Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Still Packing....

Always a fun read.

Go enjoy. I'll be home this time tomorrow. Or at the very least, I'll be on the plane.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


I think I've come to grips with the fact that Toronto is not home, will not be home, and probably never will be.

I don't hate it here, but I don't love it either. It seems to be pretty ok most of the time. I've gotten familiar with some parts of Toronto, and can make my way myself through several places without even a map. Some sights are becoming immediately recognizable.

The shopping is fun, especially for yarn, but the air smells like vehicles all the time. Public bathrooms are usually disgusting. There's so much stuff here. So many people, so many stores, so much random crap everywhere. Stores vomiting up random merchandise onto the street. There isn't too much of that at home, it just doesn't happen. Sometimes something will happen, or someone will say something, and

It's hard to feel like you can catch a breath here sometimes.

It feels a little like I'm on an extended vacation from my real life and when I go home, my life will start up again, except that right now, I am working, so that's not very vacation-y.

I'm going home soon.


Sunday, December 10, 2006

Easy Peasy Free Lace Pattern

So, here is my lace pattern. It is fun, and pretty easy. I think it is a great starting lace pattern because there is a good balance of knitting and lace knitting. It will keep you from being bored, but won't drive you to drink. I borrowed heavily from Donna Kooler's Encyclopedia of Knitting Stitch pattern "Feather and Fan".

If by 'borrowed heavily' you mean pretty much 'cut and pasted'.

The dimensions of this scarf are still pretty nebulous, since I haven't blocked mine yet, however, it is currently about the width of my hand, and goes from just below my belt, around my neck, and back down to just below my belt. So it is long enough to not look funny for a decorative scarf. However, be warned that it isn't really wide enough to be a proper "it's minus 40 out right now and I need something to keep from losing my face to frostbite" scarf.

You will need:

Circular needles (or not, again, this is your choice) at least a size 11 or bigger if you've got them. I used 11 because that was the biggest I had. I would have used a bit bigger if I could, like a 15.

1 skein of bulky weight wool yarn. Or not. It's not like there is a gauge or anything. Pick something you think is pretty and you keep touching. Use a needle size a bit larger than what your yarn calls for. Remember, the bigger the needle, the bigger the holes. However, also remember that there is an inverse relationship between size of holes and warmth of scarf. I used Lamb's Pride Bulky in White Frost. The mohair is really pretty with the lacyness.

A row counter, but only if you really like using them. Unless you like to live on the edge, like I generally do. Although it is more of a "losing small articles is very common" rather than a "has problems with authority figures" sort of living on the edge.

Notes: You can do a gauge swatch, if you like doing that kind of thing. They're also good for getting used to a new yarn, but again, a scarf is a long rectangle, and there isn't any fitting or not fitting, there is only not long enough.


Cast on 12 VERY LOOSELY. I did a long-tail cast on, because it is the only one I know, and the others don't really make too much sense from only pictures. However, it did work, and it is very pretty.

To Begin:

R1: Knit all
R2: K2tog, K2tog, YO K1, YO K1, YO K1, YO K1, K2tog, K2tog (This row is the lace row. It doesn't change. The sooner you memorize, the happier you will be)
R3: Knit
R4: k2tog, k2tog, YO K1, YO K1, YO K1, YO K1, k2tog, k2tog
R5: Knit

The Body:
Do this part until you have about 6 rows worth of yarn left, or you start going buggy. Remember though, that it should be long enough to wrap at least once around the neck, and the ends should hang at about the belt of the person it is going to belong to. Another good thing is to remember the approximate size of that person. Kids = short. Adults = long. Big tall adults = even longer.

R6: K2tog, K2tog, YO K1, YO K1, YO K1, YO K1, K2tog, K2tog
R7: knit
R8: knit
R9: knit
R10: knit

To Finish:

R11: K2tog, K2tog, YO K1, YO K1, YO K1, YO K1, K2tog, K2tog
R12: Knit
R13: K2tog, k2tog, YO k1, YO, k1, YO k1, YO K1, k2tog, k2tog
R14: knit
R15: Cast off LOOSELY

Helpful Hints:

Read the whole pattern. No really, it might help.

When you are knitting the lace row, think of it this way: "knit 2 together, knit 2 together, yarnover and knit one (think of it as one step, and errors will be easier to fix and find) until there are only four stitches left on your source needle, then knit 2 together, knit 2 together"

If you are doing the full 4 rows of garterstitch between each lace row, there will be two bumps one each side of your knitting between each lace row. If you are doing the 2 row alteration, you will only have one bump on each side of your knitting. This will be invaluable knowledge if you are prone to losing row counters or just don't feel like using one at all. Picking up your knitting in the middle of a repeat has just lost its terror.


1) Leave out R9 & R10 for a more lacy lace. However, make sure that your lace repeat has an even number of rows of knitting between each lace row, because otherwise your lace will become off center and look really odd. Not that I know this for a fact. Oh no, not me at all.

2) Change the second k2tog to a ssk, or your favourite left slanting decrease. Not that I know any left slanting decreases yet, but someday. Someday that knowledge will be mine. When I get off my butt and go look it up.

3) Make the scarf three times as wide by repeating the pattern three times. However, you will then need approximately three times the yarn. Just so you know. But this could be really interesting in a "I totally am just thinking of this right now and have never actually tried this" kind of way. You could make the lace row:

k2tog 6x, YO K1 12x, k2tog 6x*


(k2tog 2x, YO K1 4x, k2tog 2x)3x*

Either way, I totally haven't tried it out and have no idea how it would work in reality.

*2x means two times, 6x means six times, ()3x means do everything inside the parentheses three times. Just so you know.

And now for something completely different...

After a barely useful day of Christmas shopping, I discovered this.

One of my favourite comics has an issue online. I definitely recommend it, for anyone who likes superheroes, or even just grand stories.

Go enjoy.

Friday, December 08, 2006

News News News

Work News
Work is slowing down. And by slowing down, I actually mean that I think I might be a little less stressed.

Today there aren't any bosses in the office. YAY!

Today is the work Christmas party. Everyone gets to donate money for World Vision goats, and then bring a White Elephant present instead of buying presents for people.

In theory it works a little bit better than in actuality, as not everyone who works here and is coming to the Christmas party has a house. A House Full of Stuff.

While Charming and I do have an apartment, we were actually pretty good about what we packed and brought so we are high on the essentials, but low on random stuff we never use.

Knitting News
The first three scarves are done.

The stockinette faux-clapotis for A is done, and wickedly curly. I'm not sure how well it will work, because it is made of acrylic, and I don't think you can block acrylic. However, it turned out to be this really long decorative scarf, so it should be ok.

The racing stripes for S is done, and looks not bad. Still a little curly, despite its border, but nowehere near as bad as A's scarf, and the colors are very nice. The stripes are not lying flat because I was knitting tightly as usual, and it wasn't until I relaxed about half way through the scarf and realized that drinking wine + knitting means that two-color knitting can lay flat. So then I had to tighten it up to finish it. Because then it means that it looks like you meant it to do that. Which I did once I saw how it turned out. It looks pretty cool, if I do say so myself.

The lacy scarf for G is done, and was ridiculously easy and fast. The final pattern turned out to be a variation of feather and fan. The variation was that it was one repeat, in a garterstitch, not stockinette. Because I was so sick of curly scarves. SO SICK. I should post this pattern for anyone who might want to try lace, but thinks it is scary. The scarf is really pretty too. I think I might have to make one like it for myself, but maybe in a bright red or something fun. The yarn is a bit scratchier than the others, because that yarn was originally planned to be something for me, and I couldn't make up my mind, and I ended up ripping it a bunch. It will definitely get washed in conditioner. I still can't really believe that it was so much fun seeing the lace row come out after you knitted it. It's not exactly like the row ever changed, but damn, it was so fun seeing the holes show themselves.

The cabled scarf is coming along nicely, and I've discovered that CABLING IS FUN!!! and also easy. It does need a rowcounter though, but I've developed a rhythm, so its getting a little better. Fortunately, I'm using a very dark yarn, so any artistic licsences are not as noticeable as they could be. Cabling is also very good for when you are stressed. I think it's the twisty-ness that makes it so satisfying. I now really want the Cables Untangled book. I was in a bookstore last night and flipped through it, and it looks pretty good, plus she has a TON of cable patterns in the back.

I will admit a very strong weakness for stitch patterns. Not so much for patterns themselves, but definitely for stitch patterns.

All my scarves are knitted in Lamb's Pride Bulky, except for A's acrylic which is Patons Chunky Softee (in Carnival).