Tag Archives: StephenWest

A Knitter’s Lament

There are two very sad things that can happen when you are a knitter.  You can work on a project that you love, and at the end of it, no matter how much blocking or tugging or curse words you use, it just won’t fit.  If you haven’t been there yourself (and I hope that you haven’t), it’s how stories of socks that would fit a Yeti or the sweater that will fit no one, ever, because your gauge was so off that it’s a very small tent instead of a wearable garment emerge.  And that is sad, and you hope at some point (probably many years later) maybe a little funny.

The other sad thing that can happen is when you knit a pattern and size doesn’t matter, and at the end of the whole thing either you or the person that you made it for just doesn’t love the final product.  Try as you might to convince yourself that the finished product can still redeem itself, you know in your heart that it’s really just a lost cause and tomorrow you are not going to love it any more than you do today.

Enter Oeste.

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Cast on way back in February of 2012, this project had potential.  It was part of the Steven West Mystery Shawl Club.  As I started knitting it, I wasn’t sure it was my thing.  Even my Husband greeted the pattern with a fair degree of scepticism.  But the triangles were fun and they were turning out well so I kept at it.

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And then I started putting it together and really that’s when it all just fell apart for me.  I won’t wear this.  Not ever.  It looks like the spines on a Stegosaurus.  I started thinking that I might actually hate this item.

So into the time out corner for unfinished and unloved knitting it went.  And there it stayed for a very, very long time.  And I hoped that if I left it alone long enough the adage that absence makes the heart grow fonder would be true and somehow I would start to love this scarf, shawl,dinosaur spiney thing, piece of knitting. (In reality, I wasn’t developing a  fondness for it, I was just ignoring the heck out of it).

So this week, it  came back out.  I don’t know if it’s a carry over from leaving my old job and starting a new one, or the fact that the number of WIPS I have going is slightly unhealthy.  Whatever the reason, I am feeling the need to tie up loose ends in my knitting projects, so out it came.  And I finished sewing on the last two triangles, and weaving in the ends.  I liberated my blocking wires from the closet and threaded them through.  And I left it on a towel in my living room with pins and wires and then stepped around it every time I went to that side of the flat for something.

And you know what?  (Imagine the drum roll in your head and take a  big deep breath in)………..

Nothing miraculous happened.  I still don’t like it.  I just don’t.  My Husband has suggested that we use it to cover the back of the sofa.  That might work.  (Ed. Note:  It’s a multi stage plan.  OK, only two.  Step one: Place dinosaur-spine-antimacassar on sofa.  Step two: Give it away to the first person who says they like it.)

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But really when it comes to this piece of knitting I am at a loss.  I’m at such a loss that I’m not even sure how to wrap up this post.  I guess the only thing to do is ask, what would you do with a giant, green, Stegosaurus like thingy?


FO Friday – it’s Just a Little Late

In a perfect knitting world, every time you picked up your needles, you would know that everything would always work out.  You’d always get gauge.  You’d never run out of yarn or have to frog a project back.  Any gift you knit would always be the right colour, size, and fit and the recipient  would be worthy of the work.  The gift would also be on time and you would meet all your knitting deadlines with ease and grace.  Sadly though, we aren’t talking about the perfect knitting world.  We are talking about my knitting world and in my world my BFF received her Christmas present a little late.  Yesterday actually.  (But we  won’t deal on that).

She had already seen her gift as I had given her the option of having me knit it in front of her thus spoiling the surprise but greatly decreasing the length of time she would have to wait for the finished object.  Maybe I should do  the same thing for her birthday gift.  Sigh.

The pattern is Earth & Sky 

And I used Silky Wool

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She’s being a little camera shy.

One last note on a perfect knitting world. You wouldn’t have my SIL’S pooch trying to help you  with your knitting  by sticking her nose smack in the middle of every ball you pull out of your knitting bag just long enough to sneeze in it. Every. Single. Time.

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My name is Daisy. I steal birthday cupcakes and lick socks.

For more Friday knitting check out FO FridaysCreative Friday, and Fiber Arts Friday.


On My Needles & Between My Pages March 28

On My Needles

Progress on Oeste has stalled a little due to the fact that I have become distracted by something else. (I know, that never happens! I’m so good at finishing one project at a time.) I will be posting the “something else” on Friday so I’m keeping that under wraps for now. But, I have finished the body of Oeste and now only have four triangles left to make. That’s not a lot of knitting. Each triangle takes under an hour so I am hoping to have the knitting finished, though probably not the sewing up, over the weekend. I am starting to have some yardage concerns surrounding the amount of Knitsch yarn I have left. But really, if you know me or follow my blog regularly you know I have yardage concerns all the time and aside from one glaring incident I have always either had enough yarn or found a creative solution to deal with the lack of yarn. I think for this project I am heading into creative solution territory. Either way, I hope to be able to show it off to you sometime next week.

Between My Pages

I am pleased to say that I have finished the final two books in the Autumn series by David Moody. I mentioned the third book, Purification, a few weeks back and finished it just before heading off to Mexico. The third is the conclusion to the story of the survivors who are attempting to flee the city. The story is well written and does briefly conjure up images of the final scene of Dawn of the Dead (though it is in not the final scene of the book). As any good zombie story does, this books becomes less about the dead and more about the human relationships. The series could have easily ended here, however Moody had one more novel in mind.

Disintegration, the fourth book, I read while on vacation. While I appreciate the idea that Moody took the writing back to the city to convey the story of the survivors who were left behind, I did feel like he started to rely a little too much on the gore factor, which did detract a little from the story lines about loss of humanity and evolution of the human relationships. I also found it a little difficult to completely have to shift modes to a new set of characters after having become so heavily invested in the charactors from the other books. These two things combined did make the fourth book a little tedious, but overall it was still a fairly good read. Moody is able to provide enough continuity in the timeline of the third and fourth books (you realize quickly that both books occupy the same linear timeline) to explain why things happen in the fourth book the way that they do and second half of the book becomes very enjoyable. It feels like Moody got his second wind to finish both the book and the series. The final paragraph of the book is truly haunting and you can’t close the book without one last cold chill.

If you like zombie stories, the Autumn series as a whole is a worthwhile read. And in four books, he never uses the word zombie. Not even once.

For more great Wednesday stuff check out WIP Wednesday and the Yarn Along.


FO Friday – Three Finished Shawls

So I’ve been a little behind on the photos, but finally I have my latest three shawls to share with you.

First up, my Giant Flamboyen.

I'm not sure what the finished dimensions are, but I can assure you I will never be cold again!

I used approximately 1050 yards and it’s really a small blanket.

Next up is Flavia.  I really lucked out.  I know the designer and asked her to take the pictures for me.  Pro tip – do that whenever you can.  I love how she photographed it.

And lastly is Arroway minus the arrows. I realized three rows into the double stranded work that I had sort of just started making stuff up as I went along and decided just to run with it. I love how it turned out.

Overall, very pleased with all three and all three are very different.

For more Friday knitting check out FO FridaysCreative Friday, Fiber Arts Friday, and Fibers on Friday


WIP Wednesday Feb 29

I have been making a huge effort to decrease the number of WIPS that I have, and I’ve been at least a little successful.  However, since I am taking part in the 12 shawls in 2012 challenge, it does mean that I had to cast on something new, as I finished the February shawl and I want to stay on track with a shawl a month.

My march shawl is Oeste. It a very interesting construction, comprised of seven of these little triangles and the main body.

As you can see, I’m short a few triangles.  I’d love to say I had a genius plan in mind to make sure that I have enough yardage or that doing things this way will somehow speed the whole process up.  In reality, I was a little bored with the triangles (and a lot sleepy) and needed something very simple to knit.  I switched to the body and will finish the triangles after.
I’m using a combination of MCN sock from IndigoDragonFly in “Now Accepting Applications for Minions” and some of the lovely yarn my BFF brought back from New Zealand for me, called Kitsch.  I love the way the two yarns are working together and am curious to see how it all comes together in the end.  It’s actually a relatively fast knit, so I’m hoping it won’t take too long.

For more great Wednesday stuff check out WIP Wednesday and the Yarn Along.


On My Needles & Between my Pages

On My Needles

This weekend coming is one of my favourite weekends of the year.  I get to hop in a car with some other knitters and we drive for a couple of hours out of the city and end up with a bunch of other knitters and we all sit around a knit and talk and eat and drink and knit.  We laugh a lot.  We knit a lot.  And since this little meet up is the brain child of Kim (a.k.a Indigodragonfly) she or more correctly her man brings up tons and tons or yarn and seasons of Buffy and whatever else 12 knitters in a huge “cabin” could need for the weekend.  And he’s close enough to be on call.

I am trying to be reasonable about the number of projects that come with me.  And I think I have it nailed down to three.  My flutter-by socks, the craziness that I cast on this weekend, (more about that tomorrow), and the Oeste by Stephen West.  For that one I will be using one of my skeins of “Now Accepting Application for Minions” and the two gorgeous skeins that were brought back for me when my BFF headed off to New Zealand last year.

 

I am hoping to get most of the socks and the scarf finished, but I do have this little tendency to be overly confident in my speed and knitting agility so I’ll just have to play that one by ear.

Between my pages

Not much of an update here.  Still reading the Worst Hard Time and have also started reading Purification, the third book in a zombie series that I started reading over the summer.  I would like to point out that my music library and my reading library have much in common.  Both are very diverse and a little eclectic..  Enjoying both books for different reasons and will post full reviews when they are finished.

For more great Wednesday stuff check out WIP Wednesday and the Yarn Along.


12 in 2012; One down, 11 to Go

The first of my 12 in 12 shawls is finished.  I am pleased to say the the seemingly never-ending rows of moss stitch on the Flavia did in fact end.  They lead to a 500 stitch border which was initially very daunting and did result in me texting my husband and telling him that I was seriously considering tossing the whole damn thing under the wheels of the car and driving over it a few times.  I refrained from actually doing that and instead picked up the stitches that I needed and made the border.  (Remarkably, I was only missing one stitch!) And it was worth every moment.  I am super pleased with the final shawl.  I’m going to post pictures in the next week as I still haven’t blocked it.

Unblocked and needing it's ends weaved in.

But, on to number two.  Number two is Arroway by Stephen West.  Aside from having reached the Fair Isle colour work section of the shawl and being slowed down a little, the shawl has been going swimmingly.  It has had, up until this point, the perfect balance of mindless and interesting that means that it comes off the needles relatively quickly.  And just at the point where I was beginning to think that I was getting too bored to carry on, Mr. West threw in some two stranded colourwork and now I’m not bored.  And I love the colours of this shawl.

I’m using two shades of Indigodragonfly’s MCN Sock.  The darker of the two is “Who’s a Guy Gotta Kill Around Here to Get a Drink” (it’s an Angel reference), and “Hi I’m Fred.”  These are not two colours that I ever would have put together.  But fortunately, I have a very helpful Hubby. When I went to him and said, “This is what I’m making.  I want the colours to pop” he told me to give him everything that had the right yardage in it, and this is what he came up with.  I was a little skeptical at first (I’m really good at picking colours that blend.  Colours that pop were outside my comfort zone), but I realized very quickly that much like the colour of the bedroom walls, (I was pretty skeptical about that too), I loved these two colours together.  The really good thing is that I had no idea what I was going to use Fred for.  He was clearly stash and now he is happy in the shawl.

So far, I am on track with the 12 shawls in 2012 challenge.  I tip my needles to those who are already on shawls #3 & 4! I think the fact that I know what my next shawl is going to be (Walnut Grove) and that the balls are wound is enough of an accomplishment all by itself.


A 12 in 12 update; Or, This is Harder Than I Thought it Would Be

So this year I decided to embark on the 12 in 2012 shawl challenge.  I knit shawls, a lot.  You can read more about that here.  For me this will be challenging but not undoable.  Ambitious without being insane.  I intend to complete all twelve shawls and am happy about what this will do to my stash.  Right now it’s all sunshine and roses, (aside from the fact that my January shawl is driving me a little mental), and I am in knitted shawl bliss.

And then I go onto to Ravelry and Twitter and this petals start to wilt and fall off the roses and the sun peeks behind a cloud and things get just a little dimmer.  See, here’s the thing: people keep making new shawl patterns and I want to knit them all.  I want to knit them all right now.

It started innocently enough when I won a copy of the Walnut Grove pattern from KnitPurlGirl.  It’s a great shawl and the kind I like to knit.  It doesn’t have a bunch of lace so it’s right up my alley.  Simple enough.  I swapped out one of the shawls on my Year Of Projects list and added that one in its place.  I even have all the yarn I need for it and it’s going to be damned pretty when it’s finished.  Then the January shawl for the West Knits Shawl club dropped and I love it.  No real problems here yet.  I just have to force myself not to stash dive and cast on the shawl right freaking now.  And because Mr. West is already not a huge bundle of temptation for me on any normal day, he has a new patternoutside of the club dropping on February 1st.  I love it and it will look great with the birthday yarn my husband bought me.

Birthday Yarn!

This  may not seem like a big problem, but this now puts me in the position of having to really start juggling my list or saying forget it all and just add it.  I’m leaning towards the first one.

But that’s it in a nutshell.  I only have two hands, which do get tired sometimes.  I need to eat and sleep and go to the gym.  I need to work full-time.  All these things contribute to a better, happier, warmer life.  It’s a life in which I have a roof over my head and food in my belly and that makes me a much happier knitter.  I just don’t have enough time or hands and I don’t have any magical powers that would allow me to knit two projects with my mythical second set of hands at the same time.  (Though I do wind balls with my ball winder in my hands instead of on a table.  I’ve been told this is odd.)  I just don’t have time and I can only knit so fast, which is not as fast as I would like.

So now I have to juggle my list and fall into a fibre filled haze of madness and pretty shawls.  I’ll post regularly as I fall into madness.  Please, just pull me back if I go in too far.


FO Friday – My Giant Flamboyan: or, The Small Blanket I Can Wear

I hate being cold.  For me it’s one of the worst feelings.  (I will openly admit that there would potentially be far worse things to experience, like extended periods of hunger or cold due to homelessness or pain that can’t easily be managed with the assistance of modern medicine. But I have had a fortunate life and never experienced those things)  I blame my hatred of the cold on growing up in Northern Canada, where a hot day in the summer is 18C/64F and the average temp in the darkest moments of winter is -25C/-13F  before the wind chill.  And sadly, winter lasts a really long time.
If you’ve never experienced that kind of cold, I can’t describe it too you.  It’s impossible.  I can tell you it’s cold enough that I developed “seasonal asthma” which was in fact (as my doctor informed me) cold air getting into my lungs and creating minute ice crystals, thus causing the wheezing and the fluid build up.  I can tell you that when it’s that cold life sucks a little, being outside sucks a lot, and you’d better have a cushy inside hobby to fill your time. (Just to point out, I fully understand why the Swiss make such good watches and why Scandinavian knitting developed they way it did.  You want your hobbies as complicated as possible when you’re up against that kind of cold.)  All this is to point out why I hate the cold so very much.

It’s also why I knit a Flamboyan big enough to use as a small tent. This is it, in its unblocked glory.

Close up of the detailing in the middle of the shawl

It’s already huge.  When it gets blocked this weekend and gains more width and length it should be aproximately the size of a small circus tent, and I firmly expect to find three rings of excitement happening under it one morning.  But, it’s serving its purpose.  It’s big.  It’s super warm.  It’s perfect and just what I wanted.  And the best thing is, it’s my first official FO of 2012!

Pattern: Flamboyan by Stephen West (To the surprise of absolutely no one who reads this on a regular basis.)
Yarn: Sport merino in When I Bit Him I Could Taste the Ocean. (IndigoDragonfly.  Also again, to the surprise of absolutely no one who reads this on a regular basis.)

For more Friday knitting check out FO Fridays, Creative Friday, Fiber Arts Friday, and Fibers on Friday


On My Needles and Between my Pages January 4th

On My Needles

As I mentioned earlier in the week, I have decided to participate in the 12 shawls in 2012.  For my first addition I have cast on Sharktooth by Stephen West.  I doesn’t take much of a read through the back entries of my blog or a very long glance at my Ravelry project page to know that I am a huge fan of  his patterns.  I love them to the point of almost knitting nothing else.  When I cast on something new there’s a pretty good chance the pattern will be his.  It just clicks with me and I enjoy knitting it.  So believe me when I say that this pattern has the most obnoxious 2nd set-up row of anything I have ever knit by Mr.West.  I think at one point I had more markers then stitches and there was no love for the design or the man at that moment.  Anyway, with a little focus and a few words unbecoming of a lady and a second cast on, I got it right and am now working my way through the first section.  I love the way the colour is playing up in the yarn and am going to be happy to move onto to section two.

Between My Pages

I took a little break form the Hunger Games trilogy to sneak in All Wound Up by Stephanie Pearl-Mcphee.  Initially I was a little concerned about this book.  The opening stories weren’t captivating me the way they normally do.  And even though I could literally hear Stephanie’s voice in my ears while I was reading, ( I am fortunate to share a LYS with her and sometimes we end up at the same knit night), there was just something missing from this book.  And then I made it the fourth story entitled Personal Filters and  started laughing so hard that I choked on my drink and gave myself an asthma attack.  And just like that, I couldn’t stop reading.  As always our beloved Harlot is able to mix humour and personal reflection in a way that makes you feel like you are getting insight into her own world.  Her writing is publicly relevant and highly personal at the same time.   It’s true that a non-knitter wouldn’t “get” everything that she writes about.  But I am kind of assuming that if you are currently reading this you are a fibre person and therefore will find great humour in what she writes.  The book (being a collection of short stories or essentially long blog entries) is a fast read and very easy to pick up and (slightly harder) to put down.  It’s great when you have five minutes to spare or you’re stuck in transit for 1/2 an hour.  I absolutely recommend this to all knitters/crocheters/spinners.  You’ll find yourself in the pages of this book and have a good laugh at the same.

For more great Wednesday Stuff check out WIP Wednesday and the Yarn Along.