Friday, 18 July 2014

Ribbed Blue-Striped Socks

I finished these last night.
I'd really like them for myself but they are man-sized so some lucky man in my life will get them for Christmas.
I knit 3 x 3 ribbing for 7.5" then an inch of stocking stitch before starting the 'eye of partridge' heel flap.
Then I just knit plain stocking stitch for the foot. It was easy to match the second sock to the first with stripes this narrow.
I immediately cast on another sock with faux fair isle black and grey yarn. As they are for me, I cast on 68 sts on 2.25mm needles. I like the tight, sturdy fabric created with needles that size. I am knitting 2 x 2 ribbing and have half the leg done already.
I don't remember where I picked up this ball of yarn but I have lots more where it came from in my stash.
As I wear a lot of black and grey in the winter, they'll probably be one of the more popular pairs that I wear.
This will be the 8th pair of socks I've knit this year. I'm sure I can crank out a pair for each month at this rate.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Sock and a Half

I've turned the heel on the second Blue-Striped Ribbed Sock, have decreased the gusset stitches and am on the home stretch on the foot with straight knitting.
I'm happy that I was able to achieve 'identical twins' by starting the second sock in the same place in the colour pattern as the first sock.
I then use the first sock as a guide as to when to start the various elements of the second sock.

That'll be one pair done for my Christmas knitting.

2014 Monarch Butterfly Project

A couple of weeks ago I was lamenting the fact that I hadn't seen any monarch butterfly eggs on the milkweed that we cultivate. From my observations over the past 8 years of propagating butterflies from the egg stage, I have noticed that the numbers were significantly reduced last year.

Up to last week, I hadn't found a single egg underneath the leaves of the milkweed that we cultivate. Then I found an egg. Yay! And Skip found another one yesterday.

Last night, I realized the first egg was going to hatch soon because there was a little black dot on the tip of the egg. Sure enough, Alpha 2014 (herein named 'Alpha') hatched this morning.
Alpha at 2mm shown just below its
 egg casing.
I was just outside cleaning and filling our birdbath and had another look under the leaves of our milkweed plants and I found 4 more eggs. Woo hoo!
I have picked the leaves and brought them inside to hatch. I'm keeping the leaves fresh by keeping the ends in water. Once the eggs hatch, they need to have fresh leaves every day. They double in size pretty much every day.

I'll be keeping you posted...

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Knitting Paisley

I continue to work on the Kirkingwood Paisley Shawl. I'm on row 51 of 70 of the chart - well on track for completion by July 20 or so.
I have completed the lower Paisley feature.
I'm really glad I bought a second skein of this yarn because I'll run out of yarn with the first skein using the larger needle than the pattern calls for.

I finished spinning the braid of Gale's Art roving last Monday at spinning and started plying. I was given these two bundles of roving a while back by a knitting friend who, after acquiring a bunch of spinning stuff, realized she'd never spin. They are the same dye lot but the upper bundle base fibre is black bluefaced Leicester and the bottom is white fibre. I think you can see what a difference the darker fibre makes with the same dye.
I finished plying last night and got the 410 yards wound on my nitty noddy.
I'm pretty happy I can fairly consistently spin fingering weight 2-ply yarn.
I think it would make a lovely woven scarf. Unfortunately, I have just loaned out my warping board so I won't be weaving for a while.

It's raining again. I'm happy for the farmers. Our garden is flourishing and the grass needs cutting every third day or so. Summer days like this are very conducive for taking naps. Having not been much of a napper in the past, I have made the transition to dozing off whenever I sit down to read or relax in a reclining position.

Saturday, 5 July 2014


Have you noticed lately some people with really spiffy, decorated nails? They probably have Jamberrry wraps on them.

Last night I attended a Jamberry party at a former student's house. Jamberry is a nail wrap system with many cute and trendy designs. The wraps come in sheets and you pick the width that works best for your nails. There is a bit of preparation - pushing back cuticles, cleaning nails with alcohol, etc. but they are very easy to apply and there's no waiting for them to dry.  The adhesive is activated by heat and then the wrap is applied directly to the nail and pressed down for maximum adhesion.

Any bit that hangs over the tip is gently filed off with an emery board perpendicular to the nail tip. Here's the 'official video'.

A sheet of wraps costs $17 ($15 US) and do about 3 sets of nails. If you order 3 sheets, the 4th one is free! (Now they're talking my language). Here's a link to the website with all the designs.

Advantages to the wraps are that no solvents are used for application so they are excellent for pregnant women or people who are intolerant to acetone and acetone-like fumes (or the people they live with, as in my case). Properly applied and cared-for they can last up to two weeks and longer on the toes - way longer than nail polish. Removal is relatively easy with the use of non-noxious rubbing alcohol.

Here is the wrap I tried out on my pinkie.
Lace Noir
You don't leave the party with an applied set. You place your order and if the hostess has more than $200 in orders the shipping is free to the hostess' home (normally $10). Delivery to this area of Canada is two weeks.

It is expensive, but with my crappy nails, this is a great way to jazz them up in a non-toxic fashion.

In knitting news, I'm on row 41 of 70 on the chart. The first paisley feature is almost finished.
I'm on the gussets of the first striped sock.
After having the deck rebuilt, we had to decide how we were going to shade it so we could actually use it when the sun is shining. We've been toying with the idea of getting a hard-top gazebo but decided to delay that 'til next year and instead,bought an 11' x 11' offset umbrella. It was easy to put up and with some care (folding it up at night, putting on the cover when it is going to rain or be windy), should last the summer and  hopefully a couple more to some.

I eat my breakfast (read the paper, do the crossword) out there every morning.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Catching Up

I have been a neglectful blogger thus far this year. I haven't been as prolific knitting-wise so haven't had a lot to blog about. However, lately I have been a little more inspired.

Skip and I had some retail therapy in the greater Buffalo area last week.
On the way there I started a ribbed sock with some stash yarn I bought deeply discounted some time last summer.

We shopped at all our favourite places and in addition to our usual favourite Mexican restaurant on Transit Road, La Tolteca, we learned about another one, El Ranchito, a little off the beaten path on Route 5 (Main St.) in Clarence, NY. It, too, was excellent.

I visited Have Ewe Any Wool? on Route 5 (Main St.) in Snyder and picked up some delicious madelinetosh merino light for the Kirkingwood Paisley Shawl in the Leaf colourway.
I, yet again, swatched for the shawl and finally have decided that 3.5mm needles will work with this fingering weight yarn.

Can you see the nifty paisley feature? Fiona Ellis sure does some lovely work with cables.
I am on row 19 of 70 on the chart - 400+ stitch rows. I have a wedding to attend on July 26 so the push is on to complete this project in time.

We have had stellar weather with occasional bouts of rain. Our garden is very lush. I love the summer.

We went to see if we could get into Mandarin Restaurant (Chinese buffet) as it is free to eat there today for Canada Day if you show your passport, birth certificate or landed immigrant card. Of course, there was a lineup down the block around the corner and down another block.

Skip and I did a drive-by and decided to forego the freebie meal. Besides, it was pouring rain. We have yummy Danforth burgers planned for dinner (beef burger patty, onion, cucumber, tzatziki sauce and feta cheese) in true Canadian outdoor barbecuing tradition.

I leave you with the link for the stirring I. AM. CANADIAN. rant.

Happy 147th Birthday, Canada!
Happy Canada, everyone!

Monday, 23 June 2014

Slipped Stitch Socks ... Finished and Deck Tour

I have been working on the second sock between bouts with the Kirkingwood Paisley Shawl. I finished knitting the second sock on the GO train yesterday on my way in to have lunch with long-time friends and sorority sisters on the Harbour Front of Toronto. I just grafted the toe.

Here they are on our lovely, new deck.
Speaking of the new deck. Here are a few photos:

This is the view from the kitchen door.
and from the corner of the deck. We are trying to find a gazebo to cover the table as it is a south exposure and gets the full blast of the sun for most of the day.
This was a shot taken before the steps and skirting were done.
I liked this herringbone pattern that I saw online somewhere. It is similar to the previous pattern. The builders found it rather easy to do - only having to cut the angled ends at the edge of the deck.
Oh, yeah, the socks...

Here's what the 'eye of partridge' shadow wrap heel looks like.
I also used this reinforcing technique on the top of the toe.
I haven't done as much knitting lately. I haven't had a lot of inspiration other than the paisley shawl. I'm still not sold on the laceweight yarn I selected. I may end up