Sunday, December 30, 2007


I've finished up my neck warmer and taken it for a test drive.

Pattern: Flared Lace Smoke Ring - modified for a heavier yarn. I used seven repeats instead of twelve and I knit it much shorter.
Needles: 6 mm
Yarn: Alpaca Cashmere Tweed

It works as expected and was ready quickly. I think I'd like one in laceweight one day. I wore it this morning during Dexter's daily walk at our local dog park. Trying to walk at the dog park today was futile due to the ice that coated all the paths. We would have been better off with skates on our feet. It's funny to watch the dogs skid out though.

I've finished one Chalet sock and I'm turning the heel on the second one, so my thoughts are turning towards my next project. I'm waffling between a really large project, or another something small, but for me. During the Christmas knitting I kept thinking how I'd like a warmer hat, or a new pair of mittens or a pair of boot socks. But I've been sorting through my magazines, including the ones I got from Ted at FibreFest North and I've made some discoveries. For example in a 1986 issue of Interweave Knits, I found the Rib Warmer pattern, including a variation with sleeves. Also, an afghan by Nicky Epstein that has a different square for each season, all done in intarsia!

I should take my time, and perhaps finish up some other things on the needles, such as Lizard Ridge or perhaps that long neglected Lopi Sweater. I don't relish doing fair isle sleeves though.

Well, I'm sure I will sort myself out in time.... In the meantime, I'm having fun trolling through Ravelry and my magazines.

Hey, if you like to read about sheep and sheep-herding, then you might like to check out Shepard Chik's Musings. I particularly enjoyed the pictures of the fleeces. They looked good to my ignorant eye.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Recap -2007

It was a good year for me. The Fiber Fish Mitten pattern sold very well at the start of 2007 which gave me some disposable income to spend on yarn. I feel very fortunate that so many people appreciated and purchased the pattern. With the proceeds, I purchased the Oregon Vest kit from Alice Starmore. This piece was a pleasure to knit and I'm proud to wear it any where.

This was the year of Ravelry. It is amazing what a powerful resource it has become. I find myself going to it to look for patterns, to make decisions about yarn substitutions and to keep track of my own modifications and variations. I look forward to the day that they open it up to the public for viewing. Long live Ravelry!

2007 was the first year for FibreFest North; a high point in my year. I went to the Needle Emporium's Tent sale for the first time, and we welcomed Dexter to our home.

My project tally for 2007 is:
  • 9 sweaters
  • 8 hats
  • 3.5 pairs mittens
  • 2 pairs felted clogs
  • 2 scarves
  • 2 dish rags
  • 2 small bags
  • 2 shawls
  • 18 pairs of socks
You can see the whole set on Fickr. Out of that list, I gave away 16 items as Christmas presents.

Friday, December 28, 2007

A Bunch of Nothing Much and a Review

I didn't get any knitterly presents for Christmas, but I did get the speakers I was asking for.

We haven't had a good sound system in the house for a little while, so this is a present the whole family can enjoy. I really missed being able to dance with my husband and kids. The sound is very clear, with no distortion at loud volumes, and it's got a handy dandy little remote too.

I worked very hard at doing nothing much yesterday. This involved a long bath, and a serious game of Life Twists and Turns with my Alex and his friend. Life T&T was high on Alex's wish list and I was reluctant to buy it because we already had SpongeBob Life, but I'm really glad we did. Life T&T offers more choices, more opportunity for strategy and is very family oriented. While earning a good wage is an important part of the game, you won't win unless you also put adventure and family into your game. The Life Pod takes away the learning experience of managing your cash and adding things up, but it makes up for it by doing away with clutter and sheer convenience. Go checkout the online version of this game!

Now for some knitting. I gave each of my parents a pair of socks for Christmas, but my Dad's pair were too small. No worries though, Mom snagged them. So I let Dad go stash diving for yarn for a new pair and he picked this:

It took me four tries to discover how this yarn wanted to be knit! It's Schaefer Anne and the mohair means that textured stitches look yucky. Also, it wants to be knit tightly, which means I had to add a few extra stitches. I'm doing 76 stitches for the leg and I'll do 80 for the foot since my Dad's foot is a triple-E. I find it amazing how different the color way looks in the skien compared to knitted up.

I want a neck warmer for myself. I've discovered that scarves are no good at the dog park because the doggies want to bite them! I wanted to make the Flared Lace Smoke Ring, but I need the warmer quick, so I decided to do it in a heavier yarn:

This is Alpaca Cashmere Tweed. I took out 5 repeats of the pattern and it looks to be wide enough. But I don't think I'll do the 18 inches the pattern calls for. It would be too bulky in this weight of yarn.

Next up, I should do an inventory of the gifts I knitted this year as well as my best and worst projects of the year. Maybe. After I get done doing a whole lot of nothing.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Home for the Holidays

Christmas well and truly did me in. Yesterday I had two naps. Two! But I'm beginning to feel like myself again. I think everyone enjoyed their presents.

Including my Mom:

I knit her the Foliage hat from Knitty, using Doug's yarn. It was exactly the right color and nice and soft. My Mom kept petting it and commenting on how soft it was. Here's a better shot of the hat.

I also got plenty of knitting done on Doug's socks. I wanted to knit him something with a lot of detail in it. So I chose Nancy Bush's Chalet socks:

I'm using Regia Silk which shows of the twisted stitches beautifully and the material itself is lovely and soft. I also know from experience that it wears really well, making durable, long lasting socks.

This pattern is sized for a woman, and I personally find Nancy's socks fit a bit small. So I went up a needle size (and then down two needle sizes for the heel flap) and I also added 8 stitches to the whole thing.

But I lost your size measurements Doug. What size shoe do you wear?

We're having some more lovely winter weather today:

I'd love to send this stuff your way Jo, but I'm afraid we're keeping it for ourselves. It was lovely walking Dexter at the dog park in this light fluffy snow fall. So peaceful, and so nice to know that I still have time off work to enjoy my family and friends.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I wish you and yours a fun and happy holiday!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

We have a Hat

I've finished another gift! I'm afraid that this one is not very photogenic. It is however a perfectly lovely hat and I'm very pleased with it.

Pattern: Harald Watch Cap by Elsebeth Lavold
Yarn: Naturally Yarns Merino & Fur
Needles: 4.5mm

Luke volunteered his head so you all could have a better look.

The yarn was lovely and soft to work with. It looks like it's a single ply, but instead it's 10-ply. I do notice that it doesn't have the same boing factor of regular merino. It doesn't pull in so tight. But there's still plenty of give in the hat. The pattern was great too. The cables gave me something interesting to look forward to after knitting over 6 inches of k2 p2 rib.

The hat is for my Dad, to go along with his Christmas gloves. I'd been debating with myself for a while about knitting my parents hats too. But now with a knit war on.... It seems my mind was made up with me.

Next up, a hat for Mom.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Christmas Memory

This blog post brought back memories. I remember Luke's grade one concert very vividly.

I suspect the teachers knew what was going to happen, but as Luke's parents, we hadn't a clue. They had tried to hide him by placing him in the back row, but it was still very noticeable that one boy was going along to his own beat.

At first, everything went as expected. A line of adorable children snaked behind the teacher as she marched up to the podium. They all took their places on the choir risers and the concert began. As the music began to play, Luke began to look around him. Then he looked behind him. Then he started to roll his head around and around. Soon he was rising up and down in time to the music. After a while, he didn't bother with the music. He'd slowly drop down, and then pop! back up again.

Jim and I watched helplessly from the audience. Jim whispered to me, "Maybe nobody will notice." I whispered back "Are you kidding me? That's all anybody has noticed."

That was a good seven years ago now and I don't believe I was right. Oh, I'm sure everyone noticed, but I'm also sure that they were very busy watching their own children. It's funny how things like that seem so much worse at the time.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

'Tis the Season....

For holiday parties:

All dolled up for the company do.

Knitting gifts:

Socks for the mother-law.

Snow storms:
We've got twice this much now.

Trimming the tree:
Better than battling the snow.

And special memories:
Made with love, by Alex. Cause mom loves yarn.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Gifts and War

Well, I'm not off to a very good start. I've finished up the mystery knit and I'm afraid it just won't do. Oh it's a very nice thing of it's kind. Whatever kind of thing it is. But it's not the kind of thing I want it to be. Confused? I don't blame you. So is this knit.

It's a felted bag, and I intended it for Jim to use to store his D&D dice. But it's much too big. And I over felted it so you can't really see the texture of the cables. It's a good thing I used outline stitch on the sigils, or you wouldn't even be able to see them.

On the other hand, this bag is just about the right size to carry around a sock project. And the heavy felting would mean that your needles would stay in. Perhaps I can use it as a Christmas present anyway...

Because I need all the ammo I can get. Anne Hanson has signed up for the Knitting war, and she truly is a famous blogger. Plus she's getting other knitters in on the act. Here's a quote from her blog:
anyone who wants to join the benefactors to add $5 for every gift i finish can do so by going to the war blog and leaving a comment that says:
I’M IN for knitspot. my blog/email address is [your address].
please (and respectfully) don’t leave the comment here—they will not see it.
But if you feel you'd rather root for an underdog. A scrappy fighter who's determined to give it a go, even with the odds stacked against her, well then, you may just want to head on over to the war blog and leave a comment saying I'm in for Issues with Knitting! (don't forget to add your blog and e-mail).

As for my choice of charity, it's the United Way. I don't talk much about my charitable giving, because it's just the way I was raised, but I believe that charity begins at home. My donation comes off every paycheck I get from work.

Jim and I lived as the working poor for five years. We made do on one income during the time I was a stay at home mom. We did without and it was worth it for me to be home with my kids. But I know what it's like to live in a country of wealth and to have very little. I would try to remind myself that compared to many people in the world I had so much! A roof, food, and medical care. But every little bit extra was still welcome. Like a free preschool.

The United Way supports the preschool at Crouch Library. I took the kids there three times a week when I was a stay at home mom, and I found freinds, support and playmates for my boys there.

So here's the deal. If you leave a comment on the Knitting War blog saying you're in for Issues with Knitting, I will put your name in a draw for a yarn prize. I have some Sea Silk in the stash that I am willing to sacrifice for a good cause.

You see, I'm very blessed. I have plenty and I like to share. For example, I must shout out a big thank you to Doug the Soxophone Player for the gift he sent me in the mail.

I love all the lovely soft yarns, but my heart has been stolen by the purple tencel blend. I know Doug hand dyed it and it has the most gorgeous, subtle variations. Doesn't it just whisper "lace socks" in elegant tones? That brown sock yarn is going to be such a pleasure to knit. It's soft and the colors are rich and warm. Plus those girly, squishy skeins will keep me very warm I'm sure. I'll bet I could get a nice hat, mitt and neckwarmer set out of them.

That's enough for one blog post! I must return to my needles.....

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Time for Peace and a Time for War

At Christmas we all wish for Peace on Earth. But today in my in-box I found this:
1,2,3,4 I declare a KNITTING WAR…………………………..YOU have been chosen…should you choose to accept this mission, you will receive your orders soon….via your blog….your war will be against another yet fun and famous knitter.
What are the details you say… see who can finish ALL Christmas knitting before Christmas……the reward for winning this war you ask……a donation of $5 per winners project to afore mentioned charity of their choice…….anyone wishing to join in must sign in to whomever’s blog they represent by stating “I’M IN” this means they too will meet with every finished project $5 to the charity of winners choice. The secret agents at hand will be keeping track of whose who. I cannot tell you who these 3 people are….well, I could, but then I would have to take all your stash so mumms the word ‘eh.
So strong warrior…………… you choose or not!!!!
P.S. If you accept you must post this exact email on your blog with my name blurred out please:) Your instructions will follow with your answer…..we’re waiting…………….

Well! At first I didn't know what to make of this. And then I thought, "Famous? Who me?" But you know, there are times when we must fight. Against disease, poverty, prejudice, and unhappiness. This is a war I'm willing to take on.

I'm girding my needles and preparing for battle. Bring it on! Are you with me?


This emblem is the sigil of happiness. Taken from Viking Patterns for Knitting by Elsebeth Lavold.

I had a great deal of happiness yesterday with my peeps. Knitters are such fun! It was one of the best parts of the holidays.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Drive-by Blog Post

This weekend I turned 3 heels, so now I'm on the final legs of my Christmas knitting (mischievous twinkle for bad pun). But last night while walking the dog, inspiration hit so now I'm working on this:

But I can't tell you any more about it because of this:

Knitterly presents! I'm a party girl today because I'm meeting my knit-buddy Mary Jane for lunch and then it's the knit club's pot luck tonight.

Have to share this:

Dexter has decided my feet make a good pillow. I'm sure the hand knit socks help.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

More Fun!

Hmm.. I'm having a great Saturday too. First, Dexter and I were off to the dog park. We stayed for an hour because we were having such a good time. After breakfast, I've made a pot of rice and beans for tonight's supper. Jim's gone all afternoon to play games at a friend's house, so I'm going to bake. But before all that, I finished a pair of mittens this morning.

Helgi's Mittens by Nancy Bush from Knitting in Eastonia
Shelridge Farms Soft Touch
2.75 mm bamboo

I wanted to use the last of the yarn from my mom and dad's mittens and I was hoping to get one more pair. But these call for more stitches at a tighter gauge so I left the thumbs for last. As it was, I had to sub in some sock yarn for the last 8 rows on one mitt. You can't see it at all. Anyway, I was not at all confident I would have enough yarn, so I decided to leave the thumbs for last.

And then, inspiration hit! Sore thumb mittens!

Tee hee! These crack me up! I used some alpaca left over from Alex's socks so the thumbs are very soft and should be very warm. I can't do stranded work with a cut thumb, so I needed a yarn that could stand on its own. Jim wasn't too sure about the whole idea, but I'm really glad I went for it.

Now, off to bake. I hope your Saturday is fun too.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Quick Fun on Friday

I'm having a delightful Friday evening. I just finished up a quick little knit while watching my favourite Christmas special ever: Frosty the Snowman!

This show is as old as I am. I have fond memories watching it as a child, and it still makes me giggle and smile to watch it now.

Here's the little hat I finished:

Pattern: Beaufort Hat
Yarn: Cascade 220
Needles: 4mm Addi Turbos

On Wednesday night I cut my finger pretty deep. Bad enough that I thought I was going to need stitches. I cut the index finger of my left hand with a knife slash when chopping some lettuce for Dexter's dinner. I'd just come back from walking him and I was in a hurry to sit down and knit. Haste makes waste, as the saying goes.

Needless to say, there was no knitting on Wednesday night. Thursday I went to work and found I could type and use my finger just fine. So I figured, if I can type, dang it, I can knit! Last night, I tried picking up my mittens again, but I found the two color needle work to be too hard. I needed a simple quick project that wouldn't task my finger. So I cast on the Beaufort Hat.

There was something about this pattern, that I just wanted to make it from when I first saw it. And it didn't disappoint. Quick, fun, and really pretty. I knew it would come out small, but there's a ton of stretch in it. Here it is on my son's head:

I was thinking of giving it to one of the teachers. Do you think it's too small? She has straight, black hair and I think it would look really pretty on her. Shouldn't a lace hat fit tight so that the lace is exposed?

Oh, and my finger is just fine. It feels a bit numb, but it's not swollen, or gaping and everything looks just as it should. Considering. Please excuse me if that was too much information. I was really worried for a while there, and I'm delighted that everything is turning out okay.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Rug Backing

Quite a few people wanted to know about the rug backing that I paint onto the soles of the Felted Clogs.

I bought this Rug Backing at Walmart, in their crafts section, about two years ago. Other people in London, Ontario, have told me that they can't find it there anymore. The name at the top of the canister says M.C.G. Textiles, Rug Backing by Saf-T-Bak and it is available at Amazon.

Here's what the product description says:

Saf-T-Bak will make your rugs highly resistant to sliding. Saf-T-Bak will increase the life of your rugs. It stays on after repeated washings: anchors loops and fibers thus preventing unraveling and tuft loss. It helps your rugs retain their shape and protects the base from moth damage. Saf-T-Bak elimintes wrinkles, adding bulk and texture. A small amount of Saf-T-Bak applied to frayed edges prevents further fraying.

It's a "water emulsion of synthetic rubber". I've washed my slippers and they came out just fine. They don't slip when I walk on wet floors. The only problem I can see is that it's white, which shows the dirt. Other than that, I highly recommend it.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Showing the Love

My youngest son, Alex, has a brother who demands and requires a lot of attention because of his ADD and Tourette's. So sometimes, Alex does his own things to demand attention. There was one time when he was six or so, and he wanted me to play a game with him, but I was just finishing up a really absorbing book. Which I don't do that often... Anyway, he was so frustrated with me putting him off that he started to take scissors to the curtains, right where I could see him! After a little time out, I gave him a book to read beside me. We shared a snack, and when I'd finished reading the last couple of pages, then we played a game.

So the other day, when I finished Luke's slippers, I could tell Alex was disappointed. I don't know why I did Luke's first. If I was thinking of it, I would have done Alex's first because it really makes no difference to me. But I could tell it made a difference to Alex. So Sunday morning I started, and by Sunday evening at bedtime I had two slippers for my boy.

This morning he helped me felt them:

The big smiles made it worth it.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Decision is..... Knit On with Confidence!

You guys are awesome, thanks for your support and feedback on my lapghan (nice word debi). I'm going to carry on. The Noro was bought on sale, so this is a perfect place to experiment. I'm going to take the risk! Extreme knitting bay-bee!

I had fun on Friday. At lunch, I thought I'd go see about a gift for my husband and the necessary store is right next to my local yarn store. Well, the store for my husband had moved, but the yarn store was having a book sale! YES! I had so much fun picking through their offerings and I got some great bargains. I went back to work that afternoon with a spring in my step and a smile on my face.

I bought Big Girl Knits, which seems like a book I should have on my shelf (wink) and Lucy Neatby's Knitting Essentials 2. The book I loaned to a co-worker for the weekend, but I sat down to watch the DVD this afternoon. I think Lucy's done an awesome job of it. The instructions are clear, and you can see everything very easily. I found that most of the techniques I had already taught myself, but Lucy had a few tricks I hadn't seen before. I also bought three magazine back issues and six pattern leaflets, including Fiber Trends shawl patterns. The whole business was ridiculously cheap, or I wouldn't have bought so much so close to Christmas.

I've got a ton of knitting on the needles, but here's something that came off them tonight:

The Ubiquitous Fiber Trends Felted Clogs

These are for my eldest son. I ran out of yarn twice. The first was the green, which I just bought in the fall. It's Lion Brand Felting wool, so I just ran out to Micheal's to get some more. But the second time I ran out of yarn was on the navy which I picked up on sale at Walmart three years ago. So I improvised:

Since I'll be painting non-skid rug backing onto these, I don't think anyone will be the wiser. We'll let this be our little secret, m'kay?