Friday, August 30, 2013


Something strange is happening in my garden....

Remember that pretty mini-rose bush I bought and put in a pot. Well,it's thriving. Which is fantastic. In the end, I didn't really need the filler plant. The rose has filled out the whole pot. And the other day, I got a pretty pale pink bloom.
It's even more robust (many more petals) than the roses that were blooming when I bought it.

Then today, I went outside to water and pick tomatoes (OMG .... soooooooo many tomatoes!!!) and I noticed this...
A very pretty new bud - but a billion times darker than the one that just bloomed. And then I got thinking.... wait a minute..... the original roses were a peachy-yelllow... not dark pink. Not even pale pink....

Has Alice been painting my roses?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

You've got me on my knees... Layla....

When I haven't been working on sock designs, I've been working on my Layla shawl. I picked it up Sunday after a few days break and was knitting away without the chart.

I was making great progress when I decided to check the pattern and see how many more leaf motifs it called for (I was planning on doing more, but I wanted to gauge my finished size by what was done in the sample.).

And that's when I realized, for the last kerbillion rows (also known as at least eight bloody inches of fingering weight knitting....) I was doing the leaf motif completely wrong!!!

The first few sets of leaves were longer than the next nine or so (a whole row longer for each leaf... not to mention, wider...). And readers who know me... yeah, I totally considered saying - a screw it - it's fine - and I can fudge it when I get to the transition chart.

But, I wasn't entirely happy with the way I was beading it anyway... so I took it as a sign and RIIIIIIIIIIIIIBIITTTT!!!

Frogged the whole darn thing. I spent the last few evenings re-knitting and re-beading.

I'm not quite up to the distance where I frogged it, but I'm close... and I'm much happier with the beading this time around.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


The last few lazy days of summer are upon on us....

September is almost here, and honestly, I'm starting to feel a little frantic. I think I have too many projects on the needles. Socks, afghan, three shawls, dishcloths, cardigan... yeah... too many! Plus, Christmas  is drawing nearer, and there's several other projects I want to start for myself... not to mention the commissioned project I took on that's due in November.... or the patterns I need to write out for testing!

Yikes. Okay... deep breath....

I did manage to finish up half a pair of socks

This is a new design I'm working on - and I'm very pleased with it. Though really, I think I'm just enjoying the yarn! Mom does some excellent dyeing!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Guest work

On Saturday, we had a guest dyer in the studio.

My good friend Aneesha wanted to try her hand at dyeing some yarn (and eventually knitting it). Unfortuantely, I'd forgotten my camera, and Mom's was with her and the girls on the way back to Owen Sound.

Mom did take a pic of the results when she got home though.

All I did was mix up the colours she requested - Aneesha was the master behind these lovely Big Cats.I think she's a natural!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Up, up, and away

After the sad news of yesterday, we needed a little pick-me-up.

Mom's had the munchkins all week, but today was their last day here before heading back to Owen Sound. I had the day booked off so we could head out and do something fun.

We chose the Butterfly Conservatory in Niagara Falls. What a great place - butterflies of every imaginable colours - and thousands of them just fluttering about. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Thursday, August 22, 2013


We learned today that we lost a Ravelry friend to a tragic car accident. We were supposed to meet her for the first time in Virginia, but last minute family obligations kept her from coming. Now we'll never get the chance.

Mom and I both sat there in tears, separated by 80 km (she was at home, I was at work, but talking on Skype.) digesting the news, when she said "I don't know how I can get so upset about someone I don't even really know." But we are.

And it got me thinking - just because you've never met someone physically, does that mean you don't know them?

I often talk to Dave or coworkers about my blog and Ravelry friends. And that's the simple truth - though I've met very,  very few of them you in person. I do consider you friends. Through the blog and Ravelry chat rooms we all share bits of our lives. From our shared passion for knitting, has bloomed a friendship based on cat stories and yarn. You share tales about your kids and grandkids, I share stories about my nieces. We relate over the dilemma of giant-man-feet and knitting never-ending socks for them.

Whether through the blog or Ravelry, we "chat" almost every day. Physicality doesn't determine a friendship - a kind word, a shared passion travels miles, and post by post, comment by comment, true friendships are built.

And Nevergiveup, dear Vicki, your quips, your comments and your kindness will be sorely missed on the Ravelry boards.

Top Cat is tops!

Mom updated the shop with the lovely Top Cat and Twisted Top Cat I flashed earlier.
Use the code BACKTOSOCKS and save 10% - and join us for our KAL!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Gifts from the garden

The harvesting is far from over, but I thought I'd do an winding down check-in on my veggie garden...

By far, the most successful item has been the cherry tomatoes. I bought four small plants, and expected a modest haul. I don't actually eat tomatoes, and Dave goes easy on them.

But the plants ended up growing more than five feet tall and have branched out in every direction. They survived a crazy-pants wind storm and are producing fruit like there's no tomorrow. I get about 10-20 tomatoes every day and I'm giving them away to everyone I know - family, neighbours, coworkers. Next year, I think I'll stick to two plants.

Next up are the purple peppers. I bought two plants, just for fun (they were PURPLE!!!) and didn't expect much. We've never had much luck with peppers. I got one very small pepper back in June, and figured that was about it.  Then all of a sudden, mid July the darn thing started flowering again.

This is the third pepper! I'm leaving this one for a few more days, just to see if it gets any bigger. The first two have been very small (no more than three or four inches long). I'm not complaining though - I didn't expect any peppers, really.

The strawberries have been surprising too. At first, it seemed like I was only going to get one measley berry or two. But then all of a sudden, come the end of July, these four plants perked right up and started blooming left and right.

The berries are tiny - but every day, I get a little delicious treat to munch on when I pick my tomatoes.

When I started planting, I figured the yellow beans were going to be the big winner. The plants were healthy, and blooming like crazy. Now the harvest hasn't been terrible, but it didn't really result in more than a couple of handfuls of beans (all of which Dave ate raw as soon as I picked them)

These are probably the last harvest (along with today's tomatoes!) Admittedly, the beans had it a bit harder than the rest of the plants in the garden. They were planted just under the overhang of the house eaves, so they didn't always get the same amount of rain as the rest of the plants. Half of them were also right beside the dryer vent, which may have provided a little too much heat for their liking.

Now savvy readers may be thinking... "hey you planted onions  - what about the onions???"

Yeah... sorry friends, the onions were out of the game pretty early. I decided to thin them out in late June, and well.. they just weren't the same after that. They pretty much all withered and died.  I'll try again next year.

And speaking of next year, do any of you gardeners out there have any tips on helping my strawberries to survive the winter? I think I'll get bigger berries next year, if I can just keep these plants going!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Back to socks

Wow  - how is it Monday already - and my last post was Wednesday?!? I meant to post sooner, I really did. There's several posts written - they are just all still in my head! Well.... onward and upward.. Let's talk socks.

This weekend I finished up the Zauberball socks.
I bought the Zauberball in Virginia, and started the socks a few days after our return. It's just a simple 3-1 rib cuff and boring stockknit foot - nice and simple.

I bought the yarn with my Dad in mind, but for now these are getting tossed in the Christmas box - there are three guys in my life that they will fit, so I can make a decision on who gets them later.

After casting off those socks, I dived into the stash and came up with a skein of Barn Cat that Mom dyed

And a new sock design is born. This one is coming along swimmingly! And I love the colours (colourway is Magical Mystery Tour)

And speaking of socks - if you've been on our Facebook page or poking around in our Rav group  - we've got a new sock KAL starting in September.

Come join us and win yarny prizes!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A little black magic

 Remember all that pretty Slinky Cat I dyed up for the LeStrange cardigan?
Yarn in the wind!

Well, I decided it wasn't quite what I was looking for. While pretty, it was too bright, too cheery. I was looking for something dark and moody. So on Saturday, I gave the skeins and nice little soak in some black dye
mmmm sexy Slinky goodness!
Oooooooh - now that's some yarn fit for a follower of Voldemort! Sadly, none of this is going in the shop - it's mine all mine! And there's none of the Slinky base in stock right now, so I can't make more. However, you will be able to snag some of this lovely Top Cat soon.
Dyed by me!

Or if you're looking for something with more twist...
Dyed by Mom
Twisted Top Cat. These will be in the shop soon! Stay tune!

Sunday, August 11, 2013


Every stitch I put into the French Braid cardigan makes me love it even more. I know it's going to be my go-to cardigan. The kind you throw on when you've got to head out for something you forgot at the store, or just chase away a little pre-winter chill.
I've divided for the sleeves now and things are going swimingly.

Speaking of comfort - there's nothing quite like spending a Saturday night wrapped up on the couch with a good movie, a cup of tea, and your knitting, is there? And that mug - I've had that cup since I was 13 years old - hard to believe it's been 20 years. I got it from Mom for Christmas and it's been my favourite mug ever since. It's been through four moves and countless sick days. Breakfast tea, or an evening hot chocolate - it's the perfect cup - just the right size. And considering my clumsiness, I'm amazed it's never been dropped.

When Dave and I first started dating, he'd make me a tea in an ordinary mug and I've have to go pour it into the "kitty cat cup". Now he knows, and doesn't even ask - and if it's already dirty, he'll wash it first. I have a cupboard with dozens of mugs - but I only use this one. Tea just isn't the same in another cup.

(and for anyone wondering, those cookies are Voortman's Almond Krunch - perfect for dipping!)

Saturday, August 10, 2013


As you know, the boys love to go outside. They only ever go out supervised, and I usually end up bringing them in far sooner than they'd like.

Peno however, beyond watching the birds, has never shown much interest beyond the back door. That is ....until recently. 
"It smells interesting out here"
We've got dogs on either side of us, so when we are out there, I leave the door open for Tux. As soon as he hears a dog bark, he's back inside.

The other day, I was sitting in my chair, watching the boys eat grass (and wondering if they'd be kind enough to barf it back up outside, or wait until we got in and do it in the middle of the bathmat...). I looked over, and saw Miss Peno, tentatively poking her head out the door.
"Maybe just a step or two"

I sat there quietly, knowing any sudden moves would make her bolt back in.
"Hmm.. this smells tasty"

I did have to shoo her from my rose bush (Which is doing fantastic, by the way, got a new bud coming on it!) but she didn't run back inside right away.
"Yeah - that's right! I'm a brave cat - just like my brothers!"

She stood on the ledge for a few minutes, but then....
"Wait! What was that?? It sounds like a monster!!!!"

I have no idea what it was she heard, but she didn't like it. 
"Maybe I'll just watch from in here....
Poor kitty. But I'll keep the door open for her. Maybe one day she'll make it onto the grass. (Please ignore the disgusting amount of cat fur on the back of the curtain. Rocky's favorite night-time activity is to wrap himself in the bottom of it and watch the backyard through the glass.)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Modest modification

Those who know me, know I've been "blessed" in the bust department. The boob fairy definitely did not neglect me - and for the most part, I don't complain too much.

However, I do have some issues when it comes to certain necklines. Particulary a deep V - especially if it's paired with a crossover. My small-breasted compatriots can rock this style without a second thought. I try it and I might as well be wearing a sign that screams "LOOK AT MY BOOBS!!!!!" Sometimes that's okay - but it seriously limits how much wear those outfits get.

And when sundress season comes along, it can be hard to find styles that provide enough coverage. Sure, I can throw a tank top on underneath - but you don't always want that extra layer. So I've come up with a solution.

When I visited Sam last weekend, she gave me a couple of her old dresses.
Deep V + Crossover.... might as well just head out in my bra!
The dress is absolutely gorgeous!  But I just need a little more coverage! So I dug up some of the leftover eyelet material from the dress I sewed in July. I cut a triangle more than big enough to cover the V.
Boob napkin!
I hemmed the top edge and added a little matching lace.
Best sewing tip ever - LOTS of pins!
Then I pinned it to the bodice and hand sewed it to the lining. I could have run it through the machine, but I didn't want to have any stitching on the outside.
Et voila! it looks like the dress was made that way. The whole modification took about half and hour - most of that due to the hand sewing.
That's better! Now I can actually wear this dress without worrying that maybe I should have taped the girls in!

I've got a couple more dresses that will see much more use once I find some fabric scraps to work with them!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Got a Clue?

We updated the shop this weekend with some new yarn - among them is a limited edition "Whodunnit" line of self striping sock yarn.
 This one was all Mom's idea  - a line of monochromatic stripeys inspired by the board game Clue

Clockwise from top left: Mrs White, Miss Scarlet, Mr. Green, Colonel Mustard, Mrs. Peacock, and Professor plum
Here's a look at how they knit up in a sock. As we dye in small batches, there's only a limited number of these. Mom plans to make some more, but it's hard to say how soon that will be.
I always had to be Miss Scarlet? Who was your favourite Clue character?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

All golden

Despite the beautiful, light, airy fingering projects I have on the go, I'm loving working on my worsted weight French Braid cardigan.
This cardigan is just flying. I'm almost ready to divide for the armholes. And I love everything about it. I adore the colour. I love the weight and drape the bamboo tape gives to the knitted fabric.
I love how the cables pop. I love the slight sheen of the bamboo. I really can't wait to wear this. And every time I look in my closet, I find something new I can wear with it. It's definitely going to be a staple of my wardrobe this winter!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Unattainable love

One of the other projects that got cast on during this bout of startitis was the Layla shawl.
Yes - that's the Continental Cat I was using for my Queen Street cardigan. It just happened to be the absolute perfect shade of red needed for this particular project, which is the other reason the cardigan got frogged.

Layla, which is designed by the uber-talented Denise Bell of Lost City Knits, is actually a square shawl. I do have enough yarn to make the full square - however I don't think I have enough time. This shawl has a deadline, so I'm just doing half of it and making it a triangle.

I've knit a couple of Denise's designs (The Monarch Shawl and the Lafitte Shawl) and as always, her patterns are fantastic. She loves nupps and star flowers (as do I) and her patterns have great tips on how to execute them. I know it's probably counter-productive to endorse another hand-dyer - but she's also a fabulous hand dyer too with a great line of yarns - check her out!
The shawl is also beaded - though I'm adding more than the pattern calls for - I love the weight and drama they add to a shawl.

 I'm using the same pearl beads that I'm using in my Mistress Anne shawl design (I really have to go get a couple more tubes!) I love a nice contrasting bead. The outfit this shawl will go with has a theme of pearls and garnets, so it's appropriate.

And have I ever mentioned how much I like knitting leaves.... well maybe you've noticed... here, and here, and here, and here, and here... I think I may have a problem...