Monday, August 18, 2014

Baltic Inspirations

Last Sunday I finished these gloves. Ravelry Project is here: Talsi.

The pattern is from the book Latvieša Cimdi, which translates to Latvian Mittens. The book is a treasure chest of beautiful designs. Page after page of gorgeous mittens in all colors and styles. I get lost thumbing through it. Another pair of mittens I made from the same book are here.

But it's all mittens in the book. Obviously, I altered them to be gloves. I was inspired by Kristi Joeste's blog. You need to go check it out. Even though most of it is in a different language, the language of knitting speaks clearly through the pictures and there is the odd paragraph of English to help us along.

Also in the spring of this year, the London District Spinners and Weavers hosted a Baltic Cuffs workshop, taught by Catharina Forbes who has traveled to Eastonia with Nancy Bush a couple of times. This is a glove designed and knit by Catharina:

Her gauge is so fine, the knitting so firm, it makes my gloves look like they were worked by a rank amature in comparison. Typically, Eastonian mittens and gloves are knit on a 1.25mm needle which I think Catharina used. I have gotten down to a 1.75mm, but my gloves in the first picture were worked on 2.25mm. Working with such tiny needles must be like eating hot peppers. You've got to work your way slowly to the extreeme. You know, build your tolerance for the pain. Still, I aspire to copy these gloves one day.

We're lucky to have Catharina in the area, for she also did a presentation about her trip to Eastonia and we've been promised further workshops. You know I'll be there.

I wish I could knit mittens all the time, they are so beautiful! But my hands protest after a while and I have to switch to something else. It's a good thing there are plenty of other things I enjoy knitting. Like cabled sweaters....

 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Magic Failed but the Knitting Worked

It's been a cool, damp summer. It reminds me of the year Jim and I married. It drizzled on my wedding day and I spent the rest of that summer watching the weather, looking for a better weekend we could have been married on. I remember not a one. It was a cheat.

A few times this year, the weather has left me feeling inspired to start a sweater. I told myself "Wrong season!" And I've been knitting socks, and I did a scarf and glove set, and a shawl. But last weekend I thought "To heck with it. I bet if I start knitting a sweater it will suddenly get really hot." So I cast on, but no luck. The magic didn't work. The weather is still cool and overcast and drizzley. And more of the same is forecast for the long weekend. Bummer.

But my effort was not wasted because now I have the yoke to my very own Couronne sweater.

The varigated yarn is actuallly Noro, Silk Garden. I love Noro and I love to let it do its own wacky thing with colors, but this time I ripped, and spliced and mangled it into submission. Here's a comparision for you:

I'm starting to think now that the bottom one looks so much more lively than the top version. But I do think that the top one is more wearable, and I will wear it more often. That counts for a lot. Which do you prefer?

 

 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Close, but No Sock

This doesn't look good.

This is the second sock, the first is gorgeous and fits perfectly.

 

I hope I can rely on the kindness of friends. I know someone who is making a cardigan out of this exact same yarn. I'm going to be all like "Buddy, can you spare a square?" (That's not exactly a mixed metaphor, but it certainly is mixed up.) Otherwise, I may have to go buy more yarn. Money is no object when the socks are this beautiful.

Details are on my Ravelry page. The pattern is a free one and very well written. I think the reason I ran out of yarn is because I made the men's size sock, with a bit larger leg by using a bigger sized needle so it would have more stretch, with a long leg and whopping 10 inches or so in the foot. The wonder is that I didn't run out of yarn sooner!

 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Motivated

I have discovered that I am a Kung Foo panda.

Poor Jim has been so very tired this week. Last night I made supper of cold cooked chicken on salad greens. We have more of the same, but we want to save it for tomorrow night's dinner. Left struggling to decide what to make for dinner, we took the easy way out and ordered Chinese food to be delivered.

They said it would be 45 minutes for the food to arrive. Just enough time for me to walk Dexter, so off we went. The thought of that Chinese food waiting for me at home put me through my paces! Just like Po, if you want me to train, tempt me with food...

 

 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Senior Knitter

Jim's mom celebrated her 90th birthday in Feburary. All but one of her sons made it out for the party we had.

She's still knitting too. She's still making teddy bears, and vests for the bears, and squares for blankets for the "old folks", and baby items for bazzars and fairs. For Christmas, I knit the yoke of a Couronne for her and gifted it to her along with the rest of the yarn to knit the sweater. She got the whole thing done by spring.

To get a great fit on her, I picked a size to fit her shoulders, then after the yoke was finished, I increased on the front to fit her bust. And since I handed it over after dividing for the sleeves and body, there was no weird math for her, just a fun knit to the end of the sweater.

I like how it turned out so well, I've got yarn in the stash to make one for myself.

 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Catch up some more

To continue from yesterday, Jim and I are well. We're both working, and both finding a bit more independance now that the boys are almost adults. We had a lovely week in Ottawa this summer, just the two of us. It was like a second honeymoon.

Friday nights Jim has his freinds come over to play games and I go out knitting with the gang. I'm also a member of the London District Spinners and Weavers and I'm finding the group very inspiring. One of the classes I took was on Baltic cuffs where I learned a new braided cast on. There's a blog post just in that.

Dexter is now nine years and just beginning to show his age. He's still healthy and plays like a puppy, but he's got a bit of arthritis and he doesn't see as well. One weird thing is that instead of getting long in the tooth, his teeth are disappearing. It's a thing that boxers do, their gums just keep on growing. He's still eating and my vet is not worried, so we're leaving well enough alone. The main thing is, he's still got a lot of love to give and you better believe it, he's getting a lot back.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, that pink in the lower right picture, that's his tongue.

 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Catch up

The nice thing about being away from the blog for a while is that I have such a lot of interesting things saved up to write about.

When last I wrote Alex was preparing to go away to Quebec for the summer as part of the YMCA's summer student work exchange. Man! Was that a fun summer! He had a great experience in Quebec and came home more mature and gracious. Here in London we also had a great experience. Our exchange student was a pleasure to host. There were lots of fun events to attend and all the other families in the exchange were just good people. It was an honour to have been a part of the whole thing.

Luke finished a year at Fanshawe college and now he's drifting, working for his dad a bit, looking for work on and off, and keeping house in a slap dash way. Alex graduated high school this year and he lucked into a job working as a camp counsellor for the summer through a Youth Opportunities Unlimited program. He didn't get accepted into the university of his choice so his plan for September is to join the reserves.

It's all I can do to not helicopter parent at this point. My boys are soon to be 18 and 20. It's high time they figured things out for themselves. I want them to try, to fail, to learn, to live their lives as they want. I might not approve of their choices, but I want to give them time and space to figure out who and what they are.

 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

New Toys

I just picked up a keyboard to go with my iPad.  It's a pretty slick set up and I feel a new freedom with my iPad. It made me think of this space.

It's funny how our tools shape our activities. I wouldn't start a blog until I got a digital camera. At that time I was using a desktop computer. Once I bought an iPad I did all my home computing on it and going to the desktop began to feel like a chore.

I don't know if I'm going to be blogging regularly again. I make no promises. But I will show you my newest project of obsession. 

Yeah, I bought a raw fleece. I bought it from the Canadian Wool Growers Co-op (http://www.wool.ca) in Carleton place while in Ottawa. I'm turning it into a very bouncy and soft 3-ply sport weight. The biggest investment required is time and patience.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sucess!

We've landed in some interesting times around here. Luke has started working full time with his dad for the summer, Alex was accepted into the YMCA's Summer Work Student Exchange, and I have landed myself a job. Alex leaves this Saturday, July 29 and I start my new job on Thursday, July 27.

I find Alex's situation to be the most exciting. It's such a wonderful opportunity for him and I sincerely hope he has the time of his life. He'll be living for six weeks with a host family in Otterburn Park, in Quebec, and working at La Maison amérindienne. The YMCA plans outings for the kids and their schedule is packed with fun things to do and see.

In exchange, our family will be hosting the the daughter of the family that is hosting Alex. It's a direct exchange. When we got the notice, I was all: "Yippee! It's a girl!" Her name is Cecilia and she likes fine arts. I'm hoping she likes textiles too. *wink* I'm looking forward to getting to know her, and anticipating all the fun activities that are planned for her. There's a trip to see a play at Stratford, local festivals, a camping weekend, games nights, and more.

In the mean time though, Alex and I have been busy running around town, getting him prepared for his trip. We bought some new clothes, got him some incidentals, and so on. Today, we stopped to reward ourselves with a sushi lunch. Alex had fish on the brain:


I'm just so happy for all of us. It's going to be a great summer!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Dreamy

Boo Knits shawls are dreamy.



The Snow Angel pattern is really well written and the lace has a easily memorized repeat. You just drift along, happily knitting the same repeat along the length of the shawl, and slowly accumulating an intricate looking design.


My Snow Angel was fun to block. You pull out the long points evenly and the shape of the shawl does the rest. I didn't even find the need to try to pin the top part out straight. It just went that way. And even without beads, the points stayed pointy and the shawl has movement.

  
Can you believe, it only took me nine days? It just went by like a dream.