Thursday, 28 March 2013

Happy Easter

I know I'm early, but we're leaving for the cottage tonight. We have a spiral ham with fresh pineapple and cheesy scalloped potatoes planned, and almost as important, our annual Easter Egg Hunt for the kids up there.

We weren't going to do it - thought the kids were outgrowing it. When I mentioned that at March Break, I was swarmed by a half dozen kids, begging us to keep doing it, so I relented. It's on.

It's not your normal egg hunt. We make these kids work. There are clues and compasses, and cross country trekking involved. My husband and I spend the morning setting it up, then the kids go off hunting, while the parents enjoy a cocktail or two and some snacks.

In past years, we've been told it's "too easy" by some cocky kids (ours included). So this year, it's on. Has anyone seen the TV show Canada's Greatest Know it All? Yup - it's going to be like that. The clues will required knowledge and skills. They will have to know math, and science and some other things. They will have to work together, because somethings will only be known by some of the kids.

They will learn - calling our work "too easy" is not a good idea...

I'll let you know how it turns out. Hopefully we don't lose any kids in the woods...

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

thanks for all the suggestions

That single skein of Noro Taiyo sock was obviously well loved by people - I got lots of suggestions. It came down to technique - did I want to machine knit it? Brenda supplied me with a link to a great pattern for my LK-150. Or did I want to weave it? I have both LeClerc and Cricket looms, so I had options that way. Susan and Robyn both suggested weaving.
While both are great ideas, I'm leaning to the weaving. I have some wonderful alpaca laceweight in a coodinationg colour that I could use as a weft, and use the Noro as the warp.
Of course, I have so many projects on the go right now - this will have to wait. Plus, I really want to use the machine knit pattern Brenda gave me, so I have to get a project off the LK-150 so I can get at it.
Oh, and since I would want to use my Cricket to weave the Noro, I'd best get the silk scarf I'm weaving off that as well. Not to mention the three current in progress projects (blanket, hoodie and cowl) and a few sock projects on the go.

Then Carol goes and suggests fingerless mitts - hmmm... I do love those...

Never enough time...

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

It's my Mom's birthday!

Not that means a whole lot to most of you. And wishing her a happy birthday here doesn't make a lot of sense, since she doesn't read this blog. (actually doesn't even know it exists...) But she taught me to knit when I was about 8, and I re-taught her a few years back. She is never without a project now, so I feel like it has come full circle.

She's 81, looks 61, and acts 41. She goes to 3 senior exercise classes a week, and still lives in the same 3 storey house we grew up in. We lost my Dad 18 years ago, and I really wasn't sure how she'd cope. She surprised me, (and a lot of other people). She has a house in Florida, and spends part of the winter there. (But not February and March - she will not miss her three grandsons' birthdays in those months).

But I love her dearly, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!

Monday, 25 March 2013

Helping a friend as I can

I have a friend. (actually, I have more than one, but this is about a particular friend). She started out as a friend of a friend, but has become a friend.

She is going through a shitstorm right now (sorry, but that's the only way to describe it), with a husband that is making her life bad beyond comprehension. She has finally got him out of the house, and has started proceedings, but its rough. She also has two university aged kids, who have also dealt with the family issues, and the three of them have come through it reasonably well, but they will all need professional help to see that they were victims in this situation, not part of the problem.

There's little that can be done other than provide a shoulder, a hug, and protection where possible. She has a cadre of people willing to help, many of whom live closer than I do.

So I'm doing what I can. It's not much, and it's as much to make me feel like I'm doing something. But it's pretty, it's her favourite colours, and it will let her know I care.

It's a simple feather and fan cowl, using some luscious Ella Rae merino. I love the fact that the fabric that is created using feather and fan is 3/4 stockinette stitch. that one patterned row makes this beautiful fabric.

I hope when she wraps this around her neck, she feels the warmth no from just the wool, but from her friends.

Friday, 22 March 2013

need a pattern.

I have this skein of Noro Taiyo sock yarn. I adore the colours, but don't know what to do with it. I don't think I want socks of it - I'd rather see it more, rahter than hide it under pants. But a shawl or scarf isn't grabbing me. Anyone have any ideas?

Oh, and no hats. Unless it's a baseball cap or a Tilley, I don't like wearing hats. And as much as I give stuff away, I think I want to keep this.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Big Progress (and a Big Project!)

I started the POP blanket a while a go - I loved the colours of Noro, and the construction was brilliant - small squares, very portable and not a huge time commitment. It's perfect for a baby blanket. But I wanted it to be a bigger, regular sized blanket, so I stocked up on Noro and Eco Wool, and went at it. I made great progress, but after a while, as is my wont, I got bored. I knew I would not be able to finish all the squares I wanted, and this large bag of wool was starting to grate on me.
After a big crochet discussion with Susan, we worked out that I could granny square crochet around the knitted squares - making them bigger, and since crochet is so quick - I could actually get a blanket out of thins before my son graduates university (he's just finishing grade eight right now...)
So I started. And I loved how it was looking. I took it to the cottage, and since it was just us there, I could leave it spread out and really get a look at the colours and how they were coming together.

I laid it out on a king size bed and am happy with the size it will end up.

I still have a lot of work, but there's more done that is shown here. ( two more full rows)

And enough squares to do it.

I'm hoping on Easter weekend I can power through more of it.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Colour Affection done

I finished my silk Colour Affection. I love it. I love the silk, the colours, the shape, and I loved the process of knitting it.
Shape wise, It's very pretty - a gently arc, with long, tails.

All garter stitch, which I find beautiful in it's simplicity.

And colour wise - my favourites.

The problem? I look like a dork in shawls. I may be able to get away with this as a scarf like thing - we'll see. I also sewed a linen dress that matches the orange perfectly, but they don't look right together - the dress in not the right shaped for a shawl. This needs a flowy, sleeveless or strapless dress to work with, and I don't wear that style much.
This may or may not be for me - It may become a gift if the right reason comes along.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

March Break break

I took a bit of break last week - The boy and I were at the cottage for the week (crappy weather, but still a great time - the neighbours were up so there was lots of social time as well as alone time...) and while I was on-line, and reading blogs, some of the people I work with had trouble with the concept of me being on vacation. I knew I would be reading email and taking care of a few things, but some of them blurred the line between me helping with a few things and actually working. It annoyed me, so I stopped looking at my computer as much, so that meant I wasn't in the mood to write blog posts. My boss and I had a conversation about it (He's in Florida this week, so I warned him of the access issue and told him to not look as much as I did.) He knows I will only contact him if an issue arises that he needs to address, otherwise, I can handle things. I will also have a conversation with the two biggest troublemakers at work. These are guys that emailed me about photocopier problems, office coffee issues and the like. I mean, really. If that was my job, fine. I would have given them a primer on how to refill paper, an where the coffee is kept. But that's not what I do! We are a small office, and everyone is expected to be somewhat self-sufficient. These two a-holes think that because I'm female, I should be at their beck and call for things. Yes, dinosaurs like that actually still exist. And yes, I'm extremely annoyed about having to deal with them.
I did get lots of knitting done - my silk Colour Affection is done. My knit/crochet blanket got a lot of work done on it. Some mending was looked after. Some new plans were made. Socks were worked on. All in all a good week. Details and pictures are coming!

Friday, 8 March 2013

Muslin, my butt! This is wearable!

I got a ton of new patterns recently, and wanted to try some knit tops. This pattern - Butterick 5523 - is for a dress, and for Moderate Stretch Knits.
I wanted a long sleeve top, and not in a heavy moderate stretch knit, but lighter. So I pulled this cotton blend jersey I had to try it out. I figured if it didn't work out - no biggie, I'd be out about $10 of fabric.
But just in case, I did attempt to match the stripes - muslin or not, if it worked, I wanted it to look good.
And it did work!

I like the cowl neck - it's not too heavy or large, and it suits the long sleeves and the gathered empire waist.
And look at that stripe matching at the sleeve!

I have cut about 4 inches off the bottom of this, and it does actually hang better on me than on the mannequin.
I'm very pleased with this, and will probably make more of them, even in dress length.
***edited to add - I will take out some of the gathered width of the skirt part next time around - after a wearing, it did seem a bit baggy. But overall, a definite win!
But next up - linen!

Because doesn't everyone think of summery lined in snowy March?

We're headed to the cottage this weekend, for the week (March Break). I will be on line, and will try and post when I can. I'm planning on taking a lot of WIPS - maybe I'll actually complete a few...

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

replacement hat

We have the best neighbours at the cottage - the kids get along tremendously, and we parents have become quite good friends. Don and I share a love of Trivia, and try to rope in anyone to play Trivial Pursuit with us (alas, we have very few takers...), and we often get together for cocktails, dinner or cards. Next week is March Break, and I will be there with the Boy, and Nancy will be there with her girls, and the husbands will be there for part of the time. Nancy and I together means we will combine on dinners, and drink a fair bit of wine. (we aren't driving anywhere, so as long as we can walk, we're good...)
For Christmas a couple of years ago, I knit Don a hat - 100% alpaca, fair isle. He loved it, and wore it all the time.He even hand washed it! Then this year at Christmas, I noticed he wasn't wearing it. He was wearing the new hat I had made him, so it's not like I was upset, but he was saying that this one wasn't nearly as warm as the alpaca. So I asked "why not wear the alpaca?" He pointedly looked at his wife, who blurted out "I'm SO SORRY!" I accidentally washed it! I can't believe I did that!" She was so upset, and I kept telling her not a problem - it's just a hat.
Well. Not only are these great people, they do a ton of stuff for the kids and any time I can find a chance to do something nice for them, I jump at it.
Hence the replacement hat.

It's the same 100% alpaca, and the same pattern. The only difference is the green. I had enough of the same blue, but could not find the same grey green I used the first time, but I did have this lime-ish green.
I really wanted it for when we see them next weekend, so I powered through it this weekend, steamed it, and voila!
One replacement hat, ready for giving.
I think I will just hang it on the hooks in their cottage with all their gear and see if he notices.

Monday, 4 March 2013

jumping on a band wagon

I'm not usually a band wagon knitter. I've never made a Clapotis, nor have I made Monkey Socks. But this. This I couldn't resist. Colour Affection.
The colours are more like the bottom picture, but the shine is more like the top picture. Because I'm using silk. 100%, gloriously, silky, heavyweight delicious silk. I bought three colours of this silk in Kitchener, planning on a cardigan at one time, but then, it just sort of worked out for this. I have a mossy green, a muted pumpkin orange and a lovely, grounded taupe.
The shine shows up best above, the actual colours are better below.

So I've jumped on the Colour Affection bandwagon, and I'm pretty happy I have.

Friday, 1 March 2013

the sock pile continues to grow

Socks are my go-to knitting for travel and other times when I need to concentrate on what is happening around me. This is a good thing, since I end up making quite a few pairs over the course of a year, and most of them become gifts at Christmas.
It's been a good year since Christmas for sock knitting - for whatever reason, I have a good start of the sock pile for next Christmas.
From left to right -

Blue socks - Dye Version merino nylon blend. Yummy, yummy stuff. There's only one here right now, the other one is one of my current car knits.

Dye Version does a wonderful job of dying - no pooling, no piles of colour, just a wonderful tie-dyed effect. This is a slightly rustic, woolly feeling sock - perfect for any number of the guys on my sock list (If I don't keep it for myself).

Next to that is a pair of Lorna's Laces sport weight wool, that has been marinating in the stash for at least 5 or 6 years. Not as finely knit (my normal sock needle is a 2.25mm, these were knit with a 2.75mm. A little thicker, but oh so soft, and quite manly colours for a guy that has trouble with anything remotely considered girly...

Like these ones. Muted tones of pinks, blues and greens, that give an overall grey tone. Very nice yarn, and I wish I could find the ball band to tell you what it is. Alas, it was an orphan found in the sock stash. (been here almost as long as the Lorna's Laces...)

Last but not least, a pair of stretch cotton socks in a vibrant red. I have a few people that like the thicker cotton type socks. I will have no problem finding an owner for these.

There's also a varigated red (I think its a Tanis sock yarn) that is currently in rotation of car knitting, but it's close to the toe shaping, so I have to do that when I can concentrate on the decreases.