Sunday, December 30, 2007
I stopped at Make One today to pick up some fiber. I left with two bags full, and have been dyeing all afternoon long.
I have a new green colourway, and a red one too. A lavender tide, a shepherd, a holi festival, a playing with fire: bronze, pansy, and hmmm.. oh, a revised vermilion kiss. I think that one is getting a new name, because it's not so much vermilion unless vermilion is plum.
I'm trying a new process, and I think it's working well, overall. I'm doing more re-dying than I'd like. I think it's because (I believe) superwash doesn't take dye the same as other fibers. I lean towards vibrant.
So, between steaming batch after batch, I've been knitting on the Hela. I don't know how it happened this fast, but the body seems to be done. I'll put it aside and knit the sleeves now. If you don't know how to knit continental, please take a look at knittinghelp.com to get some quick instructions. It makes stockinette fly.
I was hoping to drop off some fiber at Make One tomorrow, but it isn't going to happen. For some reason the printer no longer communicates.. so I can't do labels. Too tired to figure it out tonight, that's for sure.
BF made a really awesome meatloaf last night. I had it leftover for lunch in the form of a sandwich, and now I'm having it again as a late dinner, with rutabaga. You just can't beat that.
But, I do have all the yarn and needles to knit this (oh so good to have a loving, Icelandic friend)! Ms. Jonsdottir; it is so very cool that this is a free pattern. Thank you!
So, I am. Ya Baby. I'm 5 or 6 inches into it already.
And I've decided to over-dye the Vermilion Kiss. Too much blue. I know exactly what to do.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Some may know that there is an empty seat at our dinner table, so Christmas is a difficult time; mostly for me. I was hoping that the excitement and joy of having Nini this first year would soften the season; and yes, it sure did. I am unable to describe how grateful I am for all of my blessings.
So.. phew.. let's move on. BF's kids weren't with us in the morning, but arrived shortly after lunchtime. Mug had opened her gifts, and was so happy when the rest of our troupe arrived. They opened their gifts, and that left one lone box.. something for all the kids (including the daddy sized one). In it was Guitar Hero. When that gift was unwrapped there was more shouting and jumping and merriment than I had even dared dream. It was a hit, and is the single most played with present in this house.
Tho... I'd have to say that this one went over well too!
My favorite gifts, hands down, were the hand knitted items that I gave to BF. One was a pair of alpaca socks that I dyed, spun and knit. He's worn them again and again... and the second is a green cashmere toque I also knitted for him. In the morning when he gets up he puts it on before anything else. I don't think it's been off of his head since he unwrapped it. Man.. every moment I spent knitting that toque has been rewarded 10-fold.
I am selfish.. It's the giving that I love. The reactions. The happiness. The warmth.
There was a great moment in the evening when I looked at our feet to see that Nini had on the cashmere socks, BF the alpaca/BFL, SIL the natural grey alpaca, Dida had on the Pomatamous, and I was wearing the first pair of socks Dida had ever knitted. How great is that?
This was such a terrific Christmas. It really was.
We hope that yours was too.
Some Tijuana Blanket (in alpaca) having a swim. It's much more vibrant 'in person'. I've knit BFL socks in this colourway, and they are my all time favorites.
Following we have the Miss Priss (in colourway: Snooks), who is also soaking, but this time in preparation for an over-dye. I can't decide what colour.. I think even I'll be surprised by this one!
And... The Heartland Lace Shawl, currently blocking. I'm so happy with it. I'm going to order the intended yarn (Bison) and knit it again to enter into the 2008 Calgary Stampede.
Come back for a Vermillion Kiss...
Friday, December 28, 2007
Today I finished knitting the Heartland Lace Shawl for BF's mom. It's great, and will be blocked in the morning.
Also, I dyed. Just finished a few moments ago, so I AM going to have some fab pictures to share after it dries. I did a striped Tijuana Blanket, Holi Festival, Spruce Forest, Spaceballs, and Vermillion Kiss. It should all be in Make One's hands by Monday.
Ok.. now I sleep.
and BF... I know you're reading. I need pictures!
Thursday, December 27, 2007
I am pleased, I wanted THAT yarn (cuz it's sproingy), and I was hoping for a deal. Yes.. it all happened. It was great, because Dida, Nini and I went together, and Dida also got a bag of Miss Priss. Somehow she's adopted my Mr. Greenjeans addiction. In her case, the sweater is already cast on, and she's well into it. I guess it helps that Nini didn't sleep last night, so Dida had a lot of knitting time.
As well, I got a 5 or 6 pairs of socks worth of yarn in all kinds of fun colours for approximately 1/2 price. Ya baby. I also bought 2 skeins of red in Louet Gems. Somehow M-1's yarn pusher (big wink) talked me into 2 skeins of Lorna's Laces something or other. She did it by resting the yarn against a perfect cheek, and mentioned to me how wonderful Nini would look in a sweater. Ya. Put it in the bag.
It's all good, and I'm thrilled. It was so much fun; I had Nini in the click, and when she got her fill of being admired, she had a nice nap.
My Christmas story will be re-rain-checked, due to extreme Heartland Lace Shawl knittage. It's BF's mom's birthday in a few days, and he's going out to the Island to spend it with her; I'd like to have the shawl blocked in time for him to take it along. I'm pretty sure that will happen, since I only have about 15 rows left to go. I've knit it in sock yarn, so it's quite a bit smaller than it is designed to be, but I thought she'd rather something smaller and lighter. It's a beautiful and easy pattern; I'd recommend it.
ok.. about the *drunk* thing. I wasn't actually drunk; but somebody (who shall remain unnamed) poured a dram or two of Bailey's in my coffee. Too. Much. Fun.
Photos of yarn wonderfulness to follow..
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Make One is having a blow-out sale today, and I am SO going to be there. Dida and I plan on lining up an hour before opening. I'm aiming for the yarn/needles to knit Mr. Greenjeans.
If I'm lucky, I'll post my new stash yarn later today.
Ya baby. I'm excited.
When I get normal, I'll tell you about our Christmas (which was lovely).
Sunday, December 23, 2007
sock monkey hat
Originally uploaded by spinknit
Honestly, this very evening I've completed all the Christmas knitting. And that includes the (pause here for effect) Cat's Paw Wrap. I swear, it is having a little bath right now, and soon will be blocked. I sewed in the ends of the Tulip Cardi, blocked the alpaca socks, Maine Mitts and another Stolen Moments Wrap. It's all done!
I cannot believe that the CPW and I have parted company. After months of working on it, tomorrow sometime it will belong to my friend Beatrice.
It's going to look so great on her, and I think she will really love it. That makes me so happy. She's been a great friend, and I wanted to give her something that will let her know how much I value her.
Effective tomorrow (between the wrapping and Christmas dinner advance-prep), I can re-start the Mystic Waters. I'm really excited, and I think it's going to go well.
I hope that your Christmas knitting is completed too.. that you met your schedule and that you have some peace and rest prior to Christmas day. I hope we all keep the real meaning of Christmas in the forefront of our minds as we give the gifts we spent so many hours on.
Merry Christmas to you and yours, and all the best in 2008.
With love from Annie, Jim, Katie, Maddie, Anna, Aidan, Diana, Ike and Katerina. xoxox
Saturday, December 22, 2007
BF and I took stock of our preparedness today, and made a to-do list. Mine included grocery shopping for Christmas dinner, and his included getting a tree. We do this every year; wait until the bitter end, and then panic, because there's hardly any trees to be found. Last year we got the most gorgeous, full, 9' from Ikea for $20. This year Ikea was a no-go, but BF found a perfect 8', on sale for $15.00. You just can't beat that. It's standing in the living room now, waiting for the kids to decorate it. Earlier they all made themselves a Christmas ornament for 2007.
I'm especially excited about Christmas this year, because it's the first time Nini will eat at my table. She's just starting on solid foods, so I expect that she'll have a little mashed potatoes and carrots at very least. After Karen nearly killed herself a few short weeks ago, it seems such a blessing that we're having a happy Christmas at all, let alone, have this little grandchild to share it with. Everything is a little shinier.
All that aside.. I found that I was completely done with gifts, that my Christmas knitting is done except for the Cat's Paw, and a lot of ends to sew in. I have everything for stockings. It's all good. Tomorrow we'll pick up an organic, free range turkey, and we'll wrap gifts on Monday. Tuesday should be stress free, and happy. I'll cook Martha Stewart's Perfect Turkey (don't miss it if you have a chance).
I hope your stress level is low, low, low.
(ps: The kids did, in fact, decorate the tree, and it looks exactly like a kids' tree should. The photo, above, demonstrates what I love about a kids' tree; deep inside you'll find a little picture of a snowman that someone coloured and carefully cut out. It's hot hanging, it's laying on a branch. Somewhere else in the tree is real, small, teddy bear. There are dozens of Christmas balls that the kids have decorated with permanent markers. It's all good.)
Friday, December 21, 2007
Anyway, I have been listening to Barbara Dayne's Cast On of late; working my way from the most recent back to the earliest. I think I'm somewhere around last spring at the moment, and she was using the C word.
That's right.. crochet. Just say it.
In my mind, crochet is something hard and scratchy. It's something that melts near an open flame. The colours singe the retna. I have to admit that things may have changed in the last 20 years; perhaps fibers in the plastics family are no longer the first choice for crochet. It is possible that I've seen a pattern in Amy's new book that has me thinking that *perhaps*, just maybe, I should learn the skill.
(Following is a picture of said sweater, lifted directly from Amazon.ca. Is that hot, or what? I feel thinner and taller just looking at it. And it's TAUPE.)
I can cop to knowing how to make a granny square, and according to today's podcast, that means that I know enough techniques to do everything. A few short weeks ago Marilynn tricked me into buying a tiny hook. You know.. to put beads on knitting. But are hooks like needles? Do they suddenly appear in a basket by the dozen? Soon I'll find out there's a *faster* hook, or a purple, laminated, whatever-hook that one blind man in Borneo carves by hand. Somehow I'm going to press: Paypal, and I'm going to own that hook. I can see it now.
So today, crochet has been seeping into my consciousness. I'm thinking about firmer button bands. I'm thinking about crochetting (how the heck DO you spell that?) into just the front loop and coming up with a more drapey product. How does it look if I just go into the back loop? The same? Different? Softer?
See... there's only one darned way to answer these kinds of questions. That darned C word, eating at me already.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
That was last night, and it sucked the life right out of me. Tonight I went to the second (and final) Christmas concert of 2007.
In response to a Yarn Harlot post, I calculated that between Dida, Mug, and Nini, I'll have attended 39 consecutive Christmas concerts. I believe I will have earned a platinum award of some sort. Platinum with diamond sparkles.
Anyway, I took a lone sock (that started out at the first 2007 Christmas concert), and knit exactly one row before I realized that I did not, in fact, recall exactly how to turn a heel. Need a reminder for the first row. So.. back it went into the knitting bag.
So, that's my story for today. Quite a short one, really.
Tomorrow I dye.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
I mentioned that I left M1 on saturday with an armload of fiber. Graciously, I was offered a bag to put it in, but I was excited and jangled and I figured, what the hay, I'm only walking down the hill.... The next day I realized that 50 grams of angora and I had parted company. Checked the price of angora lately? Frick. Could it not have been something less valuable?
I had my boots on in no time flat, and retraced my footsteps. Can you believe it??? The angora was sitting pretty, right where I dropped it, and in pristine condition. Talk about your lucky break. Phew.
I don't really have anything interesting to say except that the Heartland is going very well, and I'm on the third repeat of rows 25-44. I've hardly frogged anything, which just blows my mind after Mystic Waters.
I feel so bad about the Cat's Paw. I promised to work on it, but honestly, I'm sick to death of it, and I just want it to go away. Never knit a wrap with 3 pattern rows, it's just too boring (tho beautiful).
Have you ever heard of Sock Wars? It's an online game where players register their names, addresses and shoe size. The idea is to knit socks day and night, and get em mailed out asap. When the recipient receives their sock, they are 'dead', and out of the game. Last *man* standing is the winner and receives; well. socks. The whole concept excites me, and I've joined the Sock Wars group on Ravelry to keep my eye on the game.
Just for fun; here's a link for Arachne Sock Calculator, for custom sizing knee high socks. You just input your numbers, and presto.. a (plain - you add the fancy) pattern.
By the way; that's no bunny up there. That's my boy Spike. The world's best dog, says I. Pssst: don't click on him unless you'd like to see him bigger than life-size. Me and re-sizing just haven't come to terms.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Originally uploaded by spinknit
It was good to get a comment from aunty tink, because without her, the Mystic Waters would be in the Bonnybrook Sewer Treatment Plant, being *recycled*. I was at the end of my rope with the first chart (never having used a chart before); I'd frogged about 10 times, and just chucked the whole thing. Thank goodness she is a lace guru. With a few suggestions and a new yarn choice I was good to go (hey, she hooked me up with fridge magnets and a cookie sheet.. it was all I needed for a fresh start).
I appreciate the positive feedback, because what aunty tink didn't say was there there are quite a few glaring errors in that piece of lace. And you know what? I don't care. I'm going to call them intuitive design features, and I'm going to be thrilled with the shawl. Maybe your lace has a few intuitive features too; and you know what, it's OK.
Amy gave me another lace hint; and that is, don't point out your errors. No one will notice them. I didn't take her advice this one time, because I wanted to show you that fabulous doesn't have to be perfect.
I'm sticking with that.
Ok.. aunty tink again. I was reading her blog and I saw that she had entered a scarf (which now hangs in Make One, tho the first place ribbon isn't attached) in the Calgary Stampede. This got me interested, because I've been wanting to enter my work in *something*, but a venue the scale of the Stampede hadn't crossed my mind. While looking at aunty tink's Ravelry queue, I spied the Heartland Lace Shawl, by Evelyn Clark. This pattern was originally submitted by Evelyn into a Buffalo Gold contest via Wild Fibers Magazine, and you can email Buffalo Gold for the charts. I did so, and had them within hours... hence, about 50 rows of lace completed in Trekking XXL Fingering weight. It's a completely inappropriate yarn choice, but I'm going to make this one to wear.
My point is that I think this would be a very suitable choice to knit for the Stampede this year (using Bison). If AT isn't thinking of the very same thing, I think I might give it a whirl. Why the heck not?
So that was my evening. I laced.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Recently, on Knitlist, a poster asked why people love wearing shawls. In the post she mentioned that she loves knitting them, loves how they look, but doesn't love wearing them. She was wondering if she shouldn't donate them to an old folks' home.
The response was quick and plentiful, (and often suggested alternate uses, rather than answering her question!)and included:
Convert them (into table, chesterfield or window coverings)
Wear a shawl in the morning instead of a robe
Develop a shawl drawer, and just admire them
Start a fashion trend! Actually wear the shawl and see how many follow your lead
When suddenly actual shawl lovers (dare I say, wearers?) started to chime in:
Some states in the US are so warm that stores, theaters, etc., are often over-air conditioned, and a shawl is a light method of dealing with the chill
They are great extra layers, and colour accents
As a solution to fluctuating climate changes in offices
Shawls can be a bold fashion statement
They are easy to remove
They are less constricting than a coat
Shawls attract other knitters
I myself have become a shawl-wearer. My first shawl isn't knitted, it's a much cherished woven shawl which I won at a silent auction after a guild sheep to shawl competition. Most of the time it hangs over a long rail on the cabinet by my desk. I can admire it, it doesn't get lost in a pile of kids' jackets, and the cat can't sleep on it. However, I do wear it out often enough. I find myself wrapping it like a sarong around my hips, over jeans; that method started because I had a painful lower back injury and I found the warmth was helpful (my shawl is thick and cozy). Often I'll use it as a lap robe while I knit; I must be getting to an age, because I find that my knees are often cold.
At the moment I'm 25% through knitting a wool/silk (and beads!) version of the Mystic Waters shawl (detail shown above). It is breathtakingly beautiful, and I'm madly in love with it. My plan is to complete it over the Christmas break, when I have some time to really concentrate. Mystic Waters is a KAL (my first!) and the final clue was issued last Wednesday. Lots of knitters have completed their shawls will be wearing them over this holiday season, and I honestly wish I was one of them.
A few months ago, Make One Yarn Studio came up with an idea for a 'Year of Lace, 2008', and I have to say that I signed up before I drew another breath. I could not be more excited; especially since the lace objects will feature scarves, shawls and wraps. I WILL be wearing my shawls. I'm in love with them already, and I haven't a clue what they might be! If you'd like more information on a Year of Lace, just click on the button I've placed to the right.
If you just can't wait til spring, and you'd like to join a shawl KAL, there is one currently open for registration by going to the Yahoo group Spring Shawl Surprice. The KAL will be starting in January, and I am SO signed up, and making my yarn selection at this time (believe me, it's part of the fun!).
One more thing (have I become sanctimonious?)... while Christmas shopping the other day I saw an inexpensive commercial shawl in a store window. I actually felt a pang of sadness that someone would have to wear something so.. so.. lame. I need to knit shawls to wipe out the cheap commercial shawl over the shoulders of people I love. Ya. That's it.
So there you have it... many reasons why we love to knit and wear shawls. I'd love to hear your story, or post a picture of your favorite shawl!
And, me? I recently left Make One with a pair of 4.5mm Addi Turbo Lace needles for an interesting shawl I'm going to knit out of sock yarn. It's gonna be.. great.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
I dyed 4oz. of Alpaca/Merino/Silk in 'Spaceball Jams' for Amy's gift. Colourway loosely based on Sandra's jams at the Emerald Lake Retreat. (I saw a picture!)
It was a really great to see people there spinning my fiber; in fact, all the stock is nearly gone. How cool is that? I left with an armload of fiber to dye, and a new pair of not-pink, not-plastic, Addie Turbo circs (I'm going to come to terms with circs if it is the last thing I do).
As far as projects, I've been working on all kind of things, including the Cat's Paw Wrap:
The missing thumb on a pair of Maine Mitts (the darned second mitt is two rows longer than the first, so I have to frog it a bit):
and a Knitty Sock Monkey hat for Katie (almost done...):
Earlier in the week I attended Maddie's first ever band concert. They all received their instruments in October, so I think they did very well. It was a *classic* first concert; there were times when I wasn't too sure if it was a song we were listening to, or a flock of geese. I took knitting; yes, I cop to starting a sock. Below you'll find my new trumpet player, followed by one concert's worth of ToFutsies sock goodness.
Thank you for hanging with me during my blog free days. Karen is now back at home, and although you could not call her well, she's not in dire straights, and we can breathe a sigh of relief.
Also, thank you Linda (from one spinknit to another) for your shawl comment. That's what I'll talk about tomorrow.. Shawls, and why I love them.
Please take a moment to read back to: Pay it forward. I have zero takers!
Finally, here's a bonus pic of the devine Miss K (and my fabulous SIL's hairy hands) in a shrug I dyed/spun/knit for her before she was born. The fiber is Alpaca, and the colourway is called: Nina's wildflower garden.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Saturday, December 8, 2007
Tonight I've been looking online for a set of BW's Treasuries. An affordable set... and I stumbled upon The Walker Treasury Project, in which people swatch the black and white patterns and you can see stitch patterns in RL. If you have some time to spare, I recommend you have a look. It's enough to to entice one to charge a set of the books (I haven't... I won't).
Years ago, when my first marriage hit the skids, I spent months knitting an amazing afghan. I'm positive I was flat broke at the time, so I promise you there isn't a natural fiber within 5 miles of it. It was so heavy and so big that I wrecked my shoulder in the process of knitting it (all the while, letting my heart mend). Today, for the first time, I realized that it was a combination of a whole lot of BW's stitch patterns.
Imagine that. I love it even more.
Tell me; why would you wear a shawl? If anybody comments, I'll tell you why I would, and do.
Friday, December 7, 2007
Originally uploaded by spinknit
I really do. I've tried and tried to get comfortable with them, and it just doesn't get any better. Here I am, forced to knit with a pair of pink, plastic circs because I cannot find my 5mm dpns. How did I end up with pink plastic circs? Isn't there some kind of law against that?
Complaining aside; I've been working on my Christmas knitting. I spun natural grey Alpaca and some BFL for SIL's socks, and they're done. The boy has size 11.5 feet. Also spun angora/cashmere/baby camel samples and knit Nini some soft socks. Done. At the moment I'm working on a second Maine Mitten (also dyed and spun by me). Tomorrow, come hell or high water, I'm committing myself to the Cat's Paw stole.
After hardly any deliberation, I picked up a set of EZ Blocking Wires today; I was *expecting* the package to include sets of 36" wires and shorter, a yard stick and some T-pins. What it did include was 24" wires and shorter, plus the yard stick. I am considering returning the wires because the very first piece I want them for is much bigger than 24"...
Oh.. and some yummy plum Trekking sock yarn somehow got into my stash. Must have been elves.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
alternate use of a bakers rack
Originally uploaded by spinknit
Scary looking, huh?
In the last hour it's all been fluffed, braided and packaged (the Merino, as opposed to the baker's rack). The 'after' is much nicer than the 'before', I'll tell you that. I'm happy with the results.
I'll be dropping it off at Make One tomorrow afternoon.
Let's see if we can't come up with a picture of the 'banana slug' for you.
ps: The chicken pot pie absolutely kicked butt. It was amazing.
Monday, December 3, 2007
So, here's a photo of my really special shawl, and a link to some pictures that BF took during our day at the fair.
Today is dying day (yesterday was too), and I have some cashmere packaged. It's all good, and I'm really happy.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Originally uploaded by spinknit
It was 100 cloves of garlic gross. Alright, I admit it, I only used 50. 60 tops. The chicken was so darned dry that I couldn't even eat mine, so there we were with a whole pan full of chicken breasts, garlic cloves, and 1/2 cooked potatoes. All floating in white wine. Tonight I'm trying to turn it into chicken pot pie, so we'll see how that goes. Sans about 75% of the garlic cloves you understand.
A super great thing happened yesterday. Amy (of Make One fame, ... not to mention, the creator of my Mr. Greenjeans addiction) called to say that most of the fiber I took to the store had sold. She said I rocked. (I'll admit it.. that was the best part!) Imagine, being told you rock by the rockingest chick you know. Anyway, that good news means that tonight I dye again. I've been wanting to; there's a 'reflection of embers', and a 'bridgeland arch of fall leaves' colourway floating around in my head. I picked up a few pounds of Merino to play with.. tho it's BFL that I dream of.
Might I give you a book review? My understanding is that Careena shared her copy of The Knitter's Book of Yarn during M-1's last retreat. Amy (and others I'm sure) knit a pair of the Maine Morning Mitts found in the book. Because they looked so grand, and because I have quite a few single skeins floating around, I also knit some (in self-spun, navajo plied Wensleydale - colourway: Monarch). Cool... I love 'em, and fell in love with the idea of the book. Did some research on what it might contain (I'm not big on ordering books until I've seen them myself and I'm convinced it's not a waste of perfectly good sock wool money), and decided to order from Amazon. It's possible that I also ordered Lace Style and Arctic Lace too (it's all about free shipping, am I right?), but I'm not copping to it.
I have to tell you that i totally LOVE this book. Kudos to Clara Parkes for providing so much yarn related information, and a great big bunch of patterns as well. This is going to be one of my favorite books, and I'm really glad I spent the money on it.
Lastly... I found a really awesome blog. She's fab, and I think you should hear what she has to say. A knitter, of course.