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.