Saturday, 29 March 2008

Even More Steps Back

I enjoyed Fiona Ellis' workshop at Kniterary today - "Twisting With the Cable Girl". We knit a swatch with cables going every which way. Of course, I ripped out as much as I knit but I was pleased with the practice. It was also very interesting to hear what Fiona had to say about each of the sweaters and how the patterns were inspired. I forgot my camera - duh - but here's a link to the pictures Vicki took.

Here we are beavering away on our swatches.

Here's the actual sweater from the cover of the book! Oooooh - Ahhhhhh!

I hauled out the back of my Must Have Cardigan and upon close inspection, I realized I had made a mistake in the very first cable after the ribbing. Argh! So when I got home I ripped it all the way back to the ribbing and recommenced.

Here's a closeup showing how I modified the pattern and mirrored the big cables so they twisted in the opposite direction.

Here are the Basic Cable hats for the silent auction. They're from "Stitch 'n Bitch Nation".

Friday, 28 March 2008

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

I had about 9" knit on the back of the Must Have Cardigan and noticed I had made a mistake on one of the cables about 3" back. I couldn't see any way to fix it without frogging it and re-knitting it. Ripppp! I'm about half way back to where I was.

I did finish a second Basic Cable hat for the silent auction at the school I used to teach at and also found a book to donate. Maybe I'll post some pix tomorrow.

I'm looking forward to the knitting workshop tomorrow at Kniterary with Fiona Ellis. The topic: "Twisting with the Cable Girl".

I'm also looking forward to the Yarn Harlot's book launch on Tuesday evening. I'm going into The Big City in the afternoon and will go exploring at Romni Wools. I saw some Regia Galaxy sock yarn there last time and might pick up a couple of skeins for my stash.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Happy Birthday, Aidan!!!

Today is my friend, Aidan's, 6th birthday. He is one of my favourite people to knit for. Here he was at age 1 2/3:

And here he is more recently sporting a scarf he commissioned me to knit for him:


His mom, MaryAnne, has also recently taken up knitting and seems to be almost enthralled with it as I am.

Here's a pic of the first 'embossed leaves' sock:

And the water bottle cozy I just finished for Skip - as yet unfelted:

I learned how to do an i-cord bindoff on this one. I've gone back to my stained glass fan purse and am almost finished the i-cord bindoff on it.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Another Grey Day - UGH!

It was cloudy again today and the temperature was just below freezing. It's snowing again tonight but not as much as predicted. I'm getting really fed up with the weather and am SO glad I missed 6 weeks of this wretched winter.

I finished the first embossed leaves sock. It's so nice and squishy. I have cast on the second sock. If I make this pattern again with the same yarn, I'll go down one size of needle just to snug it up a bit.

In a stash-busting attempt, I have cast on the Basic Cable hat from "Stitch 'n Bitch Nation" p. 75 & 76. It will look a lot like this when it's finished. I'm going to donate it to a silent auction my former school is having on April 9. I hope to knit a couple of them. I'm using Patons Decor yarn, a worsted weight which is 75% acrylic and 25% wool. It was given to me a couple of years ago when I was teaching knitting at a crafts club at my former place of employment.

I knit a couple of inches on the back of the Must Have Cardigan. I'm looking forward to having it done as I realize I don't own a wool cardigan!

I went for a dental cleaning today and everything looked good. I guess being a 'floss-aholic' does have its payoffs. I then treated myself to lunch of enchiladas and red sauce with rice and beans at our local Mexican restaurant, 'Mexico Lindo' on the corner of Taunton and Garrard in Whitby.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Ribit, Ribit

I've been working on the right front of the Must Have cardigan. On the left side, I put the shoulder stitches on a stitch holder until I get the back finished and get the exact length. Although I've pretty much got the pattern internalized, I do have to continuously refer to my notes to make sure I keep the four stitch patterns straight. At times, I notice I've made some mistake or other so I have to frog it back and re-knit those rows. Fortunately, this is not a hard item to pick up stitches on as on each wrong side row, you just knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches as they appear. I'm almost ready to cast off the stitches for the armhole.

We have our own neighbourhood Easter bunny.

However, he is a destructive little bugger and we are going to encourage him to go away and not come back.

As soon as anything green appears in our garden, he is there to nibble it down to the ground. One year he consumed almost an entire globeflower plant and another year he gnawed a clematis plant within an inch of its life.

Last night I 'drew' some Ukrainian Easter eggs.

I also posted a bunch I've created over the years in my facebook album.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Spring is Here?

You tell me. Does this look like spring to you?

I didn't think so. However, I am glad it is sunny out.

Yesterday Skip and I went into The Big City for our last show in the Mirvish subscription series, "Nicholas Nickleby - Part II". We attended Part I last week. It was a British production and in total is 6 1/2 hours with 27 actors playing 140 parts. That Charles Dickens sure knew how to depict despair, squalor and poverty on stage. Sheesh!

Afterwards we went to the World's Biggest Bookstore and I didn't buy a knitting book! There really was 'nothing to die for'. I did buy a birding book - the definitive birding guide for eastern North American birds by Sibley - which I now see I should have bought online --- argh!

I did make more progress on the embossed leaves socks on the GO train yesterday and only have about an inch to go before decreasing for the toe.

You will have to excuse my unsightly bunion.

And here's a closeup on the 'leaves'.

A couple of days ago I stumbled upon this website whose pictures made me laugh out loud. I particularly love the second one with Penny in a ribbed, pink turtleneck. I can just imagine the Herculean effort it might have taken to get the sweater on the cat. And how the heck did she get them to sit so pretty for the photos? She has more posted on I think Ollie would look good in a black ribbed turtleneck or possibly a red one...

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Our Sick Boy

Scooter has not been feeling 'up to par' this weekend. We really knew he was unwell when he wasn't interested in being glued to the computer, he didn't have a very big appetite and was running a fever. It could be the flu. Skip and I have been keeping our distance and washing our hands like crazy. It's the first time I remember him being sick other than when he had his one earache when he was about 4. He may have missed one day due to illness in his entire school career. He's had the odd cold but nothing that's laid him out like this. Hopefully his mom will let him stay home from school tomorrow.

I have more done on the Must Have Cardigan. I decided to knit the left front first because I really wanted to internalize the pattern before I attempted the back.

I plan to mirror the cables so they run in opposite directions reflected on the central vertical axis as suggested by Stephanie Pearl McPhee on Ravelry. I'm almost to the point where I don't need the spreadsheet to stay on track. I read someone's blog today where she wrote about learning how to do cables without a cable needle from a tutorial Grumperina posted. That is a very useful skill for this project so I thought I'd give it a try. I found the explanation here. I'm getting better and better at it as I use it. I'm now really looking forward to going to Fiona Ellis' cable workshop at Kniterary from 1 - 4 on Sat. March 29.

I'm also looking forward to the (Toronto) Downtown Knit Collective Knitter's Frolic on the April 26 - 27 weekend. Today I noticed that the Marketplace (where many yarn retailers will be present) is only going to be on the Saturday but the class I really want to attend is on the Sunday. Pooh! I guess I'll be going both days. Interestingly, it's the same weekend as the CreativFestival at the International Centre. But the Knitter's Frolic definitely has my vote.

There has been conflicting information about when Stephanie's new book will actually be released. I e-mailed her last night and got a response from her today that the actual release date will be April 1 - the date of her book launch at the Isabel Bader Theatre at U of T. She says there will be autographed copies available for sale.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

It's the Ides, Man

Progress is being made on the Must Have Cardigan.

I am using stitch markers to delineate the different sections and it has helped reduce the number of opportunities for mistakes tremendously. I also made a spreadsheet to keep the stitch patterns straight. The braided cable has an 8 row repeat and the wider cable pattern has a 26 row repeat. As 26 is not a multiple of 8 it can be very confusing. I'm almost at the point where I don't need the pattern, though.

While I was in Texas, I knit the Diamond Blossom scarf from Iris Schreier's "Modular Knits" book. I used Sean Sheep armytage 100% wool yarn.

We went to the movies today. Skip and Scooter went to see "10,000 BC". I guess it was pretty cheesy. They liked the animation but the action was pretty lame, evidently. I went to see "Juno" and really enjoyed it. I thought it was a riot when Bleeker's mother said she was serving his favourite meal, "breakfast for dinner". WE have that sometimes!!! There's nothing like waffles and eggs for dinner when you can't think of anything else to make.

And last night's dinner of baked tilapia fillets with oven baked potato slices and a side of broccoli was a big hit! Even Scooter liked it. Skip and I had the leftovers for lunch today - yum. We're going to be eating a lot more fish now that I know how to make it.

Friday, 14 March 2008

Must Have Cardigan Frogged and Restarted

I got several inches done on my Must Have Cardigan and realized that it really wasn't going to be wide enough so I frogged it and have re-started. Using stitch markers has made it much easier to see where my pattern panels are and I've figured out how the moss stitching is working. I really like working with the Patons Classic Merino Wool yarn. It's coming along nicely but I have to put it down and get some more things done around here.

I'm going to attempt to make a baked fish dinner with oven 'fried' potatoes and some steamed vegetable or other. I have found a couple of recipes on the Internet that look like something I could do. Now I have to head to the store and get some fresh fish. We eat so much chicken - Scooter doesn't eat beef or pork - that I really wanted to learn how to cook a fish entrée.

Lazy Blogger

I have a brand new camera and yet, have not posted any pictures since I came home. Oh well.

I enjoyed the Knitting Guild last night. We watched parts of a Lucy Neatby video and looked at what each other has been knitting. I won a nifty set of 8mm bamboo dpns. One of the gals, Jackie, showed off a pair of Men's Casual Cable socks which intrigued me so I looked it up on Ravelry when I got home and determined which Patons book it is from - 'Happy Feet'. I also had the urge to get the 'Street Smart' pattern book which has the Must Have Cardigan which I have decided to knit with Classic Merino Wool in Natural Mix colourway. The pattern needed to be sized larger but that just means adding extra moss stitches to each side seam. I have also gone up one needle size.

Fred's friend, Bob, came over to help us make another attempt to hook up the home theatre system (HTS) to our TV. He was mostly successful. That is, he got the HTS working with the radio in the tuner and and the VCR/DVD player hooked up so that I don't have to go behind the TV to switch from TV viewing to VCR or DVD viewing. The only thing that isn't really working properly yet is the HTS with the VCR and DVD. Oh well. It's an improvement.

Tonight was Sit 'n Knit at Kniterary. At one point 4 of us had to rip our work back as we had all made mistakes due to our chatting. Margo is a new fan of the magic loop and the kitchener stitch. Shawna showed off her first sock. She is using a multicoloured self-striping Regia yarn and the generic Yarn Harlot sock pattern from "Knitting Rules". The sock was well done. Martina showed off the two baby sets that had been commissioned. She did a beautiful job of sewing the sleeves on the cardigan and blocking it.
She also found a couple of vintage buttons that matched the yarn perfectly. Martina's going to do a severe blocking of the front right again today as this pattern does have a tendency to pull to one side.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Blog Break

Since coming home last Thursday, I haven't really felt like blogging so I took a bit of a break.

Last Thursday evening I went to the Sit 'n Knit at Kniterary. Martina needed someone to knit a baby cardigan, booties and a hat for a client so I volunteered. Once I got the project home, I realized the stitch pattern was a real pain in the butt. Each row had 178 stitches and it was taking forever to make any kind of progress. I decided to only do the cardigan and Martina did the booties and hat. I had to rip the damned thing out about 3 times until I finally got the hang of the pattern and was able to correct mistakes as I went along. I modified the sleeves and did only an inch of the pattern and finished the rest in stockinette. I also knit them in the round to eliminate having to stitch them up. When I got to the pattern part, I knit back and forth and just stitched up the seam on that part. I finished the knitting last night and crocheted a picot edging all around the edges. I dropped it off at the store today. Martina's going to sew the sleeves on and weave in the ends.

I slept in Saturday morning. I haven't felt particularly road weary but I think it just all caught up with me and I slept 11 hours.

We had the 'big storm' on Saturday and spent Sunday morning digging out the sidewalk, driveway and walkway. We are now only about 20cm from the most snowfall in one season ever.

At Kniterary today I bought some lovely Arequipa sock yarn in a lovely purple-blue colourway. I'm knitting the Embossed Leaves socks from my lovely new "Favourite Socks" book I bought at the end of our holiday last week. I have about 3" done and the yarn feels nice and squishy. The pattern looks great.

Tomorrow Skip and I are heading into The Big City to see Part I of Nicholas Nickleby. It has received very good reviews. Next Wednesday is Part II. I hope we can get home in time for me to go to the Knitter's guild. Next week we'll have dinner in the city after the show. Hopefully we'll get a chance to go to the World's Biggest Book Store and look at birding and knitting books.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Home! Brrrrr!

Yesterday we drove from the NE corner of Indianapolis (Castleton) to my sister's place in Petrolia, ON. It was nice and sunny so the roads were dry but much of the I-69 in Michigan is in terrible condition - except around Lansing, the state capitol. I spent much of the time driving in the left lane which wasn't quite so crappy. This was our route.

We stopped to do some book shopping at Barnes and Noble in Pt. Huron before the crossing to Canada. I splurged and bought myself the Interweave Knits book "Favorite Socks". It only took about 5 minutes at the bridge as there were only 3 cars ahead of us in line at Customs. We got to Valerie's by about 4:15pm. Unfortunately the yarn shop we wanted to go to (Country Yarns) closes at 4 on Wednesdays.

This morning we got away 7:45am and arrived home by 11am. Here is a summary of the 3200km route we took.

The house was nice and toasty when we arrived home today thanks to our wonderful neighbour, Andrew Uranowski who also took care of clearing out our driveway. We hope to pick up Ollie this evening or tomorrow. And of course, I'll be Sitting and Knitting tonight with my homies at Kniterary.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!

We made it to Indianapolis today - just barely. It was misty in Mount Vernon, IL this morning so after a leisurely sleep-in and breakfast at Bob Evans, we decided to try to drive as far as we could before the storm hit and left at 10:30am. It wasn't too bad the first 2 hours that I drove but once Skip took the wheel, it started to rain harder and then when we were on the loop around Indy there was a lot of traffic. Then the sleet started. We saw several accidents and only moved at 10kph the last 5 km. We were very glad to check into our lovely room at the Best Western in Castleton, IN in the NE corner of Indy on I69. I snagged a coupon book at the Indiana tourist information centre and saw a $49.99 coupon. This motel is MUCH nicer and the room is double the size of the room we had last night for practically the same price. AND the Internet connection works well!!! We also could walk to the Tuscany Italian Grill which backs onto the motel. Yay! No more driving today.

It was supposed to snow this evening - St. Louis got 10" but so far we've only had a dusting and it's supposed to stop in the wee hours. We should be good to drive to my sister's tomorrow.

This is what we drove today. And this is what we've driven since we left South Padre Island on Saturday morning - that's a little over 2300km. Only about 800 to go.

We lost an hour crossing from Central time in Illinois to Eastern time in Indiana. And we'll lose another hour on Saturday night. Eeek! It will feel like 5am when the alarm goes off tomorrow.

I'm heading to bed...

On Our Way Home

We left South Padre Island on Saturday morning by about 8:15am and got to Brenham, TX by about 4. The EconoLodge was crappy - we had to change rooms because the first one had no power (including lights) in the bathroom. The second room had a broken lamp and unusable wireless Internet. The desk person was unable to get in touch with the manager and screwed up the bill when we checked out. We would have checked out and gone somewhere else but I don't think there was another place to go.

Yesterday, we drove to Arkadelphia, AR. The motel was basic but clean and the Internet connection worked. We were on the road this morning by 7:15 with the intention to stay in Marion, IL but forged ahead to Mount Vernon, IL where we are now. The weather was crappy all day and the drive in the rain was quite stressful, especially when trucks passed us at 70mph and the speed limit was 65. The weather forecast is not good - freeing rain tonight to be followed by 1 - 3 inches of snow. We may stay here tomorrow and wait out the storm. We'll decide in the morning.

We are staying at a newly renovated Red Roof Inn which is very clean but there are no breakfast facilities - not even coffee - and the wireless Internet is iffy. I have not been able to check my sympatico e-mail. It could be a sympatico problem but regardless, it's annoying. We've travelled about 1900km since we left SPI two days ago with about 1100 to go.