Saturday, May 31, 2008

*flails arms wildly*

Hehe... I've taken up calligraphy again. I learned in primary school (which is more random the more I think about it, and quite medieval really - let's teach all of the ten year olds how to write in Gothic hand, because that's a life skill they're really going to find indispensable....) and have done a little bit now and then ever since. But now I decided it was time to get back into it again. Might learn some new styles. I bought a new pen, so now I have to break it in and get back into practice. Prepare for aching, inkstained hands!

Truest thing ever. This photo is funnier if you can make out the title of the book...

Anyway, the past week has been... well, yeah...
Long story short, I am now going to bury myself up my ears in creative outlets in order to pretend that the rest of the world does not actually exist...

Still chugging away at my Woodland Shawl. It turns out the shawl has magic customer attracting powers. I tried to knit some of it at work last night, and every time I picked the bloody thing up a customer would come into the shop. This wouldn't have been weird, except that it was 10:30pm. Normally after about 9, customers are sporadic indeed. Magic shawl!

Actually, I have two stories about magical knitwear. I lost my iPod on Wednesday. It was in my bag when I went into the medical library (yes, I'm not a med student, but I've been writing a research paper on abortion law, and it's been taking me to all manner of libraries), and when I got off the tram later, it was no longer in my bag. Turned my bag inside out several times: no iPod. I figured I must have dropped it somewhere (I am clumsy at the best of times, and this week I've been under so much stress that it's a wonder I didn't leave any vital organs at Flinders Street station), so I went to uni to ask at the various lost and found desks if anyone had handed it in. I figured the chances of this were slim, so I needed all the help I could get. I put on my lucky socks (stripey!) to aid matters (yeah, I'm lame, shut up). Asked at all the desks, no cigar. :(

So, dejected and very annoyed at myself, I went off to study in the law library. Several hours of trawling through journal articles later, I went to pack up my laptop and what did I find? The Pod returns! Turns out my laptop case had a pocket that I never knew existed (!) and the iPod had wormed its way into it. Don't ask me how, and I was too pleased to care (albeit a little sheepish as well). Anyway, I attribute this reappearance to the socks - I'm quite convinced that if it hadn't been for the socks, then the poor little pod would now be languishing in some other students bag, being violated by someone else listening to my bad music! Yes, I know that's illogical, but I don't care :P

Here's a totally gratuitous picture of my Garter mitt, with a lovely background of my disgustingly cluttered desk (because apparently having one box of matches to hand is simply insufficient... I don't even smoke... I'm just a candle addict). And you can see my pin tin on the left: its an old 'Erinmore Flake' tobacco tin with a jaunty yellow and red lid, and I have no idea where I got it from; I've had it forever and ever. Though mainly the photo is here just just because it's the first picture I've been able to take of these mitts that really shown how nicely the yarn-dyeing went (well, I was pleased with it anyway) - it makes me happy just to look at those lovely blues and greens.
Anyway, off to go and hide under an enormous pile of enviro bags, wishing I had some time to relax. Instead, I get to work for nine hours today, and fourteen hours tomorrow (yep, fourteen hours, a shift at each of my jobs). Fun...

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Life, as I know it...

Well, this photo pretty much sums up what my life has consisted of the last few days:

(well, to be truly accurate you might need to throw in several hundred cups of tea, and most of my body-weight in Turkish Delight bars, but I didn't have them to hand...)

When I was talking about requiring the diverting power of lace (in my last post), I was referrring in no small part to the Evidence and Proof exam. It's got a reputation as being the hardest exam in the whole law degree, and while I beg to differ on that point, 5000 words over three days is nothing to be sneezed at. Posing with my dear old textbook is the second sleeve of my long suffering alpaca cardigan; it's nearly finished now, so I'm bribing myself with it to get myself to crank out the words on my assignment.

Oh, and just to prove that I have been using the diverting power of lace, and not just the power of long-languishing sleeve, here's how my Woodland shawl is coming along:

Close up of the lacey leaves (with visible varigation!!!):

My feelings can't stay constant on the shade of green. I love green, always have done. But this is very, very green. More obtrusively green than I susually go in for. When I dyed it I was going for the a 'new spring leaves' kind of colour, which I think I got fairly accurately, but I'd forgotten, well, just how green that colour was... So perhaps this will be a 'wear-it-when-I'm-in-the-mood' only kind of knit, but oh well. It is helping to keep me sane, not to mention attracting many curious questions from fellow Upfield train line commuters... A few days ago two young Indian men had a chat to me about it; they were interested to see that I was knitting, as they said that in India they'd only ever seen pregnant women knitting. At least they didn't think that I was pregnant. I've heard other knitters complaining about this a lot, but I can't say it's ever happened to me. My body shape is a lot of things, but easily mistaken for pregnant is not one of them (unless women start gestating children in their thighs...) - I'm all gangly arms, a waist small enough to thwart most clothes purchasing sessions, and tree trunk legs.

Oh dear, I've gotten on to musing about body shape. I think it's time to go back to the murder case now... I have to write 3000 words today :P

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Birthday, and other happenings...

Well, I've been really getting on with knitting things the last week or so, which is good (and probably due in no small part to the fact that assessment is creeping up on me, and I have a chronic need to procrastinate):

I finished the Hedera socks:

Behold, my whacking great manly feet posing on my freezer (yeah, there's not much natural light in most rooms of my place) in socks that actually fit. Yeah! Go Hedera! After I posted the FO on Ravelry with the comment that I got it to fit my hulking feet with no mods to the pattern, people started messaging me about it, wanting to know my gauge, etc, so I guess there's a fair few other big-footed people out there curious. For anyone who still wants to know, I give this pattern a hearty tick of approval on the giant footed front. Also, now I understand why people like Patonyle so much. Lovely soft, stretchy yarn, that probably also helped with the fit.

I started a Woodland Shawl:
Here's the blurry photographic proof. I figured that now my assignments are looming, I needed the diverting power of lace (ie. something I can concentrate on and use to not think about essays for a few precious minutes) without tackling anything scary. I tried this pattern a while back with some sock yarn, but the varigation totally masked the pattern, so I used it for something else. So, this time around, I decided that I wanted to try something with very subtle vargiation. Now, a normal person would just buy some yarn, but because I'm me and I'm overambitious/impractical/a bit of a mad scientist at heart, I had to try and dye myself some. So the above shawl is being knitted in Naturally Haven 4ply Merino, dyed green by yours truly. I was actually quite pleased with how it turned out; there are noticeable differences in the colours, but they're not too glaring.

Unfortunately, it turns out my camera is a man, or more specifically, my camera has what my husband refers to as the 'man's' way of seeing colour (and by 'man's', he means his): it simply can't pick up subtleties in colour. So, you can't really see the proper effect in the photo. Oh well, I can see it. The yarn is lovely by the way, very soft and smooshy. And I love green; especially since we're heading rapidly into winter. The shawl doesn't look like much yet, but I'm only one repeat in, and lace always takes a while to get going...

Also, I had a birthday (my 24th, if we're getting technical):

My mother in law procured for me (amoung other things) a pattern book, some new bamboo needles, and some of the above yarn (the chunky blue stuff to be specific). It's acrylic, but I actually quite like the colours (sort of blue and teal shot through with metallic streaks), so I'm thinking I'll do as she suggested and make a scarf out of it.

Incidentely, the other yarn in the picture is stuff that I've dyed myself (yeah, I'm hooked, for better or worse). The green is the stuff I was talking about earlier, and the other ball was an experiment that didn't quite turn out how I planned, but it has a certain festy charm that I can't quite resist. Blue/orange/grey brown is not a colour scheme I would have picked, but meh. Actually, when I was winding back into a ball, I was thinking (nerd that I am) that if chaos could be embodied in sock yarn, it would be this colour. So watch out for some Chaos socks in the future.

And then there's cake :D Since we took over the shop, I haven't been baking nearly as much as I used to do (I used to bake a lot). So it was very nice to get back into it, and make myself a birthday cake of sorts (chocolate of course). The recipe is from Nigella Lawson's Feast - it's the 'Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake' and it's mighty tasty. Very rich though; the recipe made a fair bit more icing than the cake really needed (though I'm not entirely sure that's a bad thing).
So now I have the wherewithal to have tea and cake, two of the finest things in the universe. Yay!

In other news, I also celebrated my birthday by diving headfirst back into my writing project (it's been languishing a little lately... not being neglected, just progressing slowly) and cracking 50k words on the second part. This pleases me.
In other knitting news, I also started a pair of garter mitts for my brother as part of his birthday present (just in boring black though, since I doubt he'd wear a pair that were in colour's like mine) and started and promptly frogged a plain sock (they were too short, and the heel flap wasn't big enough). Also, I finished the first sleeve on my Honeymoon Cardigan. It's nearly there!
Now, off to enjoy tea and cake...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Behold the glory of the tam!

See! There's my head (and hair that very much needs cutting), and there's a hat on it! A shiny, nice, brand spanking new faux fair isle tam to be precise. There's also a lot of the bathroom wall, because it's kind of difficult to take a photo of the back of one's head unassisted. Or it's difficult for me anyway. Perhaps I'm just inferior...

Pattern was the Tam C from the Three Tams Knitty pattern, though I love this one so much that I think I might need to make the other two as well. The pattern was great; really quite easy and very quick (I knocked this out in a few days, just doing an hour here and there sitting in front of the computer, putting off studying for my Evidence exam... whoops). I arsed up the start of one batch of decreases (I thought it was just me being a wally, but Ravelry tells me that I wasn't the only one to get caught up on this, so I feel marginally less wally-like now), but you can only tell if you're looking for it.

Yarns involved were a ball of Holiday 8ply wool (I have had this stuff for so long that I think it actually might be the first yarn I ever stashed... no exaggeration... I bought it years ago to make a cardigan from Stitch and Bitch, but the urge passed and the yarn languished for quite a time) and the leftovers of my dyeing escapade (the stuff that didn't get used up by the Garter Mitts). There wasn't a whole lot of thought put into the decision; these were just the two yarns within arms reach when I decided, on a procrastinatory whim, to make this hat. But it turned out serendipitously well; the green and blue works wonderfully against the black (I've always had a total fetish for black and green together). Behold, my blurry evidence:

Sigh. I love my hat. Very much. I don't have enough hats, so I'm attempting to rectify the situation this winter. This is the first step. Don't ask what the next one is... I have an essay to write... Sigh...

Thursday, May 1, 2008

A brief tangent, and the fabled socks

Well, as previously mentioned, I was particularly pleased with how my attempts at yarn dyeing came out. So pleased that despite already having a million and one projects going, I felt the irresistible need to make something out of said yarn. Thankfully, it turned out to be such a quick project that it was finished in three days, and therefore it doesn't really mean that I'm disgraceful and choc full of procrastination for finishing the other things. Really. I swear. Anyway, behold:
*cue Mr Burns voice*: Excellent!

The pattern is Garter Stitch Mitts by Ysolda Teague, and what an awesome pattern it is too. Deceptively simple, but really great result. Reading over the pattern I didn't really get how the thumb was going to work, but low and behold, it did! I got to play with short rows as well, which is good, because I need practice with them. These were so quick, easy and good that I think I might make a pair for Richard's birthday (in two weeks time), though perhaps not in such a loud colour...

Sigh... I still love the colours. These mitts do not go with anything that I own (possibly with the exception of my enviro shopping bags, as pointed out by the man in the supermarket this morning), but I love them dearly anyway. And they keep my hands toasty warm... I made the slightly larger size, and I'm now thinking that I should have made the smaller, but they're still fine. Also, they make my hands look hilariously large in the above picture. It's the perspective I think; I'm not a scary mega-handed person. In fact, they're quite small for someone of my height, especially given how huge my feet are (Dad refers to them as my 'tiny, starving, emaciated, artist hands' - thanks Dad).

Here be close up, so we can ogle my eye-stinging yarn. Pretty colours (yes, I have a somewhat perverse idea of pretty)! I was pleasantly surprised at the relative lack of pooling, actually. I am very pleased with how the yarn knitted up, and am planning to celebrate by dyeing some more yarn this evening after I get home from my Evidence class.

Oh, and here is photographic proof that the Hedera socks do indeed fit my overgrown feet:

Of all the bad photos I took, this was the best. What does that say about my shaky-arse hands?
But yes, the socks do fit. If anything, they're a touch loose around the ankle, but meh, I'm happy nonetheless. I've just started on the second one, and I always seem to do the second sock quicker for some reason, so it shouldn't be too long until they're done.
Now, I'm off to read about Evidence law and plot colour schemes for my second dyeing attempt.