Saturday, June 30, 2012

Surmount the stash - June round up

No surprise - the socks won't be finished in time for the June round up - but that's okay. I'm feeling pretty good about this month anyway.

First up was my Slinky Vest - Queen Mab.

This was the biggest accomplishment this month and I still absolutely love it. A fabulous dye job on Mom's part!

Next was Dad's Father's day socks.
The colourway, Armada, is another of Mom's creations, and the pattern is mine (currently in testing).

Little Nora's Pinwheel, knit in Fat Cat,  just flew off the needles.

I absolutely adore this pattern. If you have a little girl to knit for, I highly recommend it.

And last, but not least - My Crow Waltz.

This was a very quick knit, though it is very small. There's a rectangular verision and I'm thinking I've got two skeins of Mini Mochi in the stash that would be just perfect. This one used Sophisticat for the edging, and yarn spun by Smoking Hot Needles for the centre. I'm pretty sure, if I use something else for heel and toe, that I will have enough of it left for handspun socks!

So, monthly yardage total is an awesome  2,024 yards! There's also a nice dent in two goals: another pair of socks for my 10-pair goal (three pairs total so far); and - Queen Mab is cardigan-like enough for me to count it toward my four-sweater sweater goal (three knit so far - only one to go!)

Overall - a pretty darn good month. And naturally - I ended it by dying some more yarn. Just a little Fluffy Cat...

Including some in a new gradient technique Mom and I are trying out.

These ones are mine - a dusky green, to purple, to grey.

Also, I heard a rumour there will be a shop update tomorrow.... noonish!

And the winner is....

Minding my own stitches!

She wins a Morning Glory Sock kit! Congratulations!

I'm off to the dye studio and will be back this evening with more yarny fun!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Let the staycation begin

As of 6:30 this evening - I am on vaction for a whole week! No plans to go anywhere - just kick around the house and get some things done. I have a laundry list of chores and tasks, and no doubt I won't get to all of them - but rest assured I will be blogging about what I do accomplish.

Now onto this week's accomplishments. After blogging on Wednesday, I actually stayed up and finished the first Dragonfly sock.

That wasn't my plan - honest. But Dave was late getting home and I just kept knitting while I was waiting. The second sock has been started and I will be working on it as soon as I hit publish!

Last night, I set the sock aside to finish up Crow Waltz

All that was left was the top edge, but it was a picot bind off, so it took some time. It's a very little shawl, but I think it will be nice and warm wrapped around my neck this winter. I'll do a proper FO post when I get a few better pics. I just took these quickly while I was exercising the boys and watering the roses.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Flying dragonflies

The Dragonfly socks are zooming right along. I can finish a full pattern repeat (10 rows) in about half an hour. I got two repeats done on my lunch today!

As much as I'm digging the pattern and the yarn, I really need to get a move on my Christmas knitting. So instead of knitting these socks for myself, I'll be adding a little length and putting them in the Christmas box. (It is only six months away after all.)

Ideally, I'd like to finish these socks this week - then I could include them in this month's stash surmount. In theory, it's possible. However, I also have the Crow Waltz shawl I'd like to finish. I got the body complete on Saturday, it just needs it's top edging. I estimate that will take a full evening. If I want to finish the socks in time, I'd definitely need that evening.

Oh well, they will be finished soon, and that's another skein out of my stash that's been kicking around for a while!

Are you doing a stash down? How's it going?

PS... don't forget to scroll down and enter the contest!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Adventure's in babysitting

It's well-known among my friends and family that I'm not exactly a "kid" person. Oh, I get a long fine with children - I'm just not the type to seek them out. I don't get a gooey over a new baby (though I do like knitting for them), I don't tend to care when coworkers go on about their kids (though I dutifully smile and nod). I don't have anything against kids - they just aren't my thing.

That said, there are some children on this planet that I do adore. First, naturally are my nieces. And next up are the Three Musketeers:

Lily, Ethan and Owen, the beautiful children of my best friend Samantha.

On Sunday, Sam and her husband Michael had a wedding to attend, so Sam asked me to watch the kids. Now I'm no dummy - I know the easiest way to make a babysitting job go smoothly is to keep the kids entertained - and what's better than crafts? It's a little tricky with the age spread (10, 8, and 4) but I had a good idea of what to do.

A trip to the dollar store and $20 later I was equipped with everything I needed for an afternoon of fun.

And the final result - birdhouses!
Clockwise from top left: Lily's (complete with Angry Birds!), Owen's, Ethan's and mine. 

After painting, there was trampoline jumping (I need one of those - it's a great workout!), Star Wars watching, card playing, video games, and homemade fajita eating:

 And then, one by one, they went off to bed and it was just me, my book and good old Dozer
And now it's back to knitting...

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Contest - Morning Glory Kit

Want yo make your own pair of Morning  Glory socks?

Here's your chance. I'm giving away a Morning Glory sock kit - including pattern and one custom-dyed skein of Alley Cat. To enter simply leave a comment before Midnight on Friday, June 29, 2012. I'll randomly choose a winner on Saturday.
 Want to earn an extra entry - blog about this contest and let others know! Good luck!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Saturday happenings

I was planning on getting to the garden today. There's a giant thistle growing right in the middle of my wild roses... as if that garden needed to get more prickly!

I did head outside, but it was too hot to attempt an extraction (not to mention the fact that I can't find my hedge clippers - this thing is so big it's almost a small tree!).

So instead I let the boys out for a romp while I took pictures of my knits.

First up - Nora's pinwheel jacket is finished!
I couldn't be happier with it. It used almost exactly two skeins of Fat Cat. And as you can see, I opted to keep the sleeves one colour - I had just enough! Phew!.
The only mod I made, was to do a picot bind off on the edge instead of the loopy icord the pattern calls for.

And, here's a picture of little Miss Nora her daddy recently shared.
I think she'll look good in purple!

My Crow Waltz shawlette is coming along.

The linen stitch is slow, but every row is getting shorter! A definite benefit to knitting a shawl this way!

And, I've got a good start on my dragonfly socks.
 This pattern just flies! One more repeat then I'm onto the heel.

And, as mentioned, I took let the boys outside with me. Including Mopar....

Mopar was an apartment cat his whole life, and while he used to hang out on the balcony, this was his first real trip outside. He puttered around a bit - then headed back inside where it was cooler. Smart kitty. (you can see how my roses have exploded!)

While we were out, we had a visit from Oreo, the neighbour kitty.

No, he's not Tux's doppelganger... he's about half the size and twice as friendly. He walks me to my car almost every day, and usually greets me when I get home. He's run in the house a couple of times under my feet, but always runs right out - I think it's a game. Tux and Rocky don't mind him much. He comes over every time they are out and there is minimal hissing.
And as you can see...he's a bit of a ham!

Hope your Saturday is bright and sunny - check in tomorrow for a contest!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Three random Thursday things

 1. Araignee blogged recently about her gardens exploding. Mine have too - I think it was the early warm weather. The wild roses out front are wilder than ever and the orange lilies in the back have really busted out in all their glory. In the five years I've been here, I've never gotten more than two or three blooms between the two clumps.

I took this pic on the weekend - this is just one of the clumps. When I came home from work today, I noticed the second clump has just as many. (And yes, I am aware that Tux's rear end is  rather expansive....}

2. Sometimes I think Rocky is the coolest kitteh in the world.
But then he does something evil like barf a hairball on my pillow. While I'm using it.

3. Shawl and baby knitting continues apace, but I don't have any socks on the go at the moment, so when Tangled Up in Sticks and String suggested a Dragonfly Sock KAL, I joined in.Those socks have been on my todo list since I first started making socks. I think I'm going to use my House Cat in Aurora
But I'm going to take one last look in the stash just to be sure... wanna join us? Details are on Tangled's blog.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I've taken a little break from the Crow Waltz shawl - not that I don't love it, I've just gotten a little distracted.

Last week, Baby Nora's daddy asked me if they could pay me to knit some fall/winter clothes for Nora. I informed him that I have a strict policy of not knitting for money - however, I'm more than happy to knit for free for the people I care about, which includes him and his little family.

Besides, I've been dying to knit a Pinwheel Jacket, and there's been a dearth of little baby girls to knit for around here. This was the perfect opportunity, so I set to it and dyed up some Fat Cat on Sunday!

As you can see, I opted for just two colours instead of several, as most people have done on Ravelry. I love the multi-colour versions, but I just wasn't in the mood to dye up that much yarn.

Nora's mom is apparently all in love with greyish-purples right now, so I mixed a few dyes and came up with "Duchess". I have to applaud her good taste - I love this colour so much I want my own sweater from it. I will definitely be making more for the shop.

Due to the nature of the Pinwheel Jacket, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to showcase Mom's "Chromacolour" yarns. This one is "Raisin" and I started it dark to light, though you could easily go either way.

I've just got the sleeves left. I'm debating on doing them in solid Duchess, or half Duchess and half Raisin. I'll keep you posted on the outcome!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Daddy day

Dad got his Father's Day socks today, and with minimal coaxing I was able to get a modeled shot.

The simple wave pattern runs up the the outside edge of each sock. These were knit in Alley Cat Falkland, which is definitely my new favourite sock yarn. I do need a testknitter so if anyone has a pair of man-feet they need to knit socks for, give me a shout.

While visiting with Dad, I also did a little dyeing, cooked everyone dinner (burgers and salad!) and knit away on my Crow Waltz shawl.
This truly crappy photo definitely does not show how cool and awesome the handspun is knitting up. The linen stitch is slow to build, but once you get into the rhythm of it, it's quite a nice stitch to execute. And the fabric it makes is amazing. I definitely see more linen stitch in my future.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Budget bride

The edging for the crow waltz shawl is blocking, and nothing else on the needles is speaking to me at the moment, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to answer some of the questions that have been asked about our upcoming ceremony.

What most of you don't know, is that Dave and I were actually planning to do this a few years back, but then the engine went on his car and.... well, there went all the money we were planning to spend. It was never going to be a huge event - as much as I'd love to, I just can't spend $20,000 on one day, and don't really want to go into debt for it.  We've scaled it back even more from our original plans, so that means hunting bargains and doing a lot of things ourselves. Not really a problem for a crafty bargain-hunter like me!

The dress I found on Ebay. It's been hanging in my closet for about three years now (since the car blew up) and I'm really excited to be able to wear it. It wasn't one of those overseas deals  - this was a bridal shop in the states, selling off old store samples. The dress had been tried on by brides, and then they'd order it in the proper size.
It's in beautiful condition - tried on, but never worn. The lace jacket, which is fully beaded, comes off and it's just a nice simple dress with spaghetti straps. The best part though.. the original price tag came with it. - $800. I got it for $60. I'd call that a steal!

Our colours are red, black and of course, white.And while real flowers are nice, silk flowers are usually less expensive (though they can get pretty pricey themselves), and can be done well in advance.
This is my bouquet. It's made from four autumn floral picks, bought at the dollar store. The wild roses were bought at Michael's on sale. The total cost of my bouquet? Less than $10 - ribbon included! I still have to make my attendants' flowers, but I have a similar plan.

Many readers will remember that I use to make and sell jewelry. I still have quite the stash of beads, and I put these together today.

Pearls and garnets - my favourite combination. I'm still deciding on the style of necklace I want. I will be making sets for the girls as well.

And, as much as I'd love to spend the morning being pampered, and getting my hair done, the cost of an updo (especially with the length of my hair) just isn't in the cards.  I've been wracking my brain for something pretty, but easy, which could be styled by myself or one of my attendants.  I owe the thanks for this one to Celtic Cast On. She has some adorable pictures of her little T on Ravelry, with her hair done just like this.

Add in some flowers, and voila - instant bride (admittedly, it's a little messy, because I did it myself - but it's very easy for someone else to do). The best part is, I've had my hair up like this all day, doing housework and bouncing around, and it's still in and looking decent. It should hold up well for the big day.

Several of you have also asked about a wedding shawl. Naturally, there's going to be a wedding shawl. But I'm not making it. Mom has very kindly offered to knit it for me. I've dyed up some Fluffy Cat Lite in a rich, raspberry red, and she will be making Aeolian, which will go perfect with our autumnal, leafy theme! I will share pictures as soon as she starts!

Up next is finalizing the guest list, and designing the invitations. I'd like to have them in the mail next month. The count down is on!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Let's Waltz!

Regular readers may remember the debacle with the first Crow Waltz shawl I started. After that, I restarted the edging with some lovely Sophisticat in Chimney Sweep.

But then it languished, I'd just lost all mojo to work on it and I eventually frogged the few leaves I had done and tossed the yarn back into the stash.

But recently, Mom has been showing interest in spinning. She got some beautiful handspun merino silk from another Raveler. She talked to the spinning ladies at the fibrefest. She liberated my grandma's neglected Kiwi wheel. She bought fibre to spin.... and all this got me thinking... I don't want to spin, but damn, I do love handspun yarn!

And then I remembered. I still have a HUGE skein of pretty, pretty handspun goodness that I got from Smoking Hot Needles. 
And it was always intended for the Crow Waltz shawl. And I'm on a stash down - and it's in my stash - just waiting to be used!

So, I dug out the Sophisticat as soon as Dad's socks were off the needles. It's funny how your perception of a project can change. I remember these leaves taking AGES last time - but this time, they are just flying off my needles. I've already got the first half of the border done.

These leaves were mainly knit over my lunch hours, though I finished the last few up tonight. Only 24 more leaves to got...with a little dedication - I could be cracking into that handspun by Sunday!

(For those wondering what happened with my Colour Affection Infection... it hasn't cleared up - there are three skeins of Fluffy Cat in the shop that would make a lovely one. Only the reminder that I have many pretty skeins already in my stash is keeping the infection from spreading - but it's hard to say how long that will keep it at bay....)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Socks,socks and more socks!

My computer is finally working properly!!!!! (I might have whined a little last night to get him working on it....) Which means....
The Morning Glory sock pattern is finally ready for you all! This is my absolute favourite sock right now, and I'm lucky enough to have two pairs! The pair Mom test knit, she made in my size!

While the lace pattern looks complicated on this sock, it's much easier than you think. Once you get going, these socks just fly off the needles!

And speaking of flying socks...those who had every confidence I would finish Dad's father's days socks in time were bang on the money.

(I apologize for the truly crappy photo - a better one will come when I have better light and man-feet to model)

I knit on them every spare second I had. I didn't neglect my housework for once, and still managed to get a good chunk of them done on Saturday, getting well past the heel. Sunday saw the finish of most of the foot, and last night was the last pattern repeat and the toe. I grafted them just before bed!

I will be knitting another pair of these for my brother - and the pattern should be available fairly quickly, barring any more computer issues. 

But for now, I think I'm going to go knit a shawl!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Queen Mab

Despite the heat today - I put on hand-knit to get some nice modeled shots of the Slinky Vest.

The pattern is officially called Queen Mab. It's an easy top-down construction with a really simple lace leaf motif. 
It used just under two skeins of Slinky Cat. 

Because of the the top-down construction, there's very little finishing on it. Just sewing down the mandarin collar and the front bands.

I'm working on the math for a couple more sizes, but I hope to have this pattern ready for the fall. It's definitely my new favorite garment.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Wiggling as fast as I can

On Monday, before I took the Slinky vest off the blocking board, I was working away on another design. A new pair of men's socks in Alley Cat Falkland (colour is Armada). They are for my Dad for Father's Day, and I was so proud that I got the first one finished on Monday with so much time to spare.

I was so confident, that I didn't start the second sock until today. And I only started it today because  I looked at the calendar and realized Father's day is NEXT Sunday! How did that happen???

In circumstances such as these, I'd normally just neglect my house work and knit, knit, knit. However, I neglected my housework for the vest, Fibrefest, and everything else that's been going on. It's to the point that even I can't ignore it anymore (which mean's it's bad. Really bad.)

I'm dedicating tomorrow to cleaning, but after that, I'm really going to have to get a wiggle on to get these done in time!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I'm in love....

If it's wrong to love a vest of merino/silk more than my fiance... I don't want to be right. Okay - maybe not more - but it's close.

Yes, I'm talking about my Slinky Vest. It came off the blocking board last night, and I sewed the front bands and collar and attached the clasps. I tried it on and it fit perfectly (I love it when that happens!)

I wasn't planning on wearing it right away. As mentioned, I was hoping to get a new sundress (well actually make one - but that's another story). But, last night I was putting away laundry before bed, and I discovered a forgotten jersey dress in the dark recesses of the closet (I wouldn't be surprised to find Narnia in there, to be honest). It's soft clay-beige, and is the perfect compliment to the mottled purple, pink and green tones of the yarn.

So I wore it to work today!

The picture does not do it justice, but I couldn't wait to show you. Better pics will come this weekend when my personal photographer (AKA Mom) helps me show this beauty's true colours!

Many of you know how I feel about the perfect buttons/closure for every project  - check out these...
These are actually pewter necklace clasps, but they work perfect for this (and no placing button holes!)

I am looking for test knitters for this, so if you're interested, let me know. I have four sizes I'd like tested.

And speaking of test knits....
Mom finished the test knit of Morning Glory (and she made them my size too - how sweet!). The pattern will be ready as soon as I get that guy of mine to fix my PC. Currently I'm stuck on the Mac that has no programs...

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sunday knit-a-thon

Thank you for all the kind congrats on our upcoming ceremony. I have to admit, I'm stupidly excited about it. I'll be posting all the details in the months to come (there will be lots of crafty projects associated with it!) but for now, I want to show you something else.
That's right - the Slinky vest is off the needles and blocking. It's hard to tell in the photo, but the lace blocked beautifully - one of my favourite things about knitting with Slinky Cat! 

This is one of those projects that took way longer than expected. Even today - I had only an inch and a half to go on the body, and then an inch for each armhole. I promised myself I would do nothing else until it was done. 

Tux joined me on the couch...
 ...and my little knit-a-thon lasted into the early evening! But it's off the needles and finally blocking. I still have some finishing to do - sewing the front bands and neck back, but soon it will be wearable! 
A proper FO post will come sometime next weekend when I can get better pics (and hopefully find a new sundress to wear with it!

And now, since I can't decide on new yarn for Colour Infection, I'm going to go finish my Dad's socks. Father's Day is just around the corner!