A Breakthrough

Folks, there’s been a breakthrough.

I can knit and read at the same time. Nothing major, just plain old stockinette stitch. Still, that’s good enough for me.

I made this discovery at around 8:50 pm last night, and that’s all that got me through my studying for the rest of the evening. The needles kept me awake as I read through my biochem notes. My midterm is on Saturday, and I’ve been studying as much as I can for it.

Plain old stockinette, you ask? But of course! I have a pair of plain vanilla socks on the go for my Dad for Christmas. Perfect for studying. When I get to the toe, I’ll just have to put them aside and see if my brain is advanced enough to do some k1, p1 on my sweater. Can’t be too difficult. I feel as if I’m going to have an enormous repertoire of knitted things to blog about soon. That’s good, since I made a trip to a craft store on Saturday on my way home. I bought two new skeins of yarn that have yet to be introduced to the blog. They don’t fit in the yarn bin, so I guess I had better get going!

Added bonus? Knitting while studying actually makes me want to study.

(I’m aware that my mittens are far too complicated to work on while I’m studying. I’ve moved my expectations for finishing back a little bit… I’m not even finished the cuff yet.)

Rainy Day Mittens

That’s what my new obsession is… My mittens. As I mentioned in Friday’s post, the pattern is Chrysanthemums, and boy is it a challenging pattern. The cuff was the most challenging… A picot edge, but done in such a strange way. It took me a good hour just to get the entire cuff done. Go have a look at the pattern if you don’t believe me.

The good news is, they’re looking great so far. The bad news is, I haven’t worked on anything else since last Thursday. Tonight I’m planning to do some work on my Dad’s Christmas socks, then a little on the mittens before I go to bed.

I’m completely and utterly in love with these mittens. Despite the fact I have to use spell check every time I try to write their name, they are wonderful. I’ve been dreaming of wearing them since I cast on, and I have unrealistic notions in my head about finishing them in time to wear this coming weekend.

My brain seems to have forgotten that I’m right in the middle of midterms.

My new mittens!

I’ve been trying to knit with the two colours more efficiently. I haven’t done much colourwork, so I’ve been trying not to let go of each colour as I need the other. It’s been difficult… At first, I tried having one colour in each hand, but the one in my left always had uneven tension. I’ve now got a system worked out where I hold them both in my right hand, and then just use a different position on my finger for each strand.

A closeup of the cuff

It’s been a learning experience, and I’m sure it will be more of one before these mittens are done. I just hope my infatuation lasts to see them through!

Adventuring 2.0

I thought I was going adventuring a few weeks ago… That day has nothing on today.

After my midterm (which went very well, thanks for asking. I know the dairy cow life cycle inside and out), I hopped on a downtown bus and crossed something off the 101 Things list that I’ve been wanting to do for a while. I visited my local yarn store.

To say I was overwhelmed and delighted is an understatement. I have never seen so much high quality yarn in my life! Unfortunately, most of it cost more than my weekly grocery budget, but it was amazing.

I’ve never seen alpaca before, and I can’t believe what I was missing out on all these years! I wanted to go and buy all of it… The only problem I have with it (other than expense of course) is that it isn’t washable. What I would give for washable alpaca. Probably my first born child.

The lady working was wonderfully helpful and nice. She said that lots of young people come to their knit nights. My roommate crochets, so she said she would love to come with me sometime. I’m feeling a new ritual coming on…

I showed the lady the pattern I wanted to knit in order to feed my mitten obsession… She blanched and said “Wow, you’re brave”. That doesn’t sound too promising for my first go round with the stranded mitten patterns, but we’ll see how it goes.

Yes, that means I caved, and got mitten yarn. My hands have been cold all week, and it’s not cold enough yet to dig out my real mittens.

The yarn is Naturally Baby Haven, made in New Zealand. It’s 100% superwash merino. I’ve got colours #314 and #315. The pattern I’m planning on making is Chrysanthemum. That’s the plan anyway… We’ll see how long it takes me to get frustrated with all of the colourwork.

Yarn and pumpkins!

I also got some cute yarn ball stitch markers. I’m going to do a row of the sweater just so I can use them!

After my trip to the yarn store, I hopped on a bus and headed to the mall. I really needed a new travel mug, since mine was getting worn out. I picked one up from my favourite tea store – David’s Tea. They sell the greatest loose leaf teas, and that’s where my old travel mug came from. I invested in a sleek glass traveller… Great for someone who loves tea as much as I do! I also couldn’t resist buying their newest kind of tea, called “Stormy Night”, which includes vanilla, chocolate, coconut, and cinnamon. It sounds delicious and I can’t wait to try it!

My haul from David’s Tea!

It was quite the adventure. I’m going home tomorrow, and as usual, my biggest conundrum is what knitting to bring! Will it be the mittens, which require gauge and focus; the socks, which are great mindless knitting; or the big sweater, which hasn’t been getting any love lately?

Only time will tell. Either way, I’ll be going home with tea and yarn… Some of my favourite things.

Without Yarn

So the weekend adventure with my boyfriend is about to come to a close, and I have no knitting to show for it. Why, may you ask?

Because I committed the unthinkable, and I didn’t bring any knitting with me.

One of the first things out of my boyfriend’s mouth was, “Where’s your yarn?” I could barely believe my own stupidity. Somehow, I had rationalized it before leaving… It won’t fit. I won’t have time to work on it. I need some time away from knitting. I have homework to do and I don’t want that to distract me.

Somehow, that made sense at the time. I’m not sure how I’ve survived the past three days, but I have. I haven’t had any contact with yarn (except for watching a commercial for a yarn store on television). I know I won’t be making this mistake again any time soon. Watching movies without it just isn’t the same.

Now excuse me while I go and recover from the lack of yarn.

Milkshakes and Movies

Tonight, my boyfriend surprised me by coming over after my class. We made berry milkshakes, and will be watching movies (I assume). We’re both working on homework at the moment (well, I’m blogging, but you know).

There will be knitting.

But, tonight is not the focus of this post. I promised you that I would post photos today, and though it is nearing 9 pm, those photos will be posted!

A closeup of the finished hat heel socks

Another shot of the finished Hat Heel Socks

There they are: the Hat Heel Socks, and a gift to my mother. They now top the charts as my favourite sock pattern to date. (Pattern:Hat Heel Socks by Kathleen Sperling; Yarn:Paton’s Kroy Sock, Colour #55129 Aqua Fleck)

The Fuzzballs! They still need the ends weaving in, but I’ll get to that soon enough.

A closeup of the Fuzzballs. I love how the confetti bits ended up creating vertical lines on one of the socks.

The Fuzzballs were another great success. They were super quick, but I’m not sure if I will ever knit with that yarn again. The fuzzy bits are now all over my house and my clothing. (Pattern: my own; Yarn: Paton’s Carmen (Discontinued) in colour #07434 Rose).

My night tonight – socks, the boyfriend, and milkshakes.

My latest project: socks for my dad for Christmas. The pattern is Earl Grey by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, and the yarn is Nova Value Collection Sock Print in colour #405 Earth Tones. I’ve got my fingers crossed that I’ll have enough yarn… It might be a close one.

Now, back to my milkshakes and my movies. I’ll have more progress in the morning.

Finally some Fall!

It’s finally fall! I’ve got a big photo post coming up tomorrow, with lots of photos of the knitting. As I mentioned, the Hat-Heel Socks are officially finished, and now I’m working away on the Fuzzballs… I’ve actually already finished the first sock, in three days! I can stroke another thing off of the 101 things list (finish a sock in a week). I realized that I could have called them confetti for all of the different colours.

Today was a chilly but sunny day; typical fall. I came home from school and made applesauce and brownies. Last night I made chicken curry; I’ve become such a cook! It’s strange but also gratifying to cook for myself. I like the independence, and knowing that I can completely take care of myself.

My school work seems to be much less than last year… So far anyway. I’ve had lots of downtime to work on the knitting, and I’ve already been scoping out projects for my next pair of Christmas socks. The Christmas knitting is going to be done before I know it! I opened the yarn box for the first time last night since moving back to school, and it was exciting to rediscover what yarn I brought with me.

I know that its seems as if I’ve totally forgotten about the sweater. Don’t worry, I’m still committed to it fully, I just haven’t been working on it lately. I like to finish the instant gratification socks first. Soon I’ll be working on the sweater once again. The back is already at 6 inches or more, meaning I have around 11 to go.

I can’t believe that it’s already September 24. Soon the snow will be flying (funny, I had a dream about a blizzard last night) and the horses will have their furry winter coats on. I’ll have even more of a reason to be cozying up in handknits!

 

Wellingtons

Today is a cold and rainy day, in which I have already done a number of things wrong. It was spitting when I left my house, so I didn’t think to put on my rubber boots (aka wellingtons, hence the title). Instead, I wore my moccasins, which are now thoroughly soaked through. I also grabbed one of my rain jackets out of the closet before running out the door, and it didn’t occur to me until I was standing at the bus stop that none of my rain jackets have hoods. Who makes a rain jacket without a hood?

Of course, it started to pour as I walked to the bus stop.

In other news, I love my Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I have the best classes.

I have done a number of good things regarding the knitting as of late, however. The sweater continues to progress, though it’s monotonous and boring. I can’t wait to start a sleeve, because I think that means that I get to use straight needles instead of those pesky circulars. The things that I get excited about…

But I digress. The entire point of this post was to talk about the Fuzzballs. They have taken a bit of a back seat lately, and it’s not because I don’t love them (though I can’t post a photo, since I’m at the library at the moment). I’m merely just concerned about the amount of yarn I have left versus the length that they need to be. My brain is convinced that if I don’t work on them, the amount of yarn will increase. It’s magic.

So, last night, after a few too many beers and a lot of dancing at the local country bar, an idea came to me. I’ve actually been thinking about it for a while, but hadn’t come to a concrete decision. I’m going to be frogging them. I’ll rip them back, then start over with larger needles. This means I’ll have to do gauge again, which is unfortunate, but it’s worth it. The knitted fabric is also a little too dense for what I was envisioning anyway, so it will work out perfectly.

I don’t know why I had to be intoxicated to come to a decision about this, but I did. My only worry is that the yarn won’t frog well, since it has a lot of fibres/fuzzies coming off of it that tend to stick to one another. If worst comes to worst and I can’t frog it, those socks are going to turn into something else.

I’m heading back home to the farm for the weekend, so hopefully I’ll be able to get some knitting done there (as well as some amino acid memorizing!). It doesn’t feel like I’ve been gone for very long, but in reality its been 2 weeks! I feel as if this semester is going to fly by and I won’t have a chance to finish all of that knitting I’ve got planned…