Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Coffee Cup Sleeve

Pattern: Knit Coffee Sleeve by MissKnittyPants

Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Merino Worsted (Burgundy) approx. 0.1 skein

Needles: 4 mm / US 6 circular

I knitted to 8 inches before grafting together. Like many I did a provisional cast-on and then grafted using kitchener stitch.

This was a great quick knit. I'll probably make quite a few of these as my scrap yarn pile is growing. For anyone who needs a 1-2 hour break from a big project and have some worsted weight scrap yarn lying about, this is great for instant gratification. And it helps with the environment - what else can you ask for?!?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Cranford Mitts

Pattern: Cranford Mitts by Jane Lithgow

Yarn: Crystal Palace Yarns Panda Wool Solid (Vine Green) and
Handmaiden Fine Yarn Camelspin (Rose Garden)

Needles: 2mm / US 0 circular (Magic loop method used)

This pattern is a repeat of a horse shoe lace pattern. The patterns call for four repeats before the increases for the thumb. However, I have quite long hands/arms and decided to do seven repeats before the thumb.

These mitts are quite lovely and make me feel very ladylike.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Fun of British Place Names

This article was forwarded to me today and I must say I more than chuckled. Slightly 5th grade humor but why knock it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Am I Cheating on my Yarn Diet?

After organizing my yarn and also wishing to save some money during these hard times, I decided to put myself on a yarn diet: No yarn purchases until the summer sales. There are a few provisos: 1) I can buy yarn on holiday (I'm in Estonia next month and can't wait to check out the yarn wares!); 2) I can buy yarn from gift vouchers (I received a knit picks voucher for xmas); and 3) I have some refund money on my paypal account from yarn that was shipped but never arrived so that money can be used as technically it was already spent.

Anyhow, I got jealous reading the socktopod thread where everyone was excited about getting/receiving their sock club packages. I hadn't joined the club in time and it's now too late to join. So I decided I wanted to join a sock club and went on the Blue Moon Fiber Arts website and decided to spend some hard dosh on the Rockin' Sock Club. So the question is: Have I cheated on my yarn diet? Is joining a sock club technically buying yarn?

I'm a bit excited about it all. I've never worked with Blue Moon Fiber Arts yarns before so I'm pretty keen to knit with it. I also adore receiving packages. Who doesn't, right? This is my first knitting club of this sort and I can't wait to receive my packages!!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Rev Joseph Lowery's Benediction - I found it!

I so loved the way he ended his benediction and I found it funny. On some blogs, people found it a bit racist but I think it was overall humorous and important to remember.

Lowery gives sole inaugural note of racial caution

WASHINGTON (AP) — Amid the outpouring of inaugural joy over the racial progress represented by President Barack Obama, there was a single, humorous mention of work still to be done.

After the first black president had been sworn in, Rev. Joseph Lowery' ended his benediction with a rhyme familiar to black churchgoers:

"We ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around..."

There was laughter from the enormous crowd. The 87-year-old civil rights pioneer continued:

"When yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen."

The crowd thundered, "Amen!"


Me: I shouted 'Amen' from my couch as well. :-)

Post-Inauguration Random Musings

"We must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America."

- A very sobering speech by Obama but truthful. I would have loved a bit of his musicality but I think the speech was right for the period we're in. I loved that he spoke directly to muslims and asserted that muslim/West relations would be handled with respect. It was great too that he mentioned global warming a couple of times. A very dense speech, one that says he knows what a basket case the world is currently but still that we should hope and that we should work hard to rebuild.

- I absolutely loved Rev. Joseph Lowery's benediction at the end. His gravelly voice and his bent towards rhythmic poetry was great to listen to. I especially liked his last words hearkening to "Black, Brown And White" by Big Bill Broonzy:

"If you was white, should be all right,
if you was brown, stick around,
but as you's black, hmm brother, get back, get back, get back"

I've tried to find Rev. Lowery's exact words but youtube, etc. is letting me down. I guess they just don't work fast enough :-)

- Malia and Sasha looked cute throughout; Cutest first kids ever?

- I thought it was a bit endearing that Obama stumbled through his oath. It showed his nervousness and excitement and showed him to be human. Of course I'm biased.

- Aretha's singing made me cry. I don't know why but it really really touched me.

- The only bad note was the poet. She was very stilted and I might need to read her poem to get the message she was trying to get across.

The inauguration was a beautiful thing. I think the US is often criticized for overdoing things but I think such circumstances merit pomp.

Happy Inauguration Day!

Happy Inauguration Day everyone! I've taken the day off work and I'm sitting at home watching sky news and enjoying the pomp and circumstance. I don't know if this day can match Nov. 2nd but we'll see if I can go without waterworks during Obama's speech. What an amazing day! How I would love to be freezing in the crowds watching this live...

To Obama - the 44th President of the United States!!!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

In-house Yarn shop

Last night I was searching desperately for yarn to knit the forest & frill shrug. So I pulled out all my bags and was searching through when the bf suggested: Why don't you set up your yarns like in a yarn shop? Hmmm... I thought. What a brilliant idea! We then considered how we would get this done. Buy those closet shoe holders from Argos that have nice box-like receptacles for yarn? Then the bf had another lightbulb moment and we decided to move around my books and DVDs that align the shelves in my flat and create mini yarn cubbie holes in between. This was actually a really good idea as it forced me to go through a lot of crap that I had on my shelves. I finished my masters at the LSE over a year ago and I still had lecture notes and other sundries on the shelves.

The bf then went on to do an excellent job stacking my yarns and now I can see exactly what I have. For example, I notice that I buy way too many yarns in the beige to orange pallet. It looks a bit chaotic with all my other stuff but I live in a studio and so space is to a minimum. Now I can use my basket which previously held some of my stash to keep my wips.

For the next six months at least I'm trying to only knit with yarns I already own. The only proviso is that I'm allowed to buy yarn on holiday. During my holiday in La Rochelle, I found a great phildar sale and was able to indulge a bit. :-)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Gallus Mittens

Pattern: Gallus by Kirsten Kapur

Yarn: Handmaiden Fine Yarn Sea Silk in Paris

Needles: 2mm / US 0 circular (Magic loop method used)

These mittens are the first mittens I've ever knitted. I was never sure if I'd like wearing mittens. I generally prefer the separation of fingers afforded by gloves. But I wanted to try something new and there are so many fun mittens patterns out there that I wanted to indulge in some mitten knitting. Also, mittens are near instant gratification.

I knitted these for the most part while I was on holiday in La Rochelle, France. These lovely mittens enjoyed the ambiance of many a cafe. I sipped tea (I'm not a fan of coffee but I love cafes) while the boyfriend enjoyed his cafe au lait. It was a magical holiday and these mittens will always remind me of that experience.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Knitted Christmas Presents

This year I knitted all my Christmas presents which actually presented some time management issues. I thought I had all the time in the world until I found myself watching the music channel and they were playing Christmas videos. In the right hand corner was a small avatar of sorts displaying that there were only 20 days to Christmas. I cried in alarm as I realized I had approximately 20 days to knit 5 presents plus a small number of commissions from my colleagues. I stretched my fingers and then proceeded to marathon knit. I pretty much got everything done around the time necessary. Sleep and I were not friends but I was happy to accomplish my goals.

My xmas presents were as follows:

1. Dr G Memory Vest for the bf

2. Hot Water Bottle Sweater for the Bf's mom

3. Noro Striped Scarf for the Bf's Dad

4. Crofter's Cowl for the Bf's sister

5. Noro Striped Scarf for the Bf's brother-in-law

My Irish Christmas

After a number of years spending Christmas by myself, this year I was off to the West Coast of Ireland (Galway) to spend xmas with the bf's family. I have yet to recover from my many days of gluttony and tomorrow I'm off to France to continue on my path of sloth and indulgence. But before heading off to beautiful La Rochelle, I knew that I must first divulge my Irish experiences.

Somewhere around 2am, I heard Santa's bells ring. I thought this required me to rush out and see the happenings but I was warned by the bf that I must instead go to sleep and wait till sun up to enjoy Santa's wares. Being a very good girl, I happily drifted off...

On Christmas morning, still in our PJ's, the bf AKA Barry and I went downstairs to open our presents. Santa had been very generous with the two of us. Barry was the only child home (the other 3 were spending Christmas in other cities). My presents had a definite Obama theme - Obama T-shirt, both his books, a pin and a mug. Then we moved onto silver - lots and lots of silver earrings. After a tiring 1-2 hours of present opening, Papa Driscoll prepared a pancake breakfast (American-style pancakes) while the younger Driscoll prepared bacon, eggs and sausage.

After generously breakfasting, the young Driscoll and I took the dog for a walk. Along the way, we fed the family donkeys and thanked them for their deeds for young Jesus.

We then went home and relaxed while the Christmas meal was prepared. Turkey and all the trimmings.

We partook of a delicious repast, only to find approximately 9 desserts in the offing.

We ate and ate and in the end collapsed.

Oh the joys of Christmas!