Sunday Salon: World Cup and Chores

Sunday Salon

Hello, all!

Since last Salon, I haven’t had time to think about the blog very much. In fact, I didn’t even know the comments were broken and a visitor kindly contacted me about it. Thanks, Susan!

Yesterday, I finally did write a couple of posts on some books I read in May. I have a couple more posts to write then I’ll have caught up for those posts. I am still not reading though. I’ve been too busy.

I’m working at home these days which is not something I have done in awhile. I made progress this week, and did some cleaning and laundry as well. In fact, I still have to clean some more.

Knitting: Haven’t done any in months. I have to be careful otherwise my muscle memory will forget like it did five years ago. I’ll have to make time for it.

Fitness: Started running again on Thursday and I ran this morning. Just 4km each time, and today was better. I’ve got a 5km race in September, but I find running in summer difficult because of the heat. Hopefully I can get back to doing a regular 6km on weekends.

TV: Finished the new season of “Orange is the New Black”. I enjoyed it, possibly more than season one.

Later today, more chores, maybe some gelato, but now, finish the Netherlands vs Mexico World Cup game. I would have posted this post much earlier if I hadn’t been watching. I’ve got a soft spot for the Dutch!

Have a great week!

Sunday Salon: February Blues

Sunday Salon

Hello, everyone!

I have not been reading very much lately. I’ve been too busy and tired to read most days. Some readers like to read to unwind, but I am really active and like a book to take me away for hours and hours. Time of which I do not have lately.

As for my book of today, I am still undecided. I could read my Classics Spin book (Kim by Rudyard Kipling), but I think I will err on my two pile of library books. Goodness, I am glad I have not bought any fiction for awhile. I’m trying to hold out until June as well.

One of my reading goals this year is to read more out loud. I think it’s an interesting exercise as it could help improve my public speaking and normal conversation. It seems a lot of words and stories were written to be read out loud such as poetry. I hope to do more of that this year.

Knitting: Haven’t started. The chart is the most complicated one I’ve encountered yet. I gave up colour coding it. I think I will cast on today or this week to get it started.

In terms of fitness, I signed up for a 10KM next month. I don’t have the proper time to train for it and complete it to the best I could. I am running more though. This week, I ran 6k and 5k. Perhaps by the time the race arrives, I can do that three times a week. Swimming is not going as well as I would like. I can just barely front float and glide. No actual swimming to be done yet. I’ll be glad when the snow starts melting so I can ride my bike again and run more without muddy shoes.

This weekend, I watched season 2 of “House of Cards” which I enjoyed even more than S1. You can see my review of House of Cards season 1 and a review of the British series.

What are you doing this weekend?

2013 Knitting Review and 2014 Goals

2013 Knitting Flickr Slideshow:

A little late on the knitting review and the 2014 goals, but knitting has just become less of a priority these days. Among my friends and colleagues, I am still known as the knitter, but this is less applicable to me nowadays as I read more, socialize more, exercise more and other more things than knit.

In 2013, I only completed eight projects but worked on about three or four (two of which were the sock blankets). The completed eight projects included: three pairs of socks, two hats, one cowl, one sweater, and one necklace. Not an an exciting year, but I’m modest delighted with the Gap-tastic cowl, Shedir II, and Buttercup.

For 2014, I have a few modest knitting goals:

  1. Continue not buying yarn and/or use stash as much as possible.
  2. Make Sylvi. My goal for Ravelympics 2014 is to start this project. It will take more than a couple weeks to complete too. I’ve had the yarn for awhile now, and I may or may not line it. Either way, this is will my most ambitious project yet.
  3. Work on my sock yarn blankets. Gosh, I have no idea when these will ever be finished.
  4. Optional Goals: More socks, Spin, a Christmas jumper, Balaclava for cycling (done!), and Legwarmers.

I actually made a semi-decent balaclava the other week and the FO post will probably be up next week.

As for Sylvi, I have swatched it and will soon colour code the charts. It is a daunting project. I will post more about it as a goal. I definitely think there will be many posts on it.

What are your knitting goals for this year?

FO Fridays: GAP-tastic Cowl

Gap-tastic CowlI wanted a giant cowl to go with my first leather jacket. I’ve had this pattern queued up for awhile now. It was between this or the Herringbone Cowl, but this one won over by being reversible and textured. I did forgot how boring it was to knit moss st/single rib though.
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WIP Wednesday: Squaring and Frogging Off

Barn Raising Quilt squaresJust an update on one of the two leftover sock yarn blankets I’ve been working on. I’ve been working on this current square on and off the last week as I’ve been too busy to knit much.

I started working on this quilt from the book Knitalong in January 2010 with the thought of doing 72 squares which would cover a twin bed. This my 49th square and this month, I’ve decided to stop at 56 squares or 8×7 square quilt.
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FO Fridays: Child’s First Sock in Shell Pattern

Shell Pattern Socks

Nothing like an easy peasy pair of lace socks to get me through summer. I worked on most of this in August. This is at least better than the Girasole blanket of last year. I’m starting to become one of those knitters who does not really knit in the summers. I spent much of this summer outdoors which is great.

In any case, my third pair of socks of this year. I always like knitting socks. In some ways, they are the ultimate kind of projects for me: not too easy, not too difficult, comforting, not too big, not too small, and most of all, useful.

I went back to my favourite sock pattern designer for these. I love this Nancy Bush book. I’ve made more things from Knitting Vintage Socks than any other knitting resource. With the cashmere and wool in these socks, I think they will be one of my favourite winter house socks.

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WIP Wednesday: Child’s First Sock in Shell Pattern

These socks were started near the beginning of summer on July 1st. It feels like time has flown by since then. I’ve been very busy and preoccupied to sit and knit. I need to finish these by the end of the month for Sockdown. I’m past the halfway point though. I only turned the heels on them last week!

As I’ve written in recent posts, knitting has become less and less of a priority for me in the last year. While I continued to accumulate yarn and fibre, this summer has been fairly low on crafting and no stashing so far. I am very glad because I have way too much yarn and fibre. I hope my yarn diet continues to the end of the year.

I use to knit every day, but these days, I feel I knit only a couple of times a week.

When I started knitting seven years ago, I was a frustrated and lonely university student. Thankfully, I am less of all those things now. Knitting has always been a relaxing home activity for me. I’ve tried to be a social knitter, but it’s not in my nature. It’s one of my introverted hobbies that I do when watching TV or movies. These days, I have the blog, books, and other solitary activities.

Furthermore, I am more social again so I’m out and about. Once the weather gets colder, I’ll probably knit more, but I’m actually quite glad that I am knitting less or thinking about it less. The more I think about, the more I want yarn! That’s bad. ;)

Does knitting go in and out of your life as well? Is it always in the background waiting in the wings?

For more WIP Wednesdays and FO Fridays, go to Tami’s Amis.

FO Fridays: Welsh Country Stockings

Welsh Country Stockings

This was first time completing fair isle on socks after failing to do so three years ago with the same white yarn. Nancy Bush is my favourite sock designer even though I always modify her parents a lot. Maybe part of the reason I love her that her patterns are easily adaptable. I converted this pair to be toe-up.

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4KCBWDAY7 Knitting and Crochet Blog Week – Looking Forward

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week

One year from now, when the 5th Knitting & Crochet Blog Week rolls around, where do you hope your crafting will have taken you to? What new skills, projects and experiences do you hope you might have conquered or tried?

This could be anything from mastering a technique (broomstick lace, entrelac, etc), trying a new yarn or skill, or a long term wish to crochet only from your stash, or knit every stitch in one of the Harmony Guides. Maybe you have no desire or plans for your craft at all, no new element of knitting or crochet that you dream of mastering, in which case write about why that might be. In a year’s time participants will be asked to look back to see if they achieved any goals, no matter how general, and see which house conquered the art of looking forward.

I have mostly middle to long term goals. I don’t necessarily think I will have done most of these things in the next year, but I do want to do them over the next couple of years. In order that I want to do them in:

  1. Start Sylvi this year. I’ve had the pattern for about a year, and I was able to get 15 skeins of the Peruvia Quick for it in March. The yarn thing was just luck and circumstance, and it is an investment. It will also take a lot of time and skills because I am not a big seamer. This project will test me in many ways.
  2. Hexipuffs: The beginning
    Work on my two sock yarn blankets. I am really wondering if I will ever finish the heixpuff quilt. I am about halfway on the Barn Raising Quilt. I have 44 out of 72 squares I want so far. I am knitting more socks just so I can work on these more. I only work on them a couple of times a year in batches.
  3. Less yarn buying. HAHAH! Well, I’ve cut it down to once a month now which is better than some other times.
  4. More spinning

    More spinning. I really don’t know when or how. Also no more buying of fibre until I actually do spin more. Sadly, I haven’t picked up my hand spindle in months.

Longer term goals (hopefully within the next 3-5 years): learn to crochet, get a sewing machine, steek a sweater, install a zipper in a sweater.

I love to knit and craft, but while I have added onto it a bit over the last year or so, I do feel that it’s slowed down. I no longer feel the need to always pick up a project right after I finish the last one. Even more, I am less obsessed with finishing projects. I am enjoying taking it slow, but of course, I won’t ever really drop it for too long like I did in 2009. I’ll keep it up even just for my wrists and hands.

How about you? What are your knitting and crafting goals?

4KCBWDAY6 Knitting and Crochet Blog Week – A Tool To Covet

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week

Write about your favourite knitting or crochet (or spinning, etc) tool. It can either be a tool directly involved in your craft (knitting needles or crochet hook) or something that makes your craft more pleasurable – be it a special lamp, or stitch markers.

Is it an item that you would recommend to others, and if so for which applications/tasks do you think it is most suited. Conversely, do you have a tool/accessory that you regret buying? Why does it not work for you?

Well, I definitely do love my needles. My favourite needles brand is Hiya Hiya. I really do like their stainless steel needles. Most of my needles are generic bamboo needles, but they work fine. I like bamboo over aluminium because they are not cool to touch.

Other tools I use a lot of: Susan Bates Knit Chek Needle Size and Size Gauge Card, clasp stitch markers, row counters, highlighters for charts, tapestry needle, and project or ziplock bags. I also really like collecting buttons.

I have a handmade Turkish hand spindle which I like. I purposely bought a Turkish variety so I could wand a ball on it.

I’d recommend all the above and my new favourite tool, the OttLite:

OttLite

This is just one kind of OttLite lamp, but there are many other styles

I bought this last Boxing Day from Michaels. I’d read some good comments about the OttLite from Ravelry forums, and it is a great lamp. It is bright and reduces eye strain when reading. It is much better than conventional florescent and incandescent lights. I also like halogen lamps to.

As for tools I regret buying, I don’t really have any. I definitely have a weakness for project bags which no one else really sees because I mostly knit at home. I also got one of those chart readers for free in a yarn club package, it’s nice to have, but not necessary in my opinion. While I think it’d be nice to have an umbrella skein and a ball winder, once again, I don’t really find them that necessary given the price of a good ball winder is $50 these days.

Now let’s talk wishlist. Continue reading

4KCBWDAY4 Knitting and Crochet Blog Week – Colour Review

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week

What are your favourite colours for knitted or crocheted projects. Have a think about what colours you seem to favour when yarn shopping and crafting.

Only after writing this part of your post should you then actually look to see what colours you have used in your projects. Make a quick tally of what colours you have used in your projects over the past year and compare it to the colours you have written about. Compare this, in turn, to the colours that are most dominant in your yarn stash – do they correlate?

Now think back to your house animal – do the colours you have chosen relate to your animal in anyway – if you are in the house of peacock, for example, are your projects often multicoloured and bright?

I am starting Knitting and Crochet Blog Week a few days late on Day 4. This colour question is always pertinent. I love colour and knitting has definitely opened my mind what I colours can and can not use, together or separate. Since I knit mostly for myself, I try to find colours that would look good on me.

Colours I seem to favour: Red, Purple, Blue, as well as neutrals like White and Grey.

This post is a bit image heavy. Continue reading

WIP Wednesdays: Welsh Country Stockings

It’s been awhile since I put up a WIP post, and I almost forgot about it. Since April 1st, I’ve been working on the Welsh Country Stockings by Nancy Bush from Folk Socks:

WIP Welsh Country Stockings

Nancy Bush is still my favourite sock pattern designer even though I always modify her patterns. This one I went all out and converted it to toe-up which meant changing the heel, the toe, and due to shortage yarn, the colour scheme too.

I am using the fabulous Hazel Knits Artisan Yarn which I got through the sock club last autumn. I still have three skeins of this year which is beautifully dyed and tightly spun. I hope it wears well over time!

I am working on the leg of the socks. I’ve already done one set of 4 increases and will slowly work up to 72 or 80 stitches depending on how bored I get with them.

On a final note, I am going to take part in next week’s Knitting and Crochet Blog Week.This will be my first time participating. I will not answer all the prompts, but there are a couple that I want to post about.

Have a good Wednesday!

Have a good weekend! For more WIPs, go to Tami’s Amis.