Thursday, December 20, 2007

Potato Chip Scarf

I finished this potato chips scarf, pattern from I used bling bling and carman, one is bernat and the other is patons, I think. I'm pleased with the results.

My girl, Miss Emily, had to give it a try. While it does go well with her fur coat, it's not for her!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Final Parcel Mailed! Now on to knit gifts for home...

I forgot to take a pic of the no-sew throw. It turned out nice too. But it is happily sailing off to it's recipient as we speak. Here are the final projects for the last parcel outta here!

It a hat for my brother (matches his green neck gaiter I knit him earlier) A hat and neck gaiter for my nephew.
A dish towel and 2 dish cloths. I really like this ripple pattern!
A pair of felted clogs for my sister-in-law. These were the first pair that I did that actually fit me... I know too many people with big feet!

And another pair for my niece. Yup, I did them for the whole family. I hope they like them.

Now on to projects that don't have to be mailed. I have 2 more pairs of clogs to do, a potato chip scarf, 3 neck gaiters, a pair of cable booties and a few dish cloths... And that should just about do it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Post FO Completion High

Does anyone else find that when they finish a project just before bedtime that they need some wind-down time before getting to sleep? I finished the second slipper for a pair of felted clogs around 12:30 on Sat. night. I didn't get to sleep until almost 4 am! I was so wound up! I know my list is overwhelming me. And I should have been knitting for those 3.5 hours.... UGH! I need my sleep if I'm going to keep up with my list. Already I've narrowed it down. I'm okay with that. Although it's kinda sad, given that I started Christmas knitting in August. I finished another clog last night, all except the sewing up the bottom and the weaving in the ends which I left on purpose so that I would be able to sleep. I took a ripple pattern dishtowel I'm working on for my brother and sister-in-law to bed with me to keep me from getting too high on FOs. It worked. I knit for a bit longer but got to sleep at a sensible time. So that's my new trick, leave the last bit to do the next day to prevent the FO high.

Speaking of FO highs, I finished and felted another purse. Pre-felted:

And Post-felted:

Man I love felting things! I just love how they turn out.

One more clog to go and that will be the last big thing to knit for the group of gifts I have to mail. Just a couple of hats, finish the dish towel and knit another dishcloth, add a pom-pom to a hat, sew in 2 sippers and possibly knit a neck gaiter.. oh and finish a throw that is made out of fleece (I'll post it when it's done, it's not knit but it's still a nice idea) to do by Monday for the mail. I have another list then for the final week into Christmas. Sadly, I will be knitting Christmas Day for my step brother, his finance and step sister.... Next year I must plan better!

Friday, December 7, 2007

No more socks for this Christmas!

I finally finished the pair of socks I was working on. I started these things back in August! Good lord I'm slow! Anyway, they are done. They are cute. And I'm happy with the results.

Now on to something quicker! I finished the sock yesterday and immediately started another pair of felted clog slippers. These are for my neice. They are purple with a light grey cuff. The cuff should felt fuzzier than the rest of the slipper since it's lopi yarn. I think the effect will be nice. Amazing how quickly I got this one done, eh? No wonder I like doing these!

Oh shoot, I forgot, I still have the heel and foot to do for one more sock... I have a pair of wool socks I'm doing for my sister in law. sigh...

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Oh my arm!

I woke up this morning with pain in my right arm. My first thought was that I was having sympathy pains for my mom's husband who fell yesterday and broke his collar bone. Poor bugger! Said he was in so much pain that he didn't think he could lift a fork. But wait, no this pain was real. Holy crap, did I knit too much yesterday?! Impossible, I still haven't finished that damn sock! (But we are on the toe decrease, so the end is in sight). I have too much knitting still to be done! I don't have time to deal with a stiff, sore right arm/hand. I have a ganglion cyst in my right wrist. It rarely bothers me but can be aggravated from time to time. This was not the time for it to decide to act up!

Okay, my grandmother knit like a madwoman her whole life and she never had that carpal tunnel syndrome. No older person I know in my family has that carpal tunnel, you shouldn't get it from knitting. Repetitive computer use I can see... (maybe I should stop typing now). That can't be it. Exercising your hands should be healthy for you. My grandmother does, however, have the worse arthritis.... Oh, god, I'm too young. I drink milk, get lots of calcium and vitamin D. I shouldn't be getting the arthritis yet. UGH! I don't have time for this!!!! Not now, wait until after Christmas, then my hands, arms, shoulders can crap out.

And then it dawns on me... after being up for hours.... I shoveled snow yesterday. This is a snow shovelling related soreness. I'll take 2 Advil and get back to my knitting. All is right in the world again.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Snowday! and The 9 Row Frog

Monday night when I went to bed the snow was flying. We were forecasted a good old fashioned maritime storm. Now some maritimers may complain about the weather but I love winter. I love everything about it. Snuggling in with a good hot chocolate (preferably spiked!), warm socks, scarves and fuzzy slippers, the short days, the way the sun sparkles on the snow, the long nights, perfect for candlelight (you'll see the problem with this in a moment), soups, stews, skiing, you name it and I love it. I suppose it comes from not having grown up around snow yet knowing the whole time that I was Canadian. My first winter in Wolfville NS was a bit of a shock... like when they didn't cancel classes for what I would have called a blizzard! And waiting out all night in a snowstorm for supersub tickets under a blanket with Yolande and Super Keaner. Ah, those were the days.

Now as an adult with no kids (arranging childcare for snowdays can be a hassle, I know), I look forward to snow storms because they are an excuse to stay in my pajamas and snuggle in while waiting the storm out. But alas, I have dogs. And dogs must go out to use the facilities. And big dogs think snow is big fun. At the height of yesterday's storm my two illustrious beasts decided it was playtime. They frolicked like deer, pounced like bears on salmon and ran around like lunatic. All of this was heightened by me joining them to scoop the poop while I could still see it. It was too windy and stormy to video them but this is how they came into the house.

I spent a good part of the afternoon picking off snowballs, mopping floors and telling wet dogs that they were no longer welcome on the furniture. It took them a good 3 hours to dry out, all the while continuing to ask to go out again.

After all was said and done, the house looks beautiful. Certainly inspiring for Christmas knitting.
Hey, can you find my light reindeer? I think I'm going to have to dig them out a bit today. There are 2 of them out there.
Now you would think that a day so stormy that we couldn't leave the house, so why even bother getting dressed, would be a great knitting day. Well I worked on one sock. Yup, one whole sock. And I still didn't get it done! I finally got into a rhythm around 9 pm only to discover at midnight that I had dropped a stitch a few rows back. I decided dealing with it before I went to bed, so I would have a fresh start today, was a good idea. After I slowly frogged it back, stitch by stitch (I can't just pull out the needles, frog to where I need to and then pick up the stitches. I get too befuddled and end up fighting to pick up the right stitches) I ended up with 9 rows of fingering weight yarn frogged back. UGH!!!!!! I swear I am never going to get these damn socks done!
And the culprit of this mistake?! Candlelight. I decided to embrace the beautiful winter evening and light some candles while watching the last of the snow fall. Lesson learned, sock knitting by candlelight may not be a wise idea. I think I'll wait to further 'embrace' the winter season until after I have my Christmas knitting done.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Maybe I should follow a pattern... and some success

I started knitting some fetching fingerless gloves but then thought that if I sent these to a teenage girl living in Newfoundland or Ontario - they'd wear them in the middle of winter and end up with frostbite. Teenage girls tend to be more about fashion then common sense, especially the 2 on my Christmas list. So I thought I would make the fingerless gloves into mittens. No, I have never knit a pair of mittens before but how hard could it be. Just knit up to a point, and do a toe like decrease and Kitchener the tip, pick up for the thumb hole, knit the length of the thumb and Kitchener the end. (I love the Kitchener stitch - did I mention that?)

I had some really nice yarn I had gotten from Granny Tan when she did some de-stashing that I thought would do nicely. It was a worsted weight which is what the pattern calls for but it knit up small. I was worried as I did the cuff but I could still get it on my hand no problem so I knit away.

Yup, it's a sad sorry excuse for a mitt. However, the yarn is quite nice and soft. I will frog this and the yarn will become something else. I need to do a hat and neck gaiter for my nephew...

For my niece (one of the teen girls on my list) I decided to do a lacy hat. She may actually wear it in the middle of winter which is better than nothing. It's not really built for warmth but it's very trendy and like I said, is better than nothing. Granny Tan found this pattern for me I think she found it off of Ravelry which I still haven't done anything with... ah, in the new year. I'm thrilled with the hat. It's done in KnitPicks Palette yarn, colour "grass". I wish I had time to do a scarf to match...
Now back to doing felted clogs. They are so gratifying, I get them done quickly and they seem like such a substantial gift!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

One more pair of Cable Booties

I finally finished off the cable booties I started at the spinners retreat. They are such an easy knit that I kept putting them off knowing it would take me no time to finish them. Then I realized I was running out of time! I have a lot of things to go in the mail....
These are knit with Wool of the Andes from Knit Picks and the pattern is from One Skein.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

FOs with no proof

I have finished a few projects since my last post but while in NJ for American Thanksgiving I managed to erase 3 days worth of pics. Including an incriminating video of friends Wii boxing that involved a slight head bonk that resulted in fits of laughter from the spectators. I'm more disappointed about losing that then my knitting pics!

I took down 2 pairs of felted clogs for my host and hostess. They fit perfect but I had to pack them damp as I was felting them the day before I left. Those things are super slippery on linoleum flooring... I think I'm going to hit Fabricville and see if I can't get some suede to cut out for bottoms for the 2 pairs I have done and the rest I have to do.

I also did 2 really nice dish clothes for another friend we visited. It was my own pattern, well sort of, I did a wave type pattern that turned out well. It's a repeat of 18 stitches on 5mm needles with the cotton yarn. I cast on 36 stitches for the dish clothes. I was going to do a dish towel too and cast on 54 stitches but I never had enough time before we went to see them

Here is the 4 row repeat I did. I did it 10 times and the cloth was a nice size.
Row 1 : *[k2tog ] 3 times, [k1, yo] 6 times, [k2tog] 3 times; rep from * to end
Rows 2 -4: knit

Now let me go complete some projects I can take pictures of!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Knitting Bag (and another pair of felted clogs)

I finished a couple more projects for my Christmas List. This is a bag for my aunt. It's a knitting bag for her to put her afghan project in. It won't fit a whole afghan but it's still a good size. I'm pleased with how it turned out. Must make myself one some day... I never make myself stuff. The pattern is a modified version of the marsupial tote from Stitch'N bitch The Knitter's Handbook. And the yarn is Briggs and Little. I stuffed the bag more after I took this pic to try and address the rolling around the top. It seems to help.

I also finished another pair of felted clogs. I know they look like the last pair I did but they are a size smaller and the dark blue trim is a different dark blue then the other pair. I swear!

Off to knit!

Thursday, November 8, 2007


Wheeeee! I have a new favorite project. The Fiber Trends Felted Clog Slippers. What a fun and satisfying project. Quick to knit, but not mindless. It's like turning a huge heel and I love turning the heel. I'm so glad I like knitting them because I have all that wool from the spinning retreat and I planned on making them for my brother and his family and my mom and her husband... that's 12 clogs! So it's a darn good thing I like knitting them! These are the pre-felted version of my brother's size 11 man's. My foot next to them is a size 8 ladies.

The only problem I had with these is that I used the contrasting colour on the outer sole only because I was worried I wouldn't have enough yarn. I was right. I ended up only doing the inner part of the outer sole in the dark blue. The yarn was seconds so each hank was not equal in size. I think it turned out okay though. Pre-felted...

And post-felting.

These are just too cool!

Really the biggest problem is that I'm allergic to wool. My hands are all dried up and I've got some of the worse hang nails ever. I'm trying to keep them washed often and I do have a good hand cream to apply when I'm going to knit. The best one I have found is the Neutrogenia Norwegian Formula. It's lanolin free which is the oil in wool that is often the cause of the irritation and it's very emollient. I just have to remember to keep it with my knitting!

How's that?! Two posts in one day! (I thought the clogs deserved there own post)

Manon says "BLOG!" so I blog

No, I'm not giving into pressure to blog... I just haven't been getting much blog worthy stuff done lately. One sock of this, one sock of that...

The one on the left is the heat wave pattern in knitpicks Dancing yarn (it's discontinued). It's big on me because it's for my friend's daughter who has a size 10 foot. The one on the right is the wool sock pattern from Briggs and Little in their yarn for my sister in law. She's been wearing the ones I made for my brother so I thought I should make her a pair of her own. These are both for Christmas... now I just have to get the other matching socks done...

The thing I'm most please about (and the real reason for blogging!)is the lacy scarf I finished for my grandmother. She was an experienced knitter and she now finds she can no longer knit. She just can't concentrate. Whenever I think I'm not in the mood to knit I remind myself that there may come a time when I can't knit so I'd better enjoy every moment right now! My uncle says my Nan would be sitting on the couch, head falling back asleep and those needles would still be going. Now that's commitment! I know she will appreciate this scarf.

There is a mistake in there but you can't find it... I can though. It was a row I redid about 5 times so I'm just going to say it adds to the charm and proves it's homemade. (It's not in this picture so don't spend hours playing "where's the screw up")

I've completed one full cable bootie and started on the second. I love knitting these and they are great to take on the go. I'm heading to the US for American Thanksgiving and will have lots of airport time so I'll get these finished then and probably do another pair. These are for my friend with the big footed daughter from above. What are they feeding these kids anyway?!

Funny how knitters appreciate waiting time so we can turn it into knitting time. I'm was backed up on pod casts (football season means watching football and knitting all weekend versus listening to pod casts and knitting on the weekends) so I'm good for some serious time in airports. It's the holiday weekend and things tend to get backed up but I'm ready!

I've been trying to whip off a few quick Christmas gifts that will have to be sent away. I finished this hat for my uncle.

This scarf for his granddaughter. Orange is her favorite colour.
This scarf for his other granddaughter. Her favorite colour is yellow.

I'd like to mention that this month is my knitting anniversary. I starting knitting last November! It's been a whole year. Man, have I learned a lot! And there is still so much to do!

Side note... I don't remember when I quit smoking and I smoked for over 17 years. But I do remember when I first started knitting. Says a lot, don't you think?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Project Updates, An "Awwww" and The Yarn Farm

We'll start with the "awww" portion of this post. Remember the toddler poncho I made for Miss Emily Juckes' first birthday. Well I got pics of her modelling it as she ventured out for pumpkins. Could she be any cuter?! That's mom's arm in the back so Miss Emily doesn't fall off the pumpkin wagon! And while this pic is too cute....

This one shows the poncho better. Yes Emily, I love the great pumpkin too.

As a follow up to the spinners retreat weekend, here is the MacAusland yarn I bought as it drys after being washed in dish soap and spun it in the washing machine. It made a huge difference! But now I have a yarn farm going on in my bathroom downstairs. And this is only half of it!

Now on to projects. There is lots on the go around here. Tim is away in China for 2 weeks so my knitting and spinning projects have taken over the house. Well that and I'm procrastinating. I am giving the dogs their fall grooming special. It's taken me 3 days. Day one was brushing, day two was baths and today is day three and they will get their haircuts. Here they are after their baths. I'm trying to get them to lay in the sun to dry out. Speaking of cute...

Okay on to projects. I felted the purse for my aunt made out of the Bernat Felting Natural Wool. It felted up with one run through the agitation cycle on my washer set to heavy duty. I just checked it then let it run through the rinse and spin cycles. I love it but found out my aunt wanted beige but then I talked to another aunt and now it's going to be for yet another aunt. Anyway, one more gift done. I think I'm going to sew in a zipper. It really makes it functional.

While at the spinning retreat what little knitting I did was on another pair of cable booties. These are for a friend. I made the cuff a little longer, doing 4 repeats of the pattern instead of just 2. I knew I could do this because I had yarn leftover the from the last pair I made. I use Knitpicks Wool of the Andes for this and it knits up really nicely.

Still working on the heat wave sock. The young lady I'm making these for has a size 10 foot. I knew she had larger feet so I only did 3 repeats of the pattern for the cuff so I'd be sure to have enough yarn. I love this pattern! I'm using Knitpicks Dancing Yarn for this project.

I'm also still working on the scarf for my nan and I'm really happy with how it is turning out. But I do have to be really focused when I knit it. I'm using Knitpicks Palette yarn and the pattern is Branching Out. It's a great pattern to start trying out lacy projects.
I also have at least 2 other UFOs that are for Christmas. I'll show them when I'm done. So as if all this wasn't enough, on Monday it was so freakin' cold that I nearly froze my hands off when I went outside with the dogs. So I wondered if I could quickly knit myself a pair of Fetching Fingerless Gloves. Now you may be saying to yourself, "CJ, are you insane?!" but wait, I have a rationale for this insanity. See I'm debating what to do for my niece and my friends daughter, ages 14 and 15. So I thought I'd see how quick these knit up and if they were quick then I'd do them each a pair with a matching hat and maybe even a scarf. I have some great fun fuzzy yarn I got from Granny Tan when she did some destashing. So it really was a test project. They do knit up super fast. I'm almost done the second one, just about 20 - 30 minutes more and I'll be done. I did these in a cotton thinking it would be good to wear when I'm knitting with wool and I had a chill... See, lots of good reason to have cast these on!

Happy knitting and spinning everyone!

Monday, October 15, 2007

7th Annual Maritime Spinners Retreat

So this weekend I took the plunge and joined with other fiber fanatics and embraced my inner yarn goddess. For those of you who still think knitting is just for grandmas have I got news for you. I finished my university degree at a mostly women's university ( Mount St. Vincent University), proudly consider myself a feminist, ignore any glass ceiling some people want to build and am packing a bigger pair of cajones (balls) then most men but never, and I mean NEVER, have I spent so much time with an empowering, positive, supportive group of women, of all ages and backgrounds. This my friends is where feminism truly exists, right in the grassroots movement of fiber arts. No catty gossiping, no backbiting, no bitching. It was fantastic! And I even spun a little yarn. Yes there were some more mature, experienced women there, many may even have been grandmas. So throw out your stereotypes and lets get sharing!

First of all we had to drive to PEI in the rain. Okay, only PEI can still be beautiful in the rain. And the leaves did not disappoint. On the way home I was actually sad to leave the island... I think it's love. This was the view from our hotel room window at the Rodd Mill River Resort.

We got a goodie bag when we arrived and it was full of fun stuff for spinning, 2 different types of silk, a soy silk and a Merino and seacell blend. I can't wait to try these out. I didn't get a chance at the retreat (you'll see why in a minute). I think I will probably dye the spun yarn and use them as accent yarns in projects but of course that is subject to change.

Friday evening when we arrived we went to MacAuslands Woolen Mill which was just around the corner from our hotel. Man are sheep stinky creatures. I thought for sure I'd have some sort of allergic reaction right in the mill but I was fine (I remained heavily drugged all weekend but I spend most of my time that way so it was nothing new). When I got home last night I realized my dogs don't smell that much better these days - time for some baths around here! But back to the wool. I bought 2 bags of their 'seconds' yarn for making felted projects. I have to soak it all first in some Dawn dish detergent to try and remove some of the lanolin oils. It will felt better with less lanolin and since I'm allergic, it will save my hands a bit too. The top bag is 3 ply and the bottom bag is 2 ply. What are the odds I'm going to remember that when I'm knitting with it?

We had a great dinner at the resort Friday night. The rest of the meals were part of the retreat but Friday night we were on our own. Line, Tan and I all ordered the same thing... this became a theme all weekend. We did take advantage of being on the island and indulged in seafood!!!! That alone made my weekend!

This was the sunrise that greeted us on morning number 2. I, personally would have missed it but Granny Tan popped out of bed at the crack of dawn both mornings.

There were vendors at the retreat offering their wonderful wares. I was a good doobie and only bought this luxurious yarn to make a pair of socks for myself. It's 50% cashmere and silk and 50% alpaca. Did you know alpaca is considered hypo-allergenic? I will be testing this theory in depth as time goes by as alpaca is amazingly soft. Ya kinda just want to lay naked in a big pile of it.....

The vendors were open at 3 different times during the retreat. So like everyone else, I went back and bought more.... Again though I was good, I only bought this pencil roving, Fleece Artists (my first Fleece Artist purchase ever!) Sea Wool (70% wool, 30% seacell, which is made from the viscose processing of seaweed). It is really easy to drop spindle. I'm also keeping this for myself. I see a wrap of some sort out of it. This picture is only about 1/4 of the roving I bought.

So then we got to the spinning. It was a huge room full of fleece and spinning wheels. (Granny Tan at her wheel)

More spinners.

A couple of women getting a lesson in drop spindling silk hankies. With her back to the camera is Line, our other roommate. She did some serious work on her drop spindle this weekend.

This is my mohair fleece. When I had taken the drop spindle class, I had found working with the mohair more easy than some of the others. And near as I can tell, I'm not allergic to mohair but I'm keeping a watch out on that one.

We had some furry companions at the retreat. Angora bunnies! In this pic it's the face of one with the arse of another beside it. They were sooooo soft. And so calm. Apparently they make excellent house pets and you can litter train them!

I spun up 50 grams of mohair and one 100 grams of the Sea Wool. Then is was time to say goodbye to PEI. One last look out the window and we were off.

On the way home we stopped for lunch. It was our last weekend getaway bit so we all ordered seafood platters. Holy haddock (I kept saying "holy mackerel" but Tan kept reminding me that there was no mackerel on the plate)! Tan and I were going to share one and we should have! We all took home doggie bags and now I have leftover fried seafood for tonight. I think I'll have a pile of green veggies with it...

When I got home I hung up my mohair and sea wool to straighten them out a bit. I want to get the rest of the mohair spun so I can dye it. I have another potato chip scarf I want to do and it would be beautiful along the edging.

I will probably spin all the fleece you've seen here and then not spin again until next years retreat but that's mostly because I have so much stuff to knit. Remember, I haven't even been knitting for a whole year yet. I still have so many things I want to do; a toe up sock, a full sweater, wraps, shawls, gloves, mitts. oh my, I'd better get busy!