Saturday, January 30, 2010

So, I Got This Book....

John suggested that I go for a walk today, so I had him drop me off near my nearest LYS, Kelowna Yarn & Needlework (there's a link in my sidebar). I like stopping in there every now and then just to see if there's anything I really, really, really want.

I hadn't intended on buying anything, but when I saw this book, I knew I had to have it. It's a Cat Bordhi book, after all, and I already have her other books. I'm intrigued. I'm so intrigued, in fact, that I pulled out some 2.25 mm needles and cast on, following all instructions carefully.

In the book, she has you make and cut out a tracing of your foot, as accurate a tracing as you can make. On this tracing, you make notes about stitch count, where the heel starts, where the leg opening will be (yup, you read that correctly) and where increases take place. The first sock you make is your "Discovery Sock", the one that will become your template for all the following socks using that weight of sock yarn (you would have to make a discovery sock for every yarn weight you would want to use... if you use something other than fingering weight yarn).

For my sock, I'm using Trekking Maxima on 2.25 mm needles. As you can see, I have the toe shaping finished and I'm working up the foot. In a nutshell, this sock is made by making the entire foot, toe to heel, first and then opening up the foot shape and knitting leg straight up. I'm simplifying, of course. The method, though, intrigues me.

Here you can see my "foot", with the line that marks the beginning of the heel. I won't give away anything from the book, but I will say that, if this works, I may just be converted to making my socks toe up. We'll see.

Notes on a Saturday Morning

I do wish I could sleep in the way John can. It's Saturday and I was awake at 6 a.m. I managed to stay in bed and doze a little, but by 7 a.m., I was up. There's no way I could stay in bed any longer than that!

Anyway, staying at home Thursday and coming home early from work yesterday (I was a little more uncomfortable than I'd anticipated) gave me plenty of time for knitting. As you can see below, the first of the Elbistan mittens is nearly finished. Well, it looks finished; it still needs a thumb but I was getting a little tired and it was getting dark so I didn't want to even try picking up stitches by the time I'd finished the hand.

I'll be picking up the thumb stitches today and charting the thumb as I work it. For some reason, all of the charting went really well except for the inside of the thumb. I know how it will look, but charting it just didn't click for some reason. Once I have the first row done, I know the chart will be easy to finish. Then it will be a matter of transferring the finished charts to Excel and writing up the pattern.

I didn't just knit yesterday. This whole cord making thing has me quite fascinated. Yesterday, I dug out the project bag with the Shetland Christening dress (I even worked on it for a while) and remembered that the cord I'd used for the drawstrings was probably the worst choice ever for drawstrings. The polyester cord will not stay knotted and comes apart. In this particular bag, one of the strings came out entirely and the second one is in tatters.

I've decided to make a drawstring cord instead, so I dug out some bits and pieces of sock yarn and started.

In the picture below, you can see the cord. There's about two feet of cord right now. I'll probably need another couple of feet for a proper drawstring. I know the yarn doesn't match the bag very well, but it's just a drawstring and it's just a little project bag. I'm not overly concerned about aestethics.

One last thing before I get back to knitting and the rest of my day... today is Ethan's first birthday. Where has the year gone???

Happy 1st Birthday, little man!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Some Small Measure of Progress

I'm home today. Yesterday, I had to undergo some minor surgery and was told to take it easy today, so that's what I'm doing. How better to "take it easy" than to sit and knit! To that end, I've been alternating between two projects today - the Elbistan mittens and John's gray socks.

The only reason that I haven't been working exclusively on the mittens is that my hip has been bothering me when I sit too long at the dining room table, so I've been alternating between the table, where the mitten is, and the sofa, where the socks are. And both are seeing progress... best of both worlds.

You will notice that these mittens are being worked on double pointed needles rather than the Magic Loop method I've been using for mittens thus far. The only reason for that is that I couldn't find a 2.5 mm circular needle. I don't know why I couldn't find one; I know I have a few of them. Oh well, I'm just as comfortable using dpns, and I've noticed something. I'm finding that my tension is more even using the dpns that the circular. I'm not sure why that is, but it's definitely a good thing.

This bottom picture is the palm side of the mitten; I don't think I showed you that side before. I'm really liking this palm pattern. It's a simple one to memorize and work, with the longest float being only 3 stitches.

I showed the mitten to John when we got home yesterday and he was very impressed! (Rightfully so, I would think!)

Speaking of John, his father is out of the hospital and back at the residence he's been living in for the last couple of years. Apparently, they've been bringing his meals up to his room and he seems to be okay (apart from his toe, that is). With Tony back in his own place, John's work there was done and, after a night at my daughter's, with the four kids, he's back home safe and sound. I'm happy!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Power of Four

If you read this blog regularly, you know that I rarely participate in memes. Well, today's different. Louisa, of Damselfly's Delights, named me as one of four people who she thought might respond. That's a challenge, don't you think? So, here goes...

Four places I go regularly: my LYS (duh!), the grocery store across the street, the Bibles for Missions Thrift shop in the strip mall where I work, the bulk food store in the same mall
Four favourite smells: popcorn, bread baking, basil, and Issey Miyake L'eau d'Issey pour Homme (when it's on John.. it drives me wild! TMI??)
Four TV shows I watch: CSI (Las Vegas), Law & Order SVU, NCIS (the original), Jeopardy
Four people I think will respond: Nicola, Gloria, Sandie, and Robbyn (but don’t feel you have to)

Okay, what’s your power of four? Feel free to respond if you'd like; I'm not tagging anyone, not forcing anyone, but if you'd like to, please feel free!


When I got to work this morning, I wondered why there was someone in red standing at the street corner with a camera around her neck. Then I wondered why Sam (my boss' 4 y.o daughter) was at work when it wasn't a preschool day. I was informed that the Olympic torch was supposed to be coming by in a little while.

Now, I'm not huge on the Olympic hype, they're games, yanno? Last night, there was a big party at City Park, with 20,000 people in attendance. I was not one of them; I don't do crowds by choice. But when the torch passes directly in front of your place of employment... Well, I went out with the rest of the group that had gone to the curb to watch the mini parade.

These aren't my pictures. My boss graciously allowed me to download his pictures and use the ones I wanted. Thanks Phil!

Monday, January 25, 2010


See this? It's a lucet cord!

No, I don't have a lucet, but after my sister sent me this picture (thanks Gloria!), I had a flash of inspiration. As much as I like Gloria's idea of two Bic pens, an eraser and packing tape, I realized that I had something at hand that could be even better.

It's a hairpin lace maker (what's it's technical name anyway??)! Moving the cross pieces close to the top gives me a slot to thread the cord through and it has two prongs, which is necessary for a lucet. I can prop it on my leg while I'm sitting in the recliner and it's easy enough to hold on to.

That bit of cord you see there took me about half an hour to make. The challenge in making a lucet cord, I'm finding, is tension. It really needs to be consistent and that, I'm sure, is just a matter of practice.

The yarn, incidentally, is just some scrap acrylic "kiddy" yarn that's been in my odds and ends stash for a long time. I think I used this to make a baby hat way back (five or six years maybe?).

Oh, before I take myself off to bed, John informed me today that his dad will be released from the hospital tomorrow! That's the good news. The bad news? Well, his big toe IS a problem; it's indicative that there's a major circulation problem. If he were younger, they might consider vascular surgery, but at his age (90), the risks far outweigh the benefit. If the toe doesn't improve, they may consider amputation; he's on morphine for the pain and John's been out hunting for a shoe that won't hurt the toe toooooooo much. Ideally, he'd like to get Tony some Birkenstocks but he doesn't think Tony will be up to going shoe shopping, so for now, it's summer sandals, which are just fine if you stay indoors.

Now, I'm off to bed!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mitten Progress and Other Things

The Elbistan mitten is coming along nicely; I'm really pleased with how it's knitting up. As of this morning, I've taken the stitches for the thumb off the needles and they're waiting on waste yarn.

It takes a little while to see the pattern emerging, but now that it's very visible, the knitting is a little easier to read.

Sandie commented that the new Knit Picks catalogue is all about colour. She's right! And, speaking personally, this catalogue is a keeper! Included in this catalogue is a full page spread showing all of the KP Palette colours, which can also be found here. I've downloaded the .jpg to my computer, but it's nice to have it in a hard copy as well, just for inspiration, and we know that it's all about the inspiration, right? I've already chosen a couple of combinations with patterns in mind; that's down the road, though. I have enough to work on right now.

Speaking of inspiration, I was online this morning and came across lucets, a tool for making braid. Following the Google trail, I watched a couple of You Tube videos on how to use lucets and realized that it is, in essence, identical to spool knitting except that you're only using two prongs, rather than the four or more used in spool knitting. I'd like to try it, but I haven't come across anything in the apartment that I could use to improvise a lucet. I may just walk over to the dollar store in a while to see if there's anything there I could use.

Once I explored lucets, I remembered that my book on Norwegian knits has instructions on how to make a kumihimo braid, so I decided to try that. Once again, I made use of Google and found a You Tube video on kumihimo braiding. With the book and the video, I've started a braid, just for the fun of it. It is SO simple! And it's sturdy! This would make an excellent drawstring. Depending on the yarn, string, or ribbon used, you could come up with some amazing cords for all kinds of purposes.

The picture above is the kumihimo loom, basically just a circular piece of cardboard, with a hole in the middle and slits cut into the edge, all the way around. I have eight strands of yarn, 4 of blue and 2 each of purple and green. Basically, all you're doing is moving the strands from one side to the other in a specific order. The result?

I know it's a little difficult to see in this picture, but if you click on the picture, you should get the full sized version. I'm really pleased with this little bit of cord; the process is very simple and rhythmic. Now, I'll be thinking of applications for cords! One website even mentioned that the cords could be used for shoelaces; I suppose if you used finer yarn or thread (crochet cotton perhaps?), you certainly could!

Learning something new is so much fun!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Library Enhancement

You know I love knitting. You know I love knitting mittens. You know I love knitting lace. You may not know that I've been trying to find out what kind of knitting is traditional in the northern part of Holland, or Holland in general.

Well, these three books cover all of the above. "The Mitten Book" by Inger and Ingrid Goddfridsson was given to me by one of the ladies at work. She picked it up at a library book sale some time ago, came across it recently, decided that she'll never knit the mittens so why not pass the book on to me? Why not indeed?

This is a neat little book of Swedish country mitten patterns with traditional designs. The motifs could easily be adapted to any knitting and I can see it being another source of inspiration, something I'm always looking for.

The second book is Marianne Kinzel's "Second Book of Modern Lace Knitting". This softcover book has a lot of patterns that I'll never knit (how many afternoon tea cloths can one person have, after all?), but again, there's inspiration in this book and we all know that inspiration is a good thing!

The third book is one that I've been eagerly waiting for. It's "Ethnic Knitting Discovery" with knitting from the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and the Andes. This is one of very few books I've found that have any discussion at all about knitting in the Netherlands. I'd read and heard, along the way, that the Dutch knit sweaters very much like ganseys, also known as fisherman sweaters, using knit and purl stitches for decoration, rather than working with colour. The book contains patterns (in the section on the Netherlands) for a Seaman's scarf, a pullover with a single motif and a sampler pullover with a drawstring at the neck.

At this point, I can't tell you much more about the book because I just got it Thursday and haven't really had a good chance to go through it. I'm pleased, though, that someone has finally gotten around to publishing something about knitting in the Netherlands. In the reading I've been doing, I've come to the conclusion that knitting in most of the North Sea countries is similar and what's knit in one country is, invariably, knit in most of them, with slight variations. Because they were all seafaring countries that traded with each other and travelled to each other's shores, I'm sure knitting patterns and techniques were just another commodity, whether or not it was part of their trade.

Though I've not had much chance to go through the books with a fine tooth comb, I think I can say that all three are a welcome addition to my library.

On the knitting front, in my last post I mentioned that I was designing a pair of "international" mittens. Well, that design has come together, the yarn's been chosen and the first of the mittens is on the needles.

I stopped by Kelowna Yarn & Needlecraft on my way home from work yesterday to choose the colours. In the end, I went with John's suggestion of blood red and navy blue. I did swatch with a variegated background yarn, but it just didn't work well; it was way too busy. This, however, is a very dramatic choice and will definitely work with my jacket.

In the previous mittens I've made for myself, I chose a picot edging before working the wrist pattern. This time, I've chosen a Latvian braid edging with 1" of corrugated ribbing, ending with another Latvian braid before starting the wrist chart. I may work one more Latvian braid before starting the hand chart. I'll decide when I get to that point.

The mittens have a name now; I thought about the name for a couple of days. Yesterday, I looked at each of the individual patterns; the cuff uses a pattern called "Willow Branches", the back of the hand uses a pattern called "Elbistan", the palm is a Fair Isle design, and the braid is Latvian, truly international! In the interest of keeping it simple and evoking some of the romance of the east, I've decided to simply call them the Elbistan Mittens. I like the sound of it; the name has a somewhat exotic ring to it, don't you think?

I'm keeping notes, making sure to jot down every little thing I'm doing on the first mitten so that I'll be able to make the second to match, as well as enabling me to write out the pattern when I'm finished. At some point, I'll make the pattern available through Ravelry.

It's just after 7:00 a.m. here on the West coast; I anticipate getting a lot of knitting done today since I have the weekend to myself. Oh, John called last night and apparently his dad isn't doing as poorly as we were led to believe. Yes, he's declining, but he is, after all, 90 years old. One area of concern is his big toe, which was, we were told, black when he was admitted to the hospital; there was concern that it was gangrenous and that amputation would be necessary. There's still talk of that, but the toe is improving. Unfortunately, at his advanced age, there are more risks involved with surgery and his doctors are reluctant to take those risks. Ultimately, though, it does look like he may be able to go back to his home, rather than to an extended care facility. That's good news!

Design In Progress.. or DIP

But first, even though knitting was a little awkward for a couple of days (I sliced the tip off my right index finger on Sunday evening), I did manage to finish one of the Annemor #2 mittens this week. The first picture shows the mitten size in relation to the toddler and adult mittens.

The second picture shows the back of the hand. I don't know if it's just me or if the mittens are supposed to be like this, but I find the hand very long. Perhaps, in time and with wear, it will stretch in width and reduce in length. Or, perhaps the extra length helps with warmth... I really don't know. Perhaps some of the old mittens were as long as they are/were simply to accommodate the pattern.

One thing these pictures don't show is the true colour. They were photographed under a table lamp, with the flash, which really washed out the colour. There's a truer picture, colour-wise, in an earlier post. The light colour is a very pale teal and the darker colour is more of a purple-y periwinkle. Now, to cast on the second one.

I'll have plenty of knitting time this weekend. John just left (just after 6 a.m. here) for the coast. He's going to spend the weekend looking after Tony's affairs. It looks like Tony will be moved into a care home in the not too distant future. He's still in good spirits, but obviously not recovering. I'll be on my own for the weekend for sure, and perhaps until Wednesday, depending on how much John will need to look after.

Seeing as I'll have all that time, I'll also have time to work on what the title of this post alludes to. It's been a long time, but I have a design in progress. I've been so inspired... again... by the work of Heather Desserud, the designer of the Ruba'iyat and Lilac mittens. She's come out with another winner, one that I'm sure I'll be casting on at some point.

When she came out with the Ruba'iyat mittens, I made an Excel chart of the basic mitten layout and shared it with her. It is, in essence, a blank canvas for designing Selbu-style mittens. I've printed out a few sets for myself and have played with designing my own mittens a couple of times, but have never been happy with what was emerging. This time is different.

I know it's a little tough to see. That's intentional (If you click on the picture, you may be able to see the design a little better). What I will say is that both of the books you see in the picture have contributed to the design. I have no working title for these mittens yet, but they're becoming quite an international project. Anna Zilboorg's book "Simply Socks" is about Turkish sock design; Alice Starmore's "Book of Fair Isle Knitting" is self explanatory and the mitten design is Danish. As I said, international in scope.

Both John and I can see this design in bold, bright colours to make the Turkish design "pop". He was leaning to a deep blood red for the main design with a dark blue for the background. I was thinking of black or navy for the main design with a variegated yarn with long colour repeats (like Noro) for the background. We'll see. First, I have to get the design finished. Then, I can decide on yarn and colours.

Now, though, it's time to get ready for work. Oh, one last little thing... Happy 30th Birthday, Kristen!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Second Post for Sunday

It smells like a bakery here! If you've been reading the blog for a while, you know I love to bake. Well, this morning, I decided to bake hamburger and hot dog buns.

The picture above shows the buns just before the second rising. All in all, the recipe made 8 hamburger and 10 hot dog buns. Below is the result, minus one hamburger bun that we just HAD TO sample.

The weiners are cooking right now and in a short while, we'll be having hot dogs for a late lunch. Yum!!!

P.S. we don't have hot dogs often, but now and then, they just taste good and with homemade buns, I'm sure they'll be even better!

Sunday Morning Bits & Pieces

I love Ravelry! Have I mentioned that before? Because of being diligent and inputting (is that really a verb?) projects as I begin them, I know that I started these 6-ply socks for John on November 28, 2009.

Last night, the first of the two socks was completed, all but grafting the toe, that is. The knitting of it, though, is finished. Thankfully, I had cast on for both socks at the same time or I would never have remembered that I'd used the tubular cast on for the first one. Here's the link to the tutorial for the tubular cast on: Ysolde Teague.

Now, because I did cast on for the second sock, I'll have something relatively mindless to work on while the football game is on today.

The little Selbu mitten is coming along nicely, too. I worked on it for a while yesterday, until my eyes started crossing. I'm really happy with the way it's knitting up and my tension is improving with every row.

I am finding, with these mittens, that the hand seems so long and I worry that they'll be way too long for a child, but once the thumb goes in, they do seem to balance out. Still, I look at the hand section, compared to the cuff and wonder if they'll fit right.

Speaking of cuffs, Tina mentioned in her comment that she thought the cuff on the Lilac mittens might be too loose to stay on. In my case, it doesn't really matter too much because my jacket has velcro straps at the cuff. My main concern is that the mittens are long enough to stay inside the cuff and these are definitely long enough. Once the velcro strap is adjusted, there's no way the mittens are coming off.

Sandie commented that each time she's tried stranded knitting, she's ended up with a tangle rather than an item. I hate to tell you this Sandie, but this is a great learning experience! I now know how to knit Continental (yarn in the left hand - picker) and British (yarn in the right hand - thrower); knowing that, I have one strand in the left hand and the other in the right hand. The yarns don't tangle this way; you don't have to twist the yarns together except on long floats. I catch them using the technique taught by the Philosopher's Wool Company (video here). It took a bit of practice, but it's a terrific technique to know, and it's a very good video.

For me, the hardest part about knitting with more than one colour is tension, keeping everything loose and even. I'm getting better, but there are still lumpy sections. That's what blocking is for. These mittens, like the red and white ones, are made with washable wool, so I'm thinking of just throwing them in the wash with the next load of laundry and then laying them flat to dry... just to see how they come out. I have a feeling that, with a wash or two, everything will even out.

Last weekend, I mentioned that John's Dad had been admitted to the hospital in Vancouver. He's still there, and will likely not be released. We found out yesterday that, for all intents and purposes, we're on a death watch. There was talk of surgery yesterday, but between John and his cousin, who has been visiting him regularly, it was decided that the surgery really wouldn't do anything to improve the quality of Tony's life. His breathing is still laboured and he's on oxygen, his kidneys are still failing and the prostate cancer ... well, it's prostate cancer. We also heard yesterday that he no longer wants food. When you put all of these things together, it really only spells one thing: it's just a matter of time.

John will be calling the hospital later this morning to find out what the nurses think; unfortunately, he has an appointment on Wednesday that he really can't get out of unless it's an emergency, so he'd like to know if the nurses think he'll hold on until then. If they feel that John should be there sooner rather than later, he'll head down to Vancouver sooner and beg off the appointment.

I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


I am having SO much fun knitting Selbuvotter (Selbu mittens). Selbu is city in Norway; votter is the Norwegian word for mittens. So, essentially, selbuvotter are Norwegian mittens. They're colourwork and I'm loving colourwork, especially little mittens like the red and white ones in the picture below. I put them with my Lilac mittens to give you an idea of how small they really are.

I'm not sure what age of child they'll fit (I have no one but Sam, who's 4, to try them on and she hasn't been around the shop this week), but they're definitely toddler-sized.

I've included the picture below for one reason only... see where the thumb joins the palm? The mitten on the left was finished first; I tried to match the thumb pattern to the palm, but didn't quite "get" the instructions in the book. I "got it" on the second mitten, and the pattern flows seamlessly from the palm to the thumb (the thumb is knit last).

Now that I know how to make that pattern flow properly, this next little pair should be perfect! I cast on for this pair after work yesterday, and I anticipate that I'll have at least one of the mittens finished later today. Kids' mittens just knit up so quickly!

Details. Right! Both patterns are from Terri Shea's excellent book "Selbuvotter: Biography of a Knitting Tradition". If you're at all interested in historical or colour knitting, this is an excellent book to have in your library. The instructions are well written and the charts are clear and easy to follow. The red and white pair are NHM #5 (page 96) and the second pair is Annemor #2 (page 43).

Incidentally, NHM refers to samples Terri cataloged from the Norwegian Heritage Museum. Annemor refers to samples she received from Annemor Sundbo, who also has a fascinating book "Everyday Treasures: Knitting from the Rag Pile". She also has a Flickr page with many samples of old Norwegian garments, which you can find here. If you enjoy colourwork, and are looking for inspiration, be sure to browse her galleries. I know I came away inspired.

Both pairs of mittens are made with Sandnes Garn Lanett, a 100% superwash wool, on 2.5 mm needles. I used double pointed needles for the cuff and, as you can see in the last picture, I'm using the magic loop technique for the body of the mittens. The patterns both called for 2.75 mm needles, but there's so little difference between the two that I went with what was at hand. Besides, I don't think it really matters what size the mittens end up being; they'll fit someone!

I have every intention of making more of these mittens; they knit up quickly, they're fun to knit and they're pretty darned cute!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Lilac Mittens

They're finally finished, blocked and had their picture taken!

As a redux, these are the Lilac Mittens, designed by Heather Desserud, available as a free download on Ravelry. The yarn is Sisu sock yarn and the mittens were worked on 2.5 mm circulars. It took me a lot longer to finish them than it should have taken, but, hey, they're done! And I love them! And they're machine washable! Does it get any better than that?

I got them done just in time for the warmer weather, too. How's that for timing? (And yes, I'm being sarcastic... the weather has warmed up and it's rain, rain, rain in the forecast... not really mitten weather.)

So, having freed up a circular, I just had to cast on something, right?

Sorry about the difference in the pictures. I was playing with camera settings; the first picture is closer to actual colour; I'll post more pictures when these are done. In the meantime, you'll just have to wait.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

First FO of 2010

John has new socks! I started these a long time ago (April, 2009), but they're finally finished. It's amazing what one can do when one just sits down and does it!

There is another project on the needles, another one started in 2009, that has been seeing some quality time this past week. This is the Wool Peddler's shawl from the book "Folk Shawls" by Cheryl Oberle. The yarn is Marks & Kattens Fame Trend, 75% superwash wool and 25% nylon (polyamide).

This project lives beside my recliner and when I can't knit anything that requires concentration, is the project I pick up. At this point, it's just garter stitch, with four increases on every right side row. Once finished, I have a feeling this will be a comfortable, much used shawl that will go well with a lot of things in my "wardrobe" (that makes my collection of clothing sound like so much more than it really is).

Today, I intend to finish the cobweb doily. I'm on the edging section now and from here on, each row works up to the points, which are worked separately, back and forth.

As a quick aside... two members of my family have a birthday today. Happy Birthday Stuart!! Happy Birthday Eric!!

And on a more serious note, yesterday John received a phone call from his cousin in Vancouver, advising him that his father had been admitted to the hospital early Saturday morning. He'd been having problems breathing. John spoke with Tony's doctor and found out that not only was he having problems breathing (he's now on oxygen), he's also been suffering from prostate cancer and experiencing renal failure. John had been wondering why Tony's prescription budget had recently been getting higher and higher; we now know why. Tony never let John know what was going on; mind you, his mind isn't the sharpest anymore and he probably didn't even think to mention it.

As of this morning, Tony is still waiting for a bed; he's still in Emergency and is, apparently, resting comfortably. At 90 years of age, with his current medical problems, it's unlikely that he'll be able to return to his home in the assisted living building he's been in for the last couple of years. The level of care just isn't suited to his current condition. That means that John may have to travel to Vancouver to make some arrangements for his father's care. At the moment, though, Tony's not going anywhere. His doctors want to do more tests before they'll even consider sending him home.

On that note, I'm off to finish a doily and bake some bread (whole wheat... healthy!)

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Darn It!

We love our handknit socks. John, especially, loves the socks I've made him. He's been wearing them almost exclusively this winter and, as is inevitable, one of his socks grew a hole at the base of the heel.

Now, my usual reaction to holes in socks is to hold them above the nearest garbage receptacle and exclaim "Darn it!" as I drop them into said receptacle. This time, it was different. This hole looked more like a snag than a hole caused by wear. I figured I could repair it.

I went online to research "darning", did some reading and decided I could handle it. It's been a lot of years since I darned socks; I don't intend to make a habit of it. Even John told me not to bother (apparently, these are not his favourite socks).

I did it. It isn't perfect, but there's no more hole and John will be wearing these socks for the foreseeable future.

Monday, January 04, 2010

A Bit of This and A Bit of That... When's Dinner?

After my last post about my shock and finding that sugar is an ingredient in Windsor salt, I visited their web site and sent them an email asking for an explanation about the sugar in the salt. When I hear back from them, I'll let you know how they respond. I did have Carole email me to say that "Potassium is added to the salt to keep us from getting goiters (a thyroid condition). Without adding the sugar the potassium would become unstable and evaporate. It is a very tiny amount. It has been in it here for many years and we didn't know it. Only recently, with new labeling laws, has sugar been listed as an ingredient."

I can live with that, but I still want to know how Windsor Salt responds. As for not using salt at all (as per Sharon's comment), I'm not quite ready to give it up just yet. I'm not much for sweets, but I do like my salties; I'm working on it, though.

On to other things. I've been knitting almost non-stop this week. Well, that is, until today. Today it was back to work, which sure does cut into knitting time. I've just gone back to see when I actually started these socks for John. Would you believe it was April? Yikes!

I guess it's time to finish them, don't you think? I did have the heel done on the first sock, but when I got back to the foot (after the heel flap and gusset) the colour had changed so dramatically that I just couldn't live with it. I frogged it back to the leg and redid the heel in a different, but very similar, colour of the same yarn. I'm much happier with it now, and now that I know how it will turn out, I'm making good progress on the second sock. The yarn, incidentally, is Lana Grossa Meilenweit Mega Boot Stretch. Very nice! And John loves his sock.

With all the projects being finished recently, I just had to (really, HAD to!) start a small project. This is the Cobweb Doily from "A Gathering of Lace". It really is a small project, something a little different. (The picture, incidentally, is from the book; it is not my doily.)

I'm using some hemp lace weight leftover from the Waves of Grain scarf I made last year. As of this morning, I'm on Row 35, probably just about halfway; it's just a fun little diversion of a knit and a way to use up some stash yarn.

Just for the sake of interest, I've gone back over my January posts from the years I've been blogging. It seems I have been setting myself the same goal of finishing all the projects on my needles for some time. I wonder why I think this year will be any different. Hope springs eternal, I suppose. I do make good starts, but.... ah well. It's the process, not the product, in most cases.

Oh, I just remembered! This past weekend, John and I went out to do some shopping and he offered to take some pictures of me in the Ropes & Picots cardi. It wasn't exactly warm out, but at least you'll get some idea of what the cardi looks like on. I really am happy with how the sweater turned out (of the dozen or so pictures John took, though, only one really turned out).

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Please Pass the.... Huh?

Yesterday, while getting dinner ready, I happened to read the list of ingredients on the box of Windsor salt in the kitchen cupboard. Now, when you think of the ingredients in salt, you would expect to see..... salt. Right?

It's not the sharpest of pictures, but did you ever think you'd see SUGAR in your salt??? What the heck is up with that?!?

Just for that, I will not be buying Windsor salt again. Salt should be salt. Period. End of story!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

A Few Thoughts

It's the beginning of a new year, the perfect time to reflect on the past and consider the future. You've probably noticed a lot of bloggers doing the same thing; I suppose it's a natural thing, isn't it?

Well, I have (almost) no intention of looking back. The past is the past. The future? Well, it will be what it will be. I don't make resolutions, but I do have some goals this year. One of the goals is a direct result of the last couple of weeks of 2009. I've proven to myself that I CAN finish projects if I put my mind to it. With that in mind, one of my goals for the upcoming year is to actually finish what I've already started. I have more than enough works in progress to keep me busy for quite some time. Having said that, some projects are just that, projects. They're the type of item I may not be able to knit from start to finish because of the levels of concentration needed (like the Shetland Christening Dress). But I now know that I can do it and so it has become my goal to finish what I've started.

My second goal relates to my overall health. I must admit that I'm a junk food junkie and my wardrobe is starting to confirm that. Right now, I have one pair of slacks that fit well. Everything else seems to have shrunk in the closet. It is my goal to take small steps to improve my overall health and perhaps, in the process, to lose a few of the pounds that have found their way to my frame.

I admit that I am not an exercise nut; I dislike (and have always disliked) regimented exercise programs. When the weather is decent, I walk to and from work (but not in the dark; John won't let me walk in the dark), a good 20 minute walk each way. My downfall is nibblies. Even my doctor has said that if I cut back on "the white stuff", I'll drop a few pounds and improve my health (blood pressure issues). He's told me that even 5-10 lbs will make a difference. So, that is the goal: eliminate some of the white stuff, and eat healthy (not that we don't; I just need to eliminate the stuff I know isn't good for me... like Cheetos).

As of this morning, I've cut out the sugar in my tea. I used to drink my tea black all the time, but once I got pregnant, I couldn't handle it without milk and sugar. It's one small step, but it's a start.

In other things, I did look back at my knitting in 2009. It was a good year for knitting. Five first place ribbons in the Armstrong Fair and 25 finished objects. That's more than 2 per month. Not bad. For my own sake, I've put together a pdf file with all of the finished objects of 2009. If you're interested, feel free to check it out. Personally, it's nice to see a pictorial of all the items in one place. It feels good!

(just click to open the pdf)

What about you? Have you made any resolutions for 2010? Have you set goals for yourself? Share them; I'd love to read about your goals for the new year. Let's make it a good one!

Friday, January 01, 2010

No Words

Well, just a few... final length - 72", final width - 19", satisfaction - priceless! (Last picture is truest to the actual colour)

Just Sqeaked In Under the Wire

I managed to squeak in one more finished object before the end of 2009! Below is the "Scarf with No. 20 Edging" from Victorian Lace Today. It came off the needles (and crochet hook) before it was time to get ready for our New Year's Eve entertainment (we were invited to a NY party).

The scarf is soaking, in preparation for blocking, at the moment and will likely be dry by tonight.

This was, once I really got down to it, an enjoyable project. The yarn is really nice... soft, cushy and just plain touchable! It is, as I wrote in a previous post, Fleece Artist's Suri Blue (50% Suri Alpaca, 50% Blue Face Leicester wool, 600m/100gm), in the colourway "Buttercream". John wasn't too sure of the colour at first, but now that the scarf is off the needles, he really likes it. So do I. Buttercream is a good name for the colour; it is a creamy, buttery yellow.

With the way 2009 ended (finishing up 2 projects in the space of a week), I'm really on a finishing kick right now. On my Ravelry project page, I have 12 (yes, I know) works in progress (WIPs); I've been looking at those items wondering which one to finish next. There are a number of small projects, like the Vanalinn gloves and the Lilac Mittens, which could easily be finished in a day or two and there are three shawls to finish, Icarus, Zetor and Aeolian #2. I'm just not sure which project to pick up and finish next. Such a dilemma!

Anyway, I don't think there will be much knitting done today. We had a really nice New Year's Eve, but I'm afraid the wine was just a little too tasty and I'm a little wobbly-headed today. I think blocking the scarf will be about all I can handle today... well, maybe some mindless knitting of some kind.

I hope you all had a great 2009 and I hope for each of you that 2010 (that's not easy to type!) will be a happy, prosperous year, filled with all good things (and lots of yarn!) From our home to yours, Happy 2010!