Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Post Christmas Mellow

Now that the rush is over, I found relaxation in our usual Tuesday Knitting Night. The girls all got to relax and order good food and not serve, or cook, or clean up, or cater to the family... we just endulged in some food and knit-talk. I finished the second mobius, in three yarns of mohair and cashmere....

Hubby got the cupboards and cabinets finished (refinished) and remounted the last one on Christmas Morning (before the guests arrived :) and they look fabulous, see...

and I have posted to eBay a new kit for the Inukshuk, that contains all the yarn and all the poly-foam shapes (precut) and all the instructions printed!

You can find it HERE.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Rush Weekend

The weekend before Christmas, and although the shopping for presents is all done, there is always the rush for the finishing touches, decorating, and prepping the house for the infestation of returning kids and visiting relatives. When you live in quiet harmony with just one other, the addition of grown children and their friends visiting, and relatives stopping over, means you must prepare the guestrooms, and wash all the sheets and towels, and get extra food for the house. You would think that is enough to keep us busy, but on top of that, we had a massive snow storm on Friday, that shut the schools and stranded most folks on their streets until the plows released them Saturday afternoon. The grocery store was mobbed of course by the time I could make it there, but I did remember to pack my patience and was just pleased to be able to restock the shelves.... and speaking of shelves... we have chosen this weekend to take off all the cabinet doors and drawers and refinish the whole kitchen with a fresh coat of walnut stain! So here is our kitchen... I hope they get done and replaced by Christmas, but it does make putting groceries and dishes away VERY easy! hmmm.
and here is the quilt I managed to finish to put on dear daughters bed for her visit... the top is made of abandoned jeans, cords and assorted pants, and some leftover black ultra-suede (the larger black squares. The only part I purchased was the batting and the backing cotton. I like the result. I had to finish the job, because it not only goes on her bed, but the bed will be set up in my sewing room, so I had to clear away the mess and the machine! Busy.

Here is a photo of a couple of my nutcrackers. I have a collection of about 50, mostly on the mantle. I finally set up the tree and the nutcrackers, just in time for guests, who start rolling in tonight.
Knitting: I did finish the last two gifts, and all are wrapped, so I can start on my own knitting again, and plan a complicated cable cardigan design to feature here in the near future, but likely will keep to socks and scarves while guests are here and there is wine to be consumed. (please, don't drink and cable).

Monday, December 15, 2008

Super chunky quick hat....

I was cleaning out a cupboard where my stash of crafty stuff kind of drifts to, and found two balls of unknown super chunky yarn. The bands were gone, but I knit a swatch on 10 mm needles and then whipped up this in about 1.5 hours! I knit it on straight needles and then sewed a back seam, because I did not have 10mm double points in stock, and it would have taken me longer to drive to Fonthill and Rose's Fine Yarns to buy some than it took to knit the thing!
Gauge: 2 stitches to the inch on 10 mm (US 15) needles. Yarn: bulky, super chunky or 2 worsted yarns held together, that knits to gauge.
Cast on 41. Work in stocking stitch for 7 inches (the rim will roll up naturally). Decrease top by [Knit 4, Knit 2 together] repeat across, on first row. Purl next row. [Knit 3 knit 2 together] repeat across row. Purl next row. [Knit 2, knit 2 together] repeat across row. [Purl one, purl 2 together] across this row. [k 2 together] on last row and gather remaining stitches and sew up back seam!

Very quick, very easy, kindof cute.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Knitting, sewing and grommetting?

I have added curtains to the last minute Christmas gift knitting. Like I needed new projects to occupy my vast hours of leisure time? But when the urge to redecorate hits, suddenly you HATE the old curtains and my eyes keep moving to them and replacing them in my mind, until I just do it. So I found such a good deal on this burgundy taffeta drape fabric, that I plunged in and you can see the project on the go. I still need to hem the bottoms, but will do that this weekend.

The simple design requires no pletes, but uses Grommets to weave across the poles and it causes an easy gathering at the outer edges of the windows, but draws easily across the windows to cover for privacy at night. The grommets are really easy to install, as you can see from the photos, just cut to the pattern hole included, and snap into place. It brought to mind my favourite animated character Gromit from Wallace and Gromit. (Check them out if you don't already know the work. )

Also, at the same time, I finished my Moebius...

and also am well on the way to finish these Christmas socks...And here is a scarf made with lace weight mohair and an occasional row of Noro Yarn (leftover from stash)... knit on 8mm needles to give a open airy appearance.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Moebius Ring Scarf

I have a fascination with knitting (obviously) and mathematics (what??). I have not disclosed previously on this blog, but my post-secondary school education primarily involved a bachelor of mathematics degree from University of Waterloo. (I minored in knitting, as it was in these years that I balanced my life with fiber and yarns and taught myself to knit.) That being revealed, my knitting group wanted a group project and Jane brought a new book, The Treasury of Magical Knitting. The magic is the MOEBIUS.
For those who are new to the term, it is a ring or tube that has one twist, and if you follow along the outside edge of the tube, you will find it wraps around the tube twice and ends up at the starting position, basically it is a 2 sided object with ONE edge and really ONE side??!! Cool.
The starting point of knitting this miracle is to cast on over long circulars, effectively wrapped into 2 circles and twist once at the end so that you will knit into the top on the first round and the bottom on the second round. The ring then grows from the center out as wide as you like....photo so far...

I love this project and will help the other knitters in the group to start their versions of this scarf.

I also cast on a simple ribbed scarf with Merino wool and sequin knitalong. The sequins will be in the first 12 inches then plain until the last 12 inches, when I add the knitalong again. Easy. The yarn is the last from the summer tent sale at Needle Emporium. I managed to squeeze the 2 sequin balls in the $75 bag, and the regular cost of each of these balls was about $20!...nice

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sun and Sunscreen?

I just got back from a sunny week in Mexico. Not much knitting, other than at the airport and on the plane, but what a nice time we had. It was 87 F every day and we golfed every morning and swam in the pool and ocean every afternoon. The evenings were a balmy 74F, and the walk on the beach at night was wonderful. Here's a few non-knitting photos.... First Rick para-sailing...the pool...
This one is a shot of the crocodile we saw in the pond on the golf course. The Marina Vallarta golf course is home to lots of these guys but they were hard to find in the mornings. (too much tequilla the night before?)

one of many cool statues in old town Puerto Vallarta...Sunset over the Pacific Ocean....

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Productive Knitting

The Christmas projects are coming along well, and of course I cannot fully disclose, but thought it may be fun to do teaser photos of the first two...

Not enough to give away the final results, but you can see I have been busy.

The patons Stretch Cotton socks are finished, and I enjoyed doing them on the one long circular needle. I will do a few more, now that the cold weather is here, they are pretty much all I wear.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Since I cannot show photos of knitting in progress (projects to become Christmas gifts, so not to be revealed here until later!) I will take this opportunity to show the latest art work...And I finally framed and hung on the wall, my bicycle painting from spring. I like it here.

And on a completely unrelated note....
This new game for Nintendo DS, came out recently. Prey the Stars. It is an all ages game of cool monsters eating everything in sight and competing against other cool monsters. The game is the first I have played since Intelevision in the eighties (not a game-junkie) but I mention it here because my son was part of the team that created this game for Koei Canada (his first game at his new job after graduation from UofW with a computer science degree).
Proud Mom moment...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Sock Talk

I was delighted to find Patons Stretch sock yarn on SALE at Michaels' this week. So I bought two more colours, a tan mix and a grey mix. I am already working on the green colour mix and like the results so far. The pattern is the same as my stand by sock pattern, but this yarn is 41% cotton, 39% wook, 13% nylon and 7% elastic (very stretchy) so these all year round socks hold their shape really well.

The other thing new to me is the abandoning of the traditional 4 double point needles for ONE circular in 3mm. It is a 36" Addi turbo, and I observed a clever knitter, standing, and knitting on one of these. I stared at the way she moved the cables to two big loops and the stitches to two halves of the sock, and I had a eureka moment.... no stitches slipping off the tips of the DPN's, no dropped into the sofa twilight zone needles.... miraculous really. I couldn't wait to get home and launch my first ONE NEEDLE sock...

Here are a few photos of how the sock looks at various stages...

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Sometimes I take a break from knitting to use a sharp knife and cut strange shapes out of big orange vegetables.... ok, only once a year, but I really enjoy the challenge and the results.
So here are the festive gourds for Halloween 2008.

And I did this without sacrificing any fingers... wow, such talent.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Blustery Sunday

The only good thing about a miserable weather sunday is I can finally get caught up on my laundry, cleaning and knitting. I finished the MO jacket and here is the result, a fluffy, light and colourful jacket, perfect for blustery sundays. The yarn and pattern are from Fleece Artists, a Nova Scotia company who produce hand dyed natural fibre yarns with fun and simple patterns on the labels. A quick knit jacket for under $50. I like yarn folks that do that!
I also got a good start (actually more than half done) on the new Noro yarn, Yuzen, that I splurged on last Sunday at the Creative Festival. I decided to try the interesting fitted vest in the book: Fitted Knits, by Stefanie Japel. I like the ribbing for the high waist, and the slightly darted front. It is knit in the round, so seems to grow quickly and the stripes of the Noro will continue around and I avoid the mis-matched stripes at the side seams that usually come with Noro patterns. The top is split for the front and back, and I am almost at the neckline shaping for the front.

After this vest I will need to do some Christmas knitting (not too much this year) but of course I will probably not show photos of progress for these... I still want to surprise some folks on my list this year. I will catch up with photos and patterns after the big day.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Raglan Esprit Pullover

This simple beauty was designed to wear over turtlenecks or crisp collared shirts, and add some warmth but not too much to have it for outdoor use only. Esprit is a cotton yarn with a bit of elastic that gives it the stretch that cotton really needs to fit properly. This yarn will NOT droop with each wash, like a lot of cottons, and it has become a favourite of mine. The stitch detail is a bit of a rib design with two row pattern repeated... very easy.

Yarn: 8 balls of Esprit, mine used turquoise, but it comes in a gazillion choices (well maybe 20)
Needles: 4mm (US 6) straight for body pieces, and small circulars or double points for neck finishing.
Gauge: 18 sts and 28 rows = 4 inches in the seed rib pattern
Finished measurements: 41 inch chest, 28 inches shoulder to hem
Back: With rib needle, cast on 83 sts. Work K1, P1 ribbing for 2.5 inches. Increase on last row 9 stitches evenly spaced. (92 sts)
Change to Seed Rib Pattern: Row 1: K1, P1 across the row. Row 2 (wrong side) Purl every stitch. Repeat these two rows and work straight for 15 inches above the edge ribbing.
Raglan shaping: Bind off 10 sts at the start of next two rows. Start decreases like this... Knit 3, purl 2 together, work seed rib pattern to last 5 sts, then purl 2 together, knit 3. On the wrong side, purl across. Use this decrease row every right side for 10 repeats, then every 4th row 12 times***keep the edge stitches as established - 3 knit stitches then decrease or pattern, and end with 3 knit stitches. It creates the nice line that accents the raglan shape when stitched together.*** When 28 stitches remain (length from armhole bindoff should be approx 10 inches) bind off all.
Front: work same as for back until total of 25 inches from start has been worked. Work to center 14 sts, attach another ball of yarn, bind off center 14 sts, complete the rest of the row... Continue in the same raglan decreases, and at the same time at the neck edge decrease every second row 7 times. Continue as for back, you should end with one stitch at neck edge. Secure ends.
Sleeves: Cast on 39 sts, work in K1, P1 ribbing for 2.5 inches. Increase 5 sts across last row and switch to the seed rib pattern. Work in pattern increasing every 8 rows until 68 stitches across. Work even until piece measures 18.5 inches.
Raglan shaping: Bind off 10 sts at start of each row. Using the 3 stitch knitted edge pattern again, decrease one each side every 2nd row 8 times and every 4th row 13 times. Bind off last 4 sts.
Sew raglan seams, and work the neck: with small circular needles or double point needles: Pick up 80 sts around the neck edge. Work K1, P1 ribbing for 1 inch and bind off loosely.
Sew arm and side seams, and sew in ends of yarns.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Yarn Whisperer

Finally a chance to update the progress my recent knittings... I have had a rough time at work and have dragged a tired butt home, with only enough energy to nap and knit a bit. Not much interest in blogging, or computer time, beyond the mandatory email responses. My co-worker had emergency surgery and will be out for 3 - 4 weeks, so I have been working all my job and all hers too, and I find this quite draining by the end of the day.
Knitting has been the stress relief that keeps me on track and here are the latest photos.

First the finished raglan cotton Esprit pullover....
A snug fit due to the lycra content and the seed rib stitch. This one is my design and the pattern will get posted (I promise) by the weekend.

Then there is the Fleece Artist Mo Jacket, which I started less than a week ago and got the fronts and back and collar and most of one sleeve done already. Really quick on 6mm needles. The pattern is from the label attached to the Mo Jacket kit. Easy, easy, easy!

The last photo is the new yarn from Noro, Yuzen. I purchased 5 skeins of this wool/silk yarn when I visited the Creative Festival on Sunday in Toronto. I went with a sewing friend, who has dabbled but not quite caught the knitting bug. When I expressed my love of yarn and forced her to touch the Noro and Colinette and hand painted silks and bamboo, and described sweaters and scarves and coats, all made by me in the past from these treasures... that was when she dubbed me the Yarn Whisperer... an upgrade from the previous Knitting Doctor designation??!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Lost and Found

I was heartbroken to realize in the summer that I had completely misplaced my favourite hand crafted silver inukshuk necklace. It was gone. I looked every where and concluded that I must have dropped it out of my bag when transferring from work to the golf course, as that is the only time I removed jewelry outside the house. I gave up. I felt lost without my directional marker (these guys are supposed to help you NOT get lost - how could it go missing??). I even had thoughts of going to the One of a Kind Craft show in November in the hopes that the jewelry artist was still there (4 years later) with the same cool chunky silver dude.
Then a miracle!
It got cold.
I pulled on my long brown dress pants, for the first time since May, and in the pocket... tada! I just about cried with delight.
So here's celebrating cold weather for all the lovely hand knits we can wear again, for the lovely socks and sweaters and eventually hats, mitts and scarves. For the joy of knitting chunky yarns and wool and mohair.... and of course for putting your hands in the pockets to find hidden treasures long misplaced!
I have also finished the Noro Silver Thaw Jacket, a double breasted design from a Noro publication I borrowed from a knitting friend. I made it a bit shorter than their version, but love the results, and have worn it several times now that it has been cooler, at least in the evening. Now I have cast on a Fleece Artist Mohair jacket, from my minor shopping spree at the K-W Knitters fair.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Cold Winds on my Golf Course

The last week has been a challenge for this die hard golfer... I have accepted that fall is here, and with it comes chilly winds and cold temperatures. Last weekend we had highs of only 12 to 15 C, (50 to 60F for my USA knitting friends). With the strong winds it felt quite cool. I have now placed winter golf gloves back in my bag, a cashmere (knit by me) touque to fit over my ball cap, and wind proof jacket. I am now wearing knitted socks in my golf shoes and this photo shows me on a sunny but cold day (Monday) in my Noro Turtleneck. The sweater looks great on the course, no?

The next few days will be much nicer at around 20C (70F) but it will only last a few days.

So unpack your woolies and hit the links, there are still lots of rounds left in this season, even if the cold wind blows... I plan to play until my course turns white!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Stash Trinkets

When I finished the Colinette Coat, what remained was small bits of precious Colinette left-overs. These are different from regular left overs that may be used to darn old sweaters or stitch up seams of new ones, or more likely drift to the bottom corners of you stash basket/ drawer/ plastic tote/ or cedar chest (wherever you have your extra yarn - you know you won't use it but you also won't throw it out - it's YARN for gosh sakes and obviously irreplacable!) Colinette yarn is beautiful, even if it is only 6 feet long. The colours change so quickly and the yarn itself is wool and texture, without even being knit, it is a work of art.
I found some plastic bangles at the local junk jewelry and accessories shop (the one the tweens frequent) and brought them home. With a glue gun, and the lovely yarn, I wrapped the yarn around the bangles and created these...
Use any yarn that has great colours or great texture or both. Start with a dab of glue and secure the end to the underside of bangle, then wrap tightly, overlapping a bit if it is ribbon type like the Tagliatelli on the thinner one. Every 4th or 5th wrap put a dab of glue on the underside, just to keep the yarn from sliding too much while wearing it. Then use a bit of glue at the end to secure and cut the yarn.

*warning about hot glue....it is hot (duh) and you only need a tiny spot to hold the yarn in place. Do not try to put the glue all along the bangle... it will cool and make a mess and your yarn may stick to the wrong spot. Just place a dot under the yarn just before you wrap that spot. Less is more and less is less burned fingers!

I hope you are inspired to dig to the bottoms of your stash bins and make a few of these. They look great when worn with sweater!