Saturday, June 7, 2008

An excellent week in knitting

Well well well...sometimes days, weeks, and yes even months can go by when my knitting habit goes underground, existing solitary and quiet within the confines of my family room like a little late-night secret between the cast of endless reruns of Frasier and me. Often this is because of a large, long-suffering project upon which I am earnestly trying to make some headway. It can also be the result of yarn-purchasing guilt, while I try to use up some of my stash. Then there is the UFO-guilt, when I haul out half-completed sweaters and spend some time actually finishing projects so that I can justify NEW purchases. In any case, these periods of knitting isolation are very much assuaged by a week like this one.

On Wednesday afternoon, my friend Jackie (my most steadfasted knitting friend---read: fellow knitting geek) picked me up at work and we jetted off to Kingston for yarn-related fun. After a quick and entertaining stop at Wool-Tyme (There's a sale; you should go!), we made our way to Chapters on Princess St to hear Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, a.k.a. The Yarn Harlot. Many avid knitters are already familiar with this author, though trying to explain her to non-knitters can be a challenge. She touched upon this in her talk---the joys of explaining her genre. Not how-to, not patterns, she writes knitting-related humour. As usual, though we arrived with 45 minutes or so to spare, they had already run out of seating. They had only put out about 25 chairs---duh! Jackie and I prowled the store like chair vultures, and finally managed to snag a couple and bring them over. Not sure how many we were in total, but I'd guess at least 75. She was very witty, and Jackie and I enjoyed many a chuckle as we sat there working away at our respective projects. Highly enjoyable!

Then, as if the Kingston trip wasn't indulgence enough, I took a trip to Hamilton on Thursday/Friday and on the way back had a great time exploring an amazing yarn store in Ancaster. My brother Michael was competing at the all-Ontario track and field championships in the Javelin. After watching him compete and finishing in an amazing 4th place spot with personal best throws, my parents and I drove off to Ancaster to find The Needle Emporium. It was fabulous: housed in an old stone building with a layout of small rooms which led you, as if ambling along a quaint little path, through the store. It held an incredibly diverse selection of weights, styles, and types of yarn, and in each room I liked leafing through the leaflets of patterns that were held upright in bunches in wicker baskets. The range of colours and textures was dizzying---I really think I could have wandered around staring and touching for hours. I ended up buying 2 skeins of Lorna's Shepherd Sock yarn in a blue-green variegate. I had been hoping to get some Handmaiden Sea Silk, but the only skeins were 200 gms and were therefore priced at about $77. A little out of my league yet. The store in having a big tent sale in a couple of weeks so if you'll be in the area, I highly recommend checking it out.
So now I'm basking in the cozy post-purchase yarn high, and imaging how nice it'll be to get myself onto my porch (or to the cottage), a nice cold brew in my hands, all this nice new stuff on the needles!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Little teeny-weeny sized knits

Once again it would seem that I am in the running for the world's most delinquent blogger. (The possible exception might be my brother's girlfriend, Jenn, with her lengthy periods between updates on their New Zealand travels---you can find it here.) Much has happened and my needles have been busy, though as usual, I have far too many projects on the go at once.

The biggest and happiest news, for me and my needles, is that my sister and best friend, Christy is having a baby in Mid-October. As this is as close as I will likely come again to having my very own infant, I have been luxuriating in her experience along the way. Last week, she and her partner found out their little one will be a girl (hurrah!) so though I've already worked on a couple of sweaters and a little hat (shown above) for the wee bairn, now that we know more about who she is I can't wait to buy some girl-icious yarn and make her something lovely. So fun---I can't wait to teach her to knit one day...

Ravelry has provided me with endless hours of browsing for the perfect baby girl item, and as luck would have it our little lys, The Wooly Lamb, is having a sale for the next couple of weeks. I plan to go pick up a couple of projects worth of yarn and get to work.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Christmas holidays are over, and I made it. A tree went up, gifts were wrapped, parties attended, meals hosted, and knitted gifts (for the most part) completed and (I hope) enjoyed. (I.e. pink alligator scarf, seen at left.) Now it's nice to imagine the whole year laid out before me, and plan all the great projects I might begin over the next 11 months...

The only thing I wasn't successful in finishing was the mammoth 'reversibly cabled afghan' which I began way back in June. It's a slow-going work, and I find that I just don't have the gusto to work away at it for more than a couple of nights in a row. Cold winter nights when our old house just won't warm all the way up will be a good incentive to get the afghan out, spread it over my legs and eke away at it, inch by inch. Hopefully I can get it done for a June birthday!

I've dabbled in felting over the last week or so, and I'm quite pleased with the results so far. I started with a small bag which my friend Jackie made for herself a short while ago. I was impressed, and it peaked my curiousity so I went out and bought some wool for myself and got knitting. After just two tumbles in the washer, the bag had felted fabulously, and I used our Simpsons Puzzle box in a plastic bag to shape it while it dried. So now I have the bag, and I'm working on the i-cord handles. I'm a little confused about how long to make them, but I'm throwing caution to the wind and just knitting until it feels about right.
Back to work, back to school and back to routines with kids. Little time for knitting, just like through the fall, but I'm trying to stick with it. Having fun browsing through patterns, websites, and Ravelry. (Still loving Ravelry.com---so fun, so useful!) I'm trying to avoid snacking and sweets at all costs now that the holidays are over, so at least keeping up my knitting should keep my hands busy and away from chocolate! That's the theory anyway.