Chronicles of Knitterly Misadventures

I’ve moved!
April 20, 2009, 12:44 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Come visit me at my new home: Coconut Chai.


In the line up
April 19, 2009, 10:46 pm
Filed under: for mom | Tags:

It’s past my bed time, so this will be short and sweet.

That is one Textured Shawl via darktricot’s recipe on Rav. The Blue Sky Alpaca Suri Merino is seriously the softest, most heavenly yarn I’ve ever worked with. It would be perfect if it weren’t so friggin’ hairy or loosely spun (although the latter I guess is what lends to its soft loftiness), but seriously guys, seriously- okay- I’m at a loss for words. I don’t like using ‘butter’ when finding similes for yarn, because butter isn’t soft the way yarn is, and I just can’t get around the image of a knitter trying to create a sweater from a stick of butter. Think about it: that would be one nasty mess to clean up, no? (I know you can create awesome stuff with butter- the image of the firefighter’s memorial made entirely out of the stuff after 9/11 comes to mind) Okay, I’ve got it. Soft like kitten paws.

Mm, kitten paws.

March 23, 2009, 6:28 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I swear I’m still knitting. I’m currently working on the Tailored Cardigan from Drops that everyone and their mother has knit, but only have part of the back piece to show at the moment. I have been momentarily distracted by finals week, a visit from an old hobby (collecting fountain pens and journals), and intense wrist pain that makes me want to curl up with an ice pack and eat cookies all day. Okay, not really, but you get the idea, right?

I can’t believe this picture was taken almost eight months ago. It feels like just yesterday they were small enough to hold in the palm of my hand, and now they’re fat, fat kitties.

The other cat? What other cat? I know nothing of this cat of which you speak.

The Ciak Journal: One More Review
March 5, 2009, 11:26 am
Filed under: Review, Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

Something I don’t think I’ve mentioned on this blog yet is that before I knit, I journaled- prolifically. I have about ten or eleven books dating from 1998 filled with my thoughts and observations on my life and the world around me. I have specific feelings about each of the journals I use and thought I’d try my hand at reviewing my newest acquisition, the Ciak (pronounced “Chack”) journal.

Ciak appears to be an Italian company, and the journals are advertised as handmade- I have no idea whether or not this is true. Trivia: The medium Ciak with the red cover made an appearance in the 2005 film V for Vendetta as the journal of Delia Surridge, a document detailing her role in the Larkhill Detention Center and labeled as inflammatory by Chancellor Adam Sutler, possibly anything from an elaborate forgery concocted by V to the psychotic ramblings of a doctor who should have resigned ages ago for psychological reasons.

I own three of them in red, blue, and yellow and acquired them from The Journal Shop, a mail order company based in England, during their 3-for-2 sale on journals. They cost £13.50 each, which according to XE is currently around $19.07. Shipping ran me $22.68 for a total of about $60.85, a number that works out to the cost of three journals at full price plus a shipping fee of $3.64. What can I say about these books that haven’t been said already? I have no idea, but I’ll give it a whirl.

The medium, cream & unlined journal in the blue cover

Immediate observations:
– Horizontal rather than vertical elastic, string rather than band
– Covers are attractive and available in a rainbow of colors from black, pink, red, orange, yellow, lime green, to blue; bookmarks vary accordingly. However, there is some kind of visible weird rippling effect on the cover, which as far as I can tell is only present on one of the three books I own, so it may be a dud
– Good sized journal: the medium is listed at 12 x 17 cm and contains 140 pages. Small enough to be portable, hefty enough that it should last me a decent amount of time
– Paper appears very thick and smooth, the ivory unlined version is an attractive shade of off-white

The first thing I notice when opening the book is that it won’t lie flat and doesn’t want to open flat either. I think this has something to do with the way the cover curves around rather than clings to the spine.

This is as flat as I can get the book. It gets just a little flatter than that with some more effort, but not by much.

However, the cover seems flexible and sturdy enough that I don’t have any qualms about bending the spine back to create some memory in the book. As mentioned earlier, the Ciaks boast a horizontal elastic string rather than a vertical elastic band as found in most other journals: the website touts this as being part of the ingenious design.

Being so used to the vertical bands that disappear behind the back of the book, I was initially put off by the horizontal string; it dangled limply to the side of the spine and I worried it would get in the way, but it didn’t, and I quickly realized that it was a convenient way to keep my FP with the journal. If you’re as absent-minded as I am, this is a very good thing: you will never be without a pen again!

While these two faults made writing in the Ciak awkward and tedious at first, the paper made it remarkably easy to overlook them. As mentioned before, the paper in the Ciak is listed as ivory, acid free, and archival quality: these words mean nothing to me (save for the color, of course), but it doesn’t matter. The fine point nib of my Lamy Vista runs like a figure skater on ice across the pages of the journal. They’re so smooth I actually find myself frequently taking out the book just to run my fingers across the paper- it’s really an incredible tactile experience. It does take ink well with no evidence of feathering and bleeding minimal enough to even satisfy my tastes (even the tiniest show through grates on my nerves). Initially I noticed some skipping when using the fine nibbed Lamy Vista, but have insufficient information to determine whether this is the fault of the paper, the pen, or the ink (instinct tells me to blame the pen).

(I know, I know, this is a downright crappy photo. Sorry about that)

This journal is definitely an experience in and of itself, and is available in a myriad of varieties with cream, white, or multi-colored pages either lined or unlined with a rainbow of covers to chose from, all of them attractive in their own right. I wish Ciaks were more widely available stateside; my local Barnes and Noble only carries the medium blue with lined, multi-colored pages, Amazon only lists the black cover with lined pages that takes anywhere from 3 to 4 weeks to ship out, and only the multi-colored versions seem to be available from most other US-based merchants. I’ve never seen the journal in any of the smaller bookstores in Seattle proper, and the largest selection I’ve found was from the aforementioned UK based “The Journal Shop”. If you’re in the US and willing to pay the $22 shipping fee, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them as a reputable company.

Ultimately I think the medium Ciak will make me a fine companion; its cover is soft and flexible enough that I toss it into my backpack with the rest of my college textbooks and find myself worrying more about stains rather than tears. It’s small enough to be portable and hefty enough to last even a prolific journaler a good long while, and reminds me why I continue using pen and paper despite how tech-obsessed American society has become.

ETA: Ciaks also available from Journaling Arts, a mail order company based in Kentucky. Seems like they have a pretty large selection; owner posts on The Fountain Pen Network that there might be more items in stock than listed on the website and to contact her (link leads to a page of contact information on the website) if you don’t see something you want.

More reviews of the journal from Spiritual Evolution of the Bean and Black Cover

The first FO of 2009
February 18, 2009, 4:19 pm
Filed under: fo, for mom, lace, Wisp | Tags: , , ,

For Mom’s birthday gift this year. I also want to bake her some lemon poppy-seed cookies, but I have no idea how well they would fare in the mail, so I guess that can wait until she and Dad come to visit. I knit her a red Swallowtail shawl last year, but she left it behind somewhere. I’ve decided since that I don’t mind if I have to knit her a new scarf every birthday and every Christmas; mothers should be kept warm!

This was a quick knit; the Kidsilk Haze was a little fiddly at first simply because it’d been so very long since I knit with lace weight, but the pattern was ridiculously easy to memorize. I find some weird gratification in knitting repeats like this, when I can watch the scarf grow and know that I have a finite number to go. I could knit lace forever and ever and ever and ever. Knitting with the Kidsilk Haze was, like I always say, like stringing wisps of cloud through your fingers. I’ll wait and see how well the scarf wears, as the yarn seems awfully fragile.

Hello, stranger
February 11, 2009, 12:03 pm
Filed under: Acer Cardigan, Cardigan, Estes Vest, Uncategorized, Vest, wip | Tags: ,

It’s been a while. Let’s play catch up:

The above are, respectively, the Estes Vest from last fall’s issue of Interweave Knits (such a cruel, cruel trick time plays when something that happened nary four months ago is “last year”), and the Acer cardigan, designed by the singularly talented Kristin Kapur of Through the Loops.

Estes, as you can see, is currently going through her second blocking and awaiting the last and final I-Cord, whereas Acer, not so obviously, is awaiting her last row of garter stitch and bind off on her body and a shiny set of sleeves. More to come sooner rather than later, I promise!

Coming up next . . .
January 12, 2009, 7:21 am
Filed under: Uncategorized