Monday, April 30, 2012

Frolicing part one

Saturday saw Susan and I up early, meeting up and sharing a wonderful breakfast of bagels, smoked salmon, cream cheese, home baked muffins, juice and coffee while we knit and watched the huge line of people enter the DKC Knitter's Frolic. Once the line was done, we slid out of the car and scooted right in. We both had some specific ideas about what we wanted, and what we didn't want to buy, and we were pretty good about it.
My goal was a new loom. I love my LeClerc table loom, but it's large, and doesn't travel well. It's also a TABLE loom, which means it needs a table top with a lot of space.
I wanted a smaller, more portable loom that I could take to the cottage or wherever, and use wherever I was. In other words, I wanted a 10" Cricket. The same loom I convinced Susan to buy last year. Yes, we both thought that was funny.
This is so much better, size-wise. I will still use my LeClerc for bigger projects - I have 2 heddles for it, and a great set up at home for it's use. But the Cricket will travel better, and be great for whipping up scarves and such.
I mean, we are talking about a considerable size difference here:

Look! The Cricket fits right inside the LeClerc!

Up next, stay tuned for the yarn purchases, which are honestly way more interesting than showing looms...

Friday, April 27, 2012


It's been one of those weeks - you know the one, where you think it's Tuesday, but it's actually Thursday and you don't know where the two days went? Or it's 6:27pm, and you wanted to be somewhere at 6:30pm, and it takes at least 15 minutes to get there (if traffic is on my side...) Yes, that happened last night...
So, in lieu of an FO shot of Wingspan (love it!!) you get Friday random thoughts...

The DKC Knitter's Frolic is this weekend - who's going? Susan and I will be there - our usual "Meet early for breakfast and get great parking" situation is in full swing - we will eat and knit and wait for the doors to open, let the line up get in, then saunter in ourselves. I should probably have my yellow I KNIT messenger bag as per usual, so if you see me, stop and say hi. (unless I have THAT LOOK in my eye - then I'm zeroing in on wool, and I'd recommend standing back...) I've saved a recently received windfall for this weekend, so who knows what I may end up with.

I love the fact that when I showed this to my 13 year old son:

he got it.
(I love the fact that while he may be a jock, he's also into math and science...)

Speaking of the boy - the neighbours at the cottage have a girl the same age, and the kids are great friends. Her dad (who is a TOUCH over protective of his two girls, but loves my son anyway) mentioned one time when we were sitting around watching the kids race by, "I'd really like those two to get together in about 5 years. It's those next 5 years that bother the crap outta me..." All my husband and I could do is laugh...

Have you seen the latest Boston Pizza Commercial, touting their "All Meat Wings" made with seasoned chicken breast? Isn't that just a big chicken nugget? It's certainly not a wing...

My knitting is all over the place and I couldn't be happier. I have numerous socks on the go - fantastic wool ones, and sumptuous bamboo ones. I have Quinn in a stunning cotton/linen blend, that may feel rope-like now, but will soften with blocking and wearing, and I know will become a summer favourite. I have high hopes for some lace soon, and I am about to start a 100% cashmere Jeweled Cowl. There is no better feeling than working with beautiful natural fibres, especially with the hope of summer beckoning. Natural fibres flow over the needles easier than sticky acrylics, and make summer knitting such a pleasure.

I have a family story to share - I finally got through to my extended family that wool is always a good gift for me. Yes, I already have a lot of it, but it's because I love it so much. I did a fairly major favour for a SIL a few months back, and she recently gifted me with yarn. (Yes, it takes her months to acknowledge these things - and it still surprises me when she actually does acknowledge something). So when I saw her at a family get together, she said she had something for me to thank me for the favour. She then gave me two balls of Triana in her favourite shades of brown. I thanked her profusely, even though it's not a yarn I would choose - but it was yarn given to me as a gift! I was thrilled with the thought. Until she said that she "just loves the scarves made from this! Could I make her one?"

So my question is - Was it actually a gift, or should I consider it a job?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Amy Gunderson

Amy Gunderson is the designer of the Quinn sweater, the sweater I am currently knitting and loving. Can I say something about Amy? I had a little issue on the weekend - I went to divide the sweater for the front and back and sleeves, and I COULD NOT get the math to work. I wasn't seeing it. I was convinced the math was wrong, not just for my size, but for every size. I was getting frustrated because I was loving the sweater, and wanted to keep knitting it.
But I couldn't. I checked the Knitscene magazine website, looking for errata - nothing. So I looked up Amy Gunderson on Ravelry, and found her website and email address. Her last blog post was about being in Knitscene, so it was the perfect opportunity to explain my dilemma. (You can go read it here, as it's a little convoluted to explain...). I also emailed her with my question directly, because I seem to harbour stalker tendencies, I guess...

Get this...

She emailed me back within an hour, on a Sunday evening! How's that for service? And not only did she email me back, she patiently explained what I needed to know, without in any way treating me like the village idiot (which I kind of felt like, once I saw her explanation).
Personally, I think if Knitscene had let Amy put in her description of how to do it, it would have made a huge difference. I'm an experienced knitter and I didn't see this...
I will easily knit her patterns again, and will recommend them to anyone who asks. One, because they are great patterns and shapes, and Two, because I feel great customer service should be acknowledged and rewarded.

Thanks Amy!

Monday, April 23, 2012

becasue obviously knitting isn't enough for me...

One sweater, a scarfy-shawly thing, a cowl and 3 pairs of socks all on the go obviously isn't filling my free time, because I've decided to get back into quilting. Actually, not really quilting in the true sense of the word, but more like patchwork. Depending on the size of these plans, I may pay someone else to do the quilting...
My Wednesday night knitting group meets at The Yarn Store, which is part of The Quilt Store. (Some of you locals may know it as Evelyn's Sewing Centre). Whatever you call it, it's a mecca for fibre enthusiasts such as myself. And I can't be surrounded by all the wonderful fabrics and quilts hanging everywhere without succumbing to the pull. (I'm the same way with yarn stores - I see samples, I buy kits.)
I've already bought fabric there (you've seen the results in the Superman, Batman, Dalmatian and other pajama pants.). But they started packing up fat quarters in coordination fabrics, and well I'm weak. (anyone surprised??)

I picked up this sports pack for my son's teacher who is not only his teacher, but his coach, and is expecting his second son this June. I figure a crib sized, or maybe square quilted playmat:

Then for my best friend, who treats her 2 black labs like her children, so I figure they should each have small quilts as well:

Then for me (and I guess, my husband, although he really didn't get a vote...) I want to update our room at the cottage with a new quilt, and fell in love with this "so-unlike-me" batch of florals:

Yeah. Still waiting to gain more hours in the day, here...

Friday, April 20, 2012

Spring and Summer knitting

Susan and I have been lusting over the new Knitscene magazine, haunting stores to try and find it. Forget Chapters, forget any large conglomerate store, we of course got it at a small local business, my LYS Needles and Knits. Tove has a knack for getting what I need, faster than anyone else. She knew I was after the magazine, and called me when it came it. The fact that I was at the store within a half hour of her calling was not an indication that I stalk her, but rather the fact I was already at home when she called. (Really! I'm not a knit store stalker. I'm not. really.)
I picked up two copies, and mailed one to Susan, who got it before she has even seen it anywhere near her suburban home, or downtown Toronto office. (Can I hear a cheer for small local business?)
We've both cast on - Susan is making the Kenzie top, using a natural boucle-ish cotton from Knit Picks, and I dug around the stash to find a wonderful pale green cotton/linen blend from Elann that I've had for years to make Quinn.

I also have plans for Bower, Dapple, Havasu and Worth Avenue. Not to mention another sweater I found in the Winter 2011 Knitscene, Stanmore. Seems Knitscene is my new favourite magazine...

Can anyone tell me how to get about 52 hours in a day? 24 isn't going to be enough...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I thought I could do it. Who needs the swift? Why would would I take the time to wind it from the swift into one ball, then divide that into two? Why not just lay the whole hank on the scale and wind off that (albeit carefully), and stop at the halfway point? One step, instead of two steps. I know it's stretchy bamboo sock yarn (97% bamboo, 3% Lycra), and is prone it tangling, but I can make sure that doesn't happen, right?

So very wrong...
So very, very, wrong...

Three nights, much cursing, a laughing husband, and I got this:

The scale shots show that the total weight is 115 grams, and one ball is 58 grams. So the remaining 4 balls will be one sock and the large ball is another.

After all the hassle, I had said the resulting socks better be worth it.

So far, they are. It is lovely, and soft and squooshy and shiny. I have my doubts these socks will wear well, but I have high hopes. Too bad there isn't Feel-O-Vision on this blog - they feel amazing.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Getting WAY ahead of myself...

I'm known for getting a little ahead of myself in regard to Christmas, but even this is odd for me.

I've got my tablecloths and napkins made... (now, in my defense, Fabricland had this stuff on deep discount right after Christmas, it made sense to buy it all then. The bright patterned ornament cotton is perfect for napkins to go with the green tablecloths. (Plural, because to fit our whole family, we need two tables). I loved the fun ornament fabric rather than a more traditional formal pattern. I was already making the blue tablecloth for my MIL, so a few more were not a problem.

On top of that, I also finished the Christmas stockings for myself, husband and son. We're all quite happy with them, although my husband is a bit bemused at Christmas in April...
One thing I learned about this is that I hate duplicate stitch. At least I didn't have a lot of it to do.
The stockings were made with my large stash of Briggs and Little wools, and have a wonderful rustic look and feel to them.
Now, on to some summery projects!!

Friday, April 13, 2012

my new favourite scarf pattern


(some of the pictures on the Ravelry page are just stunning. I may never stop knitting this with different wools...)

of course, using spectacular yarn (Cadenza, an 80% merino, 20% tussah silk) in fingering weight helps. These tonal greens are so beautiful. The pattern calls for 8 of the triangles, but one ball of the Cadenza will either JUST get me there, or leave me JUST short, so I've got two balls, and I'm going to make this much longer, so it will wrap and wrap around my neck. (Or my Mom's neck - this matches her alpaca coat perfectly...)

Next up, I'm thinking of using some Noro Silk Garden I have hanging around, then maybe some Kauni, or some Fleece Artist...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

crazy kids...

***Note to Chris S. of the comments - the pattern for my gathered neck tunic is New Look 6179. I've had it for a while, so I'm not sure if it's still available.***

We were at the cottage on the weekend - the long Easter weekend, and it was glorious! The weather was perfect - sunny, warmish, and just beautiful. We got all the leaves raked ( between us and the neighbours, and all the kids, we got ALL the leaves raked - way more than we usually do. I love that the kids are old enough to appreciate that we mean it when we say we need them to help.) Not to worry, they had plenty of time to enjoy themselves, and pursue leisure activities. We had out annual scavenger hunt for the kids on the bay - seven kids this year - and my husband set a challenging course for them that necessitated the use of compasses and teamwork. It took them over an hour to complete, and they loved it! (they love it every year, but did say this year's was the best). While they are off hunting, the parents and other adults from around the bay all hang out on our deck and enjoy multitudes of food and cocktails. It's really a good day all around.
Of course, it wouldn't be Easter without the kid's annual lake dunk. As long as the ice is gone, and the sun is shining, they seem to think swimming is the order of the day. They have dunked every Easter and Thanksgiving for the past three years.
This year, my son and M from next door were the first two to brave the 8°C (That's 48°F!) water:
(you can tell she's a dancer and he is not...)

Most of the rest soon followed,  until there was just my nephew left. (He's the one huddled in his shirt - my son has already changed back into jeans). I love how H is marching towards the end of the dock, determined not to be last!
Nephew wasn't sure he was going to, but peer pressure in this case can really get a guy (especially when it's coming from girls...), so in he went!

There was also knitting - I have found my new favourite scarf pattern. Easy and fun to knit, and beautiful to look at. Stay tuned!

Monday, April 09, 2012

getting in good with the MIL

My MIL loves to set a pretty table - she has tons of china patterns, and loves to add flowers and mix and match. She often entertains her bridge club or church group for luncheons and teas and such. She often uses tablecloths to set the tone for her table.
Reading back those last sentences made me realize that my MIL and I live in completely different worlds, and are of a completely different generation. I have never played bridge, nor do we entertain in the same way. We'll often have friends for dinner, or have casual drop ins, but I don't think I've ever hosted a luncheon or tea!
However, I'm always happy to help her when I can. And tablecloths are a way I can.  She has an oval table with two leaves, and uses the different sizes quite often. She loves the oval tablecloths rather than the rectangular, so the hem is even all the way around.
One time while I was over there, I took all her table measurements - the length and width, as well as the length of each leaf. I also drew a template of the oval!
My Fabricland has a wonderful tablecloth material available in a number of colours. (I found it when I was making my niece's Victorian dress - remember this? Same fabric!)

She is entertaining a new bridge group next week, and I guess wants to impress them, because she asked if I could make her a blue table cloth to match her "Dainty Blue" china. (Dainty Blue? We are really from different worlds...) I'm always happy to make points with the in laws, so I made this for her.

She picked it up the other day and just loves it! (My office is very close to their condo). I've asked her for a picture of the completed table - I'll show it to you once I get it.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

finished sweater!

I finished the boy's sweater, and there are bonuses all around:

1. the obvious bonus - I finished the sweater! I ripped a fair bit of this back since I started it so long ago, and the boy at age 13 is growing exponentially. If I knit or sew him something, I have to build in growth and still knit or sew fast enough to catch him at a stage where it will fit!

2. using up this cotton blend yarn - it was taking up space in the stash, and with the Knitter's Frolic coming up, making any kind of room is a good thing

3. The boy likes it and wears it! Can't be anything but happy about that!

Just a note - there will probably not be a post on Friday - since it's a holiday, we will be at the cottage, and there will be a turkey to cook and people to see, and generally just a busy weekend.

Happy Easter to All!

Monday, April 02, 2012

even more sewing

I've had this fabric for over a year - I was always waiting for the right pattern, then winter came, and it wasn't appropriate for the weather, so nothing ever came of it. (Not that a year marinating in stash is odd, I have fabric that is coming close to vintage status...) But I really loved this stuff - it's white cotton, with a black thread embroidery on it, and brown colour printed within the embroidery.
I finally decided on a pattern - my tried and true, gathered neck tunic that I love so much. I've made this in green linen already and wear it often through spring, summer and fall.
Sorry for the washed out picture - out weather has been on and off acceptable for picture taking, and this was taken on an off day.
I liked it so much, I took another linen/cotton blend I had sitting there, already washed and ready and whipped up another one.
Hey, I had new red shoes that needed something to go with them...
(Crappy office bathroom shot! Wrinkled top and blurry photo! But such a comfortable outfit!)