Wednesday, May 30, 2012

stuff other than knitting

I am talking to Blogger and my computer again - I think it was just a small one time glitch. I think my computer wanted to take Memorial Day off, forgetting that here in Canada we already had Victoria Day off last week...

As I mentioned, June is a big celebration month for us - I have a SIL and nephew with birthdays, a good friend with a birthday, an anniversary in the family, and 2 kids at the cottage have birthdays. Plus a thank you to a teacher and 3 graduates (2 high school, one grade 8). I've dug myself into a hole lately, by creating hand made cards. Now they are expected, and god forbid I give someone a store bought - they are going to wonder what they did to tick me off!
Sorry for the immensely crappy BlackBerry photo, but my husband has got the camera. Now, not all of these are needed right away, but I figured if I was getting out the supplies, I would take care of all nine all at once. Once I got into a rhythm, it didn't take too long - the tough part was deciding on a theme for each of them! (The Grad ones were easy - I have a lot of Graduation stickers and stuff.)
*Point of interest - I used to work for Sandylion Stickers before they were bought out a couple of years ago. Not only did I have a pretty good employee discount, when they were shutting down, I was one of the last ones in the Marketing department. We had to clear out the drawers of all accumulated samples from over the years, so I seriously went home with boxes (I mean, BOXES!) of cardmaking and scrapbooking supplies. I can make cards for the foreseeable future... Yes, I know how incredibly lucky I was to be in that spot at that time.
I am ridiculously happy with these - they are still displayed on my dining room table, and I like to walk by and just look at them sometimes. I'm strange that way...

Monday, May 28, 2012

Quick filler post

First, I had a post written, then either Blogger or my laptop ate it. Then I had some pictures, but my husband decided to download stuff from my camera, and well, let's just say it didn't end well. So I packed up the laptop because it was ticking me off, and I'm posting this from my iPod. So if the formatting is off, that's why. Suffice to say, I had a very busy weekend - gardening was done, sewing was done, time was spent with family and friends and I even got some knitting done. I also made a gazillion cards - 5 birthday, 1 anniversary, 1 thank you and 3 graduation cards. June is a busy celebration month for us! Pictures of those to come as well, when I decide to start talking to my laptop again. (which is soon, as I need it for work...)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Quinn - done!

Normally, I'm not a pullover sweater type of girl. I much prefer cardigans, and will often adjust a pattern from a pullover to a cardi to suit.

Quinn is an exception. It's a short sleeve, cotton/linen blend summer top.
And while it make me look rather large in these pictures (and admittedly, I'm not a tiny girl), it is rather flattering, and oh so comfortable.

I did change the bottom construction - I had never planned on making it with the asymmetrical hem as shown in the pattern - I prefer this tunic length. Over a pair of capris or shorts, or linen pants, it's a great summer top.

Quinn is from the most recent KnitScene magazine, which is fast becoming my favourite of all the magazines out there. There are usually 3-4 patterns in each issue that catch my eye, which says something about a magazine. I used an ancient pale green 50% cotton - 50% linen yarn I have had in my stash forever. It's from Elann, and I think I bought it over 4 years ago. It was nice to clear a small corner of the stash (which quickly got filled by something else). But while I was looking around for something suitable, and I found this, I also found a number of other summer-weight yarns that I had forgotten about. (Note to self - toss the stash more often to find gems that get forgotten!) So there might be some more summer projects to come.
But not next - Next up is some Tanis Blue lace weight wool. BUt it's lace weight, so I still think it's suitable for summer knitting...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Son of a ...!!!!

16 stitches to cast off, and all of three inches of wool! So annoying!
But... the joys of a large stash - I found a lace weight int he pale orange that worked just fine, and solved the problem.

This is the Jeweled Cowl, and I love the pattern. I made a couple of changes - I increased the size of the beaded portion, as well as the overall size - the recommended 200 stitches didn't seem big enough.
Well, I'm an idiot -now it's too big, and the 100% cashmere laceweight I used does not have enough body to really hold up to the weight of the beads. It's still nice, and works well as an infinity scarf and cowl when doubled, but I want a little more body, so I figure I will felt it a bit (by hand), to give it a little body and heft.
So into a bowl of hot water, and with gloves on, I swirled it around a bit to agitate. What I noticed first off is how much this wool bled! That's a serious amount of orange dye in the bowl! (I'm wearing white nitrile gloves here).

Plus, I may have been a little too gentle - it can probably use another hot and cold dunking and stir, but I'd rather do it in stages, than risk ruining it.

It's drying after the first round, I'll try it on when dry and see if it needs more.

I love this pattern. SO much so, that I've already cast on another one, using Merino/silk fingering weight with tonal beads in green tones.

I'm sticking with the recommended 200 stitches, and the slightly heavier wool should give it the heft I'm after.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The unofficial start of summer

This weekend is our Canadian May Long Weekend. Officially known as Victoria Day, the third Monday in May was chosen to celebrate the birthday of Queen Victoria. Unofficially known and the May Two-Four Weekend, mostly because of the copious amounts of beer that will be downed during the weekend. (I'll be doing my part...)
For us of course, it marks the start of the cottaging season. (Not that we really adhere to a season - we go whenever we can), but for the rest of the family, and much of the lake, this will be the first time they've been there since Thanksgiving. That's going to be hard - sharing the place again with family, after having free run of it for the winter...
But, regardless of who will be there, it's where WE will be, and I can't be happier. We'll head out tonight, once the husband gets home from work, and the neighbours are already planning get togethers and cocktails. It really is heaven on earth for us. And the fact that the weather forecast is supposed to be stellar, well, that doesn't hurt!
Of course, I've been planning out the knitting to bring - socks of course, for the drive (My FIL is getting REALLY impatient for a new pair...), another jeweled cowl (I know, you haven't seen the first one yet! That's coming...), and the start of a laceweight sweater, using the contiguous sleeve method (top down, set in sleeves, rather than raglan), using some luscious Tanis Fibrearts Laceweight in the Midnight colour way - a dark tonal blue. I was going to bring the Cricket and do some weaving (one of the reasons I bought the smaller loom was it's portability), but there's so much stuff we have to bring up for the cottage, I'm worried it would get crushed or broken, so on Susan's advice, the Cricket is staying put. This time. I swear, it will see the lake soon enough.
And because a wordy post without pictures can be tedious, I've been working on a patchwork playmat for my son's teacher. (His second son is due next month.)

It's further along than this (It's actually finished), but I didn't have the camera with me, so I'll show finished pictures later. It's got a blue flannel backing, and a natural cotton batting, and a light blue satin blanket binding.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


I finally got around to warping my new Cricket loom. I chose some fabulously luxurious stuff to christen it. Tilli Tomas silk for the warp, and Tilli Tomas beaded silk for the weft.

It's weaving up nicely, and the beads are falling on both sides, which pleases me. Of course, I'm not sure I will ever wear this - while I love the beads and shiny things to knit and weave, I rarely wear anything like this. I'm a jeans and hoodie type of girl. But I'm already having a hard time thinking of giving this away...

Monday, May 14, 2012

soon to be pairs

Not only do I have a few pairs of socks awaiting heels, I have socks that are awaiting mates.

I dug through a pile of UFOs, and found a couple of half pairs. I plan on getting through these, as well as the stretch bamboo ones, and the cashmere ones for my FIL (those will be first).
I couldn't figure out why I always seem to have at least 4 pairs on the go, until I looked at this:

Four project bags, each sewn out of knit themed fabric. That's why. I love the bags I made, so I seem to feel the need to keep them in use.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it...

Friday, May 11, 2012

sock bounty

I haven't (until this week) really posted the progress I've been making on socks lately. As I have said, socks are my travel and waiting knitting - that's why I  make plain vanilla socks with afterthought heels - simple straight forward stockinette tubes with a toe. I don't have to concentrate, I can knit away while cheering on my kid during basketball or baseball games, or hold a conversation while driving to work with my boss or to the cottage with my family. No fear of mismatched heel placement, or dropped stitches during a heel turn, or missed wraps in a short row heel. Plus, I don't have to determine the recipient of the socks until I put in the heels, which only takes a couple of hours at most. It's a real win-win for me.
I have a bag near my knitting chair that I toss the finished pairs in, and I thought I'd dig through to see what I've got.

these are the finished pairs, (plus there was the green alpaca pair that was just finished and gifted to a friend/co-worker.)
The Noro ones on the left are for my nephew, the red and black are still unknown, the grey sea silk ones may be for my MIL for Mother's Day, the brown, black and cream stretch cotton ones are still unknown, and the green, blue and black will be for my son's teacher and coach. I will mark off the different tournaments and games I knitted through - I think he will get a kick out of that.
I'm getting into prime knitting season for socks as well - summer weekend drives to the cottage are coming up fast! Plus, I often knit socks at the cottage - small, easy projects to have on hand when gathering for cocktails, or it's just too hot to have a lap full of wool. I'm hoping to have quite the stash of socks by the fall!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

one knot in Noro

Just one knot in Noro sock yarn does this.

Fraternal socks. No way to get these to match - the stretch of brown and green in the middle of the right one only appears once, and the purples and greys are there way too often. Too bad, because I really loved the browns and greens!
Whatever. My dancer nephew who lives in Montreal and loves the hand knit socks, will be getting these for his annual sock-Christmas gift. (we have an agreement - I knit him socks for Christmas if I receive a personal thank you for the ones given previously. He's 31 years old - I told him he was far too old to have his grandmother forward his thank yous. And we won't even discuss the fact that his mother has never said thank you for anything...)) I got a text for last year's, so he gets these this year. He is one of the few people in the family other than myself that will appreciate the randomness of the stripes.
Heels to come later.

Monday, May 07, 2012

replacement sock

My FIL is fond of the hand knit sock. Very fond. He's especially fond of the luxuriously soft fibres like alpaca and cashmere. And not only does he love them, my MIL lavishes care on them, hand washing them, and even darning them when they get a little thin. Needless to say, he's one of my favourite people to knit socks for.

I had a pair of alpaca socks ready to go - just needing the heels, and I thought they would be perfect for Father's Day next month.

Then something came up. A friend and co-worker did something so amazing for me, and for a 12 year old friend of mine that is dealing with issues far more serious than anyone, 12 years old or not, needs to be dealing with. He made a tough situation so much better for her, and for that, nothing says thank you better than something hand crafted. (He can buy anything he wants, but is the type of guy that appreciates hand work).

So I put the heels in for a size 13 foot (thankfully, I had made the blanks quite long...), and started something new for the FIL. TurtlePurl's Pillow Talk sock yarn in the Beach Vacation colourway. 80% merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon. Very yummy, and feels wonderful.

Bought recently at the Knitter's Frolic, and hopefully will be ready for Father's Day. My FIL is very understanding, and if they are late, the story of why he's getting the replacements will smooth it over.

Friday, May 04, 2012

no ruffley scarf here!

I admit, I've made the ruffly scarf with the netting yarns. And anyone (non-knitter) I've made it for has gone bat-crap crazy for them. Far and away a better response to them than to a 100% alpaca or silk lace knit creation. Tears me, it does.
The two brown skeins of Triana that were given to me - well I decided to do something different. And actually, I like it better than the scarf.
It's the Kelp Forest Shawl, and it's a free pattern. The pattern itself is tough to figure out, but the YouTube video from the designer is the most helpful thing out there. Watch it right through, especially where she shows you how to make it with a crochet hook instead of a knitting needle. In my opinion - WAY easier. This took me about 3 evenings, but I certainly did not work on it exclusively - it's that fast.
I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it - pretty sure it's not going to my SIL, at least, not right away. I probably won't keep it either - I don't often wear shawls. I'm sure it will find a home somewhere.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Frolicing part two

So, while the loom was the major purchase I made on Saturday, there were a few other things...
Sock blockers.
I'm not sure if I'm keeping these or giving them to my MIL. She hand washes all my FIL's hand knit socks, and these would be helpful for drying. We'll see.

Sock Yarn.

Cashmere blend (80% merino, 10% nylon, 10% cashmere) from TurtlePurl. This is the same base yarn blend that I've used before (Tanis Purple Label), and I love the addition of cashmere - so soft. The brown and blue on the left is probably for my FIL, the multicolour is for me.

Fleece Artist Zambezi

70% Kid Mohair, 30% Silk. 1000 metres in rich and lovely shades of brown, and it comes with this cardigan pattern. Loosely knit and quite drapey, I fell in love with the pattern as much as the yarn. I do like a lightweight cardi!

100% handdyed Himalayan Silk

Love this. So much that after buying one skein (the darker one), and wandering around, I went back for the other one. I think I will use the same pattern as above - a summer weight drapey silk cardigan - yum.

A polyester, flax and silk blend

Now normally, I would shy away from anything polyester. However, the flax and the silk are really the prevalent feel to this yarn, so it was worth it. Plus, the misty grey colour is stunning! (Especially at $10 per 500yd skein!) 3 of these will make a substantial Amiga cardigan.

There were also some buttons purchased form AB Originals - my favourite button place. Wood toggles, antler and tagua nut buttons, all handcrafted. The perfect compliment to a hand knit sweater.

So I went with the mindset of some sock yarn (if it was nice and new to me), and cardigan's worth. I'd say it was a complete success, especially since I came home with cash left over!

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

What a rush!

Yesterday was a bucket list kind of day.
My son and I got to ride Leviathan - Canada's newest, tallest and biggest roller coaster at Canada's Wonderland, I won a contest on CityTV's Breakfast Television, and we get to ride it before the park opens. The weekend before was charity rides, and press and media. The bizarre thing is I have no idea why I even entered the contest! I'm not a big roller coaster person - I used to be, but I guess that's one of the signs of aging - lack of interest in roller coasters...
Whatever the reason, I entered, I won, and I get to take a guest with me. Of course, the only choice was my son - what better way to increase the "cool Mom cred" than take him on this?
His friends are envious, while mine are kind of shaking their heads at my folly. The best comment  got was from my brother. He simply said, "Hope you don't barf. We'll be watching the LiveEye to see if you do".
We didn't barf - actually no one did (thankfully - we were sitting at the very back, and if any one had, I think it might have been very ugly...

This is one VERY big coaster - 93.3 metres (over 300 feet) high, and it takes almost a minute of the 3 minute ride just to get to the top of the first hill. Then it's an 80 degree angle of descent down - that's about as vertical as the laws of physics would let us go! (and 10 degrees or not, it FELT like we were going STRAIGHT down...)

If you look at the above picture - those small black loop-de-loops in the trees? That's the Dragon Fyre roller coaster. I'm old enough to remember when it was the biggest thing at Wonderland! Now, it's dwarfed by Leviathan!
Would I ride it again? Yes. Will I? Probably not - once the park opens to the public, the lines for this ride will be astronomical, and I rarely get out to Wonderland, anyway. I'm glad I had the opportunity to do it when I could!