Friday, December 29, 2006

health update

turns out it's not the flu - it's viral pneumonia. Lucky me. Staying home from work, which will annoy them to no end, and trying to recover.
Happy New Year, All!

Thursday, December 28, 2006


Yuck - sick with flu. Be back sometime soon. Scarf is coming along. LuckyCanuck is the coolest friend! (She gets me Fleece Artist on sale...) Going off to die now...

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

back briefly...

Hi All,
I'm back, but just briefly. Sorry, no pictures today. I'm back at work for three useless days, and it's worse than ever. I'm seriously on the hunt now -I'm not sure how much more I can take. I have a week's holidays coming, and I'm going to take them in early January just becasue I need to be away from where I work. How bad is that?
Christmas was wonderful - full of family and friends - we all got nicely spoiled, and my knitting is going to be about me for a while - I'm working on Stephanie's Harlot Scarf, but since I don't spin, her handspun is replaced by Noro Silk Garden, and I am in love with it. Beyond that, I can see some lace in my future (I have some wonderful alpaca that is calling out for something from either Arctic Lace or Victoian Lace Today.

Contest Notes:
I still need some emails from people - unfortunately, I can't contact you directly, because your email through blogger comes up as "".
So would the following please contact me at curlerchikATyahooDOTca? with your address and prize preferences?
Mary Tess
Lisa W
Jen - I know where you are, but what do you want??

Pictures hopefully tomorrow and maybe by then I'll be in a better mood, which is way more conducive to cheerful blogging. I mean, really! Who wants to continually hear about the trials and tribulations of my work environment?

Friday, December 22, 2006

holiday wishes

My very best wishes to you, whatever you celebrate. And if you don't celebrate anything, have a kick-ass long weekend!
I will be off, celebrating with good friends (the golf socks will be given on Saturday... the hockey hats have been delivered and will be opened in Barbados, and the bamboo scarf and regia socks will be given on Sunday night), and family - most of the rest of the knits and other gifts will be exchanged in a whirlwind trip around the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) on Monday. Regardless of anything else, it's being with the people I like and love that make this time of year so great.

On another note, there is all kinds of talk about Wendy's "Knit from your Stash" project for 2007. Sorry mates, this is one knitter not partaking. As epically proportioned as my stash is, if I see something I like and want, and I can afford it, I'm buyin' it! Life's too short to ration my yarn. I will however, make a more concerted effort to finishing up some things - there's a Fiddlesticks Whisper scarf in Jaggerspun Zephyr that has recently resurfaced. And some Socks that Rock for me. And... well who knows what 2007 will bring. Hopefully, nothing but good things (and a new job for me).

A final thought - Stephanie is working hard for MSF. Now, I realize that we can't all donate to all the causes that come our way. I myself limit my charity to Muscular Dystrophy, Cancer Society, MS and Heart and Stroke - all things that have touched me personally. But I have also added Heifer International and MSF in the past few years because of the good work they do. If you can, do what you can. If financial aid is not in your budget, (and I know it's not possible for a lot of people), then think good thoughts for those that need some help. I've donated to MSF, and I've also given Steph 10 sets of my hand beaded stitch markes to distribute. It's a small thing, but it brought a smile to my face, and it gave me a chance to explain what MSF does to my son, while he helped me package up the markers.

Okay, enough of that. I'll return to my regular scheduled apathy after the holidays. Cheers, all!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

and the winners are...

SInce tomorrow is going to be crazy busy, I present...

The final gift knitting tally!

10 pairs of socks...

3 sets of slippers and a belt...

10 assorted scarves...

9 different hats...

4 more slippers and a pair of socks...

And a rather nice lace shawl!

2 more scarves, (the mohair one has big tassels on the ends...

And the "not quite done" stuff...
green cotton socks for my MIL
Knit Picks cape cod socks for Hubby
Cotton sweater for Hubby
Fish Hat for Son

so the final tally is:
41 complete
4 incomplete
7 total charity (2 to my Guild, 5 to my Mom's church)

52 in total! Man, I've got to scale back next year...

So, since no one got it right, and there were so many variables, and since 11 people entered, I figure, prizes for everyone! To make up the difference in 8 prizes and 11 winners I will throw in: 2 sets of beaded stitch markers, and a mystery prize! If you choose the mystery prize, you never know what kind of yarn you will get! You'll have to trust me! I used the random number generator, and came up with the following order:

Mary Tess
Lisa W
LuckyCanuck (sorry Lucky! guess it's obvious I didn't play favourites!)

email me at: curlerchik AT yahoo DOT ca (substituting appropriate symbols) with your top four picks of prizes from the following list and your email and snail mail address so I can send these out. I can't guarantee you'll get your pick, but I'll do my best.

4 balls Patons Bohemian
6 balls emerald green blend
6 balls regal purple blend
1 100g ball Regia sock yarn (makes a pair of men's large socks)
1 100g ball of orange cotton blend sock yarn (makes a pair of men's large socks)
4 balls Elann Peruvian Highland Wool in Sapphire
3 balls (440 yds each) (less a bit) of Knitpicks 100% merino lace weight in Jewels
1 ball (440 yds) of Knitpicks alpaca/silk laceweight in Grape Hyacinth
1 set of handmade beaded stitch markers
1 set of handmade beaded stitch markers
mystery prize

thanks for playing, and have the happiest of holidays, or just a fantastic long weekend if that's what you celebrate. I will be offline for a bit, enjoying time off with family and friends. Prizes will be sent off soon..

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

beaded knitting

Because I really have nothing else, I thought I'd show off some beaded knitting I've been playing around with. I took a course in the basics at the Downtown Knit Collective's April Knitters Frolic, and have gone on from there. It's very addictive, but since this is made with 1.0mm needles, it's a bit time consuming! This is a little bag/necklace I made, not following any pattern, but simply working off the top of my head. I think it turned out pretty good, and I've never given it to anyone, even through I usually give away most of my knitting, and pink is not my colour! I guess I'll have to do more of the bead knitting so I can give this piece away and still have evidence of being able to do this. After the class, I ended up buying a whack of beads and the perle cotton needed, but haven't got back to it. In the fall at the Kitchener Knitters Fair, I picked up a beaded knitting book with some very pretty jewellery pieces that I want to get at. Maybe once the holidays settle down, I'll pick it up again. Or maybe during, if someone annoys me. Thes 1.0mm's are steel and sharp! The perfect weapon of someone interrupts my counting one more time...

I really have to apologize for the crappy pictures. There is no light when I'm taking pictures, so I end up having to use the flash, or depending on the halogens in my kitchen, neither of which is an option I like. I'll try to do better, I promise.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas Meme (or, no knitting content today, folks!)

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Hot Chocolate - I think I'm the only one so far - I can't stand egg nog.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
He wraps them in his own special wrapping paper, and puts them in a six foot stocking that gets left by the tree. It's great fun to watch Young Son dive into the very tiptoe of the stocking to find the very small gifts that Santa leaves there. Santa also leaves footprints of magical North Pole snow leading from the fireplace to the stocking. He's very kind, as it the non-melting type that we can simply sweep up.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
Mostly coloured, against my will - I'm a white light fan, but since Hubby hangs the outdoor ones, they are coloured. I'm working on a change.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
Nope, no need. I take my kisses anytime and anywhere I can!

5. When do you put your decorations up?
I have a late November birthday, so I am adamant that Christmas does not appear until well after my birthday! We put the outdoor ones up early December and turn them on as soon as others on the street do. The tree went up last weekend because we had free time to go get one.

6.What is your favorite holiday dish?
Turkey and stuffing. My own basic bread / sage stuffing, but my secret is the bread I use - a combo of egg bread, multigrain baguette, ciabatta and any earthy type bread around.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child?
Every Christmas, my brother and I (Who DID NOT GET ALONG 364 days of the year) would wake up early and hang out together until we were allowed to wake up the parents. We would then open our gifts, Dad would put the turkey in, and we'd make "the rounds" We'd visit the M family, the T family and the L family. We'd get back home and have turkey and play with toys. Just a cool way to spend the day with family and friends.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
WHen I was a kid - the truth being that Santa brings things to good boys an girls. Why? What do you believe?

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Only the ones from our friends that we spend Christmas Eve with.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?
Lots of lights. lots of ornaments - Yound Son makes a lot, so we have those front and centre.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
Ummm... Canadian, remember? Love the snow, but prefer not to have to drive around Christmas Day in a blizzard! Love it when there's tons of snow at the cottage for New Years. Sadly, this year, it looks like a brownish/grey Christmas.

12. Can you ice skate?
Ummm... Canadian, remember? However, a broken ankle a few years back have cseverely curtailed this activity

13.Do you remember your favorite gift?
A photo album my Mom made up - pictures of grandparents, Mom and Dad's childhoods, them and Bro and I growing up, with enough room to add yound Son's pictures. And my fist 10-speed bike - very cool metallic green. Man, I loved that bike!

14.What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
Time to relax with family and friends, and time off from the hell that is work

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
A turkey and stuffing sandwich, about 4 hours after dinner.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
sweeping up North Pole snow after Young Son has seen it.

17.What tops your tree?
An angel given to us for our first married CHristmas from dear friends that we spend evey Chrsitmas Eve with

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving?
Giving stuff that I've knit.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song?
Bruce Springsteen singing Santa CLaus is coming to Town, and John Mellencamp's I saw Mommy kisisng Santa Claus

20. Candy Canes?

Monday, December 18, 2006

oh crap!

Your Christmas is Most Like: A Very Brady Christmas

For you, it's all about sharing times with family.
Even if you all get a bit cheesy at times.

This cannot be true - I am so NOT a Brady. It's hubby's family that made me this way... dear god, save me from the smarminess...

In other news... a couple of extra gift recipients have arisen. (Don't yo uhate when that happens?) So a few extra gifts need to be created. Thank god for scarves - quick, easy and I'm amazed at how popular they are - especially in luxurious fibres.

Also -I will be closing comments for the contest on the 21st, so I can show the final tally on the 22nd before I go offline for a while. (Hard to be a secret blogger when I'm surrounded by family for 4 days...)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Icarus, she is done

And I love her. Note enough to keep her, but enough to think about keeping her... My SIL will love it and really care for it, which makes it easier to wrap up.
Icarus shawl designed by Miriam Felton for Interweave Knits. Miriam is a genius pattern writer - great charts, and I will easily knit one of her patterns again.
Yarn - Knitpicks Shadow 100% merino in the Jewels colourway. These pictures in no way convey the depth of colour of this yarn - blue, but an undertone of violet with flecks of other shades. Very nice and holds up great to blocking.

Before blocking, she measured a mere 24 inches from top to point, and 52 inches along the wingspan.

Blocking brought the measurements to 36 inches top to point, and 74 inches along the wingspan.

Up close, you can see how the pattern opens up.
And finished, you can see the filminess of the yarn (yes, you can see my overcrowded kitchen table right through her!!)

Also, this is the first time I've really used my foam pads for blocking, and I love them! The pins stick right in and hold tight. It makes adjusting easy, and a bonus is they are nice and soft to kneel on! I may just get another set, as you can see that Icarus just fit, and I still needed to grab a couple of son's foam mat things to cover off a couple of points in the corners.

You will also see what appears to be blocking wires along the top. Not really. I helps to have a husband that engineers brewery equipment. We have this kind of stuff around the house. They are stainless steel rods, very thin and very strong. And now, they are mine. He is not getting them back!

Icarus gets added to the Christmas total! Have you made your guess? Yarn and stitch markers are on the line, here!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I know it's old...

but I just found this while reading through someone's archives.
GO to Google, type in your name, plus the word needs, and see what the top ten results are. So in my case, typing in "Sandra needs" results in the following...

Sandra needs to be punched in the neck. (Um... no thanks)

Sandra needs not to be confused with the porn star Sandra Dee, there is absolutely no connection there. (so you think...)

Sandra needs to go back to preschool. (yeah, I probably should...)

Sandra needs to be recognized for the countless hours she spends caring about everyone that she comes in contact with. (see! someone thinks so!)

SANDRA NEEDS A LOVELY HOME. (already have one)

Sandra needs a hero. (already have a few)

Sandra Needs £100. (bring it on!)

Sandra needs glasses. (already wear them)

Sandra needs to recover some of the transmitters. (uh, OK, I'll get right on that...)

Sandra needs a diversion quickly so she asks Bob to explain all the features and benefits of the product to the customer.(who's Bob, and what features is he explaining?)

Contest stuff...
still lots of time to enter - just leave a comment! Oh, and I've decided to lift the "1 comment per person" rule - if only 5 of you are going to enter, then you each are getting two prizes... Plus, some of you think I have way more spare time in my life than I actually do, so adjusted guesses are allowed!
Icarus is almost done! I just have about 1/3 left to bind off, then it's blocking magic, baby!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

contest time!

It is official - I will be having a Christmas (or "sacred or secular gift-identified festival of your choice" if you prefer) contest. Yes, you can own some of my yarn if you can guess how many gifts I will be knitting for this year!

1. leave a comment saying how many FINISHED gifts there will be, AS WELL AS how many "started, not yet done" gifts there will be.
2. Bonus question (used for tie-breaking) - how many gifts did I knit for charity?
3. One comment per person, please.
4. Contest closes December 22 - winners announced December 23. If something's not done by then, it ain't gonna be done in time!
5. Prizes will be awarded on a "first come, first served" basis. When I email you that you have won, you get to choose what you would like.

To even out the playing field, members of my Guild know the following:
- I have 22 members in my extended family. (But I don't knit for all of them, and some get more than one knitted gift).
- I knit for some of my friends and coworkers.
- I gave two items to my Guild charity drive, but remember! My mom snagged some, too!
- I count anything fibre-y - remember the woven scarves...

What can you win, you ask?
4 balls of Patons Bohemian - tweedy mix of browns and greys - very soft chenille.

6 balls of emerald green Twilleys Featherspun. I've had this stuff in my stash forever - knits up very nice, 15%wool 85%acrylic blend with a mohair-ish halo.

(here's a more accurate representation of the colour)

6 balls of regal purple Featherspun

4 balls of Elann Peruvian Highland Wool in Sapphire - a very rich, very deep blue almost purple. Already wound into centre pull balls, all same dyelot.

3 balls of Knit Picks Shadow - Jewels colourway.
440 yards of each. 100% Merino - who knew? I always thought this was alpaca. I don't know why I have so much of this - I've made 2 shawls of this - it's lovely, but I've used enough of this colour already! (One of the balls will be about 20 yards short - Icarus was greedy and needed a little extra)

1 ball of Knitpicks Shimmer - 70% alpaca, 30% silk, Grape Hyacinth colourway

1 ball of Regia sock yarn - enough for a pair of large men's socks

border="0" alt="" />
1 ball of Lana Grossa Melienweit Cotton sock yarn

Depending on how many right answers there are, I may also throw in some handmade stitch markers.

Knitters, start your guessing!

Monday, December 11, 2006

felting fun

I've made some felted slippers for Christmas gifts this year - quick, easy, done on the machine, and quick sew up, and into the washer. What I find interesting is how different yarns react. These samples are all exactly the same - that's one of the nice things about knitting on the machine - no worries about tension or anything else. Set the number of stitches and use the row counter, and voila! all the same.

These 4 slippers are all alike - 40 stitches (every other needle), 60 rows, highest possible tension setting on my LK-150. The solid coloured ones on the left are made from Gjestal Naturgarn, and the striped ones on the right are Needful Joy. Both yarns are similar in construction - a loosely spun single fibre. The Joy is much, much softer than the Gjestal, which feels somewhat coarse in comparison. As you can see, the Needful Joy ones knit up bigger, yet felted much smaller! (No, these aren't pairs, there is a matching set to these four slippers...) They were all felted at the same time - I put a pair of slippers in a zippered pillowcase, and toss them in my washing machine (top-loader)with an old throw mat, hot water wash, small load setting, cold water rinse, and a dribble of Eucalan. This is one pass through the machine, and I was happy with the results when I opened the pillowcase with the Gjestal. Then I got to the Joy - when I made these rainbow striped slippers, I originally planned them for my Mom. My size 9 wearing Mom. Right. They don't even fit my 7 year old son. Not to worry - I found a recipient for them, but she has a sister, which necessitated the need for the blue/green striped ones. Can't have something for one, and not the other!
I still wanted to make a pair for my Mom, so back to the yarn store. They had a very nice pink stripe Joy (Mom's favourite colour is pink). I got 4 balls this time, and adjusted the stitch and row count. 55 stitches wide by 96 stitches long. (Mom has very thin feet - unlike her daughter's paddle feet...) Here's one pre-felting:

(6 inch ruler inserted for scale). They were approximately 20 inches long - it's pretty funny. Hubby is used to seeing strange things coming off my needles, so he didn't even flinch. Will they work?
(Last minute addition - they worked! They are too skinny for my feet (PERFECT!), and a touch too long for me (ALSO PERFECT). They are also still wet, and hubby was hanging around, so no picture taking took place.

Friday, December 08, 2006

trying to distract you

Since I have no knitting content today, I will distract you with a pretty picture

This was the sunrise this morning as I drove into work. If you ignore the fact that I need to clean the windows of my car, this is the sort of thing that makes it worthwhile getting up in the morning. (although, then I get into work, and well, it blows the whole "what a great day!" feeling.)
But here's the interesting part of my drive. This is something that has bugged me since they planted these trees in the fall. Now, I'm all for trees. The more the merrier. I love walking in the back bush at the cottage, especially in the fall, but really, any time of year. Trees were one of the defining issues when we bought our house - we couldn't buy in a new subdivision, because there were no trees anywhere. (Now, we probably have too many on our small lot, but whatever, we like it, and I have become the master of shade gardening!) Anyway, along one of the roads I drive along, they planted a line of trees. I like this. In a few years, there will be a line of stately maples, shading the road, cleaning the air, all that good stuff. (Sorry for the crappy pictures - the sun wasn't all the way up, and well, I was driving at the time. Believe me when I tell you what is actually in the pictures. Really. It's what is really there.)
Here's the good part:

Planted along a guardrail, a nice 10 feet from the road - a good distance to allow for the roots to spread, etc. Further on the same road, they had to move the line of trees closer to the road - now the trees are only about 3 feet from the road - and I can see in a few years the trees either dying or the roots pushing up the asphalt. This seems dumb to me. Why did they move the trees closer to the road, you may ask?

Ok, am I the only one who thinks this is asinine? The cost of the trees, the cost of the labour involved in the planting, etc.
Just another entry in stupid government decisions.
Knitting to come after the weekend...

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

done, done, done, done and done.

that's 5 more things done for Christmas gifts.
There's the big ass needle scarf for one SIL.
A white and blue hat for my nephew. (One more hat to go for my son, but I have either lost my ability to count, or have cast on the wrong number of stitches - stay tuned).
Chenille scarf (highly fringed) for another SIL - yarn from Yarns Plus, melon colourway, thinner than the pewter and bronze, and just as nice to knit with, although I ran this stuff through the machine this time. 2 hours, start to finish, even with all the fringe.
Another woven scarf - this time made with stash yarns for my niece.
Another ruffled scarf for a co-worker.

Obviously, it was a productive weekend, even though I spent alot of it driving hither and yon. Speaking for driving - this is my current drive to work and other destinations - construction, plus snow. What I want to know is this - if we Canadians are so used to snow, why does the first drop of it paralyze the drivers around me? It seems they lose the capability to deal with the dusting (dusting, people! We're not talkin' a blizzard here!) we got on the weekend.

Add to it that a road I travel often is being seriously rebuilt, and well, it was a bit of mayhem last Sunday. Annoyed me to no end.
(And yes, I took this picture while driving, but we weren't moving fast. Really.)
There seems to be a lot of annoyance in my life right now - centred on my place of employment. Even hubby has had enough with the crap around here and is urging me to leave sooner rather than later. So now, instead of "sort of lookng around" I'm seriously on the hunt. Wish me luck...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Blitzen? Maybe 10 years ago...

You Are Blitzen

Always in good spirits, you're the reindeer who loves to party down with Santa.

Why You're Naughty: You're always blitzed on Christmas Eve, while flying!

Why You're Nice: You mix up a mean eggnog martini.

OK, well, maybe... (Great, all my dark secrets coming out...)

Knitting Update - The big ass needles are almost history - 3 or 4 more rows and my son can have them.
Another hat (I think the last one) is done - simple striped pattern.
Another chenille scarf done (with much finer chenille that I found when digging through the stash. Machine made, diagonal like the black bamboo one, only fringed on both ends and along one long side. No worming, but the rayn chenille doesn't have a lot of give, and can break easily in the machine. But it steams blocks nicely, and again, the shine is wonderful.
Another woven scarf for my niece is done - and all with stash yarns!
One more ruffled scarf done, the last one is halfway there.
Now, if I could only bring myself to finish the last few rows of Icarus, and a couple pairs of socks...

Pictures to come - one of these days...

Friday, December 01, 2006


I knew I hated big ass needles for a reason. My hands hurt. At least it will be over soon, and I have enough other projects to turn to when the silk and 15mms get to be too much...
Icarus is being resurrected - I have about 8 rows left. Each row has a little over 500 stitches, and they are full of YO's, K2tog's and K2togtbl's, so each row takes a fair bit of time, because of course I'm interrupted by son, hubby, phone, tv etc. Yes, the TV interrupts me. I like TV, and watch a fair bit, usually knitting through it all. For the most part, I don't have to watch my knitting, if it's straightforward stuff, but this lace weight alpaca on 3.5mm needles demands your attention - all the time. I had hoped to have Icarus done and blocked before my Tuesday Guild meeting, but I highly doubt it - the weekend was busy. I also did a bad thing - All the charity knitting I had ready for my December Guild meeting? Gone. My Mom was telling me about her church charity being short on kids hats and stuff, and she felt bad that she didn't do as much since she was laid up after her surgery. So I gave my stuff to her. I guess it's not really bad - charity is charity, whether it's York Region or Peel Region. But, I'm going to look like a slacker on Tuesday night when all the other Guild members pile up their donations. So, if any of you are reading this, I'm sorry!
I'm also going to be sweaty at the meeting - Tuesday is also my son's last basketball practice until January, and they are having a "team vs. the parents" scrimmage. Unfortunately, the coach knows I was a point guard during high school and university, and hubby was a power forward, so we've been hit up to play. Great - I get to be shown up by a bunch fo 7 to 10 year olds, then get to go to a knit night, and feel inadequate. At least it's our holiday pot luck night, so there will be lots of good food to partake of. I will be bringing caramel cheesecake bars - hopefully that makes up for being sweaty...

And,added late, because I write some of these ahead of time... it was a good and bad weekend - good because I have pretty much finished up my shopping other than the last minute lottery ticket, candy stocking stuffers - a short trip to Shoppers Drug Mart, and we're done. Plus, the knitting is on track for getting done. Bad becasue I'm waiting for a phone call any time now. "M" is in hospital, and well, she's not coming out. She's my best friend's Mom and my Mom's best friend, so by process of elimination, she's a pretty damn good friend of mine. She's closer to me than any aunt, and is the next best thing to my Mom and my MIL. And it's not fair. So if I'm not at Guild on Tuesday, or not around here for a while, well, you know why. And if that's the case, have a cocktail for M. She always appreciated a good Martini, or an "Orange Blossom". At least my Dad will be saving her a good seat.


Me and big ass needles don't get along. My favourite size is probably a 3.5mm to 4.5mm. They fit in my hand rather nicely, create a nice fabric (with the right wool), and are quite comfortable. Then again, I knit alot of socks, and prefer a 2mm for those. Not that I limit myself. I've been known to grab the 8mm or 9mm for something to be felted, or if a pattern demands it. I've also done beaded knitting on 1 mm needles - very sharp metal ones!
So this is a complete departure for me.

But, before anyone thinks I'm breaking out the fun fur next... (And yes, I've made my share of fun fur scarves. Shoot me.) This is for my SIL. The Tibetan Nun. (remember the socks? - yeah, they're almost done) The burgundy and gold are the holy colours of her faith, and to her, they are very powerful. Well, who am I to deny power to someone? I end up making or getting something each year in these colours - there were the years of the flannel pajamas, the tea set, the burgundy lace shawl last year... This year it's socks and a scarf. But not just any scarf. A silk scarf. But not just any silk:

I found this at the Kitchener Waterloo Knitters Fair. It was tucked away, and I'm sure Lucky thought I was an absolute idiot to buy not one, but two hanks of it (One burgundy, one gold). Would I have bought this if it wasn't called Baby Yeti? No way. It's thick, rough, unforgiving, and needs to be knit on 15mm needles to get any kind of drape. Warm? probably not. Attractive? not to me. But how could I resist anything called Baby Yeti? And it's from the Himalayas! It's meant for her, and she will love it for the tag and the origins if for nothing else...
She'd better - this stuff is killing me to knit. At least it's quick and will be over soon...

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

the hockey hats

I finished all three of the hockey hats for my niece and nephews. My brother's kids all play rep hockey, and this sport dictates their lives for most of the year. How they do it is beyond me - I have enough trouble keeping up with one kid's school, swimming and basketball, let alone three kids with multiple practices, games, tournaments, team meetings, etc. However, they do it and enjoy it. Who knows? My niece may be the next Cassie Campbell, my nephews the next Gretzky or Patrick Roy (one's a goalie).

(One plays for the Marlies, one for the Ojibwa and one for the Storm, in case it's not obvious)
I've mentioned this before - my brother will probably assume that I am available to now make one of these for each of the players on each team, and it's not gonna happen. Reason one - no thanks, no appreciation. Reason two - see reason one. Now, I don't knit for the accolades. I knit things for people I love because I love them. Hell, I even knit for people that I just like. I don't ask for, nor expect anything in return, except a thank you. Nothing huge, two simple words. Now, for the most part, most of my family really appreciates the hand knits. I think they finally understand why I'm knitting all year, and it's fun to see some recognition on their faces when they open a gift, and remember seeing it in progress at some point. THere are some members of the family that REALLY appreciate the knits. My FIL is in love with hand knit socks. And my MIL hand washes them, air dries them, and even darns them! Talk about care. He gets a new pair every Christmas, birthday and usually through the year. Each year a SIL gets a lace shawl - this year, J is getting an alpaca Icarus (12 rows left!). Delicate? you bet. Needs special care? of course. WIll she look after it. Absolutely. Does she deserve it? No question. Next year, it's the other J's turn. She was always anti-shawl - something about the "old lady" look of them. Then she saw Icarus, and even unblocked, and still cramped on the needles, she fell in love. I'm looking for the right pattern, and I'm picturing a heathery grey merino lace for next year...
Then there's my brother and his wife - if it doesn'thave the "right" label, it's not worth it. Of course, the "right" label seems to change each year. I made them socks once. Only once. They opened them, and couldn't understand why I bothered. Yes, she actually asked me why I bothered. I don't bother any more. Hubby is happy - he get's more socks, now. My mom loves her socks so much, she is knitting them herself. But I will continue to knit them for her. She's my Mom.

OK, enough about the family. Lucky seems to have jumped the gun and is already guessing my grand total of hand knit Christmas gifts. So here's what I'm going to do. There will be a contest - JUST NOT RIGHT NOW! FIrst of all, I have to determine prizes - yarn of course. Sock yarn for sure, unless a lucky winner is adverse to sockknitting. But there will be other stuff. But give me time to determine the prizes, as well as time to complete my gift knitting. Later in December we'll pull it all together, K?

Tomorrow, something that will shock you. Yes, it's something I'm knitting. No, it's not something that I ever saw myself knitting. Think really big ass needles. Lucky was with me when I bought it, and anyone I was at Kitchener at may remember the yarn. And Tove? If you're reading this, no giving it away just because I bought the needles from you...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

answering questions

I've got a few FO's to show, but no pictures. I've finished the three hockey hats ofr my brother's kids. (is it funny to anyone else that I originally typed "bother" instead of "brother"? He can be one, sometimes...) Two are blocked, one is not, so I should have pictures tomorrow. But since I have nothing else today, I thought I would answer some questions that have popped up.

Lucky asked if I had given the Victorian Lace book to hubby to give me for Christmas. Well... it's actually still sitting on the dining room table. I may have glanced through it a bit...

Tracy asked how I got the colour variations when dying the rayon chenille for the scarf.
FIrst off, I wound the yarn onto my niddy noddy to creat a hank about 36 inches around. I tied the hank in 4 places, then made up my dye baths. I put a package of brown (maybe tan? I can't remember which Rit I used. It was definitely a lighter brown) in the water as per the directions. I then dipped about 3 inches of the hank into the dye bath, and let it sit for about a minute or so. (I rigged up a coat hanger contraption to hang from the kitchen cabinets above my stove). I then dropped a few more inches of the hank into the dye bath, and repeated this to about halfway up the hank of yarn. I then flipped the hank over, made up the grey dye bath and repeated the process. What this does is create a variance in the depth of colour - the ends are darker, since they spent more total time in the dye baths. so the colour cycle goes something like dark bronze, medium bronze, light bronze, light pewter, medium pewter, dark pewter, medium pewter, light pewter, light bronze, medium bronze and back to the dark bronze. One thing about chenille - it almost "seizes" when it gets wet - it seems to contract onto itself. I didn't want to yank it to stretch it, not knowing the tensile strength of rayon chenille! But it does relax again when it dries. Next time, I'll take pictures. I did this before I started blogging, so there didn't seem to be a need to document the process.
Here's a picture of the leftover chenille - the water bottle gives you an idea of scale (or you can use my son's arm as he eats a banana in the background. Yes, he thinks his Mom is strange for taking pictures of her yarn...) The pewter and bronze ball is a little deceiving - is a centre pull ball, so there is a large empty space in the middle, but there is still a ton left. The blue/green ball to the left is for another scarf for another SIL. These colours shine with the rayon fibre - they remind me of the Carribean with the sun shining on it. THe smaller ball is solid pewter, but again, the rayon, and the way the light relects off it makes it seem slightly variagated. THe colours shift slightly when you move theyarn around. I may keep this for myself. (Yeah, project # 6,777,435 on the list...)

Tracy, To be honest, I never thought about doing the feather and fan on the machine. This chenille is about a heavy worsted weight - it probably will run through my LK-150 OK, but I didn't try. Now you've got me thinking about doing it for the next one! I really don't use my machine nearly enough - I use it for great expanses of mind numbing stockinette, but I have not had the time to really experiment with it and hand manipulating the stitches. Plus, one of the things I like about knitting by hand is knitting lace. I guess I'm really a process rather than product knitter.

Marie left a nice comment about the woven "teacher gift" scarf, saying she was a few years away from having to worry about teacher gifts, as M is still too young. Marie - it comes up quicker than you think! Just yesterday, I was wrapping my boy in a blanket and laying him in his crib. Now he's almost 8, and skateboarding with his friends. If you want more info on the kits, let me know and I will get it for you. Heck, I can even get the kits and send them to you!

Tracy also mentioned that Grumperina had tried the azalea doily as a scarf (from the Modern Lace knitting book). I knew that, and remembered she got frustrated by it. I still like the pattern and would either make it in a very lightweight lace weight so that doubling it wouldn't cause too much bulk, or only make it a partial circle. I just thought the way the petals flowed outwards was so pretty.

Lucky was wondering if I would show all the Christmas knitting before I wrap it. I will - I'm just debating if I just do it, or let you guess the final total. Maybe there will be prizes for those that guess the closest! Hmmm... a contest... maybe...

Monday, November 27, 2006

adding to the Christmas pile

It was a productive weekend. I'm still not sure where the time is going, but I did come out of it on Sunday night with some sense of accomplishment!
My sister-in-law's chenille scarf. This is a rayon chenille that I bought at a machine knitting show earlier in the year. It was this huge cone of "so-white-it's blinding" rayon chenille for $10. I'd heard horror stories of working with chenille, so I figured for $10 if it was brutal, there was little to be lost. I wound this into different hanks of different lengths to attempt dying the rayon. Koolaid was out, as it didn't take to the rayon, and since I didn't have any acid dyes hanging around, I channeled my tie-dying days of the seventies, and broke out the rit dyes. I used a brown and a grey - dipped half a hank into the brown, then the other half took a quick dive into the grey.

Once it all was over and done with, I had this pewter and bronze-y looking hank of chenille drip drying on my clothesline. Once it dried, I was pretty happy with it.

Then came the actual knitting of the chenille - I was originally thinking of an evening type wrap - open and lacy, very drapey. Not a good idea with chenille. Tossed out the 9mm needles. Started again with 4.5mm, and decided on a scarf. Still wanted a lacy type, but I knew it had to be kind of tight. Enter feather and fan. I think it turned out pretty good.

The rayon really shines, and the metal like colours work well with this sheen. I surprisingly experienced none of the "worming" so prevalent with chenille yarns. Maybe I got lucky, maybe this particular chenille (rayon) doesn't worm. Maybe I just hit on the right needle size, right pattern combo. All I can say is, I'm happy with it. I still have a ton of the pewter and bronze, plus another huge ball of a blue/green dye job, and a smaller one of solid pewter. CatBookMom, if you want to try some, let me know!
I also started and finished another scarf - this time on the machine:

Black bamboo yarn - knitted diagonally and fringed. Start to finish, about 2 hours total. (It actually took closer to 5 hours, but I was watching curling, and helping Son with some computer stuff as well)

The colour here is off - it is really black - deep, ebony black, that shines.
This stuff is nice! Very drapey, silky feeling, and a dream to run through the machine. The diagonal stitch helped combat any stockinette curling, but a quick steam block with the iron really flattened it out without taking away the sheen and drapiness. However, I'm not sure I would want to hand knit the bamboo - can we say splitty?? Just moving it from needle to needle on the machine was frustrating due to the splittiness; I can't imagine how annoying it would be to handknit. But... a beautiful hand and drape, to be sure.
Oh yeah, I'm also the world's nicest wife. I even bought a gift for my husband to give me. You know, so he doesn't have to spend as much time shopping. I know how he hates shopping so this is really doing him a favour. Really it is! And I haven't even looked at it. Much.

Friday, November 24, 2006

birthday booty

(No, my butt didn't get bigger. At least I'm pretty sure it didn't...)

Hubby and Son came through huge! Although Victorian Lace Today didn't make it, these did! (Hubby was suitably apologetic about the Lace book - he went to two Chapters stores, and nada! I have a promise for Christmas, but I may end up getting it before then - I'm impatient like that.

I'd heard good things about the Tracey Ullman book, and it will make a nice addition to the collection. And the Barbara Walkers! Swoon! I'm one book away from the complete set, and it's a bitch to find. But to get these two, well, let's just say, Hubby can avoid housework for a while! (Who am I kidding? He still has to do his share...)

There was also some cash from my Mom and my in-laws, and the usual gifts from assorted siblings - lottery tickets! Other than that - a pretty quiet day. I kept it pretty quiet at work - only my immediate boss knew, and he respected my wishes to keep it quiet. Lots of phone calls and emails from friends, so all in all, a good day.
Special dinner and cake are promised for Saturday - weekdays are just way too hectic to plan things like that around our place.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

missing the Florida sun

To all my American friends, I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving. For the past few years, I have been down in the States, celebrating right along with you. My Mom is normally in Florida during this time of year, and I have always spent this week with her, usually with a girlfriend, as it was our “Girl’s Golf Week Getaway”. We golf, we drink wine, we shop, I knit, she reads, we sit by the pool, Mom spoils us, it's a pretty good week. Hubby goes fishing with the boys for a week in June, so this evens it out. Unfortunately, Mom’s surgery last month kind of put the kibosh on her trip, let alone mine. So I am home for the first time in many a year during the American Thanksgiving week. My Christmas shopping is going to be seriously compromised by this, but at least I won't have to deal with Canada Customs as to why my golf bag weighs twice as much as it did when I entered the States...
On top of that, I am seriously bummed about not being away this year. This is one of those times when everything aligned, and a National Holiday fell on a pretty nice day...

Please note that I wouldn't normally post this - this is just another day, and I don't want or expect a fuss. But this morning, when my son woke up and the first words he said were a sleepy "Happy Birthday, Mom" - well, you'd have to be a pretty cold person not to appreciate that, so I felt I would share it. Plus no one here at work knows and it's nice to keep it that way. But sometimes, you just have to tell a few people...
Also, keep our fingers crossed for a new book waiting for me tonight - I've dropped enough hints (and emailed enough links) about Victorian Lace Today...

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

my life meme

Stolen unabashedly from Cara

I guess it's pretty self-explanatory, but I should explain something. I loved my Dad, and he died 11 years ago. Although it seems like I do, I DO NOT spend my days moping around, remembering the minutae of our lives. I do lead a fairly normal, reasonably happy life, and do not dwell on the fact that my Dad died. Would I like him back? Absolutely. Would I trade the past 11 years? Not completely.

In other (knitting) news: I have almost finished another hockey team hat, and have started the third - that will take care of one family. Still have a few more things to start/finish/come up with ideas. 33 more days? No holidays in there? Yeah, I may be in trouble...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

teacher gifts

Okay, so I totally sympathize with teachers at Holiday time. How many "World's Greatest Teacher" mugs, soap sets, and chocolates can one person endure? (Although, I'm thinking, chocolate is not so bad...) Son's school has a nice idea - we donate a book to the school library in the teacher's name - basically we send in the money, the librarian buys the book, and on the last day of school before holidays, each child presents the book to the teacher for the library. But... there still seems to be gifts to the teacher from the kids. When Bro and I were kids, my parents always gave our teachers wine. We were very popular kids. SO, I have done the same for the most part. But I started something in kindergarten that is going to haunt me. Yup, handmade something. Teachers talk amongst themselves, and I am now marked. Son's grade one teacher still raves about the Kid Silk scarf, and Kindergarten! Well, he had the same fabulous teacher for Jk and Sk, and she still goes on about the felted clogs and scarf. So, how can I not do something for grade two teacher? But this year, I have come up with something that I am very proud of - and Son did it, not me. My LYS had these kits - very reasonably priced and perfect for a 7 year old to do with some supervision.

It's woven! The kit comes with the black open weave base, and a ball of bulky yarn (Italian, no less). Simply cut the yarn to length and weave away. I cut, and started the weaving, and son finished it himself. I think it's very pretty, it's incredibly warm, and best of all, Son can proudly give it and say "I made if myself!" His teacher is very nice, and will appreciate the fact that the child did it himself.

The scarf will wrap a bottle of wine - I REALLY like this teacher!

The best part? My LYS also sells just the black open weave base, in scarf size and stole size. We have two stole sizes at home, waiting to become Son-made gifts for each of his grandmothers. Oh yeah - he's getting huge brownie points this year...

And, because CatBookMom tagged me... (although I think it's funny that a Canadian is deemed not to have an American accent) Of course I don't! And truthfully, I don't think I have a Canadian accent either - I don't say "aboot" for about (and I don't really know anyone that does...), and I never say "eh?" (sorry to break the myth...). I do however break out the french accent after a few drinks - it's subtle, but Hubby says it is definitely there...

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The West
North Central
The Northeast
The Inland North
The South
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes