Friday, December 31, 2010

It's all a blur

Whoa.  Christmas was like...

So much fun! But so fast, and then it was time to rest.  The week between Christmas and New Years was for quiet, time for my husband and boys, and yes, time for knitting for me.

The yarn bowl was made by my mom and it's very handy when the ball of yarn gets too light to handle a pull for more yarn.  The pink yarn is Kroy that I dyed up using food coloring.  I was after red, but this was a happy accident and I'm enjoying using it for this project.  I didn't use heat, just let the yarn sit in the dye over night and found the color exhausted the next morning.  It has subtle shading in it that I love.

But I must run, there is more fun to be had.  Our boys are having a New Year's Eve party again this year.  I shall see you all again in the New Year.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It ends well...

So busy! Work is slammin' me with ends to tie and projects to wrap up.  Still knitting up odd bits of the stash for Christmas though.  Here's the output (details on my Ravelry project page):

Oh yes, that's a hand spun neck warmer!  Yippee!  It's going to my mommy cause I think it will match the mittens I made her a few years back. 

And look what I made:

So very happy with this!!  I had it sitting on my desk as I worked today so I could admire and pet it.  The fiber is BFL from Viola! that I bought at the Woodstock Fiber Festival in October. It spun up more evenly than the merino did, but I had a bit of a break down when it came to plying.  Seriously, there were tears.

I had read in Respect the Spindle that it helps with yarn management to wind your singles off into a ball before plying.  So I did, and pushed it off the ball winder onto a TP roll.  Then that went into a coffee cup and I was off.  Everything was going swimmingly, I was watching Elf and having a jolly ole time when one of my plies broke.  And when I looked at the yarn coming off the ball, it looked as though the plies were coming off unevenly.  Don't ask me how, I just thought it looked like a bunch of knots, pig tails and a rotten mess.  The thought of several weeks worth of work wrecked brought me to tears. 

If I had a mentor, she or he could have talked me down, but as it was, on my own, I had to get a grip and investigate the horror more closely myself.  And of course, everything was fine.  It was just the plies coming back on themselves.  Put under tension they started to behave again.  What a moment though!  Now I know, and I don't think I will ever forget that lesson.

There's plenty more fiber to go.  I'm enjoying spinning this up so much and I'm flabbergasted at how beautiful the colors are: 

I'm so proud of me!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Snow Music

Last week, I attended Alex's Christmas concert. Worth a listen, and entirely appropriate to the season, here's the Banting Chamber Choir, performing Pakkanen, which moved me to tears. They're not my kids, but I'm still so pleased and proud of them:

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Second Wave

We survived the first wave of Snowmaggedon.  It was very strange to hear people telling me "Oh, I heard about London in the news."  Now a second wave of winter weather is heading our way, with up to 25 cm of snow expected every 12 hours.  Yikes!

A lot of people asked me if I got more knitting done, since I was snowed in.  Well, no... because I'm a telecommuter now I don`t really get snow days. However, I have found some time to knit.  I've been as busy as an elf, finishing up a whole slew of Christmas gifts.  After I finished the obligatory socks, I decided to stash dive for odd balls and knit them up.  It's been fun! I see them as bonus gifts.  I knit what I like and if it happens to end up in a pretty gift for someone then good.  I can't stand the pressure and guilt of traditional Christmas knitting.  That sounds odd, but you know what I mean, right?

So, in no particular order, here is the second wave of holiday knits.  I guess you could say I've been knitting up a storm.  (Oh groan!  Bad pun, I should be ashamed.) And all links are to Ravelry for details like yarn and needles.

Dad's Christmas Socks

I love that detail on the bottom of the foot.

Brother-in-law Stand up Comic socks

Tudora Ruff (niece)

 Estonian Lace Scarf

This is just a little scarffette, based on a shawl pattern from Nancy Bush's Knitting Estonian lace.  I had just one skien of an bamboo, merino and alpaca blend (from an alpaca named Cheri, so you know it's for someone special).  I can hardly wait till it finishes blocking to see the softness and drape of it.

I knit one edging, put it on a holder, then knit the other edging and continued into the middle lace until I ran out of yarn.  It worked beautifully and I think with a pin to keep it closed, this will be a cuddly accessory for my mother-in-law.  I hope she doesn't mind that I didn't make her socks this year.  I was feeling all socked out. 

How's your Christmas knitting coming? Right now, I feel a hat coming on...

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

And so it continues...

Another snow day for Jim and the kids.  Here's what accumlated on the picnic table today:

 That's about twice as much as there was yesterday.  I took Dexter out for a brief walk at lunch, but the snow was blowing in my face, so we turned for home.  The accumulation on our house was amazing.  I went to the front door to ask Jim to hand me my camera so I could take a picture for you all.  But as I was speaking to him in the doorway, there was a sound, a slither and a slump! as all the snow on the roof slid down on top of me and the dog. 

I took a picture anyway, and it looks like kids were using our roof as a toboggan run:

We're supposed to get another 10-15cm of snow tomorrow, and the school board has already declared the schools closed. The mayor of London very nearly decided to declare a state of emergency, but didn't. Instead, he's asked that everyone stay home so that road crews can work unhindered.

For more amazing snow pictures, check out the gallery at the Weather Network. You can run a search on London Ontario.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Blog Worthy Weather

Remember that winter storm I mentioned yesterday? Well, it's still here and looks like it will be staying around until tomorrow.  It is snowing hard.  All the schools were closed, so the boys were home.  It was too snowy for Jim to be working outside, so he was home.  And me, I was home: working!  Every one else got a snow day, but not me. One of the perks of working at home I guess. 

You want to see how much snow we got?  The guys had to go out shoveling twice yesterday and twice today.
Oh yeah.  And it's still snowing.  I had to take Dexter out for a walk, regardless of the conditions.  Fortunately I have all the gear I could need: snow pants, good boots, lots of woolies for feet, hands and head. Even Dexter has a super great winter coat, from Chilly Dogs

Not that he cares. He loves the snow!

And tonight, we made Rum Balls.  I published this recipe before, but it bears repeating:

Chocolate Rum Balls

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup icing sugar
2 eggs slightly beaten
pinch of salt
1 3/4 cups graham wafer crumbs
2 tbsp dark rum

Combine butter, icing sugar and chocolate chips in a double boiler. Add beaten eggs and salt. Stir until chocolate melts and mixture thickens and is smooth. Remove from heat and add rum and crumbs. Combine well. Refrigerate at least three hours. Shape into balls; roll in chocolate shavings, coconut or nuts.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

A Discovery

We had a snow storm in the merry old town of London, Ontario!  So what better thing to do, besides knit, than to decorate the house?

So gaudy, and yet so effective at chasing back the gloom and chill of winter snow and wind.

I was working on a pair of stranded socks for my dad, when I accidentally switched which hand held which color.  You've heard of Yarn Dominance?  For some knitters, it can make a dramatic difference which hand the yarn is held in when working a stranded pattern.  I always thought it didn't affect me, but look at this:

You can clearly see how several rows are more predominately black.  I flipped when I saw that!  Then I took a look at the public side of the work:

Oh.  Yes.  Well I guess it doesn't affect me all that much after all.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Cute, just as is

Some people are so ambitious!  Nadine has beautiful plans for her winter holidays. Nannette has pages of links lined up for gifty knitting. Me, I'm trying to simplify my holidays, but I'm constantly having to fight my own impulses. There's so many fun things to do!

I thought I'd have some wonderful socks to show you this weekend, but I got distracted.  So, there's this instead:

A hand spun, hand knit hat, knit up in one evening.  It's fun knitting with my handspun!  It's got it's lumps and bumps, but don't we all?  Especially in the early stages.  Like this fourteen-year-old, needs a shave and pimple cream at the same time, 6 foot tall, man-boy:

But ain't he cute?