Sunday, January 31, 2010

Midnight in the garden of good and evil

I was having a bit of an ADD weekend this weekend and just couldn't seem to focus on one project.
I did a little more knitting on the Starry sock (though I am considering sending it to the frog pond.)
I knit a few more squares on the crackghan (always good ADD knitting because you're still accomplishing something if you walk away after only half an hour)

I did manage to finish the body on the Tea Leaves Cardi
I even managed to knit about six inches on the arm before I got bored and moved on to something else.

And what was that something else? The skein of Top Cat that I dyed a mom's a few weeks ago...
...has been sitting caked up on my coffee table ... taunting me. I've been trying to be good and get at least one more thing off the needles before I cast on for something else (right now I have two sweaters, and three pairs of socks (not to mention two afghans and a catghan).

But I did sign up for 10 shawls in 2010 - and I did cast off my Fluffy Cat shawl last week (details coming soon - when mom takes some nice pictures of it and I get the pattern together)

And this yarn is waaaay too pretty to be made into just socks - it has to be shown off. I wasn't in the mood to design something myself - so I scoured Ravelry last night and came across Frozen Leaves - so pretty

It took a little finagling (I'm not great with charts) and a few false starts but I'm finally grooving on it
It's definitely a "distraction-free" knit, but well worth the effort. I want to knit just one more row to watch these giant leaves unfold!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Are sea monsters supposed to be this cute...?

... because this one is freaking adorable!I've been stuck at home for the past two days with a brutal sinus infection, so I decided, instead of working with the sea slug version, I'd start over from scratch and maybe figure out where I went wrong. I'm glad I did because this wee little Nessie is damn adorable - I almost don't want to give her to Dave for Valentine's Day.

This time I opted for a pink belly. I really liked all the suggestions I got when I requested a belly colour - and I almost went with yellow, but I wasn't sure if I would have enough yellow yarn. So on the first one I did a blue-green belly, similar to what was used in the pattern - but it just wasn't doing it for me. Then I spied this pink yarn in my basket. It's perfect!
And it's such a fat little belly - you just want to smoosh it!

I used glass seed beads for the eyes to give them a little bit of shine.

And as mentioned before - though the pattern calls for worsted weight - I used sock yarn, so Nessie is much, much smaller... how small?That small!

Yes working with sock yarn on 2mm needles made a fiddly pattern even fiddlier - but look at her... she's so cute!

And don't worry about Nessie's slightly deformed brother - I'm going to disembowel him and redo his belly. Eventually (because I'm in no rush fiddle that much any time soon) he'll look just as cute!

Now I need something mindless... Crackghan anyone?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Evolution of a sea monster

I did a little more work on the starry sock, but mostly tonight I worked on Wee NessieNow she looks like a giant sea slug - I was looking at others and discovered I have messed up somewhere... my tail is waaaay too fat. I'm debating on scrapping it and starting over, or working with what I got - it's for Dave - and just like him - this Nessie is a little... special...

Technical problems aside (it's totally not the pattern - it's me) as far as Hansi patterns go, this one is pretty easy - but if you're thinking of attempting it (or any other Hansi pattern) make sure you can handle lots of wrap and turns, lots of Kitchener stitch and tonnes of fiddly little bits. But the patterns are so cute and ingenious, they are worth it!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Ikea - how I love and hate you

As most readers know, most of the time, my work area (which is my living room) looks something like this:(actually this is an old picture... today it was much worse)

I've been toying with the idea of getting a new coffee table for a while, one with some sort of storage option so I can keep the top tidier- so Ikea to the rescue. I spent a few hours browsing the website and finally decided on the cheapest one - at $30 you can't really go wrong can you?

So I went to Ikea after work today

First - I think that all the stupid, inconsiderate people must have had a play date because they were ALL at Ikea at 5:30 today. Screaming children running rampant, people texting and shopping (and walking into me), an entire extended family arguing over a sofa and clogging up the aisle, etc. You name it - if it was dumb and inconsiderate they did it.

Bad shopping experience aside, I got out of there with a coffee table, floor lamp, and hanging sweater organizer for $80 - not bad. Of course, someone did try to back into me in the parking lot ... twice (once while I was walking to my car, and a second driver who tried to back into my car while I was driving past)

So now to assemble before Dave gets home (1- we don't build well together, 2) he hates all things Ikea and I didn't want to hear about it)

Apparently Ikea is saving money by no longer paying someone to pre-drill holes. They do give you a handy little plastic measuring stick so you you can use a hammer to tap the screw in and mark where the whole is suppose to go. It's a good thing this is particle board and I can drive the screw in with a screwdriver - because I don't know how to use my drill (I have one - and it's mine, not Dave's - but I've never used it... I believe in Women's Liberation, but somethings are just easier to make a boy do... besides what else do I keep him around for?). It's probably not a bad thing though, because those pre-drilled holes never line up right anyway.

So, it went together with relative ease - and I was quite pleased until I turned it over and realized my floor had scratched the very thin veneer - good thing I got the black one - Sharpie marker repair anyone? I also found an old doily which covers the worst of it.

I had no trouble assembling the lamp, but some how manage to smash two light bulbs in the process. The first by lifting the lamp too high and smashing it against the ceiling, and the second shattered in my hand as I was screwing it in.... who needs a drink?

But, the table holds all my stuff beautifully, and the lamp gives me a nice warm glow with some optional directional lighting... and look how nice and tidy it is now?
And why yes, that Barbie is riding a Siberian Tiger on the lamp...
Why do you ask?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Never judge a book by it's cover....

..because something that looks like this......ends up looking like this....It's so much nicer than the skein and it makes me think of crayons! I cast on for this Friday night and finished it up while watching Season 3 of the Tudors. (Which despite it's gross historical inaccuracies is a fine piece of television viewing.)

Of course instead of casting on for the second sock, I worked instead on the Fluffy Cat Shawl (big thank you to mom for helping me get it out of the time-out chair). I cast off for it this afternoon and it's blocking now...It's really a shawlette - measuring about 46 inches wide. Once it's blocked I'll get proper pictures and release the pattern.

And after that was done I still didn't cast on for the second crayon sock.

Nope, I gave into the siren song of the Starry that was already caked and sitting oh so innocently on the coffee table. I was considering knitting My Vampire Boyfriend with it. With a colour like "Gothic Rose" it seemed appropriate - but my printer is out of ink so I can't print out the pattern.

Instead I started designing my own sock:It's a little hard to see but it's pretty eyelet lace that is just chock full of sparkles.

I have to confess myself a little disappointed with the Starry. Despite all that sparkly goodness, the yarn just isn't that soft, it almost feels like working with acrylic - not much give or sproing. The Socks that Rock is much nicer.

Despite that, I'd like to work a little more on it, but I've been neglecting the house work all weekend and there are a few chores that really have to get done before I go to bed (I'm getting that "look" from the cats, and unless I want to wake up with a few unpleasant presents in my bed - I'd better go clean the cat box)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Definitely more than the recommended daily dose

Both Mom and I had today off - so we decided to have another Mommy-Daughter day.
We accomplished several things that have been on our to do list, but by far the coolest is this:A few months back Mom was dying yarn without me (of course) and stumbled across a way to dye the yarn that made it go from light to dark, with a really neat tweedy-look along the way. She immediately knew she had to design a pattern for it. Today, we finally got the pattern together - It's call Girl Next Door and comes in three sizes, infant, child and woman.

Even better - you can get it as a kit in the shop with our squooshy and scrumptious Fat Cat DK in a special Chromacolour line. We put four kits up in the shop today:
That one is my favourite - I called it Pickle!

One of the other things we accomplished was a trip to Julie's where I picked up a 2mm round needle to do Wee Nessie's belly, a skein of Berocco Ultra Alpaca for Dave's fingerless gloves, and I got a little something for myself....
I splurged on a skein of Dream in Colour Starry in Gothic Rose. I know one one my resolutions was to knit from my stash unless I needed to buy something for a specific project (Like Dave's gloves)... but this has SPARKLES!!! (Yes, I'm easily distracted by shiny objects). I've been trying to steal a skein of Mom's Cocoa Kisses for months... but then I saw the Gothic Rose. Seriously - sparkly socks are just too cool! (And think of how good the left overs will look in the crackghan!)

I also brought home a skein of yarn from last week's dying session. As soon as I dyed it I knew I needed to keep it for myself
It's Mystic Midnight and it's going to be a shawl, as it's way too pretty to be just socks (not that I'm knocking socks). The picture does not do it justice, it's too dull. The colours really pop in real life, I wish you all could see it.

I also snagged another skein of yarn off mom today:She got a bunch of Socks That Rock mill ends in a special Blue Moon sale. This one intrigued me and I just have to see what it will knit up like.

I also snagged some samples and leftovers for the crackghan
Now I don't know about you, but I think that's more than enough fibre for one day!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

There's something lurking below the surface...

Even though I have several projects on the go, I couldn't resist casting on for just one more.
It's one I've wanted to do for a while:
Hansi Singh's Loch Ness Monster. As you can see I've got the main part of the body done. All that's left are the belly and the flippers.

The pattern actually calls for worsted weight yarn, but I'm making mine with sock yarn, so Nessie will be small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. It makes it a little trickier to pick up stitches, but it's going to be uber-cute! I need to get a 2mm round needle before I can do the belly though, and I still have to decide what colour to do.... any suggestions?

PS - thank you for all the well wishes on my health. I'm feeling much better now - though the cats still can't make chicken noodle soup....

Monday, January 18, 2010


Yep that's about how I feel right now. Which is much better than I felt last night and this morning.

One of the downsides to living alone is that when you're sick, there's no one to take care of you. Dave was here last night and babied me - he made me toast and cut it in half (though he forgot to cut the crusts off), made me neo-citron, and even brought me something to throw up in (of course it was my good soup pot, so I had no intentions of using it, but it's the thought.)

But he left for work this morning and I've been on my own all day. And I gotta say - the cats are next to useless - they can't make you toast, all they want to do is eat the butter. They can't fetch you drinks, or blankets, or pillows. They can't even microwave you a bowl of chicken noodle soup. They best they could muster was to help keep the bed warm when I was napping.

Anyway, since I've been on the couch most of the day, I've been working away on the Tea Leaves cardigan, but I don't really feel like I got as far as I should. Again, I think that's probably because I'm knitting the back and fronts at the same time.

I won't bore you with pictures, as I only got about three inches knit and it looks much the same as it did yesterday.

I do like that I can try it on for fit whenever I want. I've already determined that I will probably make it an inch or two shorter than the pattern calls for.

In other knitting news, the fruits of Friday's dyeing labour are now up in the shop:In this pile there is both Alley Cat and Top Cat and Mom posted them this afternoon.

And, we've also introduced a new yarnIt's called Stray Cat - a Sport Weight Superwash Merino. It's soft and smooshy and so much fun to dye. Check it out!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Moving along

After posting last night, I had a little flurry of productivity.

I finished up another row on the crackghanI was going to take a shot with the tape measure to show you how big it's getting, but as soon as I put it on the floor, Tux claimed it. But, he's a pretty good indicator of size. It's just a little more than 20 inches now.

After that, I picked up my Tea Leaves Cardigan. I'd knit a few rows here and there, but it didn't seem like I was making any progress. I think that's partly because it's the first sweater I've done in one piece and I'm not use to having that many stitches in a row. Also, I was using my bamboos. I love bamboo needles, but there are some yarns they just don't jive with - and the Tosh Merino is one of them - it's just too ... sticky... and it was slowing me down.
I switched to metal needles and I'm moving right along. I probably have about eight inches left to go.

I also did some work last night on my Sloppy sweater.
I finished up the back today, and might cast on for the front tomorrow.

Oh and the cat couch is stil a big hit, with the babies all taking turns sleeping in it. But Rocky....
Rocky has to be a rebel - he'll only sleep on the back.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Ah, perfection!

We all have different ways of relieving stress - a way to get away from it all for a minute, and hour, a day or two. For Dave, it's a weekend of guitar at the cottage (which is where he is now) for me, it's good movie and a cat purring in my lap. Some times I draw, make jewellry or dye yarn (which I did yesterday - see picture) - anything that lets my creativity flow.

And for most knitters, it's our knitting. Of course at times, knitting to add to our stress - such as a messed up lace pattern and a UFO in the time out chair (which is where the Fluffy Cat shawl is until I can get mom to fix it).

But there are those knitting projects that just seem to melt it all away. The ones you just enjoy so much that each stitch seems to lead to nirvana.

For me, it's my crackghan. There is something just so mellow and sublime about building an afghan square by tiny 2.5 inch square (yeah - that's how small they are).

I just finished cleaning out my UFO basket - there are two sweaters, a baby blanket, a chunky afghan, and a pair of socks - each one is tempting to work on, but after the week I've had, nothing is calling me quite like the allure of the trance-like knitting of the crackghan.

Add to that the can of Heiniken (I don't drink beer often, but I do love me a good Heiney!) that Dave left me (thanks babe - you're the bestest!) and it's pure bliss. So I'm off to it.

What are your favourite stress-relieving projects?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Well, I'm glad that's over...

... this week was a tough one. Lots of work stress, lots going on around the studio and it was all punctuated by brake failure, an expensive tow and a costly repair. Yup, I'm glad to see the back end of this week. I still have to work tomorrow - but hey it's almost Sunday.

I am lucky however. My car was out of commission for three days, but I had a mom who was able to front the money for the repair and a boyfriend and father who were able to chauffeur me back and forth to work (and Dad handled all the business with the mechanic too!)

I did however, have to take the bus on Thursday to get from Job #1 to Job#2. I didn't think it would be a big deal. I lived in the city for 10 years before we moved away - I didn't get my driver's license until I was 22, and didn't have a car until a year or so later - I went everywhere on the bus, sometimes having to transfer two or three times to get where I wanted.

But there are a few of things I must have blocked out....

1) I don't remember the bus being that smelly. I thought maybe I was unlucky and sat beside some one with serious b.o. - but the second bus I transferred to had less people and smelled just as bad. Bus people out there - how bad does your bus smell?

2) I don't remember the seats being so darn uncomfortable. Maybe it's just because of the back problems I have now, but it's actually much more comfortable to stand.

3) I don't remember it taking so long to get anywhere. But that's probably just because I'm used to taking a more direct, less stop-filled route in my car. It normally takes me 15-20 minutes to travel between jobs, but the bus took a little more than an hour.

As the week was a little chaotic, there wasn't much knitting going on - but there was some:
I got a little more work done on Dave's sock - mostly over lunch at Job #1
I got the shawl back to where it was - a little further actually. I started the second lace pattern, but have once again screwed up. It's going up to Mom's on Sunday to be pulled back a few rows - unless I get frisky tomorrow night and tink back myself.

In other knitting news, Mom scored me another skein of Skinny Bugga in Rainbow scarab.
It will be for Multnomah, which I will cast on for it as soon as I finish the Fluffy Cat Shawl - which, with any luck and fewer vehicular catastrophes, will be next week.

I relieved a little stress by dying up some more yarn today - no pics but they will come soon. These ones will be hard to put up in the shop....

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Winter Blues Begone!

Mom and I got a load of undyed yarn waiting to be colourfied! So, she spent this afternoon marking down the Alley Cat (now $18 a skein) and the Top Cat (now $24 a skein) left in the shop to clear it out. And, you still have until the end of the month to get free shipping on orders over $75 (before shipping)!
So c'mon, it's cold and dreary outside, cheer up your
January with a your recommended daily dose of fibre!
Clicky on the shop in the side bar!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Best deal ever!

In town there is a little flea market that we check out every so often. Normally we drive to it, but it's within walking distance of my house, so today we bundled up an headed out on foot.

It was cold, and I'm not very good at walking in snow, but I'm glad we did because we found the best deal ever.

As you know, I have one of the fattest, laziest cats around. And because he's so fat, he's too big for any of the pets beds I have. Mostly, he hogs my bed. But at the flea market we found this:A pet couch - big enough for Mr. Relaxo.
And why is it the best deal ever? It was only $5! It's actually nicer that my couch....

Anyway, Dave very kindly bought it and carried it all the way home for Tux, even though they don't see eye to eye. It took a little cat nip, but Tux eventually made himself at home. And a little later, Rocky joined him:
Good thing it's comfy enough for two.

But as of right now, it's a princess throne:
Best $5 ever!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

I was productive...

... but not quite in the way I planned. As I mentioned before, I had Friday off. My editor is back and as long as she stays back, I will have every Friday off (Yippee!). My plan was to get up, clean the house, and reknit all the work I had frogged on the Fluffy Cat shawl.

But I didn't. As I was cleaning, I came across my lone little Nutkin sock (lovingly dubbed Nutlet, as you may remember). I knit the first Nutlet waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in October. It flew off the needles in just a little more than a day... but what happened to the second one? Was it the sinister second sock syndrome?

No. Looking back, I think it was mostly the holidays. Throw in the fact that for the six weeks before Christmas I was also pulling 50 hour work weeks, while trying to get Christmas knitting done, there just wasn't a lot of time for extracurricular knitting. As you recall - there wasn't much time for knitting at all - in fact most of the Christmas knitting was done while I was AT work!

Anyway, my point is - yesterday I decided it was past time the first Nutlet got a sibling. I cast on and finished the second one up today:I would have finished them last night, but then I started watching Inglorius Basterds, and well - more than half of the movie is in French or German and subtitled, so I had to put the needles down to follow Tarantino's genius (or madness depending on your point of view).I'm quite pleased with them. It's a great little pattern, and I successfully mirrored the second sock. I knit just two repeats for the leg to make them anklets - which added to the swiftness. They are knit with Wandering Cat Yarns, Alley Cat Sock in Lizard Ridge.

As I said, I really like the stitch pattern, and you may just see it end up in one of my future designs.

In other knitting news, I stopped by the Post Office and picked up the last of the new yarn I bought before Christmas. As of now I am officially on stash diet!
In that pile are 31 (yep... 31!) balls of Debbie Bliss Cathay (a cotton/silk/rayon blend). I don't need that many balls, but it was such a good deal I couldn't pass it up! There is enough there to make two sweaters, but Mom has informed me she's laying claim to half of it (who can blame her? Look at that gorgeous colour!) and I can't really say no considering all the times I've raided her stash.

So, Now I have the rest of the evening to knit... I am considering casting on for the shawl, but probably only after I've knit some Lizard Ridge into the Crackghan!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

As pretty as new fallen snow

I actually had to do real work at Job #2 tonight (helping the daytime girls catch up on their paperwork from Christmas) so I have absolutely no knitting progress to show you.

I do however, have a picture of the little present the mailman left for me today...
Four giant skeins of Cascade Indulgence (70 per cent Alpaca, 30 per cent Angora). This immediately got put in the studio because, as you can see, someone was already plotting it's demise.

I got this from the lovely Rachael at Yarn-A-Go-Go. She really wanted to buy a new Ukulele, so she sacrificed some of her yarn to us other knitters to raise the funds. I snatched this up with the intention of hand-painting it.... but now that it's here and it's so soft, and white, and pretty, and white... I'm not sure I want to.

Please excuse me while I go fondle it some more.....

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


.... after showing you all that beautiful shawl progress, the shawl now looks like this:
After posting last night, I sat down to do a few more rows before bed. I realized I had made a glaring mistake a few rows back. I can't rip back lace - I won't even try. But, I was planning to go up to mom's for a cat food exchange (don't ask - suffice it to say between us we have six very finicky cats) so I put it away so she could fix it.

I took it to her today... now, I knew there were a few other "flubs" but they were ones I was pretty sure weren't that noticeable in the grand scheme of things... blocking solves all right? Well it does until your mother start pointing them out - "Well what about that one?" "And look there, your stitches are all wonky"

She would have had to rip back so far, I would have been left with just a few rows on the needles so I said screw it and frogged it - I guess it's not a good at work project because obviously I wasn't paying enough attention - I'll stick to socks at work.

Anyway, I'll cast on again this weekend. I have Friday off, so once I get my housework done, I should be able to get back to where I was pretty quickly.

So depressing... thanks mom.....

But I did get cheered up a little bit - mom did make me whipped potatoes for dinner, and when I got home this was in my mailbox:Ten scrumdiddlyumptuous balls of Stella (60 per cent silk, 20 per cent rayon, 30 per cent cotton) in Scarlet Red. This is for my Wool Peddlers shawl. Yum!

Monday, January 4, 2010

The shawl is growing....I didn't think I was getting very far- I only did three repeats at Job #2 on Saturday, and another repeat last night - but then I compared the pictures, and it's quite a bit bigger. It's about 24 inches wide.
I think I'm going to knit to 30 inches, then look for another stitch pattern.
I only have one skein of this (400 yards) - so it is going to be a shawlette. But I made Travelling Woman in my Fluffy Cat with one extra repeat, and I still had a fair bit left, so it will be interesting to see just how big I can make this one.

In other news - I realized I hadn't yet blogged about my resolutions. That's not a huge deal, but my thinking was if I said them out loud to all of you - it my help me keep them. Yeah, it's a slim chance, but a girl can dream can't she?

1) Get healthier - yeah, I made this resolution last year and failed miserably. In fact, I got LESS healthy. But the fact that the scale is creeping up on 200 lbs, and none of my pants fit (and to get knew ones means I have to officially go shop in the Plus section) has lit a little fire under my butt.
Let's hope I can keep that flame going. I've got my bike, I'm walking on my lunch, and I went to the grocery store today and the only "junk" I brought home was a box of Lucky Charms. (I have grown up cereal too, but every so often I like a little bowl of "fun") In fact, the only other "junk" I have in the house is some microwave popcorn and the massive 2 ft Toblerone Dave gave me for Christmas - it's going to take a while to get through that one.

2) Eat better - this is obviously tied in with above, but this also encompasses all the "prepared" foods I eat. I really like the idea of clean eating, but I'm not crazy enough to try it - I know I'd never last. But I do want to reduce the amount of prepared, processed food I eat - less fish sticks, chicken fingers, meat pies etc. It means being proactive and taking stuff out of the freezer before I leave for work, but I want to try to get as much fresh food in my diet as possible.

3) Get my sorry butt out of debt - I want to make a serious effort to get myself out of debt. While I have a really good feeling about this year (I have a feeling something BIG is just around the corner) I also work in a volatile industry (newspapers) and, while here in Canada, we didn't get hit as hard by the recession as our American friends, I also feel that the worst is yet to come. I want to be ready when it does - and if I'm wrong, well then I've just made my life a little more comfortable and I can finally start saving.

4) Knit from the stash - This is a large part of above. My stash grew considerably over the last year - and it's where most of my expendable and not-so-expendable income went. I have three shipments of yarn coming - some Debbie Bliss Stella, some Debbie Bliss Cathay and some Angora/Alpaca, but other than that - I will not be adding to my stash unless I need it for a specific project (like Dave's fingerless gloves). I am however making a one day exception for Julie's tent sale in the summer - that's just too good an opportunity to miss!

So, in the spirit of keeping those resolutions, I'm going to go hope on my bike for 3o minutes, eat a healthy snack and getting knitting!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy Knit Year!

I hope everyone had a good New Year's Eve.

Dave and I found ourselves at his uncle's and I found myself with several glasses of his aunt's excellent wine - so I can't complain. There was food, fire works (which almost lit my skirt on fire) and lots of laughs.

The cats were here by themselves, and apparently celebrated the New Year by trashing the house. I came home to plant dirt scattered, yarn EVERYWHERE, contents of the coffee table dumped and cat toys all over the floor. Apparently I have teenagers in fur coats!

They have spent most of the day sleeping it off. Rocky has taken over the box of Madeline Tosh:
I did indeed cast on for my first shawl. For my first one, I decided not to go to my queue but to design one of my own. I have been working on it all day...
It doesn't seem like much for a day's worth of knitting, but I've also ripped it out about seven times and started over - part of the fun of designing.

This looks nothing like the shawl I had in my head - but I'm finally happy with it. I'm using my Fluffy Cat in 'Pink Pearl'.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - I LOVE this yarn! It's so soft and silky and creates a beautiful drapey fabric - if you're thinking of knitting 10 shawls this year - at least one of them should be knit with Fluffy Cat. There are five beautiful colourways in the shop right now and if you spend more than $75 you can get free shipping until the end of the month.

Hope every one had a great New Year - and I have a really good feeling about 2010!