Friday, September 26, 2008

Non-deadline knitting

In between knitting non-bloggable things the past couple of months (such as...oh, while waiting for my yarn!), I knit some more socks for The Limey. These are your basic ribbed socks, with two noteworthy points: 1) it contains some white and yet The Limey is willing to wear them; and 2) I put in some calf shaping.

Improved Ribbed Socks
Yarn: Regia Galaxy, from Liberty
Needles: 2.0mm dpns
Pattern: basic ribbed socks with calf-shaping

Notes: For the calf-shaping, I basically increased in pattern on the back of the socks. For the heck of it, and to see which one I liked better, I incorporated the increases differently into the 2x2 rib pattern for each sock. I don't know if you can see it that well on these pictures.

I think maybe I like the one on the left better, but it's not a strong preference. The Limey quite likes them, and I think they fit him much better than the normal straight socks, so this may get incorporated into my usual sock recipe for him.

Onto knitting for me!

Because it's defintely autumn here now, I bought the Flared Lace Smoke Ring pattern from HeartStringFiberArts. (I was paid via PayPal for a couple of the patterns I've published in on-line knitting magazines, and I've decided that money goes right back into knitting.) It's refreshing to just be able to blindly follow a pattern right now!

I started the pattern using some Jaggerspun Zephyr in a beautiful vibrant blue colour (which doens't show up at all in the pictures, unfortunately) and 3.5mm needles. Is it just me, or do the lace holes seem huge? They're double yarnovers, but still, it seems to be knitting up to a very loose lace.

This is puzzling, because Zephyr is one of the commonly recommended yarns for this pattern, and I'm using smaller needles than recommended. I know I normally knit loose, but I'm trying really hard to knit a bit tighter here, and, to be honest, the stitches on the needles and cable are pretty tight. Plus, I'm fairly close on the gauge, and the size is about right. But it doesn't look at all like the picture.

I'm continuing with the pattern anyway. But when I'm done, I may make another one in a fingering weight or 4-ply yarn. I think that would be ideal for this pattern.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

What next?

I've just finished knitting and writing up a pattern to be published this winter. In the last three months or so, I've pretty much been working solidly to get out three designs. The Mongkok Cardigan was published by The Inside Loop last month, and the other two will be out sometime in the next few months, probably.

Everything I've done has either been self-published and offered for free, or been published elsewhere with a one-time nominal fee. I'm proud of these designs and feel incredibly happy and lucky that various sources have been so kind as to publish them.

Essentially, the "real" payment is to get my designs out there and be seen. This is great because I, unfortunately, do a crappy job at self-promotion.

Because of my dithering over linking my blog to my real name, I haven't ever provided a link to my blog when I've been published on-line. So my readership -though dear to me and loved!- is small. At any rate, I've failed in keeping the two separate, because my blog now turns up first when you Google my name, anyway. And I've found I'm okay with this. (Especially since I'm no longer job-hunting. What about the next job hunt, you ask? I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.)

As well, I'm terrible at networking. I've been in the London yarn stores many, many times, and never have I exchanged more than a hello/good-bye with the owners/workers/other patrons. I just browse, buy or not buy, and leave.

One of my vague plans for the IKnit day was to introduce myself to the stallholders and other yarnies there and get to know some people. I failed miserably. (Actually, I did meet Kate and Diane, the duo who run The Inside Loop, which was really cool. They were both really nice and sweet to me.) Another vague plan was to ask various yarn purveyors about possibly designing for them. But that involved putting together a portfolio to show them, which of course, never happened. Anyway, the stalls were so busy the whole day that I doubt there'd have been time to talk much anyway.

The upshot of all this blather is: what next for my knitting and designing? Is there an obvious or logical next step, even? Should my eventual goal be to self-publish and charge for my patterns? To get a job in a yarn shop? To be a Knitting Superstar?

I don't know. I do know I have lots of swatching to do, though.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

It makes sense if you think about it

Last weekend, we went foraging for mushrooms in the New Forest. One of the women at work does it regularly, and so she can safely identify at least a few of the edible species. The Limey has been dying to do this forever, and this way, at least I know it's relatively safe.

(He came home one day bearing these huge mushrooms from Bushy Park, near his work, proclaiming them delicious and harmless. what evidence?)

Anyway, so those mushrooms- damn, they are good at camouflaging themselves. I've read you need to get your eyes properly "adjusted" to find mushrooms and it's totally true.

These are chanterelles:

You can identify them by their bright yellow undersides:

You can probably find them in this picture:

But what about here? (I deliberately took a random picture of an area near where we'd found some, so I wouldn't know for sure if there were any):

I tested myself just now, and, yup, can see some:

And I'm sure there are more there I haven't found. Those things are wily, aren't they?! It's amazing how well-hidden they are. We found brown mushrooms, bright yellow mushrooms, white ones, black ones, purple ones, and yet, they all blended perfectly into the forest floor.

We brought home bags of mushrooms. The Limey made the mother of all mushroom risottos, and we still had to freeze a lot of them.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Look what's finally shown up

Looks like the Home Office can find their ass with both hands, if given the help of a flashlight.

What was supposed to take- at most!- six months ended up taking well over eight months. At exactly six months they asked us for "more documentation". This wouldn't rankle so much except that before I sent off the application, I rang them up and asked specifically if I should include more information, but was told no. So, um, yeah, maybe time could be saved if, you know, they knew their own policies.

I know, I know, all immigration is like this. I fully expect to have apoplectic fits and melt-downs should we ever decide to move The Limey over to the US.

But whatever, I have my passport back, and more importantly, I have proof that I'm allowed to live here. So now I can, like, sign up for the NHS and try for a driver's license and stuff. Basically, get on with my life.

So now that I have proof of being legally in the country, I can leave it! Where should I go to celebrate?

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Bad blogger! Bad!

Spent a week camping on the Isle of Skye...too many photos to go through yet +

Went to IKnit day...forgot camera +

Finally received wool and have seriously huge deadline knitting to do =

Bad blogger.