Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Squeeeeee!

Yesterday, I got a lovely parcel all the way from Australia! Lea sent me wonderful goodies for the Amazing Autumn Coffeeswap. I wish I had my camera to take pictures of it all - you'll remember the dog incident of a while back which has left me camera-less. Anyways - I'll do my best to describe it and as soon as I can locate a camera will take a picture for the blog.

Everything was wrapped in brightly coloured tissue paper, which made the parcel even more fun! First off - there was coffee. A pound of fair trade coffee that if I hadn't slept in this morning, I would have enjoyed a cup first thing! Then there was quilt fabrics - oh the plotting and planning I've been doing. It's all in gorgeous shades of green. Next I opened a packet of chocolate. Oh chocolate how I love thee! Moving right along, the next packet I opened was two sweet felt snowmen ornaments, then a snowman picture frame, some beautiful soap, two skeins of gorgeous yarn (one hand dyed sock and another soft mohair blend which is absolutely begging to become a cowl for the winter) and a set of the most adorable snowmen stitch markers you could ever set your eyes on. I squealed so loudly when I opened the stitch markers I think I frightened the dogs and cats! ha ha!

Thank you to Lea for being such a fantastic and generous swap partner! I hope that your partner spoils you the way you've spoiled me!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Amazing Autumn Coffee Swap - Final Assignment

This week is Thanksgiving in the US, and our Canadian friends have already celebrated their day of thanks. So for this week, share a recipe, or tell us what your favorite 'Fall Foods' are - for me, I just love some Chili!! I always enjoy it, but during the cool, crisp weather of Autumn, I truly begin to crave it and make it more often - what's your favorite?

Well, for me I crave soups and stews in the fall. There is something warming and satisfying about coming home after a long day, opening the door and being greeted by the smell of a rich, hearty soup that's been simmering all day in the crock pot.

I have several favourites - too many to start listing them here really. So I will give you the recipe for one that the whole family enjoys. It's sort of a cross between a soup and a stew, so easy to make and tastes fantastic (or at least in our opinions anyways!)

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Perfect for a cool fall day!

Italian Sausage Soup

1 lb Italian sausage, browned, cooled and then cut into bite sized pieces (use any "heat" level you like - sometimes I use mild other times hot, just depends on what I feel like!)
1 large can of chopped stewed tomatoes
1 package of Lipton Onion soup mix
1 jar of spaghetti sauce (any old kind will do!)
1 bag of frozen mixed veggies (I like the "Mediterranean" kind that has peppers and eggplant in it - sorry I can't for the life of me think of the brand. It's in a red bag at Superstore if that helps!)
water ( I usually just fill the now emptied out spaghetti sauce jar with water - it's usually enough!)
red pepper flakes
basil
salt and pepper
broad egg noodles
freshly grated parmesan cheese

Combine all ingredients other than the noodles and cheese in the crockpot. Set to simmer on low for 10 hours. Half an hour before you want to eat, turn the crockpot to high, add approximately 1 1/2 cups of uncooked egg noodles, replace lid and cook for 1/2 hour more. Serve soup with freshly grated parmesan cheese as a garnish. On a really good day I'll put the bread machine on timer to be finished at the same time as the soup, which is a wonderful compliment to the meal. I'm just not always that organized in the morning!

Hope you enjoy the recipe!

As for knitting - I've done precious little of it over the last two weeks. I've been sick with what started out as a bit of a cold that then took a vicious turn for the worse and became a full on asthma attack. It's left me feeling too drained to do much of anything in the evenings besides put on my flannel jammies and crawl into bed. Maybe next week I'll have knitting to tell you about!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

There'll be no knitting to show for awhile now...

...because either Lucky or Guinness got bored the other morning at home and chewed my camera beyond recognition. They also did in a cel phone, a charger and half my knitting accessories. The next day they chowed down on the Canadian Tire flyer that had come in the mail and N's Christmas wish list. Yesterday they did not chew anything inappropriate. (Thankfully - because really. Their cuteness can only take them so far.)

Unfortunately, I did have knitting to show you. I managed to actually get some done over the last few days.

Mr. Greenjeans' body is now done. It's just wanting sleeves and the band around the edge to be done. I'm so close, I can almost feel it's cozy warmth already. Much to my horror, mind you, I'm a little concerned about the fit. The bust (oddly enough -- nothing ever fits properly across my shoulders and/or bust!) fits perfectly. The lower half of the sweater is leaving something to be desired. As in probably at least an inch on either side. Now. I figure it's one of two things. A) I was feeling anxious whilst knitting it and my guage went askew or B) I've gained way more weight than I should around my mid-section to date. Oh please let it be my guage...

Nicole at SnB last night did make me feel much better about it as she was wearing a stunning sweater that she knit awhile ago and I was struck by the fit of it. It was an incredible fit for her. As in to a tee. Then she told me it had previously been about three inches to narrow across the bust so she blocked the you know what out of it, and the end result was, well, what I would definately call a perfect fit. So, Nicole. I hope your blocking suggestion will work miracles. (and thankfully it's a one button kind of deal so if it doesn't meet in the middle so be it.)

On with the unphotographed progress of my WIP. I did manage to finish the mystery sock. It fits well, and I'm pretty happy with it. Starting the second sock was my SnB project for last night. Apparently, though, I have lost every knitting skill I ever posessed and had to cast on more than once. First time took me forever as I also have apparently lost any skill for counting past ten, but I finally got going and realized I was creating some sort of freaky mobius style sock cuff. Frogged it back and started over. I'm happy to report I've managed to do 3 rows of the cuff. Sad, I know. But there you have it.

Friday, November 07, 2008

No knitting to show...

Sadly, my knitting muse has not been speaking to me lately. Well, actually it's more a case of I've just been too bloody tired in the evening to knit. I've been plugging away sporadically on my WIP, but have nothing really to show for it.

Mr. Greenjeans has stalled out, with only a couple inches left to go on the body. It seems to take me forever to knit a single row of it right now - I've no idea why. Prior to about two weeks ago it was zipping along famously.

My mystery sock KAL for Socktoberfest hit the brakes last week on the toe. The toe of all things!!! I have to rip it back and start it over - not the whole sock. Just the toe. I somehow managed to bugger it up and it's going off at a weird angle. Odd. Didn't think it possible to screw up a toe of a sock.

And the fireside sock that I started the day I went to divorce court, well I managed to get the whole cuff done waiting for my turn -- judge was running behind and apparently I knit very quickly when anxious, then I got another seven rows done in the waiting room at my doctor's office later on that day. (Let me tell you... there's no better way to spend a "vacation day" from work than going to court to finalize your divorce and then heading over to the dr. for a flu shot. Ugghh.) Anyways. Since that day I've done precisely one row on the sock since. I'm not sure I like the yarn for this pattern. It's Claudia Handpainted in Buckeye which I figured would be lovely, but it's turning out with great pools of grey on one side of the sock and the red a wee splotch on the other side.

Maybe tonight being Friday, which of course used to be my weekly knit night in front of the TV, might get me back in the swing of things. I will have a house full of teenagers for G's birthday party tonight and goodness knows I probably won't be able to sleep for all the racket that will probably ensue. Plus, it started snowing last night which means the cold weather is setting in. Perfect time to finish new socks and a sweater, don't you think?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Amazing Autumn Coffee Swap Assignment #3

This morning I sit here sipping a fresh cup with a bit of cream and some sweetener.. and the first sip makes the morning seem just a bit better than it was before. I love the smell, the warm feel of the cup in my hand, the taste - just everything! What is it that you love about your first cup of the day? Are you a daily drinker? How do you take yours? Tell us how you love to enjoy your first cup!

Oh how I love my morning coffee. Mmmm. It's definately the best cup of the day. I usually take mine with milk and a sprinkle of caramel or chocolate in it for sweetness. A previous coffee swap partner had given me a wonderful container of "flavours" that you can use to either flavour your regular coffee when you brew it or just sprinkle some in your cup. It was a perfect way for me to cut way back on my sugar intake in my coffee.

I usually stagger upstairs in the morning to the kitchen and fix my cup of coffee then it's outside with the dogs. They seem to know that as soon as mom has a cup in her hands, it's time to head to the back door! Lucky and Guinness play in the yard while I keep my fingers warm by wrapping them around a steamy mug of coffee. Once I'm done my cup, then it's time to bring the dogs in, give them breakfast and start getting ready for my day. I love those first few minutes of peace and calm outside before the chaos begins!

I definately miss it if I don't have that first cup of the day!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Amazing Autumn Coffee Swap - Assignment #2

This week's topic was up on the swap blog, so I thought I'd take a minute to type out a few thoughts.

With Halloween coming up this Friday, tell us what you think of when you think Halloween! Do you love it? Hate it? See it as a sign of Fall? Are you a total sucker for candy and little kids in cute costumes?

For me, living on the prairies Halloween is usually the sign of the end of fall and the beginning of winter. If it hasn't snowed here yet, it's likely to do so within the first few days following. (This year the temperature looks to be promising for all the little (and not so little ... ahem... Yes I'm talking about you G and N!!!) trick or treaters. I think I heard they're calling for a balmy +6 C!

I actually really enjoy Halloween. I love to see the kids coming to the door in their costumes. And even used to make a costume for myself to take my kids around in when they were little. The only thing that bugs me is when teenagers come to the door and haven't even bothered to put any effort into dressing up at all. I'll still give them candy, but wish they'd get really into the spirit of the fun!

Oh and what sucker I am for those Halloween treats! Mmmm. Candies.

This year I'm not sure how many kids will be coming to the door, first of all because I live in the country and second of all I'm in a very religious part of the province and I'm not sure that many of the local people celebrate the holiday. I am prepared; however, so come on over kids! And if the kids don't show up... well I bought stuff that we all like to eat, so it's not like it'll go to waste, but more likely, well, my waist if you know what I mean!

This topic reminds me, a few of us at the office decided we should mark the day in some fun way, especially given that it falls on a Friday this year, so we're going to bring in treats for everyone. (We've been very hush, hush about it so it should prove to be a good surprise for the rest!) I offered to make sugar cookies. Should be fun! Like the parties we used to have in the classroom in elementary school!

Happy Halloween to all who celebrate!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Amazing Autumn Coffee Swap Weekly Topic #1

For the coffee swap I'm taking part in, our hostess has asked us to blog about a weekly topic which she will provide us with. Our first topic is up and here goes:

What makes a "Fall day" for you? How do you know it's here, and what do you love about the weather, the scenery, or something else that makes Autumn lovely?

Here on the prairies there are a few distinct changes that herald the beginning of fall for us. Even though the daytime temperatures may be still really warm, the evenings start to cool off more quickly. There is a certain "nip" in the air. Mornings are crisp too. The leaves, of course, start to change their colours and the geese start their annual migration south. You can hear them honking as they pass overhead in great flocks. Now that I live in rural Manitoba, another sure sign it's fall is apparent. Harvest season. Combines work the fields from early in the morning until late into the evenings. Once the fields are harvested, a less pleasant task takes place. This week I've had the great displeasure of having to drive past many fields where they are spreading manure to fertilize. Phew! What an awful smell!

The things I love most about fall are those crisp days, the amazing colours and the crunch of the leaves under foot. This year, being out in the country has made fall even more special for me (well except for the manure spreaders... I can't find a single good thing about that personally! Well I guess other than it is a good use of the stuff, and organic and all, but the smell... you just can't imagine the smell. Urgh). My new yard has trees completely surrounding it and the colours are absolutely stunning. I've been on a mission to capture them with the camera, but try as I might, I've not been able to get it just right yet. There's always something just a little off with my lighting.

Guinness enjoying a bright sunny morning early in the fall

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Getting things done!

Two weekends ago was our Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. I love long weekends for getting lots done! I managed to finish the knitting and most of the finishing on the Cambridge Jacket for (BF)G - it fits really well and he's quite happy with it, thereby making me quite happy with it! Finished the knitting and most of the sewing on the baby sweater for my neice and made a pair of mittens for myself to match my cabled hat from last year - the mittens I'd made last year were ridiculous and only fit for frogging. This year's are much better! I was also able to finish the second clue on the mystery sock for Soctoberfest. Because I was so productive I allowed myself to cast on another project. Mr. Greenjeans from knitty has long been a coveted project for me.

During the week that followed I managed to buy a zipper for the Cambridge Jacket, complete clue 3 on the mystery sock - I LOVE the "eye of partridge" heel flap (it looks so much nicer than my usual standby heel flap, which is only slightly different then the eye of partridge one, but looks nowhere near as nice!) - and I continued to work madly away on my Mr. Greenjeans.

This weekend, Saturday was almost a complete write off in terms of accomplishments. G had a competition and of course since I somehow got on the committee for doing registration again this year (note to self - in future, do NOT miss important meetings where committee positions are being handed out!!) I ended up there for the whole day. Sunday, I decided that the housework had been neglected for far too many days and it was imperative that I get something done. The state of my kitchen was beginning to remind me of a story from when I was a small child. The story was of a man who wouldn't wash his dishes and ended up using flower pots and ashtrays, and so on and so forth. So I resisted temptation, did not pick up my knitting and instead spent a couple hours doing a good thorough cleaning of the house from top to bottom.

As a reward for my good behavior; however, I spent the next couple of hours curled up in the armchair knitting. Greenjeans is coming along quite nicely and so far I'm really enjoying it.

So for the pictorial summary of my knitting over the last week here goes:

Cambridge Jacket - done even the zipper is now in!
Baby sweater for Oona - done except I now hate the buttons I'd originally chosen from the myriad of choices in my button box (have I ever mentioned how I had a slight problem... urm... perhaps addiction is the better term... with buying buttons a few years ago?) so I have to dig some new ones out to completely finish it.
Mystery sock - clues 2 and 3 all finished!
Mittens - oh purple mittens how I love you! Especially since the morning after I made them I had a good hard frost to scrape from my car windows! Greenjeans - I'm loving you too! (weirdly enough I took this picture on my white counter top last night and the yarn is actually a heathered purple. Oddness in photographic colours indeed!
And since I'm a proud momma - this next picture is just to show you my girl looking pretty in her kilt at the competition on Saturday!
All in all a pretty productive week I think!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Amazing Autumn Coffee Swap

Once again I'm participating in a yarn/coffee swap! Here's my questionaire for it:

About Your Yarn Passion
1. Do you knit, crochet, or do both? When did you first learn? Knit – I learned the summer between grade two and three. (which makes it about 29 years or so!)

2. Do you like using a particular type of needle or hook? (wood, metal, straight, circular) Is there something you've been wanting to try, or a particular size you always seem to be short on? I love wooden needles and right now am somewhat obsessed with my Knitpicks harmony 2.5 mm fixed circular. I just wish my silly kitten hadn’t thought it good for chewing on! (it’s a little rough in spots now. Grrr)

3. What kind of projects do you enjoy making? Any types you just haven't ever gotten into as much as others? I love just about anything.

4. What's on your needles\hook right now? What's your oldest UFO (unfinished object)? On the needles right now? Clementine Shawlette, Mystery Socks for a Soctoberfest KAL, Mr. GreenJeans, a baby sweater, and I’m just finishing up the Cambridge Jacket. My oldest is the Clementine Shawlette – I started it two summers ago, frogged it and re-started it this past summer.

5. If you were going on vacation tomorrow, what project(s) would travel with you? Socks, socks and more socks. (Small, easily transported and most airport security have no problem with wooden/bamboo needles, which I always use for socks)

6. What are your favorite types of yarns? Any you're allergic too, or just hate working with? Anything in particular you've been dying to try? I’m easy. I love most yarns equally – just not fun fur. I went on a fun fur jag a few years back and still have way to much of it in my stash!

7. What sort of colors do you love in yarns? Brights? Pastels? More muted colors? Variegated? Are there any you can't stand? I love rich colours, or earthy colours. I’m not much one for pastels or neons!

Your Coffee Passion
1. Do you prefer caffeinated or not? Caffeine. Definitely need the caffeine!

2. Whole bean or ground? For what type of pot or press? Whole bean – just a regular old drip coffee maker

3. What types of roasts do you enjoy? Are you more the light and lively or dark and robust type? A lighter roast is preferred

4. How do you 'take' your coffee? Creamers? Sweetener? Other add ins? Milk and my last coffeeswap partner sent me a set of flavour shakers for my coffee, there are about six variations of chocolate and caramel and I am completely addicted to them all.

5. That first morning cup - is it about the taste, or the caffeine? Both!

6. Do you enjoy going out to coffee shops like Starbucks? What are some of your favorites? I am shameful with the Starbucks! We have one right here in the library I work at so in the fall I’m a sucker for their Pumpkin Spice Latte. Mmmmm.

7. You've just made the perfect cup of coffee - is it in a thick mug, or a thinner cup? Where would you sit to drink it? A big thick mug. I’d sit on my back deck and enjoy the fall colours and the crisp morning air.

8. You're enjoying that perfect cup, and have a magic cabinet in your kitchen - when you open it, magically, your favorite treats will appear to enjoy alongside the coffee - what are they? Are they sweet? Crunchy? Soft and flaky? Sweet treats… I’ve never met one I didn’t like!

All about YOU!
1. Do you have other hobbies like spinning or scrapbooking? I sew and I do some scrapbooking when I have the time

2. Do you collect anything? Thimbles and snowmen.

3. What is your favorite part of Autumn? The colours of the leaves and the crispness of the air

4. What sort of scents do you enjoy? Any difference in what you like for your house versus what you like for your body? I like spicy sents for the home and very light floral sents for my body.

5. Are you allergic to anything? Nothing that would be applicable here

6. Are you on Ravelry? What's your ID? I’m Highlanddancemom on Ravelry

7. How would you spend an ideal fall afternoon/day? At home, out in the yard enjoying the last of the sunshine, or walking the dogs through the fields. If the weather’s gloomy, then I’d curl up on the couch or in the armchair in the living room and knit to my heart’s content!

So there you have it!

I'll be posting some knitting updates early next week (or on the weekend if I can ever get my internet at home back up and running...)

Monday, October 06, 2008

How is it October already?

I really don't know where the days are going. Honestly, my life is flying by without so much as a "by your leave". We've had some lovely warm weather during the days but the evenings certainly have a brisk fall chill to them. Last Friday morning I actually had to unpack the window scraper before leaving for work! The colours are spectacular, with the leaves turning reds and golds. Although, we had a few really windy days and now the leaves from the oaks are now mostly all over my yard. It is beautiful though. I really do love fall here on the prairies.

In the time that's past since my last posting I've been busily getting to know the latest additions to our furry part of the family. Last Monday, I went to get a couple of "barn kittens". As I left (BF)G instructed me, "We're looking at two cats honey. NO more than two cats. OK?" I agreed and the kids and I happily piled into the van and headed off to a couple towns away to meet our new kitties. Somehow (BF)G's instructions were forgotten when the lady told me she had to get rid of the "baby" kitten as well. Problem was that the day before hand she'd had a bunch of little kids over and had let the kids play with the litter of tiny kittens. The momma of the young litter had decided that she wanted nothing to do with the kittens after that and dragged them off into the bush. Unfortunately the litter had all died out there, except for the wee one they'd found the next day crying. I couldn't leave it behind. I needed to at least try to give it a chance. So we took our two bigger kittens (I figure them to be about six or seven weeks old) and the baby (maybe three weeks old?) home. I tried so hard to save baby Dusty. Trying to feed him with a bottle, sleeping with him tucked into a blanket ontop of me so he'd stay warm. Spending every possible moment trying to get him stronger. Sadly, though, Dusty Kitty didn't make it. We dug a little grave for him in the back in between a couple of trees at the back of the field and said our goodbyes. It's amazing how a little creature no bigger than the palm of my hand that we only had for three days could become so firmly attached to our heartstrings.

Our other two kittens, Houdini and Dora are doing well though. They're getting used to us and the other animals. Lucky, one of our 1 1/2 year old golden's thinks he's their mama. He is very intent on taking care of them. Grooming them, making sure they're doing what he thinks they're supposed to. It's very sweet.

Lucky being "Puppy Momma" to Houdini (Stripey cat) and Dora (White Fluff Ball)

So amongst all the kitten business, I've not had a lot of time for knitting lately. But, I did manage to finish the sleeves of the Cambridge Jacket. Just need to sew the sleeve and body seams, then pick up and knit the collar. (BF)G might get his sweater before the snow flies! I've also been working on my niece's sweater and am almost done with it too.


I dyed some KnitPicks bare sock yarn the other night with koolaid and cast on Clue #1 last night for the Mystery Sock KAL on Ravelry for Soctoberfest. I figure it's always good to have a pair of socks on the go, so why not? I'm going to do the cabled version I think (unless it proves to be too hard right off the hop, then I'll do the basic version, which by the looks of the pictures already up on Ravelry, looks lovely too!). This will also be my first pair of socks knit using the "Magic Loop" method instead of DPNS. All went well with the cuff other than Dora Kitty started chewing on my needle and made it a bit rough in one spot. It was only slightly annoying, otherwise the process has been easy to catch on to. I wish I was brave enough to try two at a time, but I figure, best start with one new challenge at a time!

So - this week's (knitting) priorities will be finishing the Cambridge Jacket for (BF)G, finishing the sweater for baby girl and completing Clue #2 for my sock KAL. I'm eager to do all this because I'm desperately wanting to start knitting Mr. Greenjeans from knitty. That or the February Lady sweater. Still haven't made a final decision on that one. Although Melanie at my SnB group had a good point Greenjeans is a much more fitted look, while FLS is somewhat boxier. I think I should probably opt for the fitted look... but then again... Oh I don't know. Maybe I'll do the guage swatch for each and see which I like better. Really I shouldn't be even thinking about either sweater. I should be doing Christmas knitting and some Hats for Alex instead.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I've got some knitting to show you!

Well, I finally decided what to knit on Friday night - a bit of everything! I did finish my Purple Breeze socks and I am really quite pleased with them. I really did enjoy using Maizy. It's very soft, almost silky to the touch and I had none of the "splitty" problems that I'd read others complaining about. I think maybe the company improved their product or I just lucked out. Either or, I was happy with it. And remembering that I'd purchased it on sale for under $5.00 made me even more happy about it. So here are my newest socks:
Purdy aren't they?

There is just one little thing that I should warn you about with Maizy. Remember how I just said a moment ago that the yarn felt almost silky to the touch? As it turns out, along with that silky feel comes a side effect that is not as desirable. These socks are SLIPPERY! And considering I have almost exclusively wood floors throughout most of my house, you can draw your own conclusions on that matter. But, yes, I'll be fine. My back will re-align itself soon I'm sure after contorting the way it did the other day as I tried to right myself before I managed to hit the floor. Thank you for asking.

So once the Breeze had blown through I decided to start in on the sleeves of (BF)G's sweater again. Determined not to have tangles in the yarn, I have now devised a very complex system of flipping over the ball of yarn each time I switch sleeves. So far it is working and I am feeling very self-congratulatory about it all. Alright. I know I shouldn't be. Pride goes before a fall (one might say I've already had that problem this week, so let's just not go there!) I also know that being so busy patting myself on the back for the lack of tangles as of late is just tempting fate, but hey! I'll take it while the going's good with these sleeves. So here's where I got to on them.

Not bad eh?

Now. Not to be crazy about starting new projects or anything, but really with Breeze done, and the sleeves being too big and cumbersome for my purse, I needed another small on-the-go project. I chose to start a new little project for my wee neice, Oona, who I introduced you to a couple of weeks ago. I figure I'd better get cracking on this sweater soon, or I'll procrastinate so long that she'll be graduating highschool before I ever get it made. So far I'm loving the Sirdar Snuggly DK I'm using. I've never met such a soft, cuddly acrylic. This may become my "go to" baby yarn from here on out. The pattern is quick and easy too, so I'm hopeful I will get this one done in no time!

Really - this yarn is as buttery soft as it looks!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I am a silly and fickle girl!

Last week I posted that I was relegating my Purple Breeze socks to the hibernating category. I had ignored them so long I wanted to free myself from the guilt of it all. But, that was last week...

I did really well, focusing solely on the Cambridge Jacket for (BF)G - getting lots done on it. All that's left is the rest of the sleeves and the coller and of course sewing in a zipper, that although I am a trained seamstress, makes my blood run cold. Don't know why that is. Sewing zippers in stresses me out no matter what kind they are, but separating zippers on a hand knit frighten me even more. I know. I am a freak. What can I say.

Speaking of sleeves, because I like to cause myself major hassles and headaches, or, as I prefer to call it, give myself a challenge, I decided to do both sleeves at the same time. Now that's not too crazy, right? Where's the challenge in that you ask. Well, gather 'round and I tell you why it is messing with my poor brain. You see, I am already challenged by trying to remember which sleeve I've just finished working on and keeping them both even. I ended up giving up on the process a few months back on my Gathered Pullover because of the ridiculousness of it all. I would silently congratulate myself for the fact all my increases would be at the exact same point on both sleeves when I realized that one sleeve was now two inches longer than the other. Sometimes I am clueless!

Not wanting to fall prey to that particular headache this time, I devised a system of stitch markers that cannot possibly lead me astray. (So far so good). This project's challenge is actually born of the fact that I thought it a wise idea to use one ball of yarn. Take one end from the outside for one sleeve and one from the inside for the other. That way I'd be carting around less bulk, and wouldn't end up with multiple half used balls of yarn in the end. Oh yes, I could rationalize it every which way 'till Sunday.

So far in practice it's not been too taxing really except for the fact that I keep managing to tangle the strands to the point of no knitting, then have to spend precious knitting time untangling the mess I've just created. But I am determined to show this particular ball of yarn who's boss in this relationship. I will win. It may kill me. But I will do it.

Oh, but I digress. I started to tell you about the Purple Breeze. The supposedly hibernating Purple Breeze. Once I acknowledged the blasted things as actually hibernating, I could not stop thinking about them. It could also be that I'm using Maizy yarn, which is made from corn and I drive past about 45 minutes worth of corn fields on my way to and from work each day. The corn fields actually were taunting me I think - that or it's possible that I am truly losing my mind. Not sure which. Anyways, suffice it to say, the other night Purple Breeze came off the hibernating list and back into the WIP list. They're coming along swimmingly. (and no tangled yarn, so that's always a bonus!)

Now I just have to decide which project to focus on tonight when I host my very own "knitting night party for one" in which I plan to park myself on the couch after supper, pop in a movie (still no TV in the house. grrrr.) and knit to my heart's content. Hopefully I can make it past 9pm this week!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A new place and some new knitting

It's certainly been a busy few weeks for our family! Of course as I mentioned, we moved into our new home. It was a hectic day and luckily the worst of the weather held off until we'd managed to get everything inside the house. Of course then the skies parted and it rained cats and dogs! I'm loving being out of the city and it's chaos. There's something so calming and wonderful about coming home to what I'm dubbing the homestead. It's quiet and peaceful. Perhaps as my Mom says, I'm returning to my roots. (My early years were spent on 80 acres of land east of Winnipeg).

I am a country girl through and through. I even had fun driving the garden tractor last night - although (BF)G mocked me, saying that I was looking a little too prim and proper on it, as though I was trying to be very regal. I wasn't. I was just a little nervous at first.

We still don't have the internet hooked up at home - turns out I need to get a modem - what gave me the idea a MAC had an internal modem I'll never know, but if it does it's well in hiding and I can't seem to find it, so maybe this weekend I'll go get me a modem. I'm still hoping to find a highspeed provider though. We also don't have any TV yet, so evenings that should be spent unpacking boxes have instead become time to watch all the DVDs that I never got a chance to watch before.

Of course along with DVD watching goes knitting! I've given up on the second "Breeze" sock for now. It languished so long in my bag that I figured I'd just relegate it to the "hibernating" category for awhile so that I don't need to feel guilt over neglecting it. Same goes for my Clementine Shawlette. I'm half done, but haven't even cast on for the second half. Can one suffer from second half syndrome just like second sock syndrome?

What I have been knitting is (BF)G's Cambridge Jacket. I love this pattern and it's been going fairly fast considering I only started it on Aug. 20th and then had to leave it alone for about five days whilst I finished packing/cleaning/moving. I did take a picture of it in my favourite knitting spot here at work. It was towards the end of August and a beautiful sunshine-y day. Now I have the back, the left front and most of the right front done. I really do want to have it finished by the start of the cool weather!

I also am anxious to start knitting something for my new baby neice! She's a sweetie and will suit the pattern and yarn I chose before she was born quite nicely (I must have known on some level that she'd be a girl - well more likely I just lucked out - after all... had a 50/50 chance didn't I?!?!). Can't post too many details here as her mommy sometimes visits the blog and although she knows some of the details, I don't want to give it all away yet! I also have a fantabulous second project idea in mind for little miss. (Maybe for Christmas - although given my procrastination it could become a gift for her second birthday - in similar fashion that her big brother's Raggedy Andy that was to be his baby gift became his 2nd year birthday gift too.)

Monday, September 08, 2008

I will be back...

Just thought I should put out a quick post to say I'm still here... I know it's been a long time since my last posting again, but we moved last week and between moving chaos and no internet at home as of yet, I'm stuck with just saying a quick hello here from work.

I hope to have internet up and running again really soon... although it'll be dial up. Still better than nothing. I hate feeling out of touch plus I've got lots done on (BF)G's cambridge jacket and I want to show it off!

So until then happy knitting and hope to see you again soon!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The kindness of others

After a week of feeling pretty low thanks to a great lack of appreciation on behalf of others, I have had my faith in the human race and the kindess of others restored.

In the spring when I went on a business trip to Toronto I met up with some lovely fellow knitters. One especially lovely knitter was A. She was actually who I had gone to meet. Not only was she fantastic about showing me around her work even though her schedule was enough to make my head spin, she was just so friendly and welcoming. Shortly after coming home from the trip, she emailed me and asked (asked?!?!?) if she could send me some of her stash she no longer was wanting. She wondered if I would mind giving them a good home. Would I!!! Fast forward a few weeks and lo and behold I get a call last Monday or Tuesday from the bus depot telling me my shipment is in. Four, (Yes, I said four) huge boxes of delectable yarn now calls my place home. It's beautiful yarns in colours that I would choose myself! Thank you A, for your incredible generosity!

The very next day I got a parcel card in my mailbox letting me know to pick up a parcel. I knew what it was... I was so excited. Months ago I ordered some yarn from Woolworks. Unfortunately they only ship within the USA. I posted my woes on Knitty and Kate jumped to my rescue. That problem solved I thought it was a done deal. Until I got the message that the yarn was out of stock. Sigh... Finally I got an email saying it was in stock, I contacted Kate to make sure she still didn't mind and my yarn was on it's way. Kate, being the wonderful, kind soul she is not only sent my yarn along fast as could be when it reached her, she also enclosed a beautiful skein of sock yarn along with it, telling me she couldn't bear to send just one lonely skein all by itself. So Kate, I thank you from the bottom of my heart as well.

Moving along a few more days - my stress level was hitting the roof due to a combination of getting ready to move, exhaustion from working at Folklorama all week, and feeling more than a little unappreciated and invisible (in-law type crap - no need to go into it, I'm over it now. Mostly anyways). One night, late in the week two of our volunteers left to go home. Moments later one came trudging back to the pavilion. Their car was out of gas. No body seemed to know what to do or didn't seem to care. I am not sure which. I offered to take them to get gas. No big deal. Wasn't any bother for me. Such a little thing to do, made such a difference to them that they brought me a beautiful boquet of flowers the next night as a thank you. I was so touched by it that I teared up and got all blubbery on them.
Those three acts of kindness mean so much to me. Especially during this time when I was feeling so low. Thank you to you four ladies who have cheered me up so much over the last days. I am not sure what I've done to deserve such wonderful treatment, but I am truly thankful for it.

As an aside... since this is a knitting blog I should post at least a wee bit about knitting. I've not had much time with the needles lately, but will tell you that I do have a FO that I'm very excited about.
Yes! Josephine is done and happily there are still (hopefully) a few warm days in which to wear her this summer!

Until next time - happy knitting!

PS: Welcome home N. I've missed you so much over the last six weeks!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Regularly scheduled programming to resume soon!

Well - it's been a long haul, but the costumes are DONE! I calculated my sewing time yesterday and it worked out to 72 hours. 72 HOURS!!!!! No wonder I'm tired!

I've decided that I am taking a break from wearing my seamstress hat for at least awhile. I need to regroup after this summer's madness. I won't go into details here as it's done and over with, but to feel year after year that the time and effort I put in is less and less appreciated, well... I'm just not terribly into that anymore.

For what it's worth, in my humble opinion, the costumes look beautiful on stage.




Now that the sewing has been done for the year, I can focus on other things. Like packing for our upcoming move in three weeks. And knitting. My fingers twitch to get back at the needles. I've missed it these last few weeks! I want to finish up my WIP. I realize that now would be a good time to really delve into some holiday gift knitting too, rather than leave it till the last minute. So - in between packing I shall take some lovely little "me-time" breaks with some yarn and needles.

To date I've got the following to finish:

Clementine Shawlette - Exactly one half done!

Breeze - Again half done. One sock sits lonely in the basket waiting for it's mate!

Josephine - Oh Josephine, you are so close to being done. You need your sleeves and neckline. Maybe I'll do this one first!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Things that make me happy

It occurs to me - well rather was bluntly pointed out to me the other day by (BF)G - that I've been a bit negative lately. Stress has a way of making me look at the down side of things, a glass-half-empty kind of attitude. And I've been stressed out lately. Between house hunting and the subsequent purchase of a new house, selling my current house, surgery, recovery, and having a million costumes to sew for the dance group it's all been compiling to make this Prairie Girl unhappy. And when stressed or unhappy I unfortunately make it widely known, at least to my nearest and dearest, that I'm not happy.

So in an exercise of positive thinking (I was watching Robson Arms the other night and the very theme was... positive thinking. Perhaps it was a sign! Probably not, but I digress), I've decided to list some of the things that have made me happy today.

In no particular order of importance...

1. It's Friday. Friday always makes me happy.

2. I've finally finished correcting the lousy temp girl's work - she's no longer here it's ok to say she was lousy that's not being negative it's being honest. (It's only taken me six months to complete so really it is making me very happy to have finished doing her work for her.)

3. I got a hotdog for lunch from the hotdog stand. A big jumbo hotdog complete with mustard relish, ketsup and loads of pickles. God it tasted good.

4. I'm almost done my Josephine Top, at the halfway mark of my Clementine Shawlette and almost done the first of a new pair of Breeze.

5. I'm making the aforementioned Breeze out of Maizy by Crystal Palace, which despite warnings by fellow knitters on Ravelry that the yarn was splitty and difficult and not stretchy and so on and so forth, I'm finding it lovely to work with. I was cautioned to forget cables - not sure why - but they're turning out beautifully. Maybe I got a good batch of Maizy. What else says summer quite like yarn made from corn though?!?

6. G will be home from Calgary (so will my camera that she took with her) in only six more sleeps and N will be home from Whitehorse in three more weeks!

7. We move into our new house in five weeks. AGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Ok. I take that back. That makes me more stressed out. I've not even begun to contemplate packing.

7. (Re-visited) It's Friday. Did I mention it was Friday?

So there you go. An odd assortment of things that today have made me happy.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Look Mama. Look what I can do...

Well it would appear that perhaps I've created a monster. A stash stealing monster.

Years ago I taught G how to knit. It didn't take. A few years later a lady at the church we were attending taught a kid's knitting class. The deal was she would provide the yarn and needles and the kids would each knit a dish cloth for the church kitchen. N and G both took the lessons faithfully each Sunday with Maureen. N was the only kid in the group to not only stick it out and finish his cloth. G meandered through hers and then lost it somewhere in the depths of her room. Fast forward a few more years to this past winter. G was bored spending the evening alone so I invited her to come along with me to SnB. I think for her the allure was more in the fact it was held in a pub then the knitting part, but I told her if she wanted to come she had to knit.

So she started again with the dish cloth idea. She knit one. It took her quite a few weeks but she finished it. Lumps, bumps and holes. But it was done and she was proud as could be. The next week I gave her another ball of cotton and she diligently set to work on it. It was done in much shorter order and had only one visible mistake and it was a tiny one at that. Last Wednesday I gave her yet another ball of cotton and said, "Can I teach you something different? How about the purl stitch? You could do a different pattern then." "No thanks Mom," she replied, "I like what I'm doing. It's easy." So Saturday she presented to me her finished dish cloth. And then said, "Uh, Mom. I need something to you know.... knit." I inquired if she was wanting another dishcloth, and she said no, she'd rather have something else. Maybe a scarf. So upstairs we went to my stash and she picked out some fluffy soft as can be yarn. (I've no idea at the moment what it is, but she's thrilled with it.)


Progress was swift and sure. And then she went to work. She knit in the van on the way back to her Dad's that night and when I dropped her off the scarf was about 3 inches long already. Then the panicked call came the next morning. "MOM!!!!!! I HAVE A PROBLEM!!!" My mind was racing. What could have happened. What kind of emergency. Calmly I asked what was wrong dreading what might come next. "MOM! I can't remember how to cast on." HUH? THis was not what I expected. Apparently G has had her first major foray into the frog pond and she wasn't pleased. I wonder if she managed to figure it out. Guess I'll find out when I talk to her tomorrow.

In my own knitting news... I finished the Retro Redux. The ribbing could have been a touch wider I think, but all in all I am really pleased with the way it turned out.


Please forgive the goofy look on my face. I swear I am possibly the most un-photogenic person alive. I always come across either looking stoned, or like I belong on a most wanted list. I would have had (BF)G take another picture for me, in hopes that my facial expression would at least look somewhat normal, but it was at that moment my rather drunk neighbour started making comments about porn pictures and I decided to high tail it inside the house. At least it shows my shrug.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Hello again...

It's been awhile!

I feel like I've been a neglectful blogger lately - it's been ages since my last posting. I've been busy though so that's my excuse! I also had a laparoscopy/hysteroscopy and cauterizing of endometriosis two weeks ago that threw me for more of a loop then I cared for, but I won't bore you with the grim details of all that. So onto the interesting (well to me anyways) details of my craftiness!

I haven't actually finished anything, but instead have started a few projects. First up is the ongoing Josephine Top. I'm working on the bust area of the front and it seems to be going along alright. I keep trying it on to see where I want to start the armholes, because I really detest empire waist lines that hit mid-bust instead of just below the bust. I'm hoping to get inspired to continue - I'm getting so close, I don't know why I'm procrastinating on it now. Such is my life as Queen of Procrastination though.

On a whim I decided to re-visit the Clementine Shawlette of last summer. It was so terribly riddled with mistakes that a few months ago I frogged the whole thing back to the beginning and then of course went through some bad karma thing with it two months ago when I started and re-started it about five times at least before throwing in the towel. (You know it's time to say "uncle" when you can't get past row six of a chart and the first four rows are garter stitch!!) Anyways - I picked it up again last week and I'm progressing nicely. Only 8 more inches to go and I can put the first half on a holder and start the second half. I'm still in love with the Drops Alpaca yarn I'm using for it. It is so incredibly soft and I do like the red wine colour too! Makes me happy.

But having two projects on the go of course isn't enough. No. Not for me. April started a shrug this week and of course I was suffering shrug envy - I'm so easily led! I had bought yarn back in January to make the Retro Redux Shrug and kept saying to myself, "I should make that for wearing with summer dresses and tanks", but then I'd forget about it again, until the next time I was on Ravelry and there it was, number one in my queue. So enough was enough. Monday night I cast on for it and so far so good. I'm using Paton's Katrina in Chocolate and I love this yarn (well - I don't love the fact that there are knots tied sporadically throughout the ball, but thanks to my new found skill of doing a Russian Join, I am not too terribly annoyed by it). If only I'd known how much I'd like this yarn I'd have bought more when it was on clearance at Ram Wools. My only worry is for the size I'm making I would like to have four balls of it and I only, as it turns out, have three. I'm crossing my fingers I'll have enough...

I also did the prototype for this year's dresses for the dance group. Not too bad so far, but there are some fit issues with it so it's back to the drawing board to re-work the pattern slightly. Then I've got to come up with the overdress and the tartan sash. Hmmm. To pleat or not to pleat. That is the question. I'll get back to you on that one!

Friday, June 20, 2008


Maybe I should change my blog title to "Prairie Girl spends most of her time at the sewing machine these days". Sadly I've not had much time for knitting over the last few days, so my Josephine is going pretty slowly. I do have five inches done though, so I guess all hope is not lost! I really hope that this turns out nicely - I love it so far!

But yes. Sewing. I've done a whole lot of it lately and there's more to come in the next few weeks! Knitting is definatly going to have to take, if not the back seat, at least the passenger seat to my sewing.

But before I get into the nitty gritty of pattern making and mass producing the dresses for the dance group , (thank the gods of costuming who have benevolently decided to have me make only 12 outfits this time rather than the 32 of last year!), I'd like to show you a few finished projects.

First up - I finished it just yesterday, is my skirt. I love it. LOVE IT!!!!! It fits perfectly and is super cool and comfy for the heat of summer. I think it's purdy too. Although given that I don't have a full length mirror and G wasn't home this morning to give me fashion advice I was a little nervous walking into work today. I was trying to get a glimpse in the window of the recieving dock area as I came in, but they were positioned just a little too high for a good view and hopping up and down I figured would just make me look like more of a nutbar than I already do well enough on my own. Anyways - I'm well pleased with myself, if you will allow me a moment to toot my own horn - I've had loads of compliments on it today!

I also managed to fix up the Hunch Back of Notre Dame dress. A 2 1/2 inch dart on either side of center back took care of that. I now like this dress too. And thankfully finished it on time! I have to wear it for the wedding tonight. (Nothing like cutting things close to the wire, eh?)

Now, dear readers... here is my very, very, very favourite project of the week. I really want to keep this all for myself, but alas I must not. It is destined for my Mommy's birthday basket of knitting goodies! I made this needle roll this morning before going to work. (You'd be amazed at what you can accomplish by being up and dressed for work by 5:30 am!!! I also made the chiffon shawl for the fancy dress this morning before work too - ok. Making it might be an exageration perhaps seeing as how it's just a strip of chiffon that I serged around the edges, but still. Made me feel productive!) But back to the needle roll. I think it's my best one yet, which is good that I'm improving on them given this is the fourth one I've done! So without further delay... here is my latest needle roll. I hope you like it, Mom!!!

Well... I'm off to a late night at the WAG for (BF)G's stepbrother's wedding. I'm a little disgruntled that they are cutting into my weekly knit night on my couch, but I suppose I'll get over it eventually. Happy Friday all!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Could it be?

A real, honest to goodness finished Gathered Pullover? I know... I'm as surprised as you all are. I know I kept saying I'd finish it, but even I'd stopped believing myself! But now. Here it is. All done.

But it doesn't stop there... oh no siree! I also have a honest to goodness finished Montego Bay scarf, which I absolutely LURVE!!!! It's so drapey and soft and pretty. I decided I liked the fringe just flowey and loose rather than braided, but other than that it is knit exactly as the pattern was written. Did I mention I LURVE it?!?!?

As an aside, I also finished the smaller sized Summerlin that I promised Alex. The original I made was so big it'll probably fit her when she's 10! Tiny wee thing that she is! I'm thinking of popping it in the post to her tonight maybe. Seems silly when she lives only a hop, skip and a jump from us, but I remember loving to get mail when I was little and thought she might feel awfully special if she got a parcel addressed to her. We'll see!

I have also done two modified Dream Swatches. G hates anything that swings back and forth. For some reason it's always triggered panic attacks for her since she was about 2 years old, so rather than torture the poor kid, I made the Dream Swatchs as headbands rather than head scarves. They knit up super duper quick in Panda Cotton! Thanks Knittywhipped for the idea of using Panda Cotton. They are a great fit and super comfy to boot. I don't usually wear headbands, because although I like the look, the sensation of my head being squeezed in a vice really irritates me (Either I have a freakishly large noggin or headbands always sit on pressure points. Not sure which.)

I finished a few sewing projects too this past week. First up is my brown polka dot dress!
I really love it - although really worry that it's a touch short. Coming in a close second is my halter dress for (BF)G's brother's wedding. Not loving that one so much. I believe that the pattern was designed perhaps for the Hunch Back of Notre Dame. The dress bloody well fits like a dream except for the back of the bodice. Given that it's a halter style dress, the extra 4 inches extra make for a huge problem in fit. :(

I started my skirt yesterday after the dress debacle was put aside. I couldn't finish it because I didn't have any interfacing for the waistband and while I briefly considered just ignoring the need for it, I decided against throwing caution to the wind in that department. I've done that one too many times and ended up with one too many nasty wrinkled up waistbands for that to be a good idea!!

Next on the agenda is to continue working on my Josephine Top and make a needle roll for Mom for her birthday knitting themed basket, oh, and get a costume dreamed up and sewn for G for her choreography she's created for the Selkirk Highland Gathering, then I will absolutely without a doubt most definately have to tackle this year's costume efforts for Ena Sutton. (Picked up the bulk of the fabric on the weekend so I've no excuse and I should have the sample done before the next practice, which I believe... ahem... might be this coming Sunday. Ack. Gotta go. Gotta sew...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Coffee Extravaganza

Well, let me just say that I am one lucky lady! Once again I've been given a wonderful generous swap partner. This time it was Roe for the Spring Fling Coffee and Yarn Swap. I got the card in the mailbox on Friday night, but of course wasn't around when the post office was open to go pick it up. That is, until yesterday. On a day where I truly felt like one of those little cartoon characters who walk around with a thunder cloud over their head. Boy was I in need of cheering up, and Roe's parcel was just the thing to do it!

I didn't get a chance to open my parcel until well into the evening. After meeting with my lawyer, after meeting with a real estate agent (both appointments serving to make me crankier by the minute by the way) I finally could dive into the heavy box sent from New York!

I opened the box to find a treasure trove of goodies packed inside. Coffee like I've never seen before; Cinnamon, Pecan Torte, Swiss Chocolate, and Hazelnut Cream. Treats such as chocolate covered coffee beans, biscotti, Walker's shortbread and a delectable box of chocolate "coffee cups" - I am picturing a mocha flavoured mousse in those! Then there were the mugs. Yes. I said mugs. A fantastic New York mug and then a great (it's purple... how could it not be great?) travel mug that has a filter that attaches so I can make coffee on the go. Oh and I can't forget the bath type stuff (for lack of a better category). Two summery lip balms, a coffee bath bomb and then the prettiest soaps ever - made by Roe herself I may add! Roe also sent me two skeins of Koigu - I lurve Koigu - and a skein of Vicki Howell's "Love" bamboo yarn, which is as soft as butter! She also included some patterns; Pomatomous - too funny given I've been itching to make that one as of late - another sock pattern that looks great and then a tulip patterned cloth. (Roe - you've noticed my love of tulips I see!)

So a HUGE thank you goes out to Roe for sending me a fantastic Coffee Swap parcel. Roe - you are a swapper extraordinaire!

In knitting news, I finished my purple Artichoke socks last Friday. I've just not been near the computer long enough to post the picture of them! I really like them - the fit is great and the pattern was so quick and easy. They only took a week to knit the pair. What more could a girl ask for?

I also did some work on my sleeves of my Gathered Pullover. A very little bit. I'm feeling somewhat guilty, because instead of staying strong and resisting the urge to start another project, I quickly put aside the sleeves of greyness for something light and summery. I fell victim to my Jade Bamboo and the Josephine Top pattern from last summer's Interweave Knits. I wasn't going to, but Saturday was so sunny and warm, it kept calling to me and I couldn't hold out any longer!

On the sewing front (you'll remember I was all talk not too long ago about the fact that I was going to get sewing like a fiend?) well - it hit a snag. My machine was on it's last legs. It was on death's doorstep. It would hardly go at all. Old faithful friend of 18 years, it just was too tired to continue. So - I retired it and bought a new one. Just a plain, simple Singer machine. Nothing fancy, no bells, no whistles. But hopefully it will last me as long as my last Singer did. 18 years of hard work and overuse is nothing to be sneezed at. However, new machines make me nervous. You have to get to know them, learn their quirks, settle into a relationship with them. And I've not had the right frame of mind to do so yet. So my sewing has sat untouched for days now. Maybe this weekend. We'll see.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Busily patting myself on the back for productivity!

The other being Friday and therefore "Knit Night" I was able to do quite a bit of knitting. Not on any of my ongoing works in progress, but on an entirely new project and one that I wasn't even contemplating in my Ravelry queue list. So what happened? Well - my fickle self happened. I was going through my knitting files at work on Friday - yes. I do have a knitting file on my computer at work. Why you ask? Well in the winter when it's too cold to sit outside I take my break and lunch at my desk and obsessively search for patterns. Honest, just on my breaks. I swear. Ahem...

Anyways...

So I stumbled upon Artichoke Socks in my file and I thought what the heck are those? (I always delete the pictures when I'm copying and pasting into word from the Internet to print something) So I googled it and this is what I came up with. Meg's Artichoke Socks. And then I remembered seeing them on Knittywhipped. Go ahead click on the link to her blog. She has a definate way with words, which is what got me saving Artichoke in the first place.

So too make a long story short, I started Artichoke Friday morning on my coffee break and got the whole first sock done by mid-afternoon yesterday. I am a third of the way into the second sock today. This is one fast pattern. It's super easy to memorize and seems to speed along nicely. My only complaint (and nothing to do with the pattern at all!) is my yarn. Now maybe it's just me, or maybe this is the way the yarn is supposed to be, but all of a sudden after turning the heel the colour of the yarn changed for about an inch and a half, then went back to being it's pretty purple self. I'm telling my self it's ok. No one will notice. If they're that close to my foot, well then that's their problem, but still. It's annoying and bugs my obsessive compulsive self. Not enough to rip it all out and start again or anything, but just enough to be kind of like a mosquito buzzing in your ear. Is this common for this yarn? It's JoJoland Superwash. Anyone had any experience with this? But the long and the short of it is, the pattern is super easy. The fit is great and what the heck, they still look pretty if I don't look at the weird splotch on the foot.

This weekend I also finished Summerlin. I'm so happy how the turned out! I LURVE them! The little girls got them yesterday and of course the mommies changed them right away to snap a picture. Poor Alex was drowning in her dress. I promised to make her a smaller size so she can wear hers this summer (rather than wait until she's about 10!) She's apparently alot tinier than I figured on. But the babies' dresses fit perfectly. So here's the three little cousins in their brand new dresses!

I also sat down at the ol' sewing machine to start working on my dresses. I've cut both out and had I not run out of brown thread - 300 spools of thread in this house and nary a brown one - I would have had a new frock to wear to work tomorrow, but alas... maybe in a couple of days!

I'm feeling great about how much I got done this weekend. Of course my house still looks a fright and there is clutter on every available flat surface in the house, but I got loads done creative wise, five loads of laundry washed and folded, and even took time to make a roast beef dinner complete with yorkshire puddings for supper tonight. I am queen of my world this weekend I tell you! Tomorrow reality shall hit and I'll once again be just a mere little cog in the machine that is called work, but for now, I shall relish in my accomplishments!

Monday, May 12, 2008

One project down, three more to go

Of the boring projects that is! Well, ok. They're not bad projects, I'm just bored with them because it's the same old stitch over and over. I need something with interest, something fun...

Last Friday night I valiantly tried to finish my socks, but you know it's time to put them down, when you're actually catching yourself dozing off mid-stitch. I managed to get all the way to half way through the toe decreases, so figured I'd earned the time off to sleep by then anyways! Saturday morning I was up bright and early and managed to finish off the socks, darn in the ends and wear them that day! Oh happy me! They are so comfy in my shoes. Lovin' them! :)

Sunday morning I decided I should have a little reward for being so good about finishing my socks, so I cast on for the first of what is to be three Summerlin. Let me tell you this is an awesome pattern and if you have a little girl to knit for and you posess any basic sewing skills, go cast on now. You won't regret it. It takes no time at all! I decreased the 1 year old size in equal increments to create a 6 month old size, then again to create a 3 month old size. I finished the baby bodices on Sunday and the bigger one on Monday.
I also did a couple more inches on my Montego Bay Scarf and at SnB, Wednesday night, I worked on the sleeves of my Gathered Pullover! I feel good that I've been so productive! I may switch gears for a bit though and focus on some sewing, but we'll see. I do seem to always revert back to my obsession with string and sticks no matter what intentions I have for fabric and thread. That being said, this week I did buy some lovely fabric for a little summer frock, and some black and cream satin for a bit of a fancier dress. I should also get my hiney in gear and make G and new national vest for the Mid-Canada Competition next month. I've had the velvet for it going on two years now. Although I suppose that's really nothing. I've had the velvet for a new highland jacket for her for about four years. Ahem. Procrastination perhaps?

Oh! As promised, I thought I'd share a picture of G and her dance teacher, Lor(who also happens to be (BF)G's neice)and baby Emilie. Emilie got all sorts of lovely comments that day on her outfit. I'm sure my head was quite swollen from all the praise and I'm surprised it actually fit through the door by the time I got back home!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Friday, sweet Friday

How I love Fridays!!!! I'm not talking about during the day, while I'm still at work. I'm talking about starting at 4pm. When I walk out the front door here at work. I can feel the tension of the week melting away bit by bit with each step I take towards the parking lot. Friday night is what I like to think of in my little world as "Knit Night". I know I've mentioned this before in previous posts, and if you're reading this chances are you're a knitter and therefore will understand my complete joy at sitting at home on a Friday night curled up on the couch with my knitting at hand. I love nothing better than a "Knit Night".

Today promises to be no exception. Everything should go according to plan. (BF)G is making supper tonight - BBQ Chicken and home-made fries, so I don't even have to think about that. My only diversions away from my knitting tonight are the alarm guys are coming to install an extra key pad for us sometime between 5pm and 8pm and I have to remember to pick G up from her part time job at McDonalds at 8pm. Other than that the night is mine.

(BF)G and I always try to keep Friday nights as free nights. We don't go out, we don't have people over, we simply don't make plans (and we're always somewhat cranky if something does crop up that we can't get out of). It's our only night off that we can spend together. And tonight the kids are home from their dad's so it's even better. Our house will be filled with laughter and noise! Every second week the kids are with their dad and "switch over" is Friday before supper, so while I still enjoy those evenings, both (BF)G and I like it best on the weeks the kids come back home!

Tonight's knitting will be my second sock. I'm really liking knitting with the "On Your Toes" in bamboo. There's something about the texture that almost massages my fingers as I work with it. It's also super soft, but gives the impression of being really strong too. My only complaint is that sometimes the threads are kind of splitty so I have to be a bit careful, but other than that, I'm really liking it!

I have a plan. I'm making myself finish at least one of what I'm thinking of as my now boring WIP first before I will allow myself to cast on for something new (and therefore exciting). I figure the socks are the easiest to finish. Then my Montego Bay (I've only about 20 inches at most left to go, which sounds like a lot, but really it's fast moving when I'm not inadvertently pulling all the stitches off the needle! Last but not least will be the sleeves of my Gathered Pullover. I really have no motivation for that one. It's a winter sweater after all and my heart (and hands) long for something summery.

Of course this plan is not written in stone. If you've read any of my other posts, you'll know that I'm very fickle! What seems like a perfectly logical well laid out plan for success can be tossed out on a moment's whim upon sight of a new pattern or new yarn.

So here's hoping all goes according to plan and that the gods of free time allow me my one evening of the week to do as I please! To all else who plan to do the same as myself, may you have a happy, fun and productive "Knit Night" of your own!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Coffee Swap Assignment #6

We'll go free form this week - Post about your WIPs, post about your package, post about the weather where you are - just be sure to include that the post is for the Spring Fling Weekly Topic somewhere inside it when you tell us it's there! I'd love to hear how folks are enjoying the goodies they received, if they have, or how much fun you had shopping for your pal!

Where to begin for this one. I know. A popular subject today here in my prairie home town... the weather. So much for spring. I know I mentioned "snow showers" in my last posting as well, but I figure this deserves another mention. It's what makes us prairie-folk hardy (or crazy, not sure which really). Yesterday it snowed. It snowed to beat the band. In fact as I was driving over to the other end of town for the highland dance competition it was snowing so fiercely it looked like December 4th not May 4th! Luckily, for the sake of all those annoyed by the white stuff, it was for the most part melting as it hit the ground, but seriously folks. This is just about enough. The weather forecast was calling for +19C yesterday not snow!!!!!!!!!! If one can believe the forecast - and the aforementioned statement about what the weather was supposed to be like yesterday should make you all realize what folly that can prove to be - it is to be sunny the rest of the week. We shall see...

In terms of knitting, I finished my sock on Saturday night! Managed to get myself completely obsessed with the lure of finishing it that I stayed up way too late as a matter of fact and then found it hard to be all bright eyed and bushy tailed for the morning competition, but I just blamed it on the weather. Not the fact that I was silly and obsessed with a sock. Many wouldn't have understood. Last night I jumped right into starting the second sock in effort to ward off second sock syndrome.

Of course the Montego Bay scarf and Gathered Pullover still sit, untouched (but not unloved) for the time being. Actually - Montego Bay was going to get some loving attention yesterday during the comptetion, but when I pulled it out of the bag, much to my horror I pulled the wrong needle and half the stitches came off and I was too saddened by the resulting dropped stitch mess that I just picked up the stitches as I could without thinking too much and tucked it quietly back in the bag.

As for the coffee swap, I am a little behind in my mailing goals. I had hoped to have it sent off already, but unfortunately hit a wee snag in whole business. The snag being that between being away last weekend and having to worry about finalizing competition registration this past week I've not had time to get to the handmade portion of the parcel. Now - I realize the fact that I had time to finish my sock makes it sound kind of lame that I was too busy for the other project, but let's just say the other project doesn't involve yarn and instead involves a different kind of craft which is too loud to be done late at night, when the rest of the household is trying to sleep. But the remainder of the parcel is already to go and I am really excited about it! I really, really hope my partner likes it too!

Friday, May 02, 2008

An outfit for a wee highland lassie

I actually finished this last week before heading out to Toronto, but haven't had any time to upload the picture until now! When little Emilie was born a couple of weeks ago, I suddenly took a notion into my head that it would be really cute to make her a little highland outfit for a shower gift. I'd made a blanket for her already (gave that to her at the hospital as you may recall), so wanted something completely different. I remembered the old pattern I had of Grandma's that was for little "Mary-Jane" booties and thought it would suit perfectly for a pair of wee ghillies. Eliminate the ankle strap, add a length of ribbon and bob's your uncle. The wee kilt was supposed to be in the same tartan as G's national outfit, which is a beautiful Dress Red Cunningham, but could I find the left over fabric anywhere in my house??? NO! Of course I couldn't. Oh well. I'm not sure what the tartan is that I ended up using. If someone knows please let me know, but I think it's pretty anyways.

Of course I wasn't at the shower to see the reaction to the outfit as I was enroute back home from Toronto, but by all accounts it was well received. Mommy Lorraine hopes to put the outfit on baby girl on Sunday to wear while she "cheers" G on at the provincial championships. She says it doesn't matter if it's too big - it's the perfect day to wear it! Perhaps next week I'll have a picture of our highland lassies together to show off!

In other knitting news, I finally had picked up my Clemetine Shawlette again only to realize it was so full of mistakes there was no point in continuing. I frogged it back to the beginning and packed it to take to Toronto. Five starts... I kid you not! Five times I tried and five times I failed. I failed to get past about row 10 without mistakes. So it's back in the frog pond to be looked at later, when I'm not bitter.

I am thoroughly bored with my Gathered Pullover's sleeves and I've got about 12 more inches to go at least. Ho hum. No interest in it what so ever. My Montego Bay scarf has suffered the same fate. I guess I can only do the same repeat of rows for so long before my brain begs for something different, so it's on hiatus too. I think it'll be a good SnB project. I can chat away and not notice the miles and miles of the same stitch over and over again!

So... And you knew this was coming! I started a new project in Toronto. Just a pair of socks, but they're soft and pretty. I am using On Your Toes Bamboo in a greyish-blue with hints of pink colourway. So far I'm really liking them, although I see the potential for Second Sock Syndrome given that they're just stocking stitch except for the top band of lacy-ness.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Coffee Swap Assignment #5

You know with Spring the famous saying goes "April Showers, bring May flowers", please tell us what you like to do when those April Showers are pouring down on you. Do you like to curl up with your knitting, take in a movie or crawl back in bed?

What are April Showers? I am unfamiliar with this concept unless you mean April SNOW showers! ha ha!

I'm sorry - you just have to laugh about it otherwise it would drive you slowly mad living here! Last week we had beautiful sunshine-y weather. The yard was finally drying up and it felt like spring was in the air. Then it got cooler and cooler all week long until Thursday when the mercury plummeted and we got a snow storm. Yes, you did read that correctly. A SNOW STORM. Now fortunately we weren't as badly off as Calgary with their horrendous amounts of snow, but chances are, they've warmed up now and here we sit in, well not quite cold enough to be called a deep freeze, let's just call it a fridge. Brrrr. Hope "springs" eternal though and it is suppose to be sunny all week long and by the end of the week they're calling for 14C. Keep your fingers and toes crossed for me will you?

Anyways, onto matters at hand... I love rainy days when I have the luxury of keeping cozy warm inside the house. I love to wear my sweats and hoodie, and a pair of cozy wool socks, put the kettle on and park myself on the couch and knit to my heart's content. Of course first I've made something hearty and warming (soup, chili, or stew) in the crock pot for supper. More often though, I'm grabbing my rain jacket, and umbrella if I can find it and heading out to where ever I have to be at that particular moment.

In other news, I'm back from a brief trip to Toronto. I had a "field trip" to the university and it was absolutely fantastic! I really did feel like the little country bumpkin gone to the big city, but not for any reason other than the sheer size of the library there. Previously, when I first started my library career I worked at one of the largest highschools in the province, so it stood to reason that our library was very large (or so I thought). Then I transferred here to the university and I work in the largest library in our system and I remember being amazed at the size of it. So here was little me under the assumption that Dafoe was huge. Then I went to the Robarts library on Friday at the U of T. All 14 floors of it!!!!! WOW! I have to say, I was lagging a little in my enthusiasm for library work as of late, but seeing U of T and talking "shop" with the people I met down there has sort of given my enthusiasm the "jolt" it needed to get back in my groove.

Toronto is fun for other reasons too, of course besides their large library! I met a few knitters there that gave me directions to Romni Wools! I guess alot of things are just bigger there because I've never seen such a large wool shop in all my life! I was overwhelmed. I roamed the aisles over and over upstairs and down. In the end I bought a couple of patterns and a few skeins of yarn, but really couldn't even focus on what I wanted! Apparently I was hitting TO at a good time too, as they were having a fibre festival. It was going to be tight timing, but I was busily making plans to sneek over to that before heading out to Oakville on Saturday evening for a BBQ with my friend. Then the TTC went on strike and put a halt to that. I didn't figure I'd be able to easily get a cab for love or money, and with transit down, there was no way to get to the festival, so I settled for walking to Kensington Market to Lettuce Knits for a little peruse around their shop. All in all a good "knitterly" time!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Coffee Swap Assignment #4

Let's pretend for a minute we all live in the home of our dreams, have land, and don't have to work so time is unlimited! It's Spring planting season! What would you grow? A little veggie garden? A bed of bright spring blooms? Or is your thumb so far from green that the only thing you'd be planting is your tushy into a nice chair on the porch to get some knitting or crocheting done in the nice breeze?

I would definately have a veggie garden and a flower bed! Growing up, my mom always planted at least two huge (and by huge I mean bigger than the space of my entire lot here in the city) gardens. One year she actually had three. I miss the fun of planting a garden and the opportunity to decide I want beans for supper and just run outside to pick some! In my veggie garden you would find tomatoes, radishes, lettuce, beans and peas. Oh and potatoes. There's nothing as good as baby potatoes! I forgot the onions and chives too. Oh and throw in a zucchini plant as well, because even though as a kid I dreaded the always bumper crop of zucchini, in adulthood I've grown fond of it and almost choke every time I spend money on buying a teeny tiny one at the grocery store. Of course I'd also like to have the rows of strawberry plants and rasberry bushes Mom used to have as well!

As for flowers, well there I'd follow my Great Aunt Flora's lead and have lavender and bee balm, clemantis and daisies. I'd also want some petunias, bachelor buttons and lillies in there as well. And hostas. Lots of hostas!

I'd fill flower boxes and planters all along my verandah - you did say it was the house of my dreams, right? If it is then there is a verandah along the entire front of the house. And when the summer sun is high in the sky, the breeze is blowing the scent of the flowers in the air, I could sit on my wicker chair on the verandah and knit to my heart's content surrounded by bright colours!

Sigh... now off to check the Environment Canada's website again to see if they've cancelled our "Winter Storm Warning" that is in effect for today and tomorrow...