23 April 2010


I saw the pattern first. I was knitting my first sweater, and while I knit it, I decided that Spoke would be the second. It was simple (fitting my criteria for a sweater I will actually wear--crazy-complex stuff is saved for hats, gloves, and socks), elegant, and still visually interesting. And I wanted to try knitting a seamed sweater to find out if I liked it. Turns out I do, and I don't mind seaming.

I thought of the sweater in blue, perhaps. I knew I wanted wool. The first sweater I knit was in an alpaca-acrylic blend, which, nice though it was, sheds like there's no tomorrow. I wanted wool, and I wanted something a little less prone to pilling. So I bought Briggs and Little yarn at Fibres West in a lovely shade of blue.

I cast on with the first sleeve, remembering how long the sleeves took when I knit my first sweater. A month later, I had finished and seamed the sleeves, the back, and the smaller front piece (though I hadn't sewn the sleeves into the body yet), and made a good start on the half circle front piece, which I finished a couple days later. Yesterday I finished it, did the last seams, and washed and blocked it.

So, now it is finished and I am wearing it even though it is technically not quite dry yet. I made it into a pullover, since I don't have a lot of pullovers that aren't hooded sweatshirts. I'm glad I made the XS size, since it's almost a little big after blocking. It knit up very fast. I may have to try a sweater in DK yarn just to see the comparison in how long it takes me to knit. Also, to compare the thickness of the seams. I only used just over four balls of the yarn, so I have about 100 grams left to make something else with.

And now I'm going to do small projects for a little while before I buy yarn for the next sweater.

16 April 2010

The group from the knit-night I attend is having a get-together this weekend. We are finally having our Christmas gift exchange. It was supposed to happen in January, to give us time to make things, but it kept getting pushed back.

I'd finished a couple things back in January, but realized I needed to add something else, so I decided to sew the gifts, instead of knitting them. Sewing is faster. I have one more thing to finish, and I will take pictures, but I will put them up Sunday evening.

I rummaged through my fabric stash, and there wasn't anything that seemed like it would work with the person whose name I drew. What there was, well, was in bits and pieces. So I went to the fabric store yesterday. I haven't bought fabric in quite a while. I usually go to the fabric store to buy notions, since I have a decent amount of fabric to work through. I'm at the point now where I have enough to finish the current quilt I'm working on, and enough vintage material for several dresses, but most of the scraps I had for small quilts, are well, scraps. I like fat quarters, since you get enough material to play around with, but not so much that it breaks the bank. But this time I thought I'd buy a half a yard of some batik and use that. Then I got a look at the prices and nearly had a heart attack.

I realize that things often cost more around here, and I realize fabric is expensive. I do know that. But fabric that used to be 7.99-10.99 a yard when I bought it in the US is 20.00 a metre! The other thing is, well, if you join the sewing club that this chain of stores has, you get discounts. You get a whopping 50% off on the quilting cottons, and 20% on almost everything else. Which means that it's way more affordable that way. I just don't know how much this club costs, since their website is unhelpful in that regard. I'll just have to ask next time I go in. But it feels a little like extortion.

I browsed around for a while and finally bought a pack of fat quarters and some bias tape. Two quarters each of three different fabrics. They've worked well in what I made, but I'm still reeling from the cost of my favourite fabrics.

Next time I go to Vancouver, I am definitely going to Dressew. I didn't realize it was right around the corner from Button Button, so I didn't go last weekend. Although my husband says that's probably a good thing, since we'd probably still be there. I laughed. Of course we wouldn't. Maybe.

12 April 2010

day out

Since I had to go all the way down to UBC to return some library books on Saturday, my husband and I made a day of it. We went to UBC, admired the gorgeous campus and the really cool library book-drop (seriously, the library I work in could fit on one floor of the Koerner Library). On the bus on the way there, we went past Urban Yarns, so now I know how to get there. We didn't stop there, however. We got on a different bus and went to Gastown instead. I hadn't been to Gastown since J. took me there on a date several years ago. I had been told, by friends at knit-night, that there was a really cool button store down there. They were not wrong.

Button Button is a very cool button store. They have a really nice selection of different kinds of buttons and clasps. I loved the Beatrix Potter and Paddington Bear buttons. We spent a while browsing there, but I ended up buying what were almost the very first buttons I looked at there. I did debate about the medieval style ones, which were simple and elegant. Next time I end up at the store, I may buy those.

So now I have six of the above steampunk-style buttons. I already have a cardigan in mind for them, but I haven't decided on the colour or the yarn. I'll need to go hunting for it sometime this summer. I'd like to use Cascade 220. I've only used it in hats so far and I really liked it.

And sadly, somewhere between lunch, Skytrain, and the bus, I managed to lose my hat. It was the green one, the one that reminded me of the forest. I have a matching scarf which I managed to hang onto. I think I left the hat in the restaurant. I'll probably call them tomorrow to see if they do lost and found. If not, well, I hope whoever finds it can use it. I like the hat, but it's not my favourite. It wasn't quite the shape I wanted, so I rarely wore it.

Spoke is coming along nicely. I have both sleeves finished now, and I started the left front yesterday. I started Skew earlier this week but haven't worked on it much this weekend. I grabbed a different sock for Saturday. Those brown men's socks I was working on months ago came out of hibernation just because I needed something simple for the bus. I'm on the leg of the sock--just a few more inches to go and I can bind off the first one. Also, today I finally set the twist on some handspun I finished plying last week. I'll check the yardage and ball it up tomorrow when it's done drying. I know I have enough to make a hat, for sure. And since I'm sans one hat, a new one will be nice.

08 April 2010

the lint is everywhere

Yesterday, I cast on for Skew. I'm working my way up the foot right now. At the moment, I'm just alternating plain rows with increase/decrease rows, but can hardly wait to get to the heel. It looks like fun. I am using the really great Zauberball yarn for these. It has great colours and long repeats. Short colour repeats might be more interesting for Skew, but we'll see how it goes at the heel. I can always knit a second pair.

For Spoke--I have one sleeve finished and the other started. I'm alternating rows on this sleeve to mix the dye lots. They're so close that they are only really distinguishable in very strong light (and not at all in Starbucks, even though Starbucks has better light than my two favourite coffeeshops), but I want to avoid being discontented with the sweater.

I still really like Sedum, but if I ever knit it again, I will use different yarn. It stretches more than I'd prefer (that may be my gauge, though), and it sheds. By the theories of Chomsky, it sheds! Last time I washed it, after it was dry, I used one of those lint brushes that has the sticky paper you peel off. I peeled off a lot of sticky paper that evening. I had to lint brush the ironing board, where I'd blocked the sweater, after I hung it up. It sheds all over my clothes, and I find alpaca fibres everywhere now. When I'm wearing the sweater, sometimes I find myself with alpaca fibres getting into my mouth (not sure how that happens). And I am a person who has long hair that sheds like crazy (my husband has blamed my hair for a broken part on the vacuum that he had to replace), and because there is a lot of cloth and yarn in my home, I have a lot of lint floating around. And yet, the amount of lint coming off of this sweater seems truly extraordinary. I still like alpaca, but I think that inexpensive alpaca may not be the best way to go if you want a hard-wearing sweater. I'm going with a sturdy Briggs & Little wool for Spoke. It may have the occasional piece of vegetable matter, and it may be a little scratchy, but it does not shed.

The other day, I was knitting a dishcloth as a bus project. The cotton I grabbed from my bag happened to match my shirt rather well. I was coordinated! This is unusual, since I frequently wear socks that do not match my outfit and often pair my practical black waterproof shoes with my favourite pants, which are brown.

05 April 2010


In between trying to write today, I've been knitting on a sock. I started the pair last month for a group on Ravelry: Sock Knitters Anonymous. Each month, they have a challenge, and if you finish the pair of socks within the time limit, you get entered in a draw for cool stuff. I've thought about doing it before, but the challenge was never something I wanted to knit. Last month, it was lace. You have to cast on before the end of the month, and finish before the end of the next month. I started the Butterfly Socks by Wendy Johnson, because they had double yarnovers and because I'm trying to knit my way through that book. Also, I was using up some leftover yarn.

The first sock was a pretty fast knit. I started it a little over three weeks ago and finished it before a week had gone by (given that I knit a few repeats and realized I had to frog it and restart because I was doing the pattern wrong, I'm proud of that). Then I set it aside, frustrated a little with the yarn (bamboo heels and toes and corn fibre foot and leg) and the needles (circulars don't seem any faster than DPNs, plus, the dangling needle gets tangled up in the yarn). Finally, a couple days ago, I cast on the toe of the second sock. As a break from writing, it's been nice, because it's easy. I have a couple more lace repeats to go, followed by the picot edging. Then it's done. I don't love them. The butterfly pattern just doesn't work for me. I like the yarn better now, since I like the way it knits up. I might even buy more someday. And in the meantime, I have some appropriate socks for summer. Lacy, and not made out of wool.

01 April 2010

I took a trip to the LYS today, and there I met a little girl (3 or 4) with excellent taste. While her mom was busy selecting skeins in the corner with all the baby yarns, she took a basket and made right for the Malabrigo. She tried to give me some, too, but I had already selected my yarns (Araucania, rather than Malabrigo, although I really need to get me some of that yarn one of these days). She even picked up the colourway I liked best and tried to give it to me.