Monday, November 17, 2008

First Christmas FO 2008

Christmas knitting has well and truly begun. I can even claim one completed finished project.

This is the Inner Truth (cashmere) Scarf, an old pattern from the now-defunct MagKnits. I say (cashmere) because I used plain old Knitpicks Gloss, in cranberry.

Inner Truth FO

It’s lovely and soft and squishy, and will feel lovely and warm against my father’s neck while he wanders the frozen Little River Wetlands with his dog this winter.

Inner Truth FO2

I knit up the Reversible Cable Scarf for my dad last year. It was in a nice, neutral beige, and, as requested, was short enough so that it didn’t ‘get in the way’ all the time.

Dad's Reversible Cable Scarf

As my dad gets a wee bit older, it seems he’s valuing warmth and comfort over convenience, so this scarf is almost Doctor Who-like in its proportions, probably over seven feet long. It should wrap snugly around the neck at least a couple of times, and, in a pinch, can be used as an emergency dog leash.

More details on Ravelry, if you’re interested in that sort of thing.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Life Happens

Once again, I find that I've not updated in far longer than I like. But it's boring and annoying to hear the apologies over and over, so I'm moving on.

I often jokingly complain that I have no life. But the past few months have been unusually busy for me, starting just about before the annual cottage vacation, and they seem to be starting to wind down now. And, aside from a few exceptions, all of the things that have kept me busy have been very good things: travelling and friends and family. I'm just not really used to being so short on 'me' time, and when I don't have it, I find that things start to break down. Important things like my patience, my temper, and my living room.

But, like I said, things are starting to wind down, and it feels like the perfect timing, really. The days are getting shorter and the leaves on the trees are fewer and fewer. The nights are cold and the air is definitely crispy. It's getting close to hibernation time, and I have to admit that I love the chance to curl up under blankets with steaming mugs of tea and hot chocolate, watching weather lashing against my window. I'm sure I'll feel very, very differently in a few months, when I'm longing to open a window and go outside without layering, but right now, the beginning of winter feels like a comfort.

Keeping up so poorly with things lately does mean plenty of fodder going forward, and so here's a taste for now of the lovely things I've been up to.

Horseshoe Canyon

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I love Thanksgiving.  It falls in my favourite season (pun not intended, but I'll let it stand.)

The drive down to Windsor to spend the day with my family is always the best one of the year, with the glory of the changing leaves and the crisp evening air. 

Living Dead with mutant plant

I love the sentiment, the whole idea of Thanksgiving.  Taking a moment in a day to think about all the ways that you're blessed, and be thankful for them.  To keep in your mind your family, your health, your friends.  To be mindful and appreciative.


And the best part of Thanksgiving - all the pumpkins!  Being in an apartment, I don't really have a place to display a Jack o'Lantern, but I always make a trip out into the county to pick up a little collection of gourds, in all their funny shapes and sizes.

This year, my brother and I stopped in at a place I've been driving past for years.  I never think to stop in, and that's been a big mistake.  These people probably love pumpkins as much as I do, and they're definitely huge fans of Hallowe'en.  They have a maze/haunted house, a graveyard, and a barn rigged up with "interactive zombies" that, when tugged, open up different coffins and crypts.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Rainy Saturday - In Detail

The other day, some friends and I decided to share our day in pictures. This is something we’ve done a couple of times now, and always with interesting results. This time around, our “day” fell on the same day as the Kitchener-Waterloo knitter’s fair. I wasn’t sure I would go, but felt like I had to do something picture-worthy. And if I’m going to take all kinds of pictures and tell stories, then I might as well blog it. Here is my apology in advance for a VERY long post. Feel free to skim.

After lounging about all that morning, I decided to get in the car and drive to Kitchener-Waterloo for the fair. It was a chilly, rainy day, but the roads weren’t bad.

I started to take the most direct route to the fair, but saw signs that directed me differently, and I ended up taking the route I knew best, past my old stomping grounds in Guelph. I loved being back on roads I knew and have driven dozens of times.

driving to

I arrived at Bingeman’s without incident, and my first thought as I drove into the parking lot was, “I’ve been here before”. I can’t remember why – I think maybe there must have been an Engineering career fair or something way back when.

As I’d had such a long, lazy morning, I didn’t arrive at the fair until almost three. So I didn’t get to check out any of the workshops the website had mentioned, but there was still plenty to see.

I guess in previous years, the vendors had all been in one big room, and the place was jam-packed. This was the first year they expanded to two rooms, and everything was well-spaced, with wide aisles. There were lots of deals to be had, but I was fairly restrained. But not saintly.

I wandered both rooms, visiting every stall with varying degrees of interest. I had just wandered into my last stall, and was thinking it was weird that I hadn’t found the Linda’s Craftique booth, when I heard Linda call out my name. I turned around to find that I was, in fact, in her booth. It was nice to see a few familiar faces (and familiar F.O.s).

Knitting show


It continued to pour all day, which didn’t really bother the knitters, as they scurried from hall to car laden with fibre and tools.

I stayed right up to the end, at 4:30 (partly in hopes that some vendors might suddenly decide to lighten their loads home and offer ridiculous deals) then headed back to my car in the suddenly empty parking lot.

I was a bit confuddled to find a satellite dish in the middle of some bushes by my car. Next to… nothing at all. Okay.

on the road

Then it was back on the road for me. Despite the rain, it was a lovely drive along familiar roads.


I love driving back roads at this time of year. Even better is a couple of weeks from now, when the leaves have started to change, and the world is awash with sunset colours.

rainy road

But this time of year is lovely, too, with the rich browns and yellows of the fields, all on a backdrop of lush greenness.


And every now and then, in the distance, or – more startlingly – suddenly in a field flashing by, you can see bright sheets of brilliant yellow canola.


Yes, I know I probably took too many pictures, but I don’t get out this way nearly often enough these days.

I didn’t even notice the big windmill behind this house until I was going through the photo files later at home.

rain and wind

I took the long, slow way back to Guelph, and then through the city, driving along roads that took me back in time about nine years.


It’s been bothering me that I couldn’t remember the name of the street I lived on in second year, so I swung by that way to remind myself that it was “Keats Crescent”.


I drove south on highway 6, past the lawn furniture/camping equipment place that has life size dinosaur statues. (no idea)


And when I got home, I drooled over my purchases. I got some lovely green roving, a spool, and this beautiful niddy noddy.
niddy noddy

I think I became interested in spinning mainly for the beautiful tools and their fun names.

After playing with my new toys, I got dinner together. The last of my homemade tomato sauce over shell pasta with plenty of parmesan.


Then I flaked out on the couch. I was not alone.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Harrow Fair

A couple of weekends ago - Labour Day weekend, in fact - I paid my second annual visit to the Harrow Fair.

I wasn't terribly surprised to find that not a whole lot has changed in the past year.  There were the same giant sunflowers.

The same very, very tall sunflowers.

I did notice the Lego category, which was new to me.

And last year, I don't remember seeing quite so many categories for flower arrangements.  They included 'Best single red rose in a white vase - 10" division', and the one below, 'People put flowers in the darnedest things'.

Those 'darned' things included a soup can, an old banjo or guitar, and a bedpan.

The critters were pretty much the same.  Though I'd imagine they were the next generation, as they were advertised for sale by the pound in many cases.

I didn't see one of these last year - a display on knitting and crocheting.

I guess I was still developing my 'fibre art radar' last Labour Day.

Unfortunately, the turkey was not one of little Kiona's highlights.  While she found it hilarious when I or her mum would 'gobble' at her, it was not at all funny when a giant, ugly bird did it face-to-face.

This was just before things got a little teary.

Which leads me to the biggest difference between last year and this year.

Last year (please note bulge):
And this year (please note bulge is now walking and has developed high levels of cuteness):
Who knows what next year will bring.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


The second project that I finished up this weekend was this little bluey greeny item.

If it looks vaguely familiar, that's because yes, I did just make another one of these.  But it also means that you saw it on Ravelry, because I have been a bad, bad blogger.  
Okay, here's my first:

These are both Baby Surprise Jackets, knit from Knitpicks Felici sock yarn.  It's wonderfully soft and perfect for baby projects.  The socks are cable rib socks, from the "Better than Booties" collection from Interweave knits. 

The pink/blue/green (Coney Island colourway) jacket and bootees went to my cousin's new little one, Tristan, out in Edmonton.  The blue/green/brown (Schooner colourway) is destined for an as-yet unknown baby, due in about three weeks.

These are really cute, fast projects, and I can see myself doing plenty more in the future.  I do have to say that I did not have much luck following Elizabeth Zimmerman's pattern.  The style of writing there just didn't click for me.  It was the Baby Surprise Notes by Dawn Adcock that made it possible for me to knit - and enjoy knitting - these jackets.  The notes don't give you the pattern - that, you still need to buy or borrow.  But they give you the pattern instructions line by line, more like a modern pattern. 

Which, yes, may be a bit of spoon feeding, but apparently, that's what I need, so I'm glad it's available.

I know!  Two posts in two days!   Crazy!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Wee Things


There's really only one thing a picture like this can mean to a knitter.  Things have been finished!

I spent most of the weekend seaming, weaving in ends, sewing on buttons, and blocking.  I rarely left the couch, which was pretty much the plan going into the weekend, after a somewhat hellacious Friday spent hopping from one waiting room to the next, as I tried to deal with a messed up cornea.  Which, by the way, was made much worse by doctor number two (of three) scraping at it because he thought there was something on my eye.  Turns out, he was seeing a scratch and misinterpreting it as some kind of foreign material.  Thanks, doc!  Oh, well.  He did send me off to an ophthamologist, who gave me very good eyedrops.

Anyway - knitting!  The first project I finished up was my pair of Embossed Leaves socks.

Embossed Leaves 1

These were knit out of some lovely hand dyed yarn from Sunnyside Ellen's etsy shop.  The yarn was dyed to give a gradual descent into darker shades.  I started with the lighter end, as the socks were knit top-down.  I was a bit disappointed that I never made it to the darkest green shades.

If I did this again, I'd likely choose a toe-up and go the other way, since I'd rather see more of the darker green.  But that's really the only disappointment, and it's a minor one.

The pattern was easy to memorize, and gives really lovely results.  It also gave me the chance to try a star toe for the first time, as shown in the awkward photograph above.

The only really unusual thing about these socks was the way I finished them up.  I used a nine inch circular needle.
Apparently, this is a new offering from Hiya Hiya, and Linda my LYSO of Linda's Craftique was kind enough to let me try this out.  I admit that it's a bit awkward at first, as the needles themselves (as opposed to the cable) are very short.  I think that a lot of people just wouldn't enjoy using these, but it works for me just because I happen to hold my needles just right for them. 

They're ideal for a purse knitting project, and I like them well enough that I've used them to cast on for my next sock project.  Which are the Uptown Boot Socks from Favorite Socks (that's really hard to type without the "u", by the way), in safety orange.

Up next - more finished stuff!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

For me!

I won a contest!

A couple of weeks ago, I added a comment to 1600 others to congratulate Sheri at The Loopy Ewe on her second anniversary.  And I was chosen as one of sixteen winners, much to my shock and amazement.

The package arrived today, and was just a fabulous way to celebrate a beautiful, cool summer day.

Loopy prize wrapped up

I knew the yarn would be yummy, so I left it as the last thing to be unwrapped.  What a fun little package.  There's a Loopy Ewe mini tote bag with a little tag that reads "Sock yarns don't count as stash!" and a cute little pin.  The pattern is for Making Tracks socks, by Wendy.  This is one I'll definitely be trying out.  Sorry it's not really in the picture, but here's the Ravelry link.

Loopy Ewe prizes

And then there was the yarn.  Oh, the yarn.

Loopy Prize yarn
There is a skein of Wollmeise in a vibrant, yummy fall colourway called Campari Orange.

Wollmeise Campari

It feels lovely and soft, and seems to be a thinner yarn than most of the sock yarns I've used.  I may actually need to swatch to make sure I use this to the best of its abilities.  And since this is "the" yarn right now, I want to make sure I get the most out of it.
Wollmeise Campari

But as lovely as the Wollmeise is, I have to admit that I've fallen for the Yarn Love Juliet.

Yarn Love Juliet

I doubt I would ever have picked out this colourway on my own.  But as soon as I held it in my hands, I knew it was the colourway I never knew I always wanted.

Yarn Love Juliet
It's all my favourite colours and combinations rolled into one.  It has the warm, toasty fall colours, the rich brown, and the bright, sunny-skies-blue. 

Yarn Love Juliet

And if you happen to know what I do for a living, you'll know why the name of the colourway is particularly appropriate and cracks me up.
Yarn Love Juliet

Thanks to Sheri and the Loopy Ewe!