Monday, March 31, 2008

Spring Shrug

One April birthday done!
This is the shrug for my niece. I'm quite please with how it turned out. Now I just have to get it into the mail before her actual birthday in a week. It was an easy knit and I practiced my left hand knitting on this piece which gave me the chance to get quite good at it. It's easier to knit left hand when using 2 straight needles, something I realized when I started this that I rarely do. I'm always on circulars or dpns.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

April's Coming!! Oh Crap.

I spent yesterday going through my Nana's knitting stuff. I was like a kid in a candy store. And all I could think of was how Nana missed seeing me take so much joy in her knitting things. It made me profoundly sad to think I'd never get to share this passion with her. I'm so sorry I didn't spend more time with her before she passed away, before she went into the hospital. For anyone out there with elder folks in your lives, make the time. It's a terrible regret to have.

I went through all the knitting books and needles, making a pile to keep and a pile to give away to charity. I know my Nana would like the idea of someone who can't afford it, being able to knit. I went through the yarn but there are so many bits and pieces. I think I would like to construct some sort of memorial throw/Afghan to wrap myself in like a hug. Then I will give the rest away. Everything that came from my Nana's house smells like she always did. Right now I just like having the smell of my Nana in the house.

I'm trying to beat away at the April birthday knitting. I have just over 2 weeks to knit and mail my niece's gift. I'm using a pattern from my Grandmother's old pattern books and yarn from my Nana's stash. I will tell my niece this and she'll think it's "cool" cause she's like that. I'm having a little trouble reading the pattern for adding the front pieces but I think I have it figured out. I'm a ways away from knitting the front so I don't have to sweat it just yet and I'm hoping it will make more sense by the time I get there. I don't have enough of the either the lighter or darker blue/ green yarn so I'm doing a 3 inch around the bottom of each piece in the lighter. Hopefully it turns out okay.

Next up is the felted slipper socks for my Grandmother. She is always cold so I thought these would help keep her tootsies warm. And she can wear wool so we are all set. Problem was that the pattern had a snowflake in it. No one wants to see snowflakes in April, although at the rate we are going up here in the great white north, I'd say that was a distinct possibility... So I had to redo the pattern in the middle. The first one I did I didn't like so I frogged that out last night. This one is better and I figured out how to properly do fair isle knitting (thanks Stitch 'N Bitch - A knitter handbook!). I was pretty pleased with myself! Luckily I had already worked on knitting with my left hand so it was pretty easy.

Last but certainly not least is my mom. I started the tilted cable sock from Interweave Winter 2007. Huge fun with this one. I'm loving how it is turning out. Once I get the one sock done I'll move on to the bag I'm going to do for her. I couldn't decide which bag to do but when I mentioned I had a pattern for a bag with the celtic knots on it Mom's face light up. Decision made! So I'll start working on that one soon. Mom's birthday isn't until the 14th and I don't have to mail her stuff so I have to get the other 2 gifts done first. I also have a nephew who's birthday is the same day as my mom's but I think I'll buy him something. It's hard to knit for a 15 year old boy in the spring.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Another Goodbye, Sharing a Knitting Legacy and Pins to Remember

This past week I had to say goodbye to another beloved person in my life. My Grampie passed away Weds. March 12 after a very brief illness with Cancer. He was 90 on Dec 27th. Two days later he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. After burying his beloved wife of 67 years 5 weeks ago, he himself joined her. Best we can tell, only his last 3 days were difficult. Up until then he was relatively pain free. After watching Nana suffer for over 6 months, this was such a blessing.

If things really do happen in threes then I should be good for a while. Here's hoping.

When I went to Halifax for Grampie's memorial service we spent some time going through the house. Marly had written a wonderful tribute to her Grandmother and her craft and the legacy it left. I hadn't really thought of it that way. I just thought of the bags full of crappy acrylic that made up both my Nana's and my Grandmother's stash. It made me grateful that I had at least taken the old pattern books from the grandmother. In fact the memorial socks, as I call them, are from a pattern out of an old book I had gotten from my grandmother. Needless to say, when I had the chance to go through Nana's stash I was not about to pass it up due to my yarn snobbishness.

And that is only half of it. Nana's lovely sister, Evelyn had already take half of the yarn (Evelyn also has the best sense of humour. No wonder Nana loved her so!). There is a great supply of needles, especially circular needles. And I can't wait to go through those pattern books! I want to plan something special out of the yarn and patterns. Something I can wear and think of Nana. Maybe a nice shawl...

Mom had gone through Nana's jewelry. Nana was not a fancy woman. She believed in quality but not flash so she didn't have any big pieces or extremely valuable pieces. But she did have some beautiful pins. I picked out a few of my favorites. So now I really think a shawl is in order. I wore the dark pin with a shawl that Granny Tan had made for me to Grampie's funeral.

I'm a sentimental old fool so every time I pull these out, I'll think of my Nana. It will make me quite happy.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Broken #@*&# Needle...

You will not believe this. I was knitting away last night on my mom's birthday sock, the Tilted Cable Sock. It was coming along nicely. I was determined to make it to the heel flap last night.
Suddenly I notice a thin metal stick in my lap. I recognized it immediately as the inside from one of my plastic dnp. The tip had broken off my plastic dpn and then inner metal stick had fallen out. So I tried to burn and reform the end of the needle.

Yeah, that didn't work. So I had to stop working on the sock (luckily I have the second memorial sock on the needles) and now I have to go buy another set of 2.25mm dnps. #(@*&$#@(&#

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Granny Tan brought me back some of the most wonderful yarn!

Don't you just love the spring colours. The bottom one is a hand painted merino. I want to make something like a scarf/wrap out of them all together. Wouldn't that be pretty for spring?
The multicolour yarn is from Art Yarns ( but it seems that the patterns they show for it aren't available on the website. I may have to consult Ravelry for ideas.... However this must wait until I finish my April birthday knitting.

Here's the progress on the sock. It's coming along nicely.

Yes, I still have quite a ways to go. I have to be the slowest sock knitter on the planet...

Thursday, March 6, 2008

2 dogs, a purse and birthdays galore!

Ollie's sad...

Clancy went home yesterday. His wrestling buddy is gone... We must have a play date soon. And I could seriously use some time with Granny Tan too! Where does the time go?!

Well I've been working on the brown purse. My hands are just a mess. There doesn't seem to be enough cream in the world to keep them from cracking and getting raw. Funny how lanolin is suppose to make your skin soft yet when your allergic to it it makes it dry and cracked. Okay, it's not that funny... I hope I have enough of the brown to finish the purse without having to buy more.

But then I realized that my mother and my grandmother have birthday's next month (oh crap, I just realized that my niece and nephew also have birthday's next month, in fact my nephew's birthday is the same day as my mom's!). So I cast on a pair of socks for my mom. I was thinking about doing the Fleece Artist garter stitch cardigans for both mom and Nan but quickly dropped that idea for my grandmother since that would involve hand washing and that just was not a good idea for Nan. Then the reality of my finances kicked in... So I'm doing socks for Mom and I'd really like to do her a felted hat to match the potato chip scarf I did for her for Christmas. I'd also like to do the messenger bag Granny Tan did from Interweave Holiday Gifts (but in a different colour scheme) or the Celtic Tote from Interweave Winter. I think I'm going to do Nan a pair of some type of felted slipper or bootie. She is always cold. Nan has a serious allergy to synthetics. I get dry and crack with certain fibers, she gets a type of chemical burn like reaction. It's really bad. So I have to watch what I use. I wanted to do a shawl for her but we'll see.

Anyway I cast on these socks called Tilted Cables from Interweave Winter. I love this pattern. I am a cable junkie anyway and these totally satisfy my cable cravings. My mom already commented that she thought the yarn was pretty. She will totally love these. It's Knitpicks Memories in Prairie something or another - it doesn't matter really because it's a discontinued. I've had it in my stash for quite a while.

I've really got to get moving on the April birthday knitting!

An update on the memorial socks. I cast on the second sock and am currently working on it before bedtime. I don't see it getting finished before April but I'll work a little on it here and there... Once again knitting for myself gets pushed to the back burner....

Monday, March 3, 2008

A sock, a pair of clogs, a purse and a hangnail

I finally finished one Memorial Sock. It's beautiful. I'm in love. I made Tim go "oh, ah" and pet it.
I have enough yarn leftover that it looks like I may be able to make a bootie like pair of socks out of the leftovers. It will give me a chance to try a toe up sock and if I run out of yarn at the top I have other stuff I can add to make a ribbed cuff. It would be great to have a pair of bootie type socks out of this wonderful yarn to slip on when I get chilly tootsies in bed... And it seems that the yarn has not bothered me at all. Of course I'm not allergic to cashmere and alpaca! So I guess that means I have a good reason to only buy luxury yarns. ; )

Can you see the difference between these two clogs?
I finished the pair of felted clogs I was commissioned to do for a friend of a friends better half (got that?). But I ran out of yarn when doing the bottoms. Note to self - buy extra when planning specific projects... Anyway I used a yarn that was close to it but when it felted it seemed to make the differences more noticeable which I didn't think was possible but when it comes to felting Murphy's Law really does rule.
I put puffy fabric paint on the bottom to try and reduce the slipperiness of the slippers. I sent some pictures to the commissioner and she liked them anyway. I liked them just fine but since someone was paying for them I had to make sure they were acceptable. So today they hit the mail. As you can see, you can't tell the difference when they are on. I have got to make myself a pair of these...
Okay so on to the next commissioned project. Felted stripped purse. This is for my Aunt-in-law's sister. I did one for my Aunt-in-law for Christmas but I didn't write down exactly what I did so I am having to wing it on this one. I started it once but it was too wide so I frogged it and started again. I think I have it right this time. It's going to be brown with a beige strip.
I can confirm that all this Briggs and Little wool does not agree with my skin. I have more hangnails than you can shake a stick at. I do wash my hands often and keep hand cream on them but it's just not enough.
You think that looks bad, you should see my scalp. I don't know why it's my scalp that has gotten irritated and dry but luckily the only person who can see that mess is my hairdresser! But it is official. My skin was fine, my hands were soft and supple and my scalp was perfect... and they I picked up the Briggs and Little wool. I'm convinced that the nicer, better processed, cleaner wool doesn't have the same effect but I'm still testing that theory. All I know for sure was that all was fine when I was knitting with the cashmere/alpaca blend. So bring on more of that stuff!! Hahahaha, I'm even a high maintenance knitter... surprise.