Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sometimes you just have to know when to walk away

It started out well...

I was up early and got Dave packed off to work, so I decided it was time to finally start production on some Kitten Kaboodles.

Dave's grandma's table makes the perfect cutting center
So I grabbed up a pile of  fabrics. I figured if I got several cut out, I could work on them throughout the week too.
In the end, I got six bags cut out, and that's when the problems began. I was going to start on the moose bag, but if you look closely in the picture above... those poor moose are upside down!!!

It seems I had the fabric folded the wrong way when I cut it out, so one side had upside down moose. Sadly, I don't have enough of it left to cut another one. I moved onto the green tapestry bag to the right instead.

First, I realized the pockets were cut a little too small. Not a huge deal, but it meant a little extra securing. Then I accidentally sewed the strap into the side seam (it must have gotten tucked in when I wasn't looking.) A few minutes of seam-ripping then I was back on track.

Then I did the seam allowances on the outside of the bag a little bigger than the lining... it didn't seem like a big deal until I had to sew the lining to the outer shell... can you say puckering?

In the end, the bag got done - but this one won't be destined for the shop
It looks okay from a distance, but it's definitely not good enough to sell. Not to mention I need to work on my brand tag placement...
The next one will be better.... but I'm not sewing it today! I'm going back to my knitting!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Reward your labours

To celebrate Labour Day weekend, we're having a little sale in the shop
 All weekend including Monday September 1st use the code LABOUR15
for 15% off on anything in the shop including already marked down items.
 Labour Day weekend marks the end of summer here in the Great White North.

Friday, August 29, 2014

All golden

Eve is coming along nicely. I love the colour, I love the pattern, but I'm still not 100% on the two of them together.... I think I'm about 65%... but it rises a little bit each row. My biggest worry is that it's going to be just too much yellow...

The yarn is lovely to work with though. A nice switch from my last deep stash dive (The Red Stella). This one was definitely a good purchase.

And since were still in the land of yellow...the sunflower has bloomed!
 As you can see, Mr. Bumble Bee was out enjoying the nice sunny landing pad.
And something that might surprise you... while the plant itself is a little taller than I am (5'7") the flowers aren't all that big
I counted, and there are 14 other heads on this plant. Since the seeds came from a mixed plant, I have absolutely no idea what kinds of sunflower it is.... any thoughts?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sock woes

The other day at lunch, I was so proud of myself. I'd just spent the last hour finishing up the final repeat of the foot. I was ready to work on that toe!

Out of curiosity, I went back and started to count how many repeats the overall sock had taken, and that's when I noticed it...
Can you see it?
That stupid little leaf is smaller than all the others. Some how I skipped ahead two rows in the repeat and didn't notice.

So no toe work for me for a few days. I can only get one repeat done each lunch hour...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Mysteries and mutants

Remember way back in May - I transplanted some Echinacea, Columbine, Sweet Peas and Poppies to the bee garden?

Well, we all know the Sweet Peas went the way of the Bunbun, but despite not blooming yet, the other sprouts have fared well (they have been nibbled on periodically, but not to the point of extinction like the Sweet Peas.)
 This is the bulk of them, though there are some further down the garden (mostly Columbine). I was pretty sure that this was all Poppies and Echinacea. What I think is Echinacea matches what google shows... but there's some question about two other plants.

1) The fuzzy one: I thought it was the Poppy... I've seen fuzzy poppies before. But it's the only one getting a bloom head, and the more I looked at it, the more I was in doubt.
After consulting Google, I'm in even more doubt, because the leaf shape doesn't match Google's Poppy pics. And you can see the heads there... that doesn't look like a Poppy to me... thoughts?

(UPDATE.... the fuzzy leafed plant may infact be a black-eyed Susan... I'd planted some seeds, but didn't think they made it.... 
This picture is from the internet....what do you think?"

2) The spade shaped one: I have no freakin' clue what this is.
It's not Columbine, and if it's Echinacea (which I doubt) then what the heck are the leaves that I think are Echinacea??? Am I just growing weeds???

I'd like to say I'll know when it all blooms, but other than the possibly-Poppy, I don't think that will happen this year. Our trees are already starting to turn, so there's not much bloomin' weather left, I fear.  I'm guessing I'll have to wait until next year - unless you guys can tell me.

Elsewhere in the bee garden, the Mexican Hat has bloomed again
 But like all the things I seem to grow... this one has gone mutant...
Maybe there's something in my soil...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


The big sunflower still hasn't bloomed.
 But it's getting there.

The wild sunflower is sweeter than ever
I love looking out the back door and seeing it every morning. This plant really grew on me (no pun intended).

So maybe that's why I cast on for Eve's Ribs in a pretty shade of yellow....
 This was not the plan.

1) I wasn't going to cast on anything new until the Solo Cat shawl was done.
2) When I was ready to cast on, I was probably going to cast on Hitofude.
3) Even if I'd decided to cast on Eve, I'd never even considered knitting her in yellow, even though the yarn has been in my stash for ages.

But I was sitting there in one my sundresses, which has lovely little hints of yellow (and thinking how at least four other sundresses in my closet also have yellow in them...). And I was trolling Ravelry for cabled cardigan patterns. And I was referring back to my stash to see what I had for the patterns I was favouriting...

... and it just came together. The yarn is another e-bay purchase from years ago. Louisa Harding Kashmir Aran (Merino, Cashmere and Microfibre) - a nice soft yarn with a chained construction. It's not normally I colour I'd buy, but the price was right and I was a fairly new knitter. And I might have seen the word "cashmere" and lost my wits...

I'm still not 100 percent sold on it for Eve - I'd planned to knit her in a more neutral colour (cream, or grey probably)... but I'm listening to the knitting fates on this one - time will tell if they are right.

As you can see, I haven't gotten very far - I just started it last night (and there's a 326-stitch cast on), and after doing a few rows, I decided I wasn't going any further until I charted the stitch pattern (it's written only in the pattern). But now that's done and printed off, so I'm ready to roll!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sunday knit-a-long

The problem with monogamous knitting, is that it makes for very boring blogging. Thank goodness for my gardens or I'd have very little to show you.

But I do finally have some knitting to show you. After a very busy Friday night and Saturday morning and afternoon, I decided I deserved the rest of the weekend to myself.

So that means movies and knitting
As a result,  I made some really good progress on the Solo Cat shawl. I've completed the leave motif and I'm now ready to start on the edge motif. After all the problems I had getting the leaf pattern to work, I decided to throw a lifeline in there. Hopefully I won't have the same troubles with this part, but this will just make it a lot easier to pull back if I do.
Here's a closer look at the leaf motif. As you can see, it's got a lot of beads
I was starting to worry that I was going to run out, but after a quick search, I discovered 60 more grams of them - that should be enough for what I've got planned.... hopefully....

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Smarter than the average bear...

... or bird, at least.

I haven't had a chance to get any netting for my strawberries yet, but I have figured out a way to get them before the pesky birds do...
I pick them when they are still a little white. They ripen quite nicely on the counter, and I've gotten four before the birds have. It doesn't work with bunbun, who's quite happy to shear off the white ones before they barely have a chance to grow, but something else might be detering him now...
At first when I noticed this little jalapeno on the vine, I thought the bugs had gotten in, but on closer inspection
Those are teeth marks. I think someone may have bitten off more than they can chew...

Elsewhere in the garden...
The pink roses are blooming again.There's four in bloom and seven more buds getting ready to open.

I thought the sunflower would have bloomed by now... but not yet...
You can see a few of the ants working away.
It's going to be pretty spectacular when it does bloom - look at all those heads! 15 at last count...

Friday, August 22, 2014

What would Stevie wear?

It's amazing the things that you come across on Facebook

I was nosing around when Vogue knitting posted a link to an interesting little contest - Design a shawl for Stevie Nicks
What an opportunity! I've always been a fan and it would be amazing to make a garment for her

Normally when I come across contests like this, I've missed the deadline, or I've got too much going on to get an entry together in time.

Fortunately for this one, I only have to submit a sketch by the deadline. I could conceivably design and knit a shawl in 30 days, but I'd have to drop everything else. I did consider that briefly, but I don't really want that level of stress. I'm an artist - I can totally make a sketch that conveys what the finished project will be. And if I don't win, I have plans ready for a pretty shawl design!

There are two prizes: $2,000 to the designer that Stevie chooses. And $500 to the designer voted most popular by the internet community.

I've got several ideas swirling around in my head. It definitely needs to be a big, twirly shawl. I'm thinking Twisted Slinky Cat - in a deep moody purple like Black Orchid
It's definiteyl going to be lace (that's just my thing) and beaded - with something metallic
After this weekend I'm going to start sketching things out. I'll share my progress here and I hope you'll join me on this adventure (and maybe vote for me too!)

There's probably little chance I'll actually win  - but the process is going to be a lot of fun!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Double rainbow

As you can probably guess from recent post content, there hasn't been a whole lot of knitting going on lately. I've put a row or two on the shawl here and there. And I've added to the Garden Path socks on my lunches, but there's not much to show in either department - it's just been one of those weeks.

But on Tuesday, we had a large department meeting at work and my U.S. counterpart flew up from San Diego to attend. She's a fantastic coworker and she's also pregnant (due in December). I'm planning on knitting her a blanket closer to when baby is due, but I thought I'd knit her up something now to say congratulations.

I don't know the gender, so I just decided to go with ALL the colours! And with sparkles for good measure!
White Birch Fiber Arts Sparkle in "Nothing says screw you like a rainbow."
Sadly, these socks took me THREE days to knit! It's insane  - they are baby socks. But I just couldn't get them to work out the way I wanted. The first one got frogged then reknit so I could get it to stripe the way it did. Then the second one got pulled back three times to get it to match. I just did not have my knit mojo on last weekend

But they are done. They are adorable. And she loved them... so it was all worth it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Surprise yarn

When I first moved out on  my own, I was so excited about having a place with a room just for my crafts. A place to store my yarn and supplies, a place to sew, and paint....

Well reality is often much different then we imagine it, isn't it? The studio (the one at my house - they dye studio is at Mom's) has become the bane of my existence. And it's totally my fault. I started out with good intentions, but I just can't seem to keep the darn thing clean.It doesn't help that I often use it as the room to hide things when company is coming over and I need to tidy up quick. Just toss it in and shut the door.

But I really want to get started on sewing some bags for the shop. Not to mention some presents I have planned. And I wouldn't mind getting back to making jewellry - but none of that can be done until I get the room under control.

So on Sunday, I was determined to get a handle on things. I set to it under the careful supervision of Mr. Rocky.
I didn't get it finished - Dave still needs to hang some shelves so I can organize my beading stuff. But I can get in an move around again. And there is enough room to sew, so hopefully bag production will begin next week.

One big accomplishment was the reorganization of the yarn stash. I have a whole bunch of yarn to redistribute (to friends and/or charity). And I found some yarn I'd completely forgotten about.

I have a whole sweater quantity of Elsebeth Lavold Cotton Patine
The picture does not do it justice - it's a lovely shade of pinky-browny-mauve. And it's just made itself a serious contender for the Braid Hills Cardigan.

I also have 13 Balls of Jo Sharp Aran Cotton in a deep navy blue
This might end up as a baby blanket for a coworker.

There was also some sock yarn from Barking Dog Yarns, and some Alpaca Lace from a local farm. One thing I learned for certain after going through everything - I don't need any yarn any time soon. In fact, it may be time for another stash-down challenge.

Right after I add these two new House Cat skeins to my stash that is...
Okay... bring on the stash-down!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Treasure hunting

Dave and I don't get a lot of time off together. He works every weekend now, so it's mostly just holidays when we are both free - but then so much is closed, or crazy busy, that we just don't get out much together any more.

But I had a few extra vacation days so on Monday I took one, bundled him into my car and set out on an adventure.

The main destination was one of our favourite antique/used/old junk stores about an hour and a half away.
But, of course, we hit up every other little barn sale, swap shop and thrift store along the way. Dave found a little tube radio, which always makes his day. I came home with so much more
This unique pewter bracelet...
A vintage mirror fit for a princess (it needs a good cleaning, and perhaps a new paint job, but I just fell in love with it.) a set of 12 vintage mason jars (they will be used for canisters and storing other odds and ends) and an old glass milk bottle that I thought would make the perfect vase for our dining room table.

I also found a Christmas present for my Dad... but I can't show you because it's secret!

We had perfect weather - sunny but not too hot. I was a little bummed to see some of the trees are already turning, but I shouldn't be surprised, they said it was going to be a short summer.

Really makes me wish we had more time off together, but at least we made the most of the time we did have!

Monday, August 18, 2014

It's all green over here

I finally harvested my first Jalapenos
I'm hoping to get enough of these to make a batch of hot pepper jelly. In addition to these two, I have about six juvenile peppers and the plants are flowering again, so things are looking good.

The "real" sunflower is almost ready to bloom. But it looks like I've got another mutant on my hands...
Can you see all those other little buds along the stem? I'm pretty sure those will be flowers too. The plant is also covered in ants. I'm operating under the assumption that Sunflowers are like Peonies and need ants to bloom. They don't seem to be damaging the plant anyway. The top of it now reaches my shoulder, so it's about five feet tall.

Meanwhile, the bees are busy helping my tomatoes
 And they are doing a fabulous job. I've got tomatoes coming out my ears! I think next year I'm going to have to get some regular-sized ones.

And remember that little mini rose that my Dad gave me to see if I could save it? I thought I'd actually lost it, but while Tux was out, supposedly munching away on his cat nip, I noticed he was munching on something, just below the pot.
Yep - that's the mini rose. I doubt I'll get any blooms on it, but it will be interesting to see if it survives the winter!

I moved Tux and distracted him to give it a better chance at life...
That boy loves his fresh nip!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Into the dye pots

After a fruitful morning of thrifty shopping (Clearance sale: Check! 50% extra off clearance prices: Check! Additional $25 savings card: Check!) Mom and I headed back to the studio to do a few customs order and get some stuff ready for the shop.

At 1 p.m. today, Miss Rowan's one-of-a-kind creations are going into the shop (as well as some other goodies).
These colourways can't be repeated so once they are gone, they are gone! (And grandma might have already stolen one...) Be sure to check out the shop today!

We got our custom orders out of the way pretty quick
And then I tackled a bag of Slinky Solo Cat
I love the way this yarn takes the colour. It's hard to see in this picture, but the yarns are full of subtle variations. And the silk just makes the yarn glow. Most of these will end up in the shop in the next few weeks, though some are already spoken for. Keep your eyes peeled.