Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A 2014 knitting retrospect

You may remember at the start of the year, I set out 12 projects that I wanted to complete by year's end. Sadly... I only completed four of them: Hitofude, Watershed, Eve's Ribs, and Reading Mitts.

But... I did complete 36 projects this year, which includes, 5 cardigan, 5 shawls, 9 pairs of socks, 7 hats, 4 pairs of mitts, 2 cowls and 4 miscellaneous projects (toys, dishclothes, etc). That's not a bad haul, so I can't really complain.

Among my favourite projects this year...
Lestrange... no surprise there - this one is my masterpiece!
Highgarden. I really can't wait to release this one! It's been test knit, but I'm still holding off until March to make it available... it will make sense why... but don't worry, it's killing me too!
Cobblestone in Codex. So simple, but so pretty!
Garden Gate. I love lace socks. And I really love these ones. They get worn so often, it's crazy!
Hitofude. It's not so much the pattern for this one (which is just lovely) but the yarn... OMG! Loves me my camel silk!

These projects definitely make up for not meeting my goals. And hey - there's always next year... right?

Wishing you a very happy knit year! Bring on 2015!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Finishing up

I was hoping to have at least one of my WIPs cleared out before the new year. And I was really hoping it was going to be the Blackrose socks
But I've only just completed the heel on the second sock. I'm taking it with me when I join Dave at the cottage for New Year's Eve... but I'm not sure how much I'll get done. I'm also taking our chess board and a bottle of wine...

Monday, December 29, 2014

Cats and mousers

.. and back to the knitting.

The company I work for has a large network of offices south of the border. As such, I have a colleague based in San Diego, who's role is very similar to mine. Despite being more than 4,000 km apart, we work quite closely (ah the wonders of the internet age!). We are very close in age, are both cat people, and I like her very much

On December 21st, she gave birth to her first child - a little girl. I've been planning on knitting a blanket for a while, but with Christmas, I'd decided to put it off until after the baby was born. A blanket is not like a sweater - it's going to take a little longer for baby to outgrow it.
The pattern is Kittens and Butterflies, though I've modified it a little. The pattern isn't charted, and my brain has problems following long written out directions.

I'm knitting it in some Patons Weekender Cotton mom gave me a while back. Not only is it nice and washable, since babies are gross - but I figured it was more ideal for the Californian climate.

I just hope it can keep my interest now that I'm through with the kittens...

In other feline news - after eight years, someone has decided she's a mighty huntress.
She brought this to me at 2 a.m. the other morning (I was still awake - damn you Candy Crush!)

Dave's been getting mad at her for opening the cupboards under the kitchen sink (because of course, she never closes them when she's done). He was convinced she was after the garbage. I was pretty sure she was looking for mice, but he didn't want to believe me.

I guess she's getting a big apology when he gets home.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Doll house

Yes... more toys... it is Christmas. afterall!

Just before Christmas day, I was in Shoppers (For my non-Canadian friends, it's a large health/beauty/pharmacy chain) finishing up my Christmas shopping. It's a large chain that is trying to compete with Wal-Mart and the larger groceries stores, and is much more than just a pharmacy - including a wide selection of gift cards for other stores, which is what I went in to get. But of course, at Christmas-time, they also have a fair selection of toys....
Yes... I came home with toys for myself... (but I did get my gift cards!!!) and in my defense, Shoppers has a loyalty program, and I had enough points saved up to get them for free. Three more  beauties for my Monster High Collection.... Rochelle Goyle (Gargoyle) Venus McFlytrap, and Honey Swamp (daughter of the Louisiana Swamp monster)

As always, I love the dolls for the details - it must be so fun being a designer there.
Rochelle has these cure little ears...
And stone wings of course.
but it's the Cathedral-inspired shoes that kill me.
And matching handbag! I need these in real life!!!

Venus has beautiful detailing on her whole body, but I love her face
And they don't miss a thing
Leaf-shaped ears and botanical jewelry.

Honey's details are just as good
Alligator heels... and like any proper southern lady
Pearls! (and check out the web-hands!)
....and more pearls! Admittedly, I had to have Honey because of her hair!

For now, all the girls are up on the top of the computer desk
When Dave gets home, he's going to build me a shelf for them. And I really need to work on getting my patterns published for them... and I guess I should look into getting at least one of the monster high boys..... oh dear...

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Do you want to build a.... DRAGON!!!!!!

My brother wasn't able to make it down on Christmas day, but he brought he family down to Mom's for the weekend. I popped by the house to give them their presents today, and Miss Rowan informed me that she'd recieved a Build-a-bear gift certificate for Christmas and needed to go before the weekend was out....

So naturally... off we went!

Miss Rowan picked out a Hello Kitty to build. Her Mom tried to talk her into My Little Pony, but it was HK or nothing! (The kid has excellent taste!)
Miss P is a little more reserved....
She chose a sensible brown bear.
The new friends were stuffed
Their little hearts blessed.
They were groomed, and then it was time for dressing
Sparkles, sparkles and more sparkles for HK
 Miss P opted for a punkier look.
And Auntie V might have built herself a dragon....
Because how could you not???

Friday, December 26, 2014

All boxed up

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. Ours was lovely, as usual. Now it's time to unwind for the rest of the year.

Dave has headed off to the cottage for the week, so the house is nice and quiet. I plan to knit all weekend - and since I'm working from home next week, they will be some extra knitting time in there too. I'd like to clear out a few WIPS before the end of the year, but we'll have to play it by ear.

While I'm doing that, I thought you'd like to see one of the reasons I didn't get Dave's scarf done. I've mentioned before that, whenever he goes to the cottage, I do a day of cooking and send him off with a bunch of frozen meals. It's not that he can't cook himself, it's just that this is cheaper than buying a whole bunch of groceries for the cottage (not to mention, he hates grocery stores...) or eating take out every day.

So Sunday morning I was up early and at the stove.
Fortunately, the meals Dave really likes all begin with the same base - ground beef. A huge pan was fried up and then separated into three bowls...
Ingredients were added for stuffed peppers..
...then a tray of lasagna...
...and a shepherd's pie...
It wsa only a couple of hours of cooking... and once they were sealed and in the freezer... it was time to start on the Scottish sausage rolls...
There was just enough beef mixture left from the sausage rolls to make a small meatloaf...(which I forgot to photograph).

That should hold the boy for the week... I hope....

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Giving up...

... in the very best way.

Dave's scarf will not be done in time for Christmas. As of Sunday night at bed-time, I was only half-way done the knitting. It took me the weekend to even get that far - with only two nights of knitting left to knit the rest AND weave the vertical threads it was never going to happen, so I just stopped trying. And I don't feel bad about it.

It will make a lovely Valentines gift, and I'll be ahead of the game (not to mention, the more I push myself to knit something, the more I hate it and I'm already not feeling the love for this project.)

So last night, I picked Cygnus back up.
Can I just say how much I love this colour? Have I said it before? Well I do. It's so rich. It looks great in every light. The Bugga, of course, is heaven to work with too.

When I started it back in mid-November, I flirted briefly with the idea of having this done in time to wear for Christmas too...
I'm only 4 inches from the underarm, so that's not going to happen either. But who knows, I may just have it done in time for New Years....

Monday, December 22, 2014

All wrapped up

As much as I wanted to do nothing but knit this weekend, there were a few things that needed to be attended to. One of which was the wrapping.

Tux and Peno could care less about all that crunchy paper.. but Rocky...
"Oh.... did you need this?"
...Rocky had other ideas entirely. After much "shoo"ing and some shredded wrap, I managed to get a few presents done... but it didn't take long before he was back.
"What? I'm not touching your paper. And these boxers definitely need more cat hair..."
We finally came to a detente after I gave him a piece of wrapping paper to call his own.
"Now was that so hard?"
And now we are almost ready for Christmas
Just some mince tarts and sausage rolls left on the to-do list. How is your Christmas shaping up?

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The scarf slog

I have a confession to make... I hate making scarves. It's true, the rows are fairly short, but I just can't stand knitting the same thing over and over (and over) again.

As lovely as Going My Way turned out, I was pretty sick of it near the end. But at least it had some increases and decreases to keep it slightly interesting...

This one... this one is killing me. Garter stitch and 2.75 mm needles... it's definitely a slog.

But, even though I said it's not really a Christmas present, I am really trying to get it done in time for Christmas. I just bought Dave a new leather coat, and this really would be perfect to pair with it.

So... I've told the household chores to take a hike and every spare minute I have this weekend is devoted to getting it knit. (because then I still have to weave in all those vertical threads.)

We'll see how far I can get, because it's hard to say how much knitting time I'll get during the week as I still have to work

And as you can see... I've got a long way to go...

Saturday, December 20, 2014

FO and Pattern release: Going my way

As promised, I've taken some better pictures of the scarf/cowl I made for Dave's Mom
I've called it Going my way and the pattern is available now (and it's a freebie!) When Dave first came to me to make something for his Mom, my first plan was to make my Cobblestone Cowl. But I ended up ripping it out. This yarn (some handspun merino/silk that Mom got in a Rav swap) just didn't have the same pop as the others I've used on it (it works really well with a multi).
The self-striping nature of handspun made me want to do something that rippled. My go-to is always feather and fan, but with Cygnus and Cygnet on the go I didn't want to get sick of it. It also needed to be easy - something I could work on in any spare moment.
I came up with a simple, one row pattern (that's right - just one row, repeated over and over again). A few yarn-overs and knit-two-togethers help creat the nice chevron pattern. But at the end of the day, I still wanted a cowl...
 So I took advantage of the yarn-overs, added a few well-placed buttons... and voila! It can be knit in any yarn, any weight, - and scarf or cowl....
... it's an easy, quick knit that's definitely going your way....

Friday, December 19, 2014

Even warmer

Well... I've gone from blonde
to red
To even more red!
Should purple be next?