Sunday, December 13, 2009

Baby Bean is Five Months Old!!!

Douglas 5 months
Originally uploaded by Highlanddancemom
The last five months of my life have flown by so quickly. In what feels like the blink of an eye, my little baby is not so little anymore. It's so hard to believe he's already five months old.

I get so busy that I didn't even realize it was October the last time I posted an entry! I've been doing all sorts of knitting these days, but most of it I can't talk about right now. It's of the super secret holiday kind, and I just don't want to take any chances of surprises being spoiled.

I'm lucky to have such a content little man. He likes to play while I get to knit. I've developed a system of 1 1/2 eyes on baby and 1/2 an eye on my knitting. Needless to say there's no intricate lace knitting going on in my house these days! Well, not that there really ever was really. Some day I'd love to start, but I know my limitations and dropping what ever I'm doing in a heart beat to rescue the baby from under the kitchen table, or the dog's ear from baby's teeth or what have you and then picking up and continuing fall way over my limitations. For now it's plain, easy to follow instructions or mindless knitting for me. I don't mind though. Knitting is knitting!

Baby Bean as Auntie Geri loves to still call him loves to be on the move. These days if I put him on the floor on a blanket he stays on it for all of three seconds (tops) and then is off. Today he made his way around the entire living room using his combination scoot and roll method. Later on in the day he did the same in the dining room, well that is until he managed to get stuck under the legs of one of the chairs. I rescued him and he was off again.

Thinking of my little man, makes me realize how lucky we are to have him! I'm on Ravelry a lot these days with my Summer Mommies group and would like to just throw a suggestion out there to anyone who has some extra knitting time on their hands and would like a simple but meaningful project to work on.

One of the moms in the expectant moms group I was in tragically lost her wee daughter less than an hour after she was born. As a gesture of comfort some of the other mothers got together and knit the mom a blanket. The mom then spearheaded a project that seems to have taken off - sad to say there is such need for it, but that is unfortunately reality. Anyways, the concept is to make blankets to comfort those who have lost a child. If you're interested you can visit the Schuyler Blanket Project on Ravelry, or the Facebook group. I've just come on board with pledging squares for blankets, but when I look at my baby, and my three other babies that are now all teens, I realize how blessed I am in my life and I feel compelled to try and help out.

Who knows when I'll find the time to post next, I'm so hit and miss with it these days, so I will take the time now to wish everyone a very happy holiday season!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Taste testing a new toy

My sewing machine got a very brief workout this morning. (by brief I mean 10 minutes or less - but that's more than it's seen in the last three and a half months!)

I was in a toy store the other day perusing the aisles when I spied something in a lady's cart that intrigued me. It was a fleece ball with little "tags" of different ribbons sticking out from the seams. I'd remembered reading somewhere about these "ingenious" toys that are supposed to be the bees knees for baby to play with. I searched the store until I found the display that contained these veritable treasures and almost fell over in shock at the price of them. For example, they had a teeny weeny triangle of fleece with about four "tags" on it on sale (ON SALE no less!!!) for $12.99. I was somewhat incredulous that people would pay that much - let alone the regular price - for something like that . Being ever so thrifty, I tucked the idea into the little filing cabinet in my brain along with the other, "I can make that myself, better and for a lot less" ideas and went about my day.

Yesterday I happened to drop into my local fabric store and thought what the heck. A wee piece of orange fleece, a wee piece of black fleece and some ribbons (Ok - I splurged and spent a whopping $2.50 on a spool of Hallowe'en themed ribbon - but hey - I can use that for a myriad of other projects down the road I'm sure). A few minutes at the machine, a run through the laundry and Douglas seems pretty darned pleased with my efforts of this morning!

On the knitting front, I seem to be a touch obsessed with hats. I started and finished my Tretta hat in less than 24 hours and have just last night cast on for the Marsan Watchcap. I am the "Queen of Hats" these days, which is odd given I rarely ever wear a hat myself. But they are quick, easy to pick up for a minute and then put down again at the... well... drop of a hat or the cry of a hungry baby and they are nothing if not next-to-instant gratification! Not to mention sometimes a pretty big necessity for living on the prairies in the winter!

Friday, October 16, 2009

A pumpkin hat for my l'il punkin

So since I'm back in the land of the online, I thought I'd give you a few pictures of my recent FOs. My very favourite to date being baby's pumpkin hat. I love this pattern! Seven had brought it to our attention on Knitty the other day and I'll confess to developing an immediate obsession to make this hat for my "l'il punkin". It's a great pattern - can't say enough good things about it. It whipped up in a couple of hours using Cascade 220 for the hat and Ella Rae Classic for the stem. LOVE IT!!!!!

I've also managed a few other projects lately. My Pomotamus have been done for a little while actually. I knit them mostly in the car en route to and from the city. Occassionally I was able to get a row or two done in the evening when Douglas was being given a bottle by Daddy (I try to make sure there's one bottle every couple of days or so in the fridge so Daddy can have some of the feeding time snuggles too and as an added bonus it gives me a few minutes to myself!)

Car knitting (since G got her license) has been my main time to get the needles out, and in between sock one and two of Pomotamus I took a short break to make myself a pair of felted slippers - I'm always greatly amused by the excessive size of pre-felted items! They are kind of funny looking but cozy, so that's what counts in my books.

Last but not least on the FO list is another favourite project. A Christmas stocking for baby! This one is from "Cute Knits for Baby Feet" which is a fun little book I picked up when I was still pregnant. If you're in dire need of a stocking in a hurry, make this one your go to pattern. Seriously. Two days and it was done, and it's the perfect size for baby.

On the needles I've got some random projects that have been on the go for awhile; Clementine Shawlette (longest ever WIP for me I think), Plath, and my chevron scarf, and a new addition to the WIP collection -Froot Loop socks.

Well, I'm being paged by a hungry little man, so I'm off for now. Happy knitting!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

I'm back...

After several months of dismal and then no internet access, I'm finally back. I thought I would just do a quick post to say hi and let you know I'm still around! Here's a couple of recent pictures of my little man, Douglas who was born on July 5th, 2009. He amazes us every day with how incredible he is!

Douglas at about 2 1/2 months old :

Douglas at 12 weeks old:

I'll be back in a few days with a longer update on this prairie girl's life!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Car wash weirdness continues... it must be me.

Different car wash - ok same company, but different bay, different town even, same problem. TWICE!!!!! What am I doing wrong???? A big pick up truck went through ahead of me. No problem for him. I drive my little two-door Hyundai Accent in and it jams up the bloody thing. Least this time I had N keeping me company.

That's it. I'm not doing this anymore. My car can either stay dirty, or I will take it to the Chamois where they'll wash it for me. I refuse to get stuck a fifth time in the stinking car wash. It's beginning to give me a complex not to mention it's getting bloody embarassing that I am the only person on the face of the earth that cannot "operate" an automatic "touchless" car wash properly. Yeesh!

Anyways. Onto other much more pleasant topics.

My lovely SnB group, the Woolie Bullies, gave me a little surprise party on Wednesday night. I am so beyond touched by this that I get teary eyed every time I think about it. Not only did they bring cupcakes - love cupcakes by the way - but Nicole had made a really sweet card and all the girls had made a baby blanket for Bean. The fact that they all got together an knit the blanket is what gets me the most. What a sweet, wonderful, incredible gift. I know that this blanket will be loved and cherished.

Bean's Blankie from the girls

Speaking of blankies... I've been bitten by the quilting bug! I decided that Bean should have a crib quilt and so have set to work on my first ever quilt project! I'm really excited about it and laid all the center pieces out on the table to see what it might look like when finished. I have to say I'm happy with the look so far. I just hope I can sew an even straight seam on all the bits so that they line up well when it all goes together!

I've not done a whole lot of knitting myself as I've been busy with other ventures and activities. N had his final cadet banquet of the year, which was a big night for him! Not only was he the top Silver Star level cadet this year for his corps, he also got the top NCO award, plus top physical fitness award. The big one though, is that he got promoted to Warrant Officer and in the fall will be the corp's Regimental Sgt. Major, which is a pretty huge deal for a 14 1/2 year old who's crazy about cadets and plans a military career for his future!

N, the Commanding Officer and the outgoing RSM passing on the torch (well pace stick)

Other than that, G's been dancing like a maniac lately. Lessons (she's at four so far this week alone!), and competitions have been in full swing. She competed at the Mid-Canada Championships and Open Competition this past weekend here in the city and was quite successful! She was 2nd runner up for her age group at the Championships and got placings in the Village Maid (5th) and Hornpipe (2nd!) on Sunday. It was a good weekend despite the fact it was freezing cold - think mitts, sweaters, blankets! I was pretty much numb by the time we went home at the end of it! I felt sorry for any of the dancer's who wear vests instead of jackets. Brrrr.

Photographic evidence of turn out and pointy toes!!!!

I love how I caught her in the air on this one!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Weird things have been happening to me.

First up in the weirdness would be the day I lost my shoes in the mud. My favourite gardening clogs and they're gone. Vanished completely.

It all started when Bella, decided in all her puppy wisdom, to go traipsing off to the barn one wet and soggy morning.

I'm trying desperately to train her to stay in the "yard" as I call it right now, rather than have her roaming all over the property when I can't easily chase her. (Training has been slow with progress even slower - possibly to the point of non-existent), so off I went traipsing after her.

She was in the mucky patch between the barn and the hay storage shed happily lapping up what ever muddy water she could get her little tongue on. So I called her to come. She ignored me and continued in her own merry way. So I called her again. This time much more sternly. This got me a look out of the corner of her eye and back to the muck she went. So I decided enough was enough and she needed to learn who was boss in our relationship. I took one step towards her, she darted off to the field, and I, much to my horror realized I was sinking and sinking fast. I yanked my foot up, but my shoe did not come with my foot, trying to save myself from toppling over, I moved slightly and next thing I knew, my other foot was stuck fast and sinking. Pulling it free, I lost the other shoe and ended up toppling over. (Balance being what it is at this stage of pregnancy, I'm not surprised about the toppling over and was just thankful to be landing in the soft muck rather than something harder) I must have let out a yelp, because Bella came whipping around the corner of the barn and plastered herself to my side as I righted myself, and hopped barefoot across the yard to the house. I went out to inspect my shoes later and found that there was only the tiniest bit of blue showing through the mud. Thinking to myself that it was far to wet (not to mention dangerous to my health and well being to retrieve them) I thought I'd come back for them when the ground had a chance to dry out a bit. Fast forward to the other day. I went back, thinking I could dig out my shoes, but they are gone. No sign of them. Not so much of a trace of where they could be. The ground has apparently swallowed them whole.

Who loses their shoes like that?????

Next weird thing on the list. The car wash. Let me preface this by saying I have been driving for about 20 years. And during those 20 years, I've been using the car wash for well, all of it. You know the kind - you pull up, drive in, the doors close, the car wash does it's magic, the doors open and you drive out with a nice clean car. No fuss, no muss. Well unless you are me and harbour a slight paranoia of getting trapped in one of them and then one day you actually do. Not once. BUT TWICE!!!!!

I drove in, the doors closed, the car wash started to work it's magic for about half a minute, then with a thump and a bit of a bump it all stopped. The little light that tells you where to stop was flashing madly, but that was all that was happening. It was getting hotter and hotter in the blasted thing, and I do believe I was on the verge of hyperventilating (or at least bursting into tears). Just when full on panic of the fact I was trapped in the car wash was really settling in the door started to open. I drove out and though out of kindness to others who might suffer similar fate, I should let the fellows in the gas station know that there was a problem. I explained what had happened and the one in charge said, "Oh. I'd better close that lane. You're the third person today whose had a problem with it." HELLO???? Two others suffered the same fate and you didn't close it at that point?

He then gave me a voucher for a new car wash and told me to try the other lane. So with much trepidation I did. The whole time telling myself that it had to be a one off occurence. After all, people use these things every day and never get stuck in them. What are the chances, etc...

So in I go. The doors close, the car wash gets even less done than the first time when, with a thump and a bump it stops. I couldn't believe my misfortune. Instead of panicking that time, I sat there completely incredulous. When the door opened, I drove out, soap all over half my car and drove home.

That was a week and a half ago. I still haven't returned. I really do need to wash my car, but do NOT want to get stuck again. I have to say, I'm thinking of paying the extra and taking it to a car wash where you get out and the nice people do the job for you. It's a bit more expensive, but then what is my mental health worth???

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It's a zoo in here...

This past weekend was our Victoria Day long weekend. The weather was not fit for man or beast - well, maybe not that bad, but certainly any dreams of getting some gardening done were dashed by the frigid temperatures we had.

I was also pretty tired all weekend from this ridiculous cold/flu I've had so I took the chance to take it easy and do some knitting.

So knit I did. I will admit to being on a bit of an animal kick here. First up we have "Big Ears". This pattern is the very reason I ordered "Cute Knits for Baby Feet" from Knitpicks in the first place. I absolutely had to have them.

Knit from Sirdar's Snuggly they whipped up in a flash. I started them Saturday afternoon and finished them Sunday afternoon. The part that took me the longest was embroidering the tusks on!

Monday, the weather looked much more promising at first - it was gorgeous out at 5:30 am when I took the dogs out, but by the time I'd gone inside, had breakfast, put my capris and t-shirt on and gone back outside to enjoy the weather, the wind had picked up from the north and the temps had dropped by 10 degrees at least. Needless to say, back indoors I went. Picked up my needles, the left over snuggly from my niece's baby sweater, and my new favourite book. So? What do you think of "Quack"?

I think they'll be darn cute booties for the cool mornings and evenings I think that we're in for this summer. And talk about a quick knit! They took all of about two hours in total including a few breaks.

Feeling bold I decided to cast on for my "Plath Cardigan." I'm in love with this sweater. I had some trouble out of the starting block with it, but that was simply pregnancy brain and nothing to do with the pattern. Let me tell you ladder rib stitch is a dream to do! I think I'm in love.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Has it been that long again?

I used to be so good at keeping up with my blogging! And yet here it is weeks since my last post, and I'm finding myself so unmotivated to write anything. Part of my motivation problem is my internet connection.

Living in the middle of nowhere is great for peace, quiet and tranquility. To have roosters cock-a-doodle-dooing instead of the vulgar noises of the drunks and druggies down the street is a wonderous thing for one's sense of well being. But living in the middle of nowhere comes with it's downfalls. I have no access to high speed internet unless I want to pay huge amounts of money to have a satelite system set up. They have high speed 15 miles up the road in the village, but for me? Nope. No go. So I use dial up. Yes. That almost obsolete technology, which takes an eternity to load a page of text. Forget about uploading pictures or anything like that. So that leaves me coffee breaks and lunch breaks at work for updates, and sometimes, I'm just too tired of staring at the screen for work purposes to be bothered staring at it for other purposes on my breaks.

But - I didn't mean to turn this into a big pity party about my lack of high speed internet or how I'm so bloody tired most days I can't see straight. No. That's not my intent in the least.

What I want to do is share some pictures with you of the projects I spoke of in my last posting. (Just don't ask about the highland dance jacket. I'm not able to speak of that disaster yet as it might make me cry in frustration and anger still).

First up is my sling that I'm actually really happy with now that it's done. I've sewed over those seams about a million times out of a fear of my poor soon to be born baby crashing to the floor from faulty machine work on my behalf. I think the sling should safely be able to hold quite a hefty weight now. Although I couldn't test it out given the girth of my belly these days, and N wasn't quite willing to be a sling test dummy and put the dog in it like I suggested. I suggested Bella would be a good option at only 36 lbs versus Lucky at 110 lbs, but N was having none of it. In retrospect, I guess I can't blame him. I do hope that it carries a real live baby comfortably though!

Then I believe I spoke of booties and a ball - so here's those. Cute, not hard to make and used up some stash yarn. (Just don't follow the pattern explicitly. It would have you make two left feet - I kid you not) Nothing like using stash yarn to make a girl feel good and thrifty. Makes me actually feel kind of smug. I'm just like that!

Other projects on the go are (BF)G's socks - still. I've managed to get the cuff done and precisely one row of stocking stitch. Did I mention these are very boring and want to make me use my trusty 2.25mm dpns to poke my eye out just for some excitement?

Then as I mentioned I re-started the Fireside socks. (sorry - no pictures yet) I'm liking them. They're my "car" socks. I knit them when I'm in the passenger seat (obviously - I'm not crazy enough to knit them when I'm in the driver's seat. Is anyone that crazy????)

I've grown tired for the time being with my chevron scarf. I realize this makes me appear incredibly fickle. Just a few short weeks ago I was in love with the whole thing, but times change, people change. It's a four row pattern repeat. It gets dull after awhile. What can I say? I will go back to it, just not for a bit yet I think.

So that's about it for me and what I've been up to.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

An exercise in frustration or possibly futility

My new sewing machine is a menace to my mental health and well-being. I swear that the gods of all things related to needles, thread and tension have been frowning upon me as of late.

All I wanted to do was make a Ring Sling for baby Bean. What should have taken me mere moments to cut, hem, pleat and finish has taken me days. DAYS!!!! (and it's still not done!). Between four needles breaking, the tread breaking, fraying and otherwise being a pain in the arse and the machine not being able to function when confronted with two layers of pleated mid-weight linen, I'm ready to toss the whole kit and kaboodle out the window.

So I have given up for now. The Ring Sling will have to wait - at least until I can go buy some more heavy duty thread (different brand - who knows, maybe my machine is just stupidly picky, and heavy duty needles - no needles left that will sew anything beyond the weight of a light weight cotton.)

I did manage to sew a dress for myself - no pics yet, sorry. Haven't quite decided if I look decent in it enough to post any - I think I look enormous in it, but then again these days I feel like I look enormous in just about everything I wear.

I have also done the second muslin for G's new highland jacket. First one did not fit at all. Second one turns out doesn't either, but I think I need to add some darts for shaping and then all should be good with it. I've pinned the darts in - now just to take those pinned darts on the muslin and make them re-appear as darts on the actual velvet. Oh, velvet you strike terror into my heart and make my blood run to ice. I've got to get the bloody thing done. Provincials are on Sunday and she can't wear the same old ratty jacket she's been wearing - last competition not only was she bursting out of it, but a button did manage to fly off during the sword, causing her to land on the button, (it was that or land on the hilt of the sword to avoid the button - I think she chose the better option), twist her ankle and be very, very upset with her seamstress (me).

Anyways - so that's my tale of sewing woe. Knitting is going somewhat better! I've finished a couple of pairs of baby booties and a ball, (will post pics eventually), started a chevron scarf using Knit Picks, Imagination in Frog Prince and Looking Glass, and started a new pair of socks for me last night. I frogged back my first attempt at my Fireside socks that I'd started back in the fall in Claudia Handpainted Buckeye, and am now trying them in Estelle Arequipa in Scarlet. Of course (BF)G's socks are still on the go, but man alive they are boring me to death with their plain old ribbing and stocking stitch.

So that's all that's new for me. Hopefully next time I can report some much better news on the sewing machine versus Ring Sling front!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Bean's Jeans

Beans jeans back
Originally uploaded by Highlanddancemom

Oh how I love this pattern!!!

My latest FO for baby is Blu. Such a fast knit! Took me only one "snow day" to do the knitting. The finishing was a bit of a different story, however, as my embroidery skills are sadly lacking.

I had to reach way back into the deep dark recesses of my memory (and when I say way back, I mean as in about 30 years way back) to the time Mom taught me how to embroider and I spent weeks working on a "sampler" of the different stitches.

Wouldn't you know it, as I finished the embroidery it hit me that somewhere in the boxes of craft things in my basement I seemed to recall having a leaflet that demonstrated all the different stitches. Sure enough after digging through two boxes I unearthed it. A little late for this project, but handy none the less should I ever take a notion into my head to try embroidering anything again!

The label was chosen by G. She said that since we always call baby "Bean" that's what the label should say. I thought it quite fitting and so there we go. "Bean's Jeans".

In other craftiness, I also finished the second diaper bag. I used Amy Butler's Nappy Bag pattern again - it's a great one, easy peasy and roomy. Gotta love that! This one was of course at the request of N and (BF)G who both were insistent that the first diaper bag I made was far too "pretty" for them to be carting around. Yeesh! What I won't do for my menfolk! I do like the way it turned out, I will admit. It's bright and cheery and the fabric has been sitting in my stash for something like 13 years since my Fanny's Fabric employee days.

diaper bag take two

Now I'm busily working on another baby project. Crochet this time!! It's another blanket. We'll see how this endeavor goes!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Another project for baby!

baby blanket done
Originally uploaded by Highlanddancemom
Just a quick post to show my latest FO for baby!

I just finished this one the other night - didn't take long and I'm really happy with the outcome.

I knit the main part of the blanket with Sirdar Denim Aran Sport, which is a cotton, acrylic, wool blend and is super soft. The trim is of unknown content, but I'm pretty sure it's mostly cotton and was sent to me by Anna last summer.

I used the pattern Endora from Berroco and the modified the trim using (gulp!) crochet instead of picking up what would have felt like gazillions of stitches along the edges. I had a picture in my head of what I wanted it to look like and that was an edging similar to that on my afgan that my Granny had made for me when I was really little. So, to that end I dug out my "Teach yourself crochet" book and set to work. It's not up to Granny's standards, but for a first attempt at something like this I don't think I did too badly. I probably should have accomodated the corner increases a little better, but all in all, I'm well pleased!

This weekend's project will be to finish Blu - what an awesome pattern that is! But I'll save those details for later!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A finished knitting project!!!!

Two posts in two days... what is going on here?!? Ha ha!

I just wanted to put up a super quick post about my latest FO! I have finally managed to finish up my Mr. Greenjeans. I'm happy to have it off the needles, not just because I hate having something lingering around for so long (makes me feel guilty when I start a new project) and also because in a freakish way of weather that I'm sure can't be only here on the Prairies, it's been fricken fracken freezing out there again. As in -30C and below with that wind which seems to always be whipping around out there these days. Brrr. So I was in need of a good warm cardi - have to dress in layers you know as despite the fact it's artic air outside, in the office it feels like the tropics. Layers, baby, are the answer!

Anyways... enough rambling! Here is my version of Mr. Greenjeans!

Not a very accurate show of the real colour, but I thought it showed the cables nicely!

I did a few modifications to it - really just in length - longer in the body and of course full sleeves. I used Briggs and Little Heritage in Purple Grape (gifted from Anna) for it. The yarn is a great, rustic, warm wool. Although some skeins were so "rustic" that I figured eventually I would come across not only a great many bits of straw and grass, but perhaps somewhere in there would be the whole bloomin' farm (sheep, farmer and all!), but no - just grass and straw. I did find it worth the effort though to pick out as much as I could as I went. I'm really quite happy with the final product!

And because of the great one button design of the sweater, it still fits! Even over my six month (seemingly large) pregnant belly. Although I will admit the button is pulling and will probably not do up at all by next week, but that's ok. I figure it will fit post-pregnancy quite well and that's really what counts! Because after all, it is mid-March and how much longer can winter last in this frozen place that I live in? I wasn't really expecting to get any wear out of it until fall anyways!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Getting ready for baby : or a tutorial on what to do with less than a metre of flannel

Where does time go? It seems to be flying by at a somewhat alarming rate to say the least. I'm now at the six months pregnant mark (seems like just yesterday I was waiting for a call from my doctor to tell me if I was expecting or not!)

I figure it's about time to start getting ready for this wee baby. Of course I have a few things left over from J, G and N's baby days, but only the special knits and things like that. None of the day to day necessities. So I high tailed it over to the fabric store with the knowledge that flannel was on sale half price this month!

I've been on a receiving blanket, burp cloth and face cloth rampage. Last night was sewing night. The last few days before that were cutting out time - I kept getting too tired to drag my machines out. This is a ridiculously easy project (I promise even if you're new to sewing you too can make these in the blink of an eye!)
Purchase .7 metre of printed flannel, .5 of co-ordinating terry toweling (I got this 60% off so a good bargain too). I also bought 2 metres of white diaper flannel and some rickrack and ribbon trims in the same trip, but I'll get to that in a moment!
To start off, pre-shrink your fabrics. Wash and dry everything the way you're going to wash the finished product.

To make the receiving blanket, simply take one corner of your printed flannel and fold it over in a triangle to make a perfect square. Mark your cutting line and cut this piece out. Serge or do a narrow hem along all four sides of your square. Voila! Receiving blanket!
To make the burp cloth take that piece of flannel left over from the receiving blanket you just made and cut it to size. I think 10" x 20 " is a good size - this is just to throw over your shoulder to catch any yuckiness when baby is being burped so you could actually guage how wide your shoulder is and adjust to make it smaller or bigger depending. I tend to have shoulders like a line backer so if you're somewhat more daintily sized than me, you may want a bit narrower cloth. The choice is yours.
Cut a matching piece of terry towelling. Turn each piece right sides together and sew around the outside edges using a 1/2" seam allowance and don't forget to leave an opening for turning. Trim your seam allowance and clip the corners to reduce the bulk and turn right side out. If you want you can press the cloth at this point or just flatten it out with your hands. Top stitch about an 1/4" from the edge all the way around your rectangle to close up your opening and as well to add a bit of strenth to it. Now you've made a burp cloth! Sit back and admire your handywork! :)

The face cloth is simply done by using any left over piece that you feel is a big enough size and cutting a matching piece of terry. I used my serger to finish the edges all around, but if you don't have a serger you could either do them the same way you made your burp cloth or even easier than that, just zig-zag around the edges. It's a facecloth afterall... no need to get terribly fancy!

A finished set - receiving blanket, burp cloth and face cloth

So - back to that white flannel and ribbon I bought. Not all flannel, as it turns out, is the same width - or some shrinks more than others. So I ended up with a few pieces that were too narrow to be a burp cloth on their own, but waste not want not, I decided to get a bit fancier. (I have to say, so far - these are my favourite ones!!) Cut your white flannel into the same size as your other burp cloths were (again I used the 10" x 20"), then cut your left over printed flannel to a size you like for a center decorative panel. Lay the printed piece on the center of your white flannel - right sides both facing up. Zig-zag closely to the edge of the printed flannel. Then pick out your ribbon or trim that you are going to use and lay this over top the zig-zagged stitches. Sew with a straight stitch close to either edge of the ribbon if using ribbon or one line down the center if using rickrack. Your top piece is now finished and you can proceed with the terry as you did with your other burp cloths!

A work in progress...

And a finished product - this one's my favourite so far!

Most importantly... Have fun picking out the flannel, terry and ribbon! There are so many choice out there that the options are pretty much endless. You're baby will be spitting up on the cutest cloths around! :)

So between that and working on my Amy Butler Nappy Bag - yes - that is a cat inside the bag! Dora seems to have a predilection for "helping me" while I'm sewing!

Peek a boo Dora!

And finishing it, I've had a very productive time at my sewing machine as of late (of course all this baby sewing hasn't left time for the two huge projects I need to accomplish - a new highland jacket and a national vest for Ms. G, but all in due time I figure. Her old ones will do for this weekend's competition!)

Diaper bag, change pad and storage bag

So until next time, I hope you have fun with your knitting or sewing or whatever it is that you do to fill up your free time.

Friday, February 27, 2009

BBC Book List

This little gem showed up on my Facebook today and I thought why not follow Purple Niko's lead and post it on my blog...

Quite a fun and interesting little exercise I have to say!

BBC’s Book List

The BBC believes most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here. How do your reading habits stack up?

Instructions: Copy the list into a Note and put an ‘x‘ after those you have read, count ‘em up, compare tallies. This should be easy. Strutting and preening is optional.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen (x)
2 The Lord of the Rings
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte (x)
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling (x - well the first one and the 4th one anyways)
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee ( x)
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights (x)
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens (x)
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott (x)
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier (x)
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien (x)
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger (x)
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame (x)
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy (x)
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis (x)
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres (x)
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden (x)
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne (x)
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown (x)
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery (x)
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood (x)
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding (x)
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel (x)
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen (x)
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon (x)
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men- John Steinbeck (x)
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold (x)
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas (x)
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding (x)
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett (x)
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno – Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens (x)
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry (x)
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White (x)
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom (x)
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad (x)
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery (x)
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare (x)
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl (x)
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

36 out of 100 - not bad if the average is 6, but makes me think I should be reading more actually...

Now. I challenge you to go through the list and see how many you've read! Have fun!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Some knitting progress and a new puppy!

Finally. Progress in the knitting department.

I've been working on a few small projects for the most part, but picking up Greenjeans and doing a few rows here and there every now and again so it's getting some attention too.

First off, I was starting to feel a bit weird that I hadn't started to knit anything for the baby yet. I'm a bit old-fashioned (read: crazy) when it comes to baby things. I was once told, many moons ago when I was pregant with J, that you shouldn't get anything for the baby before you're seven months along. For whatever reason, that has stuck fast in my brain and I have trouble letting go of it. Really it's silly. Why should I wait until I'm in my third trimester, overly big and overly tired to start preparing for this little one. Plus people were starting to give me weird looks when they'd say, "So have you been knitting lots for baby?" and I say, "No. Nothing yet." It was like I was somehow failing as a knitting expectant mother.

Anyways - to ease my way in to baby knitting without upsetting any superstitious madness, I thought I'd make a couple of pairs of Magic Baby Slippers. They're a fantastic way to use up odds and ends of sock yarn you have left in your stash and they take no time at all to whip up! Because I don't know if this little one is a boy or girl I knit a pair of each.

Next on my list was my Capitan hat. I had been gifted the perfect shade of red lopi last summer and so thought I'd make myself a new hat to go along with the alpaca scarf I'd brought back from my trip to Peru. Apparently, I do not suit Capitan as well as I hoped. Given the ridiculous amount of laughter that ensued when I tried it on for (BF)G, I am thinking perhaps Capitan will be reserved for very cold days out in the yard at home, or will be finding a new home. So - you get to see the hat, without being able to see how silly I look in it. It is a great pattern though! Quick and easy to follow.

I've also been working on (BF)G's socks. They're my go to project when I'm on the go. I keep them in my purse and pull them out whenever I have some waiting to do or some spare time on my hands. I had forgotten that the pattern uses a "Dutch Heel" which is done rather differently then my usual heel that I'm used to, so for a bit it threw me, but once done, I had my "ah-ha" moment and remember that despite it's odd look, it's actually a pretty good heel for (BF)G's socks.

Alrighty - I did mention a new puppy! Because with the four cats, rat, fish, and two dogs, we clearly did not have enough pets already, we went and got ourselves another one. I'd like to introduce you to our baby dog, "Bella". She's only eight weeks old and is a cross between a Great Pyranese and a Newfie. In other words, she will grow to be the size of a small car! But she's beautiful, affectionate and already so smart.

Maybe next time I post I will actually have major progress done on Greenjeans. (It's my next goal in knitting accomplishments that I would like to achieve!)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I think I'm in love...

Aren't we purdy?!?

My Soctoberfest socks are finally done! I managed to finish the last few rows of pattern and do the toe before supper last night and I am so happy with the results. I'm wearing them today and really... I think I'm in love!

As in every relationship we had our ups and downs. The ups were wonderful - that first sock coming together so quickly, so easily, so pretty. Then there were the downs - the first disaster, the second disaster, and so on. The almost continuous frogging and re-knitting. There were times when it seemed the only thing to do was throw in the towel and admit the love was gone. But then I'd look at the finished first sock and think that maybe there was a glimmer of a spark left. I'm so glad I perservered. The picture doesn't do them justice, but take my word on it. They're perfectly lovely! Especially on a morning where the windchill is making it feel like -36C out there.

I'm on a sock kick right now. Greenjeans be damned. I'm just not that into it right now. I just want socks. Lovely little projects that tuck so nicely into my purse and can be whipped out and worked on a moments notice of some spare time.

Being the selfless knitter (ok - we all know I'm not that selfless, but it sounded good I thought), I'm currently working on a pair of socks for (BF)G. He loved the Gentlemen's Plain Winter Socks (Nancy Bush - "Knitting Vintage Socks) that I made for him last year, so I thought why fix what ain't broke... I'm making him a second pair. These ones are out of Ram Wools new house sock yarn, Softly, which although soft enough is kind of splitty, and given it's just merino with no reinforcing power of nylon I'm a touch worried as to how they'll wear for him on a day to day in his workboots kind of basis, but we'll see. It's a great pattern for not having to pay close attention to, which if my Soctoberfest socks taught me anything, we all know I have no capabilities for focusing on anything these days making this ideal for me at this point in time!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Conquering a rogue sock

My knitting has been going no where as of late.  Well, not exactly no where.  In truth, it's been going backwards a lot.

What is it that make one little sock so damned hard to knit?  The first sock was a charmer.  It went swimmingly.  Really quickly.  Fits like a dream. 

The pattern is well written and the yarn (despite my initial battles with untangling it's 400 yds) lovely to work with so it makes a gal wonder what could go wrong?

Apparently my brain and the sudden loss of any ability to follow simple directions.

Back in October I cast on one night at SnB for the second sock of my Soctoberfest Mystery KAL sock.  I was excited.  I figured within two or three weeks I would be proudly wearing a new pair of socks.  But something went terribly wrong.  It took me the whole evening to cast on and do a couple of rows.  I couldn't count properly.  I had to cast on repeatedly before I managed to get all 64 stitches cast on.  Then I twisted my stitches in the round so I had a quasi-mobius-esque type cuff.  Sadly it all came out again.  Finally conquered the cast on and thought I was off to the races.

I was wrong.

I knit the cuff and then compared it with my beautiful first sock.  Something was amiss.  The middle section was huge.  Not just too long, but somehow too wide.  But I decided I could ignore it.  Telling myself, no one's going to see the cuff anyways.  

I took a break from the sock until after Christmas and then decided it was time to finish it.  So I plugged away on the second clue which is the patterned leg.  50 rows into the chart and somewhat alarmed that something seemed a little off, I thought I'd check the instructions to find out how many rows I repeated on the chart the second time.  Much to my horror, it clearly said "Repeat rows 1-32 of the chart once.  Repeat rows 1-16 one more time."  Rows 1-32?  My chart had 64 rows.  

Then it hit me.  I was knitting the foot chart.  Not the leg.  So somewhat disheartened, I began to frog.  All the way back it went to the cuff.  And I started again.  Regaining my confidence with each row I did I began once again to envision proudly wearing my pretty socks.  I finished the first 32 rows of the chart and stopped to admire my handiwork.  I should mention I did think, about 16 rows earlier that something looked a touch off, but I was not going to be stopped in my quest to conquer the second sock.  It was then that the gods of cursed socks struck me well and truly down.  

I had not marked my pattern the last time I'd stopped working on it, and blithely had resumed where I thought I had been instead of carefully inspecting exactly which row I had finished at.  Back to the frog pond I went.  My heart heavy and my mind reeling with the ridiculousness of it all.   How hard had it become for me to follow directions?  Was I that lost in my own world that the simplest of tasks could become so daunting?

I am very pleased to say though, this little tale of woe has a happy ending after all.  Well so far anyways.

Yesterday I picked up knitting and chart with much trepidation.  I carefully examined where I should begin knitting, took a deep breath and began.  I zipped through the remainder of the 32 rows, and continued on with rows 1 - 13.  I had a glimmer of hope that I was on my way to conquering the rogue sock when I inspected my knitting and saw that it was as it should be.  This morning saw the completion of row 14-16, the eye of partridge heel flap, and blessedly the turning of the heel with no disasters.

I know it's early days, but I am feeling brave enough to say that I declare my rogue second sock to have admitted defeat in the presence of my knitting determination.  I shall have a nice new pair of socks after all.

Wish me luck on that foot chart.  Really I've already had practice doing it twice before, so it should be a piece of cake... right?  Next post I do I am determined to have a picture of my finished pair of socks to show you.

Until then, as I said, wish me luck and I hope you're having much more success in your knitting endeavors than I have been lately!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Happy New Year and all that...

I can't believe it's been well over a month since my last posting. I used to be so good at staying on top of things, but that seems to have all gone downhill over the last little while.

We had a lovely Christmas holiday - the kids were home until mid-day on Christmas and then they were off to the sunny beaches of a Cuban resort with their Dad. I will admit to feeling a little twinge of glee when they came back to below normal temps and major snowfall. But that's just because I'm a little twisted and mean and really, that's what you get for going and sunning yourself in the dead of winter (and bragging about it to your poor mother whose stuck here in the frozen prairies! Muahahaha).

I didn't do much in the way of knitting over the holidays at all - but I did discover that I still know how to read - honestly it had been so long since I'd picked up a book for purposes other than cataloguing it, I really wasn't sure if I still posessed the skills necessary to read a whole book! But happily I can say I do and I read several over the two weeks!

I did manage to finish up a couple of projects for the holidays though. G love her alpaca and I have to say the pattern was a dream knit! So easy, so well written. I'm definately a fan! I knit it using a strand of Paton's Classic and a strand of Drops Alpaca held together.

I also finished J's Joey Ramone doll (with much help from N in the desperate hours leading up to Christmas Eve - that kid can do the finishing on a project like no one's business!). Unfortunately, no picture of it, because it went home with J to his apartment before I thought to take one.

N was to be the recipient of a pair of special mitts for doing his target practice in the winter, but given that I have really no concept of the passage of time, they did not get completed for Christmas, but were waiting for him when he arrived home from Cuba. Knit from Cascade 220, the should be warm as well as functional! He was really pleased with them, so I was pretty pleased myself.

Since getting back to work, I've picked up the needles again and am busily finishing up my Greenjeans - just one more sleeve and the ribbing to go! I also resumed working on the Clementine Shawlette - 15 more inches to go on that puppy, and the second sock from my Socktoberfest Mystery Sock KAL - yes, I realize Socktoberfest is long since past, but I got sidetracked for awhile - well let's just say a couple of months.

I am planning to have some 2009 FOs to show soon! I hope that the new year is treating you well so far! Until next time, which with any luck won't be so far in the distant future this time, happy knitting!