Friday, January 30, 2009


When I found the pattern for the Bella Mittens, I decided right then and there to go out and get the yarn to make them. I wanted a pewter-y coloured wool, (nothing synthetic - eww!), and like most of us, I wanted it NOW! Of course I was at work, and a little far from my LYS - I wouldn't be able to get to Needles and Knits in Aurora until at least the weekend, and that was too far away. So I Googled for yarn stores near my office, and found Mary's Yarns in Unionville. It's situated in an old house, just like my beloved Needles and Knits is - I love this format, so cozy. So I headed over at lunch time, (10 minutes away - convenient or dangerous? Discuss.) and had a great time. The funny thing is I brought out the pattern to explain what I was after, and the owner said a man had just left minutes before, and he was asking about the exact same pattern for Bella's Mittens! I left her the pattern in case he comes back - since it's available on the Internet, this is not a copyright violation.

But the cool thing is that I happened to be wearing my Kauni sweater - and everyone in there, from the employees to other shoppers recognized the yarn, and made me take off my coat and show it, and they examined it, inside and out. (only knitters would do or allow this...) The pewter clasps I got from Tove were a hit.

I have to say, it's nice to be appreciated for the stuff we knit...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

my two new projects

One for me: The February Lady Sweater. THe green is a little sage-ier than it appears here. I don't think I have enough of the green to make it as long as I want (I hate 3/4 sleeves - even though I always push up my sleeves, I like knowing they can cover my wrists if I want them to...), so I'm adding some black as an accent - the yoke will be black, and I am finagling the pattern a bit to add front bands later, also in black. The green is some Headwater wool I bought in Kitchener, and the black is some Peruvian wool I had hanging around. The black is somewhat softer than the green, and this will be nice around the neckline.

One for someone else: My niece (she of the Twilight books) is feeling a little hard done by lately. She's been working hard for years with singing, dancing and all things arts related, and had landed some bit parts here and there, nothing major. Her little brother (my 10 year old nephew), without trying remarkably hard, has recently landed a fairly big part in a large Toronto musical production. (Yes, we are all thrilled for him - he's got a year contract, and is on his way to big things, we think). She's been great with him, helping him rehearse and being supportive, but she needs a little something to let her know she's appreciated. And yesterday I found this.

Bella's Mittens.
Oh yeah, she's going to love these...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

ah, crap...

Okay - I finished my black cardigan. As you know, during the knitting, I was running out of black wool. No problem, I had some grey alpaca that came to the rescue for some hems of the sleeves and bottom. Then there was the front bands issue - I did not have enough black for it, so I went with the grey alpaca, and to make it interesting, decided on a ruffly front, since the angles of the front would play havoc with a folded hem. I finished it up on the weekend, and the ruffles looked okay - pretty much what I expected them to look like. Then, I started digging in the stash for my next sweater project - what to make, what to make it from. I had ideas for patterns, now I needed to look for yarn. So I did. and guess what I found? Yup. Another hank of the black. Enough to do proper bands. If I don't use it, I will go into an oddball area of the stash, destined to sit forever or be given away.
So what do you think? Leave the ruffled front? Or remove them, and use the plain black, for a more streamlined look?

(And yes, I did start another project - well, actually two new projects...)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

colour and light

We all talk about the lack of light during the winter, and how it affects pictures. I tend not to put a lot of effort into pictures of my knitting - sad but true. I'm actually not a bad photographer - I had a little side business eons ago, back in the day of film and negatives. I have my eye on a new Digital SLR, and would have got one already, but I used my air miles on gifts for others (A GPS for Hubby and the camcorder for Son).

My little point and shoot digital has been great - doing far better than I ever expected of it. I love it, and it hangs out in my purse all the time. But it is a point and shoot, which has inherent limitations. Add to that the fact that I just don't take the time to digitally fix them the way I should. But there are only so many hours in the day, and I'm not willing to give up sleeping, eating or knitting time. And my boss would get a tad upset if I carved it out of working time. (Since that time allows me the freedom (and money) to pay for all the other times, well, you see my problem.)

So I take pictures - sometimes blurry, sometimes out of focus, sometimes with colour so off it's ridiculous. But the difference hit home this weekend when I was taking pictures of the Swiffer cover.

First, I took one inside - middle of the day, near a window, albeit with the blinds closed: Then outside, against snow in indirect sunlight:
Yeah, there's a difference, all right.

What I want to know is - if the indoor light makes this so yellow - just how bad do I look at home?

Monday, January 26, 2009

my grey period

First off - thanks for the book and reading ideas - I've marked down the authors some of you mentioned and will be looking them up shortly. I also had a chat with my niece about her ardent love of the Twilight series, and it seems I was a wee bit mistaken. She does love the stories (although she hasn't read all 4 yet...), but it seems her adoration is directed more at Robert Pattinson (who plays Edward Cullen in the movie), rather than the actual story. Yes, while I was hoping for a a family kindred spirit in my love of books over movies, it seems that I was wrong, and she is a typical 14 year old, in love with a gorgeous set of eyes. (And to be honest, if it wasn't so creepy for someone my age to lust after such a young'un, I would be too.) I have nothing against movies, mind you - love 'em to death - I just don't get to the theatre all that often - We finally rented Casino Royale Saturday night. (The clerk at Blockbuster asked if I wanted to reserve a copy of Quantum of Solace while there. I said no, since it would take us a good year or so to get around to watching it... She didn't get it...) But when my niece offered to go with me to see Twilight, I declined. As Lucky and I were discussing, I don't think I can stand the thought of sitting in a theatre with a bunch of love struck 14 year old drama queens. Even I have limits. (I will rent it when it comes out, however...)
And, love stories are also not my regular reading - I'm more the mystery / spy / thriller type of reader. But sometimes there are bandwagons to jump on...

Anyhoo, back to my grey period. This is my life lately.

Grey sock knitting: Grey (and black) sweater knitting:Grey sewing (a rather nice grey flannel wrap front jumper - I ditched the ties, and opted for a single large button to close - Got to love button stashes...): Is it any wonder I found myself making this?: Bright cotton swiffer cover. At first I made it for the instant gratification, and bright colours. But I have to say - it works really well! And so much better than buying those disposable covers...

I can see more of these in my future...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

great stories or bandwagon jumping...

I read a lot. I read every day - certainly before I go to sleep, and often while I am knitting. (Hardcovers work well for this - they are easier to prop open with weights to keep your hands free...) Because of this, I am an ardent user of our public library system - hardcovers can get a little pricey when you go through 1 or 2 a week... Every place we've lived, right after doing all the government requested paperwork associated with address changes, the first thing I do is get a local library card. It was great when we lived in rural Caledon - a one room library, but a librarian that knew my tastes so well and would call me when books came in she thought I'd like. My local library is fabulous as well - Internet holds and notification and all that. My son has his own card and is very capable of how to find what he wants.

But sometimes, I have to own books. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and the Hobbit - you bet. I have my dog eared paperback set from my teenage years, as well as a box set in hardcover. I own all the Harry Potter Books in hardcover as well. Youth fiction be damned, they are well written, interesting stories. Now, my 14 year old niece had dared me to read the Twilight series - she is an ardent fan (ardent may not really convey her depth of love for this series). She said she's not sure an older (older???!!!) person could "appreciate" a teenage love story. Well. I showed her. I borrowed and read the first one, and then went out and bought all 4. I can see myself going back to these at times, as I do with the LOTR, although for different reasons. The Twilight series is good. It's not classic literature, but it is a good story.

What seems to bother me is that I am and educated woman in her mid forties. I had a great childhood, wonderful teen years (for the most part), and a great adulthood. Why the hell am I so fascinated with Youth Fiction?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Luck - being home with a sick child on the day that history is made by our neighbours to the south. I got to watch the inauguration of Barack Obama, and I'm glad I did. Can I tell you how compelling a speaker this man is? I'm not much of a political person - I expect the people we elect to do the best they can for everyone, so more often than not I am somewhat disappointed, but I'm glad to see some change and growth happening. I do hope that he is given the time and chance to make good on his mandate. Things won't change overnight, and I know things will probably get worse before they get better, but hey, we can hope, can't we? Now if only we Canadians could do something about Harper...

In knitting news - pictures! Yes, finally, pictures!
This is where my black cardigan stood before a day at home with sick child:

and after:I've added a neckband, 3 more inches of the black and half of the grey alpaca hem.

The hem on the sleeve - grey alpaca, doubled over for a sewn hem. (Sorry Helga, I know you wanted a fold over cuff, but the alpaca wouldn't hold the fold very well!)

I am very happy with how this is turning out. Once I finish the bottom hem, I will add a front band all the way around in the grey alpaca, and it's done. For a design on the fly, this turned out so well - it fits, it's comfortable, and it used up stash! I used all the black wool I bought at Kitchener, and will use all of the two lonely balls of grey alpaca I had sitting around, as well as part of a ball of cream alpaca that I have used to line the hems - I wanted to stretch the grey as far as possible.

I've also been working on a pair of socks - my travel knitting - good for lunchtimes at work, basketball practices and games and swimming lessons.

My FIL is always looking for soft socks - he got the alpaca/silk pair at Christmas, and my MIL has to steal them from him to wash them - they are a hit. So up next for him is a pair of grey bamboo.

You'll note the colour transition - FIL likes his socks long. Actually MIL likes them long - she hates seeing bare leg on him when he sits down and his pants ride up. I weighed the sock as I went and when I had used up half the ball, I knew they were no where close to long enough, so I dug out another ball of bamboo in a darker grey and transitioned the colours. He's happy with it, so that's good. The only problem with showing them to him already is that now he's impatiently waiting for them. Ah, the pressure!

And I'm only at work for half a day today - Husband is home for the morning with sick child, and I will go home for the afternoon to care for the limp dishrag. Poor kid, he's lying there lethargically, and all he wants to do is go to basketball practice. Sorry kid - not gonna happen...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

sorry about that...

I didn't mean to go away. However, I got sick, then my son got sick. Now I;m better, but I'm better, but I'm working at home today while looking after a sick child. Can we raise a glass to understanding bosses around the world? At my former job, this would have been a major issue. Here, because I can log into my computer from home, I can be as functional as if I were there.
The only difference is that while I'm waiting for a report to run, I can potentially knit a row or two on my sweater...
I wore my Kauni to work the other day - the pewter clasps look fabulous, and were the perfect choice - Thanks Tove! I got so many compliments on it, I was shocked. Men and women both commented on it. That was cool! The only issue I had was how much it stretched on bocking. It's pas my butt , and generally oversized. I tend to have an exaggerated image of my body size when I knit. I'm not a tiny girl, but I'm not as large as I seem to knit for. Must get better at that. However, Kauni has become more of an "indoor jacket" type of sweater, and that's okay. In spring, it will do nicely for those days when I need a little somethin' somethin' for chilly mornings.
My next Kauni (the green and gold one) will be a little more fitted, however...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

t-rexes, raptors and mammoths, oh my!

I took Tuesday of this week off to go with my son's class to the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum). Holy crap. The last time I was there was a year or so ago, before they had finished the construction of the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal. Am I ever glad I went back! It's phenomenal. We had such a great time there, even though corralling a bunch of 9 year olds really wipes you out. I was way more tired after that that any day at work! But well worth it, no question. I only seem to have pictures of the dinosaur exhibit that was housed within the crystal areaMy son, using his new camcorder to record stuff...

an interior shot of the angles of the Crystal, as well as a prehistoric sea turtle...

A huge prehistoric fish skeleton...

A velociraptor, I believe. My son the basketball player needed a picture of a "real Raptor"...

And of course, T-Rex...

I think I was too awestruck in the minerals and gemstones area to take any shots - man o man, were some of those gemstones stunning! The kids were impressed, but we moms were REALLY impressed...

And currently, there is the Nature of Diamonds exhibit on. We were barred from taking any photographs here - this left you breathless. The third largest diamond in the world is on exhibit here.

Now, I'm doing the single parent thing while my husband is off in Newfoundland on business. Can I comment on the irony that while it is minus eleven million degrees here (actually -20C, which is -4F), he's basking in above freezing temps of +4C?? And when this cold front hits St. John's, he'll be leaving to come back here. His timing is impeccable.

And during this cold snap, the zipper on my son's winter jacket decides not to work anymore. I jury-rigged it for a day or so, but today it finally gave up. I have to get a new zipper pull this weekend, but in the meantime, he;s layered up with shirt, hoodie, vest, jacket, etc. Great timing all around in this family...

Monday, January 12, 2009

not just the little beads...

Okay, I admit it. I'm hooked. Totally addicted. Can't get away from it. Now I'm stretching out from tiny little seed beads on a loom, to large chunky bracelets. I can't seem to stop! (Except to knit - I am stopping to knit - the black cardigan is coming along nicely. One sleeve is done, and I love the cuff in alpaca. However, I'm thinking of adding beads to this sweater. Yeah, I will stop myself from doing that. Maybe.
But back to these bracelets. I fell in love with the beads - from heavy-ish glass ones to delicate shells, in all kinds of colours...

I seem to be especially enamoured of this fiery red one - the depth of colour is so pretty.Now to decide whether or not to sell them or keep them. There are a number of people at work that have shown an interest... I guess I can always reproduce them if I really want to keep them for myself.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

new on the needles

Another cardigan. Plain black, top down raglan, no pattern, just a vague use of math and measuring:and so far, it's working out well. The problem is that I do not have enough black wool to finish it to the length I want, so I did some stash diving and came up with some grey suri alpaca for cuffs, long hem and front bands. It got Helga's and Ann's seal of approval at our Guild meeting on Tuesday, so that's good. I've almost finished one cuff and it looks good.

I also picked up some pewter clasps for the Kauni (thanks for all the nice comments!), and will soak, block and sew them on this weekend, hopefully. I was asked about a pattern for Kauni, however, the pattern I have looks pretty much like the one above, except the Kauni one is mostly in my head, so no pattern available - sorry. Top down raglan patterns are available pretty much everywhere, so it's pretty easy to adapt one. As far as the fair isle design - I doodles this one up myself, but again - they are available everywhere, so find one you like and adapt it in.

I still have another colourway of Kauni yarn - in greens and golds - enough for another sweater. I think the damask pattern would be smashing, but the question is pullover or another cardigan? Hmmm...

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

worth the wait

Kauni. I wanted to have this sweater done for Christmas Day, and that didn't happen. It got pushed aside, first for deadline knitting, then because of the bulkiness of it, and my lack of interest in picking it up. Once I got past that, I picked it up, took a good look, and realized that I needed to finish it. Not for any other reason than I loved it, and wanted to wear it. So I did. I finished the knitting, and the steeking and the sewing down of the bands. It still needs an soak to make it bloom, and some blocking to even out the hems and bands, and some sort of closure (I'm thinking pewter clasps...), but none of that diminishes the love I have for this sweater. And yes, I'm proud of it. It's not a particularly difficult pattern, but it was a fair bit of work, and I like to think the results show the care I took with it. Considering it was designed on the fly, it worked.