Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Brief Interlude.

This afternoon I sat my second last exam. The final one, for my Environmental Law subject, is on Friday, so I'm tantalizingly close to being able to fall down and sleep for a week, but I'm not quite there yet. So I need to plod onwards, and give myself small rewards along the way to encourage my poor brain not to curl up and die quite yet. Rewards like a new cardigan...

What you're looking at: Easy Top Down Raglan, by Laura Chau. Knitted on a couple of 6mm circular needles (long one for the body, little one for the sleeves), out of six skeins of Noro Kureyon (100% wool), colour 213.

The endless prattle: Well, I had some Kureyon that I'd gotten my filth paws on the last time that the Aussie dollar was doing well, and I needed some stress-free exam knitting, so it's not particularly surprising that a cardigan happened. This is a great basic pattern, though I didn't follow it exactly, as my gauge was different. I used it to get a rough idea of how many stitches to cast on, and then went from there, adding a very small amount of waist shaping along the way (placed quite low on the body). I opted for 3/4 sleeves because I thought that I didn't have enough yarn for full length - though the body turned out being somewhat larger than I thought it would be, so I really could have just knitted it smaller, and then I likely would have had enough yarn for long sleeves. Oh well - I'm still happy with it.

As I mentioned before, everyone who has seen me knitting this in real life has admitted to finding it ugly. Yes, I'll admit, it's a little garish - Noro has a tendeny to be that way sometimes. But I like it anyway - it cheers me up to look at it. And I'm very enamoured with the blue buttons. I'm not normally one of those people who pays a lot of attention to such finer details, but these please me quite a lot.

See that smile? Totally forced - less than two hours before this was taken I was writing frantically in an exam, and really, what I dearly want to do is collapse (possibly after ingesting a glass of wine and something unhealthy). That said, I still quite like the cardigan.

Up next: Anna's adventures in needle-felting, a.k.a: Anna discovers a craft that basically involves stabbing something repeatedly with a barbed needle - and realises that this is actually quite a soothing hobby to pursue during exam period!

Friday, November 20, 2009

The last time...

Well, it's exam period again, which of course means that my life is now devoted to pouring over endless 30 cent notebooks filled with the usual scrawl - the above-pictured page, I believe, contains commentary on the Geneva Convention, though this time last week it was privacy law. It's rather hard to keep up - I know my brain always struggles. At least it'll all be over by this time next week. Not to mention, as alluded to by the post title, this will (notwithstanding me having some kind of epic freak-out and failing my remaining exams) be my final semester of law, my final batch of exams. So theoretically, I should be relishing it. So much for theory.

And of course with exam period comes the stress-relieving exam knitting. The above pictured cardigan is coming along quite nicely - I've only got a sleeve and a half to go now, so I'm very nearly there. Due to yarn limitations (some people would tell you that six skeins of Noro Kureyon is not enough to make a cardigan, but those people are quitters!) it's a little shorter than I might otherwise have made it, but I'm actually rather liking it this way. It's jaunty. I think I'll go with 3/4 sleeves and some bright blue buttons. Everyone I've shown it to so far thinks that it's ugly as sin, and I suppose they're probably right, but I don't care - it makes me happy, and stops me from feeling like all I've done with my day is write something bleedingly obvious about Additional Protocol II.

In other news, it's been far too hot to do anything particularly constructive, so I've resorted to my usual fallbacks for the small smattering of recreation time I do have - reading, playing woefully outdated computer games, and cooking. And buying things on the internet - have to make the most of the strong Aussie dollar. It would be simply irresponsible not to... On that note, I bought more yarn (curse you, Sanguine Gryphon, I just can't resist your charms), but that's perfectly all right, because in keeping with the Not-A-Yarn-Diet, I used up 300g of Berroco yarn and 200g of Noro before doing so. Hurray for me. And I bought less than that, so I'm still making progress. Of sorts.

Also, as I mentioned, I've been cooking, and I have pictures to back it up. This here is the makings of a very fine pumpkin, spinach and goat's cheese risotto, because I took it upon myself to buck the trend of living on breakfast cereal during exams. It never ceases to amaze me how spinach wilts down. I mean seriously, from the above, to this... about thirty seconds. Crazy stuff. Crazy but delicious. I also made this cake, because I couldn't resist the pull any longer. For some reason, it's taken me a very long time to get into looking at recipes on line - up until now, I have been strictly old-school, preferring my cookbooks. But I think I'm finally beginning to get with the times. How astounding. Then again, cake tends to be very persuasive...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

This time of year...

Ahh, November - the time of year when my brain and all of my time both fly merrily out of the window. The Essay of Doom got submitted with a blessed lack trouble, but I am now languishing slap bang in the middle of exam period, with more revision to do than I can shake a decent sized stick at. I suppose I should be making the most of it - as long as there are no catastrophic academic disasters, this will be my last semester of law, after all...

Thankfully, as always, there is still time to knit. Or rather, I manage to do it anyway. It stalled for a while, but I managed to finish my Gathered Pullover:

(please excuse the fact that I look knackered - I had just gotten off a very long shift at work)

The Business End of Things: Pattern is the Gathered Pullover, from the Winter 2007 issue of Interweave Knits (in a custom size somewhere between S and M), knitted on a 4.5mm circular needle, and 4.5mm dpns. Yarn used was six skeins of Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light (50% alpaca, 50% wool).

The Blathering On: For a start - man, but that cable is much simpler than it looks! I was almost disappointed by how easy it was - there weren't nearly as many crosses as I had initially assumed. I nearly blinked and missed it all!

This is a really great pattern, as is somewhat obvious due to the fact that it has, at time of writing, 984 projects on Ravelry. It's easy but interesting looking, and had it not been for my huge workload and the comparatively lightweight yarn, I probably would have finished it sooner. The only modifications I made were to omit the decorative decreases/increases from the bust, add waist shaping (because these days I just don't do jumpers without - such an improvement from so little effort!) and lengthen the body and sleeves slightly. I probably could have done without the latter as the sleeves grew quite a lot with blocking, but thankfully I am quite partial to longer sleeves, so I'm still happy with the result.

Amusingly enough, despite the fact that I've definitely knitted my fair share of jumpers over the last few years, I'd never worked one in the round, from the bottom up, with set in sleeves. I quite liked the method, but somehow I think that I might remain devoted to raglans for the time being - for all that my seam sewing has improved immeasurably over the last year or so, I still prefer to work seamlessly where possible. All said and done, I'm quite happy with this one. I'm not thrilled with how the rolled neckline quirks up a little, and it's warm enough that I won't be able to wear it for a good few months yet, but these are pretty small quibbles really.

In other news, I've been thinking that I need to blog more often. I think that my main problem with updating a knitting blog regularly is this: I don't work fast enough to only post when I finish a project, but I have a chronic inability to take decent in-progress shots. Oh well, I shall attempt to find some way to fill the gaps. Watch out, blogopshere...

In the meantime, here is a picture of the very delightful afternoon tea I had with a friend on Friday:

Why yes, it was delicious. What you see there is almond croissant and sticky date pudding from the local bakery, washed down with a couple of pots of jasmine green tea. Om nom nom.

In other news, I am working away diligently on the Noro cardigan I started as an exam-time, no-though-required, relaxing, therapy knit. It somewhat failed on the relaxing front when my circular needle broke and spilled my stitches everywhere, but thankfully the knitting gods were smiling on me and I managed to restore order with no lasting harm.

The Not-Yarn-Diet is going well too - I haven't bought any unauthorised yarn (and for this I thank this blog, just for keeping me accountable), despite being occasionally tempted. Soon I shall indulge though - the Gathered Pullover took up around 300g of yarn, and I've used 150g on my Noro cardigan so far. This means I am a single paltry ball away from being able to buy more yarn, though I must say that the urge has, for the moment, passed. Oh well, I'm sure that it will be back soon enough...