Breaking Even

Remember back in March when I told you about the master plan to work my yarn stash down to more reasonable levels?

Well, I encountered my first fullblown challenge to the plan a little over a week ago while out shopping with a girlfriend at the local Salvation Army Thriftstore.

You see, I found yarn.

Good yarn. Wool yarn. Useful yarn.

Lana Grazia Lavabile

2 balls of Lana Grazia “Lavabile” (100% Wool, DK, 110m/50g) in a lovely camel colour @ 99c each.

Simpsons Supremacy 4-ply

1 oz ball of vintage Simpsons Supremacy 4-ply “All Purpose” Fingering Yarn (50% Wool/50% Nylon) @ 79c.

Total purchase price = $2.79

Now here’s the kicker – at that point, I had only earned 30% of a single new yarn purchase. A deficit of 2.7.

Translation: I would need to use up a full **27 balls of stash yarn** before even looking at any new fiber purchase. ACK!!!!!!!

After I finished thwacking my head against the wall for a bit, I girded my loins and decided to face the monster head on.

~~~

First up – finish the Sampler Baby Blanket.

I simply couldn’t afford to wait another 2 months for the CAL patterns.

So a few more filler squares, a couple more February squares, four of the April squares for the corners and a sewing marathon later, I had this:

Sampler Baby Blanket - Sewing Complete

Added an improvised border and VOILA!

Sampler Baby Blanket - Complete

One crib sized baby blanket ready for the baby nephew πŸ™‚

~~~

Next – finish the Exploding Plum Blanket.

And holy cow, did it ever explode! It’s almost 6 ft wide!

Exploding Plum Blanket

Had to get a little creative at the border due to goofing up the pattern sequence a little and not wanting to pull it back to correct it. It’s not perfect, but it still looks pretty cool :).

~~~

Well that’s 22 balls down. Need 5 more. Hmmm…

I *had* planned on using some Malabrigo for this month’s Woolly Wormhead KAL Hat (“Waffle Slouch“) – maybe I’d better check the wool “oddball” case instead.

Rummagerummagerummage

Here’s 22yds of a dark brown mercerized wool (okay, that’ll totally work for the brim…), 71 yds of brown tweed Aran wt (nice for the body… but will it be enough? Better be sure…) and 28 yds of red heather (well, it blends a *little* with the tweed… maybe some stripes?)

Crossing my fingers, I used the stitchcount of the smallest size with larger needles and hoped for the best.

The brim yarn yielded a good 2″ of ribbing on 5mm needles. (The pattern said 3″, not too bad.)

Upsized the needles to 5.5mm for the Aran wt tweed and got to work. After a couple of repeats, decided that I’d need the red heather after all and threw a single repeat of it after every 2 of the brown tweed. Had *just* enough tweed to finish the hat. (Whew! That was close!)

There’s still a little bit of the red heather left… hey, how about a flower applique? There’s that one in the Knit 2 Together book

Add an army surplus button from ye olde button box and…

Crunchy Granola Hat

The Crunchy Granola Hat is born.

I swear to you that the red heather wool isn’t NEARLY as pink as the photo suggests and actually blends with the brown.

I’ve been wearing it for 2 days now – it’s cute as Hell.

Webcam Hat Shot

~~~

Damn – still behind by 2.

It’ll be summer soon… maybe it’s time to do something with those pesky balls of shiny cotton-blend ribbon yarn.

Enter the Steampunk Safari Scarf.

Steampunk Safari Scarf

I offset the ribbon with some heavier mercerized cotton braid in a deep rich brown.

The pattern is called “The Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief” by Orange Flower and only calls for 240yds of DK wt yarn.

BTW, did I mention that it’s *FREE*?

Webcam Shot, Scarf

Lovelovelovelovelove. OMG – Must. Make. More.

~~~

Beginning Yarn Stash Talley: -2.7
Current Yarn Stash Talley: +0.1

And that, dear Reader, is why this week’s post is a day late.

Now there’s the small matter of the 9 more balls that need to be used up before this GORGEOUS Highland Handmades Corridale can come home.

Highland Handmades Peacock Corridale

I *really* need to get on that.

TTFN.

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Published in: on April 15, 2011 at 7:14 pm  Comments (2)  
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Peace of Mind is the Greatest Gift

Since my last post there has been a flurry of activity, but not, perhaps, in the way you might think.

Oh yes, there has been the mad rush to finish and wrap gifts, not to mention the last minute grocery shopping. My way just happens to be slightly different from the mainstream.

Over the last 7 years, I’ve made almost all of our holiday gifts (with the exception of a few giftcards sprinkled here and there). Sometimes it was due to financial circumstance, but mostly because I’ve come to realize that I just don’t *get* the retail culture any more.

Oh, don’t get me wrong – I was a champion shopper once upon a time. I used to love shopping for the perfect gifts at Christmas. But what has changed is my viewpoint. I want to know where the items I give have come from, what energy they carry. I want to know that they will be used and appreciated. Most of all, I want to make sure that they bring some value to the recipients’ life instead of simply creating clutter for them.

One way I can do this is to personally make useful (and sometimes whimsical) items for the people in my life. I give of myself, my time, and my skills to express my gratitude to them for being who they are.

A gift from the heart, made by my hands to express: “Be warm. Be happy. Smile. You are valued.”

That said, here are some of the holiday gifts I’ve made this year (most of which have been received already) and all of which were made from yarn that was on hand in my stash (project links given at end of post)…

Hats:

Mom's Poinsettia BeretSage Bucket HatRussian Swirl HatBlue Swirl Tri-Peak Hat Emerald City Jester HatCharlie Brown Hat

Scarves:

Fluffy MIL Dress ScarfDanny's Rustic ScarfPheonix Purl Scarf

Mittens:

Christmas Cruiser MittensPicot Posey Mittens

Slippers:

Faroese SlippersFIL Holiday Slippers

In lieu of gifts this year for the adults in my husband’s family (other than my in-laws), I instead made a bunch of hats for charity:

Chunky Red WatchcapSimple Pleasures CapBlue Swirl HatSnow Palace BeretNature Hike HatGreybriar Hat

~~~

The biggest difference, I think, between my “busy” and that of most of North America is that instead of bringing oodles and oodles of new things into the house this time of year, I’ve been clearing stuff out hand over fist.

The de-cluttering bug bit and bit hard. I’ve gone through everything from books to underwear with a razor sharp critical eye, nerves of steel and brutal honesty.

I sorted, re-organized, re-purposed and most of all *purged* anything that doesn’t work for us where we are now and where we want to go in the future.

(This included getting rid of our huge TV – we watch everything online anyway. We gave it to my MIL who needed one in her bedroom. She’s thrilled and the large black hole in my living room is gone – totally win-win πŸ™‚ )

Poor BadgerDan thought he was married to a woman possessed – but he was thrilled and relieved when he could see the top of his desk again LOL.

Several garbage bags and two epic trips to the local thriftstore (with the assistance of a friend’s truck) later and things feel so much better.

My holiday decorations are all things that we love and will fit into two small plastic stackable toteboxes when we take them all down again.

We can walk into our storage room without thinking something is going to collapse on us and we can FIND whatever we’re looking for quickly and easily.

All the books we’ve kept, we are going to read in the very near future, refer to constantly or are such old friends that we couldn’t bear to be parted from them. They all fit into a standard tall bookshelf.

*THAT* my friends, is a holiday miracle.

Next, I tackled my WIP pile. I ripped out projects that gave me the merest hint of stress or guilt and concentrated on finishing those that I knew I could complete quickly and would make me happy.

Woodland Rustic Shawl

Woodland Rustic Shawl – a version of my own Classic Crocheted Shawl pattern worked in a self-striping recycled sweater yarn (what I used to call my “faux Noro” sweater) trimmed in my own handspun natural dark brown Coopworth wool.

Woodland Rustic Shawl - Complete

It’s warm, more comfortable than a cardigan and looks really good over a shirt and jeans. I luff it.

Not So Plain Winter Socks

Not So Plain Winter Socks – my take on Nancy Bush’s Gentleman’s Plain Winter Sock pattern from Knitting Vintage Socks done in a yarn from a local indie dyer (Liza Handdyed Sock carried by Needles & Knits in Aurora, ON) in a one-off untitled colourway that I’ve dubbed “Koi Pond”.

Insane colourful pooling goodness for a grey winter’s day. I dare you not to smile :D.

Right now, I have a mere 3 active projects on my needles and I couldn’t be happier:

Countdown to Yule Scarf
Evenstar Shawl
Moderne Log Cabin Blanket

So what if my scarf wasn’t finished for Yule? (I’m currently on working on the Day 16 chart.) It’s my knitting and I can always wear it on New Year’s. No pressure.

~~~

Holiday plans have been surprisingly simple this year and instead of running around Ontario like headless chickens ping-ponging between family celebrations, we are having a quiet holiday – just BD, myself & the cats.

My parents are flying out to Jamaica on vacation (good on them!), my sister is spending it with her new husband and his family in our nation’s fine capital and my brother will most likely be working the weekend, then going home to a quiet holiday of his own with his girlfriend.

Most of BD’s family is spending Christmas with other relatives and other than a quick get-together with my SIL, her husband & my in-laws tomorrow – we have to be at home as we are on-call at the building for the weekend.

We have a full refrigerator and cupboards, wine & Irish Cream, each other and a stack of movies.

Peace, Comfort and Joy.

We wish you all the same.

Happy Holidays

Christmas Fireplace Wineglass

~~~

Project Links

Hats (L to R):

Mom’s Poinsettia Beret
Sage Bucket Hat
Russian Swirl Hat
Blue Swirl Tri-Peak Hat
Emerald City Jester Hat
Charlie Brown Hat

Scarves (L to R):

Fluffy MIL Dress Scarf
Danny’s Rustic Scarf
Pheonix Purl Scarf

Mittens (L to R):

Christmas Cruiser Mitts
Picot Posey Mittens

Slippers (L to R):

Faroese Slippers
FIL Holiday Slippers

Charity Hats (L to R):

Chunky Red Watchcap
Simple Pleasures Cap
Blue Swirl Hat
Snow Palace Beret
Nature Hike Hat
Greybriar Hat

Published in: on December 24, 2010 at 7:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

Retro Awesome

Well, I made it! Cast off the last gift last night and everything is wrapped and ready to go. So, guilt-free, I can now devote a little time to catching you guys up with the massive amounts of stuff coming off my needles/hook over the last month and a half.

(I’ll share all the holiday gift knitting/crochet insanity with y’all tomorrow.)

~~~

Wow. Where to start?

How about some socks…

Regent Hose for Hubby 1 Regent Hose for Hubby 2

BadgerDan’s Vintage Intarsia Socks (aka Regent Hose for Hubby) came out pretty well I think – he just loves them πŸ™‚ This was his anniversary gift this year.

Miss Marple Mystery Socks 1 Miss Marple Mystery Socks 2

The Miss Marple Mystery Socks turned out just as awesome as I thought they would be. Star Athena encouraged us to play with ideas for the toe, so I modified the heel chart to make it work for the toes. (For the record, I omitted the lace pattern on the foot due to gauge issues.) What a great pattern – tons of fun! Thanks Star!

Alien Abduction Socks

These are the Slipstitch Rings Socks I mentioned in the last project post and are knit out of the last of my Fleece Artist “Cosmic Dawn” & the Black Lanett Superwash. I threw in some Acid Green Scheepjes Invicta Extra for good measure.

I call them my “Alien Abduction” socks.

Beam me up! *snicker*

(I swear I had some socks in these colours way back in the 80s…)

~~~

Hmm, what else?

BadgerDan got the matching December Sampler Pillow to go with his Afghan:

December Sampler Pillow w/afghan

I literally used up *every* inch of the yarn to finish that pillow off. Couldn’t have planned it better.

Mayrose Mystery Hat

This is the completed Mayrose Mystery Hat (aka Woolly Wormhead 2009 Mystery Hat “B”) out of Auracania Atacama Alpaca (try and say *that* ten times fast – I dare ya).

The tam is lovely and warm in the alpaca – fabulous drape. Very few designers will get me to do that much Feather & Fan (*not* my favorite lace pattern) – but I love Ruth’s hats to a fault. The “A” pattern – “Everglade” is queued and I’m still trying to decide on a yarn for it.

~~~

Are you guys sitting down?

Good.

‘Cause look what I finished!

Windsbraut Spitzbergen Shawl

The Windsbraut Spitzbergen Shawl!

Not only did I keep up and finish, but it was done and blocked before Yule and I was able to wear to a holiday party the next day!

Squee!

~~~

I’ve needed some little stashbusting comforts for myself during the holiday gift madness – some quick stuff that saved my sanity and made me smile πŸ™‚

Retro Stripe Wrap

Retro Stripe Wrap

Using up some of the soft brushed acrylic from my stash, I chained 200, worked out from the centre and went on instinct for the stripes.

All told, I think it came out quite elegant πŸ™‚

Noro Cabled Mug Cozy

Noro Cabled Mug Cozy

A much needed accessory as my coffee kept going cold!

[Pattern is a slightly modified Cabled Mug Cozy by MyFairKatie and knit entirely while watching “Alice“.]

I also made myself a crazy-ass pair of slippers:

Oriental House Slippers

Using both wool and acrylic stash yarns that really had no purpose. Certainly not the most colour-coordinated project I’ve ever made, but really, does it matter?

These just crack me up to no end and are very warm and cozy.

Chinese Emperor, Ali Baba or Munchkin? You choose (LOL).

[They’re actually called Peter Pan’s Slippers by Gabriela Ordenes.]

~~~

I *can* share a few gifts with you as they have already been received.

Our friend Lou needed a scarf, and I was more than happy to oblige him:

Othello Scarf

Othello Scarf

It’s made out of wool from a frogged Icelandic fair isle sweater and the Windy City Scarf pattern from the Stitch n Bitch Handbook. I’ve made a bunch of these over the years and it still rocks.

Jerry (our electrician buddy) received a manly neckwarmer:

Jerry's Quickie Neckwarmer

This is the Fourteen pattern by the talented John Brinegar. So simple, so fab – and FREE!. The yarn I used really doesn’t show how cool the pattern is – go see his original and be inspired!

I also did a bit of crocheted threadwork and made some snowflake ornaments for our building managers and the lady I cat-sit for.

Triple Crochet Snowflake

Lacy Snowflake

Royal Crown Snowflake

I even put little iridescent beads in the middle πŸ˜€ – they thought they were great.

~~~

A little bit more Retro Awesomeness is the fact we were given a *pristine* vintage couch in a rather loud print fabric (totally my colours, but seriously early 70s) and a fabulous solid wood dining set including credenza, hutch and *3* leaves! All this from a neighbour who was moving into a retirement facility. I cannot begin to explain how grateful I am to her and hope that the Universe rains many blessings on her.

~~~

This is getting pretty long, so I’ll leave all the yarn pr0n for a later date. In the meantime, have yourselves a wonderful holiday.

Published in: on December 24, 2009 at 8:57 pm  Comments (1)  
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Things That Make Me Happy

On this weekend of numerous fiber festivals (Rhinebeck, Creativ Festival, etc.) that I (yet again) will not be able to attend, I have decided to focus on some simple things that bring me joy (not necessarily in this order):

1. Electric Purple Koigu Socks

Hidden Heart Socks

(It might not look it in the photo, but I do assure you that the yarn is, indeed, electric purple.)

Pattern: Hidden Hearts by Jeannie Cartmel
Yarn: Koigu KPPPM, P818183; Broder Medicis 2-ply lace, Midnight Blue
Needles: 2.25mm

I’m using the leftover laceweight yarn that I dyed for Mystic Star held doubled for the toe (elongated to 3″), heel & cuff of these socks because the colour was perfect and I only have one single gorgeous skein of the Koigu.

(Trust me, if I could’ve, I would’ve cleaned Lettuce Knit completely out of this luscious yarn.)

2. The Magic of Blocking Lace

Autumn Leaves Scarf - Blocking

The transformation of crumpled mess to gorgeous lace never ceases to amaze.

Autumn Leaves Scarf - Complete

My Autumn Leaves Scarf blocked out to about 7″ wide and 61″ long.

It also looks fantastic with my Levi’s jacket:

Autumn Leaves Scarf w/Jacket

Pattern: Feuilles by Eric Hinsch
Yarn: KnitPicks Palette, Autumn Heather; Patons Kroy 3-ply, Col. 305 (Khaki Green)
Needles: 4mm Brittany Straights

3. Trees That Match My Wardrobe

Autumn Trees from Balcony

This is the view from my 5th floor balcony. Oh, how I love this time of year!

4. Wool Blankets, Sweaters and Socks

It’s October in Ontario. See above.

5. My New Haircut

My new haircut

I feel so sophisticated. And a little like Audrey Tautou.

6. Lace & Ruffles in Chunky Yarn

There is just something deeply satisfying about knitting lace in thick wool on chunky needles.

My Solstice Stocking

My Solstice Stocking

Pattern: Ruffled Lace Christmas Stocking by Kathy North
Yarn: White Buffalo Elenka, Cream; Reynolds Lopi, Gold
Needles: 6mm DPNs
Hook: 6mm

That crocheted ruffle just cracks me up.

Solstice Stocking - Ruffle Detail

7. The Perfect Beads

I finally picked up the beads for my Wings of Horus Shawl this week – they’re #8 Miyuki beads in a matte gold colour that works incredibly well with the cotton/ramie blend yarn.

Beads for Wings of Horus

They remind me of Egyptian jewelry, which is entirely appropriate.

8. Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Cookie Bars 1

I use the recipe from “Eating Gluten Free” by Shreve Stockton.

(A really good basic GF cookbook, btw. The buckwheat pancake recipe is the BEST! I just sub out the buckwheat with teff flour as it’s a no-no for me.)

9. A Place For Everything & Everything In It’s Place

Those of you who know me well, know that I abhor doing dishes and laundry. However vital, it simply takes too much of my valuable knitting time.

This week, I have actually managed to thoroughly clean & organize my kitchen, keep up with the dishes & get all of the piled-up laundry washed, dried and put away. We can actually see the floor in the bedroom – it’s positively amazing!

An uncluttered house = uncluttered mind. Or at least in theory… it sure as heck feels like a weight has lifted off of my shoulders.

10. My Wonderful Husband

Tomorrow will be BadgerDan’s and my 11th wedding anniversary and as much as I like to grumble about him, he is the love of my life.

We’ve been through quite a lot together these past years and marvel at how we’ve (a) survived and (b) haven’t killed one another yet as we are both *quite* headstrong individuals who think in very different ways. (We have been known to have some very loud arguements, only to find out afterwards that we were actually arguing the same point.)

He is the Mathematician to my Visionary, the Costello to my Abbott and the Yang to my Yin.

And even though we won’t be going out for dinner tomorrow night (we’re actually on duty this week & next while the building managers are on vacation), we *will* be cracking open the bottle of 2007 Folonari Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso in the cupboard.

I love you Honey. Have a cookie. πŸ™‚

Cookie Bars 2

Published in: on October 16, 2009 at 9:37 pm  Comments (4)  
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From Books to Nuts

Or rather from Nuts to Books…

So, with no further ado, I present to you the long awaited pattern for the “Little Knitted Acorn Project Bag”!

Little Knitted Acorn Project Bag

Little Knitted Acorn Project Bag

Click on the above link for the PDF instructions and enjoy!

My humblest thanks go out to my testknitters and the people who have been patiently waiting for me to get around to writing out the final copy… and then re-writing it when the original died along with my Dell laptop. You guys rock.

I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am that things are finally settling down enough for me to start transforming my patterns and ideas from jumbled notes & sketches into tangible instructions that others can follow. That and having a computer that can not only keep up with me, but actually do what I tell it to do, when I tell it to do it! (If only the husband was as well trained…)

As of right now, the pattern for the Classic Crocheted Shawl is being tested and should be available for download soon. Progress!

In addition to my new computer, I’ve acquired another couple of useful items recently that have made me squee with joy:

This would be my “brand new” Singer 306K (circa 1955) picked up for $20 at the local Salvation Army Thrift Store. It fits in my Nana’s sewing machine table perfectly and BadgerDan is on the hunt for a new pedal (the current one is kinda wonky) and some of the missing attachments for me. Colour me happy πŸ˜€

However, not as happy as my new spindle makes me!

Murano Glass Spindle

I picked up this gorgeous little guy from Butterfly Girl Designs over on Etsy. Now I just need to get some fiber worthy of spinning on it!

Now to bring on the yarn pr0n…

As I mentioned in my first blog post of the year, I have given myself some rules for stash enhancement and that also entails that I share with you my yarn acquisitions, full price or otherwise, lest the guilt monster haunt me for life.

In the spirit of full disclosure, the following was a bit of a splurge – but it was a special occasion. And I felt entitled as I completely missed WWKIP day.

Cables & Lace Yarns

Cables & Lace Dragon Toes in “Strife” and Lizard Toes in “Beltane”. Incredibly, it was the first mail we received at our new address. (They are destined for a pair of socks & a scarf – as soon as I’m able to stop petting them.)

I also ended up purchasing the yarn for the Lover’s Knot Wedding Afghan (2 (400g) balls of Phentex Worsted in “Natural” and 1 (125g) ball of Loops & Threads Impeccable Solids in “Chocolate) due to a lack anything suitable in my stash for it. As it was for a wedding gift with next to no yarn leftover from the project, I think I can let myself off the hook for this transgression.

However, what follows now is the Yarn Score of the Century found at my local Salvation Army Thrift Store:

Yarn Score of the Century

20(Twenty!!!) balls of Jade Sapphire Lacey Lamb and 4 200g hanks of Worsted Wt Wool (I think they’re Romni Wools house brand, but could be wrong.)

All for the grand price of… $16 CDN.

(I’ll allow you a moment to do the math.)

Needless to say, I think I broke the landspeed record getting from the cash register to the car and after getting home, spent a good 3 hours jumping up and down.

Deciding to share the joy, I subsequently gifted about 10 balls of the Lacey Lamb to various knitterly buddies of mine over on Plurk, still leaving me with at least 5 shawls-worth. (That delicious wine colour has Mystic Roses written all over it.)

There has also been some forays into dying, both project-related and otherwise:

Not having enough yellow yarn in the stash (read: next to nil) to do the Sock Knitter’s Anonymous September 09 Mystery Sock (the challenge this month was the colour “yellow”) written by the illustrious Nancy Bush, I had to improvise. A little digging around yielded a couple of skeins of cream mystery 2-ply “workhorse” wool and a box of Gold Tintex Dye.

The resulting combination henceforth officially dubbed “Mango Margarita”:

Mango Margarita Wool

Not too bad for a fabric dye. (The socks, btw, have been worn and washed with little to no colour-bleeding – so far, so good.)

Yesterday, after colouring my hair, there was quite a bit left over and inspiration struck. I re-skeined 2 balls of some seriously ancient laceweight wool and had a bit of fun.

Following the same directions as for hair – I did one in solid and one “a la Jackson Pollock“:

Hair Colour-Dyed Laceweight Wool

It worked – who knew? (lol)

Last, but not least, some books magically made their way into my library…

In separate trips to the local Value Village, I scored these (both in hardcover and $3.99):

Family Album by Kaffe Fassett & Zoe Hunt

Family Album by Kaffe Fassett & Zoe Hunt

Welcome Home by Kaffe Fassett

Welcome Home by Kaffe Fassett

Thus, bringing my Kaffe book collection up to 9 (not including Rowan publications.) MUAHAHAHAHAHA!!! One day they will all be mine!!!!! (Ahem.)

My friend Betty (of Sheeps of Egyptian Cotton) sent me her extra copy of A Gathering of Lace by Meg Swansen and earned my ever-lasting love and devotion.

A Gathering of Lace

And on the “free for the taking” bookcase in our building’s party room I found a copy of this:

Knitted Shawls, Stoles and Scarves

Knitted Shawls, Stoles, and Scarves by Nancy M. Wiseman

Note to self: check bookcase every Wednesday after little old ladies needlework group.

Wishing a very Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians (and happy Diwali to those celebrating it).

TTFN.

{Note: *Wince* I realize after reading this entry that my writing style leaves plenty of room for improvement. I’m working on it. Really.}

I may just have a problem…

4 days later… I know I said “tomorrow” in the last post, but I just wasn’t able to get into a writing state of mind.

Anyhoo, here’s how my WWKIP day went in a nutshell (no pictures 😦 – see last post):

– Wished good luck to Heather and Wendy at Unwind (they were having a HUGE sale)
– Caught the bus into Toronto and started work on Simple S’mores Sock #2 (1.5 hour ride).
– Took TTC to Queen Street West and stopped in at Americo. (unfortunately they were out of what I was looking for, {handspun silk}, will try next time).
– Walked a couple of blocks to Romni where again I couldn’t find what I was looking for {Fiddlesticks “Cosy Scarves” Pattern} (they were out too, dang it).
– Made a beeline over to the festivities at Lettuce Knit where I came upon Stephanie playing with some dry ice.
– Sought out Rachel H (armed with her “Clipboard of Power”) to sign in for 1000 Knitters Project.
– Drooled around the store and bought some sock yarn and a copy of Cookie A’s “Twisted Flower” pattern.

Yarn from Lettuce Knit

Thats STR Lightweight in “Smoky Blue” (gorgeous) and 2 hanks of Art Yarns Ultramerino 4.

– Met, knit on the sock and hung out with a wonderful bunch of knitters including Stephanie, Rachel, Ken, Juno, Denny and a whole bunch more whose names unfortunately have escaped me. Said “hi” to Amy Singer, although didn’t talk to her much. Took a bunch of photos including the requisite sock w/Harlot shot.
– Was introduced to Franklin and sat for my picture. We had a nice chat while I knit on the 1000 Knitter scarf and he snapped away. I have to say, bar none, that Frank is one of the nicest and most darling men I have ever met. I had a couple of great shots of Franklin (including one where he wrapped himself in my Halloween Mystery Shawl in imitation of his grandmother arriving at Ellis Island – killing myself for erasing that one!).
– There were door prizes being handed out – this is what I won:

Bambino Sock Yarn

Cameleon Colourworks handdyed Bambino Sock Yarn (Wool/Bamboo) in Lavender/Gold. Not my colours, but it’s going to become a pair that the Lovely Fiona is going to flip over.
– I have never seen such a parade of cupcakes and muffins (most homemade)! Too bad I couldn’t eat any :(.
– Around 4pm, went back to Romni to rummage in the basement for a while and happily came out with these:

Romni Basement Finds

a ball of Regia Canadian Colour (4743 – name? anyone know it?) and a ball of Brown Sheep Wildfoote (SY-09 Mums).

– Walked back to Lettuce Knit where things were wrapping up (quite literally – everyone left posed for a photo with the scarf around us on the steps of the shop). Sun/heat was beginning to bother me a bit.
– Went back to Queen West, got a wrap from a cafe selling Gluten Free food (kewl!) and hopped on the streetcar heading to Islington (was meeting BadgerDan at some friends in Etobicoke where we were staying over). A surprisingly nice ride if you’re ever wanting to blow an hour or so sightseeing in Toronto. Takes you all along Lakeshore and by some REALLY expensive houses.
– Caught the Islington bus to the station where I promptly got on the Casino (Woodbine) bus by mistake instead of the Northbound. Was at Woodbine Center before I figured out what was going on – oops! Got off and grabbed the next bus heading in the opposite direction. Was totally not feeling great by then – too much time in the sun.
– Finally made it to our friend’s apartment around 8:30 or so where BadgerDan was dead asleep on the couch (long day for him too). He had made ribs and the smell just put me over the edge. Tossed my cookies, then headed for the spare room where I slept through until morning. (We’re pretty sure I had a touch of sunstroke – felt much better when I woke up.)
– BadgerDan drove me to Finch where I caught the bus back home so I could make it to work at noon.

Well that’s pretty much how that weekend went.

Here’s some of what I picked up at the Unwind sale:

UYH - Sale Yarn

There are plans for those 2 balls of Noro Kureyon Sock – Colour 150 is going to become a pair of Rivendell socks and 188 will become Nancy Bush’s Chalet Socks.

The other one is Araucania Ranco Multy in blue/brown.

I also brought home some adorable Sweaterkits sheep buttons (which might be made into magnets):

SweaterKits Sheep Buttons

(My sheep are brown not white like in the photo.) How can you not grin at those?

A sweater’s worth of dark green Nature wool and the remaining 2 hanks of Misti Alpaca Handpainted Lace (“a thousand lakes”) that I needed for the Slow Bee shawl also came home along with a replacement set of 2.75 Pony Pearl DPNs (I gave away my previous set of Boye’s because they were driving me nuts).

Arriving last Monday:

Lana Grossa Sock Yarn

My order from Red Bird Knits of some sale Lana Grossa Meilenweit: Two in One 8501 (Teal) and Marmi 7001 (Brown) which the husbeast has already claimed.

Arriving this Monday (aka yesterday):

The Eclectic Sole

Squee!!!! Rivendell socks can now be made. Just a note – Janel is also the designer behind the Chameleon Colorworks SotM Club which gave birth to the book.

I’ve been dealing with some serious startitis over the last few days:

Woven Basket Cloth

Pattern: Woven Basket Stitch Dishcloth by Chris Silker
Yarn: Bernat Handicrafter Cotton, Hot Blue/Somerset
Needles: 5.5mm
Hook: 5mm

I was using up leftovers for this cloth. Did the centre 4″ square as per pattern and then improvised a crocheted border around in contrast. Not my favorite – my MIL will like it though. This was the KAL cloth I missed doing a couple of weeks ago.

New England Socks

These are New England by Nancy Bush from Knitting on the Road in Araucania Ranco Multy (Peacock) done Magic Loop on 2mm 32″ Addis for the May/June 2008 KOTR KAL. I would like to finish them before July…

Friday was the release of Clue 1 for both the Casablanca Mystery Shawl KAL:

Casablanca Shawl - Clue 1 Done Casablanca Shawl - Clue 1 closeup

(I changed out the beads to some cognac A/B #6s and am much happier than with the teal. Using 4.5mm needles and am pretty pleased with the results.)

AND the Slow Bee II Mystery Shawl KAL:

Slow Bee 2 Shawl - Clue 1, Side 1 Complete Slow Bee 2 Shawl - Clue 1, Side 1 Closeup

I still have to undo the provisional cast on to do the second half of Clue 1, but already I’m in love with this shawl. It’s actually knit on 3.5mm 10″ Brittany Straight needles and transferred to circs for the photo. Fiddly, but fantastic!

My Goddess Knits Anniversary Mystery Shawl finally got underway:

Goddess Knits Anniversary Shawl - Clue 1 done

Clue 1 is done (I went with Chart B for this clue) and Clue 2 should be done before the week is out (probably going to choose Chart B for this one too).

This morning, I did some design work which has, lets just say it, been driving me completely bananas the last week or so. Mixing cables can do that to you – arghhhh!

So, coming across a bag pattern among the scattered graph paper, I immediately grabbed yarn and needles and cast on some stress relief knitting:

Keyhole Carpet Bag

I’m beginning to think that this case of Startitis might become terminal.

When Everything Seems to Click

Happy Victoria Day everyone! (or May “2-4” to all my fellow Canucks) Raise a glass to Spring!

BadgerDan and I have been having a wonderful holiday (even if we both had to work a yesterday). We went out for a very nice dinner last night followed by tea/coffee at the local Chapters/Starbucks. Normally a pretty expensive trip as we are both foodies and bibliophiles ;1). It was great and I was a good girl and only picked up a couple of books:

The Oracle by William Broad

A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and bestselling author describes how a team of scientists, working from subtle clues scattered throughout the ancient literature, as well as from the latest findings in geology, uncovered scientific evidence to explain the Oracle of Delphi”s powers.

Looks like a fabulous summer read. And another one for the knitting library:

2 at a time socks

Preparation for next year’s Sock Madness competition. By the end of the “Summer of Socks”, I should have this little technique down to a science!

(Talking of science, BadgerDan didn’t leave unscathed either, a brand new biography of Albert Einstein now lays beside his computer.)

Woke up to him in the kitchen making breakfast for the both of us. Weird, it’s almost feels like real life around here! I’ll pinch myself a little later.

I’ve been pretty busy trying to catch up on things and progress certainly has been made.

On the crochet front:

Flower Burst Square

Pattern: Flower Burst Square by Chris Simon
Hook: 5mm
Yarn: Mission Falls 1824 Wool, 023 Amethyst/005 Raven

This is the May Square for my Sampler Afghan as part of the 2008 12″ Crochet Block-a-Month CAL.

The Manly Square

Pattern: The Manly Square by Donna Audirsch
Hook: 5mm
Yarn: Mission Falls 1824 Wool, 004 Charcoal/005 Raven

I thought that using “Charcoal” for the “Manly” square was pretty appropriate as we head into BBQ season :1). Also pretty typical – the pattern ate quite a bit (of yarn), hence the double border of black. This is my 5th filler square for the afghan.

Last week’s dishcloth:

Vortex 5 dishcloth

Pattern: Vortex (5) by Rebecca Hudson
Needles: 4mm DPNs, 5.5mm for cast-on, 6mm for bind off
Yarn: Bernat Handicrafter Cotton, Landscape/Natural

Neat pattern. BadgerDan, being the technogeek that he is, said “hey, it’s a fractal!” Think I’ll use up some scraps in bright colours paired with a black background next time. I’m also thinking “felted bag” with this one. It’s not like there’s a lack of felting wool around here :1).

Lace-wise, we have:

Secret of Bad Nauheim

Secret of Bad Nauheim Stole - 2 pattern rpts

Two full pattern repeats done – only 1 more to go to the edging.

Mystic Light

Mystic Light Shawl - Clue 1 Redo Complete Mystic Light Shawl - Clue 1 redo closeup

Clue 1 completely re-knitted with the new beads and looking great.

Mystery Lace

Mystery Lace - Clue 1 redo

After much anticipation (and controversy which I won’t get into here), Clue 1 for the Mystery Lace Stole was re-issued and I took the opportunity to switch to the 2-colour (green/white) option as I had the yarn in my stash and smaller (2.75mm) needles. This is the same “Cilantro Melange” Misti Alpaca Lace that I used on my Bayou Sunset Socks .

Slow Bee Mystery I

Slow Bee Mystery Shawl I - Row 22 Complete

The first clue was released for SBM1 and since I was on a roll, decided to dive right in. This one is a fully beaded Faerose-style shawl (read “huge”) like my Halloween Mystery Shawl. The instructions said to use an “icy” yarn, so I’m using Misti Alpaca Handpainted Lace in “A Thousand Lakes” and silver (sterling?) beads, which is about as cool as I get. The photo is 22 rows into Clue 1.

Keeping up with all these CALs/KALs is a bit of work, but it IS fun and entertaining to see what comes next!

TTFN.

Published in: on May 19, 2008 at 1:52 pm  Comments (2)  
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Movers, Spinners, Sparklies and Swag

Okay guys, here’s the scoop: we’re moving to BC!!!!! BadgerDan has scored himself a position with a company just outside of Vancouver and needless to say were totally excited!

I’ve been packing like a fiend in anticipation, even though we don’t have a date yet – it’ll be within the next couple of months. Hence, the lack of blogging, for which I apologize.

On the project front:

Cosmic Ripples Socks - Complete Cosmic Ripples Socks - Sock #2

The Cosmic Ripples socks are done and are incredibly cute with the beads. The second sock came out much better than the first one, even if it took a little longer to do.

I finished the first sock of the Sock Madness Round 6 pattern:

Pele's Party Socks - Sock 1 Complete Pele's Party Socks - Cuff Detail

“Pele’s Party Socks”
Pattern: Godmother’s Socks By Deborah Swift of MountainMom Designs
Yarn: Koigu KPM Handdyed Semi-Solids, Colour 1110 (50g skein – 160m); Fleece Artist Basic Merino Sock, Origin Colourway (32g)
Needles: 2.25mm KnitPicks Circs, 2.75mm DPNs for cuff

I beaded the cuff on this pair as well, using #6 glass beads in various coordinating colours and a 1mm crochet hook. I’m just beading everything these days…

The true colours just aren’t coming through in the picture – much richer lava reds on the foot and royal purple in the cuff. I was going for an erupting volcano look. Took a little more of the cuff yarn than expected and I’ll have to cheat a little on the leg of sock #2. Not a big deal – it’s a foldover cuff and won’t show too much.

I’m holding off on knitting socks until next month with the start up of the 52 Pair Plunge II (June 1st) and the Summer of Socks 2008 (June 30th).

I’ve signed up for both and a couple of new sock KAL groups (Six Sox KAL, Townsend Socks KAL) in preparation, not that I’ll be running out of patterns any time soon.

In the meantime, I’m trying to finish off a couple of neglected lace projects before the new wave of Mystery Shawl KAL clues come my way. After a bit of thought, I decided it would be sheer lunacy on my part to start my Secret of Bad Nauheim stole over again since I was so far into it. It has 1.25 pattern repeats done now, with another 1.75 to go before picking up for the edging. Hoping to have it finished before next week so that I can tackle the rest of the Mystic Light shawl.

Secret of Bad Nauheim Stole

Here’s last week’s dishcloth:

Diagonal Ripple Dishcloth

Pattern: Diagonal Ripple Dishcloth by Leanne Cooper
Needles: 4mm
Yarn: Bernat Handicrafter Cotton Prints, Summer Print

Yet again, another one I should have made in a solid colour. When will I learn?

I may skip most of the 1st pattern releases of the month for the Monthly Dishcloth KAL because I’m just not too much into the pictoral dishcloth thing. The 2nd patterns are a textural pattern which are more to my personal taste. There are always exceptions though :1)

And look what I finally brought home:

My Wee Spinning Wheel

YEEE!!! My first wheel!!!! We’re pretty sure it’s a circa 1970s Kromski – ain’t it cute?

And remember I mentioned an additional item that I picked up on my trip to Gemini Fibres? Well here it is:

Forrester Orifice Hook

A handmade orifice hook by Thomas C. Forrester (in Imbuya wood)! It was the only thing I was missing for the wheel (which even came with 4 extra bobbins!) and matches it almost exactly. This I could afford to splurge on. :1)

Oh, and the worsted weight undyed silk? My friend Ruth pounced on it for her weaving and traded me a brand new Schacht Hi-Lo drop spindle which can be used either as a top whorl or bottom whorl. I love versatility and since I’m a bit of a beginner this will be ideal. (Psst!!! She also has Ladybug Wheels – pass it on!!)

A little bit of stash enhancement has been going on:

Swag from The Loopy Ewe

I was a very bad girl over on The Loopy Ewe‘s website – I blame Sheri and all of her virtual sock yarn fumes.

They are –
Top: Schafer Anne – Morrison (OMG!!! I can’t stop petting this one)
L-R: Duet Skinny Sock Yarn – Afton Manor; Zen String Lotus Toes (Sport) – Mount Monadnock; Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock – Edgewater; Louet Gems – Fern Green

Yep – sock yarn fumes, definitely.

I have a new friend Celtic Memory over in County Cork, Ireland who’s traded me this gorgeous aubergine fingering weight alpaca for some Addi Turbos and Blue Sky Patterns that are tough to get over there.

Aubergine Fingering Wt Alpaca

She had a whole CONE of it – can you imagine? This is what I’m going to use for my forthcoming Mystic Meadows shawl – it’s going to be fabulous!

I’ve also sent her out a Canadian care package which I’ll share with you once I know she’s received it – I want it to be a little bit of a surprise.

[She just got back from her vacation to Crete with some great photos (go take a gander at the local shepherd). Just don’t cross her dog Muffy the Yarnslayer – adorable, but what she does to cashmere will make you weep.]

Last, but not least, look what I picked up today at the local antique market:

Antique Needlework Magazines

These are antique “Needlecraft” magazines/newsletters (they’re each the size of a newspaper) from 1917-1919. A lot of really nice patterns for crocheted and knitted lace. A steal at $5 a piece on sale. They have come to a very appreciative home.

Okay, I think I’ve got ya’ll up to date now. With any luck, I’ll have a few more completed items to show you pretty soon.

TTFN.

Published in: on May 15, 2008 at 3:18 pm  Comments (1)  
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Socks, Swaps and Sleeves

Socks seem to magically appear around here lately:

Santa Fe Socks - Complete Santa Fe Socks - Sock 1 Complete

Needles: 3mm DPNs
Yarn: Georga 100% Mercerized Wool (Rust & Stone Chino), Sublime Extra Fine Merino DK (Shade 0064 – Teal)

These ones are the Santa Fe socks from Knitting on the Road by Nancy Bush and are the March/April socks for the KOTR Sock KAL. BadgerDan has declared that he wants to chuck out all his storebought socks for handmade like mine, so these ones are for him. He’s been quite supportive of me throughout Sock Madness, so he totally deserves them. I kept with Nancy’s original colours, with the exception of the stone colour (which she had as a gold). For gauge, I went with smaller needles and thicker yarn (he needs them durable – pretty much lives in work boots). Thrilled with them and I really quite like the cushy heel pattern.

The dishcloth of the week (c’mon, you know you love them):

Three & One Checked Cloth

Pattern: Three and One Checked Cloth by Linda Smith
Needles: 4mm
Yarn: Bernat Handicrafter Cotton, Hot Blue & Summer Print

Really neat honeycomb sort of stitch pattern which I swear is a slightly modified version of the one Ann Shayne used for her Big Dotty (piano bench) Cushion in Mason Dixon Knitting. Next time, I’ll put a side border on the cloth as it has a tendency to curl and the pattern will look better framed, I think.

And look what came in the mail!

Swap Silk and Soap

That’s 2 large (1/2 lb!) skeins of natural, undyed worsted weight 100% silk and a bar of handmade soap (Wild Child – Citrus Spash) sent from sl1k1psso as a stash swap. Oh, the possiblities for this yarn!

As I’ve already shown her a sneak peek, I can share with you what I’m sending out to her next week:

Swap Package

She’s a spinner, dyer, sock knitter and beader so I put together a little handdyed special for her:

1 braid Fleece Artist Merino Handdyed Sliver Roving (Angel Fish or Pinata, I’m not sure which)
1 skein Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock, Vera (Yes, this is the one I showed you before)
1 skein Claudia’s Handpainted Sock, Chocolate Cherry
1 container Blue Moon Beads, #6 Gold-lined Green

Hope she will “squee” as loud as I did!

Sock Madness Round 5 starts tomorrow morning and I’m still trying to find someone to cover my shift at the store. Wendy is at the Knitter’s Frolic in Toronto all weekend so I’m manning the shop for her today.

We’ll see what happens. As it stands, this is the yarn I’ll be using for this round:

Fleece Artist Merino Sock, Cosmic Dawn

Fleece Artist Merino Sock in the Cosmic Dawn Colourway. This is the one I used to make my keychain sock last year:

Keychain Sock

I’m a little nervous this round (only 3 spots per Division!) and it’s the one using the Japanese Short-Row heel. I’ll have to teach myself that little technique this afternoon.

Gonna see if I can finish the sleeves on my Fleece Artist Garter Stitch Jacket today (but I’m going to bring my BSJ project with me as well, I mean, you never know…)

Later….

Published in: on April 26, 2008 at 9:11 am  Leave a Comment  
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When the exhaustion finally catches up

There is nothing like a knitting competition to royally mess with your sleep cycle.

Before Round 3 Pattern for Sock Madness was released, I did manage to finish my April CAL Afghan Square:

Chocolate Delight Square

Pattern: Chocolate Delight by Dayna Audirsch
Hook: 5mm
Yarn: Mission Falls 1824 Wool (007 – Cocoa, 005 – Raven)

I also managed to throw a batch of cornbread for BadgerDan into the oven – for which he was very surprised and grateful. He loves my baking.

Enter the Knitathon – after 20 hours:

Bayou Sunset sock #1

Sock #1 was complete.

After 52 hours:

Bayou Sunset Socks - Complete

I had a pair.

The pattern is Slippin’ Stripin’ Socks by Christine (Tina) Lorin and I ended up doing them on 2.25mm needles.

I’m calling these “Bayou Sunset” because the colours remind me of the final rays of the sun as seen reflected off of the water through the shadows of Spanish Moss-covered Weeping Willows. Okay, maybe I’ve read one too many Anne Rice novels.

BadgerDan got the title immediately – granted, we do read the same books. :1)

I’m glad I pushed myself on this pair – I came in 6th out of 12 in the Tennessee Twisted Knitters division. Next round, there are only 6 places. Yikes!

Finished another dishcloth – only 3 behind now:

A Little Lace Kitchen Cloth

Pattern: A Little Lace Kitchen Cloth by Carol Bristol Designs
Yarn: Bernat Handicrafter Cotton, Swimming Pool
Needles: 4mm

I love this colour – must get more.

It’s been an rather odd week, peppered with intermittent nap attacks and bizarre shopping excursions.

Let me relate to you the Great Toaster Conspiracy of 2008.

Our toaster oven kicked the bucket, so we decided to replace it with a regular toaster. No problem – I thought. Ha Ha.

– Picked up a nice Procter-Silex model from the local Walmart and brought it home. Put bread in it, but the lever wouldn’t stay down – hence, it wouldn’t toast.
– Brought it back, got a new one. Same problem.
– Called Procter-Silex – it should work.
– Brought 2nd one back to store and got a different toaster altogether. Same problem – WTH is going on?
– BadgerDan suggests perhaps our bread is the problem. Shouldn’t a toaster work with ANY bread? I mean, really! You put the bread in, push the button down, it toasts the bread and then pops the bread out. Where’s the problem? BadgerDan returns 3rd toaster to store.
– Decided to live without toaster, as apparently they don’t make a gluten-free model.

DH was moving a 400lb welder Monday and popped his knee so he wasn’t going anywhere yesterday. (He’s fine now, just a little sore.) This meant, I had access to the van and could pay a rare visit to Gemini Fibres in Mount Albert.

Ahh, so much woolly goodness, so little time…

After weeping over the beauty (and prices) of the Forrester spindles, I grabbed a couple of books, see if you can spot a theme:

The Dyer's Garden Start Spinning

There was another little something I picked up as well, but I’ll share that when I can show you what it goes with.

I also forayed into the local Chapters this week and grabbed their last copy of this:

Compassionate Knitting

I am totally making the Padma Jacket (the top left corner of cover).

After a little bit more running around yesterday – I pretty much collapsed in a heap on the couch for the rest of the night.

The kitchen and the laundry need a bit of tending to before Stitch n’ Bitch tonight, so I’d better get going. (Not that DH is getting home early tonight. His luck continues, just called – the van has a flat.)

That and the second sock beckoning me to the darkside:

Carnivale du Printemps - 65%

This pair is taking WAY too long to complete. I want them DONE! Arrgghhhh. Must be the accursed pink – yeah, that’s it.

The specs for Sock Madness, Round 4 are up and the pattern will be released early Monday morning. I’m off to go rummage a bit in the stash (and ignore the laundry – I mean, who needs underwear?)

TTFN.

Published in: on April 16, 2008 at 3:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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