Tuesday, November 30, 2010

before I get to spoil myself...

I still have the Team Canada mittens to finish.
Time shouldn't be a problem with these - they are moving right along, at least they are when I pick them up and work on them...

Half a mitten and two thumbs left to go - no problem...

Monday, November 29, 2010

well, that changes things!

I was talking with one of my sisters in law. We were discussing (via email) Christmas, and what the kids want, and what we should do for the parents. (We're married to brothers, and there are 3 sisters in the family as well - husband is one of five kids). She threw out a "what do you think about maybe, possibly not exchanging gifts among the girls in the family?" (We 5 girls (sisters in law) have always exchanged a little something at Christmas - the boys don't). She was wondering about doing it next year, but I came back with why not instigate it this year? Let's keep it to the kids - and a little something for the parents, but we can easily ignore this generation. She was surprised because she thought I would want to keep it on, as i always knit or craft something for each of them, and she knows how long that takes. No problem! I can reassign those scarves and necklaces to others on my list, quite easily.

What this changes is my new found increase in time. I've now got several gifts (ruffled scarves and semi precious gemstone necklaces) that can be given to people, and the time I has sort of allocated to making things for them has now become mine!

So all of a sudden, sewing and knitting for myself gets to take centre stage in December! It's been a long time since I've had that luxury, and I'm unsure what to do with it! I have grandiose plans for sweaters and suits, and a whole slew of new pajama pants, all for me!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

turkey day for some...

As a Canadian, I celebrated our Thanksgiving last month. Usually, I'm in Florida right around this time, enjoying some golf, some sun, and seeing my Mom. But this year, with the job uncertainty and such, I didn't go. (I'm still hoping to snag a few days in the spring when she's back down).

She's spending Thanksgiving with friends, and I'll be wishing I was watching the Parade on TV, and trying not to look outside at the rainy cold weather, while I imagine I'm in Largo, FL, helping Mom with a turkey, and planning our shopping excursions for the next day. As it is, Mom has a big enough list of stuff she's after - she's not crazy about it, and doesn't get up early, but she usually finds some deals.
To my American Friends - enjoy this time with family and friends, whether you're together in person or in spirit.

Wish I was there.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

crappy pictures, but...

 Sorry for the horrifically bad pictures, but I'm alone (husband at poker, child at a friend's), and my tripod is not around, you I've had to take pictures of myself, on a grey, drizzly evening, of grey and black clothing.
Apologies up front.

So I wanted a grey flannel pencil skirt. Classic, wear with anything kind of skirt. Great with heeled boots, flat boots, or shoes.
So here it is.

 I call these my "death by boots" boots. They are very pointy, very high heeled, come up to the knee with silk ribbon lacing at the top. My husband has another name for them, a-hem. we won't discuss what that is.

Sorry to say the picture that shows the best part of this skirt didn't come out. It's stretch! It's a heavy ponte knit I got at Fabricland on the weekend. Heavier than most of them, and there's a touch of Lycra in it. It's got a flannel-y fleck to it, and it's beautiful. All I did was take an existing knit skirt I own and draft a pattern - basically a long rectangle, with a bit of waist shaping. Sewed the side seams, hemmed it, added a casing of elastic. Done in under an hour.
And I even had enough fabric left over to do it again, only shorter:
 So comfortable, so easy and goes with everything. Hard to beat. Fabricland is having their member's sale this weekend, and I might just have to go back for more - the table of ponte knit was pretty full with tons of colours. Hard to go wrong with a classic style.

Then there's this top. I saw it on a blog somewhere. Here! I saw it here! (I knew I had seen it somewhere recently...) Hers shows the concept much better, because I took this picture on the aforementioned grey evening, and it's a black top. But it's basically a crinkly black silky knit - two rectangles, and it skims over my hips in a tunic length. Worn with a simple skirt or slim fit pants, I think I have my holiday party top. (We always have one dinner around this time of year when I need to clean myself up.)
(another shot of the killer boots). They are good for times when I will be spending a lot of time sitting - not good for big walking or standing days. Especially this time of year when I'm still wearing the flip flops whenever possible.

I made this top first in a throwaway cotton print I had lying around, just to see if the style would suit me. The first time, I made it with the sleeves right down to the wrist, but that made the "wing" part too prominent, too poufy and strong. So on this black one, the sleeves come to the elbow, and it adds just the right amount of swing when I wear it. Who knew I'd get so much pleasure out of hemming and sewing two rectangles together?

Friday, November 19, 2010

another one for the gift pile

Is it a ruffled ball?
 hang on, let me spread it out for you...
 a barbell? I could do a couple of hundred reps with this weight...
 no... it's yet another Churchmouse Barb'sKoigu Ruffle (not made in Koigu)
Doesn't look like much on the table, but a simple knot at the neck, and this really looks good. (Okay, maybe not in this picture, but picture it tucked into the neck of a jacket, with just a cascade of ruffles tumbling out.
 Yummy. And I have to thank Needles again for gifting me with this pattern. I've now made it twice and plan on a few more. It's classic and timeless and beautiful.

Oh, and the yarn is a merino/silk/linen blend I picked up somewhere. Lovely earthy colours, and I have no idea who makes it or where I got it. Probably a fair somewhere - either Kitchener or the Knitters Frolic.
And yes, I know if I bothered to use Ravelry and all it's bits and pieces, I'd know where I got it and when, and how much I had, and who made it. But I don't use Ravelry that way. I'm too damn lazy to catalogue all my stuff, and really, I kind of enjoy finding "new" things when I give the stash a toss every now and then...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

what to do, what to do

I made this sweater earlier this summer - I had bought a couple of balls of Rowan something or other (sorry - lost the tags) that was a chunky weight. The blue colour perfectly matched a linen top and skirt I was sewing, so I decided on a cardigan to go over the sleeveless top. Of course, when I went to knit it, I only found the one ball, so an abbreviated sweater was born. Short sleeves, shorter length than I planned, but still fine for the purpose I wanted it for.

 Then recently, this happened.
Yeah, I found the other ball. I know it's enough for a quick sweater that I could gift, or I could pull out the bind offs and lengthen both the sleeves and the body. With winter coming, I think I'll be adding to this one rather than run the risk of the "matching sweater" conundrum. (I'd hate to give one to a friend, then both wear it at the same time. It's happened, and it's not pretty. I mean, it's bad enough when kids wear matchy-matchy, adults should not do it unless we're talking uniform or Halloween.)
Now if I could only remember what needle size I used...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

R'uh R'oh, Shaggy...

(sorry, we're big Scooby Doo fans around here...)

I started the decreases for my niece's Canada mittens, when I decided to try them on. Hmmmm, there seems to be a couple of centimetres of finger sticking out in the place where about 1 centimetre of mitten would be, if I continue the decreases as is.
Houston, we have a problem.
(yes, I'm mixing my movie metaphors)

 but, other than that small problem, they're looking really good! (says the knitter and designer, so no bias here, noooo, none at all...)

 Of course, the next step was to rip back to before I started decreasing, and extend the length of the mitten before I start the decreases again. Crap. I was hoping to have this one finished already and start mitten number two.

Soon. Soon these will be done, and this kid will be crossed off the Christmas list... Unless she asks for something else. I'm a sucker if kids actually ask for hand crafted things...

Monday, November 15, 2010

I don't care what my husband says...

I think this just might be going on my front door this year...


Different colour scheme of course, I'm SO not a pastelly kind of girl. But it different greens and reds? Oh yeah, baby!

He can make a fly fishing wreath for next year

Friday, November 12, 2010

so cool! yet so hard to get...

 Leafing through Canadian House and Home magazine, I came across these metal stencils. (You can add a decorative touch to your desserts and coffees). Look up close:
Yeah, I did the research. She's in Iceland, it it would cost far more than even I could justify as something frivolous. But so cool...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

11th hour, 11th day, 11th month

Knitting stuff will return tomorrow. Today I remember my Dad, a veteran of the Korean War (Royal Canadian Navy) , My Grandfather, a WW1 vet (Yorkshire and Lancashire Regiment, British Army), and my husband's Grandfather, a WW1 vet (The Black Watch), as well as those who have served and serve now. I may not always agree with the wars the fight, but I support them being there and doing what they do, allowing me the freedom to do what I do.

The three men above aren't with us anymore, but that doesn't mean they are forgotten.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

sweet sixteen

My niece turned 16 recently, and after several futile attempts at trying to get gift ideas from her mom, I went right to the source, emailing the girl herself.
While she was lovely, and said we didn't have to do anything, once she found out I like jewellery making, put in a request.
During my recent gift bag making splurge, I dug out some embroidered satin remnants (left over from her pajama pants of last year).

Whipped up a quick little bag, and filled it with these.

I got these great metal boxes when we cleaned out sample closets at my old work place - I ended up with boxes of them! I filled each of them with a different piece (or pieces) of jewellery.

beaded rings (these are so easy to make, I can whip up more for myself if I need to)

A memory wire bracelet, and matching glass circle pendant on beaded chains

a knitted beaded choker I made ages ago and forgot about!

 a turquoise and wood bead necklace with the teen requested peace sign

 3 sets of earrings (again with the peace sign)

and a bracelet.

She only turns sixteen once...

Monday, November 08, 2010

not just knitting going on

 I'm not going to mention the number of days remaining before Christmas. Suffice to say, it's coming sooner than expected. On top of that, my MIL's birthday is mid November. (There's a couple of other family birthdays, but we just do cards and lottery tickets for siblings). Every year, my MIL takes advantage of the timing of her birthday, and requests things that make Christmas easier. From me, that means Christmas cards. My MIL is someone who still sends out dozens of Christmas cards, each with a hand written note. She complains about it every year, starting in November, and I just shake my head, and ask why she odes it if she hates it so much. She just gives me the look that says regardless of how she feels about it, she will do it every year, because that's what you do. (She's very proper, and is all about convention). So, for her birthday, I always make her a few dozen Christmas cards.

While card making, I also started on some Christmas gifts - some family members request them. My MIL gets a number of Sympathy, Thinking of You, Thank You and Birthday cards. (I used to make Get Well Soon cards, but she asked me to substitute Thinking of You - "At our age, we aren't really getting better..." is what she said).
Then there was a selection of birthday cards as well. One of my SILs really loves getting these for Christmas.

 To add to my MIL's birthday gift this year, I decided to sew up some gift bags. (Actually, I decided to do it when I found a container with a bunch of these already done, half done and cut out, ready to be finished)
 Some are embellished with lace and ribbons, and some depend on Christmas based fabric.
 I also had some red and gold satin ready to sew up (only red ones shown here). They really show the composition of the bags - so simple. Straight side seams, then I corner the bottoms to give it a more 3 dimensional feel. (By cornering, what I do is on the inside at the bottom of the side seams, I sew across the corner to fashion a squared off bottom. Sorry, I'm not really describing this well - it's early, and I'm on my first cup of coffee).
You can see it here
 I also catch the ties in one of the side seams if I don't want to make a casing across the top - this allows for a really decorative type of tie.
When the bag is filled, the cornered bottoms help it sit flat, and the ties give it a luxurious look.
My MIL really hates wrapping gifts, so this should help a bit. My one worry is that she won't want to use them and give them away (She's like that). I'll have to tell her that she can use them for family, and we all promise to give them back to her for next year...

There is still knitting going on as well, I promise!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

random bits and pieces...

I won a contest! How cool is that? Robyn over at Knit and Purl Mama held a blogiversary contest, and I won her (very extensive) sock pattern collection. If this doesn't bring back my sock knitting mojo, nothing will...

Although, picking up sock knitting will do nothing to help cure my startitis. Currently on the go - my niece's Team Canada Mittens, socks for my FIL (seriously stalled - they were for Christmas LAST year...) a featherweight cardigan made out of Noro Sekku (may have to rip this and start again - not sure the sizing is working out. Actually, not even sure the yarn is working out. I may put the Sekku aside and start this again with my luscious Tanis Fibre Arts laceweight), more Frill Seeker scarves (as much as this pains me). With all this on the go, I picked out some taupe Australian Merino and started the Berocco Truman vest. Not sure why I did it, but I;m glad I did - I love the wool - it's soft and squooshy and the pattern should go well with my casual wardrobe.

I have mixed feelings about working at home - It's nice to have the flexibility, but I like having an office to put stuff in. We move into the offices late next week, so it will be nice to finally file things in places other than my kitchen table or counter. (Yes, we have office space upstairs, but I prefer working here in the kitchen). At least once we're in the offices, I'm still not required to be there Mon-Fri, 9-5. I'll be an "in early, out early" person, so I can be home for my kid when he gets home from school (or at least, soon after). The Blackberry is both a blessing and a curse - It's nice to be in contact, but sometimes, I DON'T WANT TO BE CONTACTED!

I'm not sure I'm going to get down to Florida this year to visit my mom - with the new job and all, I'll have to see. We may bail this year and do a family trip somewhere next year. We'll see.

I don't have pictures today - I know - no picutres makes for a lame blog post, but the lighting sucks for taking pictures of knitting, and I don't even have anything stored to show you.

I'm a bad blogger...

Monday, November 01, 2010

Halloween review

Halloween on a weekend makes it so much easier to decorate. My husband becomes a big kid himself - anytime it has to do with entertaining kids, he's all for it.
my favourite "pumpkin in jail" carving

We spent much of Saturday and Sunday doing up the walkway and deck, as well as carving pumpkins.

Sunday night, we sent Robin Hood off with his friends, and prepared to greet all the trick or treaters.

Yes, his face is fuzzed out - he's actually quite handsome!

This bat swooped down on you as you made your way to the deck

 And this upside down hanging corpse just got better looking as the night wore on...

 he's caught in a giant spider web, and is being cocooned...

The best part of him was the walkie talkie hidden in his head - my husband had him speaking to people - we caught many an unsuspecting parent off guard!
There were other surprises - a remote controlled giant bug that came after you as you came up the walk, and hanging spiders that you brushed against.

Yes - we are giant kids at heart!