Saturday, June 30, 2007

cuff 'n stuff

I have begun knitting a pair of socks from the Favorite Socks book. I do really like this book (even though they have flagrantly misspelled the word 'favourite'...for most of us who live in the Commonweath countries, anyway)

The biggest reason I like this book is that it appears to be a challenge for me. I have started no less than three patterns (the above being said 3rd) and have run into...em...shall I say...difficulties...with each one (except this far...) and although it is a little frustrating, I also find it fun searching for answers to my 'howdeedoodat' questions, and rewarding to learn new techniques...for example, I learned how to do a double long-tail cast on thanks to Knitting Help, and then I figured out how to make that cast on in rib, thanks to the back of this very book, and then I gave up knitting that pattern (for the time being) because I kept screwing up the chart, which I have also never used before...ahhh, so much to learn, so many puzzling looks from Cee as he watches me start multiple patterns and frog them over and over.

Here's a closer look at the cuff, just because I know you want to see....or not...anyway here it is:

The biggest reason I like this pattern so far (aside from the fact that I can actually follow it) is that it only uses 4 dpns....most of them call for 5, and well, anyone who has read my blog (hey, it could happen!) knows that I have this 'thing' about sets of 4 and 5 dpns, and how I can only ever find 4's when I need 5's...

Wiki Wiki Fun

So I was surfing aroung the blogisphere the other day, and I came upon a meme that I thought was pretty fun and interesting, and so I swiped it without being tagged, just 'cause I felt like it.

It's the Wikimeme, and basically what you do is head on over to Wikipedia and type in your birthday, month and day only and then you list 3 events, 2 births, and 1 holiday for that day.

Here is what I came up with, for January 14th:


1. 1690 -- The Clarinet is invented in Nuremburg, Germany.

2. 1954 -- Marilyn Monroe weds Joe DiMaggio.

3. 1978 -- Johnny Rotten quits the Sex Pistols after the final show on their American tour at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco.


1. 1741 -- Benedict Arnold, General notorious for treason

2. 1968 -- LL Cool J, Rapper & Actor (same day and year as yours truly!)

3. 1969 -- Jason Bateman, Actor (star of one of my fave shows, Arrested Development--I still curse Fox for taking it off the air)


New Year's Day in Eastern Orthodoxy--makes sense, since the 7th is Christmas

I won't tag anyone, but feel free to head on over to Wikipedia and glean some superfluous knowledge about the day you were born.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

"it's a major award!"

One of my favourite lines from "A Christmas Story"...wait...have I suddenly got Christmas on the brain because I've been making snowflakes? Nope, I'm just excited, happy, and am blushing a little bit, frankly, because the completly sublime Sharon over at Chickenlips Knitting has bestowed upon me my first award:

How totally marvellous is that?! Aside from being one of my favourite colours, the best part of it was the wonderfully kind words she said about me on her blog, which is one I especially look forward to reading. She always has lots of witty and funny posts and pictures of her ongoing and finished works of fibre art. Thank you Sharon, you are the best!

And now my assignment is to pass this hot pink button of praise on to five other ladies who most assuredly deserve it, and here they are:

1. Vik at Like Grandma. This effervescent lady is so divinely kind and welcoming. She always posts such wonderful pictures and stories, and is the driving force behind Knitting for Homeless, a small spark of an idea that is growing into a world-wide movement.

2. Lady Linoleum at Monster Crochet. The title grabbed me and drew me in! This is one creatively prolific lady! She never ceases to amaze me with her new designs. Whether it's crocheted meat, monster eyeballs, or skull in cross bones sweaters, she is a true artist in every sense of the word.

3. Cupcake at Crochetroo. Aussie Aussie Aussie, oy oy oy!! This extraordinary lady is not only diversely talented when it comes to pattern designing, but she also tries to raise awareness to Australian wildlife through the medium of crochet, which is no small feat.

4. Cass at Shut Up, I'm Counting. I recently found her blog through a comment she made on mine, and I'm so glad I did! Her irreverent humour keeps me in stitches, and her multiple pictures of her many diverse pets and projects are always a pleasure to see.

5. Hel at Truth Cycles. She takes some of the most beautiful photographs I have ever seen! I love visiting her blog to see what her many animals have been up to and to read her outlook on life.

And now wonderful ladies, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to pass on this honour to five other deserving blogger chicks. So go ahead, swipe the button, spread the love, share the joy.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

summer snow

Because it's been so hot lately, and because the Harbingers of Doom (read: Weathermen, oh sorry, Meterologists) have been telling us that this Summer will be a 'scorching hot sizzler', and well, just because, I took out the thread and my trusty size 7 steely and crocheted me some snow:

These patterns all came from a book called "White Christmas in Thread Crochet"--it feels weird even typing that word in, not the 'Crochet' word, 'Christmas' of course. I don't even like thinking past next week, much less six months from now....Did crocheting fibre snow work to cool me down on a blistering day in June? ehh....not so much, but it still looks pretty.

One thing that doesn't look pretty (to me, anyway) is the blocking process. Have you ever wondered what a thread snowflake looks like while it is blocking and stiffening? No? Well, I'll show you might want to cover your eyes and peek through your fingers for this:

Shocking, isn't it? And maybe just a little bit creepy. Every time I block a snowflake (or any other thing that needs blocking) I am always taken back to high school Biology, and dissection, more specifically the earth worm we studied in grade 10. Remember pinning things down so you could 'examine' the parts? I was usually pretty good at finagling my way out of having to touch the icky things we had to dissect--and there were loads of them--but I had to handle the earth worm, and let me tell you my friends, it haunts my dreams to this day...well, maybe not, but it was still gross. It all seems so barbaric to me they still make kids do that anymore? Anyway, all the pinning reminds me of the earth worm...except no creatures great or small had to die so I could make my snowflakes.

Lookie what I found:

Besides being full of totally wicked and wonderful sock patterns, this book has a hidden spiral binding, which I think is pretty much the cat's pyjamas. I shall be attempting one of the least-intimidating-looking patterns soon as I figure out how to do a long-tail double 1x1 rib cast on, whatever that is....

Sunday, June 17, 2007

not even close

I know I know, you are just waiting with baited breath to find out if I was able to finish that little sweater with the yarn I had left, right? What do you mean "No actually, I couldn't care less?!" Humph! Well, humour me at least while I expound to you the harrowing tale of "The Cable Sweater That Almost Wasn't"...

Once upon a knitty time....nahh, really I finished with more than enough to's the proof:

And here's the pudding:

I had quite a bit of yarn left over, more than I thought I'd have. Not enough to make a hat, but perhaps enough to start one. This is fast becoming one of my favourite little baby sweaters to make. I found the pattern in a book by Coats & Clark, and it was actually the first pattern other than dishcloth or hat that I attempted when I started knitting about a year and a half ago, so this is my second time around. The sweater is about a 6-month size.

I seem to be knitting socks more and more, although they are usually for other people as I don't normally wear socks anymore. Give me my fuzzy slippers in the winter and bare feet in the summer. Socks are always too long for me, since I have freakishly small feet....small yet wide...not a good combination. I always used to end up having excess sock sliding back and forth on my foot. But then I found a great tutorial on how to customize a sock pattern in the amazing book "Big Girl Knits" I must say I love love love this book! Aside from said awesome sock tutorial, they have some really great patterns, and it's a pretty good read, too.

Anyway, armed with my new sock-customization knowledge, I took a basic sock pattern and changed it for my measurements:

I made a couple pairs of what I like to call 'slipper socks'. The multicoloured pair are a leetle bit on the loosey-goosey side--I forgot to take into account the fact that I knit loosely--I corrected for the blue--but I don't care, I like the fact that I feel like I'm not wearing anything on my feet when I have them on, and now I have a choice between barefoot and slippies.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

bits and pieces

June is turning out to be a bit of a strange month. We seem to have lept from Winter straight into Summer, except for a day last week, when it almost went below freezing overnight--picture Cee and I rushing out with blankets, trying to cover up the four newly-planted tomatoes at 10 o'clock in the evening...I think they did okay, but a couple of them do look a bit frost-bitten. I will be sure to get back out there and get a picture to update the 'mater experiment. It's been a wild ride so far as weather is concerned, we have had some fierce thunderstorms and even a tornado touch down only about 10 minutes from us last Friday.

I finished my sister's sweater, only to come to the sad conclusion that it just may be too short for her...I had my suspicions, but when I held it up to myself for Cee to look at, even he mentioned it, and he never notices things like that, so I had to finally admit it to myself. I guess my only option is to send it to her, have her try it, and if it is too short, send it back to me so that I can--gulp--try to take it apart and frog it back to a point where I can add length....this is not something I want to do, but a secret part of me is up for the inferiority complex is kicking in though and that hateful self-doubting part of me keeps telling me it could all be a moot point anyway, because she may just take one look at it and decide she doesn't like it at all.

Progress continues on what is turning out to be a sizable trousseau for the great expectation out West. Below are pieces of a cable sweater, size 6 months....all I have left on it is the sleeves, the start of one is pictured at the top, plus the neck band and button bands....

This just may be a nail biter, as I have no more of this particular yarn--I plundered the stash for this one, and couldn't seem to find any more in that colour when we were out the other day....I do like to live dangerously when it comes to knitting though, and seem to get some sort of thrill out of just finishing projects with only a few yards of yarn to spare..don't ask me why, but I almost feel like I'm getting one over on the yarn--take that, you skein! I beat you!--worst comes to worst I can always use a different colour for the sleeves or the bands....

When I saw that Sharon had made a lovely pair of Fetching hand warmers, I thought my niece (she of the Monkey Bismol socks) might just like a pair of her own too, so another stashed skein became these:

I don't mean to keep complaining about the stinkin' camera (a poor worker blame's their tools) but the colour is just not showing up as the gorgeous fushcia that it is. A fun pattern, although if I'm honest, I'm not sure I quite like the picot bind off, but they completed really quickly and I found the pattern quite easy to follow. I would have tried them on for the picture, but I didn't want to stretch them out with my pudgy little hands.

All of this has been made in between taking pit stops in an ongoing project for Pammy, which when (if!!) finished, will become my first ever graph ghan....don't worry I will post progress shots when there's some progress to post. Progress seems to be slow as there are multiple colours (okay, only 2!) but they keep twisting, so I have to keep stopping and unwinding, and I find that frustrating, so sometimes I just say 'okay I'll put it down for a minute' and then the next thing I know I'm starting a pair of Fetching handwarmers, or another sweater...and I'm quite sure I will be trying the Coupling socks in the new Knitty...another project to add to the ever-growing list.

If you like the handwarmers, and can't go another day without making a pair, you can find the pattern here. If you're wondering just what the heck a Coupling sock is, you can check them out here.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

get yer sneak on

I just finished some sneaker booties--they might be for someone still 'baking' out West, perhaps?--or as I like to call them, 'shoe-booties' (for anyone that cares, that is an obscure "All in the Family" reference to the episode where Archie and Mike get locked in a back room or cellar (I can't remember which) and end up telling drunken stories, one of which was that Archie as a child was so poor that he had to go around wearing one boot and one shoe, so all the kids called him "Shoe-booty"--my brother and I got a kick out of that one and would say that all the time...I know, whatever...I was a child of the '70's, what can I say)

I modified the pattern a little bit to make them wee, they are from a book of family slippers--Cee actually has the adult version, made as a gag for him (you can see his in action here) the joke was on me though, cause he actually wore them until they wore out, and he is patiently waiting for me to mend of these days, dear, I promise.

Anyway, without further digression, here are the shoe-booties, presented for your consideration both with and without flash, just for kicks:

Without flash:

With flash:

They were a giggle to make and took almost no time at all. They make me smile.

Friday, June 01, 2007

all things considered, i prefer animals

I'm happy to report that as recently as the other day I was still having the pleasure of viewing the 'pet' ducks waddling around our yard. Drake was spotted standing right in the middle of the street at the side of our house, practically daring the cars to hit him (thankfully every car saw him well ahead and went around, imagine a little duck having that much traffic control power!) I went outside with some bread and bribed him back onto our lawn, where Jemima (being a female, I can only assume she was too smart to sit in the middle of a through street) was waiting for him. I spent a very nice half hour with both of them, feeding them bread crumbs and having a conversation about how they probably shouldn't think of nesting in our yard because there are two cats that love to stalk bird-type creatures and they frequent our front and back lawns as well. Not to mention some local young kids who think they are pretty tough and get a kick out of bullying eachother, so I'd hate to think what they would do to two pretty tame ducks. As if to illustrate my point, a group of 5 'tough punks in training' rode by on their bikes, arguing among themselves and, thankfully, so self-absorbed they didn't see the beautiful water fowl sitting not 3 feet away from them as they passed. In the end I went inside and left them still there, sitting largely unseen under our pine tree, it was a nice way to end the day.

Top Secret: Sneak Peek

This may or may not be a partial view of a layette completed just very recently for a great expectation out West....I don't want to spoil the surprise, so it's just a teaser.

My sister's sweater is a near fait a complit, all that remains are the weaving in of the ends, which is my most favourite part (drip sarcasm drip) and finding some appropriate buttons.

It turned out well. Made with a very soft cotton yarn. It needs a bit of blocking, but other than that, a success for my first adult wearable. I hope she likes it. The pattern was actually a lot of fun to knit, I found it here.