Category Archives: Yarn

In Pursuit of a Blanket Fort

I’m not sure how it started. Did it start when I was a bit disgruntled after a meeting and ‘accidentally’ bought a bunch of Knitsch Worsted in Tangerine?

Nothing is better than a yarn hug

Nothing is better than a yarn hug

Did it begin when I learned the granny square and started to become obsessive?

A Granny Square Pile Up

A Granny Square Pile Up

Did it begin when I started seeing the squares from the Geek-A-Long Blanket popping up on Instagram?

However it began, I have three blankets now on the go. I lack remorse. Instead, I have plans for a blanket fort! Who wants to join me?

The granny squares are progressing nicely. I’m experimenting with a white border and I think two rows per square is enough, although I’m still mulling over three.

Granny squares squared

Granny squares squared

I’ve also started another colour. There’s one thing about this blanket – it’s using up the sock yarn stash of multi-hued madness. The colours just come to life.

Another day, another colour palette

Another day, another colour palette

Crochet is brilliant! Why was I so slow to learn? It’s a perfect occupation while riding buses and waiting in cafes for friends. I have so many plans…

Speaking of which, my Tangerine Knitsch perfectly complements my favourite flowers, the nasturtiums.

No filter required

No filter required

I’ve begun a Dahlia Blanket. It was a love-at-first-sight pattern and I don’t regret it for a moment. It’s one of those knitting projects where you stop every few stitches just to enjoy it all over again.

Dahlia in progress

Dahlia in progress

Then, because I’m upskilling, have been wanting to try double knitting, and was loving watching Geek-A-Long squares popping up…

Oh, who am I kidding? I saw The Princess Bride square and that was that. So I’ve begun at the point of inspiration, but have decided to be a rebel and am doing it all in shades in pink and green for a girlier geeky blanket.

My pensive Dread Pirate Roberts

My pensive Dread Pirate Roberts

Incidentally, I just read As You Wish and it’s great fun. Cary Elwes is so dastardly charming! I’ve been watching him in Psych too, but was there ever a more perfect swashbuckling pirate?

Anyway, in the midst of all this frenzied blanketing (totally a word), I also discovered the perfect rose growing in my garden.

Now to find a prince to curse...

Now to find a prince to curse…

A Quick Scarf Recipe

A quick project

A quick project

For the longest time, I had a ball of The Knittery’s “Daisy” wound up and ready to go. Only, Knittery yarn isn’t something you simply use. Since operations wound down quite a few years ago, I’ve been holding on to my stash and particularly “Daisy.” She needed just the right project. I started a few projects and just as quickly wound her back up.

Now, however, she is a light and airy scarf and I think it’s done her justice!

Light & air

Light & air

The colours are glorious, but a bit full-on. The open work of the stitch is what makes it work here. I’m also a fan of light, lacy scarfs. They’re easy to wear in cooler weather.

Scarf on a chair

The chair shot

The stitch is found in Barbara Walker’s second treasury and is a breeze. It’s actually a rib, so if you leave the scarf unblocked, you’ll get a squishier, ‘plumper’ finished piece. Here’s the basic recipe. Oh, I’ve called the scarf ’42,’ because I cast on 42 stitches and because maybe the question to the meaning of life is: “what’s the right pattern for this yarn?”

“42”

Cast on 42 stitches.

Row 1: K1, (yo, sl1 wyib, k1, psso) repeat until last stitch, k1.

Row 2: P1, (yo, sl1 wyif, p1, psso) repeat until last stitch, p1.

Continue repeating rows 1 & 2 until desired length is reached. Cast off. Weave in end.

If you can’t make it to Lake Como…

Como

Como

‘Como’ is now up on Ravelry! As you can see, he’s a lightweight shawl, not too big, but not too small. He’s a pretty easy knit, too, but rather than simple stockinette between lace panels, I’ve used a variation of raindrop stitch, which provides a nice nubbly texture and actually looks like ripples on the wrong side. Indeed, if you liked, you could wear it wrong side out! Here’s a shot of the wrong side on the practice knit (the Scot wasn’t impressed when I tried to get him to wear the shawl).

Wrong side texture

Wrong side texture

But what about that Doctor Who episode? I always suspected Mary Poppins…

All kinds of balls

I might just have watched the latest Doctor Who episode, “Listen,” for the third time this week. That’s totally not over the top, right? (By the way, I’ve begun to suspect that it’s a Sontaran sitting on Rupert’s bed.)

I may have become a 12th Doctor kind of woman, possibly from the moment his attack eyebrows appeared in “The Day of the Doctor.” It was definitely confirmed with ‘Door. Boring. Not me’ (“Deep Breath”). And as someone who got into¬†Doctor Who at “Invasion of the Dinosaurs” with the 3rd Doctor, the Doctor standing in a nightshirt, on a rooftop in Victorian London, yelling ‘Oy! Oy! Big, sexy woman!’ to a dinosaur… yeah, well, I’m sold.

Before I left for New Zealand a few days after “Deep Breath,” I’d already changed my desktop…

(I might also like Danny Pink)

(I might also like Danny Pink)

Speaking of that, I did get Pop Rocks in New Zealand! Along with some Robin’s Egg Blue and Smokestack. I might have been swayed by the amazing woman behind Holland Road Yarn Company who suggested the colour combination on Twitter. When I was in the Wellington shop, they followed me home.

Balls

Balls

Oh wow that Madeleine Tosh DK is squishy! I now understand why everyone talks about it in hushed tones. And why certain people I know pet it.

I’m seeing if I can make a Happy Street Shawl work in DK. So far, so good.

Soothing rows of garter stitch

Soothing rows of garter stitch

Right at the moment, the Scot is playing with one of his own balls. It’s a plastic ball that makes a lot of noise as it bounces off walls and furniture and occasionally the power switch for the computer…

But he’s crazy about balls. I love this photo of him that I took while we were playing soccer in the back yard. It may seem weird, because I basically cut most of him off as I tried to juggle the camera… but look at that smile!

Balls!

Balls!

Incidentally, while watching this season of Doctor Who, the sampler grows.

I stitched a sonic screwdriver

I stitched a sonic screwdriver

You Spin Me Round & Round

One of my KAN adventures was to learn the art of the drop spindle. I’ve been wanting to learn this for years. While at first, my efforts were very wonky and very fuzzy, they quickly became cheerfully erratic! But now and then a little length of genuine yarn formed… usually in between the times the spindle went flying across the floor.

In the end, I had produced yarn – of a sort. So, all set for the zombie apocalypse!

Twisty Fluff

Twisty Fluff

We were instructed to knit up our yarn when we got home.

It's ART!

It’s ART!

Look at that! I spun it and I knit it! How fantastic is that? Now I’m investigating spindles to buy so I can keep practicing!

KAN Nights… and Days

I wish life wasn’t so busy. There’s so much I want to record, but every time I think I have time to sit down and write up a proper post, other deadlines come fluttering in and problems rear their heads.

But a couple of weeks ago, I did sneak away to New Zealand for a few days. It wasn’t really intentional. I’m not really sure how it happened. I was going to KAN (Knit August Knights).

I flew over to Wellington first. This was our idea of breakfast.

Sweet Pea, Wellington

Sweet Pea, Wellington

It was a full day of flying about the city and its yarn stores! A huge lunch of ribs and dirty rice and dash into the TARDIS… okay, it’s really just elevator doors, but how cool are they?

Bigger on the inside!

Bigger on the inside!

Also a quick drive down the coast and, of course, gelati. There was strawberry and balsamic along with cucumber and lime. Bliss. (Did you know Peter Capaldi, the 12th Doctor, basically comes from a family of gelati-makers? He couldn’t be more perfect.)

All you need is gelati

All you need is gelati

We collapsed that evening with Doctor Who and tacos. It was going to be an early morning.

We set out on our road trip with the Ram They Call Jayne and some coffee!

The Ram They Call Jayne getting caffeinated

The Ram They Call Jayne getting caffeinated

I bought the Ram They Call Jayne on our last New Zealand adventure, so he couldn’t be left behind this time. We had a gorgeous, big breakfast at a cute little cafe and sang along to Once More With Feeling as we drove. I was assured my singing wasn’t that bad and The Ram They Call Jayne wanted to take the wheel and drive through the fire.

I will drive through the fire, 'cause where else can I turn

I will drive through the fire, ’cause where else can I turn

KAN was held in Napier, Art Deco capital of New Zealand. I love Art Deco.

Tobacco never looked so good

Tobacco never looked so good

Ghosts of past office workers

Ghosts of past office workers

Nothing like a pink shell

Nothing like a pink shell

KAN was fantastic. I learned new skills, collected yarn, met other knitters. It was amazing and at times a little overwhelming – I’m so totally bad at dealing with crowds!

But there was always a rainbow of Knitsch to reassure me.

Yarn Rainbow

Yarn Rainbow

I won’t share everything I bought in one go – that would be showing off! But I will be showing off my new ninja* fibre skills in the coming weeks along with a few new exciting projects!

*Not really ninja, but add ninja to anything and it just sounds better!

 

Sticks and Wheels

Tall Glass of Orange

Tall Glass of Orange

Who doesn’t love a little impulse yarn purchase? I couldn’t leave this one behind… it’s just so… orange! Bright, unapologetic, ‘I’m orange and I’m proud of being orange,’ orange.

Things are happening on knitting sticks, but I can’t make them public yet. They aren’t rude or NSFW. They’re just ninjas, hiding on my couch and jumping out to remind me I have deadlines!

Superdog

Superdog

The Scot got a new collar! He now goes ‘pow!’ ‘bam!’ ‘sock it to ’em’ around the house.

Xanadu your neon lights will shine

Xanadu your neon lights will shine

And I got new wheels! I’m a teenager again! Lately, some Lit. friends and I have been going to the local skating rink of an afternoon. We skate around in circles, talking about our lives with books and students and uni admin. The hire skates are horrid, though. The kids’ skates aren’t too bad, but the adult skates are battered, mismatched, and often have rusty nails poking out of awkward places. So we booked a morning and went out skate shopping! Everyone else has black skates… I have white skates with pink neon wheels!

Because I was a skating teen in the 80s and I’m proud of it!

Seriously, I loved skating in my teens. I went every Saturday and it was my favourite place in the whole world then. I was over the moon when I got my first speed skates – black with yellow stripes. I actually got pretty good on wheels. I held my breath for the ‘Speed Skate,’ usually to “My Sharona.” To this day I have an urge to go very fast when that music starts! Many of my crushes were played out on the rink, including the tall, skinny guy with the stormy grey eyes who was much too old for me, but had a great smile. There were also the guys who tried to show off for me and I hadn’t yet learned not to laugh when they fell on their bottoms! I was never as happy as when I was on wheels.

And rediscovering that feeling? Amazing! The rink manager kept asking if we wanted to join the roller derby club, but we’re happier just going in circles. I like to go backwards too. I claim it’s a metaphor for life as a Lit. scholar.

We’ve also been sharing our favourite skating videos, so I’ll share them here, too.

1) Of course, there’s always Xanadu. I so desperately wanted that poofy dress and her hair. I still do. Yes, I looked up 80s dress patterns on Etsy.

2) One of our little skating club shared Cliff Richard’s “Wired for Sound” with us and I swear you won’t be able to take your eyes off the lycra! Remember walkmans?

3) And perhaps my new favourite, Patrick Swayze in Skatetown USA. Trust me.

Of course, now there’s mostly small fry on the rink and the school holidays are horrendous. But on a good day, we strap on our skates and roll!

Now I’m just thinking about knitting leg warmers to match my skates…