Caffeinate and Insulate

Hi, my name is Lisa and I’m a coffee-a-holic.

I love coffee, and my love may have crept into the domain of slight addiction.  Rarely a day goes by without me enjoying at least one (okay, four) cups of coffee. A few weeks back, feeling extraordinarily stressed about an upcoming museum event, I didn’t have my morning coffee and told my coworkers this.  My lack of coffee was indicative to them of just how stressed I was.  Basically, coffee=stuff of life.

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I’m pretty sure Lorelai Gilmore is my Spirit Animal.

I love nothing better on a weekend morning than making a large pot of coffee in my coffee press and spending my morning leisurely drinking coffee and watching procedural cop shows. With the weather turning cool (oh, how I love fall), I noticed that I just couldn’t drink my coffee fast enough before it became cold.  Ever the problem solver, I turned to Ravelry.

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Caffeinate, Coffee Press Cozy – Photo ©Heathcote Road

If you’ve read this blog before, you’ll know I’m a Whovian. I love Doctor Who and all things iconic of it.  I’ve knit the Fourth Doctor Scarf, made wristwarmers based on the scarf, and I happily keep my e-reader in a TARDIS knit cozy.  A Dalek inspired coffee press cozy is a natural marrying of two of my loves, three if you count the fact that I am knitting it.

Here is my progress so far, after working on it on and off for an afternoon:


These bobbles may be the death of me, but my goodness, the wool will help keep my coffee warm, and the fact that it’s a Dalek makes me all sorts of happy. The Daleks, in case you’ve never encountered one before, naturally strike fear into those who hear their robotic voices shriek ‘EXTERMINATE,’ the enemy of the Doctor and a cold, careless creature who believe that the Daleks are superior over everything else. The metal exterior is protection for the Dalek who lives inside it, a tentacle covered merciless alien.

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I’m using Cascade 220 that was left over from making my Dad’s sweater. Nice and warm indeed.

Happy knitting!

 

(Almost) Instant Projects, and How Wonderful They Truly Are

A short post this week, as I don’t have much new to report. But isn’t it wonderful and completely satisfying by how fast some projects come together? Sunday night, needing a change from the socks and sockhead hat I’m working on, I grabbed yarn from my stash, cast on and in a few short hours finished a fingerless glove.

Is there anything better than the fast yet fabulous projects?

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The pattern is one I improvised, based on the Fourth Doctor’s scarf.

I Think I Found My Mojo!

Last week, when I posted, I was tapped for inspiration and barely knitting.  I’m not sure which invisible switch was flipped, but my needles have been hard at work this week!

I finished my first accent pillow, and the Whovian in me is simply delighted!  Knit with the colours of the Fourth Doctor’s iconic scarf, I finished seaming the pillow and adding the zipper on Monday.  I like making these knit pillow cases with zippers, so that if they need washing, it doesn’t become a huge production.  I can unzip, wash, then rezip.  Easy peasy.

Every house needs a touch of Doctor Who, doesn't it?
Every house needs a touch of Doctor Who, doesn’t it?

After completing this pillow, I grabbed a yarn that had been in my stash for a few years and started making a cowl.  I lost the ball band, but a friend helped me identify this yarn as Sirdar Donegal Tweed.  I’ve loved it since I first bought it.  It reminds me of crushed Smarties (for any Americans reading this, the Canadian Smarties are like M&Ms, candy coated chocolates), and really, who doesn’t want to wear something that reminds you of chocolate!

With the Sirdar, I cast on and completed a second ‘Cousin Cowl‘, a project I initially reversed engineered for my cousin, hence the name.  I was inspired by the Leaf Lace Bandana Cowl on Ravelry, and took the general structure of the cowl and made it my own with a completely different lacework pattern.  I liked the one I made for my cousin so much, that I made another.  A quick knit, I finished it in four days.

The colour difference with natural light and direct sunlight is amazing! The bottom picture shows the colour flecks of the tweed!
The colour difference with natural light and direct sunlight is amazing! The bottom picture shows the colour flecks of the tweed!

And finally, I needed to keep my hands busy on Saturday, so I made excellent progress on my Hermione Everyday Socks, finishing Sock #1 on Sunday, and casting on the second later that afternoon.

Hermione Sock #1 Loving the self patterning yarn, and the texture of the knit fabric is just lovely!
Hermione Sock #1
Loving the self patterning yarn, and the texture of the knit fabric is just lovely!

Seriously, what happened to the girl who was seeking inspiration?!

Many thanks to those who commented last week!  I now have new patterns in my ‘Favourites’ on Ravelry, and I was shown different features of this beloved site to check out when I need inspiration.  This blogging community rocks!

Wibbly-Wobbly, Timey-Wimey Stuff For My New House

I must be crazy… absolutely insane… Why else would I decide it would be a good idea to make pillowcases in the style of the Fourth Doctor’s Scarf?!

Well, that’s not really being fair.  It’s a good idea because I love knitting, I have more than enough of this yarn in my stash, the pillow forms were only $3 each, and they will be my geeky homage in my living room.  But still… what have I got myself into!

I’ve started with the pillows.  As I said, they were only $3 each at the dollar store and at that price, how can I say no?  I bought two during my last shopping trip – one square, one rectangular.  The square one I have earmarked for another geeky pillowcase, that one in the style of the 3rd year Griffindor Scarf.  When I saw the rectangle pillow, I knew it would be perfect for Tom Baker’s scarf.

Swatching - cheater's style
Swatching – cheater’s style

My next step was swatching.  Like when I made the fingerless gloves, I’m following the basic colour structure and row counts of the scarf from doctorwhoscarf.com, but otherwise I’m winging this project.  The pillow’s measurements are 12×20.  If I was smart many months ago when I made the fingerless gloves, I would have written down what the stitch gauge was at the time.  Good ol’ hindsight.  So I made a ‘cheaters’ swatch – I knit only enough stitches and rows to get the rough estimate.  I know, I know, I’m so breaking all the rules!  Once I figured out how many stitches and rows to an inch, I cast on.

I chose to do a provisional cast on because I love the look of the kitchener stitch – once it’s finished, I’ll kitchener stitch it all together.

When I made The Scarf, I didn’t knit the full 12-14 foot length.  When the pattern called to knit, say 20 rows, I knit half that.  I’ve done the same for this pillowcase, it’s still consistent with the pattern, and you can see enough of the colour changes to get the impression of the scarf.  As well, while the scarf is knit as garter stitch, I’m knitting this stockinette – only the right side will ever be seen, so it made sense to knit in lovely stockinette.

Work in progress
Work in progress

It’s still a work in progress, and with 40 inches to knit, I’m sure this will keep me busy!  I’m excited to see it take shape, and the familiar colour palette and colour repetition simply makes me happy.

There’s no point being grown-up if you can’t be childish sometimes.” – The Doctor (Fourth)

So You’ve Knit the Doctor Who Scarf… Now What?

I before I cast on the Fourth Doctor’s Scarf for myself, I spent a lot of time thinking about the yarn.  If I was going to make the project, I was going to do it right!  The yarn and colour suggestions on doctorwhoscarf.com was very helpful for this, and over a week or so, I bought the seven colours that comprise the scarf.  I was lucky that I was able to get the majority from my local yarn shops and from Michaels, but I had to order the green colour online, and the red colour, Paprika from Red Heart, had been discontinued, but an outlet in Toronto had ONE ball left, so I drove 50 kilometres into the City to buy this yarn.  This was the only colour where I only bought one ball; the rest of the six colours, I purchased two balls, lest I run short!  I made my scarf, I love my scarf, but now… well, my stash now has a rather Whovian hue to it! I think I overbought.  I was left with the query of what to do with the remainder of the yarn.  Wristwarmers to the rescue!

My 'They're Warmer on the Inside' fingerless  gloves.  They live up to their name!
My ‘They’re Warmer on the Inside’ fingerless gloves. They live up to their name!

The logical part of my brain shouldn’t love fingerless gloves as much as I do.  After all, aren’t gloves supposed to keep your fingers warm, and fingerless gloves kinda defeat that purpose.  Despite this, I love fingerless gloves.  I have a few pairs of wristwarmers that I’ve made, and I think they are ideal for the Spring and Fall when it’s just starting to get cold, but not so cold that you’re cursing the winter Gods.  I don’t know what Elsa was singing about in Frozen, because the cold certainly bothers me!

Ultimately, my ‘They’re Warmer on the Inside’ fingerless gloves were a quick project and they keep my wrists rather toasty.  It’s also a very subtle Who reference: a fan will recognize the colour pattern and will thus recognize me for the geek that I am, and I’m okay with that.  It was a good way to use up a FRACTION of my now stashed scarf yarn, but perhaps my only complaint were all the ends that needed weaving in.  There were 14 colour changes, which resulted in, well, a lot of ends.

The project was largely improvised by me, but I used Kate Atherley’s Alcazar Mittens as my guide, and I followed a section of the Doctor Who Scarf colour pattern, but quartered it (if it said to knit 12 rows, I only knit 3).

Here’s what I did:

Worsted weight yarn, size 7 DPNs

Gauge = 5sts/inch

Cast on 32 stitches

rows 1-19: K1, P1, rep
row 20: knit
row 21: K18, place marker (pm), K1, pm, K13
row 22: K to marker, Make 1 Right (M1R), K to marker, Make 1 Left (M1L), knit to end
rows 23-24: knit
repeat rows 22-24 until 13 sts are between markers (should be row 39)
row 40: k to marker, slip 13 sts onto holder, make 1 over the gap, k to end
rows 41-60: knit
rows 61-64: K1, P1, rep

cast off in pattern

Thumb:
return 13 sts to needles, pick up st in thumb crook and join in the round (14 sts)
Knit 9 rows plain
rows 10-11: K1, P1, rep

cast off in pattern

Finish: weave in your ends (there’s a lot of them!), tighten any holes near yarn joins

 

Above is how the glove is constructed.  Here is the colour work:

Rows 1-3: beige
Rows 4-5: purple
Rows 6-10: brown
Rows 11-12: yellow
Rows 13-15: grey
Rows 16-19: red
Rows 20-33: green
Rows 34-37: yellow
Rows 38-39: beige
Rows 40-42: purple
Rows 43-44: red
Rows 45-50: grey
Rows 51-53: brown
Rows 54-64: beige

Thumb:
Rows 1-3: purple
Rows 4-5: red
Rows 6-11: grey

The Year That Was 2014

As the holiday season draws to an end and the new year approaches ever so quickly, all I can think is that 2014 was an amazing year for me, and I have so much to be thankful and grateful for.  So much happened over these 365 days, many ups and a few downs.

The year started with the celebration of my beloved grandparent’s 60th wedding anniversary.  Sixty years.  It was an amazing milestone, and I consider myself so very, very lucky to have grandparents who a) have reached this milestone to celebrate, and b) are in good health, and c) love each other every day. My grandparents are genuinely two of my favourite people in this entire world.  Celebrating this milestone was amazing.

Later on in January, I did something, well, adventurous… I thought I would try my hand at roller derby. Side note to this story – I’m klutzy.  Very klutzy.  Long story short, my first night, I fell and spent over 3 hours in emerg and had a pink cast for over 3 weeks.  My illustrious roller derby career was over before it began. The worst part of this was that cast was set in a way that made holding knitting needles near impossible. Desperate to hold yarn, I took up crochet.  Hats off to those who crochet because I cannot stand it.  I was happy to get the cast off and get needles back in my hands!

My pink cast.  My solace when my arm was injured was that the cast was pink.
My pink cast. My solace when my arm was injured was that the cast was pink.

This was apparently the year that I met famous people!  As I posted about last week, I met members of the Barenaked Ladies after their show in December in Toronto and they signed an album of mine in April. I had my picture taken with Nathan Fillion at Fan Expo (he liked the Cunning Cap I made – squee!!), and through a series at the Toronto Library, I met author Diana Gabaldon, politician Justin Trudeau, and singer Alan Doyle!  My boss told me a story, and the gist of which is if you want to meet someone, you need to make it happen, and that’s what I did this year.  I made it happen.

Me, Alan Doyle of Great Big Sea, Katie and BFF Ash
Me, Alan Doyle of Great Big Sea, Katie and BFF Ash – his book is amazing, by the way

I have amazing friends in my life.  I have known my best friend since high school.  It’s not that we’ve ever fallen out, but this year, it’s as if we’ve rediscovered our silly side, and we’ve been closer this year than ever, and for that I’m so grateful.

Ash and I being silly on a Summer day
Ash and I being silly on a Summer day

I travelled to Quebec City in the Fall, and it was such a fantastic trip.  The history, the museums, the architecture, the food.  I fell in love with the oldest city in our country and with la belle province.

Awkward selfie in Quebec City - the lower city is in the background
Awkward selfie in Quebec City – the lower city is in the background

It has also been a busy year knitting wise.  I’m always trying new patterns and techniques, and this year I’ve made a few larger projects.  A new yarn shop opened up in my city, and I’ve met new, wonderful people by going to the knitting circle hosted there.  It has become my Wednesday night staple, and easily it is the highlight of my week.

Here is a sampling of some of my finished projects from the year.

The Firefly Cunning Cap I made for my dear work friend. This was the hat that Nathan Fillion said he liked!
The Firefly Cunning Cap I made for my dear work friend. This was the hat that Nathan Fillion said he liked!
Spats - they make me feel fancy
Spats – they make me feel fancy
A TARDIS ereader cover.
A TARDIS ereader cover.
A New England Patriots hat I  made for my brother for Christmas
A New England Patriots hat I made for my brother for Christmas
My Chateau shawl. My grandma gave me a gift certificate to my LYS for my birthday, and I made this lovely slouchy sweater  with it
My Chateau shawl. My grandma gave me a gift certificate to my LYS for my birthday, and I made this lovely slouchy sweater with it