Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Easy Come... Easy Go

A couple of days ago, I discovered a $75 Best Buy gift card in a purse I hadn't used in a while. Woo hoo! I had just decided the night before to buy a  gadget to wirelessly connect my computer to my TV. We have 3 HDMI inputs on our 6 year-old TV but none of my laptops will connect to it. Yes, I've tried them on other TVs and they connect perfectly when I select the correct input. Yes, I've tried the HDMI cable on other TVs with both laptops and it works fine. It's just the big LG TV in our family room it won't work with. I'm hoping the new gadget will solve the problem.

Last week Skip took his car in for an oil change in preparation for our drive down to Florida this week. The mechanic noticed a leak and thought it was the radiator. He encouraged Skip to take the car into the Subaru dealer to have it checked out. Yesterday morning, he took the car in and fairly quickly after dropping off the car we got a call that it wasn't the radiator but the head gasket. We were shocked.

For those of you who don't recall our adventure last year at this time, our car engine blew up on I-75 in southern Georgia on our way to Florida. Long story short, we had to rent a car for 12 days while a replacement engine was being sought for the car. After throwing several thousand dollars at the problem (trading in the car in the US and importing it back to Canada wasn't a viable option), we enjoyed the rest of our holiday and with fingers crossed, got home in one piece. But I digress.

Facing another costly, extensive car repair, we decided to cut our losses, get rid of the accursed Subaru and buy a new car. Quickly. Fortunately I had already been thinking on those lines so knew a couple of models I wanted to test-drive. We ended up deciding to get a Hyundai Santa Fe 2.4L Premium FWD. It will look like this:

I pick it up tomorrow afternoon. We leave on our holiday on Thursday morning. Vroom, vroom! Once I make up my mind, it's "Skitter, scatter, let's get at 'er".

Honestly, we've been through shock, denial, anger, bargaining and now acceptance. It HAS been very stressful having to make a major financial decision and purchase in such a hurry. I didn't knit a single stitch on Monday! I was exhausted last night emotionally but couldn't sleep. It's not like I was worried about anything, I guess I was just geeked up.

This is the first car I've bought in 12.5 years so it's a pretty big deal.

I feel a lot better about our imminent 2400km (1500 mi) drive to Florida in the new car. We'll have to vary our driving speed for the first 1000km and not use cruise control at all for this 'break-in' period. We'll also get the oil changed once we get to Sarasota. Hopefully, we'll have an uneventful trip this year. I'll be reading the owner's manual to Skip in the car and learning about all the features as we go.

Thank goodness we found this about the old car now and not on our trip. As crappy as it was to have to buy a new car so quickly, it's great we'll have it for the trip.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

National Knitting Evening - Norwegian Reality TV

In today's Globe and Mail was a mention about a popular Norwegian reality series, 'Slow TV'. In the article was mentioned the 'National Knitting Evening' an event that was broadcast live. In a country of 4+ million people, 1.3 million of them watched at least 4 hours of the broadcast that included 4 hours of discussion and 8.5 hours of "long, quiet sequences of knitting and spinning"

Intrigued, and with the help of Google, I found a 2 hour video clip (the first of 5) of the 2013 event translated into English. Scroll below the video for the other 4 segments.

In it we see the sheep being shorn and 5 spinners spinning the fleece 'in the grease'.
Then a sweater is knit in an attempt to break the Australian record of 4 hours 51 minutes.

The pattern is a standard one for this 'sheep to sweater' competition. 96 stitches are cast on for the back and front. There are 16 rows of K1, P1 ribbing for the bottom cuff, then stocking stitch. The quality of the video is excellent. I love the Dale of Norway-esque sweater worn by the presenter.

Now THAT'S reality TV worth watching.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Tea Cozy

Yesterday my monthly knitting group met for lunch. We got caught up, showed and shared and had a nice meal. Afterwards we headed over to the local yarn shop. I bought some Berocco Vintage Chunky blue-red yarn to knit a tea cozy for our little 'brown Betty' tea pot.

I used this pattern but fewer pattern repeats as the wool was much heavier than the fingering weight in the original, vintage 1946 pattern.
This is the pattern I used for the flowers on the top.
I just used random yarns of varying weights.
The pattern called for the seams joining the outer, cabled layer to the inner, stocking stitch layer.
I used mattress stitch so it would look cleanly finished.
This should keep the tea hot for quite a while.

There was quite a bit of seaming but I just plugged away at it while Mo and I sat and knit and chatted this evening. I really don't mind doing mattress stitch as it looks so neat and tidy once completed.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Blocking to Fit

A couple of years ago I knit the Icelandic Star sweater from the Winter 2009 issue of Interweave Knits. It was a fairly quick knit considering there was a bit of purled colour work. I wore it that winter and possibly the next a few times but then it became a little snug (ahem) and it's been sitting on my sweater shelf, unused, since then.

Last night I decided to block it so it would be a bit larger so I could wear it. I also stretched it vertically a bit, too, as I like my sweaters to cover at least half of my behind.

I just used wires on the sides and the shoulders, keeping the ribbing at the bottom unstretched.
It's going to take a while to dry.

While I was at it, I blocked the 'And Then There Were Mitts' mitts. Red is a really hard colour to photograph properly - especially on a blue and acid green, but you get the idea.
Again, these were quite snug but I think the blocking will stretch them out enough to fit perfectly.

Donna and I spent a lovely day yesterday with our spinning friend, Jennifer, at her new condo in Cobourg. She served us a lovely lunch and we spent the rest of the visit chatting and exchanging spinning and knitting ideas and patterns. We have really missed her since she moved in September. Once she is officially retired at the end of the month, we hope to set up a regular get-together during the day.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Crocheted Snowflakes

I was taking the ornaments off the tree yesterday and thought I'd write a post about crocheting snowflake ornaments for the tree.

Several years ago I went on a crocheting binge. I found a Bernat pattern book (if I locate it, I'll post the name of it) and the correct crochet hook and got to work. I was kinda rusty on my crochet stitches but reviewed the illustrations in the book. Nowadays one could simply 'Google' the term.

I made about a dozen of them and then put them in a ziplock bag with equal parts of water and white glue, mushed them around and let them sit for 15 min or so. That way the glue and water would really soak into the threads. I then put some plastic wrap on a cork board and pinned them out on top of some 6 pointed templates, including pinning every picot and point. Here's a template you could use:
After drying thoroughly, they were nice and stiff and remain so to this day.
I hang the smallest ones near the top of the tree and the biggest ones near the bottom. They could also be used to decorate Christmas cards or gift tags.

And now they're put away for another year.