This is my motto concerning housework: life is too short for me to do the things I actually want to do; it's far too short for me to do things I don't want to do [ie. housework].*
The same thing applies to knitting. It's why I'm not a big KAL-joiner. I will do one thing like that a year. And if it's a Tour de Sock, for example (where I do 6 pairs of socks in 10 weeks) followed by the August SKA finish up the SIPs challenge, then that pretty much renders me useless for the foreseeable future [in terms of group knitting activities].
So I seldom do Christmas knitting for people and I am not interested in having all my good knitting time spent knitting things for people who may or may not appreciate them. And I am not a huge fan of knitting things not of my own choosing.
Do I sound like a whiner? I care not. Knitting is my recreation / stress release / meditation thing. I can be selfish with it.
So I have found myself in obligation knitting mode of late.
*Insert digression here: I am taking part in the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging and I just had a follow-up interview on Friday. There were all kinds of questions about activities of daily living and whatnot, and I was asked about how many times in the last week I had done light activities such as washing dishes. Several times, said I. The next question was about how many times in the last week I had done medium activities such as (snort) washing windows, dusting, or vacuuming.
"None." I said.
"No times?" said the disembodied voice on the other end of the line. She seemed a little shocked.
"No. None. I'm not a housework enthusiast."
Then later in the interview came the transportation questions. [This is further digression - regular knitting talk will resume shortly]. She asked about my modes of transportation and how often I drive and what kinds of driving activities I avoid (ie. driving in snow, or making left hand turns, or going through rotaries etc.). Answer: none. I don't avoid those things. Then there was a question about how many times I had taken public transportation in the last month.
"None." I said.
"No times?" said the voice on the end of the line. "Why don't you take public transit?"
Well, beeyatch, not that it's any of your business, but I get to work between 7:00 and 7:15, and for me to take a bus which would get me there at that time, I'd have to catch it at around 5:45, and news flash, buses don't run in my area at that time of day. AND I have to go to either the Mount or Dalplex after work three days a week, and there isn't enough time for me to do my day job and then spend an hour or so on the bus system getting out to Bedford to teach fitness classes and be there on time. And then figure out a way to get home again afterwards (all sweaty and clammy and cranky). I don't get home until 7:30 at the earliest as it is. I'd spend my whole life on the damned bus just going to inconvenient places if I had to take public transit.
I thought she could have just written down the answer and moved to the next question.
I am practising to be a querulous old lady. I am already a cranky middle-aged woman, and I do not intend to change much.
And I will ride into old age in my own vehicle, thank you very much, and not on public transportation. Or a vacuum.
End of digression.
The last real knitting post was three weeks ago. Knitting and stash have occurred since then. My photos are the best way for me to keep track, so this will be in chronological and not activity order.
My Canon Hand Dyes minis club arrived. The theme this time was Victorian Horror and it was one of those sets where there were 6 different mini-themes. They were all based on Victorian horror novels. These included The Raven (Poe), The Hound of the Baskervilles (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (Robert Louis Stevenson), Frankenstein (Mary Shelley), The Picture of Dorian Grey (Oscar Wilde), and Dracula (Bram Stoker). I've read two of them.
The base was the Charles base (2 ply 80/20 MN) and the contrast skein was "A Dark And Stormy Night" (ie. dark grey).
A+ on the packaging. I have kept all of the little bits of paper which wrapped each individual set, an I am going to hole punch them and thread through the little purple velvet ribbon which tied them all together, and then I am going to put them on my knitting bulletin board of awesomeness.
Here they are in their wrapped pristine glory.
I really like the idea behind these, but I find them a little frustrating. Most of the CDH mini skein sets are sort of rainbow-y or they follow a gradient of some sort. These are just all over the place. The saturated Dracula minis are odd bedfellows with the confetti sprinkles of the Portrait of Dorian Grey. So while I applaud the inventiveness of this, they're not my favourites.
And the contrast skein?
Really? Another dark grey? We just had this with the Game of Thrones minis (which also combined mini-groupings of disparate colours).
I guess there are people who make those sock yarn blankets and from what I can see, the colours are all over the place and no one really cares. So maybe these are perfect for them.
For me, I view these as cowl sets. Ever since I saw Erica's awesome S T R I P E D cowl, I have been in love. I only get the 5g sets, so there's not enough yarn to do anything other than accessories.
So the only thing to do was to plunge in and make a cowl. I thought the Dark and Stormy Night was too dark to provide adequate contrast with most of the Raven yarns, the Hound of the Baskervilles, and the Jekyll and Hyde. Even Frankenstein is a bit touch and go.
So I decided to use a green contrast yarn instead. I dug into my stash and pulled out the perfect shade of green. When I bought it, it was called SW, N Quasi-Solido Handdyed sock yarn by The Fiber Denn. The creator has since renamed this line so that it appears at the beginning of one's stash. It's now called 1 Akasha Zeropoint Colorworks SW, NS Quasi-Solido Sock Yarn. Whatever. That's like people who name their businesses AAA Pest Control so that it's the first one you find in the phone book. [Back in the days when people actually used phone books rather than the internet].
The colourway is August's Stone [which I think may be peridot, but I'm too lazy to look it up right now].
So I cast on the cowl on November 7. I decided to do 100 stitches rather than 90, and I used a 3.5 mm needle. I ended up using 8 rows of the main colour green, and 12 rows of the minis (except for about half of them whose yardage didn't extend to a full 12 rows, so I ended up doing mostly jogless joins and adding in the green to finish off those rows).
And for the first time, I actually did a provisional cast-on using a crochet hook. I am still mentally toying with the idea of learning to crochet, and at least you can unzip the crochet at the end.
The Akasha Zeropoint or whatever it's called is a 3-ply 80/20 MN. It's quite soft, and it's a bit thicker than the Charles base. It worked out perfectly well and was, I think, the precise shade of Frankenstein green. There was one of the actual Frankenstein minis which was very close in colour to the main colour, so I did two rows of black on either side to set them off so that it wouldn't look like three inches of green.
You can see that in the previous Tube Snake Boogie post.
You'll have to wait for the FO photos because I'm going in chronological order.
At some point I ordered two skeins of Must Stash yarns. One is "Boys of Summer" (sun, sky, grass, and something purple), and the other is a rainbow skein of some sort. They came with a sunglasses stitchmarker. They're on the Perfect Sock base and are OCD skeins which I think means it's two 50-gram skeins which match.
So those will be turned into socks at some point in the next few years.
Can I give you another middle-aged cranky moment?
Every Saturday when I show up to teach the body bar class at Dalplex, the long extension cord is always mangled and tangled.
Whoever put the cart away the previous evening never ever ever takes the time to wind the extension cord properly. So after my Saturday class (and again at my Tuesday evening class) I have to spend time at the end untangling, straightening, and then winding the cord again. It just drives me *bonkers*. I may not like to vacuum, but I do understand the value of leaving the cart in a tidy fashion for the next person who uses it.
Here are typical before and after shots.
[The orange extension cord behind the cart in the "after" photo is a cord on yet another cart inside the fitness cage. It is yet another example of an untidy cord which no one cleans up, but it's not on the instructor wheelie cart, so I don't care.]
The last installment of the Tanis Fiber Arts Year in Colour club arrived. The yarn is in the Amber Label base which is a 75 merino / 15 cashmere / 10 silk DK and the colourway is Caramel. It's a beautiful yarn. The pattern is for some cabled fingerless mitts, but I might do a hat instead.
I was talking about doing the test knit for Laura Fahlin in the November 1 blog post. I started it with two different yarns and didn't like either one. I decided that a variegated yarn with shorter colour repeats might work better, so I did some deep stash diving (which I'm doing lots of these days) and pulled out my Three Irish Girls club offering from a zillion years ago. It's Kells Sport Merino in the Cherry Blossom colourway. I knit most of the sock in one afternoon / evening (and still had time for a nap) and then finished the toe the next day. I think that was last weekend. They all blur together. Anyway, here it is. The pattern is called Clown Car Socks and should be available on Rav shortly.
These were the other two abortive attempts. I have since frogged the yarn and re-wound.
I am getting very good at picot cuffs.
Then I started on the Frankenstein cowl. Here are some more WIP shots.
In case anyone is wondering, I weave in the ends after each block of the minis colour. I find that knotting the yarn is insufficient. It ends up getting loose and sometimes coming apart. I'm not spending this much time knitting on a cowl only to have it fall apart on me.
I used all the minis rather than taking some out and adding some others the way I usually do. And I did them in order. I just figured out what the order of the groupings was going to be and I went from there.
I work for an electric utility, and we went to visit the Black River Hydro site last week. It was pretty interesting. And because the dams and generating stations for that system date back to the 1920s there was quite a bit of interesting history there. One of the things they showed us was a copy of an ad from the 1940s. Check this out.
It's hard to imagine a world where they had to try to sell electricity as the next big thing. We just take it for granted.
It reminds me a little of Roo's blog post about having to lug in the heavy wet sacks of coal to heat the fireplace in her bedroom before they had an upgrade a few years ago.
Apparently accuracy in spelling wasn't a high priority back then.
We aren't allowed to post any pictures of the inside of any of the generating stations etc to any social media sites, but the outdoor shots are permissible. So here are some of the photos of our trip. The first stop was the Hell's Gate generating station and then we went further upstream to the Lumsden dam and generating station.
Those tanks at the top are surge tanks. They act a bit like runaway lanes for water. And they help provide additional pressure for start-ups.
It's too bad I can't share the inside photos. The generating units are pretty neat.
This is the generating station at Lumsden. It's on the down side of the dam.
The dam itself is part of Lumsden Lake (?Pond?). There's a spillway on the side so that if necessary, they can release the baffles and dump water into the spillway. I was quite intrigued by that.
Then further up the road is the Hollow Bridge generating station with another surge tank.
They are replacing pipes somewhere on the Black River hydro system. The pipes are 10 feet in diameter and are made of concrete and fiberglass. It apparently only takes about 6 hours to create each section of pipe, and they're trucked up from Texas. It takes much longer to transport them than to actually create them.
My department just did a charity sock and glove drive for a local charity. I donated a pair of hand knit socks and I made a hat. The hat is a Bankhead hat using some Sanguine Gryphon Traveller (told you there was lots of deep stash diving recently). I did 120 stitches and made the body long so that the brim can be doubled up and the hat can be worn as a beanie, or the hat can be worn as a slouchy beanie. Either way, hopefully it will keep someone warm. I actually got to knit on it when we were driving to and from our Black River hydro trip. I never get to be a passenger. It was enlightening - the knitting possibilities are endless.
This took about 62 grams of yarn. I have enough left to make a child size hat. The colourway is Doha. No clue where that is in the world.
I made a couple of mistakes, but whatever. It's for charity. It will keep someone warm.
And then after that, I went back to the Frankenstein cowl. I finished it earlier this evening. The 100 stitches makes for a LOT of kitchener with a very very long tail attached to the needle.
No, I haven't blocked it, and to be honest, I'm not likely to. This will be a good dog walking cowl.
Next up on the obligation knitting front .... Princess wants a pair of socks for her boyfriend for Christmas. She knits too slowly. (She's still working on the first of the Nothing Says Screw You socks...).
So he likes blue. I am going to do a garter rib sock out of some Impulse of Delight Summit Sock (80/20 MN) in the Worn Blues colourway. It's another deep stash dive. I don't even think Ruth is still dyeing, but he colours were amazing.
Then when I finish those, I have to do an infinity cowl of some sort for the Lad. I'm going to use the grey Mineville Wool Project DK weight I bought at Have a Yarn.
Then I am going to cast on something vibrant and stripey for ME.
That's it for now, folks. I am going to go and feed the dogs and figure out from the Lad what he wants to do about dinner. It's dark and stormy and late and I'm hungry.
I wish the dogs were better about going outside to pee when it's raining.
First world problems.