Friday, August 29, 2008

my big head and a contest

Since P-la asked, my head is roughly 23" around. Is that big? I think so. When I go hat/helmet shopping, I usually have to buy a large. Most O/S hats are too small. Anyways, the kitty toque is on hold while I wait for my needles to arrive. It seems that all my 3.5mm circs are in use - heh.

I signed up for the Amazing Lace Swap this week. It looks like it's a Ravelry only swap as I cannot find a non-Rav link. It's a pretty simple one with no knitting. I'm saving my knitting time for the upcoming Monkey swap.

I'm ignoring Nancy's sweater for awhile and I thought that I should probably finish up some of my sock WIPs before I cast on a new pair of socks. I picked up my Rivendell's and started working on them again. I'm halfway down the foot and I should have them finished by the end of this weekend. Just in time for my little contest.

It's my second sockiversary. I started knitting socks in Sept. 2006 and last year, I celebrated with a little contest. This year, I'm doing the same thing but the prizes will be bigger and you'll need to do a little work to win one. I'll announce all the details on Mon Sept 1st.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

visiting Armenia

I've been sleeping like a log since Sunday and I think I'm finally coherent. The Impulse of Delight sock yarn is really soft. The softest 80% superwash merino/20% nylon sock yarn that I've ever touched. Mmmm.... This yarn will turn into Christmas socks for a certain someone. I'm contemplating several cabled patterns. Journey Cable socks by Sivia Harding and Cut & Paste socks by Becca Diaz are at the top of my list.

While I'm trying to decide on the pattern, the weather's getting cooler (I woke up to 10C/50F this am) and I have the urge for a new toque to wear while cross country skiing this winter. I dug out my Vogue Winter 05/06 issue and cast on the Armenian cat hat. It's not a formal pattern in the magazine (which is why I can't find it in Ravelry) so the directions are a little loose. I guessed at a needle size and cast on this morning and knit a few rows. My gauge is hard to measure but the hat's too tight so I'm frogging it. I've got a big head and the stranded knitting results in a stretchless fabric so I have to cast on more stitches. Once I get it right, it's going to be a very cute hat.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

my weekend in pictures

Too tired to type so you get pictures.

Deep fried oreos (look Nikki, I found some!) - bad for you, blah blah blah but oh so yummy!

I wasn't too much of a glutton - I shared with hubby.

Remember the band Glass Tiger? Apparently, I remember them and most of the lyrics to their songs (much to hubby's embarrassment).

And yes, I was KIPing and singing at the same time. Who knew I was that talented?

Yarn acquired in Whistler (in the pouring rain):

Impulse of Delight col. Mountain Mists.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

sleeve island

I thought I'd be finished by now but I'm not.

I've had lots of knitting time but the yarn is really kicking my butt. Imagine a 2-ply crochet cotton thread, 8 strands of it, loosely twisted into a yarn. It's rough, splitty, and nasty. The first sleeve wasn't too bad because the yarn was frogged and reknit so it was softer. But this second sleeve is knit from the cone and it's stiff and hard. My fingertips are dry and rough and my hands are cramping.

During one of my "timeouts" from the sleeve, I drove over to the newly opened lys - Black Sheep Yarns. I touched Lamb's Pride for the first time, checked out Asland Trends, and I bought some Wildfoote sock yarn. It's a very nice store with large open spaces and lots of natural lighting. There's even a little patio out front - perfect for summer knit nites.

I should get back to that sleeve. It's not going to knit itself.

Monday, August 18, 2008

now, I've seen everything

I went to a quilt walk/show'n shine event yesterday and I saw this:

Pretty wild, eh? I love that they quilted a driver in the windshield. I saw lots of neat quilts and hubby drooled over the cars. Man, it was hot! I *ahem* bought stuff - Celebrated Craziness and Crazy Snow Days by Buggy Barn and a super jumbo applique pressing sheet.

Of course, I can't resist going into the local thrift store.

I bought these 2 pieces of Japanese sashiko. Traditionally, this is done on dark indigo cotton with white cotton thread so it was quite unique to see the rainbow colours.

On the knitting front, I've picked up Nancy's 20 year old sweater. I finished the sleeve on Fri and I've started the second sleeve. The bulky cotton is really hard on my hands. But it goes fast so it should be finished soon.

And Ricky was just loving the chest rubs that hubby was giving him. Awwwww!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

fini x 2

Pattern: Ribbed Baby Jacket by Debbie Bliss (size 0-3 mos)
Yarn: TLC Cotton Plus (51% cotton/49% acrylic) in Kiwi, 2.5 skeins
Needles: 4.5mm and 5mm Addi Turbos
Notes: Fast and easy. Used large snaps for the closure. Yarn is a bit splitty. I'm ready for the twins.

Friday, August 15, 2008

it's Friday

Hubby's youngest sister came to town for a little visit. We took her to the zoo and we went to see the new Mummy movie (not as good as the previous ones). The next day, we went to the beach, a park, and 5-pin bowling. My right arm hurts and my left buttock is sore. Who knew that bowling can make your butt hurt? Anyways, she left a few days earlier than planned so we didn't get to take her canoeing.

Today, we got out the carpet shampooer and cleaned the carpets. It's a hot day so everything should dry relatively quickly. We've got all the fans on to move the humid air out of the house. And because everything upstairs is downstairs, I had to improvise a spot to photograph my knitting.

Ricky graciously donated his belly as a back drop for the baby sweater. I've got both of these knitted. This one is seamed up and the ends are woven in (not trimmed because the scissors weren't close at hand). I need to seam the other one and find some sort of closure. Once I'm done, the twins can be born ;)

This bit of fabric was gifted to me by my quilting friends. A bunch of them went to a big quilt show in Seattle last weekend. I really wanted to go with them but the wedding took precedence. They actually bought 4 different cat fabrics and let me choose one. I picked this fabric because there's a sleeping tortie in it that looks just like Phoebe.

Speaking of Phoebe, I woke up twice yesterday night. Both times, she was sprawled across my pillow. My head is in the middle and tucked into her tummy with her legs framing my face. She's a big kitty and I only have a standard sized pillow so that doesn't leave much room for me. No wonder I woke up.

The newly married couple have opened their wedding present from us so I can show you what I'm making for them:

(Please click on the image to see the detail) This is a circle quilt. The technique comes from the book Circle Play by Reynola Pakusich. This is the most fiddly quilt I've ever made. You need a lot of different co-ordinating fabrics (block background) and a good feature fabric (for the circles). You chop everything up and randomly sew the background blocks first. Then you temporarily assign a circle to the block. Once you've got all the blocks done, you throw everything up on a design wall. I don't have one big enough so I spent a lot of time at Nancy's. She's made one of these quilts so she helped me a lot. Then you spend the rest of your life rearranging the blocks and swapping circles until you have something you like. I ended up taking apart about 20 blocks and putting in a more appropriate fabric. I made several shopping trips for more fabric because I didn't have enough lights and darks. Then I had a bunch of reject circles that needed replacing. You will notice that most of the circles are not centered within the block. To create flow and movement, the technique involves lining up elements in the circle with the background. Each circle was scrutinized and carefully placed. Like I said, a very fiddly project but the end result is stunning. I had originally planned to make 64 blocks but now that it's assembled, the quilt is too short to fit on a queen sized bed. I need to add another row to make it longer so it's back to the design wall for me.

After I took pictures of the baby sweater, I started taking pictures of Ricky. He pulled a leg over his nose to tell me that he didn't want to be disturbed. Ha!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The interview

Me: What is your favorite thing about my knitting?
Hubby: I don't know. You make me socks.

Me: What is your least favorite thing about my knitting?
Hubby: **no hesitation** Waiting for you to finish a row.

Me: What is something I have knitted that you recall as being good?
Hubby: The 3rd pair of socks that you made for me.

Me: Do you think knitters have an expensive hobby?
Hubby: **laughs** No. I'm blissfully unaware of how much money you spend on knitting.

Me: Do you have any hobbies?
Hubby: Me? Is cycling a hobby.
Me: Sure.

Me: What are your hobbies?
Hubby: Cycling.

Me: If we compared money spent on hobbies, who would win?
Hubby: I don't know. What are you doing?

Me: Has my knitting in public ever embarrassed you?
Hubby: No

Me: You can't remember any times in particular?
Hubby: That I was embarrassed or that you were knitting?
Me: Nevermind.

Me: Do you know my favorite kind of yarn?
Hubby: No. Does purple count? Socks That Rock - is that your favourite?

Me: Can you name another blog?
Hubby: Other than Yarn Floozies? Harlot? Purling Ps?

Me: Do you mind that I want to check out yarn stores everywhere we go?
Hubby: No.

Me: Do you understand the importance of a swatch?
Hubby: No. Ok, maybe.
Me: Yes?
Hubby: **shakes head** Maybe.

Me: Do you read Yarn Floozies?
Hubby: No.

Me: Have you ever left a comment?
Hubby: Nope.

Me: Do you think the house would be cleaner if I didn't knit?
Hubby: No.

Me: Is there anything you would like to add in closing?
Hubby: Who am I talking to? Run...

PS. The wedding was great! The rain held off long enough for the ceremony and photos. Then it just poured!!!

Friday, August 8, 2008

pretty flowers

You may have noticed the lack of knitting content on the blog this week. I seem to be going from one deadline to another with no time for knitting. This week's deadline is tomorrow. I needed to get a wedding present done (not finished but wrappable) so I've been sewing all week. And I'm exhausted. I crawl into bed and I'm asleep before hubby's finished brushing his teeth. Anyways, it's done and I'll post pics once the happy couple have seen it. Now, I have to decide what to wear.

I generally don't like working so close to a deadline. I'm a planner and I like to have things done well ahead of time. But I've been so busy that it feels like I'm barely staying afloat. I've imposed a ban on social engagements for the rest of Aug to give myself some time to catch up.

Here's my to do list:
- finish up cardis for the twins (the first one is 80% done - the cardi; not the twin ;)
- finish Iris' fingerless mitts
- finish Nancy's sweater
- Pauline's market bag
- finish hubby's Noro sox (for his bday since there's no way I'll finish them in time for our anniversary)

I want to get the first 4 done by the end of this month cuz I want to start my Christmas knitting in Sept. Wishful thinking, eh?

Today's garden pics (top to bottom): pee gee hydrangea, echinachea, butterfly gladiola, and oriental lilies (plus a few sprigs of Russian sage)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

3 things

1. Look before you leap
Phoebe jumped up on the bed and landed half on my pillow and half on the bed. At the last second, she bailed and dragged her claws across my lovely quilted pillow sham as her butt hit the ground. Her claws ripped through the fabric and now there's a hole. Stupid cat.

2. Hello, is anybody home?
The phone rang yesterday and I answered it.
Me: "Hello?"
Stupid guy: "Hi, can I speak to Barry?"
Me: "Sorry, you have the wrong number"
Stupid guy: "Uh, can I leave a message?"
Me (inside voice): "WTF? What part of 'wrong number' don't you get?"
Me (outside voice): "Sorry, you still have the wrong number"
Stupid guy: "Oh yeah, bye"

3. Pushing my buttons
I was doing some laundry yesterday. I threw a load in at 12:30 and usually it takes about 60-70 mins for a complete wash cycle. When I went to look at 2pm, the washing machine was still running. Huh? Ricky was snoozing on top of the washing machine. Hmm... I think the load finished and then Ricky stepped on the start button and started the machine again. At least, my towels are extra clean now.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

the day after

Thanks for your sympathy and comments. I did look up stashes in Ravelry (that method saved my butt on another project) but the yarn with the same dye lot is in Norway. The wedding is this Sat and there's no way it can get here in time for me to knit it up, and wash'n block. So the shrug is in serious timeout. I doubt that I'll wear the red dress again so I'll probably frog the shrug and use the yarn for something else.

Pattern: Lovely Lace Shrug by LanaKnits
Yarn: allhemp6 in Raspberry; 2 skeins; about 3 ft of yarn leftover
Needles: 6mm addi turbos
Notes: Ran out of yarn one row short of finishing the second sleeve. Knit an extra row on the first sleeve and grafted the 2 pieces together. Shrug does not fit across the back. Cannot put my arms down. I have a 43.5" chest and the shrug is sized to fit up to 42" so it should've been close but not this tight. I don't have obscenely wide shoulders or anything. This is such a bummer because I love this pattern and I love hemp.

I got the loom warped and I started weaving my scarf.

As you can see, I went with the Quartette yarn because it's so soft. The selvedges at the beginning look like crap but I'm more careful now so it's a lot more even.

I spent yesterday shopping (instead of doing chores - bad, Dotty!). Got lots of clothes and a new rug for the kitchen. I also bought some fabric for the ugly fabric challenge.

"That fat quarter under my butt feels pretty good" - Phoebe

Is this her way of helping or is she trying to tell me something about the ugly fabric?

Monday, August 4, 2008

It Doesn't Fit

OMG - I just grafted my shrug together and I put it on. I can't put my arms down. It doesn't fit. It's too small across the back. My lys is closed for 2 weeks - I can't buy more yarn before the wedding to make it wider. I'm gonna cry.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

all fun, all the time

We're having a peachy time over here.

We made jam - one batch of apricot and one batch of peach. We haven't eaten any of it yet so I don't know how it tastes. It's all in the freezer as we work our way through the rest of the cherries.

Yesterday, I got up at the crack of dawn so that I could crawl all over someone's garden and hang quilts for our little quilt show. I made the "Welcome" quilt in the above picture. The show was great. It seemed to be raining everywhere else (i.e. on hubby during his bicycle ride) except on our quilt show. My washcloths sold well and so did everyone else's boutique items. We raised a lot of money for our selected charity. I've posted pictures here. Enjoy.

Since I've been so busy, there hasn't been much knitting. The shrug is still lying there waiting to be grafted together. I started a baby sweater. I need to make 2 for a set of upcoming twins. I also warped the table loom with some black cotton. I'm going to make a scarf with some of my sock yarn. My top choices for yarn are: Jojoland Melody or Jojoland Quartette. The Melody has long runs of colour but the Quartette is incredibly soft because it's got cashmere in it. Hmmm... a tough decision.