Corvid Knits

A not-so-secret love affair with yarn

April 11, 2015
by Katherine

Spinning – a recap

Weekly recaps lasted all of that first week. There was just too much to do with the regular jobs and all the spinning I was trying to get in.

I’ll take some formal pictures of my bounty of work when I catch a sunny afternoon this week, hopefully. I was amazed that over the three weeks of study time with the wheel at home how drastically my work improved. I look at my wee little bits of first week yarn compared to some of the nicer stuff I was doing near the end and I’m a little shocked every time.

I did luckily end up with enough of at least one yarn for a project! This was an experiment on my part, combining some red thick single ply gifted to me by my pal Rhonda with some pink lace-weight given to me by my mother-in-law. I thought that since I wasn’t super set on plans for either yarn I would try plying them together to see what would happen. I ended up with a jaunty looking pile of stuff that I’m hoping will end up a pair of mittens and a toque for next winter.

I do want to buy a wheel of my own eventually, but for now noodling around on a drop spindle is plenty given what time I have.

February 24, 2015
by Katherine

Spinning – week one

My beginner spinning class started this previous Sunday and it was one of those humbling experiences where I’m very swiftly reminded that when I start something new I’m total crap at it. The trick is reminding myself that if I put in even five or six hours that I’ll be quite a lot better than when I started.

Class was three hours and I put in about three this morning on homework and noodling. I can officially say that I’m better than when I started.

Homework was to sort out two singles out of the pencil roving we were supplied with – a nice easy bit so that we can see just how bad we are at plying.

Left – three bits of pencil roving in light grey / Center – three bits of pencil roving in charcoal / Right – brown mystery yarn supplied by instructor

Homework singles light grey and dark grey from pencil roving, brown from mystery roving.


Once homework was done I noodled around a bit with singles and plying. My singles are still in the category of “total crap” which is made even more apparent by plying. I’m excited for next week when I’m sure Jen will explain how to ply without ending up in a big tangle of yarny bits.

Left – brown mystery yarn from in class practice plied on its self / Center – white merino roving plied on its self / Right – 1 bit of pencil roving in light grey and 1 bit in charcoal spun and plied together



I noticed that the nice white roving was easier to work with than the mystery stuff from class, but that might be due to having a little experience by the time I got to it. It’s not great, but it’s a start.

January 1, 2015
by Katherine

Hekla – Body and Sleeves

So, I think I finally sorted out the abbreviations chart which I can assure you has made the whole process about 70% smoother. Though please do not quote me on any of these as many of them are just educated guesses as I cobbled together words from several sources and from several patterns.

sl – slétt / knit

br – brugðið / purl

L – lykkja(-ur) / stitches or maybe loop?

pr – prjón / knit (?)

prj – prjónið , prjóna / knit (?)

óprj – óprjónað, óprjónuðu / stitch 

umf – umferð(-ir) / round

ent – endurtakið / repeat

*_* – surely this means knit * to * (a universality among knitters)


I’m sure there are some words that will come up often enough that I’ll want them recorded for my ease of lookup as well. affelling/cast on, hringprjónn/circular needle, stroff/ribbing, úrtaka/decrease, útaukning or auka út/increasefella af/cast off.

Onto Hekla as an actual sweater. Today I’ve worked through a painfully bad translation of the body and arms (not listed here as it’s such a mess) and then promptly decided that trying to follow the pattern exactly as written would cause me no end of frustration anyway. My Icelandic isn’t great (read: I don’t speak any and can only read about a dozen words) so I’ve gone through the body and arms and noted that, while neat and maybe useful, this would also only be good as a general guideline.

From what I can tell, and I am inferring more from pictures that I am from trying to directly translate the pattern, it’s a basic “cast on, knit 2×2 rib for 6cm, start on body and increase X sts evenly around then start charts”.

I feel as though where this is a very chart dependent pattern that I won’t have a heap of trouble even though I’m foregoing taking it as a direct read from the written pattern. It’s a bottom up yoke sweater and those are my jam. I have learned a lot about reading in other languages which is always nice, and taken the whole thing as an exercise in patience.

December 31, 2014
by Katherine

2014 in review

I do a fair bit of skulking about on other blogs (shocking, I know) and there was a lovely post on Into Mind about reviewing your past year. I’m all about taking stock of my accounts, so I thought it’d be a worthwhile exercise.

My 2014

  • What one event, big or small, are you going to tell your grandchildren about? Given that there are 0 grandchildren in my future, I will leave a manuscript for my collection of hyper intelligent cats. The most important event would be the, yet forthcoming, introduction of a new cat to the family – and the subsequent exercise in patience and acceptance of unpleasant situations out of our control. 
  • If you had to describe your 2014 in 3 words, what would they be? Trying, scary, exciting. 
  • What new thing did you discover about yourself? I’m more willing to do things that scare me than I thought I was. 
  • What single achievement are you most proud of? Going back to a career I left to start it over again. 
  • What was the best news your received? That we’d be getting a new cat. meow meow
  • What was your favourite place that you visited in 2014? Glasgow, without a doubt! Best city! 
  • Which of your personal qualities turned out to be the most helpful this year? Patience. I needed so much more than I thought I would. 
  • Who was your number one go-to person that you could always rely on? It’s a tie. Angela (best pal) or Adam (best partner). 
  • Which new skills did you learn? Quite a few skills related to yoga, did my first handstand, etc, and how to teach more effectively. Many more management skills than I thought I’d ever know! How to bake several new treats. 
  • What, or who, are you most thankful for? It’s a what – my general health. It’s better than it’s been in the past ever and I never thought I’d see that happen (especially now that I’m 30). 
  • If someone wrote a book about your life in 2014, what kind of genre would it be? A comedy, love story, drama, film noir, or something else? Unfortunately, likely a drama, with how much nonsense surrounded the cross country move and wedding and everything else over the summer. 
  • What was the most important lesson you learnt in 2014? If there is something you don’t want to do, but have to do – just muscle your way through and get it over with. 
  • Which mental block(s) did you overcome? A fear of public speaking (though not entirely) and learning to cope with change (though, again, not entirely). Clearly still both works in progress. 
  • What 5 people did you most enjoy spending time with? Adam – excellent travel companion. Angela, Rhonda, Michele, and Katia – best knitting pals. 
  • What was your biggest break-through moment career-wise? Leaving a management job to go back to running my own business, getting back to a job I really felt passionate about. 
  • How did your relationship to your family evolve? Not much change on that front at all. 
  • What book or movie affected your life in a profound way? Paradise & Elsewhere, An Aritist of the Floating World, or Unwrapped Sky – these really gave me an opportunity to view things (art and politics and relationships) in a new way. 
  • What was your favourite compliment that you received this year? To quote the husband when I brought this question up to him “Oh that’s easy ‘Hey, your butt looks really nice’ because you’ve been working on it lots”. I can’t even argue him on that. 
  • What little things did you enjoy most during your day-to-day life? Cat cuddles and cups of tea and the occasional new beer. 
  • What cool things did you create this year? A number of very nice knitted things and a very well arranged and decorated apartment. 
  • What was your most common mental state this year (e.g. excited, curious, stressed)? Anxious, keeping with my previous 29 year streak. 
  • Was there anything you did for the very first time in your life this year? Fly over the ocean. 
  • What was your favourite moment spent with your friends? When they gave Adam and I our wedding gift blanket. It was a big group hug and I don’t think I’d ever felt so much love and affection in one place before. 
  • What major goal did you lay the foundations for? Getting back to working as a massage therapist full time. It’s still a solid 6 months away but I’m chipping away at it. 
  • Which worries turned out to be completely unnecessary? Absolutely none! In fact, I feel like a bit more worry would have been warranted in several instances. 
  • What experience would you love to do all over again? Meandering around Glasgow. Walking along the river Kent was one of the loveliest days all year. 
  • What was the best gift you received? Wedding blanket, hands down!!! 
  • How did your overall outlook on life evolve? I don’t want to say that I’m more jaded, but I’m more pragmatic with less faith in humanity than I had even a decade ago. I’ve also figured out that there is absolutely nothing wrong spending time and money on myself even if it’s for things that may be viewed as frivolous by other folks. 
  • What was the biggest problem you solved? I didn’t have any big problems. Most small problems were solved by a healthy dose of ignoring the issue until it went away. 
  • What was the funniest moment of your year, one that still makes it hard not to burst out laughing when you thing about it? Pretty much any time when Adam and I narrate for the cat. Her inner monologue is that of a stern dictator. 
  • What purchase turned out to be the best decision ever? Adam and I splurged on a Craft Beer Advent Calendar this year. What a good choice that turned out to be! 
  • What one thing would you do differently and why? I’d strongly push for an elopement, even a small wedding really tried my patience and caused me to really reconsider people who I thought I knew. 
  • What do you deserve a pat on the back for? Moving across the country, then all the way back 18 months later. That’s a whole lot of moving and I ended up getting rid of well over 50% of my possessions over the course of the moves. 
  • What activities made you lose track of time? Knitting, always in the best way possible. Video games, I’ve recently (re)discovered the indie/horror/survival genre and I get lost in them really easy. Reading, specifically classic Russian literature.
  • What did you think about more than anything else? The terrifying state of the world and the process of dying. Again, two topics that I’ve been fixated on for nearly my entire life. 
  • What topics did you most enjoy learning about? Germanic languages, Icelandic history, Scottish textiles history, meditation. 
  • What new habits did you cultivate? I developed a pretty good habit of tending to myself more regularly. I’ve managed to keep up a good level of physical activity, meditation, hygiene (flossing, neti, moisturizing, before bed stretching). 
  • What advice would you give your early-2014 self if you could? Work as hard as you can at yoga school, you’ll get more out of it than pretty much anything else you do this year. 
  • Did any parts of your self or your life do a complete 180 this year? I certainly give zero fucks about what random people think about me now, which is a pleasant change. I’ve also really managed to get over my publicly shy persona. I’m still entirely an introvert, but I can really embrace an outgoing mask while I’m at work or out running errands. 
  • What or who had the biggest positive impact on your life this year? Likely Adam, as he’s the one responsible for much of the moving about and pushing me to do things that really made me uncomfortable (teaching my yoga class instead of dropping out, for example). He’s got a big personality which is a good ongoing challenge for me. 

My 2015

  • What do you want the overarching theme for your 2015 to be? Not being so damn worried all the time. 
  • What do you want to see, discover, explore? I would like to go somewhere, but I have no set plans right now. 
  • Who do you want to spend more time with in 2015? My knitters, Adam and our growing herd of cats. 
  • What skills do you want to learn, improve or master? Fair isle knitting and lifting heavy things.
  • Which personal quality do you want to develop or strengthen? Humour and vanity, those are two things I would like more of. 
  • What do you want your everyday life to be like? Less anxitey inducing than it has been for the past many many months. 
  • Which habits do you want to change, cultivate or get rid of? My generalized level of panic about things, I could use less of that. I would like to replace it with some sense of calm. 
  • What do you want to achieve career-wise? Be entirely self employed again. Not a lofty goal, right?
  • How do you want to remember the year 2015 when you look back on it 10/20/50 years from now? As a time when I started doing a better job of working towards what I wanted. 
  • What is your number one goal for 2015? Hold myself more accountable. 

December 20, 2014
by Katherine

Hekla Sweater – in bits and poorly translated

It should come as no surprise to anyone that I do not speak Icelandic. Not even a tiny bit. There might be one or two words that I’d recognize from studying Norwegian or German . . . . but surely not in the double digits. Oh, but I have a book of patterns and I really want to knit many of them. So with the hope that I will become Icelandic knitting proficient I’m going to work through the pattern here – mostly so that I don’t lose it or have the paper eaten by a cat (it’s happened).

Things I’ve learned. Bolur = shirt. Ermar = arms. Axlastykki = yoke. Munstur = pattern. Kragi = collar. Frágangur = service (I’m assuming this is care).



(which is the name of a volcano, in case you were curious).

Gauge: 10cmx10cm = 14 sts and 19 rows on 5.5 needles (are they 5.5 US? I hope so!)

Method: Body and sleeves are knitted in the round. The sleeves and body are integrated at the yoke. (This much I think I would have assumed, so that’s good, that there is some old reliable construction).


Note: I was using the help of an Icelandic to English dictionary that I found online and I can assure you the direct translations looked nothing like what I’ve typed! It was much more crypic and involved much talk of left headed traffic.

November 15, 2014
by Katherine

Bookish updated

I’ve been whittling away at the 100 book long list. I’ve recently finished up with Beowulf and Gone Girl and skimmed the list to check off others I remembered reading as a youngster. Currently I’m sitting at 39/100.

I’ve not been entirely committed to the list as I have snuck in one or two other fun reading books to supplement the slog of getting through some of the more dull entries (do I really want to read all the gospels? no, not really). If you’re ever inclined to read a book about selkies (though they never name them as such in the book), The Brides of Rollrock Island is a delightful bet.


Knitting wise, I’ve run out of yarn for my Drops cardigan and am waiting to order more and the man socks for the husband are progressing along well. Since knitting the first size 11 monstrosity I’ve become a much quicker knitter so the second sock is coming along at a good clip. Though I would be lying to say that I’m not excited to start something a bit more exciting than a black and red striped sock once this one is through.

DC / NYC 2014

October 8, 2014 by Katherine | 0 comments

Several months ago the fella and I took a trip down to DC and NYC. The fella has some family living in DC and it was nice to see them, as we’d been meaning to get down there for over a year. Much of the trip was walking and sightseeing and eating. I did anticipate being there for the 4th of July to be a complete trip. I did not anticipate getting as jazzed up about seeing the White House as I did – serious, I was like a hyper small child who had just been given a pony made of candy and I have no explanation for that reaction at all.


Too many bunnies to count

While in New York it was much the same, with some notable differences. Most of these differences were bunny related. The Air B’n’B we were staying at kept about 2 dozen rabbits in the back yard. They “don’t do nothing for nobody” according to our host, and that was fine by me. There was a lot of walking around to pubs so that we could cool off and drink beer while watching whatever world cup game was on that day. It was neat!









While I would consider going back some day, it isn’t super high on my list of priorities. The more I travel, the more I realize there are so many places I haven’t seen yet.

October 8, 2014
by Katherine

The One Jumper Project

If there is one thing I like a lot, I think it would be sweaters. I like wearing them, I like knitting them, I like smooshing them, and I like looking at them.

The One Jumper Project

This is a neat project, wherein one sweater is worn by a number of people. It’s a nice sweater, to boot – so you should go look at it.


October 3, 2014
by Katherine

Nimona, a thing you should read

As a follow up to my book list from yesterday I have a web-comic that I feel compelled to share because it is just so wonderful. I ended up following several artists on twitter and one of them is Noelle Stevenson, author/artist behind Nimona. It’s a single story arc, which I love – I like an end point to stories. It’s completed, so you can power read the whole thing in one go as I did. And it’s funny and heartwarming and lovely.


Go read this! An then pre-order the book version that is coming out in 2015 because there is a special book only epilogue that you are probably going to want to read.


Noelle Stevenson is also one of the minds behind Lumberjanes which I am really excited to find. I might even pop into the comic store that is on my walk to work!

October 1, 2014
by Katherine
1 Comment


Outside of knitting my main hobby is reading. I decided fawning over cats and singing Kate Bush songs weren’t really hobbies, but if they were they would be in the running!


One thing that I’ve been seeing crop up frequently enough (to be on my limited radar, admittedly) is the concept of being well read. Aside from being a super duper ambiguous concept – for real, who defines that!? – I don’t know that I could consider myself well read by anyone’s standards. I read a lot, like, A LOT a lot. But it’s quite a mishmash of things. A mishmash that includes comics (web and print) and graphic novels (adult code for comics) which many “well read” folks might not consider in the running.


On to a silly personal challenge that involves me getting a library card. Book Riot published a pretty comprehensive list of books last year that they thought would leave one relatively “well read” once completed. I shall read as many of these books as I can until the end of 2015 and see how I feel.



I will be honest, I am not going to read 50 Shades and there are absolutely some on here that I’m not thrilled about because they seem dull. But, it would not hurt me to branch out some. As an aside, I do consider audiobooks to be books – this is maybe because I have The Age of Innocence in my podcast feed from Craft Lit and I’m not above counting it as read once I’ve completed listening.


I am already sitting at 27/100 and I do own some of these and am part way through a few, so that’s a leg up for me. I’ll be tracking on GoodReads primarily and I’ll be working through the scary ones for October.


The list, for posterity:

  1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  2. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
  3. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
  4. All Quiet on the Western Front by Eric Maria Remarque
  5. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay  by Michael Chabon
  6. American Pastoral by Philip Roth
  7. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  8. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  9. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
  10. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  11. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  12. Beowulf
  13. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  14. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  15. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
  16. Call of the Wild  by Jack London
  17. Candide by Voltaire
  18. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
  19. Casino Royale by Ian Fleming
  20. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  21. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  22. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  23. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
  24. The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson
  25. The Complete Stories of Edgar Allan Poe
  26. The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor 
  27. The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
  28. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  29. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
  30. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
  31. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
  32. Dream of Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin
  33. Dune by Frank Herbert
  34. Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
  35. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  36. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  37. Faust by Goethe
  38. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  39. A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin
  40. The Golden Bowl by Henry James
  41. The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing
  42. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  43. The Gospels
  44. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  45. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  46. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  47. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  48. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  49. Harry Potter & The Sorceror’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  50. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  51. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  52. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  53. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  54. House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday
  55. Howl by Allen Ginsberg
  56. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  57. if on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino
  58. The Iliad by Homer
  59. Inferno by Dante
  60. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
  61. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
  62. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
  63. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  64. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  65. The Little Prince by Antoine  de Saint-Exepury
  66. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  67. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  68. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  69. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
  70. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
  71. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  72. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
  73. The Odyssey by Homer
  74. Oedipus the King by Sophocles
  75. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  76. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
  77. The Pentateuch
  78. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  79. Rabbit, Run by John Updike
  80. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  81. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
  82. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  83. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  84. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  85. The Stand by Stephen King
  86. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  87. Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust
  88. Their Eyes Were Watching by Zora Neale Hurston
  89. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  90. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
  91. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  92. Ulysses by James Joyce
  93. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
  94. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
  95. Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee
  96. Watchmen by Alan Moore
  97. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
  98. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  99. 1984 by George Orwell
  100. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James NOPE!!!