Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

We wish everyone a safe and happy Halloween!

"Yes, yes, a very good likeness" - Dr. Ricky Jekyl

"I am a killer! Take that - you pumpkin cat" - Mr. Ricky Hyde

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

pjs and leaves

No knitting today (lots of knitting yesterday night - I turned the heel on the Monkey sock) but lots of sewing. I finished up hubby's 'ski' pyjamas. Everything, and I mean everything in my sewing room is now covered in a fine layer of burgundy lint.

I finished up a jacket that I will never wear. The colours aren't me - I don't know why I bought that fabric. Oh well - I'm sure I'll find someone to take it off my hands.

I also tripped over a bag of leftover quilt batting one too many times so I hauled out all my batting leftovers and I'm donating it to the quilt guild recycling program.

Ricky's parked himself in the living room bay window ledge. He loves watching the leaves fall and he chases them. Last year, he was watching a storm blow the leaves around and he ran so fast that he smacked his head into the wall. Ricky's great cat TV.

"I'm waiting..." - Ricky

"Please fall down, pretty pleeeeeeeze" - Ricky

Monday, October 29, 2007

last shift

I worked my last shift at my lqs on Saturday. It's closing in a few weeks. The store felt really empty - tables were gone, shelving was missing, and sale signs were posted everywhere. I am very sad that my favourite store will be closed. sniff sniff

Mom tried on her cardigan yesterday and it looks like I have about 3.5" left before I can cast off the first sleeve. But... I might frog the sleeve and reknit it. I calculated the sleeve decreases incorrectly because I was guessing at the sleeve length. So, I have several options - keep going but increase the decrease rate (and hope I don't end up with an ugly sleeve), rip the sucker all the way back and reknit, or keep the decrease rate and hope the cuff isn't too loose. The first and third options are tied for first at the moment. We'll see how I feel later today.

While Mom's cardigan was on hold, I cast on a Monkey sock on Sat. I knit the first sock ages ago so it's been languishing in the WIP pile. It's a pretty fast knit - I've already got half the leg knitted.

I also spent the weekend quilting. I pieced the back of a quilt and this morning I basted it. I wasn't supposed to do any work on this quilt but I had to rescue a fellow quilter who wasn't able to meet the Fri deadline. Phoebe tried to help.

"mmm a new quilt top" - Phoebe

"Where are the tasty basting pins?" - Phoebe

I usually lock her out when I'm basting because I use safety pins. Phoebe thinks the safety pins are tasty and she likes to chew on them after I've pinned them into the quilt. She can be such a pest sometimes. But I was thread basting today so it was ok for her to be around.

And if I don't already have enough projects on the go, I hauled out the serger yesterday and spent an hour threading the sucker, fiddling with the knobs, cursing, finally reading the manual, calling my sister (it's her cast-off serger - she has a much fancier one now) for help (she wasn't home), and finally, getting it all working. I made a few reusable fabric shopping bags (for groceries) and I'm going to make some pjs (that fit unlike the store-bought ones) for hubby. I might hem some sweats while I'm at it. I have to admit it's a handy little machine but it's a bit spooky knowing that once you've sewn something, there's no going back.

Friday, October 26, 2007

what day is it?

Is it Friday? Already? Where did the week go?

If this blog entry is a little incoherent, it's due to the fact that I've been up since 2:30am. Yep, I'm running on 3 hours sleep. I woke up coughing - my throat was dry and scratchy. I must've been sleeping with my mouth open or something. I moved my legs to get out of bed to get a drink but I was pinned. I pulled my free leg out to see if it was hubby's fault but my foot came in contact with something furry - ah, Ricky. I maneuver out of bed - trying not to disturb him. I went downstairs, drank some water, and made a pit stop. I crawled back into bed but I was wide awake by then. I tossed and turned for 45 mins and finally, gave up. I slapped on my housecoat and schlepped downstairs where I parked my butt in front of the laptop, and surfed aimlessly until it was time to feed the cats. I'll need a nap this afternoon.

It was hubby's birthday on Wed. Happy Birthday, sweetie! We had a quiet evening at home (I had to miss knit nite). I made unagi (to be precise, I heated up 2 frozen pre-cooked filets) and stir fried some bok choy sprouts and enoki mushrooms. This was served on jasmine rice. For dessert, there was a pecan pie and Hagen Daas vanilla bean ice cream. Yum! After dessert, hubby opened his presents. He got some gift cards, the chat pad for his Xbox 360, and cash. I gave him some chocolately goodies, the mittens I made (there's been frost the last 2 mornings so he's already wearing them), and Viva Pinata. And the bestest present was this:

He bought it for himself on the weekend. It's a 24" widescreen LCD monitor (1920x1080). Talk about huge! The first thing he did after getting it set up was play an Xbox 360 game or 3. After the birthday dinner and dessert, we loaded up Pushing Daisies and watched the first 2 episodes on the new monitor. Sweeeet!

The birthday celebrations aren't over yet. We're going to my parents' for supper on the weekend so there'll be more good food, cake, and presents.

There's been all sorts of knitting stuff happening. My KP Harmony dpns showed up. But I don't get to use them just yet. They'll be part of my Christmas presents from my parents so I gotta hand 'em over this weekend.

I bought some more Sisu yarn. After finishing the first Endpaper mitten, I am going to have lots of leftover brown so I bought a skein of lilac to make another pair. The 5 skeins of cream/natural might turn into Cookie A's German Stockings.

My Monkey sock swap pal emailed me to say that my package is on its way. Yipee! I can't wait to see my socks and the rest of the goodies.

I've put aside Anna's mumble mumble this week to work on Mom's cardigan. I finished knitting the body and one sleeve is almost done.

I'm not entirely sure when the sleeve will be the right length. It's a raglan so I don't quite know where the shoulder is. I'll probably get Mom to try it on this weekend. Yeah, it won't be a surprise at Christmas. That's ok. Mom asked me to make her a sweater and since she's picky about her clothes, I made her pick out the pattern and the yarn.

When I pulled out my 4.5mm Addi Turbo circs to knit the ribbing, I could tell right away that there was something wrong. The shiny chrome finish has come off one of the tips. Humph! I only bought these needles in May and they've only been used a few times. Luckily, they have a lifetime guarantee so I just need to take them back where I bought them and get a new one.

And now, onto the cat portion of today's blog entry... Ricky has been trying to eat my squid snacks again. See -

"Mooooom! I want some!" - Ricky

And it's still sunny outside so Ricky's melting in the sunshine:

"Stop taking pictures of me - I'm trying to get some beauty sleep" - Ricky

"Need that window ledge to prop up my back foot" - Ricky

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

O glorious sunshine

It's sunny today. Plus it's going to be sunny all week. You have no idea how happy this makes me. It means that I will rake dry leaves (instead of soaking wet ones that weigh a ton) and finish cleaning up the garden.

I've made lots of progress on a certain person's Christmas gift. I've been knitting exclusively on this one project but now it's time to take a little break. I'm just a few inches shy of finishing the body on my Mom's cardigan. I will focus on that this week.

Since there are no knitting pictures, here are some cute kitties:

"Just what are you looking at?" - Queen Phoebe

"Must maximize belly to sun ratio" - Ricky

Saturday, October 20, 2007

waiting for the weather

It seems that at this time of year, we're closely following the latest weather forecast. Is it going to rain? How long before it stops raining? Will it still be daylight? After several days of heavy rain, we were greatly anticipating this afternoon's dry spell.

After lunch with family, and a few other errands, we rushed home to take advantage of a rain-less afternoon. Hubby headed up on the roof to patch the ripped shingle (caused by last winter's big storm that also brought our tree down). He also applied some soap to the moss on the roof and cleaned out the gutters. I stayed on the ground and raked leaves - lots and lots of leaves. Enough to fill almost 12 large bags. And the leaves that I raked were just from a single tree. We have a huge (over 30 ft) Norway maple in the front yard. The leaves are easily 8-10" across. And the tree's not done shedding yet. I expect another 2 or 3 raking sessions before it's finally nekkid.

Before we headed out this morning, I worked on a few quilt blocks that are very appropriate for the season. I bought the bright orange and the pale blue background fabrics last week and pulled the rest from my stash. I like how they turned out. I still have 3 more blocks to make.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Christmas knitting status

Mom's cardi: I have 17" of the body knitted - only 4.5" to go. This project is stalling slightly in favour of more interesting knitting. But since it's more than halfway done and it's only mid October, it'll be finished on time.

Hubby's sox: One sock down and one sock to go. Not feeling the sock love at the moment but once Mom's cardi is finished, I'll cast on when I need plain stockinette knitting.

Anna's mumble mumble mumble: I've posted pictures and progress to Ravelry and the KAL. You'll have to go there to check it out.

Puppet mittens: I haven't cast on for those yet. Megan's hands are small and the pattern's smallest size is too big for her. So I need to swatch and do some math before I cast on.

On to some miscellany...
Last week, I made sock blockers out of vinyl placemats. So what do you do with the left over pieces? Make yourself some mitten blockers:

So that you can block your finished Endpaper mitten:

Isn't it gorgeous? There's one boo boo - can you spot it? I guess when I screwed up, I didn't manage to fix the entire round. Oh well.

Jen has received the goodies that I sent her for winning my sockiversary contest. I cannot find the pictures I took of the prize package. She'll be posting pictures on her blog this weekend.

I received an email from my secret Monkey Swap pal. She was hinting that my package might be in the mail this week. Yippee! I can't wait to see what she made me.

And have you seen these socks? Ya know that I like short row heels - how 'bout an entire short row sock? These look cool and I'm going to try the pattern as soon as I finish my Christmas knitting. Do you think I can wait that long?

Monday, October 15, 2007

a good mail day

Usually, the mailperson brings bills and junk mail. But today, there were 2 goodies in the mailbox.

Some Cherry Tree Hill (in Peacock) and Lorna's Laces (in Yellowstone) showed up. I'd purchased them from another Ravelry user. They are sooo lovely. This is my first LL. I am very happy about the CTH - it really is one of my favourite sock yarns.

Also in the mail were 3 Addi turbo circs (also liberated from a Ravelry user). So now, I have no more excuses - I must start Anna's Christmas present.

The Endpaper mitts hit a snag yesterday night. I must've fallen asleep when I put the thumb stitches on a holder. I had to tink back 5 rounds to fix a very obvious boo boo in the colourwork. But all is good.

And Phoebe seems to have a new cat toy today. I bought myself a laser level thingy to help me with my quilting. I can use it on the floor to help me keep the seams straight when I baste. I can also "draw" a straight line for trimming the edge of a quilt. Anyways, I put the laser level on the floor to see how bright it is during daylight hours and Phoebe immediately pounced on the red line. I waved it around a bit and she went totally beserk. I had her running up the stairs, chasing it up the wall, and smacking at the floor. She would get totally confused when she ran in front of the beam and the light "disappeared". Ha ha! This is going to be a great toy.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

mmmm... pretty

I'm a little bored with knitting for other people. I have been working exclusively on birthday/Christmas presents for weeks now. I felt like a break so this morning I cast on Eunny Jang's Endpaper Mitts.

So very pretty! I love the colours. I love the way it looks. I don't like how snug it is although, the gauge is right. Maybe I'll block it bigger. Does it look like it's my first colourwork project? Well, it is. At first, it was a bit tricky juggling the two strands of yarn but after awhile, I was able to arrange both strands in my right hand so that I didn't have to drop/pick up the other colour.

I'm making a few mods. First, I'm going to make these full mittens instead of fingerless. I substituted the 3 pattern repeats at the wrist for a 2.5" 2x2 ribbed cuff in the background colour (brown). I will knit the thumb in solid brown. I will probably add a repeat or 2 before knitting the tip of the mitten in brown.

This mitten makes me want to make the Anemoi ones, too. I just can't get over how easy it is. Now I can cross stranded knitting off my learn-to-knit list. Woo hoo!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

sock and sock yarn

I finished hubby's first Christmas sock. It was a close finish. By the time I finished binding off, I only had about 1.5" of yarn left. I need to remember to leave more yarn for a sewn bind off.

I heard back about my yarn order. It turns out that the yarn they had was only for eBay. It accidentally got added to their computer inventory and thus available on their online store. So no sock yarn - for now. My order is still on file and when the yarn arrives (in Jan 2008), I'll be one of the first to get it - aside from those lucky eBay shoppers who beat me to it.

My garden is slowing shutting down but there are few things that look their best at this time of year. My current favourite is my Beauty Berry bush.

It will look even more spectacular when the leaves fall off and all that's left are the berries on bare branches. It's quite stunning.

Friday, October 12, 2007

is it Friday already?

This short week is messing up my internal clock. I can't believe it's already Friday!

Knit nite was a blast. There were a few new faces and we spilled out into the rest of the store now that there are so many of us. I was working on hubby's Christmas socks and I was starting the 4x1 ribbing up the leg. Well, you would've thought I was mentally challenged or something because I had to rip out the first round twice because I was incapable of counting to 3. Argh!

I bought the IK Holiday Gifts issue. There are some cool things in it. The teddy bear and Koolhaas hat are at the top of my knit list. But I must wait until after all my Christmas knitting is done.

A little while ago, I read about making sock blockers out of vinyl placemats. All of mine are fabric so when I spotted some at the dollar store, I bought 4 for a whopping $2. This morning, I chopped them up. Before:


I was a little dubious at first because the vinyl was so floppy but once you cut them up, they're less bendy. One pair has a 9.5" foot and the other a 10" foot. The socks that I knit for myself tend to vary a little in length. I'm going to make some more of these because they really do make your socks dry faster.

I have been working furiously on my Mom's cardi. I have about 4" to knit before I can start the ribbing.

I stopped at Burnaby Knitworks (probably the last time before they close at the end of the month) and picked up some Sisu.

I will be making Eunny Jang's Endpaper Mitts. The brown will be the background yarn. I'm also going to make them full mittens with a thumb and finger tip. Hopefully, these will be for myself but we'll see what size they end up. I've never done colourwork before and this looks like an easy project. Plus a knit nite regular has knit them several times so I have hands on help if I get lost/confused/stumped.

I spied the sock yarn of my dreams on eBay yesterday night. It's Noro Kureyon in a fingering/sport weight, 75% wool and 25% nylon, 459 yds per 100g skein, and it comes in those gorgeous Noro colours. This morning, I went to buy a skein and the colour that I wanted was gone. In fact, 2 of the 3 skeins listed were already sold. So I went over to the online store and placed my order. Well... shortly afterwards, I get an update that says my order's "on hold". The last skein has sold on eBay and the remaining colours have been removed from their online store. I am scared to ask what "on hold" means. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

check it out

Last week, I caught the tail end of a new show called Pushing Daisies. I was intrigued enough to watch it again tonite. Imagine my surprise when it opens with a scene of Emerson (the private investigator) executing a purl stitch and then the voice over says the words "gun cozy". I won't spoil it completely for those of you who haven't seen it yet. Let's just say that a knitting needle saved the day and that hand knitted socks aren't just for wearing on your feet. I think I'll be watching this show next week, too.

Thanksgiving is over and I feel like I've eaten my weight in ham, turkey, and stuffing. There is still a whole pumpkin pie in the fridge. Burp! I'll be putting a treadmill on my Christmas list.

The sun was shining yesterday and we took advantage of it. Hubby raked up all the leaves and we put them into 2 giant leaf bags that look like pumpkins. I also put up a bunch of Halloween decorations on the front porch. The fake spider web is looking a bit sad. I'm going to get a new one tomorrow.

I was at work today. The clearance sales have started. I bought a bunch of FQs, some half meters of fabric, and 2 spools of variegated thread. The store is starting to feel empty. Some of the fixtures are already gone and there's only 5 metal bolt holders left in the store. It's so sad to see the store closing sniff sniff.

Mom's cardi is progressing well. I slipped the sleeve stitches onto scrap yarn and I'm knitting the body now. I'm not bored of it yet so maybe I'll actually finish it on time. Yeah right.

I spent this morning photographing part of my stash. I've decided to sell some of my cotton and cotton/acrylic. I have way too much of it and I know that I'll never knit it up. They're on my Ravelry trade/swap page if anyone's interested.

We're back to rain today. Ricky and Phoebe certainly enjoyed the one day of sunshine.

"You can't make me turn away from the sun so that you can take a better picture" - Phoebe

"Yowza - that's some good sunshine" - Ricky

Monday, October 8, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving in Canada. And after 2 solid days of yucky rain, the sun is shining. What a perfect ending to a long weekend.

Yesterday night, I hosted a feast for my parents. The ham was way too big. My Dad praised my brussel sprouts (served with a mushroom gravy) and Mom nagged me into eating one (blech!). There are lots of leftovers. Tonight, we're having supper with hubby's family.

I got Mom to try on her raglan cardi.

It is a little too small under the arms so I'll knit at least one, maybe 2 more increase rounds before I put the sleeves on stitch holders.

Since the cardi was on hold for a day, I started hubby's Christmas socks.

This is sportweight and each skein is 150g so I thought that one skein would be plenty to knit him socks. Wrong! I've just turned the heel and it already weighs 44g. That means the leg is going to be kinda short. Humph. Why did I have to marry a man with size 13 feet?

After fighting with the Knit Picks website all weekend (someone's going to be in deep doo-doo for letting the transaction log fill up the hard drive), I've finally placed my order for some Harmony dpns this morning. My Mom (probably the last person on earth who doesn't have a credit card) will be giving them to me for Christmas. Yipee!!!

And a happy Columbus Day to our American readers.

Saturday, October 6, 2007


My favourite full zip black polar fleece jacket. I can't find it anywhere! sniff sniff

Friday, October 5, 2007

be still my heart

Nothing, and I mean nothing puts a smile on my face like a new pair of boots. I would like to welcome this pair of Italian beauties into my home:

They fit like a glove and they're sooo soft. I saw them yesterday while I was waiting for my eye appt. (just getting my prescription checked). But I didn't have the right socks on so I wasn't sure what size to get. I went back today (with handknit socks on) and bought a size 9. And I needed new boots. I threw out my lovely blue pair at the end of last season when the lining fell apart.

Speaking of eyes, there's nothing stranger than having something poking you in the eye and not feel a thing. And then they put the pupil enlarging drops in. I couldn't see up close for hours. Luckily, I don't have to look at my hands when I knit.

Here's the status on Mom's cardi:

I had to take my car in to have the speakers replaced (this is the first time that I've ever bought the extended warranty on anything and it actually paid off) so I found a bench in the sun and knit for over an hour. I would like to reach the underarms by Sunday so that she can try it on.

Mom and Dad are coming over for Thanksgiving supper - don't fall over in shock. My Dad doesn't like my cooking so it's been years since I've made a whole meal for him. I'm wimping out and serving a spiral cut ham. I'm going to cook up some yams, brussel sprouts (blech but everyone else likes them), and plain white rice (Dad made it quite clear that he won't eat potatoes). Mom and Dad are bringing some stuffing. Hubby is going to make pumpkin pie. He even does the pie crust from scratch! (yep, he's a keeper) Since I don't like pumpkin pie, I'm going to make a different dessert for myself. There's only the 4 of us so it's going to be kept simple. Besides, we're having Thanksgiving supper with hubby's family on Monday so we want to make sure there's room for more.

It was so nice to sit in the sun today. It was 0C (that's 32F aka freezing) this morning so I knew it was going to be a sunny day. But today is the exception. It'll revert back to 'liquid sunshine' for goodness knows how long.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

monster mittens

The mittens for hubby are done! His birthday is in 2 weeks so they're on time, too!

Yarn: ON line supersocke 6 ply winter; colour 886
Needles: 2.75mm dpns
Pattern: made up; it's a basic mitten

I purchased 6 more skeins of Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Wool yesterday night to make the mumble mumble mumble. I'm still waiting to be added to the KAL but if you're interested in checking out my progress, I added the project to Ravelry. I wound one skein this morning and I'm just waiting for my Addi's to arrive and then I can swatch.

I was sorely tempted by the Lucy Neatby sock yarn but I resisted because we made a big yarn order on Sat night. As it turns out, YBTB is completely sold out of the colours that we wanted (eventhough, they're still listed on the website) so the entire order's been cancelled. Humph. Don't feel too bad for me cuz I scored some Lorna's Laces and Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn from a destash on Ravelry. I've never tried LL before and I love love CTH.

At knit nite, I worked on my alpaca scarf all evening. I had brought my Sweet Georgia monkey sock to work on but I didn't feel like casting on.

In non-knitting news, I've been swapping out my summer clothes for my winter ones. Yep, I have to admit that tank top season is over and it's time for long sleeves. We even broke down and turned on the furnace. Ricky is supremely happy because he likes to sit by the floor register in the bathroom while we shower so he gets heat and humidity. We call him "sauna boy".

Monday, October 1, 2007

it's a good day

So today is the day I pick the winner of my blog contest. My first idea was to put all the numbers in a bowl, bury some cat treats, and let Ricky/Phoebe help me.

Here's the bowl with a healthy amount of kibble at the bottom.

Here is Ricky nosing all the paper out of the way so that he can eat the kibble (he's thinking - "mmmmm breakfast in bed, I could get used to this"):

Not a single piece of paper was pulled out so I reloaded the bowl and tried Phoebe.

That still didn't work so I had to resort to the old fashioned method of just sticking my hand in there and pulling out a number. The winner is comment 24 - Jen! Yay! Jen - I've sent you a message on Ravelry.

Just after I drew the number, my friend Anna showed up and she's ok'd the yarn for her mumble mumble mumble. I called Three Bags Full to have the rest of the yarn put aside for me. I am using Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Wool in the colour 10 (medium denim). Now I have to wait for the Addi needles to arrive (they might have been mailed this morning) and then I can cast on.

Anna stayed for lunch and we had a nice chat and got caught up on our lives.

My Monkey swap pal, Jenn received her package from me! The Monkey socks fit (first time I've knit for a complete stranger) and she likes all the goodies I sent her. I'm happy that she's happy. Many thanks goes to my sister for buying the monkey nightshirt and mailing it to me. I had seen it before I signed up for the swap and when I went back to buy it for Jenn, they were all gone. I called my sister in Calgary and asked her to look for it. She's a super shopping queen and she found it for me. I owe her big time.

Yesterday night, I hunkered down and finished the socks for Pauline.

Yarn: On Line supersocke 100 Fun colour 763
Needles: 2.5mm metal dpns
Pattern: plain toe up (60 sts) with short row toe/heel and picot cuff

It is cold out there so I'm making curried squash soup for supper. I was also going to make lamb and cabbage rolls but I have to head into work for an hour so they'll have to wait until tomorrow. Bummer!

ETA: My Ravelry messaging is fixed. I had no idea that it was turned off. Wah! Please message me if you tried before and it didn't work.