Sunday, December 23, 2012

Itty Bitty Socks

I was having coffee with a couple of crafty friends the other day, when a new idea came up. (Cheryl is a wonderful seamstress who makes great purses, and Megan makes the most beautiful note cards.)

We were talking about my socks and mittens and they mentioned they have a friend who is known for wearing unique socks, and that friend is having a baby. That of course sparked the idea of baby socks. As I walked home, thoughts of baby socks ran through my head, which led to a search of baby sock patterns on Ravelry (Ravelry has the most amazing pattern search functionality!), and the next thing you know I’m rummaging through my leftover sock yarn and I pulled out some that could be sacrificed for a sock trial.

The first pair of socks was so darn cute, that they were soon followed by three more pairs. I saw Cheryl again on Saturday and gifted her with the following bunch of baby socks which she can now re-gift to her sock loving friend.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Blog Catch Up (and a dog party!)

I’ve been a bad blogger lately, and have not found the time to keep up with this thing. My day job has been keeping my busy lately, so I’m home around 7 most nights. By the time we eat and clean up, there isn’t much time left for this blog. I’ve got some plans in place to remedy this in the New Year, so if we all just hang on for a bit longer, this blog may come back to its former life by the end of January.

For now I give you a small sampling of what I’ve been up to in the past week, or so.

We had a pot luck lunch at work this week so last weekend was all about making some broccoli salad and peppermint cookies. The broccoli salad was well received, and the peppermint cookies pleased me, as they always do.

Cici loves the smell of peppermint cookies, so while I iced and sprinkled she worked on perfecting her begging pose.

I’ve been working on the Leftover Blanket lately. It is a great project for a cold winter night. Cici is quite fond of the smell of the real wool, so she usually come in for a snuggle as I knit.  One evening when I turned my back on it for a brief moment, I came back to this…

Admitting that in addition to lacking the time to blog, I also lack the time to bake, I solved my need for Christmas baking, by picking up an order from Gracie’s Christmas Cookies. It has been a challenge to keep certain hands out, to allow for some cookies to still be around on Christmas Eve.

I squeezed in some quality sewing time yesterday, which allowed me to make good progress on my quilt. I now have 48 12” squares ready to be joined together. I predict the quilt will be finished in the first half of 2013.

And finally, yesterday Cici invited some friends over. It was dog party central in our house.

There was begging in the kitchen,

Monitoring of the outside world,

Hanging out in the living room,

And much holding of the dachshund, against his best wishes. Cici is too big to hold like this, so we were all over this little guy.

Only eight days until Christmas! Love this time of year!


Saturday, December 8, 2012

I Heart Cyber Monday!

I sold a pair of mitts and a pair of socks recently, so I had some money burning a hole in my wallet. Thankfully KnitPicks does a pretty good job of celebrating Cyber Monday.

A wonderful box from KnitPicks arrived in our home this week and it is as every bit as lovely as I’d hoped for. Here is what the box contained.

The four balls on the left are Palette, my favourite KnitPicks mitten yarn in White, Lantana, Oregon CoastHeather and Oyster Heather. I’m not sure where and when I’ll use these, but I just picked a few random colours that were on sale.

The two skeins on the front left are Gloss that I bought as possible lining yarn for a future pair of mittens. The Bordeaux colour may actually work well with the colours of Palette above.

On the right are four skeins of Shadow in Garnet Heather that are destined to be used for the Oregon Coast Cardigan and my first foray into lace knitting. (lace knitting sounds scary!)

And finally the skein at the back is some hand painted Stroll in Make Believe that is planned to be used to tie the quilt I’m making. It has some nice green and purple spots that will work well. There are some blue-green spots that I’m not too sure of, but I can always cut those out. Here’s a picture of that skein against the quilt block back drop.

So that should be enough to keep me busy for a bit!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Learning Lining

This week’s knitting has been all about learning how to line a pair of mittens. I’ve been making it up as I go along and so far so good. I did have a couple of false starts until I figured out the gauge of my knitting yarn, which although similar is just a hair wider than the mitten yarn used.

Here is the work so far. I’m liking it! I put in a Cyber Monday yarn order with KnitPicks and threw in some yarn that will be perfect to line another pair of mittens someday soon.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

November Project - Large Mittens

UPDATE - When this was orginally posted, these mittens were up for sale. Then tonight I decided they were just large enough to be perfect for lining. So I'm busy knitting up some lining for these mittens. Stay tuned for a post when the lining is finished. They will likely return to the For Sale pile at that time.

My November project was another pair of mittens, using the Fall colour theme again. I wanted to see how the mittens would turn out when knit with a larger sized needle. The results are good and the mittens did turn out larger. Since most of my mitts fit a small to medium hand, I’m pleased to offer a larger mitt for sale.
The pattern is my own design, and the yarn is KnitPicks Palette. (I'm dreaming of more Palette yarn, in the hopes that KnitPicks has a good Cyber Monday sale tomorrow!)

  • Size: Large (will be roomy for a medium sized hand, and quite comfortable for a larger hand and wrist)
  • Content: 100% Peruvian Highland Wool
  • Care: Hand wash/dry flat (that’s the official instruction, but since I like the look of mittens that are slightly felted, I just put mine in the washing machine on a gentle cycle)
  • Price: $25.00 (CAD) plus shipping costs

If you are interested in purchasing these socks please email me and I will let you know the shipping costs.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Few Pairs of Socks For Sale

In addition to mittens for sale, I have a few pairs of socks that would like to go to a new home. I am offering these socks for sale, not with the intent of making a profit, but rather to ask just a bit above cost to make some money to feed my yarn habit.

If you are interested in purchasing these socks please email me and I will let you know the shipping costs.

Summer Vacation Socks

These socks contain a pleasing mix of blues, greens and yellows. The colour’s name is “summer vacation” and it jumped out at me when I was trying to find something to knit while we were off on our summer vacation.  The pattern is made of a wavy rib that forms a mock cable.

  • Size: Women’s medium-large
  • Content: 75% Superwash Merino Wool, 25% Nylon
  • Care: Machine wash, gentle cycle/tumble dry low, or dry flat
  • Price: $25.00 (CAD) plus shipping costs

Snow Crocus Socks

These socks came to life when I spotted the ball of yarn with the colour name “snow crocus”. The name was perfect as the yarn has a beautiful blend of purple, yellow and green, against a light background that brings to mind the colours that are seen when the first crocuses of the year come up. The pattern has a plain back set off by a set of cables running down the front of the sock to the top of the toe.

  • Size: Women’s medium-large
  • Content: 80% Merino Wool, 20% Nylon
  • Care: Machine wash, gentle cycle/tumble dry low, or dry flat
  • Price: $25.00 (CAD) plus shipping costs

Castle Walls Socks

The colour name for these socks, “castle walls”, captures the subtle shades of grey and beige. The touch of alpaca in the yarn makes them a wonderfully soft treat for the feet. The pattern is an all over rib with a cable detail running down the side.

  • Size: Women’s medium-large
  • Content: 50% Merino Wool, 25% Superfine Alpaca, 25% Nylon
  • Care: Hand wash, dry flat (unless you don’t mind a bit of felting, then you could machine wash on a gentle cycle and dry flat)
  • Price: $25.00 (CAD) plus shipping costs


Thursday, November 15, 2012

My To Do List

I just looked over at the top of my sewing dresser and realized it is my current to do list.

On the left side there are three stacks of fabric squares that need to be sewn into quilt squares. This is intimidating as the fabric is precisely stacked in the order it will be sewn together.  I need about 12 hours of sewing time to get that stage done, and if anyone knocks those piles of fabric over before I find that 12 hours, my stacking system will have failed me and I’ll have to crawl into a ball and cry. 

Under the fabric is a book I want to finish. I started reading “The Wonder Boys” back when I was on jury duty. Since then I’ve been distracted by other books on my Kindle. I need to carve out some time to finish this book and get it back to its rightful owner.

On the right, is the current mitten project which I want to finish by the end of November.  I’m almost done the first mitten so it should be easy enough to knit the second one within the next two weeks.

And under the yarn, although it is the least time consuming, is the most dauntingly stack of paperwork that I need to figure out and take care of sooner, rather than later. I changed jobs recently and that always comes with a stack of benefits papers to sign and process. Hopefully I’ll get that taken care of this weekend (but first I need to go buy some stamps.)

The saddest part of this picture is that I have a pounding headache tonight, which means that this picture will look exactly the same, this time tomorrow. (But the happy part is that this time tomorrow is the weekend!)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Few Pairs of Mitts For Sale

I’ve rummaged through my tickle trunk and determined I have a few pairs of mittens that are in need of a good home. I am offering these mittens for sale, not with the intent of making a profit, but rather to ask just a bit above cost to make some money to feed my yarn habit.

If you are interested in purchasing these mittens please email me and I will let you know the shipping costs.


Neapolitan Mittens

These mittens combine chocolate brown, light strawberry pink, and creamy vanilla colours into a combination reminiscent of Neapolitan ice cream.

  • Size: Medium (but should fit most hands)
  • Content: 100% Peruvian Highland Wool
  • Care: Hand wash/dry flat (that’s the official instruction, but since I like the look of mittens that are slightly felted, I just put mine in the washing machine on a gentle cycle)
  • Price: $25.00 (CAD) plus shipping costs

Currant Mittens

These mittens are made from a deep currant/burgundy colour offset by a nice dark ash grey.

  • Size: Medium/Small (should fit most hands, but will be snug on a larger hand)
  • Content: 100% Peruvian Highland Wool
  • Care: Hand wash/dry flat (that’s the official instruction, but since I like the look of mittens that are slightly felted, I just put mine in the washing machine on a gentle cycle)
  • Price: $25.00 (CAD) plus shipping costs

Fall Mittens - SOLD

These mittens are called “Fall Mittens” because I finished them just as summer was turning to fall. They are made of a lovely orange and yellow combination with a navy blue highlight for interest on the cuff.

  • Size: Medium/Small (should fit most hands, but the cuff will be snug on a larger wrist)
  • Content: 100% Peruvian Highland Wool
  • Care: Hand wash/dry flat (that’s the official instruction, but since I like the look of mittens that are slightly felted, I just put mine in the washing machine on a gentle cycle)
  • Price: $25.00 (CAD) plus shipping costs

Stay tuned for a sock sale. I found some of those in the trunk too.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Knitalong - Knitting a Square

And another week has passed by. How is this happening? I started a new job recently and my commute is twice as long. I think that has been seriously cramping my blog style. Although the commute is twice as long it is also twice as nice. I used to have to stand on the train most days, but now at the end of the day I get to settle into a seat and dive into a book while the train takes me home. At the end of the day, sitting is much better than standing!

While I haven’t had much time to blog, I’ve still found time to do other things, including starting something new (even thought I have November mittens to finish, and all the quilt bits laying around makes my sewing corner look like I’m a hoarder.)

A Canadian Ravelry member recently put out a call for knitted squares that could be put together into a blanketthat can be raffled off to raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society.  Knitters like to help knitters, and Canadians like to help Canadians, so it seemed like an easy request to fulfill. (And it was a great excuse to start something new, without a long-term commitment.)

The pattern comes from a great book called Knitalong, by Larissa Brown, which celebrates the tradition of knitters getting together. The book offers a suggestion and pattern for a Barn Raising Quilt afghan that can be put together using the squares from a variety of knitters and yarns. It is a great book with some nice ideas.

I had to pull out some of my double-pointed needles that I haven’t used since I discovered magic loop knitting. It was a challenge to get the hang of holding double points again.

My first attempt was to knit an orange coloured square, but it turned out a bit too small. I have a gauge challenge when I knit. If I get the stitch width correct, my row height always falls a bit short. This means that although I followed the pattern correctly, the short row height made the block too small.

My second attempt was to knit a blue coloured square, and add in a few extra rows, to get the square to the correct dimension.

In case anyone wonders why it is good to block knitting when finished, here is what the square looked like before blocking.

I’ll send both blocks off to their destination and hopefully at least one will play nicely with the other blocks, and a beautiful end-product will be created.

Now, it is back to the November mittens (or maybe the quilt.)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Autumn Mittens

Where did my week go? I can't believe it has been 7 days since my last post. I'm not sure what I've been doing in that time, since there aren't too many quilt squares trimmed and there's been minimal knitting progress, but according to the calendar 7 days have indeed passed by.

I did manage to get started on a new pair of mittens that I plan to finish this month. They have a distinctly autumn palette going on.

Much like the past week, today has also slipped by. I had a good day roaming the city with a friend and wrapped it up with a trip to the grocery store to make some soup. I'm trying the Sirloin Soup recipe from the Mennonite Girls. It won't be ready until 8 pm ish, so by then we should be hungry enough that it tastes good, no matter how successful I am. So far all the ingredients are in the pot and it is smelling pretty good.

While at the store I picked up a nice loaf of French bread, so there will be some French toast for breakfast tomorrow. Mmmm.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Kudos to The Shoe Company

I’m happy right now because I have a brand new purse thanks to The Shoe Company.
I bought a purse from The Shoe Company, last August, and I loved it. It is the perfect size and has the perfect balance of pockets to hold everything I need. The thing I loved the most was that it has the perfect pocket for my Kindle. On Wednesday my purse betrayed me. Here is how my day went:
  • As I got off the train, headed into work, I noticed my purse zipper was wide open. This isn’t a smart thing when you are squished into the crowded subway, so I shook my head and zipped up my purse.
  • When I got to the office my purse was wide open. I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t zipped it up at the subway station, so I shook my head and zipped up my purse and put it away.
  • When I went for lunch I grabbed my purse and it was wide open. I silently gave myself grief for still not closing my purse, zipped it up and went out for lunch.
  • After buying my lunch I found a table to eat, looked down and my purse was wide open. I thought that I was truly losing my mind and becoming far too careless and, once again, I zipped up my purse.
  • At the end of the day, I put on my coat and grabbed my purse and once again, it was wide open. It was only at this point that I realized I’m not losing my mind; it is just the fact that the zipper on my purse was broken and kept separating.  (I can’t believe it took me all day to figure that out – maybe I have lost my mind.)

Today I took advantage of my husband’s good mood, and dragged him to The Shoe Company to see if they would be able to fix my purse. I was pleasantly surprised when I told the store clerk that I bought a purse two months ago and the zipper broke. He immediately told me that they would be happy to exchange it, so I could get a new purse. I expected to hear that two months was too long ago for an exchange, and I was out of luck, but thankfully they stood behind their merchandise, and offered me excellent customer service, without question. Gotta love a store that looks after their customers!

The purse that died was a nice shade of plum that was no longer available, so my new purse is a wonderfully bright pink. I think it is a perfect colour for a dull, rainy day. Gotta love the colour pink!

Quilt Update

Meanwhile, the quilt continues to make some slow progress. I’ve sewn all the triangles together and am now trimming all the squares. I expect the trimming to last at least until the end of the weekend.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Quilt Triangles Become Quilt Squares

With the centre blocks all trimmed, it is time to sew all the quilt triangles into little quilt squares.
After the squares are sewn and pressed, I trim them down to neat little 3½” squares. Once again, I’m strangely compelled by this mundane trimming activity. A couple of years ago, I won the cute little Omnigrid square ruler as a door prize at a quilt demonstration. It is exactly 3½”, making it perfect for this project.
Meanwhile, when the ADD kicks into gear, I’ve been working on the Leftover Blanket. I was disappointed when I realized I wouldn’t be able to finish it before winter arrives, but this weekend I realized, it is going to be wonderful to settle down under the blanket, while I work on it.
Tonight’s plan is to plant myself on the couch, watch TV and knit. I’ll start with a dash of comedy with Big Bang and Two Broke Girls reruns, then I’ll give the debate a chance, and when I’m bored with the debate I will watch Parenthood. Parenthood was so sad two weeks ago and I can’t believe they didn’t give us an episode last week. They better give us some emotional relief this week! 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

And the Quilt Sewing Begins

I started sewing the quilt together last weekend, but them my gainful employment got in the way and all progress has ground to a halt.

I sewed triangles onto each corner of the centre blocks and resulted in four piles of quilt blocks. Now I must trim each block to a nice, neat square, like the pile on the right. (It is the organizer in me that likes to make a quilt – I actually enjoy trimming each square so they are perfectly neat.)

I had hoped to be able to trim all the squares this week and be able to show you only the neatly trimmed pieces, but I've given up on that dream. I didn’t have to work late tonight, but by the time I took the train home, came in, changed to comfy clothes, bathed the dog (just because it was time), and fed the kid (well took the kid out to eat at Chipotle), it is now 8:25 pm, and I’m just getting around to posting this blog.  This working for a living thing is highly overrated.

As soon as this post is up, I’m gonna get my butt on the couch and watch some Young and the Restless, Big Bang Theory and Grays.

In other news...

Here is a gratuitous picture of Cici sulking after her bath. Her paws are all better now and she is back to her good old self.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Whole Lot of Fabric Cutting

I have spent much of my spare time over the last couple of weeks cutting fabric for my quilt. As mentioned in my last post, this quilt involves cutting a bunch of different fabrics into many pieces.

Here is the result of my labour so far – 1,334 pieces of fabric.

The next step is to sew and trim, and then sew and trim some more, and then sew and trim some more, until the pieces are joined into one big quilt top.

Let the sewing begin!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Quilt Begins

I’ve been using my spare time over the past couple of weeks to start turning this pile of fabric into a quilt.

This quilt actually began about 7 years ago when Meredith brought me these two fabrics from Alaska.

I love that the fabrics come from a shop called the Rushin’ Tailor in Skagway, Alaska, and that they have fish and moose on them. I knew immediately that they needed a quilt to belong to.

I spent a couple of years gathering fabric, but the task of making the quilt was too daunting so the fabric was stashed away and ignored. And now, after several years, I’m ready to face the challenge and make the quilt. I’m not giving myself any deadlines (although I’m tempted by year-end), but I do hope it doesn’t take me another 7 years to finish this project.

At this stage I’m in the midst of cutting the fabric. I’ve grouped all the pieces into colour groups and must now cut it into 42 rectangles, 412 squares and 880 triangles.

During the cutting stage of any quilt, I always fall in love with my Omnigrid rulers and my Olfa rotary cutter and mat. I can’t imagine cutting the fabric without them. They are the perfect tools to help me cut the fabric into strips, and then the strips into squares and triangles.

They help me turn this…

Into this…

Which ends up in a big pile like this…

I love working with all these different fabrics. Since I bought the fabric 5-7 years ago, I’ve long since forgotten what it looks like. I feel like I’m rediscovering every piece as I cut it. This is my favourite fabric so far.