Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Clasps and Airplanes

“How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then rest afterwards.” — Spanish Proverb
I always know I've had a good holiday if, when I return, I feel like I've been away for longer than I actually was. It's a true sign that I've left work behind. Time moves more slowly, not because I'm having a hard time, but because I feel like I'm living in each moment.

We arrived home yesterday in the evening - not too late, but late enough after a long enough day to warrant a quick dinner and early bedtime. I'd booked myself another day off today, because I've learned that it's always nice to re-orient yourself at home after time away. A day off after a vacation is just the ticket.

Today, I pulled out some treasures I discovered while on vacation:

To back up a step: on Sunday, the hubby and I visited Santa Monica airport - for him, to go on a flight with an instructor there (he's an amateur pilot) and for me, to visit the Santa Monica Antique Market. We'd both been to each respective place before, and so we knew that we would both be entertained for a couple of hours each doing things we loved.

I was on the lookout for something, but I wasn't sure exactly what. I wanted something to close the sweater I'd blogged about earlier. Most people suggested a clasp for it, which made sense to me, but I knew two things:

  1. I knew I didn't want a brand new, manufactured clasp.
  2. I wasn't sure if I'd find a vintage clasp that I liked. Did such things exist?

After wandering around the entire market on my first exploratory circuit, it dawned on me that a pair of clip-on earrings might just be the ticket. And I came upon a seller that I'd met a couple of years earlier, and from whom I'd purchased a necklace before... and I came home with the clip-on earrings above.

Today, I pulled out a couple of pairs of jewelry pliers from my old jewelry-making days, and three strong jump rings. After a couple of tries, I came up with this:

They're pretty, aren't they? But would they work?

Turns out they work great. Gosh, I'm smart.

Yeah, these are bathroom selfies. I had no patience to set up the tripod today.

I did get a few other things, which I'll save for a later post - I can't share all the good stuff at once! But I enjoyed my day in the sunshine at the market. In the meantime, the hubby was enjoying sights like this:

These are the kinds of sights I prefer to look at on solid ground. It's a good thing there are such things as digital photos these days, eh? Small planes just don't seem to agree with me. Good thing there are markets to keep me busy.

Tonight, I'm off to do a bit of knitting before I get ready to go back to work tomorrow. Two day work week after vacation? I'll take it!

Happy Wednesday, all.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Suggestions, Anyone?

In 2010, I knitted this sweater:

It's Tikru's Green Gable Hoodie, from Vogue Knitting, Fall 2008. It is a lovely sweater, and I fiddled with the design of it to make it into a zippered hoodie, rather than a pullover. It is warm and pretty, and one of my favourites...

Except a couple of years after that, I lost a bunch of weight and it doesn't fit.

This is one of those times that I regret the modifications and experiments I do with my projects. It's not that I wouldn't alter this thing (as I've done before with other sweaters that became too large for me), but it's all the fancy-shmancy doodle-dee-doos I put into this that is making alteration impossible. I removed the zipper to see if it could do it, but the prognosis is not looking good.

This is the first (and I think, the only) sweater that I worked short rows into to shape the bust. It worked out great at the time, but now that my bust is somewhat... lesser... in volume, the fabric just hangs with the two lower edges pointing downwards. I just can't figure out how to adjust it to make it fit.

And no, before you say it, I will not give it to you. You give me something that took you 60 hours to make, and then maybe we'll talk. Ahem...

I'm not opposed to leaving it the size that it currently is, but I do need some kind of suggestion for a new fastening to keep it closed. I can't leave it hanging, because the neckline is so wide that it slides off my shoulders with any arm movement more vigorous than a wave.

I thought about wrapping it around my waist and perhaps making a matching belt to tie it shut, but the points at the bottom are wrecking that for me, as are the pockets, which were a clever addition at the time of knitting, but are now just bulky inconveniences.

Perhaps a couple of looped buttons at the top? Or a clasp? Or... what?

I'll have to think on it a bit longer, but I've been holding this for so long that I'm determined to get some wear out of it before the weather gets too warm. I went through a brief period of wanting to cut it up to make it into a laptop sleeve or something. Good thing my fear of steeking and my general laziness pushed me out of that mood, otherwise this would be a very different blogpost...

I'd be asking for drink suggestions instead!

We're off for a quick vacation to California later this week, so you never know... I might find inspiration there.  Feel free to comment below - I'd love some ideas!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Stripes Abound

I discovered a new accessory today:

It's not as bad as it looks, even with the dramatic blue tape. My left foot has been bothering me recently. I did what all runners do: ignored it and hoped a bit of creative shoe-tying would make it go away. After my run this morning, I took off my shoe and limped around on it, knowing that I needed to do something about it. I pulled out a roll of this blue kinesiology tape, looked up a video of how to tape my foot, and applied as instructed. Amazingly, the ache is gone. I'm going to rest it a few days and see how it feels, but currently, it feels like a miracle has taken place.

I'm sort of looking forward to a bit of time off my feet, because then I might make a bit more progress on my stripey sweater, which finally has two sleeves:

I used a different method for each sleeve to join each new colour in an attempt to prevent the "jog" from one row to the next. I think I prefer the left sleeve, where I slipped the first stitch after I joined the new colour. It looks cleaner to me, but maybe that's just because I know the difference. I'm also kind of half-and-half about the sleeve cuffs: it looks like I stitched them on, which is the result of starting the 2x2 rib too early, but I think I kind of like the way it looks. 

And yes, there are many, many, many ends to weave in. I managed to get rid of half of them as I knit each sleeve by knitting in the new colours as I joined them, while leaving a tail of the old colour hanging. Still, it took an hour of my Saturday evening to get these ones sewn in and trimmed. Ah, the life of stripey sweater knitting:

At any rate, I am still loving the colours. The gentle tonal variations are pleasing, if somewhat difficult to photograph:

At least knitting each stripe gives me a sense of progress. It's also a handy way to keep time. I learned I can knit two body stripes while waiting for a loaf of Dutch oven bread to bake:

And it takes another two stripes to roast a couple of acorn squashes:

I wonder how many stripes it'll take until my foot feels better? Hopefully not that many, but I'm trying not to be one of those people who runs through injury. That kinesiology tape comes in other colours. If anything, I can tape it up with other colours and have a leg that matches my sweater. How's that for a coordinated outfit? I may not be all that mobile, but durn it, I match!

Sigh, limpy-foot humour is not that funny. I think I'll go drown my sorrows in another cup of tea and knit some more. Send over some healing vibes, would ya?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

One Day Old

Today, on New Year's Day, I feel curiously awake. I feel like I've been in a very long sleep. December was rougher on me than I realized. I didn't know how tired (and irritable) I was until I wasn't anymore. I'm grateful for the opportunity to recharge, but I'm also a little scared about the fact that it got so bad for me.

I suppose this is why people make resolutions. Everyone just wants to feel better.

The holiday season flashed past. We went home to my family in Winnipeg, where we visited, ate good food, went for daily swims at the rec centre, ate more good food, took naps, and then ate more good food. Needless to say, the trousers are a bit tight these days. Ah, life after Christmas is life in stretchy pants.

In true Christmas tradition, I met up with my Winnipeg knitting friend, Linette. In preparation, I performed my own little Christmas miracle: I knit a little last-minute gift. It's miraculous because I rarely knit for other people, and also because I really suck at being thoughtful enough to get gifts together when I go home. I blame the airlines: I pack so sparingly so I can get in and out of the plane with minimal pain, and so any gifts I do manage to scramble together are from quick runs out to the drugstore to see what's there.

Anyway, I found this pattern from one of the folks I follow in Google+. It's a free pattern called Bluebird of Happiness, which I thought would make a sweet little ornament. I whipped one off in about an hour before I realized that I'd made it out of alpaca yarn, which Linette is (sadly) allergic to. It's the one in the photo on the left, which eventually went to my mom. Luckily, I had another backup yarn in Patons Classic Wool, and since I'd already practiced on the first one, the second came even faster. 

And I'm glad I got it together quickly enough, because Linette was her usual sweet self and brought me some gifts as well: a couple of portions of roving she'd been meaning to pass on to me. Seeing them makes me DETERMINED to get some spinning in soon:

And she also brought some ADORABLE knitted ornaments, shown here with a combination lock for scale (it's what was handy, ok?). I'm wondering if I could knit a little character to wear them, something equally as adorable that needs a hat, scarf and mitts to keep it warm. Hmm...

I also brought my own knitting project, for the evenings relaxing at my parent's house: a stripey sweater than I'm making from several skeins of merino/cashmere/nylon sock yarn, from my friend Tara's Etsy Shop. Several days of gameshows and reruns meant that I finished half the body and nearly one full sleeve. Last night, I experimented with a double-knitted cuff, which, after a tedious couple of hours of grafting, I declared a failure:

So, I ripped it out and knitted a twisted ribbed cuff instead:

This sweater has been a rip-back-and-re-knit project. I had been placing stripes at random thicknesses before, and I was hating it. I decided inch-thick stripes looked nicer. Yes, it's a lot of ends to sew in. Yes, it's tedious. No, I don't really know what it's going to look like at the end, but at least I'm liking it a lot more now. And it turns out that inch-thick stripes makes it super easy to measure how much I've worked on. It'll be a cozy cardigan eventually:

So far, 2015 has been pretty good, even if it isn't even one day old yet. I got up and slogged through a frosty morning run (man, did I mention the stretchy pants?). We went out later this afternoon for a walk and enjoyed the sight of this swan family:

Do I have resolutions for this year? Not really... but I have set myself a couple of goals. I'm quietly optimistic, and yeah, I'm still working my way through losing my little Rascal. I miss him... I miss him so much. But after I finished my run this morning, I came up with the theme for me this year:

I deserve to have a healthy body, a healthy mind, and a nourished heart. And maybe my memories of Rascal will remind me that it's possible.

I made a batch of chicken and dumplings tonight, and now I'm going to go off and do some stretching and then some knitting. Day one: not bad at all.

Happy New Year, everyone.