Thursday, September 28, 2017

Shawl finished, hat started

I finished the Millers Daughter shawl, blocked it and got it around my shoulders as soon as possible.



 I love it! It’s everything I hoped: richly coloured, interestingly textured, big, and soft.
The Wollmeise Blend is utterly lovely – the colour is great, there is enough stitch definition for the lace, the garter sproingly, and it’s soft without being limp. Also, it still has that amazing Wollmeise smell.
As predicted I really, really wanted to make a Bousta Beanie out of the left overs. I  had 16 grams of the dark green, and 25 grams of the light green  and heaps of the teal, obviously. Now, that should be enough, since last time I used 10 grams of the equivalent of the dark colour, and 17 grams of the equivalent of the light. Working against me is that last time I was using Jameison and Smiths, a very light 4ply, and this time I’m using Wollmeise Blend, which is really a sport weight. Working for me is  that last time I made the body of the hat on 3.75mm needles,  instead of 3.5, and I’ve removed remove two repeats, (8 stitches) to make it a bit smaller.
For the first repeat I used 4 grams of the light green, so I *might* have enough to do the full (very long hat). The only way to tell is to keep knitting until it’s finished, or the yarn runs out.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Wednesdays are for books (Strings and METApolis)

I called this regular feature Wednesdays are for books (although I rather wish I’d stolen Running off the Reese’s title “Words for Nerds”). As well as reading books, I listen to a fair number of books. Although significantly slower, now that I am finally, if temporarily, in a job where I have to actually pay attention to what I am doing at work. No mindless data entry breaks, not work travel,  no audio books.
 


Anyway, I don’t always talk about the audiobooks I am listening too here, but I thought my current one is compelling enough to rate a mention. It’s called METAtropolis, and I got it free nearly a year ago. I didn't know John Scaliz was involved with the project, and  I was surprised when he mentioned on his blog that he had edited this collection, so I dug it out of the digital archives. The description didn't really grab me:

Welcome to a world where big cities are dying, dead - or transformed into technological megastructures. Where once-thriving suburbs are now treacherous Wilds. Where those who live for technology battle those who would die rather than embrace it. It is a world of zero-footprint cities, virtual nations, and armed camps of eco-survivalists.
Welcome to the dawn of uncivilization.
METAtropolis is an intelligent and stunning creation of five of today's cutting-edge science-fiction writers: 2008 Hugo Award winners John Scalzi and Elizabeth Bear; Campbell Award winner Jay Lake; plus fan favorites Tobias Buckell and Karl Schroeder. Together they set the ground rules and developed the parameters of this "shared universe", then wrote five original novellas - all linked, but each a separate tale.
 
But I'm loving the actual book.It very clever science fiction, thinking about different ways we could live in a post resource shortage / climate change world. I recommend this one – if you are not an audio-book person I think it would be just as good read in other formats.
 

I’m also reading a very good book, Strings, by Megan Edwards, which I received as an ARC from Net Galley. Based on the description I was a bit up in the air about requesting it, but I’m very glad I did.
 
The Merino Rose. Ted Spencer has a hard enough time believing the celebrated violin really exists. To find it sitting on his coffee table is nothing short of incredible. The stuff of legend, the exquisite Guarnerius has been missing for centuries. But even though the renowned instrument is a violin lover's dream come true, it holds only heartache for Ted. The value of the Merino Rose may be beyond measure, but he has acquired it at too high a cost. Ted found his soul mate when he met Olivia de la Vega his senior year in high school. In the school's production of Camelot, Ted was cast as Lancelot, Olivia as Guenevere. They should have spent their lives together but strings got in the way--family ties, career objectives, and the tangled web of fate. Will the Merino Rose bring the two star-crossed lovers together at last, or will their love always remain the melancholy sound of distant violins?
 
That description is quite awful, the book is not overwrought like that. It’s a good old fashioned love story, with a sympathetic main character and high quality writing.
 
It’s always a pleasure to have a great novel and a fabulous audio book on the go at the same time.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Dyed and redyed

 I had two skeins of sock yarn in my stash that I can't see getting used. One is this lightish green that I dyed with food colouring...in 2010. Apparently I was going to make a pair of socks to match a pair of shoes that are now long gone.

The other one I dyed with Ursula in 2011. I actually quite like this, but it knits up too variegated for most of what I want to knit.
So, when I realised that I only have three skeins of sock yarn left in Leon friendly colours, there was only one thing I could do: I got out the trusty dye pot, and coloured these like Leon likes. Dark, semi solids:

I'm really happy with how they came out, and I'm excited that these have moved from the bottom of the pile to the next yarns to be used.

Friday, September 22, 2017

More musings on stash

I have been tracking my stash on Ravelry and this blog since 2013, and musing and muttering about the yarn stash since long before then. I have recently become very focused on knitting down my stash, and this has led me to one point of drama that I can't resolve, which is  -when is a skein of yarn finished? The obvious answer is - when there is no more yarn left. But what about when I've finished a pair of socks and there is just a small handful of yarn left:

 

I used all three colours for blanket squares, and the remains are useless for anything except darning later on. So, can I mark it as done?But it's not done, because there is still yarn there. If it's useless, should I throw it out? But I don't throw out yarn, that feels very wrong.

This is all very weird, arbitrary and obsessy. Nothing new to see here, move right along.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Wednesdays are for books (Neanderthal Marries Human)

I'm reading the next in Penny Reid's Knitting in the City series. I'm quite conflicted about it, because it's got some major flaws, but I'm really enjoying it.
The main character Janie is just plain annoying. She is currently deliberately manufacturing stress, by planning a big wedding, because things have been too easy between her and Quinn, who she marrying. the thing is that with loads of money, and not actually caring about the wedding, where is the actual stress?
Also, it's called Knitting in the City but Janie can't actually knit, and isn't trying to learn, which is very confusing for me.
But it is really nice to have a romance book that goes beyond the characters meeting and deciding they are going to be together. To explore what happens after a couple is together is a lot of fun.

While Janie annoys me, I will certainly  keep reading this series, because I really like the ensemble, and am looking forward to reading the stories of the other characters - who do actually knit.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

A rocky start

I was so excited about starting the Miller's Daughter shawl, having been planning for it for about 3 months. Winding the beautiful Wollmeise, finishing all my other projects, and then casting on - four times. The first time was basically a gauge swatch, and I decided to go down a needle size. The second time I was doing double increases instead of triple, so the nine stitches I started with remained nine stitches. The third time I did the decrease every row, missing the instructions that some rows don't have decreases. Then I finally got through the first garter section. I guess reading the instructions properly might have helped.

I knit the first lace repeat with no major drama. Then I started the second repeat and I could not get the first row right. that took me four attempts too. So frustrating.

But then I got into the rhythm of the shawl. It really is as beautiful as I'd hoped, and, now I've got the hang of it, it's not a hard knit at all. Now all I need to worry about it how many repeats I'll get out of the yarn - the pattern is made for lace weight, and requires more yarn, so I've changed the needle size, and am carefully calculating how far this yarn will go.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The cardigan on the back of my chair (Wellworn)

In 2015 I knit an Epistrophy Cardigan.  I had a lot of trouble with  the collar, and in the end this particular yoke did not suit my shoulders very well. I also sewed the buttons on badly, and did not bother to fix them. For some reason the yarn looks old and worn and pilled, even though I barely wore it. Sometime in the last couple of years I took this cardigan to work and I wear it as an emergency layer.

I don't want to take this ratty old cardigan to my new job, with people who don't know me. I think I'll take it home, and replace another worn green cardigan with buttons that don't stay done up properly. 


The deep V of that cardigan has been leaving my chest cold this winter, and it's looking quite ratty. I think I'll take my work ratty cardigan home and fix the buttons and promote it to my home ratty cardigan, and say goodbye to my home ratty cardigan. I may have to consider knitting a new cardigan for the back of my work chair, because I don't have anything that will do. Time to get out my copy of Yokes out and start deciding.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Wednesdays are for books (A Room Of One's Own)

A Stash of One's Own was released today, and it inspired me to read Virginia Woolf's essay A Room of One's Own, since the former references the latter.

I've really only just started it, but I'm looking forward to it. I love visiting things that I've heard referenced, but never actually experienced. And this seems an appropriate time to be visiting feminist literature.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Weird socks and winning at shawls

After I finished my Bousta Beanie, I  decided to make Sunberry Socklettes, out of Jameison and Smith left over from the beanie.I knew it wouldn't be too matchy, because I finished the light grey from the hat, but I have been wondering for a while how Jameison would wear for socks. Unfortunately this pattern was weird. This the toe as written:

POINTY. NIPPLY. WIERD. I ripped it back 8 rows, and kitchenered it. When it came time to finish the second sock, I gathered the stitches, and got a better result, but I had sewn in the end of the first one and, despite looking really hard for it I couldn't find an end to unpick it.

 I reversed the direction of the stripes on the ankle, and the colours on the second heel.

I wasn't very happy with these wile was working om them, but they fit snugly, unlike many of the sneaker liners I have made recently. The Jamieson and Smith yarn feels good on the feet, and hopefully the colourwork on the heels will help them wear well.

As a bonus, Rachael came over on Friday night and I got to give her the Endless Rainbow Shawl I knit for her in person.
I'm pretty pleased with how it suits her, and I think she likes it too.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Bousta Beanie - Done

Two years ago I knit a beanie to wear when I'm riding and working out in winter. I loved it and I think it fit me perfectly at the time. But two winters of wearing it under a bike helmet and getting rained on has made this beanie just a smidge two small. When I saw the Bousta Beanie, this year's Shetland Wool week pattern, I knew I had to make it.



 I used stash Jamieson and Smith. One thing I love about  this hat is that is seems to look amazing in pretty much every colour combination.  I shortened it by one repeat - partly because i can't have it too long under a helmet, mainly because I almost ran out of the light grey background yarn - only 5 grams left.

This may be partly attributed to my discovery, when i went to change to DPNs to knit the last of the crown decreases, that I'd knit the body of the hat on 3.75mm needles, not the 3.5mm needles specified in the pattern. And many people actually go down a needle size to knit this hat.

Still it fits quite well, and will probably become smaller after a couple of years. Meanwhile, I'm considering knitting another with  the left overs of my Millers Daughter shawl - although it would probably help to knit the shawl before deciding what to do with the left over yarn from it.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Wednesdays are for books (Fieldwork)

I finished A Stash of One's Own this week. The review is here, if you would like to read it - and friend me on Goodreads, while you are there.

I'm currently reading Fieldwork by Mischa Berlinski. I bought it before I went to Thailand, as part of my "read books set where you are" program and did not get around to reading it while I was there.


I'm about half way through and I'm really glad I picked it up from the bottom the the e-pile. It's a story within a story - the main character, weirdly also called Mischa Berlinksi, moves to Thailand and hears the story of a murder. On one level this is his story, as he investigates that story, on another it is the  tale of the Walkers, a missionary family. I'm enjoying it, but I'm glad enough i didn't read it as part of my Thai reading program, since a quick Google showed me that this is a mix of fact and fiction - for example the main tribe the Dyalo, is fictional. Thailand is not a main feature of this book, just where they happen to be. Still it's always nice to pick a book fairly randomly, and find it a very interesting read.
 

Planning and preparing

I got a new job, again. In a little under two weeks I am moving to a different Department for three months. This is a big change - upgrading, a different Department and working from a different building. Hopefully this time I really won't have time to write blog posts at work. I'm going to be in a very small office, with one printer / photocopier on the floor. My reaction to this has been to panic, and print out all the patterns I might need for the next three (or probably six months).That pile there is the top nine things in my queue:

I've also laminated the important things, like the charts to the next shawl I'm knitting. And, because work is slowing down for me before I go, I've rewritten the instructions for the Mixalot socks to include the Fish Lips Kiss Heel. And then laminated them. What if my new workplace doesn't have a laminator? what if they don't have showers?  What if there is no where to leave my bike? One of these things I can control, the rest I'll have to cope with as they come up.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

A beginning, middle and end

On Saturday afternoon I finished the Endless Rainbow for Rachey - it was far from endless, and took me two not very intense knitting weeks:

I then prepared my next knitting project, a Bousta Beanie from left over Jameison and Smith. The only problem was, because of some work excitement on Friday, I completely failed to print out the pattern. Knowing I was going to a bar on Saturday night, and not knowing the lighting situation, I wanted to knit from a paper pattern:

 While considering the problem I skeined up the yarn for the Millers Daughter, which i imagine I will start some time next week:






















This all lead me to a problem: What can I knit that will work no matter the lighting, won't impact on my ability to chat and won't stop me casting on a hat tomorrow? So I pulled out my only ongoing wip - my good old sock yarn blanket, and got to it.  

I did four squares, which is probably more that I have done this year!



Friday, September 1, 2017

Get Well Soon Shawl

It's funny, I've been knitting Endless Rainbow for nearly two weeks, and I haven't really talked about it very much. It might be because this is a project with all the feels.

Here's the story: You may remember my friend Rachey from such adventures as going to Israel.  She is not very well. She is suffering from heart failure. She's actually doing quite well - driving and seeing friends and living her best life, in the situation. She said the other day that she wants to scream when people say "get well soon" to her, because, well, that's not how heart failure works, I guess. I think people say that to her because they want her to get well soon , they wish she would get well soon.

I know I can't make her better. I can only be here, and be her friend, but I can't do much else. Except knit. And, while the power of wool and silk might not make her heart better, maybe it will make her heart feel better, if just for a moment. And I've knit my thoughts and hopes and prayers into every stitch of this shawl. And maybe I'm secretly hoping she will "get well soon" even if that's not the way these things happen.