March 3, 2014
I finished my Olympic sweater, just a few hours late for a 4th place finish, just out of the medals! In olden days I would have been able to knit all Sunday morning and would have had this done, but this year I played cars instead, did puzzles, painted, and in other words played with my daughter. I am happy with my bulky sweater, as it is very, very cold in Calgary right now, and I am wearing it a lot just to stay warm. I extended the cable down the front which pulls the waist of the sweater in nicely, and made longer sleeves so that my forearms would not freeze. Right now I am all about warmth!
This weekend we headed up to Banff for a mini break and did exactly what I had planned: we stayed inside and went swimming. When we were not swimming we painted, ate, played, and slept. Grandpa came along and numerous water colour masterpieces soon decorated the chalet. I cannot say that I am not still tired, but I can say that I am less tired. Happy Birthday to me!
February 16, 2014
Look at the pretty hat, look at the pretty yarn, nice work huh? It is knitted from MadTosh Cerise colour which I find very complimentary to my skin. I do like this pattern, I do, and the finish at the top is unique and everything, but I’m really worried it makes me into a cone head. You can’t quite see it here, but the whole shape of the hat is a triangle, and I’m not sure I like it. To finish it originally I washed it, and dried it for 20 minutes in the dryer (superwash yarn) and went to work. Came home, Mr. J had generously decided to do laundry out of the blue, and had thrown said laundry on top of hat (you don’t check the dryer first, of course not) and then this hat got another hour of drying. I then re-soaked the hat, pulled it out to shape again, and didn’t put it in the dryer this time. Therefore it is bigger than it’s post dryer state. I am wearing it around, and seeing if it will grow on me. I am planning to use this pattern to make matching cowl, which will not be pointy.
We are having our usually Olympic sport pig-out, and loving it. Figure skating continues today, and I noticed snowboard cross is starting, we all love the cross events. So exciting! Fia was busy dancing away to the ice dancers short routine, Mr. J continued his excellent twizzle judging, and I loved all the twenties inspired outfits. I am cheering for the Canadians, but also the Russian pair, I like them they have the passion of Russian pairs! Bringing the drama back! I am almost to the neckline of the front, and I am glad I decided to continue the cable all the way down the front, it is very nice I think! I was really sad for Patrick Chan, I wanted to hug him and knit him a scarf, he was so sad.
February 11, 2014
Mr. J has a lovely big hat with fake fur and ear flaps for when it is super, super cold, but his old hat he was wearing when it was only semi-cold was very funny looking and old. I finally made him a replacement, this wonderful Insulate! Dalek pattern. We are big Dr. Who fans, so this went over well, Fia grabs the “Dalek” hat and wears it around sometimes. This was leftover Cascade 128 from the Viking hat I made for Hallowe’en, a very soft choice for hats. And like the designer says in her pattern notes, at first glance this just looks like a nice geometric pattern. I remembered how I taught myself to knit stranded like this with one hand, which made this a fast knit. I’m itching for some more colour work now.
February 9, 2014
We’re only two days into the Olympics, and I have cast on and almost finished the back of my sweater! This is the creatively named “3/4 Sleeve Pullover” from the Vogue Knitting Holiday Issue. The back is very boring, but the front and arms have a lovely cable lace pattern. I had hoped to get a lighter colour, but this is what the yarn store had in enough quantity. It is a lovely blue/grey, the mohair in the Rowan Cocoon is silvery and it is lovely to work with. I have another sweater made with a wool/mohair blend and it is holding up well. So far our family has been watching some of the Opening Ceremonies, figure skating (of course), women’s hocky, moguls (which Fia LOVED), some sliding sports, long track speed skating. It is wonderful, we love these winter sports.
February 6, 2014
This winter has been very hard on this winter and snow loving girl, I normally love snow and love winter. Until February that is. But this year I was so sick of it in December, and the main reason is the horrible driving conditions this year. For most of December I was driving to work in blizzards, through multiple feet of snow, ice, accidents all around every day, and extra time to get to work, an hour extra some days. All that time driving instead of working cuts into my paycheck, plus the stress on me. I was exhausted at the end of December, and ready for a break. Every day it seemed I would wake up to fresh snowstorms, and curse the snow. Until we decided to build a big toboggan hill in the backyard for Fia’s birthday party. We had so much snow I figured we could get a pretty good hill going, which we did, it has to be over ten feet down to the ground. We actually dug down to the ground to make it go as low as possible, and then put a big curve into the bottom so that you swoosh around back the way you came. The far side of the hill has steps cut into so that kids can climb up easily. This was a huge hit with Fia, who loves to go down face first, which means she is a future skeleton racer! We were so worried everything would melt too much before her party, that Mr. J and I were hoping for snow instead of dreading it! The day of the party it was relatively warm, and the kids had a blast. My nieces who are 8 and 11 have even been over twice to play on the hill.
February 3, 2014
Fia even says that “3″ is her number instead of running around insisting she is six, but I’m still not sure she knows what that means. For her birthday party we had a backyard toboggan party, which I will talk more about later. I was very proud of my snowman cake, which is why it is pictured at left! Isn’t he cute? He was also an excuse to buy Oreo cookies, which I love so much and therefore never buy. Fia ate more of the jujubes instead of eating the cake, but she ate more later. I think this may be the last year I can invite our friends over for her party, next year I may have to have a “friends from school” party which will be interesting. The most stressful party of her party was the grab bags, what to put in them, how many to buy, age appropriate toys or not, and I wanted the items to be useful and not totally throw away. I found some felt bags, a light up ball, a car, and paints for each kid.
I also managed to finish the pig family! They only got eyes and noses this weekend, before then they were the poor blind pig family. They are a hit, and no wonder they are so soft and cuddly. I am using them as pillows at night when I put Fia to sleep, and I like to cuddle with the Mummy pig as well. Fia kept finding pigs in my knitting bag, she is still looking in my bags asking if there are more pigs. The pig pattern is from Debbie Bliss Toys book, and the yarn is Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille, which is impossible to find in Calgary. Next time I see it in a store I’m going to stock up for sure, I love making toys out of it!
January 4, 2014
Mr. J was not too happy when I announced that our theme for the first quarter of this year was “Austerity”. He had his heart set on a new notepad something or other that I may be of the opinion he does not really need, but on that we disagree. His contract is up in April, and while it may be renewed, the planner in me wants to be sure that we are covered if it does not, and that means building up the rainy day fund. A normal healthy bank account has at least six months saved up to cover the monthly burn rate after EI payments, and I’d like him to get at least to the three month point before buying frivolous/necessary (depending on your point of view) items. As for me, I need to save up as well. My VW Golf is now 14 years old, and too small for our family. This December has been terrible for driving, we have so much snow around that my neighbours have built a bobsled run between their houses, and the ruts in our road are over 2 feet deep. The VW has not been out of the garage in a few weeks now. I had thought I would get another commuter car, but this last month is making me wonder if a 4-wheel drive vehicle is a necessary item around here. Plus let’s just say that I’d like to take another year off work if possible.
The Age of Austerity has extended to the stash. The good news to report is that I knit well over 13,000 yards last year, and have many lovely items to show for it. My goal was to get my January 2013 stash down to under 40 000 yards (I think I started at around 47, 500 yards) and I did that with having close to 37 000 yards left. But then November and December happened, with lots of Black Friday sales, the Boxing Day sales, and my LYS bringing in lotsa Mad Tosh. And the biggest falling down for me was a local store closing down and offering 30% off on everything. Around 5000 yards came home with me from there, three sweaters worth and a big shawl. It is wonderful stuff, and I got it at a great price, but I have a lot of knitting to do!! The 2014 starting stash number is:(gulp) 50 860 yards. That means I have committed to not buying yarn until June 1, and maybe longer. The fibre festival I like to go to in June may not even be open on the weekend anymore, so I won’t be able to get up there and indulge. Lots and lots of good knitting to be done this year, I am looking forward to it!
December 31, 2013
I cannot believe that I started this vest in February, and just now sewed the zipper into it. I haven’t taken it off since, I love it that much, why did I wait so long? The sewing of the zipper is a tricky business, and I do have a little mistake to fix at the bottom of the right front, but that would involve taking it off, which I haven’t done. The one modification I made to this pattern (Rustica) is that I made the collar double thickness. I knitted the regular collar, knit a turning row, and then knit back down again exactly. I sewed the zipper in between the two sides of the collar, then I sewed the inside of the collar down. What a genius move! The dollar sits down nicely when open, and when zipped up is a lovely warm next for my neck and chin. I have it zipped up right now! The yarn is almost perfect, in fact if there is any yarn with this grey base, and multi colours on top of it I am almost sure to buy it immediately. It is neutral but matches almost all my layering shirts. And the pockets, genius, I love pockets now. I made this vest as I was always wearing a ratty blue fleece vest around the house, and this was my attempt to recreate it in yarn. I really love the result, can you tell?
This is Pause, from the summer Berroco pamphlet, of which I love almost all the designs, and may have yarn now for one or two more. Unfortunately I finished this sweater just as it got too cold to wear it. I also have a layering problem, as most of my t-shirts have V-necks, so next spring I need to get a high neck t-shirt to wear underneath this. I really do love this little tank, even if I do need to fix the arm holes, which are too tight. The yarn is a muted gold, which is so different from what I normally buy or work with, and it reminds me of a top my Grandmother would have chosen to make. I can’t say I 100% love this yet, as I really have only worn it once or twice to try it on. Next summer will be the test! I also need to stop making summer sweaters that finish in September, but start them in March instead!
I have finished another little sweater, but Fia won’t try it on, so no photos yet.
December 30, 2013
The goal as stated for 2013 was to knit two pairs of socks. I am very into goals, and avoid setting them when I can in order to not get upset when I can’t achieve them. For instance I like setting the following goal: This weekend I shall do three loads of laundry. When I finish the three loads, I celebrate a little bit with a happy dance and a sense of achievement. For as we know one load of laundry is okay, two is better and three is pretty awesome. Therefore I am sad to report that this is my sole pair of socks for the year, and therefore I have failed. I am a two pair of sock failure. The only good news to report is that the simple socks, constructed from an alpaca/wool/nylon blend are really, really nice socks, and the blue/purple colourway glows a little bit, especially when backlit by work and my computer screen. A little happy on a cold working day. I intend to make my goal for next year two pairs of socks again, but this time I have a higher weight yarn to use for one of them, which is only 40 sts around instead of my normal 64 st. It is not cheating, it is being smart.
December 29, 2013
This is how far behind I am!! I finished this sweater in the summer, I believe around July. I did manage to get photos the end of the summer, and now have finally uploaded them. First of all, pluses and minuses of this sweater. Plus: I love this pattern and the yarn. Minus: ran out of yarn on the sleeves so instead of the 3/4 ones I wanted they are 1/2. The pattern is vintage, it was my Grandmother’s. I have a sweater that she made from this pattern and I have always loved it, and I still wear it’s acrylic beige loveliness. It is the perfect length, and the seamed shoulders fit me well, and don’t fall off me when open like a raglan sleeve seems to. The yarn is Jubilee Alpaca from Saskatoon, raised, spun and sold locally. It is a natural cream colour that I love, and I probably can get more of it when I get around to calling the store. After all, animals don’t change their natural colour that much do they? I knit the sleeves top down so that I could lengthen them if I ever got more yarn. I was also not sure how long the sleeves would end up being, and using this method I was able to get as long a sleeve as possible from the yarn. Have you noticed all the lovely bobbles up the front panels? I know, they are so adorable. Bobble, bobble, bobbly.
I have a few more FO’s to show off for the year, my stash to upload and count, Christmas presents to show off, and some New Year’s resolutions to discuss soon. Yeah!