Sunday, January 31, 2010

anatomy of a dishwasher

I was planning a knitting post (with a free pattern) but the weather stinks (grey & drizzly) for picture taking so that'll just have to wait for another day. I'll just talk about something a little more interesting (yeah, right) like my dishwasher. I am amazed at how a dishwasher can go from working to sounding like it's going to cough up cutlery in less than 10 seconds. The dishwasher sounded a little rough at the beginning of the cycle but by the time it was draining, I really thought something large was being ground up. We turned the breaker off, unloaded, and washed the dishes by hand and saved the disassembly for this morning.

It takes 45 mins to disconnect two hoses, mop up the ensuing flood, disconnect the electrical, and figure out how the clamp thingy disengages so that you can yank the pump & motor out leaving the inside of your dishwasher looking pretty empty.

At this point, I should mention that we had already made a trip to the parts store for a new gasket. All that black stuff is yuck leaking out the bottom of the dishwasher via the elderly (10 yo) gasket. I am actually grateful that it broke when it did because I would've been cursing if I'd put the whole thing back together to have it die the following week necessitating another disassembly. It's a tight squeeze under there and my arms are scratched & bleeding.

Call us crazy - we took the whole pump apart (if you're squeamish, don't look).

Don't ask me how it all goes back together. Thank goodness, there are pictures on the interwebs.

And here's the busted part:

It's the upper impeller (the important part that shoves the water out the spray arm) and it shouldn't be in two pieces. It's Sunday and the parts store is closed so I'll be washing dishes by hand tonite and probably tomorrow. Oh joy :(

Friday, January 29, 2010

uncharted territory

I can barely contain my anticipation - my car mittens are almost finished.

I've started the decreases at the top and then I can knit the thumb. It won't be long before I have warm driving hands!

I just got my hands on a new knitting book - Twisted-Stitch Knitting by Maria Erlbacher. I first saw the original publications at last year's Sock Summit. Recently, Schoolhouse Press has combined the three German books into one and translated into English. Yay! So I'm going to whip out some paper and start designing my own sock? Mittens? Or ??? Whatever it is, it has to be knit in the round because there are no "rest" rows. I don't know about you but I want to avoid ptbl as much as possible. I've never designed like this before so bear with me while I screw up (multiple times).

I also pulled out a skein of yarn to swatch with. It's Tess' Designer Yarns Super Socks & Baby. No idea what colour it is. It's a skwooshy yarn so the stitches should pop nicely.

So what do you think is running through Ricky's head when he looks at me like this?

Maybe - "Get that camera outta my face, Mom" or "Just wait til you're asleep" or ???

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

frozen fingers

Do you ever have the problem where it seems warm enough to go outside without gloves/mittens but then the minute you touch the ice-cold steering wheel, you wish you'd taken the time to grab a pair? That's me. (This will lead somewhere knitting related. I promise.) Over the years, I've gone through 2 super fluffy sheepskin steering wheel covers but they are getting harder to find. The first thing I did when I bought my new car was buy it a steering wheel cover that I thought would protect my fingers but it's not doing a very good job. So every day I go out with warm hands and end up at my destination with frozen fingers. This is not usually a big deal unless I need to knit with them. The last straw was Sunday when I went to teach a class. My hands and fingers were so cold that I couldn't even feel the knitting needles. And then I thought, "I'm a knitter - I can solve this problem."

The idea of knitting a steering wheel cover crossed my mind but hubby drives the car, too. He never liked the sheepskin ones and I'm pretty sure he wouldn't like a knitted one in my car. The next best thing is a pair of mittens that I'll leave in the car just for driving. So I tossed the stash a little and came up with some Knit Picks Imagination in Pixie Dust. I've avoided using this yarn (bought for a stole project) because I discovered awhile ago (after I'd bought it) that alpaca doesn't agree with me. I can't wear it around my neck because it's sooooo itchy. I am hoping that I'll be able to wear the yarn as mittens.

I've put them on a few times and they haven't made my hands/wrists itchy but we'll see what happens after they are washed (as was the case with my alpaca scarf).

It's sunny outside so that means it's also a little chilly. Phoebe's spending a lot of time on her "hotplate" aka heating pad.

PS. Batty - could you please send me your email address? I'd like to reply to one of your comments. Thanks!

Friday, January 22, 2010


On one hand, I can't believe it's already Friday. On the other hand, "What?!?!?! It's Friday!?!?!?!" I'll skip all the boring whining about my car/Dad & the cupcakes/everyday life stuff and get to the knitting.

I did yank the original sock off the needles and redesigned it.

This one's a keeper.

I got bored of the new sock so I picked up hubby's 18 mo old sock and finished it (it's really big and really bright).

I immediately cast on the second sock while I still remembered how many sts per round (80).

Last weekend when it was dry out, I took Ricky out for walkies on the front porch. He drooled all over the concrete while sniffing the leg of a wicker chair. Then freaked out when hubby came towards him with a string of Christmas lights in his hands. It turns out that Ricky can back out of his new doggie harness. He ran into the bushes while hubby took off after him. I walked over to the front door, opened it, and called his name. Ricky zoomed into the house and right into the kitchen.

Ricky sez, "You see these fangs? I ain't scared of no Christmas lights."

Friday, January 15, 2010

mii on the wii

I've been busy playing. Just after Christmas, hubby and I bought ourselves a new toy - a Nintendo Wii (comes with Wii Sports) and the Wii Fitness Plus bundle. I am getting a lot more use out of it than hubby because he prefers to zip around in a warthog. My favourite game is tennis from Wii Sports. This is closely followed by the Snowball Fight game in Fitness Plus. Hubby and I are currently vying for the high score title. Last time, it took him an hour to beat my score by one kill. Don't worry - I'll kick his ass. I need to rest up a few days first.

Speaking of sports... I live right beside the host city for this year's winter Olympic games - Vancouver. There is Olympic fever everywhere as businesses get ready for the flock of athletes, support staff, reporters, and tourists that will be flooding this town. One of my quilting friends has tickets for the figure skating gala performance so she's been working on some Olympic themed quilt items. Yesterday, she brought some fabric to show us and of course, I had to go out and buy some for myself.

Winter Sports by Laurie Godin for Northcott Fabrics

It's very rare to see fabric featuring Canada so I had to add some to my collection. This cotton version is only available in Canada. The flannel version is available to everyone.

If you look closely, you can definitely see Vancouver:

The outline below the mountain is the downtown Vancouver skyline. In fact, Gladys (hey when are you going to blog?) works in the tower that looks like a space ship at the top. I've promised to make Gladys a project bag and I'll have lots leftover for a quilt of some kind.

I have been struggling with my knitting this week. I cast on the Outside In socks using a Fleece Artist/Handmaiden mystery sock yarn which is a little thicker than the sample sock yarn. After reading through the pattern, I wanted to knit it via magic loop but I didn't have any 2.25mm circs (gasp - there is a needle size that I don't have!) so I used 2.5mm instead. Big, big mistake. Oh so fugly fabric. I eventually switched to 2.25mm dpns and got something much better. But those single knit columns still looked really sloppy. I have a hard time keeping a decent tension when I have to switch back and forth between knit & purl sts. So I tried a few rows where I twisted the sts via ptbl (purl through the back loop). Ugh! What a pain in the butt! I ended up frogging the whole thing and spent the rest of the day stewing.

I was determined to knit this sock even if it killed me. The pattern calls for the sock to be knit inside out. When you are done, you flip the sock and voila, you get these lovely knit columns. I thought to myself that I should be able to knit the sock right side out and thus the knit columns can be ktbl (knit through the back loop) to make a nice tight stitch. All I had to do was reverse all the decreases and it should work out, right? It ended up being a bit more fiddly than that and I'm still not totally happy.

So this is where the sock's at. Part of me wants to frog and make a few more changes. Sigh...

Monday, January 11, 2010

number 46

I'm on a roll. Got another pair of socks done for meeeeeeeee.

Pattern: top down; short row heel
Yarn: ONline Supersocke 6-ply; colour Cottage 1082 (150g; 410yds)
Needles: 2.75mm dpns
Notes: Hands down my favourite 6 ply sock yarn. Great yardage and wonderful colours. I have approx. 62g left which should be enough for a pair of mittens. My 46th pair of hand knit socks. A better representation of the colour:

I updated Ravelry and realized that out of the 46 pairs, only 20 of them were for myself. Last year, I knit 7 pairs and I only got to keep 2 plus 3 pairs wore out - for a net loss of 1 pair. Clearly, I need to knit myself more socks.

I couldn't sleep yesterday night. Woke up at 3:15am and tossed and turned for a bit before heading downstairs to look for something to knit. I didn't want to cast on a new project (cuz that's just asking for trouble) so I picked up Nancy's sweater (that I've had in my possession for almost 2 years) and finished knitting the collar.

This is a 20+ yo UFO. Nancy is no longer able to knit so she asked me to finish it for her. When she gave it to me, she'd already knit the front, back, and one sleeve. To update it, I ripped out the first sleeve and re-knit it and the second sleeve in a more modern style than the original pattern. I used one of Nancy's sweatshirts as a template. In order to knit the collar, I picked out the shoulder bind offs and did a 3 needle bind off.

So her sweater is all done except for seaming and weaving in the ends. I'm giving it back to her so that she can figure out what to seam it with. The yarn is too thick so she's going to look for something else that will work.

See what happens when I leave clothes on the bed?

Ricky sez, "Thank you for the blankie!"

Off to toss the stash for some sock yarn and look through my Ravelry favourites for a pattern...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

last & first

The bad news... Hubby is home sick with a bad cold so that means I'll be sick, too. The good news - you get quality photos of me in my new cardi!

Presenting my last FO of 2009 - drumroll, please!

Pattern: Mondo Cable Cardi by Bonne Marie Burns
Yarn: Berroco Peruvia; 7 skeins of col 7117 Gris Marengo (174 yds per 100g skein)
Needles: 5mm and 4mm Addi circs
Pattern Notes: My row gauge is off so the height of the bodice is taller than the pattern which puts the underarm lower so the sleeves needed to be shortened quite a bit. Knit the body 1" shorter than the pattern calls for. Haven't decided what to do about closures. I don't like having a buttoned up collar so I need to figure out something else. Picking up all those collar sts was tricky and I thought that I'd end up with holes but it all worked out ok. I made several mods for the collar. I did a provisional cast on and knit the collar as per the instructions. Once I was done, I went back and picked out the waste yarn and cast off. I did this so that both edges would match. I used a lot less yarn than the pattern called for. Even if I'd knit the body & sleeves the right length, I doubt that it would take the 3.5 skeins that's leftover.

Yarn Notes: The yarn is very similar to Lamb's Pride worsted. You have to be careful that it doesn't untwist as you knit. I chose a seamless pattern because the yarn doesn't look like it would be good for seaming with. When I wove in the ends, I noticed that the ends had felted to the cardi. It really felts easily so I have to be extra careful about washing it. The resulting fabric is very even and smooth. You have to look hard to spot the individual stitches. The yarn bled quite a bit in the water but the colour didn't change.

I can't get over how well this fits me. All the mods that I made were the right ones. I knew that I'd love this cardigan the minute I saw the pattern. You can bet that I'll be knitting the pullover version of this and possibly the vest as well.

Onto my first FO of 2010... I'm not a big fan of pink (like my nieces) but once in awhile, I like to have a little pink in my wardrobe. Maybe 2010 will become my "pink" year.

Pattern: top down sock; eop heel flap
Yarn: Brown Sheep Wildfoote Luxury Sock; col Sonatina SY-800
Needles: 2.25mm dpns
Notes: Both skeins were the same dye lot but you can clearly see that one sock is significantly lighter than the other one. The whole skein is that way. It's very soft for a yarn with nylon in it. Cast on is too tight so I can't pull the socks very far up my leg. Darn those shapely calves!!!

What a great way to end 2009 and start 2010, eh?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

happy new year

Well, the new year snuck up on me. I can't believe it's already 2010. Christmas was a tad crazy what with the in-laws staying with us and the whole thing about the roof rat. The in-laws have returned to their water-less home and we are certified rat-free and our roof has been rat-proofed.

I was spoiled rotten at Christmas. I got all my favourite things - a Christmas red Haws watering can, lots of books, Body Shop soap, some alpaca/bamboo yarn (from an alpaca farm near my in-laws), a skein of Wollmeise from Gladys, a set of Addi Clicks, chocolate/candy/cookies, Christmas music (a full recording of Handel's Messiah!), and a ton of Pooh stuff (4 t-shirts, 2 lunch bags, and a mug).

I did a pretty good job of staying away from Boxing Day yarn sales. But I couldn't resist a trip to Dressew and came home with a little yarn and some books:

I spent most of the week between Christmas and New Year's working on my Mondo Cable Cardi. I cast off at Gladys' New Year's Eve party and wove in the ends which was a tricky thing to do because Gladys was doing this:

She's playing something called Dance Dance Revolution and I was laughing so hard that it was difficult to see my stitches.

The cardi was blocked the following day and I was hoping to have hubby take photographs today but the darn thing is still very wet. I'll whip out the tripod and take some self-portraits when it's finally dry.

My next bit of knitting will be socks for me. My sock drawer is down by 3 pairs so I need to fill it up again. I have 5 pairs otn so this is a chance to finish them up and get them on my feet.

Ricky sez, "Mmmmm, I love hot air"