Saturday, January 26, 2008

Koolhaas complete!!!

Hooray! The Koolhaas is finally done! I know I should be good and take the pictures in natural light, but I couldn't wait.

It's finished, and thank goodness it fits. I was having a devil of a time swatching it, and finally decided to just plunge in. I did check the gauge as I went, and is seemed to be shaping up ok. I went down to a 3.75mm and 3.25mm needles to accommodate my perpetually loose knitting. I haven't blocked it yet, but as our forecast is calling for snow I'm not sure I'll get a chance for a while. It's currently on Sweetie's head right now, as he sits at his computer.

I'm not sure what the next project to hit the needles will be. I've got some lovely red=orange Malabrigo worsted to knit Foliage with, this time for me. I could also dig into the UFO bag and dust off an incomplete Backyard Leaves scarf from Scarf Style. I called a halt to it when I realized I'd screwed up an SSK several rows previously. I might be confident enough to go back and attempt a fix. There are also two beautiful balls of Louisa Harding ribbon yarn that call to me from my stash.

On a completely different topic, I've been looking anxiously for signs of spring, and finally found one in the form of some snowdrops.

Snowdrops are so delightful. They're the bravest of blooms, poking their heads up before anyone else, and risking getting caught in a snow shower. Best of all, they signal that the crocuses, daffodils and tulips will be along, each in their turn. I should be able to take spring for granted, but every year I watch for the first glimpse of the snowdrop.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Umm, how did I do this?

So, last night I was knitting in bed and listening to a podcast on my ipod. This is not my normal practice, but Koolhaas is not done, and I didn't have any other time to knit yesterday.

Somehow I lost my stitch marker that delineates the end of the round. As a result I knit THREE ROUNDS of the p1-kbl2-p1 repeat. In the immortal words of Homer Simpson, "D'oh!"

Sigh. I will be tinking those tonight, unaccompanied by any distracting podcasts. Seriously, how did I not notice this? Also, my stitch marker never did turn up. I can only assume it has been devoured by the duvet.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Koolhaas progress

The progress is, admittedly, modest. I am really quite pleased to have finished the first pattern repeat of the Koolhaas, as now I can actually see the pattern emerging. Hooray for no longer knitting on faith!

I'm embarrassed to recount some of the mistakes I've made to date, but let's just say they were simpleminded, to say the least. Here's hoping the next few repeats go a bit more smoothly. At times I've resorted to frantically counting stiches to make sure I'm still at the right place in the pattern. I hope it'll all be worth it in the end when Sweetie has a new hat, particularly because our forecast is for clear but cold weather.

This week we were treated to a day of sunshine, and a beautiful view of the mountains. Now that I'm trying to carry my camera with me more often, I find that I'm stopping to look at the world around me with fresh eyes. I'm looking for the moments of beauty in my daily life, and I'm remembering to stop and breathe occasionally. I think that's a good thing.

Off I go to knit a few rounds. I'm sure the blackberry margaritas have worn off by now! I wouldn't chance it otherwise.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The week in review: salmon, cranes and beautiful blossoms

This last week has been a whirlwind of activity. It was my sweetie's birthday last weekend, and I made a delicious dinner of salmon, baked in foil in the oven. We also had roasted root vegetables tossed with balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and topped with feta cheese, a salad of mixed greens and arugala, and carrot cake for dessert.

Here's how you do it. Take your whole, gutted salmon. Rinse it under cold running water inside and out, then pat dry. Lay down a generous piece of tinfoil, and some sliced lemon. Put the fish on top. Stuff the inside of the salmon with fresh lemon slices and sliced onion. Put in some butter pats. Sprinkle salt and pepper inside the fish too. Then put more lemon slices on the top of the fish. Wrap it up in the foil, sealing it carefully so the juices don't escape when you flip the packet. Bake it in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow 10 minutes per inch of thickness and an additional 10 minutes so the heat can penetrate the foil. Some recipes recommend calculating the cooking time based on 15 min per inch, and I think this would also work out fine. Turn the packet over halfway through the cooking. If in doubt about whether the fish is done, check it to ensure the thickest part of the fish flakes easily with a fork.

I'm going to chalk the lack of blogging this week up to the start of the new semester. I've been running to my new classes, stressing about group presentations etc. However, as part of my plan to beat the winter blahs, I've made it a point to get outside for a while each day. I had a lovely walk, during which I saw a flock of cranes.

The Olympics are coming and the cranes should, perhaps, have been the official mascot for the games.

Also, as a blah-fighting measure I picked up some lovely blooms from a new friend who's a florist. Today was too gloomy for a picture in natural light, but I'll try for one tomorrow.

I love these roses, and the freesia are just beginning to open. I love their scent. I can't wait to smell their fragrance. A work of warning to those unacquainted with the freesia- the white ones smell peppery. Perhaps it's the cost of hybridization?

No pictures of Koolhaas, but I will try and take some tomorrow if I can get my knit on like I want to!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Fun and Frustrations

First the frustrations. Koolhaas: I played with the yarn I selected for this project, which is the lovely silk/wool Crystal Palace Creme. I couldn't figure out the Right Cable followed by the purl using the cabling without needle method. Frogged. Started again. I think I figured it out, but by that time I was getting stupid staring at it. Arrggh. Note to self- get a better light to knit under!

Yesterday, I awoke to find this behind my house.

Someone clearly had an excellent time going through every shred of garbage my neighbours and I discarded in the past week. Boo. 40 min in the pouring rain cleaning it up. Of course, said garbage was not picked up, as it was strewn all over the alley. I called the city. They may pick it up on Monday.

Fun. A sale at one of my LYSs means that I added some lovely Malabrigo (for a Foliage for me) and Cherry Tree Hill's sock yarn to the stash, in preparation for my planned foray into the world of socks. I'll have to knit a practice or two before I break out the good stuff. Pictures to follow in the next day or so.

I went for a long walk with a friend of mine, and ate an Indian buffet lunch at the end of it. Delicious. On our walk we met some dwarves:

Hee hee. All seven of them were there too!

Well, maybe no knitting tomorrow, as it's my sweetie's birthday and I have some baking and cooking to do. Carrot cake, but what else??? The dinner menu is still up in the air.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Contemplating Koolhaas

My next knitting adventure will be Brooklytweed's Koolhaas, which I've downloaded from the Interweave Knitting website. My chief concern is needle size. I recently knit Foliage, and sized down .75 mm on the needle called for to account for my gauge, which is usually too loose. The hat was still too big, but not irreparably so, as my SIL has a bigger head than I do. I'm going to try a 1.25 mm downsize on the needles, and knit a gauge swatch for my Koolhaas. Normally I resist swatching for hats, but the Foliage experience has left me humbled.

I'm excited for Koolhaas, as I can learn two new skills. I'm going to teach myself how to cable without a cable needle, and how to swatch in the round. Grumperina has an excellent tutorial here about cabling without a needle. I expect I'll spend a fair bit of time staring at it tomorrow, scrolling up and down the page, swearing and sweating most likely!

Another task for tomorrow will be to take down the Christmas tree. I hate doing that, as the house always seems so bare afterwards. Apparently this is a familial malaise, as I was talking to my maman about it the other day and she too hates the bare look of the house after the tree has been dismantled. I'll share a picture of one of my favorite ornaments, although it is a bit dark. I was playing with my new camera, and I'll admit I haven't taken a successful low light shot with it yet.
Even less fun than the task of taking down the tree is that of organizing my desk. The new semester starts next week and I reckon I owe it to myself to start it in as organized a fashion as possible. It's just that the organizing is such a drag! Perhaps working on the Koolhaas will be my reward! I'm a firm believer in rewarding myself with yarn related tasks.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year, New Crack at Blogging

Hooray, 2008. It's a new year, and a chance for me to get my blog truly up and running. 2007 was an eventful year here. I left my terrible, soul-killing job in the corporate world and in September began a master's program that is entirely more fulfilling and may, in fact, encourage soul regrowth. Fingers are crossed, at any rate.

I try to avoid the R word at this time of year, but one of my hopes is that this year will bring new opportunities for my academic and personal growth, as well as tons of knitting and crafting adventures.

So here's to a new year, and the opportunities it brings for reflection and development, and here's hoping I can create a blog that brings at least a few people the kind of enjoyment I've had from reading the blogs of others! Here are a few pictures of one of my favorite FOs from late 2007, my Endpaper Mitts. A big thanks to Eunny Jang for designing this gorgeous pattern, which was achievable even for this virgin colourwork knitter.

My Endpaper Mitts are made from Koigu PPPM. The mottled nature of both colours of wool means that in parts the pattern is less pronounced, as the red strand approaches cream, or the cream strand is dappled with red-orange, but the end result is a pair of fingerless gloves that almost seem to glow. I love them. My only wish is that I'd blocked them a bit smaller, and taken photos before I started wearing them. But then I'd have had to have taken them with my old camera (2 megapixels) rather than my new one, which has 7 megapixels and is small enough not to be totally humiliating.

Happy New Year, and I look forward to keeping up with you all much more frequently!