Thursday, November 29, 2007

Nice Matters

Here I was going to post about rabbits, but my email inbox this morning found something far more interesting.





Tonia of Knits Galore nominated me for the Nice Matters award. It's an award for “Those bloggers who are nice people; good blog friends and those who inspire good feelings and inspiration.Also for those who are a positive influence on our blogging world. ”







That's exactly what Trampled by Geese is suppose to be about. It's a place where I can record the good things in my life (and the occasional rant about the postal system) and share them with others. Even the title is a reminder to myself to look for the goodness in other other people and the bright side of the different situations that life throws at me. I'm not perfect, but I'm working on it.




I wish I could nominate Tonia back, she such an inspiration. But I'm suppose to choose seven other people who inspire me and whose blog are nice. Please note this is not an exclusive list, there are so many wonderful people out there, if I tried to nominate them all, I would be here for years.




So here we have it, in roughly reverse alphabetical order:




Wool Crazy in Ottawa

Tinkingbell

The Wild and the Wooly

Tea Leaves

Schrodinger Knits

KnittnFool




I say, if I had to pick just one blog, I would say Knitting Our Way to Peace, created by the ever wonderful Hanane and Katie would be the poster child for this award. They are both very supportive individuals and their blog has inspired a large group of us on Ravelry to do our bit to promote peace, understanding, and knitting around the world.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

ninety-seven

I know the postilion and I have a very 'interesting' relationship. My feelings for him oscillate between love and hate. For example, last week I was in complete despair that he hadn't brought me my parcel yet. But this week, he is the best person ever for having finally brought me my parcel. You want to know why? He brought me this:


As you can see, it's my new coffee mug. I bought it from knitty.com, and although impossible to catch all in one photograph, it says, "I have needles & I'm not afraid to use them." This is exactly the mug for me!



It must seem silly to many of you that I was so excited about a little bit of snow-rain falling from the sky. But you see, many people take snow for granted. It is a standard part of winter. But many of us (thank you all for the lovely comments by the way) so seldom experience snow, and even then, we experience it in it's corrupted, rain filled form that we just get so excited at the prospect of snow that actually stays on the ground for more than an hour.


You want to know just how bad it is here? The city of Victoria sold all of their snow plows a few years back, in order to have a larger budget to spend on hanging flower baskets. This is very, very silly people.



The YoYo Knits is having a stash sale right now to raise money for vet bills. If I wasn't on a yarn fast, I would buy some of this lovely yarn (especially the fibre) as I really sympathize with people who hate November (to be more precise, November started it. I wouldn't hate November if it wasnt so gosh darn mean to me first! - but that's a story for another day). Anyway, pop over there and have a gander when you have a moment and maybe pick yourself up some beautiful hand dyed yarn.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

ninety-six

Snow fell from the sky yesterday. I had hoped it would come, but wasn't really expecting it. It's quite funny really, someone called me up and told me they weren't going out last night due to the snow storm. "Snow storm?" I thought, "what snow storm?" I looked out my window and sure enough, mixed in with the heavy rain was a smattering of snow flakes. We finally got snow even if it was only for a few minutes and even if it didn't settle on the ground near my home.

The weather here is very localized, and not only do we have the mildest climate in all of Canada, I live in the part of town with the most mild mannered weather. It's about 8 or 10 square blocks of town, but we get such moderate weather. You think it would be fun, but it's quite boring over the years. Less than 15 minutes drive from my house, snow covers the ground. Real honest to goodness snow, people! But no, not at my house. Here it's sunny and warm, not even a hint of frost when I got up this morning. C'est la Vie (if my french serves me correctly).

I would have loved a snow day today. I've so much to do, even without the massive amounts of studying that needs to be accomplished this week. I have only 5 or 6 more rounds of the Holiday Hemlock Ring blanket for my G'pa. It doesn't sound like much, but when you realize that as you knit it, it gets bigger (and thus each round gets longer) it takes longer to knit a round. It is looking very nice though and I'm excited about finishing it. I'll have to figure out how to block it - blocking lace can't be that hard right?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

ninety-five

A bit of magic happened earlier this week. My Interweave Knits arrived on time. I've been busy flipping through it like crazy. There are lots of interesting things in there and I especially like the sweater with all the tiny cat heads on it. But that will have to wait until the yarn fast is over and done with.

Everything else has been pretty normal around here. I get up in the morning, I drink my coffee while reading blogs, I rush off to class, I come home, eat breakfast and spend the rest of the day studying and knitting.

One new thing in my life, Spindlicity. It's a bit like knitty for spinners, only different. One very kind and good fibre friend put me on to it and I must say I love it.

Anyway, back to the needles, then back to the books.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Free Knitting Pattern: Marco Polo Handspun Socks

There you have it folks, another free pattern.








This is a very simple sock pattern, but spinning the yarn yourself makes it quite the adventure.



As usual, let me know if you have any questions or comments. I always love hearing from you.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Dreaming of Snow

The essay was finished with time to spare. It wasn't a very good essay, but at this point, I don't really care anymore. It's funny, I think I write quite well most of the time - the blog is an exception, as what you see here is always a first draft - but sometimes I just fall into a deep pit of awfulness. While in that dank, dark pit of bad English, everything comes out sputum. Words fit badly and meaning is lost in my attempt to be accurate. It's often that way with history papers - there is so much information to convey to the reader, and such a small word count in which to do it. Something always gets compromised and the vision I have for the finished work is always distorted to find a balance between give and take.

Yet, when I have the freedom to write in a loose framework and sufficient time in which to do it (aka. more than a month, including research time), I write quite well. I feel that I should be a better writer. I feel that these limitations shouldn't hamper my style of expression. If I do it often enough, if I write under the pressure of unreasonable deadlines and on topics that don't fully capture my interest, if I do this often enough, then I feel that I should become quite good at it. But, I've been doing just that for five years now. I haven't gotten any better at it. At least it doesn't feel as if I have.


I would love to write for a living. But it is times like this where I doubt myself.


But that's enough of that - how about some knitting?


My Marco Polo Handspun Socks are almost finished. I am hoping to have them finished today so I can wear them to spinning tomorrow.


Look at those colours!


I think I might actually publish this pattern on my free knitting patterns page. Not because there is anything exceptional about this socks pattern, but as practice for myself. I don't think I put enough detail into my patterns. No one has complained so far, but I think I can do better.


The Hemlock Ring is coming along well. It's gotten too big for my needles though, so it's being worked on a system of my three longest circular needles. I am either going to have to finish it off soon or buy more needles. I haven't decided which yet.


In other news, I am thoroughly jealous of all those people out there in blog land with snow. It's probably the one thing I dislike about where I live - it's the only city in Canada where it practically never snows!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

ninety-three

I was taged with my first meme by Tinkingbell.



1. One person who made me laugh – Still too early in the morning to laugh. But most people amuse me.
2. What was I doing at 0800? That’s ten minuets from now, so most likely drinking coffee.
3. What was I doing 30 minutes ago? Zzzzzzz..... I slept in!
4. What did I do in 2006? We had 2006 already? Knitting mostly, stressing out over university, travelling in England, and digging in the garden.
5. Last thing I said aloud? ug, yes, I would like a coffee very much. Thank you.
6. Beverages? Still waiting for that coffee to come down.
7. What colour is my hairbrush? wood coloured.
8. Last thing I paid for? Sushi – while I was waiting for Guild to start.
9. Where was I last night? At home, curled up with my knitting.
10. Front door colour? Dented cream.
11. Where do I keep my change? In the laundry bowl – it’s one of the joys of living in an apartment with shared laundry facilities.
12. What’s the weather like today? At the moment pretty neutral, but the man on the radio promised rain storms.
13. Best ice cream flavour? Blood orange gelato, there is no milk in that one.
14. What excites me? Fibre festivals, diggin in the garden, receiving things in the post, drinking coffee, watching House, drinking tea, hanging out with friends, having to wait for someone or something in a place where I can knit while I wait like a cafe – you know, usual things.
15. I want to cut my hair? Growing it long again, but I wouldn’t mind a trim.
16. Am I over the age of 25? Yep.
17. Do I talk a lot? Sometimes yes, sometimes no.
18. There seems to be no 18 so I’ll make one up. What colour socks did you wear today?
19. Do I know anyone named Steve? Probably, I’m terrible with names. It takes about four years for me to learn another person’s name, and given the fact that I forget my own name at a drop of a hat, my long term friends have gotten use to the creative names I use when I forget theirs.
20. Do I make up my own words? Yep. Normally it’s a combination of pre-existing words, but sometimes it sticks. Nose hozzel (or hozzel for short) comes from hose nozzle.
21. Am I a jealous person? I have been in the past. These days I try to focus potential jealously into more productive activities like knitting.
21. Name a friend who starts with the letter A. Ummmm... here we go wit names again. How about a pseudonym? ARose starts with an A.
22. Name a friend who starts with the letter K. I know a Karen.
23. Who’s the first person on my ‘Received Calls list? Home, then Jenshine.
24. The last text message I received? Jenshine – she’s the only one of my friends with my cell number AND knows how to make text messages.
25. Do I chew on my straw? No – I have chewed on grass stocks though.
26. Do I have curly hair? No, just crazy waves.
27. Where’s the next place I’m going to? Kitchen for coffee. (I borrowed Tinkingbell’s answer because it’s true)
28. Who is the rudest person in my life? Some of my friends say I’m rude, but most of them say I’m just over honest and if someone didn’t want to know the truth they should have known better than to ask me.
29. What was the last thing I ate? Ate? I knew I forgot to do something yesterday.
30. Will I get married in the future? Maybe, depends on who asks me.
31. The best movie I’ve seen in the past 2 weeks? The last two weeks have been spent cloistered in my room with my Medieval Studies homework. I’ve kind of forgotten what a movie is.
32. Is there anyone you like right now? Do you mean like or ‘like’ because I like everyone in my life, as for ‘like’, well Jenshine is looking pretty hot now that she has new glasses, but if I had the choice, I would go with Hugh Laurie, he looks so adorable on House.
33. Did I cry today? Not as yet, but I’m still under the delusion I can finish my essay on time.
34. Why did I answer and post this? I got tagged which is fortunate because if I hadn’t, all I would have blogged about are my Marco Polo socks. (not so much procrastination yesterday. see)


35. Tag 5 people I would like to see do this survey. Yes boss



The Wild and the Woolly

Schrodinger Knits

KnittinFool

Knits Galore

Oh dear, five isn't enough...There are so many people I want to choose.

Close to my Heart

Friday, November 16, 2007

ninety-two

I can be very shy at times, especially when overwhelmed with new and exciting things. Take the guild meeting for example: There are so many different kinds of people with such amazing talent. I think I must seem the odd duck, I'm so new at all this. I know a little bit about spinning, but that is only because I have such a great instructor and the most wonderful spinning group to encourage me. When it comes to weaving, I doubt I could tell a warp from a weft to save my life.



I feel very fortunate to be permitted the opportunity to spend time among such knowledgeable people. But, I think I feel a little intimidated as well. I know I'm learning, but it feels like it will be a lifetime before I'm good enough to display something in show and tell.



I'm happy for the opportunity to give something back. I got to make tea for everyone, some thing I excel at in my daily life, but have never done on mass before. The opportunity to give something back helped me feel more comfortable, even if it's only tea.



I don't know if it is usual to feel this way. Maybe I am just an odd bird. But these days I'm an odd bird who can make sock'ish yarn, and that's good enough for me.



Marco Polo Update: Procrastination = knitting

Thursday, November 15, 2007

ninety-one

Procrastination seems to be my new middle name. I'm not normally like this. It's not that the subject is boring - it's actually very interesting. I find Marco Polo fascinating. I just don't want to write an essay under such stringent conditions.


To prevent procrastination - who am I kidding, 'prevent', honestly? - Correction: to turn procrastination to more productive projects like knitting or spinning, I hereby declare that I will not return to Ravelry until my essay is finished and handed in. Can I do it? I have my doubts! But I will try darn it. Otherwise, I fear, this essay will never get written.


There is some knitting in amongst all this procrastination. My Marco Polo Socks with my very own hand spun are coming along nicely. Simple 2x2 rib pattern with a Dutch heal and a stst foot make for easy knitting.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Still here

I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. I've just been working on this essay.


I'm very, very tired, but I've got lots of yarn around me to calm my nerves each time I get over anxious about not being able to finish this essay in time.


I feel like I'm going about as fast as a...


Anyway, back to the books.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

ninety

Ah. Apple Butter!

I still have plenty of apples around the house. Apple butter is a great way to use some up, and it's so yummy on bread. I wish you could smell how great the house is right now, with the apple butter and all it's spices simmering away in the slow cooker. It's quite easy to make: first you make some apple sauce (unsweetened) in the usual way, then you take it and mix it with spices like cloves and vanilla and the like, stick in the slow cooker for a night and a day on low, and finally, seal it in jars.



Speaking about cooking, I bought myself a book last night. I didn't mean to, but it fell off the shelf into my arms when I popped into the shop to get some milk.



Oh Nigella, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways... actually, best not, I don't think anyone wants to read a blog entry that long. But what more can I say, she's gorgeous (in a curvy sort of way) and a diva in the kitchen. I tell you, this woman is one of my all time heroes! I'm cooking mac and cheese from her book for dinner tonight. YUM!



Did you see the yarn that snuck into my photo? It's about half of the superwash merino roving from Knits Galore. It's Navajo plyed and looks like a dream. I have a wee bit left to spin up and then I will ply the second half in one go.



I over plyed it, and by that I mean I made seriously kinky yarn! I ended up dampening the skein, then winding the damp yarn back onto the Nid and leaving it for a day to dry. This is like blocking for yarn, but I think spinners have another term for it.



Anyway, it's now gorgeous and I just have to finish my current pair of socks (mmm.... alpaca and silk....) before I can use this yarn.



Finally, the first half decent sock yarn I've made. I can hardly wait to get it on the needles.



Another thing I thought I should mention:

Way to go to the amazing person who made this. If only I had known about it when I had started the Hemlock Ring blanket. It is coming along very well now that my new needles arrived (on schedule I might add). I worry it's getting to be a bit too big even for super sized circular needles. I think I'll have to set up some sort of system like when you use double points for socks, only with my four longest circular needles before I can finish this blanket.


By the way, have I told you guys lately how much I love your comments? I know I don't get to answer each and every one of you, but believe me, I love it when you leave me comments and teach me new and wonderful things. Thanks for being so amazingly lovely.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

eighty-nine

The Hemlock Ring Blanket I am knitting for my G'pa is coming along swimmingly. I'm really happy with it.


The yarn isn't all that soft, but I know from experience it's durable and that it softens when washed. I don't know that my G'pa knows how to hand wash fabric, but I'll always be around to wash it if it gets dirty. I just really wanted to make it out of wool and superwash tends to be a little more than I can afford to buy in large quantities on a student budget.


I've included photos, one with a flash (more orange) and one without (more purple). The actual colour is somewhere in between, only different. If we ever have another sunny day, I'll take some better photos for you. I've run out of space on my needles, but longer ones are being shipped from elann.com and should be here today or at the latest tomorrow. They always have what I need in stock at elann.com, low shipping rates, fast shipping, and what's more, they are a Canadian companies who works in US dollars (extra bonus considering recent trends in currency). I somehow managed to not buy yarn from them this time around. Some books, yes. But no yarn.


I haven't been spinning much these days. My essay and Ravelry have both worked hard to consume anything that resembles 'free time' - and by 'free', I mean fibre. That's too bad because I haven't finished spinning up the superwash fibre I bought from the ever kind Knits Galore. I think I will keep the computer turned off as much as possible for the next few days so that I can focus on my studies/spinning/knitting and not get all mopey when I see yarn that I like but shouldn't/couldn't/won't buy.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

eighty-eight

Thank goodness for high shipping rates and my refusal to pay them.



While reading blogs yesterday (something I don't do anywhere near often enough these days), I clicked on what appeared to be an innocent enough link to raven coloured yarn. I don't normally go in for my name sake. I love ravens and raven related things, but you couldn't tell by looking around my home. I have a few books about ravens and raven mythology given to me by friends, but that's about it. So when I saw the link on The YoYo Knits blog I thought I was pretty safe. I'm on a yarn-fast after all.



So I clicked on the link and was overcome by the beautiful colours. Thraven and Valkyrie especially caught my attention, and I decided that I desperately needed to own two skeins each of this sock yarn in both colourways. I would order one colourway now, and one later if I liked the first. I would make knee high socks with simple cables hidden in amongst a rich night of subtle colours. I would wear skirts, even on the coldest days of winter so to show off my marvelous creations. I would break with my yarn fast, using one or all of my wild cards I designed for just such an emergency.



Before I knew it, I had created an account, the yarn was in my basket, and was at the point just before I enter my credit card details when I saw the shipping fee. I stopped. I looked again. The shipping fee was the same. I pet some yarn just to make certain I wasn't dreaming. I looked again. No change. I cancelled my order.



I've never seen shipping fees so high from the USA to Canada. There must be some exceptional reason for this, but $20 for about 200g or yarn, even with our unusually strong dollar, is far too much for my tastes. It's more than half the price of the yarn (2 skeins at $19 each). Given that I made a pledge not to buy any yarn for a year I suppose it's a good thing I'm too stubborn to pay high shipping costs. It does look like beautiful yarn though...sigh...oh well.




The photo was taken at the Vancouver Airport just over a year ago. You can see a raven perched towards the back of the ship. This sculpture, or I should say the original sculpture, this is a reproduction, is also the image on the back of our 20 dollar bill.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

eighty-seven

You see the plan was to take lots of photos of the lap blanket I'm knitting for my G'pa at campus. I would take photos of it frolicking in the leaves, being devoured by the rabbits who run the university, climbing trees, eating dinner at the cafeteria, and even attending the theater. It was the plan, but my camera had other ideas. Something about batteries and needing new ones.

Being a medium sized camera, it's surprisingly heavy, and I am certain that it was that little bit of extra weight that caused the strap to break on my backpack full of books and knitting.

I tried to sew up the strap (because every knitter carries a thimble, thread and a needle in their bag?) while taking notes in class on guild charters during the middle ages. I was sorely vexed when I stabbed myself and when the instructor completely ignored all the interesting bits of the silk spinsters guild charter. At the end of class, the strap broke again - the thread was too weak and the leather too old.

I don't get along well with November.

At least the day ended well. A performance by Rosemary Beland, who is just finishing her 6 year study of the harp, was an absolute delight. I think my favorite song was Nataliana, composed by Deborah Henson-Conant, Rosemary played it solo on her hand carved, concert harp covered in 22 carat gold leaf. It was truly a magical journey. The music completely swept me away from all the cares and worries that November brings. I laughed, I cried, it was a stunning thing to experience.

I even got to knit during the intermission and prop changes. Knitting lace in the dark is inadvisable if you suck at it as much as I do, but there must have been some special kind of magic in that place last night that guided my hand and saved me from making any mistakes or dropping any stitches. You will be glad to know I didn't knit during the performance. I wasn't even tempted. I was far too captivated by the music.

A fibre friend, let's call her A-Rose, performed in the final number, a traditional English rose garland dance. She was wonderful. I would like to believe that it is entirely because she pet my yarn during intermission for luck, but suspect she did it all on her own. It was really beautiful, the garlands and the people moving around, making beautiful patterns. It makes me want to design an afghan with cable patterns based on the dance.

It was a wonderful treat to attend such a performance, thank you A-Rose for inviting me.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

trebuchet hot water bottle cozy

FREE KNITTING PATTERN ALERT!


I've finally published the pattern for my Hot Watter Bottle Cozy






Check it out and let me know if there is anything unclear or that needs correcting. I also managed to put it on Ravelry - you can find it through my profile (I'm a designer now).

Thursday, November 01, 2007

eighty-six

Well the exam went badly and I don't really want to talk about it. Needless to say, I feel like a bag of 'smashed assholes' as my friend says.


I did however, buy some yarn yesterday. Don't worry, I haven't fallen off the no-yarn-for-me wagon, I will use this yarn to knit a Christmas present for my grandfather (who cannot use a computer so I can share it with you as I knit). See rule four.


This yarn is Briggs Little Heritage, one of my favorite yarns of all time. It's 100% wool and 100% Canadian which makes me happy. Not only that, it's the most affordable and longest wearing wool I've come across. A fellow guild member sells it from her home as she imports it wholesale for her own use. It ended up being less than $5 per skein which is far better than the local yarn shops. Anyway, if you are interested in acquiring some Briggs Little of any variety and you live in Victoria, leave a comment with an email and I can email you her contact details.


I'm gong to make this lap blaket out of it.


I also finished my hot water cozy. Peruvian Highland Wool from elann.com in purple heather, with a simple cable pattern on the front. The pattern is my own, and I hope to write it out on my blog soon.



Spinning superwash is fun. These are going to be fantastic socks!