Did you miss me?

Hello fellow Yarn Alongers and Wednesday crafters! Did you miss me? Yes, it’s been quite some time since I’ve put up a new Yarn Along post, but I’m still around. While I may not have been blogging as much about my craft projects, I have been knitting. In fact, I already have three finished projects for 2013, and we’re only halfway through January. But this current project is a doozy. This is going to be the most challenging thing I’ve knit in a long time.

I’m currently knitting an Alberta vest for my father. He asked for a vest – really, that’s the only thing he wants me to knit for him. Despite all my offers to knit him handknit socks, he really wants that vest. So, that’s what he’s going to get.

Hurricane vest in progress

Hurricane vest in progress

Isn’t that colorway gorgeous? The yarn is Hedgehog Fibres’ Merino Cashmere in Hurricane. Unfortunately that yarn has been discontinued – it is so soft, it’s a pleasure to knit with it. The base is a fingering weight yarn, but fortunately I got gauge holding the yarn double. Phew! Otherwise I would have had to modify the pattern heavily – and the armholes and neckhole are steeked, so that would have been quite an adventure. I’ve never steeked before so I’m pretty nervous about taking scissors to the vest. Do you guys have a preferred steeking method, or any other steeking advice?

Close-up - aren't those colors gorgeous?

Close-up – aren’t those colors gorgeous?

Oh, and guess what happened in the middle of all this circular knitting? I have a pair of Holz & Stein needles which I love. They’re so smooth, it’s a joy to knit with them. The yarn moves so smoothly along, circular knitting is a breeze. And then, then this happened:

Knitting needle fail

Aaargh! The nylon cable came out!

As to what I’m reading – I’m rereading one of my favorite Young Adult books series by Tamora Pierce.  I’d photograph it with my knitting, except that I’m reading the ebook version, and well, I was taking the photo with my cell phone – which is also where the ebook file is… You’ll just have to make do with the Amazon image:

Tamora Pierce Tris's Book

Circle of Magic – Tris’s Book by Tamora Pierce

Now for the blog hop part: I’m linking up with this week’s Yarn Along, this week’s Tami’s Amis WIP Wednesday, through Ambassador Crochet’s Wip Wednesday and Frontier Dreams’ Keep Calm and Craft on (KCCO) blog-a-long. Check out some of the other awesome wip posts.

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What’s up, Wednesday?

Yup, it’s Wednesday! Even though I’m traveling, I thought I’d let you know what’s going on with this week’s knitting.

I’m sad to say that I haven’t made much progress in my knitting. I guess that’s just what happens when you spend a lot of time with young kids – there’s just no way I want to have pointy needles around that might just poke someone – or worse. Plus, I’m sure I’ll get “help” with my knitting, which’ll probably result in a tangled skein. In fact, my nephew tried to “help” me once by pulling on my yarn – the green Quince & Co Puffin that I’m using for the pea soup blanket – and my working yarn broke under the skein. Fortunately it was far away enough from the actual knitting that I didn’t have any problems like my stitches unraveling, and I did a quick felted join so that wasn’t a problem, but now I’m waaay more wary with my knitting around little kids. But they already associate knitting with me. In fact, I stopped by a yarn store with the toddler the other day, and he carried a skein of Malabrigo sock in a lovely shade of green around while I was in the store. He was quite disappointed that I didn’t buy it. I didn’t look to closely at the skein or I might have been tempted to buy it. At least he didn’t ask me to knit socks or something else for him, otherwise I totally would have caved. But I wouldn’t be surprised if he figures that out soon.

Back to my actual knitting. I’ve knit a few more rows on my Indian Red scarf, but apart from that I’m working on the Germany baby socks that I was working on last week. I just haven’t made that much progress. I’m about to transition into the black section – the next stripe – but the socks are definitely not long enough, so I’ll be knitting up at least two stripe set repeats. I’m knitting the socks in a spiral for extra stretchability so he can actually wear them for a longer time, so I might make the socks even longer so he can wear them as a toddler. The knitting two socks at a time method is nice in that you don’t worry about making the socks equally long and so on. And you avoid second sock syndrome. But really, I’ve never had problems knitting the second sock. I guess I just buckle down cause I want to actually wear the socks. Knitting one sock at a time on two circular needles is still my favorite sock knitting method – it’s just so much faster.

Oh, and if you’re wondering what I’m reading – I’m not. I’m still reading Curious George stories at nighttime. I’m looking for summer reads recommendations – anything you guys would suggest? I’m not the horror story (or horror movie) kind of girl, but I’ll read just about anything. I was thinking about reading the Game of Thrones books. I’ve heard great things about the series, and I generally like reading books before watching their film versions. That can of course be disappointing if the movie doesn’t live up to the books expectations, but apparently the series does a good job translating the books to the screen. Plus, Sean Bean‘s in it. Love Sean Bean. He’s such a great actor. If you think about it, he’s been in so many different good movies, including great series, portraying all kinds of different characters.

Anyway, that’s me for this week. Now for the blog hop part: I’m linking up with this week’s Yarn Along, this week’s Tami’s Amis WIP Wednesday, through Ambassador Crochet’s Wip Wednesday and Frontier Dreams’ Keep Calm and Craft on (KCCO) blog-a-long. Check out some of the other awesome wip posts.

Wednesday, Wednesday

The book I’m currently reading is not so much my reading but my nephew’s reading – it’s his good night story. You might have recognized Curious George from the bookcover – and the book itself is called ‘Curious George Storybook Collection.’ This version is very much so based on the TV series, with the same kind of graphics, and really big pictures. It’s quite cute but just doesn’t have the charm of the original stories. I wish they’d stayed consistent with the beginning of the original stories, you know, where it says: “George was a good monkey but always very curious.” Oh, and btw, have you ever wondered what the man with the yellow hat does for a living? Well, I wonder – and given that many of George’s adventures result in big, expensive messes, I wonder if he’s on an unlimited budget. For example, the donut delivery story in this Storybook Collection volume. George buys 100 dozen donuts instead of one dozen donuts. One dozen Krispy Kreme donuts is approximately $6 (dependent on your location), that would mean, that George bought $600 worth of groceries. And the man with the yellow hat accepts that without blinking an eye. Sheesh.

And in the meanwhile, I’ve made some progress, over the past week, and the end is in sight on my Indian Red scarf. Very exciting. It’ll still take me a while to finish it, but I can see how this pattern design is going to work out. I’m concerned that the scarf will be to small, so I’ll probably have to steam block it aggressively, or wet block it. The problem with wet blocking is that it is hard to find a space where I can leave something to dry. Plus, wet blocking doesn’t have that instant gratification effect that you get from steam blocking. I’m going to double check my gauge, and maybe I can add a bit more length in section H… Time to check out the modifications people have made to the scarf. I really really love Ravelry – it makes it so much easier to find that kind of information.
And now, since I’m probably responsible for getting the “Monday, Monday” song stuck in your head, here’s a video of the original song:

That’s it for this Wednesday. I’m participating in this week’s Yarn Along – there are links to other great Yarn Along posts there, with information on how to participate yourself. You can also find a link to this post through Tami’s Amis, through Ambassador Crochet’s Wip Wednesday and Frontier Dreams’ Keep Calm and Craft on (KCCO) series.

We can work it out

It’s Wednesday! That means it’s another Yarn Along day. Well, this past week has been a mix of knitting, blogging, and everyday life. I spent some time hanging out with my friends and my god-daughters, hanging out at the grandparents garden, way outside of the city. I’d hoped to get some good knitting time in, hanging out in the sunshine but instead I was occupied with kids, who had a blast. Have you ever seen two kids competing to get into a hammock at the same time? No? Well, it’s pretty hilarious.

I’d hoped to get more knitting done this past week – remember that knitting marathon? I’ll have a post up in a few days on how I did. I’ve made some progress on my Indian Red scarf. I’m now on section D-E-F-G. You basically knit all those sections at the same time, some in garter stitch, some in stockingette and some in reverse stockingette, and as you go you increase or decrease the sections. It’s a very unusual construction, but now I can kind of see how this will work out.

May 30, 2012 Yarn Along

I need a plane read, and since they really don’t like you reading an ebook during take-off and landing, I was looking for a paperback. I’ve started reading “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan – I’m just at the beginning, but it’s a really interesting read. The subtitle is “A natural history of 4 foods” – he looks at the food production of four different foods. It’s a very interesting at the food industry, looking at food chains from beginning to end, tracing what we eat. He asks ‘What should we have for dinner’ – a simple question, but which becomes more and more complicated. Hence the omnivore’s dilemma. I’m looking forward to reading more – I’m sure it’ll be interesting, shocking and disenchanting at the same time.

May 30, 2012 yarn along - close-up of the Indian Red scarf

Now for the blog hop part: I’m linking up with this week’s Yarn Along, this week’s Tami’s Amis WIP Wednesday, through Ambassador Crochet’s Wip Wednesday and Frontier Dreams’ Keep Calm and Craft on (KCCO) blog-a-long. Check out some of the other awesome wip posts.

As you might have guessed, the post title is inspired by “We Can Work It Out” by the Beatles.

A workout kind of post

It really is a problem when your workout affects you knitting. Sometimes I’m so sore that my arms hurt when I’m knitting. Ow. But really, knitting should count as a workout on it’s own. After all, if you’re knitting a bulky project, you’re definitely hauling around a mass of yarn. I remember knitting blankets, and once you hit a certain point, you’re handling a significant amount of weight on your knitting needles and thus on your arms. That’s where circular needles are waaaay better than straight needles.

Like many other people, I’m not a fan of going to the gym. It’s the going part that’s hard. I have to drag myself there, and I’ll be constantly whining in my head that I could totally use a day off. Or I could work in a yoga practice, and that would be just as good. I hate running, so that one is out (too much impact on my ankles and my knees).

iPod and working out

From CollegeHumor – they have a whole series of funny realistic gym workout diagrams

Once I do start working out, and I’m in the groove, I’m ok. A big part of that is that I’ve started listening to audiobooks while working out. That way I’m not constantly looking at the display, counting down every second. Instead I’m invested in a story, and it’s a great way to ‘read’ with your ears. And in the end, I remember that I actually do feel better when I’ve gotten some cardio exercise in.

I don’t want to knock Pilates or Yoga or other forms of exercise. I’ve tried both, and they’re great. Most of my Pilates experience has been on the machines, and boy, you get a whole new appreciation of your ab muscles. I’ve mostly gone to yoga classes, some of which I liked more than others. I really think the teacher makes or breaks the class. I’m now trying to work in a daily yoga practice of sun salutations…

I also play audiobooks during strength training. The thing is, I really need some kind of strap to hold my iPhone. Right now I’m currently wedging it against the workout bench – which is how it dropped and kind of damaged my headphones. Goshdarnit! So now I do have to replace my headphones though – the stop/play button on my headphones doesn’t seem to work anymore. I’m contemplating investing in a an iPod Shuffle or Nano since you can just clip them on, and I don’t have to worry about water damage to my iPhone.

I love when late spring eases into summer, and the weather gets consistently warmer. There are all those great things of summer to enjoy – sunshine, hanging out with friends outside, salad, ice cream, the prospect of a vacation, light and breezy clothing, and so on. But, summer also means summer tops and sleeveless tees. Yeah.  You’re showing of your arms.

If your happy with your arms, yay for you. But me, I’m not happy with them. I have really good arm strength, but I would love to have skinnier arms. More correctly – arms that are more toned. The tailor in India being surprised at the size of my arm muscles when measuring me for a sari blouse, and my Mom telling me to be careful during Karate training so my arms wouldn’t be so big. I’m not a body builder, and my arms are pretty normal, apart from their flabbiness, but a lot of young Indian women have ridiculously skinny arms.

I’m always on the lookout for good arm exercises to help with arm muscle toning and definition. So when I came across this Summer Arms Challenge the other day, I just had to share it with you. I think the workouts are doable, and they don’t look like they take up a lot of time. Want to join me? Or do you have your own workout suggestions? I’d love to hear from you.

Pin is from Zippy Pins – they have all kinds of awesome knitting and other craft themed pins. I’m going to have to get some for my project bags

crack that w(h)ip

Well hello! It’s Wednesday wip time. And, as Devo said, it’s time to “Whip it! Whip it good.” Oh 80s, sometimes I miss you. Not the fashion, for the most part, more the music. Remember that hair? The perms? The scrunchies. Yikes. Unless you’re out to have extra fun with it – like with an 80s tribute band. Meet the Legwarmers, who are exactly that. I went to their New Year’s Show, and another time for my birthday. Definitely one of the best parties I’ve been to. Just check out their promo video below, and there are more images on their website. It’s a pretty much a requirement to dress up for the concert, so you almost get an 80s overdose there 🙂 I think it’s the best fun you can have with the 80s without actually bringing the 80s back. Imagine if people dressed like that all the time…

So, let’s look at my knitting (and reading). Well, would you look at that! I’ve actually managed to make some progress on my Erin Go Bragh shawl! I’m almost done with the last part of my Color Affection shawl. It has lingered and lingered around here. Which is kind of weird since it’s a fun project. By now the project has taken on dimensions that make it difficult to take it along. It’s no longer a “on-the-go” project. And I have other projects going on that have been getting knitting time, both my Indian Red and my steel sings scarves. But I’ve been trying to finish up my Color Affection, and I’m almost there!

May 23, 2012 wip and reading

I think I’ll finish this one today since I’m participating in Cheryl Marie’s Knitting Marathon. That’s 26.2 hours of knitting, May 23-24. I won’t be able to only knit in that time. Obviously I have to sleep. And then there’ll be lots of other things going on like eating, blogging, household stuff and so on. (I love that blogging comes second – although I’m scheduling my Wednesday and Thursday posts). But I should definitely make some inroads with my knitting. I think my Erin Go Bragh will be finished, and I’m hoping that I’ll maybe even finish my Indian Red scarf. Want to join in too? Shall we see how much knitting we can get done? I’m sure you can start later and then correspondingly finish later.

And the read, that’s a comfort read of mine. I read Tamora Pierce‘s Alanna series as a teen, and I loved it. A girl that wants to become a knight, and despite all the challenges, having to hide that she’s a girl from almost everyone, and so on, she succeeds and forges her own path. Who hasn’t dreamt of being a knight? I loved that series, and I still have my books. This series is a set in the same universe as the Alanna quartet and tells you the story of Keladry of Mindelan, the second girl to try for knighthood. She does it publicly, without having to hide her gender like Alanna, and the book talks about the different set of challenges she faces, the prejudices, but also her successes. I’m currently on book 4 in the quartet, Lady Knight, and I still have aways to go. I like rereading books – good books, that is – you know what is coming but you don’t remember all the details, and it’s like saying hello to an old friend.

Now for the blog hop part: I’m linking up with this week’s Yarn Along, this week’s Tami’s Amis WIP Wednesday, through Ambassador Crochet’s Wip Wednesday and Frontier Dreams’ Keep Calm and Craft on (KCCO) blog-a-long. Check out some of the other awesome wip posts.

Farewell, Maurice Sendak

I had a post all drafted for today’s Yarn Along, but then I saw that Maurice Sendak died yesterday. How sad. You might have heard of Maurice Sendak, especially in the last few years. Maurice Sendak is the author – and illustrator of the great children’s bookWhere the Wild Things Are.” It’s a lovely story about a boy, Max, and his imagination which leads him to the land where the Wild Things are. It’s a story without many words, but it still conveys the story beautifully through the wonderful combination of the words with the matching illustrations. The book received the Caldecott Medal, which should tell you something right there. In 2009, Spike Jonze created a movie treatment based on the book, which was released to good reviews. He made sure to work closely together with Maurice Sendak – he stated in an interview that he want to convey the atmosphere of the book, and that the greatest compliment was that Maurice Sendak. Watch the trailer and see for yourself.

I think by now you can guess which book I’m currently reading. Or more accurately, rereading.

Crappy iPhone picture of my Windward scarf

That’s my reading, and here is my knitting. I still have four wips waiting for my attention: the pea soup blanket, the Erin Go Bragh shawl, the steel sings scarf and my Windward scarf featured in my “Tale of Two Needles” stop motion animation. I’ve managed to complete section A to C on the Windward scarf – a bit of progress, but not as much as I’d like. Part of the reason is life, and the other reason is that I’m participating NaBloPoMo this month. NaBloPoMo is a challenge where you blog every day. Yup, every day. That really takes a lot of time, especially since I take quite a bit of time to write my blog posts. To make my life easier I’ve been writing my posts ahead of time and scheduling them – that way I have posts going on without too much every day work. And I can still insert a post on what’s currently going on. But the whole writing ahead of time has reduced my knitting time this week.

IMG_8951

And I’m still trying to finish my pea soup blanket by the end of the month. Yeah, I think that’s pretty much an unattainable goal.

So, that’s it for this week. I’m linking up with this week’s Yarn Along – there are links to other great Yarn Along posts there, with information on how to participate yourself. You can also find a link to this post through Tami’s Amis, through Ambassador Crochet’s Wip Wednesday and Frontier Dreams’ Keep Calm and Craft on (KCCO) blog-a-long.