Sunday, September 28, 2008

Knitting Happenings

Well, some knitting is taking place over here at Casa Ripley. I've cracked open a ball of Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn that was languishing in my stash since I purchased it at a Boxing Day Sale held by one of our LYSs. I'm making my first pair of Monkeys. I figured the thousands of Ravelers who've knitted them can't be wrong, and I'm giving them a shot. These are for me, which is kind a switch, seeing as almost all my knitting has been for other people lately. The one downside to this yarn is a lack of nylon content, but I'll reinforce with some woolly nylon and see how that works out. I'm almost finished the first lace repeat, and I'm having a wonderful time knitting these socks!

I've got to seam up and add the buttons to the Saartje's booties, especially since the baby they're for has arrived. Additionally, I need to get his sweater done and off to London. I'm really having a hard time getting this stuff done, and I'm thinking I need to design a reward system involving the Monkeys. For example: I force myself to seam a booty, I get to do 5 rows of the Monkey. Or maybe, I knit a repeat of the sweater, and I get to knit 3 rounds on the Monkey. 

I've resumed attending the knitting circle at my favorite LYS, and am really enjoying making a few hours in my week to enjoy knitting and chatting with the other knitting ladies. Also, I've attended two salsa classes so far, and it's a good time. I wish my Sweetie was attending with me, but alas, salsa may be his favorite condiment but apparently it's not his favorite dance. In spite of this, I found myself powerless to resist this lovely Arequipa sock yarn which I'm going to knit into socks for him. Eventually. It's so soft, being wool, alpaca and nylon. 

Something about this fall has really brought on a case of Sock Fever. In addition to the Monkeys and the planned socks for Sweetie, I stash enhanced and ordered a giant skein of the Lettuce Lesson (which I already own in sportweight), in the wool/nylon base yarn SeeJayneKnit uses. I'm trying to exercise control, but it's a challenge these days. I find myself skulking around Etsy, looking at sock yarn with lust in my heart. 

My last piece of knitting to share is a drop stitch scarf I knitted for my swap partner for an Odd Ducks of Ravelry Brothers Grimm swap. I had a devil of a time photographing this thing, and have really only one half decent picture to show you. Part of the problem is that I'm always taking pictures at night when I blog, or in the case of the scarf, early in the morning before I ran to the post office to send it off to Nevada. This scarf was ridiculously difficult for me. I unintentionally dropped stitches, and couldn't figure out how to fix them. Fortunately, wiser knitters than I were willing to help me (thanks Pearl, and to the kind woman at Mad About Ewe in Nanaimo, who helped me when my ferry knitting when horribly wrong). It's the simplest pattern in the world, but it was an ill-starred one for me. 

In other news, I'm thinking of giving drop spindling a whirl (literally and figuratively, I suppose). The only thing stopping me is a lack of time. Maybe I'll save the spinning for December, as a reward for completing the semester's coursework. 

I have a few more posts planned for this week, so there should be a little more activity over here, homework permitting. Thanks for reading!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Swap Goodness and Yarn Porn

As promised, here are some pictures of the treasures I received in the Brothers Grimm swap through the Odd Ducks Ravlery Swap. Silkydoll is the purveyor of all this goodness. Thanks silkydoll! 

She sent me a lovely hat, which reminds me of Snow White and Rose Red. The green reminds me of the forest, and the red nubbins are like little rosebuds:

As if she is psychic, she sent me lovely stitch markers which arrived only a day after I'd been bemoaning my lack of cute stitch markers. These are like little berries and are so sweet:

She also sent me some tea. I haven't tried any of these flavours yet, and with the advent of fall I'll definitely be enjoying them soon.

But there was another treat in the mail too. I received a lovely skein of the Lettuce Lesson that I purchased from See Jayne Knit. This picture doesn't fully capture the lovely colours of this oh-so-soft skein of sportweight baby merino. If you've not yet checked out Jayne's lovely yarns get over there! I don't know what it is, but lately I can't get enough of the colour green. 

Speaking of which, I think I'll be giving this site a fall makeover soon, so don't be surprised if you find a different look next time you stop by! I hope you like it!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Creativity and Confidence

September is here, and with it has come the first fingers of fall. The nights and mornings are cool, yet in the middle of the day it's easy to feel overdressed. Shades of brown, red and gold are creeping into the green palette of the trees, and the sky is beginning to take on the deep blue that is so unique to autumn. September means the start of school for me, and tonight was my first class. It's a class on teaching written composition, and as students we are required to engage with the writing process ourselves by doing a substantial amount of writing and workshopping of our own stuff. 

This both thrills and terrifies me. I've been edging towards reclaiming my love of writing, and the process of writing for a while. This blog is a place that has felt like a safe first step. I like to knit, and the idea of keeping a knitting blog didn't seem too onerous. I also felt that in addition to getting my writing feet wet it would allow me to document my projects. One of my writing goals is to develop a voice by writing regularly. I feel that I've been moderately successful in this endeavour to date. On the plus side, I'm writing somewhat regularly for a public audience, which is a big deal for me. On the minus side, I do feel like I censor myself partly because of the public nature of the blog. 

Recently I've found myself hesitating to post, or feeling like if I do I need to flagellate myself for not providing enough knitting content. I've never been successful at knitting during the summer months, and even the motivation of the Ravelympics was not enough to get me going. My cousin's baby is due in two weeks, and the first sweater is not finished, but I have made progress with it. My attempt at finishing my Sizzle has not been successful, though I did spend some time with it in August. And while we're on the self-flagellation bandwagon, perhaps I can note that I'm running late on my Brothers Grimm Ravelry swap. 

However, reading Materfamilias' recent blog post got me thinking. Why are we so quick to criticize ourselves, particularly around creativity? It seems all too easy to beat oneself up about any creative endeavour, and it's certainly a skill I possess. This does seem kind of antithetical to the creative process though. For me, nurturing creativity is a bit like trying to coax a reluctant kitty from under a sofa. The process would likely go a lot better if I didn't lose patience with myself for letting the cat get under the sofa in the first place, and beating myself up for not luring her our more quickly. 

So, here is one of my fall goals, set out for all to see. I'm going to try to post regularly on this blog, and I'm going to try not to beat myself up about what I haven't accomplished. I'm going to try to celebrate what I have accomplished, and I'm going to try to convince the damn cat to come out from under the couch by showing her how much more fun it is out here. 

Tomorrow, when I have some sunlight to work with, I'll take pictures of my lovely swap package, and some amazing yarn which just arrived courtesy of a wonderful Etsy yarn vendor! Woolly goodness! 

PS. The pictures are from a recent visit to the Nitobe Memorial Garden at UBC.