Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ricky slept here

Tis done...

Well, almost. It still needs a label and a wash. I want to name it "Ricky slept here" but unless you understand why, it doesn't make any sense. So I need to come up with something else.

Shortly after we adopted the cats, we went to a cat show and bought them a really expensive toy. It's just a fishing fly (minus the hook) attached to a stick via some tiger tail wire (used in jewellry). Ricky loves this toy. I can make him do donuts on the floor until he collapses in a heap. I've replaced the wire umpteen times because we play with it so much that it keeps breaking. The other day, it really broke.

The wire wrap has come undone and the feather bits were falling off. Not good. Today, I bought a new fishing fly (actually a 9 pack), cut the hook part off, and attached it to the stick and...

I think it's got Ricky's slobber of approval.

Something very special arrived in the mail yesterday. My buddy, pal, special friend, P-la sent me this lovely cowl made out of Koigu KPPPM!

I'm not very good at the self-portrait thing so the cats were forced into modelling it. Phoebe didn't mind wearing it but Ricky thought it looked better as a tube top. I can't wait until this weekend when I can wear it with my coat. If it's cool enough, I'm wearing it to work and around the yarn store. Thanks so much, P-la!

Speaking of yarn store, the big grand opening was on Sat. It was a crazy busy day but lots of fun, too. I was too busy ringing up purchases to buy yarn for myself but I did manage to eat several of these:

Now that the quilt is done, it's back to knitting. I hope to make a serious dent in the Christmas knitting during October. Wish me luck.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Windowpane socks tutorial

I uploaded a pattern for these Windowpane socks (Ravelry link) to Ravelry earlier this week, and I've been getting a bunch of requests for the pattern, so I figured I'd do up a photo tutorial.

Here's part 1 of the tutorial, which covers the first tier of squares. I'm still knitting the second tier and will do part 2 later today or tomorrow.

I'm re-knitting the pattern in the Wollmeise that I won as a blog prize from Knitting Sutra last year.

Here is a photo of the yarn on my Tinker Toy swift so you can see how it starts out.

And here it is in the ball. So pretty, so self-striping!

I stretched out one colour repeat of purple-to-green and took a guess at how much yarn a repeat would take.

Note: All handpainted yarns are different so you should swatch out a square with your own needles and gauge if you want the windowpanes effect. For at least the Wollmeise and Socks that Rock, 11 stitches worked, but you might find that 13 or 15 stitches might be the magic number for longer yarn repeats.
For this yarn and my gauge: Cast on 11 stitches. Purl one row. (On all rows but the cast-on one, I slip the first purl stitch so that it’s easier to pick up a stitch when you go to pick up stitches at the sides of the squares.)

Slip 1, Knit 3. (Again, I slip the first knit stitch so that it’s easier to pick up a stitch when you go to pick up stitches at the sides of the squares.)

Slip 2 stitches together knit-wise. Knit the next stitch. Pass two slipped stitches over the knit stitch.

Knit 4

Purl 9. (Purl all back stitches -- slip the first purl stitch to make it easier to pick up.)

Knit 3. Slip as before to make the mitered square come together. Knit 3. Purl back.

Continue until you’re down to one stitch at the tip of the square. Hopefully you’re also at the end of the colour repeat.

If you still have some colour repeat left, rip that square and cast on 2-4 more stitches.

Here`s my first mitered square.

Pick up 6 stitches along the side of the square. Cast on 5 more stitches (I used the e cast-on).

Purl 11. Repeat from the Slip 1, Knit 3 step to make your second square. Keep making squares until you have enough squares less one to make a strip that goes comfortably around your calf. This is addictive, as each square only takes a few minutes to make.

You'll join your last square to the first one. Pick up the stitches along the side, then cast on 4 stitches with the e cast-on. Then pick up the stitch at the bottom corner of your first square and make the fifth stitch.

Slip 1, and purl back. Repeat the mitered square pattern but on the very last stitch of each knit row: slip that last stitch, pick up 1 loop from the edge of the first mitered square, knit the two stitches together.

The two squares should line up neatly. with each other, with your final corner stitch sticking up into the next row of squares.

Pick up 5 stitches along the square that you're on, and cast on 5 more stitches with the e cast-on.

And that will take us to the end of part 1 ... look for part 2 shortly!

PS. here's a photo of what the pattern looks like with Lorna's Laces yarn -- I couldn't get the full colour repeat into a mitered square, but I also love the random rainbow squares that I did get.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

no quilt is safe

Man, this scarf is addictive. I've already made a second one and it's upstairs blocking.

I found several single skeins when I went stash diving. I don't remember the details of this yarn. The phrase "mulespun" comes to mind and I'm pretty sure it's dyed with natural dyes. Other than that, there were no tags so I have no clue where it's from. I have another skein like this but in a burnt orange colour. The yarn is very soft (once you pick out the vm) even before washing. It doesn't smell as sheepy as the Cascade 220.

Gladys has got me swapping yarn on Ravelry. My first yarn arrived in the mail today - a lovely skein of Mountain Colors Bearfoot in Sierra. It's very nice. Expect to see more yarn p0rn as things slowly arrive.

I went out for lunch and a little fabric shopping with my quilting friends today. It was my first trip to Creative Edge - a new quilt shop in North Vancouver. They had a booth at the quilt show so I was very interested in their store. I bought some swirly fabric to make sheep ornaments with. Plus I got a big piece of skulls with crossed knitting needles. I also bought the Owl and the Pussycat pattern by an Australian design team called Melly & Me (this was the pattern that was sold out at their booth). Of course, I want to make the Pussycat bag. I think their designs are so cute. Too bad my nieces are too old for this sort of stuff.

I've been quilting steadily on the log cabin quilt. When I'm not working on it, I heave it onto the back of the sofa because I don't want the cats sleeping on it or Phoebe chewing on the saftey pins (yes, she does that and can pull one out if she tries hard enough).

So guess who's sleeping in it right now?


ETA: I turfed Ricky off the quilt so that I could work on it. Shortly afterwards, he came back - on my lap and under the quilt. See?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

roses for Bea

My crocheted scarf turned out lovely after its bath & block. So I took it outside for a little photo shoot.

It is quite a pretty little scarf. The second picture is more accurate wrt colour. I'm going to toss the stash tonite looking for single skeins of worsted/aran yarn because I want to make one for myself. Can you picture it in Malabrigo or Queensland Kathmandu or Koigu Kersti?

Yesterday, I went over to BSY for knit nite (my first time) and dropped off the scarf, the course outline, and supply list. I also picked up a skein of Cascade 220 to make swatches for class.

I didn't have a mindless knitting project to take with me so I dug out some pale pink wool and printed out the pattern to make some roses for Bea.

I think they're really cute. The smallest one is the first one I made. For the second and third roses, I fiddled with the pattern a little by adding extra plain rows between the increase rows. I think I have enough yarn to make one or two more and then I'll mail them off to her.

Summer is definitely over. I put all my shorts and tank tops away today and pulled out my woolies. On the weekend, hubby complained about the cold so we replaced the summer blanket with our big red wool one. He's sleeping much better now. And a warm & happy hubby is good to have.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

crochet me

Is it Sunday already? Wow - the week's flown by. I got some good stuff in the mail - my Colourmart silk/cotton (fingering/4ply).

I bought 2 cones - enough to make the Apres Surf Hoodie. But I'm having problems getting the right gauge. Ack!

I'm in the middle of hand quilting the pink/purple tilted log cabin quilt. I've got about half of it done now. I took it to knit nite to work on instead of a knitting project (yeah, blasphemy!). I got really hot sitting under it because the lights were right above me. I also felt self-conscious because people were watching me quilt. But I'm pretty used to it because I often take my knitting to my quilt meetings.

Hubby had Fri off (he has every Fri in Sept off) so we relocated the small compost bin and installed a new bigger one. Yay! I have somewhere where I can dump leaves and bigger items. I'm still using the little one because I need to keep my kitchen scraps under a lid and away from rodents.

Yesterday, I worked. Yes, I got a job at Black Sheep Yarns. My training was Wed and I worked the entire Sat. Believe it or not, I didn't buy anything. I was soooooorely tempted... That's not to say that I didn't come home with yarn. I did. I made this yesterday night:

Yarn: Cascade 220 Heathers; col 9326; 1 skein
Pattern: Queen Anne's Lace scarf by Khebhin Gibbons
Hook: 6mm
Notes: Pattern calls for more yarn but one skein was enough to make a 6ft+ long scarf.

This is a store/class sample. I am going to be teaching a beginner's crochet class and this is what the students will be making. The owner wants to offer crochet classes and the grand opening for the store is next Sat so I needed to get the scarf done post haste. Now that it's finished, I'll take it to the store and figure out which days the classroom is free. Then I'll need to make up notes for the class. Eeek! The designer of this pattern has kindly given me permission to use it so that's one thing I don't have to worry about.

I went to a quilt show today. There were lots of wonderful quilts and a great merchant mall. Pictured above is a Kaleidoscope quilt using a technique by Ricky Tims. I don't know why but I found it quite intriguing. Below is a design by Karen Stone. It's a quilt that I want to make. I have all the foundation paper pieces cut out and I'm still collecting fabric for it.

This year, the merchant mall was bigger. Yay - more shopping for me. There were 2 new vendors - one that sold lots of Australian designs and another selling colourful African batiks. I didn't buy anything from them (not that I didn't try - the first booth had sold out of a pattern that I liked and the other one needs to call me back tomorrow about some fabric that I need by the yard rather than in FQs) but I still ended up with some cool stuff:

I think I'll take a little snooze before making supper... Don't wake me.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

mmmm alpaca

Look what I blocked yesterday!

Pattern: not-a-cable scarf; my own design
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpaca sport (or melange); col unknown (lost ball bands); 3 skeins
Needles: 4mm straights
Notes: It's about 7" wide and almost 5 feet long so it's a pretty decent size. I won 2 skeins of this yarn at my lys' first anniversary celebration and I bought 2 additional skeins so I have one skein left. My plan is to knit a pair of Fetchings to go with the scarf. Believe it or not, I think the yarn was softer before washing. It feels a little prickly against my neck now that it's dry. Humph!

I bought the new Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine at the grocery store today. There are a coupla cute patterns that I like. I'm usually leery because her pattern instructions are written row by row with no schematics. So if you want to substitute yarn or if you can't quite get the right gauge, you're screwed. The magazine instructions are still written out line by line but there are now schematics. I looked up her patterns to add to my queue in Ravelry and it turns out that most of them have been previously published. That doesn't bother me since I don't buy any of her other books/patterns but it might annoy knitters who think they're getting new patterns to only find out that they're in a pamphlet that they already own.

Ricky (the bad cat) chased Phoebe out of her chair (I was out grocery shopping). He really enjoys sleeping there judging by the blissed out look on his face.

"MOMMMM!!!! Stop taking pictures of me!" - Ricky

Monday, September 15, 2008

drumroll please!

Thank you for entering my second sockiversary contest. It has been fun reading your comments and guesses. The correct answers to my questions are:

1. How many pairs of socks have I knit in my lifetime? (only count matching pairs)
A: 35
2. How many pairs of socks did I knit in the last year (between Sept 07 and now; again only count matching pairs and don't forget my finished Rivendells!)
A: 15. Sock production slowed down this year while I was knitting other things like the Tangled Yoke Cardigan.
3. How many sock WIPs do I have?
A: 4 at the beginning of the contest; 5 by the end. Either answer is correct.
4. How old is my oldest sock WIP?
A: 1 yr and 7 mos or 19 mos

Two of you got all the answers right and the name that got picked out of the bowl is:

Yay, Katerina!

The randomly drawn winner is:

Way to go, Kristen!

And the funniest comment prize goes to Elaine for the wonderful little ditty she wrote.

Katerina - expect an email from me shortly. Kristen & Elaine - you didn't leave me any contact info and I can't find an email address on your blogs so please email me (yarnfloozy AT gmail DOT com)!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

when life gives you scraps

We interrupt this blog to bring you exciting news. The ever elusive Phoebe has been spotted under the hibiscus plant. Tread softly so that she isn't startled.

But wait... We are being watched. To our left, is the silent hunter known as Ricky. Ever ready to pounce, it seems that he is enjoying a post-breakfast snooze.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled blog...

It has been a busy few days doing mostly chores while the weather's nice. We discovered another wasp nest so we had to deal with that. I repotted about half of my indoor plants and I tossed a few others. One more plant needs a new pot because the old one is cracked but I ran out of soil.

As you can see, the cats have been chasing after sunny spots and snoozing. They have such a hard life, eh?

I finished an alpaca scarf that I started last August (as in 2007). No pics yet as I need to give it a wash & block cuz it's very lumpy and bumpy. But I did finish something else that I can show you.

My quilting group made one last year. Most of the fabrics were pulled from my scrap bin. I did have to buy a few extra dark purples to balance things out. I love scrappy quilts and this one turned out great. I think I'll also make one out of blue & green scraps. And would you believe that my scrap bin is still really full?

"If I look really cute, can I have the quilt?" - Ricky

Don't forget - my contest ends tonite at midnight. Don't miss out on some great prizes. And check back tomorrow to see who the winners are.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

fog with attitude*

I'm painting chairs today. So I run outside, paint for 10-15 mins. Then I go inside and wait for an hour. Repeat.

Not much I feel like doing in the hour that I have to wait so you get a quick blog post. And what should I write about? Hmmm - what's on the camera?

My newly cast on sock. This is from a dye-ing experiment with socks blanks from my knitting machine and Kool Aid. Hubby has commented that he likes the blue.

Raspberries from the garden. They look better than they taste. Imagine a regular raspberry with a quarter of the sugar/flavour. Yes, these are incredibly bland. I blame it on the poor weather. But I still eat them.

I was rummaging around in our plastic bag bin and I found this bag. Normally, I see bags with a store logo and maybe a Rocky Mountain logo off to the side. But this one is a little different. Wonder where hubby's been shopping...

* what hubby calls the rain shower he got caught in when cycling to work yesterday morning

Monday, September 8, 2008

Police escorted

Our husbands have been cycling together for a couple of years now, and they belong to the same cycling club. Tonight's the last ride of this season, so they get a police escort to close the roads just ahead of them -- apparently 56 riders did tonight's ride.

That's Dotty's husband on the left, and mine on the right. And our friend Sarah's boyfriend (man-friend? significant other?) in the middle. The kids and I went up to meet them at their final destination, with their bikes.

I'm just wondering if I'll get this post uploaded before Markus gets home! Dotty, how did I do?

Oh yeah, some knitting content. I finished two Pokeball hats (free Ravelry download) for the kids. That's the easy photo.

This is the action photo. They like the hats, but then they have to be Pokemon in them.