Monday, April 27, 2009

We're having a baby!

At work, that is... not John and me, not my kids, no new grandbabies! 

Last week, my boss and his wife drove to Vernon for an ultrasound. They're expecting their second child and wanted to know whether they'll be welcoming their first son or their second daughter. Apparently, our local hospital/ultrasound clinic will not tell prospective parents until after the 25th week, but the clinic in Vernon will. (I make no judgements; they have their reasons.)

When he came back to work, I asked my boss if I'd be knitting with pink yarn or blue yarn. He told me... pink. They're having another little girl! Well, if that isn't just the perfect opportunity to knit something pretty, I don't know what is!

So, I started going through my pattern stash. After whittling my choice down to two or three items, I decided on one that I've made before. No, you haven't seen it on the blog... ever. I made this little dress 25 years ago, once for my own daughter and once for a neice. I love the pattern; it's cute, it's simple, it's classic. It doesn't get much better than that.

The pattern is from an old Scheepjeswol magazine, Journal 45. The first two times I made this dress, I used Paton's Beehive Baby crystal, the one with the shiny thread spun into it. I don't think they even make it anymore, but even if they do, I didn't want to make it in an acrylic yarn. I'm using Sandnesgarn Lanett, a lovely, soft, washable wool, perfect for baby clothes. The dress is knit on 3.0 mm needles; it's started at the waist and worked up to the shoulders, then stitches are picked up (and instantly doubled) and worked down for the skirt. Later, a ribbon will be threaded through the small holes made by the increases. At this stage, you can see I'm working on the skirt; this part is perfect for tv knitting as it's 5" of stocking stitch. 

The bottom edge of the skirt will be finished with a pretty pale pink, which I have on order. The yarn store didn't have a pretty pastel pink in stock, so they've ordered some for me. The pattern is written for three sizes, 6 months, 9 months and 1 year; I'm making the 6 month size. I figure that she'll be able to wear it right around Christmas. Perfect or what?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Of Bobbles and Butterflies

As some of you may know, I've posted a bunch of my patterns on Ravelry. One pattern, the Butterfly Garden Hat, has elicited a few requests for better pictures of the actual "butterflies". Well, I would have been more than happy to oblige, if I was able.

The original hat, however, was sold to a woman from Alaska. It was on display in the yarn store I used to work in and she wanted it... badly! Eventually, I gave in and sold her the hat. Because of that, though, I was unable to take any more pictures of the hat; and it was the only hat I'd made in this design.

That is now being remedied. A couple of months ago, I ordered some of the original yarn I'd used, Fleece Artist Blue-Faced Leicester DK. It came last week and the hat is now on the needles. This isn't the same colour as the original hat, but that's not a big deal. The black yarn is Pingouin 3.5 (50-50 wool and acrylic), and I'm using 4.0 mm needles. 

Bobbles, slip stitch ribbing, butterflies and beads - this is the perfect hat for someone who loves something different. It's colourful, it's different, it's just plain FUN! I know, there are no butterflies and beads yet; that's the next section. I'll take more pictures when the hat is complete. As well, I'll try to put together a tutorial about the butterfly stitch. It's simple, really; it's a slip stitch pattern that just looks so pretty, especially in a variegated yarn like this one. 

The pattern is available as a free Ravelry download; if you're not on Ravelry and would like the pattern, email me and I'd be more than happy to send you the pdf. (If you're a knitter and you're not on Ravelry, why not???)

Don't forget about the contest on the podcast. Tell your friends, tell other knitters, spread the word. Listen to the podcast, leave a comment, win lace yarn. What could be easier? The deadline for entries is Friday, May 1/09; the winners  name will be chosen on Saturday and announced in the next podcast (the address is in my sidebar).

Saturday, April 18, 2009

It's More Lace!

Are you getting tired of seeing my lace? I sure hope not, because I just can't seem to stop knitting it!

Aeolian #2, aka the Periwinkle Aeolian, is coming along nicely. This one won't have nearly the amount of beads as the first one, and will be smaller, more scarf-sized than shawl-sized. I really like this yarn. It's so soft and cushy; it is, after all, baby alpaca lace-weight. 

And I've cast on ANOTHER shawl... are you surprised? Finish one, cast on two; isn't that how it works? This one is Gail aka Nightsongs. I found the pattern for this shawl through Ravelry; it's a free download. That's always a good thing! I have no idea what the yarn is. I do know it's a fingering weight sock yarn, 100% wool, but that's about all I know. It's been in my stash for quite some time, but has been wound into cakes and has no tags. It is very nice to work with and I love the colours in it; does anything else matter?

Without giving anything away, I have a recipient in mind for this shawl. I do not often give my shawls away; to date, I've only given away two of them and it almost feels like giving away a child. But, in this case, I think it will be the right thing. It just feels right. 

This pattern is "different". If you've listened to the podcast, you'll have heard about this shawl. Most of the shawls I've knit to date have been, more or less, "built" the same way. There are two or three edge stitches, with a yarn over, knit one, yarn over at the center to separate the two halves. (You can sort of see that in the Aeolian picture.) If you look closely at the picture of the Gail shawl, you won't see a center line. You will see a double yarn over, and that is it. (The tail at the top is the center of the shawl.) It took me a while to wrap my head around that, but once I did, well... the rest is easy! It isn't a difficult pattern, but I do find that I have to pay attention. 

As far as my health goes, this cold has really knocked the spit out of me. I woke up this morning with a terrific sinus headache, but drugs have helped. Drugs are good. I'm finally feeling a little better now; I did go to work the last two days even though I probably should have stayed home. There were, however, jobs that needed to be done, and in the doing, I kept busy. I wasn't working directly with anyone else, so I did what needed doing, but did leave early. I'm pretty sure I'm over the worst now, thankfully!

Now, there's a man who wants to get on to the computer for research purposes. I suppose I should let him; it means he'll leave me in peace while I knit. Does it get any better than that??

Episode #2 is up

Just a quick note to let you know that Episode #2 of the podcast is up. You can find it at:

Oh, and Sandie, you don't have to download it to listen. Just hit the "play" button and you can listen to it. :)

More blogging later. Right now, I want coffee and a hot shower!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

What's next?

Now that the Aeolian shawl is off the needles, blocked and draped over my favourite chair, I'm a little at loose ends. I know, I could be working on Aeolian #2, and I have been. Today, though, the charts and my brain just did not play well together.

I was craving some plain, knit-without-thinking kind of knitting. I had started a pair of socks for John at last week's Sit & Stitch, intending to work on them only during S&S. However, today they came out of the bag and I spent a couple of hours on the first sock. Here's how it's looking so far...
John actually requested a pair of blue socks, so who am I to say no? The yarn, as you can see, is Lana Grossa Meilenweit, Mega Boots Stretch in colour #721. It has some variegation in, but not too much colour because heaven forbid he should have "wild" socks! :)

These will be very basic socks, 72 stitches on 2.5 mm needles, 1x1 ribbing for about 1", then k3 p1 rib for the rest of the sock. I'll probably carry the ribbing over the foot as well.

It's nice to be knitting something mindless again.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Nicola's Right!

Nicola commented yesterday that I love my lace; she's so right! 

I went to Michael's yesterday and found beads very close to the beads I used. They're slightly lighter in colour, but not enough to be noticeable. I decided to take my time finishing the last few rows; it didn't help that I had a kink in my neck, but a nap and some pain killers took care of that long enough for me to finish this project. The shawl came off the needles at about 7:00 last night, with much fanfare on my part. 

John has been following it's progress from the beginning and suggested that it might be easiest to block this one on the bed; the bed is also the largest piece of "floor (blocking) space" in this apartment. When he got up this morning (I was already up), he stripped the bed and let me know that it was ready to use. I do love him! (He has since taken the sheets to the laundry room and has two loads running... gotta love a man who does the laundry!) It took me over an hour to block it and I'm not sure just how many pins I used; suffice it to say, there are a lot of pins holding this shawl in place!

I probably could have blocked it more severely, but I don't think it needs it. It's quite a large shawl already (approximately 42" long and 56" across). As much as the bed is the perfect place to block this shawl, I'm not sure I like using it. The height is not the easiest on the back, if you know what I mean. An hour hunched over, putting pins into a piece of lace is pretty hard on the back. But it's done and I love it even more!

Now, I'll let the pictures do the talking...

Friday, April 10, 2009

So Close, and Yet So Far

The Aeolian Shawl could have been finished, should have been finished, would have been finished but for one thing... I ran out of beads. I'm on the second to last pattern row, about halfway through the second half and I have no more beads. 

That means a trip to Michael's to see if I can find something similar. I'm pretty confident I'll find something there, but if not, Kristen, you'll be getting a phone call. :)

In the meantime, because I can't be doing nothing, I started another one. Aeolian, that is. This one will be a smaller one, a shawlette. I have two skeins of this yarn, 400 metres/50 gram skein; it's from the Diamond Luxury Collection, Baby Alpaca laceweight, in a lovely periwinkle. This stuff is lovely! It's soft, it's cushy, it's just... mmmmmm! And, on my monitor, the colour in the picture is very close to the actual colour of the yarn.

This shawlette will have beads, instead of nupps, but not nearly as many as the shawl. I have the beads, more than enough of them, at the ready. They're kind of a purply bead with a blue lining, very interesting, and will go quite nicely with the yarn; no contrasting beads this time. Right now, I have one more repeat of the yucca pattern to go before I start the transition chart into the agave pattern. Because I'm not doing as much beading on this one, I have a feeling it will go very quickly and will be very pretty.

About the podcast... thank you to all of you who've given me feedback. It is so appreciated and has been very much taken to heart. I'm planning the next podcast for next weekend, so be on the lookout for it (probably sometime on Saturday afternoon/evening). I had some opportunity to work on it this week and I'm hoping you will enjoy listening to it as much as I've enjoyed working on it so far.

As a teaser, I'll be announcing a contest, there will be a Trinity story, and a book review among other things. I hope you'll tune in.

For now though, I wish you all a Happy Easter.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Knitting and Talking To Myself...

There hasn't been much time spent with the Aeolian shawl this week, for some reason. I'm still loving it, but this week just hasn't been a knitting week. I'm not sure why. Well, no, that's not exactly true. 

I think there has been a little bit of resentment happening around here. Perhaps I've been spending too much time on the knitting and not enough time on the man??? He's probably right; I've been a little obsessive about this project. The shawl will get done and it won't take forever. That I know. 

I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again... I really love this shawl. I was a little concerned at one point that the beads might be too much of  a contrast, but I 'm liking the contrast more and more now. I was concerned, too, that I might not have enough beads, but it's looking like I'll probably be alright in that department. Phew!

On the podcast front.... thank you so much to those of you who have given me feedback. Your comments have been read, studied, seriously thought about and I've decided that I WILL jump into the podcasting pool. It may take away from knitting time, it will surely take away from John time, it will be a lot of work. All that is true. If, however, I let that stop me from doing this, I've been defeated before I even get started. I know that I'll probably never interview anyone famous; that's alright. They've all been interviewed ad nauseum, I'm sure (but if anyone famous reads this blog and would be willing to be interviewed by me... feel free to contact me); I have some ideas floating around in my little brain and I've taken to keeping a notebook handy for jotting them down. As well, I'm open to ideas from you. You've already given me a few ideas and I thank you!

In the interim, a website has been designed for the podcast the software is waiting for my input. Now, it's just a matter of getting John out of the apartment so I can talk to myself for half an hour or so. Then, I'll put the whole thing together and present it to you, neatly packaged, with a bow on the top. 



Well, colour me embarassed! I had this post published... I thought. It seems I saved it as a draft this morning, rather than hitting the "publish post" button. I guess I wasn't as awake as I thought I was.

It's been a few hours since I wrote the above and things have changed. I now have a podcast up and ready for download!! I'm excited! You can find my podcast at:

Check it out and let me know what you think. Keep in mind, this is the very first installment and it wasn't easy to sit in a room, talking to yourself. *grin*

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Tell Me What You Think

I have been mulling over an idea this week and I'd like to run it by you. 

Since we got this new computer, I've been thrilled at having up to date technology at my finger tips (well, okay, as up to date as any computer technology can be two months after you've brought it home). As well, I've been listening to several podcasts. One of them mentioned a friend who used Garage Band as her pocasting "equipment". It just so happens that iMac comes with Garage Band.

And so, my little brain has put two and two together and I've been contemplating jumping into the podcasting pool, as an adjunct to the blog. What do you think?

Do you think I have what it takes to be a podcaster? If I do this, what kinds of things do you like in a podcast? What don't you like in a podcast? What's the best length for a podcast? (The ones I listen to are anywhere from 30 minutes to 90 minutes.) Should I put together a test cast first?

Give me some feedback; let me know what you think.