Sunday, September 26, 2010

yarn hangover

Have you started Christmas knitting yet? I have :P

Pattern: your basic top down with a picot cuff and slipped stitch heel
Yarn: SweetGeorgia Tough Love Sock in col River
Needles: 2.25mm dpns
Notes: These are a Christmas gift for someone special but I'm not telling who. Pair #52.

For my birthday, hubby bought me tix to see Harry Connick Jr. The concert was Fri night.

They don't allow pictures inside the theatre so this is all you get. Harry was wonderful even with a huge walking cast on his right leg (something about ripping a calf muscle while exercising). Lucky for us, leg injuries don't impact the lungs or vocal cords. It did limit his movement on stage but he did manage to shake his booty enough to make me drool a little.

Today, I have a bit of yarn hangover. Yesterday, I filled hubby's SUV with 4 other crazee knitters (3 that I'd never met before), a bunch of food, and went on a yarn crawl called Yarn Harvest.

We started out at Black Sheep Yarns (where I work) to witness the MadTosh mosh pit. It was pretty hectic. I didn't buy anything but I think everyone else in my group did. We had a knitting newbie in our group - Meggin and we worked hard at corrupting her. She broke her "only buy yarn for a specific project" rule at the very first store. I'm so proud of her.

After BSY and struggling through some crazy road construction, we made it to Baaad Anna's. Didn't buy anything there. I was saving myself for our next stop - SweetGeorgia!!!!! I was not disappointed. She had racks and racks of yarn and spinning fibre drying in the main room. We headed up to the loft area to do our "real shopping".

I just happened to have a sock WIP in my purse and I asked Felicia to pose with it.

That's vintage SweetGeorgia yarn (in the framboises colour) that she dyed before her hiatus. The picture's blurry because I might've been a little excited to hold the camera steady.

Then we headed east and into Surrey. We took a little break for lunch at Semihamoo Park in White Rock. We decided to skip Penelope's and head to Knitopia. Their new shop in White Rock is teeny tiny so there's yarn stacked right to the ceiling.

Our last stop of the day was 88 Stitches. I was hoping to meet Judy Marples but she'd already left by the time we got there. She's the designer for the Dover Castle shawl which is one of the patterns in Shawl Wars. BTW, Gladys and I are still very much alive.

And this is what the back of the SUV looks like after a yarn crawl:

Hubby's SUV is a Toyota Highlander so that you can understand the scale of our purchases. Not all of it is mine. Just this:

From left to right: 3 skeins of SweetGeorgia; 5 skeins of Yarn Candy; a skein of Berroco Lustra; and a skein of West Coast Fibre Works (the perfect Yarn Harvest colour)

I also bought half a pound of West Coast Fibre Works BFL from Knitopia for spinning:

As we headed to the restaurant to meet all the other Yarn Harvesters for dinner, I realized that I wasn't that hungry. We'd been eating all day - pakoras and chocolate coconut bars (courtesy of Marina), chips & 3 layer dip (Meggin's contribution), and a super yummy chocolate banana bread (love you, Judy).

The dinner was super fun. All these knitters crammed into the private room and spilling out into the restaurant. A lot of us showed off our purchases. The yarn fumes were overwhelming at times. After dinner, the organizers held a draw for all the door prizes.

My number was drawn twice and I won a pattern book and a small notebook for keeping track of yarn/projects i.e. the hard copy version of Ravelry. My friend, Vicki won the grand prize (valued at $275) containing yarn, patterns, Namaste bag, and a gc to Signature Needle Arts.

After being on the road for more than 12 hours, I had just enough energy to drop off everyone and then head home for my bed. I slept for 10 hours straight.

Phoebe says, "The best cure for any hangover is a little catnap on my new cardboard lounger."

Monday, September 20, 2010

stayin' alive

As of this moment, Gladys and I are still alive in Shawl Wars. That might change when Gladys gets home from work today. My mailman has come & gone and all I got was the phone bill.

Last week, I finished a few things.

Pattern: generic top down sock; picot cuff; short row heel; wedge toe
Yarn: Claudia Hand Painted Fingering; 2 skeins in colour Ocean Depth (a lovely gift from P-la)
Needles: 2.25mm bamboo
Notes: These were the socks in all those blurry PNE pictures. 51st pair of finished socks (yes, I'm counting). This yarn is lovely and reminds me of Koigu (especially the yardage). I have size 8 feet and there are a few yards left from each skein. The picot cuff uses more yarn than I'm used to.

And I also finished the Ride2Survive raffle quilt:

I searched high and low for a nice binding fabric. Nothing really suited the look of the quilt. I ended up buying more of the sashing fabric. It looks ok but I still think I prefer a more zingy edge. Hopefully, the recipient will like it. I used one charm pack - Flutterby by Tula Pink. It's about 65" x 70" - a very generous lap quilt. I machine quilted it diagonally using my walking foot. Each pass consists of one gentle wavy line going in one direction and a second pass with the wave going the other way to create leaf/petal shapes. I try to hit a seam where the two quilting lines intersect. This method doesn't require pre-marking the quilt.

I've cast on several knitting projects recently - a Christmas gift (yes, it's that time of year again), something totally crazy but fun, and a special request from my sister. She switched jobs and it seems that her new office is in a very old building. One end of her floor is a sauna and the other end is an icebox. Guess where she's located? Her space heater blew the breaker so she's stuck using an electric blanket to stay warm. But her fingers are still cold and she's requested a pair of fingerless mitts for her birthday. Time to whip up a pair of Fetching for her.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Shawl Wars!

I've been doing Shawl Wars with Dotty, and it's definitely been crazy on the knitting front.

My "weapon" was the Springtime Bandit, and it went all the way to England, where it "killed" its target earlier this week.

And we get bonus points in the war for finishing a personal shawl, so I did the Spring Leaves shawl (ravelry link) with a slight modification to the tips, to make them triangular.

It's been fun to just knit an already-written pattern and not worry about pooling or figuring out how a pattern will work. I've got a long list of patterns I want to make, and an even deeper stash to make them all with!

Finally, if you've been wanting to do a pooling project, we've got a Knit-along (KAL) going in the Pooled Knits group in Ravelry. Prize will be something from my stash, and I'll try to pick something that suits the winner's taste in colours. It will likely be a pooling skein unless the winner prefers otherwise!

And last but not least, here's something we did on our summer vacation.

I can't believe we're halfway through September already. The boys are both in school -- though Geoff won't be in fulltime kindergarten until next Monday -- and loving their teachers and really enjoying seeing their friends every day.

Monday, September 13, 2010

end of summer

Attending the PNE is always bittersweet for me. It's a big attraction that I look forward to all summer long. But when it's on, I know that my summer days are numbered.

I like to see and eat everything at the PNE. This year was no different - Superdogs, RCMP musical ride, giant Clydesdales pulling wagons, Peking acrobats, Motorsport show, and lots and lots of animals. There were a coupla giant bunnies that weighed more than Ricky!

This is a giant eco-sculpture of a Carousel Horse. All the plants are alive. The City of Burnaby makes several of them and they are on display all over the city.

The PNE hosted a sand building competition. This one caught my eye:

If you are a Terry Pratchett/Discworld fan (I am cuz I had one of his books in my backpack), you'll know why I took this picture. He looks just like the Librarian (who through an unfortunate accident was turned into an orangutan). I asked the sculptor if it was the Librarian and she said no. I showed her my book and she promised to look it up.

All the sculptors contributed to a huge display to commemorate the 100th year of the Fair:

It was ginormous!!! And so detailed. I am very glad that we got to see it because it was pouring rain two days later.

So what did we eat? Our weight in mini donuts. I had my choice of deep fried delicacies - butter, jelly beans, and oreos. I've tried the oreos before. The jelly bean reviews weren't favourable. And deep fried butter?!?!? I settled for funnel cake and a whale's tail (a big triangle of deep fried dough with your choice of topping).

Also signalling the end of summer is my raspberries. I picked these today - just over a pound. I'm getting that amount of raspberries every 2-3 days for the last 3 weeks.

This might be the last batch. It is getting rainy and cold outside and it doesn't dry out enough between rain showers so the berries are getting mouldy.

Ricky loves this time of year. It means that his beloved sunshine is back and he can sleep in it again.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

catching up

Hey! I'm back. I didn't actually go anywhere (far away) but I've been busy. This will be the first of several posts while I get the blog caught up. Plus there are good kitty pictures that must be made public!

Today, it is all about the knitting. The last project I posted about was my Claudia Hand Paint socks. I did a lot of knitting on it during the last two weeks in August. There is an annual fair held in Vancouver called the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE). This is the 100th year and they had an amazing line up of performers. To open the fair, The Beach Boys and Bryan Adams played at the outdoor football stadium adjacent to the fairgrounds. Sadly, I had to work and missed out. Hubby and I bought fair seasons passes mainly to attend the evening concerts. It was the best $94 I've ever spent.

ETA: There was a Michael Bolton concert but I forgot to bring my camera :(

Huey Lewis and The News:

A family of 3 plopped their chairs right beside our blanket and when I glanced over, I immediately recognized Cat. She's a former knitting student of mine and regularly visits the yarn store where I work. Both our hubbies were quite surprised that we managed to bump into each other by accident. And we brought our knitting:

RCMP Musical Ride:

Spirit of the West:

Jesse Cook - by far the best concert!!!

Cyndi Lauper - she is awesome but even Cyndi Lauper can't make me like the blues:

You can see that I didn't bring my sock to the CL concert. I joined a knitting competition on Ravelry. The goal is to knit as fast as you can and get the finished shawl to your recipient (aka target). I couldn't lose precious knitting minutes so I went to the concert prepared:

I love my portable Ott-Lite.

The day after was our last concert - Steven Page (former lead singer for the Barenaked Ladies):

As you can see, I'm back to sock knitting. The shawl was at home drying.

Pattern: Springtime Bandit by Kate Gagnon Osborn
Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy in Happy Forest; 1 skein
Needles: 4mm
Notes: 5 repeats of the main chart before edging. Cast on approx 8am Fri & cast off approx 2pm Sat. In the mail @ 10:30am on Sun. As of this post, the shawl still hasn't arrived at its destination

As part of the knitting competition, you can knit a second shawl (to keep) for extra points. I thought I'd take the opportunity to make a Christmas present. I shopped in Gladys' WM stash on Sunday night and found the perfect yarn. I cast on Mon and finished knitting this morning. It's already blocked and looks stunning. I can't post pics or info cuz the recipient reads this blog so I'll leave you with a link to my Rav project.

Not including the Claudia HP sock, I've plowed through approx. 819 yds of fingering yarn last week. No wonder my thumbs hurt.