Monday, October 15, 2012

So, urm... aherm! (cough! cough!)

Yeah. This regular blogging thing has kinda gone off the rails lately. What can I say, I've been a busy busy bee, and what little free time I have seems to be spent nowhere next nigh or near my computer!

But I've been missing you lovely people terribly (no, really!), and, given that I've a whole actual DAY OFF today that has, for a change, not been steamrollered by my need to attend some ridiculously early-in-the-morning, takes-up-most-of-the-day hospital appointment, I thought I'd start the day in style by writing a blogpost!

(Okay, so obviously the day actually started with a rather large pot of coffee, and some nommy scones and jam, but as I'm sure you'll all understand, this was just to safeguard my sunny diposition. I could not be inflicting myself on other people sans caffeine. Ooh no).

So anyway. What's been keeping me from my computer? Well, work, mostly. You understand of course that in this case, the word 'work' is more of a relative term. I get up every day, and get dressed (might be taken as a given in most households, but on my planet over the last four years, there were a LOT of days when that didn't happen!).

So actual proper clothes, not pyjamas. Then I get on the train, all the way into town, and, often making a slight detour en route to acquire muffins, I arrive in work. Where there is yarn. And coffee. And yarn. And smiley happy work colleagues. And customers who actually WANT me to foist yarn on them, and who don't get freaked out when we're all making 'oooh' noises while petting the latest yarny arrivals. Oh yeah, and there's yarn. Did I mention the yarn?

So yeah, life, while very busy, is damn good at the moment! >happy sigh!<

I have started to notice a couple of dents in this idyllic existence, though. First up, this working thing? REALLY cuts into your knitting time! (I know, I know, who'd have thought it?). Though trust me, I have been doing my bestest to compensate! There is plenty of knitting on the go here at the moment, though I only realised this morning that it seems to involve rather large quantities of just knitting, as opposed to the rather large quantities of yarn-overs-in-every-available-space items that I usually produce!

This, I have decided, is a very good thing. I loves my lace. I have whole projects set aside that are going to be my fun-for-me Christmas knitting, and they're all (well, mostly) lace. However, as a result, I had long neglected the beauty of some straightforward stockinette, and the beautiful, drapey-yet-structured fabric it can give you. I had also really missed out on good old garter stitch, and it's comforting squooshiness, and how it can showcase a yarn and it's qualities and colours like no other stitch.

So in the current WIP parade (which is becoming an even bigger-ass parade with each passing day), there is a lot of stockinette and garter... though at least the project below will eventually turn a little lacy at the edge, and in a totally different colour! The excitement!

See? See that? See me getting all excited about using more than one colour yarn in my knitting? Well brace yourselves...

Garter stitch AND stripes! And that's not even the best bit....

Short. Row. Shaping. A technique that I had never managed to execute effectively and that, consequently, scared the bejaysus out of me. Nothing was guaranteed to make me run screaming away from a pattern quicker than the words 'short row shaping'. Until I met Colour Affection. And started spending copious amounts of my day faced with a rather large cubby of Malabrigo Sock. Nom nom nom. Of course, I am only human, and was powerless to resist, and sure who could blame me?

To keep me sane and calm, I also started a second Cladonia. As I mentioned in my last post, I liked the first one so much that I had pretty much acquired new stash almost immediately, so's I could do a second one! More stripes (check me out with the two colours!), more stockinette, with a little lacey interest to keep me going to the edges...

Obviously this is again being knit with some nice nice nice smoooooshy Finito nom nom nom nom...

If you haven't knit with it yet, you really should. Really really. You deserve it.

And of course, speaking of yarns to which I am partial, we all know what one of my all-time favourite yarns would be... so you can just imagine how excited I got when a whole new shipment of my babies came home, and some of them even in new colourways! Whole new colourways! I can barely stand it! :oD

Of course, I would not be a very good yarn store employee if I did not make a little time to, urm, test-knit these new acquisitions, just to ensure that they are all indeed of the impeccably high standards we demand for our esteemed clientele. Aherm.

(Almost had myself convinced there. Yes, I did it all for the customer. Nothing at all to do with my reaction to the delivery box when it came into the shop (which may or may not have involved some bouncing and some high-pitched 'yay!'s. Freaked the crap out of the poor delivery guy), or the way I flung myself at it going "NO! MY BOX! I'M OPENING THIS BOX! MINE!!" Nothing at all to do with that. It's all about the customer. Epitome of professionalism, me).

Anyway, given the reaction to the last cowl I made from Botany Lace, I have decided that a second one may be required...

...Boingy Boingy, Version 2.0! Isn't it purty? (And okay, so Jacqui decided that a second one would be required. And that it should be done in this colourway. She was so right! So I'm just knitting it!). ;o)

Obviously though, given the vast number of WIPs I currently have on the go (about 20. Ish), it may be a while before any of these are completely and utterly done. Of course, you will be the first to know when they are!

There has been other knitting, and other nommy yarns, and fun things happening, but if I save some stuff for a future blogpost, I'm hoping that that'll make me commit to actually doing another post again some time real soon!

So that just leaves the other dent I had noticed in my otherwise idyllic existence...

Remember The Plan? The Plan that involved me knitting loads of things from the pretty pretty yarn that I already owned and did not in any way shape or form involve me contributing or adding to the humongous stash I already owned over the course of 2012?

Yeah. Hahahaha. Well, let's just say that working in a yarn store is not at all conducive to cutting down on one's stash. At all. Please don't judge me though, just bear in mind that I'm doing it all for you. It is apparently my life's mission to knit all the yarns so that I may more accurately advise you in your yarny purchases.

No, really. >cough! cough!<


Thursday, August 2, 2012

No honest, I really AM still here!

Woah, it's been a while!

Ever noticed how when things get busy, the time just seems to ZOOOM past when you're not really looking? Earlier this year I said that I would be posting at least once a week. I was kinda okay with that schedule, though admittedly there was the odd "week" here and there that had more of a "ten days" kind of look about it!

Anyway. I got busy. And busy in the bestest way!

After four long-ass years of being all really sick and things being ikky and stuff, I got a couple of "all clear" reports from my multiple doctors a couple of months back. YAY!! Lots of relief! Best bit? That's just the first YAY!!, read on!

So that meant I could finally start sniffing around for one of those job thingies I'd heard so much about, but hadn't managed to hold down in, urm, ooh about four years or so. Which could have been not too nice at all. Because while I was really desperately looking forward to getting back to work, there was also the not-insignificant fear of (a) crappy economy and (b) who the hell is going to hire someone who has been too sick to work for FOUR YEARS regardless of what the docs may say? Heh. This was going to be interesting.

But it turned out that my timing was impeccable (i.e. I am a completely and utterly jammy b*tch), in terms of certain places needing a certain kind of staff at that exact right moment. So guess who now works in her LYS? Where she'd been spending a rather large portion of her "hey, I can move today!" time anyway? YAAAAY!!!

So yeah, it's a lot of fun. And really busy. Busy in a very good way. I get to talk about knitting all day long, and in this context that is a very good thing (as opposed to the "please stop talking about your feckin knitting" very bad thing that it can sometimes be perceived to be. Y'know, when I'm not at WORK)!

The result of this has been very little downtime to do other stuff like, ooh, I dunno, blogposts. I'm sure you understand though! Throw in there that for two weeks I was also off dog-sitting in a house with no computer (no, I don't understand that either), so that didn't do much to boost your chances of a post either! (The dogs were fun though. More on them another time).

But anyway, now I'm back. Last time I promised you some recaps of different things, but I'm just going to give a brief rundown of some yarn/knitting stuff (with pictures. I know you're just really tuning in for the pictures!), just to give you your fix and get me back into the "how to concoct a blogpost" mindset.

So what have I been knitting? First up was a wedding shawl for a special friend not in Ireland any more (>sniffle!<). I have no decent pics to show of this as yet, but as soon as I do I'll share them. Trust me though, it's pretty. Really pretty! And most importantly it made it to the bride in time for the big day, and she looked stunning!

Immediately after completeing this, I dived in to the fantabulous birthday yarn that I had acquired at the WWKIP Day.

First up, there was some Malabrigo Finito. If you have not knit with this stuff, you really should. Really really really. Life is just too short to NOT knit with it! Really. Knit it now. NOW!!

Aherm. Anyway. I picked me my pretty pretty colours,

Natural and Azules. Very pretty. And a big shout-out THANK YOU to bunnyt for the softest birthday pressie EVER. It's just so smooshie, has to be groped to be believed! And thank you for making me get the Natural one too!

(I wasn't going to do it stripey, but she made me do it. No choice at all. She's a little scary when insistent. But in a good way. Because she's usually right!).

(And yes, my heart does still very much belong to Botany Lace. It just turns out that I now own most of the colours!)

So anyway, my Finito goodness very rapidly became this...

Isn't it pretty? Cladonia, knit as written, except for the edging, which I didn't really like, so I went for a picot bind-off instead...

Nom nom nom. It's nommy.

(So of course, having found a pattern I like, I will of course be doing a second one! New stash has been acquired, so stay tuned!)

There was also hot chocolate and lemon meringue cake, and later there was beer, and chatting, and knitting, so it was, really, pretty much, the absolutely most perfect birthday ever!

But this was not the last of the birthday yarny goodness. Ooh no. There was this one particular skein of one particular yarn that I have been coveting for, oh, quite some time now. I would occasionally visit it in the shop and stroke it and whisper to it (nothing too overt you understand, just stuff like 'someday you will be mine. ALL mine!'. Nothing that would freak out the yarn or anything. Ooh, no).

Anyway. There were those who were aware of this prolonged and unrequited love of mine, and one of them decided to put me out of my misery...

...and now it's mine! ALL mine! Thank you jewelan'darlin'! Happy birthday to ME!! Yay! I keep taking this out of its safe place, just to gaze at it and stroke it a little, then I put it safely back to bed. Still can't quite believe it's mine! Someday I shall indeed be knitting it into something wonderful, wonderful indeed...

But not just yet. First we have the Ravellenic Games to be getting on with. For those of you unaware, it basically involves setting yourself a challenge, which you cannot commence until the Olympic Flame is lit. You then have to have it completely knitted/finished/done by the time the flame goes out just over two weeks later. It's fun! And a little crazy, but mostly FUN!

The Ravellenics commenced in the shop last Friday, with Jacqui lighting the flame (and maybe possibly running a lap around the shop and balcony, but we won't mention that!) and getting our Games underway. Our team mascot José (complete with headband) is standing guard beside our flame. TeamTIK2012 will be posting FO pictures as we go (on the board that's also being guarded by José. We're keeping him busy). José will also be encouraging us as we go, so make sure to follow him at @Don_JoseTIK, let him know how you're getting on!

Otherwise he'll get all lonely and think people aren't talking to him. And working with him, it gets really difficult to stay on your game when you've a really sad little baby alpaca staring at you all day long...