Wednesday, August 31, 2011

found and finished

Once I finished my Vitamin D cardigan, I needed some small projects to fill in time. I didn't feel like picking up my EZ Green (really white) cardigan, so I dug around my UFO pile and came up with a couple of scarves. Neither of them had much left to do, and both would be great additions to the Christmas "potential gift" box.

 This rainbow hued one is a simple K2tog, YO pattern, using FAME TREND sock yarn. It's a single spun yarn, and feels a little scratchy while knitting, but softens up wonderfully with a soak and stretch.
This pale pink one is a pattern I found somewhere on the Internet, and promptly lost, but I had memorized it before losing it. IT uses two different needle sizes, and is basically made by doubling stitches for a stretch, then halving the number of stitches for the smaller garter bands. Very pretty, and an effective pattern.
It's two balls of Drops baby alpaca, and is ridiculously soft. This might be destined for my Mom and her love of all things pink.

While finishing up 2 UFO's feels great, it doesn't even dent the pile in the basket. Sigh. Whatever. I'll get around to them.

But first, there is something else grabbing my attention. Citron. I saw a finished one on Rue's blog, and Rue had just happened to send me a wonderful skein of Woolen Rabbit Essence... so stay tuned...
(By the way, click over to Rue's blog, if only for the cutest baby pictures! Tadpole is already showing a love of yarn and hand knits...))

Sunday, August 28, 2011

playoff knitting

This weekend was spent watching baseball. Peewee baseball, ages 12 and 13. Specifically my son's team. While they won the regular season, the playoffs are basically a separate season, starting from scratch. Round robin format, semis and finals.
I started a new sock for the playoffs (not intentionally, it just happened that way), and here's what I ended up with at the end of it all:

But here's the really important thing from the end of it all:

Hard to see? Let me help you...

Proud parent? You betcha! Especially in the final game, when the Boy's hit brought in the 2 runs that clinched it for us.
Proud of the whole team. This was a great bunch of kids and parents, that really played and celebrated as a team. They made it a great season, and I couldn't be happier for them.
I've been told by the parents and coaches now that next season, I have to continue knitting socks. I'm not allowed to just sit and watch...

Friday, August 26, 2011

actual Miss Manners letter

Below is a letter and answer that actually appeared on the Miss Manners website. I love her comment about us being armed...
Note that I am one of those people who will knit in movies or at concerts or the like. I use soft wood needles, so they don't click, and always a simple stockinette in the round (sweater body or sock) - no pattern, no turning of the work, nothing that will distract others with unnecessary movement. I don't attend church or any organized religious gathering, so that doesn't apply to me, but I'm thinking that if I did, I would probably knit. I'd have issues worshipping a deity that didn't approve of knitting and multitasking...


Over the years I have noticed people knitting in public and have had no particular problem with it. However, I am a bit put off by those who knit in church or at an event such as a recital or concert.

Is it acceptable to knit at a church, synagogue or other religious service? And what about a concert or recital? I recently attended a piano and violin recital in a small venue where someone was knitting in the third row. Surely it was evident to the performers. And if such knitting is not appropriate, how should the knitters be approached, or prevented?

GENTLE READER: Please do not -- repeat, not -- make a hostile approach to knitters. Have you not noticed that they are armed with long, pointy sticks?

Of all the multitaskers who could annoy you, Miss Manners would not have guessed that knitters would top the list. There is a centuries-long history of ladies quietly doing needlework while remaining alert to what was going on around them.

But perhaps your complaint is that they are not quiet. If the clicking of needles is what bothers you, you could appeal to the authorities at church or concert hall that as they ban texting, it is only fair to ban activities that create similar noise. And if they don’t already ban texting, you might start by asking that they do before going after those comparatively unobtrusive knitters.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

more cottage knitting

I decided while at the cottage that I needed to knit lace. Not a lot of lace, just a little wisp of something. I had this wonderful Knit Picks Baby Alpaca that had been sitting in my stash forever, and it really wanted to be knit up.
So I did.

The second shot above gives a pretty good indication of the colour of this "Autumn" colourway. What it doesn't show is the absolute softness and deliciousness of the fibre...

I started this on our vacation, and finished it up when we got home. I soaked it, blocked it, and man o man, does it ever open up and become almost ethereal when blocked!

The pattern is the Holden Shawlette, and while nice, the miles of stockinette will bore you to tears if it was any bigger. The pictures on the pattern didn't really show the edging too well, but I like the fact that the lace bit is not really overly lacy and fussy. This is a nice, light, warm shawlette, and will make a great gift for someone on my list.
I opted to not do the picot bind off - this yarn was so light and the bind off so fiddly (although very pretty!). I went with a crochet loop bind off, and I"m happy with how it turned out.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

update on Susan's wedding prep...

It's only a few days away, and things are pready for the wedding. She's got her dress, she's got the jewellry (which I'm proud to day I had a part in making!), and now she has the crowning glory! I can't believe she kept this from me, but she knit this totally without telling me, in case she didn't get it done! (Like I would have judged her! Well... maybe I would have a bit...) Gaze on this in awe, as I did, then read her own words describing it...

(The below is the exact email Susan sent me with the pictures - reproduced here with her permission).

Behold, the Jared Flood Bridgewater shawl. Surprised?

It’s knit in the white alpaca/silk laceweight I bought back in the spring, thinking I was going to knit that very beautiful shawl. But then we got engaged in March and the wedding date was earlier than I thought it would be – hence, limited shawl knitting time. I started this around early April and didn’t want to let anyone know I was working on it for the wedding, until I knew it was done and it came out right – just in case I ran out of time. This was an easy pattern, but it was still huge in size and time-consuming. I worked on it a lot, most nights, and all that interspersed with the moving and other chores, so I didn’t work on it as steadfastly as I wanted to (should’ve been done earlier!).

I ordered some grey acid dye from KP. Before it was time to dye the shawl, I crocheted a few fast swatches with the yarn. I prepped the dye water accordingly, but added a tiny bit of the grey dye only, not the whole bottle. I wanted this shawl a light grey to match my dress, so I had to be careful. In went the first swatch. The colour was perfect, so I was able to continue, took a deep breath and plunged the whole thing in. I figured if the dye this way didn’t work, I would just go full on and dye it a charcoal grey and I’d still have my lovely shawl to wear – just not at the wedding though, and I have a gorgeous cashmere cardi to wear as back up. But it all worked out beautifully. Blocked like a dream today, all nice and square with my blocking rods kit and here it is, ready to roll out at my wedding. I finished this sucker last night at midnight.

Photographer is going to be instructed to zero in on it, a LOT. (I’ll put it on after the ceremony, for party time). So more professional photos to come for the blog. Hope I don’t snag my bracelets on it! I sacrificed a lot of clay and paper and beading craft time and book reading for almost 5 months. Every time I wanted to do something different I had to remind myself that this could not wait. I’m not gonna knit again for a good while.

I need a break!!

(Back to me now...)
Susan has promised me pictures of the wedding, once she gets them back from her photographer. I would love to see the photographer's face when she insists on closeups of a shawl and a bracelet, and the cake toppers!

"Forget the family shots! Make sure you get the lace edging!"

Friday, August 19, 2011

cottage knitting

I finished my Silk-Wool cardigan while at the cottage. It's the Vitamin D sweater by Heidi Kirrmaier. I really, really love the sweater. Really. It fits well, looks great, and the yarn has so many colours and slubs in it, it will go with so much of my wardrobe.
This would be considered dressy for me - I don't work in a dressy environment - jeans and shorts are the norm - but every now and then, I need to look business presentable, and this sweater with a pair of black pants and top, or brown, or even green or rust! - looks terrific.
It still needs a bit of block here:

Here you can see a bit of the shaping in the front
A better indication of how the fronts drape
A close up of the short row wedges that create the shape
And a real indication of the actual shape
I've actually worn it already (dressy or not, it looked great with a tank top and Bermuda shorts!), and will get you some modeled shots soon. It's a nice pattern, but one you have to pay attention to, once you get to the sort rows. I don't think I did mine according to the pattern, but as long as each side matches up, I'm happy. Heidi's instructions are a little vague, in my opinion. As much as I liked knitting it, I'd be a little wary recommending her patterns to newbie knitters.

But overall - a win!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

re-entry and prizes!

We're back from vacation, and trying to adjust.  The house and yard were showing some serious signs of wear, not to mention my desk when I got back into the office! The past two days were spent digging out, and it finally feels like some semblance of normal has returned. OF course, we're only in town for the week -heading back to the cottage Friday night! We're banking time, since the following week and weekend will be a whirlwind of baseball playoff games. The Boy's team finished first in the regular season, but all that means nothing - it's all about the playoffs, and he plays next Monday-Wednesday-Friday-2 games Saturday and hopefully the finals on Sunday. We may lose a weekend at the cottage, but at least they compress it all in a week, instead of spreading it out.

But enough rambling about my life - I have prizes to send out!

Julia in KW, KnitTech and Carol will each be the recipient of one of these:

**Carol! I need your mailing address!

2 skeins of Knit Picks Memories in the S'mores colourway. This is somewhat vintage Knit Picks, as I don't believe it's available anymore. 100% merino, 220 yds each. Enough for a pair of socks.
 1 skein Fame Trend - long colourways of greens and dark greys.75% superwash wool, 25% nylon. 420 metres. Lovely stuff - really softens with a wash. I've made socks with this yarn.
1 skein Palett by Sandnesgarn, in shades of blue and green. 75% superwash wool, 25% nylon, 420 metres. Very similar to the Fame Trend.

I'm going to randomly put them in envelopes and send them out, unless I hear from anyone specifically requesting anything.

And I think I owe Brenda an apology for holding a contest in the summer - I should have known that many people would be away (I myself go away often!). I'll do better next time, Brenda!

One other note - someone commented that Lucky had a funny caption - she did, but she and I trade stuff all the  time - it seemed silly to send her a prize, so I took her out of the running.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

greetings from cottage country!

We're halfway into our week up here, and it already feels too short. But I guess that's good - if we didn't love it up here, we'd never want to come here. We've had some sun, some rain and tins of fun. Even rain doesn't slow us down. To be honest, all the rain does is increase my knitting output!
One sock finished, and a sleeve on my wool silk cardigan is done. All that's left is part of another sleeve, and I'll have me a wearable cardigan that I already love.
I've got beads strewn across the table (working on a new design...) books all over the place and a basket of knitting that moves from couch to deck to beach.
I know I've got it pretty good...

But... here's where it gets good for you! Winners! Expecting comments in the prime of summer vacation time was a slightly dumbass thing on my part, but it worked out for three lucky winners:

Julia in KW!
Knit Tech!

**edited to fix my email address - sorry!**

I need addresses so I can send stuff out. Email me at sjrichardson10 (at) gmail (dot) com and I'll send out the decals and knitterly goodness. I'll post pictures of what the prizes are when  get back home, and have a chance to stash dive for something good.

Back to my loaded coffee out on the deck...

Friday, August 05, 2011

What I've been working on

We're back in town after a long weekend, but not for long. We head back up this weekend for a full week up at the cottage. I'm working out what knitting to take, and right now the front runners are two cardigans, tons of socks (because I truly believe I can knit 4 pairs of socks and two cardigans in a week...) and maybe that Woolen Rabbit wool and some scarf patterns... (can't be caught short now, can I?)

The silk/wool cardigan is coming along - the short rows make it tough to really get an idea of how far along I am, but I'm pretty far along on the body. (farther than what is shown here). I love this more and more, each time I pick it up, and it will probably be my go-to project on holidays.

I've actually finished this pair of STR socks, except for the heels, but I'm holding on tho that to use them as a demo pair of a live tutorial I'll give my Guild on the afterthought heel.

I've started another pair of socks, using some Misti Alpaca, and have some more vintage STR in the queue. I may post occasionally from the cottage - we do have wifi, but if I ignore you, don't take it personally. Sometimes, it;s hard to look at a computer screen when we're up there. There are so many other distractions...

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

contest extension!

if you missed this post you know I am giving away some yarny and decal-y prizes for something funny. I was going to close comments tonight, but I will keep them open until Friday, otherwise KnitTech gets it all!
Just leave a comment on the Simcoe Day post, and I'll draw from there.

Even though I haven't specified the prise (I'm not that organized!) I can promise delicious woolly, possibly silky stuff!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

great knitting mail

Canada Post is still working out a bit of a backlog from the recent postal strike (I'm still getting my People magazines 2 or 3 at a time... Yes, I read People magazine - it's a small vice I have...), but the other day, CP brought me TWO knitting related pieces of mail!
One was some wool I won from Rue of Tinks and Frogs (go check her blog - seriously one of the cutest babies ever, and the Tadpole has a true appreciation for wool, especially the handspun stuff)
This is a skein of Essence by the Woolen Rabbit, in the Oakmoss colourway. Truly beautiful - thanks so much for pulling my name, Rue! I am keeping this for me - I see a great squooshy scarf (probably triangular) for the winter.

Next up - Robyn of Knit and Purl Mama sent me these:

Decals! One of these is going on my car - I just can't decide between Knit Girl and Knitting Nerd - The Nerd kinda resembles me (the glasses...) and I am kinda nerdy about knitting...
The rest will be put aside for giveaways and such.

Thanks Rue and Robyn! These really made my day!

Monday, August 01, 2011

Simcoe Day

In honour of John Graves Simcoe, Ontario's first Lieutenant Governor, today is a holiday in Ontario. So I am were you would expect me to be on a day such as this - at the cottage.
I could write about John Graves, but instead, I thought I'd show you some random shots of our little bit of paradise...
This is still one of my favourite shots - this was sunset from a year or so ago, and we get this vista a lot. The sun sets over there, and we so often get the pinks and oranges that you see here. This was a remarkably calm evening, and the lake is almost mirror smooth.
Even though it's a fairly busy lake with quite a few cottages, we are still in the wilds, and share the area with wildlife.
This little guy was on the road last Sunday, and just stood there, looking at us. He (she?) was almost posing for us, as we took pictures. We had to actually let the car move a bit to get him to move along and safely off the road, and even then, he just sauntered off to the side, and watched us drive by.

We have tons of dragonflies around our place - a good thing, since their main diet is mosquitos. Most of them are black or blue, but this guy likes to hang out by my Muskoka chair near the lake. I see him pretty much every day I'm there.

The lake is also full of wildlife. The other weekend, this line of Canada Geese made it's way casually across the bay, taking their time. We see geese occasionally, but this year, there is the rather large gaggle hanging about. I'm good with it, except when they decide to walk up our beach. To put it mildly, geese poop. A LOT. We try to gently encourage them to walk around the more uninhabited areas of the bay - let's just say we aren't always wearing footwear, and that's the fastest way to find goose poop. 

Our bay is also host to a loon family (real loons, not the people who inhabit some of the cottages...). This year, there are two babies, although they are probably considered teens by now. They still have the fluffy brown feathers of the adolescent, but will start developing the distinctive black and white of the adult loon soon. The parents are very protective of the babies, since they can't yet dive, and one morning, the whole family got in close to the dock, allowing me to take their picture.

But my favourite wildlife are these...

This is my son and one of the neighbours on the Lily Pad. There is nothing like the call of the pre-teen that defines the sounds of the cottage.

So in honour of the holiday, I'm going to have a contest. I have another picture of the loons below.
You know this is Mom Loon, right? You can imagine what she's saying to the young'uns...
Leave me a comment on this post before midnight EST Wednesday, August 3, and the caption that makes me laugh hardest gets a Knit Girl or Knitting Nerd decal. ( see tomorrow's post for what I'm talking about. there may be some other yarny stuff thrown in as well...)

Come on! Make me laugh!