Friday, February 29, 2008


Will there, or won't there be enough for a fourth sock?

I intend to knit to find out.

Monday, February 25, 2008


Tonight, I helped make another new knitter. Anne, who I taught to knit last Saturday, brought her daughter Maddie over tonight for her first lesson. I think she likes it.

It was quite a thrill for me to welcome two enthusiastic knitters to the craft.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


It's been one of those weeks; very busy, stressful, and exciting. Here's the source of the brouhaha:

Jim's got a new truck. We weren't quite ready for this purchase, but he couldn't keep driving the old one any longer. Jim has finally got the truck he's always wanted, with the long box, crew cab and V8 engine, so he's a happy guy. Me, I'm not so thrilled because I've recently been put in charge of the family budget, but I'm happy that he's happy.

I did manage to finish the second Trekking XXL sock and I've still got lots of yarn:

The third one is started and ready to be stowed away in my purse.

I also worked on my lace sock and managed to get up to the ankle:

It's a little big I think, but still quite nice. Blu486 asked me about the pattern. Well this is an original design and I don't think I'll be writing up a pattern either, since it is an odd sized one. Besides, I'm selfish. Once in the while I like to have an entirely original knit. Something that nobody else has or will have because I made it up myself. I'm bad. Spank me.

Speaking of original, I found this in an old Knitter's magazine (Spring '92) and if I had the right yarn in my stash I would have cast on right away:

Isn't it amazing?! It's a peacock knitted into a wash cloth. I want to make it just so I can figure out how it was put together. Maybe I'll take a little trip down to the yarn store today. But after I take care of my poor, neglected dog.

I'm so hard done by.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Wind Down

I'm winding down this lovely long weekend, though the wind is picking up. It's Ontario's first ever Family Day and I've got the day off work. I started off the weekend going top speed, doing chores and cleaning the house because we had my Mom, Dad, Brother and his family all over on Sunday for dinner and a visit.

It wasn't all work. Saturday I met a lady at the dog park, who knows that I knit, and wanted to know of any classes in the area. She and her ten year old daughter want to learn so they can make Christmas presents next year. Boy! She asked the right person. That afternoon we met up at London Yarns where I helped her picked out yarn and needles and I taught her right there in the store. She was a joy to teach, confident, asking questions, and enjoying it! It helped that she was willing to buy alpaca to learn on. :-) We'll be getting together again so she can learn the purl stitch and so I can get her daughter started.

While there, I bought myself a little present. A pair of Fiber Trends sock blockers:

They sure do make my socks look nice.

I have a plan with these Trekking socks. I'm trying to see if I can get two pair from the one ball by using a contrasting color for cuff, heel and toe. I'm going to use the same pattern for both pair and then I can put different socks together, giving me lots of variety!

I did rip the lacey red sock and started off again with a different lace pattern. This one is easier to see so it looks better and the pattern is easier to knit. I think it will look even better on, when my foot stretches out the lace.

But it hasn't been all socks all the time. I've been working on a project late at night, or in the quietest of mornings.

This is my second try at the Shetland Garden Faroese Shawl. The first time I didn't get very far before I made such a mistake that I had to rip the whole thing out. You can see that this time I've used life lines, one for every chart I've finished. There are quite a few charts for this shawl. I didn't like it at first because I couldn't get into a rhythm and found the whole thing confusing. I guess I was being hard on myself for not getting it. I read on Raverly how someone found it to be a complicated shawl, and I was like "Oh, so it's not just me!" Then I relaxed and started to enjoy it.

The wind is howling out side, the kids are giggling inside and the dog wants to play ball. Have a happy Family Day everyone!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sharing the Sock Love ... Again

Funny, I've already used the title "Sharing the Sock Love". I must share the love a lot. But it's all good, I'm having fun with socks. I finished another pair, also for my mother-in-law.

Yarn: Elann's Sock it to Me! Collection Puzzle
Needles: 2.25mm
Pattern: 72sts, top down, start with k2 p2 cuff, short row heel (with 6sts increased before and after) and short row toes.

I was talking to my mother-in-law on Sunday night and I mentioned that I was knitting her something for her birthday. Here's the conversation that followed:

MIL: Oh, don't knit me anymore socks.
Laurie: Why? I heard a rumor that you only wear my hand knit socks these days.
MIL: Well, yes, but I can only wear one pair at a time you know.
Laurie: But you need to wash them.
MIL: The ones you gave me at Christmas are nice and soft. I have lots.
Laurie: I'll keep them for myself then.
MIL: Well, if you've already knit them, then you might as well send them over.
Laurie: ?!

Jim says she probably didn't want to be trouble. I'm glad she enjoys the socks though.

Now it's my turn for a pair. I ripped the brown and black ones because I felt I wasn't doing justice to either the pattern or the yarn. Here's the ones Dexter helped me start:

It's the Lacey Anklets pattern from this month's Cast On. The pattern isn't coming across very well and it's not easily mobilizable, so I think I'll rip these too. There are so many pretty lace socks on the net, it seems a shame to waste all that effort and pretty yarn on something that I don't love. (The shells are a lei that my boss brought back from Hawaii for everyone on our team.)

Now this I love:

Good ole Trekking! I get endless amusement from watching the color change. I noticed on Ravelry that some people find their Trekking socks ugly, or are aggravated because it is impossible to make the socks match. I'm exactly the opposite! I love the randomness of it all. It feels more organic somehow.

Here's something else from work. A portrait of Jim and I taken at the company Christmas party. I love this picture of us. We look so good! And that's Frost Flowers and Leaves I'm wearing. I'm glad it's immortalized in this picture.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Whoosh! There Goes the Weekend

Another weekend has just zoomed by. It's been a cold and wintry one too.

Just after I posted about how grey things were, the snow came down with a vengeance, bleaching the landscape with pure white drifts. The weather weighs down on my spirits till I feel flat, like a can of gingerale left out on the counter. I've got no zip, no fizz. At least I'm not depressed.

On Sundays, Dexter and I are taking an obedience class just outside the city of London. Today, the snow was blowing across the road reducing the visibility to nil. I've never driven in worse. We made it to class just fine, and so did the rest of the dogs and their owners. I'm glad we did because the class was great! Dexter is learning some agility techniques. He's done the ramp, the tunnel and today it was weaving through the poles. Plus, there were strange dogs today, which would have set him off before, but now, he was a well mannered gentleman. Perhaps we will do some real agility training after this class.

I managed to finish a pair of socks this week. A plain pair that will be a birthday present for my mother-in-law. I think she'll enjoy the bright colors.

Yarn: Kroy Crazy Stripes
Needles: 2.25mm
Pattern: 72sts, short row toe and heel, ribbed leg (k3, p1) 4 rows of k1, p1 at the very top so I could finish them off with a tubular sewn bind off, which makes for a very stretchy edge.

One sock off the needles, one sock on the needles. Dexter helped me start a new sock.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Truth About Canadian Winters

Canada is sometimes known as "The Great White North" and while we often have lovely drifts of pure white sparkling snow, the truth is that winter in Canada is predominately grey. The last few weeks have been cloudy, foggy and stormy. Here's tonight's storm warning.

But we'll take it in stride. I'm sure I'll be at work tomorrow. I took this picture on my way in to work this morning, at 9:00 am. Notice the looming clouds, sad residual snow banks, and how the car's headlights are on.

We Canadians dress to blend into our landscape. Perhaps it's a survival trait, learned from our forbearers. Here you can see students blending into the landscape with their drab colored clothing.
Perhaps another reason for drab colors is because they hide the dirt. Canadian winters are messy. As evidence, I present Jim's hat:

It's not nearly as pretty as when it first came off the needles. At first I was disappointed, but then I realized that this is a knit that was doing its job. My hardworking husband has warm ears despite the wind's chill because of the work of my hands. Woot! Besides, it's super wash wool. We'll throw it into the machine this weekend.

But the grey winter and lack of color in my life has led me to some color choices in my knitting that I wouldn't normally make. Last weekend's hat, for example, is much brighter and uses more colors than is normal for me. Here's another example:

I love the pattern, I love the colors in Doug's handpainted yarn, and I'm having a lot of fun knitting this. But late last night I looked up from my work and though "yech, too busy".

The grey weather is beginning to impair my judgment and wear on my mood. I'm very prickly lately. Jim just has to look at me wrong and I go into a huff. Tonight I decided I needed some comfort food. Here's the recipe, in case you need a pick-me up too.

Unbaked Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
pinch of salt
3 cups raw rolled oats (quick cooking kind)
1/2 tsp extract

Mix first five ingredients and heat on high, stirring constantly. Let mixture boil three minutes. Remove from heat, add extract and rolled oats. Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper.

I like to experiment with the extract. Tonight we had peppermint. Yumm.

We ate them all.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

The Quest for Warm Ears

Friday night I decided I want a warm hat, which was a good thing because on Saturday morning a little doggie stole my other one.

My regular hat for walking the dog is a revised version of Shedir, made from a mohair blend. It's comfortable, stylish and warm. But when those arctic winds start blowing it is entirely insufficient. After a walk in the wind, my head and ears were aching. My husband was wearing his Triple Patterned Watch cap in the windy cold and reported that his ears were just fine. So I decided to make myself one.

While I really like the original, I decided to get funky with it by incorporating some different designs from the book Small Sweaters. I really love that book. One day, I'm going to knit some lucky kid a sweater from that book! Though I've also contemplated making an adult sweater by using a heavier gauge yarn. In the mean time, I find a lot of inspiration from the colors and patterns.

This is a stash buster hat, because I used leftovers from Jim's watch cap and another hat from Charlene Church's Hat's On! book that I had modified. The yarn is Mission Falls 1824 Wool, which is a soft super wash. I used all four different colors in this design and I have less than a skein combined as leftovers. It gave me great satisfaction to use that yarn up!

Besides the patterning, another modification to the hat is the picot turn. The pattern asks you to purl a row, but I wanted to see what it would look like with a picot turn. Because I also changed colors, I think the edge looks like it has little beads. The total effect is a folksy, feminine hat. And it sure is warm! Wouldn't you know it, the temperature went up?

I slipped on the ice Saturday morning at the dog park, and a chocolate lab was giving me kisses, so my hat fell off. A little Jack Russel scooped it up quick as a wink and took off. He had to hold his head high so he could run with it, and he had to run because all the other dogs started chasing him. I was stuck on the ice still because I was laughing so hard. But some nice gentlemen helped me up and the owner of the Jack Russel caught his dog and rescued my hat. So Sunday I was wearing my new hat, even though it was too warm, because I hadn't had a chance to wash the doggy one yet.