Wednesday, September 28, 2005

On the road

That baby girl still hasn't put in an appearance; looks like she's being as stubborn as her mother was. We have decided to take that trip to the coast today. It's John's birthday and we figured it would be nice to spend at least part of this day with his father, who lives in Vancouver. So...... road trip!

I'm on the schedule at the store for next Thursday, which gives us a week. I will post again at that time... with pictures.

Enjoy your week!

psst... I took those owl pictures. The ones John took were a little blurry. ;)

Monday, September 26, 2005

Life on the Lake

When I first started this blog, it was to be mainly about my knitting, but also about life on the lake. There are times when it almost feels that one day flows into the next and there really isn't much new happening on the lake. Throughout the summer, we were inundated with tourists, lots of motorboats, houseboats, sailboats, water skiers and jet skis on the lake. Now it's autumn.

The majority of the tourists are gone and the locals are back on the lake. There's an occasional jet ski out when the weather's gorgeous (as it has been for the last few days); a few houseboats go out on the weekends; the last chance boaters take advantage of the perfect weather. There are other changes.

All summer, there was a wealth of birds to watch. There were ducks raising their young, sheperding them along the waterfront. We saw mergansers with their flotilla of juveniles. There were loons and grebes diving for fish and calling over the water. There were kingfishers chattering. Osprey fished all along the shore. A family of beavers feasted on weeds between our dock and the neighbour's. Watching the fish in the water calmed and soothed. There was so much to see, to watch.

Autumn is bringing different creatures. Over the last two days, we've seen a pair of herons land on the dock. They've visited both in the morning and the evening. As well, this creature has been putting in an appearance over the last couple of days.

The first time we saw him, I recognized him for what he was. He was sitting on the corner of a retaining wall and everyone else was convinced he was a cat. One very big, fluffy cat. I knew by the way he turned his head that he was no cat. When John got the binoculars out, he realized I was right. Then, he flew into the tree. That was Saturday. The owl came back last night and John got the camera.

I love owls. I love life on the lake.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Side note

When we're in Abbotsford, I have every intention of checking out Woolaroo (that's the name of the store, Sandra). Last time we were there, we went to the store but it was closed. They're closed on Mondays. Why, I don't know, but they are. The one thing I could see by looking in through the door is that she also carries needlework supplies, not just yarn like Art of Yarn does.

If we have a chance, I'd also like to visit one or two stores in Vancouver. I'll have to ask Sally which ones I should visit and where exactly they are.

Still no news on the baby front. Since the couple of contractions earlier this week, there's been no more action. She's convinced the baby will be born on Wednesday, John's birthday. That would be nice.

Oh, Michelle? The little apple crates you asked about were made by the husband of the co-worker who gave it to me. Cathy used to make those little hats and sold them in the little crates. Anything she needs made in the way of woodwork, he makes for her. If you're looking for something like that, check with Micael's or any larger craft store. They may have something similar in their wood section.

Ok, back to knitting. I'm trying to get a pair of socks done for my brother-in-law. If I can't get them done, at least I'll be close to having them done. For the first time, I'm working on both socks, alternating between the two. I know, if I did two socks on two circs, I wouldn't have to alternate, but I don't like working with an octopus and that's what it feels like to me, having those needle ends flopping around all over the place. I like my dpns!

Baby Hat pattern

Just for Sandra, who asked sooooooo nicely, here you go!

Materials: 1 ball DK weight yarn (I used Paton's Look At Me, which is now discontinued, unfortunately), 1 set of 4mm dpn (I used a set of 5 for ease in decreasing), darning needle.

Cast on 64 stitches and divide evenly on 4 needles (16 each). Join, being careful not to twist your stitches. Knit every round for about 4 inches.


Rnd 1: *k6, k2tog* to end of rnd

Rnd 2 and every alternate rnd: Knit
Rnd 3: *k5, k2tog* to end
Rnd 5: *k4, k2tog* to end
Rnd 7: *k3, k2tog* to end
Rnd 9: *k2, k2tog* to end
Rnd 11: *k1, k2tog* to end
Rnd 13: *k2tog* to end (8 sts)
Rnd 14: *k2tog* to end (4 sts)

Place these 4 stitches on one needle and work an I-cord for about 2" (long enough to tie a knot). Cast off. Weave the ends in and tie the I-cord in a knot.

The apple cap is a variation of the above pattern instead of a rolled brim, I did about 8 rows of ribbing. I changed colour for the I-cord at the top and added a leaf. Just think of the possibilities! I was even considering one with a fun fur trim, but that might not be the best idea for a newborn.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Another Baby FO

An apple from the Okanagan... it doesn't get any more B.C. than that.

One of the girls at work saw me knitting this little apple cap and offered me an "apple crate" to package it in. I love it! Can't wait to see it on the baby. Apparently, she used to knit these caps up and used the crates to display the hats. She even had crate labels made up. Just like the old fashioned, real apple crates.

I think today is my chance to go shopping for the baby. For the last few babies I've given gifts to (including Trinity), I've bought Robeez, beautiful little leather/suede slippers that babies can't kick off. I want to get a pair for this baby, too. They're a great product and the fact that they're Canadian made is even better. I've also promised my daughter that I'd help stock her up on diapers. I can do that today or I can wait till we're in Abbotsford. I haven't decided that yet. I suppose the less we need to drag out to the coast, the better. They DO have shops in Abbotsford, too.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Two FO's

I finished the baby set! It was done by Tuesday evening. I decided to go ahead and see how far I would get with the yarn I had left, thinking I'd have to purchase another ball just for the button band. I have about 2 meters of yarn left over. For me, that's cutting it close. Very close.

I'm pleased with how it turned out. Then, yesterday, I dug out some old Paton's Look At Me from my stash and made this...

I love it! It's a very simple little hat to make up and if you ask nicely, I'll even type up the pattern for you.

Incidentally, the baby sweater set is from Sirdar's Early Arrivals 2. That book, and the first Early Arrivals book, are my two favourite baby books. There are some gorgeous patterns in these books and they include preemie sizes down to about a 5 lb baby. Definitely one of my recommendations!

The toe-up socks are on the backburner for the moment. We're anticipating a call from my daughter at any time and I've been preparing for our iminent trip to the coast. Today is her due date and everyone at my job is ready to jump in when I get the call (covering my hours). My daughter did have a few minor contractions on Tuesday, but things got quiet again that evening. I think her body's just practicing for the real thing. When we do leave, there will be socks and sock yarn in my knitting bag and it's definitely coming with us!

By the way, Stricken Madchen, on the subject of toe-up socks... what's your favourite heel? I've got the toe part figured out, but I"m not sure about the heel yet.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

A Week of Experiments

That's what it has turned into, at any rate. As you've been reading, I've been working through the multidirectional tutorials. This morning, I tried casting on for a toe up sock. (Thanks, Leslie) I'm giving it a good go; here's what I have so far. I'm not sure I'll make this my sock of choice, generally speaking, but it's nice to know there's an alternative.

The yarn I'm using for this one is Lanett, 100% pure superwash wool on 2.5mm needles. I started with 12 stitches (I think I'd start out with more stitches next time; the toe's kind of pointy, don't you think?) and worked the increases to 60 stitches for the foot. I usually make a 64 stitch sock for myself, but that's on 2.25 mm needles. On the 2.5 mm needles, I decided to go 4 stitches less. Right now (since the picture was taken), I have about an inch knitted on the foot.

I'm alternating the sock with the baby's outfit today. I'm up to the decreases for the little hat, so it will be finished today. The jacket however... I'm pretty sure I won't have enough yarn to do the band around the sweater, so it will have to wait until tomorrow, when I go back to work. I can, and probably will, finish the sewing and pick up the required stitches. That way, it's just a matter of working the band.

It's a gorgeous day in the Okanagan today, sunny and warm (in the sunshine, at least). With all that sunshine streaming into the house this morning, the cobwebs became very apparent so John and I decided to tackle cleaning the shelf above the kitchen cabinets. We put all sorts of vases, teapots and antique kitchen tools up there when we moved in and left it. Today we got everything down, washed it all, dusted and washed the shelf and the walls... in other words, spring cleaning in the fall. Odd jobs like that tend to get John motivated and, since the inside was clean, the windows needed cleaning from the outside, too. So he's been doing that. He had an audience.

That's Tyson (the boxer... ok, he's not our dog, but I think it's a great name!), one of the neighbour's dogs. He was fascinated by the hose and just had to get a closer look.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Where does time go?

I do apologize for not posting for a little while. Time has simply been slipping by much too quickly. The knitting is still happening, but the store is getting busier (thankfully) and by the time I get home from work, I don't feel like doing a lot of knitting.

I am almost finished the sweater set for my new granddaughter. I just have to sew the second sleeve in and do the border. The hat is about 1/3 done. I really wanted to finish the sweater this weekend (only had Sunday off), but I had foolishly decided to leave my knitting bag at the store as I work again today. I say foolishly because my little kit of needles, cutters and such is all in my knitting bag, where, technically, it belongs. So I worked on the hat instead.

Speaking of the new granddaughter (no, she hasn't arrived just yet), she's due this coming Friday. I've told my older daughter to call me as soon as her sister goes into labour (they share accomodations). Then John and I will drive out there. I'll need time to get my hours covered at the store. One problem has resolved itself. John was laid off from the restaurant last week, so he's now free to come with me to the coast. That means we're taking the car, no matter the cost of fuel.

Do you ever get overwhelmed by inspiring projects you'd like to do? I'm at that stage right now. There are soooooo many things I'd like to make. And too many projects to finish. Big Sigh! I've been working on the Multidirectional Knitting tutorials. They're fun to do. The final project in Tutorial 14 is a nice little vest. Quite pretty. I'm hoping that by the time I've worked through all 14 tutorials, I'll be able to use some of Iris' techniques in projects of my own design. At the moment, I'm working on the MD scarf and it's looking pretty good.. and getting plenty of comments at the store. People are intrigued by the zigzagging of the knitting and when they hear there is no picking up of stitches like there is in entrelac, they're even more intrigued. I'll try to post pictures tomorrow or Wednesday.

Take the knitting bag home, take the knitting bag home.. don't forget the knitting bag... ;)

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

A Break from Sock Knitting

I decided to take a break from knitting socks today. Someone in one of the Yahoo groups I belong to wrote about another Yahoo group, Multidirectional Knitting. I decided to check it out and joined it. I think I like it! Iris Schrier has a number of tutorials in MD knitting; I've downloaded the first nine, printed up the first three and have already worked through the first two.

This could be addictive.

For your perusal...

Some of the work isn't perfect, but it's the first time trying this, really. It's not like entrelac; you're not picking up stitches on one side in order to change direction. So far, at least, when you've done one direction, you end up with the same number of stitches you started with.

I'm looking forward to trying more of this. In the meantime, I've cast on for another chevron scarf. This one will be a gift for my sister. I don't think she reads my blog and even if she does, I have four sisters. The one it's meant for will not be named. :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Experiment Completed

I finished the Opal cotton sock. And frogged it. I tried the sock on, walked around the house with it on for a little bit and decided I didn't like the German Band/Strap heel. All that's left of the sock now are the pictures and a ball of yarn.

I think if the heel strap was a little wider, it might be a little more comfortable. I also found that the heel flap (20 rows before working the heel "strap") was a little too short for me. I wonder if one couldn't do a combination of heels. Widen the heel "strap", make the heel flap longer and then, instead of just picking up enough stitches to bring the count back up to the original stitch count, pick up as many as needed and do a smaller gusset on each side. Did that make sense???

Here you can see what I mean about the heel "strap". See how it's just a small strip? I could feel that as I walked. That's the reason I frogged it. I guess I'll stick with the standard heel that I usually use.

Incidentally, the string you see at the toe of the sock is just a piece of waste yarn used to hold the toe together while I tried it on. I didn't graft the toe as it was just an experiment. Had I been happy with the heel, I would have broken the yarn and grafted the toe closed.

I wonder what else I could do with the heel flap... hmmmmmmm.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

An experiment in sock-making

Today, I wanted a project that required absolutely no thinking, so I dug out a ball of the Opal sock yarn I purchased a few weeks ago and cast on for an experimental sock. The leg of the sock requires absolutely no thought - 64 stitches, 1 inch of 1x1 rib, then stocking stitch till I reach the heel. No thinking involved. It's an experimental sock in two ways. Firstly, I've never worked with this yarn before. It's Opal Clown, 45% cotton, 40% superwash wool and 15% nylon. It does feel different from the standard 75/25 wool/nylon blends, a little "harsher" on the fingers. But it IS knitting up nicely. Secondly, it's an experimental sock in that I'm going to (finally) try the German band heel on this sock. I've been very traditional in my sock making so far in that I've been using the traditional round heel for the most part. I did try a short row heel before, but just don't like the way they fit my feet.

This is what I've got so far. I do love the colours in this yarn and how it's knitting up.

The pattern, incidentally, is based on one found here (thanks Socknitters, for the help in finding it). I'll let you know how the experiment turns out.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

What to do when you've got time off

I have been knitting like a fiend this past week. I've been off since Saturday and go back to work tomorrow. In that time, I've finished Jeane's socks and gotten them into the mail. I've almost finished a baby sweater for my soon-to-arrive granddaugter. I've knitted two samples for the store.

The Noro Silver Thaw finally told me what it wanted to be. Thanks Penny for the inspiration! I started this scarf yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon and finished it this morning. In other words, it was a quick knit. The original pattern is from the Scarf Style book. It's originally done in a DK weight yarn, but the Silver Thaw is a worsted weight, so I worked it on 6 mm needles. It's hard to tell from the picture, but the total length of the scarf is between 4-5 feet, short compared to a lot of the scarves out there, but perfect for wearing under the collar of a jacket or coat. Personally, I don't like my scarves really long. They tend to get in my way.

The other completed object is a facecloth, made from Crystal Palace's Cotton Chenille. The pattern is from Interweave Knits, Winter 2003, as well as from the book, Weekend Knits. It took me one afternoon to knit up. I could see doing the pattern in just about any cotton yarn. It was a fun knit, but the chenille is NOT the easiest yarn to work with on 4 mm needles. Will I make more of these? Probably. I could see giving them as gifts with a nice bar of fancy soap or even some hand made soap (no, I don't make soap, but there are plenty of women who do).

I'll post a picture of the baby sweater once I have the second sleeve knitted and the sweater put together. Then all that's left to knit for this outfit is the hat, and that's a quick knit, too. Then, on to a few more UFO's. *grin*

Sunday, September 04, 2005

One more FO

It feels like it's been a long time since I had a finished object. I said, feels like. I finished Jeane's socks yesterday and I love them. John loves them. He calls them the Raspberry socks. They'll be going into the mail and heading to Utah just as soon as the post office opens again on Tuesday morning (unless the card shop is open today and I can get a priority post envelope). I love the thought that there will be a little piece of me in Utah and that I have a little piece of Jeane here in Canada. Silly, I know, but I love stuff like that.

The stitch pattern isn't very clear on this picture, unfortunately. It's from one of the Barbara Walker treasuries. Best resource I've ever purchased!

Now, as my roommate reiterated, I need to concentrate on knitting for the baby. I've already started a 0-6 month size baby sweater from Sirdar's Early Arrivals 2. As of last night, when it got too dark to comfortably knit without a light over my shoulder, I had 4" already done. The body of this little sweater is all knit in one piece, so there's a little less seaming at the end... always a good thing. That's the part I dislike the most. I'll post a picture of it later, but right now there's not a lot to see, really, just a band of variegated pink eyelets and a 3.5" band of white stocking stitch. I love the yarn I'm working with; it's Laine du Nord's Baby Cover and Baby Cover Stampata, pure washable wool, very nice to work with.

Said baby is due on September 23, just a couple of weeks away now. We've been discussing my going there after the birth. That's a given. What's uncertain is how I'll get there. If the gas prices keep doing what they're doing (it was $1.18/litre this weekend, with rumours of $1.25/litre), it will cost way too much to take the car. I'm going to have to check into bus ticket prices. The only problem with that is that ticket prices are cheaper when you book in advance, but babies rarely tell you in advance when they're going to put in their appearance, so I'd be purchasing the ticket at the last moment. Once I'm there, I'd be staying with my parents and I'd be free to use their car. According to my mom, there is NO room at my daughters' apartment and with a new baby, I'm sure I wouldn't be getting a lot of sleep anyway.

Autumn is definitely in the air here... it's a perfect day for knitting. Enjoy your long weekend, everyone!

P.S. While I think about it, I didn't post a picture of the Tentaçao hat. Here's a picture of it.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

New pattern uploaded

Just a quick note today to let you know I've uploaded a pattern for a toque (Tentaçao Toque). For those of you who are non-Canadians and have no idea what a toque is (it's pronounced "twok... two with a k at the end), I guess it's what you'd call a stocking cap, a knitted hat... you know.

It's done in a Portuguese yarn called Rosarios 4 Tentaçao, 2 colours. You can substitute any bulky weight thick/thin yarn. I used 7 mm needles for the hat, which is a size smaller than the yarn called for. I've written the pattern for two needles (didn't have a 7 mm circ), but it can certainly be done on a circular needle or double-pointed needles just as easily. As written, the pattern fits an average woman and I've included numbers for the large size as well. I've also made a wrist warmer with the remaining yarn and will have that pattern available some time within the next few days... after I've made the second one and taken pictures.