Thursday, January 19, 2017

Now to add a splash of colour...

Like most people, I'm not really a fan of this time of year. It's not so much the cold, I've got plenty of warm woolies to keep my warm. And cold weather is a really good reason for me to stay inside and knit.

No... it's the lack of colour and light. The landscape is dull, the days are grey, and the nights are long.

So imagine my delight when I woke up yesterday morning and Hibiscus tree was in bloom.
Especially considering I was sure I'd lost it last spring. I bring it inside for the winter, and it got a horrible infestation of white fly. I tried insecticidal soap, but it wasn't even making a dent. Finally, in an act of desperation - I put it outside. It was late March. While the days were warm, the nights were still cold and frosty. Within a matter of days, it lost all its leaves (which at least meant there was no food left for the white flies).

I left it outside with only a faint hope it would come back. As the weather warmed up, it started to bud. As summer waned, it was full leafed out, but not nearly as big as it had been. It didn't bloom, and when I brought it back in for the winter (after an preventative spray of insecticidal soap), I figured I'd have to wait until summer again to see blooms
They don't last long - just a day or two - but they are big and beautiful. This particular tree is actually three separate trees, braided together, with Red, Yellow and Peach flowers.

Of course, flowers in January get me extra excited for garden season. A few weeks back, KathyB shared her experimentation with Winter Sowing. It's ideal for me, because we don't have a lot of room indoors, and it means I can start earlier. I'm currently collecting supplies, so while I'm waiting to sow, I've been perusing my flower catalogues.

If only I had infinite money and a larger yard... I can't go crazy this year, we're almost at capacity, but there a a few things I REALLY want to get.

Sea Holly
 It's suppose to be an absolute butterfly magnet. And it's just cool looking. I actually planted some last year, but the bulb rotted before it could grow. I'd really like to try again.

Pink Lily-of-the-Valley
Because whynot?

Ostrich Plume Astibile
I'm not a huge fan of Astibile as a rule, but I love the droopiness and peachy hue of the Ostrich Plume!

Of course, once gardening season comes along, I'll lose my wits and BUY ALL THE FLOWERS!!!!

Is there anything you really want to plant this year?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Sleeve slog

Yep... I'm still slogging away on the second sleeve. Does anyone else have the same issue with second sleeves as second socks?


That said, I'm only a few inches from decreasing after the elbow, and then there's just a few more inches on after that. Then bands and buttons.

As it stands now, I have a very quiet weekend ahead of me. Could she be blocking by Sunday?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Fat cats and warm hats

Way back before Christmas, and before I got the sick, I was up at Mom's dyeing up a batch of Fat Cat. It's now available in the shop!
Fat Cat is our DK superwash merino. It is so soft, and just lovely to knit with. Over the years I've knit quite a few projects with it. The superwash makes it perfect for baby/kid knits

I've used leftovers to make some adorable toys

And of course, it's fabulous for hats!
Including Love Monkey (which is still on sale for $1... but only until Feb 14th!)

Monday, January 16, 2017

Monday, monday...

It was a busy weekend and none of it involved crafting, so I have nothing to show (except a really clean house, but that's boring!)
So it's KathyB to the rescue with her Monday questions!

#1. Do you use a mannequin, prop or person for modeling your knits?
I prefer to use people, but when that’s not possible, I have Roxie… but I’ve been known to use whatever is around … fence post, tree branches, shrubs, etc.

#2. Do you know anyone who has gone through the ice?
Not seriously. Our favourite tobogganing spot had a creek at the bottom, so we got wet frequently… but falling in a lake or pond no. Personally – the thought terrifies me. I see people ice fishing, snowmobiling, cross country skiing on the ice… and I think they are nuts.  Only once have I cross a frozen lake (hiking when I was a kid) and I hated every minute of it.

#3. Do you wear reading glasses, bifocals, contacts?
I have glasses for distance – but since I’m not in school reading chalkboard, I don’t wear them much. I don’t legally need them to drive, though I have trouble reading street signs. Of course, if I pass my turn, I just loop around and come back.
Since I don't wear them much, there aren't many pics of me in them. That's probably the most recent one and it was taken in 2013. With short hair and glasses, I look almost exactly like my Mom.

#4 Have you tried a new skill yet in 2017?
Not that I can think of.

#5. Name a favorite President of the USA.
I’m Canadian, so I can’t say I pay too much attention to your presidents. As a student of history though… I love one particular First Lady… Eleanor Roosevelt! What a woman.

#6. When was the last time you were lost? (parking lots count)
It depends on your definition of “lost”. I don’t consider myself lost if I don’t have to ask for help. If I eventually find my way to where I wanted to be without outside intervention… it’s just an “adventure.”
So.. by that definition… the last time was about six or seven years ago in Toronto when I was trying to find the Frolic. I had to stop and buy a map.

#7. What yarn type is most prevalent in your stash?
Fiber or weight? If it’s the first – merino, closely followed by silk. If it’s the second… definitely fingering – for socks, shawls and cardigans!
#8. Since we are in an ice storm, name something you like over ice.
Scotch.  My favorite way to drink it.

#9. What time did you fall asleep last night?
Probably around 1 am. I spent some quality time snuggling with Rupert on the couch.
#10. Share a winter memory of your Mother…
Naturally mine revolves around knitting. As a kid, we had piles of hats and mitts, handknit by Mom, of course. And when you were out playing in the snow, and your mitts got soaked through… you could always come in, strip them off, place them on the bricks by the woodstove, grab another warm, dry pair from the “hat/mitt basket” and go back out in the snow. I don’t think snowmen, snowball fights, and snow forts would have been as fun without her.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Team work!

At last, it's done!
And it's just the purrfect little baby quilt, if I do say so myself! I know these aren't normally the colours that come to mind when you think of baby... but I don't like to be predictable.

When my coworker told me she was expecting, she also told me they were keeping the baby's gender a surprise. When I went on the hunt for fabrics, I looked for ones that would work for a boy or a girl.

I knew I wanted a "cat" theme, as the blanket I made for her first child had cats. The cat fabric I found was part of a bundle that included the solid brown and beige. While perfectly gender neutral, it was a little on the dull size. Then I found the orange/yellow/black print, which was also a bundle including the solid orange and yellow. I decided that would give it enough zing, while still suitable for boy or girl.
Of course, once I started cutting, I realized it probably wasn't going to be enough. So I rummaged through my (small) stash and came up with the orange/gray/brown paw prints on white, and the white paw prints on black. Both which couldn't have matched better if I'd bought them to. All I needed was something for the sashing and the back.
Again... leopard print is not something you usually think of for a baby... but as I was piecing my blocks, it was what kept coming to mind. I got incredibly lucky and found these two print in a remnant bin at 50% off.
I got two pieces of each to be safe (just under two metres of each), and I REALLY lucked out when one of the pieces was the exact perfect size for the back - we didn't have to piece it at all.
As you know, I contracted the quilting part out to Mom. She's loving her free motion foot, and did a nice meandering squiggle all over the surface.
As an added bonus, she bound it for me too!

Coworker's baby ended up being a girl... and she's almost six months old! So this is getting packed up and mailed off first thing (she's a long-distance coworker, located in California). Thank goodness it takes a while for babies to outgrow blankies!

And I've got some fabric coming for another Mother/Daughter collaboration... stay tuned!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday Felines

Poor Rupert... he's so hard done by... he has to snuggle with his own tail. Maybe I should get him a teddy bear...

Thursday, January 12, 2017

One down...

Yes my friends... that is one completed sleeve. Just one more, then some simple button bands, and this puppy is finished! When I started this cardigan, I intended to knit it exactly as written - no mods. Then at the underarms, I read the pattern wrong and cast on the wrong number of stitches. In the end, I'm glad I did - I think it's going to fit better now - but it meant I had to do even more modding with the body decreases.

Still... I intended to do the sleeves as written. In the pattern, they are full length with a thick, fold-over cuff. It looks really cute.. but as I got knitting, I got thinking. While I don't mind a full-length sleeve, this one is knit in worsted/aran. Which means it's already pretty thick and warm. That fold-over would just be bulky and excessive. Plus... I usually end up pushing up my full length sleeves.

If this was a full-length pajama cardi... I might still go full-length on the sleeves. But it's a flirty, cropped cardi... for me, I think 3/4 is the best option! so that's what I've got. (It also means I could finish the sleeve sooner! Win-win!)

Now... to cast on for that second sleeve....