Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spring is slow to come

I've been avoiding the outdoors as it's been very cold and miserable. Much snow still on the flower beds and garden area. Watching The Beechgrove Garden to gain inspiration and skills in the meantime.
I've been knitting madly because I hadn't received the pattern for Sock Madness Round 2 when everyone else did. I wasn't on any of the team lists. I stewed about it for a while, and finally wrote and asked why? And got much apologetic email about how I'd been missed by accident. Got the pattern Wednesday the 23rd, and wound the yarn and got going on sock 1 that evening. It's quite a complex pattern (Nornir) with a knit below rib for the leg, and then a slip-stitch pattern on the sole (where you usually get a break because it's usually all stockinette). Anyway, worked on them practically all weekend, while watching TV, and finally finished up last night at about 11:45. Then I had to get the old Dell fired up because the iMac is in the shop - curses! Finally did get the photos loaded up to my Ravelry page, then sent an email to sockmadness, and then (and only then) I checked the team lists to see if I'd made it. Phew! Two teams are completely finished, but MY team, Minnow, only had 14 finished (of 37). So I made it through that round. Because I was missed, I was put in the slow knitter team, which was fine by me. Took 6 days in all to knit the pair, though. Now I'm all keyed up and no new pattern to do (yet), so I'm going back to finish or work on some WIP's. No news on when the next pattern comes. Must wait until all 4 teams have 37 finishers, I suppose.
My seedlings are coming along apace but I would STILL like to be able to put them out on the deck in their little greenhouse - however, unless I'm home to bring them in if necessary I don't quite dare - and then it is supposed to snow (or possibly rain) this weekend. Brrr.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Nothing much to see here....

I finished my Sock Madness Sock, and posted about it, and so I'm in the competition! What they do is divide all 160 finishers into four teams, and then release the patterns one at a time, with only a certain number of finishers moving on to the next heat. There's a lot of rivalry and encouraging chat back and forth, and the first heats are relatively slow, so it begins easily enough.
It does make you knit, though! So last night I finished off a pair of socks I had started in mid-February - just to clear the decks, you know, as the next pattern should arrive anytime after midnight on Friday.

And then, since I didn't have anything (much) to knit, I started a new shawl in Fleece Artist Mo. The pattern is Zetor, and it seems to be a nice lacy thing. I've had the Mo for a long time, it's a lovely amber-golden colour, but I've been intimidated to actually knit with it, as mohair is quite a lot of trouble to work with. However, here I go, and so far I'm having no trouble. The Mo is over 500 m. so it could be quite a big shawl before it's all done, but it will be light and warm as well. It was actually one of those Fleece Artist Combos, with two different yarns dyed the same colour and put together as a package. I think I was supposed to knit with the two yarns together, but I didn't - I made a Travelling Woman shawl with the sockweight and put the Mo away - for now!
I did go to Veseys at lunchtime, and spent up my $50 gift certificate on seeds (and a few peat pots), with quite a few packets meant to be started quite soon in flats. I will get busy with that this weekend, as long as knitting doesn't get in the way. I have my flower seedlings in my little plastic rolling greenhouse in the living room (it keeps the cats from digging them up) and I was hoping I might get a bit of sun this weekend so I could put it out on the deck for a few hours. However it doesn't look great for sun this weekend.

Monday, March 14, 2011

It was Spring - for a few days

The weekend was quite spring-like - lots of rain on Friday night and Saturday morning, and then it brightened up and actually became sunny later on Saturday. We were visiting friends in Western PEI so walked around Alberton on Saturday - it's a really walkable town. The snow is fleeing quite quickly, but it's much less lovely going than coming. However, we're glad to see the back of it. No chance of gardening yet, but I'm seriously considering a visit to Vesey's with my gift certificate to lay in some seeds I can start indoors - and I'm listening to my "Scotland's Gardens" podcasts to get expert advice and inspiration. Anyway, Winter has Returned! today with -4 degrees and a nasty NW wind. Ah well. It can't last.
Knitting is a bit dull at the moment, as I've embarked on Sock Madness again, and I have to finish the first pair of socks by this coming Friday. I'm in a bit of trouble because I had chosen two colours and chose the shorter skein for the main colour - and started to run out when I started the second sock! If you know what I mean. I could see that there wouldn't be enough to complete it the same as the first. So I started reversing colours. It is quite a big sock - a man's size for sure - I doubt if any man *I* know would wear fraternal socks. Anyway, the point is, if I finish these in time to get in the group I will get 6 more patterns and get to compete at the different heats, which get faster and faster until I'm knocked out. I've only competed once before, and I got knocked out in the second round, I think. But it's a companionable group and fun to do - and you've got some impetus to knit fast and get a few pairs of socks in the old Christmas present drawer. Knit knit knit.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Quickly, quickly

Yesterday I started Anne's fingerless gloves, with a lovely pattern from Ravelry by Holly Terrell called "Swan Maiden Mitts". I've had the pattern for a while but hesitated to use it because it calls for lace weight yarn - seemed like a lot of work for something that would probably end up too small for me! However, with the Qiviut I thought it would be OK - the author does suggest that you can use bigger yarn and adjust the needle size. I went down to 2.5 mm from 2.75. This yarn is 80% merino, 15% qiviut and 5% silk, and it is soft and just yummy. It may not be very hard-wearing, of course, though I have high hopes due to the merino content. The pattern is great fun - the lace is only 23 stitches (of 60) and only every second row, so quite a lot of just plain stockinette between chart rows - and it's quite easy as well. Love them!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March came in like a Lion

Well, finally February is behind us. In addition to the snow and rain and then more snow on the weekend, we had another storm yesterday - fine snow which started about 3 pm, and rapidly became quite bad...luckily Fred left work (and let me know) at 3 so we met at the UPEI gym and then we left there about 5 - they were about to close - and getting on the highway was the hard part as all the parking lots were emptying at once. Once there, though, we took it slowly and managed to get home an hour after we'd left the gym (usually a 20-minute drive). I think it was the worst weather I've driven through this winter.
The wind was SE, so it was on the front door, which needs its weatherstripping changed - it whistled all night. The snow changed to rain after midnight, apparently, but I didn't see much evidence of rain - it was blowing at 40 kpg gusting to 70 so the windchill was below zero - it probably froze any rain in its tracks! The path was drifted in again this morning. Anyway, the sun is shining today so we should have some solar gain.
It was chilly in the house last night, so I couldn't really get into knitting - I am finishing the second of a pair of socks, fairly uninspiring ones, having finished my lace-weight "Ethereal" shawl and a fingering-weight small one called "Arroyo" on Sunday. Talking to Anne on Sunday, she would like some green wrist-warmers, so I'll check my patterns and find something that will work with the lime Qiviut. Should be fun.