Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sock It To Me!!

A.K.A. Thursday Night is Cast Off Knitting Night!

My friend E is getting quite clever at coming up with some fun knitting related gems/play on words etc., among all the other clever things she does.
So, yes, last week it was decided that this week we would once again look at the wonder that is sock knitting. Our group has given it a shot a few times and those that like it, still do it; those that don't, well, not so much. Tonight, however a proposal has been put forth that anyone wishing to work on a sock can...bring in that UFO and have one of us tell you where you are exactly in the pattern, try again using 2 circular needles instead of the dreaded DPN's, determine what size needle will best suit your chosen yarn...and no sock yarn is not a valid excuse...we've got that covered too. Who said stash is just yarn taking up space? Oh wait, that would be like a thousand and a half (make that a bazillion and a half---there are a lot of knitters in this world) husbands out there.
We've even planned something for the seasoned sock knitters, and that is to learn how to do Three Needle Grafting. No more excuses for not knowing how to or not liking to graft; no more using the standard Three Needle Bind Off and leaving a seam inside your toe! (shudder) No, tonight we will all learn something new and wonderful! Yes, in my world learning a new way to finish off a sock is wonderful. I really am pretty easy to please.
But first, a wholesome and complete breakfast...
Do you like the hat thrown in for colour, texture and pure knitting content? How much do food stylists make?
I first heard about these Steel Cut oats, again from my knitting group, but was hesitant to try them, well, because it's oatmeal. Luckily, however I was able to spend some time with a dear friend of mine who had a batch on the stove and I decided to be a big girl and try it.
Now, I've kind of worked out my own system here. I make a full batch of the oatmeal (and I bought that kind because I liked the can---it's what I do) and a full batch of Bob's Red Mill Apple Grains. They require different cooking times; so I cook them separately and then combine them, put them in a container in the fridge and take out as much as I want when I want and reheat it in the microwave. Add a little brown sugar, milk (and blueberries for the photo shoot) and you've got a wonderfully 'feel good about yourself' kind of breakfast.

In preparation for tonight's workshop I've been committed to getting some knitting done. Here are not one, but two socks that will be ready for tonight's lesson. As you can see, I don't mind the dreaded DPN's.

Yea, so they don't match.

I can make another pair just like it later, and nooo, I'm not going to count how many socks I have on the go; nor am I going to count sock yarn stash.

Sock yarn stash....doesn't count; everybody knows that.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Let's Catch Up, Shall We?

First off here's a little something I like to call, "Spend a Day in My Shoes". This is what I managed to knit while watching 5 hours of 24. Really it's only 4 hours of knitting because I had to rip out after the first hour and start again. I'm likin' it!

I'm having a lot of fun on this knit-a-long on Ravelry. The comments and jokes from the other 24 fans are a riot!

Last Friday was a lovely sunny day here in Ontario and when you get a sunny day around here, you say good-bye to laundry and hello to road trip! My husband had to tie up a few loose ends up north and invited me to go along...laundry or yarn shop? Oh, yea!
Lynn at the Purple Sock in Coldwater has a quaint little shop. It has yarn, fibre and a myriad of teas! She offers sit and knit times, sit and spin times...and there's something else too, but I don't live close enough to keep track of everything there. I do like to support any and all yarn shops and brought home these little treasures.

I haven't tried knitting with wire yet, but hey, what's one more obsession among friends?

Saturday found the four of us joining a big group of friends in a day of Curling. None of us have ever curled before, but it sounded like a neat way to spend the day. Really, at this point in my life, if I haven't tried something (that's at least relatively legal) then I'm gonna give it a shot. I'm Canadian, I should give Curling a shot.
O.K. so I went, I tried, I fell on my bum. I got up again, tried again, fell on my chest. I got up again, walked into the lounge and knit. Now, that's a Canadian Sport that I'm good at!

Sunday found my son and I huddled in the basement most of the day.

His class was given an art assignment to crochet a hat. He tried. It was painful; not only to his fingers, but to anybody watching him! After much encouragement he finally asked the teacher if he could do something else? He wanted to design and make a drumstick bag. (Not a Man Purse, a Satchel. Indiana Jones has one.) He didn't like any of the fabric that I had on hand (aka stash) and his father suggested jeans. Three pairs of cut up jeans later (could've done it with two, but he didn't like the button on one pair) he produced this.

I let him run the machine (except for the really heavy seam sewing) and I made him draw, cut and sew by hand...this was his! I'm really pleased with how focused he remained while putting this together, and from what I hear, it was a hit! It folds over and buttons shut; so the back pocket is on the outside and the front pocket is on the inside. Neat, eh? (See? Canadian, eh?)

Hey! I finished something!

It's a lap quilt for my daughter (except for her it's like a whole body quilt and not just her lap); she LOVES it!! She is a sock monkey nut and when I saw this fabric at Evelyn's in Newmarket I knew I wanted to put something together. That was close to a year ago (or maybe even a little more) and for me?! That's freakin' amazing!! There's things I would've done differently, if I was so inclined, but two important things stick with me here.

1) I learned a few more things about quilting, for example, I like to use flannel(ette) for my backing, and apparently that could make my attempt at machine quilting more challenging.


2) IT'S DONE!!!

And since we were talking about WIP's at knitting last week...

I started sewing this quilt.

I cut out the pieces in 2006. I used only fabric that I had on hand. It's the Dreamcatcher Pattern from the quilt shop formerly named Jillybean's Pride in Oakville. I'm calling mine, "The Pink and Green Dream".
I should be knitting.....
Catch ya' later!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Other Night...

The other night I was checking out the 24 Fanatics group that I belong to on Ravelry and found something that caught my eye. A Jack Bauer KAL 2010. You choose your project, work on it only when the new Season of 24 (that's Season 8 for anyone counting) is on air.
To review, that's one project, 24 hours. No swatching---that's for sissies. Be fearless and trust no one.
First, prepare your tool kit, man purse or satchel...whichever way you lean, and assemble only the bare necessities of what you might require as you knit and save the world at the same time.

While I intend to use the traditional DPN's which could absolutely be used in self defence or to stop a nuclear bomb, I have included a circular needle in case I need to strangle somebody; while I quietly whisper in their ear, "Don't fight it."

Now, I prepare my materials; making sure that they are in good working order. Too many good agents have been lost due to carelessness.
Note, the colour selection; this is no accident! The black, gold and rose represent Jack's strength, optimism and sensitivity. These are also the qualities that make him irresistible to so many women, and I will terminate them if necessary.
Finally, I prepare for my journey. I have my communication device, however, should you attempt to contact me during the specified time frame I will have no choice but to ignore your warnings and go rogue on you!

This is a covert operation with the code name:

Tick, tock, tick, tock....

Friday, January 15, 2010


Yeah, I'm still here.
Last week I had an appointment in a small town north of us that is quite well know for its antique stores; it was a nice sunny day, so I visited a couple of them and look what I found!

I guess it's true that everything has been done before! The wheel on the miniature spinning wheel really turns; it's very cute.

Again, last week, (O.K. let's just clear something up here. This post is made up entirely of old news. Maybe next week I'll be able to catch up to this week.) I was lurking over some of my favourite blogs and Maria got me to wondering about the 'blooming' of yarn. Well, it just so happens that I too was working with Great Northern Yarn (thanks to Pick Up Sticks) and was able to clearly show the beauty that she would enjoy once the blocking was done.

See, lovely smooth yarn to knit, and when its turned into something to snuggle against your cheek or hands, and after you carefully block it, you just get a wonderfully soft bloom of knitted perfection!

I have to tell you I am having a little trouble staying focused on writing this post. I bought myself Volume 1 and 2 of the Glee soundtrack and get totally caught up in every song that comes on! I put it on to cook, and as it happens, it also means that I dance while I cook. I'm counting it as exercise.

O.K. more knitting content. There has been quite a lot of discussion out there about the upcoming Olympics and to what extent knitting will be involved. I participated in the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Olympics last time around and challenged myself to begin, AND COMPLETE, an aran sweater (well, it has cables o.k.?), in the designated time frame. I truly believe that my biggest challenge was actually sticking to one project and completing it, but I did it, and I enjoyed it!! I had a lot of support from, of course the knitting world at large, and, my dear knitting friends, the Cast Offs. Upon completion of the event they presented me with a medal that I proudly wore around my neck. I'm so glad that I have friends that 'get me'.

I assumed, and I'm not sure why, that these upcoming Olympics would bring the same challenge to the world of knitters. I've been trying to decide what project to attempt for the event. I've got yarn that has been in my stash, with a specific project in mind, mind you, for...well, some of them for 10 (maybe more) years. Should I go for seniority? That might not address the 'challenging' aspect of the criteria. Some of them, challenge or not, just cannot be completed in the allotted time....pretty sad that one, ' so why even bother starting?' One of my concerns was that once I decided on my project, while it was clearly stated that swatching was part of the 'training' that all Olympians must do, I was going to have a hard time waiting until Feb. 12 to begin! The conundrum just kept coming back to me again, and again. I looked through my stash, I looked through patterns, I did want to be prepared! And then, I saw this:

This lovely collection has been moved more times that I can even remember, never mind share. In my mind there is the most beautiful sweater, full of memories, love and appreciation. There are some sketches, some photos for reference, some notes, some samples, all waiting for the time that I will sit down, figure it out, write it down and...
And that's when it hit me. That's the one! I can use this 'training period' to design the sweater that has been so patient as to wait until I was able to give it the respect that it is due. I can swatch for gauge, I can measure, I can plan, I can chart...I CAN DO IT ALL!!! And intarsia is making a come back! (interesting note: one of the spell check options for intarsia is Ontario.???)
---oh boy.
There's one little thing though. Ravelry is hosting the "Ravelympics" and the last day to sign up is today. (Hey! Current content! WooHoo!) The Yarn Harlot isn't sure if she wants to set something up again, this time around, which I completely understand, because I'm sure it was a whole wack load of work!! Now, while I certainly can come up with a project to play along with, it doesn't necessarily mean that I have to participate, or that I have to choose only one Olympic event to participate in! Since I'm a Pisces, and have trouble making up my mind and I don't want to miss out on any knitting fun I'm leaning toward the 'choose both' camp.
This of course may be a mute point, as I said, the Yarn Harlot hasn't decided yet if she will lead us. Bottom line, if I want to participate in the Knitting Olympics, then Ravelry is the way to go and now is the time to do it!
Thanks for listening guys. I just had to think this through a bit, and seeing it here in black and white gave me the answer I was looking for. I also want to thank the Harlot, because she not only inspired me in my knitting Olympic goals, she also reminded us the there are "no knitting police" and if when it's all said and done, and I don't finish or I'm not able to participate the way that I want to....well, that's o.k. too.
I also want to address (you know, if I posted more often, I may not need to write so much when I do!) the support that knitters are offering to the agencies offering assistance in Haiti. The Yarn Harlot (again) has done wonderful work setting up Knitter's Without Borders in support of Doctor's Without Borders. Glenna C has posted that she will donate 100% of profits from the sale of her patterns...well, just go see. It's a good thing that they're doing; help if you can.
I'll try to get back soon. Be well.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Now, THIS is the most wonderful time of the year!

O.K. 2010, you're here. yipee.
I'm not sure what you have in store for us, but a few years ago I started a knitting blog...with a side of wine and chocolate...and now the truth is out.
1) Time management is not my strong suit, otherwise I would have more blog entries and more knitting to show on those blog entries.
2) I don't finish many/ a lot/ enough of anything to show off. Just be thankful that I don't post all the wonderful ideas, plans and schemes that I come up with, buy supplies for, obsess for a day (and night) or two, and then....abandon....or rather, allow them to become yet another WIP.
3) There has been a sharp decline in the amount of chocolate content in my posts. It's sad, I know.
4) Wine? Oooohhh wine. I've said it before, I wish I could enjoy the flavour of it without the alcohol issues associated with it. My husband thinks I'm nuts when I make a statement like that, but it's the flavour and atmosphere that I enjoy; not so much the buzz.
Please note: I said alcohol issues; not alcoholic issues.
Santa Marguarita still rules.

So, when last we spoke, I eluded to perhaps having some knitting to show you. I finished my Christmas knitting and was looking forward to putting my mind and needles to work on a little bit of a challenge that I would be proud to show you.
I was knitting. Happily knitting. The yarn is wonderful, it has mink in it...and I just have to go where my fingers take me. It's not me, it's my hands, they want what they want and they want the mink!
Now, it seems that I have a tendency to take what someone else has done in the knitting world and use part of their design to see what else it could become. A vision comes to me! This vision does not come with gauge, needle, stitch count or even yardage suggestions, but it looks so wonderful in my head that it could, and should be, well, you know, easy!
That's how it was with the mink, take a little of this pattern, insert this portion here, use this instead of that and....Tada! After 1-2 weeks of knitting and thinking, thinking and knitting....
This is what I've got to show for my latest design endeavor.

I hate it when I've had a negative knitting day. Yesterday, I was pushing it that last little bit. You know, "Just a few more rows and I'll be finished! I know it's a little tight now," (who see's where this is going?) "but it will block out.

Mmmm, maybe I didn't have to add that extra repeat.

When I do the next one," (because I need two) "I'll try not to have those two stitches next to each other and that will look better...the devil is in the details. Lalalala.

Yea, that's going to bug me, and I'm not sure that I'm going to have enough for the second one, after, I better just take it back and work it shorter; that'll be all right."

Frogity, frogity, frog.

"O.K., so not finishing it tonight. Make sure I write all these changes down, so that I can write up a pattern and boy this takes a long time to write out. How do those designers do this? I'm not a real designer, so I'm doing this the long-hand, old fashioned way. That's o.k. I'm enjoying the whole thing, I will get better with practise, I just won't be a prolific designer; I will try for thorough." See how I was being gentle with myself there? I will get's getting finished that's a challenge!
'The devil is in the details.'? That probably wouldn't make a very good company name, it's probably already a blog name.
You know, I bet this would look better if it was done on bigger needles. It still is a little tight. What about this way? That way?
Face it. You have to start over; just rip the thing out and start again tomorrow...on bigger needles.
Should I go up one size or two?"

Three cheers for following a pattern!! Hip, hip, hooray!!
I knit a pig!

And a couple of medallions (again---I reinterpreted the design---oh, that does have a nice ring to it, doesn't it? rrrreeeinterrrpreted)

Now, I've told you all of that, shown you all of that and all I was going to post was how wonderful it is that kids are back at school tomorrow (although, my daughter's been down a couple of time complaining about stomach 'issues', so that's kind of taken the wind out of my sails!). I don't have any urgent laundry to be done (took care of that today). The house has been put back together after all the Christmas upheaval (not my best year this year). I had hoped to get downstairs, tidy up a bit (please see Christmas knitting and reference to Christmas upheaval above) so that tomorrow would be....quiet. Just quiet. No kids. No machines. No going out....ANYWHERE!! Just me, my knitting, my dog and my cats...

Thursday seems to have something in mind......

Now, that's what I'm talkin' about!