Sunday, September 30, 2007

A few things for September

Life is starting to get back to whatever passes for normal around here, and I'm sure hoping to get back to a regular blogging schedule. Sorry, Dotty!

I have been knitting, because it sure clears out the stress in my head.

One pair of socks for Trish -- DONE!

One entrelac baby blanket -- Done! I'm particularly fond of the single yellow square in this blanket. It's for one of my colleagues who's a great graphic designer, so I thought it was a fun touch for her new baby, which is due in the next couple of weeks. This is the second entrelac blanket I made for her. The first one was for her first son, who's a few months younger than Andrew. His "soft blankie" goes everywhere with him, and he sleeps with it every night. When she told me that, it made me feel all soft and fuzzy inside.

And to give you an idea of the scale of the blanket, here are a pair of Fetchings that I made for mommy-t0-be. I'm giving Fetchings to all my co-workers this Christmas, and figured I had to get hers done before she went away on her maternity leave.

And last, but not least -- two sleepy children, almost ready to give mommy and daddy a break.
Now I'm just scared about how much Christmas knitting I still have to do. Last time I checked my list, I had knitting to do from now until the end of November.

casting on

It's been a few days since I've posted so sit back and relax with a cuppa something hot while I update you on the goings on.

Knit nite at Three Bags Full was packed! Poor Francesca gave up the cash register chair and there still wasn't enough seats. Elise had to perch on a wooden trunk. I think Francesca might be buying some folding chairs for next Wed.

I bought some yarn. They're for knitting Christmas gifts so I can't really show them to you. Maybe after Christmas...

I worked on Pauline's socks and they're almost finished.

I only have a few inches left to go but I'm not feeling the love so they're not getting much attention. And they match eventhough, I didn't bother trying.

On Thurs, I was handed the 3 (very late) signature quilt blocks. I was finally able to piece the back. The quilt gave me a slight heart attack. I had bought extra red fabric for the binding but it wasn't the same red as the fabric we'd originally purchased. Ack! I rushed over to my lqs and the red fabric on the bolt wasn't the same red as the one we'd originally purchased 2 weeks ago. It was the right colour number but a different dye lot! So we're going to use a black for the binding instead. I also found out that another lqs - Thread Bear in North Van. is closing next March. My closest lqs (where I work part-time and stitch'n bitch every Thurs) is closing in Nov. and Thread Bear would've been the next closest quilt store. Wah! Where am I going to buy fabric?

On Fri, I headed over to my parents' house - to take Mom out shopping, mooch a little supper, and use their floor to baste the signature quilt. Mom and I went out to Wineberry Fabrics so that I could pick up some YLI hand quilting thread but they don't carry it anymore so I had to buy something else. Mom bought some yarn. She's very intrigued with my not-a-cable cable scarf and I showed her how to knit it. So she's going to use the yarn to knit some scarves for the granddaughters for Christmas.

I hit the supper jackpot - Dad made wontons. These are really good wontons with really good soup. As we were sitting down to eat, Mom asked me what I wanted to drink. She started rummaging around to show me the options. Mom said I should drink the Red Bull since she wanted to get rid of it. What? My parents drink Red Bull? I had to ask where they got it because it's not something they'd ever buy. Dad goes for walks around the nearby golf course on a daily basis. There was some sort of corporate event and one of the golf course workers (Dad's friendly with all of them) gave him a 4 pack of Red Bull to take home. My Mother was trying to get rid of the Red Bull because she'd drunk one the other day (obviously, without reading the label) and couldn't get to sleep! Doh! My Mom constantly worries about what I eat and drink and here she is slinging back a Red Bull without knowing/understanding what it is. Sigh... I didn't drink the Red Bull because I have a mild caffeine allergy.

Yesterday was errand day. I went over to Burnaby Knitworks for a little shopping after I found out that they'd increased the discounts on their closing out sale. I didn't buy anything. There aren't many yarns in sweater amounts left. I found 2 bags of Debbie Bliss Silk Road for 50% off but the colour was black. There was one bag in purple but I didn't think there was enough yardage for anything more than a tank top. It was probably just as well since I bought a lot of yarn in the evening.

Gladys (my alleged co-blogger; hint hint) called in the afternoon and invited us over to their place for supper. After supper, we might have done a little online buying. Yarn By The Bag is having a buck a ball sale. They're a Canadian site so we like buying from there - plus they have some really great deals. Some Idena Cotton Sport flew into our shopping cart... Gladys bought an assortment of blues and I purchased some of the deep burgundy.

This morning, I cast on my Mom's cardigan. I'm using the Cropped Raglan Sweater pattern and making it long sleeved and less cropped.

Mom's sensitive to animal fibre so I'm using Bernat's Denimstyle which is a soft acrylic/cotton blend. I cast on the medium size and knit about 12 rows before I realized my gauge was off so I frogged it and cast on the smaller size. I've knit this before so I should have it finished in no time.

I haven't made any progress on Anna's mumble mumble mumble. I am meeting with her tomorrow to get the ok on the yarn choice & colour. Plus I'm waiting for some Addi's. I bought 3 circs from a Ravelry user who is destashing. Hopefully, one of them will give me the right gauge.

And keep your eyes peeled for tomorrow's blog entry. I will be announcing the winner in my first Sockiversary contest. If you haven't entered yet, it's not too late. You have until midnight (PDT) tonite. Go to this post to enter. Good luck to everyone!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

quilting 2; knitting 0

Still all about the quilts... Here's a picture of the charity quilt that we finished on Monday (from Nancy's camera):

I really like it cuz it's scrappy. I'll probably make one for myself at some point in time.

And today, I sewed up the signature quilt top.

It's huge! It's lying on a queen sized bed. I was going to sew up the backing but I've been told that 3 more blocks have been submitted so I need to wait until I get my hands on them first.

I knit 2 rows on a sock yesterday night before I went to sleep. I spent the evening shopping for yarn. I'm still looking for yarn for my Mom's Christmas cardigan. And I need to buy yarn to knit a mumble mumble mumble for my bf, Anna (recipient of the Indigo Ripples Skirt and the Sienna Cardigan). If you really want to know what I'm making, email me and I'll tell ya. Once I get the yarn, I'll sign up for the KAL and I'll post my progress there.

It's sunny again but not dry enough to go out and clean up the garden. Ricky is enjoying his favourite patch of sunshine. We call him "One Ear Ricky" when he sleeps this way.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

ahhh, that's much better

Thanks for all the get well wishes. I took a double dose of Advil and turned the heating pad on high Sunday morning and that seems to have done the trick. My back is almost normal now.

Sorry if I haven't replied to your comments during the last few days - I didn't realize there were new blog comments until yesterday. Out of the blue, Blogger stopped emailing me comments. I didn't change a thing so I don't know why it's broken. I reset the email address and it's working again.

I haven't done any knitting since Saturday. Hubby's cousin from Germany plus wife & daughter were in town on the weekend. They were staying with hubby's brother so all of us went over for dinner on Sun. I made cream puffs and served them with raspberries from my garden (yes, I am still picking raspberries at the end of September).

During the day, everyone (except me because I don't like heights) went out to the Capilano Suspension Bridge and Grouse Mountain.

On the suspension bridge:

In the treetops adventure:

From the Grouse gondola:

Hubby took a lot of pictures but most of them are blurry - his speciality. He likes to hold the shutter button halfway (forces the camera to focus and hold that focus), moves the camera, and then takes the picture. I keep telling him that he'll never get good pictures that way. He'll never learn.

Quilting is also getting in the way of my knitting. I am working on 3 signature quilts - one for each of the owners of our lqs. The store is closing its doors in Nov after 12 years of wonderful service. Our little quilting group meets there every Thurs. and we'll miss it dearly. We've been collecting signature blocks for a month now. They've been circulated amongst the local guilds for signatures. Last week, we bought the fabric for the sashing & borders and I spent most of Sunday cutting everything up. Yesterday, we had a work party and 4 of us spent the day assembling the quilt tops. I didn't think to bring my camera so I don't have any pictures.

I got home in time to make supper and then I had to go out again. A bunch of us were meeting to finish a charity quilt (again, I forgot my camera). We signed our names on the label and each of us took turns sewing it on. The lighting in the living room wasn't very bright so I got to use my "young eyes" to thread the needles for the everyone. Gino (the cat) was the hit of the evening. When we were taking pictures with the quilt, he saunters into the room and lays on the part of the quilt that's draped on the floor. When we were done taking pictures, the quilt was folded up and left on the sofa while we ate apple crisp and drank tea in the dining room. When we returned, Gino was curled up and fast asleep on the folded up quilt. Awwwwww - he was just so cute.

BTW, did anyone watch the 2 hour episode of Dr. Who yesterday night? I didn't get home in time to catch it. Was it good?

It is getting brrrr chilly. I have to drag out our heavy wool blanket because hubby's not warm enough at night. I also need to switch to my fall/winter wardrobe. It's all about chores this week. Hopefully, I'll have a little time to knit in the evenings. BTW, there's exactly 3 months til Christmas.

ETA: Dang it! Blogger's not emailing me comments again. ARGH!

Saturday, September 22, 2007


Yesterday morning, my back spasmed and I've been in quasi pain. If I cough/sneeze/hiccup, it really, really hurts. Ditto for getting off a chair and when I'm picking up something heavy from the floor. If I do anything else, I'm fine. So I spent pretty much all of yesterday on the couch watching DVDs with hubby (Bridge to Terabithia and a Miss Marple).

And I knit a sock:

Pauline bought the sock yarn and asked me to make her a pair of socks for a friend for Christmas. I started it late Thurs afternoon and on Fri at 10:30pm, it was done. That's gotta be a new record for me.

This morning, I needed to get out of the house for awhile. Hubby and I decided to go out to Fort Langley for the day. The weather was nice (for a change) so we stomped around and did some shopping.

I bought the monkey fabric from A Quilted Stitch. The sock blockers (only $6!!!) were from an antique mall. I would've bought more but these were the only ones in my size. These blockers are unusual because both of them are made from one piece of wire and are connected at the top. All the other ones that I saw today can be seperated. We stopped at a dollar store for felting equipment (bucket and plunger) and I also bought the "Deep Thoughts" notebook (the eyes crack me up) and Pooh stick pens. It was a nice day. Hubby is massaging my broken muscle and I'm going to lie on my heating pad for awhile.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Hubby, the human cat sofa:

The cats are glad that their Daddy has such long legs. I can see why they're looking for warm legs - it's cold and miserable outside.

No knitting today. I've been getting my Monkey swap package ready to mail. Just a few more things...

I did a lot of knitting yesterday at Knit Nite. I was working on the not-a-cable cable scarf. I'm getting bored of it. I hope that I have enough momentum to finish it. I'm not even halfway yet.

Christmas knitting is starting to stack up. A friend gave me some sock yarn to knit her a pair of socks for her friend for Christmas. I am madly shopping for yarn for a cardigan that I promised my Mom. There's just 3 months til Christmas. Yikes!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

too good to be true

We did go shopping. But hubby didn't set foot into any yarn/quilt stores and certainly didn't hold any packages for me. At least, I got a chauffeur for the day.

Our first stop is Maple Ridge. Quiltopia is a quilt store that I've never been to but I've heard good things about it. It's small and their selection is pretty limited. I didn't see any fabric that I wanted but I did pick up a quilt pattern.

Two blocks away is a yarn store called Once Upon a Sheep. It's run by the Salvation Army and all profits go to supporting the organization. I didn't buy anything from there. It was a teeny tiny store and didn't have anything that I was interested in.

Our next stop was Abbotsford. I went into Strung Out on Beads. It's a big store and they have a huge selection of bead supplies. I was there quite awhile.

These will become stitch markers for knitting socks from Cat Bordhi's New Pathways for Sock Knitting. I really wanted black cat beads but they were sold out.

Down the block is Quilt Essential (yes, I was there last week but I didn't have much time to browse).

I bought some fabric that I liked. No idea what I'll use it for. I also poked my head into a used bookstore and picked up a few more books for my collections.

We drove out to Langley and got lunch. Our next destination is a yarn store called Knit Cafe. But we find 88 Stitches instead. Doesn't matter - a yarn store is still a yarn store. This place is small (not as tiny as Once Upon a Sheep) but they have a good selection. I bought one skein of Austermann Step.

It's getting late and we want to get home before rush hour traffic starts so I make a decision to skip A Great Notion and go straight to Knitopia. The store recently relocated from White Rock to Langley so I wanted to see its new digs. The store is pretty dark but it's about the same size as the old one. I saw some hand painted merino/tencel sock yarn but I didn't like any of the colours. They had lots of yarn on sale. I tried to be a good girl.

I bought the Fiber Trends Felted Clogs pattern and 6 skeins of Lopi to make myself a pair. I also bought a skein of Briggs & Little Sport for socks. I know that it's one ply but I've heard it makes ok socks. At $5.50 per skein (one skein is enough for a pair of socks), I couldn't resist. I was looking for Durasport (contains a little nylon) but they didn't have it in stock.

So that's my quilt/yarn store crawl. Hubby is worn out and having a nap right now. I'm going to see if I have any circs big enough to knit those clogs with.

Monday, September 17, 2007

back to knitting

Now that I've got all the cycling stuff out of the way, I can report on the knitting.

I was unhappy with the pictures I had posted earlier of the Cat Bordhi socks. They were too blurry or I had to use the flash. Here are the two socks together sans flash and for once, the colour of the yarn is pretty accurate:

I still can't get over how they're constructed. I am trying to decide which pair of full-sized socks I want to knit first.

These are the vintage magazines that I purchased at the used bookstore in Hope for 25 cents (!) each.

The magazine in the middle has a great pattern for puppet mittens.

Aren't they absolutely cute? I think I'll be making a few pairs for Christmas gifts.

I haven't knit on the cable scarf since we got back but I got a lot done while we were on the road.

I'm about halfway through the second skein of yarn and the scarf's almost 3ft long. I started with 4 skeins so it'll be nice and long.

We had a really lazy weekend and spent most of it watching DVDs (Eragon, a Miss Marple movie, and Charlotte's Web). I cast on the second Monkey sock for my swap pal on Sat and I was already working on the heel flap yesterday night.

If I keep going at this speed, I'll have them done by the end of the week. But we know that's not gonna happen because I'll get distracted by something...

Speaking of distraction, as a thank you for providing vehicle support for the cyclists, hubby has agreed to be my slave-for-a-day (git yer mind outta da gutter). Originally, the driving part was going to involve a lot of fabric/yarn shopping between stops. However, the route they ended up taking didn't leave many opportunities for shopping. I was quite bummed so hubby's agreed to drive me anywhere I want to go, carry packages for me, render opinions on colour, and generally be a "yes, dear", "looks good, dear" kinda husband. We're going out tomorrow so I need to work on my list today. Keep your eyes peeled for some potential yarn p0rn.

And if you can't tell it's a sunny day based on the above pictures, then this picture of Ricky should be pretty obvious.

He's on a stack of boxes that we put by the sunny window for him to sleep on. And he loves it. In another month, the sun will be on the guest bed and he'll be sleeping there instead.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Tour de Toll Booth

(This post documents the 3 day cycling trip and contains no knitting so feel free to click away. We'll return to our regularly scheduled program tomorrow.)

Earlier this year, one of the guys suggested an extended bike ride. Of course, not being one to resist a challenge (and the opportunity to buy yet another expensive bicycle), hubby agreed to go. The Tour de Toll Booth was born.

Fast forward to Wed Sept 12th. After many months of training, the guys are ready to go. Sarah and I are the support team. We have a van load of food, water, spare parts, tool kits, first aid stuff, and butt butter (it's exactly as it sounds).

Day 1 - Home to beyond Hope; 160kms (100 miles)

The first leg involves mostly city riding and it's pretty slow going in the van. Sarah and I squeezed in a 20 min shopping trip at Quilt Essential in Abbotsford. I bought a charm pack of monkey fabrics and Sarah bought some fabric of cats being bad. At the 2.5hr mark, we meet the guys in a pub parking lot in Mission. Everyone is doing well. They load up on food, water, sports drink, and sunscreen. I have a coupla really good pictures for Ass Watch Wednesday.

Sarah and I have a lot of time to kill between Mission and the next stop. We drive over to Harrison Mills and stop at the Kilby General Store. Sadly, it's closed Tues and Wed so we make a mental note to stop in on the way home. We kept going and followed some signs to the Kilby park/campground/boat launch where we spent almost an hour sitting on the beach and eating/knitting/reading. Then we packed up the van and headed out to the next pit stop - a gas station just west of Agassiz. The boys rolled in and ate/drank/reloaded and headed out for the last leg.

Sarah and I drove straight to Hope, checked into the motel, unloaded/unpacked, and went in search of a grocery store to pick up some soy drink and chocolate milk. We spotted a used book store and a yarn sign and made notes to visit them the following day.

The guys rode past Hope and doubled back so that they could say they rode "a century" (100 miles). They eventually showed up exhausted and filthy but in one piece and in good spirits. We ate supper at the Home Restaurant and I ordered the Mountain Mushroom Burger (I love mushroom burgers). The menu says that it doesn't come with fries because "you couldn't eat them anyway!" The plate showed up and all your could see were mushrooms. It was perfect. I eventually found the meat and bun but didn't manage to eat it all because it was so huge. It was totally worth it. Tony got a leg cramp during supper and kicked me under the table while trying to stretch it out.

When we got back to the motel, the boys wandered off for a soak in the hot tub and I parked myself in front of the tube (we don't have cable TV at home so if there's cable, I have to watch) and knit the Little Coriolis sock and stayed up way too late to finish it.

Day 2 - Hope to the Toll Booth and back; 100kms (60 miles); sea level to 1244m (3700 feet)
Sarah and I slept in while the boys got up early to have breakfast. After they left, Sarah went out to get a newspaper and just after she got back, I got a call saying that the boys were ahead of schedule and could we be at the first pit stop a little earlier? Yikes! We quickly packed the van and headed out to Carolin Mines. It's in the middle of nowhere and after pulling off the highway, the paved part of the road ends. That's how desolate it is. There was someone else at the stop - they were loading a big piece of machinery (front end loader?) onto a trailer and hooking the trailer to a semi-truck.

When the guys showed up, Tony (who works in sales for a truck trailer company) reaches into the van for a business card, a pair of gloves with the company logo, and clip clops down the hill to do a little selling. LOL! That's dedication to your job.

After the guys left, Sarah and I headed off to the next pit stop. We pulled into the brake check just after the Portia exit and had unloaded our chairs/books/knitting when the guys pulled in. We were kinda confused. The hubby's instructions were wrong. His notes tell us to meet them at the brake check after Portia but before the snow shed. There are 2 brake checks. We stopped at the first one. Hubby meant the second one - Box Canyon. Doh! Ok - fine. We pack up and drive there. We had a bit of a wait since it's a long climb up there.

During this pit stop, the boys decided that they wanted another break before the Toll Booth. So we agreed to meet them at Zopkios. After a morning of teeny tiny pull-outs (no public facilities anywhere unless bushes count - it sucks being female), it was a relief (literally!) to pull into Zopkios. It was a fully furnished rest area complete with ice cream vendor! I had a frozen fudge malt and Sarah got a berry smoothy and ice cream on a stick. After we finished our goodies, we had just started the engine to return to the other side of the highway when Sarah spotted the cyclists coming out from the underpass. So much for moving the van. The guys were getting quite tired and there was still a bit of a climb to the summit and the toll booth.

At this point, we were supposed to head back to Hope. But the guys wanted an escort down the hill and through the snow shed on their ride back. So we agreed to meet them at Zopkios again. Off they went to their final destination - first the summit and then the toll booth.

Sarah and I left Zopkios and drove to Falls Lake (the last chance to u-turn before the toll booth). At Falls Lake, we found a path for a 1km hike and we decided to go for a walk. About 15 mins later, we reached the lake.

Aside from ourselves, there was a lone fly fisherman. We sat in the sun and soaked up the beautiful scenery. Not wanting to be late, we only stayed about 10 mins. When we got back to Zopkios, the boys were already there waiting for us. They overestimated the amount of time it would take to turn around. All of us pulled out onto the road and headed downhill with the cyclists ahead of us.

Tony's top speed was almost 90km/h and hubby's top speed was 84km/h. Once we got through the long, dark snow shed, we zipped past them and headed for Hope. We went to the yarn store but it was very empty. Then we stopped at the used book store. Sarah didn't buy anything but I bought Valhalla by Tom Holt and I picked up a few vintage knitting magazines. The boys showed up shortly afterwards. Tony had a flat tire that delayed them 15 mins. We had supper at a greek restaurant and the boys had their soak in the hot tub afterwards. Graham's tire was flat when we got back to the hotel room so he had to change it. Everyone was feeling mostly ok. Hubby developed a hot spot at the base of his left thumb so I cut a little piece of moleskin to put over it for Day 3. Graham was complaining about his left knee. They all had sore bums.

Day 3 Hope to Home; 130kms (80 miles)
Yay - we get to go home. We got on the road early to avoid the afternoon traffic. We met them at the gas station again. When the boys showed up, they were covered in bug grease. It was so gross! I had to wipe off hubby's face before I let him eat his orange.

Sarah and I stopped at the Kilby store. As we were pulling into the parking lot, there was a convoy of old Fords pulling out. We quickly parked and jumped out to take some pictures.

We went inside the store and asked about the cars. They had started out in Mission and were driving all the way out to Chillwack and then back to Mission. Some cars came from as far away as Salem, Oregon. What a treat to see them! I just love the horns - arooooooga!

The Kilby store is pretty neat - lots of local handicrafts. I bought a jar of Blubarb jam for myself, a jar of strawberry and ginger jam for my Mom (who was cat sitting for us), and a jar of honey with Bailey's. We didn't have time to visit the museum or the farm so we headed out. We stopped at a veggie stand and picked up some peaches'n cream corn (freshly picked!) and a basket of plums.

We passed the guys several times and I snapped some great pictures of them from the van:

We arrived in Mission early so we decided to stop at a park for lunch. Neilson Park is very nice and has a great view of Hatzic Lake.

We met the guys at the pub parking lot and after they left, we sat there waiting for the phone call telling us that they'd made it safely onto the Albion ferry. And then we headed for home. Traffic was sluggish so we barely made it home before they did. I was unloading the van so I missed their triumphant return and I didn't get any pictures. I made hubby ride back up the hill and come down so that I could snap a few (yeah, I'm mean).

So here are some stats:
Distance travelled: 400kms (250 miles)
Elevation reached: 1244m (3700 feet)
Steepest grade: 11%
Litres of water consumed: over 36
Bananas eaten: 11 pounds
Energy bars consumed: approx 27
Sore bums: 3

Saturday, September 15, 2007

another drive by posting

I'm back from 3 days of sitting/driving in a van, waiting in parking lots or brake check pull-outs or rest stops for 3 guys (my hubby, co-blogger's hubby, and Graham) to ride their bikes 400km. All 3 made it to the Coquihalla toll booth and back.

There are more pictures (like 235) if you're interested.

I knit. Here is the finished Little Coriolis sock:

Again, there is no heel flap and no stitches to pick up. This sock is knit toe-up. I am still stunned.

I also knit on my not-a-cable cable scarf. It looks the same but much longer. I didn't knit anything else during the trip because I didn't really have the time.

There was a tiny bit of shopping. I bought a charm pack of monkey fabric from Quilt Essential. And I bought a knitting magazine and some old knitting patterns from a used bookstore in Hope. We found a yarn store but it was empty and when we asked, it turns out the owner retired and the store closed last month. Bummer!

Reader Question
In my Little Sky sock post, Jen (sorry, can't find an email for you) asked: Does the book have a toe-up version?
Answer: No. This sock is knit top-down. There probably is some way to knit it toe-up but you'd have to figure it out.

Off to unpack and load up the washing machine.