Sunday, December 30, 2007

she loves it!

After several delays (the poor girl was very sick), I finally gave Anna her (drumroll - please) Tangled Yoke Cardigan.

Pattern: Tangled Yoke Cardigan by Eunny Jang from Interweave Knits Fall 2007, smallest size
Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, 6 skeins in colour 10 (woad)
Needles: 3.5mm addi turbos for the body, 3.25mm addi turbos for the garter ribbing on sleeves, 3.5mm and 3.75mm addi turbos for rest of sleeves, 3mm addi lace for neck and button bands
Mods: I used slightly larger buttons so I knit 2 extra rows on both button bands. I knit 4 fewer rows for the neck band to match the picture in the magazine. I knit the sleeves a little longer and used smaller needles to cast on for narrower cuffs.
Notes: One sleeve ended up slightly longer than the other and despite blocking, they're still not quite the same length. But they're long enough that it's not noticeable. The use of the smaller needles for the body made the cardi just small enough for a little bit of negative ease.

Overall, I am extremely happy with the project. It fits Anna very well and all the changes in needle size resulted in a well-fitting garment. Yahoo!!!!

I don't know how I'm going to top this next Christmas. Maybe it's time for another pair of mittens or perhaps a pair of socks. What do you think, Anna?

And Anna gave me a lovely handwoven chenille scarf in my favourite colour - purple! I will have to wait for some good light to take pictures as the chenille is shiny and very hard to photograph indoors. It's very, very soft and cuddly. I might just wear it all the time.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

the aftermath

I feel like I've been sucked into a tornado and spit out the other end. Christmas started out quietly. The cat alarm rang just before 8am so we got up to feed them and proceeded to have a leisurely breakfast. Over brekkie, we opened up some presents that we weren't taking to my parents' house. My sil got my name in the Christmas draw and she gave me a gc to Three Bags Full (can't wait for their belated Boxing Day sale) and a pair of shoes to wear with my hand knitted socks.

For those of you who are thinking about buying a pair, they fit exactly the same as the Sloggers premium clogs. These are soooo awesome. I can't wait to wear them to the next knit nite.

The excitement level cranked up a notch or 2 when we got to my parents' just before lunch. It took us about 3 hours to get all the presents opened. My Dad tried to watch all the festivities but gave up and found a quiet corner of the house to have his daily afternoon nap. Smart man.

The nieces got spoiled. My parents got spoiled (Mom got a colour laser printer!) and so did everyone else. My sister got some spectacular jewellery from her husband. I got lots of great stuff - mostly books, mugs (one of them has a nudie gardener on it :), and a lot of knitting stuff: a knitting pattern-a-day calendar, Knit Picks Harmony dpns, Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Sock Book, and a kacha counter.

While we were opening presents, it started snowing! We rarely ever have a white Christmas so it was an extra special treat. Some of us (like the ones who live in the land of the many-foot snowdrifts) were less excited about the snow.

Hubby and I woke up early on Boxing Day and hit the sales. Hubby bought himself several games for his Xbox 360 (and he bought more today when I sent him out to run an errand) and we bought a few things for the computer/digital camera. But I spent more money than he did - I got myself a new pair of glasses. I didn't get the red one in the picture. I decided to play it safe and I got the navy blue ones.

We went to a big Boxing Day party yesterday night. My co-blogger gave me some yummy Apple Laine Apple Pie sock yarn in the colour 'purple haze'. Thanks, Gladys. It's sooo soft.

There was a ton of food. Our hosts made a turducken:

I got to carve this beast. It was pretty tasty.

Today, I slept in as much as I could and I've spent a good portion of the day playing with all my prezzies. I also knit a little on my Juno Regina stole.

There's a pretty big boo boo at the top of the lacy diamond but I'm not ripping back to fix it. It bugs me but not enough. I don't think many people will notice it. My sis just dropped off my bil so he and hubby are upstairs shooting things on the Xbox. Sigh... He's staying the night so I expect the gaming to go on until the wee hours in the morning. Sigh...

Monday, December 24, 2007

Meowy Christmas!

I finished the puppet mittens today.

Pattern: Puppet mittens from a vintage pamphlet
Yarn: Rowan Pure Wool DK
Needles: 3.5mm Addi Turbo circs
Mods: I chose to knit the pinkie and thumb in a solid colour rather than continuing the stripes. I added an i-cord so there's less chance for the mittens to go MIA.

I need to wrap them and then I'll be officially ready for Christmas.

Instead of casting on the second purple Trekking sock, I cast on for Juno Regina instead.

I have almost finished the last repeat of chart 3. So far, so good. Just a few more rows and I'll be onto the easy part.

The cats and I would like to wish everyone a Meowy Christmas (please ignore the disgusted look on Ricky's face. He was having fun during the photo shoot - really!)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

baking, shopping, and even some knitting

I went over to my parents' house on Thurs and spent the day baking with Mom. We made about 6 doz sugar cookies, 4 doz shortbread cookies, and 2 and a half doz butter tarts. I think that'll do nicely for fattening up my nieces when they show up later today. My deep freezer is loaded with some appys that I made earlier in the week (mini quiches and chicken wings). I also made a huge tub of spinach dip and some carmelized onion spread/dip which takes care of the savory snacks. I think that between myself and my parents, we have enough food to feed everyone (for at least a few days ;).

And despite the crowds, I've been doing a little shopping (while out delivering Christmas prezzies). Dollarama yielded some great stickers for the nieces to play with plus some vinyl placemats for sock blockers. We went to Daiso yesterday and I bought more chopstick holders for my dpns and I picked up a 3 pack of crochet hooks (1mm, 0.9mm, and 0.75mm) for beading lace. I also bought a plastic case to hold my ever growing collection of variegated quilting threads.

In between the baking and the shopping, I've been busy knitting. I finished sock #1 for Pauline.

I should've been knitting the puppet mitts. They are almost finished.

I just have to knit the pinky on one mitten, seam up the side, weave in the ends, embroider the eyes, nose, mouth, sew on the hair, and attach the i-cord.

I received a very unexpected package this week.

Ronnie sent me Tudora and Fetching. Thanks so very much, Ronnie! They're soooooooooo soft. She made them from the leftover cashmere (!!!) from the dressing gown that she knit for herself (do follow the link - it is worth it).

We have more presents to deliver today and one more Christmas gift to buy. Hubby is already working on his Boxing Day shopping list LOL! I had a quick peek and he's planning to expand his collection of Xbox 360 games.

Well, I should get back to work on those puppet mittens before we head out for the day. Maybe I'll get them finished tonite and then I can finish my Trekking socks!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

sock, sari silk, speed bumps

I don't have a lot of time to blog today but I had to show you my finished purple Trekking XXL sock!

I just love love the colour and the random stripes. I ripped the heel back and reknit it so the foot fits perfectly now. I can't wait to get the second sock done!

Some recycled sari silk yarn arrived for me yesterday.

This is 550g of worsted weight (maybe 450-500yds?). It is a little stinky but not that bad and of course, the colours are different from skein to skein. I don't know what to make with it yet... Maybe a tote bag? Or a Clapotis?

At our house, you really have to watch where you're walking because there might be a speed bump in the way.

"wha? You want to go down the stairs?" - Speed bump Phoebe

"s-s-s-t-r-e-e-e-e-e-t-c-h" - Speed bump Ricky

Saturday, December 15, 2007

mmmmm.... socks

I love knitting socks! It is so nice to be knitting them again. Pauline's first sock is almost done.

I got bored of knitting it so I started a sock for myself.

Do you recognize the yarn, Purling Pirate? I love this colourway. The striping is completely unpredictable. I tried the sock on and it's a little too long so I'm going to rip it back and reknit the heel.

And I did start the puppet mitten.

The thumb's finished and the stitches for the pinkie are held on scrap yarn while I knit the top. It's a quick knit but fiddly because you knit, then you sew a seam, you knit some more, you sew another seam, etc. I don't care - they're going to be so cute when they're finished.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

mitten FO and socks

My mitts are done!

Pattern: Cabled fingerless gloves (Panda Wool Mitts on Ravelry)
Yarn: Schachenmayr Nomotta Extra, 2 skeins in colour 3685
Needles: 3.25mm Susan Bates Silvalume dpns (love, love these needles!)
Mods: knit the fingers longer for more coverage
Notes: There are 2 errors in the pattern. Under Right Thumb where it says "work 8 stitches at top in pattern", it should actually say "work 7 stitches at top in pattern". Under Left Glove where it says "work 7 stitches in pattern" in 2 places, both should be replaced with "work 8 stitches in pattern". I've alerted the pattern designer so hopefully, the errors will be fixed. There were lots of breaks in one of the skeins - the other one was fine. They feel a bit itchy around the wrists but I'm hoping a Eucalan bath will fix that problem.

And this is how much I like 'em:

Hubby was helping me photograph the mitts so we got a bit silly. Now that the needles are free, I should start those puppet mittens, eh?

Nah! It's time for some socks.

We were watching Pushing Daisies episode 8 (hubby hadn't seen it yet) via broadband Mon night and I can't watch and knit the mitten at the same time so I cast on a pair of socks. These are a commission. I made the first pair waaaay back in Sept. It feels like I haven't knit socks in ages. I am using the Susan Bates Silvalume dpns and I do like them. They feel nicer than my usual steel dpns and I can definitely tell they're lighter. It will be interesting to see if I'll bend the aluminum the way I bend bamboo.

While I was tidying up earlier this week, I realized that I no longer have any sportweight yarn to make hubby socks with. I bought 2 skeins earlier this year and I used one skein for mittens and one skein for his Christmas socks. So I did a little searching and I found some Regia 6ply in manly colours at Herrchners. I only ordered 3 skeins because I don't know whether I can standing knitting plain socks with solid yarn. Maybe it's time he got some patterned socks...

Sunday, December 9, 2007

FSOT: one slightly used hubby

So what constitutes grounds for a divorce? Taking flash pictures of your wife early on a Saturday morning while she's still asleep and waking her up in the process is a good one. I mean really - so what if I was sleeping right in the middle of the bed (flat on my back, head between both pillows, legs all over...) Yeesh! Sometimes I don't know what gets into him.

OK - enough whining and back to knitting. I have completely finished Anna's Christmas present. It is ready to wrap! I'm doing my little happy dance. So here's an update on my Christmas knitting:
- Mom's cardigan check
- Anna's mumble mumble mumble check
- Hubby's socks check
- mittens for M not started yet (need to finish another project to free up the needles needed for the mittens)

It's only Dec 9th so I'll be finished with time to spare!

A few weeks ago, my Mom asked me to borrow my cat. I asked which one she wanted - Ricky or Phoebe. She didn't mean a real cat. She meant my stuffed cat because my nieces each have the same stuffed cat and my Mom wanted to knit the cats outfits for Christmas (yes, Mom's getting old and wacky). So I loaned her Mao Mao and this is what she returned to me yesterday night:

You should see the outfits she made for my nieces' cats! Mom needs a new hobby.

It was Dad's bday last week and we went over for supper yesterday. I brought the birthday candles.

It just cracks me up to see the birthday cake shaped candle on top of the slice of cake.

I finally got into the sewing room today. I'd bought some cat fabric quite awhile ago with the plan to make little quilts for my cats to sleep on/under. They need their own quilts because they hog the people quilts.

I made 5 today - 3 small and 2 med. I still need to make a large one. Here's Ricky enjoying the new quilts:

Speaking of Ricky, he's been a bad boy. We have Christmas lights hanging in the windows and when the drapes are closed he thinks the lights are something that he can play with.

But if you open the drapes, he loses interest and wanders away. There is nothing you can do to get him to stop except to open the drapes. Do you see the other bad thing he's doing? Sitting on hubby's iBook. Bad Ricky!

Don't forget - only 16 days til Christmas!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

mmmm.... yarn

I got a package in the mail today.

Some Sweet Georgia in Snapdragon!!!!! I could never wear these colours in public but they'll do fine as socks. Ravelry is a great place to shop for yarn.

Our quilting group went out to the Thread Bear for one last lunch before the tea shop closes for good in a few weeks. And I added a new cat to our family.

Her name is Evangeline and she's now sitting beside Calliope in our dining room. Isn't she pretty? I also bought some fortune cookie fabric and a Japanese kimono panel. Don't know what I'll do with either of the fabrics... I also picked up a spool of Aurifil 50% wool/50% acrylic hand sewing thread. I'm going to see if it works well for reinforcing sock heels. I don't like using wooly nylon - it makes the heel too thick.

And when I got home, I set out to block Anna's Christmas present. While it was soaking in some Eucalan (boy, did it bleed a lot!), I laid out some towels on the guest bed. When I went back upstairs with the item, Ricky had materialized out of nowhere and was passed out on the blocking towels. Yeesh.

He was quickly shoo'd off the bed. The item is blocking with the door to the room firmly shut. One sleeve seems to be a little longer than the other but hopefully, they'll be the same length when they're dry. I've got 3 blocking wires in it to keep straight things straight. I tried patting it into place but the edges just ended up all wobbly. O.R.K. - if you're reading this, make sure you wash your blocking wires before you use them. There's definitely some residue on the wires and you don't want it staining your knitwear.

There is still some indecision over which notion to use. I took the options and the item to knit nite and the votes were pretty much split between the 2 choices. In any case, I will think about it some more and maybe having the item blocked will make a difference.

News flash - my lys now carries Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn!!!!! This is my favourite sock yarn and now I can buy it in person. Yahoo!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

broken record

Anna's Christmas present is almost done. You've heard this enough times to believe I'm a broken record. Seriously, I have 8 rows left to knit and some notions to sew on. Then I'll be doing my little happy dance :)

This leaves me with one last knitted Christmas present to make - a pair of puppet mittens for a friend's daughter. And it's only Dec 5th - no problem! I am choosing to ignore the fact that I have some Christmas sewing to do as well.

I finished knitting the first Panda Wool Mitt.

I was going to make these full mittens but the ribbing messed up the mitten decreases. I tried knitting the mitten top a few times and each time it was a disaster so I gave up and just made them long fingerless mitts. The cable motif no longer sits in the middle of the mitten but I don't care anymore.

Once I finish up Christmas knitting and a few FOs, I'm back to commissioned knitting. Some of it's been waiting since September. On my list are:
- Saartje baby bootees and Peadpod baby set for C's first grandbaby
- plain socks for P
- more socks for Trish (the purl bumps on the sportweight socks bother her feet so I'm going to make some fingering ones for her)

Maybe I'll squeeze in a project or 2 for myself. I would like to have a nice sweater to wear in the spring.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

bbq and the white stuff

Phew! What a weekend! I finally finished the charted knitting on Anna's Christmas present. Talk about crazy. I can see that I will never knit one for myself because it would kill me to have that many stitches on the needle at one time. It should be smooth sailing from now on. I have hopes that I will finish in time even if it did take me over 2 days to knit 18 rows.

I finally yanked a bunch of pictures from my camera. Here's one of myself and Angela with the double maple leaf quilt that we made for her. She seems pretty pleased with it. And it's the first picture of me and my new 'do'. It's a lot shorter than before and I keep forgetting to use less shampoo in the shower.

Hubby worked late all week per his manager's request. And when the team works late, the company brings in food. Well... They brought in food from Mephis Blues BBQ House. I am a big fan of BBQ - in fact, many times we've eaten at Dem Bones on Valentine's Day because that's what I wanted. But over the years, Dem Bones has declined so I've been looking for a new bbq place. A few years ago, I heard about Memphis Blues. It's not very close to us so we've never managed to eat there. But all that changed when hubby ate it at work and didn't bother to bring me even a little scrap of pulled pork (he's brought me double chocolate chip cookies from previous work dinners). He knew I was disappointed so he ordered the Memphis feast to-go and brought it home for supper on Fri night. It was awesome!!!!!

This picture shows what's left - after we'd both eaten. See the drumstick at the bottom of the picture - that's an average chicken drumstick so that you can understand the size of that platter. When hubby walked in the door, he handed me the take-out bag and I nearly dropped it because it was so heavy. I weighed it - 7lbs 12ozs!!! In addition to the meat, there was a container of slaw, potato salad, beans, bbq sauce, and a packet of fries and corn bread. All the food was wrapped up in huge packets of tin foil (because they don't make take-out containers big enough?). We finally finished eating it all tonite. So the Memphis feast supplied us with enough food for Fri supper, Sat lunch, Sat supper (hubby only), and Sun supper.

So my party girl self went over to Angela's (same one as above) on Fri night for a Pampered Chef party. I bought a BBQ bottle brush, some bamboo cooking spoons, and a jar of the cinnamon sugar sprinkles. Yum!

I continued to party on Sat night when I went out to supper with the Quilters' Haven gang. Driving home was tricky because it snowed a lot while I was there. I took the flatest route home and still ended up kissing a curb coming down a hill. There was a pretty serious accident at one of the intersections. And today, we saw another accident where the trees won and the car lost.

Our snow covered house:

Hubby even measured the snow with his measuring tape.

Hubby and I were outside decorating the house while it was snowing - a first. Today, we put up the tree and decorated the living room while watching the snow fall. But it's started raining and the snow's turning to slush. Ick! Snow never really lasts out here which is fine by me because I have to head out tomorrow and do some shopping!