Saturday, February 28, 2015

Conjuring spring

I'm trying with all my might to entice Mother Nature to take pity on us. I stopped in at Michael's after work last night and they were having a sale on all their floral stems.
I bought up a few things for a spring door hanger. 
This one was really easy to put together. Just a little floral foam in the bottom to hold the hydrangea stems. Wee birdie just clips right on.

Add a bow and hang on the door.

I did splurge a little on the container (though it was on sale too). But it makes new decorations much easier - just swap out the flowers and bring on a new season!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Release the kraken!

The Iron Dyers are starting to unveil their February yarns, so I can finally show you the beauties we dyed up based on this picture
I did mine on Twinkle Cat (because it's sparkly under the sea... don'tcha know!)
A crazy multi called "Tentacular"

Mom decided to go for a gradient this time, on Barn Cat
She did a big shawl cakes, and a couple smaller ones for socks and called hers "Kraken"

We are just waiting for the prize winners to choose which ones they want, and then the rest will go in the shop. Keep your eyes peeled!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Return of the Bun!

Look who showed up last night...
(Sorrt about the crappy picture quality - it was through the door and in the dark). Yes... Bunbun is back. I've seen signs of him the last couple of months (and by signs, I of course mean copious amounts of bunny poo) but not the actual bun himself.
But last night, Rocky was mewling behind the curtains so I had to go see what was up. You can see he's got his winter coat on - much more grey than his summer brown.
And extra fluffy! Now if only that giant snowpile he standing on would melt, we could all go out and play together!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

I think it's spring...

I think it's spring, I think it's spring..... (maybe if I think it hard enough, it will happen.)

I'm normally not one to lament too much about the seasons.... but I am absolutely done with this winter. We've been in a deep freeze for two weeks (and apparently there's still a week to go)... weather that's normally reserved for January.

Like poor Rocky, I've resorted to howling at the window whenever I look outside.
You know it's cold when you have to resort to curling up in the curtain just to keep warm while bird watching.

And while Rocky watches the jays and dreams of the day he can chase bunbun again... I'm trying to be a little more proactive.
When I got groceries, I picked up a bunch of peachy tulips. My Valentine's roses had died off and I thought these might bring a nice breath of spring inside... even if it's nowhere to be seen outside.
I also grabbed a pot of mini-daffodils. Since they are potted, I can save the bulbs and put them in the garden come fall. And if the squirrels will leave them alone, I can finally have some mini-daffs in the front garden. (That is one good thing about all this snow and cold... those darn rodents can't get to my bulbs!.... not that they probably didn't get them all before January...)

Come pay day, I'll hit the craft store and get supplies for a new door hanger... maybe that will finally convince Mother Nature to get in line!

Monday, February 23, 2015


I couldn't resist, I just had to cast on with my new yarn
It's a new cowl design, and I love how the yarns are working together.

I have a love/hate relationship with mohair, but I just couldn't resist the Cirrus. That's because I absolutely loves how mohair looks. When I was about 7 or 8, I begged Mom to knit me a purple mohair sweater. Being the awesome Mom she is, she made it for me. It was dark purple and covered in eyelets. It was beautiful...

And I couldn't wear it.

It felt like I was covered in 10,000 mosquito bites. I wanted to wear it so bad. I'd pull it out of the drawer, put it on, and within two minutes, it was back in the drawer again. I haven't touched mohair since, though I've admired it many times in the yarn stores.

When I saw the Cirrus, I immediately thought of that beautiful purple sweater. I picked up a skein, thinking of the itch. But the label said "super kid mohair". And I'd heard it was suppose to be nicer. It did feel soft.  I put it back, remembering that purple sweater.

But I came back to it a few minutes later. I looked around the store... no one was looking, so I stuck a skein down my shirt. There was no itch. It still felt soft. Very soft. So I decided to take a chance and snapped up two more skeins (and removed the one from my shirt)
I've wrapped the WIP around my neck and so far so good. And look at that pretty halo....

But that brings up the other thing I hate about mohair... knitting with it. Those little hairs catch on everything! And lets not talk about ripping it out....

But it's looking great in the design, so I think it will be worth it.

The Boboli Lace, on the other hand,  is quite nice to work with.
Don't let the name fool you - it's not a lace weight at all, but a sport-weight. I'm knitting the cowl on 4.5 mm needles and it's poofing out quite nicely.

The Boboli is very much like a single-ply handspun - thick and thin with all these wonderful bits of colour. And it's got a wonderful sheen, you'd almost think it was silk.

I think it's going to be a lovely knit when I'm done. If only I didn't have to go to work!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sockin' it

I got surprising little time to knit while in Chicago. Between work activities and exploring, I was too beat by the time I got back to my hotel room.

In fact, the only time I got to knit was while at the airport and on the plane
But it was time enough to get through most of the cuff on Dave's second sock. Just a couple more stripes and I can start the heel.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Sweet home, Stoney Creek

... yeah - that just doesn't have the same ring as Sweet Home, Chicago.

But, it is good to be home. My flight ended up being delayed an hour and I was in Toronto by 9 p.m. In the effort to save a little money, I didn't arrange for a limo to pick me up from the airport, but instead hopped a GO bus, then a cab from the GO station. I didn't get in until about 11:30 p.m. (I started travelling at 2 p.m!) It was a long day, and I was very happy to see my bed. And my baby!
I'm not sure if his face is saying "I'm so glad you're back" or "Leave again and I'm smothering Dave while he sleeps..." Maybe both. But he is happy I'm home - he hasn't stopped purring and he's watching every move I make - I think to make sure I'm not heading out the door again

But back to the trip. I know you're dying to what treasures I got. As a dyer, it's really hard for me to buy yarn, because so much of what I like, I can make myself. But I managed to find a few things at Loopy Yarns.\
This is one skein of Berroco Boboli Lace in Watercress (Wool/Acrylic/Viscose single ply blend) and three skeins of  Berroco Cirrus in Tallgrass Prairie (Superkid Mohair/Extrafine Merino/Nylong blend).  It's destined to become a nice big loopy cowl.

I did bring home some sock yarn though
I just couldn't resist the colours (definitely have seasons other than winter on my mind - by the way.... we're in the middle of another snow storm now...) The green one is going to live with Mom.

While at the airport, I had some time to shop as well. I picked up a t-shirt for Dad and a little something for Dave... and a little something for me.
There's a kiosk in Midway that has some beautiful (and reasonably priced) jewelry. It was hard to choose, but I finally settled on this gorgeous opal ring.

Now I've got a roast in so it's ready when Dave gets home from work, and it's time to put my feet up and knit. Maybe with my new sock yarn....

Friday, February 20, 2015

Chicago: Part 4

Well... the trip is coming to a close. I'm just waiting for my (delayed) flight. But I had a chance to do a little more exploring this morning. I googled and found the closest yarn store to the hotel....
...Loopy Yarns. So I grabbed a cab and headed on over. I'll show you my treasures tomorrow, as they are all packed up in my bag.

My plan was to take a cab back, but after exiting the store, I realized it wasn't that cold out (at least not as cold as it has been), so I decided to walk back to the hotel and see a little more of Chicago as the store was only 2.5 km from the hotel. (1.6 miles for my U.S. friends)

The wind had died down so it was actually quiet enjoyable. A few blocks from the store, I grabbed a hot chocolate.
and continued on my way. I ended up back in Millenium Park, but it's a BIG park, so I there was lots of parts I hadn't seen yet.
A well-loved tree (they obviously didn't want him to feel cold).
A big eagle
A big Native American (there were actually two of them)
A big elemental? (She's actually my favourite - I wish I could bring her home)

And - I was asked if I saw the big bean.... of course I did!
We actually visited on Wednesday night, but I couldn't get any decent pictures of it in the dark. At night the area was deserted, but by day it was the most popular spot in the park.

So... it's time to say good bye Chicago
While most of my time was eaten up by work, I had an absolute blast in my free hours. I hope to visit again soon.... maybe when it's a bit warmer though....

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Chicago: Part 3

This is the face of a person who's coworkers convinced her that walking around Chicago at 10pm at night in February would be super fun!
Okay - it was super fun - but it was also SUPER cold! Can you say wind burn????

Highlights of the evening include

Giant heads
 and giant lions!
Apparently in Chicago, you go big or go home!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Chicago: Part 2

For today and tomorrow, I'm pretty much locked up in the hotel. (It's a pretty swanky hotel, so I'm not going to complain)

But last night, a coworker and I did get a chance to see a little more of Chicago.... even if it was just out to dinner down the street.

I've discovered that Chicago is much like Toronto, but with a lot more people (mostly cabs) running red lights.
She suggested an English Pub-style joint, and it sounded good to me

Of couse, I stayed mostly within my comfort zone and got chicken fingers
Though we started off with stuffed Yorkshire just to see what it was like
Then a quick jaunt to the 7/11 to stock up on snacks
And it was back to the hotel where I finished off a very long day with a nice hot bubble bath
 And .... can anyone tell me why there is a phone in my toilet?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Chicago: Part 1

I have arrived in the Windy City!
And despite how that picture looks - it's actually not that windy (a stray breeze came up just as I took the picture) but it is cold. Of course, no colder than home so I can't complain much. As you can see, Color Affection came along for my brief walk around the general vicinity of my hotel.

I've only been here a few hours, but downtown Chicago is already way cooler than Itasca (Where I went on my last "Chicago" trip).

Chicago - you have cool buildings
The Carbide and Carbon building, as seen from my hotel room. Love art deco! I may take a walk to see it up close and in person.

You can see Millenium park and Lake Michigan from my other hotel window.

Millenium park is where I decided to explore first (and where I took my selfie.) They have the cutest little skating path there.
 If I was better on skates (and had done it at least once in the last 25 years) I might have gone for a round or two.
I'd love to see this park in the summer!

And all around the area, there are little hidden roof top gardens and art - art EVERYWHERE!
Bumper deer by John Kearney
The next few days are are pretty packed, but I'm hoping to have more time to explore some more on Friday.

Monday, February 16, 2015

FO: Hanspun handwarmers

Warming Crafts said it best: "Listen to what the yarn wants!"

And the yarn wanted to be mitts
Nothing much to detail here - no real pattern - just whipped them up from memory on 4.5 mm needles. The yarn is nice and thick so they are nice and cozy. They took me an evening and a morning to finish.

It's pretty cool to look back at the whole project. It started with some fiber I dyed
And Mom spun into a nice worsted weight yarn
And ended as mittens, perfect for our sub-zero winter

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Post Valentine glow

We have a little rule in our house - no flowers on Valentine's day. Dave is more than welcome to buy me flowers any other time of the year (and in the 12.5 years we've been together, it's happened a grand total of four times...) but flowers are way overpriced on Valentine's. So he's always had strict instruction not to buy them...

Of course... Dave's not really one for rules...
He surprised me with these velvety beauties last night when he got home from work. He also had a box of Empire cookies from the Scottish bakery down the street. I think I'll keep him!

I, in turn, spent the day knitting and cooking up a nice pork roast with apple sauce.

I got the stitches picked up for the last sleeve on Old Town.
But I only got a few rows done.  I'm just not feeling the love for this one. And since I'm no longer worried about getting her done in time for Chicago, (We got the itinerary for the week - I don't have much time for sight-seeing) I only managed to get a few rows done before turning my attention elsewhere.

It fell on Dave's sock...
... and I managed to finish up the first one. I'll cast on the second one on today, so I have something to knit on the plane (and during any other spare moment.)

And I pulled out the handspun hat
 It's decided it wants to be mittens instead. Of course, it might be slightly influenced by the fact that it's eleventy billion degrees below zero and I just can't seem to stay warm...