Friday, January 27, 2006

Colour therapy

I'm breaking out the frog green as it's still raining in the PNWet. Pictured is Jaywalker #1 with toe chimney a la Lucy Neatby awaiting toe grafting. I did cast on promptly for the second one, but I don't think I'm going to suffer from Second Sock Syndrome on this pair.

Dusting off the spinning wheel, I re-discovered some yarn and roving that I had played with back in October and decided to get it finished up this weekend. It'll be interesting to see if I can duplicate the first skein as it's been a couple of whorl changes, fibre changes and tension adjustments since I started.

I'm off to City Hall so think a good thought.
(Also I think memes just wierd me out, no more please).

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Yikes, apparently I did not escape scotch-free from the meme that is making the knit-blog rounds.

List 4 jobs you've had
Appliance repair dispatcher, casual upholsterer, various library jobs.

List 4 movies you could watch over and over
Uhhh..... despite TNMC, I'm not much of a movie watcher. The Flame would probably know better than I.

List 4 TV shows you love to watch
When I get near a TV: Antiques Road Show, (most of) the Food Network.

List 4 places you've been on vacation
Grand Canyon, London, eastern Canada and the U.S., Austria

List 4 websites you visit daily
Yahoo Groups, Bloglines,, Flickr (Flame's photostream)

List your 4 favorite foods
Noodles, pastry, any seafood, sushi, cheese, southern BBQ.

List 4 places I'd rather be right now
Paris, at home, with friends anywhere, somewhere warm, but not too hot.

List 4 bloggers I'm tagging
nobody as I think everyone's done it.

Jaywalker 1 is almost done, another inch to the toe shaping. Pictures later today, I promise!

Monday, January 23, 2006

(Not) Quick, but Easy

I'm not really an easy kind of a girl. Give me a challenge and I am happy. Jojo was easy to knit, but the devil was in the details and my procrastination. Once I finally hunkered down and finished off the pockets, bands and collars I couldn't believe how long this languished in the basket. Lesson learned, the end is often nearer than you think.

In the case of Pebbles, the end is definitely further than I think as knit imitates life and I'm Jaywalking!

Pre-Olympic tally - 2 down, 3 to go.
Yearly tally - 1 ripped, 3 started, 3 finished!

Friday, January 20, 2006

1 Down, 4 to go

I'm really serious about finishing up some of my projects before the Knitting Olympics roll around. I'm going to try for 1 project per ring in the Olympic logo. There are several reasons for this.

1. Too many projects on the go. At last count, 21 and I'm sure I missed some.

2. I'm attending the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat and no matter how well behaved I am, some fibre is going to come home with me.

3. More finished projects between now and February 10th means fewer WIPs and UFOs to distract me from my KOlympicProject.

4. Some of these projects are embarrassingly close to being finished, requiring only buttons, front bands or several hours of knitting to complete them.

5. The Flame is in Paris leaving me more free time than normal.

Project Specs : Wool Peddler's Shawl from Cheryl Oberle's Folk Shawl

Original yarn : Creative Yarns International Superkid Luxe (mohair/wool about a dk) 350g
WP yarn : Handspun from a bump prepared by the Barefoot Spinner, purchased at Maryland Sheep & Wool in 2004, spun slightly thinner than DK

Original needles : 4.5mm
WP needles : 4mm

Changes :

A smaller needle size, thinner yarn and the resulting smaller gauge swatch meant that I would have to do some extra rows in both the garter body and the lace border to maintain the original size. Some friends have knitted this before me and also suggested that the border section be further increased. Taking their advice, I added 20 rows to the garter section and 3 repeats to the lace.

On to the next WIP!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Am I there yet?

Opinions please. I think I'm getting close to the end of Wool Peddler's and I'm ready to head into the home stretch. I've got 7 lace repeats done in this picture. The knitting needles demarcate the centre back and the start of the lace pattern. 2 more repeats? 3 more repeats? Even more?

When I get bored, I've been switching to Pebbles from Rowan #24 (looking blue-ish in the early twilight). I can't remember why I put this down but it sure is fun. One of the friendlier Kaffe Fassett patterns as it's fair-isle done on 5mm needles. No intarsia and I've modified it to be knit in the round instead of in pieces. I'm contemplating lining choices and I'm leaning towards a colourful silk - maybe jade green or that gorgeous purpley-grey that Rowan called Dragonfly.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Knitting Olympics

I am in, I can't resist a challenge. The only question is what to knit?

Something lacy?


Texture for the Flame?

I have several weeks to decide so I'll see if I can finish five WIPs/UFOs before the start date - my own personal olympics before the Big One!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Secret Pal 7 questionnaire

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand?

I'm not a yarn snob but I like to use the right yarn for the project. For most of my projects I like to use good, classic hard-wearing yarns that are still soft to the touch; Galway Highland Heather, Cascade 220, Jo Sharp DK Wool. Acrylic blends can be absolutely wonderful for afghans and children's clothes. I've become a great believer in sock yarn for baby clothes - washer & dryer compatible.

2. Do you spin? Crochet?
I both wheel and spindle-spin. Since taking up spinning I've been spending far less time with crochet but I always enjoy flipping through my vintage crochet patterns and contemplating just how much time it would take to make a tablecloth out of #30 cotton.

3. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
I have my straights in a vase with a couple of spindles, my circulars hanging over a hook on a bookcase and double points in a separate upright basket.

4. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I've been knitting for about 25 years and if not advanced, I've certainly tried many techniques and styles of knitting.

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
Citrus, lavendar, any non-oceanic clean smells.

7. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
Oh yes, wave dark chocolate in front of me and I'm yours. If it has a hint of orange or ginger or something crunchy and nutty inside, double yum.

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?
Cook! I've also got some needlepoint, embroidery, and weaving projects on the go. I started learning bobbin-lace last year but haven't had the time to devote to it.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I grew up with classical and it's still a first love. I listen across almost all of the musical spectrum but don't care too much for most opera, rap or country. Engaging lyrics and complex, intricate melodies hold my listening interest.

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?
Love dark blues, blue-reds, dark greens, periwinkle. Anything with a yellow undertone washes me right out.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I live with my sweetheart and his twin brother, no pets :(

12. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
Yes, yes, yes, no - much prefer the flexibility of shawls.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?
It depends on what I'm knitting. I generally prefer classic yarns that are worsted weight or finer but bulky and novelty yarns have their (small) place in my stash.

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I'd rather not work with stiff fun fur but I once made a charming Elvis wig using a black/silver fun fur.

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?
Lace, wardrobe classics and socks.

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Lace shawls for the wow! Interesting, yet classic cardigans and sweaters.

17. What are you knitting right now?
Too many things! One of my unwritten goals this year is to pare down the number of WIPs and UFOs. I'm currently concentrating on a Wool Peddler's Shawl out of my own handspun, a pair of socks and Kaffe Fassett's Pebbles jacket.

18. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Love to!

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?
Circulars for the most part.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
Addi circulars, Holz & Stein circulars, Brittany walnut straights, Crystal Palace Bamboo dpns in the larger sizes and the old-fashioned, coated metal needles for socks!

21. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
Yes, and yes.

22. How did you learn to knit?
My mum taught me.

23. How old is your oldest UFO?

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?
I have a soft spot for Miffy by Dick Bruna. She's not really an animated character though.

25. What is your favorite holiday?
Anytime I get to hang out with the Flame, my family or friends.

26. Is there anything that you collect?
Aside from projects and yarn? Handbags according to the Flame. A good friend just brought back a beautiful make-up kit from Japan and I'm sensing a yen for more gorgeous japanese fabric (either as fabric, or finished items).

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
None, I like to review them in my local magazine store before I purchase.

28. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on?
Baby Bobbi Bear by Blue Sky Alpacas, any yarns that are hard to come by in Canada (Blue Sky Alpacas, Alchemy, Socks that Rock), Holz & Stein circulars

29. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
None that I can think of right now, but I'm sure some will come up this year.

30. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Yes, US Size 6 - 9" toe-to heel, 8" ball of foot.

31. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
March 14th!

Knitting, Blocking, Done

It's been a very succesful weekend for item output. Finishing and chocolate fondue are actually a perfect combination, lots of satisfaction and a little sugar high never hurt anybody. The key is 2 separate areas - 1 with food, and 1 with comfy couches.

Wool Peddler's has gotten the least attention so far but I have expanded the garter section by 20 rows and to balance it's increased depth I will need 8-10 lace pattern repeats instead of the original 6.

I finished sewing up Jojo, it's such a cute little jacket and I'm glad I spent the extra time on careful finishing. It still needs blocking and it's buttons but it's soaking now.

The big news is Double Crossing Diamonds is done, done, done! The Flame's very pleased, headless, but pleased.

Project specs: Double Crossing Diamonds by Tara Jon Manning

Original yarn : Cascade Sierra (1100g)
Flame's yarn : Almedahls Extra (950g)

Needles : 3.75 and 4.5mm addis.

Started : November 2005
Finished : January 15, 2006

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Almost Finished

All the knitting is done for the Flame's sweater.

I had to tell the Flame I was knitting this for him as the sleeves are picked up and knit down from the body. The large mass of knitting on my lap was a dead give-away. Picking up and knitting the sleeves is a very tidy and neat method but it gets heavy when the sweater weighs about 900 grams (2 lbs) and the immense surface area meant that this was really NOT good bus knitting. Look for progress on Wool Peddler's and my 2 un-sewn sweaters next week as I am having a Finishing and Fondue(Chocolate) party this Saturday. If you're in the neighbourhood (Lower Mainland), come on by!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Wonderful Sunday

Movin' right along in search of good times and good news,
With good friends you can't lose,
This could become a habit!
Opportunity knocks once let's reach out and grab it (yeah!),
Together we'll nab it,
We'll hitchhike, bus or yellow cab it!
(Cab it?)

How could I miss this? The Flame and I took the opportunity to zip down to Bothell on Sunday for a visit with some dear friends, new and old. My very favourite e-mail list has a wonderful assortment of talented and friendly fiber-folk. On the way down, my favourite 'road-trip with my sweetheart' song came on - Moving Right Along by the Muppets. What a great day.

Friday, January 06, 2006


I made this for dinner last night, it's fast, easy and if you're lucky, everything you need will be in your pantry.

Take 1/2 lb. of hot italian sausage (I used chorizo), remove from their casings and brown in the bottom of a stock pot (break it up a bit).

Add stock (I used 4 cups of chicken stock, but 5 or 6 cups would be even better), 2 19 oz. cans of cannellini beans, 4 tsp of chopped garlic, about 1/2-3/4 cup of diced carrot, a bit of rosemary. Bring to a boil, add 1 block of defrosted spinach (chopped or whole).

Serve with bread and post-Christmas/New Year's cheese and olives. Enjoy.

Adapted from Mom's Best One-Dish Suppers


Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Look! Shiny and Fuzzy.

I'm wondering if anyone will be distracted by this. It's been a bit of a bumpy re-entry into the working world and the forced early nights are playing havoc with my knitting time. I have 28 more rows before I start the lace section of Wool Peddler's, a baby sweater to sew together (I think baby Oliver is too big and I knit too slowly) and 1 more sleeve to slog through.

So let's all gaze happily at Brian Hoyano's Birdbath sculpture. I think the Flame did very well. I'm beyond thrilled as I try to add one special piece to my (very small) art collection each year and I have to say, both the Birdbath and the Flame are keepers.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Beginnings and endings.

It's the start of a New Year and I've made no official resolutions regarding my stash or anything else. Those who know me well have noticed that I can never resist a sale and my stash is overflowing. I know better than to resolve not to buy yarn or fibre in the coming year but I'm going to try for a net decrease in the amount of stash if possible and a decrease in the amount of projects on the go. This means that some serious evaluation of Project(ed) Future Wearability will be going on around here. A low score on the PFW (style, fit issues) will mean a trip to the frog pond courtesy of Mr. Ball Winder and Mr. Swift. A very low score on the PFW (bad colour?) will mean a trip out of my stash and into someone else's.

It may seem counter-intuitive to some but as my first step I've finally cast on for my Wool Peddler's shawl. The only thing I can say is that I wear lots of shawls, it's red, and it's from my own handspun. The only problem with the PFW is that this is pretty much my first large batch of handspun yarn and it has plenty of personality aka grist differential. I've decided to use the thickest yarn within the garter section and hope that the lace pattern hides the difference in thickness. The top picture does a better job of showing off the true colour of this yarn, a blend of red, cinnamon, pink and white.

The 1st project to get ripped this year is my Conwy sock. I decided that the fact that I could JUST get it on over my ankle made a trip to the frog pond a good idea. I've started a pair of mindless stockinette stitch socks to tide me over while I decide whether or not to re-start in the same yarn, but with larger needles, or a different yarn and larger needles. Here we have the doomed Conwy socks on the left, the new pair of socks in the middle and a pile of distraction courtesy of my DSis's boyfriend on the right.

I guess that makes it 1 down, 2 up. Hmmmm.