Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

Howdy and how's your Halloween?  We've been busy carving pumpkins the last few nights.  Fun to watch the kids think of face designs and then help their dad scoop out all the pumpkin guts.

Today we put finishing touches on kids' costumes (and happy to say that dear hubby was handy with a needle and thread).  After an early supper, hubby did his best work painting the boys' faces.   Aren't they just cute?

My little rockers had fun trick 'r treatin'.  Although windy, its a warm night here on the east coast, with a full moon to light the way. 

Hope yours is a good night too!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ooopsie Daisy!

Wouldn't you know it?  I missed my 6 month anniversary on Friday.  April 23 marked my very first post on the wonderful world wide web (here it is--short and sweet).  I can't believe its been six months already. 

Thus far I've kept my promise to blog at least once a week and I'm not bored with it yet.  Let's see if I can keep this going for another six months.  Meanwhile, thanks for reading and especially for commenting.  Much appreciated!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Rain, Rain Go Away

Fall is definitely here on the Canadian east coast: dark, dreary and mighty wet punctuated with hail.  As I write this, the rain pounds against my window while the wind howls amidst the trees (I never noticed how noisy the wind could be until I moved out here.  I don't remember it being so loud growing up in TO). 

We try to enjoy the sunny weather whenever it makes a rare appearance.  A little over a week ago we found some mighty fine pumpkins.

We're waiting till this week to carve our big pumpkins, but the boys decided to decorate the little ones.  I am amazed at their creativity and whimsy.

Have I mentioned who the boys will be on Halloween?  Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of KISS.  That's right.  KISS.  Dear hubby has eclectic musical tastes and he's exposed the children to different kinds of music.  At present the boys enjoy KISS, the Beatles, B52s, Led Zepplin, Barenaked Ladies' Snacktime, Jack Johnson and the Ratatouille soundtrack--now there's a mix!  ;)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Still Experimenting . . .

And still knitting--well sort of.  I'm not doing as much knitting as I'd like, but every little bit counts.  At least I finished one fingerless glove and working on second one: still working on thumb gusset and hopefully I can knit one or two fingers this weekend (I'd love to finish the enitre glove and be done with it very soon, but who's kidding who.  Ain't gonna happen this week).

And I've discovered how to take even better indoor photos.  Remember when I first discovered a good photo spot (blogged about it here) right in my own home (which incidently is rather dark especially on a dark, dreary winter's day)?  If I take a picture using the snow setting on my camera, the colours look just as they do under sunny conditions.  Here's the proof:

Auto Setting

Snow Setting

Natural Sunlight

A eureka moment!  Gotta love it when the light bulb in my head turns on :D  I may not have to build a photobox afterall.

And, I started experimenting with Wordpress: witness my handywork here .  No, I'm not moving my blog.  Actually I've enjoyed the ease of Blogger.  Highly recommend Blogger to any newbie interested in starting up their own blog.  Wordpress takes a little getting used to, but I wanted to try it out because I will eventually use it.  Confused?

Bernat has asked me to blog for them on their website (which uses Wordpress).  So excited and just plain tickled pink!  You can check out their website through my blogroll.  I won't be there till early November (I'll be sure to add a link after I start posting), but looking forward to it. :D

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Christmas Round-Up

So I finished the Wendy neckwarmer.  Yay for me!  I knew it'd be a quick knit.  Just needs seaming and weaving of ends. 

With this one done, I thought I'd better make a good and proper list of all that needs completing.  Here's my progress thus far:

Nephew: Baby Sophisticate and Earflap Hat (knitting done; needs finishing)
Niece: Fishtail Cowl, Lacy Star Hat and Eyelet Yoke Cardigan (knitting done; all need finishing)
Mom: Fishtail Scarf (still knitting)
MIL: Fern & Waves Scarf (still knitting)
BIL: Wendy Neckwarmer & Fingerless Gloves (one done; other still knitting)
(By the way, the links above go to posts on my blog, but if you're a fellow Rav member you can just access my progress bars to the right).

I'm feeling pretty good.  Just a few more items.  I'm hoping to finish all in the next two weeks as November will be my "finishing" month.  There are other non-knitting Christmas items to be completed as well, but only one of these will be my project.  The rest will be completed by dear hubby.

Meanwhile, back to knitting . . .  ;)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sometimes . . .

Sometimes you can find knitterly items in the least likeliest places.  Everyday I walk to work.  It's a good half hour trek to and from, but the exercise is good for my heart (even if it hasn't done much for my waistline).  Walking along Main Street I go past shops that pique my curiosity. 

Take the used book store.  Sadly I'm not much of reader, but I popped in today, just the same, in search of craft and garden books.  I only had a few dollars on hand, but I scored a few old Patons books:

Both books are from 1984 and 1981 (Eeek!  The horrible 80s with too much eye makeup, towering hair-dos and hideous shoulder pads.  Ask me how I know).  Still, Nordic-style sweaters knit in the round never really go out of style.  And both books include children's sizes.  For a little over a dollar, how could I miss?

Then I stopped into a little shop selling Nova Scotian crafts and giftware.  There was a nice mix of neat items: hand-crafted pottery, paintings, matted photos, woodwork, goat's milk soaps and creams, homemade jams, sauces and syrups.  Then I spied two things that caught my attention: first there were handknits a-plenty and second there was handpainted yarn (I'm sure I gasped a little, but the clerk was busily knitting a scarf and didn't notice).  Now there wasn't much selection, but I was intrigued.  All the skeins came from Fibrepalooza.  This is big for me 'cuz there is no proper LYS in my town; nor is there one in the next town; in fact, I'd have to drive all the way to Halifax . . . . Sadly I could not make a purchase, but I'm gonna put the word out so Santa's elves can make me very happy Christmas morning (and I know at least one of Santa's elves reads this blog).

To tame my yarny urges, I walked over to the local V&S Department store to purchase some sock yarn.  Sadly no colours "jumped" at me.  However, I did spy a few pattern books for 99 cents!  How cool is that?

Two of those books include crochet patterns for the home.  Long ago, I could crochet: there are three afghans and at least one dainty doily in existance as proof of my skills (although where all those things are now, I cannot say).  I'd love to make a mat for the kitchen 'cuz the one I have now is lookin' very sad and dingy.

And just for good measure, I even picked up a few of those free pattern leaflets.  You can never have too many free patterns (there's a red binder and several file folders at home bursting with free  patterns--and yes, they are all organized too). 

Hope your weekend is shaping up to be a good one :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Scarf No More

Remember that cabled scarf where I could find no love? Haven't frogged the thing--at least not yet.  The project was doomed from the start: the yarn and cables fought each other.  Besides, I hadn't considered that cables would shorten the length (thanks for that tip Knitinsage) which means I'd need more yarn--yarn that I don't have. 

So instead of a scarf, I'm falling back to a tried and true standard: the neckwarmer (aka the cowl).  I'm using a simple rib from the Wendy Scarf pattern (found in the Knitting a Pattern a Day Calendar 2008).  Moreover, I've nixed the Bernat Worsted; instead I'm using Bernat Chunky.  I must confess that I've got a soft spot for the Chunky: very soft and knits up very quickly.

Truth time:  I've made this before for my boys.  Hard to beat something that I know is gonna work.  Originally I used about 72 stitches on 5.5mm and knit until the piece measured about 5".  For the adult version, I'm using 78 stitches on 6.5mm and working until piece measures approximately 5-6". 

The plain version

The striped version

Hopefully the neckwarmer will match the fingerless gloves.  More importantly, I hope the recipient will get some use out of the items.  He definitely appreciates hand-crafted items. 


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Experimenting . . .

Since I've started blogging, I think my photography skills have improved--relative to where I was when I started.  Reading the manual, playing with the camera settings and checking out tips at various photo blogs are hopefully netting me good pictures.  Personally I'm attracted to beautiful pictures; most of the knitting and crafting blogs I enjoy reading and return to repeatedly have wonderful pictures.  Nothing can make--or break--a blog like good photography.

Then I came across an excellent link from one of the blogs I follow; over at Green Apples Stitchywitch (who incidently has great pics) had an awesome link here regarding how to build a lightbox.  I bookmarked it.  Winter is fast approaching.  With dwindling daylight  and frigid temperatures, I needed more options other than taking pictures outside.  That just isn't gonna work in minus -20C!  As soon as I find the right size box, I'd like to build my own lightbox.

The information in the link got me thinking: where in my house can I find better light?  Then the light bulb in my head went off (sorry for the bad pun): over my washing machine and dryer I have a fluorescent bulb.  White bristol board covered up the machinery. Then I photographed some yarn and knitting.  What do you think?  I took these pictures at night.

By the way, that's my fishtail lace scarf (remember from here and here?)  Reinforcements arrived in the mail a little over a week ago: 3 new balls of Patons Silk Bamboo in moss.  I've already gone through one ball.  Only two left.  And guess what? 

My scarf has just passed the halfway point.  I'm aiming for 52" and at 27.5" I can honestly say I see light at the end of the tunnel.  Oh joy!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Post Holiday Ruminations

So we enjoyed our long weekend, even though the weather suddenly turned cold (and dare I say that some of us witnessed snow **gasp**).  At least the sun came out as we spent time with the kids building 3D puzzles, watching movies (love Charlotte's Web--give it 3 hankies), reading and knitting (truth be told, only I knitted, although one of the boys picks up the needles every now and then).  And of course we visited family.

Got to wear my new shoes as we went visiting.  Its silly, but I'm lovin' my new shoes.  They're nothing fancy, but oh so cute.  Me thinks I need to make some pretty socks to better show off the shoes.  Churned out a few pairs for my boys, but I have yet to make a pair for me. 

Speaking of knitting for others, all this Christmas knitting is starting to feel like work.  Since August I've been knitting for somebody else.  Nothing for me.  Not. One. Thing.  I'll soon be ready to make something just for me: socks, a silky scarf, and a warm cardigan . . .oh fibery thoughts course through my brain as I dream . . . ah, to dream . . .

Sending thoughts of yarny goodness your way :)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Slipper FO!!

This morning I rushed through seaming the second slipper so I could finally put this project on the finished list.  I've had this slipper sitting in my knitting bag since mid-August waiting for the finishing touches (I mentioned it here).  Unfortunately my "rush job" looks just like a rush job: the one on the left is the second slipper and looks less polished; the right one looks much neater in appearance.

Just the same, my son loves, loves, loves his slippers!  And he got them not a moment too soon.  It's getting chilly 'round these parts.  We've had to turn the heat on in the mornings.  Those Phentex chill chasers will come in handy.

Back to my regularly scheduled Christmas knitting . . .

Happy Thanksgiving All

Here in the Great White North, its a long weekend on account of Thanksgiving. Unlike our American neighbours who celebrate in November, our day of thanks falls on the second Monday of October.

So wherever you are, here's hoping you're feeling thankful and life is good.  Happy Thanksgiving!

(Note that all photos are mine except for turkey candle photo which was taken from photograpy site.)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Not Feelin' the Love

So I've been slowly (and I do mean VERY slowly) making some headway on all the Christmas knitting. For each project, there's been something that I've truly enjoyed: the yarn or the pattern (sometimes both) or perhaps its learning a new technique.

With my most recent project (a cabled rib scarf pictured above) I can't seem to find anything that "speaks" to me.  I'm just not feelin' the love.  And I'm not sure why.

It's the same Bernat Worsted I'm using for the  Fingerless Gloves, but since its at a looser gauge, the fabric definitely feels softer and more drapey (makes sense since I'm using 3.0mm for gloves, but 6.5mm for scarf).  Unfortunately the nice striping obscures some of the cabling detail.  Should I drop the cable pattern and just make a ribbed scarf?  Hmmm . . .

Part of me just doesn't want to frog and cast on yet again.  I think I cast-on and ripped out about 5 times. :O  Finally on the sixth try, I managed to finish row one.  Of course then I messed up some of the cables by "accidently" cabling too soon (maybe I should have been keeping track of the rows).  Perhaps a sign from the knitting gods that the project might be doomed?  

To make matters worse, I can't find the same colorway.  Its called Granite and its discontinued as far as I can tell.  Me thinks this will be short scarf, more of an ascot (32-40")--unless I'm lucky enough to reach traditional scarf length (45-50").  Wish me luck.

Note: scarf lengths from Jane Davis' Knit Ponchos, Wraps and Scarves

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I Believe . . .

As my children get older, I often wonder when the magic of childhood will disappear.  Know what I mean?  The moment when magic and imagination disappear?  Yet, I need not have worried.  Witness the conversation overheard at our dinner table a few nights ago:

Secondo: Some kids say there's no Santa and its really their parents.
**short pause as I quickly glance at dear hubby**
Me: What do you believe?
Secondo: Oh there's a Santa.  I still believe.
Primo: Yeah, there's a Santa.  I also believe in the Easter Bunny and the Toothfairy . . .
**another short pause**
Primo: But I don't believe in leprechauns.

(picture above downloaded from a photo website--which one I cannot recall.  My sincere apologies to the photograper)

Friday, October 2, 2009

What's This?

Nice ribbing, eh? Can you guess what this is?   I'm using Bernat Worsted and I'm still on the fence.  Other Bernat products such as the Chunky and Softee have felt incredibly soft and have worn well despite numeorus trips through the washer and dryer.  But the Worsted doesn't feel soft, although it is quite smooth (not at all scratchy like Red Heart Super Saver); oddly enough, it tends to be rather stiff for an acrylic.  In fact, I'd almost swear it feels like a worsted cotton.

Can you guess what would be made in the round in worsted weight?  Here's a hint:  in a few days, my cuff turned into this (see below).

Is it some strange instrument of torture? Or perhaps some hideous device for destruction?

Or even more sinister, the remnant of some mutant frankenstein-like creature born out of the tangled fibery remains at the bottom of the yarn basket? Franken-mitten! Aaaaaaaah!

All kidding aside, its the Manly Fingerless Gloves (another Rav link and its a free pattern).  Still, my mitt looks really twisted.  It started innocently enough as a ribbed cuff in the round.  I even got as far as the thumb gusset when I realized it was way too big.  When I checked the pattern, I realized I was using the wrong size!  Pattern called for 3.25mm but I was using 4.00mm.  Ugh!  Doubly sad since I've worked this pattern before.  So my first attempt at second pair of fingerless gloves went to the frog pond.  That wasn't as bad as discovering the unravelled mess of yarn barf inexplicably got tangled.  That never happens to me!  An hour of my time wasted!

Despite my woes, I re-started on needles that were much smaller (used 2.75mm for cuff and then switched to 3.00mm).  And all is progressing well thus far.  Still, I can't help but wonder if the yarn is cursed . . . 

Happy knitting where ever you are :)
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