Thursday, April 30, 2009

OMG - it's done!

I am stuck at home today. No car. It's in the shop for its regular tune-up. But they called me mid-morning to inform me that I need new rear brakes and that funky smell in the car is due to oil leaking into the engine. Add it all up and I might actually need to get a real job to pay for the repairs! The good news - the bit of window trim sticking out from the windshield on the passenger side is harmless. Phew!

Since I couldn't go to my weekly quilting meet-up, I bit the bullet and finished my crochet entrelac bag. I present my first ever designed-by-me crochet FO:

Pattern: Entrelac Tote Bag designed by me
Blocked size: 9.5" wide x 11.5" tall x 3.5" deep
Yarn: Noro Yuzen; 3 skeins of colourway #3; had very little leftover
Hook: 5mm/US H

Notes: I have pages and pages of notes... Yuzen is a PITA to crochet. Some bits are super thin and others are so chunky that I can't even get the hook around the yarn. It made the whole thing lumpy bumpy. Thank goodness it all blocked out. I managed to pick the stitch/hook/gauge combo so that the coloured squares started stacking. See the first 2-3 rows at the bottom of the bag. You can see that the green is on top of the green, the purple sits on top of the purple, etc. I actually had to break the yarn almost every row and rejoin somewhere else so that the colours appeared random. I had so many ends to weave in!

The handles are a little tricky to sew on. I did the front ones by hand and the back ones with the machine using my darning foot (I couldn't make the stitch length long enough so I had to hand crank).

Notions: Lacis Leatherette 16" purse handle in black (scroll all the way down, it's the second picture from the bottom); large green acrylic flower button (from the dollar store); 26" x 13" fabric for the lining (I used Kaffe Fassett's Striped Vase in Red - from my stash)

Overall, I'm very happy with the end result. With any luck, I'll be teaching this class in the fall.

My tulips in the backyard are in full bloom. It's so cheery to see the yellow and red flowers.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

bad eggs

Question of the day: How long does it take raw eggs to liquefy after the best before date?
Answer: Approximately 2 months (these eggs weren't in my fridge). Ewwwww!

I finished crocheting my entrelac bag. I gave it a good soak in Eucalan this morning and I found the perfect box to put inside so that it blocks nicely. Today is sunny with a slight breeze so I put it outside to dry. The handles are ready to attach, I bought a cute button (hubby says it blends in too much so I might change it out), and I think I have a good fabric to line it with. Hopefully, it will be finished by Sat so that I can take it work and put it on display. At some point, I need to write everything up so that I can teach the class.

Next on my agenda is kids krochet kamp. I need to crochet a sample and design one of the projects. All this crochet means no knitting. The Whisper Cardigan hasn't really gotten anywhere in the last 2 weeks.

Ricky is enjoying the latest vet-prescribed food. This time, it's an ultrasensitive formula. The first ingredient is chicken but it's been changed so that the body doesn't think it's chicken. I don't get it but Ricky likes it more than the venison.

::nom:: ::nom:: ::nom:: ::nom:: ::nom:: ::nom:: ::nom:: ::nom::

Winners drawn and being notified!

Just a quick update -- I made Tony draw for the raffle on Sunday, and I've been contacting the winners to get their choices of the prizes for the last couple of days. Almost to the end of the list now, so I'll be able to post a list of all the winners in a day or so!

Friday, April 24, 2009

$50 gift card donation!

Francesca, of Three Bags Full, my LYS, has just donated a $50 CDN gift certificate for anything in her store!

I'm betting that the winner will choose something from the wall o' Koigu! (Though she also has an awesome selection of Noro, Dream in Color, and a GIANT rainbow wall o'Cascade 220!)

If the winner is in town, we'll make arrangements to get the gift certificate to you. If the winner is out of town, I'll put you in touch with Francesca with your wishlist, and then I'll pick it up from her and mail it to you.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

More donations - Bugga! and Kidsilk Haze!

I have two more yarn donations to add to the prize list!

The first is a skein of Sanguine Gryphon's hard-to-get Bugga! sock yarn, in Tomato Frog oops, COW KILLER!, courtesy of Phyllis, one of the most generous swappers on Ravelry -- thank you so much, Phyl!

The second is a gorgeous skein of Rowan Kidsilk Haze, and 40 grams of 6/0 beads to match them, from Jen of Elizabeth Nicole Designs. (Psst! You have to go there and check out her beautiful crocheted shawls!) She adds: "I also have some handmade soap and can throw in a bar of Sea Weed, Cranberry Crush, or Spiced Fig with the yarn if the winner wants it."

And Gabrielle donated another book -- Son of Stitch and Bitch! (Thank you so much, Gabrielle!)

tip toe through the tulips

Aaaaaah! Spring is finally here!

The weather's been fantastic but a little unpredictable. Some days it gets up to 17C (65F) and other days it's much cooler. We are still getting frost in the mornings so I don't dare make my hanging baskets yet. Everything in my garden is so late this year. I'd say we're about two weeks behind schedule if I look back at last year's pictures.

I went to the garden center on Tues with G and we had a lovely time walking around. I wanted to buy a cistus to replace the one that died but they didn't have the colour that I wanted. G bought one tho. I picked up a helianthum (I'm sure I've spelled that wrong) and two double impatiens for the planter on the front porch.

Don't you love my Casa Grande tulip show in the front yard? I am very happy with how this bed is turning out. Just 5 years ago, it was covered in 6 ft junipers and looked very blah. We ripped it all out with the help of a rented chainsaw and it's so much prettier. The area near the tree trunk needs a little something. A small bench? A planter? Or maybe a twirly tree decoration? Hmmm...

Monday, April 20, 2009


Watch out - I'm going to whine again. I was at work on Sat and some knitting friends came in late in the afternoon. E came up to the counter to pay for her yarn and she looked me in the eye and called me "Gladys". ::sob:: I haven't seen E in several months so how could she possibly get us confused? Maybe I need to make all new knitting friends and never introduce them to Gladys. OK, end of whine.

ETA: I publicly apologize to E for mentioning this incident. I did not mean to shame or upset you. ::hugs:: You can call me Gladys anytime you want to :) I do miss you and everyone at TBF but my Dad needs me, too.

I bought Cookie A's Sock Innovation book. It is very, very cool. I like most of the patterns but it's the first bit of the book that's the neatest. It's the part that talks about sock design. I'm not going to run out and start designing socks but it's nice to know how to do it in case I feel like tweaking a pattern.

My Whisper Cardigan is creeping along. I'm past the back gather now.

Poor Ricky has decided that he doesn't like vension. He was eating it at first but it's been a real struggle to feed him the last few days. So I've called the vet to see if he has something else we can try. I think he's feeling a little off because I couldn't find him this morning. He has his favourite sleeping spots but he chose to sleep here instead:

The couch normally doesn't look like this. He had to move stuff around to make space for his butt.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

just call me "Glotty"

On Wednesdays, I meet up with a fun bunch of gals at the pool hall. They call themselves the WNKers (Wednesday Night Knitters). Everything was going fine, until a local bridge caught fire & was shut down. That event prompted Gladys to join us rather than going to her 'other' knitting meetup. At that point, everything went downhill. It seems that several of the ladies can't get our names straight. Yesterday night was the last straw. Karen looked at me and called me "Doris" (I look nothing like her) and then later on, she called me "Gladys". Gladys wasn't even there! At that point, I suggested that Gladys and I have one name such as "Glotty" to make it easier for everyone. I'm not picking on Karen - there are others (Gail & Sharon!) who have the same issue. Hopefully, this will solve the problem. Gladys - I completely understand if you no longer wish to join us. I think we've gone off the deep end.

Now that Easter (and in-law visiting) is over with, I'm back to some productive stuff. My crocheted entrelac bag is coming along.

This is a sample for the advanced/intermediate crochet class that I hope to be teaching in the near future. It had a bit of a rough start but it's working out. I was worried the colour repeats would be too short but it's ok. I'm not crazy about the yarn (Noro Yuzen). In some places, it's so thick that it's hard to grab the yarn with the hook and makes the square look lumpy. On the current round, I had to cut the yarn and rejoin it on the other side of the bag because the colours were stacking.

I am almost at the center back of the Whisper Cardigan. And I've just started the second ball of yarn. This thing's going to be soooo light & airy.

I signed up for a Pushing Daisies swap on Ravelry. My swap pal is irishtea (Hi Maria!). She lives in Florida. Do you know how hard it is to pick a yarn for someone who lives in Florida!?!?! I spent some time today scouring the stores for daisy themed items.

Ricky's been sick again. This time the culprit is the "human grade ingredients" cat food. He was sick 5 times in 10 days and it started when I cracked open the new case of food (same flavour as always but it didn't look or smell like the previous cases). I dragged him to the vet Monday morning and his bloodwork came back fine. He's eating vet prescribed venison now and I haven't had to use the carpet shampooer since. Yippee! The cat food people are going to be hearing from me.

Ricky sez, "Take a picture of me! Not the yarn"

(Yarn is Rowan Linen Drape; $20 for the bag - what can I say? I can't resist a sale :)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

pimping my Aeolian

Did I tell you how much I love it?

Friday, April 10, 2009

busy, busy, busy

Busy taking advantage of the good weather. The garden is in good shape now. I just have to clean up two more shrubs and then I'm done until the weeds start taking over.

Ricky is happy that it's "open window" season. He's being a bad kitty by standing on the MacBook.

Busy working on a lot of crocheting & knitting. I'm scheduling several crochet classes - a kids camp (I need to design one of the projects) and an advanced crochet one (designing that one as well; it's tricky). Plus I've been asked to teach beginners knitting while the current instructor is on maternity leave. So lots of samples need to be made for the classes. I still have deadline knitting to accomplish as well. Ack!

Busy doing chores. The in-laws are in town this weekend so I had to cram all my chores & errands into one day. I got my hair cut so I look vaguely decent now. All that running around makes me want to take a nap like my two boys are doing here.

Ricky loves the "hubby couch".

Busy playing with my new iPod. It takes a long time to go through our entire CD collection. In a moment of weakness, I might've customized my iPod a little:

Hubby isn't working today so I'm going to drag him outside to take pictures of me in my Aeolian shawl.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Project bag prizes!

Bea, from the Bea Binney etsy store, has offered up two more prizes! Two lucky winners will each be able to choose a small reversible project bag from her store.

I think it would be perfect to do a sock project in a sock monkey bag. Thanks Bea, for the donations!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

More prizes!

As you can see, Tony's stunned by the power of knitters.

I'm also stunned by the outpouring of support from Dotty's and my real-life and online friends, and have more prizes to share out to everyone who donates! (Look to the left sidebar for links to how to donate!)

Susan, one of our knitting buddies at the Three Bags Full knit night, donated two gorgeous skeins of Koigu sock yarn!

Melissa, who lives in my favourite Australian city, Adelaide, is donating $25 AU of sock yarn from her store -- your choice! Do visit her blog, Stranded in Oz, to see her gorgeous hand-dyed yarn! (You can see a sample of her work below, but I'm sure it must be sold out by now, it's too beautiful to last!) Yet another reason to go back to Adelaide, besides the fact that my favourite cousins live in that beautiful city.

And Gabrielle, of the blog O.R.K. ... abroad, has offered not one but TWO beautiful books -- these will be two separate prizes. The first book is It Itches, by Franklin Habit, and the second book is My China - A Feast for All the Senses by Kylie Kwong. (Links are to the book descriptions if you want to find out more about the books.) She's an international import too -- moved from the UK to Vancouver to marry a guy, and I love the wedding photos on her blog. Congratulations to both of you, Gabrielle!

Also, I've put up a skein of Wollmeise on ebay, with all proceeds to be donated to Tony's Ride2Survive. It's going super high right now, with just one day to go! And I'm so grateful to the folks from Ravelry who are sending me a couple more skeins to go to more auctions on ebay and Tony's ride for the Canadian Cancer Society.

He went to a Ride2Survive meeting last week, and when he reported on how much money we've raised through this effort, there was an audible gasp in the room. I love it when people underestimate knitters!

Monday, April 6, 2009


Be vewy vewy quiet, I'm knitting Whisper (the cardigan). I'm using some Naturally Dawn that I won in a contest last year. Lovely stuff. You're probably shaking your head - casting on yet another project!?!?!?!?! But I did finish something over the weekend. It's one of the seekrit knits. You can check out the project on Ravelry if you can't wait for the end-of-the-month reveal (Anna - do not click on the link). I also cast on the second seekrit knit but I didn't get very far because it was a little too fiddly.

It has been a glorious weekend! The sun was out and it was warm. I worked on Sat and then I taught the second half of my crochet class. What a bunch of keeners! One student had finished 2 scarves and started a third. Another student finished her scarf but frog'd it after she realized that she'd made a mistake. They had a heart attack when I handed out the Japanese Tawashi pattern. Ha ha! We talked about charts for a bit. Some of the students continued working on their scarves and the rest of the class was a Q&A. After talking to this class, I think I have an idea as to what I want to do for an intermediate/advanced class. This will involve some designing because I couldn't find anything on the internet about this technique.

I spent a lovely 2 hours this morning doing some garden clean up. Hubby cut the lawn yesterday so I needed to whip the flower beds into shape. Many plants are dead from the weird winter (very cold, very snowy). On the dead list: hebe, variegated English lavender, several rock roses, and osmanthus (I'm really sad about this one). On the "there might be hope" list: Grace Ward, miniature climbing rose, and Himalayan honeysuckle. I'll wait a few weeks to make sure everything's dead before I dig them up and replace them.

Time for a little lunch and then I have to pay some bills and do my taxes. Blech!

Friday, April 3, 2009

random Friday

I have nothing coherent to present today. My current and near-future knitting is unbloggable and will remain so until the end of the month. So I will distract you with a bunch of nothingness.

1. Welcome to the blog, Tony! Feel free to contribute but try to keep it knitting related, eh ;)

2. Don't forget about the fundraising raffle! I've added quick links to the sidebar if you want to check out Gladys' Wollmeise auction or if you want to see how Tony's doing with his fundraising.

3. It snowed the morning of April Fool's Day. Unbelievable.

4. I went to a crazy LYS sale on Wed. Not crazy as in huge line ups/packed store. In fact, I was only one of three people in there. What's crazy is the ton (literally) of yarn marked down to $1 or $2 per skein/ball (Rowan and Debbie Bliss to name a few). Apparently, the owner no longer wants to store yarn off-site so she's bringing it all in and selling it off at bargain prices. My favourite purchase was a Lantern Moon bag for $5. I love it because it stands upright and stays open. I bought mostly sweater yarn but I did come home with one skein of sock (Bea - you'll like this :)

It's Estelle Arequipa in the Earth colourway.

5. At the pool hall on Wed night, I showed off my new acquisitions to the Wednesday Night Knitters. Karen beat me to the sale and scooped up all the Baby Ull. That's ok because she made room for the yarns that I bought. I met Lynne who had come down to attend a spinning retreat with Gail. She brought several pairs of her monster socks (they're a thing of beauty) and two of her sock monkeys. Check out the pictures on her blog.

6. Ricky is having a bad fur day today.

He had this huge mess of loose fur on his neck and back. I have no idea how he did that.

7. My hubby has been cycling a lot this week in preparation for the Pacific Populaire (100km) ride this Sunday. He (and Tony) records their cycling progress online and I subscribe to the RSS feed. Today's entry said: "sunshine and tailwinds, even better than lollipops". Lollipops? Is that some sort of cycling lingo?

ETA: Hubby said he was referring to the phrase "sunshine and lollipops". Huh? What century is he from? He's older than I am but not *that* old.

8. I took some knitting to my weekly quilt group meeting. The skein of yarn fell off my lap and the dog came by and stole it. Indy made it about 4 feet behind my chair before I figured it out. Bad doggie! Later that evening, I was knitting (the same project) in bed and Ricky came by and tried to play with the yarn. Bad kitty!

9. My iPod Mini died. It was on its last legs - the battery is toast so I can only listen to music when it's plugged into the wall. I tried to turn it on yesterday and nothing. So I'm shopping for a new toy - iPod Classic or iTouch? The Classic has enough memory to store my entire music collection whereas the iTouch is too small. One of my peeve's about the Mini was the small 4GB size so I'm probably going to buy the Classic. Hubby's mentioned that he'd like the iTouch so he can buy it and I'll *borrow* it from time to time.

10. I'll leave you with a final picture of Ricky after I brushed him.

Ricky sez: "I'm a handsome kitty"

Thursday, April 2, 2009

And now for something completely different

Warning, this post has almost nothing to do with knitting.  If you're looking for something to read while clacking your needles through the tedious part of the pattern before you get back round to that really cool part of the cable this might help.  I know by now some of you are wondering who put up this post and what's it about.

First off, let me introduce myself.  I'm wenat's husband...aka "DH", most know me as "Tony".  I've been granted "guest blogger status" here, and I promise not to abuse it.  At this point I could make some comment about having been rescued from a stash-alanche or JOMR delays (husband-speak for "coming...Just One More Row") for dinner, but I do know the audience for this blog.  That and it would only provide my wife with amunition regarding my hobbies.  What are my hobbies?  Well, one of them is cycling.  Cyclists will do crazy things that non-cyclists just don't understand.  To the non-cyclist, a cyclist's motivation for riding somewhere is often just not understood.

Up until now, there's been very little to link knitting and cycling in our household;  the stash and the bikes are actually (I'm only just realizing this as I type it) at opposite ends of the house.  I have a pair of socks (STR Cougar - I think that's what you commonly call "Socks That Rock") my wife knit for me as a reminder of a ride I did last year.  The ride was the 2008 edition of the Seattle to Portland (STP).  She didn't quite know what she was in for when I was told to visit "this shop - here's a map" in Seattle and pick up a couple of skeins/balls of STR in colours I that would remind me of the ride and one I thought she would like.  Cougar, by the way, is for the WSU Cougars, and it's basically red, grey and white.  My favourite socks are these socks.  Not simply because they remind me of the ride, but they're just really comfortable, really warm, and my wife made them...for me :)  As it turns out the red, grey and white also remind me of the condition/colour of my knee, and forearm after falling off my bike while towing my luggage to the start line of a 205 mile ride over two days.  White is the natural pasty colour of my arm with SPF 50 spread onto it; grey is the colour of gravel, and ain't for the sunburn.  Sorry to get graphic.  As a side-note the other skein I bought for her was "Husky".  It's white, yellow and purple; the latter being my wife's favourite colour.  The Husky name comes from the UW Huskies.  This yarn store is about 5 minutes by car from the UW campus in Seattle.

So, up until now, there hasn't been much to tie these two hobbies together, or us through them (we'll talk about the TdF knit-along later).  My wife doesn't like to ride her bike very far, and I can sort of knit, can't get the purl thing down though, and when I do knit, I do it so tight the needles squeak...literally, the needles squeak.  When your wife tries to come to your rescue and can't get the yarn over because it's on so tight she needs to use her fingernails to pry the stitch off the needle, it's clear you need to find a different hobby.  Then, along came the Ride2Survive.  

2009 is the fifth year of the R2S, so it's not really "new"...I've just never been moved to the committment required to complete this ride.  I assure you, I'm not some former elite cyclist.  This year, I'm committed.  It's personal.  My father is battling cancer and the list of people I know got too long for me to sit on the side lines any longer.  I had to do something.  Have you ever had that feeling? You can watch something wrong happen, then happen again, and eventually you have to do something to stop this wrong from continuing to happen.

That last question was rhetorical; I know many of you who don't know me, don't know my cycling club Team Coastal, and until last week didn't know about the Ride2Survive HAVE done something.  The cycling community is known for doing charity rides - we'll raise funds in recognition of us riding from there to here.  In the past week I've discovered that knitters are just as passionate about supporting causes too.  I have seen projects volunteered for the raffle, several of you have generously donated part of your treasured stash to the cause, and many more have donated your money.  The response has been fantastic.  To those who have dontated, I thank you and I'm humbled by your generosity (you'll have to ask my wife just how significant that is). To those of you who were thinking about donating but haven't clicked on that link yet, please do it now before you forget.  To those who can't donate but wish they could, thanks for the thoughts, and think of us on June 20th.  

We start riding at 4AM and after about 45 minutes, we begin 33km/20miles of uphill riding on a 6% grade.  We're at the top of that climb by 6:30 or 7AM...only 345km/215miles to go before we arrive at our destination at about 10PM.

Finally, I want to take this final moment to publically thank my wife for her support.  Her support goes beyond setting up a raffle to aid this cause, and blogging about the ride.  To complete this ride in June, I've had to commit to a training program what means I spend a lot of weekends and evenings on my bike.  She's picking up the slack I leave at home with the kids and the chores, on top of her day-job.  Without her, I couldn't be part of this amazing ride, so, "Thanks, I love you".