The Other Jennifer PM'd me on Rav to ask whether I've given up blogging. The answer is no. But I have been crazy busy at work (again). We had a big filing which resulted in a bunch of very late nights at work. I even had to get subs for some of my fitness classes. I cannot wait until 2016 is over. This has been way too busy for my tastes.
Okay, as usual I will go in photo order. And for a change, I've actually updated my Rav project pages before blogging. I usually do the Rav updates from my blog. I easily have two blog posts worth of material, so it will be a long one. You may want to get coffee.
It's been so long that I can't even remember what I last blogged about. Since the last blog post, I've knit two shawls and two pairs of socks and I've started on a third shawl.
I'll start with some rainbow porn. There are definitely advantages to working where I do. They don't get this kind of view in downtown Calgary.
Unfortunately, my department is moving to another floor on the opposite side of the building in January. That means no more ocean view. Boo. Bummer. I'm hoping for a cubicle closer to the window. I've worked in an interior cubicle for 4 years now. Once upon a time I had a nice big corner office with a beautiful wooden desk and fish tanks filled with fish and a wooden credenza and another cubpoardy thing and nice rugs on the floor. Now I work in a cubicle. I guess on the bright side we aren't being moved to smaller cubicles. We're in 8' x 7' cubicles. The other option is 6' x 6' cubicles. Corporate culture is so weird. Everything is so standardized. You're not entitled to an office unless you're a manager (leader) with three direct reports under you. Or you're a lawyer (which I am, but I don't count, so I'm just a denizen of cubeville). Anyway, I'm kind of bummed about the loss of the ocean view.
The ocean makes everything better.
October has been a total crap month for weather. We had terrible stormy weather on Thanksgiving weekend, then again a week later, and again this weekend. I managed to take the dogs for a walk to the Frog Pond a couple of weeks ago. Fall is definitely here.
Okay, now we'll do some actual fibre content.
I volunteered to test knit a shawl for BostonJen. It was a two-coloured shawl and used close to a full skein of one colour and half a skein of another colour. My initial decision was to do some deep stash diving and use some Impulse of Delight Essential Merino Fingering or some of the Merino Silk blend. I chose a green and a mushroom for the first attempt. The green was in pieces. I ended up having to wind 4 mini balls because the yarn was cut. And it wasn't something I did when I was putting it on the swift. Then after casting on and doing a few rows, I noticed that the two-ply yarn was down to a part of a single ply. It was literally hanging on by a thread. So I cut it and wove in the ends and started again. Then it did it again two rows later.
At that point I was livid. Enough was enough. I threw the whole thing in the garbage and started again with fresh yarn.
The fresh yarn was also a deep stash dive, but it held up better. The fresh yarn was two of the four skeins from the Three Irish Girls Yarnista sock club in December 2010. There was a muddy teal and a lighter version and a mulberry and a lighter version. The two primary shades were muted with grey. So I used the Mulberry and Metamorphosis (which is a pinky grey - the mulberry with some grey to lighten it).
Okay, that should be enough yarny goodness for the time being to keep you going. What follows is an epic viewing of our "new" public library. It opened two years ago. It took me two years to actually step foot inside. You can't accuse me of being hasty.
Inside, the library is a bit Hogwarts / Escheresque. There are stairways to each floor and walkways from one side to another. The building is constructed like a rectangle with the centre part hollow. It's very light inside, which is nice. The old library was a dark warren of small interconnected spaces.
And the light???? It's everywhere. This is where I want to be when the vampires invade. It has two Pavia coffee bars (one on the main floor, one on the 4th floor), so assuming supplies hold up, we could be safe here forever.
Welcome to the digital age. Behind these electronic book thingamajigs (not sure if they're for looking stuff up or if they're electronic book checker-outers or what) is an amazing wall of tiny pictures. They're amazing. So of course I had to take some close-up shots.
At the top of the building is a rooftop reading area, a garden planted with some kind of wacky plant thing and a view that goes on for miles.
The lines and the views go on for miles. It's absolutely stunning. Any idiot with an iPhone (like me) can take amazing pictures. It's the architectural equivalent of working with supermodels (after they're made up, of course).
The windows are covered with what look like leaves from a distance. Close up, they're made up of letters.
If you're wondering what happens to seeing eye charts when they die, they go to the Halifax Central Library...
Inside, there are all kinds of really neat places to sit and read or sit and work. There are laptop plugs and stations everywhere. The furniture appears to be leather and is in shades of orange and green and red. (Hmm...keeping with the leaves theme). Oh, and there's some purple thrown in for good measure as well.
This ain't your grandma's library.
But wait! There's more!
And on the descent back down, we go past more of the Escheresque stairwells...
Back on the ground floor there's a little window where you can see into the inner workings where the librarians hang out. There's even one low down to the ground for the kids to see through.
And by librarians, I mean machines.
At the far back you can see the conveyor belt thing where the books are conveyed and dumped into trolley something or others. I love the plethora of big red buttons to push. The whole thing feels very Willy Wonka to me.
Back to the amazing wall of art.
I want these bookcases.
Here's the reverse Willy Wonka book sucker-up machine that takes the books from the book drop up to somewhere higher and then back down into the little red button room.
It seriously took me all this time to figure out that the outside of the building is meant to represent a stack of books. Perhaps I never noticed it because there's a great big rectangle hangy-off thingy at the far end, which looks like one of those cartons of gingerale plopped on a stack of books.
But the use of colour is quite neat. And architecturally this gets three thumbs up.
I haven't even done any random yarn ordering. My October String Theory Colorworks sock club came in. The colour is Thermoluminescence and as always, I get mine on the Wave base because it's my favourite.
That one is going on the needles very soon.
At Dalplex they're up to their usual shenanigans. But they have managed to clean up the pile of crap and paint the outside of the Studley gym annex. It looks better. Visually it's interesting. Realistically it's old and dingy. Whatevs.
The second shawl I finished was the Asunder by Lisa Mutch. I decided to use two of my skeins of Hedghog Fibres Skinny Singles. The yarn is really only good for shawls since it's a one-ply. I blogged last time about wanting to use the Alexandrite with the Beach Ball. And I did.
The pattern only called for the three bands of the dark colour but since I had miles left after that, I decided to keep going.
It's a paid for pattern, so I won't give away any spoilers. But there are some double yarn over drop stitch things which are quite cool looking. But the row after that was a complete bugger. I was finding it really hard to slide the stitches on to the left hand needle. I kept switching needles. My go-to needles are my Hiya Hiyas, but I tried my Signature Needle Arts, my Addi Lace Clicks and even something random like a Chiaogoo or maybe it was a Knitter's Pride of some sort.
Then I finally figured out that if I switched the left hand needle for those rows to one which was two sizes smaller, the stitches slid smoothly. It was a total revelation and made the rest of the shawl go like a dream.
I'm not the swiftest person on the planet, but I get there eventually.
And since I had to block the Emelyn Mae shawl for Boston Jen, I decided to block the Asunder as well.
That was only possible because the Lad moved downstairs and his old bedroom is now my home office (aka the Puppy Room) and there's a double bed in it.
Insert digression here: My son's girlfriend is out for two weeks from Alberta. And she's allergic to dogs (even though she has one). So Desmond and Delilah have to sleep with me and Sebastian. The cats (who are old and cranky and not quite close enough to dead for my liking) don't like to share my bed with the dogs. So the dogs and I have been sleeping in the Puppy room. I usually end up pretzled between two dogs with one at my head. I like to think of it as yogasleeping.
At 3:09 this morning, Lilah bounded off the bed downstairs (because I keep my door open) and started barking like crazy. About 4 nanoseconds later she was joined by Bastian and Des. They were making the kind of racket they make when someone is at the door. (It's why I don't need a home security system). They would NOT shut up. So I went down and discovered a big black dog on the front porch. And it was pouring with rain.We were in the middle of the latest big storm, and it was absolutely blasting wet. I turned the front porch light on and eventually the dog disappeared. But my dogs went into their harmonized howling routine. After much more frenzied barking, I managed to drag them back upstairs. And I lay awake for another hour and a half. Then Bastian and Lilah decided they had to go outside for a pee. So I trudged downstairs and opened the back door. It was pitch black and still gusting and howling and pouring with rain, but when you've gotta go, you've gotta go.
Lilah did her thing and came back pretty quickly, but Bastian was taking his time. Then he decided to do the cute thing he does where he wanders up the side of the fence and rubs himself all along it. Which is adorable, but not at 4:30 am. Then the next thing I knew, mayhem ensued.
The wandering black dog had reappeared. Our yard is fenced off by chain link, so the dogs can see in and out. It's a bit of a curse. So the wandering dog was on one side of the fence and then Bastian was there barking at him and the next thing I knew, Lilah was there and Des woke up and bounded down the stairs and joined in. The dogs were barking like crazy and snarling and I am 100% certain they woke up everyone in the neighbourhood. I couldn't get them back inside. I had to rush to put my boots on because it was pouring with rain and I turned on the back light and I was attempting to puppy wrangle. They didn't have their harnesses on, and they were wet, so it was like trying to catch fish with my bare hands. I eventually managed to get them inside. At that point I was wet and tired and angry.
Bastian whined a little more to go out but I ignored him. I wasn't going to take that risk again. He rewarded me by pooping on the floor by the door. I cleaned it up without comment.
Effing dogs. If you're thinking of getting a dog, think about fish instead.
I wanted a post-shawl sock cast-on, so I cast on my AntiMuon from String Theory Colorworks. It's an Isomer colourway, which means that the two skeins are fraternal twins. In one skein, the wide bands are the bright colours and the narrow bands are the navy. In the second skein it's reversed, and the wide bands are navy and the narrow bands are the colours.
FO pics down below.
After I blocked the Asunder shawl, I took some more photos. It's on my project page, but here they are. I like the shawl. It's an interesting design. And I thought the Alexandrite and the Beach Ball went well together.
The lighter skein contains virtually all the same colours as the darker Alexandrite skein. They were dyed and sent out three months apart, but they match nonetheless.
I was quite devastated when I read Vickie (BirdlegBags)'s IG post about Maegan from the Cyborg's Craft Room. She passed away unexpectedly. What a huge loss. So I made a pair of socks out of the When Dreams Become Reality colourway. I've gifted them (given them) to my friend Debby as a thank you for providing me with all the gifts from her bountiful garden. These are my #formaegankal socks.
I did my standard heel flap and leaf +3 gusset decrease on the bottom of the foot. The colours are beautiful. I hope Debby enjoys them.
I also finished my AntiMuon socks.
I started a Fade wrap by Veera Vilamaki out of some Kangaroo Dyer Poet Seat merino silk, but have since frogged it.
As a "leader" at work (ie. as someone who has a direct report) I am required to do two safety observations. I spent last Monday with our head forester and we drove around parts of the province and watched a crew trimming a tree which was leaning up against a power line. It was absolutely fascinating and so educational.
On our way back, we went to Chester, which is a little seaside village on the south shore. I think the average house price there is about $750,000 for the starter shacks. I could never afford to live there, but I absolutely must take a weekend afternoon to go for a drive and a walk. It's utterly charming. I haven't been to Chester in years. I've been to Have a Yarn in Mahone Bay within the last couple of years, but I seem to neglect Chester (and Lunenberg).
Chester is absolutely charming. It's full of amazing architecture. I'll have to go back and take photos of the fascinating houses.
This is just one little stretch along the waterfront. To me it embodies rural Nova Scotia. No sidewalks - just the pavement petering out to a soft shoulder. Little houses and water.
Seriously - how charming is this? Don't you just want to walk through the screen and live here?
Yup, this is quintessential Nova Scotia.
Oh, and here are more FO shots of the AntiMuon.
I made spanakopita. It was delicious. I had to use a combination of spinach and kale (and chard) because Stupidstore doesn't sell the big boxes of spinach. I ended up having to get more from Walmart.
The Lad and his girlfriend went out last night. I snuck out to McDonalds and got a burger. It's the first time I've had meat in a week.
I cast on a sock for Princess's boyfriend. I'm using my SimplySocksCo Poste Yarn in the targhee /nylon blend. Apparently the BF wears white tube socks under his hand knit socks.
So I've put them aside because clearly it's not urgent.
I wanted to be a test knitter for Ambah O'Brien's upcoming Xuan shawl, but the random number generator was not my friend. So I decided to start Navarra instead.
It's a mosaic knit pattern with an 18-stitch repeat. I decided that I wanted to make it bigger, so I added three extra repeats.
The other mosaic knitting I've done was on the abortive Theseus and the Minotaur pattern, and that was a stockinette mosaic. This one is garter.
I decided to use two skeins of Sanguine Gryphon Bugga. I have Nembrotha Guttata (E) and Tufted Jungle King and they are IDENTICAL. I also have two underweight cones (3.5 and 3.2 oz) of undyed Bugga. So it's probably about 1600 yards in total.
But with the extra repeats, I don't think it will be enough. The pattern calls for 17 pattern repeats (of 36 rows each). I've done three and I'm about a third to a half of the way through the first balls.
I'm undecided as to whether I should attempt to plow on (and risk ending up with a trapezoidal baby blanket instead of a wrap) or whether I should frog it.
If I were to frog it and start again, I could do several things. For one, I would not add the extra section repeats. (Why do I always do that???? It's a thing with me and I am powerless to stop myself).
I could also try doing stockinette mosaic rather than garter, which leaves a smoother look. That would require purling on the reverse side, but that would also mean that the yarn would be in the right place for the slipped stitches, so there would be less yarn manipulation. I could also do a couple of repeats of the mosaic, then do a solid section or a striped section, then more mosaic etc.
I dunno. I'm leaning toward frogging it and starting over.
But that represents a fair bit of knitting. I'm loath to do that. Do I press on?
I think I might let it rest while I think about it. I might cast on another sock.
I don't have my October Yarn Enabler pencil crayon of the month yarn to show, because I haven't received it yet. (Again - this is about the third time this year that she has forgotten me. I sent her an email but still my mailbox remains empty). I think the December String Theory Colorworks is on its way because of the move, but I haven't received mine yet. I think they must all have gone out together. Ericaberry has received hers, so I know what it looks like.
And other than that, the only thing I am waiting for is a bag from Vickie at Bird Leg Bags.
This bad boy is on its way to me. It's 10" tall, 14" wide and 4" deep. I will use it as a shawl bag. Or a yarn bag. Or perhaps I will just admire it.
I also want one of her peacock bags. But I also want some Shiseido mascara primer and some Boscia make-up remover balm and some Tarte moisturizer for Princess. All of which will have to wait until next month. But I have to get my winter tires put on and I need a new headlight. Adulting is expensive.
Anyway, I am going to contemplate what to do in place of the mosaic shawl. I could carry on with the Targhee tube sock topper, I suppose. Or I could wind a new skein and do something bright and colourful.
I will have nowhere near as many pairs of socks this year as I have had in previous years. My work has seriously cut into my knitting time this year. Oh well.
Until next month, folks. Happy crafting.