Saturday, 30 April 2011

Knitter's Frolic 2011

Today, Jennifer, Sarah and I went to the Knitter's Frolic sponsored by the Downtown Knit Collective (DKC) . It was lots of fun.

Jennifer and I volunteered to work at the yarn winding station so got in free, ahead of the lineup, and had complimentary refreshments and lunch... all for an hour's work! And the yarn winding time went so fast! I hope they'll let us do it again next year.

I saw Laurie from The Black Lamb and we discovered we're both going on the Eucalan/DeNure Tours UK Knitting Tour this September. Wheeee!!! I also went to see Mary Ellen Edgar, 'the Eucalan Lady', introduced myself to her and bought some Eucalan eucalyptus (my favourite scent) no-rinse wool wash. She asked if I was interested in a UK knitting tour and I told her Marion and I are signing up! I also told her I am very good friends with her husband's first cousin, Lorna. We're quite excited.

Skip gave me money for yarn for my birthday and I had no trouble spending it and more. Here's my haul. (click for clearer, larger photo - not sure why the image isn't clear)
I'm really trying to break out of my purple and navy blue colour rut, ergo the green, turquoise and yellow colours.

I'm looking forward to getting a start on the sock kit from The Black Lamb. Laurie was wearing the socks at the Frolic and they looked very cool.

But now I must put my knitting aside and get packed for my holiday!

Friday, 29 April 2011

Royal Wedding - Then and Now

Thirty years ago this summer, Lorna and I went on a 17 day bus tour of England and Europe. We traveled through England, Holland, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Italy, Monaco and France.

On July 29, 1981, the day of Charles' and Diana's wedding, we were in Germany, cruising on the Rhine River from Köln to Mainz. We then boarded a bus and rode to Rudesheim, Germany where our group spent the night.

After dinner that evening, Lorna and I found a little bar with a TV where we could watch the replay of the royal wedding that had taken place earlier that day. After that, we sat outside on a patio in the warm night air and partied to the music of the live band. That was the night I learned "The Chicken Dance" and met Dan Walters from Cape Town, South Africa, who became my dancing buddy for the rest of the tour. We had a blast and took every opportunity to 'cut a rug' during the rest of our Continental tour.

Here's the evidence of the night of July 29, 1981.
We sure had a lot of fun.

A couple of years before I retired, my vice principal came up to me and asked, "Do you remember someone from South Africa named Dan Walters"? Of course, I did and told my VP how we had met and about all the fun we had. Apparently Dan had 'googled' me (from South Africa) and called the phone number he found listed for my school. It was 7pm Eastern time and my VP was working late in his office and answered the phone. When the caller asked for my number, he said that he couldn't give out that information but took down Dan's e-mail address and said he'd pass it on to me and if I wanted to, I'd contact him by e-mail.

Dan is a very enthusiastic person. Boisterous and full of life. Other words to describe him are hilarious, exuberant, loud and friendly. He conveyed this so well over the phone to my VP that he thought Dan was some kind of crack-pot.

The VP was very surprised when at the mention of Dan's name, I knew exactly who he was talking about and in fact, I was thrilled he had tried to make contact.

Long story short, we got back in touch again and have been e-mail buddies since then. We send newsy e-mails back and forth a couple of times a year.

Today I remembered the day I met him, the day of The Royal Wedding in 1981. I sent him a copy of the photo.

I smiled a lot today remembering the European trip and that day in particular.

As to today's Royal Wedding. I thought Pippa looked stunning in her dress. What a figure! And LOVED Kate's wedding gown. I like the Brits' understated style. I liked the simplicity of William's uniform and the clean, soft lines of Kate's gown. It suited her perfectly and was certainly classic and timeless. Just google Princess Grace of Monaco's wedding dress and see how that style has certainly endured.

I liked the peck on the lips they snuck in before the 'official' kiss on the balcony. Some of the TV journalists didn't think they made a big enough deal of their kisses but I thought they were just right. As Kate came out onto the balcony, you could see how amazed she was at the size of the crowd. They couple certainly looked happy. I sure hope it lasts. Although the paparazzi (I think that means 'mosquitos' in Italian) are everywhere, I sure hope William and Kate are able to live their lives in relative peace. I sure hope their 'cottage' in Wales is remote or at least hard to get to and that Kate will keep herself occupied in a satisfying manner whilst William is away on duty as a search and rescue helicopter pilot. Maybe she's a knitter and there will be a nice local yarn shop in Anglesey where she can hang out for Knit Night.

I sure wish them the all the happiness and a very long and contented married life together.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
Earl and Countess of Strathearn
Baron and Baroness of Carrickfergus

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

May Sock Done and Extreme Thrift

I finished the second garter rib sock today at our Wednesday Sit 'n Knit at Kniterary.
That fulfills my sock quota for the month of May. I'm now trying to determine what pattern to knit for June and July.

Last night I hauled my big suitcase up from the basement to get ready to pack for our upcoming holiday. When I opened it, I remembered that the plastic zipper teeth on the back corner had pulled away from the zipper tape for a couple of inches. It was still operable but I was worried it might completely disfunction at some inopportune moment on our trip. Rats! I needed to get a new suitcase. What to do. What to do.

I got on the computer and checked Costco, Sears and The Bay. Nothing was on sale and I didn't want to pay $200 for a suitcase. Through the HBC site I looked at what Zellers had and found they had 4 suitcase brands on sale this week. Yippee! Not only were they on sale, they were discounted between 60% and 75% - depending on the brand. I also remembered I have accumulated over 200,000 HBC reward points and discovered I could cash some of them in for a gift card. As today was the second last day of this sale, Skip suggested I go to a less frequented Zellers for better selection.

Once at Zellers, I found the luggage section at the far left corner of the store. The sale items weren't very well marked so I walked all the way back to the entrance at the opposite corner to get the sale flyer. I spent about 3/4 of an hour checking the weights of the various sale items and testing the zippers, etc. I selected one brand that was light weight and had a good, sturdy zipper.
Then I noticed a second aisle full of luggage and took a look at another brand that was on sale. I found the 28" piece that met all of my criteria plus it stood more upright than the one I had previously selected. So again, I checked all the zippers and the exterior for any defects and made my selection. From $200, it was marked down to $70. I then remembered that my 20" suitcase that I use even more than the larger case, was starting to wear out so I found the equivalent one to match my new one. It was marked down to $52.50 from $150 - Woo Hoo!!!

I then went to customer service and cashed in 160,000 of my HBC Reward points for a $20 gift card. When I went to check out, the cashier told me that if I applied for an HBC credit card, I could get an additional 15% off.

So with the sale price, using the gift card and applying for the credit card, instead of paying $395.50 including tax, I only paid $97 including tax. What a rush! Now I understand how those people on that new TLC show "Extreme Couponing" feel like.

And I can use my old suitcases for yarn storage!

Rose Trellis Stole - Blocked!

It was overcast yesterday when I took photos so indoor ones will have to do. (click on any of the photos to enlarge)
I could have made the inner rectangle another repeat wider but I thought the leafy border would be more interesting for the added width.
This was a l o n g shawl and measured 86" x 24" after blocking.
Here's a closer look.
The corners weren't as difficult as I thought they'd be. Basically, I did a whole repeat of the border in one stitch of the corner.
It should keep my arms warm in an overly air-conditioned room whilst boosting my 'chic' factor.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Clever Stitchers

Last week at our April meeting of the Trillium Embroidery Guild several members put some of their projects on display so we could oooo and ahhhh.
I think this one is normally displayed on the diagonal - as a diamond.
Amy says she stitched this in one night.
Mary is almost finished the kimono piece started last year. Now she just needs to do the lacy stitches in the background.
Unfortunately, I missed the meeting in February where we learned how to properly finish a biscornu. Here's a blackwork one that's all finished except for the centre bead or button.
And this one has 15 square sides!
This hardanger bell was an interesting design.
The person who sets up the display adds some decorative items. This month it was butterflies.
Here's a closeup of the button heart. If you look closely, there are charms, ribbon, pearls and French knots, too! (click on image to enlarge)
Here's an English Garden design.
And a closeup.
I finished my 'Bucky the Snowman' designed by Ruth Sparrow Gendron, Cecilia Turner, Marsha Worley and Elizabeth Newlin c. 2004 from 'the Trilogy'. The finished design size is 3 1/4" x 4 1/4".

Monday, 25 April 2011

Rose Trellis Stole - Blocking

I got this blocked today and am just waiting for it to dry. It measures 86" x 24".
I used the border from Eunny Jang's 'Print o' the Waves' Stole...
because I thought it needed a little something more.
I hope to get some good pics once it's dry but the forecast for the next few days is rain so they'll have to be indoor photos.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Azul de Sol

A while back I bought this hand-painted roving on sale on etsy . The colour was called Azul de Sol which really isn't very grammatically correct nor does 'blue of sun' make sense. I think it's more like Azul y Sol - Blue and Sun. Here's the last little bit of the roving.
Here it is whilst being spun.It was a little over 4 oz. of some softish wool fibre - BFL, maybe?

As I was trying to spin it really thinly, it took 3 long spinning sessions to get it done. Then a whole evening to ply it. My attempt at Navajo plying didn't work very well so I just did it 2ply.
Voilà, 520 yards, 116g, 4.1 oz., fingering weight.

Azul y Sol.

One Picture is Worth 1000 Words

Friday, 22 April 2011

Pysanky Reprise

In our home, Easter is not a religious holiday. It is a nice family long weekend - the only four-day long weekend in the year we enjoyed as teachers before we retired. However, I love to celebrate everyone's holidays - secular or religious.

A few years ago, I attended an after-school workshop on Ukrainian Easter egg (pysanka) drawing. Because it's more technical than creative for me, I took to the craft immediately.

Over the past few years or so I've drawn a couple of dozen pysanky. Last year, I even hosted 'craft night' to teach Marion and Elaine how to draw their own eggs.

This year, I just didn't have time to draw any new ones but I'm enjoying looking at ones from the past.
Here are the instructions to make this one.
Instructions are here for the next one.
And sometimes, one can even celebrate Hallowe'en with pysanky. This one was inspired by Martha Stewart.