• Knitting & Crafting

    FO: Pavement

    A fingering weight top-down raglan that took many months as I expected but could have been done faster if I didn’t have a lot of other things going this past winter.

    I usually choose more fitted sweaters but I wanted to go out of my comfort zone and Veera is one of the few pattern designers I trust with sweaters. Originally, I was going to make a Featherweight Cardigan with this yarn, but I thought Pavement would be a more suitable choice for years to come.

    The sweater was not difficult to knit, but I found it exasperating at the end. I didn’t like the look of the short rows and I didn’t understand why there were increases so I omitted it. The pattern does not allow for enough underarm room ether. The neck is wide as well, but that’s probably more me than the pattern.

    The sweater is soft and I hope to wear it more often.

  • Books,  Food,  Knitting & Crafting

    2018 in Review and 2019 Goals

    Books and Reading

    My goal for 2018 was to read 32 books. 2017 was not a good reading year, but 2018 was much better. As of this writing, I read 45 books!

    The following are books that I dumped:

    • Georgette Heyer mysteries – I read the one that I owned then I tried to read one more from the library, but gave up. I enjoyed Heyer’s Regency romances, but her mysteries were rather flat.
    • The Queen’s Fool by Philippa Gregory – I was already prepared to dump this, but I read the first prologue and some of the first chapter. I did not like it and skimming through a coupe of chapters.
    • Joy on Demand by Chade-Meng Tan – A book on meditation that I started and was then put on hold for months. I gave up and realized it didn’t grab me.

    2019 Books and Reading Goals

    1. Read 42 books for 2019 – This was my old standard goal of 42 books. I think 50 would be pushing my luck. I want to go back to the old days of my youth when I did read 50+ books in a year, but I don’t think there are gurantees of it.
    2. Read more cookbooks – So many cookbooks, so little time.
    3. Read remaining 2018 New Yorker magazines – I received a promo subscription in 2017. I only have about five to read.

    Knitting

    For 2018, I wanted to knit six projects. I finished three and am currently still work on my fourth. I am satisfied since my current project is a light sweater.

    2019 Knitting Goals

    1. Finish three projects in 2019 including my current sweater
    2. Continue to not buy yarn – With the exception of travel (and even on my last few trips), I have not bought yarn in a couple years.

    Food

    This year, I finally made kimchi. I continue to bake bread but always using the same recipe since sourdough is finnicky. I want to learn more recipes, but the most important is to keep baking bread.

    Some ideas for 2019:

    1. Make stollen next Christmas
    2. Find another reliable sourdough bread recipe that works for my starter and me
    3. Cook and Bake from my cookbooks

    Other Goals

    I have many other small goals. I am continuing to work on writing more, meditation, and fitness. I have planned and booked a few races in the new year.

  • Knitting & Crafting

    FO: Eternal Spring Socks

    Eternal Spring Socks

    I am knitting a lot of socks lately and will continue too. I do have a lot of great sock yarn including this one that I one from a Ravelry group in 2013. The tweed and yellow colour is sweet. I do like some yellow socks.

    Eternal Spring Socks

    Eternal Spring Socks, started May 1, 2018, finished June 18, 2018. Ravelry Project Page
    Pattern: Eternal Spring Socks by verybusymonkey Ravelry Pattern Page
    Yarn: Younger Yarn Shire String in Second Breakfast – 85% Merino, 15% Nylon – 401 meters / 100 grams
    Needles: US 1 – 2.25 mm 100cm/40″ long circulars
    Modifications & Notes: Surprisingly, very little. I did it two at a time on magic loop as usual. I did three leg repeats and a stockinette foot. I made the the foot a tad short. I stopped under 7″ but should have done a little over 7″.

    Eternal Spring Socks

    Cost of Project: $0 because I won this yarn!
    Would I knit it again? Maybe. I found the lace repeat a tad too involved for me but it does look good. Pattern is well written too.

  • Knitting & Crafting

    FO: Two by Two Hat

    Two by Two Hat

    Awhile back, I made my friend Mark a cowl and for his May birthday, I would knit him a hat in time for the Australian winter. I had three skeins of this Briggs & Little yarn creating two mens’ hats and one cowl from it. I love a nice blue. The knitting of this project did not take three months, but I did put it aside for some socks in between. I modified it to be smaller cast on and I hope it’s warm and snug.

    Two by Two Hat

    Two by Two, started January 24th 2018, finished April 10th 2018. Ravelry Project Page
    Pattern: Two by Two by Anne Gagnon Ravelry Pattern Page
    Made for: Mark, 55cm head circumference.
    Yarn: Regal by Briggs & Little – Worsted – 100% Wool (249 meters / 113 grams) – 1 skein
    Needles: US6/4.0mm 40″/100cm circulars

    Two by Two Hat

    Modifications & Notes:

    • German Twisted CO 96 sts
    • Knit to 8.5” before decreases
    • Had 24sts between markers for dec

    Cost of Project: The skein cost about $3.99
    Would I knit it again? Maybe.

  • Knitting & Crafting

    FO: Snow Queen Sock – 2/6 2018

    Snow Queen Sock

    My second finished project of the year! This was suppose to be my 2018 Winter Olympics knitting project but I don’t think I can knit a pair of socks in two weeks like I use to back in 2010. It was a stretch, but I have learned my lesson. It’ll be easy scarves or hats for next Olympics challenge.

    Since I bought two skeins of this yarn for P’s socks, I had more than enough leftover for a pair for me. I wanted a fairly easy pattern for the challenge and I prefer ribbed or plain knit socks now since I use my wool socks when I run outdoors. This pattern has been in my queue awhile and I think I almost made it earlier. However, I was not satisfied with the way it was written. The heel turn was unclear which would make it confusing for a beginner or novice. I was able to wrap and turn as I normally would, but it’s not a good heel. Secondly, the toe was not good for magic looping so I changed that as well. The stitch count after the heel also meant I had to shift the stitches too. Something I never like with magic loop, but that’s more on me than the pattern.

    Snow Queen Sock, started February 9, 2018, finished March 25, 2018. Ravelry Project Page
    Pattern: Snow Queen Sock by Emmy Coplea Ravelry Pattern Page
    Size: US 6.5/UK 4/EUR 36
    Yarn: Lang Yarns Jawoll Aktion Color – 132.0370 – 75% Wool, 25% Nylon (420 meters / 100 grams)
    Needles: US 1/2.25 mm – 40″/100cm long circulars for magic loop
    Modifications & Notes:

    • Shortened leg
    • Modified heel turn
    • Changed toe to be standard dec 4 sts every other row until 16sts

    Cost of Project: Each skein was about $12CAD.
    Would I knit it again? No.

  • Knitting & Crafting

    FO: Banada Cowl II – 1/6 in 2018

    Bandana Cowl II

    The first of six knitting projects I want to finish in 2018. This Bandana Cowl was made quickly for my partner to use, but I’ve been using it as well. If I make a third one for me, I’d make it tighter at the neck and generally smaller so it can be more of a true bandana for me.

    Bandana Cowl II

    Bandana Cowl II, started January 15, 2018, finished January 24, 2017. Ravelry Project Page
    Pattern: Bandana Cowl from Purl Soho Ravelry Pattern Page
    Made for: P

    Bandana Cowl II

    Yarn: Briggs & Regal Little – 100% Wool in Royal Blue – used 0.63 skein or 156.7 meters (171.4 yards), 71 grams
    Needles: #9/5.5mm 40″/100cm long circulars

    Bandana Cowl II

    Modifications & Notes: The same as the last one.
    Cost of Project: The yarn cost about $4 before taxes.
    Would I knit it again? I already did and probably would again

  • Books,  Knitting & Crafting

    2018 Goals and Challenges

    Things have changed a lot for me the last couple of years. I am busier, work more, and generally, have less time for my personal hobbies and interests. I still have many interests and with them continuing goals to exercise more, be grateful, spend time with those I care about, etc. I bake and cook a lot these days, but I do not post about it here on this blog. These goals and other more practical ones (career training, driving, and more) are still present.

    The following are some goals and challenges I want to complete this year.

    Books

    Challenge: Read 32 books in 2018

    This blog did not set out to be a book blog, but for much of its 17 year history, its primary focus was books. In fact, this goal seems piddling when ten years ago in 2008, I had read 81 books! Ahh, gone are those days. I have not read more than 50 books a year since 2014. The books are still interesting and varied in my humble opinion, but I really have less time. Shamefully, I only read 27 books in 2017. That’s the one of the lowest number of yearly read in a long time. In 2009, I only red 20 but I was living abroad and writing my Masters at the time. Now, life has done. In any case, this must change. I think 32 is reasonable and will work harder this year to read. I still love books passionately and know the importance of them in my life.

    Knitting

    Challenge: Knit 6 projects in 2018

    I have let knitting lapse quite a bit in the last few years as well. I am getting back into it and knitting for my loved ones more. However, I do not have the fervor for it as I did a few years ago and when I started over a decade ago. I have a lot of yarn in my stash and some long term projects. I want to use up what I have and have bought a lot less yarn in the last three years. The biggest challenge is to use up as much as my stash as possible. After that in a few years, I will continue to knit, but hopefully branch out as well. I bought a sewing machine last month and haven’t even used it yet. I don’t plan on taking up another craft as I have done with knitting, but there are still some crafts and skills to acquire.

    I had about 4 projects in 2017 so I think six is reasonable. I’m already working on one now and planning the next 2-3.

    Write More

    This is more for me to remember to journal which I have been very bad about and to write more in this blog.

    Meditate

    I did a form of active chanting meditation for the last few years, but I am ready to switch back to doing mindfulness and quiet mediation.

  • Knitting & Crafting

    FO: First Man Socks

    First Man Socks

    Having knit almost 30 pairs of socks in the last ten years, I had never actually knit a pair of socks for a man. My father didn’t really want a pair and his wearing of the knit hat has been sporadic at best. Other than him, there was no man in my life to knit socks for until recently. This was the Christmas present I gave my partner. He selected the yarn in a wonderful wool shop in Toronto on a trip. I bought two balls of the yarn knowing that there was a good chance his socks would need it. The leftovers I will make another pair for myself and a sock yarn square too. He received these socks gratefully and wore them on Christmas day.

    First Man Socks

    First Man Socks, started October 19, 2017, finished December 12, 2017. Ravelry Project Page
    Pattern: Toe-up Socks by Leah Mitchell from More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts / Geschenke aus dem Wollkorb Ravelry Pattern Page
    Made for: P
    Size: US11/UK10 – Foot circumference: approximately 9.25”, Foot Length: 10.5”
    Yarn: 1.05 balls of Jawoll Aktion Color by Lang Yarns – 75% Wool, 25% Nylon –
    420 meters / 100 grams – each ball includes matching nylon thread
    Needles: US1/2.25mm 40″/100cm circular

    First Man Socks

    Modifications & Notes: Lots of mods as I really only used the pattern for the stitch count and the ribbing.

    • Judy’s magic cast on 24 sts
    • Fleegle heel – Inc for gusset after 7”/18cm until 74 sts on it (37 on both sides)
    • Leg about 4”/10cm
    • Jeny’s Stretchy BO

    Cost of Project: Two balls of the Jawoll cost $24
    Would I knit it again? This is a basic toe-up sock with ribbing so not this exact pattern, but another similar one definitely.

  • Knitting & Crafting

    FO: Jacques Cousteau Hat

    Jacques Cousteau Hat

    This nice blue hat was made for my partner for his summer birthday. He selected the pattern amongst a number of hat patterns I showed him in early spring. He was a fan of M Cousteau growing up.

    This popular pattern has been in my queue awhile. Looks great and I made a lot of mods from the pattern including using an worsted/aran yarn and another needle size. I tried 120sts on 3.5mm and it was too big. I hoped the 100sts would not be too tight and it fits well for a toque. The only thing I may change next time is that the double decreases do look abrupt at the top when you aren’t wearing it. I am not sure how I’d alter it. Other than that, easy peasy lemon squeezy.

    Yarn is workhorse and very twiggy. Also love using a Canadian producer.

    Jacques Cousteau Hat

    Jacques Cousteau Hat, started June 2, 2017, finished June 15, 2017.Ravelry Project Page
    Pattern: Jacques Cousteau Hat by Lalla Pohjanpalo
    Made for: P – 23” Head circumference
    Yarn: Briggs & Little Regal – 100% wool – 46 Royal Blue – 272 yards/249 meters – 113g – 1 skein
    Needles: US6 4.0mm – 40”/100cm circular

    Jacques Cousteau Hat

    Modifications & Notes:

    • German Twisted CO 100 sts on 4.0mm
    • Knit K3P2 for 8”
    • Decrease: sl1, k1, psso
    • First dec row: K21 in pattern, dec, pm; k32 in pat, dec, pm; k23 in pat, dec, pm; p2.
    • Knit in patt until 2 sts before each marker, dec, slip marker, repeat
    • Knit dec for 2” then double decrease row: K in patt until 4 sts before each marker, k2tog, sl1, k1, psso, slm, rep – until 12 sts remain
    • Break yarn, pass through sts

    Jacques Cousteau Hat

    Cost of Project: $4 for skein
    Would I knit it again? Yes and maybe decrease slightly earlier and/or make it taller.

  • Knitting & Crafting

    FO: Vanilla Latte Socks

    Vanilla Latte Socks

    These were birthday socks for a best friend. One of the only people I knit for. She received a pair of Thuja about seven years ago and requested socks again last year for Christmas.

    Originally, I started this project January 2, 2017 and worked on it slowly until June using Marks & Kattens Fame Trend sock yarn. That sock yarn was terrible. It kept knotting itself and I had to keep untangling it as I went. When I finally reached half of the foot, the yarn broke and the knots became untenable. I binned it.

    I restarted with one of the loveliest yarns I’ve used in a long time. I forgot I had used the Hazel Knits Artisan Sock on another project until I finished this. This particular skein was wonderful particularly after the terrible M&K yarn. The colourway is vibrant. It is soft yet tightly wound and durable. I can’t wait to make more of my own socks with it.

    Pattern is easy and simple. It goes very well with self striping or variegated yarns. Very good knit overall.

    Vanilla Latte Socks

    Vanilla Latte Socks, started June 26, 2017, finished July 23, 2017 (probably not the actual day I finished them but I forgot to note the real one). Ravelry Project Page
    Pattern: Vanilla Latte Socks by Virginia Rose-Jeanes Ravelry Project Page
    Made for: S
    Size: US 8/UK 5/EUR 38.5 – Foot length is around 23cm/9 ¼”
    Yarn: Hazel Knits Artisan Sock – 90% Merino 10% Nylon – 365.8m/400 yds – Braeburn – 1 skein
    Needles: US1/2.25mm – 40”/100cm – 2AAT on Magic Loop
    Modifications & Notes:

    • German Twisted CO 64
    • K3P1 fpr 1”
    • Leg for 3”
    • Slip stitch rib heel

    Cost of Project: $28CAD
    Would I knit it again? Yes.

  • Knitting & Crafting

    FO: Cabled Dad Hat

    Cabled Dad Hat

    With so much leftover from the Lion Brand Fishermaen’s Wool, I decided to make myself a hat to match my cowl.

    Cabled Dad Hat, started November 16, 2016, finished November 2, 2016. Ravelry Project Page
    Pattern: Cabled Dad Hat by Alexis Winslow Ravelry Pattern Page
    Yarn: Lion Brand Fishermen’s Wool – 100% Wool – much less than one skein.
    Needles: US 6 – 4.0 mm and US 7 – 4.5 mm long circulars

    Cabled Dad Hat

    Modifications & Notes:

    • German Twisted CO 96 instead of 120
    • 1×1 Twisted Rib for 3.5”
    • Knit the main rep almost 7.5”. I should have knit more because I didn’t realize how fast the hat decreases. Not a big fan of how the hat decreased as the pattern has them too quickly and on dec rows, right after another.
    • If the hat were the original 120, it would have been too big. I do think going up to 5.0mm would have been good to make it a smidge bigger.

    Cabled Dad Hat

    The modifications resulted in a slighter tighter band if the band is flipped over. The best thing is that when left unflipped, the hat fits my hair bun wonderfully. I think I could have made the rib 4″ which would have been very slouchy, but my hair would have fit nicely in there.

    Cost of Project: This was one third of the skein which cost $7 a skein years ago.
    Would I knit it again? Yes.

  • Knitting & Crafting

    FO: Bandana Cowl

    Bandana Cowl

    I wanted to make and send a gift to a dear friend of mine in Australia. He told me that it does get cold enough in Sydney to warrant scarves so I decided to make up a small cowl for him. Unisex and not too bulky. Fit was good. If it were met, I’d have made it tighter but he couldn’t try it one as I made it.

    Nice, simple pattern that I would make again.

    Bandana Cowl, started November 6, 2016, finished November 11, 2016.Ravelry Project Page
    Pattern: Bandana Cowl Ravelry Pattern Page
    Made for: Mark and sent to Australia.
    Yarn: Lion Brand Fisherman’s Wool – 100% wool
    Needles: US9/5.5mm

    Bandana Cowl

    Modifications & Notes: This pattern was made for thicker yarn. Next time, I would add one row between the first few decrease rounds for the point to be less pointy.

    CO 97 German Twisted CO. Adapted heavily from happygolightly’s Bandana Cowl on Ravelry.

    Set-up Round: Purl all stitches.

    Round 1: K47, S2KPO, knit to end of round. (95 stitches)
    Round 2: P46, S2KPO, purl to end of round. (93 stitches)
    Round 3: K45, S2KPO, knit to end of round. (91 stitches)
    Round 4: P44, S2KPO, purl to end of round. (89 stitches)
    ….
    beginning the short rows:
    Row 5: K48, wrap and turn.
    Row 6: P7, wrap and turn.
    …..

    Set-up Round: K20, place marker, k49, place marker, knit to end of round.
    ……
    knit 3 rounds after the first decrease.
    * decrease round
    then knit 2 rounds and repeat from ! 3 times.

    ** decrease round
    then knit 1 round and repeat from !! 6 more times.

    Bandana Cowl

    Cost of Project: This yarn was part of 2 skeins I bought to make other things and have gotten a couple of small projects from it. I’d say this was $2 in terms of percent in yard or even less.
    Would I knit it again? Yes. I was even considering making one for myself.