Friday, May 30, 2008

Two squares down, 22 to go

I must admit a piece of shocking news. There has not been a stitch knit chez moi for the last week. And it feels horrible :( But I've been super busy with the quilting and finishing my homework. And now I have two weeks to sew all of the blocks. One week will be gone as I'll be in Montreal all of next week for a conference. That means lots of knitting travel time. I'm also staying an additional few days to sight see and get to two special knitters. I assure you it will be a barrel of fun and I can't wait to tell about all the antics that I'm sure me and Robyn will get into :)
But the quilt! So prior to my wednesday class we remember that it was my homework to cut all of the strips for the quilt. Which took forever. And possibly a tiny chunk of my finger with it as I should totally not be allowed to use anything as sharp as a rotary cutter but what can you do right? Here is how this all looked:

There were pieces of things everywhere I tell you! I don't I'll ever get all the fabrics bits out of the trailer (I spent the week at the cabin for some piece and quiet). Then this past Wednesday was the class where we learned about the actual piecing of the quilt. I unfortunately forgot my camera for the class so there are no WIP shots of the first few blocks being made but I promise that for the upcoming few. As she wanted us to piece an entire square in front of her in class I did the first two squares on their own piece by piece. And I have to say, I heart the 1/4' foot on my dewing machine. I don't think I'd have any hope of sewing a straight line otherwise. These are the first two squares:
I'm still sticking with the diamond pattern so a little peek at just two sitting next to each other to give a bit of flavour:
I do love how these colours are working up together. I think it will be a very beautiful first quilt for me. Outside of my usual colour zone but I truly do like it. And for those who want a peek at the back side:
The next 22 squares are being done at once assembly line style. We'll leave you hanging with what exactly that means and I'll give a little step by step when I get back.
Mean time, wish me luck at convocation on Sunday and a safe trip to Montreal. I might not update until I'm back on the 7th but hopefully I can sneak something in. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

SP12 Questionaire

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? MY favourite yarns are pretty much anything by Debbie Bliss, Lovesticks Self Striping sock yarn, Yartini and I like trying things with different blends. I freely admit to being a yarn snob and as a general rule of thumb do not use acrylic.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? At the moment, scattered in boxes all over my room. I was given a needle holder for christmas that I need to find...

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? Intermediate. I'm self taught since June of '06

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? I have an amazon and Loopy Ewe wishlist which you can email me for the link if you'd so like.

5. What's your favorite scent? Vanilla, lavender. I can't handle overly floral smells.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy? Huge sweet tooth. Too many favourites to name. Let's see: Jelly Belly jelly beans, fuzzy peaches, pop rocks, toffiffee, chocolate covered pretty much anything, sour soothers, red licorice,...

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin? I also crochet and am learning to sew and quilt which is quickly turning into an obsession. I have a drop spindle but have had disasterous results trying to teach myself and will need someone to show me.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) I will listen to pretty much anything but have a soft spot for jazz, broadway and lounge music (think Billy Joel)

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand? Blue, pink, purple, black are my favourites. I can't stand orange, yellow on it's own, brown or bright greens.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? Live with my parents and two cats: Misty & Mittens.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? Everything but ponchos.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? It's probably not a hard guess from my blog that the answer there is socks.

13. What are you knitting right now? Socks, finishing Mystery Stole 3, baby sweaters

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? Absolutely

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? Circular, aluminum or metal

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? Yes to both

17. How old is your oldest UFO? Since the great room clean I think the oldest that's survived is from last summer

18. What is your favorite holiday? Whacking Day and Christmas

19. Is there anything that you collect? Fabric, cat figurines, small flutes, Le Petit Prince in foreign languages, yarn :)

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? Fitted Kits, Classic Knits by Erika Knight, any of the vogue Stitchionaries

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn? Fair Isle

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements? Yeppers. I have a women's size 8 foot. 9 inches long.

23. When is your birthday? May 10th

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID? mathgirl

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Let the quilting begin

Sorry for the late in the week post, I've been staying at the cabin and didn't get pictures lined up in advance. It was a nice week, relaxing. If not cold in the unheated cabin when the temperatures were dipping below zero at night... But I'll live with that as long as I have ample comforters and lots of peace and quiet. The mail today brought me some good news. On June 1st is my convocation and I found out that I'll be getting the gold medal in mathematics (honours) and the gold medal in statistics (4-year). Something to smile about. I don't get people who don't go to their convocations. I wouldn't dream of missing mine. After killing myself for five years to lead up to this point, I want to be handed those degrees, not get them with bills in the mail...
I'd say there was lots of knitting going on but that would be a lie as I've been playing with my new toy, the sewing machine. This weekend after butchering a yard of two kinds of fabric because I was completely unable to measure the pieces correctly I have wound up with a cute little clutch purse. The button fastener is a little off centre but other than that I am extremely happy with it. It's really more of a little girl's purse but I do have a little girl in mind that will hopefully love it. It's all flannel fabric so it's very soft. The pattern is the "Artsy Clutch" from the Bend The Rules Sewing book by Amy Karol. Cute no?
Now, having had the machine for just over two weeks that must only mean one thing, I started my quilting class yesterday!!! Oh it was wonderful. There are 8 of us in the class, though one lady won't be coming until next week. I believe that I'm the youngest by atleast 20 years but they're all so nice. And the instructor is wonderful too. Today was very much so the math lesson. The quilt we're making is a log cabin quilt. Therefore it's a little math figuring the make sure you're cutting the pieces in the appropriate size increases. We learned how to figure how many strips we'd get per metre of fabric so how wide of fabric of each kind. I'm doing my blocks in four colours with two shades of each of the main colours. Well, five colours I suppose as I have a centre block in a different colour. Here's the sketch of each of my blocks (note, not really using orange, that was just the only other shade of red in the pack of pencil crayons)
See the fun calculations? Most people are doing two colours but as I was done all the calculator work much before the others I was able to play around with colours and noticed that with rotations I could get a cute triangular pattern, this is how it'll look pieced together:
There are 24 blocks (4 by 6) each nine inches square. Needless to say that it's a lap blanket size for my very first quilt. Some are tackling like double or queen sized bed sized blankets. Considering that we get two weeks to sew all of our blocks (and I will be gone for 6 of those days), that is so far out of my reach at the moment, I don't want to think about it. but I'm happy with what I've done. Here's a sneak peek at the colours:
Homework for this week: Wash and press the fabrics, pre-cut all of my strips and sort by strip letter. I'm excited!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Hi all! It's the post that you've all been waiting for, the results from my birthday contest! But first, you don't get away that easy. It must be preceded by a statistics lesson :)
While most people pick winners with crazy random number generators (actually, they're generating pseudo random numbers but that's a whole other lesson). I am more of an old school girl and prefer my book of random numbers.
That there is one of my prized possessions. The contents are exactly what it describes. 400 pages of straight random numbers followed by more pages of random normal deviates. i.e. random number tables. For extra fun, check out the reviews of this book, hilarious. The way one uses such a table is they randomly flip to a page and pick a column in the table (I like to do this with my eyes closed but I'm just geeky that way). Then you read the numbers down the columns until you get a usable number. As we had 10 commentors we can't just use 1-10 as that would require two numbers to get 10 and only one for the others which puts 10 at a disadvantage. So we instead use 01, 02,...,09,10 giving double digits to the first numbers. This may mean a while before we get a useable number but luckily for us, I happened upon a number on the second try:
So congrats commentor #9, pioggia! I don't have an email address for you and you don't have a blogger i.d. so please send me an email to mathgirlknits*at*gmail*dot*com with your mailing address and I'll get you your yarn :)
On my knitting front I was in a bib mood this weekend and for good measure made another boy bib. If my supervisor's wife has a boy it's for them, otherwise for baby J (I had to cover my bases for whatever they might have right?). Seriously, you all need to start knitting baby bibs. They are super addicting and such a quick knit.
There's a UFO that's been resurrected too today. Any guesses?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Whacking Day!

Happy Whacking Day all!!!! Isn't it a great day? Wow, 23rd birthday. This should be an age I can remember. I think that 22, the number itself not the age, is a very forgettable number and without thinking I would always try to say I was 21. But I really like the number 23 so it should stay in. Speaking of my birthday, you have until tonight to enter the contest on my last blog entry. The winner will receive this lovely skein of Mama Llama Monterey 4 ply (70/30 Merino, Seacell) in Deepest Purple that came in my Woolgirl order, feel free to ooh and ahh
On the knitting front I have started to make a duffel coat for baby J but currently only have a bunch of rows of garter stitch so it doesn't look all that interesting and isn't worth much mentioning. On my trip to the conference I also got quite a bit of knitting done on my second Monkey sock and have passed the heel and am working down the instep. It was amazing how fascinated all the guys were watching me knit at night trying to figure out how it all worked. I'm surprised at how much seeing a heel impressed one of them, lol.
In the pictured knitting front yesterday I came home to find that my huge order of dishcloth cotton came in, all 16 skeins of it. And with shipping it was only $38. You absolutely can't argue with that. So late yesterday afternoon and early evening, too tired to do much else, I cozied up on the couch and made another baby bib in a cute pink colourway (this is the first girl bib I've made) and I casted on for a green bib but am only a few rows in. Should my supervisor's wife have a girl the bib is ear marked for them otherwise it will be for my friend's baby in September. Yes, as of yesterday still no baby to go with the bunting I made. I'm crossing my fingers they'll have a Whacking Day baby today :) Their kid can only hope to be so lucky! But I digress, here's the bib
(Susan, if you haven't already started, I do highly recommend these Baby Bibs O' Love from Mason Dixon Knitting, super cute and super addictive)
Now, being the crafty person I am, you must be wondering what I got for my birthday (combined grad gift). Well, I am grinning from ear to ear because today my father took me out and ordered me this
An Elna 7200 sewing machine which is designed specifically for quilting. It will be in in a week and comes with three free lessons on its use. The lady who helped us was so nice and I'll get to take the lessons from her. I've also signed up for her class on log cabin quilting that begins the week after my machine arrives to get me started. I can't wait! Expect to see quilting action as well as knitting in the near future!
Have an excellent weekend!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Socks and gnomes

I'm so out of the habit of blogging now... it's really bad :( But for all who keep reading this post, to make up for it there'll be a blog contest to celebrate my upcoming birthday so keep reading!
This past week has been devoted to two thing knitting wise. The first was my project for while I was out of it on pain killers after getting my wisdom teeth out. With nothing to do but sit and watch tv all weekend I decided to start something quick that would be quickly gratifying. So I pulled out the Socks That Rock Medium Weight in the Backstabber colourway and did some plain, toe-up, stockinette socks. I must say, that after some practice, I liked it much better this time toe up than in previous attempts. I absolutely could not believe how quickly the suckers knit up with the slightly thicker yarn. And the fabric is nice and dense making the most warm and cozy socks I've ever done. Aren't they cute?
And no pooling for me, just this super cute striping. It isn't striping yarn but I happened to hit the gauge and stitch number sweet spot for it to do just that. I love it!
I also happily finished the baby bunting and today, after taking it to work and trying to dry it all day in the common room, I was able to give it to my supervisor who seemed to really like and think his wife would too. Unfortunately, I stupidly didn't take a picture of it once it was finished. He's promised me that he'll get me a picture but it could be a while, you know, baby imminently about to arrive and all. She's due today so I'm very happy that the baby was able to hold up long enough for me to finish knitting their present. I kept telling him that she wasn't allowed to go into labour until Tuesday, it'll be quite amusing if she does. Maybe the knitting gods like me again?
I have also spent the last week doing a major cleaning of my room. You see, up until now I've had two tiny shelves for books that only can hold paperback sized books. so needless to say, at this point in my academic career, my room's been over taken by textbooks, pleasure reading books, knitting books and binders of class notes. It was a total disaster. So we managed to get two bookshelves in there and I've taken to re-organizing the rest of the room and re-arranging the furniture. It still looks like a disaster as stuff is being sorted out in piles but trust me, it's come miles and miles. I think I've thrown out about 7 garbage bags worth of stuff and a stack of magazines that went up to about my chest. Lots and lots got tossed. In the re-org, I cleared off a shelf from my knick knack display shelves for fabric, sock yarn and roving. I can't believe how much sock yarn there is, yikes! Let's kindly forget that I have an order from Woolgirl coming, shh!
I think that's yarn for 36 pairs I count in that picture? Maybe more? Still a pittance compared to some though.
But of course, what you really want to know about is the blog contest! This Saturday is my 23rd birthday and it also happens to be the best holiday in the year, Whacking Day (don't worry, innocent holiday and link)! You have no idea how much I squealed when I heard Kent Brockman announce that it occurred on every May 10th in the episode. For a skein of to be determined sock yarn you need only leave a comment with your favourite obscure holiday and its date. Leave comments by Saturday May 10th 11:59 p.m. and I will use my book of random numbers to pick a winner. Good luck!
And just to amuse you: