Copying the Knitting Kninja, I made my first Flickr mosaic to play The Game:

(I can never get “Option 1” to work with WordPress, so to see all the tags and stuff, I’m afraid you’ll have to click yourself through to my photostream)

Created with fd’s Flickr Toys.

The concept:

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker).

The Questions:

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One word to describe you
12. Your Flickr name

It’s fun game if you have a nice long lazy stretch of time to get distracted by all the pretty pretty photos. Let’s see yours!


What The Lady wants, The Lady gets…

“The rules of the game get posted at the beginning. Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.”

Sadly, although this meme is not necessarily boring in and of itself, most of my answers are. So I’m going to throw in a few pictures of the results of my acid dyeing adventure down at Lettuce Knit last Friday to try and spice it up a bit, not least because I suffered from the dreaded camnesia during the fun bits, and only have pics of the end result! Can two slightly boring posts come together to make one reasonably interesting post? We’ll see!

1) 10 years ago, I was:

finishing up Grade 12 in high school, which isn’t terribly exciting as back in the day, we went up to OAC (fka Grade 13), so I still had a year to go. Actually, now that I think of it, Grade 12 was a pretty eventful year for me, for kind of strange reasons. A friend of mine started dating this guy, and although the relationship didn’t last, the “merger” of our friendship groups did. At least for me. I rarely see those girlfriends anymore, but I hang out/hear from those “other” friends quite regularly. One of them even came with me to Glasgow where we shared a flat for a year and ate a lot of toast and soup. Pretty awesome.

This is merino/cashmere/nylon roving, dyed with acid dye at Lettuce Knit’s dyeing studio. The pink is 90% red/10% blue, and the green is (I think) 80% yellow and 20% blue. The brown is a mixture of the pink and the green, and the little spots of violet are probably from Brooke’s Aubergine Dream leaking over onto my fibre! 😛 I meant to dye my roving with really dark, saturated colours, but since I usually added vinegar to the fibre bath, I totally forgot to add it to the dye solution! I realized this most of the way through the steaming process, so Kim (aka indigodragonfly) and I had to pull it out of the pot and stick it in a warm vinegar bath. Since we were already way overtime, it didn’t get to stay in quite as long as it might have needed for all the dye to exhaust, but I’m perfectly satisfied with how it turned out. It’s a lot more…erm…pink than I expected, tho…I wish the green had been darker and more abundant. Ah well, it’s still pretty. To continue my Unoriginal Colourway Name trend, I have christened this roving Rose Garden. A little more rose than garden, perhaps, but here we are.

2) 5 things on my to-do list for today:

It’s almost bedtime, so I’ll put my To Do list for tomorrow:

Drive Grant to work at 6am (god, we need our own car!)
Write copyediting test
Put first coat of paint on mom’s front room
Spin up the rest of the Rose Garden fibre (and find a good lacy pattern for it!)
Buy a dvd for my parents

3) Snacks I enjoy:

I have recently discovered a deep and abiding love of Pocky, particularly “Men’s” Pocky (bittersweet chocolate). Other things I’ve thought about eating today include Vegetable Thins, strawberries, and Cherry Blasters. I hated salsa as a kid, but now I can’t get enough (especially with multigrain Tostitos!), although pretzels have always been there fore me. Damnit, I knew I shouldn’t have started this list just before dinner!! mmm…ketchup chips…

Here’s some of the fibre, all drafted out and ready to be spun into singles. This picture makes some of the dye look peachy, but there’s no peach in it at all, just paler pinks and browns.

4) Things I would do if I were a billionaire:

I could write a really big complicated practical answer, full of plans involving living off interest percentages and real estate investments, but I think what the question is asking is what one would do if given total financial freedom, so I’ll answer it that way.

I’d probably buy a big, open, light-filled studio apartment downtown somewhere where I could keep my (imaginary) Majacraft Rose, (imaginary) pottery wheel (and pottery accoutrements), and my easel and paints. Ooh, I’d probably splash out on oil paints, too (although I do love my pretty acrylics). Oh, and I’d have to have room for a little dyeing studio, and a sewing corner. The place would be totally trashed, but it’d be my heaven.

And we’d have a cottage on a quiet, sparsely-populated lake somewhere, where I’d never have to worry about people spying on me when I went down for my early-morning (/after-dinner/before bedtime) skinny dip!

Hmm, not much charitable work there…I’d have to think about that part some more. Maybe establish and donate another facility like the Cedar Ridge Creative Centre? I loved that place when I went to summer camp there as a kid. God, I just don’t know what I’d do! There’d definitely be some Food Bank donations…probably donations to women’s shelters, too…I really have no idea. And it’s kind of stressing me out to think of it: a billion dollars! And I have to decide what to do with it, and who gets some, and who doesn’t! I’m starting to see why so many rich people are so unhappy…

I’d love the things I listed above, but honestly, I’m very happy as I am. A hell of a lot more privileged than most people on this earth, I know, but what I’ve got is honest, and more than enough. I don’t think I’d buy more yarn, either; I’m serious when I say that having too much of it around weighs on my creative conscience!

5) Places I have lived:

Scarborough, Ontario
Kingston, Ontario
Glasgow, Scotland
Ottawa, Ontario
Melbourne, Australia

6) Jobs I have had:

My dad started working from home as a consultant when I was about 15, and pretty much all of my working experience has been helping him out. Every year I got a little more responsibility, and for the last few years I have been his full-on assistant, organizing the files and putting together submissions to the government etc etc. It’s not necessarily the work I would choose to do, but it’s hard for me to quit since I know how disorganized it gets when I’m not around (despite the other help he’s had in) and how much he needs me. So that’s pretty much my job history, except for a few weeks in Glasgow when I worked at a photo developing shop, which was pretty fun until my last day when I accidentally lost track of a couple of rolls of film from two big (separate) orders (the fact it was my last day was completely separate from the mix-up; it wasn’t my last day because I was fired or anything! Although that would make a funnier story…)

Here’s my first skein of singles, all spun up and washed. I had at first intended to ply the yarn, but I’m afraid it might muddy the colours, so I’m going to keep it as a single. It’s fairly even, ranging between fingering and sport weight, and I figure I’ll have about 500-600 yards when it’s all spun and done. Now I need to find a lace pattern that won’t fight with either the colours or the thicker-and-thinner nature of the yarn (both of which I adore!) I’m thinking either a pretty stole or a small baby blanket. Any suggestions?

7) Bloggers I am tagging who I will enjoy getting to know better:

The toughest question, by far. Let’s see…I’ll tag my LK dyeing girls (except Indigodragonfly, since like most folk I read, she’s already been tagged):


Little Knittin Kitten

aaaaaaand…you. You’re it!! Three of you. There. Five. Done and done.

So, ever since her fussy cousin, the groundhog, saw his shadow back in February, Betty Lou the Woodchuck has been impatiently waiting for spring. Coming all the way from Massachusetts up to snowy Ontario didn’t help matters much, I am sad to report. Since her arrival in Toronto last week, Betty Lou has been looking out the window impatiently, waiting for a nice day to go outside and explore her new home.

Finally deciding that it wasn’t going to get much better than today, Betty Lou gave me the nod. She took a deep breath, and we went out into the backyard.

“I guess it’s not so bad up here, near the house” she said cautiously. “I mean, it’s nothing great, but it could be worse. Look over there!”

“Where?” I asked, squinting down the lawn. I’d left my glasses inside, and I was afraid that if I went back in for them, Betty Lou would chicken out altogether. We were all going a bit stir-crazy as it was, and her constant whinging about how much sooner spring came laaaaaaaast year was getting on my nerves a bit.

“Down there,” she gestured impatiently. Exasperated, she hopped down and scampered to the end of the garden.

“See?” she asked triumphantly. “There’s still some bloody snow down here!”

“Oh, don’t be such a n00b,” scoffed Andre from the rhododendrons.

“You’re embarrassing me. She’ll think we have no manners if you carry on like this!”

Betty Lou, abashed, picked her way carefully over to where Andre was, gingerly avoiding the little puddles of snow. “I guess it’s kind of fun,” she ventured, “to be outside in the warm sun and have snow around at the same time.”

“That’s the spirit!” Andre returned wryly, rolling his eyes slightly.

Betty Lou paused, and then, hesitating only a little…

…threw the fingerguns of woodchuck approval!

Andre grinned for real this time. “We’re going to have some good times this summer, Butty Poo! C’mere and let’s get a nice group shot to send to the folks back home. Good times, indeed!”

Although she looked a bit puzzled (I’m not sure she knew whether to try and nip the “Butty Poo” thing in the bud, or just to ignore it and hope it went away on its own), she edged over to the MiniMantis and smiled nicely.

“Say cheese!” I told them, and snapped the picture.

“Hey,” I said, lowering the camera, “Are you guys related, by any chance?”

“As if!” the woodchuck immediately scoffed. “Arthropoda and chordata?? I mean, no offence, Andre, but the idea of a praying mantis and a woodchuck getting it on is just…kind of gross. I mean, maybe things are different in the human world, but it is just not on. At least, not in MY family.” Her disgust was evident.

“Haha, yeah, gross,” echoed Andre a bit lamely…

…but I noticed he wouldn’t look me right in the eye as he said it.

Oh, Andre!

Betty Lou hoofed it back inside shortly after this last picture was taken, but I stayed out a few more minutes. In a happy accident, I came across Kate Gilbert’s very cute short-sleeved pullover pattern Camellia a few days ago, and since I am of course not using the recommended yarn (or even yarn in a similar weight…sometimes I think I am a knitting masochist) I have been happily knitting and re-knitting sleeves as gauge swatches, just to see what I like best.

The smaller ones are a bit cuter, but I think I actually prefer the gargantuan one on the right; it comes down about as far as a girlie tshirt’s sleeves, and flutters tolerably. Like many girls with bigger boobs, I’ve got the arms to match, so the adorable little sleeves in the pattern act a bit more as showcase frames: “Heeeeeeeeeeeeeere’s the ARMFAT!!” Ah well. We’ll see when it comes to the sewing up part which one I like best. If I ever get to it! After three days of casting on and knitting a bit and ripping back and redoing math and squinting, I think I’ve finally cast on a hem I’m happy with (in the round, of course) and am about an inch into the endless stockinette trek to the boobs, where some short-rows should make things (temporarily) a bit more exciting.

I toyed with the idea of changing the neckline a bit, but in the end I think I really quite like it, and will probably leave it as it is. Imagine, me not altering anything substantial in a pattern! Kate Gilbert, you may have bested me…!

Oh, and the yarn? It’s the hundred dollars I spent in Lettuce Yarn during the Yarn Harlot’s Sock Scavenger Hunt last week: Dream In Color Smooshy sock yarn in Blue Lagoon. I’ve got three skeins, which I think will be enough for this project. DiC yarn has FANTASTIC yardage, and is totally worth every cent (imo). The only downside to this yarn (besides how very thin it is, which will be great in a FO but means lots and lots and lots of little teensy titchy little stitches) is that it is making my hands blue. After a couple of hours of knitting with the stuff, my hands look a bit like I’ve been strangling a Smurf! Luckily, rinsing the yarn seems to get rid of most of the excess dye, yet the colour of the rinsed and blocked swatches are just as vivid and breathtaking as it was in the skeins that seduced me at LK (I’d been doing SO SO well up until that point!!)

It’s much more ‘solid’ than the Dusky Aurora, which I appreciate. I am such a sucker for semisolids/varigates in the skein, although I find that I often don’t like them so much when I’m doing the knitting up. This is something I’ve been struggling with for awhile now, and I think the answer is to get more into colourwork. If I am gobsmacked by a sock yarn’s colourway, it would probably be more useful for me to translate that colourway into a group of yarns, and knit something using those colours. Especially since I am slowly coming to the realization that I am not a sock knitter or knitted sock wearer, even though I am an avid coveter/collector of sock yarns! I will have to think about this some more…

If a Toronto-wide Sock Scavenger Hunt and Yarn Harlot book launch can’t break me out of my blogging funk, what can?? What can, indeed.

So, yesterday was April Fools’ Day here in Toronto (and, I imagine, in the rest of the world, tho I have only your word on that, Rest Of World). After a brief period of hesitation (“Do I want to run around Toronto taking pictures of socks and generally being ridiculous?”), I decided to finangle the day off and join a few of my fellow Ravellers downtown for Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s book launch and Inexplicable Knitter Behaviour Sock Photo Scavenger Hunt (because I love running around and generally being ridiculous!). Although we didn’t win (or even, to be honest, come close to winning…the first prize winner of the $100 gift certificate got seventysomething points, whereas I think our best team member only got somewhere in the thirties), it was still hella fun. And here are some pictures to prove it!

To start, we have the bonus pic for the GTA Fibrefaces group: The Bemused SO. “You’re spending the day taking pictures of a half-knitted sock with internet strangers?” Note the eyebrow action: it is the essence of bemusity.


“Heck yes I am! And what’s worse, I’m going to spend all day making stupid faces in pictures. To start, check out mah dollahs! Canadian Tire, yo! East Side represent!” And so on.


But enough arsing about. Time to get moving! I jumped on the subway at Kennedy where to my surprise and nervous delight, an off-duty TTC driver ambled onto my car! They were worth 2 points, and although I was in the scavenger hunt for the fun and not the prizes, I thought that passing up an opportunity that had fallen into my lap was foolish indeed. So I girded my (shy) loins and went over to explain the (admittedly crazy) concept of the Sock Scavenger Hunt and to ask if he’d hold my sock and pose for a quick picture. Well, you may conclude from the absence of a TTC driver pic in this post that my request was refused, and you’d be right. Apparently, I might be a terrorist if I took a picture, and he might be fired. The first is a bit silly, but the second is fair enough so, blushing a bit, I went back to my seat, plugged in my iPod and waited for Dufferin station.

It’s been cold here for ages (stupid groundhog seeing his stupid shadow grumble etc etc), but despite the wind, it was pretty warm and sunny when I exited the station and hopped on the bus to go south to Queen St and the Visual Arts Ontario Gallery, our meeting spot. In fact, it was so warm that I was a little annoyed; I’d worn my newly-finished Phllyo Yoked Pullover (made from Dream In Colour Classy in ‘Dusky Aurora’), and was starting to get hot! It won’t upload for some (stupid) reason (probably because it’s stupid), but here’s the Rav link to the pictures in my projects. It’s pretty cute, if I do say so myself (and, clearly, I do)!

Anyway, despite the weather, I got down to Queen just fine…but I didn’t go into the gallery right away. See, the VAO was attached to Woolfits, one of my favourite art stores (although, sadly, too far away to visit often). And they might have the articulated wooden artists’ hand model I’ve been searching for over the last few months to make the trophy for our upcoming Rock Paper Scissors trophy! Apparently, these hands have become something of a rarity, at least in Canada (I could order one from the States, but with taxes and shipping and everything, it would be a lot more money and hassle than it was worth, I thought). Cheekily, I ducked into Woolfits and enquired after the long-sought wooden hand…but no. They didn’t have any. Although…the girl behind the counter gave me a wink and dialled the phone. Success! Aboveground Art had one last hand in stock, and would put it aside for me until I could come and get it! Result!

With victory in my step, I entered the VAO Gallery and immediately found my people: they were the ones giggling and snapping pictures (natch)! There weren’t very many of us, but we felt like a big group as we took over the small gallery and bothered the minions. It was okay, though; the boss lady was One Of Us!


Look at that gorgeous Dream In Colour sweater! It’s a bit hard to see in this picture, but a lovely Saxon Braid (the same one I used to make the brim of my dad’s hat) runs all the way around the front edges (and I think it’s hooded, too…hmm, it’s not listed in her projects, so I can’t check, but anyway, it was gorgeous!) Between us, we sparked the Dream In Colour craze amongst our little group, which later culminated in a trip to Lettuce Knit and me spending $100. But that’s for later.

I did mention bothering the minions, no?


But, of course, it’s all fun and games until somebody learns to knit!


It’s no easy task to make your first knit stitches on tiny DPNs with dark-coloured sock yarn. But he did it (even if this picture doesn’t show it very well)!


Ah, West Side. My natural enemy. But there is no time for revenge today. Today is for hunting.

And what things we found! I won’t post all the (sometimes boring) pictures of something-with-a-sock I’ve got, but here are some highlights:

I mostly looked for entries for the Yarn Harlot’s ‘Freestyle’ category (although I don’t think I have any that can compare to Margaret Atwood…there’s also a rumour of a Gord Downie sock picture, but I haven’t seen that one yet). First up, the hair salon next to Romni Wools:


In that vein, we also passed Stephanie St on the way to Aboveground Art. Harlotastic!


And one last yarn-related signpost: One of the artists who designed the Kensington Market sign on Spadina is named Yanover. Get it? Yanover? Yarnover? Okay, maybe it’s just me.


Another something unexpected was this sculpture of a bike…it’s hard to tell if it is a topiary sculpture this time of year because there are no leaves out yet, but it was cool nonetheless. ‘Walk More’, indeed.


Because of this guy, we decided to walk an extra thousand blocks to find another pub for lunch. Can you see him, behind the reflections in the glass? I’m sure he’s a very nice man, but… 😛


After lunch (complete with Canadian beer…two points!) we finally made it to Lettuce Knit to fondle the Dream In Colour (and the Alchemy, and the STR, and the Handmaiden, and the baby alpaca and and and). While we were there, a delivery of lovely knitting bags arrived to much fanfare and excitement! Unfortunately, the delivery guy was camera shy (and possibly at risk of being fired…by terrorism…or whatever):


By this time it had turned COLD. I was glad not only for my Phyllo, but also for the extra fleece I’d brough. O Spring! Even more my enemy than West Side dwellers! You are a jerk. Meh.

Anyway, by the time we had spent an undeterminable amount of time at Lettuce Knit (the yarn fumes sort of make time irrelevant), it was time to head to the Isabel Bader Theatre to hear Andy Maize and Michael Johnston from the Skydiggers open for Madam Pearl-McPhee, the Yarn Harlot herself! The pictures I took at the gig were crap, so I’ll spare you, but it was a fantastic night of music and validation. Of course, she’s preaching to the choir at these things, but it was still pretty magical to be one amongst hundreds of fibre artists of different ages and backgrounds and beliefs and skills and feel that what we did was important and creative and beautiful. I could go on, or I could just advise that you pick up her new book, which is full of pithy and interesting observations like this. So I’ll do that.

Our group (along with many, many others from the gig) descended on the Foxes Den for a drink and something to eat. Although the rumour was that they’d been warned in advance, they were clearly not expecting such a crush on a Tuesday night! I decided to skip the food and go straight to the liquid bread (that’s beer, dudes), since I didn’t know how much time I’d have. My parents were at the Royal Alex for a show and I was planning to grab a ride home with them whenever it was done. But I had a quest: I had boasted to my Selfish Knitters group that I would get a shot of the Yarn Harlot herself for our Travelling Veruca Swap (kind of like a travelling Flat Stanley, but with yarn). My cell phone rang; my parents were pulling out of the parking garage! They were on their way and I hadn’t gotten the picture! Bolstered by my cohorts (and a big slug of beer), I approached Stephanie’s table sheepishly (she’d been up for ages at the back of the pub where most of the knitters had snagged seats and had only recently sat down to her dinner) and, embracing my Inner Dork, explained my predicament to (I think) Joe and Rachel H. Hurrah! Stephanie very graciously hopped up and smiled brightly with Veruca…


…and then convinced her mum to pose, too, explaining (with a wink and a nod) that I got “double points” if she would consent to be in a picture!


Double points with knobs!

The yarn I used for my sock, by the way, is my precious single skein of Socks That Rock ‘Dutch Canyon’ which was a colourway for offer quite awhile ago, but had been phased out by the time I discovered the yarn. Before I got my first skein of Wollmeise, I though it was pretty bright stuff:


The socks are plain vanilla toe-up with a gusset till the ankle, then I switched to garter rib for a bit of visual interest. I’ll post more about them later; I think I’m just about out of words!

Happy Inexplicable Knitter Behaviour, everyone! And thank you to my group of gnomes: Terrie, Cheryl, Nancy, Brooke and our honourary gnome, Kim! You guys made yesterday awesome! Can this be an annual event, please? Kthxbi.

…oh! The wooden hand I got at Aboveground Art? It saw some knitterly action:


Good times, good times.

Two of the blogs I read had this title last week. The funniest part was that the posts both appeared on the same day, and just happened to appear consecutively in my Bloglines. A sign? Maybe not. But a title, at least.

So. November, eh? Well, a lot of things have happened since November. Most of them were good. Some of them were pretty okay. And one was fucking devastating. This isn’t a personal blog so I don’t really want to get into it, but it’s important to me and I think about it pretty much every day with fresh shock and disbelief, so I don’t feel like I can come back without saying anything about it. My dad’s best friend died suddenly and unexpectedly from a massive brain tumour a few days after I posted my last entry. I don’t know or can’t remember most of the medical details, but he’d been suffering headaches for a few weeks, put it down to work stress/travel fatigue and basically ignored it until his wife marched him to Emergency. He was admitted that evening and died just over a week later. His funeral was on Remembrance Day and fuck yes he will be remembered. Robert was more than family to us, and more awesome than most people I’ve ever known. His kids are very close in age to both me and my brother, and we all grew up together even though we only saw each other a couple of times a year. The whole family is awesome and supertight, and I know I can’t even imagine how they feel. Sometimes I’ll sort of start daydreaming about summers at the cottage or skiing or whatever, and I’ll remember suddenly and all over again that he’s gone, and it hits me exactly the same way it did the first time I heard the news. The funeral was standing room only. He will be sorely missed.


But life doesn’t always give you much of a chance to grieve. We all travelled down the lake for the funeral, and when we got back I started working for real and for serious on my final research paper (you know, the one I’ve been warning you not to ask about since the summer). I pretty much moved into the basement, spread my papers out and rigged up an enormous corkboard to pin ideas to. I entered the dungeon around 9 every morning and crawled back into bed around midnight every night. Getting to go upstairs to pee was a break, nay, a treat; something to look forward to. Grant fixed me lunch, cooked me dinner and cleared up every day. More importantly, he encouraged me to get started, to keep going, and to believe in myself. He drove with me to Ottawa during a huge snowstorm to hand it in. I owe him everything. I owe him my Mastery of Rock!

\m/ \m/

Because Master of Rock sounds way more awesome than Master of Canadian Studies. It’s my degree and I get to call it what I want on my blog (as opposed to on my CV!)

But that was only the beginning of December. A few days after we drove to Ottawa, we flew to Scotland to have Christmas with Grant’s sister, her Geordie husband and their Thomas The Tank Engine-obsessed 2 1/2 year old son. And my camera died soon after we got there, so these blurry pics are really the only ones I have of the trip:


Grant at the Christmas Market in Edinburgh


Grant and Sam enjoying fresh mini doughnuts. mmmm lard

Christmas was pretty fun, especially since we all clubbed together and got our brother-in-law Guitar Hero III! Grant and I immediately decided we must now buy a Wii and also every piece of music-performance-related software available. This might mean saving up for awhile. A loooooooong while. But good things come to those who wait, right?

Speaking of waiting and good things…I do have knitting content.

I knit one of the two hats in the picture above. Unfortunately, it was not Sam’s supercool Ming The Merciless helmet (you can’t really see it in this pic, but the brim comes to a tiny peak in the middle of his forehead. I covet this hat). Grant’s hat is the Marsan Watchcap, knit with almost 2 whole skeins of Noro Kureyon (dude has a bigass head, and he wanted a wide flip-up brim. But he wears it lots and lots, so it’s okay). Here’s a slightly better picture of it:


Even when he’s looking cute, there’s still more than a hint of smarm. Just how I like ’em.

Grant’s hat was the last thing I knit before I put everything on hold for my paper. Which means I didn’t have a hat for myself when we went to Edinburgh. So, of course, I had to make myself one:

It’s Grumperina’s Odessa, but to make it nice and warm I did lifted increases in place of yarn-overs. The rest is pretty well exactly to pattern, except where I missed out a single bead in the second beaded row. It’s the one mistake that makes it perfect, right? Even I have to really search for it when I’m putting it on (because, of course, the mistake goes to the back!). Nothing but glowing praise for this pattern!

The yarn was a yay-you-did-it! treat for myself: Handmaiden 4-ply Cashmere from The Naked Sheep in the Beaches. I can tell that it’s going to bag a wee bit, but since I made it the tiniest bit too tight for just this reason, it shouldn’t be a problem. Here’s a slightly closer-up shot of the hat:


As you can see in the background, it’s been pretty green here for awhile now. I’d been putting off FO photoshoots until we got some nice white to shoot against, but the few flurries we’d been getting always blew away so I finally just went ahead and took pictures. Of course, today I woke up to snow-covered everything, but whatev, Trev. Maybe now I won’t feel so silly going out in my mittens:


I started these in Edinburgh out of some Rowan Tapestry (a wool/soy mix) that I grabbed at the John Lewis department store in Glasgow. I just wanted to make something superfast to cover my hands. Well, I didn’t end up finishing these guys until a couple of days ago, so so much for the bum’s rush. Now I wish I’d done something a little more ambitious, like cables or tone-on-tone colourwork or something, but here we are. I’m not the hugest fan of the yarn anyhow, but they’ll do for what they’re for. Anyway, I probably wouldn’t have had enough yardage to make anything but what I made. Since I was just improvising these guys, I didn’t know how much yarn I’d need for each mitt. In the end, I had to unpick the first mitt’s cuff to finish off the second mitt. Here’s how much I had left over:


Yeah. Not a whole lot. Hooray for spit-splicing, I probably wouldn’t have made it without it!

Grant says the pointy tips make my hands look like flippers, but I like the roominess of them. I hate the feeling of too-small mitts with my hands slightly bowed inside; these guys give my middle finger lots of breathing space. Anyway, I have much bigger hand-covering plans a-brewin. Actually, it is pretty much exactly the same idea another blogger I just spent ten fruitless minutes searching for had: a pair of fingerless gloves with an extra-long finger section that can be folded back when you need to use your fingers, or flipped down when you want to keep them warm. Seriously, I thought of it one evening, really loved the idea, and then the NEXT MORNING checked my Bloglines to see the EXACT IDEA in a FO shot! I mean, it’s not a genius or revolutionary idea, and I certainly never intended to patent it or anything, but I still think it was a pretty funny coincidence. They were even cabled down the back of the hand and everything! The cables were slightly different than the ones I had in mind, tho. I envisioned Sweet Sheep’s Evangeline gloves from the winter MagKnits as the base, and I keep pawing through my little stash to see if I have something suitable. I still haven’t decided if I need to go shopping yet.

Okay, one more FO on parade and then I’m going to close the gates. Like most of the projects in this post, I started this in Edinburgh (we were there for almost three weeks, okay? And Edinbugh pretty much closes down for a week over Christmas and Hogmanay) It’s a toque for my dad that I sort of made up as I went along (a familiar tune here at knittingmixtapes). But I think it turned out looking pretty pretty good:


Denny wound the wool for me when I bought it at Lettuce Knit, so of course I’ve lost the tag by now. It’s a thick, single-ply pure wool that I think really helps the cables pop just enough to admire them, but not so much that you’re all like, “whoa, cables!” The wool is a bit scratchy, but I also made a cashmere liner for it it’s nice and soft on my dad’s bald head. It’s also not pointy on my dad’s head the way it is on mine (my head is not quite big enough to make a perfect model, but here we are).

It’s basically half a Marsan Watchcap with a Saxon Braid stuck to the bottom of it. This hat also represents my very first go at cables, which are dead easy and very fun to work. I provisionally cast on, then knit a few repeats of the Saxon Braid cable (I got my instructions from the Samus cardigan) and grafted the ends together when I thought I’d done enough (the cables don’t quite match up seamlessly, but it’s good enough in this hairy yarn that you really have to hunt for the seam) Then I picked up a bunch of stitches for the rest of it, knit a twisted rib pattern, and shaped the crown like in the Marsan Watchcap pattern. Finally, with the Handmaiden 4 ply Cashmere (a much, much finer yarn than the grey wool) I picked up some stitches at the bottom of the brim and knit a liner for it at a very loose gauge (I picked up the stitches with some 4.25mm dpns, then switched to 5mm dpns about a half-inch in, and ended up knitting most of the liner with a 6mm circular. I switched back to the 5mm dpns for the crown shaping).

It’s the tiniest bit tight on my dad’s head (I knit most of it while we were on different continents, so although I measured his skull before I started, it was a bit of a crossed-fingers situation), but the wool and the cashmere will likely stretch out a bit with wear. The cables are nice and warm on his ears, and the looser-knit crown should allow plenty of air circulation, which is important as this hat is destined to be a ski toque!

I’d definitely knit it again, which is saying a lot as I very rarely choose to re-knit things I’ve already made (which, I guess, is where Second Sock/Mitt Syndrome comes from). The first time I started the body/crown knitting, I tried it in plain stockinette, but I thought it looked too feminine so I switched to an exaggerated rib for some manliness. If I reknit this for myself, I’d probably stick with the stockinette, although you could also get creative and stick something like an Odessa swirl on the top! We’ll see. Right now I’m pretty happy with my straight-up Odessa, but you can never have too many lovely handknit hats, right?

Aaaaaaaaaand I’m spent. There is more to say and to see, but they will have to wait for another day. I don’t mean to contribute to the Only Posting FO Shots thing that is allegedly Sweeping The Blogosphere Like A Plague, but when you don’t post for two months there is a lot to get caught up with. Next Time: New Year Crafting Resolutions and Sam’s Jacket: Now With Hood (Arms Pending). See you all soon!

No knitting pics today, I have to make a list of Christmas gifts I’ve started/imagined that won’t get lost in the wash etc (all links lead to Ravelry):

1. Hooded jacket for Nephew, pattern of my own maniacal design

2. Branching Out “stole” (that is, the regular scarf with improvised lace border) for ma

3. Modified Hawkeye Hat for da (he wants earflaps)

4. Marsan Watchcap for the husband

5. …something for BIL? A hat? Maybe another earflapped Hawkeye? A modishly striped knit hat? Maybe I’ll wait until after the One Of A Kind Show and see if I don’t find him something there first.

Actually, that’s not nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. I mean, sure, I still have to find the time to write an entire 60-page research paper in there somewhere, but overall, I’m feeling a lot better about it. Even tho the Nephew Sweater is probably a project that could take up more time than all the other projects put together…ah well. We’ll see how that one goes. Dude is two and a half; he won’t even notice if he doesn’t unwrap it on Christmas morning. So I really have until January to finish that one (and if it still isn’t done by then…meh. It’ll get there eventually. That’s what the postal service is for, right?)


Well, here I am at home on International Knit In Public Day, not knitting and not being in public. Kind of sucks, but I couldn’t find anyone to come out with me except my husband, and since I know he would rather bash his head against a brick wall than go yarn shopping (which seems to be the central activity organized here in Toronto for iKIPd)…also, I have promised myself a sweater’s worth of extra special Dream In Colour reward yarn for finishing my MA research paper (I’m trying to decide between Deep Seaflower, Dusky Aurora and Good Luck Jade…colourways can be found here, for the curious. Also, opinions/reviews would be very welcome in the comments!) But since I have written approximately zero words of my paper, AND the first draft is due next week, AND we’re both unemployed right now, AND I have terrible self-control when it comes to pretty pretty yarn…it just wasn’t a good time for iKIPd to happen for me.

But I can’t let it go by without doing something public and/or knitterly. So I’ve decided to update my knitting blog as a fun, free and in-the-spirit-of-things activity. Except I don’t have any new and/or exciting yarns. So…

Ten Things It May Or May Not Be Interesting To Know About Me

1. I lived in Scotland (Glasgow, specifically) for about two years during and after undergrad. While I don’t ever want to actually live in the UK (too expensive! too complicated!) I loved my time there, and I sometimes experience incredible waves of homesickness just thinking about the place.

2. Just before I moved back to Canada from Scotland, I met a very cute Australian boy who eventually became my husband. We lived in Melbourne for almost a year before finally deciding to settle in Toronto. This means I sometimes break out into a fucked-up hybrid accent, and have strange cravings for candy and/or beer that isn’t accessible on my continent.

3. I have moved once a year, every year since 1999. It’s getting really, really old, and I would like nothing more than to have my own place (choosing paint colours! buying not-plastic furniture!) But so far, our househunting (/condohunting) has been slow going. Being both poor and picky is a bad combination. But I hold out hope.

4. I had a lot of food allergies as a kid, and thus avoided a lot of foods that I now think were probably okay. While it’s true that I am very (very!) allergic to peanuts and other nuts, I’m still kind of hazy about what other foods I should avoid, and even the allergist I went to recently wasn’t very helpful! For instance, as a child I was told I was allergic to “Peas”, and thus stringently avoided snow peas and chick peas on principle. Until recently, when I decided to give them a try (since I have always eaten normal beans without a hint of a problem). Dudes! Humus is TOTALLY DELICIOUS! What other wonders has the universe been hiding from me?? Anyway, it sucks that I am so allergic to nuts, since I think I would be the Biggest Nut Fan Evar if they didn’t make me feel like I want to die.

5. I love fireworks, don’t mind loud music at all, and can deal with being startled (although I don’t like it any more than most normal people do). However, I hate balloons, and hatehateHAAAATE hearing them pop, esp close by. I blame my dad for insisting on blowing balloons up waaaaay past what I thought was a sensible size, then yelling “POP!” in my face just to freak me out. Thanks for the lifetime of globophobia, dad!

6. I often assume I can do something, even if I have no experience/data to back it up. I don’t mean, like, assuming I can drive a backhoe or perform open heart surgery; more like design an intarsia baby blanket despite not yet having mastered the ‘purl’ stitch. Sorry, sister-in-law! (recipient of said baby blanket) Unfortunately, I seem to be mentally and physically incapable of learning something without making a thousand mistakes first…but at least I have the tenacity (pigheadedness?) to keep on trying!

7. I have never had a pet (more allergies), despite always really, really wanting a puppeeeeeeeee!! But when I think really seriously about it, I am sort of turned off by the expense and responsibility of it all. Maybe we’ll get one after we have a kid (between 5-100 years from now), when we’re so overwhelmed with expense and responsibility that we won’t really notice another one anyway. Right now I’m really looking forward to a fishtank.

8. One of the main reasons I made my husband move back to Canada was for the summers on the lake. As someone who never even *saw* saltwater until I was maybe twenty, I just can’t work up the same enthusiasm for the ocean (despite the ocean’s way cooler snorkeling landscape). Heaven for me is going for a swim on a warm, clear, starlit night when the lake is completely flat and there’s a campfire on the beach to warm up beside when I get out. If there’s an afterlife, I think you get what you think you’ll get; I hope that’s what I get when I die.

9. I’ve been anti-pink for…god, eighteen years or something…mostly because I was saturated with it as a little girl (my mom “can’t wear” pink, and was delighted that her blonde, blue-eyed daughter looked so sweet in it, so she kind of went overboard, imo). It’s only recently that I’ve been coming back around to it, but as an accent colour only! I would still never decorate with it, and I have exactly one shirt that is sort-of pink. However, as you can see from pics of my Koigu, when it’s combined with other complementary colours, I just can’t resist it these days!

10. I have a pretty fine-tuned sense of humour. I think I have a lot of male friends because I love to just sit around and laugh about stuff. Sometimes I laugh so hard I can’t see through the tears, and have more than once fallen off my chair laughing (no injuries to body or clothing, tho!) Laughing about things helps me break through my pretty intense shyness, and I think helps me become the person who helps the group become comfortable with each other. Because I will sacrifice quite a bit of dignity for a joke, if I think my audience will respond. Having said that, I can be quite a serious person at times, and really enjoy sitting down with my friends and talking through a problem or issue for hours and hours.

So, there you go. 87% more information than you ever wanted to know about me. And very little of it is related to knitting. Now it’s time for me to go outside and celebrate iKIPd by doing more research for my paper. Good times, good times.