Monday, October 31, 2011

A Halloween change

Today is the first time in 13 Halloween's that my son is not going trick or treating. It was a tough decision for him, but his 5'6" height, deep voice, and the fact that some of his friends are also not going, has made the decision for him.
He still loves the costume I made for him, and it went to school with him for the dance this afternoon.
The nice thing about him not going trick or treating? He can answer the door, and I don't get interrupted as much!
We still decorate the house for it - can't seem to help ourselves, but we have scaled back a touch - no scaffolding this year!!
Pictures to come...

Friday, October 28, 2011

new hat for the boy

My son has asked for a new winter hat. His reasoning is that since he got a new jacket this year, shouldn't his hat match? (This from a kid who has shown no other interest in fashion or clothes...)
Who am I to say no... We discussed styles, and it was decided that he really liked the chullo style of last years hat - the ear flaps, the ties, the large size of it. Cool. I just happened to have the Knit Picks catalogue, and they have a great chullo pattern using Palette wool.
One problem - while the greys, black and white are perfect, he's not fond of turquoise - that's really his cousin's "Thing" - Cousin S is a huge fan of turquoise, and wears it all the time. So the turquoise had to go.
 Easy fix - just add three more balls of Palette in shades of green - his choice of replacement.
Then there was the small problem of the pattern on the ear flap - the alpaca was not his first choice - could I replace it with a skull?
(Hey, he's a 12 year old boy, skulls are way cooler than alpacas...) Sure! Doodle up something,
knit it up
 get the approval from the boy, and start the second ear flap. I'm hoping to have both flaps done before the weekend, so I can get to the hat itself - these flaps are fiddly and annoying with tons of ends hanging - because I had to use all three shades of green on something this small. Next time, maybe one shade of green would suffice...

Oh, and just because it made sense (as far as shipping costs), I threw in a couple of balls of Chroma worsted weight to make another striped scarf a la Noro. Colourway Mesa, and I think it's going to look great.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

one word - delicious!

This Pink cashmere blend scarf is really becoming one of my favourite knits! The tonal quality of the wool is really being shown to it's absolute best with this pattern, and the resulting fabric is so squooshy and soft - it is just delicious!

It's a good thing pink doesn't suit me so much - it will be really hard to give this up, but at least it's going to a fantastic friend who will love it properly.
I may just have to make this pattern for myself with the alpaca I just got. I tell you, I have the best internet friends!

Monday, October 24, 2011

One thing leads to another

Sometimes I wonder how I end up doing something, so I traced this particular episode backwards...

I was doing some sewing, and came across this fabric piece. Not a big piece - it's about 20" x 20", and I actually have about 5-6 pieces of knitting related fabric. (I think my Mom bought me these a while back).
So I wanted to do something with it. I was going to make some more drawstring bags (I have a bunch of them for small projects), but thought, a small bag is good for socks, but for something bigger, I want more structure. Then I remembered I had this pattern for an origami lotus bag.

And I liked it. It was simple, but different, and it would use the fabric pieces I had. It would hold more than a sock project. So then I needed a project to put in it.
I had found this scarf pattern, and really loved the simplicity, yet laciness of it. And then I remembered the lovely pink cashmere that Carol had sent me. And I just knew it would work.

And you know what? It works better than I imagined it would. You know when you hit upon that perfect mesh of pattern and wool? Well, this is it.  Really. The tonal quality of the wool works perfect with the linear laciness of the pattern (December scarf - a free Ravelry download). The squooshyness of the wool is perfectly enhanced by the yarn overs and k2togethers of the pattern. The patterns uses about 200 yards, and this ball has about 250 yards, so I'll get a few extra repeats in to add to the length.
As much as I want to keep this for myself, I think it is for my best friend, and godmother of my son. We've been friends since we were babies - our parents were friends, and we've been like sisters since then. There's no one who deserves it more.
Oh, and really? This is one of the fastest knits ever! The above was about an hour - it's just speedy! Or maybe I can't put it down because I love the feel of it so much...

But that's pretty much  how I came to be knitting a lace scarf, on top of all the other projects I have on the go...

Friday, October 21, 2011

sock cache

I've been knitting socks for most of the summer - just as "filler" knitting - while a passenger in a car, waiting in line or watching my son's baseball games - all that time that would otherwise be unused.
Using my favoured afterthought heel method, I've amassed a pile of socks waiting for recipients and heels.

From left to right (underneath):
A grey and blue Mirasol Punta yarn - lovely stuff to work with, really nice. I love how the colours came out. These socks may be for a friend, or for my son.
A pale pastelly grey mix Fleece Artist Sea Cell yarn - soft and squooshy, but a little short on yardage. Probably for my Mom - she prefers her socks on the shorter side, or m u MIL, who is really short, so short socks work for her.
Fame Trend in shade of beige and brown. A nice enough yarn, but it's single spun, so not my favourite. The socks are nice, though - probably for a friend.
Misti Alpaca sock yarn - one of my favourite sock yarns, ever. These are nice and long, and for my FIL - a specific request from him!
In front - the vintage Socks that Rock with contrasting toes, heels and ribbing - these are all mine!

Since I still carpool a couple days a week, and my son is well into basketball, I'm still working on socks, and still dipping into my stash of vintage STR - I'm working on a grey-pinky mix right now, using some leftover grey bamboo sock for some nice squooshy toes and heels.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

2 things I love

Alpaca and colourwork. 

Note - this is not the alpaca that Needles sent me - that stuff is being kept for me! This is some other Alpaca I had kicking around the stash. This hat is a Christmas gift for a great friend and cottage neighbour. His wife and daughters are getting something hand knit, so it only seemed fair that he gets something as well.
This particular hat will have a sewn hem (that's the big bit of blue at the bottom). I doodled up a pattern, based on some I saw on line, and I hope it;s going to be long enough (right now it seems to be right on track).
Of course, by doing this, Dahlia, and it's never ending swaths of stockinette has been sort of put on hold. It's still in rotation, but this time of year, knits for myself get put behind those for other people. And I'm good with that.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


I love making pajama pants. They're easy and fun. I make them for my son, for myself, and for carefully selected friends. (I gave up making them for the nieces and nephews after the less than lukewarm reception hand made gifts get from them).

This is the selection at the moment - cut out and ready for sewing.

Here's some up close shots:

Sewing themes! Obviously for me.

Elvis! For one of my best friends. A huge Elvis fan, and she works at home and is always on the lookout for comfy pajamas. (She does get dressed during the day!)

For the kid - sports themes.

There's also some florals, some stripes and some plaids. I swear, if I could live in pajama pants, I would.

startng the Christmas stuff...

I've changed my whole outlook on Christmas lately. Instead of trying to force that hand made stuff on family, and getting shot down all the time, I just don't bother anymore. I keep the effort for those that are appreciative. People like my husband, son, Mom, Father and Mother in Law, and some friends.
My boss is one of those people. He loves the handknit socks I gave him last spring, and even told me as we were carpooling last week, that I "could sit in the back to knit if I wanted to keep his Christmas gift a surprise". We discussed it a bit, and he said socks would be good, or he could use a scarf to go with his black leather jacket. Sold.
Digging around the stash brought me this:

It's some unknown yarn I've had forever, lost the tag on, but always wanted to knit with. It's about a DK weight - heavier than regular sock yarn, but not quite worsted.

I tried a few patterns out - slip stitch patterns, linen stitch, since I find them the best with variegated yarns. However, I got a few inches in, weighed what I knit, and what was left, did a little math to see how long the scarf would be and, well, it won't be long enough. Rip. Try striping it with some Red Cascade (Did I mention my boss requested red?), but the weights were just different enough to make it not quite right. I tried it with some black silk, but the black overpowered the red and grey.

Then while doing laundry, I looked up and saw it. My loom. I could use the Red Cascade as the warp, and the variegated as the weft.

I think it's going to work.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Today is our Canadian Thanksgiving. Unlike our American neighbours, our Thanksgiving is on a Monday, giving us a three day weekend. I am, of course, at the cottage, enjoying some spectacular un-autumn like weather. Seriously, we are talking Humidex this weekend, it's been so warm. The kids have been swimming, and we've been relaxing with the neighbours, enjoying a final warm long weekend, before we start enjoying the cooler, snowier long weekends that are to come.
I roasted a huge turkey on Saturday (cottage Thanksgivings take liberties with the actual days) - by cooking the turkey early, we get more opportunity for leftovers - quesadillas, sandwiches, and possibly soup, although it's been a little warm to have a boiling pot on the stove all day!
I hope my Canadian friends are enjoying time with family and friends, and for my American friends, I know you're looking forward to 4 days in November. (actually, I am too! I hope to be in Florida visiting my Mom during that time - I'm good with the double turkey thing...)


Friday, October 07, 2011


I did Needles a small favour - I sent her a signed copy of Steph's new book (my LYS had advance copies, and Steph signed them all when she visited). Needles confessed to being a bathroom reader as I am, and well, we have to stick together, so when I offered to send her the book, she jumped at the chance, and we traded - she was going to mail me the money.
Well, she did, but when I got home yesterday and saw this waiting for me, I knew there was more than cash in there.

All I can say is wow! How Needles knew is beyond me - Alpaca is my favourite fibre, I am all about the naturals and home grown, and I'm pretty sure this is from a local (to her) alpaca farm.

I feel incredibly lucky to have friends like this - we've never met, and probably won't - we live 3 provinces apart in Canada (3,317 km, according to Google Maps) and that's a couple of days of travel. But through the Internet and a shared love of knitting and fibre, she got a book signed by an author in Ontario, and I got some of the most delicious and squooshy Alberta alpaca.
And the coolest card ever, by the way.

I definitely got the better part of the deal...

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

new sweater for me

I wanted another cardigan for me. I wear them a lot, so knitting them for me is a no brainer. But this time, I wanted something a little different. Not my basic top down cardigan, something DIFFERENT.
Enter the Dahlia cardigan. It's beautiful, it's different. it's drapey, it had to be mine.
And at the Kitchener Knitters Fair, I found the perfect wool - Elsbeth Lavold Silky Wool. I've used it before in my blue cardigan, and I love how it knits up and how it wears and how it feels. The Purple Purl had the perfect colour as well - a rich, ruby red.
Done Deal.

The lace panel on the back knit up in no time, and was fun to knit. I reminded me that I really like knitting lace.
Now I'm in the endless stockinette portion, and it's dragging a bit, but I'm continuing because I love the wool and the sweater.

Red is SO hard to photograph properly. It's not as pinky as it appears above.

It's closer to this shade of red, dark, but still some brightness to it. It also uses an afterthought sleeve, which is kind of funny, since I'm demonstrating afterthought heels (a method that can be used for many uses, not just heels) at our Guild on Tuesday night.

Monday, October 03, 2011

found and fixed

A while back, probably about a year ago, I made this little shrug like sweater, using one ball of a chunky Rowan wool I had. It's a beautiful blue, with flecks of green in it, and I just love the colour. I was sure I had bought two balls of the wool, but at the time of construction, I only had the one on hand.

I loved the sweater, but there was a problem. Who needs a short sleeved, cropped sweater made out of CHUNKY WOOL? Right - not many people. So this sat. Then, I found the second ball, and put it in a bag with the sweater and the proper sized needles... and it still sat.
Recently I picked it up, and decided to just do it. I unpicked the sleeve ribbing, and added length to the sleeves first. (Longer sleeves were more important to me that added length).
Much better. I've even worn it already. I know it will get more use this way. Tossing the stash and finding the other ball of wool was a good thing.