Monday, April 30, 2012

April's Project - Check!


As mentioned in a previous post, in order to accomplish something other than my leftover blanket, I have instituted a rule that I must knit one other project each month. The project for April was a pair of mittens. They were successfully completed on April 26.




The pattern comes from Mostly Mittensby Charlene Schurch and the yarn is Palette from KnitPicks.


Now I have one more glorious night in April to work on the leftover blanket and then it will be time to start my May project.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

2012 Knitter's Frolic Haul

The 2012 Knitter’s Frolic took place today and as usual the Downtown Knit Collective put on an amazing event. It is so great to have vendor after vendor catering specifically to the desires of knitters and spinners. The beauty and selection are truly overwhelming.

I browsed the entire show twice before settling in to make some purchases. Knowing that I could spend about two years knitting through my current stash, I decided to use some restraint and only purchased some balls of yarn.




There are two balls of Noro Silk Garden Sock Yarn. This isn’t the softest yarn but Noro yarns are so beautiful with such amazing colours. I’ve never purchased anything from Noro so this was my time with Noro and I couldn’t decide which colour I liked best, so I got them both.

Fleece Artist from Nova Scotia makes some great sock yarn and when I saw the Snow Crocus colour I couldn’t resist it. I love the purples and subtle greens. I can’t wait to see how it knits up.

When I was buying the Noro, there were balls of Lang Yarns Jawoll Silk yarn that were whispering “we have silk too”, and I had to get some of that as well. When I looked at my other purchases I decided to get a completely different colour and went for the orangy, pink blend. This yarn comes with a surprise inside. There is a small spool of matching thread that can be used to reinforce the heel and toe areas. I’m looking forward to seeing how well it works as the heels always wear out faster than I’d like with my hand-knit socks.




Me and my wallet had a successful day today. Just the right mix of new purchases combined with fiscal restraint. (I really wish I could have taken home the life-sized stuffed animal sheep which was super cute, but it was a tad pricey and doesn’t match our d├ęcor.)


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Best Mail Week Ever!

So yesterday was great when the Kindle arrived, but today was even more exciting when my Kool-Aid minis arrived!

The oh so wonderful Christine from New Hampshire sent me 12 mini skeins of yarn she dyed with Kool-Aid. The absolute best part is that she labelled each skein with the flavour of Kool-Aid. I want to knit them all up immediately, but also want to save them forever because they are so wonderful.



I love the subtlety of the Lemonade, and Cherry is always my favourite, but the Black Cherry is really nice, and the Peach Mango is wonderful, and the Lemon Lime is perfectly bright, and…. I want to use them all NOW.


In other news…

Supper was very good.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Distraction of a New Toy

I’m making great progress on my April mittens. I had hoped to finish them by this Sunday, but after the past two days I’m way ahead of schedule and could easily have a finished pair to show you by Thursday. Or at least I could have met that deadline until this arrived…




Yay! I have a new Kindle! How will I possibly knit when I have a new toy to get to know. It is a Kindle Touch which sounds very exciting.

I have a 2nd Generation Kindle that I love (make that loveD) but a couple of weeks ago it froze to death. I know it is Canada, but it wasn’t even cold out when it froze up.Sadly, it was four months older than its warranty.

When it started to freeze, I could usually bring it back to life with some gentle coaxing, but then one day it refused to budge and I lost the fight. Amazon’s customer service was fantastic, but they couldn’t resuscitate it either. In spite of it being out of warranty, they were kind enough to give me a discount on a new one, so I’m a happy Kindle owner again.

I’m sure I’ll still knit some tonight, but only after my Kindle is set up and ready for my morning commute tomorrow. Oh how I’ve missed reading on the subway!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Inspiration from Russia

I happened across a new blog yesterday called Mittens & Mittens. It is written by a woman named Tatiana, from Moscow. I’m in love with her work. Her blog is filled with pictures of her knitting which includes plenty of gorgeous colour-work.

She just finished a beautiful blanket, similar to my Leftover Blanket but with a consistent colour scheme. She took the time to add a beautiful colour-work border that makes the blanket that much more impressive.

I’m also fascinated how accessible a blog from Russia is. Tatiana posts in Russian, which in spite of my heritage I do not understand, but due to the wonders of the internet I can have the text translated to English in seconds. That is so great!

Here are a few of my favourite posts from the Mittens & Mittens blog:


Friday, April 20, 2012

Back Home and Back to My Knitting

I’ve left the Hockley Valley lap of luxury and happily returned home. With today’s great weather it would have been wonderful to stay there one more day and sit outside and knit, I’m happier at home. I dove back into my knitting last night and now my mitten looks like this.


 

My goal is to have this mitten done by April 27.
For the record, I realize this is not the most satisfying blog post, but hopefully I’ll come up with something better to post before the weekend is over.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

My temporary knitting location

This week I find myself in the lap of luxury while on a course for work. I'm staying at the beautiful Hockley Valley Resort in Orangeville, Ontario. This is a great place for a business event. The service has been excellent and the food is very good (and filling and loaded with calories - oh well.)

I'm staying in this beautiful room with more than enough space for me to knit.



Sadly, this course is good, but jam packed. So far, I have only found the time to knit a few measly rows.



In other news...

Somebody found my blog by Googling "Crazy Knitting Lady". I'm not crazy... really, I'm not.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Dangers of Ravelry

One of the places I like to hang out on the internet is www.ravelry.com. Ravelry is a slippery slope for me. Sure I can just poke around like I do now, but I could also dive in head first and spend all my time there.

I love knitting, I like to knit with other people and I like to talk about knitting, but I don’t like to talk about knitting non-stop. I’ve dabbled in social knitting groups but have found that at times they can be a bit much in terms of knitting talk. As I said I like to talk about knitting, just not all the time, non-stop.

Ravelry is the online equivalent of talking about knitting non-stop. There are endless sources of information, corners to poke around in and friends to be made. I’ve already made some new friends and found some cross over friends from other places I frequent such as parenting or Disney sites. I’ve found these new friends to be very inspirational and have used their ideas and suggestions in my knitting. I’ve joined groups such as the Blankiemania group and the Mini Mall group, both of which are dedicated to knitters that knit things from fingering weight yarn scraps. But where does all this stop before it becomes dangerous?

The first Ravelry danger for me is how to I dip my toes in and make some friends or learn new things without diving in head first and becoming the crazy knitting lady that wears clothing made of my pet hair.

The second Ravelry danger for me is the yarn offerings. There are so many beautiful images of yarn that I could use and more dangerous, so many opportunities to buy yarn from other people. I’m trying not to buy anything right now since the Knitter’s Frolic is just 12 days away, but on Saturday morning I couldn’t resist.

Christine from New Hampshire posted these pictures and I fell in love. She is offering up some Kool-aid dyed yarn (using KnitPicks Bare Stroll Fingering Sock Yarn!) and she is selling sampler packs of 12 different mini-balls of Kool-aid yarn. Look at how beautiful this is!!






I couldn’t resist. I had to have this, so I sent a message to Christine and now, as you read this, she is custom dyeing Kool-aid yarn for me! I’m so excited that I will get to work this into my Leftover Blanket.

Speaking of the Leftover Blanket, here is my progress to date. The splash of Kool-aid colour will be great. (I haven’t started my second April mitten yet, but I figure I might get to that later tonight.)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Somebody Have a Baby

So, it is Saturday morning and my plan is to get my cleaning and laundry done so the rest of the weekend lies freely ahead. There is one problem with this plan – the invention of the internet. I’ve just lost 90 minutes of my Saturday morning to wandering around the web. I’ve checked out pictures from some friends’ travels (and now I want to eat a Dorito taco under a palm tree), I’ve checked out plans for another friend’s travels (and now I want to go down a water slide at Atlantis), I’ve perused the Flickr site of someone I don’t know (but she is an amazing quilter and knitter), I’ve come close to buying more yarn (excited about this, I’ll let you know when I buy it), and I’ve discovered a pattern I would like to knit.

I just saw this gorgeous baby blanket on Knitty. OpArt by Melissa Dominguez is a great pattern. It looks fun to knit, beautiful enough to have in one’s home, and enjoyable for the baby to look at. You can find the pattern at http://knitty.com/ISSUEfall08/PATTopart.html.




Come on friends and family – someone have a baby, so I have a reason to make this blanket.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

When Good Crafts Go Bad (Part 1)

Occasionally I cross paths with a group of knitters in the city that go by the name of the Downtown Knit Collective (DKC). They are an earnest, most serious group of knitters that truly are experts in their craft. Each spring they put on a fantastic event – the Knitter’s Frolic. This is an amazing event and I am counting down the days to this year’s Frolic on April 28. The Frolic offers courses, tutorials, demonstrations and an ever growing array of vendors focused on all things yarn and knitting.

The earnest nature of the DKC is intimidating, so Meredith and I try to stay in the shadows avoiding most of their events, but the Frolic is too good of an event to miss. It can be overwhelming and while we are usually giddy with delight, there have also been moments that had us running from the building as we were simply overwhelmed by what we would see or hear. The best one that comes to mind was a woman petting her shoulder as she revealed that she spun the yarn for her sweater out of her dog’s hair (shudder).

One of highlights of the Frolic is the generous array of door prizes up for grabs. Meredith and I have both scored some great door prizes (the big red square in the Leftover Blanket is the result of one of my DKC door prizes, and there’s a little purple one in there that is the result of one of Meredith’s door prizes.) One of my most intriguing prizes was a gift certificate that resulted in my going home with this…



I simply couldn’t resist a big box of pink fleece. The problem was that I didn’t know what to do with a big box of pink fleece, so I decided I should learn how to spin yarn. I don’t know what I was thinking, but my free box of fleece evolved into an expensive day where I bought a beautiful drop spindle as well as a couple of other bundles of fleece – after all, I was no doubt going to be creating metres and metres of wonderful hand spun yarn (not).




Spinning is not an instant craft. It takes hours and hours of practice. After several attempts, I managed to create this…


A couple of measly meters of nice, but useless yarn.

What was I thinking? Spinning yarn was super frustrating, only a little bit enjoyable, and it resulted in nothing useful for me. So I had two choices – spend hundreds of dollars on a big time spinning wheel that we have no room for, or box everything up and stash it under the bed for a couple of years.

I opted for the second choice and moved the failed spinning attempt to the realm of “out of sight, out of mind.”

Monday, April 9, 2012

Ongoing Deals with Myself

As mentioned on April 2, I made a deal with myself that I could only work on the Leftover Blanket after I finished at least one other project each month. The project for April is a pair of mittens.

I diligently packed the Leftover Blanket away and started on a pair of mittens. Last night I finished the first mitten – not bad, that means it only took me 7 days, so by the end of next weekend I will be able to return to working on the Leftover Blanket.

Just before finishing the mitten it occurred to me that I will need a knitting project to work on next week that is more portable than the Leftover Blanket. This means that I only have one week to finish the second mitten and pick out the yarn and pattern for my next pair of mittens or socks. Then I had a good idea… I could simply revise the deal I made with myself and work on the Leftover Blanket this week and finish the second mitten from my current project, next week. It is a win, win. I get to happily knit little squares this week and I have a portable mitten to work on next week. It is a brilliant idea. As I sat back and pondered my brilliance I realized it is quite sad that I feel I must make these deals with myself. I’m the one setting the rules, so I should be able to break the rules guilt free. (And given the fact that it is mid-April, I think the world will survive if the mittens aren’t ready to be worn by someone this week.)

Part of the problem is that I store the Leftover Blanket and yarn in these beautiful hat boxes. They sit there just begging to be opened.




In other news...

We bought Cici a new ball chucking toy on the weekend. She LOVES playing fetch. Here is the result of a round of play on Saturday – she can’t stop panting and has grass stained paws.


Friday, April 6, 2012

What's Your TV Guilty Pleasure?

As I said in my profile, I love to watch TV. I’ll watch anything on TV – Daytime soaps, nighttime soaps, reality TV, good movies, bad movies, talk shows, documentaries, even racing and UFC if it’s on. Some TV I love and some is just an excuse to sit on the couch and knit.

Today I’m wondering, what is everyone’s guilty TV pleasure? I don’t mean things like “I’m addicted to the news” or “I must watch some morning TV show before going to work”. I mean, what is the big piece of crap that shouldn’t have even been an idea, let alone actually made into a TV show. What is that show that is so bad you actually lose brain cells just by selecting it from your TV guide?

For me it is an easy choice. I love the Real Housewives franchise. I think I’ve watched them all (except Miami because I’m trying to show some restraint). I only sporadically watch Orange County, New Jersey and Atlanta, but I think I’ve seen all of New York and Beverley Hills. I even watched all of the Washington series (and that one was reeaaallly bad.) 

This week I was excited to see the premiere of Real Housewives of Vancouver. What fun to bring my guilty pleasure to my home country. And, they were going to be in Whistler – I’ve been there! I excitedly sat down to watch two full hours of crap – and it was as bad as could be expected. My Real Housewives focus group (you know who you are) and I had to agree that RHOV was bad. Sadly, us Canadians come off as boring. The selection of housewives is unremarkable. Although one does live in a spectacular water front home, and another drives some amazing cars, for the most part they are dull. Why can’t Canadians deliver better TV?

In case you are wondering, the boring factor doesn’t matter; I will still watch every episode of the Vancouver series.

I’m very excited for tonight when I get to watch Selling Spelling Manor. I just can’t wait to see the gift wrapping room!

Now I’m off to enjoy a good Friday. I’ve got some mittens on my knitting needles and after we feast on some pancakes I’ll be on the couch catching up on Young and the Restless, Survivor, Big Bang and Grey’s Anatomy. Bring on the remote.


So come on, tell me what is your guilty TV pleasure.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Corrugated Ribbing and Mail Makes Me Happy

I’m not fond of plain ribbing on my mittens. I usually knit a patterned cuff or sometimes (like now) I do corrugated ribbing. There isn’t much to corrugated ribbing – you simply knit two stitches in one colour and purl two in the other. Easy, peasy.




It is not as stretchy as regular ribbing but I do like the neat, orderly columns of colour that result. It doesn’t apply to all areas of my life, but there are many places (such as my knitting) where I can become overly obsessed with neat, orderly perfection. This ribbing plays beautifully to that obsession.


The big excitement for me today was that Catherine from California sent me these minis. Each of these skeins weighs only 5 grams but they will add a lovely splash of colour to my Leftover Blanket. (Why, oh why did I tell myself I couldn’t work on the blanket until I had finished a pair of mittens!!!)

Here is my pile of minis…




This may be my favourite…



Or this…



This one has my favourite name – “The Homecoming Queen Has Got a Gun” J





Monday, April 2, 2012

See… I Can Stop Knitting Little Squares


As a new month began yesterday, I decided it is time to knit something other than little squares (although I already miss them!). As I contemplated what to knit next, I looked back at my January 17 post – Which Colours Would You Choose? and went with Katie’s suggestion.

I will be using KnitPick’s Palette yarn in the Fairy Tale and Ash Colours to knit a pair of mittens.




I’ve made a deal with myself. I will knit one other project each month. When that project is done, I can go back to knitting little squares for the rest of the month. That will be my motivation to get these mittens done.


Before I turned my back on the Leftover Blanket I took some pictures. Here is the progress to date.




So far, these four blocks are my most favourite part of the blanket.




And these four blocks make up my least favourite part of the blanket.