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I’m at a loss this morning. Over the last 23 days I have established a new routine that has been ceremoniously ended. Considering there was a huge ceremony at the start and and the end, there was nothing UN-ceremonious about this process however there is now a gap in my day that needs to be filled else-ways. I am, of course, speaking of the recently ended Winter Olympics 2014.
I have tried “Olympic” knitting in the past but generally set myself either goals that were too lofty or was not living anywhere where I could even watch the Olympics so it was difficult to get into the spirit of the process. In 2012 there was a rather large kerfuffle with the USOC and the use of the term “Ravelympics”, namely they were put out that a legion of knitters would ‘make fun of the effort that olympians put forth’ and would, in general, bring shame to the idea of and word of “Olympics”. There was a huge change on Ravelry to put the legal overkillers at rest and there was launched the renamed the “Ravelympics” as the “Ravellenic Games” and there are a barrage of teams and prizes and rules and basically a massive headache to those of us who, like me, tend to keep to the Yarn Harlots vision of The Knitting Olympics, since it was her invention. I “boycotted” those games because I was just too angry at both our litigious society and the monster that had been created in people but this year I reclaimed the Knitting Olympics as my own.
My goal was to turn this beautiful yarn:
from Fancy Image Yarns in the perfect Seahawks colourway into socks for Mike who had been cheering the ‘Hawks all season and was still charged because of the SuperBowl win.
I cast on during the opening ceremonies and cast off the second sock on the Friday before the Games ended. These socks feature the “Fish Lips Kiss Heel” which was a first for my sock knitting but certainly won’t be the last, in fact I’ve already cast on another pair to use this heel with. It fits so very well and looks beautiful on the foot, mine and Mikes! Here is a cool interview with the Sox Therapist, creator of the FLKH. If you are on Ravelry and knit socks, I HIGHLY suggest you buy this heel pattern. Best $1 I’ve EVER spent on my knitting.
Because being a monogamous knitter is so NOT in my genes, I had to get into another project too and while its not strictly “Olympic Knitting” because it was started before, it was my goal to get it done before closing ceremonies.
This was the pattern: Song of the Sea
This is the unblocked long cowl that I made from my handspun!
It is soaking in its bath of Soak right now and will be laid out to dry as soon as I finish this post here. The true joy of this project is that it was sheep fluff and worm spit when I got my hands on it and now it is a beautiful, wearable and perfectly wearable object in so many ways. I need to do more with my handspun because I always feel so accomplished when I have a finished project.
Now its over and instead of spending the morning with Mike on the couch watching CBC and the Olympics live, because the US coverage SUCKED, I have had to find some other way to begin my morning. Good thing I’ve started running again, beginning again today, because that was the perfect way to put forth my own Olympic effort. Getting up and going running in the rain and cold? Yes, it was an Olympic effort and while I’ll not be anywhere close to the 26.2mile maintained 6 minute mile that I would need to qualify myself for a Summer Games in this lifetime, I’ll keep running all the same.
Someone recently said to me, “If you think that time flies now, just wait until you have children!”. Well as there are no children, save for those borrowed from my friends and family in my future plans, I’ll just have to settle for time passing at my own appalling rate.
I have been…busy…since I last blogged in so many, many ways.
My joy of fibre continues. My spinning had been amazing and I’m working on this Into the Whirled, in Mandarin (an old club offering on BFL) and this Enchanted Knoll , in Johnny Jump-Up on Superwash Merino. More on the spinning soon because , OH BOY, do I have something to show you!!
I have been knitting, but not so much in the last week due to an unfortunate injury:
Pepper was rather put out that we left her at home when we went on our recent camping trip to Salt Creek Recreation Area and didn’t let her seen the pod of Orcas or chase chipmunks and get tangled up like Sisu did so she took out her vengeance on my leg, claws and teeth, after purring and rubbing into me 5 seconds before. I swatted at her, missed, hit the wall and heating vent and damaged my fingers badly enough for x-rays, good painkillers and at least 2 weeks in splints to protect me. Yes, they still hurt 1 week in but I finally have some mobility back though I cannot make a fist or touch those fingers to my palm without pain and actually, they won’t bend that far at all, pain or no. I am not impressed with myself.
The biggest part of what I’ve been doing? Running. Finishing the Rhody Run with my friends was the start of my real training for the Seattle 10k and my mileage has only grown from there. So much so that I have these to proudly display: Bruised toenails #1 and #2. They are my external display of my long runs and I couldn’t be happier or more proud of myself. 11 weeks ago I was dreading the idea of 8 miles whereas now, my last long run was 13 miles in 2.5hours.
Oh yeah. And I’ve been cooking and kitchen experimenting daily, bought a sewing machine and have made pj bottoms, skirts and an amazing infinity dress that I LOVE, have a successful herb garden in my strawberry pot, been reading and listening with voracity and spent far less time with my camera than I intend to do in the future. And intend to keep this blog going as I know I have missed sharing and need to write again.
Oh this project…
I bought this fiber back when I begun spinning and what a lucky purchase it was. I had seen it on Etsy and messaged the dyer to see if she would dye it for me. I learned 2 things from this exchange.
#1: You always should ask because the worst they say is no.
#2: You always should ask how much if you haven’t seen the original listing.
I was a little shocked when the bill came but chalked it up to learning and the cost of cashmere.
I would do it again instantly if I found another listing that sang to me the way this did.
This beautiful fiber came out of its packaging every few months to get pet and admired and then put away as I realised that I was no where near the spinner I needed to be to delve into this gorgeous stuff and give it its due.
After I finished Intentions, I needed a break from BFL and thought that, after all this time of spinning consistantly, it was time to get in there…and it was.
The fiber spun as from a dream and the colours were beyond my hopes.
The plying was perfect and preserved those colour repeats that I wanted to hold on to.
The knitting was more bliss as I began a simple shawl with a 3 stitch garter edge with a YO and then YOs next to the spine stitch before YO next tot the other garter edge.
It worked up beautifully.
As I got to the end of my ball, I thought that simple lace faggoting would be the perfect way to finish.
I worked until I could feel the end was nigh and began my cast off with JSSBO. I knew it would take a good deal of yarn so saved myself what I thought would be perfect.
I was close.
6 stitches close.
There was weeping and gnashing of teeth. Ask M. There was cursing too.
Lucky for me, I was binding off in the brilliant line-green section of yarn and I just happened to have some lime green yarn that is a very nearly perfect match. You can’t tell unless I point it out to you.
The blocking was magical, as it always is, and the simple lace is perfect.
I wear this scarf/shawl often and it is the project that I stick into my bag daily if I don’t wrap it around my neck before leaving. The cashmere and superwash merino couldn’t have been a more perfect blend and this project is sheer perfection in every possible way.
Good Things are happening around Chez Sisu just lately.
#1: I am nearly done with school for this term. Hoo-bloody-ray. It has been a VERY long 3 months and I’ll be so glad when this Saturday, finals day, is over.
#2: We had a lovely visit from M’s dad, M senior, and step-mother L. Joining them were M’s sister B and her kids E and S and it was a nice visit with them all for 2 days. Luck for us we had good weather so we were out and about in downtown PT for a while with them.
#3: The fur-babies are getting along famously. While we have yet to see them cuddled together on purpose, we do see this scene quite often.
Sisu is still wondering how to get Pepper out of her favourite chair however and that is a source of…confusion…for Sisu. She looks at the cat, looks at M on the couch and whines, looks back at the cat…eventually she gives up trying to stare kitty into moving and just moves to her spot on the couch with a huge sigh of resignation. Poor baby.
#4: Mum gave me an early birthday gift that arrived on Friday.
It was well packed, and I mean VERY well packed.
We even used the party platter yesterday for snacks (Perfect!) and the canape plates for chicken (just right for snacks!) We love the dishes Mums, THANK YOU!! We can’t wait for you to come and visit and try them for yourself 🙂
#5: I took Saturday evening “off” and was lazy after my Microbiology final and then Sunday I spent 4 hours weeding the property before taking a well-deserved break and setting things going for M’s Fathers Day dinner (Venison Stroganoff for dinner, strawberry shortcake with real, fresh whipped cream for dessert) and watching movies on TV (end of Cars, The Blind-Side, Prince of Persia, part of Beetlejuice (I can see why mum wouldn’t let me see it as a kid…ick!) and then switched to The Day after Tomorrow) while knitting on blanket squares. You can see the knitting in the above photo if you’re interested.
What with work and school, there really hasn’t been time for anything else and knitting and spinning have gone by the wayside for a while now. With the last month I have been tired and stressed and just plain worn-out all the time and I am so grateful that there is a light at the end of…well, this week. I’m looking forward to being able to re-center myself with fiber and finally finish my Intentions project, getting back out on the road for running and just being able to take some time for myself to breath and not feel pressure. I think that July will be about reclaimation: Reclaiming the property from weeds regularly, Reclaiming our Saturday ritual of Farmers Marketing, Reclaim my knitting and spinning and running time and friend time from class work…just reclaiming myself from other things.
You know…there was something else I was going to tell you about…Now what was it…
#6: In the morning of a random Tuesday, in the quietness that we both cherish, M asked me to wear something for him and I agreed, knowing full well that it would change our life forever.
A Good Thing indeed.
He was part of my Easter box that my mum and sister sent to me and I just love him. Very cute and makes me smile every time I use him.
In other news, that tea duckie is in a travel mug because I have to go to a A&P2 lab in a few minutes but I thought I’d leave you with a few photos of what we’ve been up to:
Skimming stone and thinking better of fetching them…
Finding inspiration everywhere, including bathroom stalls…
Posing for family pictures…
Trying not to get pounced on but loving to play together…
Working on knitting super secret projects being held for ransom…
And enjoying life in general, especially these past few beautiful days! Running in the sun is fun and I’ve got 8 days until my first race of the season. I’ve got quite the container garden going now, complete with tomatoes and basil. If only mozzarella grew in pots we’d be totally set! School is going great and we’re over half done, 2/3rds actually!
Lots going on and lots more to do today. Enjoy it!
So, I just realised that I have this…thing…for project bags.
It all started before I even had a project to put in a project bag. All I had was this strip of beautiful Russian-themed fabric and no possible way to turn it into something wearable as it was 9.5″ wide and 16″ long. I DID have a plain red canvas-like material that I could pair with it but still, what could I make from just those things? Thats when I fell back on my old stand-by. A bag.
It is simple, not entirely neat and one of the most used things that I own. Those handles are bias tape. I knew that I wanted handles but didn’t know how to use the buttonhole attachment of the sewing machine I was using at the time so just cut 4 little slits into the canvas side and used a safety pin to slide the bias tape between the layers and Voila! I had handles to my bag. A few weeks later I was fishing and needed a clip to keep the bag in place inside my overalls and the salmon tag pin you see there was added. It came in quite useful as you can see. Look to my right shoulder strap (left side in the photo).See the clip and the handle? Thats me working on my Mums Rose Trellis Lace socks (in Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in the Rose Trellis colourway) while fishing up past Icy Point. I would take out the socks between running gear and cleaning salmon and got them done in record time because my awesome little bag kept everything clean and to hand. It is still one of my go-to bags when I am packing socks for a trip, especially if I am needing that clip!
But other bags have come into my life too and I love them with a passion because they are all very cool and wonderful to me.First up is the hedgehog bag you can see on the left. This was bag #2 and BrightonWoman made that for me from the leftovers from my “hug”(lap blanket) that she made for me post big breakup. I use that bag for holding the sweater that I am working on now or for whichever of my projects is the largest. It can hold a good deal, the whole back of a sweater plus part of a front AND an extra skein of yarn, and that means that it is my perfect “big” project bag. This bag usually stays at home and makes the transition from knitting corner to couch for the most part.
Bag #3 is the lemon bag in the middle. I bought that from The Loopy Ewe and it is a Three Bags Full bag (etsy shop here). So bright and sunny, I rarely find myself ‘searching’ for this bag and being so large, it generally holds M’s Socks-In-Progress…both of them!
Bag #4 is the hedgehog bag on the left and is a JessaLu bag that I wanted the first time I saw it. She has an Etsy shop and an Artfire one (which is where I got that bag) and was a joy to buy from. I absolutely LOVE her fabric choices and am very excited to see her upcoming Doctor Who update to both shops. Again, this bag usually holds socks…usually mine or my mothers but most recently it was baby socks and baby blanket squares for my sisters newest bundle of joy, RGB. Since my good friend A is expecting her 3rd in December, it very well may hold baby things again soon!
Which brings us to this week. No, I do not have enough project bags because there are still projects that are naked and exposed and sans project bags. Which is why I bought this one, again from The Loopy Ewe and again, a Three Bags Full bag.
Its Sushi!!! A gorgeous green with so many beautiful rolls that it makes me hungry just looking at it. When I saw it during my weekly scan of TLE, I knew that it had to come to Washington and live with me. M smiled when he saw it and since I know that he shares my love of the raw fish, I knew he would like this bag too. Speaking of M, one of the up sides to having this plethora of project bags is ease on him. He knows if I ask for “My knitting”, he can grab ANY of the bags and I will be happy. If I ask for a specific bag, he can easily grab that one, Hedgehogs, Lemons, Russian or now, Sushi, and I will have my specific project. Win-Win, especially since there are handknit socks involved!
Instead of launching into a mass of reasons why I haven’t posted, what has been going on with me and my general life status; it should suffice to say that I have been floundering in an ocean of depression, have taken many mouthfuls of brackish water, dodged the flotsam and jetsam of plans, saved all the wool, planted a long awaited garden and finally, finally learnt to swim again.
A trio of socks; blue for me, boy colours for the boy.
A shawl. More specifically The Jubilee Year Shawl
…which I am calling “Happiness” both because it is making me very happy to use this skein of Noro Kureyon Sock yarn (188) which I have had in my stash since 2008 or so and happy because I finally feel like I have found the true calling for this yarn. It has tried to be socks and mittens and a hat and none of those things looked…right. And then I found this pattern purely by chance and it is perfect.
What you aren’t seeing in this wool section is something that is done and gone and I, being the forgetful Auntie that I am, forgot to take photos of said items first. I made my new nephew (RGB) 12 single socks from KP’s Imagination and then knit him blanket squared with the remaining 22g of the skein. Actually, what I did was a bit more complicated than that…I wound each 50g skein into a ball, knit a single baby sock using my standard baby sock pattern, weighed the remaining and split it into 2 22g balls. I then used 22g to knit RGB’s baby blanket. What you see here is the second 22g knit into mitered squares with a bundle left over on top. As I finish this project, I’ll give you more details on it but the general plan is that this will be joined by 12 more colours (24 total), yes, I know you only see 7 here but the other yarn isn’t squared yet, and become a blanket and more baby socks.
Also in Wool is the beautiful Intentions yarn that I have been spinning and thinking through. This project became so much more than I thought it would and while life got in the way and derailed my plans for doing the project in a year, I am so happy to still be working through it.
This is Patience and is perfect for the lesson that I am learning. Thats part of what makes me love my Intentions project. Though it is nothing like I planned, it is exactly what I needed and has been fitting into my life exactly as I needed it.
6 years ago, I made a plan. I wanted a herb garden in a strawberry pot. I knew I wanted rosemary on top, cilantro (coriander), dill, thyme, marjoram, oregano, chives and sage, all the herbs I love to use, in the pockets. The only problem was that I was living remotely and the getting of said pot, herbs and soil was an insurmountable challenge due to cost and logistics. Since then I haven’t lived long enough in a big enough town to have my dreamed of herb garden.
I can not tell you how happy it makes me to have this wee garden. Something that I have wanted for ages is finally mine and just the thought of it makes me smile. And salivate because I can’t wait to use the herbs along the way.
In other parts of life, I have gotten back into running almost by force. I say “force” but what I really mean is that I registered for the Rhody run (12k) on May 20th, the Seattle 10k at the end of August (again) AND the Seattle Half Marathon the Sunday after Thanksgiving and if I don’t “get back into running” then the registration monies go down the toilet and I embarrass myself when I try to complete any or all of these events. So running it is and I feel great doing it. Makes me wonder why I was foolish to ever let myself stop.
In all parts of life…I feel like I am…getting there.
Emotionally. Physically. Mentally.
I’m not quite sure where “there” is but, as always,
“It is the Journey, Not the Destination”.
Did you know that there are only 24 more shopping days until Christmas? 20 if you are Hanukkah shopping. Didja? Didja? Didja?
Oh yes, it is that time of year again. What am I saying? Its been “that time of year” since October but the insanity and pressure of “Holiday Shopping” has and will only get worse. I’ve been grateful for the past 3 years NOT to have cable service because I was spared the incessant jingles, scare tactics and pressure to buy, Buy, BUY! However, I am noticing something as a childless adult…I’m not feeling the pressure, only the disgust at our completely commercialised western culture.
Want her love? Remember what kiss begins with or what store to shop in to make the burly football player smile.
Want to make him cheer? Buy tools or a red metal toolbox.
Want the kids to be happy? Buy one of a zillion and a half toys. Better yet, buy lots.
Despite the ABC World News push to have a “Made in America” holiday, ITS STILL ABOUT BUYING! Now, I am in favor of creating jobs as much as the next person but really, I would rather save my money entirely, have a handmade holiday or give a family gift.
Here is my plan for a revolutionary holiday:
A) If you feel like you MUST shop:
#1: Before you shop for anything, purge your closets. Go thru and clean out the clothes you don’t wear, the toys your kids don’t play with and the ‘things’ that you have around that are just gathering dust. Give away to your local charity shop.
#2: Make a list of your NEEDS. Do you/your partner/the kids in your life NEED a new winter coat? How about boots? How about underwear or socks? How about diapers? How about crayons or paper? Parents, be honest, wouldn’t you rather your kid have new socks or snow boots that they can actually USE or a beeping, flashing, noisy toy that will drive you batty and run on hellishly expensive batteries? I thought so.
#3: Make a list of your WANTS. For me, I REALLY WANT a kitchen aid mixer, like really, really badly. Mike really, really wants an Xbox with Kinect. Keep it simple and keep it to the “Really, Really” wants.
#4: Make a list of your likes. Do you like yarn, non-food or floral scents and the colour blue and red? How about yellows and greens, fruity smells and hair products? War games? Chocolate? Car toys? Bicycles? Horses? BE SPECIFIC!!! You can also make a very specific dislikes list but its easier to shop for someone when you know what they really like.
#5: Share those lists with your family.
#6: Buy accordingly. Needs come first, then wants. Consider buying only gifts that can be for the whole family instead of person specific. The mixer will provide hours of kitchen fun and the Xbox hours of playing together. We both win.
#7: Go volunteer for at least 1 hour for every ‘thing’ you buy. Trust me, if you have time to battle the stores or search the ‘net for the best deals, you have time to help someone in need.
B) If you feel crafty:
#1: Make nearly identical gifts for everyone. I still think that the best year of my giving was when I made stained glass angels for everyone. Using scraps and leftovers from my Mums projects, I changed the colour of the dresses, made some look left, others look right but made a bunch for family and friends.
#2 Knit/Make slippers. Everyone needs slippers and wearing them in the house cuts down on the vacuuming. Win-Win for everyone!
#3 Recycle containers and fill with other goodies. I know I plan to make snowmen like Kristy did and fill them with mint hot chocolate or russian tea.
#4 Should time run out, give IOU’s! Adults understand this more than kids so try your best to complete the kids gifts first.
#1: Give of your time and skills. Not only am I advocating volunteering but also giving of yourself to your family. Offer to babysit the niece/nephew(s) while the parents go out. Offer to do the laundry while your partner has some alone time. Offer to make their favourite snack during Sunday football. Give coupons and follow thru and all will be happy.
#2: Give to your favourite charity. Heifer International is mine and, like always, I am giving a Knitters Gift Basket to a needy family in honour of my Nana. What better way to share the holiday season than giving to people who are in true need?
D) Create traditions NOT around gifts.
Mike and I are really looking forward to having a feast like we did last year:
What are your non-commercial holiday ideas?
This is my first ball. Now, as I started knitting these socks, I KNEW that there would be a yardage issue. KNEW IT. So, since there were not 2 skeins at the LYS that I visited, I bought the single skein, came home and promptly jumped on Ravelry to search for a second. Yes, the dye lots would be different but for two different socks, I wasn’t all that fussed and I knew that M wouldn’t be either. He has a second sock that is 1/3 another colourway for heavens sake…he loves them and its not a big deal.
I started my first sock toe-up so if I couldn’t find a second skein at the very least I would have two socks with matching toes and then switch at the same place for heels and legs. Brilliant plan.
However, I got very lucky right off the bat and the lovely Sarah came to my rescue and she sent me her leftover skein from a hat that she had crocheted in 2009 and it arrived yesterday and I squeed and M cheered (he was happy not to have oddly striping socks again) and we opened the box.
Look! Isn’t it lovely? Isn’t it perfect? Oh, I am so glad to have Ravelry and that Sarah was willing to part with her other skein!
But…take another look at those photos…do you see it?
Here, I’ll put them side by side:
See it now?
Yup, they are VERY different. The new skein is much more green than the first and no where near the brown and seems to have much longer colour repeats.
Is this a problem? Not at all. We knew that there would be a very good chance that the colours would be slightly different since, of course, I was buying a skein of yarn circa 2009 to match my skein circa 2011 and since they would be making two different socks and since fraternal sock twins are embraced in this house, both M and I are happy, very happy, to have that second skein.
Want to know the REALLY interesting part though? Take a look at the ball bands, particularly the part about colourway and dye lots:
2009 then 2011
Yup. Identical. Colour 1580, Dyelot* 38362
Curiouser and Curiouser.
*Interesting aside…”Parti” in Swedish = “Party” in English and I get this incredible visual of the hanks of yarn just having a party in their dye bath or the dyers just having the best time at work with music and dancing at the dye table. Run along now and leave me to my delusions.
This whole ‘work hours warp’ is still getting the best of me. I work the evening shift, from 2-10pm and that means that 2 main things are out of whack for me.
#1: “Lunch is Dinner”
Since I only get half hour ‘lunch’ break while working and that generally comes between 4 and 6pm, if I get it at all, I don’t really have time to have a real meal. One of the most important parts of my day is having a meal with M, knowing that I’ve made this lovely, healthy, nutritious meal for us…so that means that I make our big meal lunch. Since its more healthy to have a large meal earlier in the day than later in the evening, this is a good thing.
#2: Time in general
General Poll: Who goes to bed within an hour of getting off of work? Yeah, me neither.
I get done with work and get home between 1030 and 11pm and then spend the next 2-3 hours decompressing and relaxing and chatting with M. That means that I don’t get to bed before midnight any night of the week because I have to TRY to keep some semblance of routine in my scheduled life. I also am a morning person so that means, being sick with a cold notwithstanding, I am fully awake and up by 830am. That would be the time for coffee and BBC world news podcast. And food needs to be on the table by 1230 so I can relax and eat and get out the door by 140 so I am planning a full dinner at the midnight previous and getting things moving by 10am, a scant 2-3 hours after getting up. Somewhere in there I also try to get in 30 minutes of running (though not as faithfully as I intend to), knitting on various projects and, oh yes, spinning time too. The best time for the knitting is in the mornings and the spinning is the evenings and in between cooking and laundry and cleaning, it all gets worked on. Except for the blog.
But here is a photo list of what I’m working on!
Socks for M. In Boy Colours. In Aran weight yarn. On 3’s. Because a knitters man always has substantially bigger feet than the knitter herself.
This first sock is toe up and the plan is for me to knit until there is 50g of yarn left and then do the second. Hopefully this works as a plan but I have a call out on Ravelry for a second skein of this colourway (Jarbo Garn Raggi in 1580) so hopefully the de-stasher will get back to me soon! In the meantime though, I bought some more boy colours too:
A vest for myself, which, despite making calculations to get the fit right, I totally made it too big. So it may be a Christmas gift so I shan’t give more detailed photos than this.
I’m liking this second attempt much more than the first and I’m actually using two solid yarns and the pattern as written (to a point) this time. Not that those are connected at all. Ahem.
My Rimefrost socks using Fiesta Baby Boom in Arctic. Yes, I know they haven’t gotten very far yet but I can only do one charted knitting pattern at a time without madness ensuing and I need warm hands more than new socks so the mittens come first and the socks wait their turn. Not too long if last years attempt at the Nanny Mittens are anything to go by!
There also has been some spinning going on and I do promise that I will update you as to my progress thru the Intentions line. I bought some beautiful merino, alpaca, silk/bamboo blend on Friday that is singing its sirens song (along with much more of my other stash) and I want to move into a new project soon but I am dedicated to my Intentions and give that my focus.
I’m on to ‘Joy’ now and am remembering the joy that spinning gives me and being mindful of all the joy I have in my life.
I know that I am blessed and hope you feel the same way today and everyday.