Monday, October 09, 2006

I 'm back!

Some break I took. Possibly a reflection of transition in more than one ways. It certainly was a reflection of my knitting progress.

I just finished a pair of socks with two different heel options. Sock #1 has a badly-made short-row heel with tons of holes where I tried a skp instead of anything smarter in the place that usually causes trouble (we all know where that is). Now I know skp's are not a good idea. Sock #2 has an afterthought heel, which looks really nice but has two drawbacks: the entire heel came out slightly smaller than in #1, although not as noticeable as to make me want to do something about it. Good thing heels have limited sensitivity! However, my kitchenered edges never come out entirely smooth, and this bothers me more on a heel rather than on a toe. So, all in all, I think short-row heels remain my favourite method - or lesser of three evils (I don't like heel flaps at all. Don't like the way they fit my skinny heels, don't like the way they look on other peoples' otherwise wonderful creations).

On other news, the Red Sweater is once a gain a pile of red, curly yarn. After 3 skeins in the wrong direction and several weeks lying untouched, I decided that it was time for action. It isn't me, having such a lovely yarn sitting like that for long. But I ended up not liking the stitch pattern I chose, and therefore it all went back to its magical zero. I am always so impressed by the fact that knitting has no knots, and it can disappear without a trace. Makes me think of the Forbidden City, with its reputation of having no nails. I wonder if it would be as easy to unbuild the whole thing and come up with something new using all the same materials - heh!

And while I was at it, I unravelled a cowl I made over the summer, with the loveliest yarn ever, that didn't deserve to be a cowl that was just too wide for my neck. I am redoing it, using some cables and some 30 stitches less, for a more tight fit. Fingers crossed it fits around my head, as I 'm not sure this yarn likes to be unravelled much.

No pictures again - a pile of curly yarn waiting to have its bath isn't all that much of a progress shot anyway. Ah! well...

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Cats & socks

This will have to be a project photo-less post, as L is travelling to exotic destinations and took the camera with him. But if camera was here, there would be 2 finished socks - of different sizes.

One would be the colleague's baby's lace sock. I had to cast on 36 stiches and do a picot edge on a tiny size cuff, something that turned out quite difficult if you try to pick up the cast-on stiches. I have never tried it on an adult sock, but I believe it would work. So I did a provisional cast-on, and am hoping that joining the two ends will be faster. Although the entire process would require only (5+1+6r) x 36st = 432 stitches in all, I didn't manage to do it all in one go. Kitties got hungry and I had to serve the princesses, so I am still curious which way will work better for me.

The second sock is what was on the needles for my subway knitting, which hasn't been progressing as fast because most mornings I ride standing, and it's not always easy to knit under such conditions. In fact, whenever I did it, I got some nasty looks from other standing riders nearby - as if it bothers them that I have something to do that makes my standing commute less uncomfortable than theirs... Or they might just be afraid I 'll poke them if the train stops suddenly...

This pair of socks will be thereafter known as "Whisky's socks" due to the fact that most of my time while knitting it has been during my agonising attempts to find a home for Whisky, a kitty my neighbours decided to abandon upon moving out. In fact, I knit much of the final parts on the way to and from the vet, and while waiting for her to be taken in (tests, spaying, shots... poor thing!). The yarn is a kind of pumpkin-colour, and Whisky is ginger, so it fits perfectly. I think I will have enough yarn to make another pair of the same colour, which I am planning to give to one of L's colleagues, who has been an amazing help throughout the whole ordeal. She had absolutely no reason to spend any time and effort for a cat she has never met, and I am grateful for her incredibly generous help and support. And as I can think of no better way to offer tangible thanks to people than a pair of hand-made socks, there will soon be 2 pairs of Whisky's socks. Go Team Whisky!


For the time being Whisky is recovering in a private room right next to my study room. She looks like she 'll be fine, but quite out of it for the time being. We also have a good lead on finding a good shelter for her (no-kill, clean, with plenty of volunteers to play with her, space and play area, and good record of finding homes for cats). Our 3-week attempts to find her a home through our connections and their connections have failed, and I had no other option unless I wanted to serve 4 princesses. Which I couldn't, as I already have trouble to find time to devote to my 3 spoiled ones. Whisky is extremely adorable, though, so I have high hopes for her.

Isn't she worth it?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Last days' progress report

Some small pieces were completed before the last weekend, but due to camera cable difficulties they have been hiding in my memory card and refusing to come out. Don't know why, as they are cute and should be proud of themselves.

Item no. 1

nano iPod case

I made it with Sugar&Cream cotton yarn, and although I like the colors, I regret making the hole in the center. It isn't really useful or necessary, as I need the case more for protection inside my bag (things are moving a lot in there. It's a dangerous place for nano-things). But I like a feature I added after these photos were taken: little pocket at the back for the headphones.

Item no. 2

Cake and Cream

The cake was sooo good that I didn't manage to take a picture before it was all but finished! I used blackberries I hand-picked at a nursery, the process itself was so much fun! The cream is my usual home-made face cream, but this batch was rather unsuccessful. It took three tries to make it actually creamy. As usual, though, it smells great! This one has Neroli and Chamomile essential oils, a rather too flowery combination for me, but it's cheerful and satisfying.

Item no. 3


From Mason-Dixon Knitting, of course, which I bought only recently. The book has lots of fun projects, and I am already planning the next projects. But not before I finish what's on the needles. I 've ended up with 3 projects lately, which is too much for my habits. I usually have a portable and a non-portable project and that's it. More than that and it's certain to leave things undone. Problem is, I haven't been feeling like doing the math for the red sweater, and so I keep coming up with short-term home projects to keep me going in front of the tv. Which brings us to

Item no. 4

The picture is not very good at all, but the light in the appartment was terrible. All these clouds make it quite dark in here. It is a baby sock I am planning to inflict on a co-worker who is soon coming back from maternity leave. The yarn is Dalegarn Baby Ull in the middle of the three skeins I dyed last Easter after the eggs :-) I hope the socks fit. The baby will be about six months old, and I have a very vague idea of how big (or should I say small) baby feet are at that age. I only know they 're cute - why are baby feet so adorable?!!!

Friday, September 01, 2006


It's been busy, and the knitting was erratic. Made some progress on the sock, but most days I couldn't find a seat on the subway, and I didn't feel like knitting while standing.

So here 's where the kitties come to my rescue. I was wrapping a present for a friend the other day, and Skid decided to help me tie the (yarn) ribbon.

Then Seven joined the team...

Yes, it's a knitting book.


Sunday, August 27, 2006

Felting and what I like about it

I 've been felting (or is it fulling?)
During the summer I made this:

yes, I can see it too, they 're not identical. Big, huge mistake I have no excuse for either making or not correcting. I could blame the intense summer heat, the laziness, the vodka-orange drinks and the World Cup that were going on while I was knitting, but no. It was all my fault. sigh! Nonetheless, I threw them in the washer as I am planning to add a cuff anyway and I am hoping I can fix it then. If not, I 'll cry for an hour.

And out came this:

Aaah! isn't the top one perfect?! double sigh!

Just for the fun of it, I also threw in this (finger-monkey is in just for scale. He didn't go in the washer):

And out came this:

yipee! what a thrill! Finger-monkey likes it too.

So I 've been making more little cups to felt. Many more - they are addictive! I use them as an excuse to memorise techniques, because everything HAS to be a learning experience. It is my common excuse for spending so much time on knitting when I have billions of other things to do. Some are knit, some are crocheted. Aren't they cute?

I am hoping the flat things at the far left will turn out right for making lids on the two blue cups next to them. Now I have to find some clothes to wash! In sum, here's the list of what I like about felting:

  1. You can make things with holes and not worry about it.
  2. It is knitting, but it isn't.
  3. It is a miracle! Yarn is so amazing.
  4. There is always an extra thrill in the process.
  5. Historically, I 'd guess that felting is a process much older than knitting.
  6. Felted objects are very durable, nearly water-proof, and with a medieval flavor.
  7. They make me thing of 16th-century peasants' clothing, and I always like to think of 16th-century stuff.
  8. It promotes the washing of clothes and general household cleanliness (I put the felting bag along with regular wash).

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

TWO 11-hour bus rides later!

Indeed, after a series of unfortunate events we ended up in a bus Odyssey. Fortunately, I actually like buses - they have on me the effect that trains or ships have on others: they give me itchy feet and dreams of travelling. So, there was reading, sleeping, daydreaming, and of course knitting. As long as it did not keep my eyes off the clouds, that kept changing in amazing shapes and colors in both directions of the trip (sory, no pictures...).

Finished: a pair of wristwarmers. Picture is kind of boring, but how can one photograph a 3x2 rib tube in an attractive manner?

Yarn: Michaela, by Four Seasons (65% wool, 35% polyacryl)
Needles: 4mm circular

Now, I know that many people have reservations about the need and usefulness for fingerless hand-warming devices. On the contrary, I am a strong advocate of them. I used a pair last winter, and noticed several things I like about them. Hence my plan to flood the world with them! Here is the list of advantages ;-)
  1. Obviously, you can use your fingers at will, for whatever needs done.
  2. Contrary to popular belief, fingers actually do NOT get cold easily when the wrists and palms are protected.
  3. Wristwarmers are silent. Very important. I am very sensitive to a certain sound frequency, within which falls wool rubbing on wool over a certain temperture. I know, this sounds very obscure for most fortunate people who are indifferent to it, but imagine your warm, comforting gloves sounding like chalk screeching on a blackboard...
  4. Not having to take them off to perform all kinds of tasks (see 1.) means there are less chances of dropping and/or loosing them - or worse, one of them!
  5. They look COOL!
I also began working on a sock. Am I the only one who doesn't like turning a heel? Even with short-row heels, it is the worst part of sock-making. Progress pictures coming soon.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

I 'm making a list...

Knitting ambitions for fall
A. non-portable
1. red sweater
2. use Rowan yarn (Picovoli maybe?)
lace shawl
4. snowflake hat for brother
felt father's slippers, add top

B. portable
hat with J's yarn
7. more wristwarmers / flap gloves
more, more Christmas ornaments
more, more, more socks

...for now...

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A little bit of history

I learned to knit when I was about 10 - I think. My aunt Sophie, who lived in the appartment above ours, taught me to knit and crochet. She also taught me lots of other useful things, such as how to sew buttons, fold a towel in 3, the lyrics from Fred Astaire's songs... She rarely read patterns, but knew how to make things by calculating, charting and certainly trial & error. This is how I learned to do things too. The first sweater I made on my own was like that, but I got help for the armholes and neck.
Knitting is not so uncommon for girls in Europe. Most of my friends know how to knit, have had lessons at a similar age like me, but only few are interested in it. The flipside is that -at least in Greece (by the way, I was born and lived in Greece until I was 23) knitting is still a 'granny' thing, something girls have to learn but often accompanied with not-so-fun memories.
I always thought it is a great thing, never felt even a bit 'granny-ish', but I didn't always have something on the needles. Throughout my college years I would feel like making something, get the yarn and knit it, and then do nothing until I 'd get another idea -sometimes after months or years. It was about 16 months ago, when I came accross some knitting blogs, that I suddenly rediscovered knitting- and all the wonderful yarns, patterns, ideas that can be found online and beyond. Of course I had to teach myself the English terms of things I knew how to do but didn't know what they 're called, and learned loads of new tricks too.
My point with all that?
Although I admit to really enjoying the ease of following a pattern, I miss the challenge of making things as you go. So next project is one of those, make as you go - and I have been reminded the dubious joy of unravelling too! This is the third try, of what I refer to as 'the red sweater'. Yes. Very creative.

The yarn [Knitpicks Andean Silk (Barn Red)] is not really very shiny, but for some reason it always photographs very shiny. I love the color, and the yarn is soft, knits very easily, and smells great. Yum!
So, anyway, I 'm still on holidays and have time to play around with this blog, but it's also hot, so things aren't moving fast on the links department. Good thing knitters are patient people.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Here we go!

Well, another knitting blog is born. Does the world need another one? Probably not. Will I enjoy keeping mine? Probably yes. So, as my favourite alarm clock setting says: here we go!
DISCLAIMER: English is not my first language. Although every effort is made to maintain quality, I take no responsibility for occasional spelling mistakes or incorrect use of words, especially prepositions!
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