Where was I?

Both figuratively / mentally and literally…. um…. yes. My train of everything is well and truly lost! Let’s try and get back on track, shall we? This is probably going to be a massively long post, I warn you now! There’s also going to be a fair bit about mental health stuff, so feel free to skim :-)

So, starting from when I vanished back in December… well, for the three weeks leading up to Christmas I was pretty much knitting constantly. So much so that I cramped up my shoulder and ended up with an ouch-y left index finger joint! But eek, I had to get the Christmas knitting done!!! Well, as I already mentioned, I didn’t quite succeed, but I did get Mum’s Fetchings done, and I had a scarf finished that I gave her as well. Also within that time, I went to visit C for the weekend, and having been manic not too long beforehand, I think I ‘overworked’ myself, because once I got home again, I when I wasn’t knitting, I was sleeping. Zzzz!

Then, this site was down from 17th – 26th-ish December because of a server crash. It took the hosting company a while to be able to recreate the accounts and then restore the files. The flat files were about 6 weeks old but the databases were all up to date, so I’ve been able to easily restore the things that were still missing (photos, mainly). So that’s all good. Of course, during that time I had a million posts I wanted to make, and now I don’t remember what they were about ;-)

After Christmas, I crashed like a …. crashed out thing for a good ten days. Everyone tends to, I think, but annoyingly I can’t do anything by halves, so I hit a depressive slump with it: didn’t get up or eat or anything really. I slept, or I read – I got through about 15 books, actually. But mostly I slept. Luckily, I’d arranged with Clara, Ally & co. for them to come over for New Year’s. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have done anything for that… and if I’d been up to phoning them to cancel, I probably would have. But as it happened, Clara rang me and just asked me what time they should turn up. I don’t think she knew I was down, but that really is the best way to deal with me when I’m like that. Don’t leave me room to get out of things! So I pulled myself together, tidied up, and sorted out some nibbles and the like. We had a good time – just a chilled out evening, chatting and playing with little M. :-) After that, I was still down for a few more days, but I started to pull up again at the weekend after C helped me with a plan to get me firing on all cylinders again. Hooray!

Since then, I’ve posted my resolutions, which I’m doing OK with in general, and I’ve started Project 365. Mentally, I’ve cycled into a more manic phase, but overall I’ve been mostly within ‘normal’ parameters. I’ve also done something that I’d been sort of putting off for some time – I’ve gone and registered with the drop-in centre down the road. I think I was resisting it because part of me felt that only people with a “real disability” needed to go to somewhere like that. Or perhaps with a more severe disability than I like to perceive myself having, I don’t know. Ah, denial! I thought I was over you, but no! Anyway, it’s a really nice place, and I can go there as often as I want or need, to use whatever facilities I want to. Mainly, I think it’ll be useful for me to have somewhere to pop in when I know that I’m starting to slide one way or another and need to just be around other people to ground myself, and also it’s good to know that the support and advice services are there if I need them. And I have to admit that it’s a huge plus that it’s literally a minute’s walk (or less) from my front door. They do food too, very reasonably, so if I can’t cook, I can eat there. And I got to chat with three other people with bipolar while I was there, and it’s just kind of nice to have that face to face contact with others in the same boat. So yes. I’m going to keep that up.

Hmm, I think that kind of covers it. I’ve been working away on my WIPs, but I’ll talk more about that in a different post (with progress pics, whee). Oh, and I seem to have my sleeping pattern back to normal, so it’s back to the gym and everything this week as well. I missed Knit & Natter the Saturday before last, but my friend M is coming over tomorrow, and I’m planning to go this coming weekend. Now all I have to do is stick to the plan, but also not overdo it!


Right now, I’m feeling the urge to run all the way to Dublin and physically cling to my webserver. Oh yes. You might have noticed that my site disappeared for a while there. As did most of my email. The old server crashed and died, and it took quite a while to determine that it was dead forever, and then transfer everything to a new server. It probably doesn’t help that I have multiple domains on here. And once the data was restored, I had some work to do at my end, recreating database usernames, cron jobs, email accounts, resetting file permissions. But at last, here we are: I think I have everything back except for some of the photos in the album. And those, I can re-upload, no problem. Yay!

So, er, Christmas was good! I had a lovely one, although I was a bit zonked out today. My knitted presents went down well, although I didn’t manage to finish Emily’s Chevron Scarf – I showed it to her so far. I probably would have got it done, but I’ve been having ouchy-finger-joint issues. Bah. However, Mum liked the Fetchings I made her, and the scarf – a sparkly gold one – that I gave her as well. Pictures soon!

I’m planning to go to the gym with the bro tomorrow (assuming he’s remembered I said I’d go too!) and get my new year’s resolutions underway early. *g* I haven’t been over there for a while, although I do belong, and I need to get back into the swing of it.

Composing Knits

I’ve discovered something kind of interesting. To me, anyway. Fetching wristwarmersYou see, I’d decided I wanted a hat to go with my Fetching wristwarmers. This meant applying the stitch pattern and cables used on Fetching to a hat. Well, with a couple of small variations – aren’t there always? What I’ve discovered is, I approach knitting designing in the exact same two ways I have of approaching music composition.

Usually when I make a hat (or scarf or bag or whatever), I almost completely improvise. Often, I don’t even swatch, I just rely on the fact that I know that I’ll get this approximate gauge with those needles and that weight yarn, and base my number of cast on stitches on that. I’ll keep to approximate guidelines – just like staying within a key (or its relatives) – but otherwise I’ll wing it from there… sometimes even in terms of stitch pattern, although not always. If it works out well, I might go back and record what I’ve done on paper later on.

This time, I used what is actually my other method of writing music: I take a motif that I’ve worked out on an instrument beforehand, then decide on a key, key sig, and orchestration, and write everything else straight down onto paper out of my head. I’m pretty sure I know how it’s going to sound, but there’s sometimes the odd surprise *g*. Along very much the same lines, I started the design for my “Tête à Fetching” hat by taking the motif of the Fetching wristwarmers cables / ribbing which I have already knitted and therefore am familiar with the look of it. I swatched, I calculated, and I wrote out the provisional pattern on paper, including variations which didn’t occur in the original motif. Now, I’m knitting it:

The beginning of the Tête à Fetching

I’ll let you know how it goes, and with luck put the finished pattern up when I’m done!

I’m back!

I did say I was going, didn’t I? I’ve been off in Manchester at the TRA Meet-Up 2007, which was the best con evah. Seriously. Actually, it was more like a pilgrimage than a convention – it wasn’t the kind where several hundred fans are packed into a hotel for a weekend and queued past actors. Which, hey, I’ve been to plenty of and enjoyed very much! But somehow this was better: there were just 50 or so of us, and we visited various filming locations, “met” the Camberwick Green puppet of Sam, and got to sit in the Cortina! So yes. Pretty much the best Life on Mars geekfest possible. There was even a party with fab 70’s style buffet food (and a pub quiz) on the Saturday night. The girls who organised it really went all out and made it a seriously memorable weekend for everyone, plus I met some lovely lovely people. Whee!

I got back down from Manchester on Wednesday evening at…. late-ish. I had to hang around in London for a while to avoid the rush hour – I did think about braving it, but I didn’t really fancy possibly standing all the way to Hastings with my backpack on. I was wiped out when I got home, so I kind of fed the cat and fell into bed at that point. Since then I’ve been (a) recovering and (b) working. Or is it the other way around? Nah, maybe not. ;-) I’m just in the process of ploughing through my email, so if you’re expecting to hear from me… I may be gone some time! Oh alright, I’m being over-dramatic. Hopefully I won’t take very long – at a quick glance I see I have mail from my SP to answer *waves*.

In knitting stuff, I did get a fair bit done on the train journeys, which was nice. I made my second Fetching, and a good start on my first Hedara sock. More about those later when I have photos to prettify the post. Listened to plenty of knitting podcasts, too, which enlivened the whole travelling thing. Hoorah!

I got my Yarn Yard club parcel yesterday, too. :-D I don’t think I mentioned last month’s, which I loved as well. This one is scrummy – I won’t describe it just yet in case there’s anyone reading (is there anyone reading? At all? *g*) who’s in the club and hasn’t had theirs. But it’s bright and delicious, and there were sweets in the package as well! Yum!! I think I definitely do want to use the accent quarter skein for toes and heels this time. I’m just not sure whether to make plain stst socks or do something with a little bit of a pattern / texture. I’ll think on it. And post photos in a couple of days when I’ve taken them.

Right now, though? Sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.

Fetching so far

Fetching wristwarmer cuffFetching is progressing nicely, and it’s an absolute pleasure to knit. I have found the cables a bit more fiddly that others that I’ve done in the past, for some reason, but it is a nice straightforward little pattern, and is coming out beautifully. And as you can see, the Posh Yarn Sophia 6-ply (in Mute) looks utterly scrummy.
FYI, the project stats are:
Pattern: Fetching by Cheryl Niamath, from Knitty (Summer 06).
Yarn: Posh Yarn Sophia 6-ply (100% cashmere) in Mute.
Needles: Set of 5 4mm DPNs.
I’m now, by the way, further up than shown in this pic – I’ll take another one when I’m significantly more along with it.
But for right now… I think I’m going to stretch my legs around the flat a bit, and get something to eat. Which reminds me, I wanted to make a shout-out to my lovely encouraging monitor, Lisa – thank you for your support! And I wish I could go and get some fresh air, but it’s ‘orrible and rainy, and 3am, so I guess that’ll have to wait til the morning. Food first, some stretches, then a shower. That’ll do me for now.


Skein Wars: Victory! (Click for larger version)So, I finally beat that skein of Eva Tuscany into submission and got it wound into a ball! Woohoo! However, I have to admit… I did resort to scissors. I tried for three whole days (on and off, not constantly, obviously) to detangle it. And I suppose I could have unwound the 1/3 I already had on the ball-winder. But that just seemed like the road to further tangling, so in the end I took a deep breath, and…. snipped. Once I’d done that, the detangling actually went dead fast, and as you can see I now have a lovely neat centre-pull ball. Two extra ends to be woven in, yes, but never mind.
So, I’ve been busily swatching away. I’ll be making the Forest Canopy Shawl with it, and as Eva 4ply’s not the same weight as the recommended yarn (which I think is a worsted weight), I needed to figure out which needle size I want. This is a pattern which is fairly friendly for using different weights of yarn, and gives lots of comprehensive information on the pre-knitting part of the process – three whole pages, in fact! Since this is my first big lace project (hats, socks, and even BP (which is ‘big’ but only a very simple lace pattern) don’t count) it’s nice to have clearly laid out instructions and suggestions like that.
Anyway! I started out with 4mm needles, but that gave me a gauge of 24×28, when what I was after was 22×14. I have no idea how that can be, actually – surely you normally get more rows to a gauge than stitches? Stitches are wider than they are high. I’m wondering if that’s a typo, and it should actually be 22×24? You know what? I think it has to be. I’ve just had a glance through every pattern I have to hand (which is quite a few, since I just printed a whole slew from Knitty), and 22sts x 24rows makes far more sense. Also, that’s the gauge I’ve now got by swatching on 4.5mm bamboos, and I like the way that knitted up as well. Drapey, but not too floppy.
Posh Yarn Eva 4ply 'Tuscany' (Click for larger version)So that’s what I’ve decided on: Forest Canopy shawl in Posh Yarn Eva 4ply ‘Tuscany’, on 4.5mm needles. As I mentioned above, I’m starting off on bamboo straights, but when it grows too big I’ll have to move it to circulars. I’ll need an 80cm one, I think, and I don’t actually have a 4.5mm one in that length.
I wonder if it’s worth getting a set of Denise’s or Boye Needlemasters? I’m drawn to the Boye ones, because they’re shiny. Literally shiny: multicoloured metallics. Shiiiiiiiiiinyyyyy. Plus, I think they have a couple more sizes than the Denise set. If I learned the Magic Loop technique, I could use them for the sock knitting as well, and not need to get the new DPNs that I was coveting. Anybody have them, and/or have any opinions on which might be better? Or if it’s worth it at all? This would also solve the possible problem I have with making Fetching from PY Sophia 6ply – I’m not sure that 4mm needles are going to get the right gauge for that. Although of course, going up to 4.5mm might make the fabric too floppy, in which case I’ll just have to get some 8ply instead. Maybe I should have gone for that in the first place.
Still, I spose there’s only one way to find out: SWATCH!