Friday, October 30, 2009

Dyed and gone to heaven

Mom and I got into the dye again....see that little grey one one the end... don't get to attached... that one is just for me...The rest of them should be up in the shop sometime this coming week. This is the Top Cat yarn I mentioned earlier. It's a merino, cashmere, nylon blend and it is oh so squooshy and soft.... like knitting with pure heaven.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Logging off

If you don't hear from me for a few days, don't worry. Dave is running off with my computer tonight to do some upgrades and such (building me a Mac). He says it should be done tomorrow night, but... well... he's notorious for underestimating how long his little projects take. I have the laptop, but it's crazy slow. Plus, tomorrow and Thursday I'm working 12 hours, so I'll probably be too tired to blog anyway (and there won't be any knitting to blog about).

I was hoping to get the pink sock pattern up today, (as well as a couple of others I've been working on) but the program I use isn't working right (part of the reason for the upgrades), so it will have to wait until the computer comes home.

In the mean time, I'm misbehaving. I dove into the Panda Silk last night...
..and I'm designing a new ankle sock. And ... I'm in love... again.... this yarn is awesome. It's so smooth and makes such a nice fabric. I'll definitely be getting more and suggest you get some too. You won't regret it!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Thinking pink

Taadaa!!! The pink socks are done.....(Like my "all grown-up" sensible shoes....? They have arch support and EVERYTHING - that's something new for me!)

After a few hours of anger-fueled house cleaning (don't ask - suffice it to say, boys are stupid). I finally sat down and finished the second pink sock.... only to discover that I had to take apart the toe on the first one because I'd dropped a stitch and there was a huge run in them... grrrr. But I got it done.

The pattern should be available by the end of the week.

In other sock news.... We just got a shipment of new yarn in, so we'll be dipping into the dye pot soon. Keep an eye out for some new colours - and (so excited about this....) a new line - Top Cat Sock - Merino, Cashmere, Nylon... weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Mommy-Daughter Day

I have Fridays off and mom is on vacation so we decided to do a little shopping and have a mommy-daughter day.

We stopped at Julie's (our FAVOURITE local yarn shoppe) and lookie what I got...
Crystal Palace Panda Silk! Silk (just a little), Bamboo and Merino, in gorgeous green shades that have just a hint of sparkle... what's not to love??? So I guess I better get some serious sock knitting done, eh?

I'm to the foot on the pink sock...... I should be able to finish it up this weekend. It's really too bad I can't knit at Job # 2 - then I could finish it and nutlet #2.

And if I could knit at work, I could take it in my swanky new project bag:
Mom got this for me the other day (she got one too, but it has sheep on it.)

And of course, as I was trying to fill it up, some one had to stake his claimNothing is sacred.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A little nutty

Last night I did indeed finish the first of the Nutkin socks (which I have affectionately dubbed 'nutlets'). The pattern shows a funky little ridge where the toe starts, which doesn't seem to be in the pattern. It also call for a short row toe, but I left off the funky ridge and just did my usual grafted toe.

I think they are quite cute, and the yarn (more shameless self promotion) is just as nice to wear as it is to knit with.

I might start the second one on Friday (working 12 hours tomorrow, so no knitting time there), but I have the urge to finish my pink sock... I'm almost to the heel and I picked it up after finishing nutlet #1 last night.

I'd really like to get it finished so I can make the pattern available to you all.

But back to the nutlets (can you tell I like saying that?)... for the second sock... should I do it the same (as the pattern says) or should I reverse the pattern so it's the mirror image?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Button, Button....

Last post I forgot to mention something else Dave bought for me for our anniversary.

It's a simple thing, but I love it.

You see, when I was a kid, my mom inherited a HUGE button stash from a great aunt. There were so many buttons, we actually divided them up by colours and put them in separate jars. We used old peanut butter jars, but not just any peanut butter jars - in the 80s Kraft made a series of glass bear shaped jars - most were just bear heads, but mom also has a knitting granny bear. Over the years, we've used enough buttons that they dwindled to just two jars. And when I started my button stash, I knew it needed to be housed in a bear jar.

On Saturday we stopped at thrift store and I found one. It's hard to tell in the picture, but he's holding a giant peanut. Now my growing button stash has the perfect home!

In other knitting news, I started the sock. Thanks for all the suggestions... it was so hard to choose. I went on Ravelry to check out the patterns you suggested and came across one I had forgotten about - Nutkin. While I want to do pretty much all the ones you all suggested (except maybe Pomatomus - it's cool, but it scares me!) I love Nutkin and have wanted to do it since I first saw it.

So here it is...

I've made a couple of modifications:

1) I only did two pattern repeats before starting the heel... I like short socks, and they go much quicker!

2) The heel in the pattern is a short row heel, but I was too muzzy-headed from my pain killers to focus on learning a new technique... so I did the traditional heel flap.

This is a great pattern, very easy once you get going. I only have one issue with the cuff.. it's quite fiddly. You knit, then fold it in half, then knit the cast on edge to your live row - quite the pain. I think it might be easier to just fold and sew it down afterwards. Mine's a little wonky, but it'll do.

And the yarn.... this is of course our Alley Cat Sock yarn. The colourway is Lizard Ridge. It doesn't quite stripe, and the hues are fairly subtle which is why I thought it would be a great yarn for Nutkin.

This is shameless self promotion - but damn is this yarn soft! it feels very soft when we are dying, and just seems to get softer. It's so nice to knit with.

Anyway, if all goes well, I should have this sock done tomorrow, then I can start on the second one on Friday.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pixie Power

As promised, there are some new stitch markers in the shop. Can you guess which are my favourite?
Dave and I had a pretty quiet anniversary weekend. He bought me all the stuff to build me a Mac, so he's been pretty busy working on that all weekend. I've been getting some much needed cleaning and organizing done. We did have a nice evening last night with some strawberry daquiris....

I did a little knitting, mostly on the crackghan - it's almost 14 inches long now. I didn't cast on for the hat, and it may get put on hold a little longer. I have the urge to cast on for some socks... and good pattern suggestions?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Frivilious Friday

I have no knitting progress to report.. absolutely none. I haven't touched the needles all week.

So.. here are a bunch of other little things that are going on around the studio this week.

True Love
Tomorrow, Dave and I celebrate seven years of togetherness. I've been wracking my brain about what to get him for a present. The boy has everything - and anything he doesn't have, I can't afford. I considered making him socks but 1) he's not deserving, 2) this is 7 years... some how socks just don't scream I'll love you forever - even if they are hand knit 3) I don't have time. Dave's not a gadget guy, he's not a sports guy, and he totally doesn't wear ties.

I asked him what he wanted and got "Nothing. Save your money." So I asked, "Are you getting me something?" to which he responds "Of course." So now I HAVE to get something.
Today I finally settled on a couple pairs of new jeans. It doesn't so much scream "I love you" as "I love your butt", but it will have to do. Besides - he does need jeans and getting him to go shopping is a nightmare.

Today, Mom has left for "Knit Camp". Dad has left for "Hunt Camp."
Lady... spending the weekend with my grandparents.

Russell, Duece and Tibby....
... are home alone. I'm going up every day to feed, water, love and scoop poop... but they are not very happy cats. They all go outside, but it's too cold to leave them out - and I don't have the time to wait around for them to come back in. So they are stuck inside until Sunday. When I popped by this afternoon they had only been alone for about four hours, and Russell was already complaining... loudly. I think Mom is going to have some serious explaining to do when she gets home.

I was in Chapters today and I came across this:
Here's a quick plot summary (got to Wikipedia to read the full version):

"The story follows the plot of Pride and Prejudice, but places the novel in an alternative universe version of England where zombies roam the countryside. Elizabeth Bennet and her four sisters live on a countryside estate with their parents. Mr. Bennet guides his daughters in martial arts and weapons training, molding them into a fearsome zombie-fighting army; meanwhile, Mrs. Bennet endeavours to marry the girls off to wealthy suitors. When the wealthy and single Mr. Bingley purchases a nearby house, Mrs. Bennet spies an opportunity and sends the girls to the first ball where Bingley is expected to appear. The girls defend the party from a zombie attack, and attraction sparks between Mr. Bingley and eldest daughter Jane Bennet. Elizabeth, however, clashes with the Bingley's friend, the haughty monster-hunter Darcy."

I am a huge Jane Austen fan (and I would trade Dave in for Mr. Darcy in a heart beat) and I am at once appalled and intrigued by this book. I almost bought it, but I think I'll wait for it to end up in the bargain section... just incase it's crap. There is another... "Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters"... wow!

Warm it up
It's turned quite cold here - there were even reports of snow on the mountain (for those not from the area - the mountain here is the Niagara Escarpment... it's really a big cliff... and people who come from places with "real" mountains tend to laugh at us, but we don't care) so I think I'm going to be casting on for a new project:
The entrelac-along beret. I've never done entrelac but mom says it's easy. I even went out an bought Noro for this. I'm not particularly fond of Noro. I don't like the feel or the knots. So, I bought the Silk Garden to help with the feel, and the knots I'll just have to deal with it. It's entrelac, so I can work around them.

That's it for now, hope everyone has a good weekend and stays warm!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cat marks the spot

I was tooting around in the shop yesterday and realized we were sold out of stitch markers!!!
Since we can't have that, I updated a few more sets today

This one is my favourite:
(The tails move! How cool is that?!?)

But there are also dragons, a safari and a spelling bee. I've got to do some organizing in the studio first, but I should have some more in the shop by then end of the weekend!

In other knitting news, some inquired about the specifics of the cardi:

It's Debbie Bliss' "One Button Cardigan" from her Pure Silk book. (rav link) It's suppose to have full sleeves, but I opted for a 3/4 length - just to be different.

Like all the other Debbie Bliss patterns I've knit, this one is well written and easy to follow... however, like most Debbie Bliss patterns I've knit it also leans a little towards oversized (and I accidentally knit it on 3.25mm instead of 3.75 mm and didn't realize until I was almost done..... whoops)... but it's comfy.

It calls for Pure Silk (obviously) which is a sinfully soft and seductive yarn - however having previous experience with it (it doesn't hold its shape) I opted for something a little more... reliable.

Mine is knit with Filatura Di Crosa Zara. I really can't say enough about this yarn. It's a DK weight, extra fine merino. It has great sproing, no itch and is toasty warm. While it's not as soft as, say, cashmere or alpaca, it's still soft and so comfortable to wear.. like snuggling up with a good friend. I've been wearing it straight since Sunday, and it seems to get softer.

Two years ago Mom made me a cardigan with Zarina, which is Zara's sport weight little sister, so I know it will wear well. Apparently it is also machine washable (cold water, gentle cycle) but I'm not taking any chances. I've grown up having to handwash hand knits, and already have several that need to be hand washed - so what's one more?

But the bestest part of this yarn? I got it at Julie's tent sale - for $1 a ball!!! Yep, using just 9 balls, this sweater cost me $9... what a super score. I bought 13 balls, so I still have four full ones left - don't know what to do with it yet but I will find something!

Monday, October 12, 2009


Well, I didn't want Thanksgiving to wrap up with out stating what I'm thankful for...

Of course I'm thankful for all the usual stuff, the handsome guy, the job I love (most days) the comfy place to live, food in my belly etc, etc...

But I'm also thankful for.......the terrific Mom who loves me enough to sew up my knitting projects. Yep the cardi is done - not a very exciting picture - sorry - just not up to modeling lately. Anyway, Mom very kindly (after MUCH whining on my part) set in the sleeves and finished seaming it for me. She's the best.

It's nice and comfy and cozy and I have it on over my pajamas right now.

Well, first I had to do a little extraction.....Leave a hand knit lying around for two seconds around here and it's claimed.

In other knitting news, I've finished another row on the crackghan (it's a whopping 13.5 inches long now), knit another ball and a bit on the sloppy sweater, and started a baby blanket for a friend's sister who is due in January.

And there are still a few hours left to take advantage of the sale over at the Wandering Cat Yarns (see sidebar for link) - get 10 per cent off yarn or half-price shipping... which ever is greater.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Sloppy style

Well, I must say... I've immensely enjoyed my first Friday off since switching my schedule around. I got up at 10:30, cleaned the house (which didn't take nearly as long as I thought it would) then I knit, knit, knit and never once got out of my pajamas.

I finished the last sleeve for the cardigan and it's blocking now. I'm hoping to get it all together on Sunday.

And to celebrate casting off... I cast on (naturally)

This is the relaxed pullover - or as I've dubbed it - "the sloppy sweater". You know, the kind of sweater you can just laze around in... no special shaping, or design... just pure comfiness.

I'm using the Rowan Bamboo Tape I bought a few months back (it was bought with this sort of sweater in mind). The colour is Honey and it's a nice warm mustardy/gold with a beautiful sheen. Even though it's a sloppy sweater it will be easy to dress up.

I've only knit with Bamboo once before. It was Berrocco Bonsai - a nice ribbon yarn similar to this. And just like the Berrocco, this is knitting up nice - smooth and silky, drapes nice and softer than you'd expect - it always surprises me how soft bamboo yarn is. I always expect it to be like cotton.

I'm interested to see how it wears... I don't think bamboo has much memory, so that's another reason I went for a pattern with little shaping. We don't need another Leo.

Anyway, I've knit up one whole ball - and being worsted this should go pretty fast... as long as I don't get too sidetracked.

And speaking of sloppy...
I think it's time I bought Rocky a new tent. This one is staring to look pretty shabby. It's one of his most favourite possessions though. And even the other two sneak into it now and again.

Tomorrow I have to work at Job #2 (ugh). Sometimes on holiday weekends (it's Thanksgiving here in Canada) if its not busy, management will let us close up early... it's been dead all week so keep your fingers crossed. And if you live in the Hamilton area and were thinking of buying a car... I'd appreciate it if you'd wait till next weekend. ;)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Books, writing and, of course, knitting!

Well, I finally cast on for the last sleeve of my cardi.

But... (there's always a but) while it is conceivable that I could get the whole thing together by the end of the weekend, I just picked up the final Harry Potter book (I know Slacker=me).

And while normally I'd stay up into the wee hours of the morning to read it, I've switched my work schedule at Job # 1 around... so instead of working 28 hours over five days and starting at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. noon... or whenever I felt like it.. I am now doing 9-5 for four days with every Friday off. So, that means I have to be out of bed at 8 at the latest (so I can be out the door at 8:15 and to work by 9 ... yes it only takes me 15 minutes to get ready.... 1. I lay my clothes out the night before, 2. I make my lunch the night before 3. I don't wear make-up and my hairstyling consists of spraying it with water and smooshing it flat 4. I don't eat breakfast and it takes all of 30 seconds to feed the kids)

So, you can see how Harry can potentially seriously cut into my knitting time. And I absolutely positutely have to have the book read by next Thursday - Dad has stated he is taking it hunting with him.

So cardi may or may not be done this weekend (it is a long weekend but I have to work at Job #2 Saturday and they won't let me knit there... I know, boo them... but they do let me read) and I'm not making any promises.

In other news, I've signed up for Nanowrimo (Google it... I'm too lazy to link tonight).. So come November I will be trying to write a 50,000 word (or more) novel in 30 days. It's sounds daunting, but it's only 1,666 words a day, and most days I write twice that at work. some come November....that's going to cut into knitting time too... it's a good thing I decided not to knit for Christmas.

And since I hate pictureless posts... here's some cuteness for you to overload on
I was cleaning out my needle basket the other day and Rocky decided the best way to 'help' was do make himself comfortable in it.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Celtic considerations

The weather here has definitely cooled, and autumn has caught me unawares.... my faithful fall coat has finally bit the bullet.... I can't really complain, it lasted me 10 years, and I abused it.

So, on Friday, I took a trip to one of my favourite stores... Danier Leather (where last fall coat came from). I knew what I wanted... something with shaping, something with buttons, and something RED. Not crazy bright red, but that battered, weathered dark red that looks so sexy on vampires and people with my hair colour and complexion.

And they had it.. oh, they had it alright... it looked wonderful.. and then I looked at the price tag.... $300.

It's not that I think $300 for a leather coat is outrageous (especially since my last one lasted 10 years) it's just... well... $300 was the CLEARANCE price. And, more importantly... I didn't have $300 to spend... well I did... but I would like be able to buy groceries sometime this month.

So, cooler heads prevailed and I left the store..., sad, depressed and jacketless. And not only that... none of the stores around here seem to be carrying fall jackets.. maybe I should have gone shopping in June, because all I can find are winter coats.

But I still need something. Knitted ponchos only take you so far, and me winter coat is just waaaaay too warm.

So today I thought "screw it," I'm going to knit myself a jacket and logged on to Ravelry.

First, let me just say it's too bad this doesn't come in big girl size:But anyway... now I'm deciding between this:
I've always wanted to make the Arwen cardigan (well mostly I wanted mom to make it for me, but that's not going to happen) But then there is this:A lovely Drops patterns. Both have lovely Celtic cables, which I adore, and both are knit with Aran weight yarn. I'm in negotiations with mom for a lovely cone of Debbie Bliss Merino she has in her stash. She bought it with the intentions of making my Dad a sweater... but I knit him a sweater last Christmas, so I think that should hold him for a while... don't you?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Nothin's better than a FAT cat!

Mom got into the dye pot...

without me...

But I can't really complain, she created so beautiful colourways.

This is our Fat Cay yarn - a DK weight, superwash merino. It so soft and squishy, I was tempted to hide a skein in my underpants to sneak it home. But I resisted.

The yarn is now up in the shop, so if you need to make any hats, mitts or baby sweaters... head on over.

Now I have to go investigate what's going on in my bedroom... I left Dave with the task of leveling out the bed (it slants to the middle... but he didn't believe me until I rearranged the room and we switched sides) and there is an awful lot of noise going on that doesn't sound like it should be associated with that particular task... I think he may be working on the doomsday machine again.....