Sunday, November 16, 2008

Christmas is coming?!

This work thing is seriously impeding my ability to knit... Although right now I'm waiting for the polish on one finger to dry and can't knit (don't ask, it involves a top coat of polish, routing through my circulars and a smudged nail which is why my nails are never painted anymore. I used to be so well coiffed. Now I'm just happy if I'm clean most days.) so I thought I would blog. I have one item ready for Christmas.

These are monkey socks in regia. Granny Tan gave me the yarn and as soon as I saw it I thought to myself "monkey socks"! And so that's what I did. They are lovely.

I just had to go out and rescue my green big. We are having quite the wind/rain storm and I heard it blow around. I was quite cute out there in my jammies fighting the rain with a flashlight as I rolled around the big green cart. My life is sooo glamorous...

I have a rough idea of what I"m doing for Christmas but I haven't formalized a list. I am breaking down and taking some knitting into work to do at lunch time. I have a great aunt who loves the cable bootie and needs a new pair so I'll do those during at work. I have one half done.

I suspect by Christmas I'll be like this.....

(I just had to put a pic of miss emily in!)

Okay I have to give ollie some blog time. miss emily can walk under him when he's standing. Hard to believe he can curl up in such a small ball... maybe I should turn up the heat...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Serenity now...

First clue that I've been somewhere where wool runs free...
Granny Tan's foot.. See how small it is! No wonder she makes lots of socks for herself!

Once again I attended the Maritime Spinners Retreat. This year it was held in beautiful Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia Canada. We stayed at the Gaelic College which was a lot like returning to my youthful roots of dorm living in University... how did I ever survive?! Anyway, it was, as usual, amazing! And I don't even spin! But it's about being with this amazing group of supportive, sharing women. And it's so inspiring. Perfect to give me that little push I need as I head into the Christmas knitting rush. I'm doing the Holiday Kal Cal again this year. It's also a great motivator. Anyone can join so feel free! It's a lot of fun and there are some great prizes.

Okay, back to the retreat. We had our spinning area set up in the Hall of the Clans. The accommodations may not have been top notch but the spinning space was perfect. There was a fire Friday night and Sat. There were about 100 attendees.

Can you believe all the wheels

We had a Celtic harp playing Friday night with wine and cheese. It was a total zen moment for me as we got set up, did some spinning and said hello to the people we met last year. It was so nice to see all the familiar faces. And everyone chats to everyone else even if you aren't a social butterfly which I am not but this group just facilitates camaraderie
For me it was extra special because I got to see the Moncton crew who I don't have the opportunity to go see since I moved to Eastern Passage.

There was a table set up to do some milling. This is a process where after the yarn is spun and woven, a group gets around the table and the sign Gaelic songs and mash the cloth in to the table to sort of felt it. The cloth goes from being stiff and scratchy to being soft. This cloth was spun from one of the participants' donated fleece by the New Brunswick spinners, then woven by the PEI spinners and now that it is milled, it will be donated to the Gaelic college to be made into a cloak or something for their displays.

There was a fleece competition where fleece right off the sheep was voted on for the best. (I stayed in this room as little as possible... man could you smell the sheep!)

There was also a contest for best hand spun skein of yarn which Granny Tan won! And to really bring it all together - the prize was established and donated by Christine Stanley and her husband, Malcolm who I get all my wonderful hand pottery from (this is a spot you really want to check out!) in honour of his mother Audrey Stanley who has been knitting for many, many years and mostly knits for the poor with hats, mitts, scarves and even does bandages for the lepers. Mrs. Stanley just turned 90 and Christine and Malcolm thought this would be a good way to honour her. There was also a prize in her honour for best knitted piece from hand spun yarn. Granny Tan had entered in that category too. Hard to believe Granny Tan has a full time job... and a husband... and is working on her MBA... amongst other things.

The reddish looking skein on the right is what Granny Tan won for. But this is her knit from hand spun item. Note the felted slipper with the pea pods to the right. They were awesome.

This is the bowl Granny Tan won.
Coincidentally, this matches all the pieces I have... Now Tan has a piece just like my stuff!

I got very inspired while I was there. I tried Granny Tan's wheel. It was like trying to shove cotton balls into a meat grinder... Okay, maybe that was just me. It's very different than using a drop spindle which I finally got the hang of. I was watching some people drop spindle at about midnight on Friday night and I think I got more out of that than all my efforts previous. But that's how I learn, I see something and it clicks. And bought more. This is an alpaca/ cashmere/silk blend.
And I spun half of it while at the retreat.

It was a great weekend. And while the accommodations may not have been hotel like, the best part was there was no TV or even a radio. I didn't realize how bombarded we are with information until I came home and heard the news, all of it bad. I think we all need weekends away from the information speedway... It took me two days to re-acclimate! Now that's a retreat!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

My First Vest

Wow, it has taken me over a month to knit a vest. And I'm still not unpacked. That's a little sad really. Oh well, I did finally get the vest finished. It's rustic and the yarn wouldn't have been my first choice but I had it on hand. It's not a traditional vest.


I had to do my first crochet ever. I read how to do it out of Stitch 'N Bitch, The knitters Handbook. A very usefull book by the way. It was hard to get a good pic of it but here is the inside neck.


The pattern called for reinforcing the arm holes and v neck with crochet. Once I got the hang of it, it was pretty fun. I then looked up a crochet pattern I had seen since I was having so much fun.

It says it's an easy pattern!

Then I looked at the first three rows of the pattern.

Ch 3, join with slip st in first ch to form a ring.

Row 1: Ch 3 (does not count as dc), 10 dc in ring, do not join.

Row 2: Ch 3, turn, dc in next dc, 2 dc in each dc across – 19 sts.

Row 3: Ch 3, turn, 2 dc in next dc, (ch 2, sk next 2 dc, 3 dc in next dc) across – 6 ch-2 sp.

And it looked like a foreign language so I thought to myself... maybe not

Anyway, I finished mom's birthday socks. Yes, her birthday was in April. What's your point? Here is the sock.

Okay, it's the first sock from an earlier blog but the second one looks exactly alike. Trust me.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I'm 40? That can't be right?! So this is what 40 feels like...

Oddly enough, not all that different then 39. As I mentioned, Granny Tan and I went on a Most Excellent Cottage Getaway for a long weekend for my birthday. Here are the pics. The dogs had a blast!! Oh, and so did the humans. I want to make it a yearly event.

Pics from Granny Tan's camera

For my birthday Granny Tan gave me her very first completed lace project. It's a sort of mini shawl. In Alpaca!

She also gave me some nice yarn that matches the green yarn she gave me last winter from Florida. I'm thinking potato chip scarf in the green with this as the end accent yarn.

I had 3 projects with me to work on during our getaway. None of them were too complicated because I knew there would be cocktails involved. As it turned out, I had forgotten the pattern book for my memorial socks so I couldn't work on completing the second sock. So I cast on a Montego Bay Scarf from the Soy Silk I bought when I went to sign the paperwork for my house. The colours are more a like a sunwashed green, pinks, blues and corals.

It's knitting up pretty quickly but now I realized I completely missed my mom's husbands birthday so I working on a vest for him. I had planned to do a vest for him for his birthday, had the yarn and everything... and then just completely forgot to do it. It's knitting up quickly. I'll share a pic when it is done.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Where has all the productive knitting gone...

I haven't been knitting much because I've been moving! I had gotten a job in Halifax almost 2 months ago and had been looking for a place to live that was close to work, good for the dogs and a wise investment. Luckily I found a place that fits the bill! It's in beautiful Eastern Passage which isn't nearly has far out as I thought it was. It is considered one of the last growth areas in the Urban HRM (Halifax Regional Municipality). So I bought it! Which was way easier than I thought. It's a great investment. Did I mention that already? And one block from the ocean. I have an ocean view!

The position I took is a one year term contract with small Internet marketing and design company that also has it's own proprietary Content Management Software (CMS). I'm their production coordinator as they look to grow. It's an exciting opportunity to support a growing company.

I work right downtown which was a concern at first, the commuting is a bit different than Moncton.... But now I drive a quick drive to the ferry, read while I cross the harbour (finally get to read the 20+ books I have sitting on my shelf) and then walk 3 blocks to work. All very urban. Reminds me of Stockholm where I always took the public transportation to go see the clients and were I was always surrounded by water. (Stockholm is in the Swedish archipelago.)

With my folks moving this past winter and downsizing (instead of being right in Halifax they are now 30 minutes outside of the city, hence another reason for needing a place of my own in town) and my Nana and Grampie both passing away, I had a lot of stuff so having another place to stuff with stuff has worked out well!

Can you see the houses across the harbour? That's Herring Cove on the other side of the mouth of the harbour. The lights are beautiful at night...

It's nice and cool with the ocean breeze for the dogs. As you can see, Emily loves the deck. She's a deck bunny like her momma.
A lot of DIY stuff in the house though. The ceramic tiles weren't laid correctly, the grout is now crumbling. And the plumbing, don't let me get started on the plumbing. Tim went through the house and was complaining about the workmanship. He finally turned to me and said "do you know who I feel like?". I said "yes, Mike Holmes". He's my hero, he's on my screensaver at the moment... Tim tackled quite a bit but I did have to get the plumber in to reseat the downstairs toilet. The floor underneath is not level. Anyway, it's fixed now. No one should DIY if they don't know how! But overall, the house is in great shape. I'd post pics of the inside but the place is still a mess.
Lets talk knitting, shall we. I did buy some yarn lately. Well Tangled Skein is just a couple of blocks away from my lawyers office and after parting with all that money, I deserved a treat for me!! I got this beautiful laceweight. The colour isn't showing up well in this pic because I took it with my phone. it's an alpaca silk blend.

I also got some soy silk. I think I'm going to make a Montego Bay scarf for myself.

Granny Tan and I have a weekend getaway planned at a lakeside cottage for 4 nights with my 2 dogs and her Clancy. Should be a blast! We are working on the menu now! And I have my list of knitting projects all ready to go. We don't leave until August 9th but stay tuned. There should be some productive knitting that weekend! (and perhaps, just perhaps some productive cocktail making...)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Needle felting vs. machine felting

Oops, that's Ollie. Big nose, eh? And he likes to sniff you all over.. It's bit like being violated. But I digress.

I started needle felting over the machine felted outline for the Celtic Tote. The needle felting is so nice. It's a lot of effort but so worth it. The outside and the bottom of this cable is done. See the difference?
I'm also working on a shrug for myself. I figure it will be nice to have for the fall (yes, it was suppose to be for spring...) The pattern came from my Nan and the yarn came from my Nana so it will be a nice sentimental piece once I finish it.

I'm also working on the lace ribbon scarf from Knitty but I'm using a heavier weight yarn, blue sky alpacas alpaca and silk yarn. The green was beautiful on the ball but when I started knitting this it looked like something for a baby. I think it will be okay once I get it finished and blocked. Hopefully in time for summer wearing....

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Felted Celtic Tote

So I finished the celtic tote from interweave winter 2007. I figured the felting process would take care of the way the outlined backstitch showed.

It did not.
And the felting process lost the cable definition on the handle. In all fairness, I did felt a second time in hopes of losing the definition of the backstitching around the celtic knots cabling.
So they say you can fix it up with needling felting. But do I have felting needles?! of course not! I have every other knitting accessory on the planet but no felting needles. I'm going to borrow some from Granny Tan and see if I can't fix this up. I hope so because I really like the shape of the bag and I want to finally give it to my mom when I see her on Mother's day.

I am still working on Mom's other sock but I also cast on a Montego Bay Scarf for the artyarn supermerino Granny Tan brought back for me from Florida. The colours were so springlike that I just couldn't resist. It's coming along nicely but I had to frog it 3 times until I got the right width to make it long enough with the one skein I had. I'm using size 8mm needles with bulkier yarn than the pattern called for but it's turning out nicely once I got it figured out.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Mom's Birthday Gifts NOW with Pictures!

Yes my mother got her birthday gifts with the needles still in them. But now that she has seen her gifts, I can now show you. This is the back of the Celtic Tote from Interweave Knits Winter 2007. This pic shows the true colour.
But this pic shows the cables much better. Cool, eh?!

This is my first knitted button hole. I had to do it twice but it turned out fine.
Even the handles on this are cables. I'm working on the front now.
These are the titled cable socks, also from Interweave Knits Winter 2007. I stopped the cable at the foot so they would fit better in a shoe. My mom was really glad because while she loved the cables, the sock would have bothered her with the cables on top. My mom has MS and her feet have weird sensations so plain and soft are best. I must keep that in mind with all sock patterns I knit for her. Plain Stockinette is best. No problem!

I'm just so pleased at how the colour pooled in this, with the ankle matching the foot.

I have one more thing to share. My mom gave me these pin cushions that came from my Nana's. Aren't they adorable?! I just giggle at them every time I see them. Too funny.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Knitting Companions

This is my knitting space

The dogs like to snuggle with me but when they both decide to snuggle at once, I get kicked out of my knitting space. Sigh... the things I do for my hairy babies. I had to move to a chair.
Awfully cute, aren't they?! I have got to get a life. I'm not sharing any knitting pics today as I am only working on stuff for my mom's birthday. She gets her stuff today (yes, still on the needles, both projects) and then I can share pics. So stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Felted Slipper Socks - second time's a charm

I finished the re-knit pair of felted slipper socks for my Grandmother's birthday. Sent them express, they should get there in time for her birthday on Friday. They still felted short but I wore them a bit, her feet are shorter than mine so they should be fine. The cuff is a little loose but the first pair, the cuff was too tight.
They are a bit wider than the originals as shown in this picture of the original on top of the re-knit pair.Two more birthday knitting projects to go and then I can get back to knitting for me!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Birthday knitting progress update

Just a quick update.. I knit up another felted slipper sock following the large size for the width. I'm happy with how it has turned out. I didn't do any colour work around the bunion area so these should definitely work. I like my little colour pattern I designed myself. I should get the other one done today and the pair felted. I really need these to go into the mail tomorrow.

I would have had them both done yesterday but I developed a nice little sinus headache. My allergies are killing me... can't wait for spring to actually get here. I'm allergic to wool so I'm blaming the sock for yesterday's headache but I'm also allergic to polyester, angora (the kind from rabbits, where still optimistic about the whole goat thing) dust, mold, dogs, cats, .... air. It's a huge pain in the butt. Oddly enough, there aren't too many who would call me the sensitive type. Oh, and what they say about Alpaca being hypoallergenic?! Well I think it's actually true. When I was working on the memorial socks which are 50% cashmere and silk and 50% alpaca I had no problems at all! But really, who wants to felt beautiful alpaca. I need a felting substitute for wool.

Okay back to the other birthday knitting. I'm not showing the tote I'm doing for my mom in case she reads this. I assume she doesn't but that's a big assumption for me to be making. So I'm keeping it hidden until she gets it.

Since she would have already seen the socks..... I frogged back to the ankle and started it in St st. The pattern in the yarn is so pretty I think it will be okay. After I did this Manon mentioned doing the foot in rib. Never thought of that but I'm afraid to attempt frogging it again. I got lucky the first time and didn't drop any stitches so I don't want to risk it again.