Wednesday, August 29, 2007

You can't get much luckier than this...

I chose to knit on the Halcyon Aran sleeve last night and I was still fired up about it this morning. See how much I've got done:

Starting with a sleeve is great! It made a great swatch, and I still have the excitement of starting the main body before me as an enticement. But I'm going to have to put it away, because my yarn from Jamieson and Smith arrived today.

The flattened ball band on the left is from the last ball I knit onto the shawl. See those lot numbers? They match up, every one of them. You should have heard the noise I made! WOW! So now I can finish up my Frost Flowers and Leaves shawl and I don't even have to rip back what I started.

I'm going to contact those nice people in Scotland and give them a big Canadian thank you.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Hot Again

Thoughts of knitting an Aran have been driven out of my head tonight by the warm temperatures. I took Dexter for a walk in the woods after work. It's cooler in the woods and he loves to romp in there. It must be dog heaven with all the lovely smells in the earth. Yet even as I was sticky with sweat, I noticed red leaves on the ground. Funny weather.

Further heat comes from the Sunbeam Socks I finished tonight!

Pattern: Lacey Socks, from Folk Socks
Yarn: Hill Country Yarns, Sweet Feet
Needles: 2mm

They're so sunny, I hope that they drive away the grey winter blahs for my mother. Since her birthday is October 30th, they are just too appropriate for her.

The pattern was interesting, and it did a good job of mixing up the variegation in the yarn. With only two colors, I think I would have gotten some serious stripes with this yarn. But there is a lot of knitting involved, and it uses up a great deal of yarn. These would fit a women's size 10 foot and even with the short ankle, I used up almost the entire skein of Sweet Feet. For those purled rows, you have 102 stitches on the needles. Yowza!

I wonder what I'm going to knit tonight? It's time to get off the computer and find out.

Monday, August 27, 2007

I Succumbed

I'm dreaming of a thick Aran sweater to wear when walking the dog. I started the sleeve, but instead it's a swatch. My gauge is off, and I don't like the transition between the rib and the first ring of the circular cable. But I love the color of the yarn, Black Water Abbey's silver, and I'm moderately excited about the pattern which is Halcyon Aran. Though my thoughts keep straying to Alice Starmore's designs, or a Lavold pattern, or even Rogue (for the third time). So I may go astray yet...

Anyway, back to socks for me. The Sunbeam socks are almost to the toe, so I aim to finish them this week. But if my red Sheltand wool doesn't arrive soon, I know what I'll be knitting next weekend....

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Knitting on the Fly

My mother-in-law's cozy vest is done and I made it with a handful of yarn to spare.

Pattern: my own
Yarn: Sirdar Denim Ultra - 5 skeins
Needles: 10 mm (I had to put two cables together on my Boye needles to get all the way around this bad girl.)

I don't remember who it was that said, "the knitting will tell you what to do", but I often find that to be true. In this case, the heaviness of the yarn didn't work well with cables or ribbing, so I used the simplest of edgings.

I also achieved the nirvana of a no-sew project since I knit the garter-stitch edges as I went, used a three-needle bind off for the shoulders, and knit on further garter-stitch edges at the top of the neck. I wish I'd had a bit more yarn to do a garter border on the armholes, but at least I slipped my edges, so they look nice and clean.

I've decided not to bother with entering my knitting in the Fair this year. I'm just too busy right now! The nice thing about this is that I got to wear my Oregon vest to work this past week. The cooling system turned the office I share with three co-workers into a meat cooler. It's fixed now, but there's nothing like wearing Shetland wool to give you a hint that summer is on it's last legs.

I was dreaming of casting on something new this weekend, but I think I'll stick with finishing somethings up instead. I'm in no danger of running out of things to knit.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Going to Extremes

I've never had two such extreme gauge projects going on at the same time before. It's kinda spicy!

The Sirdar Yarn is an ultra chunky, and that has drastically limited what I could do with it. I decided on the simplest vest possible, and if I run out of yarn, I'm going to rip to the arm holes and knit it up as a baby blanket. Although I'm most comfortable with the lighter weight yarns, I'm enjoying the super cushy fabric this yarn is making.

I have some other happy news to share. Last week I signed Dexter's adoption papers, transfered his ownership, and bought him his liscence. He's officially ours now! Yeah! Puppy pictures for all.

Finally, I'd like to announce that I received a small promotion at work and I'm now the Team Lead for the Technical Publications department.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Ah me, I had fun playing with all that new stash, photographing it, and getting its stats. I've already cast on with some of it too. Can you guess which one I started with?

But before I let myself cast on, I finished up the Earth socks:

They are destined for my brother-in-law, George, as a Christmas present. I think the earthy colors are especially appropriate for him since he works in a green house and enjoys fishing and skiing.

I also finished up one of the Sunbeam socks:

I was thinking that these would be for my mom for her birthday in October. She used to have wallpaper in the kitchen that was yellow and orange like this, so I thought she'd enjoy them. But they ended up fitting me perfectly! My mom's feet are smaller than mine.

Also, I don't have much confidence in this yarn. It is Hill Country Yarns, Sweet Feet, and while it feels soft and cushy, the strand that was dangling from my cast off, didn't fare very well in use. It fuzzed up a whole lot. Take a look. The orange strand is fresh off the ball, and the yellow one was dragged around for two weeks, being knit.

click for bigger

I think I'll just keep these socks for myself and use them gently. Maybe as bed socks. They certainly feel luscious on my feet.

But all this is mere distraction as I wait for my yarn to come over the sea to me. I'm patiently anticipating the finish for my shawl.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I'm so High, I swear I can Fly

Whooo weee! I'm still flying high on the yarn buys.

Last night, Mary Jane and I struck out for Ancaster to the Needle Emporium's mega Tent Sale. I was a yarn sale virgin, and wow! what a way to go. Just look at our smiles:

Now, I don't ordinarily talk about my yarn purchases here. Everyone has different budgets and I don't want to compare my stash to anyone else's. But the yarn prizes I collected yesterday are just too good not to talk about.

In bag number one we have:

Handpainted Alpaca


30% Possum, 70% Merino

I've got 6 skiens for a quick-knit vest for my mother-in-law for Christmas.

Ankle socks

I picked up 20 balls of this.

Someone said, "Oh, you got all the Noro? I saw it earlier and thought I'd come back for it." And I was like, "Why the heck didn't you snap it up!" But I did give her the lone skein of Blossom. Aren't I nice?

70% Alpaca, 30% Merino - 9 skeins. I want to have a shrug from this.

All of the yarns you saw above fit into one bag and cost me $150 minus a 10% discount because I paid cash. I'm floored. I love these yarns! It's gonna be a fun winter.

Now the following yarn was a little extra (okay, a BIG extra) that I just couldn't resist. Rowan yarn, at $10 for the 100g skein and $5 for the 50g skien.

Urban Aran for Jim.

Gotta be a Shedir.

I've been basking in the glow of this all day. It was a lot of fun to take pictures of it all. Now I think I'll go post it on Ravelry.

Monday, August 13, 2007


It was pretty disappointing to realize that I can't complete my Frost Flowers and Leaves shawl until I get more yarn. I'm not really expecting the yarn I ordered to be the same dye lot as the rest of the shawl and Jim pointed out that I can at least have all the edging knit from the same dye lot. I think this is a smart idea. It puts an element of design around a necessity. But it does mean that I may have to rip out what I've done on the edging so far.

I consoled myself this weekend by knitting a sock.

And playing with my flying dog.

That's two FOs for you: a finished object and a flying object! Ha ha! I'm SOOoooo funny. :p

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Sweet Feet

My Sockapalooza socks arrived yesterday! What a nice way to end the week.

My sock pal, Chrissy, did a great job. She even designed the pattern herself. I really like the baby cables and the ribbing ensures a snug and comfortable fit. The yarn colors are beautiful and the socks feel so cozy. Chrissy, they fit perfectly and the cuff is exactly my preferred length. Thanks for such an awesome pair of socks!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Oh Dear....

I don't think I'm going to have enough yarn for the edging. I haven't even turned the first corner yet and it took half a ball of yarn to get this far. I have one ball left. I'm going to call Jamieson and Smith tomorrow and order some more, but I don't think it will get here in time for me to finish this project up before the fair.

You know, I don't care as much as I used to. I'll still have a beautiful blanket sooner or later. The dyelots might not match, it might not get a ribbon, but I'll still have a lovely piece of knitting and sooner or later I'll make the perfect shawl.

I think it may be that Dexter is helping me to be a more relaxed person. He makes me laugh, he makes me exercise, and he helps me to live in the moment. I have a very good head on my shoulders, but it does like to spin. By that I mean that I get ideas in my head that go round and round and wind me up. Once upon a time, I used to think about food all the time. More recently it has been knitting. But now, when I'm with Dexter on a walk, I have to be present in the moment and I'm learning to extend that to other parts of my life. I really like being the more mellow me.

On the other hand, it could just be that I'm still relaxed from vacation..... What do you think?

Monday, August 06, 2007

Vacation's Over

It's back to work tomorrow and I'm ready. I took Dexter for many walks today so he'll be tuckered out tomorrow. Hopefully he'll just sleep and not miss me much.

I'm glad you all find Dexter as entertaining as we do. He does have so much personality in him and we're seeing more of it as he gets comfortable in our home. I've uploaded another video to YouTube for the Dexter fan club.

I finished up the knitting I wanted to get done, too. I'm now working the border on Frost Flowers and Leaves.

The blue at the bottom is some waste knitting that is going to help me graft the lace together. Following an excellent post from Ted, I first knit a few rows of lace in one yarn, then switched to a second yarn, the white, to knit the row that will be the graft. The theory is that when I reach the grafting stage, I will merely have to follow the path of the white yarn through both the shawl yarn and the waste yarn to get a perfect graft.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Sunday Slog

Ye gads, it's like knitting through molasses! I've got six more rounds to go on my Frost Flowers and Leaves Shawl. I wanted to get it done before the end of vacation, but I don't know if I can make it. We have to clean the house tomorrow, because we sure as heck didn't during our vacation! Cross your fingers for me people, and pray for my sanity. These last rounds are the most boring in the entire thing, and it doesn't help much to know that my reward for slogging through them is endless rows of edging.

You know what else? The Regia sock is too small. I should have known better and I can only assume that the pressure of a family road trip got to me. They don't even fit my skinny boy. But I haven't taken the time to rip it because I'm dedicated to that darned shawl.

I had to put Dexter's ball in time out, because he wants to play constantly. Only now he's another kind of distraction.

Can't you just see the gears turning? I swear, that dog thinks that he can move that ball with the force of his mind.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

There and Back Again - the short version

I'm back! Did you miss me? Aw, I'll bet you didn't even notice I was gone. The internet sure as heck went on without me. :-)

We went to Canada's Wonderland on Thursday and came back Friday afternoon. This was our one big splurge on our family vacation. We took Dexter to a kennel and headed out late Thursday morning. We got into Toronto at lunch, picked up our tickets from the HoJo and had lunch before heading off to play. It was a really hot day, so we spent most of our afternoon at Splash Works. After dinner and a shared funnel cake, we squeezed in some more rides before we melted. Alex has discovered his calling as a roller coaster ride warrior.

It was the kid's first time to stay in a hotel and they were pretty excited about it. We swam in the hotel pool that evening and the next morning before heading back to London.

Of course I had to start a new sock for the road trip. It's a 60 stitch sock intended for my brother-in-law for Christmas, knit from some Regia I picked up on sale. I think I'll call it the Road sock.

I really like the way the heel isn't interrupting the stripe pattern. I took great care to make that happen.

Since rides aren't really my thing, the family agreed to a side trip to Mary Maxim on the way home. I'd never been to their retail store, so it was a nice little trip. I was very restrained in my spending, and only bought some souvenir sock yarn and some feltable wool that was on sale. I'm saving my yarn money for the Needle Emporium's tent sale.

I love the earthy, natural colors of this sock yarn and I like not knowing how the stripes will knit up. I get great entertainment from watching the pattern unfold.

Right after she finished writing the pattern, I ordered Anne's Bee Fields shawl kit and it arrived on Thursday morning.

Isn't the yarn yummy? I'm looking forward to doing a real shawl, using soft merino laceweight, instead of the heavy, stringy, Shetland jumperweight I have been working with.

Now to clean, organize, and get ready for back to work. Thank goodness I have a long weekend to do it in, so I can squeeze some relaxation in there too!