Friday, January 28, 2011

I bought this fabric quite a while ago - my son has been enamoured of basketball since he was about 5, so it seemed like a good fit. I think at first, I was thinking of pajamas, but this polar fleece would have been WAY too warm for that - the kid is already a furnace, pajamas out of this would have roasted the poor kid.
Then I had thoughts of a robe - the fleece would be perfect for that. I was thinking out it recently, since the robe he does have (and wears sporadically), was getting a bit small. But looking at it, I realized, that he had outgrown the "cuteness" of it. No way would he wear something made of this. Robes and such should be solid "manly" colours, I've been told. (My husband seems to be influencing the kid...)
So what to do? I really have been trying to sew (and knit) from my stash - figuring if I gain storage space, I can fill it up with new and wonderful additions, so getting rid of 3 metres of thick polar fleece freed up a great deal of shelf space. I didn't want to put it back. I could donate it, but I still liked it, and it really is super soft.
So I did the only logical thing (to me, at least).

I hemmed it, and made it a blanket. Seems "cute" patterns still work for blankets - it's become a favourite. It's warm and snuggly, and looks great with his denim duvet cover, and the assorted basketball items in his room.

No to dream about what can fill that shelf...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Koigu and Cashmere...

mmm... Koigu and Cashmere. Welcome to my next set of mittens.

These are for my Mom - her 79th birthday is in March, and I think she deserves flamingo mittens.
She has a place in Florida, and loves all things pink, so flamingos make sense to me.
I love Spillyjane's patterns, but every time I buy them, I end up adapting her patterns to my construction techniques, so don't expect these to look too much like hers, but all the same, it's Koigu and Cashmere...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Deathflakes done!

I love these mittens, for so many reasons...

The pattern. A snowflake with a skull in the middle. It really appeals to my warped sense of humour.
The style. I love this style of mitt - with a side thumb placement. While I've made many a peasant thumb (the type that emerges from the palm), and I will probably make more of them, I find myself adapting patterns to the side thumb style.
The colours. Green is my favourite colour, and this shade really works well with the white.
The Wool. Smart by Sandnesgarn. My go-to wool for mittens. Tons of colours and just the right weight for how I knit them.

Details (at least, as many as I can remember.)
Smart wool - 1 ball green, 1 ball white.
2.25 bamboo needles
pattern - the deathflake chart, cobbled into my own pattern. I've got to start keeping better notes, if only to ensure left and right mittens match. (These do, luckily...)
Time - less that a month, with time taken out to knit the Green Rowan Mitts and the Moebuis Hooded Cowl.

Still in a mitten knitting mood - stay tuned...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Back to mittens

The hood was just a short break - there is still mitten knitting going on - I completed the Rowan Tweed ones:
Part of these were knitted during a car-pooled drive in I had with my boss - he GETS the knitting thing and always asks if I don't pull something out to knit right away when we carpool into work! One day we had a brutal snowy drive in that took us almost 2 hours - I got a cuff and up to the thumb break done that morning...

And the Deathflakes continue on. I wish they were more portable, but the charts and such make it tough to carry around. I will start another pair out of Cascade 220 (maybe a striped pair, using up the bits and pieces of Cascade I have hanging around...) They are perfect "carry around" knitting for wait times, swimming lessons, etc.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

a break from the mittens

I'm still constantly knitting mittens - they are this year's go to mindless project (except ofr the charted Deathflakes - not so mindless there...)
But I took a short break to knit myself something.
To preface this - you should know I hate wearing hats. Winter hats, that is - give me a good baseball cap in summer and I'm happy, but in winter, I'm not a fan of the toque. Never have been. I'll pull up  a hood or just wear a headband to keep my ears warm. but I really hate having my hair flattened down on my head.
So, since I'm good with hoods, I knit myself this:

A Moebuis hood. It's the Kombu pattern from KnitPicks. (theirs in knit in cotton, but I used Cascade 220 for mine - its Canada, I need wool.)
It also works well as a cowl, and keeps the neck nice and toasty:

Here's a couple of better cowl pictures - taken last night...

It's very comfortable, but a couple of knit-picky things...
It's a touch tight at the neck. Not annoyingly so, and it will stretch when I block it out, so this isn't really a problem.
Now that it's complete, I get why, but towards the end of the pattern, you knit a bunch of short rows. No explanation as to why or anything. (they are to make the front of the hood a bit bigger over the forehead.) I just think it would be nice to explain WHY I'm doing something. Moebuii aren't exactly easy to check out while still on the needles. Just sayin'...
The biggest beef I have is that the pattern requires you to use Cat Bordhi's Moebuis cast on. No problem, I have Cat's book with the instructions, but what if I didn't? I didn't find this out until after I had bought the pattern. Yes, I know Cat's instructions are on YouTube, but what if I had wanted to start this somewhere where I didn't have Internet access? I'm not fond at all of patterns that require you to have access to other resources in order to knit it. If it had been a free pattern, different story - you take your chances, but this was purchased, and I would have liked it to have been spelled out before purchase that you will need to know the cast on, as well as a cast off found on Knitty (Jeny's super stretchy one). I actually didn't use this cast off, and didn't find it a problem.
With all that being said, I do love this hood. I wore it today (with my new gold Ponte tunic!) and it was very warm and comfy. Not a great wind break, but whatever. I'm very happy with it. I may try to deconstruct it and actually sew one out of a windproof fleece for the cottage...

Monday, January 17, 2011

weekend frenzy

You know how sometimes, you just get a burst of energy?
I had that this weekend. I had the time to spend in my sewing room, cleaning up a few projects and starting new ones. (It didn't hurt that Saturday was Fabricland's One Day Member's Sale - I stocked up!)
(Some of these projects were already started, so don't think this all happened in two days...)

Pajama Pants for me.
The green ones have been done for a while, but I never showed them to you. I just love this fabric - so cute!
Technically a Christmas print, but for jammies, I don't care - I wear them all the time.
The birch tree ones have been cut out for a while, and I finally got around to sewing them up. Again, a bit of a winter theme
(snow covered birch trees), but lightweight cotton, so year round wearable.

I started another Ponte cardigan in navy, but I'm going to change it up and add some interesting braid trim around this, so it's on hold until I decided what to do.
Tunics. I love tunic length tops. They suit my body shape (bit of a tummy issue, but good legs). So, tunic length tops over slim pants is a good look for me.
This gold tunic is made with my favourite Ponte di Roma fabric - a superb stable knit. It washes and machine dries like a dream, no pilling, no fading. Just love it. This with slim black pants and my knee high black boots and a black belt will be perfect for work.
I used the same pattern for this pink sweater knit tunic.
The only change is I widened the neckline so it sits just off the shoulder. This sweater knit it something I've never really sewn with before, but my machine has a great stretch stitch, so I thought I'd try it. It worked great. I'll wear a tank top or turtleneck under this for strap coverage. Originally this pink was a dress length, but it didn't thrill me. I knew I'd get way more use out of a tunic than a dress, so I cut it off.
There was enough of the fabric to cut a little above knee skirt as well, so I get the dress option  anyway. And elastic waist skirts take all of about 20 minutes to sew up. The hem hasn't been pressed here, that's why it's a bit wavy...

This top has been cut out and waiting for quite awhile. I'm not sure why I didn't get around to it, but I'm glad I did this weekend. It's a faux suede tunic top with a hood.
The hood has flat felled seams, so even though it's not lined, it still looks good from behind. I have slouchy suede boots in this shade of brown, so this will work well with them and slim cut jeans.
I probably would have kept going, but I needed to start dinner on Sunday (a throw-back to my growing up years - full roast dinner on Sunday night - tonight it's a roast loin of pork, with potatoes, broccoli, carrots, baked onions and Yorkshire puddings. Yum.) Plus Sunday was the Golden Globes, and I admit to being a fan of awards shows. Especially the Globes - you often get a winner that's imbibed a bit to much and it results in a no holds-barred speech. Plus I love Ricky Gervais.
I bought this pretty orange stretch corduroy, and already have plans for yet another tunic length top. The corduroy is super soft and has this swirled pattern to it. I don't know if I'll get to it this week (it's a pretty busy one), but I think I have next weekend free...)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mitten Mania

Strange, not that long ago, it was nearly impossible for me to finish a second mitten - I was definitely a one mitt wonder. But I knit socks by the dozen. Nowadays, I can't seem to stop knitting mitts, yet have not picked up sock knitting in months.
The mitts started with the three pairs for my niece for Christmas (Team Canada, and two pairs of Brown University). These were very well received, and my sister in law (her mom) made some gentle overtures about the brown pair, andhow she'd love to have some for when she visits her daughter in Rhode Island.

Easy enough.
Then I had found the "deathflake" pattern chart and fell in love. I had to have them. (Note this is just the chart - I fudged together my own mitten pattern...)

But... charted colourwork doesn't travel well, and with swimming lessons starting up, I needed some easy knitting. I still had a ball of the green Rowan Tweed left over from my cardigan, so that fit the bill perfectly.
The Brown mitts are done and sent off to the SIL - she has no idea they are coming, so it should be interesting over the next few days when she received them. The other two are chugging along, both at home and on the road.
I can't wait to show you the deathflakes - I am seriously in love with them. Now I just have to keep myself from Spillyjane's site...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Damn you autocorrect!

oh my god, I could not stop laughing out loud. Thankfully I was working at home.

Two of the funniest...
damn you auto correct funny iphone fails and blunders

damn you auto correct funny iphone fails and blunders

I think I'm happy I got a Blackberry instead of an iPhone - the autocorrect isn't nearly as rude as some of these...

Sunday, January 09, 2011


Team Canada lost a tough, well fought game to the US team at the Women's Under 18 World Hockey Championships. Our girls come home today, with heads held high for a great job, well done.
I don't care about the colour of the medal - I'm very proud of my niece and her teammates.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Trying to understand Swedish...

As I might have mentioned, my niece Sarah is doing some wonderful things over in Stockholm, Sweden. The team finished first in their pool, sending them directly to the semi finals today. Unfortunately, there is no TV or radio, but it is being webcast at - click on 'VM Damer CAN-FIN' - Game time is at 9:20am EST.
Now I have to figure out what the Swedish commentators are saying! Thank God for my Blackberry - I can pin my brother for instant updates. (He's over there watching).
the team had a much needed couple of days off, and the Swedish Federation arranged a tour of the Swedish Royal Palace, as well as some much needed family time. (the girls are kept together, and my brother has had limited time with her). They remedied that yesterday and had some great time together. Sarah is aware of how many people are behind her - family and friends are rallying from all over. I'm even in touch with a few of my Mom's friends in Florida, and it seems they are having a "web party" in the complex where Mom has a winter place, to watch.
Whatever happens, whatever the outcome, I'm just so proud of her and the rest of Team Canada. She's 17 years old and playing in a world championship. She scored her first international goal on New Year's Day, her Mom's birthday, with her Dad in the stands. She's getting messages from her brothers, her Mom, her aunt and tons of friends, and she knows how proud we are of her.

Now I'm off to figure out this Swedish web cast...

Thursday, January 06, 2011

best husband ever!

at least on this particular day...

When we were driving to the cottage for New Years, and I was knitting the chullo hat for my son, as I neared the top, I realized I would need to switch from my circular needle to the 4mm double points in order to close up the top. I rooted in my bag, casually at first, then a bit more frenzied. Finally, I sat back and sighed. I had forgotten my double points. Crap. It's not like I didn't have anything else to knit - I had at lest 3 other projects I could work on, but you know when you can see the end? I knew I could finish this hat that weekend, even with all the adjustments I was planning (the hem, the double ear flaps, etc.) But without the dpns, I couldn't finish the hat.

My husband asked what the problem was and I told him. So he says to me - "you have a Blackberry. Google yarn shops in Peterborough. We can stop." I jump on that suggestion, find Needles in The Hay, check their hours (open - good!), check the map - 385 Water Street - tell my husband this, and as we are approaching Peterborough, he makes a course adjustment (he's familiar with Peterborough - his Dad's from there), and lo and behold, with a minor detour, I have in my hands 4mm bamboo double point needles! Not to mention, I found a wonderful little yarn store in Peterborough that I will be returning to - Bridget, you have gained yourself a customer (at least during the summer months when I'm in the Peterborough area. If anyone is around there, please drop by - great little shop, fantastic service, and wonderful yarn. (I had two impatient boys in the car that allowed me this detour - I bought needles and got back to them - I didn't want to jinx any future detours by taking too long...)

Obviously the detour worked, becasue as you saw yesterday, I finished the hat!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

take that, store bought hat...

You may remember me mentioning my nephew and his store bought, acrylic chullo style hat. And how, when I called him on it, he basically said "I don't like hand knits, I like the label on this" (yes, I'm paraphrasing, but I know him well enough to say this).

And how, his mom, my SIL basically said (again, paraphrasing) "kids want the "right" labels in order to fit in". Crap, I say.
(actually, the word in my brain was a little stronger than "crap".)

Kids learn that attitude. They aren't born with it. I understand, there is a degree of "fitting in", and clothing and other things are a big part of it. But the level to which we allow it is learned at home. Yes, my kid feels a need to fit in to an extent. And, to an extent, we allow it. He has an iPod Touch (bought with his own money), but he's not allowed to take it to school. He has numerous video game systems. He has a computer (my old laptop - nothing bought specifically for him). He has some shirts from "the" stores, but only a few. He's more about comfort than anything else.
So for my nephew to feel this way - he's learned that it's an acceptable attitude from his parents and older siblings. That's fine now, but he's in for a rude awakening when it's up to him to have to pay for things. The older nephew is finding that out now - he's almost 17, has never had a job, and has to make some post secondary decisions soon. When asked what he wants to do, he says he doesn't care what the job is, as long as the hours are good and he makes a lot of money. Yeah, when you find that, let me know - I want that job, too.

Whatever, I guess the purpose of this rant was to show off this.

I knit this between Christmas and New Years. It matches my son's parka
and he loves it. It's a Frankenstein pattern, using the basic shaping of an earflap hat pattern I found, but I changed a few things - After knitting it, I picked up stitches around the brim and knit a hem to make it lie flat.
I also picked up stitches at the top of the earflaps and knit a liner of them downwards, then when I was putting the single crochet border around the edge, I crocheted the two flaps together, making it double (for warmth), and now the earflaps don't curl. This also allowed me to sandwiched the braids between the layers.
Now don't get me wrong - I don't WANT to knit this again for my nephew. Name brand or not, I bet it cost more to make mine, simply becasue I used Zara merino, a super soft, wonderful wool, along with some Cascade (the green) for the right colour. It wasn't cheap, but then again, I don't knit to save money.

Store bought acrylic? Pah!

Monday, January 03, 2011

Christmas round up

Really, Christmas 2010 was great. Any time spent with family (in short doses) is great. We actually start the day the night before and always spend Christmas Eve with good friends. We talk, laugh, eat fondue and generally have a terrific time. The next morning, it's just the three of us - the boy wakes us up (after 8am these days - nice!) and we go downstairs, get coffee, and open gifts. Santa always seems to know when we've got home and gone to sleep because gifts that weren't there the night before have appeared. This year the big man brought an XBox 360, because I guess a Playstation and a Wii weren't enough video game consoles in the house...
Once we've fortified ourselves with breakfast, we're off to my Mom's place for a while, then to my brother's house - he and his wife, her parents and my niece and 2 nephews. Great fun. The added bonus this year was a friend of my brother's that came by with his wife and two kids - they live in Atlanta, and I haven't seen Rich in almost 6 years - as much as he and my bro were friends, Rich was really a part of our family and a really good friend of mine, and it was such as surprise to see him! I loved it, and loved seeing his family. It was hard to leave but we had to be at the husband's sister's place for dinner, and there were rumours that she was having it early, so we made tracks.
Not quick enough, obviously, as they had already finished dinner by the time we arrived. Okkkaayyyy. thanks for that. We have cell phones - you couldn't have checked timing with us? What ever, we threw together some plates of food (eaten cold because her microwave wasn't working), then were hurried into the other room for gift exchanging. There was some snarkiness from a couple of them, but I was still on a high from the mittens earlier, so I blew it off. Really, it's not worth the drama.
Did I mention the wine bag we have been given earlier in the week by a friend? It seemed fitting for the occasion:
Whatever, gifts were exchanged (among the kids, mostly, because that's what it's all about), and we then cleaned up and got on the road in good time.
One thing I found funny, (and a little sad), when we were leaving the SIL's, one of my nephews had on a new hat. A chullo hat (with earflaps and braids) (similar to one I offered to make him a while back). It was acrylic, and not very well made, but it had a label on the back. I say to him, jokingly, as he walks by (his label-conscious mom nearby), "What the ?? you're wearing a store bought hat in front of me? Why don't you just ask me for one?" He looks at me, and says, "yours wouldn't be the right type". His mom explains that it has to have the "right" label in order to be cool. Whatever. His Mom has drilled into those kids the joys of shopping, and obviously, it's all about the label, the brand, the name. No originality, no individuality, and in this specific case - no warmth! Really? An acrylic hat? for a Canadian winter?
I give up with this group. I'm so happy my kid puts comfort and value ahead of labels and brands. (I admit - he's got some American Eagle, Aeropostale and West 49th stuff, but not much). He would rather I make his pajama pants, and knit his hats and neckies. He doesn't understand the draw of the mall, and often wonders aloud how he and his cousin can be related, when his cousin talks about going shopping for the entire day.

At least I have my husband, son and brother's kids to knit for...