Thursday, 26 December 2013

out the other side...

I have a lot to post - a lot to say, and so little time right now.

We made it through the ice storm - we were without power for more than 30 hours, but survived. There's some tree damage on the street, and some around our yard, but nothing major, so that's a good thing.

It's Boxing Day, the day after my favourite day of the year, and this year, it really was. Even though there was so much potential for Christmas to be a train wreck, it was great. Just the kind of day we want it to be.

We started at home, just the three of us - just what we like. A calm morning, giving each other gifts, and watching the joy in receiving. This was not a big present year for the Boy - we got him his iPhone earlier in December, and he was happiest with that. So Christmas was fun shirts (geeky science-y type shirts especially), needed basketball stuff, and other bits and pieces.
My husband's love of music has been re-awakened this year, mostly thanks to an audiophile cottage neighbour, so I gifted him with his own iPod, and the neighbour has promised iTunes lessons this weekend. Plus his own T-shirt which he's decided will be his new favourite cottage shirt. it says "I LIKE TO PARTY. AND BY PARTY, I MEAN TAKE NAPS". Perfect.
I was given the stainless steel stockpot I wanted (so much better for doing my tomatoes...), a fantastic new chopping board, and best of all, a Kobo! Plus some other stuff.

After our cholesterol laden breakfast (eggs, bacon, peameal, toast...) we were off to my brothers place. A fantastic 4 hours spent there, and the Beer Mitts for the kids were a HUGE success. So good! Not to mention the photo book for my Mom and everything else. But best of all, time spent with family. We don't see each other often, but when we do, it's great. The boy was spoiled - wireless Bluetooth headphones and a new basketball, plus all kinds of other stuff.

Then off to the in-laws for a family dinner - 16 of us. This is where it could have gone so wrong - my MIL insisted on hosting dinner, even though she barely has enough stamina to get through a normal day. She was great, and other than one meltdown over her forgetting to wrap some gifts, she was fine. The Dr. Who Hat? Winner!! He was beyond happy that 1. I even knew who Dr. Who was, 2. made him the hat, and 3. knew all kinds of other stuff he liked. I told him that being 51 didn't mean I was totally unaware of the world around me...
The cowls for all the SILs? Another winner, although one SIL did get mad at me for doing it. I got to tell her "actually, all you're supposed to say is thank you". Win.
A tiring day for sure, but well worth it.
Today was rest, recovery and getting ready for the cottage. We are heading up tomorrow. So that's why there's no pictures today - the camera is buried with all the other gear to go - I do promise I have lots to share. Ice storm pictures, plus some knitting for me. Pure decadence, and I love it!

Friday, 20 December 2013

"purple" is not specific enough...

My niece asked for a purple hat. "same shape as last years hat". Well, the shape is easy - basic elongated beanie.
The purple was something else. I went stash diving and came up with options. So, since I had the time, I did what anyone would do. I used them all, and made three hats. (she often wears hats.)

A cotton-modal blend - with stripes because I only had the one ball of the solid.
A 100% plain purple alpaca. Yummy.
A purple, blue, black and grey patterned wool hat. Just for something different.

Now that these are done, knitting for me takes centre stage again!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Who's a Whovian?

We are Dr. Who fans. Not apologetic about it whatsoever - we love and watch it. My son and husband are fans of the Eleventh Doctor, while I am firmly in the camp of the Tenth Doctor. Nothing against Matt Smith, but I just love David Tennant. Either way, Peter Capaldi has big shoes to fill.
Turns out my nephew (he of the plaid pants) is a HUGE Whovian. And he loved the hat I made him last year and would like another one in the same blue and yellow colours. So... I combined the two trains of thought, and used the colours and some Dr. Who charts (Tardis, Dalek and Cyberman).

My son (another Whovian) is now thinking he wants one. I'm just not sure I want to knit another one...

Monday, 16 December 2013

Basically ready...

I'm pretty sure all my Christmas knitting is done. Can I get a hallelujah? Considering I had a few last minute requests, I managed to get through them all, as well as a few last minute pairs of pajama pants.

One nephew's favourite colours are turquoise and yellow, and he's a fan of flatbrim baseball caps. This fabric seemed custom made for him. I found this fabric months ago and bought it with him in mind:

Another nephew specifically requested pajama pants. I had to actually shop for him. He's not into sports at all, and most of my flannel stash is sports or girly. So plaid it is. A beautiful brushed cotton plaid:

I matched the plaids perfectly at the front, back and sides. Not that this will be noticed, but if the plaid didn't match, it would DEFINITELY be noticed.


These are SOOOOO soft - they're hard to wrap and give away! I may have to go back and get more brushed cotton plaids...

Then, my favourite pair - for my son. GRINCH JAMMIES! They're perfect, and a nice thick flannel. Originally, he had chosen a red and green plaid, but when I brought this home, he jumped all over it.

And really, who wouldn't have?

Of course, when I was buying the plaid, I found these. Not that I needed any more for myself, but the drinks and the beer print were too good to pass up. They may be for me, they may end up for someone else.






Monday, 9 December 2013

slingshot

Another potential Christmas gift (or just one to have in my back pocket for those unexpected times of need...)
 
It's a slingshot. (Free from Knitty). While I've shown it around a highball glass, it's real function is for a take out coffee cup. Not only does it insulate (a godsend for those of us who drink out coffee black, and our tea clear) and make it possible to actually hold the cup without a double cup, it also allows you to carry it dangling, rather than gripping it (sometimes hard to do in winter with mitts or gloves.)
 
The pattern calls for fingering weight (actually, Knit Picks Palette, of which I have a huge stash...) but I went up a yarn weight and needle size, and adjusted the stitch count to compensate, simply because I had this yarn and wanted to use it. Couldn't tell you what it is right now, I'm now where near the ball band, but I had a couple of orphan skeins, and it seemed like a good idea. It was, since this took a negligible amount of wool and time.
I also added some length, and fudged the decreases, added garter bands top and bottom, and discarded the two colour patterning. I may make some in Palette, and keep to the actual pattern, but where's the fun in that?
 
I'm thinking of pairing it with a Timmies gift card as a "gift to have on hand". If I don't use it, I can always keep it for myself!
Actually, I can see making a few more of these...
 



Friday, 6 December 2013

calecons de sorciere

I apologize for the incorrect spelling in the title, but I couldn't get the cedilla on the c, or the accent on the e with my laptop.
My french background tells me that calecon is boxer shorts similar, and sorciere is witch. It took me a few minutes, to determine that Biscotte & Cie yarns were going for Witches Britches!

Well named, Biscotte & Cie... well named.

And these socks will be mine! Great colourway name, and great colours!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

bye bye blackberry...

it was a good run with my BlackBerry Torch, but the time has come. I hate the fact that we decided to leave RIM - a good Canadian company, but the problems associated with the BlackBerry just got to be too much. Slow processing speed, limited apps, and batteries that needed replacing far too often.
We debated the iPhone or the Android, but the fact that I already have a pretty good iTunes account for my iPod, as well as an iPhone 4 that my son will upgrade to made it a pretty easy choice.
Now I just need to get my IT guy to set up my work email, and my husband to get his BlackBerry switched as well, and we will become a complete iPhone family.  I'm pretty familiar with the interface, but my husband will be depending on me and our son to get him through the learning curve!

Monday, 2 December 2013

gift for a friend

I finished the watermelon scarf for a friend of mine. We've been friends since mid way through grade one - when I moved to Ontario, G was the first person to say hello to me when I walked into a new classroom. When you are 5 years old, that's huge. We've been remarkably close ever since. We don't often see each other (distance and life gets in the way), but we are in contact quite a bit (thanks to email and Facebook...) and when our high school had it's 40th anniversary, she stayed at my Mom's place with me - we had a great time! (both of us live far enough away from the school to have needed a place to stay.)
G is obsessed with watermelon - really obsessed. Her husband indulges her to a point, but put his foot down when she saw this and wondered if she could replicate it:
 So, I did what any friend would do - I fed the flames! This will be going in the mail shortly:


I whipped it up on the machine, so it took about a half hour of knitting time, and another half hour to sew up the side seam. Not a bad use of time.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Happy US Thanksgiving!

Happy Turkey Day to my American Friends! Wish I was there!



I still don't have any real knitting pictures (they're coming!) but I really just wanted to get that last post off the front page. It makes me sound like a whiny little witch, and for those that really know me (beyond this blog), know that I'm really not like that.
My husband and son really did what I had always said to do - a card and flowers, and they did do all the cooking and cleaning up that day, so I can't really complain. The boy even asked me if I wanted anything, so they aren't the cold hearted guys I made them out to be.
I still haven't heard anything from my in-laws - they did call to ask about the amount of snow we had, but never mentioned my birthday. I should add that this woman goes over the top for her kids birthdays - the "kids" are all 50+, and she still wants a family dinner, complete with a money cake. (We don't often do it - it's hard to get 5 people and their families all in one place at one time...) So I will admit, this kind of bugs me, especially since we just had her birthday and we had them for a great dinner, complete with handcrafted card and orchid gift (she is starting to collect orchids - her condo has the PERFECT light for them). My SILs birthday is next week - can't wait to see what my MIL does for her! (And no, I'm not mentioning it to her - she would be upset).
Anyways...
I mentioned snow - we do have some - not a lot, probably about 10cm. Most of it fell last Saturday night - the night of our town's "Santa under the Stars" parade. And it didn't really FALL, per se, it came down in torrents - here's my husband at the parade:

(we called him Nanook of the North...)

And here's what our deck looked like Sunday morning:

This year is one of the earliest I have put away the flip flops! (Put away is a relative term - they are still in the hall... I'm nothing if not optimistic...)

Lots of knitting to show - I just have to get it in the same vicinity as my camera!

Monday, 25 November 2013

busy week!

Sorry for the lack of photos right now, but it's a bit of a busy week, and this may be the only time I have to stop by...
A little update on what's been going on at Chez Curlerchik...

the boy was chosen for the High School Jr. basketball team - one of only 3 grade nines to make it! We are very happy and proud of him. He's also running indoor track, and gave up his place on the curling team due to too many commitments. He has a lot of early morning practices and after school commitments ahead of him! He also aced his mid-term report - all four subjects in the nineties - his hard work is paying off!

This past Saturday was my birthday. Now, I've always been one to tell the family to not go to any trouble - I don't really celebrate them much. (Funnily enough, I will go over the top for other people's birthdays...) But... The family has taken it too far, and should be told that while they don't have to go to any TROUBLE, and little EFFORT would be appreciated. My husband ans son gave me cards and flowers in the morning, then that was it. My Mom called from Florida, and my brother emailed. I heard from two of my husband's four siblings, and nothing at all from my MIL. (She will be mortified when she realizes she missed it, but I"m not telling her...) I got tons of well wishes from friends, which simply reinforces why I agree with the adage, "You can choose your friends, you're stuck with your family".
I'm past it now, but it still kind of bugged me at the time. NOT EVEN A CUPCAKE!!

Christmas knitting continues apace. The orange, navy and white silk/mohair scarf is about 6.5 feet long and will be bound off shortly. I have a few little bits and bobs to make still, but nothing that is looming like a vulture.

Christmas itself will be... interesting. My husband's family is making so I want to ignore them completely and just stay for the day at my brothers, but we have obligations. I love Christmas whole heartedly, and hate that these people can suck the joy out of the day with a single email. I plan on getting through the day with wine (Scotch if it gets bad...) and the thought that we will head to the cottage on the 27th and stay through New Years.

Okay. Thanks for listening to me vent. I feel much better now. Back to my regular self soon!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

making it easier

I love wrapping gifts. (Yes, I know I'm strange - I hear it from my family all the time), but I really do love the whole wrapping paper, gorgeous ribbon (fabric ones or unique raffia type - never that fake satin stuff), and ornament stuff. I take pride in my wrapping and put effort into it.
However, this year, I'm taking a different track. I'm going greener, and create less waste and stuff.
So I'm making bags.

Lots of bags.

Green bags.

Red bags.

All kinds and all sizes of drawstring fabric bags. (I also have some gold toned fabrics, and some cartoony type fabrics.) There will be more bags.

I may have a bit of an addiction to fabric bags...

Monday, 18 November 2013

Could NOT resist!

I had to do some work-related store checks the other day. (I know, it's a tough life - going to stores to check on products and placements, etc.) I forced myself to the new(ish) Target in our town to check it out. I have to say, while I do like the stuff at Target, the prices are higher than I would have expected. I don't find myself shopping there all that often. I do shop there, just not all that often...

But in my wanderings through the Christmas section, I found these:


And then in Housewares, these:

I dare any of you to have left them behind! The ornaments are cool and all, but CABLE KNIT CANDLES! Seriously - CABLE KNIT CANDLES! (Why I felt the need to buy FIVE is beyond me, but really... CABLE KNIT CANDLES!

And yes, I will burn them. I hate seeing candles sit around getting dusty because you don't want to use them up. While they may be CABLE KNIT CANDLES!, they are really just wax and are meant to be used. So they will be.

Friday, 15 November 2013

LOVE when this happens...

We've all been there - Having to do a long tailed cast one, with a couple of hundred stitches. How much do you pull out? Do you guess? Do you cast on 10, then take it off, measure and use that as a gauge? Do you go all zen like, and draw out the yarn until it FEELS like the right amount?
You hate to come up short, and just as bad, hate to have a huge tail left over, especially in a kit that comes with a finite amount of wool. (as this did)

Any guesses what I did here?
252 stitches cast on for an alpaca dipped infinity cowl. Two strands of yarn. A mere 5 inches of tail left over - the perfect amount for weaving in the end properly.

And on top of that, I joined, and have started knitting - you know how you always want to make sure you don't twist the cast on? I didn't.

Just sayin'...
I'm feeling good about this project...

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

I said I wasn't going to do it...

But I think I'm making some pajama pants...

In my defence, these technically aren't Christmas gifts, and they are not for extended family, so since that's who I said I wasn't going to make any for, I haven't REALLY lost my mind...

I've often talked of our cottage neighbours, and how the friendship has grown beyond the lake. I love their daughters like they were my own, and only regret not having known them for longer - I'd have loved seeing them as babies and toddlers...

The older girl, M adores her hedgehogs, while the younger one, K, loves the dogs unconditionally. So when I was a Fabricland, and saw these two fabrics, I had to. I mean really - CHRISTMAS HEDGEHOG FABRIC? How could I not buy it. And the goofy dog? C'MON! Of course I had to buy it.



I posted the pictures to Facebook on their timelines and asked it they wanted pj pants - the response was IMMEDIATE! Both girls were all teenagey "OMG!! YES PLEASE!!"
So of course, I'm going to make them. I'm seeing one of them next week, so will get measurements, then they are coming out to one of the boy's basketball games at the end of November, so I'll have them done for then. See? Not Christmas gifts.
(As an aside, the boy is looking forward to having two very cute girls coming out the cheer him on!)

Another "not-a-Christmas-gift" pair of pj pants is for the boy, so even though Christmas themed, not a gift.
I gave him the choice of fabrics:

A red and green woven plaid, or a tree-print batik. His first choice was the batik, until he felt them - the plaid had softened to a lovely feel, while the batik retained the stiffness associated with batiks - he chose the plaid. (Good, because I wanted the batik...) These two were a pleasant surprise - I have a container of Christmas fabrics = mostly one yard cuts or fat quarters or scraps. But both of these were 3 metre cuts! Why I thought I would cut them up for bags or other things was beyond me.

So, even though I said no more pj pants, it seems I have at least three pairs to make. Luckily, they take almost no time, so this won't really make a dent in my creative time...

Monday, 11 November 2013

11th Hour, 11th day, 11th Month

 
With thanks to my Dad, Granddad and others who served.
I may not always support wars, but I support those who served and serve today.
 

Friday, 8 November 2013

why I change things up

It's no secret that I tend to use patterns as more of a guideline, rather than a hard and fast rule. I have no problems changing sleeves, lengths, patterns, yarns - I figure it's my project, it should be something I like to knit and give/wear.
This hat for example. I love it. It's an earflap style, which is a favourite of mine and my son. It's worsted weight, which means it's knits up quickly. It recommends Cascade 220, which comes in a multitude of colours (okay, sometimes I don't change up yarns...)
But... I don't like that it's a single layer, and that the earflaps and hem curl like only stockinette can do.



But, that's an easy fix. Picking up stitches around the brim and knitting another layer up the inside of the hat solves both problems - warmer for our Canadian winters, and no curling.

I do like the fact that this hat has a hem of a couple of purl rows - it's a nice touch, looks like an i-cord. so I pick up the row just inside this hem, and knit up.
To attach the hem - there are two ways - you can cast off the inner hem, and sew it down, but I find that leave a ridge, and if you sew it too tightly, it pulls across the hat. (ask me how I know).
So, what I do now is, knit the hat to where I would hem it. Then go back and pick up and knit the hem (It helps to have a large needle stash as well...) Then it's just a matter of knitting the two together on the next row, and continuing to knit the hat. Simple stuff (I wish I had taken a picture of that stage - sorry).
that solved the double layer, and the curling hem, but the ear flaps were still curly.
 
Double layer inside.

So, I jury rigged a lining for them. I picked up along the top of the flap, on the other side of the hem of the brim, and just inside the 2-stitch border, then just knit down, decreasing to match the flap, and on the knit rows, just picked up a stitch from the earflap to tack it down. You could also just knit another earflap and sew the two together.

What I'm thinking for the next one (and the next one will be for me is to treat the earflap more like a toe up sock toe, making it double layered from the get go. Then I can attach them to the brim and go from there. This would also allow me to pattern the earflap a little easier, if I choose to.
Obviously, this hat is for my son - the double blue, and Wildcats are the giveaway. He did ask for the braids and the tassel on top - he likes the look, and personally I love it.
And I have also discovered a great way to add the braids - I used 12 strands - two sets of 4 dark blue, one set of 4 light blue. I pulled all 12 strands through the bottom on the earflap, and divided then equally, then braided them. It locked them to the hat very well, with no ends to sew in.
I did the same at the top, made a short braid then made a tassel, and took the braid through the tassel and sewed it on.

While the pattern says it uses about a half ball of the main colour and about a quarter of the contrast. By making such a deep hem, and adding the braids, I used most of the skein of the heathered dark blue. Had I used the light blue for the hem, I probably could have made another hat. Another thing to note for the next version...






Wednesday, 6 November 2013

I need a smaller family...

I married a man who is one of 5 kids. I have one brother. We have a pretty good circle of friends.
I like to knit for as many people as I can.


I'm a little tired of these ornaments - and this is only the younger generation - this is not siblings - that would be another 7 (including spouses)... Then the friends, etc.

I think I need to pare it back...

Friday, 1 November 2013

because we have the humour level of ten year olds...

I've talked often about our cottage neighbours - they are fantastic people, and we really lucked out when they bought the place next to ours. We spend a lot of time together, both at the cottage and at home, even though we live almost an hour apart. The kids are good for getting us together, as they often plan activities together.
What they aren't (especially the dad), is very handy. (Red Green, he ain't!) Don freely admits that he is not a fix-it guy, and depends on my husband for help with the little things that happen at a cottage. (He is a great guy for helping, anytime there is something to be done, so it all evens out. Plus his daughters bake the most amazing pies and stuff for us...)
So, back on the Thanksgiving weekend, when we were all about putting stuff away, and taking boats out of the water, I couldn't resist doing this to him.

We sent the boy up to his cottage to tell him to come and see - there was a big leak in the girls boat! (Gotta say, our boy pulled it off - Don came racing out of the cottage, to see us standing around, looking at the boat. It especially helped that my husband, the one guy that knew about these things, was staring grimly at the boat - if he was worried, Don was REALLY worried...
His girls were right behind him, saying they didn't do anything! How could there be a leak?


Easy. I put it there.

Yes, I'm a child. (and I totally ripped it off from the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 movie trailer.)

I'll give Don credit - he laughed right away, and totally got the joke!
We also knew enough not to stand close enough that he could have pushed us into the lake - which would have been a completely acceptable reaction!

He took the leek down to his brother's farm later that day (they were going there for dinner). The brother has had a lot of plumbing problems, and Don was going to use the same joke. (he did, and I hear it was equally if not even more fun.)

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

seems I can't knit just one...

These beer mitts are like potato chips - I can't seem to stop making them.
It's not that the knitting is that fascinating (it's just stockinette, after all...) but the more I make, the more people I think of that would like them, so I cast on for another one. Luckily they don't take long, or much thought - perfect for car knitting or basketball games. (the boy is playing in a new league this year, so I have a whole new group of people to freak out with the knitting - it' fun!
Since taking the above picture, I've finished the brown one at the bottom (my niece attend Brown University, what other colour would I make for her??) and have cast on another tonal brown one for her boyfriend, who is also at Brown. Then there's my brother and SIL, cottage neighbours, and our own cottage will need a supply... it's rather never ending...

Looks like my idea of having my Christmas knitting done by now has fallen by the wayside as it seems to do every year

Monday, 28 October 2013

introducing...

the most sedate colourway Noro has ever produced...
 
Seriously, this is NORO!! (Kureyon, to be exact). I bought a few balls of it a while ago - It seems to have scattered about the house (as my stash tends to do...) but I did find this one ball. It is on it's way to becoming a (root) beer mitten for my nephew (he's only 16...)
And that picture was taken with a flash, so it even brightens the colours beyond how they actually appear - it really is quite dull, which is perfect for a guy. I think he might have a problem with the Noro I usually lean towards...

Friday, 25 October 2013

a visitor

We had a visitor on our deck recently. He was fascinating to watch, and the three of spent a great deal of time doing just that. We all took turns with the camera, and caught him in numerous poses. He loved the peanuts we left out, and got right feisty when we didn't replenish them fast enough for him!

He would come right up to the sliding door and peck at us through the glass, as though to say "Hey! PEANUTS, please!! NOW!" and wait impatiently while we put a few more out. (We didn't want to put them all out at once, as we have too many squirrels around...