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Looking up

6 August 2011

giantsunflowers My life has gone topsy-turvy again. I won’t go into details, but the major aspects of my life have all been in a bit of upheaval. I know some of it is because of my nature of worrying and over-analysing, and not just enjoying what I do have. I am constantly working on that.

But this is just a short post to say that today, and even late-yesterday, have been great. It’s been a good 36-hours. Things are moving along. Life’s speed bumps are getting sorted out, one at a time, the only way they really can. And, I even had two conversations with good friends today about future projects.

This has left me pretty excited. And I wanted to record that. That after nearly 3-weeks of feeling like life is throwing too much at me yet again, I feel the universe is evening back out and I will soon be back on the path I should be — enjoying life as best I can, and making the most of it.

Sorry to be so vague about everything, but I just need it to be vague right now while the pieces of the puzzle come together.

Videos I loved as a child

28 July 2011

In the absence of actual knitting content, or anything else you might be interested in, I will begin providing you with videos I loved as a child/teenager.

Where I grew up we didn’t have cable TV so we had only a handful of channels (and for a long time only a manual TV until we got a VCR and I figured out how to hook it up and use the remote control for that to change channels — and this is still the set up when I left for university, and was still in place in 1995). We also lived pretty far away from lots of infrastructure, and had some coastal mountains on one side of us and the Pacific ocean on the other, so radio stations weren’t very forthcoming either. There were a couple of places where they did have cable television. Luckily I had friends who lived in such places so I’d get a dose of MTV when I went there (back when MTV actually played music videos 24/7), and all sorts of exciting cable channels that played movies long before they were available to rent.

In 1983 we went to Hawaii for a family vacation. It was my mom, grandma, and four kids and we stayed mostly in condos/houses that my mom found advertised in the newspaper as holiday rentals. Many of these places had cable TV and a huge hit at the time was Uptown Girl by Billy Joel. My God I loved this song and the video. I was transfixed everytime it came on the TV or radio.

So for your viewing pleasure, Billy Joel and Uptown Girl.

FO: Reunion cowl

5 July 2011

Reunion cowl

As always, I’m behind on posting. I’ve got swept up in a more professional blog the last few weeks so all of my posting energy has been put towards that. Also, despite having another FO, and worn it publicly, I am not happy with it so am remiss to blog about it. So onwards!

I don’t think it’s too often that I get yarn that I want to knit with immediately unless I have bought it for something very specific with a deadline. This was not the case here. I bought this yarn at Squam. It was the yarn I saw and had to have because the colour was so gorgeous. I saw it and bought it without a second thought. It came as a kit with the cowl pattern though to be honest the pattern could’ve been for a toilet seat cosy and I would’ve still bought it. I didn’t even notice that it was a heavy lace weight/light fingering weight yarn. It was all about the Benjamin’s colour.

It turns out that the pattern it came with was pretty simple, shows off the yarn well and doesn’t cause any flashing or other horribleness you often get with hand-dyed yarns. So I wound up the yarn, by hand, like I always do. Except that this took me two nights just to wind. And I don’t mean like 20 minutes each night. It was two quite intense nights of winding. The yardage isn’t obscene, it’s just that things got quite messy and it required a lot of patience and pretending like I didn’t know what scissors are.

Night three saw me try to use some sort of provisional cast on. I was pretty pleased I got it all cast on. Then I went to knit and I don’t know what happened but the cast on just started unraveling and I couldn’t fix it.

So on night four I cast on normally thinking, “Hooray! Stockinette in the round! This will fly off the needles!” It turns out that when you start with 330 stitches and every. single. row. also contains 330 stitches, it takes quite awhile unless you are a knitting machine. And I am not a knitting machine. I knit on this exclusively. I even knit in the subway (hard to do because usually it is jam-packed and also I am only on it for 5-10mins max) and at a couple afternoon seminars.

Reunion cowl

I’m pleased with it. The colour of the yarn is still gorgeous (I want more) and I didn’t knit on too small of needles so it is nice and drapey, but not lacy. The cowl wraps around my neck twice (maybe even 3 times) and I can even lift up one wrap to wear it a bit like a hood. And, I only had 1g of yarn left. 1g!! I didn’t even faff about making modifications to rows. Actually I probably would’ve had 0g left as I technically forgot one row at the end.


Pattern: Reunion Cowl by Natalie Selles
Yarn: Indigodragonfly MCN
Needles: 3.25mm (& 3.75mm for cast on / bind off)


Because the thought of purling 330 stitches over several rows seemed horrible, I knit the garter stitch bits back and forth and seamed them up.

Architecture on my doorstep

26 June 2011
The Sage - Gateshead

The Sage - Gateshead

Gateshead Millenium Bridge

Gateshead Millenium Bridge


The Tyne Bridge

The Tyne Bridge


And a few more


The Sage - Gateshead

The Sage - Gateshead


The Baltic

The Baltic


Zip-lining off the Tyne Bridge

Zip-lining off the Tyne Bridge

Adding more fibre to my diet

21 June 2011

Well, I’ve been whelmed with the increased visits to this blog, the comments, and the discussion that has occurred on Ravelry due to me being a bit vocal about my less-than live-changing experience at SAW. It’s all been really positive and I appreicate that and those who’ve been adding to the discussion constructively.

Over the last couple of years I haven’t been doing a huge amount of stash enhancement because I have so much of it already and I don’t knit very quickly. I’ve been gifted a bit of yarn and I bought some bits for my class at UK Knit Camp that I ended up not using there as we were given some to practice with. I did do a little bit of shopping at SAW though. We were given some two balls/skeins in our goodie bag (including one of Malabrigo — I chose a lace weight and gave it to a friend who gave me the same yarn back in a different colour). I bought three skeins of yarn at the Art Fair on the last night.

Indigodragonfly MCN My first purchase was from Natalie — leeleetea. I saw this yarn and wanted it. This photo does not do it justice. The colours are amazing. In fact, the yarn is Indigodragonfly MCN Lace and was being sold as a kit with one of Natalie’s patterns — the reunion cowl. I didn’t care what the pattern was, I just wanted the yarn. And it turns out the pattern is pretty cute and practical to so I’ve cast on all 330 stitches for the medium.

Liberty Fibers Next up was a sock weight yarn from Liberty Fibers. I was just drawn to this skein because it is so neutral. It is almost like it is tea/coffee stained. I really like it and will probably make some sort of scarf/shawl out of it. It was interesting to speak to Jude and discover that she uses influences like totem poles and japanese art to influence her dying.

Fleur de Fiber And last up, another sock-weight yarn from my roommate, Angela, who runs Fleur de Fiber from her basement in Chicago. I looked at it at her booth a couple of times. I walked away and didn’t buy it (bad roommate) because I was thinking both about my wallet and how much yarn I already have. I went back to the cabin and then thought how I should’ve bought it. Luckily she still had it and I bought it off of her. Woohoo. I don’t know what this is destined to be. It is certainly outside my normal choice of colour, but I just loved the richness of it.

I did buy a project bag too. I don’t actually own any ‘real’ project bags — I just tend to use the freebie canvas bags I get at conferences. I haven’t taken a picture yet and I don’t know the name of the crafter who made it! I thought it was Annemade, but it doesn’t seem to have any sort of label on it. Will have to investigate.

And just today I got some surprise yarn in the post from BFBs mum. I’ll need to photograph it and log it into Ravelry.

Running with scissors… kinda

14 June 2011

I did it. I cut my knitting. Nothing super serious like a steek, but I’ve added an afterthought heel without using waste yarn during knitting. I didn’t really know where the heel would be placed which is why I didn’t want to put in waste yarn.

I struggled to find some information about where to place the heel since I didn’t use waste yarn then I found this post by Grad School Knitter. There is also the post from the Yarn Harlot from late-2007 which is when I first learned about this possibility.

Two DPNs in knitting - there is a row inbetween

Two DPNs in knitting - There is a row inbetween

Yarn snipped

Yarn snipped

Voila! Heel!

Voila! Heel!

A couple of tips…

  1. As for placement, I did as suggested by Grad School Knitter and placed it 2″ short of my foot length e.g. 9.5″ foot length so placed at 7.5″.
  2. I placed two DPNs into my knitting before snipping the middle stitch which meant I didn’t have to then pick up stitches once the cut was made. I used much smaller DPNs (2mm instead of 2.5mm) — insert the one on top of where you’ll snip first, then the one underneath — it’s just easier to manipulate that way.
  3. When you cut the middle stitch and unpick, don’t get annoyed at having to pull so much yarn through towards the end and trim it off since uh, this is still live yarn and needs to have the end woven in. This could’ve been mildly disastrous.
  4. Pick up a stitch either side just to close any holes (as you would do if you were knitting a standard gusset/heel) – though maybe two would’ve been better here.

I am actually going to re-knit this heel as it is a bit tight for my high instep, but the process will be essentially the same with the difference being of slowing down the last 2-3 decreases. Once both socks are done, I’ll show them off. I love this first one! Can’t wait to wear them this winter!

I’m not all doom & gloom

11 June 2011
Fishermen on Squam Lake

Fishermen on Squam Lake

So before you think I’m just a negative nelly, I did really enjoy taking classes at SAW that were outside my comfort zone. I think it must be an age thing, but it’s pretty unlikely that 10 years ago I would’ve attend SAW at all nonetheless on my own, and if I had I would’ve tried to take things that I was already pretty comfortable with. Something has happened where I push myself a lot more than I ever did. Or ever recognised that I did I mean I did go away for a year to live with a host family in New Zealand when I was barely 15 years old — even though technically it was an option to do a shorter stay somewhere else or 6 months in New Zealand, I didn’t think for me that was an option.

I moved myself to the UK. I sold most of my possessions and shipped the rest over. It wasn’t until I met my friend Keri, also an American who moved to the UK, and learned that she stored her stuff at her parents and came with two suitcases that I realised that that was an option I never even considered. I don’t know why I always have to just in at the deep end. No wonder I get stressed out…

Anyway, I’m glad I learned more about embroidery, quilting, and crochet — all things I had essentially no experience in. I realised that just like with anything, I’ll take more quickly and naturally to some things than others. I definitely want to pursue all three and hope that I’ll find a way in my life to tear myself away from the internet (I get distracted by all the creative people out there and their blogs/photos/projects/recipes) and really make a crafting life for myself even if that means staying with a day job that doesn’t stir up any sort of passion in me.

Cabin on Squam Lake

Cabin on Squam Lake

Reading a lot of the other posts about SAW really makes me feel like maybe I was asleep the whole time I was there. I look at the pictures, and read the posts, and I get that same sense of wonder, excitement, and intrigue that I got before. The one that made me sign up and say ‘I want that to be me’. Of course my experience at the same exact event feels totally different like maybe I wasn’t at the same event.

I think part of it might be that I was never hugely social which people don’t believe. I’ve always liked, and require, time to myself or I start to feel overwhelmed and anxious. The jobs I’ve had in the UK have required me to get over a lot of that, and again, the age thing. In the past I would sit back a lot and observe groups of people before making friends. I wanted to make sure to find people that I would make a good connection with. I like having deep connections with people over superficial ones. (I’m the person on Facebook who would have maybe 30 friends, not 300. But I’m not on Facebook.) Once I’m comfortable with people, I’m pretty social.

A lot of my personality is based around humour and my brand of humour is different to a lot of peoples so its hard for me to feel like I can fit in. I have a pretty dark, dry and sarcastic sense of humour and have had many occasions where I’ve made a joke and my delivery has caused offense because it was so serious sounding. I mean, when my sister died, I had to crack a joke when my brother asked what we were gonna do with her. He looked at me and said ‘What is wrong with you?’ and I knew that actually my sister would’ve laughed at my joke — we had the same dark, dry and sarcastic sense of humour. My mom doesn’t really get a lot of my jokes and I always have to say ‘I’m joking, mom’. My dad does though. And my brother and his family in San Francisco.

This post is a bit more rambling than I had planned, but I just want to point out again, that there were some definite good things about SAW, but others that left me feeling flat and not as inspired and creative as I expected. Who knows, maybe some time I’ll go back with a friend and I can feel more free to be me and make all the dark jokes and someone will be laughing and I’ll get more from it.

There is a pool of pictures on Flickr and a great slideshow of photos from a professional photographer including some atrocious photos yours truly.


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