Monday, February 29, 2016

Monday pick-me-up

I hope your week has started out well.. but if not, here's something to make you smile...
Little Miss Jem is quite the little ham.

I was up on the weekend dyeing yarn (more on that tomorrow) but I wasn't allowed to go anywhere near the studio until I had some outside time with the girls.

 While Lady is getting up there (about 11 years old), she still up for a (short) game of chase.
Which Jem just thinks is the greatest

Jem is pretty smart for such a little thing too. She's mastered sit, is pretty good at shaking a paw.. and now we're working on fetch and catch
She doing okay there.. though sometimes...
She could use a little more grace.

Of course, she makes up for the lack of that with and abundance of cute.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

As February fades...

Is it just me, or has February just flown by?

Despite the speed of the days, work on the lace tunic has just crawled. But Friday night, I finally got the back done and on the blocking board (and one of these days, I really need to invest in some blocking wires)
If there's ever a piece of advice I'd give to new lace knitters... it's never judge a piece until you've blocked it. Blocking is sheer magic when it comes to lace - it completely changes everything. Something that was a fairly dense tangle of yarn is now light and airy...
... and absolutely beautiful!

When I cast off, the length was somewhere around 26 inches. The pattern, as written, said it would be 30 inches after blocking. But I'd added three extra repeats for just a bit more length. And I got a nice respectable 36 inches out of it.

Of course... I can't get too excited. I still have to knit the front...AND both sleeves. I'm in this one for the long haul!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Making Mirri

Part of the reason the tunic back wasn't finished earlier this week, is because I got a little distracted.
You see, Delusional Knitter is running a little KAL in her Ravelry group, for a very pretty shawl pattern of hers... Mirabel.

I just couldn't resist casting on, because I had the perfect yarn combo:
Back when Mom and I first started dyeing, we bought all our yarns on cones, and had to wind up each skein ourselves. This usually meant by the end of the cone, there was one skein that was a little short on yardage. Since I liked short socks, I dyed those short skeins up and kept them for myself. The green (English Ivy) and Pink (Magnolia) are two such skeins of Top Cat that have been in the stash forever. I keep meaning to make socks with them, but there's only so many hours in the day. When I saw Mirabel, I knew they were perfect for it - I just had to find a third yarn. I have another (full) skein of Top Cat in a pale pink (powder puff) but, then I remembered the half skein of Barn Cat  left over from my Broken Seed Stitch Socks... it couldn't be more perfect than if I dyed them all just for this purpose.

I cast on Tuesday night....
...and it's all gone quite quickly. My original intention was to make this for a friend's birthday... but I'm thinking I might just have to keep this one for myself.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Friday Felines

On Friday, we had one heck of a storm blow up from Texas. At first they though we'd get snow, but it ended up coming down as rain - lots and lots of freezing cold rain. Despite that, someone absolutely insisted on being outside.
"It's NOT snowing. I am staying outside - I don't care if it's wet."

Of course, all it took was one really big gust of wind (and there was a lot of that) and he was back in where it was cozy and warm (not to mention dry). But he was looking a little grumpy, so I put some bird seed on the door sill for him...
Those cheeky sparrows are quite bold. 

And.. five minutes of fresh air, and half an hour of bird watching is just too much excitement for one little kitty, so...
... you can guess how the rest of the day went.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The slog...

I really had hoped to be showing you a finished tunic back by now....
.. but as you cnn see... I'm not.

And despite putting several more repeats on it - the darn thing just doesn't seem to grow. I'm actually only five repeats from finishing the back, and it doesn't look anywhere near long enough.

I just keep reminding myself, once this baby hits water, it's going to open and expand all over the place. I just have to trust in the pattern (and remind myself that I'm actually adding three repeats above what the pattern calls for, so it should be more than long enough.)

Maybe by the end of the weekend, we'll see a finished and block back. One can only hope...

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Half a hoot

I found some time to finish up the first owlie mitt.
I'd like to have these in the mail by the second week of March, so I can't procrastinate on them too much.
I'm giving this one a good soak and block before I start the second one though. I find them a bit on the small side. I'm hoping I coax them to be a bit more roomy with some blocking. If not, I'm going to have to start all over on a larger needle.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Puppy play time

On the weekend, I took Dave up to meet Jem for the first time.  When we arrived, she and Lady were outside playing, so she wasn't much interested in Dave. There's just too much going on in the back yard.
 Those little legs are getting longer.  But she's still so much smaller than Lady.  
She has completed mastered "sit"
 ... as well as "the face."
And whatever Lady is doing....
 She wants to be part of it.
 Whether Lady wants to or not...
 Though, secretly, I think Lady is loving it
She's definitely growing fast. And you can already start to see a little of the dog she's going to become.

Monday, February 22, 2016

I lied...

... when I said we wouldn't see any green for many more weeks....

I didn't mean to lie. We really shouldn't have. But all the snow we got last week got washed away with some rain over the weekend. I just happened to peak over at the gardens when heading out and...
There's green coming up all over the place. These will be a mix of tulips, daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths and lily-of-the-valley. I'm not sure what's what. The only thing I can positively identify it the irises
(and yay! looks like they've multiplied!

The various ground cover sedums I have seem to have wintered well
Though I need to get out and clean the leaves and fall detritus around them. Oh - and the tall sedums Samantha gave me are already coming back too
And just look at this beautiful hens and chick
It's gone a gorgeous deep burgundy. I have some of these in the house and they are still green, just tinged with red.

And look...
Even the dianthans are getting green. They are getting moved this year... I just have to decide on a place for them.

It will still be weeks before we see any blooms.. but this little bit of green has cheered me to no end!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

FO: Handspun cowl

It dried pretty quickly and I've worn it a couple times already...

Nothing fancy - just cast on 36 stitches and worked in feather and fan until the yarn ran out. Blocked and then sewed the ends together. It's not very big - just enough to loop around my neck a couple of times.

Here's a look at the full set with coat and all
All in all, I'm very pleased with it. I love it when all my accessories match.  Of course, the weather warmed up again and all that snow melted (It was 12 Celcius when I took these pics). But the temps are dipping again - I'll get more use out of it before spring, I'm sure!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

New beauty

Araignee might have bits of spring popping up already, but it's going to be several weeks before we see anything of the sort here. So I have to bring spring indoors while I wait.

So why not add to the orchid collection?
I actually dropped several not-so-subtle hints to a certain someone, hoping to get this for Valentine's Day. Alas... I got candy and chocolate instead (I won't complain - I like candy and chocolate.) But I really wanted one of those orchids.
Just look at those colours.  Of course, when I went back for this one, I saw another I wanted almost as much. Hopefully it will still be there next grocery day.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Friday Felines

... has once again gone to the dogs...
... as you can see. Little Jem is growing fast... and making herself right at home.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

FO: Handspun gloves

And they are done!
As you can see, the second one ended up being almost a perfect opposite to the first. That's one of the fun things about working with handspun - you just never know what you're going to get. They are nice and warm too, despite being only sport-weight - perfect for what's left of winter, for however long it's around.

I was also able to eke out a small cowl from the leftover yarn (pics later - it's still blocking), so now I have a full set. With the high funnel neck on the coat, I didn't really need a cowl, but I had the yarn so I thought, what the heck!

Now... back to the never-ending tunic. Unless I get distracted, of course....

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Monday Meme on Wednesday

Another  meme from Kathy B

#1 Write on the pattern you are using or keep it clean as a whistle?
If I need to, I write on them. Most of my patterns are electronic versions, so I can just print out a new one whenever I want. My book patterns I keep clean though.
#2 Trick for Keeping track of a plain round or a complicated round?
For colourwork, I find highlighting as I go helps a lot.
#3 You've decided you cannot stand the yarn you are working with...... you: Carry on.  You liked it enough to buy it after all or Put it in the donation pile, feeling a bit guilty that someone is getting yarn you don't even like.  Or return it. 
If I really don't like a yarn, I try to find someone else who will enjoy it. Just because I don't like it doesn't mean it's bad - just not to my taste. It will always suit someone else.
#4 What is your current favorite television show to knit during?  I have to knit to things I've seen already. If it's new, I don't want to miss anything. Lately I've been rewatching Game of Thrones and The Last Kingdom.
#5 How do you like your coffee?
In the garbage. I hate coffee.
#6 How many pairs of hand knitted socks do you rotate wearing currently?   At last count, my sock drawer was around 35 pairs, though it's definitely been added to since then - I'm probably close to 40.
 #7 You are taking a road trip.  Do you listen to the local radio stations on the way or your own music?  Sadly, the local radio stations. My car CD player stopped working early last year. The radio stations are good around here so it's not too bad, but once I get out of range... it's really a crap shoot.
#8 Do you bring your own grocery bags to the store?   I really like the idea of bringing my own bags. I even bought several of the heavy duty reusable ones years ago... but now they are all filled with yarn. Besides, the grocery store ones are great for collecting cat poop.
#9 What wildlife have you seen that is considered rare? In the wild? I've seen a Golden Eagle. I was driving to my grandparents and he was just chillin' on the side of the road. 
When I was about 12 years old, I went to Girl Guide camp and they had an exotic animal show come. I got to go on stage and cuddle with a three-month old tiger. One of my best childhood memories.
#10 Someone just gave your family plane tickets to anywhere in the US for next week.  Where will you take them ?   Oooh -that's a tough decisions. Somewhere warm... maybe go visit Dee in Florida... I'd really like to go on one of her alligator hikes!

And now... a word from our sponsor
 "Spring comes tomorrow..... right?"

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Lazy snails

This past weekend was a long weekend here in Ontario. Monday was Family Day - a holiday started by the provincial government in 2008. The idea is to get out and spend the day with your family and there's endless activities going on all over town.

Naturally, Dave and the kids and I took advantage of the day in the best way possible
While we were all snuggled up, watching movies and just generally being lazy, I managed to put a few more repeats on the lace tunic
Not that you can really tell. This thing grows at a snail's pace. When I first started it, I was hoping I could have it done by the end of February. I'm not nearly so optimistic now. I'm not even half way through the back. At this pace, I'll be lucky to have it done by summer!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Warming up with handspun

Back before Christmas, I got a great deal on a cute little funnel neck coat
(From Old Navy of course). And it's a nice deep, deep plum that just happened to go with one of my favourite hand-spun hats. (Spun by Mom, knit by me)
But sadly, I had no mitts of gloves to match. Fortunately, last year, Mom gave me a second skein of matching yarn for just such a purpose. So while Dave was off making music yesterday, I  got one glove done.
It's using the same "pattern" as Dave's, just sized down. So I'm thinking I'm going to have to put together a basic mitt/glove pattern for release. Just something simple you can use as a base for your own mitts and gloves.

Of course, I've got to finish that second glove first...

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Valentine's icing

After a frigidly cold day yesterday, Mother Nature gifted us with a fresh layer of frosting for Valentine's Day...
...making everything sparkly and bright. Dave has headed off to band practice for the afternoon, so the kids and I are enjoying the sunny day from the comfort of the nice warm couch.

Well.., except for a brief interlude, because someone absolutely insisted...
"This is bullsh!t"
Of course, that's as far as he went... two steps out the door and he sat down. He refused to come in though... just sat there looking sad.

Until I got the treat bag of course. In fact, I think it was all just a ploy to get some treats in the first place.