Wednesday, May 28, 2008

before and after

Still no knitting for me. I tried to eat lunch with chopsticks but my hand hurt so I had to ask for a fork. I'm Chinese - it was embarrassing. BTW, it's really tricky eating chicken's feet with a fork.

To keep myself busy, I did some quilting yesterday night. Remember when I "rescued" this quilt top last Nov?

Here's what it looks like now (click to embiggen):

I carefully pulled off the original border and stitch ripped (such tiny stitches!) some of the blocks that needed their seam allowances kept. I cut all the remaining blocks. I feel so bad because someone stem stitched between all the seams. I carefully assembled the blocks in the exact same order as the original top.

I was going to baste it tonite but I don't have any unbleached cotton for the backing. I showed hubby the bleached cotton but he thinks the unbleached would look better. I'll pick some up when I go fabric shopping tomorrow. I guess I'll work on pulling apart the second quilt top. It's much smaller but the back of it looks like thread barf because the embroidery tails were left long and they're tangled up with the loose threads from the base fabric. What a mess.

I was out and about today enjoying the good weather. Since I can't garden with my gimpy hand, I toured the boarding place that the cats will be staying at while we're away - Cat Paws Inn. Talk about fancy - radiant floor heating, sky lights, outdoor runs, air conditioning, and every room has at least one window. Some rooms have been designed for elderly cats (window is at floor level). You have to pass through 2 doors to get inside and the second door won't open unless the first door's closed and vice versa. I got Ricky and Phoebe side-by-side rooms with a connecting door so that they can visit each other yet Phoebe has some privacy during meals. This is going to be great - expensive but great. Nothing but the best for our beasties!

I also hit a major antique area to look for extra dining chairs. I found out that my chairs are "Canadiana T-back with carved feet". I could only find ones with the uncarved feet today. So I guess, I'll keep looking. The antique mall told me that they see them regularly. I bought some metal sock blockers for hubby (only $8.50!) and I found wooden stocking blockers but I didn't buy them because the foot was too small.

Off to decide what I'm making for supper - stir fry noodles or hash browns & omelets.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

it hurts

I can't knit. My right hand hurts when I grip the needle. There's shooting pain along the back of my hand right between the knuckles. Ugh! Maybe I strained it pulling super jumbo weeds on the weekend.

So no knitting to show you. I am so sad. What am I going to do tomorrow at knit nite?

I will distract you from the lack of knitting with a picture of Ricky practising his yoga.

Friday, May 23, 2008

sock success

I frog'd the socks that I started yesterday with the Blackberry Ridge wool/silk lace cuz they were too big. If you have wide/large feet, the New England pattern by Nancy Bush would be a good option. After browsing through my Ravelry queue, I cast on the Waving Lace socks and so far, so good.

Although, this is lace yarn, I'm pretty close to gauge on US0 (2mm) dpns. Speaking of dpns, I'm using HiyaHiya ones for the first time. They're nice and light and very pointy.

The cats are eating again which means they've recovered from their vet visit. Phoebe got off her rump and ate dinner from her bowl's usual spot. And ten seconds after I put the chicken cordon bleu on the table, Ricky's head popped up from a dining chair. Hubby tapped Ricky on the head and shoved the chair further in. About a minute later, Ricky's head pops up again but from a different chair. LOL! Ricky really loves chicken but he never gets any.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

my poor kitties

Phoebe and Ricky went to the vet yesterday for their annual vaccinations. The minute Ricky saw the crate, he meowed "no way" and hid under the ottoman. I shoved the ottoman out of the way and when I picked him up, he was velcro'd to the rug. At the vet's, Phoebe wouldn't come out of her crate. She had all 4 paws braced.

They were mostly ok when they got home. Ricky did have an upset tummy and had trouble keeping his supper down. Luckily, he let out a "my tummy hurts" meow and hubby hustled him into the bathroom. Phoebe couldn't get herself to her bowl this morning so she got breakfast in bed. She's lucky she's got servants. They go back to the vet in a few weeks to have their annual bath and their teeth cleaned.

Yesterday was a bonus mail day. My Monkey swap package arrived in the morning and my Old Mill Knitting prize got delivered in the afternoon. I picked the shawl pattern and the dark blue Naturally Dawn.

Old Mill Knitting is running contests all year long. Once a month (date and time is randomly chosen), the contest is open for entries. The first 3 entries that meet all the qualifications (Canadians only; 2 out of 3 winners must have a Ravelry id) will win a pattern and enough of the featured yarn to knit it. The yarn/pattern changes from month to month. The May contest is over so go check it out in June.

Instead of knitting, I finished the quilt for Gladys' youngest son.

It's only taken me a year or so. I used a product called Quilt Pounce to mark the border. I don't think I'll ever use it again. It's like a chalk board brush but the brush dispenses the chalk. Of course, the dust gets everywhere. I definitely prefer my Clover chalk pens.

Yesterday night, I picked up a skein of Blackberry Ridge lace silk blend in dark clover. It's labelled lace but I think it's closer to fingering. I've cast on for a pair of socks but I think they're going to be too big for my feet. I'm going to frog it and look for another pattern.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Monkeys from Oz!

The doorbell rang before 9am (while I was eating breakfast and still in my Pooh bear pjs) and it was my Monkey swap package from Mel in Australia!

She sent me some wonderfully crazy purple Monkey socks! I don't know what the yarn is.

Plus I got some great monkey goodies and sock yarn galore - you can see it all in the picture below.

She sent me 3 (!!!) different sock yarns. The Knittery Merino Slim is soooo silky and smooth. It's hard to believe that it's just merino. I can't stop petting it. And I love the monkey fabric. I've been spoiled :) Thanks so much, Mel!

The Auburn Camp Shirt is going gangbusters. I'm on the second ball of yarn and it's about halfway to the armhole.

I took it to Prince Caspian and the theatre was pretty empty so I managed to knit at least a few rows when I wasn't riveted to the screen.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

lovely long weekend

This morning's weather of thunder and heavy rain signals the end of a very nice long weekend. At least, there were 3 dry and sunny days.

I did very little knitting because I was too busy with other things. I've picked up my Rivendell socks again and I'm halfway to the heel. I also cast on a washcloth (I am horribly behind on those) plus the Auburn Camp Shirt. I've only got the hem done so I won't bore you with a picture.

These are commissioned knitting bags. I love the cow fabric. The medical themed fabric was particularly hard to find. And I bought a ton of the yarn balls fabric so that I can make more.

Hubby and I had a "date" day. We went to Granville Island and looked for a brunch place. We didn't find any so we loaded up on pastries from the french bakery and ate things like chocolate filled croissants. Then we shopped for a bit. Maiwa moved from their current location to a new place and they are selling yarn now. I picked up 2 skeins of Hempwol. The skeins are huge at 250yds each.

Not sure what I'll use these for but there's enough for a pretty large scarf or 2 hats. Maiwa also had several Zitron yarns and lots of Zitron roving.

I also poked my head into the Silk Tree and Fiber Arts studios. Both times, hubby was elsewhere (with my wallet) so I didn't buy anything. The Silk Tree had renovated and their space was very nice and spacious with lots of room for all those looms. They had this neat silk eyelash type yarn. Oh so soft! The Fiber Arts studio had lots of hand dyed yarn - bulky mohair, mohair boucle, and lots of fingering yarns, too.

After Granville Island, we went home for a little snooze and then headed out for dinner at a local greek restaurant. It was the first time I had salmon souvlaki. It was very good and the portions were huge. We were planning to go see the new Narnia movie afterwards. But as we finished dessert, we realized that we only had 10 mins before showtime. Yikes! We decided that we didn't want to spend 2 hours and 20 mins in horrible seats so we're going to see the movie tonite.

And here's Ricky sleeping in front of the largest open window he can find. He loves fresh air.

A new cat toy in the foreground... That toy travelled all the way upstairs and made it into our bedroom courtesy of Phoebe. That explains the middle of the night dance she did on my stomach. Oof!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I love columbines

The weather's been great so I've been out in the garden instead of knitting.

This picture taken about 2 seconds before they smacked each other in the face. Why can't they be nice to each other?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

sleeve island

That's where I'm at. Sleeve, sleeve, sleeve. At least, the first one's almost done.

I've also seamed up the shoulders (using the new technique that I learned from Jean Wong which is awesome for reducing bulk). I'll see Nancy tomorrow so she can try on the garment and I can decide if the sleeves need to be longer/shorter.

While I was working on the sweater yesterday night, the ball of yarn rolled away from me and Phoebe "caught" it.

She is such a helpful cat.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

... to all the Moms out there. I spent yesterday with my Mom. We went to the Langley Quilters' guild show - Quilts in Bloom. I took a lot of pictures. Mom saw an apron in the boutique that she liked so I bought it for her. I also bought myself 2 FQs and that's it. Nothing else caught my eye in the vendor area.

Afterwards, we drove up to Fort Langley and had lunch at the Lampliter Cafe followed by a little shopping on the main drag. We stopped at 88 Stitches and I picked up a skein of Fleece Artist Suri Blue in a purple-y burgundy colour. I think I have enough to make myself a Lace Ribbon scarf. It was a nice day and it didn't start raining until we got back to my parents' house.

This morning, my hubby spooked me. He came out of the shower and told me that Phoebe had left a present for me on my pillow. If you're a pet owner, the words "left a present" isn't necessarily a good thing. I was prepared for the worst. But it was a lovely Mother's Day card from the cats and some of my favourite blueberry/almond chocolate bars. Thank you, kitties.

Today, we went to a local farmer's market and bought some yummy bread and apple strudel. We bumped into some friends at the market so that was a nice surprise. I also bought a lovely purple columbine. It's very unusual - similar to the Barlow but it's bright purple with white specks.

I've made good progress on Nancy's sleeve.

This is 8" of bulky cotton knit on US10/6mm needles. Ugh! I tried really hard to replicate her sts but I couldn't figure out how to twist them to make them look the same. So the sleeves won't completely match the front/back. I don't think it's that noticeable.

So my sister called me this afternoon. I thought she wanted to chat but she wanted to blame me for jinxing her washing machine. Her front loading washer is almost 6 years old and it started making noises and now, it's leaking. Awwww, poor baby. She makes good money so she can afford a new one. Her new washer is a Miele - guaranteed to wash 10,000 loads of laundry. She's going to keep track. LOL!

Friday, May 9, 2008

random knitting

I've been doing a fair bit of scattered knitting this week. A little here, a little there...

I decided yesterday night that I wanted to knit Oblique. I bought the yarn (Lion Brand Cotton Ease in violet) last year so I cast on after supper.

This little bit of sleeve is no more. It seemed big so I looked on Ravelry. After reading all the comments, I need to knit the next size down and I will probably run out of yarn. So I don't know if I'll knit Oblique with this yarn or use something else.

My "linen" from Colourmart arrived. But it's not linen, it's wool/silk. There was a mix up at the mill where the singles were being plied/twisted and some of us ended up with the wrong yarn. My linen will be sent out as soon as it's ready.

As you can tell, my swatch biased. I've had this happen before so I have to remember to knit from the other end of the cone. The swatch is very nice and softened up after a good steam. So what should I do with 5 cones of ecru DK wool/silk?

I bought some yarn from Deborah on Ravelry awhile ago and when I spotted this new yarn in her stash, I asked her about it and she graciously sent me a small hank. This stuff is a luscious blend of bamboo and silk.

I knit 2 more cloths for the quilt show boutique - a dragonfly and an oak leaf.

Five down and only 25 to go.

I finished the first fingerless mitt for Iris. The thumb took me two tries. The first time, it was too narrow but the second attempt is much better.

And here's another commission that I've picked up. A quilting friend of mine started this sweater about 20 years ago. She has arthritis in her hands which prevents her from knitting.

She still likes the sweater so I offered to finish it for her. The front, back, and one sleeve are completed but I frog'd the sleeve. It's in the dolman style and I thought it would look more updated if I reknit it narrower. There's a few things I have to figure out. Her sts are twisted but when I compare it to my ktbl or ptbl, her sts are looped the other way as if her sts were mounted on the needle differently. Maybe she wrapped the yarn around the needle the other way? Or??? I've got some figuring out to do. This will be a challenge.

Monday, May 5, 2008

a washcloth a day will keep the cooties at bay

We didn't buy a rug. It's not that we couldn't agree on one. They didn't come in the right size for the table. We'll keep shopping.

We did buy 2 chairs for the living room.

When we first moved in, we bought a new sofa and a matching armchair and ottoman for one side of the living room. The other side looked really empty so I bought some wicker chairs from Ikea as a temporary solution. Seven years later, we've finally found replacements. I don't know how it looks on your monitor but in real life, the chairs are a bit greener and less gold (the flash always adds yellow). That table in the middle needs a darker stain to match the new chairs.

Phoebe likes the new chairs. The seats are a lot bigger so she can spread out a bit more. She can also see the birdies a lot better because the arms are lower.

On Sunday, hubby went up to Squamish to stomp around the race course in preparation for his big bike race next month. I went to a quilt show and looked at all the pretty quilts. Here is a link to the pictures I took.

I bought some fabric - cats, ducks, and a pretty piece of batik. I also bought some Wonderfil invisible polyester thread to try. It's supposed to work like invisible nylon but without all the drawbacks.

The weather has been nice so I've been outside - refinishing/weatherproofing furniture and gardening. The wicker chairs were sprayed with lacquer so that they can sit on the covered front porch (furniture-less for 7 years). I oiled a table that will become a workbench/potting table. And the hedge from hell got whacked back with my electric trimmer (oy - my hands hurt).

My current knitting looks like this:

Our little quilting group is organizing a backyard quilt show in Aug. We'll have a small boutique selling various items. I'm making some inexpensive washcloths to fill in the lower end of the price spectrum.

I've got 3 finished and only 30 or so to go.

Our quilt show is called "Out on a Limb" so I'm trying to stick to that theme - flowers, leaves, squirrels, etc. I'm also making some quilting ones - sewing machine and a 6 pointed star. I think quilters will like those. Of course, I'm knitting plain cloths with the ombre yarn.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

I'm back!

I'm back, and I've got a bunch of projects to show off!

First up: another wee tiny sock for the follow-up swap. The first one was so much fun that I figured I'd join the second one on Ravelry. I'm going to collect all these wee tiny socks for our Christmas tree this year.

Then there's a pinwheel baby blanket for a co-worker's new baby, due in July. (Yes, I'm early for once!) This was my Ravelry-surfing project. Miles and miles of stockinette with the occasional yarn-over. I think it was over 400 stitches around by the time I was done. The bad news: my brother wants another one for his second kid, due in September.

And finally, the piece de résistance: my new Kiri shawl from the Colourmart silk that Dotty destashed a few months ago. It really was a fast knit: about two weeks of commuting time, start to finish. (Yes, I knit lace on the SkyTrain, but I have a long commute, and this is an easy pattern.)

And here's my little helper who helped me pin everything down to his alphabet foam blocks.

Now I can't decide what to cast on next. I'm now addicted to lace, but I also want to start my Christmas gift knitting so that I'm not doing it all in November.

Friday, May 2, 2008

out with the old and in with the older

A fellow quilter is moving to a smaller house and she has to sell all of her big antique furniture. We bought her weighs-a-ton oak table and chairs. A before and after shot:

The table comes with a crank and 2 leaves and it can comfortably seat 10 people (which is great because hubby's family totals 11). We are going rug shopping tomorrow to see if we can find something nice to go under it. Or do you think it looks fine the way it is? I think there's too much of a contrast between it and the floor (the table and chairs are darker in real life). I'll also be shopping around for a 6th chair.

We offered to give her our table and chairs (solid oak as well and you can take the leaf out and turn it into a small round table) because that's what she needs for her smaller place and she accepted. A win-win situation for everyone.

I do miss having a pedestal table. I'm short and I like to prop my feet on the base. And I'm not used to having table legs. Getting out of my chair, I whacked my knee on the table leg yesterday night.

So Ricky being the cat that he is, had to check out the new furniture. I've seen him visit 4 out of the 5 chairs and he decided that the one armchair was his favourite. He had his post supper snooze on it.

I love the first picture of his big belly hanging down while he squeezes under the table skirt.

Lest you think that this knitting blog has gone downhill, here is a progress picture of my Juno Regina stole:

I have finished the first skein of yarn and I've joined the second skein. The scarf measures approx. 36" long in its crumpled state.

I went a leetle overboard in the yarn buying department. I ordered 5 cones of linen from Colourmart this week (there's still some left). I have a hemp pattern that's been kicking around for awhile and 4 cones would've been enough but I ordered an extra just in case.

I am contemplating buying a loom for knitting socks. I found this mentioned on a blog last week. It's not too expensive (each one is custom made) but you must order one for each sock diameter and knitting gauge. I am tempted to order one in hubby's size so that he can knit his own Noro socks. Wouldn't that be hilarious?