Friday, October 31, 2014

C'est l'hallowe'en

The light has been too crappy to take pictures of any of my fabulous knits (Miss Pee's socks are done, I started Dad's boot socks, and Hitofude is coming along swimmingly) so you'll have to wait until this weekend to see more of that.. but in the meantime, here's Tux on a Hallowe'en past:
When he still have all his legs and I didn't feel any guilt about humiliating him. Don't worry... Rocky didn't get away either...
He makes an excellent A &W bear... don't you think?

No tricker treaters for me this year - I'm home from work too late. But there will be a little Hallowe'en fun for us anyway...

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Mission accomplished

Remember way back in April, when I set  my friend Aneesha on the path to the dark side?

And then in May when I bought her everything she needed to knit a giant owl for birthday?
 Well - the other day, she messaged me and shared a picture
Mr. Owl is finished and he looks pretty darn fantastic for a newbie knitter who had to learn several new techniques on the fly to get him done.

Her comments when she sent him: "I was actually sad when I got him done and I'm trying to figure out what to knit next"

Well Knitters... it's fair to say we've sucked in another one! And as Aneesha says "The Dark Side is surprisingly squishy!"

Yes it is - and a little sheepy-smelling too!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Hitofude is going along swimmingly. Well... sort of.

Last night I got the second sleeve seamed and started on the collar and ribbing along the body. Tonight I finished up the ribbing, and went to bind the collar off, and discovered I didn't have near the amount of stitches I should.

And I can't for the life of me figure out why... unless I cast on the wrong amount of stitches, or somehow picked up the provisonal cast on wrong... but I don't think so.

You know me... I was sick at the thought of knitting it all again, so I decided to just press forward. I had to change some of the counts a bit, but I got the pattern to a place where I could slide it all on some waste yarn to try it on.
 If it fit, I could forge ahead with my mods. If it didn't... welll.... riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiibit!!!!

However, I am very pleased and relieved to say, it fits like a glove! (Thank goodness for narrow shoulders!) In fact it fits much better than I think it would if I'd had the right amount of stitches. As the painter Bob Ross so wisely said... there are no mistakes - just happy accidents!

So - the upper body is complete, now it's onto the body, where I expect the knitting will slow exponentially... there's a lot of increasing in my future.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hitofude love

I seem to have hit my stride with Hitofude. Last night I got the  last repeat of the upper body and sleeves done, and even managed to seam the first sleeve before bed.
 Now I know what you’re thinking… “but Valerie, last night was Monday. You said Hitofude was weekend knitting.”

True, but now that I’ve got my groove on, I want to get as much done as I can before I lose it.

When I first started knitting this, I really didn’t love it. Oh – I loved the pattern, and I loved the yarn, but knitting it just wasn’t doing it for me. The rows were long and slow, and my hands ached a little while doing them. It just wasn’t making for a happy knit.

But then I realized something… the discomfort was because my hands were cold! You see, every autumn, I play a game called “No heat until November” and I try to resist the urge to turn the rads on until November first, no matter how cold it gets!

It’s usually not too bad – I’ve got lots of sweaters and shawls and blankets. But I didn’t realize how cold my hands were until the other night when I had to give Mr. Stinkypants a bath.
 (Only having three legs makes it hard to negotiate the box sometimes and accidents happen) Even though the poor boy was wrapped in a towel, under a fleece blanket and surrounded by my legs, he was shivering – so on went the heat.

He got nice and toasty and so did my hands.

And once the heat is turned on, there’s no point going back to cold when the cat is dry. So when I finally picked up Hitofude on the weekend, I noticed a huge difference. Rows went faster and my hands no longer ached!

So – now she’s getting plenty of love. Tonight I’ll seam the other sleeve and see how far I can get on the body. Want to lay bets on if I can have her done by Remembrance Day?

Monday, October 27, 2014

A world of colour

 I love this time of year - such a wonderful world of colour!

It was no different in the studio yesterday.
10 skeins of Slinky Cat dyed up and drying. It should be ready for the shop in a week or two. 

And since Mom has taken so much to spinning, I thought I'd try my hand at dyeing a little bit of bare fibre she had. 
The verdict is still out on my efforts - we'll see when they dry. But dyeing fiber is very different than yarn, and I'm not sure I like it as much. It doesn't take the dye the same and you have to be VERY careful not to felt it. Mom's going to let me how I made out with these ones and send me pics in a few days.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

FO: We Call Him Spidey

The Spider Boy Hat is done
I stayed up late Friday night to finish and I'm very glad to have another Christmas present off the needles. I'm also glad I have a head the size of most children
I never have to worry if it will fit or not! 

I made a few mods to this one. First up was the weight. The pattern is for a fingering weight, but I used DK (Fat Cat for the win! Love our yarn!). I cast on 96 stitches and did three repeats of the chart. Because of that, the hat is a little long
But not enough that it really matters. It still looks okay.

Another mod is the brim. I just did one inch of simple 2-2 ribbing (the pattern calls for a folded hem). The last mod is the colour sequence. As written, only the bottom webs are in blue. The rest of the hat is red. But I quite like the balance look of all the webs in blue and the spiders in red.

Fairilse is still not my favourite type of knitting, but I do like the results, and all in all, it was a fairly enjoyable knit. Even more enjoyable because now that it's done, there are only three gifts left to knit! One hat, and two pairs of socks! I am on a roll!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Getting ready for spring

Today I tackled a few jobs that I really should have done while on vacation (but I just couldn't motivate myself)

But with November fast approaching, time was really running out. Yup - it's spring bulb planting time. I was in Canadian Tire the other day, getting a new pair of pruners (how I've managed to lose so many pairs, I'll never know) and I walked by the bulb display.
I have a load of tulips bulbs that Dad gave me from his gardens... but how could I resist? Mom used to have these when I was a teenager, but they didn't survive the move to Smithville.  They've always been my favourite tulip.

And then there was this...
I'd never heard of it before, but tt's also known as Spring Snowflake! So pretty.

I mixed the Queen of the Night tulips in with the bulbs Dad gave me...
...and planted them throughout the Lily and Tree gardens out front. It's hard to say what colours are in the ones Dad gave me, but it could be yellow, white, red, and pink and combinations thereof. They were a bunch he dug up when moving his gardens around.

The Spring Snowflake I planted all around the base of the tree. Now, lets hope I can keep the squirrels appeased with the black walnuts this winter and they leave my bulbs alone. If so, it's going to be a riot of colour with the Daffodils and Turkistan Tulips that made it through this spring.

While out there, I cleared out the dead plants and leaves from this summer.
The black clover has taken on a lovely red hue with the changing season.
The violas are still blooming away. Both of these will come back next year. Next year, I'll focus on getting some more fall plants - I've got spring and summer pretty well covered now.

With the front taken care of, I turned my attention to the back yard.
After much research, I've discovered that garlic is supposed to be a good repellant for Japenese beetles. I was already planning to plant some in the vegetable garden, but after reading that decided to plant some aroudn the roses too.
And would you believe the roses are still trying to bloom??? It's October! At least it seems I've picked good ones to weather the winter!

With the garlic planted, it was time to tackle a job I'd been putting off for far too long
Yup - that's the Gooseberry and Josta Berry chopped right back. The plan is to pull them out completely, but I think I'll wait until spring to do that (plus I think I'm going to need some man-muscle for that particular job).

The sparrows and Bun Bun aren't going to be happy about it. But I'll make it up to them next year when I replant. I'm thinking a Lilac and a Butterfly bush, and maybe a Raspberry Cane or two but we'll see what I can get when the time rolls around. Do you have a favourite flowering bush?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Old knits are the best knits

The Spidey hat is going slower than I expected, but that's okay - I haven't messed it up yet!
I'm almost to the decrease section, so the end is in sight.  The pattern continues the red through the upper web section, but I decided to keep the webs all in blue. I'm quite pleased with how it looks.

Since I don't have much current knitting to show, I've got an oldie. Years ago when I first started knitting, I knit a chunky chenille poncho. Despite the fact that it turned out way too big, I still love it. It's comfy and warm and I pull it out every autumn and frequently wear it instead of a coat. Today was no exception. And when I got home from work, I tossed it on the couch so I could sort out my bags and get the cats fed. When I came back out, I discovered Rocky on it, doing the paw dance with a blissed out look on his face
And really - who can blame him? It really is that comfy. But then I moved in for a closer look and realized....
He was also sitting on my keys.... what a cat!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

In need of a superhero or two.

I've been felled with a wicked head cold, so I've had lots of time to follow today's news.

Looks like our world could use a few more superheroes. All I can do is work away on the spiderman hat
It's coming along well. As always, the Fat Cat is lovely and makes the colourwork that much more enjoyable.

Now if only we could knit the world into a better place...

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The squirrel has found his nuts

Remember how I brought some black walnuts home and how the squirrels didn't have much interest in them?
Well, I put the remaining walnuts in an old cat litter bucket and put them up on the stand I had out back - they were starting to mold in the plastic bag I'd brought them home in.

I didn't think much of it until I noticed the bucket was looking a little low. And sure enough, I looked out the door this morning before work and there was Mr. Black Squirrel nibbling daintily away on one. He was gone before I got back with the camera, but it looks like he had fun while I was at work...
I put them all back in the bucket but left it on the ground for him. Looks like I'll have to steal some more from Dad.

In knitting news... after hitting post last night, Dave walked in the door. So I made up some fresh garlic bread to go with his lasagna, and before I knew it, it was bedtime. Not a stitch knit.

I made up for it at lunch today
The second Pip Squeak is started. I love the fraternal yarn!

And tonight when I got home, I started on the Spiderman hat. just a few rows knit, but I'm about to get back to it.
That's if someone will share the couch...

Monday, October 20, 2014

Spider season

I did indeed give some love to Hitofude yesterday and managed to put one more repeat on her. As nice as it is to knit with the yarn, it's very slow going so she's weekend only knitting for now.

In the mad dash to get back to work this morning, I forgot to grab Miss P's socks, so no love for them!

And when I came home, it was time to make dinner, love the cats and all that fun stuff, so there hasn't been a chance to knit a stitch today! However, as soon as I hit post, I'll be heading to my needles. I considered picking up Old Town and beginning the process of  picking up all the stitches for the arms an body, but my head just isn't in the right space for that.

Instead, I'm capitalizing on the great feeling of getting my Christmas stuff done early. With the Cranberry Bonnet out of the way, the next on the dock is a toque for a rather young man. His Mom said his favourite colours are red and blue and I know he's an avid Superhero fan... did your spidey senses starting tingling too?

I found this hat on Ravelry. I already had some Fat Cat dyed up in red and black (left over from Nora's Ladybug jacket. It was nothing to dye up a skein of superhero blue
The hat on Ravelry is knit in fingering, but with a little bit of math, I should be about to work it out for the DK.

So I better go get these skeins caked up, before the evening slips away all together!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The great knit-cation: Day 9

As all things do, the great knit-cation is coming to an end. I spent the morning finishing up the Christmas Cranberry Bonnet.
I ended up going with a slightly darker bead (number 1, for those who remember.) It still doesn't have quite the pop I wanted, but it works. It doesn't show well in the picture, but looks quite lovely in person
A nice bit of sparkle to an already pretty little hat. This one is modded as well, details are on my Rav page. Now there are only four Christmas presents left to knit!

The rest of the day was spent cleaning in the bedroom. The closets and dressers were long overdue for an overhaul. Rocky came up to supervise.
He knows that when I start searching under the furniture, favourite old toys are going to emerge
It took all afternoon, but I've now got three garbage bags full of clothes for donation, and much more room in the dressers and closet!
Clearly, supervision is hard work.

Oh, and after two days of mulling over it, I decided that the bleached hair was just a little too stark. My eyes are too dark and my complexion is too pink. So I popped out the store and picked up a box of Golden Blonde.
It softened the colour up nicely - I like it MUCH better!

And now tomorrow is back to work. But there's still a few hours of knit-cation left to enjoy. So as soon as I'm done my dishes, to the couch I go to give Hitofude some love!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The great knit-cation: Day 8

There was one big road trip left for the great knit-cation: The Woodstock Fleece Festival!
It's about an hour and a half away, so I trundled up to Mom's, loaded her into the car an we hit the road!

We went to the WFF a few years back and I loved it. All the great vendors of the Toronto Frolic, but without the massive crowds. Well... apparently word has gotten out.... it's still all the great vendors... but the crowds are there now too! We managed to squeeze our way through. Mom got some lovely fibre to spin (from a vendor who has a shop 10 minutes from her house... but hey...) and I was on the lookout for something special.
Last time we were there, there were several rug-hooking vendors (something that I haven't seen at the Frolic). Two of my favourite bloggers hook rugs... and I've been wanting to give it a try for a while.

Sadly, the kits were well out of my budget, so I'm going to do a little more research and save up some money for next year.

Instead, I consoled myself with a beautiful hand made shawl pin
That happened to go just perfect with Lestrange.

And then I found a clearance bin with a pile of Himalayan silk.
None of the skeins match perfectly, and they are all different weights, but I just loved the colour and texture. The plan was to make a large, oversized tunic, but now I'm thinking it would look nice mixed in an afghan with a few other yarns....

Mom also made a new friend
And if there was a way we could have gotten her in the car, we probably would have tried. She was an absolute sweetie.

We took the backroads home, enjoying the fall colours and ended up going through the area where I grew up. We started reminiscing and decided to hit a little farm store we used to frequent to get a cup of hot apple cider.

Well that little farm store isn't so little any more. In fact they were quite the little tourist trap. It wasn't as packed as the festival, but there was quite the crowd! Certainly not how we remember it.
Especially in pumpkin season!
We got our hot cups of cider (and a jug of cider, and some candy apples...) and I grabbed a few little gourds to put on the front porch

 Though they look so nice on the table... they might just stay there!

Now, there's just one day left to knit-cation - so I'm gonna get knitting!

Friday, October 17, 2014

The great knit-cation: Day 7

Apparently, when left alone with too much time on my hands, I do crazy things
Like apply a large bottle of bleach to my hair. I'd orginally bought the kit to up my highlights a bit. But this morning I woke up and said "screw it" and just did the whole thing.  It's definitely going to take some getting use to.

In other news, I started beading the Cranberry bonnet
But I'm not really happy with my bead choice. I think I want something that pops more, so I'm going to take it back and try something else. Which means the hat won't be done tonight... but that's okay.

And finally, Dave decided that we should still do something special on our actual anniversary too, so we ordered Chinese for dinner. I opened my fortune
And said "And that's why we've been together so long." Then he opened his...
Well played cookies.... well played....

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The great knit-cation: Day 6

Tomorrow, Dave and I mark 12 years together, but since today was his only day off this week, we decided to spend today celebrating. And we spent it how any couple who's been together 12 years would... sleeping in, watching movies together, snuggling with the kids (of the feline persuasion) and knitting! (Well I was knitting, I've yet to convince Dave of the virtues of the hobby.)

And that means I got half a project done!
The first of Miss P's Pip Squeaks is off the needles. Like me, she loves ankle socks, so the Pips are perfect. Even though it's listed as a light fingering on Ravelry, the yarn is actually on the heavy side - a little closer to a sport. But they will be nice and warm for winter.

I've got the opposite skein balled up and ready to go, though I'll probably wait until Monday to cast on.  I flirted briefly with the idea of working on Old Town, but in the end I went back to the second Cranberry Bonnet. Like the socks, they are a Christmas gift, and it feels good to be getting it out of the way early. I've actually got all my Christmas shopping done - I just have five things left to make - three hats and two pairs of socks - and two of those items are half done!

But back to the hat. I'll probably get to the beaded portion tomorrow some time, so I went stash diving to see what I had that would work
I'm leaning towards number 4... but what do you think?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The great knit-cation: Day 5

Hard to believe the knit-cation is halfway over. It always goes to fast. But no vacation is every complete without a little road trip to visit someone very special. So I whipped up some pumpkin tarts and hit the road
It's a beautiful drive this time of year (even on the highway - the back roads are even more amazing!) And so I was in the prescense of the very special Princess Otis!
 (Don't tell Tux I have another tuxie-cat friend!). Oh... and I was visiting some other special people too...
My best friend and two of her monsteriffic - I mean adorable! - children. (The third is on an adventure to Saskatchewan with his Dad). Chats were chatted, tarts were devoured and of course there was knitting. Sam worked on a baby blanket, while I worked on Miss P's sock
Folded cuff is done and heel is turned! I'm tempted to work on them for the rest of the night now. There's turkey soup simmering in the slow cooker, so I've got the rest of the evening to myself....

Oh, and I finished up the hand spun bonnet last night and took pics this morning
Details of my mods are on my project page, but I couldn't be happier with how it turned out. 
It is quite hard to get a picture of the back of your own head... and I really wish I have more to make some matching mitts. I guess Mom better get back to that wheel...