Tuesday, December 30, 2008

back to basics volume II

Happy Holidays! ok, I'm a little late on that score, but I'm still on time to wish you all a Happy New Year :)

The ONE measly item of Christmas knitting that I had to do this year did not even get finished. Well, it was kind of a two-fer...matching scarf and mitts. The scarf got done,

oh that handsome devil...

I know, what a boring scarf (but highly wearable I must say) particularly for someone on the less uh flashy side of fashion.

The matching mitts though, did not turn out as planned...

(I should have made him do a thumbs-down here instead...)

meh. I just took a basic mitt pattern and altered it with a moss stitch.

To say that I am sick of knitting mitts right now would be pretty accurate --though I must say that I think it's mostly psychological. That one moss stitch mitt sat on my coffee table staring at me for about two weeks while I decided what was to become of it. It was also a psychological barrier for me in that I refused to cast on anything new until I could at least get those done. And the more I told myself that, the less I wanted to knit anything.

They worked out ok, but it was a bit too matchy matchy, so I tore 'em out in favour of the all-too basic mitts once again:

Now that they're done I feel the weight of them lifted and I can finally turn towards newer projects..

Why then did I decide to cast on for ANOTHER pair of mitts last night?!

Well, they were just too darn cute not to...

Can't wait to add the little button eyes!

With any luck I'll manage to squeak these in as my last knit of 2008. I can't believe another year of knitting has come and gone.

I have some knitting on the horizon for 2009 that I'm excited to get started on and I'm planning to do my usual look back at the previous year's knitting and 2008 knit-o-lutions like so many of you as well (spoiler: 2008 knit-o-lutions NOT completed--surprise, surprise) so I will likely have to tack those onto this year's list as well...oopsy.

Hopefully my energy will return after I've consumed the last of the Christmas chocolates in the house and can get back to yoga (among other healthier pursuits) after a two week absence. Ok wait, I still have a New year's eve bloat to get through as well.

ugh it never ends...
have a great New Year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

get in a better mood

You know, I've always considered myself more of a winter person than a summer gal, but this season I am SERIOUSLY being tested.

It's kind of the perfect storm of seasonal annoyances around these parts --relentless snowstorms that we don't *usually* have this early in the year (and I might add that I don't have snow tires, so this morning's drive in was beyond stressful); a freakin' TRANSIT strike (i.e no alternative bus/train that I'd normally use when I deem the weather too terrible to drive and therefore 40 times as many cars on the road) and a major bridge closure that is backing things up mental into the downtown core.

It's not even Christmas yet and I am SO. over. this. Now that I've moved the two + hour walk in is less palatable than my previous hour of walking, but after this morning's relentless fish-tailing at every intersection I'm starting to re-consider it. Though judging from the people I did see walking today I also don't relish the idea of walking down the middle of the main roads with my back to traffic because the freakin' sidewalks still aren't plowed. Last year we had record snowfalls and the city completely blew their budget on plowing so it seems like this year they are hell bent on holding out as long as they can. How can this beeeeeeee???????

Ok, that is my local rant--I promise it stops there. I'm stressed out about money these days (new home, go figure) and I'm starting to feel like it's my civic duty to be worried about the economy and my country plunging into an eventual crisis of 1930's depression-era proportions, and it's Christmas and I'm trying to be frugal but I still have to be spending and spending and then the heating bill came and and and and.... I know, I know, it's the same everywhere.

************knitting, where are you????????**************

I've been trying to get re-inspired a bit lately...rather than just keep telling myself that there's nothing new out there that I want to knit, I've seen it all before blah blah blah. There's a new Knitty...though for the most part I don't tend to knit too much off that site...the last Twist Collective was pretty good...checking out Phildar sweaters, perusing my old knitting books (which if nothing else had me asking the question "WHY did I buy this???") You know how it goes.

I then decided to re-visit Berroco which has a lot of free patterns, and that I haven't been on in AGES, and with a current pattern hunting criteria of "fast & fun", here's what I've come up with:

Boot Toppers!!! How fun are these? These may be just what a pair of soon-to-be-tossed boots needs to extend their longevity.

Flip top mitts. About a month ago I scoured Ravelry for a pair of these...a task you'd think was easy, but finding a pattern that didn't have individual fingers proved difficult. These ones look great --and chunky yarn equals a fast knit!

Ice Scraper mitts! I had the best of intentions this year in making these for all the "dudes" in my office (the women are all getting bracelets so the men needed something for their wrists too, right?) but then I just never got around to it. I'm liking this pattern better than the one I had in mind originally though so who knows, maybe I can still bust out 5 of them as "New Year's" presents. Yeah, right.

Or maybe a Jellyfish?

Ok, maybe not.

But I think I might have even come up with my next sweater project via Berroco...

Umberta. It's a bit of a departure from the kinds of sweaters I'd normally knit, but I decided it was time to take some of Stacey & Clinton's usual advice for my body type and apply it to what I'm knitting this time....empire waist, v-neck, long enough body etc. etc. And not so chunky that I will look like a line-backer in it. You know, as previously stated...back to basics.

With any luck I'll be checking my LYS this week for the pattern and yarn (what was that about not spending?). I'm making the exception here...knitting keeps me sane after all.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Back to Basics

I think I have the pre-Christmas knitting blahs. Blogland is quiet these days because no one is really able to blog about their Xmas knitting it seems, but I think I have the opposite problem---I'm not really even DOING any Xmas knitting. NOR am I even doing any knitting for myself.

I have been going way back to basics with some majorly simple knits...

The moss stitch scarf for the BF:

In the always exciting "basic grey" colourway. I'm planning to knit him a matching pair of mitts as well. We've put a serious limit on our Christmas spending this year, so I'm hoping that a bit of knitwear will help pad it out (if I make it by that deadline!).

My colour choices right now are seriously drab and "back to basics" as well, but the reality is that that's what I will wear. As drawn to and wowed by all the pretty colours in the yarn store as I am, apart from the odd accessory here an there those never wind up being go-to items for me.

The one thing I AM knitting for myself right now is a scarf as well. Also seriously basic in seed stitch.

Yup, I've knit like 5 inches on it. It's sport weight on small needles. This thing may take a million years (basic though it is) and drive me mental in the process.

The yarn is freakin' gorgeous baby alpaca from Bonne mines farm just outside Quebec. It's actually the natural colour of the Alpaca itself and was a gift from my sister, so I really wanted to make something simple that would show it off just as it is. I scoured Barbara Walker's Treasury of Knitting patterns looking for just that "right" stitch pattern. Tried several and tore them all out. My main criteria being NO right-side/wrong-side and hence nothing that would curl at the edges. In the end I went back to seed stitch. If anyone has any other suggestions with those same criteria in mind I'd love to hear them...

On Friday after my monthly massage (yes this is not as "luxurious" as it sounds---I'm sure I've mentionned before that it's my monthly "long-standing-yoga-injury" pummeling...) my RMT said the dreaded words to me that no knitter ever wants to hear: "So, can I commission you to knit something for me?" DREAD as thoughts of intricate-intarsia-sweaters-in-time-for-Christmas spring to mind...but in the end she just wanted a pair of chocolate brown mitts to match her new coat. PHEWPH!

So I am only to happy to gift them to her.

The pattern is from Free Vintage Knitting, and they are about as basic as you get. Hopefully she likes them, and that's all she really had in mind, she didn't really give me any details beyond that...

And that's IT. That's all I'm knitting right now. I even spent a lot of time trolling Ravelry yesterday looking for some new sweater ideas, but there's nothing I couldn't wait to cast on for. What's wrong with me? I can't even remember the last time I bought new yarn....and that's monumental.

Soooo, I'm hoping that a possible Xmas infusion of knitting books or magazines will light a fire under me once again. Or maybe I need to start perusing old Phildar catalogues and actually remembering all those things I thought I couldn't live without in the past...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

size does matter

I know I've blogged about Dutch artist Christien Meindertsma's HUMUNGOUS knits before...she of the ENORMOUS knitting needles:

--knits so humungous they make Twinkle's knits look like baby fine lacework---but have a look at this amazing cabled rug:

wow. wow. wow!
I find it's often the people who are not knitters "by trade" that seem to come up with the most ingenious stuff, and while I know her projects are more art installments based on the lives of the animals that she's involved with *in* those pieces, I can't help but marvel at the magnitude of it all.