Saturday, 19 April 2014

It Wouldn't Be Easter Without...

Scooter has finished his year at university and is with us this weekend for Easter. We celebrate in a secular manner, usually with lots of chocolate, candy, and cookies.

Since Skip and I are low carbing, I only baked a small number of cookies and quickly decorated them this evening.
Scooter will have to eat them all and take the leftovers when he leaves on Monday or we'll keep the leftovers and freeze them so we can haul them out when we entertain guests (as long as they don't mind Easter cookies in June or July).

I finished the first denim ribbed sock this evening. I cast on with 64sts on 2.5mm needles and after turning the heel and picking up the heel flap sts, I switched to 2.25mm needles for the foot for a snugger fit and hopefully a more durably wearing sock. Please excuse the bad flourescent lighting. I may have a hard time achieving identical twin socks.
To reinforce the bottom of the heel, I knit through the back of the loop every other stitch. This twists the yarn a little bit more, thus strengthening it. In the next round, I staggered the twisted stitches. If you do this, make sure you are twisting in the direction of the existing twist in the yarn. In this cast there is an 'S'-twist \\\ in the yarn. If your yarn is a 'Z'-twist /// you'll have to twist the reinforcing stitches in the other direction.

Completely changing the subject...
On this low carb (Wheat Belly) diet, I sometimes crave something sweet and something crunchy. I learned about this amazing Norwegian goat's milk cheese called Ski Queen from a friend while we were in Florida. I don't know how they make it but it tastes like caramel. Yum!

Skip and I ate lots of it when we were in Florida and I've been trying to find it locally since we got home a couple of weeks ago. Today I found it in the next town at a little cheese shop. Yay!
I also found our favourite non-wheat, non-starch, non-flour crackers at Costco. They're called Mary's Organic Crackers in Canada


and Mary's Gone Crackers in the US.
Among Wheat Belly dieters, there is a debate as to whether they are really permitted. Some WBers are avoiding all grain (there is whole organic whole grain rice, organic whole grain quinoa, and organic whole grain millet in it) but these crackers are recommended in Dr. Davis' book and that's good enough for me. As long as there's no wheat, flour, starch or sugar, I'm fine with it. And they certainly satisfy my need for something crunchy.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Birding at Thickson's Woods

This morning Skip and I went birding at a local hotspot near the shore of Lake Ontario.

Lots of shrubs and trees are in bud, getting ready to bloom.
This white-breasted nuthatch frequented several trees.


A somewhat slimmer Skip (due to our Wheat Belly diet) posed for a 'birder' shot.
After inspecting the woods, we decided to go across to the meadow. This junco was one of several foraging on the paved road.
These photos of what we think was a song sparrow were taken from quite a distance away. I zoomed 16X with the camera and cropped even more on the computer.
 It was very overcast so the light wasn't great for taking shots at such a distance.


It was belting out a song.
Then we spotted a northern flicker that we had heard earlier.
It has a distinctively forked tail and, a red patch on the back of its head, spots on its chest, and a black bib.
Beside the road, someone had left some seeds on a flat stone. This red squirrel was chowing down
as was this bird.
We then went to McD's for our senior coffees. It was a lovely way to spend the morning.

Yellow Blob

I'm almost finished my Sweet Dreams shawl.

Here's a recap of it underway.
I only have a little bit left to bind off. This picot bindoff is quite tedious - cast on 3, bind off 5 - only consuming 2 stitches each time. I should get finished tonight. Skip is going to an Oshawa Generals hockey game so I will have myself a little knit-fest (not that I don't any other night - tee hee).
Then the magic of wet blocking will reveal all.

I'm hoping to wear this to the Knitter's Frolic next weekend.

Flying Buttress Socks

I finished the second Flying Buttress sock.
This Manos del Uruguay Alegría yarn is great. The colourways are rich and there's great stitch definition.
Here's a good view of the 1 x 1 cables that run down the sides to the toe. I believe Mo (Maureen Foulds) has toe up versions of most of her socks, too.
I'm a cuff-down girl for no particular reason than that's what I'm most comfortable with and I have had trouble in the past getting the foot length right knitting toe-up.

I'm all ready for autumn. If we ever experience spring and summer, that is.



Saturday, 12 April 2014

I'm Back!

Skip and I left Sarasota on March 30 and drove to Panama City to visit friends we met on the Irish knitting tour last fall. We had a splendid time. Skip and Marv golfed (as they had done in Kilarney in November) and Mary and I drove along Panama City Beach, had a lovely lunch and shopped for fabric before returning, collecting Skip and Marv and joining Jim at the Shrimp Boat in St. Andrew's.
Marv, Mary, Geri, Skip and Jim

The next day we began our drive northward, spending nights near Nashville TN, Fort Wayne IN and my sister's in Petrolia ON. We arrived home at about noon on Friday.

It has taken us all week to get unpacked (more or less) and organized again. We've been reconnecting with friends and getting things in order - phone and TV service reconnected, bills paid, new car's first oil change (it just flipped over 8,000km this morning), old car cleaned out and cleaned up for Skip, etc. etc.

I am on the picot/bindoff row on the Sweet Dreams shawl. I haven't touched it since just before leaving FL and can probably finish it up this evening. It's pretty tedious: *cast on 3 sts, bind off 5, repeat from * (yawn). But it will be splendid when it's done and I get it blocked. My goal is to wear it to the Knitter's Frolic in a couple of weeks.

I finished the second Man in the Brown Suit sock. I love the rich rust colour and know they will be very nice to wear in the autumn.
On the autumnal theme, I started Flying Buttress socks, again using the tubular cast on. It's kinda fiddly but I really like the resulting look.
Here's the first one done. The 1 x 1 cables are easy-peasy. Knit into the second stitch. Then without slipping the sts off the left needle, knit into the first stitch then slip them off the left needle (you'll have the 2 new sts on the right needle). It's a little more fiddly doing the cable the other way so the usual front cable would work. Next time I knit these, I'll mirror the 1 x 1 cables up the side.
Here are the flying buttresses from the front of the sock.
And the inspiration for the design...
from Wikipedia: Brouage, San Luc powder store, Flying buttress, France
I visited a new yarn shop that just opened in downtown Oshawa today, Wool on William at 5 William St. West. There are the beginnings of a nice selection of yarns, from standard commercial brands to high end. I look forward to seeing how the inventory expands. There is a also a nice assortment of resin and wooden buttons.

Donna and I then visited Soper Creek Yarn in Bowmanville. I hadn't been there in ages and was pleased to see that Tina has expanded into the unit to the east. The door was already there and the landlord is the same so it was a relatively easy expansion.

I came away with a skein of denim-ish coloured sock yarn and a skein of Misti Alpaca cotton blend yarn which may become a linen stitch scarf - after finishing up a couple of UFOs, that is.

Deadline for this year's Homecraft entries to the Brooklin Fair is approaching quickly - April 19. I need to organize what I'll enter this year.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Trip Planning

I am on the home stretch of my Sweet Dreams shawl.

As I am using very fine yarn and have lots of yarn to spare, I did the lace Chart B twice and just finished the third row of Chart C - the lacy border. There is a picot edge created by casting on 3 sts and binding off 5 until all the stitches are consumed. Picots are very picky to pin for wet blocking but the results are spectacular.

I did a long garter ridge tab to start as recommended by Susan Rainey which eliminates a 'peak' in the center of the neck edge of the shawl. To get a crescent-shaped shawl, 6 sts need to be increased every two rows. When knitting lace, the increases are usually yarnovers. On this shawl, there are 4 increase yarnovers on the right side row and 2 on the wrong side row.

I'm almost finished the second "Man in the Brown Suit Sock". As we're getting ready to pack up here and head to visit friends in Panama City and then make our way home, I need to plan what to knit on the road. I visited A Good Yarn again yesterday and selected a Manos del Uruguay sock yarn, "Alegria" (happiness in Spanish) in yet another autumnal colour.

I haven't decided what pattern I'll knit as our Internet signal has been very erratic so surfing Ravelry for ideas is practically impossible.

I also bought a skein of Three Irish Girls cotton/bamboo fingering weight in the 'Not a Cloud in the Sky' colourway. It would make a lovely, lacy summer shawl.


Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Some Say 'Newgrange', Some Say "Triskelion"

I finished the second thumb of the Triskelion mittens last night.
They were a very easy knit. The instructions and chart were very easily interpreted and they knit up quite quickly.

The inside even looks very nice. There are actually knitters that are obsessed with what the stranding looks like. For the most part I didn't anchor strands up to about 6 stitches long as I didn't want the green to show through the black but I did a modified anchoring technique on some of the long strands.
When knitting with two colours, I keep one yarn in my left hand and the other in the right. If you switch hands a lot or don't pay attention to which yarn is dominant, the look will be uneven.