Thursday, October 31, 2013

Fright Night - all soggy

Hallowe'en has come and gone... and it was a soggy one! I got in about 7 p.m. and scrambled to get my pumpkins lit...
 I love how they look with candles.
I filled my cauldron full of sweets, and Rocky and I settled down to wait for the ghouls and goblins. (Yes, that's my knitting bag under my broom handle, what else is a witch to do while she's waiting?).
All tolled, I only got about eight kids. After speaking to the neighbour, I learned that most of them came before I got home - but he said there wasn't as many as there usually is - the rain must have kept them away
I did get a visit from another sort of creature. This poor little guy was absolutely soaked, so I gave him some treats and a few scritches, but Tux soon chased him off.

And now the pumpkins have been blown out, and the cauldron packed up. Time for a hot chocolate - and Jack the Pumpkin King!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Ready, set, carve

The pumpkins are carved (yes, one is a cat... of course one is a cat) and the cauldron is full of candy. When I get home from work, the costume will be donned (witch) and the candles will be lit! Bring on the ghouls and goblins!

Hallowe'en is probably my favourite holiday. As a child is was an excuse to dress funny (not that I needed one) and a sanctioned sugar rush. As an adult.... well it's pretty much the same! Pumpkin carving was always one my favourite things.

At the old house, we didn't really do much for Hallowe'en. The first few years I was there, I gave out candy. But I only ever got a handful of kids. Then, when I started working in the city, I was getting home too late for the trick or treaters. I did miss it, so I'm definitely looking forward to this year.

It's going to be interesting seeing what it's like here. The little complex I'm in looks like Hallowe'en Town. Almost everyone (there are about 100 townhouse units in the complex) has decorated - and some have really gone all out. Next year I'll probably do a little more decorating, but this year time and money were both tight.

(And in case you were wondering where my cat pumpkin inspiration came from...)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Madly Hatted

I enlisted Mom's help for some pictures of my test-knit hat.
 And I got her help with the pom-pom too.
This was a really fun knit. I discovered that I'm much better at fair isle when it's in the round, instead of knit flat.

I made this one a few inches longer than the pattern calls for. The intended recipient likes a bit of slouch to her hats. Of course, there's still a chance it won't make it to her.... I'll decide after I make some matching mitts.

UPDATE: If you want to make your own hat, she's posted the pattern on her blog

Monday, October 28, 2013

Solo goes slinky

We've got a new base in the shop for you to try.
Solo Slinky! It's a beautiful single ply just like our Solo Cat, but with a touch of silk for that extra wow factor.
Here's the details:
* 1 ply Superwash 70% Merino 30% Silk
* 435 yards, 4 oz.
* 7-8 stitches per inch
* 2mm-3mm needle
* fingering weight

There's several skeins a few colours in the shop right now (and you can still save 10% with the code BACKTOSOCKS).

I've got two skeins stashed away for myself and I plan to cast on a shawl as soon as I clear out a couple of WIPs.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Merry mitts

There's one thing you learn very quickly when you start photgraphing your knitting... there are some body parts that are just too hard to take pictures of if you're all on your own. Hands, feet....

Fortunately, I have Mom.
As mentioned before, these were test knit for Delusional Knitter. I knit them in Twisted Top Cat, so they are nice and soft and warm.
The beading is optional, but I'm so glad I did. It just adds that little extra touch.
And once again, I'm debating on putting them in the Christmas box, vs. keeping them for myself. Christmas is only 58 days away, after all!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Little thief, big thief

Little thief...
I was finishing up the colourwork hat this morning when Miss Peno suddenly ran to the back door, tail twitching away. I look over and caught the sight of a black, bushy tail.
 That bucket with the blue lid is where I keep the bird seed.
It's squirrel proof, but it took a little while for this little guy to figure that out. He eventually gave up, but when I went to fill the bird feeder, I put some seed along the ledge for him (and Peno.)

Not the greatest picture - it's pouring rain, and opening the door would just scare him off. But I think I'm going to have to keep some seed there all winter - Peno loves the entertainment.

Big thief...
I looked out my front door this morning and noticed something missing from my garden. The pretty little Mum that housed the spider was gone.

Now that Mum sat in a pot, not two feet away from the garden for almost three weeks. No one touched it. I plant it in the garden and someone steals it? Really?

Update: I found the Mum... tossed a little ways down the street. Thank you, Garden Vandals.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Keeping warm

Each year, I try to make it until November 1st before I turn the heat on. With a good stash of knitted accessories, and a stack of blankets all over the house, I'm generally successful.

But not this year. The temperature has dropped dramatically, and the tile floors throughout this place don't do much to make a cozy environment. (Though they are easy to clean, so I count that as a win!). Last night I caved and put the heat on. I'm keeping it low though, so that still means I'm wrapped up in blakents, thinking warm thoughts....

So what better time for Practical Crafts to ask me to test knit a nice cozy winter hat? 
Nice snug ribbing, a must-have for a hat!

As you know, I'm not a huge fan of colourwork. Oh, I love how it looks, but the execution of it... I've gotten better at it, but I'll still opt for lace over colour almost every time. But I saw the hat she was making... maybe it was the colours - I don't know, it just grabbed me. I asked her what pattern is was, only to learn it was one she was just winging. (That's some pretty good winging!)
Look at those even stitches, I might be getting the hang of this!
But she put it all down on paper and asked me to give it a test knit. How could I say no? I'm using up some left over grey MadTosh Heritage from the Eileen Cardigan I knit for Mom. The pink is some Big Cat (non-superwash version) left over from the French Press Slippers I made for my sister-in-law. I was planning to put this in the Christmas box, but the more I'm working on it, the more I'm thinking it might go into my own winter woolies basket.... maybe with some mitts to match....

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


As you can probably guess from the lack of posts - this week has been a bit hectic. Of course, the first week back to work from vacation usually is, so I shouldn't be too surprised.

As a result, there hasn't been much knitting. I did get the second test knit mitt done, but you won't see pics until after the weekend.

Instead, I thought I'd share a new colourway we have coming to the shop. The other day, Mom and I were talking and she mentioned that she was going to be skeining up some Twinkle Cat to make some self-striping socks. I don't know why I said it, but I blurted out "We have to make a Vanellope von Schweetz stripe!"
For those who don't know,
Vanellope is a character from
the movie Wreck it Ralph
Little did I know, Mom had been thinking the exact same thing! So we discussed colours, and execution (purple stripe had to be skinny!) and today, Mom sent me this...
Vanellope in yarn! I can't wait to get my hands on one of these skeins. And some will be coming to the shop soon (With some other stripeys). Mom is currently working on making some in Alley Cat, for those who don't want sparkles in their yarn.

I love it when a plan comes together!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Itsy bitsy spider

I haven't mentioned it, but I've actually been on vacation all week. (That's why there's so much knitting getting done!) It's just been a quiet stay-cation - just me and the cats, as Dave is still working. I didn't have a lot of plans, mostly just knitting, but one of the things I really wanted to accomplish was my fall gardening. Mainly, planting some Tulips and Daffodils for the spring, pulling up the Cana Lilies before the first bad frost, and transplanting a potted Mum to the garden.

Well - every day that I actually had the energy to get out and garden was grey and rainy. I figured by Saturday, I'd be able to get out there, but nope - it poured.

So today was my last chance. I'm back to work on tomorrow, and October's almost over... we're going to get some frost soon - some of my friends in cities a little more north already have. I had to get those bulbs in the ground.

Thankfully, Mother Nature complied and gave me a beautiful, sunny Sunday.

The Cana Lilies I planted earlier this year are out before the frost. They grew nicely, but didn't bloom, so next spring they will be planted where they will get more sun.

The Daffodils and Tulips have been planted around the Day Lilies, so hopefully come spring, the front garden will have a nice bit of colour until the annuals get planted in May.

And the Mum is snuggled down at the base of the tree on my front lawn. And just as I was finishing up, admiring my work, I noticed something move in the Mum.
Isn't she beautiful? I'd never seen a spider like this before. We have a lot of little beige house spiders, and the odd black and yellow garden spider...but nothing like this.

If she hadn't have moved, I never would have seen her - she's almost the same colour as the flowers. She's a good size too - her back is about as big around a nickle.
 I immediately ran in an grabbed the camera. Thank goodness for macro settings.
Then I immediately came in an googled, comparing my pictures to ones on the internet. I'm pretty sure she's a marbled orb weaver, but if there are any spider aficionados out there, feel free to correct me.

Friday, October 18, 2013

On fire!

You knew it couldn't last long... right? I wouldn't survive long without a pair of socks on the needles. And today, I caved. I was up at Mom's helping get some new yarn ready for the shop (There's some shiny new Alley Cat in there now...)

I snagged one of these skeins and caked it/
This is Fire Starter. (There's a skein in the shop... and I can make more.)

Anyway, I finally talked Mom into watching Downton Abbey while I was there, but I didn't have any knitting with me... but I did have a caked skein!
The pattern is Hundred Acre Wood.
I chose it because, with a small modification (sl, k2tog, psso changed to sl2, k1, psso) it becomes the candle flame stitch... and what better for such a fiery yarn?

I also went down to a 2mm needle. Normally, I don't like knitting on needles that small, but I'd actually started the pattern a few months back, and the small size on 2.5mm was coming out HUGE. I also didn't like that the small size didn't have the purl stitch between the patterns that helps add definition. This yarn is so busy, it needs that definition. So, now I'm working on tiny needles, but the sizing is much better.

It's been fun knitting so far, but tomorrow, I really have to get back to the fingerless mitts... and then Lestrange... I'll have an update on that beauty soon....

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Today Dave and I mark 11 years together.

On Monday, despite our colds, we ended up at his uncle's for dinner. Dave was acting a clown, with everyone laughing at his antics, when his uncle turned to me and said "You had no idea what you got yourself into, did you?"

To which I replied, "Well I've been dealing with it for 11 years, so I guess I'm okay with it."

Silence descended. His aunt finally said, "Has it really been that long?"

It certainly doesn't feel like it. I won't lie - it hasn't been perfect. But there's enough good to make the rest melt away.

It's easy to forget that as life gets hectic and stresses mount. But at the end of the day, we're still together, we're still here for each other when it counts. You learn to appreciate the small moments, the little things, the everyday gestures that when compiled, create a lifetime of happiness.

Happy Anniversary.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Just a little mitt....

About a week ago, Angela over at Revelations of a Delusional Knitter asked me if I would mind test knitting a fingerless mitt pattern. With nothing but the blanket and the cardigan on the go (both large projects) I thought it would be nice to have something small to break things up.
The pattern doesn't have a name yet, but there's a contest to name it - and a chance to win the pattern and some of Angela's lovely yarn.

I finished the first one up today. It's a pretty little mitt. I'm using Twisted Top Cat in Pinewood, which makes them nice and soft. The pattern has the option of beading, so naturally, I did.

A nice little amethyst coloured bead to add a little drama. I'm going to try to finish up the other mitt by tomorrow - then maybe look for a hat pattern to match!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Early morning dye job

It was a pretty lazy long weekend , but I did manage to do a little dyeing on Saturday. I had to be up early to get a new set of tires put on the car, and since the tire shop is 10 minutes from Mom's, I headed there where the car was done.
Some days I go into the studio knowing exactly what I want to make. Other days, it's a total crap shoot - and this was one of them - but it turned out well. That's 10 skeins of Alley Cat that will make its way to the shop soon.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Square Dance

It's Thanksgiving Day here in Canada.

Dave is sick, and I'm still worn out from being sick, so we had a nice quiet dinner together last night, and today will just be spent relaxing.

I've been working mostly on my long-neglected barn-raising blanket.I started this back in 2011 as a way to use up some of those sock-yarn leftovers. I had so many, I decided I could restrict this blanket to using only self-striping sock yarn.
Of course, I don't have enough self-stripers, so I've dipped into Mom's left over stash too (very handy knowing someone with a sock machine - they produce leftovers far faster than manual knitters!).

I've actually got 24 squares done now (picture only shows 18 - six are still blocking), but I need at least 60. I'm hoping to finish this one by the end of the year, so even though I'm approaching halfway - I've really got to get a wiggle on!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

.... and the winner is....

The random number generator chose Just in the Knit of Time! She's now got $25 to spend in the shop, which has just been updated with some beautiful Solo Cat.
I love single ply!
Thank you to everyone who entered. And thank you for reading all my posts - here's to 1,000 more!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

1,000 posts!

Can you believe it? This is my 1,000 post.

Amazing! When I started this blog, I never thought I'd have this much to say. I mean, in person, people tell me I never shut-up... but on the internet, people can just ignore you. But you all keep coming back!

So, we're going to celebrate with a contest. Leave a comment by midnight Friday and get a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to the shop - you can use it toward any yarn in there or a custom skein! (and it doesn't expire.)
 If you won, what would you choose?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Things are about to get boring on the blogfront...

Yep... on Saturday, I bit the bullet and started the Lestrange cardigan.

The charts seem daunting at first, but really, it's not that bad. However, progress is very slow. It's knit in one piece (bottom up_), with fingering weight yarn, on 3.25mm needles. After almost a solid weekend of knitting, I'm only about four inches in. And this is a full-length jacket style cardigan with a big, shawl collar. This one is going to take a while.

I'd like to be monogamous as possible on this one,  otherwise, I know it will get tucked in a corner somewhere and neglected. Ideally, I'd like to be wearing this by my birthday (mid-December). But that means there might not be whole lot of bloggable content - I can only show so many pictures of a slowly growing cardigan.

I'll try to keep things exciting, but if the posts start to drop off, know that I still love you all - I'm just buried under a mountain of silky-soft dark arts knitting.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Back to Sock - halfway point

We've pretty much reached the halfway point with our Back to Socks KAL. Have you joined us?
 You have until October 31 to post your finished socks (in Wandering Cat Yarns) in our group.
 It's perfect sock knitting (and wearing) weather. Join in the fun and win more yarn!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Lovely Layla

As promised, here are some better pics of my Layla shawl.

The pattern is actually a square shawl, but as I was on a deadline, I halved it to make a triangle shawl. One of these days, I will make a square or round shawl!

I've mentioned it before, but I love Denise's patterns. She's a fantastic designer, and a beautiful yarn dyer too.

Layla has starflowers, and nupps, and I beaded the crap out of it, but despite that, it's not a complicated shawl. Starflowers and nupps may seem difficult when you first attempt them, but once you get the hang of them - it's nothing. And they are well worth the minimal amount of effort it takes to master them.

Aside from modifying the shape of the shawl and adding extra beads, I also changed the amount of repeats for each chart. Details are on my Ravelry project page.
This shawl was knit in Continental Cat. The colour is Garnet. As many of you know, I'm not a fan of lace weight yarn, which this pattern calls for. The Continental Cat is a nice substitute. It gives you a little more substance when knitting, but still creates light, airy fabric. With 100% merino, it's also soft and blocks like a dream - perfect for shawls. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Oh, Honey!

Thank you for the well-wishes for my health. It's been a doozy of a bug, and I was home for half the week, coughing my head off...but it means I also got the French Braid cardigan done.
I actually finished up the last sleeve this morning, then raced up to Mom's get get pictures.

I have to say, this is the perfect autumn cardigan, not just because of the colour I knit it, but just in it's sheer wearability. It's one of those cardigans you can throw on instead of a coat, and it will pretty much go with anything in your wardrobe.I  made it specifically to go with the dress in the pictures, but I have several other sundresses in my closet it will work with. It also looks good with my jeans and my dress pants. And just like the pattern says - it's even great with pajamas!

This was knit with Rowan Bamboo Tape (colour is Honey). I bought it many, many moons ago, and it's nice to see it out of my stash. I'm a big lover of bamboo yarns - I love the sheen, the drape, and the washability. But this is a ribbon yarn, and I have a love/hate relationship with ribbon yarn. I see it in the skein, and I fall in love with it, but then I start knitting with it, and I don't love it any more.

I'd say ribbon yarn is great for people who don't have perfect tension, because there's no way you're getting perfect tension with it. The fabric definitely has a "hand-knit" look to it. (Which is not necessarily a bad thing). It does help the cables pop, but is not nearly a nice for the lace portion. But the drape made it ideal for this pattern.
The pattern is well-written and designed, so there's no complaint there. I made a few minor mods, but just for my own personal preferences.

First, the pattern has just plain 2-2 rib across the bottom. It's hard to see in the pictures, but while most of mine is 2-2,  it alters to match the flow of the cables. The pattern also has only 3/4 inches of ribbing on the bottom, I did almost  four inches, and it looks more balanced to my eye.
I also narrowed the sleeves.I don't like bulky, floppy sleeves, and knitting the pattern as written was going to make them too big for my long skinny ape arms.
I have to say, I love knitting shawls, and socks because they knit quickly, but there's just something immensely satisfy about knitting a whole sweater or cardigan. I really should knit more of them!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Layla, laid out.

I've been felled with the worst cold I've had in a long time. Home from work and surrounded by Kleenex! But in between the hacking and coughing, I managed to finish the Layla shawl.
It's not the greatest picture, but better ones will follow when it's off the blocking board. After finally conquering the starflowers, it went pretty well. Slowly - with beads and nupps and more - but well.

I was working to have this done by next weekend, but unfortunately, the event I was going to wear it to has been postponed. But now that it's off the needles, I can focus on getting the French Braid cardigan done. After that, I'll only have three WIPs on the go! Amazing!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

We interrupt this knitting blog...

While the kitties re-enact The Shining.....
Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeere's Tuxie!!!!!"

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

It's a wash

I finally got around to weaving in ends and blocking the wash clothes I made a while back. I realized I hadn't shared any decent pics of these

The first up with the leaf lace cloth - a cute little free pattern.
I used a larger needle that the pattern called for, so I dropped a leaf repeat, so mine aren't quite square, but I like them anyway.

There's not pattern for second set
 I just cast on 52 stitches and made mitred squares, alternating colours every other row.

These have been put away in the Christmas box, and will be paired with some homemade soap come the holiday season.