Thursday, October 29, 2009


I finally cast off the never-ending Montego Bay Scarf. I could have kept going, but to be honest, it's a scarf, not a freaking escape ladder, and I think once it got to a certain length, anything more would be superfluous. Yes, I ended up with a small amount of silk/merino left over. Not enough for much of anything. And you know what? It's easy to do this: Quite liberating, I might add.

Seriously - this thing blocked out to over 9 feet long and 9 inches wide. Enough, already...
And when I unpinned it, it stayed over 9 feet long and 9 inches wide. The lace opened up beautifully. I probably didn't need to block it so severely - I could have reduced it by a couple of feet, but the wool was so fine, I thought a really open, lacy effect would be nice. And it is.

It's been packed away for Christmas - not yet sure who the recipient will be yet. Depends on who doesn't piss me off between now and then...

I've been tossing a lot of stuff around the house lately. Getting rid of the excess. Whether it be toys, clothes or other such detritus we seem to have collected over the years, we are slowly weeding it out. For a family of three, we have a lot of stuff. An embarrassingly large amount of stuff. We've thrown around the idea of a garage sale, but neither one of us is at all interested in doing it, so Goodwill and garbage it is. Toys especially. Having worked in the toy and craft industry for a large part of my career, I have accumulated lots of them. Every week, our goal is a minimum of one garbage bag and one donation bag out of the basement. So far so good. Plus, we're attacking the clothes - every thing the kid has outgrown gets given away or tossed, depending on condition. Adult stuff - same. I've got clothes that I haven't worn in a long time. Some was being held onto for sentimental reasons, but really, will I think of my dad less if his blue and white striped shirt is no longer hanging in my closet? I don't think so. Will I suddenly cease to remember that great rafting trip we took in the Ozarks without the t-shirt from Missouri? Nope. Memories are ingrained. Stuff is not. So it's going. All of it. Eventually.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

how to get comments without begging...

So I gather the best way to get comments is to either show off some paper crafting or bitch about my family!

You guys are great. A real ego stroke, with all the nice things said about the book. It is nice - nicer in person than it shows in pictures, and my MIL will love it, her friends will be impressed, and the K can stuff it if she doesn't approve. It's not for her, it's not about her, it's for her Mom, and that's something I think she is losing sight of. (Hmmm... more family bashing - wonder if this will push the comments into the double digits again?)

The K found out I'm making cupcakes instead of a cake, and surprisingly she wasn't completely peeved. She did mention that we did a cake for the FIL, and maybe we should do the same. I mentioned something about growth and embracing change, and that she was welcome to bake if she wanted.

Cupcakes it is...

tomorrow - real knitting! new stuff, even! Really!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


...can't live with them, can't kill them and get away with it.

Party planning for my MIL's 80th birthday continues. The Kommandant (as I've taken to calling my one sister-in-law), continues to ask for our opinions, so she can ignore them all. "Control Freak" does not even begin to describe her. My husband is in London on business today, and since she lives there, he will be meeting her for dinner. I want to be a fly on the wall for that dinner conversation...

I've taken on aspects of the party where she can't interfere. I'm making the guest book, so people can leave memories and remembrances of MIL. I hate those generic ones where you sign your name and date - no room to write a greeting or anything. So I've embraced my paper crafting mojo (and the fact I have easy access to stuff), and made this: (her picture and name have been removed, but they go in those two white spots...) It's an 8" x 8" scrapbook, and I've replaced the pages with cardstock you can write on.
(okay, her name is not removed here, but it's just her first name, and her kindergarten picture - I'm pretty sure she's not recognizable from this...)
Each page is different - there are specific pages for her grandchildren and kids to sign, and the rest are just pretty (I hope). It's her style, all flowery and such, so I hope she likes it. I think she will - the K will probably not, since she hasn't seen it and has no control over it. (She did ask me when she could she what I have so far, and I told her "the day of the party".) Yes, I'm a three year old when it comes to dealing with things and people that annoy me...
The other thing I'm doing is the cake. But I'm making cupcakes instead (each will have a moulded chocolate 80 on top. My MIL will love it (she loves cupcakes), but the K will probably have kittens, because it's not "normal". And yes, she'll find out on the day of the party.
I'm going to need plenty of something numbing that day...

Friday, October 23, 2009

quick knit

Our Guild donates items to charity each December, and I try to knit up a few items to add to the pile. Hats are always good since they're easy and somewhat mindless, and always needed. Especially for boys. It seems charities get a much higher percentage of girl items - not surprising - pink and pretty is always easier than dark and plain. SO I grabbed a bunch of grey, brown and charcoal Classic Merino and have been cranking out hats. Here's that latest, cast on and made while deciding on which of my existing projects I want to continue on. (I also needed a small compact and portable project to take to basketball games and swimming lessons, and I didn't have a sock I wanted to work on.)

It's not blocked yet, but I love the brown and grey together. This will join the other hats I've already knit, ready for our December meeting when the pile in the middle of the room gets increasing bigger as each knitter adds her donations! I'm hoping to get a few more done, with the remainders of the Classic Merino balls I have lying around.

And just because I think this post needs another picture, here's a shot of some fall colour - Thanksgiving weekend, taken during a long walk down our cottage road.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

fickle? who me?

So I'm fickle. So what? Variety is the spice of life, right? This is a representation of the current projects I have on the go right now. I say current, because this pile does not even come close to all the UFO's I have hanging around, these are just the ones that get attention at the moment. Starting with the big one on the bottom - the olive green, rayon and cotton "make it up as I go" cardigan. I'm still in love with this, and after a quick tryst with the Mohair cardigan, I'm back knitting on this. Mostly stockinette (there are columns of garter stitch in there that I'm hoping to morph into a great bottom treatment when I get there. Wish me luck...), so it's great mindless TV knitting.

Starting at the top, a quick charity hat using up the lovely blue and brown yarn recovered from my Romulan jacket fiasco. Someone will love it.

Then there's a blue cotton sock for my husband. He saw my cotton socks and the ones I made for my Mom, and asked for a pair of his own. He loves the wool, but there are days that demand cotton, he says. Since I like having a sock on the go, this is the go-to one.

The lovely cream coloured blob there is an ancient Fiddlesticks lace scarf - I started this at least two years ago, and it got buried. I recently unearthed it, and when I need a challenge or something to occupy my mind so I won't kill anyone (cough*family members*cough), this is it.

Then, because I can't seem to put the crochet down, another bag, this time using 100% hemp in a beautiful green. May be a keeper, may be a gift.

I just realized that I'm missing the never ending Montego Bay scarf from this pile - it's still around, gets looked at every now and then, but the ball still refuses to shrink.

There's also a couple of other socks around somewhere - I think I need to go through some bags and baskets to find things. Who knows? I may find another treasure like the Fiddlesticks scarf.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

pretty... and quick!

I finished Steph's Pretty Thing cowl a while back, and just got around to blocking it. As you recall, I went up a needle size or so, and used heavier wool than recommended, because I really wanted to make this with the Baby Llama wool I had. Although the cowl turned out a bit bigger than the pattern, I quite like the folded-over effect.
Super soft, super warm, great pattern. the actual colour is a deep rich chocolate brown - not represented well in ANY of these pictures!
I plan on making more of these - possibly adding some horizontal repeats to make it wider, using a gossamer type yarn to make it like a hood - large enough to pull right up over the head. I love patterns that offer versatility that way - longer, shorter, wider, thinner - all easy to adapt to.
Great job, Steph!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

makes me want to knit this...

Susan (formerly LuckyCanuck) gave up blogging a while ago, but is still knitting up a storm, and has kindly allowed me to show off her work here. She finished up the Gretel tee, and here it is blocking: and here's a modeled shot:
Specs: (directly quoted from Susan)

"Slanting Gretel Tee, IW Fall 2009. Made with about 5 skeins of Knit Picks Andean Treasure (100% baby alpaca sport weight) in Sapphire. I made the smallest size and I’m glad I did. I wanted a fitted sweater. You don’t want this one baggy. I can’t remember the needle size I used but it was about 3mm to accommodate my loose tension. Gauge swatch? Me? Not a chance. Note on the alpaca – I wore it yesterday it’s already pilled on the bum. A very delicate yarn, so I will have to use my yarn pumice a lot. Another suggestion for yarn – something with a very smooth hand. This alpaca is a bit fuzzy, shows the cable texture well but a smoother yarn would really highlight it. Super easy pattern with no errors and a fairly quick knit. Highly recommended if you dislike cables, like me. Makes me want to do more now!"

Nice job Susan!

Friday, October 16, 2009

cottage knitting

We spent the Thanksgiving weekend at the cottage, as is our norm. Lots of turkey and accompaniments, good family time - it's a great way to spend 3 days.

I also get a fair amount of knitting time - although it's a major work weekend (boats, docks and water systems come out, cupboards get cleared out to deter critters looking for snacks, and we basically get the place ready for winter habitation (fewer visits, so we shut it down in between), there always seems to be enough time to sit with wool and needles.
The silvery grey wool/silk/bamboo sequined blend I got in Kitchener became this: Storm Cloud Shawlette. Nice pattern, and it shows off the sequins nicely, but it's a tad on the small size. I'm either going to try to block it out bigger, or I'm going to frog the whole thing and find a comparable yarn to mix it with to stretch it out, or perhaps even find a better pattern for it. Even so - a nice yarn to knit with, even if it did discolour my fingers while knitting - must remember to try to set the dye when I block it.

I also got a lot of work done on the second crochet bag - this is a linen blend yarn, and the bag just needs a handle, which was started after this picture was taken, and is already more than halfway done. My mom is a fan of all things pink, and I think this dark rose bag may just be for her. She shops at this market near her place (where I worked for years during high school), and buys just what one person needs. This bag is the perfect size for her.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

when I start wearing socks, these will be first

I finished another pair of cotton-Lycra socks, and these are for me! One, I love the colour combination of blue and gold, with some orange tones tossed in. Two, they are seriously comfortable. So when sock weather rolls around, I'm ready. Okay, I know it's already here for some, but I can't give up my beloved flip flops yet.
(sorry for the orangi-ness of the pictures - darkness + fluorescent lighting...)

Yes, I know we have had frost, and rain and at the cottage, even some snow flurries, but really, until there is a layer of snow on the ground, I'm going shoeless and sockless for as long as I can. Plus, it's become a matter of honour. Some people have competitions as to when the heat gets turned on, around my office, there's a pool going based on my footwear. People have picked a day when I will actually wear closed toe shoes with socks. I'm not allowed to know who's in the pool, or what day they've chosen, so as to keep it as impartial as possible. However, I'm pretty sure I know the people who have already lost, and I have a pretty good idea how many are still in - when the CFO drops by my desk to "chat" each morning, I get the feeling he's still in! (I get allowances for days when I have to wear a skirt or other clothing inappropriate to flip flops - I do have meetings with outside people...)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

it really is pretty...

I'm not much of a bandwagon jumper, although at times, it may seem that way. I did make the February Lady Sweater, and I did make a Kauni (although I used the yarn, I made up my own pattern). But I've never made a Clapotis or a pair of Monkey socks - neither pattern grabs me. I make patterns I like, or fit a need - like for a gift.

Stephanie's Pretty Thing is that. It's a great pattern that I like (okay, love), and it fits a need. It will make perfect gifts for friends and family. It looks complicated and time consuming and they will be very impressed, whereas it's a pretty straightforward knit that's very enjoyable and quick.

This first one is for me. I'm using the baby llama I got in Kitchener, and a slightly larger needle (4.0mm) to match the yarn better and to adjust for my giant sized melon head. There is not a word I can come up with that can describe the softness of this yarn. I knit the amount shown above in the car on the way home from the cottage and a bit at home. It's that fast.

Call me a bandwagon jumper if you will, but this is a pattern that I will make again and again, changing it up to suit the user and the yarn.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

short break

Sorry all, but I'll be off line for a bit. Stuff going on that's taking up all my time and energy. It's all good (okay, mostly good), and with the Thanksgiving weekend coming up - I'll be away from the blog until at least Tuesday.
Talk amongst yourselves...

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

what is that? Really? its...

Yes, and I blame Carol completely for this. She posted her version, and the very easy pattern, and I went into the stash, hunted down some cotton to try it out, and 2 days later I had the blue one, then I found some single balls of linen and some hemp, and well, single balls aren't useful for anything, and some of my friends and family have dropped hints about reusable bags (I think they are after sewn ones, but we'll see...), and well, then I found myself with hook in hand.

(I'm pretty sure I haven't convinced anyone of anything other than the fact that I am a complete startitis fan, and just felt the need to make these.)
But there have been requests for bags, so I'm thinking this is a nice change for me while I decide on my next project. (or which of my current projects I may pick up again.)

It's a ridiculously easy pattern, and once into the mesh part is completely mindless (as long as you can count to five) and great for watching tv.

I sort of screwed up the blue bag - I made the bottom a touch tight, I think, as it's more of a cone shape than a flat disk, but I paid better attention to the red linen one and got that bottom to lie flat. However, the blue bag still works, so no big deal.

Monday, October 05, 2009

mo jacket, continued

Brenda had asked for the "deets" on this jacket, so I thought I should share. This was a Fleece Artist Kit, bought at the Kitchener Waterloo Knitters Fair in September. It's a basic Fleece Artist Pattern that comes with a skein of Mohair, approximately 450-500 metres. It is only in one size, but figure if it fits me, it will be roomy on anyone that wears less that a size 14. There's a fair degree of stretch in the fabric, as it's knitted on 7mm (? maybe 8mm) needles. Like all Fleece artist patterns, it assumes you have a working knowledge of knitting. It really is just a boxy, waist length jacket with set in sleeves.

I bought another hank of Mohair at Dye-Version in green tones, since the yardage was virtually the same, and will make another one with minor mods (a little longer, maybe a button band treatment, and a different collar). I may keep this as an Olympic project - I know it's almost cheating to have a project I know I have a good chance of completing in time, but I'm going to make it more challenging by changing it up and adding a zipper this time around. I also know that February is going to be a challenge for me - it's a ridiculously busy time in my job, as we determine upcoming licenses and stuff, so that's another challenge.
Then again, I might not wait. I may just start this puppy sooner...

Tomorrow, a surprise!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

the Mo Jacket

It's done and being worn, and I even have crappy pictures to prove it! The lighting in our office bathroom at 7am sucks, and taking one's own picture in a mirror is not easy.
And just to prove that I DO love my flip flops - here's my footwear on a day where I'm wearing a mohair sweater, shirt and t-shirt:
I meant to take a picture of it on the mannequin to show it a bit better, but I ran out of time last night.
I think I'm going to wind the green mix mohair and make this again - I may make it a touch longer, since the green mohair has a bit more yardage, and I will probably change the collar to something a little less prominent, but otherwise - a great pattern.