Friday, March 16, 2012

At least I'm getting some knitting done...

Yeah, I've been sick for almost the entire week. On Monday evening I felt an itch in my throat that wasn't supposed to be there, but I ignored it and hoped it had something to do with all the dust lying around the apartment. We're living in boxes everywhere right now, as we move in two weeks, so there's really no point in cleaning. Anyway, I went to work as usual on Tuesday, and just felt crappier and crappier as the day went on. So at two i decided I had had enough, and went home and went to bed with 38.5 centigrades in fever. So that's where I've been these past three days! No fun at all, I've been coughing my lungs out and have a smashing headache, so I've been watching a lot of old TV series and knitted a lot. Today I woke up without a fever, but my temperature is rising as I write this (which I feel by the increasing headache and increasing chills) so I'll probably spend the weekend in bed as well.

Well, yesterday I managed to FINALLY finish my panama shawl! I blocked it this morning (and afterwards I felt dizzy and sweaty, so I probably wasn't ready for that kind of "strenuous" activity), and it's looking very pretty. Here is the usual blocking picture:

It is kind of big, I'm guessing it's at least 1.5 m wide at the top, but it's incredibly thin so I think it will work as a scarf around the neck as well. I started this one in February last year, so it's been lying around for more than a year before it finally got done! I'm so very happy to have this one out of the way!

As I'm currently kind of hooked on lace, I decided yesterday to focus on the Ethereal Triangle shawl now that the Panama was done. But the cable is starting to come loose on the KnitPicks needle, and I got so tired of the yarn snagging at the glitch, I decided to wait until I get me some new needles. I finished the Panama with my new ChiaoGoo Bamboo needle, and let me tell you: I am IN LOVE! The join between needle and cable is incredibly smooth, and the cable itself is incredible. It is completely memory-free, which means that it doesn't coil up at all. So I went and ordered three more of these needles yesterday evening as well, in sizes 2.25, 2.5 and 2.75 mm. I just hope that the tips are as sharp on the bigger needles. I still like the KnitPicks needles, but I think I might just love the DPN's, while the circulars are just ok. The join isn't as smooth as I first thought when I bought them, and the cables do coil a lot. Plus, I've had several needles break on me these past couple of weeks, so I'm not that fond of the quality either. We'll see if the ChiaoGoo ones are any better. The main drawback with these ones though, is that they don't come in any interchangeable sets, so you have to buy a lot of different needles to get different lengths of cables for every needle size. I'm not sure if I'm up to that, so I'll just start with the smaller sizes (that doesn't come in interchangeable version at KnitPicks either), and see how I like them.

Ok, now my energy is running out, so I think I'll go lie down again. I'll bring the Silken Scabbard sweater with me to work on, I think.

/ Jenny

Saturday, March 03, 2012

New Needles and New Knitting

Even though I haven't finished anything since last I wrote, I've managed to start something new. It seems like four projects is the perfect number for me! I actually picked up the Panama shawl two weeks ago, for the first time in ages, and found it a real treat. I think I've been bitten by the lace bug once again! It's been a while since I've felt the slightest bit motivated to knit any lace at all, but now it's all I want to do! I've just finished the first of the two skeins I plan to use on this shawl, and it's looking good:

(Yes, that's Hobbe's butt. I couldn't be bothered to move him before the phot shoot) I'm using a yarn that I found on Etsy a while ago, at a shop called Chopped Tomatoes. The owner has since quit Etsy and started her own web shop, which can be found here. Although it seems like she won't be dyeing any more yarn until this summer, so I urge you to take the chance to buy while it's available! The yarn is called Heavenly Infusion (which isn't available any more), colourway Sister Sister, and it's 499 m/50 g of yummy 85 % wool/15 % cashmere. The yarn is very nice and soft, but it is very fragile as it's very thin! I think I managed at least four breaks in the first skein alone, so it means a lot of ends to weave in. But I can live with that as long as the shawl doesn't break.

However, as I was happily knitting away on this one two weeks ago, I went up to pick up something from the kitchen, and when I came back to the living room, Thomas had managed to sit on my 2 mm needle, and break it. It was one of my fixed circulars, from KnitPicks, and as it was the wooden one, it snapped like a twig. Luckily, I had another, shorter one in my case, so I just switched needles (while muttering silently to myself, at least I didn't yell at Thomas as I know this is an easy mistake to make). Then, on Sunday, I sat down on the second needle as well... Darn! So I ordered two new ones from Garnkorgen, and they arrived last Tuesday, almost two weeks ago. I haven't had time to knit very much on it the last couple of weeks though, as I've been too busy at work and too tired in the evenings, but now I at least have a needle for it!

While I went two days without a working lace project, I of course had to start a new one to keep me busy. I chose the Ethereal Triangle shawl, and I'm knitting it in Madelinetosh Prairie yarn (100 % merino, 768 m/114 g) in colourway Oxblood:

This is a nice pattern, and the first chart is really easy. Which means I can sometimes work on it at work! These past few weeks have been super busy at work though, so I haven't really had a chance to even look at my knitting while there, but it's nice to know that once it slows down I have something perfect to pick up! I'm knitting this one on 2.75 mm needles, which are at least a little bit sturdier than the 2 mm ones. Let's hope I don't break these as well!

Oh, I have to brag a bit as well! About two weeks ago I had my annual salary talk with my boss at work. As I've taken on some extra tasks at work this past semester (I'm going to tutor biology students who do their internship at our lab, among other things), I managed to negotiate a bit of a raise! Yay! It will come in effect on April 1st, which will be perfect for when we move (that is only one month away now, it's going so fast!). To celebrate, I decided that I wanted to try out a new brand of knitting needles, to see if I couldn't find one that was a bit more durable than the KnitPicks ones (I bet you thought I would buy yarn, didn't you?). I finally settled on a bamboo needle from ChiaoGoo

I chose a bamboo one, as I don't like metal needles, although I've heard terrific things about their Red Lace metal ones. I ordered one 32 inch circular needle, in 2 mm, and it seems very nice and slick, with a very sharp point. However, I think I maybe should have ordered a thicker needle, to evaluate the sharpness, as it's almost impossible to make a blunt 2 mm needle! Oh well, maybe next time! I bought mine from the Etsy shop Grandma's Knit & Crochet.

While I surfed around looking for a shop that would ship the ChiaoGoo needle to Europe for a reasonable price, I came across a new type of needle: The Blackthorn Needles. They are made from Carbon Fibre, and look Oh So Slick! They are insanely expensive too, but I actually splurged on one set of 6 inches long, 1.75 mm thick needles. I bought mine from The Little Knitting Company in the UK, so the shipping was practically nothing. And amazingly enough, both packages came after only three days in the mail! And let me tell you: These needles are everything they are said to be. Very sharp, incredibly hard but oddly enough a little bit flexible, and warm to the touch. I LOVE THEM! 

I wish I could afford one set in each size! But when you think about it, as these needles are so incredibly hard and will probably last longer than my lifespan, it is probably a pretty good buy as you wouldn't need to buy any more dpn's for the rest of your life. Does it sound like I'm trying to justify another buy? Yeah, it does to me as well. I won't order any more right now, but I thought I might wish for some for my birthday in May!

Last Sunday, Anna and I spent the day together for the first time in ages! We both agreed that we probably hadn't seen each other since September! That is five months ago, which is WAY too long! But we had a really nice day, we knitted a lot (altough Anna mostly frogged), we made a bit of food, and we ended the day by going to a yoga lesson together with my sister. I'm not convinced that Yoga is for me, since I really suck at it and spend most of my energy trying to get the motions right. But I might give it one more chance, we'll see.

Other than yoga, I have really kept the exercise going this semester. At least so far. I've been going twice a week since January, and even though that isn't very long, it's more than I've exercised for the past two years! And I think it's pretty fun too, and I already feel that I have a little more energy. Win-Win!

Ok, Thomas has been out of town for a week now, he came home yesterday night, so I'm going to spend the weekend with him. We'll mostly be packing, but I think we can manage to sneak in some movie-time tonight as well. See you all soon!

/ Jenny