Sunday, November 30, 2008

Making Time

There's so much going on these days what with work, the boys, Christmas preparations and Christmas knitting. I'm often in a state of wondering if there will be enough time to get everything done. To prevent myself from spiraling off into a frantic frenzy of fury (I love alliteration!) I have to make time to savour my accomplishments and do something for me.

So, here's the latest gifties I've finished knitting.

Pattern: Musica
Yarn: Cascade 220
Needles: 4mm
Modification: upsized to fit a big man's hands. Also, removed the lice pattern to make the musical symbols stand out more.

Pattern: Hansa Mittens
Yarn: KnitPicks Palette
Needles: 2.25mm
Modifications: none! It's a perfect pattern. I did have to duplicate stitch over an error. It was quite notifiable, but simple to fix.

Pattern: Argosy
Yarn: Rowan Summer Tweed
Needles: 5mm
Modifications: knit to fit the yarn I had. It's plenty long enough I think.

Not too shabby eh? And there are a few works in progress that aren't represented here, namely traveling socks and a fun fur scarf. Yes, I knit about one fun fur scarf per year and I enjoy it. But a yearly dose is about all I can handle. It will go on the giftie pile.

What's left for Christmas knits is a pair of slippers for my dad and another set of mittens. But I've rebelled and cast on this festive little number instead:

This is Hey, Teach! in that cotton/acrylic blend that didn't work out as a cabled vest. It is such an incredibly fast knit! I cast on Friday night and I've finished both fronts and started the back. I think I could have this finished in time for our knitter's group Christmas potluck on December 7th. Anyone want to take a bet?

And now, a knitting tragedy. The squeamish should avert their eyes. Jo, read on, I know you can stomach it.

Last week I came home from work and found this sitting on the kitchen counter:

Alex could offer no explanation as to how this happened. With big, round eyes, he loudly proclaimed his innocence and ignorance as to the event that triggered the loss of an entire finger. There was a vague statement to the effect that he didn't know that the thread he pulled was attached to the whole thing. I blanched, and dropped the subject. I really don't want to know how it happened because it won't change the end result.

I think I've decided that he doesn't deserve to have it repaired. Both my boys have complained that their beautiful hand knit gloves let the wind blow through. Ingrates. I can't believe I'm still knitting Luke a pair of socks.

To finish on a happier note, here's Dexter playing in the snow. Not nearly as much fun as Doug's been having (scroll down for the money shot, literally), but more comfortable to watch.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Random Tuesday

Well I had a good Monday! Friend and co-worker LaurieB was at a silent auction over the weekend and picked up some yarn at a ridiculously low price. The best bit, it's natural fibers. Here's one:

It's a hairy yarn, thick and thin, with a texture like Lopi. There's fifteen cakes.

The real treasure was this:

Gorgeous color, isn't it? Almost a neon bright, and yet so soft, it's not harsh at all. The fiber seems to be a mohair wrapped with a strand of nylon. It's about a fingering weight I'd say. Here's a closeup:

They're five huge skeins of this and one skein is double sized. It was all I could do not to dive into it right away. My other projects felt bland last night. THANK YOU!!!! LaurieB.

A while back I offered two magazines up for free. I told Laura she could have them, but I haven't heard back from her about how I could get them to her. So Gayle, you were next in line. Laura or Gayle, send me your snail mail, and I'll get the magazines to you. First come, first served.

On Saturday, I was Stumbling through the net when I came across this great poster. I couldn't resist setting it as my desktop wallpaper for the kids to see:
On Sunday morning, the boys walked in on my knitting with smiles on their faces. "Mom", they asked me, "Did you change the computer's wallpaper? That's a great joke!"

I love that they've got a sense of humor.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Whirlwind Knitting

Winter's here in London, Ontario. It started as rain and now we've got snow, blowing snow, snow thunder, and wet snow. It was a good weekend for staying indoors and knitting.

I've been cranking on the gift knitting. I'm thinking to get it out of the way before December and then I can work on something lovely and relaxing when the Christmas crazies hit. I finished up a pair of traveling socks (the ones I carry in my purse so that I am never with out a spot of knitting). They're great man socks, but I'm so over the black and red color way after the boy's gloves too.

The yarn is ONLine Seirra color, 2.25 mm needles, 74 sts around. K3, P1 rib, standard heel flap and the rib continues down the foot. While the ribbing makes for a sock that will fit a wide range of sizes, it's rather annoying to work after a while. My next traveling sock has a plain foot.

To give myself a break from the black and red, I knit this bubble gum pink number.

This shade of pink will tickle the fancy of a little girl's heart and I'm hoping that the grown up style will give it some chic. The yarn is gorgeous to work, as it came from Doug's own sheep, here in Ontario. The pattern is The Dawn of the Cape, Ponchos and Wraps - A Knitter's Dozen. Not done with the pink I moved on to this raspberry number:

The pattern is the Sofia Cowl from One-Skein Wonders and they yarn is Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk. The yarn is so lovely and soft it was a treat to work with. I picked up one ball on sale for $5 , so the cowl came up a bit short. But I don't care. Someone will love to wear this around their neck.

Then it was time to move into the blues. First with white:

This is a free pattern I found on Ravelry called Fingerless Gloves "Musica". I've sized it up to fit a big fella and my other modification was to eliminate the lice patterning around the cleft note. I wove in my contrasting color instead. It peeks through a bit, but not too much.

To be perfectly honest, I don't like it much. The color work is too big and so it looks clunky to me. The recipient will likely still like them, and they are a quick knit, so I will forage on and complete the other. This is more what I like to see in a mitten:

Another free pattern found on Ravelry, called Hansa Mittens, I am utterly in love with this mitten. It's perfect. The design of it, the simple cross pattern that is easy to memorize yet interesting to look at, and the lovely braid offset by the simple hemmed edge. It's worked in Knit Picks palette.

Just for contrast, here's the two of them together:

Some might say I'm too picky, and others may say I'm not picky enough. For me, it's all knitting. So long as someone will get some use out of the finished product, I'm satisfied. But there are some projects that thrill me to the bone and hitting that sweet spot is the thrill of the week.

Here's hoping there's more thrills in store next week.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

S'no Bother

What a mixed up fall we're having. Snow in October, then last week we had sun shine and warm temperatures, now back to blowing cold and grey skies. But it's alright, I pushed through and finished up Luke's mittens in time for a freezing walk to school on Monday.

These gloves are my own pattern, that I'm not even going to try to write up because it's all a blur now. I call them "Snazzy Gloves" because that diagonal on the hand really mesmerizes the eye when worn. Luke was already in bed when I finished them, but I'll try to get him to give me a modeled shot in the morning.

It was a very busy weekend because besides the gloves, I had to take some work home with me. But I still squeezed in some family time and managed to go shopping for boots. During the snow in October, I dug my old pair out and realized that they'll do for walking the dog, but not much else.

I've got hard feet to fit, ladies size 11 or size 10 wide. So I knew needed to shop early to get the best selection. I found a pair at Payless that were cute and almost fit, but sort of pinched on the ball of my foot. The sales lady, bless her, talked me out of buying them. She said, "If they don't fit right now, you won't be happy with them."

So we went to Sears, thinking big store, big selection. We were shocked to discover that they didn't sell any sizes larger than a ten. Jim was very indignant on my behalf.

We cruised through a couple other shoe stores in Masonville Place, but I wasn't prepared to pay $265 for a pair of boots. And the styles were so awful! Suede things with no shape, or sneaker styles that came up the leg all wrapped around with ties. What's with the bondage boots? Anything professional looking comes with spikey heels and skinny legs. Oh, it is frustrating to be a big woman with large feet looking for a sensible boot that fits. So I gave up on women's boots and bought these:

Men's size nine, $79.00. They fit like a dream and I think I'll actually be able to walk in the snow with them. Imagine that!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Froggy came a courtin'...

This has not been a productive week for knitting. Mr. Froggy has called and invited my knits to his charming pond.

First up, the project I was so thrilled about, Cul-de-sac, by Elsebeth Lavold. I tried working it in a cotton/acrylic blend yarn and I don't think it's working out. Just look at the curl:

If this were wool, I'd be confident it could be blocked out. If it were cotton, I'd try to iron it flat. But with an acrylic/cotton blend, I have a strong suspicion that this is how it will lie till the end of time. I still like the yarn, but me thinks it wants to be something else. A garment that doesn't flirt with the curl. "Rip-it, rip-it!" calls Mr. Froggy.

Then last night, I started working on gloves for Luke. He requested red and black as his colors and I even special ordered some red for him from the internet to get just the right shade. Yesterday the cherry red Sisu arrived from the Knitter, so I dashed up to the stash closet and in the dusky light, I grabbed the first dark ball of Kroy that came to hand. But in the bright light of morning, I saw that my haste had made waste. Luke has adamantly refused to accept NAVY and red mittens:

Mr. Froggy has already taken these to his pond and they are no more. But two inches of black cuff have grown onto my needles this morning.

The design is my own, something I scribbled onto a sheet of paper last night that met the approval of my fussy son. So far, the knitting is simple and the design seems striking.

At least when Mr. Froggy comes riding he brings gifts with him. The last week has brought me a wealth of knitting literature.

The magazines were given to me by the friend of a co-worker who is moving and didn't want to move these with her. It was a delightful present to be handed a heavy bag of these great magazines! The old pattern books I picked up at the local library book sale, and the copy of Handknit Holidays I found at Winners for $8.00.

I just can't turn down a cheap pattern book. I'd rather get rid of it later than leave it behind and end up wishing I'd bought it. I must confess to being awful stingy when it comes to buying new books and I think this is the reason why. The good ones stick around and you can usually pick them up a few years later for so much less.

I have two extra magazines that I'm willing to give away since I already own these issues. Anyone interested in them?