Another Wednesday, another Yarn Along post

overloaded truck

Hello there!

I hope you haven’t given up on me! I know, it’s been a month of almost no posts, apart from the Weekly Photography Challenge. But I have a good reason: I’ve been dealing with a ginormous move, all the way across an ocean and a continent, and I’m only now starting to settle in. My stuff is partly here, partly in storage, partly on its way, which has made things difficult, knitting-wise. Almost all of my yarn is in storage, plus various knitting paraphernalia like knitting needles, my swift and ball winder, and other knitting do-dads. Is that a real word, do-dads?

paraphenalia sock pattern

twisty and pretty cables

Given all that’s been going on, I haven’t been reading much of anything. But, I’ve managed to get one project started. Currently on my needles is a sock. Yes, only one sock, the other one hasn’t even been started. The pattern is Paraphenalia, and includes ribbing and a few cable twists. Nothing too complicated, but a fun little project that I can pick up anytime. I’ve just turned the heel, so I’m actually a bit further along that the photograph. Let’s see how much progress I’ll make by next week – I’m hoping to have this sock finished and the second one at least halfway done. It’s always good to have goals, even if you don’t reach them on rightaway.

Now for the blog hop part: I’m linking up with this week’s Yarn Along, this week’s Tami’s Amis 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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Wed-nes-day

Source: clarewbrown.files.wordpress.com via anji on Pinterest

Sheesh. It’s already Wednesday? And it’s almost February? Where does the time go????? I know I’m late in putting up my Yarn Along post, but that’s because I haven’t been in the mood to blog today. Shocking, right? I mean, I’m a blogger, that must mean that I want to blog, right???? And yet, I’ve been in the mood to knit today. Knit, knit, knit. Typing = blergh.

And yet, yarning along means that you’re writing about knitting, so there. I’m just fulfilling my mandate. And apart from that, I’ve been on a blog posting spree over the last few days. I actually though of joining up with the WordPress 2013 Post a Day, but I know there are a few things on the horizon where I just won’t manage to to post every day. Plus I want to keep the blogging fun for me – and you! – and I don’t want to turn it into an obligation kind of thing. I have enough of those going on.

Preparing the armhole steek

Preparing the armhole steek (sorry for the blurry photo!)

But back to the actual topic, the knitting – I’m still working on last week’s project. And I’m actually making a good amount of progress on my Hurricane vest. I’m actually at the armhole part, so I’ve set up my steeking sections. I can see how it’s supposed to work, but the actual steeking will be an adventure… Next up is finishing the armhole shaping and creating the V-neck steeking. Then shoulder grafting, cutting the steeks, and creating the armhole & V-neck ribbing and voila!

Source: life.time.com via anji on Pinterest

Instead of talking about reading, I want to add another note (especially since I actually haven’t read much of anything over the past week). If you’re generally interested in the whole “On This Day…” kind of thing, you might have noticed that today’s the anniversary of a number of important historical events. The one I want to highlight is that today, in 1948, Mahatma Gandhi, the Indian freedom fighter and proponent of nonviolence, was assassinated at point blank range. Gandhi was a key figure in India’s move to independence, and I’ve been thinking back a lot on India’s development since its modern day origin as an independent state. The whole Delhi rape case has brought a lot of the social and societal issues forward, a lot of them unresolved from the time pre-Independence, but also a lot of economic developments have additional tension in India. Gender issues and ensuring that its poor partake in the economic growth are topics India will have to tackle. I’m planning to write a follow-up on the Delhi rape case, so look for more information and discussion there.

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.

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.

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.

Something different – but it’s still Wednesday

Another Wednesday! It’s once again time for a yarn along, but I also want to talk about last week’s Knitting and Crochet Blog week.

I’m still working on my Erin Go Bragh shawl. I know, I’m almost done, and I should have finished this project before the end of the month, but I’ve been so busy blogging this past week that I really haven’t made any progress. But, I have a new wip! Yes, even though I already have plenty of projects on my needles (I think I need to make a collage of my wips!).

But actually, I’m not the one who decided to cast on for a new project. Noooo, my knitting needles decided. In fact, my knitting needles decided to cast on a Windward scarf and have a little battle over the yarn for this project (Wollmeise 100% in Indisch Rot). Don’t believe me? See for yourself:

There is a good reason why I made this video. Remember the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week? Well, Friday’s topic was all about creativity:

Day 5: April 27, 2012. Something A Bit Different It’s back, and this time it has the most amazing of prizes (look for the prize for ‘most creative post’). This was a massive success last year, and for many it was the highlight of the Blog Week, so this year you are challenged, again, to find a new way of blogging. This is an experimental blogging day to try and push your creativity in blogging to the same level that you perhaps push your creativity in the items you create.There are no rules of a topic to blog about but this post should look at a different way to present content on your blog.

Wednesdays are the days with the most traffic for me, so I thought I should spread the love and share some of the other awesome creative posts out there. Here are my favorites:

  • A Pile of Sheep created a Yarn Personality Test! I’m Madeline Tosh Vintage – I’m an “easygoing person with just a touch of wild child for spice!” What are you?
  • PumpkinSpins used mind mapping to draw up a chart to answer “Why I create” – really interesting, and now I want to think more about why I myself create
  • Knit One, Stitch One, Save One drew a series of images, and created a quick animation out of the gif images to show what her hands look like while knitting. So creative – and the drawing are just beautiful.
  • Stitched Together is planning to knit a shawl with stripes, and the color of the stripes will be based on the comments that people have left on the blog, and in the end she’ll hold a random drawing where the winner will get the finished shawl. Awesome!
  • All She Wants to Do Is… created a knit/crochet version of The Onion website, call Crafting News Network. How hilarious!
  • When Did I Become a Knitter: It’s a post from the perspective of her Roan sweater, a wip of hers, at a self-help group called Unloved Knits Group. I have a few nominations from my wips for that group too.
  • Sanday Spinners put up a Knitting Riddle – I’m still trying to figure out the answer on my own. And you can win a knitted item from her!
  • Wickedly Artsy created a visual knitting timeline with images of the different stops in her knitting life
  • Fidlstix has a great post titled Something You Should Know About Me (no, I’m not going to tell you what it is, you need to play the video yourself)
  • Laylock‘s animated gifs of her knitting techniques (cast on, knitting, purling and cast off) are really interesting – my version of those techniques look different. Plus they should be really helpful to new knitters
  • KellPattsBlog‘s contribution is a crytoquote. How cool!
  • AStashAddict made a Hexipuff Evolution vlog. I haven’t made a Hexipuff yet, but I foresee a Hexipuff blanket in my future.
  • Frog-Soup‘s funny drawing (naked sheep in need!) made me giggle
  • and a ton more more…

And then there’s of course my stop motion animation – I’m ridiculously proud of this video. The family is already discussing whether we should do a video for my grandmother’s 90th birthday.

I hope you liked all of these different, creative takes on the something a bit different topics. I had to stop adding posts to the list or it would have been unendingly long. You can find more posts on this topic by googling 3KCBWDAY5. If you’d like to nominate any of these posts (or any others!) for the creative award, click here to go to Eskimimi’s nomination post. Of course, if you’d like to, you can also nominate my post too 🙂 If you cannot submit your nomination even though you’ve filled out all the fields correctly, then that means that someone else has already put in a nomination for that post. Nominations close on May4th, at midnight British Standard Time.

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.

My knitting or crochet hero

Day 3: April 25, 2012. Your Knitting Or Crochet Hero
Blog about someone in the fibre crafts who truly inspires you. There are not too many guidelines for this, it’s really about introducing your readers to someone who they might not know who is an inspiration to you. It might be a family member or friend, a specific designer or writer, indie dyer or another blogger. If you are writing about a knitting designer and you have knitted some of their designs, don’t forget to show them off. Remember to get permission from the owner if you wish to use another person’s pictures.

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This is Mami. Mami is my great-aunt and totally rocks. She’s 85 years old and still fit as a fiddle – she obviously suffers from of the pains and aches that you get as you get older, but mentally she’s really fit. She putters around on her computer and has figured out how to Skype on her own and regularly calls us, sends us emails and so on. She’s full of stories which she tells with that humor that’s so much a part of her personality. She loves all of us so much and gets worried any time she hears that we’re not well. And how can you not love someone who still makes you Mickey Mouse or bunny pancakes (with a fluffy little bunny tail!) pancakes even though you’re an adult. Ok, they look more like mutated bunny pancakes, but still! Mami is just full of awesome. I think she just signed up for Ravelry, so I look forward to see her on there two.

Mami telling us puppet stories that she used to tell us when we were kiddos

Mami learned how to knit in India – South India – which I always thought was strange since I think it’s pretty much too warm to knit lovely wool items. But apparently many in that generation learned how to knit, and I’ve seen plenty of babies there packed up in layers of wool, despite the weather. Anyway, Mami can really craft. She taught me how to embroider when I was younger. I have a few pillow cases and table cloths that I’ve made, and a few that are still waiting to be finished. I’m the one who really enjoyed it – the rest of the family wasn’t so thrilled. When I started to knit, my family’s response was “Finally, something more useful than embroidery!” So when I originally decided to learn how to knit in order to knit the Shaun the Sheep mobile for nephew #1, I was so glad I could ask Mami for advice. She has been knitting and crocheting since she was a little girl, and has created many many lovely projects, including beautiful blankets for the family.

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Mami taught me some of the techniques that she’d been taught, passing on her knowledge. For example, after casting on – she prefers the knitted cast on – she then knits the stitches through the back loop on the following row. She says it creates a neater look. I haven’t used the technique much though – I usually use the long-tail cast on. But still, as I was getting started on my first knitted project, a scarf with a bunch of different stitch patterns, I could ask her all kinds of questions, about the tensioning of my yarn, how to keep the stitches even, whether I was knitting and purling properly, and so on. They’re all those questions that you have as a newbie, where it’s so good to have someone to help you out in person. Online videos only get you so far when you’re starting with a new craft. And Mami mostly knits without a pattern, basing her projects on the recipient’s measures and desired design. That takes some serious skill in my opinion.

Mami meditates every day, and goes for regular walk - she really keeps herself fit, even at her age

Mami however would probably be shocked by my yarn snobbishness. She probably would be horrified by the thought of paying upwards of $20 for a skein of yarn. She’s always used what’s at hand, and her yarn stores were Michaels, Hobby Lobby etc – not that there’s anything wrong with that, I just don’t think she’s ever been in a local yarn store or has knit with indie dyer yarn. She’d probably be amazed by all the types of yarn, and the different fiber combinations that are out there. In fact, I know she’d be interested in the yarn that I’m using for my current wip.

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The yarn is Habu, which is known for its unusual yarn bases. The two yarns are Habu superfine merino, and Habu silk stainless steel, and the pattern is the ubiquitous Kusha Kusha scarf (you can buy this as a kit and they can also do custom color combinations for you, or you buy the yarns individually). This is my new endless project – plain stockingette, with a few interesting elements here and there. It is a bit harder to knit than my provence shawl since the yarn is so much finer and you need to make sure to catch both strands. Then again, the project is pretty forgiving of any errors since I’ll be felting the part with both strands of yarn. The texture will be quite interesting and it’s already quite scrunchable, as you can see, due to the steel in it.

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The book btw is a German book, ‘Jim Knopf und Lukas the Lokomotivfuehrer‘ (Jim Knopf and Lukas the train conductor). The author is Michael Ende, the author of the ‘Neverending Story’ – but this book is waaaay better. It’s a childhood favorite – I have fond memories of the story being read to us, in bits and pieces as a bedtime story. There’s also an excellent puppet theater version of the book, a toddler version with short stories based on the book, and the audiobook version is really good, too. And the best part is that there’s a second story, too, ‘Jim Knopf und die Wilde 13’ (Jim Knopf and the wild 13), where the 13 are pirates. Unfortunately I haven’t found an English translation of the books which is really quite a pity.

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So, that’s it for today’s blog post. If you’re interested in more of my knitting shenanigans, you can find me on Ravelry, username anji. And if you’re interested in seeing other posts on the topic ‘My Knitting or Crochet Hero from other bloggers who’ll be blogging today on this topic, just search on Google (or another search engine) for the tag 3KCBWDAY3 or Twitter for hashtag #3KCBW. And for all of you Yarn Alongers, I’m still participating in this week’s Yarn Along. If you’re interested, check it out – 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. Happy crafting!

It’s just another manic Wednesday

Ok, the original song is about a Manic Monday, but still, live has suddenly turned rather manic. Where has all my time gone? I feel like I’m juggling too many things at the same time. I wish there were more hours in the day.

Apart from all that’s been going on, I’ve been knitting like a speed demon. I’ve gotten a little groove on my index finger where the tensioned yarn runs over my finger. And it’s not going away; in fact, I have broken the skin, and I’ll have to hunt down a band aid. I think I really need to practice my english knitting. I just don’t want to change to my other hand in the middle of the project – I’m concerned that my gauge might change.

But enough rambling. It’s Wednesday, so that means it’s time for another Yarn Along! My current wip is a Color Affection shawl. Mmmm, lovely squishy garter stitch, what more could you want? Plus colorful stripes, and a interesting pattern – perfect! I decided on the combination of grey and shades of green. I need to supplement my scarf/shawl wardrobe – I already have two in blue, but I gave my red shawl away, and I haven’t knit a green one, so this is the perfect opportunity. There are a few modifications, to make the most out of my yarn, so this will be huge and extra squishy. This is my April project for the 12 Wollmeise skeins in 12 months goals – once this one is done, then I’ll get back to the pea soup blanket. I’ll see my cousin and his fiancee next month, so I really want to finish this one. That way I can give it to them before the wedding – there’s just no way I’d give it to them during the wedding, they’ll be just too busy.

That’s it for my part for today. 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.