Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Where does the time go?

It seems that tomorrow is an anniversary for me. My blog will be two years old on March 1. I know that's not a long time, but it feels like I've been blogging forever. Two years. What a lot has happened in that time!

To celebrate, I think it would be an appropriate time to have a contest... with prizes, of course. Knitterly prizes. Details to be announced when I decide just what kind of contest this will be.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Knitting? Not so much

Could we please just fast forward through February? It's been a month to forget. Knitting has been intermittent and frustrating. Still is, to a large degree. The Estonian Garden scarf that was coming along so nicely has been frogged and re-started. I'm back to where it was in the last picture, 13 or so repeats. What happened? I lost my place, got totally confused and frustrated. So I frogged it. Drastic, I know. I simply didn't have the patience to tink lace weight yarn at 10:00 p.m.

Now, as I said, I'm back to where I was. There's a mistake near the beginning (a forgotten yarn over that I didn't notice until 2 repeats later); now, the rest can be perfect. I can hope, right? Oh well. That's the joy of knitting lace, isn't it? It's coming along nicely and will continue to do so as long as I stay away from the wine while I'm knitting.

John is home again; he and his father got home on Saturday afternoon, after what was, apparently, a stress-filled drive. It was snowing here when I got up. That means the mountain passes could be ugly. When my daughter called around noon to let me know that John and his dad had just left her place, she mentioned that they were getting rain and snow and that it was not pretty. What should have been a 4-5 hour drive took them almost 7 hours. John said that the Coquihalla connector was pretty bad, with only one lane of traffic each way, and a few cars off the road. However, they made it home safe and sound.

While waiting for them, I spent the afternoon baking. I made a batch of Heart Healthy Bran Muffins (recipe is on my recipe page), Flax Crackers, and three kinds of cookies, two of which are Dutch specialties, Jan Hagel cookies and Boterkoek (butter cake). It all went over VERY well with the guys. That always feels good.

When my daughter called, she mentioned that John had a kiss for me, from Little Miss Trinity. He also had a gift for us from Trinity...

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Apparently, she loves to paint. What a lovely little treasure from a lovely little girl! (And it's not refrigerator art!) Not bad for an almost-three year old.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


We have heat again. Today, a new furnace was installed. Thankfully, it wasn't as cold as it could have been. The installers aren't completely finished, but the furnace is in and running and warming up the house.

On to other things... The Estonian Garden scarf now has 13 repeats, which means it's growing nicely. It's looking really pretty; I may make more of these. One skein of the Merino Lace is something like 1800 yards, so I should be able to get a couple of scarves out of a single skein. Tonight will be a good time to work on it (while watching Survivor and CSI).

The Icarus Shawl, she is put aside for a while. I appreciate Cole's comment the whole repair thing... " My personal opinion on that is that repair makes it unique and special -- but I guess that is because I most of the time have an "oops" in my projects. " I'll have to start thinking about it that way. I'm not perfect; why should my shawl be? When I'm up to it, I'll undo the repair I made in the stocking stitch section and try to do a less conspicuous repair. While walking to work this morning, I mentally went over the entire procedure and I think I can do it. Don't ask me to explain what I have in mind; I'm not sure I could, but I AM sure it can look a lot better than it does right now. I'll have to find my stronger glasses, though.

Oh, by the way, I did check the rest of my stash for evidence of creepie crawlies and found nothing. One bag had a dead moth in it and that yarn is being subjected to a deep freeze. Other than that, though, I think I can breathe a big sigh of relief!

I was also going to show you something I was able to get to again. Here, allow me...

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I used to do a LOT of rubber stamping. The card above is a simple one, just to get my hand in again. Since I left my first husband, I've not really had the space to do much stamping. I still don't have a lot of space, but John has cleared the work bench in the garage, all my stamps and stamping peripherals are in the garage, so... I started playing a little. I don't think I'll ever be as fanatic a stamper as I used to be, but it's nice to have it all accessible again. I would much rather make a card than buy one; it's much more personal. Incidentally, for any of you out there who are stampers, just a little plug. I have some markers here that I bought pre-1998. They've been sitting in storage for the last couple of years, mostly in unheated garages. They still work! If you can find them, invest in Staedtler's Mars Graphic 3000 duo pens. They have a sponge tip, not a felt tip and you can use them like a paint brush. According to their hype, you can even leave them uncapped for up to two weeks without them drying out. All I know is, if they're still working 9+ years after I bought them, having been in hot garages and freezing garages, with not a single one dried out, I'm sold!

Anyway, I have the suite all to myself for the next couple of nights. I'm off to enjoy myself... now, which project to I really want to work on???

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Hmm.. where to start

We've been busy around here, trying to get things cleaned up and organized so that it feels like home. We're getting there. At least, we think we are. And then again.... you know how the old saying goes, right? It never rains but it pours? We have no heat.

Yup, the furnace is obsolete, quit running on Monday and the repairman has refused to turn it back on. We will, apparently, be having a new furnace installed this week, but right now it's a bit chilly. Thankfully, the weather's quite a bit warmer now than it was in January. It seems the furnace has been problematic for a while now; it's running at 40% efficiency, we've been told. That means that 60% of the gas meant for the furnace has been going directly into the rest of the house. The repairman said that he couldn't, in good conscience, turn it back on and perhaps be responsible for the deaths of 6 people in the house. I do appreciate that. In the interim, we've dragged out the space heaters for the cooler times of the day... like when we're watching TV in the evening.

Anyway... that will sort itself out by the end of this week; we'll have an efficient new furnace in the house and we can all get comfy.

On to knitting.

As promised, I have pictures of Icarus. I still haven't blocked it, but did pin it on to the bed for it's portrait.

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The yarn I used is Jaggerspun Zephyr in a lovely copper colour, on 4.0 mm needles. I used about 1 1/2 skeins. It's a pleasure to work with. I love this yarn!

Incidentally, on my monitor, the colour in the above picture is pretty close to the actual colour. The colour in the next picture is somewhat washed out, for some reason.

Now, for the rest...

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Do you see the "blot" with the strings coming from it? That's where one of the holes was/is. I managed to repair the other hole to my satisfaction (it was to the left of the visible blot, in the "line") but I'm not at all happy with the way I executed the repair of the hole in the stocking stitch section. Any suggestions will be gratefully accepted. As it is, I'm not going to block it until I'm happy with it and, right now, I'm not.

I was quite ready to frog the entire shawl and re-knit it at some later date. John, however, talked me out of it. He suggested that I just put it aside for now and come back to it later, when I can look at it a little more objectively. Good advice, no?

In other projects, now that Icarus is off the needles, I can concentrate on other things. John's sweater will be one of them. So will my Sally Melville top; there's still not much to show you. Picture an 8" length of garter stitch, 120 stitches in width in aqua Super 10 Butterfly cotton and you get a pretty good idea of where I'm at on that project. It makes wonderful TV knitting, as there's no patterning to work on. Just knit and knit and knit. I'm thinking I will make it slightly longer than the 9 1/2" called for in the pattern. I like my tops to reach at least to the top of the hip bone, and 9 1/2" will barely reach my waist. (This body really doesn't need to be revealing it's "fluffiness" around the mid-section.. yanno?)

Another project has made it on to my needles (all by itself.. I swear!). This one is intended as a gift; I don't think it will take too long to knit it up.

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This is Fibertrends, Estonian Garden scarf. I started it yesterday and have already knitted up 4 of 41 pattern repeats. Incidentally, those 4 repeats were done while watching TV after work and before dinner. It's an 8-row repeat that's easy to remember.

The yarn I'm using is Skacel's Merino Lace in red, on 3.75 mm (US 5) bamboo needles. I'm thinking I'm going to switch to metal needles as I'm finding the bamboo too sticky for this yarn. I find the lace knitting to be very soothing and rewarding. I know a lot of knitters are intimidated by the fineness of the yarn, but once you get used to the feel of such fine yarn, it's really not a big deal.

This morning (or sometime today), I'll be sewing the buttons on the little sweater I knitted for my grandson (I knitted it at Christmas; it still has no buttons). John will be driving out to the coast tomorrow to visit his Dad and to drop off some stuff for my kids. He'll be taking the little sweater with him. I'm working Thursday and Friday, so I won't be going with him this trip. That does give me some un-interrupted knitting time for two evenings; that will be nice. ;)

Ok, let's see how much knitting I can squeeze into today.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Off the Needles!

Finally, a finished object!

Icarus is off the needles. I would post a picture, but I have to do a couple of minor repairs and block it first. The minor repairs? Well, when I finished the cast off (all 500 plus stitches), I held it up to show John and discovered two small holes. They're not dropped stitches; they're holes. With broken yarn. Two of them. To say I was horrified would be an understatement. I will repair the holes as best I can and then carefully block the shawl.

Only then will I take pictures of it. It IS, incidentally, beautiful. Except for two small holes.

Do not even suggest that they might be moth holes. I don't want to hear it!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

It Isn't All About Me

Today's post is dedicated to the three ladies I taught to crochet. Our 6-week class came to an end today, and I'm pretty darned proud of these ladies! We had a lot of fun. And prolific! All three of them picked it up very quickly and have been going crazy with their hooks. Here are a few pictures I took; today was "show and tell".

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Never Too Old to Learn

Or.... Why didn't I realize this when I started knitting it?

John's sweater is coming along nicely. At least, it looks good. Here's where I am now...

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My gauge is good.. tension is even.. colour looks great on John... I'm happy with almost everything. Almost everything.

Last night, I transferred all the stitches to waste yarn and had him try it on to see how much longer I needed to knit it. That's when I discovered a small problem. If I went with how the sweater fit at the back, I might need about one more inch of stocking stitch before starting the ribbing. No big deal.

If I went with how the sweater fit at the front... well... really, I should be knitting another three inches or so before the ribbing. So, why the difference?

Well, at the very beginning, I forgot something very important. Humans are not uniformly cylindrical. That is, the distance from shoulder to underarm, measured on the back, may be a completely different measurement if measured on the front. That is the case here. John is somewhat barrel-chested. I should have knitted more at the front, making the piece from shoulder to underarm longer than that for the back.

I will continue knitting this sweater as is (making sure I finish the second arm before finishing the body of the sweater so I don't run out of yarn), but I will never be completely satisfied with the final result. It's a difficult lesson to learn, but at least I'm still learning.

It looks good, though.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

On a different note...

I have a routine. Each morning, when I get up, I start the coffee and turn on the computer. Then, with coffee in hand, I sit down and check Bloglines, check emails, see what's new in the Yahoo groups I'm part of and then check my blog.

Each morning, I look to see how many visitors I've had. The most fascinating part of that stat occurs when I click on that number and I'm taken to the sitemeter website and I can see where people are coming from, how they found my blog and what they're clicking on. It always amazes and fascinates me.

I'm not sure which visitor to my blog is farthest away, but there have been visitors from all over the world. Literally. I've had visitors from India, Ukraine, all over Europe, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil... almost every continent has been represented. This morning, there was one location that really surprised me... the Faro Islands. Yes, the place where Faroese shawls originated.

I think the thing that amazes me, pleases me, surprises me, the most is that I can sit here, in my little corner of the world and write something that people from all over the world can read in their little corner of the world. It certainly makes the world a smaller place, doesn't it?

To all of you who visit, welcome to my little corner of the world. Stay a while. Leave a note. I'm pleased you came to visit; I only wish it could be face to face.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Where am I and What am I doing?

Today is one of those days. You know what I mean; you can't settle in any one spot, it seems that whatever you put your hands to feels wrong. I've been up for hours and I could go right back to bed and sleep. It's gray and foggy outside and it's gray and foggy in my brain for some reason. Just one of those days, yanno?

I mentioned that I have tons of knitting to show you. And you know what? I can't think of anything to show you right now. I know I've been knitting. I know there are things I could show you, but do you think I can remember what I wanted to show you?

There is this...

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I started this in December, while staying at a friend's home. It's the Estonian Garden Wrap from Fibertrends. I haven't worked on it since, mainly because of the move. It will wait patiently for brighter weather. In the meantime, I'm working on John's sweater again. Yes, I finally found it buried in the garage. Over the last 48 hours, I've almost knitted up two more balls of yarn on the body of the sweater. I still need to find my notebook, the one with the directions I wrote for the second sleeve; I haven't come across it yet.

Oh, I did finish the Baby Albert jacket. I haven't taken pictures of it yet; it needs buttons, which I'll be hunting for later today. That was a simple, mindless knitting project; it was perfect for TV knitting. For more TV knitting (and SnB knitting), I've cast on for another project, this time for myself. It is, again, out of Sally Melville's Knit Stitch book, the "Where's the Opaque" top. I'm using Super 10 Butterfly cotton in a lovely shade of aqua. One of the girls at work helped me pick the colour. I'll post pictures when there's a little more than 1.5" of garter stitch to show. After all, one can only post so many pictures of garter stitch knitting. Everyone knows what it looks like and a simple band of garter stitch isn't terribly exciting.

Things are settling down a bit here. We've unpacked the necessities; John's been busy organizing and cleaning the garage, making room for my stash and all the other stuff that won't find it's way into the house. Yesterday, after work, I cut down some of the existing curtains and made shorter curtains for the kitchen windows. As much as we love having the sunlight (when it arrives) streaming in through the windows, we also appreciate our privacy at night. To that end, curtains should look nice and windows that are only 2' in height don't need curtains that are 6' long. I'm very pleased with how the shortened curtains turned out; I haven't done much sewing in the last years.

Now, I think it's about time I got dressed (I'm still in my sweats) and did something constructive. I'm not sure just what that might be, but something at any rate. Maybe I should hunt down some inspiration for new patterns.... hmmmm.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

A Little Bit of Knitting

As promised, a little bit of knitting... to start.

These two projects have been my mindless knitting for the past little while. Both are from Sally Melville's first book, The Knit Stitch.

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This one is the Shape-It Scarf. When I first started it, John was rather uncomplimentary about the colour and texture of the scarf. In other words, he didn't like it. Yesterday, after I'd finished the cast off and the blocking/pressing, he very chivalrously commented that he stood corrected. It was, indeed, a nice scarf. The blocking and pressing really finished it. The yarns I used were Sirdar Country Style DK and SRK Ranee, held together.

Here's a closer look at the texture...

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I'm quite happy with the way the scarf drapes. One customer commented that hers was quite heavy; this one feel just right. If I have any criticism at all, it is that the "arms" of the scarf are a little long. Just a little, though. I can live with that. I might try this pattern again, in a lighter yarn. Might.

The second project, still in the works and perfect for TV knitting is from the same book. This time, it's the Baby Albert coat. I'm knitting this one in the largest size, to fit a one year old.

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I'm just finishing off the left front; then it's the sleeves, which are each a different colour. I love the construction of this little jacket. It begins with the bottom half, knitted sideways. The individual pieces for the fronts and the back are picked up and knitted up. The sleeves are then picked up and knitted down to the cuff. The only seams in the jacket are at the top of the sleeves and shoulders. Very clever. I'm not sure I'd ever knit the adult version (that's a LOT of knitting), but for a kid's jacket, this is cute. I think this would be a great knit for a baby gift, if one were to do the smallest size. And, as I said, great TV knitting!
I will have more to show you as my knitting floats to the top of everything stored in the garage. I'm not even going to try to find anything right now (although it would be nice to know where my Denise needle kit is).
To those of you who left comments on my last post, thank you. You're right. This place, though not perfect, will be made into a very pleasant little nest for the two of us. Already, two of our friends have commented how homey it feels, even though we still don't have everything set up the way we'd like.
And, it's got water. :)

Friday, February 02, 2007

No Knitting Yet

...not that I'm not knitting, but for today, no knitting content. I've just been wandering around the suite with my camera and thought I'd share our new place with you.

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The kitchen, part of it actually. I was standing in the dining area, where we don't have a table yet. The table will be picked up tomorrow, along with a few other pieces of furniture too big for the two of us to move by ourselves.

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The, ummm... office. It used to be a little boy's bedroom. I really can't say that I like the blue stripes, but I really don't know that I want to start painting. This little (and it IS little) room will also become my closet. John will be putting up some clothes rods (what are they called.. you know what I mean) as there are no closets in this entire suite.

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The laundry and entrance area. Don't you just LOVE the floor tiles... a throwback to the 70's for sure.

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The suite used to be two separate, very small suites and this area used to be the kitchen of the bachelor suite. It includes a tiny bathroom (shower, toilet and the tiniest sink I've ever seen). The furnace is also in that area, behind a wicker curtain.

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And, finally, the living room. As you can see, we're certainly nowhere close to being settled yet. We're still waiting for one long (8 feet) sofa before we can start fitting everything in.

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Not to worry, we have artwork that will cover that top part of the fireplace quite nicely. John's mother was an artist and we have quite a few pieces of her art. As well, I have a number of original pieces of art that will grace the walls of this place very soon. I have to tell you, this is not the "nicest" place we've lived in. We're not sure how long we'll be here, but at least it's a roof over our heads, it's got running water, it's close to work and shopping and we know it's not permanent. It will do. And you can bet, between John and myself, we'll make it cozy and comfortable. (He loves to decorate, too... did I mention he's a keeper?)

And there you have it... our new home. Nothing fancy, nothing special. A place to live. A winter of memories.

Next post.. knitting. I promise!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

We're In!!

We are finally in our new place!! It took long enough; we couldn't get in (other than putting things in the garage) until Wednesday. We managed to wrangle the bed into the bedroom and while John puttered elsewhere in the suite, I made up the bed. By 10:00, I was so tired that I finished my glass of wine, laid myself down and fell asleep instantly.

I had my crochet class this morning and the rest of the day was spent in getting a few things organized (including the computer, which is being ornery), doing some shopping and picking up the rest of my clothes. It was a little difficult finding anything clean to wear this morning.

Anyway, we're here. Now, we just need to organize everything. And clean everything. B cleaned, she said. Not to our standards, I can tell you that. Later this evening (after CSI), I'm going to wash out the tub and have a nice long, hot bubble bath. We have water!!! ;)