Ravelry Goodies!

These are the goodies I got earlier this year for being a mod for the Bobbies, Ravelry’s unofffical annual awards:

There’s a sticker, two badges, and two lapel pins. I was so touched to get them, I wasn’t expecting anything! I’ve been meaning to photograph them for ages, I think they will be on sale soon when Ravelry’s shop gets going again.

Seriously, I’ve not updated this thing in ages. I’ve meant to, but I had laryngitis, it ate my brain, and I kept thinking I’d put off an entry until I could think once more :-). I’ve been knitting a lot though, I just put aside all my WIPs as I still feel too fuzzy brained to knit lace, colourwork or even cables. So I’ve been enjoying socks. Tonight I finished my second pair! This is my first pair:

First Socks

Aren’t they pretty? The yarn is from Noro and the colours are as beautiful as ever, but the yarn really isn’t that practical for socks – it’s got too much of a thick/thin thing going on. I used a very clever pattern, the Lifestyle Toe Up Sock Pattern, that essentially involves almost no thought whatsoever. You just cast on some stitches, increase til it’s big enough, knit til it’s long enough to fit your foot, turn the heel, knit a cuff, cast off. How easy is that? I just finished a pair tonight so I don’t have a finished object photo yet, but this is what it looked like when I’d just started:

Second Socks

These are knit in a German yarn, Trekking XXL, much more precise than the Noro – the colours aren’t as glorious, but it was a lot easier to knit & I think they will wear better. I think the pre-printed patterning on the yarn is really rather splendid, and yields a handsome sock with very little in the way of thought being required. Tomorrow I’m planning on casting a third pair using a different German yarn, Opal Rainforest, I have a pretty skein that was inspired by tropical butterflies. Yes, socks are addictive. They just feel so nice to wear, and they are satisfying to knit.

Besides knitting I’ve been gorging on SciFi- there’s been an embarrassment of riches lately with new episodes from Battlestar Galactica, Torchwood and Stargate Atlantis (OK, I’m late on watching the SGA :-) and right now I’m knitting while reading as I got my annual murder mystery treat, the new Jane Haddam. Seriously I used to read new murder mysteries all the time but publishers are hardly publishing proper mysteries any more, just those thriller or caper things and I’m not interested in mysteries unless there is an underlying logic to the book – you know, an actual mystery to solve. But for now all is good, I have good knitting, good reading & good tv!

I swear knitting helps me keep my blood pressure down. I was feeling so upset after my physio appointment today – my PT was massaging the lower inside of my right knee and it hurt so badly it was all I could do not to cry, and then he told me that for all intents and purposes I have arthritis, and I’m only 36. I am impressed I made it through a whole hour without tears. But tonight I curled up to re-watch season one of Torchwood and knit some of swatches for my Basics Basics Basics course I signed up for through the Knitting Guild. It’s a great course – all meat, no frills. I get a coursepack with assignments to knit swatches and answer questions based on them, and then I send them off to the teacher. Once I have completed the assignments to her satisfaction she will send me the next lesson. I was tempted by the Master Knitter course, but I thought I would be kind to myself and start off with the low-stress entry level course first & then move up to the big time if I’m still loving it.

I haven’t forgotten this blog, I’ve been meaning to write an entry all week, but I have been so hopelessly allergic and listless – I’ve just been throwing myself into my knitting. Besides the course I’m knitting a lot of lace at the moment. A gorgeous easy scarf, and an insanely difficult shetland lace scarf – I’m not sure how gorgeous it will be as I haven’t managed to knit enough of it yet to see the pattern :-).

I’ve been spring cleaning – no, not properly, there’s still plenty of mess around, but I’ve been over the plastic chest of drawers where I keep my yarn and I’ve removed everything I really don’t want. Some of it I inherited, some of it I bought while I was a brand new knitter and didn’t know what I like in yarn so I tried everything. I’m still totally up for trying new yarns, it’s just that I have a better idea now of what I like. Wool for example. I love wool. And wool-silk blends. And I’m starting to appreciate alpaca.

Anyway I had about half a large drawer of yarn I didn’t want and was never going to knit. There was a time when I was tempted by the idea of knitting a fun-fur cat bed, but no longer. Given that I only have two large drawers to keep my yarn in that was 25% of my storage space taken up by stuff I didn’t like very much, so I sorted it out. Some of the rejects went to the Random Acts of Kindness group on Ravelry, where people post wish lists that other people can look at and fill. Some Tofutsies sockyarn that I won in a contest and was never going to knit even though it’s very nice yarn went to someone who really wanted some Tofutsies. Some alpaca laceweight went to someone who really wanted natural fiber laceweight, etc. And then the rest I boxed up and sent off to someone who teaches in a girls juvenile detention facility where the girls whose behaviour is non-violent enough can earn community service credits by knitting and crocheting things for new girls and the homeless. I also sent her lots of knitting needles that I bought before I found out what needles I really like (Knit Picks :-) and since they have a shortage of crochet hooks (only the very best behaved girls are trusted with knitting needles) I went out today and bought a bunch of plastic crochet hooks to add to the parcel. It feels good to know that my yarn is going off somewhere where it will bring some happiness, and it feels good to look at my yarn bin and know that everything in there is something I really like.

So there I was, all thrilled that I’d finished enough knitting to get started in on my Kauni & I cast on for some Broad Street Mittens – these are fingerless gloves (the kind with sawn off fingers) with a mitten shell so you can chose whether have fingerless gloves or mittens. Perfect for walking on the beach with my camera!

I got gauge but it didn’t matter because these gloves are written for someone with far, far bigger hands than me, and after I’d spent a happy day knitting lots and lots of tiny stitches and made a cuff and a fancy thumb gusset and was ready to cast on the sawn off fingers I had to call a halt to the whole thing. Because a well-fitting glove shouldn’t be able to contain a whole banana as well as your hand:

Banana Glove

No, indeed these things were way too big to the point that it was just hopeless. Too much banana:

Kel Tormenting The Banana Glove's Yarn

In that one you can see Kel, thoughtfully stress testing my new Kauni – which I am pleased to report can withstand being chewed by a big tom cat.

Even without the banana it was just no good:

Glove Without Banana

So I frogged it and am busy trying to put together a pattern of my own from glove recipes. I think, if I’m designing it myself, I’ll try for a cabled wrist cuff. I love cables! Cables cheer everything up.

My Kauni Came!

My Kauni arrived today and it is absolutely gorgeous, lovely and sheepy and richly coloured. It is taking all the willpower I have not to cast on something immediately, but I really do need to finish a few WIPs before I get started in on something new. Here it is in all its glory, I got one big (704 yard) skein in each of two colourways, EM (reds):

Kauni Effektgarn, ER

And EG (pinks, reds, purples):

Kauni Effektgarn EG

I now really want to use it to knit myself some Broad Street Mittens to keep myself from freezing when taking photographs at the beach. I want them so much I think I will cast them on as soon as I finish the cabled mittens I am currently knitting for charity.

I think the real reason I’ve started this blog is that I need to have a new toy to cheer myself up! February was a hard month (I spent it recuperating from surgery & suffering a series of computer disasters), I’m wiped out by the heavy physiotherapy I’ve been doing, I woke up in so much pain today between my knee & my mouth ulcer that I couldn’t decide which was worse, we’ve had about 2 inches of rain already today and I spent the day re-knitting a lace scarf (a Branching Out) that met the frog pond after I tried to work on it while half-asleep without a life line. It’s for Sheila, and while I was talking to her yesterday she brought it up and sounded so completely thrilled that I was knitting her a lace scarf, there was no way I could tell her it was currently sitting in a box in yarn form. So I set to and so far I have it half done with two life lines (!) I’m running a life line after each repeat, and have two on the go at once, each repeat I just pull out the lowest life line and thread it through the top. I just have to find that second skein of oatmeal Knit Picks Elegance and I can start on the second half. It’s not what I feel like knitting but Sheila’s really looking forward to it & I am longing for my Kauni Effektgarn to arrive so I can start knitting something for myself, so it’s just as well that I am knitting this now. And then later me and my Kauni can play, guilt-free. Here’s a picture of my Branching Out before it got frogged – I’ve re-knit it so that it’s actually longer than it is here, this photo shows it about a quarter done and it’s currently just over halfway done. Each repeat is taking me between 20-30 minutes & the scarf will have about 30 repeats total. The pattern is a bit mind boggling – I read a post from the designer on Ravelry where she said she had purposely included a wide variety of increases & decreases so that it would be extra educational for us beginning lace knitters, but it is a relatively speedy knit, as it is only 25 stitches across, and very pretty to boot! And it certainly is educational – this is my third one and each time it takes me a little while to get into the rhythm of it and then I whirl happily through it.

Branching Out Pre-Frogging


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