Monday, August 24, 2009

"not everything is flat on the Prairies"...

...I used to have a t-shirt with that very slogan that went right across my chest. Yeah, that's right, I'm a classy lassy. (Though in my defence I never really wore it out in public).

Bet you thought you'd NEVER see these done:

They've been sitting over there on my toolbar under "hibernating" for about a year and a half now. One boot completely done, the other just the sole. And there they sat all this time until I finally just got so SICK of looking at it and cranked out it's mate.

And cranked I did. I seriously feel like it took about two seconds to knit so I'm all the more confounded as to why I put it off for so long.

pattern: Prairie Boots from Coco Knits
yarn: Patons Classic Merino in Olive (knit double-stranded) and some random Lopi (single-stranded) for the soles
needles: US #10
buttons: random. I really just wanted to get these done so I couldn't bring myself to go out and buy new and matching ones.

When I first bought this pattern I think I really fancied myself a pair of those "knit-style" uggs that were in all the stores at the time. Like these, but I didn't fancy the $150 price tag. I know, I know --Uggs?! uggs, you say?! It's a love/hate thing for sure. For the record, I've never owned a pair of Uggs. I did however have a cheap knock off set and Sweet Marie they were THE BEST. 40 below outside and need to warm up the car in ten feet of snow? No laces? Awesome. I am not ashamed. Fortunately the bloom fell off the rose before I forked out any money and I decided to knit myself the nearest facsimile.

The main problem with waiting a year and a half to finish a second boot: apparently my gauge is much MUCH different now. Boot number two is about two sizes bigger than the first. That sucks a little bit since boot #1 is pretty much a perfect fit! But no matter --they will pretty much just be worn as slouchy/warm/around the house booties anyway. (Though note to self: glue dots for the bottom of these as I'm wiping out LARGE on the hardwood floors).

Also on the sticks right now is a cabled pillow. After two sad attempts at using this Manos,

sad attempt #1:

sad attempt #2:

I'm going for a third and already fearing a lack of yarn. And I really, really don't want to buy more of it.

This is a free Drops pattern btw--already mine is looking nothing like the original (seen here PO-005), and I basically had to re-write it before I could even get going on it. It's been a while since I've knit from a pattern in "British" English (I'm Canadian --aren't we speaking the same language? or is this a Norwegian translation?) But I forgot how much more general or "assumed" things are. i.e K1 in the pattern --simple --"knit one" right? wrong. Knit seems to be used in a much more general way. Like "go" "make this sweater". Aye yi yi. But once I got into the mind of it again, all was right with the world. NOW I get it: purl means knit, knit means garter, up is down and hamburgers eat PEOPLE. got it!

I may just need to accept that this lumpy-ass yarn is quite possibly, cursed. Or really, scrap this pillow in favour of another.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Ok, I think I am juuuuuust about caught up on everyone's blogs and officially ready to get back into the knit-swing of things again.

I am rested, back to work, and more importantly: back to knitting baby! My wrist pains appear to have subsided. (knock wood)

And in honour of that small miracle I hunkered down and finally finished off the BEHEMOTH that is Laura Irwin's Alpaca Silk Bow scarf.

not sure what this expression is saying...

Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca Silk (50% silk/50% Alpaca). About 5.5 balls of the "Chestnut" brown, and less than one of the "Mandarin".
needles: 3.75 mm

This is even the yarn that the pattern calls for so it was a real splurge for me. It is seriously beautiful and gorgeously soft and silky.

Scarf-y here also marks the fourth item that I've knit from this book --the others being the Raglan Wrap sweater; and both the sideways grande and side slip cloches. ALL fabulous, well-written and "sure-are-purty" patterns from Laura Irwin.

So, even though this is the yarn the pattern called for, I'm not sure if it was necessarily the best choice. It is just SO drapey that it really makes weaving in the ends a pain in the butt (though possibly I am seriously bad at this task and it's just me...), the silkyness equals ends-that-pop-out-just-when-you-think-they're-woven-in-perfectly.

For a normal scarf the prospect of a couple of yarn ends sticking out here and there might be all well and good, but this was intarsia. My FIRST attempt at intarsia. Sure-- intarsia, as it turns out, is easy. But it is also totally maddening. Every six inches look like this:

My one consolation here is that I was smart enough to weave the ends in as I went. Had I left them all until the end, this scarf would still be incomplete. Permanently.

And indeed so floppy that any hopes of a bow like this...

...are immediately dashed.

See!? It's a BOW.

Oh, who am I kidding, I am literally never going to wear it that way anyway. I will likely just wear it in the usual "drape-it-around-my-neck-way" that most of us just wear our scarves anyway.

Though, knowing this NOW does not really help me.

(And might I add I kind of feel like this particular project was what was really keeping me from knitting anything else --I didn't really want to be working on it, but at the same time didn't really want to stray too far from it either--which essentially amounts to: hardly ever knitting it OR anything else). Had I known months ago when I started this scarf that I wouldn't wear it in "bow-format" I would have made the following changes:

a) ALL ribbing. There are two sections of it that are knit in stockinette, you can kind of see those changes in this photo:

The stockinette is the flat part that allows the bow to be more, uh "bow-tastic". Again, it's also so drapey that I don't think it matters that much. Plus if you did it all in ribbing it wouldn't look quite so odd when you did just decide to wear it a more "normal" way.

b) Sweet Jesus I would have made it shorter. A LOT shorter. Not sure if the photos really divulge how many times this thing is wrapped around my neck (while still having ends that hang below my hips). I think even about three feet shorter would still mean substantial length and a decent bow. But again, perhaps this is just down to my own gauge (which I know is loose, even though I repeatedly check it). Plus there are just so many ends that tearing it out to salvage the yarn for other things is just pointless.

Perhaps you need some empirical evidence of it's length...some perspective maybe?


(N.B---this was before I blocked it even...I tried to block it out a bit wider/shorter, but it's still groooooowwwwiiiing)

It's meant to be 9 feet, it's definitely longer than that and by the time I get home it may have eaten my cat and anyone I ever cared about.

But all ribbing aside (yeah, pun intended), it really is a beautiful thing to behold. It felt like a major undertaking for me, and the fact that only one other person on ravelry appears to have knit it should have been my first clue. People often say to me "how can you knit so many scarves?" --I know they are virtually like knitting a sweater sometimes, but this is really the first time I was feeling like "yeah this scarf is taking forever, I may need to take a take a break from these".

Now that it's done I can laguish in its gorgeous-ness, as the memory of all it's hard work floats away.

And you know, cuz I can never have enough crap around my neck it seems, I've started another cowl.

Perhaps someone would like to buy me this $1300 Nylon "knitting bag" from Dolce & Gabbana to carry it around in?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

cute knit overload dot com

I know, I know, I am presently M.I.A.

And this post: purely fluff, I'm warning you now. Just popping in to say: "I haven't died, I'm on vacation, I'm lazy, new knitting is coming, please forgive me".

By way of apology, please enjoy these adorable animals in knitwear:

(this guinea pig is enough to make me change my mind about, yeah.)

All images courtesy of, naturally. If you've never been on that site something is seriously wrong with you. I am pretty much obsessively there on a weekly basis. (Maybe the problem is mine?...I also subscribe to Maru's blog). Ok, confession time: lately my cuteness obsession has extended to "favouriting" cute bunny photos on flickr. I am obviously a softie at heart.

like this:

(flickr i.d: Little Bay Poo)

and this:

But then that would be me getting away from knitting...

If nothing else I can stop agonizing over what to knit as these sites have provided me with the perfect wedding shrug pattern:

kitteh shrug! (image also courtesy of cute overload)

Tommorrow I am off to soak up some cottage-style rays with my knitter-in-crime Julia. Par for the course we will likely obligingly pull out the knitting for 5 minutes before abandoning it all for beer, board games and charred veggie dogs.

Can't wait!