Fuzzy Lamb/Bear Hat

I have wanted to make this hat since I got the book. For anyone who knows me, I am a great lover of kitsch and basically pretending I'm five years old. Combine that with the skating party I'm hosting this weekend, and this hat moved to the top of the queue pretty quickly. I knew it was fate when this yarn came into the shop, how could I say no?!

The yarn is Suri Mist, a suri alpaca and nylon blend, which means that, in addition to being completely adorable, this hat will be very warm. The ties were made out of some leftover STR Mediumweight and the inside of the ears are leftovers of some Kool-aid handdyed I did a few years ago. Everything was held double. Love!

I knit it on 10mm needles instead of the 8mm called for, so it's a little big. That was mostly because of me not paying attention. The pattern calls for size 10.5. Oops! Really, we need a universal system people. And no Molly, imperial makes no sense, it's going to be in milimetres.

Now I have to decide if I want to knit paw mittens to match...


Cute! Little! Baby! Hats!

Proof I've still been knitting! Though I doubt any of you ever worried about that...
I actually only knit one of these, the cream one, my friend Jake knit the other two. They are his first and second projects ever. Mine is for a cousin expecting her first at the end of the month, and Jake's are for his nephews. I don't really want them to go though, I really like having this little trio of cuteness on my coffee table!

The pattern is the Bulky Baby Hat, by Blue Skies Alpaca, knit in their Bulky Naturals. (try saying that three time fast!) At two stitches to the inch, these guys are super fast, even for a beginner. I think they are a perfect first project since you get down casting on, knitting, purling, decreasing and finishing all done in an afternoon or two. Not to mention that I made Jake knit it on dpns instead of taking the flat option. He knit the first one in two evenings, though only because right before he was about to start decreasing we found that he had accidentally increased a few inches back. Being a bit of a perfectionist he insisted on ripping back and re-knitting it. At that gauge 1 stitch makes a huge difference, so it was probably for the best. The second one was knit in an afternoon sitting at the shop while I worked.



Spinning Makes More Yarn!

Soon after I got back from Europe, I got Laura to teach me how to spin! Man, this stuff is fun to do. This is my first attempt, about 100 yards of merino/silk. It's pretty thick 'n thin, but hey, it's my first try.

This is my second attempt, a much more even skein, also merino/silk. The colours are all pink and a really dark purple. The dye didn't get all the way through the braid, so there is a lot of white in there as well. It's all smooshy and delicious!

Denny has declared Wednesdays for spindle spinning until they all go to SOAR, so I'll be joining in on that. Look forward to some shockingly purple stuff soon!


Still Knitting, Still Blogging.

A finished object! This is Tempest, from Knitty. The yarn is Centolavaggi Lana Merino, by Lane Menterosa, which I found in Florence when I was there in June. The yarn is technically a cobweb, so I doubled up the yarn and was still was only getting a laceweight gauge, so I had to go up a few pattern sizes in order to get a size that would fit me. I think I did size G, though technically I was a size D.

Normally I'm not one to fuss too much about price, but oh man, was this sweater ever a deal! The yarn cost me 5 euro a skein, though I probably only used about 3/4 of each colour. Each skein has about 1400 yards in it. That isn't a typo, there are actually 1400 yards. So the yarn cost me about 15 dollars, and I bought the buttons at the In The Loop yard sale on the weekend for 50 cents. Muahahahaha! My student budget laughs in the face of money!

Now that Tempest is done, I've started a new project. This is Loppem, from Berroco Vol. 3. It's a cute little short sleeve thing that I'm thinking will be good for school. It's looking like it will be a warm fall, and some of my lecture halls can be pretty chilly, so it's the perfect balance. The yarn is Berroco Ultra Alpaca.

My sock at the moment is still the Lettuce Knit one, and it's coming along quite nicely. I'm about halfway down the foot now.

I'd also like to introduce you all to what I suspect will become the newest knitting photo location, my livingroom windowsill. You can almost see the firestation across the street.

Oh, and because someone asked, my apartment is back to normal, with minimal damage from the flood. We only had a little spot on the bathroom ceiling that was very quickly fixed. The people in the unit next door were less lucky, they have to have a wall redrywalled.


On Wednesday, at Knitting, I made a bit of a scene. Well, not really, but I did concern quite a few people (myself included) with a very very small sweater front. It is pictured on the left. The blocked out version is on the right. I am happy to announce that all is well, and that it blocked out just as I hoped and planned it would!

The fronts and back are blocked and ready to go, I just have to finish one sleeve and then I'm ready for the seaming! Almost there....

ps. Please excuse the poor quality of the above photo, I didn't realize it was blurry until just now...


Wet wet wet.

Hello peeps! So I'm still internet-less, though more importantly, I'm also apartment-less as well. What? you might say, didn't you just move into a place? Ah, dear reader, you are right, I haven't even been there for a month yet. However, when I returned from a friend's cottage on Saturday I discovered that my building's roof flooded in Friday's heavy rains. While my unit is fine, with very little water damage, there are still huge fans and dehumidifiers everywhere. So I'm living at my parents place, which means sleeping in the basement.

The cottage was amazing though, and is a good memory to think of when dealing with such things. We did lots of swimming in the lake, sitting on the dock, drinking beer and eating food for three days. There were twelve of us, and it's a miracle/example of us being grown ups instead of teens that we all got fed properly the whole time.

I did some knitting with my friend Renee, who is working on a Harry Potter sweater vest, and needed help seaming it up.

In this picture I am working on some Charade socks out of the new Lettuce Knit colourway from STR, which is gorgeous. It's all pinky and cream and green and blue, with a bit of gray.

I've also been knitting on my Ravelympics project, Tempest. I'm using some amazing cobweb weight yarn I bought in Florence, in gray and blue. I'm double stranding it and I still have a much smaller gauge than the pattern, so I'm knitting a bunch of sizes up. This is the front, which looks tiny, but it streatches way out when it's blocked, so I'm not freaking out. Too much.

I think when I'm done this piece I'll block it and the back and seam them up right away, just to make sure. Better safe than sorry!

Oh, and I now really want to make myself some Dr. Horrible's Sing A-long blog dolls.



So I've been totally lax about posting, which is bad considering the cliff hanger I left you all with. My new job is at Lettuce Knit, the formidable yarn establishment in Toronto. I have survived three shifts unscathed. I even learned how to spin!

I've also been moving into a new apartment, which means that all my waking hours are spent packing, unpacking, or working at the store. I haven't had the chance to take any pictures in the daylight yet, but I'll tell you that Dollar and a Half is kicking my ass. Hopefully I have found it's kryptonite and will whip it into submission sometime soon.

So not to have a completely lame photo, I will leave you with a totally awesome sign I painted at my friend's music festival in England a few weeks ago. The Beat Hive was full of dance and hip hop music, and is where I saw Yacht, who made my weekend. I have Yacht inside me!


Back in the hood!

I'm happy to say that I'm finally home, this time for good. Or, at the very least, for a good long while. Today was mostly spent puttering around, vaguely unpacking and doing laundry. I cast on for the Dollar and a Half Cardigan from Interweave Spring 07 and rescued a chair from someone's rubbish pile. The chair will be especially useful as I will be moving into my first apartment next week, which only adds to the inability to properly unpack. I have no where to put all my stuff.

Tomorrow I start my new job. I won't tell you quite yet where it is, though I suspect that many people know what it is already. I can hardly believe that I'm actually going to be working there, so I'll confirm once I've actually spent a day working.

I'll leave you with this picture from the festival I was at last weekend. I have much craftyness to show off from it, not to mention all the yarn and fabric I purchased within the last few months. I definitely fell down a few times!

Adios, until tomorrow!


Twisted Stitches

I finished the Twisted Stitch Legwarmers! They were so much fun to knit. There was some funkiness in the first one I knit, but I managed to fudge it and you can't tell at all. The second one came out perfectly. I'll try to get some modeled shots soon, it's even harder to take pictures of your own legs than it is to get pictures of your own feet. Bugger.

I used Dream in Color Smooshy in the colour Some Summer Sky. I CO 60sts instead of 58, and increased 12 sts in the purl sections when the pattern started expanding. The pattern calls for sport weight, so I had to adjust for gauge and the fact that I have calves. I think the pattern was written for tiny little model legs. I really want the book that this is from though, Knit So Fine. I love knitting with fine yarn, so I think it would be perfect.

I had loads of yarn leftover, so I am knitting Zeitgeist's Springtime in Philadelphia Beret. The colour in this photo is more accurate. It's all blues and a little bit of lilac. I am loving this pattern, but I am not loving that I do not have a circular needle in the right size. I will bike out to Mumbles tomorrow and see if Mrs. Mac's has one. I need to get out anyways!

I have also cast on another pair of socks. These are Anne Hanson's newest ones, Caterpillar. The yarn is Koigu, colourway P428. I took this photo yesterday afternoon, but after a drink at the pub it has grown exponentially. I'll get another photo of it soon. I've stalled a bit on it. I want it to be my travel knitting for the weekend, when I go to Dublin. It won't be very good if they're finished before I leave!

I have my last exam this afternoon, which I am looking forward to. Well, I'm really looking forward to having it be done. Then I can bike into town and pick up some groceries and top up my mobile, which is completely out of money. I'm only in Swansea for another week, so I don't need much, but I've run out of bread and cereal. I'll have to have oatmeal again today, but that will put me out of milk! It's a tricky business, this using up food. Sometimes you have to buy food to do it. Oh, I will buy some veg so I can do a chicken stir fry with rice. Sounds delicious!


Legwarmers of love!

So my latest obsession has been legwarmers. I wear skirts all the time, so it does make sense. I have these, plus a plain purple pair on the needles at them moment. These are the pattern from the Spring Interweave that is an exerpt from Knit So Fine, called Travelling Stitch Legwarmers. They are seriously addictive. Just one more row to see how this cable goes. Just one more row for the increases/decreases. I'm using Dream In Colour in Some Summer Sky, which is of course, fabulous.

However, I've knit a bit past this point, and the pattern is no longer fabulous. Bleck. It's gone all kinds of wrong. Somewhere along the road my side cables for the back got knocked a row off, and they in no way match the front, and never will, since I don't thing the pattern matches the front. Which is, you know, a problem. I don't mind so much about the front matching the back, but more about both backs matching each other. I may have to start the other one, just so that I can be sure of the funkyness being the same.

Oh, and if you knit this pattern, there are two mistakes in the Hauser Model chart. The middle cable of the first row should be two knits crossing each other, and the left cross on the third row should be right over left, instead of left over right. I like my cables to weave.

Oh, and trip home was awesome. I saw almost everyone, went to the Green Room for (too many) beers, Lettuce Knit, Romni's, MacFab, Future's, Mel's, and Goin' Steady at the Boat. I've also decided to go back to Toronto at the beginning of August, instead of the middle of it. It's only a few weeks different, but it will let me get an apartment for August 1st, which will be easier with school and such. Excitement!

I also should be studying for the exam I have this afternoon. Ha! I laugh in the face of ... Okay, never mind. I'll go.



In 48 hours, I'm going to be here.

Doing this.

And eating here.

'Cause baby, I'm going home.

Seriously, Toronto is the best city in the world and I have no idea why I ever left. I'm only going to be there for 10 days, before I have to come back and do exams, but I am going to make the most of it. I am going to go to all my favourite places, eat my favourite foods, and see my favourite people. Which of course means you! I will be at Lettuce Knit next Wednesday, a week from today, and I hope to see all you fabulous knitters there! It's good to be going home ...


Edinburgh: The Middle

Sunday morning I woke up to find it snowing. It was the first real snow the UK had gotten that year, and it was April. The Australian girl in my room in the hostel was freaking out, she had never really seen snow. I just shook my head, and layered up with some legwarmers and an extra sweater. It wasn't really that cold.

I went to see the High Kirk of Edinburgh. It's kind of like the Scottish version of a cathedral, only cathedrals have bishops, and the Scottish are generally Protestant, so don't believe in bishops. Thus, a High Kirk.

This church was the one that John Knox preached out of, and managed to convert pretty much everyone to being Protestant instead of Catholic. Knox learned from the guy who gave the Selles' their family institution, Calvin. When he died, he stipulated that he must be burried within 23 metres of the church that had been his home.

This was all well and good until the city began to run out of space. The graveyard around the church was turned into a parking lot, and all the bodies moved to another graveyard. But what to do with John Knox? They couldn't just move him, it was his dying wish to remain there. Thus, John Knox, father of Scottish Protestantism, became parking space number 23. All that remains to commemorate him is a gold square to mark the spot.

In the afternoon I went off to the National Museum of Scotland, where I saw loads of Scottish paintings.

The gallery is quite good, with a nice cafe as well. The building is right in the middle of Old Town and New Town, and so perfect to just pop in for a few hours when you have the time.


Edinburgh: The Beginning

On the Saturday morning I took a free tour around the city. Well, it wasn't really free, but instead operates on a donation at the end. The company claims that this means their guides have to try harder, and therefore give better tours. Most of the guides seem to be people who visited the city and never left. Mine was from Oklahoma. There were about 75 people who showed up, so they split us up into smaller groups.

We saw the Walter Scott monument, which is huge!

It was built to celebrate the life of Walter Scott, the man who single handedly managed to revive Scottish nationalism, and saved them from becoming just like the rest of England. He is responsible for making the kilt fashionable, and for kind of inventing it. It's one of those things that's supposed to be all historical, but really hasn't been around for that long.

The little group of buildings in the top left of this picture is the old medieval castle. The whole countryside of Scotland is very hilly, especially Edinburgh. The landscape was carved by glaciers which created dramatic hills and valleys. The old medieval city is built on top of on of the hills, with the newer section on the adjacent hills. There are bridges that connect the tops of the hills, with the poorer sections of the city being in the valleys. These bridges were convenient for the more affluent since they could just walk right over all the muddy gross parts of town. The street that my hostel was on is called Cowgate because it was where the cows would be driven down on their way to slaughter. Needless to say, that got smelly. The area around the castle is a gorgeous park. Our guide explained that in medieval times the area was a firey poop lake. Because of all the human and animal waste being thrown into the area, methane gas would occasionally pop to the surface and catch on fire. Wonder why the grass is so green? Good fertilizer.

This is the door to the home of Robert Burns, Scotland's beloved poet, which is across from the Writer's Museum.

This is what the guide described as a medieval burglary alarm. It used to be a staircase, though through some sort of renovation, it is now part of the wall. The two middle steps are not uniform to the rest of the steps, which would cause any potential trespasser to fall, make a big noise and get caught. The family would know which step it was, and could tell friends that it was the 7th step up, etc.

This building is a very old, very prestigious (and still operational) boys school. Unfortunately I cannot for the life of me remember its name. What is cool about it is that it was apparently J.K. Rowling's inspiration for Hogwarts, in Harry Potter.

In more geekery, I squealed when I saw this. It's not quite the same, but it's pretty dang close. In the 40's these were all over England, and could be used in an emergency to ring the police. They are still all over Edinburgh, but none seem to be opperational. What really makes it exciting is that they were made famous by the cult British TV show Doctor Who. The Doctor travels around time and space in a ship (called a TARDIS) that has accidentally stuck its chameleon exterior to be the shape of a Police Box.

I saw loads of tourists running up to them and saying "Take a picture of me next to the TARDIS!" Which just made it even more amusing.

In the afternoon I met up with my mom's friend's nephew, Jacob. He was doing his exchange in Edinburgh. We had never met before, but had a grand old time. We went for tea at the Elephant Cafe, then hung out at his residence building. His cousin was having a dinner party with some friends that night, and she generously let me tag along. She complained that the food wasn't very good, but Jacob and I were just happy to have a square meal in us! And it was delicious anyway.


Edinburgh: The Prelude

The train ride up to Edinburgh was really amazing. Sure it rained half the time, but you get to go right up the coast, through all sorts of little tiny towns.

The view is spectacular.

Funny thing is that it's even better on the way out. Going North, the train is on the inside track, so it's harder to see the ocean. Going South, you are right there, looking over the cliffs. Stunning I tell you.

I'm not going to lie, I didn't do much the first day. I arrived late in the afternoon, so I didn't have much time. I wandered about a bit, then went back to the hostel to make some dinner. The hostel was pretty good. They had a full kitchen for us to use, and every couple of rooms had their own kitchen, so it was only shared with about 20 people instead of 100. It was on Cowgate Rd, which is very central. However, it is a bit of a dodgy street at night, as there are a load of cheap clubs on the street. I wouldn't walk alone at night there. So I didn't! Easy solution. What this does mean though, is that it's loud. The bar across the street plays music into the wee hours of the night, so bring earplugs if you plan on staying there.

Though if you are a knitter, it is just around the corner from K1 Yarns, home to such awesomeness as Ysolda. I went there almost everyday. The staff are super friendly and cool, and they have a decent yarn selection, way better than anywhere else in England I've been so far. Though nothing beats Mrs. Mac's in Mumbles!

York, Day the Second

The second day in York I went back to all the places I had been on the ghost tour to see them in the daylight. I saw Shambles Street, which was the film inspiration for Diagon Alley in Harry Potter. It's original purpose was the butchers street, which meant that it was generally full of rotting meat. Pleasant eh?

The joke is that you can shake hands across the upper windows of this building, though apparently that only works if there are extra people hanging on the ankles of the shakers. The distance is just a little too much.

The Golden Fleece is reputed to be the most haunted pub in York, though I can't remember any actual stories from it.

This column is a remnant from Roman days. York is the furthest north the Romans went in their quest to rule the world. The column was found and erected beside the minster. There is an administration building near by, and there is a legion of Roman ghosts in the basement. They trudge wearily, only half of their bodies visible, as they are walking on the origional road through the village, which is two feet bellow the floor. Creepy!

I saw this man playing the piano in a square. You can see the minster in the background. He had wheeled his piano out and taken off the top. He was playing jazz. It was so cool to be able to hear the live piano being played outside. You see violins and guitars all the time, but a piano is a lot harder to move.

I went to Duttons for Buttons, a lovely shop full of nothing but buttons! I bought ... a fair amount. I would show you them, but I left them in Toronto when I went home. They are all very lovely though, and the ladies at the shop were very nice.

This building is a shrine to a St. Margaret. She hid Catholic priests during the Reformation and was beheaded. This house, on Shambles St. was the one that she lived in and hid the priest in. It's a regular little house, completely unremarkable, until you look a little closer. Then you get an unexpected surprise.

Back in the day theses cat statues had been put up to ward off bad luck. This one, including the pigeon, are old. There is also a modern architect who likes to put them on his buildings, as a throw back to the old tradition.

In the afternoon I hoped on a train and went to Durham, where I met up with my friend Catherine. She generously let me sleep on her floor (twice) and showed me around the lovely city that is Durham. There is another impressive cathedral there, of which I took a few photos. Unfortunately we got there just too late to go up the tower, but it was a gorgeous and warm day, so it was nice to just be able to walk around outside.


York, Day the first

On Wednesday morning I woke up and set off on the next stage of the adventure. York. It's a very very pretty town, and I had loads of fun there, though I didn't stay for very long. The hostel there was very nice, it's run by the Youth Hostel Association, and was very clean and family friendly. Plus they had a full continental breakfast included in the price of the night. Mmmm delicious!

York is one of the few cities in England that still has about 75% of it's original city walls. Of course, they aren't really around the city anymore, just around the core of the city, but it's still pretty cool.

All that yellow is Daffodils. The hill was covered in them!

The walls have Gates, or Bars spaced evenly around the city. I think there are about 5 of them. This is Monks Bar, which is around the back of York Minster.

And this is the Minster! It is very grand, and very beautiful. It took so long to build that there are loads of different kinds of architecture within the same building, just because the style of the times evolved over time. I arrived just in time to go to the 5:15 service. It was a little odd. I knew all the words, all the things to say, but every once in a while there would be something that would be a little different that would just throw me off.

I went on the ghost tour that starts at 7:30 in front of the Minster, and had a blast. The guide was wearing all Victorian gear, top hat and all, and was very good. He was very enigmatic, and gave a lot of history along with the stories. There are loads of people who give tours in York and in Edinburgh, and I would definitely recommend going on one, it was lots of fun.