Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Tot Ziens (... or See You Later)

It's time for me to put my computer to rest for a week or so. Today is Tuesday. By Friday, we want to be all moved in to the new house. That means I need to concentrate on things around here. There's still some packing to be done; there are boxes to drag over to the new house; there are toilets to be cleaned. You know what I mean, right?

So, the knitting, the surfing and the blogging have to be temporarily put on hold. If all works out as it should, I should be back up and running by the middle of next week. Do, please, continue posting your comments concerning your "must have" book or books. I promise you that the gift I have in mind is well worth a few minutes of effort on your part.

Now, to leave you with a smile....any real crafter will appreciate this one!

Monday, April 25, 2005

Input requested -- What's your "must-have" book?

We're setting up our next newsletter for the store and one of the things I decided to put in it is a piece about each staff member's must-have knitting book. While I was sitting and knitting this morning, I decided to open up that question to those of you who read this blog.

Which book (or books) do you consider a "must have" resource? Which is the book you refer to over and over again? Which book, if it disappeared overnight, would you run out and replace as quickly as possible? You get my drift.

Let's make this a little more interesting. I'll leave this open for one month (end of May). Then, out of all the entries, I'll randomly choose two names (or I'll let John choose them). Those two people will receive a small gift from me as a thank you. Sound good?

I won't tell you my favorites yet. I'll wait till we get nearer the end of May.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Random thoughts on a Sunny Saturday

It's going to be another glorious day in paradise. The sun is streaming into the windows and by this evening this house will be hot; I'm glad we won't be living in this house through the hot Kelowna summer. It was so nice out last night that we were all outside till almost 11:00. The sky was clear and the stars were bright, in spite of the neighbour who has a barnyard light in his backyard (very annoying; we still haven't figured out why they have such a bright light in a residential area... oh well... 6 more sleeps and it won't bother us anymore).

I did knit another 20 rows on the Flower Basket shawl yesterday afternoon, until my hands got so sticky from the heat that the stitches just wouldn't move anymore. For some reason, on almost every row, I'm forgetting one yarn over. That's an easy one to fix, though, as long as I count my stitches after every row. This one's going to work!

This afternoon, we're going over to Rob & Carol's to bottle wine, 60 bottles of it, both red and white. According to them, it's not great wine, but it will do for the move. Next time, we'll choose a higher quality starter kit, not the Costco special. I shouldn't be drinking it at all, anyway; I don't need the headaches that accompany the wine.

That's enough of the random thoughts for today. I think I'll try doing a couple of rows on the shawl; or I'll pack a box or two. Or something... it's just that kind of day.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

One down, two more on the needles

Ok, call me addicted. I'm supposed to be packing for the big move next week, not casting on new projects! I have other projects to finish; the last thing I should be doing is starting new ones. But I did.

One project will be a very quick one to complete. Interweave Knits came out with their web patterns and one of them is a variety of baby socks. I've already got one sock knitted up. As I said, they knit up quickly. That said, I also tend to change sock patterns around to suit my preferences. For instance, I don't use 2 mm dpns; I use 2.25 mm. That makes the socks slightly larger already. I don't like doing short-row heels and toes, so I've substituted the standard heel and toe shaping. Ann Budd used some very nice, soft colours of yarn for her socks. Me? Well....

Then there's the shawl I started. I've decided that the Country Silk (the one that didn't want to be a Kiri) wants to be a Flower Basket shawl. It's in the Summer 2004 Interweave Knits. I'm already up to the 6th set of the 10 row pattern and no mistakes. I'm taking the precaution of putting in a lifeline every 30 or so rows, so that the yarn can't talk back tooooooo loudly! It's looking pretty good, if I do say so myself. For the time being, I'm limiting my knitting time to ten rows on the shawl per day; I'm three days ahead of myself.

(close up of the stitches; the photo is pretty close in colour to the actual yarn)

Today, though, just isn't a knitting day. It's about 24C (or 74F for you Americans) and sunny and I'm not used to the change in the temperature yet. My hands are simply too hot to hold yarn. When it's this rapid a temperature change, I limit my knitting to the mornings and evenings.

I think it's time to see how many of last year's summer clothes actually still fit me. Scary!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

A totally finished FO

Yes dearie, it's the Kiri! She's completely done, washed, blocked and dried. To say I'm pleased with the way it turned out would be an understatement. I'm rather proud of it, actually!

Here's a picture of the finished Kiri Shawl. I'm going to post the picture on the Art of Yarn blog as well, with a link to the pattern (it's also in my sidebar).

In review, it was a reasonably simple lace project. I'd recommend it for an intermediate knitter who isn't afraid to experiment. The start confused me a little when I read it, but sitting down and just "doing it" made it simple. I finished it in about two weeks, and that's with preparing to move and working.

Now, I've cast on for another shawl, Evelyn Clark's "Flower Basket Shawl", from the Summer 2004 Interweave knits. I'm hoping that the Country Silk will cooperate and be willing to become this shawl. So far, I've cast on and knitted the first 15-20 rows five times. It will be a slow go on this one, but only because we're in the middle of the move. (For those interested, after the 26th, we'll be able to move the rest of our stuff into the new house.) As well, the pattern is charted, not written out as the Kiri was; I'm not a big fan of knitting from charts. For some reason, I can remember the pattern better when I "read" it, rather than knit according to "drawings". I may just type out the row instructions, rather than work from the charts... if it gets too confusing.

Today, I'm off to the doctor to see whether or not my blood pressure is something I should be worried about or not. That would defeat the purpose, wouldn't it?? Doesn't worry raise bp? *sigh* (she grumbles under her breath... getting older sucks!)

Monday, April 18, 2005

Birthday wishes!

Even though she'll probably never see this, I want to wish Alaina a very happy 21st (oops) birthday today. She's in Abbotsford, doesn't have access to a computer and is sick today. My thoughts are with her. Happy birthday, kid!!!

Kiri's an FO.... sorta

The knitting's done, at any rate; and it's off the needles. Now, it needs blocking. I can do that. The only problem is that my box of pins is at the new house... and I'm not. Once it's blocked and dry, I'll take some pictures of it.

I guess the knitting will have to be on hold from here on in, till we're settled in the new house. *sigh* (Another 10 days, or so)

As to the house, John & I went there in the morning to let the chimney cleaner in. John mowed the lawn; I checked for missing or broken light bulbs and puttered around a bit. It was a gorgeous morning, with the sun shining, and no wind. I had taken the camera with me and wandered around the property taking a few pictures. Here are a couple of them:



As well, I met Penny, who lives next door with her husband Tim and two canine children, Casey and Tyson. Both are dogs. Tyson's a boxer, one year old and very rambunctious. Dogs make me nervous. Enough said on that subject. I think I'll get along just fine with Penny, though.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Circular needles

Every now and then, I like to try my hand at making things. I suppose that's what comes of being a carpenter's daughter. I've made knitting needles for the store when we couldn't get 8mm needles anywhere (neither could anyone else in town). Well, a couple of days ago, I found directions for making your own circular needles, so I couldn't wait to try making them. The process was simple, so I've decided to share it with you.

Here are the supplies you'll need:

A dowel in the desired size, a ruler, a knife or saw to cut the dowel, sand paper, a pencil sharpener, a drill and a length of weed eater line.

Cut two six-inch lengths of dowel.

In one end, carefully drill a hole about an inch deep (or so). Do be careful with this part. Once the hole is drilled, sharpen both ends in the pencil sharpener.

Sand both pieces until they're smooth, paying special attention to the drilled end. You want the join to be as smooth as possible.

Once the pieces are sanded smooth using finer sandpaper to finish, insert the desired length of cable with a dab of wood glue and let dry for 24 hours or so. If necessary, lightly sand the join so that it doesn't catch. If desired, you can lightly oil and buff the wood to a nice sheen.

There you have it. I suggest that when you go to pick out the dowelling, take your needle gauge with you. That way, you'll know what size of needles you'll end up with. I do know that 5/16" is equivalent to 8 mm. For anything larger that that, you may need a different pencil sharpener. That's about the biggest my sharpener will handle.

Have fun!

In answer...

A funny thing happened when I started working at the yarn store. Once I started knitting socks, I, like may others, became "addicted". Socks are fun. Socks are a small project that you can actually finish. I have made approximately 15 pairs since we opened last August. Somehow, I became known as the Sock Lady at the store. It was about that time that Priska came to work with an old Paton's sock book that she gifted me with. This week was the second old sock book she gave me.

It's not so much that I collect them; I may just have to. I find them fascinating. Some of the patterns, I would never knit, but some of them do look interesting. How many sock books make one a collector? I suppose I AM collecting them now. And as long as Priska keeps finding them for me.......... well, who am I to say no to a new collection??

Thursday, April 14, 2005


When I got to work this morning, there was a little surprise waiting for me by the till:

On it, was a note...

I do love the people I work with! Thanks, Priska!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Kiri's up and running again

Phew! I frogged back about six rows on the Kiri to fix the mistake that put me out by three stitches the other day. It only took me about 8 hours; I took it to the store with me and knitted in reverse when I had the opportunity. By the end of the day, I had corrected my error and was happily knitting again. I worked on the shawl at SnB last night, too. Speaking of SnB, it was just Ellie and myself there; where was everyone else??

Today, I really haven't done a lot of knitting. I did go and have coffee with Ellie (who has a small coffee shop), where we both sat and knitted for a little while, but all in all, I was busy with other things today. This morning, I went to the lab for some blood work. I worked on the Old Shale sock there, as it was quite busy. It took about an hour for my turn, so I was very happy I had the sock with me. The little old lady sitting next to me was very impressed that "young" people (she WAS referring to me) these days still knew how to knit.

This afternoon, I made a batch of my Knitter's Hand Cream for the store. It's a product I make exclusively for the store and the store, at this point, is the only place that sells my products. Now, I need to make a few more products to market there. But I digress; that's the other blog!

Dinner... what to make, what to make?

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Just what I wanted...

...another visit to the frog pond! NOT!!! However, while merrily knitting away on the Kiri last evening, I discovered that I was out by two stitches on the first half of the row. Looking at it carefully, I realized there was a mistake about four rows down. I have no idea why I didn't notice it on the next row (where I could have fixed it without frogging), but I didn't.

So now, I have to frog it... or tink it. I'm certainly not going to take this off the needles or, knowing myself as well as I do, I'd rip it all the way back to the beginning. And after getting to 22 repeats of the pattern, there is no way I'm going to do that!

Incidentally, one 100 gram ball of Country Style DK, for anyone interested, gets you to 10 repeats on each half of the shawl, or 20 repeats. Not bad. This entire shawl will need only two balls, I'm thinking. That puts it's price at just under $20 (before tax).

Can you see where I messed up? I forgot a yarn over where the arrow's pointing. I must have missed another yarn over as well, as I'm out two stitches. *big sigh*

Monday, April 11, 2005

New Friends, New Inspiration

Oh my! How dangerous it can be to meet new friends. Lynne (aka Socklady) was in town and came to the shop today, along with Sandra (from Summerland) and her friend, Margaret. Lynne had promised to show me how to spin and she did! I'm definitely inspired and once we've settled in to the new house, I will attempt to do some spinning.

Here are a few pictures Dianne and I took at the store today. Dianne had her camera with her as well, and will post some pictures to the store's blog. (The link is in the sidebar at the right.)

From left to right: Sally, Ev, Lynne and Margaret

Sandra, who I finally got to meet

Some of the rovings that Lynne had with her; the colours are amazing! See how the blue/green one matches the top I was wearing? Love it, love it, love it!

...and Dianne tried to split a 100 gm ball of yarn in half. She had a ton of fun trying to untangle it all. We all sat there and laughed at (oops.. with, 'cept she really wasn't laughing) her.

Thank you, Lynne, for coming in and taking the time to inspire me. I very much enjoyed myself and I do hope we will meet again! Once I start spinning, I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Out and About

Other than working on the Old Shale sock for a little while this morning, I've done very little knitting today and probably won't. We're going to be doing some packing today, getting things ready for the truck on Friday. I did do one positive thing this morning. I went for a nice walk. The weather's gorgeous, so I took the camera with me. I was a little disappointed in the lack of colour in the pictures, but it IS still early spring and the colour is just beginning to show through all the dead leaves from last summer.

Here are a couple of pictures I took:

I love magnolias. This one's a Star Magnolia. A house down the street has a beautiful big Star Magnolia tree. Awesome!

I call this picture "Dreaming of Summer". We really are fortunate to be living where we are!

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Has This Ever Happened to You?

For those of you who knit, have you ever bought a yarn with a specific project in mind? Have you started that project only to have the yarn tell you in no uncertain terms that it doesn't want to be that specific thing? Well, that's what happened to me.

The Country Silk made it very clear that it did NOT want to be the Kiri Shawl. Yes, that was the mystery project. I wanted to spring a completed Kiri on the world, but every step of the way the yarn said NO. I started it five times; I got to a point of having 12 repeats (6 per half of the shawl) and it seemed there was a mistake on every row. And I had that pattern right there beside me all the time! The one I'm doing for the store, out of Sirdar's Country Style DK, on the other hand, has given me no problems at all. It's coming along swimmingly. Well, except for when I tried to use the ball winder on the remainer of the ball... don't ever do that. The yarn gets extremely twisted and the only way to truly remedy that is to cut the yarn. Lesson learned.

I've included the link for the Kiri Shawl pattern in the links section. Reading it through before starting, some of it didn't make sense, but once you sit down with needles and yarn and actually start it, it all comes together quite ingeniously. I'm at a point now where I can almost work without the pattern in front of me at all times. It's fun.


I AM still working on other things, too... like the Old Shale socks. The first one has the heel turned and I'm working the gusset now. They will be a gorgeous pair of socks! I'll post a picture of the first sock when it's complete.

I was told yesterday that I have to put all my knitting on hold now (except for what I can squeeze in at work) until after we've moved. Yeah, like that's going to happen. No, it wasn't John that told me that although I'm sure he's thought it. To say I'm a knit-a-holic would not be far from the truth. It's hard for me to not be doing something with my hands and as any knitter knows, it's relaxing and therapeutic. Goodness knows, we all need that! So, while my knitting over the next few weeks will be slowing down, it will definitely not be on hold until after the move. So there!

Friday, April 08, 2005

Pain and suffering in Kelowna

It's not all that bad, but..... I haven't posted in the last couple of days because I've been putting up with a migraine. Yesterday was the worst and it's still not gone today, but I AM still knitting. I'm not sure what triggered this one; I've been feeling something coming on for a while. If it's a migraine rather than a cold/flu, fine. The migraine hurts, but it's for a much shorter time than a cold or the flu. Oh well, once it's out of the way, I'll be right as rain again.

On the knitting front, the mystery project has been started four or five times now. It's well on it's way now and I'm really enjoying working with the Country Silk yarn. It feels almost like working with a cottony yarn... you know how cotton has less "give" than wool? Well, that's how this yarn feels. And the colours are glorious!

As an aside, have you checked out the spring Knitty yet? I'm not so sure about the "cover" pattern, but there are a few patterns in this issue that I'd like to do, including "soleil", "I do", "tie one on", and "branching out". But first there are a few projects to finish... there are days I hate that word.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Knit Not at Night

Especially not after a bottle of beer and the lights are dim. *sigh*

I started a mystery project yesterday. I decided not to tell anyone what I'm knitting with the Country Silk yarn, but it's going to be gorgeous! Once it's done, I'll post a picture and a link to the pattern. The one thing I will say is that when you knit at night and you're tired, and you've consumed a bottle of beer, AND the lights are dimmed, you WILL make mistakes. This morning, it's a visit to the frog pond. Thankfully, it's only a couple of rows I have to frog. The downside is that it takes longer to tink (knit backwards) than it does to knit.

I hear the froggies calling..... rip it, rip it....

Monday, April 04, 2005

Answering the Siren Call of KPPM

Oh yes, that's what it was... a siren call. I couldn't resist. I'd finished the Fortissima socks and the KPPM called louder and louder. The pattern was printed already. And the yarn kept calling. I had to give in; I had no choice. Really, I didn't!

KPPM, for those of you unfamiliar with it, stands for Koigu Painters Palette Premium Merino. It's definitely premium. This is the first time I'm working with it and I can say with certainty, it will NOT be the last. Get your hands on it, if you can. You will be hooked!

I started the Old Shale socks; I'm loving the pattern. I have a feeling that these socks will quickly become one of my favourite pairs. Great job on the pattern, Marguerite! Here's a picture of my progress so far...

What do you think?

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Fortissima socks are an FO

That's right; I've just finished the fortissima socks. They feel good on the feet and I really like the colours, nothing showy, just.... spring! I think I like the star toe. It feels a little different on the foot than the standard toe shaping, but you can get used to just about anything. Wearing them over the next couple of days (...in shoes) will give me a better idea of whether or not this toe is a winner for me. Here's the pic, as promised.

New Link added

I've added a new bookmark to the links in my sidebar: Knitting Help.com. Normally, I wouldn't post about that, but in this case, I am. Why? Because, quite simply, I think it's one of the most informative and educational knitting links I've come across yet. It has a lot of video clips (150 plus) about just about everything you need to know about knitting.

Do check it out!

On the knitting front, I've finished one of the Fortissima socks and have started knitting the gusset of the second sock. My goal is to finish the second sock today. I'll post a picture the minute they're done.

We went up to the new house yesterday with Rob & Carol. There's definitely work that needs to be done there before the house is truly ready for occupancy. Hopefully, the landlords will have it done in time for us to move in... which we are definitely looking forward to. There are more than a few spots in and around the house that are amenable to knitting. Even Carol's got my "knitting spots" picked out!

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Yayyyyyyy!!! I fixed it!

I did it! I managed to fix my blog so it looks normal again! Are you impressed, or what??

I got a phone call from the store yesterday. The first thing Dianne said was something along the lines of...we're assuming you're home, working with your new yarns. Well, she/they were right on one count: I was home. I've been very good. The new yarn is patiently waiting on one of the dining room chairs, whimpering for attention, but I've kept it in a white bag that I can't see through. That way, the whimpering isn't quite as loud. I've told it that it has to wait it's turn.

I do have a project in mind for the sock yarn, the ones of which I have one ball of each. They're going to become Old Shale socks. I'll post the link to the pattern. In the meantime, I'm trying to finish off a couple of other projects.

The Meadow Flowers shawl gets a couple of rows every day, then all it will need is the edging. I've never done a knit on edge before, so that will be a learning experience. The Audrey top is moving slowly at the moment. Somehow, when the weather turns gray and chilly, it just doesn't seem like working-on-a-summer-top kind of day. You know what I mean? And the sweater for Trinity is moving along nicely. I've finished one sleeve and the second is well on the way. That leaves just the back, which is a lot of stocking stitch with very little excitement until I reach the little "tag" near the shoulders. It's a good TV watching project.

AAAAaaand... I packed a box yesterday. One little box of cassette tapes. I know, it's not much, but it's a start. That first baby step towards the new place.

Off to face the day... I wonder what it will bring.

Friday, April 01, 2005

I impress myself!

I have my moments! I was doing some browsing this morning, reading a few blogs along the way and I decided that if others could design their own buttons, so could I. And so, I did! On the main page of my blog, the one that's been giving me major headaches, all of my profile information and sidebar are at the very bottom of the page. They're not supposed to be there and I can't figure out WHY they're there, but... oh well.

I have added a couple of buttons that will link to .pdf files of both the baby socks and my newest pattern, the basic star-toed sock. They're down there, at the bottom of my profile, under links. Please.. check it out!

Very basic sock pattern

I picked up a ball of one of the new Fortissima colours this week and started a pair of socks (yes, another pair) for me. It's a very basic pattern, but I thought that others might like it as well. I'll type out the pattern here, but I'll also make it available in .pdf format for anyone preferring to download it.

Star-toe Basic Sock

Yarn: 100 gm sock yarn (I used Fortissima)
Needles: 2.5 mm dpn and 2.25 mm dpn

Gauge: 8 st/inch on 2.5 mm dpn

Cast on 64 sts on 2.5 mm dpn. Divide stitches on to dpns and join, being careful not to twist stitches. Work 1 inch in k1, p1 rib. Begin working stocking stitch and work for 4 inches. Switch to 2.25 mm dpn and work an additional 2 inches (6 inches total). Divide for heel.

Work heel flap on 32 stitches as follows:
Purl first row (wrong side)
Row 1: sl 1 pwise, *k1, sl 1 pwise* to end of row, k1
Row 2: sl 1 kwise, purl to end of row
Repeat these two rows for 2 1/2 inches

Turn heel:
Row 1: sl 1, k17, ssk, k1, turn
Row 2: sl 1, p5, p2tog, p1, turn
Row 3: sl 1, k6, ssk, k1, turn
Row 4: sl 1, p7, p2tog, p1, turn
Row 5: sl 1, k8, ssk, k1, turn
Row 6: sl 1, p9, p2tog, p1, turn
Continue working one more stitch until all stitches have been worked.
Sl 1, knit across (18 sts)

With right side facing, pick up and knit 20 stitches along left side of heel flap; knit across instep stitches, pick up and knit 20 stitches along right side of heel flap. With last needle, knit across 9 stitches of heel. (29 sts on needle 1, 32 sts on needle 2 [instep], 29 sts on needle 3)

Work gusset:
Row 1: first needle: knit to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1; second needle: knit; third needle: k1, ssk, knit to end of needle
Row 2: knit
Work the last two rows until 64 stitches remain.

Continue knitting in stocking stich until total length of the foot is 1 1/2 inches shorter that desired foot length. Begin toe shaping(I would suggest dividing the stitches evenly on 4 needles for this part, rather than 3... 16 sts on each needle):

Row 1: on each needle-work to last 2 stitches on the needle, k2tog
Row 2: knit
Repeat these 2 rows 6 times, then work row 1 until 4-8 stitches remain. Cut yarn and, using a darning needle, thread yarn through remaining stitches and pull snug. Weave ends in.

Repeat all of the above for your second sock.

(close-up of the round, or star, toe)