Sunday, March 29, 2009

Aeolian Update

This shawl is addictive! It's really difficult to tear myself away from it. As of this morning, I've completed the Agave charts and have started on the edging. According to the designer, the edge of the larger size (which I'm making) takes 45% of the total amount of yarn. That means, I'll have to wind up another skein.

Each row now takes about 1/2 hour to complete (over 500 stitches). I can't wait to see it off the needles and blocked!

And the nupps? No problem! As long as they're done loose enough, they're really not a big deal at all. Only one thing is worrying me. I'm not sure I'll have enough beads to finish the shawl. I bought the beads in Abbotsford, while visiting my daughter, so it's not like I can go back to Woolaroo for more. I'm hoping Michael's will carry something close enough that no one will notice any difference... IF I don't have enough, that is. (keeping my fingers crossed) And if Michael's doesn't carry anything acceptable, I may have to get Kristen to make a trip to Woolaroo on my behalf, and then mail the beads to me. That, however, would mean putting the shawl on hold until the beads arrive. Ack, I can't bear to think of it!  ;-)

On another note, yesterday I washed and re-blocked my Flower Basket shawl. I made that one a couple of years ago now and after my trip to the coast, I decided it needed a wash. I was really surprised at how much colour bled out into the water, even though it's been washed and blocked before. The water was a really pretty shade of green. It did worry me a little, though. Is it going to bleed each time it's washed? If so, what will that do to the original colour, which is sooooo pretty?
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I must stop worrying!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

All That and A Bag of Chips

This Aeolian shawl is addictive! 

I've done the first section, the Yucca section. On the wrong side, it DOES look like an egg carton! This part worked up quickly; it's easy and rhythmic to work, very intuitive. Now, I'm on to the second section, the Agave section. This takes a little more concentration. This is also where the beads come in, which slows things down even more. 

So far, it's a fun, fun project that I'm really looking forward to finishing. I want to see what it looks like blocked!

Potato chip, anyone?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Still Here

It feels like forever since I've posted. I have, of course, been away; last weekend was spent with my daughter, granddaughter and grandson. I got back home on Monday afternoon (the bus ride was uneventful and even pleasant... both ways) and have been busy with work since. Today, though, I have time to sit down and post.

First off, I have knitting to share with you. I confess I've been charmed into starting another project. Every now and then, a pattern comes along that you just HAVE GOT TO start, and it usually gets finished quickly. This project is like that. I want desperately to see what the next section will look like, so I'm working exclusively on it. So, what is it??

Well, the spring Knitty is up (you know the address... and there's a beautiful shawl by Elizabeth Freeman, Aeolian. It really is gorgeous and I couldn't resist casting on.

The yarn I'm using is, once again, the Jarbo Garn Gastrike 1 ply in the natural colour. I'll be using the copper coloured glass beads you see in the plastic bag. The pattern actually calls for beads throughout, but I think it would be too heavy, and I'm not sure there are enough beads for that. I'll just be placing the beads in the lower half of the shawl, where they'll give drape and elegance. 

I'm a little farther along now than I was when I took the picture; I have six repeats completed and need 12 for this first section. As I said, I'm really eager to see how the next section comes out.

So, I went to visit my daughter (thanks again for the ticket, Kristen!) and had a wonderfully busy weekend. I got to see all the kids and grandkids and we also visited my mother on Sunday. Here are a few of the pictures I took; I didn't take all that many pictures, by the way, only 40 or so.

My mother, with Ethan, six weeks old...

A very loving and precious big sister, Trinity with her baby brother, who just happens to be wearing a sweater his grandmother made for him. As an aside, when she got up on Saturday morning, the first words out of her mouth were, "Grandma Evelyn, could you teach me to knit?". Does this kid know her way into a grandmother's heart, or what? So, I did. I had a ball of Malabrigo and some 4.5 mm needles with me for just that purpose. She got the principal of it very quickly. If we lived closer by, I'd have her knitting in no time!

Finally, my favourite picture... mother and son. And yes, he IS that cute!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Second post of the day

Since we’ve upgraded the computer, I’ve made some discoveries. Now, these are not new things. Others of you have discovered these things a long time ago. So, what have I discovered? Podcasts and You Tube.

Don’t laugh. Our old computer couldn’t handle all that technology. This one can. So far, thanks to You Tube, I’ve discovered that I’ve been doing Cat Bordhi’s moebius cast on wrong. I’ve since used one ball of yarn from the stash to do an experimental moebius… correctly. It’s nothing fancy, nothing worth even a picture.

And then there are podcasts. There’s a part of me that doesn’t like having “noise” happening while I’m doing something else, but podcasts are definitely a diversion. So far, I’ve subscribed to four podcasts, three of which are knitting related. The fourth is from CBC, The Vinyl CafĂ©, with Stuart Maclean.

One of the three knitting podcasts is Cast On with Brenda Dayne, who, in the last one, had a conversation with Tara Jon Manning, author of Men in Knits and Mindful Knitting. I listened to that podcast while I was in the process of knitting the Inga hat. It did inspire me to slow down and really pay attention to my knitting. You know what? The second half of that hat looks much better than the first half. I tend to rush things; slowing down a bit really made a difference.

I must admit I wasn’t doing any kind of meditation, but I was definitely more aware of the needle and yarn creating each stitch… more mindful knitting. Try it sometime!

In other things, the eyes are feeling better, but still a bit itchy. I must learn not to rub my eyes when they’re dry and itchy, especially not if I’m at work. I know that it’s a reaction to something environmental this time. It happens occasionally; I just don’t know what triggers it, apart from one of the drops my optometrist uses.  I should be back at work tomorrow, after a good night’s sleep.

Do you listen to podcasts? What are your favourites? Any you recommend over any others? What about You Tube? Any recommendations? So far, I’ve only been checking the knitting stuff, but I’m open to other recommendations, too. 

FO and... Where are my sunglasses?

Hopefully this works. I'm back to using Photobucket, but it's taking a bit of time to get used to it again. We've had to upgrade our computer and now that everything goes nice and fast, I'm trying to get used to using some of the software again.

Anyway, this won't be a long post. I'm home 
from work today because of this...

Yes, they're tender and sensitive. I'll be putting on my sunglasses very soon because it is a lovely, sunny (but cold!) day. I'm not sure what I reacted to this time, but it happens occasionally. Right now, my eyes are even redder than they were when I took the picture. It hasn't stopped me from knitting, though.

Here's the finished Inga Hat. When making the decision to make this hat, I read a lot of comments in Ravelry. A number of them stated that the hat came out big. Maybe they were using a heavier yarn, larger needles? If anything, this hat is a little on the tight side. It's long enough to cover my ears nicely, but it certainly isn't big.

The details, in case you've forgotten.. Sandnes Garn Alpakka, 3.5 mm needles, Inga Hat, available as a free download through Ravelry.

Now, back to vegging. Where did I leave my sunglasses?

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Inga - A Learning Experience

I love projects that teach me something.  This little hat is one of those things. Meet Inga. I've seen the braided edging on numerous glove/mitten and hat patterns, but had no idea how it was done. That's why I wanted to make this hat.

And you know what? It isn't difficult at all! As a matter of fact, it's really quite simple and ingenious. It is, however, a somewhat slow and tangled technique. Basically, what you're doing is twisting the yarns above or below each other, while knitting reverse stocking stitch (purling all the stitches). 

The details? The Inga Hat, available here (it's free). The yarn is Sandnes Garn Alpakka, a lovely, smooshy dk weight alpaca yarn from Norway. I'm using a 3.5 mm circular needle. What you see so far is one evening's worth of knitting. So far, the only downside I can see is that I used the 3.5 mm needle on the braided edging, where I should have gone down to a 3.0 mm. However, I couldn't find a 16" 3.0 mm circ, so I used what I COULD find. It does curl up, but I think that, once on the head, that should fix itself. As well, I'm not that far into the hat yet; it may well straighten itself out as I go along. We'll see. If not, I can always tack it down slightly to keep it from curling.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Ruba'iyat Mittens Update

They're done! I finished up the thumb last night and immediately washed and blocked the mittens. They're still not completely dry but, let me tell you, they are warm, even damp! I love how they turned out. I love the colours, I love the warmth. There is just nothing I don't love about these mittens.

As a recap, the pattern is Heather Desserud's Ruba'iyat Mittens, available as a free Ravelry download. The yarns are Louet Gems Pearl (the brown yarn) and Fleece Artist sock (the coloured yarn, obviously), both fingering weight yarns. The mittens were worked on 2.5 mm circular, using the magic loop method. The only modification I made was to start with a picot edging rather than the ribbed edge that Heather used. 

Now, I have plans on making a stranded hat. It probably won't be in these colours, even though I still have plenty of this yarn at my disposal. Hmm... I probably could design a hat using the same motifs, couldn't I? At least that way, for once, my hat and mittens (or gloves, as the case might be) would match! I'll have to think about that a little more. In the meantime, I have a pattern in mind, and yarn to work with. It will be a project that includes something I've not done before, a challenge. More another day.

Right now, though, it sounds like John's moving furniture again. I'd better go and check up on him... and the status of dinner.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Sorry, but I've just got to rave!

If you like granola.... if you've ever... or never... made your own granola... check out this recipe. I downloaded it last weekend and had the opportunity to make it today and I'm ecstatic! This is, by far, the best granola I've ever tasted. (And right now, it's still warm!)

Here's the link... make some!  Granola (Food Alton Brown's recipe) I may never buy granola again! No, I WON'T buy granola ever again! :)

I did modify the recipe somewhat; we had no maple syrup, so I used honey; I used sunflower oil and I added pecans, sunflower seeds in addition to the cashews and almonds; instead of just raisins, I used a mixed dried fruit blend that includes raisins (3 kinds), cranberries, papaya, apple, mango, apricot and pear. There is a lot of room for doing your own thing with this recipe. Do try it and let me know what you think.

Would it be greedy of me to refill my "bowl"???

Small solutions for small problems

I have a small problem, so I've come up with a small solution. The first thing I do in the mornings, after pouring a cup of coffee for myself, is log on to my computer. That's when the problem manifests itself; my right wrist gets really cold. Not just chilly, but bone-chillingly cold. 

I've been wanting to make myself a cuff for a long time now, but have taken to wearing a fingerless glove without putting my hand in the hand part. Know what I mean? Well, I've been wearing it like a cuff. I don't like my palm covered while I'm on the computer because it interferes with mouse/trackball use. And we can't have that, can we?

Yesterday, I stopped by my LYS and picked up a couple of balls of  Sandnes Alpakka, dk weight 100% alpaca. It's lovely stuff; couldn't stop fondling it in the store, so I knew it was coming home with me. It's a very simple pattern: cast on 48 stitches on 3 mm dpns, work k2, p2 rib for about 4", then about 1/2" in 1x1 rib and cast off. I've made one; I'm not sure I'll make a second, but it's probably a good idea, don't you think? My left wrist might get jealous. 

And, you ask, does it keep my wrist warm? Oh yeah! As I'm typing, I can feel the warmth radiating inward and my entire body is getting warmer... oh wait, maybe that's just a hot flash. 

On another note, I've been gifted with a ticket to the coast! On the 13th, I'll be getting on a bus and going to Abbotsford to visit my daughter. It's her way of ensuring that I get to meet Ethan (my newest grandson) before he's no longer a baby. I'll be there just for the weekend, but I'm excited!