Sunday, March 30, 2008

hail, snow, sun

The weather's really wacky. We've had hail several times this weekend. The roof went completely white yesterday night. This morning, we woke up to a snowy lawn. Right now, it's sunny and glorious. Hubby's headed out for a bike ride before the weather changes its mind again. I should get out and do some gardening.

I knit my wee tiny sock yesterday morning. It didn't quite turn out the way I'd hoped. So I knit another one which looks a lot better. Since my pal knows who I am, I can't post pictures until she receives her sock.

In between the 2 socks, I worked on my secret knitting project. The link goes to the Ravelry project and I know the recipient doesn't have a Ravelry account so go take a look. It's fiddly knitting so I only feel like working on it when I have the energy to concentrate.

When I got bored of that, I started a plain toe-up sock.

I'm using the yarn that I won from Nikki's blog contest. It's the first time I've ever knit with STR. I am impressed with the way this yarn feels. It's kinda cable-y but in a nice way. I love the colours!

Friday, March 28, 2008

definitely not spring

It's snowing. Big fat flakes are falling out of the sky. It's March 28th. It's officially spring, right? Even Ricky thinks the snow is interesting enough to watch.

I made a quick trip out to a lys to pick up some dpns. I'm staying home the rest of the day to work on my Monkey swap socks and watch Doctor Who. Do you like my Monkeys?

I'm using a new yarn - Araucania Ranco (col 110 mauve). I got a skein from Fun Knits on Tues. I had been contemplating using a different yarn for my pal's socks but when this arrived, I knew it would be perfect for her. Ranco reminds me of Trekking XXL but slightly thicker. And the price is so reasonable - $13.55 for semi-solids and $14.95 for the multi. This may be my new favourite sock yarn!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

random Thursday

The scarf has dried (with the help of a small fan) and it's absolutely stunning.

Finished measurements are 10" by 70". It's big but it scrunches up nicely when worn. I can see this scarf getting a lot of use. I am already thinking about making another one. I have 2 skeins of Green Mountain Spinnery Sylvan Spirit in my stash...

My Camila order arrived. And what they call "Cloud Grey" is an ugly beige-y/grey putty colour. Blech!

Good thing that I ordered a bag of the Sky Blue, too. So I'm using the ugly colour to swatch for the Auburn Camp Shirt. Of course, the required yarn is fingering and Camila is DK. Lots of fancy maths for me to do if I want to make this.

I need a bumper sticker that says "I brake for geese". I live very close to a large lake. It's surrounded by a forested area so the geese that frequent the lake need to find adjacent land to sun bathe, eat, and sleep. One of the industrial/commercial properties nearest to the lake has a large open grassy area and during the day you can find a pair or two lying on the lawn. But they don't stay on the lawn. Twice, I've had to stop in the middle of the road and wait for the geese to waddle across it. Of course, the cars behind me don't understand why I've stopped which is why I need the bumper sticker.

Ricky has recently discovered my shopping basket in the front entrance. I guess he wants to go shopping with me?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

back to normal

Phew! My cold is mostly gone - yay! I am almost feeling normal. I'm tired but mostly because of the weekend. Hubby's family descended and his youngest sister stayed overnight on Fri. Hubby took her to a movie and I met them afterwards for supper. On Saturday, we went to a bowling bday party for her. Right after the bowling party, we went to my parents for dinner. Mom kicked my ass at mah jong. We hosted Easter dinner at our place on Sunday. And after dragging my sick body around the house cleaning every nook and cranny, hubby walks his parents through the one room that I don't clean (we use it for storage plus the chest freezer and second fridge are in there). Of course, my drying skivvies are in plain view. Thanks a lot, honey.

I've managed to fit in some knitting time. Guess what's drying?

Pattern: Lace Ribbon scarf
Yarn: Misti Pima cotton/silk; 2 skeins in eggplant
Needles: 5.0mm straights
Notes: Aside from the obvious yarn/needle substitutions, I cast on 44 sts - one lace repeat less than the original pattern. I purled the first row (WS) before starting the lace chart. I ended the scarf on row 22 of the chart and then cast off on the next RS row. This pattern is easy to memorize and can be adapted to any yarn that you have. A great beginner lace project. I love the yarn. It was soooo soft to work with.

And new to my stash is some Araucania Ranco:

I think this will be used for my Monkey Pal's socks. I have a feeling that all my 2.5mm dpns are occupied right now so I might need to finish a project before I can start knitting. LOL!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Three scarves and a pair of socks

It's been difficult for me to get enough sunlight and time to take adequate photos, so I'm glad for this long weekend. We took the kids to the playground this morning, so they're exhausted and having a nap (Geoff) and quiet time (Andrew) right now, and I'm able to get on the computer and blog.

First up is a pair of spring socks in the Roundabout pattern. They're for my sister-in-law, a belated birthday present. I almost don't want to give them up because they're so pretty and cheerful.

Doesn't everyone know what this is now? A Clapotis, in Noro Lily. The yarn was from a Ravelry destasher, and I loved working with it, and I love wearing it. I'm now stalking the Lily yarn page in search of other destashers!

The Woodland Shawl was what I ended up choosing to make from our stoles pattern submissions to our bloggiversary contest. I'd recommend this pattern to anyone — it's easy to memorize and fun to make. Yarn was elann's alpaca, in mulberry. It's brown in some lights, purple in others, and so soft and luxurious! (Pattern hint: make sure you work from the Woodland Shawl chart -- it makes life a lot easier!)

And finally, the most controversial yarn on Ravelry at the moment. I made this drop stitch scarf last fall to give away last Christmas, but there were some pretty major rumours about the dye job on this yarn, so I couldn't give it away. Anyways, I dunked it at the same time I was blocking the Woodland Shawl last week, and it bled a LOT of dye, but finally ran clear.

Bonus photo for this post: a better shot of the Zombie socks pattern.

Friday, March 21, 2008

all about swaps

A belated thank you to Sarah for a lovely Longing for Spring Swap package.

She sent me enough candy and chocolates to last the rest of the year! The package included some yummy Malabrigo yarn (col. Velvet Grapes), some Lily Sugar'n Cream cotton, a cute stuffed lamb, not one but three (!) sets of purple stitch markers, seeds for my garden, bath stuff, notepad/notebook, and did I mention the candy & chocolate (4 bags in total plus the quilting girl mints) LOL!

And I've joined 2 new swaps - the Monkey Sock Swap and the Wee Tiny Sock Swap (click on the button on the left for more info). Sign ups are closed to the general public for the MSS but the Wee Tiny is currently open until Thurs. So go sign up! I met 2 great friends during the last Wee Tiny - Purling Pirate and Ronnie and I look forward to meeting 2 more.

Have a great Easter!

ETA: Monkey Sock Swap Questionnaire answers posted here.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I'm weak

This cold that I caught (right after my flu) is a doozy. Even good drugs aren't completely working. Blech. Just be glad that germs can't be spread via blogs.

When I was hiding putting away my new yarn purchases the other day, I came across 2 skeins of Misti Cotton/Silk in my stash. The Lace Ribbon scarf from the latest Knitty has been begging me to cast on. Put the two together and...

Told ya I was weak.

Monday, March 17, 2008

So close, and yet so far

I cast off the Woodland Shawl tonight, and had a wee problem along the way.

Yup, 9 stitches on the needle, and 2 inches of yarn for casting off. I knew I was going to be close on the yarn, but I didn't think I was actually going to run out.

Fortunately, I had five extra inches of yarn from the cast-on side of the shawl. That got spliced in and now the shawl is blocking. More photos to come tomorrow of the finished object.

And since I was already soaking this to block it, I finally got up the courage to soak the scarf I'd made last fall with Mystical Creations Yarn. (Read the Ravelry thread for the full saga -- it's unbelievable!)

The water ran purple immediately, which was rather scary, so I left it for the 15 minutes that it recommends on the eucalan bottle. When I came back to it, I rinsed it for about five minutes under running water, and it finally ran clear. I even wrapped it up to dry in a white towel, and that towel is still white. Whew!

The colours in the scarf still look okay, but the yarn looks a bit beat up. I’ll see if it gets better when it’s dry.

Zombie clowns!

I'm in Sock Madness again this year, and I've made it to round 2! The pattern was released on Thursday around noon, and I finished this PAIR of socks yesterday at midnight on the dot. (Yeah, I'm not much good at work today.) On the bright side, however, my wrist doesn't hurt nearly as much as I'd expected given how much knitting I did over the last few days.

Tonight's project will be to finish up the Woodland Shawl (only 8 more rows left, but I had to leave it for the last few days) and then hopefully block it overnight tonight so I can wear it tomorrow. And yes, blog it too!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

catching up

I am feeling a whole lot better today. I've washed the floors, cleaned out the family room (you should've seen all the yarn I had to put away from my recent purchases - eek!), processed 2 loads of laundry, and did a few knitterly things.

Remember the Peapod baby set and booties that I was knitting? They've been sitting in the WIP pile because I've been too lazy to sew the buttons on. So I did that this morning...

Awwwwwww! They're so cute.

Yesterday night (lounging in bed while hubby was at a baby shower), I knitted up the gusset for the Brea bag.

I managed to knit the gusset to both sides so that I didn't have to seam it afterwards. It worked out well. I did not do the gusset increases because I thought it would make the bag too wide. I have a bajillion ends to weave in and then I need to do something about the lining, zipper, and shoulder strap.

And here is my current mindless knitting project:

Iris commissioned me to make her some fingerless mitts. She gave me 4 skeins of Patons Kroy (in Tutti Frutti) a few weeks ago (I was hoping for some plain yarn so that I could do something cable-y - oh well). They're a plain 3x1 rib and I plan to do an afterthought thumb.

I've also been working on some swatches for a Jean Wong finishing class in April. I need 11 swatches and I knit 5 yesterday night.

According to Ravelry, I have 17 WIPs. I started the year at 16. Obviously, I'm starting projects faster than I'm finishing them. Ugh!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

sock yarn mittens

Pattern: made up but it's basically ribbing, your standard thumb gusset, and a round toe (a la Nancy Bush - pg 20 in Knitting Vintage Socks)
Yarn: Trekking XXL colour 126
Needles: 2.5mm Harmony dpns for the left; 2.5mm metal dpns for the right
Notes: The left mitten is slightly larger than the right one. Mittens weigh 50g so I have enough leftover yarn to make another pair.

Last year, I made mittens for hubby out of some sock yarn and he says they're perfect so I made myself a pair. They took awhile to finish because I was so disappointed after the fat thumb incident. When you're sick, you only want to knit plain stuff so it was the perfect opportunity to finish them.

Thanks for all your get well wishes. I was feeling better but then I got worse. I'm still really tired and icky feeling. I had a 3 hour snooze yesterday afternoon and I still went to bed on time. I've been catching up on a lot of DVD watching - Due South, Love Actually (almost pee'd my pants laughing), Doctor Who (season 3 of the new series), and ST Enterprise. I'm pretty sure we're going to max out our DVD subscription this month.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I'm sick. The flu. Ugh. Achy, fevery, sore throat, no energy. No knit nite and no quilting tomorrow. Phooey.

Luckily, I got a bunch of stuff done Mon and yesterday. Mon night we went out to Ikea to pick up a bookcase to hold all my WIPs (yes, my WIPs now have their own bookcase).

I can now see the top of the coffee table, there is room to sit on the couch, and there aren't baskets full of yarn under the coffee table. Yay!

I did a lot of knitting yesterday. I swatched the Cascade Fixation. That's weird stuff to knit with. It's stretchy and I can't quite figure out how tight to pull on the yarn when I wrap it around the needle. So my gauge was all over the place. I eventually got stitch gauge but row gauge is off.

I finished the first Berroco sock.

The sock fits great! I love the heel - it looks like a heel flap but there are no sts to pick up! This sock was knit toe up. If you're a sock knitter and you don't have Cat Bordhi's latest sock book, I highly recommend it. In the picture, the sock looks a little funny/bulgy just below the cuff. I knit 2" of leg on larger needles before I knit the cuff. This yarn has no stretch so I wanted to make sure there would be room for my *ahem* shapely calves.

While I was collecting my WIPs and putting them into the new bookcase, I decided to knit the other side of the Brea bag (a WIP from 2006?). I washed and blocked the two sides and left them out to dry. This morning, I found Ricky snoozin' on wet wool. That corner of knitting dried very quickly LOL!

Once the sides are dry, I'll start knitting the gusset piece. But no moss stitch for me - it'll be plain stockinette. And I'm going to knit the sides to the gusset as I go along. I just learned that trick making the Bloody Stupid Johnson hat and it should work here, too. The only thing I need to figure out is whether I want to attach 3 sts for every 4 rows or 2 sts for every 3 rows.

I'm all out of blogging energy. Time for one more episode of Enterprise and then bed.

Monday, March 10, 2008

a boring post

No knitting to show you today. I spent Sat doing chores and I went to bed early because of the !@##% time change. Yesterday, I was in my sewing room working on Geoff's quilt (finally quilting the vertical lines) and my super secret project. The super secret project got a lot of attention because a part of it arrived in the mail on Fri so I was anxious to start it.

Today, I updated Ravelry with all my WIPs (17 eep!) and got caught up on a few discussion groups. I stopped in at Costco to pick up my new glasses, some tp, and Clif bars. I ended up with a whole bunch of other stuff. I shouldn't shop on an empty stomach.

I tried to take pictures of my new glasses on my face but the bathroom mirror/camera combo wasn't co-operating so here's my buddy, Pooh modeling my new glasses.

new glasses

I love these so much better than the ones I bought from the I-will-never-shop-there-again eyeglass place in the mall. My new lenses are nicely polished and they did a good job cutting the groove for the fishing line.

No more news on the washing machine... Hubby had a chat with Gladys' hubby and we're not sure we need the drum replaced. It's not making the same noise so we're going to keep using it and wait and see what happens. If it doesn't get worse, we'll leave it. If it gets worse maybe we'll have someone take a look at it. But it looks like sooner (rather than later), we'll have to replace it. I remember the days when washers lasted 20 years...

Shortly after I noticed the washing machine noise, the laptop's network connection broke. I think the new wireless software is interfering with Windows somehow because I can't get a network connection even if I plug the ethernet cable directly into the back of the computer and assign a static IP. Humph!

There is one piece of good news - Heather, my Longing for Spring Swap spoilee received her package today. And she loves it all :) Yay!

Saturday, March 8, 2008


I've heard that shopping is good therapy. Well, I got a lot of therapy yesterday. Here's a close up view of my haul:

At the top is some roving from the Knitopia booth - dyed by West Coast Colour. I'm using this to make thrummed mittens with the skein of dark grey Cascade 220 just below it. To the left are 2 skeins of Cascade Fixation (from Woolaroo) for a secret project. At the bottom (l-r) are: West Coast Colour merino/bamboo/nylon superwash sock (for Gladys), Twisted Sisters alpaca sock yarn, Araucania Ranco (col 109) and undyed superwash merino/bamboo from Fun Knits, and mystery sock yarn (most likely Fleece Artist or Handmaiden) from Birkeland Bros.

This year's venue was much smaller than the Tradex and it was sorely lacking in the food dept. There is a nice cafeteria at the Tradex but the new place just had a catering truck parked beside one of the side doors. I'll bet the line-up for food will be long today.

I definitely liked this year's vendors. There was a greater variety of fibres and there seemed to be more yarn to tempt knitters :)

I finally ordered my new glasses this week. I bought a new pair in Dec but after 4 different lenses and two months of going back and forth, I finally returned them. I was completely unhappy with the quality. So I was looking around and I found the frames that I like at Costco. I explained my problem with the other place and after looking at my history, the optician advised against hi-index lenses. So I get to have thick lenses in partially rimless frames - ugh. I'm going to look ugly!

And another ugh... After 7 years, we think our expensive front loading washing machine needs repairing/replacing. We bought our front loader way back when they were first being sold in Canada. We've heard that a small leakage causes washer failure just after the 5 year warranty period. I noticed today that it was particularly noisy during the spin cycle and Gladys thinks the drum needs replacing. She has a similar model and her washer's drum was replaced last year. Sigh... I'll go console myself by fondling my new yarn.

Friday, March 7, 2008

short & sweet

Just a short post before a much needed nap...

I picked up Kyndra early this morning and we went out to the Fibrefest International in Abbotsford. Got off at the right highway exit but was in the wrong lane so I had to turn myself around. Then I totally missed the turn for Old Yale Road. Ugh... It's actually called Cardinal at the intersection. We got there fine and in plenty of time to be one of the first ones inside.

Here is my loot:

It's not all for me. One skein is for Gladys. Can you guess which one?

There wasn't any Cascade Fixation at the show so we drove out to Woolaroo which happens to be just a few doors down from Countryfolk Fabrics. I picked up the Fixation that I needed from Woolaroo and some fabric from Countryfolk.

The one in the center is my favourite. I wish they had more because it would've made a great backing fabric. They also had some Arctic Bamboo batting (half bamboo, half cotton with a little bit of poly binder). It feels very nice. I wonder how well it hand quilts. I don't like Arctic Cotton because it's too stiff.

The first Rivendell sock is done (except for darning in the ends). I love this sock so much that all I could think about at the Fibrefest was buying more yarn to knit this pattern. Pathetic, eh?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

need sleep

I am sooo exhausted. Not physical exhaustion but lack of sleep. I have been going to bed early (before 10:30am) and sleeping til about 7am. But my sleep hasn't been deep. I'm either waking up because hubby's rearranging the blankets, I can't roll over because there's a 12lb cat sleeping between my thighs (don't ask), or I'm having weird dreams. I was particularly dreamy yesterday night because I can remember what I was dreaming - Ricky was chewing on the camera case, there was something involving yarn and fabric, and something about hubby. I'm feeling so bleary that I might even skip knit nite since I have to get up early tomorrow morning to get ready for my quilting group's potluck lunch (the garlic is roasting right now because I won't have time in the morning). And then Friday is the Fiberfest!!!!

The Rivendell sock is progressing very nicely. I found three missing symbols in chart 1 and a k2tog should be an ssk. I should remember to email the designer about that. The sock doesn't look like much when it's on the needles.

Ah, that's much better...

I still can't capture the colours in the yarn. Sigh...

Ricky doesn't have any problems sleeping.

He has problems with me taking pictures of him and disturbing his beauty sleep. Yesterday, Phoebe was sleeping on her head and she was snoring so loudly that I had to lean over and jab her so that she would stop. I know, I'm mean but she was loud!

Monday, March 3, 2008

I have ADD?

There's something wrong with me. I've started 2 other blog posts and deleted both of them - one where I whine about the cats & hubby (won't go into details but I'll just say it involved a lot of carpet shampooing) and the other one whines about how busy/tired I am (last week I was home 3 evenings and out the other 4).

To be honest, I don't have much knitting to blog about. I can't seem to concentrate on any one thing. I knit a row here and there on my 15 or so WIPs. I sit in front of the sewing machine for an hour and do a little machine quilting. But none of it is very exciting. Maybe I have the winter blahs? Although, the weather was pretty decent all last week so I did get a good dose of vitamin D. I dunno...

Yesterday, I went out and did a little shopping for my swap pal and I picked up the yarn for Rivendell.

This photo doesn't show the true colour of the yarn. I'm using Nature's Palette in Hydrangea which is grey with a touch of purple and pinkish highlights. I liked it better in the skein. The colours don't show up as well after its been knitted up. That's ok. I think I love this pattern so much that I'll be knitting it many more times. I do have lots of sock yarn!

The yarn's also turning my fingers blue. Some of the dye is rubbing off and staining my nails and fingers. This is surprising since the yarn is pretty pale to begin with. Maybe it's the natural dyes?

Anyways, I've got more shopping to do today for my swap pal (I want to get her package out this week), plus a trip to the garden center (need some primulas/pansies for the planter by the front door), and a visit to Lee Valley to pick up a composter. Yep, it looks like another busy week.