
What about Kipling? This was a really hard decision, but he needs more time than I can give him, especially if he’d be an only cat. I’m only home and awake for about four hours of the day, and he’s more of a “constant snuggler” type. So my friend Angie offered to take him (on a trial basis, at first) into her home, where she and her family and their chill cat Oliver will be able to give Kipling the attention he needs. Fortunately, they only live about 90 minutes away, so I might still get to see him sometimes.
Without further ado, here are the final photos for Feline Friday…
Floyd, realizing that I’m pointing a camera at him:
But the couch is too comfortable for him to bother getting up and running away.
Kipling joined me in a sing-along (oh, and hey! I cut my hair really short. It’s uh… undone, here. What can I say, it was a Saturday and I wasn’t going anywhere.)
Kipling has such a zeiseh punim (sweet face).
He gets his legs all tangled up when he sleeps. Sometimes I’ll nudge him out of a twitchy dream and he’ll fall over as he tries to leap to his feet before he’s fully awake.
I’m gonna miss the little guys.
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I like to have a simple sock in progress that doesn’t take too much thought and is pretty impossible to mess up. Travel socks are great for knitting on the train or in the car on the way to ski areas, and I always have one with me just in case I get bored and need to kill time. I started this one last month on my way up to Hunter Mountain, and since taking this picture I’ve knit the heel flap and turn so it’ll be ready for my next train ride!
The yarn is Berroco Sox in the Mackintosh colourway, and I bought it last year when I went to Ottawa for Winterlude. I’m using a standard 64-stitch sock pattern that I’ve mushed together from a few other patterns: it has a 20-round cuff, a 32-row heel flap with a round heel turn that fits me well, and extra stitches picked up at the corner of the gussets to avoid the holes that often form there.
I’m not quite sure what I think of these colours together; do I like them even though they’re ugly, or do I like them because they’re ugly?
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Oooh! It’s that time of year again – time to get excited for the Sixth Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, hosted by the inestimable Eskimimi!
From Eskimimi’s blogpost:
What is Knitting and Crochet Blog Week?
Once a year knitters and crocheters that blog are invited from all over the world to take part in a community blog week in which they are presented with a number of topics to blog about over the period of seven days. The topics are very flexible and can be interpreted in many ways, so there is a good deal of variety in the posts that this inspires, which then provide wonderful reading for anyone who enjoys reading the blogs that it inspires.
I’ve had a great time taking part in Blog Week over past years (I missed 2013, unfortunately, but I made it the other four years) and reading/leaving comments for other participants. Blogging can sometimes feel rather solitary, and this is a really neat way of bringing us together for a week!
Do you plan to join in?
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Some time ago, I promised to knit a pair of armwarmers for my friend Stef. She asked for a charcoal gray yarn that would go with her office clothes, and I chose KnitPicks Andean Treasure, a 100% alpaca sportweight yarn – and of course, took the opportunity to create my own pattern while I was at it.
Unfortunately, the fuzziness of the alpaca yarn masks a lot of detail in the stitch pattern, but it’s there! I’ll be refining my notes and knitting a pair for myself in a smoother yarn that will better show the stitches, and then publishing the pattern for everyone to enjoy.
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Boy, things have been busy around here! Lots of good stuff going on. Unfortunately, that’s meant less time to play with yarn – but I found a couple of hours to crochet a new washcloth from a ball of Sugar ‘n Cream that’s been staring at me from the shelf for several months. The pink and gray combination is one of my favourites, and I know that if I use the Woven Stitch Dishcloth pattern and begin by chaining 38, I’ll get argyle.
Somewhere in the middle my tension changed, and I had to rip back a few times so that I could adjust to get the argyle pooling right. So this wasn’t quite *instant* gratification, but still, I went from a ball of yarn to having a new washcloth in only a few hours. Close enough!
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Posted by Pirate in fiber, stash
Michael’s mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and the next thing I knew there was a shared spreadsheet for us to keep a running wish list. I was having trouble thinking of things to ask for, when I had a lightbulb moment and realized that luxury spinning fibre would be the absolutely perfect present. So I asked for this braid of 50/50 yak/tussah from Greenwood Fiberworks, an Etsy shop that’s been in my favourites for a while.
The gift itself might not have been a complete surprise, but the fibre itself – ohhh, WOW. The pictures don’t do it justice. It is without a doubt the softest thing I’ve ever owned. The sheen of the silk, the soft squishiness of the yak, the way the colours fade into one another… it is simply beautiful.
The hard part will be deciding what to make with it! I want to be deliberate and spin with a project in mind, but so far I’m drawing a blank. Perhaps a cowl like this one would be nice to wear on supercold days (like today, when it’s only 20F/-7C out), or I could spin it in stripes and make long cabled armwarmers?
(Note: pictures are from Greenwood Fiberworks and were used with permission.)
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This is the official end of 2014 tallying-up post!
Incoming fibre in 2014:
19 oz Corriedale in a variety of colours, for drum carding
4 oz Bonkers Merino-Tencel, rust and cream
4 oz Coopworth gradient, greens and purples
8 oz Pucker Brush Farm BFL pencil roving, multi-coloured
4 oz gorgeously luxurious YAK AND SILK braid
Outgoing fibre in 2014:
4 oz Bonkers Merino-Tencel in blue became 350 yards of two-ply fingering weight.
12 oz Mulberry Fibers (green, pink, and greeny-blue) spun into fingering weight two-ply for a commission.
4 oz Fiber Optic gradient, chain-plied into 152 yards
8 oz Pucker Brush Farm BFL pencil roving, chain-plied into 230 yards
4 oz Sheepish Creations BFL in rainbowy colours, two-ply, 190 yards
32 oz (almost! allllmost!)
Incoming yarn in 2014:
11 balls Loops & Threads Impeccable (2112)
2 skeins Cascade 220 (440)
4 balls ONline Supersocke 6-ply (1640)
1 ball ONline Supersocke 100 Vintage (459)
1 ball ONline Supersocke 100 Paradise (459)
1 ball Patons Kroy Socks in Navy (166)
2 balls Patons Kroy Socks Stripes in Rainbow (332)
1 ball Berocco Sox (440)
4 balls Plymouth Monte Donegal (436)
1 ball Plymouth Baby Alpaca DK (125)
1 skein Dragonfly Fibers Traveller (280)
3 balls Cascade 220 superwash (660)
32 balls / 7549 yards
Outgoing yarn in 2014:
2 balls Jo Sharp Silkroad DK Tweed for my Fleeps Redux (294)
2 skeins Cascade 220 for Morry and Shirley’s Hats (440)
0.5 skein Kraemer Yarns Sterling Silk & Silver for Teri’s armwarmers (210)
2.3 balls Patons Kroy Socks for the Choppy Seas socks (387)
1 skein Dragonfly Fibers Traveller (280)
1 ball ONline Supersocke 100 for the 1986 Socks (459)
1.5 balls Elann Silken Kydd, sold on Ravelry (348)
2 skeins “Starry Night” handspun, given to Mom (256)
5 skeins KnitPicks Swish Worsted, given to Mom (550)
2.3 balls Patons Kroy Socks for Kroy Me a Rainbow socks (387)
1 ball Loops & Threads Impeccable for the Such a Square afghan (192)
20.6 balls / 3803 yards (Way more in than out, but only because I bought the afghan yarn and didn’t make the afghan!)
The Year in Crafting:
I knit three pair of socks, four hats, and two glove-like things! Not too shabby, eh? They’re all together on a 2014 Projects page. There was a lot of spinning too, and I’m pretty excited to knit some of that up next year. I also made a video about how to do yarnovers!
Probably the Acres Wild hat. The yarn called out to me so strongly, and I couldn’t resist buying it. Then I couldn’t resist finding the perfect stitch pattern to show off the variegation, and I couldn’t resist working on the project. The way it all came together at the top makes me grin. And I’m really proud of myself for knitting that bit over and over until I got it just right.
Not to mention raising over $200 for charity with sales of the pattern. That was pretty awesome, too.
Least Favourite project:
I got lucky this year and thoroughly enjoyed everything I worked on. There is no least favourite! …well, maybe the crocheted snowflake. But even that wasn’t really *so* bad.
Choppy Seas, a textured sock pattern – available for free!
Acres Wild, a hat pattern to break up pooling in variegated yarn.
Last Year’s Resolutions and Plans:
– spin more, YES!
– knit something with handspun yarn, NOPE
– design and publish two new patterns… YES!
– finish Napramach and the Stripy Socks. I… uh… don’t think I knit more than two stripes on the Stripy Socks.
– cast on for fancy cabled knee socks, NOPE.
– use up more yarn and fibre than I purchase… big fat NOPE.
– get some stock in the Etsy shop. Well, I suppose I could list some of the yarn I spun? I did spin three skeins/twelve ounces on a commission, so that does count as selling some of my handspun, doesn’t it!
Plans for 2015:
They’re just about the same! Let’s see how much I can accomplish:
– spin even more
– knit something with handspun yarn
– design and publish two new patterns
– finish Napramach and the Stripy Socks
– crochet a blanket
– cast on for fancy cabled knee socks
– use up more yarn and fibre than I purchase
– knit a sweater
– and, of course, post to the blog more regularly…
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I had the bright idea to crochet a snowflake as a Christmas gift for Michael’s mom, who is a crocheter herself and appreciates these things. So I pulled out the #10 thread and a wee steel hook, and set to work on the Savannah Snowflake, which is a free pattern available on the Snowcatcher website.
It was not an easy project. The thread was slippery, I wasn’t sure about where to place some of the stitches, and the original plan to wrap the flake around a colourful ornament was scuttled when it didn’t turn out to be large enough. But the more rounds I did, the better I felt about how it looked, especially as I worked my way around the final round to create the points of the flake.
The snowflake then took a starch bath. I mixed a quarter-cup of cornstarch into a cup and a half of cold water, and brought it up to heat on the stovetop. It didn’t take long for the mixture to become thick and translucent. When it had cooled down enough to touch, I got the flake thoroughly saturated with the goop, and then patted off the excess with paper towels before pinning it out on cardboard to dry. The next morning, it was completely solid and only a little bit stuck to the cardboard, but it came right off with some help from a kitchen spatula.
Then I completely forgot to take a photo of it before wrapping it up and giving it away. But here it is in its place of honour on the tree:
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