Nath Knits

and should probably be doing something else.


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Smitten, and Spring

I’ve been feeling kind of mellow lately.  Just getting work done, keeping the house running, and the kids fed (Dr. Thingo has been away doing conferency things for about a week.  He’s back Monday).  Nothing too out of the ordinary, with the exception of the better part of an hour today spent with an old storm door.  It ended with me taking the whole damn thing out.  Guess I’m going to Home Depot tomorrow.

Oh, and I bought a rack and saddlebags for my new bike!  That’s something!  I installed them on my bike right outside the carpark, next to the bus stop Uptown, with tools borrowed from my office a block away.  People looked at me like I was crazy.  I don’t know why – it was certainly the easiest way to bring them home, and I didn’t think it was any weirder that the woman who came and sat next to me, took off her shoes, and proceeded to eat a ginormous sub while waiting for the bus.  Anyway, this is noteworthy because my old bike got stolen right out of said carpark on the Friday before the May 2-4 weekend (bastards!), and my completely irrational theory is that the saddlebag I had on my old bike is the reason why they took it.  Because the bike itself was a well-used, 14 year old hybrid with squishy brakes and off-true wheels and a flaky derailleur.  Why else would they want it?  So it took me two months to buy new saddlebags for the new bike.  But now I can bring home 4 litre bags of milk and cat litter pretty much effortlessly.  Well, except for the mess it makes of my left knee to be pulling that much weight.  Sigh.

So, on to my accomplishments.  Every time I’ve decided to take pictures of finished or in-progress things the last couple of days, it’s been pretty grey, so the photos for this post are all muted and quiet and reflect the mellow mood pretty well, I think.

This lack of motivation to go above and beyond these days means that I’ve been working on a lot of yarny things.  I am totally feeling the spinning love lately.  It’s all I’ve wanted to do for the past few days – I even spun while making crepes for breakfast this morning.

The fiber is Briar Rose Fibers, Bluefaced Leicester, I think.  I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a spinning wheel to replace the single-treadle Lendrum I sold a couple of years ago, but then I start with the spindles, and I’m not sure I need the wheel at all.  It’s nice to be able to just pick up the spindle and a bit of fluff, and get a little done when I have an off moment.  The wheel feels like more of a commitment, and it takes up some space, and I feel like if I’m going to sit down at the wheel, I need to block off a big chunk of time.  And there’s something appealing about how low-tech a spindle is.

And when I’m not spinning, there’s this:

I’ve decided to jump on the Colour Affection bandwagon, with some Madelinetosh Tosh Sock.  I picked up the yarn in Ottawa.  I was visiting with my mom when she expressed a desire to start a crochet project.  I immediately whisked her to a lovely yarn store close to her house, along with my unimpressed children, whom I bribed for a little more time in the store by telling them to pick a ball of yarn each for a pair of socks.  In Vorlon’s case, this bought me exactly 10 seconds – he beelined for the brightest sock yarn, and that was that.  Zebula took a long time comparing pinks.  This store had some Madelinetosh in stock, and it caught my eye.  The picture doesn’t convey just how nice the colours are.  The grey is luminous.  The blue and orange are wonderfully textured.  And it’s soft.  I love it.

And there’s this, which I worked on in Ottawa.  My stepdad called it retina-searing.  In a good way.  I made him these socks, at his request, after all.

This is my third Baby Shane blanket, and the yarn is Tanis Fiber Arts.  Also lovely.  This one’s for my soon-to-be first cousin once removed, due in October.

So, my last catch-up post left us in March.  I didn’t get that much finished in the spring.  There was The Sweater.  It didn’t take me that long, all things considered.  Two months, but then it sat for another three and a half before I took a picture of it.  The pattern is Royale, by Glenna C.  The yarn is Tanis Fiber Arts Green Label aran weight, Stormy colourway.  The pattern was good, for the most part (there was a bit of an error for the cast-on of the body, but some back-and-forth with Glenna via Ravelry (Yay for Ravelry!) sorted that all out.  The yarn was lovely.  I love the end result.

My sock hiatus was brief.  I made a pair for Vorlon:

Plain socks.  I have no idea what the yarn was.  But it was single-ply.  It’s pretty, but I need to remember in the future not to knit single-ply socks again!!

I also started a pair of socks for Zebula, but they ended up being a little too tight (she is now a women’s size 7.  She’s not even 10!!), and I discovered, to my dismay, that due to the yarn content (there was mohair or something in there.  It was fuzzy.), it was basically impossible to frog them.  So I just chucked the sock I had finished.  I don’t remember what that yarn was either.  (See?  This is why I’m a bad blogger!) The remainder has been reabsorbed by the stash.

I made these:

Tesselating Lace Socks, by Kat Haines.  Yarn:  Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label Fingering (I do knit with other yarns occasionally, honest!!).  These were my yearly thank you gift to  the wonderful lady who drives me to and from choir rehearsals.  I should deliver them to her – they’re still sitting in the writing desk in my front entrance.  Though it’s been too hot for wool socks, so I’m sure she’s not missing them too much.

There was also a pair of Angee socks, made from Indigo Dragonfly sock yarn.  But you can’t see them, because I foolishly forgot to take a picture before I sent them off (see above re. bad blogger) Imagine the Angees, only in olive, lavender, and a little blue.  They were a swap with half of my favourite podcast pair, SavvyGirlDeborah, of The Savvy Girls podcast, who expressed at some point that she didn’t really like to knit socks, but really liked knitted socks.  So I (and a bunch of other people), offered to knit her a pair.  In return, she sewed me a bag!

It’s great – enough room for the yarn and needles for the retina-searing Baby Shane blanket above, plus a wallet, keys, chequebook, etc.  Pockets on the inside, and no Velcro at all – perfect!  The bag was delivered to me personally by SavvyGirlMelanie herself (the other half of said podcasting pair) in transit on her way to Toronto to catch a train.  Deborah, until recently, lived in Bogotà, Columbia, and Melanie was going to be in my part of the world anyway, so she schlepped the bag halfway across the country and brought it to me.  She had such a hard time getting here (this city was designed by crazy people), and I thought it was so nice of her to deliver the bag personally, that I gave her a hat, fresh off my needles, that I’d finished the night before out of some handspun I interred from the stash (more about that below).  Which I also didn’t have the presence of mind to take a picture of.   Imagine a slouchy hat with big cables.  Kind of like this (I used that picture as an inspiration and just winged it).

I also went through my stash one evening.  This will come as a surprise to nobody, but I have a lot of yarn.  Of note was this:

That is my pile of handspun yarn.  Well, most of it.  I have a few mini-skeins that I made out of sample bits of fiber, and I think there’s some black merino and silk somewhere.  And some pink silk, that didn’t end up in the pictures.  Anyway, there’s a lot of it!

There’s this:

Which I spun out of some merino/silk that I got in Seattle 6 years ago.

And this:

On the left is alpaca, with some wool.  On the right, is some Lofty Fibres (Rusty Paint Bucket, I think the colour was called).  Both spindle-spun.

There’s some experimental stuff:

On top is my first spindle spinning attempt, on the bottom is one of my last wheel-spun skeins, done quickly one evening to test out some fibre for somebody (I can’t remember who.  LoftyFibres, maybe?)

There are some leftovers from stuff that I spun and then knitted up:

The stuff on the left is some Lorna’s Laces fibre, wheel-spun, which eventually became mittens (which I have lost).  The stuff in the middle is very early wheel-spun yarn, with fibre from Greensleeves Spindles, Navajo-plied.  It’s the second yarn I made on my wheel (the first yarn was horrid.  I made socks for Dr. Thingo out of it.  They could practically stand on their own, the yarn was so dense and tightly knit.  He was a good sport, and wore them until I accidentally felted them in the wash).  This stuff is older than my first child, who will be 10 in September.  The fibre is from Greensleeves Spindles.  I made a hat out of it that my kids both wore as babies, and that was given away, and I have lots left over.  The stuff on the right is a heavier version of the Rusty Paint Bucket yarn above, which I used to make the hat that ended up going to SavvyGirlMelanie.

And there’s miscellaneous stuff:

On the left is some baby Alpaca, another skein of which was used to make a cowl last year (I guess, in that sense, it should have been in the leftovers picture).  In the middle, is fibre I got in a swap a few years ago.  It’s wool carded with little bits of silk thread.  On the right, is wool I got in Seattle.  All wheel-spun.

The question is, why don’t I use it?  It’s nice!  I was shocked to see so much of it.  So I resolved then and there to use some up, and then proceeded the next evening to knit the hat mentioned above.  And I have plans for some of the other stuff.  We’ll see if I can actually follow through.

And that, with the exception of a bunch of things that are finished but not blocked (shawls and scarves!) brings us up-to-date!

Other noteworthy spring things include: Vorlon turned 7 and we had a reptile party (a month late), my bike was stolen, I saw Gogol Bordello in concert (awesome!!), and I made these, commissioned by a friend for her son’s birthday:

It was my first time working with fondant – fun, and fairly quick.  Though I need to look up how to better cement the pieces together.  Things kept falling apart.  But I heard they were a hit.

So, this turned out to be kind of long – thanks for sticking it out!  I’m going to go do some spinning.

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Winter

It’s currently 8:30 pm, and 28 degrees outside.  The living room is also at 28 degrees – the unexpected silver lining is that, since the house is warm anyway, turning the stove on isn’t going to harm anything, so I made a dinner that actually involved boiling a big pot of water, and it didn’t make things noticeably worse.  It looks like Arizona out there – everything’s all dry and brown and crunchy.  Up until yesterday, when we got a little rain, even my periwinkle was looking a little droopy.  Everything in the house feels moist.  It’s hot, is what I’m getting at.  So, for some imaginary relief, let’s think back a few months to last winter and try to recall how it felt to be cold.

Only last winter wasn’t really cold, and there was hardly any snow.  Oh well.

When last I posted something about my crafty work, it was to show off my Christmas socks.  After that, I decided to go on sock hiatus, but for one pair of kilt hose for my employer for his birthday/late Christmas.  I took a picture, but it’s so bad that I’m not going to bother putting it here.  Imagine these, only in black.

At some point in the winter, I bought this book.  I love her stuff.  So cute!  And I’m surprised at myself, because I don’t usually go for that kind of cute.  Anyway, the kids are all over it, and I let them pick out some that they liked especially.

Vorlon’s choice:

Zebula’s selection:

Vorlon brought his for Show and Tell and promptly told the class I’d make some for everybody.  I had to decline.  They are kind of fun to make though, and work up in a couple of hours.  I also made some teeny hamsters at some point, but there are no photos – I should dig them out.

I made myself a hat (Natalya, by Janneke Hopman.  Works up in one evening.  Yarn: Cascade 220):

Only, it looked way better on Zebula, so she ended up getting it.  This is how it begins, isn’t it?  Next thing I know, she’ll be borrowing my shirts without asking, and I’ll be looking for my shoes one day, and I’ll find them in her room because she wore them yesterday.  Sigh.

Photo taken from the train, en route to Ottawa during March break.  She wore it for the entire train ride.   Even though it was really hot in there.

I made one of these:

(Pogona, by Stephen West.  Yarn: Kauni Effektgarn)  I even wore it a few times before what winter we had quickly disappeared.  The yarn, while pretty to look at, is scratchy, but it’s very warm.  Maybe I’ll appreciate it more next year.

And that’s it for winter!  Except for starting the sweater from my last post, that’s all I made.  I spun a little, but, basically, it was kind of unproductive.  Warning: spring isn’t looking much better.


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See what I do for you?

It was still 29 degrees outside, at 8:00 pm.  I put on this sweater:

It has been an embarrassingly long time since I’ve posted anything.  And it’s been even longer since I’ve posted about anything I’ve actually made (since January, as a matter of fact).  People were starting to ask me if I was ever going to blog again.  So I decided that was it.  I told Dr. Thingo to grab the camera.  The light was good.  I was finally going to have him take a picture of this sweater I finished (on April 1st!), even though putting it on was decidedly unpleasant.  Just to get the ball rolling, already.

So here I am.  I have a lot of catching up to do.  I’m going to do it installments.  Stay tuned!

This is what happens when I tell Dr. Thingo “Take a picture of the back”