Friday, April 24, 2009

Swatch, swatch, swatch

When I first started knitting, I just wanted to get going, like, RIGHT NOW!!! So would just cast on and knit. When I finally admitted that swatching was sometimes necessary, I grudgingly made these teeny, miserly little swatches and didn't bother to wash or block them, or sometimes even bind off and take them off the needles before measuring. This may explain why my first half-dozen sweaters ended up in the frog pond.

I've gotten to the point now where I really like swatching. And I don't swatch just for gauge. I swatch to see how I like working with a certain yarn. I swatch up different stitch patterns just to see how it'll work in such-and-such a colour, or such-and-such a fibre. I swatch because a lace catches my eye when I flip through my stitch dictionaries. I swatch because I see a picture or scene and think, Hmm, I wonder if that could be captured in a knitted way? Basically, I swatch now just to play, and I consider this a welcome milestone in my development as a knitter and designer.

I swatched a lot this last week, because Jen of Fyberspates sent me some gorgeous gorgeous yarns to play and design with.

The red is her superwash British merino dk, which I really enjoyed working with. Knits up beeyoootifully. The big middle swatch is her Scrumptious chunky, a wool/silk blend. I couldn't adequately capture the colour (a springy-mossy green) and sheen of this yarn, or the great nubbly-woven texture of the stitch here. Take my word for it, it's just lovely. The Limey, who is not normally a fan of green, was bewitched by this yarn. He grabbed it as soon as I opened the package and I had to pull it away from him to knit with it.

I've got grand plans for these yarns, so watch this space!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

In which I am psychic

(Or, how we finally escaped Woking!)

Remember last month, when I had a little whine about how I'd like my life to at least vaguely resemble an adult's? Remember that bit about what if our jobs changed or The Limey got offered something better?

Dudes, I am psychic!

The Limey has indeed been offered another position. (We will not mention the unfairness of him just being given jobs out of the blue when I've been busting my ass trying to find one.) When I got laid off from my job in Southampton, the plan was to find a job closer to his so that we could move into London and live somewhere less soul-sucking. I guess the FSM had other plans.

The Limey does quite like his current job, so it took a couple of weeks for him to weigh up the offer and counter-offers. One of the major minuses was that the new job is in notLondon. One of the pluses was that it isn't in Woking. In the end, what decided it was that the people at the new place took him out and got him drunk. (Yeah, that totally works- it's how I scored him!)

So, in six weeks or so, we'll be moving to Oxford.

We're quite happy about it. Oxford is its own city- it's not a suburb. And we really liked it when we visited last year. I distinctly remember walking through the Covered Market and thinking, "Why doesn't Woking have something like this? If we lived here, I could do my grocery shopping here." So I guess now I can! Also, there're tons of science jobs up there- lots of science parks and, of course, the university, so I can continue my job search on fairly fertile ground.

I've already asked Mooncalf about living in Oxford (I suspect she's being paid by the council, or at least their tourist board!) and she's given me quite a lot of advice. I can't wait to move up there. I've made The Limey promise we can rent a place with a garden.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Whoa! Knitting content!

Everything in the household has gone crazy in the last few weeks. Changes are afoot, and I'll be able to tell you more when everything's decided. (No, it isn't me getting a job.)

Surprisingly, this has not meant that I'm doing more knitting. I'm kind of stalled on it. I've got a few swatches to do up and proposals to send off, but I'm not managing it at the moment. This means that, in the last month, really all I've done is a few bits and pieces that don't really add up to anything substantial. Still, it's something.

Remember the never-ending sleeve?

This is its sister! Yes, I finally managed to finish the first one, and am now halfway through the second. I have a weird love/hate relationship with this project. I hate the thought of sitting down with the charts and following the lace pattern. But once I've started, I keep saying to myself, Just one more row, just one more row...

At one point, to have something to knit in the car, I did start some socks for The Limey.

These are Kate's Hareton socks (Rav link), but done toe-up. I also have a surprise treatment for the cuff when I get to it.

Okay, now we're off to Kew to enjoy the day. Driving through Devon and Cornwall last weekend, I was happy to see that alot of the roadsides were planted with daffodils. Vast drifts of them. I'm excited to see what Kew looks like!