Thursday, July 31, 2008

knitting gods - 1; Dotty - 0

Well, the hemp shrug has temporarily stalled.

The top one is the first sleeve that I knit. The bottom is the one that I just stopped knitting. See how much yarn is left? There isn't enough to knit the last #%^@* row. Ugh! Why me? There's tons of yarn leftover from the first sleeve! The pattern says to bind off and seam the two pieces together. But I don't have enough to bind off. I'd have to rip back a whole repeat which would probably make the shrug too narrow across the back. So my plan is to knit an extra row on the other sleeve and then graft the two together and hope no one knows that the graft is one row off. That better work or I'm wearing something else to the wedding!

I'm going to make jam! For the very first time. I went to the store and bought stuff (jars and pectin packets) to make freezer jam. On our way home last week, we drove through the Okanagan which is fruit country. So we stopped at a fruit stand and went a little overboard buying local peaches, apricots, and cherries - 40lbs in total. We've given a bunch away but we can't possibly eat the rest before it goes bad so I'm going to make a batch of peach jam and a batch of apricot jam. I'm so excited!

Vacation yarn doesn't count as stash (right?)

I'm back!

We took this week off as a vacation week, and went up to Chilliwack for the last few days.

The boys say "hi!" from the golf course.

Aunt Debbie's Knit & Stitch, in Chilliwack, was having a 40%-off-everything sale. I was really good and almost didn't buy anything. And then as the store employee was talking, she pointed out this really neat jacquard-dyed yarn called knit-col. It's a DK weight, so should knit up super-fast into a pair of socks for me. I couldn't decide, so I bought two different colours (on the left).

The two balls on the right are a colour-changing mohair blend that didn't feel scratchy against my neck, so I bought it to try it out. I'm thinking it will be an ice queen or some other cowl.

And then this skein of Schaefer Susan (in the middle) fell onto the counter when I went to check out. It was purple. And blue. And at 40% off, it had my name all over it.

There are two more yarn sales coming up this weekend. We're in Langley tomorrow, and Knitopia's having an anniversary sale. And then on Sunday, I'm meeting Dotty in Steveston for a little kite flying, a trip to the farmer's market, and then to Pajo's for fish and chips, and then of course, to Wool and Wicker for their sale.

I'm still on vacation until Tuesday -- I figure this is all vacation yarn, so shouldn't count as stash, right?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


It's just pouring outside!!! Perfect weather for me today. I spread 150 million nematodes on the lawn this morning (organic control for the European chafer beetle/grub). The rain saves me from having to hand water the lawn after application.

I finished the 15th and last washcloth yesterday night. I wove in all the ends and gave them a shot of steam so that they'll lie flat.

It feels good to finish all my boutique items. I just have to wait until Sat to see how well they sell. The weather forecast looks promising so I don't think we'll have to cancel the quilt show.

I can't quite decide what to work on next. In terms of priority, I really need to finish the shrug that I want to wear to the wedding. One sleeve is done and the other is about half way there. And then there's the wedding present which has kinda stalled.

The kitties are back home and they're still adjusting. Ricky is completely underfoot. He's following me around everywhere and I've stepped on him twice. He is not a lap cat but this is where he was yesterday night:

Phoebe is completely ignoring us. She wandered out of the cat carrier and either slept on the chair in the corner or under the bed. She's giving us the furry cold shoulder. I hope she forgives us soon!

Monday, July 28, 2008

there's sand in my yarn

I'm back and completely pooped. We met up with my nieces, sis and bil for some camping. The weather was great and I've eaten my weight in bacon. We rented sea doos again this year and it was lots of fun. I tried jumping hubby's wake to grab some air. I was successful a few times but when I wasn't successful, the seat would slap me on the bum. There was also 3 days of quality beach time.

My youngest niece was fascinated with my knitting but she just wanted to hold the ball of yarn and unwind it for me.

I managed to get quite a bit of knitting done - 5.5 washcloths in 8 days. That's 15 in total for the boutique but a far cry from the 30 that I expected to have done. That's ok because I dug out all my knitting FOs that don't have a home and I'll be putting those into the boutique as well.

I went fabric shopping during my trip and I discovered a new quilt store that's relatively close to my in-laws (if a 3 hour round trip is considered "close"). Several of the quilt stores have a small yarn section so I bought some sock yarn - a skein of Wisdom Yarns Marathon Socks San Francisco and a skein of SRK On Your Toes Bamboo (75% bamboo 25% nylon):

I've never tried either of these yarns.

When we got home, there was a lovely package waiting for me from P-la. Inside was some STR that I purchased but she also sent me some yarn for my bday. Isn't she sweet?

I love the card! Doesn't the purple yarn look yummy?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

quilt challenge

So what do you think of this fabric? (you must click to embiggen)

Interesting, eh? A quilting friend runs the recycling program at her quilt guild and this fabric (10 yds or so of it) was dumped in the recycling bins. She's decided not to try to recycle it within her guild because she doesn't think anyone will take it. So she brought it to our little quilting group and this is our challenge. We're supposed to make a quilt with this drapery/upholstery weight cotton. We can't chop it up into tiny little pieces. Most of my group won't go near it but myself and one other quilter have accepted the challenge.

Does anybody recognize the images? They are photographs of something. A temple or wall? I tried to look up Buddhist gods/goddesses but nothing looks quite the same.

ETA: The images have been identified! They are from the Khajuraho Group of Monuments in India. I'm just so glad they aren't pictures of the erotic carvings. Ewwwwwww!

Not much knitting over here. I'm off washcloths for awhile. I've switched back to the hemp shrug that I want to wear to the wedding. I was working on it earlier today but I had to rip back because I was paying too much attention to the conversation and not enough attention on which rows required increasing. Ooops!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

hubbies bought us yarn

Our hubbies just finished the Seattle to Portland (aka STP) ride this weekend. That's 202 miles over 2 days. Yay!!! We're so proud of them. A friend, Graham also participated in the ride. Here are pictures of my hubby and Gladys' hubby.

All 3 of them survived and they're in pretty good shape aside from some hot spots on their tushies. Hubby has a sunburn on his wrist where the sun got through the holes in his watch band. He also has some red spots on his forehead just below the hairline. Again, the sun made it through the holes in his helmet. Gladys' husband has some bruising and road rash from a minor crash. On the morning of day 1, they had to bike from their hotel to the start line with their luggage (STP hauls their stuff to Centralia). He was dragging his rolling suitcase beside him. Apparently, the suitcase attacked his bike and over he went. Ouch! Can you imagine showing up at the start line bleeding and needing first aid? A tad embarrassing...

In Seattle, they were close enough to Tricoter that we ordered asked begged them to stop in and buy us some STR. Can you imagine what the clerk thought when 3 tall men walked into the shop? I gave hubby a list - what I wanted and what I already had. Unfortunately, they didn't have anything on my wish list so hubby had to improvise.

Left to right: Carbon, Cougar, and Cockamamie all in STR lightweight
Gladys' hubby bought her Cougar and Husky. She's going to make her hubby socks using the Husky. I was curious about the Cougar and Husky colours because they're not on Blue Moon's website. Turns out Cougar refers to WSU's football team and Husky refers to the Washington Huskies. But if I compare the team colours with my skein of Cougar, it really should be labelled Husky. Cougar team colours are red/grey which are the colours of Gladys' Husky skein.

Aaaaand, here's another dishcloth. Are you bored of looking at these? I'm getting bored of knitting them.

Pattern: my own
Needle & Yarn: same as always
Notes: boooooooring

Monday, July 14, 2008

2 more

I've been working diligently on my washcloths. I got 2 more (#s 7 & 8) done this weekend.

Pattern: So Sew and Paw
Yarn: Bernat Handicrafter Cotton
Needles: 5mm Addi Turbos
Notes: I goofed up on the Paw one. I accidentally cast on 1 extra stitch and didn't realize it until I was on row 20-something. So there's 2 columns of stockinette on one side and 3 columns on the other.

Ricky has been driving me nuts the last few days. Around 7pm, he starts pacing the house and crying at me. He's not hungry (cuz that's a different cry). If I give him a brush, he calms down and has a nap. This morning, he jumps up on the bed before 7am and walks up to my pillow and sniffs my head and then cries at me. When I rolled over, I was quite surprised to see him since Phoebe is the head sniffer of the two. Phoebe has been particularly clingy as well. She brought me a freshly killed fur toy yesterday night. I vaguely remember her waking me up with a victory meow. I think they miss hubby who's been away since Fri. But he's back tonite (with a pile of stinky laundry) so they'll be back to normal.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

mon petit chou

I've mentioned my sooper seekrit project a few times. Now that it's been gifted to the recipient, I can publicly acknowledge its existence.

Pattern: Mon Petit Chou by Kate Gilbert; made smallest size
Yarn: Cascade Fixation; col 2137; 2 skeins
Needles: 4mm Addi Turbos
Notes: Knit bottoms as written. Omitted one repeat in each "cup" and in the ribcage. Did not do the halter thing. I bought the appropriate bra hardware so that the straps are adjustable. The straps and the laces are lingerie elastic so hopefully, it'll help with the fit. This is the project where I panic'd about running out of yarn. The lys didn't have any more in this dyelot but I was able to find a fellow Raveler with a matching skein. Turns out that I didn't need that extra skein.

Yesterday was the bridal shower for my bf so she got to unwrap this little outfit in a public park. Hee hee!

Friday, July 11, 2008

more finishing up

I'm really accomplishing things on my list.

Pattern: Springing Up Flowers and Happy Hunny Bear
Yarn: Bernat Handicrafter Cotton
Needles: 4.5mm circs
Notes: Another washcloth for the boutique and the second Pooh bear one for my nieces. The flower one is huge so it takes a lot longer to knit up.

My mailman is an early bird so I don't freak out when the doorbell rings before 9am (I think he's only ever seen me in my jammies/housecoat). But this week, he set a new record - 8:03am. I know this because I was sitting in front of the laptop and I looked at the clock before I got up to answer the door. Waiting for me was some Bartlett Fisherman's 2 ply.

I traded some sock yarn and a large project bag for these 4 skeins. They smell so sheepy! I love it. Don't know what I'll make but there's enough for a sweater for my bf. She likes this colour a lot.

Oh and I spent some of my birthday money on a quilt book - Art to Heart: Many Thanks. I bought it for this one quilt block:

I love old quilts and cats!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

wild and crazy night

Our very first DVD player just kicked the bucket. I put in a Hercule Poirot movie and big ugly error numbers flashed on the screen. It's a 5 disc Sony - cost us $1000 about 10 years ago. I remember haggling for the 5 disc part because a single disc DVD player was around $750 and a 5 disc CD player was $250. It was our first big purchase as a couple and it has served us well. I will miss it. Tomorrow, I'll be spending a whopping $100 on a new player. I can't seem to find a 5 disc DVD player so I'll have to settle for getting up off the couch more often. Now, I have to find the manual for our fancy schmancy universal remote. I need to reprogram the DVD and CD functions as well as customizing the buttons.

And Ricky had a little adventure this evening. I didn't manage to pull the door to the workshop closed all the way and Ricky must've nosed his way in. Hubby heard something crash in the workshop and that's when we figured out he was in there. I grabbed some of his food in an effort to entice him out but he was way under the house. Ricky came when I called but he was kinda stuck behind the stuff that he'd knocked over so hubby had to crawl under the house with the kibble. He managed to grab Ricky's leg (there was a howl of protest) and hauled him out. Ricky was filthy so he got wiped down with a wet towel.

Wonder what else will go wrong...

Monday, July 7, 2008

finishing up

Currently blooming: cistus and astrantia

Each flower on the cistus lasts a single day but it's loaded with blooms and puts on quite a show for several weeks. The astrantia is the complete opposite. It blooms all at once but each papery flower last for weeks.

I finished my dead heading and pruning today. It's all a lot easier with my latest toy (a bday present from my parents).

That is a Felco #7 hand pruner. It makes pruning so much easier (kinda like the rotary cutter equivalent for the quilter). The handle swivels as you squeeze so it means that I can prune for longer without my hand hurting. It also cuts up to 1" diameter stock so I don't have to use my loppers for big things. I love my Felco.

And I can cross one knitting to-do item off my list.

Pattern: Everlasting Bag Stopper by Amy Singer
Yarn: 1 skein of Easy Knit Eco-fil; 75% cotton/25% acrylic; 225g
Needles: 6mm and 4mm Addi Turbos
Notes: Instead of ribbon handles, I picked up 7 stitches at the bind off edge and knit stockinette. I slipped the first stitch on every row - it helps keep the handle from stretching too much.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

working weekend

I sat down this weekend and focused on my "must do" list. I've got a bajillion things that are "in progress" and some have hard deadlines so I need to get those finished first. My first deadline is the bridal shower next weekend. I made a gift bag for the prezzie.

Can you guess what's inside?

The deadline for quilt show entries is next. So I sewed hanging sleeves onto 2 quilts and labelled a third. The week after the quilts are handed in, I need to submit my items for the quilt show's boutique. I wove in the ends on half a dozen washcloths and gave them a good press. I also sewed the handles onto a market bag. I've got another market bag and washcloth otn. I'd also like to make a few more cloths.

Right after the quilt show is the big wedding. I've almost finished the first half of the shrug that I want to wear (there is a slight chance that I'll run out of yarn before I'm done). And I have to get cracking on the wedding present!

And somewhere in there, I'm camping with my nieces and I promised them Pooh blankets and knitted Pooh washcloths. I've got one washcloth done but I haven't started the blankets yet. Sigh...

Of course, my garden needed some serious attention since I've been neglecting it for almost 2 weeks. I deadheaded my peonies, oriental poppies, and cranesbill geraniums. Plus I pruned my purple smoke bush, thyme, maple tree, and Grace Ward. I filled 5 garbage cans with yard waste! I gave my neighbour some rhubarb and I picked my first batch of raspberries. The berries were small and only so-so tasting. The second flush will be better.

The light was good this evening and Ricky was being oh-so-cute. Can you see his lip freckle?

I was trying to get a good shot of his face but he wanted to watch a birdie instead.

Ok, he's looking at me but what's he doing with his leg?

Friday, July 4, 2008

birthday week

Oy! The first week of July has got to be the busiest week of the year for me. You see, it's full of celebration. It's the Vancouver Jazz Festival and we usually go to a concert or two. This year, we bought tickets for Jesse Cook. It was awesome and you couldn't wipe the grin off hubby's face.

And it was Canada's birthday on July 1st. It's the last day of the jazz festival and there are free concerts all day at 4 venues on Granville Island. We go there every year - load up on baked goodies from the french bakery & Terra breads, buy a bag of Okanagan cherries, and park ourselves on the grass and listen to some great jazz and pig out. My bf joined us so that was an extra special treat.

Yes, I was KIPing at the concert. That's Jangophilia on stage and my blurry Lovely Lace Shrug in the foreground. I'm using allhemp6 and I'll be wearing this shrug to my bf's wedding.

And my little quilting group surprised me with a birthday cake and prezzies.

Notice the little duck candles? We call ourselves QHuackers (long story) so we're attracted to everything ducky.

And speaking of prezzies, I'm getting some STR! Gladys (my alleged co-blogger) gave me a gc to Blue Moon. At the top of my list is Korppi and Lucy but I'm still thinking about it. And my sister is buying me some STR, too.

I went fabric shopping again (with my birthday money). They were having a sale on patterns and I broke down and bought another Amy Butler pattern - the Sophia carry-all. I think I'll heavily modify the pattern to suit my tastes/skills - i.e. no piping. I am going to make this bag with quilted fabric and skip the interfacing for the side panels. Hopefully, the bag will be sturdy enough.

Happy 4th of July to all my American friends. Have a great weekend!