Looking for the Holy Grail of cardigans

Looking back through my past knitted projects, there's a few things I need in a cardigan that are not easy to find in combination:

  • Knit in pieces, then seamed, for project portability
  • Set-in sleeves look better on me than raglan ones
  • Worsted weight
  • Can be knit in less than the amount of yarn I have available
  • Pockets a definite plus

I have four sweater lots of yarn, two Vermont Organic Fiber Company O-Wool Classic (light blue and a mid green), some turquoise Rowan Calmer, and some Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in a plum jam colour. The last one is the only yarn I can easily get more of, the others are long discontinued.

The first one meeting all the criteria is Jackaroo, by Amy Herzog, which I'll be starting this week. The others I've found are New Towne, Seamair, Grenadine, Golden Vintage, Larch, Basic Black, and Anne's Cardigan.

Once I have this cardigan done, I want to do a sweater, either Afterlight or Custom Fit, both Amy Herzog designs.

Posted in Knitting | Leave a comment

Moved in

The DNS change has propagated, the blog survived the export/import process, and all is well.

Feedly has no idea where this is, which may be a problem, but I think I can live with that. I've added the links to relevant RSS feeds in the sidebar.

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WordPress ate my website

I'm in the process of converting my website to be entirely managed in WordPress, both posts and pages. That will allow me to easily migrate it from one host to another and move it up to the root directory of this domain. It should be transparent to any visitors, apart from the shift from
http://www.quantumtea.com/blog to

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The United States Armed Forces has various states of readiness, the defense readiness condition (DEFCON) ranges from 5 (lowest state of readiness) to 1 (nuclear war is imminent). The highest state of readiness to date was during the Cuban Missile crisis, DEFCON 2 (Armed Forces ready to deploy and engage in less than 6 hours).

My own DEFCON levels are different. In ascending order of stress:

  • Unnecessary small purchase, probably yarn
  • Tea with sugar in
  • Seriously contemplating a new piercing
  • Not singing in the car
  • All-out freakout

Last time I hit my personal DEFCON 3 I got the contemplated piercings and changed job inside a month. My tea currently has sugar in it.

Posted in Personal | 1 Comment

Second Artist Date – Shapes

I created another set on Flickr for photos from my second Artist Date, this time I was looking for shapes. I found these during the Maplewood Sweet Tooth Tour, which was a self-guided tour of local shops all offering a sample of their wares. Husband and I spent a couple of hours wandering from shop to shop sampling the wares.

Found these in Roots, a small antique shop on Maplewood high street:

Glass globes

Metal stamp

Metal and wooden letter stamps

My Morning Pages have been left undone this last week as I'm attempting to let the tendonitis heal. Also have a 2nd degree brown belt test to prepare for, and I want to be fully functional so my instructor can see me at my best, and then demonstrate how far I have to go :)

(Started a Flickr Collection for my Artist Date photos, the first set was colour blocks.)

Posted in Artist's Way | 2 Comments

The Artist’s Way – first Artist Date

I joined a group on Facebook going through The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron over the course of a year. The book is written as a 12 week course on creativity. Two of the practices introduced in the first chapter are the Artist Date, and Morning Pages. For my first Artist Date I went looking for blocks of colour and found these:

Sunrise and pylons

Lemon yellow

Mango green and red

Light through honey

Morning Pages is something I didn't expect to like, three pages of handwritten text first thing in the morning, all output and no input. It was drilled into me at school that I have horrible handwriting and the morning pages are fast, trying to make the hand keep up with the mind. I started out as an ambidextrous child, and my primary school teacher decided I had to stop using my left hand. Didn't get a choice in that one, I was maybe 5 years old. I think if I'd been allowed to use both hands, I would have favoured the left.

So far I have 54 pages of scrawl written in my green notebook and I'm not letting myself think about the quality of the handwriting. Morning Pages are a lot like Natalie Goldberg's writing practice from Writing Down The Bones, keep your hand moving, don't edit, don't think. I've seen nuggets from stories go past in the morning pages, odd descriptions, some rants, lots of to-do lists, and what I can hear in the house first thing and see out of the window. I haven't gone back to read any of what I've written yet, I'm thinking I may when I've filled the notebook, I have 190 pages to go and I should get there in 63 days on 23rd March. Plenty of time to find a second notebook to fill.

Posted in Artist's Way | 6 Comments

Back and forwards: 2014 resolutions.

I knit thirteen hats this year. Wasn't intending to make 2013 the year of the hat, but when you have a small amount of yarn, a hat is a good project. One of the hats was made with my first 3-ply handspun yarn, a deep red Falklands wool. I finished twenty-seven knitted things, though of that, several were multiples I counted in batches (nine coffee sleeves, three can sleeves, and five small bags while I was designing my Apothecary's Pocket pattern).

This time last year I was in reviews for my 3rd degree brown belt in Chinese Kenpo karate. Now I'm reviewing for my 2nd degree brown, finally past a calf injury and dealing with elbow pain probably caused by spinning yarn.

My 2013 resolutions were:

I will not stab anyone in 2013.
Achieved, though under some strong temptations at times.

I will get my 3rd degree brown belt in Chinese Kenpo karate.
Got this on 18th January 2013.

I will lose 10 pounds and keep it off.
Not achieved, but I'm in a clothes size I feel comfortable about, I'm fit, my endurance is good, my sparring skills have improved, and I'm still flexible.

I will knit primarily from stashed (already bought) yarn.
Fourteen of the things I knit this year were from stashed yarn, which is just over half. My overall stash still fits comfortably in the one box I have assigned for it.

I will finish book #2 and write book #3 of my trilogy.
Umm, no. I wrote book #0, and that showed me how to finish book #2, which is still not done.

So, for next year:

  1. I will not stab anyone in 2014 (just one more year...)
  2. Get my second degree brown belt and make a run at 1st degree.
  3. Finish book #2 and write book #3 for NaNoWriMo
Posted in Knitting, Personal, Writing | 2 Comments

Crafting explosion

After a month of virtually no crafting, it seems to be Big Projects month. I finished a Little Waffles shawl/scarf with some handspun Organic Polwarth from Corgi Hill Farm. I'd spun a 3-ply sportweight and got 328yds that just kept on going. It got big when I blocked it.

Handspun shawl

Next project on the spinning wheel is 10oz of blue-purple Rambouillet, dyed by Corgi Hill Farm. My plan is to spin six bobbins, then ply up two 3-ply skeins that are hopefully even. Most of the way through the first bobbin and aiming for sportweight.

You'd think that a project described as "epic" and "a bit brutal" would put me off, but no. Hello Amortentia and your 603st beaded cast-on, got got past the ruffles and into the short rows so far and it wasn't that painful. Who starts a ruffled shawl at the ruffle end and adds beads?

To take the edge off the mammoth cast-on, I have a sock project in progress, my Squishville Socks pattern for a friend.

Niobium Byzantine chain

There's also a Byzantine bracelet in blue niobium I've been working on, it'll be a double-wrap when it's done and I'm two inches past the first full wrap. Niobium is heavier and a little stiffer than aluminium, the dark blue looks good.

Posted in Chainmail, Knitting, Spinning | 2 Comments

NaNoWriMo 2013 Week Five – Plowing on

Slowing down but still plodding on. Must finish the story! (Daily updates are posted here)

Friday 29th
54689 words, 1883 today. Black Friday, thankfully an office holiday. My task for the day is to caramelise condensed milk to make a banoffee pie for dinner with friends tonight. And write more scenes, I've removed some from my list so there's only four more to go...

Saturday 30th
55818 words, 1129 today. It's Shop Local Saturday! Or Small Business Saturday. Either way, I'm hitting a local bead shop for supplies for a beaded shawl/scarf, then up to the Crooked Tree to finish off another scene. Two down, two to go, and my Mac just got upgraded to 8Gb of memory.

Sunday 1st
56664 words, 800 today. Finished off the final scenes, this story is DONE!

Posted in NaNoWriMo | 2 Comments

NaNoWriMo 2013 Week Four – Rounding the bend

I usually find week four hard, especially once I make the official NaNoWriMo winning word count, because my story usually isn't done. I have promised myself a bribe for finishing the story. (Daily updates are posted here)

Friday 22nd
47303 words, 2221 today. Management book club at lunch, writing before Paul got home, and after dinner. Have well and truly broken into the scene bucket, all of Part Four is planned out scene by scene and I'm working on the last piece of Part Three. I think the hardest part of each day is when I'm over the NaNoWriMo target of 1667 words, but below my personal target of 2000 words. I love watching my spreadsheet cells turn green when I slide over the 2k and those last 333 words are hard to find.

Saturday 23rd
50016 words, 2713 today! Write-in at the Crooked Tree in St Charles, bread-baking to fulfill our StL NaNo raffle prize (2 loaves of Guinness molasses bread), and 50th anniversary Doctor Who in the evening! Rocking through with coffee and other WriMos. Bo staff demo after the write-in.

Sunday 24th
51071 words, 1055 today. I still have thirteen more scenes to go before I'm done and I'd like to make a thousand words a day. Delivered both loaves of bread to the raffle winners. Cast on a new knitting project, played some XCOM, it was a good day.

Monday 25th
51082 words, 11 today. Validated my novel at 6:15am! The validator trimmed some words off my total, but I was far enough over the line it really didn't matter. One-on-one lunch with a VP today, I think I'm done with lunchtime writing. After 2 hours of karate, I'm taking the day off writing.

Tuesday 26th
51712 words, 630 today. Wrote after Paul took an early night. Managed to knit today, and watch TV, and have lunch with a work friend. Having fun with my villain in a scene I planned a while back.

Wednesday 27th
51780 words, 64 today. One of those office-half-empty days, followed by a brisk karate group class and my private lesson.

Thursday 28th
52806 words, 1026 today. Thanksgiving! Wrote while the Guinness molasses bread was rising, and while the honey-roasted rutabaga was between bastings. Always surprised when adults say they've never had rutabaga before. Eleven more scenes to write.

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