Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Huge sock design contest

I can't believe none of the blogs I read have mentioned this yet today, so I'd better link to it: Knitters and a whole lot of sponsors are launching a huge socks contest. Rules and entry form here.

There are tons of prizes and categories. I'm just trying to decide if I'm feeling at all creative ... and of course, the Tofutsies yarn sale at Three Bags Full isn't helping at all! I was feeling iffy about my tofutsies socks all winter because they're so thin -- but the nice sunny weather last weekend made me remember how much I like them when it's warm outside.

(PS. Yes, I'm still alive. More project photos to come.)

random Wed

Recently, I've stumbled across some new online knit-zines - and The Inside Loop. Both of them just released their first issue containing free knitting patterns and articles. I haven't had a chance to read the articles yet but some of the patterns look quite interesting.

The spring issue of IK arrived this week. I am just itching to cast on for the Auburn Camp shirt. I love it sooo much. I have some 100% silk in a dark brown that I could use. Or maybe in a crisp white cabled cotton? Hmmm...

The Rivendell sock pattern's going to be released! I first saw this sock on Ravelry several months ago. The pattern was available as part of a sock kit (long discontinued) but you couldn't buy it on its own. The Harlot recently blogged about this sock and the poor designer's probably drowning under a ton of email requests for the pattern.

So what have I been knitting... I finished the first baby bootee. I used the DK cotton and 3mm dpns and it's about the right size for a 3-6 month baby. Phew!

I worked on my Berroco Comfort Sock sock at knit nite. I chose the Ridgeline master pattern (from Cat Bordhi's latest sock book) and I'm working a yo, k4, yo over the center instep sts. I'm trying to decide if I want to have any sort of pattern on the leg or if I should stop at the top of the arch. I'm just starting the heel turn so I've got a bit more knitting before I have to decide what I'm going to do.

I've been doing a little quilting. I'm about a third done on Geoff's quilt. I don't know why but I can only machine quilt for short periods of time. I used to be able to sit at the sewing machine for much longer. Maybe I need to condition myself?

Remember in Nov, when I bought two embroidered quilt tops when my lqs closed? I've been planning out what I'm going to do with them. It looks like a larger quilt top was taken apart and combined with other blocks to form two smaller tops. There are essentially two sets of blocks - ones made of unbleached cotton and ones made of a pale green cotton. During the last week, I've slowly taken off the borders and seperated the 5 green blocks from quilt top A. I started taking the blocks apart but the stitches are so small that I'm going to cut them apart. Before I do that, I've labelled all the blocks and documented their location so that when I put everything back together, I can preserve the original layout. I was able to identify all the flowers embroidered on each block except for 3. I looked in all my gardening books and I just can't figure out what they are. I'm going to have to take it to the garden center for help. I'm sure that I'll be the talk of the lunchroom - "Did see the crazy lady who came in with a bunch of fabric?" LOL!

Well, I'm off to bed! I've been out 2 nights in a row, my quilt group meets tomorrow, and I'm out both Fri and Sat nights. I'll be needing my beauty sleep.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

sooooo cute!

Pattern: Peapod Baby Set by Kate Gilbert
Yarn: Premiere All Natural DK cotton; 4 skeins
Needles: 4mm Addi turbo circs for cardigan and 3.75mm dpns for hat
Notes: The directions aren't very clear in a coupla places. I wouldn't recommend this pattern for a newbie knitter.

This is the cutest baby sweater! I loved making it despite the ambiguous bits. It's going to the first grandbaby of a fellow quilter. I still need to put buttons on it. I have 2 sets of Beatrix Potter buttons but I think I'll ask the grandmother-to-be to pick the ones she likes most. I still have to make a pair of booties to go with the Peapod Set. I've picked Saartje's bootees but they're made with fingering yarn and the sweater yarn is DK. There might be some fancy math in my future...

I've been assigned my Longing for Spring spoilee. I've snooped around her blog, etc. I have some ideas for her swap package but I haven't started shopping yet. Swaps are sooo much fun!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

better late than never

They're done! And only 10 days late.

Yarn: Patons Kroy Socks; colour Country Jacquard; 3 skeins (cuz hubby has size 13 feet)
Needles: 2.5mm dpns
Pattern: generic toe up

I hope these ones are thin enough so that hubby will wear them in his shoes. He only wears his other hand knit socks around the house. He's just come home from a 50km (30mi) bike ride (he's training for the STP). It's a gloriously sunny day over here. I should be out in the garden but I was only 6 rows away from finishing the sock so I wanted to get that done first.

Ricky is certainly enjoying the sunshine. He's found the last patch of it on the bed and he's sleeping in it. Awwwwwwww!

Friday, February 22, 2008

a little bit of sewing

A few weeks ago, P-La sent me some wonderful fabric. So I sat down and and made a few project bags.

I used the skulls with knitting needles on one side and some pirate fabric from my stash on the other side. The fawn ones are for my sil. She gave me the fabric and asked me to make her a few bags. It's taken me this long to blog about them because I mailed the pirate ones to P-La (one for her and one for GGP) and she received them today.

I haven't been doing much knitting. I've been engrossed with my secret project which involves a lot of shopping. I found the perfect xxx but there wasn't enough so I began searching the internet for more. Luckily, I found what I was looking for on eBay - yay. Now that I have enough, I can start working on it.

Ricky (our blonde cat) has got me well trained. He's not a lap cat and he doesn't like to be held but he does like to nap with us. I crawled into bed for a little snooze and he jumped up shortly after I got settled. He snuffled around the edge of the quilt until he found a gap and crawled underneath. I was lying on my side and he walked behind my knees. I could feel him sniffing around. Then I felt his paw scratching at my bottom leg. I moved it a little. He scratched at my leg some more. I moved it so that it formed a large V with my upper leg. He crawled between my legs, curled up, and went to sleep. Is it wrong that I rearranged my legs to his liking? Or is it weird that I knew what he wanted?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Happy Birthday!

I'd like to wish Gladys (my alleged co-blogger) a very happy birthday. At yesterday's knit nite, I gave her a small present.

She's no longer a STR virgin! Yay! So Gladys - did you sleep with it?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

thanks all around

Before I reveal what arrived today, I must thank G for giving me two awards - Nice Matters and You Make My Day. It's taken me awhile to mention this because I'm supposed to "pay it forward" and give the award to 10 other bloggers. I've been thinking about it and most of the people I've picked have already received one. So it seems lame to give them the award again. I'll keep working on it.

Another thank you goes out to Nikki. I won her blog contest and she sent me some lovely things.

A skein of STR, a catnip toy for the kitties, some Soak, and a little sheep.

Ricky woke up from a dead sleep (in the sunshine) and went straight for the toy.

I pried it out of his mouth to detach it from the cardboard backing and he'd slobbered all over it. Ewwww!

And a package arrived from Phyl. Thank you, Phyl! Ricky and Phoebe won her Central Park Footie contest and I get the prize.

Phyl sent me some lovely purple sock yarn - KP Memories and Amethyst supersock from Discontinued Yarns. Ricky was hanging around to see if there were more cat toys - see his feet by the yarn?

No knitting today. I'm trying to finish Geoff's quilt in the next few weeks now that some of my commission knitting is done. I still have a baby hat and a pair of baby booties to knit but those won't take too long.

I've started a top secret project - it's so secret even I don't have all the details yet. A friend is helping me with it because I don't know what I'm doing. LOL!

"chomp chomp" - Ricky

"I love you, Nikki - send more nip" - Ricky

Monday, February 18, 2008

new sock yarn

I was in Steveston on Saturday for a birthday party. On the way there, I stopped in at Wool & Wicker. They've expanded into the shop next door which more than doubles their original floor space. The new area isn't quite set up yet but I was allowed to wander around. It was nice to see that the yarn is organized by brand. In the old part of the store, the yarn's still organized by colour - i.e. all the greens are displayed together regardless of brand/weight/fiber. I squeezed a lot of sock yarn (Araucania Ranco, Mirasol Hacho, and Trekking Hand Art to name a few). I didn't leave empty handed - I bought a skein of Berroco's Comfort Sock.

It's 50% nylon and 50% acrylic - perfect for my Mom who is sensitive to wool. I cast on right away. It's a little splitty and you can barely see the colour changes. It is incredibly soft. The yarn has no stretch so the resulting sock only stretches a little widthwise but doesn't stretch at all lengthwise. I am a little worried that the sock won't fit if I do a short row heel.

I cast on the second Valentine's sock.

It's not seeing much action because I'm so interested in the Comfort Sock.

It's been sunny the last few days and I've been puttering around in the garden. I cleaned out 4 flower beds yesterday and helped hubby prune the holly (he moved the pruner and I pulled on the rope to cut). I filled 4 garbage cans with yard waste. It's sunny again today so I'll be heading out to tackle the 5 remaining flower beds.

On days like today, it feels like spring is finally here. My tulips are sticking out of the ground and I can see little buds on my cut-leaf Japanese maple.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

sock review

After hearing cries of anguish from a fellow knitter when she got holes in her socks after only a few wears, I thought that I could report on the current status of my socks. This is not meant to be a comprehensive yarn review (how it knits up, etc).

All my socks are hand washed in Eucalan and hung to dry. Occasionally, a sock might jump into the washing machine. Most of my socks are knit fairly tightly (8-9 sts/inch for fingering and 7-8 sts/inch for sportweight). Socks are listed oldest to newest. I've included direct links to the yarn, the Ravelry project, and the blog post (when available) for each sock project.

Fleece Artist Basic Merino Socks - Ravelry project; no blog post
Fibre content: 100% wool
Finished: October 2006
These socks are the oldest pair and have the most wear. At the beginning of their life, they were machine washed a few times but now they are exclusively hand washed. After the first wash, they developed a significant halo. Over time, they are still very fuzzy and there are huge pills. All my shoes cause the heels to pill. I expect these to wear out first.

Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino - Ravelry project; no blog post
Fibre content: 100% superwash wool
Finished: October 2006
These are hubby socks. He has only worn them 2-3 times because they were too long. I have fixed them but he hasn't worn them since. They developed a slight halo after the first wash.

Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino - Ravelry project; no blog post
Fibre content: 100% superwash wool
Finished: November 2006
I've worn these a lot because they're so soft. I made these from the leftover sock yarn from hubby's socks. There is a significant halo but it doesn't pill very much.

Indigo Moon Hand dyed Sportweight - Ravelry project; no blog post
Fibre content: 100% superwash wool (I believe Louet is the base yarn)
Finished: December 2006
Hubby socks. He wears these a lot. They're too thick to wear in shoes so he just wears them around the house (hardwood floors & carpet). There is a slight halo, no pills.

Regia Cotton Surf - Ravelry project; no blog post
Fibre content: 41% new wool, 34% cotton, 25% nylon; machine washable
Finished: December 2006
These socks get a lot of wear because they're thin and I can get them into most of my shoes. Plus with the cotton content, I can wear them year-round. Very little halo, no pills. The colour has faded a bit on the foot portion.

Jojoland Quartette - Ravelry project; no blog post
Fibre content: wool/cashmere (can't find specifics; yarn is discontinued?); hand wash only
Finished: January 2007
These are very soft and as expected, they're not wearing very well. They only have a slight halo but there are huge pills on the heels and under the foot. They are starting to felt slightly on the inside of the sock. I am very careful about which shoes I wear these with and because I want these to last, they don't get worn as much as my other socks.

Knit Picks Memories (discontinued) - Ravelry project; blog post
Fibre content: 100% merino wool; hand wash only
Finished: January 2007
I wear these ones mostly as slipper socks because they're so thick. While there is very little halo, there are lots of pills in the heels and the toes.

SWTC Tofutsies - Ravelry project; blog post
Fibre content: 50% superwash wool, 25% soy silk, 22.5% cotton, 2.5% chitin (shrimp and crab shells!)
Finished: February 2007
These socks get a lot of wear during the warmer months because they feel cool on my feet (which is why I don't wear them in the winter). No halo, no pills. But the colour had faded quite a bit in the foot. The colours are still vibrant on the leg portion.

Indigo Moon Hand dyed Sportweight - Ravelry project; blog post
Fibre content: 100% superwash wool (I believe Louet is the base yarn)
Finished: February 2007
These were a test knit and I was asked to knit the larger size which doesn't fit well enough to wear inside shoes. So these are house socks and get a lot of mileage schlepping around the house. Like the hubby's socks, there is a slight halo but no pills. I remember knitting these at a really tight gauge.

Patons Kroy Socks - Ravelry project; blog post
Fibre content: 75% wool and 25% nylon; machine washable
Finished: June 2007
These were frogged twice and the yarn held up quite well but there were some serious issues that made these so troublesome to make (please read blog post for details). These socks get a moderate amount of wear. Slight halo, no pills. They're not as soft as my other socks but they're not overly itchy.

Koigu KPPPM - Ravelry project; blog post
Fibre content: 100% superwash wool
Finished: June 2007
I wear these a lot because they're so pretty. There is a bit of a halo (mostly around the heels), no pills. The colour has faded quite a bit in the foot whereas the colour is still bright on the leg.

Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino - Ravelry project; blog post
Fibre content: 100% superwash wool
Finished: August 2007
I wear these a moderate amount. There's not as much halo as the other CTH socks (probably because they're newer) but these ones already have a few pills around the heel.

SweetGeorgia Handpainted Sock - Ravelry project; blog post
Fibre content: 100% wool; hand wash only
Finished: October 2007
I haven't worn these that much (less than 6 times) but they're definitely showing a lot of wear. They are extremely fuzzy (probably my fuzziest pair) with huge pills around the heel and on the bottom of the foot. The colour looks faded on the foot as compared to the leg. They are incredibly soft and I want them to last so I won't be wearing them as often (as I want to).

Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Mediumweight
Fibre content: 100% superwash wool
Received: November 2007
I received these in the Monkey sock swap. Since they are very special (my first STR socks and my first hand knitted sock gift), I've only worn them a few (4-5) times. They have a slight halo and there are some pills around the heel and on the foot already.

ONline Supersocke 6ply Winter - Ravelry project; blog post
Fibre content: 75% wool and 25% nylon; machine washable
Gifted: Christmas 2007
These are hubby socks and he only wears them as house socks. Very little halo and no pills. I also used this same yarn (different colour) to make him a pair of mittens. He wears the mittens on his commute to/from work. He carries an umbrella in one hand and a messenger bag in the other so these mittens see a lot of action. They are quite fuzzy in the palms but they don't have any pills.

Trekking XXL - Ravelry project; blog post
Fibre content: 75% wool and 25% nylon; machine washable
Finished: January 2008
One of my newest pairs so I've only worn them a few times. They developed quite a halo after the first wash but no pills yet. The socks are scratchier than I expected but they're still ok to wear.

Schaffhauser Wolle Soiree (vintage yarn) - Ravelry project; blog post
Fibre content: 70% wool and 30% silk; dyed with KoolAid
Finished: January 2008
Never worn so no comment.

Overall, the Cherry Tree Hill socks are my favourite. They are incredibly soft and my oldest pair is looking quite good. My second favourite is Koigu. I only have one pair but I really like them. One yarn that I won't buy again is Fleece Artist. I expected them to look better but they don't.

If you are interested in more sock yarn reviews, Kristi has three - 2006, 2007a, and 2007b. Her reviews are more comprehensive than mine and they cover a lot of yarns that I haven't listed here so go check it out.

Friday, February 15, 2008

mmmmm... bbq

Well, that was quite the adventure. I got stuck in rush hour traffic and by the time I got to Memphis Blues, hubby was already seated at our table. The Commerical Dr. one is dinky. It's an order/pick up kinda place. You go to the back and place your order and pay. When your order is ready, they yell your name out and you go get it and take it back to your table. Because we'd ordered the 3 course Valentine's special, they brought our meal to our table and took our empty plates away. Of course, the table service was bad but it's not something they do on a regular basis so I can forgive them.

There are no plates. The food is arranged on a grease paper covered wicker "tray" and you eat directly off it. We got forks because our meal included a salad. None of the other tables are set with cutlery.

You know it's a real BBQ place when there's a roll of paper towels on the table instead of napkins. There weren't any plastic bibs tho. I could've used one. I managed to get a grease stain on my shoulder and bbq sauce on my chest. That's ok because I wore a shirt with a chocolate milk stain near the hem. Yeah - I really "dressed up". LOL!

The food was awesome although, hubby wasn't impressed by the cornish game hen. The southern strawberry shortcake was neat. They used cornbread for the "cake" part. I didn't each much of it because I was really full and I'd already reached my cornbread quota of the evening by eating the piece that came with my salad (can you tell that I don't like cornbread?). Hubby likes their cornbread so he was quite happy to eat most of the dessert.

I definitely want to eat at Memphis Blues again but I don't know that I'd eat at that location. We probably had the worst table in the place - our view for most of the evening was the line of bums sitting on the stools by the eating bar. And I was cold because of the draft from the front door. They have 2 other locations that I think have a nicer setup because they have a larger space (large enough that they have live bands on the weekend).

And I can't post without a picture...

Ricky comes in just before we step into the shower and lies on the rug (cuz the tile floor is cold) by the floor register (that's blowing hot air). We call him "sauna boy". He's such a heat seeker.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

zipped lips

Oh oh oh! Something very special arrived a few days ago and I want to tell you what it is. But if I do, Gladys will know what I got her for her birthday (next week). It's soooo soft and smooshy and pretty. It's going to be hard to give away.

The Nutkin sock got frogged. The colours were pooling horribly. I cast on more sts than the pattern instructed so the knitting gods decided to smite me. I did measure the sock before I frogged it and I'm pretty sure that the sock would've been too narrow for my foot. So now I'm looking for a new pattern with a 64 st cast on. The Embossed Leaves sock is catching my eye...

While the Sweetgeorgia yarn was in temporary timeout, I hauled out hubby's Valentine's sock and finished it.

I'm pretty sure that I won't get the second sock finished by tomorrow. I'll just wrap the one sock with an IOU for the second sock. Speaking of wrapping, I need to wrap his other gifts as well. We said that we wouldn't do gifts this year - just cards and a nice dinner out (Memphis Blues!!!!!). But I couldn't resist a few items that I saw while shopping last week. Hee hee!

After I finished the sock, I also frogged my mitten back to the gusset.

I think the gusset's too short now. Humph! I am not frogging it again. It'll have to block out.

I am surprised that I've managed to get this much knitting done. On the weekend, I got a huge wood sliver deep into the inside of my left pinkie finger. I couldn't get it out but it was only mildly annoying while knitting. Yesterday night, it was really bugging me and when I looked, it was quite puffy and white like it was infected. Not good. The sliver had to come out. It was painful but I dug it out and this morning, my pinkie looks much better.

The bird feeder's been put away but the birdies are still visiting. Yesterday morning, I swear this steller's jay was yelling at us to put it back. It was perched on the gutter just a few feet away from the kitchen window and screaming. Phoebe was eating breakfast on the window shelf and she stopped eating to watch the jay. It flew over to the shepherd's hook where the feeder usually hangs so I'm pretty sure it was telling us that it wanted breakfast. That's some crazy wildlife!

Monday, February 11, 2008

a little bit of this, a little bit of that

I had to take the bird feeder down this morning. I caught this little bugger eating out of it:

Bad squirrel! I should invest in squirrel proofing the feeder.

There are a ton of cars going up and down our street tonite. There's a natural gas leak near the "tank farm" (as in liquid fuel) that's about half a kilometer away from us. So a major road is closed, a rapid transit station has been closed, homes are being evacuated, etc. If something ignites the gas, that whole area would make a very big boom. Pretty spooky...

Here's the state of our new computer:

The case has 4 fans, the red thing is the video card, the CPU is an Intel quad core, and there are gaskets in the case if hubby ever wants to liquid cool the unit. This thing is fancier than my car.

Ricky is in the doghouse - literally:

He has been on a houseplant eating rampage. A few weeks ago, my hibiscus was knocked over. A few days later, hubby informed me that he caught Ricky chewing on it. That same day, I found a hibiscus leaf on the floor with teeth marks. I promptly moved the hibiscus to a taller plant stand and put a dormant plant in its place. Ricky hooks his paws on the lip of the pot and has a look to see if there's anything to chew on. We've caught him "balancing" on the back of the office chair trying to chew on the plant in there. The chair has been moved out of the way. And this morning, I found a leaf ripped off my weeping fig. Again, I've had to relocate a chair. I don't know what's wrong with him.

I used to grow cat grass but it made him vomit. And Phoebe would mow the whole thing down if you let her. So I would only bring out the pot for a few minutes at a time but then she would cry at the door and beg me to bring it out for her to chew on so I stopped growing cat grass.

My 30th pair

Yarn: ONline supersock fun
Needles: 2.25mm dpns
Pattern: generic toe-up

Another one crossed off my WIP list... These are the second pair of socks for Pauline out of the same yarn. These took forever to knit cuz I was soooo bored with the yarn. Of course, I've promptly cast on a new pair of socks (for me!). I'm knitting Nutkin with the SweetGeorgia that I won last year from Three Bags Full. So far, so good.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

still fat

This is what happens when I "wing it" or "make it up as I go along":

You get a mitten where the gusset's too deep and the thumb's fat. I decreased 4 sts at the base of the thumb and it's still too big. The thumb also looks stupid because it's so short (and fat). I like the decrease method for the top of the mitten - round sock toe from Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush. I'm frogging this one and reknitting it.

I didn't have any further problems with my Harmony dpns. I have 2 other sets that I'm going to pull out and check before I contact KP. I really liked using them for the mittens because they were sticky enough that they didn't fall out when I was down to 8 sts on the thumb. I was also surprised to find that the shorter length didn't bother me that much.

Not much else on the knitting front... Just working on my WIP list. Every once in awhile, I pick up the Juno Regina stole and knit a few rows. I'm almost at the halfway point. I turned the heel on some commission socks. I hope to finish them off this week. I cast on the second Endpaper Mitt. I am fighting the urge to cast on for Imogen. I have the yarn/needles and I've already washed/dried/measured my swatch. Must Concentrate On WIPs.

Hubby and I went to the farmers' market this morning. We bought some bread (walnut rye and garlic cheese) and I wanted to buy some purple potatoes but the vendor wasn't there today. Then we went to the big store and did a bit more grocery shopping. I'm making wontons tonite. When we got home, I sat down to hand peel a huge bag of fresh water chestnuts (for the wontons). It took me almost an hour and my hands are completely cramped but it is soooo worth it to have fresh water chestnuts.

Off to do something useful... Laundry? Supervise/annoy hubby while he assembles our new computer? Nap? That last one sounds good.

Saturday, February 9, 2008


After knitting half a mitten, one of my Harmony dpns snags:

I wonder if they give you 6 needles because they know that there'll be one dpn that's defective. Humph! Pictures of the mitten to follow after I fix the "fat" thumb.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


I was sewing away today - making the project bag for one of our winners and a few bags for my niece. I took a sip of my tea and it tasted a little fuzzy. I looked inside and there was a thin layer of lint floating on top. Ewww! I should use my lidded travel mug if I'm going to be sewing and drinking.

This morning, I finished off the Peadpod sweater. Sewing the sleeves in wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. Picking up the sts for the neck band was a pain. It took me 3 tries before I got it right.

I'm going to wash and block it before I put the buttons on because the button band is all warped.

Can you believe it's snowing again? The old snow hasn't even melted yet. I may wimp out and skip knit nite. We'll see what hubby says when he gets home from work.

Phoebe has the right idea:

"zzzzzz gonna sleep right through it zzzzzz" - Phoebe

Monday, February 4, 2008

spoiled rotten

Okay, I've been spoiled. Two parcels arrived for me today. One was some yarn I ordered and the other was a bit of a surprise. The surprise box was from Purling Pirate. I didn't know what to expect - she just told me that she was sending me a few things.

There was some fabric:

I love the skulls with knitting needles and the skulls with scissors. It just cracks me up!

And she sent some yarn:

My very first skein of STR! I might've screamed a little when I saw it. I love you P-la! You rock! And you certainly made my day week year!

Now that I've calmed down a little, I'll show you what else I got in the mail today.

I got 20 balls from the Elann sale last week. I'd tell you to go buy some but they sold out shortly after it was listed.

Last week, I got 2 packages - both of them from Ravelry destashers. Some pretty coloured aluminum dpns that I can't buy in Canada...

And the largest cone of yarn that I've ever seen:

It's Patons SWS and weighs 2.5lbs - should be enough to make the Imogen jacket. I've already swatched and I'll start knitting after I buy a circ needle in the right size.

And after cursing the chart B errata, I finished the Bloody Stupid Johnson hat.

Pattern: Bloody Stupid Johnson by Sarah Lilly
Yarn: Green Mountain Spinnery Alpaca Elegance; 1 skein plus a few yards of a second skein (how annoying)
Needles: 3.5mm & 3.75mm Addi turbo circs
Notes: Knit for Three Bags Full. I don't like the yarn. It doesn't have a consistent thickness. It also feels more like sportweight rather than DK. If you follow the pattern, the finished size is 23" which is huge. My head is 22.75" and I have a large head (according to bicycle helmet manufacturers). So I went down a needle size for the brim, cabled section, and crown short rows. I switched to 3.75mm needles when doing the crown decreases because I didn't want the top of the hat to be too small. Because of the smaller needles, my row gauge was off in the stockinette part so I did 2 extra short rows in the crown section. After washing & blocking, the hat is pretty baggy. If I were to knit this again, I would cast on 16 fewer sts and repeat chart A 5 times (rather than 6). The end result should measure about 21". I would also add an extra stitch to the left side (aka the top) of the cable panel. There are 2 but you lose one to selvedge when you pick up sts to knit the crown. It's not a big deal - after all this hat is very asymmetrical. Bloody Stupid Johnson would be proud to wear it.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Longing for Spring Swap

In a moment of weakness, I've joined a swap - Longing for Spring. I guess all this snow is getting to me. Sign ups are open until Feb 14 or until the 40 spaces are filled whichever comes first. There's still room!

Here's my answers to the questionnaire:

1. Do you knit or crochet? How long have you been at your craft?
I knit. I crochet only when I have to. I learned to do both when I was young (less than 10) and I crocheted for many years. I never got the hang of knitting when I was young. I stopped crocheting about 20 years ago and haven't really done any since. I started knitting again about 6 years ago.

2. What are your favorite yarns/fibers? What are your least favorite yarns/fibers?
I like most yarns. I don't like anything itchy/scratchy or yarn that sheds a lot. Novelty is fine in small quantities.

3. What are your favorite colors? What are your least favorite colors?
Purple, purple, and purple are my favourite colours. I don't like orange/salmon/peach, greens, and yellows.

4. What ‘warm weather’ project are you looking forward to making this year?
We're still thawing out from under 10" of snow so the thought hasn't crossed my mind. I am reknitting the Bonita shirt so I guess that counts.

5. What are you favorite scents? Least favorite?
I love the smell of vanilla. I don't like fruity scents - lemon/lime/orange.

6. What is your favorite flower?
Oh that is a tough one - I have so many favourites. I love my Nerine Bowdenii. I also like Lithodora Diffusa for it's stunning blue colour.

7. What are your favorite spring time hobbies/activities?
Getting out into the garden and watching all the new growth. Watching the cherry/apple blossom trees blooming.

8. Do you have a garden? If you do, tell us a little about it. Do you like to plant flowers or vegetables?
Yes, I have a garden - 9 seperate flower beds; 3 of which we've added since buying the house. Our property is full sun with a very small shady corner so all my plants need to be drought tolerant. I grow mostly perennials but I do have a weakness for petunias, pansies, and impatiens (in a planter on our shaded porch). I don't grow vegetables because it's too hard to keep the pesky animals out and I don't like looking at chicken wire. The property came with 2 pear trees, some everbearing raspberry bushes, a gigantic rhubarb patch, and one lonely asparagus - all of which we enjoy (with the exception of the asparagus - what do you do with just one?). We have a 30 ft Norway Maple tree and a 20 ft Japanese Maple. We used to have a cherry blossom tree but it fell down last year during a fierce windstorm.

9. What are your favorite sweets?
Mmmmm... chocolate, of course. I prefer dark but will eat pretty much anything when I'm desperate. I also like fruit gummies.

10. Do you collect anything?
Fabric (I quilt, too), sock yarn, books, vintage quilts, vintage linen tablecloths/tea towels.

11. Do you have any allergies?
Sorta - I'm mildly allergic to many different foods and as long as I don't eat too much of them, I'm fine. I actively avoid caffeine so that I can eat as much chocolate as I want LOL!

12. Do you have any pets?
Yep - 2 kitties named Ricky and Phoebe. Does hubby count as a pet?

I can't wait to find out who my spoilee will be!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Decisions, decisions!

I can't believe how many great stole patterns we received! I've also pulled out two balls of a purple Jojoland quartette yarn for Sharon, our bonus prize winner. Thank you all for your thoughtful suggestions!

And no, I don't know which one I'll be doing yet, but I'll probably be making my decision sometime next week. I'm leaning towards the Woodland Shawl by the Thrifty Knitter because it looks like something that I can do on my daily commute, and I've got lots of that yarn, too. (Plus, at only one ball of sock yarn, I think I can finish this in just a couple of weeks, and a lot of the other patterns look like longer-term commitments.)

I have wound up my lace yarn, however, and as I put these patterns into order of yarn requirements, I'll be trying to figure out what appeals to me most.

In the meantime, there's one major project off my needles. It's a baby blanket for our friends Grace & Eric's new baby. (The one that Dotty just finished a quilt for. Yeah, that's going to be one spoilt little boy!)

And the next baby won't be coming until July, so I can take my time doing the next baby blanket, and do a wee bit of Christmas knitting (I'm going to try to start earlier this year, and do a gift a month, so that I'm not doing only Christmas knitting for the last few months of the year.)

(I have no idea why this photo won't rotate properly — I've spent the last 20 minutes trying to do it, and now I'm off to do my 20 minutes on the exercise bike!)

And I got a nice surprise in the mail last week, too! Shelly Kang, who's working on the most amazing mitered sock yarn blankie (follow the link from her name), had a giveaway on her blog last month. One of the things she gave away was a lot of allergy cookbooks, and I got them! Tony's already cooked a minestrone soup out of one of the books, and Andrew wants to do the Chocolate upside down fudge cake out of another book. (He wanted to do it this afternoon, but we took him to Science World instead.) Thank you again, Shelly! It's my hope that the good fortune of your kids outgrowing their allergies will follow these books, and help my kids to outgrow theirs.

Friday, February 1, 2008

the winner is... (and a bunch of other stuff)

The contest ended yesterday so now it's time to announce the winners. I thought about trying the cat random number generator again but they weren't in the mood.

"You can't get me off this couch" - Phoebe

Ricky didn't even crack an eyeball at me. So I used one of those online things and asked it to give me 3 numbers (Gladys added an extra prize :). After sorting through the comments, the winners are: Nicole, Sharon Rose, and Robin. Congrats to the winners (we'll be contacting each of you shortly) and many thanks to everyone for your stole suggestions.

Lookit - a FO. Sadly, not one on my WIP list but I was under immense peer pressure to knit these.

Pattern: Fiber Trends Felt Clogs; mens large
Yarn: Patons Classic Wool Merino; colour denim marl; 4 skeins
Needles: 9mm circs

Of course, they still need to be felted but I'm going to knit myself a pair and felt both of them at the same time.

At knit nite, Francesca asked if one of us wanted to knit the Bloody Stupid Johnson hat - the just-released Knitty surprise. By the end of the night, no one had volunteered so I did. I love Terry Pratchett so this was a no-brainer. This is what the hat looked like this morning:

It doesn't look like this now. I knit another 40 rows and then I ripped out about 60 rows. When you're working the cable band, it's attached to the ribbed brim at the same time. For every 4 cable rows, 3 brim sts are joined to it. The instructions say knit chart B 3 times but as I was nearing the end of the second repeat, I noticed that I didn't have many brim sts left. I did some math and I seemed to be short 11 brim sts. Wha??? I double checked everything and I was still short. So I checked Knitty for errata. Well, there have been some major changes to the pattern since Wed night. Chart B is a completely new beast. Sigh... I was hoping to finish the hat today.

And I'll leave you with a garden "first" - my snowdrops in the snow. Lemme tell you that this is as rare as a white Christmas.

Updated: I didn't use 6 skeins for hubby's clogs, only 4.