Thursday, June 28, 2012

Done with School!

Today is the last day of school - just a half day, and like the entire week so far, nothing is being done, I'm sure! The boy has had a great year, and is looking forward to a terrific summer - friends here in town, with camps and sports, and numerous trips to Canada's Wonderland with his friends I love the fact that they can go on their own, and they all look out for one another. (Luckily we live close enough that it's a reasonably easy drop off or pick up for us parents). Plus, weekends and holidays and vacations at the cottage with his "posse" there.
Oh, to be 13 again!
We're leaving tomorrow - I have to drop by the office for a few hours, as does my husband, but we're hoping to get away in good time. Luckily, we don't face the ugly Muskoka traffic - we're in the Kawarthas - an area in North Eastern Ontario that has more routes to get there than the one main highway that feeds the Muskoka area.

It's the long Canada Weekend for us - so Monday is a holiday, as July 1 is on Sunday. We'll be at the cottage, relaxing with friends and family, and celebrating our wonderful country.
To my American Friends, if I don't get back here in time, Happy Fourth of July! I know you celebrate your country as we do ours.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

sewing for the weather

I was digging around my pajama drawer recently, and realized that most of my pajama pants were long pants, and mostly flannel. Not good for the kind of weather we've been having and are expecting for most of the summer. Even some of the sleep shorts I have are flannel, and when the cottage is not air conditioned, even flannel shorts can be too much.
So I rectified that this weekend.

I have three new pairs of sleep shorts For a pattern, I took my favourite, and only pair of cotton sleep shorts and traced out the pattern from them.
All of these fabrics were bought on sale at Fabricland, two from the clearance (the red and black floral, and the tie dye stripe) and were around $5/metre. The golf print was around $8/metre, and I think it's my favourite. I originally bought it to make jammies for my son, but co-opted it for myself. He's got a drawer full of jammie shorts, so I'm sure he won't miss this one!
For the t-shirts, I hit our local Zellers - it's closing down (becoming one of the first Target Stores in Canada later this year! - so exciting!*) and I got a bunch of sleep t-shirts for 30% off. Score!

*Most of us Canadians are inordinately enthralled with Target. Maybe once we have our own Target stores, the thrill will wear off...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Socks are my comfort knitting

What with the job stress lately, socks have become my comfort knitting. Add into that the fact that I will be spending more time in the car coming up (cottage trips), it's a good thing my sock mojo is in full force. (that and blanket square mojo - I think I'm up to about 20 squares now...)
My FIL loved (LOVED!) his cashmere socks, and I haven't heard a peep about the mismatched pooling, so it's all good (I was away for Father's Day, so didn't get to see the reaction in person, but I heard all about it).

I know Misti Alpaca is one of his favourite sock yarns, so I have a pair ready for his birthday, which isn't until September, but I knit a ton on these at my girls weekend, so they got done pretty quick. They've gone into the gift box to be ready.
And to ensure a smooth ride when I'm a passenger, I've got another pair on the go - this time with some Tofutsies I bought at The Yarn Store. I bought a bag of 4 balls for a great price (which, of course, I can't remember. I know it was a good deal). This yellow and black is knitting up quite nicely, and I almost think I may have to put the finished socks away for a teacher gift for next year, as it's the colours of my son's school!

I've used the Tofutsies before, and it does knit up quite nicely. My husband has a pair in this yarn, and loves them.

Monday, June 25, 2012

ummm, hi!

Hi! Sorry, I seemed to have gone away last week, but in actual fact, I was right here. As I mentioned before, my job has kind of exploded around me, and my workload has kind of increased in size a bit (Our company added three new divisions, and as the logistics person, I have the fun job of making them all work.) Suffice it to say, other things got dropped, the blog being one of them. I'm going to try and get back to a reasonably regular schedule, but if I miss a day now and then, you'll have an idea as to why. Note that I'm not complaining about the added workload and longer hours in the office. It's still a great job, and the alternative would be job searching, and I don't want to do that.
Another reason I was a bit lax - I tend to pre-write a few things on Sundays, and last Sunday I was away for a girls weekend at a friend's cottage. This is a cottage where I spent a good chunk of my childhood - two moms and four kids all week, and two dads on weekends. The parents were best friends, and J and I have stayed close through the years.
When three girls and five dogs get together, there are tons of laughs, lots of wine, and great food like this:

Plus, when you're the only non dog owner around five dogs, they tend to do this a lot:

Meet Rosie - a "jug", which I'm told is a Jack Russell - Pug Mix. Rosie spent a lot of time in my lap, which made knitting interesting. But I did get quite a bit of knitting done (even with the wine), as I stayed pretty much to socks.
Two pairs of sock blanks have found homes. These stretch cotton socks have gone to Nicola - a friend and fellow baseball parent, who has taken on the chore of scorekeeping the games so that I can knit during them.

That absolutely deserved socks! She chose this pair, so all I had to do was add the heels, and she was thrilled.

The black and red pair is also going to a baseball parent - David has been whining for 2 years, and just to get him to stop, I offered up this pair. He is pretty hard on socks (so he says), and these are a pretty tough pair, and he loves them. One heel to go and we'll all be happy!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Brenda and I - separated at birth

Brenda and I could easily have been separated at birth. We both gravitate to the greens and earthy tones. We both love to vacation in the north of Ontario. We have similar knitting styles and project choices. We both have LK-150 knitting machines, both gifted to us by our husbands.
At the Knitters Frolic, we both bought very similar yarn.
And we both knit up the Fleece Artist Zambezi mohair into machine knit versions of the Whisper sweater (or vest, in Brenda's case). She did hers in pieces, while mine was one swath of fabric, with after thought sleeves that I put in using the three needle bindoff.

I still have to finish the fronts, hem the sleeves, and possible add some length to the whole thing. It's a work in progress, and kind of a unique item. Very sheer, yet immensely warm. Fitted sleeves, but drapey front.
I have enough of the yarn left over to make something small that may coordinate. We'll see. Like I said, a work in progress.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

quick answer

Marlyce in Windsor asked me how I would remove beads from a garment when they were attached using the crochet hook method. I guess I could have explained that better - I was saying that on my blue laceweight sweater, I was planning on adding lines of beads to the body using the crochet hook method, but if I didn't like it, I could always remove them. Well, the only way to remove them is to frog back the knitting, the same way you would remove any kind of design element that didn't please you. The nice thing about putting them on with a crochet hook is that they are not prestrung onto the wool, so when you remove them, they are gone.

There is another way...
simply smash them with a hammer and pick out the bits and pieces of glass bead that get flung all over your knitting (and probably immediate area as well). I don't actually recommend this method - you make a huge mess, and often, the sharp glass edges of the beads will cut or mangle your wool.

Not that I know from experience, or anything. cough, cough...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

second chance

I was planning on frogging this sweater, but the governor called and gave it a second chance.

The back story:
I wanted to make a contiguous sleeve cardigan, using some delicious Tanis Fibre Arts Laceweight for a lightweight cardi. So I kind of worked with an existing pattern that is sort of the weight I'm working with, that uses the contiguous method, and changed it from a pullover to a cardigan. I did some math, so I thought it was going to work.
As I was continued, I wasn't sure it was going to work - it seemed to be pulling along the shoulder seam, and it just didn't seem to be the right size.
In order to photograph it before frogging, I lengthened the needle cable to be able to see it fully, rather than all bunched up.
Well. That sight gave me pause. Now that I could see the actual size (rather than bunched up on a smaller cable), i could see that it WAS the right size, and the shoulder "seam" although it still looks like it's pulling, is actually the right tautness that a shoulder seam needs to be.
the tonality of the yarn is beautiful - deep dark blues, with hints of lighter tones. The slight v-neck I have created is the perfect neckline depth (I did drape it over my shoulders to test fit).

The contiguous sleeve method is brilliant, and one I will use again. I love me a top down sweater, but sometimes, raglans get a little boring, or are too casual for the look I may be going for.
The colour is most true in the upper photo - the close up of the sleeve needed some lightening in order to sort of show how the sleeve grows from the shoulder "seam".
Since this is a rich, deep blue, I have thoughts of adding rows of beads to this sweater throughout the body, to really ramp it up and make it more of a dressy piece. It's so lightweight, that it will suit this kind of treatment (I hope!) The nice thing is, since I will be adding the beads as I go with a crochet hook, if I don't like the effect, I can remove them.

What this taught me was, don't give up on an project until you REALLY look at it. Take it off the needles, or at least put it on a needle that's big enough to show the ENTIRE make. Doing that saved this project from an untimely death, and I couldn't be happier to have this back in rotation.

Monday, June 11, 2012

14 and counting...

I'm addicted to the squares. I can whip off one or two a night while watching tv, without really paying attention.
I'd have more done but there were a couple of days last week when I didn't knit a stitch. Let me repeat that, I. Didn't. Knit. A. Stitch. That is very rare for me, to go an entire day without doing SOME knitting. But work has exploded - our company is expanding, acquiring new divisions, so my workload has basically tripled lately, along with the stresses inherent with this kind of work. It's all good, but short term, it's crazy.
Regardless, I did get some knitting done, mostly socks and squares.
I am loving the squares...

Friday, June 08, 2012

House guest

Maybe I should have titled this Home Guest.
We seem to have been adopted by a homing pigeon. He has discovered the large pile of Nyger seed on the ground beneath our bird feeder. (the finches, swallows, jays and cardinals are messy little beasts).

For the past few days, Homer (as we have named him) has been in our yard for hours. He's very tame - we can get within a few feet of him. I've never seen him fly - he just hops between the yard where the seed is, and our deck. Last Friday when it was raining and miserable, he was huddled up against our door.

He looked so unhappy, I set up our blue bins as sort of a shelter for him. He seemed happy and stayed until the rain abated, then when back out for more food.
His leg is banded, so he must have a home somewhere. We've never seen him before last week, so I wonder if someone new has moved in, or if someone has recently taken up raising pigeons. He never stays past dark, and shows up either in the morning or around noon.
The only problem we have is the bird poop on our steps.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

falling down the rabbit hole...

I blame Julia and Connie.
I was happy, knitting my projects - socks, sweaters scarves. Then they had to show the POP blankets they were knitting. Easy little squares and Noro. I have a weakness for Noro. A big one. So I fell.


I made a change - instead of the white background, I went with black.
Then, when I dropped by Tove's to get the dpn's I needed, I added some grey for the background. (this blanket is going to be big...)

I. Can't. Stop. Knitting. These.

You've heard of "just one more row?" This is a case of "just one more square."

Monday, June 04, 2012

gifts for some great kids

Our neighbours at the cottage are fantastic. They moved in about fours years ago, and we were a little wary - our former neighbours were great friends (we vacationed in Vegas together), and we knew it would be tough to get that kind of friendship again. Considering there is a shared beach between the two properties, as well as some fairly worn footpaths, we had our fingers crossed for a good family.
Well, we got that. Great couple of parents, who have become friends beyond the cottage, and kids the same age range as ours. Their girls are 13 and 15, my son and nephew are both 13, and there is a bay full of kids ranging from 9 to 15. The girls next door are terrific - both as friends to our boys, and in that general all-around "good kid" way. They are a joy to have as neighbours. The girls and Mom stay up most of the summer, and she is a nurse, so it also gives us some piece of mind when my elderly-ish in-laws are there alone. (the neighbour on the other side is the same - great friends, and they keep an eye on the parents. We are truly lucky.)
Anyway, the girls birthdays are June 10 and July 1, and added to my nephews June 28 birthday, we always have a group party for them. I like to do a little something for the girls, since they are always doing things for us. (the 15 year old is a phenomenal baker, and always makes apple pie for my husband, as well as the best butter tarts...)
Both are huge readers, so I thought - bookmarks, along with a Chapters gift card. The younger one is the biggest, I mean BIGGEST fan of the Hunger Games stories, so when I found a cross stitch chart for the logo, well it was a no brainer. The older one is a huge fan of Queens University - she wants to go there, especially after spending a week there for some academic camp in May. So the Navy, Gold and Red colours were a given. I broke out the bead loom and voila!

2 hand crafted bookmarks, each personalized for them. These are the kind of kids that will really appreciate these.

Friday, June 01, 2012


Yarn pooling doesn't bother me. (Just ask Nancy - drives her crazy, but I can wave it off without a thought.)
However... what does bug me is when a single skein, divided in two, acts so completely differently.

Case in point:
Sock One.
Lovely swirly design. The blue and brown swirl around the leg nicely. I like this.

Sock Two.
Pooling, creating a zig zag pattern down the front of the sock - again, I like this, and it doesn't bother me.

Pair Of Socks.
My rather buttoned up FIL is not going to be happy. He's a matchy-matchy kind of guy. I'm hoping the incredible softness of the cashmere will help him get past this, but I'm thinking he will not be as thrilled with his Father's Day socks as he is planning on being. Personally, I would wear them without a thought, but they're not for me.
I've already cast on another pair in his favourite alpaca to try and make it up to him...