Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I'm Feeling Fascinated

Give me a hot-glue gun and I can rule the world.

This will look better once my hair is up and it's seated properly. I couldn't find the millinery supplies I needed but I am rather pleased with what I managed to do with $5 in feathers and acrylic rhinestones and an old French twist comb.




Wrapping it All Up

It's been a busy season. We had many Obligations to DH's family... noisy affairs that left me drained at the end of them. I'm glad they're done.

Tonight is the final event of the holidays; a big New Year's Eve ball at a downtown hotel. It's 9 AM and I should be upstairs making a feather fascinator (I was delighted to learn that there was such a wonderful word for the ornament I wanted) to adorn my hair, but I wanted to sit a bit and chat with you... it's been a while.

A couple of weeks ago, I looked through the knitting guild membership roll, which is handily broken down by postal code. I noticed there was a knitter just a couple of blocks away from me, and immediately invited her to tea. Of course the holidays intervened, so we didn't get to meet until yesterday, but it was well worth the wait. We spent the entire afternoon talking and engaged in yarny pursuits; it was absolutely lovely. I think there's definite potential for her and I to get up to much knitterly mischief.

Early this week, I received my ball of Kauni from Lucy Neatby... just when I've reached the point of thinking I may be okay with the yarn I have. I certainly don't mind having an extra ball of the delicious stuff in stash, though, so I don't mind whichever way this goes.

The next day I received another package from Lucy. Puzzled, as I hadn't ordered anything else, I opened it, thinking maybe I had won a draw or something. Inside were two of her famous DVD's... and a receipt in another customer's name. Ooooh, crud... a shipping label accident! I called Lucy this morning to let her know of the problem, and I suppose I did win a draw of sorts... she said I should keep the DVD's! She'll re-ship them to the rightful customer, and all is well.


Knitting gold, my friend. I can't wait to sit down and learn!

May your evening be raucous and rowdy, or quiet and introspective, depending on what you prefer. DH and I are going with the former after many years of the latter. Tonight, at the stroke of midnight, we will be kissing in not just another year, but another year of marriage... tomorrow is our third wedding anniversary.

Brad's Shots (48)
Thank you, my love, for the best three years of my life. Here's to a lifetime more.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

To Die For

I'm two inches into a sleeve on the Kauni cardigan, I have yarn for one other cardigan and one other sweater already in stash, yet I have an unholy burning desire to knit this.


Not in white, 'cause I think I'd cry the first time I inevitably stained it, but all the same. How hard should I fight this, considering the pattern is free and the yarn is only around $40 from Knitpicks?

Oooooh. Damn that beautiful Nordic knitting!

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Last Knit

I think this was me in a previous life-time.

Rather Cool

As I referenced in my last post, I have worries that I don't have enough yarn for the cardigan. That's a problem, as the yarn is imported from Denmark and rather pricey. I posted my concerns to a group on Ravelry and one commenter told me that Tradewinds, Lucy Neatby's shop, was a Canadian carrier of Kauni EQ. (For those not in the know, Lucy's a bit of a maverick rock star in the knitting world.)

I called just now to order a ball of the luscious stuff, and who should answer the phone but Lucy herself, with her lovely British accent! I got all giggly. It was a really nice surprise and completely unexpected.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

My First Steeks

So it's been a Big Day in my little crafting world. I finished the body of the Kauni cardigan! I know everyone thought I burned it on the back lawn 'cause I've been conspicuously not mentioning it, but I've been diligently plunking away at it. It's slow going, to be sure, but this is a major milestone.

Today I sewed the shoulders shut using a three-needle bind-off. What a lovely seam this makes.


Then I went up to the sewing room and did the obligatory "please God don't unravel" line of zig-zag stitches on either side of the steek lines.


I didn't think twice, or fret, or even have the recommended glass of wine before I calmly put scissors to steeks.


I had been getting concerned, because Ruth's pattern is pretty scant on details, and I've never made a cardigan before... it looked weird. Holes everywhere, stitches on holders... once the steeks were cut, everything made more sense. I am pleased to report that it looks more or less like a cardigan before the sleeves are put in. (Excuse the crappy pics, they were solo'd.)



My only complaint is that it's a little small. It could use another 4 inches in width... not a huge deal as there are still button-bands to attach, and I could always do very generous bands to make up for the width issues. I'm *very* pleased, all things considered, and already have an inch done on one of the sleeves.

Here's hoping I have enough yarn.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I Could Have Danced All Night

The ball was last night, and this Cinderella certainly enjoyed it to the hilt. We danced most every song, except when we dared each other to go dance with random strangers. It seemed too short last night, though my aching feet today suggest otherwise.


(I wore fishnet tights and false eyelashes and applied my eye make-up with a trowel, and somehow managed not to look trashy!)



We had so much fun that we decided to do it all again, but bigger. We suddenly found ourselves without children on New Year's Eve, and decided to go to one of the big parties. We asked our dance teacher and she recommended one that a few couples from the studio were attending, and I just bought tickets. We *never* go out for New Years, so this is a Big Deal and I'm rather excited!

Plus I get to wear The Dress again... I got compliments all night long and I had to tell everyone the story of how DH bought it for me. He was walking pretty tall by night's end. As well he should.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Gift of My Magi

There's a formal ball coming up next week at our dance studio. DH and I love to dress up and strut our stuff, so of course we are going... the only question, for me, was wardrobe.

Anyone who has ever seen my closet will not believe me when I say that I really didn't have anything appropriate to wear. I have a ballgown, but it's floor length and not good for dancing in. A couple of sheath dresses were eliminated on the same count. A closet full of incredible clothing, yet nothing to wear!

I decided to purloin for the night a dress his eldest stepdaughter wore to a summer wedding. A Le Chateau special, the cocktail dress was floaty and pretty but not really suited to winter wear with its pretty summery coral tones. DH, amazed I could even fit in her dress, asked me what size it was.

Last night we arrived at the dance studio early, despite the cruddy slushy roads. As we drove, we passed a shop where two rather fetching party dresses hung in the window; Wayne commented on how pretty one of them was and how nice it might look on me. We walked the sidewalks to Starbucks for a pre-dance coffee, and on the way passed the shop with the dresses. We paused for a minute, admiring, and then dashed in quickly to check out the price on the one that caught my eye. Although it was a reasonable price, it was more than I could afford... I've really trimmed my budget in anticipation of losing some income as I become a student. Besides, I had the coral dress to wear. I touched the dress regretfully, letting its silky black pleats fall through my fingers, and then hurried off to the studio for two solid hours of Cuban motion, tango and other related dance fun.

Tonight when DH came home from work he handed me a bag. From that dress shop. He had managed to completely surprise me... he had spotted that dress two weeks ago and knew it was meant for me, one way or another. It was a simple matter from there of ascertaining that I liked it and what size to purchase.

It is without a doubt the most beautiful and elegant dress I own, save my wedding dress... I cannot wait to wear it to the formal next week. The gesture of love by which it came renders it so much more than a simple garment.

I am blessed.

FO: Earthdancer

I'm not going to tell you how long this has been waiting to be finished, or the insignificant amount of time that it took me to complete, once I put it up on the frame. You'd gasp in disbelief and think me a moron. The point to concentrate on is that it's done! :)


And although I have my sewing machine back, I've started another cross-stitch project. DH just laughs as he suspects the recipient will be long dead by the time I finish this, but I may prove him wrong.


You'll keep me honest and ask for progress reports, won't you? :)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Anatomy of a Heel Repair

You may remember these. S6300990

These funky socks, made not even a year ago for a friend, have fallen upon hard times. Look away if you must... this ain't pretty.


It's a horrible, horrible thing to have happen to a pair of hand-knit socks. (And it just happened to the one sock. Hopping much, V?) I knew I could fix it. I still had a small ball of the yarn left over, and I hied my hiney over to my LYS for some nylon blending thread, which I should have used in the first place. Apparently, 100% merino socks are ticking time-bombs for such behaviour.
First, I checked in my knitting journal to find out what size needles I used. Then, I picked up a row of stitches on either side of the heel, making sure to pick up the same number on both sides.

I did this repair on DPN's but you could just as easily use circs. YMMV.

I now have a solid ring of stitches picked up around the offending (and offensive!) hole. Now, I cut away the fuzzy, frayed bits, to about three rows before the needles. I then pulled the yarn back until I had the live
stitches on the needles.


From here, it's a simple matter of introducing the new yarn, held together with the nylon thread, and forming a short-row heel as if you were making a new sock. (I like the method in the Interweave Knits 2007 Summer edition, but once again, YMMV.)
When your heel is done, be sure to knit one final row "in the round" (all around heel needles) to pull things all together.

From here, it's a simple matter of grafting the contents of top and bottom needles together.
The finished heel:


Beside the original:


It's slightly darker and a bit cushier from the blending thread, and I have to say there's a distinct line on the inside from where the grafting was done, but aside from that, this sock is better than new.
I'll re-heel the other sock while I have it... it's only a matter of time before it goes, too, if I leave it undone.

Wolf, Hat and Cake

I don't think anyone in this house ever expected to see this done.

Wolf cross-stitch

As it happens, I took my sewing machine to Arnprior for servicing about three weeks ago, and it's been out of the house for three weeks. What's a girl to do but cross-stitch and knit her fool face off? This project was promised to DH some years ago. Who knows, I might actually have it in a frame by year's end.

Expect another cross-stitch FO soon (!). I feel compelled to do sewing room spring cleaning, as it were, and finish up projects that have been lingering for some time. I want a fresh start with my projects, as I begin my fresh start with my career.

On the other end of the quickness scale. Also finished (in a day or two) is my "Tea Cosy" hat. I am totally loving this. It's alpaca, it's warm, and it's super practical.


From the back:


Yes, it has a pony-tail port! :)

I also did massive amounts of baking.


These are fruitcake... I make a mean cake and have converted several former fruitcake haters with my kitchen mojo.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mind Games

When I left the military to begin my three-month "sabbatical" before school, I did a little happy dance. I loathe early mornings, and I've seen my fair share of "oh-dark-thirty" timings, crawling out of bed when it was exactly the last thing on my mind. I rejoiced in the likelihood that I'd never have to keep exactly that schedule again.

This morning I did a good hour-long workout and completed my grocery shopping all before 0700. This is not untypical of my days as of late. Yes, for the first couple of weeks I didn't get up until 10-ish, but then the novelty wore off. 0530 isn't any less ugly now, but I feel pretty virtuous for getting up then, and not hard-done by as I did before.

It just goes to prove it's all a mind game.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Irrationality, Knitting, and Irrational Knitting

When I start college in January (let me pause here to savour the sound of those words!), I'll be taking the bus to school. My program pays for my bus pass, and if it saves me the exquisite agony of driving during an Ottawa winter, I'm willing to undergo the mild inconveniences of public transit.

However, I have conceived of an entirely irrational fear of freezing to death at a bus stop. Despite my warmest (Everest-expedition-weight) Mountain Equipment Co-op parka, I feel that my winter clothing needs are inadequate. Thus, the mounds of warm winter stuff I've been knitting lately.

Without further ado, and with apologies to my youngest step-daughter's stuffed pig, I bring you my fashionable line of Bus Stop Knitwear.

First off, we have the "Drowning in Fiber" ensemble.

The scarf you've seen before, but the hat is a new addition. It's a stylish and ultra-warm pillbox-style hat, knit from two strands of bulky-weight alpaca held together throughout for that comforting "I've got a llama on my head" feeling.

This hat also features an unholy melding of crochet and knitting. Don't tell the Harlot.

(Ignore the look of pleading in the pig's eyes. He asked for it.)

Next up, we have the finished Mobius Cowl.

Ultra soft and yummy, this dazzling little neck-warmer left me cold. See where the clever mobius flip is? Yeah. I'd like that place to be warm and covered. Clever cast-on, clever knitting, but in the end, more decorative than useful.

I fixed Cat Bordhi's wagon. I unzipped her Mobius, I untwisted her ring.


And now I am warm. (And hey, isn't that a fabulous scarf pin? An indulgence at CSNF.)

Pillbox hats are fine and dandy, but as you saw in the last post, I gotta lotta hair, and I often wear it in a high ponytail. This leaves pillbox hats looking lumpy and dorky and feeling uncomfortable. I need... I need... I NEED ANOTHER HAT!

Whew! Saved by the curative powers of yet more alpaca.


This half-finished gem is, or will be, the Tea Cozy Hat. The I-cord to finish it off will be left-overs from the cowls... I adore that Mountain Color yarn, and am unwilling to let the smallest shred of the stuff go unloved.

Do you think I might be warm enough, or is there a chink in my fuzzy winter armour?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Crowning Glory

V asked for a shot of the whole whack of hair. Here ya go!


Friday, November 21, 2008

Bright as a New Copper Penny

Well, it looked (and perhaps felt) like goose poop, and it smelled like a field newly-mowed, and I doubt I've ever had something quite so... interesting on my head before, but I am absolutely in love with henna.

It took these brown locks:

Into this glorious mane:

I am exceedingly happy to be a redhead again! I was previously, for almost 15 years... it just suits me. However, I was concerned about the links between commercial hair dye and certain cancers (lymphoma, specifically) and discontinued use. I knew of henna, but I was also aware that at times it results in a shade not found in nature- this wouldn't be acceptable to the military, so I never chanced it.

What fun! I'm glad to have my hair announce my temperament again! :)


Here I was sure that the goopy green substance wouldn't be identified, but it turns out Aline uses henna herself, and Velda was just naturally suspicious that it was dye... though she never expected the green goop to turn me into a copper penny! It's hard to put anything by you guys.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Can anyone guess what I'm up to today?


Correct guessers get the pride and immense satisfaction of knowing they're right.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Eternal "Why?"

A very dear friend of mine was seriously injured in a hockey game a little over a week ago. This brave, spirited, generous and kind man, who served his country unflinchingly, taught little kids to have respect for themselves and others on the hockey rink and soccer pitch, and who served in his community as a volunteer fire-fighter, has suffered a spinal cord injury and has no feeling from the neck down.

It's in the process of breaking my heart. Why him?

I know it's all random, this fun roller-coaster called life, but why does life seem to save up these awful experiences for the truly good people?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Finally Finished

My niece's quilt is finally done, and I am extremely pleased. I bought the fabric that inspired this whole journey last Easter, and it is supremely satisfying to go from a selection of Northcott charm fabrics to this.



The fence isn't tall enough to display the whole quilt, so... (cat included for scale. :) )



A close-up of the super-cool reversible border technique I tried and loved.


I am so very pleased. I've turned out some lovely quilts in my time, but I am most proud of this one, and I believe that there will be one seriously tickled three-year old in Nanaimo when she receives this gift; a pretty quilt for her first big-girl bed.

I took this along with my machine to a not-so-local quilt shop; the machine needed servicing after miles of sewing, and I needed to show this quilt off to an audience who would understand the blood, sweat and tears that went into it. They were suitable impressed, and paid me the highest compliment I have had as a quilter: they want me to teach a class!!! How cool is that? I'd love to do it, and my mind is percolating already with ideas for a sampler and course outline. She said spring would be good, so I have all winter to plan.

I also picked up the fabrics I need to complete my next work of art. My mum loves creams and neutrals, and hasn't been able to find a bedspread that she liked. Well and so, darling daughter to the rescue. Check these colours out and fall in love.




That's 36 different fat quarters in assorted shades of gold and cream, with some absolutely divine backing and sashing fabric and lovely rayon accent threads. I am so excited!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Heart in Mouth

I have never wished to be an American before today... I want to vote so badly. I watch with the rest of the world, with heart in mouth and tears in eyes, waiting for America to finally embrace hope and change and life.

Enough of the reign of evil old men.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Your Brain

This is your brain.


This is your brain on Cat Bordhi.

brain on Cat Bordhi

The marvelous, mysterious Mobius Cowl in Mountain Colors Twizzle, Wild Raspberry colourway.

I finished off this scarf a couple of days ago. I am hoping that the snowstorm that followed within hours was sheer coincidence.

Irish Hiking Scarf

This is a seriously long scarf.

knitting 011

Modified "Irish Hiking Scarf", inspired by the Rebecca 23 scarf with hood. In Schachenmayr nomotta Alpaka, many many balls, and held double throughout. It's about 5 pounds of scarf. No kidding.

With hood sewn up:

knitting 013

(I'm Finnish by heritage... I've never really seen it in myself until I took this photo. Something about those Baltic blue eyes.)