Corvid Knits

A not-so-secret love affair with yarn

August 26, 2014
by Katherine
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Hello from Glasgow where I am sleepy

After several whirlwind months I am once again living in Edmonton emand/em I managed to get myself married. There has been some knitting but little in the way of completion.

I was just in Iceland and left shortly after a volcano erupted, much lopi was bought before my departure. I’m currently in Glasgow with nearly no set plans for the next three days – though I did have a pint in a pub that is older than my country today, so I guess I can check that off the list.

Also, I now understand emintimately/em what jet lag feels like.

PS this is mostly a test to see if the WordPress app works on my tablet /me being amazed at technology.

May 15, 2014
by Katherine
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April, month of little progress

April wasn’t for much in the way of accomplishing things. I read a bunch of books and impulse started a new shawl that only needs another few inches, but all other projects have stalled. This having a full time job and part time school to contend with – it’s for the birds.

 

The shawl though, it’s a lovely rustic looking darling. I’m not sure why that’s become the thing I want to make – old timey looking pieces – but here we are. It’s a very basic shawl, 16 rows stockinette stitch in a wheat yellow then 16 rows of a textured stitch in a russety brown colour, repeat ad nauseam. The first few repeats were a breeze but it’s getting to the point where it’s getting looooong so things aren’t going quite so quickly. It’s nice travel knitting because of how basic it is, though it is getting a little big for my purse.

 

The fella is out of the country for another week and a half so I’m hoping to have something accomplished before his return. It’s an overwhelming compulsion now, to maximize my abundance of free time!

March 23, 2014
by Katherine
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Knits of the year, a list thus far

The resolution to finish all the WIPs I had kicking around has left me feeling a little uninspired. All I want to do is start a new chunky sweater or lace shawl. *deep sigh of resignation*

 

The list isn’t so bad. In a few cases it’s just a matter of putting some heels in. Those are nice evening projects which I’m not really dreading. The sweaters will take some time and the shawls, oh they are cobweb weight which I’m not thrilled about – I prefer a sturdy fingering weight shawl because I’m always so chilly. The lace socks I recall being a fun knit so I might jump back on those right away. I need some decent subway knitting and socks always seem to fit the bill.

 

As of today the list is as follows;

1 – Big Alfred Pullover – done the yolk and onto the body

2 – Yolk Cardigan – halfway up sleeve one

3 – green/red/forest socks – need heels

4 – tide-pool socks – need heels

5 – purple shawl – need to design and knit border

6 -  Adam’s socks – needs heel and second sock

7 -Pine Scarf – about 15% of the way in

8 – leggings with mesh sides – needs hips/waistband

lace socks – frogged (love the yarn and the pattern but not together)

Harvest Dew Socks – finished

Elizabeth Shawl – finished

 

March 21, 2014
by Katherine
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Knit of the Month – March

I have a new rule. Always knit both of the socks at the same time. Always. Always!

I thought it would just be a matter of finishing up the foot of a sock. I was sure I used the needles suggested in the pattern. Maybe I did, maybe my tension was just a bit off. Two years can change things about the way a person knits. I am much faster, maybe speed correlates with a more snug knitting style for me.

These socks do not match. They are clearly related, but they are no twins. They are close enough that I don’t think the fact that one is slightly narrower will bother me . . . . much.

I haven’t had a really funny knitting mishap in a while so I will take this as a sign that I needed to get my ego checked.

 

HarvestDewMismatch

March 5, 2014
by Katherine
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Book | The Science of Yoga: The Risks and the Rewards

In keeping with the theme of branching out and writing more, even if there is no knitting to speak of, I bring you a book review. Not so much a review, as a meandering ramble, really.

I may or may not have mentioned previously that in what spare time I have I’m partaking in a yoga teacher training. Not so much because I have an overwhelming desire to teach – as my nerve wracked only class taught left me relieved that it was over. But because I felt I could only get so much from going to group classes a handful of times a week. There was never much in terms of philosophy brought up save for a word or two thrown in here and there. I’m a big fan of book learning, a fact that my worn library card will attest to, but I can only get so much out of a book before it would be very useful to have an actual teacher guiding the process.

I signed up shortly after I moved to Toronto because I knew that even when I got a job I would probably want something a little more going on to challenge myself. Having landed a solid retail job I am working about 45 hours a week but so few of those hours are really challenging. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to have the job, but I know I have training to be working above and beyond keeping shelves looking spiffy and helping folks find a well fitting shoe. There is a yawning gulf between being self employed as a massage therapist and running a retail establishment. All of the mental gymnastics I was accustomed to with massaging – all the anatomy and physiology and whatnot – I’m literally not allowed to use in my current job lest anyone infer that I am trying to pass myself off as an expert (you know, for legal reasons).

While I was excited for the program I was worried that there would be a lack of science involved. I know there is a time and place for talk of energy work and I don’t wish to imply that I’m anti-that. I’m actually very pro-that, I get that it is a useful way to explain things to people who don’t care for the science backups. But I live with someone who’s life has been science and academic rigour, that shit rubs off on you whether you like it or not.

This year I decided to supplement my school training with some extra side learning and kept my focus on biographies of Krishnimacharya and books that studied the science of what I was learning. I managed to find two good biographies and was glad to have read them, as they gave me a bit of history on the lineage my teachers approach things from. The one heavier science book I found was a boon to my desire for critical looks and studies.

Oh the many claims of yoga that have been dashed by the actual studies, so many of them. This isn’t to say that yogis are entirely wrongheaded, the claims they make have some basis in reality – just not in the way they’re claiming them. Case in point, the popular claim that yoga is a great way to slim down. Yoga has actually been shown to slow the basal metabolic rate which is very interesting for me.

I know that my unfortunate weight loss was instigated by many factors, but I do attribute some of it to the 5 hours a week of yoga. The reason I do so, now after reading the book and articles in question, is not because it “ramps up metabolism” but because it has taught me mindfulness in eating. I am more likely to eat slowly, eat fewer processed things, and I only eat until I am no longer hungry as opposed to stuffed (ok, I still do that last one sometimes).

The issue I have isn’t with the claim, it’s with the evidence presented. The Science of Yoga presents a myriad of claims and breaks them down point by point without getting high and mighty about it. There is never an air of “oh man, look at these hippie weirdos” and the author does a very clear job of bringing in voices of authority who can speak to the useful nature of yoga as well as the side of it that can, and sometimes does, lead to injury.

If I hope to one day provide classes for groups or individuals, I want to have the know how to back up my claims with reality instead of wooo. Given the availability of studies and research now a days this isn’t tricky (it took me less than 15 seconds to find an article about yoga and metabolism, for example). An educated populous is a strong populous and that is something I am eager to contribute to.

March 3, 2014
by Katherine
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Food Break | Catalan Style Tortilla

I eat a lot. A LOT a lot. We at House of Mittens have a system to keep things fresh, as I have a habit of making the same thing every night out of habit and for lack of wanting to think too hard. The system is pretty straightforward – just a weekly calendar up on the wall and a little white board for the grocery list. 

Today was my day and I assigned myself something a little more interesting than the usual default of baked potato, steamed veggies, bean dish.

Enter, the tortilla.

Not the wheat kind you wrap tasty things up in, though I love those too. I mean the eggy kind. I found this one in an copy of Canadian Running from Nov/Dec 2013. I will spare you a picture of mine, as it just looked like a gigantic yellow disk. I doubled the recipe because we are such big eaters around here and wanted something left over for lunch tomorrow.

It was a trick to flip it, I went the route of slipping it cooked side down on to a plate and then putting the pot over the plate and flipping everything reallyfast. I did not drop anything, so success. It was very tasty and I didn’t feel like I needed to eat the whole thing to feel almost full (a common dilemma ’round these parts).

Catalan Style Tortilla

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp Spanish Olive oil
  • 2 tbsp of diced fresh (not dried or cured) lean chorizo
  • 4 tablespoons of cooked chickpeas- well drained and rinsed
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbsp of finely diced Spanish onion
  • Sea salt (to taste)
  • Pinch of chile flakes (especially if your chorizo is not spicy) – to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

  1. Warm the olive oil in a one-person non-stick omelet pan or skillet. Fry the onion and the sausage on medium heat for a few minutes until the onion is lightly golden and the fat runs from the chorizo. Add the chickpeas and stir for a few minutes.
  2. In a bowl, beat the eggs with salt, pepper and chile flakes. Add the contents of the skillet and mix to combine. Wipe the pan clean with a paper towel and mist the pan with a spray of olive oil. Pour in the egg mixture, stir to blend the ingredients and wait for the eggs to set up in the pan. Heat should be at medium-low and the sides should pull away from the pan a bit when egg mixture has set (note it shouldn’t be super runny at this point). Turn this over onto a dinner plate so that contents are soft-side down.
  3. Slide the egg tortilla – soft side down – back into the heat to allow to cook on the other side. This should take no more than a few minutes. Take your time and be gentle with this process. It shouldn’t take any more than 10 minutes to cook your golden brown tortilla. Enjoy with a crisp, green salad and a glass of good, Spanish red wine!

 

Kitchen soundtrack : Goat – World Music & Medusa – One Step Beyond

 

February 20, 2014
by Katherine
0 comments

Knit of the Month – February

It is not a good sign that there are fewer than ten days left in the month and I have little to no progress to talk of on my unfinished object for the month. It is as dire as you would assume.

For those of you who have known me for a loooooong time you may remember that I started knitting some leggings many a year ago. They were out of a now discontinued stretchy Cascade yarn bought at a long closed online shop made from a pattern that I photocopied on the copier at work when I had a job with a copier. I was probably 23 when I started these . . . maybe not even that.

I dislike these leggings. I know they will be practical, how can leggings not be practical when one routinely wears two pairs under a dress to leave the house most days of the week. It’s just . . . it’s the yarn. I hate the cotton elastic yarn. Hate is a strong word, but I feel it might be the one to use.

I started out doing both legs at once on the same circular needle. Brilliant, I know. I knew I was long past the point where they needed to be two separate items so I seamed up the legs and joined them to work the hip portion in the round. It is way easier now – just knitting around and around and around. But I really do not like this yarn.

I have eight days to finish what is probably close to ten inches of body portion. March might be a carryover month where I just put some heels in a pair of socks and keep slugging away at this wretched project.

The only positive to all this is that at the end of the year I will have zero projects on the go and can keep things at a manageable level henceforth. That doesn’t mean one project at a time, but that also means no more of this 12 at a time nonsense.

January 19, 2014
by Katherine
2 Comments

Knitting Monogamy

Monogamy – outside of my relationship with my fella – is not a thing I’m into. I want a new tea every time I brew a pot, a new salad with every lunch, a different scarf to wear every day (this does explain a lot about the proliferation of scarfs in my half of the closet), and at least a dozen knitting projects on the go at any given time.

This last one is the one that gives me the most trouble. It’s hard to feel like you make any progress on a knitting project when you never put a substantial amount of time into it. I think the shawl mentioned at the bottom of the last post is the first example of me knitting with any level of commitment since I was a gal who only owned yarn for one project at a time (read: a looooong time ago).

The Elizabeth shawl was bound off this afternoon. I picked the pattern on November 30th, bought it on December 1st, printed it off about a week later, and started it the day after that. That might be a record for a project like this –  about 40 days.

This shawl was a delight to knit, which contributed a great deal to me keeping at it so regularly. The pattern repeats were all very interesting and switched up often enough to keep me exited about the next one. The yarn I used was so springy and fun. Only once or twice did I run into the problem of my sweaty hands making it feel a bit wonky. I bought a pair of Addi Lace needles for this project and it made a world of difference. Seriously folks, go invest in some nice needles.

There is probably only one tiny little mistake in the whole shawl, a ssk instead of a k2tog, and I think I even managed to fix that before I got too far.

This project was like magic. I think I levelled up in knitting skill or something.

Pictures shall follow once I figure out how to block a 6′ wide shawl in my modest apartment.

November 30, 2013
by Katherine
1 Comment

Choice : part two

Of course, upon posting the shawls I immediately regretted my favour being heaped upon the first design. I snooped around Ravelry a bit more with a specific eye towards shetland patterning and lo and behold this pile of gems. I shall save the best for last.

Cat by Majken Hertz

Flukra by Gudrun Johnston

Edwina Shawl by Dee O’Keefe

Loren by Gudrun Johnston

And here is what I think has won my heart! I shall revisit that proclamation in the morning . . . but just look at it

Elizabeth Shawl by Dee O’Keefe

I think I’ve met my shawl match, folks!

 

 

 

 

November 30, 2013
by Katherine
0 comments

My life is all tough decisions

Being a knitter, I have set upon the idea of knitting a shawl for the wedding. The issue is there are so many lovely choices. In only a slightly particular order (Midnight Sun is the current favourite choice of both myself and the fella right now). Take a gander and understand why I’m so torn!

Midnight Sun by Kieran Foley

Evenstar by Susan Pandorf

Laminaria by Elizabeth Freeman

Gretchen by 1 Akasha Zeropoint Colorworks

Heliotaxis Pi Shawl by Renata Brenner

irtfa’a faroese lace shawl by Anne Hanson

Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn A. Clark

Gala Shawl by Cheri McEwen